'Endless Summer': Snapchat's new reality series is a millennial reincarnation of MTV's Laguna Beach — in 5-minute episodes
It's no secret that 2018 has been a pretty tough year for Snap Inc., the parent company of Snapchat: the departure of top-level executives, rock-bottom stock prices and losing its place as the most popular app among American teens to its nemesis Instagram. Even 20-year-old hypebeast Lubba Sabbat refused to promote its Snap Spectacles in public despite being paid tens of thousands in advance. It might have all started with a tweet by Kylie Jenner back in February that wiped out billions in its market value and crushed its following.
Now, in a desperate attempt to lure back the millions of teenyboppers that fled the scene, Snapchat has launched a slew of original short-form under the umbrella of its Snap Originals initiative. If the sound of Snapchat going down the path of Netflix sounds a little too cringe-worthy, there are a few more essential facts to know: all episodes are presented in 5-minute bursts that will disappear like the platform's self-destructing messages (although catch-ups will be available after the season ends), available free-of-charge but interrupted with ads, PG-13 rated and AR-enabled to provide compelling storytelling similar to daytime soap operas like the long-running Days of Our Lives.
Out of the six shows available on the platform now, Snap Original's first reality series Endless Summer has piqued interested with its millennial throwback to the heydays of MTV's Laguna Beach and The Hills in the early 2000s. Based in the same Orange County as its counterpart, the show switches up the high school pettiness and vocal-fry of Kristin Cavallari and Lauren Conrad for a more fresh-faced duo, Summer McKeen and her all-American lover boy Dylan Jordan who are focussed on their careers as social media influencers.
Produced by Bunim/Murray Production (which also produces E!'s Keeping Up With the Kardashians), the 12-episode series follows the life of Mckeen, as she relocates to California from Oregon in an attempt to kick it in the fast lane. If social media following is the measure and currency of a modern digital native, then the 19-year-old is the perfect candidate for the series with over 1.6 million followers on Instagram and nearly 2 million subscribers on Youtube.
Endless Summer is a montage of all the tropes one has come to expect of the influencer lifestyle: pretty beach shots, makeup tutorials, lovey-dovey teenage drama, the makings of a wannabe pop star as well as a good sprinkling of the prerequisite cliffhangers to keep a young audience glued in anticipation of another daily bite-sized offering. The drama is mild, none of the slutty and catty scenes we loved in the noughties: Summer suspects Sidney of having a crush on her boyfriend Jordan; Summer can't get along with Dylan's mother; Dylan can't make up his mind about moving to Los Angeles; Summer's other influencer friends want to cash in on her videos. It's so hard being pretty and popular these days.