Reality Roundup: Reality Airs the Darndest Things

The best part of unscripted television is…well, the fact that it’s unscripted.  There’s nothing better than soaking in the things that people say when they’re not working off of a script (and are not fully sober).  I can only thank the reality gods for the true gems that they’ve dropped in the past few weeks – and can only imagine the treasures that they have in store.

“As a captain you’re not allowed to show your anxiety to the crew, but right now the pucker effect is so strong you couldn’t drive a straight pin up my a** with a ten-pound sledgehammer”

— Captain Lee

Following a second run through the Mediterranean iteration of the show, the original Below Deck is back – and with it, the original captain.  Bravo knew, even before I did, that Captain Lee is 95% of the reason that I watch the show (the other 5% is boat-docking drama – and man, with the greenness of this season’s deckhands, I can only imagine how much of that there will be in the coming weeks), featuring him in their bouncy ‘Can’t Touch This’ promos.

As it turns out, no amount of 80s-style bopping could truly prepare audiences for the current season.

After all, Captain Lee’s high-level nerves come with good reason.  Other than show veterans Kate and Nico (who head up the interior and exterior staff, respectively, of the luxury yacht whose deck – as the show’s title implies – they sleep below), the rest of the crew seems just as uncertain about how they ended up on this boat as I am.  Deckhand Chris Brown (who is not the person you’re thinking of, even though he always insists on introducing himself by his full name) talks about himself in third person.  If he’s doing that for the premiere, I can only imagine where he’ll end up once we’re halfway through the season and the entire cast has forgotten the cameras are there, or they haven’t forgotten but don’t really care because they’ve been stuck with each other for weeks in confined yachtie spaces and they hate everyone.  And fellow deckhand Bruno is quick to speak about his past cruise ship experience.

If you know this show, you know that cruise ships and yachts are NOT the same thing – and that, consequently, this will likely not end well for poor, beautiful Bruno.  A big boat, a doomed crew, a crotchety captain – what more could a fall show possibly deliver?

New episodes of Below Deck air 9:00pm ET Tuesdays on Bravo and are available the next day on-demand.


“My friendship with Christen is like a rotten scallop.  Just like her fingers”

– Jasmine

I have never been subject to a more unbridled display of mean girl-ery than I have been during the past few episodes of Bachelor in Paradise (though I could identify a few choice middle school encounters that came somewhat close).  And as my seventh-grade self bubbled dangerously close to the surface at the sight of two women-turned-girls, giggling about a running joke involving the third (who, for her part, stood by with the uncomfortable bewilderment of sort of knowing that she was the butt of some joke without really wanting to believe that she was), I had to question whether I was more surprised to discover that the castmembers were willing to play at this level, or only that their juvenile cruelty had never really bothered me this much before.

Still, you have to hand it to the Paradise peeps for working a little creativity into their conniving ways.  The running joke of Christen’s secret ‘scallop fingers’ moniker does incorporate a solidly grown-up food reference (I only stopped confusing them with scallions within the embarrassingly recent past; one of their fellow contestants was convinced that it’s a vegetable).  And bartender Wells’ puppet-centered scallop reenactment could have brought Avenue Q to shame had he just added a jingle or two.

Ultimately, the whole thing didn’t seem to harm Christen’s run through several eligible (well…”eligible”) Paradise bachelors, making my soul feel slightly soothed for watching despite (and – let’s be honest- in some deep dark corner of my brain, because of) the cattiness.

The Bachelor in Paradise season finale aired this past Monday on ABC.  Catch up on the full season on-demand (Broadcast Extra subscribers in select markets only)

“Thank you.  I don’t know if I should take them or choke you’

– Renatta

Romance took a rocky start when Jason stole his mother’s ring to give to Renatta when the two were in kindergarten.  In every romantic comedy ever imagined, this would have been the ultimate meet-cute.  But in real life, when love kicks off with a felony, it’s not a GREAT sign.

It should therefore come as no surprise that, thirty years later, the two ended up in the same hotel room, surrounded by countless Bravo cameras watching every move of their on-again, off-again romance come to life, marred by Jason’s own admissions of cheating (with multiple women) and Renatta’s suspicions of his sweet talk.  And while the couple’s ultimate reunion begs a bunch of different questions, I’m still left with one burning a hole through my laptop as I type.

Why do people draft such large suitcases?  It’s called A NIGHT with my Ex.  As in.  One.  Night.

Hand-written responses (ideally coupled with a ring you stole from your mother) would be much appreciated.

New episodes of A Night with My Ex air 10:00pm ET Tuesdays on Bravo and are available the next day on-demand.


 “I want to stop being anal.  Because I don’t like to be anal all of the time.  Like, good morning, ‘anal’…like, no.”

– Kentaro

Perhaps there was some less descriptive feedback that could have been relayed in the direction of non-native English speaker Kentaro.  But, left in the nimble hands of mentor Tim Gunn and judge Heidi Klum, the instructions were issued in a much more colorful manner, to the pure delight of Kentaro’s fellow competitors – and, naturally, me.

Sixteen years into the fashion competition, a few choice words (or, more accurately, one choice word) isn’t the only way that the show is mixing things up. Finally finding a work-around to the inevitable tone-deafness of designer complaints during the one or two challenges that involve designing for women who have body fat, plus-sized models are now integrated into each episode’s fashion show.  Yes, the designers are slow to catch on to designing anything above a size two (the models are already complaining that, time and again, they’re sent down the runway unduly covered).  And sure, there were an uncomfortable number of ugly elastic waistbands in what was supposed to be a sexy pajama competition this past week.  Still, it’s a step in the right direction – and at least we know that, while the learning curve may be steep, we’ll have Kentaro to keep us company along the way.

New episodes of Project Runway air 9:00pm ET Thursdays on Lifetime and are available the next day on-demand.


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