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Two Amazing Things That Happened To Me At Target Today

First, they had Starkist canned tuna for under a dollar a can.

Then, at the checkout counter, I turned around, and the girl behind me was wearing a jacket that said “Sweet Scientists,” just like the team from The Amazing Race last season. She looked up from her phone, and it was Amy, half of the Sweet Scientists, the team that won the whole race and one million dollars. I said hey to her, and that the theatre tickets offer was still on the table. She looked at me and was like…”it’s you!”

Okay, so a bit of backstory. When they won, I emailed them my congratulations, and since we live in the same town and attend the same school, offered them my comp theatre tickets. They both sent nice responses, and that was about it, until this afternoon.

I introduced myself and we took the elevator down to the parking lot together. She told me all the awesome behind the scenes stuff about the show and we talked for like a half hour, in the Target parking garage.

And those are the two amazing things.

Is this amazing or is this amazing?

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No, You Are Not

***This post was one I was planning a few days ago but ended up going to sleep before posting. Here, it appears in its entirety. Now, back to your regularly scheduled blogging.***

I’ve posted about reality television before, and my love/hate relationship with it over time, but the current state of reality television is deplorable.

Reality TV used to be so cutting-edge, trendy. You had the community building shows of Survivor and The Real World.

And then, other things happened. I’d thought I’d seen the worst of it, from My Super Sweet 16 to The Anna Nicole Show to anything starring Paris Hilton, a Kardashian, or a Real Housewife.

But these were all just mile markers on the road to Hell. I’m not sure we’re quite there yet, but we’re getting close with MTV’s Are You The One? It’s a show where 20 young, pretty and serially single people (10 male, 10 female) are sent to a house in Hawaii. The prize money: one million dollars. The task: find their “true matches” among the group, decided by some combination of “personality tests, interviews with friends/family/exes, computer analyses, and matchmakers (and oh yeah, some producers).”

Normally, right about here and now I would post a picture of something pertaining to the show here, but I can’t even bear to look at it, so here’s Adam Levine with his thoughts on what I’m about to share with you:

Nearly everything about this show is wrong. Completely, categorically, ethically, morally, genuinely, physically, wrong.

Let’s not even start with the people; let’s just start with the concept and given circumstances.

The concept of the show is simple: it’s basically like Concentration, only with human beings instead of cards. There are potentially 1000 (don’t quote me) combinations of housemates. More on that later. But what is MTV trying to prove? There is absolutely no reference to any sort of independent verification that these “couples” are anything other than arbitrary – for all we know, they could be changing them every week just to screw them over and confuse them – no statisticians, no named advisers, no Pat from Ernst & Young with the results envelope. It’s as shady, opaque, and nonsensical as a television show concept can get. This concept might be meant to give viewers at home the impression that “hey, anyone can find love!” but it comes off more as “these attractive people can find love because we picked them to spend every waking moment together for the next few weeks during which they will pair off, sooner rather than later!” Like many other dating shows, it engages in what I’d like to term single-shaming. What I mean by that is that it gives off the message that 1) being single is not okay, 2) if you are single, there is something wrong with you, 3) everyone’s first priority should be to hook up with someone, 4) that someone is worth more if he/she is attractive, 5) hooking up is more important than getting to know someone and 6) if you are sexually promiscuous, you merit one million dollars.

As most MTV shows are, it’s a tropical location in Hawaii, in which most of us can’t even fathom living. And of course, there doesn’t seem to be any food in the house, but more alcohol than a frat party. The above two facts are pretty much staples, but what takes the cake is the bedroom situation. There is only one, gigantic bed for 20 people. Granted, there is a private room with a bed for two, but that’s clearly meant for something else, something that is probably going to happen in the other bed. It’s a tossup as to what MTV is glorifying more in this setup: a bordello or an orgy. Basically, MTV is begging these people to have sex with one another when the whole show is about finding one’s perfect match. If you knew your perfect match was there, would you want to know that he/she has done every other member of the opposite sex in the house? That’s just a setup for major disappointment, pretty much ensuring that none of these relationships will last.

Then, there’s the people.

To start with a positive note, there is plenty of diversity among the group, which is a good thing; only about half of the cast is white. The rest are a mix, however, in true MTV fashion, no Asian males are represented, and the only Asian female could just about pass for white. On the negative side, look at their bodies. All the women are shorter than the men, skinny, toned, and with long hair. All the white girls except one are blonde. All the men are built like athletes, and I believe that all but one or two has tattoos. Not one person on the show is overweight, underweight, has body hair, has any sort of physical disability, and aspires to be anything other than a model/actor/musician/DJ/dancer/singer. Nor are there any homosexuals, when statistically, there should be at least two. And none of them have an ounce of self-respect.

How they’re playing the game is completely wrong. What is more important, getting drunk and having sex on MTV’s dime (which will eventually go away, and soon) or trying to beat MTV at their own game and win the million dollars (which will last longer and have a much bigger impact on their lives, either as couples or as individuals? Obviously, the second, but nobody here is using their brains. They get several chances to discover who the couples are with the “truth booth” and the moonlight ceremony-thing, but it doesn’t seem to occur to anyone to get a pen and paper, make a chart, and plot their guesses rather than taking shots in the dark. Seriously, people? Prioritize.

The “competitions” are the height of lameness and laziness. The first competition did nothing but promote flaunting one’s body, by taking selfies of any part of their body (some of whom merit TV blurs); an activity that is rewarded here, but is seen as shameful in the outside world. Ogling over each other’s pictures and guessing which body part belongs to whom is an exercise in one thing: physical beauty is the only thing that matters.

There is not one iota of truth in any of the interactions or confessionals shown on TV. Usually, on shows like this, sometimes genuine emotions slip in, and sometimes the editors are smooth enough to fool the viewers. Here, nobody’s fooling anyone. Every single thing looks manufactured. One of the episode’s subplots involved two girls fighting over a bed, encountering drama at every turn and involving every single person in the house, regardless of where they were at the time and if they had a stake in – or even knowledge of – the actual problem. When another girl steps in to “help,” you can almost hear the producer whispering in her ear, “hey, go follow her, talk to her, and when she starts to talk, don’t stop and listen, just get louder, and if she won’t stop, just clap your hands at her.” Another subplot was the theft of one of the guys’ personal diaries. It seemed like everyone in the house except for the victim knew where the diary was and who took it. In fact, in one of the confessionals, a girl even says to the camera who did it, thereby killing any sort of suspense. Then, they switch over to the guy who did it, whose reason for doing it is so lame and rehearsed that even a first-grader could make up a better answer. Of course, the diary is found when the camera scrolls to the love seat in which it’s hidden, and the incident completely disappears from the rest of the episode. Oh, and then there’s the fact that the night vision cameras in the “private bedroom” have put things on TV that wouldn’t even appear on the Spice Channel…

I can’t even. I just can’t even. I can’t believe I actually watched this crap. It made me feel dead inside. Screw you, MTV, I want those two hours of my life back.

0

Pop Culture Showdown: The War of the Roses

I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge the two new flags that have shown up on my flag counter, so vitejte to my first visitors from the Czech Republic and to Switzerland, bienvenue or wilkommen, depending on which part of the country you come from.

I originally started this blog to catalog my thoughts and stories, but I’ve deviated from that somehow with rants and videos and other things. I do have more stories to share, plenty more, and maybe they’ll emerge in the coming days of highway boredom, starting tomorrow when my dad and I begin the drive back to Wisconsin.

But for today, I digress…to present the very first edition of:

That’s So Jacob: Pop Culture Showdown

Episode 1: The War of the Roses.

In recent years, Israel has needed more nurses and carers for the elderly and the handicapped than they can supply, so more and more people from the other end of Asia are recruited to fill those gaps. They come from many countries, but mostly from the Philippines. The growing numbers of Filipino caretakers in Israel has even made the word “Filipino” synonymous with “nurse.” It doesn’t matter if they’re a Thai Filipina, an Indian Filipina, a Vietnamese Filipina…they’re all in the same category. Their growing numbers have created a presence in the country, and among them is 47-year-old Rose Fostanes, who just today won the first season of Israel’s version of the reality competition, The X Factor. Called Israel’s Susan Boyle, she is expected to become a musical success even though she will probably go back to her job as a caregiver, because that’s why she’s in Israel in the first place. For no good reason, I have put her up against actress/comedienne/Presidential candidate Roseanne, the original “domestic goddess.” Let’s see how it goes.

Age?

Rose: 47 as of last week.

Roseanne: 61. Man does she look rough.

Religion?

Rose: Christian

Roseanne: Mormon/Jewish/Kabbalah/Twitter

Sexuality?

Rose: Openly lesbian, and in a relationship.

Roseanne: Straight, but probably had a lesbian phase. Currently dating after three failed marriages.

Relationship to LGBT?

Rose: See above.

Roseanne: Very liberal. Has several gay siblings and included a multitude of gay characters on Roseanne, including primetime TV’s first gay kiss, and probably the first lesbian kiss as well. Roseanne felt that her show should strive to represent a microcosm of America, and that microcosm included gay people, which no other show did at the time.

Relationship to Israel:

Rose: Um, duh, she just won a reality competition there.

Roseanne: Aspiring to be the next Prime Minister of Israel.

Island of Choice:

Rose: Luzon, the Philippines, where she was born.

Roseanne: The Big Island of Hawaii, where she is in runs a nut farm.

Years of Television Experience:

Rose: Since the 26th of October, 2013.

Roseanne: 26 years (Roseanne premiered on the 18th of October, 1988).

Degrees of Separation:

Rose: 2. Apparently, she’s a friend of a good friend of mine, who sang with her and her band from time to time at Tel Aviv bars.

Roseanne: I have no idea.

Regrettable Round Hairstyle Choice:

Rose: Her audition look. Grown out and better-styled over the course of the series.

Roseanne: Around Season 2, when she got the “Dorothy Hamill” cut.

Vocal Claim to Fame

Rose: Her audition for The X Factor, “This is My Life,” by Shirley Bassey.

Roseanne: Her infamously screechy, profanity-laced, saliva-laden rendition of the National Anthem, which is pretty much all you need to know. But she can sing, and in Hebrew, too:

WINNER:

roseannefostanes

It was a close one, but congrats, Ms. Fostanes – show ’em how it’s done, tulip.

Let’s get a reaction shot from the runner-up:

Typical Roseanne, always with the shade-throwing. Better luck next time.