When the television writers went on strike last season , it breathed forth an incredible opportunity for Reality TV producers to dig deep into the depths of filth and give us their best. Captivated initially by mainstays like Survivor and The Amazing Race, and further mesmerized by more direct hits to the libido like The Bachelor(ette), American viewers probably never considered how far the phenomenon could go. Thank you, cable television.
Most point to MTV's Real World as the first true reality show. Initially a compelling concept of seven strangers living in a house set in a city of worldly opportunity, it unraveled as Abercrombie & Fitch set to motion and sound with the Vegas crew in season 12 -- minus the innuendo and plus the blatant exploitation of pretty young things with too much access to alcohol and too little responsibility.
But that season set the stage for the simultaneously TiVo-worthy and parental-blocking reality shows on the air today -- and MTV is not the only player here. VH1, positioned as the MTV for those of us who have grown up, has perfected a formula of bringing girls who strip as a gateway to porn together with guys who view porn as a gateway to a relationship. And thus we have such nuggets of intelligentsia as Flavor of Love, I Love New York and my favorite, Rock of Love. But just when you think VH1 has beaten MTV at their own game, MTV steps up with A Double Shot at Love. Chug.
So for those of you who have too much class or self-restraint to have watched this debacle; or simply haven't had the fortune of stumbling upon it while channel surfing - allow me to fill you in. A Double Shot at Love is built upon the same concept as a previous MTV hit, A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila. Tila is a bisexual femme on a Bachelorette -- like search for the perfect man -- or woman. Tila's sexual identity is not what makes the show seedy. Whether it features a man looking for a woman, a man looking for a man, or any other combination not heretofore mentioned, the premise of these reality shows that ironically suspend all reality is the same. What makes the show seedy is its excessive sexploitation of Tila and her suitors.
Now take that concept and multiply it times two -- literally. A Double Shot at Love features identical twin sisters filling Tila's old role, bringing a disturbingly incestuous bent to the program. The "Ikki" twins, so named since they are "Rikki" and "Vikki," spend the show swapping spit and undoubtedly other substances with the same men and women, often in front of and within seconds of one another. It's dirty, jaw-dropping and mystifying -- and yet, not even entertaining. For one, the Ikki twins aren't so much hot as they are skanky, which would be fine if they had the self-aware or less aware humor of Bret Michaels and Flavor Flav, respectively. They don't. And the show's contestants lack the stripperific personalities essential to this format. In a nutshell, the Ikki twins give you no reason to care who they end up with, and their love interests are too boring for you to love them or hate them. So it's not long before you realize you're just watching almost-porn, somehow cheaper than the real XXX.
Have I gotten old, or has MTV gone too far for someone who actually tried to defend Temptation Island*? Set your TiVo, and you be the judge.
*Okay, so the one couple had a child. Aside from that, they were halfway decent people, right?