Reality Check #11

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 welovetvmore.com.

Big Brother

bigbrother

by Guest Contributor Scott Zwick (@hoopsnutsz)

Its probably no coincidence that the most exciting episode of the summer, a double eviction with the houseguests targeting the biggest showmance in the game, came on the same night as NBC’s NFL kickoff extravaganza. Big Brother executive producer Allison Grodner has been called many things during her tenure ruling over the highest rated summer reality show of all time, but dumb is not one of them.

One of the most self aware reality shows on television, this week was set up for action and fireworks, and it didn’t disappoint. Head of household GinaMarie, preening from her newly formed alliance with Spencer, Judd, and Andy, went fishing for big game and put up the power “showmance” of McCrae, a pizza boy from Minnesota, and his domineering better half in Amanda, a real estate agent from Florida. These two have been ruling the house with Amanda leading the charge, manipulating the house with intimidation, bullying, and harassing the other contestants to do their dirty work. To wit, only McCrae had won a coveted Head of household competition, and Amanda was so inept at challenges she was often reduced to a blubbering mess after continuously blowing every chance she had to win.

But finally, the remaining contestants had enough, and it was time to split them up, something that usually happens very early in these shows, because anyone with half a brain realizes that playing as a team is an advantage that must be targeted for eviction. So up they went, and the only drama left was which of the two would be eliminated first. McCrae won the coveted POV challenge, removed himself from the block, and paved the way for his future baby mama to be ousted. Or so it seemed……

In a last ditch effort to stay in power, Amanda tried to persuade Ellisa to vote for her, which had to take some gall as she had tortured this woman for the last four weeks of game play. Elissa, realizing she was probably next on the “exterminators” list of targets, swallowed her pride and promised Amanda her vote, going so far as giving her wedding ring as collateral. What Amanda didn’t know was that Andy was a double agent, and his allegiances now lied with his newly formed alliance. So Elissa stayed true to her word, Andy flipped, and she was tossed out of the house on live television to mixture of cheers and booes from the CBS audience, presumably made up of the remaining people in California that don’t watch NFL football.

Being a “double eviction” night, McCrae rose to the challenge and won the silly HOH challenge, and not knowing that Andy was now an enemy, put up Elissa and Gina Marie for eviction. Unfortunately for McCrae, he didn’t realize that his only chance to survive in the future was teaming with Elissa to reflip the house on Andy. So out the door went Elissa, and with her McCrae’s dim hopes of winning a half million dollars.

It will be interesting to see how things shake out from here. After McCrae gets the heave ho, the newly formed “exterminators” will be forced to turn on themselves and thats when things will really get interesting. In this strange season of Big Brother, the remaining contestants are an odd mix of wallflowers, dunderheads, and weaklings. How they manage to work things out should be most interesting. As long as they can steer clear of the NFL I’ll be watching with great anticipation.

WWE Total Divas

totaldivas

by Ricky Diaz (@rickyjdiaz)

We start off the episode with what seems to be 70 porn music as Jojo is looking at Justin Gabriel get ready for a match, it becomes obvious that she likes him, this leads to them flirting in the episode, Eva and Jojo having a house warming party which he is invited too, and them kissing. Eva Marie is worried, not only because of the 11 year age gap between Justin/Jojo, but also because she thinks it maybe a rebound after Jojo breaking up with Sebastian. At the bachelorette party, where Jojo can hardly do anything because of her age, Jojo spots Justin talking to other ladies, and leaving with said girl in a cab, obviously Jojo isn’t happy, and a conversation between the two happens later in the episode, with them “breaking up”. The storyline is the most screen time that Jojo has had since her break up with Sebastian, and obviously is put in place to try and make her relatable, in a “storyline” which everyone has been in. Being “in love” with someone, and then realising that they don’t like you as much as you like them.

The ongoing storyline between Nattie and Jared carries on , with Jared texting Nattie, and her not thinking that there is anything wrong with harmless flirting. The Bellas believe that Nattie is leading him on, and also worried that she is playing with fire. During the episode it comes out that Nattie and TJ have been together since they were kids and haven’t “been” with anyone else. It obvious that Nattie is having jitters about the wedding, which seems weird since a couple of episode ago, she was the one who was making ultimatums to TJ about the wedding. Much like with the Funkadactyl episode last week, it is neatly wrapped up, with no real conflict.

Brie has a minor storylines, with her apparently being a bad drunk and “Brie Mode” coming out. After so much hype, it is Nikki, who seems like the “liability” when drunk after falling off some club seating and pretty much landing on a table.

Ariane has another side storyline with her not inviting her boyfriend Vincent to the Bachelorette party (the Bachelor party happens at the same time) and him not being very happy about it. Ariane wants to try and keep her work life, and personal life separate, but when Vincent comes to Vegas anyway, she has to deal with him “embarrassing” her, she even says that Vincent is acting “extra” which is hilarious coming from her, afterall, she herself is “extra”. Its obvious that Vincent just wants attention from his girlfriend, and Ariane just sees him as an embarrassment.

Some minor points I thought I’d bring up about the episode – there are LOTS of blurring of the knickers of the divas, as they wear dresses which are far too short. The Bellas boyfriends in Cena/Bryan come across like really nice guys, Bryan deals with “Brie Mode” and Cena deals with the possibility of Nikki telling him her “number of people she has slept with” (in a conversation about TJ/Nattie only being with each other)

Some thought about the episode – Firstly the episode felt a bit more fluid than the previous episodes, it had one central theme, with Nattie bachelorette party and all the story lines spun off from there. Total Divas is something that wrestling fans and “normal” people could watch, in fact, I’ve read/heard that many wrestling fans (guys) watch it with their non wrestling fan girlfriends, and much like wrestling itself, it divides opinions – for example, people can think that Nattie is being fine with the whole Jared situation, whereas others think that she is being a bitch to TJ about it, much like some people think TJ was being a jerk about the “mother situation” last week, and some people thinking that Nattie was the jerk for wanting to have TJ all to herself.

Breaking Pointe

breakingpointe

by Shana Lieberman (@evilapprentice)

Brief commentary here on Breaking Pointe because, really, there’s not a ton to say.  Point number one:  Yes, the ballet really is cursed. There’s some history there. If you’re watching this show, that means that you probably care about ballet, so you should totally learn your history.  Allison DeBona herself even tweeted an article that talked about said curse.  You should follow her because she interacts with people who mention the show LIKE WHOA.  Anyway…Point number two, and I made a comment to this effect when I was live tweeting as well:  Seeing the clips of the final Cinderella rehearsals, as well as the actual performance?  Porn for ballet lovers.  More of this, please!  Point number three:  Christiana was so, SO frustrated about a tiny mistake that most viewers wouldn’t have even noticed. Perfectionist power!  My final point:  Jonathan is the worst ever.  Christiana’s reaction to him NOT EVEN HAVING TO WORK but still not bothering to show up to support Allison? FANTASTIC.  Christiana, dear, you spoke for so, SO many of us with that rage.  KEEP IT UP.

So You Think You Can Dance

sytycd

by Shana Lieberman (@evilapprentice)

Well, I have to complain about judging again, and this time it wounds me on a very deep, personal level. I love Gabby Douglas. I’m a huge fan of gymnastics in general, and I happen to absolutely adore Dougie. With that being said, she had no business being a judge on SYTYCD, especially on the performance finale. Not only did she say pretty much the exact same thing after every single performance, but everyone ELSE on the panel felt the need to make idiotic gold medal references all night. No, just no. It’s really a shame that the four dancers that made the finale had to deal with that nonsense on such a big night. I bet they would’ve enjoyed real critiques so they could continue to grow as dancers, not that circus.

While I’m absolutely thrilled that Aaron made the finale, both because he almost didn’t even get to be in the top 20 and because we FINALLY had a tapper get this far, I have zero ideas why they brought Melinda in as an all-star. Ok, I sort of get it. They wanted Aaron to be able to do a duet in his own style. But still. Melinda was eliminated from her season a bit early in the game to qualify as an “all-star,” at least for my personal preference. The whole thing just seemed a bit forced. If they really wanted to give Aaron a tap duet, they could’ve always had Mr. Nigel Lythgoe get out from behind the “jedges'” table and dance. I would’ve loved that. I really would.

What did I not love? Fik-Shun’s feet. His Travis Wall(!!!!!) contemporary with Jasmine would’ve been one of the best numbers all season, if only his lazy feet hadn’t ruined it for me. I don’t even remember any of the judges bothering to comment on that, which is ridiculous. It’s the finale, and you aren’t pointing out the fact that one of your four finalists is incapable of stretching his feet in a contemporary piece? It was hideously obvious and a total shame. Overall, I feel like the judges have been overly optimistic about Fik-Shun all season. It’s like they gave him a pass because his personality is so awesome, and he really has done a great job of adapting. The thing is? He could’ve done even BETTER if only someone had taken the time to say things like, “that foot is a hot mess. This is how you fix it.”

On a positive note, Jasmine has been an absolute revelation over the past several weeks. I had no clear cut favorite for most of this season, mostly due to choreography that just didn’t work for me altering my perception of the dancers, but somewhere along the line, I realized that I was falling in love. Everyone keeps mentioning that Jasmine has great legs — she does — but holy ARMS, Batman! Girl gets an A+ in port de bras. For serious. Every single position that Jasmine’s arms hit is perfect. And, unlike many dancers I’ve seen on this show over the years, she has absolutely zero problems with keeping her shoulders down. It’s really a thing of beauty. Oh, and her solos? Yeah, they’re right up there in the ranks of Travis Wall and Melanie Moore territory for me. Of course, since I’m gushing over her, she won’t win. In the previous 9 seasons, only one of my favorites won: Moore. I’m still mourning Benji’s season 2 win. That was totally supposed to be a win for Travis. To steal the words of the Mutant Enemy vampire, “GRR. ARGH.”

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