E!'s What Happens at The Abbey premieres Sunday at 10 p.m. ET/PT, and I've seen a sneak peek.
Is it as gay as WeHo? No. But it is, as the bar's longtime owner David Cooley has said, a diverse look at one of the most iconic gay watering holes in the country.
From a press release:
Located in the heart of Los Angeles’ West Hollywood neighborhood, The Abbey, hailed as the “Best Gay Bar in the World,” is an institution where labels are abandoned, inclusion is paramount and everyone, regardless of their sexuality comes to mix and mingle with celebrities.
Presiding over one of the wildest nightclubs in Los Angeles, the team unapologetically embodies the open-minded mentality of The Abbey while fostering an environment of acceptance. Managed by owner David Cooley, the staff juggles delivering first-rate service to their VIP guests and celebrities while dealing with relationship drama, diverse sexuality and the pursuit of their own Hollywood dreams. It’s not all work, as this outrageous and unpredictable squad somehow manages to party even harder than their celebrity patrons.
So basically, a bunch of twentysomethings screwing each other, screwing each other over, getting wasted and tearfully fighting about things you forgot ever made you mad.
I've seen the first episode, and it was a slog for me to get through, only because I am old enough to have been old when reality shows like this first started showing entitled brats vapidly moaning about how hot they are in what they think is a performance/exaggeration of who they really are, but which is really just a self-portrait.
That said, if you like reality shows with drama, vain bodybuilders, lesbians who delight in trashing cat owners and young girls from Long Island who may or may not be well on their way to having bad things done to them, you might like What Happens at the Abbey.
The show looks great and checks all the boxes in its genre.
As far as the cast goes, I liked Marissa, who was sort of the focal character, a girl fresh to L.A. who gamely pretends she is dumb enough to demand a selfie with Tori Spelling while providing her bottle service. She's on, as are most of the cast members, but it doesn't feel too forced, and she comes off as likable.
I of course love Billy, the buff server, who is a pal of mine in real life. I was relieved that he comes off as completely himself on the show — a nice dude without any drama. This doesn't bode well for camera time, but I'm betting he'll be happy with whatever he gets that doesn't demand he act like a douche.
It's a toss-up who will annoy you more, model/server Daniel Eid, who loves to talk about his perfection with no sense of humor, or Billy's roommate Kyle, a sexist pig so in love with himself he probably wishes he had a vagina on his inner thigh so he'd never have to bother exchanging pleasantries with anyone.
Then again, you may enjoy hate-watching Murray and Cory, pretty boyfriends whose biggest problem is being so f*ckable they can't really settle into something real.
There are many others in this cast of thousands, so don't worry if the above descriptions leave you cold.
Overall, I think this is the kind of show you either would never even try, or will happily watch without getting too invested, for however many seasons it runs.