Reality Bites: Dating Naked

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Not to worry, someone already made the blow job joke.
There are a million reality shows on the naked television. We're going to watch them all, one at a time.

"Naked television" indeed.

When it comes down to it, dating shows aren't any better or worse than shows about flipping houses (Flip This House), staged cooking competitions (Celebrity Cook-Off, or the embryonic version of Ow My Balls! (Wipeout). Select a handful of attention-starved dimwits, preferably with visible abs and/or D-cups, and set them loose in an "unscripted" environment while letting cameras record the ensuing shenanigans.

You're probably familiar with the metaphor of the boiling frog: put a frog in a pan of boiling water and it'll jump out, but put the frog in cold water and gradually heat it to a boil, and the frog will die without complaint. VH1's new reality show is called Dating Naked, and if you feel like it's getting hot in here, it's probably not because of the blurred-out genitalia.

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Reality Bites: Little Women: LA

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Exactly as Louisa May Alcott envisioned.
There are a million reality shows on the naked television. We're going to watch them all, one at a time.

The glut of reality television, like climate change, is a reality that can't be denied by rational human beings. From inexplicably top-rated shows like American Idol and The Bachelor/Bachelorette to niche weirdness like Lizard Lick Towing and Small Town Security, our airwaves/satellite dishes/internet tubes are awash in quote-unquote "unscripted" programming.

But even entities as inert as TV networks can see the writing on the wall; that despite the unending supply of idiots willing to abase themselves on camera, people might eventually grow tired of watching the same pneumatic hags flipping tables and screaming obscenities at each other. How to solve this conundrum? Just add little people, I guess.

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Reality Bites: Drunk History

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"Check out this sweet statue, bro."
There are a millions reality shows on the naked television. We're going to watch them all, one at a time.

The premise for Comedy Central's Drunk History is sublime in its simplicity: inebriated people recounting historical events, accompanied by dialogue-accurate reenactments. With that, you get all of the occasional factual inaccuracies and lapses in verbal dexterity one might expect.

Adapted from Derek Waters and Jeremy Konner's Funny or Die web series, the show recently embarked upon its second season. Unlike some (okay, most) of what's covered here on "Reality Bites," this is a not-at-all unpleasant way to kill 30 minutes on a Tuesday evening. Also, "Weird Al" Yankovic as Hitler!

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Reality Bites: The People's Couch

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Ayn doesn't know Kim Kardashian's name, but she recognizes the butt. As it should be.
There are a million reality shows on the naked television. We're going to watch them all, one at a time.

Remember those YouTube clips that came out after the "Rains of Castamere" episode of Game of Thrones, showing non-book readers' reacting to the Red Wedding? Those were fun, in their way, because they showed honest and organic responses to shocking events.

The People's Couch, on the other hand, is a cynical (if economically understandable) attempt to replicate that kind of phenomenon, only with non-surreptitious cameras filming several groups of viewers self-consciously watching bad television. I hope Mike Judge is getting royalties for this, because he pretty much created the concept of dipshits on a sofa making fun of TV over 20 years ago.


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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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