Bad Girls Club New Orleans episode 1: Why is this a show?



Cast members Tasha and Priscilla
  • Oxygen
  • Cast members Tasha and Priscilla

What is the point of Bad Girls Club?

Most reality shows have some sort of objective beyond providing tawdry entertainment. Although it’s strayed wildly from its groundbreaking beginnings, The Real World at least has the pretense of a sociological experiment — what happens when we force people of different backgrounds to live together in an unfamiliar city and film it? Other shows’ goals are more direct, even if it’s for cast members to achieve some dubious title like “America’s Next Top Model” or the “love” of a bland white dude (The Bachelor) or a geriatric rapper (Flava of Love). Bad Girls Club, based on what I’ve discerned from clips on The Soup, has no such objectives — which, in a way, is sort of refreshing. Those titles of top whatever or Contractually Obligated Girlfriend are mostly worthless anyway, so why even bother with them?

After watching the first episode of the feral woman parade’s controversial turn in the Big Easy (Kenner), I’m right that the show has no detectable purpose. But what I hoped would be pure trash entertainment walks that dangerous line between “so bad it’s good” and just plain “bad.”

Cast member Judi engages in a civil debate with a cast member about the Washington debt agreements.
  • Cast member Judi engages in a civil debate with a cast member about the Washington debt agreements.

Since this is the first episode of a residence-based reality program, when much time is devoted to cast members running around their garish digs and screaming “OHMYGOD WHUT,” let’s begin by discussing the house. The Chateau Estates mansion became, as you may recall, the locus of Kenner residents’ vitriol toward the show-in-progress when its columns were painted the color of a Claire’s Accessories store. Unlike the Mardi Gras fever dream that was the Real World: New Orleans house, the decor of Byron Scott's former home looks more like a W Hotel lobby meets a tacky cocktail bar (complete with a stripper poll). New Orleans influences — aside from Voodoo dolls, a large wall photo of the French Quarter and booze everywhere — are largely absent. I actually noticed a few somewhat attractive pieces of art (many by local artist Sarah Dunn) and furnishings around the house, which is too bad considering they’ll all be covered in blood and Champagne by the end of the season (one painting, tragically, did not survive the episode).

And what of these “bad girls” the show speaks of? It’s like Oxygen rounded up the very last MySpace users, the kind of minidress-wearing girls you might find in that tacky cocktail bar — either pouring Grey Goose down people’s throats as a waitress or as that person dancing on the table in the “VIP” section. A few are from the kind of places you can shout about in arguments (as in, “I’m from the Bronx, bitch!”), and nearly all are “grown ass women” who claim to not be interested in “drama” or “haters” on a show that seems to be solely about those things. And they’re generally not very smart (cast member Tasha said she thinks she’ll get along with the African-American Natasia because “a lot of my friends in Tuscaloosa or black or whatever”).

As for the city’s role in the show, besides the few New Orleans-themed decorating details, a brief outing on Bourbon Street and housemates intermittently toasting “to New Orleans! (Kenner)," the New Orleans aspect is largely overshadowed by the in-house antics. And speaking of New Orleans, I think Oxygen wants us the think the mansion is in New Orleans and not 30-45 minutes away — the show's press materials refer to the house as a "New Orleans mansion." Do the girls know they're not in New Orleans?

The cast went to someplace called Bourbon Heat for their first night out. Judi — an Illinois native with tenuous Creole heritage that she enjoys flaunting at every moment ("I'm Creole, bitch!") — solidified herself as the house villain after disappearing at the bar to make out with some dude instead of bonding with her housemates. This ignited a feud that began in the limousine ride home and culminated in an all-night brawl that included all of the following: Champagne used as a weapon, stilettos thrown into a hot tub, several broken objects and wall decorations, an argument over who had more Facebook friends, a wet weave, food and broken glass put into someone’s bed; and pizza everywhere. Also, a crew member had to intervene at one point and two cast members spent the night in a hotel.

As far as the show’s production values go, the show looks like it was edited by the person who invented MySpace glitter graphics.


An “on this season of Bad Girls Club” montage at the end of the episode hinted at the girls’ partnership with House of Lounge for Fashion Week New Orleans that we already know about, and activities like that might lend the show some purpose outside of blurred-out nudity and hair pulling — not that there’s anything wrong with those things. But here, it seems way too contrived, as if these girls had studied their Bad Girls predecessors and have the act down, and know to rattle off Urban Dictionary-isms like “pop off” when the slightest threat is perceived.

If The Real World is a sociological experiment, Bad Girls Club is where they feed lab rats cocaine and see how long it takes until they kill each other.

Did any of you watch? What did you think? Will you continue watching?

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