As if sensing that this show had better live down to its title, “The Bad Girls Club” opens with a flash-forward, presenting its protagonists drunkenly engaged in what resembles a minor melee. It’s only one of the peculiar moments in this show from the producers of “The Real World,” which surmises that a house full of reality TV’s most loathsome personality types will yield inevitable fireworks. It does, but the result is really the “Bad Attitude Girls,” or WWE wrestling with less charm — women with drinking problems and anger-management issues sharing the obligatory Hollywood Hills home.
That it’s an all-female group caters, ostensibly, to the audience for Oxygen, the low-profile women’s cable network that still labors in Lifetime’s shadow. But as with its more appealing comedy “Campus Ladies,” which unevenly begins its second season following this program’s double-wide launch, the basic cabler is trying a bit too hard.
Through the wonders of editing, the seven women quickly establish their “bad girl” credentials, getting thrown out of a nightclub for accosting a bouncer and providing a demonstration in the art of binge drinking by “spoiled daddy’s girl” Ripsi, the self-proclaimed “blackout queen.”
OK, so boring it isn’t, but honesty isn’t a big part of the show’s shtick, either. Indeed, as tension in the house mounts among the characters, they keep protesting that they “did not sign up for this” or, as the blouse-enhancing Jodie puts it, “I came here to get away from drama.”
Puh-leeze. She came, like the rest of them, for 15 minutes of fame and a shot at becoming a candidate for “Battle of the Network Reality Stars, 2009 Edition.” The problem is that “Bad Girls Club” arrives a little late in this game, on a channel lacking the kind of exposure or public footprint to qualify the show even as the stuff guilty pleasures are made of.
As for “The Real World” team, they’ve been ripped off so many times, they’re perhaps to be forgiven for ripping themselves off, but despite all the grappling, boozing and tears that ensue, the premise here is wispy. Genre patriarch Jon Murray contends in the press notes that before the show’s over, viewers will “root for them to cut through their defense mechanisms and make real friends,” but frankly, most will either be rooting for them to get actual help with their behavioral problems or, more likely, to stage hair-pulling fights for our amusement.
In either case, the “Bad Girls” ultimately lose, and Oxygen at best attracts the same kind of fleeting notice generated when a drunk makes a scene in a bar. Viewed that way, maybe it’s time to “BAG” these bad-attitude girls and beat a hasty retreat back to the real world.