The first thing that comes to mind at the utterance of “bad television” is of course reality… I mean “reality” television. It’s cheap to produce, essentially writes itself, no complexity, no sets, and there will always be hoards of desperate citizens lining up to audition for their 15 minutes of fame. What a great business formula. My first memories of watching reality TV and being completely enthralled lie with Cops, Rescue 911, early American Idol, and of course The Real World. The only one I’m still very devout to is The Real World and all spinoffs that have born and died i.e. Road Rules and subsequent challenges. Currently I am watching VH1’s Couples Therapy (shudders in disgust) and The Real World: Ex-plosion because they have resident lesbians and I am weak and cannot resist.
First on the menu is the lesbian world’s volatile poster-couple Whitney and Sara. Or is it Sada now? When did she change that? Anyway, they’re on television airing out all their dirty button ups. After the first episode I was just thrilled to seem them on my TV screen. After the second episode I was ready to throw myself off the nearest elevated point. Clearly I understood before viewing that Whitey and Sada would not be the focal point of the show, but I don’t think their participation is enough to keep me watching (totally kidding it is). I am only watching the show because I crave real life lesbians on my television even if it’s through the lens of unsavory VH1 programming. I will accept the fact that this is no The Real L Word and there is no lesbian sex, no other lesbians, and will listen to the wild stories brought to me by the other quasi-famous heterosexual couples. No offense hetero world but the only celebrity heterosexual couple I care about is Beyoncé and Jay Z. Maybe Whitney and Sada will tell us something we did not already know about their relationship. Here, have a laugh at AfterEllen’s Couples Therapy recap by Chloë, she’s quite the looker. Oh and here’s the second episode recap.
Next on the menu is the delectable main course and she goes by the name Ari Fitz, The Real World’s resident lesbian. Mind you, as you should know, The Real World is the the origin of reality TV and they did it right. The show hasn’t always been on my list of crap television. They used to tell beautiful stories by sticking seven strangers in a house. Now… exaggerated, alcohol-fueled drama gets the views. After airing for 22 years I can see how the charm faded. Before you continue reading here, check out the informative interview AfterEllen conducted to learn a little about this magnificent and gorgeous woman. Ari Fitz. The name just seems appropriate for a sensible badass, in which she fulfills. A young woman of color, with natural hair, who is open about her sexuality? I am so onboard for this season and her experiences. After one episode I have a feeling I am going to love her presence and relate to her more than any of the other 29 seasons of cast members. She seems ambitious, compassionate, and confident with her being. If I ever had the opportunity to interview her, many of my questions would attest to her intersectionality:
- Have you always been aware of your sexuality?
- Were you hesitant when you discovered this aspect of yourself?
- Were you raised in a predominantly white environment?
- If so, did that affect your opinion of other blacks who were raised in predominantly black or mixed environments?
- Your ex on the show is white, have you always dated white women? Have you felt guilt for doing so?
- Were you ever worried your partner would say or infer something racist and not be able to understand why that was problematic?
- As you grew and became more educated and experienced adult life, has your perception of being a black and gay woman evolved?
These are just a few of the questions I would ask because as a black and gay woman myself, I’ve asked myself the same things recently. Being a part of two disenfranchised groups and yet assimilating (if that’s what she did) is truly a unique experience and the story should be told honestly. Sometimes we watch TV to escape and others we watch to see ourselves and our stories. While it is not Ari’s or Mtv’s responsibility to tell that story, it would be pretty awesome if viewers could catch a glimpse of it. Either way I am quite ecstatic to see her story unfold.
Disclaimer: I did not talk about her physical appearance because she’s more than that but hot damn is she not sexy? I mean she is a model but wow. I am so very attracted. Shout out to all the femme lesbians of the world, she’s making you visible! I am a dater of femmes so I am extra pumped to watch her do her thang.
Hooray for indulging in trash TV. Sometimes you need it to cleanse your refined palette.