reality roundup

Reality Roundup: Lessons Learned


Most things I know, I’ve learned from watching reality TV.  Well… some things.  The important things.  At a time when many have come to question the value of reality television, it’s critical to acknowledge the contributions that the genre has made to the pool of human knowledge (murky as that pool may be).  In recognition of this worthy cause, read on for a collection of the most profound pieces of reality tv wisdom to hit the air this week.

 1. Sleep in your makeup (just in case FedEx shows up).

Tinsley Mortimer joins The Real Housewives of New York this season, largely to remind all of us that she was arrested last year (the Daily Mail will never forget, and now – apparently – neither will the rest of us).  As if her legal woes weren’t sufficiently tragic, she opens the season shacking up with the lovably nutty Sonja Morgan, who vocally flutters through her thoughts in every scene that she films.  Naturally, Tinsley’s insistence on maintaining a full face of makeup at all times quickly draws questions from her hostess.  Yet we could expect nothing less from the woman who, preening over her mugshot, pointed out that at least her false lashes were in place.  If there’s such a thing as a cosmetic boy scout, Tinsley’s it – and her dedication to ‘be prepared’ is an example for us all.

New episodes of The Real Housewives of New York air 9pm ET Wednesday on Bravo and are available the next day on-demand.

2. You can learn a lot about somebody from their nipple size.

Are You the One: Second Chances pits pairs of former dating show contestants against each other – ostensibly to compete in various physical and mental challenges, but mostly just for the scandalous sexy time that precedes and follows each episode’s ‘mission’. Living their destiny in the latest episode, the cast played a game of flip cup that led to streaking that led to an all-out debauchery of a pool party (naturally), prompting cast member (and sometimes-ringleader) Devin to make an observation about the telltale nipple. If losing couple Hayden and Carolina had been paying attention to Devin’s insights, would their spin through the show’s dreaded ‘Choice’ (essentially the prisoner’s dilemma, but played out via iPad) have had a better ending?  It’s too late for them – but luckily, it’s not too late for the rest of us.

New episodes of Are You the One: Second Chances air 9pm ET Wednesday on MTV and are available the next day on-demand.

3. Don’t fake-Yelp-review the mob.

Ex-mobster Richard Sr. and his wife Lauretta spent the premiere of Unprotected tracking down the source of a negative review on their company Yelp page.  Using their critic’s other online reviews (all of which, happily, seemed to permit reality crews on the premises), the couple retraced his steps through the city. Playing along at home, I immediately scoured the internet for the reviews as they were read aloud.

They don’t exist.

Either Richard Sr. is not as much out of the mafia as he would like us to believe, or (just hear me out on this one) his city-wide manhunt for the face behind the (also non-existent) handle ‘Scottsdale6’ was a little less than real. Still, the wrap-up gave the journey merit.  “The world I come from…we were forced to sit across the table and work our things out,” Richard Sr. explains, confronting the bewildered reviewer while urging him to raise his concerns in person next time. And I, soothed by the dulcet tones of the faux-Godfather music layered in by the producers in post, couldn’t help but agree.

New episodes of Unprotected air 9pm ET Tuesday on Oxygen and are available the next day on-demand.

4. There’s no crying at a bachelor party.

The world lost a shining, slurry beacon of joy this week when Vanderpump Rules completed the final part of this season’s reunion.  As the botox-boosted cast passionately re-hashed the season, their discussion found its emotional epicenter with the producers (bless them) re-airing cast member Tom Sandoval’s most dramatic scenes.  And while there were plenty of contenders for Tom’s most inappropriately-timed outbursts (the moment when he, half in drag and more than half drunk, inadvertently invited cameras to catch his best friend on the toilet, or later in the season, when he used a small dog to wipe away tears at said friend’s wedding), his girlfriend pointed out that his breakdown at a bachelor party alligator hunt was the most unexpected.  I’ll still miss Tom and the rest of the cast until they (fingers crossed) return to re-grace our televisions next year – but I’m guessing those gators are more than happy to wait.

Vanderpump Rules recently wrapped its fifth season on Bravo.

5. When in doubt, vocal trumpet.

First dates are weird (shout out to the dude who gave me a geography quiz midway through the second beer).  They also occupy a one-hour slot on NBC (called – what else – First Dates), offering the perfect opportunity for creepsters like me to nose their way into other people’s conversations.   This week, amidst the sea of standard(ish) dinner date chatter (“you would eat human flesh?  I would eat human flesh!!”), 24-year-old Anip stood out. His earnest imitation of the sound of a trumpet was nothing short of an artform, developed (I suspect) in large part because his parents knew he’d be way too annoying with an actual instrument.  And while his beat-box brass mating call didn’t earn him a second date, it did earn a number of bewildered glances from fellow restaurant patrons.

At least he got to skip the small talk.

New episodes of First Dates air 8pm ET Friday on NBC and are available the next day on-demand.