By Bill Simmons
Page 2

Since everyone seemed to enjoy the TV column last week, I thought we could turn it into a running feature: "What I'm Watching." So here we go ...

Last night WB premiered a show called "High School Reunion", where they find 14 members of a class that graduated 10 years ago, then reunite them in Maui and supply them with copious amounts of alcohol. Just a brilliant idea. The Sports Gal and I stumbled across it while flicking channels after an inspiring episode of "Date My Mom" -- within 20 seconds, I glanced over at her and realized that we were in trouble. She was beaming. She loves this crap. It's a real problem.

Of course, within 15 minutes, I was happily adding "Reunion" to our TiVo Season Pass. There are a number of unbelievable things about this show, including the fact that ...

1. It's on.

2. Anyone who wasn't being held at gunpoint would agree to be on the show.

3. These are the only 14 people on the planet who can specifically recall every single moment from high school. Seriously, I can't even remember what I did ten minutes ago.

4. They label everyone on the show (with captions and everything) so you can remember them. Jaime isn't just Jaime ... she's the "Obsessed Ex." Jim is "The Jock." Nikol is the "Good Girl." Brian is "The Meathead." Jen is "The Predator." And so on. It's unbelievable. Check out the website if you don't believe me.

Now here's where the comedy comes in. One of the girls (Carin) was pushing three bills in high school, earning herself the label of "The Fat Girl." When we first saw her photos, the Sports Gal (no relation) thought the Fat Girl's dark eyebrows were a much bigger problem then her weight. I'm not entirely sure what this means, but it sounds funny.

Anyway, The Fat Girl had that Carnie Wilson surgery and lost over 100 pounds ... now she's just The Somewhat Doughy Girl and looks like every girl I went to college with during the traumatic Baggy Sweater Era. But that doesn't stop the producers from referring to her as "The Fat Girl," even heading into one commercial with the narrator saying, "And coming up, the fat girl deals with bad memories from the past!" I'm not making this up. During one scene, everyone heads to the beach in their bathing suits, followed by a dramatic "starting from the feet and going up" camera zoom of the fat girl joining the group in a bikini. She didn't even look that bad. Just riveting TV. I think John ("The Loud Mouth") put it best: "Hell, I'd hook up with her."

But that's not the best part of the show. It's a given that every woman who goes on a reality-TV show is completely insane -- in fact, you could make a pretty good case that all women are completely insane -- so it's the job of the reality show to bring that insanity out, to let it breathe like a fine wine. On last night's "Reunion," they spent much of show dealing with the Good Girl's emotions about getting dumped by The Jock for the Predator back in high school. The Good Girl needs some closure. (I would hope so, since it was ten years ago and all.) Given a free date by the producers, she asks The Jock to go with her, so they end up in some creepy outdoor venue that's covered with old photos of them from high school. "This is nice," the Good Girl says, glancing around.

Actually, it's creepy, but whatever you say. So they have a heart-to-heart about what happened to their relationship. And what happened is obvious -- since she was The Good Girl, she probably wasn't putting out, which led him straight into the arms of The Predator (who says things like "I just like guys"). That's pretty cut and dry. But he can't really say that ... plus he's a stereotypical jock and can't put two sentences together. He's hemming and hawing, she's firing questions at him along the lines of "On October 29th, 1994, why didn't you call me back that night?" Then somebody produces a letter that she wrote to him ten years ago -- after he dumped her -- which she reads out loud, then mentions that she's so happy he saved that letter because that meant he DID care back in the day. And the guy's just sitting there with an "I wonder if I might get to third base tonight for old time's sake " look on his face. Then they start making out.

You would think she's the craziest person on the show ... but no. Every once in awhile, they cut back to the Obsessed Ex screaming at her old boyfriend (the Basketball Star) because he's ignoring her, or because he cheated on her ten years ago, or because he's talking to one of the other girls. And he just keeps mumbling back, "Come on, we're in Maui, let's have some fun" and "Let it go, it was ten years ago," which makes her even more furious. Believe me, I wouldn't make a statement like this lightly -- there's a chance that she could be the craziest person in the history of reality-TV. I'm anxiously awaiting the promo where the narrator says, "Coming up, the Fat Girl crumbles when someone asks if she wants some ice cream. And later, the Obsessed Ex tried to stab the Basketball Star to death with a kitchen knife!"

Where is this show headed? I have no idea. We could be headed for a murder. We could be headed for an assault. We could be headed for an orgy where The Predator says, "I might as well just get it over with and have sex with all of these guys at once." Anything's possible. By the time the show ended last night, I had moved it up to "No. 8" on my TiVo Season Pass depth chart, right behind "The Apprentice" and just ahead of "The Real World."

Congratulations to everyone at WB. You should be very ... well, not proud. I guess "satisfied" is the right word.

Final Grade: B-plus.

Bill Simmons is a columnist for Page 2 and ESPN The Magazine. His Sports Guy's World site is updated every day Monday through Friday.




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