Be warned. There’s a lotta botox in this show, and it’s not just with the millennials.
My 80 Year Old Flatmate is the fourth and final of 10’s Pilot Week offerings, a reality construct from Screentime -sadly, it’s no improvement on their other pilot, Sydney’s Crazy Rich Asians.
The thin premise suggests that millennials are locked out of the rental market while Australia’s population is ageing. Hey presto, why don’t we just push the two problems together and film the whole darn thing for our merriment?
As a result we get two seniors, John who lives in an expansive waterside house in The Shire, and Christa, a socialite who lives in a Sydney penthouse with skyline views.
Each will interview a range of millennial housemates and trial two, before offering one a ‘permanent’ rent-free residence. I say ‘permanent’ because I don’t personally believe anything lasts longer than the TV shoot, but we’ll get to the credibility matter later.
Housemate interviews are car-crash telly, from the guy who likes dumpster-diving to the girl with 12 cats.
Eventually John settles on 25 year old Talia who openly lies about agreeing to do some gardening in exchange for free rent. Charming. John’s dialogue about house rules (“no bonking”) and reactions (“You told me you could do all this”) all sound like they have been fed by producers.
Christa test-drives “self-proclaimed” diva Stewart, 23, who can’t cope with sharing a bedroom with her 3 chihuahuas but gets a kick out of swapping frocks. Seriously. Watch for lots of inappropriate touching.
A little more sincerity comes with second housemates, Caleb, 20, a musician from the western suburbs who jams with John, and Chipo, an 18 year old African-Australian whose conservative views are tested by
producers Christa with her nude portraits and flowing bubbly. She asks Chipo to cook up a meal for her friends, including Justin “Human Ken Doll” Jedlica and his flamboyant pals, who are all quick to judge her reserved views. If it wasn’t for Caleb and Chipo this hour-long episode would be excruciating instead of just being torturous.
Narrator Sarah Harris (possibly under network orders to voice this dross) tells us the decision on which flatmate each will select will “change both their lives.” But I’m calling bullshit on that.
This has no lasting contribution to either our housing problems, ageing population or entertainment menu. Everything reeks of vacuous constructs badly executed with people seeking insta-fame or reality careers. Compare this to Old People’s Home for 4 Year Olds which has a societal benefit and brilliant casting.
I’m all for Pilot Week but not with content wasting everybody’s time and intelligence. Viewers are already time-poor without being expected to make room for a premise devoid of authenticity. Pass.
My 80 Year Old Flatmate airs 8:30pm Friday on 10.