Monday, April 20, 2009

What If Tom Stoppard Wrote an Episode of "I Love Money 2," and "I Love Money 2" Recap: A Dramatic Turn, and Competing Philosophies

PART FIRST: If Tom Stoppard Wrote an Episode of "I Love Money 2"



From "Morality of Absurdity," a play by Tom Stoppard

Myammee, in her bikini and weave, is seated at a table under a large canopy, eating food and drinking a brightly colored alcoholic beverage from a large glass. She seems unperturbed by anything, without a care in the world.

She is joined under the canopy by 20 Pack, a large man with a slack expression and a muscle shirt. On his right wrist is a cast- he broke his own hand celebrating a victory in one of the challenges, an important insight into his character. Anglique (also called “Frenchy”) is an enormous-breasted woman of indeterminate national origin who speaks with an improbable accent, and who wears a bikini that is so small that the tops barely cover her areolae. Saaphyri is a large, intimidating woman with wide childbearing hips covered by a skirt, and bikini tops that actually fit; her face is distorted by righteous anger, and her own weave rivals Myammee’s (her rival).

The three visitors take their seats at the table- with Myammee at the end of the table, Saaphyri takes the seat to her immediate right, 20 Pack is seated to Saaphyri’s right, and Angelique is seated to 20 Pack’s right, at the farthest end of the table from Myammee- Angelique has had romantic feelings toward 20 Pack, who has ignored her advances; nevertheless, she still steals longing glances at him during the meal. The order is important for thematic reasons (Myammee and Saaphyri are rivals and should not be seated next to one another; 20 Pack believes himself to “safe” because he’s played both his own “alliance” [Saaphyri] and the rival alliance [
Tailor Made] in an attempt to stay “in the middle”, and Angelique on the end because she is attempting to make herself “invisible” and above the fray).

The dialogue begins just as the three enter the scene, and continues as they seat themselves and begin to eat their own food and, especially, drink their alcohol.

20 PACK: What ho!

MYAMMEE: Who are you calling “ho”?

20 PACK: Certainly no one under this canopy. I was merely making an ejaculation of greeting.

MYAMMEE: Well, put a condom on. I don’t want to catch anything from your “ejaculations.”

SAAPHYRI: If wit were contagious, you probably wouldn’t have such an ugly weave.

MYAMMEE: Wit isn’t contagious- would that it were!- but STDs are, which I’m sure you already know.

ANGELIQUE: I’m zeksy!

Now seated, Saaphyri turns her attention to Myammee, with fire in her eyes.

SAAPHYRI: Just because you’re Paymaster doesn’t mean you’re anything special. You think you’re hearing the sound of applause- but really that clap is all between your legs.

MYAMMEE (rolling her eyes and putting another piece of food in her mouth NOTE: type of food is not important, but some tropical fruit would be appropriate): I’m just trying to eat. If you don’t want to kiss my ass, that’s fine.

20 PACK: I’ve been wondering if the act of merely observing this Power Outing would have a greater effect than my participation in it?

MYAMMEE: You mean, do you think there’s anything you can do to save yourself?

20 PACK (shocked): Do I have to do something to “save” myself?

MYAMMEE (brutally casual, shrugging): You tell me. You seem to have all the answers.

20 PACK: I was asking a question to which I have no answer.

SAPPHYRI: I’m tired of your quantum physics theories; it’s just a way to excuse all your spooky actions. You’re here, you’re still in the game- be a man and participate, don’t just observe!

ANGELIQUE: My lion is zeksy!

20 PACK: I was under the impression- perhaps mistaken- that I had participated. At the last elimination. At the time I suppose I was thinking in term of Newton-

MYAMMEE: You mean because every action we take has a consequence?

20 PACK (disappointed): Was I not the first person to think of that? I thought I was being clever.

SAAPHYRI (angry, directing her rage at 20 Pack): No one gives a fig about Newton! Our actions here don’t have consequences because if they did, you would be gone, and Becky would still be here!

20 PACK: When we started this, we all knew that we would reach an ending. The flow of the game is one-way; forward toward the end; and only one of us can win. I suppose none of us gives a serious second thought to not winning, until we’ve had our checks placed in the box. And even then it’s only a minor concern.

SAAPHYRI (now barely able to contain herself): No, let me tell you what’s a “minor” concern! When you fuck a bitch up in a fight at a nightclub, because she looked at you funny. That’s a minor concern. A major concern is when you get between me and that $250,000!

ANGELIQUE: Zis meal is so zeksy!

MYAMMEE (attempting to take charge, perhaps waves her hand in the air to get their attention): I think I need to explain to you, in pedantic detail, exactly what you need to do here to save yourselves. It’s not in witticisms or Newtonian digression, or post-modernism, or even irony. No, what you all need to do to save yourselves in this game is some good, old-fashioned traditional ass-kissing. Of me. And moreover-

SAAPHYRI: I’m not putting my lips anywhere near your ass. I don’t like cottage cheese.

MYAMMEE: “Cottage cheese”? Have you seen your ass? I don’t know how you could miss it; it’s the thing you’ve been talking out of.

SAAPHYRI: If I am, then that means my ass is cleverer than your mouth.

MYAMMEE (dismissive): Well, you have my congratulations on the cleverness of your ass.

20 PACK: I don’t mind interjecting here that I’m beginning to feel disillusioned-

ANGELIQUE (grabbing 20 Pack’s arm): A leetle dissolution weel cure your disillusion!

20 PACK (pulling Angelique’s hands away from his arm): Please, Frenchy, you’re being ridiculous.

ANGELIQUE: Life ees reedeeculous! Zees game ees reedeeculous!

MYAMMEE (shrugging): She’s right, you know. You might as well sleep with her.

20 PACK: I thought you just said you were against irony?

MYAMMEE: Maybe I was being ironic when I said that.

20 PACK: You mean, you were being ironic when you said you were against irony, or you were being ironic when you said I should sleep with Frenchy?

ANGELIQUE: Forgeet “irony”! I horny!

20 PACK (ignoring Angelique): I feel we’re speaking in circles now.

SAAPHYRI: You feel that way because the worm has turned, you rotten snake!

Myammee rises from the table, and walks off the scene, leaving the other three seated there, Saaphyri still fuming, and 20 Pack fighting off the increasingly persistent advances of Angelique.

MYAMMEE: Now my head’s spinning, and I don't want anything bad to happen to my hair. I’ll see you at the elimination.


PART SECOND
: I Love Money 2 Recap for April 20, 2009: On the Importance of Having A Practical Philosophy

No matter how satisfied we are with our situations, we can be arrested by a terrible wondering of what might have been. It might manifest itself as an ache that hurts like a physical presence. It might plague our mind like a never-ending series of questions- Did I make the right decision? What if I'd done even one small thing differently? Would I still be in this position; would I still be the person I am? Would I be happier? No less an authority than Ben Gibbard, the songwriter from Death Cab for Cutie, put it thus: "Out on the street are so many possibilities to not be alone."

Maybe we're doing well, maybe we should be happy with what we have, but there's always that possibility that things could be better. Or, worse, maybe we're happy but we know, or think we know, that it's all going to come crashing down. If we don't make a move we could be condemning ourselves to... well, that's the point, isn't it? We just don't know.

Two weeks ago, Becky Buckwild admonished 20 Pack to remain on the sinking ship no matter what. He rejected her philosophy and eliminated her. He got off his sinking ship, but the following week, he was eliminated. These are the perils we all face. There are no clear answers to these questions. Make the change, or stay put?

And now imagine what it must be like if you're a contestant on a reality show, in an alliance that has successfully controlled everything, but you're seeing signs that the groundwork you've laid is shifting beneath your feet, and there's even a slight possibility that you can do something about it. Do you? Do you risk everything you've worked for, turning your back on the safety of what you've built for the uncertainty of something else that might be so totally wrong for you?

Now imagine even more pressure: You're a contestant on an unusually dramatic and exciting reality show with a flair for the dramatic yourself. You understand that turning your back on the alliance you've helped to build would make for a fascinating twist. The temptation could be too great. But is the temptation to help yourself, or to do what's best for the game? How do you know which feelings you can trust?


Generally unflappable Tailor Made has succeeded thus far by reading the game perfectly, and responding appropriately to each turn the game has taken. No wonder he's so despised.

This of course was the situation that Tailor Made found himself in last week. He was the mastermind behind the Underdogs' strategy. He made a deal with 20 Pack to eliminate Becky Buckwild. He expected, if one of the Underdogs became Paymaster, that members of his alliance would honor that deal. Myammee did not. She went her own way. She gave her alliance what it really wanted, she said during the elimination when 20 Pack's check was voided. But she wasn't speaking of the Underdogs. No, in a brilliant bit of obfuscation and word play- worthy of Tom Stoppard, no less- she was referring to her new, secret alliance, "The Pretty Girl Alliance."


Myammee asserting control of the game by starting the Pretty Girl Alliance. I'm pretty sure it was Shakespeare who once said "The pretty girls make fools of us all, and will eliminate you whilst wearing lingerie." I could be wrong about that, but my point stands.

Myammee thinks she can defeat Saaphyri, who doesn't want to listen to Myammee run her mouth. She wants to get Paymaster so that she can eliminate Myammee.

Tailor Made is worried- pacing back and forth with stress, but Ice has no sympathy for him: "Just freaking because he's afraid he's gonna look bad..." Derisively, she mocks him for worrying over how he'll be perceived after "giving his word 'til the day I die'" to 20 Pack. Her philosophy: Say whatever is necessary to someone's face, then do whatever's necessary to win the game.

Contrast that with Becky Buckwild's philosophy of remaining on a sinking ship, even though the sinking ship is SINKING.

Remember, she's a member of the Pretty Girl Alliance. The tentative plan is to get rid of Saaphyri and Frenchy, and then eliminate It and Tailor Made.

Which leads us to the challenge. Prancer is worried that it might be the stripper pole challenge, which would obviously favor Frenchy, the stripper. She takes the opportunity to "practice" her stipper poling, using Tailor Made's leg. Remember that last week, we saw Tailor Made and Prancer in bed together. How lucky is Tailor Made? And, how junior high school is it to pretend to need practice on a stripper pole so that you can wrap yourself around the leg of the object of your crush? It's kind of sweet, when you think about it.

And It used the excuse to wrap himself up around Myammee. Unexpectedly smooth. "Myammee was turning a brother on."

But Saaphyri believes that It is going to do whatever she wants. She knows about the Pretty Girl Alliance, and can see the Underdogs' alliance crumbling. For his part, Tailor Made has intimations that if one of the girls from his alliance becomes Paymaster, he could be going home.

The challenge involves each of the contestants hanging onto "liferings" suspended above the ocean. First to fall is the Dead-Last Loser. The challenge necessitates the contestants jumping into the ocean, and there's a brief moment of suspense while Myammee decides whether or not to get her hair wet.

It is "just dumb," not bothering to hook his leg through the ring. He's the first to fall into the ocean, and is now the Dead-Last Loser.

It gets down to Tailor Made versus Saaphyri, leading Saaphyri to prayer to ask for hep in outlasting the other bitches, and God answers her prayer because Tailor Made falls, and Saaphyri is Paymaster.

Prancer's leg is injured, and Saaphyri is skeptical. Saaphyri of course "fainted" in the Vault during a previous episode, so she knows about being a player. While Prancer's in the hospital (and even if she is faking, you have to admire the determination of her ruse- after all, Saaphyri was suddenly cured the minute the paramedics arrived with hypos), Tailor Made, Ice, and Myammee discuss putting Prancer in the box. That's just for Tailor Made's benefit, however, because Ice turns right around and goes to Angelique and explains that they're going to put her check in the box, but she can help them and herself by going along with the previously only suspected "Pretty Girl Alliance," and voting Tailor Made in the box.


Prancer's leg injury was indeed so severe that her breasts swelled up.

They call themselves the "Pretty Girl Alliance," not the "Smart Girl Alliance."

We flash back to the time when Tailor Made spared Angelique during a previous elimination. Not only did he spare her, but he made a point of telling her how much he respected her loyalty to her own alliance (lion). Is it possible that this unbidden gentlemanly act will save the mastermind this week?

Saaphyri wants Myammee in the box. Ice wants Tailor Made in the box. But Saaphyri knows "that bitch can't be trusted," because last week Saaphyri made the impassioned plea that the women vote all the men in the box, and take the game over themselves. Ice was particularly cruel and dismissive of the idea. Now it's coming back to haunt her.

Tailor Made and It agree to a summit with Saaphyri and Angelique. Saaphyri lays it out to him. She's giving voice to his concerns. Saaphyri wants Myammee in the box. Tailor Made wants real evidence before making up his mind. Saaphyri endeavors to get him the evidence, and she walks into the dining area and asks the Pretty Girl Alliance straight up, who they want in the box?

Ice tells her, straight up, Tailor Made.

What they don't know is that Tailor Made is brilliant, and Saaphyri is possibly his equal. Tailor Made is hiding on the couch, just a few feet away, listening to everything. He has his proof- the Pretty Girls are turning on the Underboys, and they've got their sights set on him.

Tailor Made pops up, and Prancer and Ice are shocked- shocked!- that their "secret" is out. Tailor Made, so concerned about the moral implications of turning against the alliance that's gotten him this far, can now in good conscience go after the Pretty Girls.

Saaphyri and It are back to sharing a bed. Saaphyri tells him to vote for Myammee. If he doesn't, she will vote It out of the game. It just wants to have sex.

Tailor Made still trusts Myammee. He goes to Myammee and tells her to turn against the other Pretty Girls. She goes to It and implores him to vote for Prancer and Ice, not her. It remains noncommittal, snoring away charmingly.

Now to the Vault. Angelique opens with a compelling argument against putting her in the box. Saaphyri's not going to vote for her, she explains, so she's safe no matter what. But that's all we really get to see of the Vault ceremony. Saaphyri's called back in, and we get the answer with her:

It.

Ice.

Prancer.

Where is Myammee? Someone did something jinky. Tailor Made messed up her plan. Now he's in her sights, as well.

Ice feels that the Pretty Girl Alliance is no more. Do you think? Did you decide that when Myammee voted for you? Myammee, tearfully, goes to Ice to apologize. Prancer, more practically, goes to Saaphyri to plead her case. She's so upset over the turn the game has taken. It's so cutthroat. She wants Myammee gone, too, because she turned against her. And she can help Saaphyri get rid of Tailor Made, too.

All this before the Power Outing.

Saaphyri abuses her position as Paymaster by having him fan her. But "his ass ain't in no danger." Perhaps sensing this, Prancer and It plead their cases. No one believes Prancer is really hurt that badly. She has a contusion, a bruise on the bone, not on the skin.

"Who voted for Myammee?"

Ice reveals that she didn't vote for Myammee, because Myammee's been her girl from day one. Saaphyri's not impressed, but still picks Ice for the one-on-one because she "doesn't really know that boy."

Aside: Is it Ice's baritone that causes people to refer to her as "Ice Man"? I don't get it- she's an attractive woman. Her voice is what sophisticates such as myself refer to as "smoky." It might not be suited to the whispering of "sweet nothings," but I wouldn't mind lounging in a bath, being fed grapes, and having her read to me from "The Song of Solomon."


If Ice is a man, then I must be gay. I would not go out of my way to avoid her sweet kisses.

Anyway, Ice spends the one-on-one prostrating herself to Saaphyri, and bashing Prancer, who's obviously faking, because she hasn't even bothered to wrap up her contused leg.

First check to It. She picks up the VOID stamp, and asks him if he loves her. It replies that he does. How much? Enough to twirl? Yes- It is her "thang-thang," she's got no reason to send him home.

Saaphyri takes the time to lecture Prancer and Ice. It basically comes down to this question: Is Prancer faking her injury? And, is Ice really so stupid as to not vote Myammee into the box, when she knew it would save her? Which is the worst sin? That's actually three questions, but math was never my strongest subject.

Saaphyri decides to void Ice's check. She's sending "men home," she explains, which I'm sure makes It feel good about himself.

Ice's first time in the box was her last. That, Saaphyri explained, was her downfall:

"What Ice should have done to save herself, was never put her ass in the box. She should have put other people into the box."

A practical philosophy that all the contestants should heed. Compare it to Becky Buckwild's nonsensical philosophy about remaining on a sinking ship no matter what, and you begin to understand why Saaphyri has outlasted her.

But then again, maybe philosophy has nothing to do with it. This is, after all, "I Love Money 2." As Tom Stoppard once wrote, "Life is a gamble, at terrible odds-if it was a bet you wouldn't take it."


Saaphyri is looking to eliminate all the men. It apparently doesn't count.


Myammee Pretty Girl Alliance pic source.
Ice pic source.
Prancer pic source.
Saaphyri and It in bed source.
Tailor Made pic source.

1 comment:

A.Jaye said...

'Tis the best recap yet.

Through the words of Stoppard you have enlightened me as to what litters the cutting room floor regarding last weeks al fresco tea party. Verily you sir are quite the wordsmith.

As for this week - Prancer and Tailor Made? I think he digs Myammee.

The snake.