Reality Check #3

The Reality Check is a weekly column containing the musings of multiple writers on various reality TV shows. Are you hopelessly addicted to a reality show? We invite you to contribute your thoughts! The Reality Check runs every weekend on

Real Housewives of New Jersey


by Caitlin Malone

I’m not sure why I bother anymore. This show is really only about two things: Teresa and how she will make each cast member of this show lose their minds one screaming match at a time. Last week it was Rosie and this week it’s Jacqueline. Here is the breakdown.

-Rich and Joe Gorga try and let off some steam by playing golf while talking about Teresa. When will the rich people of the world learn that golf is boring? Even angry golf. Coincidentally, whilst golfing, Joe gets a call from Teresa saying that she wants the family to go on a retreat. ‘What is a retreat’, you ask. I’ll let Teresa take this one. “A retreat is like, we’re gonna do trusting exercises. It’s like, for instance, I’ll stand there and I’ll say ‘Joe fall back.’” Teresa uses the fall back exercise every time she explains this retreat as though that exercise will cure all of their problems.

-We also learn that the retreat will be in a castle! Because Upstate New York is known for its castles? Seriously, is it? If so I need to make reservations, like NOW!

-While shopping in a boutique with Jacqueline, Kathy gets a call from Teresa to talk about the castle…I mean ‘retreat’. Of course, by Bravo law, Kathy puts Teresa on speaker phone without saying Jacqueline is with her. Kathy has broken the rules of the speakerphone! And now Jacqueline may be broken too. Childish shouts over the speakerphone fill the little boutique.

– Okay I will do my best to explain this outing of “he said, she said” craziness. Teresa is out for drinks with Kim D (who brought on last season’s stripper-gate), Jan (Melissa’s ex-best friend), Jennifer (Teresa’s friend/realtor), and a lady I’ve never seen before. You know trouble is brewing if Kim D is around. Jan tells Teresa that Melissa has cheated on her husband. Teresa stays silent, so she looks innocent. In her interview segment Teresa says, “You know, there’s a lot of things people say about my husband and I. So, you know, sometimes you hear things, you just keep your mouth shut.” Whenever Teresa says something on the verge of being supportive to her family, afterwards, she always blinks her eyes a lot and then gets a sour face like she needs to wipe this icky niceness off of her now!

-Oh phew! Jacqueline feels bad about how she reacted during the speakerphone debacle and then doesn’t stop talking about.

– Melissa has lunch with Jennifer the realtor who tells her that her best friend said she was a cheater.

– All of the couples are out (sans Teresa and Caroline and their husbands)and Melissa brings up the new rumor about her and everyone is sure that Kim D is behind it. And then, conveniently, Kim D shows up. Seriously, is Bravo even trying to make anything look not planned anymore? Bickering ensues and Jacqueline says to Kim D, “You have to be a moron to think all these coincidences keep happening.” I say the same thing to you Bravo!

-The next day Teresa has lunch with Jennifer the realtor, who apparently is available at anytime to have lunch with anyone. Seriously, three outings in one episode? All I know is things get more complicated. I’m lost. Teresa is mad at her because she told Melissa what everyone said about her. Jennifer only told Melissa because she wants to earn her trust so she can get her house listing. Realtor drama.

All I learned this week is to not trust realtors and that next week the ladies storm the castle!

The Bachelorette


by David Warren

This week was low as far as delivering drama, but a nice break before the hometown visits come next week. They brought on fellow gal pals from Des’ stint on The Bachelor, and in the opening scene they provided Des with some much needed hangout time. They all sat around and basically checked out the dudes. Des and Brooks had a one on one date, let’s tackle that first.

Though she claims that it’s easiest to be herself around him, they always seem to be repetitively talking about general, big picture stuff, or just about the most superficial things. They don’t seem to be themselves, at least it seems that way from what we are shown. They stood on that hilltop and said to each other in 20 different ways how cool it was to be standing in the clouds. And then they talked about Family, and Brooks produced the quote of the week as thoughtful Portuguese guitar music kicked in:

“It’s important to me, you know, I think that, uh, they’ve been through a lot, and because, the, kind of where I came from with my family and like I had my dad not being around and my brothers kind of coming together my brothers and sisters… it’s, you know, I’m not like really close to my family just because of my family you know like, there’s been so many memories and um, we’re willing to kind of sacrifice for each other and [Des: ‘Yeah’] um because of those sacrifices be you know like a closer family so wherever my life is you know… will be absorbed into the family so it is a big deal [Des: ‘Yeah’] to kind of like meet them and start to say like, ‘Hey I can really see myself as part of this family’ and then saying the same back like, ‘I really see her as part of the family’…I don’t know if it’s the same feeling for doesn’t have to be.”

Well put, B man.

Zack and Drew got to go on a ‘race date’ with Des. What was up with that makeshift picnic area in the middle of the track? Usually the set design is well done (though some times overdone), but this scene, surrounded by tires, and with plants coming out of smaller tire-pots, looked like a memorial to some kind of horrible ATV accident.

Elsewhere…there was a fun toboggan ride down the streets of Madeira Island, and in this episode we were also treated to not 1 but 3 cutaways of cats. 3 different cats, I believe. I had to wikipedia the island to see if cats were some sort of featured attraction, but it turns out that the editors must just have been really into animal cutaways this week.

Oh, and who got the non-rose? Michael G the lawyer. He sadly called his mom in New York and broke the news. Seemed like a reasonable elimination on Des’ part. So, now, as ABC is calling it, we’ve got the Final Four – Brooks, Chris, Drew, and Zack. Got to be Brooks or Chris. Bring on the hometowns.

Big Brother


by Kyle Trembley

No rankings this week, because honestly, Aaryn has broken the scale. You can no longer distinguish between the “kind of terrible” houseguests and “really terrible” houseguests because Aaryn is so far past the latter category that in comparison to her, all these other dummies look like Gahndi. In the Universe of ‘Big Brother’ awfulness, everyone used to exist between the Earth and the Moon. Aaryn is now the sun, shining awfulness down on the entire house while simultaneously dwarfing the petty accomplishments of terribleness that the likes of Jeremy and Kaitlin have made.

And you know what? Nothing could be better for the show. Not only is ‘Big Brother’ pulling in massive ratings (well, “massive” for a long-running summer reality show), but the show has noticeable momentum on social media, and is becoming a bit of a Twitter phenomenon as everyone tweets about how much they hate Aaryn. Perhaps even more importantly, Aaryn is giving everyone around her a real chance to shine. How well did Amanda come off this week when she tried to warn Aaryn about her racism? Or how about Howard, who somehow became MORE likable with his sincere concern over what she was saying? Helen too, whose Head of Household win this week felt like cosmic justice, and was the season’s feel-good moment to date. And that’s before we get to Julie Chen, who did her best work of the season merely by introducing clips of Aaryn being racist and putting on a brave face afterwards.

Because the house now has a villain – a fire-breathing racist dragon, if you will – just about everyone else comes off like a hero. It’s a dream scenario for ‘Big Brother’, which, I’m not going to lie, feels a little grimy when you really think about it.

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