This week: 24, Dollhouse, American Idol, From G's To Gents, Celebrity Apprentice and yes, because of reader demand, The Bad Girls Club Reunion. Next week, this column will relocate to Tuesday evenings. Thanks for the support, but please stop googling for "Picture Amber Bad Girls Club Sucking Dick".
Oh, Dollhouse, just when I think I'm ready to give you up, you go and keep me interested, at least for another week. This was actually an enjoyable episode for once, with little to complain about, outside of a general air of silliness. Starting off with a kind of creepy cold open that saw a college kid in a lab freak out about some flies in a jar and then repeatedly slam his head into a window until he died, we got a tense little thriller that saw pretty much the whole cast get to act pretty goofy. There's some sort of drug that fucks with people's memories or something, which is probably supposed to tie into the whole theme of the Dollhouse and everything, but mostly it was an excuse for everybody who had been affected to be all high and blissed out. There ends up being an outbreak of the drug on a college campus, and the lab there is sponsored by an evil drug company that is behind Dollhouse, so the whole team gets sent in to deal with it, including Victor as an NSA agent, Sierra as a sexy doctor, and Dominic as private security or something. But it turns out the drug gets spread through touch, so pretty soon everybody is being all silly, mugging for the camera in an attempt to get laughs. It works better for some actors than others, but they all do their best "drunken dumbass" impression. Echo is off having another date with the guy who she raced motorcycles with in the first episode, but when she sees a news report on TV, some pre-Dollhouse memories pop back into her head, and she takes off to join the fun. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Topher and Ms. DeWitt (Olivia Williams, who I don't think I've mentioned before. She's my Rushmore, Max) get to experiment with a sample of the drug, trying to find an antidote, but they end up getting dosed as well, so they get to goof around too. It all ends up being kind of a clusterfuck, which is sort of fun to watch. Topher and DeWitt get the best scenes, even though they probably go on a bit long, but there are some nice lines, including "You haven't seen my drawer of inappropriate starches?" and "You have to admit, I am British; I don't say hahhd...ahhs."
You know, writing this makes the whole thing seem pretty dumb, but maybe that's what this show needs. That is, it should probably take itself a bit less seriously. More of that Whedon wit would definitely be appreciated. There is an attempt to fill in more of the backstory though, with Echo remembering her pre-Dollhouse past and getting confused about her identity. How long they're going to be able to keep her working if she keeps malfunctioning like this is the question here, as is the effectiveness of their methods; it seems like all the dolls are remembering stuff that has supposedly been wiped from their brains. The promo for next week indicates that something major is going to happen, so we'll see if that pans out.
It’s a Gentleman’s Party, who could ask for more?
We’re down to 5 little G’s marching toward Gentlemanhood. While I was sad to see All In sent packing last week (good luck cuddle bear!), I think we have a very solid group of guys left. I still have my favorites (I heart you Blue!), but I’d be happy to see any of these guys turn their lives around for the better.
This week’s challenge was to throw a Gentleman’s Party for some of Bentley’s friends, and dammit I cannot get Dead Man’s Party out of my head all episode and as I write this. Not related, just annoying. After the G’s get some more etiquette training with Chef Nikki Shaw, their goal is to entertain their guests and show off their networking skills. The guest list included some VP dude, some Canadian chick, some movie guy, Mr. Bentley’s best friend and the Queen of Hip Hop, the lovely Miss Faith Evans. (Google prefers to hail Mary J Blige as the “Queen of Hip Hop” with a couple nods to Queen Latifah, but not so much with the Miss Evans. What’s up? Even Wikipedia forgot to mention Evans’ royalty status. Huh. )
The G’s were broken into 2 teams; Blue and Mito vs. Teddy, Lank and Barron. And surprise! Each G has had a friend of theirs selected to join in the fun! Most worried about this is Teddy. Hmm… Why, Teddy? Because he’s a pimp! That’s right, P.I.M.P., pimp. Not like, I rock the scene so hard, I’m a pimp. More like, “My girl sells herself, you know what I mean? I take the money she give me, whatever, and she bring more girls around.”
So blah, blah, blah, Blue’s team wins, blah, they get to go to da club, blah, Lank is pissed cuz Barron got to go, too, blah, blah, blah, blah, ppthhppt!!! Who cares?! Teddy is a pimp. He’s been hiding this nugget the whole time and he reveals it in a one on one with Mr. Bentley and Bentley is all “That for me is really despicable.” And while I agree, is it more despicable than what the other G’s have been up to? Is it more despicable than selling drugs or participating in a violent gang? I dunno. Seems to me like all of these guys are up to some despicable shit and that’s the whole point. Let’s get these despicable G’s together and help them stop being horrible douche bags. Right? So, ya, Teddy is a pimp and that is downright despicable. But he seemed a little too squeaky clean to be in this competition and I’m glad to hear he’s just as deserving of this show as all the other G’s.
Except Lank, who apparently squandered a basketball scholarship? Fuck you Lank. I’m glad you’re gone. I’m also glad you mentioned your improved posture in your exit speech. You’ll be alright little buddy.
Tune in to G’s next week when Teddy tells his girl “It’s embarrassing to be with a ho.” Um… I’ve accepted you as a pimp, Teddy. Do you really have to be so rude?
Also, a little freebie for TV executives: Reality show about Barron’s new barber shop. We see the shop being created, corporations donate $ and equipment, etc. The neighborhood gets involved somehow. We get to hear about the importance of a positive community establishment. Then Barron councils people about change as he shaves their heads. Right? If you need any more ideas give me a call. Xoxo!
Boy, did the producers of The Celebrity Apprentice think they were rocking it when they put together this week’s episode. Not only did they make the teams take over all aspects of a midtown Manhattan hotel—check-in, concierge, room service, and maid service—but they arranged to have a series of guests come in and be pains-in-the-asses, demanding tickets to several Broadway shows along the way. (Mr. Trump, he loves his Broadway—this is not the first time The Apprentice has been caught pimping those musicals—but it did yield one remotely funny moment when a guest asked for tickets to Billy Elliot and Dennis Rodman asked where he was playing.) The parade of obnoxious guests climaxed with the appearance of Billy Baldwin and Vincent Pastore, who both competed on the first season of The Celebrity Apprentice. The two had all kinds of fun acting all pissed off and obnoxious and stuff—it’s probably the sweetest acting gig either of them has gotten in years.
It’s always sad when the producers feel like they have to create drama for the show, but in this episode it was particularly absurd because of the actual drama that was going down while everybody was busy play-acting. Reality TV is often about the juxtaposition between the type of artificial construct created with the hotel task and the actual human experience of reality show “characters” trying to deal with themselves and each other while navigating those constructs, but the distinction between that artifice and the participants’ genuine emotion have rarely been more pronounced than it was as the men’s team tried to deal with Project Manager Dennis Rodman’s vodka-and-cranberry bender at the same time as they had to get dinner reservations for Vincent Pastore.
Over the course of the task, Rodman started strong—arranging for cars & drivers for each of the guests, getting cookies donated from Carnegie Deli—then began to double-fist those little purple drinks, got belligerent with Brian McKnight over whether or not to park two Firebirds in front of the hotel just for show, dressed up in a concierge suit, gave the donated cookies to the head chef to decorate, got in a car with two of the hotel guests, ate dinner with them, came back twice as wasted, went to the kitchen looking for the cookies he’d forgotten about, grabbed a big plastic tub full of them, threw it down in front of Brian McKnight, and stormed off the show… again. But it was the boardroom, which had been advertised as “an intervention,” that was the most telling—not because Dennis Rodman recognized his mistakes or anything as dramatic as that—simply because it was compelling to watch each member of the men’s team deal with an actual problem in an absurd environment, in front of Donald Trump. Each acutely aware of the reality TV-ness of the whole thing, Brian McKnight dismissed Dennis altogether, Herschel Walker barely contained his disgust, Clint Black reaffirmed his friendship with Dennis, and Jesse James calmly and emotionally address Rodman’s drinking problem. Ultimately, nothing came of it, except that Dennis was fired, and took the long, lonely elevator ride off the show. And then Dennis Rodman shot 12 year-old Ben through the heart.
Okay, it’s not the American Idol contestant’s fault that there’s nothing interesting on the iTunes Top Download charts; it’s America’s. Some would argue that the mere existence of American Idol is America’s fault, as well. While this week’s theme yielded the dreariest bunch of performances this season, it also gave a very clear idea of what kind of music each of the contestants would make if they won.
Anoop Desai unfortunately thinks that “getting back to the high energy stuff” means pulling the gas face for three minutes straight while singing a horrendous Usher song. Randy knocked him for not dancing, you know, like Usher; Kara said she was “getting the feeling a bunch of frat guys dared you to get up and sing Usher;” and Simon said it was like “college boy trying to be a pop star.” Of course, they were all right.
Megan Corkrey would have been worth keeping around simply because of each week’s choreography. This week, she added some finger pointing to her typical feeble little rump wiggles. She sang a Bob Marley song—obviously tapping into the rarely acknowledged too-stoned-to-turn-the-channel-after-Entertainment-Tonight crowd.*
Danny Gokey is still a sociopath.
Allison Irahata did an aiight version of “Don’t Speak,” but, since she has to bring the thunder every week in order to stick around, this might be the beginning of the end for her.
Scott MacIntyre was totally pumped for this week’s iTunes-themed episode. “This is what we’ve been waiting for!” he told Ryan Seacrest before the show, and then, to show what a relevant artist he would be if he won American Idol, he chose to sing… “Just the Way You Are,” complete with Billy Joel hairstyle. He met with the typical patronizing parade from the judges, but with the best condescending sound-bite yet from Paula: “Of all the contestants on this show so far, I am the most proud of you.” He’s like a little blind puppy.
Matt “Tonight He’s Keeping It Current” Giraud sang The Fray while playing a keyboard in the middle of the audience, and—while it wasn’t nearly the train wreck of that whole Coldplay thing… Do I really have to finish that sentence?
Lil Rounds… Yikes.
Adam Lambert sang Wild Cherry’s “Play That Funky Music” with his usual creepy falsetto. Are we convinced he’s not a tranny?
Kris Allen actually rocked the shit out of Bill Withers’ “Ain’t No Sunshine” with a string quartet. Pretty Boy may be the dark horse here—he’s actually got chops, and he wasn’t afraid to mess with the arrangement.
America sent poor, funny-dancing Megan home. Poor Megan never should have made it past the Wild Card round, but as she inexplicably stuck around into the Top 9, she grew on me, and—with only two women left in the competition—I dare say I will miss her. Actually, that’s not true. But I will miss her clumsy hip shaking.
*Yes, that’s a joke about Bob Marley fans smoking weed. American Idol is like a damp blanket over my brain.
The reunion was hosted by Perez Hilton and was filmed three months after the end of last weeks episode. I'm not a Perez Hilton fan, but no bullshit, he was the best host of one of these type of things I've ever seen, and while no, I haven't seen very many "reunion" specials, he was in no way similar to those creepy freaks that host shit on MTV, he wasn't like Ryan Seacrest, he was a foul mouthed jackal intent on telling the girls he liked that he liked them, and even more intent on telling the girls he thought were whores things like "You're a whore." I won't be keeping up with his blog anytime soon, unless "anytime soon" also means "never", but well played sir. Well fucking played.
Amber M is mad at people making fun of the her online and claims Tiffany is responsible for many of the online remarks regarding her that are insulting and deregatory. Ashley has texted Amber B that she would beat the shit out of her. That's the only introduction given before the girls are welcomed on stage, in front of a live audience. Only five girls--the ones left over after the Mexico ejection debacle--show up. The Ambers are on one couch with Perez seperating them from another couch, with Tiffany, Ashley and Sarah, who has dyed her hair with whatever toner was left over from that time Creed Bratton tried to make himself look younger. Perez tosses some softball questions about whether Amber M ever considered leaving the show, which Tiffany turns into accusations that Amber M has never watched the show prior to her appearance on it. Amber M claims she did see Season 2, but Tiffany seems not to believe her.
When Amber B begins to respond to the softball questions, Ashley shushes her and starts insulting her, and then Tiffany joins in and they both yell at Amber B to "shut the fuck up". They never explain what sets this off, but later it seems that Tiffany and Ashley's complaint with Amber B rests in some of what they've seen of the episodes that have aired during the three month break. (From the way they behave, as well as when the Mexico episode is referenced, the reunion special was apparently filmed right before the first Cancun episode aired on television.) One of Ashley's most charming insults is when she tells Amber B that she looks like "an egg on stilts, you have acne bitch." They mention something about her being a blonde, and Amber B's response is that she isn't a real blonde. At this point, Tiffany just snarls "cunt."
Perez decides it's time to show the girls the footage from last week when Mike--Tiffany's "brother"--felt her up under the covers. Amber M seems a bit startled while watching the footage, seeing it for the first time in front of everyone, it's clear she never figured out that some of what Tiffany had said about the incident--that Amber M put her head in Mike's lap, that she laughed and said "it feels good"--is obviously true. (This doesn't mean it's okay, but Amber M's memory of the experience is clearly clouded, and it takes the wind out of her sails a bit.) Luckily, she's got another complaint with Tiffany entirely, and the two start arguing about how many usernames the other person has on the Oxygen message board. This leads to Tiffany's best line of the night. In the midst of the squabbling, Amber M says something to the effect that Tiffany has, using a fake name, gone to the message board and called her a whore who sucked some guy's dick.
Tiffany's incredulous response: "You sucked cock on national TV, that could be anybody in this audience!" The crowd erupts in spontaneous applause. After this, Amber B feels the need to defend herself against the accepted accusation that she had sex with Greg in the house, despite the producers insistence on showing the sex multiple times throughout the season. Her defense rests in her claim that she has never had sex "that way." That way? That way, dear reader, is spooning. Not doggy-style. Lying on one's side, man at the back, spooning. Sarah laughs at this and tells her that if she's telling the truth, she must be a "snooze in the sack."
It's time to bring Whitney (Boston) and Ailea on stage, so Perez gets Amber B's thoughts on the two. Amber B says that she likes Whitney as a person, but that she never liked Ailea. They come on stage, and everybody greets them with a standing ovation--everyone except the two Ambers.
Perez wants the two groups to explain the whole Ambers vs. The Fab Five thing for whatever reason. Both groups have had three months to prepare an explanation and think about why they fought so much that two of them were ejected from the show, but the explanation is a muddled version of "they hung out with each other too much." Tiffany and the Fab Five have brought gummi bears, which they start throwing at the Ambers, and then Ashley tells Amber M she isn't really a "bad girl." Amber M points out that Ashley was just a replacement who wasn't cast in the beginning of the show. When they start to calm down, Perez, who seems to be spiritually in sync with whomever is picking the scenes to show on the big screen television, pulls up a classic Amber B shit-talk about Ailea and her 40-something Internet boyfriend Kevin.
"She said she doesn't know her dad. Maybe Kevin is her dad!" Then it's a clip of Ailea talking shit about the Ambers. Then it's a clip of the Ambers talking shit about Ailea. Sarah is enraged, and tells Amber B "You were making fun of Ailea for not knowing her dad! That is not funny! That is unforgivable!" (This is completely untrue. The only reason it's funny is because it coincides with Ailea being abandoned by her father.)
Whitney apologizes for Cancun after Perez asks if the Fab Five have anything to apologize for. He then decides to show the video the beatdown, and after it's over, Sarah says it "wasn't that bad!" Ailea and Whitney--who has just apologized--high five over kicking Amber M. When Ailea starts to say that she doesn't feel bad for what she did, despite admitting that it was wrong, because she had warned Amber M in advance, Perez tells her this: "Just because you tell a bitch you're going to beat her up, that doesn't make it okay to beat her up." The audience spontaneously applauds. To keep the fun going, Perez tells Ailea that her gloating about the kicking made her look like a pathetic bitch and "made me want to barf." The audience spontaneously applauds for a third time. Perez finishes this off with a simple "You seem like a crazy bitch to me Ailea", but has apparently asked the audience for too much, and they refuse to applaud.
At this point, it's revealed that Tiffany may have told Amber B that going to help Amber M--one of the few things Tiffany did in Mexico that seemed sort of, well, admirable--that doing so was going to "make me look good on TV." Tiffany gets mad at this, and claims it's not true, but it certainly makes a hell of a lot more sense than Tiffany all of a sudden giving a shit about another human being.
Now it's time to bring back Kayla, who Perez refer to as "the crazy bitch from Compton."
I'm leaving my original note untouched:
Here she comes. FUCK ALL THIS NOISE KAYLA IN THE HOUSE THE ORIGINAL SHIT
End original note.
I like Kayla, whatever.
She's introduced with some crazy loud rap music, hugs the Ambers, and doesn't even look at the Fab Five. She proudly tells Perez that her behavior got the Bad Girls kicked out of three--possibly four--nightclubs within their first 48 hours of meeting her. Perez asks her if she is scared of Tiffany. Kayla laughs and says that she isn't scared of anybody, and in case you were going to pull some of that racial stereotyping bullshit, she pointedly says that she isn't scared of her grandmother or her mom. She says that when she originally realized that there was another black girl, she expected that she and Tiffany would end up "ruling over the house." Ashley explodes at this, telling her how stupid that sounds. Kayla starts laughing at Ashley and tells her that she needs to shut the fuck up, and that she should be happy she even made it onto the "damn show". She points to each girl one by one and says "They can say shit. You? Shut the fuck up." Ashley, having misgauged how much everybody prefers Kayla over her, is drowned out when she tries to respond by the audience, who have once again started applauding.
Tiffany starts trying to respond to the whole "black girls in the house" thing, but the camera is more interested in Kayla, who is laughing her ass off. Perez, sensing a potential for blood, moves on.
Ashely is asked if she is still with her sugar daddy. She says he's not her sugar daddy. They play a clip where she agrees that he is her sugar daddy. Perez asks for clarification if her sugar daddy/not her sugar daddy "paid for her boobs". Ashley says, "Yes, he paid for my boobs."
Kayla "He didn't like your boobs, so he bought you new ones. Bitch." Audience laughs and applauds. Kayla seems bored, so she decides that it's time to beat the shit out of Ashley. Amber M sort of holds her back, but then gives up and the whole thing turns into a Jerry Springer show, except that the security guys--a couple of beefed out dudes in all black--don't really try to move the girls around too much, and since there are only two of them, they end up taking more damage from the girls because neither realize that everybody--Ailea, Tiffany, the Ambers and Whitney--are all going to get involved in a fight between Kayla and Ashley. However, when the girls start acting all tough, Perez snaps and grabs one of the cups that Ashely had been throwing around and chucks it dead into the security guys chest. "Did that hurt?", he asks. It's a pointless question, as Perez has just shown to the audience, studio and at home, that an empty paper cup doesn't fucking hurt, no matter how mad you are at Kayla.
It turns out that some of the various guys are in attendance--Perez introduces Greg, Noah, Fazil and that one random guy with the braided hair who took a naked jacuzzi with Tiffany and then bailed out on her when she got drunk and screamed at a bunch of people for no good reason at a nightclub. (They don't talk to him. He looks really uncomfortable.) Perez runs through some clips of various make-out sessions, Sarah telling the camera she plans to "fuck all the hot Mexican guys", and closes with the Noah/Sarah argument from the previous week. After bantering with Fazil a bit, who reveals that he might be willing to go out with Ailea again, even though he is sort of grossed out by Kevin (who he just saw on television a few weeks earlier), Perez turns to Amber B and says "How did you feel about Ailea being a big whore?" Unfortunately, Amber B is really only funny when she's drunk. She says something about Kevin being a nice guy. Perez reminds Sarah and Ashley that they made out, which they claim not to remember doing.
Then Perez turns to Sarah and says "I really want to hear what Noah has to say about you being a dirty whore." Noah's response is that it sucked, because he liked her. He admits he would take her back. Sarah asks him what he's doing after the show. He says "nothing" with a look that, depressingly, seems to mean he's willing to actually go out with her again.
Perez has a crush on Greg, the only guy he invites on stage. First he tries to get Greg--who has actually cut his hair and no longer looks like a handicapped Prince Adam--to take off his shirt. When Greg refuses, he makes the guy sit in his lap. (This is funny to people who have watched the show, because Greg made some mildly homophobic remarks. Making straight guys uncomfortable by putting them in close proximity to a gay man who openly wants to fuck them is cheap comedy, but it's comedy nonetheless, because it's mean to do and fun to watch.) After Perez gets bored of Greg, he sends him back to his seat before realizing that Greg can help clarify whether or not Amber B is lying about having sex with him. Greg says she is, and that he did have sex with her. Spontaneous applause!
Then, and this is the one viewer question that Perez brought that didn't suck. It's from Taterbaby21.
Taterbaby21, for Whitney/Boston: "Why in the world would anyone but people from Boston give a flying fuck that you're from Boston?" It's a great question. The answer is even better--because as Whitney tries to explain herself, as she mentions all the Boston sports teams she loves, she accidently lets drop that SHE ISNT FROM BOSTON BUT FROM NORTH OF BOSTON. Ha!
Ailea is studying nursing in school. She hopes that she won't get physically violent in the future.
Amber M wants to join the Peace Corps. She doesn't give a serious answer.
Amber B is--holy shit, this is weird--going to mortuary school? To run a mortuary? Or to be a mortician? She doesn't say. She also moved to Phoenix to be closer to Amber M.
Boston is majoring in biology, finance and minoring in physics. She doesn't say where, so we can just assume it's an empty garage with a sign that says "Colleg For Smartt Gurls" leaning against a wall.
Ashley is managing a hair salon and being celibate. She lost her sex drive after the show and cut down on her drinking. Perez compliments her on fixing her eyebrows, which he says are no longer gross.
Tiffany goes to high schools and gives talks about anger management. Her talks are based around the show. She wants to be a motivational speaker. Jesus wept. Get Jesus a kleenex.
Sarah has a job at a bar "downtown." You're such a loser Sarah. You can't even fail interestingly.
Kayla is going back to school. (She isn't in school right now. She's going back to school.) She says that she is a smart girl, and that all the girls on the show are smart. She says it in a kind of desperate tone of voice. Perez lets her have that one for free, but you can tell he wants to list of the reasons why that's not entirely true.
As the show closes over a montage of "classic scenes" of the girls topless, Ailea tries to shake Perez's hand. He refuses, and tells her that he really doesn't like her, that she's a bitch, and her behavior on the show really did disgust him. That's how it ends, kids. It's not a whimper, and it's not a bang.
It's just a gay man telling a crazy whore that she makes him sick.
I love you mom.
-Martin Brown, Matthew J. Brady, Sarah Engelman & Tucker Stone, 2009