Wow, can you believe it’s been only a week since the last Brat Camp? Yeah, well, it’s acutally been two weeks because last week was a two-hour Peter Jennings retrospective. Thanks for paying attention. But in that two-week period we haven’t exactly been brat-less (or is it Brat Camp-less?), because our troubled teens have been all over the news. First lovely Jada plowed a speedboat into a family in MA, and then “Angry Punk” Isaiah was caught scrawling racist epithets on a neighbor’s home. Something doesn’t make sense here. I mean, they were given hippie names! What else could they possibly need!? Yeah sure, I suppose you could go the “traditional” route and say that “years of therapy” would work better than 40 days in a commune being followed by a camera crew, but that would just prove that you’re a total square who just doesn’t get it, man. Now pass the doobie.This week’s episode starts with the camp counselors, “Flying Eagle,” “Mother Raven,” and “Honey Pie” (Wait that last one is actually a Beatles song; I meant to say “Fire Bear”) deciding who can stay and who can go home in time for the Holidays. Holidays? In August? Perhaps they are referring to Labor Day, or the Celtic holiday of Lughnasadh? Or maybe even the International Talk Like a Pirate Day? (Celebrated every September 19th in my household without fail. Arrr matey!) Of course not. Remember, we are on reality TV time where everything is 4 to 6 months behind. We’re talking about Christmas 2004.
Our counselors sit around the campfire sharing notes about who has progressed far and who needs more work. This is accompanied by convenient reality TV flashbacks of each kid’s best and worst moments. Lacey the drug addict and Derek, the guy who stabbed his twin, look to be making progress. As for Derek, the voiceover announcer once again points out that he tried to stab his brother. As for why, says the announcer, “The reason soon became clear.” We then see a crying Nick in a flashback say “My brother hurts me. Not physically, but like, he calls me stupid.” I would now like to point out that this little pussy would last 5 seconds in my family. Hey Derek, I’ll trade you one “stupid” for a session where your older brother grabs your fist, starts slamming it into your face and says “why are you hitting yourself? Stop hitting yourself!” Or how about 16 years of being called “Special Ed”? Why don’t you try that one on for size, pal? But I overcame that goddamit. Not only did I eventually get the chance to make my younger brother punch himself, but I’ve now moved on to a successful career as a guest columnist for TVgasm and part-time male stripper. (I work the Tuesday lunch shift at George’s Café in Bridgeport, CT. Mention TVGasm and get a free lap dance, ladies. But remember: no touching.) Another benefit of the constant flashbacks is we get to see for the third time in ten minutes Derek’s midnight “I need my mommy” crying fit when he was in the wilderness last episode. Man, I hope he wasn’t having viewing parties with his friends, cuz if one of them pointed out that that made him look “stupid” he’d get a knife in his gut.
And it looks as if they’ve changed the wacky shorthanded nicknames that appear under their real names in the graphics. They are now replaced with the weird touchy feely ones the counselors created last episode. Isaiah is no longer the “Angry Punk” but is now shown as “Obsidian Snow Leopard” (Say what you want about these hippie counselors, but its clear that must have some really, really good pot to come up with something like that). Of course you would think that since he just spray painted racial epithets on a black neighbor’s house, “Angry Punk” was a better fit, but “Obsidian Snow Leopard” looks cooler on the back of a bowling jacket. Everything’s a trade off. On a related note, in keeping with the Brat Camp tradition of creating oddly mismatched, hard to spell nicknames, from now on I will only answer to the name “Crestfallen Bourgeois Platypus.”
Back in the camp it looks like Frank is still having anger issues. But when you’re someone like Frank, “anger issues” are better described as ”hissie fits.” He’s having a bit of a tantrum and throwing his mat around, lashing out at Shawn who takes it all with a smile. We then cut to Shawn’s “diary room”-like post interview where he says he wasn’t too worried because Frank was named “Reluctant Bison Charging” for a reason. Oooh, snap! You just got burned by a guy named “River Carving Canyon.” But hey, it could be worse, you could’ve gotten insulted by “Emerging Frog.”
Next up we have the brats in a circle talking over how they think the others have changed during the experience. Lauren then becomes my favorite Brat Camper (Bramper?) by calling out Isaiah, announcing to all that he’s a big phony who hasn’t really learned anything and fakes it to the counselors because he wants to go home. She’s of course absolutely right, and when Isaiah tries to defend himself by saying he thinks he’s really changed and grown, Lauren calls it a “bunch of crock of crap.” Ouch. She then adds “times infinity times infinity.” She also says that Isaiah isn’t respectful, and Isaiah tells her she is totally disrespecting him right now. To which Lauren says she doesn’t “give respect until I earn respect.” At this point the counselor named “Aspen,” not recognizing the obvious fact that Isaiah has just clearly been served, cuts her off, telling her what a stupid statement that is. Because like, if you don’t give respect until you get it, and the other person is the same, no one like, ends up respecting anyone, and that’s like (and she actually said this) “how wars are started.” Yes Aspen, that’s why. Forget the complex geopolitical reasons, or thousands of years of religious conflict or border disputes that might cause wars. It’s really all because each side didn’t get respect before they earned respect. You’re like Kofi Annon with a bad hat.
Condi Rice ain’t got nuttin on me
Next up “Fire Bear” says he has a plan to release all the “negative emotions” in the camp. Man, nothing gets my ganga juice flowing more than a sentence like that. I think my hair just spontaneously dredded itself. What we get is the “Empty Chair” exercise, where each camper talks to an empty chair pretending the person who has caused them pain is sitting in it.
Lauren ends up having a tearful talk with her dead father, and Heather talks to her mom who has been in a coma for 14 years. And not the fun kind of coma that creates wacky romantic misunderstandings like the movie While You Were Sleeping or the cool futuristic kind like Sly Stallone in Demolition Man. No, this is the bad one caused by overdosing on heroin. It’s all very sad. Not to be outdone in the sad department, we get Lexie who confronts the man who molested her and breaks down crying. Man this is depressing. If it was me I would put stupid Howie in my chair for nominating James and Sarah instead of Maggie and Ivette. Jesus Christ how could you be so dumb! James is a harmless FLOATER! Go after the people who are allied! You are the reason were losing KAYSAR! I HATE YOU! I HATE YOU!
Wow, that actually made me feel better….
Now it’s time for the big moment. “Flying Eagle” and his cohort have made the decision of who will stay through Christmas and who will get to go home. And it’s not looking good for most of them. Heather and Lexie are the only two to make the cut, with Derek a maybe. Derek, like all the others, wants to get the hell out of this freezing cold desert full of Dave Matthews fans just as much as the others, so I found it really funny that the counselors’ way of deciding whether he’s ready is by asking him the most obvious and loaded questions imaginable to help them make their choice. “Are you willing to work on your problems?” “Will you talk to your brother?” “Are you sure you want to go home?” It doesn’t take a genius to figure out how to answer those questions in order to get what you want. It’s like when you’re on a first date and a girl asks you whether you think she looks good in her thong.
Graduation day comes, and we have the tearful reunion between Lexie, Heather and Derek and their respective families. This is followed by all of them talking about how much they missed each other and how proud they all are. All of this brings the hug per minute ratio of the last 5 minutes up to an uncomfortable 4/1. This makes me fear for the finale next week….
As we leave our brat campers (bratters?) we get a glimpse of next week’s season finale. Get your nog ready and buy some firewood cuz its gonna be Christmas in August!