Aside from the cast themselves, no one knows the ins and outs of the Jersey Shore quite like SallyAnn Salsano. The Long Island native owns 495 Productions, the production company responsible for all six seasons of the hit MTV reality show, and the upcoming special, Jersey Shore: Family Vacation. We chatted with Salsano ahead of the premiere about some of the madness behind Family Vacation, including the return of Angelina, Sammi Sweetheart’s decision not to join, and the real origin story behind one of the most legendary catchphrases to come out of Jersey Shore.
The Real Origin Of 'GTL'
Before Jersey Shore Salsano served as producer on formulaic elimination shows like The Bachelor and A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila. The MTV reality show, which began in 2009, was Salsano’s first hand at doing a “docu-series,” and she was concerned others might not find it interesting.
“I was like, ‘How the fuck am I gonna make a TV show about these guys going to the gym, cleaning their socks, and going tanning?” Salsano says.
In fact, Pauly D wasn’t the one to come up with the cast’s iconic “GTL” catchphrase—an abbreviation for the cast’s “gym, tan, laundry” routine.
“We started summarizing the day’s shoots on whiteboards and just started writing GTL for short, and Pauly was in front of the camera like, ‘GTL? What’s that?’’’ she says.
And the rest is history.
Angelina's 'Shocking' Return
Angelina Pivarnick, aka the self-proclaimed “Kim Kardashian of Staten Island,” left three episodes into Season 1 after fighting with most of the cast. She surprised the rest of the roommates by turning up in Miami for Season 2, but eventually left the show for good in Episode 10 when conflict arose again.
“[Angelina] leaving [the show] was natural because there was no one there for her at the time and she wasn’t there for anyone either. It would have hurt the show if she stayed, because her participation would have been insincere," says Salsano. "Mike, Snooki, Jenni, Pauly, Vinny, Deena, and Ronnie are not friends and family because they’re paid to be—they really are sincere and love each other,” Salsano explained.
But it looks like Angelina’s hoping the third time’s the charm, as she shows up unannounced once again for Family Vacation—and she doesn’t exactly get a warm welcome, according to Salsano.
“When you see it unfold… it’s so freaking shocking,” Salsano teased.
Sammi Sweatheart's Absence
Sammi Sweetheart Giancola, aka “the sweetest bitch you’ll ever meet,” is the only castmate absent from the reunion down in Miami. Giancola released a statement via her Instagram last month explaining why she did not want to join her former roommates for the TV special: “I am currently extremely happy in every aspect of my life and want to avoid potentially TOXIC SITUATIONS.” She was most likely referencing her dysfunctional relationship with fellow cast member Ronnie.
Salsano expressed disappointment at Giancola’s decision. “I love Sammi to death, I really do, and I respect her, but I wish she would have [done the show,]” Salsano said.
“I understand not wanting to be in a toxic relationship but she doesn’t have a toxic relationship with Jenni, Snooki and Deena,” she continued. “And for the fans, I felt cheated, because I can’t tell Sammi’s story—it’s not my story to tell. But a lot of the fans won’t see her statement.”
Still, even without every cast member present, it seems like there’s plenty of drama to go around. Previews show Mike “The Situation” potentially facing prison time for tax evasion, and Ronnie getting handsy with women despite the fact that he has a pregnant girlfriend at home. Yikes. Get ready to dodge some grenades.
Jersey Shore: Family Vacation premieres Thursday April 5 on 8/7c on MTV.