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Archive for the ‘Reality’ Category

It’s time to face facts, people. Project Runway and America’s Next Top Model have had their time in the sun. And that time has passed. As for Bravo’s meek attempts to recreate the shows, I say, “Nice try.” But Bravo will have to suffice for now being the home of cranky chefs and filthy rich, bored, bitter, out-of-touch housewives. And Jeff Lewis (LOVE).

Let’s move on, shall we? And why not go bigger? Why not go GAYER? You want bitches? You want clothes? You want drama? You want an endless stream of questions with no sign of stopping? Do you see where I’m going with this? Are you having problems following me?

RuPaul’s Drag Race. It premiered on Monday, Feb. 1 but I’ve TiVoed the first episode and am set to watch it tonight. Drag Race is the new Wednesdays, y’all. Don’t believe me? Even the website looks AMAZING.

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Sorry about the silence around here. I’m battling a deadly disease (sounds better than “the sniffles”) and Beal’s life, it sounds like from Twitter, is basically unraveling at the seams.

Anyway, here’s a quick Round Up of the TV I’ve caught over the last two weeks and my thoughts because, oh, you are DYING to hear my thoughts.

Glee Fall Finale (Last Wed. 12/9)

Thoughts: First of all, kudos to FOX for brazenly creating a new thing- “the fall finale.” And we all just started saying it like shows freezing for months around the holidays isn’t a completely usual thing anyway. They’re called “reruns because everyone’s out shopping and putting on their winter weight.”

As for the episode itself, I seriously love this show and I would be remiss if I didn’t say that I’ve TiVoed back and watched Rachel belting out “Don’t Rain On My Parade” a dozen times since the show aired last week, the little gay man inside my straight woman’s body was doing cartwheels- CARTWHEELS.

Here’s my one problem- Glee is not the tightest-written show, as I’ve worried over before. They let storylines drop left and right (Artie and Tina- really, there’s nothing residual from that whole thing? And did crazy Terri actually tell Quinn she’s not taking the baby anymore? That seems like a HUGE hole) but this one just kills me. The Glee kids panic because the other teams stole their musical numbers for Sectionals, WHATEVER WILL WE DO? Here’s a thought- how about perform one of the DOZENS of other numbers you rehearsed all season long under the guise of a set-list for the competition. “Keep Holding On?” “Hair/Crazy in Love?” “True Colors?” “Jump?” You had routines and everything. So confused.

Top Chef Finale (Last Wed. 12/9)

Thoughts: Kevin was off his game and by the end of judging, I knew he was sunk. Just a heart-breaking loss for all of us who were a little creeped out by the Voltaggio brothers. I have to say, though, I think Michael deserved the win. His dishes were the best and he’s more innovative than his brother. Also, way to go for the cheap emotional hit by bringing their mother into the equation, Bravo. I could always count on you for the obvious blow.

So I guess we’re stuck with Michael “Blue Steel” Voltaggio. God help us all.

The Sing-Off (All Week on NBC)

Thoughts: My GOD, this show is terrible. TERRIBLE. Nick Lachey, as pleased as I am to see you working, you need to take your beefy hands off the mike you’re strangling and go back to making Vanessa some muffins, or whatever the hell you’ve been up to. The showboating, the jazz hands, the expressive facial movements that make my insides die. Last night, my friend remarked that all she wants is for the dude from the Police Academy to show up as a contestant, making all those sound effect noises and putting everyone to shame. That would be amazing. At least make him a judge next to Ben Folds and the King & Queen of Irrelevance. Judi says no.

“The Situation” and Snookie on The Tonight Show (Tues. 12/15 on NBC)

Thoughts: Snookie (of the now infamous Jersey Shore- like we needed yet another example of how MTV has turned from the cool older brother who lives in the attic and still has a sweet record collection to a $2 whore trying to get her five year old into beauty pageants so she could take her boyfriend Carl on that trip to Tijuana) admits she only likes guys who use STEROIDS. The Situation gives our Co-Co the best nickname ever (“The SOLUTION.” COME ON) And Italian-Americans everywhere, including myself, try frantically to remind everyone of the days when people only thought we were murderers and tax-evaders. So, yeah, awesome TV. Watch the clips here.

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by Beal

I don’t mean “awful” like The Nanny is awful, I mean “awful” like “THE SECOND (I Didn’t Know I was Pregnant is still worse) MOST DISTURBING SHOW I’VE EVER SEEN!!” What the hell is wrong with these people? I watched the premiere several months ago and blocked it from my memory. This A&E program, which airs after Intervention on Monday nights, takes a similar approach to a behavioral problem as it’s predecessor. Two HOARDERS are presented and described, we meet their families and then a trained professional comes in to help them. EVERY one of them resists the help. MOST of them are facing foreclosure or eviction, yet they still cannot part with garbage and shit (they are literally unable to throw away fecal matter and trash, repeat, these people SAVE shit).

hoarders

Last night I was having a little trouble falling asleep aka I was in the mood to channel surf until my eyes closed themselves. I watched some reruns and some talk shows, a bit of an informercial and then got sucked into Hoarders. I can’t even wrap my brain around this show, specifically the affliction for which it sheds light on. Compulsive hoarding is one modern crazy “disease” that I will just never understand, and I refuse to be sympathetic towards it. Sorry if that sounds cold but,  THROW IT AWAY ALREADY! Large crews of men with dump trucks come into a person’s home for a routine cleaning and these whackjobs cannot part with 25 year old pill bottles, rotten pumpkins or a blanket their child once napped with. Meanwhile the “professional” sent there to assist in stabilizing the hoarder mentally prevents any and all progress of the cleaning because she doesn’t want to upset the crazy pack rat, who insists on TOUCHING every item before it is saved or thrown out (saved). Here’s a thought: this person is going to be HOMELESS and lose EVERYTHING if their house is not cleaned up within the alloted time. Explain that to them and then get to work! Throw everything out that’s toxic (which is MOST of their shit) and let them hyperventilate. For one, it prevents them from becoming a hoarding hobo but more importantly, it makes for much a much more emotional (ahem, entertaining) hour. I mean, if they’re going to exploit these people for entertainment anyway, might as well do it right.

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by Judi

5. Yes, Dear (2000-2006)

I challenge you to watch more than a solid minute of this clip. IT’S NOT POSSIBLE to be more bored with a sitcom. Do you know what’s duller than watching a baby all day? Watching someone else watching a baby in the guise of entertainment. Now, I am one of those people who finds a great deal of comfort in sitcoms (the cheesier the better, let’s go), in the structure, the laugh track, the wacky neighbors, the tired plot lines. But I cannot stomach a sitcom that’s “phoning it in”, especially when there are some really brilliant shows out there that don’t get half a break. They canceled Samantha Who? after two seasons but this crime-against-sitcom-nature lasted for SIX WHOLE YEARS. Compare the two for yourself. (Clip with the dude from Boston Common and a baby or BILLY ZANE? This isn’t even a choice really)

4. Access Hollywood (1996-Present)

There’s a very solid chance that Access Hollywood will outlive me. Do you find that as depressing as I do? I understand that we, as a culture, simply can’t help ourselves when it comes to tabloid-mania and How Sad is Jen Now and PREGNANT CELEBRITIES OMG WE LOVE THEM. But at least when I read US Weekly at the supermarket, I don’t have Billy Bush’s voice yapping in my ear. (He has a radio show too, I just discovered. Who the hell is listening to that on their commute to work every day? I hope whoever he is, he doesn’t have a shotgun in the backseat). It’s all about my hatred of Billy Bush really. TiVo knows better by now, needless to say, if my yelping and constant stream of, “No no no no no no no no” when it tries to tape an episode is any indication. I’m going to put this in the simplest terms imaginable: I would rather get a gyno exam in Time Square at eight in the morning than watch Billy Bush and Teri Hatcher go shopping for bras.

3. Jon & Kate Plus 8 (2007-Present?)

I used to really enjoy Jon and Kate, back when it wasn’t completely embarrassing to declare your love for hard-ass Kate and her tyrannical ways and the way Jon just sat there like a defeated lump. Six back-to-back episodes of their eight kids roaming around the yard was solid entertainment to me on a Sunday afternoon (those kids are precious, come on). And then the SCANDAL. Which is one thing but the pair of them have suddenly morphed from decent people who stumbled into a reality show to Reality Show People who would do anything to keep their names in lights for one more week, at the expense of eight adorable nuggets. It’s nauseating. I won’t even dignify this space with a clip, that’s how disgusted I am.

2. Newhart (1982-1990)

I admit this is a bit of a jump, from reality show toads to a person who many people regard as a national treasure. And while I enjoy Elf as much as the next person, I just- I don’t get Bob Newhart. I don’t find him amusing at all. His show is kind of the equivalent of when I was a kid and we’d be driving home at night and Magic 106.7 was playing and the DJ (David Allen Bouche) had one of those voices that was supposed to be soothing but really he would stretch out the pauses to OBSCENE lengths so that every sentence took forever and it felt like any second now, someone would leap into the backseat and shove bamboo shoots up my fingernails just so I would have something else to think about. That’s what watching him on television is like for me.

1. Paris is My New BFF (2008-2009)

There will come a time, mark my words, when ALL OF US, all of us in America, will have That Moment- That Moment where we say, as a nation, that we cannot cannot CANNOT watch MTV ever ever ever again. No, not even when the Video Music Awards are on, no no no. Something will come along that is so plainly abominable that not even the value of a True Life marathon can wipe away the stench of putrid television filth.

For me, that moment came when someone at MTV said, “Let’s give Paris Hilton a TV show.” She pouts, she poses, she tortures America. And I’m just saying No.

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by Judi

Television is a passive experience, to say the least. In fact, is there anything MORE passive than sitting motionless on your couch, watching a flickering screen while your hand methodically plunges into a bag of Baked Lays? Maybe if you’re in a coma and can’t open your eyes (aka my worst nightmare).

The thing is, watching television doesn’t have to be all that passive. We speak volumes in what we choose to watch and not watch. And, in fact, by choosing NOT to watch some shows and watching others, we can actually make a difference. (Cue patriotic music)

jonkate8s1202251

Take, for example, Jon & Kate Plus 8. I used to love this show, way back before Kate Gosselin became the answer to US Weekly’s prayers. I can remember, exactly one year ago, when I was living with my friends, having just moved to Chicago, and having marathon viewings of the show on the weekends when TLC saw fit to air their cash cow in solid six hour blocks. We even managed to get my friend Adam hooked. I’d been following the show for a while and got a kick out of Kate’s aggressive intensity, Jon’s monosyllabic reaction to pretty much everything (talk about passive- lord) and the adorableness of their eight children. Watching that chaos made our lives seem so simple, the quiet and lack of overwhelming responsibility so appealing. And I’m not the only one who felt that way. Indeed, most parents with two or three children of their own to contend with finished an episode of J&KP8 with a sigh of relief.

And now? That tabloid explosion that was heard around the globe has ruined the show for me. None of us have any idea, not really, about what’s really going on and the conjecture on both sides has, of course, blown the situation way out of proportion. They’re a couple getting separated- that’s all. What I find reprehensible is that the viewers of that show have long stated that one of the main draws is the opportunity to watch these kids grow up. And we have. And now we’re buying tabloid magazines with their pictures splashed over the covers. It’s nauseating. It’s hurtful and damaging and this sickening focus on a DIVORCE brings no value to anyone. And I think, honestly, that we can do better.

Sadly, as the show has recently garnered its highest ratings to date, I seem to be in the minority on that point. But maybe it’s just because the American public is under the impression that there’s no proper cable-reality substitute. SAY NO MORE. You’ve come to the right place. Ladies and gentlemen, if you have been avoiding canceling your J&KP8 season pass because of the void it will leave in your important TV schedule, I would like to introduce you to a very important person.

ruby_300

Anyone who has seen Ruby on the Style Network, a channel I didn’t even know I had a year ago, just saw that picture and clapped. For the rest of you, here’s a little introductory info on Style’s top-rated program.

Show: Ruby

Channel: Style Network

Location: Savannah, GA

Premise: Ruby, your sassy, super-sweet new best friend, was almost 500 lbs when she went to her doctor and faced a cold, hard truth- if something didn’t change soon, she was going to die. The news seemed to hit home for Ruby who decided the only thing to do was declare outright war on her predicament- in short order, she had a trainer, a nutritionist, her doctor and a therapist enlisted to help her conquer her weight loss once and for all.

What’s Happening Now: As we begin our second season, Ruby is mourning the loss of her father whom she says is the only man who has ever loved her unconditionally. Her grieving has proven a major setback for her diet, leaving her with no will to follow her current weight-loss program. There’s also her ex-boyfriend Denny (pretty much Mark Consuelo’s evil twin) lurking around, gifting her with too-small jeans and fruit bouquets (watch her best friends Georgia and Jeff try not to strangle him), and the continuing struggle of living in a world that, at times, seems far too small.

Why We Need Ruby: It’s a simple premise, like a slowed-down makeover montage in a romantic comedy. Except there are no quick fixes here. There’s no drastic surgery, no six hours at the gym like on The Biggest Loser, no frills, nothing. Ruby is not trying to change her life Hollywood-style and the fact that the weight loss is a long-term goal makes her smaller victories and setbacks so much more compelling. The word “inspirational” gets thrown around Ruby a lot but there’s a reason for that- her desire to change and to change the right way is just so foreign in entertainment, where we’ve become so impatient for the sexy, flashy results, the before-and-after picture, that we forget that it’s the journey that matters- (inspirational music swells) that it’s the journey where we really learn about human nature and what people can achieve when they set their minds and hearts to something.

What’s lovely too is that after a few episodes, you begin to get a sense that if we, the viewers, encourage Ruby to keep going, that we’re behind her and support her and are wishing her well, we could actually make a difference in seeing her realize her goal. With television, how often do you really have that kind of opportunity? Don’t you agree that something like that is infinitely more powerful and valuable than lining the pockets of a bunch of tabloid rags?

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by Judi

key_art_flipping_out

Does it surprise you to learn that this is my favorite reality show? Are you concerned about me, when you discover that every once in a while I haunt the deplorable, horribly organized Bravo website in hopes of seeing a premiere date for this program?

Will you be there to feel my head and take my temperature when I watch the first episode, giddy with joy, interrupting you every so often to reiterate the fact that I really, honestly do like Jeff and think he’s completely justified in being an anal ninnypinny when everyone around you is a COMPLETE moron (except for Zoila and Jenny of course. And Ryan. Shit. That’s right. They got rid of the moron last season.)

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by Judi

A few recent musings on summer TV offerings.

More dancing, less crying...

More dancing, less crying...

  • I really, really hate these reality shows that force you to watch weeks of auditions and try-outs before they actually start the show. And do the episodes need to be TWO HOURS LONG? So You Think You Can Dance is a fine example as apparently FOX believes I have nothing better to do than watch both the contestants and panel of judges cry for two hours straight. Seriously, everyone was crying last week. My friend said it’s because dancers are basically theater students, trying to wring out emotional drama out of the smallest infraction, but I don’t care what the reason is. You’re a hot dancer. Stop crying. Nobody’s forcing you to dance on a very dangerous fishing boat or anything. Seriously, stop it.

kathy-griffin-eats-it

  • Is Kathy Griffin officially off the D List? Cause, I feel like she is. Don’t you? I mean, let’s bump her up to C List at the very least. When I feel defensive of Kathy Griffin over BETTE MIDLER, it has to indicate a change in the air.

tori_and_dean

  • I’ve completely forgotten to watch Tori and Dean this season, like completely. I think sometimes you need to treat crappy TV like a crowded closet. Toss your clothes in a pile and if you’ve forgotten you own it, get rid of it.
Wow, best caption ever.

Wow, best caption ever.

  • E! has responded to my Kendra post by playing “Adventures in Babysitting” this afternoon. And, quite frankly, the ploy is working. I think I love you again, E! If this were a summer blockbuster about tornadoes, we would totally be getting back together right now. (OMG Vincent D’Onfrio with your precious blond hair. I so prefer you as Mechanic Thor to your throaty overacting on Law & Order)

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