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Surreal Life 4, Episode 1: Don't Pee in the Corner and Tell Me It's Rainingby Mel Ellis -- 01/11/2005
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It's baaaaack! Yes, that's right, folks, the last gasp for has-beens, never-have-beens, and wanna-be's... It's The Surreal Life! This time, Glen Campbell's mansion in the Hollywood Hills looks like Spongebob Squarepants threw up in there (lots of bright yellows, pinks, greens, blues). They've added an element to the first episode – Kathy Griffin. Yes, that Kathy Griffin, reality television lover and winner of Celebrity Mole: Hawaii. Kathy is picking each houseguest up in a shiny yellow taxi.
The first pickup is Chynna Doll, from the WWE (real name: Joanie Laurer). She's a big, BIG girl with brunette cornrows, dressed in a white fur hat, long white coat, white bra and panties, and clear plastic platform shoes. Oh, and she's wearing a rhinestone belt that says "China." Maybe she can't spell? Didn't notice? As Kathy pulls up, Chynna is sitting on a Louis Vuitton hatbox. There seems to be no other luggage. Chynna manages to open the door with her Jackie Joyner-Kersey dragon lady nails and introduces herself to Kathy. In an interview, she tells us she's "the Chyna Doll, author, model, singer, actress, a--kicker." She calls herself the Queen of Sports. What she didn't tell us is that she starred in a Pamela Anderson-Tommy Lee-type porn tape with her boyfriend, Sean (he's the one with the beard) and had the cops called on her twice for assaulting him. She should be a peach to live with.
Chynna tells us that she broke barriers, as no one thought a female athlete could wrestle on TV. I'll spare myself the emails from everyone and keep my thoughts about "professional wrestling" (coughnot a sportcough) to myself. She earned a million dollars posing for Playboy; perhaps she's mixed up and dressed to go to the Playboy mansion? As you'll see, she gets confused easily. We're told that she had an autobiography on The New York Times bestseller list, but so did Socks the Cat, so I'm not that impressed.
Kathy asks what Chynna is most looking forward to about the house. She wants to spend time with other celebrities, to find out if they are like her or if she's really f------g crazy. Anyone wanna take bets? Chynna tells us she now sings with her band, the Chynna Dolls, and likes taking chances. First singing, then theater. I can see it now: Chynna as Katherine in Taming of the Shrew. Chynna is dropped off at the Campbell mansion and is taken aback by the bold color scheme. "It takes some serious b--s for these colors. She wanders through the house, checking out the two rooms with three single beds and settling on the one private room. She notes that it has its own closet, its own bathroom, and its own bar with little (airplane) drinks. Chynna pops open and chugs two of them immediately. In her haste, she seems to have ignored or not noticed that everything is scaled to miniature size, which on her means the bed, the bar, the chairs, the closet, come up to her kneecaps. Chynna is oblivious. She loves that the room has a bar. She'll entertain the others in her room and if she doesn't like them, she'll boot their a--es out. Charming.
Peter Brady! Christopher Knight is the next stop on Kathy's route and admits to us that he's best known, "aw hell, I'm probably only known" as Peter Brady. "Five innocuous seasons and here we are, still talking about it!" What I want to talk about is the banner VH1 posts soon after that says he gets no residuals from syndication of the show. What the... ? Chris tells us that celebrity is not all its cracked up to be. It's tough to live with the scrutiny of the public, which doesn't want you to be human. The biggest misconception people have about him is that he's still fourteen years old.
Kathy asks Chris if he's a bitter Brady. Chris, who seems to have a great sense of humor and, as we will see, the patience of a saint, laughs. "There are many colors of Brady, bitter being one." He's not bitter. His career slowed when he was twenty-five (anyone know what he did between Brady Bunch and the end?), which was terrifying. He was scared, but life presented new business opportunities. He got to step out from Brady Bunch and be himself.
Chris enters the house and looks for houseguests. Chynna has been teetering down the steps by the pool; she was hanging off a backyard pole and shrieking like a chimp a minute before, so teetering is a step up, pun intended. Before that, Chynna measured her biceps with a tape measure while she was on the tennis court. Does she carry it around or was that a production idea? "My arm's still thirteen-and-a-half inches, b---h, so go home." Is she okay? Chris finds Chynna out back and notes that she's well-built and big. He knows who she is.
They both head back inside to look at the picture wall. Chris announces, "these are your roommates." Chynna doesn't think so. How does he know? With no condescension, Chris points out that his picture as well as Chynna's picture are up there, too. "Isn't that a little bit of a coincidence?" Chynna takes several beats. "Oh, that's me! I just got it!" Maybe her Zhivago hat is on too tight. Chris wonders if she might need some of his ADD drugs. "She has fragmented thoughts, but she's also hugely entertaining." At that moment, Chynna, with absolutely no irony, gives a start, yells, and points at one of the pictures. "Hey! That's the guy from the Brady Bunch! Or Partridge Family... ?" Chris points out that that's him. Chynna doesn't believe him. "Stop it!" Seriously. Is she okay?
Da Brat is the next pickup. Her real name is Shawntae Harris, but she got the nickname Da Brat because, as she tells us, she was a spoiled little kid. Her big break was winning a 1992 amateur rap contest and she was the first female rap artist to go platinum (her debut album sold over three million copies). I still have never heard of her, sorry. Her lowest point was having trouble with the law, which VH1 lets us know was for pistol-whipping another woman outside an Atlanta nightclub. Did she learn anything from that? Violence is not the answer, love your fellow humans, guns are bad? "It taught me to watch what I do because then you have to pay attorneys and you'll have no money in a minute." Quite the role model.1 2 3 4 Next-->
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