Netflix’s latest new reality show looks like something out of 30 Rock. You know how Alec Baldwin’s character, Jack Donaghy, would portray Liz Lemon (Tina Fey) on an unscrupulously lewd new series? That’s the Snowflake Mountain vibe.
Or maybe the folks behind Snowflake Mountain (which just hit Netflix on Wednesday, June 22) would just call us easily offended millennials. It’s hard to say, really.
Start episode 1 and you will see. In a succession of quick shots, Snowflake Mountain introduces its 10 competitors, each more annoying than the last. Each proudly declares their unique qualifications.
And these traits, if you call them that, seem to be positioned to annoy everyone involved. No matter your perspective, you’ll find plenty to worry about. That may also be the goal.
What is Snowflake Mountain?
Snowflake Mountain, a 10-episode reality TV series is produced by two experts in the field: Jo Harcourt-Smith (The Circle) and Cal Turner (Undercover Boss). And it’s about boring youngsters, whom we meet in an intro that almost feels like a test of patience.
One is a ’24/7′ party, another has dropped out of college, and another admits (after being shamed by her parents) that her first instincts always lead her to give up what she tries. Another says bluntly “I don’t take life seriously”, before another introduces himself as “naturally lazy”.
One after another of these stereotypes of young people today declare that doing household chores is beyond them. And their parents are just fed up with these children, whom the animators describe as “giant babies”. But since those “snowflakes” seem to be the bane of their parents’ existence, this series tries to remedy that.
Hosts Joel (who equates his career with the movie The Hurt Locker) and Matt (a former Army combat engineer) are supposed survival experts who bring “snowflakes” to a wilderness retreat. The show’s intro gives insight into the tons of tears the contestants will cry, and how they’ll pass and fail and be constantly boring (at least in the eyes of this millennial senior).
Netflix’s official description provided to the press states that “Snowflake Mountain is a fun and warm reality show,” but if and when you sample it, you might be curious as to where the “warm” part is. (More on that below.)
Oh, and the actors are trying to win “a transformative cash prize” by enduring this life without running water, Wi-Fi, and help from their parents.
What do critics think of Snowflake Mountain?
Unsurprisingly, critics don’t like Snowflake Mountain. The series, which has no rotten tomatoes (opens in a new tab) scoring at the time of production due to a lack of coverage (a sign Netflix may not have pushed the filters), got all thumbs down from most.
For example, Stuart Heritage of The Guardian (opens in a new tab) notes that hidden beneath this facade is a series with some emotional depth, as “neither the snowflakes nor the mentors are as two-dimensional as they seem”, but it is unfortunately “hidden behind an exhausting burst of red state/blue state division”. And he also notes that if the show had been run with “even a modicum of rotary reflex, kids these days, God help us if there’s a grumpy war, Snowflake Mountain would be a lot nicer to watch.” ”
At Chicago Sun Hour (opens in a new tab)Richard Roeper writes (in a review rated two out of four stars) that “It’s one of the most contrived series in the ever-expanding reality genre, featuring a slew of contestants who aren’t as interesting as they believe him to be.”
For the Telegraph (opens in a new tab)Michael Hogan had no punches, writing “Producing this kind of mediocre menu filler, it’s no wonder the streaming service is in trouble. Who’s going to pay over £11 a month for generic rubbish What can they already get on ITV2? Less Snowflake Mountains and more Stranger Things please. Or I’ll cry and stop like a real snowflake.
Analysis: Should we watch Snowflake Mountain?
While discussing this series in a private group chat, a friend of mine said “I’ll probably watch it if I’m being honest.” While another said “I’m curious about having a car accident.” I told them both that the opening should be enough to push them back.
Snowflake Mountain doesn’t seem to be made for the two sides of the culture war it targets. The left will likely bristle at the cartoonish contestants, and the right will likely roll their eyes at the emotional connection in the latter half of the series. For my money, if I’m looking for some insane new entertainment, Beavis and Butt-Head Do The Universe are right there on Paramount Plus.
The top of Netflix’s top 10 shows list often seems to feature something critics hate (the 365 Days and God’s Favorite Idiot movies, for example), so I’d expect Snowflake Mountain to be just below that. Stranger Things by the end of this week. . But while it seems inevitable, it also seems like a terrible indicator of what passes for culture these days.
While I discovered that I actually liked some of Netflix’s other reality TV fare – Is It Cake? does a certain insane mode perfectly – it doesn’t sound like a show I could ever recommend to anyone. And that’s from someone who watches professional wrestling.