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HOME > EPISODE SUMMARIES

The Surreal Life 5 - Episode 1 Summary

'There's A DAW Born Every Minute' By Estee
Original Airdate: July 10, 2005

Every time that casting agent calls 'round the clock, like dandelions up they pop,
Ears so big and eyes so wide, and though they feed us bona-fide baloney,
With no truth in it,
Oh still they thrive, oh this I guarantee!
Because there's a sure-as-shooting DAW born a minute,
And friends, the biggest one of all is me!

Welcome to VH1, America's first laundry fetish network! That's right: if it's completely washed up, it has a home here. Out of style? On the schedule. Dead and buried? Exhumed and filmed. If your fifteen minutes is up, VH1 will put another five seconds on the clock face. In pencil. And then they'll put you on TV again, although no one's ever quite sure when. (Ever notice VH1 has a schedule Nostradamus couldn't predict? Tune in for the 80s, get the 70s. You think it's the worst breakup songs ever? No, it's Bridgette and Flavor Flav, which sort of calls for the worst breakup songs ever to be played immediately in the desperate hopes that they'll somehow turn out to be inspirational. My local TV listings finally put a scrolling 'Your guess is as good as good as ours' entry across the week.) Is your career over? Do adults laugh at you in the street? Would little children throw stones at you if they had any idea who you were? Can your aura of stupidity and/or evil be detected from orbit? And were you planning on running for governor of California? Again? If so, come on down to VH1, where they have many, many possible homes waiting for you, and tonight those homes are on their special CelebReality block, also known as 'Ever see the suicide rate spike forty percent in two and a half hours?'

And what's the most storied, fabled, and deserving of air bombing among those homes? Why, it's the Surreal Life mansion! -- so named because if anyone in there has any hope of a life, the world has gone totally surreal -- and it looks like it's just about that time of year again to start filling it with people that we'd normally consider victims, but let's face it: they volunteered. They are so far down the hill that a traveling five-year freakshow looks good to them. If joining the most idiotic circus on TV would give them a two percent chance at landing that late-night carpet emporium commercial, then paint scales on their faces and call them the Alligator People Of Hollywood. They emerge from the sewers at night and try to steal your dinner reservations. The horror, the horror...

Yes, the season has come. It's time to stock the rivers with trout, throw guppies into the pond, and put some major DAWs in a prison for a one-week sentence, which is really giving the rest of the world a treat because it means very few of us will have to deal with them for that time. They'll be forced to live with each other. Deal with whatever stupid situations the producers can throw their way. There may or may not be a romance, but don't worry: they're generally too stupid to breed. And as always, if we're very lucky, someone's sentence may be commuted to death.

Who's so desperate for the light of an active camera that they volunteered for this third circle of damnation? What idiotic follies will be put on display for the six people who believed the listing time to see? Will anyone spot the gas nozzles in the walls? And can the producers finally get these people drunk enough for someone to fall into the pool and drown? (Why do you think there's a sign on the grounds reading 'No Lifeguard On Duty'? Hope.)

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Yes, I'm in a mood. Targets are a good thing. Roll opening credits.

And we're in Hollywood again, on our way up to the Surreal Estate, and a word of caution must be given: the first person we see is not a houseguest. He's exactly that desperate and at least twice that stupid and there's little more we'd like to do than see him suffer, too, but he's a DAW on an unbelievable level -- a level so impossible that VH1 would not let him in. There are things too horrible to do to people, even major DAWs, and locking this shambling travesty of what never had pretensions to humanity in with nearly anybody almost made the list, but you have to see the DAWs we're getting and as such, I'm prepared to make an exception this time. Unfortunately, VH1 isn't willing to have that suicide spike include the houseguests, so Andy Dicque is going to stay outside. You may remember Andy from the last time your eyes were taped open and you were begging for death. Or you may remember him from his own reality show, whatever that was. You might even remember him sitting next to Chyna Phillips and playing all her blackjack cards for her, which was a good thing because between the two of them, they nearly had enough brains to count to twenty-one. Or you might have been really lucky and repressed him from your memory entirely, in which case you're seeing a blank space at the start of the summary and wondering how I violated board standards this time. It's not me: it's Andy. Andy violates a lot of things every time he appears on television, and most of them are covered by the Geneva Convention. But since being a prisoner of the Ratings Wars doesn't count for Red Cross protection, let's all just grit our teeth and push on. Because as long as he's on television, there's a chance he'll be put through incredible agony right in front of us, and we can but hope.

Andy is here to serve as security guard for the Surreal Estate. The responsibility of keeping these DAWs in jail falls upon him. Normally this would be like turning the nuclear launch codes into a tap-Morse sequence and giving the responsibility to a hyperactive woodpecker, but in this case, the assignment makes sense. You see, Andy isn't allowed to enter the mansion itself. He must always stop at the door. That means that as long as our DAWs are inside, they are living in a world that is guaranteed not to contain Andy in it. This is completely unfair when it comes to a jail sentence and smacks of pampering the prisoners, plus it's such a magnificent perk that I might go there, but if it keeps them inside, it keeps them inside. You contain evil with evil, people. Good tends to think they can be reformed and releases them to work in the community. (So does evil, but it's laughing the whole time.)

It's probably just about time to meet our DAWs because anything's better than letting Andy have the camera to himself, so here they come, pulling up to the security desk in front of the driveway, transported in cars that are better than anything they've been able to drive for years. And who's the first DAW to arrive? Wait -- is that a car? Is that the Average Joe bus? Is this anyone I'd ever recognize from anything whatsoever? In fact, we have just had the first test of being a VH1 star passed with flying colors: on first sighting, everyone must look at their latest feature attraction and say 'Who?' in six-part harmony.

'You know me as Balki from Perfect Strangers,' says Bronson Pinchot. No, I don't. I don't know you as Balki. Don't be ridiculous. I barely know you from Adam, and that's mostly because Adam's dead and you're still alive, if only just. But according to Bronson, he had a hit show on ABC for nearly a decade, which really doesn't mean much because Steve Urkel had a hit show on ABC for nearly a decade, so it's not exactly like they've got standards. Plus he was nominated for an Emmy once and they'll nominate anybody. He wants to try for the sympathy angle by explaining how he could fall so low that he'd wind up in this house, so he tells us he grew up on welfare with his father in prison and often had to stay home from school because his only pair of pants was in the washer. So Bronson just wants a guaranteed roof over his head for one week, and it's even okay if it caves in, because the V-shape it'll form after cracking over his skull is still good for keeping off the rain. Plus he'll be pocketing all the shampoo samples and stealing the towels is always an option. Bronson is the first person going into the fully-furnished Surreal Estate. He will also be the only person who ever sees it in the fully-furnished condition. Andy may want to do a body cavity search on Bronson before he leaves. Nobody will want to watch.

Bronson approaches the desk and asks for help with his emotional baggage, but Andy tells him it'll have to pass the metal detector first. However, Bronson needs no help getting his priorities in order, as demonstrated by the following exchange.

Andy: 'So how do you feel about living with six other people?'
Bronson: 'Great.'
Andy: 'Wonderful?'
Bronson: 'Fantastic, thank you.'
Andy: 'You're getting paid.'
Bronson: 'Yes.' And that forty cents an hour really adds up after a while.

Andy checks Bronson for metal and finds none. He fails to check Bronson for a special assortment of plastics, which might have been a good idea because Bronson's been warned by his manager not to commit any acts of sexual harassment in the house. Apparently Bronson's prone to that sort of thing, or he's prone to being prone, one of those. But Bronson likes to do things he's been told not to do, so everyone in the house can look forward to being sexually harassed by Bronson, starting with Andy. Of course, this is Andy we're talking about, and he likes that sort of thing. In fact, he loads Bronson onto the back of a golf cart and drives him up to the house with that traditional prison greeting, 'Your All-Star Survivor is mine!' So if you ever wondered about Andy, you're a very sick person and should be put down like the mad dog you are, but at least you found out before you were justifiably killed.












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