Mrs Filthy's "Battle of the Seasons" Review


February 18, 2002

This Time It's Personal.

Sure, Musical Innertube Tango may seem like a harmless pool party game, but that swimming pool is rapidly turning into a bloodbath. Cast members are kicking and clawing their way into those colorful inflated donuts as if they really were drowning. Road Ruler Tara calls the atmosphere "brutal," and Coral calls the mission "the worst thing I've ever done in my life." Does that include hugging Mike, I wonder? Anyway, we're supposed to feel bad for the kids, stuck out there in a swimming pool in Cabo San Lucas.

The physical grappling in the pool certainly seems tres difficult, but for these tender young minds, the psychological grappling might even be worse. If you remember, dearies, Piggy and Chadwick were the first team out of the running. Piggy fully expects the dull-edged ax of revenge to come down on her own neck. After all, most of the Road Rulers hold Chadwick responsible for the ugly direction the game has taken from the beginning. You can almost see those wheels turning in the sun-bleached heads of the other Road Rulers.

The Road Rulers aren't the only ones behaving badly. Stephen seems to be living up to his violent reputation: hitting girls, grabbing innertubes away from opponents and generally behaving like the biggest, greediest whale in the bay. You'd think, mes amis, that the brouhaha engendered from his scuffle with Irene would've taught him a wee bit of restraint, but, by gum, he wants that electric guitar.

The teams are whittled away, one by one. A few people, such as Real World NYC Mike and Road Ruler Adam, are disqualified for hanging onto innertubes too long, but Stephen goes on his merrily violent way, leaving a trail of bruises and contusions behind him. For some odd reason, darlings, his boorishness is completely within the game's limits. And he and Lindsay end up walking away with the victory, much to the dismay of Jisela, who makes all sorts of witchy evil eye faces at him and flips him the bird repeatedly. Rowr!

The Real Worlders are so excited to be actually winning something, they don't notice the weak link in their team unity philosophy. That weak link, my bonbons, is Stephen. Stephen, who celebrated his victory at Musical Innertube Tango by bellowing like a horny elephant seal, is out for number one. "I'm not here to make friends," he snarls. Well, it's probably a good thing that Stephen isn't trying to make friends, because friendship certainly doesn't seem to be his cup of tea. Coral calls him a "jackass," and the normally docile Elka vows to vote Mr. Surly off, if given the chance.

But, you know, the Real Worlders already have their strategy in place, and as long as Stephen isn't at the bottom of the rankings, he's safe. The Road Rulers are still trying to figure out their strategy. Teambuilding or vengeance? Group morale or backstabbing? As always, it's a tough choice; Timmy (aka Harold Ramis' slower twin) is loath to take on the responsibility. He laments being in the Road Rules' inner circle yet again (pauvre baby!), "I'm in the middle of a jam sandwich!"

The Road Rules inner circle is now composed of Holly/Theo, Emily/Timmy and a new team, Tara/Dan. Dan didn't like the tone of the last vote, and now he wants to get rid of the instigators, Chadwick and Piggy. Of course, Chadwick's blushing bride Holly wants to change the rules now that her hubby's on the chopping block. She swears that she wouldn't have voted Yes and Veronica off if she had known the consequences. She calls upon the virtues of fairness and teambuilding.

Coming from Petite Madame Weasel, all of this rhetoric is about as effective as one of those oinking refrigerator magnets from Harriet Carter. Neither one changes the destructive habit it's designed to alter. Indeed, all that noise just seems to inspire greater heights of willful misbehavior. Everyone knows that poor morale is keeping Team Road Rules from victory. Everyone knows that they need a group hug strategy like the Real Worlders have. Nevertheless, the Road Rulers want the satisfaction of revenge, and they will get it.

When Tribe Winnebago is called upon to announce their vote, Holly stands apart from the rest of the Inner Circle and pouts. We know then, dearies, that Piggy and Chadwick are goners. Dan calls it "a more positive step" for team morale, while Josh goes further and calls it "poetic justice." Wifey Holly feels differently, criticizing her teammates for not taking a higher road than she did.

But all is not lost. "We still have him on our side, right? We still have the big guy," Holly reassures Chadwick. Does she mean that ol' meathead Theo? If she thinks God is a Road Rules fan, she's got another thing coming, my sweets. All that cooing and praying- I do believe Holly and Chadwick are in some sort of cult! Anyway, Holly pulls a Scarlett O'Hara and makes a stirring speech vowing to rise again, even as her foundation is burning away.

Meanwhile, the Real Worlders have continued voting off the lowest ranked team, and this time, that bottom rung is Team London, Mike and Sharon. They are sent home with all sorts of hugs and tender speeches about shiny smiles and happy energy. Sharon exhorts her cronies to "Take it to the top!" It may be hokey, folks, but the Real Worlders' perkiness and teamwork has the effect of completely humiliating their Road Rules opponents. Now, that's a strategy!

Next Week: Stephen's nuts are in a bind!

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This Week, Mrs. Filthy's Reading:

The Captive (Remembrance of Things Past, Vol. 5) by Marcel Proust