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REVIEW: ‘NYC Prep’

NYC Prep
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 for its potential as the guilty pleasure of the summer

Stars: PC, Jessie, Taylor, Sebastian, Kelli and Camille

The Big Idea: Bravo’s latest reality drama follows some Richie Riches, a.k.a. a group of Upper East Side Manhattan prep school students who, despite their claims in interviews to the contrary, desperately want to be the real-life equivalents of the Gossip Girl gang.

To Watch or Not to Watch: If you like Gossip Girl, or wonder what some of the Real Housewives of New York City were probably like in high school, yes. Which of the wealthy, fashion-obsessed, spoiled, fake ID-possessin’, potty-mouthed teens will be your fave? That all depends on which Gossip Girl character is your favorite.

Do you like …

Chuck Bass? Then you probably won’t like, but will certainly recognize an obvious wannabe Chuck in PC, the suit-attired, tight-trousered senior who’s said to be the most popular guy on the NYC prep school scene. He does seem to know everyone, and impresses his friends by scoring front row seats to a Fashion Week show, but he also, during a meet-up with his former girlfriend/current just-friend Jessie, throws a water bottle at Jessie and calls her the C-word. Yes, that C-word. Chuck Bass he ain’t, even if he donned a dapper ascot.

Blair Waldorf? Meet Camille, the Harvard-obsessed junior who plans to get a perfect score on the SAT so she’ll be admitted to her dream school. Overachieving Camille also sees herself as the school social director, is on the hunt for a boyfriend even though no one seems to live up to her standards and shakes off the pressures of her ambitious lifestyle by using her fake ID to go clubbing at the hottest New York hotspots. Put a headband on her brunette noggin’ and swap Harvard for Yale and she’s ready for her own Dorota.

Nate Archibald? Then you’ll spot Sebastian as the obvious pretty boy of the group, though he certainly doesn’t have the sweetness of the TV show version of GG‘s Nate. What he does have – and what seems to be the sum of his appeal to the young ladies he claims to hook up with by the plenty – is the ability to drop a few French phrases and a mop of hair that makes him look like what would happen if a Jonas brother and Joey Lawrence mated … whoa! Sebastian also has an uber-annoying habit of flipping his bangs every few seconds. The first NYC Prep drinking game? Chug every time Sebastian swings his long locks away from his face. You’ll be sloppy by the end of his first segment.

Jenny Humphrey? Hello Taylor, the 15-year-old who – quel horror! – goes to public school. Yes, it’s a very competitive public school, but Taylor still doesn’t totally fit in with her wealthier friends, who, as she says, don’t think anything of spending $500 a day dining out (including picking up her tab when they go out). Taylor also seems to attract the attention of fellas like Sebastian and PC, who’s still put off when Taylor is like, so un-coo-el when she gets excited about seeing Amanda Bynes at Fashion Week. Yeah, okay, so Amanda Bynes is sorta uncool. Still.

And the rest of the gang: Jessie, a senior who says she treats her clothing like it’s her children and who wants to be in the fashion biz (what the world needs now); and Kelli, the 17-year-old aspiring pop star whose parents live in the Hamptons, leaving Kelli and her teen brother to reside by themselves in a swanky Upper East Side apartment.

So, is NYC Prep in the same league as Bravo’s addictive Housewives series? Initially at least, not quite, though you’re likely to find yourself just as unable to look away from these children who, on a daily basis, buy dinners most people would have to save up for.

TV Screener Tidbit: Lest you knock yourself out trying to find out which prep schools host the Prep squad, check out the show’s Wikipedia page for the scoop.

NYC Prep premieres Tuesday, June 23, at 10PM ET on Bravo

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