Episode Five of Mad Mad House opens with the following viewer warning:
THE SHOWCASE AND TRIAL ACTIVITIES YOU ARE ABOUT TO SEE WERE ALL DESIGNED AND SUPERVISED BY TRAINED PROFESSIONALS. THE ACTIVITIES ARE EXTREMELY DANGEROUS AND SHOULD NOT BE ATTEMPTED BY ANYONE, ANYWHERE, AT ANYTIME.
Which means, I guess, that my summary should begin with a similar warning:
THE SUMMARY YOU ARE ABOUT TO READ WAS DESIGNED AND WRITTEN BY A SOULESS IDIOT WHO WOULD DENY A SPIRITUAL EXPERIENCE BY ANYONE, ANYWHERE, AT ANY TIME—EVEN IF IT BIT HER ON THE ASS. (Back off, Don!)
Last week, the popular contestant Bonnie was voted out, and the show begins as the remaining six TOPs (what we call the Ten Ordinary People—in case you are new to these summaries) express their shock to each other. They are gathered around the sofa, drinking bottles of wine as they whine.
Meanwhile, in the Witch’s Room, Art and Fiona recline on the bed, discussing the remaining TOPs. Fiona is still wearing what I_Am_He calls her ‘Wiccans Gone Wild’ costume. That is, over-the-knee black leather boots, black stripy-patterned panty hose, tightie-whitey hot pants and a black bustier. Art is in his usual batik skirt with color-coordinated ear & nose plugs and silver nipple rings. Say what you want about the premise of this show—the Alts fashion sense is lovely to behold!
Fiona says: “Nichole did not like getting a necklace.”
Scene switch to Noel, who is in confessional: “She. Was. Pissed. Off. For the first time I saw the true Nichole coming out.”
Thus is the theme for episode 5 established—Nichole sucks and everyone hates her. In case anyone has missed this theme, we are next shown Noel and Eric in a whispered conversation on the patio.
Noel: “Let Nichole do her own thing! We can just ease back a bit now.” Eric: “Phase One of ‘get Nichole off’ is complete.
As I watch them on the patio-cam I wonder if they really know the camera is there. I don’t think so. They go on to agree that the way to win this show is to not change too quickly, but also to convince the Alts that they are capable of change. It needs to be a “happy medium”.
Eric continues to work Fiona, telling her how happy he was that she gave Phoney Nichole a necklace. When he is talking to the Alts, Eric always wears the same calculated, poker-face expression. I mean, you can see the wheels turning while he decides what to say next, but somehow the Alts don’t see that!
Then Eric delivers my 2nd favorite Reality TV Show lin, in a confessional: “I am the Puppet Master.” Oh—I love when players say that! Usually it means that soon they are going to knot their lines, trip over the darn, tangled strings and fall flat on their face. We can only hope…
Nichole, of course, realizes that there is a target on her back and sets about trying to save herself by “reasoning” with the Alts. Evidently she has forgotten that the Alts live in an Alternate Reality where reason is a very ephemeral thing.
The Game of Life
The Alts and TOPs sit by the fireplace playing Jenga, that game where you build a tower by adding and removing wooden pegs. Fiona points out that “Jenga is a metaphor for life. See how the balance changes every time you add and remove pegs”.
Okay. Maybe for Fiona people are interchangeable pegs that you pile up and jerk around. But I know how this game ends—eventually, everything collapses.
Anyway, even after hearing Fiona explain how life works, Nichole joins the game and babbles on, trying to find the right words to save herself.
Fiona: “Prove to me that this isn’t just a game to you.”
Doomed Nichole: “Well, I guess that I’m confused trying to find a balance between the two things we are supposed to be doing here!” I assume she means playing a game while not actually playing any games. Of course, with her next move Nichole misjudges where to remove a peg and the whole tower comes crashing down. Are you paying attention Nichole? Metaphor.For.Life. At least in the Mad Mad House.
Fiona tries once more to explain the game (Mad Mad House, not Jenga) to Doomed Nichole: “It’s not about balance—it’s about chaos. It’s about finding freedom through challenging yourself.”
Me, yelling at my TV screen: “But you just said everything was about balance! Now it’s about chaos? Make up your mind for Pete’s sake!” I so want to insert a blonde joke here…
We go to commercial, then return to yet another Viewer Warning Message:
The Following Segment Includes Material Which May Be Disturbing to Some Viewers. Parental Discretion is Advised.