Reality Bites: Wicked Single
When "strip billiards" goes wrong.
There are a million reality shows on the naked television. We're going to watch them all, one at a time.
Like a lot of people, I used to feel a certain amount of affection for the city of Boston. My wife and I spent our honeymoon in Massachusetts, including one pleasant day in and around the Common, Downtown and Faneuil Hall (grasshoppah!). This was followed by one of the most epic hangovers of my life, though I understand I'm not the first person to suffer that affliction in Boston.
But part of it came from being a sports fan in Houston, a city that (at one time) shared a little of Beantown's particular brand of angst. Until about a decade ago, the Patriots had never won a Super Bowl (like the Texans/Oilers), the Red Sox hadn't won a World Series since 1918 (the Astros ever) and in a particularly harsh bit of symmetry, both teams had their hearts broken by the fucking Mets in '86. Granted, they had dozens of Celtics and Bruins championships to look back on, but Boston's perpetual also-ran status in the AL East and the AFC conferred a hangdog status we could empathize with.
How times change. With multiple titles in *every* sport over the last ten years, any solidarity has dissolved like Gisele Bündchen's resolve in my dreams. With that lovable-ish loser veneer now stripped away, Wicked Single provides the perfect vector for newly fashionable Boston hate.
You're not just single in Boston, you're *wicked* single. I can see this branching out into other cities. New York: Fucking Single. Los Angeles: Gnarly Single. Dallas: Wannabe Single. Debuting on St. Patrick's Day, VH1's latest foray into aiming a camera at people trying to have sex with each other aims to up the ante over other efforts (Flavor of Love, for example) by presenting individuals less physically appealing than Flavor Flav.
"Chubs" -- who I assume is the main offender here -- is turning 30. The most important thing you need to know about Chubs is he's reminiscent of a slightly less obnoxious Chet from Weird Science. He orchestrates a pub crawl for his birthday and spends the rest of the night engaging in aggravated frottage with every woman he meets. Sorry, did I say "less" obnoxious?
His counterpart is Rachel, who exacts revenge for Joe's (Chubs's roommate) poor treatment of her by making out with every other guy in the bar (VH1 keeps a helpful running count, the better for future slut shaming). She remains obsessed with Joe (I call him "Chinless Joe" because of my love of baseball puns) for some reason. Then she and best friend Nikki (who broke her wrist in a drunken fall last week) decide to talk shit to Chubs's friend Chelsi, nearly instigating a bar brawl. Man, people who drink all day are really fun to hang out with.
Let's be honest; in spite of my incisive analysis at the beginning, you'll find idiots like these anywhere in the country. However, a pattern has emerged among reality shows in recent years that concentrates all these train wrecks in certain parts of the Northeast (case in point: Jersey Shore). Certainly there are Real Housewives across the Lower 48, but where are the table flippers? New Jersey. Now we have a bunch of stereotypical mooks from Boston acting like, well, mooks.
It's almost as if there's a concentrated effort to portray non-NYC areas of the region in a negative light. That couldn't possibly be the case, could it, Viacom? NBCUniversal? I'd ask them directly, but no one in their New York-based offices answered my calls.
Possibly because it was 12:30 a.m. their time.
The next day, Rachel and Nikki attempt a post-drunken rationalization of their dumbass behavior, while Chubs eats with his family and laments his mother's expectations that he get married and stop picking on his little brother Wyatt.
Later that night, more drinks are consumed, some girl licks Chubs's face at a bar. Rachel sticks her tongue in another dude's mouth (there's a lot of tongue in this show), Nikki trips again (in other words, she "goes down hahd"). Chelsi apologizes to Nikki, who relays the news to Rachel before the latter's "classy" wine party. I like the otherwise loathsome Rachel because she gives us an idea what a young Melissa Leo from The Fighter might have looked like. This time, our dreams of a fight are fulfilled when someone insults Rachel's breasts and ass and her latest tonsil hockey partner valiantly stands up for her. He's a keepah!
Look, I get it. The reason there are so many of these shows is that you really only need a couple cameras, a lighting guy, a boom-mike dude (possibly the same person) and maybe some on-site legal counsel (for the inevitable street fight). But they've run out of anyone remotely interesting to put in front of those cameras. None of the "Wicked Singles" are especially attractive, or interesting. Nor do any of them have a career worth speaking of. They simply exist, often in the most boorish way possible, and all on TV. The better for local politicians to froth at the mouth and audiences like us to smirk from the comforts of our couches. That's entertainment.
Get the Theater and Arts Newsletter
Exclusive discounts and announcements to Houston theater shows and art events