Addictive junk food for the brain
Z. Freeman | Austin, TX | 07/17/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"In BET's answer to MTV's Real World, College Hill features eight college students living together in a "tricked-out" apartment. In this 2-disc fourth installment of the popular reality show, four students from California and four from the Virgin Islands come together in St. Thomas for two and a half months of drama, sexual tension, and ever-so-briefly, school work.
The tensions between the eight students (four girls and four guys) escalate quickly as cliques begin to form among the Islanders and the Californians. Constantly bickering about segregation and the differences between the two cultures, hardly a minute goes by in all 15 episodes when some sort of beef isn't mentioned. Finally, in episode eight, it all comes to a head as a fight erupts between two of the girls that ends with one of them being asked to leave the house and move into a dorm on campus, away from the rest of the cast members. This painfully memorable scene is a three to four minute clip of eight belligerent young people screaming at each other until one girl takes a shoe to another one's face, leaving her bloodied and in the hospital.
What's strangely contradictory is the large role that religion apparently plays in these student's lives. As they're at each other's throats, with the diva-like Crystal from Orange County at first turning the house against her, and then working to get it back, Willie trying to work his "game" on each girl in the house, and JT constantly feeling "tempted" by Idesha to cheat on his girlfriend of three years (that temptation ends quickly along with his relationship), somehow they still find time to gather around the kitchen table one night and "testify". Watching these eight twenty somethings dwell on trivial matters, play sexual drinking games, and worry about what their HIV test results will yield is bad enough without having to listen to them talk about their close relationships with God.
Unsurprisingly, College Hill - Virgin Islands, like the majority of similar reality shows is disturbingly addictive. Once you become familiar with the characters and their misguided struggles, it's hard to turn away without knowing what happens next. Whether the kids are headed out to another club in St. Thomas, on a trip to Miami for the weekend, or just heading to anger management classes, drama is sure to follow. Ultimately, College Hill - Virgin Islands helps to serve as a lesson to viewers on how not to behave. If the participants in the show have really learned as much as they claim by the end, then perhaps witnessing the lows of their experiences might just be worth it.
If viewers are looking for one of the most intensely argumentative and explosive casts ever seen on a reality show, College Hill - Virgin Islands serves up this kind of entertainment in triple scoops. Like some kind of non-eliminative Survivor, these students are constantly forming alliances with each other, only to have them fall apart at the drop of a hat... or the stealing of a makeup case. If nothing else, watching deluded people justify themselves and their actions with Bible verses and blind screaming fights can be embarrassingly enjoyable in the same way that watching Jerry Springer segments can. But anyone looking for legitimate non-exploitative entertainment that allows them to watch and retain their dignity should stay away.
The DVD set also includes a bonus episode, a making of documentary, and some footage considered "too hot" for BET. Most of the extras are skippable, but the show itself is addictive junk food for the brain."