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Flint Tattoo Artist Kyle Dunbar Loses It On ‘Ink Master’ — Why He Wasn’t Wrong

ink master
Spike TV

We knew it was in the cards (mostly because they’ve been teasing it all season), but it was still entertaining to see Flint’s Kyle Dunbar finally lose his s— after enduring weeks of verbal jabs from Judge Chris Nunez on last night’s episode of ‘Ink Master’ — find out how it all went down and why I think he was justified here.

I am a fan of the show ‘Ink Master.’ I also enjoyed having a fellow Flint-Towner to root for every week, a bonus that was extended from season 3 to season 4 thanks to America choosing to give Kyle Dunbar another shot at the coveted title of ‘Ink Master.’

Kyle’s performance this year was similar to last year, where he rarely emerged as the top dog and mostly stayed off of the chopping block. However, the difference was in how much the judges’ critiques of his work intensified this year. Chris Nunez, at one point in the season, admitted that he was trying to push Dunbar’s buttons because it inspired him to do better work. Maybe that was a scenario that was lost on the cutting room floor over the last season and a half, but I certainly never saw that play out on the show.

The critiques got more brutal as the episodes went on. Some were well-deserved, some seemed like the judges were just being dicks… but that’s true of any reality show. Especially this one. Dunbar wasn’t the only one taking a verbal beating, but he was clearly the weekly punching bag for Chris Nunez.

IF YOU THINK THERE ARE SOME BAD TATS ON INK MASTER, CHECK THESE OUT

At the end of episode 7 (which aired last Tuesday, April 8th), Nunez made a point to tell Gentle Jay, another contestant who was up for elimination but survived, to go tell Kyle that he should’ve been up for elimination as well and could’ve justifiably gone home. It seemed like a rather dick-ish move, one that I had yet to see on the show. That was enough for Kyle to give up on the competition and go after Nunez the next time the two were in a room together.

Not much came of the attempted altercation — just some chest-bumping, a few insults, and a shove or two. Producers and crew members kept the two from coming to blows and that was it — Kyle was eliminated from ‘Ink Master’ for the second and final time.

As childish as it is to start a fight over something every contestant was subjected to, I don’t think Kyle was out of line. Nunez was going out of his way to berate and embarrass him. It’s a symptom almost every reality show judge exhibits… and probably one of the reasons ‘The Voice’ does so well. There may be other reality shows similar, but from what I’ve seen of ‘The Voice’ the judges are all really nice (a lot of times way too nice, not everyone is a star) and offer helpful criticism.

Every other reality show’s judges mostly specialize in one approach — fileting the contestant’s for the amusement of the audience. It’s about time that somebody stood up to one of these bullying reality judges that graduated from the Simon Cowell/Gordon Ramsey University for Dicks and let them realize that big boy words equal big boy actions. In other words, talk too much s— and you may catch a well-deserved ass whoopin’. It’s true in the real world and should be true on television as well.

Was Kyle’s self-inflicted exit from ‘Ink Master’ classy? Not at all. Did he blow things out of proportion? Yes. But when you push a man to his breaking point, which Nunez was clearly doing to exploit Dunbar’s temper for ratings, sometimes he breaks. Will Nunez realize that the next time he crosses the line, he may be on the receiving end of fists from someone with less to lose than Kyle? Maybe… and that’s enough for me.

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