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Thread: The People's Couch on Bravo

  1. #1
    Elite Member Bluebonnet's Avatar
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    Default The People's Couch on Bravo

    Who watches this? It's hilarious!!

    Watching Us, Watching Them: On ‘The People’s Couch’


    Away from the constantly bitching ‘Housewives,’ a quieter reality television hit is taking root. ‘The People’s Couch’ observes people observing television and proves that how we watch is often as funny as what we watch—if not more so.



    Princella Zeno wants her feet rubbed. She plonks one foot right in front of her husband Lamont’s hand. His momentary intention to resist this silent request—a “like, seriously?” pause—is met by an emphatic glance from his wife which makes it clear her foot is there to stay. And it requires rubbing.
    The funniest moments on Bravo’s The Peoples Couch are not necessarily the snarky or outrageous reactions people have about the TV shows they watch, but the way they watch TV itself. It’s a simple idea, franchised from the hugely popular British show, Gogglebox (the British colloquial word for television): place robotic cameras on top of the TV to watch viewers respond to what is on TV, and record not just off-the-cuff outbursts, but also how they tune in. So, we are watching them watching TV. Soon, there will be a show of us watching them watching TV, and so on—until we all become self-regarding motes of dust.
    Inevitably, the participants of the British show have become stars in their own right, and the critically acclaimed show—this week it won a prestigious Royal Television Society award—has a gritty feel, with lots of images of broodingly dark British streets at night and cozily un-grand living rooms. The American one, filmed in Los Angeles and its environs, is much more swish and Bravo-y. And yes, the participants are more telegenic.

    The US version features eight groups of TV watchers all watching the same shows. The series featured are deliberately split between hot-right-now (ie, The Voice), and the slightly offbeat one you may have heard of, but not seen (ie, Believe). “To me, it has a viral video quality to it,” says Ryan Flynn, the show’s executive producer and Bravo’s VP of Production. “You’re laughing at someone who is laughing at something else, and you really relate to them too.”
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    My favorites are three women who watch together from a retirement community: Ayn Phillips, Teddi Shattuck and Sue Mavro. Of Keeping Up With The Kardashians, Mavro notes dreamily: “I can see how you become hooked on this,” earning looks of consternation from her two buddies: “How so?” one of them asks, pretty disgusted.
    These ladies are trash-omnivores: They all eat cookies happily in front of the far more calamitously conceived Rich Kids of Beverly Hills. Open-mouthed at the car-jumping, body-shattering exploits of the stuntmen featured in Heirs To The Dare, Phillips says, “This is right up there with wrestling.” No, one of her friends says, “Wrestling isn’t real. This is real.”


    For Flynn, the show reveals the viewers’ passion for television: “I look at it as one of the funniest sitcoms on TV. You know it’s going to be on for half an hour, and that you’ll laugh.”
    He’s right. You do. The zingers sound so right, the pauses between looks are so authentic, and the delivery so polished it’s hard not to suspect that some of The Peoples Couch has been scripted or directed. That notion, of course, is roundly denied by Flynn. The genius lies in the editing room. “It is absolutely unscripted. They are watching TV. There are cameras watching them. There are no cameramen or producers in the room. It is very naturally unfiltered.”
    The producers’ only intervention is to choose the shows the participants watch every week, and then edit the result. Otherwise we see them drinking, eating, sprawling, tapping away on phones, all the things the prone couch potato does to merit that moniker.


    The show features a variety of domestic configurations, except—and I wonder if this could ever work—the single person, as many of those watching TV are. Instead, the show proposes, radically, an old model of gathering together to watch TV, rather than the much-vaunted modern model of TV on-the-go, watched in transit or solitarily.
    The most curious, and curiously moving family are the Egbers—dad Andrew and mom Julie physically book-ending their teenage sons, Jack and Sam—who watch TV from a bed, swathed in rugs and pillows (fully clothed, we should add). It’s odd and lovely to see a family so physically intimate and friendly, and so uncreepy, the sons rolling their eyes so much at their father’s lapses in pop culture knowledge he does all he can to come to shows well-prepared.
    “That is not their real house,” Andrew says of a Kardashian abode. “It’s fake—so no-one knows where they live.” “You seem to have been reading a lot about this,” his wife notes. “It was on Yahoo,” dad says, in the “like-duh” tone of his teenage sons. The Egber family consensus around Bruce Jenner was: “He’s becoming a woman.”
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    The Resnick family—Joseph, and three daughters, Rachel, Nicole and Sarah—watch The Bachelor finale, with one of the girls sweeping a red rose across her siblings and dad, intoning, “Guess what tonight is?”
    “It has a viral video quality to it. You’re laughing at someone who is laughing at something else, and you really relate to them too.”

    In the home of three gay friends—Blake McIver, Scott Nevins and Emerson Collins (or Bitch Central as I call it)—who are also watching the final rose ceremony, when the camera hovers over finalist Claire Crawley walking to meet the universally despised Juan Pablo Garavis, one of the boys (they are a fearsome, sharp-tongued triple tag team), sighs: “You must walk across the dirt in heels.”
    It was fun watching general disgust register across multiple homes over Garavis’ various pratfalls and dumbass pronouncements. When he awarded a red rose, rather than a wedding ring to “winner” Nikki Ferrell, the sisters Kenya Ye’vette Taylor and Amanda Morrison, gloomily noted: “I feel so bad for her. You give me a rose, with my family watching?”
    Tania Alexander, the British Gogglebox executive producer, says the concept was born after her colleague, Tim Harcourt, the head of development at the production company Studio Lambert, noted how much of the continuous TV coverage of the London riots he had watched in 2011. He imagined watching people watching TV, then recalled The Royle Family, the lionized British sitcom which revolved around a family watching TV together, gossiping on the sofa. The comedian Harry Hill, whose TV Burp show was a zinging, funny review of that week’s TV, also sprang to mind: Alexander and Harcourt wanted to recreate a hybrid of these influences using the tone of “real” people.

    Watching Us, Watching Them: On ‘The People’s Couch’ - The Daily Beast
    Last edited by Bluebonnet; November 10th, 2015 at 02:27 PM.
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    Elite Member SHELLEE's Avatar
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    Sil and I watch it and love it. i like all tne families and friends but my favorites are the Zeno family because Lamar reminds me of a dear friend and his son reminds me of my nephew, and the 3 older ladies. they are hysterical. i love to see what tney are all eating each week too.
    See, Whores, we are good for something. Love, Florida
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    I watch this and enjoy it, but it is a complete rip off of Gogglebox. I much prefer Gogglebox

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    Elite Member emkat's Avatar
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    Love it. I was born to be on this show!
    Bluebonnet likes this.
    I saw DEATH, an anorexic penguin, an overcooked Gollum, Mr. Burns in need of a haircut and a methed-up Riff Raff.--Michael K. on Phil Spector

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    Elite Member Bluebonnet's Avatar
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    I love the three gay guys. Their comments are the best and funniest!
    Before you can judge a man, walk a mile in his shoes. After that, who cares? He's a mile away and you've got his shoes. - Billy Connolly

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    Elite Member MohandasKGanja's Avatar
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    This is bonkers. Where do we go next? Shows where we watch people watching people on couches. We are in some dangerous South Park territory here.

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    Elite Member SHELLEE's Avatar
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    Why you got to be dissing South Park?
    msdeb likes this.
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    Elite Member msdeb's Avatar
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    i caught this show while running the channels. The 3 gay guys are hysterical!
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