Hello Good Vibe Tribe! And welcome to Season 5 of Summer House! I’m particularly thrilled to be writing this recap because this is the full first season in the Hamptons we’ll be covering for Reality Tea! I’m an OG Summer House fan. I’ve watched every week from the very beginning. I even did a special recap of the Season 4 reunion last year. And I’ve consistently told friends, Twitter followers and anyone who would listen that it’s the most underrated show on Bravo. It doesn’t get nearly the love it deserves. And it’s managed to get better season after season while other, more popular shows (cough, Pump Rules, cough) have floundered and circled the drain.
I relate to these Housemates a thousand times more than the SURvers causing havoc in L.A. Maybe it’s because I’m a millennial journalist who lives in New York City, but these are my people. In fact, I’ve even had numerous run-ins over the years with former Summer House cast members just going about my day-to-day life in the city. I used to see Everett Weston on the train all the time around Union Square. One time, I bumped right into Lauren Wirkus as I was leaving the Nike store in Soho with a new pair of gym shoes. (She was lovely, so tall, and on her way home from a Fashion Week party. She was also more than willing to dish about how she wouldn’t be on the show for Season 3. The selfie we took was cute, even if she had to stoop down to my height for it.)
Of course, this season of Summer House will look a little different from summers past. When the pandemic hit New York City a full 11 months ago, we were six episodes deep into Season 4. The show was in the middle of its best season yet, and fans were finally getting the memo. So when life (and Bravo’s production) came to a screeching halt, I was concerned Season 5 wouldn’t happen at all. Historically, the show films from late June through Labor Day. But my beloved NYC had been ravaged by the time summer arrived. No one was partying in the Hamptons or going back and forth from the city on the weekends. (Unless you were a special kind of irresponsible one percent-er or, you know, the Chainsmokers.)
Thankfully, Bravo came up with a solution to make Summer House happen: embrace the quarantine. Once the worst of the first wave had passed, production decided to bring the cast to the Hamptons…and keep them there. Think of it as Summer House: Big Brother-style.
Once you’re in the house, no one leaves. Rather than go back and forth every weekend, the Summer House Housemates will be living together for six weeks straight. Working from home. Partying on the weekends. All in a self-contained bubble of COVID-free safety. To do so, we’ve got a new (bigger) house in Southampton and a slightly larger cast of Housemates.
While Kyle Cooke and Amanda Batula move their entire life (and Loverboy operation) to the Hamptons in a U-Haul, Carl Radke arrives with a re-upped Danielle Olivera. (One silver lining of the quarantine is Danielle being a full-time Housemate again after spending last season as a recurring Friend.) Meanwhile Lindsay Hubbard is bringing her boyfriend of a year, Stephen Traversie, who’s not technically a cast member. (He also happens to now be her ex-boyfriend, so we’ll surely see some of that play out.)
And Paige DeSorbo gets dropped off by her boyfriend Perry Rahbar, who’s not staying in the house. In fact, the fashionista is ready for a break from her boyfriend after living together in quarantine for the past three months.
Everyone’s thrilled to see each other, especially after living in isolation. Hugs and physical touching all around! But the mood takes a chilly turn when Hannah Berner gets dropped off by her parents. At least for Lindsay, who gives the podcaster a frigid hello. No hug for Hannah! The girls quickly divide into two cliques to gossip about the drama — with Hannah, Paige and Amanda in one corner and Lindsay and Danielle in another.
Apparently the bad blood stems from a podcast Hannah did between seasons of Summer House. During the interview, she claimed Lindsay treated her like one of her “minions” during all of Season 4. And now, Hubb House is activated about it. Suitcases aren’t even unpacked and there’s already drama brewing!
The roommates call an all-house meeting to discuss room assignments for the summer. And that’s when they realize someone is missing. Where’s Luke Gulbranson? Calling the ruggedly handsome hockey player on speakerphone, the housemates learn he won’t be arriving any time soon. Turns out he was feeling under the weather and required additional testing to make sure he wasn’t positive for coronavirus. Oh, and one more thing. He’s bringing a friend with him to the house. And not just any friend. A girl friend.
This is news to everyone, but especially to Hannah. (For anyone who didn’t watch Season 4, Hannah and Luke spent all of last season in a dramatic will-they-or-won’t-they quasi-relationship. Which carried over into a whole nine-month ordeal. And caused a whole lot of drama with their friend group. Basically they love each other but Luke has commitment issues. Oh, and they haven’t had sex yet. That’s important to know.)
Hannah goes into full spiral mode. Because apparently she and Luke talk every day, but he failed to mention this other girl. According to her friends, this is just one more giant red flag that Luke is not boyfriend material. But that won’t keep Hannah from holding out hope…
Putting a pin in the Luke saga, Hannah decides to confront Lindsay about their issues during dinner on the first night. Apparently, the feud goes much deeper than a single podcast interview. And surprise, surprise, it involves Luke. See, Lindsay threw a New Year’s Eve party back in the city between seasons. And invited pretty much everyone in the cast besides Hannah. Then, she spent the whole night trying to hook Luke up with Danielle. A New Year’s make out occurred. And Hannah feels betrayed.
However, Lindsay is quick to insist she never did what Hannah’s accusing her of, and storms away from the table. Hilariously, Kyle points out that the two women have inevitably fought every summer since Hannah joined the house in Season 3 of Summer House. It just normally doesn’t start this early in the season!
The next morning, the housemates rally for their first day of working from home. This is new territory for the group. As Kyle explains, he’s never known what his roommates do during the week while they’re working in the city. And it turns out, some — i.e. Hannah and Paige — have much more, ahem, flexible work schedules than others. (After all, there’s a scheduling difference between being a fashion influencer and, say, a tech product manager. Not that either is better or more important than the other. It’s just that one doesn’t necessarily have to be up and working at 9 a.m. on a weekday…)
That afternoon, Paige puts in some time laying out, and opens up to Amanda and Hannah about where her relationship stands with Perry. The gorgeous it couple has been dating for more than a year at this point. But unlike last summer when she was head over heels, Paige is starting to wonder whether she’s really with the right person. Moving in together during quarantine certainly took their relationship to a new level. One where they broke up twice while trapped together during the pandemic, to be specific. Paige knows she loves Perry, but is a year a long enough amount of time to know you want to marry someone?
Hannah also pulls Lindsay aside in an attempt to squash their beef from the night before. Again, Lindsay swears she did nothing wrong at the New Year’s Party, but both feel disrespected by the other. Hannah insists that while she and Lindsay may not have had a great fall or winter, she wants them to have a good summer. And eventually they both decide to leave the past in the past, hug it out and move forward. But if the last two seasons are any indication, this probably won’t be the last time Hannah gets caught in Hurricane Hubbard this summer.
After surviving their first summer Friday, the roommates gather for a night full of homemade pizza and Pictionary. But just as the game kicks off, Luke finally arrives at the house with a grizzly mountain man beard and long locks. Surprise! And he’s got newbie Ciara Miller on his heels. The new girl is, like, flawlessly stunning. Oh, and she also happens to be a 24-year-old traveling nurse who came to NYC to work as a frontline healthcare worker during the pandemic. So, as Paige surmises in her confessional, Ciara’s basically Naomi Campbell meets Mother Teresa. With a dash of Florence Nightingale thrown in for good measure. However, my radar goes up as a viewer when Ciara describes herself in her first confessional as “not a girl’s girl.” There’s no way that can be a good sign.
But rather than get competitive, Hannah decides to take the high road and be extra nice to Luke‘s new pal. Like, overly nice. We’re talking “give a house tour and joke about potty humor” levels of nice. “Trading pictures of your cats” nice. It definitely comes off as cringe-y, but I suppose it’s a better move for Hannah than being standoffish. Now that the whole gang’s finally here, everything is right in the world and summer can finally get underway. But not before Luke ends the premiere by sending dual flirty goodnight texts to both Hannah and Ciara. Complete with winky face emojis in each. Oh boy, it’s going to be a crazy summer, isn’t it?
TELL US – WILL A SUMMER IN QUARANTINE BE FUN? ARE YOU TEAM LINDSAY OR TEAM HANNAH? IS LUKE ALREADY PLAYING HANNAH? WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST IMPRESSION OF CIARA?
[Photo Credit: Bravo]