A&E’s Southie Rules
A&E's Southie Rules

Man, Southie Rules was something, huh?

The Boston-based "reality" show premiered Tuesday night on A&E, and it was a spectacle, to say the least.

"Reality" is in quotes for a reason. Reality shows these days no longer have an assumed veil of legitimacy, but Southie Rules has taken it to another level. No show has ever been more contrived, more stereotypical or more obviously scripted -- and that's saying something.

The premise is believable enough -- a family of 10 living under one roof with various illegitimate children and squatters filling out the house. But the conceit falls apart within five minutes, when each member of the family picks a bill at random from a basket, which each then has to pay his or herself.

The basket conservatively has 200 envelopes in it. Even if we can forget that A&E is probably paying this family a decent amount per episode, who has 200 bills to pay in a month?

The inauthenticity of this show is so shameless. All you have to do is look at the camera angle when the mother walks in on her son stripping, where the shot is cut perfectly to see her reaction without us being able to see the guy's face. It looks like a rough draft of a college kid's final project in a Final Cut Pro class.

Later, in the second episode, a group of "yuppie" mothers come to the house with healthy food and play a game where one actually says, "Never have I ever ... spilled Pinot on a white blouse.


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" They all eventually become friends and another one says as she's leaving something about how the afternoon was way better than she thought it would be.

Nobody would ever say or do these things in real life, especially on camera. A show that had potential to uncover real stories about gentrification in Southie is now nothing more than a low-grade Jersey Shore with worse stereotypes and worse tans.

With Southie Rules, A&E might have just passed TLC as the most morally bankrupt network on television.

Well, TLC still has Long Island Medium, so A&E still has a ways to go.

Follow Pete McQuaid on Twitter @sweetestpete.