Mrs Filthy's "Battle of the Seasons" Review


February 11, 2002

Bureau of Misinformation

Hurricane Juliette did quite a number on Bunim/Murray's Mexican paradise. Entire beaches have eroded away, streets are reduced to rubble and electrical service is spotty at best. But there's nothing like a natural disaster to put things in perspective. "Everything smells disgusting," complains Piggy.

Even this storm cloud has a silver lining for those perky, happy-go-lucky Real Worlders, however. Kelley enthuses about the intense bonding opportunities that hurricanes offer, opportunities that "no money can buy!" While the Road Rulers are battling their own private storms, the Real Worlders are off making daisy chains and engaging in group hugs and singalongs. Zut alors! This is not the Real World I know!

But, wait. The Real World cast members, in a show of solidarity, have decided to split the prize money among all those who remain and eliminate the lowest-ranked team each time. The only person to question this strategy is Stephen, who wants everything in writing. "I've been screwed over by too many people," he growls. His "aggression, frustration, bitterness and anger" (quite a recipe!) are not appreciated by those flower children in the Real World Villa. At one point, Sean admits that some Real Worlders, i.e. Stephen, are just not popular. In the background, we see Stephen pop up from behind a nearby chaise, presumably to strangle Sean.

Stephen seems to emerge suddenly from dark corners quite often, darlings. He's also at the door when the Road Rulers hold their Star Chamber session (more about that below), taking notes on his trusty legal pad. He feels it's part of the game, the same game he says he doesn't give a fig about. Anyway, I'm sure Stephen's reality tv slambook could fetch a mint, if he found the right buyers. Between the creepy note-taking and the ancient slapping incident, Stephen is regarded as a thorn in the side, a malcontent in Utopia, despite his partner Lindsay's fervent lobbying.

But, mes amis, if that's all Team Real World has to worry about, their lives are sunshine and lollipops compared to those of Team Road Rules. Resentment towards the smooching spouses Holly and Chadwick is still at a fever pitch, and Jisela is still talking like someone out of a B-grade swashbuckler. It's "enemy" this, and "enemy" that. I fully expect her, my dears, to begin a sword fight at any moment.

During a presumably friendly game of Scrabble, Piggy spills the beans about a Road Rules alliance to Jisela; the top three teams (Chadwick/Piggy, Holly/Theo and Emily/Timmy) have agreed to ditch the other Winnebago Waifs at the first opportunity. When confronted, Emily protests that she and her partner only joined the Axis of Evil under duress, after Holly and Chadwick "approached" them.

Of course, Piggy quibbles with Emily's interpretation. Who is telling the truth? Is Emily being open or "snake-like?" What does "approach" mean? All the Road Rulers gather in a single room, threatening to set it ablaze with their simmering anger, in order to discuss the issue. When Chadwick says, "I can feel the anger around here," it sounds like the understatement of the year. Well, heavens to Betsy, it is only February!

When Emily is approached about being "approached," she rapidly backtracks. "Maybe I just felt like they approached me," she offers lamely. The other Road Rulers still don't like Holly or Chadwick, but Emily isn't exactly a saint, either. If only more than one team could be voted off at a time! The alliance, such as it was, disintegrates, and Emily sees a plane trip in her very near future, unless she and Timmy can succeed in their next mission.

Oh, yes, the mission. Remember that, my petites chou? There has to be one sooner or later, but this week's "Musical Intertube Tango" occupies only a few minutes of our valuable time. I will say one thing about this particular Real World/ Road Rules Challenge, my pets: the producers have their priorities straight. Who wants to dwell on those silly little games of beach blanket bingo when there's backbiting afoot?

The silly game this week is a pool party version of musical chairs (try it for your next summer shindig!), and the prize is an electric guitar and an amp. Piggy and Chadwick are the first Road Rules team out of the water. Everyone had better watch out; those schemers are likely to throw the electric guitar into the water and eliminate the competition right then and there! On that morbid note, a bientot.

Next Week: Who will leave? Who will stay? Can Mike and Coral possibly get any more lovey-dovey?

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This Week, Mrs. Filthy's Reading:

Bella Tuscany: The Sweet Life in Italy by Frances Mayes