Dog Eat Dog 5/27/03 2nd episode: I Think I Found My Happy Place

Welcome fans to the second season of NBC’s Dog Eat Dog, the reality/game show where contestants are picked for what they’re packing in their swimsuits, not in their brains. No-one is developing carpel tunnel syndrome dialing some toll free number to answer fastest fingers questions to get on this show. Nope, I think the application reads more like, “so, how big is your rack?” Silly and juvenile as it is, this show succeeded where The Weakest Link failed in coming up with a contestant voting scheme in which contestants are penalized if they fail to vote for the person least likely to complete a given challenge. I always hated that the strongest links were never allowed by their competition to make it to the final round on The Weakest Link. On Dog Eat Dog though, if you vote for someone who is up to the challenge, they could be sending YOU to the Dog Pound in their place. That is my favorite innovation of this show, but there is more. For a complete rundown of how this show works, please check out this thread

Hello There!
We’re greeted by host Brooke Burns in a bikini climbing up a fake palm tree and getting very, very wet. Ilikai, stop slobbering, this is just the intro. Goody, new challenges for season two. I was wondering how many people were going to have to go through that same damn egg-beater contraption from last summer. Brooke, changed from her bikini into a black micro-mini skirt, a lace over silk camisole and knee-high black leather boots, introduces the Training Camp aspect of the game where the 6 competitors get to meet each other and assess their skills and weaknesses while competing in boot camp style competitions.

First, I want to piss and moan that the NBC website for this show has absolutely no information about show contestants. So, sorry if I misspelled anyone’s name, they went by really fast, and there are no pictures or profiles on the site, so if anyone (hint, this could be you, Brian_S) has vid-cap capabilities and wants to grab contestant shots, please let me or John the FORT Admin know. In my tip of the hat to Fear Factor master re-capper JR, I will attempt to remember what everyone was wearing, as that is apparently a quite important facet of these types of show. This episode we have:

Maya Keheler – human resources representative and hence a sadistic bitch who enjoys firing people. (I’m just kidding.) She looks like a cuter version of Sarah Jessica Parker and is wearing a blue halter top and matching blue short-shorts.

Tony Hipoauong – sushi chef (lets hope cutting up raw fish is a challenge, eh Tony). Tony is sporting a blue T-shirt with Asian writing on it.

Christina Castellenos – business school student. She trash talks about having the whole package, muscles and brains, which of course you can see in her skin tight pink boob shirt. I do like her cute braids though. Long hair is a must for the female contestants on this show, and perfectly fine for the guys too, but fortunately signing is not featured on the show, as Lobeck really needs a break.

Ron Rehling – immigration attorney who promised to piss away 25% of his winnings on drinking. That’s the spirit Ron, or rather, the spirits! Understated Ron is in a plain black t-shirt with no arrogant “I’m a lawyer” message on it at all.

Jill Arenberg – children entertainer (what does that mean? Does she make balloon animals like Yaney from Fox’ Boot Camp?). Jill has on red sports bra, and if she wins she promises to throw on a soccer shirt and run around like she just won an Olympic Gold Medal.

Spencer Hill – restaurant manager (who has the brilliant quote: “It’s a Dog Eat Dog world and I’m wearing Milkbone underwear.” Does that count as the first imbedded product endorsement of the show? Sure, score one for the advertisers.) Spencer is wearing a camouflage T-shirt with the number 5 mysteriously on the front. Maybe he thinks he’s going to a combination splat-ball / marathon racing competition show.

It’s Time to Choose the Loser
In rapid order four contestants will be eliminated following 4 challenges. The contestants hear about the challenge and then vote which of their peers would be least likely to complete the challenge. If the contestant meets the challenge, they can eliminate (referred to as “send to the Dog Pound”) any of the people who voted for them. So, you don’t want to be picking someone who will likely meet the challenge. What about ties? The most recent person eliminated gets to break all ties, so yet another taste of sweet revenge.

Rappelling and a Dunk First challenge is climbing Plexiglas walls and swimming from wall to wall. All 5 other contestants pick Christina for the first challenge. Tony remarked that he doesn’t think Christina can do it because she didn’t display much arm strength in the climbing exercises and nearly drowned. Then Tony imitated what Christina looked like when she nearly drowned, and apparently it was quite funny to him. Jerk. He was right, though, and Christina was the first member of the Dog Pound. She wore a cute black one piece swim suit, though, so all is not lost, was it Deep_Dish.

Swinging on Nets Next challenge involves climbing cargo nets, pulling ropes when you get to the top which swing the net to the bottom of the next net. It wasn’t explained entirely clearly, but they really need to hang on or they are taking a fall. Who is the loser this time? Ron and Maya tie, and most recent Dog Pound member Christina picks Maya for the challenge, under the guise that Maya will be able to complete it and will send Ron to the Dog Pound. Um, ok, if you want to sit next to Ron, then I’d say “pick him” as these challenges are tough. Oh well, logic skills are not a requirement for this show. Maya kicks ass and completes this challenge, hangs on when the net starts swinging, and send lippy lawyer Ron to the Dog Pound. Looks like Christina had consulted with Miss Cleo or perhaps the FORT’s own resident psychic, Paulie, on that one.

Plugging the Pipe Another new challenge, this one involves 4 large metal pipes spraying water into a pool, and the contestant needs to swim to the bottom of the pool, swim up with 4 heavy caps, and wrestle the cap onto the pipes one at a time. Sounds tough. Sounds like it needs physical strength, both for the swimming with heavy objects and wrestling the caps onto the pipes. Sounds like one of the ladies will be donning a bikini again. The vote results in a tie between Tony and Jill, so most recent Dog Pounder Ron, in an attempt to have all three women on “his team” picks Jill, which quickly changes into a white bikini with flames. Jill did well with the first two caps and had no problem retrieving them from the pool bottom, but couldn’t get the third cap to line up until the time expired on the Net Zero Countdown Clock (product placement number 2) and is sent packing to the Dog Pound. Ron welcomes Jill to the Dog Pound with a big hug, apparently not phased by her soaking wet appearance, and declares while snuggled up between Christina and Jill: “I’ve found my happy place.” It’s all good on Dog Eat Dog, where losers bond, flirt, and fondle while waiting for their second chance at the prize money.

Treadmill Trivia The women have now performed all of the physical challenges, but now we have a combination trivia test and physical challenge. The speed on a treadmill (suspended in the air over a swimming pool, of course, as we need the drama of heights and water for pretty much every challenge on this show) will increase with every wrong answer until the contestant falls off or gets 10 questions right. Sounds like a job for Spencer. If I were going to pick someone to be brainy based on name only, it would be Spencer, as at least his parents read novels (or watched old Robert Ulrich TV shows). The other contestants, however, spent the day with Spencer and thought he was least likely able to answer the questions. They were WRONG as he nailed most of the questions. I won’t bore you with correct answers, as that’s boring, but we do like to pick on the contestants wrong answers. My favorite was that the L.A. Lakers were originally an NBA team from Indiana. Glad to know that, Indiana, not my residential state of Minnesota, is the Land of 10,000 Lakes. Spencer kicked ass and sent Tony (his self-proclaimed brother from another mother) to the Dog Pound, with Brooke reminding Spencer: “Somebody has to go to the Dog Pound, but it isn’t YOU!”. Two guys in the Dog Pound without facing a challenge, and the two remaining contestants (Maya and Spencer) have both completed challenges, so this is an exciting show.

The Final Challenge – I’ve Got a Lovely Bunch Of Coconuts

We’re down to two contestants, competing head to head to be Top Dog. We now get to see the fake palm trees that Brooke was climbing in the intro and find out that Spencer and Maya need to climb their tree, retrieve a coconut, jump into the pool, and put it into an underwater basket, then repeat all of those steps in order two more times. Poor Maya has to do this all while wearing an itsy bitsy teeny weenie yellow (and floral print) bikini which stays perfectly in place while she slithers up the tree (much to Wayner’s chagrin), over coarse ropes which look designed to snag and grab skimpy swimwear. Maya made a tactical error and threw the coconuts from the tree and then needed to retrieve them in the water, rather than hanging on to them like Spencer did. I guess a guy would be more accustomed to keeping better track of his nuts. Spencer is the Top Dog and it’s time for trivia on the Circuit City Big Screen. That was product placement number three, if you’re counting. I’m still waiting for my favorite company, LG phones, to get a placement on this show so I can mention myself in the recaps.

The Dog Pound’s Second Chance – Trivial Pursuits

This was my favorite part of the show last summer, in which five beautiful people need to answer easy trivia questions in an attempt to wrest the $25,000 prize from the Top Dog. As Top Dog, Spencer gets to pick which person answers the questions based on category title only. Only one question per Dog Pound member, and if the Dog Pound answers three correctly they will split the prize. If they fail to answer three questions correctly, Spencer gets the whole $25,000, which would probably be better for this crew as I’m not sure they’d ever agree on an equitable distribution of $25,000 split 5 ways.

With the category “Politics” Spencer wisely chooses Jill, who thinks that Bin Laden was the Soviet Union leader who instituted Perestroika and Glasnost. Score one for Spencer.

Spencer thinks he messed up when he picks Business Major Christina for a “Business” question, but this is a business question like golf is a sport, so it has nothing to do with the stated topic. (Just kidding Bill_in_PDX, golf is a great hobby, um sport.) The question is really movie trivia, as it asks which casino Bugsy Siegel started, which is the Tropicana. Oh, now I feel ready to go get my M.B.A. with that knowledge securely in my brain. Two points for Spencer.

Spencer’s misogynistic contestant selection continues as he picks Maya for a “Movies” question. Dumb move, Spencer, as last year there was always at least one “Sports” question in the mix. In an episode full of bravado (and silicone) Maya gives us the only true moment of humility when she thinks she doesn’t have the answer, but correctly names To Kill A Mockingbird as the movie based on Harper Lee’s novel with Gregory Peck as the attorney defending a black man in the South. Dog Pound 1 point, Spencer 2.

Only guys left to answer questions, what is the topic --- oh, it’s “Sports”. Spencer is still cocky, and picks Ron the attorney, who knows that Wayne Gretzky ended his NHL career with the NY Rangers in 1999. Gosh, I hope I spelled Gretzky right or Duckgirl and Enygma will be ridiculing me in the Sports Forum. All Tied Up at 2, next question determines the winner

It’s all up to Tony the sushi chef and the category is “Famous People”. A more accurate category would have been “Movies about Lawyers” as with the “Movies” question Maya answered. Who was the attorney / Harvard Law Professor featured in the movie Reversal of Fortune who, with his law school students, defended Claus van Bulow? Why, Alan Dershowitz, of course. Well, apparently they don’t watch a lot of lawyer movies at the sushi bar, as Tony has no clue and guesses Shapiro. I’m not sure if that is a specific enough answer when naming famous lawyers, but no matter, Brooke accepted it as an answer as it was incorrect and Spencer Wins!

Tune in next week for more Dog Eat Dog action, and be sure to check-out guest DED re-capper Zhora’s article on the earlier episode from last night (hey, this is a lot of work to sneak in during coffee breaks) which will be posted shortly. If you have comments about the recap, are willing to do contestant vid-caps for the show, or are you are a DED contestant and would like an interview for the site to give your side and some inside scoop, send me an email at m.