Monday, May 10, 2010

Putting the reality back in reality television

There are only really five to 10 days a year I get to watch television. I’m not talking TV on DVD, occasional late night talk shows, the mandatory “30 Rock” viewing each week or a quick peek at “Dancing With The Stars,” “American Idol” or “The New Adventures Of Old Christine,” either. I’m talking pure, unabashed, unashamed television viewing. I’m talking blow an entire afternoon staring aimlessly at whatever is in front of you, finding pleasure in doing absolutely nothing at all.

The first of those days occurred a little over a month ago. In case you, the amazing reader, forgot, I gushed over discovering the fine intricacies of the Disney Channel. The second of those days? Well, after seeing my weekend dissolve like Alka Seltzer in front of my poor eyes, I took up a few hours on a couch filled with a pastime I used to love, back in a day when I was able to truly watch television the way it’s supposed to be watched. What’s that, you ask?

Reality television.

I bounced between three different shows (two on VH1, and one on MTV), and I learned three things…

1. My goodness, do I miss “The Hills.”
2. VH1 really, honestly will give anyone their own reality show.
3. “Basketball Wives” could very easily make me an awfully unproductive human being if given the opportunity.

That said, I thought taking a look at each show would be essential. I mean, it’s only fair, after the treatment we gave Hannah Montana and friends, right? Besides, could you think of a better way to start out a Monday than to discuss some of the finer things reality television can offer? Didn't think so.

The Hills

Used to watch this show religiously until taking up the 50 other jobs I have now. Well, that, and I opted against having cable television. True: The first three seasons worth of DVDs still sit close to the very desk I type this on. They aren’t mine, but here, nonetheless. Anyways, what happened to Lauren?! The exclamation point is added for effect. She’s gone, OK, but replacing her with Kristin? Really? Loved her on “Laguna Beach,” but she’s way too old and prickly these days. The two episodes I stumbled across showed her in a light that seemed as though she would have loved to have been anywhere else in the world but on this show. She’s far too skinny these days, too. Spencer and Heidi are still insufferable and even Audrina got a bit too well known for her own good (she brings Ryan Cabrera to a party?! Are you kidding me?). Brody’s definitely slept with 80 percent of the women to ever be on that show, and smart money says he never settles down with any of them. It’s a good thing this season is the last. Really don’t know how much further they could take it.

What Chili Wants

Ugh. She’s a very pretty woman, but what is this? How many “I’m a celebrity, find me a date now” shows can there be? I mean, if Ray J has one, I guess anything’s possible, right? The teaser for next week’s show sees the singer go into a therapy session to talk about her romantic relationship with…Usher. And this all comes after she gets stood up by…Floyd Mayweather. Probably the worst of the three shows I gazed at, this seems way too unreal or insincere to be taken seriously. Who is that woman trying to help her find love? Is that checklist she has for guys they play at the opening of the show real? How long until Salt N Pepa show up? Can’t last more than a season. It just can’t. Then again, Ray J is back with Brandy.

Basketball Wives

I liked Shaquille O’Neal’s wife, Shaunie, way before coming across this show. It’s the hair, baby, the hair. But why does she act as the Godfather to all these other wives without ever really being in the actual show? It’s like watching a Real World/Road Rules Challenge because you like Travis Pastrana. That said, this show is fab-u-lous. Keep it funky: None of those women’s husbands are being faithful. I was lucky enough to stumble across the episode featuring a dinner at Matt Barnes’ house, too. “So what do you think about this Tiger Woods business,” one of the women asks Barnes, who is sharing dinner with his fiancée and two other wives. “I just think we should all stay out of other people’s business,” he replies. Oh. No. He. Didn’t. No way that dude is staying honest to his wife-to-be. Biggest question: When will there be a “WNBA Husbands.” You know those ladies are gettin’ it in.

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