Did you know that the VH1 reality show Tool Academy did really well? It did. At the very least, it did well enough to get a second season. Personally, I don’t get it. I mean, the show sounded promising, but did you actually watch it? That show was the fakiest fake faker in all of Fake Town. Supposedly the show featured real-life (heterosexual) couples whose girlfriends were sick and tired of their boyfriends tool-ish behavior, and had brought them on the show to give them one last chance to change their behavior (and also to win $15,000 and whatever Craft Services had left over). But, um, one couple had never slept together? Yeah, right. I mean, I respect people who have decided to forgo sex until marriage, or whatever, but these were not those people. Personal integrity and the search for a more meaningful life does not smell like Axe bodyspray. And then there was that other couple where the girlfriend decided she didn’t want to be on the show anymore, so she left, but another girl came and was like “it turns out I am the one who always loved Steve, I am his real girlfriend,” and the therapist (HA!) was like “Steve, is this your real girlfriend for real?” and Steve was like “sorry, yeah, it turns out she’s my girlfriend.” So he got to stay on the show? WHAT? And it’s not like VH1 reality TV shows are particularly believable to begin with, but this show really was very unbelievable!
And now it is going to be more unbelievable.
The thing is, the conceit in the first season was that the men were going to be on a show called The Search For Mr. Awesome, and then once they got to the house a switcheroo (that’s an industry term) was pulled on them and they found out they were in the Tool Academy and everyone got Harry Potter But For Tools blazers. (Things, of course, got more complicated when the winner of Tool Academy was crowned Mr. Awesome? So in the end it turns out they kind of were on a show about the search for Mr. Awesome? Don’t think about it too much.) But that only really works for one season, right? Because the next season they’re like “we want you to be on a show called Joe Is Really a Millionaire This Time,” and even dummies are like “something about this as also in addition to seems not like what that is in my brain saying right thing.”
Then again, perhaps it is the very nature of the people on whom this show depends that they don’t put two and two together (what do you mean, “it’s four”? What’s “four”?). They’re tools, right? Even more complicated, of course, is that most of them probably do know and just don’t care? Because their goal in life is the same as everyone’s goal in life (not everyone’s goal in life) to be on television at any cost, no matter how injurious to one’s dignity and self-respect. “You want me to drink puke out of a toilet and call my girlfriend a prostitution whore? And you’re telling me this will be on basic cable? WHERE DO I DIP MY FIST IN INK AND SMASH IT INTO YOUR CONTRACT?” And then other tools will see it and think “why is that tool on TV? I’m as big of a tool as he is.” And boom, season 3 in the works. It is a self-perpetuating machine, really. Just like Villard de Honnecourt always dreamed of. (Via VH1 Blog.)