Sorry, “Bachelorette,” we don’t need you and your “dance contest” trophy anymore.
But thank you for filming in Bluffton and on Hilton Head Island last spring. That was fun for all of us, minus me (on account of the bug bites I got while sneaking onto various sets, the loud and late work-night concert put on by a country-music stranger and the social requirement that I now watch four hours of a show I was hoping to avoid so I could — years from now and during the icebreaker game at my new nursing home — say “And another super interesting thing about me is that back before tiny screens were sewn to our eyeballs and TV networks were dissolved, I never did watch that one dating show you all liked so much. It seemed a little gauche.” That dream is lost now.)
What a taste of Hollywood, though, right?
See? I’m not totally unpleasant and cynical about “The Bachelorette.” We got to watch the best parts of our hometowns tastefully broadcast to the nation. And I got to text my aunt in Rhode Island “UH-DUH” for the first time in response to her informing me that “tonight’s episode of ‘The Bachelorette’ is on Hilton Head!!!!”
But, again, it’s over and we can all move on because there are bigger things on the horizon.
Such as HOLY WHAT!?! A CHRISTIAN SOAP OPERA NAMED “HILTON HEAD ISLAND”!
I go on one gloriously long summer vacation, and the island becomes a daytime-drama miracle in my absence.
A Christian soap opera, though?
I’m not questioning it. I’m just repeating what everyone says to me after I tell them about it. “A Christian soap opera? How does that work?” I imagine it’ll work just fine, you sexy-plot-needing perverts. A bonus: Probably there will be fewer kids cloned, fewer vampire zombie ghosts, and fewer stepmothers marrying one stepson, divorcing him and then marrying their other stepson before going back to the father because he is now on his deathbed with an unsigned will in hand and a major grudge against his offspring.
Did I just describe a Bible story? I hope not.
Really, though, does the plot matter right now? I’m not religious, but I’m totally going to watch because, hello, it’s called “Hilton Head Island.” And, guess what. That title is not kidding around. It’s not just happenstance. It’s not just trendy now because of “The Bachelorette,” which I bet “The Bachelorette” wishes were the case.
(Forgive me! There were so many bug bites!)
Tim Pipher, who is the creator of “Hilton Head Island,” set his show on this island because, you guessed it, he’s been here before.
Actually, he lived here.
Pipher and his wife, Pam, are the founders of WHHI-TV on Hilton Head and ran the station from 1992 through 2001, when they sold it. Two of their three sons were born here, and the island is special to the family.
“I always thought Hilton Head Island had all the elements to base a dramatic TV series,” Tim wrote in an email to me this week, “great natural beauty, a sense of community and a reputation for glamour.”
Beyond that, Tim and Pam, who is from Spartanburg, met at the University of South Carolina, so “there was no question” they would choose South Carolina — and Hilton Head Island in particular — as the show’s setting.
“All the action takes place in actual Hilton Head locations,” Tim wrote. “... We often make reference to the actual names of these locations and used establishing shots of each location so viewers will know exactly where we are.”
He said we can expect to see landmark cameos of places like the South Carolina Yacht Club, Caretta Coffee Co., Fresh Produce, Piggly Wiggly, Local Pie Woodfired Pizza, Orange Leaf, Poseidon Coastal Cuisine, Skull Creek Boathouse, Big Jim’s BBQ, Burgers and Pizza, The Westin Hilton Head Resort & Spa and the Robert Trent Jones Oceanfront Golf Course.
And let’s not forget the beach.
“We also mixed in spectacular aerial footage of the island,” Tim wrote.
The series, which was not filmed on Hilton Head beyond the exterior, interior and environmental shots, revolves around the lives of the fictional Trisk family, who own the fictional ISLE Television Network and fictionally live in the very real beautiful home of a very real couple who really live in Sea Pines.
Though no local actors will appear in “Hilton Head Island,” (maybe we can make Donna Mills, Antonio Sabato Jr. and Wink Martindale honorary islanders?), there’s a chance we might see ourselves in some of the background shots.
Tim, by the way, is the owner of L.A. Castle Studios in Burbank, Calif., and is also the director and producer of the 22-episode show. The series will stream this fall on Pure Flix, which gives you have plenty of time to practice hitting the pause button, slapping your husband’s leg and shouting “I THINK THAT WAS US, ED!”