Reality Check #13

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)

During the season finale of Big Brother, host Julie Chen announced that fan voting this season increased 500%, so its safe to say there were extra eyes on the last episode. The final three was probably the weakest in the history of the show, pitting “exterminator” members Andy, Spencer, and GinaMarie against each other. None of them had played a particularly strong game, and all of them were physically weak, which would make the 3 part head of household competition very interesting. Maybe no one would win, which in a way would be a fitting end to the season which was more interesting because of the offensive remarks made by multiple houseguests rather than strategic gameplay.

The first leg of the final HOH competition is usually an endurance test, but with the contestants being so physically weak executive producer Alison Grodner gave them a break literally allowing the winner to skate to victory. Maybe there are an inordinate number of skate parks and roller rinks in Staten Island, GinaMarie’s hometown, because she was able hold on and take the prize, allowing her to skip to part three of the challenge.

Part 2 of the challenge pitted Andy against the overweight Spencer in a rock climbing challenge which required the participants to put the order of evicted houseguests at the top of the 15 foot rock wall. I’m no rock climbing expert, but I would surmise that it shouldn’t take anyone more than 5 minutes to complete this challenge with the stakes so high. Andy completed the task in 17 minutes. Not to be outdone in futility, it took Spencer 26 minutes to manipulate his fat body up and down the wall and complete the challenge. Off went Andy to round 3.

Round 3 was a trivia contest between Andy and GinaMarie. Andy has probably forgotten more about his time in the Big Brother house than GinaMarie has remembered, and he cruised to an easy victory. He now held all the power…….it was his choice who to bring with him to the final two and try and get the most votes possible out of the jury of convicted houseguests. The obvious choice was Spencer, who’s performance in the rock climbing challenge pretty much summed up his competitive efforts in the house this season. At least GinaMarie had made the biggest move anyone had made in the game, breaking up the power couple of Amanda and McCrae. Other than that she had spent more time eating and arguing with cast members.

Obviously Andy chose GinaMarie and out the door went Spencer. Next up was a chance for the jury to quiz the final contestants and give them a chance to win their vote. I must be honest, as much guff as I’ve given Andy, his performance in this inquisition was spectacular. It was a breathtaking how he was able to explain all his actions in the house, the effect he had on everyone’s eviction, and did it all while making sure each jury member knew none of it was personal. It was such a good performance that by the end not only did I think Andy would win in a landslide, I felt he had earned it. GinaMarie on the otherhand was completely overmatched and out of her element. When asked what her second move in the game was besides getting Amanda voted out of the house she stammered and said “getting Amanda voted out”. Game, set, and match for Andy.

Andy won the game by a vote of 7-2, capping off one of the strangest seasons of Big Brother ever. It was revealed to the sequestered houseguests that their racist, sexist, and homophobic comments had made national headlines, and it was fascinating to watch their looks of horror as they contemplated the ramifications of their actions now that the game was over. I think its safe to say future Big Brother contestants will be much more tight lipped when it comes to the social aspect of the game. While that sounds good on paper, it will probably make the game a lot less interesting.

WWE Total Divas


by Ricky Diaz (@rickyjdiaz)

The cold open starts with Nattie apparently trying to strangle her really ugly looking cat (she’s actually trying to put a bow around his neck), and then finally putting her cat in a full nelson, whilst TJ sits around in his and Justin Gabriel’s t-shirt ring gear – seriously, I think all the cold opens should be Nattie putting her ugly cat in wrestling submissions

The basic show long storyline is the Wedding of TJ and Nattie, which dominates the episode, some of the minor storylines play into it, some with better results than others.

A storyline which doesn’t really factor into the show long storyline is the new rivalry between Jojo and Eva Marie which started last episode. With the new performance centre opened by the WWE, a way for the minor league characters to work on their training, comes news that Nikki is going to be “replaced”, which puts Jojo and Eva at odds. This was started last week, and continued to this week, with Eva getting the spot on the main roster, thing is, she looks like someone who would hang out with the Bellas, whereas Jojo looks weird next to them, so it makes sense. Also Jojo came off as a little unsympathetic in this episode, when Jojo got her chance on the main roster, ie the Main Event singing debacle, Eva Marie was there to give her support, whereas when Eva Marie gets a chance, Jojo is like a spoilt little child. Jojo realises that this is a competition, and their storyline ends with them “breaking up”, possibly moving out from their shared apartment.

In the lead up to the wedding, John tells Nikki that his family is getting together, and its something that rarely happens, the only thing is that it is happening during TJ/Natties wedding, which means she will miss it. John is pushing Nikki to go with him, but doing it in such a way that it he won’t be held accountable to Nattie/TJ, its sly, and underhanded, which is something you never really see from Cena, either the character he portrays on TV or on the show. Eventually Nikki tells Nattie, and she goes. During the footage, we see her saying how comfortable she is with his family, but this is intercut with footage of her looking quite uncomfortable, and she also has a really weird conversation with his father – it goes like this – Cena “My dad is turning 69 this year” Nikki “ooh 69, thats a good year” Which I think is quite inappropriate to say to someones father upon meeting him for the first time – just in case I have to literally spell it out for you, she’s implying the sexual position. The storyline ends with John inviting Nikki to move in with him, and in another weird thing, has her lean over a table – give in mind she has a “bad leg” – in order to kiss him. It seems like its all about control for Mr Cena.

A side storyline which comes into play during the wedding, is Ariane having a severe stomach-ache, which takes her to hospital. Shown to us during flashbacks during the wedding. Vincent comes to see her, and wishes her well, they get back together and go to TJ/Natties wedding.

So the wedding storyline starts off with Natties mother making her a wedding dress, Nattie pushes how great a seamstress her mother is, and then the dress is revealed, its ok, but it looks like something a medieval princess would wear. Nattie eventually tells her mother that she wont wear the dress. On the actual day, it seems like a disaster, a beach wedding has to be called off due to rain, and for some reason, even though Jared professed his love to her, Nattie still decides to invite him to the wedding. Everything seems to be starting to fix up, until Jared arrives, and starts to stir the shit between Nattie and TJ. TJ seems concerned, and does the whole “should we even have this wedding” before they cut to a commercial, and of course when they get back, Nattie is able to talk him into the marriage. Some minor things which happen after the wedding, is TJ apparently put together a montage of their time together in the WWE, which looks suspiciously like it was put together by the WWE production team, and at the party, Nattie and Jared are dancing! Like seriously, what the fuck?!

After the episode, we get a “Total Divas After Party” which is a recap show, hosted by a true Total Diva in Renee Young. Some things to note, there women are all sitting with space inbetween them, which makes it look like they all hate each other, sure people come in and fill the spaces, but it just looks awkward. Sandra, my unofficial third funkadactyl, makes an appearance, and Jon Uso is actually quite funny, which didn’t really come across in the show. Oh and Jared makes a surprise “appearance” and comes across as a total “heel”. They also have some exclusive footage of upcoming storylines, which look very staged, but great nonetheless

The first half of Total Divas has had its ups and down, yet consistently has been entertaining. I think they could make the episodes flow a bit better, maybe only having one storyline which has things shoot off, or even just focus on one Diva an episode. But the show has got mainstream success, and of course the WWE has started to bleed some of the show into their main flagship programme in Raw. Everytime any of the Total Divas are on Raw, you always think, “oh, this is something their filming for Total Divas” which is a great kind of cross promotion, even though they are on different networks. The thing about Total Divas is that its something that anyone can enjoy, and I’ve read and heard, that wrestling fans and their partners can watch together, something which a “pure” wrestling show can’t do much these days.

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