Gee Australia does a bloody terrific job with Gogglebox.
I know this because I’ve just sat through Celebrity Gogglebox USA in which I struggled to connect with the cast, the shows and a fair whack of their reactions. Ok, let’s put it down to a cultural disconnect, given we Aussies are not the target audience.
For starters I have no idea who most of these celebrities are. Joe Buck, Raven-Symoné, Master P and Romeo, errrrrr….. ok I recognise the Osbournes, Curtis Stone, Rob Lowe and I think that’s Tyra Banks. I don’t know who Robert Herjavec is but his partner Kym has an Aussie accent. Oh wait, it’s dancer Kym Johnson, why didn’t you say so?
Known in the US as Celebrity Watch Party (yuck) this has sprung to life during the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result a lot of these folk look like they are wearing sloppy joes and pyjamas, save for rappers Master P and Romeo watch TV in suits. Word.
There are more than a few swank home-cinemas amongst this lot, especially that owned by the Osbournes (Sharon, Ozzy & Kelly participate), but like the Aussie edition dogs are prevalent. Does Gogglebox have something against cats?
Tyra Banks and her (uncredited) mother don’t even move from bed for their viewing, and how is it Rob Lowe manages to stay more good-looking than his two sons?
Amongst the shows they view are The Masked Singer (again I have no idea who the unmasked singer is)…. a Disney+ doco Elephant narrated by Meghan Markle, film night with Raiders of the Lost Ark, news stories on COVID-19, RuPaul’s Drag Race, basketball doco The Last Dance, more news on King Jong-Un, a virtual Kentucky Derby and reality series Dr. Pimple Popper. Ewww.
Ozzy Osbourne’s blunt remarks were largely where I laughed, otherwise it was all pretty drained of humour and insight. I do think it will be worthwhile to see their reactions to George Floyd protests, which looks to happen in episode 5.
10 sources tell me they will avoid anything spoiler-y that is likely to air here, and it will use comedian Nikki Britton to revoice (the preview I viewed had a whimsical UK narrator).
The risk in using celebrities is a tendency to ‘over-act’ for the cameras, and this is evident from the get go. It’s reasonable to presume that with further episodes these unknowns will become more endearing, but this just highlights the familiarity we have with our local edition, and could even over-egg the brand.
I accept that networks are challenged with a lack of content due to production shutdown. I just don’t reckon this is really the answer.
Celebrity Gogglebox USA airs 8:40pm Thursday on 10.