"I love that fact that I'm the voice of reason and I have all my wits about me to be able to navigate this madness that is Jersey Shore."
Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino is sitting on seven years sobriety -- and while some haters doubted he'd still be fun on "Jersey Shore Family Vacation" after seeking treatment, he believes viewers are getting the "best version" of himself now.
While "Family Vacation" is back for Season 6 tonight, Sorrentino has been a face of the "Jersey Shore" franchise since 2009. The earlier seasons of the show focused on the drunken nights out, hookups and fights -- and while all those things still do happen, sober Situation is just one example of how the gang has mellowed out a bit over the past 13+ years.
Speaking with TooFab ahead of the season premiere, he said that he still gets a "great reception" from fans whenever he's out in public. "People are floored by my character arc and The Situation story and the fans have grown with me," he said, "it's nothing but love and I'm so grateful, continuing to do this 15 years later. 15 minutes of fame to 15 years, I always joke!"
Sorrentino has been open about his battle with an addiction to prescription painkillers, as well as his recovery process over the years.
"I love it," he said of his sobriety and the show's continued success, "because for so long people had forecasted that I wasn't going to be any good on TV or I wasn't going to be able to be funny or I wouldn't be able to last being sober."
"Now going into my eighth year, I think the product that MTV gets and the fans get is the best version of The Situation," he continued. "I'm funnier and I have more lines and I'm more authentic. I love that fact that I'm the voice of reason and I have all my wits about me to be able to navigate this madness that is 'Jersey Shore.'"
He also said his journey is a "very relatable" one, adding that he's proving sober people can still be around their friends who aren't. "I'm showing everyone that can be done," he explained, adding that he's a dependable designated driver and also the one to go to for tea the next day.
"If you need a recap on a story of what happened yesterday, turn to the sober guy. I know exactly what happened!" he joked.
"It's really amazing to continue to entertain millions on MTV after all these years and also be eight years sober and still be funny as f---," added Mike, "I love that."
Waiting for your permission to load the Instagram Media.
As the show keeps spawning new seasons, the families of its stars are all growing as well. Sitch just welcomed his second child with wife Lauren, while JWoww, Snooki, Nicole, Pauly and Ronnie all have kids of their own. Looking ahead, Sorrentino said he "definitely, realistically" believes there could be a spinoff show with all their kids once they grow up ... spending their own summers at the Shore.
"I do a very good job of playing myself, I could probably do it for a very, very long time. I'm still waiting for my Emmy though, but anyway ... listen, all of us has kids. Snooki has three, Pauly has one, JWoww has two, I'm about to have two, Deena has two ... Angelina, I know she wants to have one too," he said.
"'Jersey Shore' is a tried and true brand for Viacom and MTV and it has been for 15 years, so I would love to see down the line, it would be amazing," he said of a possible spinoff with the next generation. "Because you would have the parents you can refer back to to solve issues and problems and fights and such, and then you have the kids in the house. It would be an amazing show!"
The Situation and Wife Lauren Welcome Baby GirlView Story
Until then, he just hopes "Family Vacation" will keep churning out more seasons -- and he's got some suggestions for MTV when it comes to where they should film next.
"I keep asking the powers that be if we can get a longer season in LA," he said, adding that he'd love to film more in New York City as well.
"Maybe go visit Italy again or Greece eventually," he added, "Or maybe Puerto Rico."
"Jersey Shore Family Vacation" premieres tonight on MTV.