I don’t know about y’all but I’ve been grappling in the throes of anticipation all week with these burning questions: Will the Native American ritual help Chris Kirkpatrick gain the confidence to stop dressing so poorly that Mary-Kate Olsen is embarrassed for him? Will Rich Cronin get a closer look at Katie McNeil’s fun bags before he gives up the ghost? Will Jeff Timmons ever snap out of his delusions of grandeur and realize that his “production studio” is an iMac in the spare bedroom of his parents’ house? And exactly how many gallons of Jack Daniels does it take to get a man Bryan Abrams’ size totally wasted? Answers to these questions and more on this installment of Mission: Man Band!
After some lame opening credits (where we don’t even get to hear the guys singing- guess VH1 doesn’t want to send us galloping for the hills just yet), we get an exterior shot of Chez Kirkpatrick at 7 a.m. Katie McNeil tells us that Bryan has challenged himself to lose 20 pounds, and to help, KM has hired him a personal trainer. Challenged himself, my ass. Bryan’s physique doesn’t exactly scream “dedicated to fitness” you know.
The personal trainer’s name is Kristia and at first glance she’s totally hot until you notice the gorilla arms on this woman. They’re seriously thicker than her neck and scare the crap out of me. She drags Bryan to the gym, weighs him in at a cool 300 pounds and starts putting him through the Shaq’s Big Challenge paces. Bryan tells us that he wants to lose the weight because he wants to be taken seriously in the music industry. Losing weight will definitely help, but honestly Bryan, step one was don’t be in a fucking Man Band.
She could crack walnuts with her armpits
After a montage of Bryan struggling through the workout, Kristia asks him how he’s feeling. Bryan wheezes out that he feels good while clutching his chest and flexing the fingers of his left hand. Kristia tells him that he won’t see the “Bad Lady” come out for a few more days, and then giggles in a creepy way. I’m guessing the tree trunks attached to her shoulders are just an early warning sign.
Bryan goes and hangs out with the rest of the guys after his workout, and Chris tells him he was like “holy balls” when he realized Bryan had already completed a workout when Chris woke up at 8:30 a.m. KM should really consider throwing Chris to the Bad Lady as well because while Bryan just kind of looks like a ball with a head, arms, and legs, Chris is all saggy and pasty from hiding in his mansion playing with his *NSYNC puppets for the past five years. Oh, and by the way I’ve made it my personal goal to work the phrase “holy balls” into as many conversations as I can for the next week. My end of summer review with my boss is Friday- I’ll keep y’all posted on how that conversation goes.
Chris then decides to wax poetic for the recovering alcoholic about a shot of Jack Daniels he took last night. This is not cool on two levels – first, it’s just sad that Chris’s highlight of the evening is taking a shot of not even particularly good whiskey, and second, Bryan is a recovering alcoholic, you asshole. What’s on your calendar after this, Chris? Eating a juicy steak in front of people waiting in line at the soup kitchen?
Dude, you should try a liquid diet.
Chris tells us that he knows Bryan has an alcohol problem but Bryan’s not going to let anyone bully him. Therefore Chris is comfortable with shoving his drinking in Bryan’s face to see just how long it will take for Bryan to break. Seriously, what crawled up Kirkpatrick’s ass and died? Frankly I don’t want to know about those long nights on the road in the *NSYNC tour bus, but he may wanna get that checked out.
Bryan tells Chris that he’s gone for so long without drinking (about 2 months actually) and has passed up so many opportunities to drink that he feels good about it, and it doesn’t bother him if the other Man Banders drink. Bryan appears to actually believe what he’s saying but then admits that there’s always going to be that demon around the corner. Or standing across from you this very instant.
Later, the guys have gathered in the living room and KM shows up to tell them they’ve got a meeting with their producer that night. His name is Bryan Michael Cox and he’s worked with lots and lots of famous people but I still don’t know who he is. He’s no stranger to slumming it with the progeny of reality TV, evidently, since he’s worked with both Fantasia and Danity Kane. Side note: wouldn’t it be great if Cox arranged for Danity Kane to come by and give the Man Band some tips? Not only does Danity Kane suck (still love you Aundrea!), but back in Making the Band 3 the Backstreet Boys gave the girls tips. The humiliation comes full circle. It’s brilliant, I tell you. And cruel. And therefore great.
So Cox has an assignment for the guys- they will each be handed some music, and will have to write the lyrics and melody to sing for Cox and the rest of the group that evening. Bryan Abrams (who I will now call Boozey Bryan for obvious reasons and to prevent any confusion with Cox) tells KM that he will need a Dictaphone in order to complete this assignment, and Chris has no idea what the hell Boozey Bryan is talking about. To be fair, a Dictaphone was invented before WWI and is probably not what he meant. Chris tells Boozey Bryan that he thought BB was getting all kinky, and Chris was like, whatever it takes to get you to write, man. Chris seems mildly disappointed that BB will not be requiring fellatio for this assignment, and at the same time offers us some more disturbing insight into the *NSYNC writing sessions. I kid, I kid. *NSYNC didn’t write its own songs!
Livestrong: The ballad of a single ball
Rich attempts to mock Boozey Bryan to us but winds up just making an ass out of himself instead as he babbles: “Maybe back in the early 90s, tape recorders were known as Dictaphones. We’re calling them ‘tape recorders’ these days… or ‘handheld tape recorders’… or ‘can you get me a small tape recorder?’” Got that? I would say Rich is an ignoramus, but these days we call him “stupid”… or “ridiculously stupid”… or “can you be any stupider?”
The Man Banders get going on their assignment, and we see Bryan, Rich and Chris working separately. Chris tells us something about taking criticism but I’m too distracted by that goddamn leather/denim cowboy shirt he’s wearing again to pay attention. Seriously, the producers should really make him dress better at least because outfits that hideously memorable really throw off continuity.
Jeff is doing the dishes instead of working, and Rich comes in and complains how hard the assignment is. Jeff turns and says “you think so?!” in a condescending way, as though the assignment is so easy Rich must be a total idiot to be struggling with it. While it is true Rich is an idiot (please see ‘tape recorder’ discussion above), this is just another example of how much of a douche bag Jeff is.
Jeff tells us that he doesn’t like to sit there and be like, “I’m writing” when he’s writing. Instead of sitting down with a computer or a paper and pen, Jeff “writes” by putting away glasses and bitching profusely about how many there are. Rich observes this and tells us that Jeff wasn’t thinking about the music and was distracted by the plethora of glassware. Jeff asks Rich how long they have until the assignment is due, and then takes a nervous gulp of coffee while exclaiming that there’s plenty of time. I hope VH1 is laying the groundwork for Jeff to majorly fuck up.
D-d-dishes! Wishes! Dish wish wish dish baby baby baby.
Cox arrives at the mansion, and Jeff makes some awkward joking-voice-but-really-not-joking comments in yet another effort to avoid singing. It doesn’t work this time and Cox gives them the standard there’s-no-way-in-hell-this-is-going-to-work-but-VH1-is-paying-me-to-pretend-there-is-so-here-goes speech, and tells us that a hit record would validate him as a producer. I would have thought his three Grammys would have done the trick, but what the hell do I know about the music industry?
Rich is first to present his assignment. It’s a really, really bad rap that he delivers in a monotone voice: “She comes from Orange County out in L.A./Girls look good in sunshines all day/Pretty in pink, boy, she loves that dream/You know what I mean/She likes them drop tops, food from France/You ain’t gotta chance.” KM is rocking out in the background the whole time, so maybe he really does have a chance with those fun bags.
Chris goes next and he’s so nervous the first couple of words and notes sound like a strangled cat: “(Gibberish) unbreakable/And I wasn’t worried until she told me I was replaceable/But didn’t I try/And didn’t I care/And didn’t I say everything you wanna hear.”
Chris then announces that’s all he’s got and that he didn’t write a chorus. Cox tells us that he didn’t think Chris took it seriously because he only wrote half a verse. He tells us that, “Chris is probably thinking ‘How am I gonna top *NSYNC?’ Well guess what – you’re not!” LOL. Evidently Chris and Cox took the same How to Be an Unsupportive Asshole class from the Learning Annex.
It’s Jeff’s turn and he immediately starts making excuses before he’s even made his way to the front of the room. KM rolls her eyes so hard I’m surprised she didn’t have to wear an eye patch for the rest of the episode.
Ow! My eyes!
Jeff’s song goes to show you can take the boy out of a boy band, but you can’t take the boy band out of a Man Band: “Come closer to me, are you feeling it now?/I’ve been watching you from across the room and I gotta know how/How you intoxicate me girl with just one glance/And we’re all alone.”
Cox astutely points out to us that Jeff just makes excuses all the time, and his song “wasn’t even really that good.” Agreed and agreed.
Finally it’s Boozey Bryan’s turn. He has a false start and asks for a do-over as though he missed a putt playing mini-golf rather than performing for a new manager and producer. Rich tells us that Boozey’s confidence is almost non-existent, but if he knew how much respect the other three guys had for him (well Rich and Chris, that is, Jeff after all is a star himself), he’d feel ten feet tall. Great, so he’d feel freakishly wide AND tall? Better keep your respect to yourself, Rich.
Boozey’s song is hard to understand because it’s still in the early-90s breathy style and it’s broken down into one to two-word chunks. I believe the lyrics were: “I can’t fight the way she makes me feel/Crazy bout her sex appeal/Troubled/By the/Fact that/She don’t/Even/Know bout/Half of what she’s got/Noooo.” If you like the sound of someone trying to sing while hyperventilating, it’s not bad.
Cox tells us that Rich and Boozey were the best overall but Chris and Jeff were still good too. He tells the Man Band that he’s grading them a B- overall, and that they should not be too happy or comfortable with that grade because they should be trying for and getting A+++. Despite that, Rich is totally fine with the B- since it’s the best grade he’s even gotten, surprisingly enough given his grasp of synonyms.
After Cox and KM head out, Chris announces that to get the guys comfortable in the house, he decided to have a party! The guys look less than enthused cause nothing says comfort like vomit stains on your carpet. Of course the real reason for this party is for Chris to watch gleefully as Boozey Bryan breaks down and knocks off that lame-ass “alcoholism is a disease” rhetoric.
Party time! We get a bunch of quick clips of debauchery: a trashy butterface tells Jeff that he’s lucky she’s not naked while his balls retract in fear, Rich poses for pictures with a topless girl and proves that surviving cancer does not a mature man make as he yells HUGE BOOBS to the camera, and Chris sulks and drinks steadily in the corner eyeing the girls like the dirty old man that he is.
I am a very important musician. Please remove your syph from my presence.
Boozey Bryan meanwhile is being a good boy, drinking water. He whines a little to Rich about how hard it is because he doesn’t feel like he’s fitting in with the sexy 20-something drunks at the party. I really don’t think the sobriety thing is the only thing keeping him from fitting in with that crowd.
Boozey randomly announces he’s going to run upstairs for a minute and we see him do so, using the elevator no less. It’s one floor you lazy idiot! Chris tells us that he noticed Boozey going upstairs for short periods of time during the party, but instead of finding out why, he stood around and gloated that another party-pooping recovering alcoholic had bitten the dust.
Boozey is back downstairs and one of the party skanks comments that he doesn’t drink on camera. Boozey replies, “Yeah, I’ll have to speak in code with that whole thing. And they are probably even picking that up but… I’ve just got to be careful.” Careful as in claiming you are a recovering alcoholic and then drinking around cameras filming a reality TV show based partially on yourself? If this is honestly what he defines as “careful”, it’s amazing he hasn’t accidentally drowned his baby daughter while “carefully” giving her a bath in four inches of water.
Chris tells us that Boozey Bryan started drinking to fit in with the guys, and that it’s all going according to plan. We see BB making the rounds at the party, drunk but not significantly so. Dammit, I was hoping he’d be staggering around and crashing into shit. Totally disappointing. VH1 tries to up the ante by giving us the dramatic black screen and white writing they used in the premiere, this time telling us that when the production team stopped taping a 3.a.m., the party was still in full swing, and Boozey started really pounding back the drinks…
It’s the next morning, and the Bad Lady (Kristia) arrives around 9 a.m. to find what I’m sure we’re supposed to think is a totally trashed house. Sure there are some beer cans and empty liquor bottles around, but 3 of my girlfriends and I could have done that amount of damage in just a few hours. I’m not sure if that makes us drunks or the Man Band chumps. Probably a little bit of both.
The Bad Lady goes to wake up Boozey for his workout and he moans that he can’t do it, he had a rough night, etc. Bad Lady complains to us that she hears this kind of shit all the time, and then asks Boozey if he had been drinking the night before. He lies and says no, and Bad Lady stomps out.
KM arrives at the house next, gathers the guys in the living room and asks how long they were up the night before. Rich says he doesn’t remember and Chris tells us that he thinks he was up until 7 a.m. and that the rest went to bed an hour later. KM begins yelling at Boozey about blowing off his workout session with Bad Lady, and Boozey insists that he’s totally dedicated (seeing as though he skipped his second workout, you could understand KM’s confusion there) but he doesn’t want to kill himself by working out too hard at the beginning.
KM replies that it’s Boozey’s job as a performer to be his very best, such as by being in good shape. She accuses him of copping out, and Boozey offers a barrage of excuses such as he’s not able to climb stairs without getting winded, he knows his limitations, and hes’s 37 years old.
Chris then tells us that during that tirade of excuses, he noticed that Boozey’s eyes were glazed over. Chris wonders if Boozey could have still been drunk, and makes a disapproving face like this isn’t exactly what he wanted.
Wow, this is going even better than I planned…
KM gets the signal from the producers that they have enough footage for that particular storyline and randomly asks the boys to brainstorm band names while she pulls a gigantic whiteboard out of her ass. Suggestions include Plan B, Remix, Afterlife, Boys 2 Men, and my personal favorite, Unstable. Rich says how ’bout Planet X and Chris snaps how ’bout don’t even write that one down. Ohhh BURN! The guys decide to mull it over and adjourn.
Chris tells us that when he saw Boozey was still drunk during the meeting, he decided he needed to confront him since obviously Boozey can’t handle his shit, as if this had nothing to do with Chris’s instigating. They meet outside and Chris pompously tells Boozey that after seeing the “scariness” that came out of Boozey last night, he now understands why the rest of the guys weren’t even allowed to let Boozey drink. First, I didn’t see any “scariness” other than the possibility that Boozey could have fallen over on a bunch of people and ended many innocent lives. Second, great job everyone on preventing Boozey from drinking, especially YOU, Chris.
Boozey tells Chris that they haven’t even seen the worst of it yet (true, he didn’t streak) and Chris bitches at him to stop making excuses. Boozey Bryan is now teary-eyed, and asks Chris when was the last time something like this happened to them, and says it got the best of him yesterday. Boozey also says he appreciates Chris patronizing him, but he doesn’t appreciate him doing it on camera since he had so slyly prevented the cameras from picking up any hint of him drinking the night before.
Chris continues his sermon, askng Boozey a series of rhetorical questions about whether he wants Chris to ignore the drinking, or do the thing Boozey told Chris to do the first day he walked into the house. I’m assuming this means help him fight his alcoholism, not facilitate activities solely focused on drinking. Chris says that is why the cameras are on, because maybe now Boozey has to face his alcoholism, now that everyone knows about it and the cat’s out of the bag. Boozey doesn’t really say much else and the intervention ends.
It’s confusing what Chris’s motivation in this whole hoopla – did he want Boozey to get drunk on camera to humiliate Boozey into recovery? Did he want to help Boozey prove to himself that he was strong enough to resist temptation and it just backfired horribly? Or is Chris just an asshole who wanted to make sure Boozey would be his drinking buddy and guarantee himself more screen time in the process? I’m leaning towards option C.
It’s now 5:30 p.m. and KM is back to tell the guys that she has booked their first gig. It’s in three days, and they don’t have a group name, a sound, a song, nada. The show will be during the halftime of an Orlando Magic basketball game, and thanks to the season previews last week, we know this is going to go fantastically well.
Chris tells us that this is going to be a disaster, and Rich points out that a basketball game doesn’t really go well with four boy band guys and says he fully expects to be booed and have things thrown at him. KM tells the guys that there will be 20,000 people in attendance, and Rich pulls a TMI when he declares that he’s literally going to crap his pants, which is his body’s normal reaction to nerves. Looks like someone’s going to be strapping on some Depends for the big show.
Oops I Crapped My Pants
In the kitchen, Boozey has his head down on the counter, alternating between being passed out and babbling nonsense fragmented sentences. The three others gossip like school girls about Boozey and come to the consensus that Boozey was drunk and must have been drinking in private throughout the day. Chris and Rich both tell us that Boozey’s drinking is going to screw up the group big time, and Rich foreshadows that if Boozey drinks before the basketball halftime show gig, it’s gonna be a DISASTER. So I think it’s safe to assume he will.
Previews: Boozey’s got booze on his breath and can’t sing, Chris is still on his high horse, Rich hopes to hear himself singing over the boos at the basketball game, and Jeff announces again that he’s too good for everything.