Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino's current situation is better than ever.
Sorrentino, 35, walked into the Jersey Shore: Family Vacation Miami house at a personal nadir and is walking out a new — and newly engaged — man. Since we last saw him in 2012, the reality star had lost his multi-million Jersey Shore and tanning business fortune, was facing the threat of jail time over tax evasion charges — his sentencing was recently moved to September — and he had been battling years of drug and alcohol addiction that resulted in several stints in rehab. To add insult to injury, Sorrentino had become tabloid clickbait fodder for his OG MTV fans.
But Sorrentino had slowly begun to turn the page in his life and used his appearance on the revival to rehabilitate his public image. He remained sober throughout the many, many bottle service-laden outings, and may be only one of the only guys to walk away with his love life intact. In fact, Sorrentino & Co. pulled off the second most romantic reality TV proposal in our book (Kim and Kanye will always win first prize).
While Ronnie Magro and Sorrentino butted heads over old drama surrounding Sammi Giancola, the two served as foils for each other during the 14-episode season. Magro played the part of the cheating, immature, and truly cruel cast member — acting like a petulant child and throwing temper tantrums. He fat-shamed Sorrentino at every opportunity (albeit with help from the housemates), fixated on unresolved anger over his ex Giancola, and went into fits of rage and despair that he was about to welcome a child with a woman with whom he didn't see a future. Magro and ex-girlfriend Jen Harley have since welcomed a baby girl, made news for a nasty public spat, and were involved in a domestic battery incident that resulted in Harley's arrest.
Compare that with Sorrentino, who credited his road to recovery to new fiancée Lauren Pesce, singing her praises at every opportunity. The show even featured a very sweaty and nervous Sorrentino shopping for an engagement ring (in sunglasses!!!) with Jenni Farley. One-third of M.V.P. has also been on the road to sobriety for close to two years, which the cast and Sorrentino made sure to point out as they gave toasts — "this sparkling water is great!" — and when he became the gang's official designated driver.
But it was during Sorrentino's most vulnerable moments that he really shined. His positive and loving attitude toward Pesce resulted in the most genuine and emotional scene of the season. Sorrentino revealed his plan to propose to Pesce and looked truly elated at the thought of one day becoming a father. He even made the perfect joke about little Situations running around the house. Everyone seemed visibly moved at this side of an old friend they, and fans, had never seen before. That is, before Magro ruined everything with his now-classic "I'd rather pay child support than alimony" line.
Sorrentino came back on the show for redemption — and maybe some sponcon money — and he got it. The old and new generation of fans have seen through the tabloid headlines to who Sorrentino is now: a new man making good on his second chance.
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