A Dose of Reality: Reality Roundup: Week of October 7th
by Caroline Roberts
Published: October 15, 2005
This week is a whirl of rafter-shaking, spotlight-hogging, Paolo-powered madness. All shows this week featured at least one "They so did not do that!" moment. Read more to see exactly what people will do if a camera is around.
My Fair Brady
The dynamic duo flies out to Joliet, Illinois, so little Chris can meet Adrianne's big, burly daddy. Yes, Joliet as in the Blues Brothers. Adrianne burps out "Prison town, bitch!" The two roll into town in a limo, which means they are not going to fit in. Adrianne describes her father as a "7-foot-tall f***in' hillbilly." One wonders how a man who looks like him gave birth to a woman who looks like Adrianne.
The family takes the limo to various biker joints. Joliet residents flip out to see Christopher Knight at the biker bar. They must not see celebrities much. VH1 cues up a montage of people taking pictures of him, and Chris jokes that "being a Brady makes you an honorary Midwesterner. These are my peeps!"
In a more private restaurant, Adrianne shows Chris where she and her ex-boyfriend carved their names into the wall of another restaurant. To guarantee that the attention stays on her this time, she takes a butter knife to scratch out her ex-boyfriend's name. Instead of her dad getting up and telling her to stop scraping Dan's name off a wall, Chris makes her stop: "That's a personal thing ... this is someone else's restaurant." Surely all of our parents have said that to us at least once. At least she carves Chris' name into the wall later. Perhaps it’s a sign of her maturity. A full summary, including words of wisdom from Adrianne’s daddy, is here
Surreal Life - The Finale
Omarosa versus Janice Dickinson is even better than when Joan Collins and Linda Evans wrestled into the swimming pool on Dynasty, and the final episode does not disappoint.
In their last activity together, the cast sits down at a lavish table for a "last supper." To remind viewers that there other people on the show besides Janice and Omarosa, each Surreal Life cast member is given an envelope asking for "one last thing," in which they are supposed to reveal intimate details about (or, in Caprice's case, glimpses of) themselves. But Janice and Omarosa quickly make sure the spotlight is on them.
When Janice gets her last request, she hollers "Ladies and genitals!" before asking Omarosa for an apology for all the names she called her. Omarosa says, "Absolutely not." Janice brings up the lawyers. Omarosa replies, "I'm doing you a favor. Get help."
As Janice storms off and breaks anything she can find in the kitchen, Pepa gets up to try to help. Pepa goes above and beyond reality-show duty as she tries to keep the diva from climbing out the window. Even though Pepa holds tight, Janice manages to squeak her scrawny bod out of Pepa's grip. She eventually goes the way of the scarecrow and leaves the house early.
As the show wraps up, each cast member reflects on what they have learned from the "Surreal Life" experience. The men in particular are sorry that they got stuck with Janice and Omarosa. Jose is relieved to escape those two: "This war between two alpha females is not over, but we won't be a part of it." Jose vows, "I will never again live with four women."
Bronson takes what Jose says a little too far, as usual. He compares his experience to living in a vagina (no, I am not kidding): "It was like climbing inside and being poisoned with the bad estrogen." For more juicy quotations from this crew, go here.
In this episode, as many of you have no doubt heard, Danny attempts suicide. The camera crew is gone when it happens, but they are on hand to capture some abusive behavior. Yes, this is Danny at his ugliest.
In the events leading up to his wrist-slashing, Danny is enraged that Gretchen is having male strippers at her birthday party. He applies a double standard that should be a red flag for domestic abuse: "Tell me then that you won't have [strippers] or that you won't be mad at me if I do. It's even."
The real issue is that Gretchen is having a good time without him. So now Gretchen has to ask for permission for every single little move she makes.
Danny threatens the crew when they won't let him go to her birthday party. At one point, he roars at the producer: "I will shake your foundation. I will shake the f**cking rafters. Nobody'll be the same."
When Gretchen and Danny meet at home, he taunts her by grabbing a crewmember's camera. He films her and tries to pull some sort of confession out of her. She asks the crew to leave.
Apparently it wasn't what he wanted to hear. A stark black-and-white title appears on the screen announcing that Danny attempted suicide early that morning and spent two days in care. Gretchen asked for a divorce, and Danny cut his wrists several times to make sure he got the job done. When Danny recounts the events in Dr. Garry's office, he sounds way too nonchalant, like he's learned nothing from the incident.
At one point in the office, Danny does something completely out of line. He grabs his wife by the throat. His thumbs were on her cheeks - he was squeezing. He turns his back to Dr. Garry and just sits there and talks to her like he is trying to torture secrets out of her. His speech to her is remarkably cruel:
"It's painful that you won't sleep with me. So what? I'm in love with you. Never sleep with me again. I hate it that you have a staff of thousands and tell me you have no time for me.... You treat me terribly, and I'll stay in love with you. I can't help it. It's like breathing."
What does Dr. Garry do? Nothing. He lets Danny attack him. What does the crew do? Nothing.
Gretchen goes on a drive, leaving Danny with the kids, which isn't the best idea in the world - leaving them with a passive camera crew. She could use a spine transplant, and VH1 should run some PSAs or advice for people who may be going through the same situation. A full summary is here.
The Amazing Race
After flying to Charleston, the teams are faced with a Detour - Forrest Gump or Muddy Waters. Teams have the choice of deheading 200 pounds of shrimp or racing a jeep through a mud run. The Weavers and Aiellos quickly realize that the mud run isn't as easy as it looks. Poor Papa Aiello is sprayed with mud.
After they finish with the shrimp or the mud, the teams go to the Charleston Visitor Center to take one of two tour buses to a "mystery destination." A member of the Linz family tries to make out with a shrimp, but the real drama takes place as the Aiellos try desperately to escape the mud pit. They look like they are ready to cry when the Gaghans breeze through the challenge - again, having two small kids in the back seat instead of Big Boy Aiellos makes life easy.
The "mystery destination" is the Space and Rocket Center, where adventure awaits. Two people from each team must ride a centrifuge, and, while their legs are wobbly, they must race to the rocket museum and grab their next clue from AOL. Phil's mug fills the screen and tells them to find the space shuttle Pathfinder. The Bransens, even with Papa Bransen, get there first and win free gasoline for life from BP or Arco. Ah, conservation!
While in the second bus on the way to the rocket center, the Weavers start to freak out, and Momma Weaver gives her kids a good talking-to. The Weavers have spent the entire episode annoying other teams, including snobbing the Aiellos and irritating the Schroeders enough to earn the nickname "Silent but Deadly." The Paolos and Gaghans start to wonder if the Weavers are nuts. If the Paolos think you're nuts, that's saying something.
There's some serious tension at the end as the Paolos, Gaghans, and Aiellos race to the Pit Stop. The Paolos barely beat elimination, and Phil gets a big fat Paolo hug. Where do these people keep their Paolo Rocket Fuel? Sadly, Papa Aiello and his boys are eliminated. Dan Weltin goes into detail here.
The Apprentice: Martha Stewart
Martha videos into the conference room from her residence on Turkey Hill Road. She's "working on a project" and is too busy to be there in person. Working from home, feeding the horses - how many euphemisms can she coin for "house arrest"? But Martha turns lemons into lemonade by describing her renovation of her Turkey Hill home. The teams must build their own Turkey Hill using an empty two-bedroom suite at the Westin, and they have to develop a "lifestyle suite." No matter what the theme, the teams must demonstrate that they have vision.
In a twist, Charles and Alexis ask for a volunteer from Primarius to take charge of Matchstick. Leslie scores points by falling on the sword. Leslie tries to gather ideas for Matchstick, but the blundering music suggests that problems lie ahead. Oddly enough, Matchstick, the team that always has time for fighting, thinks that Leslie is wasting valuable minutes. By the time they settle on the theme of F.L.O.W. (For Leisure or Work), the contractors who are supposed to carry out their designs have been sitting on their behinds for a good, long time.
But the contractors over at Primarius' suite are busy making everything look ugly. Seriously. Primarius is well on its way to making the ugliest hotel suite of all time. The bathroom wallpaper disgusts Howie: "It's like Atlantic City on crack!" Actually, it looks more like a dirty igloo, and it can't be much fun to go to the bathroom in a dirty igloo either.
As the clock ticks, Matchstick is in a bind. The furniture that Bethenny ordered is running late, and the truck driver can't get to the hotel in time. Meanwhile, Westin Executives and a focus group arrive at the hotel, and Amanda of Primarius, who is in her finest stewardess garb, presents her "Westin Entertains!" suite. Buh-bye.
Matchstick has no sofa and no stewardess. Leslie greets the Westin team and tries to sell the room while pretending there's no couch. She sells the F.L.O.W. theme as if her life depended on it: "We didn't put in a lot of fluffy sofas because you expect that. We made everything simple and hidden. We didn't want complexity. We're focusing on zero gravity." She deserves a sales reward, but Matchstick loses yet again.
As expected, the team gangs up on Leslie for her lack of time management skills, but it comes out that Dawn woke up late for finishing the suite. Martha is appalled. Dawn says she is a "heavy sleeper," but Martha Stewart is a woman who has no pity. Martha howls, "If I were applying for a job, I would be up!"
Bethenny, Dawn, and Leslie return to the conference room, and it's Dawn on the chopping block. I expected Martha to go into a full-on "No wire hangers!" moment.
However, Alexis outdoes her mother with a brilliantly executed backhanded compliment. She tells Dawn with a straight face, "I like you because I'm usually the person everyone likes least on the team." Ouch. Martha sticks a few more needles in Dawn, and she's out the door. More details about the Martha-wannabes here.
Survivor: Guatemala - The Mayan Empire
This episode is the battle of the Neanderthals. Clumsy, surly Jamie loses a reward challenge for Nakum. Over at Yaxha, Blake, the so-called "Golden Boy," talks about how big his girlfriend's chest is. Bobby Jon Joe Bob ... is still Bobby Jon Joe Bob.
In the immunity challenge, the teams must test their cooperation skills. Six members of each team must hold a net, three people per net. The remaining member, Lydia of Nakum and Brian of Yaxha, must catapult a ball into the net. This means that three people have to decide quickly where to be in order to catch the ball.
The challenge itself isn't that riveting. Either the teams catch it or they don't, but Lydia proves to be unusually adept at the catapult. When Nakum wins, Jamie, Nakum's resident Neanderthal, acts like an ass and shouts: "Who's smiling now? WHO'S SMILING NOW?" He then picks up Lydia - and he owes her a big one because it would have been his butt if Nakum lost.
At Yaxha, Brian is worried because he and Amy are outnumbered by the others, and they know that they have to convince Danni, Brandon and Bobby Jon Joe Bob to boot Blake. Danni starts to crack: "I don't like that frat boy stuff at all." Other people on the team don't either. Past alliances crumble because Blake was just too darned annoying.
Even though his team didn't win immunity, Brian wins the Trash Talk Award when he votes for Blake: "You may be the Golden Boy, but I'm platinum!" Two snaps and a circle!
Could it be that TV will be Hilton-free? Fox is throwing a blanket over the seriously exposed Paris Hilton by canceling "The Simple Life," which was enjoyable for the first ten minutes and then quickly got old. Watching two rich kids drag around Vuitton luggage and offend the locals isn't the most entertaining television.
Oh, and the little problem that Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie hate each other might also have something to do with it. Perhaps Paris is upset that her little buddy suddenly got skinnier than she is. Either way, Paris promises that we'll see an album from her soon. Great. Will it be better than Don Johnson's "Heartbeat"? Let's hope so.
The Amazing Race
Apprentice: Martha Stewart
Extreme Makeover: Home
My Fair Brady
The Surreal Life