Reality Check #12

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

So You Think You Can Dance


by Shana Lieberman (@evilapprentice)

Oh, Jasmine.  I’m so sorry I noticed your brilliance and gushed about it publicly for the past couple of weeks.  I knew when I realized how talented you were that you wouldn’t win.  The Shana Curse continues, and I am so, SO sorry.  I also apologize to Aaron for being so excited about a tapper having a real shot at winning because my curse was apparently powerful enough to end his prospects as well.  Besides seeing some of my favorite pieces from the season (and a couple that I really couldn’t care less about) repeated, the real highlight of the season 10 finale was Nigel and Mary’s performance.  The video package before it was a bit creepy — a lot of the moments between Mary and Nigel over the last few seasons have been increasingly awkward at best — but I can’t say enough how awesome it was of them to get up and dance.  I’d like to think that my begging for it to happen via the internet had something to do with it, although I’m probably wrong.  I’m quite glad to see a mostly forgettable season end with such an unforgettable performance though.  Here’s to season 11, which was CONVENIENTLY confirmed to Nigel in the middle of the season 10 finale!

Big Brother


by Guest Contributor Scott Zwick (@hoopsnutsz)

Entering its 14th year of broadcasting, Big Brother has become a staple of summer viewing for reality show lovers, and as the show dwindles down to the end, with it comes the finality of the end of Summer.

As Summer turns into fall, contestants on Big Brother exit quicker than you can say “CBS prime time lineup”. This week two more houseguests were disposed of, mostly at the hand of “the exterminators”, a collection of shiftless whiners, lead by Andy, the college professor from Chicago. GinaMarie, the loose lipped exterminator from Staten Island, won the coveted HOH, and put up McCrae and Judd for eviction in an attempt to finally rid the house of the silent partner in the season’s “showmance”. McCrae stunned everyone, including probably himself and won the POV, which allowed him to remove himself from the block, and made it certain that the exterminators would have to turn on one of its own because in his place went Spencer, who spent more time on the chopping block than anyone in the history of the game.

Holding to the form of the season, Judd reacted not by strategizing to stay in the game, but by throwing a temper tantrum and all but demanded to be voted out. Spencer stepped aside, the remaining members of the exterminators granted him his wish, and he shuffled off to the jury house. But before he made his way there, he embarrassed himself on live television by admitting he had no interest in forming a plan to stay in the house, but used “reverse psychology” on the remaining contestants on his way out, saying he would vote for either Spencer or Andy. From what I can gather he was hoping this would convince those remaining in the house to vote those two out next. Judd possesses a southern drawl so thick that its very possible the players didn’t even understand what he was saying, nevermind the meaning behind it. It was quite a spectacle, and everyone in the audience, including host Julie Chen didn’t quite know what to make of Judd. I’m not sure anyone did from the moment he stepped into the house.

Next up was the most important head of household competition to date, and Andy did something miraculous……he won a contest. Holding all the power, and the ability to essentially choose who he would want to be in the final two with, he chose to target McCrae for eviction putting him up against GinaMarie. Soon the wheels started turning in McCrae’s head, and he realized that suddenly he held tremendous power in the house. Being such a weak player that literally and figuratively hid behind girlfriend Amanda through the entire game, there was very little chance anyone would vote for him to win the game if he made it to the final two. This meant that with four contestants remaining, anyone who truly was playing for the $500,000 grand prize would jump at the chance to keep him in the game, and form a final two alliance.

But it appears no one really wants to win this game. Certainly not by using wits and strategy, because all the remaining houseguests dismissed the idea of keeping McCrae and he became the second male member of the jury. To his credit, in his exit interview with Julie Chen he admitted on several occasions that he wasn’t quite sure what was going on in the house or why he was targeted for eviction. Which made me think “welcome to the club”, because I haven’t been able quite understand why anything has happened in the Big Brother house this season. This season logic and wit was replaced with anger, racism, and indifference. Its been both exasperating and fascinating.

So the final three are Andy, GinaMarie, and Spencer. Andy is the strong favorite only because he’s the one contestant remaining thats been able to play this game with a clear head and foresight, his crying fits notwithstanding. The only thing certain is that when the dust settles Sunday night, the weakest winner in the history of the show will be crowned no matter who wins.

So in a way, everyone will have lost.

WWE Total Divas


by Ricky Diaz (@rickyjdiaz)

We start the episode with Eva Marie getting news about her getting a maxim spread, which is good for her, she thinks that it’s a “push” for her, it also allowed us to see just how much she loves bronzer, you know it’s bad when you can actually see the line where the bronzer ends on your face. All the other divas seem jealous, especially Jojo, who is “breaking in” at the same time as her, which forces her to try and find a “gimmick” that being her singing. Something she says during the beginning really perturbed me, she said “singing is my passion” something which in the WWE could actually get you depushed, because “sports entertainment” should be your passion. Eva Marie has her shoot for Maxim, whilst Jojo “teams up” with the Funkadactyls in order for them to sing the girls theme song. What started out as a Eva Marie storyline suddenly becomes a Jojo storyline, as we follow her from beginning to end with this singing gimmick, which culminates in a, let’s say, below average performance for her. I remember watching this performance when it actually happened in the WWE, and thought that it was a train wreck. The episode pushes that Jojo/Eva Marie are like a couple, who live together, and work together, and obviously being in the vicinity as the same person day in day out is tough, add to the fact that they realise that they are actually in competition for those sought after Diva Main roster spots, and it starts to drive a mini wedge between them, which from the epilogue at the end, we know will come to a head next week.

We get a Ariane storyline, one where we see her and Vincent still at odds somewhat. He wants to be part of her celebrity lifestyle, but its obvious that there is something wrong between them. Vincent is pushing for their families to meet, which in his culture pretty much leads to marriage, something which Ariane is not too sure about. When she meets his father, the subject comes up again, something which she pretty much puts to rest, but Vincent, being the meathead that he is doesn’t listen, and takes her on a surprise engagement ring shopping trip for, which seems to end in them breaking up, or maybe it didn’t. It was very hard to tell from the way it was done. I will say one thing for Ariane this week, she seemed a little more like a normal human being as opposed to the “character” she portrays in the show, gone were the catchphrases and the attention whoring for the most part, and when she’s more chill, and more normal, I can handle her being on the screen without rolling my eyes every time she talks.

Finally, it wouldn’t be a Total Divas episode without the Bellas being in it, and this week, we witness an “injury” to Nikki during a match. We discover that she has had problems with her shin for most of her life, and Nikki is thinking to try and cover it up to the WWE, she is scared that if she gets it seen to, that it will be bad, and she will have to be off TV, which would mean the Bellas would be forgotten. Brie on the other hand only seems to be thinking about their “brand”. The thing about the Bellas is that each week they are interchangeable as to who is the “bad girl” and who is the “good girl”. Each week I find myself liking one and not the other, and then the next week the roles are reversed. Nikki, as with every week, seeks advice from her boyfriend, who of course gives her advice, and she listens. Only this week its kind of hypocritical of him, he tells her that she should get it checked out, and that working hurt could lead to bigger problems later on down the line, but having watched wrestling for a long time now, John Cena himself often works injured, and only really takes time off if it is desperately needed. The episode finishes with Nikki being “sent home”, on her crutches. The thing is, again, watching wrestling, Nikki hasn’t wrestled, but also hasn’t been of television, in fact, she hasn’t been seen on screen with the crutches – we are told that she should be spending a month at least on crutches. So of course, we know that this is a storyline for the show, and may not be the truth

Honestly, this episode was just “there”, it wasn’t as good as the last one, it wasn’t good, yet it wasn’t bad, it was just, average. Its the episode before the “finale” – next week was meant to be the last episode, but was changed to a mid season finale after it did good ratings – and this episode just seemed like most penultimate episodes, it was just a filler, and one which sows the seeds for the last episode.

Breaking Pointe


by Shana Lieberman (@evilapprentice)

Ballet West made it through the cursed ballet Cinderella, and viewers were treated to even more ballet-lover porn through bits and pieces of scenes from the ballet this week. Even more exciting, Rex became a true Prince Charming for Allison (and everyone else waiting to perform) when he helped solve some sort of technical problems with the scrim. To top it all off, we actually got to see a really, really sweet and entertaining moment from Rex backstage when he told Allison how he swooped in to save the day. I remember thinking throughout pretty much all of season 1 that Rex had the personality of a brick wall. As it turns out, and I learned my lesson during “It’s Time To Face The Music,” this is far from the case. Dude was totally adorable, and Allison is crazy if she doesn’t see anything in him. There. I said it. I feel dirty for pseudo-shipping real life people, but alas. Breaking Pointe’s constantly-focused-on couple has turned me into a monster. THANKS GUYS. (But really thank you for letting me see just a glimpse of your super awesome Cinderella performance.)

Dance Moms


by Shana Lieberman (@evilapprentice)

I can’t believe I’m actually polluting the site by mentioning this show, or worse yet ruining my street cred by admitting that I watch it, but I have thoughts that just won’t be contained.  So, here we are.  Blake McGrath choreographed for Candy Apples this week.  I first fell in love with his bitchy attitude and insane level of talent way back on season 1 of So You Think You Can Dance.   Blake already had a legitimate dancing career by the time he auditioned for that show, and of course things took off for him even more after that.  So.  Why in the name of Baryshnikov did he stoop to making an appearance on this show, and worse yet for the second-rate dance studio that’s such great “competition” for ALDC that they have to steal dancers from Dance Moms: Miami, Abby’s psychotic competition show, and everywhere else in between?  WHY??????  Blake, sweetheart, please get a new agent or…or SOMETHING.  The only good thing about Blake being on this show was his unimpressed face during Maddie’s solo.  I hate crapping all over obviously talented kids, but I’m so sick of her disingenuous grimace that constantly gets passed off as “emotion” every week.  And don’t get me started on the swaybacks and splayed ribs characteristic of every team regular.  Evidently, my boy Blake agrees.  Now, I’m going to go find a youtube video of him sobbing during Mia’s choreography round during SYTYCD Vegas week and cry along with him…

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