"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. "Ill 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
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-à-vis the Jocks' actions. Stupid
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.
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
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, its like hes 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
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
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
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