Reality Bites: Ladies of London

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ORLY? Yes, we're really flying in to Orly Airport.
There are a million reality shows on the naked television. We're going to watch them all, one at a time.

If it seems like I'm picking on Bravo lately, well, I am. They're one of the few networks airing new episodes of anything now that summer's here. It's this stuff or three-year-old reruns of Swamp Men, so I stand by my decision.

Unceremoniously dropping this month was Ladies of London. As with any Bravo series, I assumed their use of the word "ladies" was sarcastic, but this isn't entirely the case. Maybe it's the surroundings, maybe it's the historic ambience or maybe the terrible British food just drains away your will to live, but things were definitely more subdued than in most shows of this type.


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Reality Bites: The Real Housewives of Orange County

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Possible minority sighting.
There are a million reality shows on the naked television. We're going to watch them all, one at a time.

I last wrote about a Real Housewives franchise in 2011 (kill me). At the time, I was naive enough to think Bravo's franchise series represented a low point in reality television, when we no know -- at worst -- they represent the lower-middle echelon of the genre (I'll allow debate on New Jersey).

Three years later (no really, kill me), and I decided to go to the mother lode. Like Burton and Speke seeking the source of the Nile, or Newt and Hicks returning to the xenomorph homeworld (the comics are real to me, dammit), I wanted to go to the wellspring of the franchise, the one ten-carat ring to rule them all, The Real Housewives of Orange County.

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Reality Bites: Sex Sent Me To The ER

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"Cowtus interruptus."
There are a million reality shows on the naked television. We're going to watch them all, one at a time.

When you think about mankind's obsession with a) putting their genitals into things, and/or b) putting things in their genitals (and other areas), it's a wonder our emergency rooms aren't overflowing with women electrocuted by defective vibrators and guys who "slipped in the bathtub while changing a light bulb in the dark and accidentally fell rectum-first onto a flashlight."

Visits to the ER are never fun, and only occasionally hilarious. Lucky for us, TLC ("The 'L' Used to Stand for Learning!") has rightfully figured out most of the humorous moments come from two consenting adults copulating in extraordinarily unwise ways.


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Reality Bites: Total Divas

Categories: Reality Bites

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Those don't look like regulation singlets. Somebody alert FILA.
There are a million reality shows on the naked television. We're going to watch them all, one at a time.

It often seems like I'm the only male of my generation who didn't pay attention to professional wrestling as a lad. Most of my knowledge of of those guys came from their involvement in movies of that era. Hulk Hogan, for instance, was the guy who fought the Italian Stallion for charity in Rocky 3. Rowdy Roddy Piper was the hero (of sorts) of They Live. Andre the Giant (RIP) was The Princess Bride's lovable Fezzik.

I say "guys" because prior to the 1990s, women's involvement in the WWF (later WWE) was mostly limited to the Fabulous Moolah and the occasional "romantic counterpart" storyline. For example, I've watched some clips of the old Miss Stephanie/Randy Savage/George "The Animal" Steele triangle and it's ... disturbing. Not, like, vomit porn disturbing, but unsettling nonetheless. The widespread use of female wrestlers, christened "Divas" in the WWE, didn't begin until the late 1990s.

Now, I'm not saying a parade of scantily clad women fake fighting in a ring would've grabbed my attention as a teenager, but I will allow I might have watched a lot fewer shitty kung fu movies on Saturdays had they been around..


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Reality Bites: Down East Dickering

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For shame, History Channel: Vikings don't haggle.
There are a million reality shows on the naked television. We're going to watch them all, one at a time.

The only conclusion I can reach concerning all these shows about pawn shops and junk collectors and barter economies is that someone in a pretty high position at A&E Networks (owners of the History Channel) is thinking long-term about mankind's future. Perhaps the existence of Down East Dickering and NatGeo's Doomsday Preppers indicates a desire by concerned network executives to ready us for life after the apocalypse, when currency will be useless and primitive trade systems will return to prominence.

Whatever, I was just relieved to find out "dickering" meant something other than I initially thought it did.

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Reality Bites: Hollywood Exes

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So my therapist says I'm "dangerously unhinged."
There are a million reality shows on the naked television. We're going to watch them all, one at a time.

You know, kids [hitches pants up to midsection and lights corncob pipe], it used to be that the term "celebrity" applied to someone famous by virtue of their being arguably more talented and possibly more attractive (but not always the latter, see also Humphrey Bogart) than the general population. Media coverage wasn't always flattering, but at least tended to focus on the A-listers.

I don't know exactly when, but the internet tells me it was around the time of Richard Burton/Liz Taylor/Eddie Fisher-palooza, but gossip rags eventually took a more salacious tone. The mutually beneficial relationship between magazine and movie industry went away, replaced by an adversarial situation in which studios publicly blasted the tactics of magazines like Celebrity and Modern Screen and pulled out their advertising money. The mags didn't care, as a steady state of impropriety boosted readership through the roof.

The point is, shows like VH1's Hollywood Exes conclusively demonstrate that the concept of "fame" is essentially meaningless, and pretty soon we'll all get our own reality shows based on that one time we ran into Mia Hamm at Newark Airport.

I'm going to call it "Me n' Mia."


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Reality Bites: Property Brothers

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"Lifeless eyes, black eyes, like a doll's eyes."
There are a million reality shows on the naked television. We're going to watch them all, one at a time.

The runaway popularity of home improvement shows in recent years speaks to two realities in America today. First, people appear to be far more interested in renovating existing properties, whether to spruce up a home for resale or justify buying an older house instead of a newer, more expensive one. Second, despite the early success of shows like This Old House and The New Yankee Workshop, simply being an old white guy with a tool belt isn't enough to get a TV show. These days, you gotta have an angle.

DIY's Rehab Addict is hosted by Nicole Curtis, a "self-taught home rehabber and designer" wh also happens to be very attractive. Jeff Lewis, of Bravo's Flipping Out, is a sociopath, and those are always entertaining. And then there's Drew and Jonathan Scott of HGTV's Property Brothers, who are identical twins. That's ... interesting, right?


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Reality Bites: Online Dating Rituals of the American Male

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Snap him up quick, ladies!
There are a million reality shows on the naked television. We're going to watch them all, one at a time.

On one hand, I feel sorry for you single people. The dating world, from what I can tell, is insane. The number of sites and apps competing for your attention, in addition to the work involved creating a compelling online persona, looks exhausting. And then there's the effort put into sifting through thousands of potential mates. Before you've even gone on Date 1, you've done more research than a doctoral student on his third dissertation defense.

On the other, I spent my single years in an environment where you had to practically sign a lease together before determining if the other person shared your views on child rearing, the designated hitter, and John Carpenter movies; information which is available these days to anyone at the click of a mouse. So I can see both sides.

What's not debatable, however, is that if the dudes on Bravo's new show -- Online Dating Rituals of the American Male -- are representative of America's single men, you women are really screwed.


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Reality Bites: Ice Cold Gold

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There's gold in them ... glaciers.
There are a million reality shows on the naked television. We're going to watch them all, one at a time.

While researching the next show for "Reality Bites" (i.e. channel surfing after a few Stone IPAs), I came across Ice Cold Gold, Animal Planet's show about 21st century prospectors braving the harsh terrain of Greenland in a quest for gold, rubies, sapphires, and the Jade Monkey (probably).

I admit to being a bit dubious. For while you'd assume modern gold-hunters (not to be confused with gold "diggers") would possess advanced technology like seismic imaging to aid them in their search (spoiler warning: they don't), it isn't as if The Atlantic is writing about the new wave of gold millionaires.


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Reality Bites: Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives

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Wow. Such dude. Very Flavortown. 10/10
There are a million reality shows on the naked television. We're going to watch them all, one at a time.

Like most people, I've eaten at restaurants. As luck would have it, I've also been to several of the eateries featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. I recall meeting the owner of one of them (not in Houston) who loudly and profanely cursed host Guy Fieri for selecting his restaurant, then loudly (and profanely) complained about the "new clientele" the show had drawn in. I hadn't gotten my food yet, so I didn't ask a) why he agreed to do the show in the first place, and b) if he was returning the new customers' money.

But this appears to be an uncommon response, judging by the fact the majority of the restaurants featured on the show prominently display links to the show. Like it or not, Fieri is one of Food Network's biggest stars, and arguably its most recognizable (provided Giada De Laurentiis isn't standing nearby in a bikini). A visit from His Goatee-ness can boost significantly boost a restaurant's business.


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