I Can Stop Any Time I Want, or, Jaiwatch Part III

Hatred motivates obsession: I first learned this at Schuler Books in Grand Rapids, MI. The guys who worked in the stockroom were as liberal as they come, but they listened to Rush Limbaugh religiously. They hated everything he said, but they couldn’t get enough of him. Every day they tuned in to his show in order to feed, inform, and clarify their hatred.

Now, I don’t hate Jai, who I have written about once or twice before. But it’s a similar dynamic that keeps me coming back to “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy”:http://www.bravotv.com/Queer_Eye_for_the_Straight_Guy/. This week’s episode, where the Fab Five try to reconstruct a certifiably psychotic tightwad named Alan, only confirms my conviction that Jai must be ejected from the show at the earliest opportunity, or Western civilization will collapse.

In the first segment, we see Jai following the other guys around, nosing in on their business. His words of wisdom regarding Alan’s entertainment center: “This is fancy here, what you’ve got going on here.” Later on he makes fun of one of Alan’s books: “‘Idiot’s Guide to Beer’?! Who’s that much of an idiot that they need a _guide_ to beer?” Of course, said book is a guide to _brewing_ beer, which is exactly the kind of thing you might expect the “Culture” expert to know something about.

Jai sings. That’s grounds for eviction right there. It’s part of a highly pathetic jam session. Here are the clever lyrics he improvises: “Five gay men and one straight man in the house. / That’s all it takes.” Keep in mind that this is what the show’s editors present to us _after_ sifting through who knows what else. This is what they thought represented Jai _best_.

The bone the producers throw Jai this time around is to take Alan to shop for a gift for his girlfriend. Of Satya, the store he chooses, he has this to say: “This is the best place to come because everything is unusual and _so_ unique.”

His advice to Alan before the party: “Offer your guests drinks when they arrive.” “Make them feel comfortable.” Stunning.

The kicker is that we can’t really blame Jai for the absolute disaster Alan makes of the evening in the final segment. No amount of work or advice could have prevented him from mucking things up. Still, we have here yet another episode in which Jai does absolutely nothing to reform the weekly guinea pig. He can’t act, by which I mean that he always seems like he’s acting despite the fact that no one is actually supposed to be performing a role. This is ironic because, according to the website, Jai is the only one of the Five who is a professional actor.

The show is crumbling. This week’s episode was once again rife with conspicuous product placements and endorsements. It’s becoming clear that Carson is not merely annoying, but has no actual fashion sense. Thom remains brilliant, and Ted wins big points for singing the praises of the martini, but the two of them alone cannot sustain the show. It’s going to crumble, and I’m not going to be able to avert my eyes while it does. It’s the First Law of Reality Television: “Everybody likes watching a train wreck.”