Chris Kirkpatrick has enjoyed a positive reputation for years. He’s always been the funny, sweet one from *NSYNC, and this personality has gotten him a lot more than his fair share of the hos. But now thanks to Mission: Man Band, Chris has been outed, and that positive reputation is shattered. Yep, Chris Kirkpatrick is a piece of shit.
Bring on the boos!
We open up this episode back at the Amway Arena, where the guys of Sureshot are milling around before the show. Rich Cronin is worried about not remembering the words to the rap section, seeing as though he flubbed it big time during the sound check. Their manager, Katie McNeil, tells Chris everything will be all right, it’s just the matter of getting the words down. Chris is his charming self, aloof and bitter.
Rich tells us he likes KM a lot, but she has put him in a bad position because he doesn’t want to let the other guys down by forgetting the words. All it takes is for one guy to choke for the whole thing to be a disaster, he says. I’m convinced that Rich and KM are doing it, by the way. We know he’s interested from his comments on her, ah, physical attributes, and then we saw her totally rocking out when Rich sang his little song during his first meeting with their producer, Bryan Michael Cox. That song was awful. You only fake that kind of support if you’re getting sexual favors for it later.
It’s now 15 minutes before show time, and Chris is trying his hardest to be a positive influence and motivate the group by declaring, “It’s really bad.” Cox chastises him that it’s not as bad as Chris thinks it is, and Chris counters with “That doesn’t mean it’s not really bad.” Someone needs to pick up a copy of the “The Secret.” Cox confides in us that the sound check really made him nervous, but he has to encourage the guys. Good job! “It’s not as bad as you think” screams “I believe in you!”
After some clunky and obvious product placement footage of the actual basketball game taking place, an Amway Arena chick wearing very unfortunate khaki pants shows up to escort the guys to the floor. Rich mutters that he’s going to puke and he looks pale and sweaty. Now that would be a performance worth mentioning. Rich yet again proves he’s mentally stuck in the fifth grade when he starts scribbling down the words to the rap on his hand and then proudly shows us his palm. I love this guy.
Rich’s hand gets yet another call to duty.
The guys take the floor, and the 15 people in the stands watch with feigned interest. Seriously, the stands are practically empty. We do get to see two random girls clapping excitedly. Yay, VH1 plants fans!
The song starts, with Bryan Abrams taking the lead singer duty. He sounds okay I guess, but this song really blows so it’s hard to tell if he sounds bad because he’s bad or because of the song. I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt for now. Same goes for Jeff Timmons, who jumps to the front and squats down to wail out his line in stereotypical boy-band fashion. Chris sounds okay, but sings his lines mechanically without any enthusiasm or interest.
We get to Rich’s rap and I clap my hands with delight. I may like this guy, but a good crash and burn is a good crash and burn! So Rich starts rapping and… he remembers every word. He doesn’t even look at his crib notes! Lame. He tells us that it felt good to be out there even though he was so nervous, and he felt alive out there and back where he belongs. Blah blah blah. We actually see Chris smile and look like he’s enjoying himself for a second, but I’m sure that’s just gas.
The song ends, and at first there is lackluster clapping, and then FINALLY we get the boos! I don’t know about you, but I’ve been waiting for this for weeks! Chris tells us he felt humiliated and wanted to crawl under a rock. Maybe had you actually tried, it wouldn’t have gone that bad, Chris. Walking down the hall, KM asks Chris what he thought of the performance, and he mutters that it was all right but they could do better. The three other guys think Chris is really pissed off. Rich worries that he doesn’t want this performance to set the mood or the tone for the group.
I have a feeling this shirt won’t be setting the tone, either.
Back in the dressing room, Rich laughingly tells the guys that if they didn’t think they were going to get booed, they’re crazy. Jeff pipes in that they all knew they were going to get booed, and that’s why they didn’t want to do the show. Surprisingly, Jeff doesn’t come off as his normal whiney, snotty self as he says it. Although compared to Chris, even Dicklet would sound mature and reasonable.
Chris has flopped over in a very melodramatic pose, and incorrectly uses the past tense as he tells the group that he used to be so cocky. He says that before, everything was perfect and nothing went wrong, and this experience has definitely helped his ego, which he needed. Other things Chris needs: a mirror, a bitch slap, and a new personality.
Cox has reached his breaking point with Chris’s bullshit, and gives the guys some Tough Love. He lectures that the guys need to get the doubt out of their heads. They each came from successful groups, and it’s like they each have a wall still up, wondering how they can top the success of their previous group. Well, fuck that, Cox says. You ain’t topping that, you ain’t never going to top that. It’s time to step up and grow up.
Cox continues by saying he ain’t playing, and he cannot and will not be part of a whack project. They all have to be excited about this shit, so stop bitching and moaning, CHRIS. Chris tells us that Cox had valid points, but then points the finger at KM, saying she made them do the show and led them into the lions den where they all got bit. I don’t think passing the buck was really what Cox meant when he said step up and grow up, Chris.
Chris then tells us that the show really put a damper on his spirits and his interest in the group, and that he doesn’t want to be a part of something that’s cheese ball. Doesn’t using the phrase cheese ball automatically make you a cheese ball? Who talks like that? Chris then says the he doesn’t really need this, since he still has his tacky house, he still has money to buy friends and dates, and he still has his alcoholism that he nurses at the club. If – clichÃ©d reality-tv phrase alert! – at the end of the day this doesn’t work, Chris is not going to keep going. Good riddance. I’d totally trade him in for the horsey one from Hanson.
The guys leave the arena and head off to one of Chris’s favorite bars. The bouncer knows Chris, and asks how the show went. Chris puffs himself up and with heavy sarcasm declares the show went GREAT and he’s SO GLAD they did it, while Jeff and Rich hover uncomfortably in the background. Dickwad. Bryan meanwhile has decided to take his back on the bandwagon ass home, and calls his wife, Kim. Kim tells him she’s proud of him, and Bryan tells us that he’s done jeopardizing the group, since they still have a lot more work to do.
Baby? I’m alone. Bring over some scotch and Ho Ho’s?
Back at the bar, Chris Shit-Stirrer Kirkpatrick is yapping at Jeff about how pissed off he is. Jeff tells Chris to hang in there, and Shit-Stirrer starts pointing fingers at KM again. Jeff wisely says that they can’t blame her, since they did decide to do the show themselves. Shit-Stirrer insists that they can blame her, since the only reason they did the show was because she told them to do it in her best judgment.
I mentioned before that Jeff seems less annoying than usual in this episode. In fact, he’s now completely normal and still hot. Hmm, time to reevaluate. Come to momma!
So as the guys are standing around, trying to determine who’s the least buttery of the butterfaces in the bar, a VH1 producer makes the DJ play their song. Chris tells us that when he heard the song he knew he knew it, and then he started bobbing his head a little until he realized, wait a minute, that’s the song we just did! I know Chris is totally sleepwalking through this whole project, but to not recognize the song you just sang a few hours ago? Really?
So now Shit-Stirrer is running around like a moron, grabbing random dudes and jabbing his finger up at the ceiling screaming, this is it! This is our song! Wtf. He was totally “humiliated” before and now he’s all like “look at me! look at me!”? Not only should this man pick up “The Secret”, he may want to visit a psychiatrist and get some drugs to even himself out a little.
Rich (remember him?) tells us it sounded amazing, and he thinks the song has a lot of potential and it was great to hear it in the club. As he talks, we get footage of the butters bumping and grinding on each other like they’re auditioning for a Girls Gone Wild video. I think we’re supposed to think that the greatness of the song has gotten them in this humping frenzy, but I suspect it may have more to do with the camera crew. Call me cynical.
Picture of skanks dancing: When STDs outnumber brain cells…
The next morning, KM sadistically calls the guys at 7:45 a.m. to tell them that people are on the radio talking about the performance the night before. She instructs the guys to listen to the commentary, and says she’s on her way over. We see the four guys standing around staring in horror at the radio like it’s an EPT test.
KM tells us that the guys are scared of hearing anything negative, which is a terrible mistake because they will be able to learn from their mistakes and the criticism, and know what they need to change. I agree with that generally, and I’m all for constructive criticism, but I don’t think callers on a radio station are really in that same mindset.
Sure enough, the guys listen as they’re mocked for being booed and for being way too old to be in a boy band. They even hear one caller jeer at Bryan’s weight and how he’s too fat to be part of the group. Shit-Stirrer snaps that he’s done, and he can’t bear to listen to anymore. KM insists that they have nothing to be embarrassed about, and S-S throws back that being booed by 20,000 people is embarrassing. I’m frankly surprised that a man that routinely appears in public looking like S-S does is capable of embarrassment. I thought that ship had long since sailed.
S-S demands to know why they did the show in the first place, and KM quietly says that it was a good experience. S-S sarcastically replies, “Oh yeah, it was a great experience” and Rich throws in, “Can I get a colonoscopy today? I want that experience too.” KM mutters something about it being a challenge, but she is clearly cowed and just taking the abuse at this point. She’ll only defend VH1′s ratings ploy for so long.
Jeff tells KM that he respects her, but she totally threw them under the bus when she knew they were going to get thrown out of the bus (huh?), and she knew it was a bad idea and it was total “clowning.” Rich tells her that she’s literally putting situations in front of them that are going to direct them in an almost impossible direction, and it’s getting a little unfair. Don’t they know that if you agree to be on reality TV, that in exchange for the exposure and the free accommodations you get jerked around by the nipples for 3 weeks?
KM tells us that she doesn’t want to humiliate the guys, and she thinks that even though it didn’t go well, the guys still went out there and it helped them bond together. This smacks of hazing to me. Group of vulnerable guys victim to the whims of one authority figure. Check. Forced to partake in an embarrassing spectacle. Check. Authority figure justifies said spectacle as a bonding experience. Check. Next week on Mission: Man Band: The guys of Sureshot perform the Elephant Walk!
Just don’t put me behind Bryan
KM disappears, and we see Shit-Stirrer living up to his name as he talks to Jeff. He tells Jeff that he knew they were gonna get clowned (is the use of this word like a Florida thing? Or a former boy band thing? Or am I not up to date on the lingo?), and Jeff says he doesn’t like it. Jeff then tells us that he knows this business, and what the right things for bands to do are, and he doesn’t think that KM was doing the right thing for the group. Instead, he thinks KM should take them on a field trip to his parents’ house where they can go into his bedroom-slash-production studio and produce a smash hit on his iMac.
Jeff tells the guys that he can’t trust KM, and he doesn’t like that, and Rich defends his girlfriend by pointing out that she’s their manager. Jeff says KM’s been appointed their manager, as if that gives them more grounds to fire her. To me, it seems like it’s less grounds but what do I know, I’m not a Big Time Music Producer with an iMac. Rich tells us that he doesn’t trust anyone in the music business that doesn’t sing, and he doesn’t give a crap who KM has managed before. If KM makes the wrong decisions, she’s not going to manage him. KM is on probation, he says, while he figures out a way to fire her without being kicked out of bed. Play the cancer card, Rich!
Sometime later, Cox, rocking a sexy-nerdy look today with a purple polo and glasses, shows up with another track for the guys to listen to. This new track is again declared a hit by the guys, and even Shit-Stirrer seems to like it. He tells us that this is the first time he’s been excited and thinking this project might be bigger than just a TV show, and now he really wants to go forward. Glad you finally decided to join us, S-S. We see the guys briefly recording the new track, but like last time, we’re not able to hear enough to really get an idea what it sounds like. We do see Rich rapping a little bit, and he looks deranged.
KM then meets with the guys again to tell them that she booked them a club gig in Miami, at a place called Mansion (who smells season finale episode!). The guys genuinely seem excited about this one, and Bryan reappears to tell us that it should be a good show since it will actually be their crowd and if people don’t want to hear them, they won’t come. KM makes the same point to the guys, and S-S asks if they can ship in their audience. I’m not really sure where these people will be shipped in from. Are some parts of the Dakotas or Europe so remote that *NSYNC is still super hot there?
KM then announces that she has a videotape from the Magic show and she wants the guys to watch it. Bryan and Jeff start complaining, and Shit-Stirrer flat out says he refuses to watch it. After the commercial, Rich, Bryan, and Jeff dutifully go into Jeannie’s Bottle for the screening, but S-S is MIA. KM tracks him down, where he’s hanging out with some sickly, scrawny dude we’ve never seen before. KM tells S-S that she thinks he will feel better once he sees the tape, and Shit-Stirrer is lke, “Nope, I’m not gonna. I’ll throw up. I’ll vomit. I’ll vomit on everyone.” He says this all with a smile on his face, like he thinks his own douchebaggery is really charming or amusing. KM convinces him to come watch the tape through the first chorus, and he bitches and moans to us about why he doesn’t understand why they have to watch the tape. Umm, to help you not ever do what you did again, you idiot.
Who the hell is this guy?
Once everyone has gathered for the screening, KM begins giving constructive criticism by saying she thinks the guys were too casual. Shit-Stirrer interrupts to ask if anyone has any popcorn or nachos because he “totally wants to get into this” and throw food at the screen so “he feels like he was part of the crowd.” He is ignored because he sucks as a human being. As they continue to watch, he shakes his head and mutters, and keeps making movements like he’s about to stand up and walk out. Seconds into the tape, S-S announces, “Sounds great, looks great, I’m so proud of what we did” and stands up. He looks directly at KM and tells her, “Thank you for letting me sit through that. Loved it, it was amazing.” At this point, even my five-year-old niece would tell Shit-Stirrer to grow the fuck up.
KM pins a fake smile upon her face, as the other guys look generally uncomfortable. KM tries to get a few words out and S-S interrupts her with this: “Nah it’s cool, I’m just gonna go kill myself, and then blame you. I’m going to write a note and all it’s going to say is if you have anybody to point the finger at, it’s KM.” My jaw dropped open when he said this, and I wanted to reach through the TV and kick him in the genitals. Excuse my language, but what a fucking little bitch.
Bryan asks why they have to watch back a performance when they already know what happened. KM yet again tries to explain and Bryan interrupts with, “I’ll tell you what everybody was thinking, they were trying to remember what to fucking sing, the lyrics! How can we think about interacting or whatever when–” KM shrills, “This isn’t punishment! It’s just so you can see it!” Rich, meanwhile, courageously defends KM against the verbal attacks of his peers.
Zzzz, you’re doing great, Katie, zzzz….
Rich tells us that KM has to be held accountable for everything she’s done, and Jeff tells us they decided to set up a meeting with her to tell her just that. Being just a tad melodramatic, aren’t you boys? It’s not like she’s Lou Pearlman II.
Now it’s time for the meeting. We hear serious, suspenseful music as KM tells the guys that it’s their meeting, they called it, so what’s up. Shit-Stirrer snottily replies that yes, they did call it, and for good reasons. The body language of the four guys here tells you something – Bryan and Jeff are hunched forward, nervous, and Rich is visibly anxiously awaiting the axe to all on his girlfriend’s head. S-S, however, is leaning back on the couch, legs crossed, arms splayed wide across the back of the cushions, like he doesn’t have a care in the world. He’s enjoying this.
Jeff tries to broach the subject by telling KM that they’re kind of uncomfortable, and want to talk to her about a few things. Shit-stirrer then leaps forward and announces in a bitchy voice, “No, I’ll tell you what it is. We want to fire you.” KM just stares at him without any expression.
Previews: Shit-stirrer screams at KM that he hates her. The guys audition dancers while Rich struggles to keep it in his pants. Bryan’s wife comes to visit and there may be trouble in the Abrams household. Yay!
You’re tellin me.