Thursday, July 07, 2016

Two Bullets For Bunim-Murray (Part One)

It's time for Bunim-Murray Productions to pack it in.

I am not the first person to suggest this, and I probably won't be the last. I'm guessing that critics have been finding chinks in the armor of The Real World as far back as 1993, when he second season couldn't measure up to the initial offering. Maybe the naysayers first took aim in 1994 with the casting of Puck Rainey, who remains the patron saint of reality media whores. Then there was the London-based installment in 1995, which only featured three Americans and had so little to do that BMP took away televisions from their houses in subsequent seasons. I put the last major peak at either New Orleans (2000) or San Diego (2004), depending on my mood.

The 31st season finished airing last month, and it has to rank  as one of the ugliest editions in the show’s history. Go Big Or Go Home was the third consecutive gimmick-laden season. Taking a page from its deceased sister show Road Rules, cast members were pressed into missions to determine their limits. Should they back out of those, they would be sent packing and replaced. With this crew, nobody was really tested. It got to a point where an eighth roommate – Dylan – was added to the show when it became obvious nobody would be eliminated. Things would have been bad enough, but BMP elected to set their cast in Las Vegas for the third time in the show’s history. And if you couldn't hate the show enough already, BMP sprung for hoverboards. Never had I wanted somebody to be engulfed in fire as badly as I did during GBOGH.

The cherry on top of the dung heap was a girl named Jenna. She hailed from South Carolina, which probably set off alarms to those who just ambled in here. She was also the second Mormon girl cast, a decade and a half after Julie Stoffer headed up the New Orleans cast. Unlike Julie, it didn't take long for her to wear out her welcome. She didn't see how racist she came across, especially to the two African-American cast members, Dean and Ceejai. Jenna's roommates tried their best to educate her. When she had to sit out a mission due to injury, the cast voted for her not to be kicked off. I imagine the producers breathed a deep sigh of relief, because she was the straw that stirred the noxious drink. Her season ended a short time earlier than expected, as Ceejai gave her the most deserved beatdown since Gladys pummeled Abe on RR: Latin America. BMP ejected Ceejai, then kicked off Jenna for her own protection. Normally, I would root for a six-on-one dogpile, but most of these people were just so repellent. Here's the breakdown:

1. Sabrina

Her “storyline” was that she had never met her biological mother. Had to deal with Jenna's drama when they had to perform an original song for a mission. She will probably never be seen on a Challenge.

2. Dean

He took to the hoverboards and “carnies” a little too easily, but he was an okay person otherwise. He’ll probably never appear on a Challenge.

3. Ceejai

Tried her damnedest to put up with Jenna before beating her up. Otherwise, she'd be in the second position. Actually seemed to regret her actions. Would probably be invited to a Challenge, but would decline for fear of BMP forcing her into a partnership with Jenna.

4. Kaliah

Big fat “whatever” with this one. Had a fling with Dione and couldn't get over that. She'd be lower on most other seasons. Would probably resurface on a Challenge.

5. Chris

I should like this guy, especially for renouncing his ties to the Mormon Church. It's just that he had to go online during the season to blab about Jenna's racist tendencies, and I find that it's better for viewers to find stuff like that on their own. We don't need friend-of-a-roommate info supplied to us. Also: if BMP hadn't made it a “mission” for Chris to tell Jenna about the “leak,” she never would have known it was him. He might do a Challenge, but I'd suspect the other players would take a “snitches get stitches” mindset and eliminate him early.

6. Dylan

When we first saw him, it was in a teaser for potential replacement roommates. He was shown at his college, stripping down and playing a “prank” on the teacher. I consider it more along the lines of a cry for attention. Bugged in so many ways, but especially for having a fling with Jenna and trying to write it off as manipulation after the fact. Dude, you tried to “stick it in crazy.” Be honest with yourself and others. He is probably bunking at BMP’s offices as I type this in anticipation of being on the next Challenge.

7. Jenna

She's a trainwreck that's visible from orbit. I shouldn't feel an iota of pity for her, but with a cast this horrible, I can't help it. Will probably do at least one Challenge, but if she doesn't poke her head above the Mason-Dixon Line, everybody will be better off.

8. Dione

Yes, I'm ranking this tool below the racist. There was just something about the freeloading “carny” that rubbed me the wrong way. I don't think BMP could have devised a mission he could fail, because he struck me as the type of guy that needed attention. I would've suspected him of dropping the proverbial dime on Jenna, but I didn't think he gave a shit either way. Also, I doubt he could read or write. If he doesn't become a Challenge mainstay,BMP will probably give him a spinoff with the rest of his loser friends. I hope somebody will explain this essay to him in a manner he can understand.

Against all logic, there is a 32nd season in development. It will be set in Seattle, which was the location of the show in 1998. That edition climaxed with the so-called “Slap Heard Around The World,” where the imbalanced Stephen smacked Irene as she was making an early departure from the show. She tried to out him before the fateful slap, and BMP rewarded her by editing her to look like a nutter. Had this incident taken place a few years later, during the reality television boom, the resulting backlash might have shut BMP down, if not altering their methods for the better. Instead, viewers are stuck with the bottom of the barrel between The Real World and The Challenge.

At this point, I would wait a few days before putting this post out there, as I'd wait for The Challenge to severely disappoint me yet again. I'd vent about Johnny getting his way, compare Wes to Wile E. Coyote, and talk about the irony that one of the show's biggest fans (Bill Simmons) has a program that premieres opposite it every week (Any Given Wednesday) on HBO. But there I found this post on Reality Blurred. It seems that a former contestant from Are You The One? is going to be cast on RW32. My thoughts on that registered as such:

"No. No. No no no no no!! NO!! God, no!! Fuck, no!!! WHY THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING THIS TO US?!?"

I know, these are thoughts that should be reserved for war, global famine, or a Trump presidency. Shit, I get steamed up about how The Amazing Race will feature 22 strangers in its next season. But I've had enough AYTO to stomach. Bad enough idiots from that show are dumped  on The Challenge. I don't watch it, and I shouldn't be subjected to those people living it up in an exotic locale after they lived it up in an exotic locale. And now BMP, in an attempt to stay relevant, is ready to drop these losers on their flagship program? Ugh.

I'll stop here. Once I've seen the latest Challenge fiasco, I'll further articulate my intense distaste towards Bunim-Murray Productions.

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