Jersey Shore has been trotted out one last time for everyone to have a good look at before it is mercifully put down by MTV. The flash-pan popularity and cultural significance of this program has long since been extinguished, and this final iteration features a cast that has been scrubbed of all the traits that made them briefly entertaining in the first place. Watching the whole two-hour premiere felt like watching a former prizefighter come out of retirement to get pummeled for one last paycheck. Yeah, Jersey Shore is basically Mike Tyson getting his ass kicked by Kevin McBride. I’m watching for nostalgia’s sake, and only nostalgia’s sake.
Under Armour shirt with names across the chest? Check. T.J. Lavin’s quiet confidence? Check. Drunken rage monsters attempting to assault and/or coitus every living being in their path? Check. The Challenge is back, and the debut episode was pretty damn promising. There were a couple good falls, several delusional sound bites, and a Frank freakout worthy of the top spot on the GRTFL leaderboard. But before we get to that, we have some housekeeping to do. We added two new shows to the docket, which means two sets of show-specific rules and a mega-draft:
The Challenge: Battle of the Seasons Show-Specific Rules:
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.
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.
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.
I’m not going to lie to you: This was a shitty week in reality TV. First, there is the fact that Big Ang, the “classy” ladies of Mama Drama, and Joseline of Love & Hip Hop Atlanta are all not in my living room because the suits from Viacom and DirecTV can’t make a deal. Suits, get something done soon; I need these people in my life. Second, it seemed like every show in the GRTFL decided to mail it in this week. The Bachelorette was the let’s-squeeze-another-episode-out-of-this-franchise "Men Tell All" snoozefest; the most exciting event on Real Housewives of New York City was a woman putting her face in a bidet; and the Real World cast is so boring that the producers centered this entire episode around a dead fish. There is good news, though: I have just as much fun making fun of boring reality television as I do compelling reality TV, so you're in for a treat. Let’s hit up the top scorers:
Look, I’m smart enough to know that I’m not smart enough to understand all the implications of the breakdown between DirecTV and Viacom. But I would like to point out that one of the results of the breakdown in their negotiations, the fact that I no longer have Viacom channels in my living room, is un-freaking-acceptable. I don’t care how much you charge me, DirecTV — I will pay anything, absolutely anything, to get Real World, Snooki and JWOWW, and Love and Hip Hop Atlanta back in my life because “We have to get me some damn TV. I need my channels back.” You hear me, DirecTV? This has already gone to a weird place. On Thursday night, I considered reading a book.
Here are the leading scorers from a week that really put a spotlight on what is hindering The Bachelorette this season: Emily Maynard can’t carry this show.