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News Link • Entertainment: Television (TV)

Utopia's Producers Know Utopia Is Impossible—That's the Point


Utopia, like utopias, was never meant to work. The "social experiment" that premiered on Fox last week has a fascinating premise—15 vastly different contestants are dropped into an oasis, deprived of almost all possessions, and tasked with creating their own sustainable paradise—but the show's grand gimmick quickly become a portrait of disastrous irony.

Five hours of Utopia have aired thus far, and already the differences and inequalities that cause many "real world" problems—the ones supposedly wiped clean upon contestants' entry—are becoming sources of violent conflict. Drunken bros, angry hillbillies, and homeless ex-cons are butting heads with ex-military chefs, body-positive feminist hunters, and free-spirited survivalists. It's what you might call a devolution; and it's making it abundantly clear why dystopian literature, rather than its utopian counterpart, has flourished: true utopia is inherently impossible. Attempting utopia is the surest route to dystopia—and even if you could make utopia happen, it would be unspeakably boring.

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