“I rule the world, not you. You are little pawns and I am the queen. Know your place, stay in your role, think before you speak. I got your dog, bitch. I GOT YOUR DOG, BITCH!”
— Hurricane Nia, June 5, 2013
First there was music. Then eerie calm. Then the shocking flurry of violence. Yep, Real World went straight Game of Thrones this week. This particularly dysfunctional group of seven strangers gave us the most violent fight in the history of the franchise. Bill was bummed out about it. He said that it “went to a dark place” and forced him into "Real World retirement.”
Do you have strong opinions about glasses? How about the Bentley logo? Turns out we have a lot to say on both subjects, and The Bachelorette and Real World paved the way for these conversations. While Desiree began her #journey searching for a #perfectmarriage, Portland roommate Jessica suffered an onscreen breakup, but at least she had the spectacles to look good. I'm not sure we can say the same for eliminated Bachelorette contestant Larry, though. We talked about his awkward dancing, Will's bare bookshelves, and many more highlights from the season premiere. Be sure to keep this song handy while you listen to the podcast.
This week reality TV featured the clingiest woman in the history of dating, the silliest breakup in the history of Real World, and the cringiest Bachelorette suitors in the history of the franchise. But before we get to all that delicious nonsense, we have to officially jump The Bachelorette into the GRTFL gang. That means making up a bunch of moronic rules:
Calling Desiree a Pet Name: 5 points Giving Desiree a Gift: 10 points Mentioning Sean Lowe: 10 points Claiming Another Bro Is "There for the Wrong Reasons”: 10 points Having Desiree Question Your Potential as a Parent: 20 points Overtly Using Your Profession for an Advantage: 15 points (one time only) Erection Possession: 25 points Hinting at Procreation With Desiree: 10 points Cooking for Desiree: 5 points Initiating a Sexual Relationship with Chris Harrison: 25 points Helicopter Make-Out: 20 points Telling Desiree You Love Her: 20 points (first instance only) Winning Final Rose: 50 points Winning a Nobel Prize: -100 points Stating “This Is Fucking Silly” and Walking Off the Show: All the Points
This week on Real World, Hurricane Nia didn’t punch anybody, or attempt cannibal fellatio, or even get slammered ... she apologized and cried. It was that kind of episode. I swear last week’s “next time on” had her sucker punching Averey in the back of the head with a left hook, but they must have sneaked in a “this season on” voice-over instead of “next time on.” Daft. Anyway, without the Hurricane haymaker, this episode wasn’t particularly interesting. So let's break down the trailer for the coming Bachelorette instead.
This week in reality TV, we saw Cochran crowned as the ultimate Survivor, Hurricane Nia fall victim to rogue sex toy attack, and, you know, THAT. The tremendous vision above marked the high point at the climax of what was a legendary season of Survivor. [Buckshot Shorty voice] Let's take a sec to think back
Cochran (Survivor, Simmons), 50 points: As Chuck Klosterman masterfully pointed out in his Probstian Podcast, Survivor all too often rewards the wallflower. The backstabbers, challenge-winners, and manipulators are left wiping the blood off their hands and hoping for fan favorite. This season was different.
OK, this week in reality TV was heavy on racism, violence against women, suicide, starvation, ranch dressing, and, you know, drunken people being idiots. I’m intelligent enough to know that I'm not intelligent enough to appropriately address most of those issues, so I'm going to dive deep into the ranch dressing. (Is ranch dressing on pizza really a thing? Have people been doing this for years and I just didn’t know it? Is it good? I need answers.)
With a slow Survivor this week, the GRTFL is all about Real World’s Hurricane Nia. What did Hurricane Nia do? Oh, nothing, just, ya know, revealed her plans to write a “how to” book about dating professional athletes, displayed the work ethic of a stoned elephant seal, and brandished both an alarm clock and a desk lamp as assault weapons. In her defense, it was a hardy desk lamp. Let’s review how Jordan and Nia, the couple that brought us attempted cannibal fellatio, continued to innovate with murder by alarm clock. Keep reading. It only gets weirder.
Managing expectations is the key to success. When you draw a money hand, you should slow-play it — all the better to draw the suckers in. You keep the element of surprise in your corner. This week in reality television, Real World and Survivor overplayed their hands; they raised big with story lines that didn’t live up to expectations. There was no mutiny among the alliances in Survivor and there was no cannibalistic fellatio among the cast mates on Real World. The calm status quo in this week’s GRTFL shows was, in a word, boring. Don’t sell me on cannibalistic fellatio and feed me a Subway sandwich. Yes, a sandwich is leading this week’s column, but it isn’t any sandwich, IT’S A TUNA-AND-TURKEY SANDWICH. TUNA. AND. TURKEY.
I always know it has been a great week in reality TV when I get a little nervy as I sit down to write this column. I just want to do the week justice. I just want to provide the people who worked on and watched these brilliant television programs with a column worthy of what transpired. I mean, there was a complete psychological meltdown, a kleptomaniac ghost, a legendary tribal council, and the most mystifying sexual encounter ever filmed in the history of the Real World.
We have to start there. This shit was just I don’t even know I’m definitely getting fired for this one.
Are you Ready for Love? Only one-half of this reality-TV loving tandem is. Juliet tries to justify why she'll keep watching NBC's attempt at The Bachelor while Jacoby explains why it's just bad. Then we move on to breaking down this weekend's provocative tribal council on Survivor and the Portland roommates' "job search" on Real World. Plus, we cover this week's news in the reality TV universe, throwback shows, and Weird Watches of the Week.
You have to trust your body. Your body will tell you what to do, what to think, how to feel … you just have to listen to it. If you dent a parked car and don't leave a note, your body will punish you with guilt. If you stand close to the edge of a cliff, your body will override your brain and back off of it. If you get drunk, when you wake up, your body will make you get a Gatorade and a bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich. Your body is smarter than you are. This week, my body was telling me that it can’t watch Ready for Love.
I tried; I really did. I carved out a couple of hours and sat down, ready to love Ready for Love. My body just wouldn’t let me.
It's time to add some new shows to the GRTFL. With only Survivor and Real World in the lineup, we had to diversify. I was going to wait it out until Des made her debut as The Bachelorette on May 20 … but then this happened.
With Ready for Love, NBC is straight gunning for that “I like to watch people fall in love in the most preposterous way possible” demographic. They aren’t even being coy about it either. The trailer begins with a voiceover that says, “Hey, Bachelor fans, are you ready for a new show?” So, yeah. NBC is promoting the show as The Bachelor with a couple of twists. First twist: The girls are vetted by matchmakers who assign them to their “team.” Second twist: The bachelors are all quasi-famous, fully handsome bros. Third twist: NO CHRIS HARRISON! I'm skeptical that human beings can find soulmates on national TV without the help of the Love Shepherd, Chris Harrison, but stranger things have happened. Stranger things like Eva Longoria EP'ing this show and Bill and Giuliana Rancic hosting it.
I will include this show in the GRTFL next week, but GRTFL lifers will remember NBC’s last attempt at getting that Bachelor money, Love in the Wild, which cursed this column and my life for three months in June 2011.
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.
This week in reality TV we saw kind of sexy, mostly disgusting oil wrestling; a hilarious removal of an oil painting, and a budding affair on Survivor that is rooted in a shared love of snuggling and lack of self-awareness. But before we get to all that, this week, several members on The Challenge had the nerve to disrespect the competitive integrity of America's fifth major sport by throwing challenges, and as you can imagine, this didn't sit well with T.J. Lavin.
Camila (Battle of the Seasons, House), 50 points: Over the course of his BMX career, T.J. Lavin has broken nearly every bone in his body, been in a coma, and nearly died. When a man like this — a man that has sacrificed his body and almost his life — is put in charge of a reality TV show competition, he expects a certain level of effort.
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.