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.
“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.
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!