If “reality” needs to stretch in some new directions after a mostly moribund fall, the memo didn’t reach this sun-drenched wannabe, a sort of “The Bachelor Jr.” or coquette “Bachelorette.” Set at the U. of Central Florida — and please, let’s not believe these children are our future — series plays like a typical dating show, the sole difference being that the college-age femmes on display select the guy who will eventually pick from among them. Otherwise, it’s totally been here, seen this.
Although it’s perhaps understandable why the WB would try riffing on “The Bachelor,” it’s harder to see the upside for Mike Fleiss, who produces both, in cloning his ABC franchise quite so brazenly for another net. What’s next, the Nickelodeon version: “BKOP: Big Kid on Playground?”
That isn’t to say the casting folks haven’t done a fine job in assembling young lovelies who have memorized reality-speak, though the demographic breakdown (14 Caucasians, one Tyra Banks lookalike) leaves something to be desired. Moreover, given that the Federal Communications Commission fined Fox over a stripping scene in “Married by America,” WB affiliates should be alerted that a preview for upcoming episodes showcases a possibly illicit whipped cream-licking sequence.
For the most part, however, it’s the usual low-grade nonsense, about as earnestly packaged and presented as the genre gets. Of course, that several contestants are 18 or 19 makes it all feel a tad dirty — tilted more to the first part of its acronym than “The OC” half — but it’s hard to imagine anyone who has seen MTV’s spring break programming being shocked.
Hosted by perky Whitney Drolen, who says “Big Man on Campus” roughly four dozen times during the premiere, series employs the customary bogus-tease techniques, with an oft-repeated clip in which a member of the program’s sorority shrieks, “She stabbed me with a knife!” Inadvertently scratched with a kitchen knife is more like it, missy, but there’s seldom a penalty for hyperbole in reality.
Sifting through male candidates does drag somewhat, though it’s not every day you get to hear someone say: “Do you wash your pants in Windex? Because I can definitely see myself in them,” actually thinking that line might work.
Then again, the women aren’t much more original. “Look at how big his hands are!” one girl squeals, demonstrating the kind of learning cultivated at UCF, which doesn’t list “party school” under the “mission” portion of its web page.
Parents, trustees and Golden Knight alumni should all be proud.