Grantland Reality Fantasy League: Sorry, Ready for Love. You Suck.

NBC Ready For Love

You have to trust your body. Your body will tell you what to do, what to think, how to feel … you just have to listen to it. If you dent a parked car and don’t leave a note, your body will punish you with guilt. If you stand close to the edge of a cliff, your body will override your brain and back off of it. If you get drunk, when you wake up, your body will make you get a Gatorade and a bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich. Your body is smarter than you are. This week, my body was telling me that it can’t watch Ready for Love.

I tried; I really did. I carved out a couple of hours and sat down, ready to love Ready for Love. My body just wouldn’t let me.

During the show, I found myself going to the kitchen to do dishes, checking my phone, cutting my fingernails — my body hated this show so much I did laundry. I tried to convince myself that I liked it. I thought of all the GRTFL jokes I was going to write about Bill Rancic’s veneers. I fantasized about all the amazing results I would get Googling the contestants. I even tried to convince myself that I had crushes on some of the girls … none of it stuck. I really think the problem with this program can be summed up with “Too much.” There were just so many elements. Let’s do a little case study:

Premiere Episode of The Bachelor: You meet the host, you meet a bro, and you meet the delusional ladies who will compete for said bro.

Premiere Episode of Ready for Love: You meet the Executive Producer (Eva Longoria), you meet the hosts (Bill and Giuliana Rancic), you meet the rock star who’s ready for love, you meet the doctor who’s ready for love, you meet the accented do-gooder who’s ready for love, you meet the matchmakers, you meet the girls auditioning for the matchmakers, and then you meet the girls the matchmakers picked. Oh, yeah, for some reason, the proceedings come complete with a live audience, an American Idol-meets-Platoon set, and glass elevators that raise the women onto the stage and leave you the impression that beneath the set there’s a battalion of ladies with extensions, psychological issues, and Quinceañera dresses lined up in rows like a corn field. There are a lot of moving parts to this show. Too many moving parts.

That said, my podner-in-crime, Juliet, has decided to keep an eye on this show and will throw up the trashy TV bat signal if it deserves another look. I’m not holding my breath. It looks like the GRTFL will hold steady at two shows only until Des makes her debut on The Bachelorette in May. Normally this would be a problem, but this season of the Real World IS SO FUCKING GOOD and Hurricane Nia hasn’t even touched down yet. I haven’t been this excited for a Hurricane since Starang.

Top Scorers:

Johnny and Averey (Real World, Jacoby and Lisanti), 70 and 50 points: Johnny is intimidated by the way-too-attractive-for-him Averey’s sexuality. After an evening of on-camera coitus (25 points), Johnny complains that the way-too-attractive-for-him Averey “beat him up.” When Averey comes home from the sex shop with handcuffs and bondage tape, he moans, “Nooooooooo …

Listen up, Johnny: When your lady leaves the house, comes back and wants to hit the bedroom with handcuffs and bondage tape, you should be excited. That’s light work. When your lady leaves the house, comes back, and wants to hit the bedroom with a turkey baster, a hazmat suit, and Verne Troyer, you should be intimidated.

Anyway, this was the episode when they all went on their overproduced “job hunt.” On Johnny and Averey’s first shift on the job at a pizza joint, they decide to take their aprons off and saddle up at the bar after the owner said, “We encourage you to hang out at the bar; this is a small, family-owned establishment.” They must have misunderstood because apparently they heard, “We encourage you to get absolutely slammered (10 points), threaten to fight (5 + 5 = 10 points for Johnny), and coitus in the bathroom.” If we hired five new interns at Grantland and the first day on the job they got slammered, fought each other, and had sex in the bathroom, we would fire them immed … oh, wait. No, we wouldn’t. We would totally give them their own show on the Grantland Network.

Jordan (Real World, Jacoby), 35 points: “Last stop and I’m feeling good, ready to keep the night going to have a good time.” — Jordan

The same way a salty sea captain can look at the crests of the waves and feel a storm coming, a good reality-TV watcher can sense a storm, as well. Whenever someone is talking about how they’re “feeling good” and “ready to keep the night going and have a good time” they always keep the night going, and they never have a good time.

Blow-by-blow accounts of drunken nights at bars is a GRTFL staple. Oft overlooked, however, are the blow-by-blows of the morning after. Instead of overanalyzing Jordan’s inslopsicated infinity head-nod (10 +15 points), insistence on sitting in proximity to Johnny (5 + 5 points), and shirtless DJ booth infiltration, I’m going to focus on the aftermath. We’ve all been there, and we all know the rules of the morning-after shame game. Wait a second; no one knows the rules of the morning after shame game because I just made it up.

Actually, I don’t even know the rules. Let’s workshop this together.

The Morning After Shame Game
Objective: The signature moment of the morning after a night of inslopsication is waking up with uncertainty about the events of the previous evening, but with certainty that you have something to apologize for. The objective of the Morning After Shame Game is to ascertain the damage you caused. Who’s mad at you? Did you fight anyone? Were the police involved? Did you hook up with anyone? Did you tell that story about the time when you had sex with a lampshade? You know, shit like that.

You must do your research tactfully, employing incognito interrogation as to keep from admitting that you totally blacked out and have no idea what transpired. It’s important to maintain the appearance of recollection, lest you be perceived as one of those people who goes out and gets drunk and doesn’t remember what they did the night before. I mean, who gets so drunk they don’t remember the night before? That’s crazy.

Technique: The trick here is to emphasize the slivers of memories that you actually DO have and coax your cohorts into filling in the blanks. Let’s see how Jordan plays it the morning after he got “Schnammered”:

Jordan: “I got drunk last night. I didn’t, well, I guess I should’ve expected it with the whole BrewCycle but …”
Johnny: “You were pretty, ah, pretty schnammered.” (I swear he said schnammered, check the tape.)
Jordan: “All I remember is, ah, I remember Johnny yelling at Couture. And that was, I mean …”
Marlon: “Yeah, you were being obnoxious, that is what you …”
Jordan: “That is what I do.”
Marlon: “I was like, oh, my god, he’s faded. I can’t deal with it.”
Johnny: “We told you to stop being a bleep and you were all [mocking, annoying voice], ‘CAN I SIT HERE? AM I ALLOWED TO SIT HERE? CAN I SIT OR WHAT? CAN I SIT HERE?’ And I bleeping lost it.”
Jordan: “I remember asking you permission to sit down. I do remember that, yeah.”

Not bad. Not bad at all. He starts out by establishing himself as the victim. It was the BrewCycle’s fault! Who even legalized such a thing? He then makes a risky move by acknowledging that there are patches of the evening he doesn’t recollect, but immediately follows that up with a solid memory to keep them off the scent. The risk pays off, Johnny and Marlon fill him in on his behavior and the first anecdote they tell is about his aggressive desire to stay seated in proximity to his friends.

Getting this information in his state is like getting negative results to an STD test. If the worst charge is “You got super drunk, you wanted to sit near us,” you’re in the clear. Realizing there wasn’t that much damage to control, Jordan quickly pivots into reinforcing that he didn’t fully black out, finishing with, “I do remember that, yeah!” Only thing: He doesn’t remember that at all.

I feel like Jordan did a solid job. Were it me, I probably would not have skipped over the part where my roommates were detailing my obnoxious exploits and I announced, “That is what I do.” But everyone has their own style. I feel like this won’t be the last morning Jordan wakes up with the “I feel like I should apologize to everyone I know, but I don’t know why” feeling. I hate the “I feel like I should apologize to everyone I know, but I don’t know why” feeling. The only thing worse than the “I feel like I should apologize to everyone I know, but I don’t know why” feeling is finding out that you actually have something to apologize for. The worst.

Joi (Real World, Lisanti), 30 points: Something happened with Joi that the producers are not sharing with us. Three episodes in, and she just up and bounces? The story they presented to us was that she had a coupla tough job interviews, got on the phone with her Pop, and told him, “We’re supposed to get jobs, and I just graduated from college, and I was making way over minimum wage at, like, both my jobs; it is kind of, like, a slap in the face.” So then she left. I have two things about this:

1. Dear College Graduates, You Ain’t Shit: When you graduate from college, the last lesson that they give you is a lie. You sit there sweating under your gown, passing a flask around with your friends as your parents sit 50 yards away while somebody inevitably gives you the “You are the future leaders of a new America, go forth and lead us into glory!” speech. Here’s the thing: You may be the future leaders of America, but before all that, your boss is going to need some coffee, and she takes it with a splash of soy milk and two Splendas. (Not Sweet’n Low. Splenda.) And you know why you’re getting coffee, answering phones, and picking up dry cleaning? Because you can’t do anything else yet. You need to learn. The sooner you become comfortable with the fact that this is how the world works, the sooner you will become a future leaders of America. You’ll never manage a restaurant well unless you know how to wash dishes.

2. There’s no chance that being unhappy with the employment options is the real reason she left the show. NO CHANCE: You go on the Real World to get famous, get laid, and to get invited to The Challenge. You do not go on the Real World because the fake job they give you will advance your career. There’s more to this story. So much more that this week’s GRTFL Top 5 is my Top 5 Theories Why Joi Really Left the Show Because That Was Some Bullshit, listed from, “Oh, I thought he was serious; that’s a dumb joke” to “Does he have a mole at Bunim/Murray, that’s the only way this makes sense:”

5. She thought she would run the house: Joi is athletic, attractive, and a Playboy bunny. She’s used to ruling the roost. When she showed up at the Real World house and realized she was surrounded by chiefs and not Indians, she didn’t know how do handle it. Have you ever seen a shot of her having fun at the club? Did she make out with a guy? Did she bond with any of the girls? She basically didn’t like the game, so she took her ball and went home in a huff.

4. Portland isn’t far enough from home: Confession time. I was on Twitter yesterday and saw this. I couldn’t help myself. A radio call-in show with a 347 number? What kind of Internet sorcery is this? Oh, yeah … a conference call. I dialed in. I only listened for a couple of minutes, but I did hear her explain that coming from Seattle, Portland wasn’t exactly the exotic locale she imagined finding herself. Somehow I find this logic even less sound than “They wouldn’t pay me enough at Pizza Schmizza.”

3. Not enough praise for her ass: Joi has a nice ass. She made sure everyone admired it in the first episode when she announced that she was a Playmate — yet it went unnoticed in the second episode. By the time Averey celebrated her derriere in the third episode, it was too little, too late. Joi had enough. Joi wasn’t used to going this long without her ass being worshipped like the Coke bottle in The Gods Must Be Crazy. So she backed away from the Real World, depriving the unappreciative roommates another look at her neglected posterior.

2. She created the next great technology company and the Real World was holding her back: Maybe I was wrong with my whole college rant earlier. Maybe Joi left the show because right there in confessional she invented the next Apple or Snuggie. Joi had to split to give this new venture her full attention. It really wasn’t her fault; she can’t control her genius. I have no proof this did not happen.

1. Producers discovered Hurricane Nia and bought out Joi’s contract: This is what would have happened in sports.

Michael (Survivor, Simmons), 25 points: OK, Malcolm has an immunity idol. I repeat, MALCOLM HAS AN IMMUNITY IDOL. That didn’t stop him from doing this at tribal:

Reynold: [Stands up to give Probsty the immunity idol to play for himself]
Malcolm: “Hold up, Reynold, they all voted for me. You can tell. That whole story was about me. Give it to me. We’re in good shape. I’m being dead serious right now.”
Reynold: “Yeah.” [Gives Malcolm the idol, Malcolm plays it for himself]

I can’t decide what I love the most about this: (1) the fact that Malcolm Jedi-mindtricked the idol away WITH ONE IN HIS POCKET. (2) The fact that Malcolm voted for Reynold. (3) The fact that Malcolm and Rembert and college buddies. OK, that’s a lie, I love the fact that Malcolm and Rembert are college buddies the most. But I forgot one more fact: EVERYONE VOTED FOR MICHAEL ANYWAY.

I’m going to miss Michael but at least he left us with a solid blurcled-double-bird-while-blurting, “You turkeys!” (25 points) Note to self, start using “turkeys” more often as an insult. Second note to self, ignore previous note to self.

Marlon (Real World, Connor), 15 points: This week Marlon argued with Jordan (5 points), admired Joi’s ass, and got slammered at work (10 points). But who didn’t? I can’t wait until we get some new blood in here.

Enter Hurricane Nia.

Next week we get the real thing but this week we got the greatest audition tape since KellyAnne Judd. This audition tape was so good, I’m running back the GRTFL Top 5. This week’s Top 5 is the Top 5 Best Quotes From the Hurricane Nia Audition Tape listed from, “She seems interesting” to “We should lock her in one of those glass elevators from Ready for Love to ensure she doesn’t do our society further harm”:

5. “One of my best talents is that I am a great liar.”
4. “I am definitely not afraid to juggle, like, six men at a time.”
3. “I really want to get my boobs done. I’m sick of wearing socks, tissues, balled up underwear.”
2. “There are two things I love in the world: a big dick and food.”
1. “People in the world need to take their panties off, take a shot of Patron, and shut the hell up.”

Forget the Real World. What Michael Jordan was to the NBA, Hurricane Nia will be to The Challenge franchise. She might skip The Challenge and get her own network. Hell, she might get her own Oprah. Her own personal Oprah. Her upside is limitless. She will not only be the first female President of the United States, she will be the first convict President, the first pregnant President, and after two terms she will shift our political structure from a democracy to a monarchy. And we will be ecstatic about it.

Or she might get kicked off in one episode never to be seen again. But just in case, I’ve boarded up the windows and doubled down on hacky storm jokes. Get at me.

Andrea and Eddie (Survivor, House and Connor), 15 points: Andrea and Eddie didn’t really hook up this week on Survivor, but they came close enough that I gave them 15 points. Who cares, right? They snuck off away from the group and had a soaky snuggle on a rock in the sun. They were flirty, but also wary of the information they each had about the next moves in the game but weren’t sharing. I know it sounds interesting, but it played like a clumsy remake of Mr. and Mrs. Smith. I still stand by Mr. and Mrs. Smith as an excellent film by the way. I mean, it’s not, like, Project X brilliant. But it’s an entertaining film.

Jessica (Real World, Kang), 5 points: Jessica didn’t just go on a date with a dude, she went on a date with a dude who announced, “I didn’t have my first orange until I was 17.” What? Seventeen? What? Just … What? Let’s make it the GRTFL Questionable Moment of the Week:

Was it that he disliked the idea of oranges? Or just he just never had access to one? Where is he from? Do his parents have a distaste for oranges? Is this a nature or a nurture thing? Has someone ever encouraged him to give one a shot and he declined? Is he from Earth? Does he not harbor a distrust of all citrus? How does he know he wasn’t given an orange when he was 2 and doesn’t remember? Has he tried orange chicken? That shit is good. Has he tried orange marmalade? How would I react if I were on a first date, and someone told me she hadn’t tried an orange until 17? Would I leave money on the table for the bill, or would I just run out?

When Johnny and the way-too-attractive-for-him Averey saw Jessica and her new friend exiting the club, they had this exchange:

Johnny: “Oh, he is tall.”
Averey: “That’s my normal type.”

“That’s my normal type” is not something you want to hear from your new girlfriend. I could see Averey getting sick of Johnny’s simplicity next week, or I could see a whole relationship power-shift thing happen where Johnny ends up running the show. I have no idea which way this is going to break. All I know is that Johnny is winning Real World right now. Hey, man, you might not be her type, or attractive enough for her, or sexually adventurous enough for her — but he’s in good with the dog, and sometimes that’s all it takes.

Next week: Queen President Hurricane Nia. Until then, enjoy your weekend.

Filed Under: CBS, Jeff Probst, Mtv, NBC, Ready For Love, Real World, Reality TV, Reality TV Fantasy League, Survivor, The Decline and Fall of American Civilization

David Jacoby is an ESPN producer who somehow became a writer and editor for Grantland.

Archive @ djacoby