Amazon Prime Video’s reality show “Forever Summer: Hamptons” isn’t much better than its awkward name.
The new series, comprising eight episodes, chronicles young adults in the 18-23 age range who spend a couple of months together in the titular Long Island tourist trap, a.k.a. “The summer playground of the rich and famous,” according to a voice-over narrator.
Although more tame than MTV’s groundbreaking “The Real World,” this overcast foray around The Hamptons has no shortage of relationship-based dramas and staged conflicts.
Among the assembly of camera-ready players – many of whom work at the waterfront marina Dockers – is Avery, the central figure.
Each summer, Avery returns to the luxurious locale, her stomping ground where best friend Emelye resides with beau Hunter; to say the clingy couple is attached at the hips would be an understatement.
Entering the mix ostensibly to ignite chaos is Ilan, a tourist from the Big Apple who is house-sitting at a traveling friend’s fancy condo. Ilan has a reputation as a two-timer, and acquaintances refer to him as the “cidiot” (city idiot).
The token gay participants include software engineer and flamboyant gossip Reid, and Hamptons native Milo. A pair of Blacks on hand are Ethiopian transplant Habtamu – the youngest and tallest of this bunch – and Juliet, the college graduate who pines for her lover in Alabama.
Among other cast members with a fair share of cameos: Shannon the demure redhead, conceited Lottie and her jealous boyfriend, and “very spiritual” surfer Frankie (it’s Hammer time).
The individual most concerned about lingering tension among his peers is Milo, whose rhetorical question “Can’t we just, like, all be friends?” paraphrases Rodney King’s famous quote during the 1992 riots.
If “Hamptons” intermittently gives off a “Southern Charm” vibe, it’s because both series share the same producers. Somehow, that Bravo production of Charleston-fried pretension has endured for eight seasons.
Rest assured, the surefire formula for a so-called “unscripted” TV series is locked into “Forever Summer: Hamptons.” Accompanying music consists of modern pop songs – likely the soundtrack of the cast members’ lives; there are manufactured and forced conflicts (e.g., Guys arguing about girls); and politically correct conversations about racism and sexism.
One annoying tic, albeit a cornerstone of such a spectacle focusing on a demographic of college students and recent graduates, are specific words spoken repeatedly: Most of the talking heads spew “like” into every sentence; Ilan can’t finish one scene without saying “fantastic”; then there’s Habtamu – nickname Habs – who is under the impression “That’s bussin’” is cool to exclaim at all costs.
Granted, Prime Video’s latest presentation has its upside: witty banter, breezy fun in the sun and serious discussions among youths with their respective parents.
The series epitomizes a “guilty pleasure” that figues to be forgotten by the time its next installment washes up on shore.