I Hate Myself For Loving You

Valentine’s Day is about proclaiming your love loud and proud, but that’s what we do every day on this blog: champion the shows we love. So this year we thought we would try something different, and discuss the shows we love not so loud and not so proud. These are the shows we hate to love!

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The Bachelor

Simply put, there is no two hours I look forward to more each week than when my wife and I settle in to crack wise in front of The Bachelor. Even if you’ve never watched the show, you’re surely familiar with its premise and structure: a white man who looks good with his shirt off moves into a Los Angeles mansion with 25 fame-hungry selfie models who would eagerly fight to the death with blunt instruments just for five minutes of time alone with him. That structure hasn’t changed much over the course of 248 seasons, although I can’t help noticing that where the bachelors used to be doctors and international airline pilots and winery owners with the means to whisk their bachelorettes off to more exciting spheres, the last two have been mere software salesmen (who look good with their shirts off). But the show is just as much fun as ever, maybe even more so, because of two recent developments in the Bachelorverse:

  1. They finally figured out that the rose ceremony is the most boring part of the show and stopped making it the “climax” of each episode. Now it’s somewhere in the middle or not in an episode at all.
  2. The creation of Bachelor in Paradise. The truth is, which lip gloss enthusiast is chosen by the Bachelor is far less interesting than which rejected bachelorettes will be chosen to go to Puerto Vallarta to spend six weeks playing musical hammocks with an equal number of rejected bachelors; each week another person is added to the mix, inevitably someone who’s already paired off will be interested in the new arrival, schemes will be hatched, bonds will be broken, mascara will run. Paradise is where crazy goes to reach its full flower, and I am grateful to The Bachelor for providing such an efficient and amusing feeder system. (Alex Castle)

The Bachelor airs at 8pm ET Mondays on ABC.

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Tiny House Hunters

Some people dream of living in a sprawling mansion; yours truly has visions of miniature manors. There’s something romantic about the notion of shedding unnecessary possessions and downsizing to just the essentials. Don’t get me wrong, I like kicking my feet up on the sectional and watching HGTV in the man cave as much as the next guy. But I don’t really need all that stuff. That space is a luxury, not a necessity. The big screen TV and surround sound speakers aren’t what makes me happy. I’d be just fine with a laptop and a murphy bed. When it comes down to it, everything you really need can fit in 400 square feet. The area doesn’t even need to be a house in the traditional sense. With a little ingenuity, an eye for design and some elbow grease, an old train car or shipping container could be a house. After all, it’s the people inside that make a house a home, right? Therein lies the appeal of Tiny House Hunters. In our culture of consumption and excess, it’s refreshing to see that some people are looking for something more… or in this case, something less. Could I sacrifice the comfort of all mod cons to live the tiny house lifestyle? That remains to be seen. Do I enjoy living vicariously through others intent on living the tiny house dream? Most definitely. (Tashi Dondup)

Tiny House Hunters is available on demand on HGTV.

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The New Celebrity Apprentice

It would be next to impossible to discuss The New Celebrity Apprentice without acknowledging what is “new” about this season of the reality stalwart: Jersey Shore alum and business titan Snooki was a contestant. There was also that kerfuffle involving the series’ former host/Twitter personality Donald Trump and its new commander-in-chief, Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Arnold has brought some of his own touches to the show like “you’re terminated,” his version of Trump’s “you’re fired” and “get to the choppa” in which booted contestants are instructed to make their way to an actual helicopter. Catchphrases aside, the format by and large remains the same: two teams of celebrity competitors are still pitted against each other in businessy-type tasks winning money for charity along the way; there are still extended boardroom scenes where contestants are evaluated and there is still even the head-scratching presence of a boardroom “receptionist” who beckons the celebrities to enter as though the job couldn’t be fulfilled by a production assistant or even a handwritten sign.

Now, I have been an on-and-off fan of all incarnations of The Apprentice long before it became a moral quandary akin to eating at Chic-Fil-A or buying a Chris Brown album. What keeps me coming back? The concept itself is extremely fun and engaging but the show’s ultimate allure is celebrities doing anything and celebrities doing something. Nowadays, it’s almost a given that celebrities will be involved in a reality series. The difference with Celebrity Apprentice is these celebs are actively doing something; they are working together and participating in the task at hand and we get to bear witness to who carried the team, who slacked off or who bossed who around. And at the end of the day, aren’t we all just looking for confirmation that real housewife of Atlanta Porsha would make a much, much worse coworker than our own colleagues? (Ben Taft)

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s first season on The New Celebrity Apprentice is available on NBC on demand.​

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Are You The One?

“Are You The One?” is like the reality show version of Battleship, but to guess where each peg goes, contestants may need to give that peg some lovin’ in the “boom boom room.“  And those pegs are almost certainly exploring their options as well. Playing the game, a house full of “bad at love” twenty-somethings weed through the lustful and largely certifiable mess of their fellow contestants so that each can find his/her special (and almost certainly certifiable) “perfect match.”

I hate that the show knows me so well. I don’t need a complicated premise or real stakes. I can just watch as the show’s premise keeps the door wide open to endless enthralling possibilities, on which the it delivers time and again: Love triangles. Squares. Hexagons. Whatever a twenty-two sided shape is. This week’s golden couple finds out that they’re not a “perfect match,” leading to one of them to awkwardly prowl the house in camouflage pants while the other makes out with some dude in a closet. Even that doesn’t snap me out of it; with full knowledge of how ridiculous the whole situation really is, I’ve never been more captivated.  Drinking out of boat-sized martini glasses or swigging directly from the bottle, the deliciously trashy “Are You The One?” cast are a steadfast reminder that love isn’t dead…just in a light alcohol-induced coma. (Stephanie Brockman)

Are You The One? airs at 9pm ET Wednesdays on MTV.

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Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives

There are rare moments in life when you experience something so poignant and so accurate you are left wondering if an all-consuming daydream has finally come to fruition. I can pinpoint most of those moments in my life, especially the day I was mindlessly bouncing around the internet and came across a TV info description of the Guy Fieri-hosted Diners, Drive-ins & Diveson Food Network:

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Guy Fieri can be a little too extra with his meringue-style spiked hair, excessive jewelry, and terrible catchphrases like ‘Take me to Chowtown!’, and I struggle with his incessant need to help the chefs explain their signature dishes. But, Triple D does put small restaurants around the country in the spotlight – one visit from the Fieri circus and business will be booming – and I love seeing the different cuisines and how they vary around the country. Plus, when you’re traveling you always have a good bank of restaurants to check out and what to order. (Sarah Moffatt

Diners, Drive-ins & Dives is on literally all the time and is available on the Food Network on-demand.

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Girls

As a 20-something woman living in the modern world, it would make sense for HBO’s Girls to be among my favorite shows not just because of the female-powered engine it operates on but also for the struggle of being a young woman in this time period. Girls has its shining moments, but similar to another show about girlfriends living in New York, it can get old seeing these characters go round and round on carousel decorated almost exclusively with men unfit for their attention who drive their motives mostly in a negative direction. I mean, I get it. Trying to figure out life all at once is the natural reflex to seeing friends who seemingly have it together. But at some point you grow and learn, haven’t these girls really haven’t in the last five seasons. The only episode I can think of that shows any of them “growing up” was last season’s Marnie-centric episode, but by the following week she was back to her old ways. Nevertheless, I have to keep tuning in. If not for the reassurance that I’m mostly not as big of a mess as these girls, then for the simple fact I’m addicted to their messes. To me, it’s like the same addiction people had to Jerry Springer: their personalities are annoying and frustrating but I can’t quite find it in me to look away, either. (Sarah Moffatt)

The final season of Girls starts Sunday at 9pm ET on HBO; seasons 1-5 are on-demand.