Airdate: March 31, 2003
Recap Published: April 3, 2003 (three days after the previous episode's recap)
It’s time for laser tag! Ayanna (at right) has some expertise in the game, so surely the other women will listen to her for advice, right? Right? Um. Yeah. Sure.
This recap goes out to all my buddies who came to support Television Without Pity this past Saturday in New York. Together, we had fun and raised over $1,000 via silent auction. I kicked in $48, with the purchase of two postcards and a mousepad. Perhaps next time, we can outdo the Washington contingent, or any other city that boasts the biggest supporters.
Previously on Battle of the Sexes: “Battle of the Opposite Sexes” reared its ugly, lopsided head. Christina: “We have to take off our clothes and play an intellectual game.” Ayanna: “If I get a question wrong, that’s what I say ‘no’.” For the last time-… ah, screw it. I don’t have a time machine, so I’m not going to explain things yet again. Jake sits naked on the bike. Flashing Caption: “Men Win!” Oh, come on. If the guys hadn’t let Jake answer most of the questions in the second half, the women would have taken it. Way to not show context. Cut to the Unnamed Stirrup Mission. Veronica hangs by her ankle. Christina falls in the water. Eric gets the win. “Men Win!” Cut to Stairway to Heaven. Oh, this isn’t right. Jamie flies up the ladders, while Melissa has a panic attack. Jamie probably loves to run up mountains, whereas Melissa probably enjoys walking up escalators. Not a fair comparison to make. “Men Win!” A scoreboard has the guys winning six out of ten missions. Does it matter? The point is for individuals to do well enough to remain in the game. The men vs. women thing is just for prizes. Genesis voiceovers that the girls are sick of losing. I’m starting to get sick of this show.
We go to the bar area, where Emily, Genesis, Ruthie, and Lori are hanging out. We get a quick clip of the girls screwing up missions. Tree House? “Defeated.” Stirrup-A-Go-Go? “Defeated.” Seven Rings of Saturn? “Defeated.” BOTOS? “Defeated.” Looks like it’s sunny in Jamaica, with a better-than-average chance of anvils falling. Melissa interviews that she’s tired of losing and some of the missions are geared for men. I’ll give her Breath Hold Bungee and Stairway to Heaven. Lori counters, saying that it’s stupid to blame their performances on fairness. Melissa: “If we had a competition on manicures, the boys would lose and probably bitch about it.” I don’t know… I bet Shane, Antoine, and Blair are all about the fingernails. And I know Emily has dragged James to the manicurist a few times. Ellen suggests that the unfairness factor would be incentive to win, adding, “There’s nothing a girl can’t do that a guy can do. We can probably do it better.” Cut to Ayanna reading on a bed. She interviews that part of her doesn’t want to stay, and she feels “hellagrimy.”
Ellen and Ruthie have their own meeting. Ellen feels that the women can do anything the guys can do. Ruthie agrees, but she adds that they have to prove it now. Ellen says that the others aren’t having fun anymore. Well, an unchained and delusional Emily will do that to a group. Don’t look into her eyes! She’ll slay you where you stand! Yes, a whole week has gone by, and I’m still mad at her. Anyway, Ellen interviews that she and Ruthie are the strongest competitors on the team. She tells Ruthie that she wants to win tomorrow more than the others. “I know that the girls team really needs a leader,” Ellen voiceovers, “but Ruthie and I don’t want to, because we don’t want to piss people off.” I got a news flash for the both of them: this is not Survivor. Both have been in the Inner Circle from the second mission. Both have shown no signs of falling out of it. They can decide whom they want and don’t want. They can openly talk smack about the others and expect no repercussions. As long as they’re in the IC, they can’t be voted on. Why can’t they understand that? Both Ellen and Ruthie want to kick some ass.
Night shot. Morning shot. The mission phones ring. Ellen and Antoine prattle off the specifics: sneakers, athletic gear, get hydrated, and get ready to leave the Villas in 25 minutes. Super fast forward, the guys get ready. Super fast forward, the van careens down the Jamaican highways. Eric interviews that the girls can call it quits. “When it comes time for us to work together,” he adds, “the guys are gonna be more ready than the girls.” Oh, good. More anvils.
There a shot of packs and guns, as Jonny welcomes everybody to the site. Ayanna gets excited, knowing that she’s going to play Laser Tag. I played that at a friend’s birthday party several months back. It was okay. I think I killed more than I got killed. Melissa doesn’t share Ayanna’s joy. “I don’t walk around shooting guns off,” she grouses. “I don’t play videogames every day.” For some reason, I get this mental image of Melissa and Amaya in gang colors, walking the mean streets of West Hollywood, popping caps in whoever displeases them. Jonny introduces today’s game, which is Collision Course. Sounds like a demolition derby to me. The object is to score points by eliminating opposing players. “Ayanna is well-versed in the tactical art of Laser Tag,” Colin muses in an interview. “For this reason, we have to take her out quickly.” If I ever do this again, I’ll have to include “Don’t Brag About Expertise” on the “What All Challenge Contestants Should Know” list. Jonny shows off the impressive gift package to the winner and that person’s team: a DVD/VCR, an MP3 player, and a digital video recorder. “Give it up for the sponsors!” Jonny adds. Oh, shut up. He also throws in the Ion Lifesaver. Since this episode is short on actual action, Jonny adds that the points go from 36 down to 21. Genesis states the obvious when she interviews that a win would lift her team’s spirits.
Everybody enters the dark warehouse. I hear familiar music. Slow motion walking. I can see the packs blinking on their chests. And then, I remember the song. It’s Nas! It’s “Hate Me Now”! I can so relate, because I hate these people now, but I won’t stop now, because I can’t stop now. The gang starts preparing. Jamie expositions that the object of the game is to run from one side of the field to the other without getting shot. There are two minute-long rounds, and each player gets five lives, represented on screen as a green light. Once a player loses all the lives (green lights go red), that person is out. Cut to Emily, with James standing next to her. “We go to arcades a lot,” she tells us, “and he always ends up leaving a little mad, a little sore, because his girlfriend kicked his ass.” Pause. James tries to say something, but Emily shoots him. That is so emasculating. Get away from her, dude!
The guys make plans. Antoine interviews that the girls aren’t a team, and the guys have to be one in order to win. How good does an umbrella have to be to handle an anvil? Blair brings up his ongoing subplot: once again, he’s in last place, and he has to do well. Eric shows off a move, where he hides underneath a barrier and pops unsuspecting ladies as they run by. Pretty sneaky, Eric. Did you pick that up from Vietnam, World War II, or the Civil War? The crafty editors show a map of the guys’ strategy, complete with arrows, dots and lines.
Well, the women should be organized, yes? Ayanna offers her take on what to do, but I barely understand it. When she gets excited, the Ayanna-to-English dictionary is a must. Melissa tells Lori that she’s not well versed with guns. Okay, I get it. Emily and Ruthie talk at the same time. Ayanna wants the guys to come to her. Melissa: “The next mission better be the boys sew up [bleep] or bake some [bleep].” Ayanna keeps talking strategy. Lori interviews that it’s not a good time to go over the basics one minute before the event. Did the guys get an hour to plan? Lori makes my head hurt. More talking. Ayanna starts to say something, but Emily cuts her off. Ayanna is rightfully upset that the others are shutting her down. The basic plan is that the women are going for themselves. As if we didn’t get the disharmony, we get a graphic with a big question mark and arrows going every which way.
Colin tells the others to go with “blanket fire.” He interviews that the team is targeting the “power players”: Ayanna, Ruthie, and Ellen. Ayanna tells the others, “Protect your back, protect your neck.” Cut to Anne in an interview, eyerolling, “Great, she’s talking again.” Did I ask for your opinion, Skeletor? You should be feel lucky that your friend Emily kept you an extra day and drove out a far better player in the process. So shut up. Man, I’m getting cranky. The women break out in a lot of “whas” and “huhs.” Ayanna interviews that nobody is letting her talk. Genesis: “We’re all starting to explode over each other.” First of all, I got that. Second, that’s some disturbing imagery.
The music swells as both teams get ready. The girls are rigid, while the guys look jovial. An airhorn sounds, and everybody starts running. This is a bad mission to watch, since you can’t tell who got hit, and by whom. “You can’t split up!” Ayanna interviews. “It’s not gonna work! They’re gonna pick us off like chickens in the middle of a wolf field!” Alrighty, then. Ayanna’s green lights go red, and she’s out. Ruthie? Out. Genesis? Out. The airhorn sounds, ending the round.
James sums things up: “The first round is basically a massacre.” Ruthie can’t believe the guys waited to pick her off. Anne, who has two lives remaining, figures out that the guys are shooting for specific people. Ruthie says that the guys were patient. Colin: “Is that all they have?” Yes, that is all they have.
We get where everybody stands, and it’s a stinker. Each guy has at least four lives, except for Blair (1) and Jamie (3). On the other side, Emily, Ellen, and Anne have two lives, while Melissa and Lori have one apiece. “Crush Ellen,” Colin tells the others. “Crush her. It’s over.” It’s like he reads my mind! The ladies go over their remaining lives. Melissa’s One Life To Live joke falls flat. Ruthie hopes that the remaining players have a plan. The guys, smelling blood on the warehouse floor, elect to catcall Ellen. Good choice. “Ellen!” Jamie taunts. “Come out to plllllaaaayyyy!” Nice use of a quote from The Warriors, even though Jamie doesn’t have two glass bottles to chink together. Melissa’s cracking up, while Ellen tries to keep her game face on. She wants somebody to watch her back. The guys continue. Jamie continues. “Come out and plllllaaaayyyy!” Heh.
Back from commercials, the guys continue giving Ellen the business. Colin whispers to the camera, “Ellen is gonna get crushed this round!” The airhorn blares. More running. “The women’s strategy is basically not to have a strategy,” Mark interviews. “They’re just doing their own thing and running around like chickens with their heads cut off.” Gee, I didn’t notice. Anne and Lori are out. The lights are on, revealing the bunkers with scribbles on them. So sad. The airhorn goes off, just as Ellen is eliminated. She yells that somebody got in her way. The guys whoop it up. Another scoreboard. Oh, this is pathetic. All eight guys are still in there. As for the women? Emily is the only one left, with one green light.
Anne starts getting snippy towards Ayanna, and they start bickering. “The girls’ team is falling apart right now,” Mark comments in an interview. “They need leadership, but no one seems to be stepping up to the plate.” Enough already! I get it! The women are screwed! Anne tells Ayanna not to yell at her, and Ayanna goes into passive-aggressive mode. Anne actually goes “blah blah blah” into the camera with Ayanna behind her. Shut up, Anne, and eat something. Even Heidi from Survivor is probably watching this and saying, “Damn, don’t they have food in Jamaica?” Ayanna says that the team had a chance. Anne bitches to Ruthie, with Ayanna near them both. Ruthie interviews that she doesn’t want the team to be bogged by negativity. I wonder… are you bogged if you’re in it up to your neck? That should be beyond bogged, in my opinion. Ruthie talks to Ayanna, who’s still in passive-aggressive. More bickering. Ayanna insists she’s trying to stay cool. I’ve seen her go ballistic, so this would be considered cool. “Great teamwork, Ayanna,” Anne snots. Why couldn’t BMP ship in Roni or Tara instead of her? She’s the worst representative from Northern Trail on any Challenge. I’d take Noah in a wig over Anne. She insists it’s not her fault the team is losing. Ayanna feels like she’s being framed as a scapegoat, while the others rebuke. Meanwhile, everybody is telling Emily what she has to do to win the game.
On the other side, all eight guys are waiting for the inevitable. “Let’s just bomb her, dude,” Colin suggests. Genesis interviews that Emily had the one life, and all the pressure is on her to win. The carnage continues. There are quick cuts, disguising how truly boring this mission is to watch. A voice rings out: “I got her! I got her!” And Emily is out, as Shane nudges her out of bounds. “Shane’s taken a lot of pleasure in shooting Emily in the back,” Colin interviews, “just as she stabbed Rachel in the back.” What is the word I’m looking for? Ah, yes: HA! That cracked me up something fierce. “We crushed the girls,” Shane beams. “They basically suck at Laser Tag.” Emily stalks off. “It’s supposed to be a game,” she interviews. “It’s supposed to be fun. And I’m not having any fun.” Would she like to bring Veronica back, so she can shove her off a cliff? Ayanna tells Emily she did a good job.
Since we need a winner, Jonny splits the guys into two teams by alphabetical order: Colin (3 lives), Antoine, Eric and Blair (1 apiece) vs. James (3), Shane (2), Mark and Jamie (1 apiece). Rewinding the tape, I find out that Emily didn’t take out a single light. Misleading editing or poor marksmanship? The girls look on glumly. Blair interviews that it’s important for him to go well, since he doesn’t want to go home. The order of elimination: Antoine, Shane, Jamie, Blair, Mark and Colin, with James as the winner. In her article, Melissa said that it took forever for James and Colin to duel in the end. Because I’ve been a good guy in recapping this dreck, I offer my interpretation on what was left on the cutting room floor:
Colin: (behind "bunker") Okay, fun's fun. Now get shot, willya?
James: (likewise) Dude, you're in the Inner Circle, and I'm not! I need the points!
Colin: Be reasonable!
James: I am!
Colin: (imitating Emily's voice) "Oh, James? Come on honey, the new chick flick is playing! You can buy the tickets and popcorn, and maybe... maybe... I'll let you sit next to me!"
Colin: "You don’t want to be with your greasy guy friends, do you?”
James: (imitating Amaya's voice) "Oh! Spoon me, Colin! Spooooon me, you big schmoopy-whoopie!"
Colin: Oh, you miserable bastard.
James: "Come on! Kiss my bunny! Kiss it!"
Colin: (bolting up) That tears it! DIE MOTHER-
James: (bolting, taking the shot) Too easy, dude. Too easy.
Post-mission. Ayanna gets close to Shane. “Don’t go shootin’ real guns,” she tells him with a smile. “You had fire in your eyes when you shot Emily, dog.” Anne says that Ayanna is mad at her, but she’s not mad at Ayanna. “I was listening,” Lori interviews. “I wasn’t hearing anything about what to do.”
Jonny awards the prizes and the Ion Lifesaver to James. The guys clap. The girls clap politely. Emily claps, and she has a big smile on her face. Because he’s the boyfriend, you know. Shut up, Emily. Ayanna: “After I’ve seen how the girls acted today as a team, it’s time for me to go on ahead and go on ahead.” I checked the Ayanna-to-English dictionary. “I should get going now.”
Ayanna tells Ellen that she’s not having fun anymore, and feels that she has to watch her back. Ellen tries to talk her out of it. Ayanna interviews that if she leaves, it would be a wake-up call for her teammates. Ellen wants her to reconsider; she interviews that she’s worried when one of the stronger competitors wants to leave. “People are only going to listen to people that have respect for or what their opinions are,” Ayanna tells Ellen. “If I don’t feel you can trust me, then how can I trust you?” Ayanna tells Emily of her intentions. “I think that’s the wrong decision,” she tells Ayanna. “You can’t base anyone’s trust off one mission. You’re not a quitter.” Great, now Emily doesn’t want a teammate to leave. What is it, Emily? Did Genesis grab the last orange and you want her gone? Ayanna interviews that she’s not a quitter, but she sees the situation for what it is, and she chooses to leave.
Scoreboard. Since the field’s been whittled down, I may as well start posting the scores.
Men: Mark (314 points), Colin (310), Jamie (308), Eric (297), Antoine (287), James (281), Shane (279), Blair (259)
Women: Ruthie (300), Ellen (290), Emily (262), Lori (254), Melissa (227), Anne (223), Genesis (218), Ayanna (215)
One thing that didn’t catch my attention right away was that Melissa, Genesis, and Ayanna’s scores didn’t change. Speculation on the forums says that they didn’t shoot anybody, so they got disqualified.
James looks at the scores with Emily. Ellen rubs her eyes near Blair. Eric eats from a pudding cup. He interviews that he’s been knocked to the bottom of the board, and he’s crawled his way back. I’m thinking Eric’s might make a run for the final three slots, and this is foreshadowing. Genesis is impressed that Anne moved up. Ruthie asks Anne, “Didn’t I tell you miracles can happen?” Aren’t miracles supposed to be good things? Blair hugs a slightly weeping Ellen. I think she loves the guy. Maybe not in the hooking-up way, but he seems to be somebody she can talk with. Blair interviews that it’s his time, adding “God is saying, ‘Blair, go home. Please.’”
Jonny starts the elimination proceedings, telling us the Inner Circles (Mark, Colin, and Jamie; Ruthie, Ellen, and Emily) and the Ion holder (James). Ellen interviews that there was no deliberation, since Ayanna has no intention of staying. Jonny asks the Women’s Inner Circle who is going home. Ellen calls Ayanna “awesome” and says she’s going to miss her. Ayanna doesn’t hug, but she does bump fists with the IC ladies. “For the girls to have any kind of fighting chance at winning this competition,” she interviews, “they’ve got to come together. And right now, they’re not.”
Jonny calls up the Men’s Inner Circles, and “reminds” them that they can’t vote him off. Shut up, Jonny. Mark goes on about how Blair has hung on in last place in the past seven missions. Mark adds, “He’s been a great roommate in the room where no one ever leaves.” Your guess is as good as mine. Blair walks up, says “It’s my time,” and walks back to the other men.
Now it’s time for James to award the Ion Lifesaver. Without fanfare, he gives it to Blair. Whoa! Intrigue! Sadly, Blair interviews that he’s not going to take it. “Why mess up what we’ve been doing now?” he ponders. He tells everybody that he’s going home. He then crouches, as the other guys spray beer on him. Don’t read anything into that. I’m begging you, do not go Psychology 101 on that scene. Blair interviews that he’s content in going home, and he stretched his time in last place as long as he could.
Sunset shot. Ellen and Ruthie walk down the stairs. Ellen comments that she didn’t buy into the mindset the guys had at first. “But it worked,” Ruthie chimes in. Never have three words so eloquently summed up this entire series.
Night. Brief shot of Ayanna packing up. Cut to a meeting of the women. Ellen says that each person brings her own strengths to the team. Emily says that due to lack of communication, they lost it right before the mission. Lori mentions that she’s never played in a sport before, but she’s willing to follow orders if need be. Ellen: “I felt that Ayanna was trying to tell us how to go about doing it.” You think? Emily thinks that Ayanna didn’t “relay it to us in the best way.” Ruthie steps up, saying that the women need to trust each other. I already have Step One: Dump Emilizzy Borden ASAP. Ruthie interviews that she can’t let the others slip, adding “I need my team as much as they need me.” Ellen says that if tomorrow brings wrestling or flag football, the team shouldn’t get psyched out. Melissa’s rubbing her eyes, and I think she’s remembering the thing her good buddy Amaya went through when she played those in Challenge 2000. Ellen adds that if anybody has experience in a future mission, that girl should “take the leadership chair and run with it.” The only thing missing is Ayanna yelling, “Great! Why didn’t you think of that before the game?” Ruthie tells the group they have to learn from their mistakes, adding that the guys had a lot of time to be a team, and the women can learn from them. “It’s Battle of the Sexes,” she interviews. “We’ve got to come together and battle out with the guys.”
MTV decided that Punk’d, Aston Kutcher’s opus, needed to start early on Monday night, so the teaser got clipped. But it came back on the Tuesday rerun, so I don’t have to speculate. Next week: The guys and the girls dance around. You Antoine fans should be happy to find out that the Belgian busts a move. Shane interviews that he’s going home. Jonny welcomes everybody to Spidermon. Apparently, Spidermon involves swinging from an impossibly long rope and clinging to a cargo net. Jonny at the elimination proceedings: “In this situation, the Inner Circle will have to deliberate one more time.” Colin in interview: “What!?” Hey, anything’s better than the drama the girls have been serving up.
I forgot about the TWoP "benefit." I might have the mousepad, which had Miss Alli's wisdom related to The Amazing Race written on it. She was good people, though a bit harsh as a forum moderator. The sad part about this episode is that this proved to be Ayanna's best exit. She got bounced from Extreme Challenge for beating up Christian after he said a certain word, and I won't spoil you on what happened in Battle Of The Sexes 2. I really hope she's doing good with her life. I've seen Blair on TV from time to time, such as appearing on G4's X-Play, and doing online content for DC Comics. I actually saw him at a convention along with Blair Butler, but I didn't say hi. I feel bad in retrospect, especially since I would see Steve, his buddy from Road Rules: The Quest, later in 2003. He may have compared himself to a venereal disease, but at least he didn't act like he wanted to give it to everybody, unless certain people from BMP shows.