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 TV Bites With Neena Louise

Summer Reality

by Neena Louise

I was delighted when the Big Four networks announced they would have a summer schedule. I have always thought this a good idea, given that people do actually watch television in the summer and would appreciate something new. I was dismayed, however, to discover that "summer schedule" meant "reality shows". But I watched, anyway, so here is my take (in no particular order):

Amazing Race 5
With the motley assortment of characters, from the obnoxious (twins Kami and Karli; Mirna and Charla) to the pleasant (Chip and Kim; "bowling moms" Linda and Karen), there are enough twists, turns and personality clashes to make this the most entertaining reality show on television. If the ratings are any indication, people are finally discovering this previously-underappreciated gem.

Big Brother 5
I watched the first two episodes, then quickly lost interest. I've never seen so many stereotypes on one show: The "Four Horsemen" - dorky name aside - are stereotypical macho pigs; the blonde bimbo is such a bimbo she can't possibly be real; the weirdo Jennifer (who insists on being called Nakomis for some vaguely-defined reason); the female jock; the gay guy...oh, brother! The supposed "twists" (that are lame) and the constant repetition of "Do Not Assume" (oh, shut up) and this is one of reality TV's most ridiculous offerings.

The Casino
For some reason, this was just not engaging. Again, after two episodes I lost interest. I suspect it is because it look suspiciously staged. Perhaps it's because of the setting, but The Casino looked more like a bad - really bad - version of Las Vegas rather than an intriguing reality show.

Simple Life 2
I don't know why people find this show interesting. Nicole Richie and Paris Hilton are spoiled, rude, obnoxious brats. The episode of them ordering a lot of food, then giggling when they didn't have enough money (invoking the manager's ire), then sashaying up to a stranger to ask for $10 was so revolting I wanted to bitch-slap them. I don't see anything worth watching, here.

Next Action Star
Considering the name of the show, this could have used a lot more action. The second-to-last episode never even aired, and a tabloid show spilled the beans over who won the contest before the last episode aired - neither causing a ripple of protest. It speaks volumes of how interesting this was. The only redeeming factors were despising the arrogant Jared, and drooling over the beautiful bodies. Yawn.

Last Comic Standing
Is Jay Mohr a stand-up comic? Because he'd lose if he was a contestant on this show. Dreadful Mohr routines aside, I've always enjoyed stand-up comedy, so I liked this. I can see why some wouldn't, however...

Amish in the City
There was something sweetly endearing as the Amish young people took in all the new experiences: the intrigue over a parking meter ("What's it for? How does it work?"); the excitement and emotional reaction to the sight of the ocean; learning to swim...I found it all rather sweet. I was aghast at the "city kids" and their rude and ignorant behavior, however. They seemed to take great pleasure in mocking the Amish - not even trying to understand them. Brats.

Joe Schmo 2
The first Joe Schmo was much better than its sequel. Stealing aspects from various other reality shows (the fax machine from Who Wants to Marry My Dad; the banners from Big Brother) and all the weirdo antics that real people wouldn't do (killing a bird; doing soft porn in a tub of beans) and Joe Schmo 2 was just plain silly. 
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