Canadians. So smug with their nationalized health care, bilingual province and "Anne of Green Gables." But, as it turns out, our neighbors to the north are every bit as capable of converting douchy 20-somethings into profit-making trash TV as we Yanks.
Although it has yet to find a TV home a preview of "Lake Shore," Toronto's answer to "Jersey Shore," is causing a big time stir on the Interwebs since a preview reel was posted to YouTube late last week. (Some NSFW language, so watch at your own risk):
Its hard to judge an entire show based on an eight minute clip -- which takes viewers through the auditions and introduces us to the eight person cast -- but "Lake Shore" seems to have out-trashed "Jersey Shore" by several orders of magnitude.
Where "Jersey Shore" was merely offensive to (some) Italians, "Lake Shore's" producers have cast a wider net -- identifying each cast member by his or her ethnicity (ie "The Jew," "The Vietnamese," "The Pole."). Why the focus on genealogy? Is that topic one in Toronto (much like "So what do you do?" is in D.C.)? To hammer home the fact that offense is on the menu, we are treated to sound bites like this one from cast member Karolina (The Pole):
"I hate everybody equally. Especially Jewish people."
I don't think she understands what "equally" means.
"Lake Shore" also appears to surpass its Jersey counterpart in sheer vulgarity. Since the show hasn't yet found a network, some of the language may be toned down once the show lands. But in the clip reel we're hit with a barrage of F-bombs, sexually explicit scenes and what sounded to me like some pretty standard (and scary) homophobic hate speech. Where "Jersey Shore's" Snooki and co. came off as dizzy and under-educated but ultimately likeable, "Lake Shore's" roommates give off a menacing vibe.
I'm fully expecting someone to end up in a body bag by the end of the season. Which, dammit, makes me want to watch.
Below... a quick run-down of the cast:
Sibel, the Turk: Sibel's "mission in life is to show the world what us Turks are all about. If you screw me your [expletive] is going to get burned."
Joey, the Italian: He wears a hat reading "No. 1 WOP." "I party too much, I'm too reckless, but that's what I'm about. I bring the energy and fun. I'm crazy, Funny, cocky and sexy."
Anni Mei, the Vietnamese -- "I'm just weird." Okay. We may like you.
Tommy Hollywood, the Czech: Clearly Lake Shore's attempt at a "Situation," Tommy (who must've been chagrined to find "Bahama" already taken) says he "came to Toronto when I was three years old and started taking over ever since." Man, I hate kids like that.
Robyn, the Jew: She describes herself as "enthusiastic and eccentric." Which apparently means she doesn't mind having a guy motor boat her on camera in the middle of a Toronto club.
Salem, the Lebanese: The token gay who comes off as a cross between the Situation and Christian Siriano. He describes himself as "blunt, forward, exuberant and PESTimistic."
Karolina, the Pole: Asked to describe herself in five words, Karolina said, "Patient, artistic, creative, positive and energetic... loyal, sexy, whatever." Okay, that's technically seven-ish words. She's the one who professes a hatred of Jews.
Downtown D, the Albanian: Look out, ladies! "Friday, Saturday, I'm always downtown. Thursday, Sunday maybe. It doesn't matter if it costs $100 or $2,000 I'm all in. I'm the people's champ. I picture myself being in a suit telling people how to go [expletive] themselves.
Funny, I picture myself sitting behind a computer telling Canadian club rats how to take themselves less seriously.