I know it’s not really critically responsible to simply link to someone else’s review of a show and say, “What he said,” but I’m going to do that with Daniel Fienberg’s review of The CW’s H8R, starting tonight, because (1) I’m not doing a full-length review of every new show debuting over the next few weeks and (2) it’s just that damn good. The review, not the show. The show is not just bad but actively inspiring of H8red.
In brief, H8R is devoted to the questionable idea that minor celebrities, especially ones from other reality shows, require a separate reality show to protect them from people saying bad things about them on the Internet. In one segment from the debut, Lopez partners with Snooki from Jersey Shore and confronts a guy who’s been blasting her online. Did he libel her? Threaten her? Photoshop her image in humiliating ways? No: he’s been saying that she doesn’t deserve to make tens of thousands of bucks an episode for getting drunk and acting like an idiot. In other words, for saying what I would wager a lot of people not named Snooki think about Snooki.
Here’s the thing: H8R is actually based in about half of a legitimate concept. Namely, because of all the outlets for instant expression we have, it’s easy to contribute lazily to the flow of knee-jerk hostility in the world—to slap a MEH or SUCKS or FAIL on all that mildly displeases you. But we’re not talking about the cyberbullying of the powerless here; we’re talking about celebrities who are being oppressed by being less than unanimously loved.
As Fienberg rightly and definitively points out, whether you think his target is right about Snooki, the power imbalance here is offensive; it’s “a show in which the powerful make the essentially disenfranchised look like fools and then lecture them on their failings.” Does a reality star really require the forces of a broadcast network to avenge her from online insults? It’s as if the Feds established a special task force to capture and prosecute a cashier who shortchanged Bernie Madoff at a Starbucks.
I realize I run the risk here of making you want to watch H8R simply to hate on it, which frankly, Fienberg’s fantastic takedown made me want to do myself. I won’t judge you. Just make sure to write something bad about it on Facebook later.
As a side note, as I mentioned above, I’m approaching the fall-premiere season in triage mode. I can’t review everything that comes out the next couple of weeks—well, I could, but I’d end up doing it all worse than usual. So I’ll hit some shows (those I find especially interesting or that I think more Tuned Inlanders are curious about), and miss some, possibly to come back to them later if there’s a reason (almost inevitably, the one show I’ve totally ignored will turn out to be the massive hit of the season).
But we’re all about service here at Tuned In, so I’m opening it to input: what new shows (because I don’t always get preview episodes of returning shows in any case) do you most want to see reviewed here? Be honest. But don’t be a H8R! I don’t have Mario Lopez to avenge me.