As far as guilty pleasures go, VH1’s ‘Tool Academy‘ (Sundays, 9 pm) ranks high on the list. The concept of bringing a crop of losers and their long suffering significant others together to endure relationship rehabilitation has provided for countless hours of entertainment.
Now in it’s third season, the show has taken to featuring not just male tools, but women too – an addition that host Jordan Murphy claims comes directly from listening to fans pleas.
Though the show’s tone is light, it has a serious impact on the participants. Below, Murphy reveals details on the Academy and offers advice on the care and feeding of Tools.
Why do you think people date tools?
Whenever I am interviewed by a female, I usually turn that back to the female because it seems to me that women tend to date douchebags or tools and I don’t know why. I can speculate. I think it’s that they’re working something out. If you look at the girls are just as emotionally twisted up as they guys are. They are seeking some sort of emotional beating. They are hoping to fix the guy, make him better because she’s so great. These girls, you watch them go through it with those guys and then they go home with them. It’s baffling. That’s the other cool thing about this season. It’s very unpredictable.
What makes somebody a Tool?
I think that most tools just bottom line take themselves too seriously. They’re usually over everythinged: over gymmed, over-tattooed, overdressed, over pierced. I think the bigger quality of a Tool is the lack of awareness. I don’t think they even have a clue what a jack-ass they are. They wear Ed Hardy. Their pants are too torn. Their hair is spiked too high. Their collars are popped. Their hats are crooked. Even the girl on this season dresses like a tool. Tools have no idea that they are being too loud or too drunk.
How many Tools’ relationships have actually been saved?
In season two, T-Shaw and Nicole ended up getting married. He had a distinct transformation from when he walked in to the show to when he left. This season there’s a really, really clear transformation between the person who wins when they come in and when they leave. If nothing else, you hope that the Tool improves. But will the relationship survive? I don’t know because there’s a possibility that person was surviving in the relationship as that person and now that they’d had this Come-To-Jesus moment about their toolish ways maybe that relationship doesn’t work anymore.
How did Ed Hardy become the official outfitter of Tooldom?
I don’t know. I think it just goes hand in hand with being too much. It’s not just wearing an Ed Hardy shirt with a pair of pants. It’s the gluttony of overdoing this fashion choice.
What advice do you have for somebody who is dating a Tool?
If you really feel that you see through them, that there’s an act there, the first question would be have you confronted them? Because often the girls say, “When he’s with me, he’s not like that. But when we go out, he’s like this and that.” If you’ve confronted him and he still continues, then take a walk. Don’t choose to abuse yourself. If you don’t, you have nobody to blame but yourself.
Do you think the Tool Academy could have saved Jon and Kate Gosselin’s marriage?
I think we’d have a fighting chance. What’s really cool about what Tool Academy is the challenge of making it through eight weeks of what is essentially a boot camp. It’s highly aggressive. I’m not going to compare it to Dr. Drew [Pinksy], but there is a very intense aspect to what these people are put through. But, at the same time, if someone does not want to be together, sometimes the best solution is for them not to be together. So, saving their relationship or saving them both as individuals?
Who do you think are the biggest tools on television?
The high profile individuals that come to mind are Rod Blagojevich, Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, Joey Butafucco, Spencer Pratt, Heidi Montag — they are a Dynamic Tool couple. They’re the couple that keeps on giving. That’s the thing about some of these guys on our show like Shawn from season one and Charm, the stuff that they’ done after the show. I think Tara Reid and Lindsay Lohan, they’re just a mess but they fall into the category of people for me who are over the top and out of control. I’m probably going to get in trouble for this one, but I think that George W. Bush is a tool.
What are the key steps to recovering from Tooldom? If Bush applied himself, could he stop being a tool?
From my own personal experience of being young and immature, as a male I made a conscious choice to stop being a lying sack of sh–. Now, George Bush is an older dog, but once you make that choice you have to make some sacrifices. The biggest problem is you’ve got to take responsibility for it. I don’t think George W. Bush has ever taken responsibility. One of the toolish qualities is that people deny that they have anything to do with themselves. It’s their world and we’re just in it.