The History Of Jersey Shore's 'The Note,' As Told By Those Who Lived It

Documents offer windows into the past that enable us to understand, analyze, and interpret the narrative of human civilization. From ancient scrolls to modern digital archives, documents serve as tangible evidence of the thoughts, actions, and aspirations of their times. Their importance cannot be overstated, for they are the threads that weave the fabric of our collective memory, ensuring that the lessons of the past are not forgotten. 

Dating back to the early colonists in the 17th century, a specific area — where land meets sea on the eastern coast of the United States — has a storied history with an important paper trail. What started off as a destination for Dutch and Swedish settlers evolved into the cultural phenom and iconic shitshow that is MTV’s Jersey Shore. More than just a TV series, Jersey Shore is responsible for perhaps the most important written document in the history of reality TV: The Note. As the co-author of document herself, Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi, told me: “I feel like The Note is the Constitution.”

The Note: A History  


The year was 2010. The second season of Jersey Shore hit a tumultuous climax in its fifth episode, titled “The Letter” — though it would come to be infamously known as “The Note” for years to come. For those whose memory of this historic event has been clouded over the past decade and a half, allow us to provide the official SparkNotes: The cast arrives in Miami for season 2. Sammi Giancola and Ronnie Magro, the Ross and Rachel of the house, if you will, arrive technically broken up, but that doesn’t stop them from getting into passionate drunken arguments.

After two nights out, Sammi leaves the club in tears and Ronnie diabolically motorboats cocktail waitresses, gets a few numbers, and partakes in a three-way makeout before climbing into Sammi’s bed when he gets home. There are witnesses beyond the cameras (Mike, Pauly, Vinny, and Angelina). Jenni and Snooki are both given the information and decide they must act. So they head to a local internet cafe to write Sam an anonymous letter. They slip it into her plastic bedside drawer and chaos ensues. As Pauly D famously decrees: “Gym, Tan, and Find Out Who Wrote The Note.” Naturally, Sam finds out it was them who wrote the note. Alliances are tested. Emotions run high. 

This 63-word, three paragraph letter changed the course of the show’s history and left an indelible mark on the nation at large. 

So, in this chapter of our Reality TV Textbook, we are proud to present an exclusive Oral History of the events of The Note from three of its primary source historians, Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi, Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino, and Sammi “Sweetheart” Giancola.

The Moment


After the news of Ron’s club behavior spreads throughout the house, Snooki and JWoww decide to anonymously inform Sam of his actions, under the guide of Girl Code. Sam finds the note detailing the events that transpired in her bedroom drawer and is taken aback, not only by the contents of the note, but by the fact it was typed up. During their time on the show, the Jersey Shore cast had no access to computers or phones — not even pens or paper. Once discovering the note, Sam and the rest of the house embark on a mission to uncover the elusive author.

Mike: I remember the energy when Ron was actually in the midst of the club. I remember being there, and I was just mind-blown, because I’m like, his girlfriend is home. She is part of this show. She lives in the house with us, and how is he doing this right now? You know what I mean? I remember looking at my face [while watching the show]. I remember doing one of those quick faces, [like] “this is ridiculous” to Pauly and Vinny. This kid is actually doing this right now. This is crazy. It’s not like she’s not going to find out about it. 

Sammi: I think I was in a bubble, honestly, of who’s my friend, who’s cheating on me. It’s like, how do I get through this? It was just not a good time in my life, and I really went through it. I remember crying on the flight home from Miami.

Snooki: I definitely wanted to tell Sam, but I didn’t want to tell her directly, because I was really close with Ron too, so I didn’t want Ron to hate me. And I was young and I wasn’t thinking, so I was like, “Let’s just write an anonymous note. They’re going to think the producers did it. They’ll never think it’s us.” And then, also, obviously, we knew we were being recorded, so I’m like, “Sam’s going to find out that we knew and we didn’t say anything. We have to say something.” But I didn’t want to fight with either of them. So yeah, that’s why we did The Note and it backfired … We thought she’d think [The Note] was from production, because when we used to film back in the day, we weren’t allowed to use paper, pencils, pens, and definitely weren’t allowed to go on the computer. We literally just had to communicate with each other. So the fact that they actually cleared us to go and print something on a computer was like, “Oh, she’s going to think producers did it. We aren’t allowed to do that.” So that’s why we thought we were going to be fine. But then she was like, “Who did this?” I’m like, “Oh, shit,” because I had the worst poker face. 

Sammi: I was just not in a good space at all. And it was really bad for me. I had to really evaluate [everything around me], but I just wanted to get through it and get through filming. 

The Aftermath 

So then what? Nicole and Jenni come clean. Mayhem erupts. The course of history is derailed and the shore house is never the same. 

Mike: I think the boys took the stance of, like, “All right, it’s bro code. I’m just going to stay out of it” … Also, me and Ronnie, we definitely butted heads right from the beginning, so there was bro code obviously, but you are on a TV show, there’s cameras there, you know what I mean? And I remember saying, just general human code… your girlfriend is in the house too and she’s going to see this in a couple of months. Everyone in the club saw it. It wasn’t just one girl, it was multiple girls. So for me, I was just like, okay. I didn’t flat out tell her, but I pretty much was like, “Whatever’s in The Note’s probably true.” You know what I mean? It was a roundabout way of being like, “Yeah, it’s true.” I don’t even know if she took my word for it, but definitely things started to add up and then eventually there was a fight, obviously.


Snooki:  It definitely changed the course of four seasons after that, because even though we were being sneaky about it, somebody finally ratted on Ron and stood up to that, and we were just trying to be good girlfriends, but we didn’t want to get into this huge fight with Ron. So definitely that whole situation carried on to three seasons after that … I tried to be a good friend to [Sammi]. That’s why I did it. I wasn’t trying to start drama or be malicious. I just wanted her to know in some way. So I think she obviously realized that, and she came to me and she was like, “I know you were trying to do something good for me, and I’m sorry.” …  I feel like she realized that me and Jenni were just trying to let her know what was happening, trying to be good girlfriends.

Sammi: Listen, I was dating a guy who was cheating on me in my 20s. There’s many people that go through the same thing, and there just so happened to be a note about it. And I was mad at my girlfriends for it. It was a mess. But I feel like a lot of people go through similar situations, and now I look back and I’m like, this is all hysterical. I mean, we got to laugh at it now. My friends were just looking out for me. I was dating a guy who was cheating on me. It is what it is. And you can’t change the past, but at least you can grow and move on from it.

Snooki: I mean, if I could go back, I would tell her to her face, obviously. I’d be like, “Listen, this is what I heard from Angelina, what Ron did last night.” But we didn’t want to get involved.  So yeah, just young and dumb decisions.

The Legacy 

For nearly 15 years, The Note has stayed a constant in pop culture. A quick search on Etsy offers a plethora of memorabilia: tapestries, tee-shirts, hoodies, blankets, pillows, coasters, candles, mugs. In moments ranging from Award Season speeches to a Presidential Address, The Note finds a way to end up on your Instagram feed. The cultural resonance is not lost on the cast. 


Snooki: I feel like The Note is the Constitution. It’s a very iconic documentation, if you will, and I feel like during the time that we wrote it, we were just trying to help out our girlfriend. We didn’t know what to do. And then now, for the fans, especially the new fans that are watching now, the old episodes, it’s very iconic. 

Sammi: I laugh at it now. I have to just laugh at it and it’s kind of cool that something so big like that happened when I was 22 years old in Miami. I’m 36 now, and it’s still this huge thing in social media, [which] is kind of iconic to me … I see clips of it daily on TikTok and everything. But, yeah, it wasn’t my best time or my best moment, so I try not to focus on it and relive it. I mean, it is what it is. You can’t change the past. 


Mike: It’s a precious piece of American literature, The Note. I mean, people have gotten tattoos on them of The Note. There’s bumper stickers. It is a timeless piece of American literature that probably should be in the Museum of Modern History. 

Steph Perlman
Steph Perlman
Steph Perlman is Betches' Entertainment Editor. She's a Kardashian historian, Real Housewives enthusiast, and Pete Davidson apologist.