October 30, 2004

The ebb and flow of reality TV

Last night I watched “the usual” shows – Survivor and The Apprentice. Surprisingly, Survivor actually had an episode that was up to par with previous seasons when the show was watchable. It still wasn’t very good, but…it gave me a glimmer of hope. Perhaps I’m just a sucker for the obligatory “letters from home” episode. The oldest woman, Scout, is a lesbian, and talked about her partner. So cute! But it won’t change the fact that this show has jumped the shark. It happened right about the time that America “gave” Rupert a million dollars…just because they liked him. UGH.

Conversely, The Apprentice was just not that great. Frankly, I think this show is tanking real fast. I fault the casting – there are just too many strong personalities that are basically detestable people. By the way, I think former military man Kelly is a wee bit gay.

I was surprised to find that the most fun I had watching TV last night was late night – on the Game Show Network! Yes, it’s a total guilty pleasure – I freely admit it. I love Extreme Dodgeball! This is hilarious, because – it’s a sport. But I truly get into it. I’m always pulling for the CPAs, and a couple guys on the other teams are hot. But my new fave team was MAD, which features some really good female players. (I’m a complete feminist when it comes to athletics.)

On a side note, as I was flipping channels I came across Lifetime’s “Women Who Rock” concert. It was so lame. First of all, the performers would come out and only sing tiny little snippets of songs. Then I see Debbie Harry – RAPPING. The hell? And then out comes En Vogue. Don’t get me wrong – I love them. But they aren’t aging very well, and the shortest woman (Maxine) looks like she gained 100 pounds, right after getting her hair dyed by a dog groomer. Someone call What Not to Wear – she needs help!

Commercial complaint of the day – I can’t stand those damn Perdue chicken commercials. Their spokesman is possibly the King of Geekdom. Please take this idiot off my TV!

October 28, 2004

Asshole Maneuver

So tonight the SNU and took in Lost. Seriously, are you watching this show? Because you need to be. It’s awesome. This week’s show focused on my favorite character, Sun. She’s the mysterious Korean woman who is keeping several secrets including the fact that she…DUM DUM DUM…speaks English! I’m sure it doesn’t sound shocking, but believe me, on the show it was a big deal.

On the flip side, let me take a moment to bitch about the newest reality show on NBC. It’s called The Biggest Loser, which is actually not about finding the dorkiest person on Earth. The point of the show is that 12 seriously overweight people (in the 250 – 400 lb. range) eat right and exercise in an effort to lose the most weight each week. The team that loses less has to eliminate a teammate (because Survivor has completely influenced all reality TV, for better or worse).

So the first week all people on the show lost quite a bit (water weight). But the second week they lost little if anything (apparently a “plateau” phenomenon). The losing team was faced with a decision between voting out their smallest person (Lizzeth), or the really big guy who lost no weight (Dave), and also happens to be a bit of a jerkwad (he would also quit working out from time to time).

The voting was pretty clear – Lizzeth and another woman were voting for Dave, all 3 men were voting for Lizzeth, and the third woman was the swing vote. Despite this, during the elimination ceremony, one of the guys (Ryan) decides to perform what I call the Asshole Maneuver of the Year. He starts out by saying that he was going to vote based on who weighed the least (i.e. for Lizzeth), but that what the women had to say really moved him, and so he has decided to vote for…(Lizzeth is crying and hopeful)…Lizzeth. What the fuck? He seriously did this just because he thought it would be funny.

Now, don’t get me wrong – humor is important in reality TV. But the nature of this show is that it’s a tough, emotional experience. You’re dealing with people who have had serious weight issues for years, and so everything is personal. With such fragile egos, jerking around someone (who just happens to be the most emotional on the team) is just uncalled for. Yes, it was the Asshole Maneuver of the Year. It was all the more shocking because Ryan appeared to be a really nice guy up ‘till that point.

I have to tell you, the whole thing made me so mad, I’m reluctant to even watch the show again. But there’s something oddly compelling about it. So perhaps I’ll keep tuning in, openly hoping that Ryan gets kicked out ASAP.

Lastly, I must of course bring up a bad commercial. This week’s offender is from K-Mart. It’s advertising their sale on Hallowe’en costumes for kids. Problem #1 – what’s up with a sale on costumes before the holiday? They say that like they have them in stock year-round. Please! Problem #2 – there is a ridiculous child dancing ridiculously in a ridiculous Shrek costume. He’s gonna see that tape in 20 years and go right into therapy. And Problem #3 – there is no need to resurrect the song “Who Can It Be Now” (by Men At Work) for any reason other than 80’s flashback show.

October 19, 2004

What I'm watching

(First let me say that I'm pissed because I'd typed 3/4 of this entry, only to have it closed because one of those stupid pop-ups locked up my computer when I tried to close it. Let me try this again...)

Perhaps you’re wondering what a man so critical of television does watch. Like I said, I watch a lot of TV. Here’s an idea of my usual prime-time schedule for the week:

- Nothing really, but I’ll sometimes catch Airline on A&E, or perhaps Real World/Road Rules Challenge (when I need something brainless).

- Hopefully CBS will put The Amazing Race back here when season 6 begins – it’s the best reality show on TV!

- A big new favorite in our house is Lost. It’s the one show that the SNU and I watch together without fail. I guess that makes it a “family show.”

- Even though they have declined in quality, I still feel compelled to watch Survivor and The Apprentice – mostly so I can keep up with my online friends! The only reason I watch Joey is for the scenes with Jennifer Coolidge. Will and Grace was lousy last season, but it’s showing signs of life (a pregnant Debra Messing was what killed it before). Once in awhile I’ll catch C.S.I. – usually in reruns.

- My favorite drama is Joan of Arcadia. I’ve seen every episode! What really pulls me in is the great acting (Mary Steenburgen, in particular), and the family dynamic on the show, which I think is so much more realistic than what’s usually on TV. Other shows I might catch are Reba, Hope and Faith, and What Not to Wear on TLC.

- Please, there’s no reason to be home on a Saturday night! And yet I am so often…but not watching any good TV. As far as I’m concerned it’s just killing time until Saturday Night Live starts.

- Of course I’ll watch The Simpsons when it’s on, and I still love King of the Hill. The must-see show is Desperate Housewives! It’s definite water cooler material with my girlfriends.

When I’m not watching all this, I usually watch reruns of Will and Grace on our local WB network, Who’s Line Is It Anyway?, Ellen (the talk show), and endless reruns of The Golden Girls and Designing Women on Lifetime. “Lifetime – television for women…and gay men.”

Monday musings

First I'd like to thank my friend Tsukata (who has her own blog), who was pointed out this interesting article on the BK ad I mentioned earlier. I still think it's strange, but at least now I know where it came from.

So the ad that I will bitch about today is the AT&T commercial where the African-American family sits down to breakfast. First we find out that the eldest son was late coming home the previous night, and didn't call. Do his parents punish him? No - they REWARD HIM WITH A NEW CELL PHONE! What kind of crappy negative reinforcement parenting is that? Then we see that the younger son is in disbelief. Yeah, you and me both, kid.

In other news, the SNU and I received our first gifts from our registry via UPS. Let me tell you - nothing excites 2 gay men more than receiving boxes full of place settings. Our new dishware is from Target (pronounced: TAR-zhay), in a lovely "denim blue" pattern. It's awesome. Christmas came early this year!

Also, I'd like to rant about these annoying pop-ups that are plaguing me. I never had this problem before (my Juno blocker would catch most of them). I even downloaded the Google toolbar for extra pop-up blocking. But nothing works! And it's weird - they don't seem to be related to any of the sites I'm on, they just pop up randomly. They all start with an address of "xadsq" or "xlime" - if anyone knows how to stop them, I'm in your debt. I'm emailing Juno in the hopes that they can help. (Possible problem - this all started after I installed the Microsoft Service Pack 2 - coincidence?)

October 16, 2004

Ranting on commercials

I watch a lot of TV. Far too much, I'm sure. Probably at least 4-5 hours a day, minimum. Hey, gimme a break - it's not like I'm shooting up heroin. Although the cable bills are just as expensive.

All this is to say that you'll hear me talk about TV often, so get used to it. But tonight I'm actually not going to talk about TV shows - I want to complain about commercials.

Frequently I will be sitting in front of the boob tube, bitching about the stupidity of a commercial, and the SNU will say - "You should write about it in a blog." OK, fine.

Let me start with the one on the TV right now. It's for Burger King. What is up with the guy in the king costume being in bed with a hapless sleep-deprived fellow? That is just creepy. It sure as hell doesn't make me want to buy a fucking Croissanwich.

Next up is a commercial for Jif. I hate to rag on them, as it's my favorite peanut butter. (A major source of contention in our house, where the SNU is a die-hard Skippy man.) Anywho, you know the commercial where the girls are having the sleepover? What is with that whiny child? Why are you on the damn sleepover if you don't want to do anything? And who the hell is Princess Moonfire?

I don't know if this is regional, but I'm so glad that summer is over so I don't have to watch those horrible commercials for Six Flags. The music is annoying, and the old bad dancer man just pisses me off. Besides, at Six Flags America they had 2 major accidents in the past year. Their new motto - "Come to Six Flags America - hundreds of patrons didn't die this year!"

Anything by Old Navy. 'Nuff said.

An introduction

And so I am once again dragged kicking and screaming into the latest technological trend. You're listening to the guy who was too stubborn to switch from cassette tapes for years because he was so sure CDs were "just like beta." But now I listen to CDs, watch DVDs, jam to my mini-iPod, and feel lost without my cell phone and Palm. So of course, I must have a blog. (And a world shudders in response.)

Let's get through the basics first.

I'm an early 30's gay man living in our nation's capital. By day I work for a non-profit, fighting for the rights of my GLBT brothers and sisters. Evenings and weekends (when I'm lucky) I'm a dancer (mostly modern). I teach, choreograph and perform when I can, which is not often enough.

I've been in a relationship with the same wonderful man for five years, and we're having a wedding in December (not it's not legal). On this blog you shall see him referred to as "the SNU." Allow me to explain...

The type of man that floats my boat tends to be what we in the gay community refer to as a "bear." Basically your husky, hairy, Al on Home Improvement-type. They're not for everyone, which is fine, because it leaves more for me. So anywho, one of my online bear buddies referred to his partner as his "Significant Ursine." (Ursine is Latin for bear-like.) I joked that my partner, who is husky but not hairy, was my "Significant Non-Ursine." Which was shortened to "the SNU," and the nickname stuck. Just don't tell him I call him that.

As for my interests/likes & dislikes/etc. I'm sure you'll figure that out as this blog develops. But here's a quick summary:

- The Amazing Race
- Hair
- anything made with curry
- Indigo Girls
- books by Amy Tan

- Fear Factor
- Oklahoma! (unless Hugh Jackman is the star)
- anything made with mushrooms
- Rod Stewart
- books by Bill O'Reilly

Get the picture? If not, keep reading. I'll try to keep you interested. Sorry, no steamy stories like Washingtonienne used to write. Lucky bitch.