Stop the pretending; we know your secret. You skipped the company barbeque to watch the finale of Outback Jack. And then you went to the CBS website after missing an episode of the Amazing Race, just to see if those douchebag twins were finally given the boot. (Like I said, we know.) Your Wednesday nights were spent alone with Paris, Nicole and a bottle of Cabernet. So face it -- you're addicted to reality TV. Now that the season is almost over, you need some closure before you sink your teeth into the new Apprentice. We present the winners and losers of summer reality TV.
GRAND PRIZE WINNER
Charla, The Amazing Race
As you all know, The Amazing Race is the Citizen Kane of reality TV, what with its Emmy award and its chiseled, tanned host, Phil Keoghan, who makes Jeff Probst look like Dave Coulier. This summer, you had to root for Charla, despite her annoying, nasal partner -- her cousin Mirna. The 27-year-old Armenian immigrant is a dwarf, and provided fodder for late-night talk show hosts who like jokes about Oompa Loompas. Despite her size and her Maryland upbringing, Charla conquered tasks that most Penn kids wouldn't even force upon their manservants, such as carrying a 55-lb slab of beef a half-mile, climbing down a 140-ft mineshaft and eating an ostrich egg, the equivalent of 24 regular eggs. Despite her diminutive size, Charla carried the team, with Mirna whining the entire time and forcing her cousin to do all the bitch work. Although the two were eliminated, Charla is still the big winner. She beat seven other teams and managed to keep her game face on even after getting electrocuted in Argentina.
Victoria Gotti, Growing Up Gotti
She's on TV purely because her father was a mob don. She looks like Donatella Versace, talks like a Soprano, and has sons who make Jack Osborne seem like a candidate for sainthood. In other words, we're obsessed.
Rachel, For Love or Money 2
How did a flight attendant with bad hair and a sense of style akin to that found in the JC Penney catalogue finish second in For Love or Money, then get asked back to choose from her own batch of hunky, hair-gelled bachelors? Answer: by being a shrewd, conniving bitch. Two thumbs up.
Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie, Simple Life 2
Ok, even combined, Paris and Nicole's 15 minutes of fame add up to one half hour episode of Simple Life 2. Unfortunately, the celebutantes graced our screens for 10 painful episodes of the supposedly hilarious fish-out-of-water series. Last year's Simple Life was mildly amusing if only for the novelty of two spoiled, rich brats wreaking havoc in rural Arkansas. This year, on their cross-country road trip, we had to see the same tired jokes from last year played out over and over again, only this time Paris and Nicole were in more than one state. For example: Paris can't work a microwave! Hysterical! Nicole wears a white outfit to a swamp! I'm rolling in the aisles! As before, they managed to swindle a few dim-witted Southerners and scandalize young children -- nothing new. Note to Paris and Nicole: if you want to be famous, you have to actually do something, preferably not involving lingerie and a video camera.
Everyone involved in Trading Spouses
Why couldn't we leave wife-swapping in the '70s where it belongs, right next to platform shoes and polyester?
Everyone involved in Big Brother 5
CBS producers: if you're going to put 14 complete morons with personality bypasses in a house together with cameras on them, please give them some redeeming qualities, and weirdness doesn't count.