A show for every disgruntled adult who’s ever had to grind their teeth and tell themselves that the world would be so much better if they were only in charge, Utopia plays into every piece of the psyche that keeps a viewer watching. We have sex appeal, stereotypes, told-you-so moments; a polarized population that ensures conflict, but at every turn offers the promise that maybe such opposites can work through their strife, real or imagined. Oh, let’s not forget the requisite nudity.
As a concept, Utopia is looking to be part Big Brother, part Paradise Island, and part of every nightmare I’ve ever had since that time I almost tried out for American Idol. The participants have to live together and work together and sleep in probably strange proximity for some peoples’ comfort zones, and, if the first episode is any indication, have to see a whole lot of dancer Dedecker’s unclothed chest (please put your shirt back on, Dedecker).
Utopia has, among the 14 “pioneers”, potentially deep clefts between political, social, and even religions leanings. There are people from a variety of socioeconomic backgrounds, professional standings, and even the situations behind their love lives are widely varied. Where you have Hex, a six-foot tall bow hunter who is one side-braid away from some snarky The Hunger Games quips in my break room, tempered with Mike, who….Mike was a lawyer. I remember that about Mike. The cast of pioneers is a grab bag, and if there isn’t at least somebody that you can like on this show, then perhaps reality television isn’t your cup of tea.
Our 14 pioneers (soon to be 15) are going to be living in a complex for one full year, though once a month, they have the option to send someone away, a privilege that they almost acted upon the second day in the complex; after quite a celebration of the loss of plumbing, burly dude Josh got multiple kinds of touchy with multiple kinds of his Utopian family.
Cooler heads prevailed…kinda. The next day, a dead chicken caused another uproar, then an incident that I couldn’t quite grasp the finer details on, but has become endearingly known in my household as ‘The Hippy, The Hillbilly, and The Hose’.
By the end of Sunday night, I felt like everybody must be barking mad to have put themselves into this situation (lookin’ at you, Jonathan). Undeniably though, I also felt that if I can’t be home to get to know better these pioneers, these marvelous creatures of whom the producers managed to pack at least 5 story arcs into the Sunday premier, I’m going to go barkinger-madder.
And if chicken tractors are a real thing, then we can make that phrase work, too. In my Utopia, you don’t question off-the-cuff superlatives.
Utopia airs twice a week on Fox – Tuesdays at 8 pm EST, and Fridays at 9 pm EST. If you’re not on your couch to catch it, you can sure come join me on mine.