As expected, Jersey Shore Family Vacation just opened up a whole lot of old drama during its two-hour premiere on Thursday night. The new reunion series brought back all of our Jersey Shore favorites, with the notable exception of Sammi Sweetheart, who opted out of appearing on the new show. Though she wasn't there, Sammi became the source of all the drama in the premiere, with her absence pitting her ex Ronnie against her bestie Deena. Ronnie also opened up and explained what went down between the couple, giving fans a closer look at the real reason Sammi and Ronnie broke up.
When MTV first announced that it was putting together a Jersey Shore reunion series, fans immediately took notice of Sammi Sweetheart's name being left off the cast list. Speculation about why Sammi wasn't joining up with the rest of her Jersey Shore castmates began to take over, with most people assuming that it must be because she wants to avoid Ronnie, whom she shared an incendiary relationship with for the entirety of Jersey Shore's original run. Last week, Sammi shared that she didn't sign on for Family Vacation because she wanted to "avoid potentially toxic situations."
In the premiere episode of Jersey Shore Family Vacation, the cast wasted no time before addressing Sammi's absence. Deena, who is apparently Sammi's best friend now, told Snooki and Jwoww that she doesn't think Sammi "wants to relive the Ronnie-Sam stuff." Ronnie also talks about the Sammi situation with Pauly D, and explains why they broke up after trying to keep their relationship going after the end of Jersey Shore:
She gave me a timeline. She was like, 'I wanna get married in six months,' and I'm like, 'I'm still trying to figure my life out.' I got cold feet. I ended up cheating. She found out. I blew it; it's over.
So it was Ronnie's fear of commitment that finally drove him and Sammi apart. And given that he cheated on her, it is no wonder why Sammi probably is not interested in seeing him again.
But Sammi staying home did not stop Ronnie and the rest of the Jersey Shore Family Vacation cast from constantly talking about her throughout the premiere... or from bringing in an incredibly creepy replica of Sammi to tease. That's right — one of the craziest (and most memorable) moments from the premiere episode was without a doubt the life-sized doll that Pauly D dressed up to look like Sammi and then lugged into the now shore house in a body bag.
Throughout the two-hour premiere, the cast members make some lighthearted jokes about Sammi with the doll — as JWoww rationalizes it, "If you choose not to come on vacation with us, we are going to roast you hard" — but designated Sammi defender Deena was not having it. When Deena voices her distaste for the doll, guess who engages her in a fight about it: Yep, it's Ronnie!
Later at the nightclub, Ronnie and Deena get into it again over Sammi's decision not to reunite with the cast. That fight leads Ronnie to decree that Sammi is not their friend anymore:
She's not our friend. She doesn't have our back, 'cause if she did, she'd be here with us.
Deena's response is that Ronnie may not be over Sammie... which is definitely not good news, considering Ronnie's girlfriend is at home pregnant while he attempts to remain faithful to her during the Family Vacation filming.
It seems clear that Sammi is going to continue to be the hot-button topic of choice throughout this season, so expect to hear more about her and Ronnie's relationship in coming weeks. It's ironic how her choice to stay home actually low-key made Sammi the star of Jersey Shore Family Vacation.