Tuesday, September 12, 2017

TLC’s Behind Closed Doors: The American Family: A Review of Episode One

TLC Go lets us watch Behind Closed Doors: The American Family before it appears on television. I watched episode one and enjoyed it. The premise is that families are filmed 24 hours a day by wall mounted cameras, rather than an in-home camera crew.

Mandy and Jeff host a podcast about marriage, but their own marriage is struggling. After adopting a child, the parents of four decided Mandy would be a stay at home mom. That's been tougher than she imagined, causing her to struggle. Mandy's too tired for sex, causing Jeff to be quite unhappy. This show seems like a way for the pair to get more views for their webcast, which I'm sure it will.

Andy cheated on wife Deena, and the pair hasn't recovered from the infidelity. This incident caused Deena to shut down, creating a rift between her and her kids, as well as leaving her marriage in shambles.

Tam and Paul have a tumultuous relationship. They are both stubborn and refuse to give in to the other. Tam got super insecure when Paul was texting with an ex, due in part to her childhood insecurities - she was born with a penis, but as she matured, she grew breasts and became more female, I believe called XXY syndrome.

Is this show worth watching? Yeah, it's an interesting take on reality TV. I think it's got novelty value, because with cameras on 24/7 and without a camera person around, it's easier for the couples to show who they really are, and for TLC to get enough crazy footage to keep us tuned in.


Sunday, September 3, 2017

90 Day Fiance Reunion, Part 2 - Some Thoughts

90 Day Fiance's reunion last week was explosive, and week two is only getting better. Or worse. Same thing, in this case.

First, Paola and Russ fought because she wanted Russ to have her back, but he can't get over the whole lingerie issue. With all due respect, Russ, please get over it. You married a woman who is very in touch with her desire to model and her sexuality; what did you expect? Later, Russ defended Pao because he's smart and figured out what he needs to do.

Danielle addressed that she has a new boyfriend, but doesn't want to talk about him because he doesn't want to be in the spotlight. To me, it sounds like he either wants his privacy (normal) or doesn't want anyone to know he's dating her. Mohamed claimed that Danielle never loved him, which sounds like he's trying to convince himself. Danielle cried and ran offstage, and Mohamed said that's how she reacts every time something doesn't go her way. He then claimed Danielle isn't independent, and that she's faking her reactions for sympathy.

Okay, let's be real - Danielle loved Mohamed, at least to the capacity that she can. Mohamed played the victim here - he said he tried to make it work, but Danielle gave him no reason. He claims that he tried to pick up the pieces but things were too broken. The host asked Danielle if she thinks she can get too attached, and she said yes, which is obvious. She has the book of social media conversations that she plans to send to immigration, after all.

Mohamed said he plans to disappear after this reunion to fix his life. Danielle said that makes her angry because he's not taking responsibility for himself. He wants to be rid of her, she still wants an apology, and although she's not saying it, she wants him back.

Loren was on an angry rampage. She asked Jorge what Anfisa loved about him, aside from his money. She said she can't see more to Anfisa than a bunch of Botox. Loren was also mad at Danielle and Mohamed because both couples make the process look like a joke. She was upset that she and Alexei got denied twice, but these two couples were approved easily. Paola joined in to support Loren, as they are friends, and have probably discussed Mohamed and Anfisa's relationships with their spouses at length.

It was noted that Anfisa never cared for Jorge's family, yet she got upset when Jorge didn't defend her, even though she didn't respect him. Jorge was asked why it took almost a year for him to see his family. He said it's because of Anfisa's insecurity. She claimed that he was talking behind her back, but really, he's allowed to have his own conversations! Should he talk badly about her? Well, she wasn't giving her any reason not to! Jorge was asked if he could have done better at introducing Anfisa, and he said yes, but Anfisa never showed interest. What it seems to be is that Anfisa didn't feel welcome, so she felt like Jorge's family was against her. That actually makes sense - I'll give Anfisa some credit here. Plus, when Jorge's sister talked badly about Anfisa to her face, Jorge did not defend her. He says it was because he didn't want to disrespect his sister. And really, her comments weren't the nicest, so Jorge could have at least said they were inappopriate.

Chantel was asked why her family thought that chicken feet were a voodoo tradition when Pedro's family made them. Chantel said that nobody in the family ate the chicken feet, although Pedro did eat some and didn't see a problem with them. Then, we found out that Pedro's mom is a lawyer. A lawyer! A lawyer!!! So why is Pedro sending her money if she has the ability to make a good income?

We flipped to a scene where Anfisa said he was her first. Loren and Paola laughed because they didn't believe it. Jorge said, "I guess I believed her". Jorge said he didn't even know Anfisa was dating guys before she came to America.

The money discussion came up, and Jorge said he never claimed to be a millionaire, but he did flash money in her face and she responded. Jorge said he felt like he was treated like a dog when he couldn't keep up with Anfisa's financial needs. Jorge was asked why he didn't disappear once Anfisa said she's all about the money. She defended himself saying that all women want nice things. Jorge said he was going through a lot when he met Anfisa, and he just wanted someone to love. Jorge wants people to understand what he went through; he gave Anfisa trust and she backstabbed him. But what actually happened? THE SHOW ENDED!!! We won't find out until next week!!! NOOO!!!

Note: Paola mentioned a gold digger academy in Russia, and asked if Anfisa went. While the group laughed at this, this article does show that it is real.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Off Topic: Why I'm Moving Away From Fast Fashion, And Where I Shop Now

When I was in college and afterwards, I loved shopping at Old Navy and similar places because I could run in and walk out with some affordable, cute clothes. I would never say I was particularly trendy, but I do have a distinct style, and H&M, Forever 21 and other stores could cater to that. Now that I've gotten older (not to say I'm a dinosaur or anything, thank you very much), my focus is on longer lasting, high quality clothing...and bonus points if it's good for the world.

Seriously, though, fast fashion can create a lot of clothing waste because the products aren't necessarily high quality, causing lots of textiles to go to waste. I'd rather buy something that will last and I can truly enjoy over the long term, rather than something that will go out of style or bore me in a month or two. Below are three brands that I'm really into right now.

Pact Organic packaging
Pact Organic

My latest find is Pact Organic, which creates amazing basics that are reasonably priced. Plus, my discount code will give you 20% off. The clothes are fair trade certified, and have no toxic dyes or pesticides. This is a great place for leggings, t-shirts, underwear and socks. Everything so soft and lovely to wear. This site features clothes for men, women and kids.

Bonus points for amazing customer service. I received the wrong leggings, and a five minute call to customer service had a correct pair on its way to me. No hassle on my part whatsoever, which I truly appreciated. Plus, the person I spoke to was very cool and understanding.

I got a 50% off discount code from Facebook, so I bought a bunch of stuff, and I'm definitely going to return for more.

Effie's Heart

When it comes to high quality women's wear, I'm now obsessed with Effie's Heart: effiesheart.com.

This brand does cost a fair amount, but the fabrics are amazing and high quality. The patterns are fun and creative, and the clothes are flattering. Everything I tried on fit me perfectly. And bonus points for modesty - I like a dress that shows off my curves, but not one that makes me worry about if my butt is going to make a public appearance. I like the retro-yet-modern vibe of the clothes. If you're looking to make an understated statement (if there is such a thing) this brand is perfect for you.

I've included a photo from the company's website of the Napoli dress, one of my favorites. This dress, aside from being beautiful and available in a variety of patterns, is machine washable. This is amazing for people like me, who are way too lazy to go to the dry cleaner. It also has pockets, which is a big seller for people. For me, I like that the pockets don't add bulk around the hips, which is often a problem.

A key benefit of this brand is their size range - they don't limit fashion to those who are a size two. These clothes are made for - and look great on - a range of sizes.

ThirdLove

This bra and underwear company's goal is to give women undergarments that fit properly. Before you choose a bra, you go through a series of questions designed to find a bra that fits you just right. You tell the site what you're wearing now, what your issues are, and some info about your shape, and it pops out your anticipated size. Not convinced? You can try on a bra before you buy it. How cool is that? It's a great way to get your fit right without going to a retail store.

While the prices of ThirdLove's products aren't low, they're reasonable. And when you buy more bras, the prices get lower. Plus, the quality is great - my friend described wearing a ThirdLove bra like not wearing a bra at all.

Want to buy one? This referral should give you $15 off your first purchase.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

My Thoughts On 90 Day Fiance - 8/20

Now that we've got 90 Day Fiance: Happily Ever After and 90 Day Fiance: Before the 90 Days, Sunday nights are pretty awesoCortneyme, aside from the part where the next day is Monday.

First, let's talk about Happily Ever After. Specifically Danielle and Mohamed. Did Mohamed use Danielle? I have no doubt. But Danielle also lied, so I tend to agree with the judge in their trial - divorce is the right answer because both of them were equally wrong.

Aside from a strong TV storyline, why did Danielle's friend encourage her to talk to Mohamed after the court proceeding? She needed to let it go. And blasting Mohamed for a social media post? Why were they reading it in the first place?

In terms of Pedro and Chantel, I am happy the wedding turned out okay, but why would the sister wear white? Was that passive aggressive, or something cultural that I don't understand? I hope this brings the families closer together, and maybe they can all stop insulting each other for five minutes to see that this isn't about them. That being said, Pedro and Chantel majorly screwed up by lying about why Pedro came to the US in the first place, so they kind of caused this drama.

Next up was Before the 90 Days. Can we address Darcey, please? Darcey is practically screaming for Jesse to marry her, while he didn't even want to change his Facebook status to 'in a relationship'. This couple is strange all around - he's way too into pheromones, and she's seeking a proposal , when he said Americans get married too fast.

Starcasm has some great info on Darcey, like the pilot for the reality show she was trying to make happen (reported here) and the fact that she regrets doing 90 Day Fiance, but is still hanging out with Jesse.

I feel so bad for Cortney, who is clearly naive. She's flying to Spain for a guy she's never even spoken to, who is either a catfish or a porn star. Neither one is an excellent option. She's been catfished before, so my hopes for her are not so high. The thing is, though, the 90 Day crew must be in touch with someone in Spain, so whether or not her guy is who he says his, somebody exists.

Abby sees dollar signs flashing in front of her face with Sean. But if they're both happy, all good. This YouTube video states the pair is still together.

What do you think?

Friday, August 18, 2017

Reality From The Week - Project Runway, Undressed and Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team

Here's some reality snippets from the week so far.

Project Runway gave us a blast from the past, giving us twins Shawn and Claire from Twinning. They are competing as individuals, but I can't help thinking they were cast for their novelty value, like their bit of fame and the fact that they're twins. In any case, Claire did well, while Shawn found herself in the bottom three for making shiny shorts part of a red carpet look.

Project Runway also took a new turn, giving us models of all shapes and sizes. That's right - gone are the set of matching twigs with different colored hair; in are real models of differing shapes and sizes. (No hate to skinny models, but real people come in different shapes and sizes.)

Onto Undressed, MTV's new reality show where people meet up, strip down to their underwear, and follow cues on a screen, like get into bed, cuddle and kiss. The screen also provides a series of questions to discuss. I can do without this show. It was average at absolute best. Not really new or unique, just kind of tame and whatever.

Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team did not disappoint. The competition was tough, with KaShara wowing the judges with her solo dance, amongst some other incredible talent. Disappointingly, Dayton failed to shine, despite her legacy. It looked like the judges really struggled with cutting her from the team, but to be fair, she didn't seem to really want it that bad or be super prepared. Brianna from New Jersey, on the other hand, clearly wanted it and I hope to see her go far in the competition.

Poor Holly lost her top during her solo, but that girl handled it like a champ, covering up and sauntering off the stage with style. She said it was the most embarrassing moment of her life, but if that's the worst, the girl has had quite a charmed life!

Side note from a previous week: I wonder if Katie, the ballroom dance champion, will be back to try out again next year. She seemed a little too shocked to have not made it, although I can see why - ballroom and cheer don't necessarily correlate in the way that she expected.

On a scripted note, is anyone watching The Guestbook? I've watched three episodes so far, and episodes one and two were stronger than episode three, but I think the show has some major potential. And I love the guest stars and the premise of having a new cast every week. What are your thoughts?


Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Paul from 90 Day Fiance - His Past - Oh My Gosh!

You know how Paul on 90 Day Fiance: Before the 90 Days talks about a secret past? Oh my gosh. OH MY GOSH.

I'm going to give you some info, but the original story is here.

When I first saw Paul, I was like, okay, he's close to his mom and probably has low self esteem, and he's had some girls cheat on him or something. (His mom giving him some hair to take with him was a little weird.)

But then I read the article linked above and some other stuff that accuses Paul of stalking people! And on top of that, this article states:

According to the Kentucky corrections website, Paul was found guilty of felony arson in 2014. Back in 2007, he allegedly committed second-degree arson and "Burning Personal Property To Defraud Insurer" and was convicted seven years later. Starcasm added, "The site says he is currently being supervised under shock probation, which means that he probably served a brief amount of time in jail before being released.

Whoa. WHOA. I get that the guy creates a great storyline (I think he's the one we see being mugged - I would NOT want to be the crew on his segment), but...why does TLC want to be associated with this? I guess all drama is great for ratings, and Paul's got us talking, which is what TLC wants. So, there's that.

Also read this, which shows that there may be more to Paul's storyline than we know, and the fact that he goes by an alias online, calling himself Seth.

But my goodness, this is quite a secret for Paul to keep from Karine! Yikes!

TLC's The Spouse House: What Is Happening?

I've been sort of watching TLC's dating experiment called The Spouse House, and I'm confused.

It's kind of entertaining, but also a little bit cruel. Why? Because you're taking clearly damaged people (some of them anyway) and putting them in a house that encourages quickie marriages. For example, Kelli Jo is used to being second best, and this house puts her in a situation where it's a given that she'll feel that way again. (Although I hope she and Jimmy make it work!) And Tom, well, he's trouble...and he's not doing anything good for Ashley Lauren.

My real question is this, though. Who are these people who despite failed marriages, incredible insecurities and whatever else, wanted to go into a closed environment and marry people they've only known for weeks? And what happened to their jobs - are they taking breaks? Leaving during the day to work? That's impossible for flight attendants so I'm not sure how these people can afford to just not work, unless TLC is paying quite well.

If you've got insider info, let me know, please.

Also - I'm totally team Yesnaya and Danny - I hope they make it work!

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Random Reality From The Week

Here's some random thoughts for the week. Nothing big, but some reflections that have been on my mind.

Catfish: This week on Catfish, Robin wanted me to meet her online love Wayne, who used a fake picture because that's the kind of guy Robin liked.This episode was particularly striking for three reasons:
  • Wayne clearly used this opportunity to promote himself and his organization, as he was showing off what he has, and wore different colors of the same shirt showing his organization throughout the show.
  • He was also clearly narcissistic. If I recall properly, he said he liked talking to Robin because it was like talking to himself. (I could be remembering this wrong, so please let me know if I am.) Additionally, he acted with Robin as if they were in a relationship, yet was sleeping around - he justified it by saying he has needs. And that's fine if he wants to sleep around (and even be married for a while!) but it's not fair to string Robin along the whole time. I think he also talked about making sure Robin was who she said she was, even though he was a barrel of lies. It's like he couldn't even see what he was doing wrong.
  • Wayne was awful to Robin. He was like, I love you and I want to be with you...but we need to have another woman in the relationship. Not to worry, Robin, you'll never be alone - we'll all be in the relationship together! We can share a bed! He seemed surprised when Robin wasn't going for it. I'm glad for Robin's sake that she has more self respect than to take Wayne up on this. Don't get me wrong; I have no issue with polyamory if it's voluntary and agreed upon by all parties. But Robin was clearly seeking a monogamous relationship, and Wayne was like, you can be with me, but you have to share!

Married at First Sight: We had decision week, and all three couples decided to stay married! The producers and matchmakers must be thrilled after the disasters in previous seasons (Jamie and Doug aside!) Danielle and Cody staying together didn't surprise me, same with Ashley and Anthony. I wasn't sure about Sheila and Nate, but I'm glad they made it work. We'll see though - nothing's final until we see next week's episode. Lots of splits happen after the cameras stop rolling.

90 Day Fiance: Happily Ever After: Someone on Facebook recently posted that Anfisa and Jorge were spotted together, which leads me to believe they're a couple, which is truly unfortunate. It's so evident how much Anfisa is purposely hurting Jorge and his family. Whether it's due to spite or just immaturity, it's awful, and almost painful to watch Jorge suffer as he does. It's just awful.

Oh, and Chantel's family visiting Pedro's in the Dominican Republic! That was a mess! Pedro's family served chicken feet, and Chantel's mom took that as an insult or as voodoo, especially since Pedro's mom and sister won't eat them. Here's the thing though - Pedro ate them and seemed completely oblivious to the issue. So whether it was malicious or not, I'm not sure, but Pedro is so trusting and clueless!

Also, Pedro's family requested that he provide them with expensive things like a laptop and television (to which he obliged, despite Chantel's frustration). This is tricky because Pedro keeps attributing it to his culture. Chantel should have been aware of this before she entered a relationship with Pedro. (It's reminiscent of the issues Melanie and Devar have faced.) Pedro truly seems to feel indebted to his family and provides for them because that's what his culture dictates. That being said, if I was Chantel, I'd be totally losing it! He's sending loads of money, bringing tons of gifts, etc., and they're living in a one bedroom apartment? American culture and Dominican culture are different - for this pair, they need to reach a middle ground.

I also watched Spouse House but I'm kind of over it, although Albert seems to really get the short end of the stick. And I tried watching First Dates, on which we watch people go on first dates, but I fell asleep, so I guess I wasn't loving that either. I kept up with Boy Band, which is enjoyable in a fluffy kind of way (I watched it when I had insomnia and wanted something that didn't require any focus). I am curious whether the final band will be successful. I am not sure who will end up in the final band, but I am pretty sure Chance Perez will be one of the members. We will see!

Any thoughts on reality TV this week?

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

So, Anfisa and Jorge...What Now?!?

I watched the season premiere of 90 Day Fiance, where we caught up with Jorge and Anfisa. (And also Paola's amazing hair, but that's another topic altogether.) Anyway, Jorge is clearly still smitten with Anfisa, and she gives just about every warning sign that she's only into his money and has one foot out the door.

So, in this episode, Jorge talks about loving being with Anfisa and she threatens to leave. This is par for the course. Late in the episode, though, things get interesting. Jorge admits to Anfisa that he's not a millionaire and he's actually in debt. Anfisa looks rattled to the core and accuses Jorge of lying to her. She then asks for a postnuptual agreement because she doesn't want to be responsible for Jorge's debt.

I'm trying to wrap my head around who's wrong in this situation. Or who's more wrong, rather.

Is Jorge in the wrong for lying about his finances? Or is Anfisa just wrong because she's obviously interested in Jorge's money? For the love of goodness, she straight up told him that nobody wants a poor man and she wanted him to buy her bunches of things like he promised.

Are they both wrong here, and this is just a ridiculous and totally screwed up situation? I think this is the best explanation.

Some other small notes about the episode:

  • I LOVE that Danielle is getting herself together and refused to help Mohamed when he ran out of gas. I don't want to see anyone suffer, but well, he lied to her a ton!
  • Paola's hair...amazing! I know I talked about this in the intro, but it's fantastic. And I love how she stood up for her relationship with Russ to her friends.
  • Is Alexei still upset about the bachelor party? It's time to get over it. For real.

I'm so glad the show is back!!!

Louis Van Amstel & the La Blast Fitness Class

As you may know, Louis Van Amstel of Dancing With The Stars fame is currently out teaching master classes to promote his La Blast fitness format. Fans of his will be happy to know, both he and the class are awesome.

Louis signs an autograph.
I snagged a front row spot in one of Louis' packed master classes. His energy when teaching was amazing, even though it was far from his first class of the day. He radiates stage presence and personality, and really sold his fitness format - it's a great way to get involved with ballroom dance, minus the partner drama and crazy expense typically associated with the sport.

La Blast incorporates many mainstream ballroom dances: rumba, tango, jive, Viennese Waltz and more into an easy to dance fitness format. Some songs are super intense and others are calmer, creating a great intermittent training class that's sure to appeal to those who like dance, Zumba and/or cardio.

What was really cool was Louis went to all sides of the room to lead songs. So even though some us got front row spots, he made sure everyone felt included. He even danced with a student having trouble with a step. I'm not going to lie, I was a little jealous.

I'm not here to write to an infomercial, though. I wanted to share that Louis is a really cool, down to earth person. I only spoke with him briefly, but he was kind and happy to interact with, and take pictures with, his students. Notably, when someone snagged him between songs to take a selfie, he was totally down for it.

I give Louis a lot of credit. When people get famous, they can get attitudes or act as if they're better than others. Talking to Louis was like talking to a friend - casual, chill and a completely normal guy.

Friday, June 23, 2017

ABC's Boy Band: It's Like American Idol With a Sugar High

I decided to watch ABC's new show Boy Band, as boy bands are a part of my memory and I was curious about how the network would bring the concept back to life. The show follows the American Idol format, but is super sweet and positive because the contestants are as young as fourteen.

The show, hosted by Rita Ora, had a two hour season premiere. All of the participants auditioned, then some were cut, although quite kindly. Even the judges critiques were kind. Timbaland was the voice of reason, Emma Bunton (Baby Spice from the Spice Girls) was super happy and enamored with the young talent and Nick Carter was just happy to have a job. (I kid, I kid - he's there as the one with the most experience with an actual boy band and the knowledge of the singing and dancing abilities needed to succeed.)

Some guys were cut, leaving 18 to continue the competition. The remaining guys were divided into three groups, called Six Track, Reverb and Uplift. Some awkward dancing followed, which is to be expected. Following that, Uplift performed on the show. They did surprisingly well for a new boy band.

The judges, called architects on this show, had to decide which member of Uplift would be going home. Cameron was the first of the final group to be cut, but they did it nicely - Timbaland said he wants to see him solo.

Overall, the show was nice. Fluffy, fun, kind and family friendly. The two hour season premiere was excessively long, but if future episodes aren't as long, this is a decent show to watch. Plus, I think we'll be hearing a lot of these guys on the radio in the near future.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

90 Day Fiance's Anfisa Has a Video on PornHub!

So, as if Jorge and Anfisa's relationship on 90 Day Fiance wasn't weird enough, it just got even crazier. Apparently, Anfisa made a solo video for PornHub!

This article states that the video was made before Jorge and Anfisa were an item, but Jorge was aware of Anfisa's previous career path. In fact, it reports that the pair met on a cam girl site, not on Facebook as we were led to believe. And to be honest, I believe that - Jorge saw a sexy model and Anfisa saw an opportunity, which led us to where we are today.

While it's not verified that the woman in the video is Anfisa, the images (see the first linked article, which has all naughty bits covered up) are pretty convincing.

Jorge can't be happy about this, as people have been openly critical of his relationship with Anfisa, and this isn't going to help.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Interview With Melissa Mangold, Participant on MTV's Made

If you've seen MTV's Made, you probably realized that it's not exactly true to life. I mean, come on, all of the coincidences? The storylines that were strangely similar from episode to episode? The drama that bordered on unbelievable? Yeah, all of that. We sat down with Melissa Mangold, who appeared on Made, to hear what it's really like to be on this MTV series.

You appeared on MTV's Made to be made into a comedian. Did you enjoy the experience?

I enjoyed some of the experience! I enjoyed the opportunities I was given and the people I met. But I was happy for it to be over and I did not enjoy the final product.

What was the best part of appearing on the show? What was the worst?

Made's Melissa Mangold
The best part was being able to work with College Humor and learning from people in the comedy industry. The worst part was being manipulated by the producers and having the final episode reflect none of the highlights of the experience.

Would you say you were misrepresented at all on the show? What happened in real life versus what was shown on TV?

Yes I was misrepresented. The episode was edited in a way that made me appear as though I quit the show when in reality we were offered an audition after the filming was scheduled to end. I had a final that day and was unable to attend, but they cut from the most dramatic scene of the experience (aka me in tears) into me saying I would not attend the audition. It was embarrassing to say the least. The "final show" that we had been working towards was not even mentioned in the final product of the episode.

Do you feel that the producers manipulated any situations to create drama?

Yes. In my experience I was being "made" as a team with two other girls. The producers did everything they could to try to make us talk badly about each other. They also purposely scheduled events during our classes at school so we would have to choose school or comedy.

How did you get cast for the show?

My college sent out an email asking to student submissions. After an email submission, a Skype submission, a phone interview, an in person interview, and an in person interview with my then boyfriend, I was chosen.

Would you do another reality show if given the opportunity?

Absolutely not.

What advice would you give to future reality show participants?

Know why it is you want to do it (it better be worth it), know that the truth will be stretched, know that you'll be manipulated, know that you will not be treated as a person and your experience is nothing but a grasp for entertainment and good ratings. There will be fun moments but the best moments of filming will never make it to the final product, all they care about is drama.

Thank you, Melissa, for talking to us at Less Than Reality! We're sorry to hear that you were misrepresented on Made, but are glad you got a chance to tell the truth about it. Hopefully, your advice can help future reality show contestants.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Interview With Crystal Nelan, A Participant on Make Room for Multiples

Crystal Nelan appeared on TLC's Make Room For Multiples as she welcomed her triplet girls into the world. That's pretty amazing, if you ask me - not only was she preparing for a major life change, she was doing it in front of the camera. In our interview with Crystal, she tells us what she went through, and admits that while she did her best to appear positive, she could have been more honest - having triplets is tough!

You appeared on Make Room For Multiples. How did you get cast for the show?

Because I was having triplets, I saw a high risk doctor. He had worked with the show before and asked me if i would be willing to submit an application. Our application was chosen.


How was your experience being on the show? Did you enjoy it? Would you do a reality show again in the future?


I loved being on the show, it really was a lot of fun.  I don't think I would ever do it again though.  I wouldn't want to live my life publicly.

Do you feel that you were represented fairly on the show? Are you happy with what aired?

Yeah, the show did  great job. But it was amazing that they managed to whittle down about 50 hours of footage into 25 minutes.
 
What advice would you give to future reality show participants?

It's a lot of work. Constantly remembering where the camera was and trying to be real while trying not to embarrass yourself.  And although it's reality, they would kind of set things up sometimes, or you would say something & they would say "say that again, but like this".

If you could do it again, would you do anything differently?


I think if I were to do it again, I would be a little more honest.  Not that I wasn't honest exactly, but I definitely tried to put my best foot forward, and I really just shouldn't have cared.


Saturday, April 29, 2017

NBC's First Dates: I Loved It!

I caught NBC's new show First Dates, which showcases people set up on blind dates. While my expectations were low, and I wondered how they got Drew Barrymore to be the narrator, I was pleasantly surprised.

Produced by Ellen DeGeneres and based on the UK version, this show features couples as they meet and go through the awkward steps of a blind date. Some couples appear to be set up because they're great for each other (like episode 4's Sam and Rachael or Molly and Rena) while others are total trainwrecks (like Ommid's match with Candice).

I liked the diversity of the series: younger couples, an older couple, gay and straight couples, couples with different backgrounds and more.

On episode four, many of the participants came out looking great - they had the raw honesty and awkwardness of a true first date - but two contestants were not my favorites. Both Colleen and Candice looked like total ice queens. I mean, Candice freaked out because her date asked her age and left before the meal even began. But they were on a DATE. You have a right to know the age of the person you're dating, in my opinion. Her date, Ommid, tried to have a good time, but Candice was simply not having it. She's a big shot at her job, and her ice queen personality translated right into her date. Colleen, on the other hand, chose a key issue (gun control) and refused to see past it. Colleen came off really ditzy on the show, but I think that may be due in part to nerves - blind dates and reality shows can both make be nerve wracking!

Would I watch this show again? Absolutely. I've set my DVR to record it going forward. It was a fun, enjoyable watch, although some of the dates are rather infuriating!

Want to be on First Dates? They're casting!

Friday, April 28, 2017

It's a Good Time To Be a Teenager and Get Famous For the Wrong Reasons

With the resurrection of My Super Sweet 16 and 16 and Pregnant, it's a great time to achieve some fame, if you want to do it for the wrong reasons.

First of all, with 16 and Pregnant, it's different now than the first time around. The original participants, especially in season one, didn't realize that doing one episode on MTV would skyrocket them into fame. Even former 16 and Pregnant star Mackenzie McKee agrees with this, although her motives in speaking out are potentially to attract more fame. (She seems to be mad that former Teen Mom 3 co-star Briana DeJesus was chosen to join the Teen Mom 2 cast while she wasn't.) Here's some info on what Mackenzie had to say, according to Hollywood Gossip:

“The ladies whom are on Teen Mom did not get pregnant for fame,” she said, though it certainly did result in that through the years.
“They had no clue at the time how far with TV they would come. But they do boldly shared their stories to show others what a struggle it is.”
At face value, McKee does not make terrible points; Teen Mom is a TV juggernaut now, hence the current rebooting of 16 and Pregnant.
How much that inspires the motives of teenagers, no one can say, but there's no denying that it's a cultural force that it once wasn't.
I think Mackenzie has a point. Will a lot of girls get pregnant on purpose to be on the show? I'd certainly hope not. But people do crazy things for fame, and I doubt this will be an exception.

Interestingly, I wrote this back in 2011 in response to an interview conducted by Dr. Oz with the show's creator, Lauren Dolgen:

Dr. Oz asked Lauren Dolgen if she thinks that Teen Mom glamorizes teen pregnancy, and Lauren said no. She said that anyone that watches the show will realize that it shows the harsh reality of teen pregnancy and does not promote pregnancy.
I disagreed somewhat then, and even more now, that the show has led to massive fame and fortune for some of its participants.

Secondly, My Super Sweet 16 coming back sends the wrong message about, well, everything. Be a spoiled brat? Sure. Treat your parents badly and rant about getting a blue Ferrari instead of a red one? Yeah, go for it. While a more recent show about Quinceaneras on a different network showed a positive side of teen parties (grateful kids, involved parents, etc.), My Super Sweet 16 did nothing positive except showcase entitlement and bad behavior. I know that this kind of thing attracts viewers, but aren't we better than that? And should we be using kids for this kind of thing?



What do you think of these kinds of shows? Great for entertainment, or bad for society?

 

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Interview With Dating Naked's Shealyn Brand

Shealyn Brand took a chance when she auditioned for a spot on the first season of VH1's Dating Naked. After all, it was the first season, so she didn't know what to expect. Fortunately, her carefree, fun spirit got her through the episode and allowed her to show how awesome she is. Recently, Shealyn took the time to talk to Less Than Reality to share her experience, her thoughts on the episode, and her love of pizza.


You appeared on season one of VH1's Dating Naked. How did you end up on the show? Did you audition? Did you know what the show was, or was it a surprise?

I found the show on a casting website, and being fresh out of a relationship decided, what the hell, I'm gonna audition! The show was new at the time but I figured it had something to do with being naked - which I am totally okay with, for better or for worse.
Of course, you had to be naked on your date - how was that? Did you hang out naked in advance to prepare yourself or anything?
I'm one of those people who gets home and immediately takes off all clothing - which is okay because I either live alone or with a significant other. The thought of it grosses my Ma out though and she tells no one to sit on my couch because my bare ass may or may not have sat on it!
Dating Naked makes it look like everything happens really quickly. How long were you on location to film?
I was on location for a week. The audition/interview process took about a month prior to my trip to Panama (where it was filmed). 
We all know that reality TV isn't exactly reality. Did you have to film anything multiple times? Was what was aired relatively true to what happened, or do you feel that a lot was missed?
It's all in the editing. What happened and what ends up in the episode is always up to the editors. I chose to behave well (relative to the others on my episode). I already knew my parents would flip at me even doing the show - I wasn't about to bang or cry on camera - I figured my parents would see it eventually and I'm their little angel.
What was the best part about being on Dating Naked? What was the worst part?
 
Best part was a free trip to Bocas Del Toro and meeting someone very special in my life (he was part of the crew). Worst part was pissing off my folks, oh, and the fact that they didn't blur my butt! I was told they would blur my butt! Perhaps I would have done some squats had I known, but probably not.
On the show, we could see you had several tattoos. Tell me about them.
Mostly pizza related, which explains why I have joined the Brooklyn Pizza Crew. I have my version of a Mom tattoo and the city emblem of my hometown of El Centro, CA.
Did you get any feedback from friends, family or TV viewers after you appeared on the show? What did they say?
 
Obviously my parents and family were less than thrilled with my choice to appear on the show. However once they watched it and saw how great I came off, very down-to-earth etc., they learned to deal with it. Now, whenever it's on, my Nana records it or my Ma shows my nieces.
If you could be on the show again, would you do it?
Some days I think yes. Most days I would say no. However it did prove to me that I don't care what anyone thinks about me and I can do anything!


Thursday, April 20, 2017

Hollywood Darlings: Episode 2, My So Called Prom

On Hollywood Darlings (which is an improvised comedy, not reality), the girls drank a charcoal drink, which Jodie hated. Someone came up to Jodie Sweetin and Beverley Mitchell to ask for a picture, but she didn't recognize Christine Lakin, which made her mad.

The ladies reminisced about what they missed being kids in the spotlight. Although Jodie was opposed to a slumber party, Christine and Beverley were all about it. Beverley made a vision board for it.

Christine searched online to see if any teen boys would want her to take them to prom, but no luck. So she posted her own video offering to take a boy to prom. Christine's video kept being taken down because it said "looking for teenage boys" because it cut off the words "to take to prom".

Beverley and went to a VHS store for 90s movies, but ended up in a store that sold adult videos based on 90s movies (I Know Who You Did Last Summer, as an example).

Christine picked out a dress for the prom she hadn't yet been invited to. And she said, "If I wear this, they will come". Beverley asked her to rephrase that. Some girls who were prom shopping told Christine she's old. As luck would have it (as this is a scripted show), a mom at the store recognized Christine, and her son didn't have a date for prom that night. He wasn't interested in taking Christine, but she and the boy's mom ignored that. The boy, Caleb, was not happy, and ditched Chrstine at the photo booth. The mean girls spotted Christine, and she told them that statistically, one would get an STD that night.

Meanwhile, Jodie started getting her old stuff, including Mr. Bear, in an attempt to move forward with her life. The guy at the eBay sales store was like, are you sure you want to sell Mr. Bear? It's your childhood! Jodie replied that it's Stephanie's childhood and insisted he take it. Outside, Jodie talked about how she's glad she got Mr. Bear, but then she saw a stuffed bear hanging from a telephone wire, and ran back to recover Mr. Bear.

Even though Christine ditched Beverley's slumber party for prom, Beverley went ahead with it, prank calling Joey Fatone and trying to send pizzas to Jonathan Taylor Thomas' house. Christine came later, saying that prom was awful, and Beverley said that's how prom is for most people, which made Christine realize she had a real prom. Jodie tried to stop the eBay auction for Mr. Bear but when she saw he was up to $5,000, she realized that was way better than the bear.

The group toilet papered Caleb's house as revenge for prom. His mom came out and was thrilled to see the three of them, but asked Christine to take the picture of her and "two incredible celebrities". And so the show ended exactly where it started - with Christine being left out of photo ops that the other girls were offered.


Catfish: Kailani and Sam (Season 6, Episode 8)

Last night, MTV showed an episode of Catfish starring a person named Melvin, his friend Kailani and their catfish, Sam.

First, Sam, hiding behind the profile of a masculine guy, talked to Melvin, who called him out as a catfish. Then he moved onto Melvin's friend Kailani, who was badly hurt by a recent failed marriage.

Image from EmptyLighthouse.com
Most episodes of Catfish end with the catfish showing signs of remorse, but this episode had a bit more. Sam, who is transgender and transitioning from male to female, used it as a way to come out to the world. He wasn't catfishing Kailani and others to be cruel; he was doing it so he could make sure he was making the right decision with his transition.

While catfishing is never okay (and is obviously very hurtful to its targets), I feel for Sam. Sam clearly did love Kailani and never meant to hurt her. And he needed to do what he did to find himself and make sure he was making the right decision. I give Kailani so much credit for accepting Sam after what he did (they didn't end up staying in touch, but Kailani was very forgiving) and understanding why he did what he did.

I would guess that it's Sam who actually contacted Catfish to come clean. I read a while back that it's often the catfishes who contact MTV to reveal themselves, and the producers back into the story from that. I mean, come on, you don't really think every unwilling catfish is down to reveal themselves without being ready, do you? Anyway, my guess is Sam was ready to let the world know about his transition and did it using this. And I truly hope his family was accepting and kind following his news.

Here's a quick recap of the episode, if you missed it:

Melvin contacted the show (theoretically) on behalf of Kailani. Keilani, off the bat, told Sam the show had been contacted.

Melvin was chatting with a guy named Sam. He called Sam's bluff on his pictures and things, so Sam moved onto Melvin's friend Kailani. Kailani, at 23, had just gotten divorced from a 6 month marriage because her husband was cheating on her - he was actually engaged to someone else! Kailani leaned on Sam, and came to love him, as she recovered from her trauma. Sam claimed to love her too.

Nev and Max discovered that Sam's pictures belonged to a guy named Dom. They also found out that Sam had been catfishing someone else.

Sam agrees to meet Kailani and is genuinely apologetic, but it isn't until he meets with Nev and Max alone that he reveals that he's transgender in and in the process of transitioning. He talked about what he went through as a kid, knowing he was a boy stuck in a girl's body, and how his family wasn't exactly kind about it.

When this was revealed to Kailani, she was genuinely nice and understanding. She's a great person who's dealt with a lot in her life.

During the after the show segment at the end, we learned that Kailani has a boyfriend and Sam came out to some people, and appears to be doing much better.