The Fear Factor - 7-9

Monday has come again and brought us six more loony contestants who faced their fears for fifty thousand dollars and an hour of entertainment. In a delightful turn, Joe was less gentle with the contestants this week. He even went out of his way to mess with the contestants heads during the first stunt, feigning dismay at the lack of a face guard on the helmets the contestants would wear while playing with the doggies. Well played Mr. Rogan, well played.

And the Nielsen Rating says… 8.2 with a 14 share. That's up half a point from last week, and the episode was one of the best so far. Way to go guys, high fives all around.

This week we learn more about the scoring system but as always: Difficulty plus Danger times Fear Factor equals the overall score for the stunt. Let's take a look.

Stunt 1:No officer, he must be smelling the dog biscuit in my trousers.
The Challenge: A wise man once said "There ain't nothing you shouldn't do to a dog." This is the dog's revenge. Fire a starter's pistol then run like hell as a police dog chases you like you've got a sign that says "Pork chop" on your back. Padded dog proof suits provided by Jean-Paul Gaultier

Difficulty: 1.5 Sure, I go dog dragging at least a couple of times a week. It's not so much about the aerobic activity as it is about exercising my cruelty.

Danger: 1.5 LA police dogs are trained to be more violent than your average LA cop. Luckily for our contestants the dogs are better trained.

Fear Factor: 4 Police dogs are loud growling teeth wearing a nice fur coat and their greatest desire is to eat you. If that doesn't scare you, contact your local police department and complain.

Overall Score: 12 Surprise!!! The maximum weekly score is 20. To hit a twenty the Difficulty and Danger would be maxed out at two and the fear factor would hit its maximum of five. Also, I would need to be out of breath while sitting in a pool of my own urine at home. I'm a harsh critic with a strong bladder so anything approaching ten should be considered a good score. This one was damn good.

A trend has developed that I don't like. The first stunt is typically very physically demanding. This physicality has prematurely robbed us of the joy and satisfaction of getting to know the female contestants as people before they leave. It has also needlessly reduced the amount of ogling for each episode. Ogling equals ratings, I swear to god.

Stunt 2: It's over a foot long and has a mind of its own.
The Challenge: Lie in a pit covered in snakes for four minutes.

Difficulty: 0.5 Nothing is harder than cutting that power nap short.

Danger: 1.5 Although attractive, snakeskin neckties will never catch on. Maybe it's the irony.

Fear Factor: 3.5 I once read a book by James Patterson called either Along Came A Spider or Kiss the Girls where a kidnapper had this thing he did with a snake and… eerhhhh, SHIVER, snakes. You'll have to read the book yourself. I'm sure Amazon has it.

Overall Score: 7 Bonus score for using the word Ophidiophobia. I was disappointed when I looked it up and found it had nothing to do with the irrational fear of lawyers.

Again stunt number two fails to eliminate any contestants. I suggest Fear Factor do something radical before people start realizing how to use that remote control in their hand. They could use freaky deformed animals or strip the contestants naked Oh no, it's that Patterson novel all over again. Snakes, Snakes, Snakes, Snakes…

Stunt 3:High flyin' high-jinks
The Challenge: Ride a girder up into the air then walk across it to retrieve a flag and plant it back to where you started. Fastest time wins. If no one completes the stunt best distance wins.

Difficulty: 1.5 Normally, this would be a walk in the park, if the girder was in a park a foot off of the ground and someone was there to steady the cursed thing.

Danger: 1 If you wore this harness while showering, the bathroom would no longer be the most dangerous room in your home. Then again, you wouldn't get as clean.

Fear Factor: 4.5 What's scarier than walking on a shaky beam one hundred feet in the air?

Overall Score: 11.25 Apparently wrestling police dogs that are high on crack is a little bit scarier but not by much.

Contestant number one takes one step, loses his balance and cuts his hand while trying not to fall off. The good news is that in sacrificing his hand he managed to keep all of his teeth; the bad news is that he has to go home after visiting the nurse.
Contestant two completes the task in one minute and one second. Go on, girl.
Contestant three completes the stunt in forty seconds. His secret, special socks that fit his toes just like crazy gloves made for his feet. FREAK. Go on home, girl.
Contestant four does it in thirty one seconds. Well, he would have if he hadn't fallen while trying to put the flag in its stand. Hit the bricks number four.

Our winner is Ari Strum with the help of his freaky socks. I wonder how long the 50k will keep the artist kibbutz in SF going. Wait a minute -- Ari? He has the same name as the CEO of the dot com my brother works for. That could explain where the latest round of funding came from. Way to go, Ari. That'll float them for at least a day or two.

Cutest Contestant: For the second week in a row I have to make a tough decision between two lovely contestants. Mea Fisher earns two demerits. She earns one for running afoul of the ninth oldest classic blunder, never fight with your hair stylist, and a second for having a silly name. Mea Fisher, me a proud warrior. Gina Nigido gets three bonus points. She earns two for stretching backwards and placing her hands and feet on the ground simultaneously, and one final point for cuddling with a four-foot long snake. Gina Nigido wins this week for being both cute and gifted.

Home Stunts:
Sometimes Fear Factor finds a way to relate to the real world and I feel it's my responsibility to share that with the readers.
The Challenge: This week, stunt number two reminds me that former Guns n' Roses guitarist Slash is bringing his band Slash's Snake Pit to play in my hometown.

Difficulty: 2 I always get lost trying to find the fr****n concert hall.
Danger: 2 Ewww, dirty butt rockers left over from the eighties.
Fear Factor: 5 Between the raucous drunk butt rockers on steroids and their possibly disease ridden girlfriends that I find soooo alluring, the fear factor is through the roof.
Overall Score: 20 Yet again reality proves to be better than anything on TV.
Lessons We've Learned: Bring protection. You never know what could happen out there.

Best Alternate Reality: If Jean-Paul Gaultier actually did design the safety equipment, would the harnesses have built-in oversized codpieces or saran-wrap shorts?
Second Best Alternate Reality: What if I got this week's article in on time? (Then we'd pay you. - editor)

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