What’s wrong with Paradise Hotel 2?

Paradise Hotel‘s first season was extremely fun, and when the second season debuted almost two months ago, I was certainly excited. While I’ve been watching since then, the second edition has failed to live up to my expectations, and just doesn’t seem as interesting as the first.

Paradise Hotel 2‘s cast members are pretty and pretty dumb, with some exceptions, and there’s been plenty of odd behavior, like the guys creating a ridiculous administration and declaring themselves to be members of it, like the “secretary of defense.” And keeping the alcohol flowing has resulted in conflict and sex. All the elements seem to be present for an entertaining show, so why is it so disappointingly boring?

In some ways, I think that’s because Big Brother has taken over as the reigning trashy reality show and its recent seasons have set a high bar; it’s hard to stand out in the sewer unless you smell really bad.

Perhaps more significantly, its game is much weaker than the one Julie Chen presides over. Paradise Hotel is no longer live, and thus new guests aren’t viewers who’ve been watching everyone on TV, which added a nice layer of drama. But mostly, the cast seem to stick with the “originals” and get rid of the new people when they have a chance, while for the first few weeks, the structure gave the new people too much unilateral power to decide who goes home. In other words, there’s just extremely little room for strategizing or game play that works on television.

Also, the late-night, TV-MA version, which airs on Fox Reality, is a profound disappointment. As far as I can tell, the same show as the MyNetworkTV version except with “shit” and “asshole” unbleeped, and that’s basically it. The editors still cut away from or blur out nudity, and bleep out every other swear word, so why bother with a separate episode? That’s kind of how I feel about the whole series, like it’s a lot of effort for not much reward.

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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.