MTV's 'Siesta Key' debuts July 31. Two of our resident young-adult staff writers watched an early screening and have recapped every minute for your benefit.
After what feels like decades of build-up, MTV's kings and queens of Siesta Key will finally grace our television screens Monday, July 31. We caught an early screening of the first episode, and it turns out the crowns are actually worn by the creative royalty behind the scenes — who managed to turn the lives of rich 20-somethings into an almost-compelling storyline. Incredible.
Following an introduction of the characters, the episode opens on a dinner date between main cast members Juliette and Alex. The two are clearly an item, but they don’t seem to be able to put a label on it. Juliette tells Alex she wants to both “have fun” and also be the only girl in his life. But his vague response to this desire is later clarified when he tells his ex-girlfriend Madisson (during a romantic walk on the beach, complete with Veuve Clicquot) that he “doesn’t really” have a girlfriend right now.
We learn that Madisson just graduated from college, and her mind is definitely on reconnecting with Alex. Her sister Paige is the lone voice of reason on this show, cautioning Madisson that Alex just thinks of her as his “flavor of the week.”
When Alex tells his best friend Chloe about his date with Juliette, he gives the impression that the two are just friends. Chloe thinks Juliette wants more: “You can’t sleep with people and still be friends,” she says.
We meet former international model and new girl in town, Kelsey, during a hot day at the beach with her muscular beau, Garrett. She’s excited for her first summer on the Key, and Garrett seems to be excited in another way.
Kelsey meets Chloe when she starts a bartending job at Casey Key Tiki Bar, where — look at that! — Alex and his childhood pal Brandon happen to stop by for a drink (in the middle of the day, via boat. It’s casual). Chloe hardcore flirts with Brandon, to which Brandon replies by slowly eating a cherry while maintaining eye contact with her (it’s okay, we’re gagging, too). Alex then invites Kelsey to his upcoming birthday bash.
After a tearful heart-to-heart between Kelsey and her mom, a funny lunch with Brandon and his mom and several boring scenes of the cast members getting ready for Alex’s party, it’s finally time for the main event.
We’ll spare you the details, because most of the scenes were just slow-motion shots of people dancing and close-ups of young girls’ bikini-clad behinds, but here are the most important things to know about this soirée:
- Somehow, every physically fit young person in Sarasota is there. And we have a sneaking suspicion they flew some in from somewhere else.
- Juliette starts by trying to play hard to get but is lustfully thrown over Alex’s shoulder by the end.
- Kelsey meets the rest of the squad and gets ogled by every male in her vicinity, to Garrett’s dismay. (Did you hear? She used to be a model.)
- Both Chloe and her gal pal Amanda flirt with Brandon (scandal!).
- Alex drinks an exorbitant amount of expensive Champagne from an oversized Champagne goblet (he’s the King, after all).
- Madisson and Juliette have perhaps the most painfully faux-friendly conversation ever, during which Juliette asks Madisson to alert her if Alex ever makes a move on her.
Oh, and the episode ends on a cliffhanger the morning after. We won't say too much, but it involves Alex and Chloe, a Facetime call — and a potentially broken bone.
Maybe anything really can happen on Siesta Key.
The way the show was filmed stood out to us right away, and we wanted to take a minute to discuss the heavy reliance on slow-motion shots and Siesta Key scenery.
NK: The way it’s shot is clearly cinematic, but the slow-motion shots throws me off — was it really necessary to make Alex and Madisson’s expensive walk on the beach in slow motion? (Or was Alex just walking slow because he was afraid of dropping the bottle of Veuve Clinquot that cost his dad $60?)
CA: Haha, I agree it was kind of distracting at first, but in the end, I think it’s what made the show true to the cast members’ promises that it would be classy. Aside from the underage drinking and close-ups of girls’ butts, it was.
NK: Yes, I think the blatant objectification of young girls via tight shots was more distracting than the slow motions ... but that’s a whole other conversation haha.
CA: And we will definitely discuss that, haha. The way it was filmed, though, did make me feel like it was a promotion of the Key, instead of the actual show.
NK: Honestly, though, it is promotional. At press day, all of the cast members mentioned they wanted to do this because they wanted to “represent” their city well and get more people to come here, which now is even more interesting knowing that there’s been so much backlash from residents who think it’s going to bring in rowdier tourists (AKA young people who want to party where the gold swan blow-ups are).
CA: They definitely accomplished that, then. The way it’s shown is very true to the trailers in that it totally shows off how beautiful the area is, which is one of the few things people have had to say about the show that was nice. I don’t know though, if it’s enough to draw in the crowds that people are afraid of.