Unreal Reality TV 

Train wrecks and talent

Someday, an in-depth analysis of the American psyche will reveal the reasons, but until then, millions of us will continue to wonder why we tune in to new reality TV shows and after doing so, why we don't poke our own eyes out or throw a baseball bat through the screen (or turn the damn TV off).

We tune into Bridezillas, The Real Housewives of Wherever and America's Karaoke Challenge. Not only do we tune in, we stay tuned in. We allow the words "On the second season of Jersey Shore ..." to reach our ears. But this summer, when a slew of sludgy reality shows hit the air, it won't be all bad.

For every VH1 Tough Love--Steve Ward tells "single, attractive women composed of classic female archetypes" what they're doing wrong when it comes to dating--there is A&E's Hoarders and Intervention, History Channel's Ice Road Truckers, Fox's Hell's Kitchen and Lifetime's Project Runway. Each of those has an exploitative angle, but they seem to be trying to help or inform--at least on Project Runway and Hell's Kitchen, the contestants have to do something and prove they have a talent. So it's not all bleak. Or maybe it is.

In June, E! premiered its newest contribution to the reality TV stew: Ice Loves Coco. It shows rapper/actor Ice-T and his overly endowed model wife Coco in their day-to-day lives. She cleans the house, talks about pleasing her man and makes lunch. He goes around dropping pearls of wisdom like, "If you take the 'n' off nice, you get Ice, baby."

They obviously love each other, which is sweet, but it's like a train wreck you can't stop staring at. I'm going to go get my bat.

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