Oct. 11, 2010 -- Other reality TV shows may have high-speed cook-offs or intense fashion letdowns, but there's only one where all a participant has to do is flash his washboard abs to get a ratings boost.
Known to millions of fans as "The Situation" on the explosive MTV reality show, "Jersey Shore," 28-year-old Mike Sorrentino boasts that his popular nickname based on his chiseled stomach was his own creation.
"When I first told people the name "Situation" ... they were like, 'That's the best thing I've ever heard,'" he said.
"The Situation" is the alpha male on the show that profiles eight housemates living under one roof as they spend their summers going out to clubs, getting into brawls and jumping into bed together.
Sorrentino's theory for why the show is so popular is its "combination of a number of characters," and said his talents expand beyond his six-pack.
"I work very hard on my body, and I'm not just known for my six-pack or my body," he said. "I also believe that I have pretty good camera presence. ... Those one-liners, those are not practiced. They just come out naturally."
Those one-liners from the show have become pop-culture catchphrases, from calling unattractive women "grenades" to going through "The Situation's" morning routine while living in the "Jersey Shore" house, which he dubbed "GTL."
"Gym, Tan, Laundry: G-T-L," he said. "It's ironically hilarious and makes sense, at the same time."
But are Mike Sorrentino and "The Situation" the same person, or is it just a character Sorrentino portrays? He concedes it's mostly the latter.
"It is a part of my personality, but not the full circle," Sorrentino explained. "That character that you see is 'The Situation.' It's not Michael Sorrentino. You're seeing 'The Situation,' almost like Clark Kent and Superman."
Before the 'Jersey Shore,' Mike 'The Situation' Sorrentino Said He Worked a Regular Desk Job
Through his popular namesake, Sorrentino has capitalized on his "Jersey Shore" fame with dozens of new merchandise items, including "shoe-erly" (jewelry for your shoes), necklaces, "GTL" t-shirts, designer water, books, a fitness DVD -- even an iPad/iPhone app and "protein-infused" vodka.
Recently, "The Situation" also added being a contestant on ABC's "Dancing With the Stars" to his long resume.
"I wanted to take that challenge to show people that ... what, this kid, you know, is a hard worker, this kid is intelligent," he said in explaining why he agreed to be on the show.
Long before he built this empire around his six-pack abs, Sorrentino said he was working a regular desk job at a real estate business on Staten Island, NY. When he was 25, he lost his job and was forced to move back in with his parents.
"I had lost the house, the car, the dog, you know, everything I had, and I thought to myself, 'You know what, what am I gonna do with my life?'" Sorrentino said. "My parents wanted me to, you know, become a policeman or a fireman. It was a very crazy, stressful, upsetting time in my life."
Looking for a fresh start, Sorrentino tried his hand as an underwear and fitness model until he landed an audition for the "Jersey Shore," and his nickname.
"We went to a bar in New Jersey, and I had walked by a couple and as she walked by me with the other hand, she's like, 'Oh my God, honey, look at his abs,'" Sorrentino explained. "My buddies that are with me, they're like, 'Oh man, that's a situation.' And I said, 'No, that's the situation.' ... That was it. I am who I am now."
That impressive six-pack comes from long hours of working out at the gym, and Sorrentino said he has never taken steroids to maintain his sculpted look.
"Never, never, never. ... If somebody's gonna take steroids, that's, you know, their prerogative and their body," he said. "I'm worried about taking care of myself and working out and taking my body to the best it could be, pretty much."
Even though the "Jersey Shore" has been the foundation for Sorrentino's sky-rocketing career, when this past season finale casted him in a negative light, he turned to Twitter and threatened to leave the show for good.
"I was very upset and, and contemplated -- not necessarily retiring from reality TV, but possibly retiring from 'Jersey Shore,'" he said. "I give 'Jersey Shore' exactly what it needs, okay?"
Sorrentino Considers Leaving 'Jersey Shore' but Not Reality TV
A third season of the popular show has already been shot, but Sorrentino said he's already looking towards other projects for his ab-fab life, such as scripted-TV or movies.
"My whole life has been a search for finding myself, pretty much. You know? This is an unbelievable fairy tale story," he said. "I found what I love to do, and that's being in front of the camera."