Reality Watch 2005:
Top 10 reality show villains and psychos…
One of the guiltiest pleasures of subjecting yourself to a season's worth of reality shows is watching real people transform from bright-eyed contestants to cartoon villains right before your eyes, and wondering if the alteration is due to editing or just a thinly concealed thirst for camera whoring and surfaced psychotic tendencies that were overlooked during background checks. Luckily, seasons go by so fast and reverberate so little that there isn't too much time to ponder these Jekyl-and-Hyde inclinations. That is, until someone compiles a list, much the following. ¤ C.Ho.
Markus (41, Inventor), contestant on "The Apprentice"
This quote from Markus' bio over at Yahoo! Apprentice might give an indication of Markus' biggest problem: when asked why Markus would make an awesome Apprentice, his reply went like this: "My relentless dedication to the highest outcome for my client would serve Mr. Trump well. My extensive and broad knowledge base combined with experience in many areas also stands out." If you haven't guessed, Markus suffered from incoherent rambling for most of his season, and stood out as a detriment to his teammates from the start. In one task, Markus complained that he was sidelined (read: given tasks that he didn't want to do), and then complained about being asked to help clean up. In another task, he slacked off completely, and when confronted by the Project Manager, turned around and complained about his unfair treatment. When his "fly under the radar" strategy, criticized by the wonderful Carolyn (since Trump still has trouble with basic reasoning skills), ultimately did him in, he managed to get the last word in by telling Trump that "wishing him well" was a huge lie. (It was.)
Toral (29, Investment Banker), contestant on "The Apprentice"
It's not surprising that Toral made friends with Markus quickly, or that they both complained about being too smart for their teammates although there was only evidence to the contrary. Unlike Markus, though, Toral just didn't know when to quit, and she went down in flames more quickly than she anticipated. On her last task, she criticized her team for their lack of creativity, but her ideas, sparse as they came, were even more idiotic. She confessionalized that she wouldn't have hired any of the women on her team - except maybe in a secretarial capacity and, in the Boardroom, insisted that she was better than everyone in the whole wide world, possibly even Donald Trump himself, and the task was simply beneath her capacity as a genius with a giant brain. Her delusional website (where you can learn that her name is actually copyrighted) is called "Toral Mehta - The Unforgettable Business Genius" and she claims to be "The Billionaire's Bet!" because she's "both Donald Trump's and Sir Richard Branson's top choice of over one million job applicants nationwide…!" She's got the Glamour Shots to back this up.
Jayla (20, Delivery Driver), contestant on "America's Next Top Model"
Everyone hated Jayla, and I agree with the criticisms of her behaviour, but I kind of liked her anyway. Jayla received a favourable edit at the very beginning of the show, with only slight hints that she was an undercover bitch. I mean, the casting show emphasized that she was a home-schooled, former Jehova's Witness who "rebelled" at the very last moment, so there's plenty of ammunition for Tyra to work with. Things took a nasty turn when Jayla backstabbed one of the other model wannabes mid-season, and then acted shocked to find out that her actions had consequences. Instead of apologizing or hashing things out, Jayla chose another tack and called her competitor a "stupid, stupid bitch" during a seemingly drunken confessional. In the clip show, more of Jayla's mean and backhanded comments emerged, and she was sealed as this season's bitch, which also sealed her fate at elimination. The last straw was when Jayla gleefully jumped on the bandwagon and lashed out at another girl for talking about people behind their backs. Hypocrite much? (But she's still got beautiful eyes.)
Omarosa (35, Annoying Personality) and Janice Dickinson (51, World's First Supermodel And Don't You Forget It), both on "The Surreal Life"
It was pure genius, or pure madness, to get these two strong personalities on the same season of "The Surreal Life." If you've seen Omarosa in action on the first season of "The Apprentice," and Janice on "America's Next Top Supermodel," then you'd know that they are prone to volatile behaviour, and can't get along with anyone who doesn't tell them that they are great. They are so similar, in fact, that it's natural for them to hate each other, which is exactly what occurred on "The Surreal Life." On one occasion, and during a photo op, Janice pantomimed killing Omarosa by holding up a knife behind her head and channeling Psycho. And if you've seen Omarosa on that other reality show, you'd know that she freaked out over having a flake of plaster fall on her head, which apparently gave her a concussion, which led to her sitting out an entire task. So in this event, Omarosa freaked out and threatened to leave like the drama queen she is, and Janice refused to apologize like the mean person she is. But Omarosa is no saint either. This quote from Janice nicely sums up the rivalry between the two: "…after [Omarosa] said disgusting things about my children and accused me of freebasing in the bathroom - which I wasn't - she came to me behind the scenes and asked if I hated her. And I was like, um, yeah."
Jim (36, Ad Executive), contestant on "The Apprentice: Martha Stewart"
Since no one seems to be watching Martha, it seems like Jim's shenanigans are being wasted at the moment. He is the most obnoxious, purposefully evil person that ever graced NBC, and he knows it. From the start, Jim was loud and brash, threatening teammates with his awesome powers of destruction in the conference room, and butting heads with anyone who dared to speak against his command. He manipulated people and then danced around with glee like the puppet master that he imaged himself to be. After showing a moment of softness toward another contestant who was all but defeated, Jim admitted to the cameras, other team members, and Martha Stewart Omni-Living executives that his strategy was to keep weak members around - so that when advancing to the end, he'd go head-to-head with someone he knew he could beat easily, instead of, you know, working for it. Unfortunately for Jim, that actually involves being chosen for the final two, which might be just as crazy as he is.
Lisa (24, Assistant Wardrobe Stylist), contestant on "America's Next Top Model"
Lisa, much like fellow contestant Jayla, didn't know when to be polite and when to be brutally honest. Unlike Jayla, however, Lisa was actually a good model, and even though she looked about 35 years old in real life, she came off like a vixen in all of her pictures. Her seemingly catty remarks and know-it-all-isms drove the other model wannabes insane, and she was quickly shunned and teased (mostly behind her back). Luckily, Lisa found a new friend in the form of the bottled wine that Tyra keeps around for the purpose of procuring some good sound bites, but the wine was no match for her naturally wild behaviour and inexperience in reading a room. On a photo shoot with MTV's "The Wild Boyz," Lisa donned a diaper and proceeded to pee in it. Surprisingly, this did not earn her an elimination, but it did earn a rousing round of pearl clutches all across North America.
Tana (37, Sales Executive), runner-up on "The Apprentice"
Tana looked like a shoo-in by the fourth or fifth task. She was confident, peppy, and a good team player as well as a great leader. Then the editing got strange - so strange, in fact, that it was almost like watching a whole different show. Tana became arrogant and bitchy, leaving her teammate (and ultimate winner, by the way) to stay up all night finishing a task while she fitfully slept in her cozy bed. On the final head-to-head task, Tana was condescending and ungrateful to her staff of returned firees, and went so far as to distance herself from them as they left the building (because, as we all know, high-powered executives don't fraternize with the common workers). Donald Trump wasted no time in basically handing the other contestant the win, and yet Tana still claimed she was the better candidate, conveniently forgetting all the nasty things she pulled right in front of the cameras -proving once again that selective memory on a reality show is a spreading disease.
Marguerite "God Warrior" Perrin (age unknown, God Warrior), contestant on "Trading Spouses"
I don't watch "Trading Spouses" for many reasons, but one fine day, while channel surfing, I managed to catch the last five minutes of a particular episode that featured the Perrin family. This just happened to be the portion where Marguerite, a self-proclaimed "God Warrior," completely lost it upon her arrival home. The cameras stayed on Marguerite as she yelled and flailed about, seemingly possessed by the very demons she tried to exorcize from her family. The $50,000 cheque, the "reward" for the family's appearance on the show, was safely nestled in an envelope, but little did it know that it was "tainted" and "dark sided," and that its fate would be a holy ripping on national television. Marguerite then accused her daughters of not praying for her during her absence, and proceeded to scare away the camera crew with her wailing about being placed in an "ungodly" home (the host family who took Marguerite in were new Age humanists). The episode garnered so much attention that a bobblehead of Marguerite acquired a winning bid of $870 USD bid on e-Bay, and she appeared as a guest on Jay Leno. Oh, and she also changed her mind and accepted the $50,000 "reward" money.
The brats (14-17), appeared on "Brat Camp"
"Brat Camp" was surprise hit for ABC in the summer, most likely because everything else was a re-run or "Dancing With the Stars." The premise was simple: a handful of at-risk kids were sent off into the forest to learn about independence, perseverance, and the value of life. And, for the most part, they did fairly well. But if you've caught the first or second episode, then you might have noticed that some of these kids were brattier than they were troubled. Of course, it's safe to assume that appearing on a reality show means that resistance is futile, and that to get out alive, one must abide by all the producer's rules. But since they're only kids, I'll give them the benefit of the doubt and assume that a temper tantrum over building a fire or picking fights with the counselors truly seemed like the best course of action at the time, even though they eventually and inevitably had to build that damn fire or apologize to the counselor.
Ann (28, Former Miss Tampa) and Yvette (26, Dancer), contestants on "I Want To Be A Hilton"
Watching this show made me yearn for the days of "The Real World," if that's possible. At least on "The Real World," personalities like these would be in their natural environment, not on a show competing to be the next big socialite. As it stands, Ann and Yvette were two of the most exasperating contestants on the show, and everyone, including Kathy Hilton, knew it. Let's start with Ann: she's well meaning and generally perky, but there's something missing - most likely her brain. In the strangest elimination round ever, Ann busted out into song to prove to Kathy that she wanted to win this competition bad. And the song was, "Wind Beneath My Wings." And Ann cried while singing. Yvette, on the other hand, is also kind of dumb but her detriments have more to do with her being stuck-up and not very self-aware. On a sort of scavenger hunt challenge, Yvette donned a tutu (as part of the challenge, of course, and because she's a Vegas dancer so that makes sense), and ran across town with Ann and another teammate, only managing to read maps wrong and decipher French clues incorrectly. When the challenge was over, Ann and Yvette came back to the meeting site late, and Yvette, in all her Vegas showgirl glory, did a little improvised, first-grade-ballerina-type-of-dance for Kathy while everyone looked on, horrified. All that was missing were Ann's awesome backing vocals.