LAST EDITED ON 07-07-05 AT 06:23 PM (EST)
ETA: (Yes, I know I typoed the episode number in the title: this is Episode #2 and there's no way to fix it. It just felt like sitting through three at once.)
This wasn't my idea. I am not doing this of my own free will. But, since we've had a couple of the AJs around, or at least people calling themselves AJs who mysteriously vanished from the face of the Internet the instant someone asked them for details -- guilty -- we've had problems. Namely, the good people who have nothing better to do than hang around looking for potential lawsuits. Honestly, who knew any of them could log on without outside help?
So it seems that with supposed AJs about, the board has an obligation to grant equal time to the hunks. Or else.
Given that plus the sheer amount of paperwork that's already been filed and my lack of free time to attend twenty-five separate trials in, it is my (dubious) honor and (complete lack of pleasure) to introduce -- Biff, who's just now entered the summary. Biff, say hi to the nice people.
Biff, they can't actually hear you.
The mouse is not a microphone. You have to type.
Look, you just say it and I'll put it in, okay?
"Yo! This is the Biff-man, the Biff-meister, King Of All Ripped T-Shirts, coming to you lucky girls and envious guys live and in person, ready to do some speakin' for the only people who really count on the show -- the winners, the champions, the masters of everything they look at, especially if it's in a short skirt -- the hunks! We're here and we're taking over this board! Woo! Woo-woo-woo! Go, hunks!"
Thank you, Biff. Now as I understand it, you were actually in this episode, but you were edited out after filming?
"Yeah. I'll explain why when we hit that part of the episode. And speaking of hitting, do you know where I can find some of those editors?"
"Do they have lockers? I'm really good at stuffing people into lockers."
I'm sure you are, but I think the big executives have closets.
"I don't like closets. Too much room. They don't give people that feeling of being squeezed to death that's so great in a successful stuffing."
Words to live by. Ready for the episode?
Want to do the initial recap?
"Nah. I didn't watch the first one. I wasn't in it. You take it."
Fine. Last week on Average Joe, MTW wrote a summary and if you really cared about what happened last week on Average Joe, you'd go read it. But to save Biff some major effort: we met Anna, this year's target of a thousand pointless crushes, who's going to have AJs falling in love with her just because she doesn't have the luxury of telling them to go drown themselves in public. She's being courted by a dozen Average Joes who were chosen by sadism, makeover potential, random draw, and the cruelty of three former AJs who wanted to see someone else suffer just as much as they had. Anna used her business skills to good effect by not losing her mind in the face of a completely ridiculous proposal, also known as 'watching everyone get off the bus', and also tapped into her Human Resources classes in avoiding the potential discrimination lawsuit, also known as 'not getting rid of the heavy guys in the first elimination'. And that, excluding some dodgeball training and a demonstration of rhythmic gymnastics that will not be described here because people are still throwing up, is about all that happened. Beyond that, we just had lots of precaps, lots of instant recaps, lots of shots of approaching cars in the desert, plus lots and lots and lots of images of Anna in a bikini taking us into and out of commercial, which substitutes for plot. And, of course, Biff did not appear because he was edited out of the episode for reasons we will be finding out later.
Who will be eliminated this week? Who's delusional enough to believe they actually have a chance? With Jesus on the show and in the hunt, how long will it take for one of the producers to be struck by lightning? And is there any way on Earth the last AJ standing will not have to board the bus at the end?
"No way in hell."
Biff, you're so eloquent.
"What does 'eloquent' mean?"
...roll opening credits.
We begin at 6:02 in the morning on whatever day this is, with most of our AJs asleep in their beds, having dreams of Anna that we probably can't repeat on a PG-13 board because there's people who get upset at the mere mention of holding hands. The only person awake is Dante, who decides to provide the wake-up call for the household like the overgrown two year-old and world-class DAW he is. And how do two year-olds wake people up? They march through the house banging on a pot with a soup ladle, because all the grown-ups are asleep and not paying attention to them and they just can't stand that sort of thing. The household wakes up in something of a hurry. This doesn't stop Dante from banging on his pot because they're only awake: they're not paying attention to him yet. This is the classic intolerable state of affairs that cannot be allowed to continue, although you could say the same thing about Dante being on this show. Unfortunately, we know he's going to be on this show for at least one more week because among the endless precaps were several images of 'Just Missed The Bronze' facing down the hunks. This show isn't just badly edited, it's brought to you by the team who did The Real Gilligan's Island.
"Oh, man -- don't even mention that show."
Did you apply for the Professor and get rejected?
"What? No. I just hate thinking about those two gorgeous girls, stranded forever with no real men in sight, waiting for someone like me to come along, and I've got no way to reach them..."
...you do know it was just a show, right?
"Yeah! What, do you think I'm stupid? I just hate those bastard reality producers for leaving them stranded on the island! At least the camera crew got to leave once in a while!"
Oh. Of course. My bad. Sorry.
"They could have at least called the Health Department when the radioactive veggies showed up."
Meanwhile, back on the mainland, Chuck and Gino are just a little bit unhappy because after the initial party, elimination ceremony, and sixteen retakes of the elimination ceremony were filmed, they only got three hours of sleep. The editors foolishly choose not to entertain us with a half-dozen murder attempts and swoop the camera out of the mansion instead, heading out to a point in the desert 229 miles northeast of Los Angeles, where we find seven red sports cars driving through the desert with the tops down. The drivers also have their tops down. And to improve the performance of the car, three pounds of unnecessary weight have been removed from every skull. Now, Biff -- there were originally eight cars, and you were in one of them. What can you tell everyone about the experience?
"It was really annoying. First, every time someone got too close to my car, it whipped sand off the road and into my eyes. Made it really hard to see most of the time. Of course, the right thing to do was get really close to someone else's car and do it right back to them, which is part of the secret Code of the Hunks, and I hope you appreciate that I'm sharing it with you now."
I'm very grateful. So how did you stay in that precise car formation with all that sand in your eyes?
"Well, what you're seeing is about nine hours of footage spliced together. They took all the seconds when we had it exactly right and made it into one shot."
And what are we missing?
"Sixteen crashes, three injured camera people, one fire safety truck explosion, and a direct sneak attack on me by a saguerro, the menace of the West. I killed that sucker."
The writers of a thousand country songs thank you. Meanwhile, back at the mansion, Dante is getting really paranoid about your upcoming arrival. He's talking to the others around the pool, trying to marshal them into a strategy that'll keep away the bad people who are coming to steal his attention. Oddly, some of the AJs don't even think you guys are coming, despite their having been warned by the alumni in the last episode. They don't think there's going to be a single twist in this game, not even one that was in all three prior seasons, even though it got sort of shorted out in the third one.
"Adam's a dork."
Adam had integrity.
"What's that word mean?"
It means he's a dork. So Dante thinks you're all going to be big jerks from the planet Overpumped, while Igor thinks you're human beings and it's not like the AJs are going to be sent into battle with you using guns and knives, which is absolutely true.
"Yeah. Originally, we were the only ones who were going to have knives."
Dante's still insisting on being paranoid, though, and Josh says he's been doing this for several days, so no matter how much time you think the first episode covered, you're wrong. Dante has lots of plans to stop you guys, none of which would be worth listening to even if he hadn't woken them up at six in the morning. For starters, he wants to take you all on in a belly flop contest, which would humiliate the hunks.
"Like hell it would!"
"We could beat them!"
You might want to see about getting a belly first. By this point, everyone's mad at Dante, because he's been keeping this up for what Clay seems to think was four days -- poor, delusional Clay -- and Igor, who's one of those who doesn't think you're coming at all, insists that he just wants to enjoy his day in the pool. He tells Dante to get his head examined. Dante's response is to tell Igor he's stupid. Dante waves his arms. Dante waves his hair. Dante wants to make sure Mommy is watching him before he'll jump in the pool. Dante, quite frankly, has a point or six, but the way he's trying to bring them across is making a locker stuffing sound really good right about now. And still Igor thinks you guys aren't coming -- which leads to a very quick desert shot.
When we come back from that, Igor, Dante, and Gino have made up and are all swimming in the pool together --
-- oh. We're actually at Sea World, and that was a perfectly natural mistake. It's time for the first group date, and Anna has taken the AJs to see some other creatures whose natural dating habits include a lot of floundering. Anna wants to slowly mingle into the group and get to know the guys. This is accomplished by taking a rail flume ride that ends in a wet T-shirt.
"Wet T-shirts! Woo! I mean, even if she is a little small and stuff..."
She is, like Shallow 1.0 and 1.1 before her, flattered by all the attention.
"She was bigger before this?"
Flattered. Not -- skip it. Anyway, they start walking through the park, with the AJs following Anna like, as Jason says, a pack of puppies. Dante has brought out his secret weapon: his wet feet, which are producing a smell that's leaving a number of fish belly-up in the tanks. His feet stink. They smell horrible. They bring back memories of fafaru. And he's doing it on purpose, because he says the smell of his feet is the best way to eliminate people from a show. This would make a lot of sense if he was walking near the people he wanted to see leave, because they might die. Instead, he's right next to Anna. Of course, he's still right. That smell is the best way to eliminate people from a show, starting with him. However, there's a chance Anna might die, so Chuck and Igor take the olfactory bullet and step between her and Dante. Anna doesn't entirely like this, not only because she has no sense of smell, but because she feels those three are monopolizing the proceedings. She's more interested in the quiet guys right now -- which is to say, the ones who haven't completely repelled her by talking.
And speaking of repelling people through talking, let's go back to the desert and the racing cars to learn some hunk names. First we have Greg, who feels that as soon as Anna sees the other team, she's going to forget the AJ's names. (He's tattooed his name on his arm, just in case.)
"That wasn't a reminder. He just had the name of his first and only love put on."
Not very fond of Greg, Biff?
"He was a little bit obsessed with himself."
"Yeah. He thought he was better than me."
Next we have Brad, who actually feels a little sorry for the AJs. Not very, because he's coming just to (censored) them up. But there was a moment.
"Yeah, we all thought Brad was gay, too."
Rocky feels he can dominate people who are out of shape --
-- and that's not his fault, it's just the way the world is.
"Gay and in denial."
Carson thinks his looks are going to win the day. He wants people to look at his hair, his eyes, his chin, his smile. I want people to look at him driving through a desert in close formation with six other cars at a hundred miles an hour and taking both hands off the wheel so he can check himself out in the mirror and give his hair a quick adjustment.
"That was eighteen takes, seven of the crashes, two camera people, and the fire safety truck going up."
I was wondering... Carson's not even here for Anna. He just wants to make the AJs go home with tears in their eyes, looking like fools.
"Carson's an idiot."
I was getting that impression.
"Who could be that close to a hot piece of (censored) and not want to (censored) her while they were in the neighborhood?"
Carson, apparently. We'll have to meet the other three later, because it's back to Sea World for the rest of the group date, which consists of watching Shamu frolic around the tank. Anna picks Nathan to come up and hug Shamu, partially because he's been one of the quiet guys who only says nice things on the rare occasions when he talks, but mostly because he's wearing a black shirt with a white undershirt and Shamu might think he was a relative. Anna hugs the whale after him -- as Clay says, 'Lucky whale' -- that was not an Igor joke -- Shamu plays in the tank, and more wet T-shirts result all around. This includes Dante, so the cameras quickly cut out to the desert so we can meet the rest of the hunks, starting with Craig. He thinks the game is over already because he doesn't lose much.
"Except at power lifting, picking up girls, and races."
Josh believes there's going to be issues in the mansion because beautiful people like to surround themselves with beautiful people.
"I like Josh, but he's got a really weird apartment. Every wall is like this giant mirror. And the ceiling."
Not the floor?
"He said he was getting too many shards in his feet."
Understandable. And lastly, we have Mike, who feels that women like bad boys and since he's a bad boy, the AJs had better watch out. He's definitely bad at driving, because this announcement is followed by several shots of cars spinning out across the desert sand.
"They said they weren't going to use those!"
It's reality TV, Biff. They lied. Meanwhile, back at Sea World again after another awkward jump cut, it's time for Anna's first solo date. She's feeling a little shy, so she's going to whisper the lucky man's name into the ear of her good friend Craig. Craig is gentle. Craig is understanding. Craig is also a sea lion, so good luck finding his ears. Anna somehow manages, and Craig swims across the tank to the AJs, who've lined up along the front railing. He props himself up on the railing in front of Igor, looks him over for a few seconds while the not-even-remotely-dramatic elimination music plays, and then roars in his face. Igor takes this as the sign of rejection it is and sticks his tongue out at Craig. Other AJs are then roared at, including Jesus, who promptly puts the species on the endangered list. (It's that whole 'moneylenders in the temple' thing all over again. He may look sweet, but he's got a temper.) Jason proudly says the sea lion's roar was the nicest rejection he's ever gotten.
"How do you talk inside the curved lines like that?"
Lots of practice. Finally, Craig smiles at Aaron -- Anna wanted one of the quieter guys for the initial solo -- and they get into wetsuits before heading off to an artificial lagoon to swim with dolphins for a while. Insane jealousy prevents me from saying anything else, so let's turn to our guest host. Biff, what do you think of the dolphins?
"I dunno. I've never had a chance to eat one. I've tried. After I saw all those cans that said 'dolphin-safe', I started looking for one that said 'dolphin-added', but I keep striking out."
Try Japan. Anna and Aaron share a first kiss over two dolphins. (Biff is now pretending to throw up.) The date continues after sunset, with Anna and Aaron sitting at the side of the tank. Aaron confessional-tell admits he's a little shy about making moves, so he spends most of the date sitting quietly and answering Anna's questions about his I Was A Teenage Hacker stint. Towards the end, he does find enough resolve to put his arm around her. Anna c-t finds this to be stiff and awkward, adding that while she likes quiet types, she also wants them to be passionate and aggressive and really take charge on a date. Um -- yeah. Good luck finding that combo.
Back at the mansion, where it's 3:40 in the morning -- long date, that -- three of the AJs who can't really be identified under the night vision lens realize their wakeup call is coming soon and take preventive measures by strapping Dante to his bed. Dante, upon awakening, produces a noise much like a sea lion roaring. But the experience does give him a whole new interest in life.
Morning finds Josh, Gino, Igor, Dante, Clay, and Dan on Anna's rented yacht with her. They're going to take a quick run down to Malibu, get into wetsuits, and play in the water for a few hours, mostly because NBC paid top dollar for those wetsuit rentals and they're not due back for another week. Igor asks Anna if she's going to wear any underwear beneath the wetsuit. Anna invites Igor to go commando himself if he's so interested in it. Igor says he's all about the commando. This is not code for anything, and it wouldn't help if it was.
Josh thinks he's getting a little crowded out by the loud guys on the boat, and brings a knit poncho to a cold Anna, which wins him thanks plus sarcastic applause from his fellows. Anna is then asked to say something in Polish, and she thanks the group for coming out with her today. Her accent is very light, and she has no trouble handling the eight-letter consonant groupings that are the hallmark of the language. Dante translates her words as 'You're all voted off.' This is completely wrong. There's no voting in AJ -- yet.
In descent. I think she's first-generation American, and her parents came over before she was born.
"Now I'm glad they cut me. I couldn't date a Polish girl."
"I don't go out with anyone dumber than me."
At least you've left yourself a nice, big pool to draw from. We go back to the mansion for a moment and find that Chuck has become the second AJ to board the Integrity Bus: he's packing. One of his friends is in the hospital and that's more important than trying to win Anna's heart, so he's heading out to take care of what really matters. Biff, I understand this is why you were edited out of the episode?
"Yeah. They wanted the number of hunks to match the number of Joes. It was originally going to be eight against eight, but then that dork left to go take care of his loser friend, so they had to let one of us go. I was the last person signed on, so I was the first person let go. They didn't tell me until after they filmed the meeting scene. Man, I could just stuff Chuck into a locker right now."
He's not exactly a weak man, Biff.
"Anyone dumb enough to choose a dork friend over a hot girl doesn't have any strength worth talking about. All he's got is that integrity (censored), like you said."
He's got that, all right. Back in Malibu, Anna's demonstrating her sense of fun, which includes being towed behind the yacht in an inner tube, bouncing across the water for a few seconds before finally being thrown off. This is fun, and probably would have been an absolute blast for the whole crew if only Dante hadn't been along. Dante's a pretty big guy who doesn't have a lot of experience in distributing his weight, ribbon waving notwithstanding. He doesn't know how to get onto the tube without tipping it over, as he demonstrates for the camera. And then he demonstrates it again. And again. And again. Anna counts twenty attempts before she finally has to turn away and laugh, and once Dante finally does get himself balanced on the tube, his weight keeps it completely under the water, which sort of defeats the whole skimming experience. Two more pounds and he would have been demonstrating nitrogen narcosis for the cameras, which would do a lot to explain his behavior up until this point.
"Is that some sort of new drug?"
Not exactly. Ever scuba?
"Not yet. Always wanted to. The suits really show off my glutes."
Well, about a decade back, most scuba divers used a mix in their air tanks that was heavy in nitrogen. Due to a number of factors that I'm sure you have no interest in, the deeper you went, the more the nitrogen built up in your bloodstream, and the more drunk you acted. The air tanks use a helium mix now, so it isn't a problem any more.
"Is nitrogen legal?"
Completely. And it's really cheap, too.
"Can you show me where to get some?"
I'll hook you up. In a badly edited shot that must have taken place before the tube rides, Dante asks everyone what they would bring along with them if Survivor still allowed luxury items and they were the last man standing on Ulong. Josh would sensibly take another person, because being on Ulong sucks. Clay wants his Bible, so he can pray not to be on Ulong. Gino wants his mother's secret sauce, so he can comfort food away the pain of being on Ulong. Igor would bring a case of condoms, because he really wants to leave in the next elimination. Gino hopes that Josh, Clay, or Dan get the next solo date -- Igor's just being too crass in front of a lady.
"The idiot didn't even mention a brand name. He could have gotten some money!"
...I'm impressed. What made you think of that, Biff?
"I applied for the Apprentice show last year. Made it down to the final thousand."
What kept you off?
"I couldn't stand the thought of working with all those geeks. And the one man's man they ever got designed dresses. Don't ask, don't tell, do beat up in a dark alley, y'know?"
Biff, do you know what 'statue of limitations' means?
"Uh... like that chick with no arms, right? She's got no arms, so she's really limited!"
Close enough. It looks like the editors decided to indulge in five seconds of irony foreshadowing, because Gino gets the next date, which is a candlelit dinner on the deck. Anna comes in wearing a yellow dress and receives a classic Italian double-cheek kiss from Gino, which means Biff is making fake retching noises again. It's not the end of the Italian stylings for the night, either: Gino starts by saying that he's learned Anna's best qualities are in her heart instead of her chest, which you kind of have to read carefully but she's still happy to hear it, plus she has la facha rodondo, or 'the round face', which Gino pretty much has a fetish for because he can't stop saying it. He's been hypnotized, and by the middle of the date, he's been reduced to, in his own c-t words, 'Gah-gah-gah, gah-gah-gah, gah-gah.' Anna also takes this as a compliment, which should help prepare her for the hunks' conversational level. Finally, Gino kisses every inch of Anna he can reach, which ends the date on a hunk-like note, then staggers off to demonstrate Cupid shooting him with an arrow, why you should always wear burgundy shirts on Valentine's day, what a wildly pounding heart looks like from the outside, says how round the moon's face is, does his Joker impression, compliments the captain on driving him to his destiny, does the five year-old dance, and confirms the simple fact that he's drunk off his rear. Or hypnotized. Or both.
The camera cuts back to the cars, which are now driving on a regular road forty-eight miles outside Los Angeles. Biff, by my math, that means you guys only covered a hundred and eighty-one miles in two days. Even given all the extra takes, that's a lot of time unaccounted for, especially since all the desert shooting was on the first day. What happened?
"Well -- we got into this discussion of whose car was faster..."
It looked like you all had pretty similar models.
"That doesn't matter! It's the driver who makes the difference! So we had a little race to prove it!"
"Vegas, baby, Vegas! Except -- well -- we couldn't find it after a full day, so we turned around and went back the other way."
Couldn't you stop and ask directions?
Never mind... Mike demonstrates the best part of his personality by taking off his shirt, Carson says that guys like him always come out on top (because that's the only position they know), Josh restates his confidence in a shot taken from the prior day, and all this somehow gets them two miles closer to Los Angeles, which means that for that segment, they were traveling at roughly a hundred and ninety-five miles per hour. Nice driving, guys.
"You had us clocked?"
Believe me, there's not much I'd like to do more than clock you. It's time for the next group date, this time with the five men who weren't on the last one: Aaron, Jesus, Arthur, Nathan, and Jason. This one is held in a local park, where animal trainers are working with frisbee-catching dogs who do all sorts of stunts, like using people's backs as launch ramps. (This reminds Anna of being kissed by Gino, so she's having a good time.) The AJs take turns throwing frisbees to the dogs while Anna talks to whoever isn't tossing, with Jason continuing to prove he's on the wrong show in the following exchange.
Anna: 'Have you ever dated older girls?'
Jason: 'No. But I've never really dated younger girls, either.'
Jason, the WB is on line two...
"What are you talking about?"
It's a show where beauties and geeks connect with no dating involved.
"Do they lead them on and take them for all their money, like I did with that homely girl down in Orange County?"
"Too bad. I could so totally go out for that show."
I wish you had. Arthur connects with Anna when he discovers they both have a passion for swing music and the old Rat Pack. This wins him an excellent transition shot of a thrown frisbee becoming a full moon and the next solo date, which takes place at a nearby, very nice hotel restaurant. The connection continues to intensify in strength as they confess their mutual love for piano bars, which means we could have imported one guy from the previously implied show here and he'd stand a chance, which is the scariest thought I'm going to have all week. Anna's really enjoying herself, feeling Arthur knows how to treat a lady, right down to a proper napkin spread across her lap. This is almost completely ruined when Arthur compares her not to a summer's day, but to something else he finds completely high-class: Jessica Simpson. This would normally be the part of the show where I find a place to throw up, but Biff's not ready to learn home keys yet, so I have to stay and report that Anna somehow took this as a compliment. Of course, she is a DAW, so maybe she's planning on having cameras follow her around in her first year of marriage, too. Check Bravo's listings for details. It's not as if they've had better things to do lately.
Anna and Arthur dangle their feet in the hotel pool in lieu of dessert, and fall to chatting about their dogs. Anna tells Arthur she gives her dog commands in Polish, and Arthur asks to hear a couple. Anna tells him the Polish for 'sit' and 'give kiss'. Arthur asks her to change that last from the imperative command to a request. Biff looks really confused right now.
"There's a difference?"
Ask Coconut. Anna provides the translation, Arthur repeats it and receives a kiss. It's actually sort of cute, if slightly unpronounceable. The Rat Pack would have been proud, and they were all about the imperative command.
Anna asks Arthur about past relationships, and Arthur, who'd been worrying that this might come up and hurt him in the end, admits he's divorced: his wife walked out on him after a total of four and a half years together, and he never saw her again. Anna looks shocked to hear that he's separated, but sympathetic towards an ending so bad, Arthur only had contact with lawyers thereafter. (Gee, let's hope there was a screening process, or this could be a really bad sign for Anna.) Arthur then touches her heart by giving her a gift: his lucky dice, which he's been carrying in his pockets for two years. He doesn't feel he needs them any more because having this night with Anna was all the luck he could ask for. Anna, clearly impressed by what's either an incredibly sincere moment or a line that people will be ripping off for use in bars for years to come, clasps the dice to her chest and kisses Arthur again. Her cheeks are aching from smiling so much during the night, she feels that Arthur is a complete gentleman who can always make her laugh, and it's starting to look like we've got one of the Final Four set in stone -- Biff, are you taking notes?
"These -- are my -- lucky dice -- which I have been carrying -- for two years --"
(sigh) Arthur c-ts his feeling of being off the planet and shooting towards the stars -- let us know if you find Dante's home planet so we can ask them to take him back -- sings his crush for the camera, and the date ends on a high note, if slightly off-key.
So it's the next day, and we're back to the cars, which are now -- thirty-six miles outside Los Angeles. Okay, Biff, what happened this time?
"-- would like you -- to have them -- oh! There was this really good strip joint on the way, so we all stopped in to get a drink and remind ourselves what we were really fighting for."
"For millions of women to see us on TV and find out how hot we were, so we could get someone better than Anna every night for the rest of our lives."
It's nice to have goals. And you just lost track of time?
"Well, they do tricks with watches..."
I know. We get to find out a little more about a few of the hunks. Rocky is here to make the AJs feel overmatched, he's 24, and he's a waiter. I always feel overmatched by someone who can keep sixteen orders straight on a pad. (Gordon may have another opinion.) Josh is a professional fitness trainer and a model, and as such, can't reveal his age. Brad, who thinks he's playing a game of football where the opposition is wearing no pads, as opposed to his tradition of playing without a helmet, is twenty-one and a personal trainer. Biff, I never asked. What do you do for a living?
"I'm a model for personal trainers who does some waiting on the side."
I never would have guessed. The All-Steroid Stars stop off in Venice --
"I don't like people saying I'm on steroids!"
Why? If you have a body so perfect that anyone looking at it automatically assures chemicals had to be involved, shouldn't you take that as a compliment?
"Um... well... I guess... Thanks! -- but I don't like the word 'steroids'. It makes people do embarrassing stuff. Like searching my car."
How about I just abbreviate it?
(sigh) Shorten it.
Okay. The A.S.S.es stop off in Venice, home of Muscle Beach, and work out for a while wearing nothing but their shorts, which is, once again, a reminder of what they're really fighting for. Carson says that no one's ever seen anything so beautiful. (As a watcher of reality TV, I've seen lots of things almost that massive, but I'm just talking about his ego, which can lift any perception of the real world and toss it over a cliff.) Biff, you look really let down right now.
"Yeah. I hate being cut out of this part. Women all over America would have seen my best side."
Trust me, they're seeing it right now.
"You're gonna put a picture in?"
A word picture, yes... While this is going on, all of the AJs, dressed in black-jacketed suits, are having a meal on the Queen Mary and waiting, as Arthur says, for Queen Anna. Her arrival triggers a series of brief one-on-one conversations, most notable for a brief exchange between Anna and Josh, where she basically tells him he's safe from the next elimination. She hasn't chosen him for anything yet, but she has every intention of keeping him around until he has a chance to prove why she should drop him in a private encounter. This is the best news Josh has had all day, and he goes into the night with a lightened heart.
And if the entire group is back together, it must be time for an elimination: four more of the AJs are going home that night. Anna c-ts her hatred of the process -- she doesn't like breaking hearts, really she doesn't, she's nothing like -- well, what she's nothing like is on display throughout the summary -- but it has to be done. When night falls, we're in Long Beach, the AJs are lined up along the harbor, and the hunks are .2 nautical miles away. Biff, I thought part of the point for this season was to arrive as early as possible and really shake the AJs up. Why were you at Muscle Beach for so long?
"Well, the guys got into an argument over whose guns were bigger, so we had to hang around while we got ourselves pumped up and then we had to take a few measurements to settle things."
"And naturally, we went from there to talking about who had the biggest one of something even more important, so measurements --"
Okay. Anna walks up to the harbor, and the elimination ceremony begins, not-even-remotely-dramatic music and all.
Igor floats away on his case of condoms. He says it's no hair off his back. Ladies and gentlemen, get ready for Average Joe 5: No Hair Off Igor's Back.
Dan is dismissed, which isn't much of a loss since it's been two episodes and no one has any idea who he is.
The camera cuts back to the hunks, who are on a boat, in wetsuits --
"And for the record, ladies, I always go commando."
Biff, you do know you were wearing the one Dante had on earlier, right? Right? -- oh, now he's really throwing up -- at .1 nautical miles and receiving updates on the eliminations by radio.
Anna starts her next cutdown by saying the person leaving had a lot of personality, which makes Dante visibly sweat because he has a lot of something that could charitably be described as personality -- but of all people, it's Jesus, which means that Anna, regardless of what she does for the rest of her life, will go to the worst parts of the afterlife. There's just no help for you after you reject Jesus from your life. I mean, really. He died for her sins and she can't even give him one solo date? Sheesh. Talk about ingratitude. But Jesus isn't mad -- he says Anna has a beautiful heart and he can see it, meaning he's using his powers only for good.
Last to go, much to Josh's jaw-dropped surprise, is -- Aaron. It looks like the stiff arm across the back was just a little too awkward: the show's first soloist is out. The tossed-aside board the bus, and the ceremony is over. The hunks are immediately updated by radio and turn off their boat's engine, gliding into port. They disembark and start up a small hill, shedding their wetsuits as they go to reveal white-jacketed suits underneath, which is some really subtle imagery going on here. Biff, I thought you said you went commando?
"Well, yeah. They needed an extra take."
One of the hunks takes out a flare gun and fires it. The red ball of fire is the cue for a full scale fireworks display to begin, right where Anna and the AJs can see it. It's beautiful, boisterous, brilliant, and, most importantly, focuses all of their attention away from the hunks sneaking up behind them. The competition is able to get right to the AJ's backs without being noticed, with the sneak-up so complete that Carson c-t admits to wanting to smack his opposite number in the back of the head just to let him know they were there. That and Carson just likes smacking people in the back of the head.
"I've always been more of a locker stuffer. It's more personal. They feel like you're really paying attention to them."
Eventually, Dante's nerd senses start tingling -- apparently they work best at long range -- and he's the first to turn around. Once he turns, everyone naturally turns to see what he's looking at -- and we wind up with two lines facing each other, with Anna standing at the far end, looking down the aisle between them.
"Hold up. You like to know about behind-the-scenes stuff, right? That's not what originally happened. What you just saw was the second take. They completely cut out the first one."
Were you standing somewhere that they couldn't edit you out?
"No, I was at the far end. What happened was that we all came up behind the Joes, just like you saw -- but then Anna had to hit the head, so she wandered off to find a bathroom, got me? And with her gone and no one but the camera people watching, we all figured it was time for some fun, so we showed the Joes how dominated they were and how badly they were gonna lose."
"We choked them from behind, kicked them in the crotch, dropped them to the ground and kicked them again, and then we just kept that up until we figured Anna was on her way back."
"It was great practice."
...and no one did anything to stop you?
"Why should they? Like Rocky said, it's the way the world works."
Right... Well, thanks for the insider view, Biff. I'll put it in word-for-word.
So on the second take, we have the lines staring at each other, with Anna admiring the hunks, smiling until her cheeks start to hurt again, and c-ting about how hot they all are -- until she catches sight of Arthur, who's standing in place with the expression of someone who knows all his hopes have been crushed, is desperate not to show it, and isn't quite making it. This brings her partway back to reality, but not for long: the hunk admiration resumes in short order. And the hunks callously stare at the AJs, c-t feeling superior in every way, while the AJs stare back at the hunks, c-t feeling like the punchline in a very old, very bad joke.
The AJs feel they've lost. They've seen the previous seasons. They know what always happens. It's now just a matter of reaching the end of the filming time in one piece.
The hunks know they've won. They've seen the previous seasons. They know what always happens. It's now just a matter of reaching the end of the filming time while tearing the AJs to pieces.
This would be the perfect note to end the episode on, but the editing team stinks, so we have to go to the bus and find out which rejectee is going to be chosen for his discount Queer Eye makeover. And the winner is -- Jesus! Because he's Jesus and a Second Coming is mandatory! That's right, we're going to give Jesus a new look! The makeover team starts by brightening up his robes, darkening his hair, teaching him how to smile with a twinkle in his eye, and showing him how to stand with a brilliant 'Thumbs up!' pose. Unfortunately, Kevin Smith likes to defend his copyrights, so Buddy Jesus is discarded in favor of Just Shaved Jesus. Some shortened hair, polished teeth, one new suit, plus consultations with a life coach, nutritionist, and personal trainer later, Jesus is released back into the world after an unknown amount of time in front of the same fountain Nick had walked away from. He's a Jesus for the new millennium, and unlike Nick, he no longer looks just like an AJ in a new suit. He looks like an entirely different Average Joe who has no resemblance to Jesus at all. Which means he doesn't have a prayer. And Anna's still going to the bad regions of the afterlife, but you can't say she didn't have her chance.
And that is the end of the episode.
Next week on Average Joe: the hunks continue to act the way they've been acting all along, the AJs are the victims of said actions, the team competitions begin, Anna begins her long quest to find out which hunk will eventually dump her too, and Seana tells you all about it. Biff, thank you for being here. You really added insight to the episode.
"Thanks! Getting to tell my side of the story was great!"
"What's 'insight' mean?"