Reality Rundown: Real Housewives Of New York, Real World St. Thomas, Bering Sea Gold & Flipping Out

I’ve been following along with the Real Housewives of New York this season, but I don’t think I’ve been enjoying it. There’s just nothing else on now. The women are currently in St. Barths pretending to be friends. LuAnn slept with some dude but doesn’t want anyone to know. To hide this, she’s made up ridiculous lies that not only sound silly, but don’t match up to the facts the other women actually now. It’s pretty funny seeing her face when the dude shows up at the part the next night…and Sonja has sex with him. I’ve grown to like Carole, but I really wish she’d stop wearing clothes for kids, it makes her look desperate. Aviva is just too much. She loves stirring the pot when it has nothing to do with her, but when it’s her thing she freaks out. I get the idea that she has a very specific idea of what friendship is and these women don’t live up to that, but YOU’RE NOT REALLY FRIENDS! It’s a TV show, get over yourself. These broads don’t care that you came to the island, that it was very difficult for you or that your husband brought you there. Ramona’s Ramona. She’s reality TV gold for lots of people, but her schtick wore off for me a season or two back. I still find Sonja’s desperation unnerving. She’s a beautiful woman, but seeing her fall over herself to go after dudes is pretty gross. I felt bad for her when Aviva went bonkers on her. Lastly, we have Heather. My opinion of her changes as I go, but I don’t think too negatively of her. She seems to just be sitting back and wondering what the hell is going, which I can understand. This might be the last season of RHONY for me, don’t know how long I can keep up with these ladies.

This one will be even quicker. I realized something while watching this week’s episode of Real World St. Thomas: the editing has really screwed my perception of how this cast related to each other. All the previous episodes made me think that none of these people really liked each other. Trey was screwing with Laura, Marie was screwing with Robb, Swift got into it with LaToya (who seems to just want to be on TV) and then Brandon who just kind of hangs out. This episode saw Brandon getting kicked off for doing coke at a party with a girl which is fine, whatever, but it showed that these kids all actually do like each other. I know the drama is what drives ratings, but it would also be nice to know this cast actually dug each other.

Discovery really has done an amazing job of taking a job like mining and turning it into a gigantic TV franchise. I watched the original season of Bering Sea Gold which involved people on boats going out into the Alaskan waters and either digging or sucking up rocks and filtering them to get gold out of it. I’m not sure why it’s there, but it is, apparently. This new season ups the ante by doing all that stuff UNDER THE ICE. Swimming underwater with ice above me is one of my personal irrational fears, so there’s that bit of anxiety going on. The crews are also made up mostly of people who were on the first season who bring along their personal issues (daddy issues, unrequited love, lack of money, etc.). The third crew is actually all newcomers who don’t really know what they’re doing, so all that together should make for an interesting season. Not sure if I’ll be able to fit this one in my schedule with the new season starting, but we’ll see. I’m sure I’ll catch up when they do one of their mandatory marathons on the weekend.

Flipping Out is another returning favorite. I should hate Jeff Lewis, but I don’t, even when he’s being an obvious, sneaky jerk as he was in the season opener. It was pretty clear to me that Jeff was looking at the house he was building as the place he would settle down and raise kids and he kept making changes and holding things up because he’s not ready for that. To make up for it in his own mind, he skips all that and just buys another house without talking to his boyfriend at all. I thought that was pretty cold, even for him. I really don’t know how a guy like that could have a longterm relationship, especially a romantic one because that act has got to get old and quick.

Reality Rundown: Real World St. Thomas, Million Dollar Listings & Gallery Girls

Regular readers and those of you who have discovered the site because of my Real World, Challenge and Jersey Shore posts, I apologize for not keeping up with my TV writing. One of the problems with being a work-from-home writer is that I spend most of the day on my couch with my laptop, so the last thing I really want to do in an evening is continue to sit on the couch with my laptop, take notes while watching and then write a post as fast as possible. But, I’m still watching and will probably get back into the swing with whatever the next Challenge is.

Anyway, like I said, I’ve been watching Real World St. Thomas and I must say I’m not very impressed. In fact, I’d venture to say that this might be one of the most boring casts of all time and a huge part of that revolves around the fact that the cast members seemed to pair off so quickly (or at least that’s the story that production wants us to experience). But I think things are finally starting to get interesting now that the pairs are showing cracks or starting to full-on break.I should note that I haven’t seen every episode and missed the first 15 minutes or so of last week’s, so my opinions might be way off.

My least favorite cast member as of now is Trey. I hate how he treats the women in his life, essentially doing bad things and then trying to get each of them to be the bad guy and break it off with him. His jealousy is also super ugly, verging on full on deplorable. He actually said in the previous episode something like “How could you say something like that to me when you know it makes me mad.” That does not sound good. At the same time, Laura needs to stick up for herself and become more of an actual person instead of a reflection of whoever she’s with. Hopefully she can learn that on the show.

Let’s see, I don’t have much to say about Robb and Marie. They’re just a couple of people who like to get wasted all the time, there’s not much interesting there aside from the fact that Robb clearly hates phones, his skull or both. That will be interesting to see where it goes. LaToya…eh, whatever, I haven’t seen a lot there either aside from pride and an inability to see things from another person’s perspective. I really didn’t like how she reacted to the time with Swift and the urchin, but I also despise when people laugh at other peoples’ pain. Brandon would be more interesting if he wasn’t such a sad sack. I know that’s mean to say about a recovering drug addict, but that’s how I’m calling this one. Lastly, I actually really like Swift. He seems like an upstanding dude. Sure he’s got a temper and gets in arguments, but I don’t get that violence-bubbling-under-the-surface vibe with him. I’m curious to see what happens with these kids, but not incredibly so. I’m good on not seeing the episodes I’ve seen so far. Who do you think will wind up on the Challenges? I’m guessing Rob, Trey and Marie with Trey being the only one who can legit compete, but we’ll see.

I’ve watched Bravo’s Million Dollar Listings (now dubbed LA to differentiate from the newly minted NYC version) since its inception. I’m convinced it should be retitled Rich Assholes Don’t Understand Real Estate, but that might alienate some people. I’m sure a lot of people get all slobbery over the drama between Madison, his former assistant Heather and Heather’s new boyfriend Josh Altman, but that’s not where my heart’s at. Sure, that’s juicy, but it’s not super interesting and it’s pretty clear that most of it’s based on misunderstanding, which is not something I enjoy watching.

I love this show for one reason: Josh Flagg. I used to hate this kid because he was so goofy, and, I’ll be honest, because I’m jealous of his wealth and success (pretty sure he’s younger than me). And, even though the producers have a penchant for putting clown music on in the background of his scenes, I think he’s by far the most interesting character here. Have you seen his office? It’s got this gigantic blue chair, a huge desk, enormous lamps and I want to say a pair of lions? It’s amazingly weird and that’s why I like Josh. At first I thought he was putting on a show, but I’ve learned from watching long enough that this is pretty much who he is. He’s the result of being brought up in a very rich family and actually finding the trappings of wealth very interesting. He’s essentially a 75 year old man from 20 years ago in a 20-something’s body. And that’s just weird enough for me to like. Give that dude and his boyfriend their own show and I’d watch.

Shows like Bravo’s Gallery Girls very clearly let me know that I’m an old man. The series follows two groups of women working in the NYC art gallery scene, one located in Manhattan, the other in Brooklyn. It makes me feel old because I want to shake most of the Brooklyn women and tell them to grow up and stop playing into the hipster stereotypes so explicitly and want to high five the Manhattan women. Actually, now that I think of it, the only one of them I really liked after watching one episode was Liz, she works for the Manhattan gang and seems like a good hard worker. Plus, her dad is a renowned art collector who likes rolling into places in jeans and shirts, so she understands that it’s not about what you wear, but what kind of person you are (or at least how much money you have).

The Brooklyn ladies just drive me nuts. They’re actually starting their own gallery, which is no small task, I’m sure. However, only one of them seems worried about money and that’s because she borrowed $15Gs from her parents and has to pay it back in one year. One of the other women, the one on the far right in the above picture, had the gall to be like “I have $2,000 of my own money in this too” and blow off her financial concerns. SERIOUSLY?! I know artists can be difficult to work with, but my impression of this woman is that she clearly doesn’t care, just wants to MAKE ART (not money) and doesn’t care who she screws over so she can play gallery co-owner. Blech.

Had I seen this show when I was in high school and at the peak of my Daria-wannabe-ness, I wonder if I’d think more highly of these women. I’d like to think not, that I’ve always had a good head for business and a dislike of people who abuse those who do. Plus, the affectation of hipsterdom just drives me nuts. I get it, you like black “vintage” (read: thrift store) clothes, not doing anything with your hair and whatever red lipstick you find on the subway, it’s boring, it’s old and it’s unoriginal.

Real World Watcher St. Thomas Episode 1 “Paradise Found”

Well, after thinking it should have been on much sooner than it was, last night Real World returned with a brand new season, this time set in St. Thomas. We kick off meeting the cast members in an interesting way. You’ve got Marie, your prototypical Staten Island girl going to Robb’s very nice Pennsylvania home. She drops an F bomb when they discover that they both have Hakuna Matata tattoos and a clear bond is formed. At the same time sassy La Toya welcomes down home boy Trey into her house. The interesting thing about this season is that the kids were surprised with where they were going which I thought was interesting. Meanwhile, the trio of rich boy Swift, Southie-born and bred Brandon and bubbly Laura meet on the island and are the first ones to get to the house, which seems to be on the island.

Not a ton happens in this episode aside from the usual “who has a girlfriend/boyfriend” (none of them), who’s gay? (none of them), who used to be a heavy drug user up until six months ago? (Brandon). Plus all the meet and greet and roommate grabbing and, of course, drinking.

But there is something strange and dramatic going on. Would it be a Real World premiere if it wasn’t these days? Much like last season, one of the boys becomes instantly infatuated with one of the girls. In this case it’s Brandon falling for Laura. Being the one guy in the group who isn’t All American and fairly ripped, Brandon feels self conscious and immediately starts wondering how he can compete with these guys for Laura’s affections. It doesn’t help that she has a thing for Trey who reminds me of another former Real Worlder who I can not put my finger on. Anyway, after everyone starts drinking and Brandon sees Laura talking with Trey, a switch kind of flips and he gets super depressed. Does stripping down naked and jumping in the hot tub count as depressed? Because he did that and it was awkward.

Later he’s talking to Robb and it seems like another much more violent switch goes off, but he winds up letting Robb talk him down. Trey actually walked up to them while they were having this conversation and heard a bunch of it, but that stopped neither of them. Later he tells Laura what he heard and eventually brings it up to Brandon. By now, Brandon seems to have calmed down a bit and realized he was being way too crazy about a girl he doesn’t even really know that well. He apologized to Trey and they seemed cool.

Until later when Trey started reading Brandon’s notebook which he seemed to have left out on one of the outside tables (or at least that’s what Trey said). He showed some pretty strange stuff to Laura and Swift who seemed really concerned. I get where they’re coming from, but I also think it was super shitty to read the dude’s journal. It reminds me of a time in college where I wrote some depressing poetry or song lyric idea on a piece of paper that one of my roommates found. He talked to my girlfriend (now wife) about it and she mentioned it to me and I hardly remembered what I wrote because that’s the point of writing, the get your feelings out of you and onto paper. I’m hoping Brandon got the craziness out of his system and doesn’t spend the rest of the season being the obsessive weirdo he was presented as in this episode.

Other than that bit of drama, not a lot happened. They all got drunk and kind of paired off with Swift and La Toya talking, Trey and Laura and Robb and Marie leaving Brandon a bit out in the cold. Laura’s adopted and showed both Brandon and Trey letters her biological mom wrote her that she just got six months ago. I’m adopted myself and am always interested to see how other people deal with the experience and knowledge. Oh, Marie fell asleep first and the others wrote all over her and put peanut butter jars around while she was sleeping.

All in all, I thought this was a pretty good first episode. I was shocked to see how maturely Brandon handled himself (eventually). Sure, La Toya and Swift seem a little too cool for school and like they’re playing for the cameras a bit, but maybe they’ll prove to be alright. As long as this season doesn’t turn into Jersey Shore Virgin Islands, I’m good.