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The Surreal Life 5 - Episode 8 Summary

'The Knife' By Estee
Original Airdate: September 11, 2005

Pre-summary warning: due to the controversial nature of this episode, all cast member quotes have been captured as accurately as possible. This summary contains accusations of drug use, use of sharp objects, and about a thousand inter-cast lawsuits waiting to happen. Reader discretion is advised. And that means you. There's only one reader, and you'd better be discrete. This is one of the ugliest episodes to hit the air for any reality show and the single most disgusting Surreal Life ever filmed, which is a record that should hold for a while, with 'while' defined as 'until next week'. I take no responsibility for what happened in this one. I'm just the reporter. I'll tell you what happened, and you can draw your own conclusions as to what should have happened, who was most at fault, and whether the entire Surreal Estate should be bombed off the face of the Earth before anyone can make the mistake of casting for a sixth season. I know what's on this tape and I don't want to start it...

*sigh* Okay. I can do this. I had Colin Vs. The Donut. How bad could this be? It's not as if there's a chance of a contestant seeing jail time for this one -- wait, that's the downside.

Maybe if I start with a reminder of what's now officially 'happier times...' Last week on You don't know what you've got 'til it's gone -- well, something must have happened, but I don't remember very much of it. They must have done something, because one moment the housemates were putting on a bunch of red scarves for no apparent reason, and then Janice was driving back to the Estate all by herself. She'd been kicked out of Las Vegas early -- no idea why -- and spent the ride home trying to seduce anyone with a better car than she was driving, cramming fast food into her mouth, and switching her seduction efforts to the local truck drivers in an attempt to gain access to their CBs, all of which still let her get home ahead of the others -- so if the closets smell a little bit strange, get the biohazard team ready before opening the door. The remaining housemates hung around in Vegas for a few more hours, which let Jose find out his sphere of attraction has narrowed from 'Madonna' to 'a bunch of Q-list DAWs and a Mexican waitress with magic fingers, and that's just her bed.' The bus ride home for the Lifers-minus-Janice found Bronson talking up the benefits of a stomach massage and Caprice talking down anything Bronson had to propose, which still wound up with the two of them sharing a bunk for ten minutes before Bronson's rear was returned to the air-lofted position it normally occupies. But in the end, everyone reunited at the Estate, and Bronson went to bed with Caprice. In photo form. Centerfold. Open. Propped against a pillow. It's still the most emotionally responsive partner he's had in six years.

And what's going to happen this week?


Slow breaths. Marshal. Regroup. Focus. Scream twice. Roll opening credits.

Morning at the Estate, and there's happy, gentle, content music playing as the camera moves inside the mansion. (We'll just call this 'the first clue'.) Most of our DAWs are feeling wiped out after the long day in Las Vegas and whatever it was that happened there, and Caprice emerges exhausted, walking into the dining room with her blanket wrapped around her head. Bronson's comment is 'You know what? You look like The Lady Of Fatima.' (And we'll just call that 'the second clue', because we're gonna need a miracle to save this show.) 'You know that one? She's virginal, but at the same time, accessible.' So after Bronson's happy night spent with a two-dimensional version of Caprice, his first thought about her is 'virginal'. You know what this means? It means Bronson can't even get lucky with a piece of paper.

Caprice gets the first confessional-tell of the day and lets us in on her theory regarding Bronson's advances: it's just part of his being a very eccentric person. And if you want that backed up, turn to the mainstream camera view, where Bronson is even now telling Jose that he had Caprice's soft porn calendar open next to him the previous night, because he wanted to see what it would be like to have someone that airbrushed breathing next to him. So among his many eccentricities, Bronson believes calendars can breathe. I guess after he convinced himself he still had a career, everything else was going to be a lesser delusion...

And speaking of both eccentric personalities and greater delusions, here comes Janice, entering the room with a mask on. This isn't just because she hasn't had her daily sacrifices layered onto her skeleton yet -- although she hasn't, giving us our second glance at Janice in her base death state. She's wearing a sleep mask over her eyes, which means she winds up walking through the dining room blindfolded, groping her way along. This may because she's not aware of actually being awake. She may be so wasted from the prior night that sight wouldn't be a reliable sense anyway. It's possible that she's finally turned to using her shrieks for radar bounces. Or she might have heard Jose in the room and decided this was the best way to get a free grope, and she does get her hands on his back and shoulders before saying 'Oh' and changing direction. This is the most peaceful thing Janice will say for the entire episode.

Bronson: 'How many truckers did you do last night?' (This is for the value of 'do' that equals 'have sex with'. In case you were curious.)
Janice (instantly incensed. Like it was going to take much.): 'You can't talk to me that way!' (Yes, he can.)
Bronson: 'Yes, I can.' (Ibid.)

Janice drops into c-t to protest. 'It was inappropriate and I promise you, I wanted to right-hook him and knock his teeth out.' The producers helpfully provide a black and white flashback to the previous episode, which shows Janice approaching an eighteen-wheeler while openly declaring 'I'm going to let a truck driver (censored) me!', and (censored) means pretty much what you think it does. So it's okay for Janice to say it, and it might even be okay for the camera operator who was with her to mention it to Bronson, but it's not okay for Bronson to bring it up in public. Life on Planet Janice, where there's exactly as many sets of laws as you need to get the job done. None.

Bronson catches up to Janice in the kitchen, just in time to hear the following. 'That was a really low blow and I didn't appreciate it, so (censored) (censored).' She wanders off to the kitchen counter, and we get to see why the sleep mask didn't matter: without her makeup, Janice's eyes are barely-open slits that probably aren't taking in enough light to make out more than patterns of shadow. 'That was just a cheap shot, and you didn't have to be disrespectful to me.'

'Yes, I did,' Bronson replies as he sniff-tests the milk for freshness, and can't we all understand his position?

'Why?' Janice asks, because she hasn't seen the show.

'It's just a joke, and you're trying to be literal even though it's just a joke,' Bronson responds. (Okay, so maybe he didn't talk to the camera operator...)

'No! You can't say that it's just a joke!', Janice shoots back. (And now we have the question of just how much of last night she remembers.)

'Just shut up, will you?' Bronson tells her.

'No, I will not shut up!' Janice yells, advancing on Bronson while still holding the small knife she was using as part of her breakfast preparations -- but she never gets closer than eight feet, which isn't near enough to do more than cast a foreshadow. 'You cannot say that I had anything to do with truck drivers! That was a cheap shot!' (Or how much she remembers that she'd really rather forget...)

Bronson's response is immediate. 'Shut up! Stop performing!' (Once again, we're reminded that the man went to Yale.)

'I won't!' Janice protests. (Because if she's not performing, she doesn't exist.'

'Shut up!' Bronson repeats himself. (It's not like it's going to get through this time, either.)

Janice responds with the only argument she knows. 'No! No!' (Ibid)

'She went berserk,' Bronson lets us know in c-t, because it's not as if we could ever figure that out for ourselves. 'She picked arbitrarily that she was going to go off on me because how dare I say that -- how stupid.' No, it wasn't completely arbitrary. Any other target, and she might have had to move.

Back in mainstream:

Janice: 'How many truckers did I did on the way home?' (Yes, that's the way she said it.)
Bronson: 'Yeah, how many? Give me a count.' (Jose enters the kitchen. Silly Jose...)
Janice: 'You know what --?' (Someone has to, and it's clearly not Janice)
Bronson: 'Give me a count.' (That's asking a lot from someone with Janice's education.)
Janice: '-- you are so low!' (Let us now pause to think about all the things Janice has said in c-t -- and in the open -- concerning the others since she got here. Do the words 'Voldemort the whore!', said in mainstream during the bowling challenge, ring any bells?)
Bronson: 'You haven't had a single real moment since I met you. Stop performing -- stop performing!' (He's a pervert, but he's a really perceptive pervert. At this point, Jose very sensibly leaves the room.)
Janice: 'I am not performing!' (Because she can't tell the difference any more.) 'You're not a Shakespearean actor! You're a has-been who hasn't had a job!' (This has been Janice's only connection to reality for the entire series.)
Bronson (c-t): 'She wants to be Cruella DeVille. She wants to be this devil-may-care be-yotch who flicks cigarettes in people's faces and says insensitive things and steps on dogs and eats them.' (Apparently fur is now a crucial part of Janice's layering.) (mainstream) 'You know what? Get on your broomstick and go back to Oz, would you please?' (And somewhere in the Estate, Voldemort is very insulted by the insinuation that Janice is anything other than a mindlost Muggle.)

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