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Siesta Key: 5 things you need to know about MTV's new Florida reality series

The cast of Siesta Key during press interviews at Gary Kompothecras's mansion in Siesta Key. The MTV series premieres July 31 at 10 p.m.
The cast of Siesta Key during press interviews at Gary Kompothecras's mansion in Siesta Key. The MTV series premieres July 31 at 10 p.m.
Published Jul. 31, 2017

By now you probably know MTV shot a reality series in the number one beach in America. Siesta Key, airing Monday at 10, follows a group of young adults as they navigate life in their early 20s over a summer in sunny Florida.

The Times previously reported that the mastermind behind this new show is none other than Dr. Gary Kompothecras of 1-800-Ask-Gary. His son, Alex, is the star of the show, and much of the action in the series' first episode happens inside and out of Kompothecras' marble mansion on the beach.

Kompothecras even makes a few cameos in the premiere.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: What MTV's Siesta Key has to do with 1-800-Ask-Gary

In the premiere, cast member Juliette Porter calls Siesta Key "our secret paradise" where there is "a lot of money and even more drama."

Here's what you need to know about the new show that's sure to be the talk of the town.

Fans of the original teen reality show will want to assign labels to the cast of Siesta Key. After a few episodes, the LC, the Steven, the Kristin and the Lo will probably emerge.
But Siesta Key has some key differences from Laguna Beach. Obviously, it's set in Florida, but also the cast isn't in high school. They're all in that sweet spot between end of high school and post-college life.

It comes off as a mix between the high school drama of Laguna Beach and the glamorous lives of The Hills.

The cast of eight range in age from 19 to 25. Some just graduated college, some are former models and some are just looking for a relaxing summer before moving on to their careers.

At least for these privileged early 20-somethings, the possibilities are endless and the biggest problems they seem to have so far are finding the perfect bathing suit for a mansion party and having the most fun over a summer in paradise.

In the first episode, cast member Brandon Gomes meets him mom for lunch at The Cottage while Chloe Trautman shows Kelsey Owens the bartending ropes at Casey Key Fish House and Tiki Bar.

MTV also shot scenes at Siesta Key Village, a beachside shopping village, and Big Pass Sandbar, which separates the north end of Siesta Key from the south end of Lido Key.

No surprise here -- Siesta Key has a soundtrack that matches its summer-in-paradise vibes.

Weezer sings It Feels Like Summer while bathing suit-clad partygoers file into Alex's mansion. Lana Del Rey croons Love while Madisson talks to her sister on the beach about being burned by Alex. And Pauly Apostolides, Alex's cousin, sings a little birthday rap when the party kicks into high gear.

There's also Ed Sheeran's Shape of You, CAPPA's Other Girls, Hailee Steinfeld's Most Girls and Flo Rida's Zillionaire.

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It's reality TV. Some people are going to love it, and some people are going to hate it.

Reactions to the announcement and debut of the first trailer for the show were swift and, in some cases, negative. One Sarasota-based video blogger took to Facebook to express his outrage over the portrayal of his hometown.

Watch: Sarasota vlogger expresses outrage over MTV's Siesta Key

"(Siesta Key is) not a place where people just go party and that's all that they do," Louie Carey said. "It's going to turn into that. It's going to turn into that because of this show."

Local concerns aside, reality television is supposed to be about giving viewers a glimpse into other people's lives that they might not otherwise experience. And, spoiler alert, much of reality TV is scripted in some way.

As a Florida native, my advice to those watching around the country is to remember that this series is not wholly representative of what the state or even Siesta Key is really like.

And for those disgruntled locals who are already full of outrage, just give the series a chance. You don't have to watch it. We won't know the impact -- good or bad -- until the series airs.

And, hey, at least it isn't like Jersey Shore.

On the eve of the premiere for MTV's reality show Siesta Key, a local screening party was canceled in part due to death threats aimed at one of the stars.

Kompothecras confirmed to the Tampa Bay Times the party scheduled for Monday night at CineBistro in Sarasota was canceled because his son and series star, Alex, had received death threats, among other reasons.

"I wouldn't say that's the only reason," he said. "There are other reasons."

A local Facebook group, Boycott Siesta Key MTV, which has about 4,000 followers, also planned to protest the night of the premiere party.

READ MORE: Local premiere party for Siesta Key canceled after death threats aimed at its star

Contact Chelsea Tatham at ctatham@tampabay.com. Follow @chelseatatham.

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