Utopia is a new, $50 million, reality television series from Fox that is supposed to run for a year — but I don’t think the show will make it to the end of October because of horrible casting decisions and even more miserable ratings. The producers get some things right and most everything else wrong.
The technical aspects of the show, the live feed, the landscape, and the idea, are all right — but the casting is completely and horrifyingly wrong — as is the creepy-pervy peeping-tom-ish host who ruins the television show with his “stalkeristic” vibe and prissy mustache and bizarro hat and glasses.
As well, when you choose a convicted felon to be the center of your show from the git-go, and he’s also the initial online presence for your show and live feeds portal, something terrible and awful has gone wrong on a deep DNA level that cannot be cured by God, a false baptism, or human infusion.
Utopia has been pocked with casting trouble right from the start when one contestant was disqualified before the show even began its live feed. Then, Dave, the convicted felon, took over the live feeds and the television show, and the ratings tanked. Who wants to watch prison bullying of the others in the community? Not great television. We want to watch people come together and build something, not watch a rerun of Cops set on a $50 million Santa Clarita Little House on the Prairie homestead.
Then the preacher quit — thank Gawd! — due to a baseball “thumb injury” and now we’re left with a bunch of know-nothings who have the luxury, and the curse, of having nothing better to do with their lives than live for a year on a compound in a pseudo-psycho commune to govern themselves into 15 separate ideas of what it means to be in a “Utopia” state of mind.
What sort of person is able to give up a year of their life to a TV show? The answer quickly becomes evident: Losers, those without hope, those without any job prospects, and those seeking fame and fortune in nudity and on-screen sex. We don’t want danger or drama in this show — we want progressive successes.
When Bri, the ridiculous and laughable, “Vet Tech,” says on the live feeds that she wants to be a prostitute, and Kristen, one of the newer, vainglorious, communal replacements, gives her advice on becoming an escort, you know the entire show is a joke on us reality show True Believers — and that the cows and chickens are actually in dire peril because of Bri’s preoccupation with everything other than them — and we know the Utopia producers have little to no sense when it comes to honoring a basic moral code of not purposefully putting farm animals in jeopardy for the sake of drama and ratings.
As a Big Brother fan, I had grand hopes for Utopia — I thought it would be the next genealogical step in The Colony ideal of supernumerary living — but, boy, I could not have been more wrong! Instead of building a society, Utopia is only about celebrating sloth and anger and the unvirtuous — all who want to survive with as little effort, and as much junk food, as possible. I feel like I’ve wasted two weeks of my life.
I was an early sign up for the live feeds at $5 per month, and the feeds work really well. The technical side of Utopia is my Absolute Utopia. 130 silent, robotic, cameras? Yes, please!
The problem with Utopia is there is no real responsibility. It’s more game show than survival. I’ve Tweeted a few things about Utopia since the show began and here is Hex, my favorite, because she cares more about the animals than about her own happiness; plus, she a professed anarchist, a true woman after my own expressionistic heart:
Early live feeders were treated to this unhealthy sight — explicit nudity for absolutely no reason whatsoever — the producers now appear to be blurring these ghastly displays on the live feeds:
None of that stopped me from trying to play along, and gathering online “Passport Stamps,” and favorites, for my live viewing experience:
I have actually rooted for them from the start:
But now, with hindsight locking my forward horizon, I’m forced to admit that my Utopia may be a Big Bang bust. So, as the show slowly dies in the ratings, here’s my one minute analysis of each remaining Utopian:
THE BEST: These people must stay.
1. Hex: She cares about the animals. She puts them first before anything else. She works hard. She’s a winner.
1a. Josh: He’s a second first to Hex, because he cares about the people by building them a toilet and a sink and getting the gas and electricity hooked up. Josh is only a 1a because the animals are reliant upon people and people are reliant upon each other.
3. Rob: He’s a good son of New Jersey, and a hard worker and he gets things done. Josh gives Rob credit, even though nobody else there does, for creating a functional Utopia, and we second the notion.
4. Taylor: He replaced the felon who quit the show and, as a good son of Nebraska, he has a stellar work ethic and cares about timelines and getting the job done.
5. Kristen: She’s the replacement for the woman who didn’t make the show and she usually works hard. She’s catty and gossipy, and gives horrible advice — a pimp, she ain’t — but she does the work when asked and, in the end, it is really only the work that matters.
THE WORST: These people need to be fired.
6. Red: He was the felon’s best friend. He’s spoiled. He’s a pothead. He wants attention. At any perceived slight, he threatens to pack up and go. Leave already!
7. Nikki: A major disappointment. She’s a doctor, but every medical emergency has been handled by outside EMTs with zero conditional support from her. I don’t know why she isn’t more sophisticated in her health providing, but she isn’t, and so she should go.
8. Dedeker: The belly dancer/cheese maker does the dishes — and Mike — and that’s about it. A Big Bore!
9. Mike: Does Dedeker and immediately regrets it because of his attorney role and subsequent morality clauses. We had high hopes for him as a prescient leader, but Red and the Felon broke him, and he has willfully yet to recover his immediate promise as a pioneer.
10. Aaron: We liked him at the start, but he isn’t a chef. He’s a reheater of prepared food. He cannot plan or budget for a week’s worth of meals. He controls the kitchen. He won’t let anyone else cook. Utopia has become a show about shut-ins on a beautiful farm who spend hours a day ordering food that is delivered to them at $50 a pop; and Aaron’s inability to provide is the center of that storm.
11. Amanda: She arrived on scene seven months pregnant with no father in sight? She plans to have a live birth in Utopia in “October or November” and she expects a broke bunch of know-nothings to build her a “birthing shack” and take care of her infant in the most unsanitary place in California? Please have second thoughts, and do the right thing, and immediately leave Utopia for the well-being of your unborn baby. She doesn’t do anything all day except wail and complain and blame. We know the producers are enraptured by her unborn child, but we, the Knowing Public, are retching at the thought of her motherly thoughtlessness. She’s the top Freeloader, by far.
12. Bella: She’s the self-professed wacko. Her knowledge about life and chickens comes from a cursory scanning of Wikipedia entries. The rest of the community is already on to her and they immediately dismiss her — as do we — as the paranoid crazy cat lady. She plants silly “keystone gardens” that have no walls to keep the plants in moisture — and, instead of planting rows of crops that can feed 15 people where you walk up and down each row with a watering can in hand to make proper, seasonal, food grow — she’s planting strawberries in September that will never bear fruit before Winter. She is the first Fascist — expecting everyone to bend to her odd will. “This is not my Utopia?” YOU are not our Utopia!
13. Chris: He’s a big slut, and a cipher, and we don’t care that Bri slathers peanut butter on his pickle for a nightly blow job he professes to not enjoy, but always accepts.
14. Bri: She is the “Vet Tech” but knows nothing about animals. She does more harm than good. She needs to quit the show and become the prostitute she wishes to be, and leave the livestock to those who really care. Begone and Bri forgotten! Because of her, the cows and chickens have become “welfare recipients” and now their feed and Vet bills are paid for by the producers. That’s the only way animals will survive with her on scene because, if one cow dies, the entire show is finished. Dead and dying animals are already her awful legacy. She should also never again be allowed to speak to the Vet on the phone, alone, without direct supervision — because she lies to the rest of the group about what’s really going on with the animals. Number one Fool!
15. Preacherman: We are so grateful he inelegantly quit. His broken thumb was only an excuse to remove himself from the experiment — a real farmer would have found a way to work around the injury. We quickly tired of your preaching and false baptisms and phony prayers before every meal. He never worked. He sat around all day crying about all the nudity around him. Tempted much?
Utopia, in its essence, must be this: A Necessary Socialism ruled by majority votes. It’s simple. It’s practical. It isn’t happening.
For Utopia to regain its promise, the show needs to reboot, remove, and bring in real people, real workers — for no more than two weeks at a time — to offer their share of the Utopian dream before they leave and return to their real-life, successful, work.
That’s the only way to save the show and to reinvigorate the live feeds. Anything else only delays the inevitable October cancellation — and the $50 million write-off for Fox and the rest of us — all lost in a petty investment of time and hope in a Utopia that was never meant to be.