I Hate the Outback. Somebody Should Burn It Down and Build a Mall.
Welcome friends to the premier episode of Outback Jack, this is LG, reporting on TBS network’s first real foray into the reality tv series genre. It looks like they are really trying to build on their peculiar “very funny network” slogan through their original series. Unlike other reality tv dating shows which are funny (to me anyway, because I’m one sarcastic person) in a “ha ha, look at those pathetic women all competing for a date with that one rich dude” or the even more cruel “look at those pathetic gold diggers all throwing themselves at the missing link Evan Marriott (the original Joe Millionaire) only to find out he isn’t really a millionaire after all.” But still has a missing link, and personality.
This show, however, seems a lot lighter, not as mean-spirited, and not taking itself so damn seriously either. Just flip over to the Shakespearian drama that is King Lear’s three ungrateful daughters selecting their own step-mom on Who Wants To Marry My Dad to see a show that is way to serious about tv show romance. While Marry My Dad is replete with schmaltzy theme music whenever some woman we haven’t even seen is forced to depart, Outback Jack starts out with the ever cheesy and oh so very 1980s remake of the Men At Work song “Land Down Under.” Unfortunately they don’t get all the way to the verse about the vegemite sandwich, my personal favorite line in that song.
Joining me with recapping duties is Ilikai, the moderator who was dragged reluctant into the writers pool with Survivor Shadows and now he’s all over the boards penning his recaps. This is his first “dating” show for recapping, unless Queer Eye for the Straight Guy would fall into that category, and if it does, well, I haven’t been seeing the right episodes.
Thanks LG and yes this is my first foray into the smarmy world of tv dating, where every girl thinks that the guy is rich, hunky and looking for a trophy wife with the talent of burning up his money faster than Ted Kennedy ordering another round of drinks. Anyways on with the show!!
The Diva Dozen: All the Drama, No Lee Marvin
First let’s "meet" the twelve women who are going to be competing for the affections of our Aussie hunk. They trot through them so fast I don’t get all the names down, so I’m not even trying. After all, we’re losing a third of them by the end of the hour anyway. It will be easier next week. It takes Summer an hour and a half to get ready to leave the house. Summer, I’m a single mom, it takes me 5 minutes, and that includes letting the dog out to pee and making sure both my girl and myself are fully dressed. Well, most days we're fully dressed anyway.
We have shopping princesses who never wear the same outfit twice (which I guess really cuts down on the cleaning costs, if you just wear and toss), and one particular diva who has only ever been without makeup for a facial appointment. I’m surprised her swank salon would let her in au naturale . The ladies pile into a caravan of limos and drive to an enormous mansion, where they high five each other and plan just how comfortably they will be accommodated at their luxurious new digs. Poor ladies, instead of a cadre of personal valets, nutritionists, and personal trainers, they are greeted by J. D. Roberto, the host of the show. They recoil in horror, realizing that this creep was the host of Are You Hot and that the point of this show is that the joke is on them. Wait, not a single one of them recognizes him, as it’s apparent these ladies do not watch much reality tv. Don’t think it’s ironic that the people appearing on these shows always know the least about them. Television Darwinism at its finest.
Mr. Roboto, or is it J. D. Roberto, informs the ladies that they will meet a handsome, intelligent, successful bachelor, but that he is located in Australia, so they’re on their way to the airport. Most of the ladies actually seem rather happy to hear this bit of news, as they vaction / adventure on TBS now involves international travel. I wonder if they had thought of that as a possibility when TBS required them to produce their passports to participate on this show. Nah.
International Divas of Adventure: I'd Rather Jump From a Plan Than Fly Coach Any Longer
Back into the limos, and on to the airport for the flight to Australia. It’s a long, deadly boring and uncomfortable flight. Did I mention that all twelve of our ladies are wearing their finest ball gowns and heels? And now, on the expense of the network, the Diva Dozen is flying COACH, all the way to Australia. Seventeen hours being strangled by panty hose: the horror. At the airport in Australia, after flying coach, some of the women begin to wonder exactly how big the budget is for this show when they are carting their own bags around the terminal, and hope that all of this schlepping is worth it. I hear the word “schlepping” and I have bad flash-backs of my ex-mother in law. I’m feeling an emotion, but it’s not verklempt. No need to talk amongst yourselves. Their one saving grace that was reported was that the ladies had lots of practice flirting by getting their security escorts to help with the caravan of luggage that Divas can't seem to whittle down to less then 12.
Why yes, they did spend the entire budget on airfare. Oh wait, no they didn’t. They kept a little part of the budget in reserve for the second plane flight, the one that they need to parachute from in order to meet Jack. So let’s see you ladies stuff your ball gown into some parachute pants and get ready to drop. MUHAHAHAHAHAHA. They fly 10,000 feet into the air and all of the ladies manage to tandem jump to their destination, with varying degrees of crying, whining, snot flying and possible brown streaks left in the air. The previews made it sound like the ladies were given a choice to do so as strapping young Aussie men locked them into tandem chutes and dragged them out of the plane kicking and screaming. This folks, is high entertainment, or high altitude entertainmetn anyway. I wonder if the in-flight movie was Terminal Velocity.
You know ladies, some people pay good money to parachute for fun. Fun loving senior citizens like former President Bush, and just plain whack jobs with extra money trying to kill themselves on the weekend to make up for their deadly dull day jobs during the week. I now realize that this show is an amalgamation of a handful of reality tv shows wrapped into one, as it “fish out of water reality tv dating show” like Bachelorettes in Alaska, with the “adventure and travel of a lifetime” of The Amazing Race, only with ishy J. D. Roberto rather than tasty Phil Koening, and it’s also “let’s gawk at the rich girls” of The Simple Life. When something works, why not just try to recycle it. It's good for the environment, and it gives us recappers a lot of unnecessary parallels to draw. *discards chart outlining where every element of this show so far was previously seen on a reality tv show*
We get some interesting comments from the girls before and after they jump, including Laura, who is more afraid of messing up her face than death, as death doesn’t sound so bad to her at this moment, and Maria who admits that she had boogers flying out of her nose during the jump. Lucky for Maria she wasn’t a contestant on Fear Factor or Dog Eat Dog or we’d be seeing super-slo-mo of that action for the rest of the series.
Home Sweet Walk-About
Once on the ground, the ladies wonder “where is our hotel” and “I haven’t seen a mall in hours. I’m so SCARED.” At this point, my daughter, (who is watching while playing with Barbies, draw your own parallel with that) chimes in “I’m not scared, and I’m four.” That’s because my little princess has been to Northwest Wisconsin with no shopping malls (or a full set of teeth) for miles and miles.
Finally we get to meet our star, Vadim Dale, who is actually introduced to the ladies as “Jack.” This website is the one place that I’m not afraid to admit that I’ve seen both seasons of Joe Millionaire and practically every other reality tv dating show made, and I’ve never seen a male lead introduced with a name that is based on the show’s name rather than his own. Perhaps “Vadim” is just too Australian for these ladies to handle, or maybe, just maybe, it’s all part of an elaborate plot to make sure I never see this guy pronounce his name. But we do get to hear Jack talk, and he is a lot more charming than the pre-show publicity photos indicated.
The ladies are impressed, and Courtney reveals that she thinks Jack has a nice ass, which is a huge revelation from her, because she doesn’t say the word ass. I wonder if she’s ever had to drive in rush hour traffic, and if that is even possible without the word “ass” coming across someone’s lips. I guess if some tart swooped in and took the last size 2 DKNY dress from the premier display rack, she might be called something that rhymes with rich (for those who remember that famous quote from Newt Gingrich’s mom), rather than something that rhymes with bass (the fish, or the boy band singer, not the musical instrument). Oooh, I’ve got an idea for a new gift. A Lance Bass singing fish, perfect for that early 20s person who is young enough to remember the Backstreet Boys before Justin left with all of the talent, but old enough to think now that it’s cheesy enough to deserve a commemorative singing fish wall decoration. I’m sure the value of the Lance Bass singing fish would quadruple if he ever gets that Russian Space Shuttle trip thing off the ground.
How Many Merit Badges Can I Earn For Sunbathing?
Jack lets the ladies know that they will need to hike to the first camp, and some of them actually get a clue and change from four inch pumps into tennis shoes. Wise move, the Sheilas are learning. And I’m starting to get immersed in the lingo. Crickey, it’s a long hot walk to the camp, but folk, this isn’t Survivor. Most of the ladies don’t even carry their own luggage the whole way, and when they get there tents and cots are set up, as are make-shift showers and other camping amenities. Mary, who is getting a head start at being the show Brat, has the dim-witted brains and gall to ask if there is outlets to plug in electronics. Guess she won't be able to play her gameboy. We hear lots of bitching and whining about how they wouldn’t ever shower in one of those outside do-hickeys, but frankly I was tuning it out by this point. Wah, wah, wah. What else you got?
It’s time to go swimming. The ladies pour themselves into their bikinis and head for the waterfall. They watch in amazement when Jack takes off his shirt and reveals that he’s quite buff under his khaki exterior. Someone intones that “the only thing hotter than Jack is the weather.” Sounds like foreshadowing, and sure enough, the ladies are sun bathing despite the extreme heat. Oh, and they don’t want to drink the water. That plan worked so well for Lindsey in Survivor: Africa and Jessie in whatever the heck season of Survivor she was on (but not long enough for me to even remember exactly where she was). Marissa is the weakest link and she’s down for the count. Medics drag her out on IVs with high blood pressure and an erratic heartbeat. There are some forces even more powerful than the editing staff at reality tv shows, and one of those is Mother Nature. I guess she didn’t care for the crack about burning down the Outback and building a mall here. Jack is very concerned, as I think he rather likes having a dozen woman entourage, and sends Marissa off to be cared for while she vows that she will be back. Channeling Arnold Schwartzenegger must be a little known side effect of heat stroke.
Jack is very concerned about losing more members of his pretty posse and lectures the ladies, don’t be afraid to get in my ear and tell me “I need some damn water” because I’ll take care of it. I guess shipping in a couple crates of Evian is cheaper than flying some more urban princesses in from the states. Of course, the ladies may have to have it explained to them that water doesn't always have bubbles in it and it is still safe to drink
Natasha thinks that the harsh conditions, the creepy, crawly bugs, and no electricity just aren’t worth it. She’s ready to bale. Speaking of creepy, crawly critters, J. D. Roberto shows up and announces that tomorrow Jack will need to send four of the ladies packing. J. D. arranges for all of the ladies to have one-on-one time with Jack to plead their case as to why they want to stay on for the challenges and adventures ahead. Finally, I get a chance to differentiate the ladies:
i'm Ready For My Close-Up
Mary - in full makeup wearing a short white dress that barely covers her ass. She sings a dreadful song that she wrote for Jack with an American Idol wannabe “I swallowed a llama” voice, and then proclaims that she is a singer. Jack says he likes it. There is no accounting for taste. She says that she’s never felt so safe around a man before. That is a good observation on her part, as it isn’t likely that Jack will make a move with eleven other women around, and hey, maybe you didn’t notice, YOU ARE IN THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE. It’s not like you’re going to get mugged in the Outback, unless it’s by one of the other women on the show. She Whines, wants to shop, misses electricity and without layers of makeup, is about as purty as a dingo, an old dingo!
Courtney - was worried when she showed up, but is much more comfortable than she thought it would be.
Jillian - who had early made the incredibly astute “Jack and Jill” observation, says that its not too often that people get the opportunity to be in a situation like this, and she’s just happy to be there. I like that answer, and for that reason, I think she’s gone. They aren’t looking for troopers just yet. This show hasn’t meet its whining quota just yet.
Harmonie - hopes there are more exciting adventures, but I am distracted by how much she looks like Darryl Hannah in Clan of the Cave Bear.
Natalie - has her hair in cute braids, and notes that you can learn about yourself when you are in different situations.
Maria - is the first woman since Mary to actually flirt with Jack in these one-on-ones, and says that she wants to get to know him better. Actually she said she wants to get to know him more, but it pains me to type that.
Laura - admits she’s still not accustomed to her surroundings, but Jack had been really nice.
Adrianne - thanks Jack for helping her expand her life, and thinks that the trip is worth it.
Summer - admits that she doesn’t enjoy sleeping with bugs and not being able to shower. Wait, I thought I saw fully functional camping showers, what is this girl’s problem?
Natasha - doesn’t like being outside, but thinks that she can stick it out. At least Natasha is dressed for the part, as she’s in a black tube top and camouflage shorts with tennis shoes, which is a stark contrast to the getup that Mary was wearing when we started this one-on-one interlude.
Much to the cheers and elation of the other eleven girls, Marissa returns. Nope, that wasn’t it. The eleven others rolled their eyes and talked all catty about Marissa and how she’s playing up on her illness to get attention from Jack. Video clips indicate there might be some truth to their allegations, but Marissa does need to make up for some lost time.
How Does a Wallaby Cross the River? In Groups Of Eight, Apparently.
It’s elimination time, and just like his American Bachelor-type show counterparts, Jack says he feels “sick in the guts” making the decisions as to who has to go. Now I am starting to get tired of everyone getting "sick in the guts" that they have to make a decision on who to boot out of the show. YOU KNEW THIS WHEN YOU SIGNED UP TO DO THE DAMN SHOW!!! They pack up camp and get ready to jump into canoes, but there is only room for eight women. Eliminations are upon us, and we are tortured with For Love Or Money style “talk to everyone, but don’t reveal whether they are being picked to go or stay” final decisions. Maria and Natalie get to stay. He tells spunky Jillian that even though she made him laugh, she’s got to join J. D. Roberto. Oh poor Jillian. Just leave her in the Outback to fend for herself with the dingos. It’s got to be better than riding about with Roberto. Harmonie gets the thumbs up. Jack then calls Natasha, who interrupts him and says that she wants out. Jack, in an unusual move, tells her that she wasn’t going to be one of the ladies leaving, to see if that changes her mind. It doesn’t. But the remaining women who stay now all get to wonder if they were really in Jack’s first round of cuts. Nice.
Adrienne and Shannon get the nod, and Shannon gets the highest of praise for being “a top Sheila, a knock about girl, and I like that.” Wow, I’d be flattered to get such praise. Somehow, snarky internet recapper doesn’t have quite the same ring. He sends Laura packing, and in a confessional she admits to being relieved that now she can go back to civilization and being her fabulous self. I was rather surprised to learn that her fabulousness has geographic limitations. That will certainly take Laura out of the next superhero competition, as they travel the world being fabulous. Courtney and Marissa stay on.
That leaves two girls, and one spot in the canoe. Summer, who is here for adventure, and Mary, who yodels odd songs. Mary says that if she doesn’t get picked, she’s going to be mad. Surprised she didn't threaten to call her daddykins if she got dumped. Summer also starts copping an attitude and tells Jack it’s “about time” when he finally calls her name and rags on him “I hated standing there.” Well Summer, how do you feel about leaving with J. D., because it’s Mary he’s keeping. Jack sent four brunettes packing, so it looks like Outback gentlemen DO prefer blondes. It also looks like Jack has a slight case of heatstroke to make the decision to keep Mary. Either that or he is into torture by Whining!!!
Mary realizes she’s staying on and immediately starts running her mouth. To the other ladies she says “All you girls know my butt is going on that canoe with you.” I wonder if they’ll all be treated to Mary’s special rendition of A Boy and Eight Girls In A Little Canoe, With The Moon Shining All Around. The ladies suit up in life jackets and helmets, which is a prelude to next week, where it looks like our little troop of adventure scouts will be whitewater rafting. I hope nobody breaks a nail.
Join us next week when Ilikai and I will be filling you in on all of the goings on down under. If you want to email me try firstname.lastname@example.org m or send either of us a PM.