Mrs Filthy's "Battle of the Seasons" Review


May 20, 2002

Victory Lap

As morning dawns upon the Road Rules Villa, the sleepyheads discuss what their final mission will be. Will it be something that involves luck? Will it be something intensely physical? In any case, those tanned and toned Road Rulers are confident of victory. This, mes amis, sets them up for a grand comeuppance- not that I'm trying to give the ending away, or anything!

The Real World clan is also confident- confident that the Road Rulers will kick their scrawny derrieres all over the beach, that is. Sean again offers his standard pathetique speech about being young and in debt with a baby on the way, but Elka's situation seems more serious. "I have tunnel vision. I'm ready to win." Shouldn't she see a doctor about that, darlings? Let's hope the final game doesn't require peripheral vision!

Of course, even if the Team Real World loses, most of them will still walk away with enough to "have a good meal and pay off a credit card," in the words of Kelley. Everyone has entered into the profit-sharing plan engineered by Sean, except for Holly and Coral. Holly says she doesn't want to share any winnings because, "If I win, it's because I'm chosen to win." I'm sure she means "chosen" with a capital C, complete with the halo and heavenly choir. Why should she let any generosity of spirit interfere with Divine Will?

Left out of the plan, Coral doesn't have the luxury of theology. Simply put, Holly is "the Wicked Witch of the East, man." Oui, but what does she really think about Holly, after all the tact is stripped away?

Finally, the teams assemble for the final competition, which is sort of your standard, season-ending contest-melange, including everything from kayaking to cliff-climbing to puzzles. The "ultimate" team on each side (that's Theo/Holly and Sean/Elka) will direct their showmates in the succession of contests, each of which involve retrieving a fish decoy from various aquatic environments.

I wonder, my sweets, who are the folks who design all these reality-show games? Is there a specific job description, or do the producers just get the lowly intern to do it? The variety of contests doesn't faze the Road Rulers in the least; Theo thinks that even a scaly, old iguana could beat those flabby Real Worlders. It's all those sad sack Real Worlders can do to force a smile and a "Go Team!" Again, I smell comeuppance in the balmy ocean breezes of Cabo!

But not, my darlings, without some suspense! Timmy and Emily paddle their kayak leagues ahead of noodle-armed Kelley and Danny, but get stuck upon reaching their goal. Their fish decoy won't detach from the buoy, and Emily is forced to recall her feral roots and chew through the rope. Rowf! Holly takes this turn of bad luck personally, "This is so NOT okay!" I practically expected St. Self-Entitlement to add, "Father, why hast thou forsaken me?"

The Real Worlders are ecstatic at this second chance. However, that doesn't stop them from frittering it away on the free dive event. By the time the two teams reach the longboard portion of the game, the Road Rulers have another hefty lead. It doesn't help that Mike and Coral are sinking rather spectacularly. "Mike is riding Coral instead of the board," marvels Kelley. You knew it would happen someday, my pets, but perhaps not in such a public place!

But, Theo and Holly aren't having such an easy time of it, either. "I'm struggling like a shot squirrel in a pile of poo," Theo explains. If he can't win the $300,000, by gum, he's going to win some sort of Colorful Backwoods Simile title! Anyway, Theo and Holly, even with Theo's rodent issues, maintain a lead, and the whole Road Rules team rushes to the next game, a stacking puzzle. The instructions for the puzzle are convoluted and not interesting to us here. What's important, my loves, is that that tight-knit Team Road Rules soon dissolves into a screeching, angry mob.

Zut alors! Will Real World brains triumph over Road Rules brawn? I never really associated "Real World" with the word "brain" before, but I guess there's a first time for everything. The Real Worlders not only catch up, they solve the fish-stacking problem in a trice, thanks to, of all people, Mike. Sean credits the Real World victory to teamwork, but I think there's something else going on here. Coral mentions that Mike "gets this look on his face like he just saw a naked woman," shortly before he solves the puzzle. Is Mike some sort of porn-fueled savant?

In any case, it's a mere hop, skip and a jump before Team Real World has scaled the final cliff and claimed their Chili's checks with much hooting and hollering and hugging. Sean and Elka as the victorious Ultimate Team win yet another Saturn. The Road Rulers still linger among their scattered fish decoys, and endure the mockery of the local pelicans. Later, Theo will try to sound nonchalant when he calls a friend, "I just lost fifty grand and a new car; what's new with you?"

A Real World victory means that everyone gets some money, except, of course, Holly. Does she think that God chose her to lose, I wonder? The rest of the episode features lots of slow-motion hugs and sappy "What I Learned From My Vacation" speeches. Suffice it to say that friends are important, challenges build character and it's how you play that matters. Hindsight makes everyone a good sport, my dears. And now, I have my Monday nights back.

Want to tell Mrs. Filthy something?

This Week, Mrs. Filthy's Reading:

I'll Let You Go by Bruce Wagner