Can this cast top last year's lovable
menagerie? Ape Culture will judge by convening a focus group
to review and provide commentary on The Surreal Life (airing
Sundays on the WB).
Episode 5: Strip Volleyball
The Show opens with a shot of Ron sitting up on
the bed, shirtless. Coolia: Ron's got man boobs Ron Jeremy complains about how women are always complaining about looking
bad in the morning, even though most men Ron has polled claim women look
the cutest when the wake up. Nerdia: I'm finding it hard to wrap my head around this
concept. Group groan as Rob raps, "I paved the
way for Eminem." Distinguished Surreal Life Season 1 Vet Vince Neil calls
and invites the group to Palm Springs. Everyone is excited for the trip.
Ron even packs up his pet turtle. Tammy Faye lugs a heavy suitcase, presumably
filled with makeup, to the celebrity van. On route, Ron picks his nose,
then entertains the group on the Surreal Bus trip by writing surprisingly
tasteful limericks. The group stops at a roadside restaurant called The
Farmhouse for lunch and everyone is greeted by fans. One presents Rob
with Madonna's "Sex" book and Rob discusses his relationship
with Madonna. Coolia: Who carries the "Sex" book with them
to The Farmhouse restaurant? Nerdia: Maybe the person
lived nearby and ran home to get it when she saw Rob.
Group laugh at Erik's mocking of Traci's melodramatic discomfort getting
out of the van with comment "Owww...my thighs!" Vince Neil greets the group. When asked if he has kept in touch
with his Surreal Life friends, he says, yes. One of the Freshman Surreal
Lifers asks "even Corey?" "No, not Corey."
The Palm Springs resort is revealed to be a nudist colony. Tammy runs
out in tears Nerdia: They've put Tammy
through a lot already. Britt: And she's been a fuckin' trooper. Cast members comment on the small penis size of most of the nudists.
Ron compares it to "a ton of dynamite with a two inch fuse."
Traci and Trishelle do a lot of squealing inside, while Tammy cries outside
the resort, uttering the lines we've heard on previews for weeks, "I
swore I'd never cry on TV again, well, you made me cry." The group
goes outside to comfort her and she sobs "I'm not a prude!" Coolia: God made us that way. I don't know why she's
freaking out. Nerdia: She's cried every
week so far. The cast comforts Tammy, then goes back inside as Tammy checks into
a clothing-mandatory resort across the street. Rob declares, "What
a mixed bag of nuts this is gonna be." Nerdia: No pun
intended. Nudists are never good looking. Group laugh when Ron expresses that the nudity is no big deal and Traci
snaps back, "Of course it's fine for you, you're Ron Jeremy."
The nudist hotel staff explains to the Surreal Lifers that whenever they
stroll around nude, they need to always carry around a towel. Nerdia: I remember this very important towel rule from the
David Sedaris short story "Naked" about a nudist resort he visited
in the book by the same name. Maybe this should be required reading for
the Surreal Lifers. That's a fact of nudist colony living I can never
get behind, the reason for the towel. Celebrities go outside to play volleyball with the nudists. Coolia: I still think Vince's woman looks like a she-male. Nerdia: They're randy - Vince and his wife. I think Vince
is trying to re-establish his image as a bad boy after coming across so
much like a Teddy Bear last season. Group clamors for the obligatory weekly tooth gleam effect to be applied
to grinning Erik's face, and the WB doesn't disappoint. Celebs are made
to play volleyball against the nudists, and if they lose they will have
to eat dinner in the nude (as opposed to eating
sushi off a nude model). Nerdia: Look - Ron's
even good at volleyball. Celebs get automatic points for taking off their clothes, so most of
the men take their shirts off. Coolia: Vince's new back
tattoo is horrifying. He looks like Tony the tiger. Rob won't even take
his shirt off. What's up with that? Nerdia: Underneath all his affected crudeness, Rob's comments about
the nudist being disgusting kind of paints him as a prude, like Tammy
Faye. Trishelle is funny, calling the nudists "nudies." Celebs lose game and go to dinner. Ron declares that he doesn't want
to be the only one to get totally naked. Rob refers to his penis as "purple
headed yogurt slinger." Trishelle gets naked and Ron follows suit,
but Traci won't take it off. Britt: She's welching again. She welched the first
night too when she said she would get naked if she lost the pool game. Coolia: I think her reticence is all about her fear
of the big bad fiancée. Nerdia: She's full of it. I doubt she's really even in to him. Tammy is picked up to go to a karaoke bar with the rest of the celebs.
Celebs get drunk. Erik dirty dances with a chubby local. Coolia: Traci always
carefully enunciates her words, except when she's drunk. Erik sings "Celebration," giving Coolia
and Nerdia fond memories of the 1982 Cardinals World Series theme song.
Gleam effect is applied to his smile again. Coolia: They should really limit the gleam
to one per episode. Traci and Trishelle sing "Ice Ice Baby." Rob tries to hide
under the table. Group laughter over glass breaking effect when Traci
sings off-key. Rob says he won't do karaoke in front of 30 million people. Nerdia: Is it really
30 million? Coolia: That's probably the
audience number they quoted to him to get him on the show. Christopher: It's probably more like 7 or 8. Rob
shouldn't have to sing "Ice Ice Baby" any more than Gary
Coleman should have to say "What you talking about, Willis?" Nerdia: The Surreal Life really knows how to push their
buttons. Rob gives in to peer pressure and sings. The crowd goes wild. Christopher & Britt: Good for him! Nerdia: He's karaoking himself.
Cooliahat's so postmodern. Nerdia: It's a bonding moment for the celebrities. Even Tammy Faye is singing along. Girls close their number by yelling,
"We love you, Rob." Coolia:And Trishelle REALLY loves you, Rob. She
wants to have your babies. Trishelle takes her drink with her into the van, as the celebs head
back to the hotel. Britt: You know you have a problem when... Celeb hijinks continue. Rob and Erik throw something from behind their
backs to appear to be taking a shit. Nerdia: Juvenile boys. Rob, Trishelle, and Traci head for the hot tub where nudity is mandatory.
Traci removes her bottom but not her top. Traci cuddles with Ron
and declares, "You forget that Ron is this big..hairy...porn...THING." Coolia: Ron has a special gift - to be endearing, despite being
a big hairy porn thing. Traci flees the hot tub to go call her boyfriend and ask permission
to unleash her boobs. She never returns. Ron helps drunk Trishelle
out of the hot tub as horny nudists are waiting to pounce on her from
all sides. Trishelle yells at him for copping a feel. Coolia: Poor Ron. He just tries to help and gets no love. Nerdia: Where's Tammy Faye when Trishelle needs
her to escape horny nudists in the hot-tub of sin?
Ape Culture Weekly Ranking (from
least to most annoying)
2/15/04 - Episode 5
Rob - for choosing not to blow up
Ron - good at volleyball, proving he's really a renaissance
Erik - for being the first to sing at the karaoke bar
Tammy - why cry when you can simply storm out?
Trishelle - I'm sick of her alcoholic routine
Traci - for being a lying, welching tease
Vince - just for being there!
Ron - for thoughtful, well-reasoned nudity
Rob - for being a good sport at the karaoke bar
Trishelle - for brave, ground-breaking nudity
Erik - still boring, but he did get up and sing
Tammy - too conservative about the nudity; God made our bodies,
why not be comfortable with them?
Traci - for being a cock-tease
Rob - he sang "Ice Ice Baby" like a champ
Ron - he's just Ron
Rob - a good sport
Tammy - for standing up for herself
Ron - kept his promise to get naked
Trishelle - gets points for taking her top off at dinner
Erik - bland
Traci - she reneged on her promise (again)
Chad's Angry Rankings
Ron - the only gent living the good life
Rob - His karaoke was such a feel good moment. Set the pace
for the rest of the night... which only included Ron and Trishelle.
Trishelle - Drunken nakedness... good. Bitchy don't touch me...
bad. I've lost my infatuation.
Traci - This fiancée split personality thing is wearing
thin. She'd be dead last if Tammy and Erik showed any signs of
life (CLEAR! ... Bzzzz).
Erik - Gets credit for helping Rob save face. Outside of that,
he might as well keep 'em inside his wife's purse.
Tammy Faye - Oh, give me a break.
I've been looking forward to this Vince Neil episode since
the initial teaser from Episode 1, as I am a Motley Crue fan and admirer
of Vince's contribution to The Surreal Life Season 1. However,
I was disappointed that (1) he is still with that scary lookin' chick;
(2) he now has a grotesque tiger-striped tattoo all over his back; and
(3) he didn't have much to do in this episode besides luring the celebs
into the nudist colony. Ron defied expectations by not whipping out his
penis at the first opportunity but instead using discretion. He also took
good care of his drunken harem - Trishelle and Traci - despite the fact
that they continually tease and abuse him. I think you all (and Erik)
are being too hard on Trishelle over her drunkenness. She's only 23. She's
going through a party phase in her life. Yes, she does overdo it, but
I don't think she crosses the line into sad/pathetic/liver-eroding drunk
at this point. Rob managed to get over himself in the karaoke bar and
give a great, fun rendition of his signature song. Tammy falls down in
my rankings for absenting herself from the nudist colony on religious
grounds. On one hand, I respect her for staying true to her principles,
and I agree she has already been tested nearly as much as Job (will she
get boils in next week's episode or will all her cattle be killed?). But
on the other hand, I think she is over-reacting and being close-minded.
It's just a bunch of fat, ugly people sitting around naked. It's not a
big sex orgy. Being comfortable with one's body would seem to me to be
a good thing that God would be in favor of. In fact, a quick net search
points out many
websites dedicated to Christian nudists. I guess while Tammy was reading
her bible at the hotel across the road, she didn't come upon this passage
from the aforementioned Job: "And said, Naked came I out of my mother's
womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath
taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD." (Job 1:21 King James
Version). The world giveth fame, and the world taketh fame away. Blessed
be The Surreal Life!
Rob Van Winkle scored high for me this episode for pure
image-acceptance growth. He seems to be coming around to the concept all
that you were = all that you are = all that you will be. And this acceptance
doesn't have to be such a calamity, Joe. Will this lesson learned last
or will he turn back into a hot head soon enough? In contrast, Ron Jeremy
is so even tempered and in-the-moment. He's got a very world-view perspective
about many things. All things but directing children's plays, as it turns
out. But maybe that was a sore subject with him - breaking world sex records
but not having any real rug-rats to show for it. According to his documentary,
he's out for something deeper. But for the most part, Ron still proves
to be well-rounded and sociable and considerate in all things but having
porno-BBQs under Tammy Faye's bedroom window. I also liked that Ron decided
not to be Ron Jeremy, The Porn Star, on parade. Fully open about nudity,
he nevertheless set a rule not to be the first and only one to bare it
all. Erik redeemed himself a bit on this episode by being the first and
only guy to karaoke like a silly man, smile charmingly at and dance with
strange looking fans. Tammy, on the other hand, seems to be hanging on
by the curls of her over-manicured nails in this episode. I feel bad for
her but also feel, in times of being tested, she should show more fortitude.
After all, facing a herd of nudists is not exactly on par with a having
to live through a thieving, perverted husband and the fall of the PTL.
Trishelle showed guts...drunkenly as usual and uselessly in this case.
What is brave nudity good for anyway? If I'm ever in danger of being eaten
by a scary dragon and need a damsel willing to get buck naked in order
to get the dragon's attention away from myself...I guess then she would
come in handy. I agree with Britt, her getting nude was more about being
drunk than brave. At the bottom of the rankings again is Traci. Traci
is weak, rationalizing and immature, obviously conflicted about marrying
Mr. Rich Dull-dude. Traci needs to figure out what she wants in this surreal
life and come back to us when she's ready to get real. Traci and Trishelle
want attention the best way they can get it: by playing the sex card.
But they are both incapable of being the party-girls they are both mimicking.
They are both, therefore, all talk; which, on the one hand, is annoying
as hell if you're a horny guy who's feeling jerked around by all the mixed
messages. On the other hand, if you're a girl watching them, it's just
plain sad. Over the last few decades single girls of this world feel more
and more pressure to act ultra party-hardy and yet ultimately virginal,
that it's no wonder why so many are so incapable of either "playing
through" or drawing a line. You want to be a desirable girl but the
good girl/bad girl lines keep moving farther in opposite directions each
day - it causes this very bi-polar effect we are now witnessing from Traci
and Trishelle: look at my naked boobs, let me fondle your cock, but don't
cop a feel, man!. I'm sure all the girls and boys on the show (and not
on the show) are very confused right about now about what to do and how
to behave around each other, proving it's not always a Surreal Life. Sometimes
its a very sad and confusing Real Life.
Which cast member is aggravating your soul? Who would
you like to see kicked off and who would you replace them with? Please