Welcome to TV Hit or Sh*t. Every Friday I'll be here to let you know what is going up and down in the world of TV in past and present and what to look forward to in the week ahead.
YOU GOTTA WATCH... Sorority Girls (Tuesdays, 9pm, E4)
I love it when producers go blatantly out of the way to lie to you. For example, according to the voiceover of this new reality competition show on E4, "For the first time, the secret world of the sorority..." (a division of girls in universities who try all they like to act fit and proper) "...is coming to the UK. Five of America's finest sorority girls are here to launch Britain's first ever sorority..."
No, producers, you told them to come here. Because where is this My Fair Lady on acid setting up their first ever sorority?
At one point one of the sorority girls tells us that "I think the English girls are going to be a bit reserved, but I hope this experience breaks them out of their shell a little bit, and by the end they will be singing and dancing and matching outfits just like us."
YOU'RE IN LEEDS.
So you know where this heading... eight weeks of snooty American women slowly realising that the stereotypical 'gentle lady' of the British woman they've grown to adore is as nearly as fake as Dick Van Dyke's accent in Mary Poppins. 60 minutes of programming every Wednesday consisting of women showing off their tattoos and the fact that they can lick their own elbows in a talent contest to 'judges' who have the personality of the extras in 90210 and Dawson's Creek...
It is brilliant.
*I had to mention both American's dramas to cater for those both over and under 20 who may be reading this*
The main joy of this episode though isn't the reaction of both people too each other, but actually the profiles of the American sorority girls themselves. Whilst the frats (guys) in the US get drunk and possibly simultaneously naked with each other for no reason, all of the girls try to be poised, have morals, and be ambitious... oh and apparently be incredibly scary by their forced personality (always chanting sayings whilst clapping their hands, jumping on top of beds clumsily saying "I call top bunk" like children's TV presenters even though nobody else in room is under 24).
There are 'personality videos' at the start highlighting who these sorority 'judges' really are, just to confirm the idea that these girls are just like the women in Desperate Housewives (forcibly nice in public but are actually dying and crying inside). There's one where a Bree Van De Kamp in her 20s announces to a committee room "I've accomplished every goal I've set. I've got no problem being in charge of the UK." She then says "Today we will be voting for the new colo[u]r of the bathroom. Those who say pink, say 'I'."
I don't need to cringe here as you, the reader, are already doing it.
Another judge organises charity volleyball games for the animal shelter, another one likes to mention the words "PLC" to mean "poor life choices" at all times. There is also a judge who "apparently" likes to sit in cafes and write down whether people are wearing something that is appropriate and inappropriate at all times.
I know that the producers like to exaggerate things a bit, but these girls 'as part of tradition' like to dress up in cloaks and do sacred rituals to 'bless their new home' "as a bonding experience" in robes holding candles. They sing after interviewing 25 girls in their humble abode in North Yorkshire "Sigma Gamma blesses this house with everything we have. We promise to respect the four walls around us, the floors beneath us, and we take this oath to make it ours. We promise to cherish it, to love it, to preserve it and to make it our sorority home."
I just love the fact that all the British girls are competing for something so mental.
Oh by the way lock your windows. I think that they are currently in your garden in cloaks running around cackling brandishing knives.
YOU GOTTA AVOID... Shipwrecked
To fuel it... let's add some horrific stereotypes - the dumb jock, the guy who wants to shout how much of an amazing leader he is, a guy who can't be bothered to do anything and rolls his eyes back at any opportunity, an ex-Miss *insert name here*. I mean, this show is made purposely to get you angry, which is weird, because it is normally shown at a time of day when, if you are watching, you are hungover as a horse and you can't be bothered to follow the dialogue.
The good news is that everyone is wearing skimpy clothing. So if you are going to watch it, at least do the dignified thing and watch it in mute.
And... PBS - How I wanted to say nice things about the launch of this channel. This institution in the states is a step away from all of the other primetime crap the US chunders out every single day, bringing top art and documentaries such as Frontline and The American Experience. But can I write anything nice about it for you? Well no. I can't, because in order to watch it on Sky I have to purchase their premium entertainment package first, despite the fact that it the channel stands for "public service broadcasting." Sigh.
Sky Anytime it...
Glee - I thought this show had past its peak, by the fact that ratings are falling apart in the US and that since it has been bought by Sky One from E4 in the UK nobody gives an actual toss anymore. I am alas wrong though, it can still hit it. This week's episode, which focuses on a few of the characters deciding to lose their virginity to each other, is pretty notable by the fact that it involves two of the show's main gay characters, Kurt and Blaine, as well as two of the main the straight characters. ON AMERICAN PRIME TIME TELEVISION. ON THE ACTUAL FOX NETWORK.
The way it tackles the issue is tender and sweet, and doesn't sugarcoat it. You might cringe at a show that likes to have its whole cast covering Rebecca Black's Friday, but I give credit where its due.
X FACTOR - ITV, Saturday, 8.15pm - Only 90 minutes long this week *cough*, we find out what contestant that left the show is back to add to the farce this has all become.
PAN AM - BBC 2, Wednesday 9.00pm - If another critic says that this is "Mad Men with tea trays" I might just kill myself. It's a good drama, but ratings haven't gone well in the states so who knows how long it'll last.