Last week, at the end of the premiere episode of “Surreal Life,” they showed us a good 3 minutes of “Coming up this season” scenes. Never in my wildest dreams did I think they’d hit us with the bowling show right off the bat. I wasn’t prepared for this. But really, how could I have been? Would I ever have been? Extremely doubtful. If you read the last recap, or if you watch the show, you know of what I speak: The Surreal Lifers would be pitted against a team of (take your pick) developmentally challenged/disabled/special/retarded kids in a game of bowling. Wow…I thought I’d have weeks to prepare and build towards this recap. Time to think about how I’d handle the special challenge of handling a recap dealing with the specially challenged. I…must…concentrate. So I spent two hours with my Yogi this morning, audited my E-Meter, balanced my chakras, and went to confession just to be sure. *Deep breath* 2-3-4, *breathe* 2-3-4…
It was with some trepidation that I fired up the TiVo for this week’s “I Want to Be a Hilton” episode. As much as I couldn’t stand the sniveling Yvette…as much as Ann hurt my head to watch…Now that they were gone, I wasn’t sure the show would offer any more of the type of conflict we’ve come to expect from reality TV. Yes, that ol’ reality TV conundrum: the people you hate are often the same people who make the show interesting. Once I settled in, though, I was soothed by the show’s quaint use of sepia-toned Manhattan-scapes and Roaring 20’s tweakly ragtimey piano. “Ahhhhh, Kathy Hilton,” I muttered as a smile crept across my face, “You are…so damn…classy!” Sufficiently transported to the world of high society, I was ready to watch. Random MSRblog Trivia: Which reality veteran’s song did this recap’s title come from? Answer after the jump.
As a fan since day one, (Ah Corey Feldman, be still my beating heart) I’ve come to expect insanely ridiculous premiere episodes of The Surreal Life. Just a few days after coming down from the high I got from my Chenema and Big Brother 6’s premiere, VH1 got me right back up again with the cornerstone of its reality lineup. Due to other commitments, I’ll have to ignore VH1’s other two “CelebReality” premieres last night – Celebrity Fit Club and Hogan Knows Best. And by “commitments” I mean, “I’d rather blind myself by slowly sublimating my viscous eye-meat milligram by milligram with a drop of 98% sulphuric acid every 30 seconds until I’m left with two empty dripping sockets than watch the Hulkster’s reality series.” Sorry, I was always a Ric Flair fan – WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!
[*Malki is not a real word, but could be a new short form of “malcontent.” Actually, “Balki” and “Alky” aren’t real words either but you know what they mean in this context. So there.]
In preparation for this week’s episode of “The Cut,” I dug out my authentic 19th century Little House on the Prairie schoolmarm wooden chair. It was the only thing I could think of uncomfortable enough to keep me awake for the entire show. Upon reading the description of this week’s challenge, I was heartened to note that it appeared as though “The Cut” would finally be ripping off “Project Runway” like we expected it to do all along. Oh, sure, the Apprentice atmospherics were still fully in place: the bustling avenue filled with taxis, the slow motion helicopter fly-bys above famous Manhattan landmarks, the steam rising from the sidewalks – but this week the Cutters would actually be dealing with – gasp – fashion! You know, the thing that we (and the contestants) thought the show would be about from the get-go. Call us crazy. Well, we viewers (which may just be me at this point) are crazy I suppose for watching this mess. But the Cutters have real incentive to be there, even in the subzero chill of mid-winter Manhattan. Hilfiger (or HALfiger-9000 as I call him in reference to his monotonous android manner of speaking), met with everyone outside in Bryant Park to discuss the next challenge. One (more) thing that makes watching this show difficult is that it was filmed during January or February when hats, mittens, and coats were necessary. It’s just weird watching the show now in July with a bead of sweat trickling down my cheek from the summer heat – oh, wait… That’s actually a tear now that I realized the show had only just begun and I still had a full hour to endure.
“No name has more cache than the name Hilton in high society.” Or so “I Want To Be a Hilton’s” annoying faux sophisticate narrator tells us during the show’s intro. Now, “high society” is certainly different than you and me, but I’m fairly certain the name “Hilton” primarily conjures up visions of a certain doe-eyed dirty debutante in a night vision video, no matter how much money one has. But then again, when I hear “High Society” I immediately think about the porn magazine of that name – not boring old crackers with butlers and gaudy chandeliers. So what do I know?
Well, one thing I know is that on reality shows, people get eliminated. It seems that this comes as a shock to the contestants on the crop of shows this summer. After last week’s first elimination, Team Madison is slow to grasp what’s going on. Jackaay (whose name I can’t help but think is missing an accent of some sort) waas shoocked thaat soomeone waas goone. Because, you know, that sort of thing never happens on reality shows at gatherings with names like “Elimination Time.” Get over it…and anyway, did she even like that Alain guy who got booted last week? Does anyone? Anywhere?
Remember when Vanilla Ice came out and publicly stated that “Ice Ice Baby” didn’t lift any samples from Queen’s “Under Pressure?” His insane insistence that his song’s hook wasn’t lifted from the operatic rockers was just so ridiculous it became kind of a joke. Well, I imagine Tommy Hilfiger pulled off the same stunt to CBS when he pitched “The Cut.” After he described “The ApprentiCut,” I can only assume the network brass said, “Great, an Apprentice clone starring Tommy Hilfiger. What will you do – mix it up by emulating other reality shows week to week and pretend that you’re doing something original?” Unfortunately for us viewers, the network brass didn’t lay on the sarcasm enough and this show actually got made. And I actually watch it.
It’s almost fun to see what show (or shows) “The Cut” will mimic week to week. It’s getting so bad (after only 3 episodes!) that I half expect the aspiring designers to be marooned on a South Pacific island where they have to sing Paul Anka songs for a salty English judge. But I digress – and I also just came up with a pretty cool episode of “AmeriCut Immunity Idol.” You read it here first, folks.
Tommy Hilfiger’s biggest break wasn’t his innovative Times Square billboard in the 80’s nor was it anything exciting he did on the runway in Paris or Milan. No, his luckiest break was that he was born with a last name that happens to rhyme with a certain racial epithet that starts with an ‘n.’ Throughout the years, Mr. Hilfiger has been rhymed about in many hip hop songs and as a result, his clothes have enjoyed periods of urban popularity. Perhaps sensing that his street cred is waning, Tommy decided the second episode of “The Cut” should blatantly rip off “Pimp My Ride” this week, rather than last week’s “The Apprentice” clone.
Let me first say that yes, I know that almost every new reality show is merely derivative of past reality shows. I’m cool with that, as long as they are well done. Even before seeing one second of Tommy Hilfiger’s new summer show on CBS, I thought it was a blatant rip-off of one of the best shows to premiere in a while – last year’s “Project Runway” on Bravo. I loved Runway; the originality of the show AND of those involved and I never knew why NBC (which owns Bravo) never gave it a shot. What I didn’t expect was how Apprenticey The Cut would be. Not only were many of the sweeping Midtown Manhattan camera shots exactly the same as we’ve seen before, but he mentioned his industry was worth “billions,” the dubbing was equally atrocious, and he feigned the same phony over-the-top disgust with the show’s hopefuls. Finally, not wanting to be outdone by The Donald’s infamous hairdo, The Tommy is rocking a hair part that has only been previously equaled by God at the Red Sea back in the day.
After last week’s Prozac overdose inducing episode, I was hoping that Project Greenlight be a little bit less depressing in Episode 6. After all, the show made Entertainment Weekly’s heralded “Must List” and is getting a small little buzz. TVgasm is recapping it, the New York Times has written a glowing review, EW is on board… Hey, Executive Producer Chris F’n Moore, how do you feel about all of this? “We need more people to watch the show… Project Greenlight is hurting now. Not because of the movie but because of the ratings of the show. Feast will turn out well but we need more people to watch. If you like Project Greenlight, tell a friend and get more people to watch. It would be a real shame if it turns out that we finally figured out the movie side and the TV show kills us…”
If you were a flabby, pasty, middle-aged guy, would you:
a) Wear brightly colored shirts tucked into pants that were pulled up to your ribcage?
b) Purposely look like Flava Flav’s retarded white brother (right), or
c) allow television film crews access to your bathroom while you bathe in your dingy tub?
If you answered “none of the above,” then you’re no John Gulager, the eternally down-in-the-dumps first time director at the center of Project Greenlight’s third season. For the second week in a row, we were treated to a bath time scene of a sulking, hunched over Gulager scrubbing grime from underneath his man-boobs. Seeing Gulager wallowing in his own filth and soaping his bloated torso is, I’m sure, more disgusting and scarier than anything we’ll see in “Feast,” the feature length movie he’s been chosen to direct. I thought about starting a “Get John Gulager a showerhead” fund, but then I remembered I’m not a very nice person.
Q) What do Dimension Films and John Gulager have in common? [answer after the jump]