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Reality Hit List, July 8: It’s Getting BetterPage 2
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Finally, there’s Zack, whose behavior on Wednesday’s episode is going to take an entire subsection to sort out. The thing is, on a purely physical level, I actually agree with Zack that he’s probably the hottest guy there. But it’s not like there’s a significant difference in physical attractiveness between him and most of the other guys, and Zack’s personality just sucks. Combine the two factors and he winds up being one of the least attractive guys there. Case in point - the fact that he would actually come out and say he was the hottest guy there in the middle of having a temper tantrum because Amy actually (gasp!) kissed some other people in a kissing contest. Not that he seemed to have any qualms about kissing then-roommate Amanda later on, mind you - and actually, that in and of itself spurred a whole new round of “he said/she said”: Amanda said Zack started hitting on her, while Zack claimed Amanda started it. The footage clearly showed Zack making the first physical move, but since it was in flashback with no sound, for all we know Amanda could have asked him to kiss her just before that. Then later, when new roommate Kavita asked him if he wanted her, he offered up perhaps the most unenthusiastic “I guess” in history, which is, I would imagine, just what every girl longs to hear - not that this stopped either one of them from making out, either. I was literally coming up with different ways to call Zack one of the biggest, most narcissistic asses in history in this portion of the column in my head; then he dropped the bombshell that his mother abandoned him in a shopping cart when he was younger and my jaw just dropped. My immediate reaction from the cynical side of me - the side that wants to see an American Idol contestant perform Martika’s “Toy Soldiers” in front of a kickline of dancing hypodermic needles - was Deborah Harry’s line from “Well, Did You Evah?”: “Sounds like pure soap opera - I may cry!” But then, the more I thought about it, the more everything made a weird sort of sense: Zack, quite understandably, has a classic fear of abandonment.
I never thought I’d see the day when I’d be applying psychoanalysis to a Paradise Hotel contestant any more than I thought I’d ever find myself wanting to type the sentence, “Toni from Love Cruise, acting as the voice of reason, says…” but speaking as someone who has quite a sizeable fear of abandonment of my own (although thankfully, nothing that drastic ever happened to me), most of Zack’s behavior is a lot more understandable (although still not acceptable) now: even seemingly throwaway sentences like telling Amanda, “I hate it when people leave,” when she was packing to move into the single room take on a new significance. I think he throws himself into working out for the same reason I used to cry as a kid if I got anything less than an A on a report card: if he’s as “perfect” as possible, people won’t go away. When people still reject him in spite of his “perfection,” like earlier when Kristin and Amanda chose other guys for their initial roommates, it completely scrambles his thought processes and agitates him. Lastly, but significantly, I think the main reason he behaves like such a jackass is to test people: if they truly like him, they’ll put up with him no matter what.
There are some serious flaws with this way of thinking, however. For example, Zack could be the most gorgeous guy in the world and a girl could still reject him because he’s brunette and she only likes blondes. That has nothing to do with him personally or anything he did; that’s her preference. Also, most people - the kind of people you want in your life - aren’t going to put up with being tested. The kind of people who will stick around and put up with that kind of treatment have their own issues and the whole thing winds up on a downward spiral into codependent hell. So you don’t want to go around being an ass to people, but on the other hand, nor do you want to go around constantly crying that you were abandoned as a child, either. The trick is to find a happy medium. How, you ask? When I’ve perfected that for myself, I’ll gladly let you know! In the meantime, I’ve gone from wanting to throttle the guy to wanting to know more of where his head’s at.
I probably won’t be seeing much more of him, though - now that Big Brother will be competing against the Wednesday episodes, I most likely won’t be watching Paradise Hotel on any sort of regular basis, so I’m especially grateful that we have a thorough recapper here at RNO in Jeffrey Clinard to keep us all abreast on the show. Also, between covering the Tuesday episodes of Big Brother (unexpectedly having to cover Brandon’s departure is the reason why this column is delayed this week) and possibly another show in the near future, plus additional duties I’ve taken on as Assistant Editor of this site, this column itself is most likely going to be shorter in the future - more of a few quick thoughts/highlights of the week thing - and possibly more sporadic, although I’ll try to avoid that if I can help it. To be blunt, as much as I love writing, this site, and reality television, if I don’t stop myself, I’ll wind up spending the entire summer in front of my computer 24/7!
One final thought: first Survivor: The Amazon’s Heidi, now Paradise Hotel’s Amy. Is “I’m caught between a rock and a hard stone” the new “agreeance”?
Brian James is an actor/writer/singer in New York City and the Assistant Editor of RealityNewsOnline. 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 of each show, 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 BrianJamesRNO@earthlink.net.
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