Voluptuous and buxom, Melbourne socialite Brynne Edelsten is the kind of woman for whom 3D was made. Trapped in the near-analog world of two-dimensional TV, the screen, much like her gown, seems to be on the verge of bursting at the seams.
With a soundtrack deliberately reminiscent of Sex and the City and a colour palette that runs the gamut from fuchsia to shocking pink, Brynne: My Bedazzled Life (Seven, Thursday, 7.30pm) casts Edelsten as the ultimate girl-next-door. She says she’s just ”a simple wide-eyed girl from Phoenix, Arizona”. With a garage full of prestige cars. And luxury boats. And a private jet. And a stack of houses around the world. All of which come courtesy of her zillionaire husband, Geoffrey.
It hasn’t been a great year for ”soft script” (that is, semi-scripted) reality shows in Australia. Being Lara Bingle took heat for its artifice and The Shire was dogged with casting problems. Neither cleared the hurdle of investing their narrative with a feeling that the characters or situations were genuine.
Brynne: My Bedazzled Life presents obviously planned situations but sends Edelsten in wearing the armour of her innocence. Alone, surveying an acting class filled with aspiring thespians bouncing around a studio in their leotards, it isn’t hard to share her awkwardness. In an instant, she is no longer the loud, blousy, human Christmas decoration we see on red carpets but a sort of dolled-up everywoman: awkward, insecure, wanting so badly to dance around the room with everyone else but wondering how she’s meant to take the first step.
Reality television lives and dies by the depth and strength of its reality. Well, duh, you may say, but shows in this genre that fail often do so on that very point. What made Noeline Donaher endure as a character was the emotional truth on which her story was built.
Edelsten comes across as someone who seems to have it all: a colourful, walking, talking willy-willy who masks the darker aspects of her life – notably her unfulfilled desire to be a mother – with distractions.
When the social merry-go-round stops, what is left behind is a vulnerable little girl, who seems, at times, like the loneliest girl in the world. Unfiltered and defenceless, it’s hard not to be touched by that.
A few flicks of the dial and we’re worlds away, it seems, as another hapless, loveable girl, Australian actress Rachael Taylor, moves into an apartment building filled with kooks and otherworldly manifestations.
666 Park Avenue (FOX8, Monday, 9.30pm) is a sort of Rosemary’s Baby, re-baked, minus the baby.
Taylor and Dave Annable play Jane and Henry, a young couple who take over the management of a crumbling, ancient apartment block in New York. Their landlord? The devil.
The premise does falter, in the sense that as a viewer, you feel one step ahead of the unfolding plot. That isn’t a good sign.
666 Park Avenue poses a rather obvious question – what price would you put on your greatest desires? – and then tries to cook up a sense of unease around it.
It’s ambitious and carefully crafted. There are nods to all the biggies, including Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds and Stephen King’s The Shining, and if you’re a genre fan, you’ll love it. It is, as Skyhooks sang, a horror movie right there on your TV. And it’s shocking me, right out of my brain.
Ruth Ritchie is on leave.
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.