Hi, everyone - and by everyone I mean the three people who may read this. This is my first summary for this or any other show, so please be as critical as you can be. (I’m using reverse psychology here).
It's been tougher than I thought it would be. You don't realize how much stuff there is in an hour of TV until you try and summarize it. By the end of this, I was cursing the most interesting member of the cast for giving me so much to write about, and I had fallen deeply in love with the commercials - even the ones for MacDonalds and Wal-Mart. How anyone can summarize the commercials as well as the show, I cannot fathom. It's also been tough because at this stage, Next Action Star seems to have become a show about a bunch of interchangeable, superficially-likeable people (with one glaring exception) who are about as interesting as D!ck Cheney’s personal life.
I should mention that not only is this my first summary - though I had a killer lined up for ‘Forever Eden’ before it got cancelled - I have preserved the purity of the experience by not having watched any previous episodes of this show. So I don’t initially recognize the contestants, and don’t have a firm grasp on what went on before this fourth episode. I know this might look like laziness and bad planning on my part, but honestly it was all about not contaminating my mind with preconceptions. And if you buy that crock, I believe The ChillOne has a book you might like to purchase about his Amazing Amazonian Adventures (“The Spoiler” available from, ironically enough, Amazon.com). And Iraq really was part of the War on Terror.
So here we go.
Previously on Next Action Star... Twenty contestants got cut down to fourteen in a process I know nothing of, but in the scene accompanying the voice-over informing us of the fact, there was a bunch of explosions and people were flying all over the place. So you can only hope that they were killed off. I guess NBC had the contestants sign some really comprehensive waivers.
The first words of the episode are spoken by a dark-haired women who is later identified as both ‘Viviana’ and ‘completely whacko’, and her words are later shown to have great significance - even though they might not be entirely accurate. “This place is driving me crazy,” she says. Hmm... That kind of implies that she wasn’t nuts to begin with.
A dark-skinned woman who will later be revealed to be ‘Corinne’ says: “I wanna make it to the next cut.”
Then another woman who looks just like Viviana - but it can’t be her, because we just heard from that person - says, “If I’m not here in Hollywood, I don’t want to be anywhere else.” From what I can make of that, the woman seems to be saying that when she’s not in Hollywood, she wants to stay in wherever that place is. It also leaves open the possibility that she only ever wants to be someplace else if she’s actually in Hollywood. If this woman is the same one as just spoke a few seconds ago, things aren't looking good for the idea that she isn't already unhinged.
Onward. A high-cheekboned guy named Jared says that someone called Krista deserves to be in ‘that’ house, while Viviana doesn’t. I think I’m beginning to see a pattern here.
After the recap, we have the titles, during which the ubiquitous announcer guy says the name of each of the remaining contestants in a tone that implies that they are dangerous, evil people. I don’t know these contestants at all, but I’m inclined to believe him. They volunteered for a reality show, after all. Only the first names of the contestants are given, except for one guy given at the end of the list, who’s called “Will Become”. Strangely, we don’t see Will for the remainder of the episode. Perhaps he was one of the people killed when they got rid of the first six cast members.
We are informed that this week on Next Action Star, there will be what appears to be a gawd-awful skit named ‘Special Ops’ that involves helicopters and running. No doubt more will become apparent, but from the very first glance, it doesn’t look good for ‘Special Ops’. In fact it looks like a knock-off ‘Black Hawk Down’. Considering just the respective trailers, the recent flaming turd 'Envy' from Ben Stiller and Jack Black had more promise than ‘Special Ops’.
The episode proper begins with the remaining fourteen contestants being introduced to their luxurious new digs. They go through some grand large gates into the courtyard of the kind of pile that someone like Michelle Pfeiffer or Margot Kidder used to live in before they hit the skids. In the courtyard, as some kind of talisman of the good life, are grouped a number of fast and sexy sports cars, including what I think are Jaguars, Ferraris, and Porsches. Significantly, no one is given the keys to any of these beasts.
Jared: “When the gates opened, everyone kind of went...” Jared was unfortunately unable to finish his sentence because the muscles in his jaw failed at that point, and he was left imitating the facial expression of a sex doll.
While Jared was taken for treatment, Viviana gets a rare chance to give her input.
“As I was opening the doors, I felt I was opening the doors into Hollywood, and I was Cinderella coming into the castle - with leather pants, ” she says. Since we’ve already established Viviana hates Hollywood, it’s a mystery why she’s smiling as she says this.
There follows sundry shots of the house that the contestants have been given a loan of for the short intervals of their lives that will not be lived in total obscurity. We are shown luxurious fittings like a weights room, a pool table, a dinner table, a, umm, sink and a... staircase?
A dark-haired guy named Santoni comments: “I just walked in, I was like OMG! ... I’ve never had a staircase in my house.” No doubt he was expecting a rope-ladder or something.
Jared is meanwhile in one of the sports cars, checking around in the vain hope that the keys may have been left hidden within the car. He is seen looking in the minuscule back seat, and patting down the upholstery. He says: “This is kind of like dangling a carrot in front of us. If you work hard, this is the lifestyle that awaits you.” I am left unsure of what Jared thinks this hard work is that will allow him to attain great wealth, 'cause acting in front of a camera doesn't count. Perhaps he figures he’s going to join the legions of millionaire coal miners and construction workers.
The next thing that happened was most - if not all - of the guys jump in the pool. Someone named Greg informs us that none of the women other than... you’ve guessed it... Viviana joined the men in the pools. Relying on his memory - which it turns out is prone to exaggeration (or perhaps minimization, in this case) - he says she went swimming in g-string and bra, when in fact the video shows she went swimming in a thong and something like a tank-top. Still, NBC cameramen manage to get a nice shot of Viviana’s buttocks surfacing stirringly above the water of the pool. I’m certain these cameramen have aspirations to film orcas in the Antarctic, but unfortunately for them, there are far more crappy reality shows than there are wildlife documentaries, so they’re stuck making the best they can of their work on ‘Next Action Star’. It’s kind of tragic when you think of it.