Dallas’ Most Eligible

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When last we spoke about the current state of Texas as portrayed through the pop culture lens, I warned you that the state’s image was about to get an update through the medium of reality television. Well, it turns out Bravo’s new series, Most Eligible: Dallas is not so much an update, as a reinforcement of everything embarrassing you’ve ever heard about big-haired, privileged, and, dare I say, white, Texas. (There are no eligible people of color in Dallas, apparently.)

I’m not saying any of the above qualifiers are in and of themselves bad. It’s just that when you combine them all together and simmer them in a culture of pseudo-religious piety, you often come up with some insufferable characters. Such is the case with Most Eligible: Dallas because such is the point of these shows. I must admit. I kind of love it.

My absolute favorite cast-member, (to hate) is 29 year-old Courtney Kerr who is secretly in love with fellow cast mate Matt Nordgren. The only one not in on the secret, of course, is Courtney. Courtney is a “fashionista” who wears a bumpit in her hair like The Jersey Shore’s Snooki, (and Sarah Palin). She’s fond of getting drunk and terrorizing the women that Matt brings to dinner. One such unfortunate guest is 23-year-old Neill Skylar, the new girl in town, who leaves her 1-year-old son at home to go out to dinner with the gang. Courtney entertains her with pointed jabs like, “Have you always been a single mother or is there a baby daddy in the picture?” Later Courtney cries in the bathroom saying she only said those things because she is so devoted to the sanctity of motherhood and family because she is “so Texan.”  Get this woman a presidential campaign, stat!

One character who might have given me hope of broadening Texas’ image is Drew Ginsberg, the only openly homosexual cast member. Drew sells sports cars for the Boardwalk Auto Group, a luxury dealership founded by his dad. He also just lost 200 pounds through various surgeries and is still learning to deal with his new body. That includes maintenance techniques like injecting himself with a female hormone that somehow helps him lose weight.

Like the show itself, Drew seems rather oblivious to anything outside of the vapid world of privileged, white Dallas. Take for example his blind date in episode two with a diminutive fellow named J.P. that he and Bravo like to call the “redheaded Mexican.”

 

 

“How long you been in Dallas for?” Drew asks as soon as he hears J.P.’s accent. (Veiled ethnic background check, party of one.)  “I have never seen a redheaded Mexican before in my life,” Drew tells the camera later in disbelief. “Holy…she set me up with an endangered species!”

At this point in history, it shouldn’t really surprise a native Texan—next-door neighbor to Mexico— that Mexicans can have red hair, or any other kind of hair under the sun, but that ignorance is unfortunately the case with many Americans. Drew’s reaction to J.P. is especially cringe-worthy, though, when he laughs out loud at the word Chihuahua. As in, J.P. is originally from there. I guess his only prior experience with the word is Taco Bell.

Of course, reality television shows achieve ratings by casting the worst humans available.  This may not be the best medium to update Texas’ image for the better. To that point, it’s probably better that the minority population is left the heck out. Let’s just hope we don’t become the first generation to elect these reality stars to any sort of real power the way we have with other entertainers. Let’s leave the “reality” of some parts of Texas on the tube.

Cindy Casares is a columnist for the Texas Observer. She is also the founding Editor of Guanabee Media, an English-language, pop culture blog network about Latinos established in 2007. She has a Master's in Mass Communications from Virginia Commonwealth University Brandcenter. Prior to her career in journalism, she spent ten years in New York City as an advertising copywriter. During her undergraduate career at the University of Texas she served under Governor Ann Richards as a Senate Messenger during the 72nd Texas Legislature.