Reality TV Roundup: Bad Dates, Old Ladies, and Staying Away from Veal

My adult supervisor XFE is out of town again this week, which means I’m left (mostly) to my own devices. I say “mostly” because XFE has kinda got things on lockdown. For example, he recently bought this fancy-schmancy thermostat for the house called The Nest.

I know. It sounds like some horror movie involving some sort of bird-cult probably headed by Mickey Rourke who makes life a living hell for former cult member/child bride played by Natalie Portman or Kirsten Dunst or somebody. It’s very “50 Shades of Grey,” but not sexy. (For the record: still boycotting that book.) Not sexy at all. In fact, I might have just scared myself and now I have to go to sleep alone in my big, scary, empty house that makes weird, unfamiliar noises. Just great.

See you in your dreams, Poe.

Anyway, this Nest thing is supposedly all smart and can be set remotely using your iPhone. This allows Big Brother XFE an unprecedented level of power over my air conditioning preferences, which tend to run into the 80 degree setting range. He’s not abusing his power, but he is calling me at random times to ask why I have/or/haven’t changed the settings. Mostly the answer is, “I hadn’t noticed.”

He also made sure I didn’t gorge Trader Joe’s bacon cheddar ranch dip three meals a day by grilling a whole bunch of meat before he left. I guess I could always put the dip on top of my pork chops, but that just seems like a waste of good dip. BCRD should only be eaten with a chip accompaniment.

You are everything that is good and pure in this world.

So while XFE is keeping a close eye on my room temperature and eating habits, he has not yet found a way to improve my television viewing habits and this past weekend was filled with nothing but junk. More empty, brain-cell-killing calories than 30 tubs of Trader Joe’s bacon cheddar ranch dip.

For one thing, I watched this one episode of a show called “The Wedding Party” on Bravo. It had this fabulous, brash blonde wedding planner chick who made totally inappropriate comments and cussed all over the place. I loved it. Not sure why I haven’t seen any other episodes.

The only thing I didn’t like? At the wedding, she suddenly was wearing a stupid clip-on pony tail of fake hair. All show she’d been so awesome, totally killer wardrobe made up of slightly 1950s-sexy-secretary wear complete with fantastic heels. Then out of nowhere, she goes wedding planner cliché.

I also caught about 5 minutes of the VH1 show, “Big Ang.” The episode I saw revolved around a bus trip to Atlantic City, in which we met a dirty old lady (she’s 65) named Sandy Stitches. Why is she called Sandy Stitches? Because apparently, in a previous episode, she was perving on some young guido and fell out of the hot tub at Ang’s housewarming party. Yes, she was wearing a hot pink bikini.

I just could not get into the show. I remember Big Ang from that mafia show and thought she was an interesting character, but I just couldn’t watch her for 30 minutes. I found her voice and her personality just grating.


I also had to change the channel on another VH1 gem called “Hollywood Exes.” I think the formula for a lot of these reality shows is: put a bunch of women together (preferably on a trip to an exotic location), add alcohol and fedoras, and let the sparks fly. The episode I (briefly) watched had a blonde lady fighting with another woman over whether having a martini off camera made one a bigger hypocrite than the other (who had had an abortion yet did not eat veal.) I swear, that’s what they were fighting about.

Once the blonde one flounced off and the other chicks were high-fiving and quoting Bible verses about wrath, I gave up on the show and flipped back over to Bravo. Where I then proceeded to spend the entire rest of the day watching an awesome trainwreck of a show called “Miss Advised.” (It was a marathon leading up to the finale on Monday. Which I now have to watch along with the heavily promoted new catfight show set in the bitchy New York art world, “Gallery Girls.” You got me, Bravo. You totally got me.)

I must know why this girl is crying and only that evil genius Andy Cohen can enlighten me.

I remember when the commercials came out for “Miss Advised,” which follows three dating “experts” in three different cities. Mostly, they give advice that they then don’t take themselves in their own dating lives. Since it’s all about how hard the dating world is, and since I’m not actually in a big hurry to relive those days myself, I wasn’t really interested in watching it. BUT, it was either that or the Olympics this past weekend, so I buckled down and got to know Julia, Emily, and Amy.

Amy is a desperate New York matchmaker who reeks of desperation. She’s also got some serious food issues. Basically, she’s way too uptight. She goes off on this one guy for not texting her. You get the impression from the way that she’s acting that it’s been weeks since their date, but in actuality, it was about a day. Not surprisingly, he breaks it off at a diner, which she counts as their third date, and which sends her into a tailspin of crying, “I got dumped.” I’m sorry, but two dates does not a relationship make. You didn’t get “dumped.” You weren’t in a position to be “dumped.” It was only TWO dates. You weren’t anything yet! And meeting at a diner to get dumped is NOT a date. That one doesn’t count.

There aren’t enough bubbles in all the land to wash the smell of desperation away.

Julia, a dating columnist living in Los Angeles, is cut from the same crazy cloth. She’s a straight up, stage five clinger. With a  Cinderella complex. She goes on this fantastically weird prom date with some guy she met on Facebook (she saw his pictures in her timeline and thought he looked like fun). Then she throws a fit when he won’t fly down from San Francisco for a dinner party she’s throwing. So, the guy flies down and she comes unglued when she opens the door and there he is. Literally, she falls shrieking to the ground. It’s the craziest thing ever.

Then, he stays overnight and flies back to San Francisco the next morning. While talking to her roommate, we discover that despite making him sleep on the couch, young Julia has thanked her beau for flying down and surprising her in a very oral way.

Different guy. Different date. Same idea.

So, with things progressing so smoothly, Julia flies up to San Francisco for what might technically be called her third date, and immediately upon entering her intended’s apartment insists on having the relationship talk. He, wisely, says “thanks but no thanks” and sends her back to the airport. There’s a heart-wrenching scene of her walking up a San Francisco hill in her high-heeled boots, carrying a Vera Bradley tote, and crying. At least, I think she was crying. She’s had a lot of Botox (at 30) and her face is kinda immobile. She does have very lovely long lashes though. Lovely, tear-glistened lashes.

Having “the talk” and getting “the boot.”

These are our relationship experts, ladies and gentlemen.

The third girl, Emily, is from San Francisco and has a radio talk show about human sexuality. She actually seems like a fairly normal person who’s just trying to figure out this whole relationship thing. She thinks monogamy is not realistic, so she’s trying to be open to other lifestyles, but increasingly finds she’s probably actually pretty traditional and wants to be in a one-on-one relationship.

I know, snooze-ville.

Anyway, that’s what I watched all weekend without any adult supervision to tear the remote out of my hands and make me go outside to enjoy the weather or mingle with humanity.

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