Reality Check #9

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

Big Brother


by Guest Contributor Scott Zwick (@hoopsnutsz)

One thing about Big Brother is that it always lives up to its name, specifically if executive producer Alison Grodner doesn’t like what she sees. When that’s the case she simply changes the game. So this week we had a Big Brother first, an evicted houseguest will return to the game after a competition with all those relegated to the ‘jury house’, including this week’s evictee. This should stir up a pot that’s been stagnant for weeks, and send shock waves through the already confused contestant’s heads.

But there was business to be settled this week, and finally a big move was made in the house. Rejuvenated Aaryn, acting on orders of the evil Amanda, put Helen and her bestie Elissa up on the block, with Helen the obvious target. But this is the season of stupid on Big Brother, and Helen, a political consultant from Chicago, didn’t realize she was the target until it was too late. She then became a crying tour de force in the house, blubbering to anyone and everyone who would listen to try and do what she herself should have done weeks ago……flip the house on McRanda. At one point it appeared her tears might work on Andy, who is holding the house hostage right now in what I can only imagine is a crusade for fourth place on Big Brother. But alas, Andy decided to stick with the dark side. When Helen’s emotion and tears failed to work she resorted to logic and reason, which sealed her fate with this cast of BB geniuses, and out the door she went.

But as she was literally crying on Julie Chen’s shoulder in her exit interview, it was revealed that the game may not be over for Helen, as she would be able to participate in the competition with the other jury members to get back in the game. She reacted by asking Julie if she could eat before the contest because she was one of the “have nots” for the week. This is the danger of live television, and it pretty much summed up the lack of excitement during this season. Helen is offered the chance of a lifetime, never afforded anyone in the history of the game, and she reacts by asking for a snack. Cue the Price is Right loser horn.

CBS decided not to reveal who was coming back in the house OR who will become the new HOH, deciding instead to leave it as a tease for Sunday’s show. Which is fitting because everything this season has moved at a snails pace and things that should happen quickly are drawn out for extended periods of time. If CBS isn’t careful they’ll start drawing viewers away from the broadcasts altogether.

WWE Total Divas


by Ricky Diaz (@rickyjdiaz)

The episode does what it usually does, split the ‘divas’ into couples, and let us learn about them, shining a light on some, whilst having the others be background. The main focus of the show is and always has been The Bella Twins, not only are they the most comfortable in front of the camera, but they always have highly positioned boyfriends.

The Bellas storyline is once again, them at odds in some way. Brie wants to lose weight for an upcoming photoshoot they are going to do for a pay per view, Brie, to me, has body issues. She wants to lose weight, but it is obvious that she is far too skinny. It seems like a typical thing for women in the spotlight, they are always conscious of their figures, and even with some women being empowered by having curves, it still seems to bother some of the other ladies. Nikki on the other hand, who has curves, is called “the fat one”, which to be fair isn’t that hard when standing next to her sister. Brie seems to think that the main reason they were originally hired by the company was because they were identical twins, and if they aren’t that anymore, she fears that it may put their jobs in jeopardy. Its a strange contradiction, the show itself pushes how different they are, yet Brie seems to think it is them being identical is their gimmick. Brie and Nikki go on a cleanse in order to lose weight, well, Brie pretty much forces them to go on a cleanse, and its obvious that Nikki, the girl who likes dessert, will not be very good at it. After Nikki cheats, Brie is obviously angry and brings up the “fat” jibes which obviously puts them at odds. At the photo shoot it, Nikki feels that Brie is prodding at her, constantly bringing it up, and they eventually make up, and like the show presents to us every week, the twins come to the conclusion that they are different.

Concerning Nikki, there is an obvious difference between them, you only have to look at them to know which one is which. Ariane sees this, and becomes conscious of her own assets, always thinking that they have been small. With Nikki always flaunting her assets, Ariane starts to consider getting them done, and goes with Trinity to a specialist, where she gets a pair to “test” out in her bra. She decides to “test drive” them for a day, and even has the seamstress at WWE put them into her costume. But the twins then steal one of the fake boobs from the costume, and the tension is added, when the Funkadactyls are rushed onto stage, and Ariane has to pad out her other boob with tissues. It shows the constant “ribbing” or practical jokes that are part of the WWE. It finishes with Ariane deciding not to go for a boob job. The thing about this storyline is that I just don’t like Ariane, as this character that she portrays on the show. Its just a bit OTT, and attention whorey (I really cant stand attention whores). I said last week, but she just feels like a caricature. I can’t even take her in the short sharp bursts that she has been on in the show thus far, let alone this episode where she is pretty much the B Storyline. Also Vincent her boyfriend just seems like a dense meathead. The only redeeming part of this episode, is how much Sandra, the WWE seamstress, wants Ariane to have a boob job. Araine is just so into it, and she is hilarious.

The Bellas, or at least Nikki, is there at the beginning of the other storyline in the show. Nattie and Nikki go clothes shopping, or at least, lingerie shopping, this leads us to Nattie and her boyfriend TJ. Nattie and TJ are engaged, and have been together for years. But recently, with TJ being injured, it just seems like they are best friends as opposed to a couple. It seems like TJ is slightly depressed to be honest, he’s injured, and is just not there mentally. There’s obviously something else on his mind, but with TJ seemingly ignoring her, she feels unattractive. They go for a meal, and she tell  him how she feels, but then turns talk to the wedding, and TJ just feels like they should have a shotgun style wedding, even so much as to just surprising her at a courthouse. Obviously Nattie isn’t impressed, and I understand that, girls think of their wedding day for most of their lives, and unless its decided, they don’t really want a shotgun wedding, its obvious there is some sort of communication problems between the two. After she leaves in a huff, TJ smartens up, and decides to make more of an effort, giving her the romance she wants. On a final note of their storyline, they have a really scary looking cat.

The thing about this episode, and all the previous episodes is that every one of them concentrates on a relationship aspect of the women. It just feels like every episode has some sort of storyline which has the women essentially pressuring their marriage. Its weird, I mean, you’re trying to present these women as independent women, yet it seems like all they want is marriage. I really would prefer it if one of the women was a “working woman” who puts her career above her man

Breaking Pointe


by Shana Lieberman (@evilapprentice)

The dance gods blessed me so much with SYTYCD this week that they just had to annoy the crap out of me with Breaking Pointe.

Beckanne is a young star. She got great roles last year, which plenty of more experienced ladies in the company would have loved to have had. This year, she is whining about being “stagnant” because she’s not Cinderella. Are you kidding me right now? Look, I have no problem with someone with less years under her belt getting pushed as the next big thing if she really is, which as far as I can tell, Beckanne is totally the real deal. However, this does NOT mean that I needed to see her sitting around with Katie — who Adam didn’t even feel was good enough to stay in the company last year by the way — and acting like it was the biggest shocker and injustice in the world that she wasn’t Cinderella. If I was Adam, I would’ve either whipped her or put her in time out when she was complaining during her meeting. That’s what parents need to do with spoiled children, and she was certainly acting like one.

So, it’s time for a life lesson with Shana: Beckanne, you can’t get every starring role ever. This is for a number of reasons, not the least of which being that life just doesn’t work that way. There’s even a song about how you can’t always get what you want. You should listen to it. It’s really ok. Not being Cinderella right now doesn’t mean that your career is over already, and it doesn’t even mean you’ll never be Cinderella. There are just three dancers in the company who were judged better at this particular role, and being so upset that you didn’t get the role makes it seem as if you find them unworthy, below you, or whatever. That’s gross. I bet even the likes of Polina Semionova, Sylvie Guillem, Anna Pavlova, and Margot Fonteyn even got passed over at one point or another. You’ll be ok. You’re fantastic at what you do, and you’re headed to good places. Hell, you even got promoted this season while others did not. Time to move on.

Next, we had the big contract decision to be made: Ian or Zach. I was rooting for Ian. That might only be because we had a lovely twittversation about Allison during last week’s episode, but I was. So, naturally, Adam gave the only contract available to Zach. I couldn’t help but wonder if it was because Zach made the better reality tv personality. Please say it ain’t so.

In relationship drama news, Allison still isn’t sure what she’s going to do about the promotion vs. boyfriend issue. I still want to throw back some vodka with her until she gets drunk enough for me to hypnotize her into doing the smart thing and sticking with dance. Christiana and Chris have issues in their marriage, although the show kinda isn’t telling us what exactly those issues are so I can’t fairly root for one over the other. Girl power it is then. Men are pigs.

So You Think You Can Dance


by Shana Lieberman (@evilapprentice)

I remember complaining in Reality Check #5 last month that none of the choreography was really doing it for me this season, and it was rude of the show to dangle Mia Michaels in front of us during the meet the top 20 show, only to never use her again. Well then. The dance gods have responded.

Evidently, if you want SYTYCD to be good again, you merely have to wait for the week when the all stars get to choreograph (and perform!!!!) their own pieces for the first time. I can’t say enough about how wonderful it was to see Travis Wall on stage again this week, and his choreography was to die for (as usual). The best part about this week’s piece wasn’t the raw emotion or the actual artistic vision itself; rather, it was the way that Travis actually showcased the contestant he was working with. It was a lovely thing to see such a star create a piece that highlighted absolutely every positive characteristic about the contestant he was working with. I haven’t cared for Amy all season because she’s done nothing but “cute” numbers with idiotic stories attached to them, but wow. Travis Wall, you have made me a believer in Amy, and you’ve made me bitter at your loss in season 2 all over again. Yes, yes you have.

I’ve never seen anything Allison Holker choreographed, other than her own “dance for your life” solos, before this week’s SYTYCD. I’m pretty sure there was wet stuff in my eyes when I was watching her duet with Fik-Shun Tuesday night. She deserves to join fellow (robbed!!) season 2 contestant Travis in Emmy nominee land. I’ve gotten sick of the regular choreographers on the show always having to center their work around stories as of late, but Allison’s obviously came from a very emotional place and was therefore perfectly allowable in my eyes. And she nailed it. I feel so honored — and a touch bit ferklempt — to have been able to have had Allison share that part of herself with me and my fellow viewers. Allison, I love you. I am abusing my writing privileges to tell you that, but I do. Always have. (Travis too, in case he couldn’t tell.)

Honestly, I found myself having a case of “the feels” the whole night. There’s a reason these dancers are all stars, ladies and gentlemen. From the beautiful contemporary of a Travis or an Allison, to the daring and unique style of Mark Kanemura (I agree with whoever said he should now be Lady Gaga’s OFFICIAL choreographer), to the shirtless sex appeal of Dmitry…just wow. This was the perfect episode of the best damned dancing show ever on tv. This is also where I apologize profusely to Comfort Fedoke for all the times I refused to understand why she was kept on the show. I’ve finally figured it out. She’s absolutely killer at her personal dance style, regardless of how she may or may not have been at the other styles on the show, and oh hey! She can choreograph something FIERCE, too. Speaking of hip hop all stars, Twitch is still the man, and Jasmine is on her way to becoming an all star herself in my book.

Bonus? We even got a Mia Michaels piece as the opening group number. Because she’s totally an all star choreographer herself. Thank you for this blessing, dance gods. Amen.

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