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The Surreal Life, Episode 4: The Vince Neil Show



The ex-celebs have to put on a talent show. This may be difficult for some of them. Vince Neil (right) isn’t thrilled with the idea but he goes along and ends up being the star of the show – shows, really, both the talent show and The Surreal Life. 

Here we are to discuss the fourth installment of The Vince Neil Show! Errrr, I mean, The Surreal Life. (OK, it’s really the third show, but remember that WB considered the first hour-long show to be two episodes.) This guy is logging more camera time than Tonya Harding on her wedding night, but in a good way. I have always said however much the editors hate Corey, that is how much they love Vince. I have always said that. Right, like The Surreal Life predates me and it is a lifelong motto of mine.

So on to the recap? Ready? Let's go...

We have new opening credits, and although we have only seen the old ones twice this is none too soon. The L.A. DJs got old fast. I thought what they did here was very clever. Some shots of the stars around the house with some kitschy, cheesy, and sparkly graphics superimposed with their names while the voiceover is a self-descriptive line from the first episode. Well done, art department!

Scenes of TV's oddest collection of roommates waking up.

Corey's enthusiastic tooth-brushing gets a lot of airtime. Do you think he is doing damage to his enamel by brushing so hard? I have never seen such violent dental hygiene.

So they get their house tabloid giving them their assignment for the day. A BBQ / talent show for charity. This makes me glad I don't wake up to a little tabloid on my front porch assigning me a silly list of things to do with people I don't particularly like.

Emmanuel isn't feeling the talent show at all. Hasn't been in one since he was ten and feels it is beneath him professionally, but he uses less condescending phrasing to express that. Pssssst... Corey? Check out Manny. Look at him, hear what he says. This is personal dignity, my friend, and it is a beautiful thing.

Vince thinks the talent show is stupid. The first of many moments this episode where he proves himself to be a truth screamer. (I know I borrowed the phrase “truth screamer” from radio legend Steve Dahl, but when a term fits...) Then he says the talent show is to "make a bunch of professionals look like buffoons." Isn't that the point of this whole series?

Jerri says, "If you don't want to make a fool out of yourself don't be in the business." Or, and these are just my thoughts, be in the business but have some talent. Knowing one’s limitations as well as one's strengths creates a balanced sense of self. Just a thought.

All the proceeds of the talent show go to charity and the winner gets a night in the master bedroom.

Oh, and they have to go into Hollywood and sell the tickets themselves. They are less than pleased, as anyone who has ever had to hawk anything can imagine. You know how you felt sitting at a folding table outside the cafeteria at school selling flowers, or M&Ms, or school buttons to raise money for your team or band or club? Imagine doing that and having to tell people who you used to be.

Flash to the mall where they are selling themselves, I mean... the tickets. "Hi, I'm Corey Feldman." Had that been followed by, "damn glad to meet ya," I would think he was angling for the role of Otter if they ever remake Animal House. Hammer is working it! I was never a fan of his, I never gave him much thought one way or the other, but the man has charisma. I have to give him that, he is engaging. Gabrielle is introducing herself as "Gabrielle Carteris – I used to be on90210." I don't know why but that seems so sad to me. I would just hate to go through life and introducing myself and having to trot out some job I had years and years ago; it seems to diminish what she has going in her life now, and she's a mom and has a husband she loves and that seems to me a whole lot more important than being at the center of fictional teen angst in the ‘90s. But maybe that's just me.

Vince bought the tickets himself and was giving them away. Who thought going into this he would be the smartest guy in the house? This was my first thought, why weren't they all doing this? There was no way he was doing the old cold sell for this goofy thing so he bought them himself so the charity would get money and gave them away so they would have bodies in the seats without him having to embarrass himself. It is only because no one else thought of this that it looks brilliant instead of just common sense. Case in point: Several years ago my family was gathered at my mom's house and we were talking about first jobs and I mentioned the first money I ever earned was for my first set of poms. Our squad was selling candy to raise money to buy them. One of my sisters, who like Vince Neil is a truth screamer, said "bringing a case of M&M's to dad's house and having him write a check for $70 and buy them all is not earning money." My very personal point is what Vince did is a time-honored tradition and not the least bit lazy, and I feel very validated right now.

The editing is very flattering in the whole selling scene. You know they had to have been rejected and blown-off, why wasn't that shown except for Corey being shunned by a clown. Read into that what you will. By the way, what charity was it for? Charity is an ambiguous word. Was this to help sick children or to provide knit caps for sea turtles? I want to know, inquiring minds and all that.

So they are back at the house talking about what they will be doing for the talent show. Since they have almost no prep time I actually feel bad for them – 50 minutes as they returned home at 4:10 and the guests were do to arrive at 5:00 for the BBQ. It is hard to think on your feet about what you would do for a talent show on such short notice. Not that most of us will ever be faced with this dilemma. I mean how many of us walk to the coffee machine at work to get a cup and are grabbed by someone who demands, "Entertain me! Right now!" I mean, I think most people would be a little disconcerted. So I don't expect much.

Jerri is doing spoken word poetry. Please don't. Taking yourself seriously would be such a bad idea.

Gabrielle notes she is an actress and doesn't sing and only dances for fun so she scrambles to come up with something. Vince is johnny-on-the-spot and helps her plan her kazoo recital. You read that right. Kazoo. I don't even have a comment for that.

Brande says, "Vince is always great. Vince was taking care of everybody and making everyone feel comfortable being the dad, being the big brother.” Awwww. I was just thinking that.

Corey is going to do a song off his new album (he doesn't mention the name, actually I bet he probably did but the editing staff amidst machiavellian laughter left it on the cutting room floor so to as to not, however inadvertently, help his career. Just a guess but I bet I'm not wrong. [Editor’s Note: Corey’s newest album is Former Child Actor – how appropriate]). Corey is giving Vince instruction on how to sing back-up for him and I have this blinding pain shoot through my head; those two things are not unrelated. Corey tells us, "I'm too much of a professional. I don't want to throw myself out there unrehearsed and unpracticed so that is why I chose to do a song from my album." Vince doesn't think Corey should be doing a song off his album, treating this talent show seriously diminishes the music and it is neither the right time nor place. See what I was saying? Truth screamer.

Manny has a serious problem with doing this; he is clearly very embarrassed at the idea of a talent show but Vince is impressed that despite being totally opposed to it Manny is in there helping Brande with her routine. So Vince bucks up and writes a song. Inspiration all over the place.

Vince is going to write a song. If I were someone who, and I am not admitting to this, back in Napster's heyday spent many an hour typing in keywords *motley crue* *unreleased* *boot* then slowly and painfully downloading over a sketchy dial-up, I would have been all excited about Vince writing. Whether I was or not is irrelevant. I am nothing if not objective and unbiased.

Corey offers to play harp on Vince's song. Now lest you think Corey has a gift for the classical instrument oft played by angels he does not. He meant the harmonica and he used the slang to let us know he is one hep cat. Duly noted.

Corey wants very much to perform with Vince as he tells us when he says, "I was excited about performing with Vince. I was always respectful of his talents and thought it would be fun to combine ourselves." The feeling is not mutual. At all. Vince doesn’t think it would be fun to combine themselves. I'm not just supposing that... he said it. "I would definitely prefer to do it alone. I don't want to hurt anybody's feelings or anything it's just I want to make it so it sounds right." Think anyone's feelings were hurt when they heard that tonight?

Corey dismissed the frivolousness of preparing for the talent show because he is preparing for a wedding! And this is about the rest of his life! I half expected him to put back of hand to fevered brow and to lie down on the nearest divan and come down with the vapors. And to think we were almost allowed to forget for a moment that Corey is getting married on the show. He is shown arguing with his fiancé about wedding plans. This conversation is so disturbing I need to recount it verbatim so you can share my disbelief.

Suzi: I'm just stressed out of my mind.

Corey: I understand so let me handle it and stop freaking out.

Suzi: My thing is it's easy for you to say "do this, do that" because you're not here in the thick of this madness.

Corey: I'm doing this, I'm doing interviews, I'm getting ready for the talent show, I'm selling charity tickets to strangers, all kinds of things.

Suzi: And that's all fun activity.

Corey: (as he climbs upon Mt. Condescending) Wait, wait, wait, wait this is my WORK. Calm it down. (Said in a tone of voice so offensive words fail me. Oh and work for me has never been hanging around in a seven million dollar mansion executing silly tasks for the camera. I think he offended all of us who have to actually make a living.)

Suzi: You know how many things...

(he cuts her off mid-sentence)

Corey: I'm gonna go. I'll talk to you later.

Suzi: Don't do this right now, okay?

Corey: You're having way too much attitude with me. (I think I speak for most women when I say if the man we were planning on marrying called us and essentially demanded we plan an impromptu wedding in less than 10 days so he could get married on TV with "the whole world watching" (no delusions of grandeur there, folks), attitude would be the best case scenario... a nervous breakdown more likely.) I'm going now. You're raising your voice, we're raising our voices and I don't like it. Goodbye.

And he hangs up on her.

If a friend of mine was in a relationship like that I would be planning an intervention.

Parenthetically, Corey is now saying in the media that getting married on the show wasn't his idea. check out his interview on the WB website where he says, "I was propositioned to get married on the show. It was not my own idea. It was not my own doing. They came to me and said, ‘Would you like to get married on the show?’" I know what you are thinking, what grown man with normal cognitive functioning would answer yes to that question if it wasn't what he wanted? Even if it was at the suggestion of another, wouldn't his agreement and compliance make it his responsibility shared only with the bride-to-be? And didn't we all see him in the first episode when he was on the phone asking Suzi to marry him and she asked him, do you really want to do this and he replied in the affirmative? Remember? Then he smiled with happiness at the thought of a TV wedding? If backpedaling were an Olympic sport, he would be a medal contender. I don't think it speaks well for the marriage that he is looking for someone to blame for it happening, and it's a shame since it seemed like had such a stable foundation on which to build a life.

We leave Corey to his self-inflicted drama and pop into the kitchen where, along with Manny, we watch Hammer make some shrimp which he showers with lemon and thankfully lightens things up. I just love lemon shrimp... and the way he did it reminds me so much of Nigella from the cooking show Nigella Bites, and she's even better than lemon shrimp. You wouldn't think Hammer would bring her to mind but there you have it.

The audience starts to arrive and Emmanuel is very sweet to a little toddler. I like him more and more... Despite the fact that he is doing this under protest and is not happy about it, he is not only refraining from taking that out on others but he's going out of his way to be nice to people. I am now chalking up the excessive goofy laughter of episode one to nerves as he seems very grounded.

Brande is putting a cheerleader outfit on her dog. The weird thing about this is the dog looks unfazed as if this happens all the time. Let's not dwell on that.

Hammer, to his credit, does not trot out his hit from days gone by. He gussies up into character of Clyde Rufus Brown decked out like a flamboyant George Clinton.

Vince is helping everyone and wants everyone to do well. He feels like a soccer mom. Awwww. I wish Vince Neil was my mom. Talk about a sentence you never thought you'd type.

"Once you're just a celebrity no longer can you be seen as an artist." Was that statement made by Rabbi Hillel or Corey Feldman? Take a wild guess. Right, it was Corey not the respected rabbinical philosopher. Our Corey is "facing his toughest battle yet." Really? A talent show is the toughest battle of his life? Either he is Mr. Self-Indulgent Hyperbole or this is a tougher battle than the child abuse he was speaking of last week. A tougher battle than seeing his career crash and burn and a tougher battle than heroin addiction. My goodness this was some horrific talent show to trump all those things.

Monty Hall comes on to emcee The Surreal Life Celebrity Talent Show and BBQ. I haven't seen him since I was a kid and when I was home sick would watch Let's Make a Deal and see him give out hundred dollar bills if you had a paperclip in your purse. I don't know how his career is doing if he's here but he looked good. He announces that the winner gets to spend the night in the master bedroom and a featured role in an upcoming episode of a WB show. They didn't mention that earlier. Since this is the only WB show I have seen I don't know if that is a prize to be coveted or not.

Monty introduces Brande and kinda stumbled over her name. I know what he means. Couldn't she throw a Y at the end, or an i before the e, or even slap and extra e on there... something. Anyway she does the break dancing routine Emmanuel helped her with while wearing some cheerleader outfit from Skeezah High. It doesn't really matter what she does because she's pretty. I am guessing the guys were disappointed she was in regulation showpants rather than a thong but it's a family show.

Next we see Gabrielle playing the kazoo to "When The Saints Come Marching In" with Brande and Jerri behind her as back-up dancers, using the word dancing as loosely as the English language will permit, wearing feather boas. I was embarrassed just watching.

Monty then tells us Corey Feldman will sing a song to his love. I wish I could awwww over that but I really can't. I know I said last week I loved his last CD, and I do, but after hearing him live, as it were, it is clear he owes some thanks to his engineers for cleaning him up and I don't think the boy is a stranger to gating. Just a guess. But that said, he wasn't horrible. He has a very forced stage presence that is not pleasant and he desperately needs to learn to pretend to play guitar to have something to do with his hands, but he does have a poor man's Peter Criss quality to his voice that could probably be really good with training. Before he begins to sing he calls out a "very special back up singer... Vince Neil." Music fans across the world cringe in horror. Vince wants to be anywhere but up on stage with Corey. I have seen guys on court TV awaiting a possible death sentence look more comfortable than Vince did. He laid it down for us, saying Corey "didn't want me up there because I could sing but because I'm me." Didn't I tell you? Truth screamer. Saw that coming when Corey said he respected Vince's talent. That sounds nice on the surface but it is very different than liking someone's music. Vince doesn't like ulterior motives but due to it being on TV and for charity he sucks it up and does it. Don't you wonder what Corey thinks watching this as he wasn't privy to the confessionals at the time? I bet he is so offended and spinning it as everyone else is evil. No, you say. Yes, I think so.

Emmanuel introduces Clyde Rufus Brown... shhhhhh, but that might really be Hammer trying to fool us! I didn't get the point of his shtick but I did laugh and he can work a crowd.

Next up is Manny Mo who we all know as Emmanuel Lewis. I hope I can keep all these stage personas and secret identities straight. Hammer and he do some dancing thing and little bit of rap. Not painful to watch but very talent showy. Very reminiscent of Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland finding a barn and "puttin' on a show!" Did I just compare Hammer to Judy Garland? First Nigella now Judy Garland. I don't even want to examine the vibes he's giving off tonight. All in all it looks like Manny puts forth the least amount of effort and still manages to be a team player and look like a good sport. He has an easygoing way about him that I like.

Next scene is Jerri, Brande, and Gabrielle clad in black wearing berets. They refer to themselves as cool cats and beatniks. Do you feel that rumble as she says that? That is Jack Kerouac turning over in his grave. You can tell they were being campy though, so I'm sure he was turning over because he was bemused. Everyone loves a good spoof.

I was bracing myself for spoken word poetry.

"Success. Celebrities. Life lessons" ::Bongo playing:: "Ascend. Transcend." ::primal scream::

The girl hits it out of the park... funny, funny, funny! Flipping a good natured finger at the assignment; intentionally funny and self-deprecating. Even she says on Survivor she was a roaring bitch but I have seen no evidence of that here. Excellent play, Jerri.

Vince is up next with the song he wrote... and brings down the house! The guy has a sense of humor and could teach a young Mr. Feldman a few things about being comfortable in your skin while singing. Another example of being a really good sport and turning around something that could have been embarrassing and demeaning and diffusing it into making it fun but no big deal.

”The Surreal Life Blues” (sung to the tune of the “Kraft Macaroni and Cheese Blue Box Blues,” which is probably a real song I don't know the name of. Not everyone from Chicago is a Blues Brother you know) ::gets everyone on stage::

Jerri's making a cocktail, in Australia there's nothing to drink. Brande's a lifeguard, with that rack she'll never sink. Gabby's in the kitchen, round the house she likes to rock. Hammer, he's a preacher he likes to hear himself talk

We got the blues The Surreal Life blues.

Manny says he's a fisherman, but shouldn't use it for his life. Corey's getting married, but he hasn't told his wife

(Hey, look, Corey can pretend to play guitar.)

Well I may be maudlin but there's nothing left to lose. Sitting in the jail called the Surreal Life blues

Monty has the audience vote by applause for the winner and it's down to Vince and Manny – and Vince takes it. So he gets the night in the master bedroom with the Playstation and a featured spot on an upcoming WB show.

Some interviews among the crowd and a guy saying, "Vince Neil hasn't lost a thing" to which I have to say, no he has not! A guy holding a now-autographed Playboy from Brande says, "she's a great girl, she's so nice" and I have to say there is no evidence to the contrary, she sure seems to be.

Cut to Vince talking to Lia, his girlfriend, on the phone and telling her he won. She is saying how great and the "yeah" he replied says it all. It says, "Yeah, I get my own bedroom and a video game, big freaking deal... how old am I and why am I doing this?” I got all that from one syllable, I'm very intuitive.

He jokes that the powers that be at the WB are probably not thrilled he won and are wondering what they are going to do with him for a guest role. He looks happy to be a challenge to the suits. He is such a rock and roll bad boy!

Sitting in the master bedroom, he and Jerri are playing boxing on Playstation and she is oh so sweetly kicking his butt. Awwww.

Cut to a shot of the outside of the house with a Vince voiceover: "I'm the winner and goodnight." You gotta love a Waltonesque Vince Neil segue into sleep.

Next week is a 90-minute Surreal Life marathon where our goofy tribe goes to Vegas. That's what I said. Ninety minutes. Of course, what they didn’t tell us is that the first 60 minutes is reruns. It’s only the last half hour that is the Vegas part, according to TV Guide.

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Vince gets two thumbs up from the introvert accountant for now selling tickets - which by the way may have contributed to his win since he gave tickets away instead of needing a charity donation. 

Corey a) trying to play harmonica for vince and b ) dragging Vince onto stage for his act screams desperation and a need for attention.  I'll ignore the fact that the vocal quality of the entire act improved when Vince sang for that bit during Corey's performance (Corey this means I don't think you can sing)

Oh dear Corey 'on guitar' 


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I really did like his truth movement cd, was disappointed he didn't realize that if your voice is that helped in the studio never sing live where sober people can hear you.

and yes to buying the tickets - great move and absolutely what iwould have done - u less they were stopped by tptb im baffled as to why they didn't all do this.

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24 minutes ago, clueliss said:


Oh dear Corey 'on guitar' 


Someone should have told him using one as a prop in a cheesy photo op doesn't make him John Lennon.


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