Ashlee & Evan (from Sept 10 on heyu)
Have you been wondering what Ashlee Simpson’s been up to? No, me either.
I had to work hard to retrieve my memories of her brief pop career and that nose job, and of course then there was that incident on Saturday Night Live.
Well, now she’s following in the footsteps of her big sister Jessica by cursing her private life with a new reality show – Ashlee and Evan, which deals with her marriage to someone semi-famous for being Diana Ross’ son.
It's telling about the contemporary relevance of this couple that the show spends so much time explaining who everyone is.
And I'm also fascinated by the fact that the first episode and so much of the pre-publicity emanating from it is concentrating on resurrecting the SNL scandal. Does anyone still care about a humiliating lip synch incident that’s largely been consigned to ancient history, forgotten in the sea of celebrity shame and embarrassment that’s not stopped coming since?
What’s the cost of centering something so trashy just for the sake of sensation?
Also sacrificing something for attention is Evan, who are we led to believe has a busy and ascending music, TV and film career - yet he trashes his brand by doing a very low rent show like this.
He should look to his mother Diana Ross, who is smart enough to contain her exposure in this show to moments in the studio with her son. She keeps it strictly professional and isn't going anywhere near the dubious reality TV narratives, and the prostitution of relationships, that so define this tawdry genre.
Everything is so contrived, from the 'Evan-themed party', to the 'intimate' moment curled in bed together where we are supposed to ignore the fact there are five crew members, lighting, cameras and sound all around them.
At a garden get together the couple wholly embrace that awful reality TV cliché where a set dresser has run around with a bunch of huge fake flowers and shoved them in every hedge and bush in the garden. Think of The Bachelor - with less candles.
There's something very retro about this. The gratuitous flogging of the couple's music at the end felt like something out of Newlyweds.
This show is fine for fans of the genre but Ashlee and Evan have no cultural currency, they're both footnotes at best.
Will anyone care about them enough to watch this? I hope not.
Ashlee arose from this milieu so it's probably to be expected she'd have another go.
But Evan, what the hell are you doing? You have talent and a pedigree, and supposedly your legitimate career is on the rise - according to this show at least. Run away now.
To All the Boys I've Loved Before (now on Netflix)
After a recent run of bad publicity over its teen programing, Netflix has struck a winner with its new romcom.
This flick – which is based on the young adult novel by Jenny Han - is already proving huge not only with the target audience, but a lot of adults too.
This is every teen angst flick and romcom thrown into one, in a very well-produced and appealing package that owes something to John Hughes teen classics like 16 Candles or Pretty In Pink.
Teenage girls are going to absolutely love this - it has endless angst, inter-girl bullying, severed friendships, sibling rivalry and, of course, endless rumination over the prospect of romance.
The flick has lots of contemporary touches like a supposed sex video scandal, but also a bit of an odd 80s obsession, which is explained as being an echo of the late mum.
If you're a teen or have one in your house, this is probably compulsory viewing. There’s nothing wildly inappropriate besides the usual (relatively) light sex references and sources of teen torment.
If you're not a romcom person, like myself, steer well clear. But if you are, especially if you're also a teen flick freak, it's definitely recommended.
Take Me Out (On Seven and Seven Plus)
Joel Creasey is great in Seven’s new dating show – a local rendering a format that’s already been hugely successful around the world.
And if you thought Tinder was brutal, wait until you see this.
We’ve got four guys being judged by 30 women, and some of them do a lot better than others!
This is a lot of fun, it's got a bit of a bachelorette party vibe, with lots of dancing and raucous fun, and the ladies are definitely in control.
Watch the men's self-esteem shatter as they are first rejected solely for their looks, then for their personalities!
We have a mixed bag of hunks here, some that the women universally swoon over, and other less fortunate gentlemen (the poor old 7-out-of-tens) who get a far more tepid reaction.
Joel, our "knight in shining Armani" has some real zingers, like when he asked: "Who will go home more alone than Jennifer Aniston at Christmas?"
Listen to our discussion of these shows and more, with guest co-host Joel Creasey on this week's Binge List. Details below!