It's been a bit of a week. Between being very determined not to think for a while while waiting for the Humira to start working, having trouble reactivating the brain - DST is so kicking my arse - the wheelchair doing that interesting thing again with the spinning around in the middle of the sidewalk (turns out I have a first generation controller-motor connection thingy, with all the first generation issues you can imagine. Replacement motor on order. Under warranty, thank the gods), plus various and sundry other uninteresting events, I am feeling decidedly fluffy. On this end, there is a lack of focus of truly stupendous levels. Naturally, this means only one thing: reality shows to the rescue! Besides, it's been a while since we've indulged in this unseemly obsession, so let's go for it, shall we?
America's Next Top Model. I wasn't going to watch this year, but then that thing happened. You know, that thing where I don't feel good so I tune the channel to a show that is going to spoonfeed me undemanding entertainment and whaddaya know, there it was. I have to admit that the last cycle made the show jump the shark for me. With the writers on strike (writers? On a reality show??), Tyra & Co. were left in charge of whatever the writers were not doing and boy, did it ever show. Aside from the stunt casting - the twin stick figures, for instance and please, it's one thing to go for skinny girls, but dangerously underweight? - the whole show just limped along until the end. This cycle looks like it might be even worse, as about three times per episode, we pause the action to watch Tyra do a funny voice or "act" some sort of meltdown while everybody politely laughs. I very much doubt I'll be watching this train wreck - and not a train wreck in the good sense of the word - except for the days where Bones is a rerun.
American Idol. Yes, I'm hooked. And incredibly annoyed that they are sticking to the six guys and six girls formula – at best, maybe three guys belong on the big stage, whereas there were six girls who clearly have places to go (alas, Sabrina Sloan has already left). I started out being convinced that LaKisha would win, but Melinda Doolittle is maybe the hottest thing I've ever seen in the show. I'm also incredibly grateful that Antonella got booted, and Jared with his "it's for the ladies" creepy hand over face gesture is not going to be missed, either.
Dancing with the Stars. Starts tonight! I'm very excited, although don't like that they kicked off Louis, who was easily the most brilliant of the professional dancers and I am a little hesitant about the addition of Heather Mills - stunt casting, anyone? I do think including people with disabilities is a good idea and considering the requirement that contestants be sort of celebrities, I guess it was hard to find anyone but her or Marlee Matlin. What makes it really funny is the site that's taking bets on how long it'll be before her artificial leg flies off during a dance routine. I know, it's awful. But also damn funny.
Survivor. Whoever came up with the idea about the haves and the have-nots division between the tribes ought to be fired. It might it look good on paper, but in reality it makes for the most boring survivor since Thailand. Actually, it may beat Thailand. As a viewer, I feel ripped off - oh, look! The "rich" tribe is becoming arrogant and entitled while they murder the tribe that hasn't had anything to eat for two weeks. Who'd have thunk it? And I think that were I a contestant on this season, I'd feel ripped off, too - being on Survivor is about challenging yourself, about testing your limits and your abilities and luxury camping tests nothing. I've watched every single episodes of the show since it started and am thisclose to bailing on it for the remainder of the Fiji cycle.
The Amazing Race. I've always liked this show - it seemed the most real of reality shows and I liked how manipulation and backstabbing were rare. I was looking forward to the All-Stars version and yes, I was looking forward to seeing Rob and Amber again. I'm a fan, what can I say? I know they're hired to be arrogant, obnoxious and the show’s villain, but it's hard not to like a team that performs so well so consistently, work well together and never scream at each other. However, the problem with casting one of the best and the best known teams in the reality world, is exactly that: we know them. And thus, the manipulation becomes obvious. No way would Rob have stayed with the sign post task beyond 2 tries – he’s the first to cut loose and ditch a challenge when it doesn’t work. That’s why they consistently win. The last episode made it very clear that they were hired to get viewers interested and hooked and then they were going to be eliminated. I didn't mind so much when they came in second the first time they were on TAR - it was edited to look relatively believable and you could suspend the disbelief. This time? Please pretend I'm not stupid. I could pretend that I'm not watching in protest, but Mirna and Schmirna are so awfully hilarious and I'm pulling for Oswald and Danny to win. But after this one's over, I'm done with the show.
What are you watching? What have you stopped watching?