‘Marriage Boot Camp: Bridezillas,’ ugh
Viewers met these obnoxious couples when they got married
May 28, 2013
On “Tosh.0,” Daniel Tosh offers people who have disgraced themselves on viral videos a chance at what he calls “web redemption”: They can come on his show and try to prove they’re not stupid, obnoxious or incompetent.
WE tv’s new reality show “Marriage Boot Camp: Bridezillas,” in which women who were featured on the channel’s series “Bridezillas” try to work out their marital issues with their husbands, could be seen at a chance at redemption for people who were portrayed as selfish monsters.
But being reality-TV villains, these women are either unaware or proud of how obnoxious they appear on TV. The only redemption some of them get on this show is that their husbands appear to be nearly as bad.
Viewers who enjoy watching women behave abominably — and there must be lots of them considering how much programming is devoted to that — will get their fill on the show, which is otherwise an ordinary entry in the self-help genre of reality shows. The only positive side of “Marriage Boot Camp” is that most couples will realize they’re not as far gone as the cases they’re watching.
In the premiere episode, airing this Friday, May 31, at 9 p.m., five couples whose weddings were chronicled on “Bridezillas” are taken in limos to a reality mansion. Brief montages from their respective “Bridezillas” episodes give us an idea of the pathologies involved.
But now, instead of throwing tantrums over seating charts, the former brides are having typical marital issues. Remy thinks her husband, Rob, is too controlling; he thinks that she is selfish and spoiled. Melissa thinks her husband, Chris, is a doormat; he says that he suspects her of lying about what happens when she goes out at night.
Via video, the therapists leading the boot camp, Jim and Elizabeth Carroll, tell the campers to pick room keys that have been labeled with various potential problems, including “cheating” and “intimacy.” Porsha and Byron choose “all of the above” and get a huge suite. Remy and Rob, who packed 10 suitcases for the two-week program, choose “selfishness” and get the smallest room. Viewers are left to themselves to puzzle out the Zen-like wisdom behind this.
The couples are then told to make their own dinner together. Kirsten, who is evidently notorious for some bad wedding singing she provided at her own reception, gets drunk on champagne and starts fighting with Porsha.
Then they go to a plush screening room, where they think they’ll be watching a movie. In fact, they’re seeing tapes of themselves describing what’s wrong with their marriages.
Throughout, Kirsten laughs at the others’ problems. Then her husband, Seth, says on video that they haven’t slept together in a long time and that he has considered “throwing in the towel.” She storms out of the room.
The next morning, the Carrolls introduce themselves and two assistants, David Bishop, who looks like Dr. Phil’s shyer brother, and Dana Hammam. Jim tells the group that they’re in for a rough two weeks but that they will learn if they’re meant for each other, saying that sometimes divorce is the right option.
The therapists have the couples load baskets with bricks labeled with a wide variety of possible marital difficulties. This occasions more spousal bickering. When Rob complains about Remy’s cavalier attitude toward money, she says, “I know how to spend it. Do you know how to make it?”
Then each couple gets into a miniature boxing ring and reenacts a typical fight at home. Chris tells Melissa that he actually returned a call on her phone that she said came from a girl and asked the man who answered why he was calling his wife at 2 a.m.
Danni, whose husband, Marlon, complains that she talks too much, filibusters for their entire time in the ring, saying that he never makes her feel attractive.
Dana and David sit four of the couples down and state their opinions about what the couples revealed in the ring. The other couple goes off with Jim and Elizabeth, who give them insulting nicknames that they’re going to have to “get beyond.” Most of us have been taught that name-calling is wrong.
Since this is only the first episode, it’s difficult to see if any of this is doing anyone any good. So far, none of the techniques seem practical for home viewers, unless they are bricklayers or own a boxing gym.
The main lesson we learn is one that we keep being taught by reality TV: There is an endless supply of people who are willing to air their dirty laundry for millions to watch while at the same time being so appalling that we lose all sympathy for them.
“Marriage Boot Camp: Bridezillas” is the same old same old. The couples may whine and moan, but it’s the viewers who are suffering.
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