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The Telefile

H8R: 8 Is Such a Strong Number

by Rachel Stein September 15, 2011 6:00 am
<I>H8R</i>: 8 Is Such a Strong Number

As you may already know, we make fun of celebrities on this site. I, for one, will bash Dr. Drew any chance I get, and once personally told him that he was a slut-shaming jerk. It felt great. As for the other celebs I jab at here and there, I would like to think that most of the things I write are based in reality and that I won't feel like the scum of the earth when I inevitably have to meet them face-to-face. It's kind of like running into someone you went to high school with; just as no one is the same person they were in high school (I hope), when someone's on TV, a small part of their humanity is sold to producers for the sake of story-editing. But in the age of cyber-bullying, being held accountable for what you say is no longer a given, and plenty of people are able to write and say horrible things about other humans -- reality stars included -- without any repercussion... that is, until now. Cue: the new CW show H8R.

The very principle of this show -- that a person making hundreds of thousands of dollars (if not more, gulp) and who made the decision to sign on for a reality show and be exploited just for the glory of it all, deserves to be treated with the same amount of respect and decency as your normal bullying victim -- warrants some very heavy eye-rolling. I mean, yeah, they are human beings and therefore shouldn't be treated poorly. But to be given yet another reality show just to prove how "real" and awesome they are? Isn't that what reunion episodes are for? I absolutely prefer the premise of MTV's If You Really Knew Me, where young people who actually suffer from bullying get to confront their tormentors face-to-face in a productive way. I'm sorry, but I think their televised transition into well-being is more important and interesting than Janice Dickinson's. I guess H8R teaches viewers that it's not cool to bully, but that is barely the draw.

As for the actual format, the set-up is pretty lame and painfully staged. Mario Lopez is a decidedly Mario Lopez-ish host, wholly inoffensive and comfortably bland. Haters (why the show is called H8R but the word "Hater" is spelled out everywhere else, I don't know) believe they are being cast for some made-up reality show that requires them to rant about their most loathed celebrities, and then are ambushed by the very person they were bashing. They are then forced to spend time with the star and at the end of their segment we find out if there's still any animosity left in the Hater. Each episode is also an exhausting hour long.

Last night's episode showed confrontations between Jersey Shore's Snooki and a "real" Italian named Nick, as well as former Jake Pavelka and his hater, Danielle. Maybe it's just me, but the whole male-female Hater dynamics reeked of sexual tension that made me extremely uncomfortable. I would've preferred to see that completely removed... but who can resist these two sex symbols? (Certainly not Eric Rose or The Situation, but I digress.) In both cases, the encounters were awkward and the dialogue seemed forced, with Snooki and Jake dodging the more introspective questions of, "Do you really think it's okay to behave that way on TV shows that, you know, young and easily-influenced minds are watching?" Snooki did bring to light that she actually donates a portion of her money to charity while showing some vulnerability, eventually (and rightfully, in my opinion) winning over Nick and his family. But less-generous Jake's attempts at charming Danielle with Bachelor-grade dates failed. It made for much better TV, and if you really want to see a Jake hater crumble and surrender themselves at the very sight of him, I recommend watching him and Kasey in the first episode of Bachelor Pad Season 2.

I guess I'll continue watching H8R, especially episodes with stars who I also dislike -- and between Kat Von D, Eva Longoria, Kim Kardashian, Janice Dickinson, Scott Disick and Barry Bonds, I think there will be a few choice opportunities. But if you're looking to be convinced about liking one of these people, or if you're trying to cure your boredom... keep searching.

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