Average Joe:
The Joes Strike Back
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America's love affair with the reality-show bachelor is tested... as is the virtue of Anna Chudoba, as she must choose a mate from a bevy of... well, let's just say outer-beauty-challenged suitors.

Recaps by Chico Alexander, GSNN

Anna Chudoba
Announcer: Andrew Glassman
Creator: Stuart Krasnow
EP: Stuart Krasnow, Andrew Glassman
Packager: Krasnow Productions for NBC Universal Television Studio
Airs: Tuesdays at 8pm ET on NBC

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Web design by Jason Elliott. Logo by Chico Alexander. 

"Dante's Pique" - July 12

Last time on AJ: the Joes arrived on the beach, ready to... err... umm... have a good time... when the party is crashed by seven strapping hunks of manchild. We continue where we left off, as the new roommates/new competition move into Joe House.

But before that, Arthur is concerned that the jocks were already eyeing Anna from the get-go. Then again, that's what they are there for. That and to make life in the Joe House as unbearable as possible.

And who's the first one to call everyone on it? The soothsayer. Dante warns everyone that... well, he warned everyone that this day was coming, and now they have zero plan. Now that the Joes see the threat for themselves, they start on the offensive, as Gino wants to elect a team leader. Arthur takes the diplomat's route and says that they are all leaders, but I think that baby was thrown out with the bathwater. To that end, it's only logical that Dante be made the leader.

And that's exactly what happens. He embraces the position, and he's more than willing to be the crazy guy (you mean he wasn't before?). Jason has no problem with it either. "I’ll tell'em you're crazy all day long."

And if Dante's the leader, that makes Gino the cheerleader, as he says bombastically, "Are we gonna let'em take us down? NO!" over and over again.

No sooner than that happens then crunch time begins. The hunks arrive, and no sooner than that happens then Dante begins his assault... "Hi! How're ya doin'?" That's right, folks. The plan: kill'em with kindness. The plan... not working right now. They walk right past, and despite Arthur telling them of some unused bedrooms down the hall (you know, where the former Joes once slept), they decide to take matters into their own hands... and take the Joes' room in the process... by storm if necessary. Surely they were letting out their own insecurities through aggression... and some coaching from the producers, but I'm getting too ahead of myself.

Meanwhile, all Clay can do is watch sheepishly as Nathan points out that they missed a shoe (way to help your fellow man there, Nate). Dante, meanwhile, gets irey about the accosting of personal effects to make room for... well, whatever it is they brought... I didn't see much in the way of merchandise here. Anyway, Dante storms back into his room and retries the crazy guy attack, and this time, he's not so friendly about it.

Meanwhile, Carson (who goes by his last name, possibly to get into the pocket of... well, I won't say who, but you all know...) and Michael continue to junk most of the Joes' stuff and now challenge Dante to try and do the same to their own stuff. Dante proceeds, and Carson gets in his way. What follows is one of the most climactic standoffs this side of seventh-grade recess (or perhaps the "Bart's War" episode of "The Simpsons")

Until this happens. "How ya doin'?" Dante says, and in full Looney Tunes fashion, he lays a big smooch on Carson's piehole. That turns Carson into a fit of rage, as he throttles Dante (until a nearby producer says "No, Carson. Bad, Carson. Not good for TV. No treat for you."). Carson swears that if he wasn't on TV, he would "put that guy through a wall." Even after Dante apologizes. Geez, what an ass.

Art is quick to note that they're going to have a war on their hands. "If it's bad now, imagine what it'll be like later."

The next day (assuming that everyone all got to sleep), we meet back at the gym where this all began. This is where Fredo, David, and Brian told our heroes not to be afraid. How will they take this advice to heart?

In a three-part competition, that's how!

Josh says that the Joes have all had to deal with meatheads back in the day. He's right, you know... but then again, in my high school, the so-called Average Joes and Janes among us were the alphas. It was mostly infighting amongst a group of preps and a group of Joes/Janes. But that's another story for another day.

Round 1: Fake wrestling. Don't be fooled by the Greco-Roman setting... it's all fake. And here to cheer on her heroes to victory... Anna in a dirrty Catholic schoolgirl outfit. No comment.

Furst up, Jason and his hunk spar off... and Jason, the smallest (and whitest) of the bunch, proves that it is more of a leverage game than it is a strength game. And Rocky is perhaps as sporting as any of the Jocks is going to get, as he congratulates Jason. Match one goes to the Joes. Same cannot be said for Josh, Arthur, and the rest of the Joes until... The rematch everyone saw coming: Dante and Carson.

Once again, it begins as a staredown, leading Dante to say "Let's have some fun." Carson's not interested in fun, because as soon as Dante offers his hand in sportsmanship only to have it batted away. Dante dedicates this match to everyone whosever picked on him at school, saying "I'm not afraid anymore."

And he isn't. For a bit, Dante had him. He HAD him... But then comes the turnbuckle move as Carson pins Dante down. Ouch. And of course, there's still bitter blood. Carson needs a hug from a mug or something.

Round 2: Lunch. Simple premise as we have a sloppy joe contest. Whichever team downs the most joes wins.

And at the word go (given by Anna in only two of the three naughty school stereotype outfits that you'll see today), we have a round of Joe Eat Joe, as the Joes pound down sandwich after sandwich. The guys... just stare in utter disgust for both sets of Joes. See, muscle-bound manchildren only care about two things: chicks and protein diets. That I personally don't get, because if you look at a sloppy joe, you can tell that it's nothing BUT protein. But I digress.

Nathan brags that he can eat six sloppy joes in a minute (C-Note: child's play), but will not do so in front of Anna because "it may make him look gross." But needless to say, a walk in the park for our heroes. And a bout of disgust for... well, the jocks.

Carson decides to one-up the Joes, not by pounding down Manwiches, but by "giving them the slaps", whatever the hell that means. We see the act of intimidation... and it looks more like they're giving the Joes applause. Carson, of course, is smug about it. Don't be fooled, though, as the producers love to make the Joes' lives a veritable hell vis--vis the Jocks' actions. Stupid producers.

Score is tied, one earned run to one "Herb Stempel". Now we go to the tiebreaker... Gordon's favorite release of aggression... Dodgeball. We're playing GSN rules version 1.0 here: you're out if you get hit, if your ball is caught, or if you step over the foul line. If a ball hits two people at once, they're both out. You can use a ball as defense, but if it's knocked out of your hands, you're out. The good news: if a ball hits the wall or the floor, it's dead. Head shots don't count. And if you catch a ball, you can send one of your teammates back in the game. That's it. Have fun playing Extr... oh, sorry. Got caught up there.

As we go into the locker rooms, the Joes take some time to get hype. They have every reason to be confident, as they rely heavily on their boot camp training in episode 1. But then again...

1) Balloons don't move.
2) Balloons also don't fire back.
3) Being pelted with dodgeballs only prepares you to be pelted with dodgeballs. The dodging part you have to accomplish on your own.
4) Per common knowledge, anytime you think you have the game won (especially on reality TV), you don't.

Meanwhile in the Jocks' lockers, we go out our roving correspondent Patricia Babaganoush with Carson. Patricia?

Babaganoush: Yes, Chico, I'm here in the locker room of the Average Jocks where the beefcake is the rawest I have found. We asked Chris Carson about his experience in dodgeball, and this is what he had to say...

Carson: "You can't beat the heeling of beaning someone in the head with a ball at 30 miles an hour."

Babaganoosh: Unfortunately, we're playing GSN rules, so even if you do bean someone in the head, you won't get a score for it. Of course, Carson looks like he'd get a modicum of pleasure out of it. Back to you in the skybox, Chico.

Thanks, Patricia Babaganoush in the Jock lock. Let's now go down on the floor where our referee Anna is about to throw out the first red ball. The Jocks look like they're about to kick some Average Joe ass.

What the Jocks don't know is that one of the Joes, Dante, cut his teeth at the New First Memorial Field Coliseum of the Veterans Dome Arena Complex, aka "Extreme Dodgeball" on GSN.

The bad news: he was on the Sumo Storm team that went winless in season one. What followed was the most pathetic display of dodgeball skills since. Even Clay, the dead man walking, kicking, AND screaming, couldn't save this team from utter defeat. Of course, we all saw this coming, because a) this match is not sanctioned by ED or the Los Angeles Dodgeball Society, and b) this is reality television, and the producers and editors of this particular series are unforgiving bastards.

After feigning concern for her Joes, Anna is quick to note that one of the Jocks gets a date with her (C-Note: this probably was going to happen anyway, as I'll point out in a future OTB). Her Jock of choice? The only one to show a modicum of sportsmanship in the whole bunch, Rocky. He says that the date is a huge opportunity to show his true self.

The two return to Anna's yacht for some dinner and talking of some such. She says that she feels shy because Rocky's "just so beautiful". She's not that shy, as it turns out that (and this is the brain side of Anna talking. Let's not forget that she's also a shrewd businesswoman) he's not saying things she wants to hear. Rocky says that he's a dreamer and a romantic, but Anna is looking for a bit more substance than that. She calls falling for Rocky "risky".

So is slipping and falling on a hot tub floor, but that doesn't stop her from doing that. They talk over champagne, and she is instantly drawn to his eyes. "When he looks into my eyes, it’s like he’s looking into my soul." Woops. There goes the brain side of Anna.

After champagne, tongue ensues. Anna melts. Yada yada. But then Anna's logic manages to kick Anna's lust's behind, saying that falling for someone in a purely physical way can be dangerous.

Meanwhile at the Joe House, the Joes chill with each other, in their own cold pool, and with no girl to keep company. Arthur thinks Rocky will come home smitten.

The next day, NBC cuts into a clip of "Top Gun"... No wait, it's just the Jocks in bathing suits and shades playing beach volleyball. And here comes Kelly Preston... No wait, it's just Anna ready to get to know all of the Jocks one-on-one.

Rocky, still high of the first date last night, notes that he has always wanted to be Maverick since he first saw that movie. So you want to fly planes, jump on other people's furniture, and marry someone half your age for a movie career. Yeah, I'll believe that.

Out of the conversations Anna has, we get... nothing that the chyrons haven't revealed before. So there you go. Most of these guys have experience with the AJ chyron operator. To the Jocks' credit, Anna is intrigued by one person who has traveled to Prague (I credit geography) and Carson's tough guy routine (which at this point has blurred the line from being staged to being real). Also as a credit to geography, it turns out that Josh and Anna have a lot of friends (and a home city) in common. He gets to continue on our next one-on-one date.

That night, we return to the yacht for... more of the same. This time, hunky Josh is also sharing something else with Anna... a favorite color... pink. She notices that Josh orders a Shirley Temple (he quit drinking eight or so months ago). This makes Anna feel guilty over calling him a typical party dude.

Over drinks, it turns out that both Josh and Anna are fond of the ballet. Tongue insues, although not as much as Rocky got last night.

Meanwhile at Joe House, the guys are having dinner. The dinner turns sour. How sour? It made ME want to vomit. You see, the likes of Carson and Michael have a deeply bedded feeling of masculine insecurity that tends to manifest itself into a wanton disregard for another's feelings. And today, it manifests itself again. Carson tells Arthur that Anna's a fake and that she's just doing this to further her career (which made me wonder if Carson even KNEW Anna's career to begin with). "She don't like you (Arthur), she don't like you (Josh), she don't like you (Michael), she DEFINITELY don't like me." Arthur, having professed his love for her over dice the episode prior, obviously takes Carson's talk hard. "Don't rain on my parade. Just because you're not capable of seeing the beauty of Anna doesn't mean I can't."

The talk continues as Carson and Michael continue to drill it into his head that she's just not that into him. We at the Newsnet call it "playing the metagame". He ends it by saying that "there are girls out there who will respect you for who you are." And who would that be, Carson? Hmm?

All of a sudden, no answers. This dude's worse at coming up with things than Kevin Trudeau, I swear. And if Anna is doing this just to further her career, then clearly Carson is outdoing her in that department. Kudos, Carson. Kudos. *stands, applauds*

At this moment, the moment when he's supposed to be the strongest, Arthur... lets down his guard and crumbles. He doubts Anna's sincerity and wonders if he is the mark of a cosmic joke (too late.).

Meanwhile, Carson exercises his true feelings... on Michael. No, not in that way, but you have to wonder with all the homoerotic references thrown in. Not that there's anything wrong with that. But he is not the representative of the rest of the Jocks, as they try to bring Arthur out of his slump. "Carson is a predator. He goes after people." Give the man a prize.

The pep talks are a small step in the direction of normal for Arthur, who is ready to be on cloud nine again. Good time for it, because it's that time again...


Tonight, Anna must say goodbye to two Joes and two Jocks. If we're lucky, two Joes and two Jerks.

First on the block... Michael. Surprisingly, he's not disappointed, as he got what he wanted, and Anna "does nothing" for him. He hopes that Carson doesn't win either, because if he did, then "she would have to tag along with us or something." Translation:... Come on, do we really have to say it?

Next up... Jason, who never stood a chance. After all, he didn't get a date and he's too young.

Then out comes... Greg. Anna thinks that he's a sweetheart, but not wonderful enough to keep around. He's surprised. Don't be. It's the brainside talking again.

And finally, as Anna tearingly says how "beautiful" her last castoff is... "It's me, isn't it?" Sorry, Dante. It's you. He brushes it off as he boards the bus, but later on, we see that he is the final stop on tonight's bus tour.

That's right, friends. This is not the last that you hear of our dodgeballer. It's makeover time. Today's subject: Dante Alighire. The life coach points out that he wants attention, and that some of it makes him sad. Now he can heal. Yay.

Then comes an expert in... well, an expert, telling Dante the six-part method to deal with his body funk-a-lunk. After a back waxing and haircut, it's a trip to the dentist, who calls his tooth issues as "impossible." After numerous fillings and veneers (not to mention eight hours of babbling), the condition has been upgraded to "possible." A quick jaunt to the stylist's and the optometrist's for wardrobe and contacts, and Dante is condition green... ready to return. He joins Magic Nick Parlin and Joshua "the Messiah" Smith on the bus back to Joe House.

Next time, it's the Average Jane episode, where Anna dons a disguise and gets... more than what she bargained fo

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