VH1 should've kept Aspen's drama a secret

BY ANT MITCHELL
Daily Arts Writer
Published January 6, 2010

Purposefully over the top, “Secrets of Aspen” never pretends to be anything but what it is — trash.

"Secrets of Aspen"


Sundays at 10:30 p.m.
VH1

“Secrets of Aspen” begins with the return of the Colorado resort town’s most “controversial” resident, Laura. Within what seems like the first five minutes, she and her female entourage are already bikini-clad, lounging in hot tubs and sipping champagne. Later, they meet to go label shopping, saying things like, “You have, like, the best boobs for that dress.”

After the shopping outing, further plot description of “Secrets of Aspen” would require a diagram with lots of arrows pointing every which way, or perhaps just a 15-year-old girl. Apparently Laura was going to set Robin up with Shay, but then tried to steal him back on the dance floor by putting her boobs in his face, until Brooke got in a fight with Laura, because Laura thought she and Brooke were going to get their makeup done together. Suddenly, Kat is in the mix along with Ben and Erin and Star, and then all hell breaks loose. Basically it’s impossible to keep up with who’s who, and whether or not they're fighting, best friends or sleeping together. Some possible tactics would be to go by hair color, or by who looks to have had the most Botox done.

Most conversations in “Secrets of Aspen,” are akin to verbal hair-pulling. Everyone constantly makes attacks on each other’s controlling, selfish, manipulative and needy behavior. Rumors are spread, concerning whether or not so-and-so is a hooker, and everyone is trying to “settle old scores.”

One positive aspect of “Secrets of Aspen,” however, is that it focuses not on the drama between girls and their boyfriends, but instead on the ongoing “battle of the bitches.” While a large portion of “Secrets of Aspen” is concentrated on the great man chase, it’s refreshing to see a show that for once perceives men rather than women as mere objects or trophies. The women of Aspen seem to have no interest in men aside from how their acquisition of a particularly desirable prize would elevate them in the bitch hierarchy. The men are the meat of “Secrets of Aspen” and the women ravaging lions who are (sometimes quite literally) in a tug of war over their hunks of beef.

VH1 molds the tacky and histrionic atmosphere of the show with unabashed deliberateness. “Secrets of Aspen” fills out the proverbial bodice of the “reality soap.” It's bursting with everything an audience who watches these sorts of things could ask for, mirroring the freakishly full brassieres of the women who bitch their way through the half-hour show.

Ultimately, it's difficult to decide if “Secrets of Aspen” can be considered a potential success. Quality or not, the show is what it sets out to be, in the most grossly extreme way that it can be. A certain portion of the public is being targeted, and those individuals will indeed want to watch it. The only question remaining is whether that audience will be large enough to keep the show afloat. Considering VH1 has survived on similarly refined and tasteful shows for over 25 years, longevity seems likely for "Aspen."