Thursday, September 15, 2011

Chris watches H8R.

Hey everybody!  Well, the summer officially ends next week and the weather is starting to behave accordingly.  After a summer that included a hurricane and an earthquake, I’m looking forward to a surprise-free autumn.  And nothing is more surprise-free than fall television programming!  Segue!  Around this time every year, networks throw a bunch of new pilots at the wall to see what sticks.  Sometimes they paint a masterpiece.  Most of the time they poop out a Jackson Pollack like today’s entry…


You guys, this one was tough on your old pal Chris.  I’ve done a lot in the name of unpaid, un-fact-checked journalism.  I’ve watched terrible television.  I’ve eaten terrible food.  I’ve listened to Rebecca Black.  Ladies and gentlemen, H8R is the unkindest cut of all.  Et tu, Slater?  I saw a commercial for this show a few weeks ago and I knew…I knew I had to watch it.  I also feared that the mere viewing of this show might crush my spirit and render me, for the rest of my days on earth, a cynic.  Let’s talk about H8R and why it might be the worst thing in the world!

Albert Clifford Slater
If you haven’t heard of H8R before (excellent work, by the way!) it has a very simple premise.  Mario Lopez (television’s A.C. Slater!) introduces D-List celebrities to the regular people who hate them.  That could be a good reality show!  Keep in mind, being a good reality show is like being the prettiest patient in a burn ward.  There’s potential for some mindless entertainment watching celebrities and their critics spar for an hour.  The problem with H8R is that the producers are firmly of the opinion that celebrities are right and the rest of America is so, so wrong.

In each episode, two celebs confront their vocal critics and try to win them over.  Our first pseudo-famous person is Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi from Jersey Shore.  A.C. Slater collects Snooki from her hotel room where we find her poured into a black dress with light-up heels on.  Relatable!  We are next introduced to Nick, Snooki’s “H8R” or “hater” if you’re not a goddamned idiot.  Snooki confronts Nick and asks him why he harbors such ill feelings toward her.  Nick expresses exactly why he dislikes her through a series of incredibly salient arguments.  For example:

1. Snooki is paid millions of dollars to portray a negative Italian-American stereotype on television.

2. Snooki isn’t even Italian.  She’s Chilean.  Like those miners!

3. Snooki cashed in further on her negative image by publishing a book (the pages of which are, no doubt, bound by vomit burps and venereal disease).

4. Snooki has a CHOICE about the way she is seen by the public.  If she stops acting like a drunken clown on TV everyone will stop treating her like one.

Role model!
Case closed, right?  Being a “reality star” means that you are theoretically playing yourself on television.  Therefore, if you behave like an ass on TV it is implicitly understood that you behave like an ass in real life.  Accepting a truckload of money to sully your good name means that you can’t have it both ways.  Either you give up the paychecks and try to live a life you can be proud of OR you keep acting like a buffoon all the way to the bank.  Nick spelled this out for Snooki who insisted that he hadn’t yet met the “real” her.  Again, trying to show America the “real you” doesn’t hold a lot of water when you do it ON ANOTHER REALITY SHOW!

America’s heartburn, Mario Lopez, forces Nick and Snooki to go on a play date to the grocery store.  The unlikely pair shops for ingredients to a meal that Snooki will be preparing for Nick’s large Italian family.  It’ll be like an episode of All in the Family but…you know…tense.  Snooki asks if a bottle of wine from 2009 has expired.  Way to rehab the old image, Snook!  The needle is wavering between "Savvy Businesswoman" and "Severe Learning Disability."  Snooki heads home to meet the family who, despite their obvious distaste with her, act like gracious human beings the way nice people do.  The producers take this as a sign that Snooki has charmed a divided nation and wrap up the segment.  Good news…we’re only halfway through this train wreck!

Onward and downward!  We next meet Jake Pavelka.  He was the bachelor on that one show…The Bachelor!  Jake is a handsome wood pile who cheated on his TV fiancé and is an all-around douche canoe.  Jake’s hater is an opinionated young girl named Danielle.  Mario Lopez, for reasons known only to him, instructs Jake to behave like a total dick towards Danielle.  You know, to win her over!  While Danielle is relaxing next to a pool, Jake strips to his bathing suit and starts doing pushups.  He then starts hitting on Danielle who quickly informs him that she hates his guts.  Since he was given carte blanche by Mario Lopez, Jake then creepily tries to buy a drink for Danielle who is 20 YEARS OLD.   Ugh.  This show is unappealing on a molecular level.

Jake takes Danielle on a plane ride which she is thoroughly unimpressed by.  His next tactic is to take this poor young girl to The Bachelor mansion which Jake considers “near and dear” to his heart.  Danielle astutely asks why Jake doesn’t have any other sides to his personality.  When Danielle asks Jake for one of his best qualities he answers “morally, I’m great.”  Danielle observes that Jake is just trying to clean up his image and has only deepened her initial impressions of him.  Danielle is a little spitfire and I’m proud of her response to this onslaught of skeeviness on an almost parental level.  Her only foible is that she’s a 20-year-old Californian girl and, as such, uses the word “like” 62 times (I counted) during her brief amount of screen time.  Jake, after realizing that he will never convince Danielle of his non-douchiness sends her away and declares, “She does not get a rose.”  Fuck this show.  If it isn’t canceled after the pilot episode I am moving to Wyoming and stocking up on canned goods and crossbows. 

Well, that is more than enough of that, friends!  I am going to go take 3 showers and I’ll meet you back here next week!  Happy football season, boys and girls!

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