Reality Check: Logic on 'The Real World,' 'Armed & Famous' and 'Beauty and the Geek'

Logic has never played a large — or, let’s be honest, any — role on “The Real World.” The main criteria for the seven strangers cast each season, actually, tends to be an amazing ability to tan and hold liquor combined with an equally stupendous capacity to make the most illogical decisions imaginable.

That doesn’t apply only to hooking up with two of the three girls in your first 48 hours or drunkenly daring a huge guy with anger issues to punch you. Please, all that was covered in the first three episodes of this season.

No, you may be comforted to hear that the kids are just as illogical when it comes to routine thoughts, too.

When Tyrie started crying after rappelling down a mountain, for example, Colie concluded that he now must consider his roommates “like family.”

If that’s what it means when someone cries in front of you, then I’m related to far more people than I realized.

Employing similar logic, Tyrie explains that his tears weren’t a result of fear but because he was so moved by the experience. (I’ve been rappelling and skydiving, and all I can say to those Real Worlders is if you really want to feel like you and Tyrie are kin, try taking him skydiving and see how he handles it.)

And is it worth even tossing around a word like logic when discussing “Armed & Famous,” the new show that takes some C-listers, gives them three weeks of cop training and then puts them to work as police officers in Muncie, Ind.?

I mean, what kind of a town would agree to give La Toya Jackson a badge and gun, let alone have such an event televised?

If Jackson — who does not disappoint in the weirdness department by, in short succession, reacting almost blissfully to being tasered, shooting her gun every which way during target practice and asking for a finger bowl at a dive restaurant — is an illogical choice for this cast, surely Erik Estrada seems a wise one.

The problem is that six years of playing Ponch apparently caused him to pull a logic muscle, because the guy — gloating in voiceover about the advantage he has over his castmates because of his “CHiPs” experience — essentially tries to shoot a guy he’s pulling over for a traffic violation during their practice session.

Then there’s what seems at first glance like the world’s most logical show, “Beauty and the Geek.” While there were examples throughout this week’s episode of head-scratching behavior — particularly Scooter’s absolute horror at the notion of making out with two hot blondes which, while a bit crazy, was also rather sweet — it was Sheree, the former Hooters waitress who got the boot this week, who made perhaps the most astute point that has ever been made on reality TV.

Observing that the girls had divided into cliques of blondes and brunettes, Sheree noted the irony of the fact that the ladies were supposed to be the ones teaching the boys about social interaction

It was such a shrewd point that it led me to wonder if the respective roles of the genders should be switched so that the girls could actually learn how to support each other without their (well-manicured) claws coming out.

Or at least if La Toya Jackson should be brought in to show them just how strange social interaction can be.

Anna David has written for The L.A. Times, Vanity Fair, Premiere, Parenting, Cosmo, People, Us Weekly, Redbook, Self, Details, Stuff, TV Guide, Women's Health, Ocean Drive, Teen Vogue, Variety, The New York Post, LA Confidential and Maxim, among others. She answers sex and relationship questions on G4's Attack of the Show and speaks about pop culture on FOX, CNN, NBC, MTV, VH1 and E! Her first novel, "Party Girl," is coming out in June 2007 from HarperCollins.