Stephen McGee, an event planner by trade, had set a nice table. Candles, fancy lights, flowers, all outdoors on a balmy night in the Hamptons, on the first day of eight friends’ summer share. He cooked lamb, asparagus, mac-and-cheese and more. And as depicted on the opening episode of the second season of Bravo’s reality show “Summer House,” airing Monday at 10 p.m., he sat alone for nearly 20 minutes after announcing dinner before the first friend sat down, and at least another five before more trickled in.
He swears this wasn’t faked to gin up drama on the show in which eight people share a Hamptons summer house. “Unfortunately, none of that is scripted,” says McGee, 28. “Wish I could say it was, because then my friends would not be so terrible. But what’s important to some is not important to others,” he adds. “You try to find people who bring out the best parts of you, and not everybody’s going to do that. But it’s also a house and we have to fill it out. And these are new friendships for me and I’m still figuring them out.”
“It was obnoxious,” says Danielle Olivera, 29, who arrived late but not as late as some others. She concurs that it wasn’t scripted. “I felt bad for Stephen,” she says. “It was a little bit selfish.”
Olivera, who worked for the small-business loan provider Bizfi before being laid off in April — and whose job search is a season plot thread — is one of three new cast members, along with Amit Neuman and Amanda Batula, who join returnees McGee, Kyle Cooke, Lindsay Hubbard, Carl Radke and Lauren Wirkus. Not returning are Cristina Gibson, Jaclyn Shuman and Everett Scott Weston, while Wirkus’ married twin sister, Ashley, who lives in California, is no longer a cast member but an occasional visitor.
After the first season shot at 90 Harbor Rd. in Napeague, the new one centers at 1451 Deerfield Rd. in Water Mill. (Unlike the first season, when filming of the show raised the ire of local residents, there was no public outcry this time.) Among Hamptons locales the cast visited this year, say McGee and Olivera, are Old Stove Pub in Sagaponack, the restaurants Jue Lan Club and Southampton Social Club in Southampton, Page Restaurant and its outdoor patio The Back Page in Sag Harbor, and Duck Walk Vineyards in Water Mill, part of the Pour & Pedal winery bicycle tours.
Not that any of cast needs incentive to drink during filming — particularly Olivera’s ex, Radke, 32, who frequently explained away his actions by saying he was drunk. “We all drink, but I think he takes it to another level sometimes,” says Olivera.
Through it all, McGee says, “Our friendships go through a big change. And it is very real and very raw and we do all of this while trying to have a great time. We’re juggling real emotions, real feelings, real hurt and real love.” Which, you’d have to admit, is hard for a reality show to script.