Last Sunday marked the premiere of ABC's new “reality” series Whodunnit. Thirteen guests and a butler assemble at a manor house (you know how we forever adore those). When one guest gets “murdered,” the rest have to find the identity of the rampaging killer as one by one they're eliminated or executed or whatever. This isn't the First 48, so we're not facing real deaths or crimes, but a game.
During an online house tour, Giles also uses the word “austerity” about the decor. Does that mean what the writer thinks it means, or is the delivery so very dry that it's impossible to know he's joking? His pointing out the variety of potential weapons among the furnishings was enjoyable, though so obvious (actual armory and devices of torture, taxidermied antlers, heavy chandeliers and paperweights) that any underhanded sarcasm feels doubtful. He also discusses the “parlor room,” not the billiard parlor or even just the parlor. It may being nitpickiness, but we wonder if clunky bits like this are why it has such a schticky feel, like a put-on of a put-on.
Mind you, fake murder games are super fun at a friend's house with cocktails, when everyone's faking terrible accents and keeping the rubber dagger away from the dog, but is it also worthwhile when the sleuths involved aren't the comic actors from Clue, but supposedly “real” folks? Yes, even real is in scare quotes, because most frequently, reality shows are written—at least the storylines are planned—by uncredited writers who may show up instead among the scads of associate producers. This guest list of ordinary people may have been cast into existence or scripted into it, but we have suspicions—sue away.
If you missed it, you can watch episodes online. “High Voltage” is the premiere—no points for guessing the manner of death. Tonight's episode (9/8pm ET) will be “Fire Starter.” So, have you joined in this murder mystery game, and are you finding it too goofy or is it delightfully, awesomely camp?