The cast of the MTV hit reality show Jersey Shore have, at least for recent generations, come to embody what life is like “down the shore.” But is it really all GTL (that’s gym, tan, laundry for the uninitiated) all the time?
On Friday’s show, Megyn was joined by Jersey Shore star Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino to discuss his new book, Reality Check, and compare their experiences at the shore.
A Shore Thing
Sorrentino might be one of New Jersey’s most famous residents, but he was actually born a New Yorker. The Situation was born on Staten Island before his family moved when he was seven years old – though he said the two places have a lot in common. “They are definitely very similar places,” he said. “Usually people that are born in Staten Island eventually migrate to the Garden State and that’s what me and my family did as well.”
Megyn has her own connection to New Jersey and the Jersey Shore thanks to her husband Doug. “Doug grew up in Philly and the Jersey Shore is a big enclave for Philadelphia people,” she said. But she actually has her own history, too. “I grew up running through my parents’ sprinkler in the backyard – I had no shore place,” she shared. “Once a year though, we’d go to the Jersey Shore.”
Not only did her family head down to Jersey, they specifically went to Seaside Heights (i.e. where Jersey Shore was filmed). “It was the highlight of my life,” Megyn said. “I mean, the Wildwood or the Seaside Heights fringe shirt of the 1980s was like considered the peak of style.”
Sorrentino agreed. “[Everyone] went to Seaside after junior prom or senior prom,” he recalled. “That was the norm.” In his view, it was more of a younger hangout spot until Jersey Shore put a new spotlight on it. “We brought a little bit of the older crowd, the college kids,” he shared. “But it’s a thing around here if you’re from the Garden State or anywhere in the area – when the seasons change and it becomes summertime, you go down to the shore.”
Megyn and her family now spend their summers “down the shore,” and she admitted there is a certain connotation of it thanks in no small part to Sorrentino and his cast mates. “Everyone in New York goes to the Hamptons… which is fine by me because we don’t want them coming,” she joked. “But everyone always talks about Jersey Shore because they’re like, ‘Oh, Jersey.’”
As Sorrentino explained, the show captured a very specific microcosm of what goes on at the shore. “It’s definitely a subculture of Italians that was displayed on TV,” he said. “Obviously we don’t represent everyone, but it was definitely really a microscope look at the subculture that was being in your twenties and going out.”
That “subculture” clearly resonated. “It became a juggernaut… [and] the biggest show ever on MTV,” Sorrentino said. “It transcends generations… and we turned 15 minutes of fame into 15 years as the show is still on and still number one on MTV on Thursdays.”
You can check out Megyn’s full interview with Sorrentino by tuning in to episode 678 on YouTube, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you like to listen. And don’t forget that you can catch The Megyn Kelly Show live on SiriusXM’s Triumph (channel 111) weekdays from 12pm to 2pm ET.