High Society/Fly Girls -- TV Review



The CW might have been targeting the female demographic lately, but if its two new half-hour "reality shows" -- the dribbling "Fly Girls" and the drek-tastic "High Society" -- are representative, apparently its real goals are to put the entire genre out of its misery.

"High Society" looks at the privileged, cloistered inhabitants of Manhattan's Upper East Side, a usually cloistered world. But breakaway society gal Tinsley Mortimer, a creator, co-executive producer and star, has opened the doors, revealing that every stereotype one ever had about these people is true.

There's boring party-boy Paul, who blows money Mama gave him for an apartment on a shindig; there's Tinsley's mother, scandalized by her daughter's divorce but more floored when Tinsley chooses to live in Midtown. Then there's Jules, who at first is just another cliched reality-show bitch, but then she opens her irony-free mouth, "My friends tend not to be homosexuals, fat or Jewish," she says. "I only like white guys. ... My dream is to work for the United Nations."

Clearly, the only function of the show is to make Tinsley (who runs a handbag company) look like a valuable, upright member of society. So that's where the bar is set these days?
After the turn-and-cough experience of "Society," "Fly Girls" comes like a fragrant hot towel.

Sure, it's entirely Virgin America-branded, but this particular set of women -- five hardworking, real-life stewardesses (sorry, "in-flight team members") does their own laundry and knows when to call B.S. They live in the same beachside house when jetting around the U.S., and the window into their world is superficially intriguing.

But even this setup has a prefab feeling to it -- the clearly defined personalities (good, innocent Mandy and immature biyatch Nikole), conversations and situations all have a deeply scripted feel. Still, it's nice to experience a show whose leads don't force bile up from one's stomach; here, the ignorant idiots largely are outsiders.

Two peeks into two women-centric worlds, and yet in many ways, the same message emerges: Women are catty, two-faced and insane, and all we can do is film them for our amusement. If this is what the network considers appropriate programming for its largely female audience, then I'll be over at Spike, where the misogyny doesn't come with a designer bow on it.

Airdate: 9:30-10 p.m. Wednesday, March 10 ("High Society"); 9:30-10 p.m. Wednesday, March 24 ("Fly Girls") (the CW)

Production: IMG Media, Glassman Media ("High Society"); Collins Avenue Prods. ("Fly Girls")
Cast: Tinsley Mortimer, Dabney Mercer, Paul Johnson Calderon, Jules Kirby, Devorah Rose, Dale Mercer ("High Society"); Farrah Williams, Nikole Rubyn, Tasha Dunnigan, Louise Nguyen and Mandalay Roberts ("Fly Girls")
Executive producers: (High Society) Andrew Glassman; (Fly Girls) Jeff Collins, Colin Nash
Creators: (High Society) Andrew Glassman, Mike C. Aho, Tinsley Mortimer
Developers: (Fly Girls) Bradley Bredeweg, Peter Paige, Jeff Collins
Co-executive producers: (High Society) Grant Julian, Kathryn Takis, Mike C. Aho, Bryan Stinson, Tinsley Mortimer; (Fly Girls) Larry Bond, Porter Gale, Peter Paige, Bradley Bredeweg.
Supervising producers: (High Society) Dan Zimmerman, Adam Shapiro; (Fly Girls) Danny A. Shaner, Dena Waxman
Producers: (High Society) Shura Davison, David Norton; (Fly Girls) Mike Rosen
Directors: (Fly Girls) Mark Petersen, Jason Sands
Directors of photography: (Fly Girls) Keith Dunkerley, Greg Matthews
Production Designer: (Fly Girls) Ann Kustra