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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 Five: Whose Date Is It Anyway? (2/7/03)

Coolia: Yo Nerdia
Nerdia: Yo Coolia
Nerdia: I hate to turn this Michael Jackson documentary fiasco off.
Coolia: I know. Watching Surreal Life, you'll miss the baby dangling part. I did and it pissed me off (note: Coolia is in NYC and Nerdia is in LA, hence time difference in TV consumption)
Nerdia: Today is a TV day that will try your soul. Brande's dog is sleeping with Jerri. She's warmed up to even the dog. And Vince is always the first up and cooking. He's an early bird.
Coolia: He's a hard worker.
Nerdia: They are looking for Brande dates today. Brande says she is searching for "integrity and someone who is sure of themselves"...that narrows it down. Now she's walking up to a stranger and asking "Are you married?" What a direct opener...I never thought of that. The guy looks shell shocked. Brande and Jerri: "OMG he's soooo cute!"
Coolia: That playmate knows what she wants and goes after it.
Nerdia: Oh geesh. Corey is calling his girlfriend AGAIN! He hogs the phone with that girl. Corey: "Um...we're doing prenups right?" 
Coolia: The girlfriend sounds like she's unraveling.
Nerdia: Corey: "Obviously I would give you something out of generosity."
Coolia: He says he doesn't want another girl to get half of his stuff...not that it's much to get. She probably makes more money than him.
Nerdia: They always fight...why are they getting married? 
(The celebrities go on a manhunt for Brande on the streets of LA)
Nerdia: That is unreal that no one asks Brande out. 
Coolia: Vince has an expression on his face that says he would like to.
Nerdia: Vince is looking for someone outside of entertainment, Corey for someone fun loving, Gabrielle for a businessman, "someone grounded for Brande". 
Coolia: Gab is so sensible.
Nerdia: What do you think of businessmen, Coolia?
Coolia: Businessmen...ugh...I guess if you like pin stripes, questionable ethics and a lectures on bedroom best practices.
Nerdia: Is this the same mall they went to when they sold tickets to the Celebrity Gong Show? Do these celebs only know one mall?
Coolia: Well, Brande didn't even realize groceries had tax, so they probably don't shop much.  Vince totally hates these fun chores they have to do.
Nerdia: Vince's is funny complaining about having to pick up men.
Coolia: Manny and Hammer are like a dynamic duo. I think the guy Gab picked up in the gym is the cutest one...even if he is an investment banker.
Nerdia: The guy at the gym seems sweet.
Coolia: Brande is nice. She's not snotty at all...she seems approachable.
Nerdia: Corey has to go to the bathroom. I see another coreygate coming on. 20 minutes in the bathroom. Is he wanking off in there? They've had no privacy after all. Maybe he's afraid there are cameras in the bathrooms back at the ranch.
Coolia: Corey has lactose intolerance perhaps. They are always waiting for corey. But why is Hammer making it a big deal? What is the group late for, another round of playstation and naked sushi?
Nerdia: But Hammer was just trying to "save Corey from himself". Corey would have turned out much better if Hammer had raised him.
Coolia: This time I sort of disagree...obviously Corey was sick or had to take a dump...Hammer didn't have to draw so much attention to it. It's embarrassing. I'm starting to have some sympathy for corey.
Nerdia: I did last week. It's hard to completely hate him.
Coolia: After all he had to sleep with Michael Jackson.
Nerdia: Hammer: "I'm a professional...if I was sick I'd get it done in five minutes!"  He's got the van cracking up.
Coolia: Corey overreacted, but hammer is bullying. As evidenced by the fact this show exists, this group has nowhere to go, no place to be.
(The Dating Game begins)
Nerdia: What a lineup of man meat. Brande says she's looking for someone who would be "proud to be with me". That's a good way to put it. They all look so nervous. Kurt's arms are crossed....not good body language.
Coolia: A date with a playmate is on the line!
(Brande picks the chef, friend of Gabrielle)
Nerdia: Brande only gets to date one of them? How impossible!
Coolia: The guys don't even get to talk to make an impression.
Nerdia: They should let her speed date thru them all. This is a very uneducated choice.
Coolia: I think speed dating would be stressful. Would you do it? The 3 minute date things?
Nerdia: No. The first three minutes is the most horrendous part. Who wants to do that 15 times in a row?
Coolia: It's too much pressure. Sometimes I just cant face it. Brande should have picked Vince's friend or gym boy.
Nerdia: Brande is saying she wouldn't go on dating shows...and that's after having worked on one.  I saw her on Rendez View twice...as part of the celebrity panel.
Coolia: They have nothing to say to each other.
: Right away she knows her choice was wrong. Can she abort within the first few seconds? "I meant Kirk. I meant Kirk!"
Coolia: Brande date: "What's your favorite color?" I LOL'd.
Nerdia: What's your favorite color. I hate that first date question. "Do I have to pick one? Okay...blue...no green....it's magenta, I swear. Actually, I am opposed to color on principle."
Coolia: Do people really ask that?
Nerdia: Yes, if they think it will give them a glimpse into your soul.
Coolia: Brande date: "i love my parents. they're great people." He's cute, but the cap is a bad choice. This is a date with a playmate, not an abercrombie and fitch ad. Brande doesn't try very hard, though. She doesn't meet him halfway.
Nerdia: She didn't seem too enthused. Suzi and Corey are arguing AGAIN! Twice in one episode.
Coolia: Corey would have moved up one this week if it weren't for the phone fights with Suzi. I don't hold the lactose intolerance against him. 
(Slumber party in the master bedroom)
Nerdia: These girls get along well. They're right - Brande doesn't seem to know what she wants. What's worse...not knowing what you want or knowing exactly what you want and not being able to have it?
Coolia: That blind date pop up bubble that said  "when Brande opens up she will meet a guy" was right on. 
Nerdia: I'm not sure I agree with hammer's theory that build it and the men will come.
Coolia: Hammer is Dr Love; Vince is Dr Feelgood. I also didn't understand hammers theory about the error of Brande approaching a man on the street. Did you? He said something about how it would only be a short term thing. Does he believe a man has to make the first move?
Nerdia: I think he was saying the typical guy thing is that they want to pursue not be pursued and that if you pursue them they will give you a one night stand but wont get into the game of it. I have no clue weather or not this is true...it still all seems so confoundingly mysterious to me. I'm feeling embarrassingly old not to have figured it all out yet.
Coolia: What does Dating for Dummies1 say?
Nerdia: I passed the book over to you. Crack it.
Coolia: The book is too embarrassing to read on the subway.
Nerdia: Funny. I made photocopies of parts of it and handed them out at work. 
Coolia: Did your coworkers enjoy it?
Nerdia: Much merriment ensued...but my office truly believed I was flirting impaired and wanted to see what I was doing to improve the saturation. I don't think it was a particularly effective reference manual but there was a good pick up line in there. Is it over...can I return to watching the celebrity foibles of Michael Jackson?
Coolia: Did you see Hammer and Manny dancing?
Nerdia: No dancing.
Coolia: Then you have to wait.
Nerdia: Oh...here. They're in the hotel dancing. What Looney Tunes they are.

footnote 1: Nerdia, Coolia and an un-named third party co-bought this title at an outlet mall a few years ago for $5.

Ape Culture Weekly Ranking (from least to most annoying)


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

Nerdia’s Notes

This week's ranking settled out into three levels. Hammer, Jerri and Brande did equally well. I honestly believe Hammer was trying to help Corey understand how his constantly causing everyone to wait around for him needed to stop. We haven't seen all these waiting-around episodes but are constantly reminded of them by Gabrielle. Possibly Hammer should have taken Corey aside for this attempt at saving, but possibly Hammer was fearful Corey would try to analyze him and later claim it was the other way around. Such crazy things have been known to happen. Later, Hammer's comments to Brande about men seemed over-generalizing but again, he was trying to help. Jerri also appeared helpful in this episode, encouraging Brande and giving her post-date advise. And Brande herself came across as lost but likable in this episode. She was a good sport considering. Overall, it was hard to decide who did better than whom. No one stood out. Vince, Manny and Gabrielle didn't do much this week, were not offensive but were not inspiring either. Corey was back to being the #1 annoyer this week. Why, if every phone call turns into a battle royale, does he keep calling his girlfriend. It's a vicious cycle of annoying. Why fight with her so often in front of a nation busy watching Michael Jackson on another network. Okay, he got lucky this week. During the reruns, he won't be so lucky.

Coolia’s Notes

I like Brande more than I thought I could ever like someone with both Playboy and Baywatch on their resume. She seems nice and down to earth. I wish they would have hooked her up with a better date. I don't feel like I'm getting a very intimate look at the lives of these celebs, except for Vince and Corey. We don't get much of a look at the others' private lives. Is Jerri dating anyone? How old are Gab's kids and what does her husband do? Does Manny have any bitterness about being height-challenged? Somehow I doubt these issues are going to be covered in the softball game next week. Watching the horrific Michael Jackson documentary tonight led me to long for "a very special Surreal Life" in which Manny and Corey would talk about sleeping with Michael at Neverland. But that just ain't gonna happen. I'll have to settle for hoping Vince hits a homerun next week.

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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