What would Ryan Lochte do if he knew his hilarious reality show was mocking him?

Move over Honey Boo Boo: cable reality TV has a new person to mock, and that’s Olympian Ryan Locthe. His E! reality show debuted Sunday night, and while I can’t believe I’m going to write this about an E! celebrity reality show, it’s ridiculously fun–emphasis on the ridiculous.

If you watched the hilarious local news interview with him, you know he is not especially great at answering questions, or thinking on the fly, or explaining himself. But What Would Ryan Lochte Do?‘s first episode focuses a lot on footage from his one-on-one interviews, in which he’s virtually inarticulate.

Using that to its advantage, the editing mocks him relentlessly, and in that respect, it’s very much like Here Comes Honey Boo Boo–except Lochte isn’t a child, and he’s also an executive producer on the show. So he’s either in on the joke or doesn’t know that it is a joke. Consider this scene from an interview:

Ryan Lochte: “What’s being talked about a lot is Ryan Lochte: The American douchebag. Douchebag, I don’t even know. What is douchebag? Like, what is it? What’s the definition of it?”

Cut to footage of Ryan pointing to his watch: “$200,000 on my wrist”

Cut back to interview: “Like, I really don’t know what it means. Do you know?”

Cut back to him saying: “Jeah!”

Despite not being the best with things such as words, Lochte is extremely expressive, like when he turns to the camera to try to express something about an attractive woman. He just doesn’t know what to say, so he makes a face that says enough. Later, he cries when remembering his family being there to support him when he won his first gold medal.

It’s that moment that makes it clear this works on the strength of his character, however full of contradictions and ridiculousness he may be.

When he says “I won’t give up on love” after a first date with a woman who’s moving to LA and who he can initially not even remember, you actually believe him. Then he says he wants to watch What Women Want–though the version he saw apparently only had one woman (“What Woman Want,” he said repeatedly)–and would like to read womens’ minds.

This may be as close as we’ll get to reading his.

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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.