Money Hungry Recap – Episode 1 – Making Light Of Heaviness

|

Money Hungry is bursting at the seams with laughs.

mh_1_k5k2_76

But who’s the joke actually on?

It turns out the much-touted “twist” of Money Hungry has little to do with the $10,000 each team had to pony up to compete on the show. Yes, that’s a nice angle and nothing is a better incentive for working your ass off than the ultimate bottom line. But really, that “innovation” doesn’t compete with the show’s real one — attacking the struggle of weight-loss from a comedic perspective as opposed to a dramatic one. The Biggest Loser this ain’t — on purpose. Money Hungry is a lighthearted response to the straight-faced way weight loss has been handled on television and it makes sense — as anyone who’s trying to shed pounds knows, gravity is not your friend. Plus, as we know, on VH1 nothing is sacred. People attempting to complete any goal can be the foundation for comedy if you acknowledge our culture’s grand unifying theory: people are funny, period.

Still, being overweight isn’t easy for a lot of reasons, and it’s always nice to be sensitive of people’s pain. What keeps Money Hungry from being outright cruel is the fact that so many of its overweight contestants are the ones telling what essentially amount to fat jokes. That’s not always the case — there are editing tricks meant to grab cheap laughs, such as the frame that shakes on impact as Kaitlin jumps rope with a booming noise as accompaniment…

mh_1_gif1

But it’s mostly coming from inside the contestants themselves. Take, for example, the team names that the members presumably came up with. The vast majority are food and/or plus-size puns (with a dash of Warren G and perhaps Marla Maples referencing).

mh_1_k5k2_30

mh_1_k5k2_31

mh_1_k5k2_32

mh_1_k5k2_33

mh_1_k5k2_34

mh_1_k5k2_35

mh_1_k5k2_36

mh_1_k5k2_37

mh_1_k5k2_38

mh_1_k5k2_40

(They go by A Pair of Nuts.)

mh_1_k5k2_41

mh_1_k5k2_41b

And then again, while there are plenty of visual gags such as a clock above the main doors that looks like a scale…

mh_1_k5k2_42

…a snack vending machine rendered into a torture device by its lack of buttons…

mh_1_k5k2_23

…and ample giant-sized foam food that is either to be taken as sculpture or a resting place for the weary, worked-out asses of the contestants…

mh_1_k5k2_20

mh_1_k5k2_21

In response to this, some contestants seem more than happy to follow suit and camp it up in a larger-than-life fashion…

mh_1_k5k2_11

And the visual jokes don’t stop at the furniture…

phillip300_5

mh_1_k5k2_49

mh_1_k5k2_50

mh_1_k5k2_51

The nipple-licking combined with the over-the-top burlesque music that accompanied it was torn right out of Russ Meyer’s Beneath the Valley of the Ultravixens. If only Kitten Natividad were here to make everything infinitely weirder, sleazier and more pneumatic.

mh_1_k5k2_78

mh_1_k5k2_80

That said, not everyone finds said visuals funny:

mh_1_k5k2_79

mh_1_k5k2_81

But I guess bombing is the risk you take when, as an overweight dude, you don a pink thong and parade around for all to evaluate.

mh_1_k5k2_82

And speaking of evaluation, after the two obvious Money Hungry breakouts so far, Kaitlin and Phillip become acquainted via body shots…

mh_1_k5k2_24

mh_1_k5k2_25

mh_1_k5k2_26

mh_1_k5k2_28

…No Excuses’ Josh remarks, “I didn’t know that glasses were supposed to fit in belly buttons, but apparently they do in Phillip’s.” This brings us to yet another way that being overweight is joked about on this show — through the mocking of one’s competitors. It’s hard to discern exactly where this comes from (if a single place can be pointed to at all): is it a family, we’re-all-in-this-together-so-to-laugh-at-you-is-to-laugh-at-us mentality or is it a way of organizing a hierarchy (“I’m fat, but that guy’s soooo fat!”), similar to that of porn where the girls pride themselves on not doing anal like those other skanks in the field? Mission Slimpossible’s Joe, who seems so New York Italian that if it weren’t for the smart-assed quip in his mouth surely there would be pastrami up in there, wonders how his rotund competitors wipe their butts, surmising that they might “use, like, a wrap-around stick, or something, I’m not sure. A wash cloth, maybe.” On Yamil, Katilin kvetches, “He doesn’t even have fat hanging over his jeans! That’s an indicator to me that you shouldn’t be here.”

mh_1_k5k2_75

During the pre-competition last supper, if you will, Joe compares the way everyone attacked the feast to “a swarm of piranhas.”

mh_1_k5k2_44

More pointedly, No Excuses’ Josh observes the mess and notes, “Are there already potatoes on the floor? Wow, we’re just cliché now.”

mh_1_k5k2_45

I don’t know, the messy stereotype is certainly invoked, but I’ve never associated overweight people directly with potatoes on the floor. I think these tubers are breaking new ground (and it’s not because they’re fat or anything!).

And then there are the unintentional gags that read like comedy nonetheless. Yamil and Georgette break some patio furniture by bouncing on it…

mh_1_k5k2_47

…which, come to think of it, may have actually been intentional (what did they expect to happen?).

mh_1_k5k2_46

During the team-name sharing ceremony (try saying that out loud and get ready to trip over the blubber of your own tongue), Jackie says in reference her partner Kaitlin: “I’ve seen her athletic size…side.” With all the discourse all the time focusing on being fat, does this count as a Freudian slip or is it merely words finding a way to normalcy?

Phillip’s wining-out and getting obliterated can be taken as more ambiguous intent (most of his nude, nipple-licking frolicking is captured in our gif wall devoted to him). Certainly, jumping in the hot tub and peeing “a little,” as he says, couldn’t have been on purpose…or is it? He does seem awfully proud.

mh_1_k5k2_48

But this bout of manic energy has much more to do with Phillip’s personality than his size. The biggest (literally!) example of an unintentional bit being played for comedy happens within the first few minutes of the show, when our bus full of corpulent contestants…

mh_1_k5k2_1

…cannot make it up the hill to the house. Immediately a line is drawn in the sand between every other 51 Minds show that begins with its contestants on a bus, and this one.

mh_1_k5k2_3

mh_1_k5k2_4

mh_1_k5k2_5

mh_1_k5k2_6

This helps set up the ethos of this show immediately and perfectly: nothing is sacred and everything is a potential gag.

Of course, with all the yuks comes levity, as we’re watching actual human beings struggle here.

mh_1_k5k2_72

mh_1_k5k2_73

mh_1_k5k2_74

The initial weigh-ins are particularly emotional…

mh_1_k5k2_58

mh_1_k5k2_59

mh_1_k5k2_60

mh_1_k5k2_61

mh_1_k5k2_62

mh_1_k5k2_63

mh_1_k5k2_64

mh_1_k5k2_65

mh_1_k5k2_66

mh_1_k5k2_67

mh_1_k5k2_68

mh_1_k5k2_70

True to the comedic form of this show and his career, Yamil jokes about A Pair of Nuts’ weigh-in: “It’s like the Brady Bunch just got on a scale and that’s what they weighed all together.” Well, those kids were so scrawny anyway, they barely count as a barometer, collectively or otherwise. Poor Katie, though, cries throughout the weigh-in…and then after pooping out during training…and then again during the elimination weigh-in, the results of which are below:

Regulators

mh_1_k5k2_87

mh_1_k5k2_88

Chicago Deep Dish

mh_1_k5k2_91

A Pair of Nuts

mh_1_k5k2_92

mh_1_k5k2_93

Slenderellas

mh_1_k5k2_94

mh_1_k5k2_95

No Excuses

mh_1_k5k2_96

Double Chocolate

mh_1_k5k2_97

Mission Slimpossible

mh_1_k5k2_98

Roll Models

mh_1_k5k2_99

Grading Curves

mh_1_k5k2_100

mh_1_k5k2_101

Family Sized

mh_1_k5k2_103

mh_1_k5k2_104

Rocker Moms

mh_1_k5k2_105

In the end, it comes down to Family Sized versus Flabulous. As Phillip awaits to hear the results of this first round of weight loss, he moans, “I’m sick of I stay, I’m sick of I go,” mostly in reference to his compassion for Family Sized. They’re weighed in and…

mh_1_k5k2_107

mh_1_k5k2_108

…he stays. Something tells me he would have been far sicker if he hadn’t. He might have thrown up, losing more weight and requiring a recount. But really, this outcome is as though all the stars have aligned. The scale has the final say and the results are in the interest of funny, not weepy — perfect of a show that prefers to laugh at weight-loss as opposed to crying over it. Really, it all works out perfectly. Katie and Denise get a standing O from their momentary peers and it all leads to…

mh_1_k5k2_110

…more tears on the way out. Shocked?

Besides the battle of the bulge, Money Hungry‘s primary conflict is the tried and…perhaps irrelevant question of, “Are you here for the right reasons?” Already people have it out for A Pair of Nuts for being comedians…

mh_1_k5k2_84

…comedians who consider “hair weighs more than fat” a joke…

mh_1_k5k2_85

…but comedians all the same. (Off topic: Yamil is straight-up dreamy, y/y?) Also on the here-for-the-wrong-reasons radar are the singing/dancing duo of Roll Models, whom people suspect are here just to further their career. (Jamie’s voice is notable in that it’s the huskiest thing on this show.) However, if they lose weight while promoting themselves…well, isn’t that the point of doing all this on TV in the first place? People who go into these shows supposedly without an entertainment agenda often come out of them with one. A Pair of Nuts and Roll Models are just ahead of the curve, that’s all. Plus, as host Dan Cortese is fond of reminding us in the most Celebrity Fit Club/Ant-esque way possible, the scale doesn’t lie.

mh_1_k5k2_39

At the end of the day, it is that and only that which decides who’s here for the right reasons.

Related content
Money Hungry – Peep the cast
Money Hungry show page
Money Hungry videos and extras

  1. d says:

    the whole episode really flowed from begging to end. It was really refreshing. The black guy with bigger than life laugh is the star of the show.

  2. igottsumthin2say says:

    the nutts guy are (#(~@_)!(_@)$*!$ ing funny but why the (#(~@_)!(_@)$*!$ were they picked for the show the short guy looks like he has a beeer belly and the tall one just looks like he fat but is muscular..wtf …thats not really fair

  3. RadGirl15 says:

    Go Team No Excuses! Josh is a beast!!!

  4. G says:

    All teams should be male/female for it to be fair since men have more testosterone therefore have more lean muscle and burn fat faster than women do.

  5. Jim Maddox says:

    Yamil of A Pair Of Nuts is a hunk who is the real reason to watch the show. Once he hoes home, I’ll quit watching it.

  6. Kyle says:

    It was so sad to see Katie cry when they lost. I really wanted them to go far.

  7. Chris says:

    So over Jaime does she actually think she can sing or dance cause my ear’s were bleeding it was horrible. Hope she get’s the boot this week.

  8. Lamar says:

    Yeah I am not a big fan of Jaime either. She does give alittle more action then all the other boring girls in the house. They picked good guy’s but boring ^@_`#+*_$*)*+@+ girls for the show. The only girl that was good was Kaitlyn. U ahardly see the other girls cause they are so damn boring.

  9. carol says:

    My daughter and I saw this show and we think its great and we would like to know how to get on the show and we are way over weight

  10. Quitta808 says:

    I LOVE THE SLENDERELLAS, AND FLABULOUS!!! PHILLIP AND KAITLIN ARE JUS SO HILARIOUS..I LOVE U GUYS

  11. Healthy Vending Machines says:

    Alright, so on one hand this show makes light of people who are struggling to lose weight and is a subtle way to laugh at people fatter than yourself as you sit on the couch probably not too far away from the level of fatness the contestants are at. On the other hand…hey, at least the contestants are there to lose weight! If this show gets one person to make healthy choices such as choosing a
    healthy vending machine versus a Coke machine, then it has been a success in my book.

  12. 1409039 says:

    What a lovely day for a 1409039! SCK was here

  13. 2026857 says:

    What a lovely day for a 2026857! SCK was here