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The Hornet

Serving the Fullerton Community Since 1922

The Hornet

TV Review: Royal Flush?

Described as the perfect trash television show or the guilty pleasure you can’t help love, this show does nothing but disappoint.

The Royals debuted on E! this spring as their first original scripted series
Photo by E! Entertainment- © 2014 E! Entertainment Media, LLC

Anglophilia, the obsession with all things British, is alive and well in the U.S. English cars, “Downton Abbey” and “Doctor Who”, high tea and crumpets … we just can’t seem to get enough of our neighbors across the pond. And the obsession seems to peak whenever some attractive royal is getting married or pregnant or caught playing naked poker in a Vegas hotel room.

And why is this? It’s the adult version of the fairytale fantasy. Watching the handsome prince marry the beautiful princess and live happily ever after in the castle? Yeah it appeases to the child within us.

E! noticed this. Some of their highest rated news coverage, as well as for all major networks in the last three years, has been during the courtship of Prince William of Wales and Kate Middleton, from their formal engagement to their history making wedding to the royal baby watch for their son Prince George. Taking this money making coverage and turning America’s anglophilia into a money making tv show seemed like an absolutely brilliant idea.

After a hyped up marketing campaign and ads that you couldn’t help but notice on billboards, television, radio, magazines, the expectations for this show were high.

What to say about this disaster though?

The pillars of a tv show are the casting, the writing and the production. Without one they all fail and unfortunately “The Royals” is missing the writing. It’s painful watching this show. Too many cliches and poor arcs make it feel like the show was written by a few royal family obsessed teen fan fiction writers from the Midwest.

Set up around a modern family in the monarchy in Great Britain, “The Royals” opens up its season introducing the wild partying Princess Eleanor (Alexandra Park), her handsome and charming brother Prince Liam, played by William Mosely (The Chronicles of Narnia), their mother Queen Helena (Elizabeth Hurley), and King Simon (Vincent Regen) reacting to the mysterious death of the first in line to the throne.

Right off the bat the show starts with a major event, that in all honesty would have been saved better for a midseason finale or a season finale. The episode struggled to show any sort of true connection to the dead prince and gave an underwhelming introduction to each character. The family’s public reaction felt a bit abnormal and keeping the death a mystery has already lost it’s appeal.

Of course a show about royals on American television wouldn’t be complete without an American love interest for the single prince. Surprisingly, no one saw that coming. Ophelia, played by Merritt Patterson, is the new kid in the palace. Her father serves as the head of the royal family’s security and it’s hinted that he may have some sort of fling with the queen, even though he’s still mourning the loss of Ophelia’s mother.

Prince Liam’s and Ophelia’s story is almost some sort of Lifetime style homage to Prince William and Kate Middleton. Prince dating the commoner while being linked to models. Coffee dates and heavy flirting filled with angst about not fitting into each other’s world. It reads like every other modern romance between commoner and a royal. Cliche and cheesy but that doesn’t make it any less “ship-worthy” to the romance fans out there.

Typical Commoner Girl falls in love with Heart of Gold Prince Charming #BeenThere #SeenIt
Photo by E! Entertainment- © 2014 E! Entertainment Media, LLC

Princess Eleanor is the wild child Prince Harry-esque lady we want to hate but can’t help but love. As much as you’re rooting for her not to drink that next bottle of whiskey, the moments of weakness and strength under the harsh pressured thumb of her queen mother makes you love her. But in comes the too cliche and unbelievable. For instance, as Eleanor attempts to tweet about how much she hates her mother or her partying, they’re screened by a palace worker who turns negative public messages into “I love my mum #LOL”. Honestly unbelievable because when’s the last time you saw a young royal, heck even a White House teen, tweet about their every day life and then to have it changed to something so random with the hashtag #LOL? They should focus more on her mysterious body guard who’s identity is unknown but his blackmail of their one night tryst is keeping her loyal and the power play toys with romance … in a really messed up way. (This writer is calling b.s. on the existence of the “sex tape”).

And the biggest “arc” of the show was the fact that the king want’s to make a motion to parliament to abolish the monarchy. Yes, a show about the royal family where the king is like “how about no more royals”. What is the show going to be changed to? “The Former Royals”? It just doesn’t have the same ring.

The Royal family stands in public to mourn the loss of the eldest and second in line to the throne leaving the family in turmoil both publicly and personally
Photo by E! Entertainment- © 2014 E! Entertainment Media, LLC

There’s way too much going on in the show that’s contributing to its hot mess downfall. The pilot debuted to already poor ratings and they’ve been dropping ever since, but somehow the show has been guaranteed a second season (even before the show started). Then again what do you expect from the network that gives reality shows to former closet organizing sex tape stars and bashes women for their clothing choices on a regular basis.

“The Royals” is a crowning achievement in trash tv and that’s not the crown it wants to be wearing. Honestly though how much quality writing did one expect from the people who script the Kardashians. The disappointment throne is the only seat in the trash room that E! calls “television” shows.

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