Is everyone rested? Feeling better after that week away from Janice's aura of death? Not quite as ready to storm the VH1 offices (second through fifth stalls in the basement level women's bathroom, MTV building, look for the Out Of Order sign on the door and jiggle the handle twice) as you were before? Choosing to live is starting to sound like the better option? Well, we'd better put a stop to that in a hurry. You didn't think you'd gotten away, did you? You really believed that week without a new episode meant VH1 had thought better of the whole project and shelved the remaining episodes in favor of their new hybrid series, Hogan Knows America's Next Top Model, with special focus on just how unhappy that makes his wife? Think again. There's still eight people watching this thing and that's practically a full-scale spam response, so the sponsors are lining up to buy commercial time -- although that's mainly because they're getting a two-for-one deal when they sign up for MTV's new reality series about rap stars teaching in public schools, Pimp My Textbook. As such, we now return you to your weekly half-hour dose of pain, torture, bamboo shoots placed under your toenails and of course, Janice Dickinson. Because it's just not sadism unless you give some of the wounds a chance to heal before inflicting new ones.
So with that in mind -- where were we? Oh, yes. In the last episode of Suddenly, Joining The PTC Is Starting To Sound Like A Good Idea, the Lifers were told to stop ripping off CBS and start ripping off ABC by renovating the backyard at the Jenesse Center House, a shelter for battered women and their children that A. really needed the help and B. therefore, should have known to sign up with people who could actually provide it. Since a little on-site battering could only make the day go faster, Voldemort was assigned to manage the project, for that value of 'manage' which translates to 'stay in front of the camera, give your crew no actual direction, call frequent breaks, and ask Janice about her special supply of powdered face, also known as Bare Bone Minerals'. This turned out to be about as good an idea as you'd probably expect, especially since the housemates were on deadline and Voldy's idea of time management was the classic two-hour, eight-martini lunch. With the last hours closing in and the editors terrified that there wouldn't even be enough time left to move the cast over to the pre-prepared post-renovation set, Carey finally put his foot down on Voldemort's clipboard and took over. That meant the Lifers had to do actual work, which meant Janice had to do another fake-quit, which came as a great relief to anyone who had the sixteen minute mark in the betting pool. Finally, after lots of fast camera work, one complete change of scenery, and some secret assistance by an entire team of brownies, a redone backyard was revealed, and it may have even been the one at the Jenesse Center because the production team could always come back four months later after most of the damage had been fixed and get some shots to computer-edit in. And in the end, the Lifers went back to the Surreal Estate, dirty and weary, but satisfied with a good day's effort. Except for Janice, who was so worn out by all the fake quitting she'd been forced to do that she just had to use the last of her energy to complain to Bronson, who had tried to make her do things again, and couldn't he see she was far too tired to pretend to breathe any more? Why, she barely had the strength to make people miserable! She was going to need a five-second break from spreading pain! Didn't everyone see how important it was for her to make a constant effort? But really, what can you expect from her foes?
What will the Lifers attempt to do this week? How long will it take Janice to fake-quit on it? Will Voldemort's relapse slowly abate after her removal from a position of power, or are we looking for one of Carey's tattoos to start burning any minute now? How's the household supply of powdered face holding up? And will someone please, please put a stake through whatever passes through Janice's heart?
Oh, right. It's plastic. Roll opening credits.
Day Five at the Surreal Estate, and the housemates are just starting to wake up. Jose is in his usual location, stretching his way off the couch. 'Get up, dog,' he urges his sleeping companion. It would be a natural (and horrifying) mistake to think that meant Janice, but in this case, it's Lucky, who's snoozing at the base of the couch. Janice is already tying up one of the bathrooms for her usual four-hour makeup session, now known as The Sequence That Launched A Thousand Lawsuits -- because for the first time, we're treated to a few quick shots of a partial 'before' state. That's right: it's still Janice with makeup on, but that makeup is one day old and the spells are starting to wear off. Powdered face isn't exactly a permanent installation: it has to be re-applied every twenty-four hours, and that means part of Janice's real face is starting to emerge. You may be expecting a horror show. You may be expecting to run for your life, screaming in terror and begging for the pain to stop. But what we actually got were a few brief glimpses of a fairly ordinary aging process. Janice with partial makeup looks like -- Janice, only with a facial age that comes closer to matching her hands. Except to Janice, who sees something akin to the post step-fall in Death Becomes Her, right down to the gray cement-like crumbly bits that litter the bathroom floor. Tick-tock, tick-tock, Janice is afraid of an old dead croc! I think not! I think Janice is afraid of Time! Ticking away!
A few sparkles escape from the potion ingredients, and when they fade, Janice is restored to her 'normal' state. (The hooks are located in her tongue.)
Caprice, who's confessional-tell hoping for a day off, decides to spend the morning lounging by the pool in her bikini. Jose's already there, taking a quick swim. Dueling c-ts immediately begin, with Caprice deciding Jose's a hottie, although that might just be because the chemicals coursing through his body have raised the surface temperature about fifteen degrees, and Jose believing Caprice isn't his type, but she's close enough to work with. She just needs a little time in the gym. And we all know what Jose means by 'a little time in the gym', right? Caprice has to come down to the Juice Bar and sample the full range of Jose's exercise program! (Warning: side effects may include lymph node damage, sudden outbursts of temper, major acne episodes, brain cancer, death, and publishing contracts.)
Jose shows off his muscles. Caprice rubs oil on her stomach. The camera takes a few seconds to follow both sides of the action. (It would have been more, but most of the footage is only available for private viewing sessions at the home of a VH1 employee near you.) But there's only so much of this that can be shown because we have to get to for whatever passes for action this week, which means the latest copy of The Surreal Times is about to hit the front door. It's Jose's turn to collect it, and he does so with a chuckle at the headline: 'Celebrities to pad up and do it in the dirt'. Maybe they've finally found something Janice won't fake-quit on?
Not a chance. Sandi reads the details at the house meeting. Today's is Carey's day to shine. The Lifers will head out to the desert, watch him do his thing on a motocross track -- and then learn how to do it themselves. Carey and a few of his friends will be providing instruction in how to ride motocross bikes. Once the Lifers are comfortable with the controls, they'll tackle the course, although they'll have to stay in first gear for safety reasons: some of Janice's components can catch fire when exposed to high wind speeds. A fully-stocked ambulance will be on site Just In Case, and that's very important because one of the motorcycles might get hurt: Janice's chemical coating is also corrosive.
'All right, that lets me out right there,' Janice declares. (And if you had 'two minutes' in the fake-quit pool, congratulations!) She huffily c-t declares that she's not going to risk her body for a stupid reality show, although risking what little was left of her reputation really isn't a concern, then goes to the phone room to call her agent and make sure she can contractually get out of this. You may wonder why Janice's contract is suddenly a concern. Having a contract with VH1 certainly hasn't prevented her from fake-quitting up until this point. In fact, it may be in her contract that she has to fake-quit once per episode. But doing so while another housemate's episode storyline was just getting established puts her at sixty-eight over quota on such incidents for the season, so she needs a moment to review her obligations. Because fake-quitting is one thing, but defaulting on that forty cents an hour? Janice forbid.