A first look at Lake Shore, Toronto's reality TV series
Lake Shore, the Jersey Shore-esque reality show based in Toronto, has just released its first webisode. Featuring a look at the audition process, one can only guess that this three-minute peek is designed to drum up some attention for a production that's "still in negotiations" regarding television distribution.
And a peek it is. Given that the members of the cast have yet to be selected, we mostly get to see people trying their best to look like they're partying hard, despite the early hour of the auditions.
Boasting about how very colourful everyone is, the show's host, Susie Iliyan, walks us through a few forced interviews with those hoping to make the cut. Highlights include a dude flexing his pecs, multiple people offering un-ironic duckfaces, others sticking out their tongues (that means you're confident, you know...), and a healthy dose of cleavage thrown in for good measure.
The whole thing is a tad painful to watch, which, I suspect, is mostly the point. When one tunes into shows like Jersey Shore, it's precisely for such cringe-inducing moments. Intentional or not, people are captivated by such "drama" because it implicitly confirms their cultural and intellectual superiority. It wouldn't be a stretch to say that this is the primary reason for the wild popularity of reality television in general.
So instead of railing about how dumb everyone looks and lamenting how hard they're trying to look cool, the only complaint I really have with this first glimpse of the show is that it appears to fit into that old arc in which a Canadian show does a shitty job of copying an already popular U.S. production (JacLife meet the Hills).
Potentially more troublesome, however, is the show's desire "to answer the question what happens when eight vibrant and volatile twenty-something Torontonians from different backgrounds, cultures and sexual orientations shack up?"
Is this really a question that requires answering? Doesn't this happen all the time? Sure these will be eight strangers, but lines like this give the distinct sense that those responsible for Lake Shore hope that some sort of racial or cultural tension will fuel the drama of the show.
The saving grace of Jersey Shore, on the other hand, is that the characters' collective cultural background is treated as lightheartedly as it is stereotypically.
It's doubtful that a similar dynamic is possible with Lake Shore. Hypothetically speaking, if each cast member were selected to function as a cultural stereotype, the result would be anything but a representation of Toronto's diversity.
Quite the opposite. To be a young urbanite living in Toronto is to be disinterested in what ensues when people of diverse backgrounds are put together under one roof. We already know the answer. Nothing much out of the ordinary, and certainly not a whole bunch of cultural-racial high jinks.
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