Summer is coming, which means a new season of The Bachelorette is nigh. This week ABC gifted us with the bios of Des's 26 prospective guys. I highly recommend you keep them handy as you listen to our podcast, as we go in-depth about each guy's responses and the abundance of deep-V-neck shirts. You can never overprepare for The Bachelorette. We also do a final roundup of the outstanding season of Survivor and mourn the breakup of one of our favorite Real World couples.
Way back in the fall, Rembert Browne mentioned to us that he knew someone who would be appearing on Survivor: Philippines. This proximate two degrees of separation from a Survivor contestant was immediately exciting, but then the someone turned out to be Malcolm Freberg — one of the most charismatic castaways ever, who convinced an ally to hand him an immunity idol at tribal council. Malcolm (and his hair) came by the Grantland studio last week to discuss his bold moves from this past season, how Jeff Probst got him to agree to a second season, and what special agent Phillip Sheppard is really like.
The white smoke is rising from Chris Harrison's Santa Monica bungalow, which can mean only one thing: We have a new Bachelorette. In keeping with the traditional Bachelor/ette continuity of succession, next season's Bachelorette was one of this season's also-rans: Desiree Hartsock.
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.
As a television show, The Bachelorette has depreciating returns. At first there are a couple dozen delusional dudes around to point and laugh at: This season, we had a goateed bar mitzvah DJ, a millionaire mushroom farmer, and a dude who carried an ostrich egg around to symbolize well, to be honest, it was never 100 percent clear why he was carrying the ostrich egg around, but that was the beauty of the show in the early going. It was a spectacle. Last night’s three-hour finale wasn’t a spectacle, it was two people making the most important decision in their lives in the least appropriate manner. While the finale provided the formatted resolution it intended when Emily the Mom accepted Jeff With One F’s proposal, it still left a lot of questions on the table: Will they actually get married? Will Arie the Race Car Driver Who Slept With a Producer be the next Bachelor? Will Jef and Emily’s wedding get its own TV show? Will jeweler Neil Lane get his own TV show? What’s up with Jef’s hair?
To address the questions still unanswered, a special Monday edition of GRTFL, with two GRTFL Top Fives, was in order. On to the scores:
If the Real World can get an entire episode out of a dead barracuda, then we can get an entire podcast out of a dead fish, too. We decided to run it back with the reality TV podcast, covering not only the wildlife of St. Thomas, but also the "Men Tell All" episode of The Bachelorette, the dark reunion show of the Real Housewives of Orange County, and native Atlantan Rembert Browne gives his take on the divisive Love and Hip Hop Atlanta. And if you're looking for new shows to pick up, I fill Jacoby in on the UK's attempt at The Bachelor and he gives me the details on the newest season of Bad Girl's Club. Hopefully this will tide you over until the Bachelorette's three-hour finale extravaganza.
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:
We decided it was time to turn our standard office conversations into a podcast. Reality tsar David Jacoby invited me to the podcast studio to talk about who Emily will choose on The Bachelorette, why I hate Laura from The Real World, the new royalty on the Real Housewives of New York, and whether Love and Hip Hop: Atlanta is even television at all. (Still unclear on that one.) And if you're not excited already, we also ponder the hypothetical, beautiful union of LeRoy (from Real World: Las Vegas) and Team USA, and our favorite Real Husband of Beverly Hills. This is for you, reality TV fans.
Delusion lies at the core of any good reality television character. This week was an especially interesting study in human beings who will create a universe in their heads that they don’t realize is not being shared with the rest of the species. In Jeff With One F from The Bachelorette's delusional universe, he doesn’t have to verbally address the fact that his family is obviously super Mormon. In Sonja from The Real Housewives of New York City’s delusional universe, she needs “one to three” interns to support her efforts just to make it. And in Brandon from Real World’s delusional universe, gorgeous women at bars drape themselves all over him because of his good looks and charisma, not the camera crew following his every move. Let’s start with him; it gets goodweird fast.
In an effort to keep up with some of the larger issues in the media, every month Grantland Racial Issues Correspondent Andrew Ti will be rounding up some of the biggest questions to hit the Yo, Is This Racist? inbox.
Ashton Kutcher and Jason Biggs: Indian Edition
May kicked off on a surprising note: A company actually backed down from some racist shit they did. Early this month, Popchips, America's favorite brand of literally unidentifiable food-style snack product, put out an ad featuring Ashton Kutcher playing a Bollywood producer named Raj, basically doing the laziest possible character based on Indian stereotypes. The ad was actually pulled from the Internet, but this news clip contains enough of it to get the gist.
Have you ever been watching The Bachelor or The Bachelorette and said to yourself, “Is it even legal for this show to have so few minorities in the cast?” Have you ever read one of these columns and said to yourself, “Is there a reality show so inherently evil that it will make Jacoby question his reality TV as a whole?” Have you ever watched Basketball Wives and said to yourself, “Is this show turning an entire generation of young women into cocktail-throwing, “You ain’t about this life” screaming crazypantses?” Never? Weird. Regardless, the answers to the questions are yes on all three counts, and the shocking/hilarious/terrifying/educationalizing details are about to be served up dripping in weird sauce. Buckle up.
I walked into Bill’s office yesterday and was all, “Hey, man, we only have one show left for the GRTFL, I was thinking about doing this thing where ” when he interrupted, “Don’t worry, I have been saving reality TV e-mails from readers for this very moment, I’ll send them to you problem solved.” Seconds later, I had a dozen hilarious reality TV e-mails in my inbox ready for evaluation. This chain of events only has two possible explanations: (1) Bill is an extremely considerate manager with incredible foresight, looking to help those out around him at all times, or (2) Bill is a Rain Man-y psychopath who meticulously combs through his e-mails to categorize them, and everyone who works at Grantland should be concerned for their safety. I am not going to tell you which one I think is closer to the truth, but I am going to tell you that I just changed the hiding place of the spare set of keys to my house.
So, without further ado, these are either actual e-mails from actual readers or completely fabricated e-mails that Bill sent himself from dummy accounts. Who cares, anyway?
My first memory of reality television dates back to the early 90's when MTV first brought us The Real World. The true story of seven strangers, picked to live in a house, work together and have their lives taped, to find out what happens, when people stop being polite and start getting real.
Most people around my age (I'm 33) watched at least one season of The Real World. It was totally intriguing. There were drunken fights, sex between roommates, people of different upbringings and sexual orientations all thrown together in some incredibly nice house that they would eventually fuck up beyond recognition. It got to the point where I couldn't wait to see how bad these sloppy kids would jack these tricked out houses up. Dishes piled in the sink, dirty sheets, and filthy bathrooms. It was a train wreck and I couldn't get enough.
This was a particularly newsy week in reality TV that included a threatened lawsuit, leaked legal documents, and a sensitive Situation. We also saw Ashley the Insanely Insecure Dancing Dentist’s reign as this season's Bachelorette come to a surprisingly entertaining end, and welcomed a new season of Jersey Shore, the show that we all watch but desperately hope is never discovered in a time capsule by aliens when our species is extinct.
It was a historic week for the Grantland Reality TV Fantasy League. There was a topless brawl, a fraudulent denial of coitus, and a concealed erection. We were one STD scare away from a complete shame cycle. These milestones made the torture of enduring all the forced conflicts, lame courtships, and clichéd montages worth it (except for the hour I spent watching Love In The Wild. Including that show in the GRTFL was the worst decision anyone at ESPN has made since ESPN Hollywood). There was so much action this week that, while watching The Challenge on Wednesday, I said to myself “I really hope C.T. doesn’t eat somebody, because I already have too much to write about."