Thursday, August 6, 2009

"I Survived a Japanese Game Show" - August 5, 2009 episode - season finale

Yep, you read that right. I didn't know this was the last episode. I mean, there were 5 people still in the game! And I didn't know beforehand that it was a two-hour episode.

But first, some old business from last week. I present to you - Judge Bob as Mr. Banana Man.

OK, now, new business.

The show started off recapping the season so far. OK, that was weird. And then the announcer said they'd be eliminating one person at a time tonight until there was a winner since it was the season finale. Awwwww, no more shows? Sadness. (Quick, who did I acquire that particular saying from?)

Even with only 5 contestants left, they were still in their teams. The first game was called "Dude! Where's my luggage?" Each team had to run up a moving conveyor belt that had luggage coming down. They had to collect only the bags with blue tags and toss them into a luggage bin. After 30 seconds or if they fell off, the next team member would take a turn.

Since the teams were uneven, the Green Tigers had a handicap - one of the team members would be wearing a carrot suit and boxing gloves. Brent volunteered to wear those. Cathy did pretty well during her turns, and Linda did ok, but Brent really sucked because of the cumbersome outfit and because he couldn't really pick up anything with the boxing gloves. I don't think he got even one piece of luggage. The tag on the bags were a lot smaller than I thought they'd be, so it was hard to identify the right bags. And there weren't just suitcases - there were giant things coming down that conveyor belt! And as time progressed, the conveyor belt moved faster, and more and more luggage was sent down, piles at a time.

After the Green Tigers went, the Red Robots had their turn. There were only two of them, so when one fell off, the other one immediately had to step up, which meant they each had more time on the conveyor belt and no time to rest. With the Green Tigers, even though Brent didn't get anything, the time he spent on the conveyor belt meant that Linda and Cathy could catch their breath for those couple of seconds. But Megan had one really amazing shot, falling down and shooting a piece of luggage into the bin. SCORE!!!!!

When the results were tallied, the Green Tigers had 24 pieces of luggage and the Red Robots had 17 pieces of luggage. Cathy's winning record was still safe (insert "safe" motion here) for the moment. Megan was upset that she had volunteered to change teams because now, she was going to have to fight for her survival in the elimination game against Justin.

For winning, the Green Tigers' reward was to board and ride the Himiko, a futuristic boat. They were then taken to Joypolis (which the announcer pronounced as "Joyopolis" except that the spelling doesn't have the extra "o"), which is a high-tech arcade/amusement park. Brent, Cathy and Linda had a blast.

The Red Robots had yet another punishment. Megan and Justin were taken to a temple of Zen monks, and they went through "monk bootcamp", which first consisted of chanting and running back and forth between two spots, and then they later waded through freezing water while chanting again. Justin was pissed off at having to do all of that and pretty much just made disparaging remarks the whole time and "woe is me" comments. Megan, however, was very spiritually moved by the whole experience. She and Justin were both in the elimination game, so she hoped that Justin's anger would throw him off balance and her calmness from the experience would help her.

Running barefoot on hot pavement.

At least the monk didn't add "and more intense".

Megan preparing to wade into a cold river.

For the elimination game, they wore muscle suits and had gloves on that had pointy ends. The game was called "balloon assassin". Each person would be strapped to a bungee cord and bounced on a trampoline to pop the balloons hanging from the ceiling. The bottom layer had yellow balloons, which were worth 1 point each. The upper layer had blue balloons, which were worth 2 points each. (When each balloon popped, confetti came out.) Whoever got the most points in 2 1/2 minutes won the game.

Megan went first and was doing a pretty good job. She managed to clear out the layer of yellow balloons, but then she couldn't get herself to bounce high enough to reach the blue balloons. But she finally figured something out - the husband thought she was pulling on the bungee cord more, which would bounce her higher than just using the trampoline - and she was able to pop quite a few of the blue balloons.

Justin was up next - he was shorter than Megan so would be at a disadvantage to reach the balloons. He missed on quite a few of his early attempts, hitting balloons but not being able to pop them. But, he also clicked and began annihilating the balloons.

After both had their turn, it was time for the tally. Megan had 23 points, and Justin had 31 points, so Justin won the game. The Sayonara Mob climbed out from under the trampoline to take Megan away. Brent and Cathy were upset to lose Megan, but Linda was devastated since they'd become friends.

Good job, Megan. Sorry that you have to leave your new-found boyfriend Rome.

Megan Bentley
Megan puts the ME in Megan. The world revolves around her and, if it doesn't, she'll do something about that! Growing up on a farm in rural Ohio, this only child is also a walking television show, and everything that comes out of her mouth is wildly funny or sarcastic. Beneath the sarcasm and bravado, however, you'll find that Megan is incredibly sensitive, likable and prone to drama and tears.
Age: 28
Hometown: Chicago, IL
Occupation: Dental Supply Salesperson

With four contestants left, the teams were now divided by gender. Cathy and Linda were Green Tigers, and Brent and Justin were Red Robots. For the next game, they came out dressed as samurai (Cathy and Brent) and geishas (Linda and Justin). The game was called "You Stand Still! No, You Stand Still!" This was similar to a game that was played last year. Each team member would be in a chair that spun around a lot before the game started, with each member on the opposite side of the game field. Once the chair stopped, they had to make their way on a narrow walkway to spinny discs. While each kept pace on a disc, they had to change costumes, dressing the other person in the clothes they were wearing. They had to put on the headpiece for the other person, and then they could each put on their own shirts, but the other person had to put on the wrap. They then had to make their way to the other person's chair to pick up the accompanying item to their new costume (sword for samurai, fan for geisha) and then make their way back to their own chairs.

The Green Tigers were up first. Linda didn't have issues with spinning so she wasn't worried about that part. As they were on the spinny discs exchanging costumes, Cathy fell into the flour once, but they generally did a good job.

The Red Robots were next, and Brent was definitely *not* good at dealing with spinning. He had a very difficult time when the chair stopped, and it took him a bit to steady himself. He and Justin had difficulties with the costume exchange, but they finished their task as well.

The Red Robots' time to complete their task - 2:16. The Green Tigers' time to complete their task - 1:44. Cathy and Linda were jumping up and down with joy, and Cathy's winning streak remained safe for another game.

Justin was very dejected at having lost yet again, and he was close to just wanting to quit, but Cathy and Linda talked him up. They were actually rooting for him to beat Brent in the elimination game because they thought they'd have a better chance of beating Justin then Brent when it came to the final 3 competition.

For the Green Tigers' reward, Cathy and Linda were going to be special guests on a popular Japanese morning talk show called "Zoom in Super". They were on national television and were interviewed by the hosts and given some stuffed animals as gifts. (I have to say here that during this segment and during the earlier Joypolis segment, when they got stuffed animals as well, I was *so* looking for Gloomy. I was really hoping one of them would get a Gloomy. I had to learn to live with disappointment.)

The Red Robots' punishment this time was to work in a bento factory, making bento boxes as part of an assembly line. Justin complained the entire time - big surprise - claiming that he was being tortured in Japan. Drama queen much? And then he said that making bento boxes was woman's work, and that Cathy should be there to do it instead. Seriously, is he really that much of an ass in real life or did they tell him to play it up? I hope it's the latter because if it's the former... While Justin was making lunches, Cathy was having a good time going on roller coasters and playing games. Oh, and by the way, she kicked his ass in the challenge. Which is why he was making lunches instead of having fun.

After they made all the bento boxes, they then had to deliver them, on bicycles, and they had to collect money for them as well. They didn't know their way around too much so they got lost a couple of times, making them late in their delivery to unhappy customers. That was pretty cool to watch though. Those bento boxes looked awesome - I wish someone would deliver bento boxes to me at work for lunch!

It was time for another elimination game. Brent and Justin had to wear goggles while they put on a whole bunch of different colored t-shirts on over each other. The game was called "t-shirt of torture". They had to take off one t-shirt at a time and hang each up on a clothesline. Each t-shirt had a letter on the inside back, and the letters would spell out a phrase. The first person to correctly guess and say the phrase would win the game. So while Brent and Justin were taking the multitude of t-shirts off, things would randomly be dropped on them - gallons of water, piles of flour and gobs of seaweed - ewwwwwwww. They were pretty even most of the time, but Brent would get a little bit ahead, and then he'd hit the buzzer to guess the phrase and then be wrong. Cathy and Linda were really cheering for Justin. After Brent had guessed wrong multiple times, Justin figured out the phrase before he got all the t-shirts off: "I need to win this game to be safe." Justin had made it to the final three, and Cathy and Linda were ecstatic.

The game started with a waterfall.

Hanging t-shirts on the clothesline.

Now, how about some flour? What is it with them and flour anyway?

Like seaweed mana from heaven. Not.

Justin is the winner.

The Sayonara Mob came out from the audience to get Brent, who took the loss very well, and he was actually rocking out to the whole sayonara ritual.

Good job, Brent. You were a great competitor, and you seem like a genuinely nice guy, but you jumped the gun by stopping and guessing so many times, and that eventually led to your downfall.

Brent Alexander
Energetic, smart and fun, Brent is the guy all the other guys want to hang out with and all the girls want to date. Possessed of a certain charm, he can't help but be the life of the party, and others can't help but befriend him. Brent is as genuine and real as they come: He'd give the shirt off his back to help a stranger, but would also be straightforward and honest if he didn't agree with someone or something. A good personality and good looks aren't the only things going for him; he's also extremely smart, athletic and an incredible dancer. For someone who has it all, he's surprisingly humble. Accomplishing any task he puts his mind to, Brent says he is "confident but not cocky."
Age: 28
Hometown: Miami, FL
Occupation: Salsa Instructor

The next game was called "Making new friends in Japan". I loved this game when they did it last year. Each of the three remaining contestants had to go out into the city and get total strangers to help them complete five tasks:

1. bow 10 times

2. put lipstick on the contestant and then let the contestant kiss them on the cheek

3. listen to the contestant recite a Japanese phrase and then tickle the contestant

4. let the contestant borrow their cel phone and make a call

5. five strangers had to do 10 chorus line kicks together

Once the contestant had completed all five tasks, they were to race to the base of Tokyo Tower. The first two to arrive would be in the finals. The last one would be out of the game.

And before the contestants were sent on their way, they were given schoolkid costumes and brightly-colored wigs to wear.

And they were off!

They each had difficulty getting people to even stop and listen to them. Without being able to speak Japanese, they couldn't get their point across, and their weird costumes didn't help. Linda was very boisterous, which was off-putting to most, and Justin was aggressive, which frightened some.

The guy that Linda got to put lipstick on her and then let her kiss his cheek was just WAAAAAAAAY too into it - heck, she could have charged him for doing that, and he probably would have agreed! Justin, on the other hand, just about molested the woman who agreed to put lipstick on him.

Getting someone to tickle them proved even more difficult as they tried to get the phrase out correctly and to get a total stranger to actually touch them to be able to tickle them. Justin had to contend with a woman with a child in a stroller who insisted she couldn't because she was married, and he was pretty obnoxious to her.

From the footage that was shown, they didn't seem to have too hard a time getting people to let them borrow their cel phones - I don't know that I'd hand my phone over to a stranger who I couldn't understand, not knowing who they were going to call. They then called Rome back at the studio to complete the task.

Completing the last task took much more coordinating because they had to get five people gathered to agree to do the kicks together.

Rome and the audience had been watching all of the action via the numerous cameras out in the field. As one player was close to completion, they all journeyed by bus over to the Tokyo Tower to await the contestants. The first person to arrive was Linda, securing her spot in the final competition. Cathy and Justin were finishing up around the same time, and it was a race to the Tower. Cathy arrived minutes before Justin, so Cathy was in the finals, and Justin was eliminated from the game.

Justin took his loss well, and in his final speech, he said he enjoyed all of it and wouldn't change a thing. I hope he meant that, because that wasn't close to what he was saying at the time. And hopefully, he didn't really believe all the sexist, racist things he said either. Maybe he'll be able to grow up and mature from all the experiences that he had in Japan. And maybe he'll learn to be less obnoxious too.

Justin Brown
Justin Brown is a real life "Van Wilder." He is funny, has tons of ambition, but lacks the focus and dedication to truly get what he wants. As a fifth year senior, he has gained the confidence and subtle arrogance that come with being a big fish in a small pond. He often uses humor, charm and wit to get what he wants, including talking his way back into school after being academically discharged and being elected president of his fraternity.
Age: 22
Hometown: Carbondale, PA
Occupation: College Student

It was down to the final two - Cathy and Linda. They were picked up by a limo and taken by helicopter to the roof of the Mori Tower, and when they ventured down below, they were greeted by Rome and a huge audience and cameras and flash bulbs and people holding up pictures of each of them. The first female defense minister of Japan came out to make a little speech and give each of them a plaque commemorating their accomplishment so far. However, they don't seem to have gotten the cushy night's stay in an amazing hotel that last year's finalists got.

Then it was time for the final competition. They were each dressed in kitty costumes, and the game was called "awholebunchofstuffthatRomesaidreallyfastthatendedwith...Super Majide!" It was an obstacle course, combining the hardest parts of the games played earlier this season. They first started off being sent on a conveyor belt into a balloon foam pit. They then had to carry 10 bento boxes across a narrow walkway while also having balls shot at them. If they fell, they had to start over again. They had to keep going until they got 10 boxes across. Both Cathy and Linda fell off the walkway or had the boxes shot out of their hands. Cathy made it over with 5 boxes, but Linda made it over with 7 boxes. Cathy fell a few more times on subsequent attempts, and Linda was finally able to get 10 boxes into the bin and move on. The next task was to yank the tentacles off five squid using the contestant's mouth only. Linda had a serious problem with this. Cathy eventually got the 10 bento boxes she needed and moved on to the squid. She ended up finishing just before Linda to move on to the next task. At the end, Linda didn't so much yank the tentacles off the squid as she did just yanking the entire squid off the string holding it up. Oh, and the floor had that really sticky stuff on it, so when they fell, they'd have a hard time getting back up, and they ended up shedding their kitty costume and other garments after this task.

Cathy noticed that Linda was having a hard time getting her costume off from the sticky stuff, so she raced ahead into the lotion bath and through the slides to the spinning disc where she had to release paint from overhead and catch it in a cup strapped to her front. The task was to fill the cup and then pour it in a bin, and when enough paint had been collected in the bin, the weight would cause a balloon to burst, releasing the key inside.

Both Cathy and Linda were working on the paint challenge, and they were both slipping and falling and not being able to fill their cups and just being exhausted, but neither one gave up. Linda managed to get a full cup at one point, but it wasn't enough yet. Cathy had been getting little bits in her cup many times, and finally, her last cup tipped the scale enough to pop the balloon. She grabbed the key, unlocked the door and pushed the buzzer. Not only had Cathy participated in every single team reward, but she completed her sweep by actually winning the game! That was so awesome. She was proud of herself because she was the oldest and the shortest, and she was a mom, but she said that they all underestimated her.

And hell yeah they did. They kept talking about her being a "soccer mom" since she was a stay-at-home mom raising two kids. And the other contestants were saying derogatory things about how good they were and how could they possibly lose to a soccer mom. What, like moms just pop out of nowhere having done nothing in their lives up to that point? Sure, there might be the occasional one like that, but most moms have gone through school and maybe had a career but have certainly had experiences that have made them more than just a couch potato who doesn't know anything and can't do anything. Being a mom is supposed to mean that you have no ability to do anything? Really? These people know nothing about what it means to be a mom, what it takes to get everything done, especially with two kids, huh?

To everyone who looked down on Cathy just because she was a mom - IN.YOUR.FACE.

Judge Bob came out and gave a trophy to Cathy, and the Congratulations Mob came out for Cathy, and everyone was chanting "Omedeto" instead of "sayonara". And Linda, as second place, didn't get any recognition or get to experience the Sayonara Mob. As the husband said, it's like the first runner up in a beauty contest - you get a quick mention but no actual acknowledgement because everyone is then too busy focussing on the winner.

You did a great job, Linda, and you were gracious in your defeat. Congrats for *almost* surviving a Japanese game show.

Linda Plaxen
Athletic, fun and easygoing, Linda is a tomboy who still likes to look good and shop. Extremely active and in great shape, she works hard to keep her physique. Brutally honest and a trash talker, Linda isn't afraid to speak her mind. Born and raised in Southern California, she has the laid back California vibe and the cute girl-next-door look. Down to earth and likable, Linda gets along with boys better than she does with girls. Nothing gets under her skin more than fake blonde bimbos - she HATES them.
Age: 32
Hometown: Los Angeles, CA
Occupation: Button Seller

Congratulations to Cathy. You did an amazing job, being on the winning team for every single one of the rewards. You never had to face even the possibility of going to an elimination game, and you certainly contributed to every win by your team. And when it came time for the individual challenges, you showed that you didn't need to rely on anyone else and could do just fine on your own. (And we'll even overlook your "duh" moment, thinking that adding "o" to the end of any word automatically makes it Japanese.) You set a great example for your kids, and your husband and kids should be so proud of you.

You won $250,000, but more importantly:


Cathy Grosam
Cathy is the cute and funny housewife who's also ultra competitive. She's is one of those moms that everyone wishes they'd had growing up: She's super involved, loud, crazy and a whole lot of fun. She's also always the loudest mom cheering from the sidelines. Not a 'desperate housewife,' Cathy loves being a full time, stay at home mom, calling herself a "child engineer." Some may call her controlling, but she'd say she just loves to be involved in everything her kids do. She is the VP of the PTA and the coach for her son's soccer team. The moms around her neighborhood call her "The Queen of School."
Age: 36
Hometown: Bartlett, IL
Occupation: Housewife

I really enjoyed the show this season, and I'm sad that it's over so soon. I'm really hoping it comes back for a third season next summer. And maybe next year, we'll get to see more of Mama-San again, instead of her just mostly being relegated to very short vignettes on the website.

Until then, everybody:

Hai, Majide!

1 comment:

Sherry said...

Awww, sadness, indeed. :)

Bro laughed at me because almost every time Justin talked, I yelled at the TV, "GO HOME, ALREADY!" His wig was my favorite during the last task, though. Loved the pigtails!

I was really happy for Cathy, Ms. Undefeated. Congratulations!

Thanks for all of your updates!