Finally, the big day has come!
NYC Prep, dubbed the real-life Gossip Girl and filmed in the style of The Real Housewives of New York City, premieres tonight at 10 p.m. on Bravo.
The cast, as far as I can tell from Bravo’s NYC Prep bio section, includes Taylor, the bitchy/go-gettery Blair Waldorf knock-off, Sebastian, the sexy/ambitious Chuck Bass-flavored guy, P.C., the popular/jaded Nate Archibald dude, Kelli, the snoozy heart-of-goldish Serena van der Woodsen type, Jessie, the fashion-loving Jenny Humphrey gal, and Camille, who sort of seems like an amalgam of all the female characters. NOTE: none of these kids are very attractive.
Already, the show is living up to my expectations and being knocked by the critics as snoozy, depressing, an unintentional parody. Here’s a collection of reviews, with my favorite bits highlighted:
From The Boston Herald:
The cable network can’t show its mostly underage cast indulging in sex and alcohol binges without being viewed as an accomplice and opening itself up to legal sanctions. So it is forced to focus on teens who come off as second-rate imitations of such Gossip mainstays as Blair, Serena, Chuck and Jenny…
Bravo does its level best to shove these kids into a bad light. Their on-camera confessionals all take place in a faux study in an oversized leather chair surrounded by piles of books, as if to ram the point that despite their families’ wealth, these kids will never attain true class or sophistication.
Who wouldn’t instantly resent and pity these [parents], who can’t be bothered to raise their own kids, leaving it to the service industry professionals of NYC — boutique clerks, restaurant delivery people, spa attendants, prep school administrators — to do it for them? And yet, who wouldn’t instantly envy these people, who luxuriate in their vacation home while their irritating teenagers sift out their petty troubles on an overpopulated island far, far away? NYC Prep drags out the people we know just well enough to recognize that they’re very, very different from us — that grandstanding thug at work, the chick down the hall in college with the tennis courts in her backyard, the ex-girlfriend’s spouse who speaks four languages and summers in Martha’s Vineyard — and shows us why they’re so different. We ogle their many advantages and indulgences, then soothe ourselves with how twisted and pitiable they are, swimming in such a toxic, decadent, big-city marinade. We already know that they turned out wrong, but now we know why.
From The New York Times:
Viewers are no longer shocked at tableaus of conspicuous consumption - limousines, personal shoppers, weekends in the Hamptons - even when the careless spendthrifts are children. If anything, this paean to Upper East Side plutocrats looks a little out of date - if the camera panned the other side of Madison Avenue, it would show darkened store windows and “for rent” signs. But Bravo, home to other reality shows like The Rachel Zoe Project, specializes in pinpointing stereotypes and inflating them into full-blown cartoon caricatures. The deliciously vulgar heroines of Housewives of New Jersey shop and bicker, spend and shout, without ever falling out of character. On NYC Prep, PC in particular struggles to insert a little self-awareness and humor into his role as the spoiled preppy ne’er-do-well, but the script keeps veering back to the Gossip Girl playbook.
Ultimately, the main problem with NYC Prep is that the show never gets better than its title — lacking the sociological insight to score as a documentary or the hyper-real situations and “characters” that would make it sizzle as a soap. As crass as it sounds, for something like this to truly pop requires a little more Less Than Zero than merely Clueless, which is what we initially glean from our encounters with the half-dozen featured teens.
At first blush, the boys register more strongly than the girls, perhaps because they appear less concerned about (or more oblivious to) the prospect of looking like self-centered little bastards. So pretentious 18-year-old P.C. lords over underclassmen, while 16-year-old Sebastian will surely make his folks proud by cavalierly saying, “Some girls like it if you’re an asshole to them.” See you on The Bachelor, kid.
It basically sounds like NYC Prep inspired pity and depressed the shizz out of anyone who got the sneak peek.
To summarize, I CAN’T WAIT TO WATCH!!! Let’s revisit this in the morning, shall we?