Summer Trash TV: Yes, Please!
The warm-weather months can be just as depressing as the dark days of winter. The juicy mysteries of Lost are done for the season, 30 Rock and the rest of Must-See Thursday has segued into repeats, and Breaking Bad has packed up its crystal meth beakers and gone into hibernation for the foreseeable future.
For some, this may be a nice excuse to go to the beach, or spend some quality time with our loved ones, or tackle Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past once and for all. But, come on. If you’re reading this on a beautiful Saturday in June, that means you’re a shut-in just like me and you’re looking for something…anything…to get you through the prime-time DTs. Well, I’ve spent the past few weeks digging through the slag heap of trashy summer TV and come up with a few cheesy nuggets. These are not the kinds of shows anyone’s going to remember fondly (or otherwise) at Emmy time. Hell, you might not remember them 10 minutes after they’re over. But they will satisfy your summer sweet tooth and help get you through the season. Details on winners like Harper’s Island, Daisy of Love, and Charm School With Ricki Lake (pictured) after the jump.
First up is CBS’s serial whodunit, Harper’s Island (Saturdays at 10 p.m.). For the uninitiated, the premise is this: A young couple who’s about to get hitched invites all of their friends and family to a ritzy resort on a woodsy island in the Pacific Northwest for a week’s worth of nuptial festivities. Gory nuptial festivities. Each week, some member of the bride’s or groom’s party — sometimes more than one — gets offed in cool, Final Destination-y new ways. I know, you’re thinking to yourself, “I’m coming to the party late, will I still be able to follow it?” This ain’t Roman Polanski’s Chinatown, folks. Of course, you will! Granted, the only “name” in the cast, Harry Hamlin, has already been knocked off — cut in two, actually. But there are plenty of bad actors who still have a pulse left to sate your body-count needs.
Next up, VH1’s Daisy of Love (Sundays at 9 p.m.). I know, I know, you’re looking down your nose at me right now. Well, get off your high horse. This thing’s hysterical. The “star” is a Bad Girl Barbie-type named Daisy, whom you may or may not remember as the tattooed, Valley Girl-ish ditz from last season’s Rock of Love. She might not have walked away with Bret Michaels’ heart, but this time out she’s looking for a bad-boy soulmate out of a pool of skeezy rocker guys who run the gamut from alcoholic meatheads to scary cagefighters. True to televised love competition form, these gentlemen suitors go head to head in challenges to win dates with Daisy, who, it must be said, has horrendous taste in guys. Like I said, she competed for Bret Michaels’ love, so obviously her bar is pretty low. But the show is as addictive as a bag of Fried Pork Rinds.
Finally, may I suggest another VH1 gem, Charm School With Ricki Lake (Mondays at 9 p.m.)? Last year’s installment was hosted by Sharon Osbourne, who at least seemed plausible as a role model for a pool of reality-show girls gone wild. Then again, maybe I was just fooled by her Mary Poppins accent. This season, the now-svelte-but-still-attention-starved Lake has replaced her, stooping to a career low that, frankly, kind of shocks me. And I’m not shocked easily. But that’s part of the fun — you get to rubberneck as her career jack-knifes. Lake puts a rowdy bevy of silicone-enhanced strippers, bad-tempered drunks, and drama queens through a series of empowerment and self-improvement tests that they mostly fail. And then after the challenges are over, they scratch and claw at each other in their bunk beds while downing shots of Tequila. It’s almost hypnotic in its awfulness.
Will any of these shows replace Lost or House in your heart? No, nor do they try. But they do know that you both can’t and don’t want to turn off your TV just because it’s nice outside. And for that, we should all be grateful. Bon Appetit! What’s your favorite summer trash-TV show?