Saturday, June 25, 2005

Inferno II, Episode 16: So Much For Our Unhappy Ending

“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.”- Veronica Portillo, Bad Ass, after defeating Jodi Weatherton in the Inferno.

Previously on Inferno II: We had a season that didn’t totally suck. Sure, we swapped out jump ropes for crappy t-shirts, but I think we viewers came out on top. Anyway, twenty former BMPers came to Mexico for some sweet money. There’s Jon! And Beth! And CT with the fake afro! The players were spilt into “Good Guys” and “Bad Asses”...not bad, until you see bed-wetting shit-stirrer Julie on the side of the angels. The Bad Asses won the first three missions, but the Good Guys managed to roar back, winning six of the last eight challenges. In the final mission – Heart Rate Bungee – the Good Guys finally topped the Bad Asses in the bank, going up $80,000-$70,000. Thankfully, we don’t get to revisit Tonya getting raked over the coals by members of both teams. We see Infernos past, including Tina kicking Robin’s butt in Shack Attack, Abram and Brad banging heads in Balls In, and Tonya and Julie tussling in Patch Work. Speaking of Tonya, the final Inferno saw her win for the second time, as she outlasted Shavonda to ensure herself a spot on her team heading towards the final mission.

Night and the Villa. Sponsor clue time. Mike reads off congratulations from Dave for making it this far before going into the details: be ready to leave at 8:30 a.m., wear team colors, swimsuits and sneakers, and get ready to “go for the gold.” So the kids won’t have to be picked up by aggressive men in black? I guess Dave doesn’t have a strike force like Jonny Moseley does. The assembled players whoop it up, and Mike feels the need to channel Dave Chappelle some more. Ugh.

Outside, CT asks Derrick what he’d do with his money. Derrick figures he’ll be speechless when it happens, interviewing that winning $150,000 would be surreal to win. CT reminisces about coming close at the end of The Inferno, only to blow things on the puzzle, because his group didn’t work as a team. Derrick thinks the Bad Asses are bad as a team. CT adds that it will come down to who wants it more, and he thinks his team has more “heaht.” Derrick notes that the team is only as good as the slowest person. CT wonders who it is. At home, I’m going, “It should be Rachel, but he’ll say Tonya.” Derrick: “Veronica.” My man! And to think that I once considered him to be Abram’s spiritual successor during RR: X-Treme.

Night turns to day. Landon and Mike get washed up. Mike interviews that being on the smaller team makes him nervous. Since he’s been there twice, I figure he knows about that. Darrell interviews that he doesn’t think size matters, but rather how they work as a team. Derrick is psyched and ready for anything. Tina is also fired up, since this is her first time in a final mission. I’m happy for her, but she’s wearing a “I [Heart] My Pussy” t-shirt. Not good.

Flame segue! The players assemble at the mission site. The Bad Ass girls are wearing “Switch Hitter” tees. Why does Tonya want to be a team player? Dave welcomes the teams to the final mission: Montezuma’s Revenge. The kids cheer. Mike: “I’ve had that all month!” Dave reminds everybody that this mission is worth $150,000. Landon interviews about dreaming of this jackpot since he stepped off the plane. Dave tells them that they will be competing in a triathlon. The first stage is an open-water paddle to shore on an inflated raft. The second stage: a 10 kilometer bike race. Third stage: 5K footrace. The course ends at the front door of the Inferno. In order to open the door, the teams have to solve a riddle. I like this...no gross eating, no lame tasks, no sponsored segments, and the traditional puzzle is plugged in. The first team to get inside the Inferno wins $150,000. The Good Guys get psyched, while Derrick pumps up his team. Rachel interviews that the Bad Asses feel good. “We all realize that there is no more room for argument,” she adds. “This is the one day where we all have to get along.” Hee hee hee.

The players take a boat trip. Dave gives each player three golden keys. Jamie expositions that at each station, they have to open locks and loosen chains, and every lock must be tried until the keys fit. Mike adds that to start things off, they have to jump off the boat and swim to the raft. “Oh, boy!” he adds. “The madness begins!”

Dave gives the signal, and both teams dive into the water and start swimming. We find out that it’s a two kilometer row to shore. Both teams reach their rafts, only to find the paddles locked up. The Good Guys get their paddles freed first, as the Bad Asses struggle. Rachel orders her team to get into position, since it only takes one person to unlock the locks. The Good Guys paddle, while the Bad Asses free their paddles.

The Good Guys take the lead, and Landon softly shouts “row, row.” Jamie interviews that she’s trying to keep up with her teammates. “Being the only girl is really hard,” she adds, “but I’m just going to suck it up.” Attagirl! She grunts as she rows. On the other raft, CT shouts instructions, then yells at Tonya. He interviews that his team has fallen apart, and Abram’s cadence is confusing everybody. Sure enough, Abram is rowing and grunting out random instructions. Tina interviews that the team isn’t synchronized, and the boat is weaving back and forth, while the Good Guys take the lead. Mike tells us that his team is coming together, and they feel like they’re goig to win. The phrase of the day: “Running Theme.”

CT yells for his team to dig, then yells at Tonya again. Tonya tells him that “one, two” isn’t working for her. CT: “Just fucking dig!” Tonya: “Well, do you want to be off?” CT: “FUCKING DIG!” Tonya: “Do you like to hear yourself yell, CT?” Yeah, I laughed. Suddenly, Tonya goes overboard. Derrick tries to pull her in, but he slips and takes his own dive.

Back from commercials, Abram pulls Tonya and Derrick back on the raft. Tonya interviews that CT can’t see from the front of the boat, and that he’s yelling to make himself heard. Works for me. “Great, Tonya,” she mutters. “Once again, you let the voices get in your head, and you screw up.” Or maybe she did it on purpose. Probably not, but it would be so funny if she did.

Shot of bikes and helmets waiting for the Good Guys. The team dives off the raft and runs to the bikes. As the Bad Asses manage to get their act together on their raft, the Good Guys unlock the bikes and take off. The Bad Asses dive off their raft. Dave pops up from Parts Unknown, telling us that the Good Guys have a 4:03 lead, and the Bad Asses have to work hard on the next leg. Tina thinks her team can catch up. “They’re only four strong,” she says of the Good Guys, “and they also have a riddle. They may be fast on foot, but they’re stupid.” I know...arrogant and invoking bad mojo. But in her defense, that team includes Mike and Darrell, both of whom don’t seem like the sharpest tools in the shed.

The Good Guys ride their bikes, with Darrell egging his crew on. Mike interviews that they have to get as big a lead as possible to get to the puzzle. “If you can’t figure out the puzzle,” he adds, “then your lead doesn’t even matter.” He’s gone 1-2 in that situation, so he would know. The team goes over speed bumps. Suddenly, Darrell thinks he popped something. The team stops, and Landon insists nothing got popped. Darrell: “Yes I did, foo.” Mike interviews that the bikes are “rinky-dink” with popping chains, and they’re not going as fast as they can. Meanwhile, the Bad Asses pedal onwards, with Rachel screaming instructions. Darrell fixes his bike, and his team takes off again. “Make Tonya feel the pressure,” Rachel directs her group. “You know she hates to be the last girl!” Tina zooms ahead, and Abram and CT yell at Tonya to not be a weak link. In contrast, Darrell tells Jamie to pick it up, with no belittling at all. She wants to conserve her strength for the run, but he eggs her on. She interviews that her legs are aching, and there’s still a 5K run ahead.

The Good Guys zoom on their bikes. Jamie spots the next box, and has to alert her team. They stop to unlock the box, revealing spiffy golden sneakers. Cut to shots of discarded sneakers and bikes sprawled out on the grass. The Bad Asses arrive, 3:17 behind the leaders. The Good Guys run their final leg, with Landon and Derrick in the lead, and Jamie and Mike trailing. Darrell huffs and puffs about how good his team is doing, adding, “I’m proud to be a part of this blue team.” And the funny thing? He seems to mean it.

The Bad Asses jog, with Tonya escorted by CT and Abram. She interviews that she can’t take it. “My legs are falling apart,” she tells us. “I want to pass out, like I’m feeling dizzy. Dammit, I want to quit.” Quit! Quit! Do what Sarah and Katie couldn’t bring themselves to do! She falters to a stand-still, and Abram has to push her on. In the lead, Jamie slows down, preparing for the uphill portion. Mike admits to us that he and Jamie are dying, and they have to face “big, huge-ass hills.” “You body is starting to shut down,” he interviews. “Your legs are starting to just grow tired. You feel like you can’t go one step more.”

In the back, Tonya and Tina lag behind. Tina doesn’t want to get pushed by Abram. Veronica bitches that the starting and stopping is hurting her and Rachel, and they’re getting cramps. Yeah, the three guys on the team? They don’t count. CT and Abram attempt to carry Tonya, but she shrugs them off and takes a break. Anybody want to hear some high-class bitchery? Rachel: “Our team fucking sucks, man. Tonya, you know what? You really fucking suck. I mean, I am walking. I am walking, and I am too far ahead of her.” Veronica: “People talk a lot of shit, but when it comes to the final challenge, people that have been talking, saying that they’re the best in everything are obviously not!” Rachel: “I swear to God, when this is over, I’m punching her.” Have I mentioned how glad I am these two won’t be on the next Challenge? And Rachel would be punk enough to slug Tonya. Those two treated her less than human throughout the whole Challenge, and this is what they get. She won two Infernos, they only combined for one win, and she outperformed them in many missions. One day, they’re going to pick on the wrong person, and they’ll get what’s coming to them.

Back to the people I care about. The Good Guys trudge forth. Jamie gasps that she’s too tired. Landon admits he’s nervous about seeing the Bad Asses come from behind. Has he not seen them in action? Darrell goes out in front, urging Mike on, not wanting to hear “shoulda, coulda, woulda.” Jamie manages to surge forward.

Team Of The Damned. Abram asks Tonya to get up on his shoulders. She declines, but CT orders her to do it. Abram picks her up, with his head between her legs. Tina lags behind. Abram puts down Tonya and Derrick picks up Tina. Veronica interviews that she can’t believe Tonya and Tina are having problems, and she doesn’t find it that difficult. Derrick puts Tina down, and Veronica and CT yell at Tina to move. The Good Guys arrive at the Inferno gate and the final puzzle. Mike: “We have to get this riddle. It doesn’t matter where the Bad Asses are. If we don’t get the riddle, we could lose this.”

Back from commercials, Landon reads the first clue to the combination lock: the age of the first team member to go home, minus sixteen. Look, it’s either this or a game of Concentration. Count your blessings. Jamie expositions that they have to figure out the riddle in order to open the lock. Mike adds that the clues relate to the first three people who went home. With the first number figured out, they come to Eliminated Person #2 minus twelve. Landon remembers that Robin was 25. Jamie says 24, since she went home on her birthday. Man, that must have sucked for Robin. They spin the lock, coming up with 14-36. Next: Eliminated Person #3 plus nineteen. Mike asks who was the third person. Silence. They lost a lot of people, you know. Who can keep track?

The Bad Asses are still running. Derrick yells that they’re in the home stretch. Cut to Darrell: “B-Br-Jodi!” He remembers that she was 21. Landon tries to unlock, but he’s stymied. Jamie shouts that Jodi was 23. And just like that...unlocked. The team gets keys, run up to the Inferno door and open it. Game Over, Good Guys win, and Eric Nies getting $60,000 becomes a distant memory. Dave greets the team, and gets picked up by Mike. The team exchanges high-fives, and even Dave tries to get in on the action. Dork. Darrell interviews that he feels overwhelmed, and he can’t believe they did it. I think he’s just amazed that he won with an underdog this time around. Dave announces that the team has won $150,000. “This is my first Challenge,” Landon interviews. “I am a winner! I do feel good! And I’m ready for the next one!” The sad thing? He’s probably competing right now as you read this. Mike lifts Jamie up. She interviews that this is the best feeling in the world, and she never won anything in her life. Mike: “Hoo-rah! Good always prevails over evil, bitches!” I’m happy, so I’m letting that one slide.

Landon kicks off the clips package, dubbing Inferno II as a “fairy-tale Challenge.” He admits that they started off badly, going 0-3. We see Mike dropping Darrell outside the rings in X Marks The Spot. Robin falters in the Inferno. Cut to a clip of the Good Guys arriving at the Inferno. “It was a big moral lesson,” Landon tells us. “The Good Guys can finish first.” It’s not a total lesson...it comes with conditions, not unlike Tom Westman winning Survivor: Palau and Uchenna & Joyce triumphing in The Amazing Race. Mike interviews that he had so much fun. “My most happiest moment,” he adds, using the same grammar from his web site, “was every moment I was on it.” Cut to him fooling around with Jodi, eating a hot pepper, and watching Tonya throw Beth’s stuff in the pool. Cut to belly-flopping in the pool. “It’s gonna be sad leaving,” he tells us. “It really is sad.” Our little Mike, all grown up and ready to move out of the basement.

The Bad Asses. Ahhhhhh, the Bad Asses. They run to the box, seeing that they have to deduct the first departed person’s age by eight. That would be Beth. What’s infinity minus eight? Veronica knows that the team has lost. No fourth win for you, missy! “We’re just trying to finish this race,” she interviews, “with a little bit of dignity.” Ha!

We skip past Karamo and Dan, and see the Bad Asses pop their lock open, followed by the team walking into the Inferno. Somber piano music plays as the door opens, and the Good Guys clap and shake hands. “Hey, first time!” Rachel enthuses to Landon. CT interviews that he thought his team would win. He adds, “I definitely think that our team didn’t want to win as much as the Good Guys did.” Tonya and Tina sit on the ground, looking glum and tired. Tonya interviews that she’s disappointed in her performance, since she did well this Challenge. She looks on the verge of tears. Tina puts her head down, and Veronica tells her not to cry. Yeah, big shocker. Tina sobs, knowing she was a slow runner. “It really sucks to know that you have to be on someone else’s shoulders just to get three miles,” Tina interviews. “It’s pathetic on my part.” You think Tonya got a pat on her head?

Rachel tells the team that she doesn’t want to hear anything. She interviews that her team never got their act together, as they fought in and out of missions. Cue up the highlights: the raft sinking in Riddle Me This, Karamo telling CT to kiss his black ass, Beth and Veronica sniping at each other, and Abram and Tina arguing. Rachel: “It is proven today that maybe it doesn’t pay to be a Bad Ass.” Wait, I can top that. This game is ug-lay...and so are you, Rachel. Seriously.

Denouement. Dave congratulates the Good Guys, awarding them the $150,000. Added to the $80,000 in the bank, that’s $57,500 per team member. And just think...if not for the screw-ups of Jodi, Landon and Julie, the total would have been $65,000, which would have been a single-season record. The Good Guys celebrate. Rachel jokes that Darrell is ready to cry, prompting Mike to reach for an imaginary tear. Dave adds that each Good Guys will receive a 42-inch plasma television. Wait...what happened to the cars? What a letdown. Dave jokes that this is Landon’s second plasma TV. He ends the season, saying it was great hanging with the kids, he hopes to see them on another Challenge, and tells them to have a safe trip. For his sake, I hope this is his last hosting gig. “Yo, where’s Karamo at?” still haunts my mind.

Derrick interviews that it didn’t feel good “whacking people left and right,” as we see the specters of Beth, Karamo and Dan. “I’m proud of the other team,” Derrick adds. “They did well and they deserve it.” And I’m proud of Derrick. Drunken fights aside, the kid did well, and I hope he keeps it up next season. Jamie reads off the roll call of the doomed: Jon, Robin, Julie, Jodi, Shavonda and Brad. She tells us it was great meeting them, and she thanks her teammates for supporting and pushing her. Landon wants his team for one last cheer. They bring their hands together, and Mike tells them to use two hands. Everybody laughs. Last words, Miz? “Blue on three! Blue on three! One, two, three, BLUE!” Fade to credits.

We got a review show next time, but I’ll get this out of the way now. I liked this season. Minimum, it beats the past two installments (Inferno, Battle of the Sexes 2) hands-down. Part of the reason I was kicked off Reality News Online was that I was too negative in my recaps. Well, I didn’t have that problem as bad this time, and I wished that I could have shown that to my ex-peers. Sure, the cast members would drive a teetotaler straight to an open bar, and I’m still more negative that Larry Trainor hanging out with Blastaar and Anihilus. But in my mind, Bunim-Murray Productions gave a damn, and it showed. As a result, I gave more of a damn in recapping. I will be back next season, and I hope you guys had as much fun reading my recaps.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Misadventure and Miscellany

Had a semisucky day. The plan was to drive to Philadelphia and watch the Mets face the Phillies. I dawdle at home, run into a few traffic jams on the New Jersey Turnpike (including seeing and smeling a burnt-up car)...then ran smack into a stoppage getting off. So I forgot about it, got back on the Turnpike, and went home. I should have gone much earlier...according to one broadcaster, it was the largest weekday crowd in the two-year history of Citizen's Bank Park. On the plus side, I didn't get a ticket in advance. My need to avoid surcharges actually came in handy.

Moving onward...just want to get some relity stuff out of the way...

Final Flames

I'm almost done taking notes of the last Inferno II episode. And yeah, it was emotionally satisfying, even if I had been spoiled (for the record, it wasn't the spoilermonkey that came in here, but Blair telling us that he'd have two winners on his show, and I had seen a brief glimpse of Mike & Jamie). I'm happy the Good Guys won. Sure, Mike is a pain in the ass, Landon gets drunk as easily as the new kids from RW: Austin (more on them later) and Darrell is still the eternal mushmouth. But throughout the missions, the team came together, and that came out in winning eight missions, despite being shorthanded most of the time. Usually, once a team has lost players, it's a downhill slope towards oblivion. The Good Guys prevailed...which is great, since I couldn't imagine any Bad Ass save for Derrick (nice guy) and Tonya (needs a break) getting their hands on the big check. The Good Guys were a team, the Bad Asses were a group of talented indivduals...and that's what sunk them.

Most Improved?

I got a comment today about the lack of disgusting missions this season. I think that Bunim-Murray Productions finally gave a damn. Most of the missions were tighter than in past seasons. The endgames were a lot better than in the first Inferno. While BMP pales in games when directly compared to Survivor and The Amazing Race, Inferno II actually held its own. The question is whether they can keep it up for Return to the Gauntlet. The bad news? I heard there would be three kids from RW: Austin in Trinidad & Tobago right now, so it might be a while before we see the new season. Speaking of which...

Same As It Ever Was

Real World: Austin premiered on Tuesday night. At this point, it's paint-by-numbers. Kids meet each other. Kids move into the house. Kids dive into hot tub and get giggly with each other. Kids go out on the town. Kids start forming cracks within their own group. Oh, and the booze. Can't forget the time when the first thing cast members from RW: San Diego did was hit the liquor store. Priorities, right?

As usual, the kids can't kick back old-school style. No, they gotta start kissing right away...like they're reading a manual written by Trishelle and Steven. I'm already blurring on the girls. Melinda seems to be the Trishelle clone, and I haven't read anything good about her in the forums. Johanna got reamed for getting drunk and overreacting to getting talked down. I'm such a geek...everytime I see her, I remember that she's from Lima, Peru. And my mind flashes back to the beginning of The Amazing Race 7, and Uchenna yelling "LIMAPERU!" Speaking of TAR7, I think army nurse Rachel might bring up Iraq as many times as Ron did. Wes is still Abram 2.0 until further notice. Danny seems like an okay guy. Then again, I suffered sixteen weeks of CT, so any other guy from the Boston area looks good by comparison. I can respect a guy who can try to duplicate the scatting style of David "Bishop Woo Woo" Broom on a casting tape, but I fear Nehemiah is going to be shoved into "angry black man" mode thanks to his roommates. And so far, Lacey seems normal...at least as normal as the kid of two hippies-turned-conservatives can be. I still think she looks like Trudy Wiegel from Reno 911!.

A word to the citizens of the next RW host city...don't start fights with cast members. Look, I know they're mostly assholes. I know they're going to think they're hot stuff. And your neighborhood will be targeted and remodelled to something you wouldn't like. But seriously...don't fight 'em. After Ruthie almost dying of alcohol overdose in '99, Danny had the worst second night in the show's history. He got punched in the face by some schmuck due to a misunderstanding. The worst part? Right before Danny gets punched, one lost MENSA member jumps in front of the camera. Classy, right? At the very least, there's the odds that you'd be hitting a psycho like Slappy Stephen or Landon. Too dicey.

The Next Big Thing

While we're waiting for the next Challenge, Bravo will unveil Battle of the Network Reality Stars in August. It's a reality geek's dreamed, mixed in with the old-school Battle of the Network Stars specials. Already, three Challengers have been announced in the official press release: Mike (fresh off his win in Inferno II), Coral (who will probably be thrilled to pieces that freakin' Trishelle is a sideline reporter), and Theo Vonkurnatowski (swamp rat, incorrectly named "Theo Gantt" in the official press release AND in this RNO article...way to fact-check, Dave!) Also rumored to be here is Coral's ex-roommate, Melissa Howard. I love the girl. Love her style, love her wit, and loved how she helped get Julie eliminated from Battle of the Sexes. Also, since she's a reality geek, she'll probably love some of the folks she'll be competing against:

Richard Hatch & Susan Hatch: Wait, are they the Ike & Tina of the Survivor set? I still cringe at the grinding incident during All-Stars, and how Rob Cesternino got shoved between them at the reunion show.

Charla Faddoul & Mirna Hindoyan: Sure, they were one of the more memorable teams from The Amazing Race 5, but I'm not comfy with Charla's career choices. And did she have to bring Mirna? "Come on, Charla! Run, Charla! Richard is a criminal, Charla!" So annoying.

Chip & Kim McAllister: The most beloved champs in TAR history? Oh, hell yes. Quick prediction: if there's an eating competition, Chip will win. The guy's gut propelled him and his wife to two first-place finishes.

Jonathan Baker & Victoria Fuller: They haven't sunk into oblivion yet? Damn. And I had half-convinced myself they were just a bad dream.

Will Kirby & Mike Malin: The first "Dr. Evil" of Big Brother? Whatever. But two seconds of "Mike Boogie" rapping, and you'll be screaming to listen to Adam King freestyle.

Heidi Bressler & Bradford Cohen: The former was the first hatchet-face from The Apprentice, and will probably love seeing sideline reporter Omarosa; the latter gave up immunity and got called "stupid" five dozen times by Trump before getting fired.

Matthew Kennedy Gould: From the greatest mock reality program ever, The Joe Schmo Show. How did he get an invite? What is going on??!? Sorry...had to say it.

I'll stop here. Recap should be up tomorrow. One last chance to serve up the likes of Veronica and Rachel on a platter. Don't miss it!

Monday, June 20, 2005

Inferno II, Episode 15: Penultimate Paranoia

Sorry for the delay, folks. I’ve been busy all week, such as pest control on the blog and working on an article. While I remain committed to recapping, the story is money in the bank and one step closer to full-time gig. I gotta get a life one of these days.

Previously on Inferno II: Tonya snapped at her female teammates, telling them that she needs respect. “I’m done with you screwing with me,” she interviewed, “and if you don’t have my back, I’m not going to have yours.” The Good Guys won Crab Grab, bringing both teams even at $70,000. Landon beat Dan in the Inferno. Landon hoped that his team’s momentum would keep going.

Nighttime at the villa. Tonya tells the girls and Derrick that she needs sleep. Rachel: “Tonya just wants us to go to bed so she can masturbate.” I don’t know if I should smack her for saying that, or the editors for leaving that in. Veronica doesn’t want self-pleasure while they’re still in the room. Derrick asks if she’s serious. Rachel and Veronica gleefully recall how they found Tonya moaning. Tonya: “You guys are evil, mean bitches.” Wow, tell us something we don’t know. Rachel interviews that it may look like they’re ganging up on Tonya, but it only appears that way because she makes herself out to be the outcast. Veronica continues to push the envelope, asking Tonya if she can record her next session. Tonya snips about how taking naked photos of her while she’s sleeping is violating her privacy. Damn, Veronica does that? Why can’t she riffle through closets for “lost” clothes like in the good old days? Tina laughs hard as Tonya leaves the room, going to the Good Guys boys’ room She interviews that she’ll do whatever it takes to shut those girls up, but she cares more about the next mission. That, and she has no comeback skills whatsoever. I gotta point the chick out to TWoP, so she can learn about “Klepronica,” “Butterface” and other choice insults.

Time passes. Tonya lies down, apparently asleep. Veronica chooses this time to lurk outside. Tonya tells her to go away. Veronica can only cackle, as Tonya bitches her out. Tonya tells her point blank to go, but Veronica can only squeal “Oh, my God!” several times while Rachel gets a kick out of it. Maybe Tonya’s talent is in patience. In Tonya’s shoes, I would’ve grabbed Veronica by the ankles and clubbed Rachel with her. I guess we can never repeat Katie’s bravura performance in Inferno. “I am two challenges away from winning,” Tonya interviews. “If they want to hate me, so be it. I don’t need their friendship, I don’t need them to like me, and I definitely don’t need to fit in.”

Sponsor clue! Abram reads the text message, noting that it’s the girls’ final Inferno. The instructions: meet at Grand Bay Marina, wearing swimsuits, team colors and sneakers. Shavonda interviews that if the Good Guys win the mission, they’ll be ahead of the Bad Asses for the first time.

Night lapses to day. The players arrive at the mission site, taking a look at a giant crane. Dave welcomes the kids to the last mission before the finale: Heart Rate Bungee. Each player will pair up with a teammate to perform a tandem bungee jump. The objective: get the heart rate below 100 beats per minute before dropping 125 feet through a trapdoor. Both players’ rates must dip below 100. The team that gets this done the quickest wins $10,000. Landon expositions that the individual with the lowest heart rate when the trapdoor is released will receive the Aztec Lifeshield. Dave adds that there are an uneven number of players on each side, so one person has to go twice. That person will be scored for the Lifeshield on the first try. Also, two members of the opposing team go up on the platform and heckle. This excites Abram. Why am I not surprised?

Dave concludes the meeting by saying that each team must nominate one woman for the Inferno. Here’s my problem: why the women? Why can’t they do two missions before an Inferno? Bunim-Murray did this in the last Inferno, where the women had one mission to sweat out. I would’ve spilt things evenly; do twelve missions and six Infernos. Have one mission and a guys’ Inferno, one mission and a girls’ Inferno, then a final mission and an open Inferno, where either gender can be selected. Not only would this provide more combinations, it would be a tip of the hat to the final Inferno between David and Katie. Can’t BMP do anything gender-neutral?

Good Guys Deliberation Meeting. I’m at home, wanting Rachel to go in so bad, I can taste it. Jamie wants Tonya, thinking she can beat her. Shavonda wants Tonya as well. Are you kidding me? Jamie interviews they’d feel more comfortable with Tonya. “We just feel more confident going up against Tonya,” Jamie adds, “who’s like mentally unstable, who cracks under pressure. We just feel that she’s a weaker player.” While I admire taking out a weak link this time (as opposed to Real World’s “Katie can only hurt Road Rules in the final mission” mindset from last year), why is it Tonya? She beat Julie in the Inferno! The toughest, meanest, most mentally damaged Good Guy girl gets beat down by Tonya, and you want to roll the dice on her? Landon wants Veronica (who isn’t all that, truth be told), but he wants the girls to feel confident Shavonda interviews that she almost hopes the Bad Asses put her in. She thinks Jamie would do better in the final mission, and she wouldn’t want to slow her team down. The team goes a cheer, and I fume that Rachel will be getting money that she doesn’t deserve. Again.

Bad Asses Deliberation Meeting. Veronica thinks sending Jamie would be a risk for her survival, then asks the boys what they think. CT notes that the guys want Jamie, and they don’t want to give the Good Guys an advantage in the final mission. In other words, Shavonda is the weakest link. Tina has a problem with this, and she doesn’t want to be overpowered by the men. “The reason why the guys all of a sudden grow a pair,” she interviews, “is because they have no risk in losing the final money. This is a women’s Inferno, and you have no voice whatsoever!” See, this is where a neutral Inferno would come in handy. Tina’s probably scared that she’d get picked, and she’d miss out on the money for the second Challenge in a row.

Rachel asks Tonya to speak up. Having learned nothing all season, Tonya wants to take Jamie out because Shavonda is the weakest link. “We’re not a team,” Veronica interviews. “There’s no team here. It’s very clear that they don’t support us in this.” Rachel rips Tonya for putting her muscular backside on the line. “I hope it’s you,” she snots, “because you’re the only girl that’s stupid enough to agree with the three men on the team.” First of all, you asked her, Butterface. Secondly, nobody’s going to pick you. The Good Guys are too stupid to realize that you’re all muscle and no hustle. “Tina, Veronica and Rachel are like vultures,” Tonya interviews. “The second they see me make a strategic move, they’re on my shit.” Tina gets mad, since the girls supported the guys on their choices. Abram thinks that’s crap, as he waves a finger at Tina and votes Jamie. Abram: “I fucking hope you go in.” Tina: “Lovely. You’re very vindictive. You’re a little bitch.” And I’m not supposed to like this girl? Abram goes a mild roar as we head for commercials.

Coming back, Abram is still angry, and CT has to talk him down. Abram figures that if the women are upset, they won’t compete in the end. CT asks why they would do that. Abram: “Because we’re fucking them over right now.” He interviews that he’s going to be a good guy and back down. The guys end up voting for Shavonda. Veronica interviews that the only reason the boys agreed was so the girls wouldn’t mess things up in the end.

Announcement time. Dave asks the Bad Asses for their pick. Tonya announces that Shavonda will be going in. Shavonda responds with a bizarre arm motion, like she’s pumping something. Dave asks the Good Guys for their choice. Shavonda declares that Tonya will be joining her. Dave makes an “Oooooo!” noise. Just one more episode with this dip. Mike interviews that this is a win/win situation for the team, since even if Shavonda loses, the Good Guys would lose their weak link, and the Bad Asses would keep theirs. The ladies place their figures in the Portable Mininferno. Dave notes that they can bail out of their date by winning the Aztec Lifeshield. Tonya snaps at the Good Guys, telling them that they made a bad move. “My team does not support me,” she interviews. “I will do this. Not only do I want this, I am going to win this Inferno.”

Flames! Darrell gets harnessed up. “Right now,” he interviews, “I feel like Tonya, what she does every day. Paranoid. Hyperventilating.” He adds that he’ll be “aiight” along with “Lando Commando.” Enough with that, Darrell. It’s just not catchy. Abram starts taunting Darrell and Landon even before they step up on the platform, but both boys have smiles on their faces. The crane lifts the platform up, while Abram and Tonya keep up the heckling. Dave informs the Good Guys that they’ve reached “cruising altitude,” and they get devices put on their fingers to take their heartrates. Abram and Tonya continue their assault. Darrell interviews that it’s actually helping him, since he’s working to shut them out. Heh...way to help the admitted acrophobe, guys.

Dave tells Landon and Darrell that they’ll get dropped when both are under 100 beats per minutes. Darrell starts at 139, Landon at 110. Abram: “I’m making you nervous right now! I’m making you my bitch!” Tonya taunts, but Darrell remains calm and Landon dips below 100. Rachel and Veronica laugh, either at Abram’s overzealousness, or Tonya in general. Darrell hits 99, while Landon goes to 95. Dave yanks a crank, and both guys are dropped after one minute and 46 seconds. Darrell interviews that he knew he’d be all right with “Landon Commando.” Oh, just kiss him already!

Second Pair: Abram & Rachel. Abram tries to be calm, slowing his breathing. Darrell interviews that he’s not heckling, because it would help the opposition. Abram hits 98, Rachel hits 95, and they clock out at 2:27.

Third Pair: Shavonda & Mike. Shavonda interviews that she’s not thinking of the mission and the Inferno together. Tina squeals on the platform, while CT asks Shavonda if she’s nervous about the Inferno. She gets a 96, while Mike gets a 99. They plummet at 1:51, and Mike tells Shavonda that she did a great job. CT interviews that his team has to make up for lost time.

Fourth Pair: Tina & Derrick. Mike engages in some mild taunting. Tina (97) and Derrick (96) plunge at 0:33.

Fifth Pair: Jamie & Landon. Landon starts off at 72. Soon, Jamie goes to 94, while Landon dips to 65. They plummet after two seconds. Jamie cheers and screams on the way down and back up.

Sixth Pair: Veronica & Abram. He asks her if she loves Mexico. She goes to 90, and he hits 60. I guess it’s not a big deal on the second attempt. How else could Abram register a 60 at any time? They clock out at 1:06.

On the ground, Shavonda asks Mike who’s up next. Mike tells her it’s CT & Tonya. Jamie asks Shavonda if she wants to go up with her. Suddenly, the girls get excited about their task. “I’m ready,” Tonya interviews. “I got this. I ain’t sweating it. These girls think they can heckle me? Come on, I’ve heard worse in my real life than I’ve heard here.” Anvil, party of one. Anvil, your table is waiting!

On the platform, Jamie and Shavonda start screaming. CT starts below 100 to start, while Tonya is at 117. The girls taunt Tonya about falling and going to the Inferno. Mike and Darrell look on from the ground, clearly enthused by the gusto of the ladies. Tonya puts her head on CT’s chest. More screaming. Tonya: “I’m hearing Jamie and Shavonda sound like Rachel, Veronica and Tina. I want to kick them off the platform, and I have no clue at this point how I’m going to get my heart rate down.”

Time elapsed: 7:30. Dave announces that CT is down to 54. The girls seemed awed by that, and Jamie actually says “gnarly.” On the other hand, Tonya is at 123. Landon yells at Tonya to earn her disqualification. Tonya tries to relax, but bumps herself up to 125. CT yawns, rising to 96. Dave notes that if he can’t drop the pair after fifteen minutes, they get the worst time plus a ten minute penalty. CT interviews that the girls have gotten inside Tonya’s head and freaked her out. Time elapsed: 13:00. Dave give the duo two more minutes. CT goes to 88, Tonya at 132. Now the editors want to hurt Tonya. We get a close-up of her, accompanied by a shot of Jamie screaming, then Veronica giving her grief. Tight shot of the Inferno. Shavonda screaming. Landon chanting Tonya’s name. A first-person perspective of a bungee drop. Anybody else feel the need to shower?

Back from commercials, Dave gives CT (89) and Tonya (122) one more minute. Landon: “Tonya, you are blowing the mission!” Tina happily interviews that the Lifeshield is on the line, and Tonya can’t get below 113 to save her life. Jamie and Shavonda get their taunt on as time expires. CT finishes at 96, Tonya at 126. And just for the hell of it, Dave sends both of them falling. Tonya holds onto CT, bitching about how she lost the mission. On the platform, Jamie and Shavonda share a high-five. Hey, they were mean, but it was within the rules. Tonya interviews that she couldn’t get her mind into place, and her team will probably root for her to go home.

Denouement. Dave announces that the Bad Asses’ average time was 4:08, while the Good Guys got 1:13 and the win. The Good Guys’ bank bulges to $80,000. Nicely done...most teams that start behind in Challenges end up staying behind. Dave awards Aztec Lifeshields to Landon (65 beats per minute) and CT (54). Should I be reading into how no woman won immunity during the entire season? And even though CT kept his rate under 100 most of the time, should he have won since he got disqualified alongside Tonya? Dave laughs like a tool, then announces that it will be Tonya and Shavonda going into the Inferno tonight. Tonya interviews that she wants to be the girl to win two Infernos, especially after beating Julie.

Night. Inferno! Flames! Both teams hoot and holler from the rafters. Dave welcomes everybody to the final Inferno, then brings out Tonya and Shavonda. This last Inferno is called Spinner. Each player will be strapped to a giant wheel, which will be sped up and slowed down at random. The objective: hold onto the team flag for as long as possible. The player that does this the longest wins, returns to her team, and stays on for the final mission. The loser goes home with no money. Dave adds that the game ends if a player throws up, passes out, throws the flag, or says she gives up. Landon interviews that Shavonda might not be the best contender, but they’ve been winning money with her. Shavonda: “I’m spinnin’ all fuckin’ night, bitches!” Please don’t mimic Mike, girl. She interviews that Spinner is more mundane that she expected. “I ain’t leeting go of the flag,” she adds. “I ain’t pukin’ and I ain’t quittin’. So we’ll be here awhile.” Only thing missing is a vulture in a wheelchair circling Shavonda.

Both players are strapped in, cameras on helmets making them look like residents of Whoville. Dave bangs his gong one last time. I just love the echo and ripple effect. The wheels start spinning. Shavonda offers to sing, and Tonya tells her to be quiet. Shavonda: “Maybe I should sing!” The Good Guys hoot, even though snapping at Tonya is no big deal. More spinning, as we approach the four minute mark. Landon jokes about how this is the longest Tonya has not talked. Shavonda adds that Tonya talked on the bungee, bringing up that failed effort. Once again, the Good Guys like the trash talking. Tonya: “Bring it on, bitch!” Veronica: “I would like to see Shavonda win tonight. I can’t take Tonya anymore. She’s so overconfident, and I think it would be really funny if Shavonda sent her home.” Man, which planet does she live on?

Time Elapsed: 8:21. Shavonda asks Tonya about the sports drink in her stomach. Tonya asks if Shavonda can get inside her head. Shavonda brags that she did that earlier. Now both sides are laughing and clapping. “Every time Shavonda says something rude to me,” Tonya interviews, “I’m on at least twenty minutes. She can talk all she wants. I’m still gonna kick her ass.”

Tine Elapsed: 11:43. Shavonda asks Dave if it’s normal for her feet to be loose. She interviews that every revolution is burning her back. More spinning. Cut to tight close-ups of Tonya and Shavonda’s eyes.

Time Elapsed: 15:00. Shavonda complains about her harness hurting. CT: “Oh, excuses!” Landon yells for her not to think about it. She interviews that she is getting rubbed raw, and she’s not to move like that. Soon, she gives up. Veronica: “What? No!” The Good Guys look stunned, as Shavonda orders the wheel stopped. The Bad Asses celebrate, as CT whoops it up, and even Veronica and Tina are clapping. Tonya: “You’re stuck with me!” Jamie looks on, looking very sad. Is it because she lost a friend, or because she’ll start getting compared to Coral as the last woman standing on her team? Veronica: “I am so shocked that Shavonda quit. It pains me that she quit, because now I know that I’ve got Tonya on my team.” She’s shocked? She helped throw Sarah under the bus five times, yet she came back. She helped throw Katie to the wolves twice, and she came back. How is Tonya any different?

Flame segue! Tonya waves her flag, and Dave congratulates her before returning her to the team. She interviews that she had a commitment to be here, as we see her do a crazy dance near the bars. She adds that she will bite her tongue and rest up for the final mission. Cut to a shot of dejected Bad Asses. Forced foreshadowing?

Farewell time. Just think...if Shavonda got hurt on the wheel, could you imagine Rachel enduring it? I’m just saying. Shavonda gets her hugs through the bars. She interviews that she let both teams down, since the Bad Asses don’t want Tonya. She adds that the Good Guys have an “awesome chance” to win with just four players, and guarantees that they’ll win, due to their smaller numbers. Did that help the Real World teams in Gauntlet and Inferno? She walks through the smoke, and the door closes behind her. At least we didn’t see her on the cell phone with her ex. That has to count for something, right?

The Bad Asses depart from the Inferno. “I don’t care if you don’t like me,” Tonya interviews. “I’ve earned a spot on this team, and I’m coming back. And if you don’t like it, tough shit.” Shot of the Bad Asses heading to the van, followed by one of Tonya on her own.

Next time: Dave welcomes the teams to Montezuma’s Revenge, the final mission. The teams dive off a ship, ride bicycles and run. Dave awards the $150,000 to the winning team. Can the Good Guys overcome lesser numbers? Will Tonya and Tina finally win a Challenge? Stay tuned.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Penultimate Points

Still working on the article, but I'll start taking notes on the latest episode tonight. For now, I'll keep things short and sweet.

I Still Don't Hate Tina

This is on my neverending list of "Stuff to Write About," but I'll sum up here. Tina performs well in missions. She's funny on purpose. Aside from Chris, Dave and Mary-Beth, would you want anybody else from Road Rules: South Pacific? We all know about Abram. Cara's dumped Dave and rumored to be another of Mark's playthings. Christena revealed herself as a stealth bitch on the original Inferno. Jeremy is...well, Jeremy. Does anybody care about that kid at all? And I'm still gearing up for the day that Donell disgraces us all with a Challenge appearance. Finally, it kinda sucks that she gets grouped into the "Axis of Skank." The woman's engaged, people. You think she gives it away like Rachel and Veronica? Tina's a loudmouth and a bully, but she's stood up to the rants of Dan and Abram. I just wish she got along better with Tonya...I think part of their aminosity towards each other is that they have more in common then they'd admit. Tina is sais to be doing the next season...and without Tonya to pick on, or Rachel and Veronica to pal around with, I think she'll come off a lot better.

I Still Don't Hate Karamo

However, I am puzzled on why he had to leave. Couldn't he have simply quit? Unlike Beth, he would've had a reason...she lit out of Mexico, the yellow down her back apparent to all. While the comments from his teammates are put into a different context, I still can't give any credit to Abram on the whole "Karamo has no dignity" rap. This is Abram talking. He wouldn't know dignity if it gave him a lapdance.

Tonya Is Not a Heroine

The girl suffers greatly, doesn't she? I'd tell her to get a job, but I'm guessing she's on the eternal quest for that one big score. She just opens herself up to most of the abuse inflicted by the other girls, and she's been reported to have hooked up with a fella or two. The only bright side in a Bad Ass victory is for her to get the big payday. But she's too far gone to be a heroine. On the bright side, her two Inferno wins does keep the season interesting. What would happen if she were to blow the final mission? Would any acts of violence after the final airhorn result in a loss of dough? My fantasy involves her beating up Rachel using Veronica as a club. Really, just grab her ankles and go to town. I will say that Tonya did not act like a "psychotic bitch," as one of my former colleagues so tactufully noted.

Best Season Since The Gauntlet

Okay, the "one mission, then Inferno" thing did bite. I would have given that to the men and women, then bring in an open-gendered Inferno for the finale. Still, I feels that we got a good season. For once, it felt like those who concieve the missions gave a crap. Better yet, the Infernos actually worked. Last time, it was all about the time limit. Who wants to stand around and watch Katie and Julie walk on treadmills? Or Leah and Kendal walk with bricks for hours on end? Yes, some Infernos didn't end the way we wanted them (Veronica and Abram's victories come to mind), but we had some good contests. I just hope that BMP tops itself for the next season, which has been titled The Gauntlet 2. As long as they don't monkey too much with the concept (one endgame per week, roll a die for one of six events), I forsee good times. Shoot, who said I was so negative?

Rachel & Veronica Suck

I can't take them anymore. Right now, they're not supposed to be in the next season, but I can't breathe until the cast is officially announced. I'm sick of the double-teaming on Tonya, as if the poor thing hasn't suffered enough in one lifetime. I'm sick of the t-shirts, I start yearning for Mike to pimp his "Miz" gear again. I hate how the Good Guys never, ever thought of Rachel as a weak competitor...she's all muscle, no hustle. I get queasy thinking of the hug they shared after Veronica's win in the Inferno. And I hate that they got good press on E!'s site. "VeRachel"? I don't think so. And they got a chat session, as viewers lobbed softball after softball. Good thing I never thought to submit.

"Does it bother you two that you talked all sorts of smack about Sarah in The Gauntlet, and she's still more loved than either of you?"
"If I poured water on you, would you die?"
"Rachel, have you ever forgotten to roll the window down a crack for Shane?"
"If I poured penicilin on you, would you die?"
"How does it feel to be the worst representives of lesbianism since Scout and Ami on Survivor: Vanuatu?"
"If a house dropped on you, would you die?"

These two are not role models. They're not victims of editing. They are total bitches. I have a feminist friend, and I'm sure that if she reads this, she will kick my ass. I don't care. I'll take the ass-kicking, because I want these two skanks the hell off my TV. I believe in karma. Rachel and Veronica will get theirs someday. Hopefully, it will be sooner and not later. Right now, they stand to make $10,000 apiece, minimum, and that makes me as mad as remembering Eric Nies "earning" $60,000 last season.

Addendum: ...And As Long As I'm Thinking About It

No spoilers. No spoiling the finale. No spoiling the next season. Right now, I'm focusing on casting, and that's it. I don't know who beat whom in the Gauntlet, and I don't want to know. So if you got the goods...hold it back. If not for my sake, then for the readers.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Potential Delay

This is a hectic week for me. First, I'm working on a story that's due next Monday. Secondly, I have a job interview on Friday. And to top it off, there's a comic book show in the city on Friday and Saturday. While I'll try and get the recap in as soon as possible, it might take a while. Once I get some clear space, I'll post the recap, and address any other urgent issues.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Inferno II Episode 14: Got Crabs?

Previously on Inferno II: CT schemed to get rid on Dan in order to get a bigger cut of the Bad Ass bank. According to the voiceover artist, Dan led his team to defeat in the If Memory Serves mission. Come on, that was a team defeat. The Good Guys’ win upped their bank to $60,000. Landon and Dan were picked to go into the final men’s Inferno. Dan was sad, since he had a fifty percent chance of going home.

Daytime at the Villa. Dan tells Derrick that he’s not upset over recent developments, since he saw this coming from day one. “I’m not ready to slit someone’s throat to win $10,000,” Dan continues. “When I’m faced with people who are, I’m always at a disadvantage.” He interviews that his priorities are different, and he’s not out to prove himself. Derrick think it’s all about heart, and that Landon is a baby. I’m guessing Derrick secretly wants to fight Landon in an legalized setting. Dan is happy to face Landon in the Inferno. “I’ve already won one of these fair and square,” he interviews, “and I won pretty easy.” Once again...you beat Jon. Jon. Is that something you can honestly brag about?

Outside, Landon’s on the cell phone. Maybe he’s talking to Shavonda’s boyfriend. He interviews that everybody is afraid of the Inferno. But just for the hell of it, he tells Darrell that if he wins the Aztec Lifeshield, Darrell would go in his place. Darrell seems all right with this, as Landon tells us that he’d want Darrell ready just in case. But Darrell interviews that he’s not going to roll over for Landon.

Sponsor clue. Tina reads it off: catch the bus at 10:30 a.m., wear team colors and swimsuits. Oh, and “don’t get caught in a pinch.” Shavonda tells us that she thinks her team of five is strong.

Night turns to day. Dan packs up his stuff. CT asks him who he’d send should he win the Lifeshield.. “Your mother,” Dan retorts. “Think she’ll fly up?” CT threatens to put Dan in a headlock, then asks again. Dan: “Translation: ‘Dan, how does this affect me?’” CT still bugs Dan, thinking he’d go in since Dan doesn’t like him. Dan denies it, interviews that CT isn’t concerned about his faith in the game, but only about himself. Gee, you think?

Mission site. Dave welcomes everybody to today’s mission: Crab Grab. In this challenge, players will get buried up to their necks, while crabs run around them. Shavonda and Jamie scream in terror (or mock terror...it’s hard to tell with these people). Cut to crabs scuttling around, and one backing up, ready to pinch.

Back from commercials, Dave doles out the exposition: the players go into pits with their feet stretched out and sitting on their hands. The objective is to get out of the sand as quickly as possible, run to the shoreline, collect ten crabs from a bin (taking one trip at a time), then drop them off in crates. Teammates can assist each other getting out of the sand, but not with the crab collection. The players from each team that complete their mission the fastest receive Aztec Lifeshields. The team that finishes first wins $10,000 for their bank account.

The Good Guys figure out how to get out of the pits. Mike suggest that the first person out helps the others, and Landon likes the idea. He interviews that he wants the Lifeshield, but he thinks teammates will help each other. Darrell wants to play by ear, interviews that he knows he’ll be the first one out, since his butt is on the line.

We switch over to the Bad Asses. Veronica repeats the notion of helping others out. Tina adds that the team is only as fast as their slowest player, and this is not an individual competition. CT asks Dan what he will do. Dan snaps, telling CT to stop asking about the Lifeshield, and to stop being selfish. Both guys star to snipe at each other, as their teammates try to break it up. Tina doesn’t think this needs to happen now. CT barks that everything will be solved if Dan helps the girls. Once again, Dan denies the desire to go for the Lifeshield. CT repeats “Are you gonna help us or not?” three times. Dan accuses CT of picking a fight. More bickering, and the Good Guys look on. Jamie: “Awesome.” Dan claims he doesn’t need the money, he isn’t afraid of the Inferno, and he would be sad to leave. CT stomps around, bitching that Dan can’t beat him. Dan replies that CT is scared. And guess what? More arguing.

Meanwhile, Jamie and Shavonda snipe at each other playfully. How did those two get to be so funny? Especially Shavonda. They snap over pit placement, getting into their roles. Jamie: “What about ME, Shavonda?” Shavonda: “Nobody cares!” Ah, I bet the hatred will start in when MTV airs a Real World: Philadelphia marathon. But until then? Brava, Shavonda!

Back to the main event, Dan tries to reason with CT. Big mistake. CT tries to invoke the “two for flinching” move on Dan, but Dan doesn’t budge. Sorry, CT...Dan isn’t some random drunk guy in Paris you can intimidate. Once again, Dan claims not to have a problem. Rachel interviews that she can’t believe she’s seeing this before the mission. CT wipes his feet, muttering about how he had the game “unlocked” since the first day. “I don’t want you to be my fucking friend,” he grumbles. “Like, I’ll ever see you again. You kidding me?” Dan doesn’t respond, looking tired from the tongue-lashing. “Maybe if I get out of the hole faster,” he interviews, “I’ll run over to his hole, bury him under some more sand, and hope he smothers!”

Dave orders the players in their holes. The kids stretch their legs out in front while sitting on their hands. Referees come in to drop sand on them. Mike tells one to watch his face. Some of the girls freak out, and Shavonda gets nailed on her chest. More plopping. Now the players are buried up to their necks. Landon is happy. Derrick is not, since he feels claustrophobic. Landon tells us he’ll go for the Lifeshield, but he’ll get his team out first. Darrell: “I got bees flyin’ around my head. I got itches on my nose, ear, right eye, left eye. I can’t breathe, but I’m gonna bust through this shit like the Incredible Hulk.” Now the referees place crabs near the players’ heads. Tonya screams that this wasn’t part of the deal. Mike puckers up to his crab. A referee puts a crab closer to Tonya. The girl can’t win, can she? While she’s screaming, Dave makes a funny face to the camera. He’s so loving this, isn’t he?

Dave blows his whistle, starting the mission. The players struggle to get out. Darrell is the first to break out, while Landon pushing sand to the side. CT and Dan lift themselves out. Darrell gets out, going straight for the crabs. He deposits his first crab, interviewing that he’s not going to bow down and get sent to the Inferno. Landon gets free, seeking to get Jamie out. Darrell comes back to dig Mike out. CT gets free before working with Tonya. Dan interviews that he would want to make CT’s life more miserable, but Rachel isn’t moving at all. Of course not...because she stinks in missions. Anyway, Dan digs Rachel out, while CT and Abram double-team Tonya by her arms. The players run around. CT interviews that he’s going for the crabs and not wasting any time.

Dan is still trying to get Rachel out. Shavonda needs Mike and Landon’s help, Derrick and Dan work on Rachel. Darrell drops off another crab. Veronica grabs a crab. Derrick and Dan are still stuck with Rachel, and Abram joins them. Note to Good Guys...if Rachel isn’t nominated next week, I will be angry. That’s a guaranteed win right there. Dan interviews that if he doesn’t get Rachel out, the team won’t win the team, and that will be $10,000 less to share after he wins the Inferno. Finally, Rachel gets dug out.

The players grab crabs. Shavonda walks out to the bin. Mike is upset, interviews that none of the Bad Asses will be walking. More grabbing. Veronica tries to grab a crab, but she keeps hesitating. That’s right...Veronica cannot handle crabs. It’s the easiest joke of the day! She interviews about being scared of being pinched. Cut to one crab backing up with claws up, all, “Yeah, I know who you are! I dare you to grab me! Come on!” Veronica: “I really feel they’re staring me down and about to attack.”

More running. Darrell wins the Aztec Lifeshield for the Good Guys. Landon cusses, kicking sand in disgust. Shavonda walks before breaking into a jog. CT wins the Lifeshield for his team. Abram yells at Tina to run faster. Shavonda runs to the crabs. She interviews that she is not good with long distances and endurance. “This challenge,” she adds, “sucks my ass.” Veronica is still struggling with the crabs. Both girls run to the finish line. Can you feel the manufactured tension?

Getting back from commercials, Shavonda drops off the last crab, winning the mission for the Good Guys. Everybody exchanges tired high-fives. Landon asks Darrell about getting everybody out. Darrell responds that he didn’t want to go to the Inferno. On the other side, Veronica apologizes for lagging. “It sucks to realize,” she interviews, “that you should’ve done better, and if you did a little bit better, your team would have won.” Lord, let this be foreshadowing.

Landon is still bellyaching about possibly losing the mission thanks to Darrell. Mike adds that he didn’t think Darrell would bail on his team like that. Landon goes on about counting on others. The pair calm down, realizing that they are tied with the Bad Asses at $70,000 apiece. I’m loving the close competition this season. Landon interviews that he felt cheated by Darrell going for the crabs right away. Elsewhere, Derrick thinks it serves the Good Guys right for scheming to put Darrell in the Inferno. Darrell notes that Landon was being honest, but he still didn’t like it. He interviews that the team won the mission, and Landon should stop his crying. He adds, “You got to move forward and try to progress.” Not quote-worthy, until you realize he said it “prah-gress.” Not exactly “Infuorno” or “poorlest,” but it will do.

Dave awards the Aztec Lifeshield to Darrell, who gets a hand from his teammates except Landon. Dave notes that he will ask Darrell if he’ll save Landon tonight. Dave gives the second Lifeshield to CT, joking about him possibly helping Dan. Finally, Dave awards the $10,000 to the Good Guys, and Shavonda grabs the check. Dave has fun with the tied totals, while Derrick makes a gun motion to his head. Of course, Mike has to ruin it by interviewing, “Tie ball game, bitches!”

Sunset. Inferno. The players assemble on the second floor. Dave welcomes them to the last men’s Inferno. He brings out “Dan the Man.” He strikes a pose, as his teammates chant “Danimal! Danimal!” Dave calls out Landon, and he gets a round from his team. Darrell tries to counter “Danimal” with “Lando Commando,” but it ain’t as catchy. Dave asks CT if he’ll save Dan. Once again, CT refuses to help a guy out. Dave asks Darrell if he would bail Landon out. Darrell thinks that Landon has got it.

Dave tells the players about tonight’s event: Pegged. Remember the pegs when you were in junior high, where you used arm strength to pull yourself up? Well, I don’t, because I sucked in gym. But that’s the deal tonight, as the players have to take any route to the top. First player to the top gets to stay, while the loser not only goes home, but also gets no share of the money.

Preparations. Abram thinks Dan will do surprisingly well, adding, “Landon, we’re not too scared of you, buddy.” Shavonda interviews that Landon will have no problems at all. Speaking of Landon, he huffs and puffs at the start. Dan jokes about him pacing like a tiger. “Toss him a steak or something,” he interviews. “Here, gnaw on this!”

Dan bangs his gong to get things started. Both players climb up, sticking pegs in holes and pulling themselves up. Hands tremble as the competitors move to the side of the course. Darrell: “It’s like a damn tie. What the fuck? Come on, Landon, come on. I want you to come back.” Landon interviews that he knows he’s neck-and-neck with Dan, and he has to make a move. Sure enough, Landon propels himself onward, while Dan struggles with peg placement. In the end, Landon pulls himself up, grabbing the flag at the top. Game Over. The Good Guys applaud, while Dan can only smile as Abram gives him praise. Yeah...Abram didn’t crap on Dan. Go figure. The Bad Asses clap for Dan...even CT. Is this the Twilight Zone? “Dan is definitely a stronger, better player than some of the guys that are here in the end,” Tina interviews. “It’s a bad loss and it’s a sad loss. Dan deserves to be here in the end.”

Denouement. Dave congratulates Landon for his victory, sending him back to the Good Guys. Mike: “COME HERE, BIG BOY!” If it were me, I’d run to the exit. Landon interviews that he has a chance to win $150,000, and he’ll carry momentum to the final mission.

As the Good Guys head downstairs, Dave tells Dan that he can say his goodbyes. Part of me wishes that one of them would remember how Dan joined in on making Jodi cry, and smack his head against the cage. However, the Good Guys are good sports in the end. Or maybe they don’t care for Jodi. Shavonda tears up a little, and Dan tells her that he’ll cry if she does. “I’m one of those losers who cries on reality TV shows,” he quips. And I always look at them like, ‘What is wrong with them?’” The Bad Asses come down for their fallen comrade. Rachel brushes her eyes, telling Dan that he can walk out with his head held high. Yeah...unlike some people on this show. She interviews that Dan was a good team player, and he was fearless going into the Inferno. Derrick hugs Dan through the cage. “I’m not dying!” Dan exclaims. “I’m going home!” We get a close-up of CT, and he interviews about not having bad feelings. He adds that he can’t pretend to give a hug...so he gives a peace sign. Whatever.

Dave wraps things up, telling Dan he got so close to the money. Dan insists it wasn’t about the dough. Dave congratulates him, adding that it was nice to meet him. “I think I played a fair game,” Dan interviews. “I think in the end, that’s probably why I’m going home today. But everyone has something nice to say. It’s just very humbling.” His voice cracks near the end of the interview, as he heads to the door. “I’m Sally Field. You like me! You really like me!” The door closes behind him.

Looking back, I hated how Dan bullied Jodi. I hated how he sniped at the girls and set Tonya up for more ridicule. But the funny thing is that in the long run, I can’t sustain the level of hatred for Dan that I have for the likes of CT, Rachel and Veronica, among others. If you take away the offending three episodes, Dan comes off as a good egg. He’s not on my favorites list anymore, but I can’t stay mad at him. And if he and Karamo team up to give CT a whuppin’? I’d pay to watch.

Next time: Veronica messes with Tonya some more. Tonya: “I don’t need their friendship, and I definitely don’t need to fit in.” Dave tells up that each player has to perform a tandem bungee jump. Shavonda and Jamie scream at Tonya, and that freaks her out. Brutal stuff...but it’s still not making Tonya out to be a suffering heroine like Sarah or Katie.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

My Deal With Dan

A few weeks ago, I was surfing the TWoP forums, and I visited the thread for Tana from The Apprentice. There was a poster suggesting that Tana should go into the Reality TV Hall of Shame, and she gave out the e-mail address for the site. Between my conflicted feelings towards Tana and my feeling for the site that dropped me, I e-mailed the poster. She told me what was in my mind...that Tana's meltdown in the show's closing weeks felt like a betrayal.

That brings me to Dan Renzi. You probably know him from The Real World: Miami, as well as three seasons of the Challenge. Going into this season, I liked him. He was one of the snarkiest cast members around. He played his heart out during Extreme Challenge, contributing to the Real World team's first ever seasonal win. Remember him struggling at the end of the Tough Guy course? Or playing Siegfried in a fetish show, while Syrus played a white tiger? Awesome moments...and a nice respite from the likes of James, Julie and Emily.

Two years later, he popped up on the men's team for Battle of the Sexes. Once again, he brought the snark, as he was surrounded by dummies. One night, Ellen burst in crying about how Puck threatened to kick her ass. Dan's reaction? "The mountains are going to tumble. The skies are going to fall. The world is coming to an end. EllenĂ‚’s life has been threatened." Good stuff. He competed in seven missions, teaming with Jamie to win a mission for the guys, but he ended up at the bottom of the leaderboard, earning his dismissal. However, Puck had a hissy fit about his wife and son being detained, and he left the show. So Dan was brought back, much to the delight of the other players. Heck, the girls gang-hugged him. He left in that episode, but he had a smile on his face. So did I.

Cut to Inferno II. Things sucked right away, as the Good Guys tabbed Dan for the Inferno. To make matters worse, the Bad Asses wanted to go for the kill, and they picked Mike. A bloody endgame seemed to be in order. But miracle of miracles, Mike won the Aztec Lifeshield in the following episode. Before Mike could pick a replacement, Jon decides that he wants to make a sacrifice like Jesus. In the end, Dan ends up beating Jon in the Inferno. Good stuff...Dan got mobbed by his team, the Bad Asses had two wins and one more player, Jon went home in a good mood, and Julie sobbed her tiny heart out. It couldn't get any better.

When did I turn sour on Dan? It started when Jodi and Julie sough to hand-pick their opponent for the Inferno. After Veronica got picked, she took it out on Jodi, whom the Bad Asses tabbed. Rachel and Tina joining in on the verbal beatdown didn't surprise me. But Dan telling Jodi about how he thought that he was the biggest bitch around until she made her choice? Thatdisappointedd me. Sure, the plan was shady, but there wasn't anything in the rulebook about switching. Also, it was Julie's idea, and the toothy one didn't get one bit of bitching. In the next episode, Veronica beat Jodi in the Inferno. While I didn't care much either way for Jodi, I felt bad seeing her on the ground crying, while the Bad Asses celebrated. And whose voice screeched out, "KARMA'S A BITCH!"? That would be Dan. In two weeks, he went from hero to zero in my eyes.

One week later, Dan ticked me off again. He had been cozying up with team pariah Tonya, and started to dislike the other girls. Before the Never Ending Climb, Tina thought that his route should be a team decision, and he snapped at her for that. Later on, during the deliberation meeting, Abram and Dan didn't want to vote Mike into the Inferno for the third time. Tina though that the game wasn't supposed to be fair. Dan proceeded to rip into Tina, telling the girls not toraisee their voices, and that he was tired of them bullying Tonya. Some folks on the forums applauded Dan for shutting Tina up. I saw Tina being stunned at how big an ass Dan was. And I thought that taking Tonya's side would result in more mistreatment...like, way to be a buddy, Renzi.

You know the sad thing? If you take away those three episodes, Dan comes off as a nice guy. But it was those three weeks where I went 180 degrees on him. Normally it's not a big deal...I turn on fools all the time. But this was Dan. I expected so much better from him. So when CT started going into his jackass routine, I didn't feel as much empathy for Dan as before. I mean, CT comes in with his thug mentality and jewelry, basically misrepresenting Italians worse than Rob Mariano...and I'm not openly rooting for Dan to smack him. In fact, after Dan lost the Inferno to Landon (a closer affair than I figured, by the way), I was hoping a Good Guy would grab him by the back of the neck, say "Hey, remember how much fun you had making Jodi cry?" and smack his head against the cage.

In the days after Dan's departure, as well as popping up to moderate a panel of ex-RWers for the Real World: Austin preview special, I've felt a peace about him. He's still a funny guy. He still gives great quote. But he's no longer on my list of fave Challengers...and that's a damn shame. The only bone I can throw to him is that as far as having a gay teammate, I'd rather have him than Rachel. Hell, I'd rather have Karamo than Rachel, so that's not saying much. Dan, good luck in whatever you do. Just don't pop up on the Smoking Gun again, okay?

That's it. New recap comes out either tonight or tomorrow. With my replacement at RNO coming back from vacation, somebody's gotta come and put some effort into recaps.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Inferno II, Episode 13: Pimp My Room

Previously on Inferno II: Dan proved himself by winning in the first Inferno. He interviewed that he wished people weren’t surprised that he won. He beat Jon, people. I like Jon, but I could’ve kicked his butt. The Bad Asses won Time to Ride, upping their bank account to $70,000. Abram interviewed that he wanted his team to stay up. Tonya made me a happy recapper by beating Julie in the Inferno. Sadly, Julie has been rumored to be in the next Challenge. On the bright side, it just means somebody new can kick her butt. Derrick was happy that Tonya was back.

Nighttime at the Villa. Mike dramatically announces the start of a belly flop contest. Sure enough, the kids are outside, taking turns diving into the pool. A guy in a masked stumbled and dives. Tonya interviews that the boys thought it would be a good idea to hold the contest. Darrell dives in. Derrick takes his run, pulling his shorts below his butt before jumping. Abram demands to see redness on Mike’s stomach and chest, as well as “a lot of pain.” Mike dives, but his headfirst effort draws boos. “At this point,” Tonya interviews, “if I get one second to have fun in this game, I’m just gonna let loose.” The crowd chants her name, and she hits the water stomach and chest first. Considering her enhanced attributes, that had to hurt, but the players love it. “Just let loose,” Tonya adds. “Apparently, I do that really well.” The kids chant her name while she poses. Hey, it beats grubbing for approval from the likes of Rachel and Veronica.

Inside, CT wonders to Rachel and Veronica who they could send in to take out Dan. He figures that since the Good Guys have fewer players, they would have the advantage in the final mission. That didn’t help the undermanned Real World teams at the end of The Gauntlet and The Inferno. Or maybe he thinks the Good Guys are golden without Coral. Veronica feels that the Good Guys would rather get rid of a girl. CT interviews that there are too many people contributing to the team. “If the Good Guys team takes out Dan,” he continues, “I get a bigger cut. And I like money. Money’s good. It makes me feel good about myself.” Even in the wake of such an obvious revelation (dividing by a lesser number yields a greater result? Shock!), I’m laughing at the way CT says it. He tells Veronica that Dan would automatically want Darrell in the Inferno, and if the Bad Asses don’t back Dan, he’ll assume that they want him gone, causing drama and tension in the process. Veronica interviews that the last men’s Inferno is close, and Dan is more of an asset than CT because he cares about the team. On the other hand, CT stands to make a fortune selling all the Aztec Lifeshields he’s won. Rachel thinks that if her team wants to keep players, they wouldn’t choose Landon. She also doesn’t think Darrell would lose to Dan, so they should give Dan what he wants. CT feels that the team and Dan are breaking apart. “There’s no easy way to do it,” he tells the ladies. “People’s families are gonna get hurt no matter what you do.” Wait...is CT gonna whack somebody? “Sorry, Dan,” CT interviews with little sincerity. “See ya later. Peace, honey. Thanks for the cash.”

Downstairs, Derrick and Dan have a similar conversation. Derrick thinks that CT is getting greedy, talking about people going home. Dan figures it’s his name out there losing in the Inferno. He interviews that he figured to be the last man in the Inferno, and CT would not mind one less person in the end. Derrick thinks Dan can beat a Good Guy, interviewing that Dan is seen as a weaker competitor, but he could take another guy out. “I like Infernos,” Dan tells Derrick. “I think they’re fun. But the thing is, Julie thought Infernos were fun too. Julie lost. It’s not that good a sign.”

Sponsor clue! Dan reads the message: meet Dave tomorrow at 11 a.m. at the Grand Bay Hotel, and wear team colors. He immediately thinks eating bugs will be involved. Mike asks if he’s sure of that. “I like bugs,” Dan replies. “I got crabs right now.” Not that funny, but eerily psychic.

Daytime. Mission site. We see a decorated room and two curtains. Dave welcomes the teams to today’s mission: If Memory Serves. Anybody else think of Chairman Kaga’s monologues on Iron Chef? He shows three rooms, one of them filled with sponsor products. The teams are given two minutes to study the room. The test is to mimic the room as closely as possible. Two referees reveal the center room. Landon expositions that the room is filled with 79 items. Mike adds that each team appoints a leader to go into the room to examine things, while the rest of the squad studies the room from afar. Landon continues that the teams have ten minutes to replicate the room. Dave yaddas that the team which comes closest to the room win $10,000. Tina interviews that the Good Guys are catching up in mission wins, and it’s not a comfortable lead. I know that the missions mean little as opposed to the Infernos, but I reckon that the Bad Asses need to put a whuppin’ on the Good Guys, like the men beating the women in Battle of the Sexes 2 and Road Rules pounding on Real World in The Inferno.

The Bad Asses huddle up. Veronica admits that her short term memory is shot. Make your own jokes, people. Dan gets picked, but he teams the team not to rely on him. Abram: “I’m like, ‘Okay, who should I rely on, then?’” Dan quips in an interview about how the team got the gay guy to help. “This is not hard,” he interviews. “The problem with these challenges are [sic] not that they’re difficult, it’s that we think that they are.” Over on the other side, Jamie volunteers to look in the room. She interviews that the Good Guys have three less sets of eyes, and there would be less confusion. Shavonda tells us that the strategy is for each player to look at a different section. As she moves on to the guys, we see Mike and Darrell stretch, while Landon performs push-ups. “I don’t know how well that pay attention to details,” Shavonda adds. “I don’t know if they even know what color their socks are in the morning.” Wow...Shavonda made me laugh on purpose. Freaky.

Dave calls for team leaders. Jamie and Dan step up for their respective groups. Jamie admits to freaking out, as well as being ashamed if she screwed up. Dave blows his whistle, giving the leaders two minutes to inspect the details up close. Dan interviews that it seems like a simple mission at first, but everything is so small. We get a montage of minutia, as Jamie and Dan look frustrated in slow-motion.

Back from commercials, Jamie brings us up to speed before instructing her team where to look. “I love this kind of stuff,” she interviews. “I’m super anal. I pay attention to detail.” Veronica tells Dan to look at a particular piece. He interviews that he figured to have enough to observe in order, saving the coffee table for last. To get a better view, Tonya is perched on Abram’s shoulders. Well, I hope that’s the reason. Abram interviews that he can’t tell what’s on the shelves, and that Dan will have to help the team with that. Dave blows his whistle again, shooing the players from the room.

The teams go to their starting positions. Dave gives them ten minutes, and he’ll be keeping time on a sponsored timer. Yes, he actually says the name. Tool. He blows the whistle, and the players open curtains to reveal piles of stuff, which they waste no time in assembling. Jamie interviews that Shavonda is kicking butt with her flawless shelf. Fast-forward assembling. Tonya interviews that things are different for the Bad Asses, since nobody is arguing, and everybody is following direction. More fast-forward. Mike interviews that they have to know details, like whether a container is opened or closed, or if it’s filled with orange or lemon drink. He knocks some glasses over. We see that there are less than four minutes left. Darrell asks Jamie about playing cards. She interviews that she can’t recall the arrangement on the table, adding that she remembers certain things, but she can’t remember everything. The Bad Asses rearrange stuff in their room. Dan and Abram differ over menus on shelves.

Dave gives the teams the two-minute warning. Mike tries to remember something on the table. He asks Jamie, but she doesn’t know the order. Dan interviews that he remembers pen colors and poker chips, but he’s drawing a blank on the coffee table. Dave gives the teams thirty seconds. The players arrange more stuff in fast motion. Cut to Dave waiting. More fast-mo. Cut to Dave grinning like an idiot. Fast-motion spilt screen...and Dave blows his whistle, ending the mission. It did look cool to do, but it’s not fun to watch or write about.

Both teams wait on the sidelines, as the referees reveal the rooms. The groups critiquing their rooms with what they had to base them on. A graphic shows the Bad Asses put a menu on the wrong shelf. Dan interviews that each team made mistakes. Cut to what his team got right, followed by the messed-up coffee table. This display is so bad, a rain of X’s falls from the sky. It’s funnier if you watch it. THUNK! THUNK! THUNK! THUNK! THUNK! Jamie apologizes for her arrangement goods. Mike feels that the Good Guys had a disadvantage due to lack of numbers, but he hopes it’s enough to win. Jamie interviews that she and Dan did equally well with inspections, but there is only so much one person can do. Both sides wait out Dave, but we flame out into commercials. This is one padded episode, isn’t it?

Coming back, Dave announces that the Good Guys got 61 items right out of a possible 79. He says that the Bad Asses had a lot of people, and he thought they were a shoo-in to win...but they got 53 items. The Good Guys celebrate their win, and Dave hands the $10,000 check to Jamie. “We end up killing the Bad Asses,” Mike interviews. “Eat it. Hoo-rah, baby.” Nice to see Mike gracious in victory. Tina goes on about how the Good Guys are catching up, and I’m still thinking she wants to beat them down mentally, as opposed to fixating on meaningless mission wins. Abram snots about the Good Guys walking away with more money than him. Dave gives both teams thirty minutes to make their Inferno nominations. This time, it’s the fellas. He ends by joking about the Good Guys having only three men to choose from. Shut up, you BMX bozo.

Good Guys Deliberation Meeting. Landon and Darrell vote for Dan, while Mike votes for CT, because CT is his team’s best player. Darrell sees Dan as “more of a guaranteed victory.” Landon adds that Dan is clumsy and not that strong, and that his own team doesn’t want him in the final mission. Darrell interviews that he’d rather go with Dan to keep all three guys, and he questions aiming for a top gun in the final Inferno. Jamie laughs about how half the team is gone, and Mike just looks sad about it.

Bad Asses Deliberation Meeting. Derrick doesn’t want to vote for Mike again, and the girls agree with him. He adds that Mike has gotten stronger, while Landon has grown weaker. Aside from the mishap with the hot rod, I’m not seeing that. “Landon has changed a little bit since he took his haircut,” Abram interviews. “I don’t know what happened. Maybe he’s getting too much sin on that bald strip through the middle.” Insightful as always, dude. Oh, and “took his haircut”? CT thinks that if Landon goes, so do the Good Guys. Dan has no opinion, adding that everybody thought he’d lose in the first Inferno. Sure...when he was slated to face Mike. Dan adds that after four weeks, CT doesn’t think he can win. CT lifts his head, his face going, “Whaaaaa?” Dan continues, saying that he wasn’t scared in his first Inferno, he’s not scared now, and he’s the only one not scared. CT smirks, and I don’t think he’s scared. “I haven’t seen anyone take flight or shoot laser beams out of their eyeballs,” Dan interviews. “What I see are three guys who are getting desperate to win, and I’m not desperate. In the end, I just have to rely on myself.” The part of me that still hates Dan responds, “Oh, like that night in the movie theater?”

Announcement time. The Bad Asses make their pick, as Derrick declares that Landon is Inferno-bound. Abram interviews that Landon thought the Bad Asses would be afraid to send him in. He adds, “Well, it looks like we’re not too scared of you, buddy. Big bad Landon...we’re sending you in, motherfucker.” I just roll my eyes and wish Brad took him out when there was a chance. Landon responds by announcing Dan’s selection. Dave yaddas about the Aztec Lifeshield, which Dan doesn’t think he’ll need. The figurines are placed in the Mininferno, and most of the players applaud...except for Jamie, who appears downbeat. Dan: “Who knows what’s going to happen. It could be a challenge of who looks the most ridiculous with a hairstyle on their head, and I think I’d be a pretty good match. But you never know.” The guy could bring back his “Dan Of the Jungle” coif from Battle of the Sexes, and he’d still look more dignified than Landon.

Villa. Landon laughs about not wanting to be picked. Mike tells Landon that he has to win tomorrow, since they might lose a girl next. Landon puts his head down, as Mike tells him that he not to worry. Landon: “Tonight’s gonna suck!” Mike jokes about going through this three times. Landon reminds us that this is the last men’s Inferno before the final mission and the cut of the money. “I just want to be here,” he interviews. “I do not want to go home. I will fight tooth and nail right to the end.” He’s a dead man, isn’t he?

A flame segue brings us to Dan, Tonya and Jamie. Dan insists that he’s not upset, but he gets a little misty about his fifty percent chance of going home. Against Landon? More like eighty-five. Tonya stars to tear up, asking Jamie why the Good Guys picked him to go. “Dan is the biggest sweetheart I’ve ever met,” Jamie interviews, “but I don’t blame Landon or Darrell for picking Dan, because it’s their ass on the line. We are in survival mode. We need every single player on this team.” Dan says that this is happening exactly as he thought it would. Tonya interviews that she hates seeing Dan hurt, and he deserves to be here. Dan quips that he hasn’t been able to wear his “Captain America underwear.” Too much information, Dan. He gets all gooey over saying goodbye, and Tonya has to hug him. He interviews that there’s a distinct possibility he’ll be at a great disadvantage going into the Inferno, but he’s not ready to leave yet. “As much as I believe in myself,” he adds, “there’s just some things you can’t control, and you can’t help but think, ‘I don’t have a chance in hell’.” Cut to Dan arranging his stuff. “I mean, what am I going to do?” He examines his Cap undies, while Tonya holds him.

Next time: Dan tells CT that he’s selfish. CT yells at Dan. Dan: “CT is only worried about himself.” Gee, you think? At one point, CT does the fake startle thing, but Dan doesn’t react. I guess what works on drunks in Paris doesn’t intimidate others. The mission is called Crab Grab, and it involves burying players in the sand. And crabs. Tonya is buried up to her neck, and she cries while being pinched.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

I Stink

Sorry I haven't gotten the recap up, but I've been sidetracked by Wizard World. It's been eventful...there was the huge DC Comics panel and the awarding of Batman Begins tickets (in IMAX, no less), my crappy luck in getting sketches, and the horror of the Marvel area. It's not bad, but they show ads for the new Hulk video game and Fantastic Four action figures. And the latter sucks so hard. "Don't worry, kid! The Fantastic Four are on the job!" I got the Thing's voice burned into my brain. Simply horrible.

Here's the deal...I got the recap half-done on my computer. I get back home tomorrow, and I'll finish it up and post the sucker. Afterwards, I'll write about the weekend, including getting pulled over by a trooper for speeding. Needless to say, I won't be putting pedal to the metal that hard tomorrow morning.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Several Things

It's late, and I'm going to try and get up early, so I'll be quick.

The Tana Thing

I got some harsh commentary on Tana...and yeah, I totally get that point of view. And it pains me when I see people kicking some reality show idjit and I can't feel like I can join it. In my mind, there's something called the Stallsworth Scale, going from 0 (Troy) to 10 (Assorama). In my head, Tana would be 7.5, at worst. I keep thinking of the good stuff before the Pontiac task, and that blocks me from dragging her out. In contrast, the Apex Coven (a.k.a. The Sisterhood of the Travelling Cop-out) averages about an eight. Maria, Ivana, the two Jennifers...ugggggh. And Stacy? I can't hate Tana more than Gollum! Look, if Tana goes the Omarosa route, if she sells a 900 number, does other reality shows, talks nonstop shit about Kendra for months on end...then I bump her up. Right now, her 180 degree turn is just an example to me why I shouldn't like anybody on The Apprentice, and therefore shouldn't even watch.

The Surreal Omarosa Thing

While I'm thinking of it...I'm not watching the new season of The Surreal Life. I stopped in the middle of TSL4, and I'm not hellbent on seeing Omarosa, Jose Canseco, Bronson Pinchot and the other misfits. What would be the perfect ending? At the end of the season, Omarosa gets into a huge fight with Sally Jesse Raphael on the "Dirty Laundry" faux talk show. The fight is so fierce, that the house is blown up from orbit. Seriously, I hate SJR. She made me feel sorry for Trishelle. TRISHELLE! And when I have a lull in my life, I must tell you guys about the time I attended a taping of her show. The horror...

The Philly Thing

This weekend, I'm commuting from Staten Island to Philadelphia for Wizard World Philadelphia. The good news: lots of dealers to buy from, lots of video games, actual panels and an oppurtunity to get some sketches. The bad news: I'm not really hellbent on seeing any of the talent. Also, getting into the DC Comics panel is going to be a bitch. People who want to hit that panel on Saturday have to go to the Wizard booth at 10 a.m. to get tickets. Why? Because DC is giving away passes to Batman Begins. Do not get me wrong...I think the newest interpetation of the Batmythos will rock...but couldn't there be a panel about the movie? And what if I get a pass? Do I have to go that night? It takes me about 90 minutes to get home...I don't want to stay out all night. Anyway, if the weekend is eventful, I'll report on it for your reading pleasure.

The Gail Thing

I've known Gail Simone back when we were posting on Jonah Weiland's unoffical message board for Kingdom Come. Since then, she's become a star writer at DC Comics, currently scribing Action Comics, Birds of Prey and Villains United. She also wrote an episode of Justice League Unlimited ("Double Date"), which primeres this Saturday on Cartoon Network. If it's as good as her writing, we'll all be in for some fun.

The Sith Thing

Finally saw Episode III yesterday. In retrospect, was this trilogy neccesary? If not for the first three episodes, all we would've known about Darth Vader was that he was the badasses to end all badasses. No, we get to see him rise from annoying youngster ("YIPEE!") to brazen apprentice (whining, bitching, killing Sandpeople, losing a hand to that other White Wizard, etc.) to...well, I won't spoil. We all know that his path leads to the black armor and sounding liek James Earl Jones. But that path is freakin' grisly. Come to think of it, nobody ends up looking good after almost 150 minutes. The Jedi look like punks. Amidala is just there. The Wookies don't have enough screen time. Even R2D2 gets roughed up. Personally, my fave part of the new wave of SW was Clone Wars; an animated series doled out in small increments. Sad, isn't it? And General Grevious came across as way more of a bad ass than in live action.

The Infernal Recap Thing

I'll try and post it tomorrow, before I turn to the con. I did like the mission, but it felt padded. Did it really need to be stretched through the entire second segment? And I might be in the minority, but I'm hoping Dan gets his butt kicked by Landon on Monday. I know that CT is a huge punk, but Dan has it coming. He goes on and one about how he won an Inferno. Yes he did...to JON. I like the country boy, but I'm sure that I could've beaten him. It's probably unlikely that Dan can bail himself out...but I can see Landon doing that. I'm still hoping Darrell gets shoved in, because he needs to sweat. Failing that, maybe Rachel get put in and destroyed two weeks later. Did you see her and Veronica on MTV.com? Thank goodness they're not doing the next Challenge...I can only take so much of their crap.

The Comments Thing

Minor nitpick, and I apologize if I sound like a tool. If you have anything to say that you'd rather be private, just e-mail me at lantern75@msn.com.