Warning! The following contains spoilers for the two-hour premiere of Jersey Shore: Family Vacation. Read at your own risk!
The Jersey Shore crew is back on television with Jersey Shore: Family Vacation, and apparently, there isn’t a ton of difference between partying in your 20s and partying in your 30s if you’re fist-pumping the whole way through. The crew (sans Sammi Sweetheart) spent their first couple nights in Miami partying like it was 2009 all over again. In many ways, the first two hours of the series went as expected, but there were some surprising moments that anyone who watched back in the day might not believe. Hell, some of it was even heartwarming.
As far as what’s the same, the Jersey Shore cast is still all about that drama. Ronnie Ortiz-Magro is living life like Jersey Shore went off the air last week and still talking about his ex-girlfriend Sammi despite having a girlfriend who’s currently seven months pregnant with his first child. Ronnie’s obsession with Sammi finally reached a tipping point with Deena, who was already mad at him for being the only cast member not to reach out to her when her father passed away. The two’s drunken shouting match won the award for the first fight of Jersey Shore: Family Reunion, and thankfully, it ended without anything being broken.
The drama hasn’t changed, and that’s likely because the drinking hasn’t really either. The Jersey Shore: Family Vacation crew has been living the domestic life too long, and now that they’re uncaged, everyone is hitting the bottle just as hard if not a little harder than back in the day. Snooki at one point got so drunk she intentionally peed in the pool (fully clothed, by the way), and while everyone else in the house was a tad more responsible, the drinks were still flowing pretty heavy. For the first hour of Jersey Shore: Family Vacation, it looked like nothing had changed with these people since their first show went off the air in 2012.
The cast has changed, however, and slowly but surely, the differences between the cast’s current and past selves began to show. Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino has been sober for two years and no longer seems to be the conniving drama starter that made him public enemy number one on the original series. There was also a moment when a hangover breakfast meal out on the town was interrupted when Snooki heard a song her child liked begin to play. Snooki cried because she missed her kids, which then caused JWoww to cry because she missed her children as well. Additionally, everyone but Pauly D is married or in a serious relationship, so the “Smush room” has actually just become “Pauly’s room.”
As these changes slowly seep out, it becomes evident that Jersey Shore: Family Vacation isn’t just some excuse for these people to cut loose and ruin their lives. These are a group of friends who were a part of an uber-successful show reconnecting for the first time (for some) in quite a few years, and they’re taking a break from the lives they’ve lived separately from each other for so long. Watching these old friends connect and catch each other up on the things they’re truly passionate about now is almost as fun as the drinking and drama, and while viewers would surely love to watch them all rip each other apart, it’s nice to see they’ve all managed to grow up a little.