Love Is Blind, which wraps up its 10-episode run on Netflix this week, is the trashy reality show America loves to hate-watch. Besides a lurid and ridiculous concept couples date in sight-proof pods and get engaged sight unseen the dominant feeling of watching it is similar to a horror movie where we know something the characters don't know. We see an obvious relationship pitfall coming a mile away no physical chemistry, one person is actually a robot, etc shout “DON'T GO IN THERE!” but the characters ignore us for three episodes, giving naively cheerful one-on-one interviews in which they tell the camera, wide eyed and innocent, why they think it's a really great idea to run up the stairs, actually.
In the show, which waffles between “way too real” and “incredibly fake” whenever Kardashian wannabe Gianinna is onscreen, the initial appeal came largely from Diamond and Carlton, who had a blow out fight by the pool in Mexico in which Carlton transparently projected his feelings of inadequacy onto Diamond and ridiculed her wig for it. Once they left the show, the big draw was Jessica and Mark, a 34-year-old “regional manager” and 24-year-old fitness trainer, respectively, the former of whom clearly was not attracted to the latter. Yet for some reason, they persisted.
As a friend put it recently, “the show should just be called 'Mark Is Blind.'”
It's tempting to say “poor Mark,” but I think we've all been Mark. At 24, he was the show's youngest competitor contestant? guinea pig?, and of all the pieces of wisdom one gains in one's twenties, chief among them is knowing not to chase someone who isn't into you. Run away! Run away and count your blessings.
Now, imagine if your own learning experience had been televised. It must be a little like that for Mark Cuevas, who filmed Love Is Blind in late 2018. He spent 17 days in the Love Is Blind petri dish, his access to the outside world greatly restricted no phones, no TV and now he and his fellow reality show stars' stir-crazy relationship drama is distraction fodder for sickos like me.
To complicate matters, one of the things that made Love Is Blind different from other dating shows is the cast all lived in the Atlanta area. Which would seem to make anonymity even harder. I got the chance to speak to Mark this week, about what it's like living through this bizarre experience, and just what the hell he was thinking when he signed up for it.
So how did you get cast in this show?
Well, they actually reached out to me. They found me on Instagram. It's not that I had like a big following or anything either, I had like 1,200 followers or something like that at the time. They're like, “If you're interested, fill this out, questionnaire, we'll be on a tech call,...
SPOILER ALERT: If you are among the few who haven’t actually watched Netflix’s Tiger King docuseries, this review contains a lot of details about what goes down in the sad big cat saga.
With Netflix poised in the coming days to cash in and crank the base up a notch with more Tiger King, it's time to come out and say it: I hate the Red State porn that is the crash and burn of Joe Exotic
The initial seven episodes of this septic and shallow patchwork of trademark infringement, sex, guns, labor exploitation, song, drugs, mullets, betrayal, animal activism, revenge, and a lot of big cats may be much binged over these weeks of coronavirus lockdown, but that doesn't mean it's actually worth watching.
Now, I get it, I sound like I'm just a dour critic who hates anything that isn't prestige premium cable or aspirational. C'mon man, you want to say, Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness is just so unbelievable, I can't look away.
I respectfully disagree, and in fact, propose Tiger King isn't just bad, but dangerous in a divided America persistently looking to reduce the other side to caricature.
In a presently ailing nation where TV is more voluminous and vital than ever, the truth is the March 20 launched Tiger King is a clawed white trash misery index. Gawking at some clearly fragile and damaged people like would-be reality TV star Exotic and their below the Mason-Dixon line antics, the series subsequently provides a cultural circus for those smug bicoastals under stay at home orders and screaming to rise up in moral superiority.
Essentially, the tale of big cat collector, self-styled Oklahoma zoo proprietor and 2016 Presidential candidate Exotic AKA Joseph Maldonado-Passage and his ultimately unsuccessful attempt to have rival Carole Baskin knocked off by a hitman hired for $3,000, Tiger King is in that context more a zero-sum game, literally and figuratively, than hitting the zeitgeist.
Obviously, Netflix are pretty damn good at gauging and dragging the public mood over the years, as the likes of the then phenomenon of 2015's Making A Murderer or 2018’s Wild Wild Country prove. Yet, for all the attention it has drawn, this unfocused murder for hire exploration of sorts emerges as a bastard child of Cops, a million Dateline segments from the 1990s and Fox’s short-lived Murder in Small Town X reality show from 2001.
Not exactly the prestige product that the home of Roma, The Irishman and American Factory likes to brag about at award shows. Then again, with the knowledge that the Romans sold out the Colosseum every night feeding Christians to the lions, the bottom line based House of Hastings surely loves the subscription sign up that the currently incarcerated Maldonado-Passage and the accompanying motley gaggle of...
A rumor cropped up online recently that Cats, Tom Hooper‘s huge flop featuring horny cat people introducing themselves for 110 minutes, originally had CGI buttholes on all the feline behinds. And even though Cats is already a fever-dream to begin with, we weren’t entirely sure how much credence to lend that story. Now, an intrepid journalist has done the legwork, and turned up the true story of the Cats butthole cut.
It’s official: the Cats butthole cut did, indeed, exist. The Daily Beast has the scoop, and let’s just say the true story is even wilder than we could’ve predicted. Per their report, Cats was halfway complete when someone finally noticed the buttholes. “We paused it,” a source who worked on the film’s visual effects said. “We went to call our supervisor, and we’re like, ‘There’s a fucking asshole in there! There’s buttholes!’ It wasn’t prominent but you saw it… And you [were] just like, ‘What the hell is that?… There’s a fucking butthole in there.’ It wasn’t in your face—but at the same time, too, if you’re looking, you’ll see it.”
What the hell is that, indeed. The source goes on to state that no one flat-out ordered buttholes added to the digital cat people – it just sort of happened. They materialized organically – as buttholes do sometimes. Unfortunately, when the buttholes started to be noticed, it fell upon one visual effects artist to go through and erase every sphincter.
Beyond the story of the butthole cut, The Daily Beast story paints a portrait of a terrible behind-the-scenes process for the visual effects folks working on the film. One source even goes so far as to compare it to “slavery.” And director Tom Hooper only made things worse, primarily because he didn’t seem to understand how VFX even worked:
Before visual effects artists fully render sequences for animated films, they normally show directors playblasts—preview renderings that feature characters without color or texture. That allows the director to evaluate the motion before hours of work are done to flesh out things like color, texture, and lighting. Hooper, however, did not seem to grasp that process. Any time the visual effects team wanted to show the director any animatics, the source said, they had to fully render it. Otherwise, he’d say things like, “What’s this garbage?” and “I don’t understand— where’s the fur?”
Sources describe Hooper as “disrespectful,” “demeaning,” “condescending,” and “horrible,” and add that he talked to everyone like “garbage.” In short, the experience of working with Hooper does not seem like it was the cat’s pajamas. It wasn’t even the cat’s meow.