I’m not what you would call a reality show junkie. In fact, short of the occasional singing competition show, I rarely even dabble into the genre anymore. I remember hearing the promos for Utopia almost a year before it actually aired. Maybe it was the fact that Walden Two had been required reading for some of my psych courses in college or maybe it was the psych major in me, but the premise of the show was absolutely irresistible.
You put fifteen people in the middle of nowhere and leave it up to them to determine how they will survive. They started these individuals off with nothing other than the absolute basics. They had no electricity, no running water, very little food. They were provided with $5000 and a dead cell phone as their only means of survival.
I must admit, I can’t really wrap my brain around the person that signs up for this for an entire year and calls this their utopia. If anyone is asking, my utopia involves a debt-free life living in a cabin with a mountain view, private chef, and housekeeper. It does not, under any circumstances, involve sharing a toilet with 15 people and showering with a water hose. Just saying.
To be fair, these Utopians have turned out to be quite resourceful. They wisely chose a diverse group of characters to add drama while also choosing individuals with different skills sets that would be able to contribute certain “talents” to the group.
There’s Bree the vet tech who helps with the animals when she’s not sleeping. There’s Josh, the contractor who helped wire the electricity and is always building something though we never really see what. We have Mike. He’s a lawyer and he tries to be helpful though its difficult to hold his head up with all his hair piled on top. He’s got the Justin Bieber before he became a bad boy thing going on. Sometimes when he throws his head I’m seriously worried he’s going to dislocate his neck or something. If he did, Doctor Nikki would help him, I’m sure.
There are several other community members including a pregnant woman (Amanda). I seriously think a psych eval is in order when and if she makes it out of there. Something has to be off in your brain for you to have a choice, and choose to go into a place like this to have a baby. Bella is a hippie chick who wants to live off the land to survive. I’d like to see her banished back into whatever Woodstock Nirvana she came from. I’ve seen a lot of of annoying people in my time, but this woman truly makes me want to go through the tv screen.
The other cast members are largely not worth mentioning unless you count Red who breaks away from the group every time he disagrees with a decision. Bella could take him with her now that I think about it.
As a whole, the show has not lived up to its full potential. What could have been an intelligent, social experiment is being overshadowed by petty, ignorant people. While I had hoped the network actually wanted to produce a program that illustrated societal issues, it’s clear they are more focused on drawing in viewers by producing a Real-World-esque drama-fest.
Guess I’ll go read Walden Two again.