The Sayonara Show
Kiss Your SumoAss Goodbye
I missed the first 30 seconds of this episode because I was busy setting up my DVR to record TAR. I have my priorities you know—and an episode of The Amazing Race is worth 3 (maybe four) episodes of The Boring Branson. So I missed it when Branson opened his bottle of champagne. Could he exhibit a more classic display of his obsession with Virgin and all things virgin? I mean, popping the cork on a very phallic bottle while everyone cheers his prowess! Freud probably has a chapter on that in one his books.
They are off to Japan! Their task this week is to come up with a presentation which introduces Virgin’s new Upper Class Beds to the Japanese Business Community. This presentation will take place at a party in Tokyo, probably after the said Japanese Business Community men are all blotto drunk and beyond caring what Branson does so long as the Virgin liquor keeps flowing.
Because even Branson is bored with the team choosing process, he tells them to stick with the same teams as last week. This has the added bonus of getting all his favorites on the same team and all the losers on the other team. So our teams are Candida, Heather & Gabe, and Erica, Nicole, Sara & Shawn. Gabriel winds up heading his team because Candida was up last time and Heather is still playing an under-the-radar role (since she has no other talents). Erica wins a spirited game of Rock, Paper, Scissors.
They arrive in Japan and we see an aerial view of a busy street/shopping square with people and vehicles scurrying around at hyper speed. You may think this was speeded-up footage, but it wasn’t. Trust me. I have been to Tokyo and yes—it really is that frenetic!
So Team Gabe has their brainstorming session. Even though Gabriel is the leader, Candida occupies stage center with her list of 87 Really Dumb Ideas. Gabe & Heather listen with barely controlled boredom as Candida drones on and on. Eventually, they decide on the dumbest Really Dumb Idea. They will have Sir Richard put on a white thong and go one-on-one with a genuine Sumo wrestler. (Actually, I think Gabe came up with the Sumo wrestler thing based on Candida’s suggestion of “something involving Japanese history,” but I was wrapping Christmas presents at the time so I may have missed a nuance or two.)
This? Is an appallingly dumb idea. Sumo wrestlers are not the Japanese equivalent of the WWF—they are totally respected cultural icons. I’m trying to think of an example that shows just how culturally insensitive this idea is. Maybe it’s like going to Yemen and trying to find a mullah to sing Danny Boy at your drunken birthday party. Probably if you looked hard enough you could find a mullah stupid enough to do this but it would not be A Good Thing. KWIM?
When they pitch this dumb idea to Branson he is visually dismayed and flat-out tells Team Gabe “You just lost!” But, being clueless idiots, they do not reformat their Sumo wrestler idea into something more appropriate. They just forge ahead. Flash to the hotel and Candida on the telephone trying to scrounge up a Sumo wrestler. We all know she will find one because Candida can find anything or anyone on the telephone. Okay. She can’t find a clue. But anything else is no problem!
Team Erica decide to run with one of Shawn’s ideas. The women will wear skimpy clothes and shake their booties while he sings and pounds the piano. Since time is short he finds his back-up band in the hotel kitchen, disguised as busboys and dishwashers. The girls throw away their bras, put on red halter tops and practice shaking it while kicking in unison. Turns out? Nicole is a combination lawyer/choreographer. She throws together a genuine High School Dance Line worthy routine in about 5 minutes then drills the girls endlessly. Sara look kind of pissed and complains to the camera, but tries to be a good team player and just learn her stupid steps. Nicole is such a butchy-bitchy dominatrix, pushing the rehearsals! Also, at this point Nicole and Erica actually merge into one person I call Ericole. I can’t tell them apart anymore. If there is one thing Ericole knows it is that Sir Richard likes hot women in pairs.
When Team Ericole pitch their routine to Sir Richard he kind of notices that they don’t actually explain much about the Upper Class Beds thing, but they shake their booties so fine, Shawn belts out a reasonable decent Virgin Beds jingle, and they don’t want to put Sir Richard into a white thong in front of all his business contacts. It’s a no-brainer. Team Ericole wins and gets to perform at the party. Candida is crushed. Gabe is resigned to his fate. Heather has about 6 confessionals where she calls Ericole and Sara “bimbos”. Sadly, Heather is the only female in the group who would NOT be asked to shake her bootie under any circumstances—but of course that has no bearing on her put-downs. Girl has standards, is all.
After the party in Tokyo both teams are flown back to Mill End, Branson’s party house in Jolly Olde England. Candida sits alone on the plane and everyone avoids her because curses are catching, ya know. Gabriel picks Candida to be his elimination challenge partner, letting Heather continue her slide under the radar. Candida feels hurt and shunned so she won’t even sit at the dinner table with the other contestants—just takes her plate upstairs to eat and sulk alone.
Gabe goes to her room and tries to get her to rejoin the group but she just waves him off without looking up. Nicole goes to her room and asks her to come back down. I figure this is just political maneuvering by Nicole. Her galloping insincerity is totally evident, but hey!—she made the gesture and Candida refused. It was a win/win tactic for old Nicole, as I’m sure both she and Candida knew.
Also? While all this has been going on Sara, Shawn and Heather have been talking about how arrogant and mean Ericole are and how much they all hate them (her? it?) They decide to start calling them out for being over-bearing vindictive beyotches, but then they don’t because that wouldn’t be good game play would it? However, they do decide that Heather is an untrustworthy liar because she doesn’t tell Ericole what a beyotch she/it is. There is a whole lot of tattling going on here, and eventually Shawn tells Gabe that Heather is a two-faced liar. Gabe figures out that he should have chosen Heather to go up against him, not the honest Candida—but it is too late now. Reservations have been made and invitations mailed out. It’s Gabe v. Candida for Elimination.
And away we go, to Mill End House and Sir Richard Branson’s annual Summer Virgin Party. There are maybe 20,000 or 30,000 people spilling all over the grounds along with food tents, fire-eaters, stilt-walkers, fast-talkers and women who will do anything in pairs. The usual Branson party, I guess. Sara observes “so this is what happens when a hippy makes a billion dollars!”
This is the Elimination Challenge: Candida and Gabe, dressed as a Geisha and a Sumo Wrestler have to shimmy their way across two tight-ropes stretched about 75 ft off the ground between two cranes. They have to lean on and support each other as they cross the gaping abyss. Two tries. If they fall both times they will both be eliminated. If they both make it across then Sir Richard will make his usual wise (or whatever) choice and pick one of them to dump.
Oh, the suspense! It looks impossible to me, and they both fall the first time. The other contestants watch lying on the grass beneath the cranes. Nicole spends her time chanting “Fall! Fall!” as the struggle goes on above her. Actually, Nicole has been making really bitchy confessionals all through this episode. “I don’t care what anyone thinks about me.” “I am just here to win.” “If people think I’m a bitch—so what!” Yada, yada, yada. Nicole has been such a preeminent hard-ass beyotch throughout this episode, I’m starting to fear she might win.
Miraculously, Gabe and Candida make it all the way across on their second try—a feat which Sir Richard thought was impossible. The guys who set up the challenge had told him that “No way” could anyone do it in less than seven tries and for sure he can dump two losers with one blow this time. I briefly wonder if he will decide to keep them both since they exceeded his expectations. But then I remember he doesn’t like them.
Back to the tarmac. There are two tickets in Sir Richard’s hands. I really suck at trying to read who gets which ticket based on their body language, but this time Gabe gets the winning ticket and Candida is sent packing. Then, according to my aviation-buff nephew who never misses an episode—the contestants board an Airbus 340 and take off in a Boeing 747. Virgin is one incredible airline!
Next week, Miami and a double elimination. My prediction on who wins the whole enchilada and how based on what I’ve seen so far? In the last episode of the show Shawn and Ericole get into an open-top elevator and push the “Up” button. Only one of them can survive a ride through the Glass Ceiling. Guess which one?
Cq? You’re up!