Hannah Berner and Paige DeSorbo open up about the ups, downs and in-betweens of filming season 5 of 'Summer House' amid the pandemic.
Summer House might be the Bravo show that was built to film amid the pandemic. Production shifted slightly for season 5, with the housemates -- Hannah Berner, Paige DeSorbo, Amanda Batula, Kyle Cooke, Carl Radke, Danielle Olivera, Lindsay Hubbard (plus her boyfriend Stephen Traversie), Luke Gulbranson and newcomer Ciara Miller -- staying put in their Hamptons rental for six weeks straight. No escapes back to the city, no nights out. Just 10 (sometimes) friends living together, day in, day out, 24/7. That's more than 60,000 minutes of uninterrupted time.
"I don't think people are meant to be stuck in one place for six weeks, and we were the experiment to prove that," Hannah quips to ET over video chat, alongside Paige who offers, "It's a different show."
"We fight so crazy every summer," Paige adds. "And this was such a different one because we were living together [non-stop], and I think we got in some of the most explosive fights we ever had this summer, but it was really eye-opening because we were in the middle of a pandemic -- and still are -- so there was a sense of really being thankful for each other, and that we were all healthy."
"Like, what an opportunity," she says. "I feel like that outshined a lot of things and by the end, we're still all friends, we'll always be friends."
While the Summer House cast may still be friends today, it's safe to say they weren’t friends every day they were in the house during season 5. The premiere kicks off with Hannah and Lindsay at odds over comments Hannah made about Lindsay treating her poorly in the press, a first-time fourth-wall breaking moment for the show.
"She was upset about it," Hannah says of a comment she made about Lindsay on a podcast. "I think we all go on places and talk about the show, and promote the show, I think she knows it wasn't something going out to hurt her. I was promoting Summer House."
"I came in this season, I felt very wronged by her," she continues. "I walked in and she didn't say hi to me, and I remember thinking, OK, I can [be in] this house for six weeks with his girl and walk on eggshells, or I can lay it out on the table first night and be like, I don't like being treated like that. Either be my friend or don't -- and I kind of came in a little hot, but I was setting a new standard for how I wanted to be treated in the house."
"We love boundaries," Paige coos. There seem to be a lot of new boundaries established this season, as relationships either changed off-season or mid-season. Hannah ended season 4 in a near-relationship with Luke, but is now happily dating comedian Des Bishop (whom she doesn't expect to watch the show). Luke shows up in season 5 with a new woman, Ciara, a would-be rival-turned-ally for Hannah.
"I didn't know about her, which was weird 'cause he was talking to me all the time," Hannah teases. "The whole thing felt shady and fishy, it felt like a weird feeling in your gut. I was like, if she comes in and she's f**king annoying, like I have to deal with this mofo -- sorry, didn't want to curse -- and then some girl he brought in for six weeks? She walked in and when we both realized that we both liked cats, that’s when I knew there was potential for a bond with this girl."
"Also, I'm not one to immediately blame the girl when something happens or if there's timelines crossing," she adds. "I was actually excited to see what I can learn more about, what Luke is really like from someone who knows him in an intimate way."
Hannah and Ciara quickly compare notes on the hockey player/The Flight Attendant cameo-r (he briefly appeared as Kaley Cuoco's hook-up in the pilot), a series of receipts which might change how the audience views Luke.
"Oh honey, enlightening," Hannah shares. "Obviously I wasn't thinking that Luke was ever gonna be trustworthy from how he acted last summer, but I didn’t understand the extent of it."
"It gets hard to have fun when you learn the truth about stuff," she adds, saying viewers saw Luke through her own "rose-colored glasses" last summer and should be prepared to see him in a new light. On top of Ciara (whom Paige and Hannah say they love), there's also a Lindsay twist. The trailer shows her approaching Luke after seemingly breaking things off with Stephen ("They end up where they're supposed to end up in the end," Paige offers of that relationship), then cuts to what sounds like a bathroom or closet hook-up.
"Lindsay already f**ked Luke," Hannah later tells a gobsmacked Paige.
"I think Lindsay and Luke…" Hannah starts before cutting herself off. "You're gonna see things about people’s relationships that you didn’t know about by the end and I'll leave it at that."
"OK, that was the best tease," Paige replies. "I should go check their Instagram to see if they're dating!"
Speaking of Instagram and dating, the Gigglers -- fans of Hannah and Paige's Giggly Squad podcast -- noticed she recently started re-following her ex-boyfriend Perry Rahbar on Instagram after unfollowing him last fall. The pair broke-up sometime after filming for season 5 of Summer House began; Perry actually dropped Paige off at the house.
"Perry and I were friends before we started dating, so we have a lot of overlapping social circles and friends," Paige explains of the re-follow. "The last thing we want is for them to go through this ‘divorce’ and they have to pick [sides]."
"When we broke up, I think we took the appropriate amount of time to be apart -- and he lives in Miami and I live in New York, so we're not running into each other -- but we always knew we were gonna be in each other's lives forever," she adds. "We text now. He'll call and check in. We're still very good friends, we still have that love and respect, but I think we're both very happy with our current situations. He will be in my life forever… unless I f*** it up. You never know! Season 6?"
Viewers will see Paige explore her feelings about her relationship on the show -- "I'm excited for people to see, really, my real feelings documented through six weeks, 'cause there were a lot of times I was like, I'm crazy. This man is perfect and I am the one that’s messed up, which is true. … A break up is never easy [and] there were times I was like, this is insane. There were times I was like, maybe I'll move to Bali and change my name." -- as well as her rekindled feelings for season 3 fling Carl. Some fans seem to think they're now a couple.
"Carl and I have always had this unspoken bond and friendship where I feel like we've never really fought, we've always had each other's backs and he was going through a really pivotal time in his life," Paige offers up, referencing Carl’s decision to get sober. "I feel like I was going through one, as well … and we kind of just got drawn to each other."
"It's very easy to talk to Carl, and our friendship one thousand percent takes a different form this summer," she adds. "I've always loved Carl. I'll always love Carl."
Much like with Luke, Hannah says the audience will see a new version of Carl than the one they've known, but better than Luke, who at one point in the trailer yells, "I don’t like you!" at someone before a brawl breaks out at the front door.
"That's my favorite part because as someone from Minnesota, in the midwest, it's like that's the meanest thing you could think of in that moment," Hannah laughs. "His brain was like trying hard to think of something terrible. He's like, ‘I don't like you!’ And you're like, no. No, that didn't… that didn't do it for me."
"That was one of the biggest fights of the summer and thankfully Hannah and I weren't involved," Paige notes.
"Once the potential that violent, physical aspects happened, Paige and I removed ourselves, because we're strictly s**t-talkers," Hannah adds. "We can sh**t-talk, but the second it's physical, we're out."
It's not all drama, though, as there will be some light-hearted moments, love moments (including a "wedding" -- TBD if it's legally binding -- for Kyle and Amanda, whose real nuptials were sidelined by the pandemic) and life moments.
"Our mental health definitely went up and down," Hannah admits. "Paige and I … sometimes we just couldn't get out of bed some days, and then like some days we just couldn't stop laughing and … we were really crazy workaholic some days."
"It became a co-working space, which was hard because, like, I was recording podcasts, but then Kyle was in some meeting yelling for no reason," she continues, "and then Danielle is using all the internet."
"Any time the internet didn't work, we just naturally blamed Danielle," Paige says. "It became a joke, like she's probably, like, up making a powerpoint, and that's why the connection to Real Housewives of New York is not great right now."
"Stephen did a lot on his laptop, so I wanted to be like, 'Lindsay, get rid of him because we need more bandwidth!'" Hannah jokes, though a bit ominously.
Overall, though, the ladies say season 5 was all about "growth," growth that's continued off-camera, too. Paige recently learned the power of her words when she offhandedly remarked about Bridgerton star Regé-Jean Page being handsome and "light-skinned" on her and Hannah's podcast, which opened her eyes to the conversation surrounding colorism in the Black community. Her comments, which she made while explaining why she thought the actor was a perfect fit for the role of James Bond, made the rounds on fan Instagram accounts, many of which called for her "cancelation."
"First, I want to say I am so sorry," she says. "I never wanted to equate the color of skin with why I thought he was perfect for the role. I thought he was perfect for the role because he's hot and I would marry him tomorrow, and I think this whole year has been very eye-opening, and growing and acknowledging mistakes and holding not only other people accountable, but really holding yourself accountable."
"I can't do anything else but continue to learn and grow from this," she adds. "I'm so thankful that I had Hannah when this was all happening, because I really leaned on her and we've really talked about it and I'm just so sorry and will continue to educate myself and learn and know what is right and what is wrong for the rest of my life."
"I was so mad at myself and heartbroken that I could even hurt people," she says. "That's so never my first intention or my first thought."
"Owning your mistake, and other people who may not have even comprehended what happened could have learned from what happened," Hannah adds. "We're just all about learning, not being afraid to mess up and owning stuff and moving forward. There's so much more to learn, and Paige and I are really really passionate about [the Black Lives Matter movement] and about just learning more and more more."
Summer House airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT starting Feb. 4.