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What The Fuck Is Going On With Idol?

Filed Under: TV Reviews

brett-loewenstern-let-it-be-01-2011-02-10-450x305

This should not be on television.

Preface: I’ve never really watched American Idol. I mean , I’ll tune in to the first few episodes for the sheer humor of watching unassuming retards belt out popular songs with absolutely no idea of how bad they are. I’ve also occasionally watched the final episode, though the drama between the last two standing is generally lost on me, having missed the season. But for the most part, Idol has been one of few instances where my love of all things pop culture doesn’t prevail (over my love of not spending three hours a week watching other people sing).

But I was swayed by the hype surrounding this year’s major changes, specifically the ousting of Simon and Paula for Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez. I had always liked Simon—how could any self-respecting fan of reality television NOT like Simon—but Paula was boring, and even Simon had in the last few seasons run out of ways to say “you’re awful.” The switcheroo seemed like a good call: today’s kids know both Tyler and Lopez (let’s be honest, Paula Abdul was lost on anyone under 25) and the change paved the way for Randy to let loose with his inner hater, which for the most part he has.

But now the dust has settled and we’re on the Top 24 (which, what the shit kind of number is that?) and Idol is asking me to spend not one, not two, but FIVE hours of my time watching this week (I’ll generously round down to 3.5 when commercials are excluded). Based on the four hours I’ve already watched, I just can’t see why. Maybe it was always this weak in the beginning; maybe all the hopefuls need Week 1 to find their sea legs and wrap their minds around performing to an audience of hundreds (to say nothing of the 20+ million television viewers) instead of singing at karaoke bars, or into hairbrushes in their bedrooms. But based on the 24 performances I’ve seen, this season is incredibly weak sauce. Here’s why.

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kira

10:35 AM on March 3rd, 2011 | 

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We’re the Kids in America

Filed Under: TV Reviews

Jesus I'm getting old.

Jesus I'm getting old.

For whatever reason, despite being well outside MTV’s target age demographic, I was really looking forward to Skins. After all, the network knocked it out of the park with Jersey Shore, and I’ve never really given up on stalwarts like The Real World. Let’s just say while everyone was moaning about MTV replacing music videos with scripted shows and reality fare, I was among the few (many?) cheering my support. Besides, what are MTV shows if not extended advertisements for new indie songs you can find (shocker) on MTV-supported Rhapsody.

So it took me a full ten minutes last night to admit something I had hoped wouldn’t be true—Skins is really bad. Having anticipated something like a fresher Gossip Girl, or a My So Called Life 2.0, instead Skins only lived up to the one show everyone has been comparing it to since MTV’s ad barrage started: Undressed. Read More ›

 
kira

12:33 PM on January 18th, 2011 | 

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Bienvenido a Miami

Filed Under: TV Reviews

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I can’t believe it was only six months ago that I wrote my first post on RA about Jersey Shore, when the show was just a few episodes in and the media/pop culture firestorm surrounding it hadn’t yet reached its peak. Oh, how things have changed.

The first episode of the much-anticipated second season premiered on MTV last night, and unless you live under a rock (or are older than 35) you know that the network’s eagerness to get the now-famous cast back on air led them to shoot Season 2 in Miami when it was still snowing buckets on the East Coast.

So far, the geographic change seems at worst harmless, and at best necessary. Since JS Season 1 only ended a few months ago, it would be exceedingly hard to revive the novelty of the show’s first weeks in the same house and at the same bars. Indeed, it’s not such a bad idea to test the legs of the cast—can they be as interesting, or perhaps more interesting, when removed from the very scene that gave the show its name? Answer: yes.

Watching The Situation, Pauly D, Vinny, Ronnie, Sammi, Snooki and JWoww (more on Angelina later) reunite was like meeting up with old friends again, and even though we know many of the cast members have spent the last four months within arms’ length of one-another, it still felt like they were all excited to be re-living the very experience that got them here in the first place. Sort of like how the three months you spend planning the prom (what, you guys didn’t have overanxious female friends in high school?) didn’t manage to undermine the greatness of seeing your peers in evening wear. (Well, that, and the drinking; everyone’s looking forward to the drinking.) Read More ›

 
kira

11:18 AM on July 30th, 2010 | 

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Cruel Cruel Summer

Filed Under: TV Reviews

So I know I’m several weeks late with the inevitable roundup of summer television, but I like to get a little settled before I pass judgment on hours of programming that I’ll probably continue watching out of sheer boredom after I’ve long since established that it’s making me progressively dumber (see: Rock of Love). I like to catch a few episodes, allow myself to get mildly invested in the characters/contestants/suitors before I decide whether a show is “worth” an hour of my Sunday afternoon, which might otherwise be spent watching foreign films, reading literature or pontificating on the meaning of life. Seriously, I’m a very busy person.

So here’s what I’m watching this summer, and what you should be too, if you know what’s good for you.


tvali-100x100THE BACHELORETTE: I’m a little late to this particular line of shows; all I know is both The Bachelorette and predecessor The Bachelor (shit started in 2002!) are the mainstream equivalents of VH1’s romantic contest-based programming. The only difference is there’s more mush—poetry, hand-holding, prolonged eye contact without resulting sexual contact—and fewer strippers. Bachelorette Ali, who is apparently a cast-off from a past season of The Bachelor (sort of the ABC version of Real World/Road Rules Challenge), seems sufficiently generic; she’s the kind of girl you’d pass in a J. Crew with a small dog in her purse. Her eligible men are equally nondescript, to the point that I’ve watched at least three episodes and couldn’t pair names with faces. Fortunately for ABC, the sheer voyeurism of watching people try to fall in love means it’s hard to fuck this one up.

Verdict: Watch with a hand on the remote. Some scenes—like Ali being serenaded by anyone, anywhere—are too perfectly awkward to miss. Others, like the ENDLESS rose ceremony, are easy to skip.


tvtopchef-100x100TOP CHEF D.C.: Here’s the thing about Top Chef: it’s getting a little…old. The formula is the same every season and even though they switch cities, unless you’re familiar with the culinary inner-workings of Chicago versus New York versus D.C., the guest chefs and restaurant cameos aren’t going to make much of a difference. It doesn’t help that a lot of the challenges are the same (and then again repeated on Top Chef Masters which, let’s be honest, is just a space filler between TC seasons so you don’t start watching something else in that time slot). That said, this season of Top Chef seems to have the requisite cast of characters: the early front-runner, the power-hungry female, the trod-upon foreigner. Add some spices and voila! Decent television.

Verdict: If you’ve watched the last six seasons, you might as well keep on keeping on. But make sure you have food around; after one particularly tantalizing episode I found myself dipping pretzel rods in butter.


tvworkofart-100x100WORK OF ART: In its never-ending quest to find the “top” everything—chef, fashion designer, hair stylist, hair stylist for poodles—Bravo has moved on to perhaps the most subjective of all topics: art. Work of Art throws a bunch of weirdos with artistic inclinations in one room, where they tackle assigned inspirations that run the gamut from portraiture to book covers. To be honest, I had limited hope for this show. I get the Bravo thing, I buy into it, but as someone who’s spent life wishing her technical ability matched her drive to create art, I wasn’t keen on watching people have their work slammed. So far, Bravo has proved me wrong: the ‘assignments’ are broad enough that it’s hard to argue people are being pigeon-holed and the variety in skills is huge; the show includes everything from painters to performance artists. The only weak point: the judges. But to be fair, Tim Gunn set the bar pretty high.

Verdict: If you like Bravo’s other fare, this one is well worth the time. And if you don’t like Bravo’s other fare, why the fuck are you reading my blog?


tvyourecutoff-100x100YOU’RE CUT OFF: VH1 never ceases to amaze. Just when I think they’ve exhausted the possibilities for trashy spin-off shows, they come up with something totally original (and by original I mean “original”) to hold the line until Ray J and another gaggle of hookers can be rounded up. You’re Cut Off follows a dozen spoiled princesses (think My Super Sweet 16, plus ten years) as they’re thrown in a house together with a life coach who teaches them lessons like “Toilets don’t clean themselves” and “Shoes don’t HAVE to cost $4,000.” It’s predictably entertaining to watch women who count tiaras among their casual-wear try to figure out how to grocery shop, or sweep a floor. Unfortunately the life coach/host isn’t harsh enough to make me feel like the ladies are learning anything so much as biding time until they can return home to their pampered lives, a few thousand dollars richer (what does VH1 pay its minions these days?) and decidedly more famous. I would venture to say that a re-casting of Sharon Osbourne, who whipped even sluttier and trashier girls into shape on Charm School, would have made for a much better show. Assuming Monique is booked.

Verdict: When it comes to the on-camera demonization of 20-somethings who have never had to work or think for themselves, I am decidedly in favor.

 
kira

5:45 PM on June 29th, 2010 | 

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I Choose Funny

Filed Under: TV Reviews

Alright I know this isn’t meant to be a silo for all manner of viral videos and, to be honest, I’m not the biggest fan of viral videos to begin with—the hit-or-miss aspect offends me. (There’s a reason I watch so much television, where discerning viewers are free to pass judgment on an entire series after just a single episode). That said, I was more than a little excited for the premiere of Funny or Die Presents on HBO, not only because it gives me a little tickle in my tummy to know TV still has some measure of power (FOD is otherwise a fairly popular video Web site, so it says something that they bothered with television at all), but also because I hate watching shit on my laptop.

FOD is unquestionably sophomoric, so there were times I felt disadvantaged by my lack of a 14 to 25-year-old penis, but overall the show had enough gems to make it more than worth it. This is one of them:

 
kira

9:49 AM on February 24th, 2010 | 

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A Shore Thing

Filed Under: TV Reviews

jerseyshore-450x296To all three readers of Respect Authority, let us extend our deepest apologies. It’s 2010 now, which means a new decade, and a new opportunity to shirk our regular responsibilities in favor of inane blog writing. Consider it my New Year’s resolution. (Well, one of them, third after “Watch less TV” and “Don’t be so hard on yourself if you don’t end up watching less TV.”) And there’s no better way to start off a new year of witty commentary and reality television snark than with a missive defending MTV’s now infamous Jersey Shore.

I know, I know, I’m weeks late in commenting on the work of sheer genius that is Jersey Shore, but it took a few episodes’ worth of contemplation to really nail down what it is about JS that’s so damn appealing. It’s not just the fights, or the inane commentary, or the inability of men on this show not to use the word “fresh” at least once an episode. I mean, it is all of those things (as well as the fact that JS has become so pop-culture relevant that even die-hard haters of reality TV wonder if they’re missing out) but also many more. Here, in three points, is my defense of Jersey Shore.

1. “When it’s time to party, we will party hard.”
One of MTV’s biggest mistakes when it came to every season of The Real World after San Diego was the show’s slow trajectory away from bar fights and towards passive-aggressive work arguments, or utterly boring in-house pranks. Although Real World was always a forum for (ahem) real-world issues—homosexuality, religion, war—those issues were, and still are, best brought up in a loud club, after a lot of alcohol. At least for television purposes. While several of the more recent Real World seasons (Brooklyn and now-airing D.C. being the most flagrant examples) have devolved into mind-numbing self-righteous and too often sober discussions of political and social qualms, I have yet to hear anyone on the Jersey Shore discuss something other than clothes, hair, drinking, clubbing or sex. The vast majority of the show’s footage is of the roommates at bars (to the point that I’ve learned the names of said bars) or on their own roof deck, wooing unsuspecting (or totally suspecting) young ladies into their altogether normal hot tub. This is the stuff of great television.

2. “Watch the lioness, as she contemplates her next victim.”
Though MTV has always been a master of stereotypes—in a truly meta moment, one of the cast members of Real World D.C. correctly predicted that the last arriving housemate would be “the gorgeous black man” and lamented the lack of a “gay guy”—putting a group of the same stereotype in one house and watching them exist together is nothing short of genius. While much of reality television is founded on the notion of different people coming together and interacting, JS joins people that could have very easily become friends anyway. Indeed, to watch the crew interact is akin to some anthropological study: the ease with which they communicate in their unique language, the guido rituals (gym, tanning, laundry, in that order) to which most of them subscribe, the almost immediate tribe-like bond they form with one another. Though plenty of attention has been paid to the negative connotation of “guido” and the show’s supposed affirmation of this stereotype, I personally find the culture more interesting than laughable.

3. “Won’t you be my neighbor?”
This, above all, is the reason I watch Jersey Shore: Despite their questionable fashion choices, limited vocabulary and utter devotion to hooking up, the cast of JS is, for the most part, kind of likeable. The show’s most annoying roommates–the much-maligned Situation, whose desperation when it comes to lady-hunting is downright cringeworthy; and Sammi “Sweetheart,” whose “I’m the sweetest bitch you’ll ever meet” opening-credits line pretty much says it all–are still in my view a rung above even the least annoying people on The Real World. More importantly, they actually seem real. Perhaps by virtue of becoming part of a 20+ year institution, MTV has created something of a monster when it comes to Real World casting: the 20-somethings who ultimately make the cut appear on air with such a sense of self-worth (having made it through umpteen rounds of auditions) that they seem to assume their lives are interesting. By contrast, the Jersey Shore group always seem mildly baffled by their own fame: they’re in it for the sex, free booze and VIP club seating, not to be a part of pop culture history. This is something I can respect.

It should come as no surprise that I’m a fairly big Jersey Shore fan – it’s like the orange-juice concentrate of live-in-a-house-together reality programming, with more hooking up and fighting in one episode than other shows manage in a season. But I think Jersey Shore is a little something extra: it doesn’t create characters by putting otherwise mundane people in a tricked-out house and parading them through overpriced bars and faux careers. Instead, MTV found actual characters, put them in a rather mundane house, and let them handle all the parading. To me, that’s pretty—for lack of a better word—fresh.

 
kira

12:40 PM on January 15th, 2010 | 

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Wedding Rings, Onion Rings

Filed Under: TV Reviews

taliwinsMore to Love indeed. How a show that’s gotten a tepid response at best managed to command a two-hour season finale is beyond me, but hey, I’m not complaining. Somehow over the past few weeks, MTL has completely reeled me in — something about the mix of poignant fat-girl observations and otherwise predictable reality fare has turned this into a Fox masterpiece. And it helps that our bachelor Luke’s ultimate choice also becomes his fiancee. Not that engagement necessarily means marriage, or even that marriage matters for anything these days, but still - even VH1 stays away from betrothal.

There were two ladies left in the championship round. The first was Melissa A., about whom you should know this: blond, gigantic boobs, pretty, and gained her weight — the prerequisite for being on this show — in the last few years. Her immediate connection (read: sexual attraction) with Luke has made her a front-runner since Day 1, but her lack of fat-girl childhood is actually why she’s been the other girls’ nemesis. In a melodramatic confession last week, Luke told Melissa she is the one he’s most afraid will break his great big steak-filled heart. Truthfully, I think he’s right. Bitch is shady.

The other remaining lady: Tali, a surprisingly normal decorator who slipped completely under the radar until there were so few girls it was impossible not to notice her. Tali, who sometimes looks beautiful and other times like a witch—think the leading lady in My Big Fat Greek Wedding—has one recurring character trait: She’s from Israel. Not like…born Jewish but can’t resist those cheese-filled hot dogs. I mean she moved to the states all of four years ago, and her family–who still live in Israel–is none too welcoming of “outsiders.” (I’m pretty sure a 300-pound white former football player from California falls into that definition).  So she and Luke have a sort of Romeo and Juliet thing going on, which at times seems fairly sincere.

But okay, here’s why I really think this show is so interesting. Of all of the VH1 dating shows I’ve spent multiple hours watching, the word “love” is conspicuously absent about 93% of the time. The women competing for Real, Chance, Bret, or Ray-J may think their man of choice is in fact Mr. Right, but most of them are smart enough to keep it to themselves. Moreover, I don’t think too many of them really believe they’re going to end up with someone who actually makes a living by dating on television — these are, after all, strippers. They’re familiar with life’s harsh realities.

On More to Love, by contrast, the word “love” is used more often than Spanx. Everyone lovessss Luke, everyone lovveesss the way Luke makes them feel, and the last two girls fall hook, line and sinker for the fact that Luke says he is “in love” with both of them, simultaneously. Perhaps this is where the weight issue really comes in—Ladies, you may have stumbled upon a decent–if moronic–guy who happens to like bigger women, but you still stumbled into him on reality TV. Take a look at the other instances of fat people on television (Dance Your Ass Off, Celebrity Fit Club, Half-Ton Dad) and tell me whether you think Fox has your best interests at heart. Read More ›

 
kira

9:50 AM on September 16th, 2009 | 

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Singing, Dancing and Healthcare

Filed Under: TV Reviews

recapmainIn the interest of transparency, I’m going to tell you all something. This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, considering the vast majority of my contributions to Respect Authority are in some way related to, or at the very least allude to, television, but I consider it a potentially damaging confession nonetheless. So here goes: I watch a lot of TV. Like, a lot. Like perhaps 20 different shows at any given point in seasonal programming, to say nothing of stalwart time-passers like Law & Order or Cops.

It’s taken me months, nay, years, to come to grips with what one might call a television addiction, but now that I’ve accepted my habit—in part by pairing it with what some close-minded people might also consider another “addiction” (thank you, delivery herb)—I’m ready to talk about it. Not in the “The first step is admitting you have a problem way;” if it were a problem, God wouldn’t have invented DVR. No, I’m ready to let you all into my world – the world of reality contestants and vegetarian vampires and fat people who just can’t find love. So get ready, because here comes the thunder. That’s right, recaps.

In the interest of preserving some semblance of variety (and dignity) on RA, I have heretofore refrained from sharing my near-nightly analysis of various television programs. After all, this is the stuff of professional reviewers, not hapless bloggers with a sweet-ass bong and lots of free time. But if you haven’t noticed, our creative well hath run dry (hey, everyone goes through droughts, California even has water police) so I’m taking this opportunity to fill my lifelong dream: getting paid to write about TV. Except minus the paid part.

Enjoy. And try not to judge. Read More ›

 
kira

9:52 AM on September 10th, 2009 | 

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I Do My Little Turn On The Catwalk

Filed Under: TV Reviews

projectrunway6For someone whose favorite designer is “The Gap”—and even then, only when stuff is on sale—I find myself endlessly fascinated by Project Runway. Something about the combination of high-drama egos and high-stakes competition, coupled with a sassy gay (Oh Michael Kors, how I’ve missed you) makes this one of few shows that has managed to capture my attention for a full five seasons (I missed the Top Chef season with all the faux-hawks). This is, of course, to say nothing of the sheer awe with which I watch people turn rolls (I know they’re called bolts, but to use that word would suggest some knowledge of garment construction on my part, an untruth made evident by the fact that I’ve never even sewed a button back on) of fabric into beautiful dresses, or piles of trash into chic separates. In many ways, fashion design is like cooking for me: I know the ingredients exist, but put them in front of me and all I can think is “Don’t they sell this stuff, like, pre-made in stores?”

In short, Project Runway Season Six premiered last night, the first episode of the first season since the show’s controversial move to Lifetime, otherwise home to half-baked dramas and made-for-TV movies about domestic violence. Legal squabbling and network preference aside, Runway fans like myself have mostly spent the last year wondering whether moving PR off Bravo would mean changing some of the show’s fundamentals—judges, challenges, Tim Motherfucking Gunn. Those same fans will be relieved to know the answer to all of the above is a resounding no. Read More ›

 
kira

9:26 AM on August 21st, 2009 | 

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Match.com Has Nothing On Reality TV

Filed Under: TV Reviews

You know you have a problem when your “back from vacation” To Do list has “Catch up on television” right after “Deal with 900+ work-related e-mails.” So it was with some trepidation, and no small amount of shame, that I set about tackling the hours of reality and non-reality fare I missed during my weeklong sojourn to the Jersey shore. Proud of this dedication I am not.

In the world of recurring shows, I didn’t miss much. Charm School ended its completely underwhelming run. Risky took the $100,000 prize, with which she plans to start a charity for children with incarcerated parents, a far cry from first-season winner Saaphyri’s ambitions of starting her own line of “lip chap.” So I guess progress is being made. On Daisy of Love, Daisy glossed over actually endearing though eerily tan Flex in favor of London, who was actually kicked off weeks ago but returned to steal his prize about three episodes back. Far better than watching Daisy make the predictable choice was witnessing her dismissal of reality-show veteran 12 Pack, who proceeded to attempt the closest approximation at crying a man can accomplish on steroids. Truly touching. On NYC Prep, Bravo came ever closer to revealing the overtly obvious gayness of its main character, and on Real World, there was more fighting, flirting, drinking and fighting and flirting while drinking.

No, the real gems of the week past came in the form of new shows, which I might have otherwise dutifully reviewed individually but will instead round up in one massive reality-show tirade.


moretoloveMORE TO LOVE: Ever since Fox began promoting this “The Bachelor for fat people” reality series, I’ve been waiting with something close to impatience for the show to debut. As it turns out, my gleeful anticipation was not in vain; More to Love is pretty much everything I hoped for, and then some (Get it? More?). About half of the premiere episode was devoted to meeting the 20 ladies who will be vying for the heart of real estate developer Luke. Ever-classy, Fox made sure to display not only participants’ names and occupations, but also heights and weights, because there’s no faster fast track to self-confidence than total disclosure. The cast showed considerable diversity; although all of the women are “big,” the body types range from unimpressively average to downright obese. Some had sob stories about being judged based on their appearances, others spoke pragmatically about the frustrations of being the overweight girl amongst skinny friends, and still others unabashedly claimed confidence in their full figure. One even joked that, as an Iowa native, she might teach our chubby bachelor “how to milk a cow.” I’m pretty sure no pun was intended, but kudos to Luke for not even cracking a smile. This show promises to induce both sympathy and laughter in equal measures.


meganwantsMEGAN WANTS A MILLIONAIRE: VH1’s answer to filling the Charm School time slot, Megan Wants a Millionaire is exactly what I would have come up with if asked to develop a new show with minimal innovation and maximum potential. Megan, of Rock of Love, Charm School and I Love Money fame (to say nothing of Playboy or Beauty and the Geek), has reprised her collection of barely-there bikinis and stripper dresses in an effort to woo some 20 bachelor millionaires, each of whom is either looking for love (unlikely) or expensive eye candy (probable). Though Megan’s high-pitched voice and minimal brain power make her contributions to the show satisfactory at best (VH1 was smart to keep the episodes at a half hour), the diversity and sheer desperation of the show’s men make it wildly entertaining. I have no doubt that Megan will oust one dud after another, starting with the heinously ugly and culminating with the elderly, crazy or retarded. In truth, there are only a handful of men participating who, wealth aside, might be in any way conceivable as romantic partners for any woman, let alone one of Megan’s physical attributes. That said, watching this rather pathetic cast of freaks court our model turned-reality-star is inherently satisfying; Megan, who had probably pictured a sea of gorgeous 30-something moguls, is instead doomed to at least a month of schmoozing with the detritus of the wealthy world. (See Donald).


realchance2REAL CHANCE OF LOVE 2: I suspect the first incarnation of this show was one of VH1’s most underrated reality endeavors. While dating competitions involving Daisy, Megan, or even Bret Michaels fail to amuse except in the completely exploitative sense, Real and Chance combine exploitation with, well, good old-fashioned comedy. There are key elements of this show’s premise about which I’m still unsure: Are Real and Chance even vaguely interested in actual love? Are The Stallionaires really musicians? Where do they find these women? But ultimately, none of the answers matter. Throw two dozen mentally unstable females in a ranch-themed house with two undeniably hilarious brothers—the first episode alone involved Real and Chance making Chewbacca noises at one suspiciously tall woman, and wondering aloud whether another’s “orange suit” (artificial tan) was affecting her brain power—and prepare for a televised masterpiece.

 
kira

2:31 PM on August 4th, 2009 | 

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Public School 4 Lyfe

Filed Under: TV Reviews

nycprepIn sitting down to watch the premier episode of NYC Prep, I thought to myself that the success of this show will really depend on one thing: how well it manages to fulfill the “real-life Gossip Girl” prophecy. Will it add a spark of awkward melodrama to an otherwise timeless “hate the rich” plot line? Or will it inadvertently highlight the very reason we stoop the level of Gossip Girl to begin with — because it’s sensational,everyone is glamorous, even the nerdy guys are good-looking, and no one has bad skin.

Initially, the former seems to be the case. The characters are the same stereotypes, the drama is the same drama — the first episode features an argument over the worthiness of a certain charity, much like GG’s Blair was lambasted for her peregrine falcons fundraiser. Basically, NYC Prep is Gossip Girl, except everyone’s just six inches shorter and has mediocre hair. PC, who will clearly take the role of leading douchebag, is a dead ringer for GG’s Chuck Bass — in truth, he’d probably do a better job of playing the part than the current actor, who reminds me a lot of Chris Klein, circa American Pie–awkward, annoying and with a questionable hairline. PC clearly thinks himself above not only everyone on the show, but the show itself, in the sense that he less than subtly uses it as a platform for making the kind grandiose statements douchebags make; things like “Everything in New York City is about pulling connections. It’s all about who you know and how much money you have. And It’s really sad, and I’m not saying I’m like that, but that’s what New York is.” Thank you PC, let me know when you get your degree in urban anthropology.

Outside of PC, there are few characters that manage to make it non-awkward to be watching actual high school students go about their daily lives. (Seriously, think about it, it’s creepy). Jessie, long-time friend and ex-girlfriend of PC’s who’s still in denial about what league they’ve both grown into appearance-wise, is the kind of girl who never got the guy in high school, but twenty years later will probably be married to a real estate developer and own two companies. Sixteen-year-old Kelli is one of the easily confusable brunettes, memorable only because she lives alone with her 18-year-old brother while her parents shack up in the Hamptons six days a week. Sebastian is the “player,” except he’s a teenager so watching him hit on girls is like watching a baby learning to walk. Camille is the Type A academic one, who indulges in the dramatics, but never at the expense of her “plan” (Harvard, husband by 40, the works). In normal high school, though, I’m pretty sure she’d be “that girl who really likes horses.” Taylor, another brunette, is the only public school character — a veritable pauper by Prep standards: her mom is exceedingly mom-like, and her first-episode party had fewer than one million guests. She’ll probably be the redeeming one until one of those private school sluts gets her drunk and uploads a YouTube video of her peeing in public. Read More ›

 
kira

10:42 AM on June 24th, 2009 | 

Posted by kira

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A Moderate Defense of Jon & Kate

Filed Under: TV Reviews

jk1-450x450It’s unfortunate that this post will come directly after the preceding one, but rest assured – Respect Authority is a long way’s off from becoming a blog about Jon & Kate Plus 8. Primarily because I never intend to watch the show again.

Indeed, out of some bizarre loyalty to the reality television genre, and certainly no small amount of schadenfreude, I ended up watching last night’s much-anticipated episode of J&K, during which the couple announced their equally expected and imminent divorce. Or separation. Or whatever it is when mommy and daddy don’t love each other anymore but of course they love you and none of it is your fault—except the part where you took over their lives and demanded nonstop attention, thereby tearing apart the very fabric of their relationship and making it difficult, if not impossible, for them to continue having a normal existence.

This is the thing about Jon & Kate—which, outside of the occasional clip on The Soup, I haven’t actually seen before: it’s primarily about children, and it’s fairly boring. And these, my friends, are two very good reasons why I plan to never catch another episode, but also spent 20 minutes last night in reality-induced tears.

I started watching with the intention of writing a scathing “review” today—about the show, about what it means for where reality TV is headed, about the dangers and ills of exploiting children to make a quick buck. I also had tentative plans to make fun of Kate’s hair. But after sitting through an entire hour of it, the awkward interviews, the candid footage of the kids playing, the surprisingly raw, yet consistently cryptic, confessions of both Jon and Kate, I’m mostly just sad. My notes, which started with things like “kids ruin lives” and “Jon seems like he’s high on painkillers,” grew into whimsical paragraphs about the strain of marriage, the tragedy of falling out of love, the process of divorce. Read More ›

 
kira

9:26 AM on June 23rd, 2009 | 

Posted by kira

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