Rachel refuses to shave her head, exposing sexism; also, The Amazing Race still sucks

I accidentally flipped past The Amazing Race last night just as Rachel Reilly was crying, which of course wasn’t really anything special because she always cries. But here she was crying about having to shave her head to get the fast forward.

“I don’t want to shave my head. I paid $500 for extensions. It would be so sad,” she said in her low-level meltdown, nearly pseduo-crying mode. She acted at first as if the money and her extensions were the problem, even though she would have received $10,000 for winning this leg of the race, and never mind the fact that her pay for just sticking around this long will pay for extensions that can stretch from there to the Big Brother house.

Later, Rachel told the camera that Joyce “was really cute and skinny and pretty, and I need hair to be pretty.” That’s both tragic and sad, and reveals her deep insecurities that reality TV has done nothing to mend, even though she’s won $500,000 after dominating her second season of Big Brother.

It’s also tragic and sad that some people think that was a perfectly justifiable excuse, because that kind of argument says that 1) bald women aren’t attractive, and worse, 2) a woman’s appearance matters more than anything else, including things such as embracing a challenge, doing something outside of one’s comfort zone, or winning $1 million. And it’s pretty insulting and sexist to women to assume that the way their hair looks is so important.

To kill time before The Apprentice, I kept watching, only to see fun-loving Mark and Bopper actually go for the fast forward and embrace it, but it had no impact. That was probably because they were so far behind, and since legs of the race take roughly 45 minutes to complete. I exaggerate, but the effect of budget cuts and/or laziness is still utterly apparent, as this leg didn’t require them to go very far or do very much. Also, the construction of the leg was such that they’d have to take a ferry to the pit stop, which would have, at the very least, tied them with whoever else was waiting for the ferry.

As NPR’s Linda Holmes said on Twitter, “Nothing anybody does matters,” and that is the great failing of the show which, in its 20th season, now just phones it in. But hey, crank up the tense music and pretend no one notices, especially not Emmy voters and TV critics.

Review: Married at First Sight

Marriage At First Sight

In an era of Tinder and Grindr, instant acceptance or dismissal of a potential partner, or instant sex with another body, Married at First Sight offers the thrill of watching strangers deal with the very basics of relationships.

Beyond the headline-grabbing premise, the series has turned out to be a stripped-down, authentic exploration of something very interesting. Read the full review.

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.