Why, oh why I am not excited about this summer’s much-touted CW show, Hidden Palms? It has all the standard-issue goodness of a craptastic Karen favorite — hunky, tortured leading man, a washed-up TV actress playing the mom, and the harsh glare of California sun (the pilot was shot in Palm Springs, but production subsequently moved to cheaper locales in Arizona). There’ll be overacting, low-slung jeans, six-packs galore, and everything else I’ve come to expect from junk fare like the WB’s late, lamented (at least by me) replacement dramas Summerland and Young Americans.
I’ll tell you why the thought of Palms’ twisted teenage hookups and actors doing their best to out-Chad Michael Murray each other does nothing for me. It’s the atrocious brief promo currently airing on the CW. In the spot, a distraught young woman (blonde, natch) rolls about on the ground. She’s bemoaning something — an unceremonious dumping by Mr. Oh-So-Wrong? Juicy Couture’s unthinkable decision to discontinue terry cloth track suits? Whatever it is, we never find out, because the clip abruptly ends and the show’s title flashes briefly in the corner. And… scene. No description of the plot. No sunny California smiles.
The promo aptly conveys that this show is different from all those O.C.‘sand Jesse McCartney vehicles, peeps. It means business. But it tells usnothing about the series, and the image brings to mind — a little tooeasily — all those “It Affects Me” videos I sat through in high school,not to mention disturbing images of bereaved Virginia Tech and Iraq Warmourners aired constantly on news shows. This breaks from theadvertising techniques employed by other fluffy teen dramas. (Remember The O.C.’s promos, with their lingering shots of Mischa Barton and Ben McKenzie smoldering prettily on the beach?)
The CW’s shock-and-awe promo did, however, accomplish one mission — I’ve spent an unhealthy amount of time today thinking about Hidden Palms(hidden where, I wonder? Can you hide palm trees?) which had previouslybeen a mere blip on my radar. But now it’s your turn. Am I way off inthinking that this clip — and the subsequent way-too-brief showindentification — is one of the stranger marketing tools employedrecently by a major network? Or was it a buzz-creating stroke ofgenius? And are you looking forward to see what secrets lie “hidden” inAriz — er, I mean, Palm Springs?