It is with heavy heart and churning stomach that we pass along the most gut-punchingly tragic development of the 2013 television season: Bachelor Pad will not be returning this summer for an expected fourth cycle of booze-guzzling, hot tub–tainting, trust-obliterating shenanigans.
The news, since confirmed by a bummed-out EW, was first delivered not with a bang, but with a whimper by Mike Fleiss, the mastermind behind the The Bachelor family of reality TV products:
The Bachelor broke my Grandma. You see, my Grandmother-in-law is staying with us this winter, she joined me for the Monday night viewing, and she hasn’t been the same since. When I saw her at breakfast Tuesday morning we had the following exchange:
Me: “How did you sleep last night?” Grandma:“I couldn’t sleep.” Me: “Why?” Grandma: “Because of that thing you showed me last night." [Gestures toward the TV.] Me: “What do you mean?” Grandma: “All I could think of was all those girls crying and carrying on about that man.”
Grandma is old school. She was raised in the mountains of Jamaica where they didn’t have The Bachelor, or ABC, or TV — they had farm animals and stuff. It was a delightful experience watching this program with her. She had no idea what was going on, but with her wisdom and general Grandma mojo she dissected the whole dynamic with ease and had more acute and accurate reads on the show than I did. It may have something to do with the fact that she showed up to my house with a big ol’ bottle of HGH. Who knows? Anyway, for each of The Bachelor scoring breakdowns I am adding Grandma’s take as well as mine. She would make a much better GRTFL recap writer than I am. Grandma is the best.
In a week with both a Bachelor Pad shocker and a Real World finale-reunion, Jacoby and I couldn't resist the magnetic pull of the Grantland Network studio. Reality TV Friday makes a triumphant return to address Nick's big move (if you are wondering who that is, we didn't know until last week either) and the final moments of one of MTV's most boring casts ever. If you listen, though, you'll quickly realize that we just wanted to talk about the big event of the fall: The Challenge: Battle of the Seasons 2. Turn off your brain for a few minutes and enjoy.
The transition from summer to fall is a drag. The days get shorter and cooler (the worst), students have to go back to school (sucks), and you realize that your next “vacation” is home for the holidays (a push). While actual, ya know, life downgrades a bit at this time of year, reality TV gets better. WAY better. Next Wednesday we have the return of America’s fifth major sport, The Challenge, CBS trotting out ol’ favorite Survivor, and MTV holding a wake for Jersey Shore.
Yes, there is much to look forward to — but there's also a wealth to look back on. Bachelor Pad held a finale this week that made me rethink my place in the world. Quick, let’s get to the top scorers.
As the great philosopher Connor MacLeod taught us, "There can be only one."
And so, endless promotional clips teasing us with the "most shocking/disturbing/shame-erection-inducing Bachelor Pad finale in history!" aside (note: Bachelor Pad debuted in 2010), our contestants were always fighting against the irrefutable math of the situation, and we should not be so surprised that our newest Padlander, Smiley Nick the Harmless Nonfactor, finished the season holding aloft the head of the vanquished before an arena of supporters squealing their bloodthirsty approval.
Boobs, cocaine, and crying: another week in the GRTFL. Let’s just get to it already:
Brandon (Real World, Kang), 120 points: Brandon is a recovering drug addict who was drug tested as part of Real World policy. After his test, he had this exchange with an off-camera producer:
Producer: “Is there a reason why you might have coke in your system?” Brandon: “No.” Producer: “You definitely tested positive for coke.” Brandon: “That's something that should be sent to a lab then, because the last thing I'm going to do is spend my money on coke while I'm out here.”
OK, as if the positive drug test wasn’t enough to prove that he had dabbled in a little nose candy while in St. Thomas, his explanation for not doing drugs was basically, “I can’t afford it.” But let’s not get too tied up with details of Brandon’s case ... THEY DRUG TEST ON MTV REALITY SHOWS!?
A stellar Real World relapse and Real Housewives rendezvous made up for what was a snoozy Bachelor Pad this week. With Survivor, Basketball Wives of L.A., and The Challenge set to debut in mere weeks, I'm happily surprised to see the summer crop is still harvesting well. Anyway, the top scorers:
Before we even get to the week in GRTFL scoring, there are some developments in reality TV that must be covered:
First, Emily Maynard is totally Tiger Woodsing Jeff With One F. She got caught getting all sexty on her phone with some other dude. His brother even confirmed it. Oh wait, Jeff says his brother is just trying to “see his name in a magazine.” Whatever. Are you telling me that a television show formatted to make a woman fall in love with four dudes at the same time would lead to a troubled engagement? Nah, that’s just crazy talk.
Second, America’s fifth major sport, MTV’s The Challenge, debuted the trailer for its latest incarnation, “Battle of the Seasons.” I may or may not have watched it 37 times.
Even though the reality czar is on vacation, reality TV does not stop. In fact, this week brought us the fresh new joy of Gallery Girls, the latest docudrama from the geniuses at Bravo. Hollywood Prospectus editor Emily Yoshida and I got to know the new art-loving ladies, and then moved on to Bachelor Pad and the sad story of Jamie, and tossed around some suggestions for an all-time all-reality-TV cast of summer's trashiest show. The reality TV world spins madly on!
Full disclosure, I am mailing this one in. I'm on vacation and didn’t plan on doing the GRTFL this week but there was so much asinine shit to joke about in reality TV I just couldn’t pass it up. But before we get to all of that, I learned two big travel tips that I wanted to share: (1) If you are married and traveling together, tell everyone it’s your honeymoon — upgrades all over the place. (2) If you are planning a trip to a beach location, whatever you do, make sure it doesn’t coincide with Discovery’s Shark Week. After watching a bajillion shark attacks on TV, I am not even comfortable going into the deep end of the hotel pool. And for all those people that are all, “Humans aren’t even part of a shark's natural diet, what is there to worry about?” Of course humans aren’t a part of a shark's natural diet, WE DON’T LIVE IN THE WATER! Lobster isn’t a part of my natural diet, but I will tear one up like a savage if you put it in front of me. We are a rare delicious delicacy to sharks. Never go in the ocean again.
Anyway, here are my thoughts on a busy week in reality TV, a little shorter than usual, but let’s be honest, these columns are too long anyway.
It's the final day of Grantland's B.S. Report takeover, and today we bring you the nascent Reality TV Friday podcast. First we check in with our Real World–ers, who get off their island and hit St. Thomas's clubs; then we check in on the logo-centric drama of the Real Housewives of New York; and we can never go long without talking about the debaucherous Bachelor Pad. Plus, we're already beginning to feel some Olympics nostalgia as we wax about the wonder of Team USA's Instagram accounts and Kobe Bryant's Facebook page.
It was a tension-filled week in reality TV, one that really tested the emotional fortitude of our favorite GRTFL cast members. And guess what? Our favorite GRTFL cast members’ collective emotional fortitude failed with flying colors! Laura on Real World broke down, Housewives’ Heather and Sonja had their third and fourth meeting/argument about Sonja’s logo, and Ed, Bachelor Pad’s Village Drunk, well, he just lost faith in humanity. It’s OK, though; he may or may not be human himself. Allow me to explain:
Things have really picked up in the reality TV world, and accordingly things are heating up on the Reality TV Podcast. This week Jacoby and I needed a special guest, Hollywood Prospectus editor Emily Yoshida, to fully digest just what we witnessed on Monday's Bachelor Pad — especially since we were mentally exhausted from trying to understand Real Housewives phenomenon George, Aviva's dad. And in a twist, the roommates were allowed to leave their secluded island and something actually happened on Real World.
I don’t even know where to begin. This is the first time that a week in reality TV has intimidated me like this. There were so many phenomenal occurrences popping out from my television into my eyes and earballs this week that I look at the blank page and am shaken. In this single week — during what is supposed to be an “offseason” for TV — there was a Dionysian evening on Bachelor Pad that included a sapphic snog, a legit 50-point pregnancy scare on Real World, and a man appearing on The Real Housewives of New York City who was so captivating, so disgusting, so charming, and so simultaneously magnetic and repulsive that I can only assume he is some sort of genetic mutant, a Darwinian outlier equipped with a libido that could repopulate the earth in a year and a half. This man is George, father of Real Housewife Aviva.
Remember when I said I didn’t know where to start? I totally lied right to your eyeballs. I'm starting with George. I couldn't care less if his daughter only scored five points this week. This man’s story needs to be told.
Huge week for reality TV fans: three-hour wrap-up of The Bachelorette, two-hour Bachelor Pad premiere, and the most action on the Real World yet. Once again, we set out to keep this podcast to 35 or 40 minutes, but with so much material to cover, we failed. After all, former VIP cocktail waitress Blakeley had a life-altering epiphany, and we had to give it the attention it deserved. We say a bittersweet goodbye to (SPOILER ALERT) Jef and Emily, take stock of Real World Brandon's drinking problem, and debate just how great Bachelor Pad is. Bid farewell to a few brain cells and listen to the podcast.