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Celebrity Zoo:
A Review of The Surreal Life

Starring: MC Hammer, Emmanuel Lewis, Brande Roderick,
Corey Feldman, Gabrielle Carteris, Vince Neil, & Jerri Manthey

Because the show The Surreal Life (airing Thursdays on the WB) sparked such a animated dialogue between the editors, Ape Culture has decided to do a weekly commentary.

Week Seven: Corey's Wedding (2/20/03)
Week Six: Celebrity Balls (2/13/03)
Week Five: Whose Date Is It Anyway? (2/7/03)
Week Four: Debauchery/Repentance (1/30/03)
Week Three: The Celebrity Gong Show (1/23/03)
Week Two: Celebrities in the Wild (1/16/03)
Week One: Celebrity Zoo Debut (1/9/03)

Week 3: The Celebrity Gong Show (1/23/03)

Nerdia: We open with celebrities grooming. They're being told they have to do a talent show. Manny isn't into the talent show like he was into camping. That's unfortunate. Manny and Vince are upset but Jerri is getting with the program. She is full of tough chick love as usual.
Coolia: Vince doesn't want to be a buffoon.
Nerdia: Too late.
Coolia: Funny he didn't feel that way when he made the "looks that kill" video dressed like a caveman.  
Nerdia: Celebs hit the street to peddle tickets. Manny is acting like he thinks he's above selling tickets to his own talent show. He's losing points this week. 
Coolia: This is degrading.
Nerdia: Vince is losing points for being lame about the talent show and sulking.
Coolia: Brande's dog didnt sell any tickets.
Nerdia: Lame ass dog! 
Coolia: Jerri plans to do spoken word. "Jerri outdoes jewel at poem rodeo." Why cant Corey sing his own song? Isn't that his "talent"?
Nerdia: Manny is whining...I hate whining. Poor Vince having to put up with Corey and his attempts at collaboration.
Coolia: Next week are they going to make the celebrities eat bull testicles and praying mantises? Vince is really in a bad mood.
Nerdia: Corey on phone to wife: "I'm planning a wedding here...I'm planning the rest of my LIFE!"
Coolia: Corey: "This is my WORK!"  Oh, what a tough job, Corey--would you rather be assembling egg mcmuffins? (see Week 2)
Nerdia: Corey: "You're having way too much attitude with me." I'm sure Dr. Phil would not approve of this relationship exchange.
Nerdia: Hey, Hammer is havin fun! He created a character...how cute. And Vince is feeling paternal with the other acts. That's better.
Coolia: Did Brande pack that cheerleader outfit imagining some role playing scenario with Vince?
Nerdia: I saw that outfit in a sex shop in Las Vegas.
Coolia: Look at that serious corey face while he sings!
Nerdia: He's in some weird dream world of his own hero-hood.
Coolia: This is the seal show at the celebrity zoo.
Nerdia: Is Vince gonna jump thru a ring of fire for a fish?
Coolia: Manny is going to balance on his nose and clap his feet together.
Nerdia: Is the secret talent show host bob barker?
Coolia: Lets make a deal..with SATAN!...It's monte hall.
Nerdia: Okay...Brande gets points for effort.
Coolia: Is she perhaps drawing on a stripping past for this performance?
Nerdia: Corey' s plugging his album "in stores now".
Coolia: Vince is losing points with me for being bored and a bit arrogant.
Nerdia: Corey's performance is painful.
Coolia: Corey wouldn't pass the audition for american idol.
Nerdia: Monte is petting Manny...that's offensive.
Nerdia: Was that all from Hammer? Okay...they only had a few hours to put something together...I have to keep remembering that. No...that was just disappointing. But look - Manny is into the show now. 
Coolia: Manny got that outfit from sean john kids at bloomingdales.
Nerdia: See Manny! it was fun! Judy and Mickey knew what it was all about!
Coolia: Vince stands off by himself a lot.
Nerdia: The girls as beatniks! Funny. Jerri's funny!
Coolia: That made me LOL. Sign her up for dodge fest.
Nerdia: Vince is entertaining. Good thing he was the finale. The parents loved him!
Coolia: It's family entertainment.
Nerdia: Vince is thrilled to win the bedroom and the playstation. His threshold for pleasure has plummeted since he's been here for three days. How could the celebs have not known about the bedroom upstairs. Didn't they explore the house when they arrived?? "Hey...who knew this house had a second story?"
Coolia: Funny that the two with the worst attitudes about the talent show did the best. It's like a brady bunch moral or something.
Nerdia: Okay, stop being so happy Vince...you were the only professional stage performer...it was like shooting fish in a barrel.
Coolia: What about mc hammer and his world tours?? Corey has done club tours with his band.
Nerdia: Hammer is rusty....obviously...he thought that wig would carry him. Corey...maybe I should have said Vince was the only charismatic professional performer. Jerri moves up to my top spot this week for her funniness.
Coolia: I was going to drop vince down, but then he did a great job with the song.
Nerdia: Brande moves up a bit for being a good sport and planning ahead with her cheerleader outfit packing. Vince was too thrilled to win after complaining so much, which makes me think he was just afraid of losing or looking bad. 
Coolia: He wasn't gloating...he sounded truly happy talking to his girlfriend. Based on the first 15 minutes he would have plummeted to #2, but then he had a big comeback!!
Nerdia: You are vincewashed.
Coolia: You just picked Jerri because she's a poet.
Nerdia: If it was just about the performance, we could rent his videos...it's about the day-to-day attitude. Jerri mocked beat poets! She was practically dissin' poets with her mockery. I liked her because she was funny.
Coolia: I have been honest in each commentary about my pro-Vince bias.  Maybe Vince will fall next week when he behaves like a drunk asshole in Vegas.
Nerdia: Manny fell off the tiny pedestal I put him on last week.
Coolia: And not by laughing either, but an absence of humor.

Ape Culture Weekly Ranking (from least to most annoying)


Nerdia Coolia
  1. Jerri Manthey
  2. Gabrielle Carteris
  3. Brande Roderick (virtual tie with Gabrielle)
  4. Vince Neil
  5. MC Hammer
  6. Emmanuel Lewis
  7. Corey Feldman
  1. Vince Neil
  2. Jerri Manthey
  3. Gabrielle Carteris
  4. Brande Roderick
  5. MC Hammer
  6. Emmanuel Lewis
  7. Corey Feldman


Nerdia’s Notes

Jerri moves to the top spot for me this week for her foray into beat poet spoofery. She calls it Spoken Word, though, like she's an aspiring Henry Rollins. Gabrielle and Brande rolled with the punches and fared well. Hammer was a disappointment this episode. I miss his manic sermons and Corey-checks. But Vince and Manny both dropped significantly due to their negative attitudes and constant whinings. Vince did help the other celebrities put together their bits and yes, both Vince and Manny did show a change of heart when they hit the stage and as it became apparent they were indeed winning. But that's not good enough. Maybe Manny had a reason to worry about spontaneous acts of entertainment as he is trying to get a show biz career jumpstarted. Maybe he feared being exposed as a talentless fraud, as we all do. All the celebs were probably concerned about flopping on national TV. That's understandable. But aren't we all tired of the over-polished, over-produced, over-packaged crap anyway. I found Vince's claims about quality control and wanting to be "professional" disingenuous considering Motley Cruë is supposed to be all about "who gives a shit". I was hoping for more of that laid back "who gives a shit" from him. Kudos to Corey for maintaining his annoying streak. Although he was into the show from the get-go, he was still an overbearing asshole to his girlfriend, we hope soon-not-to-be wife. I'm becoming very suspicious about Corey. Isn't it funny how many of the wacky tasks put to these celebrities seem, in theory, advantageous to him. Examples: A) his wedding planned for the last episode and B) him getting to showcase his music on national TV. Things that make the other celebs cringe seem to be golden opportunities for him. Isn't that odd? It's almost like the show might be based on some Corey Feldman outline. We think he's one of the celebrity zoo victims, wide-eyed and innocent, but really the joke's on the little celebrity gang - Corey has been masterminding the whole plot all along and will eventually limp away smirking in the last episode like Kevin Spacey's Verbal in The Usual Suspects, as we run down the street yelling like Chazz Palminteri with a collage of Kobayashi and Corey Feldman's leather shoes flashing through our heads. Ha ha ha!

Coolia’s Notes

Vince came perilously close to dropping from the top spot for the first time in my rankings, but he redeemed himself by singing "The Surreal Life Blues." He showed talent as well as self-deprecating humor (Corey - take notes!). I'm surprised I'm liking Jerri so much, because I did watch most of Outback Survivor and came out of it feeling that she was a bitch. Maybe they edited her character to appear that way, or maybe she's just mellowed out since returning to this hemisphere. She's smart and funny--no wonder Manny was so smitten in the luxury tent last week! Hammer again was too manic and unfunny for me, and Manny whined too much. Gab was dorky, but a good sport, much like her 90210 character. Brande went from being just there, to being just there in a cheerleader outfit. Nerdia's theory on Coreygate seems plausible, however it will only backfire on him. I don't think this show is going to drive anybody to buy his CD or see him in a club. We can barely stand to spend 30 minutes in our living rooms with him for free. Meanwhile, a check of Corey Haim's official website shows he is not only selling autographs, but private online chat time. Can dial-a-song with Corey Feldman be far away?

Which cast member is aggravating your soul? Who would you like to see kicked off and who would you replace them with? Please share.


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