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, 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.

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