FAKE, scripted and a bit of an embarrassment. Or boycott Channel 10.
That's what many viewers were saying about the first episode of Channel Ten's new reality series The Shire.
Even a cast member was surprised by the content and took to his social media accounts to express his opinion.
Andy Lee, 22, who appears on the show with his best mates Mitch Dean and Simon Jaeger, wrote: "Not what I expected either guys! I only knew what we did; we surfed, we drank, took the piss out of each other and partied with girls! Sorry if that offended anyone!"
Australian audiences were given a look at what to expect in the series with a variety of cast members and storylines introduced. There were surfer boys, a wannabe rapper, self-absorbed girls and, of course, a love triangle.
A Channel Ten spokeswoman said they were "thrilled with the response" after The Shire attracted 941,000 viewers and peaked at 1.1 million for its debut on Monday night.
"Its debut had a huge impact, with almost 950,000 capital-city viewers and enormous noise on social media," the spokeswoman said.
But not everyone agreed with Channel Ten's efforts.
Cronulla Chamber of Commerce secretary Antonella Sanderson said it was disappointing to see the region, business community and its people unnecessarily tarnished as a result of the "dramality", which she believed represented nothing of the true shire spirit.
The owner of Splash Tapas Bar at Cronulla, Anthony Peridis, said he knocked back several requests from producers to film in his establishment.
He watched the first episode and thought it was "terrible".
Sutherland Shire mayor Carol Provan was quick to defend her questions, raised in several radio and television interviews on Tuesday morning, about whether some of the cast members actually lived in the region.
"I'm sorry that people took it the wrong way when I said people are saying these girls are not from the shire," Cr Provan said. "The two girls and the Paris Hilton look-alike (Beckaa) should not be seen as a good ambassador for young girls.
"I think the opening with the waterways, the beach and the car over the bridge looked stunning and wonderful and then it went downhill from there."
Sutherland Shire politicians shared their thoughts about the series after watching the first episode.
Cronulla MP Mark Speakman said Channel Ten showcased the shire's spectacular scenery but failed to portray real shire life.
"I hope no one seriously believes The Shire to be representative of our local area," Mr Speakman said. "If it were, Channel Ten wouldn't need to script the show."
Cook MP Scott Morrison said the show was ‘‘cheap rubbish’’ which did not reflect the community we know and love.
‘‘It says more about their character and standards than our community,’’ he said. ‘‘The real shire is a great place to live and raise a family, with a dedicated community of self reliant and generous Australians.’’
It wasn’t all negative feedback, with some readers voicing their support on the Leader website.
Jenny said: ‘‘Loved the show; was really, really enjoyable, much more so than I thought.’’
Margie commented: ‘‘I absolutely loved it, it was very funny, very cute and made the shire look stunning.’’
The Shire was still trending on Twitter on Tuesday morning following its premiere the previous night. Michael Garbutt, president of Cronulla Sutherland Supporters Club, tweeted: ‘‘How good was #theshiretv? Outstanding. A standing ovation to you Channel Ten.’’
Actor Brendan Cowell said: ‘‘I reckon people need to calm down with #TheShire vitriol — the format is very big O.S. — it ain’t trying to be art!’’
Shire cyclist Chris Sutton, who is based overseas, wrote: ‘‘Sounds like #shiretv was huge hit. Not. What a joke. I hope it gets canned ASAP.’’
Channel Ten Comment
Channel Ten’s chief programming officer David Mott confirmed that it was not a prerequisite for the cast to all be born and raised in Sutherland Shire. ‘‘We have said since the start that The Shire will follow a group of real people with real stories who live, work or play in the shire,’’ Mr Mott said.
‘‘We are delighted with the eclectic mix and diversity of our cast. Sophie and Vernesa are very much a part of the shire community, it is their social hub. As well as the social aspect, Vernesa works in Miranda and Sophie is setting up her business in the shire.’’
Will you tune in to the second episode of The Shire? Or will you turn off Channel 10?