TV Review: Bravo’s ‘100 Days of Summer,’ ‘Toned Up’

100 Days of Summer Toned Up

Bravo's betting cold weather has made people desperate for fun-in-the-sun shenanigans

Bravo is in a rut, and as proof, look no further than the cookie-cutter blue-sky series the channel is trotting out right after New Year’s: “100 Days of Summer,” about Chicagoans during that third of the year when they can actually expose some flesh; and “Toned Up,” about two wacky friends who started a workout business, and (Holy “Three’s Company,” Batman!) share an apartment with one woman’s overwhelmed fiance. Carefully massaged and clearly staged, these kinds of shows have become increasingly challenging to launch, mostly because without a clearly defined premise they’re so hard to distinguish from the pack.

The Chicago series is essentially built around a single quote uttered by one of the participants: “As soon as it gets hot, we don’t know what to do with ourselves, and we just go nuts.”

But the loose-knit assemblage of friends at the show’s center seemingly have little in common, other than the fact they were attractive (and inevitably, diverse) enough to survive the casting process – a description that also applies to “Blood, Sweat & Heels,” a third Bravo series premiering as part of this post-New Year’s anti-snow flurry, loosely devoted to “up-and-coming movers and shakers in New York’s elite circles of real estate, fashion, and media,” which mostly just sounds like an average issue of the Hollywood Reporter.

The problem is without any clear sense of connection among the players, everything in “100 Days of Summer” (which piggybacks on the title of a much better movie, incidentally) feels as phony as a pair of breasts that one of the women calls “the best present I’ve ever got myself.”

Moreover, a few of the women instantly find themselves at each other’s throats (most of the drama centers around Pascale, who people hate, apparently, because she’s beautiful), reflecting the cattiness that’s become such a familiar part of the formula.

If “Summer” is warmed-over suds on Lake Michigan, “Toned Up” is all fluff in Manhattan Beach, where pals Karena Dawn and Katrina Hodgson (no, seriously) finish each other’s sentences and, we’re told, have made quite a splash online pushing their fun-in-the-sun fitness regimen.

As a show, however, the whole exercise has about as much depth as a Gidget movie, to be embraced for its giddiness or written off as irritating, depending on one’s point of view.

The only modest wrinkle is Kat’s fiancé Brian, who patiently puts up with being the third wheel in the living quarters, show and relationship, at least as presented in the premiere. As for the situations, just think Lucy and Ethel if the two had washboard abs.

Bravo has certainly done reasonably well with a slew of similar fare, although there’s an inherent cynicism in the age-old strategy of throwing on beach-blanket shenanigans in January and assuming everyone wrapped in parkas will dutifully tune in.

If that works, it’s merely proof that it’s possible to “go nuts” while still being cooped up inside.

TV Review: Bravo's '100 Days of Summer,' 'Toned Up'

(Series; Bravo, Tue. Jan. 7, 10 p.m.)

(Series; Bravo, Thur. Jan. 2, 10:30 p.m.)

Production

Produced by Half Yard Prods.

Produced by Fishbowl Worldwide Media.

Crew

Executive producers, Abby Greensfelder, Sean Gallagher, Nicole Sorrenti; supervising producer, Matthew Ruecker; directors, Brian Wigdzinski, Allison Rubinoff; editors, Chuck Divak, Lisa Jones. 60 MIN.

Executive producers, Vin Di Bona, Beth Greenwald, Bruce Gersh, Susan Levison, Stephanie Bloch-Chambers; co-executive producer, Bob Schermerhorn; supervising producers, Jennifer Perry-Leamy, Genevieve Melville; story producers, Tamiko Jones, Christopher C. Schiavo; lead editor, Vince Bruzzese. 30 MIN.

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  1. Maria says:

    I totally agree with the author of this article. Toned Up portrays the Tone It Up girls to be ditzy and childish. I couldn’t even get through the first episode. It was so bad. It appears that they don’t take anything seriously. They needed etiquette classes, really???? I think that they really need to take their business and customer service more seriously. Aren’t they like 30!?

  2. Leesa says:

    100 days of summer = BORING! Stopped watching after first episode. God awful boring. Toned Up – I like these girls and also like their concept and they both look amazing, however they act like they are high school girls when they are actually grown women. The three’s company theme is boring so it’s a hard show to watch continuously. I channel surf through this show.

  3. Colly lattes says:

    I like they’re YouTube channel , but face it, this show. “Toned up” it’s just boring and stupid. Terrible !!!!!!!!!!!

  4. Dale says:

    Bore me. More self-important people who want people to believe they’re rich and hip.

  5. Ralph says:

    Seriously this is probably the lamest reality show ever aired on tv! The cast is trying way too hard!! Stop airing this show!!!

  6. Adrianne says:

    Terrible article from a grumpy old man (aka not someone who should be commenting on a show geared towards women). You should have spent your time on the treadmill instead of writing this article, that would have been time well spent, you never regret a workout :) I’m sure you’ll regret you ever wrote this though.

  7. TIUMel says:

    I actually agree with the article. I have a fan/ member of TIU for years ,but so far the show has portrayed them in a rather negative light. I also agree with tiuviv, it is boring because it just shows them joking and lolly gagging around making it hard to take them seriously. It’s too bad I doesn’t’ truly focus on what they stand for – healthy, clean eating and effective workouts. If this show was meant to turn on probable new members to the TIU community I can’t imagine it’s doing a very good job. I have had quite a few friends of mine whom Ive tried to get to sign up for the TIU community ask me if these are they girls I have been talking so much about because they say the show is really stupid.I’m just going to stick to the community, member emails and workouts because I find the show redic.

  8. tiuviv says:

    I’m a huge tone it up fan but still found the show to be frivolous and boring. but reality tv has never been my cup of tea. possibly the writer watched it and realised just how bad the show was? And while Karena and Katrina have made a huge impact to those women who are involved in the TIU community, you must realize that in the real outside world, no one knows or really gives a sh** about them and what they do. Those two and the rest of us live in the microcosm of the TIU world but most of the world is unconcerned and unaware of it. There’s nothing wrong with his review…I have no problem saying that while I respect these two women and are followers of them I usually don’t find myself befriending women as bubbly as them. Sue me for not wanting to be best friends with them. I think Mr. Lowry’s point is pretty valid. The way the show is edited, the two women come off as vapid and at times airheaded and I’m sorry I have no real interest in watching that thank you very much. I think I’ll take an episode of community or something instead!

  9. Genevieve says:

    Dr Mr. Lowry,
    Please do your research before you post a nasty article about two lovely women who are inspiring thousands of women. This article has no facts or reasons why you dislike this show besides it being “fluff” and your critique on how Katrina and Karena, “(no seriously) finish eachothers sentences”. Have you never spent time with women and their best friends? Girlfriends always tend to finish eachothers sentences. Your article was very shallow and had no purpose besides to try to tear down the two tv shows you wrote about. You are very much entitled to your opinion, but there should be some reasoning behind your argument. A “because I said so” article doesn’t cut it in a professional journalism world. Research needs to be done besides simply watching one episode of Tone It Up and casting judgement, as well as realizing that a middle aged male is not the target article for this tv show. Thousands of women were fans of Tone It Up before the Bravo show, and it’s meant to spread awareness of what they do, and for their fans to get a small peek into their life. It’s meant to inspire women. And although you are not the target audience for their show, it would have shown you in a good light to write a professional article critiquing their show, not this poor quality article which casts you and Variety in a terrible light.

    Dear the editor of this article,
    If your comment was genuine that their post was deleted because it looked like spam… Maybe you should take the time to read the comments. It clearly was not spam. And it was clearly a very polite response to this article which basically trashed their show for no reason. Once something is posted or deleted on the internet, someone notices. It looks very bad that their response was deleted, mistake or not, before posting or deleting on the internet more precaution should be taken. Especially since this article, and the deleted post, are causing so much backlash.

    Dear Variety,
    I am not sure that most people will be taking this news source seriously. Take a look at the quality of articles your journalists are creating. This article, while it was an opinion article, it was also poorly done and of sub par writing. It is very unprofessional for a company that wants to build itself up would post something that is not up to a respectable standard.

  10. Lazelle says:

    The Bravo show 100 Days of Summer should be called 100 Days of Dummer!
    What an insult to audiences. First and last episode I watched I am sure killed brain cells.
    Clearly this show is geared to attract an audience of maybe 16-23 age range. However, if I was in that age range I would be thinking what are these people past their prime people doing humping the stern of the boat. Gross!!
    Enough said!!

  11. Pam says:

    Oh variety- you obviously didn’t realize the strong, independent women that are brought together by k&k. Not only do they remind us to be as strong as we can on the outside, but to love ourselves for what’s inside. I’m disappointed by your journalism and the lack of respect for their response to your article. Feel free to experience a TIU meetup and see the love we all share for one another- you seem like you need a little positivity in life

  12. stephanie says:

    The “Toned Up” girls are quite the more than described here…this is a dynamic duo perfect for its audience, because their audience is mostly the people they actually train!Anyone who follows their regimen can tell how wacky they are, but in quite the motivating and loving way. They have proven to change lives positively bringing confidence to the minds, health to the bodies, and support to the trainees. No staging to this show.

  13. Promise says:

    K&K of Toned Up have done increasingly amazing things with their brand. They teach women to uplift each other not compare each other & try to be better and/or have more sex appeal than the other. The fact that you deleted their modest reply to their first bad review speaks volumes of Variety. Ha!

  14. Sara says:

    The Tone It Up ladies wrote a completely respectful and gracious response to your critique. There was absolutely no reason to delete it. Why have comments if not to offer a forum for response to your content. Variety, meet Internet.

    • Carmel Dagan says:

      The Tone It Up ladies are invited to repost their response. It was deleted not because it was taken to be disrespectful and only because the editor, reading quickly, mistook it for spam.

  15. Liz Todd says:

    You deleted Tone It Up’s comment- which was perfectly appropriate and positive because you’re embarrassed you didn’t evoke a negative reaction from them. This is pathetic. Variety is pathetic. The author is pathetic for writing this poor article. And of course he didn’t enjoy the show… HE’S NOT THE TARGET AUDIENCE! Deleting positive comments just because they don’t agree with you is a BAD way to run your business and you can guarantee people and other businesses have taken note.

  16. Lola says:

    This article was clearly strung together right before a deadline and with no research whatsoever. Bad journalism.

  17. Abby says:

    Could it be that your cynicism is due to the fact that your career has now been reduced to reviewing two “fluffy” shows you’ve clearly only seen the promos for? I’d be pissed too, but hang in there Brian, life gets better! Why don’t you go on YouTube and work out with the Tone It Up ladies? Exercise releases endorphins and endorphins make you happy! Happy people just don’t make careers out of judging and critiquing others..they just don’t! Oops, that was a play on an Elle Woods quote…guess I’m as deep as a Gidget film too! :)

  18. Ana says:

    I understand reviewing a show, but you took it to another level and tried to review them as people while only watching 20 minutes of them edited to make the most entertaining show possible. If people did the same to you through this review you have written, I’m sure you wouldn’t pleased. Deleting their comment back was wrong too. What? You cant have them thank tou for the review proving that you’re wrong and they are actually nice people? Sad.

  19. Katelyn says:

    Wow! I have lost respect for Variety!!!!! K&K posted a rather classy response to your ignorant article and you deleted it!!! Guess their respectful selves are no match for you and your immaturity!!! You are entited to your opinion but 1) DO YOUR RESEARCH 2) Handle the feedback they give, just like the feedback you gave, with respect AND 3) If you don’t have ANY clue what these two AMAZING ladies are about…. DO SO AND THEN MAKE YOUR COMMENTS!!!!

  20. Lauren says:

    Mr. Lowry, you are obviously entitled to your opinion of the Toned Up show, but I think it’s clear from your review that you are not aware of the impact that Karena and Katrina have had on countless numbers of womens’ lives around the globe. Tone It Up is not just a “fluffy” workout company. Through their blog and online community, Karena and Katrina have created a service where women can form friendships, catalog their successes (and failures) and be both inspired and inspiring to other women who are working towards the same goal of becoming as beautiful on the outside as they feel within. Toned Up reveals more about Katrina and Karena’s personalities as well as their friendship which adds meaning to their Tone It Up brand. As a Tone it Up member, these two women have inspired me to better myself in a healthy manner which has made me feel very close to my virtual trainers. To have an opportunity, through Toned Up, to get to know them better and to see how they run their business and relationships is something that I value very much. While you think it is fluff, Mr Lowry, I see an opportunity to understand my trainers better and to also understand more about what it means to be part of the Tone It Up community. Get to know the people they have affected and the outlook countless numbers of women have regarding our 21st century Ethel and Lucy, and you’ll see why Toned Up is so much more than two friends with “washboard abs,” an “overwhelmed fiance,” and crazy antics.

  21. Christine says:

    Definitely shouldn’t be writing a review when you know nothing about the Tone It Up community. They created a strong powerful community to promote healthy living and self confidence. They are smart business women who are also relatable, fun, and charismatic. The show really isn’t for people like wrote this article it’s for women and girls all around looking for empowerment and looking to love a healthy lifestyle. I agree with a commenter below, you messed with the wrong community lol

  22. Monica Orozco says:

    Dear Variety,
    I am sorry you think that of Tonedup seriously. Toneitup.com not only has a community,who are help each other to love their body and themself, they have trainers that for putting the time to motivate the women to live a healthier life.. As you may know, the US is concerned about women with diabites , cholosteral, high or low blood sugar and of course obesity, and this women need to live a much healthier life stile . The women that need to live a healthier life to get their health under contraled are being motivated to do so with Toned up. For some women, they are being inspired for more than getting their health under control but to have active life , creating a higher self esteem for their body . Toneitup is actual motivating women all over the world and the trainer are just wonderful. Finally, there are many media industries that are promoting barbie body with their editing which is making some girls anorexic I suggest for you to make a review on that not in something that a lot of women are beginning to live and love their life including a healthy life style with toneitup. Tonedup is a benefit for many .

  23. Shan says:

    Karena & Katrina are inspiring women! I have the Tone it Up plan and love Toned Up. They are so positive and motivating and help me to have a healthy life. Everyone has the right to their own opinion but it’s too bad this one is public. If you are thinking about tuning in please do! Xo

  24. I think we should all make Brian some Perfect Fit cookies and send his way. Somebody needs a random act of kindness to turn that frown upside down. LOL

  25. Sarah Anne says:

    Brian, I am sorry you messed with the wrong group of girls. Tone It Up is not only an inspiring, healthy way of living, but friendships, love, hard-work and so much more go into this brand. And believe me there are THOUSANDS upon THOUSANDS of people watching each week…and will continue to watch until we are old and gray doing heat waves, hee-haws and ab crunches in the nursing home.

  26. Courtney says:

    Truly disappointed in this surface-level review of Toned Up. Do your research. Step one would be checking out ToneItUp.com to see the downright impressive community of thousands of women who are now happier and healthier because of Karena and Katrina’s work. Shame on you for bagging on two successful business women who are promoting ideals that everyone could focus on a bit more — wellbeing and positivity– the author of this article included.

  27. Sophia says:

    Toned up is a great show with a great message. It is to encourage women to be the healthiest, happiest, and most successful women they can be. I’m sure if you checked out toneitup.com you would be surprised about the success stories and how many women worldwide love karena and Katrina, obviously you are pretty much alone in the fact that you think they are ditzy and “staged” it’s a tv show for crying out loud! Just because you are jealous you weren’t successful enough to have your own reality tv show doesn’t mean you should trash those that do (:

  28. yes.it.is says:

    TonedUp is rad! I have been following their YouTube Channel for years and was SUPER stoked to find out they now have a TV Show so we can get a sneak peek into their personal lives&personalities. Clearly, you don’t know the power these two women have and their ability to inspire many to get fit. Everyone has their own opinion, but I think you should do your homework before trashing it.

  29. Do I really want to watch 2 skinny ditzy bitches work out on the beach? Hell no.

  30. Kate says:

    Hey maybe you should check out the Tone It Up girls online following before you trash it. My issue with this article is you obviously don’t know the YouTube community also the only part that is staged is the ditzyness in that show and what I’m sure is some of the mess ups because they documented the living situation and such before this show took off and it’s not even like that anymore since Katrina is now married. Anyway you’d be amazed how many views they can get even if Bravo doesn’t work for them those girls are still making a killing online.

  31. Caitlyn says:

    I really liked Toned Up but 100 Days of Summer looks beyond bad.

  32. Haylie says:

    Love you K&K! You both are inspirations !

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