Friday, May 12, 2006

TV Reality....or something

The TV reality season is definitely winding down. I'm sort of sad, but also sort of happy. Sad because it will be four months until I can once again enjoy Phil Keoghan of the Amazing Race in my living room. But more Donald. And, more importantly, no more crazy Paula Abdul/Simon Callow/Randy Jackson. So let's take these one by one.

1. The Amazing Race
I'm an unabashed fan. I love Phil, I love the competetion, I love the vicarious travel. I mean, I know I would never want to eat giant bowl full of deep fried crickets, but through the magic of television I can enjoy dirty hippies doing this exact thing. With Three teams left. Eric and Jeremy (aka the Frats) - previously annoying because of their constant attempts to convince the home audience they are straight and can get plenty of chicks, thank you very much. My reaction? Just admit you are gay and in love with another because you're a totally cute couple and would be much more tolerable if you weren't totally overcompensating. Ray and Yolanda - she's awesome (amazing legs), he's a stiff, they've probably already broken up. Get a personality please, haven't offended me, but I don't love them either. Bj and Tyler (aka the Hippies) - yikes. A divisive team, since I hate them, all my friends like 'em. I'll give all three teams: they seem to be enjoying the race, and they don't have a tendency to yell at each other and blame each other for small mistakes.

Verdict: I don't have a clear favorite. I'd be less thrilled if the Hippies won, but they are less objectionable than other teams that have won in previous seasons.

2. American Idol
The whole reason this post exists. Because there were two brilliant articles in the Washington Post today: this one by Robin Ghivan (who so completely deserves her Pulitzer prize because she has an incisive eye for decoding the meaning of fashion): We Get the Idols We Deserve, and Lisa de Moraes continuing series of We Watch So You Don't Have To, which analyzes each episode. I don't really have a favorite in American Idol, I'm not really invested. But Robin Ghivan's article made me laugh outloud on the bus this morning, and that, alone, is reason to highlight her and spread the Cult of Robin (I've been a member for several years.).

3. The Apprentice
Ah, The Donald. I'm old enough to have had a subscription to the late, lamented Spy magazine (warning: the Wikipedia article has a nude picture of Schwarzenegger), which lambasted the Donald as a "short fingered vulgarian", a term I still apply to him. However, I am completely addicted to the antics of the Apprentice. The horrible people who apply to be on the show (though last season had the nadir of the awful, useless Toral) are the main attraction. I freely admit that I have bought products because they were highlighted on the show, so they're accomplishing their goal: to get Americans to buy Trail Mix Grape Nuts. And I'll tell you this not for nothin': those Grape-Nuts were downright tasty. We're down to the last five contestants: it's hard to know quite who will go next. I can only hope the weasly Lee goes next. Or the oily Sean. I will say that I do quite like Trump's improbably named daughter Ivanka. She's very sensible with good observations and comments.

The season winds up in the next few weeks - different endings for different shows - but all will certainly come to an end. It's been a decent season for reality television. Especially since The Amazing Race was recovering from the hideousness that was the Family Edition. The Apprentice is par for the course, and every edition of American Idol is "the best" ever, so I take that with a grain of salt. But all of them hugely entertaining, which is all I really require.


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