Revenge is a dish best served while avoiding doing anything productive. Even though the weather was perfect for floundering about in the water and I had shitloads of work waiting at my desk, I recently decided to neglect both. Instead, I spent about 20 hours (968 minutes in a row, to be precise) of my precious time on a TV show that isn’t even all that great. Why? Because this series is the newest member of the shitty-tv-shows-that-you-cannot-stop-watching-club which also includes such honorable (un)favorites as Gossip Girl, Prison Break, Dollhouse, Heroes (except for season 1, which was great), The L Word, Jericho, Spartacus, Desperate Housewives, Flash Forward and many others. The more I think about it, the more I have to admit the list is endless.
Revenge debuted in September 2011 on ABC and was created by Mike Kelly, who has already annoyed us with shows like Jericho and the much more famous The O.C. The plot is laid out pretty quickly: a young woman named Emily Thorne (Emily VanKamp) returns to the place where she spent her childhood (which happens to be the Hamptons) to take revenge on the people who conspired against her father and led to his death. Episode after episode Emily takes out another member of the tight-knit alliance that is dominated by the Grayson family, the most powerful and wealthy residents of the Hamptons. To be honest, it’s as much of a cheesy, predictable, stereotype-filled soap opera as it sounds. Still, I was totally addicted to the show, for a couple of reasons:
First there’s the setting. These huge stately homes in the Hamptons look better the more you realize you will never, ever enter one of those estates, let alone own one. It’s endless beaches, clear blue sky, fancy cars, yachts and so on. Then there’s the second reason, which helps a lot to comfort you as being a member of the 99%: every one of these filthy rich people is a fucked-up asshole of one kind or another, and you know it’s just going to be a matter of time before they all bite the dust. Then there’s the acting, an important part of any TV show you end up watching for hours on end. The performance of most of the cast isn’t half bad, but when it comes to Emily herself and her opponent, Victoria Grayson (played by Madleine Stowe) it’s damn close to exceptional.
But what’s most important, once you’ve made it through the first few episodes, is that you’ll be dying to know what comes next. Not how Revenge is going to end; that’s something you won’t spend a minute thinking about. As long as people are watching the show and the network earns money, Emily Thorne will continue her crusade but will always remain just shy of succeeding. What’s interesting are the little twists the team of probably about ten writers have to come up with, each and every episode. Like any other guilty pleasure show, I wouldn’t go as far as recommending it outright, but if you happen to be avoiding work, or heat, or just about anything else, bunker yourself in and press play.