Reality Bytes #1

Reality Bytes #1 (July 17 2006)

– Yeah, not a really original title, but what can ya do? So anyway, I’ve been wanting to try a reality-TV catchall rant to cover the fairly wide spectrum of crap TV that I watch in a given week, and hopefully inspire myself to write about stuff other than wrestling. So this, much like my early wrestling rants, is a work in progress and should be treated as such.

This is not a recap, it’s a rant.

Topic #1: Big Brother All-Stars.

Easily my favorite reality show out of the bunch infesting TV, because it works on a lot of levels. Especially this season.

I had started watching with the original season, which bored me and everyone else to tears, but picked it up again in the fifth season because my wife watched it all the time. And of course I was cheering for the Sovereign Six along with everyone else last season, which makes the inclusion of everyone’s favorites this year all the more fun.

But what really gives BB another level of coolness this year, I think, is the total disdain for the contestants that the producers seem to have. It’s like a bunch of Daffy Ducks running around while Bugs Bunny harasses them with the magic paintbrush. Truly the most ridiculous type of celebrity you can have is the “reality show star,” because the entire genre is predicated on “real” people for the viewers to identify with, and once they become D-list celebrities, the whole appeal is not watching the underdog common people rising above their peers, but watching them fall flat on their faces and be humiliated. And that’s where Big Brother comes in this year, collecting the biggest group of self-important egomaniacal twats and then putting them in competitions where they have to knock each other off pedestals, root in the garbage, or eat slop for dinner. Truly there’s a demented type of genius going on here.

As for the show itself, I’m firmly pulling for Kaysar or Janelle to win, but I wouldn’t bet money on them. Howie and Mike Boogie are obviously there for comic relief, and there’s not much more unintentionally comical than a pair of grown men dubbing themselves “Dr. Will” and “Mike Boogie” and then having matching shirts made. Much like Dingo on Hamsterwatch, however, my concern is less who wins than how much they backstab and insult each other for my entertainment. 14 drama queens in one house = good entertainment value. I can’t wait for the producers to start weapons laying around the house and inciting them to battle to the death for the Golden Power of Veto. The Romans had it right, man. For pure, guilt-free trash TV entertainment, this show is your best bet, whether you’ve watched it before or not.

Topic #2: Hell’s Kitchen

Another one of my favorite shows, because everyone in line for a top chef job is so generally inept that it’s hilarious to imagine any of them trying to run a McDonalds, let alone a Vegas hotel complex. Is Gordon Ramsey seriously contemplating giving a restaurant to a guy who dubs himself “K-Grease” and can’t learn to pull up his pants? Or the salad chef who’s in love with him? Or a former prisoner? Did they just round up people from the street for this season? But that’s what’s so great about the show — the stupider they are, the funnier Gordon gets. There’s a reason why he’s the real star of the show.

However, editing wackiness keeps it from truly ascending to the upper echelon of junk TV. Hyping next week’s show with Gordon screaming “There’s blood everywhere!” and then having it turn out to be undercooked lamb is not quite the drama that most people are looking for. I do, however, enjoy the cattiness from the female side of thing, as the contestants were obviously chosen from the graduating class of Whiny Bitch School with a major in Clawing Each Others’ Eyes Out. I would like to state for the record that I wouldn’t eat anything prepared by any of them.

Monday’s show was good, but really hammered home how everyone but Heather, Garrett and Keith were totally out of their league and ready to go home. Sara has seemingly forgotten that she’s not playing Survivor, which will likely send her home next week. I’m just waiting for someone to get Garrett REALLY pissed off, so he can regress to prison and shank someone with a lamb bone. You know you want to see it.

Topic #3: Canada’s Next Top Model

Truly the most hilariously bad reality show on TV right now, and unfortunately those in the US don’t get to see the brilliance of mentally deficient Canadian girls fighting for a “top model” contract with a toothpaste company in the fashion capital of the world, Victoria, B.C. Cheap-looking and cheaply-produced, drama comes from one of the major contenders suffering from an eating disorder, which is mocked by the other two remaining girls and brushed off as a candy stash. The only girl who CAN model, Sisi, is dismissed by the judges for not growing as a model, despite her being the only one with actual modeling experience. And the only thing funnier than the self-important fashionistas on the American version of the show is even more self-important ones on the Canadian show, who seem to forget that if they were truly as important to the fashion world as they think, they likely wouldn’t be based out of Victoria. Thankfully this show will be shot and put out of it’s misery on Wednesday, hopefully never to return, along with whoever wins and the host.

Topic #4: Rock Star: Supernova

I had high hopes for this show as a total car wreck (see one paragraph above) in the vein of VH1’s “Supergroup,” but the show hasn’t bared its claws like I was hoping it would. However, there’s still another 11 weeks to go and cases of liquor for Tommy Lee to go through, so all hope is not lost yet. However, while the performances have generally been more consistent and rockin’ than your average episode of [insert country] Idol tend to be, song repetition and general song choice by the producers have been brutal thus far, notably pissing me off with multiple appearances of Coldplay thus far. Even worse, “Supernova” isn’t even a real group yet, so it’s tough to audition for a group who haven’t defined their sound yet. Whereas last year’s version revived the career of INXS and made J.D. Fortune into a star, this season exists only to be on TV, and anyone who thinks that the promised “world tour” will be anything but a phoned-in paycheque for the participants is kidding themselves. Tommy can hardly even be bothered to tour with Motley Crue these days, and I don’t see Supernova doing anything musically more intriguing for him than the Crue ever did. It’s a good show for the performances, but the general format and drama-generation need a serious makeover.

More next week, hopefully. Thoughts? Comments? You know the address.