The only one that comes out looking really good in the new un-reality TV show The Vineyard is the Island itself. Filmed mostly in the chilly month of May, the ABC Family series manages somehow to capture the glorious warmth of a summer day.
The people? Not so much. The band of twenty-somethings that inhabit the set are more cardboard cutouts than characters. As many have noted, there is an abundance of underfed blondes and a paucity of people of color. The acting is enough to make one nostalgic for a certain mechanical fish. Even the stereotypes aren’t quite right. The Islanders are hapless and irascible; the washashores, entitled and witless. They keep rubbing each other the wrong way. At one point, it looks like a rumble might break out. (Trust us, it’s less interesting than even that sounds.)
Of course it’s only entertainment, and barely that. Media critics have been almost as harsh as the locals, and though we have seven more episodes yet to endure this season, a second season seems as likely as a roundabout at Five Corners.
By now, most people understand that reality TV is anything but. Still it’s galling to see the Vineyard of The Vineyard populated by so much small mindedness. Of course there are tensions between full-time and seasonal residents here, but the magic of the place is that this tends to be the exception, not the rule.
In a Harris Interactive survey commissioned by the Gazette this spring, wealth disparity between seasonal residents and full-timers ranked tenth out of eleven identified areas of concern, well below cost of living, coastal erosion and pond pollution. And fewer permanent residents worried about this issue than part-timers.
Let’s get real here: By all accounts, The Vineyard is a colossal flop that panders to an audience that probably wouldn’t like it here anyway. Time to change the channel.