Riding Coattails: High School Reunion

I’m such a dork. I teach in the evenings, so I have to program my VCR on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday to record my favorite reality TV shows. Then, after work, I rush home as quickly as possible (which lately, due to the damn fire in the NYC subway, has been damn near impossible), wolf down some dinner, and affix myself to the sofa with my knitting needles. Are these shows really that good or do I just need a life? Hmm. That’s a rhetorical question, by the way. I’m not sure I really want people contacting me with the answer.

This week, I found myself rather torn as to which show I should write about. The Amazing Race is getting down to the wire, with only four teams left, yet all of the really interesting duos, such as Jonathan and Victoria and Lori and Bolo (and Bob and Carol and Ted and Alice…) have been eliminated from the race. I still find the show fun to watch, but it’s not exactly a nationally broadcast muse at this point.

And I would be seriously upset if my VCR faltered and I didn’t get my weekly dose of The Bachelorette, but all I really have to say about this week’s episode is, “Eeew!” I mean, Jen let Fabrice explore the back of her throat with his pointy little tongue and she still kept him around. I just don’t understand.

What I do understand is that the Street Smarts team on The Apprentice 3 is a bunch of foul-mouthed hooligans. At first, it kind of bothered me that the Donald kept referring to the Book Smarts team as “college” and the Street Smarts gang as “high school,” but now that I’ve seen a bit more of them, I think it’s an entirely appropriate label.

Certain members of the high school team displayed appallingly immature, bitchy behavior, the likes of which I am grateful to have left behind in my own life since receiving a high school diploma more than a decade ago. I’m not saying that college is the place where civility and tact are taught, because my own undergraduate experience exposed another kind of a-hole: the arrogant wanker. And it’s certainly not the case that a higher education makes somebody nicer, easier to deal with, or aware that one typically removes plastic wrap from mattresses before sleeping on them. It’s not about that at all. In fact, education doesn’t have anything to do with these problems. Bottom line: people like Brian, Kristen, Angie, Audrey, and John would probably have retained their nastiness even if they had pursued a college degree. They are all yucky people in their own way and I predict that this season, they will destroy each other.

I can’t wait.

Brian is already out of the picture, but that’s OK. That still leaves his nemesis Kristen who probably won’t be long for the game if she doesn’t stop foaming at the mouth. That is one angry woman. It was plain to see that Brian was being a butthead during their hotel renovation task and Kristen was right to call him on the mildewy carpet for being such a bad leader. However, she didn’t help matters at all by swearing at him and refusing to shut up when her teammates asked her to pipe down. Furthermore, her passive-aggressive nonsense about how “I don’t do business that way but that’s fine” showed her inability to negotiate with the rest of her team. And by the way, Kristen, I saw how you did business. I wasn’t impressed.

Not that it was really possible to negotiate with Brian, “a silly little man” as John put it. And while I agree wholeheartedly with John’s assessment of his terminated teammate, I don’t approve of name-calling as a rule. That may be a rather hypocritical statement coming from a writer who relishes the opportunity to use terms like “ass clown” and “crotch gnome,” but I ceased applying such terms in face-to-face conversations back in high school. They never improve a situation and never get you what you want. And especially in a business conflict, isn’t it important to work toward a swift resolution?

Only a few people in the Net Worth Corporation appear to understand that: Tara, Craig, and Tana. I really respected Tara’s comments about the damaging effect of infighting and her general disgust with Brian and Kristen for butting heads. She seems very together and ambitious, as well as eons more mature than some of her more senior team members.

Sadly, Audrey doesn’t possess that same kind of poise. True, she was battling a cold on the show, but her comments about toilets and what exactly people do when sitting on them didn’t put her in a good light. I don’t have a good feeling about her.

I did about Angie, but she started cursing at Kristen, my opinion of her began to go downhill. Not that I have a problem with dropping f-bombs; I do it myself all the time. But unless someone is spitting in your face or trying to cut off one of your limbs, directing such hateful language straight at another person is a po’ idea. Like name-calling, it only serves to escalate a tense situation rather than diffuse it.

Speaking of tense, I totally related to Verna’s meltdown. I’ve been known to freak out in stressful situations and my M.O., especially when I was younger, was to run away. The main difference between Verna and me is that I typically lose it without a camera crew around me. It’s better that way, really. Maybe that’s the big life lesson Verna was alluding to as she dried her eyes.

Join our newsletter

never miss the latest news, reviews, live event coverage, audio podcasts, exclusive interviews and commentary for Movies, TV, Music, Sports, Comics, Video Games!