Vinny Guadagnino on His ‘Jersey Shore Family Vacation’ Experience
It was like the cabs had never left when Jersey Shore Family Vacation hit the MTV airwaves in April. Our favorite band of fist pumpers (minus Sammi “Sweetheart” Giancola) from the original show reunited and hit the beaches of Miami for another round of gym, tan, laundry.
Although many of them remained tight, Vinny Guadagnino found enough time had passed, and they missed each other.
“I think we saw what out there on TV,” he said, ahead of the spinoff’s season finale June 28. “I felt the world was lacking something. Everyone can get a sense of it. As soon as they asked us to do it, we couldn’t believe it. We saw it as an amazing second chance opportunity. Let’s give the world what they’ve been missing.”
And the cast has certainly delivered on the drama and craziness viewers have come to expect. When Jersey Shore left the airwaves in 2012 after six seasons, social media was beginning to explode. Guadagnino was excited to see how Vacation would fit in today’s day and age of live tweeting.
“It’s instant feedback,” he said. “You can see what people are saying to you and about you.
“Things go viral so quickly now. We have so many catchphrases and all the gifs and memes…It keeps spreading awareness of what is going on. It’s like one old school AOL chatroom when you would talk and see who was online. Now it’s like the entire world is watching it together and making each other laugh. So that’s my favorite part of doing it now.”
The filming experience exceeded the 30-year-old’s expectations. He felt a greater appreciation for the opportunity to have a series back on television.
“People don’t know how hard this business is,” Guadagnino said. “To get a show in the first place. We know now because we’ve had some time off and living in the real world trying to sell TV shows and trying to be successful without Jersey Shore. People don’t realize how difficult this business is to even get one chance at something great.
“But to get another chance and for it to do well and pick up where we left off, to smash the ratings like nothing else changed. To be the number one spot on Thursday nights. To be trending on Twitter every week. It’s kind of like the greatest reality show of all-time when you think about it.”
After almost a decade in the public eye, the “Keto Guido” is a seasoned pro. He understands that what cameras are chronicling will be edited and cut into episodes for consumption and scrutiny. Watching the show unfold, Guadagnino knows it’s what he signed up for.
“I remember every single night that happened, but now I’m looking at what is going to be a cliffhanger or the thing they are going to elude to on the next episode,” he said.
“Personally, there were a couple of times where I was drunk in the club and doing some things that made my girlfriend at the time uncomfortable that I kind of was looking at myself and calling myself an a—hole.
“Other than that, I think I’m doing what normal people do when they go out and get blacked out drunk. We just have to watch it back and have the whole world watch and be under a magnifying glass.”
Guadagnino drew some backlash this season for his flirtations with bottle girls at a club. He called his then girlfriend Elicea Shyann after nights out to maintain transparency.
“I understand at the surface level and what the normal every day viewers sees,” Guadagnino said. “They interpret it as a show that puts it out there with headlines like, ‘Vinny is a giant cheater.’ Anyone else are more mindful and thoughtful and gets it a little more. They see things being blown out of proportion. Things being edited for entertainment purposes to make a storyline.
“At the end of the day, I think everyone would agree there are people who really do cheat on their significant others by sleeping with other people and getting other people’s phone numbers and dating on the side and relationships on the side.
“I’m drunk calling a bottle girl. In reality show world that’s cheating. People who are just going to watch it for what it is and be entertained are going to go with that. Anyone who knows me and who I really am will understand that I don’t think that’s cheating. However, I was looking and acting like a drunk a—hole. I’ll admit that.”
A wrench was thrown into the season as exiled former cast member Angelina Pivarnick payed a surprise visit to the house. Pauly D DelVecchio brought her in, effectively reigning the prank war champion.
“She never disappoints,” Guadagnino said. “She is a shocker. She even shocks us. Just when we thought that she was going to come and squash the beef and be nice to us now, she came in and took a s— in her pants.
“Everyone was like, ‘My God. This girl really is the ‘Staten Island Dump.’ She does not disappoint.’ I’ll admit it’s very entertaining. It’s not something I would do, but she does not disappoint. The ‘Staten Island Dump’ does not disappoint.”
Another part of the season that didn’t disappoint was Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino’s proposal to his longtime girlfriend. Each housemate helped make the moment special.
“When we’re filming obviously we go out and party, but I’ve always been one to look for more meaningful things to do,” Guadagnino said. “Little tasks and projects. I actually enjoyed working in the t-shirt shop because it was something that required me to use my mind, talk to people and be social. When we heard that we had to plan his engagement, I was excited about it.
“I was like, ‘We’re going to do this and that. Play this on the projector screen. I’m going to walk here and there.’ I was kind of quarterbacking it. It was fun, but the overall general idea was really cool. The fact that we met each other around 9 or 10 years ago, and now we’re planning each other’s engagements. And now it’s all on the show.
“It’s crazy the timing of it all happened like this because for the last couple of years when we were off the show none of this was happening. The fact that it’s happening when we’re on the show and it’s documented for the world to see is pretty amazing.”
Guadagnino got a gift of his own, coming the house after a trip to see his mom Paola and Uncle Nino. This especially caught the beloved son off guard, knowing mom doesn’t venture outside Staten Island often.
“I think the only time she leaves is when I make her to do a TV show,” he said. “The fact that we walked in the house was amazing because we had been gone for a while. I remember on the way home from the Bahamas I was like, ‘Oh my God. I want a real Italian meal.’ We were in Miami, so not much Italian food. We needed real Italian food. So, I walked in the house and saw my mama with that spread there. It was amazing. Everyone loved it.”
Seeing all the OG cast members together was a welcome sight for longtime Jersey Shore. And even though Sammi “Sweetheart” wasn’t there, the house kept her presence thanks to a doll created in her likeness.
“The last I saw the doll MTV had brought her back for an episode of TRL. So, I think MTV put her in the vault,” Guadagnino said. “I think she should go into Madam Madame Tussaud’s wax museums.”
Guadagnino reflects on everything that happened in Miami and wondered what was left to show in the finale. Then he watched a preview. Memories start flooding back to him.
“Number one, we went out to this club E11EVEN that we used go to. Pauly DJed doing his final goodbye bash. Of course, we are going crazy because it’s the end and Pauly is DJing,” he remembered.
“His stalker shows up. The one we used to see in Jersey. She just randomly showed up. Some funny things happen with that. Then there is probably one of the biggest blowups between Ronnie [Ortiz-Magro] and Mike that gets actually really real for the first time. They’ve been roasting each other all season, joking around back and forth.
“This last one gets really serious. It was funny too because I remember the day it happened when we were filming, everything was fine. We were cheers-ing, and everyone was like, ‘Have a good one. See you soon.’ Then all of a sudden, this giant fight happened. So, the finale has a lot in store. Probably the realest thing that has happened yet.”
Those sad the season is ending, know it’s not the end. MTV renewed the series for a second season taking place in Las Vegas.
“We’re filming right now. I can tell you it does not disappoint,” Guadagnino hints. “If anything, it’s even crazier. Mark my words. It’s even crazier. Miami looked like a merry-go-round and friendly little adventure compared to what is happening on this next season.
“We know what to do now. We’re pros. And when I say pros I don’t mean that we got there and faking things. When I say pros, I’m saying we know how to be ourselves in front of a camera.
“A lot of people who are new at reality shows. They probably go on there and act like a character they think they should be. Whereas we have been doing it for a long time, we’re immune to the cameras. We don’t even pay attention to them and do our thing.
“Producers don’t have to coach us up. They don’t’ have to tell us what to do. If we want to say something, we say it. We know we have limited time with each other, and we’re going to get the biggest bang out of it. As we are doing these reboots, it’s like getting crazier and crazier. We’re veterans. We just know what to do.”
Considering if there is a Season 3, Guadagnino wouldn’t mind bringing the show back to its roots. Back where it all began.
“To me, where we are is the backdrop. What really goes on is not the place, it’s more about the interactions between each other,” he said. “I love Miami. I love Las Vegas. I love the major cities because I like partying. I like going to the party capitals.
“I also would like to see us back in our own element of Jersey because I thin that is where everyone loves us the most because it reminds them of the past.
“There is also nothing really glamorous about it. There are just these bars, and you go out. It just humbles you. Even when we’re out now, we’re not always trying to be just VIP. We’re like regular people, and I think people appreciate that.”
Jersey Shore Family Vacation, Season 1 finale Thursday, June 28, 8/7c, MTV