Friday, February 1, 2013

BMN Superfan - episode 5, season 1

This was saved as a draft on Jan. 30, just hours after the show "aired."  However, there was somehow an error that prevented the publication at that time and only now has it been published.  I apologize for the inconvenience. - D.H.
Show title: "Things Fall Apart"

This episode begins with Brittany Ramos reaching her husband on the telephone.  As she thinks about what she's had to give up to appear on the show (among other things, she missed the first day at a new school for her older son) and her concern about she is being portrayed on-air, Brittany begins to cry.  Anna "Lil' Bit" Granthum hears this, puts Brittany aside, and reminds Brittany that the game will end for everyone and that they have all made similar sacrifices in order to compete on the program.  After picking herself up, Brittany joins the remaining cast members for a game of cornhole.

The challenge, which takes place at the Singing Grove in Benson, is a single-elimination tournament.  Pairings are determined at random for the first two rounds, but all first-round matches are men versus women.  Each match is decided by the highest point total after three throws of the bean bag.  Here are the results:
  • First round: Dustin Plunkett d. Brittany, Lil' Bit d. Josh LoMonico, Jake Stubblebine d. Megan Turnipseed, Jeff Porter d. Sgt. Lindsay Hall
  • Semifinals: Lil' Bit d. Jake, Jeff d. Dustin
  • Final: Jeff d. Lil' Bit

Jeff wins his second challenge this season and takes home $1,000 cash.

Backstage at the Singing Grove, Lil' Bit and Lindsay argue loudly and nearly fight over an alleged "final four" deal with all the remaining female contestants.  Lindsay insists there was one, while Lil' Bit denies it.

For the next challenge, contestants move to Benson Elementary School.  There, they meet Harvey, the house craftsman, who explains the rules.  Each contestant has to create an age-appropriate toy for an student in the fourth or fifth grades.  The toys will be taken to a classroom, where students will decide their favorites. Harvey donates basic supplies and will supervise the process, but it will be up to the contestants to devise the actual toys.

Brittany's eyes light up at even the mention of the challenge: not only does she have two grade-school-aged children, she taught at an elementary school for several years.  On the other hand, Jake says, "Oh no, not another crafting challenge!"

With roughly an hour left, host Shandi Finnessey interrupts the process to tell the contestants that, although all of them are to continue to make their toys, only three of them will actually be presented to the kids for them to play with and judge to determine a winner.  What's more, they won't be present at the school; they won't know the results until they show up to the judging panel that night.  Brittany: "To call this a bummer for me is an understatement.  I just can't be there to see the looks in the kids' eyes as they play with their toys.  I feel like quitting - again!"  What she doesn't know is that Harvey has picked her toy as one of the three finalists, and that Brittany will be able to see the kids' reactions after all, as videotape of the play session will be shown at panel.  Here are Harvey's picks for the play session, as well as his comments:

  • Brittany - Ballroom dancing doll; "A new spin on an old favorite and very timely"
  • Dustin - Lighted house and miniature "people"; "Kids like the video-game like stimulation"
  • Lindsay - Bubble-making factory; "Brings a nostalgic childhood to a new generation"

In contrast, the bottom three were:
  • Lil' Bit - "Robin Hood" playset; "The small bows and arrows would violate anti-weapons policies"
  • Jake - Galactic chess set (originally Star Wars vs. Star Trek); "At first, there were issues with copyrights and licensing, then the figures were too ugly [after they were repainted]"
  • Josh - Flexible sports set; "Too complex to operate and maintain"

Megan made a claymation village scape, and Jeff made "Pillow Case Kids," a set of twins in tribute to the 1980s Cabbage Patch dolls.

Harvey and Shandi then shuttle the toys between two adjoining classrooms, getting the comments of some 50 fourth- and fifth-graders.  That night, they come to the Baymont Inn and Suites to share the judging with the contestants.  Brittany watches the videotape with tears in her eyes, as it reminds her of the children she taught in her former profession, as well as her own kids at home in Florida.   Dustin smiles with wide-eyed delight at some of the comments about his toy.  On the other hand, Lindsay doesn't hear much positive and has a bad feeling that she won't win.  That's confirmed: after the dramatic narrow-down to Brittany and Dustin, Brittany is named the winner for the third time this season.  "This was more drama than I ever imagined, but it's all worth it," she beams.

Now comes time for the elimination.  Again, the video screen is used, this time to show that Lil' Bit indeed had a final four deal that she later reneged on.  "Yeah, that's true," she admits.  "My deal now is with Brittany and Jeff."  Matt Rogers asks why Brittany and Jeff should trust her if she had turned on Lindsay and Megan; she replies simply, "That's an official deal, the one before that was unofficial."  Brandon McLamb adds that Lil' Bit should go home tonight, but since the judging is focused on the toy-making, she would be safe because she didn't make the worst toy.  Instead, Josh is sent home after a close vote; Harvey explains, "It was a case of picking the monstrosity that is slightly worse."

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