Sunday, September 04, 2016

Battle of the Sexes, Episode 3: Riding (And Dying) In Cars With Boys

Looking back, I have to de-link stuff, especially when I reference stuff from Colin and Lori's sites, both of which are inaccessible via Lori was very informative with her recaps, as was Colin, though I found him to be self-indulgent. And Melissa's blog was thorough as well, though I might gush too much about her back then and today. Refer to her as "MElissa," and I get mad. I'm the same way about Judd, even though I haven't read much of his stuff lately.

Airdate: January 13, 2003
Recap posted: January 18, 2003 

The Battle of the Sexes continues with another challenge. But one woman is told she can't even compete and the guys have to decide on a system for voting people out. And who hasn't wanted to see Puck hung upside down for a while (at right)?
Has it only been a week? This isn't an awfully corny lead for the recap. It just feels that after enduring premiere after premiere of new reality shows, it feels like forever since the first installment. Good thing MTV airs this stuff hundreds of times a week, right?

There's also the web sites. Oh, goodness, the web sites. Melissa and Julie reopened their sites, taking potshots at one another and going on to butt heads. Lori's site has her own articles, while Colin launched his own page. Both have juicy behind-the-scenes tidbits, including more on LoogieGate, the "stand" for Puck, and a RR member who didn't sleep for 72 hours and blew a gasket at the suggestion of getting voted off. While I am impressed at their insights, I'll have to stop reading the material until I'm done with future recaps, since it may affect my writing.

Previously, on Battle of the Sexes: Gladys revealed to the other girls that she was pregnant. After LoogieGate and the Melissa/Julie dust-up, I didn't think that would lead off. I wonder if Gladys gets featured this week. Ah, there's Melissa giving Julie the first, second and third degree. I watched every episode of The Mole 2, and I don't remember Dorothy wearing a t-shirt promoting her band like Julie did. Shot of Blair screwing up Sergeant Says, and the girls celebrate. Syrus: "What a smack in the face!" Melissa's in the Inner Circle, and she wants to vote Julie off. Aneesa doesn't want it to be personal. Genesis drops the hammer on Julie. Buh-bye, Julie. In a previously unseen interview, Emily says that the girls haven't established a fair way of voting off people. As opposed to the guys, where Puck drives people insane until they snap and leave.

Credits! Midtown! The Cheesiest Title Sequence Ever! Actually, most of the dancing got spliced out, making for a shorter sequence. For anybody who cares, here's the order: Blair/Anne, Amaya/Dan, Jake/Shane, Emily/James, Mark/Lori, Veronica/Ellen, Colin/Theo, Melissa/Jamie, Beth/Syrus, Eric N./Rachel, Antoine/David E., Ayanna/Jisela, David B./Yes, Christina/Tonya, Gladys/Aneesa, Laterrian/Eric J., Genesis/Ruthie, and Puck/Julie. Yeah, Julie and David E. are still in the credits. Why anybody should be reminded of David, avenger of saliva, is beyond me. But Jisela smacks him and gives the thumbs-up, so that works for me. Go, Jisela!

Women's Villa. There's coughing. Two girls are in the bathroom, and one of them closes the door. Then an old friend shows up: FP. FP is Fantasy Points, meaning if you have one of those two on your fantasy team, you get ten points for "bodily function." Sick, but addictive to play. Speaking of sick, Christina fills us in: pretty much everybody in the Villa has persistent diarrhea. Gladys (who's pregnant and in a place of disease) mentions that Ruthie has been up since 5 a.m., in constant pain. There's a joke in there, but I'm not touching it. Lori tells some of the ladies of the rumbling in her stomach. Tonya figures that the guys must be sick as well.

Ironic Segue! A guy jumps off the ledge and into the pool. What will it take for these guys to stop that? "Check his teeth. If he's Real World, call Neil to replace him. If he's Road Rules, call Darrell." Laterrian laughs. Not a shot of any guy hanging drywall here. "The girls are feeling sick," says James, "But the guys want to kick some arse." Arse? Arse?!? What happened to the constant string of "dudes"? Eric N. rubs some material on Puck's armpits, and the Scabby One compliments him. It's a cult, I tell you, and Eric is the high priest. In an interview, Yes says that the group is a "big ol', funky, unique frat." Guess I know where I can buy an adjective. One of these frat boys tells Antoine that they've been making fun of him for three days, and he didn't even know it. "Please carry on," he replies with a smile. Oh, those wacky Belgians! Just then, the phone rings with the latest mission details. David (there's only one left so no need to use last initials anymore) informs everybody that everybody will meet up at 10:30 a.m., and to wear swimsuits and sunblock. I'm convinced the hand holding the phone isn't David's. I'm going to get a wee critical on the editors as time goes on.

Shots of everybody getting on the team buses. The guys have a pow-wow. Eric N. talks first, since he's the eldest. That, and he's holding a miniature giraffe figure. In an interview, Eric says that the guys had to come up with a plan to vote. Now David has the giraffe. He says that the guys caught a huge break when David E. left, and that the girls helped them out. "Julie getting kicked off was [bleeped]-up on their part," he adds. The giraffe materializes in Yes' hand, saying that the group has to be capable of figuring out who's weak and strong. Puck adds that it has to be specific. Eric the Elder waves the giraffe empathically. The bottom line: they agree to vote out whoever has the lowest cumulative score.

Now Laterrian has the giraffe. What say you, LT? "Losing is the worst thing that happens," he says. "I lost the last Challenge. I refuse [fist pump] to lose [fist pump] this Challenge." First of all, way to invoke Murphy's Law. Secondly, he's still a little ticked off at what happened during Extreme Challenge. That does explain him cussing out Emily on-camera during the preview. Syrus interviews that Laterrian is a competitor, and his intensity rubs off on the others. Laterrian goes on: "The best thing that's ever happened to me so far in my entire life is meeting you guys." Yikes. Let's review: this is third get-together with James. Who wants to hang around with James the ultra-competitive jock, especially when there's stuff to be competitive about? Secondly, if meeting sixteen other guys is his life's main highlight, then that's sad. I hope that's the lack of sleep talking.

Crane. Trapezes. Guys arrive. Girls arrive. Puck: "Thanks for the manly sport today, brother." Oh, shut up. Jonny Moseley welcomes the squads to Dead Man's Drop, which will test endurance. Jonny goes on, saying that everybody will hang onto the trapezes upside-down over the water. There's a long close-up of Tonya, like she's going to start fretting over her kidney problems any second. In an interview, Jisela that while everybody's stomachs are in a knot, the women will win. Jisela is the last person to be saying this, what with suspension involved in this game. That's her Kryptonite. James says that the girls' winning streak is temporary. "The guys are insanely competitive," he says, "And will do anything… and I mean anything to win." Pot, meet kettle.

Jonny continues: Dead Man's Drop will be a timed event, and everybody will be competing as individuals, with 36 points for first place, down to a mere three for last. There will be three heats, and Shane expositions that it's based on placement from last mission. Jonny has a special treat for the person who hangs the longest: season ticket passes for the entire team from Loews Theater. Very nice; I'd be hitting Manhattan every week with that kind of reward. The winner also snags the Ion Lifesaver, which can be used to bail out the bearer or somebody else. Funny… Colin never mentioned anything in the rulebook about self-preservation with the IL.

Gladys says that the women's power is in the legs, and that the guys can't use their upper-body strength. In an interview, Gladys is nervous, since she didn't think she'd be able to do this. But she wants to prove that she can compete and not put her feet up. Emily and James… James has stomach hair. The rest of him is smooth, but he's got hair on his tummy. I guess shaving there is something he and Theo (from Maximum Velocity Tour, not Chicago) disagree on. James is worried, since he's low in the standings. Cut to his name on the scoreboard with eight points… and Laterrian with two. Actually, it's "Latterian" with two points. Some people get no respect. Emily is flustered. "I hate being out of the Inner Circle!" she grouses. "It's foreign territory to me."

Uh oh. Jonny wants to see Gladys, and I don't think he wants Abe-smacking tips. Jonny tells her that she can't compete here. Gladys counters, saying she called her doctor (Nick Riviera from Springfield, I'm guessing) but Jonny has doctors nearby, and they don't want her to do this. Gladys clenches up a little, but doesn't cry. In an interview, she notes that if the blood rushes to her head, the uterus would be deprived of oxygen. Why is she here? Dudes risking their own necks cannonballing into the pool is one thing, but she's risking two lives.

Heat One: David, Mark, Dan, Puck, Jake, Tonya, Lori, Syrus, and Jisela. Everybody dips into the water and gets on the trapezes. In an interview, Christina points down Jake's "man-thong." Do we really need to go there? Apparently so, since we see Jake's individual cheeks. Ick. "He's trying to distract the ladies," Christina goes on. "It's an admirable attempt." Jonny blows the air-horn, and everybody goes upside-down. A girl yells something about Jake's "stuff," before he falls into the water after 22 seconds. He voiceovers that he got little "support" and he was fidgeting while hanging. Puck blathers about being there all day. Mark voiceovers that fifteen seconds in, he felt a knot in his hamstring, so he's going to hang on until all the girls are off. Lori's leg wobbles, and she falls (2:17). Jisela drops (2:23). Ellen yells for Tonya to hold on, but she plunges (2:45) Tonya interviews that she's nervous, since the girls are "dropping like flies." Dan lets out a scream before he drops (2:55). David drops (3:14). Anne and Puck hang next to each other. Don't ask me where Syrus went. Anne gives in (3:31). Mark, seeing the last girl is off, lets go at 3:55. But Anne splashed down mere seconds before. I hate the editing. The only person left on the trapeze is Puck. "Is this supposed to be [bleeping] hard?" he asks out loud. "I'm like a bat right now! Whassup? I'm Batman." He's not Batman. He's not George Clooney as Batman. He's not even Mike Boogie breaking onto the site of Batman & Robin with George Clooney as Batman.

Back from commercials, Puck is still hanging, with his legs crossed on the trapeze. I guess it's legal. "I'm a mountain man!" he exclaims, not knowing that Jamie will sue him for using his shtick. Finally, he lets go at a time of 6:56. He's like that kitten in the inspiration poster.

Puck gets praise from his fellow teammates. Laterrian, however, needs help. "Gimme some advice!" he frantically pleads. "Talk to me!" Puck lets him in on his secret: keep the legs bent past the bar. Laterrian interviews that he's not used to losing, but this time, he'll be prepared.

Heat Two: Shane, Eric J., Emily, Rachel, Laterrian, James, Yes, Antoine, Eric N., Ayanna and Beth. Puck notices that Laterrian's legs aren't in the right position. Naturally, he hits the water (0:19). "The moment that bar gets away from you, you're done," muses Colin. "You're on your way down." Laterrian stalks off, ripping off his lifejacket. The background music plays: "I'm not gonna live another day." Subtle, isn't it?

Back to the action: Beth falls (1:34), and she's happy about not finishing in last place. Rachel falls (2:23). Ayanna screams out "Help me!" before plunging (2:38). Yes' head vibrates a little before he falls (2:47). James falls (3:31). Colin and Mark yell for Eric N. to hold on before he falls (4:05). No word on Shane or Eric J. Now only Emily and Antoine are left, and both sides are cheering. "C'mon, Antoine!" David shouts. "Voulez-vous coucher avec moi, whateva!" This gets a laugh from the guys. "Lady Marmalade" lyrics are all the French I know, too. Antoine drops at 6:05, and the girls cheer… but Emily drops at 6:22. James doesn't care, as he dives in and kisses Emily. FP flashes. Damn! I have them both on my bench! That's ten points I'll never get!

Final heat. Veronica tells the girls that it's "really, really, really, really, really important" that they hold on. How important, Veronica? Doesn't beat Challenge 2000, where a clue was given in an airport with the words "bullseye" and "Geronimo," and she thought she would be shooting. Lori says that the pressure is on for the girls to win.

Jonny sounds the air-horn. Jisela gives her teammates the double thumbs-up (as opposed to the "I just punched David E." version). Amaya drops after twelve seconds. Melissa shakes from side to side. Ayanna yells out that she's got Melissa, but her apparent telekinetic powers fail, as Melissa drops (1:35), followed by Aneesa (1:41) and Christina (2:07). Jamie's leg shakes before he falls (2:44). Colin hangs on, as he is the only guy left. "It's up to you now!" Antoine shouts. "There's only you now!" Way to not put pressure on him, Antoine. Colin falls at 4:46, and the women cheer. Ellen hangs on, voicing over that all of her weight is on one leg, and it's shaking. She falls after 5:28.

It's just Ruthie now. Puck's time of 6:56 flashes on the screen. She hangs on, as a clock indicates she's closing in on Puck. As she passes it, she looks at her watch. While hanging upside-down. After seven minutes. I'm impressed with her. "This ain't even about competition anymore," she says in an interview. "This is about me versus me." Aneesa reiterates Ruthie's ease on the trapeze, and how it mocks the guys. Finally, Ruthie lets go after seven minutes and 35 seconds. Anybody got some intra-season love? "Ruthie is a competitor and it really means a lot to see her doing well here," Colin says. "I was rooting for Ruthie when we were in Hawaii together, and I'm still footing for her. Ruthie's been through a lot, and I think she deserves this." The ladies give their champion a group hug.

Jonny proclaims that the result is "another shocker" for the guys, as the women cheer. He awards Ruthie the movie passes (in giant check form) and the Ion Lifesaver. In an interview, she says that with every win, the women prove themselves as strong as the men, if not stronger.

Chili's Lounge. Laterrian wonders if he's the next to go, since he fared poorly. The scores are posted: right above David E., there's Laterrian with eight points. Ouch. Puck blows smoke, as if stunned, while Laterrian takes a breath. Dan voiceovers that the team agreed to vote out the lowest cumulative scorer. Eric J. is placed above Laterrian with 25 points. That is a huge gap. Dan snarks, "There goes that entire system of rules." Shane weighs in: "Nobody wants Laterrian, the team mascot, to get sent home." That's harsh. I got a flashback to those Campus Crawl ads, where Sarah kept getting listed as "team mascot." Laterrian is not Sarah. On the bright side, at least his name is spelled right this time.

Ruthie is put up on top of the women's column with 64 points. There's no big shot of the entire board, though. Don't the editors know some people obsess over these things? And by "some people," I mean me. Ellen has 58 points, good for second place. In an interview, Anne thinks it will be interesting to see how the voting progresses. Gladys thinks it will be a hard call on who gets voted off, and it might be her. A scoreboard check shows her above only Julie with 14 points. Yes, the pregnant lady who only competed once got more points than Laterrian. Beth has 16, followed by Rachel with 17. The whole "Rachel as She-Hulk" myth is fading fast. Veronica (who isn't near the bottom) is queasy about the girls' system, since it changes all the time. How come we didn't she her sweat last week? Given she finished the first round just outside the Inner Circle for the second year in a row, you'd think the editors would run with that. Beth brings up Gladys, whom she thinks hurts the team since she's pregnant.

Jonny makes the Inner Circle announcements. For the women, it's Ruthie, Ellen, and Anne. For the men, it's Colin, Jamie, and Theo. Ruthie gets the Ion Lifesaver, reminded by Jonny to tell him whom she's handing it to beforehand.

Men's Inner Circle. Actually, it's more like an Inner Circle and Friends, since some of the guys are hanging around. Eric N. is sitting where Jamie should be. Colin doesn't want things to be ugly. "If anybody is going to make things ugly," he adds, "Let's let [the women] do it." In an interview, Theo says he has hung out with Laterrian, but he can't be selfish.

Women's Inner Circle/Non-Evil Cheerleading Cult. Ruthie voiceovers that the guys have their process, but the women are capable of analyzing things deeper. Ellen asks Ruthie who would get the IL. Ruthie is contemplating giving it to Gladys. Ellen wants the strongest girls up front, those who think for themselves and don't feed negativity. Once again, does she even look in a mirror? Ruthie feels uncomfortable, revealing that Beth came up to her and told her she was her only friend. She adds that the competition shows what kind of person somebody can be. Anne brings up Veronica, who never talks to her and isn't interested in Anne as a person. How is this different from last week's WIC? Heck, how is Anne's position different from Penny Ramsey's tribal council speech on Survivor: Thailand? She goes on, saying that Beth means well, "she wants to be part of the group so bad." Ruthie asks which one would benefit the team. Anybody else got the Patrick Swayze/Chris Farley Chippendale's audition skit stuck in their heads?

Announcement time. Jonny reminds everybody that one guy and girl will be leaving today. Ellen goes first, saying that it wasn't an easy decision and it wasn't personal. There are quick shots: Veronica, Beth, Gladys and Jisela, and Melissa. Ellen announces that Beth is gone. Beth smiles awkwardly. At least she outlasted Julie, who was a real physical threat.

Now it's the men's turn. Colin comes out and announces that Laterrian is the choice. He just smiles and nods. Colin goes on, appreciating Laterrian's heart and energy. Everybody applauds.
Finally, Jonny asks Ruthie to award the IL. Shouldn't she have done this before the announcements? What if she gave it to Laterrian? Anyway, Ruthie picks the person who was not able to compete: Gladys. In an interview, she says that the other women know she's been trying, adding, "It's not my time right now to go home." Beth is a little less graceful. "Hello?" she asks Ruthie in an interview. "I'm your friend!" If this is how she treats friends, then I'd hate to be her enemy.

Back at the Women's Villa, Veronica talks about how emotional the day has been, with all the ups and downs. What's going on at the Men's Villa? Party! Laterrian and Antoine dance. Antoine shakes his groove thang. "I think our team strategy is unstoppable!" Yes enthuses, voicing over while he break-dances. "We don't have any worries about who's going to vote for who, and that security is so powerful." Great, now Yes is invoking the gods of irony. In the Women's Villa, Gladys doesn't want to feel down for staying. Jisela wishes she could vote off the guys. I count at least two jokes I can make at her expense, so I won't go there. Over at the Men's Villa, Theo dances, followed by Shane either dancing or having a seizure. The background music implores us to shake it off. Real subtle.

Outside, Laterrian gives his final pep talk. "You guys are gonna represent for me," he says, "Because they're my [bleepin'] boys! HOO-RAH!" Yeah… "Hoo-Rah." Just like Ian. The guys repeat it. Laterrian: "I'd rather go home and my team wins. It's not the battle, it's the war. MY boys… we're gonna win the war." Laterrian gets hugged. Beth gets hugged. They get into the van, and it rides off into the night.

Before I finish, I'd like to share my thoughts with Laterrian, if he's out there. LT? Never do another Challenge. Ever. It's not that I hate you. Ever since you signed up for Maximum Velocity Tour, you've been slammed around. You got caught in the bathroom hooking up with Kathryn. Your team lost a boat race to O-Town, the products of Making the Band, which was lower on the food chain than Road Rules. In the finale, you ended up marrying Holly. Nobody, not even deluded Chadwick, should ever have to do that. Then came Extreme Challenge. You nearly drowned during the Fisherman Games. You witnessed the RR team lose mission after mission. And when you tried to step up, defending the team in front of Judge Mills Lane, you lost due to your teammates' inability to back you up. There, you got a share of a paltry $40,000 and Judge Lane's gavel. Onto Battle of the Sexes. You gave one heck of a pep talk, and then blew Sergeant Says. You got a total of eight points. Even Beth had more than you. You are snake-bit, friend. If either Bunim or Murray comes calling, don't answer back. Achieve success on your own terms. I just don't want to see you flame out again.

Next time: Ellen thinks Puck is an ass. Puck: "She's a bad egg, and I'm gonna knock that chair from underneath her." Look, if both of them aren't gone by the end of the episode, then nobody wins. Log cabin construction. According to Emily, the men's brains are wired, while the women aren't the same. A pile of disjointed logs proves that. And you knew it had to happen sooner or later: the eruption of Mt. Jisela! Run, Jonny, before she blows her top!

Funny how I felt for Laterrian back then. He would do The Gauntlet and repeatedly get saved from the endgame by the bulk of the Road Rules team because he wasn't seen as a liability in the final mission the way Sarah was. When he got knocked off by Alton, I was all, "Good riddance."

As for Beth? Here's the story I remember from Colin's blog: It was after the mission. Ruthie was sick. She was on the toilet puking, reliving her second night on RW: Hawaii, and she had nastiness coming from every orifice of her body. Then Beth stuck her head in the bathroom, asking Ruthie to give her the Ion Lifesaver. And that, children, is why she got voted out over a pregnant woman who couldn't participate in the mission. I'd say that had to have hurt worse than being booted instead of not-quite-slim Sharon in the previous season, but I'm unclear as to whether Beth feels pain. Beth probably would have gone out first, but Melissa really wanted Julie's punk ass gone. Beth would eventually do back-to-back Challenge with Inferno II and Gauntlet 2, where she wound up working my last nerve. And she'd wind up competing in The Duel and Gauntlet III. I understand she got married and had a kid. The promise of a green card had to be involved. It had to be.

If anybody remembers the cast member who was awake for 72 hours, please let me know.

PS: Forgot to  mention Dead Man's Drop! Funny to see it recycled as an endgame in The Gauntlet. If anybody knows what  Sarah or Coral's times were in their victories, let me know. I'd be curious to know if they reached Ruthie's time. All I know is that Sarah was in pain before she had to get on the trapeze for the third time.

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