Saturday, April 30, 2005

Inferno 2 Episode 8: Sting of the Verantula

Previously on Inferno II: The Bad Asses won Fill In The Gaps, increasing their bank to $50,000. The team selected Jodi to go into the Inferno. According to Voiceover Guy, the Good Guys picked Tonya, but Jodi switched the pick to Veronica. Last week, it was Julie’s plan to swap. Could the editors make up their minds? The Bad Asses lived up to their name, picking on Jodi and making her cry. Can Jodi bring forth a whumpin’ and send Veronica home? I had such high hopes, man.

Nighttime, possibly picking up from last week. Rachel snorts that the game has just begun. “We are so much stronger than them,” she snipes about the Good Guys, “they’re retarded.” Derrick interviews that Jodi’s swap as “shady as hell,” adding, “I don’t feel right being around such crookedness.” He tells Rachel that the Good Guys played dirty. “So much for the nice team!” Veronica bleats out. “You’ll be on the naughty one next time!” She should know, since she’ll probably be there with them. She interviews that her only concern is beating Jodi in the Inferno, and that the Good Guys have another things coming for pulling this on her. She openly wonders if she should be throwing clothes in the pool. Dan laughs, cheerfully volunteering to get Jodi’s stuff. Shut up, Dan.

Elsewhere, the Good Guys are having a beach bonfire, probably because the Bad Asses ran them off with torches and pitchforks. Jodi tells Brad that the Bad Asses are not happen with the way things turned out, but she doesn’t care as long as her team is behind her. She interviews that what she did wasn’t shady, and her only hope is to win the Aztec Lifeshield or the Inferno itself. Brad tells her that he’s confident she can beat any girl. He then drops a foreshadowing nugget: “The only person that can beat you is yourself.” He interviews that Jodi is a great player, but adds that if she has too much pressure, she seems to buckle. The only thing missing is vultures circling over Jodi’s head.

Text message time! Tonya reads the clue: leave by 11 a.m., wear team colors, sneakers and get ready to “live it up.” Brad interviews that the Good Guys are down by three missions, and they’re dying to get a win.

A flaming segue takes us to a new day. The players arrive at the mission site, checking out ropes suspended by a crane. Dave welcomes everybody to today’s mission: Zip Up. Sadly, this will not be about shutting certain cast members up. Instead, the goal is to travel as far up the lines as possible. The players are suspended from a zip up, and they have to pull themselves up the line, with meter markers indicating how far they’ve gone. When Dave blows his airhorn, the players have two minutes to get as far as possible. Shavonda expositions that they have to go on a steady incline, which gets progressively harder. The team with the longest collected distance wins $10,000 for their bank. Also, the best performers on each team not only receive the Aztec Lifeshield, but they also win a plasma television. It’s from the same company that gave away laptops two weeks ago. Once again, I foresee many calls to Tech Support. The players freak out over the awesomeness of it all, while Dave laughs that nobody will throw the mission for the Lifeshield. CT interviews that Veronica was hoping for that, but it would happen due to the plasma TV.

Heat One: Abram vs. Mike. Mike tells us that he doesn’t want the Lifeshield, but he would like the money and the TV. The players bump fists, then Abram roars, “OHHHHH YEAH, BITCH!” Whatever. Mike doesn’t feel right on the rope, interviewing that Abram is in the “Superman position.”After Dave blows his airhorn, Abram goes across the rope using his arms and legs. On the other hand, Mike is stuck using just his arms. And he’s done stuff like this for how long, exactly? Abram bellows while climbing. Mike struggles, coming to a stop, then actually sliding back on the rope, as we go into commercial.

Coming back, Mike lets go of the rope. Abram grunts some more, as his teammates cheer on the ground. Results: Abram traveled 20.2 meters, while Mike dropped off with 17.3. Abram interviews that he feels winded, but it feels good to have outlasted Mike. Speaking of “The Miz,” he interviews that he had no strategy, he didn’t know what he was doing, and he hopes that his team can make up for his mistake.

Heat Two: Dan vs. Jamie. Dan interviews that he’s not thinking of the Lifeshield. “I’m just thinking about my life,” he goes on, “how valuable it is, how important it is how I don’t fall off this thing, because if I dide, a plasma TV won’t come in handy.” The players go up the rope, with Dan taking the lead. Abram: “DAN, YOU MOVE YOUR ASS RIGHT NOW! YOU MOVE!” Wouldn’t Abram make a great soccer dad? Jamie gains some ground at the end. Results: Dan 16.4, Jamie 16.2. Jamie interviews that she made up some time in the last 30 seconds, and she’s proud of herself.

Heat Three: Tina vs. Shavonda. Shavonda interviews wants the plasma TV so bad. On a technical note, she adds that the mission is about pulling body weight, and it could come down to the women. Tina takes the lead, while Shavonda screams as she climbs. Results: Tina 18.0, Shavonda 13.9. CT: “I thought the Good Guy team was going to be a lot tougher than they really are. I think mentally, we’re starting to beat on them. I think physically, we’re starting to beat on them.” While the Good Guys figure out the results, we see that the Bad Asses are ahead, 54.6-47.4.

Heat Four: Tonya vs. Darrell. Darrell takes a huge lead and doesn’t let go, getting 20.2 meters to Tonya’s 15.8. Due to the excessive drama of this episode, I’m betting Darrell complaining about heights got cut out.

Heat Five: Derrick vs. Julie. Derrick wants to win the money and the TV. Julie: “I love being up high, closer to God, but I don’t like looking down because I’m scared of heights.” Both climb up the rope, as the background music repeats, “Come on, lets go!” Julie starts to gasp, “Dear Lord! Please help me to that flag! Dear Lord! Please help me to that flag!” Veronica looks up from the ground, and Rachel breaks out in a grin. When it comes to Julie acting the fool, I guess we’re all on the same team. As the horn blows, Derrick lets up know that he traveled “Two-motherfucking-six!” meters, while Julie climbed 20.4. Derrick interviews that he hopes nobody beats his score, since he wants to win the TV. On the sideline, Mike notes that his team is getting their asses “whomped.” Current score: Bad Asses 96.4, Good Guys, 88.0. Julie: “We’re trying to hang in there, and we’re just slipping.”

Guess what? Rachel is wearing her “Where’s Shane?” t-shirt. Could we please burn that article of clothing? You love him, he loves you. We get it. Anyway, she tells us that Veronica and Jodi are in the same heat. Veronica thinks it’s two Infernos in one day, but she’s not intimidated by Jodi. Speaking of Jodi, she doesn’t care about the TV, and she wants the Lifeshield. Dave blows his horn, and both start climbing. Rachel jumps around, yells that Veronica has “got” Jodi. More climbing. Mike and Darrell nearly injure themselves pulling for Jodi. We get the wide view, and Jodi is basically spanking Veronica. Rachel turns away. Who’s got who now? Veronica clocks out at 15.8, Jodi at 21.2. “This is great for Jodi,” Jamie interviews, as Julie and Shavonda share a high-five. “Jodi really needed this kind of confidence boost. She’s ready to go into the Inferno.” Veronica doesn’t feel this means anything, saying she didn’t try very hard. Jodi happily jogs to her team, interviews that she’s beaten all of the girls and most of the guys. Jamie adds up the totals, concluding that the team is behind. Mike expositions that Brad and Landon are left. Landon figures Brad would have to beat Rachel, then he would have to beat CT.

Heat Seven: Rachel vs. Brad. Brad voiceovers that he’s not just thinking about the TV, but also doing his best. Rachel interviews that Veronica was targeted by the Good Guys, so she’s aiming to win the Lifeshield and take her place in the Inferno. Both players climb up. Rachel huffs, while Brad yells and strains. The wide angle shot reveal that Brad is wasting Rachel. Results: Brad 28.0, Rachel 19.7. Nice going, Rachel. Way to bail out your friend, Rachel. As a bonus, she dangles from the rope dejectedly, not unlike Snoopy hanging off his doghouse. Veronica looks hurt. Hee hee. Abram tells CT that Derrick has a 26. CT interviews that it’s down to him and Landon, and he has to beat that 26. “If we win the ten grand, fine,” he continues, “but the only thing I got on my mind is that TV.” Some team spirit he has there.

Final Heat: CT vs. Landon. Landon interviews that all he has to do is beat CT, but he’s kind of doubting himself. Both players go into position as Dave slowly counts down. He blows the horn, both players begin their ascent, and we go to commercials.

Coming back to the action, we see both competitors climb frantically. Landon interviews that he knows CT will push him really hard, and he’s using every part of his body instead of just his arms. Both players climb. Both sides cheer. The wide angle reveals that Landon is massacring CT. As Dave blows his horn, Shavonda and Jamie jump for joy. Final distances: CT 26.2, Landon 33.5.

Flame segue! Dave goes over the final tallies. The Bad Asses came in with 157.4 meters, while the Good Guys got 170.7. Dave awards the $10,000 to the Good Guys, which Landon picks up. Jodi interviews that the team is ecstatic to be winning again. Dave notes that Abram set the bar, Derrick raised it, then CT logged in 26.2 meters, thus earning the Aztec Lifeshield. CT: “Derrick has a really good score, but I’m CT, and I win the Lifeshield all the time.” Dave continues, saying that Brad got 28 meters, but Landon trumped it with 33.5, getting the prizes. Dave awards the plasma TVs, and CT playfully shoves Landon away from the display model. Dave concludes by saying it will be Jodi vs. Veronica in the Inferno, and he’ll be seeing them at nightfall.

Just want to stop the recap for a little bit. If you are eating anything while reading this, you might want to wait a few hours before moving on. Every time I think of what happened, I go into a maddening frenzy. The following events have to be among the most depressing that I have ever recapped. You have been warned.

Inferno time! Dave gets the players pumped up, and Abram yells while flipping both middle fingers. Dave brings out Jodi and “the one and only” Veronica. Rachel looks on, interviewing that she doesn’t know what she would do if Veronica loses. Dave tells us that since nobody won the Lifeshield, there is no way out for out competitors. Ever hear of continuity, Dave? Our host tells us of tonight’s Inferno: That’s a Wrap. For some reason, Veronica looks shocked. The objective: using a giant spool full of cloth, the players must mummify themselves until they’re tightly wrapped. Then they have to go across the floor and pull down their respective team flag. The first player to get it done wins and stays in the game, while the loser goes home. Veronica looks up fromn the ground. Rachel looks down from her second floor view. I hold in my dinner.

Brad interviews that he is confident Jodi can win. “As long as she keeps her head in the game,” he foreshadows, “and she stays focused, there’s a great possibility of her winning this mission.” Landon instructs Jodi to keep turning her head while spinning. Jodi interviews that she’s coming in to kick some ass. Rachel tells Veronica that she’s a dancer. A private dancer? Veronica interviews that she has to keep her head in the game. She adds, “I also know that Jodi sometimes loses her cool, so I’m really trying to make sure that I don’t get flustered.” At this point, I’m blindly plowing through the warning signs, confident that Jodi can break Veronica into pieces, and serve notice on the Bad Asses in the process.

Dave bangs a gong, and we are underway. Both players spin, wrapping themselves up. Jodi gets wrapped around her legs. More spinning. We get a forced perspective from Jodi, with slow-motion thrown in. Not a good sign. And then...she falls down. The Good Guys yell for her to get up. Veronica keeps spinning. Jodi tries to get up, but falls down again. The Bad Asses cheer, their noses filled with the smell of blood in the water. Veronica spins. Jodi falls backwards. Jamie looks away. Veronica runs out of cloth, and Jodi can only watch as Veronica hops over to her flag and pulls it down. Game Over. Let’s break down the following scenes for maximum pain, shall we?

1. Veronica jumps up and down, screaming for joy. It’s like watching Katie beat Julie in the Inferno, or Shii Ann’s immunity victory on Survivor: All-Stars...except it’s just so horribly wrong. After seeing Veronica and her friends roll Sarah under the bus in The Gauntlet, I wanted to see her get beat down this season. Instead, I have this.

2. The Bad Asses jump up and down, shaking the cage from the outside. Maybe this win will shut them up. Meanwhile, Brad and Landon silently look on.

3. There’s Jodi on the floor, looking like she’s in pain. To add insult to injury, you can hear Rachel scream out: “AND YOU PICKED HER!” Classy as always, Butterface.

4. Now Jodi’s sitting down, hands over her face. Dan: “KARMA’S A BITCH!” And so are you, Dan. That’s the biggest mystery in this Challenge: how has a funny guy like Dan turned into an obnoxious jackass like the rest of his teammates? If he didn’t beat Jon in the first Inferno, then I’d still be liking Dan. Now, I want a Good Guy to humiliate him in the Inferno. Heck, I’d settle for Jodi popping him in the face. He’s certainly earned it.

Jodi interviews that the cloth was wrapped around her feet, while Veronica was perfectly rolled. She adds, “This Inferno just had nothing to do with skill whatsoever.” That’s a weak argument, but I don’t hate her for it. Veronica interviews that it sucks that Jodi got what she wanted and lost.

Dave congratulates Veronica for her win, then sends her back to her team. She runs through the door, prancing and jumping into Rachel’s arms. This is sickening. I hate those two so much. Hate their attitudes, hate their t-shirts, just hate them, period. “Watching Veronica win is equivalent to basically watching myself win,” Rachel interviews, “because I’m so happy for her, and I know how much this means to her. I think I’d go crazy here without her.” My urge to puke rises. Let’s ignore the homoerotic subtext and move to the comparison of the two. If Rachel goes into an Inferno, she’s toast. She is the single most overrated Challenger ever. I’d even give odds to newbies Jamie and Shavonda over her in a given contest.

Moving on, Dave wishes Jodi a safe trip home. Derrick interviews that it sucks saying goodbye, since she’s like a sister to him. Through the cage, he tells her that she did a good job, and that she’ll learn from this. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the only Bad Ass with any trace of humility. The Good Guys walk down for their farewells. Jodi hugs Jamie, crying and apologizing for her loss. “Jodi’s pretty much just destroyed,” Landon interviews. “You can tell she’s beating herself up about it. She was a huge part of our team. We’re going to miss Jodi a lot.” Jodi interviews that she’s sorry to have let her team down, and that she appreciated the time spent with them. “Thank you so much for your friendships,” she continues as she sobs, “and I just want you guys to do so well, and please win all the missions and just get rid of everybody on their team.” Here’s hoping.

Outside, Veronica and Rachel celebrate, walking arm-in-arm. Veronica: “For all you Good Guys out there that think you guys finish first, it ain’t gonna happen this time. It ain’t gonna happen.” Jodi walks through the Inferno door. Fade to credits.

I think that maybe the swap was Jodi’s idea, that maybe she crossed up her own team. Or maybe the editors got it right the first time, giving Julie the credit. But after the last two episodes, I am firmly in the Good Guys’ camp. The Bad Asses’ behavior from being outsmarted is deplorable, and Veronica’s victory keeps them firmly on their high horse. I would group some of them together and dub them the Axis of Ass like I have in previous seasons (Adam, Rachel and Veronica in The Gauntlet, Abram, Christena, Holly and Veronica in The Inferno), but they all qualify. If Mike or Julie win an Inferno and take a Bad Ass out, I would not mind. You heard me...if Julie were to take out Rachel or Veronica in the Inferno, it would not be a bad thing. Somebody shoot me. And if Dan gets beat down in the Inferno in two weeks, I will have the biggest smile when I hit TARCon the following night.

Next time: something with a huge vertical course with ladders and falling onto platforms. Oh, and Julie’s a-scared, because she’s afraid of heights. Yeah, that will cheer me up.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Black Hats

I hate it when the bad guys win.

I don't mean merely on reality shows...I mean anytime. Back in 1999, Chipper Jones, star of the Atlanta Braves, said that when the Mets are eliminated from contention, their fans put on Yankee gear. Reliever John Rocker said a bunch of crap about folks who ride the 7 train to Shea. The Braves and Mets wound up in the Championship Series that year. The Braves took the first three, then the Mets snagged two at home. I forget what was funnier...watching Rocker get lit up, or watching him gesture "3-0" to fans behind the dugout. In Game 6, the Mets fell behind early (Al Leiter got knocked out in the first inning), rallied, took a lead...then lost the damn game when Kenny Rodgers walked the winning run in. Watching the Braves celebrate...seeing Rocker get interviewed in the clubhouse...gah. Didn't even watch the World Series, where the Yankees swept the Braves. And no, there wasn't any wearing of the pinstripes for me.

Three years later, the Mets were down and out, while the Braves were heading for yet another meaningful October. The last game was played at Shea. A while back, one Met got busted for possession of drugs. Anyway, manager Bobby Cox sent up a player named "Bong" to pinch-hit against the Mets. It was worse...Bong was a pitcher. You don't use a pitcher to pinch-hit. Finding out about this, I was furious. Cox basically got away with screwing with the Mets. Even as a lapsed Mets fan, I still get ticked easily. But in the end, I know what'll happen to the Braves in the end: even after winning their umpteenth division title in a row, they'll still end up getting beat down in the end. They've been in the playoffs every year since 1991, and they only have one World Series title to show for it. And I know this sounds petty, but I'm happy with that.

The same thing applies to reality television...there has to be balance. I was pissed that guys like Darrell, Rachel, Veronica and Adam won a crapload of money in The Gauntlet, and they didn't get to feel the pressure of going home. But I liked that Sarah, whom everybody thought was an inferior player, got the same amount of dough after getting shoved into five Gauntlets. Seeing Dave, Cara and Roni get paid was also cool. I can live with the bad, as long as some good comes out of it.

That brings me to Monday night. I don't have an episode title yet. How does "My Soul Hurts" sound? Or "Sore Winners"? There's poor Jodi, crying on the Inferno floor. There's Veronica, still wrapped in paper, yelling like she just cured cancer. There's Rachel and Dan, jeering Jodi from the saftey of the second floor while she cries, all because her plan backfired. Yeah, it sounded dubbed in, but it was them. In two weeks, Dan has turned from a funny guy into just another jerk on a team of jerks...and with Abram and CT on his team, that's saying something. And then there's the sight of Veronica prancing, jumping into Rachel's arms. Am I supposed to be glad these two friends aren't broken up? I've covered a lot of stuff in the past few years, and that has to be one of the most nauseating moments out there. Ranks up there with Rachel B. and Sarah on the mechanical bulls, while Chevelle plays "Send The Pain Below" in the background.

Speaking of Sarah...that was the point, wasn't it? All this time, I think to myself: Yeah, Butterface and Verantula talk big, they can shove medicine down Sarah's throat, but they couldn't take a teaspoon of it. Sure, they've been booted out of Challenges, but it was at the hands of their teammates, as opposed to somebody from the other side. If Jodi beats Veronica, it's a celebration. Sure, the Bad Asses will rag on Jodi until the end of the Challenge, but it would be worth it to see Veronica go at the earliest since way back in Battle of the Seasons. But no...Veronica lives to pimp her lame t-shirts. And she's BFF with Rachel and Dan, who fit with Coby, Lynn and Alex as the least likable representatives of gay culture on reality television. Say what you want about Karamo, but the guy is sane. He punked out of a mission, barely represented in the Inferno, and does the worst impressions this side of Peggy Hill doing Fat Albert, but he seems like a "together" guy.

I hate the Bad Asses. I've gone over Dan, Rachel and Veronica. CT acts like a gangter. Abram is Abram, and that's enough for loathing him. Derrick seems okay, but I've seen a clip of him getting into a fight later on this season. Tina? Okay in small doses, though I don't know if Coral would've gotten as lathered up as her over the same stuff. And Tonya? If you do things like toss bags into the pool, then guess what? You will be considered a joke. Man, what happened to her? She got high marks from Lori in her Battle of the Sexes recaps. Now she's a walking Girls Gone Wild ad.

The Good Guys? Whatever. First, you have to get rid of Mike (tool) and Julie (psycho). Except for that comment about Karamo wondering when his flight leaves, Shavonda hasn't bugged. Landon isn't the hard-drinkin' fool we knew from his season. Jamie's a cutie, and Brad's less of a stereotype than CT. Darrell? Still holding stuff from Gauntlet against him, though I'm still looking for some prime quotes from him.

I did get some karmic equalization tonight via The Amazing Race. At this point, you have two front-runner teams (Rob/Amber, Ron/Kelly) and two underdogs (Uchenna/Joyce, Meredith/Gretchen). Rob decides to play mind games with U/J and M/G, telling them about a flight that leaves earlier...except there is no such thing. Or so he though. Long story short, U/J and M/G managed to snag an earlier flight, and finished one-two for the leg. This is funny, especially when you see Meredith & Gretchen in action. I don't think I've seen a team this clueless get this lucky. They finished second tonight. They haven't finished in the top three all season, yet here they are. Bonus: Ace-lookalike Ron and total beeyotch girlfriend Kelly finish last, and had to give up their possessions as a penalty. Kinda sucks that thanks to a gnome-hunting minigame, they ended up with $20,000 in money to be used on a sponsor site, as well as 12 hours in a plush hotel room. They'll be fine...Kelly will say something horrible, and Ron will compare being broke to Baghdad.

As for the recap? It'll be a while. I've been getting recap fatigue...something Omar G. of TWoP felt in his latest recap of Smallville (anybody still watching? Bueller?). But hey...if I can make things more fun for you guys, then that's all that matters. I'm just inching closer to when I'll start openly cursing people out. Should be a hoot.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Inferno 2, Episode 7: Switching & Bitching

Apologies for the delay. Part of it was that I was sidetracked writing an actual article, which will be published within the next few weeks (yay, me). Part of it was that this was an ug-lay episode, as Rachel would put it. I’m ticked at the Good Guys, I’m ticked at the Bad Asses, and I’m ticked at the producers. At least they can fill the dramatic void left by Coral, but they’re not nearly as witty.

Previously on Inferno II: The Bad Asses won Dodge Yer Balls, increasing their bank to $40,000 (twice as big as the Good Guys’ dough). Landon won the Aztec Lifeshield, and decided to take Mike’s place in the Inferno. He then beat ex-roommate Karamo, evening the sides to eight players apiece. Veronica was happy, since her team was stronger with Beth and Karamo gone. Happily, we don’t revisit CT’s gangster mentality, Mike feeling like a punk, or Dave Mirra trying to act hip.

Villa. Mansion. Whatever. Tonight, Mike has made a bet with Jodi, and she seems to be welching on it. He wants her to pay up, to see what kind of person she is. Hello, foreshadowing! Jodi interviews that it’s nice to have somebody can relate with, as well as stay up really late. Mike tells us that he was playing a card game with Jodi. She lost, so now she has to get naked and jump in the pool. Jodi gets behind a couch to take her clothes off. A Challenger showing modesty? Who is this chick? Mike gets all stern about it, wanting her buck naked. Jodi makes a dash to the pool, giving up a mere moment of pixleation. Mike holds a towel out, wanting her to come out to him. Jodi wants him closer, but he doesn’t want her splashing him. Jodi calls him an idiot, and he threatens to walk away. She relents, getting into the towel, then chasing Mike off.

In the Bad Ass girls’ room, Rachel pokes through Tonya’s photo album. Wait, why did Tonya bring that? Veronica critiques a photo, as well as Tonya’s legs. Tonya gets sensitive about jokes at her expense. “We are the least of your troubles,” Veronica blahs. “If you need to go to counseling, it’s because of everything else in your life!” Tonya weakly replies that the girls are mean, interviews that the other three girls are a team, and she is a joke to them. Maybe they’ll like her better if she threw their clothes into the pool.

Outside, Jodi, Derrick and Darrell have a smoke. Jodi interviews that she’s good friends with Derrick, but it’s hard to have a friend on the opposing team. They share a friendly kiss. Jodi: “Derrick’s my boy.” Derrick: “Jodi, that’s my girl. The only person who I feel I can just let my guard down around is Jodi.”

Sponsor clue! Landon reads the text message: meet at the Grand Bay Hotel, wear Speedo swimsuits and sneakers, get ready to leave by 10:30 a.m. Tina: “Tonya would love to be in a swimsuit again, so she can flash another nipple.” Tonya laughs, and Landon leaves with a smile.

New day. Random marketplace shots. Mission site. Dave welcomes everybody to today’s mission: Fill In The Gaps. The Good Guys whoop it up, even though they have no clue what’s going on. Dave shows two Plexiglass walls with holes in them. Behind each wall is a tank filled with 200 gallons of water. Hoses go from the tank to the holes. The goal: prevent water from getting out of the holes using body parts. Quick shot of the players examining the walls, and Tonya placing her breasts near the wall. Abram expositions that the team that loses the most water the quickest loses. Dave adds that time will stop when the water hits a mark on the tank. Abram explains to us that the teams will go in two heat. Dave ends it by saying the team with the longest combined time wins $10,000.

Heat One: Landon, Julie, Shavonda and Darrell vs. Dan, Rachel, Tina and Abram. Brad interviews that they’re going with guy/girl teams in order to keep things even. Dave blows his airhorn, and both sides run up to the walls. Landon puts his mouth over a hole, while Julie uses her head. She interviews that the mission with be short, and she just has to hang in there. Both sides get soaked while blocking. Tina interviews that this isn’t a physical mission, and it is anybody’s game. We see that the Good Guys have lost half of their tank, while the Bad Asses have only lost 35 percent.

Back from commercials, both teams continue getting soaked. Honestly, it’s a fun mission to play and watch, but it’s bad to write about. Abram interviews that he has to put his back to the wall, straining his muscles. “It’s really hurting my back,” he adds, “but you know the pain’s worth $10,000.” Dan gets doused as he jams a thumb in a hole. Good Guys’ tank: 85 percent empty. Bad Asses: 75 percent. Shavonda doesn’t feel like she’s doing enough. The Good Guys’ tank runs out of water at three minutes and 48 seconds. Tina interviews that she’s on the wall “like freakin’ bugs on a windshield,” and she’s getting cramps in her thighs and hips. Finally, the Bad Asses’ tank runs out at 4:10. Rachel expositions that all the second team has to do is win their heat. Mike interviews that his team is down by ten seconds (heh), and they have to make up time.

The Good Guys gather to strategize. Jodi interviews that the pressure is on, and they want to learn from the first heat. Veronica and Tonya map out their plans. CT thinks Tonya should stick her boobs on the wall. I’ll leave the snarking to Dan: “I realize that CT always thinks with his penis, but it’s amazing how completely non-sexual things somehow find their way back to CT thinking with his penis.” CT keeps insisting Tonya stick her breasts on the wall. Tonya interviews that others think she’s the joke of the team. If the big floppy shoes fit, girl. Mike interviews that he’s confident with his team, and he knows which holes to block.

Heat Two: Mike, Jodi, Jamie and Brad vs. CT, Tonya, Veronica and Derrick. They rush to the wall, as techno music plays for us. Jamie blocks as best as she can, interviews that it’s difficult to do, since the water is everywhere. Both sides block and occasionally switch holes. Brad interviews that it’s hard because they’re losing, and they don’t know if its their technique or their team is flawed. The Good Guys run out of water first, sealing the win for the Bad Asses. Final times: Good Guys 5:35, Bad Asses 6:11. Tonya: “I’m ecstatic because being able to perform and not be exploited and still just perform made me happy.” Mike interviews that the Bad Asses are almost taunting his team, and it sucks to see them happy. Don’t worry, Mike. Something tells me they’re not going to be happy for much longer.

Denouement. Dave awards the $10,000 check to the Bad Asses, which Tonya snaps up. He tells the Good Guys to step it up. It would’ve been funny if they told him to grow hair. Bad Asses now have $50,000 to the Good Guys’ $20,000. Dave gives both teams 30 minutes to choose who goes into the Inferno, then reminds the kids that it’s women today. Brad interviews that his team needs to turn things around. Cut to the Good Guys looking bummed, and Julie putting hair near her mouth.

Good Guys Deliberation Meeting. Jodi feels cool with Veronica or Tonya. Mike wonders about Rachel and Tina. Brad thinks that if Rachel wins the Aztec Lifeshield, she would bail Veronica out of the Inferno. Mike notes that if Veronica goes into the Inferno and loses, Rachel will be “pissed off and lonely.” And that’s supposed to be a bad thing? Brad doesn’t want to lose a player. Julie says that she’d vote for Veronica if she knew that she was going in. Volunteering to face down the girl she almost Julie brave or stupid? Jodi feels the same way Julie does. Jamie interviews that the group will vote for Tonya, but Julie has come up with a “brilliant idea”: whoever gets picked personally selects her opponent. Julie tells Jamie this would work if they pick after the Bad Asses. Jodi lays it out: if it’s her or Julie going in, Veronica gets picked. If Shavonda or Jamie get tabbed, Tonya goes in. So remember: this is Julie’s plan. Bear that in mind for the third act.

Bad Asses Deliberation Meeting. Rachel thinks that the Good Guys bank on Jodi to be strong, but she has not been that way. She adds that it would be a “whoa move” to pick Jodi. Rachel interviews that Jodi is ideal because she can be flustered in the Inferno. Derrick isn’t feeling happy about it, since Jodi is like a sister to him. He interviews that Jodi is his girl, but the team wants to throw a curveball at the Good Guys. “I just feel like I sort of betrayed her,” he adds, “by not pushing for her not to go in. Sorry I couldn’t keep you out of this one, Jod.”

Flame segue! Dave tells the teams to make their announcement, starting with the Bad Asses. This is weird, since the past two times, the team that lost a mission before the nomination ceremony made their pick first. Tina announces that the Bad Asses want Jodi in the Inferno. Now the Good Guys make their choice. Jodi interviews that she knows what to do. She announces that Veronica’s going in. Veronica looks shocked. Her team looks shocked. Cut to a slow-motion shot of Veronica making a bitchface, as the editor pipe in the Bionic Man sound effect.

Back from commercials, Veronica and Jodi stick their figurines in the Mininferno. Dave reminds them that they can win the Aztec Lifeshield by outperforming their respective teammates. Rachel tells us that she overheard Tonya being the pick if Shavonda or Jamie had been chosen “To me,” Rachel adds, “this is cheating.”

The Bad Asses gather to work themselves up into a foaming frenzy. Dan wants to kick Jodi’s ass. Rachel thinks it doesn’t matter, since “Vee” will beat Jodi in the Inferno. Veronica snaps that players aren’t allowed to change their vote at the last minute. Tina gets caught up on the details, and bursts out a “shut the fuck up!”

Flame segue! Rachel tells the Good Guys that she’s mad because they messed up the game, and Tina barks the same thing. Veronica: “The thing is, I’ve been on how many Challenges? Seven? If the fucking rules are gonna change, it needs to be spoken that it’s changed!” She interviews that she’s usually into the game and figuring out loopholes, adding, “They actually outsmarted me.” Good to see one Bad Ass throwing out some respect, even if she’d never say it to an opponent’s face.

Outside, a betrayed Derrick talks with Jodi, who insists didn’t do anything shady. Derrick proclaims that he didn’t vote for her. He interviews that this is not the Jodi he knows. Julie insists there was nothing in the rules against a switch. “I don’t care at all if I hurt anybody else’s feelings,” Jodi interviews. “But Derrick’s feelings, I care about. And the fact that he seems like he’s mad at me right now is killing me.” Derrick says that everybody was abiding by an unwritten rule the whole time, and the switch was dishonest.

As Derrick walks off, Julie tells Jodi that she didn’t do anything wrong. Once again: this was Julie’s plan. Julie. “This is how Veronica wins her Infernos,” Julie blahs, “because she’s weak physically, but she’d get into your head mentally.” Newsflash: Veronica has never done an Inferno. What planet does Julie live on, anyway? Jodi interviews that Derrick is like her brother, and she doesn’t care about anything else as long as she makes things all right. She adds that she’ll take the heat. Be careful what you wish for.

Inside, Jodi tells a stretching CT that Veronica should be flattered to be picked. Something tells me Jodi isn’t a good salesperson. Dan just glares at Jodi. “I’m just surprised,” he smugs, “because I thought I was the biggest bitch here, but I guess I was wrong.” Oh, Dan. You’re not even in the top five right now. But if it makes you feel better, you’re a bigger bitch than Jodi. CT responds with an “Ooooooh!” Jodi tells Dan that his team could have pulled off the switch. Dan snipes that the Good Guys cheated, that his team has been kicking ass playing fair, then pushes his arrogance dial to “ten.” Jodi insists she’s not manipulative. Dan: “Yes, you are. You got these big puppy-dog eyes, and you walk around crying all the time because Mike doesn’t like you enough.” Okay, I like Dan. He hasn’t done anything remotely evil in a long time. But if Jodi had hauled off and punched him in the face, that would’ve been fine by me. Mike looks on from the couch, totally useless. He interviews that the Bad Asses are intimidating Jodi and trying to make her cry, all because they got outstrategized.

Now it’s a big Bad Ass gang-up session, as Tina and Rachel lash out at Jodi. Tina interviews that Jodi can’t handle the pressure, and this plays into Bad Ass hands. “This is out chance to psychologically beat Jodi down,” she adds, “and to make her vulnerable to the Bad Ass team.” Very classy. Jodi explains that she to face a stronger competitor in Veronica. Dan tells her to shut up. Veronica is not bugged to be picked, but she didn’t like the switch. Tina: “It’s a shysty-ass move and it’s a punk-ass move, and y’all are little bitches trying to pull this shysty move! That’s what I think!” Nice that my vocabulary increases this week. Jodi interviews that chaos has erupted, as we see Tina and Dan point at her angrily. She says that she didn’t think it would come to this.

Cut to Jodi bent over against the wall. Here comes Mike and Shavonda to help her. Yeah, those are the two people I want to soothe my broken feelings. Jodi sobs that everybody is getting on her case, and she avoids confrontation. Shavonda thinks Jodi didn’t do anything wrong. Mike adds that this is what happens every time Veronica is voted into an Inferno. No, it doesn’t. It’s sad when a five-time Challenger can’t remember past seasons. Jodi cries that she avoids this sort of thing. Mike says the Bad Asses are mad because they got “pawned,” and the game hasn’t changed at all. He interviews that he Jodi didn’t do anything wrong, and she got a bad rap because everyone knew what was going on. Credits.

In case you didn’t know, Dan and Mike put out their own recaps of this episode. While both of them make convincing arguments, I think they’re full of crap. So who’s to blame for this snafu? I point the finger at the producers. Like I said before, standard operating procedure dictated that the Good Guys make their pick first. But I’m guessing that when the crew found out about the switch, they let the Bad Asses walk into the trap. In a weird way, this led in nicely to the latest episode of Survivor: Palau. There, host Jeff Probst basically talked the weakened Janu into quitting the game, as opposed to letting the others vote out Stephenie, a stronger player with a compelling backstory. What happened this episode reeks, since the season has actually been stronger than in the past. We got good missions and no time-limit endgames. So how come Jonathan Murray and his gang make things worse than before? Had to be for the drama. And I don’t know what stinks more: the Bad Asses ganging up on Jodi, or the Bad Asses not rolling Julie up and down the stairs. It was her idea after all.

Next time: Brad tells Jodi that he’s confident in her, but interviews she can buckle under pressure. The mission involves horizontal rope-climbing. CT interviews that Veronica is hoping that the team throws the mission for her. Rachel tells us that she’ll win the Aztec Lifeshield and take Veronica’s place. In other words, we’ll be getting an overrated rhymes-with-witch up for possible expulsion next week. Can’t wait! Go, Jodi!

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

When Real Life Gets In The Way

I've been keeping busy. Right now, I'm trying to write a story for a local newsweekly. Tomorrow, I'm going to go out and take an exam for a potential job opportunity. Right now, I haven't been as Challenge-fixated as usual. Figure once I get home tomorrow, I'll fire up the VCR and start taking notes. Lately, I've been feeling a small lack of enthusiasm. Has nothing to do with lack of feedback here. I still think that I'm the best Challenge recapper out there, only because I have way too much time to analyze every halfway significant moment. And this is what I do with my Master's in Journalism? Oh, well.

For now, you can gnaw on recaps from Dan and Mike. Even though Dan behaved like a jackass on Monday, he's gotten enough good will stored out with me. Mike? Eh. I'm still blaming the production crew for manipulating things in order to get drama. It's not a total black eye for the show; even with the drama, it's still the best season since Gauntlet.

Oh, and didja see how close I came with my prediction last night? I swear, if Rob has a horseshoe up his butt, Meredith must have a family of leprechauns lodged where the sun doesn't shine. He and Gretchen were done...but Lynn & Alex went to the wrong place. So buh-bye to Rob's Number One Fans. The final four teams this season are a lot less grisly than last time, but the possibility of a happy ending isn't that great.

If Rob & Amber Win: Kiss the show goodbye. CBS will force more reality folks onto the show, and the luster will be worn down. And there's the looming specter of the fat, bearded, tie-dyed pantload we know as "Rupert." You think CBS isn't salivating putting him and his family in the next season should Ramber win? Gimmee a break. Topic? Oh, right...while Ramber has proven themselves to be a capable team (I had them finishing sixth), it's like rooting for the Yankees. Front-runners exist to get dragged back. Even if Colin hadn't had his ox-induced fit on TAR5, the fact that he and Christie knocked down a peg by Chip & Kim yielding them made things a lot more fun.

If Ron & Kelly Win: I'm thinking White House photo ops, complete with President Bush abusing the hell out of Race terminology ("We as a nation had to take a Detour, and we chose the harder task!") Unlike other long-distance couples on this show (Michael and Kathy, Kris & Jon), these two should not be together. Ron seems like a nice guy, but a little dopey. And he compares every other location to Baghdad. Okay, we get it, you were a soldier and a POW. Whatever, dude. Kelly is a huge piece of work in the Flo/Christie/Kendra mold. The teaser for next week has her questioning Ron's commitment. He brought up his military service, she said that he got out of it. He asked how, she says that he became a POW. Maybe she's kidding, but if she isn't? Oy.

If Meredith & Gretchen Win: Wouldn't be the end of the show, but it'll be akin to Jenna Morasca winning Survivor: The Amazon. They seem like nice people, but they cannot race worth a lick. The only reason they're still in the hunt is because in each leg, one team messed up worse. I'll give them props for bouncing back after being forced to give their belongings to Phil for finishing last in a non-elimination leg. Still, there is no way these two crack the final three. Even Teri & Ian, crotchety old folks that they were, managed to win three legs in TAR3. M&G haven't even cracked the top three.

If Uchenna & Joyce Win: There will be celebrations, as big as the ones launched by Chip & Kim's victory. Truth be told, they're only the third-best team in a field of four at this point. But who doesn't want these crazy kids to win? They've worked for bankrupt companies. They've tried to get Joyce pregnant, but that didn't work. They've gotten the couple thing down like Ramber, but Uchenna isn't begging for a karmic beatdown like Rob. Last night, Joyce made the "ultimate sacrifice" to obtain a Fast Forward by getting her head shaved. She cried, but she pushed through. The ritual shaving is supposed to bring good fortune. With four legs and two alpha teams left, they'll be needing it.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Quick Predictions

I'm going to be busy this an article to write and a test to take. And given what happened on last night's Inferno II episode, I will probably overanalyze the crap out of it. Short story: bad on Jodi and Julie to tweak the rules, bad on the production crew to let them get away with it by switching the order of nominations, bad on the Bad Asses for dogpiling on Jodi. Right now, the only players still in the game that I'd invite to dinner are Brad and Jamie. And I might not do that unless they bring Jacquese and/or Randy.

Anyway, Dan had acted extra-bitchy last night, his worst outburst since the doomed cheerleader mission on Extreme Challenge. Between that, Karamo's ouster last week, and Coby Archa (aka Poor Man's Richard Hatch) getting thwacked on Survivor: Palau, I'd say it's not a good month for gay folks on reality television. With that in mind, I have two predictions.

1. Lynn & Alex will finish last on The Amazing Race tonight

Right now, they're in fourth place, unaware that Phil Keoghan is about to drop a double-leg on him. I figure they'll be a bunch up, then they'll make a big mistake and go in the back of the pack. The good news? It'll be a non-elimination leg. The bad news? They get stripped of all their money AND whatever they're carrying AND not get a cent to start the next leg. While I find these two to be a bit much, it wouldn't be the end of the world if they won. Hey, somebody's gotta beat Rob & Amber, and I'm not sure if Uchenna & Joyce would be the ones to do it.

2. Next week, Rachel will take Veronica's place in the Inferno and lose to Jodi

Is it wrong that I'm excited by the prospect of Rachel or Veronica forced into the Inferno? Veronica has been in three situations where she was on the verge of going into an endgame. She had bailed herself out twice (here and here) and got an assist from her team (here). But Rachel never got close to the Gauntlet. No, she'd be in on throwing Sarah under the bus again and again, even though she had little to no game of her own. Remember the faceoff between Campus Crawl and RW: Las Vegas, where skinny Irulan outwrestled her? And you're telling me Jodi can't beat her? If Jodi pulls off the "upset" on Rachel (or Veronica... I ain't picky), she'll be a hero. If not? Well...the interviews that the Bad Asses give will be brutal.

Abram: "Hey, nice goin', Jodi. [channeling Rosie O'Donnell's character from the upcoming TV movie] 'Dur, I'mma gonna switch my vote and attack Veronica and dur dur durrrr!' [flashing double birds] Fuck you, Jodi."

Veronica: "This is what you get! This is what you get when you mess with me! Seven Challenges, bitch! SEVEN! Don't mess! With me!"

CT: [bare-chested, wearing the shades and medallion] "Yeah, Jodi thought she was real hot shit, but she's nothin'. She's a punk. Go sulk with Beth and Karamo, and don't lemme see ya ever again."

Derrick: "I thought I could trust Jodi, but something like this, you can't trust nobody but yourself. [Looking down] Hey, it's Mr. Frog! [singing] My buddy, my buddy, my buddy, my buddy..."

Julie: "Wow, looks like that plan backfired. Can't believe Jodi was stupid enough to make that move all by herself. [Pausing, remembering that it was her plan, then showing all 620 of her front teeth in an insincere smile]"

I's a bit much. But remember, I've wrote about these people for years. The above flights of fancy aren't that high off the ground, if you get my drift. Just print this post out and see if I'm right. And hopefully, I'll have the recap up by the end of the week.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Inferno II (2005)

Preview An overview of the upcoming season. Will this be a great season, or will it drive me to open cursing?

Bad Asses Are they bad? Or are they nothin'?

Good Guys A look at the "angels," including a guy who had been arrested at least twice, and a chick who peed on another person's bed.

Real World/Road Rules Challenges Uncensored MTV shows us stuff we've seen (Telluride threesome, the party at Cabo San Lucas), stuff we didn't know about (Human Catapult, the Sarah/Theo fling), and stuff we'd be better off not revisiting (LoogieGate).

Episode 1: Get Off My Beach! The teams are spilt between good and evil, and get tortured by Navy SEALs.

Episode 2: WWJD? Jodi botches a mission, Mike wriggles off the hook, and Jon sticks himself on the hook because he loves Jesus. The end result? Dan stays in the game, and Julie bawls like a baby.

Episode 3: She Said/She Said Tonya, Robin and Beth don't do any favors for women. Tonya goes nuts, Beth's stuff gets dunked in the pool, and Robin finds herself in an Infernal date with Tina.

Episode 4: Down For The Count The Bad Asses try and rig a mission to get rid of Beth, but it backfires. Tina finally gets over the hump in the inferno, and Robin gets to reunite with Mark the Dodgeball Boy.

Episode 5: Quitters Never Win After suffering several indignities, Beth leaves the show. Good riddance to bad drama queens. We finally get a clunker of a mission, Karamo and CT get bitchy against each other, and Abram goes on a roid rage.

Episode 6: Balls Out Karamo pushes the envelope by not competing in a dodgeball mission, further endearing himself to CT and Abram. In other news, Landon makes Mike feel like a punk, and Dave Mirra talks like he's on medication.

Episode 7: Switching & Bitching Julie has a cunning plan to switch nominations...and Jodi ends up taking the heat. Yeah, that seems fair. Also: the kids get to plug up dikes. It's not as dirty as you'd think.

Episode 8: Sting of the Verantula Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the most depressing episode of the new season. It's enough to make a person turn on Dan, he's that horrible.

Episode 9: Mean Girls The unholy trio of Rachel, Tina and Veronica pick on the slightly less horrible Tonya. Dan rips into Tina when she makes some harmless comments. Julie freaks out over heights. And the Bad Asses continue their quest of making Mike insane. Well, more insane.

Episode 10: Melvins & Meatheads The worst episode Brad has ever been in, and that includes the times he spent the night in the pokey. He receives an atomic wedgie, gets picked to replace Mike in the Inferno, and loses in the Inferno to Abram.

Episode 11: Have a Cow We got cows, wolves, hay, and a riddle that even Julie knows. Also: Landon gets a crappy haircut, and Tonya and Julie get slated for a blonde-on-blonde Inferno.

Episode 12: Welcome to Walla Walla Tonya yearns from acceptance from her uberbitch teammates. Failing to get that, she stomps on Julie in the Inferno. The road to God is straight and narrow, and Julie fell off. Never gets old, I tell ya.

Episode 13: Pimp My Room The teams take a shot at interior decorating from memory. It's not that fun to watch, and it takes away from CT wanting Dan gone.

Episode 14: Got Crabs? CT vs. Dan! Darrell vs. Landon! Shoot, who needs the ladies' drama, when the men are bringin' it big-time! Also, Veronica has issues with crabs.

Episode 15: Penultimate Paranoia Tonya gets abuse from all comers, but she beats Shavonda in the Inferno

Episode 16: So Much For Our Unhappy Ending The Good Guys overcome smaller numbers to win, their victory tarnished by the Mean Girls' last swipes at Tonya.

Kevin & Drew Unleashed (2004)

Once upon a time, there was a reality show called The Amazing Race. On that show were two of the funniest guys you'd ever want to meet. Kevin O'Connor and Drew Feinberg became fraternity brothers in 1984, and been best friends since. In TAR1, they bickered and pushed each other through eleven legs, eventually getting beaten to the pit stop in Shanghai by their nemesis, snooty life partners Joe & Bill (better known as Team Guido). But with their bickering and snappy one-liners, the Frats became the first fan fave team of TAR, getting a 94 percent popularity rating on

Three years later, the Discovery Channel gave the Frats their own show. While it was only three episodes long, Kevin & Drew Unleashed gave hardcore Race fans a second look at the team, as they travelled the country, meeting new people and working odd jobs. And this was the toughest recap gig I ever had, because these two are hate-proof. Seeing them in action puts a smile on my face. They're big, they're bad, they're bald...and one day, they might come to your town!

Kevin & Drew Unleashed: A Preview Basic overview of the series.

Episode 1: Frats Entertainment The boys go off to wrestle gators, harvest cranberries, and create awful recipes.

Episode 2: Mud and Suds The frats hit a health spa and a brewery.

Episode 3: Trifecta The series ends as the boys work with cattle, go shrimping, then head back to Staten Island to work with the Baby Bombers.

Miscellaneous Stuff

While my chosen beat was The Real World/Road Rules Challenge, I did write about other shows. Before I got started on Dog Days, I wrote a few essays, including a rather imaginative fantasy scenario based on Survivor: Marquesas which got some huge laughs. Also, I contributed to several roundtable discussions, back when I was still chummy with the other writers. Here is the rest of my efforts at RNO.

Group Efforts

Roundtable: The Survivor Thailand Preview and Predictions I added my two cents in the end, saying that Ted would win. I came up three days short on that one.

Mini-Roundtable: 'Amazing Race 3' Final Three Forum I make my case for Ken & Gerard winning. They ended up in third. And that's why I don't gamble.

Wild Speculation on the 'American Idol' Wildcard Twist I honestly don't remember this. I think I suggested David Broom come on, but that's it.

Roundtable: Survivor's Outcast Twist - Great Idea or Unfair Rule Change? Commenting on the biggest outcast twist this side of "Hey Ya!"

Roundtable: Survivor: All-Stars Predictions My projected winner? Rob Cesternino. I'm a dummy. On the bright side, I had Amber Brkich as a sleeper pick.

Who Should Win the Survivor Viewers' Choice Million? Rallying together to prevent Rupert from getting an undeserved payday. Needless to say, we failed.


Maraamu In The Midst: A Journal from Tammy Leitner Warped fanfic casting the Rotu tribe as anthropologists and Maraamu as...well, you'll have to read it.

A Different Vision of the Possible All-Star Survivor Post-Marquesas look at my idea of an all-star season.

Survivor's Draft Day: Judging the Thailand Picks Looking at Jan and Jake's picks from Day One.

A Look at the "Survivor: Inside the Tribe" DVD Because the local Saturn dealership didn't mind me not caring about their product. Also, we see Jenna lose her clothes on her audition tape.

If Drake Tribe Had a Camera Fanfic where the thriving Drake tribe salutes themselves and rips on Morgan.

Bunim-Murray Stuff

Real World/Road Rules Challenge: The Fantasy Game My very first RNO article, dissecting's fantasy game for Battle of the Seasons.

Road Rules Changes Not for the Better After getting my heart broken by the ouster of Sarah from Campus Crawl, I look at the golden days of Road Rules, as well as the bleak present of pizzel shakes.

Real World/Road Rules: 19 Degrees of Reality Hookups Dan Renzi (RW: Miami) takes a look at the various relationships in BMP history, as well as connecting Mike and Malik of Back to New York with fifteen relationships.

Rest Of The Rest

Mole 2: What If It's Not Bill? After seeing one too many hints than Bill McDaniel is the Mole, I try to make a case for Al, Dorothy and Heather.

An Interview with Mole 2's Winner, Dorothy Hui It's a story that goes from our first encounter during the auditions to a Starbucks two days after her win.

Saving The Amazing Race With TAR on the brink of possible cancellation following its fourth season, I make a plea for fan support. Bonus: picture of me with winning team Reichen and Chip! I still can't tell them apart.

VH1's 40 Greatest Reality TV Moments Part One: 40-21 I never got around to 20-1. Oops. Anyway, check out my reactions to Rob popping the question to Amber, Jessica Simpson wondering about chicken and tuna, P. Diddy sending out for cheesecake, and Flo's freakout in Vietnam. Also: some dude that wants to hunt down some other dude like cattle.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Inferno 2 Episode 6: Balls Out

Previously on Inferno II: The Good Guys won their second mission, upping their bank account to $20,000. Karamo and CT got into a fight over which Good Guy should be sent into the Inferno. CT got his way, as the Bad Asses picked Mike to go into the Inferno, prompting Mike to go into some more lame-ass Dave Chappelle-as-Rick James impressions. Karamo got nominated to face Mike by the Good Guys. CT sniped about Karamo’s attitude. “You dug your own grave,” CT interviews, “now you’re gonna get buried.” Hey, Beth didn’t get mentioned for leaving last week! That has to burn her and what few fans she has.

Villa. Karamo confides in Tina that he wanted to fight CT, but managed to call himself down. He tells Dan that he doesn’t feel confident about the Inferno. Dan asks if Landon would be easier to beat. Karamo feels that Landon could kick his ass, but he’s more comfortable with him. He brings up Robin, who didn’t want to face Tina two episodes ago, but she felt good about losing to Tina. Bottom line: Karamo would rather lose to Landon than to Mike. Same here...if Mike beats me in anything, I’d have to ensure five minutes of Mike’s busted impersonations. Who wants that?

Nighttime. CT and Abram chat in the pool. CT asks who will win the Aztec Lifeshield. Abram wants anybody but Karamo to win. CT interviews that Karamo pissed him off by calling his team “weak” for not wanting to nominate the person he wanted. CT has on an open shirt, shades and a medallion. It is really hard for me to take him seriously anymore.

Clue time! Karamo reads off the sponsor phone name. Landon: “I love that phone.” Heh. Anyway, the players will have to wearing swimsuits and sneakers, and be on the bus at 5 a.m. Everybody at the table cheers and laughs, then Karamo admits that the departure time is 11 a.m. I didn’t get that the first few times. Closed captioning is my best friend.

Flame segue! We’re at the mission site as the players gather. Darrell’s wearing an afro wig, just like in the original Inferno. Dave welcomes everybody to today’s mission: Dodge Yer Balls, asking them if they’re ready for a “straight-up game of dodgeball.” I cringe, anticipating a lesson from Challenge veteran and Extreme Dodgeball “star” Mark Long. The guy gave Eric Nies $60,000. Basically, Mark is dead to me. Dave drops the exposition: the goal is to eliminate members of the opposing team. This is done by hitting a player with a ball or by catching a ball. Come on, who doesn’t know this? The teams will be spilt into two groups. The winners from each group will go to a final game to determine who wins the $10,000. Dave adds that the best players on each team will win the Aztec Lifeshield, as well as a sponsor laptop, whose brand name Dave totally mispronounces. I got a laptop from the same place. I can’t wait for their stuff to malfunction, so they’d have to deal with tech support. The players are blind to this as they cheer, prompting Dave to go, “Yeah. Mmm-hmm.” I kinda miss Plain Dave, as opposed to Extra-Nutty Dave. Mike interviews that he wants the money, the Lifeshield, and the laptop.

Dave adds that there’s a catch: the kids will be playing dodgeball on two floating platforms. One group will play, while the other goes into the water to fetch stray balls. Each player must participate. The teams are given five balls apiece, and can use the balls to defend themselves. If a ball pops out of the hands of a player, that person is out. If the ball is deflected off another ball and hits a teammate, that person is not out. Catching the ball brings a teammate back. Dave asks the teams to spilt into groups and “start this piece.”

Rachel leads a Bad Ass skull session, which amuses Dan. “We’re going to win,” he interviews. “We have a lesbian on our team! Yes! Lesbians always win dodgeball!” Rachel says that the best time to hit somebody is right before they throw the ball. Karamo interviews that there is too much strategizing. “We’re playing simple-ass dodgeball,” he adds. “Either you can catch it, or you’re getting pegged.” He also brings up hating the cold water. On the other side, Darrell tells the girls that they have to throw their balls first, since they might not get another chance. Dan thinks that the Good Guys will stack one team with guys and the other with girls. Tina interviews that the Bad Asses will put their strongest team out first.

Dave asks both teams if they’re ready, then asks if anybody wants to sit out. Karamo starts to ask, and Tina shouts that he will be playing. Dave says that all players must participate and the penalty is getting the group disqualified. Landon: “You might as well stay dry. You need some sun anyway.” Derrick interviews that Karamo isn’t really saying anything, and he think Karamo doesn’t care what’s going on with his team. Dave calls up the first Bad Ass group: CT, Abram, Derrick, Rachel and Tina. He starts reading the Good Guy group, stopping to check the list: Julie, Shavonda, Jamie and Jodi. The Bad Asses laugh their heads off. “This is a sorry sight,” Tina chuckles in an interview. “This is gonna be like a bowling alley. One by one, those pins are gonna go down.”

On the flip side, Dan sees that his group would have to take on Mike, Landon and Brad. I don’t know why he left out Darrell. He tells Karamo that their group doesn’t have a prayer. “When those guys masturbate,” Dan quips, “they think about dodgeball.” He interviews that the team is stoked, but Karamo doesn’t want to get in the water. CT makes a token effort to be supportive, telling Karamo that it would be okay to jump off the platform. Karamo doesn’t want to get in the water, and he thinks the Bad Asses can still win. CT figures it would be okay for Karamo to hit the water, then kick back on the sideline. Dan interviews that the team has Karamo talked into stepping into the water. As we hear Dan talk, the players approach the water. Cut to a close-up of a water snake. Are we going to go through the horror of Snake Soup again? The Good Guys flee in terror at the sight of the serpent. “I don’t think it helps Karamo’s fear of the ocean,” Dan understates, “when there are water snakes swimming around.”

Karamo walks up to Veronica, telling her that he’s not going in. He also calls her “mama,” which squicks me out. Tonya tells Karamo that he was fired up before. CT interviews that Karamo is a punk. “How can you expect to come to a challenge,” he continues, “and not get wet?” Tonya bitches in her interview about how Karamo is a “full-grown man” and he can’t even tread water with a life vest. I’m confused. Is it a swimming thing or a temperature thing? CT: “Do us a favor. You don’t want to win, take your punk ass home, cuz you’re obviously no good to our team.” I understand where he comes from, but he sounds horrible while saying it. I’m half-convinced he wants to be a Gotti at this point.

After the commercials, CT reminds us about Karamo’s refusal to play. Karamo tells Dan how his “black ass” doesn’t like water, and now he has to worry about snakes. Cut to Dave yelling to Landon that there’s a snake behind him. Karamo: “Do I look like Crocodile Dundee, that I want to play this shit?” Isn’t Karamo a little young for Paul Hogan references?

Both teams get ready, as Dave tosses balls to the players. He kicks a ball out, and the game starts when it hits the water. Jamie and Julie waste no time in getting eliminated. Jodi gets tagged, and Shavonda throws a ball that Derrick catches, ending the game. Abram smirks about how it was target practice for the Bad Asses to wipe out the girls in twenty seconds.

Dave: “Yo, where’s Karamo at?” I swear I did not make that line up. Tina yells for Karamo to come over, but he waves her off. Dave to the camera: “He says ‘boo-yah,’ he don’t care.” I just blink rapidly and move on. Anyway, the Bad Ass group loses, and Dave brings on the final match: Abram, CT, Derrick, Rachel and Tina vs. Brad, Darrell, Landon and Mike. Dave announces that the match will be for $10,000, then proceeds to perform some weird worm motion with his arms. I am now genuinely concerned for Dave’s mental health. Has he gotten a hold of Jonny Moseley’s medication?

Anyway, both teams toss balls back and forth. Tina gets hit, and a ball goes off Abram’s hand. While he tries to recover, he knocks Rachel off the platform. But Derrick catches Landon’s ball, bringing Rachel back to the game. All three Bad Ass players throw balls, and the last one knocks a ball from Brad’s hands, taking him out. Mike throws a ball which CT catches to bring back Abram, making Darrell the last Good Guy standing. He dodges a few balls, then catches Abram’s throw, bringing back Landon. The Good Guys toss and miss. Darrell tries to fake a throw, then fires a ball into CT’s hands, bringing back Abram. Derrick catches Landon’s throw, ending the game, and leaving Landon to stomp on the platform.

Karamo interviews that the team acted shady around him after their win. Sure enough, Derrick openly talks about how it was a good team win, as he high-fives CT and Abram. Karamo admits that he could have cost his team $10,000, and he can’t blame them for the hostility, but they have to get over it and move on.

Dave awards the $10,000 to the Bad Asses to put in their bank account. He then continues to get his Probst on, grilling Karamo about not playing. Karamo replies that he didn’t feel like going. “You guys are winning a lot of challenges right now,” Dave muses, “but it seems like loyalty goes out the door like Beth the other day.” Making fun of Beth? It’s like shooting fish in a barrel. Karamo does not want that comparison made, and I can’t really blame him. Dave awards Aztec Lifeshields to Landon and CT, along with the bonus laptops. He brings up saving either Karamo or Mike, noting that Mike never goes to the Inferno, since he wins the Lifeshield or somebody saves him. Since when has Mike been saved? Landon insists that he’ll wait and see. Mike: “I will break you in half if you do!” Dave concludes this session by telling everybody he’ll see them at nightfall. Karamo interviews that he’s “almost positive” his team wants him gone, but he doesn’t care. “You never know what happens,” he tells us. “The Inferno is a tricky place.”

Night. Some of the Good Guys gather outside. Landon tells Mike that he’s thinking of saving him. Mike does not approve of this. Darrell wants Mike to let Landon get his feet wet. Jodi rolls her eyes, telling Mike that it’s not because he’s weak. Mike insists that Karamo can’t take him out. Darrell does not want to lose Mike. Mike throws a spastic fit, informing the gang that he hasn’t lost an Inferno or a Gauntlet, and that he will kill Karamo. Landon interviews that he doesn’t want Mike to do this, and he wants to do the deed. Mike yells that he will look like a bitch if he gets saved. Poor Mike. He’s lost the last three Challenges. He wasn’t the alpha male in those Challenges. He couldn’t even last through Battle of the Sexes 2, and he watched Coral complete her fourth Challenge. Also, I believe that BMP might’ve talked him out of wearing his “Miz” shirts, as well as passing them out to his friends. Right now, he’s probably feeling emasculated, and he wants to throw himself on the hand grenade, even though it’s probably a dud.

Infenro time! The players pull up in vans. Darrell interviews about Landon being strong and Karamo being scared, then says “Inferno” correctly. I think that’s a first for Darrell, who mangled it as “Infuorno” last year. The players enter the arena and take their places upstairs. CT yells to Landon, asking him if he’s taking Mike’s place. Dave enters the stage, bringing out Mike and Karamo He points out that Landon won the Lifeshield, then asks whether Landon will make the sacrifice. Everybody looks tense as we head for commercials.

The tape gets rewound, as Dave asks Landon if he’ll take Mike’s place. Landon states that he’s confident in Mike, but he’s going in. Yeah, boy! Philly Phight! First time two cast members from the same season go at it. Of course, Mike is ticked off. “I know I can beat Karamo hands down,” he interviews. “I don’t know if [Landon] can. So why’s he friggin’ taking my Inferno from me? I know I can beat him!” He grunts and stalks away from the camera. Tool.

Out of formality, Dave asks CT if he wants to take Karamo’s place. Karamo mutters “Yeah, right” with a smile. “I don’t feel like saving Karamo because he doesn’t feel like competing in missions,” CT interviews. “So suck it, you’re beat. See you later, becuase we don’t want ya.” It’s like watching Rob Mariano vote in Survivor: All-Stars. I might just quit if CT says “Holy canolli!” Karamo interviews that a part of him wants to lose the Inferno, so he can tell his team to kiss his ass. The other part wants to order for him to tell his team to kiss his ass. Apparently, Karamo thinks his ass is very kissable.

Dave unveils tonight’s Inferno. In my world, it would have involved two knifes, a barstool, and Melanie’s heavily-tatted friends. Instead, we have Knock Your Block Off. Like the Gauntlet event of the same name, it involves pugil sticks. Here, you wear a helmet with a block attached to it. The object is to knock the block off the opponent’s head with the stick. First person to get the blocked knocked off takes the walk of shame out of the game. Hitting below the belt results in disqualification. Dave shows the perimeter, which is marked by two dragons. If a player gets pushed out, the bout is halted and the combatants start again. Shavonda: “In Landon’s eyes, I see focus. Then I look at Karamo, and Karamo’s thinking, ‘I wonder what time my flight leaves tomorrow?’” There it is...the hatred I forgot all about. Just the way she says it....ugh.

Dave bangs the gong to begin the fight. Both players swat at each other. Lnadon forces Karamo back past the box. Dave resets the players, then starts the fight again. Both take their shots, and it looks pretty close. Then Landon knocks Karamo’s block off. Game Over. The Good Guys cheer, as Landon and Karamo shake hands and hug. Brad yells that Karamo did a good job. Karamo blows a kiss. Tonya: “Thank you. At least you give up that.” Karamo flips a bird, saying that’s what his team gets. He relents, saying it wasn’t for all of them. Landon interviews that he’s glad to win, but he hates to see his good friend go.

Dave congratulates Landon for his victory, then sends him back to the Good Guys. Once again, Dave goes over Karamo’s refusal to play again (horse...dying...), then sends him to say his farewells to his team. Karamo interviews that he’ll miss the people that he met, and he had good times hanging out. He shakes hands with the Good Guys through the cage. He hugs and kisses Tina, as the Bad Asses walk past him.

And now, it’s time for Abram’s interview, as he admits to not saying goodbye to Karamo. “He didn’t have any dignity, man. He was heartless, and some people, they just don’t earn respect in life. Karamo is one of those people.” Okay. We’ve seen Abram have tantrums on camera. We’ve seen him beat the snot out of a guy. Have a threesome he barely concealed to the camera. Get a lame Mohawk. Threw a mission and shame Katie in the process. Who the hell is Abram kidding? Yes, Karamo did punk out big-time. But saying that he has no dignity? That’s not the pot calling the kettle black. That’s a black hole calling the kettle black. On, Karamo expressed the desire to punch CT. If he can’t find him for whatever reason, may Karamo relieve some pressure by socking Abram. Seriously, what does Coral see in that dumbass?

The Good Guys walk out of the Inferno in good spirits. Mike congratulates Landon, insisting there’s no hard feelings. Mike interviews that he was worried the team would lose one of its best competitors, but Landon proved himself. He adds that it’s cool to have another person on the team that can handle pressure.

Jarro Video Bar. The players dance around. “Our team definitely knows how to step it up,” Tonya interviews. “I almost feel like chaos works for us. The more stress there is, the more arguments there are, we’re amped up to do that much better.” More dancing. Mike dances like a dork. In an interview, he hopes that his team can get to the next level. We hear Lil Jon’s “Get Low” as Veronica and Rachel dance together. I find that oddly fitting. Veronica interviews that the Bad Asses need to weed out their weaker players, and she thinks the team is stronger with Beth and Karamo gone. Cut to Veronica getting sandwiched by Rachel and Tina, while Tonya smacks Tina in the butt.

Next week: Mike orders a girl to get naked, but we don’t get to see her face. Great, who hasn’t Mike wooed in a Challenge? The mission involves trying to prevent water from pouring out of holes. Mike interviews that members of the Bad Ass team are intimidating Jodi. Cut to Jodi crying.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Random Thoughts

Thanks for the feedback. I should say that I'm not that bugged about people reading this blog. Rather, I was in a tizzy over how few people supported me with the whole Tubey's Kids thing. I just figured to get a lot more than two people to raise money to bring the Challenge back to TWoP for a while. Afterwards, I had to question why I recap, and why I have 2.5 seasons on tape. Am I obsessive? Maybe this is about the blog after all.

Other stuff:

  • I got my ticket to Wizard World: Philadelphia today. Won't have to plan the trip for almost two months. I can go there in about 90 minutes or less. While I'm pumped to go to an actual con (as opposed to the weak Big Apple Cons), I'm still yearning for the massive stuff like CCI in San Diego. Also, I've noticed most of my fave writers and artists never make it out to the East Coast that often. One day, I gotta talk about my sketchbook. I've had it since CCI in 2000, and it's still not full. Only guy who I'd wait in line for is Rags Morales, and even then, I dunno what to ask him for (Elongated Man? Calculator? Crazy ol' Jean Loring?). I'm hoping Marvel ships in Adam Warren and/or Rick Mays from Livewires, but I'm not getting my hopes up.

  • Saw the Mets play their home opener on TV. It was a little more stressful than last week, but this time, the Mets won. Last week had been rough...they lost on Looper's messed-up inning, then they got swept out of Cincinnati. They lost two to Atlanta...and that sucks, since I hate the Braves. Those guys have won every division title since 1991, yet they have one World Series championship. Their fans don't come out for the postseason (can't knock Yankee fans on that), their manager is a button-pusher...and I hate Chipper Jones. He was the guy who said that when the Mets lose, their fans put on Yankee apparel and pull for the Bronx Bombers. I dunno what's more unforgivable...that, or naming his kid "Shea." Topic? Right...Pedro Martinez got a two-hit win on Sunday to give the Mets their first win. Today, they went back and forth against the Astros. It's one of those games where you lose hope every bit as easily as you gain it, if that makes sense. Most bizarre moment was when John Franco was brought in to hold off a Mets rally in the eighth. The guy had been with New York since 1990. I understand the Mets letting him walk. But why Houston? Wouldn't he wanted to stay local, like maybe join the Phillies or Nationals? I just can't fathom Franco in Texas, wearing a ten gallon hat (he's 5'8", so the visual is extra funny). Anyway, the Mets came up big, and Looper had a four-run cushion that even he couldn't blow. Mets win, all is right with the world.
  • Got TV Guide in the mail...they had a brief piece on Survivor: Palau, with profiles of the main alphas (Tom, Gregg, Ian and Stephenie). Here's the interesting thing...there was some behind-the-scenes stuff about a challenge for next week's episode. The thing you have to know is that if you don't subscribe, you have to find the Guide on newsstands starting on day after an episode airs. The rub: they mention two teams. At that stage in the series, there would be individual challenges. From what I read, it doesn't seem like it's a task where pairs compete. The implications are out there. Right now, the Koror tribe has a huge 8-1 advantage over Stephenie of Ulong. Would Steph get to pick replacements? Do we have a merge at eight, and a five-person jury?
  • Saw the latest Inferno II. I know...Karamo didn't play, and he went out like a chump. For some reason, I don't completely hate him. My ire goes to CT, instead. The boy is a walking Italian caricature, he's that embarrassing. I was comparing him to Rob Mariano in terms of being a fool...and I forgot that we got a reality show full of stereotypes on Growing Up Gotti. Open shirt, shades, bald head, medallion...he wants Victoria to adopt him. I don't really give a crap about my Italian heritage, but CT bugs. And if Karamo wants to pop him in the mush, I'd hold him. As for Abram going on how Karamo has no dignity. That's not the pot calling the kettle black...that's a friggin' black hole calling the kettle black. I hope Coral has Abram on a short leash. And a muzzle. I can hope, right?
  • Quick heads-up: TV Guide listings have a brief blurb over the next Inferno II ep...apparently, Jodi and Derrick aren't getting along. Too bad, since Derrick showed signs of being an adult last week. From tonight's teaser, we also have a dyke-plugging mission. These missions are so well thought-out, it's scary. What happened to the half-assed missions of yore? Take away the confusing "pass the clothes" mission and Dave Mirra trying to "get with it," and you have a halfway decent show.

Sunday, April 10, 2005


You might notice that I haven't been posting that much. Come to think of it, I don't know if anybody's been reading this at all, given the lack of comments and e-mail.

The truth is, my life sucks. Not like I get beat up or pantsed on an everyday basis, but there's so little to write about. I have ideas, but I never feel like following through. Why? Most of it is stuff magnified to an absurd degree...commentary where I get a little too into things, the stuff that got me kicked off that other site and made this blog possible. And most of my life is the little problems that end up getting blown out of proportion.

Example: On Television Without Pity, there's a thread for Pixel Challenges. Basically, you're given a theme or a picture to mess with, and you run with it. A few weeks ago, there was a Deadwood-themed PC. I didn't know the show, but I knew open cursing was involved. Lots of cursing. Particularly the word "cocksucker." I ended up popping out six entries. One of them had me plunging into Desperate Housewives sites, looking for the right pics. In the end, I had recreated the scene where Edie throws the ashes of Mrs. Huber into Susan's face. I ended up with six panels; the last one with Teri Hatcher's face covered in human remains, and Al Swearengen (the cussiest cusser of Deadwood, or so I've heard) in the last panel, mumbling, "Oh, Susan" (it's a running gag used by the recapper anytime Susan takes a pratfall or a hit to her diginty).

Fast forward to today. I'm sitting out the Pixel Challenge, since I know jack about Farscape. I find out that there's a special PC: banners for TWoPcons (in short: get-togethers for the TWoP faithful). After thinking about it, I decide to use Susan's face. I open the aforementioned file. I cut out Teri's face. I go over the words, stuff that will either go unnoticed or guarantee somebody to propose marriage to me. Then I save the file. And I think to myself, "Huh. How come I'm not getting a 'Save As' notice?" And then...

"Oh, CRAP!"

I had messed up the file. Quickly, I use "Save As," but the damage is done. Worse, I had deleated the file from my Earthlink Personal Webspace account, since I wanted to keep things less crowded. So what do I do? Do I try and recreate it? Use System Restore and hope that I can get it back? Hope that somebody copied it for their own enjoyment, then ask for it back?

See? See how trite this all sounds? So I lost a file. Big whoop! Not like I needed to waste your time. Yet...I need validation. I used to think of myself as a recogintion whore. I define "attention whore" as somebody who would do anything to get noticed. In my mind, a recognition whore would be somebody who does stuff, and then tries to get it noticed. The difference? I wouldn't try to run in traffic to get attention, but I would write recaps, then send a message to folks via to the tune of "Guess how I skewer these idjits this week!"

But I discovered another level of whoredom: validation. I had mentioned the business with Tubey's Kids a few weeks ago. I set up a Challenge thread. I e-mailed as many people as I could about it. You know how many people responded? Two. That's it. The show hasn't been recapped on the site since 2002, and only two other people were interested in paying for the right to bring it back, even on a temporary basis. I also set up threads for two animated series: Cowboy Bebop and Justice League. Total number of people who responded to both threads: two.

Suddenly, I have to ask myself: Am I the only one who gets worked up about this? This is where the validation thing kicks in...I need people to be on the same page as me. It's not about agreeing with me, but about caring enough. I'm willing to pay money to see somebody recap a show that I like, and I want somebody there with me, plunking down currency alongside me. Otherwise, why bother? Aside from showing my ex-colleagues that I can recap even after being dismissed, I want people to read my reviews, to give me feedback. Otherwise, I'm just some bozo ranting about some dumb reality show nobody should give two spits about.

I just had to get that out of my system.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Inferno 2 Episode 5: Quitters Never Win

Previously on Inferno II: Tonya threw Beth’s clothes into the pool as a response for Beth spreading gossip. Tonya: “You see her stir up shit and lie? Did you see her not even defend herself? She’s so fucking scared.” Actually, Beth was still in bed, so shut up. The Bad Asses tried to bail Tina out of the Inferno during Run For Your Money, in order to send Beth in her place. The person handling the narration skips past the teams having to actually count the money, instead giving Beth credit for losing the mission by miscounting her tally. Beth interviews that the Bad Asses lost $10,000 because they didn’t act as a team. In the Inferno, Tina beat Robin, sending her back to California and her dodgeball-playing ass of a boyfriend. Afterwards, Beth and Veronica went at it, in a battle of wills where you should never take a side. Beth: “The people that I’m dealing with are crazy, and the last thing I want to do is help them win money.”

We start at the Villa, as Beth sorts through her clothes. She interviews that it’s hard for her to sleep, and that she shouldn’t have to wonder where her property is. Then she drops the bombshell. “I need to leave,” she tells us. “There’s other things that I could be doing. This stress is just not worth it to me.”

Cut to Beth outside with her bags. Karamo asks what she’s doing. Beth lets him in on her plans to leave, calling him the only person on her team she feels comfortable confiding it. I’m guessing Karamo started watching The Real World around the time of the Boston season, because he would have gotten as far away from her as possible. She goes on about how she doesn’t feel safe, and she doesn’t want to deal with it anymore. Karamo interviews that he has no beef with her and that her teammates would take care of her, but she’s still going home.

Beth tells Julie that “it’s all mentally ill.” Yeah, Julie would know a thing or two about that. “In the real world,” Beth interviews, “I would never let anybody treat me that way and get away with it.” Cue the slow-motion clip of Tonya tossing the clothes. “I really think that all these are evil.” Cue the arguement with Veronica. Beth hugs Karamo and Landon. “You guys can enjoy my leftover scraps,” she blahs to us. “Have fun with your pocket change [camera zooms in] and I hope you choke on it.” She rides off in a cab.

Okay. I know that having your stuff defiled is a big deal. I know that watching people take pictures and laugh sucks. Tonya’s actions were entirely unjustified. With that said, I still think Beth is an idiot. Couldn’t she have asked BMP to watch her stuff? Or move to a nearby hotel? Sure, her team would probably have rigged missions to send her into the Inferno, but the Good Guys would’ve worked to prevent that. And maybe she would have had a shot at winning the Inferno. Did she not see underdogs like Sarah and Katie win their endgames, when nobody gave them a chance? No, Beth took the easy way out. Rather than stay in, bug her teammates out of spite and try to win a share of the bank, she turned tail and ran. She came into this Challenge a loser, and she’ll always be a loser. And how did she follow this act up? By appearing on and announcing the number of guys Tonya had slept with, as well as saying that Abram hooked up with a guy. I’ll say this: if anybody out there likes Beth, it’s because they don’t really know her, or that there’s something wrong with them. Rant over, back to the drama that matters.

Night. Several players chilling in and near the pool. CT asks Julie what happened with Beth. “It bummed me out,” Julie says, “that she’s making a fool of herself.” Gosh, Julie is such a good friend. Brad figures that things got out of hand between some of the girls, and Beth couldn’t handle it. “When she came in running her mouth like that,” Brad adds, “I was like, ‘Who is this old lady?’” Note to self: buy Brad a drink if I ever meet him. Derrick interviews that losing Beth is fine by him, since there’s one less weak player around. Brad notes that Beth had nothing to bring to the table. Amen, dude.

Clue time! Brad reads the text message: get ready to go to the Porta de Navidad at 11:30 a.m. and wear team colors. Dan deduces that they’ll be going out to the ocean. Derrick repeats that his team feels very good not having Beth around.

On the roof, Abram and Mike have a chat. Abram says that his team is gunning for Mike. Mike interviews that people think he and Abram are in an alliance, which he denies. “I want the best competition to make it to the end,” Mike adds. “Abram, I think ,is the same way.” Abram interviews that Mike always gets him fired up in competition. Inside that villa, Dan tells CT and Tina that Mike and Abram are friends, and neither wants to see the other go. They’ve been there and done that. Dan interviews that everybody says they’re not in an alliance. He also throws out something to Julie about how a place called “Honest Abe’s Car Dealership” wouldn’t be that honest.

New day! Dave welcomes the players to the mission site, then “notices” that one of the Bad Asses has left. Cue the clip of Beth walking off, as we hear Rachel cheer. Dave: “You guys have a lot of drama. That’s crazy.” Whatever. Anyway, today’s mission is Shirt Off My Back. Dave shows the players some Speedo apparel. Before the mission, the players will put on the attire and walk down on beams. The objective: take a set of clothes off, pass it to a teammate, and have them put on the clothes. Dan tries to exposition that they must put on the clothes in order, as displayed on the racks. The ladies will keep their bikini bottoms on at all times, while the guys wear tiny Speedos. Landon adds that the girls will wear three shirts and two shorts, while the boys must wear three shorts and two shirts. If anybody falls into the pool, that person must go to the end of the line and trade out all their clothes. I’m writing this three nights after the fact, and I still don’t get it. Veronica: “I’m much better at taking off my clothes than I am putting it on, so we’ll see how it goes.” The girl makes my work too easy. Abram interviews that he’s willing to put on a woman’s bathing suit for $10,000.

The players go to get changed. Dan lets us in on his team’s strategy: if one person falls off the beam, he must go to the beginning of the line. The plan: have the person at the end of the line fall in, then swim over to the first person. I nod my head as a helpful graphic demonstrates Dan’s plan, and I still don’t get it. Darrell is happy that the Good Guys have an advantage, since they have fewer people and more room to manuever on the beam.

It’s time for something I’ve covered twice already: the boys squeezing into tight swimwear. Once again: if Antoine isn’t involved, it’s not that funny. Julie interviews that the boys look amazing. She adds, “It’s sad that every boy on my team has bigger boobs than I do.” We get a shot of Julie in her bikini, and she has a point. It’s tough, especially when her season wasn’t marked by a lady with sizable breasts, and that said season was sandwiched by installments with women who were well endowed (Amaya of Hawaii, Coral of Back to New York). Mike poses in his Speedo, complaining that it doesn’t compliment his body, adding that “Seymour” is packed in there. Mike naming his manhood doesn’t surprise me. But “Seymour”? That just screams “middle-aged accountant” to me.

The players walk out on the beams. Dan notes how shaky it is. Karamo interviews that he feels like falling off, and the mission hasn’t even started yet. Dave reminds the kids that the mission begins once he blows his air horn. He blows, and the players start disrobing, trying to keep their balance as the beam wobbles.

After commercials, we see both sides pass clothes. Jodi interviews the beam is shaking because everybody is moving at once, especially when they put on shorts. Dan gets his clothes, then drops into the water. All part of the plan, right? “When you jump in the water with your clothes on,” Dan interviews, “your clothes are also going to get wet. And when your clothes are wet, they’re a little sticky. [shot of Dan going through his wet clothes] Perhaps we should have though at that point we came up with this brilliant idea.” Dan tells his team to move over in order to make room. Meanwhile, the Good Guys move along. The Bad Asses struggle, as Dan takes another dip into the pool. Dave: “Guys, remember you got to put on [your clothes] properly. So just put them on like you’re going out to a dinner date.” This cracks me up, and I don’t know why.

The Good Guys finish up, and they walk over to Dave for inspection. Abram makes a sour face as Dave ends it, giving the Good Guys the win. The team celebrates by cannonballing into the pool Jodi interviews that the win gives her team more confidence and the ability to keep winning. Tonya interviews that they the Bad Asses should never have gotten anybody into the water. Derrick thinks Dan was trying to be a hero. Veronica: “Part of this game is to adapt quickly to things that are thrown at you, and we didn’t do that. It’s definitely not a good feeling to lose.” She tells her teams that it’s a wasted lose if they didn’t learn from it. That’s oddly coherrent coming from Veronica.

Denouement. Dave congratulates the Good Guys for “smoking the Bad Asses today!” Wherever Dave bought his personality, I hope he kept the receipt. Blah blah blah, $10,000 for the Good Guys. Darrell tries to walk the beam to get to Dave, but winds up falling in the pool instead. Julie ends up grabbing the check. Landon interviews that his team earned this mission. Abram makes monkey noises in his interview, flashing double birds. “That was my money!” he adds. “And it really pissed me off!” Tool. Dave dismisses the kids to their lounges, giving them 30 minutes to pick somebody to go to the Inferno. This time, it’s the boys’ turn to feel the burn.

Good Guys Deliberation Meeting. Mike compliments the teamwork, then figures that he’ll be nominated into the Inferno. Shavonda remembers that Robin wasn’t confident going in last time, so she’s okay with sending a weaker guy. Jamie brings up Karamo’s name. Julie thinks that any guy on the team could beat him. Shavonda interviews that she voted for Karamo. “We want confidence in our boys going into the Inferno,” she continues. “Every guy counts at this point, and we want to keep our boys as long as possible.” Mike says that they had to find a way to win, and they found it today.. Brad interviews that it feels great to be catching up. Mike leads a team cheer, then bellows, “Who’s your daddy!” Shavonda: “Mike!” Mike as a father? Brrrrrrrrrrr.

Bad Asses Deliberation Meeting. Abram brings up Mike and Landon. Karamo wants Landon because he’s a stronger player, adding that they tried to get rid of Mike and that didn’t work out. CT replies that Mike didn’t go in. Karamo proclaims that the team can’t keep going for Mike, and the Good Guys would target the Bad Ass weaker players. Dan isn’t scared of anybody. CT wants Mike, since Mike is a leader. Since when? Battle of the Seasons? Abram think that there’s a better chance to beat Mike. Karamo thinks his team sounds weak and scared of Landon. CT: “How you gonna tell us that we’re weak? You’re the weakest guy on our team. All you do is sleep all day.” Karamo: “Kiss my black ass. I’ll do whatever the fuck I want!” CT accuses Karamo of playing the race card, which sets Karamo off. Derrick stares off, while Dan looks on snarkily with his eyebrows raised.

After the commercials, CT reminds us that Karamo wants Landon. “Karamo starts calling us weak,” he interviews. “It’s not gonna happen, Karamo. Please.” Veronica asks what happened. Isn’t she right there? Karamo reinterates that he feels like he’ll be sent into the Inferno, and he knows Landon well enough. Also, we can find out who the true alpha male is from Real World: Philadelphia. Did somebody say “knife fight”? Tina reminds everybody that the Good Guys can throw curveballs, and Derrick thinks any Bad Ass could wind up in the Inferno. Karamo interviews the team is going against him, and he feels like he’s on his own.

Dan asks Abram who he wants nominated. Abram starts hedging, saying he likes the idea of picking Landon. Tonya notes that Mike won the last two Aztec Lifeshields, and he could do it again. Abram doesn’t even want to vote, since he doesn’t want to pick Mike. “I’ll vote for whoever I want,” he interviews, “for whatever reasons I want, and y’all can go screw yourselves.”

So who did the Bad Asses peg? Dave goes over the nomination proceedings, starting with the Bad Asees. Tina announces that Mike is going in, prompting Mike to shout “I’m back, bitches! I’m back” so many times, that Dave Chappelle and the ghost of Rick James have to beat him up. I can dream, right? Dave asks the Good Guys whom they’ve selected. Landon announces that Karamo is the pick. Dave gets both nominees to place their figurines into the Mininferno. Mike and Karamo shake hands, guy-hug, and nearly knock Dave to the side. Dave reminds both players that they can win the Aztec Lifeshield and bail out of their date. Mike interviews that it sucks because it puts pressure on him to win the Lifeshield. “I’m kinda jealous of my other teammates,” he adds, “because until they’re gone, they probably won’t even have to go to the Inferno.”

Karamo walks away, ticked by the way things worked out. He tells Derrick that the Good Guys threw a curveball, and he doesn’t feel like he’s on the team. In an interview, Derrick admits that he was wrong, Karamo was right, and he would be upset in Karamo’s position. Wow, Derrick is growing up so quickly. He tells Karamo that he wants him around. Karamo appreciates it. Cut to CT looking on. He snottily interviews that Karamo’s attitude sucks, and there is no way Karamo could beat him, Derrick and Abram for the Lifeshield. “You dug your own grave,” CT concludes, “now you’re going to get buried.” First of all, doesn’t CT know that Dan is still in the game? Or that the women can win the Lifeshield? I’m tired of CT and his dumbass gangsta necklace. To me, all he’s good for is fighting Rob Mariano to see who is the more obnoxious Italian -American from Boston.

Night. Abram tells Derrick that he can’t vote for Mike again. Derrick thinks that if Abram wants to be real, he shouldn’t vote for Mike. Abram calls himself an asshole, and I cannot argue with him. Derrick: “I have tendencies to be an asshole, too.” Abram notes that everybody thinks he has a deal with Mike, which he insists is not the case. “If one more person accuses me of making an alliance,” he interviews, “there’s a real high likelihood that my patience will wear out.”

Moon shot. Owl hooting. Tina talks hypothetically about people thinking she’s in an alliance. Mike agrees, while Abram stands near the sink, near the knives. Tina brings up Mike and Abram. Mike notes that Abram picked him to go into the Inferno. Tense music plays as Abram jumps in, saying he voted for Mike because the others wanted that, and that it’s wrong to send in players who deserve to be here. “And if you think I have an alliance with Mike,” he bellows, “you can all go fuck yourselves!” Looks like somebody needs a nap. Tina accuses Abram of being full of it. Abram retorts that if he had an alliance, he wouldn’t have voted for Mike. There’s more bickering, followed by Abram roaring like a spazzy lion. He grabs a glass, stalks off (not premeditated, I’m so certain), and wings it from the balcony. Instantly, the echos of hundreds of thousands of BMP fans can be heard to cry out, “What if we have company?!?” Come back to us, Teck. We miss you so much.

Next time: Dave tells the kids that they’ll be playing dodgeball on floating platforms. Great, now I have to wonder if Mark will show up. Karamo tells us that he hates cold water, so he sits on the sidelines. CT: “Do us a favor. If you don’t wanna win, take your punk ass home.” Cut to a player POV shot of the Inferno, and they smack each other with pugil sticks.