‘The Vineyard’ Review: Recycled ‘reality’ drama with zero depth, yet awkwardly entertaining

Photo Credit: ABC Family The cast of the new unscripted drama series, "The Vineyard." Featuring (from left to right) Louis D'Agostino, Ben Rossi, Sophi Alvarez, Cat Todd, Jackie Lyons, Katie Tardif, Jon Franco, Emily Burns, Taeylr Robinson, Gabby Lapointe and Daniel Lipshutz.

Meet ABC Family’s new series that follows a bunch of pretty people forced to work for the summer at Martha’s Vineyard.

The casting for The Vineyard must have went something like this: blonde girl? Check. Another blonde girl? Check. Non-blonde, rough around the edges girl? Check. Pretty boy #1? Check. Pretty boy #2? Check. Pretty boy with exceptionally great hair? Check. And so forth. Their faces are as repetitive as their awkward line delivery, forcing the cast to come off as stiff as Barbie and Ken dolls. Like those dolls, the space between their heads also seems empty.

Photo Credit: ABC Family

Photo Credit: ABC Family

The premise for the show is simple: pretty people picked to live in a house together and have their lives taped (hey, Real World!) while figuring out who they are and trying to come-of-age in a lush town filled with gossip (hey, The Hills!) and working at a local restaurant called the Black Dog. Their romantic entanglements, however, are still stuck in high school territory and their drama is totally not scripted (hey, Laguna Beach!). Maybe The Vineyard’s problem isn’t that the show and cast is terrible, but that it’s already been done better by other networks with far more talented casts.

Or maybe they’re just working through the awkwardness of suddenly having their lives taped and creating enough drama to get their time on camera? Ha. Yeah, okay. Ten minutes of Keeping Up with the Kardashians feels more authentic than this entire show yet I couldn’t stop watching. There’s just something so fascinating about watching pretty people do really stupid things and live really stupid lives while basking in the glow of their dollar bills.

Katie Tardif from "The Vineyard."

Photo Credit: ABC Family
Katie Tardif from “The Vineyard.”

Katie, one of the numerous blondes, is the show’s narrator (and falls short of being a Lauren Conrad, but she tries! Oh, she tries!). She’s come to the vineyard to figure out her life and decide if she wants to stay with her boyfriend of four years. Apparently a summer apart where she lives with a bunch of hot meatheads will help her decide. Oh, Katie! She’s headed straight for trouble when Louis, an old friend who’s carrying the world’s largest candle for her, arrives after not seeing her for so long. Emily, another blonde with a frank sense of humor (my favorite on the show to be honest because she has the forwardness of Lo Bosworth), tries to tell Katie that Louis likes her, leading to some tension between the girls. Sounds like a high school girl’s bathroom, doesn’t it? When the tension comes to a climax at the end of the premiere, you’ll be cackling. These are technically grown men, pissing on territory that doesn’t even exist, and their actions can only be described as really, really dumb. Fo’ real.


Louis D'Agostino from "The Vineyard."

Photo Credit: ABC Family
Louis D’Agostino from “The Vineyard.”

Everyone else deals with their struggles as outsiders to intermingle with the locals, find a hot girl to lay, or a so very big (except not really) secret coming out. I honestly hoping the secret that gets exposed in the season premiere is false and there’s more to that story… or else they’re really keeping things PG since the show airs on ABC Family. The cast struggles with decisions to leave the island forever – apparently staying if you’ve grown up there is the worst idea ever – and life as a summer islander, just there to spend some time in the sun and have fun – and be judged by the locals who are stuck there year round. The characters – I’m sorry, real-life cast – and their stories couldn’t be more crafted by the producers and directors.

Still, I watched.

And if you’ve seen my tweets, you know I think it’s one of the most heinous and fascinating TV shows of the summer. Like a train wreck, it’s impossible to look away from because you have to see it through to the end to know what exactly happens.

Why You Should Watch:

1. There are at least 10+ lines (we’ll have them for you after tonight’s premiere) that will make you laugh and shout them at whoever is standing next to you. They warrant repeating.

2. It’ll make you feel better about yourself, especially if like me, you’re a 20-something trying to find your place in the world. (Basically, it’s an escape from the post-graduate job hunting, surviving on ramen, and being single. It’ll make you feel better about your life because you have something theirs don’t: meaning, even if it’s the simple kind.)

3. Louis’ hair. I’m a sucker for a guy with a luxurious mane and his is fantastic.

4. Because you watched Laguna Beach and The Hills (and you watch basically every reality show on TV from the Housewives and the Kardashians). This is what today’s generations have been cursed with coming up on terms of reality shows. Watch this. Mock them. And if you know someone personally who watches, make sure they’ve seen Laguna Beach and the Hills and can understand that good, ‘unscripted’ drama once existed.

5. Because it’s 10 PM on a Tuesday and you have nothing else to do.

The Vineyard airs at 10 PM on ABC Family ET/PT.

Amber Cunigan
Amber Cunigan is a sarcastic mid-twenties undergrad, extreme book hoarder, Netflix addict, and reality TV aficionado. She enjoys excessive amounts of chocolate and caffeine, tweeting, and all things Ezra Fitz and Ryan Gosling. When it comes to TV, she expects to be thoroughly entertained and when not, she will slam and mock you, but still tune in next week. She's a glutton for punishment. Basically, she's awesome.

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