Transparent Jersey Shore rip-off Brooklyn 11223 premiered last night on Oxygen, and I took one for the team and watched it. Spoiler alert: I didn’t much care for it.
The show focuses West Side Story style on two competing crews of Bay Ridge women: team Christie, and team Joey Lynn. But when they clash, it is not through artful dance-fighting, but yelling and pushing each other and threatening to “fuck you up” (but never actually delivering). The only things that got fucked up in this first episode were the ladies, on many, many Coronas.
Through some clunky exposition, we find out the reason Christie and Joey Lynn hate each other (or rather, why Christie hates Joey Lynn). They used to be best friends, you see, until Christie decided that Joey Lynn had slept with her boyfriend, Roberto. (Who never appears on screen and who nobody ever thought to ask.) We are never given any evidence as to why Christie thinks this, and whether or not it’s true is one of the show’s great mysteries, but I will say that Christie seems a little high strung and bad-crazy, and also a little bit like she sucks. I mean, even if Joey Lynn did sleep with her man a long time ago (which I am not convinced she did), she has a hot new boyfriend and a jet ski and a ridiculously nice house that was potentially bought with mafia money. She should get over it! She also works as a cocktail waitress in a strip club where she claims to regularly make $6,000/night. I actually had to rewind up my screener copy to listen to her say that again, because that sounds high for a stripper, let alone a waitress. I don’t care if it’s the nicest strip club in Bay Ridge. What kind of illegal shit are they running out of there?
Joey Lynn actually seems kind of okay, but maybe only by contrast. Her dad was mixed up in the mafia and got murdered before she was born. (Not to get too stereotypical, but this show raises a lot of unanswered questions about money, and I feel like “mafia” might be the answer to all of them.) Unlike Christie, she’s just a regular bartender who presumably does not make $6,000/night. Then again, she also does not have to wear a corset that’s missing the part that covers your boobs. She delivers a poignant monologue about how she wants to meet “prince charming” and get out of Bay Ridge, and I hope she does, because everyone around her is dumb and drunk and horrible. Then again, it doesn’t seem too feminist of her to want a man to take her away from “all this.” She’s an adult with the ability to decide where she lives, and there are many fine, affordable neighborhoods right here in Brooklyn that are not Bay Ridge. Or maybe go crazy and move to Portland! You are the master of your own destiny, Joey Lynn.
The show’s break out star, its Snooki, if you will, is definitely Angelina, the funny, loud, chubby girl of your dreams. We don’t get to know what she does, but she has a real, in-ground pool in her backyard (in Brooklyn!) so we know it must be something lucrative, and/or she lives with her parents. She has all the best lines (or whatever you call them on reality TV), like when her male friend Nick is mocking her for looking for a bracelet in her car and she screams, “it’s my grandmother’s, ya freak bastard!” Angie really needs to get her own spin-off after this is canceled.
One final observation about this show is that it made me realize what a difference MTV’s snappy editing makes in terms of making such a shit show marginally watchable. Because most of the things that Italian-American stereotypes do are extremely boring, MTV knows to jump quickly from thing to thing to keep it entertaining. In a single episode of The Shore, the gang might go fishing, camping, drinking, clubbing, pranking, fighting, and smushing, all in time for a beautiful sunset stroll on the boardwalk. By contrast, this show moves at a glacial pace, to the point where even when something interesting was seemingly about to happen, I wanted them to quit it with the shit talking and bitch faces and get to the fake fighting already!
I will probably not watch any more episodes of this show. However, the revelation of just how much money a shady cocktail waitress can make has led me to seriously examine my life choices. Thanks for that, Oxygen. Television for women!