Jul 302013


Last Tuesday, the island gained some national attention for something that’s actually unrelated to President Obama’s long awaited August vacation here. But unlike the first family’s scheduled R&R time, this news was pretty much received negatively by all Vineyarders.

The news I’m talking about is the premiere of ABC’s new show “The Vineyard.” Billed as a reality docu-soap, the show follows 11 young and good-looking adults as they demonstrate what summer is really like on the Vineyard.

That is if life was a mix of “Laguna Beach” and “The Real World,” where everyone is ridiculously beautiful and all free time is spent either frolicking on the beach or talking about your love life. This clearly-scripted reality show has been panned by most TV critics and it’s caused severe frustration for the real people who live on the island.

So what’s so wrong about the show? There definitely could have been potential for an engaging and entertaining reality show set on Martha’s Vineyard. I mean, it’s not like there is ugly scenery or any shortage of compelling activities to partake in here. Let’s take a specific look at what ABC Family has done wrong with just one episode of the show under their belts.

Cast of ABC Family's The Vineyard1. No compelling characters. 

It’s telling that every single character in “The Vineyard” looks like they are models fresh off a photo shoot. With four hot blondes to keep track of, the show’s “villain” Emily wears pearls in every scene. You know, just so we don’t mistake her for someone else.

Every character fits neatly into their own tired and unimpressive stereotype. There’s the shy and inexperienced girl ready to start partying, the good girl questioning her long-distance relationship of four years, the self-described player who doesn’t want to be tied down and of course, the bad boy with a heart of gold. Basically get out your Ken and Barbie dolls, all of which have the maturity of high school freshmen, and you have yourself the cast of “The Vineyard.”

2. The “conflict” between wash-ashores and locals.

Since the vapid romantic relationships aren’t enough, episode 1 introduced a sure-to-be-revisited plot element when tension was introduced between locals and wash-ashores. And when I say tension, I mean serious stuff cause you know it’s about to get down when someone won’t let you into a party.

That’s what happens to some wash-ashores, which in this show is the term given to the young people spending the summer working on the island. Basically they’re just here to party and get some summer-loving while the hard working  locals resent and make fun of them. Not at all a reflection of reality where a wash-ashore is simply someone who wasn’t born on the island in question. They also usually live on island year-round, not just in the summer. Just details to “The Vineyard’s” producers, apparently.

3. The subtle but disturbing sexism.

The reason behind the wash-ashores getting rejected at the local party not surprisingly has to do with trying to get lucky. One local is kind enough to put it out in the open for us as he tells the wash-ashores that “you can’t show up with no girls and try to take ours.”

The implication is there that women are objects to be fought over, something Emily helps with as she comments that it would be “so stressful” to make her own money and not depend on a guy. With Luis and Jon already starting to fight over Katie, it’s clear that this is going to be a storyline to watch going forward. Who knows, maybe if we keep our fingers crossed, we’ll even get another shirtless fight scene?

4. Constant Black Dog Product Placement 

The first episode details the arrival of Katie at the “Black Dog House.” In and of itself, this is a pretty funny misconception for anyone who knows anything about the Black Dog. While the Black Dog has a lot of nice stores across the island, they are not one of those companies that provides gorgeous beach-side houses for their spoiled teenage workers.

The Black Dog promotion does not stop there as you’re going to constantly see people wearing Black Dog apparel and going into the stores. Maybe if you change your perspective and see “The Vineyard” as a tacky infomercial for the Black Dog, it’ll make a little more sense.

Anyway, if you’re not scared off yet or if you enjoy watching trainwrecks, be sure to tune in for this week’s episode. “Loose Lips Sink Ships” features a surprise birthday party, drama between Luis and Jon at work, and hopefully some sort of shark subplot that will take away a character or 11.


-James Reagan

  13 Responses to “What is ABC Family’s ‘The Vineyard’ Doing so Wrong?”

  1. island kids work hard all summer to save money for the winter….they aren’t frolicking on the beach …acting like Barbie dolls……when its blueberry time we are picking the berries putting them away for the winter…scalloping time we are helping our families with that , .our families all work hard, to live on a beautiful island , we are not rich spoiled rotten brats….that mommy gives money to for the summer stay here…with clothes that look like you should be on a runway….hard working islanders….and elderly still working to pay the high taxes in order to live on our beautiful island that a lot of those off islanders come and have no respect for it…my mother is in her late 70s still working and my dad is 81 still working in order to live on our beautiful island……I know a show with hard working families wouldn’t work on your network..but stupid shows like the vineyard…..with stupid black dog shirts….its a shame your making island people look stupid

  2. Well, the most irritating thing to me is the “wash-a-shore” thing.. as you said a wash a shore is someone who lives here year round but wasn’t born here… I would hope Cat, Shaun (who are both actually wash a shores) and Ben would have tried to set that record straight.. though I’m sure the network wouldn’t want to call the tourists of the show summer ginks, dinks , tourists or any of the other names we islanders have called them over the years… The Party scene… come on now.. I think it pretty much happens the way it was shown.. until later into the night when everyone’s to drunk to know the difference between islanders and tourists… as for the black dog.. The characters are working there so I expect the tee shirts and stuff.. that’s kind of par for the course I think.. I’m hoping for our island young ones on the show that it balances it’s self out over time and is a success… I would hate to see them fail.. I think the biggest mistake was billing this as a reality show!! How could this be reality if no ones complained about the traffic yet?!!!

    • will they be on again?

      • As of 2/20/14 the Martha’s Vineyard Times is reporting that there has been no comment from ABC Family whether they were renewing the show for a second season.

  3. I dont like the reality format they chose to film this in. It brings out the “bad acting” even more
    In these characters. The bad acting and no true script really gets in the way of the show. I like the show
    But the actors seem to have over-talk the drama that happens each day. It needs some stronger plots.

  4. What gets me is the local troublemaker Cat, who has this double standard. On episode 1, she clearly lets it be known to Sophi (a “wash-ashore”) that they don’t have to be friends or anything, that she Cat, is only there to train her. This in response to 19 yr old Sophi stating that this is her first job. Cat comes off as extremely bitter and venomous of the fact that ANYONE who comes to their precious island is a spoiled brat, born with a silver spoon in their mouth. Right off the bat, she resents her lot in life and anyone else who was born into slightly better conditions. She is discriminating about the wash-ashore girls ONLY, but has no trouble trying to flirt and go out of her way to be friendly to the wash-ashore guys. God FORBID anyone who wasn’t born into her level of hard-working conditions tries to be friendly to any locals; they oughtta be stoned and shot! But why the double standard, why not the same blatant hatred to the summer guys as well? She is soooo BITTER. Makes it seem like that’s the way all the locals feel. I am not saying the young summer crowd isn’t spoiled or whatever, but there are also families, retirees, and older single people who also make the island their home. Let’s remember that if it wasn’t for the big tourist industry, a lot of locals would have a hard time making a living from the summer crowd. Either accept what comes with tourism and stop complaining about your hard local lives and be grateful that tourists bring in revenue, or shut up and stop being so darn friggin’ bitter already! Ugh, just paints an ugly picture.

    • Yes. This show is a little ridiculous but im a local in a small town that has many tourists in the summer/holiday weekends that take over. so i can sort of relate to how “Cat” feels. Yes, i understand they bring in tons of money for our small town businesses, which we take pride in but in the same respect the traffic becomes insane and they think they run this place. They basically insult us and think we shouldnt be here when they come up for the weekend or holidays. excuse me, but i believe we live here and make this place work all year long with or without your fast paced and rude city lifestyle. we keep it relaxed,simple, and free. the way life should be.

  5. Omg the vineyard is the worst show I have even seen and I hope it gets cancelled I actually had to google it to find out if it was a reality show or not because they are TERRIBLE actors and its just really dumb. I couldn’t even finish watching an episode! If I wanted to see bad acting I would ask a little kid to act out a play. I mean its not funny, doesn’t even seem real, and the drama is so fake and terrible. Seriously I’m mad that they cancelled shows like the lying game and bunheads and put in this dumb show. -.-

  6. This show is ridiculous, Fake!! Horrible actors they all look like idiots

  7. This is the most horrific show I have ever seen. The producers should have either a. let the “models” be themselves and create their own real life scenarios or b. hire talented and trained actors and make it an actual tv show that is a scripted drama. this is a joke and disgrace to television – the characters chosen do NOT reflect those on the vineyard (example: anorexic blondes that talk like valley girls). The vineyard has much more depth and down to earth people. What a joke.

  8. This is probably the dumbest show that’s ever made it on tv. I can’t believe ABC family put it on their channel, terrible.

  9. The best part of this show is that the season is over. There are a couple of things I keep seeing in comments and blogs that are annoying though. People keep whining that the cast is all white. Well they aren’t ONLY white people. Sophie and Taylor (or however it is spelled in this show) are clearly not white. Secondly, people keep saying they all look like models. Well, to me don’t. In fact, they could have chosen a better looking girl to play Katie. This girl looks like an emaciated frog and people keep talking about how beautiful she is. I don’t get it. Anyway, after watching the whole season waiting for something good to happen, I’m done. Bad acting and a bad storyline. Just bad all around.

  10. My family’s been on the Vineyard for close to 5 generations and the series was extremely insulting.It made the island out to be a playground for tourists and the wealthy and that’s not the case.Jaws says it all, “You have to be in here, to be from here”, the State Beach scene.
    I’m truly glad the series got cancelled, it portrayed the Vineyard in a light the world thinks is true.Blue collar people make this island run and have been since the beginning.Tourist and transplants(washshores) don’t like that truth and they wonder why we don’t care for them.

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