The Story Behind That Infamous Jersey Shore Letter That Pauly D. Didn’t Even Know

Photo: Noel Vasquez/Getty Images.
It’s hard to pick a favorite Jersey Shore moment. After a six-season original run, and now the Family Vacation reunion, which kicked off its second season on Thursday, the MTV gang has gifted viewers with a lot of unforgettable scenes. There’s the time Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino jumped into a wall. The time Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi couldn’t find the beach. Even the first season of Family Vacation, a stunning return to form that also showed the cast had grown up over their six-year hiatus, gave us Polizzi dropping a comically massive drink during an early-morning “spiral” with panicking father-to-be co-star Ronnie Magro.
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But, there is only one Jersey Shore memory that made The Situation declare, “History was written on that day,” during a New York City interview with his beloved cast and Refinery29. Sorrentino was talking about the letter. Yes, the anonymous letter Snooki and Jenni “Jwoww” Farley wrote Sammi “Sweetheart” Giancola about Magro’s flagrant cheating. The one that now lives on infamy as one of the internet’s greatest memes.
That story behind that famous incident, which we can now share, only highlights what makes Jersey Shore work so well: These are untameable people who fiercely love each other. Sometimes all of that care and passion simply leads the cast awry.
If you somehow do not remember the letter, let’s go back to Jersey Shore season 2, when it dominated four entire episodes of television. It was 2010, and the crew was in Miami. As usual, Giancola and Magro were consistently fighting in an on-again, off-again relationship. During the supposed “off” periods, Ronnie would go swimming in a veritable pool of Ron-Ron Juice, drunkenly hit the club, make out with women, and sometimes get their numbers. Then, he would go home to Giancola and sleep in her bed, revealing none of his recent antics, leaving Giancola none the wiser. While Magro seemingly never contacted his nighttime conquests, the Jersey Shore editing team seriously loved showing flashbacks of a deeply inebriated Magro making out with two random women at the same time.
This did not sit well with Jwoww and Snooki, who were never present during Magro’s displays but would hear about them from their roommates. “I was torn and I was pissed [because] I had a really close relationship with Ron. But at the end of the day, if one of my friends is doing something wrong, I will always have a problem with that,” Farley told Refinery29. “I actually never saw it — Angelina [Pivarnick] did. This is why we have… had a problem.”
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Although Farley was torn between her loyalty to both Giancola and Magro, and loving relationships with both, girl code still urged her to help Sammi Sweetheart out. So, off she and Polizzi went, slipping the letter into Giancola’s “everyday drawer,” as Farley described it (the explanation as to why Farley and Polizzi chose that specific drawer answered a mystery Pivarnick herself has wondered about for eight years).
“In my head of being a 24-year-old who doesn’t know fuck to do, I’m like, ‘Let’s make up a note because we don’t have computers in the house, and they’ll never think it’s us,” Farley continued in a jokey voice, mocking her youthful naïveté. “‘But [then] I can clear my conscience by saying in a note that this happened.’ Eight years later, it still haunts us.”
Upon hearing this story, even DJ Pauly Delvecchio, who has known Farley for just about a decade and had a front row seat to the letter madness, said, “That’s the explanation? I didn’t really know the explanation.” The Situation, on the other hand, simply empathized with Farley, adding, “[Jenni] really had a good heart about it. And then that’s why you were upset when Sammi wanted to fight you. I felt for you.”
Yes, Giancola did try to fight Farley. There’s a GIF to prove it.
Thankfully, however, the former brawling castmates no longer have bad blood. “Even watching it back, I’m like, everything happens for a reason. It probably led us to multiple seasons after that for the ‘Unfinished Business’ [specials],” JWoww admitted. “Me and Sammi can kind of look back and laugh. But, you know, it was… a moment.”
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While it’s unlikely Giancola, who has left the series (but repeatedly pops up as a sex doll), and Farley are laughing in the Jersey Shore cast member group chat — even Pivarnick, who appears more heavily in the just-premiered Family Vacation season 2, isn’t allowed in just yet — it is clear the texting chain is in fact lit. The crew admits to talking about everything from “cheat day” meals to Netflix shows and sending a lot of GIFs. Namely, the MTV stars enjoy, like the rest of the world, passing around Jersey Shore GIFs.
When it comes to the cast’s favorite GIFs of themselves, Farley is partial to the one where she pokes her head out from under a bar, where she is peeing, and mouths “Stop it” (“One of the high moments in my life,” she jokes); DJ Pauly D appreciates “the only time” he ever truly yelled on camera, which has been memed to death; and Deena Cortese, Meatball No. 2, loves her classic struggle bus GIF with Snooki, where the two are desperately paddling in a raft. Sorrentino and Vinny Guadagnino are both fans of Family Vacation GIFs. The Situation likes likes his shady “Pass the french fries” moment while Guadagnino, who revealed his secret nickname is Split, favors one where he looks like the most stylish guy in the house.
If the cast isn’t sending chicken parm photos and GIFs of days gone by, they’re sharing pictures of their cute kids. Polizzi, Farley, Delvecchio, and Magro are all parents, and a pregnant Cortese is expecting her first child, a boy to be named Christopher John. Guadagnino simply “lives vicariously” through his co-stars when it comes to parenting and, again, Pivarnick isn’t in the group chat.
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But will we ever see the junior-most members of the Jersey Shore family on a Family Vacation season? “I would have to be in Mom Mode. Nobody wants to see that,” Farley promised with a laugh. “Just me screaming at my kids all day and yelling at them, trying to remove boogers and wipe butts.” Yet, Cortese is open to a “cute day trip with all the kids,” which Farley agreed would be fun.
It’s either a quick jaunt to Disney World now, or we all wait for Jersey Shore: Next Generation in about two decades. By then, we can all assume absolutely no one will be writing letters — dramatic or not, buddy.
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