Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Valley Recap: What Happens in the Tent? (S1:E5)

Welcome back! If you missed my previous recaps of The Valley, be sure to check them out. 

The Valley is a Dayton-produced reality show that occasionally actually films in Dayton Cincinnati and airs Sunday nights on Dayton's CW. According to the station's website,The Valley follows the journey of six high school graduates from the Miami Valley as they prepare for the next big step in their lives." 

The cast includes: 
Ally – “My initial thought was: this sucks.” 
Chris – Virgin! 
Stephanie – Drama with Alexys. 
Donald – Never been camping. 
Alexys – Drama with Stephanie. 
Nathan – “In high school, I ate a lot of cheesy bread.” 

Last episode, there was drama. Stephanie read a text. Chris recorded a lame public service announcement honoring his DUI coach, or something. 

Theme song :“Do you have what it takes?” To even care that none of this actually seems to take place in Dayton? To listen to two teen girls argue? To watch Chris’s dumb PSA? 

First adventure: WDTN Studio 
Stephanie is under a tree tearfully talking about how she is unsure of her future. And she is concerned,like many young people, that her family’s sacrifices to send her to Wright State University for free might be wasted. 

Her dream is to help the Hispanic community. She will help them by being on the TV news. 

She spends a day talking to people at WDTN, who, oddly enough, don’t seem to be interested in talking on camera. Or maybe they were too boring and got edited. 

After a few hours talking off-camera to WTDN staff, all of Stephanie’s problems and concerns are solved.Whew. 

Second adventure: Camp Kern 
They are back at Camp Kern. Staff guy with the weird accent has a small surprise. They will all dress up as video game characters and help camp kids with some outdoor game. 

Stephanie paints herself black and then rolls around in the underbrush. Alexys is some sort of princess. Even though this is a surprise, Nathan is already wearing a Pac-Man shirt. 

Apparently, no one told them they had to go rustic camping that night. There are only two tents. And no bathroom. 

Nathan: "Ally, Alexys and Stephanie are all too preppy for this camping." 

Nathan and Stephanie get a craving for Little Caesars. Everyone eats hot dogs and s‘mores instead. Only the white people know how to make a s‘more. 

Ally: "Let’s play truth or dare!" 

Nathan: Dares Chris to do 50 push-ups 

Chris: "The game was super boring."

Stephanie and Alexys are still feuding. Drama ensues because Alexys and Stephanie can’t sleep in the same tent, duh. Ally and Alexys seem to propose that Stephanie sleep with Nathan (gay!) and Donald. Does this mean that those two sleep with Chris?? This is never resolved on camera. What happens in the tent… No, really, what DOES happen in the tent? 

Third adventure: El Toro 
Alexys, Stephanie and Nathan eat Mexican again. They discuss how Chris told them he was a virgin.

Cut to Donald’s interview about the virgin in their midst. “Personally, I have to get my [bleep] on, so I really admire him.” Just a reminder, Donald is only months out of high school and he did not say “bleep” to the camera. 

Back at the restaurant, Nathan, in a TOTALLY not staged action, bails and leaves Stephanie and Alexys together. 

Alexys: "I have literally cried several nights about things you have said. You called me a rich white girl." 

Stephanie: "You have been rude."

They awkwardly argue. Alexys storms off. 

OK. I guess that’s the end and we’ll never know what happened in the tent, although it seems Chris's virginity is still intact. 

I have now watched this five weeks in a row for you. You're welcome.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

How do we Keep our Daughters Safe? Start with our Sons

Every mother with a precious daughter has read the articles--they stream through our Facebook feeds. The articles about how to keep your daughter safe in a world of sexual predators. There are apps you can download that will send out alerts if you don't return from a date on time, nail polish to check for knock-out drugs, and lots of advice in the area of raising empowered women who don't need men to validate them.

But I have decided not to read those anymore. Because I have two sons and one daughter and it seems like I should spend twice as much effort ensuring that my boys don't become rapists.

Now, I'm not talking about leap-out-from-the-bushes and attack a woman rapists. Those boys, unfortunately, are being raised in depraved, abusive environments, most likely, and I doubt very much that their caregivers read any sort of articles about how to raise them.

I mean, mothers, that we all have a duty to spend just as much time ensuring we aren't raising a date rapist as we are ensuring that our daughters have mace.

This is an uncomfortable subject for us as mothers. There is so much talk lately about victim-blaming, but if we look inside, I think it is easier for us to see our precious child as a victim of some else's violence than to even contemplate the idea that for every young lady who gets raped after drinking at a party, there is a young man who should have known better--and he has a mother.

I Googled "how to keep your son from becoming a rapist" and I wasn't sure what I would find. There wasn't much but what I did find was in line with my thinking so much that I want to quote from a few articles.

Writing at The Hathor Legacy, a blog about women in TV and the movies, Jennifer Kesler hits upon the key way that many parents are "abusing" their children and raising future rapists:
Teaching your son that he’s your Golden Boy and can do no wrong and anyone who says otherwise is just a nasty pile of envy,to the extent that he does not develop empathy or conscience,

Over at PhD in Parenting, the author says about rape culture:
Somehow most of us seem to be able to teach our children that opening a cupboard at someone's house and helping yourself to whatever is in there without asking first is inappropriate. How is it that we manage to do that, but the message that sexual consent is important just doesn't sink in?

Referencing the Steubenville rape case,Avital Norman Nathman wrote on The Frisky:
Nobody wants to think of their son as a potential sexual assaulter. I know I don’t. I look at my sweet, sweet son and I know in my heart that he would never hurt a fellow human being, let alone violate and disrespect them... But I’m also not living in a fantasy bubble. I’m sure the mothers and fathers of the boys involved thought their sons weren’t capable of such horrific, violating actions either. In fact, most of the town is still in denial...

I have been writing this blog post for a long time in my head but I feel that these other bloggers said what I wanted to say even better than I could have said it, so I'll just end with Nathman from The Frisky:
So here I am, days away from my son’s sixth birthday, thinking about how we need to teach our boys not to rape, instead of cautioning our daughters on how not to get raped...I also challenge all parents, even ones deeply immersed in communities where this sort of behavior has been ingrained forever, to talk to your sons and teach them that this is not acceptable behavior for anyone.


Sunday, October 5, 2014

The Valley Recap: All the Cool Kids are Doing It (S1:E4)

Welcome back! If you missed my first, second or third reviews of The Valley, be sure to check them out.

TheValley is a Dayton-produced reality show that occasionally actually films in Dayton and airs Sunday nights on Dayton's CW. Apparently, each of these six high school students has "something to prove."

The cast includes:
Ally – Stirred up drama with Stephanie and Alexys
Chris – Films the lamest public service announcement ever
Stephanie – Stirred up drama with Alexys
Donald – Stayed out of the drama
Alexys – Stirred up drama with Stephanie
Nathan – I have anxiety issues

Last episode we learned that Nathan is able to leave the hole in the center of Ohio that is DeGraff to visit Kings Island multiple times a year BUT was not able to visit the University of Cincinnati before making the life-changing decision to enroll there. Also, Alexys’s Daddy has a wonderful mansion condo on the Ohio River with a pool.

Theme song: “Do you have what it takes?” To watch this show another time? To stomach through the manufactured teen girl drama? To overcome your (OK, may just my) extreme annoyance at Nathan from last episode?

First adventure: The Precinct – carried over from last episode
Alexys’s Daddy had taken them all to a swanky Cincinnati restaurant on a party bus. The scene picks up with an awkward exchange where Stephanie is questioning Alexys about her “perfect” boyfriend and if he has ever cheated on her.

Lots of reality-show type interviews about this with the cast. I am too old to understand or care. At least Chris did say how appreciative he was to be “treated like a rock star” by Alexys’s Dad.

Second adventure: Dairy Dream
Because this show needs to fill 24 minutes each week, Nathan invites Stephanie to ice cream to talk MORE about Alexys and how awkward it was at the dinner.

Third adventure: Fifth Third Field, Dayton Dragons game
They are all at the game to do some mystery thing on the field. Nathan has anxiety issues. Oh, they are the Human Dot Race: Donald + Ally, Alexys + Nathan, Stephanie + Chris. Alexys and Nathan are out to win it but keep falling.

Afterward the scuttlebutt is that Alexys kept telling people, “look what I had to deal with.”

Third adventure: El Meson restaurant
Because this show still has time to fill and perhaps a sponsorship obligation, Chris, Ally and Stephanie get together to talk AGAIN about the drama with Alexys. Stephanie reads a text out loud. 

Fourth adventure: WDTN studio
OK, this is meta. The show taped a meeting with Chris and the producers about what Chris wants to do on this very show. And then used it in the show.

Like many kids, Chris believes he is the first teen to ever face a tragedy and he has some deep thoughts and writings he wants to share. Not to make light, but Chris losing his football coach to drunk driving is slightly less of a tragic tale when you know (not that this was shared on the show) that the coach was drunk and killed another man.

Anyway, he has decided that his thing to “prove” on this show is how much he wants to spread the word about the dangers of drunk driving. Of course, “kids are obviously still going to drink, there’s nothing we can do about that.”

So apparently his message is this: Hey high school kids, I know you are gonna break the law and all with your underage drinking, but don’t be dumb and drive afterward. I mean, you could drive the wrong way on the interstate and kill someone, just like my high school coach and role model.

He then gets in front of a very “down with it” backdrop, turns the camera to black and white and shoots the lamest public service announcement ever. (Too bad he didn’t say what I wrote above, that would have been AWESOME.) The PSA is so lame that it even references a URL that doesn't work and when you do navigate to the intended page is really just a place for schools and communities to download student education programs, although alcohol and substance abuse are included.

Sorry to be such a downer, but I don’t subscribe to the whole, “kids are gonna drink, so what can we do?” approach. Children in high school should not be drinking and the only way it happens is when adults look the other way. I think it is irresponsible of The Valley to support that line of thinking.

One last thing, this show would NEVER show its stars riding bicycles without helmets or driving a car without a seat belt or violating any other politically correct and legally required safety regulation. So why in the hell would they allow a teen to imply that since he and all the other cool kids are already drinking-it-up, they should all be sure to just get a designated driver?

On a positive final note, after making a mockery of their promos that said this is the only reality show shot in Dayton (HA!), they actually did seem to shoot most of this episode downtown and in our nicer suburbs.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Valley Recap: Where the Hell IS DeGraff? (S1:E3)

Welcome back! If you missed my first or second review of The Valley, be sure to check them out.
You may be a surprised as I was to learn that The Valley is a Dayton-produced reality show that airs Sunday nights on Dayton's CW. According to the station's website, The Valley follows "the journey of six high school graduates from the Miami Valley as they prepare for the next big step in their lives."

The cast includes:
Ally –  Attacked Donald with ice cream.
Chris – Dude, I don’t know what’s wrong with Nathan
Stephanie – Flirty with Donald
Donald – Mama’s boy
Alexys – “Let’s start a prank war.”
Nathan – I enrolled in a university I have never visited, even though it is less than a 100 miles away from my high school.

Last episode we learned that Nathan is gay.  (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.) And that Stephanie’s purple hair did not even last long enough to show up in her interview scenes.

Theme song :  Do you have what it takes?  To watch this show a third time? To deal with the inevitable “after school special” treatment of the gay. To look away when Chris shows his abs, because you are NOT a cougar. NOT. A. COUGAR.

First adventure: Donald’s Mama’s House
Donald needs to move out to live with his Grandpa to get more independence. This was teased the past two weeks to look like his Mama was putting him out on the street, of course. The people who blur t-shirt logos always get a workout when Donald is on screen.

Second  adventure: University of Cincinnati
Nathan opens this scene by sharing that he has NEVER visited the university that he is currently enrolled in and will be attending in two months! Are you FREAKING kidding me?

What is WRONG with Nathan? WHERE. THE. HELL. IS. DEGRAFF? Some other planet?
Am I going to have to write another note to the Mayor?

Maybe Nathan’s family situation didn't allow him to drive 100 miles down I-75 very often? (Can you guess by my outrage that this is NOT the case.)

Chris comes along since he is also attending UC. Chris: “It’s great to think how we’re going to be here in two months” [when I will never speak to you again, Nathan].

They gave off a "Saved by the Bell" vibe.

Third adventure: Kings Island
First the Brady Bunch, now The Valley

No one seems to ride any rides. They play carnival games and win lame stuffed dogs. Donald pretends that he has been there before.

They all eat blue ice cream and Alexys decides to corrupt Ally and start a “prank war.”

We learn that Nathan has had a season pass the past few years. SO HE IS VERY ABLE TO DRIVE TO CINCINNATI for rides but not to investigate his future!?!

Fourth adventure: Alexys’s Dad’s condo mansion with pool overlooking the Ohio River
Everyone comes over to swim and just hang out. Ally asks Alexys about her recent “scholarship” pageant. She was Miss North Central Ohio Teen second place, or something.

Stephanie and Donald flirt, with prodding from Alexys.

I guess there is no craft service for this show, because the girls appear to be eating leftovers from Alexys’s fridge for lunch.

OMG. I really can’t stand Nathan this episode. He decides to “come out” to the guys half naked in a hot tub. This is forgivable, but then, after acting all innocent last episode, he brags about how he saw male strippers last weekend. And how his porn-watching helped him understand he was gay.

The terrible-looking lunch is rectified by Alexys’s Daddy’s off-screen offer to take them all to a fancy restaurant in a party bus. Luckily, they all have nice clothes and full make-up with them to put on.

WKRP-like views of the city to show that every 18 year-old in Dayton can’t wait to get the hell out and do something fun elsewhere.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

What Farm Kids do for Fun

There is nothing better than pulling up to the hydrant by the barn to get some farm dirt washed of the family-mobile.
Don't worry, we didn't wash the farm truck. Clean trucks are for city boys.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

The Valley Recap: There IS a Gay One (S1:E2)

Welcome back! If you missed my first review of The Valley, be sure to check it out.

For those of you who are new, The Valley is a Dayton-produced reality show that airs Sunday nights on Dayton's CW. According to the station's website, The Valley follows "the journey of six high school graduates from the Miami Valley as they prepare for the next big step in their lives."

The cast includes:
Ally – I am leaving for Nashville soon.
Chris – Made it through the first AND SECOND episode without showing his abs.
Stephanie – I have really black hair that I want to be purple now.
Donald – Gags on sushi.
Alexys – Drives a BMW.
Nathan – Ha! You thought we wouldn't have someone gay on this show?

When we last left our group of six carefully selected Dayton suburbanites, they had survived the zipline together and pronounced love for alpacas.

Theme song:  Do you have what it takes? To get your hair dyed purple? To come out of the closet? To watch this show a second time?

First adventure: Hair cut place
Stephanie has body dysmorphic disorder so naturally she is the best person to get her hair cut and dyed purple.  Purple? She wants Alexys and Ally to support her during her haircut but they just go to the other side of the salon and get pedicures.

Important pre-taped foreshadowing that is not resolved:
Ally has a boyfriend named Cory. They have a picnic.

Second adventure: Restaurant
Nathan tells Alexys, Ally and the viewing audience that he is gay. Ally: "Are we allowed to bombard with you with questions?" His family is not supportive. I am assuming right now that much of DeGraff is praying for his salvation.

Third (non-Dayton) adventure: Cincinnati City Hall
Nathan is driving to Cincy with the crew in his car. Oh, snap! Did he just OUT a Cincinnati City Councilman? Whew, the guy is openly gay. So gay, in fact, that he takes Nathan to the Cincinnati pride day parade.

Fourth adventure: Sinclair Community College
Donald visits and Alexys tags along. He does career exploration, but not really because he has already decided to be a famous rapper some day. That's cool because we all know all the famous rappers get their start at community college.

Alexys, the rich blonde girl who drives a new BMW and eats sushi five times a week really wants people to know she is much more than a stereotype. So she makes Donald eat sushi.

Lots. Of. Faux-edited. Drama. In the coming episodes. Stay tuned. Sunday nights on Dayton’s CW or just come here for the recap.

Note from Holly:
Just for the record, I am personally opposed to purple hair and sushi eating. While I have no direct experience to draw upon, I am pretty cool with rapping and homosexuality.