This show began with such exciting, death-defying stunts in its early episodes! Soaring balloons! Dare-devil stunt planes! Jumping off cliffs! Branson still promises “the biggest prize in Reality TV history!” But now, sadly, this show has all the buoyancy of a lead balloon. Interesting people have been turned into cardboard cut-outs. Even Branson himself looks bored half the time. Where to begin?
Oh yeah – the lame love story. Steve luvs Jessica. Jessica is just not into Steve. But she can’t tell him to eff off because then she’s not a team player, right? Sadly, the show keeps trying to create romantic tension.
They send everyone off to party in London before meeting up with Sir Richard in a low-rent church basement. Such high production values in this show! Oh, wait. This isn’t any church basement—this is the actual church basement where Virgin had its first offices, before the priests found out what Branson was really up to and kicked his atheistic rocker’s ass out into the street.
Anyway, Branson divides the hapless prize-seekers into two teams. Yes, boys and girls—it’s the Boys vs. the Girls again. What is it with this constant Battle of the Sexes thing? Does Branson have unresolved issues from his grammar school days? Does he find this clever? I have no idea. And as usual, the Boys’ Team will be led by a girl and vice versa – the Girls’ Team will be led by a boy. Big whoop.
They all go out to dinner, where Jessica kind of ignores Steve, who sits at the head of the table and broods. Then just when you thought things couldn’t get more boring Steve follows Jessica into the Ladies Bathroom and they have a stupid fight inside while the camera spends freaking hours focused on the bathroom door. In this episode, the bathroom door has more air time than most of the prize contestants!
Hey!!! We were promised naked people in this episode! Show us some skin!
Oh wait. I forgot to mention the Stupid Challenge. Before he was a big-time, billionaire aviator Branson was a Rock n Roll kind of guy. Virgin began as a record label. So the challenge is for each team to pick a rock and roll band to play at the V Festival in Chelmsford, England. Since he doesn’t trust them enough to just wander around London and look for a band, Richard brings them to yet another basement where the teams listen to four pre-screened bands and pick one.
Unfortunately we see each band actually perform for only about 3.8 nanoseconds. The Girl’s Team, led by Steve, select band number 3, also known as Exit Ten. The Boys Team pick band number four, which is three half-naked, long-legged black girls who sing and dance in their underpants. Their name is Red. Because they are an embarrassment, I guess.
They have just a few hours to get ready to present their band to Sir Richard. Jessica and the Boys, (including Shawn who may or may not have actually made the final choice because there was some weird, heavy editing going on here) spend their time teaching the girls how to sing and dance better. Steve and the Girls spend their time riding around in cabs and trying to get endorsements for their band. Also? Steve rehearses his presentation in yet another bathroom—this time a sex-appropriate Men’s Room. A long row of urinals watches Steve’s performance without comment. I conjure up all sorts of non-PG-13 humor that I can’t say here. Mostly, I long to give Steve a swirly.
Eventually they all converge in a Virgin Megastore, where Sir Richard has assembled a Panel of Judges from the music industry and the V Festival.
Jessica is up first. She talks about how stylish the Red girls look in their skimpy underpants, and how they are “New!” because, like, three gorgeous black women have never actually sung rock n roll together before. Up on the Panel, a black woman judge boggles at the incredible stupidity of this claim.
When it is Steve’s turn, he reads his notes from a Marble Notebook and paces back and forth in front of the panel like a demented circus barker. No one is sure if they should laugh or if he’s serious.
Branson says that the winning team will find out their good news at the V Festival itself. If their band struts out on-stage, then a team will know they have won. If the waiting limos deliver both teams to an abandoned lot somewhere in London, they will know that the show sucks so bad Branson has abandoned it. Oh, the suspense! Will anyone win?
At the V Festival, Exit Ten is introduced. The Girls’ Team, led by Steve, has won! While Exit Ten performs Branson has Jessica chose one member of the losing team to go head-to-head with her in the elimination challenge. She picks Shawn. This is the challenge: Sing or Streak. At the V Festival. In front of God, the Queen and everyone in the world who has a camera.
Shawn says he won’t strip because of his religious beliefs. Lucky for him, Jessica lets him off the hook because she just can’t wait to show her stuff in the buff. Maybe she figures once Sir Richard sees her naked glory he will hand over the keys to Virgin Enterprises? Then again, it is more likely she didn’t think at all. In that Paris Hilton kind of way, It All Made Sense At The Time.
Jessie gets naked. A middle-aged woman in bifocals paints the word “RED” on her upper chest, not her boobs. She paints “Virgin” on Jessie’s ass. FOX TV, ever mindful of the BIG fines that the FCC hands out for gratuitous nudity pastes a black box over the naked Jessie that is so big it barely shows her ankles and eyebrows. So much for nudity. Pfft! Luckily, there were several thousand digital cameras at the V Festival and you can Google up Naked Jessie pics all over. I added a nice red bra to this pic so Webby wouldn’t ban my summary. Doesn’t Jessie look fine? I think the armpit hair is particularly lovely.
After she wiggles her boobies, Jess turns to wiggle her best ASS(et) at the crowd. Watching down below, the other prize-contenders clap enthusiastically. Obviously Jessica has just committed suicide and they are all one step closer to victory. (Quick! Name one major company headed by a woman who danced naked in front of cameras at a rock festival! Just one! Yeah, me neither.) Steve seems to be the only one who feels badly for Jessica.
I wait for Branson to get naked and join her on stage, because he claims he will do all the stunts he asks the dumb contenders to do. This does not happen. Instead Shawn does a lame impersonation of Britney Spears while being enthusiastically booed by the crowd who want their naked stripper back. I want this hour of my life back. But relief is in sight because the show is almost over.
It’s Elimination Time at last. This time, instead of all the winners leaving on a jet plane the sole looser is going to leave in an army surplus helicopter. There is only one ticket. Sir Richard gives the ticket to Jessica, because even though she was brave enough to get naked she was also foolish enough to get naked. And besides, he likes Shawn best.
Next week, the show continues to spiral downhill. I think they’re still in London. Maybe. Anyway, this is where I tag PRE who was supposed to write this ep but tricked me into writing it instead. You’re IT, PagongRatEater! *runs and hides*
(Actually, PRE had a recording error and asked me very nicely to sub for him. He’s a nice guy, that PRE!)