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Surreal Life 3, Episode 8: Who You Gonna Call?by Mel Ellis -- 10/27/2004
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Before we start the recap of this week's Very Special Halloween Episode, a huge thanks to RNO readers for pointing out my mistake – Ryan's name is Tiffany Montgomery, not Tiffany Johnson. My apologies to any Tiffany Johnsons out there who thought I was talking about them.
We also must do the obligatory reality TV recap, which I now re-recap: Ryan whines. Charo explodes. That's pretty much all they showed us from last week's conclusion of the Chinese water torture fest that was the surreal recording studio two-parter. If you want a more in-depth view of last week's goings-on, please check out the recap of last week's episode here.
Also – and I swear I'll start recapping right after this – y'all need to know up front that I hate Halloween. Hate it. Love candy, especially chocolate, but I hate ghosts, tricks, scary stuff, ghouls, and anything having to do with being chased. Hate it. That said, let's get on with what promises to be my worst nightmare – a surreal Halloween show.
The day at the surreal house starts calmly enough. We open with Jordy on the elliptical machine, declaring that he has to get ready for his tour. Charo is playing by the pool with the dog, who was called either Cuchi, Boogie, or Fatso, but has since acquired another name, apparently: Bosco. Ryan is in a itsy-bitsy-teeny-weeny black and white polka dot bikini and wades into the pool. She tells us it's just a "normal day" for the surreal lifers, "hanging out, waiting for the paper." Dave plays tennis-hockey on the tennis court. I'm sure Glen Campbell, the house's owner, will love his using his rollerblades and a hockey stick on the tennis court. Flake (aka Flavor Flav) is somewhere outside trying and failing to shoot baskets, and Gitte (aka Brigitte) is inside drinking and smoking. (How early is it?) Gitte explains that she doesn't like to work out, but admits she loves to drink and smoke. "Yeah. Absolutely." Her kids must be so proud...
The day passes quickly, it seems. Eventually, Bosco/Cuchi/Boogie/Fatso is napping on a chair outside, and Gitte is asleep on a couch inside. This is fascinating stuff. Finally, the Surreal Times, the late edition, arrives. Ryan finds it outside the front door and brings it to the group in the living room. The headline: "Surreal Lifers Cover Graveyard Shift." She reads the following: "Breaking news! It has just been announced that the surreal cast will be asked to do their civic duty by working graveyard shift at Lin Vista Hospital." Jordy shakes his head in disbelief. Flake takes over Dave's job in recapping what we just heard, then tells us that the "only thing that scares me is seeing something crazy." Dave is unconcerned. "I volunteered at a lot of hospitals, so I am prepared for that. I may not be prepared for where we are going, though." Do they know something we don't?
We hear a (were)wolf call. The sun quickly sets and a crescent moon appears. The group leaves the house in matching light blue scrubs, gets into the surreal van, and heads to the hospital. They pull up to a large, tan structure. Charo exclaims, "the hospital!" And, although we can't see what they see, we hear Ryan whine, "Hey, this isn't cool." Suspense music starts, and we see various angles of the hospital. VH1 adds some lightning to the scene for good measure.
Shockingly, Ryan refuses to participate. Flake finally explains their reactions. "This place is boarded up, man! What's going down?" Ryan and Gitte hug each other. Gitte seems to be comforting Ryan. Dave explains to us that they were there to meet Dr. Larry Montz. VH1 gives us a freeze-frame picture of Dr. Larry, as the group will call him, as well as the following "confidential" information: Dr. Larry is an "accredited doctor" in the field of paranormal psychology and has 31 years of field research." First of all, I did some research, and no site anywhere gives what university the venerable Dr. Larry got his degree from. However, I did find the interesting tidbit that the good doctor once served as Hugh Hefner's bodyguard. His own website, http://www.ispr.net/team/larry_bio.html, explains that the field of Parapsychology was "adopted into the Academy" in 1964. What academy? Montz created the "International Society of Paranormal Research," and seems to have established himself more as a producer and creator of scary videos than anything "scientific." I may just be bitter 'cause I couldn't pass the online test to become one of his ghostbusters. You can try it at http://www.ispr.net/surveys/psitest.html.
Dr. Larry explains that he was asked to come to the hospital and conduct an "actual investigation" to determine whether the property is haunted. My skeptic's brain immediately says, "of course not," but it would never be that easy, would it? Jordy's eyes fly wide open at Dr. Larry's explanation. Dr. L. explains that the hospital was closed 40 years ago and the community thinks it's haunted. Ryan starts chewing her fingers. VH1, who loves its sound effects, adds loud crunching noises.
Ryan admits that, "the minute I look up at that dark, abandoned hospital, I thought, I'm not doin' this, 'cause it's not rock!" Sorry, I was having a flashback. What she said was, "I'm not doin' this 'cause I'm 21 years old and I'm terrified of the dark.
Dr. Larry leads everyone inside. Charo and Ryan try and push each other to go first; Dave and Jordy take up the rear. Dr. L. leads everyone into a room dubbed the "command center." I would have dubbed it, "abandoned janitor's broom closet." Dr. L. explains they are there to assist him in determining if the hospital is haunted. Jordy looks bored (so, normal); Ryan looks freaked.
Charo gets the first and perhaps last laugh of the evening: "People alive don't understand me. How in the world a ghost is gonna understand me?" Dr. Larry doesn't have a sense of humor, it seems, and answers her in all seriousness. "Ghosts communicate more telepathically than verbally, so they're not gonna be worried about your accent." Charo seems comforted by that.
Dr. Larry chooses Dave as the first ghostbuster. As Dave straps on a vest with a camera and a light on it (like those body cams used on the original The Mole), he tells us that he wasn't really afraid because he thinks he's seen paranormal things before. Dave looks like Doc Ock in that vest with that tentacle-like light and camera thingie on. He tells us that it's not until he has the vest on that it all sinks in. "My mind started going, 'oh, man, people die. Where do they die? In the hospital!'" Dave, you might have a career as a spokesperson for Kaiser Permanente...1 2 3 4 Next-->
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