Hard to believe, but MTV's game-changing reality show "Jersey Shore" premiered five years ago this week. A half-decade later, the final season of the spinoff "Snooki & JWoww" is underway, and after it completes its 12-episode run, we will finally close the books on the "Jersey Shore" era.
We honestly thought this would never happen.
But it's for the best, as all the cast has moved on in very different ways. If you take a closer look at where the eight early stars of the show have ended up, each turned out to epitomize one of the archetypal fates of reality TV stars everywhere.
Such as ...
1. STAR IN A SUCCESSFUL SPINOFF (SNOOKI) Who would have thought that Snooki -- the punchline of everything "Jersey Shore" related when the show first launched -- would achieve the greatest breakout success? Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi landed loads of product endorsements and a spot on "Dancing With the Stars," had two kids and is married. And in Kardashian family fashion, she segued effortlessly into a hit spinoff for MTV with best friend JWoww.
2. LAND IN SERIOUS LEGAL TROUBLE (THE SITUATION) Like "Survivor's" Richard Hatch before him, Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino was indicted on tax fraud and faces serious jail time. It's a surprising turnaround for the man who had been able to turn his name -- and abs -- into a lucrative brand, but definitely not a shocking twist of fate for reality stars, who often keep spending money they don't have. (See also: Teresa Giudice of "Real Housewives" fame.)
3. LAUNCH A SUCCESSFUL SIDE BUSINESS (PAULY D) Is it fair to call DJ Pauly D the Bethenny Frankel of the "Jersey Shore" set? Just as she hit it big with her line of low-cal cocktails, Paul DelVecchio has turned his DJ act into a wildly thriving business. He even made the list of the top-earning DJs, netting $13 million last year alone.
4. BECOME PERMA-SIDEKICK TO THE BIGGEST STAR (JWOWW) Sure, Jenni Farley has dabbled in TV, but let's face it: Becoming BFFs with Snooki for a spinoff was the smartest thing to do. As a result, the tabloids care way more when you have a baby or get engaged, like JWoww did. (See: "Kourtney and Kim Take New York.")
5. MAINTAIN A LINGERING TABLOID PRESENCE THROUGH RELATIONSHIP DRAMA (SAMMI) Samantha Giancola ("Sammi Sweetheart") shrewdly clung to the spotlight thanks to her on-again, off-again relationship with fellow cast member Ronnie. Now that their love has fizzled "for good," she's attempting to pull a Bethenny, with an online fashion boutique and personal fragrances.
6. GET A REAL JOB (ANGELINA) Angelina Pivarnick tried to make it on TV, wrestling on Spike TV and such. When that flamed out, she announced she would become a certified EMT. "Being the 'Jersey Shore' is in the past ... now, my future is saving lives," she told TMZ, because you can't make these things up.
7. ATTEMPT A TALK SHOW (VINNY) MTV's "The Show With Vinny," in which Vinny Guadagnino took a talk show guest to his ma's house for a home-cooked Italian meal, was by all accounts kind of adorable. Unfortunately, it didn't last beyond a season.
8. FADE INTO OBSCURITY (RONNIE) You know you're in trouble when you don't even have a website to shill for hair products. Ronnie Ortiz-Magro's Instagram account does have nearly a million followers, though, so good for him.