666 Park Avenue (ABC-2012)

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‘666 Park Avenue’ was a television production brought to screen by well-established teen sitcom producer Leslie Morganstien. As the creator of such programmes as Gossip Girl, The Vampire Diaries and Pretty Little Liars the audience targeted at suggested high potential for success in viewing figures globally. However it did not take flight as expected and production was stopped after only one season. As everyone knows timing is everything, even with fiction comedy horror catching peoples entertainment attention. I personally really enjoyed ‘666 Park Avenue’ it’s bizarre premise was some kind of middle narrative base of Gossip Girl/Sex and the City and Roman Polanski’s Rosemary’s Baby.

The opening scene of episode features an anxious wealthy violinist who longs to be appreciated for his somewhat questionable average talent by music peers. He makes a deal with the Devil for overdue career success. The Devil is a wealthy business man and property developer who owns the expensive Apartment complex he lives in. The Devil wears Hugo Boss and Armani suits quite literally. Before even the opening credits he plays his last music performance so well his hand bleeds, arm is knocked out of socket and he has a heart attack. In true well written moral poetic justice the Devil comes to collect as the entire Opera house audience stand to cheer and applauded as he dies. As the tagline says ‘Everything comes at a price’.

I think this particular scene conveys the main themes that ’666 Park Avenue’ was trying to accomplish through supernatural drama which was a discussion on modern western capitalism. The need for people to be seen or noticed by higher powers despite actual skill or talent is on a weekly sliding scale. While reality television soars old Hollywood cry in graves. Young people have stopped going to the actual cinema to stay home watch ‘other’ more genetically blessed people they don’t know lead their own lives, rather than lessons from film. Hey even I like that family when bored. True real fame comes a high price and grows higher when comes to social circle sincere respect. It’s easy to walk around with undeserved arrogance in these modern times based only on amount of friends on Facebook, followers on twitter or Instagram and ‘likes’ got through these sites, without anyone knowing what you do well for a living.

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Jane played by Rachel Taylor a humble hard working young woman and her boyfriend/fiancé Henry played by Dave Annabelle decided to try their own luck by moving to the big city. For success and financial stability while they create a new life as potential husband and wife. Weirdly even though extremely financially unstable, they are offered an apartment at one of the priciest post codes in Manhattan Park Avenue by chance. The writers are drumming themes of previous mentioned with a sledgehammer into viewers and it is not lost in the television programme title. 666 Park Avenue is owned by a very mysterious wealthy couple Olivia played by Vanessa Williams and Gavin played by Terry O’Q who offer to make tenants dream at a later debt to be collected through otherworldly consequences usually resulting in death. There is something uniquely timeless and unfortunately now ‘timely’ with bizarre global events. While it uses obvious well known horror genre plot tactics it had social ethical comments. People in 2017 now trade everything from fame and intelligence to sex, drugs and even sometimes religious terror and racism. All to be granted with some form of payback expected.

As a dear friend once said to me:

“Everyone is an investment banker or a hooker, socially and financially. I don’t even get why we know these people. My girl made me buy her 5 drinks in that Chelsea nightclub to even have dinner with her the next weekend, is this because she had a nice face and traded this for gifts”

Daily gamble and trading between individuals is disguised by a much better term known as ‘Capitalism’. This is highlighted in an extremely innovative fresh way which is glamorous on purpose to underline superficiality through dialogue.

  • “He did not even attend Harvard though and has not stepped foot near Aspen in his life. He’s not really like us, he just wants to be us” ——
  • “She’s hawwt like for sure. She dresses a bit slutty though and wears too much make up. I dunno what she will look like in the morning. But she’s easy as fuck” ——

When the Devil turns up to hungry characters and says “PAY UP!!!” in a bespoke tailored suit and Cartier watch before killing people for their souls in rather dramatic fashion – point made by writing team. They are very obvious narrative plots such as the writer who exchanges soul for true inspiration only to then write the greatest thriller novel of all time and mysterious disappears to not enjoy his own peak. The high fashion model who supposedly wanted fame for her looks who eventually is killed by her stalker who likes her beauty to death, it becomes rather comical. The points are explicit and basic to reach it’s teenage audience with puberty growing moral compasses on purpose.

‘666 Park Avenue’ was everything. I mean that as metaphor compliment but also the influence of ‘Gossip Girl’, ‘Rosemary’s Baby’, any Brett Easton Ellis film and ‘Cruel Intentions’ about these social circles are just plain blunt. It sits in a rather over saturated group of television. ‘Empire’, ‘Power’, ‘Dallas’, ‘Dynasty’, ‘90210’, ‘Billions’, ‘The Royals’, ‘American Gothic’ and ‘Blood and Oil’. These shows still running or not all had one thing in common which is that people are generally predictable when it comes to the uncomfortable true greed of the coin and social status. This has more relevance in today’s society than ever in the Western world. We are all human and consider our route to the top by any means needed individually first, it’s human nature at its worst and sometimes best. While production ceased it made important social comments despite hiding the stage curtain and costume of being a teen horror about rich beautiful people.

Von Von Lamunu

 

 

TERRY O'QUINN, VANESSA WILLIAMS

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