It was a historic week for the Grantland Reality TV Fantasy League. There was a topless brawl, a fraudulent denial of coitus, and a concealed erection. We were one STD scare away from a complete shame cycle. These milestones made the torture of enduring all the forced conflicts, lame courtships, and clichéd montages worth it (except for the hour I spent watching Love In The Wild. Including that show in the GRTFL was the worst decision anyone at ESPN has made since ESPN Hollywood). There was so much action this week that, while watching The Challenge on Wednesday, I said to myself “I really hope C.T. doesn’t eat somebody, because I already have too much to write about."
Tami Roman (Basketball Wives, Lane): 65 points. Tami is a true reality veteran who's been scoring physical-fighting and unintentional-nudity points since The Real World: Los Angeles in 1993. She was at it again this week: Her 5-point verbal spat with Meeka Claxton at dinner was just a hint of what was to come. At a nightclub, Tami artfully transitioned from a verbal fight (5 points) into a weave-grabbing physical one (25 points), incurring the intervention of production security (25 points) — all with her breasts accidentally exposed (5 unintentional-nudity points). When we hold the first GRTFL awards gala, Tami is a lock for the lifetime achievement award.
Meeka Claxton (Basketball Wives, Simmons): 62.5 Points. Joining the cast of Basketball Wives is like joining a street gang. Every season, a new wife is hazed with weave criticism, transvestite jokes, and thrown drinks. This year’s new blood is Meeka, who found herself on the receiving end of Tami’s patented verbal-fighting, physical-fighting, and unintentional-nudity combo. She may have lost the fight, but she earned 60-plus points for Simmons. She even tacked on a sneaky extra 2.5 points for calling Tami “classless” at the buzzer.
Mandi Moyer (The Challenge, Lane): 55 points. Upon realizing that C.T. was no longer interested in her, Mandi declared, “I don’t care about him. I really, really, really don’t.” She didn’t care about him so much that she immediately got drunk (10 points), had rebound sex with Wes (25 points), and fraudulently denied coitus with C.T. (20 points). Then she showed up at the after show with "Look at me now, C.T." breast implants.
Ben Flajnik (The Bachelorette, Simmons): 47 points. Rafa Nadal's date with Ashley the Insanely Insecure Dancing Dentist this week moved Bill to send me the following e-mail:
- "I think Ben had a boner on the boat with Ashley. If you watch carefully, she sits on his groin and rubs suntan lotion on his chest. Then she gets up and he talks about what a "hard job" it was for her. She smiles coyly and says "It was a hard job for you, too." Then he looks embarrassed. Translation: BONER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
I found myself less troubled by Bill's focus on Rafa’s excitement level than by his use of 34 exclamation points. Who uses 34 exclamation points? Regardless, Ben scored 10 points for possession of a concealed erection. He also notched 25 points for various make-outs with Ashley and 12 points for their off-camera fantasy-suite hook-up, because GRTFL Commissioner Katie Gorman observed that Ashley was "walking funny" the next day. This league has turned us all back into adolescents. It’s going to take years of therapy to make us adults again. I hope Dr. Drew has a rehab program for overexposure to reality television.
Wes Bergmann (The Challenge, Jay): 25 points. Wes had “this other guy lost interest in me so I need to feel wanted” sex with a jilted Mandi (25 coitus points).
Jasmine Renaud (The Challenge, Jacoby): 5 points. Since when is sex a spectator sport? When you know there's sexual intercourse happening nearby, don't you try to stay as far away as possible? What is it about reality TV stars that makes them want to get close to the action? Is this a generational thing? It's a mystery as baffling as the fact that it took our species until the 1980s to put wheels on suitcases. When Jasmine was discovered inches away from a mid-coitus Wes and Mandi, Wes lifted her off the ground by her jeans, leaving her unintentionally exposed (5 points).
Kenny Santucci (The Challenge, Jacoby): 20 points. Kenny has admittedly “lost his mojo.” So much so that “Mr. Beautiful” wept when his longtime confidant, Evan, was eliminated from the show (20 points). Kenny, I don’t want your crying points. You are here to win challenges, get women pregnant, and violate your religious beliefs. If you aren’t into that, I’m happy to force your retirement, like Mike Brown did to Carson Palmer.
C.T. Tamburello and Adam King (The Challenge, Jacoby): 10 points each. C.T. and Adam have what I call a “prison relationship.” Adam is happy to be no. 2. And who can blame him? C.T. is a Sasquatch with a Boston accent and cannibalistic streak. I fully expect Adam to arrive at the next challenge holding the inside of C.T.’s pocket like he was scared straight.
Steven Adler (Celebrity Rehab, Simmons): 25 points. When last we saw Steven he was threatening to leave rehab because he had run out of ways to make Amy Fisher cry. He walked three steps out the door, but turned around (15 points) because "sobriety is everything to me, because I have a career that I really love, and I want to take it to next level" (10 points for mentioning comeback plans). What Steven doesn’t realize is that his drumming career ended in 1990 when he was thrown out of Guns N' Roses, and his new career is making women cry on reality TV.
Bai Ling (Celebrity Rehab, Lane): 15 points. Bai Ling needs a timeout. Sad, handsome, wise, and crazy spirits made her cry three times this episode (15 points) and made me seriously reconsider my plans to join the Chinese army.
Jessica “Sugar” Kiper, (Celebrity Rehab, Connor): 10 points. Sugar cried twice this week (10 points) and also called me a “douche bag BLOGGER” on Twitter. Does my team get points if I make her cry?
Sean Young (Celebrity Rehab, House): 5 points. This week, Sean Young cried while listening to the inspiring stories of former gang members whose lives were turned around by Homeboy Industries, a wonderful organization that helps at-risk youth and desperately needs a new name.
Jennifer Williams (Basketball Wives, House): 5 points. Jennifer did her "the only way I can possibly get out of this is to fake-cry” thing again this week. This woman has the emotional range of salad fork.
Ryan Park (The Bachelorette, Connor): 20 points. The adorably dorky Ryan returned to the show this week to get rejected by Ashley for a second time. I feel like the producers flew him in just so Ashley could make him cry (20 points) as a confidence-booster, sort of like when a promoter matches a boxer with an overweight sparring partner before a prize fight.
J.P. Rosenbaum (The Bachelorette, Jay): 22 points. J.P. notched 10 points from two make-outs with Ashley, and Commissioner Gorman granted him 12 points for what may or may not have happened in the fantasy suite.
Ben Hooker (Love in the Wild, Jacoby): 15 points. Ben is playing the “I’m a jerk, but girls love jerks” card so well that he's proven even physically unattractive dudes can win women over by preying on their insecurities. There's no question he's studied Neil Strauss’ The Game like a rabbi studies the Torah. This week he won a challenge (10 points) and even scored me 5 intoxication points for slurring words in the Oasis Suite.
Samantha Woods (Love in the Wild, Simmons): 10 points. Samantha is a single wedding planner. There are no words in the English language more terrifying to commitment-averse men than "single wedding planner." She won the challenge this week (10 points), which makes her the first person with the last name Woods to win anything since 2009.
Jessica Soares (Love in the Wild, Simmons): 5 points. It's hard to tell if Jessica agreed to appear on this show because was was looking for true love or simply a spouse to help her replace her current last name. Also, it's hard to tell if she cried this week because her beau Derek broke his toe (5 points) or because his last name is "Leach."
First, a few words from our outgoing Commissioner. (We'll name our new one next week.)
Katie Gorman (GRTFL Comissioner): It’s been fun being your Commish, but I’ll be on the road for work a lot now and unable to watch these horrible, horrible shows that I love so much (not Love in the Wild) in a timely manner. I’m sad that I won't have the honor of awarding Snooki points for hitting a cop car while flashing her Snooki. Enjoy the rest of the season.
Jay Caspian Kang (Fraudulent Coitus): This week on The Challenge, Evan accused Nehemiah of hiding behind a "fake spiritualism," and asked, justifiably, why a man so dedicated to The Path would sully himself by coming on The Challenge. Nehemiah's response: "It's a test. That's why it's called The Challenge. There's things here that I have to deal with here that I don't have to deal with in real life." Then, after a short pause, he added, "That are going to help me grow."
It was a touching scene: Two men from completely different backgrounds — one white, one black, one wearing an Under Armor cap with a pink logo, the other in a tank top and dreads, one without a nose ring, the other with a nose ring — talking about God. At the end of the exchange, Evan said, "If you want spirituality, go live in a monastery."
I'm all for finding oneself, but I've gotta side with Evan. There is no sin quite like faux-piety, especially when your ideology includes drinking creatine out of plastic wine glasses. Actually, I'm going to go ahead and say that unless your name is Ricky Williams or David Carradine from Kung Fu having your spiritual revival in front of millions of people is a bad idea. It didn't work for Madonna. It didn't work for Common.
I do think, though, going forward, unless you're on Celebrity Rehab players should get points for saying they are participating in a given show to boost to "grow as a human being."
David Jacoby (Blanket Coverage): When Jersey Shore became America's official embarrassment/guilty pleasure there were weekly rumors about the development of copycat shows that would focus on other subcultures. The Persian Version, Brighton Beach, and K Town all briefly caught the attention of the TV development community after Snooki became a household name. The strange thing was that nothing happened for two years. The Village Voice just did an enlightening piece about the puzzling cancellation of a show that would have been a surefire hit, Bridge and Tunnel (see the trailer here). Why has it taken so long for other networks to copy Jersey Shore? Well, soon we'll finally be exposed to Lifetime's counter-punch, Russian Dolls, and probably many more.
Which makes me wonder, why isn't there a show called Hateable Hipsters? Couldn't an MTV crew follow five deplorable people living in a loft in East Flatbush? One dude could be the bassist in a terrible indie band, and have a four roommates that spray their bodily fluids on canvases and call it art. They'd ride their fixies from loft party to abandoned-building party, ultimately ending up at a sewage-tunnel party. I can already see the graphics package full of blotchy anchor tattoos and names of bars you've never heard of. I would hate to watch this twice a week.
Lane Brown (The Blurcle Jerks): A week ago, on this very message board, I was whining about my low score and how I'd traded away Jasmine. Now, one topless nightclub melee, a fraudulent hook-up denial, and 135 points later, I'm back in the game. My score is rising faster than Ben Flajnik's erection. One last question for the departing Commissioner, though: If we're giving Mandi 20 points for lying about it, shouldn't I also get 25 points for the off-camera sex with C.T. that we now know happened (and possibly 30 more for an STD scare)?
Anyway, for our GRTFL scrapbook, here's the (mostly) complete transcript of Mandi's historic coitus perjury:
- "If I [bleep] him and Laurel was doing what she was doing, yeah, I think I would be really [bleep] pissed. I still think she's a dumb [bleep bleep bleep bleep bleep]. Obviously we've had — shut up, mister. I don't care about him. I really, really don't. I'm just so sick of everyone coming up to me and being like, 'Oh, you [bleep] C.T. Oh, you have syphilis. You have herpes. Oh, now Laurel — SHUT THE [bleep] UP! And now everyone's like, "Oh, and now Laurel's getting it. How does that feel? You're getting shown up by this [bleep] Bigfoot bitch." [Bleep] that! She can have him, for godsakes. Evan, will you promise me
Will you promise me — will you look me in the eye and know that I didn't have sex with him?"
Connor Schell (Who We Thought They Were): I've given up on this season. I expected so much more from Michael Lohan. Simmons has clearly run away with it and I'm not really even close anymore. Bill, congrats. You wanted it the most. Nice job.
So I thought I would use this space to mention that I saw that Boston Rob announce this week that he is now competing on a new reality-adventure show on the History Channel. This comes after four seasons of Survivor, two seasons of The Amazing Race, a marriage on network TV to another Survivor/Amazing Race contestant to whom he proposed on TV. (He also won a Canadian reality show and had a nice stint on the TV celebrity poker circuit). The guy has been on TV for a decade playing games and winning money. This has to now be the most significant post-reality-show run we've ever seen. There was a time when these shows were a potential launching pad to something, but Rob is proving it can be a lucrative career unto itself. Nice for him. It begs the question, is this a keeper league?
Joseph House (The Fantashiques): Another big week for Simmons, blah blah blah. My team headed in the wrong direction, blah blah blah. Sugar cries (twice), there's a brawl on Basketball Wives and C.T. kicks ass. Blah. Blah. Blah. Everything that happened this week was boring. With one exception. Did you see the kiss between Mandi and Laurel?!? No seriously — DID YOU SEE THE KISS BETWEEN MANDI & LAUREL?!????
Bill Simmons (The Right Reasons): Greetings from the top of the standings! I'd like to make fun of the following people this week...
1. Lane for overvaluing Bai Ling, holding onto her for too long, then panic-trading her. I'm just glad I live in a world where Lane Brown, the single whitest guy I know, can feel burned by Bai Ling, the single craziest woman I don't know.
2. Mandi for acting like a hooker in this week's Rivals and inspiring me to tell my wife, "I want to make sure that our daughter doesn't end up like Mandi. What needs to happen? Tell me what I need to do."
3. The Miz for submitting the ultimate "don't quit your day job" performance as this week's Rivals After Show host. Here's a good rule of thumb: if you have to identify yourself with quotation marks, you probably shouldn't host a TV show.
4. The producer on The Bachelorette who picked Ashley — he should resign in disgrace like Anthony Weiner did. She's so annoying that three contestants have been driven to say, "I can't even fake being interested in this girl for a few more free dinners and luxury hotel nights, I'd rather split now and take my chances on getting a Bachelor Pad invite." That reminds me...
5. Constantine turned down a night in Ashley's fantasy suite and he quit mid-date! Who does that? What would you say if your buddy told you, "I went on my sixth date tonight with a girl with low self-esteem who had a hotel suite in Fiji and invited me up there with her ... instead of going up there, getting bombed, and seeing what happened, I decided to run in the other direction and fly across the world so I could go back to my life as the head of a pizza parlor in Cummings, Georgia." Who does that? You couldn't have gone up for one rum and coke, Constantine?
6. Ben from The Bachelorette for popping a woody during a boat massage from Ashley. On the other hand, kudos to his penis for being the only thing that didn't quit on Ashley this season.
7. The Patriots for trading for Evelyn Lozada.
8. Connor for being Connor. You suck, Connor. Scoreboard.