Saturday, January 28, 2017

Battle of the Sexes Episode 14: Should I Stay Or Should I Go?

I keep meaning to post more often. Nobody contacts me about reposting the recaps, and there's no movement on the BOTS thread at, but I want to get the stuff on my blog for the sake of it. I think this is the last recap where I was fond of Eric Nies. Then came Battle Of The Sexes 2 three seasons later, and . . . that was not fun. I wound up giving him a middle name that I use anytime I visit the forums. That was a bad season (which I hope to post here), but Eric was one of the worst parts. Not Puck-level bad, but man, I wanted him hurt back then.

Airdate: April 7, 2003
Recap Published: April 12, 2003

Shane wants to leave. Or does he? Maybe. Maybe not. But meanwhile, the challengers have to play Spider-Man and do some swinging and climbing. Will the Ion Lifesaver ever be put to good use?
It’s a good time for reality television. The Real World: Las Vegas has finally sputtered and gasped its last breath. Seriously, why did we have to endure seven months of that? Anyway, with that gone and this show drawing to a climax, I figured I should be at peace soon. Then I heard that Kyle, the big-headed tool from Chicago, got a plum part on Days Of Our Lives, and a rumor that a major label signed Julie’s band. Now I’m ticked off all over again.

Previously on Battle of the Sexes: Shane lamented over the departures of Campus Crawl mates Rachel and Eric J. Lori reminds us that the ladies are on a losing streak. Cut to a shot of Shane with a big smile on his face, shooting Emily in Collision Course. Sweet. “It’s humiliating,” Lori continues. “We just need to win another game.” Ellen gets the instructions from the sponsor phone: wear sneakers, boots, and athletic gear. How can any of that be considered “previously” when those scenes never aired? I hate BMP editing.

Night. Quiet shots. Cut to outside one of the Villas. Nobody is out there. Perhaps I got another week off.

Oops, I spoke too soon. Party time! Everybody’s dancing. Antoine has Anne riding on his shoulders. I’m not concerned for Antoine’s health as I was when Syrus was riding him. Emily and James dance seductively. Once again: run, James! A figure with a pixilated butt shoots down a water slide. Hey… I know the hair! It’s Blair! What’s BMP trying to pull this time?

But not everybody is having a good time. Shane is in the confessional booth. I thought all the interviews were done on-site or in post-production. Anyway, Shane feels out of place. “I could care less what happens tomorrow,” he tells the camera. “If I win the damn thing, if I’m in last place, I’m still going home.”

Cut to Shane giving Melissa a foot rub. She digs it, calling him “adorable.” Colin adds that all the guys love him as well. Colin interviews that Shane has voiced his opinion on leaving. He adds, “I think Shane’s looking forward to decompressing and being around people he’s comfortable with.”
I’m guessing Shane means being around other gay people, since we cut to him chatting with Ruthie and Genesis. Good edit. Ruthie finds out that Shane is a Taurus, which is funny since her girlfriend is one as well. I never got astrology. Ruthie’s lived with her lover part-time, which is something Shane can’t imagine doing. Ruthie responds with, “Well, you’re young.” I think there’s about four years between those two. Ruthie is so not an old lady. Genesis says that she’s been with her wife for four years. Shane interviews that they talked for three hours, adding, “It was nice to know there was someone who got me and was giving me something in return.”

Van. Shots of random sites. “Oh my God,” Anne says. “What is that?” Well, it’s a net. It’s a huge net, with blow-up dolls at the top. I haven’t seen inflatable playmates since the time one played Roy to Dan’s Siegfried on Extreme Challenge. Good times. Jonny welcomes everybody to Spidermon. The objective? First, to swing from the tenth floor balcony of the Sunset Beach Resort and into the “spider web.” Then the players have to go up the net, rescue the opposite sex doll, and climb down. Fastest time wins. Once again, Melissa is not feeling the love. “I’m in a tropical paradise and you want me to drop out of a building?” she interviews. “Are you people crazy?” No, but they’re sadistic. Jonny goes on, saying that the winner gets 36 points, and the last place finisher gets 23, unless the player gets disqualified. Emily drops some exposition on us, saying that the only way to get the DQ is by dropping the doll or if the player drops off the net. Jonny adds that the winner gets pursuit kayaks for the teammates. I don’t know how that’s different from a regular kayak. Oh, and there’s the Ion Lifesaver, which can be used to save somebody from getting eliminated. But after nine missions, who’s going to put it to good (and dramatic) use?

More net shots, accompanied by tense music. Colin gets suited up. He interviews that there are people stronger and faster than him, so he has to be more competitive. He’s going up against Ellen in this round. Both get attached to a cord that’s connecting two buildings. Ellen says she’s not nervous. “There’s a big net,” she interviews. “You’re fine, you’re safe. It’s all good.” But as she hangs off the balcony, she starts to gasp. On the ground, Anne goes on about Ellen’s high-pitched squeaking. Wow, I can’t believe I forgot all the times she did that on The Quest. On the cord, Ellen admits she’s scared. On the bullhorn, Jonny counts down from ten, his voice fading out in favor of a studio-produced heartbeat.

Jonny sounds the airhorn, and Ellen and Colin swing. No, I mean, swing. Remember the time Daffy Duck was trying to be Robin Hood, shouting “Yoinks and away!” and slamming into trees? Same thing. Ellen screams on the way to the net. Colin grabs his girl doll, attaching it to his belt. He manages to finish after 52 seconds. Ellen gets tangled in the net. The other girls laugh as her doll is held between her legs. She finishes at 1:39. She interviews that the mission was a lot tougher than she figured. She voiceovers during a replay about how the doll was between her legs and she kept stepping on it. Even she has to laugh. Insert your Adam joke here.

Eric lies back on the cord. He voiceovers that the only way for him to make the Inner Circle is by finishing first or second in every event. Lori whimpers as she steps off the balcony, rolling into position. “What the hell am I going to do with a kayak?” she asks out loud. Bludgeon your bigheaded boyfriend with it? They swing. The “Eric-Cam” shows us the way while Lori screams. The impact is so hard, she almost bounces off the net entirely. Worse still, her shoe flies off. Not a good day for Lori. Eric goes down the net, voicing over that he’s trying to get points. He dives over the finish line (:45), stoked that he has the fastest time. Meanwhile, Lori takes a while to get untangled before finishing (2:19) She interviews that the mission was harder than she thought.

Lori tells Ruthie that she thinks Eric got zero points, since he didn’t hook his doll up to his belt. James interviews the obvious: a zero plummets a guy to the bottom of the standings. Jonny tells Eric that he has to check the tape, but Eric isn’t worried. He interviews that he didn’t think he did anything wrong until he dropped his doll into the net, and he hopes he’ll slide by. Unfortunately for him, Jonny tells him that he’s been disqualified. The replay shows that he did let go of the doll. “I don’t feel like Spider-Man,” Eric muses. “I feel like Spider-Geek.” If you ever read the comics, Eric, you’d know that’s the same thing.

The beach. I’m thinking that there was a lot of time to kill, since the production crew had to reset everything. Shane asks Eric how he got a zero. “I lost the girl,” Eric says, “story of my life.” Shane suggests he should have gone for the boy doll. Did I mention Shane is gay? Just checking. Eric knows he’s going home, but Shane shoots that idea down. “I am ready to leave,” Shane interviews. “I’m totally sick of this place and sick of dealing with this.” For some reason, we go back to the dance floor, with Eric and Mark busting their respective moves. Cut to Shane in the confessional, not feeling jovial. Back at the beach, Shane wants those having a good time to stay. “No matter what my score,” he interviews, “this is my last mission, and thank God, I get to go home.”

Genesis vs. Mark. Genesis is nervous, given that she’s in last place and she wants to stay on. Both players swing into the net, but Genesis drops her doll. She screams, cursing up a storm as she climbs down the net.

After commercials, we get a replay of Genesis’ miscue. She interviews about how she badly she need the points. Shane interviews that she’s his best friend, and this is a low blow to him. Meanwhile, Mark finishes at 1:09. Jonny lets Genesis know that she’s been disqualified and then asks if she wants to hold the doll, much to her amusement. She interviews that she doesn’t want to leave, but it’s been agreed that the lowest scorer must go home.

Chili’s Lounge. Genesis cries a little, hugging Ruthie. The other women comfort her, but she’s still ticked off. “Irony of life,” she tells them. “The one time I actually excel at something and I [bleeping] drop the dude.”

Anne vs. Jamie. He actually hangs back and sings before swinging. They swing. Jamie finishes at 1:04; Anne finishes at 3:24.

Emily vs. James. You knew it had to come down to this. Emily: “I will be waiting on the ground to congratulate him whenever he reaches the finish line.” All he can reply is smile and say, “Yeah. As always.” I checked: he’s scored better than her in eight of the twelve missions. They swing, and Emily screams on the way. We get a spilt screen that isn’t the least bit informative. James gets to the finish line first (0:54). Make that nine-for-thirteen. Emily gets tangled up before diving into James’ arms (1:32). Did I mention they’re a couple? Just checking.

Ruthie vs. Shane. He interviews that doesn’t want to do this. He adds, “I feel like I’m jumping to my death.” He hollers while swinging. The race looks close, but Shane finishes at 0:48, followed closely by Ruthie (0:51). Shane’s a little happier now.

Melissa vs. Antoine. Since Blair’s done dodging bullets, the editors have a new running subplot: how bad will Melissa freak out before a mission? She starts whimpering while hanging on the balcony. “All I know is, these are two very high buildings and there’s a net,” she interviews. “Wrong. Uh-uh. No. Uh-uh.” Maybe it’s the crush I have on her, but I’m not seeing why anybody would object to her carrying on. For one thing, I’d be trying not to wet myself if I was in her position. For another, how could she have known she would last this long? I had her pegged for leaving in the first few weeks, before the events got tougher. I don’t see her as somebody who loves being the damsel in distress. She’s just somebody who doesn’t salivate the thought of risking her neck.

Anyway, Melissa panics as she hangs on the cord. The editors don’t do her any favors, playing circus music while showing the others laughing at her predicament. Melissa calms down before she has to swing. Antoine interviews that he has to beat Shane and James in order to stay in the game. But the doll drops and he gets the DQ. “This is how the game works,” Eric interviews. “The way we’re dealing with it, you go to the bottom, you’re out.” Meanwhile, Melissa finishes at 2:45. Except for Collision Course, she’s completed every mission and stayed in the middle of the pack. You have to respect that. She interviews that this is her first near-death experience.

Jonny asks Antoine what happened. Antoine notes that the doll wasn’t rigged on the net correctly, so he gets another chance. Shane tells Eric the news, but Eric isn’t worried.

Antoine, Take Two. He hits the net and manages to grab the doll, telling her, “Now you stay with me, girl!” Even while climbing down a net, the guy is a riot. He dives past the finish line (1:00). “I feel like I’m pretty happy to see my baby girl here with me,” he interviews with his doll. “She tried to bail on me, and that ain’t gonna happen no more!”

Post-mission. Jonny awards the kayaks and the Ion Lifesaver to Shane. He interviews that he was ready to go home the previous night. “I don’t know what changed,” he adds. “I think winning just really made me worth something again.” I think he’s spent too much time with James. Jonny tells everybody that the Inner Circles will be announced in one hour.


Men: Colin (345), Mark (344), Jamie (339), Antoine (318), Shane (315), James (314), Eric (297)

Women: Ruthie (334), Ellen (318), Emily (291), Lori (281), Melissa (253), Anne (245), Genesis (218)

Jonny announces the Inner Circles (Ruthie, Ellen, and Emily; Colin, Mark, and Jamie). Colin interviews that there is no need for the guys to decide since there is no vote. Foreshadowing is a bitch. Colin continues: “The women aren’t deliberating because I think after twelve missions, they’ve picked up on the fact that voting the lowest cumulative score actually works for your team.” Let’s break down the past Inner Circles. Six resulted in the lowest scorer going home (Gladys, Jisela, Aneesa, Tonya, Christina, Ayanna), two had the most unpopular people leave (Julie, Beth), and one contestant forced the Inner Circle to send her home (Amaya). What I’m trying to say is this: shut up, Colin. Not every IC had Emily hacking away at her enemies (Rachel, Veronica), so save the condescending tone.

Women’s Inner Circle. Ruthie gives Genesis her due before dropping the hammer. Genesis interviews that she’s sad about going home, but her wife is waiting for her. She hugs Ruthie, telling her, “I’m going home to have sex.” Too much information, Genesis.

Men’s Inner Circle. Mark reminisces about his time with Eric in Cabo San Lucas as hosts of Battle of the Seasons, and that he’s going to miss him. The elders of RW and RR hug.

Now it’s time to award the Ion Lifesaver. Shane says that his decision was not made out of malice. “I knew if I ever got the Lifesaver,” he tells the contestants, “I would give it to the person that was saving me.” And without further ado, he gives it to Genesis. Finally, somebody puts the damn thing to good use! Genesis interviews that she has to decide whether to accept it or not. This has become a land of confusion to her. This is the world she lives in (whoa-oh-oh) and these are the hands she’s been given (whoa-oh-oh). She’ll never-…okay, I’ll stop now. I was dying to drop that reference in at some point.

We get a replay of what just happened after commercials. “Ladies and gentlemen,” Jonny exclaims, “we have a wrench!” Genesis asks the others what she should do. She interviews that she doesn’t want to leave, but if she accepts it, somebody else would have to leave. “Make up your mind,” says the painfully obvious soundtrack. Random shots of the guys. Genesis looks at the board. Jonny says that the Women’s Inner Circle must deliberate once again.

Apparently, “Women’s Inner Circle” means “Everybody on the women’s team.” After all, watching Emily fixate on others to a select audience is half the fun on this show. Once again, Genesis expresses her unwillingness to mess up the system. Then Anne steps up and says she’s fine with going home. Genesis points out the huge difference between her and everybody else. Anne replies that Genesis would get another weekend in Jamaica and a chance to win another prize. “She’s such a good person,” Anne says of Genesis. “I think she absolutely deserves it.” Time out. Is it wrong of me to think the producers convinced Anne to take a dive? Think about it: Anne is nine points behind Melissa. If Anne does well in the next mission, or if Melissa wipes out and takes a zero, Anne could pass her and maybe take a shot at Lori’s position the following day. While the Inner Circle is a longshot, Anne has a better chance of winning mission prizes. Maybe BMP, seeing their precious Ion Lifesaver becoming a total joke, bought Anne off. I know I’ve been really critical of Anne these past few weeks, so watching her go from badmouthing Ayanna to giving Genesis a huge gift is a little much. I could be wrong. Anyway, Genesis tears up, hugging Anne. “I think this decision tonight really symbolizes the fact that that our darkest days are behind us,” says Ellen, with shots of the other smiling ladies. “This is the first time we’ve really made a group decision that settles well with everyone.” Anne jokes that she hates Shane, and everybody laughs.

Back to the proceedings. Jonny calls the Women’s Inner Circle up. Ruthie punctuates Anne’s dismissal with, “I absolutely love you.” Anne and Ellen hug. Anne tells her teammates to win on Monday to break their losing streak.

Time lapses from sunset to night. Eric gets hugs from Antoine, Melissa, and Colin. “My personal victory with this experience was being able to share my experiences and my life with other people here,” Eric muses. That could be ego right there. Or maybe all the youngins wanted to know what it was like when he got pinned by Heather B. back in ’92. He continues: “Hopefully, those experiences will bring happiness in their life [sic].” He rides away in the van, shouting, “Love your brother, respect your sister! It’s the only way!” Farewell, Ancient Jungle Monkey.

Anne hugs her teammates. “I am happy that I accepted the Ion,” Genesis interviews. “This is the first time I ever felt wanted by the team as a whole. It’s just a fabulous feeling.” Anne’s van drives off.

Next week: Jonny welcomes everybody to Human Aquarium. The players lie in a small pool with snorkels. Shane expositions that they have various sea creatures dumped on them. Sure enough, they get sea urchins, crabs, and lobsters dumped in there, which forces one woman out. Then BMP spoils everything by showing the scoreboard. So not only do we know who comprises the Inner Circles, we can determine who will win the mission. The bright side? James and Shane are tied for last place. Do you know what that means? The guys actually have to make a decision. Colin suggests a coin flip, so nobody’s feelings get hurt. Please tell me he’s kidding. He interviews that it’s been easy for the guys to vote in the past. James: “If I was in the Inner Circle, it would be my duty to make a decision.” And if the rumors are true, we might get the most dramatic episode of the season.

Yes, I was waiting for a long time to make a reference to the band Genesis. Had the person been obnoxious, I would've called her "Invisibly Touched in the head." Or was that just Phil Collins? "Land Of Confusion" was my go-to. I did not miss Anne at all. On the bright side, compared to the next episode, this one was awesome. Seriously, I could tell who placed where based on the teaser. And the ending? Oy. I'll try to get the recap up in less than a week.

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