Early Sunday evening, after I enjoyed a few pops with EdHill at my favorite local watering hole watching my Uconn Huskies advance to the Sweet 16, I ate some dinner and dozed off in my comfy living room chair. A few hours later I was awoken by the plaintive wails of my 2-month old son, baby-dub.
“Daaa-liii,” he mused, “Daaa-liiiii!” Whatever, I thought; he’s just testing out a new sound. Awakened, I rubbed my eyes and looked at the clock to see what time it was – Whoa! In my beery sleep-deprived state, the clock appeared to be melting off the wall! Totally freaked, I looked around and noticed the windows had gotten very small. “Daaa-liii,” baby-dub continued. Oh… Wait… That’s right, it was time for another season of VH1′s Surreal Life and my genius son was simply reminding me not to miss the premiere. And boy, am I glad he remembered – because my weekend wouldn’t have been complete without seeing a prosthetic boob, a bunch of washed up coke-heads, and a skidmark for the ages.
Yes folks, it’s back. Making lemonade out of a lemon, after the jump.Towards the end of the last “Surreal Life” I told myself I would never watch – let alone recap – this show again. I grew to hate Omarosa and Janice Dickenson so much that it was affecting my personal life. But then I remembered the halcyon days of Corey Feldman in the first season. Flashes of Mini-Me peeing in the corner and Chyna high on some drug cocktail sparked in my brain. Memories of Vanilla Ice carrying Gary Coleman around a diner and visions of Webster’s and MC Hammer’s goofy piousness made me realize what this show couldbe. And so… I’m in. For now.
The latest incarnation, however, has a rather glaring problem: Who the frick gives a crap about these people? Radio host Wendy Williams did a voice-over welcome and introduced us to this season’s greeter – Jimmy Pardo. Jimmy Pardo? Yeah, me neither. But the joke is on us – Mr. Pardo was on an episode of “Becker” in 2000 and that, my friends, is the pinnacle of comedy. Anyway, Pardo was following in the footsteps of Andy Dick and Kathy Griffin so I guess he’ll be updating his imdb profile soon enough.
The first arrival was Sherman Helmsley who made his mark as George Jefferson in the 70′s. “The Jeffersons” was a damn funny show, and George’s constant insulting of Bentley, Tom, and Flo was classic television. So I’m down with Sherm – especially since he apparently embraces his claim to fame and gave us viewers a “Weezy” shout-out. I found it weird that the show’s producers captioned his speech, as I totally understood him at the outset.
The next to arrive was the washed up 80′s Whitesnake video vixen, Tawny Kitaen. She declared that she hadn’t had a drink in her life but quickly reminded us that she did enjoy cocaine and other hard drugs for years. Looking at her now compared to her drug-fueled days of yore, I can’t think of a better endorsement for the nose candy. I can now also understand how she gave ex-husband Chuck Finley a good fight and why Maaco would love for her to roll over every car hood in town. Oi vey. She did greet Helmsley as “George,” which gave me an unexpected chuckle.
Continuing the theme of 80′s hair band has-beens, Poison guitarist CC Deville descended upon the mansion with his orange man-tan and Susan Powter hairdo. He, too, immediately admitted to past hard drug use and claimed to now be clean. (Aside: Did anyone else see CC on “Rock n Roll Jeopardy” a few years ago? I’ve never seen anyone so high on TV in all my life – a classic moment.) He met the other two guests and referencing his druggie past exclaimed, “Wow, we’re in unchartered territory now!” Um… No, CC, you’re not. In fact, YOUR DRUGGIE HISTORY IS WHY YOU’RE ON THIS STUPID SHOW!
Then Sherman Helmsley muttered some unintelligible gibberish. He’s kind of like the Don Vito guy on “Viva la Bam.”
Some guy named Steve Harwell drove up and declared, “I love to drink and snort cocaine and get hookers.” Apparently being the lead singer of two-hit wonder Smashmouth doesn’t get you laid for free. Either that or Steve Harwell is just a giant tool. Or both. He met CC and exchanged rehab stories and grumbled about the fact that hey now, he really might not be an All Star after all. So sad.
Up next was some girl named Andrea Lowell. Yes, the Andrea Lowell. Apparently she’s appeared in Playboy a few times and has been on Playboy TV – the worst channel ever. Does softcore porn appeal to anyone other than Camille Paglia and pre-teen boys who have yet to see real porn? (No.) So Andrea, what’s your story? “I love to drink and get drunk and if you don’t drink, go read your bible.” Hmmm, this could be interesting after all. Just as I was beginning to warm up to the harlot, a blurb at the bottom of the screen said, “Nicknamed ‘Dirty Harry’ for not always shaving her legs.” Nice.
Andrea greeted Tawny and they bounded off to the girl’s bedroom. “How do I know the dark guy… The tan guy,” asked Andrea.
“He was on the Jeffersons,” replied Tawny, in the best unintentional comedy moment of the night. (Andrea was asking about CC, referring to his ridiculous man-tan.)
The next arrival was Alexis Arquette, who said, “You may know me because of my famous family.” Funny enough, “Alexis,” no, I don’t. Apparently the strangely cute Patricia and the strangely strange David have a brother who is transgendered and is “famous” for being that way. Or something. He doesn’t hide his man voice at all and talks about his transgendered status as though it’s an issue on par with terrorism and global warming. He wears rubber boobs and claims they are “part of” him. He’s hyper sexualized which only makes him more annoying. He knows CC somehow and agrees with Andrea when she says that, “Nipples are God’s gift to the world.” At that point, I’ll admit, my thumb grazed the channel changer button on my remote.
Tawny fetched the “Surreal Times” and read the exciting headline: A “Mystery Advisor” was on the way! She opened up the paper and proceeded to read it all to herself, leaving the others sitting there staring at her. Ok, that was pretty funny too so I put my thumb away. The “Advisor” was Carol Brady, who arrived with a big basket of flowers and lots of good cheer. Damn, is it wrong to say that archetypal mother-figure from the 70′s Carol Brady looks a lot hotter than archetypal slut from the 80′s, Tawny Kitaen? Cause it’s true. Carol would be at the house daily, just not sleeping there. That’s what passes as a “twist” on this show, I think.
The ol’ “sense of humor” bs
Carol got the gang cooking dinner (even telling Alexis to pour some oil in the pasta water – but it wasn’t Wesson oil! Scandal! Yes, I realize that that’s like the 18th joke I’ve written today that you won’t get if you’re under 25.) Carol told Andrea that she had underwear older than her and began what I can only assume will be a season-long attempt to push Andrea away from the “naked party girl” lifestyle. Even Tawny was judging Andrea, privately, to Carol; “I turned down Playboy five times,” implying that she was, “Better than that.”
Yup, being famous for slithering on a car in an 80′s video, marrying and divorcing David Coverdale, succumbing to years of drug abuse, getting arrested for beating up your second husband, and having boobs more famous than your face is “Better” than posing in Playboy. Gotcha. At that point, Alexis retired to the patio to have a smoke with young Andrea. In a truly surreal moment, he/she sort of hit on the poor girl with such sure-fire lines as, “I’m going to be removing my genitalia so this is your last chance to get with it.” So Alexis, famous for being a sibling of actors, is a dude who doesn’t really hide the fact that he’s a dude, but dresses like a woman, is having a sex change operation at some point, but hits on cute girls, yet vies for the attention of the guys in the house? Thumb is twitching again…
Show of hands… Who remembers that George Jefferson is on this show? While George became a sort of mumbly wallpaper, CC ran on a treadmill and Steve mopped the floor. Exciting, exciting stuff. Just when I began dozing off, another issue of the “Surreal Times” was delivered and the headline screamed that another houseguest was about to arrive and that he would indeed be, a “beefcake.” But in a twist, there were 5 slices of beef from which to choose. And not just any beef, but Reality has-been beef! Unimpressed, Steve took a page out of my dad’s insult book and called them all, “Knuckleheads.”
So just who were these struggling failed actors – err, I mean, “Former reality show stars?” Why it’s Real World Paris’ Ace! And Survivor Palau’s Johnny! And who-knows-what-show’s Maven! And American Idol’s Paula banging Corey Clark! (He’d be the carpaccio on the menu.) But, lo, there was one other reality stud from which to choose – and my choice no matter what the occasion! Yes, it’s “Big Brother 5′s” Scott Savage! When a guy’s catchphrase is “Remember the Savage,” and you forget all about him, what does that say? Well, I for one did not forget the Savage and just as B-Side posted a fascinating expose of Savage’s tub-buddy Jase recently, I give you a fascinating Savage update. Savage, Drew and Cowboy hanging out in Dipshit, Oklahoma. Awesome.
The deal was that the 6 housemates were to choose the 7th cast member. They immediately voted off Johnny, which is good because I have no idea who he is. Then the remaining four had a pose down – Savage’s forte! He was surely in! Savage removed his shirt and damn, he looks good. Then he slowly turned around and teased the girls with a slow removal of his jeans. Ahhh, who but Savage could pull off yellow bikini briefs and STILL look good! No one, that’s who. Like a seasoned Chippendale, Savage slid his jeans down his muscled legs and… Oh! My! God! WHAT IS THAT?!
Oh, Savage, you beast, what have you wrought! I was immediately transported to New Jersey in 1937 with “Oh, the humanity” screaming in my brain. I covered baby-dub’s impressionable young eyes and hit pause to gather myself. Alas, poor Savage must have wiped his ass with some oak leaves (as all good savages do) as he had quite the skidmark. It wasn’t your typical run-of-the-mill bicycle skidmark, no, this was a “SUNDAY SUNDAY SUNDAY” monster truck skidmark. At least I knew in the bottom of my heart that if there was anyone who could overcome such a tragedy, it was my main man SAVAGE.
Don’t worry, Jase will clean that up for you.
Ace did a played out, “I’m a white boy who can’t dance so I’ll dance like a retard” white boy dance, Maven got all up on Carol Brady, and Corey sang some crappy song. At this point, it became clear that Smashmouth Steve pretty much hates the world, as he had something negative to say about all the contestants. It was also at this point that I realized I sort of like Smashmouth Steve. Hey now, you’re an All Star, get your game on, go play. (I just figure if I have that shit song in my head all day, so should you.) And all that glitters is go-o-o-old, Only shootin’ stars break the mold!
Corey was thankfully sent packing but then the unthinkable happened. Savage was given the boot! WhatEVER, man, he had to get back to his never-ending auditions, read-throughs, and high-powered meetings at Ivy. Savage, I’ll NEVER forget you! Say hi to Cowboy for me, will ya? Down to Ace and Maven (“Maven?” Really?), Andrea asked if they like to drink and party and Ace said that Guns and Roses – oops, sorry Axl, I mean G’n F’n R – was his favorite 80′s band, and Steve reiterated his hatred of everyone. For some reason, CC and Steve really wanted the Maven guy over Ace. (George Jefferson had no opinion… On anything. Ever.) Personally, I couldn’t help but thinking the “Masters of the Universe” had two more bad guys to fight off from Skeletor’s gang of evildoers. Maven and Ace? What has reality TV wrought?
Sigh. He didn’t even pee on the floor.
In the end, the ladies chose Maven, who seems like a nice enough guy. He’s from some ultimate fighting reality show; it probably aired on SpikeTV or something and I’m sorry, I’m just not man enough to watch that channel. Poker just makes my wiener shrivel. The final scene was Andrea and Maven drinking, then talking, then lounging in the pool. Carol Brady, most likely prodded by the producers, tried to make it as though something nefarious was afoot. She tried to pretend Andrea and Maven were hooking up for some reason. Then Maven stripped and Alexis pretended that Maven liked confused transgendered men who dress like women and the show came to an end.
I fear that this season of “Surreal Life” will be much like that – made up conflict and producer prodded phony wackiness. The preview of the upcoming season offered no hope other than some scenes of Tawny losing it. Hey, at least it’s better than that damn Applebee’s commercial we were forced to watch five thousand times during the March Madness this past weekend. “A three hour tewerrrrrrr…”