‘Jer­sey Shore’ cast pumps it up for a rau­cous va­ca­tion in Italy

TV Week - - FRONT PAGE - BY JAC­QUE­LINE CUT­LER

They’re liv­ing their dreams. It’s be­come sport to poke fun at the cast of MTV’s “Jer­sey Shore,” re­turn­ing for a fourth sea­son Thurs­day. But ex­clu­sive in­ter­views with two of its top stars re­veal Snooki and DJ Pauly D to be thought­ful, al­beit a bit orange.

MTV al­lowed Zap2it rare ac­cess while shoot­ing the fifth sea­son in Sea­side Heights. On the Fri­day be­fore July 4, Ni­cole “Snooki” Polizzi, DJ “Pauly D” DelVec­chio and SallyAnn Sal­sano, ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer, talk sep­a­rately on the roof. The cast usu­ally talks to press only while the show isn’t in pro­duc­tion.

Rem­nants of last night’s party lit­ter the turf. The hot tub is silent, pil­lows on the out­door beds askew, ash­trays over­flow and bot­tles lie drained.

“We don’t drink as much as peo­ple think we do,” Snooki says. “There is a lot of down­time, like nor­mal time.”

“At 26 I want to get mar­ried and start pop­ping out the kids,” says the 23-year-old. “I’m get­ting old. I can’t party like I used to. I might as well en­joy it now.”

She doesn’t seem to be en­joy­ing it at the mo­ment, but she’s been skew­ered in the press and has learned the down­side of fame.

“You can’t go any­where,” she says. “You can’t go to the mall or to Chili’s. The op­por­tu­ni­ties we get are in­sane. I am fix­ing my­self up for life. I don’t want to work again. Hon­estly, I never liked to work any­way.”

Snooki, who prefers Ni­cole, al­ways wanted to be fa­mous. Granted, she has no dis­cernible tal­ent, but she has some­thing that can­not be taught in a stu­dio: Peo­ple want to watch her. She in­tu­itively gets that.

She also is more self-aware than peo­ple re­al­ize. An an­i­mal lover, she thought she would be a ve­teri­nary as­sis­tant. Now she wants to fund an an­i­mal shel­ter, and is fa­mous, which hap­pens when you’re the break­out star on cable’s top-rated show.

Pauly D had just signed as ex­clu­sive res­i­dent dee­jay for the Palms Casino Re­sort in Las Ve­gas. He’s un­aware of a Connecticut dee­jay of the same name su­ing him. The show’s ban on cell phones and TV has its ad­van­tages. “It’s sur­real,” Pauly D says. Ev­ery­thing about this phe­nom­e­non is. First, they do not stand out on the Jer­sey shore, ex­cept for their fame. Peo­ple are tanned — whether from booths or the sun — to bur­nished shades. Neon, an­i­mal prints and bling are what peo­ple wear — to break­fast, which can be fried Oreos.

Though some Ital­ian-Amer­i­cans are an­gry over the group’s use of “guido” and “guidette” to de­scribe them­selves, Sal­sano ex­plains she wore “guidette” spelled out in di­a­monds on a neck­lace while in high school and wouldn’t dis­par­age her her­itage. Sal­sano shoots 700 hours for each hour shown, cap­tur­ing them as they are.

“My job is to tell a true story,” Sal­sano says, liken­ing the show to a John Hughes com­ing-of-age film.

They are com­ing of age. Snooki is a brand, and she wants an em­pire. Her novel, “A Shore Thing,” writ­ten with Va­lerie Frankel, made it to the New York Times best­seller list. It’s a thinly veiled ro­man a clef, which in it­self is part of the charm. Snooki has noth­ing to hide.

In the new sea­son, the gang is in Italy, where Snooki had a fen­der bender with their po­lice es­cort.

“Italy was dif­fer­ent,” she says. “Be­ing so far away in a dif­fer­ent coun­try, it was just dif­fer­ent. I get home­sick here and I am only three hours away.”

In Italy, as tourists, “we re­ally rely on each other,” says DJ Pauly D.

The group’s col­lec­tive mantra of GTL (gym, tan, laun­dry) was more dif­fi­cult there. It took 45 min­utes to get to the gym, and there were no tan­ning sa­lons, he says.

The best part of Italy, though, Pauly D says is, “all we did was eat, eat, eat. Ev­ery restau­rant tasted like your grand­mother’s home cook­ing.”

Pauly D’s gelled hair, which takes 25 min­utes to blow dry to stand­ing per­fec­tion, is un­der a red cap turned side­ways. His tank top re­veals the mus­cles cut in those many hours in the gym and a tat­too of his late friend, DJ AM.

As Pauly D talks, the aerial tramway over the well-worn board­walk goes right past the rooftop. Guys point and scream at him. He smiles but keeps his fo­cus.

It’s early enough that hang­overs are be­ing nursed as the board­walk comes to life. Those in line to get into Shore Store snap pho­tos of Mike “The Sit­u­a­tion” Sor­rentino pos­ing, un­char­ac­ter­is­ti­cally, in a shirt. He’s next to dis­plays of panties em­bla­zoned with “Fist Pump” and “Jer­sey Girl” and T-shirts with “I started the frig­gin’ pouf.”

He’s sup­posed to be at­tend­ing to cus­tomers, but Pauly D laughs and says, “Mike doesn’t like to work.”

Like Snooki, he em­braces this life in a fish­bowl that brings fame and wealth.

“The best thing about this is you are your­self,” he says. “And you can’t hide any­thing.”

The cast of “Jer­sey Shore.”

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