Reality Roundup: Show Up and Showdown

It’s a time-honored rule of reality that nobody’s there to make friends. And thank goodness for that.  While conflict may not bring out the best in most people, it certainly shapes some of the most engrossing story lines on reality shows.  From no-holds-barred brawls to smaller spats, heads are butting across the reality sphere – and I’m here to bring you the highlights.


“Politefully, screw off”

If you’re as new to Southern Charm Savannah as I was, you might come to this show expecting a serving of southern-standard passive aggression.  And while – to be sure – this show has plenty of that (“Do you think it’s your house or do you think it’s like…you,” a coyly concerned castmember asked Ashley, mid-rant about the bad vibes in her home following a fire in her son’s bedroom), the Charm-ers are not afraid to dabble in aggression-aggression as well.

Ashley and Hannah’s bridge party confrontation (lesson #1: when someone takes you off to the side to talk for a minute, it’s NOT going to be just a minute and it is NOT going to end well) was a freestyle frolic to no destination in particular.  While purportedly about Hannah’s not-yet-real dress line (and how its potential future existence reflects on Hannah’s respect – or lack thereof – for Ashley), the screaming seemed to double as a dramatic reading of Ashley’s resume, covering everything from dress designs to Delta.

After exiting, entering, and re-exiting the fight, Ashely finally fled the bridge party’s white-wine fueled assemblage of lace, pearls and fur.  Her sudden escape was accompanied by a chorus of baaahhhyy sweetie’s in tones so sweetly sedate that I swear I could smell the magnolias.  That’s the ‘charm’ of Southern Charm Savannah – no matter how weird things get, the cast always knows when and how to claw back on their emotions.

At least until next week.

New episodes of Southern Charm Savannah air 10:00pm ET Monday on Bravo. Recent episodes are available on-demand.


Relationship Hypnotherapy

With all of the focus on Amber and Matt’s (non?) engagement, it would be easy to miss some of the saner approaches to relationship management on Teen Mom OG.  For example, Farrah and Simon’s long-suffering relationship took a spiritual turn when she summoned him to a hotel room to meet with her and hypnotherapist.  Deciding that she didn’t want to see Simon anymore, Farrah had sought some outside assistance.

The treatment arguably worked a little better than it should have.  Simon lithely skittered from the room when the session was over (a move that, judging by Farrah’s expression, seemed just a hair too gleeful).  Still, if we never see Simon again – and that’s an incredibly optimistic ‘IF’ – I’ve got a list of a few more ‘Teen Mom’ franchise couples that the hypnotherapist should have on speed dial.

New episodes of Teen Mom OG air 9:00pm ET Monday on MTV.  Recent episodes are available on-demand.


“I want a black work demonic goat head with a crescent moon, roses and a raven on my ribs”

At its core, Ink Master reminds me of certain other competition reality shows that I’ve dabbled with in the past (Project Runway, America’s Next Top Model…you may notice there’s a bit of a theme here) – but with one fundamental (and KEY) difference.  If you make a bad outfit on Project Runway, the worst that happens is your model inadvertently shows her nether regions to Heidi Klum mid-runway walk (horrifying, yes.  But also temporary.) Make a similar stumble on Ink Master, however, and your ‘canvas’ (i.e., living, breathing human being) goes home with a very unfortunate (and VERY permanent) tiger taking up half her thigh.

Which is all to say that on Ink Master, the stakes are – to put it mildly – very high.

Naturally, then, when new comer Old Town Ink (a tattoo partnership that included the aptly-named Bubba, a former Ink Master contestant) pulled out a magnum (essentially, a tattoo needle with multiple tips, allowing the artist to draw multiple lines at one) for a line-based tattoo challenge, the other contestants grew antsy.  As accusations of cheating abounded, the other teams voted Old Town Ink to go before the judges for a potential elimination.  “I think you guys should assume that we’re focused on every single move you make to find a reason to kick you the f*** out,” pointed out one contestant, pouting in a way that only a tattooed hipster can pout.

Predictably, Old Town Ink survived the elimination (even a non-tattooed human such as myself can admit their work – using the weight and spacing of lines to create depth – was incredible) – and lived give the competition another chance to kick them “ the f*** out.”

New episodes of Ink Master air 10:00pm ET Tuesday on Spike and are available the next day on-demand.


The ‘Miss Congeniality’ that Wasn’t

Television reality met Twitter reality and promptly combusted when Valentina received the RuPaul ’Miss Congeniality’ crown on RuPaul’s Drag Race.  After having been called out earlier in the reunion for her failure to reign in fan hate on social media (where her placating cries of “I’m really bad with social media” didn’t cut it), Valentina was awarded the title of “Miss Congeniality” – along with the accompanying $5,000 prize.

Fellow contestant Aja, taking advantage of the earlier anti-Valentina sentiment to escalate the pair’s season-long friction, immediately stepped in to object.

“I just don’t feel like you should be Miss Congeniality,” she explained, the rest of the cast quickly leaping on the bandwagon. With the chant of “fan favorite” rising above the ladies’ murmurings, it became clear that Valentina’s cohorts were willing to concede that she had an impressive fan base – but weren’t of the view that such support had been sowed with kindness.

Not looking to weigh in on the fray, a bewildered-looking RuPaul could do nothing but acknowledge the change in title, simply adding (for the record) that “the cash is still in US currency.”

The season finale of RuPaul’s Drag Race airs 8:00pm ET Friday on VH1.  Recent episodes are available on-demand.


“You take your cape, and your broom, and fly the f*** out of here”

Never have I been more acutely aware of the power of ‘RSVP’ than I was while watching the Second Wives Club finale unfold.  Tania thought she was walking into Katie’s tea lounge launch party – until Alex, an overworked assistant in a jaunty top hat, told her otherwise.  Though she lorded the power of the almighty clipboard, Alex’s face drew even paler with the uncomfortable uncertainty of being spiked directly into the middle of an inevitable Katie and Tania showdown, so she quickly (and smartly) made a beeline for anywhere but there.

Katie, irate with Tania for her failure to RSVP, came close to launching into an itemized list of a season’s worth of disagreements (though the show could only muster one such scene as a flashback).  “The thing is, with Tania, I’ve let so many bulls**t things slide,” she explained.  And, like any good Hamilton to Tania’s Burr, she charged headlong into confronting her philosophical foe – who did, indeed, fly the f*** out of there.

Second Wives Club recently wrapped its first season on E!, and is currently available on demand.


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