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The Surreal Life 2, Episode 1: Surprises All Aroundby Jamie Goralski -- 01/12/2004
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The Surreal Life is back and so are we. How naïve I was in my preview column, assuming Trishelle Cannatella would be this season’s human cartoon. Read on for the recap and my public apology to her.
Before we begin I want to note there is a disclaimer on the show regarding sexual content and viewer discretion advised. This show is definitely not for the kiddos.
New opening to the show this time out and I like it… Danny Bonaduce in full radio voice introducing the new cast: Tammy Faye Messner, Ron Jeremy, Erik Estrada, Rob Van Winkle (aka Vanilla Ice), Trishelle Cannatella, and Traci Bingham.
In my preview article when discussing upcoming guest appearances I asked for a Partridge and they got one for the opening credits. I have to be careful I don’t start believing in my own omnipotence.
The cast will be picked up in front of various Hollywood landmarks in a trolley. First up is Tammy Faye Messner in front of the wax museum. She introduces herself, mentioning we might know her better as Tammy Faye Bakker. Brief synopsis of her life is that she went to bible college then married Jim Bakker. Pat Robertson asked them to do a show without a script so she has been ad-libbing for over 25 years. After the PTL scandal she felt as if the whole world hated her and it was hard to reconcile that with her love of God. She eventually managed to do so and is now at peace. She lives in North Carolina with her husband, Roe Messner. She has never seen The Surreal Life and supposes that had she been familiar with the show she wouldn’t do it. She says this while laughing kinda hysterically, which is a little disturbing. To her credit, though, she is wearing funky oversized sunglasses that few people can pull off… and she does. While she may be a little wacky, she is daring with accessorizes so she can’t be all bad. The trolley shows up and she’s a little scared. Well, trolleys are scary. Getting in and taking a seat she says she has no idea who she will be living with and applies lipstick before meeting her first roommate, who turns out to be…
Ron Jeremy. He gets on in front of an adult book store. Ron lives in L.A. and for those of you who don’t know, is a porn star. In fact he has starred in over 1700 adult movies, which is the world record. In his prime he was filming three sex scenes a week and when he started “hitting the buffet table more than the gym” he worked even more since the average guy found him more relatable. For some odd reason we see clips of him being groomed… getting his hair colored, specifically. He says he’s been dying his hair since he was 30 and shaves his arms, shoulders, and back so he can look spiffy. He knows many people are opposed to what he does for a living like evangelists and born again Christians so he expects there to be someone adversarial to his profession in the house. As he says this the editors cut to a shot of Tammy Faye peering over the top of her giant sunglasses. He asks Tammy Faye if she knows who he is and she says she knows his face. He’s glad it was his face. He asks if she likes turtles and before your mind heads to the gutter, he was serious... he means actual turtles. He shows her his pet turtle, Cherry, who is adorable. What turtle isn’t? Tammy Faye fawns over the turtle and I get all misty over the tolerance and love abounding on that trolley. Ron interviews that Tammy Faye looked great and has quite a nice physique, which surprised him. He compliments her on her sexy skirt which she says wasn’t intended to be sexy… she was going for groovy. He says it’s both. And so begins the foreshadowing of Ron being the voice of diplomacy in the house. He says by the end of the 12 days they may change each other… he may be praying to Christ while she is watching adult movies. Tammy Faye interviews that she had never met a porn star before. Who would have guessed?
Next stop is in front of Winchell’s Donuts and here comes Erik Estrada with a box full of donuts. Erik reminds us he used to be Ponch, and really, who could forget? I never saw the show but I remember my Tiger Beats from the ‘70s. He says that after that show his career went down the tubes as he had 50% of the net profits and that apparently annoyed the powers that be, so they made sure he disappeared. Makes it sound kinda mafia-esque the way he says it but when they make you disappear you really disappear and don’t get banished to the celebrity C-list. He went to Thailand, Italy, and then became a star on a hit soap in Mexico. That experience was better than a sharp stick in the eye, according to Erik. I’m liking his facial expressions and to be honest I came into this expecting him to be really arrogant and self-important but so far no signs of that. He lives in L.A. with his wife and daughter.
Why are they giving us locale info on everyone? Trying to take some of the work out of it for would-be stalkers?
He recognizes Tammy Faye and Ron right away and asks Ron if he wants to be roomies. Ron says okay but looks less than enthused. Erik admits he knows Ron from watching his movies, says at his age nothing wrong with having seen a little porn.
Next stop of the Surreal trolley is in front of Roscoe’s House of Chicken and Waffles. Honestly, I would be hard pressed to think of two foods that go less well together. That’s my opening for Jamie’s House of Bubblegum and Herring. I think I’ll stay out of the restaurant business and stick to recapping. Rob Van Winkle, aka Vanilla Ice, joins our merry band of travelers and tells us that while he will answer to Vanilla Ice he prefers to be called Rob. Just as I’m thinking, “good, I know how to refer to him in the recap,” he says, “it’s as simple as a pimple,” and with that I vow to refer to him only as Vanilla Ice. It annoys him and since he annoyed me, now we’re even. He tells us that he wrote “Ice Ice Baby” when he was 16 and was 19 when the video came out. It went platinum in the first week, made him “crazy money” and it was “sick.” I agree with both of those assessments, that was one crappy song.1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Next-->
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