This week’s discussion: Hell’s Satans, Season 1, Eps. 1-5, 7-8. Watch it on Tubi TV.
Next week’s discussion: Celebrity Paranormal Project, Season 1, Eps. 1-4. Watch it on Tubi TV.
As promised last week, we have a special guest host, our friend Dave, who requested that I curate a shortlist of shows for him to pick from, so I went to the smorgasbord of reality television known as Tubi TV, and he settled on the show Hell’s Satans, about a misfit moped gang from the college town of Richmond, VA.
After discussing the concept, characters, and episodes, we segue into our main discussion of just how constructed this reality show is and how the mockumentary that inspired the show informed our views on the show’s structure and message. We also discuss issues of the show’s worldview, whether reality TV needs villains to be compelling, and return to some of the podcasts’ favorite hobby horses, like stereotypes, ‘hanging out’ and Mike name-dropping Jersey Shore.
Show Notes and Links
1:10 / This week’s guest host
2:03 / Introducing this week’s show
4:10 / Our impressions of the gang members
4:35 / Travis – comic relief
6:00 / Discussing the ‘One-Eyed Turtle’
7:00 / Pat – the leader of the group
8:21 / Jessie – the enforcer
10:04 / Rachel – the wild child
11:05 / Discussing the ‘lost episode’ (at least lost by Tubi TV)
12:41 / Chance and Brooke – friends with benefits
14:46 / Quick hit summaries of Episodes 1 and 2 – intro and initiation
15:37 / Episodes 3 and 4 – job hunt and party
17:03 / Episode 5 – ‘Survivor’ style camp-out
17:58 / Episodes 7 and 8 – Puerto Rico trip
18:56 / How constructed are these narratives?
19:44 / Dave thought it was a strange mix of the real and the manufactured
20:30 / Mike thought the narratives seemed a little too clean, compares the show’s structure to a sitcom
22:25 / Discussing how real the ‘college party’ in Episode 1 was
23:23 / The implausibility of the Puerto Rico trip
24:24 / Travis’ ‘nude modeling’ session
25:02 / Mike brings up Jersey Shore (again)
25:46 / Dave thought this show was less manipulative than something like Toddlers & Tiaras
26:36 / Discussing the confessionals
27:08 / Talking about the antecedent for this show, Satan Since 2003
28:00 / Dave’s impressions of the mockumentary
28:38 / A synopsis of the mockumentary
30:08 / Mike’s impressions of the mockumentary (the quote from the producer is here)
31:17 / How the mockumentary informed our reading of the reality show
32:55 / Returning to the topic of stereotypes and reality TV (Mike’s ‘theory’ was stated in Episode 1)
33:47 / Dave thought the mockumentary complimented the show well, made him think more about the intent behind the structure
34:39 / Mike thought the mockumentary confirmed his feelings about the behind-the-scenes manipulation
35:12 / How (sub)cultural specificity can inform what reality TV producers are and aren’t able to do
35:56 / This show lacked the ‘villain edit’ found in many reality shows
36:42 / The optimism of the show, Mike compares it to Snooki & JWoww
37:00 / The positive portrayal of this group is reflective of broader cultural changes
38:10 / Segueing into the show’s target demographic and worldview
39:05 / It was interesting that much of the show’s content cut against the ‘carefree’ worldview the group is selling
40:40 / Comparing the show to our (admittedly hazy) recollections of Jackass
41:50 / Talking about moments where the show touches on social class
42:43 / Does this show have the legs for a second season?
44:42 / We thought the show was entertaining, but a little bit generic
45:40 / How much overlap would there be between an interesting second season and a marketable second season?
46:13 / The show was pretty tame and inconsequential despite the antics and squabbles
47:00 / Does a reality TV show need a villain to be entertaining?
48:05 / Would the missing episode have contained a fight with actual consequences?
50:19 / Coming back to the idea of reality TV as ‘hanging out’ once again, Mike mentions the loathsome Keys to the VIP
51:17 / Introducing the next episode