If you’re looking for a meaningful, well-written TV show to add to your weekly lineup that will enrich your life and increase your cultural awareness, you should probably stop reading right now. However, if you’re looking for something trashy, entertaining, and almost insulting in it's depiction of a monarchy, then I have the distinct pleasure of introducing you to The Royals.
Advertised as E! Network’s first scripted show (sure, E!, sure) The Royals follows the sordid lives of a fictional British royal family that is nothing like the real life one, unfortunately. The writing is abysmal, the acting is sub-par, and the overall result is utterly fantastic. If Gossip Girl and The Only Way is Essex had a baby, and then that baby was dropped on its head a couple of times, you would get The Royals. The next time you’re looking for a new pregame activity, watch this show and do a shot every time someone says “the Queen of England.” You will not make it to the bars.
The pilot opens to the royal family receiving the news that their firstborn son, Robert, has died. This is obviously a giant fucking deal, because he was supposed to be the next king. The rest of the episode introduces you to the members of the family while they recover from this tragedy. Because Robby (supposedly) died while following in the family footsteps of joining the military before ruling, the king decides that the only way to avenge his death is to abolish the monarchy. Logic? Not necessary for The Royals. So on top of being a completely dysfunctional family, they are now coping with the death of a son and the implications of a life without their titles.
Elizabeth Hurley is the Queen of England (drink), if the queen were a slutty MILF who rocked drunk smoky eyes on a daily basis. Her accent is so posh it almost sounds fake, and this is essentially the role she played in Gossip Girl except now she’s a queen. She seems like a royal bitch (pun absolutely intended) who hates her children, her husband, and possibly her country. The only child she liked was Robby, who is now dead. She spends the entirety of the first episode reminding people that she is the Queen of England (drink), that her firstborn son is dead, and trying to sabotage her second born (and therefore unimportant) son’s relationship with the daughter of the head of security. Helena, her name that you don’t learn until about 20 minutes in because she is only ever referred to as the Queen of England (drink), is NOT about abolishing the monarchy, and will probably spend all of season 1 trying to thwart her husband’s plans.
I honestly have no idea what his name is. IMDB says it’s Simon, but I watched the pilot twice and didn't hear it mentioned once. Possibly because I was playing the drinking game, but whatever. As we’re already established, he is trying to abolish the monarchy because it killed his first son and he is convinced it will ruin the lives of his two other children. He’s probably not wrong, but it seems kind of late to fix that. King Simon spends a lot of time wandering around London at night without any security, which seems like a terrible idea considering the heir he’s been grooming to take over for 23 years just died. So far he seems like one of the only decent characters, which means he’s probably going to die real soon.
The hot brother from the Narnia movies plays Liam, the second born son whose life just got totally fucked. Like, imagine living as Prince Harry for 21 years and then waking up as Prince William. Possibly the most brutal reality check of all time. Liam is not about ruling at all, and he’s overwhelmingly casual for a British person, let alone the Prince of England. He hooked up with the head of security’s daughter without knowing who she was, but plot twist: he actually likes her. The Queen of England (drink) is not psyched about him slumming it with the help, especially since she’s American and Americans are barely a step above Canadians to these people.
Princess Eleanor is basically Lindsay Lohan circa 2006. She kind of looks like a slutty version of Kate Middleton, and nearly identical to Elizabeth Hurley, which I’m really hoping was a purposeful move by the casting department. The only person on the planet who can rival the Queen of England’s (drink) eye makeup, Eleanor is constantly drunk or drugged, full of self-loathing, and generally the exact opposite of what the Princess of England should be. She was “rolling balls” (the King’s words, not mine) in the state dining room, and smoking out of a bong while sitting in the royal thrones. It’s fantastic. Len, as they all call her, hates her mom, loves her dad, and may have been fucking her dead brother. Bold prediction, but literally all anyone has said since he died was “you were always his favorite,” and “he loved you best.” Incest, so hot right now, incest.
Ophelia is the daughter of the head of security, and had a one night stand with Liam the night before they found out about Robby. Also, she’s American, because why not. Her mom was killed due to her proximity to the royal family, which hasn't been explained yet but probably means she was totally having an affair with the King. Ophelia spends the whole pilot acting like she’s not into Liam, which is hands down the most unrealistic aspect of this show so far. She finally decides to go on a date with him after the Queen of England (drink) threatened her not to. It is very obvious where this relationship is going, so I’ll just leave it at that. I don’t know if it’s because she’s American or just because she’s stupid, but Ophelia has about zero deference to the royal family. Like yeah, the Queen of England (drink) is a bitch who may have mocked your dead mom, but you should still probably curtsy to her.
Uncle Cyrus is the human incarnation of Scar from the Lion King. He is Simon’s shady brother who extorts blow jobs out of the castle maids and would do just about anything to become King, like kill his brother, nephews, and niece. Obviously, he is not happy with the plan to abolish the monarchy, since he's been thirsting after the throne since birth. Every time Simon makes a speech about the freedom to choose your own life Cyrus visibly rolls his eyes. He will 100% somehow be responsible for the death of the King.
Honestly the only thing that could make this show better (other than, like, quality) would be if the royal family gathered around every Sunday night to watch it. Just imagine Queen Elizabeth watching Elizabeth Hurley strut around Buckingham palace in black body con dresses screaming at anyone who will listen that she’s the Queen of England (drink). I highly recommend checking it out soon, because odds are it's not making it past the first season.