You’re Watching Reality TV Wrong


All fans of reality TV competitions tend to make the same two mistakes. (If your immediate response to this is, “Is watching reality TV competitions one of them?”—good one! Also, you’ve had your fun, now leave.)

Alright, where was I? The two mistakes. To be clear, I am not excluding myself from these mistakes. I have made these mistakes in the past. I will probably make these mistakes again in the future. I simply want to pass along what I’ve learned.

The first reality TV mistake is ROOTING FOR YOUR FAVORITE. Wait, what? That’s crazy talk.

Hear me out. Of course, it’s natural to want your favorite to win. You want them to take down all comers, reach the top of the reality TV mountain, get bathed in a victorious sea of confetti. But here’s the rub: With a few notable exceptions, reality TV winners tend to disappear from our TV screens. This is particularly true of the winners of, say, The Bachelor or The Bachelorette series, at least some of whom do annoying things like “get married” and “have children” and “live happily ever after.” As for the losers? Well, after the tears, the regrets, the self-recriminations—the possibilities are endless. They can show up on Bachelor in Paradise! They can appear as a contestant again! They can become The Bachelor or The Bachelorette! (If their name is Nick Viall, they can do all three!) And this is also true on Drag Race (my favorite show), where the winners simply, well, win, whereas the losers—if they are good enough at drag and popular enough—get to come back on All-Stars. One of my favorite queens, Manila Luzon, appeared on Season 3, then All-Stars 1, and then All-Stars 4! She lost all three times! Huzzah! If I like seeing Manila Luzon on my TV screen—and I do! I really do!—why on earth would I want to her to win? (It’s true, I had an absolute cow when Manila was unfairly voted off of All-Stars 4. Sometimes I forget my own rules. I am but a mere mortal—and Naomi Smalls did her dirty.)

The other mistake reality TV competition fans make? WANTING THE VILLAIN TO GO HOME. Villains make for prime entertainment. They annoy viewers, they antagonize fellow contestants, they cause a ruckus. Ruckuses are the best! Have you ever noticed that once reality TV villains get voted off, the shows become less good? The perfect example is the current reality TV boogeyman, Luke P, of The Bachelorette. Luke P is, objectively, the worst. He decided right out of the gate—way too soon—that he was not only in love with Hannah but that he was the clear frontrunner, and he’s been stunned, hurt, and baffled (he’s easily baffled) every time Hannah doesn’t treat him like the king he believes himself to be. He’s downright troglodyte in his opinions about women and sex—he thinks women’s bodies are temples and that they should save themselves for marriage (but he, Luke P, has had sex many, many times, thank you very much). And he’s constantly gaslighting Hannah, insisting he didn’t say the all horrible things he actually said when she calls him out. The WORST. But! Luke also causes confrontations and fights at the cocktail parties, and drives Hannah to (telegenic) tears. Thanks to Luke, the studly Tyler C looks that much better (he called Luke out on his slut shaming) and the otherwise sorta dull Garrett delivered the best line of the season: “Sweet dreams, Luke.” (This was said with a shit-eating grin after Luke begged Garrett not to share certain details of his toxic behavior with Hannah.)

And yet, week after week, people on Twitter get enraged when Hannah saves Luke. Don’t they realize that Luke has MADE this season? Luke is the gift that keeps on giving. Every time Hannah pins a rose on his steroid-enhanced chest, it guarantees another week of beautiful chaos.

In closing, of course, there is something in human nature that compels us to root for our favorite and against the villain. Resist! Go against your instincts! You’ll be a hell of a lot more entertained because of it.

Why I’m #TeamNick and You Should Be, Too


Meet Nick.

The other day, hoping to fangirl with some like-minded The Bachelorette watchers, I did a Twitter search for Nick Viall, one of the two remaining men vying for the affections of Kaitlyn Bristowe.

These were the kinds of tweets I saw:

“Nick Viall is actually Satan in human form”

“If Nick Viall doesn’t go home I swear I’m just…I’m out”

“I hope Nick Viall gets hit by a bus”

Then, driven by curiosity, I searched for Shawn Booth, the other remaining suitor. As you might’ve guessed, these were the kinds of tweets I saw:

“Shawn Booth is a dreamboat”

“Without any doubt, Shawn Booth is the epitome of my dream man.”

“Does anyone realize how effing hot Shawn Booth is.” [No question mark needed, apparently.]

And I thought to myself, “Are these people watching the same show as I am?’’

Just the tiniest bit of context, although I’m pretty sure everyone reading this blog already watches the show. (If not, what are you doing here? Shoo!):

Nick was a bit of a Johnny-come-lately to this season of The Bachelorette. He had been a contestant in Andi Dorfman’s season (making it to the final two and famously moaning, “If you didn’t love me, why did you make love to me”—more on that in a sec—before losing to Josh Murray). He’d seen Kaitlyn on Chris Soules’s season of The Bachelor and thought she was cute. The two, reportedly, had been exchanging steamy text messages right up until the time that Kaitlyn was chosen to be this season’s Bachelorette. So Nick decided that he wanted to join the cast. Or maybe the producers approached him. Maybe they even intentionally waited to introduce Nick in the fourth week because they knew it would add to the drama. That would be so them.

Needless to say, right out of the gate, the other guys didn’t like Nick. They were extremely jealous of his previous connection with Kaitlyn, and annoyed that he had disrupted the show, just when they were all finally getting their legs under them. They got paranoid. (One guy, named Josh A, kind of slowly drove himself mad with jealousy.) They all created this narrative right away that Nick was a bad guy. And that he was—say it with me—here for the wrong reasons (HFTWR).

Their reasoning for determining that Nick was HFTWR? Because he’d already been on The Bachelorette. That, of course, made zero sense since Kaitlyn, the woman they were all already pining away for, had already been on The Bachelor. If Nick was HFTWR, so was Kaitlyn. If anything, an argument could be made that Nick was here for most traditional reasons: He already knew Kaitlyn and knew he liked her. That strikes me as a lot more the way actual romance works than The Bachelorette’s bizarre “25 guys all competing for the heart of one woman” construct.

Knowing that the guys were going to resent him, Nick played it cool. He was nice, polite, kept to himself, didn’t say much. He didn’t gloat about the fact that he and Kaitlyn had a previous connection or that they couldn’t keep their hands off each other.

He said, again and again, “I’m here for Kaitlyn.”

And when he finally did sleep with Kaitlyn—creating the most overblown and ridiculous controversy in the history of the show—he kept it to himself.

Okay, so let’s break down a couple more reasons I like Nick

He’s hella cute

I mean, different strokes, obviously. You may prefer that hunk of man-meat with the snap-on hair named Shawn. I think Nick is pretty dreamy. For starters, he has great personal style. He really knows how to rock a suit, which something of a lost art form in this country.


Smizing for days

And, uh, he looks pretty damn good out of suit, too.


It’s hard to snap your pants and drink coffee at the same time (NOT complaining)

I will confess that my crush on him was slightly dampened when someone pointed out how much he resembled Spencer Pratt.


How unfortunate

You can’t unsee that shit.

He’s a feminist!

Here’s what he tweeted after the whole ridiculous brouhaha of him sleeping with Kaitlyn:

“Both men and women have an equal right to have sex without judgement”

*Emoji heart eyes*

Now, this might seem to contradict the alleged “slut-shaming” he did of Andi, but I actually saw that as more “emotional shaming.” Like, Andi knew how deep his feelings for her were and he felt that by sleeping with him, she was leading him on. That’s actually kind of …sweet.

Okay, fine, so maybe Nick isn’t your type. I get that. But why is everyone so incredibly in love with Shawn? Help me understand, people. Without further ado, some reasons why I’m NOT Team Shawn

He’s Not That Good Looking


The dudest bro who ever dudebroed

Look, he’s ripped and he has a deep voice and I guess he does look a little bit like Ryan Gosling on HGH. But that side-part the size of the Mississippi River and all that hair gel is so not working for me.


I’ve nicknamed his part, “The worm”

He’s One of Those Annoying Contestants Who Forgets The Way the Show Works

Shawn focused most of his ire on Nick, but he basically freaked out whenever Kaitlyn spent any time with a man not named Shawn. He seemed to think that Kaitlyn was going to kick all the other guys out and give him the final rose in week two.

He’s the Real “Slut Shamer”

When Kaitlyn finally told Shawn that she slept with Nick, he did the whole cave man bit, acting like she was his possession and had no right to have sex with any other man. He also threatened to leave the show several times, but finally decided to do Kaitlyn a huge favor and stay. What a guy.

He Refuses To Call Nick By His Name

He calls him “that guy” like Nick is Voldemort or something.

His Idea of Clearing the Air is Calling Nick an Asshole

Two episodes ago, Shawn had to get something off his chest. He needed to speak to Nick “man to man.” So he basically went to Nick’s room and told Nick he hated him. When Nick tried to protest, or find out why, Shawn just kept repeating, “You’re not here for the right reasons.” Nick was quick to point out that Shawn had made no effort to get to know him. “Because I don’t want to,” Shawn said. The thing that was so funny about this conversation was that Shawn clearly thought he was some sort of hero for saying all this stuff to Nick’s face. Yeah, pal, you deserve a Nobel Peace Prize.

In closing, Nick hasn’t done anything wrong this season. A bunch of jealous guys decided they hated him for no reason and collectively agreed he was HFTWR.

I don’t know who Kaitlyn is going to pick in 2 weeks—a Snapchat photo of her in bed with Shawn leaked, leading lots of viewers to assume he’s the winner—but I am unabashedly Team Nick. And you’re damn right it’s for all the right reasons

Love Means Never Having to Say You’re Arie: The Bachelorette Finale recap

Still Life With Confused Bachelorette


Arie or Jef? Jef or Arie?
Emily has already thrown out the guy she wants to date (Sean) and has narrowed it down the guy she wants to, er, have carnal knowledge of (Arie) and the one she wants marry (Jef).
But WHO will she choose??
Luckily for her, Emily’s family is ready to step up to the plate by expressing a clear and decisive preference. Or not. 
Basically, the whole family was crushing hard on Jef—and his Dudley-Do-Right manners and soothing voice and “edgy Mormon” (oxymoron alert!) ways.
“I don’t even know why we’re going through the action of even seeing someone else today,” Emily’s father sniffed, before Arie’s visit.
But then Arie showed up—looking like sex on a stick, babbling nervously (which Emily’s brother took for conversational “smoothness”) and wielding that adorable box of crumpled roses—and they were all SO CONFUSED.
“After talking to Arie, I’m confused,” said Emily’s dad.
Totally useless
So thanks  for that.
Emily staggered away from family day in a tailspin, literally wailing in agony, Nancy Kerrigan style.
Why? Why? Why can’t she have two nice things?
If Bill Paxton can do it, why can’t I?
But a key issue emerged here—an issue perhaps more important than love or sex or “Little Ricki” (“babalu!”): Emily doesn’t want to be the “girl who gets engaged 15 times.”
First of all, is there a girl who gets engaged 15 times? Because I’ve never heard of her. And if she exists, she’s a rarity, not a cautionary cliche.
Second of all, if you’re trying to avoid the hasty, irresponsible, more-likely-to-fail-than-a-Paul-Reiser-sitcom engagement, maybe being The Bachelorette is not the wisest choice.
That being said, Emily kept using a curious word to describe her choice of Jef: “confident.” She said she had more “confidence” in him. Not that she loved him more, or thought that he was hotter, smarter, or better husband material than Arie. Just that she had more confidence that they would stay together in the long haul.
In other words, Jef is the less risky proposition. 
On the other hand, maybe it was simply a matter of good timing.  Maybe if Arie had gone first—maybe if it had been Arie angling for private time with Ricki, Arie frolicking with Ricki by the pool—he’d be the big winner and Jef would be the one doing a drive-by journal drop on Emily’s doorstep. Hard to say.
An aside: I understand that Emily is protective of Ricki—I even admire it. But it really is okay to introduce your child to people they may only meet once. It’s not like Ricki’s world was going to be irrevocably rocked and ruined because she met Arie one time and he abandoned her. (By that logic, she should avoid all waiters, busboys, and lifeguards in Curacao—because what if Ricki gets dangerously attached to any of them?) I dunno. Maybe that’s just me.
Anyway, once Emily had made up her mind that Jef was the one for her, she did the right thing—a thing I’m surprised more Bachelorettes don’t do, considering the humiliation factor of getting down on one knee to a woman who’s about to reject you (yeah, I’m givin’ you the stinkeye, Ashley)—she decided to break up with Arie. 
But first she shared her feelings with Chris Harrison in a little portion of the show I like to call “filler.” (But wouldn’t it have been funny if she’d introduced Chris Harrison to Ricki?).
Chris Harrison’s “concerned” face
What followed had to be the most painful breakup in the history of reality TV, right? I mean, I’ve had personal breakups that were less painful.
There was Arie, all happy-go-lucky and making his stupid little love potion with that weird shaman lady and going on and on about how in love he was and how he couldn’t wait to get married and start his new life with Emily and Ricki. 
“That moment when Emily looks in my eyes and she can express how she feels is going to be so good,” he says. “To hear the words is going to be amazing. 
Ahhhhh, can’t look! But MUST!
So then Emily comes, and she’s crying and he’s consoling her—not for a second possibly thinking she could be crying because she’s about to dump his ass—and then the rug totally gets pulled out from under him. 
Denial is a fascinating thing, huh?
In this case, the depths of Arie’s denial were pretty intense.
Not only was he in denial that Emily was breaking up with him. He was in denial over the reason why.  As we find out in the most dramatic After the Final Rose evah (!!!), it didn’t even occur to Arie that Emily was dumping him because she had chosen Jef! (Gee Arie, you’re on a reality show where a woman has to pick among suitors. She’s narrowed it down to two. She dumps you. Do the math. On Jef’s behalf, I’m slightly insulted that he was so gobsmacked by this concept.)
So there’s some slight suspense about whether or not Emily will accept Jef’s proposal—she does, after all, not want to become yet another engaged-15-times statistic—but Jef looks so cute in his little hipster engagement suit and that rock is blingtastic and he says some pretty words (that he may not have stolen this time from the Book of Mormon) so she says yes.
“Passions” will have to be bridled no longer, bitches!
A dress that refuses to be shown up by a 4-carat ring
Seriously, does Emily even know that Jef’s a Mormon? Isn’t that a conversation that maybe they should’ve had—right between “role playing with marionettes is fun!” and “you get me like no one else”?
Because Mormonism is a pretty “big deal.” And he’s obviously not like some fallen, half-assing-it Mormon—he’s a quoting the Book of Mormon, going on Mormon retreats to Africa kind of Mormon.
But I’m sure it’ll all work out fine.
Because denial is awesome. And Jef and Emily are pretty. And la, la, la, I can’t hear you. They live happily ever after.