Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Teenage Newlyweds - Series Premiere - Recap & Review

FYI's newest reality show is called Teenage Newlyweds. It follows three young couples as they embark on their lives together. Like with any other reality show, we see the good times, the bad times, and the times that look downright ugly.

Halie & George

We met up with Halie, 18 and George, 21, in Mesa, Arizona. These two are members of The Church of Latter Day Saints. The pair spent two weeks together and Halie made it clear that she wanted to marry George, a former missionary. They determined that they don't want to wait for marriage, likely due in part to the fact that they've pledged abstinence before marriage. Halie is close with her family and is nervous about moving out of their home and to a different state to be with George.

Halie and George admitted that they've only spent two months in each others' presence and don't know each other well, but they know some things about each other, like that George likes good music. Family members were concerned with how fast the relationship moved forward.

George and his friend discussed their limited knowledge of sex, including that the first time can be a big letdown. Most of their info came from an unmarried friend who has no firsthand experience.

George's brother was unable to attend the wedding because he abandoned his Mormon faith, but they were going to have an additional part of the ceremony so he could participate. Unfortunately, his brother could not be found when he was needed.

Brenda & Travis

In Irvine, California, we caught up with Brenda, 19, and Travis, 20. They go to UC Irvine together and both seem very smart. They met through friends and dated for a year before Travis proposed. They are aware that their differences will cause them problems, but due to their commitment to abstinence before marriage, they were eager to enter into wedded bliss.

Brenda and Travis looked forward to having their own place and being married. However, they disagree on key issues, like gay marriage. Brenda is for it, Travis is against it. Abortion is also polarizing for the pair. Their families were concerned about these types of things tearing them apart.

Emma & Joey

We were introduced to Emma, 19 and Joey, 21, in Dallas, Oregon. Joey described his hometown as a redneck town where everyone knows everyone. Joey proposed around Emma's 18th birthday. The pair was encouraged to take premarital counseling but turned it down, which worried their families. After all, they could lack the tools needed to deal with stressful marriage situations.

Joey has no career aspirations, while Emma is in school and aspires to own a bakery. She thinks Joey needs to be more ambitious.

It was noted by family members that the pair thinks that they're independent, but both come from families who support them, so marriage could be a reality check.

Emma said she wants to be with Joey because he makes her feel loved, and it's truly special to her. I can respect that. Young marriage will be tough, but she's following her heart.

The pair had a scare at their wedding when they couldn't find their marriage license. Not a fun adventure on your big day! Joey said Emma forgot it in Joey's car that was at Joey's parents' house. Emma told him to hold up because this clearly wasn't her fault, but the pair seemed to have a good sense of humor about it.

The End of the Episode

At the end of the episode, all three couples went through with their weddings, and their adventures - and ours, on this TV show - are about to begin.


I am biased because I love these kinds of shows, but I like this new endeavor! I think FYI did a good job with the casting for Teenage Newlyweds. We have no expectations of idyllic marriages for these youths - this show is going to be filled with drama, and it will be interesting to learn the fates of the couples as time progresses.

The background music in this episode was fun - there was a song where they spelled out the word gorgeous that was used during Emma's wedding dress scene - that was a fun addition.

I enjoyed that this show was very balanced and painted a realistic view of teenage marriage. There wasn't crazy drama right from the get-go, and all of the couples seem absolutely sincere. The families are accepting even if not 100% thrilled, and they give their kids good advice about what their futures might bring.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

People Are Team Chris Brown For Once - Regarding a Photo of Daughter Royalty

Chris Brown's daughter's mother, Nia Guzman, dressed their two year old up in a tutu for dance class, had her pose, and posted the picture online. Chris, rather than speaking to Nia directly, started an issue on Instagram.
Photo from HollywoodLife.com

Okay, so here's what went down. Chris Brown, who famously beat up Rihanna, decided that he thinks this photo of his two year old daughter sends the wrong message. Because of this, he started an Instagram war with baby mama Nia Guzman.

There are definitely two sides to this Royalty Brown story, as there are to most.

I do agree that this pose isn't a typical child's pose. It's likely that she was placed into this position. And yeah, it's not a cute, innocent pose by any means. But this kid is two, and it's pretty clear - this picture is totally innocent.

The outfit, in my opinion, is totally fine. She's a kid taking ballet class. Lots of kids wear these outfits every day and nobody says a thing. You know, because they're kids, so it's no big deal. I've taught dance classes; these outfits are manufactured for kids, they cover everything appropriately, it's all good. The kids can dance freely and have a great time.

What it comes down to is this - if the outfit was pink or the pose was a little more innocent, I don't think Chris Brown would have had an issue. And while I don't think Nia did anything wrong, it might have been in bad taste to post this particular picture when there may have been more childlike ones to choose from.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Single Dad Seeking - Episode 1 Review

Single Dad Seeking is one of TLC's new shows. It follows the model of a lot of their shows - contrived versions of things that could otherwise happen in everyday life.

This show follows single dads as their girlfriends, that they've only met online, move in with them over the summer. It's a cute show because the dads are so good with their kids, and that's heartwarming. And the families that were cast are great families; the kids seem like they enjoy being on camera and are okay with the mystery girlfriends joining their households.

First, there's Mike and his son Mikey. Mike's girlfriend Valene would be joining them in their Jersey at shore summer rental. Mike worried that Mikey wouldn't flush the toilet after using the bathroom. Mike and Valene hit it off right away, and Valene noted that there was strong chemistry between the pair. She appreciated that Mike gave her a room of her own, whereas he'd be sharing with his son. Valene touched on the obvious point of the show - that instantly living with a kid is a new concept to someone without children. Valene was awkward with Mikey at first, but I'm sure we'll see progress as the season progresses.

Then there's Jake's kids, Taylor, Tate and Tayva. His girlfriend is named Ami. Jake's kids worried about Ami giving them rules that they don't currently have.

It looks as if the season will show us the ups and downs of these instant families. We'll probably see strong chemistry between the couples, but a lot of strain from having the kids around. It should be interesting. It's worth watching at least a few more episodes to see how it goes. Plus, we'll meet new couples, and we'll see issues like women struggling between feeling like girlfriends and insta-moms.

What I would like to know is how these couples met. In both cases, the women were from New Jersey, so I'm wondering if there was some casting going on with this and the setups were created for the camera. I mean, do you really just get lucky enough to find two couples that have only met online and are willing to share their lives with television cameras?

Well, it's reality television. I shouldn't expect it to be real.

Monday, May 9, 2016

NJ Teacher Rocks Out Jeopardy! - Interview With Contestant Jason Sterlacci

Jason Sterlacci has wanted to be on Jeopardy for as long as he can remember. Like many of us, he tuned into the show and tried to answer the questions before the contestants did, and thought about what he’d say to Alex Trebek if he got a chance to appear on the Jeopardy stage.

Fortunately, Jason is braver than many of us, and when the chance to appear on Jeopardy’s Teacher Tournament came along, he seized the opportunity. We caught up with Jason and he filled us in on his experience on the show and what it was like to meet the man who’s been hosting Jeopardy for nearly Jason’s entire life.

Less Than Reality: Thank you for agreeing to chat with us! What made you decide to take the plunge and apply to be on Jeopardy’s Teacher Tournament?

Sterlacci: It’s been a dream of mine to be on Jeopardy! Ever since I started watching. I didn’t actually apply for the Teachers Tournament, though; everyone who got selected for the Teachers Tournament was a part of the regular contestant pool and was qualified to appear on regular episodes.
Photo - Courtesy of Jeopardy Productions Inc.

Less Than Reality: Walk us through the process of becoming a Jeopardy contestant – what kind of tests did you have to take? Were there rehearsals? What was the overall experience?

Sterlacci: Like every other contestant, I had to start with the online test. I took the test that ultimately got me on the show back in January of 2014, and while they don’t tell you the score you need to make it to the next stage, I apparently met that threshold. This was my fifth or sixth time taking the test though. A few months later I was contacted via e-mail to appear at an in person audition in Philadelphia. While I was there, I had to take a 50 question written test (with 8 seconds per question), play a simulated game, and do an interview. I was in the contestant pool for a little over a year before I got the call.

As for rehearsals, before both the first and second rounds, each contestant played in some simulated mini-games to get a feel for the buzzer and the timing. That was actually pretty nerve-wracking itself, as it turns out the timing on the buzzer is really difficult to get down!

Less Than Reality: What was your favorite part of appearing on the show?

Sterlacci: I got to meet a bunch of amazing teachers from across the country; the fifteen of us have really bonded and kept in touch online now that the tournament is over, and it’s great having colleagues and friends who have shared this experience with me.

Less Than Reality: Onstage, Alex Trebek always looks so calm and composed. Is this what you experienced on the Jeopardy set?

Sterlacci: Alex is pretty relaxed, honestly. During commercials, he takes questions from the audience and while it seems like it’s the same six or seven questions over and over again, he’s always happy to talk about his experiences and his opinions in a friendly, funny way.

Less Than Reality: If anything, what were you most nervous about before your appearance on Jeopardy?

Sterlacci: As I mentioned, the buzzer timing is really difficult to get down. For most of the practice game before the quarterfinals, I had difficulty ringing in. That translated into a decent portion of the first round as well.

Less Than Reality: You were calm and collected the whole time. How did you do that on such a high pressure situation?

Sterlacci: Was I? I didn’t feel calm and collected for the first round! My students pointed out that I was violently trying to buzz in well into the first round. However, once I finally got the timing down, a lot of my nerves did go away.

Less Than Reality: Congratulations! You won! How does it feel? What's next?

Sterlacci: Thanks for the congratulations! It’s surreal, though it’s pretty cool that people have gotten the chance to see it. As for what’s next, my semi-final game is going to be Wednesday.

Less Than Reality: Now that your episode has aired, how do you feel? Is there anything you’d do differently?

Sterlacci: I think I’d re-work my wagers on the last Daily Double and Final Jeopardy! It turns out there’s a pretty big online community for Jeopardy! and a lot of people gave me a very hard time about my wagers for both of those. I’ve actually recently discovered a blog about Jeopardy! betting and I wish I had known it existed when I was in LA.

Less Than Reality: Do you have any advice for potential Jeopardy contestants?

Sterlacci: Keep trying to get on...it took me a couple of tries to get an in-person audition, and there were people at my in-person audition that were on their sixth or seventh attempt – and it just so happens that some of them did get on the show. Also, if you DO get the call, practice buzzing in by using a springed toilet paper holder.

I’m dead serious.

Less Than Reality: Is there anything else you’d like to share?

Sterlacci: Thanks for watching, and thanks for taking the time to set up this interview!

Again, we thank Jason for sharing his experience with us, and we think this New Jersey native made us proud with his appearance on Jeopardy. It’s also important that we thank Jason for being a teacher. His commitment to his students is evident, and he is proving not only through his work in the classroom, but also by example, that education is important and can lead to many opportunities. Jason, thank you for your commitment to America’s youth, and we wish you all the best.

Update: Jason won the whole tournament! We'll see him in the Tournament of Champions!

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Oh my gosh, another Kardashian baby!

I have to give credit where credit is due. If Blac Chyna is really helping Rob Kardashian become happy and healthy, that's awesome for both of them. But this quickie pregnancy? Yikes.

If you haven't been following the Kardashian madness, Rob Kardashian started dating Blac Chyna and they got engaged after a few months. This was tricky because Blac Chyna and Kim Kardashian used to be friends, but things fell apart after Kylie Jenner started dating Chyna's ex, Tyga. It seems as if Blac Chyna has made peace with the Kardashians now, but the whole thing still seems a little bit revenge-like.

And this could get seriously weird if Kardashians keep having babies.

So, Blac Chyna has a kid with Tyga.
Blac Chyna will have a kid with Rob.
If Kylie and Tyga have a kid, doesn't that create some kind of half-sibling / cousin kind thing?

If Rob and Chyna really are happy, I give them so much credit. They risked alienating their families over their relationship, but they followed their hearts. And I guess things do move fast in Hollywood!

I wonder what they're going to name this kid - he or she will take on the Kardashian last name!

Also - Bruce Jenner will be posing nude (covered in a flag and Olympic medals) in Sports Illustrated. I guess if you're going to make a statement, go all out!