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S01.E01: Series Premiere (1)

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That... wow, that's dead on balls accurate, kib. I watched the first two episodes via OnDemand over two days, and it was a real chore because basically almost everyone was *awful*. Not sure I'll come back, as I was hoping for more actual "surviving" and less draaaaaamaaaaa.

With maybe a handful of exceptions, they're all hotheads, ill-mannered, hypocritical, and painfully narcissistic. While I understand that's par for the course in reality TV casting land, the lack of any true gameplay or checks and balances has led those DSM traits found in the species 'Famewhorus Americanus' to spiral out of control immediately.

Like in real life, at least shows like Survivor and Big Brother have a built-in feedback loop that penalizes being completely unreasonable, violent, or destructive, so the crazies are quickly tamed, or booted by community vote every 2-3 days (or by production in an emergency).

But... here, there's no goal, no prize for winning/staying (besides a paltry stipend), and thus nothing to restrain their worst impulses or encourage them to even try to get along. I still don't even know if the Utopians can even vote anyone off besides once a month (their mock court not withstanding, I think it was for show), and Production has a weird inconsistency on what gets a lecture off screen, and what they completely ignore.

I mean, Red is a lazy, stupid, douchenozzle... but he wasn't wrong that Aaron's threats were very much NOT okay, and would have gotten him a boot by Production on most other shows. Then again, in 3 days we've seen legally actionable behavior from- off the top of my head- Josh, Dave, and Aaron, and additional behavior from several others that should be raising serious red flags among the two or three sane people who accidentally slipped through casting to get on the show.

Plus, I'm pretty sure on night 1, I saw Hex hold up what looked like credit cards before announcing "let's go party" leading to the drunken shenanigans, so I suspect the producers are either supplying bottomless liquor (likely), or they have special separate cards just for buying booze, or perhaps worst of all, maybe they bought it with their $5,000 seed capital. Jesus, I can't even imagine the trainwreck of these idiots trying to manage community funds... I'm sure Tea Party gun nut Rob will throw a fit about "taxes" the first time they buy even a bag of rice by group vote.

Like I said, not sure I'll stick around for this alcohol-fueled psychosocial nightmare, but I *am* fairly sure the show won't even last the full year (I didn't realize until halfway through that this is airing nearly live, and is not already done and in the can). We should start a betting pool on whether it is the ratings failing, the Utopians running out of food, or someone actually seriously injuring/killing someone else that will be the final nail in this show's coffin.

The saddest part is that in articles about the show, it sounds like there was a ton of absolutely AMAZING work by skilled gardeners, architects, and landscapers to build an amazing 5-acre compound and put an incredible amount of thought into the flora and fauna, which will be painfully ignored by the residents and completely missed by the viewers. I'd like to see a documentary about *that*, instead of this friggin' mess.

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I forgot to mention one thing I heard Dan Pinero say—that there would be no "twists" on Utopia, because they want the game to play out without interference. I'm paraphrasing, but it was definitely a shot at Big Brother. Which it lost to by a wide margin in Sunday night's ratings. 

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Ah, flashbacks to my favorite Amazing Race reference - Jonathon screaming : "My ox is broken"

 

Makes me smile every time....

Not Jonathan, Colin was the one with the broken ox. Jonathan was the one screaming VICTORIA!
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Silly me for expecting Fox to run a legit show...the more I watched the more it reminded my of last summer's NBC debacle Siberia

 

Please don't dis Siberia - at least it was watchable. I was even hoping for a second season because I really wanted explanations for all the strange shit that was going on.

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I would argue that $1,000 a week is not a paltry stipend. That is a pretty nice chunk of change. If someone lasted 52 weeks, that would be $208,000, before taxes. Not bad money. If you are a single person who is unemployed or underemployed, $1,000 is great money. I don't remember too many of these people have younger kids or kids in school at home. Several are unemployed or in college. So the stipend will help a lot. A bunch came with an agenda, Pastor Jon/Bella, to convert people to a specific way of thinking and could careless about the money.

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I would argue that $1,000 a week is not a paltry stipend. That is a pretty nice chunk of change. If someone lasted 52 weeks, that would be $208,000, before taxes. Not bad money. If you are a single person who is unemployed or underemployed, $1,000 is great money. I don't remember too many of these people have younger kids or kids in school at home. Several are unemployed or in college. So the stipend will help a lot. A bunch came with an agenda, Pastor Jon/Bella, to convert people to a specific way of thinking and could careless about the money.

What am I missing? 1000 a week is $52,000 a year.

I haven't read everything, so I might have missed it, but I thought it was 1,000/week, period.

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I would argue that $1,000 a week is not a paltry stipend. That is a pretty nice chunk of change. If someone lasted 52 weeks, that would be $208,000, before taxes. Not bad money. If you are a single person who is unemployed or underemployed, $1,000 is great money.

 

@ProfCrash -- I think your math is off a bit.  At $1000 per week, that's only $52,000 per year, which is ok money.

 

And don't forget that they have to pay taxes on those stipends as well, so the take-home is only around $39000 a year (assuming they have no other income).

 

ETA: @backformore beat me to it.

Edited by ottoDbusdriver
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I would argue that $1,000 a week is not a paltry stipend. That is a pretty nice chunk of change. If someone lasted 52 weeks, that would be $208,000, before taxes. Not bad money. If you are a single person who is unemployed or underemployed, $1,000 is great money. I don't remember too many of these people have younger kids or kids in school at home. Several are unemployed or in college. So the stipend will help a lot. A bunch came with an agenda, Pastor Jon/Bella, to convert people to a specific way of thinking and could careless about the money.

If they were gone for 4 years!  :)

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Perhaps their families are paying the stipend just to keep them away for an extended period...if I was related to a number of these folk, I would pay.

 

Full disclosure:  I had to pay spousal support when I separated & divorced my husband.  I say in all honesty paying spousal support was cheaper than being married to him so my view on this might be skewed.

Edited by DeLurker
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I cannot stand the saccharine, feel-good reality shows in which people overcome struggles and impart important life lessons. I want to sit back and laugh at stupid people on TV and forget about work and mom stuff for an hour or two at the end of the day. It helps me unwind knowing that, yep, my life is pretty damn good compared to these crazy people! Thus, this show is right up my alley! I recognize a few posters from Bachelor in Paradise forum. Now, this show isn't going to be THAT good--I don't think anything ever will be--but as soon as I saw that the cast is filled with various extreme/fringe-beliefs who all think THEIR way is the ONLY way for Utopia, I grabbed my popcorn! Granted, there's almost a little TOO much fighting so far--people are WAY too touchy and EXPLODING over stupid stuff--but, you know, that's part of the package when you love trashy TV! Granted, I think a couple episodes a week for a year would be too much of a commitment, but I don't see this show lasting more than 3 months, so I'm in!

ETA: I forgot to finish my point comparing this to BIP. In the Bachelor world, people are either "there for the right reasons" (to find love) or "there for the wrong reasons" (famewhore), and fans joke about as viewers whether we're Right Reasons (sincerely watching for the Love Journey) or Wrong Reasons (snarking on the drama). I tuned into Utopia for the Right Reasons--it sounded like an interesting societal experiment--but when I quickly recognized this as a Wrong Reasons show, just as good to me!

Edited by JenE4
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This is reminding me of The Real World Miami, the first season where they had to work. They were supposed to start a business, but instead they just fought and read each other's mail and had shower threesomes and accomplished nothing. This is worse, because these eww-topian people are supposed to be "real" adults.

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Well, I admit it: I'm watching this show because it is so bad.  Or, maybe, I'm watching people with the same attitude (the old TWP crowd) watch the show.

 

Don't think the show can go a year.  We need a pool (or a poll) based on the number of weeks that make it on the air.

 

It's not considered nice to admit it, but I'm drawn to picturesque disasters and this show has already demonstrated great potential.

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Finally got around to cleaning stuff off my DVR, so I marathoned the first three episodes (four, I guess, since the first was two hours). Um, Wow. This is not what I thought it might be. Where were the discussions about what makes a utopian society? The style of governing should have been the first thing to deal with, followed quickly by getting a BIG HUGE GARDEN in the ground -- and a few pecking chickens won't cut it (sorry, nutty Bella.)

 

These people are going to be starving in a month. And I shall laugh.

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Actually, I think that you would be appalled like the rest of us at the sloth, laziness, threats of real violence, dirtiness, and animal abuse that has occurred, but not been shown on the TV show. It is so bad, it isn't even funny or snark worthy. 

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Finally got around to cleaning stuff off my DVR, so I marathoned the first three episodes (four, I guess, since the first was two hours). Um, Wow. This is not what I thought it might be. Where were the discussions about what makes a utopian society? The style of governing should have been the first thing to deal with, followed quickly by getting a BIG HUGE GARDEN in the ground -- and a few pecking chickens won't cut it (sorry, nutty Bella.)

 

These people are going to be starving in a month. And I shall laugh.

Right -  first order of business in a "new society"  is to "decide how to decide" - to come to some kind of agreement on who makes decisions, who does the work, what are the rules, etc.  

Then - yeah, plant seeds.  BUT - also  order some starter plants, they are ridiculously cheap. Like, $1.   Vegetable plants  that have already sprouted and are 6 inches tall will give you FOOD a lot sooner.

Then  -  buy more chickens.  Eggs are protein, and chickens, when cared for, provide an endless supply.   

 

They have an oven, they need to get people baking bread, cakes, pizza, etc.  

If I had to feed 15 people every day, I'd have loaves of bread in the oven first thing in the morning, every day.   Bread is cheap to make.  Most of us don't make our own because it's time consuming - waiting for dough to rise.     But these people are there all day.  Nobody would complain about not having enough food if there was fresh bread!  (well except for the gluten-averse, but make a pot of rice for them)   

Seriously, have any of these people been POOR, and had to feed families on the cheap? 

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Right -  first order of business in a "new society"  is to "decide how to decide" - to come to some kind of agreement on who makes decisions, who does the work, what are the rules, etc.  

Then - yeah, plant seeds.  BUT - also  order some starter plants, they are ridiculously cheap. Like, $1.   Vegetable plants  that have already sprouted and are 6 inches tall will give you FOOD a lot sooner.

Then  -  buy more chickens.  Eggs are protein, and chickens, when cared for, provide an endless supply.   

 

They have an oven, they need to get people baking bread, cakes, pizza, etc.  

If I had to feed 15 people every day, I'd have loaves of bread in the oven first thing in the morning, every day.   Bread is cheap to make.  Most of us don't make our own because it's time consuming - waiting for dough to rise.     But these people are there all day.  Nobody would complain about not having enough food if there was fresh bread!  (well except for the gluten-averse, but make a pot of rice for them)   

Seriously, have any of these people been POOR, and had to feed families on the cheap? 

 

That's the thing with this bunch.  Those of us who have seriously had to live on little money at some period on our lives know how to stretch our food dollars.  I'm the casserole queen and can take a little bit of meat and turn it into a nice big, filling casserole.  I can make a loaf of bread for about 40 cents.  But these are city people for the most part.  Maybe they're used to living on take-out? 

Edited by technorebel
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But these are city people for the most part.  Maybe they're used to living on take-out?

 

 

I won't give them a pass based on that.  I'm a city girl and I know how to stretch a food budget and feed a family.  These people are just not even trying.

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