Well golly! Having enjoyed an unlikely smash with “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo,” TLC dives back into deep-fried dishing in “Welcome to Myrtle Manor,” another sitcom-style reality show, steeped in stereotypical images of “trailer-park trash” as its spine. Set in a South Carolina community, the heavily narrated exercise screams “inauthentic” at practically every turn, and if history holds true, the show will probably fare best in the same regions it lampoons. Every hit invariably spawns clones, but expecting one this derivative to become another Southern superstar would be a real boo-boo.
Although no writer is credited, the voiceover as read by one of the new residents, Jeana, sounds about as natural as the homespun Rex Allen narration in old Disney live-action nature movies. When one of the squabbling couples in the trailer park isn’t getting along, we’re told, “Over at Myrtle Manor, there’s a storm a-brewin’.” Yee-ha.
Strictly from a structural standpoint, one problem in the premiere involves a scattered feeling, with too many characters being introduced, from buff “new guy” Jared (everyone must have a label, after all) to set-upon owner Becky to peculiar security guard Marvin, who appears to have watched “Patton” a few times too many.
The “story producers” also introduce a new swimming pool (OK, more like a large plastic wading tube) into the festivities, creating a minor subplot that enables one of the wacky old grannies to ask, “Is skinny dippin’ allowed?” — and later make good on the threat.
Counting the Weinstein brothers among its trailer-sized contingent of executive producers, “Myrtle Manor” can either be seen as harmless nonsense or, less charitably, another Hollywood-produced reality show that ridicules the underclass. For those apt to lean toward the latter, the fact these participants look so eager to be in on the joke (who wouldn’t want to be the next Honey Boo Boo?) provides small comfort, Southern or otherwise.
Along the way, viewers are also treated to such oddities as the sport of “trailer park man’s golf,” as Jared dubs it, which entails hitting balls from atop a trailer, as well as using the clubs to destroy a busted old TV. Unless you simply can’t get enough “G”-droppin’ programming in your diet, you might just be tempted to join ’em in that latter pastime.
Produced by the Weinstein Co. and Jupiter Entertainment. Executive producers, Bob Weinstein, Harvey Weinstein, Meryl Poster, Stephen Land, Carmella Casinelli, Jeff Schmidt, Lucy Treadway, Brandon Wilson; co-executive producers, Matt Sprouse, Andrew Davis, Damon Epps, Barbara Schneeweiss; supervising producer, Allison Asay Sowers; senior story producers, Rachel Elder, James Greco.
Camera, David Hobbes, Pat Clark. 60 MIN.