What Are You Watching? ‘Summer House: Martha’s Vineyard’


If you’re a Vineyard local, chances are you’ve had your brush with stardom at one point or another. Maybe you’ve driven your golf cart by the Obamas, worked a party at Diane Sawyer’s, or walked past Spike Lee on Circuit Ave. If you were on-Island last summer, your 15 minutes of fame might have been caught on a Bravo TV camera for the channel’s newest reality show, “Summer House: Martha’s Vineyard.” A spinoff of the original series “Summer House,” which follows 10 young New York City professionals who spend their summer weekends in the Hamptons, “Summer House: M.V.” holds a similar dynamic, in a familiar location.

Admittedly, I’m a bit of a reality TV buff, which to some might mean I don’t have more than a few small brain cells to rub together. But the reality for me is getting to follow and interpret the (mostly) real-life human dynamics, which in some cases I find to be more relatable than fiction. Don’t get me wrong, I come from a blue-collar, middle-class family — “summering” in my life went from playing in my neighborhood to working one, two, and sometimes three jobs at a time. So no, I don’t find the whole playground for the rich and famous vibe that both the Hamptons and Vineyard-based reality shows have to be very personally relatable. My favorite reality show is another Bravo Series called “Below Deck,” which follows the serving and deck staff of mega-yachts around the world. Having grown up in working-class M.V., making a living from serving the wealthy is a storyline I can relate to, but that’s for another “What Are You Watching” article.

“Summer House: Martha’s Vineyard” follows a group of 12 young, Black professionals looking to unwind for a summer here on the Island. This is important for a number of reasons. It is unfortunately (still) relatively rare in television today for storylines to follow a group that is predominantly people of color. It is an unfortunate gap in the entertainment industry. The show has also worked to celebrate the rich Black history of Martha’s Vineyard, which is a wonderful thing to do on an international platform. The majority of filming so far happens inside the gorgeous Sengekontacket residence that the cast calls home for the summer, and follows the drama between a newly married couple and their group of friends. However, for me, it’s the B-roll clips of Island scenery, the showcasing of our favorite Island businesses (and even some shots of us Island people too!), and the celebration of local Black history that makes the show worth the watch. New episodes air on Bravo TV every Sunday at 9 pm.