Wednesday, February 27, 2013

BMN Superfan - episode 9, season 1

The show begins with the last four contestants meeting at Reebok CrossFit in Raleigh.  There, they square off in a challenge combining a climbing wall and a puzzle to solve.  Specifically, the contestants go up an eight-rung ladder, collecting puzzle pieces at each rung.  The eight pieces are out of order, and the job is to assemble them on a board placed on the "rooftop" of the climbing wall.  The first three to finish continue in the game, while the last-place contestant goes home immediately.  As the game begins, Shandi will only say that the solution is "someone you will recognize immediately."

Brittany and Jeff grab the early lead, but Megan is not far behind.  Lil' Bit drops one of the pieces, and has to go all the way down to ground level to pick it up.  At the four-piece (halfway) mark, the other three are even.  Brittany decides to start working the puzzle in her head before all the pieces are assembled, while Megan opts to keep climbing. Megan uses her advantage in lower-body strength in the last half of the course to jump ahead, but has a hard time figuring out the solution, and Brittany catches up.  In the end, Brittany wins by just a few seconds; the solution is a life-sized picture of Buddy Wayne.  Lil' Bit never recovers from her earlier stumble and is eliminated.  As Lil' Bit leaves, she cries with her head down; Megan and Brittany hug her.  Everyone agrees that her warm and kind spirit will be missed.  (By the way, the solution to the puzzle is Buddy Wayne, wearing his firesuit from the 2007 Heritage Cup auto race.)

The congratulations for making the final three is short-lived for Brittany, Megan, and Jeff.  Now it's time for the final challenge: create a video of between four and six minutes, emphasizing their favorite moments of the season.  In addition, the video also has to star two eliminated contestants - one man and one woman - as picked from a pool of six.  The finalists selected in order of their finish on the rock wall:
  • Brittany - Lil' Bit, Mikel
  • Megan - Barbie, Brendon
  • Jeff - Dustin, Lindsay
Teams select their locations and tape their highlights, then they go to Trailblazer Studios in Raleigh, which has hosted the post-production for a number of reality TV shows - including Gone Barefoot - where the finished tapes will be cut and shown in an editing room in front of the judges.

Before that, however, the finalists get to go home and meet their families:
  • Brittany reunites with her husband and two sons in Boca Raton, Florida.  Her husband says that he is "very, very proud" of Brittany for her performance on the show.  She also appears on "Sunny 107.9" radio in West Palm Beach and is featured on WPEC (12News) in West Palm.  In addition, one of her dolls is donated to the school her kids attend.  The visit ends with a reunion with some couponing friends.
  • Jeff returns to his former high school in Indiana to rally local support.  Then he traveled back to his house in suburban Atlanta, where he lives with his wife, two daughters, and a son. Jeff reconnects with the kin, then watches a video tape of the 2012 wild-card playoff game in which the Braves lost to the St. Louis Cardinals.  Jeff says he has never watched the complete game before.
  • Megan is back in Brandon, Mississippi, where she lives with her parents and brother.  She returns to Millsaps College, the small Methodist-affiliated college she attends.  At halftime of a basketball game, Megan is reunited with the rest of her cheerleading team as she performs for the first time since leaving campus to tape the show.  Megan is also honored at a celebration dinner at a local restaurant.
Here are what the shows look like:
  • Brittany's show, Channel B, is set up to resemble a newscast, with Lil' Bit and Mikel as the "anchors."  Two "news stories" about her wins in toy-making and costume play is followed by a show-ending commentary addressing the coincidence of her maiden name being Barefoot.
  • Megan's show, Planet Megan, resembles a daytime talk show.  Her "guests" are Barbie and Brendon, who talk up how good she is and trash-talk the other contestants.  The five-minute show includes highlights of her win in the magazine photo shoot and her hometown visit.
  • Jeff is influenced by regular TV and radio shows hosted by various college sports head coaches.  The Jeff Porter Show is "hosted" by Lindsay and features Jeff talking about everything from Mary Pat the acrobat to his embarrassing fall caused by a broken chair.  Also included is a mock sports training camp with Dustin.

Of course, the judges weigh in; joining Brandon McLamb and Matt Rogers this week is Brian Warner, director of Gone Barefoot (and not to be confused with the rock singer of the same name; the link redirects to his stage name, Marilyn Manson).  On Brittany's show, McLamb says, "This is a brilliant idea playing to the strength of Brittany wanting to both inform and entertain.  Great job."  Similar praise comes from the other two.  As for Megan, Warner accuses her of "being cheap and trying too hard to get a rise from the guests on your show."  Rogers disagrees: "Sometimes, disarming humor can be effective if it is targeted correctly and is amusing."  Jeff's format was praised by Rogers, who adds, "Since I'm from southern California originally and still live there, I have never seen one of the coaches' shows you're so familiar with.  Then again, after watching yours, I would like to see it again!"  Jeff then deadpans, "And so would Dustin!"

Expecting to find out the winner, Shandi informs the three finalists that they would have to wait, and that "all of us will have to wait, because the finale...will be live...And oh, one more thing.  Their [judges'] work is done."  Brittany mutters, "My God, what does that mean?"  Shandi quickly answers, "They won't be determining the winners for the season.  Instead, America will decide." Shandi then gives all the finalists up to 90 seconds to make their case as to why they should win.  This is followed by the announcer giving contact information for the finalists, the deadline (Feb. 28, 11:59 p.m. ET), and the invitation to watch the live show on March 3.

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