"Southie Rules" premiered on A&E Tuesday night with two episodes, "Bill Roulette" and "Poseidon, King of South Boston." The folks who live-blogged and live-tweeted during the show for Boston.com had a fun time-- maybe not from the show itself but from exchanging snark about the show and its characters.
Before the show started Tuesday, Boston Globe reporter Billy Baker announced the live blog.
Later, a cast member of the show tweeted at Baker, pre-emptively begging for mercy.
@billy_baker be easy on us tonight haha. Keep an open mind and a sense of humor. We had an amazing opportunity to have some fun as a family.— Jon Niedzwiecki (@Joey_Broadway) January 29, 2013
Update: On Wednesday morning, Baker and
People tuned in to see a reality show & got a sitcom. Some liked it, some didnt. Im proud of the show we made. Thank you for all the support— Jon Niedzwiecki (@Joey_Broadway) January 30, 2013
@joey_broadway If it's a staged sitcom passing itself off as a reality show, what is the right word? Phony seems accurate to me.— Billy Baker (@billy_baker) January 30, 2013
@joey_broadway OK, but it was marketed as a reality show about Southie family fighting gentrification, a heavy topic, so calling BS is fair.— Billy Baker (@billy_baker) January 30, 2013
The Joey above is the same person who later in the show did this:
But we'll get back to that.
The first of two half hour shows began in a crowded bathroom where characters tried to jam themselves since there was only one in the house and everybody had to go at the same time or something. I couldn't keep up with everyone involved. I think there was a guy wearing a green beanie who showed up in this scene and then disappeared for the rest of the episode. Matt and Devin argued about Chuck Norris, the show cut to the couch with more wrestling but with older brother Jonathan, and then the audience was brought back to the bathroom. The matriarch of the family, Camille, threatened to undress, sending the boys scurrying.
Then we got the opening credits, complete with Irish music in the background and random scenes from future episodes of the show. "The A&E announcer is laying on the accent a little thick, no?" said Baker.
Green, bouncy font spelled out "Southie Rules" on the screen as locals braced themselves for what was to come. Would their hometown be portrayed in a cliched way? Was Southie about to be Jerseyed?
In the next scene, Jennifer described the family "tradition" of picking a bill out of a basket to be responsible for. Jarod picked a $50 bill and high-fived his wife Leah.
Matt grabbed a $90 bill and proclaimed that the family was getting rid of cable and living like people did "in the 1860s." I'm not sure what company Matt gets cable from (pretty sure there's only one), but I bet the majority of viewers would love a cable bill less than three digits. Jonathan picked up the heat bill, which he said was $800. That part isn't hard to imagine. Paying for oil is a painful thing to do. Maybe if the family upgraded their home to central heating, they could save some money in the long run. They should have a contractor guest star in the future. The folks behind the PBS show "This Old House" are one town over in Cambridge, right?
For the rest of the episode, family members came up with random schemes to pay for their respective bill. Jonathan dug through the basement and porn stashes to find a pink suitcase and a porcelain cat he developed an affinity for.
Matt and Jennifer discussed meatballs. Specifically, Camille's recipe for meatballs, which were allegedly quite good. Camille declined to help Matt make them (because otherwise there would be no drama in the show) so daughter Leah (and half-sister to Matt) stepped up to assist.
The highlight of the show was probably the discussion on the pronunciation of "shallots."
Jonathan and couch-lounger Devin (Why not spelled "Devon?") tried to pawn off items in the pink briefcase to a local store. Devin accused Jonathan of saying "Farmer John" instead of "Fabergé" (I could have sworn he said "Fah-blibbity-this-is-a-weak-plot-point-who-cares").
I wonder if the show owners' responses to the dolls were a knowing wink from "Southie Rules" producers:
"They're fakes... absolutely."
"Fake what?" asked Jonathan.
There was notable pause before the store owner responded "...Fake dolls."
"Yeah, you got nothing here, kid," said the other shop person. It was the best line delivery of the episode, by far.
The show went back to Matt and Jessica who made the meatballs but then were at a loss on who to sell the meatballs to. They should have thought about operating a food truck over at the popular Dewey Square spot or even at the Seaport.
Instead, they got on a bike, rode back and forth by the Christopher Lee Park and got into a food fight which yielded the most dramatic moment of the episode.
All seemed lost. Coincidentally, Camille and Leah got a call from a friend requesting meatballs for a bachelorette party.
Nothing says bachelorette party like meatballs. #southierules— Billy Baker (@billy_baker) January 30, 2013
With Matt’s dangling storyline resolved, we go back to Jonathan dressed as a construction worker. He had been convinced by Devin to strip for cash. His mother, bearing meatballs, arrived right as a blurred Jonathan took off his pants.
On the awkward car ride home, Jonathan revealed to Camille that he wants to go by "Joey Broadway" which sort of explains his Twitter account.
lessons from #SouthieRules hide ya porn, budget bill ya heat, & if you're going to strip at a party make sure ya ma isn't going to be there— Heather Foley (@HotelFoxtrot) January 30, 2013
The second episode introduced another family member, Jarod, and focused on the patriarch of the family, Walter. The show's antagonist, as mentioned often in promotional materials, was also introduced: Yuppies.
And now we meet the devil that has ruined the neighborhood: The yuppies! And their stupid desires to improve the lives of their children.— Billy Baker (@billy_baker) January 30, 2013
Jarod, who spied on moms to check out their strollers, just wants a good life for his daughter, too. So he decided to have a parents' group convene at their home, much to his wife Leah's frustration. But she eventually changed her mind. At least it gave her a chance to say "Harvard" as "Havhvid." Was that on the drinking game list? If so, viewers got at least three opportunities to take a swig throughout the episode.
The group of mothers arrived at the Niedzwiecki household with a charcuterie plate, Edible Arrangements, and a jug of green liquid. Leah fled to the kitchen to hide a tray full of Twinkies and Hostess treats in the dryer. Too bad, those looked delicious.
As an ice-breaker, the women decided to play "Have You Ever?" which must be a yuppie-alternate-universe version of "Never Have I Ever" that every other teen has played.
"Have you ever spilled pinot on a white blouse?" Are you serious? The cliche victims are not the Southie people; it's the yuppies. Lame.— Billy Baker (@billy_baker) January 30, 2013
Back to Walter, however, his sons plus Devin plotted a way to get him out of his funk while knocking back beers at Murphy's Law. Devin suggested going on a boat ride and then called himself "Poseidon." Then the trio argued about the lineage of Greek Gods.
In another scene, Devin is jogging down the street with a pair of hams. Devon explained that he will trade the services of a Seaman for the pork. They embarked on the boat (specifically a "lobstah boat"-- Drink!) without supervision and got on each other's nerves.
Walter announced that he'd rather go home than put up with their shenanigans but then they each catch really large fish and all is well.
Back home, the parents' group gathering was not going well and reached a low moment when someone accidentally played Leah and Jarod's sex DVD. But things improve once they brought out booze. Perhaps wine is the equalizer between yuppies and townies?
The oceanographers arrived back home to the group of yuppies and Walter dropped off the carton full of fish before leaving in disgust. Matt and Jonathan proclaimed that the old Walter "is back."
What did you think of the episodes? What was the most ridiculous moment? Will you watch the next one? Discuss here.