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Amidst all the Trumps and Celine Dions of Monday night, we had a brand spankin’ new episode of Fresh Meat to watch. I have to do some explaining before I write anymore. A few weeks ago, when the cast of this Challenge was revealed, I kind of — how can I say this? — panned the whole thing. I believe I used the word “abysmal.” Well, I’m always willing to admit when I’m wrong about things, and in this case, I’m happy to report that I definitely judged this show prematurely. Fresh Meat isn’t perfect, but it’s been a fun change of pace. Plus, I love that we’ve returned to the old format of twelve teams of two. Always good to mix it up. To be honest though, my biggest fear going into this season was that we’d have entirely too big an Austin contingent to deal with. Surely they’d drag down the entire competition, but luckily, it seems as though I’m not the only one with a deep hatred for that cast. Last week’s premiere saw Coral lead a charge against the Austin crew which resulted in the much welcomed elimination of Danny. And let’s face it. Any Challenge that gives Danny the boot early on has to be worth something, right?This week’s episode began with a glorious recap of Danny’s final moments. I guarantee that he’s still complaining in his apartment, blaming MTV for putting so many Austin kids in the cast and ruining his chances. Because it’s everyone else’s fault — not his for alienating himself from the get-go with the rest of the Fresh Meat kids. Honestly, this all could have been avoided had he simply offered everyone a short brimmed hat as a token of good will. Ah, but this is old news. He’s gone. No need to rub salt in his wounds (scratch that: there’s always a need to rub salt in Danny’s wounds).
We then moved onto this week’s episode where we found Derrick walking around with his partner, Diem. “I think it’s phenomenal to have a partner and one person to trust,” he said, and no, he wasn’t referring to that hairy caterpillar that hangs out under his chin. He was talking about Diem, the hottie blonde girl with whom he had been eternally bound (at least through the duration of the challenge). The two partners talked about fears, and Diem noted that her only fear was, oh, nothing major. Just OVARIAN CANCER. Great. Just when I was revving up for full snarkiness, Diem dropped a bombshell. She had ovarian cancer. Apparently a year prior, doctors had removed a cyst from her abdomen. Then, just a few ago, they found another one, but this time they removed her ovary, appendix, and lymph nodes. It was then that they discovered her illness. Very sad, but I couldn’t help wondering… why was she there? Why wasn’t she getting treatment? Actually, forget the cancer (or as Fran Drescher would say, “Cancer Schmancer!”). She had surgery just four weeks ago in her abdominal region. Why the hell was she signing up for grueling physical activity?
Well, Diem had an teary answer for my questions. “I want to really be able to do everything physical now because I’m not sure when I’m gonna be able to do anything physical again,” she said. Whoa. That was sad. Damn it. She’s snark-proof!
Anyway, Derrick was profoundly moved by Diem’s cancer confession, and he pledged that he’d give her everything he’s got. And that included semen. WOOORDD!!!! YEAH BOYEEE!!
What? I can’t make sex jokes around Diem?
We then cut to a guy named Jesse (I’m still not well acquainted with all the “Fresh Meat”), and he was apparently fretting since his partner was Johanna. Yes, he was feeling the sting of the Austin stigma, a stigma that was still alive and well, thanks to Coral who wanted to boot another cast member from that season this week. Melinda, on the other hand, said she was ready to fight back. She wanted to turn the tables on everyone. Of course, she wouldn’t be able to do anything before getting Danny’s approval first anyway. You know, because she’s co-dependent. And he’s a jerk.
Anyway, we then moved onto this week’s challenge, generically titled “Hang On.” I don’t keep close track on these things, but I swear there have been about four or five Challenge events called “Hang On.” Nevertheless, with this version, people had to hang upside down with their feet from a contraption over the ocean. They would also have to hold their partners with their arms. Get it? Hang on? Because they’re literally going to be hanging on! Oh the poeticism! I personally think they should have incorporated a cat into this challenge, just so that it could be called “Hang In There, Kitty,” but that’s just me.
Since they won the previous challenge, Coral and her partner Evan (a.k.a. Mini-Miz, a.k.a. Canuck Doofus, Eh?) were allowed to choose the order in which teams participated in this competition. I didn’t think it would matter that much, but then again, I guess the later teams would have had the advantage of seeing what techniques would work the best. Here’s a technique that probably works: don’t be FAT. Speaking of which, we then cut to one of the more bizarre images of the show: a random shot of Tina’s partner stretching out her arms behind her back. It kind of looked like someone handcuffing a walrus. Just sayin’.
Finally, it was time for the first two teams to “hang on.” As Melinda and her partner took to the contraption, she noted, “I’m really scared of heights.” Yes, I’m sure that three foot altitude will be terror incarnate. HEED THE OMEN!
Somehow Melinda persevered through this truly petrifying challenge and managed to hang onto her partner Ryan for a few seconds, but eventually, she fell into the water (as did Wes and Casey). Everyone blamed the slick salt water for their failures, and I was surprised that Danny didn’t come out of nowhere and try to punch the ocean, yelling, “Stay away from Melinda. I’m wicked angry now!”
In a bold and amusing move, Evan then approached Wes and asked for tips on the challenge, but the former king of the Groupie Drawer simply gave him a blank look and said, “Why don’t I just get a piece of paper and a pen and write out all the ways to help you beat me?” Oh Wes. What a joker. We all know you can’t write.
Next up was Johanna and Jesse, but oops! She fell into the water before they had even been hauled all the way up on the contraption. Good effort! Granted, my 92 year old grandmother could have lasted longer, but still, good effort!
Later, Michael Strahan doppelgänger Johnnie announced that he and Tonya would be employing a different strategy than everyone else. Basically, his strategy was to go to the gym for the past eight years, get jacked, and show up. Actually, no. Their plan was to have Johnnie use both of his hands to hold one of her arms. This was something they called “The Single Arm Method.” Incidentally, that’s also Tonya’s favorite move in the sack.
Well, the Single Arm Method was effective, but nothing special. On the plus side, Johnnie and Tonya outlasted their competitor. But then again, that’s not saying much. Their competitor was Katie, who’s about three burritos too many to be the ideal weight for this challenge. Needless to say, she plopped into the water faster than you could say “Johanna.”
Next, Tina was ready to take over, and she happily boasted about her upper body strength, saying, “I think we definitely have an advantage over the other girls.” Yes, except you’re MASSIVE. Shane, on the other hand, said he had the advantage because his partner had “man-hands.” Yes, just the sort of compliment all girls love to hear. Well, the two teams went up in the contraption, and no surprise here. Tina dropped first. So much for all that upper body strength. Shane and Linette, on the other hand did quite well. They might have even been in contention for first place.
Later, it was time for Derrick and Diem to attempt the challenge. Derrick of course began babbling about how he was doing this all for Diem — you know, on account of her cancer and whatnot. Great. Another thing for him to be humorless about. These two will suck because we’ll never be able to make fun of them to the full extent of their potential. Anyway, Diem slipped out of Derrick’s hands pretty quickly (way to give it your all, jerk! SHE HAS CANCER FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!!!), but their opponents, Theo and Chanda were kicking ass. Hey, I wouldn’t let go either if I were being held by the dreamboat of Last Comic Standing! Swoooon!
Finally, it was time for the powerhouse couple to take their shot. Yes, Coral and Evan were ready to dominate another competition, but I wasn’t sure if they’d be able to beat Theo and Chanda. “They’re gonna be asking me to get off this damn harness before I let go,” Evan promised. Clearly, he forgot about all that extra weight Coral carries around in her ta-tas. Anyway, the two put in a decent performance, but I didn’t think it could beat out some of the better performers. Not that it mattered. All the Austin peeps had put in such miserable showings, I knew that Coral and Evan wouldn’t be in harm’s way anyway.
Well, our old friend T.J. Lavin then summoned the group and read the results. In third place with a time of 43 seconds were Shane and Linette. Second place at 49.30 seconds went to Theo and Chanda (so much for being the last comic hanging. Rimshot!). And just eking by in first, with a time of 49.72 seconds were none other than Coral and Evan. Wow. The reign of supremacy continues. Of course, they’re just painting a bigger and bigger target on themselves — at least until Coral’s carted away in an ambulance. Perhaps another spider bite? Oh, how those arachnids hate a cocky team!
Afterwards, the Austin kids all predicted a gloomy fate. “I’ll tell you right now: it’s you. And I feel crappy because I don’t even know what to do about it,” Wes told Melinda. Aw, now that’s friendship. Of course, we knew instantly that Wes’s bravura only meant that he’d wind up in Exile Island. Uh, I mean Exile.
Nevertheless, Wes wasn’t totally wrong. Coral and Evan chose Melinda and Ryan to go to Exile, which was sort of lame, if you asked me. I would have much rather them pit Wes against Johanna. Not only would that be torturous for them, but then Melinda would be stuck in Australia another day, agonizingly far from Danny, her knight in shining armor (and short-brimmed cap).
Anyway, the scuttlebutt around camp was that everyone was going to vote Johanna and Jesse into Exile also, and that did not make Wes feel very good. BUT, good ol’ Casey said she’d rather go into Exile instead of Johanna. Why? I don’t know. Wes thought it was because she was confident they’d come out with a victory and the happy couple would be reunited. I personally assumed Casey just wanted to go home. Nevertheless, Wes concluded to us, “Whatever it is, she trusts me, and that’s the underlying most important fact. Thank you, Casey.” Seriously, could Wes be any more worthless?
Finally it was time for deliberations, and I was really hoping we’d see more boneheaded moves like last week when Johanna voted for Shane and Linette randomly. Unfortunately, this week’s voting wasn’t filled with the catty idiocy we know and love. Everyone started voting Johanna and Jesse into Exile, but Wes stood up and volunteered to go in for his girlfriend. Oh, such a wonderful display of chivalry. Now get eliminated and never return!
Well, everyone happily applauded Wes’s bold move — Yay phony displays of support and encouragement! — and Casey then explained to us why she so happily committed herself to possible elimination. You see, she thought that if Johanna went home, Wes’s game might slip. She also noted that she’s a huge IDIOT.
Anyway, no deliberations meeting would ever be complete without some tears, and here to provide some for us was Johanna who weeped, “You guys understand that if something happens, and he goes home, I have to stay here and live with the fact that he went home for me?” Yeah? What’s your point? You’re going home next anyway. It’s not like he’ll be DEAD if he loses. But then again, if those kangaroo rumors prove to be true…
Well, all this lovey-dovey stuff annoyed Tina, who said Wes was trying to be “King Knightly.” Uh, I believe it’s “Prince Valiant” or “Knight In Shining Armor” or “STOP BEING SO DUMB AND ANNOYING.” Then again, maybe she was just trying to say “Keira Knightly,” which would be quite interesting.
Sure enough, everyone voted Wes into Exile. If he winds up the second person to be sent home this season, I will officially love Fresh Meat. We then sat through some general smack talk from Melinda and Wes about Exile, and a few yawns later, we found ourselves at the lovely Hotel Brunswick where Diem and Derrick were standing awfully close to each other. Oh yeah. Remember that story? She has cancer. I’m really glad her story arc consisted of, um, her announcing that she has cancer and then her saying she’s gonna keep a positive outlook. Fascinating.
Oooh, ooh! Never mind that snarky comment. Turns out that Derrick was now officially attracted to Diem. So there was a story arc after all!
“The challenge is one thing,” Derrick told us, “But to be given the opportunity to make a difference in someone’s life in this type of situation means so much more to me than just like that stuff we call money.” Oooh! Nice use of dramatics. That stuff we call money! Way to put everything in perspective.
What did you think about this episode? Should Wes have volunteered himself?