Tuesday, September 09, 2008

TV premiering tonight: Privileged

I have an affinity for soapy dramas about the decadent rich, as well as any form of entertainment aimed at teenage girls, and yet even I couldn't get into this rather grating, predictable, dumb show about an aspiring writer who ends up as the live-in tutor to two spoiled heiresses in Palm Beach, Florida. Really, I turned against it within the first few minutes, as the allegedly intelligent heroine (played with maximum mannered annoyingness by JoAnna Garcia) blows off her important magazine assignment to write some college-sophomore-level think piece, then expects her editor to fawn all over it. I realize she's supposed to be some naive idealist, but she just came off as an arrogant moron.

Michael Cassidy, who was nicely evil on the underrated Hidden Palms, plays the heroine's puppy-dog best friend, setting in motion some meant-to-be romantic storyline that got on my nerves before it even started. The two heiresses each get one note to play, and while I appreciated the relationship between the tutor and the younger heiress, which hinted at some real emotions being explored beyond desperation and bitchiness, it's not enough to sustain an entire series. The CW is banking hard on these rich-girl fantasies for its target audience, but this show and 90210 (which at least has the nostalgia factor going for it) just highlight how smart, layered and insightful Gossip Girl is. Privileged gets the gloss but none of the substance. The CW, Tuesdays, 9 p.m.

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