Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Reality TV BLOW OFF

The way it happened was a long story, but somehow, I ended up on a Big Brother-esque reality competition on ABC last summer called "The Glass House." And somehow, I almost won it.

Okay, it actually wasn't that long of a story. I was blind drunk on Craigslist one night looking for jobs in the Tv/Film/Video section and I apparently responded to an ad seeking contestants. I say "apparently" because I didn't even remember sending the email until I got a surprising call from a casting agent the following day. When I went back to look at what I sent, the subject line of the email read "Ke$ha is my spirit animal." So yeah, those were the kinds of decisions I was making in my life around this time last year, if that helps give you some context as to the sort of hot mess I am.

Anyway, the whole thing was totally out of the blue. I don't even WATCH reality TV, and had I been sober, I can almost guarantee I never would have even applied to do something like this. But I did, and I kept making it through to the next round of interviews, and finally they flew me out to LA to interview with the producers, and then one day, just like that, I get a call from ABC and suddenly I'm going to be on a network reality show all summer. These kinds of things just don't happen to people like me. If for no other reason than the sheer novelty of the experience, I had to do it.

But ultimately, I finished as the runner-up. And I lost to a guy who basically ripped by heart out of my chest Mortal Combat-style and laughed maniacally as he fed it to a school of bloodthirsty sharks.

Okay, so that's a little bit of an exaggeration. What actually happened was more like an unfortunate mixture of human weakness, poor setting, bad timing, and unfair editing. But the point is, folks, it sucked.

I thought I knew better than to go on a reality show and get stars in my eyes over some tasty piece of man meat with salt-and-pepper hair and a jaw that could cut glass. I mean, come on, it's a reality show. I should know better! And he was a COP. From TOLEDO, OHIO. Who had a kid when he was 19 YEARS OLD. And he was--oh God, I can't even bring myself to say it--he was...a Republican.

I mean, seriously Erica, what the fuck. This was a guy I never would have given the time of day to in the real world, but when you're trapped in a house with someone for three months, you're forced to get to know them, and well. And when I got to know him, I was toast, because no man has ever made me laugh as hard as he did in my entire life.    

It was your typical love affair: boy meets girl, boy and girl share an inebriated makeout sesh during week two of reality show, boy and girl are contractually obligated by a Disney-owned television station to never go further than kissing, dangerous sexual frustration ensues, boy screws girl over for strategic reasons, boy and girl are in separate alliances for remainder of show, boy and girl must nevertheless spend every second together for three months, boy and girl have some really great times together, boy tells girl he cares about her, girl has no idea he's telling everyone he doesn't, competition comes down to boy versus girl, things get ugly, boy gets mean and starts picking fights to get girl to crack, girl finally cracks, starts crying, asks boy how he could be so awful to her when he knows how much she cares about him, boy now gets to play "crazy chick" card, footage is edited accordingly, boy wins a quarter of a million dollars.  Boys goes back to his life. Girl goes back to hers.

The hardest thing about this particular kind of blow-off is that no one can relate. It's not like I could go have lunch with my girlfriends afterward and talk about it and have them all share valuable insights gleaned from similar experiences. On the contrary, when people asked me about it, I usually felt defensive and frustrated. I knew the version of reality that was presented to them, and I knew the version of reality that I experienced, and I instinctively wanted to fill in those gaps to defend myself, but I quickly realized that trying to do so would only make me look crazier.

But honestly, can you imagine many things worse than losing a quarter-million dollars to a man you adored, having to watch him make fun of you on national television afterward, and then getting called crazy by internet strangers to boot? It was rough, to say the least. I know we live in a rather cynical society, but I didn't know just HOW cynical until random girls on Twitter felt the need to call me an idiot just for admitting that I liked a guy.  While I doubt many of you can relate to the experience of falling in love on reality TV, I bet many of you CAN relate to being made to feel stupid for putting yourselves out there.

And it makes me wonder: why is it that when a man makes some brave proclamation of his feelings for a girl, he's a grand romantic hero, but when a woman does it to a guy, she's considered batshit insane?


  1. I love everything about this post! I watched every episode of The Glass House and Erica was by far the most rational/articulate/cool person on the show. Also, it's interesting how being in a contained environment like that can make you crush on guys you would never normally be interested in. And is just proof that funny goes a long way when it comes to men. Kevin was a silver fox, but not silver fox enough to make the republican part go away. LOL.

  2. Erica this is an awesome post! I can't tell you how many times I've liked a guy/made out with a guy just because he was there...and worse due to geographic desirability. And you did it in front of cameras and were your authentic self. To me, that's bravery. That guy can F off. I never watched your show but I think you're great just from this post. PS are you really contractually obligated to not have sex w/ your cast mates? Can you please write another post about that because I'm intrigued as to the penalties etc. Like if the directors in the control room saw things going too far would they come and stop you? And does that include oral or just "sex"?