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Reality Hit List, June 23: Hope and “Reality”Page 2
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I think it’s mainly this: whoever cast this show definitely knew what they were doing. Even if the groping scandal had never come to light, Rob would still come across as a vapid boor - but then again, so did Evan most of the time. What makes this show different, I think, is that for the most part, the remaining women who aren’t named Paige seem to be reasonably intelligent and self-assured with fairly decent personalities as opposed to obnoxious, conceited, or full of themselves. Therefore, there’s a built-in feeling that they could definitely do much better than this lunkhead, so if they’d rather choose the money, hey, more power to them!
As far as Paige, yeah, she still needs to be shot, if nothing else just for “I’m going on a DAAAAAAAAAAAAAATE!” and “I do want to win and the fact that I may not win is really scary!” alone. She also read waaaaaaaay too much into Rob’s “You’re too young for me!” comment (as much as I may rip on the guy, to me it honestly seemed like he was just kidding), made the idiotic decision not to say anything to Rob when given the opportunity just before he had to make his choice for elimination (really, just a quick “I had a nice time on the date” or something would have sufficed), and “I will get what I deserve… but sometimes I DOOOON’T!” is the new “It hurts my HEART!” The show would still have us believe she makes Marcia Brady look like Lizzie Borden, though. She may be a two-time DWI offender plus more, but she’s a sweet, sincere two-time DWI offender plus more, damn it! (Incidentally, Paige’s website store sure removed the LovePaigeJones.Com Frosted Beer Mug in a hurry. Never fear, though - the Camisole is still available!)
Kelly had me when she was laughing at Paige gushing over Rob’s poetry, then kind of lost me when she was pouting and grilling Erin over her solo date. She can’t really be falling for the idiot, can she? Can she?!? I suppose we’ll find out more next week, when Rob finds out about the women’s million dollar offer. Pass the popcorn!
Meet My Folks is back, but I’m wondering if they’re not shooting themselves in the foot with all these multiparters. (They had at least one other back when it was briefly on midseason.) To me, part of the appeal of the show is that it’s disposable. Almost every other reality show requires you to make a weekly commitment. Meet My Folks, in contrast, is something fun and frivolous to watch if you’re around and are so inclined, and there’s something to be said for that. Requiring a commitment from viewers - even a small temporary one - would seem to take away from part of what makes it unique.
Normally, The Amazing Race is my antidote for all the lunacy on the other shows, but this week, it may as well have been called The Amazing Romper Room. Seriously - have you ever seen a bunch of grown people so obsessed with lines and “cutsies” in your life? By the time Jeff was spitting that Reichen & Chip were acting “privileged” and Chip was wailing about his integrity, I was screaming, “Fer chrissakes, it’s The Amazing Race, not The Amazing Crucible!!” Honestly, if this keeps up, poor Phil’s going to be handing out milk, cookies, and nap mats at the pitstops!
Furthering the general “nyah nyah”-ness that was this week, Tian insisted Jaree throw away a map because it was “too much weight;” [air traffic controller] Steve threatened to slash Reichen & Chip’s and Tian & Jaree’s tires(!); Josh practically held his breath until he turned blue to get his dad to take the train to Salzburg - the completely wrong decision; Kelly continued to shriek that she was right when she was, in fact, wrong; and her teammate/fiancé Jon commented that “a woman’s orgasm is hard to come by, but when they finally get it they’re good for a week,” which would seem to say a lot more about his abilities than anything else.
Before this episode, I came to the conclusion that my favorite teams were Reichen & Chip, Monica & Sheree, Tian & Jaree, and Kelly & Jon. I’m still sticking to that list, but lately I feel like some of them are practically daring me to stop supporting them. One other thing I’ve noticed - at this point last season, I already had runaway favorites and teams I hated. This season, even four episodes into it, my favorites seem more by default, and while I don’t care for some teams as much, I don’t actively hate them with the white-hot intensity of ten thousand suns, either. Odd.
Elsewhere, Dave declared, “Steve and I, we’re both air traffic controllers - we don’t make mistakes!” Gee, that must be why they’re always in the lead, then. Meanwhile, Monica & Sheree reminded us yet again that their husbands were professional athletes, just in case we’d started thinking they were sanitation engineers or something wacky like that. Oh, and I’m going to take the high road. I’m not going to make one comment about virgin Chuck panicking because “it’s hot and tight!” That would be far too easy. Unlike, come to think of it - OK, I’ll stop.
Don’t get me wrong - I still love The Amazing Race. Among other things, its editors are so talented that I was completely in the dark as to which team was left to be eliminated - because they’d cleverly completely cut Steve & Josh out of the final fifteen minutes and I’d forgotten all about them! Furthermore, what other show can have you saying, “Awwww… good for them!” when one of your least favorite teams talk about how the Race brought them closer together? I’m just starting to wonder if perhaps this isn’t one of its stronger seasons. However, a weak season of The Amazing Race is still head-and-shoulders above most shows on television right now. And on the plus side for the sanity of me and any other journalist covering it - now there’s only one Steve left!
Still, though, I find it telling that out of all the shows I’m watching right now, these are the questions that keep me on the edge of my seat the most: will Jack and Mary be able to put their pride and stubbornness aside to have a successful relationship? Will staunch Catholics Maeve and Johnny blow their top when they find out Frank not only has been having an affair, but wants a divorce to boot? How far will Delia go to save her marriage? How will Bucky react when he finds out Faith isn’t scared off by every man - just him? Will Bucky and Seneca convince Nell there may be hope for her aneurysms? Like I said, these Ryan’s Hope characters may be fictional and they may be from 1975, but they’re a lot more real than a lot of “real” people on the air today.
Brian James is an actor/writer/singer in New York City. An avid reality show, Passions, early Ryan’s Hope, retro music, and Internet discussion board junkie, he can be found holding up "Will Snark For Food" signs in subway stations as he continues to search for that elusive "day job." Brian would like to stress that his writings are based solely on what he sees in each episode, and realizes that there may sometimes be more to the story and that people may behave quite differently under normal circumstances. Comments and cybertomatoes accepted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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