JESS MIDDLETON-PUGH and the sisters are doing it for themselves.
Tuesdays, 9pm, E4
When I heard E4 was airing a new ‘reality’ TV show called Sorority Girls, I expected the worst. The basic idea is that over the course of eight weeks, five American sorority ‘sisters’ will attempt to establish the first British sorority in Leeds (voted ‘the top student city in the UK’, apparently). They will choose from the crème de la femme, in order to find five girls deserving of the sisterhood to take over the running of a new sorority, ‘Sigma Gamma’, after they leave.
My understanding of a ‘sorority’ was limited; I pictured American Barbie doll girls who coordinated their outfits and spent their days drinking, pillow fighting, and bitching over who got to date the hottest frat boy. A sorority house seemed nightmarish, trapped in an environment where the value of your existence was based entirely on how you looked and what you wore (or didn’t wear), and woe betide whoever missed the mark. In my mind, Sorority Girls was going to be a cross between Next Top Model and Battle Royale.
Needs more pillow fighting
But imagine my surprise (and fear) when the five sorority girls (Amelia, Arianna, Devan, Dominique and Hannah) turned out to be relatively well rounded, not entirely repulsive, and apparently good intentioned individuals. True, their interviews set my teeth on edge: beautiful, blonde, successful President Amelia, in a wet suit simpering: ‘I’ve been water skiing since I was six!’ and Arianna, Philanthropy Chair, playing volleyball with (obviously strategically chosen) beautiful friends whilst talking about her fundraising activities. Cringy cheese (and perhaps jealousy) aside, they were not what I expected.
These girls are from another era, judging their sorority girls by how they acted, what they had achieved, and how socially ‘appropriate’ they were. The perfect sorority girl would be Jennifer Aniston, and the worst would be Lindsey Lohan, who would undoubtedly earn the title of ‘Sorostitute’ (a slutty Sorority sister). Sororities even have a ‘Standards Chair’, to ensure that the girls act with decorum, otherwise they are dubbed SNSG – ‘So Not Sigma Gamma.’
Whilst I had imagined that the original sorority girls would be a ruthless and domineering panel of judges, by the end of the first show I felt sorrier for them than I did the potential candidates. As their perfect vision of a British girl had been (predictably) Kate Middleton, they were certainly in for a shock. Shorts that showed bum cheek, hip piercings, the lyrics of Jessie J and a talent for licking one’s elbow all astonished the delicately minded sisters.
The show appeared to lean more towards scripting the sisters to make them look foolish, rather than the giving the viewers a guilty pleasure at watching horrific audition pieces and harsh judgement. Some of the potential neeeeeew members seem like caricatures of typical students – there’s the girl that describes herself as a BNOC (Big Name On Campus), and the girl who fake tans and blow dries her whole body three times a day. But they are confident in themselves, some openly cringing at the sorority sisters’ behaviour, and don’t really care whether they are judged ‘appropriate!’ or not.
In a way, I was disappointed. I expected a show of a more extreme, irreverent nature, as it is aired on E4 alongside shows such as Tool Academy and Made In Chelsea. However, overall watching was rather beige and insipid. Sorority Girls is more deserving of post-hangover, lazy morning viewing, rather than the prime time evening slot it’s been given. If you want to indulge the bitch within, this show is leaves you dissatisfied.