Utopia Premiere Recap: The Road to YELL Is Paved With Rude Intentions

Society, you in danger, girl!

That’s the take-home message of Fox’s new year-long, prize-free, reality experiment Utopia, in which 14 disparate strangers have been given five acres and some cows (plus jugs of booze, naturally) and asked to create their own ideal society — ambulances included, in case of alcohol poisoning/extreme douchebaggery.

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“Disparate,” of course, is relative. Utopia‘s women appear to be bound by a mutual love of toplessness and yoga/”finger yoga,” while its men have found common ground in profanity, screaming, amateur dramatics and an utter inability to let anybody finish a sentence (especially if “anybody” = womanfolk). And the maximum operating age is 42 — because why would you put an old person on television in the first place, right? #OldIsTheNewInvisible

What’s fascinating/horrifying about this upstart society is that it’s comprised entirely of people who’ve grown up thinking it’s a perfectly peachy idea to loiter outside the Today show studios in tropical/subzero weather and SCREAM HYSTERICALLY just because they might end up on TV for 3.5 seconds, who respond to intense personal tragedy (“a bear ate my family!”) by figuring out if the first live-feed interview should go to CNN, Fox News or GMA, and who understand that making a sex tape with R&B star Brandy’s brother could lead to a multi-million dollar TV/modeling/lifestyle/hosting/socks empire for yourself and your entire family.

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Which isn’t to suggest, of course, that Utopia isn’t in any way worthwhile, or at least “look at the twisted wreckage” fascinating. So in the interest of keeping it pithy, let me count down the series premiere’s five best/most “Why The Face?” moments (without mentioning the host with the most annoying moustache/hat/vest combo since that time I accidentally clicked on a Coachella photo gallery:

* The Curious Incident of the “Chicken Tractor” in the Primetime | I hate to admit it, but I might already be a little obsessed with Composting Warrior/Anti-Toilet Crusader Bella — who keeps demanding to “be heard” while in no way attempting to make palatable to her confused comrades her agenda of “finger yoga”/insect protection/flirting with the dude you said made you feel unsafe on set. (Because, let’s be honest — this is somewhere near L.A., not the wilds of Montana). Bottom line: If you’re going to use the term “chicken tractor” in a sentence, you should be sure your partners in conversation have easy access to Google to translate you from Hippieanese to English.

* The Talented Mr. Ickly | That aggressively awful dude Josh wanted to blame it on the a-a-a-a-a-alcohol that he got super threatening and handsy with Utopia‘s ladies, but by the time the “pioneers” sat down and had a trial to determine his fate, almost nobody remembered that he was impossibly disrespectful to colleagues of every single gender even when he was sober. That dude and his ever-changing accent? THE WORST.

* That Moment Where I Got 18% Verklempt | Let me put down the snarkiness for a hot second and say I kinda loved pastor Jonathan and “Huntress Hex” (a “hard-core atheist”) having a respectful chat about their seemingly incompatible points of view. By the time Bella went to her fellow females and asked them to make sure Jonathan had a female-free hour to himself every day in the Utopia lake, I’ll admit I got a case of the awwws. OK, I’m sure Hex and Jonathan will be attempting to drown each other by November, but in an episode where Hex and Josh fought, Red and Aaron fought, Josh and David fought and that libertarian from New Jersey exploded for seemingly no reason, allow me a moment of feeling some feelings re. mutual respect, eh?

* UGH, Those Two | I know the first rule of reality TV is, “To Thine Ownself Create a Compelling Arc,” but did Chris and Bri really need to have a moan-tastic makeout sesh in a sleeping bag on NIGHT ONE? OK, I know, I’m being a big prude and a slut-shamer and not at all sex-positive, but COME ON… how are you gonna have Thanksgiving dinner with your family and not expect them to be like, “so you hooked up with a total stranger on camera like 10 hours after you met?” This kind of behavior is supposed to happen in the privacy of your early 20s — and not with a seven-person camera crew in the room!

* Jesus, Take the Brassiere | Poor Pastor Jonathan, telling his family he’d only leave them for 365 days to honor the Gospel, without having even the slightest inkling that he was about to parachute right into the middle of a reality series with an early working title of Sodom and Gomorrah. His whole “sitting on a log, weeping” shtick — just because some of the ladies took a topless dip in the lake 20 feet behind him — was a sign from God to Jonathan’s wife that she should get him a DVR for Christmas. “For let he who goeth into the reality TV genre understand the dangers he faceth.” I’m pretty sure that’s a direct Biblical quote, yes? Oh, just go with it.

What did you think of the Utopia premiere? Were you horrified by the way most of them men wouldn’t let any of the women finish a complete sentence or even sentence fragment? Is Amanda straight-up insane for entering into this “experiment” while due to give birth in just a few months? And is Aaron even crazier for straight-up asking a female stranger the totally verboten question, “Are you pregnant?”

Take our poll below, then hit the comments with your thoughts!

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  1. Leo says:

    Josh reminds me of those internet atheist that get really angry and belligerent over anything. Pretty much everyone had there terrible moments.

  2. Lisa says:

    Good first episode! I’ve been addicted to the live feeds all week. Hex and Rob (to my complete surprise) are my favorites. Bella is a good kind of crazy while Red is the worst kind. Really hoping this pulls in good enough ratings so that we can see where this goes.

  3. Jerry says:

    So how long is FOX trying to keep this on the air? And what’s Plan B for when it completely implodes?

    • Tran says:

      The way they cancel X Factor after all the horrible decisions the execs at Fox went through.

    • DarkDefender says:

      Longer than Firefly, is my guess. Plan B would be to renew it and add people! (Non-scripted shows are cheap to produce.

    • Mike says:

      Fox is in trouble they need to start filling the schedule for the two nights a week this show is on quickly, considering they do not have time for, Brooklyn 100, Booth, Awake Hollow. I would go with:
      A show called; IS THE LAWN GROWING? 59 minutes of staring at a lawn with the last minute reserved for a yes or no vote.

      This is worst reality from a network that had Merry Harry and Merry a Millionaire.

  4. Tran says:

    I give Utopia an F. Should get one season tops and Fox is having yet another crappy reality series like the way they finally canceled X Factor after three horrible seasons.

  5. tess says:

    Needs to be more organized and a lot more structure

  6. notyourmama says:

    The idea had potential, but the need to create drama where there doesn’t need to be is what is going to lead to its quick demise. This should have been a real “social experiment”, instead of having producers stir up the made-up drama, and it should have been on PBS or something instead of FOX.

    • M3rc Nate says:

      I havent seen the premier yet, but i completely agree. They go the typical reality TV route which is to cast the most extreme personalities (so there will be drama/fights etc), and they make it more of a reality show than a true social experiment.

      I would LOVE this show if they cast really real people, mature people, of course we all have flaws but still…dont rely on drama, rely on people being genuinely entertained by watching real people go through this very extreme experiment.

      From the sounds of it, all they did was make the Real World “Outdoors edition!”, instead of a truly televised social experiment.

    • Justin Kuhs says:

      I agree 100%. Where is there food coming from? What is going on with the trench. Is there the supplies to burry the electrical wire. Where did it come from? Why not just hook up temporary power. In 2 hours or 3 days they didnt do anything. I liked the The Colony on discovery. There was a bunch of junk laying around and they turned it into stuff to make power,running water ,hot water.

  7. jane says:

    I think they were given way too much. I thought thy would be dropped off with maybe some tents and pile of lumber, chicken, etc and have to create their own place. Basically, they are living on a farm that already has everything they needed. I think with less stuff, (i.e. alcohol) they would have bonded a bit more and defintely would have been less douchebaggery going on. I know it’s FOX and not PBS, but the show seemed more like a “Bachelor in Paradise” than those high minded BBC reality shows like “Colonial House.” It’s a interesting concept. Maybe it will get better.

    • James says:

      They have one of them on probation from alcohol so that will be the likely punishment if they started acting out by their inability to handle their drink.

  8. Justin Kuhs says:

    Too much bickering for me but I got into the social experiment The colony on Discovery a couple years back so I will give this another chance. I hope is more like a real social experiment than something like big brother.

    • edlowthegreat says:

      We LOVED the colony. We thought this would be similar however it was so gross and disrespectful to everyone we turned it off

  9. DarkDefender says:

    Almost Human was better than this. FOX just can’t seem to help themselves. Fake news and cancel any decent show that comes along. I bet this show lasts a whole year, cause it’s got to be way cheaper than replacing it (when it fails) with a couple of scripted shows.

  10. Et al says:

    This is the worst reality show I’ve ever seen. The participants are all terrible and they spent way too much time on the psycho preacher.

  11. Angie_Overrated says:

    Just when I thought there would be nothing worse than Big Bang Theory, along came Utopia. Bad. Really bad. And I was looking forward to this one. Oh well!

  12. Mark says:

    I will not be watching again, and I can’t believe how much some people want to be on television, and how quickly they forget they are on television. And while some of the contestants already have some things of which they should be ashamed, the makers of this show should be more ashamed for misrepresenting regular people by suggesting the majority of these participants are indeed everyday people. They are not. They are chosen for their possible foibles–which makes for good television (I guess).

  13. I feel a bit ambivalent about whether or not I’ll keep watching. While it was as awful as I knew it was going to be (and then some), I’m still somehow pulled into the show. I really hope they got most of the bickering BS out of the way. I can’t stand watching grown ass adults having tantrums. Most of the men had at least two minutes of personality flaw screen time. What seems understated is that gun-toting Libertarian’s damage. That guy is a total misogynist and we’ve only begun to see how terrible he is. Do I tune in hoping he’ll be kicked off soon or do I just wash my hands now?

  14. OMG! I tried, I really tried but I closed my eyes during a commercial (or the 5 min of) around 9:15 and woke up to Red storming the Utopia gate. It is no way a BB reboot. They just cast a bunch of opinionated people they they knew would butt heads. Not sure I will be able to watch this train wreck.

    • 007 says:

      Come on over to my place and we’ll hate it together.
      Hate is much more enjoyable when it can be shared with others.
      We could make up a smoking/drinking game (recreational weed is legal here in WA state) and be “in the zone” by the first commercial break. We could make videos of us watching and playing the smoking/drinking game which would produce much more viable content than what is actually aired on Faux.

  15. Stacy L. says:

    After about half an hour, I flipped over to Saving Private Ryan. A much quieter viewing experience, and infinitely less drama.

    I can’t believe I lost Enlisted for this.

    • Moment says:

      Apparently the show cost $50 million for Fox too. They could have renewed Enlisted and had some money left over to perhaps spare another show.

  16. Moment says:

    Personally I think Fox should have used the money spent on this towards something like Almost Human. When the ratings finally settle down for the show, I can easily see it going below a 1 18-49 before being canceled. At least Almost Human was hitting 1.5 consistently.

  17. Jane says:

    I made it about half way through and realized it was going to be just another fake reality show with half the people being rude and nasty to each other and the other half just being clueless and changed the channel. Won’t be going back for a second look. Someone here said Fox spent $50 million on this. If that is true then it is beyond sad.

  18. MTV Sucks says:

    Show sucks, too much religion and stupidity. People seemed type casted and situations seem scripted.

  19. Lizo says:

    In regards to Bella, it’s a pretty standard tactic for women to use when they feel unsafe around a man. To flirt, seem friendly, to do everything you can to make them not have negative emotions towards you in the hopes that they don’t violently attack you. It’s a defence mechanism.

  20. Lizo says:

    I’m so glad they cancelled Almost Human to make space for this.

  21. MSDowns says:

    So so bad…
    Nothing else to say really.

  22. Linda says:

    I find it interesting that Fox can title this show Utopia when there is already a ‘scripted’ show called Utopia on Space (in Canada) which starts its 2nd season next week. Totally different show, same title. How much confusion will there be over that, I wonder?

  23. Boiler says:

    Maybe they can get rid of this crap and pick up Hart of Dixie when CW is stupid enough to cancel. Would likely do better on Fox

  24. david7118 says:

    Let us hope that the show gets cancelled and no one at Fox remembers to tell the contestants.

  25. Name That Tune says:

    Thank you. You have convinced me not to waste my time with this piece of trash.

    Thank God for Sunday night football.

    And Fox must be desperate for new programming ideas.

  26. I lasted an hour, only because I couldn’t find anything else to watch. I seriously can’t see this lasting the year. They’ll kill each other off long before then.

    • Zo0tie says:

      Frankly, I hope someone gets hold of a leucotome and starts performing ice pick lobotomies on the others while they’re too drunk to resist. Given the pathological nature of these ‘utopians’ it might be in improvement.

  27. Marie Mueller Martin says:

    Pretty scary that out of 14 people there are so many morons/jerks/disrespectful idiots gathered in the same place. I think you can count on one hand the people that could have a truly functional society. Please don’t let this be the future of our country should there be a catastrophe that wipes out most of the human race.

    • Harry says:

      well…it’s obvious the show was cast to produce the maximum amount of conflict possible – so it’s not surprising that everyone is a total moron, except maybe lawyer guy

      Do the ‘subjects’ even get this? maybe they are too thick to realize it

      also..who wires them up every day?

      it’s been a week and they have zero plans on societal organization..work organization..any organization that I can see

      it’s a train wreck as a social experiment – as a show? eh.. stop blurring it and then see the ratings climb

  28. chrmdgagrl says:

    This new Fox show to me seems so embellished. Seems like it is so set up for failure. Worse than survivor. I even gave it a second shot on the second show. Its just so fake. This is what the tv world is coming to. Craziness.

    • davlestev1 says:

      Girl this show is a HOT MESS…cell phones..liquor..hair dryers…hair clippers…and then they make a make shift chicken tractor like it’s the old west..but what a hoot with the pickled horse radish and the ex con and the hill billy bullying the nerdy annoying lawyer kid. Fox should be highly ashamed of themselves and who ever thought it was clever to put the knock off Oz the powerful as a narrator. The man looks like he is commenting on an 1800’s experiment when this is just a show gone horribly wrong. This is just one confusing unfunny mess..and so are the participants.

  29. davlestev1 says:

    Everybody is a character..every moment is so terribly unscripted you just know it’s scripted..why that ex con melts down every other scene and then is lake placid laid back is beyond the realm of believability..that minister is more smug snake in the grass than any type of help whatsoever..It’s like this should hearken back to the way the west was won..with every present day amenity possible. Just confusing.

  30. Virtual waster says:

    There is always the deluded that think Jesus will help them with every second

  31. Josh says:

    I knew I was going to be hand fed a plate of scripted, over-produced BS in the first couple of minutes when they had them all sit around a table and pretend to watch a high resolution hologram, while nodding and oohing and ahhing. For those who don’t know, that technology doesn’t exist — those effects were all added after the footage was recorded. Then they pretended to watch it fly out of the room in a flash of light while they all looked up in amazement as if they really watched any of that happen. Then when the overly fake, obviously scripted, nonsensical drama kicked in 2 minutes later and didn’t stop, I had to shut it off. I think I made it 15 minutes. Thought this was a great idea, but man, what a terrible, terrible show.

  32. Rocker says:

    I’m interested in how many excuses the lawyer can come up with to avoid any form of manual labor. Of course a Utopian society needs a full-time lawyer.

  33. 007 says:

    This show is a good idea. Kid Nation was, although obviously chaperoned, very much more watchable.
    This installment of Utopia is a sure miss and just plain sad. It is obviously contrived, scripted and fake, fake, FAKE!
    I’m turning the channel.

  34. 007 says:

    Siberia was a better show. We knew from the very first episode that the whole thing was fake. Same with Utopia but less relevant content. What a waste or resources!

  35. dugo says:

    Took a video of the live feed of Chris and bri and the new guy smoking a doobie the other night just talking smash, seems like that’s all they do. I wonder if they were allowed to bring cannabis along with them to “utopia”, also let me know if anyone wants to see that video! !!

  36. Snoop Dawg says:

    way, Way, WAY too fake.
    Totally scripted mocudrama.
    The only “reality” about Utopia is that it will end soon.

  37. daniel says:

    For one red and Josh are the only two smart enough other than the new guy and they dropped red over America not smart bri does nothing at all

  38. Jeqal says:

    I think Fox should let Josh Whedan buy back the Firefly franchise in order to get some good karma back from failed shows like Utopia.

  39. never have the reality show the same night as on another reality show too many people in one Mon roomequations in men and women should have been the same not a pregnant woman no good no married people to the men allowedthe same goes with the women