Fox // 2008 // 390 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Daniel Kelly (Retired) // July 13th, 2009
Whoever said "Blondes have more fun" wasn't kidding!
Neither was the person who said dumb reality TV shows are a moronic waste of time...
The Fifth Season of The Girls Next Door follows the formula established in previous series to the note, namely attractive but ditzy blonde girls being challenged by, let's face it, some pretty unproblematic life conundrums. It's all set at the Playboy mansion and regularly features Hugh Hefner himself, but the main protagonists are Holly, Bridget, and Kendra, his three buxom and vaguely distinguishable girlfriends. During the season they work both alone and in a group to complete such tasks as organizing a softball game, locating a new playmate for the magazine's 55th anniversary, and producing what looks to be the shittiest horror movie of all time.
I just don't get the mass appeal of reality TV, especially when it seems more fabricated than most self-professed fiction. The Girls Next Door feels like such an artificial and inauthentic piece of work, only offering viewers a very shallow and surface level view of the Playboy way of life. During the fifth season of the show, I could literally count the moments of personality clashes and tension on half a hand, hardly likely given that all three girls have to share the same man and live in a huge mansion alongside several other gorgeous women. I'd say if ever there was an atmosphere ripe for some good old female-driven conflict, it's that one, but with The Girls Next Door, you get zip, zilch, and nada in the form of hostile (or interesting) human interaction.
The show builds up a broad personality for each of the three girls but not one rounds up to entertaining viewing or an engaging persona. You get the feeling as you watch that the interpretations of each personality being offered are fake and/or insanely undeveloped. The only real positive I can detect in the realms of reality television as a genre is that you might get some genuinely deep insight into a person's lifestyle and opinions. This is definitely not a feeling I got whilst sitting through The Girls Next Door. You can have all the money and fame you want but life is never perfect, yet that is the exact and wholly unbelievable note this show pitches proceedings.
The various adventures the girls go on are mostly mundane. Sure, they often feature pretty locales and copious female nudity, but that isn't enough to stave of boredom. I really don't care if Kendra Wilkinson needs a new car and I sure as hell don't need 15 minutes of television devoted to the fact. The Girls Next Door: Season Five is powerfully seasoned with boring plot strands and episode filler. The show wants the audience to revel in the luxurious Playboy lifestyle but ultimately it's just going to make people realize that the super rich can in fact be super dull.
Admitting I'm not the target demographic isn't hard, and unless you're a pre pubescent boy or have an IQ lower than 25 then it's safe to say you're not the key consumer either. The reason young boys will like it is obvious (boobies) and the idiots of this world can be satisfied by just about anything. Though in fairness, even as entertainment for a group of rabble rousing hormonally crazed hillbillies, The Girls Next Door is pushing its undeserved luck.
Some people will simply be in the pursuit of mindless dreck, and on that front this is ample viewing. If ever you've owned a t-shirt with the phrase "biatch" printed on it or if you would like nothing better than to be Paris Hilton for a day, then sure, by all means get stuck into The Girls Next Door. You'll very probably enjoy it. However for those with any sort of artistic value or productive use for their time I strongly suggest you avoid this show on both TV and DVD.
Season Five is presented in a three-disc set with considerably more added content than this crap warrants. Commentaries from the girls are in abundance and all through the DVDs there are rafts of deleted and extended scenes. Of course said axed content and commentaries are just more of the same monotonous and ditzy overkill but if you actually like the show I see no reason why the bonus stuff won't tickle your fancy. Each episode also comes equipped with a choice to watch it with the original promo if the viewer is so inclined.
There are two things that at times make The Girls Next Door: Season Five almost a palatable experience. The first is an episode in which the leading trio meet up with Hefner and discuss the man's life and the various stages he's moved through to reach where he is today. Hefner's views on relationships are for my money questionable but he is an admittedly interesting icon of popular culture, and this episode does a fine job of excavating into his past. The season never replicates this level of intrigue again but for 24 of its 390 minutes this DVD set had me hooked.
Secondly, I am a male and thus am not immune to vast amounts of female nakedness, something this show certainly doesn't skimp on. I probably sound like a chauvinist bastard for using this as 50% of my positives, but I'd be lying if I didn't. I'll admit as reasons go its repugnant and shallow, but hey, so is this show.
This set retails at $29.98. I guarantee, picking up a copy of the actual Playboy magazine is a far more economical and satisfying use of your dough.
If these girls lived next door to me, I'd be out of the neighbourhood in an
instant, so don't invite them into your home via this DVD. Guilty.
Review content copyright © 2009 Daniel Kelly; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2013 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 390 Minutes
Release Year: 2008
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Episode Commentaries
* Deleted/Extended Scenes