In Which I Make Shameful Confessions

Don’t get excited. They’re shameful, but they’re not really that interesting. They do, however, lead to a point. Sorta.

Shameful Confession #1: Sometimes, I find myself craving a bit of reality TV. I used to be hooked on about five reality TV shows at a time, but eventually that wore off, in part because I just stopped watching TV for the most part. (Watching YouTube videos and looking at pictures of otters online are a far better use of my free time.) But sometimes, I miss the manufactured drama, the ridiculous editing, the pre-commercial trumped-up cliffhangers and post-commercial repeats of the exact same footage they just showed you two minutes ago. So a few weeks ago, I went looking for one I could watch full episodes of online, and that is how I came to (Shameful Confession #2) be hooked on Legally Blonde the Musical: The Search for Elle Woods.

It’s awful on a lot of levels, just as you’d expect. (One of the most noteworthy bits of awfulness: building a show around casting Elle Woods means they’ve got an excuse for including nothing but pretty, young, white women — and mostly blonde ones at that. Way to get around all that pesky pressure to have a diverse cast, MTV!) But I love it anyway, because there’s singing and dancing and crying and vomiting and chihuahuas, which is plenty of entertainment for me.

So. If you watch the trailer for LBTM:TSFEW, henceforth to be known as LB, you will see a shot of the girls sitting around in their fairy princess loft, and one of them saying, “We all think you need to lose weight.” DRAMAZ! Ever since I saw that clip, I’ve been waiting to see it in context on the actual show, so I could blog about how fucking INSANE and sad and infuriating that statement was, given that all of these girls pretty much have to step twice to cast a shadow. They’re the finalists auditioning for the lead in a Broadway musical that’s not Hairspray — it ain’t exactly the Chub Club in that sparkly pink loft.

But then a few weeks go by, and I don’t see it, and I watch the trailer again to see if I’m going crazy. Nope, it’s still there — and I realize it’s 18-year-old Lauren who says it. Bummer, ’cause I otherwise like her. Except, wait… Back when I first started watching the show, I tried to determine whom the “you need to lose weight” bit could possibly be directed at, and there were really only two answers that could make the tiniest shred of sense in even the most fatphobically twisted mind — the two young women who actually have slightly bigger than average boobs. One of those was Emma (my favorite, until she was booted), and the other was… Lauren. (Let me make it perfectly clear that both Emma and Lauren are categorically, unquestionably thin; only a stone cold crazy person would ever tell one of them to lose weight. But there are a lot of stone cold crazy people in the acting business, and out of the pool of contestants, they had the most hourglassy figures.) Now here’s the thing: Lauren was the one who said it, and Emma had already been kicked off by the time I rewatched the trailer. And I still hadn’t seen that scene play out on the show. WTF? I’ve watched some reality TV in my time, and I know there’s no way they would leave out such a perfect bit of Catty Girl Drama.

So I was really curious about that — which brings us to Shameful Confession #3: I will occasionally follow up watching the show with reading about it online. That is how big my life is. And that is how I ended up at iamonmtv.com, reading cast members’ blogs, which occasionally offer an interesting glimpse into how the reality TV sausage is made. And that’s where I found the story of the “We all think you need to lose weight” line.

In Lauren’s recap of episode 5, she explains a bit more about something we did see in the show — the contestants being instructed to answer a list of questions designed expressly to foster Catty Girl Drama for the cameras. Who’s the worst singer/dancer/actor? Who doesn’t deserve to be here? Shit like that. The girls were told they had to answer, which flipped them all out, until they finally decided to join forces and rebel against the asshole producers by changing the questions to more positive ones — e.g., “Who’s the most improved singer/dancer/actor?”

Anyway, here’s Lauren:

[T]he question that really got me was the “Who needs to lose weight to play Elle Woods??” Now, I do not think AT ALL that I am fat, but it is clear that I am the curviest heaviest girl left on the show… I knew it would be my name up there, and that all my friends and enemies and acquaintances watching the show would probably snicker at the fact that Miss Lauren just got told on national television she is a heifer. Its ironic because I know you have all seen the trailor where I am saying “We all think you need to lose weight…” SO NOW YOU KNOW. I wasn’t saying that to anyone but myself… I was in the middle of a huge rant on why I refused to answer these questions… Sounded something like “I refuse to sit here and have you all tell me ‘We all think you need to lose weight.” Honestly, HOW STUPID is it to do this on a show directed towards young girls and teenagers. How is some 14 year old girl going to feel when she thinks she needs to throw up her food to be on Broadway? It was a repulsive idea, and I was broken hearted over it.

Okay, first, rock the hell on, Lauren. Sorry I doubted you. (Also, update: I started writing this post yesterday, and last night, Lauren got the boot. Awww. Understandable and expected, though, as she’s very talented but very young and green. On a related note, if late-twentysomething Autumn now loses to 20-year-old Bailey, I will fucking scream. I’m already pissed off enough that they axed every other contestant who was old enough to have a fully matured voice.)

Second, WTF? I expect very little decency from reality show editors and producers, let me tell you. I know they do their best to create conflict where there is none — you need it to make a story, after all — and that they can and will edit perfectly nice people into raging assholes and vice versa. But seriously, demanding that the contestants gang up on one girl who “needs to lose weight,” when clearly, none of them do? And then, when they refuse to do that — for which they all get big points in my book — you still find the one clip that, taken way out of context, makes an 18-year-old girl who’s feeling insecure about her own weight sound like a judgmental, deluded bitch trashing someone else? Charming.

I think this gets under my skin so much because when I was Lauren’s age — and definitely a few years before that — I was always the “curviest, heaviest” girl among my friends, but I didn’t know that I wasn’t fat. I wasn’t as thin as Lauren, mind you, but as a teenager I wasn’t even in the “overweight” BMI category. (Well, sorta. This was before they lowered the bar; I was probably right around 25 most of the time, but the cut-off then was 27. In any case, given what an “overweight” BMI today actually looks like, I really was not fat.) I just based my body image totally on comparing myself to other girls and women — and since I was bigger than all my friends and all the actresses on TV, I concluded that I was huge. (And that I was a shitty person because of it, natch.)

So I think of a girl like me watching that trailer and going, “They all think one of them needs to lose weight? Jesus. I really am a cow.” And I think of how much worse it would be if the contestants had played along with the producers’ evil scheme and singled out one girl as the group fatty. Let’s say Lauren’s fear had come true — all the others, stuck for anyone else to pick, got together and said, “Lauren, we think you need to lose weight.” As a teenager watching that, I instantly would have noted and internalized that I was quite a bit bigger than “the fat one.”

I mean, just watching yet another show featuring a bunch of thin, clear-skinned, conventionally beautiful young women would have sent plenty of arrows flying into my body image right there; it’s not like it took much to make me think I was repulsive back then. But hearing that one of them was “fat”? I never would have gotten that out of my fucking head. Not only am I bigger than all my friends, and not only am I bigger than every actress and model I see, I am bigger than “the one who needs to lose weight.” It wouldn’t have made me throw up my food to be on Broadway — I would have had to learn to sing, dance, and act to be on Broadway — but it would have fucking haunted me, the way that rule of thumb about only weighing 5 lbs. above 100 for every inch you are above 5 feet haunted me for years.

And then I imagine what it would be like to watch that as an actually fat teenager, not just a barely chubby one with no self-esteem. Oof.

I don’t even know how to wrap this one up (which is why I didn’t finish it yesterday). I mean, the larger point here is basically that pop culture warps the shit out of young women’s self-esteem, which ain’t exactly a brand-new epiphany. But I was just so fucking galled by this particular instance of it. It’s bad enough that so much of reality TV revolves around manufactured “catfights” to begin with — anyone remember Elimidate? But for the producers to demand — not just suggest, but demand — that a group of very thin women single out one as needing to lose weight is beyond the fucking pale. I am so glad they simply refused to cooperate, and so irritated that Lauren’s remark made it into the trailer anyway. So I guess today’s big, earth-shattering, highly intellecutal point boils down to: Fuck you, MTV. Fuck you a lot.

120 thoughts on “In Which I Make Shameful Confessions

  1. My secret TV shame happened yesterday after work. I got home, very tired, and sat on the couch and ate some chips and salsa and watched an episode of America’s Test Kitchen that I had DVRed. It ended, and the TV was on the CW, which is WGN here, because the last time we watched TV was the Cubs game on Sunday, and I never really watch TV aimlessly but there was nothing else on the DVR and I was really tired, so I kept the TV on the CW and ended up watching an entire episode of Gossip Girl and kind of liked it in a campy, WTFOMG this show is ridiculous way.

  2. okay this is WAY off topic of me, i’m sorry and please feel free to delete… the only connection is that i’m kind of embarrassed to admit this.

    You see, my shame is that i am afraid to go to the doctor because i am afraid he will tell me to lose weight, and/or i am afraid that i will actually have high fasting blood sugar levels – in which case it’s not even about the doctor, i’m just afraid that i will not be capable of avoiding all the foods i will then be supposed to avoid to improve this issue…
    To make matters worse, i DO want to point out certain changes that have happened in my weight because i do think it’s worth checking if there is some underlying health issue there. But NOT because i want the doc to tell me to diet and stuff… And i’m afraid of opening the door to that. I also have terrible migraines and i always tense up when people suggest avoiding various foods because i fear it will throw me all out of wack and i won’t be able to do it.

    I haven’t been to the doctor in years, not just because of these specific fears – i’m also just lazy about stuff like that – but these fears are a big part of it. Now i have made an appointment with someone in my area who was highly recommended by someone who albeit does not seem to subscribe to HAES, but i still trust her judgement on whether a doctor is generally a good doc. I guess i could have started with doctors i’ve read about here, but i do trust a personal recommendation more so i thought i should give him a chance…

    Anyway i have some time to mentally prepare. They are going to test my fasting blood sugar levels and cholesterol and who knows what else, as a start.

    Any support or advice how to deal with this would be appreciated, and again, SO sorry for the OT-ness of this post, feel free to delete it or move it or whatever you want, i wont take it personally.

  3. I do not watch that show, but I know a couple of the contestants — Cassie O., from Ohio; I know she’s already been kicked off, but not only did she go to my college, but her sister and I went to junior high and high school together. I know at least one other was supposed to be a B-W graduate, but I can’t find her on the cast list, so maybe I’m wrong.

    Boo, MTV, boo.

    I watched Iron Chef America the other day. It was . . . not the real Iron Chef, but at least the Iron Chef who was cooking is from my town (Michael Symon? I think his name is Symon). I also watch DIY shows obsessively, but there are very rarely any body-image issues in those.

  4. I’m so glad you found out what was behind that! I am also a fan of the show. I haven’t been reading the blogs but I did just spend my lunch hour watching the full auditions, so that’s just about as shameful. Anyway, I had been wondering about that trailer the whole time… weird how one little throw away line stuck with me. Or maybe not so weird, just sad. You’re right that it’s pathetic for MTV to portray her comment that way, but I’m glad that she was able to explain herself even if most people won’t ever hear the explanation.

  5. that rule of thumb about only weighing 5 lbs. above 100 for every inch you are above 5 feet haunted me for years.

    This is probably my thin privilege talking, but I have never heard this before. And that’s a ridiculous standard! It’s insane. I’m 5’0, and I weigh 108, and I am thin. Really thin. If I lost eight pounds you could see every rib in my body. Course, I’d probably be excused from the rule cuz of my large (for my frame) boobs. But I can’t even imagine… of course, once again – thin privilege. I’ve never had to.

    I’ve been lurking here for a while, and I just wanted to say that your blog has changed the way I see the world – thanks!

  6. I went to a musical theatre conservatory in NYC. Between all the walking, and the four dance classes a week, I was 5’5″ and about 140 pounds by the second semester. That worked out to anywhere between a size 8-12, depending on rack room. I was told very kindly – and repeatedly – that I was about 20 lbs too heavy to get any work after I graduated. There was also the suggestion that I gain another 20, and maybe I could achieve “frumpy” type. You’d think that being slightly “substantial” might help in the theatre, where you have to play to the cheap seats. Whatever – natural genetics and an undiagnosed thyroid problem gave me the extra 20 and much more.

    Maybe if the dance classes had achieved anything other than fitness – I suffer from a complete lack of kinesthetic awareness; it’s like dyslexia of the limbs – I might not be working in the lucrative (OK, but the insurance is phenomenal) job that I am today.

  7. Oh god I feel so much better knowing that someone I respect watches this show too. Mr. I has been mocking me for weeks. Every time he sees me watching it he gives me the Look of Pure Scorn and then sighs and shakes his head. I missed last nights episode because he was watching the never ending conclusion to Metal Gear Solid 4, but I didn’t feel like I could tell him what I wanted to watch without suffering greatly.

    I’m glad you researched the origin of this line, I was really confused by it and where it actually came up in the show. I remember thinking that surely there would be some sub plotline where one of the girls excersizes herself to death. Fortunately this has not been the case!

    (Also, I Cggirl, I totally dread going to the doctor too. I entertained the idea of a pre doctor diet for like 10 seconds, that’s how much I don’t want to go. Damn her and holding my BC hostage. The best advice I can give you is remember, Your Doctor works for YOU. While they are useful experts on the matter of your body, they are not always right, nor do they have any real control over year.)

  8. Every time he sees me watching it he gives me the Look of Pure Scorn and then sighs and shakes his head.

    That’s why I watch on my laptop in my office with the door closed or on the porch, wearing headphones. :)

    Cggirl, good luck with the doctor! I don’t have any great advice, except that you should feel free to tell him or her what you’ve told us here. You’re concerned about the unexpected weight fluctuation, and if you need to make some specific dietary changes for your health, you’re on board, but you know that trying to lose weight doesn’t work and makes you crazy, so s/he’s just going to have to treat you fat. :)

  9. OTM, don’t feel bad; I have a serious, serious Gossip Girl problem. I never got into 90210 or the OC or anything, but Gossip Girl is just awesomely trashy fun.

  10. Okay, so I know that this is kind of shallow and a bit off-topic, but I f’ing LOVE this show, and I’m so glad to find someone else who does, too. I’d never seen that bit about Lauren saying anything about someone needing to lose weight, but it is a relief to find out that it wasn’t what it appears to be on first glance. I thought it was pretty awesome of the girls to flip the questions and agree not to participate in the cattiness, as well (and, it should be noted that from the footage and interviews, it appears that Autumn was the one behind that, so brava to her!).

    At first, I loved Rhiannon (she’s so goofy!), but since she’s fallen in with undercover-evil Bailey (I’m convinced) and proven that she can’t really sing to boot, I’m off the love train. I’m full-force behind Autumn now. I’m sad that Lauren’s gone, too — her face was totally adorable, and although (as an opera singer myself) I’m all about getting experienced women with fully-developed voices in roles, last night Lauren totally had me convinced she could be Elle — she totally looked the part in the majorette costume, and her voice is pretty mature for her age.

    Finally, I just want to add that I *am* one of those talented fat girls who knew all along that my body would keep me out of the ingenue roles I always wanted. God, how I wish there was a Big Moves in Tampa Bay, FL!

  11. I feel very lucky to rarely get sucked into a reality TV show (also, living sans cable cuts off what I suspect is the worst of the lot)…every now and then I’ll watch “Hell’s Kitchen,” only because it makes me nostalgic for the megalomaniac who ran the kitchen where I worked during my short stint in food service.

    I wish I could say I was surprised at the way MTV handled that bullshit….but, no. No, I’m not. They earned a big “Fuck off!” from me when they started caring more about the TV part and less about the M part.

  12. cggirl, I’d love to talk to you more. I have a lot of similarities, I think, with you just from your quick post (migraines/food/fear of doctors/upcoming appointment). Find me at qfinder.wordpress.com, or you can email me because I really do want to chat.

    About the post: I’ve been thinking a lot about self-esteem lately, and internalizing ideas from the media. I think I’ve said this elsewhere, but sometimes it just clicks when I read something and realize that’s just what I’ve been thinking all along:

    ‘I am bigger than “the one who needs to lose weight.”’

    Thanks for putting words to my thoughts.

  13. Finally, I just want to add that I *am* one of those talented fat girls who knew all along that my body would keep me out of the ingenue roles I always wanted. God, how I wish there was a Big Moves in Tampa Bay, FL!

    True that! Back when I used to do more acting than music, I used to get *sooo* frustrated with having conventionally pretty, obviously less talented chicks cast over me for leads….while I would be stuck (stealing the show, of course) as the comic relief.

    Sometimes I miss acting, but I don’t miss the stupid assumed boundaries of the casting process, that’s for fucking sure.

  14. I’ve watched that show, a little. It tends to not keep my interest as much partly because – like you said in the post – the set up kind of automatically excludes POC, and I feel a bit weird about that. I realize it’s how the industry works, but I like being able to put myself in the contestants’ shoes when I watch reality TV, so.

    That said, I think this is one of the more positive reality TV shows (especially featuring women) that are on right now, commercials aside. I loved when they turned the questions around, I really did. You normally get such a sad, sad picture of women when you flip around most reality shows nowadays…but these have decent personalities, they’re not competing for the “love” of a man or anybody else, they’re not trying to get more beautiful or fashionable, they’re not laying around spending money, they’re just using their various talents to try and land a really great job opportunity. It’s a nice change of pace.

  15. At first, I loved Rhiannon (she’s so goofy!), but since she’s fallen in with undercover-evil Bailey (I’m convinced) and proven that she can’t really sing to boot, I’m off the love train.

    Totally. Rhiannon’s adorable, but yeah, I don’t get a good vibe off Bailey at all — and even as someone who can’t sing to save my life, I can see that Rhiannon has the thinnest, least reliable voice and might not be able to hack such a demanding role, at least at 19. (I do find it interesting that they keep keeping her around despite that. Makes me wonder if personality is really that big a factor or if it’s just a little more fabricated drama, since it seems pretty certain she won’t be the winner.)

    I’m full-force behind Autumn now. I’m sad that Lauren’s gone, too — her face was totally adorable, and although (as an opera singer myself) I’m all about getting experienced women with fully-developed voices in roles, last night Lauren totally had me convinced she could be Elle — she totally looked the part in the majorette costume, and her voice is pretty mature for her age.

    Yes, yes, and yes. I actually got on the Lauren train late — like, last week — because all along, I’d been thinking, “She’d make a perfect Elle in five years, but she’s too goddamned young.” (This, uh, might have had something to do with the fact that I’m geriatric compared to their target market, and Celina, Autumn and Emma were my favorites from the get-go, so I was bitter that they kept booting the oldies.) But as they weeded out more and more of the competition, I started to see how tough and talented Lauren really is. (I was apparently the only person on the internet who wasn’t offended by Emma snarking, “Lauren, Bailey and Rhiannon are little girls,” ’cause, um… yeah. I was thinking the same thing.)

    Happy ending, though, if you haven’t heard: Lauren will be in the touring company of LB, as Margot/Elle’s understudy. Which seems a perfect place for her to be right now, imo. And, given what people are saying about LB’s B’way success — or lack thereof — a year’s worth of job security is probably preferable to being in the Broadway show anyway.

    Hey, Shinobi, you want to go see it when it comes here next May? :)

  16. My big reality TV thing is hairstyling shows. Shear Genius especially. I just love watching ppl do crazy stuff with hair! Plus there tends to be slightly less cattiness then on other shows I’ve watched

  17. I LOVE reality TV. I know I shouldn’t. I know I should stop. But I can’t.
    Project Runway: Check
    Shear Genius: Check
    Next Food Network Star” Check
    Next Design Star: Check
    LB: Check
    SYTYCD: Super Double Check

    Seriously, I’m addicted. I love the editing, I love the fake drama but mostly I love the creations that comes from pushing talented people in a new direction. LB is probably the worst of the lot though precisely b/c it is on MTV. That channel can REALLY fuck with your self esteem.

  18. like you said in the post – the set up kind of automatically excludes POC, and I feel a bit weird about that. I realize it’s how the industry works, but I like being able to put myself in the contestants’ shoes when I watch reality TV, so.

    I hear that, Tuesday. Hey, since this is the shameful confessions thread, here’s another one: for a long time — like ages 10-20ish — I really only liked reading fiction that featured a white, female character around my age. She didn’t have to be the main character, but there had to be one. This was because when I read fiction, I pictured it as a movie in my head, with me playing that role — and I’d cast the other roles with whatever actors I liked at the time. (I could imagine myself thin, and often did, but even in a total fantasy, there had to be some possibility that I could play the role — which I couldn’t if it was a male character, a girl/woman of color, or someone too much older or younger than me.)

    Now of course, because I’m white, it wasn’t hard at all to find novels that fit my criteria. But it wasn’t until that habit broke down and I started getting into novels that didn’t fit my criteria that it finally dawned on me how much it must suck to be a person of color and have so few representations of someone who looks like you in literature/TV/movies. (I also used to fantasize about joining the cast of my favorite TV shows all the time, which was no prob, since they were all loaded with white people. The funny thing is, I was never even really that interested in acting. I just wanted to be a part of all those fictional worlds — and of course, imagining whole new characters for me to play was part and parcel of what I really wanted to do, which was write fiction.) So that was probably my first lightbulb moment with regard to white privilege, even though I didn’t learn that term until later.

    BTW, the book that broke the curse of only wanting to read about characters who resembled me was Their Eyes Were Watching God — which I realize totally deserves it’s own “Stuff White People Like” page, but it was still a major breakthrough for me.

  19. Hmmm…my last comment is stuck in moderation, probably because there were a million links in it.

    In the meantime I’ll share my fun and tangentially-related news: I’m directing a musical revue called “DreamBoyz” featuring men singing songs made famous by women. We just added a verse of “Omigod, You Guys” to the Huge Medley.

    Snaps!

  20. …every now and then I’ll watch “Hell’s Kitchen,” only because it makes me nostalgic for the megalomaniac who ran the kitchen where I worked during my short stint in food service.

    I cannot watch any food-related reality shows, especially Hell’s Kitchen or that one about opening a restaurant that I think is blessedly off air now for that very reason. I remember watching that one with Rocco the Chef while I was still waiting tables when one of the back of the house assholes started talking trash about how easy front of the house work is, and how he could do it, and how if he were in charge BLAH BLAH WANK WANK and actually feeling my blood pressure skyrocket because about two hours earlier that day one of the back of the house assholes at the restaurant where I worked had gone on the same, stupid, ill-informed, shitful tirade while WITHHOLDING MY PLATES and ensuring I would remain captive to his bullshit, the fucker.

    Lord, I’m getting all het up just thinking about it.

  21. What’s sad is that Laura Bell Bundy, who did the first Elle on Broadway, is neither a stick nor a baby. She was 26 when she started in Legally Blonde (and 24 when I saw her as Kristen Chenoweth’s understudy in Wicked. Love her so much more than the Squeaky Queen!)

  22. I love the creative shows: Shear Genius & Project Runway.

    I am completely addicted to Flipping Out.

    I’ve also wondered if there is more scripting to these shows than I thought. Flipping Out feels completely scripted to me.

  23. SingOut, I just approved your earlier comment — sorry! — which I heartily recommend everyone scroll back up and read, because hell yes, the Seth video blog is, like, the best fucking part of actually knowing that this show exists.

    And is the show you’re directing in the Twin Cities? If so, when?

  24. Thanks, Kate. Seth kills me. He’s AMAHZING. :)

    Yes, the show will be in Minneapolis. We’re currently negotiating for a theater space at the Bryant-Lake Bowl Cabaret Theater for February 2009.

    Twin Citizens – come see us! My boyz rool. :)

  25. I actually got on the Lauren train late — like, last week — because all along, I’d been thinking, “She’d make a perfect Elle in five years, but she’s too goddamned young.”

    My initial Lauren reservations were based more on shallow reasons than talent/age concerns — I just thought, compared to girls like Bailey, Rhiannon and Lindsay, that she just didn’t *look* like Elle. Her face was just too frowny (and I sympathized, because I rock a natural frowny-face, too) and dour-looking. But last night, with the hat and the grinning and the cuteness, she won me over. And then got cut, heh. But hey, I’m really glad she’s got a job in the LB family. Maybe I’ll go see the show when it comes to Clearwater in the spring and hope something happens to the lead Elle. ;o)

    …Celina, Autumn and Emma were my favorites from the get-go, so I was bitter that they kept booting the oldies.

    Emma annoyed me, because she always seemed so entitled (“…I’ve been in this business for ever! How dare they say so-and-so did better than me!”) while simultaneously being angry all the time at the challenges. I mean, I can relate — I’m sure MTV was throwing unnecessary crap at them every step of the way, but on the other hand, she *did* agree to go on an MTV reality show. Was she really that surprised that they did that shit?

    It took me a while to love Autumn, but now that I do, she’d better not lose to Bailey, because if so, someone at MTV is getting cut (and I know Rhiannon is still technically in the competition after last night’s bullshit cliffhanger, but I’m so convinced that the judges cannot in good faith keep her after she wheezed her way through the last half of the audition last night that she’s a non-entity to me at this point).

  26. OTM, can I just say Hell’s Kitchen is fun in part because it’s all about abusing the back-of-house assholes? When food gets sent back, the chefs get Gordon Ramsay’s foot up their asses in the biggest possible way, which is rather satisfying to see when you’ve been the one who has to deal with the customers losing their shit about what’s wrong with the food and assigning all the blame to the person who carried it from point A to point B.

    Of course, in a real kitchen, there is no Gordon Ramsay, and the waitstaff gets yelled at by the customer AND the chef whose response is inevitably to bitch that the food is fine and the customer’s cracked, even while taking it back to fix. And of course, Ramsay’s a total dick (or his reality TV character is, anyway), and really, no one should be treated the way he treats his chefs. But you might find it cathartic.

  27. I LOVE reality TV. I know I shouldn’t. I know I should stop. But I can’t.
    Project Runway: Check
    ….SYTYCD: Super Double Check

    vivelefat, what are we going to do when Project Runway comes back… on Wednesdays at 9:00 PM instead of the normal 10, thus forcing us to choose between it and SYTYCD? I mean, it’s almost enough to make me consider throwing over my beloved-but-can-only-record-the-channel-you’re-watching TiVo for the generic cable company DVR.

    Oh, well. I guess I can catch Project Runway during one of the 5,000 repeats they air every damn week. Belated Tim Gunn is better than no Gunn at all.

  28. Emma annoyed me, because she always seemed so entitled (”…I’ve been in this business for ever! How dare they say so-and-so did better than me!”)

    You know, I let that slide because I think it’s a combination of editing — so people wouldn’t be totally outraged to see her booted before, let’s face it, way less talented people — and once again, the being older factor. Yeah, she’s from a Broadway family, but I don’t feel like she traded on that. If she had a sense of entitlement (and I don’t necessarily think she did), my impression is that it was because she’s older and actually has B’way experience, while a bunch of teenagers who don’t have the maturity or voice she has were positioned to stumble into such a big break. Hell, Autumn bitched about that last night — and I saw people over at TWoP skewering her for it. But as someone who’s older than all of them, I can completely relate to both of them feeling like, “Fuck you, children, I have EARNED this” — even if they actually like the girls and admire their talent.

    Also, another fun fact from the blogs. You know how after the Orfeh challenge, they showed Emma babbling about how she already knows lots of Broadway people, and then sniffing, “Whatever!” when the girls got back? Once again, that was totally editing. The “Whatever!” was from a completely different convo, and the blah blah blah Broadway credentials was from some interview when they were probably asking her to talk about it. Which once again goes to the theory that the editors were deliberately making Emma none too likeable.

  29. Oh, and SingOut, if you remember, please do e-mail me when you’ve got a space and it’s closer to go-time. I’m up there often enough and would love to see the show.

  30. I love the Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares (the British version), because it’s kind of fun watching someone be that damn competent about something. I’ve been watched HK, but on KN he’s very, very good at identifying just who is the problem in any given situation, and then actually holding them accountable for the problems they create.

    So. Much. Better than real life!

  31. I love the Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares (the British version), because it’s kind of fun watching someone be that damn competent about something.

    I like that show too; it also makes me feel competent because I’m pretty sure that I wouldn’t think I could run a restaurant on three hours of work a day and do all the shopping for it at the grocery store.

    I can’t watch Hell’s Kitchen though; the shouting does me in. But I do love Top Chef with a scary, obsessive level of love.

  32. ah shinobi thanks, that is a good thing to remember – about how my doctor works for ME.

    also kate thanks i i will try to be as eloquent there as i am here. and actually even if for legitimate health reasons the doc suggests a diet change, i worry that i won’t be able to do it, but that’s a whole other ball fo wax… i should at least HEAR about it and then make my own decisions on whether it’s feasible and/or worthwhile.

    And thanks Q-finder i will hop on ur blog now and leave u a random comment :)

    And a little more on-topic – kate i’m really glad you posted this. I did not realize HOW MUCH reality TV is skews and they are basically lying by putting things like that out of context, just reversing what the person actually said.

    I am trying to make a documentary (yes, i am deluded enough to think i can pull it off :) ) and i notice that a lot of what people say when i interview them could easily be read wrong if i edit it one way versus another way… and we’re talking about SUBTLE things. i had no idea they were taking it this far in these shows. but i am VERY happy that these women did not cooperate!

  33. I like that show too; it also makes me feel competent because I’m pretty sure that I wouldn’t think I could run a restaurant on three hours of work a day and do all the shopping for it at the grocery store.

    Hee hee! Yes! And I’d never smother the fresh, local ingredients in chocolate sauce!

  34. (hm now i realize i am not that eloquent here at all haha. but i am understood because u guys are on my side already… i will give the doc a chance to show that he is on my side too, and if not, i will tell myself he works for ME, he works for ME. *tosses hair and huffs out of room*)

  35. Kate, I agree that editing can be put to work on overtime to make someone less likable than they are, and I know that quotes where you can’t see the person saying them are suspect to Frankenquote syndrome (ANTM is especially guilty of this) and I’m sure some of the stuff Emma said was taken way out of context, but those “How dare they pick so-and-so over ME?!?” quotes would be pretty hard to fabricate, IMO. I can understand feeling that way, but actually saying it, in place where you know the person you’re complaining about will actually see it, is pretty indicative of character, I think.

    Then again, the rest of the girls did seem to love her and were angry when she left, so maybe I’m wrong.

  36. Fair enough, Danielle. Generally speaking, I totally agree that WAY too many reality TV participants suffer from that syndrome of saying unbelievably assholish things, then going, “Wait, there was a camera on me? What?” And I might just totally have an irrational love for Emma. And that might just be because I, too, am a bit of a bitch. :)

    (She also apologized on her blog for the “little girls” comment, btw. Just straight-up, “That was an asshole thing to say, and I said it because I was hurt and angry. I’m sorry.” So points for that, even though I think she was basically right [heh] — and that might just be why the other girls still like her.)

  37. My reality TV these days consists of A&E’s “The First 48,” and other true-crime shows. “The First 48″ features a group of detectives from two different cities trying to solve homicides in 48 hours. One of my favorite detectives is this pretty black woman who’s about my size. She’s out there in the scorching heat, looking fabulous and never seems to break a sweat while investigating gruesome crimes. So much for the sweaty, sloppy fat stereotype haterz!!!

    Two years ago, there was a reality show on BBC America called “From Laudette to Lady” where they took a group of young women and put them through manners school. Their skills were put to the test at a big formal dress gala where the girls had to interact with real British socialites and they had to do a public interview. At the end, a girl was chosen to be the most improved. The transformations were startling. The girl that ended up winning was the fattest one in the bunch. She looked adorable in her gown.

    But I can’t do the “find your true wuv in six weeks” dating shows. The contestants are too good-looking. It helps to perpetuate the stereotype that fatties aren’t worthy of love and they can’t be portrayed in a loving, romantic light. No, the fat people we get on reality shows are psychos, like the “God Warrior” on Wife Swap, or dieting programs like “You Are What You Eat” , “The Biggest Loser,” and “Celebrity Fit Club.”

    My other guilty pleasure is Doctor Who. There doesn’t seem to be too many American fans of it out there. Tell them you’re a DW fan and they go HUH?, but tell them you don’t watch or like Nu BSB and they’re ready to lynch you!

  38. “The First 48″ features a group of detectives from two different cities trying to solve homicides in 48 hours.

    OMG, pardon me while I go get addicted to that show.

    My other guilty pleasure is Doctor Who. There doesn’t seem to be too many American fans of it out there. Tell them you’re a DW fan and they go HUH?

    Heh, I don’t think you’ll find that response around here. :) And I don’t even know what Nu BSB is.

  39. The only thing I miss about tv is Iron Chef. Oh, and Molto Mario. An energetic, sexy, redheaded, tall, fat man! Mmmm… Oh yeah, and he cooks too.

    Ok, and The Joy of Painting. I’m never going to set brush to canvas, but I love watching the late Bob Ross work.

    I watch a couple of shows online when I’ve run out of DVDs to watch, but really, I’m over keeping up with tv. It’s getting harder to get into online videos too, the complete lack of captions is starting to be a real problem. Eventually I’ll just wait around for shows to go to DVD and get into the waiting list at the library to check them out. At least I’ll be able to read what they’re saying. (Unless it’s a show from CBS or released by Anchor Bay/Starz … bad companies, no biscuit!)

  40. Wait, wait, I wanna try to win the geek award here!

    So, okay, here it is, my shameful reality TV show vice:
    GROOMER HAS IT.

    Yesssss.

  41. Oh Godless Heathen, seriously I could watch the Joy of Painting all day. And I hear you about keeping up with TV shows. I can’t do it, and I wouldn’t do it except we are fortunate enough to be able to afford a DVR thing with our cable. That way we can go days without watching TV and then when the mood hits us, sit down and watch like two hours of The Colbert Report (or six hours of Masterpiece Theater, although my husband isn’t usually as on board for that one).

  42. Ok, and The Joy of Painting. I’m never going to set brush to canvas, but I love watching the late Bob Ross work.

    !!!!!!

    I would listen to Bob Ross talk about painting a wall white. I miss his happy little shows.

  43. GROOMER HAS IT.

    I don’t know what this is, but if there are doggies involved, I’m going to have to stop watching The First 48 and go watch that all day.

    AFTER I WRITE A BOOK, ANYWAY. (Hi, Marianne.)

  44. I was totally into Celebrity Fit Club for a while (this was pre-FA awakening). I still remember the final weigh in when Mia Tyler declares that she can now fit in to her size 10 jeans again. And I was like, WHAT THE FUCK?? She’s the same height as me and 15 POUNDS HEAVIER and I wear a 14! How can she be heavier but somehow I’m still fatter???? So demoralizing for a weight-loss obsessed young woman.

    So now I’m thinking the producers made her lie about her jeans size or something. Stupid reality TV.

  45. I am a Doctor Who fanatic, except for the last 10 minutes of the last show OMG Rusty Davies I hate you and the horse you rode in on and Moffat had better figure a way out of it or I will come across the ocean and kick all of your asses.
    Oh, um, sorry about that.

    I actually started watching Baby Borrowers. I’m not invested in it, but it is interesting in a weird way. I keep wondering more about the people who would hand over their kids to these idiots than about the idiots themselves. And my husband has gotten me a bit hooked on Deadliest Catch, now that poor Phil is having so many health problems.

  46. Sugar, OMG GROOMER HAS IT!!!! I was so excited at the ending! I totally thought that show would be dumb, but I forgot how much I love Jai.

    Dear Fab Five, Please come back to TV for one episode and make over my house (and boyfriend if you must). -Shinobi.

    Also, Hell’s Kitchen is awesome, I keep telling Mr. I (who is a chef) that he should go for the next season and he keeps saying “I’d punch that guy in the face.” Which is EXACTLY why I think he should do it, Gordon Ramsay getting punched in the face is what is missing from my life.

    Kate- YES I would LOVE to go see that! I didn’t realize it was coming! I will now spend the next 10 months figuring out what outfit I should wear. (If only we could find a bar that would let us watch the season finale on a big screen.)

  47. Oh, I LOVE Doctor Who, but I’m not ashamed to admit that because it’s smart and funny and well written and well acted…incidentally my big shame show is actually Torchwood because it’s just so relentlessly HIP and soap opera-ish and the only reason I pay attention is because I want to see what they did to Gwen’s bangs and what she’s wearing. (hangsheadinshame)

  48. rhiain–I love the UK version of KN too! The US version is *so* heavily edited (which is one of the things I hate about reality TV, which seems to put me in the minority here). Ramsay’s love of food is so infectious it’s gotten me cooking this week, and not stuff out of the freezer for once :P

  49. (If only we could find a bar that would let us watch the season finale on a big screen.)

    No kidding! Hmm, I wonder if we can find a bar that would be persuaded to give us one TV…

  50. No kidding! Hmm, I wonder if we can find a bar that would be persuaded to give us one TV…

    Maybe in Boystown? I know Sidetrack plays show tunes a few evenings a week….

  51. My secret shame is How Clean Is Your House?, a show currently on BBC America in which two purported experts in domestic sanitation barge into throughly disgusting abodes and clean them up.

    I’m bothered by it because scolding is a prominent feature of the show, and sometimes it looks to me like the folks being scolded are likely depressed or have other deeper and more serious problems, and even if they did agree to appear on the show the producers shouldn’t have accepted. I mean, it’s not at all entertaining to see a wan, flinching woman dressed in her nightclothes being scolded because her bathroom is filthy — it may well be, but if she can’t get it together even when she knows a television crew is on the way, there’s something more serious going on there than a reluctance to scrub and mop, and shame on the folks who recommended her for the show.

    On the other hand, I tune it in when I have time because when it’s not utterly cringeworthy it feels good to see homes in far, far worse shape than mine has ever been even though I am severely arthritic, and it puts my problems along that line in perspective. I like the tips, too — I never would’ve known to run a cup or so of vinegar through my old washer if not for the show, for instance, and it worked like a charm to clean it after I’d done a load of pet beds.

  52. Talley, I just watched Torchwood for all of the eyecandy, once it was clear that the writing was hit-and-miss.

    OMG, I’m watching Bob Ross on youtube now. I forgot how much I liked him. He’s talking now about how you need dark to make light, and how that’s like life….awwwww. I started yoga this summer, and now I’m thinking I could totally do proper breathing if I were watching Bob while doing the yoga – he sends me right into deep relaxation. :)

  53. Okay, my embarrassing confession:

    Not only do I love Hell’s Kitchen, but I also love Supernanny (I don’t even have kids!). But here’s my theory. If you could get nanny Jo and Chef Ramsey to team up, the two of them could totally solve all the problems in the universe. It’s the perfect combination of tough-love/no-nonsense/kick-assery.

    (I also love that Nanny Jo is a fat woman who is presented as being totally calm, cool, in control, and put-together).

  54. Eucritta,

    I feel the same way about how clean is your house. There are definitely times when they have people on who are not simply messy but obviously have something wrong (literally living in garbage bags is not normal)

    However, I also love that show for it’s cleaning tips! Who would have thought that lemon can do so much!And the unapologetic slobs (they are usually men, coincedentally) who aren’t ill but just live in a mess are hilarious, I *heart* them.

  55. cggirl: This is what helps me out with the doctor. The doctor can’t “make” me lose weight, give up sugar, or even ever come back to the office. S/he is a service provider. S/he is providing me a service — the service of his/her medical expertise. Which is not to belittle those in the healthcare profession. But my body is mine. I can refuse to return. I can refuse to get on the scale (which I do, and let me tell you, that blew my mind when I realized I could). I can tell the doctor, “I will not sit through any lectures about weight,” and then I can refuse to do so. The doctor only makes me feel ashamed if I let him/her. Hell, I wouldn’t let my mechanic tell me where to drive my car, would I?

    Doctor Who is love. Torchwood is a guilty pleasure, though. I love it, but… it’s so silly. And weirdly written. And I suspect that John Barrowman, however much I love him, belongs on stage instead of on screen. Still… aliens and eyecandy!

    Joy of Painting!!! I downloaded a whole season, and I watch it to calm down when I’m feeling anxious or can’t sleep. I love it so much.

    I think one of the reasons people (including me) watch Supernanny is that it’s always kind of fun to criticize other people’s parenting skills, and tv lets you do it in a remote way. The one with the two teenage girls who were looking after their little brother and their parents were totally absent and wanted them to do all the housework broke my heart, though.

  56. @Eurcritta – I love How Clean Is Your House and the hosts crack me up. In the ones I’ve seen, the cleaning divas didn’t seem to be dishing shame — they seemed on the side of those they were helping, with (like Nanny Jo), a little bit of tough-love parenting. Of course, YMMV and I’m sure their attitude varies with person. I’ve always read them to be a bit snarky and funny but genuinely caring.

    My TV love is Battlestar Galactica, which I feel I ought to be ashamed for, but am not. It’s got some of the best roles for women that I’ve ever seen. Real people roles.

  57. Arwen, I hold that there’s no need to be ashamed of BSG! Okay, it has its slumps like everything else, but at its best (like the last few episodes) – man, that’s TV that elevates TV.

    My current guilty pleasure is Entourage – I know it’s completely silly and most of the women are two dimensional cardboard cutouts and most of the dialogue consists of streams of profanity, but God help me, I love it.

  58. You know the other thing I’ve noticed re: cultural definitions of ‘fat’ is how much thinner the ‘fat’ people are. *My* shameful admission is that I’m addicted — yes, ADDICTED — to celebrity gossip websites, specifically D-Listed and the Craig’s List celebfo, and I’m constantly amazed at who gets called ‘fat’ on these sites. When I was in High School, back in the Stone Age, if a person fit into regular-sized clothes, they weren’t considered ‘fat.’ Now, if a woman is in the double-digit sizes (10 and up), she’s called ‘fat.’ I’ve even seen women in the 4-6-8 range labeled ‘fat.’ To me, it’s another indication of just how big the gulf between reality and stereotypes have gotten. Surely that widening gap is an indication of some kind of oncoming cultural crisis?

    Min

  59. Yep, I meant BSG. I was typing my first post at work (shhh, don’t tell). And I watched the original series too!

    “I am a Doctor Who fanatic, except for the last 10 minutes of the last show OMG Rusty Davies I hate you and the horse you rode in on and Moffat had better figure a way out of it or I will come across the ocean and kick all of your asses.
    Oh, um, sorry about that.”

    I totally agree! Hey Russell! FICKTYON WRITING UR DOING IT WRONG!

  60. “I am a Doctor Who fanatic, except for the last 10 minutes of the last show OMG Rusty Davies I hate you and the horse you rode in on and Moffat had better figure a way out of it or I will come across the ocean and kick all of your asses.
    Oh, um, sorry about that.”

    Hah – my LiveJournal friendslist absolutely exploded after that aired (so plenty of US Dr. Who fans there as well), but since I don’t watch the show and don’t click on any of the cut tags I assumed it was in a good way. The things we miss. :-)

  61. My reality show obsessions:

    Project Runway. Tim Gunn is my perfect imaginary gay boyfriend and I want desperately to feed him fresh-baked scones in exchange for sweet, sweet gossip.

    Ghost Hunters & Ghost Hunters International. Dammit. Sci-Fi and Bravo need to coordinate their schedules better. How can I choose between my weekly dose of fashion design and my weekly dose of people running around in the dark looking for things that go bump in the night? With awesome toys! Luckily, both channels are heavily into recycling, so chances are I can just determine which showing of which show to watch and still manage to watch The Daily Show right on schedule. Thank goodness!

    Ramsey’s Kitchen Nightmares. I wouldn’t want him in my kitchen, but then again I’m not trying to run a restaurant. I know myself entirely too well to try. Before I discovered this gem of a show, I knew that restaurants were one of the businesses people open up when they know sod all about business, but I’d never suspected the proportion who open upscale restaurants knowing nothing at all about food, either. Oddly enough, though, I’ve never watched Hell’s Kitchen. I’ll have to remember to give it a go sometime.

    Changing Rooms. Soooo much cooler and more interesting than Trading Spaces. One of my ambitions in life is to have enough money to fly Laurence Llewellyn-Bowen out here to help me redo a room or two. I have a feeling we’d get on. Both of us love excess, but really practical excess.

    Unfortunately, I do watch a lot of reality show programming that I’m not watching for the fun of it. Since in addition to writing for Manolo for the Big Girl, I also write for Manolo for the Brides, I spend waaaaayyyyy too much time every week staring at reality bridal programming all of which is aimed at making us drink the Kook Aid and believe that getting married is all about losing every single marble you’ve ever dreamed of owning, setting yourself up for long years of massive debt, and alienating every person you know, all the while giving in without a fight to your wedding planner. Bridezillas? HATE! Whose Wedding is it Anyway? HATE! Platinum Weddings? HAAAAAAATE with the fiery might of a thousand suns going supernova!

    If I hear one more bride simper about how classy and delicate-snowflake-special her overwhelming love of ‘Soreuffsy’ (because none of them can goddamn pronounce ‘swarovski) crystals makes her, I am seriously going to stab a bitch.

    The things I do for my reading public.

  62. ‘Soreuffsy’ (because none of them can goddamn pronounce ’swarovski) crystals

    Twistie, if I didn’t already adore you, I’d start now. I don’t watch many bridal shows, but the inability to pronounce “Swarovski” is one of my major pet peeves, because IT IS FUCKING PHONETIC. (Well, the English pronunciation, anyway.) If I hear one more person who has not been diagnosed dyslexic say “Swa-vor-ski,” I’m gonna hurt someone.

  63. (smooches Kate)

    Darling! Let us run away together and smack the shit out of people who can’t pronounce Swarovski!

    (though we’ll let those with actual dyslexia and speech impediments off the hook, since we’re only cruel to those who are capable and ought to know better)

  64. Let me echo: GROOMER HAS IT. I hadn’t watched a competitive reality show in years and a friend of mine got me sucked into this show. Now the best way to make either of us laugh is to randomly use “I’m Jorge!” as an explanation for anything we might do.

    I am absolutely entranced by “The Deadliest Catch” and my secret love…is Captain Phil from the Cornelia Marie. YES, I <3 CAPTAIN PHIL. I can’t explain exactly why…but I luff him.

    Not as much as Mike Rowe and “Dirty Jobs”, however. I feel almost overwhelming lust for that man. It’s a good day when the episode features him taking his shirt off.

    I’m also a loyal “Mythbusters” fan. Adam Savage…another one that I’d kind of like to spank like the naughty kitty that he is and then make him soup.

    Why yes, I am the Lady Mayoress of Overshareville.

  65. Mwhhhhhhaaaaaaaa! Danielle I have a DVR from the cable company and I can record two shows at once. It’s really rather ridiculous considering a few years ago I would tape shows on my VHS! in order to watch them all. My DVR has totally enabled me to watch shows that I would never have watched before, like I’ll come across” Russian Brides: A REAL Story” or “Lifetime Presents: Saddy McTearface and her search for her Daugher” and I’ll go, hmmmmm sounds alright. Then I record them and watch them when my husband is asleep and they suck the soul out of me. Damn DVR Cable Succubus.

  66. My shameful reality confession: Last week I spent an inordinate amount of time watching clips from this season of “So You Think You Can Dance.” It’s totally Shakesville’s fault. That’s where I saw the clip of Katee and Joshua doing the Bollywood number:

    and I had to go hunt down all their other performances, then watch their competition to convince myself that yeah, they totally are the best.

    (The funny thing is, once I abashedly mentioned I was doing this, I discovered a good third of my friends are rabid fans of this show too. I heart my friends.)

    cggirl what’s your documentary about? I produced my first one last year (and now 13 months later finally just got my copyright registration in the mail from the government).

  67. ah DRST thank for asking!
    i don’t know if i should give it all away here online… i like to keep my projects hush hush. but if u want we can discuss by email. : )
    i’d love to share experiences…
    (you can find my email on my site which is http://www.shmonster.com – i know that’s a bit roundabout, to go there to get my email, but i always wonder if putting up my email on blogs will cause automatic engines to find it and spam me. i don’t know if thats true tho.)

    also, i LOVE so you think you can dance. and i LOVE bollywood and i have been waiting and waiting for them to do that style. the israeli version of the show did bollywood ages ago, for which they get points. but the israeli version – from what i’ve heard – are terrible in terms of body image related stuff, whereas the american version is surprisingly okay about that stuff, compared to most TV i mean.

  68. oh and DRST what is your doc about (if you want to share) and where can we see it? i bet well all want to see it, i know i do!

  69. Twistie, I should introduce you to my friend B – she handmakes wedding jewelry for a small but very popular British company, and her stories make me howl with laughter.

    Also I am super sad that nobody has shown any love for America’s Best Dance Crew. That shit is AMAZING. The flips! The stunts! The breaking and popping and locking! And Mario Lopez is still a cutie.

    I saw a couple of episodes of LBetc, and I thought it was okay but not gripping enough to keep me coming back every week. And my computer has issues with video, so I can’t catch up online. :( I’m glad to hear that Lauren was raging against the machine, though! And count me in as another fat girl who never got cast for the lead. There was one time it particularly burned: senior year of high school, I got passed over for the Baker’s Wife in “Into the Woods” for a girl who was the total pet of the director despite her inability to sing or act. (It may have had something to do with her dad being the principal of the elementary school…. ahem ahem.) I miss doing theater, actually. I only stopped when I hit college and my small-town skills couldn’t keep up with the Serious Acktores. Oh, memories.

  70. Ok, here’s one – available on youtube clips, so I haven’t seen a whole show, but of course the Beeb did a “so you think you can” before anyone else did, and it was ice dancing, and it had John Barrowman!!!!! I want that show.

  71. Heh, Kate,

    I was totally addicted to MTV’s “The Paper”. Oh, and I just started watching “The Hills”.
    Why? It’s so boring that DH and I noticed we sleep like babies after it.

    I have a thing for most of the Bravo reality shows:
    “Flipping Out”
    “Project Runway”
    “Shear Genius”
    “Top Chef”
    “The Real Housewives of NYC”.

    I used to LOVE “Blow Out”. What happend to that dude, anyway? I even bought his hair care line from QVC.
    I STILL have a huge amount of the “Dirt” styling paste left.

  72. I can’t figure out what show Kate and Shinobi are looking for a bar to watch the finale of, and I am running out the door (how did I let anybody talk me into sitting outside on the ground for hours and watching a movie on a shit hot night like this???? I’m too old for this mess) but Crew on Broadway and Lawrence had Project Runway and Top Chef nights. I watched the season three PR finale there and after it was over, they had an underwear fashion show on the bar! Whee!

  73. Sorry I left the boat so early, everyone! I got distracted by things, such as finding out from Whats That Bug that the larvae in my pond are Water Tigers… which apparently eat the wee baby polliwoggles we spent over an hour scooping out of the pool prior to adding chlorine. *facepalm* And I was really enjoying watching the little larvae swim but now I have to wrestle with the dilemma of how much one gets to meddle with the natural balance in one’s own yard. Kill the larvae, or let the tadpoles duke it out on their own for survival? I knew some might be lost to predators once in the pond, but this is sort of a blow.

    ANYHOW, sorry for the digression! Kate, yes, Groomer Has It is SO very totally about doggies, though it is over now (sob). The clipping, the dyeing, the dogs, the drama! It was a real ride. Artist was my fave from episode one and remained so till the end. It was a satisfying show for me, which surprised me because… well, it’s reality TV, and that needs no explanation.

    And… ultra-secret-horrible confession here: it made me feel more traditionally feminine to enjoy it. I don’t like shoes. I don’t like make-up. I don’t do much with my hair. I have an incredibly difficult time finding clothes that make me feel good, things that are pretty to me, pass muster with my family, fit comfortably, etc. etc. etc. Fashion designers nowadays do NOT have me in mind, at all, ever, in any way, and the stores are full of nothing but clothes that make me go “UGH” so I care nothing and less than nothing for “shopping” which is supposed to be some kind of girlthing too. Anything I can do that makes me feel like “one of the normals” is enough to give my enjoyment of it an extra tingle of smug satisfaction.

    With the magic of dogs to give me something to care about on the show, I could almost see the appeal for some people. For a few minutes, I only care whether the judges are going to flip out because Jonathan picked ANOTHER poodle, geez does the idiot only groom poodles? Breed biased lout, he dissed the Chow Chows too… and I think, so this is how society expects girls to think every hour of every day. That would get tiring pretty fast if it were true.

  74. OMG vivelafat, I had a roommate who loved Lifetime Original Movies SO MUCH that we would watch a lot of them together, and she would make an event out of watching the premieres of the new movies. We had such an embarrassingly fantastic time watching them.

  75. Actually, I think the ice dancing show was ITV, not the BBC. And poor John was so disappointed when he failed to get the popular vote to go along with being obviously /better at skating/ than a lot of the competition, iirc.

    Also, that program gave me my first glimpse of John Barrowman wearing his little wire rim glasses. SO CUTE! (I have a total fetish for glasses on guys.)

  76. Oh! And yeah (I’m chatty, sorry guys!)

    Minerva– You’re so right. I’ve been feeling for years that some kind of big cultural shift is coming, and soon. I’ve never felt it as strongly as I do now, but it also kind of makes me afraid so I hope it turns out to be a good thing, even if there is a period of unrest first. Well, heck, we’re IN a period of unrest, as far as I can tell in my limited experience, so I guess I just hope the storm before the period of happy times doesn’t bring too much devastation. Because a storm has just GOT to be brewing.

    I feel that way because even I have noticed big changes, and I’m not that old! What was “fat” ten short years ago is “omg so obese and grooossss” now and what was “fine” is currently “um, well, you’re pretty I guess, but you could be thinner.”

    And WHAT the crap is up with boys and girls? Okay, so things are better now than they were in, say, 1950. That’s wonderful. But people harp on that so much they act like there’s nowhere else to go, no improvement left to be made!!!! I get called a nutjob and hateful and cynical because I point out that none of my male friends get asked when they’re going to start families or get email forwards with a million paranoid tips designed to ensure they keep their heads down so they don’t get raped or killed by a serial murderer or whatever.

    It’s like the feminist movement made certain strides forward, got scared, took some steps back, got trampled for those two steps, and now girls are terrified to be feminist and boys just plain live in a different world. Seriously, even when I think of the men in my life I’m closest to, and these are men I do indeed love dearly, all of them have at least some misogynist tendencies or beliefs, and all have made off-the-cuff comments that have disturbed me at some point, (even my dad), and one friend I even lost, because I developed a deep dislike for him after he revealed his selfish reasons for opposing abortion and it was just the smug straw that broke the camel’s back when it came to putting up with his superiority complex.

    All of which was sort of only partially in line with your comment but you got me started on that line of thinking… gee! I wish there was a place where I could talk to you guys without derailing threads, because you get me thinking about things, and you’re the ones who understand and whose input I want on it, and I don’t really have another outlet for talking about it… that, and sometimes you’re the ones who keep me sane and I get so tempted to just get on SP and ignore what the conversation is about and type some story about my day and ask for just some companionship from people who “get it.” I’m seriously thinking about starting a blog of my own but I am not sure how one does that, especially for free which is all I can afford right now.

    If I made a new LiveJournal just for my FA, HAES, and feminism thoughts, would you guys pop in now and again?

  77. but it would have fucking haunted me, the way that rule of thumb about only weighing 5 lbs. above 100 for every inch you are above 5 feet haunted me for years.

    AIEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!

    I remember the day I read that. I was 12, bored at a babysitting job, and found that pernicious tidbit in a fashion magazine.

    Guilty pleasure: Judge Judy. My husband got me into this and I sometimes feel I am a hair’s-breadth from being one of the litigants.

    If I made a new LiveJournal just for my FA, HAES, and feminism thoughts, would you guys pop in now and again?

    Sure!

  78. So much TV love! Ok, first of all, add me to the list of American Doctor Who fans. Although my shameful secret is not that I like it, but that I’ve only watched up to the first episode of season 2 of the new series. I just…I loved Nine so much, and I know awesome, heart-breaking things happen later on in the series, but…by the end of S2Ep1, I was like, “YOU’RE NOT MY DOCTOR!! *sob*” I really need to get over it and catch my ass up, though.

    Also: OMG Supernanny! OMG Ghost Hunters!! OMG Mythbusters!! Nanny Jo is sexy-awesome, Ghost Hunters is just win, and Mythbusters…a bunch of hot science geeks blowing things up? There cannot be a cooler show in the world.

    I’ve never seen LBtM, but I’m impressed that contestants on a reality show on MTV of all places stood up to the producers’ bullshit. It just sucks that people watching the show are only getting half the story unless they’re reading the blogs…

  79. I am a Doctor Who fanatic, except for the last 10 minutes of the last show

    DID YOU CRY??? I WAS TOTALLY BLOWN AWAY AND THEN CRYING.

    A LOT.

    I just…I loved Nine so much, and I know awesome, heart-breaking things happen later on in the series, but…by the end of S2Ep1, I was like, “YOU’RE NOT MY DOCTOR!! *sob*” I really need to get over it and catch my ass up, though.

    Tennant goes nowhere but up. And I mean it. I continue to be astounded by the new things they throw at him and the way he handles them.

    And I watch Torchwood, because John Barrowman? HOT.

    But my real guilty pleasure is Avatar: The Last Airbender

    I saw it for the first time at a nerdy college party where we marathoned the first season, and now I can’t get enough. There are NEW EPISODES all week long all the way to the series finale this week! All the way to the very end! I’m SO EXCITED!

    For a cartoon. I’m excited for a cartoon. A Nickelodeon cartoon…

    *runs off to watch*

    Heeeeeeeee!

  80. “For a cartoon. I’m excited for a cartoon. A Nickolodean cartoon…”

    BUT IT’S AVATAR.

    AVATAR IS AMAZING. FEEL NO SHAME!

  81. (of course, I actually really love cartoons anyway, and feel this country is only beginning to understand the fact that they are a valid form of entertainment for adults, and if I had art talent I’d have learned to make them instead of getting a degree in English/Writing… so I may not be the best person to tell you never to fear cartoonlove)

  82. Doctor Whooooooo <3

    Season Two was a little bit terrible and I spent almost all of Season Three wanting to beat the Doctor for mistreating Martha, but Season Four has been rocking my socks off.

    (I haven’t seen the last two episodes. I’m a little scared to. D:)

    I think I might have some of you beat in the dorkitude department, though — I love new Who, but I love old Who even more. (I even have a certain fondness for Adric…)

    Oh, and I watch Project Runway obsessively. I visited New York recently and saw the Hershey’s dresses they made and squeed a little

  83. but it would have fucking haunted me, the way that rule of thumb about only weighing 5 lbs. above 100 for every inch you are above 5 feet haunted me for years.

    You know what screwed me the hell up when I was a young teen? Hearing about that fucking “pencil test”….you know, that “if you can hold a pencil with your boob, they’re too saggy…but if the pencil falls, they’re fine”. I could hold a pencil with my boob when I was THIRTEEN. I wore a b cup in the sixth grade. Seriously, they were huge (I wasn’t even fat yet, but I sure thought I was) and it just wrecked me….I HATED my boobs and could barely stand to look at myself sometimes.

    When I was about sixteen, I saw a Playboy spread of the Barbi Twins (you know, in the nineties…when they still had non-perky boobs? For all I know they’ve gotten implants since then but wev.) I almost cried when I saw that picture, because their boobs were like mine, and I realized I was normal. I had normal girl boobs…they weren’t “floppy cause I was fat”, I was just normal.

    Sorry for the tangent, I just had to get that off my chest. Pun definitely intended.

  84. vivelefat, I’m with you. I’m in love with all the trashy summer reality TV, ESPECIALLY So You Think You Can Dance and Legally Blonde… but also Project Runway, Shear Genius, NExt Food Network Star, Design Star, etc.

    And yes, wtf are we supposed to do tomorrow night? I’m totally picking SYTYCD over PR, but then I can’t gossip with my boss about it in the morning.

  85. You know what screwed me the hell up when I was a young teen? Hearing about that fucking “pencil test”….you know, that “if you can hold a pencil with your boob, they’re too saggy…but if the pencil falls, they’re fine”.

    Okay, I had totally never heard of this, but upon reading this HAD to know if I could hold a pencil with my boob. I totally can. I now feel inclined to carry all my pencils this way. I can’t believe I never had this totally awesome idea for keeping a pencil on me at all times. How is this a bad thing? This is the most awesome boob talent I’ve ever encountered with myself. I CAN CARRY A PENCIL UNDER MY BOOB!!!

    Also, I’ve never given a fuck if my boobs wind up saggy. I luff my boobs however they want to be. *boob luff*

    of course, I actually really love cartoons anyway, and feel this country is only beginning to understand the fact that they are a valid form of entertainment for adults

    AMEN!!! Animation is so valid! Sooo much! I constantly feel the need to explain this to people who think that people who watch anime are watching children’s television. Or whatever.

  86. Melena: I’ve started mocking the “pencil test” publicly by performing how I fail the (made-up-by-me) “bottle of water” test. I swear, if this web thing doesn’t work out, I have a great future smuggling crack with my boobs. It was totally enlightening to me when I saw, at a women’s festival, boobs that looked like mine. I was like, hey, I have boob twins!! Maybe I’m not a freak!

    I’m feeling bad that I left BSG, one of the most brilliant shows on TV, off of my list before. Starbuck, I love you!

    And, uh, yeah, I was less-than-happy (or sobbing) about the end of DW season 4.

  87. Oh God, Avatar is so good, y’all! And new episodes, finally! (Admittedly, I cheated and watched through the first four episodes they’re showing this week on-line a couple of months ago. But its still been a long time, damn it. Thank God they’re doing them all in a week.)

  88. karen thanks for the tip on the doctor btw.

    and i am cracking up about ur boob tests karen and time machine omg yes an excellent way to carry all sorts of things :)
    melena i used to worry about that a lot too. i dont worry nearly as much. in part, shallow as it seems, because i’ve discovered that it seems men are just so fucking overjoyed to get any kind of access to boobs. and also that all the natural behavior of boobs is apparently quite attractive to men, at least some men, obviously i haven’t checked with them all :)

    but it just goes back to that thing i think kate said, about how everyone is attractive to someone, so all that stuff that worries us – there are people out there who dont mind it or even love it.

    and time machine – as for animation, YES!!! i work in computer animation and i am interested mostly in entertainment for grownups, not so much for kids, and i think there is a LOT there. and alot of different styles as well, that people don’t realize.

  89. i didn’t know about the pencil test until college, which is when i saw it demonstrated under highly inebriated circumstances.

    (if it makes you feel better, melena, the explanation i was told was that women who can’t hold up a pencil don’t need bras. not that that’s true, either, but at least there is a (sort-of?) more breast-positive interpretation of the test!)

  90. (Admittedly, I cheated and watched through the first four episodes they’re showing this week on-line a couple of months ago. But its still been a long time, damn it. Thank God they’re doing them all in a week.)

    ((me too – and they waited forever! What was up with that? I mean the episodes released on DVD before they aired! WTP?))

    as for animation, YES!!! i work in computer animation and i am interested mostly in entertainment for grownups, not so much for kids, and i think there is a LOT there. and alot of different styles as well, that people don’t realize.

    Oh, totally. A lot of people were mentioning a few blog post back the work of Stufio Ghibli and Miyazaki (as an exampled of children’s cartoons with strong female protagonists – which YES. TOTALLY), and I feel inclined to point out that the only Miyazaki film which still has never made it across the oceans? A little movie called Only Yesterday, whose protagonist is in her 30s, and which deals with her thinking back to what it was like growing up as a little girl in the 70s, what she wanted, where she is, and whether she has any regrets. And while I’m not quite sure I approve of the way it’s resolved, I did enjoy it. And the reason I think it’s not in the US? It’s for adults. It is definitely catered towards people the age of the protagonist. And I think they just don’t know if they can find a market for a quiet little non-action-y soft movie for adults that happens to be animated.

    Anyway…

    AVATAR!!!

  91. (soon after that i came across the definition of “pencil cleavage” in my geology textbook. HA!)

  92. Dear gods and monkeys, you people are SUCH my soul sisters (er, and brothers? I dunno how many dudes we get here… I’m sorry, I’m ignorant).

    BUT.

    I DID IT.

    Yes. I now have a FA/ HAES/ feminism/ spirituality/ folklore/ cartoons/ whatever blog. Please catch me on LJ now and again. I’ll still be here, but all the off-topic tangents I’m dying to talk to you awesome people about will be there.

    http://sugar-for-sugar.livejournal.com/

  93. This is the most awesome boob talent I’ve ever encountered with myself. I CAN CARRY A PENCIL UNDER MY BOOB!!!

    LMAO. Dude, this has got me thinking. I wonder what other sorts of things I can hold with my boobs? Guitar hero controller? Magic 8 ball? I MUST FIND OUT!! *prepares for strange looks if bf catches me doing this*

  94. SugarLeigh, is that a papillon in your LJ icon? My parents have one; he’s a bit of a handful, but adorable. Mind if I friend you? (I’m LadyVorkosigan on LJ).

  95. What’s also awesome is being able to carry a wad of cash between your boobs and it doesn’t fall out. It’s like having your own personal vault.

  96. In HighSchool I often kept my pager between my boobs (clipped on my bra) when I was wearing outfits with no pockets. Let me tell you, you think vibration in your pocket can surprise you? OY.

  97. God, I didn’t know there was a show for the LB musical.

    I’m very anti that musical. I’m also anti the upcoming Shrek musical. I think some movies should just stay exactly that. Just because a movie was good doesn’t mean we need a Broadway show version.

    Though I will confess, I’ve seen Spamalot twice. The second time was because my friend was visiting; she and I used to sit and watch American Idol every week when Clay Aiken was on (he recently spent about 5 months in Spamalot – and was really good).

    I too use my cleavage as a purse.

  98. SugarLeigh, I’m friending you as well. (I rarely talk about FA in my LJ, but feel free to friend back or not as you wish.)

  99. I have to back up because this talk of Groomer and doggie fashions forces me to admit the truest Reality TV obsession I had was 3 years ago, when I became completely obsessed with What Not To Wear. I LOVED it. I needed it.

    I’d always felt I didn’t have the choice – as SM put it – to perform femininity: that my large pores and roundness and facial hair precluded me having femininity at all, without it being like I was wearing drag. I was unduly traumatized by Fantasia as a child. ( Hippo in Tutus. Anyone else with the hippo/tutu trauma? )

    Anyway. WNTW taught me that it was accessible, and that if I did it following some basic aesthetic ideas, I could wear clothes that made me feel good. They were also the first people I’d EVER heard that said “change the clothes, not the body”. Without them, I wouldn’t have tried for fatshion, because I would have worn a bad shirt and thought it was a personal indictment.

  100. SugarLeigh, I’ve friended you on LJ, but perhaps I should have asked first? I usually do ask, not sure what I was thinking there…

    My breasts could carry pencils for me before I got out of grade school, when I wasn’t fat but thought I was. I also have shoulders like a linebacker, which is kind of a good thing, because everyone I know built like me who doesn’t has serious trouble with backaches and considers reduction surgery, but I particularly hate pictures of me from the back because I just look huge (from the front the breasts distract from the linebacker effect).

    there’s a new episode of Simon’s Cat up on You Tube:

    Thank you thank you thank you! I had not seen this before and it is life enhancing. (Laughter makes you live longer.)

    We don’t currently get cable TV, so my guilty pleasures are more along the lines of fan-made music videos, like the one for Spirited Away to the tune of Coldplay’s clocks, or the dozens of Raven videos (from Teen Titans) to songs by Within Temptation.

  101. I swear, if this web thing doesn’t work out, I have a great future smuggling crack with my boobs.

    When I was younger I was a total pothead. When I used to score weed I’d stash it under my boob on the drive home.

    MY BOOBS ENABLED MY YOUTHFUL DELINQUENCY

  102. <i?my guilty pleasures are more along the lines of fan-made music videos

    At least you’re just watching them, I’ve MADE them. And will probably make more. I love video editing, and when you don’t have original footage (or, since I got Final Cut Express – if you want an excuse to play with crazy effects) it’s pretty fun.

    I’m halfway through like three projects right now that I really need to finish, seeing as it’s been like half a year since I posted anything new.

    Yeah…

    *hides*

  103. As far as reality tv goes I watch Changing Rooms and when it was still on Ground Force ( I wanted Alan Titmarsh in my garden … sob!)
    I am a huge whovian – my favorite Doctor was the Seventh- but I will say that Tennant is doing a smashing job as Ten. Personally the end made me cry but not near as bad as when the Fourth doctor just left Sarah Jane ( similar circumstances falling in love alien/human issues) He just left her – no tearful good bye on a beach or anything.
    Or maybe I am just really that cold and emotionless to have watched it ( ok I cried about Donna … LOVED DONNA NOBLE…) and thought well that is the only way it will work and not be a horrid heartbreaking mess in the end.

    Love me some Torchwood… John Barrowman is HAWT!!! That and I love Ianto and well makes the hubby all misty eyed as he grew up in Wales- town called Llanelli – which is up the coast from Cardiff… or is that down the coast?

    As far as the boob test? When I followed the Grateful Dead ( 6 years till Jerry died ) and then Phish – My cleavage was the stash spot for all the illicit substances being snuck in.
    This would include your smoking substances and certain types of fungi as well as a small pint of something alcoholic. I was a walking cleavage fun zone !! Even when they started patting people down, I could still make it in with all that amongst the “girls”.
    hmmm good times good times

    My husband is a cartoon nut so I will have to tell him about this Avatar of which you speak.

    BTW sugarleigh I friended you on LJ

  104. fan-made music videos

    At least you’re just watching them, I’ve MADE them

    Hey, you’re doing something creative; I’m sitting there zoning out. Various friends have been after me to watch the new Doctor Who; your videos may tip me over the edge. My favorite was always Tom Baker; Jon Pertwee was a close second.

    Another shameful indulgence is cartoons from my youth – Jonny Quest (the ones from the sixties, not the sequels) has held up tolerably well, but there really is no excuse for Speed Racer when truly excellent stuff like Kenshin and Miyazaki’s movies are around.. Except for the nostalgia thing, but even that doesn’t excuse tracking down ALL of the Speed Racer episodes…

  105. Sorry about that everybody! I went to bed after I posted about the new LJ, because I went out of town the next day– and then went out of town the next day, hence the late response to everything. Hope people see this. *whoops*

    re: friending– yes, by all means, please do! Everyone who would like to is free to friend/watch/whatever. I’m honored! You don’t need to ask first. When new people friend I like to at least get a “hi, friended you” so I know they are there, but you’re all exempt from that cuz you said so here. :)

    re: icon– yes, that is Eponine (Eppy for short), my Papillon. I can’t access the ‘net from my own computer right now because I’m still in the weird living situation with the folks, so I just took a pic I had of her and cropped it so there was something there. She’s the best dog I’ve ever, ever had, and I love her to bits and pieces. :D You can see her on Dogster if you’re a Dogster sort of person. XD

    Thanks everyone! Now maybe I’ll stop sidetracking in threads here (er… as much, anyway… lol!)

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