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The Surreal Life, Episode 1: Has-Beens Unitedby David Bloomberg -- 01/10/2003
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When the rich and famous fall from sight, this is where they'll crash - so says the intro to The Surreal Life, a show that takes seven has-beens or never-weres and puts them in a house together (you can read more about the celebs and basic idea at my preview article). But even though it sounds like a celebrity version of Big Brother, there is no voting off and this is definitely not a little house. It's a seven million dollar mansion, though they've blocked off some of the bedrooms so they force the celebs to be roomies. It has a pool, nice big rooms, and its very own walk of fame with each of the seven's "stars" on the path up to the door.
The first to arrive is Corey Feldman. He says he made his first commercial at age 3 ½ and probably made a hundred more after that. He was in over 50 films. Then his addictions caught up with him and he had to go through rehab. After that, he found his fiancé, Susie, who he says meets all of his needs identically. And we'll learn a little bit more about some of those needs later on… Corey says he is coming on this show for some image repair and hopes it will be a good thing to show people who he really is. But if Jerri is to be believed (and I, for one, wouldn't bet on it), Corey ends up being the "villain" of the show, so maybe it won't be so great for him after all. We'll have to see. Anyway, Corey goes to look in the fridge and finds it filled with nothing but beer. Great way for an addict to start.
Vince Neil is next to arrive. He says there is Vince Neil and there is just Vince. He can be an ass or the nicest guy. He is here because Motley Crue is taking a break. He has watched reality shows and wondered what he would do under those same circumstances, so this seemed like a cool opportunity to find out.
Vince and Corey look around the place a bit more and find the three rooms. They pick one with two beds and declare themselves roomies.
Brande Roderick arrives next. She says Playboy is a great family, and then she was on Baywatch, which was also good. She brings along her dog, Mercedes, and lots of luggage. This is only for ten days, but it looks like she packed for months. She ends up in the three-bed room, since there are three women, but notes that it's a room for three women and has no closet space.
Emmanuel Lewis shows up next. He says almost anything he does is fun, but he is mostly a private person. Oh, and he laughs a lot. Pretty much constantly. At just about anything. Trust me on this. Vince gives him the grand tour while Corey goes outside to smoke (that's a rule - no smoking in the house).
Gabrielle Carteris comes in and is shown around. She says she's not there to be anybody's mother - she has two kids and a husband at home already. As they are looking around, they notice the art that looks like something Andy Warhol would have done - pictures of each of them in his style. As one fellow writer said, that's appropriate, because Warhol is the one who coined the term, "15 minutes of fame," and their 15 minutes were up a while ago. Anyway, they see Jerri's picture and can't figure out who she is.
MC Hammer shows up after Gabrielle (can somebody tell me - if he's not really in music anymore, who is he "MC"ing for?). He sold 17-18 million albums back in his day, but then had to go through bankruptcy because, well, watch the VH1 Behind the Music. Anyway, he is now an ordained minister, keeping healthy and living good. He has his family, a business, and God. He hopes people watching will see another perspective of who he is. Hammer ends up bunking with Emmanuel - and I do mean "bunking"! They have a bunk bed, and Emmanuel claims the bottom, which seems perfectly reasonable.
Hammer knows that the seventh person, who hasn't arrived yet, is Jerri from Survivor 2. One of the women ask if that was the, uh, one that wasn't nice. Yup. That would be Jerri. In case anybody is unfamiliar with her, check out the Reality TV Hall of Shame entry for Jerri. In any event, she isn't there yet.
Brande says that MC Hammer is the reason she's doing the show - she grew up listening to his music. Jeez that makes me feel old - I can only imagine how it would make Hammer feel! Corey shows us that he brought reading material - triple-X magazines! He also notes that he's happy that nobody seems to have come with an attitude. Jeez, you're all has-beens, what kind of attitude should they bring?
Anyway, the topic of a fridge full of nothing but beer is brought up and they find that they have $500 to go grocery shopping. They call the Surreal Life taxi (a van) and head to the supermarket. Before they go, Vince notes that Gabrielle is taking on the motherly role (you know, the role she said she wouldn't take on).
In the van, they start talking about what they did before they were has-beens. Corey notes that his ex-wife was on one of the other women's shows (either Baywatch or 90210). As they talk, Vince realizes that he dated her at one point! The woman gets around.
At the grocery store, they all divide up and fill baskets as people gawk at them. One even calls her friend to let her know about the celebs and camera crews. Meanwhile, Vince is calmly pricing alcohol and corkscrews.1 2 3 Next-->
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