Sunday, October 26, 2008

Stars Are Blind

Ugh, what a week. I was supposed to be on location in New York City, but was hit with a really nasty stomach flu and had to come home after a few days. So not only did I get my usual random hotel TV-watching in, but I had a full day trapped in a really crappy hotel* with nothing to do, so I'm basically familiar with this week's episodes of every single MTV and VH1 reality show. That Mystery: He's such a ladies man!

Now, I'm sure it's no great revelation, even if you've never seen the show, that Paris Hilton's My New BFF is full of stereotypes. But just for extra added fun, this week's episode is based entirely around the infamous "LA is fake" cliche. Thanks Paris! I needed something to write about this week.

So basically Paris starts out by intoning that "In Hollywood, it's hard to tell who's real and who's fake," then announces that she'll be attempting to rate the participants on an ascending fakeness scale with the help of that arbiter of gritty reality, Perez Hilton.

Eh, don't get that excited, Perez. A pseudonymed celebrity blogger might not be the world's number one judge of realness, even if you are from the East Coast. Perez doesn't do any appraising anyway, instead just being a cameo who interviews the contestants and assembles them into the aforementioned fakeness list. You get the expected Girl Who Everybody Hates at number one, and the sweet innocent girl from small-Texas-town at the bottom. This is the latter girl on the left: See how innocent! This contestant, Shelley, has an uncomfortable interview segment where she describes how she "came out of her shell" this episode by the above lesbian almost-makeout, plus by touching tongues with Perez. Now if she were, say, at Burning Man, we might buy this, but as part of a televised reality show, coupled with her highly unconvincing delivery of the tale, it just seemed forced, and -- dare I say it? -- fake.

Then there's now-eliminated contestant Onch:

Onch is male, and was a perfectly fun flamboyant girly-boy until he ranked #2 on the "fakeness" scale, leading to a teary-eyed scene in which he dressed in a button-down shirt and dramatically wiped his makeup off on-camera, in an effort to show the real Onch.

So here's how it works in Paris-Hollywood-land: If you're a sweet normal girl and you pretend to be promiscuous to win a contest, you're real. If you're a man who loves wearing makeup and women's clothing and you get rid of all those things, you're real. Got it? Hey, it's Paris' world and she can operate it anyway she wants, but let's not act like a barometer of real in the midst of a cliched fake Hollywood, please.

* I know, I should have checked Yelp before staying there, but the hotel's number is "Pennsylvania 6-5000" and Glenn Miller told me it was swank.

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