I confess: my TV tastes run to trash. I’ll watch any tacky reality show they throw up on network or basic cable. If I didn’t live with a man who insists on a modicum of pop-cultural dignity, our Time Warner™ DVR would be jammed only with saved episodes of American Idol, So You Think You Can Dance and Dancing With the Stars. I’ve cajoled him into watching the Masterpiece Theaters of reality shows—Project Runway, The Biggest Loser and America’s Next Top Model—with me. And currently we’re both way into Ninja Warrior, the brilliant Japanese obstacle-course contest on G4.
But even my snooty husband was horrified-fascinated by the car wreck that was Tila Tequila’s dating show.
Don’t pretend you don’t know her. / Tilashotspot.com
Don’t pretend you know not of whom I speak. She’s the tiny little Vietnamese-American pole dancer who found fame by collecting more friends on MySpace than anyone in history and parlaying that network into a ho-hum single, then parlaying that fringey fame into a giant coup: her own dating show on MTV. The hook: turns out Tila is bisexual, and so her harem was cast with both men and women.
The series, if you didn’t watch it, and I sincerely hope you unlike us have actual lives that would have prevented you from doing so, was just awful. So awful we caught almost every episode. There were fistfights among the lesbians, not-so-secret hook-ups between the hetero men and the bicurious women, horrible and nonsensical contests involving bull’s penises and chocolate mud pits.
And then of course there was Tila, a weirdly charismatic creature despite her disproportionately large head and inability to read fluidly from cue cards. There was a part of me that admired her pluck for turning absolutely nothing into something resembling a career. One can do that in America. What’s more, she seemed truly sincere in her quest for lasting romance, and we found ourselves rooting for her.
Like crack addicts trying desperately to kick a habit, we snuck a peek of the wrap-up show that featured her forlorn cast-offs casting doleful last looks at their lost love while Tila, now newly and oddly platinum blonde, cuddled with her chosen sweetie (some schmo from upstate New York—and, oh, yes, a dude). Close to recovery, we took what we thought would be one last peek at the New Year’s Eve show she hosted on MTV.
…just in time to catch her announcing that the romance failed sometime between last week’s wrap-up show and this week’s year-end show. And that she would be the star of—ta-dah—a whole new season of yet another show in which she would sample bisexual dates to find true love!
My husband was so incensed he went online and found all manner of blogs that echoed our outrage. It was all just so—cynical! Of all the career paths she might have chosen, given, admittedly, her limited talents, this young woman chooses serial dating!
Heck, I’m going to learn by her example. Maybe I could take up a career in eating toast. Or in typing really fast while talking on the phone while eating toast. Or in plowing through the Sunday newspaper end to end while talking on the phone while eating toast. These are all skills I perform exceptionally well—with charisma, even. The difference, of course, is none of them make for great TV.
Anyway, we’re over our Tequila hang-overs and we’re not looking back. We’re not watching the next season, and I will actively avoid any product she endorses (as if I’m the target market for leather corsets). Even I can stomach only so much. Besides, that new show on CMT sounds promising. You know, the one called My Big Redneck Wedding.