I have different reasons for rooting for people on reality shows. It could be because they’re the sweetest (the artist formerly known as Joseph Lawrence), the least obnoxious (I’m talking to you, Ule) or the wackiest (good old Caridee).
When it comes to “Deal or No Deal,” however, I fervently hope that every single one of them beats the bank. And this week’s first contestant, “football mom” Karen Kulcsar, was well worth cheering for.
With a noisemaker, two sports jersey-dressed sons, a chatty sister and her sons’ coach (spouting off sports metaphors) as her support system, Kulcsar managed to be both over-the-top and likable, which isn’t as common a combination as you might think.
She handled situations that might have rattled other people with aplomb, like when the football coach started chanting “De-fense” over and over — which, last I checked, didn’t actually have the power to change numbers inside of cases — or when her sons, whose own exposure to money was probably limited to Monopoly games, urged her to say “no deal” to a $151,000 offer.
Meanwhile, over on “The Amazing Race,” the team I’d been rooting for — the formerly drug-addicted models — claimed victory. Hooray! But I’m still not entirely clear on why I wanted them to win.
There’s the obvious reason that watching aesthetically pleasing people do almost anything is usually enjoyable and seeing them smile with glee all the better, but I think that the main way they hooked me in might actually have had more to do with what they didn’t do than what they did.
They didn’t, for example, pat themselves on the back for their “good thinking” when they lucked into certain circumstances — say, flying into Orly airport rather than Charles de Gaulle in Paris and thus ending up closer to the next clue — the way team Alabama did.
They didn’t pout endlessly about not having had a chance to skydive, hysterically explain to every cab driver that their driving fast was “worth a million dollars” — seemingly unaware of the fact that said cab driver wouldn’t be receiving that million dollars, thus rendering the point rather moot — or tell the camera how “in love I am with this woman,” rather than telling the woman or, in fact, calling Kim by her name. No, those acts were all Rob’s.
The model-addict team’s biggest transgression, really, was a potential overuse of the word “dude” throughout the race, a comparatively minor infraction if ever there were one.
And they were certainly well-liked. All the race-mates seemed genuinely happy for them in the end — almost as if they hadn’t all been in brutal competition rather recently.
With everyone crying and hugging, it actually looked like one of those happily-ever-after episodes of “Deal or No Deal.”
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 Regan Books/HarperCollins.