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Clacking With Julia – You’re Cut Off, the ultimate schadenfreude

Is it really possible for a reality show to raise your self-esteem? It is, if that show is 'You're Cut Off.' Schadenfreude has never been so sweet.

Most days, I like to think of myself as a good person. I make an effort to be polite to strangers, I’m kind to animals and children, I’m conscious of my environmental impact — that makes me a fine specimen of humanity, right?

Lately, however, I’ve been feeling like a lazy bum. Just doing my daily chores takes up my entire day and leaves me exhausted. I haven’t had the mental ability to write a column in way too long, so instead I play online Boggle for hours and feel super-guilty every time I open the tab I’m trying to write in and all my exhausted little brain shoots out is: “Art. Rat. Tar. Arts. Star. Tars. Rats. Sat. Ras…” After just such a day of feeling kind of like a massive, lazy, spoiled tool who was incapable of living in the real world, my sister, best friend, and I remembered there was this new show premiering on VH1 called You’re Cut Off that we’d wanted to watch, so we tuned into it.

Now, normally I don’t talk about my VH1 reality viewing habits because, well, they’re kind of embarrassingly terrible. There’s no excuse for the in-depth psychoanalysis I engage in for everyone who appears on Tough Love, and I really, really cannot justify my fascinated horror with each increasingly awful dating show that explores Ray-J or Brett Michaels‘ terrible life choices. It’s the television equivalent of every so often indulging in a Ho-Ho when you usually are a conscientious eater of the proper fruits and vegetables.

The premise of this particular reality show is to take 9 super-spoiled girls (we’re talking, buying multiple Ferraris on a whim, shoe closets bigger than my house, don’t know how to make themselves a peanut butter sandwich, spoiled) whose parents are fed up with them, and stick them with a life coach in a “poor” house (read: a nice, normal, suburban house which one of the girls proclaims immediately is “so ghetto” and described as “being so poor we’re, like, on food stamps”) and force them to fend for themselves and take on menial jobs. Cue hissyfits and amazing reality television. When my best friend settled down next to me to watch, she said, “Man, I’m totally prepared to now feel great about myself after watching this.”

And oh, we did.

There were a few moments of sterling humanity that came out of the whole thing. Erica, for instance, is the dumb-as-rocks daughter of a plastic surgeon who spends all of her money making herself beautiful because she believes her family won’t love her otherwise. We even get treated to a story of how a year ago she was 35 pounds overweight and her father used to follow her around to parties in public, making liposuction noises, pinching her fat, and telling her that she should find a way to make herself more acceptable. (Though he claims in an introductory package he’s trying to keep her from becoming addicted to plastic surgery. Ah, good parenting.) It’s almost enough to make you forget that this girl has her own line of real gold-and-diamond tiaras she wears everywhere (when not wearing giant bow headbands that would make Blair Waldorf cry) and questions her ability to function without her personal astrologer advising her on every move she makes. (You read that right.) Another comes to the realization in a therapy session that she’s taken her wealth for granted her entire life. (Shocking, I know!)

And some things the girls have to go through are harsh (though realistic) — their bedrooms are pretty tiny and there’s no room to store anything, and the only wine in the house is boxed Zinfandel. (I don’t know anything about wine, since I don’t drink, but my best friend assures me that this is something that should be banned by the Geneva Convention as torture.)

But, for all the surprising flashes of “humanity” (if I can call it that), there are at least five instances of people like mega-bitch Gia, who is married and has a child. (“I married my husband for a reason — ching ching,” she says in her introductory package.) Not that you can tell she’s a wife and mother — she has never breast-fed her daughter or changed a diaper. She doesn’t get up to see to her daughter when she cries. She doesn’t even care for her daughter during the day — that’s left to the nannies. In fact, she doesn’t even pick up her dog’s poop. In the exercise of the week the girls had to pare down to one bag’s worth of belongings to bring into the house (instead of the eight bags each of them had, roughly) and one of her essential items was her hookah. You read that right. Her hookah.  She doesn’t cook, since “a diva doesn’t cook, because a diva needs her soft hands.” Um, hello? I cook, and my hands are plenty soft. And when asked in a therapy session what was most important to her, she went on for about five minutes listing material possessions before their life coach (a bland, pretty woman whose name I forget and don’t care to research) went “don’t you have a daughter?” and she went “oh, yeah, I just hadn’t gotten to her yet.”

I’m totally boggled as to how these people exist — have they honestly never watched television? Looked at their hired help and wondered about their lives? Are they really that dead inside? All I know is that it makes me feel great. Like, great enough to play more Boggle.

(Bog. Ogle. Leg. Gob…)

Photo Credit: VH1

Categories: | Clack | Clacking with Julia | Columns | TV Shows |

2 Responses to “Clacking With Julia – You’re Cut Off, the ultimate schadenfreude”

June 11, 2010 at 11:36 AM

On the other hand, I am not a’feared to admit my love for (some) reality shows. It’s a guilty pleasure I harbor and there’s nothing wrong with it. (That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.) Occasionally, I’ll even hunt for a Ho-Ho between commercials.

That being said: I am so hitting VH1 tonight to catch this show! I wonder if there will be circus music! I love circus music! (Although … clowns: They’re scary …)

And, while I enjoy the various reality shows out there, at least I’m not as embarrassing as one of my male friends who subscribes to the belief ‘sometimes men wear stretchy pants and like it’ … or … or … or …

Sorry. I just can’t stop laughing long enough at what I wrote to put down any more …

June 11, 2010 at 9:36 PM

Saw it. Loved it. Can’t wait to see more!

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