David Simon, as you probably could have guessed, does not tweet. What he does do, though, is write extensive, fiery responses to other people's tweets — specifically, in this case, the tweets of Andy Cohen and Simon's pal Anthony Bourdain, who argued on Twitter about the ethics of taking money from the state of Louisiana to shoot TV in New Orleans. As Simon writes on his site, in a blog post called "Why I don’t tweet. Example #47”: "I can’t be entirely indifferent to the shitty-ass, reach-around snark of some fellow [That'd be Cohen!] who rushes to throw under the bus people about whom he has no knowledge whatsoever — and does so to gain a dishonest point in a fucking tweet war." And then Simon really goes in.
But let's back up. This started with the news that Top Chef will be filming its upcoming 11th season in New Orleans. Hey, fantastic, right? Everyone loves New Orleans? Well, it's a bit more complicated than that. Turns out, the reason Top Chef is heading to the N.O. is, at least in part, thanks to a $200,000 payout from the BP oil spill settlement fund to Bravo, Top Chef’s channel. Well, what in the hell?
Bravo's reality TV empire is primarily a New York–Los Angeles operation, preferring to stay in the parts of the country where we stockpile attention-starved interior decorators and housewives who are ready to drop everything and shoot a season of pomtini-fueled bickering at a moment's notice. But in recent years, a pattern has started to emerge — every year, Andy Cohen & Co. will set up shop in a second- or third-tier metropolitan area and launch a couple of shows — usually a season of Top Chef and a non-competitive (except for precious camera time) docu-drama. The benefits of this strategy, like any good foreign-exchange program, are mutual: Urbanites get a chance to see what life is like in "the rest of the country," and the lucky residents of the spotlighted city get a chance to show coastal elites that they have a Neiman Marcus and an Asian-fusion tapas bar, too.
This programming strategy recently hit home when Bravo announced that it would be rolling out its newest era in Seattle — a city I partially grew up in and have spent a good amount of time in. Top Chef: Seattle and LOLwork (a workplace reality "comedy" about the I Can Has Cheezburger empire) both premiere tonight, and reality TV is about to get its first long look at the Emerald City since The Real World ran off in 1998, leaving a barrage of Red Delicious apples and Rainier beer bottles from disgruntled locals in its wake. Let's see how Seattle stacks up against former Bravo strongholds.
Before we start flailing in incoherent rage against the following bit of today's news, let us go on the record as not being against Progress. We are not especially prone to sentimentality or a preciousness about the cultural artifacts of our youth. You want to remake that thing we love so much? Knock yourself out, we'll still have that original thing! You can't take that away from us. We've never even accused the handsy-in-old-age George Lucas of diddling our childhood for what he did to Star Wars. Ruin away, Uncle Georgie, it's your increasingly ridiculous, Bantha-piss-sodden, Jar Jarred–up sandbox. That being said:
This morning, The Hollywood Reporter brings word that Bravo, your basic-cable destination for OCD-addled house-flippers and Botox-paralyzed house monsters, is making a big push into scripted TV, and among the five drama series in development is a "reboot" of Heathers, arguably the most beloved black comedy of its generation. Here's what they have in store for us, according to THR:
Reality TV is in trouble. The Situation is in rehab, America’s alcoholism mascot Snooki is pregnant, and there are only two shows left on the air worthy of inclusion in the GRTFL. With this in mind, I’ve decided to change it up this week and take you with me on my deep dive into the creepy/scary triple-digit section of your channel guide in search of new shows to celebrate in future columns. I spent the whole week sifting through endless hours of hoarding, cooking, rehabbing, building, destroying, partying, arguing, driving, swamping, dancing, parenting, storing, eating, puking, and RuPauling in an attempt at finding a digital nugget of reality TV gold. To be honest, I enjoyed the shit out of it. It was so exhilarating/depressing, I decided that every week I will go in on at least one new show and share with you my thoughts on it.
(Okay, fine, I probably won’t do this every week because I’m lazy and will forget that I even wrote this. I apologize in advance.)