For years now, networks have been content to fill their summer schedules with reruns and reality, assuming everyone will come flocking back when they finally grace us with original programming again in the fall. And although an ever-shrinking return rate would seem to indicate that’s not the most awesome idea ever, networks continue to do it. But if the best they can offer in the summer months is crap like The CW’s REMODELED, I’d like to suggest they just opt for test patterns instead. Even in a sea of God-awful programs, REMODELED stands out. This is a show that’s so bad it’s bad, redefining train wreck as we laugh at, not with, everyone involved. The show features Paul Fisher, a “modeling industry veteran” who never met a word he couldn’t punctuate with a silly hand gesture and his ridiculously goth assistant traveling to such modeling Mecca’s Minneapolis to deal with problems in agencies. It combines the “let’s fix this flawed business” approach of TABITHA’S SALON MAKEOVER with the hissy-fit-throwing style of Gordon Ramsay, but does neither convincingly. The biggest problem is Fisher himself, who comes off both wildly fake and pathetically inept, blasting one agency because there aren’t copies of GQ and Vogue on the desks of employees. At various points, you can see the people he’s ranting at literally attempting not to laugh. Which is too bad, because at least then viewers would get the sense that they aren’t the only ones in on the joke.
Having spent the entire last item trashing The CW’s latest “reality” offering, I want to offer a little balance by praising them in advance for bringing one of my favorite guilty pleasures back. Next Tuesday, they’ll begin airing the second season of Canadian import THE L.A. COMPLEX, which is everything that summer programming should be but rarely is: fun, addictive, sexy and scandalous. Had the failed MELROSE PLACE reboot been half this good, it might still be around. Ratings weren’t great when The CW aired the first season a few months ago, but give this another look… if only to encourage networks to give us scripted programming instead of trash like REMODELED. (And yes, I just had to get in one more shot at that show’s expense. It’s really that awful.)
The smartest thing ABC did where it’s summer show THE GLASS HOUSE is concerned? Debuting it several weeks before BIG BROTHER. When the CBS show starts tonight, I — like many others — will probably wind up choosing between the two. Had obnoxious Alex remained, I’d have already given up GLASS. But with him gone and the house divided, interestingly, by politics (thanks to gay Jeffrey’s anger at Prop 8-supporing Andrea), I’ve become — dare I say it? — intrigued. The thing that could make or break my decision between the two? How this season’s “mentoring” twist plays out. Word leaked this week who the four mentors will be, and while I won’t spoil it here, let’s just say one thrills me, one annoys me and I don’t actually remember the other two based on names alone.
I love watching people tumble, fall and generally be abused in non-fatal ways as much as — if not more than — the next guy. But does anybody really need two episodes of WIPEOUT in a week? Methinks the answer to be “no.” It’ll be interesting to see if the ratings bear that out…
If you love the soap genre, it’s wildly important that you not tune in to ABC’s summer series, GOOD AFTERNOON AMERICA. While it’s being billed as a limited-run place-filler, I have absolutely no doubt that if the chatfest brings in decent ratings, the network’s only surviving sudser, GENERAL HOSPITAL, will meet the same fate as its former lead-ins, ALL MY CHILDREN and ONE LIFE TO LIVE. The network has proven that it isn’t particularly invested in soaps and that it will eagerly replace them with shows they can produce cheaply… even if it means alienating millions of viewers. They’d rather have fewer viewers if the show is cheaper to produce. And while from a business standing that may seem to make sense, in the long-run, it’s just plain foolish. Soap fans have long memories. Ask any of those who have boycotted ABC since it pulled the plug on their soaps. ?
Speaking of soaps, if you’re looking for a new sudser, check out Telemundo’s latest novella, ROSA DIAMANTE, which began airing Tuesday night. Don’t worry, you’ll easily catch up, especially since until next week, ROSA is airing half-hour episodes before expanding to an hour once timeslot mate UNA MAID EN MANHATTAN (yes, based on the Jennifer Lopez flick) wraps it’s run. The story, in a nutshell: A baby who was abandoned at a boarding school becomes besties with a fellow “orphan”, both of whom fall for the same guy. Wacky chaos — meaning trauma, tragedy and lots of juicy drama — ensues.
Richard M. Simms is the executive editor of Soaps In Depth magazine and likes to pretend that the only reason he watches things like BACHELOR PAD is so that he has something to write about in this space. He is lying.