“Downtown Girls” Premiere Recap: Reduce, Reuse & Recycle Your Exes

MTV’s newest reality show “Downtown Girls” debuted last night and finally we got to see for ourselves whether Glamour.com writer Shallon Lester and her pals are more or less annoying than “The Hills.”

What’s the verdict on “Downtown Girls”? It’s “Sex and the City“-tinged fluff full of model pretty women — but it’s a hell of a lot less awful than all of MTV’s other reality shows. And that counts for something … right? “Downtown Girls” opens with us meeting Shallon; her best friend, Klo, who is getting married soon; Nicki, who runs her own clothing boutique; Gurj, who works for a record company and has a rock star boyfriend; and Victoria, who is trying to pass the bar exam for the second time. What a novel concept: a show about friends who like each other! When Shallon’s voice-over said, “Men and careers come and go, but best friends are forever,” I breathed a sigh of relief that this wasn’t going to be “The Hills: Spinster Edition.”

The “Downtown Girls” ladies are still Boy-Crazy Stacyes, though. A few weeks ago, when I interviewed Shallon, she made it sound like “Downtown Girls” would be a show about what well-rounded New York City women think about: careers, friends, and family — as well as men. But some of the very first words out of Shallon’s mouth were, “We need dates,” and thus we had the premise for the whole episode.

But first, pole dancing! Yes, the ladies randomly attended a pole dancing class together. It served no other purpose than to give viewers some eye candy booty shots, but that’s where Shallon suggested holding an “ex swap” where each of the women brings her old exes for the others to check out. Then Shallon went home and emailed her Glamour.com editor to pitch the idea, typing on her screen (just like Carrie Bradshaw, you guys!), “Can you recycle an ex?”

The answer: watching your girlfriends make out with your exes is a bad idea. Each of the women brings an ex or two to a bowling alley and Victoria promptly climbs into two different guys’ laps and kisses them. One of those guys happens to be Nicki’s ex-boyfriend, who snaps at Victoria when they get home. But all is resolved quickly, because, thankfully, “Downtown Girls” are more normal than “The Hills” girls. The next morning, Nicki and Victoria apologize to each other and everybody pinkie-swears over cheese fries never to fool around with anybody else’s ex again.

So, yeah, it’s fluff. Harmless fluff. Maybe there’ll be more substance in the next episode?