Monday, September 05, 2016

Battle of the Sexes Episode 4: Log Cabin Fever

I'm getting in one more recap behind the Labor Day weekend wraps up. We get the start of Puck's campaign of emotional terror against Ellen. I didn't take a side . . . I hated Puck so much, and I was never a fan of Ellen. A lot of it stemmed from Road Rules: The Quest, where she got into a semi-abusive relationship with Adam, which led to lots of fighting. And oral sex. I'm sure that she made a good life for herself after her sole Challenge stint, and she probably doesn't give handjobs under a bridge like Puck. Or so I'd imagine. Sometimes, I miss her. Really.

Airdate: January 20, 2003
Recap Published: January 22, 2003

It’s time for a “thinking” puzzle challenge on the Battle of the Sexes – will the men do any better than they did on the previous two? Plus, it’s Puck’s birthday! For his present, he is lashing out at the women.

Previously on Battle of the Sexes: The girls won Sergeant Says. Ruthie hung on in Dead Man’s Drop, voicing over that with every win from the ladies, they’re giving the guys a run for their money. Theo lets us know that the guys’ asses have been kicked once again. There are two extended shots of Puck. That cannot be a good sign.

Credits! Midtown! In my “Thoughts to Laterrian” segment last week, I forgot about his contribution to the opening credits. From now until the end of the series, the only visage of Laterrian we’ll be seeing is his whirling around with the dopiest smile on his face. It negates all the gung-ho “HOO-RAH!” rallies from the other episodes. Just another reason he should never do any more BMP shows.

Women’s Villa. A few of the girls talk about their success. Dan’s there, since he’s an honorary member of the team and all. In an interview, Anne says that the morale is high, and that the girls can pull off more wins. She asks Dan what the guys do after the events. Dan says that they yell at each other. Given the dancing from last week, I think he’s exaggerating. He adds that the girls don’t have to yell, since they win the events.

Jamaican countryside. Mark and Puck are being chauffeured in a golf-cart. Puck tells us that since his fiancĂ© Betty and son Bogart are coming next week, he’d make special plans. “What better location to get married in?” he asks. I’m stuck on a child named “Bogart.” Then I start getting flashbacks of the Atticus/Cherry wedding from Dog Days. Not good. The duo spots an open meadow, and Mark has ideas for the ceremony. Since he’s the only married person on the show, Mark will be taking care of the plans. Puck will also let Mark hold Bogart during the procession. I start wondering if I could ask another RNO writer to recap the wedding when it happens.

Outside the Woman’s Villa, Puck asks how he could not bump the wedding date up. Ellen counters, wondering why he’d go through with this, since he barely knows some of the cast members. There’s some talking, then Ellen starts up, saying that Puck is “doing it all just for show.” Yeah, it does seem to be cutting close to Corey Feldman’s wedding on The Surreal Life. Now Puck thinks Ellen is rude, and she says the same of him. “I’m absolutely rude to people I don’t like,” he adds. Once again, his ex-roommates from San Francisco snort in derision. More arguing. Since I hate them both, I can’t take a side. Puck calls her a superficial person, and she denies that. All that was missing was a “HA!” from either Jisela or Blair. Ellen: “I think you’re an ass and a jerk.” Puck: “I’m 34 and you’re 24. Check yourself.” He forgot to add, “Before you wreck yourself.” Seriously, they’re acting like 10-year-olds. She asks if he has changed emotionally in the past decade. More bickering followed by dual confessionals.

Puck: “She’s a bad egg, and I’m gonna kick that chair from underneath her.”

Ellen: “The sheer fact that in a decade [eyes bug out], some one has not changed or matured, shows me that they have major social problems.”

Men’s Villa. Puck says that Ellen doesn’t realize that he’s Puck. Apparently, being Puck means never having to grow up or stop referring to yourself in the third person. He starts spewing some vile stuff on what he wants to do with Ellen. The other guys laugh, and there’s a shot of Yes, who should really know better than to encourage deviant behavior. Puck is now officially going after Ellen, but the other girls are okay with him. He adds that he could make Amaya cry in two minutes. Maybe three years ago, but she’s tougher now. Puck won’t mess with Veronica, since Eric N. wants to do stuff to her. There’s more filthy talk and laughter. If this is what Survivor: The Amazon is going to be like, I may as well not watch.

Chili’s Lounge. During dinner, the sponsor-labeled cell phone rings and Mark answers. Mark is wearing an unfortunate “100% American” softball cap. I wouldn’t expect anybody under 55 to wear that. He reads off tomorrow’s mission: brain game, get a partner, and wear shorts and sunblock. Isn’t sunblock mandatory at this point? “What if we have to eat brains?” Dan wonders. Then you’d be on Campus Crawl, scarfing that down with Eric J., Shane and Rachel. Speaking of Eric the Younger, he teams up with Syrus. In a voiceover, Eric notes that he’s at the bottom of the scoreboard. Rachel says that since the girls won the first two missions, the guys will have a lot more to prove. The registration board shows one pairing: Ellen and Tonya. I’ll accept that Tonya’s hitching her buggy to a fast horse. Yes: “We’ll let ‘em know what a spanking feels like, because we’re bringing it.” Anybody else think Yes has spent too much time with Puck?

Morning. Shots of sleeping cast members. Puck asks us if we want to see his morning wood. Shut up, Puck. Today, he turns 34. He tells a few of the guys that nothing would be better than a victory on his special day.

Ruthie has her hair pulled out by… hey! It’s Melissa! I guess the editors will forget about her until she lashes out at another cast member. Ruthie tells us that all the girls are having their periods, so there’s a lot of pain going around. According to Ellen, Anne has been experiencing the worst pain. Cut to Anne with Christina and Ruthie, with her knees on her chest. Christina reassures her that she doesn’t have to compete. Anne cries, saying she wants to do it, even if it means throwing up while doing it.

Outside, Puck asks a few of the guys if they’d do whatever it takes to win. Turns out Colin got a back rub from Ellen last night and he liked it. Of course, Puck has more opinions of Ellen. He jabbers on and on: He wants to break her down mentally, he’s a jet with either thrust or no thrust, and he’s gunning for her because she “opposed the Puck.”

Back from commercials, there’s a shot of a small log cabin. Jonny Moseley welcomes everybody. Since the world revolves around him and only him, Puck interrupts Jonny to tell him about the birthday. Like Jonny is going to rush to the local gift shop and get something. Anyway, today’s game is Treehouse. The teams of two have to memorize the construction of the log cabin, then assemble it in that manner. For the winning duo, the prize is a Razor prize package: a scooter, a “punk bike,” and a pogo stick. People play with pogo sticks these days? Of course, the winners also get the Ion Lifesaver, which is dying to be used in a strategic manner.

“Model Inspection.” Everybody gets to feel wood. Jonny tells them about differently notched pieces. Lori goes over the design with Melissa. Dan and Jamie look it over. After five minutes, Jonny wrecks the cabin. There’s a wide shot of a net hanging in the trees. It falls, raining down logs in the process. Somebody yells “Timber!”

Chaos. From what I gather, one person runs to get the logs and is only allowed to carry two pieces. The other person stays behind, assists with the construction and wears a dorky plastic helmet. I got something like that in Bowie, MD, back in 1994, when the stadium was still being built as minor league baseball was being played. Back to the action, Eric N. shouts “two doubles” a few times. In a voiceover, Dan thinks the biggest mistake is to have a strategy. “The more you think about it,” he adds, “The more you’re just going to confuse yourself.”

Yes gets ready to tie a yellow ribbon around a post, yelling at Colin to get Jonny’s attention. I’m guessing that is how the game is supposed to end. A graphic tells us that it’s a photo finish, and that Dan and Jamie get first place, while Colin and Yes finish in second. Next, Jake and James finish in third. Eric J. and Syrus are cleared, as are Puck and Shane and Eric N. and Mark. Puck likes Shane. “Who says gay guys can’t build houses?” he asks. Shane doesn’t have an answer for that. Puck blathers on about how he likes seeing the girls stressed.

Amaya and Veronica are still working. Wow, I didn’t think these two rivals of Challenge 2000 would team up. Veronica is visibly stressed. In an interview, Dan says that all the guys are done, while the girls are still figuring out the foundations of the houses. Lori looks stressed. More shots of the ladies running around with logs.

Finally, Jonny clears a female team: Emily and Christina. Emily interviews that the men’s brains were wired for the mission, while the women got rattled. Mark high-fives Puck, happy that the women won’t get to sweep the entire Challenge.

Lori wraps her ribbon, and Melissa yells and bounces joyously. Jisela is screaming for Jonny to “bring that ass over here!” Jonny comes over to the Lori/Melissa cabin, finding an incorrectly placed log on the bottom. The Jisela/Genesis cabin’s door is facing the wrong way. Looks like the women aren’t doing so well. What do you think, Puck? “You guys are like snails!” he jeers. “My sister could build a house better than you!”

Ayanna manages to grab Jonny, and he clears the cabin she and Rachel worked on. After celebrating being the second female duo to finish, Ayanna runs off to help the others, starting with Ellen and Tonya. But Rachel doesn’t help, thinking she would be disqualified if she touches another person’s cabin. In a voiceover, Ellen notes this, thinking Rachel is choosing not to be a team player. Or maybe she doesn’t want to finish in a position where she would have to be voted off. Once again, I hate Ellen.

Puck: “You ladies got whooped!” And once again, I hate Puck. Jisela and Genesis turn the top of their cabin around, but it falls apart. “I know you little fillies are mad,” Puck says. “Keep buildin’” Jisela tries to calm herself and her partner down. “Our house is supposed to be this way, [Jonny’s] gonna have a house this way,” she says. “And if he says something else, I will hit him.” Aneesa yells for Jonny as Anne jumps up and down. Jisela runs around, muttering “Jonny is a [bleep]” a few times. Genesis: “Any guy wants to know what hell is like, be around a bunch of women who are on their period and PMSing. Because that's hell.” I’m not sure if that counts as a segue to Jisela’s rant. “I’m gonna [long bleep] CHOKE Jonny!” she yells, as Melissa and Ruthie hold her arm. “Where the [bleep] is he? Where are you, Jonny?” Jonny looks into the camera, clearly amused at Jisela. Not smart.

Back from the break, Jisela is still ticked and Ayanna has to calm her down. According to Emily, the guys are now helping the remaining female teams finish the mission. Jonny spots a flaw in the Ellen/Tonya cabin. Jisela/Genesis? Done. Ruthie/Gladys? Done. Veronica helps out Ellen and Tonya.
The game must be over, since Jonny announces that Jamie and Dan are the winners. Dan wastes little time is grabbing a scooter and rolling as far as the thick grass will let him. One of the guys bounces on the pogo stick, so I’m guessing all the guys get the prize package. Jamie and Dan are also the proud owners of the Ion Lifesaver. Jonny concludes the meeting, saying that the scores will be posted in 90 minutes.

Back at the Lounge, Colin’s on a couch, his foot on a pile of pillows, while Dan paints his toenails. Turns out that Colin rolled his ankle on a log and hurt it. Dr. McKenzie, the local physican, feels it, suggesting that it’s a sprain. Puck asks how long Colin would be out, and Dr. McKenzie thinks it would be two days. In an interview, Colin is ready to accept the outcome, but he adds, “I’m not looking to go home right now, or lose my lead.”

Speaking of leads, the scoreboard shows Ruthie, Ellen, and Anne still in the top three. A quick upwards pan reveals a four-way tie for fourth place between Christina, Emily, Melissa, and Veronica, all one point behind Anne. Christina says that Anne hates being in the Inner Circle. Anne tells a slightly unsympathetic Aneesa that she wishes she were in fourth. Puck walks near Ellen with his guitar and a “Happy Birthday” balloon, trying to be threatening. “Yeah, I wonder what I did in the last ten years,” he says aloud. Does he want me to compare his post-RW life to Judd’s? Because I will do that.

A tight close-up on the men’s side has Eric J. on the bottom with 55 points. If he were on the other side, he’d be leading five girls. Just something to think about next time you hear about the women kicking butt. Puck says that there doesn’t have to be a fight, since Eric knows he’s going home. Dan reassures Eric, saying that the main purpose of the trip was to have fun. In an interview, Eric is shocked, thinking that he had more points. Syrus cheers up his log cabin buddy, saying, “My partner was the [bleep] today, that’s all I know. You repped on your [bleep].”

Jonny starts the festivities, noting the game’s only “casualty” was Colin, who’s still propped up on a couch. The Women’s Inner Circle consists of Ruthie, Ellen, and Anne, while the Men’s Inner Circle has Colin, Jamie, and Puck. He gives both ICs one hour to deliberate.

In a voiceover, Ruthie says that after the announcements, she had to think about who has to be voted off. In the Inner Circle, she brings up Gladys, who might not be able to do a future mission. Anne points out that since a brain teaser and endurance mission has been done, adrenaline would be next (as indicated by the rule book). Thus, nobody would want to be Gladys’ partner and risk getting a zero. For Ruthie, the choice is clear.

Ellen yawns and Anne asks for her opinion. Ellen then brings up team unity, and how some girls wouldn’t help her and Tonya with their cabin. Ruthie suggests that there could have been a misunderstanding with the rules. “I’m sorry, that’s crap,” Ellen responds. “That’s straight-up crap.” In a confessional, Ruthie doesn’t think it’s a good idea to kick out somebody based on not liking that person. I conveniently forget about Melissa going after Julie. Ruthie tries to explain to Ellen that she can’t judge a person on what happened during a single mission. Ellen is not buying that, adding, “This is something I’m gonna remember.” So in addition to threatening Melissa, she also has either Ruthie or Rachel on her list, if not both. And the sad thing is, Ellen probably has the best shot at winning $50,000, even though she’s ticking people off. Anne makes an uncomfortable face, while Ruthie looks fatigued.

Sunset. Jonny starts the proceedings, calling the Women’s Inner Circle up. Ruthie starts to cry, and Anne and Ellen have to hug her. It’s sad, depressing… and profitable if you have any of them in the Fantasy Challenge (crying and hugs & kisses are five-point categories), Ruthie cuts to the chase, eliminating Gladys. Upon hearing her name, Gladys hugs Ruthie and Anne, telling them not to cry. In an interview, Gladys thinks that the WIC made a good decision, since she can’t do anything physical. The camera pans on the other girls, who are close to tears. Gladys tells Anne they’re going to have a kick-ass team. One voice chimes in, “No you’re not.” Do I even have to say who that was? The other guys snicker at Puck’s verbal dropping. In an interview, Ellen rips on the guys, saying they like having Puck around because he’s a clown. Me, I think of him in the same way Jeff Goldbulm thought of Jurassic Park: at first, there’s oohing and aahing, but then there’s running and screaming. Once the novelty wears off, Puck will be gone.

The Men’s Inner Circle gets called up. Some of the guys move Colin’s chair to the front. Puck says something about him being good in bed. Whatever. Colin voiceovers that he’s never had the experience of bonding with a large group of males. Puck takes to the speech, mock-crying as he drops the hammer on Eric J. He hugs Gladys and there’s no hard feeling to be had. Jamie gives the Ion Lifesaver to Puck for his birthday. But I thought nobody in the Inner Circle could be saved. I’m putting these people on notice: the IL could be greater than the Immunity Idol and the Power of Veto, so they better start getting inventive with it.

Farewell sequence. Gladys packs her stuff. Eric J. voiceovers that everything happens for a reason. Gladys hugs Jisela. The bootees get into the van and ride into the night.

Women’s Villa. Ruthie looks reflective in her “I Lie To Boys” t-shirt, while Ellen gnaws on something. In an interview, Ruthie says that she didn’t want to see anybody go, especially Gladys. She goes on to question Ellen’s motives. “Looking into her eyes and listening to her half-assed reasons, I just don’t trust her,” she says. “To me, that could actually border on evil.” Ruthie is my latest heroine. Ellen evilly eats away on her snack.

Next week: it’s an endurance challenge, as the guys are lowered into the water. David never learned to swim, so this could be it for him. Veronica goes into the Inner Circle spiel (way to ruin it for us, BMP), and Puck interrupts her, causing her to snap. Ellen: “He’s a clown. He’s an ADD kid on speed. Go home!” Yeah, Puck… and take Ellen with you!

Damn, I was hard on Ellen. I don't regret it much, though. And we get the first inklings of  the "Rachel As Liability" storyline, which never got brought up during The Gauntlet.

I don't know what happened to Eric and Gladys. Eric never appeared on a BMP show again; his absence was noticeable when the cast of RR: Campus Crawl faced off against South Pacific. I think he was at the shindig at Calico Jack's that I hit later that year, but I didn't meet him. Meanwhile, I figure Gladys' kid would be a teenager as I type this. That is depressing for me. Why have I watched these damn shows for so long?!?

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