By Special Correspondent Arturo R. García
So, what to do about Khalood Bojanowski? If you’re NBC, apparently, you hope to ride her “coattails” all the way to the ratings.
Previously, on “Momma’s Boys”: “Mrs. B,” who emigrated to the U.S. from Iraq as a child, became the center of attention of the network’s latest
trainwreck reality show after declaring that she didn’t want her good Catholic son, Jojo, dating any of the following:
* Black women
* Jewish women
* Muslim women
* Asian women
* “Fat” women
* “Short” women
* Women from “divorced families”
Is Khalood crazy? Probably not. Was she an all-too-willing promotional hook for executive producer Ryan Seacrest and his staff? Quite possibly. Early on, the series seemed to focus almost exclusively on her animosity toward Vita, a 25-year-old critical care nurse. When Vita confronts her on the issue, Mrs. B. says that, though she loves her black godson and knows “half of the Detroit Lions,” — yet another reason to laugh at that franchise — that white and black cultures “don’t mix.” She also tells Vita, “My skin is darker than yours, b-tch,” which sets Vita off. Mind you, Vita later apologized; I appreciate the sentiment “respect your elders” as much as the next guy, but is a date with a 21-year-old college hockey player worth swallowing that much pride?
Later, after we get to hear more rantings against her from Mrs. B, Vita is eliminated, ostensibly because Jojo has shifted his focus toward another girl. Before Vita leaves, however, she and Mrs. B have a tearful reconciliation of sorts, where Mrs. B tells Vita she hopes her dreams come true or something vaguely “respectful.” And after her departure, Vita is again left in tears. I sincerely have no idea why.
In another episode, Khalood said she felt her culture was disrespected when only one of the remaining suitresses chose to cook an Iraqi meal as part of a challenge. We got to see her teary-eyed about it with her son, but not anybody asking her how the hell she could expect any respect after trashing a United Nations worth of races and cultures earlier in the contest, so any insight as to her real reasoning might have been left on the cutting-room floor. Though somber voice-overs and previews keep referring to Mrs. B’s views as “disturbing,” the creative team and the network have not stopped featuring her being obnoxious, to the point where the other two mother/son couplings were almost afterthoughts before the last couple of episodes.
Of the initial 32 participants, eight of them were black. Of those eight, only Camilla is still in the running, so Khalood hasn’t “won” yet, and the creative team can give us another round of ads like the one where Khalood, spying on Jojo from a friggin’ helicopter, losing her temper at the sight of her beloved son kissing another black contestant, Misty.
Entertainment Weekly was among the many outlets quick to roast the show upon its’ debut, calling it “The Best Show That Should Never Have Been Made.” And the public hasn’t taken the racist bait, according to Zap2it.com; “Momma’s Boys” has consistently lagged behind reruns of other shows since premiering late last year. And some sort of retribution may be coming to Mrs. B: before the show even began airing, she complained to police that she was being targeted.
But no matter what happens to Khalood and her decent if dim-witted brood, I’m left with more questions: Can Seacrest and his staff “justify” not only giving this woman a platform for her racism, but making her the focal point of the show’s storylines and promotion even as the ratings tanked? Was this, as The Cruel Secretary suggested to me, an attempt to “expose” racism? Why these three particular schmucks? Why did the sole Latina contestant not even get a chance to speak? And for the love of all deities, why are all these women – of color and otherwise – subjecting themselves to being “judged” by this collection of creepy-ass mothers and douche-tastic dudes? Tell me, dear readers, for I am a well and truly stumped geek.
That said, if you need me this week, I’ll be preparing for the announcement that Vita and Megan (she’s just too adorably geeky!) are taking part in the inevitable sequel, “Momma’s Girls.”
(Thanks to reader Tamara for the tip!)