Rich Girl, Poor Girl is a lame, fake reality series

The WB kicked off its second original reality series on Monday, posting two episodes, which it will do every Monday. Alas, Rich Girl, Poor Girl–which is produced by a division of Go Go Luckey Entertainment, which created Laguna Beach–is so far removed from reality it’s just painful.

On the show, two girls trade lives for seven days to try to learn more about others’ lives (Tarra Woolen is from the Pacific Palisades and is kind of rich, Angie Riccio is from east L.A. and not so much). The network calls it “a comedic social experiment that exposes what makes us different and what we have in common.” Despite that lofty concept, it’s nothing like The WB’s excellent first original reality series High Drama: Against All Oz, nor is it funny.

It opens with an unfortunate animated title sequence, and I use “unfortunate” because it just highlights how cartoonish the two girls are and how fake the whole series seems. Nearly everything they say comes across as performative and over-acted. “You are not going somewhere fancy like the Olive Garden,” Angie’s best friend tells her when she suggests taking her green prom dress with her. Tarra’s mom suggests that she and Angie can spend time “juicing.” Angie does this a lot more than Tarra; for example, Angie pours syrup on a waffle from a few feet in the air, getting syrup all over the counter and her dogs, one of which proceeds to lick the waffle.

There’s also the most egregious, horrifying product placement I’ve seen in a long time, and I’ve watched The Biggest Loser recently. Angie literally transitions from a conversation with Tarra’s sister into reciting advertising copy for show sponsor Acuvue’s contacts, which are placed on the counter just as if she was in a commercial. Because she delivers her obviously scripted lines so well, and she sounds as genuine as she does the rest of the time, it’s hard not to wonder how much of the rest of the show is utter bullshit, too.

It’d make sense to start with episode one, but instead, watch the segment from episode two two with the Acuvue product placement, which is worth watching only because it’s so unbelievable.

(Update: Apologies for initial auto-playing embedded clip; I hate those, too.)

Rich Girl Poor Girl [The WB]

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.