Friday, December 31, 2010

Report States that 16 and Pregnant Helps Prevent Teen Births

Can the controversial MTV reality show actually be good for America's teens?

According to Reality Blurred, a report has come out that states that the MTV show 16 and Pregnant is partially responsible for the current decreased teen pregnancy rate.

Reportedly, teen pregnancy dropped significantly in 2009, the year that 16 and Pregnant premiered. Additionally, a survey by The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy found that a high percentage of teens stated that the show helps them understand the challenges of teen pregnancy. It also noted that teens are better able to understand what it would be like if they got pregnant, based on seeing what the teens on the show go through.

While I can see how this information could be reported (if you survey teens who watch and enjoy the show 16 and Pregnant), I am absolutely not ready to credit it with significantly reducing the teen pregnancy rate. Here's why:

- Word came out that Amber Portwood, a star of 16 and Pregnant and the sequel Teen Mom, makes $280,000 a year. So, let me get this straight. A girl who gets knocked up and hits her boyfriend is awarded with fame and fortune? If that's not glorifying teen pregnancy, I don't know what to think.

- Being a pregnant teen gives teens something to aspire to: television stardom. I am absolutely not saying that 16 and Pregnant encourages teen pregnancy, but I wouldn't flip this the other way and say it prevents it, either. (This is similar to how I feel about the Forever 21 maternity clothing line.)

- Other factors have also been reported to positively affect teen pregnancy. For example, the economy has also been cited as a reason for the reduction. A decrease in the overall fertility rate has also been noted as a factor.

I'm not saying that 16 and Pregnant doesn't scare teens out of pregnancy. I'm sure it does. I'm also sure that it has convinced some teens to be more careful about pregnancy. However, I don't think we can truly attribute a significant reduction in US teen pregnancies to the MTV reality show.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Reality Star Brittanya O'Campo Sent to Jail

Fame may have helped Amber Portwood out of jail (although it also put here there), but it can't do the same for Brittanya O'Campo, the promiscuous participant from VH1's Rock of Love, Charm School and I Love Money.

Brittanya, who has a bit of a shady past, was sentenced to six months in jail for attacking a woman in 2008 with a pimp cup. Yes, a pimp cup. Classy, right?

Brittanya was kind enough to let us know via Twitter that she's only allowed to receive postcards in jail - no letters or packages. You know, just in case you want to send her love notes. (Although I bet a lot of people probably do.)

I would be lying if I said I'm not a Brittanya fan, because I definitely am. That doesn't mean I condone her behavior. I think she's kind of a mess, and that's why I love watching her on television. But that doesn't mean her actual decisions are any good. For example, hooking up with Mindy's man on I Love Money wasn't cool, but it made excellent television. However, this was a terrible incident, and I feel for the victim and Brittanya's son, who will be without her for six months.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Amber Portwood: Teen Tragedy or Trainwreck?

Amber Portwood's had a tough few years. Ever since her appearance on Teen Mom, and maybe even before, she's been a drama magnet.

First, she and fiance Gary got engaged...and broke up...and got engaged...and broke up.

Next, she and Gary broke up 'for good' and Amber met a boyfriend...who just got out of jail.

Then, she was convinced for hitting fiance Gary Shirley in front of daughter Leah on camera. That caused her to get her daughter taken away into state custody, then get charged with a felony. She went as far as to claim that producers told her to hit Gary because she was boring and needed better ratings, but producers denied the charges. Besides, that claim didn't work when a woman on Bridezillas claimed that the producers made her act like a fool, which in turn violated her probation. She has pleaded not guilty.

Somewhere mixed in with this, Amber failed her GED, lost her job and a multitude of other things.

I wouldn't go as far as to say that Amber's the most dramatic Teen Mom - Farrah certainly brings her share of the madness. However, I feel bad for Amber in a way that I don't for Farrah. Amber seems seriously misguided, whereas Farrah's just a brat. Amber goes wrong in so many ways, but she really tries to get her head above water.

So, this brings up the question: Is Amber Portwood a teen tragedy whose life went terribly wrong, or is she just a trainwreck who let us enter her messy world when we watched Teen Mom?

Update: Perez Hilton recently announced that Amber earns a salary of $280,000 for being on Teen Mom. I'm not sure her life is so tragic...this may have pushed her towards trainwreck status.

Monday, December 27, 2010

I Finally Watched an Episode of Bridalplasty

I finally watched an episode of Bridalplasty, and I must admit that I am both horrified and addicted.

The most notable thing about Bridalplasty is that you don't need to watch the full season to understand what's going on. The episode came on TV, and without even missing a beat, I completely understood the plot (compete in challenges to win plastic surgery before your wedding), the structure and the personalities.

Here's what I got out of the episode:
* Most of the girls on the show are not ugly. Not in the least. Are they insecure? Obviously. But most of them are pretty enough to be on TV...which means they genuinely are pretty. Most of the problem for some of them is being overweight, not ugly.

* Kristen is nice, but is slightly misguided. I feel bad for her getting into a fight with Jenessa, who is a major manipulator. Kristen wins major points for apologizing, even though Jenessa didn't deserve it.

* Janessa is a major manipulator...but actually believes what she says. When she turned everybody against Alexandra in an act of master manipulation, she acted like she was actually doing something good by 'getting rid of the manipulator.' But between those phrases, she admitted to being a manipulator herself!

* Some of the girls were amazingly nice. When the girls gave up their chance for surgery so Allyson could have liposuction on her arms, that was really nice, and clearly meant a lot to Allyson.

* Girls put together in a large group will be catty and bitchy. But you already knew that.

On another note, is it really safe to have so much plastic surgery in a short amount of time?

I highly doubt that it's healthy to have all of this lipo and other stuff done - and what will happen to the lipo-ed girls if they gain weight again? Will their faces and toes get super fat or something?

The whole show is a raging mess, and I'm so opposed to the concept. Your fiance and families love you as you are - why risk your life before your wedding? I get it - the winner gets loads of surgery and is "perfect" at the end, but she's also showing the world the problem with shallowness is society.

Hugh Hefner is Engaged to Crystal Harris!

I bet Holly Madison is having a very angry Christmas season.

Why? Hugh Hefner, the man Holly wanted to marry and procreate with, is engaged to current girlfriend Crystal Harris. Not only does Crystal share Holly’s look (although Crystal will deny it), she stepped in as the number one girlfriend after Holly was given the boot from the Playboy Mansion.

So what does Crystal have that Holly doesn’t? She seemed to be less marriage and baby obsessed…and she’s a bit younger. She was also a bit more relaxed – she seems like she pretty much goes along with whatever Hef wants…not because she has to, but because she wants to.

All the best to Crystal and Hef – their age difference is huge but I hope they have some good years together. On the morbid (but good for Crystal) side of things, Crystal stands to inherit a whole bunch of money from this marriage. I believe she does love Hef, but she also probably realizes that she’s got plenty of youthful life to live after he bites the dust. She could feasibly be single again in her mid-thirties and start having babies then. Then again, she’s not Holly, so maybe she doesn’t even want kids. What matters is that Crystal and Hef are happy, and I believe they genuinely are. After all, she didn’t jump ship when her season of The Girls Next Door failed miserably, so she’s in it for real, not just for the fame (ahem, Shannon twins!).

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Jersey Shore: They Get More and More

I wonder if the cast of Jersey Shore had any idea of their future when they signed on for the first season of the series.

Did Snooki, Pauly D, Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino, Angelina, J-Woww, Ronnie and Sammie know that they'd skyrocket into fame, fashion lines and multiple spin-off series? Not to mention the phrases they coined, like my personal favorite, GTL. (I can't keep up with it, though. I've only got the occasional G, no T, and lots of L, but whatever.)

First, we heard that Angelina was getting a spin-off show. This makes sense, because we can't send her back with the Jersey Shore cast when she keeps walking out every season.

Then, Mike "The Situation" graced (or at least showed up on) our television sets with his moves on Dancing With the Stars.

Now, Pauly D has an MTV spin-off in the works. The topic of the show is a secret, but reports note that it's probably about his deejaying.

Between the clothing, the books (J-Woww's writing one and Mike has one already),and the appearances, the Jersey Shore cast has surely brought revenue to MTV Networks and to their own pockets.

Of course, the original Jersey Shore stars and MTV networks aren't the only groups benefiting from the Jersey Shore fame. New cast member Deena Nicole Cortese, the newest cast member of Jersey Shore (taking Angelina's place), is walking into ready-made fame. Also, the stars of spin-off shows such as "The Persian Version," another MTV creation, will be benefiting when they eat their slice of reality pie.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Teen Mom 2: Has MTV Gone Too Far?

Teen Mom 2 is premiering Monday, January 11, 2011 on MTV. On this version of Teen Mom, we’ll see a new set of girls from Sixteen and Pregnant battle their way through teenage motherhood.

From what I’ve heard, this show was in the works way before the first season of Teen Mom hit its later round of controversy (Amber’s loss of custody), so it had been planned for some time.

I’m unconvinced that Teen Mom 2 is a great idea. I’d rather continue watching Maci, Amber, Farrah and Catelynn in their struggles. We, as viewers, have connected to these girls, and they got involved in the Sixteen and Pregnant / Teen Mom franchise before they knew what the public response would be. The girls now are facing the same struggle, but they know what to expect from the television exposure. It just seems less real.

Here's the thing - I understand that MTV is a business, and the 16 and Pregnant / Teen Mom franchise brings in major cash. So why would they stop? Television isn't about morals - it's about money. Advertising dollars. Revenue. Cold hard cash. So I get why MTV is keeping up with this inexpensive programming. That doesn't mean that I have to agree with it, though. (Not that the participants are upset, I'm sure - their payments for appearing on TV are great for helping them raise their kids.)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Amber Portwood Regains Custody of Daughter Leah

Remember when Amber Portwood lost custody of daughter Leah Shirley?

Amber regained custody of her daughter.

Apparently, Amber's new apartment was determined to be suitable for Leah, and she was allowed to regain custody of her daughter.

Good luck, Amber and Leah!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Downsized: Still Not Feeling It

For some reason, I keep watching Downsized on WE TV, despite the fact that I can't stand the show.

I feel like the show just keeps getting more and more obnoxious. It's not the kids - they're fun to watch and seem like well adjusted young adults. It just drives me nuts that Todd forces the kids to hand out fliers to the neighborhood houses, even though it's hot out. And the fact that Laura forced her kids to clean houses with her. Wouldn't it be more profitable to have the kids get jobs of their own?

I get it - this is all for TV, which is why it drives me so crazy. Would the family really have the kids handing out fliers in the heat if not for the show? Maybe not. Would the kids be cleaning houses? Also, maybe not. I still feel as if the television show (which will ultimately save the family financially) is forcing the kids to be more involved in the financial situation than they need to be.

On this week's Downsized, we watched...well...nothing. Laura found out her MS is under control (which is fantastic; even though I think the show is a mess I do hope she remains healthy) and we watched the kids be bored. I still wonder - wouldn't it be healthier for all of the kids (except Danielle, of course) to get jobs and then do their summer activities? In the current scenario, the kids are sitting at home and wasting their time all summer. How is that productive?

This week, we watched the kids explore the world of dating, which seemed about as real as the movie Shrek. I can practically hear the producers saying, "Okay, Whitney, pretend your brother's into your friend Shania!"

In any case, I think the show is ridiculous and is unfair to the kids, but whatever. I keep watching it, so what can I really say?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

On the Final Episode of I Love Money 4...

Brooklyn won the role of Paymaster in the I Love Money finale, winning him a spot in the finals.

It was actually touching when Brooklyn gave Mindy her check - he told her she plays with her heart. He admitted that if Mindy wins, she deserves it. Also heartfelt was the moment when Brooklyn let one of his competitors leave the game. That player was Punisher. I am glad Punisher was sent home because he's been playing people throughout the whole game. He's been manipulative and evil. That being said, I think Hot Wings has been acting like a child lately, and she might have deserved it more.

I think Brooklyn's move was strategic. While he said that Hot Wings could beat him in the game, he probably knows that Punisher could beat him, whereas he might be able to beat Hot Wings. However, he said that Hot Wings needs the money more than Punisher, and I do believe that.

Punisher, proving why he should go home, had a total hissy fit when Brooklyn sent him home. It was pretty brutal, but Brooklyn did what he had to do.

The final competitors had to come through an obstacle course like challenge where they had to find coins in order to get to the next step. At the end, the competitors had to put together a puzzle, and Mindy completed it first. Her victory was announced, and Brooklyn gave her a huge hug. It was amazing that Brooklyn was so happy for Mindy.

Meanwhile, Hot Wings went off about how much she hates Mindy and Mindy stole the game from her. She cried and acted like a spoiled brat. It was disgusting.

I am so glad Mindy won. I've been Team Mindy the whole way, and she totally deserved this.

Note: We learned that Mindy has a twin sister Cindy. Wow, matchy names!

TEAM MINDY! MINDY WON I LOVE MONEY!!!

Real Housewives of New Jersey Spinoff: Chris and Albie Manzo

Albie and Chris, Caroline Manzo's sons, are getting a television show spinoff.

The Real Housewives of New Jersey kids made a splash on The Millionaire Matchmaker, and television producers took notice.

I'm not sure how exciting a show about Albie and Chris Manzo will be, but I'm about a zillion more times likely to watch this than I will be to watch Danielle Staub's television shows.


Sunday, November 28, 2010

Sister Wives: The Honeymoon

It's a bit late, but I finally watched the Sister Wives honeymoon episode.

Kody and Robyn's honeymoon wasn't anything notable. What was notable was the other wives' reactions to Kody's extended absence.

If you've been following Sister Wives, you know Kody & Robyn's honeymoon was for eleven days. The other women only got 3 or 4 day honeymoons. Because of this, they were jealous.

I can see the situation in two distinct ways.

First, your perception is your own reality. As such, the first three wives are allowed to be jealous that they got short honeymoons and Robyn got an extended one. I can see how they'd feel less special, especially after Kody didn't care what they wore to their weddings, and he made a big deal out of his marriage to Robyn. They are obviously hurting, especially since Kody married the three of them within three years, and Robyn's coming in years later.

On the other hand, Robyn is entering the relationship at a later time. It's been a while since Kody's last wedding, so he's probably very excited about welcoming Robyn to the family. Plus, Robyn is pretty. I am not saying anything negative about the other wives, by any means, but Robyn probably excites Kody in a new, fresh, young way. She's not seen as the mom of his kids, because she's not. She's not a disciplinarian or mom to his kids, in his eyes - she's new, fresh and exciting. Plus, when he married the first three women, that was in quick succession - honeymoons and weddings didn't have the same unique appeal. Now, years later, that whole situation is new again.

On another note, I got a kick out of Kody's comment about how animals are polygamists. I don't disagree, by any means, but it was amusing.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Leah Shirley - Daughter of Amber Portwood and Gary Shirley - Is Now a Ward of the State!

Things are going from bad to worse for Teen Mom's Amber Portwood.

Gary and Amber had to go to court, and it turns out that neither is a fit parent for daughter Leah.

Amber must wait six months before even filing for custody of her daughter.

Teen motherhood is rough, and hopefully Amber's public struggles will eventually come to a positive resolution. Hopefully, the family's struggles will teach other prospective teen moms that being a young mother is not easy, and that safe sex is much better than teen pregnancy.

What's especially notable about Amber is that she's the teen mom out of the bunch that had multiple pregnancy scares after Leah was born. Let's be grateful that she hasn't gotten pregnant again yet, as she's clearly not able to handle Leah, let alone another child as well.

I Love Money: An Eating Challenge

This week on I Love Money, the contestants had to eat as much as they could, and the person who gained the most weight won.

Punisher immediately knew what to do, and in an effort to keep Brittanya in the game, let her in on his secret: drink a ton of water. Punisher was right, and his water drinking landed him in first place and earned him the role of Paymaster.

Brittanya did not listen, and she gained the least amount of weight. By the nature of the challenge, she was sent home immediately.

During the vault session, the I Love Money contestants didn't even try to pick who would go in the box - they just let Punisher choose. When he arrived, Mindy stated her case about why she should stay, and was granted freedom from the box. The three remaining contestants - Hot Wings, Brooklyn and Six Gauge - went with Punisher to the elimination challenge.

The first check went to Brooklyn.

Then, in a very rude way, Six Gauge had his check voided.

I was not happy to see Hot Wings stay. She's been acting like a child lately. She treated Mindy awfully. She should have gone home.

Team Mindy for the win!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

WE TV's Downsized: Episode 3

This week on Downsized, Laura opened up about her guilt-based spending. She received a $1,000 bonus, and with that, bought everyone new clothes. While this is a very nice, she did admit that it was misguided. After all, it could be better spent on food or rent. She also later admitted that she's still spending cash on gourmet coffee, which is a major no-no for a family in debt.

Later, the coffee issue was further addressed as the family tried to make coffee drinks on their own - which mom Laura turned down because they didn't taste good, and said it was a waste of money to try when she could just spend $30 a week on coffee at Starbucks or another coffee shop. My confusion is that mom says she drinks coffee because she has MS and needs it to stay awake - so why does she need fancy coffee drinks? Why not plain old home brewed coffee? In any case, Todd ended up magically fixing the situation by buying a make-your-own frozen coffee drink and reusable cup, and Laura all of a sudden said everything felt right.

Laura, at first, refused to pull Danielle out of cheerleading, despite the cost of $145 a month. If she wanted Danielle to stay in cheerleading, she should have saved her bonus for this - it could have covered several months of cheerleading practice. Todd disagreed with keeping Danielle in cheerleading, and Laura ultimately had to pull Danielle out of it.

Bailey and her boyfriend Johnny faced a non-monetary problem (which later became monetary) on this week's Downsized. Johnny was getting a D in math, so his mom wouldn't let him go. As it works in the world of reality TV, Johnny pulled his grades up and was then able to go to prom. Then, Bailey admitted that while she was previously excited, she then wasn't sure how she felt. Then, more reality TV drama occurred - prom was sold out. I'm not convinced that prom can sell out, but whatever. Maybe it can at Bailey's school. Bailey later admitted that the real reason she didn't want to go to prom was because of the expense. Bailey and Johnny ended up electing to go on a special date instead of prom, and as it always magically happens on this show, everything worked out great.

The boys had to give up baseball because it was too expensive - but my question is, why can't they get jobs to pay for their summer sports? Then they can have both their summer sports and a sense of responsibility. I just don't understand whey they can't find part time work.

On a positive note, Todd stepped it up and started spreading the word about his new construction company. I believe this link leads to the company, by the way - Stone Canyon Construction. Also, Laura signed up to tutor students to bring in extra cash during the summer.

Todd finally owned up to the fact that it was time to ditch cable and eating at restaurants. He then also had to own up to the fact that he'd been screwing up for the last several months by not getting rid of these expenses.

I realized what a main issue I have with this show is - because of the show Downsized and what needs to be filmed to make good TV, the kids are having to become way too involved in the Bruno family's monetary problems. While the kids can't be blind to what's happening in their family, the children, especially Danielle, shouldn't have to be so involved. A notable part of this was when Danielle discussed her summer plans with her friends - this was clearly done to exploit the family's financial situation for the television audience.

I guess the only positive of this is that the family is obviously being paid for being on Downsized, and the paychecks from this will pull the family out of debt.

b

Mob Wives: Does Anyone Else See This Causing Problems?

We have Real Housewives of Orange County, New York, Atlanta, New Jersey and DC. We also have Basketball Wives, Football Wives, rich wives, Bridezilla soon-to-be wives, famous wives and people on the Millionaire Matchmaker who want to be wives. Now, VH1 is taking this one step further.

VH1 is taking on a show called Mob Wives, where we'll watch wives of jailed mob members tackle the world on their own.

I have to say, this seems to go a bit far - but who knows? Maybe I'm wrong.

First of all, this proves once again that reality TV loves Italian people. Jersey Shore brought us in, and so did The Real Housewives of New Jersey and My Big Friggin' Wedding. People eat up the Italian stereotypes, despite the fact that many people of Italian descent do not fit these stereotypes.

Secondly, this is an interesting show because it brings us into the semi-secret, semi-public world of the mob. I feel like the people on this show might get some backlash for making their lifestyles so public.

You know what, though? The people on this show will be consenting adults, and reality TV does have the knack for pushing the envelope...although this time it might be a bit over the edge.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Dear American Idol: Is It Time To Give Up?

We know who Kelly Clarkson is. We know Carrie Underwood. We may even know Kellie Pickler, with her ditzy blonde attitude. However, do we really know or care about Lee Dewyze? Not going to lie - I had to Google him to find out how to spell his name.

American Idol had its time - when it was new and fresh, and when bad singers were actually funny. (William Hung, anyone?) Now, the bad singers are just on it for the fun of some screen time. It's just not the same.

I think American Idol just needs to admit that it jumped the shark. With practically a whole new judging panel (Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez) and lots of new gimmicks (music videos and such), the show just isn't what it used to be.

The thing is, that's okay! American Idol doesn't have to be what it used to be. However, it probably shouldn't try to continue so far past its prime. Don't we want to remember American Idol as a great show? Why keep it going until our only memories are of some inappropriate judges and the same old gimmicks in shiny new packaging?

Jumping the shark isn't a shameful thing - lots of shows do it. However, it's important to know when to stop, and American Idol just doesn't know that. It's time to give up, American Idol.

We'll always have Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Constantine Maroulis and Simon Cowell. We'll remember Paula before she went crazy and Randy's love of the word "Dawg." We even remember Brian Dunkleman's short career on American Idol. I almost hate to admit it, but it's time to say goodbye to the show that thrust these people into stardom. (Well, except Brian Dunkleman - I'm not convinced that he ever really got famous.) Anyway, American Idol had a good run, but it's probably time to accept that the run should be over.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

I Love Money: A Sort-Of Mental Challenge

This week on I Love Money, the castmates had to guess numbers in order to win the challenge.

During each question, the person with the furthest answer from the truth gets eliminated from the game. The winner ends up as the Paymaster.

The first question in the paymaster challenge was to guess the combined weight of all of the remaining I Love Money housemates. This was awful - each person had to stand on the scale and get weighed! Now all the I Love Money watchers know what each castmate weighs! Ouch, VH1, ouch!

Mindy forgot to count herself, lost the challenge, and became the dead last loser. Right then and there, she was placed in the box.

The second question was how many daisies were in a box. Brittanya said she wrote the number of guys she slept with - and came up with 101.

Punisher emerged as Paymaster, which as you know, is a dangerous thing.

In the box, there was a stalemate, so Punisher got to pick the two people he wanted to bring on his power outing. He chose Cisco and Hot Wings.

Note: Hot Wings could have been safe, but Punisher didn't like that she was strategizing with Brittanya. Brittanya, somehow, remains safe, probably because no one sees her as a threat.

On the Power Outing, Cisco told Punisher that he'd have his back, and Punisher seemed to be into it, despite the fact that Cisco vowed to void Punisher's check the previous week.

In the end, Cisco was given the boot, and Hot Wings and Mindy were allowed to stay in the competition. This was probably Punisher's best choice, although if the girls band together (which is unlikely at this point), there could be trouble for the boys.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

America Loves the Palins...as TV Stars

Sarah "I'm a Politician But I Love Fame" Palin and daughter Bristol "I'm a Teen Mom and Teen Abstinence Advocate" Palin are ruling the airwaves.

...I think it's a blessing that mom Sarah's not running the country, at least!

First of all, Bristol Palin is fighting her way through more and more weeks on Dancing With the Stars, surpassing dancers who score much higher with the judges. It looks like the teen mom who's famous for her mom's fame has a chance to take the DWTS crown. What does this prove to us? Dancing With the Stars isn't really about dancing. But we knew that.

Also, Sarah Palin's Alaska set a new record for TLC viewership. With almost 5 million viewers, this show has been a huge success for the TLC network, and commanded the most viewers of any series premiere on the network. Apparently people are okay with hearing Ms. Palin say things like, "This is so much better than being in a stuffy political office," despite the fact that we were considering voting this woman into one of the most powerful political positions in the United States.

Let's see if Sarah Palin decides to run for president in coming years. She might use her television fame to boost her campaign, or maybe she'll give up on the political game and focus on the fame.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

WE TV's Downsized: Episode 2

I truly hope that Downsized is a work of creative fiction, packaged at a reality show.

I say this because the Bruno family is looking more and more ridiculous.

During week two of Downsized, we learned about the Bruno family's spending habits. They are spending $500 a month on eating at restaurants because it makes them happy.

Say what?

You're on food stamps, filed for bankruptcy and still spending $500 a month on restaurant meals? Not only that, but the Bruno family spending a bunch of money on cable and internet. Shouldn't cable be the first thing to go?

Mom Laura also has a pretty crazy spending habit - expensive coffee. When the financial adviser criticized her coffee habit, she cried and said she has MS, and without coffee, she'd fall asleep while standing up. Here's the thing - she can still have coffee, but why can't she make it at home and bring it in? I don't think drinking coffee in and of itself is the issue - I'm imagining that Mom has a Starbucks habit or something.

The Bruno family is spending $1,695 a month in rent that they clearly can't afford, but hasn't even tried to lower their rent. Why haven't they asked their landlord for a reduction? This week, the financial adviser told them to try - isn't that something that a normal family might try right away?

Some discrepancies from week one came into light this week.

As we did not learn last week, some of the kids do have jobs. The show creatively hid this during episode 1, but now we know that the kids are bringing in some money.

Dad Todd still can do some business with his contracting firm, however, Dad doesn't do any advertising, even cheap stuff, like business cards and flyers. It's like he's not even trying! Mom Laura seems to enable this, because when the financial adviser criticized it, she said that he does work hard.

Downsized is still a good show to watch, but like I said, hopefully it's a work of fiction. I believe that it's a bit too unrealistic to be real, and it seems like the family is probably friends with WE TV producers who wanted to use their friends as pawns to make money. Likewise, the family benefits because they make money and will no longer have their financial issues. The show is interesting, but definitely is not completely honest with us.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Amber Portwood Gives Up Custody of Daughter Leah!

Amber Portwood, at the advice of Child Protective Services, gave former flame Gary Shirley custody of their daughter, Leah.

I hate to say it, but this probably a VERY good thing. Amber hits Gary and let a guy who just got out of prison move in with her and baby Leah. She's also kind of crazy, to put it lightly.

Unfortunately, Leah's the one to suffer most from this. She apparently asks for Mommy each night. The truth is, though, Amber needs to get her life back together before she can be an even remotely good parent.

I wonder what this means for the next season of Teen Mom. Will we watch Amber struggle living without Leah? Will she work to regain her stability and regain custody of her daughter? Will she end up getting pregnant again and having another baby? All of these are definitely possibilities!

While we're talking about Teen Mom, let's talk about Farrah Abraham, who plans to move to Hollywood to become a star. Wow, really? Great. So, we let girls get famous with scripted acting careers for being pregnant before turning 18? Awesome. Although it works - Bristol Palin's on Dancing With the Stars, so I guess America's into teenage motherhood.

Update: Amber's in trouble. She's being formally charged for assaulting her on-again, off-again fiance Gary Shirley in front of daughter Leah. Ouch, Amber!

The Fairy Jobmother: Supernanny for The Unemployed

The Fairy Jobmother follows the same formula as Supernanny, only it's not as good.

It's also got elements of that short lived show about fixing marriages, but like this show, it was so forgettable that I forgot what it's called.

The Fairy Jobmother brings a British woman in to help out of work families, and from the first episode, that seem to be having marital problems as well. Hayley Taylor, the Fairy Jobmother, steps in to find employment for the family and subsequently save the marriage.

The show plays on the awful situations that families go through. For example, this week featured a family who lost their home in Hurricane Katrina. Don't get me wrong - that's awful. However, this show just seems so wrong. We're watching a family who's gone through so much. I think I actually feel bad looking into their lives.

Beyond that, the whole thing is so staged. Yes, The Fairy Jobmother actually does help them, but the show is so scripted. They "discover" skills and talents that the participants possess, and magically find interviews and find the participants jobs.

This is not worth watching. Seriously, I fast forwarded through most of it and still watched too much of it.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

I Love Money: Garth Apparently Did Not Love Money Enough to Hold Onto a Stripper Pole

This week on I Love Money, the cast members had to hang onto a stripper pole over water to stay in the game.

The first one to fall automatically went home. And that person was Garth. This was not surprising, as he was the most out of shape cast member who earned his keep on Megan Wants a Millionaire by spending his hard earned cash.

Garth was a cool guy, but he and stripper poles don't mix in any capacity.

At the end of the show, Corn Fed left, pretty much as a casualty, as Paymaster Hot Wings wanted to keep Francisco in the game as a higher level target than herself.

Next week, it looks like Brittanya's going to get caught between alliances. She'll pledge her loyalty to more than one and then find out that it doesn't work when the alliances compete. Brittanya - we love you but you really don't think things through, girl!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The New Show About the Circus, Which is Aptly Named Circus

I watched the new documentary series about the Big Apple Circus, called Circus.

It's pretty good. The first installment, at two hours in length, is a bit much, but it's a good watch. On the show, we learned about the people in the circus, their lifestyles, their differences and their backgrounds.

From American born citizens to Russian citizens, we see people with different backgrounds come together. There are good times and bad times on the show. For example, we face people trying to perfect their acts, a false bomb scare and people leaving the circus before the show even opens.

A particularly interesting aspect was learning about the kids of the circus, and how they come from circus families. For the most part, they seem to love the life they inherited and not regret it in the least.

Is this show a must watch? I would say no. But is it interesting? Yes. It's done in a documentary style, rather than a trashy reality style (probably because it's on PBS), and the stunts we see are amazing.

Downsized: A New WE TV Reality Show

I watched Downsized, a new television show chronicling the life of a family who went from super rich to having trouble paying the rent.

I hate to admit this, but the show was interesting. The show brings us into the life of Todd and Laura, a couple who collectively have seven kids, five of which are Laura's, and two of which are Todd's. The family had a ton of money, and then Todd's contacting business failed, leaving the family to exist on a teacher's salary.

The show is interesting because you get to watch the family dynamic. The show portrays a tough lifestyle, but a positive family of several teenagers. You see two step-siblings with different backgrounds in the blended family interact. For example, Heather, 17, got a car from her biological grandmother, whereas Bailey, 16, did not get that same opportunity because she did not share Heather's biological grandparents.

Some of the scenes seemed a bit fake. For example, Bailey is sent to the store, and finds out that there are only $2 on the food stamp card. That seemed real - and awful. However, mom Laura's reaction seemed so insincere. "I apologize, Bailey, that must have been embarrassing." She spoke without emotion.

I also had issue with a few other things:

- If Todd's kids mom's family has so much money, why aren't they living with them? Why are their parents buying them clothes and luxuries, but not money for food? If there's so much money there, why are Todd's kids struggling?

- Why do Todd and Laura still have their wedding rings and designer jewelry? I saw Laura saying that she sold everything that she can, but I saw her with a giant diamond and Chanel earrings.

- With at least five kids ages 15 or older, why don't the kids get jobs? Honestly, I don't think kids should have to support their parents, but if the kids can't afford their own food, wouldn't it be helpful to buy their own? If each child worked at a restaurant or grocery store and could get discounted food, wouldn't that be helpful? Or at least buy their own food so Todd and Laura could focus on supporting the non-working kids and themselves?

These discrepancies may occur because WE TV wants the show to be more dramatic. For example, the family 'comes together' in later episodes and works their way back to stability. I guess if they were a normal, working class family now there would be nothing to work towards.

In any case, the concept of this show makes me feel awful, in a sense, because there are so many families struggling, and it seems like a somewhat inappropriate concept. However, I think it is good that WE TV is helping this family recover, as I'm sure they're about to make a nice paycheck for appearing on this television show.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Patti Stanger Turns Down Danielle Staub!

Patti Stanger of "The Millionaire Matchmaker" fame laughed in Danielle Staub's face when she asked for help finding a date. If you aren't aware, Danielle was the mess that graced our screens on "The Real Housewives of New Jersey."

Danielle wanted Patti's help with love, but Patti wasn't up for that. I'm not sure if Patti denied Danielle because of her crazy background and tendencies, or because she's friends with Caroline Manzo. Either way, denying Danielle is for the best because I'm pretty sure she's not a millionaire, and Patti would not want to be liable for whatever madness Danielle makes of her dating life.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

I Love Money: Brittanya Says She's Smart

Brittanya had our quote of the week on I Love Money.

She told us that for sleeping with Punisher, she's the smartest girl in the house.

Say what?

I'm a Brittanya fan through and through, but she certainly is not the smartest girl in the house. Mindy's still there, after all, and Mindy's way smarter than Brittanya.

The challenge this week was about mud slinging. The contestants had to fling balls at cutouts of each other from a pit of mud. The first person out was named dead last loser, and the last person to have a semi-intact cutout was named Paymaster.

Despite the guys trying to get Garth into the Paymaster role, Brooklyn took the lead and won. Sassy ended up as the dead last loser and guaranteed her spot in the box.

Sassy, Six Gauge and Punisher ended up in the box.

Sassy, at some point, claimed not to be manipulative. But wasn't it our Sassy last episode that set up Brittanya and Cisco in a failed attempt to save her friend Blonde Baller? That is manipulative, girl!

In the end, Brooklyn gave the first check to Punisher. Second, Brooklyn let Six Gauge know that he's safe, and the guys went wild. Six Gauge, to his credit, tried to stop the guys from gloating, since that wasn't his intention. He very kindly let Sassy go home, but instantly regretted his decision based on the way the guys acted.

We'll see how this continues next week on I Love Money!

Bethenny Frankel to Ice Skate on Television

It's been announced that Bethenny Frankel, star of The Real Housewives of New York City and Bethenny Getting Married? will ice skate on the new show, Skating With the Stars. The show will premiere on November 22nd. How do you think this will turn out?

Bethenny will compete against Motley Crue's Vince Neil, ski champ Jonny Moseley and actors Sean Young, Rebecca Budig and Brandon Mychal Smith. Note that I've never heard of most of these people, so Bethenny's sure to steal the spotlight for many viewers.

On another note, Bethenny tells us she had a terrible childhood, and I believe her. Websites are showing pics of happy baby and youthful Bethenny. Here's the thing - not having a happy childhood doesn't mean you don't smile. I'm sure she had happy moments, but that doesn't mean she had a happy childhood overall. Give her a break!

In other random reality news, Bret Michaels has been accused of, and has denied, having an affair with Tish Cyrus, mom of Miley Cyrus. If you haven't heard, Tish and Billy Ray are in the midst of a divorce.

16 and Pregnant: Is It Bad That I'm So Bored With This?

I tried watching Felicia's episode of 16 and Pregnant last night, and I just couldn't stand it.

I feel bad for Felicia, of course, since she had some tough times with her pregnancy, schooling and boyfriend, but the show is just so 'been there, done that' at this point.

16 and Pregnant, I think, has run its course. Not that it dramatizes pregnancy, because it shows the negative side of the situation, but we've seen what feels like the same episode a dozen times.

Having never had a baby, I don't fully understand the struggle of these girls, and I'm not trying to lump them together into a category, but haven't we seen enough of the type of teenager MTV casts on the show - one with lots of extra problems aside from her pregnancy? MTV - you've done enough with this show. It's time to stop.

Do you agree? Disagree?

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Teen Mom: What Does the Cast Really Make?

According to Reality TV Blurred, the Teen Mom girls make significantly less than their Jersey Shore counterparts.

Teen Mom cast members net about $60,000 - $65,000 per season, which is significantly less than the Jersey Shore cast members, who net that amount in two Jersey Shore episodes.

Before you go crying about the girls are shortchanged, keep in mind that they aren't doing so badly - that's not a bad salary for a few months of being on camera. I do hope that a trust fund is being set aside for the babies to go to college - I think the lower salary plus a college fund would be a great deal for the teen moms. (Also, it would be phenomenal for Brandon and Teresa, who adopted Carly, because they are being fantastic about being part of the show.)

Meanwhile, the show does well enough that it, and it's original series, 16 and Pregnant, will be spinning off another reality show. The premise hasn't been released, but let's hope it's not another Teen Mom series with season two or three girls - one Teen Mom spinoff is enough. (I love it, but I wouldn't watch another version of the show.)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

I Love Money: The Challenges Go Individual

The teams were dissolved on I Love Money this week.

The winner of the challenge won Paymaster. The loser automatically found their check in the box.

The game was described as psychological warfare. Each person put their hand in a giant glove, and when you mess up and move, nasty stuff got poured all you.

Punisher came out as the dead last loser. The girls and Garth held on pretty well, but the tough guys dropped out early. Brittanya won the challenge and became Paymaster, kicking trash talking Garth's butt.

Punisher was very happy that Brittanya had the power on this week's episode of I Love Money, because she has Punisher's back.

Blonde Baller was feeling the pressure. Brittanya doesn't like her, and Garth wants her out. In this episode, BB tried to appeal to Brittanya to keep her in the game. She wasn't happy about it, but she had to do what she had to do.

Blonde Baller stuck up for her honor against Punisher saying no one liked her by saying she has church at home, and while Pun may stay in the house when she leaves, she'll be in heaven in the afterlife and Pun will not.

If you've been following the hookups, Mindy and Cisco like each other, and Brittanya and Punisher have been doing whatever they do. Sassy, in an effort to save Blonde Baller, got Brittanya and Cisco to hook up. This was awful for Mindy, who was genuinely upset and didn't deserve to be hurt like this. The sick part was that Cisco said that after he hooked up with Brittanya, he wanted to go back to his girl Mindy...and he went into her bed as if nothing had happened. Fortunately, Mindy's stronger than that and stood up to Cisco.

The next day, Cisco told Punisher about the previous night's antics. He also tried to apologize to Mindy, but she's much too strong to fall for his actions. He even told the confessional that he's cheated in relationships before and is sure to do it again - what?!? Mindy definitely deserves better.

At Vault time, Punisher, Sassy and Blonde Baller ended up in the box. Blonde Baller ended up insulting Punisher's mom in her anger - mom insults seem to be her thing.

During elimination, Brittanya noted that Pun and Garth are running the house, and you could practically see the pride bursting on Garth's face. Brittanya also told the whole house that she'd hooked up with Cisco, and Mindy was not happy about this. I honestly don't think Brittanya meant to hurt Mindy by saying it, but I think Brit needs to watch her back if Mindy finds herself in the Paymaster role.

In the end, Brittanya chose to send Blonde Baller home, which made many housemates very happy - especially with the vicious way it was done. Brutal, Brittanya!

Bravo Crossover: Millionaire Matchmaker Meets Real Housewives of New Jersey

This week on The Millionaire Matchmaker, Caroline Manzo's sons were helped by Patti Stanger's matchmaking skills.

While this was clearly a cross-show publicity stunt, it was worth it. It was fun to watch Caroline show her overbearing mom side (that's what we love about her!) and watch how the dating mixer went down.

Patti took a non-traditional approach with this mixer. She told the girls that the millionaires they were dating were late, and Chris and Albie would serve them drinks in the meantime. Chris and Albie got to spend time with the women, and eventually Patti revealed that they were, in fact, the millionaires.

The dates were okay, although one was non-traditional (Medieval Times), but neither son is currently still dating his selected girl.

I'm sure this was just a big stunt to gain viewers for both The Real Housewives of New Jersey and The Millionaire Matchmaker, but if it worked, whatever...good for Bravo.

Side note: I feel like Patti's losing her touch with matchmaking with the show's participants. I'm sure she's still amazing off screen, but the on screen match-ups just haven't been working out.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Real Housewives of Beverly Hills: Less Controversial Than DC, That's For Sure!

I am unconvinced about The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. I think I like it, though.

I like what I've seen so far, which to be fair, is only half of the first episode, but I think Bravo is being safe this season. The season opener lacks drama. However, I think this is done systematically, in a way to avoid the backlash that occurred with the Michaele Salahi / Real Housewives of DC madness.

The 'situations' on the show seemed to be quirky - one housewife had two kids and four nannies, and one of the Hilton sisters joked about how she was famous before her niece Paris Hilton was famous.

I think this is a good start to a possibly good season, but I'm going to need more time to decide if I'll continue watching the show.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Real Housewives of Orange County: The Cast Has Run Out of Luck

For those who thought the drama on The Real Housewives of Orange County hit its peak with Vicki & Donn Gunvalson getting a divorce, you were sadly mistaken.

Tamra Barney and Jeana Keogh apparently got into a fight at a Real Housewives of Orange County cast party. Both wine and punches were thrown.

It seems like being an Orange County housewife is more of a curse than a blessing these days. Each and every housewife seems to have her life torn apart. Lynn Curtin and her husband went broke. The whole cast turned against Vicki. Tamra and Simon got divorced. It just isn't good.

It looks like Lauri had the right idea when she quit the show a few seasons ago. She escaped before their luck turned sour - and before Alexis joined the cast and made us go 'what?' (I'm referring to the boobs are out, but God is in mentality that she brings to the show.)

On another note, Vinny from Jersey Shore wants to be a serious actor.


Of course, this is a long shot, but Vinny is doing a guest spot on another MTV show, The Hard Times of RJ Berger. I'm not convinced this is his ticket to serious acting, but I guess it's worth a try. I mean, Vinny originally wanted to be a lawyer, but it might be hard to take him seriously now that he's been on Jersey Shore.

Look at the picture - is this really the look of a serious actor...or now, a lawyer? I'm unconvinced. Sorry, Vinny!

A Sister Wives Special will air on TLC on Halloween.

This hour long special will allow us to catch up with Kody's four wives and learn where they are today. I'm excited - I wonder if Robyn is fitting in better now.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Teen Mom's Amber is Reportedly Pregnant Again

Teen Mom's Amber Portwood is reportedly pregnant again...although Gary may not be the father.

According to Reality TV World, Gary's telling people that Amber should soon be breaking out the maternity clothes. However, friends speculate that the baby may not be Gary's, since Amber, well, you saw her date other people on the show.

Okay, Amber, WTF? This is your second publicized pregnancy scare since Leah's birth. Haven't you learned anything? Can't you see that you can barely handle one child, let alone being a teenage mother twice?

Here's what I don't get: how has Amber not figured out birth control by now? I know she failed her GED test, but she certainly should know how not to fail a pregnancy test.

If this baby is Gary's, he's in for a wild ride...yet again. Even worse, what if the baby isn't Gary's? I bet Gary would stick around and love the baby for Amber and Leah's sake. The boy needs to grow a pair and either walk out on Amber or tell her she needs to shape up...and stop getting freaking pregnant.