Hot Mess Summer: this misery-packed reality show is a total waste of Rylan’s dazzling charisma
Whenever there is a pool, a white cup that cannot be seen through, a fancy house, sunny weather, and a set-up that encourages young British individuals with unexplainable tattoos on their ribs to be highly competitive in their sexual desires, I am reminded of Love Island. Love Island follows a simple and organized format: gather attractive people from various mid-sized towns in Britain and place them in a villa for six weeks, remove their sense of time, and observe as they fill their days with drama while being half-naked and bored. Despite its peak in popularity from 2017 to 2022, there have been three seasons since the summer of Davide and Ekin-Su (currently hosted by Maya Jama, if anyone still cares!). However, the excitement has faded from the show. Will this discourage other TV channels and streaming services from attempting to replicate its unique magic by sending their production teams on a free vacation to a popular European beach destination? Probably not. This is mainly because these networks most likely started the production process when Love Island was still popular and successful, and now that it is not, it is too late to cancel all the meetings and shows that have already been planned.
In February 2022, the show Hot Mess Summer was launched on Prime Video. The concept seemed appealing at the time – eight young British individuals with mysterious rib tattoos are sent to Zante for a summer of chaos, partying, and excessive drinking, similar to a Geordie Shore reboot. However, they are soon informed by Rylan that this is not the case. Instead, they have been nominated by their friends to work at the largest bar in Zante for the summer as punishment for their wild partying ways back home. Their new boss, Lee, has strict rules against drinking and fraternizing with customers, but the group simply laughs in his face.
What is Hot Mess Summer? It encompasses a mix of experiences: the wild and chaotic partying of Geordie Shore, the luxurious servitude of Ibiza Weekender, and the strict discipline of shows like Lads Army or Sun, Sex and Suspicious Parents that preach the idea of young people paying for their joy with hard work. This concept is deeply rooted in British culture – the belief that youth must be reprimanded for indulging in too much happiness and freedom, and that the only way to teach them is through menial and demeaning tasks. Hot Mess Summer is essentially an amplification of the argument to reinstate national service. Today’s young people have it too easy, don’t they? They go to the gym and get fancy haircuts. Let’s toughen them up. Let’s make them suffer, just like we did.
I believe that the main issue with this format is the presence of misery. Personally, I do not enjoy witnessing others in a state of misery or being forced to blindly follow rules and face consequences for minor offenses. However, this is essentially what Hot Mess Summer consists of. In the first episode, Lee, who frequently emphasizes the importance of good service and proper serving techniques, attempts to teach the eight young British individuals with unexplainable rib tattoos how to make a vodka-coke and serve it to a customer. While his back is turned, they sneak drinks and he sternly reprimands them and takes away their glasses. This continues for 10 minutes. Why am I watching a grown man prevent other adults from drinking? Is this supposed to be entertaining? Because it certainly does not seem enjoyable for anyone involved.
Despite Rylan’s valiant efforts, his voiceover is the only redeeming factor in this chaotic situation. He excitedly announces his own entrances with phrases like, “Wow, don’t I look amazing!” However, it seems like a waste of his charming personality to make occasional appearances in the villa and ask hungover men in tank tops about their night (to which they typically respond with a smirk and a simple “yeah”). Not every show can be a success, and maybe it’s time to take a break from Love Island for a few summers and reassess our feelings towards it.