Celebrity Zoo: Commentary on
Starring: Da Brat, Christopher Knight, Joanie Lauer, Verne Troyer, Jane Wiedlin, Marcus Schenkenberg, Adrianne Curry
1: Nobody Puts Mini-Me in A Corner, Except Himself
Episode 1- 01/09/05
Well, we weren't going to cover another season of Surreal Life, since Season 3 was so tortuous. Beware of the reruns of that evil season and its evil spawn - Strange Love, the world's least desired spinoff since Joanie Loves Chachi. But I was tempted enough to tune into the first episode and instantly fished in for another year of weirdness. Kathy Griffin, destined to someday live in this house, plays limo driver to the stars. Joanie Laurer, aka Chyna Doll, is the first to arrive and seems to have adopted a mix of Flavor Flav junkie hijinks and Brigitte Nielsen nudity/trippiness in hopes of perhaps getting her own spinoff. The jumbo former wrestler moves into a room with miniature furniture, because it's the only private room. Next to arrive is Christopher Knight who accurately states without a hint of bitterness, "I'm probably best known - well, only known - for being Peter Brady." Chris instantly recalls Erik Estrada of Season 2 for me. I have the sense he will be a calming, sane, fatherly presence in the house. Then comes Da Brat, claiming, "I told my manager I wasn't gonna do the show with no has beens." Her double negative proves accurate. I don't get these celebs. It's not like Real World Season 1, when the cast had no idea what to expect. There's a precendent here, and they, or at least their managers, have to realize they are following in the steps of Emmanuel Lewis and Jordan Knight. Next to arrive in Jane Wiedlin of the Go-Gos, still a cute pixie after all these years. She seems warm and friendly. The two models - Adrianne Curry and Marcus Schenkenberg - arrive together. As Chris and Jane greet them beside the pool, Da Brat wanders out but just waves dismissively instead of coming over to greet her new roommates. Marcus is peeved, and so am I - she needs to get over herself. Mini-Me himself, Verne Troyer, tells Kathy Griffin he hates reality shows, yet here he is. He comes in on a scooter and makes a beeline for his room, only to find Joanie in it. Instead of asking her if he could have the room, he just fumes and threatens to leave. Joanie, slurring her speech from drinking, makes the room fight harder than it should have been. Chris mediates in a way that must make Robert Reed smile down from heaven. Joanie yields, and the cast bands together to help her move her junk to another room. The first issue of The Surreal Life Times (it must be a fun job to write for The Surreal Times) reveals that the cast will have dinner on Adrianne - this turns out to be sushi carefully placed on Adrianne's naked body, a reprise of the first meal of Season 1. Verne takes liberties, rubbing the sushi he removes from the leaf on Adrianne's nipple. Later, Adrianne and Jane decide to go skinnydipping, which brings a sleepy Verne scootering back outside, but, alas, only after they have towelled off. Verne is very drunk and falls over. Chris helps him up. Adrianne puts him to bed and encourages him to drink water, but he moans incoherently repeating either "Adrianne! Adrianne!" (like Rocky), "I'm all right! I'm all right!" (like Kenny Loggins) or "Redrum! Redrum!" (like Danny Torrance). Only the close-captioners know for sure. After most have gone to bed, Da Brat wanders into the exercise room and sees Verne, "in the damn corner...on his scooter...butt ass nekked...peein'!" She wakes up Chris, who again must play the House Dad. I am stunned to see Chris and Marcus emerge in their pajama bottoms - and Chris' body looks better than Marcus'! Chris has a six pack. He is maintaining his rep as cutest Brady. With those abs and his laid back personality, he just might revive his career through this show. Beholding the naked Mini Me, in the understatement of the year, Chris declares, "This is strange." And Verne says, "This whole thing is strange." Verne declares, "I'm naked right now," in case anyone had failed to notice. Chris convinces him to go back to bed but it's unclear who cleaned up the pee. Da Brat goes to bed on the couch to avoid sleeping in the girl's room with Joanie who she says "is snoring like Sasquatch". Da Brat declares that she is in the middle of a circus. And I have to agree - finally, the series is truly surreal.
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