After the great job that Swami and cq have done so far, I know that the bar has been set high for the great unread summary that is the Rebel Billionaire. I know it’s like four days after the fact, but I hope that it is worth the wait…
Previously on Rebel Billionaire: The show has the infinite courtesy and wisdom to remind us who the last nine people standing are (since we actually are having a difficult time remembering these very forgettable characters). I would go through the list again myself, but unless they got written down I don’t remember anyone 30 seconds after they have faded from the television screen. Take my word for it, they are still there and there are nine of them.
Branson once again reviews his job criteria with the viewing audience - which I believe is now down to 3 ½ people (there was a guy in Sacramento watching but he turned it off once Steve tried calling the Bush twins…darn blue states). All Sir Richard is looking for is someone who is willing to achieve the impossible. And with that cleared up we have a quick look back at the INTENSE challenges, JAW DROPPING stunts, INCREDIBLE stultifying boredom and we are left to wonder how such a great concept with interesting and difficult challenges and (say it with me)the greatest prize in the history of reality TV went so terribly wrong. Oh, did I happen to mention that this show is on Fox? Nuff said.
Tonight the challenges intensify, as they somehow manage to do every week (I think drawing and quartering is the final challenge), and two people will have dangle over London in the elimination. All the contestants are willing to do whatever it takes to win. Nicole actually promises to eat Heather’s soul to get ahead – finally an interesting challenge since no one has seen any evidence that she has one WHO will be the last one standing? WHO will get left on the tarmac? WHO is still watching this show?
We cut to London at night as the group drives the streets in a double-decker bus, for I guess no other reason than the kitsch value. The show with the record for highest champagne consumption per capita in the history of reality TV history continues its strong performance. Branson, who really should be more experienced with this kind of thing, almost kills someone with the cork but we are unfortunately disappointed as Sir Richard manages to MISS Steve with the cork. We also get some insight into the Branson lesson of the week which is, quite simply – have fun, be happy. Apparently having fun is the essence of being at Virgin, which was a big surprise to me.
As a small upstart Virgin, the idea is to get all the free attention you can without having to expend your own, ummm, resources. Here we get to see all sorts of fairly unflattering shots of Richard doing some pretty wacky stuff that really makes you wonder how this guy became head of a major company without some sort of bet or dare being involved. We DO get to see him in a Jason mask cutting a cardboard cut-out of a person in half, but the camera goes back to the bus to reveal that Michael is still very much alive. Branson explains that their task is to formulate and execute a publicity stunt in the next 36 hours with a high level of panache but also with some substance, a word that receives blank stares from several of our contestants. It’s girls/guys again (hurrah) and it starts..NOW.
We are then treated to about 5 different ways of saying that the team who gets the most publicity wins just in case we were 100% totally clear on the point of a PR stunt, what public relations are or how to listen the first 4 times it was explained. Sean quickly steps into the limelight to promote his own company, Love Sak - which isn’t as dirty as it sounds but much more expensive than the other kind (as a quick aside here, the darn things ARE pretty cook but if you think I’m paying $300 for a bean bag chair you’re nuttier than Branson). His first idea is to have a giant couch bonfire in the park – freeing us from the confines and restrictions of sitting so high up with back support.
The girls on the other hand deftly avoid Sarah’s efforts at self-promotion of her company and 60’s bra burning re-enactments. Instead, they wisely choose to go into the oldest profession. Heck, sex sells and here is supermodel (?!?) Ericacorp right in their laps. No one who actually looks at the posters would know she sounds like a man. Candida stirs up trouble by actually suggesting that Ericacorp (an LLC, all rights reserved, do not reproduce without the written consent of major league baseball) is NOT a company, but no one really cares. Ericacorp is selected as team leader, since if she can’t sell herself she certainly deserves to head to the chopping block. And the women are off and running.
The men decide that they need something with a bigger hook than burning ottomans and head over to the park to get some ideas. Gabe and Steve are simultaneously struck with the epiphany that a soccer (a.k.a. Euro football, but not to be confused with the NFL Europe) match is the way to go – between Jewish and Arabs teams! They could promote the Love Sac and peace in the Middle East all at the same time, because who can really fight wars when you’re stuck in a damm bean bag chair. Steve even thinks that he can get Beckham to come and referee (apparently a ‘football’ player of some note) to come, even thought the guys trips to the bathroom have corporate sponsorships, but since they can’t get any Spice Girls to show up the idea is quickly dropped.
The problem the guys have is very simple – they don’t actually have any PLAYERS and it is very difficult to get any press, celebrities or audience to show up to a game without any people to actually play. Evidently nobody told the men that Saturday is actually the Sabbath and calling Temple Beth El right now is just not a great idea. So, they have a very hard time selling this event to the press and apparently don’t even bother calling them to promote it until they have a celebrity all lined up. That’s OK though cause Steve knows just scads of people – he went to school with Barbara Bush! (we’ll assume that he isn’t talking about the former First Lady) Well, he doesn’t actually know her, but his mom has a friend who has a connection who might be able to get Barbara’s number for him. President Bush’s attendance is assured!
Meanwhile, the girls are at the Internet café pimping their ho promoting Ericacorp and putting all their logistics in place. While Sarah starts getting weepy about the prospective nuptials of her good friend Ericacorp, Candida actually goes out and finds…a wedding dress – which incredibly the board of Ericacorp does not feel is necessary for pulling this stunt off (can anyone say showmanship?). After all, wouldn’t YOU be opposed to driving a whole hour in a car to get a free wedding dress? A quick jaunt over to Lloyd’s of Walmart and you are all set. While putting their solicitation on the internet, they run across the ad that the guys somehow inadvertently put under the Men Seeking Women category. The women are singularly unimpressed with both the idea and the lengths to which Steve will go to continue his love/hate relationship with Jessica.
Candida, not to be denied, actually convinces this poor wedding shoppe (it’s the law, you have to call them that in London) owner to bring the dresses over herself and finally gets some props from Ericacorp. After trying on a few dresses, Ericacorp begins getting nervous about the next day. Gosh, will she really go through with this fake wedding?!? Afterwards, the women hit the street Las Vegas style to hand our flyers of the “goods” that are available if only they show up at the Love Pagoda tomorrow at 12:30. There are lots of interested guys, but even in England “ye olde commitment” is not something guys are fond of.
Fortunately for the men, the owner of the internet café happens to know a couple of Arab guys who might be free on Sunday and may be interested in a ‘football’ match. So, the requirement for an Arab team is all sewn up. They finally begin to contact the press to pump up the “great event” that they have “planned”. All of Steve’s so-called connections (read as his mom) come up dry, so they have no celebrity to bail out their lame idea; they have no Jews to play on their team; they have no press excited about this half-assed attempt at an event. The time has come for leadership, the time has come for decisive action…but first a quick re-enactment of the picture from the Beatles’ Abbey Road album. Alright, NOW the time has come for action. So after cruising a few bagel stores the guys find a couple of good Jewish boys who will play along with their stunt and with two Jews, some potential friends of the internet café owner and no committed press or celebrity the guys go to bed confident that “nothing can go wrong.” (alright, I have to step in for another aside here – first of all nothing has gone right for the guys on this task, it is obvious to the entire free world except for these four gents that they are about to get smoked. Secondly, eh – just cue the hubris music).