6

Need A Cure for Kicking the TV Habit? Get Sick

Hey y’all, or as my immune system might say, “hnff heck hack.”

It wasn’t working in a germ factory, or even going out with a wet head that got me congested and sniffly, but I think it might have had to do with some spicy fries I ate on Saturday night after Salsa Saturday and could still taste Sunday afternoon. Ever since then, I’ve been mostly just sniffling, with a few minor coughs and a sneeze here and there. It feels like I have water in my nose, and that my eyes just want to close. I’m not sure that it’s a sore throat, because cough drops only irritated it more. Today, while teaching my first class, I had a fit of hacking, at the end of which I pronounced “brb, dying,” and after one or two more coughs, pronounced myself dead.

But hey, when you’re teaching Samuel Beckett and the Theatre of the Absurd, it works.

Anyway, all I wanted to do after I got home from school and meetings was to lie down on the couch and watch TV.

Except…

THERE’S. NOTHING. ON.

I flip through channels, and go through the TV guide, and…nothing appealing. When I’m well, there are all sorts of things that I’d like to watch but either don’t have the time to or just forget about. But of course, when I want to relax and watch something good, all that’s on: sports, weather, news, infomercials, crappy Christmas movies (which could be its own generator, future post idea!), televangelists, murder dramas, pointless reality shows, and whatever’s on the Spanish channel.

I could go to bed early, or read or lesson plan or something, but I think I’ll just write a blog post about it and see where it goes.

7

August Blog Project: Soothing Summer!

Summer doesn’t happen very often in Madison, Wisconsin, and it’s practically over as soon as it began. Today, the first of August, is the beginning of the end; prelims are due in 2 weeks, and school starts 2 weeks after that. I wanted to start a new, fun, multi-person blogsperiment or something, but I think I found something that will a) substitute, for now, and b) encourage me to post more, with better quality.

The idea? Soothing Summer Series.

Every day (or when I remember/get the idea), I will post something that eases my tension and pain and helps my mental/emotional health.

For today, August 1, I choose…The Golden Girls. Two hours every night on Hallmark channel is good for the heart, soul, and whatever bodily process causes you to laugh. My grandmother loved the show, she always said that “they always have something interesting to say.” I don’t know about that, but despite being an 80s-90s show, it’s still relevant, and, in a ironic twist, not dated for its age. The episode that’s on right now is the one where Rose, Blanche, and Dorothy all get the flu before this big charity banquet, and includes the epic line “if they can make cinnamon-flavored dental floss, how come they can’t cure the flu?” If you want to be wrapped up in some grandmotherly warmth but still laugh at jokes about sex, I prescribe The Golden Girls.

My all time favorite exchange is from the episode entitled “Stand By Your Man.”

Morning. ROSE and DOROTHY are sitting in the kitchen. SOPHIA enters, all dressed up.

SOPHIA: Come on, get dressed, we’re going to be late for temple.

DOROTHY: Ma, it’s Tuesday…and we’re Catholic.

SOPHIA: Oh. ::beat:: In that case, bacon and eggs.

Probably the funniest part of that sequence is the fact that the actresses who played Sophia and Dorothy (Estelle Getty and Bea Arthur) were both Jewish in real life.

Here’s an animated gif from the show to entertain you.

Needy Sexy People – the alternate title for TLC’s first album

11

Long Live the Log Lady

Today, I found out that Catherine E. Coulson died. I heard about it first via Facebook, from my friend Melinda who posted about the actress’s work at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Naturally, I assumed she was some dame, playing Emilia and Isolde and Lady Macbeth.

And then, I looked a little further, and realized that she was The Log Lady, also known as one of the best and funniest McGuffins in television history.

I was too young to watch the series in its original airing, but ever since the news of a possible reboot, I’ve been working my way through the too-short run of Twin Peaks on Hulu. I started watching it last semester and made it to the middle of the second season before I just stopped watching it and then couldn’t remember where I’d left off so I left it for a while and haven’t returned, but now, I just might have to do just that.

For those of you who are not American, or have just never heard of Twin Peaks, it’s basically this eerie drama about (first episode spoiler alert) a detective finding out who killed Laura Palmer, a small town prom queen in Twin Peaks, Washington. Though the episodes are full of twists and turns, the language and imagery is spellbinding. When I watch it, I can almost taste that Pacific Northwest rain. And the best part of is that no one is innocent. Everyone’s hiding something, even the detective himself. David Lynch is known for his unconventional and haunting work, but the silence of Twin Peaks just amps the creepy up to full.

And then, enter Coulson as The Log Lady.

Basically…that was her character. She was a lady who walked around town cradling a log which she claimed had magical powers. Occasionally, her predictions were correct, but in all those cases she and her log either gave vague, tangential information, or were just plain lucky. There were all sorts of theories about her and her purpose in the show, including some that she was actually the only sane person or the only truth teller in the whole town. To me, though, and I think to most, she was just a crazy lady with a log as a best friend. She doesn’t really go through any changes, she just kind of exists, toddling around the town, not really much different than in earlier or later episodes. And if that’s the most normal thing in the town of Twin Peaks, then you’ve got a lot to look forward to, so head over to Hulu and make yourself some coffee and pie.

But for now, let’s reflect on some gifs of the Questionable Wisdom of the Log Lady. Catherine E. Coulson, rest peacefully.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Preach, log lady, preach.

7

Miss Universe 2014-ish: My Semi-Serious Top 16

As most of the world knows, tonight will be finals of Miss Universe, the somewhat-annual beauty pageant/exercise in banality/secret passion of mine, brought to you by Donald “Can He Even Put All These Countries on a World Map?” Trump and hosted by Thomas “Last Year’s Model” Roberts and Natalie “Catering to the Telemundo Market” Morales, with musical guest Nick “Mr. Olivia Culpo” Jonas, Prince “I Will Sing In Spanish and I May or May Not Be Royalty” Royce, and Gavin “I’m Still Relevant” McGraw, live from Doral “We’re Not A Regular Miami Suburb, We’re a Cool Miami Suburb”, Florida, USA. And after that much-too-long sentence, let me clarify: yes, it is outdated, but it’s not harming anyone; and the banality I’m referring to is the ratings-grabbing, not-too-meaningful swimsuit competition, a segment that Miss Universe’s red-headed stepsister pageant Miss World decided was no longer necessary starting this year (I mean, seriously, it’s three hours, would it kill them to put in a talent competition?)

Last year, I made a fake awards ceremony, but this year, since a) I don’t care as much and b) I’m on the couch in a t-shirt and workout pants and it’s 4:38 PM here in Wisconsin (granted, it’s a Sunday), here are my picks for the top sixteen. I will probably only get maybe one or two of these predictions correct, but it will be kind of fun to see if my magical powers of prediction work.

I have broken them down into three categories.

The first five: They’ll Get A Placement Even If They Decide to Stay in their Hotel Rooms and Watch Netflix.

1.  USA (Nia Sanchez): Host country + it’s Miss Universe. No one will be surprised.

2. Venezuela (Migbelis Castellanos): She’s actually quite pretty and could be another back-to-back, but honestly, I think everyone’s tired of Venezuela always winning, especially in 3 out of the last 5 years. But she’s Miss Venezuela; she could be an alien who breathes fire and she’d still be called.

3. Philippines (Mary Jean Lastimosa): Because after Christianity, Miss Universe is the second-largest religion in the Philippines and 2/3 of the viewing audience would shut off their televisions if she got shut out. Plus, Filipino icon Manny Pacquiao is a judge this year.

4. Czech Republic (Gabriela Frankova): The brand new Miss Universe crown is designed by a Czech firm, so it’s almost a given that they’ll get a hat tip.

5. Puerto Rico (Gabriela Berrios): PR is quite close to Florida, geographically, so I’m sure that tons of Puerto Ricans will be in the audience and will leave if Gabriela remains on the stage after all have been called.

The next five: Girls Who Are Kinda Pretty, Come From a Populous Country, and Will Probably Not Get into the Top Ten.

6. Colombia (Paulina Vega): She’s apparently been getting a lot of attention, and apparently is a front runner, although I don’t see it.

7. Spain (Desiree Cordero): Miss Spain will fill the European quota, plus she’s actually quite good-looking.

8. India (Noyonita Lodh): Also comes from a country of rabid pageant fans, plus fills the South Asia quota.

9. South Africa (Ziphozakhe Zokufa): Will fill the Africa quota. Also, has an awesome name that I can’t wait to see everyone attempt to pronounce.

10. Thailand (Pimbongkod Chankaew): Also from a rabid-fan country (see above, Miss India) and has another awesome, unpronounceable name (see above, Miss South Africa). Probably will win the fan vote.

The final six (I get an extra one for myself because I do what I want): Girls/Countries Who I’d Like To See Place but Will Probably Not.

11. Jamaica (Kaci Fennell): Stands somewhat of a chance with a very unique, fashion-model look, and seems like a smart gal.

12. Gabon (Maggaly Nguema): Competed in several pageants already, including Miss World 2014, where she got noticed. Also, very pretty.

13. Germany (Josefin Donat): I’m liking her Jennifer Paige hairstyle. She seems like a rebel, the type of person who would take every opportunity to backhandedly stick it to Trump, so thumbs up for that.

14. Nigeria (Queen Celestine): Not a chance, but I watched this 15-second clip of her singing “Cups” on YouTube with Misses Turkey and South Africa and she has a great voice. I’d buy her album.

15. Ghana (Abena Appiah): No real reason other than her hair, which is gigantic. I bet it’s full of secrets. Either that, or snacks.

16. Israel (Doron Matalon): Mostly just because she’s Miss Israel. She has also managed to get the Trump some serious media attention this year with the Miss Lebanon selfie scandal, so that might earn her some points. Then again, last year’s Miss Israel hung out with Obama before the pageant and that got her nothing, so you never know.

Okay, now to get off the couch and actually do something with my life. Kindly leave your comments of who you think will win below, or, like most of the rest of the world, read about it tomorrow on Wikipedia.

1

Christmas in July

Oh my goodness.

It’s almost July, so apparently it’s also almost Christmas in July.

Because the day after Thanksgiving until January 1 isn’t enough Christmas for the world.

Six months ago I said that I didn’t resent Christmas that much, but when it comes in July…it’s ripe for resentment. Every single thing about it. Do we really need another month of Christmas movies, or made-for-tv Christmas movies with V-list stars?

The first thing I think about when I think about Christmas is cold. COLD. I am done with that for awhile, at least. I don’t really care that I sweat all day outside and all night in my centrally-heated, temperature-controlled apartment, at least I’m sweating. It gets rid of some calories and is an excuse to enjoy iced beverages with more regularity. The same thoughts go for snow. You want snow in July? Go camping in Antarctica, and don’t do it on my TV screen.

Cheesy Christmas movies have their time: between December 25 and January 1 when there’s nothing else on TV and it’s wicked cold outside, if you live in Wisconsin, that is. Not in July.

And another thing…why can’t Summer in December be a thing?

YES. Yes. Yes to the Yes.

Hey networks, can we make this a thing? Let’s spend December watching Gidget and Beach Blanket Bingo and all those fun surf movies!

Oh wait…we can’t.

Because it’s Christmas.

Also, what movie is this from?

 

0

Better Ideas for A TV Show Featuring Muslims

I’ve still been thinking about Alice in Arabia, so consider this a Part II to yesterday’s post. Sometimes, I look at ideas by others and I think that, given the chance, I could execute them better. So, here are a list of pitches for television shows I’ve come up with that could feature Muslim characters without stereotyping, or at least that are better than Alice in Arabia. Here we go.

Dramas

Eyes Open

 

Souad is a twenty-something Muslim woman who has left Afghanistan to pursue her dreams of being an ophthalmologist. In the pilot, we see her getting her acceptance letter to a university in America, and leaving with her family’s blessing. Souad thinks she’s got it all figured out, but upon arrival at school, however, Souad discovers that there’s more to America than meets the eye. Proudly sporting her traditional burqa, all that others can see are her eyes, which are usually in a book or looking into a microscope. Follow Souad as she struggles through navigating her new life and her new language, challenged by her fears for her own safety as well as that of her family back home; but revel in her triumphs of never giving up, and finding love where she least expects to see it, with a man who can look past her veil without removing it. One unique feature of this show would be the usages of two camera styles: one as Souad’s eyes and one as the eyes on Souad.

 

Beyond the Screen

Abdul, a young man of a wealthy Saudi family, spends every waking moment on the Internet, making friends all over the world through a computer simulation game where he is mayor of a virtual city. Things take a serious turn when he finds out that some of his citizens are not who they seem; he stumbles upon what he thinks is a virtual terrorism fantasy story that is an actual plan to kill a powerful figure overseas. For help, he reaches to the one person he still trusts: his virtual wife and first lady of the city, Nadia, a beautiful young player from France who speaks impeccable Arabic, in whom he has confided his deepest personal secrets, including this one. In the pilot, after they decide to team up to take this player and his real-life plan down, Abdul and Nadia video chat for the first time, Abdul is relieved when the beautiful young woman he’s dreamed of looks just like her pictures, but the truth comes out that she is not as far away as she seems: Nadia was born in France, but grew up and still lives in Tel Aviv, Israel, and is Jewish.

Sitcoms

Sis-Kabobs

Two Muslim sisters-in-law decide to open the first halal shish-kabob food truck in Boston, and turn Beantown (and their families) upside down with their newfound friendship, custom-painted truck, and unconventional ingredients. A recipe for fun.

 

 

When Sherri Met Ali

When Sherri, a stubborn, high-powered American executive, gets dumped, she crashes into the first man she sees for a one-night stand. That man turns out to be Ali, who’s an arrogant Muslim fashion model. Sherri and Ali detest each other and swear to never get together again, but they find out they have more and more in common, with Sherri’s firm taking on a company Ali models for as their newest client. Ali starts developing feelings for Sherri but has to keep it professional, and when Sherri finds out that Ali’s “traded up” to a new girl, a co-worker with model-esque looks, it turns into a case of…

Estelle Reiner, we have liftoff.

0

Go Ask Alice

In television news, this past week was marked by the announcement of ABC Family’s new shows for the fall, including a controversial one entitled Alice in Arabia, which was 86’ed after several days of uproar from CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations) and the general public, Muslim and non-Muslim alike. The premise of the show, created by ex-Army linguist/cryptographer Brooke Eikmeier, revolved around an American girl named Alice, who, after her parents’ death, gets kidnapped by her Saudi grandfather and taken to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, where she is put into the women’s section of the palace and shut out from exterior life, including leaving the nation because her grandfather now controls her passport.

A follow-up BuzzFeed has claimed to have obtained a copy of the script, which they say is “exactly what critics feared (McKay)”, rife with stereotypes, cultural errors, anti-American sentiment, and vain attempts to portray Muslim women in a positive light by showing them watching Sex and the City, wearing lingerie, and reading the news.

Well then.

Mehwish_Ali_Trade_Secrets.jpeg

Unimpressed Muslim woman is unimpressed.

Here, I can see a case for both sides, and support it based on my own experiences.

First, the easy part: the cons. A show like Alice in Arabia could (and probably would) revert to the increase of Islamophobia in the United States as well as misidentification by those uninformed/unfamiliar with Islam and the differences between Arab, Muslim, Saudi, Moroccan, and Iraqi, to name a few. Any show which plays off of too many cultural stereotypes is seen as off-color, and if the acting is poor or errors are discovered, the show, its network, and its cast will pay for it dearly. Portrayal of Islam is a touchy subject; just look at the comic strip controversy in Denmark. Many within the Muslim community who would vocally and unequivocally disapprove and many outside the community would either stand by them or boycott the show for other reasons, such as not believing that this is appropriate “for the children” or some other reason. It could also potentially result in violence. There are obviously a ton more reasons, but message boards and BuzzFeed have already covered it.

Then, there’s the hard part: the potential of the pro. First of all, it could spark conversation about Islam and Saudi Arabia and lead some viewers to investigate more into Islam and maybe even change their views, much like Sister Wives and polygamy, or Long Island Medium and the supernatural. It’s not entirely untruthful to say that women are oppressed in Saudi Arabia; we know what we know, and the fact that there are secrets of Saudi society that they actively discourage outsiders to uncover is reason enough to believe that there is something shameful that is being hidden. It might be an unrealistic situation, but there are plenty of other shows with even more unrealistic situations and stereotypes that end up on our TV screens – Raven-Symoné was not actually psychic, Hannah Montana was not a real person, and hospitals are not anywhere in the realm of House, Scrubs, ER, General Hospital, or Nip/Tuck to name a few. Also, we have laughed at (and continue to laugh at) shows at the expense of stereotypes of Italians (The Sopranos, Everybody Loves Raymond), Jews (The Nanny), African-Americans (Martin, Everybody Hates Chris), the poor (Roseanne), the overweight (Mike & Molly), and others, something that has not yet been achieved with Muslims. Furthermore, a show like this, if accurately cast, could launch the career for promising young Muslim or Saudi actors who are more talented and worthy of our time than any of the (largely white) reality show contestants who are forced down our throats every time we turn on the TV.

Obviously, shows like this would mostly likely get things wrong and offend people, as Alice in Arabia was deemed to have done. The cons would be amplified higher than the pros.

What irks me the most in this situation, though, are the reactions it generates, and how unbalanced they seem to be. It’s all black and white, and there is no ability for some parties to look past the ends of their own noses. Some critics have stated that Alice gets it all wrong, one hundred percent of it, and that every detail, sight unseen, is disgusting/stereotypical/abhorrent/pick-a-word. There is an element of tunnel vision that’s at play here to a certain extent.

And I speak from experience.

A few years ago, a Muslim friend of mine who is now an ex-friend, posted some pretty hateful stuff on Facebook about Israel, calling it an “apartheid state that needs to be eliminated.” First off, I’m pretty sure that that statement is a threat, if not hate speech, which is against Facebook’s policy. Second of all, having a statement like that connected to one’s name might cause consequences, anywhere from getting fired from your job to being investigated by the government as someone who actually has a plan to hurt someone, which is not good. I couldn’t say silent; I brought both these facts up to her, and added the fact that what does it say that Muslim women in Israel are allowed to drive (unlike Saudi Arabia, at that time), and allowed to wear their choice of head/face covering (unlike France, which might punish this girl, who wears a hijab). This started a comment/message war between us, where she basically pointed the finger of “you don’t know Islam, and you never will” and “you don’t understand where I come from,” which eventually became “you’re a racist and a Muslim-hater” and “since you are white and not Muslim, you have no place in this argument” and “your opinions are invalid and don’t matter anyway.” Instead of asking her to put her money where her mouth was (do you know everything about the Arab experience? The Muslim experience? If a Muslim can write a book on Christianity, why can’t it be the other way around?) I ended it there and defriended her. (By the way, at this point in my life, I had spent a year living in Israel, whereas she was born and raised in the Muslim homeland of Delaware, and had never actually set foot in the Middle East or an Arab country.) I hadn’t given up hope yet. I have another friend, who is also Muslim, and was born in Morocco and raised in the United Arab Emirates, so I sought out her opinion. She did not agree with either of us, but she said that I was absolutely correct in pointing out the dangers Muslim women face in Saudi Arabia and France that they do not face in Israel or the USA. She then added that Morocco and Dubai, while considered to be among the more secular of Muslim societies, still frown upon public practice of non-Muslim religions, and that Dubai is nowhere near as liberal as it was portrayed in the Sex and the City movie.

In conclusion, I think that there’s no better time than the present for an American television show about Muslims. Not in the same vein of Alice in Arabia, but not showing something that is completely unrealistic. After all, part of sitcom is comedy, and if Muslims are not ready or willing to laugh at themselves or consider being laughed at, that’s cool, we can wait. But television has proven, in the past, to also have the ability to break stereotypes and norms, so it works that way too. I feel like if some Muslims would let their guard down, America would reciprocate in kind, and even begin to question, and ::gasp:: maybe even find ways to identify with our Muslim friends and neighbors.

For now, that option has been completely taken off of the table, but if and when it comes up again, we should go ask Alice to write and produce her own sitcom.

Works Cited

McDonough, Katie. “ABC Family cancels Alice in Arabia after being called out for the pilot’s glaring racism.” Salon.com. 23 March 2014. http://www.salon.com/2014/03/23/abc_family_cancels_alice_in_arabia_after_being_called_out_for_the_pilots_glaring_racism/

McKay, Tom. “Alice in Arabia” was Really as Shocking as All the Critics Said – Just Take a Look at the Script.” PolicyMic.com. 22 March 2014. http://www.policymic.com/articles/85989/alice-in-arabia-was-really-as-shocking-as-all-the-critics-said-just-take-a-look-at-the-script.

2

Six More Things I Learned from Friends

So – total irony – I spent last night actually doing work instead of fretting over a post, and I actually had some good ideas for things to post, but I told myself I was going to focus on my work and I did. WILLPOWER.

However, after six pretty solid hours of class, I am ready to write something that isn’t school-related. That, and ready to stare at YouTube/TV/the wall for awhile.

Behold…

Six More Things I Learned from Friends

6. Fire safety.

Candlelight dinner in the park = starting an open fire in a wooded area, PHOEBE.

5. Martial arts.

…or, freshwater eel. And on that note…

4. Japanese cuisine

I know what you mean, Rachel Green.

3. Team sports.

Specifically, how to pick teams; just bunny up. (What’s bunny u-) “BUNNY!”

2. Holidays.

The only thing that’s wrong here is that it was Passover, not Chanukah…but yes, there were superheroes and flying involved. Smile on, Joey.

1. Military time.

Just subtract twelve. Thank you, Monica.

15

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.