Once you’ve washed away the shame of your New Year’s Eve debauchery and settled into the groove of the new decade (you haven’t broken your resolution already, have you?), it’s time to turn on the TV and saddle up for new seasons of your favorite reality shows. The New Year brings with it the 20th season of Survivor, the gayest looking Bachelor we’ve seen yet and a new edition of Celebrity Rehab that actually features real celebrities.
Starting this season, I’ll be keeping track of all of the best reality programming the masterminds of unscripted TV have to offer. There’s no need to worry if you miss an episode — we’ll have weekly recaps up every Monday morning, so you’ll have plenty to talk about around the water cooler at work. What’s that you just said? You don’t watch reality television? Riiight. Neither do I. Masturbation? Never even thought about it ;)
American Idol. Season 9 of the show that made Ryan Seacrest a household name premieres Tuesday, January 12. This is the first year that Paula Abdul won’t be judging (she got the heave-ho a few months ago, reportedly for asking for a 500% raise and being 12 different layers of crazy). Ellen Degeneres is taking her place, which is either a brilliant move or the sign of the end of the American Idol era.
What to watch for: The first couple of weeks are the best — watching talentless dweebs desperately screech their way to five seconds of fame is a total ego boost. No matter how bad your life is, at least you’re not humiliating yourself on a singing show hosted by the reigning Prince of Twinks, right?
The Bachelor. Christ, have we really sat through 13 seasons of this crap already? Season 14, entitled The Bachelor: On the Wings of Love (see, I wasn’t kidding when I said it was the gayest ever), starts Jan. 4 at 8pm and features Jake Pavelka, the commercial airline pilot that Bachelorette Jillian Harris dumped last season. The show hasn’t even started yet, and already rumors are swirling that one of the girls vying for Jake’s heart was cheating with a production member. Apparently, it’s totally cool for Jake to date 25 women at once, but if one of the girls is interested in two guys at a time, she’s immediately labeled as the biggest skank ho in the history of reality TV.
What to watch for: Drunken catfights, obviously. Also, you might want to start an office pool based on when Jake comes out of the closet. Homeboy is pinging a glittery, inverted purple triangle on my gaydar.
The Biggest Loser: Season 9 of the fatfest starts on Tuesday, January 5 at 8pm. This time, it’s all about couples. Watch as the trainers scream at the morbidly obese contestants, touted as the fattest EVER! They’ll cry, they’ll sweat, they’ll puke and pass out. Sure, it’s sappy as hell. It’s also indescribably entertaining.
What to watch for: “Waaaaaaaah, I weigh 600 pounds, and I have no idea how I got this way!” If that doesn’t help you keep your “go to the gym at least five days a week” New Year’s resolution, nothing will.
Celebrity Apprentice. Okay, so this one doesn’t premiere until March 14. Still, once you check out this season’s lineup, it’s impossible not to get at least a little bit excited. Who’s on deck for the new season? Darryl Strawberry, Rod Blagojevich (isn’t he in jail yet?!), Sinbad (oh HELL YES!), Cyndi Lauper (I think I just came a little), Sharon Osbourne, Bret Michaels (there goes orgasm #2), Holly Robinson Peete (haven’t seen her since 1993), Carl Leifer (your guess is as good as mine), Bill Goldberg (some wrestler), Maria Kanellis (some female wrestler), Summer Sanders (swimmer, Olympic gold medalist, former Nickelodeon game show host) and Curtis Stone (an Australian chef/warm body they found to fill the empty seat at the table).
What to watch for: Blago pleading his innocence, a Sharon Osbourne/Cyndi Lauper throwdown the likes of which the world has never seen before, Sinbad’s desperate attempt at relevance.
Celebrity Rehab 3. Dr. Drew and his Pasadena crew are back for season 3, which premieres Thursday, Jan 7. This season features the best lineup we’ve seen on the show thus far, and I can hardly contain my excitement. There’s daddy-doer Mackenzie Phillips, Mindy McCready (some country singer), Kari Ann Peniche (Playboy model, former beauty queen and Sex Rehab reject), Lisa D’Amato (???), Joey Kovar (since when does being a Real World: Hollywood castmate make you a celebrity?), Tom Sizemore (this is getting better), Heidi Fleiss (oh, this just got really, really good!), Dennis Rodman (okay, now it’s solidified. I’m not missing an episode) and Mike Starr (the former bassist for Alice in Chains).
What to watch for: I don’t even know where to begin. Heidi Fleiss, Mackenzie Phillips, Dennis Rodman and Tom Sizemore drying out in one place, at the same time?! Pass the popcorn and vodka. I can’t wait to see what happens next.
Denise Richards: It’s Complicated. I was sitting at the bar with a few of my guy friends the other night, and every one of them admitted to having one of their first masturbatory experiences during the Denise Richards/Neve Campbell lesbian pool scene. Add the Matt Dillon threeway scene, and I’m right there with them. I have no idea what this has to do with the new season of her E! show, but whatever. She curses like she’s a member of the Wu Tang Clan, and that makes her A-Okay in my book.
What to watch for: Charlie Sheen just got in trouble for allegedly threatening his wife, Brooke Mueller, with a knife in their home in Aspen. If cameras were rolling when somebody told Denise about it, expect fireworks.
Frank the Entertainer In A Basement Affair. He skyrocketed to fame after getting dumped by New York in I Love New York, fell off a stripper pole and lost his chance at getting rich in I Love Money, and now he’s back with his own dating show, which premieres Sunday, January 3. How do you not love a Guido-ish guy who still lives with his parents? Wait, maybe I didn’t phrase that correctly…Actually, on second thought, there’s absolutely no way to talk about Frank the Entertainer in a way that makes him sound even remotely appealing. Like, at all. And if he’s that pathetic, imagine what the girls fighting for his love and attention must be like!
What to watch for: Did you miss that last sentence? If you thought the Rock of Love girls were crawling with diseases not seen since the premiere of Outbreak, you ain’t seen nothing yet. You might want to put on a condom before watching the show, just in case their crotch critters can be transmitted via the airwaves.
The Real World: D.C. Is this show seriously still on? Apparently, it is (and it premieres January 6 at 10pm). But this time, they’re switching it up by having it in D.C.! How much do you want to bet that they’ll all have different political opinions? ZOMG IT’S GOING TO BE SO ENLIGHTENING! I bet we’ll learn, like, sooo much. Seriously, you guys.
What to watch for: Honestly, have no clue. I always tell myself that I’m not going to watch this trash, but after four glasses of Yellow Tail sparkling wine (it makes me feel so classy! It’s like champagne, only cheaper and more delicious!), I always tune in. And I’m always entertained, even if I do change the channel whenever somebody else enters the room.
Shark Tank. If you’ve ever wanted to drop out of college and/or quit your job in order to be a full-time inventor (and earn millions along the way!), than this is the show for you (season 2 premieres Friday, January 8). It features a bunch of small-time inventors begging for upstart money from three ruthless investors, who always offer around $15k in exchange for 50% of the company and the blood of the inventor’s firstborn child. Usually, the inventors think about it for a few minutes, and then giddly accept the offer. BRING ME THE CHILD!
What to watch for: There’s nothing better than watching somebody’s hopes and dreams get crushed on national TV. This happens at least twice an episode.
Survivor: Redemption. This is another one you’ll have to wait for. The official cast announcement for the 20th season (featuring former players, the show’s best/worst Heroes vs. Villains) will come out on January 10th, but the new season doesn’t actually premiere until February 11. Still, it’s worth the wait.
What to watch for: Allow me to get all SAT-ey on you for a minute. Survivor :: Reality TV = Ryan Seacrest :: Twinks. Enough said?