It was just under 10 years ago when TV audiences were mesmerized by boozing-and-partying reality show Jersey Shore.
Fast forward to January 2017 and we’re seeing a different head of the hydra, emerging from the same body. Summer House, Slice’s latest reality show venture (from U.S. channel Bravo), follows a group of friends from New York City as they make their way to Montauk, New York (a.k.a. The Hamptons) for the summer weekends. After working high-paying jobs all week in the city, the nine pals head to the Montauk house for some debauchery and drama.
For years, the group has summered in Montauk, but this time around, they’ve “put together the perfect group” to share a rental for an “epic” summer, filled with hookups, bonfires, hot-tub scandals, beachfront thrills and boozy brunches. Global News sat down at the Television Critics Association winter session with three of the series’ stars — life of the party Kyle Cooke and identical twins Ashley and Lauren Wirkus — to see just how much of the show is real, what really happens in that hot tub, and how much the full-time Montauk residents appreciated their weekend bashes.
Everyone who watches reality TV wants to know: how much of this is real?
Lauren: This is 100 per cent real.
Kyle: We’re an existing group of friends, and this is what we’ve done every summer for a number of years. What you see during Summer House we’re perfectly accustomed to … well, except for the cameras.
Lauren: We’re really friends, we have long histories, Ashley and I are obviously sisters…
Ashley: Everything you’re going to see is real, true emotions. It’s raw, the drama is real, the fights are real, the life changes are real.
What sorts of things go down in Season 1?
Kyle: A lot transpired last summer. It just so happened that many of us were going through different things, professionally, in relationships, the sisters separated for the first time…
Ashley: You’re going to see, it was like the elephant in the room all summer. We tried to ignore it, but when it finally had to happen, the tears came flowin’! We also used it to our advantage too, knowing that it was coming, we wanted to have the best summer ever and have fun.
Lauren: It was one of the best summers I’ve ever had.
Kyle: It was … eventful. We spent a lot of time together, and it’s a house full of big personalities. We lucked out in that it was a roller coaster.
Lauren: You can see people in their late 20s and early 30s in both their professional and personal lives. New jobs, new companies, struggles and successes, relationships tested (both new and old), summer flings, hook-ups, dates, house fights … did I miss anything? [Laughs]
How many insane occurrences has that hot tub witnessed?
Lauren: I think you need to ask Kyle about that.
Kyle: [Laughs] Was I the first one to get some action in the hot tub?
Ashley: Yes, you were.
Kyle: I think I christened the hot tub, let me put it that way. Not only do I love jumping in it — in cannon ball and jack-knife form — but things get … see, our hot tub is not your average hot tub. It’s one of those workout hot tubs.
Lauren: You can have the whole house in there, all your friends.
Ashley: Not that a hot tub isn’t always hot and steamy, but this tub had the most heated things happen.
Lauren: Last week’s episode had a steamy, heated event: Kyle’s fail. And there’s more to come.
Ashley: We cleaned up that hot tub every morning of rosé bottles, beer bottles … just floating in there.
There was allegedly some controversy about you guys causing an uproar in Montauk. Has anything arisen out of that?
Lauren: In our experience, it’s always been positive. We’ve always been in Montauk. We’ve filmed in multiple places there and all over the Hamptons. The town’s a great place.
Kyle: At the end of the day, we’ve been renting in Montauk for years. We’ve never had a problem.
Ashley: We didn’t just bring this attention onto Montauk.
Kyle: We also understand some of the hesitation and resentment, in the sense that it’s a special place to a lot of people, not just the locals. It’s incurred change, just because it’s become such a go-to.
Ashley: I’m pretty sure we didn’t cause any issues. Everybody seemed happy, and we were always respectful.