Six years after Jersey Shore went off the air, the cast returned for a follow-up show called Jersey Shore: Family Vacation. That series has been going strong now for six seasons, renewed for a seventh, making it surpass the original. Now that the cast is older, and more mature (in some ways), some with families and careers, it’s a very different show.
With that said, the reality TV series is still fueled by drama. Each time the friends get together for a new vacation, there’s some type of conflict. But there are also sweet and tender moments along with just plain fun. The episodes are admittedly thin on content, but some stand out more than others.
Jersey Shore: Family Vacation
- Release Date
- April 5, 2018
- Paul “Pauly D” DelVecchio , Mike ‘The Situation’ Sorrentino , Vinny Guadagnino , Deena Nicole Cortese
10 “Birthday Party”
Season 6, Episode 13
Over the years, even back on the original Jersey Shore, Vinny has brought up on several occasions that the gang never really celebrates his birthday. Mike has had numerous parties, from gender reveals to even a fake Baptism. There have been surprise parties thrown for people like Jenni and even a party for Pauly’s girlfriend, Nikki. But Vinny is always ignored. Capitalizing on this, the group plans a surprise party for him. But they want to make him believe they forgot his birthday for the entire day leading up to it.
Watching them toy with Vinny’s emotions as he gets visibly annoyed is hilariously evil. He even goes so far as to wear a T-shirt declaring it’s his birthday, and they still avoid wishing him a happy birthday. When he walks into a boring hotel party room to see a few balloons and streamers, he gets even sadder. The night ends wonderfully with a party bus and strip club they had planned. But all the attention shifts away from Vinny once again before the night is over. As teased in this episode and played out in the one following, Angelina’s new boyfriend Vinny proposes to her, taking the spotlight, much to Vinny’s chagrin.
9 “Deena’s Revenge”
Season 5, Episode 8
Throughout the entire show, Pauly D has always declared himself the “Prank War Champion.” He pulls off elaborate pranks, and no one seems to ever be able to top them. But no one suspected that Deena, the event planning princess, would be the one to get him back. She pulls off arguably the most complicated and cruel prank on not just Pauly, but all the housemates.
She has people from the crew and the resort in on the joke, which requires an elaborate plan. She gets actors to play a couple openly fighting with one another during a daytime event. Later, as the crew is walking home from dinner, they come across a scene at the pool where resort security has apparently found a body floating. Deena waits until everyone is thoroughly horrified before revealing that it’s all a prank. It took a while for the housemates to forgive Deena for what she put them through. But in this episode, someone finally steals the Prank War Champion title from Pauly. (Fans know that he later gets her back with an outlandish alien prank that leaves the ladies in a panic and tears).
Season 5, Episode 24
Jersey Shore falls into the category of reality shows that are so bad, they’re good, and that’s largely because of scenes like the one in this episode. It’s always a good time when “Dren,” Nicole’s drunken alter-ego, rears her head. At some point, while drinking, the switch flips, and Nicole goes from happy-go-lucky to her rude, mean, obnoxious alter-ego Dren. She’s hilarious to watch but can also cause a lot of trouble.
In this episode, Dren rears her head at a birthday party for Nikki, Pauly’s long-time girlfriend who the friends are meeting for the first time. Nicole is intoxicated before they even leave, refusing to change her clothes. They’re going to a nice restaurant after having spent the day visiting wildlife, but Dren is happy to go in her sweats. While there, she sneaks off to the restaurant bar and orders a pizza delivery. Despite Jenni’s best efforts to restrain “Dren,” all the while laughing hysterically at the ridiculousness of it all, Dren cannot be contained. It’s all in good fun, a perfect throwback to the original show when the ladies let loose.
7 “The Hitch-uation”
Season 2, Episode 27
Who doesn’t love a good wedding? After spending the first season focused on Mike’s sentencing and proposal to Lauren, everything comes up roses when the pair finally tie the knot. Months of planning and rehearsing lead to the guys performing a dance routine for their friend, complete with Rob Base, who makes an appearance, thanks to Pauly D.
It’s one of the more feel-good episodes of the series that shows how far the housemates have come. It was also emotional since Mike got married prior to serving his eight-month sentence, so it was a bittersweet moment for the couple. This wedding episode might not hold a candle to the girls’ speech at Angelina’s wedding, but it was memorable nonetheless. Plus, this episode has Uncle Nino, and everyone loves an Uncle Nino episode.
Season 3, Episode 24
Wait, Pauly and Jenny? It almost happened. The two long-time friends both got tipsy and extremely flirty with one another in this episode. It seems the pair might have crushed on one another in the past, but the timing never really worked out. The “will they, won’t they” anticipation gets awkward considering they have become more like brother and sister by this point. But it was strange and exciting to consider the possibility they could get together. (Spoiler alert: nothing happened, and they are both now happily with other partners.)
Meanwhile, this episode focuses on Angelina’s bachelorette party in New Orleans, where she and Jenni have finally made peace with one another and the girls are back to just having raucous fun. While the drama is entertaining, it’s always more fun to see everyone getting along and getting up to mischief together.
5 “Umm, Hello”
Season 1, Episode 9
Naturally, the episode when Pauly pulls off one of his biggest pranks yet ranks as one of the best. He thinks it would be hilarious to invite Angelina, who has been estranged from most if not all the housemates since she left the original show, to their vacation in Miami. He does this in secret, not telling anyone.
The anticipation builds until the moment a stunned Mike opens the door and she barges in. “Umm, hello!” Angelina declares, reciting one of her signature lines. “So, I’m a dirty little hamster?” she asks Mike, about a name he had called her previously. Seeing everyone’s faces when she walks in the door was one of the most notable moments of that season, and the show in general. Of course, this also marked her return to the show, where Angelina would inevitably go on to create tons of unnecessary drama.
4 “The Shorefather”
Season 3, Episode 19
Despite all the fights, drama, and immature behavior, this episode shows how the cast truly cares for one another. Th episode when Mike is released from prison is a big one, especially as he is seen walking toward Lauren with a T-shirt that reads “the comeback is always greater than the setback.” But it’s this later episode where he gets a truly warm welcome from his friends. They throw him an elaborate party that includes a movie they created about his life called “The Shorefather.” It’s filled with beautiful memories and sentiments. Set up outside, he enjoys watching with his wife, popcorn, and plenty of emotions.
It’s the type of ego-stroking that Mike loves, and his friends know that. But it also highlights how far he has come in his journey, and how much they missed him and admire his strength. Sober for many years and a walking book of positive sayings, Mike has completely turned his life around. He’s the biggest success story of the cast, and this episode sheds light on his transformation.
3 “The Speech Part 1”
Season 3, Episode 28
The Speech is to Jersey Shore: Family Vacation as The Note is to Jersey Shore. It’s all that was talked about for the entire season that followed, and it continues to be referenced to this day. This episode was the culmination of a speech that Nicole, Jenny, and Deena had worked so much on, effectively roasting Angelina at her wedding. But it didn’t come off as they thought it would. They were booed by insulted family members and Angelina became visibly upset, even threatening to quit the show by the second part of this two-parter episode.
It was the height of drama for the season, with Deena saying she no longer wanted to be a part of the show any more because of it. Everything worked out in the end, of course. But things were tense between the ladies and Angelina for quite some time after, all because of this one moment, they continue to reference to this day. The Speech ranks up there with some of the most rewatchable episodes of Jersey Shore.
2 “Remember Me?”
Season 6, Episode 19
After many years, much speculation, and fans constantly asking about her, Sammi finally returned to the show. She was approached by Angelina, who needed an ally after feeling like the other girls were always teaming up against her. To her surprise, Sammi agreed to meet, and eventually, agreed to come back.
Sammi’s surprise arrival at the vacation house was extremely sweet. She was welcomed with open arms by everyone. She and the ladies cleared the air about any misunderstandings, and it was quickly back to old times. While Sammi didn’t confirm until later that she would join them on the next vacation, this episode gave fans a glimpse of how it would look if she did. This episode marks the first time the entire cast (minus Ron) had been back together since the original show, making it one of the best episodes so far.
1 “Just Flip the Table”
Season 6, Episode 34
Not every episode of Jersey Shore: Family Vacation is filled with drama and fights, and ironically, the episode called “Just Flip the Table” proved just that. On the heels of an emotional reunion with Ron where he reads a letter to his housemates and tries to make amends, Mike gets a phone call from the woman with whom he was working to help find Angelina’s biological father. She has located him, and it’s time for Mike to share the details with Angelina, who discovered earlier in the season that the man she grew up thinking was her father was not actually her biological dad.
As the entire group sits around the table (which Pauly eventually flips for dramatic effect alone, since he’s been waiting patiently all season for someone to do it), Angelina learns this news. Emotions run high. There’s no anger or outbursts. In fact, the news inspires Angelina to talk with Jenni alone on the balcony and tell her she realizes so many other small things don’t matter; she just wants to get along. She makes amends with Mike, too. Could this be the mark of a changed Angelina? The episode was filled with tears and emotion and showed that both the show and the cast are maturing.
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