Saturday, September 24, 2016

Battle of the Sexes Episode 6: My Big Fat Puck Wedding

I apologize to the two or three people that read this blog. I've been bushed over the past few weekends, and I have decided not to do research on when Puck and Betty broke up. I did a search for "Bogart Rainey," and I found this Facebook page. I'm not going to mock the guy for having Facebook. In fact, I just joined myself. The official reason is that I want to coordinate with other writers when I cover New York Comic Con in two weeks, but I might stay on long afterward. Anyway, I was hoping the kid would change his name by now, because "Bogart"? Seriously?? I'm really pulling for "nurture" over "nature" for him.

Anyway, here's the recap from Puck's wedding. I had to remove a few more links. And I was interested in Janine from the second season of American Idol because she was from Staten Island. These days, I can't keep track of every show. Shit, I found out one person I went to Wagner College with was on a food truck show, and another is a cast member of a ghost show. Also, it's funny to remember me bitching about The Amazing Race getting short-changed by CBS because the same damn thing is happening in 2016. When I get time after my temp assignment ends, I'll have to gripe here about that.

Oh, and the opening paragraphs for this season weren't written by me. Those were shown on the web site's front page, and I didn't come up with stuff there until The Gauntlet. I've been meaning to mention that. Anyway, on to the shit show . . . 

Airdate: February 3, 2003
Recap Published: February 6, 2003

No games today – well, other than the game of love. Yes, it’s time for the wedding everybody has been waiting for – Puck. But with Ellen still raging at him, will the women boycott?

Have you even had one of those weeks where nothing went right for you? That was how I felt waiting for this episode. I knew months in advance that Puck, who could fall into oblivion and I wouldn’t care, was getting married on the show. To gripe about how unfair it is that I watch this episode over and over for recapping purposes would be hypocritical. The week before was a pain for me. To wit:
  • CBS decides to push The Amazing Race back by a few months in order to air Star Search. Here was the best reality series on the air, the winner of several RNO Awards, and it gets pushed back by a revamped syndicated series? Arsenio Hall hosts, which makes me wonder if Ed McMahon is soaking in formaldehyde on Johnny Carson’s estate. Sounds like the people who run network programming need to listen to reason. Or maybe listen to two hours of Flo shrieking. By the way, I like Flo a lot more than Ellen now
  • I watched American Idol in the hopes of seeing Janine Falsone, who passed the audition round. She’s from Staten Island; with the exception of Drew Feinberg (The Amazing Race), I have seen every Islander on reality television. But she didn’t make it past the second round. I now see why AI is so popular, but I’m not watching it anymore because I don’t need a new obsession. I will say that I’d like to nominate the three losers who ditched rehearsals for a night of whoring their AI cred to the Hall of Shame. You’re two days from greatness, and you pull that crap? Idiots!
  • I don’t watch Joe Millionaire either, but I had to laugh at Sarah being exposed as the Queen of the Tight Restraints. Seriously, why do people with pasts go on these shows? Don’t they know The Smoking Gun will delve into their files and embarrass them? The worst was the New York Daily News, which had Sarah and Saddam Hussein on the cover, with the headline, “Saddam and Gomorrah.” It was a slow news day.
  • Then I saw Janine on the date show, Elimidate. For those who have never watched an episode, consider yourself lucky. Janine dated four guys at the same time in Cancun. Nothing wrong with her; she’s hot, and has a lovely voice. The guys? Complete tools. For real giggles, I recommend the episode of The Fifth Wheel with Coral Smith (Real World: Back to New York). She may be a bitch, but she’s fun to watch, especially if somebody gets on her nerves.

On Monday night, I was ready. I had the tape in the VCR, and my own charm to ward off the putridity of Puck: the Spring 2002 issue of InStyle Weddings that covered the nuptials of Judd Winick and Pam Ling. Both were roommates of Puck’s back in 1994. Both have moved beyond the realm of being “that guy from that show” (Pam is a doctor, Judd is an acclaimed comic book writer). It goes without saying that I hold those two by a higher standard than Puck. Okay, enough writing from my high horse. Time to recap.

Previously on Battle of the Sexes: Puck wants to get married in Jamaica. Ellen thinks it’s for show. Dan repeats the line about how neither will back off from each other. Ellen comes into the Woman’s Villa, sobbing about how “he was gonna kick my ass!” Dan rolls his eyes and puts on a smile. To review: hate Puck, hate Ellen, like Dan.

Credits! Midtown!

“He just told me he’s gonna kick my ass!” Counting teasers, we heard her say that four times in two episodes. Ellen starts whining about how the other guys were just sitting there. Aneesa walks in, and she’s holding her bare breasts. You see, this is why you invite certain people on shows like these, to see if they’ll engage in the same behavior as when we first saw them. Aneesa is the Queen of Inappropriate Nudity. In two weeks, she’ll be arguing with her mother on the phone. Dan in an interview: “The mountains are going to tumble. The skies are going to fall. The world is coming to an end. Ellen’s life has been threatened.” If Dan ever wants to recap the rest of the season, I might have to let him.

Back to Ellen, with Aneesa’s breast blurred out. The high-fives you hear come from those who picked Aneesa in the Fantasy Challenge (15 points). Ellen barely notices, insisting she’s not overreacting in regards to Puck. Dan tries to convince the girls that Puck doesn’t rule over the guys, but he confesses to us that’s a lie, and that they can’t stand up to him. As much as I’d like to hate Dan, he has a point. Who wants to look like David “[Oedipus Rexing]” Edwards? Or Ellen, for that matter?

At the Men’s Villa, Puck convinces Colin to read from his quote book. It’s all fun here, as opposed to the angst pit that is the Women’s Villa. Speaking of which, Ellen cries some more, while Dan makes his face. Aneesa suggests that Dan talk with Puck, which stuns Dan. Aneesa points out to Ellen that everything Puck does is for shock value. “If Puck’s really going to do something,” she adds, “It would already have been done.” Ellen has a different opinion. “A man should never talk to a woman like that,” she says. “The fact that the boys did absolutely nothing proves to me they’re a bunch of cowards.” Oh, how I’d love for her to say that in their faces. Shut up, Ellen.

Some of the other girls (and Dan) gather. Anne thinks the Puck/Ellen conflict is out of third grade. Dan has gotten to ignoring the both of them, pointing out that Ellen provokes as much as Puck. Thank you! While everybody is talking, Lori plops down in a chair. Where has she been? Tonya wants something to be done; in an interview, she says that Puck hurt one of her best friends, and that he’s been non-approachable. Careful, Tonya. Remember what happened to Julie, Ellen’s last Best Friend Forever? Speaking of Julie… there’s Melissa! And here I thought she was in the Challenge Relocation Program! She strikes some sort of model pose, saying she objects to a man talking to a woman like a dog. Once again, I get the Ian flashback. In an interview, she thinks that the girls shouldn’t go to the wedding. And that’s the last we see of her.

Men’s Villa. Mark tells Rachel that nothing happened, that Ellen asked for the scissors and that was it. I can see that, since Ellen’s all about the emotional pleas for attention. He adds that if the problem is ignored, it will go away. Mark, it’s been eight years. Puck is never going away. Rachel interviews that she has no problem with Puck. “The wedding is kind of like a show,” she adds. “I don’t want to miss it. Do you?”

I guess nobody is sleeping tonight, since Yes is trying to tell Ellen that Puck’s focus will be different since Betty and Bogart are here. Of course, Ellen dismisses that, and tries to shut out Blair, who tells her to not “let one person change your experience like it changed the last time.” I’m guessing he’s talking about The Quest and Adam. Ellen doesn’t want to talk about it, and Blair just wants to be there for her. The boy is a fan of lost causes, isn’t he?

Over at the Men’s Villa, Puck says that the girls are not going to like him. “You know what I love?” he queries. “They can’t vote me off.” In a voiceover, Blair thinks he can’t talk Puck down after seeing him on TV. He talks to Dan, doubtful that he can communicate with the Scabbed One since there’s twelve years between them. “Puck is a mental magician,” Yes says in an interview. “He can talk a big game. He can scare you to jump off a bridge by yourself, but he will never push you off.” Looks like I’ve found another high priest of the cult of Puck. It’s a shame, since Yes strikes me as a nice guy.

Puck: “I’m not going to fight anybody, dude. I can just make you feel bad with verbs.” Whatever. While Puck is imparting his wisdom with the guys, James has a scary look on his face. I mean really scary. Like he’s taking notes to use on Emily for later. Puck goes into a rant about how some people want to be fake, and how he can’t stand that. Colin voiceovers that he “gets” Puck. Blair is still intimated at the thought of standing up for Ellen. Puck: “You cross me in the wrong way? Pit bull, dude. Not my fault.” He growls for effect. That is such an insult to pit bulls. I hope Paquita and Joey from Dog Days bite him.

Back from commercials, Blair is telling Puck that he went over the line with Ellen. Note that Blair is using David’s tactic of not getting up in Puck’s face. The Tattooed One thinks that Ellen should “get over it.” He also brings up that Ellen lied about the confrontation. And then he starts referring to himself in the third person. I hate people who do that. Blair isn’t shaken, bringing up “David,” (Puck’s real name) the soon-to-be-husband. In an interview, Blair expected Puck to fly off the handle, but he was cool. Puck interviews that he’s not thinking about Ellen, but focusing on Betty and Bogart. The possibility of a girls’ boycott is brought up, but Blair is coming. “Are you kidding me?” he tells Puck. “This is the greatest story ever told!” The authors of the New Testament roll in their respective graves.

It’s morning of The Big Day. It’s just like the Atticus/Cherry wedding (from Dog Days), in the sense that too much is going on, and I’m vague in recounting the events. Betty tells us that the wedding was planned for October, but Puck wanted to have it in Jamaica. Puck holds up a heart-shaped rock they had found. Could be real, could be something from the props department. The guys go off into the woods, hacking down flowers from the trees. Meanwhile, Ellen has her first nice moment on this show, hugging Blair for sticking up for her. Puck figures that all the girls except two will come to the event.

More preparations. Tablecloths and flowers are placed. Ayanna respects Ellen for not going, saying that this day is not for drama. Bogart bounces happily on a harness while Jamie looks on. Dan tells us that everybody is being creative in dress, and they’ve been coming to him for help. Aneesa wants to attach leaves to her flimsy bikini top. Dan contemplates keeping that for himself.

Elsewhere, Puck is getting his hair styled. Betty asks that the stylist gets rid of his mullet. Puck’s hair is braided, and he says he looks like James Dean. So many jokes, so little writing space. The guys continue on their tasks, not looking at all like a cult. Jake brings up how some of the guys are wearing “beautiful leaves covering some not-so-beautiful bits.” He turns around, and he’s wearing that damn man-thong. Again. Why, Jake? Is this because you write for FHM, and nobody reads your articles since they’re gawking at the hot women? Eric reveals that he’s the best man.

For some reason, Genesis plays a news correspondent in front of a camera, “covering” the wedding. I’m thinking she’s invisibly touched in the head (yes, I have been waiting a while to say that). Betty combs Bogart’s hair as Ruthie checks the little guy out. Mark interviews that the theme is “Blue Lagoon,” so he got himself an “island skirt feel with a tree look, and maybe some headgear.” Some headgear? It’s a huge leaf, making him look like a tribal chieftain. I get all misty, remembering Sharon as the queen of the Cabo Cabo from last year. Shots of the ladies. Dan is wearing a mer-man bottom. He grabs a camera, saying that the women dress classy, while the men are wearing jungle stuff. Puck blows on a conch shell. Anybody else think that was dubbed in? He checks out the women, counting them as they walk. So much for a boycott. Eric is wearing the dorkiest looking sunglasses ever. A cameraman asks Puck how he feels. “I’m gonna puke,” he replies. “Ride or die.” That’s “Ride or [Oedipus Rexing] die,” fella. Why couldn’t Laterrian be there to correct him?

After the commercials, everybody is ready. Betty walks down the aisle with Bogart before handing him off to Mark, and they both walk. “Betty rocks,” says Dan. “She’s smart, nice, and funny and totally can stick up for herself and put Puck in his place, which is a feat.”

Then there’s the exchange of vows, which is uneventful. Given that this is Puck we’re talking about, fans probably would’ve expected more. Like, say, Puck revealing he was an actor named Winston hired by BMP to play a scabby bike messenger. Or Ellen crashing in, screaming her love for Puck. Or perhaps an undermedicated David Edwards challenging Puck to a knife fight. I guess after covering two ceremonies on Dog Days (counting the footage from Tony & Tina’s Wedding), I’m burnt out. Puck tears up at one point, and Betty giggles as she calls him “David Puck.” This could be the most real I’ve ever seen the guy. I take comfort in knowing that whatever good vibes he’s laying out will be gone in at least two weeks.

Puck kisses the bride and everybody cheers. Eric still looks like a dork. Puck vows he’ll never get divorced. In Las Vegas, bookies start taking bets. He calls this the greatest day of his life.
Meanwhile, on the Pariah Paddleboat, Ellen and Tonya enjoy each other’s company. Of course, Ellen can’t keep her opinions to herself. “If they can’t even think for themselves,” she says, “Then it’s beyond me.”

Eric offers a long toast, concluding with “it went from irie to eerie and now we’re back to irie!” Betty proclaims that it’s not a battle of the sexes today, but a joining. I so don’t need to think of the honeymoon. For some reason, Eric rips his pants off and takes a dive into the swimming pool. He’s in his mid-30s. You’d think the guy would grow up. Betty gets ready to toss the bouquet, and Dan warns Emily not to catch it. Of course, she does get it, only because the other ladies dodged it. This is immediately followed by a shot of James. Please don’t make me watch that wedding.

Look who’s come back to the Villa! It’s Ellen! She asks Lori about the wedding. In an interview, she says that she doesn’t feel bad for missing the wedding, and she wouldn’t have invited Puck if she had one of her own.

Puck and Betty say their goodbyes to the others as they go off to their honeymoon. Puck assures us that he’ll be back to compete tomorrow. They get in the van, labeled “Puck + Betty Love Mobile.” Betty tells him that he’s wearing her out with the tears. Heh. They ride off into the night.

Next week: Did you know there’s a girl on the show named Amaya? Yeah, I keep forgetting she’s there. Anyway, she tells us that she took a nap, and everybody got partnered up. Emily tells Ellen that she wouldn’t be Amaya or Veronica’s partner. Ellen in interview: “Then I have a problem with you, Emily!” She flashes a huge fake smile. Emily rolls her eyes. I feel her pain. The guys run on top of cars. Dan slips and falls through a sunroof. Looks like fun.

A lot of lessons to be learned. One of them is that Blair can talk to anybody. That's probably why he was the host of the After Show on during Inferno II and Gauntlet 2. Nobody else could have taunted Abram and walked away unscathed. Seriously, though, Puck sucks. And these days, I don't follow Judd's work. He dropped off the mainstream comics map after the "New52" relaunch of Catwoman. He did a miniseries (A Town Called Dragon) that was pretty good, and he's doing young adult graphic novels these days . . . probably because his kids are too young to properly read his Barry Ween books. I still consider Judd to me one of RW's biggest success stories, partly because it shows how much Puck sucks by comparison.

If you heard me bitch from 2003 and 2016, and you still want to be my friend? Drop me a line. That's what Facebook is for, right? 

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