Fox's reality gamble Utopia premiered Sunday night, and although the show was billed as an ambitious experiment that could comment on the way our current society has failed, the first episode felt like the trashy train wreck that is so many other reality shows.
6 reasons Fox's Utopia could be amazing (or a total disaster)
The format, created by Big Brother
mastermind John De Mol and already a huge international hit, puts 15 pioneers into a bucolic Eden (or, you know, five acres with a huge barn, a shed, a pond and a waterfall!) and tasks them with creating a new society. But after watching the premiere, is this new society a place anyone
would want to live? We don't think so.Check out a few of the reasons this show seems like anything but paradise.1. We're not sure about the mental stability of the cast.
Sure, all reality shows have to cast big personalities. And we get that Utopia
tried to represent a lot of conflicting worldviews. But the two-hour premiere felt like nothing but (heavily censored) yelling. First, ex-con Dave blows up out of nowhere because none of his personal items are making it into the community crate. (Hmm, perhaps that's because you weren't participating?) Later, after Dave calms down and apologizes for the outburst, he then tries to make friends with pastor Jonathan... by yelling at him about how the Immaculate Conception is a bunch of hooey! However, after handyman Red and personal chef Aaron nearly come to blows about whether or not it's safe to cook a dead chicken (and Red decides to act out by wasting the camp's water supply), it's Dave who convinces Red not to leave. (What a roller coaster that guy is on!) Then there's Bella, the compost enthusiast who went from hating drunk handyman Josh (more on that in a bit) to maybe flirting with him? Clearly emotions are running wild on the show, but everyone is so turned up to 11 that they all look a bit insane. The result is a bunch of characters that are difficult to care about. All the rage feels phony and (even worse) makes the whole concept of the show seem pointless.
Meet the cast of Fox's reality experiment Utopia
2. We hoped for old-school Real World and got present-day Real World. We really could have used more chats like the one between Pastor Jonathan and Hex the huntress, during which preacher man explained why he didn't want to be in the water when all the girls were swimming topless. Even though she's a "hardcore atheist," Hex understood Jonathan's faith and the two bonded. Unfortunately, that was all buried after the skinny-dipping that led to Josh getting wasted and groping several of the women. And after the near fistfights. And after two of the less shout-y pioneers resorted to hooking up. Booze! Nudity! Sexual harassment! So far, the social experiment has mostly succeeded at turning adults into immature college students.
3. The narrator? No. Padma Lakshmi. Jeff Probst. Tom Bergeron. Even Ryan Seacrest. All of those hosts are part of the reason their respective shows work and invite people in. Having cartoonist Dan Piraro stand outside the gates and narrate the action like a hipster Father Time? Not so much.
4.The theme song? Even more no. Sample lyrics: "Say heaven, heaven, heaven/When all we know is hell, hell, hell/If we make the new world/Then we've got a story to tell." Chris Daughtry, how could you?
What did you think of Utopia? Will you stick with it?