In Sunday's new show Utopia, 15 pioneering Americans ("Pioneers") will pioneer out of their regular grown-up lives like we have, and into a "remote location" where they will find the ultimate adventure: Inventing a new civilization! But as Deadline.com reports, according to EP Jon Kroll and Fox EVP Simon Andreae, it took less than a real-time week for shit to start falling apart:
"Coming to the most basic decisions has been next to impossible for them... Agreeing on anything... I almost think we cast it too well!" Men jockeying for position, women jockeying for personhood, strange fractures and striations based on little-to-no meaningful information: We've seen it all. Even as Utopia suggests about itself, this game show is no regular game show but in fact a special kind of game show with no point: "This is not a game. There is no prize. This is UTOPIA."
If the keystone of civilization is cooperation, and the prime ingredient of cooperation is recognizing that other people have value... There—did you hear it?—is where we hit the snag: "Are you so much better than everybody else, so dissatisfied by their company, that you would like to say fuck it and go live in some random place? Are you too smart to deal with the people at Starbucks, driving around on your local roads and streets, or voting in national and local elections? Are you so sick of human contact that you would like to go be on a game show about how irrelevant it is? Come play Utopia, the game that is no game and has no prize but your own human supremacy."
To me this is the secret, too, of zombie popularity: If you can't hack it in the real world, of course you would like to wipe the slate and start over with your own kingdom. (That's a huge reason why you can't hack it in the real world.) But it's not merely wannabe alpha-dogs and postapocalyptic threats of secession, no: There's been no honor among these thieves of freedom from the very start: "...[O]ne participant already has been booted, for violating The Rules when she smuggled a smartphone in... to look up who the other Utopians were." She was kicked out of their society and back into our society, which makes two societies that cannot handle her realness at this time. A second Pioneer almost got bounced for being an asshole, but then I guess he agreed with the people that he is an asshole? Or maybe was simply silenced by the group.
The call revealed some other key factors: One is that there's a competitive element in which America will vote pioneers into and out of Utopia based on God knows what rubric, and two, that "more than one" are bisexual ("or poly-sexual," the execs made oddly sure to specifically emphasize) and will probably be making a huge fucking deal about that at every opportunity. Just a guess.
I would argue that if you put any two John Galts in a gulch together, they will eventually fuck, and then one of them will brain the other one to attain control over the means of production. What works in commie-ass countries like the Netherlands will never work in America, where you're talking about a self-selected group of American people who would like to combine the jobs of astronaut, emperor, and Paul Bunyan, and call that a life; les petits princes on their tiny volcano islands of entitlement. And the fact that this, a world populated and planned by assholes, will not work is, perhaps, what truly makes it a utopia after all. Or at least a TV show.
Utopia premieres Sunday for two hours on Fox, then begins its normal Tuesday/Friday schedule for the next year (or until the first death, whichever comes first).