Tuesday, March 30, 2010

16 and Pregnant: Nicole

Did anyone else want to give tonight's 16 and Pregnant baby daddy a haircut?  Or at least a comb?

Does this make me old?

Another bit of a snoozer this week, in my opinion.  Nicole and Tyler seemed like a sweet couple, albeit a little unmotivated.  He obviously loves her a lot, and loves the baby, which is a refreshing change from the d-bags that were around earlier this season.  Now if only he hadn't been kicked out of school when he was 12 years old.

Watching this show as a (mostly) responsible adult is weird.  It kind of makes me want to stand outside of high schools and hand out condoms.  I mean, what happened to these kids?  I have always (ALWAYS) been terrified of getting pregnant.  Like, legitimately freaked out.  Like, let's wrap both of ourselves in Saran Wrap and then stand in separate rooms and then we can have sex, that sounds like a great idea.  These girls don't appear to have the fear of God in them when it comes to getting knocked up.  And while I grew up in a pretty laid-back household with some pretty cool parents, that was one thing that was definitely on the "do not do" list.

And then you watch tonight's episode and Nicole's mom said that when she found out her 16-year-old daughter, a high school sophomore, was pregnant, she was happy for her, it's like, say what?  Speak into my good ear, woman, did you just say you were happy about your underaged daughter having unprotected sex and having a baby?

I wonder why these girls don't feel like they have choices.  Not just choices between adoption, abortion, or keeping their baby; but choices to have safe sex or have no sex, to go on birth control, to tell their boyfriends no sex without condoms.  And then the mirror gets turned back on all of us, not just their parents, for encouraging a society where underaged girls have a hard time accessing birth control, where girls are made to feel like they can't stand up to their boyfriends (how many of these 16 and Pregnant girls say their boyfriends "don't like" condoms so they didn't use them), where boys aren't taught to take responsibility for their part of the process, where parents are afraid to talk to kids (and vice versa) about their sex lives?

Maybe instead of judging the kids on this show, we should be judging ourselves.  After all, we should know better.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Model Model Model, Model Model Model

(Sing "Model Model Model" to the tune of the original America's Next Top Model theme song and you get where I'm going here.)

Okay, so last night on ANTM the third of my initial three favorites got the boot.  Now, I understand if Tyra is angry with me for not watching the short girl cycle, but look, Five-head, I CAME BACK.  Let's not keep punishing me for one mistake.  In order to keep my Model-love alive, here's a look back at some of my all-time favorite ANTM girls and moments...

Cycle Three, like, all of it
Cycle Three, featuring such luminaries as winner Eva Pigford, legally blind Amanda, and plus-sized Toccara, is the cycle that sucked me into ANTM in the first place.  I was living in Los Angeles, at home and bored on a Sunday afternoon, and I got sucked into a marathon on VH1.  I have never regretted the loss of a Sunday to a reality TV marathon less.

Seriously.  The girls got into a fight because someone carved "Clean Your Shit" into another girl's pan of low-carb brownies.  They also got into a fight because legally blind Amanda misplaced her "crystals" and blamed Eva for it...and it turned out Amanda had hidden them to keep anyone from stealing them.  The girls posed on rollerskates and with a live tarantula and Taye Diggs was the guest during the acting challenge and HOLY CRAP, THIS CYCLE WAS AMAZING.  Also, the girls and the photo shoots were all kind of pretty!  

Elyse Sewell
Elyse was the third runner up on the first cycle of ANTM.  She wrote an article in Jane magazine (man, that was a long time ago) about her experience on the show that I remember reading before I even knew what ANTM was, and it was kind of awesome.  I loved Elyse on cycle 1, and apparently Tyra does too, since ANTM history has now been re-written showing Elyse as the winner.  Adrienne Curry, the actual winner of the first cycle, had a falling-out with Tyra, and now whenever the first cycle is mentioned, it's with Elyse's picture, not with Adrienne's. 

ANYWAY: I love Elyse more for what she did after the show.  She is probably the most successful as a working model out of all the girls, which is amusing considering that in her last interview after getting the boot on the show, she insists she's heading back to medical school.  You can follow her travels on her blog.  

Tyra Loses Her Damn Mind
No joke: I loved this cycle 4 episode so much that a co-worker of mine in Los Angeles gave me his Emmy screener DVD of it and I still have it.  And watch it.

So yeah.  Tyra eliminates Tiffany (who first made a splash when, during tryouts for the previous cycle, got into a barfight with a random girl and memorably yelled "BITCH POURED BEER IN MY WEAVE!"), Tiffany makes light of it, TYRA FREAKS OUT.  I think this is when Tyra turned the corner from somewhat-loveable ex-supermodel to egocentric crazy freakinator.  

Mr. and Miss Jay
For real.  I love these gays.  Mr. Jay and his silver hair (left) seems the most in-touch with reality of all the ANTM "experts" (I know it doesn't take much).  I wish he was on panel more often.

One guy I am glad is no longer on panel is Miss Jay Alexander (right).  His craziness is best experienced in small runway-teach doses.  I find them both wildly entertaining, and they actually turn out some useful advice (as opposed to noted fashion photographer Nigel Barker and Ty-Ty).

Things I Hate/Fast Forward Through
Tyra.  Seriously.  She has become intolerable in the past few cycles.  I'm so glad I have a DVR so I can fast forward through almost all of her speeches during judging panel.  I don't know what is in her Cocoa Puffs but girl needs to dial back on the crazy.  Tyra, it used to be so good.  Then you got a talk show and fancied yourself the next Oprah Winfrey and now we're in this situation now.  Just please don't send home Raina on next week's episode since she's the only one left that I like.  Kisses!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Playing catch-up

Ugh, I am behind the times and lame in so many ways.  Here's what I've been watching this week.

Life: Okay, this probably doesn't fall under the "bad TV" umbrella but I could care less because this show is BLOWING MY MIND.  Holy crap.  I mean, between the adorable baby ibex escaping from the fox (I am not ashamed to say I was yelling "Oprah!  Don't kill the ibex!" while he was running away) and the frog that wraps itself into a little ball to bounce down the mountain, like, holy poo, the production value on this show is unreal.  Even if you think you don't like nature shows, do me a favor and check out at least an hour's worth of this series.  It'll make your HDTV worth every penny.  Plus, ibexes are adorable.

Kell on Earth: I hate to say it but this show is getting a little tired for me.  Kelly Cutrone is still fairly entertaining, but the failings of the company are getting old and I want them to hire a HR representative.  Then maybe they could do background checks to avoid hiring people who get arrested for stealing and to also find some non-crazies to fill the ranks.  Seeing their job interviewing process in this week's episode (a glass of wine and a "so you can do lifestyle PR, right?"), I'm not surprised anymore that half of their staff has quit or been fired since this series started.  I used to feel bad for Stefanie Skinner and the bags under her eyes for not getting any help, but it's abundantly clear that she is a sadist who has no self worth unless she is crazy overworked.  The season ends next week, but never fear, Cutrone fans: you'll be seeing her on The City on MTV in just a few weeks.

Be Good Johnny Weir: Why aren't you watching this yet?  Seriously.  I thought Monday's episode was going to be the last one of this series, but an interview I read with Johnny seemed to indicate there were more episodes coming dealing with the Olympics.  Monday's episode dealt with the U.S. Nationals, and (hilariously) Evan Lysacek would not allow the footage of his (not-so-great) performance to be used on Johnny's show.  So Johnny's Russian-reporter character interrupted to narrate Evan's performance.  I kind of hate Evan Lysacek based solely on this show.  And Johnny was robbed at the Olympics.  The end.

16 and Pregnant: You didn't think a week would go by without some pregnant teens, did you?  I managed not to cry during last night's episode...until the VERY END when the girl was talking to her mom about how she should have listened to her about not having sex with her boyfriend.  Damn you, 16 and Pregnant!  Other then the surprising realization that many of the girls don't have that maybe Mom was right trying to keep me from having unprotected sex, I didn't find the episode all that notable; probably the weakest one of the second season for me so far.

Oh, and one of the annoying pretty teams got the well-deserved boot on The Amazing Race, plus there was that whole health care thing that happened this week, which was kind of cool.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

My favorite Real Housewife

In four franchises and numerous seasons of Bravo's Real Housewives, one's alliances are bound to change. One season you hate Vicki of Orange County.  The next season you love her.  One episode NeNe in Atlanta is the greatest, the next week you're wanting to throw things at the TV because of the sheer stupidity of the things coming out of her mouth.

But one Housewife has always had my affection, and I think that will never change: Bethenny Frankel.  In the past few years, I have had the opportunity to meet a fair amount of weirdly famous people, and I am not even kidding when I say meeting Bethenny was definitely a highlight.

Look, proof!  (I wish I owned that necklace.  I borrowed it for the evening and whenever I see this picture I'm like...oh, man, I LOVE THAT NECKLACE.)

Here's what I love about Bethenny: that person you see on Real Housewives?  That's exactly. how. she. is. in. real. life.  The voice and the impressions and the gestures, I mean, it's hysterical.  As a fan and student of reality TV, I know what editing can do.  I've been manipulated by it into hating the villain, loving the hero, rooting for the underdog, and even though I'm aware of it, I can't help it.  But Bethenny, I think, doesn't have much of a TV veneer, and whether you love it or hate it, hey, that's who she is.

I think that's why I love watching her.  Real Housewives of New York City definitely has a different tone then the other franchises.  The women have this veneer of high society and there's definitely some serious money rolling through their bank accounts.  But as catty and immature as all the women of all the cities are, there's something way more Mean Girls about the way the Manhattan-ites deal with each other.  With the other cities, you get the sense these women just kind of hang out while they're filming and forget about all the feuds until they start filming again.  But it just keeps going in New York.  They've got some Page Six-shaped weapons and they're not afraid to use them, and the machinations and manipulations are just fascinating.

And in the middle of it is Bethenny, with a sarcastic comment and an eye roll and the "Seriously, WTF is up with these crazy harpies?" attitude.  She seems so self-aware of what reality TV is and how characters are made and portrayed.

Plus, she's freaking hilarious.  Gold comes falling out of her mouth every week.  That alone is worth the price of admission.

Follow Bethenny on Twitter @Bethenny
Check out Real Housewives on Bravo

Come on, Tyra

I wasn't home last night so I have yet to watch America's Next Top Model.  However, because I am impatient, I read the recaplet on TWoP only to find out my two favorite girls went home (as in, the ones I thought actually looked like models).

WTF, Tyra.  I know you're angry that I wasn't there for you last season but that's no reason to lash out.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

16 and Pregnant: Lori

I thought I was going to be able to get through an episode of 16 and Pregnant without crying.  BOY WAS I WRONG.

Tonight's teen, Lori, couldn't decide what to do with her baby.  And in admirable procrastination faction she decided on adoption...two weeks before the baby was born.  I was a little uncomfortable initially in this episode with how much her parents were pushing adoption.  But then I thought - how often do the (adult) parents on this show actually tell it like it is to their daughters and stand their ground?  We've seen our fair share of shrill, overbearing parents, and pushover parents, and parents who don't seem to be all that concerned that their babies are having babies.  Lori's parents were actually pretty amazing at being honest with their daughter in a calm, straightforward way that seemed to eventually get through to her.

I felt almost panicky during the whole episode.  Will she or won't she?  Will she or won't she?  And then when it was time for the pissed off d-bag dad to say goodbye to the baby at the hospital, and Lori just would not let go of her son while tears were streaming down her face...dang.  She wasn't the only one crying.

It's a weird thing to say about a MTV reality show, but I really love the storytelling in 16 and Pregnant.  Even if the girls themselves aren't compelling, the raw reality of pregnant girls in high school, babies giving birth to babies, young women whose lives have imploded because of a few bad decisions breaks my heart.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Don't toy with me, Bret

From TWoP:

Will Rock of Love ever be back? 
Bret Michaels: I had an absolute great time doing Rock of Love, had a lot of fun. And I was really excited about being on Celebrity Apprentice. And I think that with Rock of Love, I loved doing it, it was the number one show for VH1 three years in a row. I think for me to go back would be a lot of fun. I mean, it's basically drinking and dating, it can't be that hard. And it's, you know, sucking face and debauchery -- like I said, to go back to Rock of Love would be a lot fun, but I was completely honored to be on this show and allowed to show that I have another side to me.

Bret, if I promise to watch Celebrity Apprentice, will you please please pretty please bring back Rock of Love?  I need you.  This blog needs you!  Do it for me.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Amazing Race: I Think We're Fighting the Germans, Right?

If there's not going to be football on Sundays, at least there's The Amazing Race.  Imagine how great it is for me when I can watch football AND teams of two racing around the world all in one day!  What I love about TAR is that they've figured out a way to have a formulaic show but still have every season be fresh and fun.

One way to do that?  COSTUMES!  Tonight the Racers donned not one, but TWO funny outfits for the day's tasks.  The second outfit is now a close second to the traditional Dutch outfits sported last season as the Racers had to dress up in bicycling outfits circa 1910.  Interestingly, both costumed challenges involved riding bikes.  It took me a little too long to figure out that the giant mushroom newsboy hats were that gigantic because of the bike helmets underneath.

My favorite team?  The cowboys.  Oh my gravy, do I love these brothers from Oklahoma.  They're running a good, efficient race.  They're consistent, which I really like, as opposed to the teams that are first place one week and then sixth place the next week.  They're placing high and after a few silly mistakes early on, they seem to really have it together.  What a contrast to the models and the Big Brother teams who seem to have trouble with the fundamentals of reading.  Plus, they're beyond adorable and I do not object to seeing them in tight pants riding bikes.  Jet, will you marry me?  Thanks.  (My future husband is on the left.)

Quote of the night?  "It was pretty real for a detour." - Cowboy Cord, re: the World War I re-enactment challenge

The U-Turn popped up tonight (for non-TAR fans, first of all, shame on you! and second of all, teams are given the option to pick one of two challenges in a "detour," but in a U-Turn, one of the racing teams can send another team of their choice back to complete the other task).  It's a sneaky way to knock out a strong team.  I'm all for it.  It's a perfectly legal move, and it's a freaking race for a million bucks - I'd totally use it if I was playing the game.  I love that after 10 years of reality TV, contestants are surprised and still get their feelings all hurtsy-poo about the use of strategy.

As much as I love my reality TV shows, I have never had any desire to be on a reality TV show - until I started watching The Amazing Race.  I seriously want to be on that show.  All I have to do is learn how to drive a stick shift.  There's always a team that's screwed by the stick shift!  And my racing partner needs to learn to swim.  And we actually need to get it together enough to do the application.  And then we need to get picked out of thousands of applicants and get selected and pass all the background checks and psych tests and then we need to take 3 months off of work without telling anyone where we're going to run around the world.

But really it's the stick shift that's standing in the way.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

ANTM Premiere, RH:OC Reunion, Be Good Johnny Weir

Here's what had me glued to my couch tonight.  Spoilers abound.

America's Next Top Model, Cycle 14 premiere: Taking a cycle off from crazy Tyra did wonders for me.  I love Top Model again.  Yay!  I missed the first 15 minutes to a DVR malfunction but I'm sure I didn't miss much.  I totally love it when they do makeovers right off the bat; then you can spot the criers.  Going forward I'm not even going to try recapping ANTM because there's someone on the Internet who will always and forever be the best at it.  Don't miss Rich Juzwiak's recaps; they're usually up by Sunday night.

Real Housewives of Orange County Reunion Part One: I love watching Real Housewives cry.  If you were only looking at Tamra's forehead, you'd never know she was sad about her impending divorce.  I can't wait for tomorrow night when the men are brought in.  Gretchen + Slade = Creepy.  Tell 'em how it is, Vicki.

Also, sidenote: do you think Andy Cohen just walked into work one day and was like, hey, Bravo team, new idea: I'm going to be the face of our network on-air.  And then he went out to lunch leaving the rest of the programming department blinking, like, did that just happen?  I mean, how does the senior VP of original programming at a network cast himself as on-air talent?  Did he give himself a raise?  Does he get notes from anyone?  It's all very odd to me.

Be Good Johnny Weir: Caught up with episode "Big in Japan" which originally aired Monday night.  HOLY GOD I LOVE THIS SHOW.  If you're not watching it and you have the Sundance Channel, I soundly chastise you.  Chastise chastise.  Regardless of how people feel about him as a figure skater, he is the funniest person on reality TV right now.  There's a bit in every episode where Johnny puts on his Russian reporter alter-ego to interview himself (how post-modern!) and his team.   As the Russian reporter, he wished himself "good luck with porno movie."  Hee.  And he wears a blonde wig to do it!  Come on!  Awesome!

The fact that he was robbed at the Olympics is a whole other story.  His long program had me in TEARS.  TEARS.  And how can you not love a guy who skates to Lady GaGa?

Survivor: Australian Outback

Back before Tivo and DVR and online streaming, unless you had figured out how to program a VCR, there was this thing called “appointment television” (I can feel people under the age of 18 rolling their eyes).  Back in the Dark Ages, besides having to walk uphill to school both ways in 12 feet of snow and actually having to be at home when your favorite TV shows aired, I also didn’t know anyone with a digital camera, I was amazed by my dorm room's Ethernet cable's ability to provide 24 hour internet without tying up the phone, and the only people I knew with cell phones were my parents.  My mom had a Zack-Morris-esque brick we called “the car phone”, which she didn’t answer ever.  Much like her use of her smaller, snazzier cell phone today, actually.

But I digress.  Reality TV started hitting it big in the early part of the new millennium, and the biggest boy on the playground was definitely Survivor, which premiered in May of 2000, featuring a naked Richard Hatch and one of the best reality TV speeches of all time.  Oh, Susan.  Tell me more about snakes and rats and how you wouldn’t give me a drink of water if I was dying in the desert.

I got seriously hooked in January of 2001, when the castaways were sent to the Australian Outback.  It seemed like my entire dorm was addicted.  We met in the common rooms on Thursday nights to watch sweet Elisabeth Filarski (now known as humanity’s common enemy, Elisabeth Hasselbeck), Amber Brkich, who would go on to marry "Boston" Rob Mariano and compete on like 80 billion more shows, and of course, the dreamy Colby Donaldson take on 42 days in the wilderness.  (On a side note, the Australian Outback season was the only season of Survivor to last 42 days; the rest have all been 39.  Thanks, Wikipedia!)

My favorite Survivor that year was, in the words of the elimination chart my freshman year boyfriend kept on his dorm room door, “eliminated due to infuriating injury”: Michael Skupin.  He was TOTALLY AWESOME!  He killed wild boars and painted his face with the blood, he led his tribe to victory, and, if we’re being honest, was a total fox.  Colby was a cute boy, but Michael...Michael was a man.

But then disaster struck.  On day 16, he was stoking a fire in camp, inhaled too much smoke, and passed out into the fire, ending up with 2nd degree burns on his face, hands, and chest.  Thank God we didn’t have Tivo back then; seeing the skin peeling off his hands once was icky enough.   He was airlifted out and Tina Wesson took home a million bucks.

I watched the live finale from a hotel room somewhere in Ohio after my parents picked me up from Boston to go home for the summer.  I might have cried during the finale since I wasn’t with the friends I had bonded with watching the contestants outwit, outplay, and outlast.  And that's the only time I watched an entire season of Survivor.  I don't want to tamper with my memories of the Australian Outback, back in the good old days when I had to watch it live.

Check out Mike today on his website
Thanks to Wikipedia for jogging my aging memory.  

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

16 and Pregnant: Chelsea

I don't know where MTV went to find this season's crop of girls for 16 and Pregnant, but those producers should be applauded. The sheer level of douchebaggery amongst the young fathers this season is unequaled by, like, anything ever. I mean, I'm a single woman in my late 20's and I'm shocked, which is saying a lot.

For some reason, tonight's d-bag dad really bothered me. Even more so then the borderline sociopath who picked a fight during labor with the girl's mom, or the guy who got picked up for a DUI the day after the baby was born. I think it was because on tonight's episode, you actually saw the horrible, awful, no good very bad text message (sidenote: do teenagers ever talk on the phone anymore?) that he sent calling his newborn daughter "that mistake." Ugh. When will they come up with the technology to reach through the TV set and strangle people? It made me so sad that he could care less about what he was missing out on with his newborn daughter, that he could be so callous towards the woman who had just given birth to his child, and that he had the cojones to do it over a text message. While being filmed by MTV cameras. Here's hoping that's enough to not get him laid for the rest of his fertile years.

Chelsea, the mom in tonight's episode, seemed pretty responsible, together, and so in love with her daughter - season 2's Maci? And her dad was awesome. I kind of want to take him out for a beer.

What I love about MTV is how amazing they are at telling the stories of people under 21. Look at the difference between Jersey Shore, Real World, etc. and shows like 16 and Pregnant, Teen Mom, True Life. The former are mostly alcoholic train wrecks (which I can love, hello, they brought Snooki into my life), but the latter are mostly sensitive, thoughtful, well-made looks at what real teenagers are going through in real life. While the girls in 16 and Pregnant make decisions I probably wouldn't have at that age, I can't help but respect and admire them for the choices they've made and for laying those choices bare in front of a national TV audience.

Haven't seen 16 and Pregnant yet? Check it out here.

Taste is relative.

There are some things I have really good taste in.

For example: shoes, earrings, friends, books, desserts.

But there is one big thing I have really, really bad taste in. And that one thing is the thing that keeps my DVR the busiest, the thing I possibly spend the most of my downtime partaking of, the thing I spend the most time reading recaps of online.

My name is Josie, and I am addicted to bad reality TV.

You name it, I'll watch it. 16 and Pregnant - check. Teen Mom - obviously. Real Housewives - I'll take two (preferably New York and New Jersey). America's Next Top Model - fierce. Jersey Shore - fist pump. Kell on Earth - could I love Kelly Cutrone more?

19 Kids and Counting, The Little Couple, Ruby, Flipping Out, Be Good Johnny Weir, Rachel Zoe Project - you make a series about real people doing something kind of cool, chances are I'll watch it. However, even I have limits. I won't watch any Bachelor/Bachelorette or Big Brother franchise, I haven't watched Survivor since 2001, and Project Runway just isn't the same on Lifetime.

And what better place to share my dirty little secret and talk about all the shows I hate that I love?

Hey, The Amazing Race wins Emmy awards. It can't be that bad, right?