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Friday, September 24, 2004

 

A Break from Reality

I haven't watched a lot of reality television. Most of the people on these shows remind me of the frat boys and sorority girls I didn't want to hang out with in college, so I've figured the shows were probably not my cup of tea. The episodes I have seen have proved that they're not tea at all, but rather luke-warm goat piss.

I don't, for example, understand why the people who put together The Bachelor feel the need to pause for a full three minutes, panning frantically back and forth among the vacuous retards waiting with baited breath, while the future abusive husband they all want ever so slowly picks up that final rose. Someone needs to explain to me, as well, what sort of med-fly-like life cycle these women are on that they can form these "strong emotional bonds" with a guy they've been kind-of-sort-of-dating for three days. This is like claiming to be a Chicagoan because you had a half-hour layover at O'Hare.

Just in case the mere existence of shit like this on the airwaves isn't enough to convince you that America deserves George Bush, we have magazines like US and fucking In Touch; sub-People bundles of drek which actually report on how these pre-fab "couples" are doing. And it's always BIG NEWS when they break up. Five years ago, nobody seemed particularly shocked when Darva Conger didn't go through with marrying the rapist (or whatever the hell he was) who picked her on Who Wants to Marry a Millionaire. Have we now lost so many collective brain cells that we think that the fiancees from The Bachelor or Meet the Parents or Hey I'm a Moron, Marry Me have relationships grounded in anything deeper than your average window box?

Likewise, I've heard conversations in which people expressed surprise that whatever J.C. Penney catalog model it was that won The Apprentice wasn't immediately made Vice President at Trump, Inc. Think about this for a moment. The Donald (although I really just think of him as A Donald) may look and sound like the biggest idiot to ever wear a dead golden retriever on his head, but he's been in business a long, long time. He's made a shitload of money. He's made several shitloads of money. Is there any way that he's going to hand a position of real authority to someone because they and their "team" were better at selling ice cream cones?

I can't stand Survivor and its rip-offs in part because I don't want to listen to alpha-male dipshits boastfully laying out for the viewing audience their "master plan" to get some other double-x-chromosome jackass voted off. "I've formed an alliance with Jake and Ashley, but I've formed an underground coalition with Cooper and Sasha to get rid of Logan." Your plan is not that fucking fascinating, guy. Just shove the coconuts up your ass--or whatever the "immunity challenge" is--and shut your stubbly goddamn mouth.

There are occasional reality show bits and pieces that make me smile. I think most of the stand up on Last Comic Standing is as fun to listen to as a ninety-year-old hacking up the morning's phlegm, but I do occasionally get a chuckle out of how much Jay Mohr hates what he has to do to earn a paycheck. Listen to him some time as he's explaining, for the five hundredth time, the process by which the comedians vote each other off. You can see in the set of his jaw that he'd kind of like to slit his wrists while jumping off of a tall building.

Now, I have to say that I do like The Amazing Race. For one thing, the goofy tasks they have to go through to get the clues telling them where to go next are usually at least vaguely interesting. This past season, I, for one, loved watching stick-thin models being forced to eat a full pound of caviar or a midget running down the street with a side of beef on her head or an "extreme athlete" exploding with rage because his oxen wouldn't cooperate. I like the way they identify whichever of the teams are on screen. Last season, they had a couple who'd been dating for ten years without having sex. Whenever they showed them, they'd flash "Brenda & Carl. Dating; virgins" on the screen. This year, they had a pair of dating christian models who repeatedly thanked The Lord or asked for His help in, say, walking a pack of dogs through a crowded street. When faced with a "challenge" in which they both had to cut off their hair--long, flowing brunette for her, Greatest American Hero for him--they refused and left their fate up to the lord, who saw fit to keep them in the game. No matter who the teams of two are, though, they all have wonderfully explosive moments of hatred. Many of them seem to be one poorly navigated canoe trip away from full-on domestic violence. And that's always good television.

In the end, though, I can't help but feel that reality television is taking away slots from quality scripted shows like Yes, Dear and According to Jim and Dr. Vegas. How can shitty actors be expected to make a living when shitty reality shows are preventing them? Who's going to put the food on Joey Lawrence's table? Can you look a starving Fran Drescher in the eye? Please, return to the land of make-believe and leave reality behind. Remember: in the fake world, Martin Sheen is president.

Comments:
ooh, I love reality TV. It's the only TV I watch.
 
Unfortunately, during grad school, in order to "unwind" and to release my brain from heavy lifting, I often, as you know, watched the boob tube. And, "reality" TV is the best medicine. Now that I'm out of school, I have a lot less tolerance for the "reality" crap. However, if you turn it on, it's hard to turn off--it draws you in. How will her nose look after the rhinoplasty? Will she be able to talk to a boy now? Has it changed her life like she thought it would? I want to know! Anyway, here's to reading more and watching less crap.
 
the thing to watch for (if you're a total dork like me and ended up taping The Amazing Race) is how, whenever Brandon (of Brandon and Nicole, the xtian dating couple) would pray to the lord, the editors would then cut to a shot of the sky above, indicating a benign god watching the events with a curious eye. fucking hilarious.

i am a dork.--tbo
 
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It's all about The Reveal.
Tootie and Blair got me to agree to appear on Celebrity Extreme Makeover this year, and it was such a great experience.

My pendulous breasts were made perky again, my saggy behind lifted back to the sky. After a hair dye, gastric bypass, laser eye surgery, facelift, rhinoplasty, lip transplant, eye job, tummy tuck, and 139 strategically-placed Botox injections, I was that same spitfire that was once the Appleton, WI Harvest Queen.

I loked like Jessica fucking Rabbit for The Reveal!

Unfortunately, I now suffer from strabismus, ectropion, keratitis, diplopia, bleharospasm, entropion, ptosis, vertical deviation, diffuse gangrene and a mild case of chronic botulism.

Fucking reality TV. Man, do I need a speed ball.
 
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