This week we said goodbye to The Challenge and Celebrity Rehab and selected the new shows we'll be adding to the Grantland Reality Television Fantasy League this fall. There was a lot of talk around the office about adding ones that were “smarter” and “less trashy,” but after extensive research we concluded that those shows don’t exist. So we will soon be drafting cast members from Basketball Wives LA, The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, Survivor: South Pacific, and Real World: San Diego. At least that's what we’re going with until Bravo announces a new series about astrophysicists tracking distant galaxy clusters.
Let’s have a look at who scored points while we lost brain cells.
Johnny, Tyler, Paula, and Evelyn (The Challenge, Lane, Connor, Jacoby, House): 50 points each. A victory in the final challenge (50 points apiece) on The Challenge means winning the most intense sport in which our species has ever participated. If you're reading this and think you could have done it, just stop. You couldn't have. No, not even you. Here's what you would have had to do: Get pulled under water by a boat, kayak for miles, jog for miles while holding a ball and chain, stop and memorize every detail of a campsite, shovel a huge pile of manure, slosh across a swamp, build a perfect replica of the aforementioned campsite, jog uphill (still carrying the ball and chain), eat a large meal, puke a lot, jog uphill again, and then rest — for the day. Then, sleep in 10-minute shifts through the entire night, jog to the top of a real mountain, find a homing device, find a key, then sprint all the way back up the mountain to a trophy. The Challenge is a lockout and logo away from truly being our fifth professional sport.
Melissa (Bachelor Pad, Lane): 25 points. Melissa and her overtweezed eyebrows continued to behave irrationally this week. When Blake — a man she's spent only a few days with on a reality show — told her he wanted to be “plutonic partners,” she had a complete breakdown (5 crying points). And when Erica called her a lunatic, she did an encore (5 more crying points), and even threatened to leave the show (15 points). It's time for some serious self-evaluation when you get called crazy by a woman who wears a tiara and refers to herself as “princess."
Sugar (Celebrity Rehab, Connor): 20 points. Sugar cried four times this week (20 points). Four times! What happens when Sugar chops onions? What happens if Sugar watches Blue Valentine? The reason scientists are worried about California flooding has nothing to do with climate change. They’re simply preparing us for Sugar’s next breakup.
(Doc Gooden (Celebrity Rehab, Lane): 20 points. Doc cried (20 points) when he read his goodbye letter to drugs and alcohol. It's surprising how, over the course of a Rehab season, you become emotionally invested in these people’s sobriety — you really root for them to stay clean and healthy. Which is one reason I will be heartbroken if I see a headline that reads, “Dwight Gooden Arrested for Cocaine Possession” next week. The other reason is because it will be worth 100 points for Lane’s team in the tight race for third place in the GRTFL.
The Situation (Jersey Shore, Kang): 17.5 points. If you live in a house with a person who is extremely volatile, may or may not use steroids, and has a history of ending fights with a single punch, you need to tread carefully. If I lived with Ronnie, the only time his name would come out of my mouth was when I asked him how he wanted me to cook his eggs and if I he wanted his T-shirts hung or folded. Not only does the Situation not respect the physical power and violent potential of Ron Ron — he flouts it.
This week, it was business as usual for Situation: He wore sunglasses after dark (2.5 points), made out with a stranger’s neck (5 points), and got rejected by a girl he brought home from a club (-10 points). While he was unsuccessfully attempting to coerce his I’m-only-doing-this-because-you-are-on-Jersey-Shore female companion du jour into sex, Sammi told Ronnie what Sitch told her about Ronnie’s club conquests (5 gossip points). When Ronnie confronted Mike, instead of calmly explaining himself to avoid provoking the wrath of the (allegedly) chemically enhanced monster before him, the Situation went with Plan B. He started screaming, “You wanna hit me? You wanna hit me? You wanna hit me, tough guy?” (10 requesting-to-be-assaulted points plus 5 verbal-fighting points) while spitting and throwing his hands up and down like Donkey Kong on crystal meth. Ronnie interpreted this as a threat to his position as the silverback gorilla in the house. He had no choice but to defend it the only way he knows how, by pulverizing the Situation’s face like a veal cutlet. We decided against awarding the Situation physical-violence points this week because we want to see how the altercation plays out. Also, there's a good chance Ronnie will beat the Situation into a coma, and he deserves to be included in at least one more GRTFL scorecard.
Ronnie (Jersey Shore, House): 15 points. Hey Ronnie, how would you like your eggs this morning? Would you like your T-shirts hung or folded? (5 gossip points and 10 verbal-fighting points)
Michelle Money (Bachelor Pad, Kang): 15 points. Michelle Money is Muhammad Ali in Zaire. She is Rope-a-doping the rest of the women on Bachelor Pad. Scoring only with a kiss (5 points) and challenge victory (10 points) this week, she's sitting back and watching the rest of cast cry, be promiscuous, and argue until they get tired. That's when she'll make her move. Let’s not forget this is the woman who asked ninjas to kidnap her competitors on The Bachelor and ended Carlos Boozer’s marriage.
Kasey and Vienna (Bachelor Pad, Connor and Kang): 15 and 10 points. Kasey and Vienna are reality-show veterans who know exactly what it takes to get camera time. It’s almost as if, every night, while the cameras are off, they conference call with Aaron Sorkin and he writes them storylines to maximize their exposure. This week, Sorkin wrote them an argument (5 points each) that left Vienna in tears (5 points), and a dramatic courtyard scene during which Kasey pulled out a jewelry box, causing Vienna to blurt, “I don’t want that to be an engagement ring!” right in his face. Instead, Kasey gave her a promise ring and explained what it meant in a song (10 points for plugging a singing career). Seriously. Kasey sang his promises to Vienna in a Nick Lachey-esque a capella number and did that spastic head-shake thing people do when they sing. It was glorious. Nice touch by Sorkin closing with a musical number.
Snooki and Deena (Jersey Shore, Lane and Jacoby): 10 points. Snooki and Deena need wine. After a couple hours at work without it, they started to break down physically, wilting like flowers deprived of sunshine. You know when that survival-instinct adrenaline kicks in, and mothers can lift one-ton cars off the ground to save their children? That's what happened to Snooki and Deena when they realized it was nearly sundown and they'd not yet had wine. So they smuggled bottles into the bathroom and chugged what they could before their pizza overlord confiscated their lifeblood. While not rewarding them the full 10 points for being intoxicated at work, we decided to give them partial credit for the attempt (5 points) and for surviving that long without it. Snooki notched another 5 points for complaining about not speaking Italian, and Deena scored 5 points for verbal fighting, but neither should be held accountable since both things occurred during the brief period between when the girls got out of bed and had their first glasses of wine.
Michael (Bachelor Pad, House): 10 points. Michael won the challenge (10 points) and took his ex-fiancÚ Holly on a reward date to further confirm that he's the only party interested in rekindling their romance. A sample:
- Michael on Holly: "I want more time to
to just be around her and talk to her and just work on us. And since we have gotten here, there is a level of comfortability and we are both very much on the same page.”
Holly on Michael: "It is really hard to be around Michael, I'll be completely honest."
(Sammi (Jersey Shore, House): 10 points. The woman who savagely murdered our good friend single Ronnie and may soon be the catalyst for the Situation’s death. Sammi initiated a fight with Ronnie (5 points) because another woman made the mistake of dancing within seven feet of her silverback. She then tearfully (5 points) attempted to make amends by deftly deflecting Ronnie’s rage toward a chaise-lounging Situation. Can someone explain to me what Sammi is doing on this show? During the meeting when someone suggested replacing her this season, what was the counterargument? The only thing I can think of is that they were afraid that she'd take it too hard and they didn’t want to feel responsible if she hung herself by her hair extensions.
Jenn (The Challenge, Kang): 10 points. Jenn, whatever you do, don’t retire. The Challenge needs you, the GRTFL needs you, and Adam King needs you because no other woman will talk to him. You can’t leave after crying twice (10 points) and getting DQ'd from a challenge. You need a proper send-off. You need a retirement ceremony filled with speeches, tears, and Rolls-Royces, a la Kareem Abdul Jabbar's. In 20 years, Jenn will be complaining that there's no statue of her outside MTV’s Times Square headquarters.
Mandi (The Challenge, Lane): 5 points. Mandi choked in the challenge. But it’s cool — she likes choking.
Jake and Erica (Bachelor Pad, Connor and Jacoby): 5 points. Jake kissed Erica (5 points each) this week, which couldn’t have felt good, because Erica is so full of collagen it looks like she has a frozen Han Solo trapped in her upper lip.
Graham (Bachelor Pad, Connor): 5 points. Graham kissed Michelle this week (5 points) after this exchange:
- Michelle Money: "I think you're great."
Graham: "You barely know me."
Michelle Money: "I know."
Michelle Money is ready to stop playing Rope-a-dope and unleash her true self: a drink-throwing, coitus-denying, STD-scare-having GRTFL all-star.
Bai Ling (Celebrity Rehab, Kang): 5 points. Bai Ling, the nonexistent human controlled by “sad, handsome, wise, and crazy spirits” cried (5 points) while talking through some of the horrible events from her past that led to her alcoholism. At least now she'll be known as “that crazy drunken Chinese chick from Celebrity Rehab” instead of just “that crazy drunken Chinese chick.”
Pauly (Jersey Shore, Jacoby): 0 points. You know when a safety makes an interception and jukes a running back and two offensive linemen on his way to the end zone, only to be caught from behind and fumble on his opponent's five-yard line? That was Pauly D this week. Pauly put up 10 points for setting up a "prank" that wasn't really a prank, then gave it all back when he brought a girl home from the club and failed to hook up with her (-10 points). You’re on the trading block, buddy. I should have known not to trust the decision-making of someone with a pierced penis.
Bill Simmons (The Right Reasons): Leftover Mailbag question from Brittney in Portland:
Monday night is "girls' night" at my apartment. It's a very serious ritual involving many bottles of wine, trashy magazines, and, of course, our favorite desperate contestants on Bachelor Pad (or The Bachelor/ette, depending on the time of year). My problem: Whenever I mention the show the following day to my fiancÚ, he immediately cuts me off and says, "I'm a guy, I don't to watch that crap." But
every contestant in your reality league (which I love) is a guy. So who's right? Should my fiancÚ give The Bachelor Pad a chance? Or are the columnists at ESPN the only dudes who watch that show?
— Brittney, Portland, OR
Brittney, your fiancÚ should give Bachelor Pad a chance because we’re going to need as many witnesses as possible for Kasey’s murder trial if/when Vienna's body is found in the trunk of an abandoned car with particles from a green "JENIUS" T-shirt found at the scene.
David Jacoby (Blanket Coverage): Since I was a guest on the episode of the B.S. Report that spawned the idea for Rivals, I figured I would give the producers three more ideas for upcoming seasons:
1. The Challenge: Scavenge: Instead of sending these bipolar attention seekers to some lodge in a foreign country, let’s have them shack up right here in an urban American city and have them compete in a scavenger hunt that would test their street smarts, ability to work in a corporate office, and ability to wake up early after staying up until 4 a.m. hosting a “Real World Night” at a cheesy club for a bottle of vodka, $500, and a hand job.
2. The Challenge: College Daze: A season-long cross-country road trip, with stops at every college along the way, playing beer pong, tailgating, and competing in academic challenges. How could this not work? There'd be huge crowds at every challenge, Jenn could sleep with entire fraternities and sororities, Kenny could study for economics finals, and C.T. could start as middle linebacker for Alabama. You wouldn’t watch this?
3. The Challenge: Live: In addition to televising weekly episodes, MTV could also webcast an uncensored feed from the Challenge house. Full disclosure: I know this isn’t a good idea. I just want to see Laurel shower.
Lane Brown (The Blurcle Jerks): This week we said goodbye to two of the GRTFL's highest-scoring shows, Celebrity Rehab and The Challenge: Rivals. I miss them already, so I propose the following: Celebrity Rehab With T.J. Lavin: Rivals, a new show on which recovering addicts pair with their arch-nemeses and compete for cash in a series of grueling physical challenges. The teams: Steven Adler and Amy Fisher; Hobie Canseco and Amy Fisher's husband; Michael Lohan and Kate Major; Bai Ling and a crazy spirit; and Sugar and Jacoby. Nobody would have time to relapse while they were blasting each other with fire hoses, leaping off of cliffs, and carrying boulders up mountains. Vomiting points would have to be scored at 10 percent value.
Jay Kang (Fraudulent Coitus): Why not Project Runway? Here's how we could score it:
Doing a bad Tim Gunn impersonation a.k.a. defiling the corpse of Santino: -15 points
Bombing a bitchy insult a.k.a. defiling the corpse of Christian Siriano: -5 points
Landing a bitchy insult: 5 points
Reminding America that you're straight: -10 points
Reminding America that it's sometimes hard to be the straight guy on Project Runway: -20 points
Creating a garment that requires a runway blurcle: 25 points
Sabotaging another designer's sewing machine: 25 points
Plugging Mood, e.g. "I can't wait to go to Mooooooood: 10 points
Pointing out your "sophisticated design palate": 10 points
Talking about yourself in the third person: 10 points
Talking about yourself in the third person with a name that is clearly fabricated: 20 points
Laughing on the runway at another designer's misfortune a.k.a. "The Bert": 30 points
Sleeping with Heidi: 200 points
Sleeping with Nina Garcia: 300 points
Sleeping with Michael Kors: -400 points
Rolling your eyes at Tim Gunn: -40 points
Being the subject of a thinly veiled racist comment from the judging panel about your "taste" when what they really mean is, "I think he/she is too ______." a.k.a. "The Michael Knight": 200 points
Discussing your "dreams" while crying: 3 points
Tripping while running to grab fabrics: 10 points
This season would have been particularly good. Bertzilla, a dumpy, 60ish-year-old contestant with dead eyes is making a push to become the "Worst Human Being to Ever Appear on a Bravo/Lifetime/Food Network reality TV show." The Queen of this category, as I've mentioned before, is Lisa Fernandes from Top Chef: Chicago. Lisa, like Bert, cracked a smile only when her fellow contestants got upbraided by the judging panel. She schemed, but not in any gleeful way in which you could abstract her awfulness from reality by saying, "She's playing the game." Instead, you always got the sense with Lisa that she would scheme a way to win the Special Olympics. And not because she even cared about winning, but rather because she liked to see children cry. This sort of behavior is acceptable on reality TV if you have a great sense of humor, or if you are actually talented. Bert, like Lisa before him, is completely humorless. Last night, he actually smiled, but it was only because the judges hated his teammates' outfits. Not his competitor's outfits. His teammates' outfits. This is a 57-year-old man. The rest of the time, Bert frowns, pouts, discusses his sophisticated design palate, insults fellow contestants, and sabotages sewing machines. The other contestants, thankfully, have started to fight back. Last night, Bert told the guy with the pink vest, overtweezed eyebrows, and shiny forehead to "drop dead" (WTF!?!? How old is Bert? He's 57, that means he grew up in the '60s. "Drop dead" went out of fashion in the '30s [FACTCHECKER!!!]) to which Overtweezed-Eyebrows-Shiny-Forehead responded, "You'll be dead a long time before I am, Bert." ZING! Not bad. 5 points.
How boring is Jersey Shore? Why? And why do I find myself hating Vinny, of all people?
Connor Schell (Who We Thought They Were): Just to be clear, I have been accused of not caring about a league that Bill admitted to cheating in on his own podcast. Bill then "coincidentally" drafted the two winners of Love In The Wild and has a 200-point lead. This is Spygate (Googling instead of cameras) and PEDs (he claimed he did it because he knew I would) all rolled into one scandal. Where is the public outrage? Where are the congressional hearings? Until then, my only protest is apathy.
Joe House (The Fantashiques): God willing, by Monday morning I will have survived three major natural disasters in a week's time: an earthquake, a hurricane, and Ronnie's simian-inspired haircut. Honestly — not counting the Kardashians — is there a better example of an individual "dressing the part" than Ronnie and his overly aggressive low/straight hairline? OF COURSE he picked a fight with Mike — his haircut made him do it!!! Well, that and Sammi. (By my count, this is at least the third or fourth criminal act committed by Ronnie that Sammi has directly or near-directly walked him into; she's as good for him as arsenic). Anyhow, MTV predictably and somewhat brilliantly delayed the outcome of the "fight" to a special Sunday Shore which, assuming the East Coast still has power, will probably be viewed by 20 million people (hurricane shut-ins). And I'm certain of only one thing — I am willing to pay ANY PRICE (including Ron Ron's getting sent home) to be spared another second of Sammi and Ronnie as a couple.
Previously: Reality League Scorecard: The Situation Goes Twinning
Grantland's Reality TV Fantasy League: The Complete Rules and Draft Results
Reality Fantasy League Jersey Shore Supplemental Draft: Rules and Results
Reality League Scorecard: J.P. Wins The Bachelorette, But Scores 70 Points, At Least