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The Scholar - Episode 3 Summary

'The Road to Harvard Goes Through Djibouti' By zipperhead
Original Airdate: June 20, 2005

Hello, I’m a virgin. Hope this is as good for you as it will be for me.

What? This isn’t a chat room? I’m supposed to do a summary here? Well, shit.

If, for any reason, you came here hoping to read something nice about the contestants or the show, you’re in for a bit of a surprise. Just thought it would be fair to warn any family members of the contestants who may have wandered in here looking for solace when your kid looks bad on TV. My job is not to make you feel any better about their public heartache. My job is to make those of us who are jaded about the whole arbitrariness of reality shows feel better.

On with the crap…

In the few minutes of the recap of last week’s episode that my stupid recorder caught, Scot won the showdown and joined “the Final Five” - which is a code phrase for a nasty little hazing ritual which you can see on HBO this Fall. I wish. Then we see some of the other contestants make remarks like “I’m gonna have to step things up”. These kids are supposed to be smart? If you ever get picked for a reality contest, you damned well better go for broke from the very beginning. Otherwise, you don’t belong in the contest and I’m gonna take away your lunch money for wasting my time. By the way, the expression “go for broke” is pretty useless here since every one of these brats is going to walk away with a nice prize.

We then get the intro shots and voice-overs that make me itch. “I want to make the world a better place”, “ I want to cure cancer”, “I want to go to the moon”. Pssst, hey. You. Yeah, you. The Miss America pageant is across the street. Sure, it’s good to hear people who have high hopes, but this is some of the most generic dreaming this side of a Disney movie. Most of these people are going to get slapped pretty hard by reality before this contest is over. And we get to watch it happen, oh joy!

Let me take a moment to say that the house they are living in is hideous. You can tell that this was shot in Southern California because there are few places in America where they would allow such a garish pile of crap to exist.

Liz is the first confessional of the episode and she talks about how she is all in favor of the slumber party going on. A slumber party with people who are trying to beat you out of a full college scholarship? Five minutes into the show and I don’t like her. Too peppy to win this kind of thing. Hey, Liz - Yale is not known for their slumber parties.

Then we hear from Francine, who will be filling out Paula Abdul’s duty with the boys in this particular show. Her official title is “resident advisor”. Francine wants everyone to write down questions that they are supposed to ask each other. “Okay,” I’m thinking to myself, “let’s get a little insight on these brilliant, outstanding teen-agers.” So what are the two questions we hear? “Who wants to have sex?” and “Who wants to have sex right now?” And these are the good teenagers in America. No need to get into the particulars, since their raging hormones will have them looking at somebody else the next morning, except these two items - 1) Right after Max says Melissa has a nice booty, the tag under her name says that she has done charity events. Would Max be considered a charity if he says he was sheltering his own Blue Man Group? 2) Alyssa gives a nice jealous look around when another female is complimented. If this were real life, she would start sleeping with the guys who were wavering. A show for MTV, maybe?

Liz has another confessional, for those of you who keep score of that kind of thing. Alyssa does too. Or maybe she doesn’t. Just screwing with you. Neither one of them say anything important so we’ll move on.

Next, we set up for the “captain’s quiz”. Is it me or is that a really pathetic name for a challenge? The moron who came up with this needs to go back to work at PBS. At the quiz, rob nelson from Stanford gives us the lowdown. To wit, a word jumble with a missing letter.

At this point in the show I set down my drink, look around the room and say in a very pissed off voice “They’re doing a friggin word jumble as one of the ‘challenges’? What the holy hell do they have the SAT for if all it takes to get into Stanford is a word jumble?” The only reason I didn’t throw my glass at the TV was that I was really enjoying what I was drinking. Also, this challenge was just the method they had for picking this week’s team captains. I’m still ticked off, though. A word jumble. The unimaginative, lazy-assed producers can bite me, and they don’t even need to find the missing letter to do it.

Amari describes what letter she was looking for, but this is done only to throw off the losers who were actually trying to compete at home. You know who you are. Milana is the first to turn her paper over. Jeremy then describes his tactic, which was to…c’mon, why waste time on a strategy? It’s a freaking word jumble. This dood from Westminster is not impressing me very much. Melissa was the third and last person to “finish”. She didn’t really finish though, because neither she nor Jeremy even got the right letter. Most of the other contestants were still trying to figure out which end of the pencil they were supposed to be writing with. Rob proceeds to tell us that one other person did manage to scribble down three words with the missing letter. The camera pans around to a room full of honor students who were trying to figure out if they had written down three words or not. Their parents must be so proud. Max, the man-whore of the group got it. The missing letter was “Y” and today’s number is 12. Oops, sorry, wrong kids show. Max says that he is “juiced” to be the team leader. Don’t let that stain, Max.

We then get to see Milana’s background. She comes from a family of Russian immigrants and she‘s interested in medicine. Nothing to see here, move along.

Next, we get a shot of the kids hanging around, having fun. Except for Amari. She has a “confessional cam” segment where she throws a pity party, saying she is starting to feel like the stupid one in the group. Hmmm, are we being set up for something here? No time to think about it because we are at a commercial break:

Wal-Mart is a philanthropic organization (NOT); some kids watch Toyota crash testing, my favorite line “What about your car?”; a kid has a possessed piece of pizza, courtesy of Pizza Hut; lame-o Blue Man Group pushing Intel; cartoons eating Ritz chips; Glade’s Wisp poisoning a family’s home; NBA finals

We’re back to see Amari’s bio. Smart, multi-talented girl from a good family. BOR-ing. More people need to get shot with BB guns during these bios. Ron comes back to tell us that the team challenge is to “give back”. Too bad they can’t give back the hours that I waste watching reality TV. Milana and Max pick teams:

GOLD team: Milana, Melissa, Scot, Liz, Jeremy
RED team: Max, Davis, Alyssa, Gerald, Amari

Each team gets a $500 gift card to spend at Wal-Mart. The Red team visit’s a remedial learning center. Their goals are to improve the tutoring program, create a reading area, build a partition between toilets, renovate the play area, and get new books. One little boy describes the need for books by pointing out that he learned the phrase “Emancipation Proclamation” from “South Park”. No Child Left Behind, as long as they watch vulgar cartoons.

Gold team goes to Blazer safe haven. Davis says they took notes about “ things they’d like to improve and blah, blah, blah”. His passion for charity is underwhelming. Gold team goals: create reading program, get gardening supplies, get musical instruments, create tutoring program. Amari says she does not want to be seen as someone who takes a back seat to other players. We’ll see about that.

Gold team goes to WM with real gusto. A clock appears to tell us how much time they have left. It’s annoying because there’s no real penalty for going over the time allowed. Then the Red team arrives at WM. They don’t have a clue.

Gold team races around, knocking things over. Typical WM shoppers. Red team stands around and still knocks things over. Typical K-Mart shoppers. Gold team does a much better job shopping.

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