Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Being Mean Is Never Pretty...But It Sure Is Fun!

Day has turned to night, and I am so sorry. I was so much busier today than I expected and this took so much longer than I expected. To make it up to you, it is incredibly long and contains profanity (WARNING: Contains profanity of the four-letter variety) and links to men's underwear photos, so I hope this is enough so you'll forgive me the delay…

Men getting Brazilian bikini waxes. Can there be any finer form of entertainment on television?

As a public service to you all so you don’t have to actually watch the show, I’m continuing my coverage of Mr. Romance. I don’t think you all fully understand the sacrifice I’m making in the name of providing you with the most thorough recap possible. Really. I mean, I dreamt of this crap last night, it’s that disturbing.

Let’s get started, shall we?

Um…makers of Mr. Romance? What’s with the karaoke style lyrics during the theme song? You know, with the words printed on the bottom of the screen while a little red heart bounces along the top of them. Are we supposed to sing along? If so, you need a better hook.

First of all, this episode was five times more cringe-worthy than last episode. So embarrassing, in fact, that I had to fast forward it through several sections because my humiliation meter was moving well into the red. I mean, we had groping. We had dance offs. We had a blow up doll…But in the end, I was transfixed because humans are just fascinated with scenes of gruesome carnage, and this show offers it in spades.

Before I launch into my coverage, I have to ask this question. Is Fabio for real? He actually said this: “People say to me, Fabio, you have the body of Hercules and the brain of Zeus…” My first reaction to this was…um…what people say that? People who are high? My second reaction; surely he’s reading from a script. Which was immediately followed by my third reaction; What kind of guy would actually agree to say such a thing written in a script? With a straight face, no less? I think I’d say to him, should we ever happen to meet, “Fabio, you have no lips and the brain of a squirrel.” Much more accurate that the Zeus thing.

So, guess which one of the guys sleeps in the nude? In a house with eleven other guys? Because…he forgot to pack his jammies? And...every spare tee shirt and pair of shorts he brought with him is earmarked for a special occasion? That’s the only excuse I could come up with.

Tell you what, I won’t answer that question right now. I’ll let you try to guess who and then reveal the big answer at the end of the post. See, this entry has a fun game included! Bonus.

First up for the guys on this, their second televised hour on their journey to male perfection, was lessons in grooming. This class was taught by Professor Tony, who apparently is himself a romance cover model. Remember in last week’s comments section I said that cameras must have some kind of magic inside of them because they often turn blah looking guys into studly cover models that actually don’t look too bad? Well, Prof. Tony must own a dozen of these cameras if he really is a cover model. So not handsome. But he did have a great voice, like a radio disk jockey. In fact, he might want to consider a career in radio…

Okay, back to the grooming. Each guy got the fun sorority-girl experience of standing in front of the room in his underwear while his peers were encouraged by Prof. Tony to evaluate his physique. Here’s the general consensus in a nutshell.

Charlie is cute but he thinks he’s Tarzan, King of the Jungle. He does have Tarzan’s hair. And incredibly bad taste in underwear. But that’s about it.

I learned that Bruce lists his profession as a Navy special ops operator. No. No no no no no. I didn’t want to know that! Because I need to keep my fantasy alive. And my fantasies of Navy SEALS don’t include guys with skinny arms and undefined bodies that seem to contain odd bone structure in the chest and pelvic area. Nope, I’m going to block that little tidbit about Bruce out of my mind. From now on he’s going to be Bruce the Wall Board Hanger. Or Bruce the Telephone Repair Man. Because I don’t have any fantasies about these guys.

Tony is a gym bunny, so bulked up he gives the phrase “all brawn, no brain” new meaning. He also has man boobs. What’s really funny, though, is that while he has the body of an Arnold Schwarzenegger, he has the voice of Ron Silver. Complete with the heavy Brooklyn accent. Seeing him talk is like having Betty Boop’s voice come out of Jessica Rabbit’s body. They just don’t jive.

Oh, and Tony’s a major suck-up. He wasted a good portion of the entire class’s time asking Prof. Tony for hair-growing tips since Prof. Tony has long hair while Student Tony has short hair. And then Marklander had to shove his brown-nose into the spotlight, asking the exact same questions about long hair because…well, he wasn’t listening the first time, I guess. Tony and Mark, my men, it’s pretty simple. Here’s the secret to long hair. Don’t get your hair cut.

Adam, whom the editors chose as the Darling of this episode, made the observation that basically, Marklander and Tony are interchangeable. The editors helped all of us viewers visualize this assessment by swapping Marklander’s and Tony’s faces and bodies. They are interchangeable! Wow! Cool.

Sadly, I must confess that Andrew, my favorite from last week, has fallen a couple of notches in my esteem. Somehow he’s managed to convince himself that his gut is really a gut with a six-pack hidden inside. I looked really hard. I didn’t see any six-pack. Nope. Just the gut part. But his girlfriend likes it, and really, who cares what a few million romance-novel buyers think?

Chris has stretch marks. On his shoulders and upper arms. Presumably from big muscles or a pregnancy he must have carried in his upper body. Huh. Go figure. I thought only women got stretch marks.

The other guys kind of blended together. Except Justin, who was also culled out of the herd to be a particular favorite of the editors this week because he is the Fish Out of Water. If anyone has read Larissa Ione's blog about real men’s bad habits, you’d have screamed “Shout out!” when Justin ended his strut-and-pose with a pretend booger-flick. Really. He did. And Prof. Tony was suitably disgusted. He made Justin do it again (the strut-and-pose, not the booger-flick), visualizing the hot, naked babe lying in wait on the bed as Justin owned the situation. He needed to work it, baby. Work it. Justin still squirmed. So did I.

After the guys got body critiques, they learned about make-up (or rather “man make-up” as Prof. Tony called it to make it waaayyy more acceptable for these guys to put on their faces) and body hair removal. Unlike all of us women, hair-removal for male romance novel cover models is optional, although every single one of the contestants is amazingly chest-hair free. Which looks particularly odd when some like Adam and Chris have legs so hairy they look like they are wearing fur pants. On the other hand, there’s something kind of…creepy…about a guy who shaves his legs. Unless he’s a swimmer. With a swimmer’s body…but I digress.

This session on male grooming ended with contour underwear – the push-up bra of men’s underwear - and the men smearing oil all over each other, prompting me to double check the TiVo to make sure I was actually on Oxygen Network and not some Showtime special. Wish I could say I got all tingly watching TJ rub oil onto Tony’s shoulders. Sorry. Not even a twitch. Now if it would have been Angel and Spike in that fantasy that Buffy imagined in the very last episode of the show. You know, when Spike is all jealous over Angel and Buffy having kissed and Buffy says she should just throw them in a room together and let them wrestle it out. And Spike says he’s game. And she says something about oil being involved…well I’m sure there’d have been tingles galore if Joss Whedon had only…dang, did I digress again?

Outside of the classroom, the normal cliquish alliances have developed. Because every good reality TV producer knows that throwing a bunch of narcissistic people together in a house is even better than turning a camera on a room full of thirteen year old girls in terms of pure hissyness. And with Marklander and Tony on site to provide the perfect fodder, well let's just say the cats are out of the bag.

Adam and TJ have discovered their soul-mate of snarkiness in each other, and a good bit of HoYay followed. It was cute, a montage of these two guys doing synchronized push-ups and giggling together all to a romantic running-through-the-daisy-field melody. TJ, I do have one recommendation for you. When you are on a show called Mr. Romance, it might be wise to refrain from answering if someone asks you what you find romantic about one of the other guys. Any phrase beginning “If I had to pick something romantic about Adam…” should never be allowed to reach film.

The next portion of the show involved more Pageant Education, or PE, that was so unbelievably cringe-worthy that I had to fast forward through most of it. Basically, the guys had to show their dance moves, ultimately engaging in a man-against-man dance-off. All I can say about this is that there should be laws that limit people from publicly humiliating themselves in such a way. I mean, it’s against the law to commit suicide. Why can’t we stop this?

I did discover something quite distressing. These men are being held in this mansion without a single working television. Talk about cruel and unusual punishment! But being the clever blokes they are, they pass the time by discussing hair color and working out. Oh, and reading passages from the vast quantity of romance novels lining the shelves and pretty much mocking them openly.

Hmmmm…curious. Mocking romance novels. On a show called Mr. Romance. Where the objective is to win a contract to become a model on the cover of romance novels. Whoa. That’s really ironic. These guys are witt-y!

Also to pass the long lonely hours, Adam and TJ have concocted the “Adam Show” a mock late-night talk-show which is really just a chance for Adam and TJ to get Marklander and Tony to act ridiculous so that the camera guys can get thousands of hours of footage to use when editing. Thing is, I don’t know that Adam and TJ needed to go to the trouble. Marklander and Tony do quite fine on their own in providing bonehead moments galore.

The last half of the show focused on the competition. After surviving gallons of hot wax to remove all that unwanted body hair – can you believe Bruce actually agreed to a Brazilian bikini wax?! (Why? Why would he do this? It boggles the mind.) – the guys all donned Greek God costumes. I’m telling you, I would have really liked to have lived in ancient Greece. I’m almost convinced that even Drew Carey would look sexy wearing lace-up sandals and a short-skirted toga.

Anyway, sans body hair, the guys headed outside to participate in the Mr. Romance Triathlon. As a bonus, a bunch of women, also clad in Greek fashion wear, had been brought in to serve as judges. They qualified for the job simply by virtue of being romance novel readers, but I can buy that. I read romance novels and I feel very much qualified to identify Grade A Prime man-flesh.

Reigning over the judges and holding supreme power of approval and dismissal was award winning Harlequin novelist Brenda Novak, looking quite superior as she lounged all heavy-lidded on her chaise and used her Thumb of Power to seal each man’s fate. Deemed “Aphrodite,” the woman looked positively bored with the whole affair, except when she was making sexy-eyes at Adam, but I’ll go into this later. After watching the competition, I’m not really sure why the other women were there since Ms. Novak seemed to be quite the manliness-rating hog, consulting only with her own libido before deciding thumbs up or thumbs down about any particular contestant. Then again, there was all that groping that someone had to do…

Most exciting about the appearance of Ms. Novak was learning that once I become a published novelist, I’ll be sought out to serve as a judge of male cover model contests. Dang, this writing business might not pay so well, but it sure offers the fringe benefits. Who needs dental when you’ve got Greek Gods?

Okay, as you would expect, the Triathlon consisted of three separate events. Those Greeks really did have a way with words.

Round I – The Gluteus Maximus Revealus: The Butt of David

This event consisted of the contestant posing in front of the women, ripping off his shirt in some passion-crazed way, and a “seduction” using only the eyes and the moves since they were not allowed to say a single word. Plus they were given a pail of cold water to use in some creative way and informed that by the end of their little performance, they were required to reveal some serious beefcake. Four out of the twelve guys would be booted, eight left to carry on.

Remember Justin, that fish-out-of-water booger-flicker? Well his eyes grew as round as silver dollars when that bucket of cold water was mentioned. I felt for the guy because my first thought was all about the shrinkage of certain male body parts, and since these guys made good use of their contour underwear beneath their togas, I was thinking that cold water wasn’t going to make anyone too awfully proud of the little mister. I’m not sure if that was really Justin’s concern, but I did feel sorry him.

First up was Charlie with his Tarzan moves. Thumbs down by the almighty Aphrodite. No time needed for contemplation. Sorry Charlie.

Justin overcame his fear of water and stepped up to the proverbial plate. And was so totally lame I was torn between gouging my eyes out in embarrassment and laughing hysterically. He was so obviously self-conscious and uncomfortable with the entire ordeal. Which led me to wonder which of his very good friends thought it would be a great lark to submit his application and video. Why is this guy there? He’s nice looking enough. He needs some serious helpings of self-confidence. Marklander and Tony have gobs to spare and wouldn’t miss a drop. Maybe Justin could steal some while they sleep.

Aphrodite agreed with me. Thumbs down. Bye bye Justin.

Scott, one of those guys who has so far so completely blended into the wallpaper as to be invisible, also got the big ax. Honestly, I didn’t really miss him because I didn’t even realize he was there in the first place.

The final cut of the group was earned fair and square by Randy. Apparently Randy took very seriously the direction to show the ladies some beefcake. He did, but while all of the other guys were satisfied in wiggling their contoured-by-underwear derrieres in the general direction of the women, Randy decided that thin slip of white cotton was too much of a barrier for full appreciation of his assets. Aphrodite gave Randy’s full moon a big no-go.

As for the winners, Adam alone stood above the rest, proving that brains will beat brawn every single time. You see, Adam is no dummy. He knows that his body ranks a good 15th or so out of the twelve guys in the competition. He admits it proudly. In fact, he quite enjoyed watching the other guys work out, and I suspect that lifting anything heavier than a MGD longneck is probably extreme exertion as far as he’s concern.

So what's a clever non-buff chap to do? He turns on the charm, of course. And he directs his laser-beam Cary Grantness directly at the person who matters the most. Through his entire performance, Adam’s steely gaze remained locked on Aphrodite. And since Aphrodite isn’t really a goddess but just an aging romance novelist named Brenda, Adam's Plan A worked like magic. Brenda giggled. She batted eyelashes. She smiled seductively. And she gave him a thumbs up. It was all rather fascinating in a disgusting way. Like watching someone cluck like a chicken after they’ve been hypnotized.

On to…

Round II – Copus Ofeelus: The Goddess Grab

There is no graceful way to describe this, so I won’t candy-coat it for you. This event comprised of four blindfolded women making complete asses out of the entire female gender. Their mission – to grope and smell and caress and fondle the men (avoiding the package erectus as directed by Prof. Tony), oohing and aahing profusely under the excuse of determining which had the best physique until I was so embarrassed for the lot of them I nearly crawled under the sofa. The men loved it, of course. Of course.

Out of the eight men who entered Fondle-dome, only four men emerged. Andrew was quick to go, and, well, yeah, with his Pillsbury Dough Boy thing going on, no surprise there. Hakan of the Hair-Do, a rather skinny bloke as beef-cake blokes go, took a short walk. As did Bruce the Wall Board Hanger or Telephone Repair Man or Any Profession Except Navy SEAL.

I’ve listed three, and I’ll bet after reading my little insider info about Adam and his blatant lack of bod you were guessing that he’d be the fourth guy gone. Weren’t you? Admit it. And if you did…you were so wrong!!

Because Adam worked it. He didn’t hide the flab. He didn’t flex until veins popped out on his forehead or suck in the gut until his bellybutton touched his spine. Nope. Not my Smart Man. He pulled out the charm and aimed right smack at Aphrodite. Goo-goo eyes were exchanged and he earned that thumbs up. Oh, Brenda, have you no shame?

Thus comes the highlight of the entire episode. Because none other than Mr. Muscle-head himself was asked oh-so-kindly to get the heck out of Dodge. Yep, that’s right. Tony was out, failing the perfect physique round. Woo-Hoo!

But Tony, being that lovable lunkhead that he is, attributed his elimination to being just a little too perfect. As he explained to the other bewildered losers, clearly a woman would say to hell with him and his perfection because he’s probably too in love with himself. Not that Tony thinks he’s too in love with himself. His words exactly: “When you are too perfect like me, it comes off as fake, like a mannequin.”

I had to think about that, but yeah, Tony does remind me of a mannequin. In more ways than he would ever guess.

Aphrodite agreed with him (and the rest of the viewers with eyes) about the too in love with himself bit. In voice over she reasoned her elimination with a perceptive “…he was well built, but he was just more self-interested than the rest [of the guys].” And this from a woman who heard not a single word issued from his mouth but merely watched the guy being groped.

So Marklander, TJ, Adam and Chris all moved on to…

Round III – Posem Ad Nauseum: Studly Statuary

This seemed like a pretty easy test. Each guy had to strike a very specific pose, looking as if he was about to fire off an arrow, while balanced on a 4” wooden beam. The first one to break the pose was out. Sudden death. No second chances. No thumb rating required by Aphrodite, which was probably good because I think she still had the vapors from Adam’s mental seductions of Rounds I and II. The guys took their positions. They adjusted into their poses…and

…here’s why I watch this show, as painful as a good 95% of it is. Moments like when Marklander fell off his beam because he was so busy trying to eye-fuck one of the goddesses are priceless. You just gotta suffer to earn them.

The camera flashed back and forth between Marklander in pose while simultaneously trying to score and Marklander in interview mode explaining his grand philosophy when it comes to dealing with chicks. “She’s beautiful. She’s hot. If I get eye contact, I’ll know right away if she’s into me or not. And if she is, it’s on. It’s on.” Snap. Gorilla lips.

Always gotta follow up with the Gorilla lips or the moves just don’t work.

The winners of the Mr. Romance Greek God Triathlon – Chris, TJ, and Adam.

After the contest, the guys regrouped to find out who the big loser of the day was. Justin figured he was a shoo-in and seemed almost disappointed when Charlie took the trophy from last week’s winner, Tony. Poor Charlie. He looked crushed. So sensitive. So misunderstood. What’s so sad is that of the twelve guys, Charlie seems almost a decent sort. I think losing actually hurts his feelings rather than bruises his super-sized ego the way it did Tony’s.

Another interesting encounter happened while the guys were gathered to share the post-competitive glow. When Prof. Tony made mention of Marklander’s lack of balance, of course Marklander was there with the ready excuse. He’s always been great at sports, but dang if balance isn’t his one weak spot. To which TJ snarked that athletics was all about balance. Which then spurred Marklander to reveal that he has played not only football but basketball as well, and TJ had just better watch out or the Marklander might be forced to do some on-field ass-whuppin.

TJ had gone a very long way in redeeming himself in this episode. He’s still an arrogant SOB, but I kinda found him funny in a good way this week, what with his little romance with Adam and all. Now, however, I just find him kind of scary because he interviewed to all of us in the viewing audience, “Don’t ever, ever challenge me. You will lose. You.Will.Lose.” I stand thoroughly warned, TJ.

For those of you worried about Marklander, do not fret your pretty little heads. See, Marklander surrounds himself with a powerful positive vibe. This vibe acts as a force-field, deflecting any negative energy away from Marklander so he doesn’t feel it. He remains negativity-free and apparently quite regular given all that granola eating he does. Some call it positive mental attitude. In Marklander’s case, I call it cluelessness.

To further show us exactly how clueless Marklander is and how truly mean grown men can be to each other, the editors cobbled together some extremely fortuitous footage from later that evening. Adam and TJ and a couple other guys were hanging around the bunk room, openly dissing Marklander. Who walks in but the man himself, carrying a Polaroid camera which he hands to Bruce…or it might have been Scott…Anyway, without any direction, Marklander begins to pose all Greek-Godlike (still in his costume, of course) and Bruce/Scott takes a snapshot.

TJ feels compelled to ask what the heck that was for since mirrors they-are-a-plenty in that house, and Marklander admits it’s for his girlfriend. You know. In case the wall of his model-shots hovering above the shrine he makes her pray to isn’t enough to remind her what he looks like. Not that she needs to remember any way because once she gets a load of her boyfriend making don't-ya-wanna-fuck-me eyes at a Greek Goddess, she’s outta there.

After this little episode, Marklander leaves, the guys in the room crack up hysterically, and Marklander then interviews about how amazingly beloved he is by all the guys in the house. “I think it’s great in a house of twelve alpha males I’m clicking with every one of them.” Clicking? Yeah, whatever.

Marklander did disappoint me in this episode, though. I was all set to count the number of times he reminded us that he’s been a model for twelve years, and wouldn’t you know but the guy let me down. Didn’t mention it even once. At least I got to see several deployments of his patented Gorilla Blue Steel.

Deciding that they’d met their Marklander-humiliation quota for the day, TJ and Adam turned their attention on Tony. They invited him to be the next guest on the “Adam Show” and managed to not only get the guy to dance with one of those disgusting, hideous blow up dolls with the mouth and…ahem…other anatomically correct orifices, but also to strip down to the buff and dance in front of a mirror. In front of eleven other guys and a few cameras. What is that?

As much as I know I should feel sorry for these guys, it’s really hard to because they make themselves such easy targets. Tony actually said – these very words – on camera, “Women of all types of races, and all types of ages adore me. They know my look, they see my look, they see my character, how I hold myself. And the classiness and raw sexuality that comes out of my eyes.”

Now, how can anyone but applaud any efforts to take this guy down?

Except that Tony really doesn’t get it. He and Marklander were waxing philosophic about how a guy like Adam could have won the Triathlon when Adam himself offered some insight. It’s just easier to give you the exchange verbatim:

Adam (to a baffled Tony): Do you think I made it to the final four because I have a great body? I made it because I was being charming.
Tony (clearly unwilling to accept such a novel concept): Well…you have an amazing face…you have amazing eyes…
Adam (interrupting all the while): That has nothing to do with it…
Tony: It does surprise me that you won
Adam: You think women give a shit about all that? (Huge pregnant pause while Tony contemplates the idea that women actually have the ability to give a shit about anything except how unbelievably ripped his abs are and how bulging his pecs.) Women like personality more than body. Cause everyone else’s body smoked mine.
Tony: (utterly speechless)

Adam had a point. And he gleefully admitted in interview that “Beating out the buff boys…makes me so happy!” Me, too, Adam. Me, too. Even so, I recommend you lose the black fingernail polish. It’ll only get you paranormal gigs.

Thus endeth the second most hideous hour of television ever aired. My new beefcake fav? Probably Adam. Because that's the way the editors want it. This week, any way. Next week the guys dude it up in tuxes so I'm sure my eye will be a-roving. Yeah, I'm an unfaithful ho.

In the end, the wise and aged Fabio summed up the moral of the show very nicely. “Being mean is never pretty.”

True. But really, I think the real message of the show is that guys can be just as catty as girls.

By the way – the one that sleeps in the nude? Andrew. Bet you were guessing Marklander…


Candy said...

Ahhhh. Almost as good as being there.

I don't smoke, yet oddly I find myself craving a cigarette after reading one of these recaps.

melissa101 said...

Episode 2 is done.Not as fun as one--but still good.I think Justin is awesome,and shows intelligence.Charles is just too shy---and should never wear those underwear again.Tony has the brains of a gorilla.Scott seems nice,but does not say enough to be of entertainment value.Bruce is crazy---why would any guy get a brazilian wax.Andrew is my favorite of the bunch---just being himself-and not starting trouble.Marklander is not too bright---lucky for him he does not feel the negative energy--or he would be swept away.A picture of himself is actually better then a picture with other half naked guys.Chris seems very nice--has a lot of potential,but needs to speak up a bit.Randy also must speak up or he will be gone.Adam is witty,and funny,but lets be reasonable---he needs some kind of body.I don't think the Austin Powers look is sexy.T.J. is amusing,and funny also.Maybe we will see a clash of the titans--team t.J.--against team Tony,or maybe the analytical Adam-against the self described--amazing Mark.It looks like T.J. and Adam are envious of the Marklander.I am not a Marklander fan by any means,but all the girls do dig him--I don't--I swear--okay at least not his personality.Try to imagine T.J. or Adam acting all suave--and seductive---that would just gross me out.

Final five in order---you heard it here first.

5-Hakaan---he is the silent one that somehow sneaks in.


just enter their names on searches and info. will come up.I am still trying to get others websites.