If you're like me — say, someone who'd rather watch the same rerun of "Everybody Loves Raymond" for the 167th time than watch even one episode of "Rock of Love" — keeping up with pop culture is made much easier by the existence of "The Soup" on the E! channel.
Thanks to snarky host Joel McHale and his crack team of wiseacres (including one bearded guy who always wears a bikini top) all I need to do is tune in every weekend to one very funny show to catch up on the most absurd "highlights" of "Bad Girls Club," "Real World Hollywood" and the ilk. Go ahead — ask me what Tanisha said to Cordelia this week. Oh, no she didn't!
Now, the geniuses (and I mean that) at Comedy Central have gone the extra mile and given me two, count `em, two new reality shows I can actually watch all the way through while WILLINGLY putting my brain in deep freeze for an hour.
I'm talking about the newly-revived "The Gong Show" and "Reality Bites Back," at 10 and 10:30 p.m., respectively, on Thursdays.
"The Gong Show," which entertained my generation with acts such as The Unknown Comic (he of the shopping-bagged head) and the infamous Popsicle Twins, back when it was hosted by nutty game-show giant Chuck Barris in the 1970s and `80s has returned with new host Dave Attell.
The panel for the premiere consisted of comics JB Smoove (lately of "Curb Your Enthusiasm") and Andy Dick (lately of a pretty scary mug shot), plus former Jane's Addiction guitarist Dave Navarro. The highlight came when Smoove and Dick took on a midget-wrestling duo, which probably earned the little athletes some extra points (not to mention they kicked some soft Hollywood butt).
Do yourself a favor, say "gonnnnggg" to "America's Got Talent" this summer and scrub your noggin with this well-staged nonsense instead.
While you're at at, might as well stick around for "Reality Bites Back," which stars hilariously deadpan Michael Ian Black playing the role of the evil host who humiliates a willing group of club-circuit comedians in segments that parody every lame reality-competition show extant. In episode one, the comics had to venture into a dark room and verbally seduce an unseen potential sex partner.
After a few minutes of awkward, one-sided dirty talk, the lights come on and — presto! It's mom! Or dad! Or grandma! Best cringe of the week, and I can't wait for the next one.