"Sammi does get a lot of airtime in season one."
Wait, didn't Sammi "Sweetheart" Giancola decide not to return for Jersey Shore Family Vacation?! When fans tuned into the MTV reality hit's return on Thursday night, they weren't expecting to see the "sweetest b--ch you'll ever meet," who explained she wanted to avoid "toxic" situations as her reason for sitting out of the reunion. And something no one was expecting to see? A doll version of the reality star.
"Everyone really wanted her there, so because she wasn't we had to replace her with a doll look-alike," Jenni "JWoww" Farley told E! News at the NYC premiere of the surprising prop, which even had a voice-box that repeated some of Sammi's lines from the show's original run every time it was touched. ("Ronnnnn, stahhhhhp!")
The mastermind behind the Sammi doll? Paul "Pauly D" Delvecchio, of course, the cast's ultimate prankster.
"I wanted to prank the house, lighten the mood," he explained. "Sam didn't come, so I had to lighten the mood."
Pauly admitted he didn't give Sammi a heads up about his doll prank, saying, "I'm hoping she'll still be friends with me!"
However, another roommate did give Sam a head's up, as Deena Nicole Cortese said, "Me and Sam are super close, so as soon as I got home, I said, 'Listen girl, there's a Sammi doll in the house.' She was like, 'I'm not surprised.' She knows how it works and I think she's going to deal with it pretty well."
While Sammi didn't find it funny at first, Deena said, "She was like, 'That's just weird.'
By the end of the two-hour premiere, Deena and Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi had thrown the doll into the pool (after it had been pretty badly beaten up throughout the first few nights in the house). But does that mean we've seen the last of the Sammi doll?
Press play on the video above to hear more from the Jersey Shore cast about the Sammi doll, as well as their thoughts on their former roommate choosing not to return for Family Vacation.
Ahead of the April 5 premiere, Sammi, who was in an on-and-off relationship with roommate Ronnie Ortiz-Magro for years and is now dating Christian Biscardi, took to Instagram to explain her decision not to return.
"I have chosen not to join the show this season because I am at a completely different place in my life right now focusing on my businesses and relationship," she wrote. "I am not the same person as I was when I was 22. At 31, I am currently extremely happy in every aspect of my life and want to avoid potentially TOXIC SITUATIONS."
Jersey Shore Family Vacation airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. on MTV.