A slew of summer reality shows means an entirely new set of people to root for, a spate of different competitions — and, let's face it, a chance to meet some of the weirdest people to ever be televised.
"On the Lot," a sort of "American Idol" for aspiring filmmakers, seems to have kept the kooky quotient low. It is, after all, a show based primarily on talent and, judging by the first few episodes, they've discovered more than their fare share.
Nevertheless, keep an eye on Kenny — who succeeded in completely alienating his teammates during the first challenge and whose one-minute comedic short was almost entirely indecipherable — to be the guy who gets alienated from the rest of the group.
If my incessant reality television watching has taught me anything, it's that when someone announces the chip on his or her shoulder from the get-go — in Kenny's case, it's that he didn't go to film school — that person may as well have an "I'm going to be trouble" sign on his head.
Meanwhile, "Pirate Master," Mark Burnett's oddly captivating "Survivor" spin-off — which pits teams against each other in the fight for treasure — has found the ultimate reality show villain in John. With his long hair and rippling 12-pack abs, John made an impression before he even opened his mouth simply by being identified as both a scientist and exotic dancer.
He seemed to unnerve people immediately by talking about his horoscope in a somewhat creepy whisper, but his crucial error was in being way too pleased with himself for pulling the buried treasure out of the water and bringing his team to victory.
While he seemed certain that shoving some compasses down his pants and threatening to run off with them (yes, really) would cause the group to support him in a mutiny against the chosen captain, the plan backfired when his fellow pirates essentially revealed that they'd rather get lost than deal with any more crazy exotic dancer/scientist compass-stealing antics.
We also got to see the Atlanta auditions for "So You Think You Can Dance," which meant witnessing some truly astounding talents, including an 18-year-old Rochester girl named Caitlin and a thin "clogger" named Brandon (for the uninitiated, clogging is like tap dancing — only louder).
But just as much time was spent on Chris, an uber-geek with a seemingly unhealthy obsession with *NSYNC; Kippery, a heavy-set woman who was informed that her "type" was "overweight and can't really dance" and Myles, a football player-turned-dancer whose dad was having a whole lot of trouble processing this transition.
None of the shows seemed to have a Sanjaya — someone who sticks around against all odds — but it's still early in the season. My money's on Kenny from "On the Lot," but maybe I'm just a glutton for punishment.
Anna David is a freelance writer. Her first novel, "Party Girl," is coming out this month from HarperCollins.