When the titular "Summer House" on Deerfield Road in Water Mill returns to Bravo Wednesday at 9 p.m. for season four, that Hamptons weekend getaway will be home to two new and very different members of the ever-evolving cast.
Jules Daoud, 25, a freelance social-media marketer, is a scion of Cincinnati's multimillion-dollar Gold Star Chili empire, a second-generation American of Jordanian Christians. Luke Gulbranson, who was 35 when the series shot and is now 36, is a model-actor from Eveleth, Minnesota, population 3,596, and a youth-hockey coach at the Chelsea Piers Sky Rink since 2008.
Male and female, Gen-X and millennial, small-town and city — yet each has been partly formed by paternal hardship. "My dad passed away when I was 15," says Daoud, who on Dec. 30 posted an Instagram photo of father Basheer Daoud with her as a child. "Ten years ago today," she wrote. As for Gulbranson, "My dad is disabled," he says.
Those sobering similarities remain, of course, mostly below the surface on the show, in which eight young New York professionals seek romance, hookups, friendship and nightlife in Suffolk's storied south-shore spot. "Summer House" remains less about them as people than as surrogates for audience projection about being young, attractive and well-heeled in the Hamptons. "We work hard to play harder," says Daoud of herself and her castmates. "I mean, we love to party, you know."
We know. So, what did you do over the summer? "We spent time at the beach," says Gulbranson. "And some of the guys would get together and do athletic things like hitting golf balls and stuff like that." OK. Anything else? "We went to Southampton Social [Club] a lot," remembers Daoud. "We kind of went all throughout the Hamptons. And it was so much fun. It was my first summer spending time in the Hamptons. So, you know, we got to see a bunch of places." Episodes show locales including Schmidt's Market & Produce and the restaurants Blu Mar and Union Cantina, all in Southampton.
Daoud joined the group through Hannah Berner, a part-time Shelter Islander on the show last season, who returns alongside reprising cast-members Paige DeSorbo; Amanda Batula and her fiancé Kyle Cooke; and Carl Radke and his best female friend -- and possibly more — Lindsay Hubbard. Daoud met Berner through mutual friend Jordan Verroi, who along with Danielle Olivera was relegated from series regular last year to recurring friend.
Gulbranson came on through Cooke. "Kyle and I had a mutual friend from just being out in New York nightlife," he says, "and Kyle asked me if I was interested in being part of the show and having some fun this summer and I thought it was a great opportunity to do something different. I usually spend my summers in Minnesota."
And the two newcomers learned about themselves, they say. "Just overall self-awareness was a really big thing for me," says Daoud. "I think sometimes I tend to come off as superficial or not diving too deeply into new relationships, and miscommunication can occur."
Gulbranson says he learned to "pay more attention to other people's feelings and that type of stuff. I don't know how to explain, but I know I walked away from it feeling like that was a really cool experience." And what else would one want from a summer house, uppercase or not?