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***Note from the Editor: Readers, you did an awesome job choosing your new recappers in this Summer’s Auditiongasm. And now, for the first of your two winners from the final round, please give a warm round of applause for LoLo!!!
Welcome to Mission: Impossible, err, excuse me, Mission:Man Band, a show where four middle-aged former boy banders move in together and have three weeks to produce a trainwreck of a song before they sink back into alcoholism and humiliated obscurity! Vh1 has brought together Chris Kirkpatrick (*NSync), Rich Cronin (LFO), Jeff Timmons (98 Degrees), and Bryan Abrams (Color Me Badd) for this little experiment. What I want to know is where is the Backstreet Boys representation? According to Wikipedia they’re planning on releasing a new album in October. So it’s probably that, God help them. Or Howie D is holding out for Pedophile of Love.
Chris has offered up his Orlando mansion for the men to live in during the course of this creative summit, and we start the show by checking in with him. He tells us that he’s been doing nothing for a while now (you don’t say…), and this opportunity has really lit a fire under his ass to do something with his life.
*NSync came to an end, he says, because Justin and J.C. wanted to work on their records (quick: name a J.C. Chasez song), Lance wanted to stop pretending to like gina, and Joey wanted to destroy any credibility he may have had in the music industry. Chris, on the other hand, wanted to let hot girls use him for his money and continue dressing like an ass clown. But now he’s ready to be a serious musician. Translation: the hot chicks are starting to find him creepy and he needs his name out there again to buy him another 5 years of whoring.
The shit famous people can get away with…
Next we meet up with Rich at the airport gathering his luggage. He reminesces about that one week he was famous enough to have someone get his bags for him. Vh1 then cues up LFO’s one and only real hit, “Summer Girls” aka “The Abercrombie & Fitch Song.” And we wonder why this group didn’t go anywhere?
The producers then throw us a nasty curveball: old footage of Rich is shown in black and white, slow-mowed, natch, and lettering informs us that “In March of 2005, Rich was diagnosed with luekemia.” The only way to have made this more dramatic would be for James Earl Jones to do a voiceover.
I know he said Chinese food made him sick, but I didn’t realize he meant it gave him cancer!
Rich tells us that his doctor gave him a “50/50 — maybe” chance of survival. We then get footage of Rich receiving chemotherapy in Boston in 2005 that he must have been saving for E!’s LFO True Hollywood Story. After five rounds of chemo the cancer was still there until Rich finally had to get a stem cell transplant. Now finally healthy, he says he’s excited to get back in the game and see if lightning strikes twice. Just no songs about Hollister, please.
Jeff is up next and immediately launches into insecure bullshit about how he’s not banking on this group and this experience being his ride to success again, because he’s SO busy with producing and writing and blah blah blah. I already can’t stand this guy which is a shame because he’s the hottie of the group.
He then tells us that the reason why he’s doing the group is because it’ll be “fun” which is really obnoxious after Chris and Rich (as well as Bryan) have expressed what seems to be sincere interest and dedication. Vh1 dusts off and plays some 98 Degrees video while telling us that the group had 11 Top 40 hits and went platinum several times. I’m calling shennanigans on those totals — they must be including Europe and Asia. Twice.
Jeff says 98 Degrees ended because suddenly DJs weren’t feeling the music, or they were making fun of the whole boy band thing — along with the rest of America. There’s only so much of this we can take:
“This sweater comes in handy cuz the steroids make me incontinent.”
Jeff babbles more about his (lack of) accomplishments while showing us his studio– which is in his parents’ house I might add. Of course it is.
Squaring off the group is Bryan Abrams of Color Me Badd, best known for the song “I Wanna Sex You Up” in 1991. Bryan has gone through the most noticable physical change of the four guys — in that he’s the size of four guys. He’s still cute in that oafish teddy bear kind of way, but he’s definitely a BIG dude now.
“Please, it’s an emergency! You gotta know where the nearest In-and-Out Burger is!!!”
The producers, never too subtle, cut to Bryan wearing jorts and rolling around spare tires in a warehouse. Evidently this is his job, having blown through or been swindled out of all of his earnings from the group. Bryan tells us he’s a recovering alcoholic and has no control when it comes to booze (and burgers). He’s nervous about going into the house with that drunk Kirkpatrick, and will do whatever he has to to stay sober. Which of course means this man will be blacking out by the end of either this episode or the next.
The sepia effect tells us this is very, very serious
Bryan’s family’s financial stability seems to hinge on the success of the Man Band as we’re introduced to his adorable baby girl and told that he just found out his wife is pregnant with their second child. The wife tells us that she hopes to pay off their bills with this experience. Let’s just hold off on any major purchases for now, mmkay? And you might want to start rationing the food, just in case.
Finally it’s time for the guys to move in Chez Kirkpatrick. As the guys greet each other Chris narrates that he hopes their styles will gel. Since they were all manufactured by money-hungry music execs, I don’t see that as being much of a problem. Chris also tells us out of context that sometimes when he flashes back he’s like “agggh what was I thinking?!” I’m not positive what he was referring to, but I have an inkling it was this:
Chris gives everyone the grand tour, and the guys ooh and ahh over their personalized comforters, each of which features a gigantic photo of their face. There’s nothing like sleeping under an enlarged picture of your nostrils. You know Tyra’s making calls right now and is going to have 13 matching ones in the ANTM house this cycle. Rich notices an envelope marked “KM” on the outside and reads the enclosed letter to the group.
The letter says that a management company is conveniently interested in the Man Band, and each of the guys should review the enclosed sheet music before a meeting with KM that evening. The boys bitch and moan that they don’t want to audition for a manager. They’re totally right. Why should singers have to sing for a music executive who will help determine if they will be paid to sing? KM is so full of crap. The guys decide to refuse to sing if KM asks them to.
The brain trusts arrives at the dinner meeting with KM, who turns out to be a woman named Katie McNeil. What a riveting twist! What’s next– did Vh1 switch the dinner fork with the salad fork on the place settings?! I’m overcome with excitement at the possibilities!
Rich describes Katie as pretty, but also intimidating and bitchy. To be fair, Katie is wearing horn-rimmed glasses, the universal sign of Domineering Bitch. The guys take their seats as Rich totally looks like he’s about to keel over.
Ack! Don’t die on us! Happy thoughts, happy thoughts!
Katie doesn’t waste any time establishing herself as the villian of this show. She tells the guys that everyone at her company thinks she’s lost her mind in working with them, that she doesn’t want to do any cheesy boy band material, and that she doesn’t even really know who any of them are or know their music. However she conceeds that since they’ve sold over 40 million records amongst them, they must not be the talentless morons she took them for. Bryan and Chris look like they’re going to cry, Jeff is clearly contemplating murder, and Rich just oogles Katie’s sweater monkeys.
“It’s not that you “suck” exactly… it’s that you’re “really really bad.” You see the difference?
And so comes the moment of truth as Katie dares to ask the guys to sing. Everyone refuses at first (Jeff even fabricates a never-before-mentioned loss of voice), until Chris cracks under Katie’s steely-eyed gaze and gives in. Too many years of licking the dirt off Justin’s boots has taken its toll as Chris is clearly a total pansy.
After Chris goes, Bryan and Rich soon follow but Jeff stubbornly refuses. He also takes the opportunity to let everyone know how he was totally reluctant to participate in the group and almost didn’t get on the plane to come, just so he can say “I told you so” after this Man Band thing is a complete disaster. Shut up and go back to your production studio then. When you need a break, Mom prepared some ants on a log for you upstairs. Your favorite!
Katie takes off, annoyed, and tells us that she thinks Jeff is full of shit. Good call. Once she’s gone, Rich quickly begins discussing her boobs, telling the others that he couldn’t stop looking at them and wasn’t even sure if she had a head. I took a look back and the man has a point:
Is she covertly transporting little people under there?
Back at the house, Rich shows us the insane number of medications he has to take before heading downstairs to breakfast. He runs into Jeff who has been up all night convincing himself that anyone actually gives a damn what he does. He even threatens to leave the group and Rich calmly eats his cereal and doesn’t even flinch. Love him.
After the commercial, Katie shows up again to send the boys on a Native American fieldtrip to take part in a ritual about new beginnings. The guys all agree without complaint. So let me get this straight. Singing for a manager: degrading, unacceptable. 6th grade Native American field trip: last one to the teepee is a rotten egg? Wtf?
Upon arriving, the Native Americans have the guys each stand up and share their dreams and visions of who they would become. Rich says he wants to become someone who appreciates life more and is healthy. Chris says he wants to be more patient and confident, and stop dressing like Helen Keller’s picking out his wardrobe.
“I came prepared in case our next bonding activity’s branding cattle at the O.K. Corral”
Jeff feeds everyone a bunch of bullshit when he claims to want to put out positivity in the world. He’s been exuding that so nicely this entire episode. Finally, Bryan gets teary-eyed when he says he wants to be a good father and husband, as well as set a good example this time for the fans.
We end this episode with the guys hanging out in Chris’s tacky tropical jungle backyard. Chris calls out Jeff , and Jeff’s task of creating drama for the opening episode is complete so now he’s definitely in it for the long haul.
Chris raises his glass and elegantly toasts: “To you guys, man. To a good freakin’ little stint.” That was so touching I had a tear in my eye. Oh wait. Just lint, nevermind.
Previews: Bryan gets wasted! Yeeeehaw!
Thank you everyone who voted for me as a recapper — I’m truly honored and will do my very best!