So who thought of this, exactly? It had to be someone with way too much time spent reading comic books, right? You know: the kids in the cafeteria who would always spend their lunch period in exciting debates like 'Could the Hulk beat up Superman?' or 'Who's got better reflexes: the Flash or Spider-Man?', and other topics that could occupy thirty-eight thrilling minutes without having to make a single stop in reality. And all of those debates had at their core a single idea: that these characters could somehow meet, unite in the same world, cross both dimensional barriers and the walls of mutual publisher hatred for the express purpose of nearly killing each other. Let two or three decades pass, give a couple of those former kids jobs in television, and...
But they don't get it, do they? Sure, there's been a few of us who wondered what would happen if contestants from different reality shows got together. But with this group, it doesn't come down to who's stronger or faster or more cunning.
It's more like 'What if we could get Dicque and Voldy and Coral and Mikethemiz in the same room together -- and then suddenly, they all dropped dead? Wouldn't that be cool? And then we could send in DocWill to see what had killed them, he'd contract the disease in a passive form and transmit it to every reality star he got near, and a day or two later, they all dropped dead...' You could use up a hundred lunch periods in happy daydreaming about that sort of thing. Mmm... piled-up DAW corpses...
But I'm not really a mass murderer at heart. Honestly, the times when I actively want someone dead are few and far between. I'm more into the pain thing. Suffering. Torture. Public humiliation. Chances to fail in front of millions of witnesses and never, ever be able to live it down afterwards. That's the sort of thing that pleasant daylight fantasies are made of. And that's why this series is doomed. It's Bravo. Twenty thousand viewers is a slightly unrealistic goal. And once you eliminate the former reality contestants watching to see if they should try out for any prospective Season Two, that gets cut down to about eighty actual people.
On the dubiously bright side, given the rate at which networks are releasing new reality shows, that former contestant viewer pool should be up to three million by the end of 2008...
So: last time on 14:55 And Counting, LibraRising had the thankless task of introducing thirty-two competitors, three sideline commentators, plus one host, and got to find out that no one's medical coverage includes exposure to DAW overload. (He's young. He's strong. He shouldn't be in the hospital for more than another week. Send him a card, okay?)
The contestants were divided into four teams of eight, competing for a prize of $10,000 for the last team standing, and because this isn't FOX, that's 'each'. Our DAWs competed in three events, leading off with the obstacle course, and if you didn't see it, let's just say Mark Burnett is still laughing. This was followed by the classic Dunk Tank, which actually got my hopes up for a few seconds until sideline commentator BachelorBob said the most depressing words of the night: '...and we've secretly replaced the acid...' Finally, contestants faced off with padded quarterstaffs, which was almost okay if you could just ignore the whole 'padded' thing, and there were a few times when the Q-tip came off. This granted the second-greatest of all gifts, which is Hope. First-greatest would have been seeing Jonathan take a staff hit to the mouth and get his jaw wired shut for a reasonable healing period, like the rest of his life. But there were no (wonderful) horrible injuries, which meant teams had to eliminate players the old-fashioned way: voting. Gervase's group, having finished in first for that round, was safe, but the other three teams had to get rid of one player each.
The cast-offs were Charla, who was not thrown back for being too small because what counts in this game is mouth size and in that she's overqualified, Kim, who by volunteering to leave did more than she managed in the entire Race, and Heidi, who elected to do her second Osten of the day and given that she's an Apprentice contestant, shouldn't that really be a Verna? But it's just not a reality show without pointless twists -- so in the end, no one went home. Instead, the rejects drew for new teams, with Kim being carried back -- the effort required to leave exhausted her -- Charla joining Coral's crew and lowering the average volume by six decibels, and Heidi meeting Mikethemiz, thus raising her lifetime number of bosses with impossible hairstyles to two.
Who will win this week's competitions? Just how lame can those competitions become, given the toddler-level obstacle course from the first episode? Will anyone be irritated when they realize the points don't accumulate from show to show? Can anyone count well enough to notice? Will Jonathan spontaneously combust? Will Dicque spontaneously throw up? Will Kim do anything? All these and many more questions will not even remotely be answered in this episode. But we will get another stupid twist, because it's mandatory.
*sigh* At least I only have to do this once... Roll opening credits.
Nineteen-seventies graphics! Nineteen-seventies graphics! Take it away! Take it away!
Ow. Eye wash? Thank you.
(Note: due to having thirty-five DAWs plus non-special guest stars in one show, virtually all quotes were captured in rough paraphrase. There's too many people talking and I have an absolute limit of sixteen rewinds per tape. Dealing with Jaundice Janice for six weeks has raised my tolerance: it has not made me immune. Onwards.)
And we're back in Malibu, at the University Of If This Doesn't Get Our Accreditation Removed Nothing Will Pepperdine, here to listen to the sage words of our main announcer as he brings us back into what he seems to think is about to pass for a sporting event.
Our Host: 'Hi, I'm Mike Adamle, and in case you were wondering, this is what happens when you can't even make the play-by-play team for Craft Deathmatch. Yes, at this point in my life, I have no career. But luckily for me, I also have no shame, and that means I have a paycheck, so nyah-nyah nanny boo-boo. I'm here at the greatest gathering of reality stars ever assembled, which goes a long way towards explaining the biohazard suit I'm currently wearing, not to mention the huge plastic tent being draped over the campus. This is what the editing will try to make appear as the second week in a six-week competition, even though we're shooting the entire series in three days because Carson wants the team uniforms back on the Queer Eye set by Friday.
This afternoon -- sorry, this week -- the DAWs will be competing in three extreme events, which ought to kill the use of that word once and for all. We're going to start off with the mental strain that accompanies a rousing round of Simon Says, because most of these people have never listened to anything besides the voices in their heads for their entire lives, so we're figuring acknowledging the existence of other humans is going to cause at least six nervous breakdowns, plus this was the only way we could find a contest lamer than that obstacle course.
After that, we're going to play Dodgeball, because I could have so totally gotten that job on GSN if Bill and Zach hadn't auditioned first. God, I hate them. I want to kill them all. Is this going to be edited for broadcast? Anyway, we'll finish up with a swimming relay race because if we've learned anything from the sixteen shows we gathered our contestants from, it's this: bikinis. Early and often. Also, since I have to have something to do to keep my mind off the high fever I'm developing, I'll show up at the end of the day's events to usher out two of our players. Whichever team scores the least points between all three events will have to send two people home. That's right, count 'em. Two. One -- two. I'm a sportscaster and I'm almost entirely sure that's right. Is my hair on straight?'
You just know he's using this tape at his next WWE audition.