Blow Out returns, The Real Housewives debuts on Bravo tonight

Jonathan Antin returns to Bravo tonight at 9 p.m. ET for a third season of Blow Out, the show that follows him as he’s a bitch to everyone he encounters. This season, Jonathan opens a salon in Hawaii and deals with the fact that he’s about to become a father, thanks to his pregnant fiancee.

Jonathan is one of the best reality TV characters ever because he’s too unbelievably real to be fake. He constantly says hysterical things with complete, non-ironic earnestness, such as, “I don’t say ‘beautiful woman’, I say ‘hot babe’. I don’t say ‘handsome man’, I say ‘good lookin’ dude’.” He’s also a master at introspective narration which tends to transition seamlessly from kid-like excitement to over-the-top bragging to full-on bawling in less time than it takes for you to figure out just what he’s talking about.

Following Blow Out‘s return, Bravo debuts The Real Housewives of Orange County. As The OC was adapted into a real-life show, Laguna Beach, this new show Desperate Housewives was turned into a Laguna-style reality show. It follows five housewives–some dead-ringers for the ABC’s housewives–and their families in Coto de Caza, a gated community.

But that’s not what this is, at least not judging by the first episode. While the cast members say some ridiculous things, mostly about their expectations for their own lives or the lives of their kids or spouses, they’re all kind of flat. Worse, the show is produced more like a documentary than a narrative-driven reality show, so the storylines aren’t the compelling. This format works great for something such as Showdog Moms and Dads, but that’s because those people were beyond fascinating, not just privileged people leading sad, lonely lives.

Critics seem to agree. The Boston Herald says “there is nothing funny about this cast of characters,” while The New York Time says it “isn’t entertaining, exactly — it has none of the wit or style of “Desperate Housewives.” And The New York Daily News says that Bravo is screwed up its reputation with this show: “The network once known for arts and entertainment series now offers precious little of either.”

Blow Out [Bravo]
The Real Housewives of Orange County [Bravo]

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.