Ken Tucker's TV Prime-Time TV commentary

Tag: Reality TV (81-90 of 182)

'Kate Plus 8' review: 'Am I grumpy? Yes. You would be too if you had to run 26 acres alone.'

The second new Kate Plus 8 special aired on Sunday night, and I’m pretty sure it’s only a matter of time before the kids stage a prison break.

The night’s big activity was the building of a chicken coop on the Gosselin property. Why? Because Kate said she buys “four or five dozen” eggs a week, so why not buy some chickens to gather her own? Or rather, have the kids gather them. What started as a nice family project turned into a punitive exercise, as do so READ FULL STORY

'Work of Art' recap: Miles to go before he sleeps

Once again, Work of Art: The Next Great Artist teased an engrossing hour out of an extremely unpromising premise: make a piece of art based on a commercial for Audi cars. The commercial plug was minimally disguised — contestants were asked to ride READ FULL STORY

Were these the best Emmy nominations for which we could have hoped? Yes. Here's why.

Emmy nominations: Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton — yay! Tony Shalhoub and Toni Collette — I’d have preferred new jack swingers Toni! Tony! Tone!

Yes, it’s that time to grouse about some of the shows that were neglected in  major categories (Fringe, Sons of Anarchy, Justified) and praise the selection of worthies that were recognized (Friday Night Lights, The Good Wife).

The thing is, this was just about the best set of Emmy nominations we could expect, a mix of READ FULL STORY

'Work of Art' recap: Young, dumb, and full of... aw, come on...

I’m a little shocked to realize that I like Work of Art: The Next Great Artist more and more every week, and that this week was the best hour yet. Tasked to “create a shocking work of art,” our little army of art-makers were guest-judged by that master of schlock-shock, Andres Serrano. Actually, I don’t know which was more shocking: That Work of Art so casually showed us an image of READ FULL STORY

'Boston Med' premiere review: It was no 'Grey's Anatomy,' and thank goodness for that

Boston Med, which began an eight-week run Thursday night, is the right antidote to goofy-bad summer TV like Wipeout, Scoundrels, Rookie Blue — basically everything else ABC and the other networks is airing during the steamy months. The series follows life and death, bravery and foolishness, in three Boston hospitals: Massachusetts General, Children’s Hospital, and Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Yes, it’s a documentary; yes, it sometimes played like soap opera, but a first-class soap opera, none of this maudlin yet over-the-top Grey’s Anatomy stuff.

This night, we met people like READ FULL STORY

'Work of Art: The Next Great Artist' review: Miles takes a nap

The show may be called Work of Art: The Next Great Artist, but during last night’s second episode, it found the Next Great Nap-Taker. That would be Miles, the self-described installation artist who, puffy-eyed from lack of sleep, installed himself on the bed he’d made as part of the night’s art project and dozed quietly while the judges and a crowd of gallery-attendees strolled around him.

The task this week was to make art out of an “appliance graveyard” — contestants chose from mounds of discarded old TVs, computer monitors and keyboards, wooden boxes, wiring, and such. This was as different from last week’s challenge (painting a portrait) as possible, and promised to show the range of the contestants. Miles, who’d won last week’s competition, decided to use his insomnia as inspiration, fashioning a bed flanked on either side by what he called “two concrete a–holes,” and he wasn’t talking about getting a pair of BP oil executives to join him.

Far too many of the Work of Art folks glommed onto discarded television sets to make what Nicole so inelegantly said were “like, references [to] American culture.” Proving the age-old notion that artists should avoid trying to make art with a message and just concentrate on the art-making, we got a lot of installations or sculptures that tried to show the banality of TV culture: yawn. Trong, who’d been positioned as the New York art-world insider with the show’s coolest haircut, went remarkably limp in the creativity department. He slathered four TVs with white paint, wrote trite phrases on them such as “I Hate Reality TV!” and presented it to the judges as “television having a conversation with itself.” Oh, puh-leeze; as judge Jerry Saltz said, this was “self-referentiality up the wazoo.”

The guest judge was artist Jon Kessler, introduced by one of the contestants as “the man” when it comes to installation art and kinetic sculpture. Let’s look at a bit of his work, shall we?:

In the end, Miles and his gray a–holes won (second week in a row for the pleasingly eccentric Miles), and Trong got the boot. I’d say it was difficult to pick the worst. Certainly Jaime Lynn, with her prettily bright-colored painted vacuum that looked like a department-store window display, was a close second for banality. I guess it was Trong’s pretentiousness combined with his banality that was the determining damnation.

A few things are already becoming clear:

• Clearly, this show needs to be better edited. The biggest moment of drama was allowed to slip by almost unnoticed. During the judging, Miles inserted his own opinion of Trong’s piece among the judges': “This piece is distractingly boring,” Miles moaned to Trong. Say what? When was the last time you saw a reality-show competitor condemn another’s work during the judges’ comments? Yet except for a few raised eyebrows, this moment went unremarked.

• Judge Saltz proved again this week he has the brains and the gumption to state his praise and his reservations in the clearest of language. Looking Jamie Lynn straight in her baby-blues, he said, “I actually think that you’re not creating art here.” And he was, of course, correct.

• “Mentor” Simon de Purey is no Tim Gunn, so far. He walked from artist to artist as they crafted their pieces and said, “What are you trying to do here?” Given the inevitably vague answer, he smiled and said some variation on, “You’ve got a lot of work to do!” or “Most fascinating!” If any bunch of reality show competitors needs to be told, “You’ve got to clarify your idea!” and “I don’t think that works at all,” it’s this group. Let’s put more meat in the mentoring, shall we, Simon?

What did you think of the second week of Work of Art?

Follow: @kentucker

'Work of Art' premiere review: Not just 'Project Runway' with paint?

You’d think we were overdue for a reality-TV show about the art world. Watching people create art, must be fascinating, right? Or have we just been lulled into thinking that after seeing Hans Namuth’s hypnotic films of Jackson Pollock at work?

Bravo stepped into that void — if indeed it exists — last night, offering us Work of Art: The Next Great Artist. When it comes to splattering emotions like, Work of Art is like Top Chef in an exploding kitchen: controlled chaos. To be sure, each of 14 contestants arrived labeled – for example, there was Abdi, the “figurative artist”; Nao, the “performance artist”; Jaime Lynn the “illustrator”; and Erik, who gave us a clown painting that would be shoddy even by the standards of John Wayne Gacy. The egos roamed free: Jaclyn, a former READ FULL STORY

Two hours of 'Kate Plus 8': I watched them so you didn't have to

The two back-to-back editions of the new specials Kate Plus Eight could have used a combo-title: The Horror, The Horror.

In the first, which TLC called “6th Birthday Surprise,” the Jon-less Kate Gosselin took her eight kids to READ FULL STORY

'Hoarders' new update edition: Failures pile up. The show helps almost no one.

The Monday Hoarders marathon culminated in a new, first-season update episode. It followed up on the progress of five of the show’s grottiest hoarders. The results were not heartening: Four out of five were still jamming their houses with READ FULL STORY

The Mall of America's 'Mall Cops' and 'Police Women of Memphis': Hard work. Good TV.

Mall Cops, a TLC reality that premiered last night, covers the 2.5 miles of stores inside Minnesota’s Mall of America. Being a mall cop is no Paul Blart breeze: In the two back-to-back episodes, one mall cop lost a toenail breaking up a brawl; another one had to chase down the “ringleader” of what the cops had dubbed “the handbag mafia,” a shop-lifting crew.

Most intriguing was a man hustled out of the mall for having too weird READ FULL STORY

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