The thing I love the most about Summer House, the television equivalent of having the beer shits in the middle of the afternoon, is that the entire cast is dedicated to fun. This season, it must have been hard, with all of them trapped in a house together and unable to go out — and also unable to have scads of toga-clad rosé-gulpers over to their house to piss off the balconies. Still, they managed to make just an average summer Sunday afternoon one hell of a blast.
I’m talking about their Kentucky Derby party. Everyone’s game to get dressed up in ridiculous outfits and headgear, even the boys who are just visiting for the weekend. The standouts are Lindsay’s boobs, which are literally standing out, taped into a purple blazer that is the mother of every bride to ever get hitched on Long Island, topped off with a burlap hat that looks like it was made of the corpse of Oogie Boogie from The Nightmare Before Christmas.
Other killer looks are Ciara in a patterned dress that’s like a kaleidoscope of sequins studded with LSD, Amanda in a cascade of mint ruffles, and Paige in a gauzy pink dress with as many tiers as Teresa Giudice’s wedding cake and a hot-pink hat so big that it probably blocked her cell reception. (What will she do without the ’gram?) Luke somehow manages to still look like a lumberjack, even while wearing a bow tie and a vest. Kyle’s wearing a floral shirt and a pair of canary trousers, which isn’t really dress-up — that is just what Kyle wears on Sunday. Get into it.
What I love about this group is that they commit. They all bet on the horses, and Ciara comes out the winner, with an extra $400 in her pocket, which she’ll need because she hasn’t really worked in two months and nurses are disastrously underpaid in this country. The two losers are Amanda and Lindsay, who have to wear horse costumes and race with their jockeys around the driveway island in the front yard. They are supposed to gallop, but it’s more like trotting or running, and Amanda blatantly cuts through the middle of the track to get to the toilet-paper finish line first.
All these kids need is a simple theme and enough Amazon orders to clog all the landfills in the East End. Then they just all hang around getting wasted and playing drinking games, just like the night before, when Paige got so wasted at the beach that she passed out at 8:30 under a bath towel while still in her clothes. Let ye who has never done that cast the first stone.
But while everyone’s having fun at the Derby party, Hannah and Des are off to the side making out with each other, pretending they’re stuck on a desert island and the thing they brought to eat for the rest of their lives was each other. Ugh, Hannah and Des. I am apparently a first-grader who recently learned about contractions, because I just can’t. I’m happy they’re happy, and I’m happy they’re three weeks into their relationship and he already knows what kind of engagement ring to get her, but it’s still all so much.
There was one incident that really showed me who the two of them are. Luke and Robert, Danielle’s piece who looks like a CK One ad from 1997, are off to play shirtless tennis. “Want to play a game of doubles?” Luke asks, probably half jokingly. “Maybe one day,” Hannah says, mocking the very idea that the two of them would hang out with Luke and Robert.
As soon as Luke walks away, Des has to whisper what he really feels to Hannah. “At least you know I’m good at the net,” he says. “Just chuck me up at the net in doubles and I’ll fuck these motherfuckers up.” This seems, to me, redolent of Des’s style. He has some beef with Luke and the other dudes in the house from what Hannah told him but won’t do anything about it. He probably kinda sucks at tennis, but he’s going to sit there and smirk and talk about what a badass he is while he makes out with his girlfriend in front of a guy he knows she was hung up on like three weeks ago. His bark is worse than his bite, and even his bark is weaker than two Sour Patch Kids in a Mike’s Hard Lemonade. (It’s called a Britney Spears. Try it.)
I also hated when the two of them are off in the kitchen making out during the Derby party and Des asks Hannah if making out with him so much in front of everyone is making her uncomfortable. He asks her that because he knows it’s not the right thing to do, but he’s doing it anyway, pulling his dick out and swinging it at everyone in the room like it’s Magic Mike night at the old folks’ home. He even says to her, “Thanks for getting me comfortable with PDAs.” Um, no one should be that comfortable with PDA, unless we’re talking about a Personal Digital Assistant, and in that case, BlackBerries really should make a comeback.
As the crew drives to the beach on Des’s last day, they all talk about how they haven’t really gotten a chance to know him. The night before, while everyone was playing beer pong upstairs in their jammies, Des and Hannah were downstairs eating pizza he ordered (just for them) with Ciara, the most gorgeous third wheel I’ve ever seen in my life and apparently Hannah’s new BFF. Kyle says maybe the reason he didn’t want to hang with them is because he wasn’t drinking, and for a minute I was like, Oh. Yeah, that seems reasonable. But when they arrive at the beach, Des goes off with Hannah and the two of them canoodle in the dried-up seaweed onshore while the rest of the crew plays cornhole and some other beach game that I do not know the name of, because I am not heterosexual nor did I go to a state school. I don’t think Des’s self-imposed exile is about drinking; I think it’s about separatism. In the car, Carl says that what separates him is the age thing, and that makes sense to me. When I first got together with my man, I was in my early 30s and he was in his early 40s, so it’s a similar setup to Hannah and Des. He had no interest in squeezing into a twin bed with me and all my friends in our Fire Island share because all of his friends owned their own beach houses by then. He just didn’t want to slum it with a bunch of kids.
There is something else at play here too, and we see it in Hannah’s discussion both with Luke on the beach and the girls back at home. Luke says he didn’t really get to know Des so much because he was off with Hannah the whole time. Everyone gets it: He showed up to hang out with her and bang her in every room of the house, like he is crafting a letter to Penthouse Forum in his mind. But also, he’s in a group situation with her friends. He’s hot for this girl, and he should be trying to win them all over so they’ll talk him up and tell her that he is the guy for her. Instead, he’s eating pizza in the basement, and, no, pizza is not a euphemism for Hannah’s basement.
Maybe the problem is that Hannah trash-talked Luke and Kyle to Des already, and he doesn’t want to hang with the guys at all. I can see him being wary, but he doesn’t have to do facials and braid each other’s hair with the broheims. As the Housewives like to say, he could be “cordial.” When Hannah sits down with the girls, she is all like, “Get this, Luke was like, ‘Oh, I didn’t really like Des, and he didn’t make an effort to get to know us.’” She is clearly expecting the girls to do what they always do when she brings up Luke. She wants them to say, “Oh, he’s such an asshole,” “Oh, he needs to get over it,” “God, Luke is so dumb.”
That is not at all what happens. Instead, Amanda, Paige, Ciara, and Danielle all say that Des didn’t really try to make an effort to get to know anyone at all. Danielle points out that Robert was there and he was playing cornhole with the guys all day (oh, how I would love to play cornhole with Luke, Kyle, and Carl) and trying to integrate in a group situation. Hannah immediately gets defensive, assumes everyone hates Des, and walks away. Even her bestie Paige is like, “Why does everything have to be a big fight, Hannah?” The girls weren’t even talking shit about Des. They were very respectful of Hannah and her feelings for him and still she’s charging off like a toddler whose Choco Taco just fell in the gutter.
What annoys me most is the hypocrisy. Hannah says in a confessional, “Des just isn’t going to be best friends with a guy I had history with. That’s weird.” But wait, isn’t that exactly what you did to Ciara as soon as she walked into the door? You tried to be best friends with a girl who had history with a boy you were interested in. Isn’t that the same thing? Isn’t that members-in-a-group atmosphere just getting along and making the most of it? I don’t know what happened to Hannah — maybe it’s a personality transplant, maybe it’s Lyme disease, maybe she got what she thought was a COVID vaccine but was really melted-down microchips and she’s being controlled by a Russian bot farm — but something has definitely shifted.
As for Robert and Danielle, I’m also a little worried about them. Robert seems like a nice, real, normal person (which is why we probably saw so little of him), but there were two nights in a row where we saw a montage of Des and Hannah and Lindsay and Stephen getting totally nasty in their beds while Robert was passed out on his back snoring. Maybe he is taking it slow, I don’t know, but Danielle is hot. I would have been trying to press my morning wood into her backside (with consent, of course!) if I were in her bed, and I don’t even like ladies.
Finally, we have Lindsay and Stephen — our hawk and our dove, our eagle and our field mouse, our lump of organic kale and our NutriBullet. Nothing about this is good. Nothing about this is right. Danielle, to her credit, told Lindsay to her face that this wasn’t the guy for her after they drunkenly got back together. (Lindsay told her that if she remembers it the next day, it counts. If that is the rule, then my “number” is about six rather than, well, the mark of the Devil.) We all know this ends in tears, Lindsay talking about him finishing inside of her, him saying he wants to make babies with her, him moving back into the house. It’s like a butterfly attaching itself to a spider’s web and thinking that it is just relaxing in a hammock with a frozen margarita. But you can’t blame the spider. It needs its meal.