Vineyard docu-soap gets lathered up for season opener

The cast of The Vineyard (l-r): Luis d'Agostino, Ben Rossi, Sophi Alvarez, Cat Todd, Jackie Lyons, Katie Tardif, Jon Franco, Emily Burns, Taeylr Robinson, Gabby Lapointe, Daniel Lipshutz. — Photo courtesy of ABC Family

How long does it take to crank out a dramatic coming-of-age docu-soap about a handful of 20-somethings on Martha’s Vineyard? In the case of “The Vineyard,” less than six months.

In February, ABC Family announced in a press release that it has picked up the show, described as a dramatic coming-of-age docu-soap. Filming began in May. The Vineyard is scheduled to air at 10 pm, July 23.

The news in February that reality TV had discovered the Island drew gasps from some Island residents, even those without TVs.

Executive producer Dave Broome quickly assured residents and leery Island town officials that he was not casting for the Vineyard equivalent of Snookie, the woman who rose to fame as a member of the cast of MTV’s reality hit show, “Jersey Shore,” a study in boorish behavior by 20-somethings.

In a telephone conversation with The Times in February, Mr. Broome stressed that the show would be a fair portrayal of the Vineyard, its residents, and the community, and that the cast and crew will keep a very low profile.

Filming for eight, one-hour episodes began in May and wrapped up in June. By most accounts, the production barely created a ripple of excitement or inconvenience.

Last week, in anticipation of the premier episode, ABC Family began stoking the publicity machine. It released the names of the as yet unidentified cast members along with brief show biographies of the cast.

Channel Guide Magazine, an industry publication described the show.

“Even if you’ve been to Martha’s Vineyard, odds are you’ve never seen it like this,” Channel Guide said. “Beginning July 23, ABC Family is heading to one of America’s favorite vacation spots for The Vineyard, a fun, sexy new reality series that follows the lives of 11 young people at pivotal times in their lives as they spend the summer living on the Massachusetts island and working at the famed The Black Dog Tavern.

“Some will be locals, while others are ‘wash-ashores,’ so called because they come in and out every summer. But all of them will be entertaining, promises executive producer Dave Broome.

“‘A lot of kids this age come to the Island certainly to have a great time and have fun, work and earn money, but also to kind of figure out their lives, and that’s kind of where we find our characters,'” Mr. Broome says”.

Broadway World reported, “As summer on the Island gets underway, everyone is at a significant crossroads in their personal lives as they juggle romance, friendships, rivalries and career choices.”

Entertainment Weekly, which included a trailer on its website, wrote, “At first glance of this cast, one question comes to mind: Are we possibly staring at the next Hills-like phenomenon? The new reality series — which appears to possibly be a cross between Laguna Beach and The Real World — follows a mix of locals and so-called “wash-ashores” (translation: pretty people who are only in town only for a few months), as they summer in the ever-posh Massachusetts outpost Martha’s Vineyard.”

The entertainment publications included a run down of the cast neatly divided between “wash-ashores” and “Islanders.”

The “wash-ashores”

Sophi Alvarez: A Miami Venezuelan, Sophi is a gifted singer who dreams of a career in music. She is extremely motivated and hopes her time on the Vineyard will put her one step closer to her goal. As she looks for inspiration on the Island, Sophi will discover some unexpected things about herself along the way.

Katie Tardif: Beautiful and gregarious, Katie arrives on the Island at a defining moment in her personal and professional life; not only is she trying to reconcile her fashion career with her desire to make a difference in the world, but she also isn’t sure if her boyfriend of four years is the man she wants to be with for the rest of her life. Katie is using the summer to clear her head and figure out if her boyfriend is her true love or if it’s time to move on.

Emily Burns: Sophisticated and opinionated, Emily knows what she wants in life – a successful man to take care of her. Emily is convinced there’s no better place to find him than during summer on Martha’s Vineyard, and her stunning features and flawless physique guarantee she’ll get any man she wants. Emily thinks she knows what will make her happy, but her time on the Island may surprise her.

Taelyr Robinson: Shy and inexperienced, Taelyr missed out on the wild teen years; after her father passed away, she needed to grow up fast and take care of those around her. Taeylr’s summer on the Vineyard will undoubtedly help her come out of her shell and into her own.

Luis D’Agostino: Charming, spontaneous and impulsive, Lou’s bad-boy persona hides his sensitive soul. A hopeless romantic and chivalrous to the core, Lou arrives on the Island for the summer determined to find the girl of his dreams.

Jon Franco: The All-American pre-med student, Jonathan has this summer to let loose before he has to focus all of his attention on school. A self-described “player,” Jon loves women but doesn’t want to be tied down. He won’t let anything distract him from becoming the first doctor in his family, but could a potential summer fling turn into something more and lead him away from his goal?

Daniel Lipshutz: Outgoing and upbeat with a great sense of humor, Daniel loves throwing parties and hopes to turn his passion into a career. He’s great at bringing people together and making connections, but when it comes to his own love life, Daniel just can’t seem to find the right girl.

The Islanders

Cat Todd: Rebellious Cat is still trying to decide what she wants to do with her life, an issue that usually puts her at odds with her mom. She has a history with Ben, but is determined not to have a relationship this summer. As she struggles to find her identity, Cat is torn between exploring life off the Vineyard or staying on the Island and developing her artistic talents.

Ben Rossi: The strong, silent heart throb, Ben’s life has been in a holding pattern since he returned to the Island after leaving the Coast Guard. Determined to move out of his parents’ place, Ben turns his attention toward finding a job but encounters some unexpected drama when Cat reenters his life.

Jackie Lyons: An aspiring writer, Jackie left the bright lights of Los Angeles to move back to the Vineyard and be closer to her ailing mother. Quick to fall hard for guys, Jackie often finds herself brokenhearted. Will Jackie continue to chase love or listen to her mom’s advice and finally let it find her?

Gabby Lapointe: Levelheaded with a take-charge attitude, Gabby is the confidante for her two best friends, Jackie and Katie. Often caught between them, her well-intentioned advice inevitably constantly leads to drama. As she begins another summer on the Island, Gabby is excited to embrace the vibrant opportunities this season will undoubtedly bring.