Friday, September 09, 2016

Battle of the Sexes Episode 5: Will You Be My Baby Tonight?

 This episode: More links to Colin and Lori's sites that had to be removed. That's a shame, especially since Lori kept very detailed information during that season and The Real World: Back to New York. She was basically a non-entity in her sole Challenge, but I liked her insights. Also, because you didn't demand it: Reality tie-ins to Super Bowl XXXLVII (37), which had just been played. And Puck gets inside Ellen's head again. She should have charged him rent.

Airdate: January 27, 2003
Recap Published: January 31, 2003

It's time for another challenge - who can hold their breath under water the longest? You'd think it would be the same ones who are always spouting hot air, but you'd be wrong. Will the men continue to lop off the lowest-scorer while the women take other considerations into account? Will David (right) find love? And will anybody actually use the Ion Lifesaver?
Not even Super Bowl Sunday provides a refuge from the Challenge. To wit:
  1. I saw a terrible Bud Lite commercial featuring a guy with three arms. Aside from a probable Twilight Zone shout-out, I didn't think anything of it. Then I found out who the guy was: Teck Holmes, formerly of Real World: Hawaii, Challenge 2000, and Direct Effect. I wasn't expecting the poster boy for Ritalin to be pitching beer. It does pose the question on what's worse: appearing on a basic cable show and acting like a ninny, or appearing in a sucky commercial on a night where everybody is watching and critiquing you. In my opinion, Teck should have done Sexes. The show isn't the same without him dipping his naked, bony body in the pool.
  2. Warren Sapp and Derrick Brooks came up huge during the Super Bowl, as they helped the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with the win over the Raiders. Back in Challenge 2000, they coached the RW and RR teams in a game of mud football. You might recall that was the episode where Amaya clotheslined Veronica. Seriously, it was flag football, and Amaya just laid Veronica out. Those were the days.
That's it for going down memory lane. I'd add Danielle Flora from Dog Days popping up in the Saturday Night Live halftime counter-programming show, but I'll save that for another day. I like her more every week. Getting exposed to Ellen does that for me.

Previously on Battle Of the Sexes: Shane reads the clue off the phone, which calls for swimsuits and sunscreen. Isn't that the opposite of "previously"? Puck and Mark look for a place for Puck to hold his wedding. Puck and Ellen fight. If you're just reading these recaps, just know that I hate those two a lot.

Credits! Midtown! Here's my question of the day: why do David and Yes faint as Christina and Tonya walk by? From his tenure on New Orleans, we know David is a straight-up playa. Yes is either a playa or he merely crushes like one. And playas do not faint when girls pass them. My theory: those two ladies had gas. Maybe they had some bad food at the Lounge. That's the only reason I can think of.

Men's Villa. David is lying on the bed with Ayanna, talking about his days in ROTC. In an interview, Ayanna says that they're learning about each other, and he's saying things she wasn't expecting, stuff that "flipped the switch." David talks about his mother. Aw, I like David's mom. Ayanna: "I feel like I see somebody that could be a lifetime friend. Somebody I really click with, for real!" David says he would love to see her as a kid, to see if she has the same "big-ass smile." Ayanna playfully hits him with a pillow. David interviews that he really wants to understand her. Ayanna flashes that smile. For a while, my problems seem to be miles away.

But then, one of my problems comes back. It's Puck, with his baby boy Bogart. Yes, he is a cute kid. He walks over to Betty, his fiancée. "Welcome to my life," he tells her. Some life. They tell us how they met six years ago, and that Betty actually shoved another woman aside to get to Puck. Soon, he starts bad-mouthing Ellen to Betty, calling her fake and superficial. "You know how I am," he says. "When I get one on, boy, you're gonna get it." Gee, I hadn't noticed.

Puck introduces Bogart to the girls. Emily starts fawning over the baby, his face smeared with banana. Emily tells us that Puck told her they don't come any cuter than Bogart. No sign of James; he's probably hiding out, unwilling to be a father just yet.

Over at the Woman's Villa, Tonya expresses her disgust with Puck, especially the way he handles situations. "His humor makes me want to throw up," she adds. Ellen concurs with Tonya. "He's got social problems, growth problems, emotional problems," she says in an interview. "That's someone I don't want to get to know." Quick digression: why do I like Tonya more than Ellen if they're both anti-Puck? Tonya isn't starting any problems with the scabby troublemaker. She isn't going into drama queen mode over anything. It also helps that, according to Lori on her site, Tonya is aware that her bad representation on Chicago was not due to editing, a rarity on reality shows. So three cheers for Tonya.

Vans on the way to the mission. In an interview, Jamie says that the guys are looking to even the score against the girls. I like Jamie's beard here; it looks groomed and natural. Cut to Jamie in the van, with the exposed torso and scraggly beard, a parody of a lumberjack. A lumberjamie, if you will. Puck blathers about wanting to beat the girls, and how they can't handle losing. Over in the women's van, Anne notes that their defeat last episode gives them a push.

Jonny welcomes everybody to Breath Hold Bungee, which will test endurance. The contestants get submerged while tethered to bungee cords. Emily expositions that everybody has a bar to hold, and when it's released, the contestant gets pulled to the surface. Jisela admits that she's scared, since she needs to hold on with her entire body. Jonny shows off this week's prize: the T-Mobile Sidekick, which does lots of neat things. Of course, the winner also gets the Ion Lifesaver, since Saturn's checks haven't bounced yet. David is nervous, since he never learned how to swim and he's at the bottom of the scoreboard. I wonder if he knows the difference between swimming and holding his breath.

Some of the girls get hooked up to the cords. Puck mocks them: "I don't want any girls to die here!" Please shut up. Several underwater shots. Then Christina pops to the surface after 14.89 seconds, followed by Aneesa (29.66) and Ayanna (37.38). Anne pops up (44.72), checking her watch afterwards, followed by Rachel (48.35). Shot of Emily underwater, followed by a shot of James looking down. Finally, Emily comes up after one minute and 9.13 seconds. James feels great, and he's proud of her.

Second heat. In an interview, Jisela says that she opened her eyes, saw limbs and got scared. She comes up after 12.03 seconds. Once again: if there are ropes or cords involved, Jisela won't do well. There's a tight shot of Melissa before she bobs up (18.26). As usual, this is the most we'll see of her. Tonya blows some bubbles before coming up (31.77), followed by Lori (34.32), Amaya (35.97), Ellen (1:02.47) and Veronica (1:27.24). The only one left is Ruthie. Wow, she's a threat above and below water. Jamie voiceovers that she is determined to win for the rest of the team. "She's in a whole other stratosphere," he adds.

Back from commercials, Ruthie is still under. For some reason, Veronica's time is posted as the one to beat. If Veronica was in the same heat as Ruthie, and Ruthie outlasted Veronica, then wouldn't that automatically make Ruthie's time the best? Finally, she pops up at 1:47.75. I make a note to put her on my Fantasy Challenge team as soon as there's an opening. I love Melissa, but the editors aren't showing her at all, and she's not getting the points. Ruthie admits she panicked, since she wanted to breathe air. "Ruthie is a monster," says Theo. "She's one of the smallest females here. It doesn't have anything to do with how big you are or how much strength you [have]. It's courage, it's heart."

Men's heat. David reminds us that he's the weakest link and he has to step up or he's gone. The guys are lowered in. Tight close-ups of Antoine, Eric, Theo, and David. After a blurry shot, David pops up after 36.41. I start feeling uneasy, since I want him to stick around. Next comes Theo (1:23.33), Jamie (1:28.01) and Yes (1:41.19). Eric and Antoine have a stare-down, coughing up air bubbles. Antoine pops up after 2:00.03. Eric coughs up more air bubbles before coming up. After 2:03.16, Eric's skin is red. Antoine wonders if his performance was good enough to allow him to stay.

Final heat. Jonny asks the guys if they're ready to win the Sidekick. If Eric's time was better than all of the girls, then why is Jonny saying that? I smell an edit, and not a very good one. Everybody gets a close-up. Blair surfaces after 46.17 seconds. Syrus surfaces (49.32), followed by Puck (52.34) and Colin (57.60). Dan comes up gasping after 1:12.04. Mark tops that, lasting 1:58.34, only to be outdone by Jake (2:15.82). Anybody from New York that's wondering who Jake is, know that WCBS will be rerunning Islands starting this Saturday night.

The last man standing is James. His head looks like it's going to explode. Finally, he surfaces at 2:42.94, gasping for air. Seriously, he doesn't look well. A bone-dry Theo shouts congratulations to James. Bad edit, I tell you. James continues to gag.

Post-mission. Colin is on crutches, still recovering from last week. Jonny awards the Sidekick to James on behalf of the men's team. The guys cheer, as Puck flexes. Puck should not flex, ever. In an interview, Emily says that she's proud of James. Mark does the math for us, saying that each team has won two missions apiece. Big deal; they're just playing for prizes, and that's not an indication of which side is better.

Back at the Chili's Lounge, Jonny reveals the Inner Circles. For the ladies, it's Ruthie (102 points), Veronica (88), and Ellen (87). For the guys, it's Colin (115), Jamie (115), and James (103). Jamie shrugs in a "how the heck did I do it?" way. Jonny gives both ICs one hour to deliberate. He should just tell the girls that, since the guys always lop off the one with the lowest point total. Speaking of the scoreboard, it's shown in all its glory:

Guys: Colin, Jamie, James, Mark (102 points), Dan (101), Shane (100), Eric (99), Puck (98), Jake (95), Theo & Yes (94), Syrus (91), Antoine (90), Blair (79), David (76)

Girls: Ruthie, Veronica, Ellen, Emily (85 points), Anne (79), Amaya (71), Melissa (70), Christina (69), Aneesa (67), Genesis (65), Tonya (64), Lori (63), Ayanna (61), Rachel (56), Jisela (49)

Dan notes that he was one point ahead of Syrus last time, and now it's up to ten. Jisela sees her name at the bottom, and jokes with Aneesa. It's never a BMP show unless Jisela is three seconds away from leaving. Worse, she's wearing a Melissa-designed t-shirt that says "succeed," so that's not working for her ("succeed," I mean; the t-shirt looks good on her.) David sees he's in last place, saying that he tried to do his best. Ayanna is distraught at David's placement as well, knowing he's probably the next one out. For some reason, I can handle Ayanna and David as a couple. James and Emily? Not so much.

Remember Puck? He's wearing Bogart on his chest while he bad-mouths Ellen, saying she's doing the Challenge for the money and not friends. Oh, and I suppose Puck wouldn't drop kick Betty into a gorge for $50,000? Ellen does some sneering before he dismisses her. It takes a big man to use his son as a shield. If Bogart isn't strapped to him, Puck is dead meat.

In one of the Villas, David plays piano while Ayanna watches. To reuse a joke from a prior recap: Run, Ayanna! He's gonna start scatting! Ayanna dries her eyes, telling him that she doesn't get emotional. I would've cut to Veronica and Yes laughing their heads off after she said that. She interviews that David is asking her questions and she's at a loss for words. Come to think of it, that was a common problem with David's housemates in New Orleans. She tells him that she wants honesty and truth. David speculates that he'll call and write to her, but he doesn't know in what capacity. He also hopes that she'll invest time in him like he would with her.

Women's Inner Circle. Veronica thinks that the lowest scorer should go, but there are other factors. Last year, after she was kicked off, Jisela had been the only one in her corner. "If I'm sending her home," she says, "I'm doing exactly what she would never do to me." Ruthie reveals that she had a conversation with Amaya; it seems that Amaya has a cousin dying in a hospital back home. That's heavy. Seriously, with all the Puck & Ellen nonsense, a little perspective would have been nice. Maybe Amaya asked BMP to downplay it. Ruthie says that Amaya thinks it would be selfish to stay, but she wants to compete for the team. Veronica notes that if she wants to go home, she should just withdraw. The best part of this WIC? Ellen doesn't say a word. Hallelujah!

It's judgment time. Jonny asks the Men's Inner Circle to step up. Colin announces that David is out, adding that he brought positivity to the group. David steps up, telling the guys that they're strong and intelligent, and that he was the weakest link. The guys hug him, shouting "HOO-RAH!" a few times. More channeling of Ian? What's next? "Come on! Time to hump!"

Now the Women's Inner Circle steps up. There's a close-up of Amaya. Veronica says that the choice was difficult to make. Then Puck starts doing something stupid, and Veronica has to stop and snap at him to stop. Thank goodness Colin clarified what Puck was doing; since the camera shot him from the waist down, I was thinking he was doing something really hideous. Ellen decides to use an interview for more Puck-bashing. "The man is a clown," she says. "He doesn't play by the rules. He just needs attention. It's like an ADD kid on speed. Seriously, grow up!" I laugh, remembering Ellen's bizarre relationship with ADD poster boy Adam on The Quest, and what she did with him. Then I picture her doing the same things with Puck, and I want to stick my head in the oven.

Veronica starts to cry as she announces her decision. Amaya is starting to tear up. But it's a fake-out, as Jisela gets the boot. Veronica and Jisela hug. Ellen wraps her arms around them, showing no emotion. Ruthie interviews that Jisela had the lowest point total, and it wasn't personal. Jisela says that she's happy about walking away with friends. She tells the girls that she'd back them up 100 percent, and she tells the guys that she's sorry they won't win.

Now it's time for the usual anticlimax: the awarding of the Ion Lifesaver. Colin wrote about how nobody would use the IL. Basically, Saturn would have been better represented had the mission winner just driven an Ion back and forth on-camera, as opposed to having an ill-conceived immunity idol named after it. James gives it to his girlfriend, Emily. On the forums I frequent, some suggested that she was in trouble, given that she was instrumental in getting Veronica voted off last year. I still think James is a dink. Emily rolls her eyes as she smiles, accepting the IL.

David packs his stuff up, reassuring Ayanna. She drew a picture for him as a going-away present. She does have skill, I'll give her credit for that. David sees her in the picture, waiting for something by the water. He tells her that she should be looking by the road, since he wouldn't come by water. Ayanna notes that their time has been cut short, so they'll take the opportunity to process it all. David and Jisela get in the Departing Van of Shame. Do you have any last words, David? "Ayanna, you are a beautiful and strong woman. Your passion for living and learning is something I deeply admire. Given time, I'm sure we could grow to be a lot more than what we expect, and I'm looking forward to that." Man, he's come a long away from the days of "woo woo" and ticking everybody off. If he came up with a song that didn't rip off "Guys and Dolls," he'd be perfect.

Tense guitars play at the Women's Villa. Rachel, Ayanna, Tonya, and Dan are on the bed, listening to another girl yelling. Dan figures out its Ellen being mad at Puck. "When you get two people like Puck and Ellen against each other," Dan muses, "they just butt heads, and neither one of them knows when to back off." Yeah, "buttheads" is the word that best describes those two. Ellen shrieks some more, then comes crying on camera. Aside from the drama she brings, why did BMP bring Ellen in? Couldn't Sophia or Katie make the trip instead? She tells the others that she asked Puck for new scissors, and he told her that he's kick her ass if she didn't go away. First of all: scissors? Secondly, given the specter of LoogieGate, would Puck risk getting kicked off the show and being denied his made-for-cable wedding for hitting Ellen? Third, I think Ellen could take Puck. Seriously, if Puck were to go on Celebrity Boxing, I can't think of anybody who couldn't smack him around.

Back to the Villa: Dan, being the levelheaded one, asks Ellen to repeat what Puck told her, and she does. She doesn't want to feel physically threatened by Puck, and she wants to be the bigger person. Isn't she funny? She cries some more. Close-ups of the other girls, clearly not feeling the need to comfort Ellen. Close-up of Puck, winking at the camera. Shut up. "To Be Continued…"

Next week: Can a recapper with no experience with alcohol live through Puck's wedding without reaching for the bottle? The editors rerun Ellen's screeching, in case any of us weren't paying attention. Dan: "Ellen's life has been threatened." He says that with a "These people make ME look normal!" look on his face. I like Dan. Puck blathers something a condescending smile and a dirt sandwich. Hey, it's Blair! Where has he been? Anne isn't sure if she's going to the wedding. Will she whine and bitch about it for half the episode like a certain other person? Puck says that the wedding is real for him, Betty and Bogart. Female voice: "The wedding is a show, but I don't want to miss it. Do you?"

Helluva cliffhanger, right? Even though I knew about the wedding ahead of time, I was dreading covering it because . . . well . . . Puck sucks. It was true in 1994, it was true in 2002/2003, and that's probably the case today. Onto people that matter . . . I would briefly recap David in the following season. I covered Jisela during Gauntlet 2, where she would last four missions before getting beaten by Ruthie. I find it funny that she also lasted four missions in BOTS1 and Battle Of The Seasons.

And because nobody demanded, here is Teck's commercial, which never got run again . . .


. . . and I was going to show the video of David singing "Come On Be My Baby Tonight" from 2000, but the one that I posted in 2013 was taken down thanks to Viacom. I'm willing to bet it's easy to track down. Hint, hint.

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