“Coffee, Tea or Me?” was the name of a 1960s book and subsequent movie subtitled “The Uninhibited Memoirs of Two Airline Stewardesses.” As is so often true, the ostensible reality TV version, CW’s “Fly Girls,” delivers more talk than action, and (spoiler alert) nobody joins the mile-high club in the previewed episodes. What’s left, then, are five lovely actresses (er, sorry, “flight attendants”) working for Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin America, shoehorned into bogus soap-opera roles and situations. “The world is our playground and anything can happen,” one says. But for all the artifice, not much does.
The opening-credit introductions make clear “Fly Girls” has all the authenticity of a perfume spot, as the camera pans across the central players’ alluring faces and form-fitting white blouses. Indeed, a perky gal named Mandalay conveniently gets dressed in her car.
If she quickly emerges as the show’s de facto “good girl,” Nikole (yes, with a “k”) is the obvious villainous — a scheming diva who arrives with two microsized dogs, a la Paris Hilton, and a skirt to match. Both are said to be part of the “promo team,” model-pretty hostess types who appear at new-city launches and pretend to take umbrage when a guy quips, “I heard Hooters is opening an airline.”
The gals share a Marina del Rey apartment they call the Crash Pad, which is sort of like “Melrose Place,” without the emotional depth and complexity. The roommates include Louise, who in the premiere scores an IFB (“in-flight boyfriend”) and attends his posh Beverly Hills party.
“Fly Girls” is scheduled to land next to the CW’s “High Society” — which was DOA ratings-wise, prompting a time-period switcheroo — forging perhaps the most unreal, utterly unbelievable reality-TV tandem in recent memory. Granted, the netlet has struggled to find worthy companions for “America’s Next Top Model,” but these latest entries — “The Hills” times two, on the ground and at 30,000 feet — manage to make glamorous settings appear wan through the sheer banality of those occupying them.
Nevertheless, prepare for takeoff — and upon landing, as George Carlin once said, “Please return the stewardess to her original upright position.”