Saturday, May 14, 2005

Inferno 2, Episode 10: Melvins & Meatheads

Previously on Inferno II: The Good Guys won Never Ending Climb, increasing their bank account to $40,000. The team chose Abram to go into the Inferno, as Julie thought he would be caught off guard. The Bad Asses stuck with their plan to keep picking Mike. Tina said it wasn’t personal, and the stage was set for the most anticipated Inferno yet. Thankfully, Dan’s hissy fit doesn’t get repeated

We’re back at the Jarro Video Bar. Our characters dance around, as well as “swapping lips and smacking bellies,” in Darrell’s words. Four girls grind on Julie. I’m not even going to ask.

In the Good Guys’ van, everybody is loosened up. Mike gives Brad a wedgie over the car seat, pulling the waistband over his head. Brad seems to be into first. “Now it’s a necklace!” he yells to the camera. “Do you like that?!?” But then he interviews that it took him time to realize that “this bloated son of a bitch just ripped my underwear from my pants,” and now he’s angry. Brad gets out of the van, pants around his calves. Not a good scene. Jamie interviews that Brad was laughing before, but he snapped and became “Mean Brad.”

Brad rages around, while Derrick pours a drink on him. In the Bad Ass van, Dan just shakes his head, as Brad shoves Derrick into a van. Derrick: “We are definitely too old to be giving each other wedgies. We are not in seventh grade anymore.” How is Derrick the most mature Bad Ass? Well...when he’s sober, anyway. Brad hulks out some more, banging on the van while his teammates laugh. Mike interviews that their reaction just pisses him off more, and they think it’s a big joke because they’ve never seen anything like it.

Back at the villa, Brad is still furious towards Mike. Mike tells Brad to calm down, which Brad does not want to hear. Mike says that he’s had wedgies before, and every guy get one “atomic wedgie” once in their lives. As traumatic as my childhood was, I didn’t get that done to me. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have repressed the memory, either. Brad thinks it’s a big joke to the others that the elastic was ripped from his underwear. “I definitely drank too much,” he admits in an interview, “but I don’t know where he gets off thinking we’re cool enough where he can grab my underwear, and it’s going to be a joke. But the fact is it’s not that cool.” Mike asks why he’s so upset. Brad proceeds to curse out Mike. Mike tries to calm Brad down, and he eventually succeeds, even as we see a close-up of Brad’s bruised knuckle. “I’m really not intimidated by Mike and his acting like he’s this big tough guy,” Brad interviews, “because to be honest with you, I’m not impressed by that. Congratulations, you’re a meathead, son, but you know what? Don’t ever put your fucking hands on my underwear.” Words to live by.

Text message time! Landon reads the instructions in the hot tub area: catch the bus at 9:30 a.m., wear sneakers and team colors. Darrell interviews that his team has won two missions in a row, and hopefully they can get it together to win a third.

A flame segue brings us to a new day. Mike interviews that he’s planning on winning the Aztec Lifesaver to get out of the Inferno, or to win the Inferno. He adds that this is the most anticipated Inferno yet: “Miz vs. Mini-Miz.” I’ll settle for “Bozeman Bozo” for Abram. Oh, and Mike reminds us that he beat Abram in the Gauntlet, and now Abram’s out to get him

Flames! The players pile out. Abram notices the “sweet-looking hot rods.” Cut to champagne glasses stacked on the road. One hot rod revs up and...oh, good Lord. Dave Mirra is behind the wheel! I’m impressed...does Jeff Probst ever test out a challenge? Or Phil Keoghan compete in a Roadblock? Dave peels out, driving really fast. Abram makes his usually chimp noises in an interview, adding, “I’m just gonna drive right through those motherfucking things! Yeah!” Dave hits the brake, stopping short of the glasses.

Back from commercials, Dave welcomes the players to today’s mission: What a Drag. Sad title for a cool event. The players will be going head-to-head in a “good old-fashioned drag race.” The competitors will drive two cars at the same time. Time will start once Dave blows his airhorn, and it stops once the front tires cross the plane of the finish line. Dan expositions that the line is set up a few inches from the margarita glasses. The goal: cross the line, but not hit the glasses. Dave adds that if a player breaks the glasses, they will be given the slowest time, plus a five minute penalty. Tina: “I’m a horrible driver. My insurance is ridiculous because of all the things I’ve hit.” The team with the fastest average time gets $10,000. “I came here to win the game,” Brad interviews. “I don’t like ripping people’s underwear. I don’t want to make too much noise and screw up my situation in this game.” Dave adds that the players with the best times get the Aztec Lifeshield. What, no sponsor prizes? Abram interviews that he wants the Lifeshield, since he doesn’t want to go into the Inferno.

Heat One: Shavonda vs. Dan. Dan interviews that the odds of him winning the Lifeshield are slim, since he’s not a good drive. Dave sounds his airhorn, and both players peel out, slowing before the finish line. Times: Shavonda 14.86 seconds, Dan 15.54.

Heat Two: Jamie vs. Rachel. Rachel 15.48, Jamie 15.67.

Heat Three: Julie vs. CT. CT sits in the driver’s seat, holding a team flag out of the window, and smoking a cigarette. Oh, he’s such a bad boy. After Dave blows the airhorn, Julie takes off. CT, on the other hand, is stuck. “Leave it to CT to break his car,” Dan interviews. “Seriously, how is it that CT can get into a perfectly working automobile, press on the gas, and the thing breaks? It’s the reverse of King Midas, where everything he touches turns to crap.” Oh, I would’ve loved for him to say that to CT’s face. CT: “It’s not the car’s fault that it overheated. It’s juts that it gets hot inside when I step in.” Sure it is, fella. Dave tells the players that the car broke down. He adds: “I guess CT had too much muscle for that muscle car.” Anyway, we’ll be going with single heats now.

CT still has a flag out of the window, and he’s still smoking. He brakes at 14:46. Julie tells us to buckle up for safety. She stops short of the line, lurching forward at 15.50. Average times: Bad Asses 15.16, Good Guys 14.99. Tina slows down near the end at 17.93. Darrell stops, then lurches for a time of 16.16. Average times: Bad Asses 15.85, Good Guys 15.54.

Tonya’s turn comes up. “I am the worst driver in the history of the world,” she interviews. “I hit everything, including my garage.” She takes off, stopping short at 19.16. She’s thrilled enough that she hugs Rachel. Veronica interviews that she, Rachel and Tina decided to be cool with Tonya, because they don’t want her to be dramatic. “Good job,” she enthusiastically tells Tonya, “and you didn’t fuck up!” Such a kind, gentle soul.

Brad interviews that the Inferno is a risky place to be, and he has to beat Mike’s time in order to not go into the Inferno. He winds up with a time of 14.16. Veronica ends up nudging the glasses, but they miraculously sway back into position. Her time: 16.83. She tells us that she’s lucky not to have lost the mission for her team.

Mike interviews that this is the third time he’s been nominated for the Inferno, and he has to win the Lifeshield to save himself. He takes off, and hits the brake at 14.01. He tells us that she’s confident with his time, but it’s too close to call. Derrick slowly approaches the finsih line, and has to lurch twice. His time: 25.10. Average times: Bad Asses 17.78, Good Guys 15.06.

Landon interviews that he plans on coming out faster and waiting longer to brake. He ends up hitting the brakes hard, causing the wheels to smoke as he knocks some glasses over. Mike curses, while his teammates turn away. Landon’s time: 5:25.10. He slams the door, while the Bad Asses celebrate. Jamie interviews that Landon has handed $10,000 to the other team. He interviews that his penalty has taken him out of the game. Julie: “We need a miracle at this point.” Sorry, Julie...those are reserved for infertile couples this week.

Abram interviews that all he has to do is get the Lifeshield. Tina: “Abe, keep your head on, don’t try to go balls to the wall. Your only goal is not crashing through those glasses.” Abram races off. Tonya yells for him to slow down, and the others join her. He hits the brakes, stops, then lurches towards the line. His time: 14.80. Derrick celebrates the win, while Tina thinks Abram won the Lifeshield.

Dave congratulates the Bad Asses on their win, handing the $10,000 check to Tonya. The current tallies: Bad Asses with $60,000, Good Guys with $40,000. After the massacre that was Battle of the Sexes 2, it’s nice to see two teams pretty much even. Dave awards a Lifeshield to CT, for his time of 14.46 seconds. Abram interviews that he’s going to the Inferno. Dave dramatic pauses before announcing the Good Guys’ best performer with 14.01 seconds. After close-ups of Darrell, Brad and Mike, Dave hands the Mike. Damn. It’s like he gained Coral’s ability to dodge elimination. Of course, Mike jumps around like a tool, challenging the Bad Asses to keep picking him. He goes into Miz mode in an interview, bragging about getting his third Lifeshield. In case you’re wondering, he picked one up in Run For Your Money. Landon interviews that this sucks, since one of the other guys has to go in Mike’s place. Dave wraps things up, telling the kids that he’ll see them at nightfall. Tina interviews that she doesn’t know how the Good Guys will pick somebody. “If they lose one of their guys,” she adds, “their team is seriously crippled.”

The Good Guys have a quick meeting. Mike playfully asks for volunteers. Julie suggests that they pick names from a hat. That is the dumbest way to send somebody off. It sucked when Kina got picked off by that method in Road Rules: X-Treme. Darrell thinks that if they do that, his name will pop up. Naturally, Mike likes the idea, and he tells those who would take his place to go into the Inferno and take care of business. The names are put into a hat, and Mike selects one as we head into commercials.

We rewind a bit, as Mike picks the name. And our lucky sacrifice is...Brad. Yup, this has not been his episode. He interviews that he had a feeling it would be him. “It’s never a good situation,” he adds. “You can’t predict what you’re going to be going up against.”

Now let’s get a word with Darrell. “I feel kinda bad in a way,” he interviews. “I’ve been performing the poorlest out of the whole team as far as the dudes, but I can’t volunteer myself.” Here’s my problem: Darrell has won two Challenges, and he hasn’t gone into an endgame in either one. Meanwhile, Landon won an Inferno, and Brad got screwed over by the men’s team last season. I get upset, since any time I think of The Gauntlet, all I can hear from Darrell is “I know Sarah gonna fail, piddy tah dinky foe get yo ass up, girl.”Also: “poorlest”? It’s official: our favorite mushmouth is back. Anyway, he doesn’t want Brad to go, and he hopes Brad can whup Abram’s ass. And I’m sure that’s something we can all get behind.

Nightfall. Inferno. The players enter, as we see balls on the side, as well as a cannister in the middle of the floor. Dave welcomes everybody back, pronouncing tonight’s event to be “the most intense Inferno yet.” He calls out Abram and “Mike the Miz.” Just say “Mike” or Miz,” Dave. Since Mike has tonight off, he’s wearing a buttoned shirt and good pants. Dave says that Abram didn’t win the Lifeshield, he will be competing tonight. Wait...there’s no questioning of CT? I guess the only guy he’ll bail out is Drama David, his buddy from Boston. Dave continues, asking Mike which guy will replace him. Mike announces that Brad will take his place. The Good Guys cheer as Brad walks to the lower level. Rachel calls this “the biggest Inferno yet,” because the loser would put his team at a huge disadvantage. Mike and Brad share a man hug before Mike goes to safety outside the Inferno area.

Dave tells the players about tonight’s Inferno: Balls In. Each player gets five balls. The objective: outscore the opponent. One player defends the basket in the middle of the circle, while the other tries to score. Once a player enters the circle, he cannot leave. If he does, the ball is dead. The ball is also dead if it’s knocked out of his hands. Abram whips himself into a roid rage, interviewing that Brad is tough, but he thinks that he can beat him. He adds, “I’m just a cocky motherfucker, I guess.” Wouldn’t be the first thing I’d call him. Brad tells us that Abram is a great player, so he’ll have to send him home.

Abram gets in position to score, while Brad defends. Dave bangs his gong to get things started. Abram bulldozes Bad into the sand, dumping the ball in the basket for his first point. He fends off Brad’s pushing to get a second point. “You want one more?” Abram snarls. “You want one more, bitch?” I would agree with Bill “Sports Guy” Simmons about testing these guys for steroids, but I’m scared that they’re like this without any drugs. Landon yells for Brad to stop taking crap. “I’m a really peaceful guy, I really am,” Abram tries to convince us. “I mean, there’s flames going here in a fiery pit of sand with a cage around you. Flip that switch, and you can say, ‘I’m gonna fuckin’ just kick your ass.’”

On the third try, Brad shoves Abram to the ground, resulting in a dead ball. Dan: “Abe has this whole alter ego unlike anything I’ve ever seen. Abe just kind of manifests himself into this creature where losing is not acceptable, and he’s just going to rip you to shreds.” Hate to break it to Renzi, but that ain’t an alter ego. Brad manages to get Abram into the sand and outside the circle. The Good Guys go nuts at this stop, and Veronica interviews that the boys are not joking around. In the final try, Brad wraps himself around Abram, but he gets too close to the basket. In the end, Abram has three points. He interviews, “This is one of the most enjoyable experiences I’ve ever had in a very sick and very wrong way.” And I thought that was from an exit interview. Brad reminds us that he needs four points to win, and that he’d be lying if he said he wasn’t nervous. Abram: “Bring it on! I’m gonna fuckin’ eat you alive!”

Brad’s turn. He gets stopped by Abram and tries to lob the ball into the basket. Dead ball, no points. Tina and Darrell urge their respective teammates on. Brad charges, fends off Abram gets his first point, then shoves him away. On the third try, Brad slams into Abram, but drops the ball trying to get it in. Abram: “Get the fuck out, bitch!” Brad slams Abram to the side, getting the easy score. Brad interviews that his adrenaline is kicking in, and he realizes what’s on the line. “I’m just going to have to buck up,” he adds, “and do what I gotta do to win.”

Final attempt. We go to sporadic slow-motion. Brad slams into Abram, getting spun back. Both sides wait in anticipation. Brad makes his attempt, slamming the the side of the basket. Game over, Abram wins 3-2, and I feel sick all over again. Why don’t I check off Rachel for an Inferno win two weeks from now and get it over with? Anyway, the Good Guys are dejected, while the Bad Asses celebrate. Tina gleefully interviews that her team knocked out another strong Good Guy.

You think Abram would be a gracious winner? Well, you’d be wrong. He yells to the Good Guys, asking who wants to mess with him. Suddenly, Darrell finds his spine and takes Abram’s rancid bait, interviewing that he doesn’t like taking crap. “Send me tonight, you little poodle!” he hollers at Abram. “You so tough? I ain’t fat!” Wow...somebody from the cast remembers Donell. “I’ll beat your bitch ass, and you know it! I see it in your eyes!” Dan looks away, while Veronica just stares. This is so beneath them, you know. Abram: “I’ll fuck up your ass, you stupid bitch!” Darrell: “Keep sticking it up, cuz you my bitch! You my bitch!” Mike has to lead Darrell away, while Tina and Dan clap for Brad. I guess that bucket of pig’s blood will have to wait for a more deserving Good Guy. Abram man-hugs Brad, saying that he wouldn’t want to compete against anybody else like him.

Denouement. Dave congratulates Abram and send him back to his team. Abram roars like an ass while his team enables him. He interviews that his team is happy to see him because he helps them win money. Dave tells Brad that he hates to see him leave, and adds that Brad had heart. The Good Guys go downstairs to say goodbye. Jamie hugs Brad through the bars. “It really hurts when one of your real friends goes home,” she sobs in an interview. “If there was one person who deserved to be here, it’d be him, and I’m just gonna really miss him.” I’m a sucker from intraseasonal love. Landon gives Brad a hug. Brad feels that he let himself down, as well as the team. Mike gets his hug in. The back of his shirt has the word “socialite” in silver. Yeah, I don’t know. “Losing such a great competitor is really gonna hurt our team,” he interviews. “You can’t look at a good side to this one. Brad was one of our best players.” Brad walks through the Door of Shame. Poor guy. Maybe he could start a support group with Theo Gantt for Challengers who always get screwed over.

Postscript: After this episode, I thought the worst would happen on the season finale of The Amazing Race; that evil would triumph, and Rob & Amber would get another million bucks. Well, I misread the episode...turns out Brad losing was about an Italian guy coming up short, and darned if Rob didn’t do that. The best part? With the controversial way Uchenna & Joyce won in the end, some of the goodwill expended by fans got withheld. My hope is that the good energy/mojo/chi affects the Survivor finale, and Tom Westman becomes the Sole Survivor. Seriously, Katie and Jenn are annoying, and Ian’s a big dolphin-loving dope. Go, Tom!

Next time: Two guys get into a fight. Rachel: “These guys take competition wherever they go.” Landon gets his head shaved. There’s a mission with rowboats and cows. CT thinks Julie would push for Veronica if she thought that she’d go in. Abram: “She’s stated clearly that she wants your blood.” Maybe Julie is a vampire who needs the blood of those as bad as her to survive.

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