Tool Academy premieres this Sunday on Vh1, and obviously I am curious. This new breed (Charm School, From G’s to Gents) of redemption-story reality TV built on social re-education is probably the most interesting development since the romance genre (Blind Date, Shipmates, culminating in The Bachelor) started in the late ’90s. But, is it just me, or is something missing from this?
What I mean is, what makes tools tools is the way they behave towards everyone, not just their girlfriends. A lot of tools don’t even have girlfriends. And there are definitely tools of the non-sexual type. This show relies on a really specific and narrow definition of what makes a tool. Not to mention the fact that these challenges look pretty generic. You could have a “baby animal challenge” or a “try not to scream at each other on the lawn challenge” on any show about saving relationships. Which then brings us to the saving of the relationship: what? Who cares? I’m supposed to care about whether or not a tool manages to keep his girlfriend who obviously should have left him a long time ago from leaving him now?
If I’m going to watch a show called Tool Academy, I want that show to be about exploding the cultural constructs that create tools in the first place, because it seems, at least to me, that these guys are acting that way in reaction to the outside world, either out of fear or insecurity or both. That’s interesting. Let’s deal with that. Because then we’re looking at how tools interact with the entire world, rather than just tools and their sad girlfriends.
It’s funny how I’m getting really serious about why I wouldn’t watch this, when obviously nothing could keep me from watching this. See you Sunday night at 11.