Not every week is a great week for reality TV. Last week, we at GRTFL headquarters could barely tread water as waves of mystery fetuses, Cliff Robinson memories, and Kanye Goddesses washed over us without mercy. This week, however, the seas are calm. The Bachelor aired the “Women Tell All” special, Survivor was a monsoon-soaked mess, and Real World got dark (at first it was good dark, but it quickly pivoted to bad dark). And so, this week’s column kicks off with the unlikeliest of GRTFL fascinations: the anomaly that is Sean and Catherine.
Sean and Catherine (The Bachelor, 137 points)
Let’s just call it like it is: Sean’s Bachelor season was boring. He’s a nice guy and all, but boring. And Catherine is kind of boring, too. Again, no shots; I simply never got invested in their relationship, their story, or their marriage. That is, until their marriage aired live on national TV.
During the two-hour wedding special, they spent approximately one hour and 50 minutes talking about how they’d yet to get coitus-y. There was a full segment devoted to explaining why they decided to wait, another bit featuring Catherine lingerie shopping for the big night, and, in one of the weirdest decisions in television history, a random cut to a live shot of the coitus suite Sean and Catherine were going to use on their wedding night so that we could all watch the pillows being fluffed. They should have titled the show Sean and Catherine: A Countdown to Consummation.
What I found fascinating about this whole thing was how their decision not to have sex became their brand. A personal choice motivated in part by religion, tradition, and wholesomeocity completely backfired. They didn’t have sex, so sex was all anyone wanted to talk to them about. They didn’t have sex, so sex was the focus of their entire two-hour wedding special. They didn’t have sex, so sex was what Chris Harrison asked them about when they came on the “Women Tell All” show. Their response?
Catherine: “The wedding night was very romantic, rose petals and me and my husband, and we got to look at our rings, and …”
Sean: “FIREWORKS! FIREWORKS!”
Catherine: “Yeah [Huge smile.] … Quick fireworks.”
“Quick fireworks” brought down the house. For that one moment, Catherine was Chris Rock, Sam Kinison, Eddie Murphy, and Keyboard Cat all at once.
Then, when the laughter died down and we thought the sex talk would subside, Sean had to go and tell a story about being fellated by a stingray on the honeymoon. Yes, Sean from The Bachelor was fellated by a stingray:
“As I’m feeding the stingrays, one latched on to, like, my man parts. A stingray latched on to me, and I absolutely freak out. I start yelling. The people that were with us, the guide, they don’t know what’s going on, and I’m like, ‘This guy just sexually assaulted me, this stingray!’”
The stingray should be the next Bachelorette.
Lucy (The Bachelor, 63 points)
To me, the biggest winner from “Women Tell All” was Lucy the Naked One. Lucy the Naked One wasn’t the big winner because she raised the roof when she got announced:
Nor was she the big winner because she was one of those “I only lasted a couple of episodes, so I’m making up for lost (screen) time on ‘Women Tell All.’” No, Lucy the Naked One was the big winner because of this performance:
This is easily the best song anyone’s written since R. Kelly penned “Throw This Money on You.” This song is so impressive that it has to be the subject of this week’s GRTFL Top Five. This week’s GRTFL Top Five is: the Top Five Most Impressive Things About Lucy the Naked One’s Song, listed from “Oh hey, I didn’t notice that,” to “She should be our multinational leader in any future intergalactic war.”
5. She’s playing and singing at the same time. Anytime I see a musician playing the guitar (or the ukulele) and singing at the same time, it blows me away. And those fuckers who can throw that harmonica-neck-harness thing into the mix are likely demigods.
4. It’s comprehensive. I think Lucy named every single person on the show. She even suggested some other bros who would have made better Bachelors than Juan Pablo.
3. It’s the perfect tone. Lucy comes off like a fun chick havin’ a hoot, not like a bitter ex, a wannabe musician, or a social media lunatic. She’s enjoying herself.
2. It’s one take. Lucy is playing the ukulele, singing, looking good, and peeking off to the side to check the lyrics, and she’s doing it all without stopping. That’s EASILY more impressive than the True Detective shootout scene everyone went all crazy about. Can you sing and play the ukulele at the same time, Cary Fukunaga? I didn’t think so.
1. She’s topless.
Juan Pablo (The Bachelor, 47 points)
Welcome to the backlash to the backlash. I got your back, Juan Pablo! (Kinda. Not really.) This week, the show trotted Juan Pablo out in front of a firing squad of scorned women in cocktail dresses who’d had months to think of the perfect mean thing to say to and about him on TV. They accused him of making them feel cheap, forgetting their five-year plans, thinking he was a good Bachelor, not making cerebral connections, not providing a good reason for waiting to kiss Renee, talking about himself, being negative, and not knowing their favorite type of pizza. Sure, his reaction to all of that was basically “I couldn’t give a fuck less,” but if you review the charges thrown at him, they really aren’t that bad.
I’m not saying the guy is a saint. The Clare thing this season was awful and weird, and the “pervert” comment he recently made was absolutely inexcusable, but we can chalk the rest of it up to simply being dumb and unpleasant. Most people are treating Juan Pablo like Bernie Madoff parked in a handicapped spot, and the punishment simply doesn’t fit the crime. On top of all of that, Life & Style ran a huge “exclusive” story about how Juan Pablo lives with his parents. So? Does that make him a bad person? I’m sure he’d rather not live with his parents. Maybe he was down on his luck, or maybe they need his help. Who knows?
The bad news is that Juan Pablo is going to spend the rest of his life being side-eyed by strangers who hate him even though they don’t really know him. The good news is that he isn’t self aware enough to notice.
Sharleen the Sugar Pill (The Bachelor, 44)
I enjoyed watching Sharleen enjoy setting herself apart from the rest of the women on the show. When they collectively complained about how little Juany Pabs knew about them, Sharleen mentioned that he’d always seemed curious about her. When they mentioned his awful quote in the papers about homosexuality, Sharleen chimed in with, “We talked about about equality, and I mean, from what I can gather, he’s very open-minded, and we all might have said and done something that, if you pluck it out, sounds completely different than if you had it bookended.”
I’m not sure she was defending Juan Pablo so much as telling the other women, “My experience was different, he was actually interested in me. Thing is, I wasn’t interested in him. See you on Bachelor Pad, floozy bitches …”
Brian and Jenny (Real World, 27 points)
It’s easy to tell that this couple has been through a lot. When they fight, you can tell from their body language that they want to dismember and cannibalize each other, but they’ve been to counseling, so they’ve been trained to stay calm, resist insulting each other, and fill out Thought Records. They kind of remind me of World Ron Metta Peace Artest in that way: They’ve been conditioned to behave a certain way, but you see the struggle in their eyes. The thing with people like this is that sometimes they lose the struggle and elbow James Harden in the face. When Brian confessed to making out with a random girl at a nightclub and Jenny then made out with a random German dude at another nightclub to get her revenge, they snapped, and then Jenny slapped:
Because that wasn’t enough, she incorporated lower extremities:
This kick is easily the GRTFL Questionable Moment of the Week:
Has Jenny practiced kicking? How does one even decide to kick? Was she aiming for his ribs? Or was she aiming for his head, but couldn’t reach? Is it me, or does Arielle wear that flannel shirt like three times an episode? Why didn’t Cory hold Jenny back? Do you think she learned this move in a kickboxing class at her gym? Did she run over to Brian with the intent to kick, or did the kick just manifest organically from her anger? Have you ever kicked anyone? If someone tried to kick you and missed, would you be intimidated, or encouraged about your chances in a fight? How many pieces of weird art are there in this picture? When did they start decorating the Real World house like 1975 vomited all over it? How does Brian’s hair do that? Seriously, what is up with Brian’s hair?
“Cops-R-Us” (Survivor, -20 points)
Guest breakdown from Super Scorer Caitlin Mangum: Tony the “I’m Not a Cop” Cop, who looks like Vin Diesel’s and Tony Kornheiser’s love child, finally came clean to Sarah about his true policeman identity. They shared a moment in the Spy Shack, a.k.a. under some banana leaves, where he told her he’s been a cop for 13 years, to which her response was basically “No shit.” I’m still not sure why Tony lied to Sarah in the first place, since she sniffed out his copness after being on the island for 30 minutes.
Of course, Tony followed up his confession by telling another lie, completely fabricating a conversation he “overheard” between Cliff and Lindsey about plotting to vote out Sarah. Please, we all know Uncle Cliffy is only concerned with two things: his bromance with Woo and being awesome. (Side note: I would totally watch a 24-hour Cliff Robinson cable network. Keeping Up With the Robinsons, Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Cliff, So You Think You Can Dance Like Cliff? Jacoby, let’s make this happen.)
Tony’s lie, though, was enough to sway Sarah. They decided to create a “blue bloods alliance,” which I can only hope stems from their mutual love for Tom Selleck and not from the fact that they’re both police officers. Tony then dubbed the alliance “Cops-R-Us,” which he proceeded to say roughly 400 times during the episode, and, compared to which, I’ve thought up roughly 400 better names.
Sarah and Tony shook on their new bond, which she called “the most sincere handshake you’ll ever have in your life.” I’ll refrain from making any comments about their investigative skills, for fear of suffering the wrath of Tony’s tribal-tatted New Jersey coworkers.
Look, every season there’s a contestant like Tony, who comes in and thinks he can be the next Russell Hantz. Problem is, there’s only one Russell Hantz. Tony, you’re not strategic enough, evil enough, or smart enough. At best, you’re the next Phillip Sheppard. I set the over/under at 1.5 episodes before Tony gets handed a one-way ticket to Ponderosa.
Monsoons (Survivor, -283 points)
It’s Jacoby again. When I watch Survivor, there’s a part of me that’s always wondering: What would I do in that situation? Would I stay quiet and “under the radar” until the end and then make a big move? Would I try to lead my team to victory? Would I work hard at camp? Would I eat more than my share? With whom would I align? Would I break my word? When would I break my word? Would I be stabbed in the back by a bunch of people running around in their underwear?
This week, I got the answer to all of those questions: None of that matters, because I would be GONE the first time I saw a dark cloud. DID YOU SEE THE RAIN THIS WEEK? Look at Uncle Cliffy’s hands:
Look at the chick with the weird dreadlocks’ feet:
Look at Woo:
EVEN WOO ISN’T SMILING!
There’s no chance I’d last one day in those conditions. The next time I find myself wondering how I’d navigate the social complexities of this show, I’ll simply remind myself that I wouldn’t be around to find out, because I hate wet socks.
Next week we get The Bachelor finale, and I suspect that somehow, someway, Juan Pablo will still be single by the end of the night. Until then, enjoy your weekend.