October 20, 1998
This week: The 1998 Aqua-Lames!
Now, my dears, I have nothing against sports. I do not indulge in that particular vice, but I certainly do not begrudge the enjoyment of others. I also do not indulge in watching "Road Rules"; watching "The Real World" is my sin of choice. You might expect, then, that I would try to beg off reviewing this particular episode. But, my duty awaits; even if I could delegate this responsibility to someone else, the Cable Television Furies would pursue me around the neighborhood and prod me with their guilt-tipped spears. And then, what would the neighbors think?
So, I resolved to sit through the annual contest between "The Real World" cast and the "Road Rules" cast, no matter the damage to my psyche. The things I do for you, darlings- I hope you're grateful. This episode begins with a telephoned challenge from the "Road Rules" cast and the arrival of yet more Gore-tex to Pier 70. These kids are really starting to blend in with the whole Seattle aesthetic, ain't they?
The ballyhooed day arrives, and there doesn't seem to be much animosity between the teams just yet. Where's the bad blood? The smoldering stares? The vicious baiting? What do they think this is, a college mixer? Wait a minute, here's a spark of competition. Nathan says that he'll be "nice and quiet" and then "rub their noses in it" after they claim victory. For the most part, emotions are as grey and bland as the weather. People shiver and complain about the cold water.
There are six events in all, and they are each introduced to us by Kit and Mark, former "Road Rules" cast members. Of course, they've aged, and now they're more like the hosts of "PM Magazine". Below is a brief rundown of each event in this MTV equivalent of "Circus of the Stars".
1)Raft-o-Rama (1 pt): Each team must build a raft with materials provided, then float it around a buoy and back. Obviously, MTV doesn't think to choose engineers for cast members, because the whole boat-building task is a laughable failure. Instead, both casts utterly ignore the rules. No one receives a single lousy point.
2)Duelling Tubes (1 pt): The object of this game is to knock an enemy team member off his intertube. People tend to fall off without much prompting, however. The highlights of this event include Rebecca receiving a kick in the ear from a young man on the opposing team, and Janet "hanging on like an animal". After a tiebreaker, the "Road Rules" cast is deemed the most tenacious.
3)Blindfolded Canoe (1pt): Two teammates must paddle a canoe without the luxury of sight. Their landlubber castmates shout directions at them. Lindsay and Dave pathetically tip their canoe. With another point going towards "Road Rules", the situation is looking grim for the Real Worlders. Lindsay complains of numb fingers.
4)Extreme Fishing (2 pts): Two teammates scoop inflatable sharks from a jet-ski. Janet and Stephen again pathetically tip their craft. The "Road Rules" cast is now ahead 4 to 0. I start wondering if "The Real World" cast gives up, will the show end early? I need to go to the supermarket.
5)Zip Off (2 pts): Players must leap off a tall scaffolding and land inside small plastic rings on the surface of the frigid waters. A young blonde from the "Road Rules" cast is scared of heights, and Nathan tries to reassure her in a gentlemanly manner. Or, is he trying to hit on her? Kit and Mark decide that girlies can't play this particular game because they're just not heavy enough. Anorexia saves the day! The male Real Worlders' military training finally comes in handy, and they score some points for their team.
6)Beach Bungee Bull: The winner of this event wins the AquaGames and three thousand smackeroos. Stephen intensifies the team camaraderie by calling his female colleagues "sexually repressed". Lindsay and her thighs, however, are determined to prove him wrong. She quips that one only has to "pretend it's someone you love". Evidently, she holds on to loved ones for a whole 5 seconds. Nathan is even more determined and, even with his private package peeking from his boxers, he doesn't let go of the bull until his team has won the grand prize. Nothing can ruin the elation of victory, not even the other team's quips about Nathan's small dingy visible on shore.
So, our little underdogs frolic on the chilly beach and caress their new trophy. There are no grand conclusions or emotional breakthroughs to speak of.
Number of times Dave appears shirtless: None. Dave is swathed in Gore-Tex for the entire episode.
The most annoying character? I hold Kit and Mark and their damn perky camp counselor demeanor responsible for this yawn-inducing episode.
Next time: Could it really be? Could the season be over already?
Whatever will I do with myself for the rest of the year?
©1999 by Randy Shandis Enterprises. All rights reserved.