'Jersey Shore' Season Five 'One Of My Best,' Pauly D Says

New season, which premieres January 5, finds the cast returning to the Shore and burying old beefs.

The last season of MTV's "Jersey Shore" was an Italian debacle on par with Silvio Berlusconi (look it up). It was 12 episodes of infighting, head-butting, vehicular mishaps, ill-fated hookup attempts and, of course, Sammi and Ronnie.

So when news broke that the gang would be returning to their spiritual home of Seaside Heights, New Jersey, for the upcoming fifth season, there was much rejoicing — especially from the stars themselves. As Pauly D recently told MTV News, they left all the drama back in Italy and focused instead on just having fun.

"There was a lot of tension in [Italy], because we were away from our friends, away from our family, so all we had was each other — that's it," Pauly said. "So now we literally ran to Jersey, because we missed it so much, and we just shared that bond, because we've been there before, so we enjoyed it with everybody this year. It was really one of my best years, I think."

In the new season, Pauly said even the most ardent of foes — like, say, Snooki and the Situation, who traded barbs (among other things) during their Italian holiday — have buried the tension.

"They're better. It was tough for me to live in the house when they were doing that, because it was way out of left field, I wasn't expecting that," Pauly explained. "But what's crazy about it is that we'll fight, but we still come together at the end of the day, as a family almost. Kind of like a messed-up family."

Pauly also said that, despite previous reports, his best pal Vinny is still very much a part of the new season.

While he has plenty of answers about the new "Shore" season, even Pauly was at a loss when it comes to the current relationship status of Sammi and Ronnie, the, uh, star-crossed couple whose constant bickering has become (for better or worse) a staple of the show.

"Man, I don't know. They change like the weather. Are they together, are they not? I don't even know," he laughed." I love them both. Together, it's crazy. I don't even need a relationship, because I'm living through theirs."

The fifth season of "Jersey Shore" premieres Thursday, January 5, at 10 p.m. ET/PT on MTV. For continuing "Shore" coverage, be sure to check in with MTV's Remote Control blog.