Reality Bites: South Beach Tow

Categories: Reality Bites

sbt0516.jpg
It's 10 a.m., do you know where your car is?
There are a million reality shows on the naked television. We're going to watch them all, one at a time.

You know, I don't ask for much. I'm happy to take this weekly bullet for the amusement and horror of Art Attack's readers, because it (usually) allows me an outlet for my more misanthropic tendencies and (occasionally) gives me an unexpected glimpse of something genuinely entertaining.

But I require a certain level of authenticity. So-called "reality" shows are carefully edited for maximum shock value, if not staged outright, but rarely have I come across something like South Beach Tow, which is more fake than Mickey Rourke's bout with Chris Jericho at Wrestlemania XXV.

Tow truck drivers rank just below "guy who shushes you at a golf tournament" and just above "piss boy" in popular perception. They're great when your car breaks down in the middle of chain-saw-massacre country, but the more usual interaction occurs when one of them drags our vehicle to a lot in a scenic area of the North Freeway because we parked for 90 seconds in a downtown McDonald's while going to pick up our wife.

I'm still pissed about that, and it was in 1999.

South Beach Tow follows the exploits of Tremont Towing, based in South Beach, Miami. One assumes the location was chosen to further deepen the contrast between the glamorous environs and the gritty, blue-collar work of these noble knights of the AIA. I suppose my sympathies might have been roused if the show featured more beneficial activities, like rescuing German tourists from freeway breakdowns, or helping a mother get her kids to school after a flat, but Tremont's business looks primarily to be repo jobs and occasionally pouncing on nearby scofflaws. The episode I caught made much hay of the departure of someone named Robbie, who I later learned was the son of the owner. Here, then, is a tale of pride, jealousy and paternal intransigence to rival the Bard himself.

What's that? He can get his job back if he re-obtains one of the company's biggest contracts (filched by those diabolical fiends at Finest Towing)? Fie on his foul Shylock of a father!

The thing is, there are probably some legitimately entertaining moments to be harvested from following tow truck drivers around and filming the shenanigans, COPS-style. Some of these incidents get pretty tense, leading to violently entertaining altercations (please, let's not kid ourselves about why anyone watches this stuff). You'll never know this from SBT, however, for not only are the towing events obviously staged, they're staged in a fashion reminiscent of the acting on late-night Cinemax.

Only without the boobs.

sbt0516a.jpg
J-Money and Bernice discussing their latest lessons at the Strasberg Institute.
For starters, let's follow driver Bernice as she goes to pick up a Nissan Altima illegally parked in an alley. The owner looks (and is dressed) like T-Bone, Damon Wayans's character in Colors. He's also under house arrest, but claims he's meeting his PO, a story which falls apart when his annoyed girlfriend chucks his belongings out the window. He threatens Bernice with a bottle, which would make for serious documentary drama if the whole thing wasn't being captured from three separate camera angles.

That doesn't make Bernice's slamming him with a trash can lid any less gratifying, however.

The subplot running through the episode I watched involved a new company undercutting Tremont's contracts. Disturbing news indeed, if we could be bothered to dredge up a tear for these scumbags.

Back at the office, T-Bone's "official" girlfriend shows up, asking why his car was towed since he was "visiting his parole officer." J-Money, another driver who likes to -- I'm guessing -- freak the honeys, makes his move on the distraught woman. Rather than shove the morbidly obese Lothario away, she agrees to meet later. Because ladies love cool Jerome.

Next on the towing agenda is a Ford Fiesta which needs to be repossessed. They track it down at a local tattoo parlor but are -- surprise -- interrupted in the act by the owner, a heavily inked young lady in the attractive first stages of meth addiction. She and her girlfriend are willing to do *anything* to keep the car from getting towed, but driver Perez is an honorable man. Her reaction is as you'd expect: She jumps up on the car and shrieks at Perez while her friend eggs her on. Curiously, the police are nowhere to be found.

Finally, there's the dog walker who comes to the impound yard. With all her dogs. That's right, she somehow made it to each of the residences where all these dogs live without a car and walked them over to Tremont's office. For a nice final touch, she shuts several of them in the trunk as she's driving off. Somebody calls Animal Control, and then things get awesome. And by "awesome" I mean "eyeball-gougingly ridiculous." For example, I had no idea Dade County Animal Control was empowered to reach into someone's car and take their keys.

J-Money also apparently has a history with the woman from AC. He makes Smoove B look like Urkel.

The Tremont folks end up watching the dogs, and they do a bang-up job ensuring each canine is returned to its proper owner: "Oh, that one's mine!" Here's your dog, person I've never met with no supporting documentation. What fools these mortals be.

In what's probably the "best" moment in the show, J-Money is attempting to reconcile with the woman from Animal Control when T-Bone's girlfriend decides to show up. Finally, to go with all the rest of the bullshit, we get a fake chick fight.

Oh, and Perez is in cahoots with the new tow company. Et tu, Perez?

Like I said, I'm willing to put up with a lot of crap for your reading entertainment, but South Beach Tow isn't just garbage, it's poorly staged/acted garbage. It'd be more entertaining to pull up some lawn chairs a few blocks from Griff's on St. Patrick's Day and watch the real guys do their job.

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74 comments
watcher2
watcher2

So funny people are bitching about other peoples criticism. HA Fuck you!

watcher2
watcher2

This show is so fucking ridiculous, needs to be booted off television. A soap opera of some gay shit with some thug wannabe tow truck drivers. If that was how tow truck drivers acted i would vote for a genocide of all towers. I feel bad for their parents having to pass the torch of there family name to such fucks.

watcher2
watcher2

fffsafasdfeeeeeeeawffefaefeaf

Ctrimner1
Ctrimner1

II'm with u on that irs not right to put down drivers even when they r out helping ppl they all work there asses off work late get no sleep sometimes don't get to eat my hubby is a driver and I have a lot of reaspect for him and all the other drivers in this life.

Ptnkln
Ptnkln

Workwear uniforms

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Www Bodega_10@msn.com
Www Bodega_10@msn.com

If u guys don't like the show stop comPlaining and don't fucking watch it. And if these tv producers offered u guys the cash to do same u guys would. Reading all these comments sounds to me u guys is all jealous because they choosed these to do the show and not u guys so u know what.....DON'T HATE.....bunch of cry baby's

Kathleen in Toronto
Kathleen in Toronto

I think the person who wrote this article is bang on.  My problem is that even though I know that there's no WAY that what I'm seeing on this show is real, I still watch it anyway.  I think I've lowered my standards quite a bit since reality shows have come out.  I spend the first couple of episodes telling myself "this isn't real... there's no way this is real" and then I get attached to the characters and want to see how it works out.  I need help. It was great to read this condescending review however because it brings ME back to reality lol. Your review was more entertaining than the show LOL.  Keep typing :)

lugan329
lugan329

After reading some of these comments..Not only do they tow cars, they also murder the English language. If any of you geniuses ever write a book, maybe you can ask Mr Vonderhaar to proof read it for you first.

J5A
J5A

 Not all of us "murder the English language". Not all of us are criminals either. Also, a slight case of throwing stones in a glass house as your punctuation and sentence structure is somewhat lacking.  I admit without hesitation that some of my fellow operators could use a little more schooling though... *Grin*

lugan329
lugan329

I'd be mad if I were a "piss boy".

Stu
Stu

to the authour i hop u drive and one day need a tow just because what u see on tv dont lump all towing recovery opps in the same sterio type

C & C
C & C

I think all these Reality shows are distasteful in every way. I am the owner of a Towing & Roadside assistance company, the more they show these things the less trusting and worst preceptions come out of people. Me and my Wife own the Company. we have 2 children. very good physical condition. Clean shaven, good hygine so when we come to assist someone they are shocked to say the least . If you want a good reality show of Towing Wrecked is the best hands down but there are pleanty more companys that have the same values and beliefs. if you need assistance don't be afraid to pick up the phone because you might not get what you always see. C & C

Boskeyjames
Boskeyjames

I'm a tow truck driver,I find your comments about drivers offensive,maby your ingorance blinds you to the fact that we are people as well and those of us that don't do roam towing put our lives in danger for dumb ass people like you that break down on the roads,everyday!But then again those of us in the business are used to dealing with dumb assess on a daily basis,so you uneducated artical is no surprise....

Phillywcs2
Phillywcs2

All this cause u parked at and left your car at a McDonalds for what u say 90's seconds. Realize that1. You gotta be noticed (can take 1 second to 15 min. But we will say 1 sec)2. The phone call to call them will be at least 60 seconds long (in which time you would prior to the call had to of went outside to get the make model and tag number) add 30 more seconds gives us 91. These are all lowball numbers. Not to mention the 120 second hook up time and they still gotta get the truck there. Man up and stop makin excuses for your screw up

Plum6831
Plum6831

 See, I was thinking "all this" because the show sucks ass and the people on it perpetuate the dirt bag stereotype that all the detractors of this article are taking offense to.  But that's just my take on it.  Because I can read.

Plum6831
Plum6831

The author only says that the perception of tow truck drivers is low, and I'm going to say I'm one of those who perceive them that way.  Not all of them mind you, but the ones who park under overpasses and wait for accidents to happen.  Now why would I have a problem with that?  They're right there and ready to help in an instant.  I'll tell you why.  Because there are usually 2 or 3 of them under the same overpass and they race to the scene of the accident.  I don't mean "race" as in "get there fast"  I mean "race" as in "beat the other drivers there".  And I have almost been hit on more than one occasion by the jackasses, and I've called the police on them too.  These are low-life scumbags.

The drivers who wait for phone calls to come and tow cars are just fine with me. As far as I know.

Zach Vaccaro
Zach Vaccaro

To the editor of this article, you can cry all you want but the fact is, is that if you park illegally you're gonna get towed so get over it. Repos and tows are good money and as long as people park illegally they're gonna make bank off of idiots.

Marcus Powell
Marcus Powell

First off, I am a tow truck driver, Second I met Robert Sr. at the Florida tow show...  Yes some things are more strung out to catch an audience. But here is the thing. They do not tow for any motor clubs. they only tow for police, Personal Property Impounds, and reposessions. So you wont see them changing a tire or giving someone a jump start.  When you do a repo things can get a little hastey. not always...  The producers fowllow these guys around like lost puppy dogs and only air the good stuff. so if you want to moan and groan about a tow truck driver being so called worthless GET A REALITY CHECK! oh and by the way MOVE OVER OR SLOW DOWN! ITS THE LAW!

H_e_x
H_e_x

How about you don't drive like a maniac and terrorize people on the road?

Carl Jordan
Carl Jordan

Pete, please get stuck in the snow in my town, I'll gather all of us wrecker drivers that are out helping people together, and stand around and laugh as you freeze. You didn't just dig yourself a hole with a shovel, you dug it with a backhoe.

Pete Vonder Haar
Pete Vonder Haar

Will the people you're helping be laughing too? Or will they have to wait in their cars?

Mntowguy
Mntowguy

Carl, please see ly earlier post. I'd still help him just to show him some of us are Professionals! work on getting good publicity!

H_e_x
H_e_x

The clarion call has been sent out, Tow Truck Drivers unite!

Justin_S_Davis
Justin_S_Davis

You, sir, bring pride and honor to The Grand Fraternal Order Of Wrecker-Drivers.You are clearly doing The Lord's work.

J5A
J5A

To all those getting bent out of shape about this article, a few words of advice. One, read more carefully - the author clearly says "popular perception". This is completely true. It is unfortunate that the public views us this way but the reality is that the majority do. There are a lot of miscreants working in the industry that give us all a bad name. Some of us also do work that makes us unpopular (repo's, police/parking enforcement towing etc). A fair person would recognize that we are just doing our jobs but someone that just had their car towed is not likely to be very fair. The article is spot one when it speaks about how bad the show is and how buffoonish the characters in it are. The author is reviewing the show, not the industry and the tone of the article is a touch sarcastic and somewhat tongue-in-cheek. I found it an entertaining read. Ironically, the comments wishing ill upon the author just further the stereotype that we are all a bunch of crooks - I hope that if Pete does break down or suffer an accident, he meets the finest operators the industry has to offer and is treated well - he would be a good ally to have in the fight to repair our image. Cheers!!

Pete Vonder Haar
Pete Vonder Haar

I wish now I'd used "pop culture blogger" instead of "piss boy" as I'd originally intended. I just didn't think it would be as funny. 

Valkyrie
Valkyrie

Reading.....it is fundamental.

Breeden3772
Breeden3772

All that is fake what about us real wrecker drivers that risk our lives everyday on the Ohio Turnpike? We are not low like you say I tow mostly breakdowns for people that are grateful for me! Thanks Gary in Ohio

Valkyrie
Valkyrie

A. IF what you say is correct, you are not contributing to the bad reputation. Therefore, the "offensive" statement doesn't apply to you.

B. This is a Local Houston paper. In Texas. We have no idea what happens in Ohio.

C. I am grateful for PROFESSIONAL tow truck operators.

Gordan16
Gordan16

You know was guys I love to show you don't like it the don't watch it simple is that. And for a fact I'm a tow truck driver 2 . .

Valkyrie
Valkyrie

Stay in School and try to pay more attention to your studies.

Auswoman
Auswoman

Glad I didn't have something to drink before seeing this comment. I LOLed.

Doug Howard
Doug Howard

Let me get this straight, you're still pissed because you parked where you weren't supposed to, and got towed? And how is this the tow truck operator's fault? If you ever need a tow truck, you better hope they've never read this story. To promote these types of staged "reality" shows only further instills the stereotype. If you want to watch something "real", try Wrecked. (or better yet, ride along with a driver for a week...)

Waterogonzalez
Waterogonzalez

I would get offended if someone smart wrote this arcticle. Do a little research first before you open your mouth(in this case you write something ). Most of us make an honest living. We are not crooks or scum like you're saying we are. And we're nothing like that garbage on tv.

Valkyrie
Valkyrie

Reading comprehension is not your strongest skill. He is reviewing a really bad reality tv show. I had no idea that Tremont Towing was here in Houston and that you worked for them.

Grantstowing
Grantstowing

Hope to see ur ass on side of road hungry.thirsty&about to shit your pants! Cuz ill keep going! Put that in your shhh golf! BOY

Valkyrie
Valkyrie

Awwww....does baby need a bottle? Here, let mommy wipe your nose for you. Now no more tears ok. The bad man didn't mean you personally.

Mntowguy
Mntowguy

As a Professional Towing & Recovery Operator I would hope you would stop! prove him wrong! As in any industry there are pros and hacks. everyone remembers the hacks, few remember the pros. hacks keep driving. pros kill el with kindness and do their job no matter what!Take pride in who we are and what we do.

Valkyrie
Valkyrie

Also, it is called being a professional and taking pride in both your work and reputation.

TowingCoOwner
TowingCoOwner

Nothing wrong with this article! Nice review for a shitty show!

Rogerrabbit69
Rogerrabbit69

Thats the problem with good ole television these days... It's the only way a writer can get a story. To hell with you kind sir... Many people in our industry dedicate their lives to helping people in times of need. As with any profession, the morons always seem to garner the attention. Well played Mr Vonder Haar... You made it painfully obvious how much attention you require. Ps.. Please don't ever come to Vancouver... Also don't break down here either... My industry cannot afford to read your story

H_e_x
H_e_x

Why is a Vancouver tow driver reading a television review post on a Houston based blog? Are you the Batman of tow truck drivers, traveling around North America in your pursuit of people who rag on tow truck drivers? 

Paul
Paul

First of all I would  like to say that I hope this editor Pete Vonder Haar gets a surpise lawsuit for SLANDERING all of us Towing and Recovery Operators. He obvisously knows nothing about the Towing and Recovery Industry except for the airtime slot he sees on TV. He needs to take the time to go out and ride around with a tow truck operator and sees what it is like when we do our job. You just go slandering every single driver out there when it is the reality shows like this that gives us a bad name in the industry. Who the hell is he to judge all just for a reality show that gives us a bad name. HE should have taken the time and research to find out what this industry is really about. This editor is scumbag of the earth and for the employer who let him publish this article for everyone to read should be disiplined also as well as this low life idiot who wrote the article. Not every single towing and recovery operator is bad and does a horrible job. We do have families and 90% of us love our jobs. We are the ones who have to get up in the middle of the night when you have a problem with your vehicle. We are the ones who gets dragged away from dinner and have to go out in all kinds of weather and be out for long hours while you get to sleep comfortably in your warm bed and warm house or air conditioned house. We work tiredless long hours to get the roadways cleared up and clean up when you cause an accident by not paying attention to what you are doing when behind the wheel of a motor vehicle (Texting and Talking) on your phone or playing with your GPS. This guy needs to get a life and do his research before slandering all of us towing and recovery operators that are out there doing a hard job and what we love to do in life. Where would you be if you car breaks down? Are you gonna push it for 50 plus miles to get it home or to a repair shop. And I am happy that you had your vehicle towed because you screwed up and parked illegally when you should have taken the time to park legally! So HAHAHAHAH at you for your screw up Pete Vonder Haar!Dude, think before you write an article for everyone in the general public to see. Have nice day and hope a tow truck operator sees this and remember who you are when you call for a tow truck when you vehicle breaks down and refuses to help you cause you screwed up by writing this article! 

Pete Vonder Haar
Pete Vonder Haar

I see a lot of wishes for my car to break down. This will never happen, as I drive a Geo Metro.

Valkyrie
Valkyrie

A. Slander is making false statement in a non-print format.  Libel is the issuance of false statements in print, like newspapers and magazines, even in their online formats.

B. In order to sue for Defamation, you would need to prove that YOU and YOUR reputation suffered as a result to the offending party's statements. YOU would need to demonstrate that you lost work, fell victim to public scorn, or lost credibility, all of which can detrimentally affect your life.

C. In order to have "lost credibility", you would need to have credibility first. You cannot lose that in which you never had to begin with.

D. What gives your industry a bad reputation, is the fact that a high population of your fellow tow truck operators don't obey the basic law of the road, such as stopping for red lights/stop signs, speeding through residential neighborhoods, etc. They cause dangerous situations by not being courteous drivers, and for the aforementioned occurrances.

E. Finally, based on your response above, you don't have a case for Defamation. You are part of the problem, not the solution. You are a contributor to the bad reputation, and are not someone trying to change the public perception of tow truck operators. Good luck with that.

tilden
tilden

 he said people don't like you guys, and whether they should or not he's right, people don't like you. you think you can successfully sue someone for that? come the fuck on

Justin_S_Davis
Justin_S_Davis

"I hope you get sued!"

"You're a lowlife idiot!"

"I'm happy you screwed up!"

"I hope you get refused help!"

--

You are a living testament to the nobility and quiet dignity of the wrecker driver.

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