'The golden years just got more golden'
'Sunset Daze' adds new wrinkle to reality show programming
Shot at Sun City Grand in Surprise, series premieres Wednesday
In a preview video for We TV's newest reality show, "Sunset Daze," Jack, or "Mr. Romeo," adjusts his combover to the strains of the Bee Gees' "Stayin' Alive."
Meanwhile, former nun Ann goes skydiving, and a flash mob of older women break into choreography in the middle of a department store. These aren't your stereotypical grandparents, despite their stereotypical lifestyle as residents of an Arizona retirement community.
Shot in Surprise at retirement mecca Sun City Grand, the show's cast of characters includes feisty ex-New Yorker Gail, who in an early episode befriends a pair of drag queens at a gay rodeo, La Wanda, who calls herself "Hot Legs," and recently widowed Sandy, who according to the show's website "knows her girlfriends are always by her side . . . especially when it’s time for a 'Double Pinot Grigio' at their local hangout, Dillon’s Restaurant."
As reality shows go, this is certainly a step up from the Scottsdale-based "Sex Decoy: Love Stings," in which a family of, well, skanky women entrap boyfriends suspected of cheating, which occasionally appears in the Fox Reality Channel lineup.
Critics have positioned the show variously, as a (slightly) older version of the "Real Housewives" franchise, and as a potent cocktail, equal parts "Golden Girls" and "Jersey Shore." The show is getting significant attention from the likes of The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly's PopWatch blog.
The website for the show features such hyped recent television adjuncts as a personality quiz and a "Bling My Cart" feature, in which websurfers can decorate their own golf cart, a preferred mode of transportation for the Sun City set, not unlike recent trends like Mad Men's "Mad Men Yourself" feature, or the Simpsons avatar creator released with "The Simpsons Movie."
Whether or not the show takes hold with We TV's viewers remains to be seen, but television audiences seem ready for reality programming about the older generation, in light of the recent feeding frenzy over "Golden Girls" alum Betty White's upcoming appearance on Saturday Night Live.
"Sunset Daze" premieres Wednesday at 10 p.m./9 Central.