In retrospect, I realize that a viewer didn't have to pick sides between Julie and Coral. For Coral, Julie was an irritant. Like I have said, Coral loved to blast irritants. Also, she was best friends with Melissa at that time. Even though Melissa had won her "battle" with Julie, Coral felt the need to antagonize her further. Around this time, I was liking Coral's approach more and more, because she did not suffer fools gladly. I realize that her bark was probably worse than her bite, but her "victims" usually had it coming. At this point, the intensity between the two ws about to come to a head.
Oh, and while the Real World team was dealing with that, Road Rules was getting sicker and sicker of Katie. That would boil over in the next episode, leading to one of the craziest endgames ever played. But not today. Oh, and I "congratulate" Trishelle on the William Hung video and Sean & Rachel Duffy on the birth of their third child. Today, he's a congressman from Wisconsin with eight kids. EIGHT. I think they're eligible for their own series on TLC.
Airdate: April 5, 2004 (the one hundredth episode, according to Wikipedia!)
Recap Published: April 12, 2004 (either I wanted to take my time with this one, or I was lazy. Probably both)
The players twist and shoot for money, and Katie underachieves yet again. But what happens when Julie calls Coral out?
Before I start, I'd just like to congratulate Trishelle for starring in William Hung's video for "She Bangs." Way to find a new level of rock bottom! Also, congratulations to ex-Real World cast members Sean Duffy and Rachel Campos on the birth of their daughter, Lucia. Seeing how this is their third child in the span of five years, I implore Sean: let her breathe, man! Sheesh!
Previously on The Inferno: Katie's substandard water-bearing efforts in Balls Out not only lost Road Rules the mission, but made Real World declare her their mascot. Needless to say, Veronica was pissed off. Mike: "That girl is making us money. That girl is gonna make us bank." Voiceover Lady: "Despite Katie's struggles, Road Rules scores yet another win." Yeah, if the producers had actually enforced the "five minutes or disqualified" rule in Bungee Bound, then RR would have lost. Instead, Katie's underachieving actually won the mission, upping their bank to $70,000. Finally, we get footage of Coral and Julie sniping at each other during Ultimate Saturn Road Trip. Buckle up, babies . . . we're going on one helluva ride.
Nighttime at the Villa. Julie and Katie chat about being outcasts. Katie admits that she would perform better if her team was nicer to her. Otherwise, she can't be bothered. "When they're rude to me, I have no intention of busting my ass," she interviews. "I figure they're going to vote me anyway, so what the [bleep] do I care?" Yes, that's the attitude that got her through a whopping four missions last season. Julie figures that Veronica is rallying the team against Katie in the same way that Coral is doing to her. Cry me a river. "I have one more battle with that girl," Julie interviews of Coral. "If she crosses me one more time, then I'll scream." She tells Katie that Coral has been mean to her from the beginning. She interviews about feeling trapped and reaching her breaking point.
Night turns to day, and we go to the mission site where we see the players' faces with bulls-eyes on them. Dave welcomes everybody to Twist and Shoot. As Syrus does a cute twist dance, Dave explains that the mission will test their balance and hand-eye coordination. The objective: shoot paintballs at the targets. Abram interviews the same thing, but he's laughing about it. Guns and Abram should never mix. Dave brings in the twist: the players will shoot from a spinning 20-foot platform. CT explains that they have 30 shots, and they can't shoot if they fall off the platform. Dave mentions a critical rule: if anybody shoots before he blows his air horn, that's a 50-point penalty. Timmy adds that the players get 10 points per target hit, and any premature shots are deducted. The team with the highest average score gets $10,000, and anybody who hits the big chili pepper gets $1,000 from the sponsor.
Dave brings up Leah's anxiety attack from the last episode. Her doctor has recommended she sit this mission out, but RW won't be penalized. "We do not know how to win," Mike laments in an interview, as David climbs up to the platform. "Everyone needs to step it up, big time, because we can't lose another mission. They are killing us."
Air horn. David spins around and around, hitting pictures of Holly, Darrell, and Katie. He slips off, dangling on the bungee cord above the platform. His score: 60 points, plus $1,000. Darrell interviews that he's been shooting guns since he was a kid. Okay, then. He interviews, "I know I'm gonna get a couple rounds off somebody’s ass." He scores 90 and $1,000. Mike gets 50 and $1,000, and he's happy that he hit the chili. Christena gets 30 and $1,000. "It's so funny," she interviews, "to get Coral in the mouth and shut her up for good." Christena bugs, doesn't she? She's a stealth annoyance . . . you don't notice how big a jerk she is for a long time. CT is spun off quickly, getting 10 points and $1,000. Abram calmly fires, nailing 10 and $1,000.
Average scores: RW 40, RR 77. Coral comments that she is sick and tired of losing. Julie fires, as her teammates yell for her to aim lower. She runs out of ammo, scoring 20 and $1,000. On the ground, Coral shakes her head. Kendal gets spun off, only getting 10 and $1,000. Holly lifts off the platform, scoring no points and $1,000. She interviews, "It was a poor performance, to say the least."
The editors pipe in "Stand Up" by Ludacris. First of all, is it normal of me to immediately associate that song with the time Veronica saved herself from a Gauntlet trip? Secondly, how long before BMP makes the players hang midgets from their necklaces? I'm sorry, but that is such a catchy song. Anyway, Coral starts shooting, and she shoots the "peppa," as pronounced by CT. She runs out of bullets, getting 40 points and $1,000. She gets spun around some more, and she yells for the turntable to be stopped. On the ground, Dave has himself a nice chuckle. Veronica shoots, forcing Darrell and Coral to duck. She gets spun off, receiving 10 points and no money.
Katie's turn. Timmy yells for her to aim lower, but she can't pull it off. "That's my girl!" Mike yells from the sideline. Katie hangs on the cord with a smile, getting no points and no money. That has to annoy her teammates. Christena snipes that Katie wasn't even spinning. Timmy: "On a scale of one to ten, Katie just did [raspberry, thumb down]." Looks like Uncle Timmy is losing his patience.
Syrus climbs up to the platform. He voiceovers that he has to get a good position. As Dave gets ready to blow his air horn, Syrus shoots, nailing Holly's picture. Dave reminds Syrus that he just got a 50-point penalty. Syrus cannot believe it, and he threatens to shoot Dave. He spins around and fires, getting 30 points (eighty minus the penalty) and $1,000.
As Timmy climbs up to the platform, Dave explains that he needs to shoot four targets to win and three to tie. "Put it this way," Timmy quips to the others, "this is the only time you're going to see me nail Trishelle!" Nice! After everybody has a good laugh, Timmy gets spun off. Veronica counts the targets hit, and Christena figures that the final result is close.
Dave announces the scores. RR got 280 points, which averages out to 35 each. RW got 210, which also averages out to 35 each. Dave asks the best shooters from each team to face off in a sudden death match. This time, the players must hit only the pepper.
Syrus takes his turn, occasionally firing sideways. He gets spun off, scoring 50 points. On the ground, Darrell reminds Abram to keep his finger off the trigger. As the countdown ends, Abram squeezes off a premature shot. Sensing their losing streak is about to end, RW laughs and cheers. Abram interviews that he has to hit the pepper five times just to get to zero, then hit it five more times in order to tie. "I feel like we won," Syrus interviews, invoking the gods of foreshadowing. "It's a done deal."
After commercials, Abram waits for the air horn before shooting. He fires, spins, waits and fires again. As he falls off, his team cheers. His score: 50 points. I don't necessarily root for the guy, but that was impressive. On the ground, Coral rolls her eyes.
Dave reviews what just happened, then announces double overtime. This time, each team sends a female shooter to compete. Christena volunteers for RR. Coral asks Julie if she wants to go. Julie decides to let Coral go at it. CT interviews that he feels confident that Coral will win.
Coral takes her shots, getting 40 points before falling. Christena says that she needs five shots to win, adding that she'll try to get more than she needs. Naturally, she succeeds, getting 80 points for the win. RR whoops it up, RW looks glum, and Christena screeches that she smells $10,000. Once again: shut up, Christena. David interviews that RR has now won five missions in a row. "It's one thing to lose," he adds, "but to lose in a double overtime? That's a tough pill to swallow."
Denouement. Dave awards the cardboard check to RR, upping their bank account to $80,000. Christena accepts it, and somebody waves her picture in the background. Dave also awards $1,000 individual checks to everybody except Leah, Timmy, Veronica, and Katie. He concludes by sending both teams off to nominate two women into the Inferno. Mike: "It's not bad enough that we just lost a mission. Now we gotta vote two people as well. I mean, this sucks."
Time lapses from day to night. RR meeting. Veronica immediately volunteers herself. She interviews that she has to go eventually, so she might as well get it over with. Holly tells her that no RW girl can beat her. Holly then asks Katie if she's okay with going each time. Katie doesn't want to get nominated for the next time. Veronica: "But do you not think that you're the weakest girl?" It's the superior tone that ticks me off. Katie just stares back. "Yes, Katie is the weakest girl on our team," Holly interviews. "Do we hope that they pick Katie over Veronica? Yeah, we do." Looks like Aunt Holly wants Katie gone as well.
RW meeting. Leah volunteers, interviewing that she wasn't able to compete because of the anxiety attack. "I need to step up and go," she adds. "It's my turn." Leah and CT figure that she'll go with Julie. I can approximate Julie's expression as this: "Whuh?" Coral points out that Julie is the only person who hasn't been nominated yet. Julie is wearing a t-shirt that says "Devon Sawa For Pres." I feel sorry for Devon Sawa. She says that she's looking at the big picture. "If I go this week," she goes on, "there's a chance I'll go next week as well." Coral just stares at her. "Look around, bitch!" she interviews. "There's only three of us!" Coral is like Dave Chappelle, in the sense that they can say "bitch" all the time, and it never gets old. She asks Julie if it's fair to nominate herself. Julie: "I feel Coral's strong point is her manipulation. She manipulates situations to her advantage all the time." David points out that she hasn't been nominated. Syrus wants her in the Inferno now. CT thinks she needs to prove herself. Coral is quite the evil mastermind, to woo all those people. CT interviews that Coral has outperformed Julie. That's news to me. "Julie really needs to step up," he adds, "and show us what she's worth." Julie smiles and agrees to go.
Dave announces the nominees: Julie and Leah from RW, Veronica and Katie from RR. Blah blah blah, pick one player from the other team.
RR meeting. Katie feels that Julie would be the stronger competitor than Leah. Veronica feels more confident going up against Leah. The team debates, before Dave drops by to ask them to pick a plate. Veronica gives Katie the call, and she picks Julie. All right, Katie!
RW meeting. Julie wants to be honest, thinking that after the first mission, she doesn't know if she can take Veronica out. She adds that Katie has been stepping up a little in the missions. What kind of measurements is Julie taking? David turns his head in disbelief. CT interviews that the team made an agreement to keep Katie in the game, since she hurts her team so much. Seeing how RR has won eight of eleven missions, I'd say they're getting by. Mike looks totally disgusted. "You can't beat [bleeping] Veronica?" he sputters to Julie. "Give me a break!" David bows his head. Julie interviews that RW is telling her Katie staying is more important to them. She tells the team that she would lose to Veronica. Just typing that makes me all giddy inside. Dave pops in, as Julie gets more agitated. Coral hisses for her to pick a plate. Julie gripes about not feeling like part of the team. Coral repeats her demand. Julie: "Coral's doing anything she can do to push my buttons, and try and get me to break." She chooses Veronica.
Now Julie is sniping about being bullied, still believing that Veronica would beat her. Julie tells Coral to shut her mouth. Now Coral is angry. They commence to curse each other out, each bleep a three-point piece of heaven for anybody playing the Fantasy Challenge. Coral tells Julie to back off. David's caught in the middle, chuckling his head off. Coral walks away, still yelling. A few of the RR girls look on, and Julie flashes a smile.
Back from commercials, Julie is still whining about Coral. "When I hear her voice," she snarls, "it makes me want to go home." I'm surprised the team didn't pull out money to pay for her trip. She declares that she'll do her best, and she wants the team to be together. "Yeah, I was kind of forceful," Julie interviews, "but after all the crap she said to me, all the crap I swallowed for two weeks, for me to say one thing and have her freak out like that is like, 'What is wrong with you?'" Yeah . . . aim high, Julie.
The plates get put up. Katie interviews that Veronica is Inferno-bound unless she gets the Aztec Lifesaver. Suddenly, wrestling matches spark up on the lawn, as Abram grapples with CT, and Darrell goes up against David. Coral declares that RW will be normal once Veronica defeats Julie. More wrestling. Now Coral is on bended knee, begging Veronica to take Julie out. Okay, now that's going a little too far. Veronica interviews about a backup plan where Katie would go in her place.
Mike holds back Coral, explaining how her begging Veronica would give RR an edge. "Coral is thinking irrationally right now," he interviews. "It's just a tough situation to be in. Hopefully, it'll be okay. I doubt it." Coral: "Tell her that she gets that for free. The next one, she going to have to pay out for.” Mike asks if she'll take a check or Visa card. She replies, "I don't take credit cards."
In the bedroom, Julie tells David that she finally gave Coral a reason to hate her. David brings up the guys grappling outside. Julie thinks that the men are sensible, and that she would want to wrestle Coral. Grinning in excitement over impending drama, David asks if he can promote it. Julie agrees, as she wants to wrestle and get things over with, followed by team unity, and the defeat of Veronica.
Somehow, CT gets to be the lucky guy to issue the challenge to Coral. Her reaction is the quote you've all been waiting for. "I don't wrestle," she snipes. "I [bleepin'] beat bitches up!" Instant classic. She interviews, "There's nothing more that I'd like than to [bleepin'] knock her teeth completely out of her [bleepin'] mouth." The payout Julie could get from the Tooth Fairy would probably exceed what she'd get on this show. Julie is in the hallway, wondering if she has to call Coral out. Yeah, keep hitting the hungry tiger with a two-by-four. See where that gets you. Coral repeats to Julie about getting the first one for free. CT pushes Julie back, while Coral declares that Julie is out of her mind. Julie makes a run, but CT intercepts her and hustles her off. More arguing. Julie wants to fight like a man and wrestle. Cut to Syrus looking on with Darrell, Abram, and Veronica. "I can hear Coral screaming at the top of her lungs," Abram interviews. "Everybody is shouting, yelling, and screaming at each other. What a bunch of [bleepin'] schmucks!" As Troy proved to us on The Apprentice, few things are as funny as a Midwesterner using Yiddish expressions.
"I have to kick her ass," Coral tells Mike. "I will have that bitch in a headlock. She'll be choking, and I'll be going home." Mike tries to calm her down, telling her to stay while he deals with Julie. Coral: "Julie challenged me to a duel. I wear a 32 DD bra. One boob alone could kick her ass." I can imagine a few viewers wondering why Mike would fight Julie. Speaking of our favorite part-time wrestler, he asks Julie why she's acting that way. And then Christena sticks her nose in there, asking Mike why he would discourage her from wrestling. Honestly, I'm missing Tina right now. Why is Christena even here? Mike replies that there won’t be wrestling. Back in the bedroom, Coral backs up Mike. "She'll go home in a gurney," she shouts, "and I'll go home in handcuffs." Julie tells Mike that the problems won't go away unless she wrestles Coral. CT and Mike inform her that Coral would throw a punch. Julie: "Well, then she'll go home." Oh my goodness. That is a page from the playbook of David Edwards: take somebody whom you don't like (Puck), and agitate that person to the breaking point (spitting water). Is Julie a punk for even thinking that? You better believe she is, and Mike and CT agree that's a load of bull. "What the hell is going on?" Mike interviews. "The team is falling apart."
Cut to Coral, who's still contemplating knocking Julie out. Cut to Julie, who thinks the Coral doesn't want to go home, so she's not fighting dirty. "Julie, have you ever been in a fight?" CT asks. "Don't start now!" The funny thing is that Julie has been in two on-camera fights, and she got stomped on both occasions. Good times. "I knew that Coral wouldn't wrestle me," Julie interviews. "I don't know if I ever thought it would go down, but if it ever did go down, I'd be game for it. Whether it was good timing or not, I don't really care, because it was said and I'm glad." Fade to black.
So... how do I score Round 2? Coral is somewhat passive-aggressive. Maybe she does manipulate. And it's funny that she "beats bitches up" when she once chided Trishelle over the same thing. But this time, I have absolutely no qualms about giving her the victory. Julie stinks, no question of that. I said at the very beginning that the longer she stuck around, the worse things would get. I don't agree with the RW pact to keep Katie in the game. Given that they picked Shane over Abram last time, RW needs another easy win. But they made a pact, and Julie tried to duck Veronica. Why? Because Julie doesn't want Veronica to pay her back for nearly killing her in the first mission. Julie is an annoyance and a coward, and if I get my way, she'll be off the show next week. At least she can get that dream job at Hot Topic with fellow faux punk rock girl Frankie. They would totally adore each other. Once again: if you agree or not, e-mail me.
Next week: Rappelling off a huge building. I get wicked bad Sarah flashbacks. Coral tells Mike that RR is throwing the mission so Veronica can win the Aztec Lifesaver, Katie is shocked. Veronica smirks. Abram tells Katie he wasn't in on the plan. Katie: "You think [bleep] Coral's a bitch, wait til you [bleep] with me!" Whoa, mamma. Oh, and we got more Coral/Julie drama. Remember: one of those four women will be going home soon, so we'll try and treasure their final moments on the show.
I'm not sorry for what I said. It's not a "double down" thing; I just never grew to like Julie again. Okay, she wasn't the worst thing about Gauntlet 2, but that season had Beth. BETH. She achieved a level of suck that would take others years to reach. Also: I didn't emphasize CT trying to talk Julie down with his thick Boston accent. If you ever see this episode. It came out: "Julie, have you ever been in a fight? Don't staht now!"
Next episode: All hell breaks loose. I'll end with a "motivational poster" I made in 2007, inspired by this episode.