Look, I am not going to lie to you, this week in reality TV was a net loss. This form of entertainment is a value proposition: You sacrifice your time, your pride, and your perception of yourself as a mature, educated human being. In return, you receive the value of watching mouth-breathing, fame-seeking, cocktail-tossing caricatures maniac their way from one contrived scene to the next. In most cases it is a net positive; this week it was not. The three current shows in the GRTFL, Real World, Survivor, and Baseball Wives, are all the current underwhelming iteration of a previously successful franchise. They are the Lakers of reality TV shows.
You are reading this right now and saying to yourself, “Why would I read this fool’s column about reality TV when this week in reality TV wasn’t interesting?” A very fair question with a simple answer: You should read this column because dumping hate juice all over something you didn’t enjoy is just as much fun as celebrating something you loved. You don’t want to agree with that statement, I understand. It feels wrong to admit that to yourself. Ask yourself, doesn’t the most passionate and hilarious dialogue about a movie come when you have just walked out of it? Isn’t it nearly as satisfying to watch your rival team Dallas Cowboy away wins as it is to watch your own team Tim Tebow them? It's not nice to drown everything in hate juice, it’s not cool, and it’s not how your mama raised you ... but it is fun. So grab your umbrella and strap on your goulashes: Forecast calls for a hate storm.
Nate (Real World, Kang), 30 points: Nate lets anyone within earshot know that he is a “nuclear engineer.” Call me crazy, but methinks we are better off as a species if the people ensuring us that nuclear energy is used safely and responsibly aren’t reality TV alchopsychoholics who get out of pools and announce, “Dude, I got a big wiener today! That thing is a monster.” Now that he is off reality TV and on the job market, I would love to be a fly on the wall during his upcoming interview at a nuclear power plant:
- Interviewer: “So Nate, it says here that while you were on MTV’s Real World you worked at the House of Blues. How did your experience there make you a better nuclear engineer?”
Nate: “Well, I did a lot of organization, logistical planning, and detail-oriented coordination. All of which are an important part of being a nuclear engineer. Burp.”
Interviewer: “My daughter happens to be a big fan of the show, so I watched this season. I have to ask, did you ever go to work, work, or leave work sober?”
Interviewer: “Did you just take a swig from a flask?”
Interviewer: “Get out of my office. And leave the flask.”
This week, Nate’s storyline had him preparing for the event he had planned that would announce the partnership between his suicide-prevention website and a GLBT help organization (It Gets Better) that his roommate Frank had convinced to partner with Nate’s organization.On paper this actually does seem like something that would look good on a résumé and worthy of discussing during a job interview. It was not.
Nate decided the best way to announce the partnership of these two organizations geared toward helping the nation’s youth deal with the difficulty that comes with being this nation’s youth was to throw a Jager-bomb-soaked rock-and-roll concert. Of course that is what he decided. Further, he decided that his role during the event would be that of master of ceremonies. Of course that is what he decided. He also decided that the best preparation for public speaking about serious social issues affecting America’s youth is to dress up like an LMFAO backup dancer, drink a half a bottle of whiskey (20 points), and argue with Frank over the content of their onstage announcement (5 points verbal + 5 hot tub bonus points). You see, Frank was under the impression that the announcement of the partnership of the GLBT help organization and the suicide help organization would consist of announcing the partnership of a GLBT help organization and a suicide help organization. Nate had other ideas:
- Nate: “That’s the thing, don’t say gay.”
Frank: “Well, I have to; it is for It Gets Better.”
Nate: “I didn’t say suicide.”
Frank: “It is about life and that there is light at the end of the tunnel.”
Nate: “Don’t say life, don’t say life. We got to keep the energy up. That is what we are here for.”
Frank: “Are you drunk?”
Nate: “No ... Well, yeah. But I am used to this, this is my scene.”
If there is a global nuclear meltdown and clans of survivors are all left roaming the earth searching for other survivor clans to eat, you can pretty much track the circumstances that led to the horrific state of the planet back to this episode of Real World.
Frank (Real World, Connor), 25 points: At the end of the Real World finale, Frank pulled a classic Real World move. A young person is plucked out of his or her small-town life by a Bunim/Murray casting robot, spends four months being followed by cameras in a mansion, and at the end of the experience comes to the realization that in a few short days there will be no more cameras and they will have to revert back to their old life as a working American. So they do what every other person running from a life as a working American and chasing camera time does: They move to Los Angeles. Following is the juxtaposition of what Frank thinks a day in his life will be like in Los Angeles versus what a day in his life will actually be in Los Angeles:
- What Frank Thinks a Day in His Life Will Be Like in L.A.: Frank is awakened by the sound of seagulls fluttering outside on his balcony perched high above the majestic shoreline of the Pacific Ocean. His nose is assaulted by the smells of fair trade coffee and bacon being whipped up by his life partner, Bruno Mars. After breakfast, Mar Mars (pet name) gives him a ride down to the studio lot where he is filming the premiere of the third season of the network sitcom based on his life, To Be Frank. After a long day of prepping, filming, and being adored, he has to rush home because his writer-philosopher friend Hanz and Miley Cyrus are coming over for dinner. He really hopes Hanz and Miley hit it off. Before bed, he and Mar Mars make love on the balcony and retire to the warmth and comfort of love, companionship, and 4,000-thread-count linens.
What a Day in His Life Will Be Like in L.A.: Frank is awoken at 5 a.m. by the sounds of sirens followed by screams in his living room. He climbs over a hung-over middle-aged family man he met the night before on Grindr. In the living room, he sees one of his five roommates being dragged away in handcuffs by police. He walks to Starbucks to check his e-mail because he has no Internet connection in the apartment. It is always awkward going to this particular Starbucks because he interviewed with the supervisor three weeks ago and still hasn’t heard back. He gets an e-mail from his “manager” notifying him that they “aren’t a match” and wishing him “the best of luck with his hosting career.” He then attends improv class, where he recognizes Trishelle from Real World Las Vegas in his troupe. She does not recognize him. After class, he begins the four-mile walk to his job as Mechanical Bull Operator at the Saddle Ranch on Sunset. He took the job because he knew his omnipresent head bandanna would be acceptable and he thought Saddle Ranch, the VH1 reality show, would be picked up for another season. It was not. After six hours of operating the bull and methodically extracting just the right amount of chest giggle out of those mounting it, he punches the clock and leaves. On the walk home he checks Grindr. No takers.
Anna (Baseball Wives, Simmons), 15 points: Hey, Anna Benson, after plugging your career as a television journalist (10 points) and during your fight with Cheri Knoblauch (5 points), did you say “I’m a bomb ass bitch, I ain’t no June Cleaver” or did you say “I’m a bomb ass bitch, I just ate Tom Seaver?” I swear you said “ate Tom Seaver.” Just looking for some clarification, Ms. Benson, thanks.
Brooke (Baseball Wives, Jacoby), 10 points: This week Brooke bragged about being Arizona Republic model of the month (10 points). Doing my journalistic duty, I Googled images of her to make sure this claim was factually accurate. I learned it was in fact true and I learned that the same modeling agency once represented Utah Jazz shooting guard Raja Bell. I always knew he had a little Pretty Rick Fox in him.
Sophie (Survivor, Jacoby), 5 points: Once every three seasons, Survivor brings me to a really dark, twisted place in my own psyche that I am not proud of. As a matter of fact, this is a place in there right next to “the time when I was a kid and threw a rock at a car and put a nun in the hospital” that I am so ashamed of that I have it filed it deep in that mental manila folder labeled, “Deny It Ever Happened.” I wasn’t going to write about it until someone tweeted me with the same thought and I felt compelled to address it (‘sup @justin_miller85). So ... fine, I am just going to go out and say it: Sometimes the female contestants on Survivor become more and more attractive as the season goes on and they are losing insane amounts of weight.
It’s wrong, it’s gross, and I am not proud of it. I won’t bore you with a 2,000-word explanation of how commercialism, the fashion industry, and Rachel Zoe have warped humanity’s concept of beauty and that is why I feel this way. I will just acknowledge that I feel that way, acknowledge that it is weird and wrong, and hope that you never acknowledge that I wrote this. Cool? Cool.
Oh yeah, Sophie also got in a fight with Albert (5 points) but I didn’t notice what it was about because I was lost in her piercing blue eyes.
Priscilla, Sam, Alex, Ashley (Real World, various GRTFL teams), 5 points: This was hands down the worst season in the history of Real World. The merciful finale aired last night and everyone cried (5 points apiece) except the audience. We uncorked some champers and celebrated. Why was this the worst season of Real World? Glad you asked. Cue the GRTFL Top Five of the Week music. This week’s top five list is the top five mistakes the producers of Real World made to ensure this was the worst in its 26 seasons of the show’s existence listed from “Yeah, that probably was a bad call” to “Are these the same people that produced The Littlest Groom?”
- 1. Underage Cast Member: What is the upside to having an underage cast member? During the four-day Cabo trip when Priscilla, the attractive 19-year-old, was legally allowed to imbibe alcohol she went H.A.M. She made out with her female roommate, nobly chose naked cartwheeling as her preferred method of transport, and said things like, “My breasts are popping out everywhere and I am loving every second of it!” Having her on the show was like trading for Justin Veerlander and only starting him one game a season.
2. Using the San Diego Zoo: Why are they working at House of Blues and not the San Diego Zoo? As a producer you have to ask yourself, “What type of b-roll am I giving myself for those three shot transition montages?” With the House of Blues the answer is the cast setting up the stage, putting their hands in the air, and pouring drinks. With the San Diego Zoo the answer is the cast shoveling sloth poop, feeding poisonous snakes, and being devoured by polar bears. They considered this and went with the "hands in the air" shots. I would pay-per-view Frank being devoured by a polar bear for $5,000.00.
3. Alex and The Hats: Look, I get it, one of your cast members thinks she is going to be a famous recording artist and has formed a band with two dudes in hats named “Alex and The Hats.” That is a segment. That is not a storyline that needs to be threaded through the season. If I hear “Hotels,” Alex’s song about her experience on Real World, one more time I am going to cut off my ear like Vincent Van Gogh. “What happened to Jacoby’s ear?” “Oh, he cut it off, he couldn’t stand the sound of Alex and The Hats anymore.” Another thing about Alex: How is it possible that she enrolled at Stanford at the age of 15 and has a tramp stamp? I always imagined Stanford filtered students for tramp stamps.
4. Zach and Ashley: Zach and Ashley never fought, never coitused, and never philandered. What is the point of a relationship being on reality television if not to watch them fight, coitus, or philander? Producers, see Shore, Jersey.
5. Lack of Awareness: If you are following your GPS navigation while you are driving and it tells you to drive off a cliff into the Grand Canyon, what do you do? You stop following the GPS’s instruction. If you are producing this show and day after day you see the monotony, the routine, the lack of anything remotely entertaining unfolding before you, you have to adjust course:
- a. “Hey Priscilla, guess what? You’re off the show; you’ve been replaced by your mother.”
b. “I have no idea how the house burned down.”
c. “Hey Zach, you should really see this (doctored) footage of Ashley sleeping with Nate.”
d. “Guess who is in town for the weekend? Snooki.”
e. “I don’t know how three kilos of heroin ended up under the sink, but the police want answers.”
Brandon (Survivor, Lane), 5 points: After Brandon’s argument with Albert (5 points), he revealed to the audience he was a former gang member, he considers two of the cast members his best friends, and that God speaks to him. He wasn’t kidding about the God part. At least two of the cast members ask God who they should vote for before tribal council and follow God’s instructions. And here I thought God only had direct influence on the outcome of Broncos games.
Jordana (Baseball Wives, House), 5 points: Jordana cried over her ex, Milwaukee Brewer Nyjer Morgan. She is very distraught about the loss of a man who has an alter ego named Tony Plush. I have a strong feeling neither Nyjer Morgan nor Tony Plush are equally troubled about the loss of Jordana.
Albert (Survivor, House), 5 points: Albert notched five points for an argument that allows me to point out my favorite aspect of Albert from Survivor; he listed his occupation as Baseball/Dating Coach.There is no joke I can write that will be more enjoyable than just taking a second and imagining what the day in the life of a Baseball/Dating Coach is like. Fun, right? In my version he does both simultaneously.
Rick (Survivor, Lane), 5 points: Rick was also a part of the Albert incident (5 points) that is notable because it is the first time I have heard him speak the whole season, which would normally mean the audience doesn’t know anything about him, but that is not the case with Rick. You see, Rick wears a cowboy hat. A cowboy hat is one of the few items of clothing that comes with a presumptive biography. One look at Rick in his hat and every single person on the couch watching the show thinks they have him completely pegged because of his headgear. I know that’s prejudice and you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover and all that, but this can work in your favor. If you are single and over the age of 24, stop reading this column, go to a medical supply store, buy some hospital scrubs, put them on, and go to your local bar. Seriously, stop reading this and buy scrubs right now. Don’t worry, all you are going to miss is that Edna scored 5 points for verbal fighting; I don’t even have a joke about her. Go buy scrubs right now.
Edna (Survivor, Simmons), 5 points: She cried (5 points). I got nothing. Why are you reading this and not Googling “medical supply store” right now?
Previously: Reality Scorecard: Priscilla's Naked, 95-Point Night
Reality Scorecard: Here Come the Baseball Wives
Reality Scorecard: Keith and Whitney's Disappointing Coitus
Reality Scorecard: Lamest Police Visit Ever