King of the Nerds, Episode 5: on physical labor, booty-shaking, and swords
Genevieve was the image of success at the beginning of this week's episode and, as expected, there was very little mourning for Alana. The first challenge involved putting together a large cube, and then solving a Sudoko puzzle that cube's faces. As Genevieve pointed out, each piece was just a little too big and heavy to be moved by one player, so teamwork was essential. This was kind of a theme with both competitions this week. Mental ability is one thing, but solving puzzles and remembering the location of objects in the final matching game becomes much harder when you add in physical challenges. Trying to put that cube together, when you can't move single pieces by yourself without help, is a hard challenge. Sudoku may have been easier if they let one person tackle it, instead of everyone putting their hands in to try to figure out the puzzle. It's hard to focus under these circumstances and, sometimes, one person is better than a team.I felt the same way about the final challenge of the Nerd-Off. Matching the items may look easy on your television, although the existence of a barbarian and knight sword was kind of cruel, but try to do so after getting hit in the privates with a tennis ball, or getting tossed around by a sumo wrestler. In fact, did anyone else notice how much fun that wrestler seemed to be having? He was getting paid to toss nerds around! It was like a workout and a paid gig all in one. The flight simulator seemed interesting, although far from the most advanced simulator I've seen, and Ivan's weird little power trip when he tried to intimidate Virgil was weird. Sophie, do you think that was appropriate? The whole thing made me feel uncomfortable. I will admit that there is nothing wrong with Danielle and Moogega spanking each other with Nerf swords. That's quality television. Yes, I know I'm being a hypocrite.
Ivan's power trip was one of the most uncomfortable things I have ever seen on television, tantamount to an abusive partner lording over their significant other. “Look me in the eyes…” Uh… No. Dude, you are in peoples' personal space when you're clearly not wanted, acting like a petulant child. Piss off. Or, take your own words to heart from earlier in the episode and realize people need to vote with their heads, not their hearts. Take it as a compliment that you were the one they chose! They see you as a threat; a strong competitor!Ivan's not the only one, either. When Team Blextrophy came from behind to pull off the surprise win in the Nerd War, Danielle started badmouthing them. It's one thing to be disheartened that you lost, another to say someone sounds like a hyena and make fun of the fact that they're happy. This is the second Nerd War Team Blextrophy has won, and (unless editing removed it) the first time they've gotten a reward for their efforts. Give 'em a break. I'm sad. I really liked Orange Team right from the beginning. Josh was charming in a way, Danielle embodied sassy girl power, Brandon was a-dork-able and funny, and Ivan gave off an air of confidence. Help me Moogega, you're my only hope. Ben, have I been rooting for the wrong team all this time?
Are we really rooting for teams? The reality game strategy is usually to start with two teams, whittle them away, combine the remaining contestants into a single team, and then whittle that down to a winner. I'm not really concerned with this or that team, I'm looking at individuals and how they play the game. At this point it does seem like the cracks are starting to show. Danielle threw that hissy fit when her team lost, Ivan did the weird threatening maneuver, the booze was consumed a little quicker. I think people are starting to feel the pressure, and things are going to get a little intense.Overall though, this was a fun episode. The two challenges combined brains and brawn in an interesting way, the flight simulator looked fun, the final challenge was tense and showed both men really struggling for the win. It's interesting that Joshua was knocked out, as I had assumed he was going to go farther in the game. That's what I've said about damn near everyone knocked out except Alana though, so what do I know? Also, any episode where the hosts chide each other for incorrect use of the word “literally” is worth watching. I also thought the drunk scenes were fascinating. You have two women who are clearly having a good time with each other, but the sexual nature of the play makes the guys nervous and anxious, and it seems like they want to stick around and participate, but they also want to leave the situation. I thought this was a pretty relatable situation for many of us. I'm tired of the suave, confident people I see in most reality shows, so it was kind of nice to see that environment cause insecurity and fear instead of people just hooking up. I also wonder if all the sexual play acting continued the way it did BECAUSE it made the men in the room so uncomfortable. It was an interesting dynamic. Sophie, did this make you feel uncomfortable, or were you cheering it on?
This was probably my least favorite episode thus far, due in large part to how uncomfortable several of the scenes were, the drunken butt-spanking among them. I'm not going to lie, Danielle and Moogega are very pretty ladies, and they were wearing booty shorts, and… ahem. Somehow I've lost my train of thought. God I feel creepy. Like that time Peter Griffin went to sensitivity training at a woman's camp and told the girl hugging another girl, “Now smell her a little.”I wonder if, now that we've lost so many contestants, the show will turn into more of a Real World-style program. With fewer and fewer people to highlight and show to the cameras, perhaps personal drama and life in Nerdvana will take center stage. I liked that idea when there were still multiple people I enjoyed watching, but now all my favorite contestants have been knocked out! Josh grew on me quick, and I was genuinely sad to watch him go. As soon as I could see he wasn't going to win, I wanted to turn the TV off and scream. Tell me it's not true! I'm glad that each episode is starting to feel more distinct from one another, with more memorable moments outside of the Nerd Wars and Nerd-Offs. Last time it was the slap to Josh's cheek, this time it was butt spanking. Ivan took the competition to more aggressive place that didn't fit the light-hearted feel of the show, so I hope that goes away. A little bit of drama between contestants is enjoyable, but watching someone get into someone else's personal space to try and intimidate them was just creepy. Still, I'll remember what he did, and I'm sure the network likes it when people remember their show, for good or bad behavior. Also, apparently Moo loves sex. Which is… I guess that's nice, and something we needed to know. I don't… hey, is it hot in here? I feel like it's… really, really warm in here. Ahem.