Summer Schooled: reALIty report card

Allison Lasher, Blogger

This summer was a time of bikinis, heavy drinking and showmances for reality show contestants. Summer school grades are in for four of the most talked about shows of the season. In case you missed them, here’s the reALIty summer round-up report card.

“Love in the Wild”

This lovechild of “Survivor” and “Temptation Island” puts 10 women and 10 men into the “wild” of the Dominican Republic. The point of the show is to pair up, compete in challenges and hopefully somewhere down the road form a love connection. Totally realistic, right? The winning team received, wait for it, a trip around the world! That’s not vague at all. While slow at times, this show wrapped up in eight easy-to-watch episodes featuring pretty intense physical challenges. Though it was slightly sickening and at times unbelievable to watch some of the pairs fall in love as fast as they claimed to have, two couples from season one are still together, which is a pretty high success rate for reality dating shows (I hope “The Bachelor” was taking notes).

High: Host Jenny McCarthy. Whoever cast her should be rewarded by not having to work on “Love in the Wild” anymore. You could always count on McCarthy for a witty one-liner or to straight-up embarrass one of the contestants which, in the midst of all of these “serious” love connections, was much needed comedic relief.

Low: If I had to hear one more person complain about the last place team’s living conditions, I was going to fly out to the Dominican Republic and give them a piece of my mind. It’s called “Love in the Wild,” not “Love in the Ritz.” You had a sleeping bag, stop crying.

Grade: A dumb yet surprisingly watchable summer show, C+.

“Bachelor Pad”

I have only seen the last eight seasons of “The Bachelor/Bachelorette,” but I have never missed a minute of the now three seasons of “Bachelor Pad.” The show attempts to ask former contestants from both shows the question: “Which is more important, love or money?”  and their answers probably won’t surprise you. Every season, people come on the show saying they are in it for the money and every season, people completely break down over a weekend-long failed showmance.

The biggest twist of this season came at the reunion, where the final two decide to keep or split the prize money. If one chooses keep and the other split, the keeper gets the entire prize and the other goes home with nothing. Nearly invisible Nick Peterson chose to keep the money, burning his partner and his reputation. In my opinion, this was a great move for not only Nick, but also the format of “Bachelor Pad” in general. This has always been an option for the final couple, but the past two chose to amicably split the loot, resulting in hugs, smiles and a disappointed viewer (me). I never understand why people get so caught up in relationships when $250,000 is at stake. People who go on “Bachelor Pad” aren’t looking for love; they’re looking for a payout and a good time. It was refreshing to finally see someone take the opportunity, and hopefully this will open the door for even more dramatic conclusions on future seasons.

High: Donna’s illustration of Michael. Super fan Donna Zitelli presented “Bachelor” franchise staple Michael Stagliano with a sketch she drew of him. Somehow his ego prevented him from realizing how creepy this was; however, it was not lost on me.

Low: The super fans. This season of “BP” featured five super fans as contestants. This on its own was awkward and unnecessary. The fans were a bit starstruck and a lot boring. But to top it all off, two perpetually drunk and whiney twins were cast as one contestant. The only redeeming aspect was that right as I couldn’t take anymore of them, they packed their bags and sent themselves home.

Grade: Decent season with an explosive end, B+.

“Big Brother”

If you are not currently watching “Big Brother” during the summer months, you should be. This season of “Big Brother” was pretty much unanimously dubbed the best season yet, and after 14 seasons, that’s impressive. This year, three of the best “Big Brother” contestants to ever play the game and Britney Haynes were brought back to coach the newbies, but before long the coaches were right back in the game as players. This cast was full of break-out stars that I am sure we’ll be seeing more of somewhere on CBS. From nerdy-compulsively-moving-winner Ian Terr to powerhouse-goofy-good-looking Frank Eudy, there were more than a few strong players and the wide range of characters always kept me on my toes.

Most of the credit for the show’s suspense goes to returning player Dan Gheesling, the author and coach who saved his own butt time and time again, artfully orchestrating almost every move in the game even when his time in the house seemed to be running out. His strategic moves impressed even the most jaded viewers but ultimately could not win over the bitter jury that sealed his fate as runner-up. Was anyone else freaked out by how many times he said he was up to his elbows in blood? Either way, great season.

High: Frank and Ashley Iocco’s “date.” Son of wrestler Sid Vicious, “Big Brother” 14 funny man Frank, had all the right moves in the challenges and with the ladies. On a date  with fellow contestant Ashley Frank maneuvered simply by asking her to make-out, and it worked! Watch the hilarious moment, here.

Low: Joe Arvin’s soul patch: gross.

Grade: Three episodes a week were hardly enough, A+.

“The Glass House”

I have almost nothing good to say about “The Glass House.” I honestly don’t even know why I continued to watch it. The casting seemed random and I don’t know who was bored more often, them or me. The few entertaining members of the cast got the boot too early in favor of the moral-pushing snoozers, which proves “America” should never have a role in a show’s day-to-day decision making. I say “America” because I am skeptical of how many viewers actually went through the difficult registration process to vote on important decisions, such as whether or not the cast should be forced to speak in a British accent all day.

High: The forgettable contestant who wore a shirt that said, “Don’t Bro Me If You Don’t Know Me.” Great shirt.

Low: Every other moment shown during an episode of “The Glass House.”

Grade: I would prefer to watch paint dry on a glass wall than watch one more episode of “The Glass House”, D-.

— Allison Lasher