Now that Big Brother is on at the same time as Shaq’s enthralling program, I know some people might have to choose between the two. If you’re anything like me, you made the right decision – watching Big Brother as it aired while making cupcakes, and catching Shaq on the Tivo later! It’s just too hard to make fun of fat kids when you’re eating frosting off a mixing spoon, especially when the kids are typically kind of gross. I mean, right before the theme song, Chris laments that he misses ice cream and then burps into the camera. Oh, Shaq’s Big Challenge, the Emmys you shall win!
After a review of last week’s show, Shaq and Dr. Colker head for Kit’s house to sass her parents for taking her out of the program. I find that’s the best way to handle a situation myself, being an asshole to fellow adults. Colker says they’re entering hostile territory, but Shaq still thinks she’s a necessity for the program, so it’s off to the rodeo. Shaq faux punches and kicks the camera to show how he’ll kick Kit’s father’s ass. This is off to a remarkable start, two minutes out of the gate and already he’s planning to hurt someone.
Kit comes into the yard and shares awkward hugs with Shaq and Colker. She’s been praying very hard for her dad to let her back into the program. Shaq stands outside and just stares into their pueblo, so Colker leads the way and finds out the cameras aren’t allowed inside. Luckily, the camera lingers in the doorway, giving us the perfect angle to see Shaq’s glimmering skull reflecting off the ceiling. Kit’s dad says he doesn’t need Colker in his house, and if Shaq doesn’t like it, he can step out too. I honestly can’t fathom why he would rather this oaf in his home instead of a legitimate doctor, but Colker stands outside with Kit’s mom, The Bearded Lady. Finally the father erupts to get the fuck off his property. He literally chases them out, nearly sending the camera to the ground, which prompts Shaq to smile and say, “Being that he’s from the streets and I’m from the streets, I know how to talk to the talk, and how to listen to the talk.” That seems like a pretty accurate representation of what’s happening, I agree.
The camera films Shaq speaking to Kit’s dad through the window. Shaq promises that he cares for Kit as if she were his own, and that her whole accident was due to her overreacting. This is probably supposed to be comforting, but it would piss me off to have this jerk in my house insisting my kid was just dramatic. In his one-on-one interview, he says he kept it real and told her dad, “Look, I’m not a doc. That guy you cursed out, that’s my doc.” By saying this, of course, he negates every statement he’s issued to this man. The camera pans to The Bearded Lady and Kit, who sways to and fro in her chair like a mental patient.
Shaq babbles about how a lot of men don’t take care of their children, but he can tell Kit’s father is different. This is likely a throwback to Shaq’s negligent father, so I expect in about 14 seconds he’ll overturn their kitchen table due to his rough existence. Sure enough, Shaq touches on how we need more men like this in America. Kit’s dad invites Colker back inside, because he’s schizophrenic, and the camera fades to black. I assume they all had an orgy.
At the gym, Tarik leads the kids on a five-minute warm-up on the treadmills. Kit enters and Kevin squeals, “No way!” and slides down the stair-stepper in perfect sync with Chris. Ariel dykes out and tells Kit never to leave her again, and Kit squirms uncomfortably and is like, “Yep, okay.” The kids reunite and Kit pays special attention to Walter, which makes me feel sick inside. If these two behemoths eventually make out, I’ll seriously throw up. Walter says his mind is speechless about all of this. Kit gets emotional because she doesn’t have good friends, since a lot of people find her impossible to interact with. She thinks it’s just because of her appearance, but after three weeks of watching this show, absolutely nothing about this girl is appealing. Fat or skinny, she’s going to be hard-pressed to find any pals with that personality.
Colker says Ariel has a permagrin due to Kit’s return, and the camera pans to a gleeful Ariel doing squats while smiling. Ariel is gay.
You are the wind beneath my wings
Next, Colker basically screams across the gym that Walter’s only friend is back. He also says the program feels complete now that Kit has re-joined, and it’ll be a little less talking and a little more rocking. Right after, he dons a Shaq-like face to show how much he enjoys hearing himself speak. What a blessing Dr. Colker is upon the world!
Tarik speaks with Kit about how he’s not a monster – wait, yes he is – wait, no he’s not! Oy vey. He’s glad she’s back and he’s going to start her with baby steps. She says now that she’s spoken to Mr. T, she’s not afraid anymore. I pity the fool who believes this nonsense. The footage cuts away to random fat people in Miami, and I always feel sad for the folks who get caught in these shots. Imagine sitting down to watch TV and all of a sudden you’re like, “Wait, those are MY pink gaucho pants!”
Shaq says it’s time for the kids to start making progress, and on cue, Kevin goes, “James? No offense, but is that a smaller shirt?” What a kind boy! Sorry he’s not working out in a polo top like you are, Kev. Tarik finds their constant bickering to be a problem, as evidenced by Kevin randomly shoving James to the ground. That’s how little boys show their affection, right? Kevin wants some serious slap and tickle. James says Kevin thinks himself a leader but always ruins everything, which is possibly the most intelligent thing that’s been mentioned so far in this show.
Kevin heaves a sigh and yammers about how it’s hard to lead the group, and it’s a very tough burden for him to bear. At this point, it’s hard to tell which child is the most dislikable, because the majority are serious contenders. You want to have sympathy but they make it pretty impossible. James asks Kevin how much weight he’s lost, and Kevin fibs his total by saying nine pounds. In actuality, he gained three. If you ask him though, he didn’t lie; he just held back some of the truth! Come on, baby, your future boyfriend is watching and shaking his head in disapproval. Tarik says asking these kids to lose 50 pounds is like asking him to ice skate uphill.
The narrator informs us that only 6% of schools nationwide have physical education classes, so that clears up my confusion from my last recap, although it still seems a little fabricated. Shaq, as always, is clueless.
Homie say what?
Shaq and his team have come up with a plan for gym classes at Olsen Middle School, since their last ill-structured idea was shot down. The plan is 20 minutes of exercise during homeroom, to make everyone more health conscious. Shaq’s buddy Dale says Shaq’s celebrity status will be the final stamp on this scheme, and Shaq confirms he’s a knockout. In the words of his good friend, Eminem the rapper, “You only get one shot.” That wasn’t even a smooth name drop; that was just sad.
Four days later, Colker is ready to announce the strategy to the middle school’s staff. Unfortunately, Shaq calls from an arena to say he can’t make it. His team must fly out tonight to visit Walter Reed Hospital and the White House, and then he mumbles extensively about God knows what. He swears he really wanted to be there for the pitch, but he’ll tell the disabled soldiers that Colker says hi. Um, yeah, I’m sure they’ll appreciate that. A greeting from an unknown physical trainer in Miami will make up for their amputated limbs. Colker and Dale plan to do the presentation without Shaq, but no one seems super surprised that he backed out. Shaq is like that shitty boyfriend who cancels a date but rages out if his partner gets angry over it.
The meeting goes on as scheduled, and none of the staff seems remotely interested since Shaq didn’t show up. Colker explains the plan and the teachers show visible disgust. Seriously, if they wanted to teach gym, wouldn’t they have become gym teachers? Seems kind of obvious. Colker stumbles over his presentation while Dale laughs in the background. When they ask for questions, basically to fill the awkward silence that’s languishing in the room, one woman asks how they’ll mandate that the kids get up and work out. Others ask if they’ll have to lead the instructions, and if they’ll be trained, and what the dress code will be. Clearly there are hundreds of things these buffoons never thought through. Colker announces that he’s not asking everyone to be exercise physiologists, and then sits down like that settled the matter.
Dale gets up to the podium and starts his speech with, “Oh, for golly’s sakes.” Yeah, this is a guy they’ll take directions from. He calls Dr. Colker “Elmer Fudd” and the whole staff laughs hysterically, to Colker’s chagrin. Dale lectures them about type 2 diabetes and other such conditions, while pounding on the lectern. Hilariously, some of the staff nods along with him as they snack on pastries. In the end, the majority of the teachers illogically agree to try out the exercise program. Frank Angelucci speaks about how glad he is, but he’s interrupted several times by the dinging of the school bell, which makes him look rather foolish. Seriously, they couldn’t have done another take?
Shaq shows up a few days later for the first day of exercise instruction. An announcement comes over the school’s speakers, telling the teachers to stand up and prepare their students. Shaq says he has high hopes because he always has high hopes. Through a poor quality instructional tape, Frank leads the kids through exercises, and Shaq participates from the back of a classroom. A lot of the dudes blatantly check out their female classmates’ asses while they touch their toes, and softcore porn music fills the scene. Conversely, there’s a whole other classroom of kids who get really into the exercises, without getting off over it. Shaq ogles them creepily. The principal is pleased that the teachers participated with the kids, and overall they feel there’s an 80% success rate. Honestly, that’s a shock. Kit reports to Colker that her class did the activities, and he calls her sweetheart and they share a hug. Colker is tappin’ that.
Shaq stands before a science classroom and asks for a show of hands to find out how many kids liked the exercise and how many hated it. The kids who hated it are standing against the back wall. Apparently these kids just hang, they don’t get a desk or anything. Outside, Dale tells Shaq he’s so good with children, and Shaq says, “It’s because I’m a juvenile delinquent trapped in a superstar’s body.” Dale immediately doubles over with laughter. Shaq believes that 85 to 95% of the kids enjoyed it, and I’d write more but he has an enormous eye booger and I must move on. I won’t try to screencap it, but it was like the kind of gunk you’d remove from a Persian cat’s eyes.
Back in the school, Shaq tells a random little boy that if he doesn’t exercise every day, he’s going to kiss him right on the lips in front of everybody. You may recall he made this same threat to James. Shaq loves boys. He says after the exercise program is accepted in this school, the governor and his friend the president will be next in line. Oh God, shut up.
It turns out it’s Halloween, and Shaq shares from his home that he just chomped on two cookies and a cupcake because he knows the kids are somewhere cheating. That’s a good attitude for their mentor to have; if the kids can cheat, why can’t he?! Walter’s plans for Halloween are to play a video game and pass out candy, for which he sports a Darth Vader mask. His acne-speckled face is actually scarier, but so it goes. Walter is bummed that they get a lot of trick-or-treaters because he wants to sit on his ass all night.
Shaq picks James as the most likely candidate for cheating on his diet, so right away we see James prowling the streets and chowing down. His parents have been divorced for two years, so he’s hanging with his dad tonight. His dad lost 100 pounds recently but doesn’t see anything wrong with James eating his weight in chocolatey goodness. The kid honestly sticks his face inside a pillowcase full of candy and just swallows things whole. In the meantime, on the other side of town, Walter gets breathless walking back and forth from his beanbag chair. Oh, life is tough.
NOM NOM NOM
James tells his dad to take the pillowcase and get him more candy, which is completely creepy, and I’m really hoping his father goes out collecting for him. His dad says he’s seen James gain weight and he knows he needs that extra push to lose it. I guess he’s helping by pushing his face further into the candy sack.
During their workout the next day, Tarik asks the kids if they went trick-or-treating. Kevin’s religion doesn’t allow it, and James asks Tarik if he went out. You can tell he wants to ask, “What self-respecting grown man would do that?” but James interjects that his dad totally went out. Sad. James lists some of the candies he ate the night before, and for that Tarik speeds up everyone’s pace on the treadmill. At first it doesn’t matter because James hops off whenever he feels like it, but soon it’s changed so that whenever James cheats, the group is forced to go faster. Suckaaaa. Later, everyone does sprints and push-ups, and they all get a water break except for James. Tarik scolds him in various corners of the gym, and Kevin chuckles.
James doesn’t understand why Tarik is riding him so much harder than the other kids. He figures it’s because he was honest about the junk food he ate, whereas the other kids are just scared to admit it. Walter rolls his eyes, and dude, when Walter is mocking you? Shit ain’t good. After the workout, James threatens to strangle Tarik at his home because he treats him like a piece of crap. He says “piece of crap” like six times and James’s mom just shrugs it all off. Lay off the booze, James’s mom.
There’s two weeks until the midpoint of the fitness program, so Shaq is hopeful that the kids have made progress. Tarik says he has both good news and bad news. As of their most recent weigh-in, Chris has lost a total of nine pounds. James lost eight, Kevin dropped three, and Ariel and Kit both got rid of 11. Walter lost 15 through a miracle from God himself. Tarik thinks that a normal person should’ve dropped between 11 and 15 by now, so Shaq concludes that the kids are cheating on their diets.
Shaq rambles quietly and then there’s footage of him playing basketball, where he falls and hurts his knee. He has to get surgery, so Chris buys a huge get well card for the group to sign. They haven’t featured Chris at all in this episode, likely because he hasn’t been a douchebag, so for now he’s my favorite. Shaq says his helpers will have to do more now that he’s out of commission, but let’s be honest: Shaq hasn’t been doing too much of anything. No big loss, I say.
A week later, Colker drives to Shaq’s workout room to tell him some devastating news. Oh noez! The school superintendent has been replaced, and the new one shares the rest of the world’s view that this program is quite silly. They’ve been kicked out of the school for good. Shaq is pissed he’s being kept down by the man, and he says no school system can kick him out without a fight. Shaq operates in some fantasy world where he’s the leader of the land. He swears a lot and smashes a set of weights in half.
Shaq returns home to scarf down some chicken tenders while his personal chef prepares him a turkey wrap. Way to stick to that diet, big boy. He explains all his troubles to the chef, who truly could not care less.
In his office, Shaq gets a call from Dale, who cheerfully says, “Hey, did I hit that injury on the head?” He’s so pleased about everything all the time! Shaq tells him about the school issue around his mouth of marshmallows. He phones the principal next, who explains that the superintendent wants the school system to be shown in a positive light. Oh, so zooming in on random fat children isn’t a good thing? Imagine that, Shaq! He calls the superintendent but doesn’t get through, so he slams the receiver down and curses extensively, offending my delicate sensibilities.
His next order of business is to get the kids’ weight loss on track. He plans to use incentives, or as I thought he said the first several times, “Fsniffsfs.” Those always motivate me. Once each kid loses 20 pounds, he’ll bring them to a Miami Heat game to meet the players. Ariel is stoked because lezzies love basketball. They’re waiting on Chris, James, and Kevin to follow through with their end of the deal. Shaq reminds Walter that he’s proud of him, and Walter fellates himself for a bit with merriment. Shaq didn’t think Walter could accomplish anything, but hey, Walter can see the tips of his toes now! Truly a landmark of success.
James waddles in to meet Shaq in private. Shaq explains what they’ll speak about, reading his lines directly off a clipboard. He claims Tarik likes James best out of all the kids, although he’s completely lying. It delights James though and makes him commit to working harder. Man, kids are gullible as hell.
Tarik thinks the kids have to shine now because the governor is watching. Considering even the school board has turned them away, this is likely false, but we’ll humor him anyway. The kids line up on a field and have to do an activity where they pick up a 150-pound tire using strength from their legs. Walter and Chris team up, and Kevin and James are assigned to work together. Whenever I write Kevin and James, I think of Doug from King of Queens, so for simplicity’s sake let’s just call them Team Doug. Naturally Team Doug fumbles immensely, and then James is sent to work with Ariel. She yells at him to help her, which he doesn’t, so Tarik tells James to take a break and let Ariel handle it. That’s what you do when a kid is acting useless – let him take a load off. Tarik admonishes him, but just barely.
Meanwhile, Shaq is still hoping to get back into the schools. He’s mostly being ignored, so instead of taking any real action, he and Tarik pile into a ridiculously small car to meet James and his mom. It’s time for a discussion about James’s clownery. If James had watched Flavor of Love: Charm School, he’d know that when you do clownery, the clown comes back to bite. They want to figure out what’s going on in his brain, because Tarik says he’s shutting off when he should be turning himself on. It’s always about gettin’ some with these dudes.
James is disheartened when he answers the door, whining that he’s tired and was about to go to sleep. It’s like 11 in the morning, but okay. Shaq bangs on the living room piano and sings for James to wake up. They all sit down for their chat, and James tells Tarik he dislikes his attitude. Shaq grins cluelessly, and the camera shows an odd shot of Tarik licking his lips feverishly while the family dog does the same. You know you have good material to work with when you’re filming a salivating golden retriever. James wants Tarik to be nicer and more fun, but Shaq reminds him that as the team captain, he has to work harder than everyone. They preach to James about how much stronger he can be, while he quietly picks his nose on the couch. Ultimately, James feels he has a better understanding of everyone’s viewpoint so he thinks he can succeed now, and then Tarik screams about how Shaq has to rehab his knee. James says what everyone is thinking: “Okay…?”
Two weeks after being kicked out of the school system, Shaq is waiting for a phone call to find out if his trial gym program has been canceled altogether. He calls the principal to pester her again, and she reveals that the program is back on. I know I should feel happy for them, but to be perfectly honest, I was glad Shaq would finally learn what a moron he is. Alas, he is elated. At least, I think he is; he touches his crotch and says thank you, so I guess that’s a good thing. Then he tells her that if he were in seventh grade, he would walk right into her office and give her a kiss on the cheek. Shaq’s interest in kissing strangers is getting pretty disturbing. He tells the gal that the last time a principal phoned him, it was to tell him he was expelled. She finds no humor in this and does not respond.
It’s the midpoint of the program, so it’s time for the second President’s Physical Fitness Challenge! As usual, they’re completely unprepared for what’s ahead of them. Ariel’s mom squeezes into her best boots and spurs for the occasion, and Kit’s paints her face with some kind of cross because she’s so hardcore.
They’re bringin’ sexy back
James thinks he can beat Kevin in the mile run, but also knows Kevin can beat him. James has been hitting the sauce just like his mom. Kevin’s dad talks to Colker and requests that the parents be allowed inside the gym during workouts. He thinks this would keep the kids on point, which is probably a pretty astute observation. Colker makes a mockery of him, however, saying that he’s had 13 years to work with Kevin and the kid is fat. Oh snap! Kevin’s dad walks away with his tail between his legs.
Chris is on a cruise, so today they’ll be doing the challenge without him. Kevin nails six push-ups and James does one, but the other kids melt like butter. Still, they have a chance to redeem themselves when they run the mile. Tarik tells them, “Rome was not built in a day…however, they did have a lot of bricks.” Wait, what? Colker tells the kids to start running, because Tarik is functionally retarded. The parents cheer for their kids while they hoof it. Colker tells James not to worry about competing with Kevin, but then Team Doug starts running against each other so fiercely that I’m expecting Kit’s stretcher to roll in again. James looks like he’s about to beat Kevin out, and Kevin’s dad gets scary aggressive about it. James finishes in 12 minutes, 54 seconds, and Kevin rolls in a second later. You can tell by his dad’s eyes that Kevin will be getting a whoopin’ tonight.
Ariel comes in at 14:19, and Walter follows at 16:07. Kit must still be running because they never show her at all. Kevin’s parents ridicule him for being second best, but in general, the kids all come in about three minutes faster than their previous time.
Next time on Shaq’s Big Challenge, James eats an entire stew using only his mouth as a utensil. The other kids get testy with him, so he threatens to quit the program. Shaq and Tyler Florence from the Food Network start a petition to get better food in the cafeteria. Walter, for reasons I cannot begin to understand, chases a chicken in a field while Shaq giggles. Also, Kit and Walter hang out and seem on the path to hooking up. The whole world dry heaves at the mere concept.
What say you? Leave your thoughts!