“Next” is the greatest show on television. It shouldn’t be, but it is. The premise is poor. The people on the show are idiots. The cut-away one-liners are blatantly fed from the writers. I really should hate it, but there’s just something about it that keeps me yearning for more.
In my opinion, the dates, if you could call them that, are an afterthought. They’re all pretty much the same: one person feigning interest in the other and forcing conversation to either accumulate money or land someone out of their league. That’s what real dating is, and I don’t want to watch that. The one bright spot of the date comes when someone gets “nexted”. Even then, it almost always turns out the same. In order to validate themselves in their own mind, the “nextee” insults the guy or girl that just sent them back to the shame shuttle. Maybe it’s just me, but I find it hilarious when a chick with a spare tire tells a chiseled blonde surfer, “you couldn’t handle this anyway.” You know what, honey? You’re right. He couldn’t handle you. He’s a surfer, not a forklift operator.
There was, however, one notable exception to the typical “next” reaction. This guy had been on the date for about ten minutes, when the girl asks him if he’s a smoker. He says yes. She promptly nexts him. Par for the course, right? Well, he goes back to the bus and when the other dudes ask him what happened, he just…..breaks down. Head slumped, voice wavering, he utters the following words, “She didn’t even give me a chance to explain. I’m sure there’s something about her where I would have been willing to compromise.” It seems, after all of ten minutes, homeboy was in love. His fellow contestants, who would normally serve to pour salt on the emotional wound, actually start consoling him and offering moral support. The moment was so touching, it even had me in tears. The difference being that I was slapping my coffee table, laughing hysterically.
This is just one example, but the Next Bus is consistently the center of all the action. Stuffing five complete strangers into close quarters and a competitive atmosphere, more often than not, leads to hilarious results. The aspect that most sets the bus apart from the date is that the groups on the bus can take on any of several different dynamics.
Most frequently, the bus becomes the venue for an ego-driven insult fest, with slurs and putdowns a-flying. Occasionally, the bus dwellers will revert to – or, in some cases, maintain – a 3rd grade a social aptitude and will resort to singling out and ganging up on the different kid. Serves him right for wearing jean shorts! Honestly, didn’t he get the memo? What a loser.
On rare occasions, everybody on the bus becomes fast friends. If they’re lucky enough to have an extreme extrovert in the group, shit can get out of control. On an episode I saw a few days ago, this one particularly boisterous chick let loose on a monster fart. This set off a domino effect of girl-gas, and before you knew it, CHICKS WERE TRYING TO LIGHT THEIR OWN FARTS. Taboo had been thrown aside in the interest of my own personal entertainment, and it was absolutely amazing.
The gay episodes bring their own set of quirks to the table. Unsurprisingly, the sexual tension runs rampant. Sometimes the innuendo builds to the breaking point and the Next Bus starts to look more like the BangBus, except nobody’s forced to sing the National Anthem with a dick in their mouth. Then again, I haven’t seen the outtakes. But, I have seen guys take the money over the second date, so they could go back and get freaky with one of the guys on the bus. In addition to the open sexual nature of gay “Next”, the show gets some flair from the broad range of personalities in the homosexual spectrum: everything from the masculine jock type all the way down to the guys who are so gay that, after coming out of the closet, they went back in to re-decorate. It doesn’t get much better than a 6’6” black guy playing basketball against a queen in a blue cocktail dress and a purple boa.
Fart-lighting and felching aside, I do have an all-time favorite Next moment. In this episode, the guy had gone through all but one of his prospective dates, and taken a decent amount of time with all of them. When the last girl steps off the bus, she hints to the fact that her bladder is on the verge of rupturing. The guy takes her to a restaurant for dinner and during the meal, she candidly tells him, “I’m really relieved to be on this date.”
“Oh yeah?” he says.
“No, I’m REALLY relieved.” The camera then pans down to a puddle on the floor being fed by the steady stream of piss running down the girl’s leg. This sparked a brief pandemonium outbreak right in my living room. My roommate Tim entered such an extreme fit of laughter that he was barely making any noise. Instead, he was just rolling around on the ground, face beet red, gasping for breath.
For all these reasons, and many others on which I’m too lazy to elaborate here, “Next” has joined the very select rotation of shows that I will always watch when on. Pull over, Madden Bus. The Next Bus is rolling into town.