The title of this show is a total given.
I mean, who wouldn’t want to work for Diddy? Seems like it’d be a walk in the park!
Of course, I kid. It’s clearly no walk in the park. It’s more like a crawl through thorny bushes with bear traps clamped to your elbows and a Blackberry clamped to your ear, while being accompanied by jugglers you’re auditioning and a piece of Junior’s cheesecake that you’re balancing on your head.
We see Diddy talking about the task at hand. He’s a ringmaster, a showman, an entertainer. But make no mistake: he is not a clown. We’ll cover that in a few. Also something that he isn’t: human, per his words. Nice, should be really easy to reason with, then. We hear that the “Bad Boy empire is coming to take over your life,” accompanied by this image…
Even though we’re presented with many instances highlighting Diddy’s capacity for rage, the above image is the most ominous. It’s taking over your life. Your life! Consider your body snatched.
We see images of assistants passed.
“Don’t question him,” says Lisa who, apparently, takes the same attitude toward headwear.
This guy talks about the hell he caught when he was without Heinz 57. Sadly the life has been beaten out of this one: now you can never be sure if there’s a bottle in his pocket, or if he’s just happy to see you.
Diddy says that he’s not the easiest to work for, which is shocking so far given the information we’ve been presented. But he is, he adds, the best to work for. “After you leave me, you will be CEO material.” I suppose it just depends on how you apply yourself? Various assistants espouse how life-altering the job is. Indeed: you will, at the very least, end up talking about it on television. That’s a change, right?
The 13 prospective assistants who’ll compete to carry Diddy’s ketchup file into the Bad Boy building.
It seems kind of like Saw. And then, we see a series of surveillance-cam shots…
…and it seems really like Saw. Get the torture motif in there early, that’s what I say!
We’re introduced to three people who will help figure out who’s most fit to carry Diddy’s ketchup.
They are to job applicants what Frontline is to flea and tick control. That’s my theory on why they’re referred to in that manner, anyway. Here’s a brief breakdown of their credentials (and, in Capricorn’s case, awesome, awesome names)…
This group interviews the 13.
Mike erroneously chews gum as he speaks with the flea and tick controllers. They douse him with DDT for being so foolish.
Andrew refers to himself as “the future dragon of hip-hop.” This is his way of saying, “I’m blowing hot air.” I love that his boast comes built-in with self-critique! His efficiency is so underrated.
Kendra, who is as full of life as a Jigsaw victim, says that her name stands for “Knowledgeable Enthusiastic Noble Driven Reliable Achiever.” She probably learned that in fourth grade when she spelled her name down the side of the page and wrote a poem about in, like this:
Some things stick with you, you know?
“I’m a child of god and resident of this universe,” reports Deon, which is helpful because there are times that you’ll wonder if he left his passport on another planet. Spacey, you know?
Laverne is a transsexual. Named Laverne! Laverne! That’s awesome for the same ineffable reasons that Penny Marshall’s speech pattern is awesome. It just is.
Brianna admits that her work day consists of checking blogs, going to Starbucks and planning lunch. She catches a swift smackdown from the Front Liners. Brianna, Brianna. Don’t you know that honesty will get you nowhere?
And then, there is Poprah.
She takes forever to set up a tripod for her presentation, but it’s worth it if only for one of the signs involved.
“A Big Girl w/ Big Skills” might be the best self-imposed title I’ve ever seen in my life. Also, why is she “Poprah?” I get the Oprah part, but the Pope part? Does she slang communication wafers on the side? Does she plan on anointing Diddy with oils until he has no choice but to give her the job? (You know that would give him ideas, too, like, “And why don’t I have an oil-anointer on staff?”) [Update: Poprah herself counters this point and many others via her comment on this post below, which you can read by clicking here.]
Anyway, the closest Poprah gets to ritualistic is when she throws dice at the disturbed Front Line.
Well, that ends that.
The group migrates into a room, where they are met by…
Phil asks them if they’re serious and they all say yes and then he says that the question was rhetorical. Then don’t make it so answerable, jeez! He doesn’t think any of them have the stuff to work for Diddy. He tells them, “This is not a game!” He’s so right. This is serious. This, my friends, is reality TV.
The group of 13 is to be split up into groups of two: an “Uptown” team and a “Downtown” team. However, the odd number of applicants tells us that one person is to go home. Now! Based on the interviews! Crazy. Those who make it onto the Downtown Team are: Mike, Stefanie, Laverne, Kendra, Deon and Boris.
That leaves this group:
One will go home. It comes down to Poprah and Andrew. The dice-thrower versus the dancer. Capricorn chastises them both. “The dice? At an interview? No,” she hilariously tells Poprah. “We are not clowns!” she says to Andrew. If you can’t remember that this is grave reality TV and it’s not to be laughed at, these people will clearly remind you. Repeatedly. In the end, it’s Andrew who gets the boot.
In other words: exit, the dragon.
With him gone, it’s time for the challenge:
That’s right, it’s an art. And you’re about to find out why.
The teams will each be given 50 tasks to complete in a 24-hour period. All members of each team, with the exception of the two who will remain in the office to work the dispatch, must stay together. If they get a message on the red phone…
…they have to basically drop everything and complete that request immediately. If they don’t, two tasks are struck from their score. The team with the most tasks completed at the end of the 24 hours wins. Members of the losing team face elimination.
And by “planning,” I mean “order-barking” via Poprah. Her capacity for annoyance is nicely summed up by the look on Brianna’s face.
Brianna is very much an early favorite in these parts.
The tasks are accomplished. They are of varying ridiculousness.
And it is here and now that this show reveals its full potential. Diddy’s outlandish requests, which might just seem gratingly unnecessary in the real world, make for very watchable TV. At last, Diddy’s sense of entitlement has found its medium! This is a beautiful, beautiful thing.
Kendra and Stefanie work dispatch for the Downtown Team. At one point, they call the team and Deon answers. They tell him to bring back envelopes and he hems and haws about getting things done. Here is Kendra’s response.
I loooove that these people have known each other for a matter of hours and they already can’t stand each other. If they’re at each other’s throats this early, how long will it take before they start infiltrating each other’s souls? Hopefully, Poprah can perform any necessary exorcism.
Drop everything! Red phone! Red phone!
Each team gets the same directive for, what we can assume are, different cars. During dispatch, Poprah is sort of namby-pamby with the assignment. She doesn’t understand the gravity of the red phone, which annoys the pants off Brianna.
There is an altercation.
Poprah interviews: “Lord, please don’t let me out this seat! ‘Cause I’m about to whip this girl’s ass on live damn TV.” Uh, this isn’t live damn TV. It’s just damn TV. Anyway, this argument, which is more about Poprah’s pervasive oppressiveness than anything tangible, devolves into her calling Brianna, “ignorant and ghetto.” She probably understands the difference between live and recorded TV, though, you know? Ignorance is so relative.
The night wears on. There are tasks within tasks.
Can Do’s bleary eyes reflect the general attitude of the groups as morning rolls around.
In reference to this, we see footage of Diddy telling a charming story.
“One time somebody came into my office and they were like ‘I’m tired.’ And I said to them, ‘Well, what rhymes with tired?’ Heh heh.” It’s cute ’cause it rhymes. We can only hope that the “somebody” in question countered with, “What rhymes with ‘biological necessity?'”
Red phone! Red phone!
And guess what?
The Downtown Team, however, isn’t so swift to this new task. With Deon manning the phone, they miss the message entirely.
Deon’s head was in space, but that doesn’t make him any less of a citizen of this universe, OK?
Then, a slight regime change on the Uptown Team. Georgette’s feet are hurting, so she asks if she can play dispatch for a while. Poprah reluctantly gives up her post.
Poprah is not amused.
More scrambling and bickering ensues during the final moments of this challenge.
And then it’s all over. All the applicants convene and Capricorn reads them their scores: Downtown completed 33 tasks, but two were knocked off because they missed the second red-phone challenge. Uptown completed 31 tasks. A tie! The tie-breaker is to check each team’s receipts to make sure all the money they spent is accounted for. Uptown comes up short, which means Downtown wins!
Kendra is amused!
And what’s even better, for winning, the Downtown Team gets to keep watches that they were made to pick up.
The Uptown Team will get to vote on which one of their team members they want to leave. Yay? But the fun doesn’t stop there! Norma tells the group that they’re going to relax Bad Boy-style. Again, more amusement from Kendra.
It must be fun to be her.
They retire to their seriously insane pad.
Reality-show revelry ensues.
The next morning, Poprah wants to talk about the imminent elimination.
This basically entails her reading a speech about how great she is. The result? The show’s least surprising argument yet!
After another Sawish interlude…
…the Uptown Team meets with what’s termed the Inner Circle…
These Bad Boys (Bad Boys) and Capricorn make the final decision. They also include Phil Robinson, who we rhetorically met earlier, and…
Almost immediately an argument breaks out amongst the team over how hard it is to work with Poprah. She does not go down without a fight.
She breaks down their loss in three easy steps: Georgette can’t count (which caused them to lose the tie-breaker), Suzanne gave them poor instructions (which resulted in them ending up with not enough socks to complete one of the tasks) and Red got them lost. No one cares and she is unanimously voted out by her team. But there’s a twist! She can bring someone in the Bottom 2 with her. She chooses Georgette.
The two face the Inner Circle for a-la-la-la-la long talk. Poprah says she should stay because of her entrepreneurial experience. But if she’s such an entrepreneur, why is she looking for work on reality TV? She also badmouths Georgette, which is terrible form for someone who’s supposedly so professional. “I realize my fault is I’m using to working with people who are professionals,” she admits. Wow, that’s so big of her to admit that her fault is her awesomeness. She concludes by calling the rest of her team amateurs.
Believe it or not, Georgette’s pleading of her case is even worse (and, to her credit, Poprah admits that she weighs 250 lbs., in reference to her potential but unrealized complaints about standing — score one for honesty). And so, Georgette leaves.
The rest of the Uptown Team is like, “Grrrreat,” at the prospect of having to continue working with Poprah, but the woman herself cackles like a madwoman at the outcome.
From the looks of it, she, too, wants to play a game. MAKE YOUR CHOICE.