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?
First off, a brief announcement: As you may have heard, the Grantland Network has been cloven in twain to better serve our listeners. You can now find the Girls in Hoodies podcast on the fresh and fabulous Grantland Pop Culture channel (SUBSCRIBE NOW!), while your athletics-oriented favorites such as the Jalen Rose Show and the Triangle Podcast will remain at the OG Grantland Network, heretofore known as Grantland Sports. If you're worried or confused, don't be — just because we don't live together anymore doesn't mean we don't still love you very much.
Some people make New Year's resolutions to give themselves motivation to try new things, have new experiences, make positive changes to their lives. I'm the opposite; every year I choose something to give up. It started with diet soda, then all artificial sweeteners, and in 2013 I took a deep breath and decided to drastically cut back on my Bravo intake. This plan was somewhat compromised when I realized that it ultimately was going to fall on me to inform Grantland's readership about the saddest show on television, but now that the Beverly Hills housewives have sealed their third season with champagne toasts and casual accusations of inter-sibling death wishes, I could finally begin my Bravo cleanse in earnest. No more housewives, no more matchmakers, no more watching what happens — be it live, on demand, or on DVR. Maybe I'd even start watching The Americans or something crazy like that.
But then, not 12 hours after the final credits ran on the RHOBH reunion, Bravo announced "their largest slate of original programming ever," and I suddenly knew how Kim Richards felt clinking her plastic water bottle against the flutes of bubbly. This used to be my lifeblood, but now, like Bubba shipped off to 'Nam, I'm forced to just sit and list all the countless varieties of delicious scripted reality, keeping myself sane by imagining them in all their mind-numbing, opiate glory.
Anyway, here are some shows I'm not watching this year.
Last weekend, MTV programming suits ran backThe Real World: New York, San Francisco, and Las Vegas to whet the appetite for this week’s debut of The Real World: Portland. It was a genius move. I may or may not have watched 12 episodes of that shit and I may or may not have remembered every single scene from a reality show 20 years ago even though it takes me five seconds to recall my own Social Security number. The weekend was great, but it also served as a reminder of how damn good the show used to be.
After a couple of “I think I may finally be out on this show” seasons in San Diego and St. Thomas, the franchise needed a breakout performance and planned accordingly. The first thing they did, as they should every season, was stack the cast with hyper-attractive young men and women who all share a penchant for getting drunk, getting naked, and getting into senseless, passionate altercations with each other. The second thing they did, as they should every season, is add a wild-card, midseason roommate. It also doesn’t hurt that the wild-card, midseason roommate is named “Hurricane” Nia and in the first 20 seconds of the “This season on” she threw George Foreman haymakers at 63 percent of the cast ... in her underwear. In fact, I’m not sure I even saw “Hurricane” Nia in street clothes during the entire clip. As far as I know now “Hurricane” Nia is perpetually mid-punch and perpetually in her skivvies. What Andrew Wiggins is to the NBA, “Hurricane” Nia is to MTV.
The glass doors of Villa Rosa slowly come into focus as Adrienne hobbles up to them. She barely has the strength to make it over the lily-strewn moat, but she feels the heat of the cameras at her back and knows she must press forward. This is her last stand, and even if she is riddled with bullet holes, she has to at least try to spill some blood on Lisa's white carpeting before she goes down for good.
Look, people may think that the first Grantland Live stream was programmed around the NCAA Tournament, but GRTFL readers know that the only reason the live-stream is happening this particular week is because this is the slowest week in reality TV history. With The Bach over, Survivor in full midseason “finally we're switching up the tribes” mode, and The Real Unrelatable Housewives of Beverly Hills trudging along, there aren’t any points to be doled out this week. But if you think that'll stop me from recapping, you are sadly mistaken. This week I'm going to run through the GRTFL Top 5 of Every Show That's on TV This Week. It's going to be fun. Let's do it.
Adrienne turns back to the hedge and grabs another Zing vodka shot from the human hand protruding from it, then downs the shot and takes a moment to look around. It feels great to have all these human bodies around pretending to be inanimate objects and serving her things. The other wives had thrown some lavish parties over the past couple of years, but none of them ever had body painting. And when it comes to ambience, body painting is about as classy as it gets — there are market values for a chocolate fountain or an ice sculpture at the center of a room, but an actual person that's willing to get naked and submit their entire physical self to the cause of making your party awesome? You can't put a price on that. (Well, maybe $50 per head plus the obvious perk of industry exposure.)
With The Bachelor finale this week, you would assume Sean The Boring Bachelor’s big decision would be the lead of this column. I mean, it has to be, right? What could possibly have happened in reality TV that would top Sean The Boring Bachelor finally choosing his partner for life/three more Us Weekly covers? What human act could be more significant than pure ForeverLove? Only one human act can trump ForeverLove, and that act is ... a back rub.
This week, it was just me and Grandma. No friends. No wife. Just us. Grandma was fired up — taking her position on the couch around 7:15 p.m. Around 8:15, she grabbed her cane and scrambled to the back of the house in a panic, thinking that we had missed the first 15 minutes. When I explained to her that we were recording the show, she gave me a look that said, “I don’t care if you are recording it, The Bachelor is on, and we’re watching it now.”
Well, Grandma was right. Women Tell All shows are always kind of a drag — the only real joy is in evaluating exactly what type of “I just got dumped on national TV so I need to change up my look” adjustments the women made to their hair. But this season’s show had a moment — a transcendent accusation that severely damaged Sean’s reputation as Mr. Perfect-Bring-Home-to-Mom and totally cemented one bachelorette's reputation as that of a hot, obsessive, uber-organized alien cyborg. It was so fucking good.
This week, Molly, Tess, and Emily try to get inside the mysterious mind of Taylor Swift, in light of some of the more problematic moments of her recent Vanity Fair interview. Are we all being played by Swift's elaborate music/lyrics/tabloids game? We then move on to discuss the new Bravo reality show L.A. Shrinks, which tests our ability to suspend disbelief in new, surreal ways. We also have a chat about the YouTube-ening of the Billboard charts and whether novelty songs like "Thrift Shop" and "Harlem Shake" are the future of pop music. This turns into a chat about perennial chart-topper Rihanna, the other piece of bread in our inadvertent pop-star sandwich — and, like Swift, another musical artist whose public life can be hard to separate from her musical output.
Editor's note: It may have seemed that former child actress Kim Richards, who has long struggled with sobriety during her tenure on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, was intoxicated on last night's episode. There are actually a number of explanations for her behavior.
Kim takes a deep breath and walks into the hotel suite. She's late, but her being late is kind of a joke now, so maybe this will end up being a fun way to break the ice. Everyone needs a defining characteristic that sets them apart from the crowd.
She sees them out on the balcony, smiling and laughing with such great diction and composure. She wonders at what point in their lives they figured out how to act like that, and why no matter how hard she tries she never seems to be able to replicate it herself. But that won't stop her from trying.
As she enters the balcony she stretches a smile across her face. It's time to smile. It's time to kiss people on the cheek. It's time to be in Paris and demonstrate all the great qualities she has to offer to this group of women.
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.
"I am very excited about Lisa's tea party. I haven't been to very many tea parties."
Marisa Zanuck steps out of the limo onto the winding path leading to Villa Rosa, her ivory pumps crunching down on the alabaster gravel. This would be her sixth time in the company of the ladies, and she's never felt more grateful to Kyle for welcoming her into the circle than now. Lisa's home looks stunning; it's a verdant monument to having everything in life figured out. Maybe someday she could have a house like that.
There is no chance that I make it all the way through this column. First of all, four hours of The Bachelor is just too much Bachelor. Frankly, four hours is too much anything aside from, like, vacations and watching LeBron James pop a molly. Second, how am I going to make fun of the tragic death of a 12-year-old, a crying one-armed woman, and the supposed “sobriety” of Kim Richards without getting sued, fired, or the shit beat out of me? I can’t, I really can’t. I apologize ahead of time to my editors and every single person I am about to write about. Actually, no, I take that back, I apologize to everyone I am about to write about aside from Tierra. I can’t stand Tierra.
Here is a crowd-sourced Dunder Mifflin ad that will air during the Super Bowl in Scranton, and only in Scranton.
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