Reality Check #6

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

The Bachelorette


by David Warren (@FunDavy)

After a dance festival, Drew gets a weather-related ‘go directly to the fantasy suite’ card, and Des and Drew proceed with a little who-knows-what behind closed doors. Brooks heads to Boise to discuss important women issues with the other important women in his life. Upon arrival in Antigua he then chills with Chris Harrison for a little guy talk about Des. Chris and Des go to Barbuda, he asks her how she’d feel about moving to Seattle, and they enjoy a starry sky in the hot tub. By this time, Des seems to be ‘acting in love’ with Drew and Chris. She appears to be just having fun, and I think it’s easier for her to just be a little giddy with these boys rather that get serious. We all know she digs Brooks the most. Watching her with the other guys is starting to get a little weird since we know this. No worries, this will be resolved soon.

Whether via promos, spoilers, or pure intuition, even at the start of this episode, we know that something is up with Brooks. The remainder of the show was to be the longest breakup ever. Des used to hang on every word of ‘Brookspeak,’ but now she can only bury her tearful face and tolerate it. “It’s just that..sometimes.. you know, I needed to be sure, and I don’t think I can, you know, please, I’m sorry, but, it’s just that..sometimes.. you know, etc.” I figured they’d be emotionally over it by the end, since they had the same conversation 15 times. It was painful to watch – 10% because of Des’s pain, 3% Brooks’ pain, and and 87% because it was horribly drawn out. Realistic? Maybe, but that’s what editing is for.

Is this the end? Does Brooks really know she’s not the one? Would he have broken with her if this was a ‘real life’ (non-televised) situation? Is Brooks a good guy? So many questions. So what’s next? Can she have a fresh load of dudes delivered to Antigua? Is that yodeler from Germany now in the running?

Real Housewives of New Jersey


by Caitlin Malone (@SpaceCaits)

If ever there was an episode of the ‘The Real Housewives of New Jersey’ that gave you the warm fuzzies this would be the one.

-Last week Teresa and her brother, Joe, actually hugged out their problems and this week picks up right where we left off and Dr. V brings in Melissa who doesn’t expect that their family problems are fixable. When Melissa goes upstairs she brings up the rumor about her having an affair, that Kim D and Melissa’s ex best friend told Teresa. Dr. V says to Teresa that if Teresa is with people saying stuff about her sister in law and doesn’t do anything then she is a dumbass. She actually called Teresa a dumbass and got away with it because she’s a doctor! I think Dr. V served as a good representation of the viewer. I don’t know about anyone else, I have been thinking Teresa was a dumbass for a while. Perhaps Dr. V can deliver hard truths throughout all of the housewives franchise.

-Meanwhile Caroline is having a snowball fight with Richie, Kathy, and Rosie. I’m sure she is so glad to have made the trip to the castle for this.

-Back inside Melissa makes up with Teresa and it sounds semi-sincere. Now that Teresa, Melissa, and Joe Gorga have made amends it’s time for Joe Guidice to join in. When Joe Guidice apologizes to Joe Gorga he says, “Sorry if I betrayed you. Get over it.” Well, clearly he meant that. Actually, for Joe, this is quite eloquent.

-Dr. V leaves. Nooooooooo! Don’t go! You didn’t even talk to Kathy!

-Kathy is upset that she didn’t get time with Dr. V, but in the spirit of all that has gone down her and Teresa apologize to each other. Everyone is happy, which is weird and may not be a good look for this show.

-Rosie and the guys go ice fishing and all seems well, aside from an argument about who won the fight from the night before which evolves into a fight about penis size. Ah, clearly the family has matured.

-Back at the castle the ladies make dinner because, according to Teresa, “in our culture food is love.” Teresa not everything you do is because you are Italian. Other cultures gather with their family to eat food  too. While cooking Melissa gets wasted and has a couple good drunken one liners: “When you cook and drink, that’s the ticket in life” and “feel my muscles!”.

-Oh I forgot about Jacqueline. She still isn’t happy so the show still has that going for it. Her and her husband go out for dinner and talk about making amends with Joe and Teresa but Jacqueline has zero interest.

-Back at the castle they decide to do some trust exercises, specifically the one where you fall back into somebody’s arms. When it comes to Teresa catching Caroline, Caroline is leary and will only do it on the condition that Teresa does this with Jacqueline eventually. Teresa reluctantly accepts.

-Later Teresa talks to her husband about making up with Jacqueline and Chris, but keeps saying she doesn’t know how she will forgive them, and Joe Guidice, for the first time ever, actually becomes the voice of reason. “If you keep bringing up the past, nothing is going to get better.”

So far this has been the season of accomplishing the impossible. Caroline and Teresa are talking, Teresa made amends with her family, and Joe Guidice actually made some sense. I guess this puts Jacqueline next on the list.

Big Brother


by Kyle Trembley (@KyleLovesTV)

The meek shall inherit the earth….and apparently this season of ‘Big Brother’, too.

Bible-reading Howard is surely familiar with the concept.  Howard was voted off this week for a combination of being a little too physically fit for anyone’s comfort as well as his week-and-a-half association with the failed Moving Company alliance.

As Julie Chen pointed out in his exit interview, Howard’s game was over the second he lied to Helen about the existence of said alliance.  Ironically, lying was probably the most honorable of all Howard’s options in that situation – he refused to sell his friends out, and it cost him.

This season of ‘Big Brother’ continues to be interesting as a study of human nature, and thoroughly uninteresting as a reality TV competition.  Aside from Aaryn – who, much to the chagrin of everyone, appears to be around for the long haul – spicing things up with blatant, reprehensible racism, and McCrae and Amanda’s improbable relationship (I refuse to say “Showmance” and you can’t make me), there’s been very little to latch onto, especially gameplay-wise.  There is only one alliance in the house right now, which everyone except Spencer and Candice fashion themselves apart of – and of course, Candice is the one who last week blew up any hope Spencer had of saving the third member of their crew, Howard.

But as a character study, it’s interesting to see the houseguests latch onto something that, by the very definition of the show, is unsustainable.  What happens if everyone is in the same alliance?  Well, we know what happens – the members of the alliance get voted out one by one.  That’s how the show works.

There’s going to be a revolution.  There has to be.  Who will lead it?

WWE Total Divas


by Ricky Diaz (@rickyjdiaz)

First let me say, I have been a wrestling fan on and off since I was in my early teens, back in the Hogan days, to the attitude era, to the current PG era. I know its fake, I knows its predetermined, but its like a fighting soap opera, and its my guilty pleasure. I like to think that I know some of what’s going on backstage, from the wrestlers court, to some of the things that you have to do backstage in order for politicking. I dont claim to know everything, but I like to think that I have some knowledge of the inner workings behind the scenes

This isn’t the first time the WWE has had a reality TV show. They had the Tough Enough series on the USA Network, and there’s a few shows that haven’t seen the light of day – which are probably gonna be shown on the WWE Network, if it ever comes to pass.

I like reality TV, even the new reality TV, which is heavily scripted, and have “scenes that are created for entertainment purposes”, but you know what? I already watch wrestling, why wouldn’t I watch this reality TV program?

So, the show itself, is a mix of divas – some veterans, some mid carders, and some new girls. The show starts pre wrestlemania, and builds up to the event, showing us the real names of the divas – which makes them seem like real people, as opposed to the characters they play on TV, even though it seems like they are actually playing a mix between their characters and their real life personas. The show presents to us that there is a hierarchy in the company, one where the new girls have to pay their dues – doing what they are told. This is exactly the same in the mens division, and shows that people are always concerned with their ‘spots’ and will try and do things in order to keep their spot. It also presents that wrestling is addicting, with the Bellas having returned because they missed the crowd. The thing about the women’s division is that the WWE has conditioned the audience to view the women as a toilet break during shows. They have 3/4 minutes matches between/after big matches, something which allowed the crowd to cool down after what has come before. The writers have also not given the women a decent storyline in the past couple of months – and the WWE has over 10 hours of TV a week! Maybe this show will help the audience be more invested in the Divas?

Now onto the talent, and what happens with them in this show – The Bella – Nikki and Brie – they are both going out with ‘powerful’ people in the WWE, John Cena – the figurehead of the company and Daniel Bryan – a star on the rise, and the internet darling. The thing about the Bellas is that they have left the company before, and them being rehired made me question why? Why it because the WWE wanted them to be the faces of the show? Or was it because of who they were dating? I couldn’t comment, but they are the faces of the show and it shows that even though they are twins, they are different – you have the materialistic Nikki, and the hippie Brie. The main storyline was Nikki/John, with John having been recently divorced, and he and Nikki dating, with Daniel/Brie going ring shopping, it makes Nikki question where her relationship is going. It was funny to see Cena dodge the question about marriage, and basically palm her off.

Nattie (Natalya) was up next, and she is pretty much the most sympathetic character on the show. She has been with the company for a while, and hasn’t really had much of a chance for the spotlight in a while. The episode basically shows what her role in the company is – teach up and comers how to wrestle, babysit the new girls and be a company girl. The episode also shows her being “cut from wrestlemania” but in reality she wasn’t even properly booked for the show – and just seemed to be to give her some more drama.

Next up is the Funkadactyls AKA Trinity (Naomi) and Ariane (Cameron). The episode seems to be foreshadowing a break up or at least dissention in their ranks. It pushes the fact that they are a ‘couple’ and if one of them gets in trouble – as Ariane nearly did with her civilian boyfriend threatening to fight a wrestler/former bouncer.

Finally we get the new girls. Jojo and Eva Marie – Eva Marie got more time of them, with her defying the higher ups in terms of what to colour her hair. This feels like a scripted storyline because if a wrestler, especially a new one defied the higher ups, they would get sent back down to development. It seems that the show is geared towards trying to make Eva Marie a star, and while she has the look they like, her delivery in the talking head segments are wooden, and she gives off a dead behind the eyes kinda vibe – VERY cute though. Jojo didn’t get much time, but seems more natural in front of the camera, maybe its because she isn’t playing a ‘character’ which Eva seems to be. Oh, and there’s a ‘beef’ between Eva and Nikki who Nikki believes ‘looks like her’ which is funny as she goes on about it whilst standing next to her identical twin sister!

The show culminates in the Bella/Funkadactyls not getting their shot to wrestle on Wrestlemania. I have no idea if this was the intended plan, especially because the episode was there to shoot it, but you do have to feel for the women, some of whom have been in the company for a while and haven’t had that “wrestlemania moment”.

The show finishes with whats coming up on the series, and honestly, I’m a little bit pumped for it. Total Divas had all the feelings of being a car crash, but it actually worked out really good.

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