Now that the summer months are upon us and the networks are about to fill us with reruns and crappy series that won’t get picked up for the fall, it’s time to narrow down your priorities. Do you spend a little time in the yard? Perhaps join the family on a vacation? Maybe pick up a good book or two and reacquaint yourself with your brain? Those are all good choices, but if you cared about any of them, you wouldn’t be visiting TVgasm. We’re here to talk about what we like to talk about the most – trashy TV. My friends, there is nothing more trashy than taking 24 Bunim-Murray projects, sending them to Australia, and watching as they tear each other apart for money. Yes folks, it’s the Real World/ Road Rules Challenge: Fresh Meat, and if the first episode is any indication, it’s going to leave us very satisfied this summer.I have to be honest. A lot of people, myself included, originally thought that this was a desperate grab to inject some life into this series. I’m not sure if the people who thought up of this idea were desperate or not, but I hope to one day thank them because the premise looks to be a winner. Take twelve Bunim-Murray characters who think they are the greatest things in the world because they’ve thrown up or had sex on camera and pair them with twelve new cast members desperate to become famous for throwing up or having sex on camera. Have them fight over some money ($250,000 for the winning team – the most in challenge history), and that’s really all you need.
As we started out, our favorite mop-haired meathead Theo immediately disparages the new contestants, complaining that these people are invading his workplace. After all, he wouldn’t try to go to their job and try to out-latte them! Oh snap! You, GO girlfriend. That was so funny and you delivered the line so naturally, I had NO idea whatsoever that somebody else wrote that line for you and had you film that segment after the fact.
But as much fun as it is to make fun of the “Alumni”, as they are called on the show, it is the fresh meat where we have our real fun. First of all, we get Evan, who immediately evokes memories of The Miz. As an added bonus, he’s Canadian. He states that he’s young and stupid and very good at making bad decisions. Chances that he takes Mike’s place as the goofy and charming meathead comedian? I’d say about 99 percent.
And then there is the girl whose name is Diem. Yes, Diem! Poor girl, she probably is the wet dream of every Latin major in the country (and since I was a Classics minor, I can make fun of all of you!). I can just see the pick-up line now “Hey baby, you can call me Horace, because I want to seize the day.” And if you thought that was funny, you probably need to look at some porn.
I can’t go into the specifics of every single bit of Fresh Meat, but before I move on to the details of this episode, I have to mention Ryan. With his Chris Cornell soul patch and his Ice Cube bandana, it makes me feel like I’m watching MTV in 1994 all over again. This guy must LOVE Eric Neiss.
As soon as the Fresh Meat arrived, they had to complete a bunch of agility drills. Why? Because they were about to be drafted. Each member of the alumni team had to pick a member of the Fresh Meat of the opposite sex to be his or her partner for the entire Challenge. When you think about it, this is great. Each person has a sort of a mentor, although I hesitate to use that word when Tonya or Tina is involved, and it means that there will be more rivalries than Alumni vs. Fresh Meat all season. By the way, what was Tina talking about when she said that the Alumnus would be at a disadvantage because they were old and out of shape after too much drinking all of these years? Isn’t that exactly how she came to us during Road Rules South Pacific? Why is she trying to blame the ugly on age?
Danny got the first pick and he chose Ev, and Coral followed that up by picking Evan. Darrell picked Aviv (not sure if her middle name is Tel) and Tonya picked Johnnie, the buff black guy who looks like a crazy version of Tracy Morgan who has been hitting the gym and not the snicker’s bars. Theo picked Chanda, Tina picked Kenny, Wes picked Casey, Johanna picked Jesse, Derrick picked Diem, Katie picked Eric (the first fat guy experiment since the disastrous episode we call Darnell[sorry, that is Donnell - thanks jfazz]), Melinda picked Ryan, and Shane was left with Linnette.
After our host, TJ Lavin explains the particulars of the game; everybody gets a look at their house for the first time. If you’ve seen any Real World house in the last several years, you probably have a good idea of what to expect. Some beer pong over here, a fat guy doing a cannon ball over there, and all of the people immediately trying to size each other up.
The purpose of being on this show is to be as confrontational and outspoken as possible within the limits of good taste, but for the Fresh Meat, you could tell that they knew they were second-class citizens. Danny and Wes, not happy with the sleeping arrangements, even kicked some of the Fresh Meat out of their bedroom so the two of them could be with Melinda and Johanna.
We all expected the people from the Austin cast were going to suck, and they did not disappoint. Wes is talking about how much he loves Johanna. I wish that he had instead taken a look at his website and perhaps fallen in love with some grammar and common sense. But what about Melinda? We can always count on her to say something moving and profound, like “It’s like I’m on a vacation with Danny.” Let’s see, you fly to a foreign country with your significant other and are being paid to be there. I know Theo called it his job, but for the rest of us, that is EXACTLY what a vacation is. I could have used a vacation myself, perhaps from Danny and his stupid hats.
You were probably as THRILLED as I was to hear that the people from the Austin cast were being targeted early in the game. It was hilarious to watch Wes and Danny act like they own the place, but it was even better to watch a professional get it done. Danny read the first clue out loud, and he finished it off by saying you had to stand tall withy our partner, but since he is from Boston and hardcore, it sounded more like paahhhhhtnuh. Immediately, Coral called him out for having such a stupid accent.
You see, this is also the first Challenge for everybody from the Austin cast, and the rest of the Alums weren’t going to let them into the inner circle any quicker than the so-called “Fresh Meat”. So when Wes, who showed up with a mohawk that really enhances both his pasty complexion and his intellect, tells his partner Casey that she should stay away from “anybody you saw in middle school”, it’s great to see that he is saying it without realizing the wonderful irony in that statement. I might have thought Ev was naive for saying things like “this isn’t the smartest bunch of people”, “I’ll be calling the shots”, and “things will work out the way I want them to”, but Wes was just BEGGING for a reality check.
So the first challenge came up, and it was OK, but the drama really doesn’t come with who finishes first, but rather who has to worry about going home. The challenge took place on the “tallest residential building in the world”, although a simple Google search tells me that I didn’t have to use quotes around that statement. Each team would be strapped to each other, back to back, walk 25 ft on a wooden platform off the side of the building, do a 360-degree turn, and then come back. The team with the fastest time would be immune from “Exile”, which is like the Inferno or Gauntlet.
For some reason, this challenge reminded me of The Amazing Race
Although they tried to make this task seem really scary with people talking about how they “feared for their lives” or “couldn’t imagine doing this with somebody they have just met and don’t trust”, not to mention Casey who said she might pee herself, the big drama was with the order in which the teams had to complete their task. Despite what some people say, having strategy is a big part of this game, but seeing as most of the people on this challenge couldn’t find their own asses using both hands, the only real strategy you see is “try not to be first and watch what everybody else is doing”.
Coral and Evan won the luck of the draw and got to pick first for this game. Since everybody wants the Austin kids to suffer, Coral and Evan put Danny, Wes, Johanna, and Melinda near the front. There wasn’t a lot of wind and the platform was pretty wide, so a lot of teams appeared to have really quick runs.
In the end, it was Coral and Evan who came out on top. Evan really is a beast and he will be tough to beat physically, especially when Coral is playing the mental game. As winners, they got to pick the first team sent into Exile, and they chose Wes and Casey. It was a real blow to Wes, but he had a master plan. The rest of the teams would be voting for the second team to go into Exile, and as long as Wes was going up against somebody weaker than him, he would have a good shot.
Time for some strategery, don’t you think?
Wes’ master plan was to go against Shane because, you know, gay people are weaker and guys with mohawks can never be wrong. But picking on Shane because his wrist was a little limp was not going to be enough for Wes, even if he got all of his friends to vote for Shane and Linnette, he was going to need a few more votes to protect himself. He needs to make a deal with somebody trustworthy and won’t go behind his back. Hmmm. Who could that be? Of course!
Stupid Wes, he made a deal with Tonya. He told her to vote Shane or else they would come after her. She gave her word, but even Danny was smart enough to know that a promise from Tonya isn’t worth that crisp one dollar bill Johnny Fairplay uses to do lines off of her cooter. Wes slaps his head in disgust, and moments later, Tonya is letting everybody know about his master plan.
I felt bad for Tonya for like two minutes when she started talking about how she doesn’t want the game to be about manipulation and lying. She probably thought that with new partners and a whole bunch of new characters she might actually have a chance at getting off to a new start. But this is the Challenge, and we don’t pay to see fair, so I am not sure who she is kidding.
As I said before, the Austin kids were being targeted, and while Wes was campaigning to get people to vote for Shane, Derrick told everybody about the plan to make sure that Wes would not go unpunished. In retaliation for trying to vote out Shane, the rest of the people were going to vote Danny and Ev into Exile, pitting the two best friends against each other.
Now, the plan might have been to vote for Shane, but the voting was oral, and even though Coral and Evan weren’t there to cause trouble (winners of the challenge can’t participate in the decision to put the second team into exile since they were already responsible for one team being sent there), Shane and Linnette let it be known that they were going to vote for Danny and Ev as retaliation against the Austin cast. Theo and Chanda are next, and they aren’t down with the entire “Fuck Austin” mentality and vote Johnnie and Tonya into exile because they had the worst time.
Now, instead of sticking to the plan and voting for Shane, Melinda sees an opportunity and votes for Tonya and Johnnie as well. It looks like it is going to be close vote between Tonya and Johnnie and Danny and Ev when it comes time for Johanna to vote. Even though the plan had obviously changed, Johanna decided that she was going to vote for Shane and Linnette just like Wes told her to, all but removing any chance she had of perhaps saving Danny from having to go into exile as well.
After the final votes were counted, it turned out that Johanna’s decision would not have made a difference, but you never know what could have happened if they had only stuck to the plan. Danny was absolutely furious. After explaining that it took a lot to get him mad, Danny let Johanna have it. Umm, did Danny realize that we were all watching the Austin season? It takes a lot to get him mad? Like when he got in that fight and came home and blamed Nehemiah for not having his back when Nehemiah was not anywhere near the scene? Or when he broke up with his girlfriend because she joked that it might be fun to shag Prince William? Or when he went to American Eagle and the only hats they had left had full-size brims? The only thing it takes Danny to get mad is, well, Danny.
With Danny and Wes pegged to battle in Exile, the only thing that could save one of them would be to win the challenge the next day. The game was called bush whacked and it put all of the teams on raised wooden platforms. A medicine ball would be swinging around and they would have to try and knock each other off and you could also be eliminated if you held onto the ball for more than three seconds.
Again, nobody cared who won, we all just wanted to make sure that both Danny and Wes lost. Things got started off well when Danny, who doesn’t get mad very easily, got knocked off early and immediately threw a temper tantrum. After four people were eliminated, the remaining teams placed themselves on higher posts. When another four teams were eliminated, they moved up to even higher posts, and I was starting to get worried because Wes made it to the final round.
Fortunately, all of my anxieties were put to rest when Wes was eliminated. Now you would think that it would be a nice relaxing time for the remaining teams now that there was no worry that any of them would be going to Exile, but that was not the case. Johnnie and Tonya were still in contention, and Johnnie doesn’t like to lose. He and Tonya started arguing because he thought that Tonya was giving up, but she was screaming that wasn’t the case.
In the end, Tonya got hit and the head, and although we would imagine she is used to the donkey punch, this knocked her off the platform. It looked like Johnnie was so disgusted that he simply threw Tonya off, but my interpretation is that he actually tried to save her, but when he tried to grab hold of her, he only got a handful of boob. Worried that he would get some herpes or kidney stones, he took his hand away and Tonya fell on her ass. I would normally call Johnnie a jerk, but since this is Tonya, I kind of think that I should blame her for getting in the way.
Besides Wes, Danny, Melinda and Johanna, everybody was fine with the Exile teams and was actually bummed that they couldn’t watch. Eventually, they all decided that it would be just as much fun to get drunk instead.
Danny and Ev, Wes and Casey were taken to the secret Exile location, where they learned of their task. When they arrived in Australia, everybody had their bags weighed. It seemed strange at first, but we soon learned the reasoning behind it all. Each team was going to have to carry they weight of all of their bags through the Exile course.
Right away, Casey was worried, because she had packed a lot more weight than Ev. Isn’t it cute when they are so young and innocent? Casey didn’t realize that she is now with Bunim-Murray and you can always count on somebody being dumber than you. Danny had decided to pack a lot of Melinda’s things with him, meaning his bags alone were 103 pounds, or just ten pounds less than the combined totals of Danny and Ev.
By the way, kudos to the producers. Now that all future Challenge contestants will be worried about the weight of their bags, it will be much easier to force lots of sponsored clothing on the contestants.
It might have looked like Wes and Casey would run away with it, but this Exile had two puzzles. Now we know that puzzles are like kryptonite for most of the teams, and Wes was not wasting any time sticking around to solve them, but I liked the idea that intelligence could actually help these people. I mean, if you can get a gorilla to do sign language, a few mind teasers shouldn’t be a problem, right?
Well, the first mind teaser was simple enough, and Danny and Ev even finished it, but it only took one minute off of their time, which wasn’t enough to make up for the time it took them to finish. They chased after Wes and Casey, who had made it to the second puzzle, but had already decided to skip that as well.
Danny and Ev got tot he second puzzle and decided it was worth a shot, but they were disqualified after Ev didn’t follow the instructions. And it’s too bad because the reward for the second puzzle was to drive all the way to the finish line.
Wow, that could have been such an exciting finish, but instead we had to believe the editing that showed Wes and Casey struggling and Danny and Ev were close behind. We cut to a shot of the house at night. Everybody is wondering who is coming home, and it’s Wes and Casey that come out of the truck.
One Austin asswipe gone, three more left to go.
So what happened on the Exile? Nothing much. Danny basically gave up after he saw that he couldn’t win. He even dropped his bags at one point and let Ev carry them all herself. That wasn’t as bad as Danny’s speech saying that it was “the worst feeling in the world” because he would be leaving Melinda.
I guess chivalry is dead
Uh, I don’t want to be a jerk or anything, but did he not get ANY perspective while he was in Austin? Is being eliminated first and getting paid for it all that much worse than having to have facial surgery or, I don’t know, you’re mom dying suddenly while you are out of town? And of course Melinda was no better. She spent all of her time crying herself to sleep in bed saying that it is the worst feeling because it’s like she “lost Danny forever”. Do these people hear the words that are coming out of their mouths?
You have probably figured out that I really loved this whole episode. Yes, it does suck when teams gang up on other people, but there are a lot of ways that individual performances play a part in the game that I think a lot more people have the chance to do well. I might have been a little more concerned about fairness, but after Wes and Danny walked in, acting like they owned the place, kicking other people out of their own bedrooms, I’ve decided they got what they deserver. Maybe if they weren’t such assholes, people wouldn’t target them.
When Wes and Casey came back, they lied about what actually happened in the Exile. I guess it is a decent enough strategy to keep people in the dark, and by the looks of it, Exile challenges will be different each week, but I was really hoping for the chance to see the look on Melinda’s face when she realized it was all of her stupid luggage that held back her boyfriend.
I guess Danny won’t be the “butt” of any more jokes this season
Whatever I lost when Melinda was kept in the dark about the challenge, I gained back with Evan’s going away gift to Danny. In order to make Wes feel better, he decided to let him staple the letters D-A-N-N-Y onto his own ass. Now, not taking into account he homoerotic nature of stapling the name of your best friend onto another guy’s backside, I guess it was good therapy for Wes, and taught all of us that Evan wasn’t lying when he said he was great at making bad decisions.
And that’s it for this week’s episode. I am sorry it was so long, I just had a lot of things to explain, and it was the rare one-hour episode treat. I am happy to announce that it looks like this will be a great season. The previews gave us a look into future episodes, including a possible hospitalization for Coral and Derrick’s attempts at initiating some of the girls into the wonderful world that is the Bunim-Murray Valtrex plan.
No seriously, what is that?
What did you think of the episode? Who are your favorite “Fresh Meat”? What is your favorite pairing? Who do you think will win?