Sunday, September 30, 2012

So Excited! Secretly Pregnant Will Be Back Soon!

Although I find many of the pregnancy-related shows to be absolutely ridiculous, I find Secretly Pregnant on Discovery F&H to be a great show.

Secretly Pregnant follows women who aim to keep their pregnancies a secret from select people in their lives. For example, a 20-something named Danie kept her pregnancy a secret from her father because he'd said cruel things to her, like that children cost too much, make life difficult and cause heartbreak. (How horrible is that? I can't imagine a father saying that to his child!) Ultimately, the participants spill the beans, and at least from the scenarios I've seen, find peace with their situations.

The reason I like this show is because we see raw emotion. Despite the fact that the participants are on camera which can create a lot of falseness, we seem to see genuine anger, sadness and happiness as the women progress. Additionally, we see many successful women on the show, like Danie, who keep their pregnancies a secret not because they aren't capable of raising children, but because of the negativity of others in their lives.

If you are a fan of shows like I'm Pregnant And..., this is a show for you. If you like the drama of 16 and Pregnant, this may not be for you, because it's truly about the women avoiding drama, not seeking it out. For example, one participant was told that accepting her pregnancy and unborn baby will be healthy for the baby because the woman will allow herself to bond with her child. This is such a wonderful thing to hear - a woman getting and taking good advice about how to proceed with her pregnancy.

My verdict on this show? Watch it. It's a feel good show with a positive spirit, but also with enough excitement to keep things interesting.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

A Reality TV Week In Review

Some interesting, and not so interesting, things happened on reality TV this week. I'll detail some of the highlights below.

A bunch of shows were on TV this week that you should be grateful that I watched...primarily so you don't have to waste your time watching them. Most notably was Oh Sit!, in which contestants are given silly nicknames (like Amber Waves) and play a game show version of musical chairs. I know filming an unscripted show is way cheaper than filming a sitcom, but I didn't realize that networks has gotten quite this cheap...or lowered their standards quite this much.

Secret Princes made its premiere on TLC. I have one major problem with this show. Okay, I take that back. I have several problems with this show. First and foremost, the castmates (not all of which are technically princes) are on the show to find a girl that likes them for who they are, not because they're princes. Well, that's great and all, but it'll never work. Why? Because they're being followed by TV cameras. And that's just as attractive to many females as a royal title. So being normal guys? Not going to happen when you're being tracked by television cameras. Secondly, the guys made it sound like they had to go find minimum wage jobs. In a blink-and-you'll-miss-it TV moment, all the guys got jobs. OMG, so convenient!!! I think my favorite show participant is Salad. In his accent, it's supposed to be pronounced Suh-LAHD. But when the guys made up their fake names, he chose to be called Salad. Pronounced like the food. I think he'll have enough trouble finding a woman based on his height and lack of smoothness...and being named after a healthy food isn't going to help him.

Abby and Brittany continued on TLC. While I enjoyed the first few episodes of this show, it got stale really fast. It's still a good show to put on in the background, but as far as actually watching this show? It's like ingesting pure sugar for a whole half hour - by the end you've crashed out and fallen asleep.

I'm not exactly sure if this show was on this week, but a few weeks ago, I saw a show called My House, Their Money on HGTV. For the sake of this post, I'm going to assume the show lasted more than a week. This show was fun. I'm sure it's scripted in the same way that House Hunters is, but this show is great to watch. The premise of the show is that someone's buying a house, but someone else is making the down payment. So, in one episode, daughter Joanna was buying a house, but mom was paying for it, so the pair had to battle out who got their way - Joanna, who wanted a bungalow, or mom, who wanted a two story new construction. The best part of this show is hearing what the people paying for the homes have to say. One mom was making really inappropriate comments about the people in the neighborhood - it was hilarious. And so, so wrong.

Breaking Amish continued its run on TLC, and it was a fun watch. Research shows that the show's completely fake, and a real formerly Amish person thinks the people aren't acting like real Amish people would, but it's still fun to watch two girls gang up on the other and try to find her false teeth during the night. I have to say, it's pretty noticeable how mean the girls on the show are! I know they wanted to leave the wholesome Amish culture, but they display a lot of anger, bitterness and b*tchiness for girls who just left a culture where almost everything, including electricity, is considered evil. Tonight's episode will feature one of the housemate's family members coming to take him or her home. That screams 'staged' to me, but I'm sure it'll be fun to observe.

That's So 80's aired on DIY Network. The show basically follows the I Love The 80's formula. Remember when that show was big on VH1? The formula is that a concept, in this case, a home design, is introduced, and a bunch of comedians make fun of it. Most of the jokes were pretty bad, like the one where the comedian said "The Clapper? It's only second to my Chlamydia-er" or something like that, in response to the equipment that allowed you to clap your lights on and off. I think the most disappointing thing about this show is that I was expecting a lot from Joey Lawrence, but instead I got an episode full of a guy who looked like he was losing his self respect second by second as he read from a teleprompter.

Word has it that the cast of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo told TLC to show them the money if they're going to come back to television. Reportedly, they're making $4,000 per episode now, but they want $10,000. While I think that's pretty steep, Alana Thompson does make a fantastic television personality, and I'm sure that her family's bringing TLC a ton of money in revenue, so I say give it to them. I mean, June Shannon's a 32 year old grandmother - some cash would probably make it at least a little bit easier to raise her four daughters and her first grandkid. Word has it that Sugar Bear just needed some emergency surgery for an injury caused by an untreated cut, so some more income may help cover the medical bills from that, as well.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Bling It On: My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding's Sondra Celli Gets Her Own Reality Show

If you were a fan of the over-the-top attire on My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding, you'll love Bling It On, which features Sondra Celli's clothing design studio. If that name sounds familiar to you, it's because Ms. Celli designed many of the wedding dresses featured on My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding.

On this show, we get a glimpse into Sondra's creative process, including seeing her team of Blingettes, who apply gems to apparel and accessories. Sondra, who began as a sweater designer, now specializes in being creating and stepping outside the box to design one of a kind creations.

The fun part about this show is that it's like Jersey Couture and Say Yes To The Dress if a glitter factory exploded on them. No longer are we limited to Gypsy dresses or traditional wedding dresses - now we're seeing girls' birthday dresses, neon wedding dresses and more.

The most fun part of this show was seeing Sondra get a request to make a steam punk costume for a girl named Amanda. Sondra, unfamiliar with the steam punk culture, had to step out of her comfort zone to design the outfit. Sondra and Amanda had some issues because Amanda wanted her corset super tight, but Sondra knew it would fit better with a little more room to breathe. In the end, let me tell you - Sondra rocked that steam punk outfit out. Amanda looked absolutely amazing in her dress and Sondra seemed to capture her vision perfectly.

My verdict on the show? Watch it. You'll get so many creative ideas, whether you like blingy dresses, sparkly shoes or colorful Halloween costumes. And even if you don't, you'll cringe when you see neon wedding dresses and kids' dresses that probably cost more than most of us spend on groceries in a year.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Oh Sit! - They Really Will Put Anything On TV These Days

I had some time to scroll through prime time TV today and came across a show called Oh Sit! Not only is the show a thinly veiled homage to a curse word, but it's also a thinly veiled copy of Wipeout mixed with a children's game. Let's just say that I wasn't feeling it.

Oh Sit! is a combination of a couple of things:

Musical chairs: The competitors have to land in chairs, each worth a secret dollar amount, at the end of every round. They go through a circle of obstacles until the music stops, and then they have to make their way to the chairs. So, much like the beloved children's game, people run in circles until music stops, then find their way to a chair. Each time, someone's kicked out of the game.

Wipeout: Like Wipeout, the competitors have to compete in a series of obstacles to get to the finish line (in this case, a chair). Also like Wipeout, the hosts are snarky and sarcastic. As a side note - on this show, host Jessi looks a bit like Sarah Jessica Parker.

Nickelodeon Guts: Like with this vintage competition show, the contestants get nicknames and compete in a series of obstacles to be the ultimate winner. The difference between Guts and Oh Sit! is that on Guts, the nicknames were positive. On Oh Sit!, they're somewhere between weird and offensive. On this episode, nicknames included King of Tweens, Pole Dancer, Brazil Nut and Amber Waves. What's an Amber Wave, anyway, may I ask?

Who Wants to Be a Millionaire: It's like this strictly because you have to do take risks and do stuff to make money. It's a loose comparison, but it still counts, right?

Shows where random people play music: I can't think of one offhand, but this show features a live band singing cover songs. It's kind of like early episodes of American Idol - it features lots of songs, many of which aren't particularly memorable. Also like on American Idol, famous bands perform every so often.

My verdict on this show? Don't waste your time. If you're into stuff similar to Oh Sit!, put Wipeout on in the background and watch some kids play musical chairs. It'll be about 1,000 times more entertaining, and you'll at least know that some kids had a good time running in circles.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Joey Lawrence Goes Back In Time With the DIY Network

If ABC Family's Melissa and Joey isn't giving you enough Jo-Law nostalgia (My Fake Fiance, anyone?), DIY network is taking Joey Lawrence and giving us another blast from the past.

Joey will be hosting DIY's That's So 80s, a show that will take us back to some of the worst home decorating trends of the past. Think carpeted bathrooms and other cringeworthy styles that for some reason, people used to love.

I hardly imagine that this is a high-paying opportunity for Mr. Lawrence, but I have to give Joey credit for taking on this project. I can't wait to watch it - Joey's bound to provide the brand of confident sarcasm that only he can provide as we look back in shame at horrible stylings that our own homes used to sport.

And hey, even if you don't like looking at bad decorations, Joey Lawrence's muscles won't provide a bad view, so at least those are worth watching!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders, Two Kids Named Camden and More

This post is dedicated to some random stuff we're loving this week. I know there's already a post about great stuff from the week, but I guess there's always room for more!

It looks like a new trend is hitting the baby name circuit, and that's naming babies after cities in New Jersey. Kidding, kidding! Well, sort of, anyway. Just weeks after Kristin Cavallari and Jay Cutler welcomed baby Camden Jack, Vanessa Minnillo and Nick Lachey welcomed a child named Camden John. Kristin came under fire for a tweet saying how Camden's becoming a popular name these days, but she clarified by saying she loved the name and that was a compliment to Vanessa and Nick, not an insult. I think she's lying a bit on that cover up, but whatever - it's best to keep the peace in celebrity land.

Speaking of names, Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team reinforces why you need to give your kid a good middle name. I'll admit - this show is one of my guilty pleasures. It's lighthearted and poppy at times, yet you really feel for the girls when they find out that they won't be making it to  the next round of auditions. Plus, the competition's cutthroat - girls that are currently on the squad are at serious risk of losing their positions to newcomers. Aside from that, who can resist watching a show where super thin girls are called fat because they have a tiny bit of extra skin around their stomachs? It's just obscene and shows us exactly what's wrong with our superficial society.

As far as the naming thing goes, the girls are called by their first and middle names on the show. So I feel like Kelsey Lauren (a real name from the show) automatically has an advantage over someone named Lynn Ann or something.

Jessica Simpson came under fire for dressing her daughter in a yellow itty-bitty bikini. I took a look at the picture and while I'm not sure I think the bathing suit is cute in any way, I don't think Jessica deserves the controversy she's gotten for dressing her baby in a bikini. Babies hang out in just diapers all the time - adding a yellow top hardly makes things scandalous. I guess people are saying that Jessica Simpson's sexualizing her daughter Maxwell Drew, but let's get real here - the kid's less than a year old. Get your minds out of the gutters, people!

To close this out, here are some random tidbits from the week: Amanda Bynes was ordered not to drive after her multiple DUIs and hit-and-run car accidents. Sally Struthers joined Team Bynes by getting a DUI of her own. You know I love a sale, so you can save 10% on all your Zumba clothes using code SIREN at checkout. To offset the fact that it will have to charge sales tax, Amazon is setting up warehouses around the country so it can offer same day shipping to some areas. Kris Humphries may be secretly dating Myla Sininaj, despite telling friends and family that he wasn't...and they are not happy about it.

And that is it for now!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Things Worth Talking About This Week

This week has been full of drama and madness, and I think it's important to share some of the news with my readers. We've got drama over Breaking Amish, Kris Jenner madness, Tom Cruise's Vanity Fair accusations and more.

TLC's Breaking Amish has created quite a controversy among formerly Amish people. The blog X Amish Atheist has collected info about the show and has evidence to disprove its authenticity. People that know Abe, Rebecca, Jeremiah, Sabrina and Kate have noted that they'd already left the faith and any shots of them leaving the faith for the first time are fake. Some allegations have gone as far as to say that Abe and Rebecca are together and have a child together.

Aside from falsifying the participants' personal stories, people aren't happy with how the Amish are being portrayed in general and the inconsistencies in the show. For example, a 'character' who lives in Ohio is dressed like an Amish person in Pennsylvania would dress. Kate shouldn't have been surprised when her grandfather slammed the door in her face - not because she was shunned - but because that's a disrespectful thing to do to anyone who doesn't want to be on camera.

I'm sure TLC is thrilled with this publicity, even though it's negative. All publicity is good publicity and TLC just hit the jackpot.

Speaking of TLC, Abby and Brittany continues to be an adorable show. If you aren't aware, Abby and Brittany Hensel are 22 year old conjoined twins who've been featured on reality specials as they've grown up. They now have a show that features their day-to-day successes. It's so uplifting to see the girls fight against the odds and become successful young adults. So few people display the courage that these girls do, and they face more challenges than many of us do. This week, the girls traveled to London, learned how to row, had high tea and saw the sights. The show was kind of boring because absolutely nothing dramatic happens, but it's still cute and uplifting.

The Vanity Fair article about how Tom Cruise and Scientology auditioned women to be his wife has taken the media by storm. If you aren't aware, Vanity Fair published an article detailing how actress Nazanin Boniadi was chosen by a Scientology council to be Tom Cruise's wife before he met Katie Holmes. When Tom determined that she wasn't good enough, Scientology staffers told Boniadi that she'd been dumped and sent her to the Scientology Celebrity Center. When she broke down and told a friend what she'd been through, the friend told, and Boniadi was made to scrub toilets with toothbrushes and dig ditches at night in retaliation. Of course, Scientology has responded saying that this is completely untrue and all quotes sources are angry ex-Scientologists with motive to harm the religion. This is a valid point on Scientology's part, to a point, but also invalid because no one in the church would openly speak out for fear of being forced to do the same menial tasks that Boniadi was forced to do.

You can now get 10% off all of your Zumba / workout clothes at Enter code SIREN at checkout and get 10% off your whole order. If you're a clothing addict like I am, you'll love this, because Zumba clothes look so good when you're rocking out in class. Plus, you can match your Zumba pants and Zumba tops and Zumba jackets and Zumba get the idea. Actually, speaking of, if you like Zumba, I highly recommend you check out Nike Musique shoes. They're phenomenal and make Zumba so much better. You need shoes with an arch that allow for good movements, and the Musique shoes fit the bill perfectly.

Teen Mom's Catelynn Lowell and Tyler Baltierra are planning their wedding. If you didn't watch the show, this was the most down-to-earth, strong couple featured on the MTV series. Their relationship's been nothing short of tumultuous, but the pair has stuck through and they deserve all the happiness in the world. Props, Catelynn and Tyler!

I'm still laughing about Kris Jenner insulting June Shannon of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo. While I can hardly say Ms. Shannon is a phenomenal role model, Kris Jenner has absolutely no right to say she's exploiting her children. I mean, Kris Jenner is the queen of child exploitation! I hardly think her ridiculous statement will help Jenner's already bad reputation. Speaking of, did you hear how a morning talk show kept Kris' interview running through a Sept. 11th moment of remembrance? Nobody cares about Kris Jenner's boob job in general (yes, that was the topic of conversation), but it's made even worse by having that override something that's important to our country.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Dance Moms 9/11/12

This week on Dance Moms, we were treated to another week of Candy Apple's v. Abby Lee Dance Company drama.

Abby opened the episode by telling the girls that they'd be staying in California and going to the Energy Dance National Invitational competition in Beverly Hills. This was a competition in which teams must be invited to participate.

Abby continued by announcing the girls in the pyramid. Paige, Nia, Chloe and Kendall made up the bottom row. Brooke and Mackenzie took the middle row because of their perceived laziness and mistakes, respectively. Maddie took the top row.

Abby said the group dance would be disturbing, and then she announced the title - The Last Text. The dance would portray the girls having fun in the car until they have a car crash. Paige was used as the driver as a prop to look beautiful, and Maddie's acting was given the credit to make the girls win. After their first rehearsal, the girls ran up to their moms to talk about how disturbing the dance is. Christi, in her opinionated nature, thought the dance was ridiculous. Kelly was upset because Paige wasn't doing more dancing in the national competition.

Mackenzie (who'd use the Honeybee song that Vivi-anne Stein didn't do well early in the series), Maddie (who got a lyrical number) and Brooke (who was doing the Diary of Anne Frank Dance) were given solos. Nia, Kendall and Chloe were told that they'd be learning the same dance, and the best of the trio would be given a solo in the competition. Jill, of course, took issue with this because her daughter Kendall is clearly the best, in her completely unbiased opinion. (Insert sarcasm here.)

In an effort to earn Chloe the solo, Christi kept her in the studio to coach her. She got pretty harsh with Chloe. Chloe got frustrated, which got Christi frustrated, and that created a losing cycle for the pair. Jill and Kendall also practiced, but Jill took a more supportive approach. Unfortunately, Jill's intentions were selfish - she clearly wanted for Kendall to get the solo because Jill wanted the victory for herself, not necessarily for her daughter.

ALDC staffer Gianna brought her phone into the room with the moms and presented them with a tweet from Cathy Nesbitt-Stein. It said that the Candy Apple's Dance Team would be kicking Abby's team's ass. Very mature, Cathy, Very mature.

Kelly confronted Abby about Paige not having dancing of her own in the group number, and Abby went a little too far - she said Paige needs to go to a pediatrician because she's stupid. Kelly went back in the moms' room and cried. She told the women that she thought it might be time to leave. Holly told Kelly to lean on the other moms if she needs to, but she recognized that the situation with her daughter and Abby was tough to bear.

Fortunately, Kelly got some more uplifting news than she was getting from Abby. An agency found Paige's picture and wanted her to do a photo shoot. Paige agreed to participate, so Kelly took her to participate in the opportunity. Paige was dressed up like a Hollywood diva from the 40s. She looked great. It seemed like she had a lot of fun, which she deserved after dealing with all of the negativity from Abby.

The next day, Kelly and her kids chose to return, and the ever-positive Abby questioned Kelly about why she even bothered to return. Such a nice woman, that Abby!

The three potential soloists, Nia, Kendall and Chloe, all performed the songs. Each of their moms were asked to judge who should win. Of course, the moms chose their own children, which was clearly Abby's plan all along. So Abby told Melissa to choose a winner. Melissa chose Nia because she gives herself 100% to her opportunities. The moms clapped, and I agreed 100% with Melissa's choice. Jill had a hissy fit because Kendall didn't get the solo. Abby asked Melissa who she thought would score the highest, and she said Chloe. In the end, Chloe was given the solo due to Melissa's assessment. It seems that Abby knew the answer she wanted all along, even though she got to it in such a roundabout way. Chloe said that she wanted to work hard so she could make Kendall and Nia proud because they didn't get the opportunity to perform. However, she ended up getting overwhelmed and walking out of rehearsal. Christi sat with Chloe to boost her confidence, although Abby contends that Christi gets Chloe riled up before her performances.

The Competition

When the Candy Apple's team arrived at the competition, they peeked into Abby's rehearsal room and made fun of the ALDC's props. As they planned, they intimidated Abby's team. Abby, in turn, told Maddie that she intimidates Justice from Candy Apple's, and she needs to keep that up. Cathy showed some more classless behavior by saying rude things, then she barged into Abby's studio. She said that the moms from her team want to talk to Abby to prove that they hadn't been calling and harassing her. Christi started to speak up, and Cathy told Abby to put a muzzle on her.

Later, Abby went into Cathy's room to confront Justice's mom about calling her. Justice's mom denied it, although Abby insisted that she had proof that Justice's mom had called Melissa looking for information. In her speech, Tanya, Justice's mom, said she and Justice both respect Abby and her team, which was a telltale sign that she was lying and had called Abby. However, it seemed that it was for a positive reason, for Abby at least - Tanya wanted Justice to jump ship to Abby's team. Cathy went off on Tanya, and it didn't sound good.

Cathy went into the competition believing that she and her team could beat Abby's team. She and her team chanted to try to prove their dominance. While that was playing dirty, Abby played dirty right back by sending Maddie and Chloe backstage to psych out Justice.

Maddie performed her lyrical solo first. It was beautiful and well performed, as we've grown to expect from Maddie. She was so good that even Abby was pleased.

Justice was next. His jazz solo was...interesting. It was dramatic, to say the least. He was dressed up like he was bloody and torn up from a battle. Abby said she saw tons of flaws in the choreography, although Cathy thought he did great. I, personally, wasn't impressed with Justice's choreography - it didn't do his talent justice.

Brooke was third.  She performed wonderfully. Her movements were on point and she displayed a lot of emotion.

Mackenzie was next. She was cute but at this point, I think Mackenzie's better than this song. It was clearly done as revenge against Cathy, however, Mackenzie can be such a mature dancer, and this song is so childish.

Chloe's performed her contemporary solo next. Her execution was amazing. The song and dance were perfect for her. This isn't a surprise, of course, being that Abby clearly designed the solo for her. Even Holly was happy that Chloe got the solo, and that says a lot because Chloe beat Nia out for the opportunity. Christi cried after Chloe's performance, which was so sweet.

The Storm, Candy Apple's jazz group number, was next to be performed. I seriously had a "WTF" moment watching this. It was so weird. The music was weird in a bad way and the choreography was hardly amazing or original.

Kelly brought in Paige's pictures from the photo shoot, and instead of being happy for her, Abby said that Paige has too much going on. She also said that beauty fades, and directed that comment at Kelly. Ouch, that was dirty, Abby.

Abby's girls performed last. Christi feared that the topic of this dance may be too gory for a national title. I can see why - the dance definitely was dramatic. I think the best part was Christi's face as she watched the number - it was a mix of horrified and intrigued. I was definitely not feeling this number. However, I think I'm in the wrong. The crowds paused after the song, then broke into cheers. Even Cathy admitted that it was brilliant.


In the Energy Petite Solo competition, Mackenzie took first place.
In the Energy Teen Solo awards, Brooke took first place.
In the Energy Junior Solo division, third place went to Justice. Second place went to Maddie. First place went to Chloe. Go Team Abby Lee!!!
In the Energy Junior Small Group competition, the Abby Lee Dance Company took place.

The girls took home their national titles! Go, ALDC dancers!!!

After the competition, Cathy and the moms were in the hallway together. Cathy congratulated the moms on the performance, but Abby didn't like that - she thought the moms had nothing to do with it. Of course, Cathy couldn't close it out clean - she insulted Abby and insinuated that she's fat.

Following that, Kelly cried about how this was the last time she could see her kids dance because of how much she wanted to be done with Abby Lee. Instead of building Kelly up, she kept the conversation in a negative place. Ugh. Fortunately, when the girls came into the room, Abby congratulated them and put things in a more positive place.

Christi told Kelly to take some time away before deciding to walk away. Melissa even didn't want Kelly and her girls to leave. And with that, the episode ended. We got no resolution on Kelly's decision...but we certainly a cliffhanger. We also got Brooke's music video, and I hate to say it, but it was an auto-tuned mess. Which makes me a little sad considering how cool Brooke is. But you win some, you lose some, right?

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Breaking Amish: TLC's Newest Reality Series

Breaking Amish premiered tonight on the TLC network. The show features five people from Mennonite and Amish communities who move to New York City. The group, comprised of Abe, Jeremiah, Kate, Rebecca and Sabrina, brings us into the secretive world of the group's religious culture - and gives us a look at what happens when people walk away from the community.

I think many people have at least some level of curiosity about the Amish culture. We know about 'Amish country' and hear about how members of the community don't use electricity and other things that seem foreign in today's technological society. And we wonder about Rumspringa, the period in which a 16 year old Amish person leaves the community to decide whether they'd like to break away or return. With the new show Breaking Amish, TLC brings us into the world of people from the Amish community who are stepping away to live a more traditional lifestyle. And believe me, watching these people find their way is quite fascinating. likens Breaking Amish to MTV's Real World, presumably in the sense that it takes youths from different areas of the country and relocates them to a busy city and places them in specific situations. Like with Real World or Jersey Shore, you should be hesitant to believe that Abe, Jeremiah, Kate, Rebecca and Sabrina represent all Amish youths who step away from their culture.

In an interview with, Timothy Sauder, a 30 year old who left his Amish community, warns viewers to be skeptical before assuming all Amish people act like the group of five on Breaking Amish. Regarding the stars of the TLC show, Timothy stated:

I don’t think that they’re a representative group at all. They’re far more dramatic than any Amish kids I’ve ever seen, so that makes me suspicious immediately. Their way of speaking doesn’t look genuine to me. I just felt like they expressed themselves in ways that seem very scripted, like, they were told to say those things.

Early reviews of the show rate it highly, saying it's good to watch and the participants are likeable. Reviews also state the show is hard to watch because we're seeing participants being forced away from their families for choosing a televised lifestyle, making difficult life decisions and being filmed despite their lack of knowledge about reality television.

Before you say this show is exploiting its participants, keep in mind that all of the people on the show are adults and have ambitions beyond being Amish - they were not forced by TLC to agree to be filmed, despite the risks of losing their families and acceptance from their communities. Per the NY Daily News:

Kate, 20, and Rebecca, 21, think they’d like to model. Jeremiah, 32, and Abe, 22, have gotten just enough of a whiff of life outside the Amish community that they’re just missing too much by never experiencing it. Sabrina, 25, was born to Puerto Rican and Italian parents and adopted by a Mennonite family. She wants to find some sense of her biological roots.

Episode 1, 9/9/12:

The episode opened up with dramatic music and white wordings on a black screen warning us that the participants will have to make a decision to live lives in New York City or go back to their old lives - if they're even allowed to go back.

Next, we got a synopsis of the situations that would occur during the show - driving, drinking, relationships, and interpersonal conflicts.

Following that, we met Rebecca, the first of our participants. She told us how she dreams of so much more than she's getting from her Amish lifestyle. She dreams bigger than the life she'll have in the Amish community.

Rebecca was born to a woman who became pregnant from a non-Amish man, and that made her one of the only people in her community with a single mom. Because of this, her grandparents raised her. She loved and was close to them, but when she told them she wanted to go to New York, they told her to leave, and she essentially lost them forever.

Abe was next, and he admitted that he has trouble reading because education wasn't a priority for him growing up. He introduced us to his family, who seemed like the most bored looking people on earth. Following that, Abe said he hadn't had fun in two years. It made sense, judging from how unexciting his family looked. Abe's mom warned him that if he leaves the community, he'll be shunned and become an outcast. Nice, right?

Kate was third. She's the bishop's daughter, so there's a lot of pressure on her. She feels like there's something bigger in the world for her. Her dream is to be a model, a career she learned about through magazines. Instead, she lives in a world where nobody has pictures of themselves or their families and people live by a strict code. Kate's parents found out that she was filming and kicked her out, so she went down to Florida to another Amish community before going to New York for the show.

After going to Florida, Kate found a place to live, got her drivers' license and forgot to turn her lights on while driving one night. She ended up being arrested with a DUI and staying in jail overnight. She postponed her court date to hire a lawyer, so it seems that she'll have to deal with this while in New York City.

Jeremiah, who is adopted, dreamed of driving a car for his whole life. He seems resentful of the Amish lifestyle and often wonders what his life would be like if he was adopted by a non-Amish family. He's sick of being watched by the bishop and his family, who live nearby, and craves the privacy that non-Amish people have.
Jeremiah had the difficult task for telling his girlfriend Iva that he'd be leaving, despite the fact that they'd planned to marry in the fall. Iva asked what she would do because Jeremiah would be shunned, and she wondered what people think. Iva said that she didn't think her words would matter anyway and walked away.

Jeremiah was talking to the camera about how the Amish think eighth grade is enough schooling and then kids can work instead, and he saw the bishop's wife watching him. He then realized he needed to get out ASAP. He packed and left - that had to be the end of it. A quick, swift exit from the only life Jeremiah's ever known.

Sabrina, also adopted, is the only Mennonite participant on the show. Mennonites, unlike the Amish, can drive cars and use electricity. Because of her adoption, Sabrina never felt like she fit in. Kids made fun of her as a child because she's adopted, and it seems to have not gotten better - when people found out that Sabrina was considering leaving, they sent her mail saying that she was going to hell. She dreams of singing, but can't do it because in her community, it's considered showing off.

Sabrina told her best friend Rose about her plans to go to New York, and Rose was pessimistic, saying that Sabrina would give into temptation and going to New York was too much of a risk.
Sabrina confronted her parents about leaving (off camera, as her parents refused to be recorded), and while her mom was okay with it, her dad said that she needs to be a better Mennonite girl and be submissive, rather than rebelling.

My thoughts on the show

It's disturbing how people in the Amish communities discourage their members from leaving because they're 'doing the wrong thing' and 'could be shunned from the community'. Why is it that religion can dictate whether family members can associate after one member leaves the community? That sounds just as ridiculous as a mother cutting her kid out of her life if he moves out of state or chooses a different religion. Shouldn't family be stronger than that?

Some community members seem so unhappy. There seems to be so much fear of being watched or being shunned or looked down upon. Acceptance seems so volatile - you have to work so hard for it but it's so easy to lose it completely.

Women have such limited rights in the Amish and Mennonite communities. They have set roles and are expected to behave in a very specific way. That can't be easy!

The Amish are very focused on work and believe that children should only be educated until the eighth grade. To me, it sounds like that's the community's way of discouraging members from aiming for a life bigger than can be found within the community.
At the end of the show, we got some more scenes from the upcoming season, and it certainly looks like it's going to be a dramatic one. Let's just say that the participants clearly got in touch with their wild sides, so it'll be interesting to see where the show goes from here.

My verdict? Watch Breaking Amish. It's captivating and time flies as you watch the show. It's interesting to see a culture so different from our own and truly understand the struggle of some community members when they crave a different lifestyle.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Kris Jenner Criticizes Mom June From Here Comes Honey Boo Boo...WHAT?

Many people have the right to criticize or question the morals of reality show participants. However, there are a few people that can't - or shouldn't, anyway. And one of those people is reality famewhore Kris Jenner.

That's right - the woman who allegedly produced her daughter Kim Kardashian's sex tape and allows her teenage daughters to model barely-there bathing suits, had the nerve to say that June Shannon, mother of Alana Thompson is classless and exploiting her daughter for money.

I'm not saying money and fame aren't motivators for June, star of TLC's Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, but she and her daughter were handed an opportunity after being featured on Toddlers and Tiaras, and it's not like everyone's given such an amazing opportunity. I'm also not going to say Alana and family are the classiest ever, but they aren't trying to be - there's no pretenses there.

On the contrary, Kris Jenner wants you to believe that she, Kourtney, Kim, Khloe, Kendall and Kylie are the classiest people in America. Which, let's face it, they aren't. Kim had a blink-and-you'll-miss-it marriage, Kourtney and Scott Disick share their tumultuous marriage with the television audience and much more. gives us another piece of information that explains the real reason that Kris doesn't like Here Comes Honey Boo Boo: she thinks it steals her viewers. Jealous much? In any case, if this is true, doesn't it mean that Keeping Up With The Kardashians is trashy as well, if it's attracting the same viewers?

Moral of the story? People in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. Somehow, Kris Kardashian missed this life lesson along the way.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Abby & Brittany: The Hensels' Reality Show

We've met Abby and Brittany Hensel on the TLC network before, but only in specials. The pair are conjoined twins, and we watched them grow up together. If you're not familiar, the girls have two normal legs (although they're different lengths), a wide torso and two heads. They have distinctly different personalities, yet they drive as one pair, eat off the same plate and sometimes speak in unison.

In the episode that I watched, we saw Abby and Brittany take a road trip with friends. The girls were so happy and normal. It was truly wonderful and inspiring to see them love life, despite the tough cards they were dealt.

As a language person, I found it fascinating how Abby or Brittany can begin a sentence and her sister can finish it. I also enjoyed hearing one girl speak a sentence, yet both will say 'um' at the same time. And sometimes the girls will speak in union, despite having completely different brains.

The girls, while connected, have separate bodies, in a way. Abby and Brittany maintain separate body temperatures and each girl can't feel the side of the body attached to her sister. When each girl has a stomach ache, though, she feels it in the other girl's body.

The girls have personality differences, as well. For example, one of the girls is afraid of heights and the other is not. The girls also like different activities, but have learned how to compromise with each other.

On the second episode I watched, we learned that the girls shared a major in college and student taught as a pair. They originally planned to have different specializations within their education major, but it wouldn't work due to time and homework needs. During their student teaching, they used their different strengths to be the best that they can be, yet they struggled when they had to focus on different things. School staff members noted that the girls would be highly qualified to teach, but there would be contract issues, like would they earn one salary or two? They will have separate teaching licenses, yet they'll have to stay together. Complicated!

Is this show worth watching? Sure, if you're looking for some bubble gum fun and to see a positive outlook on life. You'll enjoy watching the twins work in unison, like running back when they were afraid looking off a high platform. It doesn't look like we'll be seeing a lot of tough issues on the show, as it seems to focus more on the fun stuff, so it's a good watch for the whole family if you want to relax and enjoy some time together.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Real Housewives Songs: Who Did It Worst?

While watching The Real Housewives series on Bravo used to be one of my favorite activities, I now find myself drawn to the drama that happens off the shows, like in the news and on the music charts. In this article, I'll list some of the songs sung by The Real Housewives, and I want you to weigh in on which song you think is the worst.

Michaele Salahi - Bump It: This song did not to well, and I can see why. It sounds like Michaele is growling into the microphone about being an animal or something like that. It fits her personality well - gruff and unrefined - but most people don't like her personality, which explains why they also wouldn't like her music.

Luann De Lesseps - Money Can't Buy You Class: Money may not buy class, but it also doesn't buy Luann a good song. The song was super gimmicky and ridiculous - and while it was fun to listen to for the "WTF" factor, once that passes, this song goes into the same category of Rebecca Black's Friday - a song we used to laugh about. On top of that, it's not like Countess Luann had another song to redeeem herself - Chic C'est La Vie was just as bad.

Melissa Gorga - On Display: This song definitely isn't the worst in the bunch, but I personally find it annoying because Melissa's complaining about how people are waiting for her to fall, yet she's the one who thrust her way into the spotlight. When you fight as hard as she did to become a celebrity, it's not really fair to complain about how awful the situation is. That being said, Melissa's song Rockstar is a bit catchier, and in that song, you can hear that she can sing at least somewhat well.

Kim Zolciak - Tardy for the Party: As much as it pains me to admit this, this song was stuck in my head for a while. This was due in party to Kandi Burruss' talent in creating the song. All Kim did was step up to a microphone and allow her voice to be autotuned. On the flip side, any credit I gave Kim was gone once I heard her song Google Me, as it was incredibly awful.

Kandi Burruss - Fly Above: While this song isn't my style, it's pretty decent. I can see why people like it. It's legitimately a song, not a novelty track made to boost the star power of a Real Housewife.

Gretchen Rossi - Nothing Without You: I'm a Gretchen fan, so it pains me to have to say that I can't stand her songs. Nothing Without You is probably good if you want to fall asleep from boredom, Revelation is an autotuned mess and Unbreakable just isn't good. Sorry, Gretchen!

Danielle Staub - Real Close: This song isn't completely tragic, probably due in part to Lori Michaels' talent. However, the dance mix is a hot mess. Like, the kind of mess that you come home to and dread cleaning up because it's beyond awful.

Simon van Kempen - I Am Real: This song reminds me of something I'd hear...well, never. The beat vaguely resembles songs you might hear in a goth dance club, but the lyrics undo any resemblance and make the song kind of a joke. Not to mention that Simon must not know the difference between talking and singing, as he spends a chunk of this song talking to the microphone. Also, the lyrics are beyond ridiculous.

Dana Wilkey - 25,000: Now that I've listened to all of the songs noted above, my perspective may be skewed, but Dana Wilkey's song with Skullee doesn't sound so bad. Its intention is to make fun of her $25,000 sunglasses, so as long as she's messing around with this song and not being serious, it's not too tragic.

Want to hear any of the songs listed above? The links are below. Enjoy!