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15 Odd Rules The Jersey Shore Cast Had To Follow

 

Even if you’ve never watched a single episode of the hit MTV series Jersey Shore, there’s no doubt that you’ll have a very clear image in your mind of what it’s all about. Between 2009 and 2012, the world was taken over by the the GTL (Gym, Tan, Laundry, obviously) lifestyle, and the Shore’s world flooded our cultural consciousness, whether we wanted it to or not.

It was pure genius taking a group of self-proclaimed “guidos” and “guidettes”, putting them together in a house, and watching the epic drama unfold. If one thing can be said for Jersey Shore, it’s that it certainly made for some entertaining and illuminating viewing experience. Getting a glimpse into the everyday lives of this group of people was definitely revelatory on many different levels and the world will permanently be marked by its TV legacy.

We’ve recently been graced with the return of the Jersey Shore cast in Jersey Shore Family Vacation which takes place in Miami, and all the drama and laughs we’d been missing are definitely back with a vengeance.

But, while we might revel and reel in shock at the things they get up to on our screens, this doesn’t mean the cast doesn’t have to abide by some pretty strict rules. Everything we see might look like chaos, but behind the mayhem is a strict set of guidelines our GTL pals have to follow. From no books allowed to constant surveillance, these reality stars have to put up with a lot for their fame, and as you’ll see, a lot of what ends up on our screens is about as real as the stars’ tans.

With this is mind, here are 15 Crazy Rules The Cast Of Jersey Shore Have To follow.

15 THEY ONLY GET ONE PRIVATE PHONE CALL A WEEK

One of the reasons reality TV is so popular with audiences is because of its unbothered attitude towards privacy when it comes to those starring on these shows. Jersey Shore became known for its extremely intrusive glimpse into the lives of its cast and it offered viewers complete access into the daily activities of these Italian-Americans. In order to uphold its reputation for being an all-access reality TV experience, the cast were only allowed to make one private phone call a week. That means that aside from this one private telephone conversation they were each granted, the rest of the time all of their phone calls were filmed.

Having this lack of overall privacy meant that a lot more drama and hilarity was available to be filmed, thus bringing in more viewers and guaranteeing higher viewing ratings.

It didn’t matter how embarrassing or revealing these chats might have been, unless it was their weekly private call, all their other phone calls were at the viewers’ mercy. This is where the infamous duck phone came in, the telephone that became one of the show’s most recognizable symbols. Through this phone, that we saw and heard much of the drama that went down.

14 THE REALITY STARS ARE CUT OFF FROM THE OUTSIDE WORLD

It’s common practice for reality TV series to limit the interaction their casts have with the outside world, and Jersey Shore certainly has some strict rules when it comes to this.

In an interview with V Magazine, Snooki made some revelatory statements about the rules and guidelines the Jersey Shore cast members have to follow during the filming of the show. One of these was in reference to how closed off the cast are to the rest of the world. She said: “There are no cell phones, no TV, and you can’t read.” Well, we highly doubt the Jersey Shore guys and gals were going to pull out any classic novel collections to enjoy on the show, but to impose a no reading rule? Seems pretty harsh. Then again, this might just be the one rule the cast don’t mind obeying. As for the no TV and no phone rules, well these seem like they would probably be slightly more challenging for this group to abide by.

By taking away the cast members’ access to the outside world, it really does create a more insular atmosphere for them, and forces them to live and react to their own Jersey Shore microcosm. Taking away any distraction from them, they’ll be sure to be getting all up in each others’ business a whole lot more.

13 THEY CAN’T LEAVE THE HOUSE WITHOUT BEING FOLLOWED BY A FILM CREW

As previously mentioned, Jersey Shore is all about exposing every little raw detail of its cast’s lives, meaning privacy is just not something that should be expected by these stars while they’re taking part in the show.

While not being able to have a phone, watch TV, or read a book might seem like huge inconveniences, even more troublesome is the fact that the Shore cast members aren’t allowed to go out anywhere without being tagged along by a film crew. In the same V Magazine interview with Snooki, the Meatball herself revealed: “You can’t leave without a film crew with you. If you want to leave, you have to tell them an hour before so they can get ready.”

Imagine having to constantly be trailed by a film crew. It would get pretty tiring real fast. 

If the members of the Jersey Shore cast want to go out, they have to give their filmers fair warning so that they can be sure to get every moment of the stars’ daily lives. You’d think that having constant eyes on them, it would maybe make these reality TV stars think twice before getting up to some of the shenanigans they get caught up in. Apparently for these ladies and gents, being watched has become second nature.

12 THEY HAVE TO MISBEHAVE BECAUSE THEY’RE GIVEN NOTHING ELSE TO DO

Even as early as the first season of Jersey Shore, it became clear very quickly that what we were going to be seeing from this show was a lot of tanned people getting up to a lot of no good. The series became known for its Italian-American stars going wild, whether at the bar, the beach, or back at home. Outrageous drinking, crazy fights, and over-the-top drama became the pillars upon which this not-so-wholesome look into the Shore lives rested. People became instantly hooked by the ridiculous behaviour these stars exhibited on the daily.

But, while we might be boggled by the fact that all these people seem to do is fight, spend the night with a stranger, drink, tan, and pump iron. The truth is, while they were filming, the cast members weren’t really given many other options for things they could do.

Because the cast weren’t allowed to have phones, a TV, reading material, or the ability to go out without cameras following them around, they had to find their kicks in other ways. Hence, the drinks, the good times, and the bust-ups.

Indeed, Snooki revealed to V Magazine: “You can’t listen to music, you can’t do anything. It’s kind of like being in jail for two months—and people wonder why all we do is drink! It’s because there’s nothing else to do! It passes the time and makes it fun. If you’re sober the whole time, you will go insane.” So there we have, it. The real secret to why these stars act the way they do.

11 THEY’RE NOT EVEN ALLOWED TO PASS NOTES TO EACH OTHER

If you’re wondering how the cast members could possibly function as normal human beings while constantly being filmed, well that’s a good question. Most of us would go crazy if we had to deal with incessantly being watched and scrutinized, but it appears these Jersey Shore cast members got used to it very quickly.

As we’ve seen, the producers of the show clearly had some strict rules about not letting the cast get any real world contact while they were filming, as well as not wanting the reality stars to have any privacy whatsoever.

Clearly there’s no hiding in the Jersey Shore universe and this cast got pretty vocal with one another in the absence of pen and paper.

While you might think that the cast would try to get around this lack of privacy by other means, you’d be surprised by how strict the production team was when it came to sneaky tactics. In fact, the cast members were forbidden from even passing notes to each other. While note-passing could have provided a shred of privacy if they wanted to communicate something they didn’t want audiences to see or hear, this practice was banned from the get-go, forcing the cast to voice or act on anything they wanted to say to one another.

10 THE CAST MATES HAVE TO AGREE TO A “DISEASE CLAUSE” IN THEIR CONTRACT

All reality shows have a strict contract attached to them that cast members have to abide by. A lot of what’s contained in these contracts is nonsensical jargon covering the butts of those in charge of the show’s making, but there is a lot of important information relating to the cast that they definitely need to be aware of.

With a reality show like Jersey Shore which sees its cast members getting involved in some pretty adult behavior, it’s no surprise then that this show’s contract covers the nitty gritty of what might go on over and under the covers. Everyone is acutely familiar with Jersey Shore’s hot tub antics, so it’s probably a good thing that the contract addressed the potential health-related dangers that could come from such shenanigans.

According to Seth Kaufman, TVGuide.com’s former editorial director, the Jersey Shore contract has a clause relating to certain diseases. The clause has the cast members agree to: “Producer hereby informs me, and I acknowledge and accept, that the other participants have not been screened for any diseases, sicknesses or other health conditions (and specifically have not been tested for any [STDs] and I assume all risks of interacting with the other participants, including any consensual contact.”

It would be interesting to know how many other reality TV shows include such an explicit clause in their contract, but there’s no doubt it was certainly necessary for this one.

THE CAST WERE CONSTANTLY WATCHED BY THE PRODUCTION TEAM

We’ve covered the fact that the cast members of Jersey Shore aren’t afforded much, if any, privacy during their time on the show, but the lengths that the production team go to in order to ensure the cast is given as little alone-time as possible is quite simply staggering.  According to Elle, the show’s producer SallyAnn Salsano revealed that the cast members were under constant surveillance. She said: “There were 42 cameras inside the house, inside the Shore Store, and on the boardwalk. In Seaside, we had them up and down the boardwalk, down to the Ferris wheel. We literally wired the entire town.”

Clearly the Jersey Shore stars couldn’t take a step without being consistently monitored and watched.

The show’s producer had constant eyes on the cast and watched them pretty much 24/7. During an interview with ABC, Salsano revealed that during the filming of the show she took up residence in an apartment above the Jersey Shore cast, where she kept track of their every movement with a 14-monitor live feed. Talk about extreme surveillance. With all those eyes constantly on them, it really is surprising that the cast members felt comfortable getting up to all the naughty things they did, but hey, that’s show business for you.

THE CAST WERE FORCED TO REMAIN WITHIN SEASIDE HEIGHTS

It’s doubtful that any fans of the show got bored with watching the cast members of Jersey Shore hanging out in the same places constantly, but it is notable that the series, for the most part, remained within a certain catchment area consisting of just Seaside Heights. Of course, this area is the natural stomping ground for the stars of the show, but there was another reason for keeping the cast in such a restricted range.

According to MetDaan, Seaside Heights was forced to be the filming location for the show as it was the only place in the state of New Jersey that MTV was permitted to film. Well, it seems like this restrictive filming rule didn’t pose too much of a problem for the production team as it was the perfect backdrop for the Jersey Shore’s GTL lifestyle.

In fact, with millions of eyes now on this little corner of Jersey, the area became a top tourist destination, with countless visitors flocking to the shore in order to get a glimpse of the cast members they had become addicted to watching on their screens.

Since the first few seasons of Jersey Shore, Seaside Heights’ mayor has been trying to redeem the area’s image. Attempting to move it away from its associations with partying and more towards being a family-friendly destination. Well, it’s a worth a try, but for most of us, the shore with always be Jersey Shore.

WHEN IN ITALY, THE CAST WEREN’T ALLOWED TO BE FILMED DOING CERTAIN THINGS IN PUBLIC

The fourth season of Jersey Shore saw the cast venturing over to Florence, Italy as a hilarious way of introducing the Italian-Americans to their cultural roots. While the cast and audience were thrilled to see the show travelling to Europe, the Italians themselves weren’t exactly jumping for joy at the prospect of this rowdy bunch coming over to connect with their ancestral ties.

Clearly the mayor was aware of the sorts of antics the Jersey Shore cast were used to getting up to. In the name of respect for his city, Renzi wasn’t about to let them drink his city into disrepute.

So concerned were the people of Florence with this American show coming over and potentially ruining the sacred image of Italy, that the then-mayor of Florence, Matteo Renzi, drew up a list of rules that the cast and crew had to abide by when filming in the Italian city. The set of rules was published in the Italian newspaper Corriere Della Sera. One of these strict guidelines addressed a favorite activity of the Jersey Shore cast, drinking. According to The Daily Mail, these guidelines stated that: “The cast will not be filmed in bars and clubs that serve alcohol. The cast will not be filmed drinking in public. The show will not be filmed to promote Florence as a drinking town. The show should be filmed in a manner to promote Italy and feature its’ culture and good food’.”

IN ITALY, THE CAST WEREN’T ALLOWED TO GO INTO HISTORIC BUILDINGS

Along with the strict rules about drinking, the mayor of Florence, Matteo Renzi, had some pretty firm guidelines when it came to the Jersey Shore cast and the city’s historic buildings. Renzi was adamant about the fact that he didn’t want the cast disgracing his beloved Florence, and as such, he went to every effort to try and limit the contact the reality TV stars had with the historic elements of the city.

Italians weren’t pleased with the American reality TV show coming to their shores, and these negative opinions were voiced in the country’s newspapers. According to The Daily Mail, columnist Roberto Del Bove stated in the Rome paper New Notzie about the Jersey Shore cast: “They embody the worst stereotypes of Italians, multiplied by thousands and Americanized.”

Mayor Renzi specifically banned the cast from entering and filming inside any of Florence’s historic buildings, although he conceded that he wouldn’t be able to prevent the film crew from using the city as a backdrop set for the show. Well hey, it would have been pretty hard not to capture any of the city’s scenery if the whole team was travelling there. This concession for the Jersey Shore cast and crew doesn’t seem all that gracious, but very understandable nonetheless.

THEY HAD TO STAGE FIGHTS

As with all reality TV shows, audiences need to remember to take the term “reality” with a very big pinch of salt. While this is generally advisable, Jersey Shore’s producer, SallyAnn Salsano, has said in interviews how capturing the realness of the cast members is of the utmost importance. Talking toABC, Salsano said: “I go 24 hours a day, seven days a week, cameras everywhere, capturing the real moments.”  Well, Salsano might be monitoring her cast day and night with umpteen monitors, cameras, and microphones, but this doesn’t mean that everything we end up seeing in the final product is completely unstaged and real.

At the end of the day, even the most “realistic” reality TV shows have some tricks up their sleeves. It’s best to not believe everything you might see.

In fact, it seems like quite a few scenes we’ve seen on Jersey Show are as fake as the stars’ tans. According to The Daily Mail, keen-eyed viewers spotted some inconsistencies between several scenes, most notably during a particular cat fight between Nicole ‘Snooki’ Polizzi and Angelina Pivarnick that took place during the show’s second season. Apparently, in one of the shots, Jenni ‘J-Woww’ Farley is sporting a pair of white socks, and then in the next frame, they seem to have disappeared from her feet. It seems like other scenes were manufactured too. It was reported in the same article that while the cast were in Italy, some of them were spotted rehearsing scenes and doing reshoots.

THE CAST HAVE NO SAY IN HOW THEY ARE EDITED TO LOOK IN THE SHOW

We’ve talked about scenes on Jersey Show that have been manufactured in order to be more entertaining for audiences, it’s also wise to remember that the final product we end up watching on our screens has gone through a heavy editing process.  It’s sometimes hard to remember that the reality shows we love to watch aren’t really a true depiction of what has actually happened, but have instead been altered and cut in order to be the most sensational version possible of what really occurred.

When we watch Jersey Shore, we see alternating scenes between action shots and interviews, which is the most obvious example of how the show is edited together. However, even the scenes during which action is taking place have been edited to look and feel a certain way for the viewers.

In an interview with GQ, Snooki was asked if she would change anything about the way Jersey Shore was produced. Her reply revealed that certain aspects of the stars’ lives were highlighted in the show over others in order to make the viewing more exciting. She said: “I wouldn’t show as much drinking and partying. I would show more of us chilling out and having a good time—which they don’t show. We don’t even drink those nights, but we laugh all night. They don’t show anything but us drinking and hooking up.”

So there we have it, from Snooki herself, the way we see the cast members of the show isn’t always a true depiction of how they really are.

THE CAST HAD TO ACCEPT NOT GETTING PAID DURING THE FIRST SEASON OF THE SHOW

With the kind of popularity Jersey Shore gained from audiences worldwide, it’s natural to assume that the reality sars featured in the program were making serious bank from day one. Well, while the cast is now rolling in dough, they weren’t always recompensed properly for their work.

According to Vinny in an interview with Vulture, the Jersey Shore cast members weren’t actually paid during the first season of the show, despite the fact that many of the stars-in-the-making had only just left school or had given up other paying jobs in order to appear in the series. Vinny told the interviewer: “We did the first season for nothing, zero dollars, except whatever we made at the Shore Store. Me and Ronnie, the first week, we told production, “Listen, I think we have to leave. We don’t have any money.” I’d just graduated college, I didn’t have a job.”

They did work time at the Shore Store, but MTV was wrong for not paying. 

However, although the cast were hardly making any money at first during their time on Jersey Shore, the show became a smash hit and they were quickly earning a lot of cash as reality TV stars. In fact, by season two, it is reported that many of the cast members were making $30,000 per episode. It seems like with any job, this motley bunch of youngsters had to pay their dues and clearly the hard times at the start were worth it. As the Shore cast have now created names and business empires for themselves.

THE CAST HAD TO GO WITHOUT A BREAK BETWEEN FILMING SEASONS

Although some might look at reality TV stars and think that what they do is hardly worth calling a “job”. The fact of the matter is, appearing on TV, even if it is just to drink, fight, and participate in adult fun, is still very much a means of employment.

As we’ve seen, the cast members of Jersey Shore are constantly being watched by the production team, their every movement monitored by countless cameras, microphones, and crew members around the clock. While many would argue that this isn’t as taxing as say being stuck at a desk in a cubicle for eight hours a day, the fact of the matter is, being constantly surveilled is exhausting, not just physically but also mentally.

Imagine being watched 24/7. You’d definitely want a break from it all. However, the cast members of Jersey Shore have had to endure continuous filming, often without a break in-between seasons. This was evident when right after wrapping season four of the show in Italy, the cast was forced to go straight into season five filming without any kind of break. With all the partying these people do, it’s certain that they would have appreciated some down time in order to recover a bit before having to camera-ready again straight away. But alas, there’s no rest for the wicked.

THE CAST ARE ENCOURAGED TO PARTY HARD

Without a doubt, the most entertaining aspect of Jersey Shore is its inner look into the everyday lives of its cast members doing what they do best: partying, getting rowdy, and getting with each other. At times, it can seem incomprehensible that these people appear to sustain themselves on just having a good time. For most of us watching, we couldn’t fathom keeping up with their over-the-top partying lifestyles.

But, while it might seem that all the cast members do 24/7 is get up to no good, this lude behaviour is actually encouraged by the production team. Snooki told The New York Post: “You get bored because you have nothing to do but just look at each other and talk. I think it definitely made us want to drink — and that was the point.”

They could take naps like the cast of Big Brother, but that would be entertaining. 

Clearly, without access to any other means of entertainment, the cast turned to the only way they knew how to keep themselves busy: drinking and partying. And this was definitely encouraged by the production team, as it was through the cast members throwing back drinks that a lot of the drama and action happened. And, who wants to watch a bunch of bored adults sitting around a house? Add some adult beverages, and boom, watch the drama unfold.

 

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