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The Complex - Episode 1 Summary

'Bob Vila Would Roll Over in His Grave (If He Were Dead)' By StarryLuna
Original Airdate: August 30, 2004

I’d like to start off this recap by mentioning that tornado warnings were constantly popping up at the bottom of the screen during the premiere of The Complex: Malibu. This probably doesn’t mean much to you, unless you’ve read some of my other recaps for RTVW. I was slated to recap the fourth episode of Temptation Island 3 but lost power due to Hurricane Isabel. During my recap of an episode of The Simple Life 2, heavy thunderstorms in my area caused the weatherman to break in every five minutes. Maybe for my next Complex recap, we’ll be struck with an earthquake or a monsoon.

The show begins with a voice over talking about the exclusive dream homes of Malibu, with one exception. The Complex. Here’s the premise: The complex is made up of 4 identical apartments. The top two apartments are the (ready for this?) upper complex and the bottom two are the (shock!) lower complex. To start off, two couples will be living in each apartment, meaning the upper complex has four couples and the lower complex has four couples. Each week, the same room will be made over in all four apartments, so the teams will have to work together. A panel of home improvement “experts” will come in each week and judge the completed rooms. The room that adds the least amount of value to the complex is the loser. The losing team then has to vote a couple off their team. Eventually it will come down to just two teams working in the complex. The apartments will then be auctioned off and the couple whose apartment sells for the most money wins ALL the profits made from the sale of the building.

Got that? Good, because I’m not explaining it again. Opening credits. “Burning down the house!” Oooooh, that would be some interesting reality tv!

Let’s meet the teams, starting with the upper complex:

Steve & Nicole are engaged. She’s a teacher and he’s an MBA. They don’t want to play dirty, but if someone screws them over, they’ll screw back.

Sanyika & Monique have been dating for 2 ½ years, he’s an office manager, she’s in market research and they renovated their first house together. Sanyika says all they have to do is win. That’s it, huh?

Erik & Jayna have been together for 4 years and are professional artists. Jayna says their not interested in mainstream. They’ve “flipped” a house, whatever that means.

Scotty & Sam have been living together for 4 years, he works for the phone company and they both tend bar. Sam says people are intimidated by her, but she’s not sure why. Let’s see if we can figure that out during this episode, shall we?

And in the lower complex:

Barney & Rose have been married for 49 years (Wow! Rose was 15 and Barney was 18 when they got together.) He’s a town foreman, she’s a homemaker and they’ve remodeled their house. Rose says Barney’s mouth gets him in trouble. As opposed to Rose’s mouth, which…never mind.

Dave & Ana have been together for 2 years, he’s an engineer and she’s in health care. Dave thinks people may underestimate Ana since she’s so frou-frou.

Brad & Lew have been together for 10 years. Brad is a restaurant manager and Lew owns a store. Brad says he packs light because Lew packs heavy, so if he needs something, he just takes it out of Lew’s suitcase. Hee hee.

Carl & Kim have been married for 3 years and are building their first home. He’s a chiropractor and she’s in ad sales. Kim says if they don’t play dirty, someone else will and they’ll be at a disadvantage.

The teams are riding in limos together to Malibu. In the limos they get their keys and discover they’re living with the people they’re riding with. In apartment #1 are Steve, Nicole, Sanyika and Monique. In #2 are Erik, Jayna, Scotty and Sam. #3 will be home to Brad, Lew, Carl and Kim and #4 houses Barney, Rose, Dave and Ana.

The complex is built into a mountain looking over the beach and it is in a stair step design. Apartment #4, which is at the bottom and closest to the beach, sticks out the furthest, each apartment above it recedes further and further back. The street is at the top, behind apartment #1, so you need to walk down a heck of a lot of steps to get to #4.

The teams arrive and the first thing one of them comments on is the number of stairs. As they open the doors to each apartment, the reaction is pretty much the same. “Oh, my God!” “Holy sh!t!” “We have a lot of work!” “You have got to be kidding!” “This is so dirty!” Um, okay, was the premise NOT explained to these people before they agreed to be on the show? Basically, each apartment is completely gutted. Rose squeals because there is no bed. Duh.

The teams get to work cleaning the apartments, which means hauling all the trash down to the dumpsters. Brad and Lew comment that it is about 4 stories down to the dumpster and they’re in apartment 3, so imagine how it must be for those in apartment 1. Rose makes one trip down to the dumpster and complains that coming back up, she thought she was going to die. Of course, as soon as she gets to the top, she makes sure to light up a cigarette. I guess it refreshes her?

Sam complains about vacuuming in 3 inch heels and Jayna whines about cleaning in a dress. Again, do these people NOT understand the show? Can they not change out of their clothes? I’m sure they brought other stuff to wear. I know they have suitcases – I saw them bring them in. Sam mentions that she likes Jayna a lot and that they’re really getting along. Remember that for later, kids.

The lower complex asks Rose if she would mind cooking up some hamburgers and hot dogs while they continue to work. Rose interviews that she was really pissed off about that. After getting the burgers on the grill, Rose whines to Ana that she has no way to flip the burgers, then realizes she can use the new paint scraper out of all the tools supplied (by Sears, in case you miss that. I mean, they’re product placement is not obvious at all. /sarcasm) Rose thinks the team assumes that she’ll cook because she’s a woman and says she’s “not cooking after tonight.” Okay, Ana and Kim are on your team and nobody asked them to cook, and, if you’re not going to cook and you’re not going to help clean up, then what exactly are you going to do, Rose? You’re not adding much to the scenery, so there is little use for you.

And now, the beginning of the rift between Sam and Jayna (for anybody who cares.) As the upper complex meets for dinner, they discuss what they want to do to the apartments. Crown molding is generally agreed upon by the entire team, except for Jayna who says that she thinks really high class, cutting edge design doesn’t use crown molding and that, when she sees it, she thinks it looks suburban. In an interview, Sam says that Jayna made a comment about crown molding that was so condescending, it made her skin crawl. Steve and Nicole interview that they think apartment #2 is going to have a hard time making decisions.

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