The golden age of Tinseltown. Well, not Hollywood. Studio spots, like Burbank. But there’s tinsel-like stuff there. And by “golden age,” I’m not talking about times when we had stars like Greta Garbo, Marlene Dietrich or Ingrid Bergman. Nay, this golden age saw stars like – well, Gabe Kaplan. Farrah Fawcett. Loretta Swit.
OK, so it wasn’t exactly golden. Not even silver. Maybe sort of an off-bronze. But the point is, there’s a legend that tells of an annual great gathering of these stars at Pepperdine University. There, these great gladiators would do battle, fighting for their very survival in order to win… OK, I have no idea what they won. A guest spot on Happy Days?
But honestly. Can you imagine that happening today? Can you see Eva Longoria crawling through the mud? Debra Messing perching herself on the dunk tank? The cast of Lost beating each other with padded sticks? Fie! But c’mon. We’re reviving Bewitched. We’ve just revived the Dukes of Hazzard. Surely this golden off-bronze age can be revived.
Fortunately, a lot’s changed since then. Even if our Kelsey Grammers and Donald Faisons would never lower themselves to the level of their ancestors, we’re lucky enough to have a lower level of DAW, if you will. People who would drink antelope urine while singing A-Ha’s greatest hits (that is, if there’s more than one) so long as to get a few precious extra moments on TV. We call them: reality stars.
And now 32 of them have come together for an epic battle that surely will go down in the annals of our cultural history. And we wonder why the terrorists hate us. Let’s meet the team, shall we? I’ll spare you the false niceties they give each other. The only person in the room they’re truly happy to see is the cameraman.
First we have...Team Ms.
Perennial MTV star Mike “The Ms.” Mizanin leads this team, thanks to a victory in a hard-fought game of rock, paper, scissors. The fact that it took a mini-challenge for this time to decide a leader says a lot. If you’ve never heard of Mike, you’ve probably never watched MTV. He’s on every show they’ve ever produced. And yes, he’s this obnoxious in all of them. His teammates:
• Dicque. The grandpappy of reality evil. AKA “the fat, naked guy.” He won a million dollars on Survivor, but has been on a downward slide ever since, bombing out in All-Stars and reality editions of The Weakest Link and Dog Eat Dog.
• Bradford Cohen OK, here’s the deal. The Apprentice is the most popular reality show that I’ve never watched. But thanks to MTW, Tribe, and Molaholic, I know he’s some loser from the show who Donald Trump fired after he gave up his immunity. Probably because Trump was jealous of his hair.
• Ryan Starr. She was on American Idol but apparently sucked worse than Justin Guarini, ‘cause he lasted longer than her. Also did a stint on The Surreal Life.
• Charla. Like Gavroche in Les Miserable, Charla has always been trying to prove what little people can do. Except, like, she didn’t get shot at the barricades. Just electro-ma-cuted. And through a mix of plucky and obnoxious that she’s made all her own, she lasted longer than most thought she would on The Amazing Race.
• Mirna. Charla’s cousin who probably was as well-liked by her Amazing Race castmates as Romber. Despite Charla’s desire to prove her strength, she and Mirna are not above using it to their advantage. Sadly, no trips to the doctoro will save them in this game.
• Valerie Penso. She was on Temptation Island. Her partner, Kaya, was hot. And they stayed together. Damn her. Give me five minutes with him and he’ll be changing his uniform, if you catch my drift.
• Burton Roberts. One of two survivors who benefited from the infamous “ghost tribe.” Came back to slay America’s sweetheart, Poopert. Later met his own fate at the hand of a dowdy woman in a scout uniform.
Next we have Team Chipper
Team Chipper is named for its amiable leader, Chip McAllister. Probably the only man to be compared to Winnie the Pooh and George Foreman in the same breath. He’s well-liked by fans, mostly because he triumphed over the waste of DNA known as Team Intensity (Colin/Christie) in The Amazing Race.
• Kim McAllister. Chip’s wife and teammate. Most known for doing the least of any Amazing Race contestant ever. Yes, even less than Flo. Her laziness was enough that the show changed the rules to require teams to share equally in the roadblocks.
• Matthew Kennedy Gould. Joe Schmo. Never watched it. But, according to Estee, he’s a nice enough guy who was duped on Spike TV’s first foray into the reality TV world. Somehow I’m guessing, if they were locked in a house on that show, there wasn’t a lot of gym equipment around. But so far, this team seems pretty likeable. Could they be the ones to root for?
• Susan Hawk. Oops. Spoke too soon. Survivor’s first uberbitch made famous by her “snakes and rats” speech. Also hates Dicque. She hates him for screwing her over on the first Survivor and rubbing his, er, namesake on her during Survivor All-Stars. She hates him so much that she keeps going on reality shows with him to prove that point.
• Evil Dr. Will Kirby. Probably the only smart player to ever win Big Brother. The producers saw to it that would never happen again. If twins, siblings, or secret partners had been in his house, they would’ve been gone the first week. And the current crop of houseguest would last even less time than that against him.
• Nikki McKibbin. Another singer who’s less loved by America than Justin Guarini. Cool hat, though. I remember seeing her sing “Hard Hearted Hannah.” Bea Arthur’s version in the Rusty Anchor on The Golden Girls was much better, if you ask me.
• Theo Vonondfddgdn. Like “The Ms.,” an MTV stalwart with an unpronounceable last name. Chipper tells us that he’s won every competition that he’s ever been in. At least he doesn’t call himself “The Von.”
• Brian Worth. Average Joe loser whose accent makes Rob Mariano sound like William F. Buckley. As MTW reminded me, his favorite baseball player is Tim Wakefield. He claims to have been the runner up on that show, but I say he placed third. We all know the true winner of that show was the ghost of Fabio.
The third team is Team Whoral.
Yes, the brilliant members of this team put witchy Coral Smith of Real World: New York (the sucky New York cast, not the good one) in charge. She predicts at least an “almost win.” I give ‘em two weeks.
The members are:
• Will Wikle. Big Brother 5 houseguest who is best remembered for his twinphobia and comparing Carmen Electra to an Aboriginal weapon. Also the least stereotypical gay guy to ever be on Big Brother. Yes, you read that right.
• Duncan Nutter. Didn’t watch Showbiz Moms and Dads? No one did. Except me. This dude was invited only after Debb Eaton, Gilligan Gooner and the locksmith from Chains of Love said no thanks. Let’s just say that Duncan is to parenting what Jonathan Baker is to marriage. Oh yeah, we haven’t gotten to him, yet. Patience.
• Adam Mesh. If Chipper is Winnie the Pooh, this guy is Eeyore. Average Joe contestant who later got his own show for some reason. Like all average joes, he was strung along and eventually dumped for a hunk. Thanks for listening to him.
• Evan Marriott. Joe Millionaire. One of the first of the “hoax” reality shows. Never watched it. I think he pretended to be a millionaire when in real life he ate dirt or dug ditches or something like that. Later did a guest spot on The Simpsons with Tony Blair and Ian McKellan.
• Rachel Love Fraser. The Swan. Bashing her would be about like bashing one of the impoverished families on that schmaltzy home makeover show. Next.
• Melissa Howard. Another Real Worlder – the New Orleans cast – although not as ubiquitous as most. Struck a blow for race relations everywhere when she withstood a racial slur from some backwoods hick on a swamp buggy. She was overshadowed in her season, however, by wide-eyed Julie and Danny’s blurry faced military boyfriend, Paul.
• Heidi Bressler. Another Apprentice. Phew. When I saw the name, I thought I’d be seeing Heidi from Survivor: Amazon. I’m guessing she lost, since Trump only likes women who’ll sleep with him. Or whatever. Like I said, I didn’t watch this show.
And finally, we have Team Thank-God-Jonathan’s-Not-The-Captain.
Original Survivor cast member Gervase Peterson is the leader of this one. Gervase was sexist, couldn’t swim and was the original false spoiler, when everyone thought against all reason he was going to win the show. But he claims to be the best athlete there. Good. The first pool event is yours.
• Tina “Fabulous” Panas. One of a few dozen women lucky enough to have been rejected by Andrew Firestone. She’s from one of those Wisconsin cities that nobody can pronounce. There’s no indication of why she might be “fabulous.”
• Brittany Brower. Umm, America’s Next Top Model. Well, she, uh… OK, now I’m going to follow the advice of Dragonflies. She once starred as Nora in a regional production of “A Doll’s House” and likes caramel popcorn. (the advice: “You could just make it up and I would never know the difference.”)
• Mike “Boogie” Malin. Big Brother bar owner who bears a frightening resemblance to a homely Johnny Knoxville. He should be right at home in this game, for his business is known for attracting a strange variety of reality nuts.
• Chris Russo. Loudmouth Long Islander from The Apprentice who whined about being sick before he got fired. But at least he didn’t have to deal with Regis Philbin in the finale. Much.
• Wendy Pepper. Aww. I was hoping this was the Snapple Lady, who technically could be called a reality star thanks to Celebrity Fit Club. But alas, another “top model.” Or Project Runway. Was that the same show? Take it, Ginger! “The Evil Sad Seamstress who came in 3rd in Project Runway, thus eliminating the far more fabulous, albeit waaaay over the top, Austin Scarlett.”
• Victoria Fuller. A Playboy Playmate who set the cause of women’s rights back 15 years when she appeared on The Amazing Race. Really, alone, she’s not so bad. The problem is when she’s paired with…
• Jonathan Baker. Where to begin. He abused Victoria, his wife, both verbally and with a nasty shove on national TV. Chalked it up to editing and tried to prove he was a nice guy by appearing on Dr. Phil. Failed. Has the energy, look and voice of Richard Simmons and the personality of that cheerleader mom who tried to kill the other cheerleader mom. Managed to make his entire team hate him in a grand total of 30 seconds into the show. Even Victoria said she didn’t want to be on the same team as him.
*pant, pant, pant*
Is that all? Oh, wait. The interviewers. I’ll make this quick.
Our host is Mike Adamle. He used to host American Gladiators but he gives us no indication of whatever happened to Turbo, Nitro, Harpo or any of the other hunks from that show. Perhaps Jose Canseco would know. He’ll be helped out by Real World slut Trashelle, Voldemort (fresh from her redemption tour on The Surreal Life) and Bachelor Bob, who, in my opinion, would have fit in better on Average Joe.
1,700 words, and I’m about 10 minutes into a 90 minute show. I hope no one expects me to proofread this.