Why Bravo’s “Summer House” Needs to be Off the Air

Summer house cast on Bravo

For those who are unfamiliar, Summer House is a Bravo unscripted show about a group of young, attractive professionals who spend their weekends in a summer house that they share with one another. As such, if interested individuals have ever seen other Bravo offerings for said segment of the TV viewing population, chances are good that they can predict much of what they can expect from it. In fact, it should be noted that Summer House actually got a crossover preview via Vanderpump Rules, which was presumably meant to provide it with an additional boost at the start so that it wouldn’t fall flat on its face. Judging by the fact that Summer House is now on Season 3, it seems safe to say that said boost either succeeded or at least wasn’t bad enough to hinder its progress, which is unfortunate because said show is taking up limited screentime that could’ve been used for something else.

What Is So Bad About Summer House?

That might seem like a rather harsh thing to say. Sure, while Summer House isn’t exactly what anyone would call the pinnacle of what TV as a medium is capable of achieving, it is far from being the worst unscripted show that can be found out there. After all, there are plenty of unscripted shows that are very exploitative in nature as well as plenty of unscripted shows that fail to show even the slightest scruple about fooling their viewers. Never mind the ones that combine both of those problems in the same unpleasant package. By comparison, Summer House is blandly inoffensive.

Some people might be confused by that label. This is particularly true if they remember the news of Montauk’s less than enthusiastic response to the filming of the show in a house that isn’t actually situated there but rather somewhere close by. Partly, this response seems to have been motivated by the disruption that would have been caused by the filming in Montauk during its peak season, which would have resulted in a fair amount of irritation as well as other potentially negative effects for the locals. However, it seems clear that there were also plenty of people who were concerned about the image that Summer House was going to create for Montauk in the minds of U.S. viewers. Something that has proven to be a problem for other locations to have been featured in popular unscripted shows in recent times. Due to this, Summer House eventually winded up being blocked from filming in the house from the first season because of the production’s violation of various town codes, thus solving the problem from the perspective of the less than enthusiastic residents.

With that said, while those concerns on the parts of the local residents were very understandable, the unscripted show itself failed to live up to the hype built up by said incident. Certainly, Summer House has been exactly what it was marketed as. However, the standards of the present are not the same as the standards of, say, even a decade ago. Simply put, while cameras in bedrooms might have provided viewers with a voyeuristic thrill in the not too distant past, that particular gimmick has been used again and again by show after show, meaning that it has lost much of its power as well as much of its appeal. For that matter, the cast and crew behind Summer House aren’t exactly keen about crossing certain lines that shouldn’t be crossed lest they wind up with their careers ruined, their reputations torn into tatters, and their shoulders being piled with legal sanctions, meaning that there isn’t actually much chance of anything particularly shocking or even surprising being found upon it.

As such, Summer House isn’t much more than a banal representative of its particular genre of unscripted shows without much to distinguish it in a meaningful sense from its counterparts. It isn’t particularly bad, but at the same time, it isn’t particularly good. Instead, it is content to be exactly what it has been marketed to be but nothing more. On its own, this would be fine. After all, there is a place for the TV equivalent of junk food for the simple reason that everyone has moments when they want to watch something for mindless entertainment that won’t require them to do much thinking about what they are taking in. However, these kinds of unscripted shows are very much like real junk food in that they should be consumed in moderation because our choices in entertainment can have a very real effect on who we are as well as what we do.

Unfortunately, that is much easier said than done because there are two parties that determine what people wind up choosing to watch. On the one hand, viewers are definitely responsible for the choices that they make when it comes to their TV viewing. On the other hand, their task is made much more difficult by the entertainment industries, which churn out these shows because they can bring in high viewership numbers while being relatively cheap to produce. In a very real sense, this makes the whole situation something of a self-perpetuating cycle without an easy way for the relevant parties to break out of it. People watch these shows because more and more of them are being made, but simultaneously, production companies are making more and more of these shows because people keep on watching them. It would be nice if there was a simple and straightforward solution to this, but speaking bluntly, there probably isn’t.

Why Should Summer House Be Taken Off of the Air?

As such, while Summer House is a particularly bland representative of its kind, chances are good that taking it off of the air won’t result in anything better but will instead just create an opportunity for something very similar if not exactly the same to come along. In other words, it would be nothing more than addressing the symptom rather than the cause.


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