Dear MTV Suits,
Jersey Shore is not your highest-rated show, starring a cast with incomes larger than most countries' GDPs, because everyone gets along. You haven't yet figured out how to properly conclude a reality season. Instead of finishing with a bang, seasons lose momentum and end with a whimper. Your current default setting is to have the cast make up, reminisce about the lessons they learned and mistakes they made, and have one more big night out on the townnnnnnnnnnnnnn … Sorry. That last sentence was so boring I fell asleep while I was typing it. Listen, MTV Suits. The least you could do is end a season with a blowout fight, drunken orgy, or an announcement to the cast that when they return home to America they'll find a new team of guidos filming Jersey Shore: Freshman Class.
What Jersey Shore’s finale lacked in excitement and point-scoring, Basketball Wives LA’s Draya made up for by plugging more projects than Jermaine Dupri accepting a Video Music Award.
Draya (Basketball Wives, Jacoby): 50 points. The only people that are a worse hang than spoken-word poets are improv actors. All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women around them are merely an audience for their shitty plays. They can’t order a cheeseburger without breaking into song or pump gas without it turning into a dance routine. This week on Basketball Wives, when Draya went to an improv class at Second City (10 points for plugging her acting career), we were briefly subjected to the torturous over-exaggeration of every phrase and hand gesture that this deplorable subculture encourages, and worse, teaches. When Draya arrived, she was serenaded with impromptu greeting songs and welcomed into a freestyle cypher so bad it might have killed hip-hop. You could find better rap in the locker room of the Slovenian national hockey team. Before her performance, Draya explained, “I am so nervous. I have never really had stage fright before.” Draya, that’s because your previous stage experience was limited to writhing around topless in front of apathetic bankers. When she was rapping (20 points for singing in public), she couldn’t find a rhyme for the word "beach." How about leech? As in, “I’m gonna get a rich man and be a leech.”
Draya also went shopping for fabric for her bikini line (20 points for plugging a side career). Bikinis are Draya's specialty. Understanding the meaning of "one size fits all" is not: "I am doing, like, Brazilian bottoms. Everything is going to be, like, a one-size-fits-all, everything is going to be tiny-tiny. You are going to need to have no hair." Um, okay, Draya.
Nate (Real World, Jay): 40 points. Nate had a huge week. It was like he saw Frank get too much attention for being the drunken problem child of the house and said to himself, “Wait, I'm supposed to be the drunken problem child of the house.” So he stepped up his game. He engaged in senseless behavior that can only be summed up in this week’s Top Five list. Herewith, the top five things Nate did this week, listed from “That wasn’t a good idea” to “Is this guy from, like, the 18th century?”
1. Didn’t wear sunblock. It may seem like a small thing, but it was so distracting that I had to watch this episode twice to make this list because every time he was onscreen all I could think was, “Why is his face so red?”
2. Ate a fish egg sack. Yep. On a fishing trip, they gutted a fish, took the egg sack out, and he bit into it like it was a bratwurst. Then he puked (10 points). Shocking, I know.
3. Got so drunk that the two girls he brought home from the club ended up Sharpie-ing him like he was a pledge at a fraternity (10 intoxication points).
4. Cried during a fireworks show. The fireworks made Nate turn from drunk to dark-drunk. Mind you, he had plenty of reasons to go dark-drunk, but why the fireworks were the catalyst for this was never properly explained.
5. Had the following conversations with strangers in a gay bar:
Stranger 1: “Hey.”
Nate: “I'm not gay. I'm not gay.”
Stranger 1: “Sorry?”
Nate: “I’m not gay.”
Stranger 1: “I didn’t say you were.”
Stranger 2: “Can I buy you a shot?”
Nate: “I’m not gay.”
Nate = not gay.
Sammi and Ronnie (Jersey Shore, House): 25 points. Sammi has slayed Single Ronnie.
Single Ronnie has been reduced to a bench player who only gets camera time when he drags Sammi into the smush room (25 points) in an episode that was summed thusly by Pauly: “The whole house knows it took them five minutes to get their smush on. No wonder Sam never smiles.” Pauly has a point — Sammi never smiles. She also never laughs, cries, yells, dances, drinks, sleeps, cooks, or talks. At this point, I’m convinced Sammi is some kind of fun-killing robot assembled by aliens and sent here to rid our planet of love. Well done, aliens. You may have ruined our fun, but you'll never stop Bruce Willis from destroying you when you invade Earth. Back on you, aliens.
Malaysia (Basketball Wives, Simmons): 20 points. Malaysia has a jewelry line for children (20 points for plugging a side career). Every piece has dozens of diamonds and is about as subtle as a bazooka blast. I would love to see how she describes her target market in her business plan. Probably something like: "This jewelry line is for extremely wealthy women who feel like private school, a service staff, and overbearing parents aren't enough to completely alienate children from their peers.”
“Crazy” Jackie (Basketball Wives, Connor): 20 points. “Crazy” Jackie is slowly beginning to show us how she earned her nickname. After she declares, “I am tired of all the backstabbing,” she pulls the other cast members aside one by one and does some vicious backstabbing. By the end of the episode she was starting to unravel and had this to say to Draya: “It's really not that serious. You respect me or you are not going to say shit to me. I mean, look at you. Everybody knows, okay, Draya does this or Draya does that. They are looking at you. You’re pretty. You’re typical. You know, we are in L.A. You all gotta remember we are starting to mesh now. You are seeing people’s true colors, so now this drama is about to unfold.” This speech reminded me of those teasey monologues that Shakespeare always put at the beginning of his plays, except instead of the local bard or whoever, it was delivered by Doug Christie’s wife in the midst of a mental breakdown/champagne-induced delusion. That’s two Shakespeare references in one GRTFL. ‘Sup, college English professors?
Alex (Real World, Lane): 15 points. Okay, on the first couple of episodes of the season, Alex came off as a smart, normal girl who was sane aside from thinking she has musical talent. As far as reality-TV stars go, that's pretty darn normal. I thought perhaps the producers put her on the show as a sanity sugar pill, like they wanted a control element in the scientific experiment that is Real World. This week, that theory went out the window.
Alex got mad at her visiting boyfriend over two things, both of which led to verbal fighting (5 + 5 = 10 points) and one of which made her cry (5 points). What things? First, he wouldn’t hold her hand. Then he started drinking from a bottle of wine before she was with him. There is no punchline. She was infuriated with him for not holding her hand. And she cried when he started drinking wine alone just before she arrived. Facts.
Situation (Jersey Shore, Kang): 10 points. The Situation had a rough end to the season. He morphed into a miserable blob and lost all the delusional self-confidence that made us like him in the first place. The rest of the house turned on him, he started talking to himself, and in the nightclub with his sunglasses on he started a fight with a child (2.5 + 2.5 + 5 = 10 points). None of it made any sense until the episode's last scene, when the girls asked him to show his abs. When he lifted his shirt, something amazing happened — his stomach was … not that impressive. Without his abdominal muscles, he is Mike Sorrentino, some dude from Staten Island with a bad haircut. But with them, he is the Situation, celebrity mogul with all the right moves. It was painful to watch. He's lost the very thing that defined him. Imagine Gorbachev without the weird spot on his head, Lady Gaga without the stupid clothes, or Plaxico Burress without the bullet wound. I hope Mike starts next season with a huge gut and announces, “The Situation is dead. My new nickname is Peter Pregnant, and Peter Pregnant wants some carbs!”
Deena and Snooki (Jersey Shore, Jacoby and Lane): 10 points. There have been a shocking number of “pulling a prank that wasn't a prank” points awarded this season. Deena and Snooki ended the season with a prank so bad that it was nearly a “prank that isn’t a prank that isn’t even a prank.” But we gave them credit anyway because our original rules didn't let us award any points for the following statements:
- Deena: “I'm having sex with the couch right now.”
Snooki: “I'm going to put this sausage on my cuca I am so horny.”
Deena and Snooki, spreading STDs to both food and furniture.
Frank (Real World, Connor): 10 points. Frank is in therapy for obvious reasons. Anytime someone breaks triple digits in the GRTFL, they should see a professional. His therapist, whom he visited twice this episode, was less a “therapist” than a “professional complimenter.” All he did was tell Frank how smart he is and how he's going to “change the world.” He may one day change the world, but he hasn’t yet changed into anything that would pass as a rational human being. He made out with a stranger at a gay club (5 points) and yelled at Priscilla (5 points) when she gave him a bad haircut. To be clear, he demanded that Priscilla, who has never cut hair, cut his hair, then spazzed out when he wasn’t happy with the results. Call me crazy, but when it comes to Frank’s therapist’s claim that Frank from the Real World is going to change the world, like some modern-day Mohandas Gandhi, I’m taking the under.
Priscilla (Real World, Simmons): 10 points. This week we visited Priscilla’s house to meet her family. We learned that she's close with her mother, both emotionally and in age. At one point, the two of them broke down in tears (5 points) because her mother was so proud of her … for being on Real World. Later in the episode she got in the fight with Frank (5 points) over the haircut. We are three episodes away from a Frank murder-suicide. Maybe that's what his therapist meant by “change the world.”
Laura (Basketball Wives, House): 5 points. Laura scored 5 points for saying “classy” and inspired my wife to blurt, “Why is that one sister so much uglier than the other one?” Laura, please do not eat my wife. She means well.
Christine (Survivor, House): 5 points. This week, Christine cried (5 points) at the Redemption Island challenge, a glorified game of shuffleboard. Which made me wonder: Why aren’t there more shuffleboard tables in bars? Shuffleboard is more exciting, more interactive, more controversial, more spectator-friendly, more likely to lead to celebration dances, and for sure more likely to lead to sexual encounters than pool or darts. If you went to every bar in this great country and replaced the pool tables with shuffleboard tables, people would reject them at first but soon form leagues, make T-shirts, and start importing the finest sands from remote countries to get the speed just right. Shuffleboard is the second-greatest bar activity man has created. What's no. 1? That's getting drunk.
Bill Simmons (The Right Reasons): My Real World thoughts ...
- With the second pick in our Real World draft, I inadvertently took the house's designated driver. Can we put in designated-driving points? What if she drives with seven or more people in the car?
- Frank ruined our league competitively and it's not fair. It's like being in a fantasy basketball league in 1962 trying to beat the guy who had Wilt.
- It's much more fun to watch scenes with Sam if you're pretending she's Eminem.
- If I see Byron the boyfriend crossing the street, I'm running him over. It's for the best.
- Nate's over-the-top homophobia can't hold a candle to the way fireworks make him cry when he's drunk. I'd like to see drunk Nate watch fireworks exploding in the shape of Brokeback Mountain.
- I'm so excited for the return of Beavis and Butt-Head that I can barely speak. A homophobe on Real World and Beavis and Butt-Head ... what year is this?
David Jacoby (Blanket Coverage): How have they not remade Battle of the Network Stars with reality-TV stars? How has this not happened? I can see it now: Draya and Kim from Real Housewives of Beverly Hills in skimpy track-and-field outfits arguing over who messed up the baton exchange. Ronnie from Jersey Shore and CT from The Challenge Greco-Roman wrestling until CT swallows Ronnie’s ring finger. How is this not happening? As a TV producer I should be keeping show ideas to myself, but I couldn't care less. I just want someone to do this. Please, steal this idea and produce this television show. Does anyone have Mark Burnett’s phone number?
Lane Brown (The Blurcle Jerks): With Jersey Shore over and Snooki out of the game, my GRTFL season is pretty much over. I've had a good run. But Connor has Frank from Real World and there's just no beating him with the coitus-fearing bores on my team. Unless one of the following five things happens:
- Frank from Real World makes good on his therapist's prediction that he'll change the world and costs Connor a thousand points with church attendance and charity work.
- We count last night's Jersey Shore reunion show, on which, by my count, Snooki scored 40,000 verbal-fighting and coitus-denial points.
- The GRTFL reverses its unfair ban on scripted animation, we hold a supplemental Beavis and Butt-Head draft, and I get Beavis.
- Brandon from Survivor cries 50 more times (this could totally happen).
- Kimsha Artest and Gloria Govan murder their Basketball Wives co-stars, or each other, to promote their side careers as murderers (I'm not ruling this one out either).
Jay Caspian Kang (Fraudulent Coitus): This Project Runway finale is going to be pretty lame. Anya continues to be the worst. I even went ahead and Googled the sex tape she recorded when she was the Miss Universe contestant for Trinidad and Tobago (really, really NSFW. Actually, it might be NSFLife, in general), but even that couldn't get me interested in shoddily made print dresses. The boys are mostly boring — Josh will come in second because he over-edited his collection. Viktor will win because he's the only one who is competent. The format of the show continues to frustrate me — why not give them more time for each challenge? How does the "Oh no, I'm not going to finish in time!" storyline help the show? They always finish. And the ones who don't are usually terrible, anyway. And even if a good person doesn't finish, they're always saved by the judges.
I'm talking about PR because I want to purge Jersey Shore from my life. Last night, as I watched Deena adjust her top and sniff her armpits for the fourth time in twenty minutes, I really began to ask myself some tough questions. Do I want to watch the crew go back to Jersey? Can I take this anymore?