Once upon a time there was this guy called Jerry Seinfeld. He decided to make a show about nothing. Then along came a guy called Mark Burnett. He had the idea to invent a new genre of television ostensibly about Ďrealityí. They had a hideous love child. Weíll call him Mark Cuban, because thatís his name. You see, Mr. Cuban, inspired by peanut butter and jelly in one jar, decided to marry nothing and reality in one show. Itís Sartre vs. Nietzsche for a new generation.
Mark says heís finally getting a sense of who has a chance to win and who doesnít. He says the final ten is an interesting group because itís a veritable sampling from the all-you-can-eat buffet of humanity: competitors <shot of Christine>, fiery people <Linda>, people more subtle in their competitiveness <Latane and Femia, with Dominic grooming himself like a monkey in the background>, people more subdued in their fieriness Ö oops, he didnít say that Ö creativity <Dominic>, athletes <Chris>, people who think theyíre going to win by being the nicest <Tiffaney and Kevin>. All of these people have proven they have the qualities for success. Except for Shawn and Spencer, I guess, who get their face attached to no qualities. Speaking of Shawn, Mark says heís curious to see how she comes through on the next test, because she screwed up, but by the grace of God she happened to be a Steve Nash #13 fan (hey, itís my favorite number too), so sheís still here. But if she hasnít learned her lesson and is unable to adapt, she wonít be there much longer, so sayeth The Benefactor.
Mark enters the living room and tells them heís seen what they can do as a group, but now itís time to see what you can do as individuals. In confessional he says thereís still a communal spirit, but itís time to crush that. He wants to see the rending of flesh and drinking of blood. Back to the group: ďThis is where the war starts. This is your first head-to-head competition. Behold the envelope!Ē And he flourishes a handful of small manilla envelopes, and tells them heís started million dollar companies with less money than there is in the envelopes. ďThis is a very simple test. Even you can pass it, Dominic. You can spend this money on cheap booze and cheaper hookers until 8 pm tonight.Ē Back to his secret lair: ďWhat separates the Doers from the Dreamers? The doing! I gave them 12 hours and $1000 and said Ďprove to me thereís something special about you.íĒ Back to the group: ďThis is your chance to separate yourself from the herd, to be a star. So my piece of advice: Be a star.Ē Well, that was helpful. ďYour time startsÖNOW!Ē
At his mark, rampant indecision and inertia takes over! There is much tapping and nibbling of envelopes and general sitting around until the distinguished herd rises as one and scatters to the corners of the earth.
Tiffaney: So, itís every man for himself.
I suppose thatís why youíre in the confessional booth with Christine?
T: How should we spend that money? What is he looking for?
Fortunately, through the magic of editing, Markís about to tell us.
Mark: What Iím looking for is the one that makes me say ĎWow!í The one that makes me wonder ĎHow in the world did they think of that?í Thatís what Iím looking for from the contestants; I want them to make me say ĎWow!í
Thanks, that wasnít vague at all. For all we know, Mark says ĎWow!í to belly button lint. And I bet you could buy a lot of belly button lint with $1000.
M: I designed this test to see which of our contestants could challenge themselves to push through their boundaries. When I graduated from college, I heard that computers were going to be big, so I got a job in a computer company. The problem was I didnít know anything about computers.
Well I guess Dominic has nothing to worry about.
M: But I didnít let that stop me. I set out to learn everything about computers. Fear can either be a roadblock, which is a task that only one Ö
Phil: Bastard! First Jiffy, now you?*
M: Sorry, what I meant to say was that fear can either be a roadblock or an amazing motivator.
While Mark is blathering on with his nonsequitous platitudes, we are treated to clips of a flurry of activity: would-be benefactees grabbing phone books, making calls on cell phones, working on lap tops.
Femia (and Iím including it not because itís important, but because Markís hogging the screen): This is the first day of individual competition and already I feel the tension.
Mark: Itís about challenging yourself, itís about pushing through boundaries, itís about the things you dream about but you arenít quite sure if you can pull them off. Thatís what this is about. I want to see people get out of their comfort zones, I want to see people shine as individuals, I want to see people explode with whatever creative juices they have inside of them.
That sounds messy. But nice set of tricola there. A rhetorically strong piece. I give it a 9. But letís see what the rats in Markís little maze are up to, shall we?
Shawn: Iím not going to get on Markís good side with sports.
Hands up if you thought Shawn was going to be able to get on Markís good side with anything. Iím sorry, youíve lost your shot at a million dollars.
Sh: But I do know that he takes the creative ideas and just runs with them. Iím going to write an entire book and FedEx it over to the publisher and see if they can correlate releasing the book with the episode of the show. I sure as hell hope this makes me the star that Markís looking for.
Femia: I hope Mark will love my idea. Iím using less than $1000 to start my own business, and he started his own business with less than $1000.
Tiffaney (on phone): Itís imperative that I go diving today. I mean, I have $1000 and Iím willing to do whatever it takes to go diving today. (confessional): I wanted to go skydiving today, but theyíre closed, and itís the only skydiving place in Dallas. So of course Iím freaking out, and wondering what is going to happen. (back to phone): Thank you so much for at least trying.
Ruh roh, things arenít looking good for Tiff.
Spencer: What Iím doing is an idea Iíve had back in the past for a particular software system. Iím going to get it written up in sort of a refined way, and Iím going to submit a patent for the idea. (phone): I can pay you, I just donít know if I can pay you a lot.
Okay, so Tiffaneyís plan to use the money to go skydinving doesnít seem like a productive activity compared to the last 3, but sadly sheís not in the minority here, as youíll soon see. But, sheís wearing a Sailor Bear sweatshirt
(available at your Baylor Bookstore), so she can do no wrong in my eyes.
Heeeeeeeeeeeeeyy Ö Sic Ďem Bears!!!! (I_AM_HE, í02)
Dominic (phone): Itís kind of like a dream for a day, and basically myself. Iím looking to actually start a band. (confessional): I want to be the rock star. It would be really cool, and see if I can get some kick-ass band to help me out, see if they can tutor me, maybe let me play with them. I think Mark would enjoy seeing me have fun with this money, and if that doesnít work out, hey, at least I went out the way I always wanted to go out, and thatís rockiní.
No, sadly heís not actually talking about dying. But if youíre saying to yourself ĎGawd this guyís pathetic,í you havenít even seen the half of it.
Latane (to D): Oh, youíve got a good idea? Yeah?
D: All Iíve got to say is be back here at 8 oíclock tonight and youíll see what all the excitementís about.
Dominic runs off to the closet, because heís so excited. Oh, but dude? They have to be back by 8.
Commercial time! So, have you seen this uber-creepy Burger King commercial for the Double Croissanwich with the dude waking up in bed with the scary BK puppet? Yeah, that pretty much sums up my opinion of Dominic and Markís relationship.
At 9 am, Chris departs in an unmarked vehicle.
Mark: The people I think are really going to shine are Chris, because heís so competitive. Heís the type thatíll really challenge himself. Heíll go to extremes to prove he deserves to be in the game.
Dominic and Linda, who arrived at 9:10 pm, will depart at 9:10 am.
Dominic: Right now Iím going to get a guitar at Guitar Center. I canít even open the door right nowÖ
Quiz time! Can Dominic not open the door because:
A. Heís pushing on a pull-only door, B. His hair exceeds the maximum clearance of the door frame, or C. His hands are too slippery. With sweat, of course.
M (continuing): When I first met Dominic, I was thinking to myself Ďnice looking house, nobody home.í
I guess thatís why he decided to move in. To the house, of course.
M: But as you get to know him, you understand that he may not be the brightest guy in the world, but he has a heart of gold, and he follows his heart, and heís fearless.
At 9:25 am, Femia and Kevin leave.
M (finally concluding): Itís going to be interesting to see how it plays out for everyone else.
Latane: I hope Mark will be impressed with this. There are some people that are kind of running around still, it looks like, and not really sure what theyíre going to do. I feel tough (sic) for them.
Spencer: If you consider that heís probably only going to cut 2 people, I think my plan is definitely in the top 5, top 8. It definitely wonít be the worst.
Thatís it, just good enough to get by.
Dominic walks into Guitar Center to rock star music and lighting.
Dominic: Iíve got $1000 to spend on a cool guitar. Please use that figure to your utmost, greediest advantage.
Salesman: What type of music do you play?
D: Really cool stuff.
S: Uh, okay. What have you been playing so far?
D: Actually I havenít played anything yet.
D: Todayís my first day, Iím going to learn how to play the guitar.
The salesman is clearly conflicted. On the one hand, here is an obviously self-deluded person worthy of mockery; on the other hand, here is an obviously self-deluded person begging to be fleeced. The dollar signs win out and S takes D over to a wall full of guitars, at which he stares blankly.
S: These are guitars, Dominic.
S: Just out of curiosity, what do you think about that (really expensive) black and white one up there.
D: Yeah, thatís definitely cool.
S: You wanna give that a try?
D: ÖYeah, I do.
Hip rock-n-roll riffs give way to Dominicís clumsy string picking. The Salesmanís carefully composed expression gives way to a grin of amusement, followed by a grimace of pain.
D: I like the way this one feels, I like the style of it. Letís do it.
Dominic picks out a yellow guitar strap emblazoned with the words ĎPOLICE LINE Ė DO NOT CROSSí. The total comes out to $1014.22, but the generous Salesman takes him down to $1000 even. Yep, he just shot his entire wad (of money, of course) on a guitar.
D: Iíve never had a guitar, never had the money.
So. Heís never had a guitar. He doesnít know how to play. And yet he considers himself a rock star? I guess all one really needs nowadays is 40 oz. of hair gel and a soul patch. Or, to quote my good friend Hank Hill: "Okay fine, you're a Texan. Everyone's a Texan. Change planes in Dallas, you're a Texan."
Linda: I came here to win the million dollars to make my motherís life easier. As soon as Mark said Ďgo do what you want with this $1000í I knew exactly what I was going to do.
Apparently her plan involves finding the only woman in the world more butch than herself and hiring her to make a web site for her mom. She says sheís impressed because sheís computer illiterate. Her verdict on the design teamís efforts? ďItís awesome. You got me, like, about to cry.Ē And nobody needs to see that.
L: Mahkís gonna be so impressed because when I came into this game I said when I win the million dollahs Iím going to spend it on my mom so she can walk again.
Those are some expensive legs. Read all about it at Lindaís newly designed website: theonemilliondollarmom.com.
Meanwhile, Femia is going on a shopping trip and has apparently dragged Kevin along for the fun.
Femia: Itís do or die time. Iím working on a fashion line. Iím going to take these clothes apart, Iím going to redo them, and itís going to beÖ
F & K (together): Fabulous!
Itís 2:07 pm, less than 6 hours to Go Time, and Tiffaney is hitting the phones again: If itís going to cost extra to make it happen, Iím more than willing. (confessional): He said he would see he could possibly do. (phone): I need to get this done ASAP. I have until about 4. Oh wow! (No, the idea is to make Mark say wow). (conf): He said to be out there as soon as I could, and itís about an hour away, so I have to get out there!
Tiffaney grabs her purse, papers, and sunglasses and runs out the door, shouting ďSee you guys later!Ē as we fade to commercial. Coming up next on The Amazing Race, can Tiffaney get to the challenge site in time? Can she make up the time on the other teams? Can she survive the third-world driving in Dallas?
Back from commercials, and Dominic is trying, to no avail, to learn the guitar. Spencer, working away at his laptop, is showing superhuman patience, or else a serious hearing loss, as he doesnít go berserk, scream, and break things.
Dominic (to Spencer): You donít know how to play guitar, do you?
Spencer: No. Guess that makes two of us.
D: Dude, this sucks.
S: Why yes, yes it does.
D: I mean itís kind of cool in a way, but itís like, I have to, like, learn to count notes, right? But itís like on top of that I have to like learn a song. You know what I mean?
S: Well yeah. But youíre obviously alright with it right off the bat. Wait, let me try that again. I can do it without laughing, seriously.
D: Iím sure you know Jimi Hendrix didnít strum out a hit on the first day he got a guitar.
S: Kid, I know Jimi Hendrix. Jimi Hendrix is a friend of mine, and you are no Jimi Hendrix. (conf): I donít think itís realistic that someone could literally learn how to play the guitar in one day.
D: Dude, I just want to rock it right now, dude! Urgh!
Mercifully a classical piano ditty takes us away from Dominicís tortured guitar, and Spencer and Shawn escape to pursue their own projects.
Spencer: Hey, let me ask you something. Since Mark kind of jumped on your case the other day, are you kind of like nervous, you know?
Shawn: No. If itís my time to go, then itís my time to go. I understand that heís a billionaire, and I understand that I have a very smart mouth, and nobody should back-talk the billionaire, but itís in my nature. Thatís like asking a cobra not to strike.
At 3:40 pm, Spencer exits the SUV and enters an office building to speak with Grady, the patent lawyer.
Spencer: I need to patent an idea of mine by 8 pm tonight.
Grady: Hahaha, thatís a good one.
S: Well, it doesnít have to be in the mail tonight. Maybe if I paid youÖmy work has to be done by 8 pm tonight.
G: I want you to realize thatís not a lot of time *laughs* For most patent applications it takes a little longer.
S: Why do you keep laughing at me?!?
G: Sorry. Why donít you go ahead and tell me what your idea is, thatíll kind of fill in the blanks for me.
<cue piano ditty>
S: OK. Iím a software engineer brak brak brak the situation in the country today is you have air traffic control brak brakity brak weíre in Dallas, and youíve got Houston over here brak brak braaaak Radar, or the way that they plot braaaaaaaaaak what I was thinking was a system that takes all the radar, all the radar from every facility la dee dah getting it patented and all that.
G: All right. That should be enough for me to get started. Iím trying to think, is there anything else? Did you give me the money.
S: I have it here.
G: OK. I was gonna take that. I have learned one thing as a lawyer is always get the money up front.
Spencer leaves at 5:57 pm, and next thing you know, itís 8:00 pm! Show and Tell time!
The Benefactor summons his servants and demands to know what they have done with his money. The first has invested it and turned his 10 talents into 20. The second Ö oh who am I kidding, the rest of the lot buried theirs in the backyard, and The Benefactor will be most displeased.
Mark (voice over): Everybody has great idea, everybody thinks they have a great plan. But executing on that plan is what separates success from failure. This is their chance to prove to me what is special about them. This is where I get to see who can talk the talk and who can walk the walk.
Kevin (confessional): Everyone seems to be really, really nervous. Which is good because I like to see everybody squirm.
Femia (confessional): This project is definitely the make or break point, and I know everything is riding on this idea.
Mark (to the group): It is TIME!Öto find out what you guys have done with the money. Because if you have done it well, thereís a whole lot more where that came from. You guys, as an entrepreneur, I know exactly what it feels like when youíre excited and youíre terrified at the same time because there is so, so much at stake.
Yes, but does he know what itís like to be embarrassed in front of a national television viewership in the hundreds and a summary readership in the low to mid single digits? I think not!
M: But the key to being successful in these situations is taking control of your destinies. Use the Force, Luke.
Tiffaney is up first, wearing a smurf suit. OK, I must admit that I hadnít realized that her first and second phone conversations were related, and thought the skydiving idea had been nixed, so I was trying to figure out what in the world she was doing with the flight suit.
Tiffaney: I wanted to do something that was completely crazy, off the wall, and take one of the biggest risks of my life. One of the things you said is that you were afraid of heights, and Dominic asked you how much it would take for you to skydive. You said there wasnít enough money in the world Ė not a million dollars, not for a billion dollars. So I thought ĎWhy not me?í
She starts the tape chronicling her experience.
T: Markís whole theme is ĎNo balls, no babyí and thatís what Iím planning to bring.
She jumps! She falls! Fwoosh goes the parachute, and she floats to the ground.
T: If Mark doesnít like this, then Iím going out with a bang, because this was an awesome experience.
Mark: Very cool.
Spencer (confessional): Iíve never gone skydiving; Iíd love to go skydiving. But I think you need to come up with something that people are going to say ĎThere is just no way I could have come up with that if I had $1000.'
Latane (confessional): It was risky to go and do skydiving, but she actually got it done and I thought that was awesome.
Chris is up next.
Chris: I know you guys are going to find this really hard to believe, but Iím a big hockey fan. I started playing in high school, and that became my favorite sport above all. Iíve wondered what it takes to become an NHL player, what they go through to prepare for games. This was my time to become a star, and todayÖI became a Star!
He pulls off his hockey sweater and reveals a Stars sweater with the name Harris and the number 27. Fortunately not one of those butt-ugly third sweaters, although Draco makes them look good, doesnít he? Mark applauds and laughs with delight.
C: Today with $1000 I lived out the biggest dream of my life. I met with Dallas Stars head coach Dave Tippett, and he took me through some drills.
Well yeah, itís not like he has anything else to do with his time nowadays, is it? At least Tiffaney had to bribe her peeps to let her dive when they were closed. He too has a tape.
Chris suits up in the locker room, and coach enters.
Tippett: Letís do it!
Coach slaps Chris on the butt when he exits to take the ice. Now he knows heís arrived. Tip blows the whistle, and Chris skates and shoots some, and gets checked into the boards by the coach. Thatís embarrassing.
T: He needs some work, but you can tell heís played before. He has a great passion for our game.
Yeah, heís freaking Rudy on skates.
C: I donít want to sound too arrogant, but I want to see one person top this.
Chris, Chris, Chris. Pride goeth before the fall, my friend. You might want to ask to borrow Tiffaneyís parachute, quick. Anywho, Latane is up next, and he apparently spent his $1000 to investigate the life of a cross-dresser, dressed all in leather and wearing a long, silky black wig as he is.
Latane: What I want to do in this challenge is learn (?) everything Iíve done in my life and with my company and try to implement that so I can be successful to try and win this million dollars. He said, Ďwhoís going to be a star?í So what I did is I went and bought the domain name whosgoingtobeastar.com. I kind of took my exaggerations and all my thoughts about what the life of a star is, and I made it together into today, Iím a star.
Dominic does not look pleased. Considering heís based his entire worth as a candidate on his rock star image, and Latane has just made a more valid claim on that image than he, itís understandable.
L (confessional): I showed the funny, but what I wanted to show is that Iím not just a big goofy idiot.
Yeah, the wig was an excellent choice in proving that point. He passes out preliminary business plans for the company (although we still have no idea what the company is or how it relates to cross-dressing) and tells the group that if you can get enough people to come to your site, the advertisers will follow.
Dominic (confessional): I was pretty surprised that Latane would take the initiative and try to do the rock star thing, when I was clearly the rock star of the house. It doesnít make sense to me why he would go to that level. I thought he had so much more to offer.
This, folks, was the single funniest moment of the entire episode, and nothing I could say could possibly capture the hilarity of Dominicís clear feeling of threat and offense that anyone else would dare take his schtick.
L (confessional): I gave my best shot and I feel Iím right there with anyone else.
Mark (confessional): Dressing with the wig and the rock star look made me think he didnít have confidence in his idea, that he was looking for a gimmick to put himself on top.
Spencer gets up and addresses the group.
Spencer: Time for a little change of pace.
S: Air traffic analysis system, I call it ATAS brak brak brak all the data brak brak consolidate brak brak brak analyze brakity brak global trends analysis brak brak brak brak brak brak brak security and the war on terrorism.
This whole time, mark looks on with interest, but the others are yawning and falling asleep.
S: Hereís the patent application, so I can now say Ďthis idea is patent pending.í
Mark: Good for you Spen, thatís awesome. Want to go play D&D?
Jennifer (conf): I didnít get it.
Jennifer (conf): I didnít get it.
Jennifer (conf): I didnít get it. **
All Iíve got to say is: Bless you Spencer, for being just about the only one who didnít use the word ďstarĒ or parrot one of Markís talking points (at least that we saw). I wasnít a fan before, but you clearly were tops tonight. Kevin is up next, and he sets up a boombox and explains that he went and wrote a song, sang it, and co-produced it. Dominic again looks displeased. He says the song is called ďOne Scene LeftĒ and hits Play. Some parts sound like bad karaoke, but some parts sound surprisingly nice. Major props for putting himself out there like that.
Kevin (confessional): Everybodyís face was lit up. They were in disbelief that it was coming from me. I was feeling pretty confident.
Mark: You wrote the song?
K: I wrote the song.
M: You sang on the song?
K: I sang on the song.
M: Is there any significance to the song itself?
K: There is significance to the song itself.
OK, what he really said, partly to the group and partly in confessional, was, ďMy dad, when I was 14, passed away. When youíre a kid, at first a bit angry with him because he was gone. Of course it wasnít his fault he was dying. If you just dig deep inside, thereís always like another scene to life so to speak, you really donít have to just give up. And so I never gave up.Ē
Ooh, now Linda canít be happy that someone else has played the sympathy card. Such rivalries forming. Mark may get some blood sport yet.
Mark (confessional): I think Femia is going to surprise me. She understands what it means to take a chance.
Yeah, Iím no Larry or Kim, but Iíd classify the yellow and orange creation crossing her oobies *** and leaving her midsection bare as a chance. Okay, so it was actually nice looking, with the matching head scarf and all. The other products in her line, not so much.
Femia: Obviously you guys see I look a little different from everybody else.
Kevin: Hello, Iím black too!
F: Basically I wanted to take this opportunity for me to be the one shining like a star. So what I decided to do was create my own fashion design label.
She summons out a pair of models, one male and one female, and both wearing the same drab, tan and gray number suitable for servants of Queen Femia.
Shawn (confessional): I thought her outfits were very classy. As a mom, I want to go out and look sexy, but I still need to have parts covered when Iím with my children. I think her fashion statement is a perfect style for a working mom but still has sex appeal.
F: This first collection is called the Shining Star Collection. As soon as I have access to the internet and email, youíll be able to purchase these online.
Kevin (confessional): It was a good outfit, but if it was given to me, Iím not going to be wearing it.
Linda (confessional): I would never, ever wear one of Femiaís outfits. ĎHell noí is all I have to say. No way. Ever.
But, but, butÖitís the same for women and men! Perfect for the woman with bigger testicles than all the men in the house put together, isnít it?
Shawn is next to present her idea.
Shawn: Coming into this game, I knew I had to get onto your good sideÖand I havenít done it so far. The biggest lesson Iíve learned is you donít back-talk the billionaire.
Yeah, yeah, and you never tug on Supermanís cape, we get it.
Sh: But what I do have that is so closely aligned with you is the passion to turn my dreams into a paycheck. So, Mark, I wrote my own childrenís book, because thatís what Iíve always wanted to do. Itís called ĎThe Game Starts Nowí and Iím going to have to take a moment, because Iím all verklempt. Talk amongst yourselves. Here, Iíll give you a topic: Dominic Ė heís neither a rock (although he may have them in his head), nor a star. Discuss.
I donít know if anything was cut, but hereís what we heard of the book:
Life is a game of highs and lows. Which way do you go? Around every corner Or twist and turn You play the game hard And fight to stay strong Some days you wonder just where you went wrong. Tears flow at the drop of a hat For a million dolalrs IMAGINE THAT! When the game is all over and life has begun Youíll look in the mirror And see you have won.
All together now: Awwwwwww!
Spencer (confessional): I did like her idea, but I donít think it was in the Top 5. I think itís fairly likely that sheíll be cut.
Tiffaney (confessional): Shawn and her awesome book. That was great, she did such a good job. So much thought, hard work, and effort into that.
Sh: So in one day, Iím officially an author.
Mark: Good job Shawn.
Sh (conf): The grandiose vision that I had in my head didnít turn out. I totally think Iím going home.
Christineís at bat, Linda on deck, Dominic in the hole.
Christine: Today, to sum it up, I went and took a 2-hour dance lesson with a great director and choreographer, something Iíve never had money for, access to from Idaho, or time.
She cues up her tape and explains that her teacher was the choreographer from the Dallas Mavericks Dancers, but it looks more like Britney Spears.
C: Dancing is a big passion of mine. Also I teach dance at home, so Iíll be able to take that routine back and use it for my professional dance teams and students. (confessional): I think you had to make a big, huge impression in order to stay tonight. I definitely think I did well enough to stay in the game.
I think you would have needed a wardrobe malfunction.
Linda: You all know me as Linda the athlete, Linda who talks about gross things. So I said for myself I wanted to learn about something you know a whole lot about. One thing that scares me, terrifies me, turns me into a puddle of self-loathing goo, and Iím actually shaking looking at it, is that black thing right there.
Calm down Omarosa, sheís talking about the laptop.
L: I wanted to make something good out of tragic happenings.
She explains the whole drunk driving thing, apologizes for her hunt-and-peck typing, and attempts to show off the website. First though, she actually has to figure out how to open it. Then she has to find it. When this proves too difficult, she implores The Mark (somehow that isnít as powerful sounding as The Donald, but perhaps more appropriate for her expert manipulation) for assistance.
Latane (confessional): When I saw Linda appeal to Mark, in terms of my position in this game, I thought ĎOh crap, Iím screwed.í
Mark (confessional): Linda was very computer-phobic. It was very difficult for me to know whether it was something she was trumping up to try and get on my good side.
And now for the main attraction. Or something. Dominic leads everyone poolside for his presentation.
Dominic: You gave us $1000 to have fun with, to take hold of our dreams. Being a rock star, as you know, has a lot of responsibilities.
No, we donít know. Maybe if we had a real example of a rock star weíd have a better idea.
D: I never had the money to buy a guitar, so what I did today was with $1000 I bought this sweet little thing. Never had an opportunity to play in a band, ever. So Iíd like to introduce Bacchus.
Oh good. Start up the dithyramb and inebriate us with wine. Weíre going to need it Lord Bacchus, amen.
Tiffaney (confessional): I canít believe he brought a group. Thatís so Dominic.
D (confessional): I just dropped Mark Cubanís name, and they pretty much dropped everything, jobs, kids, to come play with me.
Uh, if you had to drop MCís name, they didnít come to play with you. They better hope Cuban foots their bill, since you spent all your money on a guitar.
D: Here we go, this song is called ĎMaybeí.
Dominic sounds awful of course, but it is thankfully covered by the fact that his guitar isnít plugged in.
D (confessional): I donít want to leave anything behind. I want to take it all out there and I want everyone in this house to remember who I was.
To cement who he is in their memories, he starts acting like an idiot, jumping around, and smashes the guitar on the ground in a fit of rage. Completely understandable since he was never going to be playing it again. He finishes it off by taking a dip in the pool with the lead singer.
Chris (confessional): The kid, I love him to death. He is like this x-factor that just comes out of nowhere. Heís not doing it with extreme intelligence (now thereís the understatement of the century), heís just coasting through being himself.
Mark (confessional): Good for Dominic that everything heís done has put the biggest smile on my face. Iíve been very impressed.
Iím not even going to speculate on what Dominicís done thatís put a smile on Markís face.
Shawn (confessional): He wasnít the star that he was making himself out to be, because he wasnít the lead singer.
Hell, he was barely a guitar player.
Mark (addressing the group): I am so, so proud of you guys. I love the fact that you all took chances. That you had big ideas and even bigger dreams. But I can only pick six of you to continue. Four of you are going home tonight.
He lists off those who are staying, and then we get a confessional clip explaining his decisions.
Femia: She took a huge challenge, and went out of her comfort zone, doing something very difficult that she hadnít done before.
Spencer: Spencer was the intellectual star of the group. Out of nowhere he did exactly what I would have done Ė found a great patent lawyer and filed for a patent. That was brilliant in my mind.
Kevin: Everything he did was a challenge and was personal.
Dominic: Dominic was the easiest pick to make. He entertained me, went out of his comfort zone, and had a blast. He was a star, he stood out.
Tiffaney: I can relate to what Tiffaney went through. Iím terrified of heights. I couldnít push through my comfort zone and skydive, so I gave Tiffaney a lot of points for doing something that scared the hell out of me.
Mark: The final spot will go to one of two people Ö Linda, or Chris. That means Christine, Shawn, Latane, youíve lost your chance at a million dollars. Please say your goodbyes.
Latane (confessional): I really thought I gave it a great shot here. I just came up with an idea that was quick, and I didnít struggle with it.
Maybe that was the problem?
M (confessional): I think Latane was confused.
Mark, I already made the cross-dressing joke.
M: Can I finish? Thank you. What I was saying is no one upstages my boy toy.
Christine (confessional): Iím competitive. My personal opinion was that mine was the best.
Competitive, and quite possibly delusional.
M (confessional): Thereís nothing she did that said to me Christine was a star. And weíre not hiring for Mavericks cheerleaders right now.
Shawn (confessional): I said coming into this ĎYouíll either love me or youíll hate me.í
M: I hate you.
Sh: I canít change who I am to make him happy.
Good for you, getting out of that abusive relationship honey.
M: Shawn just rubbed me the wrong way too many times. She was really going to have to perform to go beyond this test, and she didnít. What Shawn gave us was an ode to the game in the form of a kidís book. Every single thing was a reference to the game. I really felt like Shawn was trying to manipulate me by responding to all the issues Iíve had with her in the form of a kidís book.
How dare a contestant try and address your problems! The nerve!
Sh (conf, crying): Itís time for me to go home and do my job and be a mom, and a teacher.
Mark: Femia, Spencer, Kevin, Dominic, Tiffaney, because youíve done so well, Iíve decided to allow you to choose your final competitor. You may decide to choose the person you like the most, or you may decide to choose the person you think is the least threat. Whatever you decide, choose wisely, for your life hangs in the balance.
M (confessional): In order to be successful, you have to be incredibly competitive. In sports, in business, if I have the opportunity to put Ďem away, Iím not going to lie, cheat, or steal, but Iím gonna squash Ďem like a bug. The reason Iím letting the five select the last competitor is I want to know if theyíre going to keep or eliminate Chris or Linda to help a friend, or squash a competitor.
M (to the group again): I want you five to go upstairs. You have 10 minutes to discuss. When you return, Iíll ask you to vote, Chris or Linda.
M (confessional again): With Chris and Linda, I could find something very positive about both of them, and I could find something a little bit negative. Chris worked hard, but didnít step out of his comfort zone. Linda, I just had that that little bit of uncertainty that she was playing up her computer-phobia.
Downstairs, Chris and Linda converse.
Linda (to Chris): Weíre the strongest people here. If we werenít the strongest, we would never be sitting here.
Upstairs, the group tries to reach a decision.
Tiffaney asks if their decision is going to be based on who is the strongest. Femia asks Dominic who he thought would win in head-to-head matchups between him and the two awaiting their fate. Dominic says he likes Linda. Femia thinks Linda is her strongest competition, and if she has the chance to take out the competition, sheís going to have to do it. This impresses Mark. The group reconvenes downstairs.
Mark: Ladies and Gentlemen of the jury, have you reached a verdict? When I say your name, vote for the person you would like to stay in the game. Femia?
M: Thatís two votes Linda, one vote Chris. Dominic?
M: Chris, the tribe has spoken. Please bring me your torch.
Chris: No cowards, no crybabies.
M (confessional): I really thought he had a shot. He just didnít go out of his comfort zone enough for me to just pick him, and the other contestants picked Linda.
C (confessional): I donít look at this as the fact that I lost, I look at this as the fact that they know who was going to win and used the only opportunity they were going to have to get rid of me. Mark didnít say it was time for me to go, they said it was time for me to go. The people that I really cared about were the ones that I got knifed from.
Dominic (confessional): I eliminated Chris. That was part of my strategy.
D: I couldnít be in a better position right now.
Hello? Pride? Fall? Did you not just see what happened to Chris?
Mark: Congratulations. You have a one 1 in 6 chance. Do you realize how close you are to one million dollars? Five of you may never get closer in your lives. The stakes are dramatically higher. Some of you were friends. You wonít stay friends. Some of you were considerate. You wonít stay considerate. All that matters is the game. And the only outcome of the game that matters is walking away with a check for ONE MILLION DOLLARS.
Iím going to skip the post game comments because Iím not trying to compete with Estee and landru for worldís longest summary. Basically everyoneís going to step it up, and Linda hates Femia.
Next week on The Benefactor:
Itís a high stakes game of horse! The contestants are divided into two teams. The first team, which will always wear silver, consists of Femia, Dominic, and Tiffaney. The second team, which will always wear blue, consists of Linda, Kevin, and Spencer. Theyíll have to scour Dallas for the best basketball players they can find to play for them. Mark will offer the losers a bribe, and one of them will take it and walk away from the game.
* Go read Beboís summary. Hi Bebo! ** Go read ICBís summary. Hi ICB! *** Go read landruís summary. Hi landru! **** If youíre reading this, Hi Mark! I really do like your show. I kid because I care. ***** Hi Tiffaney! So, you think BUís got a shot against UT this weekend? Yeah, me neither. ****** Since none of those other people are going to be reading this either, Hi mom!