This is probably going to be the last Grantland Reality TV Fantasy League scorecard I ever write. I cannot adequately express how much joy writing this column has brought me. There will forever be a little smush room in my heart for all the coitus denials, fellatio soliloquies, intoxicated spills, tweets from celebrity rehabbers, pregnancy scares, murder attempts, suicide attempts, and murder-suicide attempts. This may very well be the sudden end to our deep dive into the lowest form of human entertainment. What did you say? "Thank god?" Oh, “That’s odd.” Sorry, I misheard you. It is odd. I had no intention of ending it this way, and if it were up to me, I would write this column until I lay on my deathbed. The problem is that I know myself, and there is probably no way for me to write about what happened this week in reality TV and not get fired. How can I properly address all of the misguided piety, blatant homophobia, and over-the-top materialism without getting a phone call from someone in human resources? Matter of fact, I will be upset if I don’t get a call from human resources. If I don't hear from HR, that will validate my long-held suspicion that this column is not actually being published and the Grantland crew has somehow hacked my laptop so my GRTFL scorecards are only visible to me. Gotta be on your toes with this group; they're a crafty lot.
Okay, fine — getting fired isn’t the reason that this might be my last scorecard. The real reason is that I met “Crazy” Jackie from Basketball Wives this week, and now that she knows what I look like, it would be easier for her to hunt me down and make a handbag out of my appendix. Anyone have a good recommendation on where I can get cheap facial-constructive surgery?
You know I'm just kidding and will never stop writing this column, right? In 2026 I will still be making hacky jokes about the Real World when I am done watching it on hologram TV in my satellite/apartment. By that time they will have figured out how to clone Ted Williams, and me and one of the bazillion Teddy Ballgames will get together every Wednesday to watch hologram MTV and grill cheeseburgers. I can't wait.
Coach (Survivor, Jacoby): 25 points. Tim Tebow would be right at home in the Upolu tribe. When they want to find the immunity idol, they Tebow. Before the immunity challenge, they Tebow. During the immunity challenge, they Tebow. After winning the immunity challenge, Coach immediately yells, “Get on your knees, get on your knees, get on your knees!” so they can get in another Tebow. There is absolutely nothing wrong with Tebowing and paying respect to whatever higher power you believe in, but I feel like there is something wrong with how Coach Tebowed this week.
Coach and his cronies had already found the hidden immunity idol, but have kept this fact a secret from their Upolu brother Brandon because he is a total wild-card crazypants and might eat it or something before they have a chance to use it. The guilt of keeping this secret was wearing on Coach and he decided that fake-finding the idol was the way to let Brandon know they had it, because then Brandon wouldn't know he'd been out of the loop this whole time. Not a bad play from Coach. The problem, though: Before fake-searching for the idol, Coach led a prayer circle in which he asked for God’s help in finding the idol that he already had in his pocket. I am no priest, but I am pretty sure that lying and praying aren’t supposed to be done simultaneously. Coach’s lie/prayer worked like a charm, and scored him 25 points for violating pre-stated religious beliefs, and put me in a position where I have to write about God and stuff.
Draya (Basketball Wives, Jacoby): 5 points. On Wednesday, Bill forwarded me an invitation to the taping of the Basketball Wives LA reunion show, along with a brief note: "You are going to this." No mention of why I would go, or what I was expected to do there, but boy am I glad I got to witness the spectacle that is the taping of the Basketball Wives LA reunion show.
When you film a studio show for ESPN in Bristol, Connecticut, it's a very efficient, low-key experience that involves about 20 human beings. When you film a Basketball Wives LA reunion show, it's a theatrical extravaganza involving about 400 human beings. No joke: There were six people there just to prep Draya. Two for hair, one for makeup, one supervising, one chatting, and one young lady that spent a solid two minutes adjusting Draya's bracelets. She has a bracelet artist. I had never seen anything like it.
When I arrived at the lot, I was shocked by the scale of the whole thing. Two hundred people in the audience, and damn near twice that many “working” on the show. They had publicity people, manager people, network people, production-company people, makeup people, hair people, security people, craft-services people, camera people, tech people, people people, just tons and tons of people. It was like VH1 was trying to fix America’s unemployment crisis with a single show. They were able to distribute the various production responsibilities among so many people that I swear I didn’t see a single human actually do anything.
The publicity people could not have been more friendly and accommodating. Clearly they had not read what I have been writing about their show's cast. The publicist (‘sup, Chris?) offered me the opportunity to chat with my favorite Basketball Wives as they got their last looks (“last looks” is an industry term for … I’m not really sure. Looking in the mirror?) before taking the stage and professionally arguing with each other. Chatting with these Queen Bees while they were primped by an army of worker bees yielded several interesting takeaways that I would like to share in this week’s GRTFL Top 5 list. The following are the top five things I learned at the Basketball Wives LA reunion show, listed in order from “Cool, I didn’t know that” to “Who cares, dude?”
- 5. They are now filming Baseball Wives. I can’t imagine it will be as good as Basketball Wives, but I will do whatever it takes to draft Anna Benson.
4. People love Draya. She had the crowd in the palm of her hand. Somehow, the former exotic dancer who was arrested for (allegedly) neglecting her 7-year-old son was the fan favorite.
3. The Basketball Wives earn only $7,500 an episode. I think that works out to $2.57 an hour or something.
2. Matt Barnes is a lucky fella. In the brief time I spent with his wife, Gloria, she was a total sweetheart, looked nothing short of stunning, and was totally laid-back even though she was seconds away from professionally arguing. She even invited me to come back and talk to her after the show, which was amazing. But I declined because I had no idea what I would talk to her about that wouldn’t seem creepy. I see you, Matt Barnes.
1. Champagne at work is totally acceptable. Makeup artists, hair artists, and bracelet artists all had champagne in their hands at one in the afternoon, before, during, and after the taping. I was inspired and am now a bottle and a half in myself. The wheels should come off this column right around when I get to Whitney from Survivor.
Oh, yeah — Draya scored five points for saying “classy” this week. But who cares? She has a bracelet artist!
Sam (Real World, Lane), 5 points. This entire episode of Real World explored football-guy-with-a-facial-regimen Zach’s homophobia and its effects on his lesbian roommate Sam and bisexual roommate Frank. I have said before that when I am president of Bunim/Murray Productions (the company behind theReal World. It's only a matter of time before they reach out), I am going to put a sign in every editing bay that says, “No episode goes to tape unless the cast gets drunk at least twice.” This episode would not have passed that test. However, it did feature one of the most shocking displays of insensitivity, idiocy, and lack of self-awareness in the history of Real World. Anyone vaguely familiar with the show will tell you that's really saying something. Sam wanted to leave with her roommates, so she threatened to end Nate and Zach’s Ping-Pong game by throwing the paddles over the balcony. Zach responded by saying, “If you throw these paddles off the porch, I will beat the gay out of you.” Read that quote again. Now read it again. It was wrong on so many levels that I had to do a second GRTFL Top 5 list. Below, the reasons why Zach's threat was wrong, listed from "Oh my god, I can't believe a human being actually said that" to "Okay, Jacoby, now you're reaching because you needed a fifth reason."
- 5. The man threatened to beat a woman. This needs no explanation.
4. The man suggested that gayness was something that could be beaten out of someone. This also needs no explanation.
3. Sam had just learned that her friend was in a car accident. To be fair, Zach didn’t know this at the time. But he would have threatened her anyway. That's just the type of fella football-guy-with-a-facial-regimen Zach is.
2. It was about a Ping-Pong paddle. A Ping-Pong paddle, dude. He pushed the verbal nuclear button over a Ping-Pong paddle.
1. It wasn’t a porch, it was a balcony. I know, I know. You’re right. I totally just added this one because I needed a fifth.
Football-guy-with-a-facial-regimen Zach contends that it was a joke, but I can’t imagine anyone finding it funny. Sam certainly didn’t. She cried (5 points) when she should have just shanked him and made him pee sitting down, Tyree from The Mad Real World-style.
“Crazy” Jackie Christie (Basketball Wives, Connor): 5 points. “Crazy” Jackie cried this week on Basketball Wives (5 points). That is all. I refuse to elaborate because I have met her and she scares the piss out of me. Now I understand you, Doug Christie.
Whitney and Keith (Survivor, Connor): -10 points each. Rumor has it there are two people on Survivor named Whitney and Keith that put frowny faces on their vote cards this week (-10 points). I have no idea who the hell these people are. When I looked them up, I realized Whitney is “that cute chick who never says anything” and Keith is “that tall guy who never says anything.” Realizing I knew nothing about these people, I asked GRTFL super-scorer Caitlin Mangum to Google them so we could learn more about these attractive mutes. Here are the two most interesting nuggets on Whitney and Keith, who may or may not be dating depending on what weird websites you are spending your time on:
- She placed fifth place on the fifth season of Nashville Star and has a song called “Skinny Dippin’” whose video has over a million views on YouTube.
- She apparently saved some dude named Blake Shelton from the Playboy Channel. I have no idea what that means either.
- The man works in crap. Like, for real — he spends half his time waist-deep in feces.
- He has a pacemaker. These really should have been “the one most interesting thing,” huh? My bad.
Bill Simmons (The Right Reasons): I had a big fantasy week. My Real World pick had a riveting lunch with her mom, drove the gang to a bar, and stood by watching as other roommates fought. I'd joke that I want to beat the boring out of her, but we all saw what happened to Zach. In other news, is it too early to start the "Worst Real World cast ever?" thread? Two meathead homophobes, one blonde who isn't as cute as she thinks she is, a sober 19-year-old designated driver, somebody I'm forgetting, and then Frank the Homicidal Bisexual and Eminem With Tiny Breasts. I might be out for the season. Jacoby, can you just e-mail me the YouTube clips of Frank's meltdowns as they happen so I don't have to watch this show? Actually, include the "Best of the 19-year-old's group drop-offs outside San Diego bars" highlight clips as well. I like when she takes a chance and double-parks.
Jay Caspian Kang (Fraudulent Coitus): I think we should start a food-based version of the GRTFL and have Chopped, Top Chef, Iron Chef America, the Barefoot Contessa, and Giada. Same rules, but you get points for things like "Leaving the rice on the burner too long," or "over-glazing your demi-glaze," or "being too reliant on foie gras," or "making a terrible pun about sausages," or "stuttering because Padma's beauty has left you speechless." Just throwing it out there.
Also, do we get points for our reality TV stars if they show up on Beavis and Butt-Head?
David Jacoby (Blanket Coverage): There is a Twitter feed that everyone needs to follow called @FakeGrantland. It is hilarious. Essentially, @FakeGrantland tweets story ideas that he/she (who am I kidding? It’s a dude) thinks would be in our wheelhouse. My favorites include “Malcolm Gladwell has a solution to the NBA lockout, but you'll first need to understand how ketchup is made ...” and “Schott Caller: Connecting the dots between the 1990 Reds playoff run and the birth of Midwestern hip hop." I swear this chick/dude (he’s a bro) has mics in our Monday editorial meetings. Anyway, the proudest moment of my pretty unremarkable career came when he tweeted, “Reality TV Czar Dave Jacoby is finally ready to reveal his Real World Shower Rankings." How did he know? This guy is good. So, without further ado, my Real World Shower Rankings.
- 3. Real World/Road Rules Challenge: The Gauntlet III: Casey and friend of Grantland Johnny Bananas are caught in the shower together and Casey runs around all naked.
2. Real World Miami: The shower threesome, featuring Michelle, Mike, and a waitress.
1. Real World/Road Rules Challenge: The Gauntlet: Another shower threesome, this one featuring Abram, Veronica, and Rachel. Rachel and Veronica felt bad that Abram was going home, so they sent him off with a threesome in the shower.
There you go, @FakeGrantland. If you have any other ideas, get at me.
Previously: Reality Scorecard: Not With a Bang But With a Smush
Six Ways to Fix Jersey Shore
Reality Scorecard: Snooki's Crying Game
Reality Scorecard: Snooki's Wilt Chamberlain Night
Reality Scorecard: Meatball Sandwich