March 22, 2005

OK, It's NOT So Bad as Battlefield Earth

LOYAL RANT READERS may recall that last month, we issued a rather pointed denunciation of the "Gastineau Girls," a particularly unfortunate reality-television show which we greatly disliked. Indeed, we disliked it so much that we called it the television equivalent of "Battlefield Earth," and charged the show was a "television disaster not seen since the infamous Star Wars Holiday Special of 1978."

However, much to our great surprise, this commentary has momentarily put us in a role similar to that of Petronius Arbiter. For we can assure readers that LOTS of people arrived at The Rant looking for information about the show, and our commentary was ranked No. 32 when one performed a Google search about the program. While our thoughts were similar to higher-ranking pages which also panned the show (, for instance, hated it), our words did not go unnoticed by the entertainment industry.

For we can assure readers that this evening, we received a rather nice note from Chad Greulach, one of the show's co-executive producers, in which Mr Greulach invited us to take another look at the program. While we got the letter after business hours on both coasts, a bit of detective work on the Internet led us to discover enough evidence for us to believe the letter was genuine, and we appreciate Mr Greulach's inclusion of enough information in his note to make that possible.

In any event, tonight's episode was billed as a "turning point" in the series. Apparently, Lisa and Brittny (no 'a') Gastineau have begun working at achieving "independent success in their lives and careers." Or, as the cable company's synopsis of the episode puts it, "Brittny's hope to become a model hits a roadblock."

Oh dear. But as of this writing, we do have 18 minutes before the show begins, so let's give it some breathing room. Besides, over on CBS, a bunch of gringo tourists are running around Argentina as part of some kind of crazy Phineas Fogg-like expedition. We would be annoyed with this too, but for some reason, we're only able to scrounge up 32 pc of our normal feelings of disgust.

Oh, here we go. Say, it's Lou the Fake Doorman! Ah, Lou. At least somebody in this thing's got a union card ...

(thirty minutes later ...)

You know, that actually wasn't half bad. Given how much we hated the first episode, we can't believe we just wrote that. But it honestly wasn't all that bad, probably because the elder Gastineau is actually portrayed as parenting her daughter to some degree, although Miss Gastineau still seems a bit hopeless to us. And while we can't say we would set aside Tuesday nights to watch it, we have to say the show is considerably better than it was when it began -- probably on par with any of the other reality TV shows out there.

That's not to say the show still doesn't have flaws. It still relies too heavily on Lou the Fake Doorman, and there's still too much use of the quick edit, and both these things suggest the folks making the show don't have as much material as they'd like to work with. Plus, even though we only watched 30 minutes of the show this time, we felt ourselves suffering Gastineau Fatigue two-thirds of the way through it. Partly this was because we still felt bored with the characters, and partly it was because we failed to make the Coolness Connection. Glamorous parties and modeling and all that may be lots of folks' ideas of a good time, but they ain't in our book -- we want a reality TV show about bond traders, dammit, and we want one now. CNBC, get to work.

But we digress. Based on tonight's show, we have to revise our initial assessment of the "Gastineau Girls," and so we'll say this: people who have an interest in conspicuous consumption, modeling and a bit of family drama would probably find the show somewhat entertaining. We won't tune in again just because the show really isn't our bag, and it doesn't really carry our interest, although we would watch if something truly amazing were to happen on it. And while we're sure the E! Entertainment Network has already got the 10 ordered episodes ready to go, that amazing something is this:

For God's sake, will someone please redecorate that apartment. We are sorry, but in watching the show tonight, all we could think of was that scene in "Small Time Crooks" when one sees Ray and Frenchy's swell new digs, and everything is covered in leopard-skin. That was horrifying and so is the Gastineaus' apartment, which is treason to interior decorating.

We mean, it's so badly-thought out it's not even funny -- there's more style in our apartment, where at least there's space and furniture that kind of matches up. And we're a 29 year old bachelor who has plenty of excuse for not knowing anything about interior design. In their apartment -- God, those drapes! They're not drapes, they're something from the stygian depths in an H.P. Lovecraft novel. Anyway -- it's a thought. And who knows? If the folks behind "Gastineau Girls" manage to get an Episode 11, perhaps we'll see it.

Posted by Benjamin Kepple at March 22, 2005 11:25 PM | TrackBack

Oh God, the comment spammers have struck again.

As for your newfound influence in Hollywood, congratulations! And I totally agree with your wish to see a reality show about bond traders. CNBC, listen to Mr. Kepple, will you??

Posted by: Matthew S. Schwartz at March 24, 2005 12:26 PM

Mark Gastineau could walk down any street in America and you or anybody would never know who he was.
The only thing i remember about him is,he married Stalones ex wife. You know the big blonde chick.
Now E has decided to make a show about a nobody exwife of another nobody!
For the people who like this junk try going to to look into the lives of some people that live on an Island in the middle of Lake Erie!
Now that place should be on T.V.

Posted by: Kevin H at March 29, 2005 05:04 PM

Didn't Lisa lie about herself to Mark and give him drugs in his food when her gangster family latched onto him the moment he walked into the NY Jets camp? In college he wasn't even a party type and respected women. Now this show tells the truth of the rape of the big man.

Posted by: Susan at April 1, 2005 02:35 PM