My Antonio Sunday, Aug. 16 (VH1)
Series Debut: According to VH1, former model and soap star Antonio Sabato Jr. is “one of the most desired men on the planet.” So, why does he need a reality dating show to find a woman? Are we really to believe that, after repeatedly dipping Antonio Sabato Jr. junior into a pile of desperate skanks who missed the Rock of Love boat, he’ll find True Love? How/why did he drag his ex-wife and his mother into this crapfest? Will any future VH1 “hunk” ever be able to match the dizzying heights of smarmy douche-nozzlery set by Antonio in the first 15 minutes alone? Is the dude really sporting a tramp stamp? Answers: Because most women have some semblance of gaydar; not if he’s contracted for Season 2; sadly, no; sadly, yes.
Reality Hell Sunday, Aug. 16 (E!)
Series Debut: It’s taken six years to properly follow-up The Joe Schmo Show, the “reality” series that took one real, clueless contestant and placed him in a house with actors directed to make his life hell—and eventually award him $100,000. (Joe Schmo was also Saturday Night Live’s Kristen Wiig’s first TV job, believe it or not.) Reality Hell can’t replicate the fresh genius of Joe Schmo—nor could Reality Bites Back last year—but anything that helps to deflate the runaway idiocy of reality-competition shows (see: My Antonio) is more than welcome in my book. Instead of a single, serialized assclowns-in-a-house premise, each episode of Reality Hell exploits a different style of reality show: Modeling, designing, cooking, family-swapping, etc. Why no 13-‘hos-date-a-middle-aged-gay-underwear-model scenario? Too soon?
Ghost Hunters Wednesday, Aug. 19 (SyFy)
Mid-Season Premiere: We’re in the middle of Season 5—Season! 5! Still no ghosts! It’s a great scam, with plenty of suckers lined up to make Ghost Hunters one of the highest-rated shows on cable, and it’s spawned even more “paranormal investigators” series: Ghost Adventures (same damned show, with a travel twist), Paranormal State (same damned show, with a Dog the Bounty Hunter twist), Ghost Whisperer (same damned show, with a D-cup twist), the list goes on, and yet none produce any more concrete evidence than, say, Space Ghost. Of course, stars Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson flaunt their utter lack of ghost “gets” as proof that the show is “real” and “agenda-free”—they’re geniuses! Think they use the same approach on their Roto- Rooter day jobs? “No, we didn’t find a tampon flushed down your toilet—but we’re going to submit our research and charge you the same anyway … Shhh! Did you hear that? ”