May 1, 2001
Welcome To My Nightmare
Early in this episode, someone asks, "Who's the sickest of them all?" The answer, my dears, is the Road Rules team, but only because they've been stuck in the loser slot for far, far too long. After last week's competition, the Road Rulers found themselves in a familiar postion: "We've lost. We're naked. We're bitter," Susie explains. The stench of failure clings to them like mud on a puddle, like sauce on a steak.
And the next event isn't exactly up their alley, either, because it requires a blatant disregard for civility and upright living. Compared to the down-and-dirty Real Worlders (especially the increasingly frightening Julie), this team of clean-living kids-next-door is at a distinct disadvantage, moxie-wise. Anything called the "Gross-Out Games" certainly doen't sound like their cup of tea.
The kids travel to an mouldering, turreted castle in the Czech Republic, completely unaware of the terrors they'll face. Well, maybe there's an inkling; Syrus calls the structure "a real nice castle, but," here he pauses dramatically, "there's just something about it." Cue spooky music here, my chickadees! Interestingly, Julie, after all her dithering and nervousness about the fetish skits last week, seems positively thrilled at the prospect of medieval torture. Who knew the LDS is pro-torture, mes amis?
A doughy guy in a hooded robe and sunglasses, straight out of your local chapter of the SCA, welcomes them to Castle Morbida (That's not its real name, but I couldn't for the life of me understand a single word he said). As it turns out, the first torture of the day will be the guided tour of his comic book collection. The horror, the horror! Only if they survive that will the cast members move on to the four gross-out competitions to win their 10 K.
Each team gets to chose which members of the opposing team will participate in each event, a policy designed to maximize sadism. In the first event, the scrap-eating contest, the Real Worlders pick Christian "who is sensitive about what he eats," and Susie and Emily "because they are weenies." The Road Rules team chooses lightweights Rebecca and Dan and, in a bizarre move that will cost them plenty, Julie the Mouth.
Julie wolfs down her mystery meat and brains with gusto, damn you bet, despite the universal retching and puking all around her. However, she is human enough to utter, "God bless the bell," when she hears the signal to stop eating. James interprets the same bell as a signal to start harassing his teammates about their lack of guts and gut-eating skills, much to the chagrin of his fellow Road Rulers.
As you probably have gathered from the first event, the games at Castle Bakula are merely icky (although not as icky as last week's game!), instead of truly creepy or clever. I wouldn't say they have much to do with medieval torture as advertised, either. After all, my pets, consuming unidentified pieces of flesh wasn't torture back in the Dark Ages- it was dinner!
Next is a game in which players have to find three golden medallions in a hay stack littered with the leftover offal from the first event. Zut alors! The Road Rulers manage to win something! James mercifully shuts up for a change.
The third game, the "eel bath," involves a bathtub full of wriggling eels and a set of goblets the contestant has to find and place on a platter in the fewest seconds possible. To tell you the truth, sweeties, the eel bath seems to be worse for the eels than for any of the human contestants, but, poor Susie whimpers and twitches like a shell-shocked veteran of a foreign war. When she finally does emerge from the eel-y bathtub, even the Real World team cheers, relieved that she didn't pass out from fright. Her slow time seals the victory for the Real Worlders, though, and James is not shy about pointing that out.
The final game is a "bug-spitting contest," and Rebecca and Michelle are the chosen expectorators. Jamie, the budding entomologist, explains that the girls will both put "a live, beetle-esque bug in their mouths" and then see how far they can launch them. Again, I feel more concerned about the bugs than the humans here. Rebecca really puts her neck and shoulders into her effort, thereby winning the reward. Michelle merely gets a bug on her shoe. The Real World team is the overall winner at Castle Bunnicula and adds another ten grand to its coffers.
Usually, the whole mess would be over with the last saliva-drenched arthropod, but the Road Rules team has a sour taste in its mouth (and not just from said saliva-drenched arthropod). When Susie pleads for a pep talk, James shoots her down immediately. Instead of re-living the uncomfortable experience of losing, he prefers to assume that his teammates are disappointing him out of spite, or out of a perverse love for failure. If you're looking for pep, Susie, James is sitting on it! And squashing it flat! After this tense exchange, the Road Rulers can do nothing but languish in their self-made misery.
Languish in misery and play paintball tag- that seems to be the order of the day. We get sort of a bonus round (oh, yippee) when the two teams travel to a farm to play a paintball game called "Human Shield." Two players have to shield a "chosen one" from the flying paintballs shot by the opposing team. The Real Worlders feel they have an advantage in this as well, because as Julie states, "If you have more mass, you'll cover better." Hear that, Syrus? The contest heats up when the Real World snipers keep hitting Christian, the "chosen gnome," even after he touches the target.
James decides that if playing fair isn't good enough for the Real World team, he's not averse from breaking a few rules himself. He and his fellow Road Rules snipers get a few extra hits on Julie's prodigious rump after she's touched base. What follows is a yelling match between James and Syrus that includes such memorable examples of eloquence as, "What're you doing, dog?" and "You wanna get busy?" Syrus even grabs James' collar and gives him a thorough shaking. Uh oh, physical violence is distinctly against the rules, my little bonbons! Looks like the director is going to have to intervene in this little macho-fest. I leave you with those three little magic words, "To be continued."
Who's Topless: James takes off his shirt in the lardy, mucky haystack, and Dan does the same, hoping to make chest-to-chest contact with his opponent. Jamie and James also go sans chemise in the eel bath, hoping to make some chest-to-fin contact with some hot, nubile eels.
Who Cries? There's some scared quivering and lots of barfing in Castle Chocula. The only crying, however, is from a bruised Emily, after the paintball barrage.
Best Quote: Rebecca scores a point for the manners squad when she admits, "I'm not a spitter. I mean, I was raised not to spit." Her mom would be so proud!
Most Annoying: James, misunderstanding the concept of morale, manages to alienate everyone on his own team by insisting that they're just not working hard enough. In my book, vomiting constitutes plenty hard work.
Next Week: Judge Mills Lane has sentenced people to
death! Maybe he'll sentence James to death!