If the point of The Ridges* was to prove that Sally and Jaime Ridge are just normal people (relative to their social standing and household income) who do absolutely nothing remarkable in their spare time, with the exception of the occasional masquerade ball, then I guess you could call it a resounding success.
As television entertainment, however, the show is a hot mess of tedious interactions between mother and daughter and mind-numbing scenes of relative domestic bliss that stand as (arguably) the worst use of a half-hour of broadcasting time since ... well, maybe ever. It's the ultimate show about nothing, because nothing interesting happened in the entire half hour.
For example, in the second part of the show, we returned from a commercial break to find Sally and Jaime talking while driving alongside each other in separate vehicles. Next, we went into Sally's new house - which I'd been led to believe was a rundown shanty reminiscent of the Favelas in Rio De Janeiro, but which was actually tidier than my last flat - wherein the elder Ridge taunted her daughter with a ball of hair the pair found in the bottom of the shower.
From there, we moved into the kitchen, where Jaime washed her hands with hand sanitiser after touching a chair, then noticed a mouse (which I can only surmise was purchased at a local pet store**) wandering across the floor. Forcing an overwrought reaction to the thespi-mouse that would have made the cast of Home & Away blush, the pair jumped on to nearby chairs before fleeing down the hallway.
Those two paragraphs, ladies and gentlemen, constitute an entire seven-minute segment of the opening episode of The Ridges. The first and third segments of the show were no better: a major plot point leading into the first ad break revolved around whether or not Jaime would have a wardrobe, while most of the third act was spent in the back of a van with the pair as they headed along to a masquer- ... honestly, who the hell cares about this tedious crap?!
The only moment that elicited any kind of reaction from me was an interview segment in which Jaime laughed while admitting she rarely sees her father, former rugby league player Matthew Ridge, and hasn't yet met her half-brother - which came after a scene in which Mr Ridge crossed Ponsonby Road to avoid running into his ex-wife and eldest daughter. My reaction was one of sadness, mostly at the fact that a serious family problem was being laughed off in a forgotten scene in a terrible reality show.
Look, I'm sure Sally and Jaime are nice people. Sally has endured plenty of coverage, both positive and negative, from the press, and Jaime is following in her footsteps - seemingly because gossip columnists in this country have precious few people to write about. Sally has just bought a new house to do up, and Jaime tells us she is studying law and commerce at university. I wish them both luck in their endeavours.
But make no mistake: there is no reason, none whatsoever, for this show to exist*. We watch television to be entertained, to see things that take us out of our daily lives. The Ridges doesn't do that - in fact, it doesn't actually provide anything that couldn't be gained by calling your mum and asking how her day was, or talking to your kids, or relating your day to your partner. At least you know those people and can muster some passing interest in the day-to-day trivialities of their lives.
If the plan was to prove that Sally & Jaime are normal people, then they've outdone themselves. This is a boring television show, full of boring people doing boring things. I don't care, not one iota, about anything to do with these people. And I won't be watching another second of this pathetic excuse for a television show.
Did you watch The Ridges last night? What did you think?
(*) I mean, beyond selling advertising time in the commercial breaks.
(**) I've seen wild mice that have been living in a wall and they never look that well groomed or fed. My girlfriend points out that it's also the least camera-shy mouse she's ever seen.
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