Sunday, June 26, 2011

Summer Guilty Pleasures

Summer, moreso than any other season or time of year I think, is about letting loose and just having fun. That mentality frequently carries over to summer television programming, when several ridiculous guilty pleasure series make their way to the air. For some reason I seem to have a lot more of them on my schedule this year than before, so I thought I'd let you in on some of these I tune into. Rarely are there any redeeming qualities about these shows; most are terrible reality shows without much reality to them at all. But they're a good time, even if you hate to admit you watch them.

Pretty Little Liars (Tuesdays at 8:00 on ABC Family)

This is the kind of show that is completely embarassing to watch, unless you're a teenage girl. Seeing as how I am neither of those things, it's hard for me to admit how much I like Pretty Little Liars. It's gotten even more over-the-top with its plot since its premiere last summer: characters are dying and then coming back to life; everyone in town is apparently a suspect in Allison's murder, except for the people who might have actually done it; somehow a 23 year old high school English teacher has gotten a job offer to teach literature at a renowned college, thereby threatening his still-inappropriate relationship with one of his students; and 'A' continues to somehow be everywhere at once but never be seen... by anyone. It's all crazy and utterly stupid, but (like most ABC Family shows) it's a lot of fun to see exactly what ridiculous string the writers will pull next. Although they should get down to unveiling who 'A' is, because all of these red herrings and new mysteries are only making the plot convoluted; and the fanbase will eventually get bored and just want answers already. Till then, I'll still be watching the melodrama unfold.

The Real Housewives of New Jersey (Sundays at 10:00 on Bravo)

The show that started it all, the original Jersey reality series. Thanks to the instant success of The Real Housewives of New Jersey, we now have a slew of Jersey-inspired knockoffs: Jersey Shore, Jerseylicious, Jersey Couture, Cake Boss, etc. But would so many shows try to capitalize on the success of this one if there wasn't something entertaining there? Anyone who's watched this installment of Bravo's trashy/delicious Real Housewives franchise can tell you that these ladies are nuts. Nene may be a walking sound byte; Camille may have separated from her famous husband in the middle of shooting; Bethenny may be the most popular housewife; but the Jersey girls bring the outrageous craziness in a way that no other city/place in the franchise can. From sex tapes to death threats, from court hearings to public auctions of the ladies' mansions, no show on television quite delivers that guilty pleasure feeling of "at least my life isn't this messed up" like this one does.

The A-List: New York (Beginning July 25, Mondays at 10:00 on Logo)

And now for something nearly the same. The A-List premiered in the fall of last year to what was apparently record ratings for the MTV-owned gay and lesbian centric cable network Logo. It was thought of as a sister show to Bravo's Real Housewives franchise, as one of the producers of the Atlanta edition of that franchise was on board for this one. I believe the tagline for season one was, "Housewives with balls." So yeah, that's the kind of show you're getting with The A-List: NY (so dubbed because a Dallas edition will debut this fall), a sleazy take on "everyday" gay life in the big city following such "prominent" gay men as The Amazing Race winner and current unemployed actor Reichen Lemkuehl; celebrity photographer Mike Ruiz, who often appears on America's Next Top Model and RuPaul's Drag Race; and a few other assored models, hairdressers, and bitches. This season adds a woman to the cast, but I really just can't wait to hear what "fabulous" new things these boring, lazy guys are up to now. Will Austin lose enough weight to pose for Playgirl? Will Rodiney and Reichen finally realize they don't work as a couple? Who will forget to say hi to Ryan at a party this year and then incur his wrath for the remainder of the season? It's all petty bullshit, but the ocassional witicisms and catfights make it worth the watch.

The Rachel Zoe Project (Beginning August 2, Tuesdays at 9:00 on Bravo)

For a network that attracts such a well-education and well-payed audience, many of Bravo's shows are just silly, mindless fun. The Rachel Zoe Project is the ultimate in that category. The show follows the mundane life of celebrity stylist Zoe and her ragtag employees as they style award shows, magazines, runway shows, and the like. Then you have Rachel's utterly clueless and obnoxious husband Roger, who only ever wants to watch football and have sex, throwing in his two cents. The breakout star of the show, gay assistant Brad, won't be back this year because he's moved on, so the new dynamic should be interesting for new viewers. It's a great show for the Bravo audience because it has the gay sensibility of the fashion world, plus a snappy assistant and enough ridiculous one-liners to make it quotable and ultimately memorable. But don't be fooled, it's not a good show. Even though I've seen every episode about six times.

Jersey Shore (Beginning August 4, Thursdays at 10:00 on MTV)

And here it is, the granddaddy of all embarassing guilty pleasures. Two years ago when Jersey Shore first debuted, it was unlikely that you'd run into someone who wasn't watching it. Whether that person then wanted to engage in a conversation about how amazing and crazy the show was, or if they wanted to debate how it was ruining the intelligence of America and the reputations of Italians everywhere is another story. It's become the cool thing to do to trash Jersey Shore for making top-tier celebrities out of nobodies. But the fact that the fourth season begins later this summer (and is being filmed in Italy, no less) and people are still talking about Snooki, The Situation, and the volatile relationship between Ronnie and Sammi is an indicaton of just how ingrained in our culture this show really is. So I'll be watching, and I'll freely admit it. Jersey Shore is one of the most entertaining shows on television, for all the wrong reasons.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Pilot Review: Combat Hospital

Combat Hospital (Tuesdays at 10:00 on ABC)

ABC is once again trying to compete during the typically-dead summer season with another original scripted series. Last summer their vampire-werewolf-demon drama The Gates failed to find an audience, though cop drama Rookie Blue was a moderate success. Part of the reason Rookie Blue was renewed for a second season (which also began this week) is because though its ratings weren't particularly high (though they were the highest for a scripted series all summer on the broadcast networks) ABC acquired it for a mere fraction of what a regular-season series costs; guess estimates have put it at about $350,000 per episode whereas a regular season show (including The Gates last season) averages upwards of $1,000,000 per episode. So when ABC was offered Combat Hospital at a price similar to Rookie Blue, it was no surprise to see them snatch it up and try for another summer sucess story.

Unfortunately, this show is nowhere near as interesting as Rookie Blue. It's Shonda Rimes light, Grey's Anatomy on sedatives. The story is impossibly easy to follow because none of the characters have any personalities, just defining physical traits (Bobby is Asian, Simon is British, Rebecca is a brunette, Ada is a blonde, etc.). The show follows a group of doctors and nurses at a war zone hospital in Afghanistan in 2006. And that's honestly the entire plot. There are no real personal dramas, no pre-established or even hinted at relationships or true friendships between the doctors, no real emotion or interest in the war victims. It's a sluggish hour because there's nothing keeping you from changing the channel at any moment. I don't know any of these people; who are they and why are they there? How did they end up at this point?

The performances are universally one-note, most likely due to the stagnant writing. The only recognizable face is Elias Koteas (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Thin Red Line) and he's just too good for the material. He plays a colonel/doctor who is obviously going to be the mentor figure for the newly arrived doctors, and it's just boring. Luke Mably (The Gates) plays the only entertaining character, a pretentious (and horny) Brit who collects Oriental rugs; but he's wasted in his few scenes of the pilot. The direction is awful, or at least that's who I'm going to blame for my biggest gripe with the show: the noise. Completely on purpose, there are several instances in this first episode when helicoptors and jets fly overhead so loud that the actors start screaming their lines... but (I suppose) in order to portray realism, the lines shouted over the noise are completely lost. Then there's an air-attack siren that goes off for about seven minutes, so every line of dialogue is underscored by an annoying shrieking of an alarm. All for the sake of "realism."

But you want "realism?" Let's talk about why this concept has never been done before on broadcast television. The language and actions of soldiers are something that can truly only be replicated on cable, and I mean like HBO cable. I can almost 100% guarantee that you'll never hear a soldier say, "Tell him to eat crap and die." Nor will you hear their expletive of choice be, "Shoot." Let's be real, these soldiers are going to use four-letter words that aren't appropriate for ABC.

Overall this is a silly series. It doesn't provide any impetus for anyone to continue watching beyond the fact that it will fill a void left by the summer hiatus of Grey's Anatomy. But for me, there's no reason to keep watching. It's boring and uninspired.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Pilot Review: Falling Skies

Falling Skies (Sundays at 10:00 on TNT)

It's six months after the world has been invaded by aliens, and a group of ragtag fighters are trying to merely survive in the face of their murderous attackers. Falling Skies focuses on one group in particular, called 2nd Massachusetts, which is led partially by an ex-military commander, Weaver (Will Patton), and also by an ex-history professor, Tom (Noah Wyle). Tom's wife was killed in the invasion and his youngest son taken captive; apparently the aliens, known as Skitters, implant a harness on these kidnapped children which makes them like zombie slaves. In search of food, Tom's oldest son Hal (Drew Roy) comes face to face with the missing boy.

A lot of little things happen over the next two hours of this two-part premiere, but the plot really seems secondary to the action. Same with the acting. Will Patton is basically playing a cartoon character, while Noah Wyle plays yet another archetypal everyman hero. It's nothing to write home about, which is fine considering most of us are tuning in for the special effects. Speaking of which, they are pretty impressive for a television show, if a bit overused. The aliens are oddly conceived; some are bipedal robots ("Mechs," the ones who mostly do the killing), and others are squishy looking squid-bug things ("Skitters," the ones who mostly do the controlling). The Mechs recall both the alien pod-ships in War of the Worlds and the killing machines of the later Terminator installments (coincidentally, Terminator Salvation costar Moon Bloodgood is a series regular here). The basic survivalist story and the overall post-apocalyptic look of the show reminded me of AMC's The Walking Dead; and the banding together of these ragtag fighters under the questionable military leadership of Weaver recalled memories of Red Dawn. So while all of these are fine starting reference points for an alien invasion series, it begs the question: where is the originality? Why watch something we've seen before? Sure, the pilot was mostly a good time in the way many summer action popcorn blockbusters are. But why should I commit so much of my time to a series that's been done before in film?

I'll try to explain why I'm intrigued enough to come back next week. At one point, a character preaches... ahem, teaches a life lesson about being grateful to the surviving children from a podium draped in an American flag. Moments like this give the series a feeling of political idealism (starting over the ground up, and doing it right this time!) that provides some intellecutal interest to the show. Later in this same scene, Tom discusses what the Skitters thought process may be, how long they've been studying Earth before the takeover; this is quickly intercut by two teenage girls discussing their renewed faith in God. It's all a little deep and a little random coming in between scenes of zombie-like alien-controlled kids and extraterrestrial shootouts. But it does give me hope for what may become a stimulating series that can hopefully reach beyond its mediocre opening.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Pilot Review: Rocco's Dinner Party

Rocco's Dinner Party (Wednesdays at 10:00 on Bravo)

I'm trying to sublimate my anger with last night's season (and, as far as I'm concerned since I won't be watching anymore, series) finale of The Killing by thinking about fun, positive things. So I've decided to review Bravo's newest competition show, Rocco's Dinner Party.

So we're all familiar with Rocco DiSpirito, the very handsome chef who now seems to be popping up everywhere: judging Miss USA, writing cookbooks, starring in his own reality show on NBC, guest starring on sitcoms, filming commercials, and appearing in some capacity on nearly every cooking and/or dieting reality series on television. Apparently we do not have enough Rocco in our lives, however, because now Bravo has given him yet another reality show here. I have never been a fan of Rocco; I've only seen him outside of the kitchen, as a guest judge on Top Chef and the like. But he has always come off as a condescending douchebag, which is a given considering his status as a celebrity chef and reality TV star. So it was an incredible revelation for me when I sat down to watch Rocco's Dinner Party with every intention of hating it and digging into its host with glee, I actually ended up liking the show as a whole.

The premise is a cross between Top Chef and something off of HGTV. Three chefs are chosen to compete for the chance to cook and plan a dinner party for Rocco and his celebrity friends. Immediately they are tasked with making their signature dish for Rocco, who promptly proceeds to knock each of them down a peg (or ten). From those dishes, Rocco eliminates one and the remaining two must decorate a room and create a menu around Rocco's theme (which was "Speakeasy" in the premiere). After meeting with an interior designer to discuss plans for their rooms, the chefs begin preparing elaborate meals; but in true Bravo fashion, they are thrown a curveball as they are cooking: one guest does not eat meat, and one does not consume alcohol. So the chefs must now prepare two riffs on their original dishes in each course for these guests, all the while competing for a $20,000 prize at the end of the night.

The concept is not all that original, obviously. It's merely combining a couple already-existing competitions into one smaller-scale one, but the proceedings manage to be highly entertaining. From Rocco's bitter snap judgments of the contestants to the celebrity guests, I found myself enjoying this show much more than I had anticipated. Rocco's friends are an illustrious and interesting group of people. In this episode alone the guests include two-time Tony winner Christine Ebersole; author and actor Bryan Batt (Mad Men); actor Michael Kenneth Williams (Boardwalk Empire); TV personality Kelly Choi (original host of Top Chef Masters); celebrated chef Marcus Samuelsson (Top Chef Masters winner); and media critic Bill McCuddy (Forbes magazine). They're a varied and lively lot, and it's fun to just see celebrities interacting of a very base level. To hear them talk over dinner, there are a few nice moments of, "Wow... they're just like us." For a show based around dinner parties on a network whose most infamous ones include table flipping, fist fights, and startling revelations, this is a very tame hour of television.

The competition itself is fairly light. Sure it's fun to see how these chefs, in the case of the pilot both men, cope with having to conceive and decorate a room around the theme of the evening (the results are expectedly masculine rooms) while also attempting not to crumble under the pressure of cooking for so many celebrities, including two top-tier chefs. But the stress of the competition and the stakes are toned down in favor of the intimacy of Rocco's dinner party. There aren't people running around, dumping food on the floor, screaming at each other, etc. The stakes are small and the personalities tame compared to Top Chef and most of the similar Food Network shows like Chopped and Private Chefs of Beverly Hills. All in all, it's not at a level of guilty pleasure trash like The Real Housewives franchise, nor is at the level of greatness of Top Chef. It's just a light, fun hour of television, which sometimes turn out to be my favorites.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Pilot Review: The Nine Lives of Chloe King

The Nine Lives of Chloe King (Tuesdays at 9:00 on ABC Family)

Apparently I'm not as smart as I like to think, because I totally didn't understand this show's title until the last few minutes of the pilot. A more observant person with a quicker mind would have realized what the "nine lives" of the title referred to: cats. But not just cats... cat people.

Chloe King is your average fifteen year old. She sneaks out the night before her sixteenth birthday into a club with her two friends, both of whom get nervous and ditch her. But Chloe just wants to be kissed, and won't leave without one. She meets Xavier, who is also lying about his age to be in the club, and they kiss. The next day, on her sixteenth birthday, weird things begin happening: Chole can suddenly hear everything; she develops ugly, long, retractable claws (think Sabretooth in the X-Men Origins: Wolverine movie); and she suddenly realizes she's desirable to boys. Enter a creepy assassin who shoves her off a roof.

Chloe wakes up almost immediately, a pool of blood at her head but nary a bruise on her body. She runs away but is confronted by two schoolmates; they inform Chloe that she is part of an ancient race known as the Mai. Essentially they're cat people. They have the agility and senes of a cat, and they also are lucky enough to have those nine lives. I say "lucky" because there are a group of assassins trying to destroy the Mai, of whom Chloe is chosen to be the leader because she has the most lives left.

There are several other twists and plot points introduced in this lightning-paced pilot, including a backstory concerning Chloe's biological father (she is adopted, and has a wonderful relationship with her mother) and a boy she meets while working in a clothing store. By the end of the episode my head was spinning from the speed by which important information was being thrown at me, not to mention the extreme number of twists introduced; it seemed like there was one every 3 minutes, from Chloe potentially being a murderer to the blossoming relationship between Chloe's two best friends. It was all so confusing, it took me several internet searches to get the whole story straight.

Don't get me wrong, this show is shaping up to be a whole lot of fun. Like I said, it's so quickly paced that the episode flew by, and if that pace is kept up then The Nine Lives of Chloe King will, at the very least, make for a great summer time waster. But if the complicated and ultimately silly mythology is developed properly, it could become a succesful genre series along the lines of a tame, less political Buffy. Because when you get down to it, there's not much new here. The basic plot of Chloe discovering she has powers, etc. is a retread of a thousand other stories meant to mirror the complex changes of adolescence. The only truly original aspects are the fact that Chloe is like a cat, and that's also the most ridiculous and polarizing aspect of the pilot. So I suppose this will fair well for summer audiences, especially those too young to appreciate the far superior supernatural summer series True Blood.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Pilot Review: Franklin & Bash

Franklin & Bash (Wednesdays at 9:00 on TNT)

I'm a little late to the game on this one, considering Franklin & Bash just aired its third episode last night; but since this is one of the few new scripted shows on my radar this summer, I figured I'd give it a shot.

Franklin & Bash has been on and off my "To Watch" list since it was ordered to series at the beginning of the year. I love Mark Paul Gosselaar and Breckin Meyer, but I hate legal dramas. There's no better way to torture me than to make me sit through an episode of The Practice when I could be watching something frothy and fun instead. So I debated whether or not to even give this series a chance; the commercials and clips convinced me to give it a shot, and I'm glad I did.

The series opens with Jared Franklin (Breckin Meyer) and Peter Bash (Mark Paul Gosselaar) attempting to get a man acquitted of a vehicular crime the two lawyers believe was caused by an advertisement which features a pair of large breasts and therefore distracts male motorists. They win the case by bending the rules and charming the jury, and the head of a large law firm (Malcolm McDowell) takes notice. He offers them jobs, and now the pair must prove themselves as competent lawyers who can win based on merit and not just audacity.

This is absolutely not a perfect show, nor is it even all that good. The court cases are sloppy and mostly stupid (so far), and the writing is confusing. I understand exactly who Franklin and Bash are as characters; I think I can safely attribute that more to the performances from Meyer and Gosselaar than to the writing, but the dialogue for these two main characters is just on a different level than the writing for the other characters and for the stories.

When it comes to the supporting players, Franklin and Bash's assistants get the best material to work with. They're both funny enough to be believable as sidekicks for their two outrageous bosses, but still with some human flaws that make you realize why they're working with such unconventional and underappreciative people. Malcolm McDowell's character confuses me; I'm not quite sure if he takes himself too seriously, or if everyone else in the law firm takes him so seriously and therin lies the joke. Either way, he's just a little bit too much on a show where the truly over-the-top characters should only be the ones in the title.

My biggest issue so far is lazy storytelling. Yes, it was fun to watch Meyer and Gosselaar do their back and forth thing. But as of the second episode, the show doesn't make much sense. Why would Franklin and Bash take this job in the first place? They pride themselves on finding ways to bend the rules without breaking them, to win cases by any means possible whether it is deserved or not. Why would they take a job at a snooty law firm? The money? There's also a plot twist late in the premiere where we discover that the duo's direct competition at the firm, the owner's nephew, is extorting a witness in order to win a case. And yet instead of being fired and permanently disbarred, he is back in the second episode being snarky right alongside Franklin and Bash. Say what?

Despite it all, Franklin & Bash is still a success in my eyes. I don't think the creators set out to reinvent the wheel, and they certainly didn't. But they have succeeded in being entertaining, as long as you don't think too much. And what more can you ask for when it comes to summer programming?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Pilot Review: Love Bites

Love Bites (Thursdays at 10:00 on NBC)

Wow. It's hard to believe that once upon a time this series was the darling of NBC's fall lineup. That should show you just how desperate NBC has become in the past two or so years, because Love Bites is pretty bad.

I understand that this is not the original show that was pitched and bought by the network; this pilot underwent extensive rewrites due to the pregnancy of one cast member, the departure of another, and then the hiring of a new showrunner. The concept of the show is an interconnected series of vignettes focusing on love. Okay, pretty standard. Essentially the show is 3 or 4 really short romantic comedies.

The only thing is, none of the people or stories are all that interesting. Becki Newton's character is pregnant with her sister's baby, so she gets a lot of attention from guys at bars; this upsets her best friend, who starts telling men she's a virgin to draw the attention away from the pregnant one. Hilarious, right?! Yeah, I didn't think so either. The next story concerns a man who must compete for his fiance's attention in the bedroom with a vibrator. Hilarious, right?! Yeah, not so much... especially since this is on NBC, so they never even show the thing. The final segment involves a man who meets Jennifer Love Hewitt on an overnight flight and must decide whether or not to cheat on his wife with her, since she is his one and only "celebrity exemption" (as in, they could sleep together and it won't count as cheating). Hilarious, right?! Yeah, not really.

I'll give Jennifer Love Hewitt some credit for shamelessly playing a semi-sleazy version of herself here; I'd like to think the real JLH wouldn't consider boning a stranger on a cross-country flight just hours after publicly breaking up with her latest boyfriend. And Krysten Ritter was very good in the opening segment as the fake virgin, and Lindsay Price is adorable as the woman falling for her new sex toy. Unfortunately, both of them are only guest stars in the episode; the recurring characters/main stars are the pregnant girl and the guy who loves Love. Boring.

But the biggest issue is that none of these stories go anywhere. They're introduced, played out for a few strained laughs, and then abandoned. Why do I care that Annie is pregnant with her sister's baby? I don't know, because I don't know who she is yet. Why do I care if Judd's wife cheats on  him? I don't know, because I don't know who either of them are yet. It's easy to see why this was left off the 2010-2011 season schedule after being retooled: it's a stinker.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Pilot Reviews: Platinum Hit, Million Dollar Decorators

Platinum Hit (Mondays at 10:00 on Bravo)

I'm not particularly fond of singing competition shows, so I thought I might like this newest spin on the genre: songwriting. Platinum Hit follows the formula Bravo established so many years ago on Project Runway by pitting twelve songwriters against each other, writing music under ridiculous time constraints and then performing their finished products for the judges. The winner will receive a cash prize and a music publishing deal.

Let's start with what Bravo did right: Jewel. She is the perfect host for this type of frantic reality show, bringing a grounded quality and a sense of calm to the proceedings. While the contestants are writing, singing at the tops of their lungs, bickering and bitching, Jewel is poised and zen. It was such a relief to see such an earthy and unassuming host after a string of annoying and/or awkward judges on similar shows (see: everyone who has ever served on the panel of American Idol). The judging is also a highpoint of the show, as they do not hold anything back. It was refreshing to hear honest opinions; these judges weren't being mean just for the sake of being mean, they had reasons to back up their criticisms and everything sounded legit to me.

The problem with Platinum Hit is that it's just not all that interesting. It may be a new spin on the singing show, but it involves the most boring part of the process. Couple that with the fact that most of these contestants are not singers but are forced to sing their own songs anyway, and you've got two factors that just don't add up. Speaking of the contestants, no one is all that interesting. There's no Christian Siriano or Adam Lambert or Richard Blais, or any other memorable and immediately likeable reality contestant. They're all stereotypes (Angry Black Girl, Southern Blonde, Backup Singer Who Wants His Turn, etc), so it's no surprise that there's no one to latch onto by the time the premiere has ended.

When it's all said and done, Platinum Hit doesn't have much going for it. The singers aren't very talented (some of them are even pretty lousy songwriters), the process isn't very interesting, and the contestants are unappealing. It's a valiant effort on Bravo's part, but it just doesn't quite work.

Million Dollar Decorators (Tuesdays at 10:00 on Bravo)

Speaking of not working and unappealing personalities, Million Dollar Decorators may be the worst thing Bravo has put out in years. Now I love nearly everything Bravo does, even the shows that aren't the greatest but still manage to entertain (Top Design, Shear Genius, Pregnant in Heels, etc). But this is just crap.

Million Dollar Decorators follows a group of top-tier interior designers in Los Angeles as they flit from job to job, buying ridiculously overpriced furniture and accessories for tasteless celebrities and rich people. The premiere followed one of the most pompous, obnoxious, annoying, blood-boiling people I've ever seen on television named Martyn Lawrence Bullard as he designs an apartment for Sharon Osbourne in just three days. First of all, doesn't his name just make you want to puke? By the time the episode was finished, I was muting my TV everytime Martyn showed up; he's that over-the-top and annoying.

Then you have Jeffrey Alan Marks, who is redesigning a restaurant with the help of his protege (read: boytoy), boyfriend and former male model, Ross. At one point Jeffrey actually says, "Sometimes I think my job is harder than the President of the United States." And his boyfriend actually replies, "That goes without saying."

Mary McDonald is apparently the most fabulous fag hag in LA, according to her BFF Nathan Turner, who is probably the most down to earth and normal person on the entire show. Mary is redoing a few rooms for a former client, including a guest house in the backyard. She shows up to start the job and the client informs that she will not need the full extent of Mary's services because she and her husband are getting a divorce, so the house should now be redesigned in a way that will sell it. Mary is so upset... because she thinks of the house as "hers."

Finally we meet Kathryn Ireland, the comic relief of the show. She's a fabulous British woman with an even more fabulous French maid named Jacqueline. Her three goofball sons live with her, but don't listen to a single word she says. So most of her appearance in the premiere episode involves putting herself down for being a terrible mother, or serving wine to her maid while attempting to speak French. The episode ends with Kathryn throwing herself a birthday party to which the other designers are invited; it's pretty boring in terms of Bravo dinner parties, but she does get a nice moment to show off her enormous breasts.

All I could think the entire time I was watching this show was, "What freaking planet are these people from?" They can't possibly be real... and yet they are. It's fascinating and disgusting all at the same time that people can be so egotistical as these designers to think that they see their work as on the same level or higher as the President. And let me assure you that this comment was not made with a smirk or smile; it was stated as fact. And that's really all you need to know about this show. The people are ridiculous, and not even really in an entertaining way. They make the cast of Jersey Shore look normal.