April 28, 2008

Looking for new good bad TV?

I never thought I'd say this, but I encourage you to check out MTV's "The Paper."

Monday night TV is a delightful way to spend the evening on the couch, if, like me, you love watching guilty-pleasure TV. And that's for the same reason people can't look away from a car accident: you feel bad, you know it's not making you smarter or nicer, but you can't look away because you want to see the cops come and the drivers freak out.

I start with... sigh... Gossip Girl. I know, I know, but I really miss The OC and it's basically the same plots with beautiful people, but on my home coast. Though, with less funny lines and less attractive boys. But desperate times.... Then comes The Hills, where I can't forget how scripted it is but I like seeing the fashion stuff and the evolution of Heidi's face.

Right after The Hills is the subject of this entry. The Paper is a typical high school reality TV show, where a group of kids with major 'tude try to pull off the Best Thing Ever, don't fight senioritis, and make everyone think they're going to hook up. But The Paper is different.

Aside from Amanda Lorber, the outcast blonde who somehow got the title of In-Chief, and the token gay guy (don't even remember his name), and the bitchy Giana, the cast is pretty boring, and even those guys fail to amuse sometimes. But this show is different from every other show marketed to teens today for one major reason: innocence.

Much as I love the melodrama of the shows above and can't resist an hour of perfectly coiffed waves and gauche handbags, it's super-refreshing to see a TV show, on MTV especially, where the kids seem real. They have aspirations, participate in a normal extracurricular, and go to parties where there may be beer, but there hasn't been coke, three-ways or death. The kids wear average clothing - I haven't seen a Chanel tote yet. They live in very nice houses, but there are no gratuitous shots of Bentleys, infinity pools or surgically-enhanced moms.
The Paper is a show that reminds me of the good old days of Saved By the Bell and Hey Dude. It's a show that explores real teen conflicts and school experiences, but with a grain of salt and a sense of humor. Thank the good Lord no one is pregnant, the parents are blissfully absent from the story, and the central ideal of the show is the creation of one of the most intellectual school activities: the paper.

After 2 hours of highly dramatic people with overblown egos and hard-to-believe life stories, The Paper is like a sip of lemon water after eating a big brownie: light, refreshing, and makes you regret eating all that crap. Doesn't mean I don't like chocolate... but give The Paper a shot. And if you were on the paper at your high school, it'll make you pleasantly nostalgic, and help get you through rainy nights like tonight.

Sweet dreams!

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