I think the main reason we all love reality TV (I'm including you on this so I don't feel like a life-less freak of nature) is that it makes us feel better about our lives. Everywhere else on TV and in movies are glossed-over images with beautiful people with expensive things--even 15 second commercials make me feel badly about my life. But not reality TV. Reality TV reminds me that after a day of sitting in front of a glowing screen for eight hours that people have it way, way worse than me. And then I feel better.
It's not a coincidence that on Mondays, the most hate-your-life day of the week, is thank-your-lucky-stars "Intervention" and "16 & Pregnant." First we meet Valerie who is actually 15. If only there was a way to write a heart above the 'i' in her name, I would do it. She's unusually pretty for the show, and has unusual family situation as well. Valerie is one of eight adopted children, along with three biological children, plus her parents have fostered over 98 children, usually two or three at a time. Her parents are a total trip. When the family was talking about keeping the baby verses adoption, he slowly says, "Well, you know, I'm pro-choice" to which Valerie whines, "You're pro-life, Dad!" Ugh, dads. Then when it came time to go to the hospital, the dad was so excited he forgot to put his dentures in. His toothless grin in the delivery room made everyone in American happy he wasn't their father.
Fostering 100 children sounds noble and all, in fact, might make a good TV show--TLC, are you listening?--but where do they find the space? Their house isn't that big. And Valerie's room looked giant, but all throughout the episode random siblings just popped out of the woodwork. Where'd they come from? I'd jump back, saying to myself, when a random 8 year old asks Valerie about her white-trash boyfriend Matt.
Matt is a different breed of white trash. He's more of the Eminem, K-Fed breed (speaking of which, what about a fat K-Fed on "Celebrity Fit Club" with his pre-Brit baby mama Shar Jackson along with him! Unbelievable!). Matt beat-boxes and thinks he's gansta and wants nothing to do with Valerie except when it comes to his baby. She still loves him and wants to create a family, but he moves hundreds of miles away to the bright lights of big city Wilmington, Delaware, for all the job opportunities afforded there. I don't know how many people there are in this podunk Pennsylvania town for these 15-year-olds to have sex with, but after watching too many episodes of "Maury," Matt even tells Valerie that he wants a paternity test to which a heart-broken Valerie snaps, "It's your baby Matt. Get it through your head. We had sex a lot, and it was unprotected."
Valerie is an open-and-shut case of TV psychotherapy--God I feel smart making judgments from my couch. Valerie fell into the wrong group of people because she wasn't getting enough attention at home with so many siblings to compete with, and she immediately ruled out adopting since she herself was given up for adoption and wants that mother-daughter connection she never had. But, she turns out to be a good mother, caring for the baby after it almost died from inhaling its own poop while still in the womb. Scary!
I thought a dad with fake teeth was bad, but thank my holy lucky stars that my mom isn't on the "Real Housewives." Just as the "Orange County" season ended last night with Lynne's teenage daughters totally schwasted and dramatically fake crying while Lynne and her husband walked around clueless, so began the new "New York" season. It's only been a year but oh, how the roles have dramatically shifted: former psycho Alex is now the normal one; former condescending Count-less LuAnn is now the sympathy-seeking divorcée one; former single-gal Bethenny is now the anorexic one in love; sadly, former motherly Jill Zarin is now the bitchy mean girl one; but most shockingly, former disgusting, sleazy, out-of-her-mind awful Kelly the new friend one. Why, Bravo, WHY? Oh, and Ramona is still the crazy-eyes one.
Ramona first started the show by trapping J.Zo, Alex and LuAnn on a rented yacht to hawk her new QVC jewelry line. Now that she's a divorcée, LuAnn needs to rehash every upsetting thing that was said under anyone's breath, including Ramony's tennis player husband Mario who remarked "Count-less" months ago. That hurt LuAnn, who did I mention she's getting divorced? Jill Zarin started instigating, because she just hates Ramona but has to be fake for universe-balancing-scientific TV purposes, and eventually made Ramony cry because they were being "mean girls." Aren't they kind of old to be "girls?" Or to be wearing bikinis?
Jill Zarin and Bethenny aren't friends anymore, which is really too bad because their friendship was the anchor to this whole insanity. But like Paris and Nicole before them, it's just a natural part of reality TV life. The circle of life really. They may reconcile in the future and go out to lunch here and there and do some photo-ops, but only because it's too exhausting to live a prime-time melodrama as your "real" life. I think they both are to blame. Bethenny is newly in love with a boring white guy, and now she's so busy that she needs a personal assistant to organize her naked photoshoots for PETA. But Bethenny is still spot-on about the other housewives and sharply funny. Jill is rightly upset that Bethenny doesn't have as much time to listen to her complain, but just be happy that there's a real-life man that likes Bethenny's face. I have a feeling this one isn't going to be worked out annnny time soon.
Bethenny also picked a fight with Count-less Drag Queen LuAnn (who for all that is holy will be singing about being classy in a recording studio this season). Actually, it was LuAnn who started the fight, but in a passive-aggressive way that makes it look like Bethenny started it. After LuAnn corners Bethenny into hugging her and Bethenny declares it was gross and she wanted a bath, she hopped in her SkinnyGirl Margarita-ville car and zoomed off down the streets of New York, where everyone drives in branded cars. And then, I'm thankful I am not them or related to anyone like them, and that my mom isn't them, and that my dad has teeth, and my teenage sister isn't pregnant, and then I zoom off to whatever planet Ramona lives in.
(Photo courtesy MTV)
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