‘Tool' Time

Shows like "Tool Academy" -- many of which feature San Diegans -- insult our viewing intelligence yet are omnipresent, addictive TV staples.

There was an infotaining piece in the San Diego Union-Tribune Sunday called "Reality TV Likes What It Sees in San Diego's Talent Pool." Writer Karla Peterson pointed out that San Diegans inhabit the casts of "Amazing Race," "Top Chef," "The Bachelor," "Project Runway," "American Idol" and several other nonscripted TV offerings.
That newspaper article left out -- perhaps because Peterson has better taste than me -- my favorite new crappy cable contribution: VH1’s "Tool Academy." Contestant Karine is a San Diego waitress. In this invasive homage to couples therapy, the show aims to take "the most arrogant, dishonest, thoughtless and unfaithful boyfriends [the "tools" of the title] and transform them into husband material.”
The tools were allegedly tricked into being on the show. The girlfriends told the boys they were going to compete in a "Mr. Awesome" pageant. They dredged the bottom of the casting barrel for this one. Tool Shawn, an underwear designer, starts the series with his girlfriend, Jaimee. In just the second episode, his other girlfriend (of six years), Aida, shows up on the set. Shawn nearly poops his pants. He decides to continue the show with ... Aida. Guess what? That week’s couples’ challenge is based on fidelity. And guess who gets booted off the show? That’s right. Not Shawn.
Go ahead and rip me a new one for giving this drivel Web ink, or any pixilated podium. "Tool Academy" is the TV bubble-gum equivalent of the big screen’s banal "Dude, Where’s My Car?" (which I’ve laughed through a dozen times). I want to look away. Isn't "House" on? What’s playing on the History Channel? Apparently, reality TV likes what it sees in San Diego’s talent pool. My own sorry self now included, I worry about what that says about our gene pool.

Ron Donoho, formerly executive editor of "San Diego Magazine," is a regular contributor to NBCSandiego.com who covers local news, sports, culture and happy hours.

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