This week: 24, American Idol, True Beauty, Battlestar Galactica & The Bad Girls Club
Much of this episode played out the way it was expected to play out--the A-Team arrived in time to save the FBI agent, only to let her know that she'd be helping them or tied to another chair, Tony and Jack overpowered their undercover brothers and initiated another one of those terrible, terrible moments in the show where they force/trick/convince non-trained individuals into behaving like bad ass secret agents (can I introduce you to every other person who ever decided to trust Jack, nice Sangalese couple? Oh that's right, all of them are dead, dead, dead) and, in the one moment that was more Great Actor beats Bad Actor telegraphing, Colm Feore, the First Man, or First Husband, or whatever you call the guy who is married to the President, didn't die. That last part...now that was a bit of a blessing, mostly because it was more of Colm Feore showing off why his classical theater training can pretty much redeem anything, including all the scenes he's had to play with this terrible actor who handles the Bad Guy Secret Service agent character. 24 always has these guys, these actors they bring in who are supposed to shock us when they turn out to be totally evil. It's only worked a few times, and it's usually becuase the writers haven't told the actors yet that thy will be evil--like Nina in Season 1, or the blond girl from The Faculty in Season 2--because most of the time, the actors choose, as this blond kid had, to try and telegraph their intentions to the viewer throughout. They always, always fail. They never twirl a moustache, but that's just because they aren't old enough to grow one. (The reversal of that can work well though, as this episode was also the one where it was made clear that Ethan Kanin--otherwise known as the guy who was really mean to Tim Robbins in Shawshank Redemption--isn't actually part of the current seasons evil cabal. Kanin's got so much menace in him that, like J.T. Walsh, you just assume he's a bad guy until reason proves you different. On that note, one of the best performances in the otherwise abysmal last season of 24 was Alexander Siddiq, who spent his primary appearances having to convince everyone, including a suspicious viewer, that he wasn't actually a bad guy.) But no, most of these guys can't hack it, and it was a pleasure to watch one of the most gruesome and extraneous scenes so far this season end up becoming a riveting few minutes of television as Colm Feore tried--oh so hard--to bring enough strength to his paralyzed hands so he could kill the man who had killed his son. While he's probably going to have to burn a couple of episodes off while convincing everyone that he didn't stab his dead son's fiance, he's this season's only hope for an interesting non-Jack storyline.
That, of course, requires a mention of Cherry Jones, an otherwise talented actor who unfortunately can't blame her terrible scenes solely on the overall lameness of the script for said scenes: see, Dennis Haysbert had to play these "let me appeal to your better, American nature in the face of logic" monologues before. Hell, that was pretty much the entirety of season 2. Cherry, for whatever reason--contempt of material, a desire to just hang out with Ethan Kanin--can't. Her President Taylor is not only hard to believe, her behavior is just...stupid. Little of what she says or does makes sense, and it's become increasingly difficult to believe that this person is someone that any American public--even one that would have voted for Dennis Haysbert's freakshow brother--would have put in charge of the country. We'll see if it gets any better when Jon Voight shows up.
Salt Lake City is where David Archuleta comes from, as well as a hero's portion of America's Mormons. One of those two things is the focus of many of tonight's commercial breaks, the other is only there if you know what to look for: terrible "contemporary praise" songs, white people who sing them, and Samoans in every group shoot. (Brigham Young is really big into recruiting Samoans for their football team.) My interest in the Mormon faith doesn't reach the point where I have an actual opinion to express, other than that I always thought the one on the Real World was a total creep from Day 1, but I do have an extensive loathing for David Archuleta, because I don't think robots should be permitted the same rights as their human overlords. (If that gets me killed when Skynet takes over, that's for the best--I don't want to live in a world where I could lose my job to synthetic humanoids, or "replicants", like David Archuleta.) In the hopes of being quicker, let's do this round up list style?
-What kind of person waits in line at 5:00AM for anything? (Including iPhones and American Idol?) Everything that I want bad enough that I'd be willing to wait in a line at 5:00AM for isn't available in a line, because the only things I want that badly are the time to snuggle in a warm bed with a hottie, the chance to take a nap with a dog's belly for a pillow, and Internet pornography. Apparently the answer to that question is "stupid people who audition for American Idol in Salt Lake City."
-Randy's t-shirt has a sequined Superman logo on it, which I think is even more gaudy than some of the really silly Superman shit that Shaquille O'Neill wears. By the way, Shaq twitters now, and it's pretty great.
-Unlike the previous auditions, Paula Abdula and Kara The Sewer Drain decide to hide their cleavage, apparently thinking that this will make them somehow more respectable. Ladies, don't waste your time: we don't respect you because we don't respect ditzy drug addicts and caustic attention-grabbing failures, not because of your exposed bosoms. Hide your breasts for different reasons. (Like the fact that it makes our souls retch.)
-After a brief montage of the Osmonds, a history lesson that begins roughly around the time this freakish family evolved out of the primordial ooze to inflect barbershop quartets and various other forms of shitbaggery on us all and ends right at this moment, right now (via tape delay) as the Son of Oz steps forth, shows us his soul (in the form of a hideous song even the craptastic judges have to admit "wasn't a good choice") and, under the unstoppable weeping eyes of his father, gets a golden ticket, which is only surprising if you're someone who doesn't understand how franchising works. See, if you're a somewhat popular piece of nostalgia--like Alan Osmond--and you have a wife who is willing to treat her vagina as a continuous child delivery system, than of course you're going to end up with a kid who can find some more popular success in America. We're remaking the Karate Kid and John Carpenter's The Thing (already a remake!) for christsakes. If it's vaguely familiar, we'll never stop going back to the well.
-Okay, let's be clear about something here Tara Mathews. You can dress however you want, regardless of body shape, facial features, anything, absolutely fucking anything. But don't start up with the whole "Don't judge me by my appearance." If you wear an ill-fitting halloween costume on American Idol, than fuck you, you're getting judged. Why is it that the only people who ever say "don't judge me by my appearance" are always dressed in ways designed wholly to get attention? But you really shouldn't judge Tara by her gothy outfit that she claims "isn't goth." Because hey, she's actually pretty fucked up on a whole other level, a level where she claims to have ESP and know when "certain people on television" are going to die. Christ, this is last week, all over again. It writes itself. Simon's only really solid comment of the evening: "You sounded like a scary baby." She walked away cursing, middle finger held high.
-If you've watched any episode this season, you knew the fat guy in the bunny suit was coming, and you knew he was going to bear hug Simon Cowell. So here it is, again, and the only thing they didn't show you in the previews was that the guy who he's with is wearing a t-shirt with Simon on the front. Interestingly enough for a fat guy wearing a bunny suit, "Greg the Rabbit" is actually pretty quiet, realizing what so few wanna-be-comedians understand: really fat guys wearing plushie costumes don't need jokes. They just need to be fat and in a costume.
-Frankie Jordan, the girl who Ryan Seacrest points out sounds like a Amy Winehouse clone, only less interesting because she doesn't come with all the crazy ass Winehouse baggage of crack addiction, claims that having a baby "made me feel like I can do anything." That's kind of depressing if it's true, because what it actually says is that "I can do anything" translated in her mind to "I can audition for the new version of Star Search."
Megan Corkrey claims to be facing another challenge besides the audition: she is in the middle of divorce proceedings. Considering that they had some girl last year who was raising a terminally ill child in an impoverished ghetto and she still couldn't convince America to vote for, "I'm getting a divorce" seems unlikely to pull on the heartstrings. I don't know who wrote this song they're playing to accent her description of her current emotional state, but that's because I fell off my chair when Megan admitted that the only thing that stops her when she's crying is when her little kid "does something awesome." That's a really healthy obligation to place on your fucking child. I think it's a Collective Soul song though, which is: oh my god, that's hilarious. She makes it to Hollywood on the strength of the cheesiest impersonation of Joanna Newsom I've ever heard, which is insane, because America will never, ever, get behind the real Joanna Newsom, much less this bargain basement copcycat.
-Now it's time for Austin Sisneros, who is the 17 year old Senior Class President of boring white kids who wear cardigan High School. His first song is by the band Train, which none of the judges seem to recognize, which is funny because I'm pretty sure that somebody sang a Train song a few times in the last few seasons. I remember that because I remember thinking "Now I know what kind of fucking losers listen to Train." Randy calls it a "very weird strange song choice", not realizing he could have just said "weird" or "strange" and didn't really need both words. Simon interrupts Randy's criticism to say that it was an "awful song". This leads to the greatest, and by greatest I mean most awful, moment of the evening, where Austin introduces his next ballad as an "old soul song" by Raffi. (Like...Raffi?!) Austin was never born. He waltzed out of his mother's vagina, picked up a cardigan and a t-shirt with angel wings on it, grabbed a knitting needle and shoved it into his ear canal to scramble his own brain, and then he laid down on the floor and waited for them to build an American Idol audition room up around him. That's how this one happened.
-AN EMOTIONAL STORY IS COMING. They've been hawking this girl the whole show.
-Finally, we find out who Rose Flack is. She's a girl who lives in Idaho her best friend's family, because both her parents are dead. She starts crying when she talks about it, which is understandable. She apologizes, also understandable, because it's her first time selling her dead parents on television cameras. I'm sure she'll be fine when she gets to the point where she ends every audition by mentioning them. (And if that sounds harsh, it's only because I've seen enough of this show to know that something terrible happens to these people if it isn't there already, and by the time we hit the top 12, they're all willing to market whatever bad things have happened in their life in the same breath they say something about God and Ford trucks.) After getting through all the portions involving producers manipulating this girl into talking about shit, and crying about shit, that she probably wouldn't in regular life, she offhandedly mentions that "THIS IS THE DETERMINATION OF THE REST OF MY LIFE."
I'm sorry? Should that be something you just throw out like it's nothing? Like, "I'm going to make a sandwich, and THAT WILL BE THE DETERMINATION OF THE REST OF MY LIFE and did you buy any coffee beans for tomorrow morning?" Of course, when faced with this moment, this moment where all crossroads meet to form the Metro Station of Rose Flack's future, she chooses to sing Carol King, which is sort of like showing up to work on your first day with a pin on your shirt that says "I plan to steal a lot of copy paper for my Doom Patrol 'zine."
She gets through--if you're listening to the judges, it's because they think she's "cool" and "pretty"--but that was pretty much decided earlier in the episode, when they sent cameras to Idaho and filmed her walking her dog.
It ends the way it started, Ryan and Simon flirting. At this point, I'd prefer to watch them just do each other for a full hour, but that doesn't say much. I'd probably watch any two guys do each other for an hour instead of American Idol, even if one of them was my dad, and the other one was me.
True Beauty – “Timeless Beauty”
It’s fitting that Tyra Banks and Ashton Kutcher share responsibility for the production of True Beauty, since the show is basically a mishmash of America’s Next Top Model and Punk’d, with a lot of preaching thrown in to spice things up. The contestants think they’re competing in a series of ANTM-style photo shoots and other beauty contests, but the judges are actually watching them on hidden cameras to see what kind of people they are underneath their ridiculously good looks. Last week’s competition revolved around a sports photo shoot in which the head of wardrobe—played by an actress—kept getting interrupted by calls from her boyfriend which drew her outside to argue and cry on the phone. The judges watched to see if any of the contestants would be empathetic toward the girl, who was obviously having a bad day. In order to “pass,” all they had to do was show an iota of compassion. Or, you know, fake an iota of compassion—as one of the only two passing contestants merely asked the dresser, “Are you alright?” and gave her a condescending “Aw” in a high-pitched, nasal voice. They showed tons of footage of the failing contestants complaining about the dresser being on the phone and not doing her job—and they were totally right. In Tyra and Ashton’s America, people are too busy pretending to care about one another to get anything done.
Like Tyra and Ashton themselves, True Beauty is kinda a trainwreck and yet kinda amazing—if only because the creators think they know exactly what makes a good person. At the end of last week’s episode, one dude (CJ) got to stay in the competition because he picked a bottle up off of the sidewalk and the girl who got kicked off didn’t. Since picking up other people’s garbage is the ultimate measure of one’s worth as a human being, it’s astounding that they didn’t just save that challenge until the final episode. What could they possibly follow that with? Ah yes. This week’s theme is Being Kind to the Elderly.
After everyone welcomes CJ back to the house through clenched teeth, the episode quickly jumps to depicting Billy’s morning bathroom ritual. “I would probably say I’m high maintenance,” he says, “I probably check myself out probably three times a day, when I’m putting on my eye cream, some anti-aging cream. We’ve got the clay mask. We’ve got the hair product, of course. We’ve got the hair spray. But it’s not as much as you’d think it is. After all these years, I’ve weeded out the product that I don’t like.” Jesus, what a shallow fucking guy. It would be a shame if some one rewarded that shallowness by, I don’t know, putting him on television. You know, if Billy wants to put that much effort into looking good, let him do it. It’s not such a bad thing to show that a lot of pretty people put a lot of time and effort into being pretty people. We’re supposed to laugh at Billy (who, in all actuality, seems to have a pretty healthy sense of humor about his beauty ritual) because we would never use anti-aging cream ourselves—the underlying message being that we are so much better because of it. Thus, the episode kicks off with a great example of how True Beauty tries to define some sort of moral high-ground, but actually ends up indicting its audience as arrogant shitheads.
In the next scene, everyone’s pissed because CJ won’t come and hang out with them in the hot tub. He’d rather meditate and write in his journal, which causes Billy to yell, “CJ, come hang out with your family, boy,” to which CJ responds, “‘Family’ and ‘boy’ ain’t gonna work for me.” Then, in order to “relieve the tension,” another dude (Ray) takes off his swim trunks, which causes a fourth dude (Joel) to comment, “He doesn’t care if it’s shrinkage out or not, man, he’s bringin’ it every day. So, you know what? You gotta give a guy like that props” while all of the girls run screaming from the Jacuzzi. Then the pizza guy shows up, and he just happens to have an extra sausage pie.
When the contestants show up for the challenge photo shoot, they are shown pictures of themselves altered to project what each of them will look like in thirty years or so, prompting them to comment, “God forbid,” and, “It’s a fact: You get ugly as you get older.” Of course, the photos don’t look like the contestants in old age as much as they look like the contestants after five or six post-collision reconstructive surgeries. Laura comments on CJ’s photo, “He looks like a bum I once saw on the street in Manhattan,” because CJ is a black dude—proving that one thing that will never get old is reality TV contestants unknowingly making vaguely racist statements. The contestants then get introduced to their partners for the challenge—a group of senior citizens, including Robert, who introduces himself by saying, “I’m 68, and my last girlfriend was 28.” Yup, if there’s one instinct that never wanes, it’s the urge to prove your swordsmanship on national television.
The first test is whether or not the contestants offer their seats to their elderly partners. Honestly, I’m not sure if 68 qualifies as elderly—especially when there’s a 101 year-old woman on the playing field. Of course you’re going to treat someone who is roughly the same age as your dad completely different than someone who is roughly the same age as your grandmother. But in the world of Ashton and Tyra (Tyshton? Ashra? Tyrash? Definitely Tyrash.), there’s an absolute morality. After hair and make-up, the judges secretly observe the contestants to see how they would treat their elders while collaborating on their photo shoots. Obviously, what the producers want is to capture an insensitive contestant being outright mean to one of their partners. What they get is Billy ignoring Robert and a 70-something year-old woman who wants to be spanked. Joel is right when he says, “That’s not my definition, or anyone else's, of timeless beauty,” but he’ll probably go home for it.
Back at the house, the contestants play a game where they draw each others’ names out of a hat and do impersonations of one another. The impersonations were so great that I will now attempt to impersonate Tucker Stone in the style of a True Beauty contestant. Ahem. [Puts on T-shirt, chews cigarette] “Look at me, I’m Tucker Stone. Baby raping. Hahahaha. I’m from Georgia. Baby raping. Baby raping.” [Removes cigarette] Thank you. Tucker will now impersonate me in the style of a True Beauty contestant. [Tucker enters, rubs balloon on head to make his hair stand straight up.] “Ahoy-hoy. I’m Marty Brown. That’s awesome. You’re awesome. Kanye West is awesome. California sure is warm. Baby raping.”
MARTY: Dude, you’re the one who makes jokes about baby raping, not me.
TUCKER: Yes, but baby raping is funny in any context.
Joel, the winner of the impersonation contest, gets to see the photos the photographer has chosen from the photo shoot to represent each contest. When Joel reports back to his fellow contestants on what he saw, CJ flips out because the photographer has chosen a pose that CJ doesn’t approve of. What’s funny about CJ’s little hissy fit is this: Over the last two episodes, CJ has seemed to catch on that the judges are looking at more than just physical beauty for their eliminations. Even though he consistently ends up in the bottom two, CJ manages to save himself from elimination by playing up his efforts to be a good person—because, in the world of Tyrash, a person who is truly beautiful is really only truly manipulative. As a result, the bigger arc of True Beauty looks like its gonna be whether or not CJ can fake his humanity well enough to win the competition. However, even knowing that he’s being judged on his behavior, dude can’t hold it together enough not to get totally cry-cry over a photographer’s choice of photos. “If I get in the bottom two tomorrow,” he tells Laurie, “I am totally walking off.” Sounds like a solid gameplan.
Billy is also worried about being in the bottom two. “This is my last shot,” he tells Laurie, who is either everyone’s best friend or a mole put in the house to make dudes totally paranoid about whether or not they’re going to be in the bottom two. She asks, “Last shot at what?” Billy replies, “At… anything.” Aw, Billy. See, America? Aging cream and muscles and a reality TV show won’t make you happy. Only being nice to old people can make you happy. Unsurprisingly, Billy and CJ end up in the bottom two, and they both blame the photographer’s bad photo selection. The only bit of suspense left is what meaningless test they will use to determine who goes home. Who will walk an old lady across the street? Who will give change to the nice homeless man? Who will refuse to cross the street when the red hand is blinking? Even better! They have a little girl set up on the street corner as the bottom two contestants walk into the studio, and she’s crying because she’s lost her mother. Who will help her FIND HER MOM? Strangely, this scene plays itself out on the exact same corner where, last week, the guy dropped the bottle that CJ picked up to save himself from elimination. Will CJ realize that some sort of morality test happens every time he walks around the corner to the studio?
Apparently not. Billy compassionately helps the little girl find her mother, and CJ is eliminated. Then comes the best part of the show, when the judges reveal that they have been judging based on inner beauty rather than outer beauty, and show the eliminated contestant all the shitty things they’ve done in the past weeks. Host Vanessa Minillo tells CJ, “Before you leave, there’s something you need to know.” Nole Marin and Cheryl Tieggs nod fervently. The room goes dark, and a spotlight comes up on CJ. His eyes widen. He is then shown clips of himself asking a guy on the street for donations for a fake charity, throwing the fit about the photo, and making a pretty funny remark to some doctor or something. Watching the clips, CJ seems pretty satisfied, laughing and smiling at himself. After he leaves the room he says he’s “learned some very powerful lessons.” Cheryl Tieggs, Nole Marin and Vanessa Minillo all tell each other “Great job,” before holding hands and walking off. Two men come along and throw a portrait of CJ into a dumpster. That’s what happens to bad people.
Upon the close of this week’s episode, I expressed a base frustration
that I’m having with the show that turned into quite a debate. I slept
on the floor! At the neighbor's house!
My feelings after this episode could roughly be described as what I call “The Three’s Company Syndrome.” You may call it something else. But in my life, watching Jack, Chrissie and Janet’s constant blunderings and misunderstandings were my first foray into feeling frustrated with television characters and their inability to navigate their lives without constant upheaval that could have easily been avoided if they just communicated with each other. (Which is obviously what I now recognize to be the engine that motivates every single sitcom ever made.)
Look, I hate comparing Battlestar Gallactica to Three’s Company. I mean, it’s like blasphemy. As television shows, they are worlds apart. (hee hee! They really are!) But my argument in the aforementioned debate was regarding our newly self-aware Cylons the, four we previously met from the Final Five. The drama of this entire episode, similar to other episodes, was due for the most part to all these people who are feeling betrayed by these Cylons that have walked among them unknowingly for so long. Fights are being picked, accusations abound, complete upheaval is on the way to occurring, if it hasn't already. But at no time has any one of these “new Cylons” said to their accusers “Hey! I’m as frakked up over this as you are! You think that I knew I was a Cylon? It’s me! You know me! Imagine if one day this happened to you!’
The argument has been made that if one has been watching since the very beginning of BSG-which I haven't--one understands what horrible creatures Cylons can be. You remember what they did to the human race, and more importantly, understand that those remaining humans remember it. If one has had this viewing experience, then one understands why feelings are running so high, and why a person would want to hide the fact that they are a Cylon, to conceal it.
(And of course, it keeps that action and drama alive.) But it’s boring me, the way Three’s Company would bore me after a while.
And I think it’s a tiny bit of bad writing on the part of the BSG staff this episode.
The best writing, in my opinion, doesn't produce scenes that are simply heightened emotion, or full of pithy witticism. It's scenes that make emotional sense. I believe there is can be a logic to the way emotions will operate, even if emotions themselves are not logical. That's why last week’s episode scene between Adama and Tigh was so good--the emotions flowed in the logical way a true emotion would. Adama was full of self pity, self-loathing, guilt, sadness, drunk, enraged, confrontational – to which Tigh was shocked, defensive and then, when it flowed there, challenging. The whole sequence had resonance with the viewer, because it was what really happens between friends when they feel hurt and betrayed. It led to a point by meeting all the demands and requirements placed in front of it--it built, it didn't just go.
Ever seen Network? The wife of William Holden in that movie? She has only two scenes in that whole movie and won an Oscar. Five minutes and forty seconds, that's all that makes up her performance. The scene where she learns of her husbands affair, that was the Oscar winning moment. She’s a great actress and it was great emotional writing--but because it made sense. She went from getting the truth from her husband, to feeling sad, to feeling betrayed, to angry, to wanting punishment and justice, to martyrdom, to relinquishing and then kind of back to love. It was a rollercoaster and it made logical emotional sense--not because of extremity and pandering, but because you bought where she took it, not because she just spat out plot points.
That's why I find it hard to believe that none of our other Cylon friends have turned to their best friend, or husband, or wife--or whoever!--and have said, “You gotta listen to me. You gotta hear what happened. I’m freaking out. I don’t know what to do. Please! I need you!” That’s what I’m craving. It’ll make good drama. It’ll make good drama because their human friends will now have conflict to deal with. But this whole sit-com like misunderstanding and escalation of things is not doing it for me. And you know what, it’s a little disappointing because this show IS capable of great things. We just had a great first episode. And a not-so-great second one. Let’s see what happens next.
The Bad Girls Club - "Who Is This Bitch"
Last Week on Bad Girls Club: My life fades, my
vision dims. All that remains are memories. I remember a time of
chaos, ruined dreams, this wasted land. Most of all, I remember
the woman we called The Bad Girls Club. To understand who they were we have to go back to the other time. When the world was powered
by the black fuel, and the desert sprung great cities of pipe and
steel. Gone now, swept away. For reasons long forgotten two mighty
warrior tribes went to war and touched off a blaze which engulfed
them all. Without fuel they were nothing. They'd built a house of
straw. Suddenly their machines sputtered and stopped. Their leaders
talked and talked and talked, but nothing could stem the avalanche.
Their world crumbled. Cities exploded. A whirlwind of looting and
a firestorm of fear. Men began to feed on men. On the roads it was
a white-line nightmare. Only those mobile enough to scavenge, brutal
enough to pillage would survive. The gangs took over the highways,
waging war for a tank of juice. Good brave men were battered and
smashed. Women like the Bad Girls, who ruled the highways in the name of the
law. Who became the lovers, wives, mothers. And with the roar of an
engine, they lost everything, their men, their children, their world. They
wandered out into the wasteland, and here they would learn, amid the
dark wreckage, that the fire which burns in the heart of man, will
"Who is this bitch" is not only the title of the episode, but also the first words heard as the episode begins. Spoken by Tiffany, who, along with Ailea, Boston and Sarah--a group that will eventually be named "The Fab Four" in this very episode--are incensed at the placement of a new picture on the wall of the Bad Girls Club living room. They tear it down--it is attached to the wall by two strips of velcro--and proceed to tear it into pieces. (Technically, the picture seems to be a vinyl sticker attached to cheap white posterboard, so they actually bend it back and forth multiple times until they are able to break it into pieces.)
In the confessional booth, Boston makes this statement: "If she at all tries to pull anything? Over our eyes? She's dead."
Amber M, who is still a little bit drunk (and still recovering from the in-car assault she received, which is already causing notable bruising on her arms) glances at the picture and says that the new girl's picture makes her look like a cross between Sarah and Ailea. (The pictures are an Andy Warhol-esque colorization thing, so the truth is that all of the pictures look similar to the other pictures.) Sarah and Ailea find this abnormally upsetting, and the ensuing argument between the girls reverts back to Boston yelling at Amber M for her behavior in the car. Amber M tries to point out that all she had done was throw gummi bears--this isn't true, per se, she did at one point shove a gummi bear into Boston's face--but Boston ignores her, yelling various insults that end with "You can't take the trailer park out of the girl." (Amber M ignores an obvious comeback, which is that if anyone in the Bad Girls Club house belongs in a stereotypical white trash trailer park, the hands-down winner would be Boston.)
Amber M, finally seeming to grasp that she should go to bed, does so. The Fab Four stick around and talk more shit about the Ambers, and Tiffany warns the other girls that the two Ambers will be nice to the new girl and try to "instigate" and "create division." This deteriorates into more shit talking about the two Ambers as well as the new girl, who has still not arrived. The girls are also drunk.
Reminder: The new girl has not arrived. They know nothing about her. They hate her anyway.
In the morning, Amber M has a really nasty bruise on her arm. While Tiffany, Amber B, and even Sarah seem taken aback by how extensive the injury appears, Boston makes no apologies for her behavior and continues to place the responsibility for the entire night's previous events on Amber M. No mention is made of the "rule" that Kayla had apparently broken in the previous episode, and as Kayla seemed to leave the house of her own accord, the viewer can only assume that there is no such rule, and that the producers are content to allow the girls leeway to beat each other mercilessly.
Greg, the guy who lied about living with his ex-girlfriend has called and is on the phone with Amber B. He has called to give her a chance to "recharge her batteries", as the last time they saw each other she called him a liar--which he admits he is--and it ended with harsh words on both sides. Amber decides that she "will give him another chance." On the phone he makes the claim that "I'm moving my stuff slowly" and eventually says "You're the one girl I don't want to frikking fight with." (Yes, he uses the word "frikking." Amber B admits in the confessional that she found this statement very romantic.)
Ailea has either been eavesdropping or something and brings up Amber B's situation at a later meal. Amber B seems a bit embarrassed, and admits that she probably can't trust him, but wants to try.
Boston's response to this line of reasoning in the confessional is this: "If Amber wants to go out with 4th graders on steroids, with really bad haircuts, then she should stay with Greg. Especially if she wants to get cheated on." While Boston may certainly be correct, it has also become abundantly clear over the course of this season that she is incapable of picking up a man, and considering the low standards she and all of her roommates have, as well as the amount of time they spend drunk at nightclubs, may lead the viewer to believe her to be somewhat "green with envy," as the Bard might say.
For those who don't keep up, Ailea's met 'em in an internet chatroom boyfriend Kevin--who is by some accounts "in his 50's" but is referred to by Ailea as being forty, and looks 45--has returned after a few episodes away. But no funny business occurs between him and Ailea, as he refuses to spend the night since he needs to go to bed at 10:30 and Ailea "stays up til 5." In the confessional, Ailea explains her relationship like this: "Kevin and I are at the same place we were two weeks ago, which..is kind of boring. And I hope that I can have a good time soon because I have been sexually deprived for the last four weeks and I really need this happy good time to occur if i'm going to make it past the next four weeks." Kevin spends some time laying on top of the covers talking to Ailea, and then he goes home, or to wherever nice 45 year olds with serious emotional problems and poor relationship choices are kept. Another reality show? Probably.
The new roommate calls the next morning to warn the girls that she is five minutes away. While Ailea is sort of being nice to her, Boston grabs the phone away and says "What up bitch." The new girl, who is named Ashley, is willing to play the game, but Boston just slams the phone down and says "She's a fucking bitch." They lock all the doors to the house.
Ashley, who the cameramen are shooting in such a way that you can't see her face, is speaking to the camera: "I don't need to speak to be badass. I just walk in a room and that's it." She continues like this for a while. It's not really intimidating, but it is kind of funny that she's wearing a flannel shirt. (Because she's from Seattle.)
She is walking up to the front door and all of the girls are watching from the upstairs balcony. They immediately tell her she is ugly. Then they make fun of her boots, call her ugly some more, and then somebody--Boston, maybe Amber B says "She's ugly as fuck." Tiffany says "Ugh, no competition." She can hear them, but does not care. The screen lets us know why: it says that she is a 21 year old femme fatale. Tiffany leans over the balcony and screams "Ugly bitch!"
Eventually she gets inside, by going around to the smoking area, which is never locked for long. Amber M asks her how big her boobs are, and Ashley says "Double D". Amber M is the only one who talks to her. She is also, so far, the only one who touches Ashley's boobs, which she does almost immediately. (She approves.) In the confessional, Ashley argues that "Fortunately, I'm used to walking in places and being judged right away."
Boston believes that Ashley is "scared of fuck." Ashley might be scared as fuck, but she "loves Amber M."
The Ambers go out for a drive with Ashley, cementing the household's opinion of them as well as the new girl. The Ambers drive around and make fun of Ailea. They are actually pretty funny. Ashely seems to like the Ambers more, but in the confessional she admits that she enjoys being "fought over" and that this "happens to me a lot."
At the club that evening, Amber M and Ashley dance together, and all the other girls are staring and glaring. They all are very put out and Boston points out that Amber M is "Up Ashley's ass." At some point the girls stop hanging out and glaring, and Sarah meets Noah, who has 27 tattoos, a mohawk, piercings and a "badass attitude." (All this information comes from Sarah.) Ailea starts hanging out with a drunk guy named Fazil, and for the sake of the camera and Tiffany lets us know his pick up line which was "I've never looked at an Asian as much as you." She thought that was great. Fazil is very, very drunk and seems confused and bashful everytime the camera is focused on him. While chatting, Ailea tells Fazil that she has a 40 year old boyfriend. Fazil thinks this is funny, and he admits that he has a girlfriend. He does not tell Ailea his girlfriends age.
Later on that evening, Sarah describes her feelings for her mohawked friend "Noah? I want to fuck him. I've sniffed him out. Snif-Snif-Snif. Like a puppy. And then you pee on the tree. And I want to pee on his tree!" (She shouts the last part.)
The next morning, Ailea claims not to remember drunkenly grinding and making out with Fazil in the morning. This is possible, although it seems more likely that Ailea was just black out drunk. It wasn't shown on screen, although Sarah was shown lifting up her skirt to grind her genitals and bottom on Noah's crotch. Boston decides to change the subject to Amber M, claiming that she is going to snap and pick a fight a with her. Ailea recommends that if she is going to go, she should "go out with a bang."
Throughout the portions of the show where these shit talks occur, Amber M is shown in the confessional expressing bewilderment at why the girls are angry, since all she is doing is trying to have fun with Amber B, and she doesn't understand why the girls are mad that she is constantly going off without them, since none of them like her.
At a group lunch--where the Fab Four refuse to sit near the Ambers and the new girl--some sort of celebrity named "Joey" walks by. [Editor: according to the Oxygen website, Joey is from a season of the Real World.] He is extremely muscular and has a lot of gel in his hair. Ashley walks out of the restaurant and picks him up on the street.
Kevin from the Internet calls to say that he is coming by to see Ailea to give her a "kiss and a hug for five minutes." She is acting strange with him. He suspects nothing, but Ailea is already beginning to feel guilty for her previous actions with Fazil.
The phone rings. Ashley answers it, and it is Joey. The camera is focused on her rear end because her rear end is at the same height as the phone, and she is wearing a thong. The censors blur out the area that is exposed. Which is the entire area. After Joey and Ashley make plans to meet at the club the Girls are planning on going too, Ashley hangs up and walks out of the room. The censors have to blur out her lower half the entire time.
Amber B has Greg come over to the house, and she has decided to stay at the house and hang out with him instead of going out. He brings his bookbag, which probably means he will sleep over, because that's what it meant last time. Amber B gives him a bad back massage. (It is bad according to both Amber B--who is bored--and Greg, who just says "you aren't doing a good job." He does push ups with Amber B on his back, easily. She finds this very sexy, and it sort of is.
Sarah makes fun of Ashley for throwing herself at Joey, which is a bit unfair, considering the previous evening. Ashley is at least standing upright while grinding her crotch on a guy she just met. All is fair though, because Noah and Fazil show up. Eventually, Noah and Joey return to the house with the girls. The girls all like that Ashley is a hard ass partier, and they tell her so, but when Amber M wanders into the kitchen and says "Are you going to give her a chance now"--a statement she explains later was meant to reference the beginning of the episode, when the girls called Ashley an "ugly bitch"--the entire room turns on her, and Ashley leaves the room to hang out with Joey. Tiffany is yelling at Amber M for "all the division up in this house" and at some point one of the girls says that "nobody stands a chance with the fabulous four."
Amber M goes upstairs and tells Amber B about the conversation downstairs, about how the entire house believes they are "segregating themselves." Amber B nonchalantly responds "Okay. Let's do something tomorrow. Just me and you." Amber M starts laughing, and the producers cut to Amber B in the confessional saying "I'm just here to have fun. I have more fun with Amber. I don't care about this bullshit." Amber M and Amber B eventually decide to start their fun tonight; oddly, by picking on Ashley's new friend Joey. They carry a life-size statue of Michaelongo's David (which the censors continuously blur the crotch out of, leading the veiwer to wonder why the producers placed a statue they would have to constantly employ a censor for) upstairs and put Joey's jeans on it before leaning it over the bed on top of the sleeping couple. They take a bunch of pictures, and in the morning Joey seems to have taken it all in good fun. Before he leaves, he tells Ashley that he "Can't believe you're still hot in the morning." After he leaves, Ashley says she isn't going to take the guy seriously, and mentions that she thinks he has a girlfriend. Then she turns to the camera and sneers: "Hi Joey's girlfriend! Too bad!"
The next sequence is between Sarah and Ailea. Sarah is talking to Ailea about the difficulty in navigating two possible relationships, one between the 40 year old Kevin from the Internet, and one with Fazil, who Sarah first calls "Fanoodle." She alleviates Ailea's concerns about whether she's cheating by saying that Ailea is "not cheating, but cheating-ish." When Ailea begins to respond, she refers to Fazil as "Fadoodle." Sarah accepts this term instead, and the conversation continues. It reaches no actual decision, which is a recurring theme in all of Ailea's conversations.
Ailea decides she is going to tell Kevin from the Internet the truth, hopefully before he watches the truth on the Oxygen network, which is the channel this show is on. She calls him and hangs up on him
twice in a row after he says hello. The third time she stays on the phone. Her response to his question "What are you doing" is "Rubbing my eyes." Other than that, she says very little, forcing Kevin to maintain the conversation. He knows something is up. Ailea begins to pretend she is
be sick now. Coughing, and yawning. Crying. She doesn't ask whether she can have the day off, but it's what would make the most sense.
Kevin finally directly asks her if she is kissing somebody else, rubbing up against something else. She plays it off like this is insulting, even though this is exactly what she has been doing, and exactly why she called. After getting off the phone and deciding to tell Kevin nothing, because he is a nice guy, and because she doesn't seem to understand that she won't be allowed to edit the recordings of this show, she goes into the confessional and says "Why me? Why Ailea?" Somehow the producers and camera men are able not to respond.
After the commercial break, the show is playing a song with the lyric "I always know she was a two-bit whore" when showing Ailea laying in bed. The next sequence of the show involves the girls having Casino night at the house. Ailea has invited Kevin to come over, but she feels bad because she did things that she knew "she wasn't supposed to do but I did do." The girls are mostly playing by themselves. It doesn't appear they have any guests except Kevin, but Ailea is crying upstairs. Kevin goes upstairs, and his only shining moment on the show thus far occurs.
Kevin: What's going on?
Boston: We're talking.
Kevin: Well, I'm here to interrupt.
Ailea begins crying again, and Kevin is being very nice but trying to get her to tell him the truth about her weird behavior of late. They cut away from the scene, and in a later confessional she admits she hasn't told him anything, and never will. (Again: this show will be on television. Does she not know this?)
Downstairs, a bored Ashley jumps up on the table and says "Bitches! Tomorrow! 11AM! We're going to Vegas!" Because she is a clown, Boston of course says "Vegas baby, yeah!" She says it the way it sounds in her head, which is Austin Powers channeling Swingers. The episode closes on Sarah's breasts, as she jumps up and down in slow-motion. (Do the math.)
If you believe the previews, which you should, because they haven't lied yet, Amber B is going to get married in the next episode.
-Martin Brown, Nina Stone & Tucker Stone