MTV’s reality series “Siesta Key” follows seven post-adolescents as they spend the summer drinking, boating, and arguing on the coast of Sarasota, Florida. The show is basically a spin off of the popular MTV series Laguna Beach, which aired between 2004 and 2006, and The Hill, which aired between 2007 and 2009. Like those earlier series, “Siesta Key” channels the vibe of shows such as “Beverly Hills, 90210”, and “The O.C,” which both star privileged, white, young narcissists. MTV was on the rise with shows such as Laguna Beach and The Hills, but ever since those shows stopped airing, MTV saw a dramatic decline in viewers. This may of been because MTV simply did not know what would draw viewers back in after these successful shows ended. Siesta Key is MTV’s way of bringing young viewers back in to the channels reality TV scheme. The show does a great job portraying the lavish life of these young individuals and draws viewers in with luxurious beaches and episodes full of drama.
The stars of “Siesta Key,” who range from 18 to 22 years of age, have developed not only their onscreen presence, but also a large following on social media. There’s Kelsey, a model who moved to Siesta Key to take care of her mother suffering from MS. Kelsey befriends Chloe, who is quickly recognized as the narrator of the show and seems to be the “alpha girl” just like Kristin Cavallari in “Laguna Beach” and “The Hills.” But, unlike Cavallari, who seemed to have control over her friends and everyone around her, Chloe is known to blow up on her friends in profanity-laden tirades. Alex, who is a law student, lives with his parents in their multi million dollar mansion. Alex somehow constructs a love quadrangle between Juliette who is his current girlfriend, Madison his ex-girlfriend, and Kelsey who is seen to be drifting from her current boyfriend, Garrett.
The show “Siesta Key” seems to signal MTV’s identity crisis with trying to figure out what to put on television to capture the audience of young people. Coming after the era of “Laguna Beach” and “The Hills,” the scripted drama is all too similar. The irony of the show is that it shows viewers what to think, and does so aggressively. In today’s age of social media such as instagram, the show mimics the picture perfect lives of these individuals, kind of like what you would see on an instagram influencers page.
What we have to remember when watching the show is that it is completely scripted, which you can obviously tell by the bad acting and forced drama. But, even with the overly scripted acting, viewers are drawn into the series and keep going back for more. This is because the exaggeration of luxury on the show. After watching the show, viewers may get the idea of if they act like them, they can have luxurious and exciting lives. But that obviously is not the case. Each episode is filled with some sort of cheating scandal, breakup, or hookup, which keeps the characters lives interesting and exciting. But, if this wasn’t scripted and breakups weren’t made up by producers to get more viewers, in reality these individuals lives would realistically have no stability.
Overall, the show does a good job trying to foreshadow what a teen wants their life to look like in the eyes of others, just like instagram. But in reality, these characters are just like you and me. Before the show, this group of friends were trying to find their way just like any college graduate. But now, with the help of MTV and Alex Kompo’s father who funded the show, these individuals are living their best lives for the rest of the world to judge.