I can’t decide how to start the column. Well, I mean, I obviously just decided how to start the column by saying I don’t know how to start the column, but I can’t decide which event in this triumphant week of lowbrow TV should lead the column. Everything seems worthy. Do I start with Bruno on The Real World freaking out and making me question whether he is fit for society? Do I start with the Britt breakdown on The Bachelor? Do I start with THE RETURN OF GRANDMA, the greatest Bachelor commentator of our time? Do I start with Zach from The Challenge taking the “I can’t fucking believe he just said that, rewind that because I may have hallucinated it” gender stance? Do I start with Tom and Ariana’s beautifully disgusting wedding-reception dance-floor display? That would be crazy — starting with the least significant, most frivolous, dumbest thing that happened on dumb TV all week. Fuck it:
This Makes Me Feel All the Feels — Good, Bad, and Really, Really Gross
You know that drawing where if you look at it one way it is an old, ugly lady, but if you look at it another way it is a young, beautiful lady? That is exactly how I feel about this GIF. There is a part of me that sees two humans leaving this physical world and ascending to the glorious rapture that is young love. There is also a part of me that wants to puke. Let’s focus on that glorious rapture part, though, because this column is about to get SO dark.
Bruno the Switch-Flipping Rage Monster
Two episodes ago, when we first saw Bruno flip out, he turned into a rage monster, yelled every possible insult he could think of at Violetta, and assaulted all the furniture in the house:
Then, last episode, he similarly freaked and roared at his roommates for eating his leftover hamburger. This is a man who respects his protein and expects everyone else to as well, or else there will be great consequences. For example, when his brother Briah ate his can of tuna, Bruno did not speak to him for three years. This really happened. This week, when we learned that said brother was joining the house as his “skeleton,” we all expected that Bruno would have another Tyson tantrum and meet his protein quota by devouring his brother in another trademark Hulk rage. But the weirdest thing happened. They got along fine. The Switch-Flipping Rage Monster had been tamed. Perhaps he looked back at his past two episodes this season and decided that he needed to change and then chilled out. Or, he was just going to lose his shit later in the episode. Let’s break down the breakdown that not only honestly made me question whether Bruno is fit to stay in the Real World house, but also made me question whether he is fit to stay in the general population.
Phase 1: “Hey, we’re all just buddies joking around”
After Violetta’s birthday booze cruise, the slammered roommates all piled into the “we don’t let the cast drive ever since the ‘Ruthie Incident’” van. Everything was all cool until Bruno called Violetta Sylvia and Sylvia responded with a little love tap:
Look at Sylvia’s face. Is this a physical attack? Is this malicious? Is this even, you know, a thing? No. The answer is no. Bruno disagrees.
Phase 2: Overreaction
Bruno — upon feeling the impact of the friendly, joking tap on the shoulder from Sylvia — goes into Switch-Flipping Rage Monster mode and screams insults at Sylvia that I can’t print here, says he won’t hit her only because she is a woman, and has veins popping out of his neck that look like redwood roots:
Phase 3: Water Sprinkler of Rage
Mind you, Bruno is upset with Sylvia for, you know, touching him, but that doesn’t stop him from turning his rage target on Violetta for, well, nothing:
Then Tony pointed his finger at Bruno. What exactly Tony was trying to communicate by pointing his finger at Bruno was never made totally clear, but it felt something like, “I don’t want you to act like that toward women around me, but you are so terrifying that I don’t want to be too aggressive about it.” Then Bruno the Switch-Flipping Rage Monster left the car and ran from production. Once he left the car, Tony felt comfortable enough (read: no longer feared for his life) to express that he wanted to hit Bruno. Bruno’s brother Briah was still in the car (and still slammered), heard this, and took offense. Sure, anyone talking about physically attacking your blood is going to upset you, but when your blood is, you know, doing Bruno shit, you should have enough perspective to let that slide and not mention it to Bruno the Switch-Flipping Rage Monster. What did Briah do? He mentioned it to Bruno the Switch-Flipping Rage Monster. What did Bruno the Switch-Flipping Rage Monster do? Attack:
MTV Note that Bruno the Switch-Flipping Rage Monster is choking his own brother while trying to attack Tony. Note that Nicole is smiling. Note that this man has now been enraged, threatening, violent, and uncontrollable for what seems like a couple of hours. Bruno the Switch-Flipping Rage Monster found solace only in solitude:
After sitting in the confessional alone for a while, Bruno the Switch-Flipping Rage Monster emerged as a seminormal human. I understand people who get mad. I understand people who do things they regret. I understand people who do both of those things at the same time. I also understand the role that alcohol can play in all this. I can’t understand someone who flips out over a chick telling him “byyyeeeeeeeee” in one episode, yells at all his roommates for eating a LEFTOVER burger in the next episode, and then physically threatens everyone in the house in the most aggressive way possible the next next episode. That isn’t line stepping, that is habitual line stepping.
If I were in the Real World house, I would vote him out. And I never like it when people are kicked out of the house on these shows, even Bad Girls Club.
Can we lighten the mood a little with some more Tom Sandoval wedding reception moves?
Perfect. Let’s move on to:
Grandma, the Greatest Bachelor Commentator There Ever Was
My grandmother-in-law is the fucking best. She grew up in the hills of Jamaica, spent her adulthood in New York City, and now watches The Bachelor with me on my couch. She can’t hear the show, doesn’t fully understand the premise, and refers to Chris Harrison as “the boss man.” However, she has a knack for distilling the show down to its core and revealing it for what it is in simple yet mind-blowing observations. This week’s Lowbrow Highlights Top Five is a list of Grandma’s Top Five Bachelor Comments, listed from, “Huh, I never thought of it that way,” to, “Holy shit, is it possible to have this woman voted in as Earth prime minister tomorrow?”:
5. Grandma on Short Dresses: When all the women readied themselves for the group date with Chris in their cocktail dresses, Grandma — unprovoked — added, “I don’t like dresses too short, ’cause you don’t want to show the guy what you have before you marry him. ’Cause when you show him, the other guy’s looking too.”
4. Why Chris Got Fertility Tested: Soon-to-be-engaged-to-Chris Whitney (yeah, I said it), is a fertility doctor and bluffed at testing Chris’s sperm on the show. All of this blew Grandma’s mind. Like, none of it made sense. She didn’t say anything the whole time, but just kind of looked like she smelled a fart. When I asked her what was happening, she said, “Now he is trying to find out if he can have babies. Well, if he can’t have babies, then he can romp around [huge cackle].”
3. On Farmer Chris: “He is not the one trying to get a kiss. The girls are trying to get a kiss. He’s good looking; he’s not handsome, he’s good looking. Not sexy looking. He looks too serious, look at him.” (Case fucking closed.)
2. On Becca Being a Virgin: “In my mother’s age group, the men didn’t marry anything but the virgins … but virgins have no experience in sex, and now a man wants experience in sex.”
1. Grandma Proves Why This Whole Season Is a Sham and It Will Never Work With Farmer Chris: “He is a country boy. You say he is going to be an agriculturist or whatever. So he is country. And all these girls are town girls.”
Read that last one again. Four sentences that break down the whole season. There is no intersection of the “women who want to live their whole lives in Arlington, Iowa,” circle and the “women who try to find love on national TV” circle. No shots at either circle of women. Both great circles of women. I am just saying, there is no intersection. Save for maybe Jade. I wish that had worked out. I thought they would be good together. Too bad.
Zach, You Know There Are Cameras and Microphones Here, Right?
When they do those interviews with people who were on reality TV shows, they always say something like, “At first it was weird, but after a while I just forgot there were cameras there.” That is what happened in this (and when I use the word I really mean it) UNBELIEVABLE scene between Zach, Jordan, (a pretty much silent) Johnny Reilly, and someone’s feet on The Real World. The first thing to note is how they were being filmed:
This is a mounted surveillance camera in the corner of the room. Zach knows that the camera is there, but he isn’t conscious of its presence. I know that sentence doesn’t make sense, but you know exactly what I mean. Only in this bro-tent, seemingly undocumented environment would he say what he said. Or, at least I hope so:
Women were created from men. He took a rib, God took a rib out of Adam to create Eve, so they are made to be. (Jordan: “To bear children.”) And are we supposed to honor them? Yes. But these aren’t our wives, these are fucking swamp donkeys. All of them. All of them. Another thing, if [Jordan’s partner Sarah] was smarter than you she would learn how to deal with you because you’re the better athlete. That is why we’re the greater species.Whatever. It’s true. I will go on record saying this.
This is another one of those Lowbrow Highlights moments when it just stops being fun. Let’s not forget that Zach went into his season of The Real World close-minded about gay people too. That experience with (The Gawd) Frank and Sam opened his mind and, seemingly, changed it. This shit here, though? This “better species” shit? This “swamp donkey” shit? This “I will go on record saying this” shit? There aren’t respectable people who share those thoughts. Not a one.
I bet he walks all this back on the reunion. I promise you if there were a camera op and a sound tech in that room, none of this would have been said. We all say things that we shouldn’t when we think they are private. Everyone is guilty of this. We all should work toward bridging the gap between our private and public ways of expressing ourselves. Uh-oh, this column started to bum me out again; can we get us back on track with a little Tom Sandoval dancing?
Everyone in Your Family Will Sabotage Your Love Life
There is something about having a child or sibling hosting a date in your hometown and on national television that compels you to completely ruin it. This child or sibling has been poked, prodded, recorded, interviewed, dated, rejected, kissed, and cuckolded for two months all for the love of the man or woman whom they will now bring home to meet their family. Why is their family so hellbent on ruining everything?
This season, we had two cases of hometown date sabotage:
Case No. 1, Jade: On Jade’s hometown, while Chris was talking with her brother of questionable facial hair, said brother of questionable facial hair mentioned her moving to Los Angeles and her being a free spirit. Not that big a deal, but then he dropped the hammer. He called her a “wild stallion.” Everything that Chris knew about this woman was that she was a nice, quiet, attractive country girl whom he was ready to take home to Mama. Couple the “wild stallion” thing with the “oh yeah, by the way, I posed for Playboy, wanna watch the video?” thing, and you understand why she will be front and center on this summer’s The Bachelorette.
Case No. 2, Becca: Becca’s mom told Chris that she had never even seen her hold someone’s hand before. Never. Even. Seen. Her. Hold. Someone’s. Hand. There aren’t many men in the world who would pick the “never held a hand” girl over the “wild stallion.” Trust.
Lesson: Never let your family meet your fiancé. Save that for the rehearsal dinner.
Wait, Is the Challenge Cast … Smart?
I love the trivia episode of The Challenge, and I am not alone (shout to Teej). The reason I love the trivia episode is because, for that one episode, I get to feel mentally superior to the physically superior cast. So this week I was all geeked to hear someone misspell the word “tree” or say the capital of Arkansas is Africa. But the weirdest thing happened: They did pretty damn well. There wasn’t a single embarrassing answer. In fact, this season, as I have done in the past, I hit the ol’ pause button after TJ asked the question and played along. Here are the questions that I got wrong, from easiest to hardest:
- “What is the biggest muscle in the human body?” I said quadriceps (as did Jonna, shout to Jonna); the answer is gluteus maximus. I still contend it depends on the person, and I won’t stop until I find someone who disproves this “fact” and bring them to 1515 Broadway naked with a measuring tape.
- “How do you spell ‘diaphragm’?” Who the fuck knew that “g” was there? What kind of psycho knows these things? Found out that many people I know, including my pod partner Juliet, is that kind of psycho. Whatever.
- This sounds like the easiest question of the lot, but I have yet to find someone who can answer it correctly, “Who is on the dime coin?” I am not even going to give you the answer, don’t act like you know it, you don’t. It’s impossible. How are we so familiar with these items our entire lives and never really appreciate them? Shout to dimes and moms; always there, always underappreciated.
Shout to you, shout to your crazy weekend, listen to The Right Reasons, watch The Grantland Basketball Hour at 8 p.m. ET on Sunday, watch The Grantland Oscar Preview Saturday on ABC and Sunday on ESPN2, and, as always, enjoy the shit out of your weekend. You deserve it, you worked hard this week, and you look great. For real.