Saturday, October 01, 2016

Battle of the Sexes, Episode 7: Everybody Loathes Ellen

I'm done with my job. I wasn't fired and I didn't rage-quit, so I consider it a good run. In five days, I'll be covering New York Comic Con for Bleeding Cool. Before then, I'll try to post recaps, including the MTV special spotlighting hookups on BMP shows, circa 2003. Also: my predictions for Survivor: The Amazon. Deena wound up finishing sixth . . . my prediction was not as good as saying Ted (fifth place) would win in the previous season (Thailand, which Mark Burnett and Jeff Probst would deny ever happening), but I'm nowhere near as close when forecasting. On the bright side, I nailed Rob Cesternino finishing third. Gotta count for something, right?

Airdate: February 10, 2003
Recap Posted: February 13, 2003 

Ellen is wonderful and cares for the team – just ask her. But don’t ask anybody else, ‘cus you’ll probably get a very different answer. But there are actual challenges going on (besides getting along with Ellen) – running on cars to gather up rings. Who succeeds, who fails, and who goes home?

Before the episode starts, we get a disclaimer. I haven’t seen one since the car flipping on Campus Crawl. It’s the standard cover-the-butt: the scenes are supervised, don’t try this at home, don’t sue MTV and/or Jonny Knoxville, etc.

Previously on Battle of the Sexes: Colin sprained his ankle on a Styrofoam log during Treehouse, and he’s not looking to go home. Ellen whines about how some people weren’t helping out. In an interview, she admits she has a guardian angel complex, and she has to carry things if nobody else will. If George Bailey had her as his guardian angel, he would’ve jumped back into the river. Just my opinion. Amaya tells Ruthie that she has to leave by Wednesday.

Credits! Midtown! I didn’t contribute to the Roundtable on that other “battle of the sexes” show, so I offer my order of elimination: Roger, Joanna, Janet, Daniel, Ryan, Christy, Matthew, Alex, Butch, Shawna, Heidi, Jeanne, Jenna and Rob. In the end, Deena will triumph over Dave to get the million bucks. There will be one “twist” that shakes things up. Daniel will act like a wrestler at least twice. Anybody who forms an alliance with Butch will be referred to as “Sundance.” Matthew will ignite the hatred in me, but it won’t be as hot as my targets on this show.

Women’s Villa. Aneesa gets the mission information on the sponsor-provided cell phone. Basically, everybody has to pair up once again. Ellen interviews that her partner is Melissa. Wait a second. Melissa? Several weeks ago, Ellen was thinking of ways to avenge Julie’s ouster, and now she’s Melissa’s partner? And Melissa wants Ellen as a partner? Too weird. Rachel says she’s partnered with Tonya. Amaya interviews: “I take a nap, and when I wake up, everybody has their names up on the sign-up sheet.” We get a look at the registration board: Christiana and Anne have nicknamed themselves “Frick” and “Frack,” Aneesa’s name is misspelled next to “Beaver Juice,” and there’s a “G-Dawg” registered with the nickname “Silent Bob.” I’m guessing the latter is Genesis, but she doesn’t strike me as a “dawg” or as Kevin Smith. Puck is totally Jay Mewes squared.

Anyway, Ellen points out that Amaya and Veronica have not been chosen, and they can’t team up since they did that already. Christina interviews that there’s a scramble to see who would get them. She tells Aneesa that she doesn’t want to break up with her, given their chemistry. Amaya doesn’t want to talk about it anymore. “I’m feeling really great right now,” She says. “My self-esteem is shooting right up.” Rachel suggests that Ellen pair up with Amaya and Melissa team with “what’s-her-name.” Ellen thinks that it’s lame that some of the girls talk about team unity, and they should be volunteering. Tonya, being Ellen’s Best Friend, backs her up, saying that Ellen was backed into a corner. I don’t really see how this is a big deal; trading Melissa for Veronica or Amaya isn’t that great a sacrifice. Rachel feels that Ellen is making it bigger that it should be, and Ellen challenges her to find a solution. Rachel: “Ellen, for one, is… I’ll say it bluntly, a drama queen.” Cut to a quick shot of Ellen tilting her head and smiling. Rachel continues: "Ellen wants to make this a dramatic scene.” Rachel, welcome to the Ellen Bashing Bandwagon. It’s a little cramped right now, but we can squeeze you in. Tonya reassures Ellen, telling her that she lays herself out there. Amaya’s hair is in cornrows. I never thought of her as cornrow material. Ellen tells us that it’s not about being a good person. Tonya feels that Ellen was being short with her. So even the Best Friend has issues with Ellen. To think I feared Melissa would be the show’s outcast.

Morning. Puck blows on a conch shell. Maybe it’s not editing, and you can get a decent tune. Yes interviews that Colin’s ankle still hurts. Eric rubs it, explaining to us (with a straight face) that he’s drawing energy from the sun and “throwing a little love” into a potion to help out Colin. You know, when I look for alternative healers, I always ask if they hosted a dance show on MTV in the early Nineties.

Women’s Villa/International House of Drama. Group meeting. Amaya: “We need a [bleeping] plan.” Ayanna brings up how Amaya wants to go home next week, and she doesn’t want a partner who is going to bail out. Melissa goes to the defense, saying that Amaya has family business. Ayanna counters that Amaya should be with her family. Amaya starts crying, saying it’s not anybody’s business. In an interview, Tonya says it’s not worth getting emotional, and she decided to team with Amaya. “I’m willing to take one for the team,” she adds. “It’s not that big of a deal for me.”

Once again, Ellen gripes about the lack of team unity. As she’s talking, Emily walks into the doorway, and walks away while making a face. In an interview, Emily says she doesn’t want to bicker and gossip. Ellen points out that Emily wasn’t there for the discussion. Emily: “I think there are certain people in the group that feel that’s necessary.” Ellen: “Then I have a problem with you, Emily!” Ellen flashes a fake smile in her interview, while Emily rolls her eyes in hers.

Men’s Villa. Eric leads the “HOO-RAH!” chant. Ian should be getting royalties by now. Puck wants to kick some ass. James and Dan slap five. In layman’s terms: Boys? No drama. Girls? Huge drama.

Cut to five SUVs in a circle. Jonny Moseley, fresh from testing the local moguls course with the Jamaica Freestyle Skiing Team, welcomes everybody to Seven Rings of Saturn. The SUVs are Saturns, which are circling in one direction. The object is for the pairs to run on the cars, picking up rings scattered along the way. On the lead car, they have to place the rings on a post, slide into the car and honk the horn. The winner of this mission gets acoustic guitars for the entire team. Ellen interviews that the girls need a win to lift the team’s spirit. She’s probably disappointed she’s not competing for a violin she could play anytime she doesn’t get her way.

The first team up is Ruthie and Emily. While the cars are circling, another disclaimer warns us not to do it. If I have five cars and a mechanism that allows them to go in a circle, and I decide to ignore the warning, then I would deserve to get hurt. I did count at least four people looking after contestants. The ladies climb out through the windows (Dukes of Hazard style) and start running on the cars. They grab the rings, get into the car, fasten the seat belts, and honk the horn. As they hug, their time is revealed as 42 seconds.

Mark/Colin. Mark tells his partner that it’s just one lap. Colin’s left ankle is taped up. Both sets of toenails are colored, so I guess Dan’s been keeping busy. The duo run close to each other, and Mark has trouble fastening his belt before he honks the horn. There’s one guy in the backseat whose involvement is a mystery to me. Seriously, he looks like a hostage. Mark and Colin whoop it up, and their time is 41 seconds.

Genesis/Anne. Ellen cheers loudly from the sidelines. “Ellen has more enthusiasm in her pinky nail,” Emily states, “than I do in my entire body.” Mark adds that Ellen’s a great cheerleader, but her voice drives him nuts. Genesis and Anne crawl on the cars, finishing after 51 seconds.

Dan/James. They run, but Dan kicks a ring away. He then slips and falls through one car’s sunroof. A loud buzzer sounds off. Dan pops up in one piece, asking if he and James are disqualified. A caption certifies that, accompanied by the same annoying buzzer. James pats Dan’s chest, as opposed to ripping him limb from limb. James will explode; it’s just a matter of when. James tells us that they’re out since Dan dropped the ring. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Dan for wiping out James’ potential Fantasy Points, leaving me with Colin as my only male contestant with points. Nice going, Dan.

Ayanna/Lori. Ayanna notes that she’s on the bottom of the scoreboard, and says some stuff I can’t understand. They run close to each other, clocking in at 43 seconds. Ayanna loudly sings and dances in her seat. Ruthie tells us that the girls have been awesome, since none of them fell off.

Antoine/Shane. Before they start, Antoine kisses Shane’s cheek. They finish with 44 seconds. As Shane starts a post-mission interview, Antoine exclaims, “You were fantastic!” and kisses him. “Someday,” Shane muses, “he’ll be gay.” Shane, you should hit the forums I visit. Half of the people from there were probably shouting, “What do you mean, someday?”

Tonya/Amaya. Tonya assures her partner that she’s not worried, but confesses in an interview that she feels bad for not having complete faith in Amaya. It’s a slow run, and Amaya drops a ring, provoking the buzzer. Tonya drops to the platform, clearly in pain. Amaya interviews that all she could think about her how she blew it for Tonya.

After commercials, the disclaimer is shown one last time. Amaya is still bummed over blowing it for a partner who didn’t pick her first. Tonya’s ankle is hurt, and she realizes that she’s gone from the middle of the pack to the bottom because of Amaya. “Why do I always hurt myself?” she gripes out loud, getting hugged by Theo. I’m a sucker for intra-house love.

Blair/Jake. Blair interviews that he’s in last place, and he’s motivated not to go home. Jake gets stuck getting out of the car. At one point, the screen freezes, and an arrow points at Jake. Turns out he dropped a ring, and he turned around, grabbed it on the windshield, and fell on the hood. Damn. That takes skill. Blair, oblivious to this development, keeps running. Jake bobbles another ring, but grabs it. They finish at 59 seconds. Jake’s t-shirt says “Yoga Kills.” He tells Blair what happened with the first ring, complete with slow-motion instant replay. They hug each other, winding up on the ground.

Melissa/Ellen. Apparently, my mind hasn’t started producing bizarre scenarios, and these two indeed are a team. Ellen falls on her butt while running on a roof. Melissa pulls the rings from her shirt and puts them on the post. I know I’m too a Melissa cheerleader, but that was very clever of her. They finish after 54 seconds. In an interview, Melissa says it was good to be tiny, since she had more car surface to run on. She and Ellen do a happy dance.

Syrus/Jamie. They clock out at 45 seconds. They’re hard workers, but they’re neglected by the editors.

Christian/Aneesa. Ellen is still cheering loudly. Aneesa kicks a ring, and can’t lunge fast enough to grab it, resulting in the buzzer and the disqualification. Aneesa tosses her helmet aside. Rachel interviews that the contestants will be fine as long as they don’t drop the rings.

Rachel/Veronica. Veronica feels the pressure, since a disqualification would send Rachel home. They crawl on the cars, finishing at 59 seconds. Veronica interviews that the plan was Rachel getting the small rings and Veronica getting the big ones.

Theo/Puck. Ellen cheers for both of them. Wonky continuity aside, does anybody think Ellen’s been drugged? She’s not exactly a card-carrying member of the Puck Fan Club. Both of the guys run hard, and a caption shows the time to beat (:41), Puck can’t get the belt down quickly, but they finish at 39 seconds. Puck: “We’re all about snatch and grab!” Shut up.

Eric/Yes. Yes interviews that he “lives and dies” for the missions, and he doesn’t want to be at the bottom. Cut to Eric and Yes arguing over strategy. You guys were there for how long, and you didn’t come up with a plan? They run close to each other, but the buzzer sounds. I had to use slow motion to see Eric drop a ring. “It ain’t no crazy strategy,” Yes grumbles. “Just hold on to the damn ring!”

Everybody claps as Jonny awards the guitars to Puck and Theo. Jonny asks if they have anything to say. Why give Puck a reason, man? You should know better! Puck: “Hell, yeah, man, me and Thee-dog kicked ass because we run from cops for fun!” Speak for yourself. James points out the obvious to the diehard fans, saying the guys won three straight missions. Antoine: “We find ourselves fairly united against a completely disunited team of girls. That’s why we’re winning so well.” That, and they’re a Puck cult. Actually, I could see Puck as Brad Pitt in Fight Club. Think about it: “The first rule about Battle of the Sexes: you do not talk about Battle of the Sexes.” I keep seeing Syrus ending up like Meat Loaf, which I wouldn’t want to happen.

Tonya’s ankle is taped up. Maybe she and Colin could date and paint each other’s toenails. She interviews that she felt like a team player in taking Amaya, but she feels selfish in wondering about staying with Rachel. The scoreboard has her in last place. Ouch.

Jonny announces the Inner Circles. For the ladies, it’s Ruthie, Emily and Ellen. For the guys, it’s Colin, Jamie and Mark. He gives them one hour to deliberate. We don’t see which guy is in last place.
Women’s Inner Circle/Ellen and Ruthie’s House of Blues. Ruthie confirms that Amaya wants to go home, and then questions why Amaya should be kept around. Emily asks Ellen what she thinks. You have to forgive Emily for the rookie mistake; it’s been over a year since she was in an Inner Circle. Ellen wants to discuss team morale, and how Ruthie and Emily should be more involved in discussions. Emily pipes up, “I’m not going to come in a bickering group of women.” I wonder if Emily is ranking Ellen with Julie and Holly in her head.

Emily tells Ellen that some of the other women were humoring Ellen by attending the meeting. “The majority of the people don’t have a positive view of Ellen or her intentions,” Emily adds in an interview. “I think a lot of people think she’s whiny and way too sensitive.” Ellen asks what would’ve happened if Tonya hadn’t volunteered to take Amaya. Emily bluntly says she wouldn’t want Amaya or Veronica as a partner. That’s harsh, given that both haven’t been stuck at the bottom on the scoreboard. On the other hand, Emily’s partner was Ruthie. Who doesn’t want to have Ruthie as a partner? She’s kicking more tail than most of the guys. Emily adds that if nobody wanted to be their partner, then that speaks for itself.

Inner Circle Announcements. Because of the extra Ellen drama, this scene is heavily edited. Ruthie says that somebody had to go. There’s a shot of Tonya on the wicker chair, but psyche! Amaya is given the boot. She takes it well, hugging Ruthie. Close to tears, she addresses her group: “Remember, you’re a team, and please always remember that. I know everybody here has eyes and ears. What you guys should be using right now is your heart.” Very profound. The ladies clap.

Onto the Men’s Inner Circle. Colin tells Yes that his time is up. Yes? Really? Sure enough, he’s at the bottom of the scoreboard, a few points behind Blair and Eric. Yes tells the group that he was hesitant to come to Jamaica, given what happened last time (re: booted out by Holly and Chadwick). But for him, this was the exact opposite, and he thanks everybody.

Farewells. Colin hugs Amaya. Finally! Look, it’s not like I’d want another ill fated romanced between those two. I just wanted them to acknowledge each other’s existence. Yes and Veronica hug. This is the first time they’ve ever been spilt up on a BMP show. Veronica is disappointed because she likes Yes and Amaya. Yes writes “We Miss Yes” on the van window. Do you have any last words, Amaya? “I think I have put in a really good fight while I’ve been here. Fifty G’s would be wonderful in my pocket right now, but I’m leaving here with a great experience.” After all the stupid things she did on Real World and Challenge 2000, I thank Amaya for not embarrassing herself on television. She lasted longer than I would have guessed, and kicked a lot of butt on the way. She leaves with most of her dignity intact, unlike some other players. And she looked good doing it, too. The van goes off into the night.

Women’s Villa. Ellen tells Tonya that she feels like a sucker, that she gives people chances but doesn’t get them back. Tonya interviews that Ellen will go far once she tones down her intensity and emotions. It’s obvious that Tonya never saw The Quest. Ellen talks from her high horse, saying she’ll prevent people’s feeling from getting hurt. Tonya reasons with Ellen, noting that she stirs things up. In an interview, Ellen says that some people react badly when she sticks up for herself or others. Tonya interviews that she’ll remain Ellen’s friend, regardless of where that puts her in the rankings. Seeing how she spent a few months in the company of Cara and Kyle, I’m guessing Tonya’s threshold for pain is absurdly high. Ellen tells her that she’s done trying to be everybody’s savior. “I’m done,” she adds. “I really can’t do it anymore.” The scene fades to black as the crickets chirp, laughing at Ellen.

In case anybody is wondering: Yes was named after the rock band. It could have been worse: one Road Rules participant was named after her father saw her come out of the birth canal. He thought she looked like a squealing pig. Hence, Piggy.

Next week: Jonny bring out a new game: Freeze Your Butt Off. Everybody sits on what appears to be a roller coaster, with the seats and footrests made of ice. At the Inner Circle, it’s still Ellen, Emily and Ruthie. Ellen doesn’t trust her. Who? Emily: Those are the kind of girls that made my high school life completely wretched.” Once again… who? Emily interviews that anytime in the game, somebody has to be eliminated. Ruthie yells at Ayanna that if not her (whoever she is), it’s somebody else. Ayanna to Ellen: “I can’t be your partner on that [bleep], dog.”

Still not regretting being hard on Ellen, though I'll wind up making a sharp turn in the next episode. This episode was the last we saw of Amaya and Yes. I know that Amaya did stuff for Current TV, but I don't know what else she's done. Yes has a Facebook account, and that's all I have on him. And I think this was the first episode where Rachel and Veronica got together. I keep flashing back to their threesome with Abram in the following season, and Veronica wrapping her legs around Rachel in Inferno II. Not good times.

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