How much does the TV Addict appreciate the support of SUPERNATURAL fans? So much so that I made a deal with the devil.
Okay, so the CW’s publicity department isn’t necessarily in league with satan (although they do get paid to promote REAPER, on which he’s a featured player), and I didn’t exactly sell my soul for a sneak peek at Thursday’s very special Christmas installment of SUPERNATURAL (which I’ll be previewing later today), but I did feel the flames of hell licking at my feet as I watched the premiere episode of the network’s latest reality offering, CROWNED: THE MOTHER OF ALL PAGEANTS.
All I can say is that if you’re a fan of reality’s darker side, this might very well be the show you’ve waited your whole life for. (I’d be willing to bet that C.T. is looking forward to this one the way beezlebub’s servants thirst for water.)
Premiering Wednesday December 12 at 9PM, CROWNED takes one of life’s most emotional and volatile relationships — that of a mother and daughter — and puts it literally center stage by having teams sharing this fragile familial tie compete against others sharing the same bond. The notion here seems to be, “If you can’t stand the heat, get outta the spotlight!”
Unfortunately, this may be a show that only a stage mother could love. Despite the fact that the very first competition is all about making a good first impression, the producers fail to take that basic idea to heart in their premiere.
Ironically, “casting” may well be the most important part of any reality show. Whereas a scripted show can fire or recast actors whom the audience doesn’t warm up to as the season develops, a show such as CROWNED — in which contestants spend the length of the show competing for the top spot — must get it right the first time. If three weeks in it turns out America doesn’t like the contestants, there ain’t a heck of a lot that can be done aside from pulling the plug prematurely. And within moments of CROWNED’s opening, you quickly realize that each and every one of the contestants came directly from Central (Reality) Casting. You’ve seen them all before. There’s the hot, dumb blondes who claim they are “smarter than we look!” There’s the team who had to overcome enormous obstacles just to humiliate themselves on national television. And what would a reality show be if someone didn’t loudly and proudly declare, “We aren’t here to make friends!”
Trust me, ladies — and I use the term loosely — you won’t.
I’m happy to report that it’s not all bad. What CROWNED really has going for it are the judges. Judges Carson Kressley (best known as the gayest of the QUEER EYE guys), former Miss U.S.A. (and DANCING WITH THE STARS contestant) Shanna Moakler (best known for some very un-pageantly behavior during her feud with Paris Hilton) and television personality Cynthia Garrett (best known for… well, to be honest, I don’t know exactly what) referee the eight-episode competition, and do a fine job at that. They’re honest, entertaining and bring just right amount of Cowell-esque snark to the table.
But let’s face it: Anybody tuning into this show knows exactly what they’re going to get: catfights, emotional breakdowns, embarassing slip-ups and the inevitable, tear-filled finale. More likely than not, by the time one of these dysfunctional duos is actually CROWNED, it will have become one of those shows you either love or hate. After all, isn’t that what the best — and, come to think of it, the worst — shows in the genre do?