Something doesn’t measure up here.
This week’s episode of Survivor’s Remorse was called “Guts,” yet it did not feature Cam climbing the Aggro Crag, or Cassie, Julius and M-Chuck competing one another in a round of — what else? — Slam Dunk. Considering that series creator and showrunner Mike O’Malley was once the host of the classic game show of the same name on Nickelodeon, I’m calling foul.
There may not have been a Day-Glo-colored obstacle course or a cute British referee on tonight’s episode of Survivor’s Remorse, but there’s one theme both the Debbie Allen-directed “Guts” and the O’Malley-hosted Guts have in common: High stakes.
Cam, Reggie, and Missy each faced their own version of the Aggro Crag this week, with Cam and Reggie preparing to take huge risks in order to reap greater rewards. Missy’s story line was a little different in the sense that risk wasn’t a factor, but the pressure she was under was no different from what her husband and cousin-in-law were experiencing in their own scenarios. She did learn a valuable lesson from her own self-imposed IQ test challenge, though: Brilliance can come in various forms.
Now that Cam’s relationship with Allison is blossoming — fans of Survivor’s Remorse call them “Camson” — the star athlete has decided it’s time to come clean with his new girlfriend about his murky HPV status (or as Cam refers to it, “my poison d–k”). Reggie and M-Chuck strongly caution him against being so honest, because at this early stage, who’s to say she can be trusted to not tweet this information to the world? Reggie also reminds his client that he’s not just a person anymore, but a brand. If Allison spreads the news that Cam might have HPV, there’s no telling what could happen to his career. But Cam is willing to take the risk, because his feelings for Allison have only grown since that interminable day in the hospital. Since she was the one person who assured him that things were going to be all right, he feels he owes her 100 percent honesty in return.
Cam and Allison have a romantic dinner at the upscale Chops Lobster Bar, making this the first time we’ve seen the MRI technician out of her scrubs. Since Cam can’t taste any of his food anyway — he pretty much says that all of his senses go numb whenever he’s around her — he drops the HPV bomb on his date. In a calm, sotto voce, the basketball player explains that he’s been “exposed” to the STD, he doesn’t have any symptoms, it’s non-cancerous — and in case she couldn’t tell, he’s read up on it extensively. But to his surprise, and what I am sure will be a shock to Reggie, Allison takes the news in stride. She’s not thrilled that her new beau might have HPV, but she’s much more impressed with his candor. “You know what that makes you?” she asks Cam. “A loser?” he replies. No, Cam, and I think your instincts were dead-on with this girl: “It makes you a man I could love.”
NEXT: “Everyone needs toilets, Missy”[pagebreak]
In Missy’s case this week, her pressure is two-fold: One, it’s evident that she and Reggie are trying very hard to have a baby, as the Vaughns’ sexual escapades bookmarked the episode — and one of Reggie’s fetishes is to have his “Hot for Teacher“-caliber wife (OMG, Missy in glasses) recite factoids from her prep-school education. Two, while tutoring Reggie’s new client, Jupiter Blackmon, for an upcoming IQ test, Missy discovers that maybe she’s not as brainy as she thought she was.
Who would’ve thought that Jupiter, the dense, marijuana-loving NFL prospect who doesn’t think twice about leering at his manager’s wife in front of his manager would turn out to be the smartest guy in the room? He may have needed Missy to explain to him how a practice test works (“You circle the answers on the paper”), but he had a much stronger grasp on the complicated word problems than his tutor did with all her fancy book-learnin’. To help her student become more accustomed to the impending exam, Missy offered to take the practice test with Jupiter. What she didn’t count on was how much she was going to struggle with the questions. Jupiter, on the other hand, took to them like a duck to water by simply thinking of the word problems as they pertained to different amounts of pills (Oxy, Percocet). Two practice tests later, which are made all the more entertaining by Julius serving as proctor (“Pencils down!”), Missy’s career prospects are hardly promising. Not helping is Julius’s blunt delivery: “You’d be a good football player, because you’re dumb as hell.” But he has some reassuring words for his niece-in-law, whose projected career is either a night watchman or a janitor: “Everyone needs toilets,” he says, looking on the bright side. Jupiter, on the other hand, got a score that put him in the “attorney” bracket.
Next time, Missy probably should’ve let Jupiter smoke a bowl like he wanted to before the test. She may not have done better herself, but chances are, Jupiter would’ve done far worse, evening the playing field.
But her lowered self-esteem hasn’t done anything to affect her sex drive, as the episode closes out with a tracking shot of Missy’s and Reggie’s clothes and shoes strewn across the hall and their bedroom floor. Although now we have to make sure Missy doesn’t drive herself crazy with worry over her hypothetical baby’s IQ: “I’m not bringing a moron child into this world,” she asserts to her husband mid-moan. At least all it took from Reggie were a few compliments (“You’re one of the smartest people I know”) before she was owning her maintenance-duties potential like a boss. “F—k me like a janitor!”
NEXT: Hey! It’s the dude from Trainwreck![pagebreak]
The hot celebratory sex with his mop-and-bucket-fantasizing wife was just the cherry on the sundae that was Reggie’s evening. While Missy was competing for smart points with Jupiter, Reggie was knee-deep in a pressure cooker of a card game at Jimmy Flaherty’s house. But this wasn’t just any card game. Regular ol’ card games don’t have a $100K buy-in. And understandably, Reggie, who certainly does well for himself, was hardly in a position to lose hundreds of thousands of dollars in a round of Guts (the poker game, not O’Malley’s Nickelodeon gig). But at the same time, he also knew that to refuse Flaherty’s invitation to join him at the big boys’ table would be, in the words of Da Chen Bao, a.k.a. Cassie’s “boo” (you gotta admit, these two are great together), “a colossal blunder.”
As if Reggie wasn’t under enough stress already, Chen, who was over at Casa Calloway making the family an elaborate Chinese dinner, and is well-versed in these kinds of high-stakes poker games, refused to mince words: “Your name will be made or destroyed tonight, Reggie. Have a nice time.”
With his $100,000 at the ready, Reggie arrives at Flaherty’s Tudor-style palace, where the parking valets offer to wash your car upon arrival, and rooms are adorned with samovars. The scene only gets more intimidating when Reggie meets his fellow players: Flaherty, Chen (sent by Cassie to keep an eye on her nephew), and a couple of guys named LeBron James (basketball phenom and Trainwreck scene-stealer) and Tom Werner (owner of the Boston Red Sox). Fun fact: The latter two are executive producers on Survivor’s Remorse.
The billionaires make Reggie feel welcome, but his tension is palpable, especially as the pot steadily increases throughout the evening into $200,000 (“Come on, it’s only a fifth of a million dollars!” jokes Chen). But just as Cam gambled with Allison by trusting his instincts, so does Reggie in this risky game of Guts. He throws down a hand better than both LeBron’s and Werner’s, and effectively solidifies his place in their club. (Although, it may be time to start charging Cam and Jupiter more for his services if these games become a regular thing.)
As Reggie is about to head home, his adrenaline rush takes over, and he throws up all over Flaherty’s pristine driveway. But he needn’t feel embarrassed: The valet assures him that he is in no way the first person to vomit in that very spot. And, check it, the valet’s gonna re-wash his car for him. But herein lies the big question that I hope Reggie will be asking himself as we head into the season finale: Is this level of wealth worth long-term, stress-related gastrointestinal issues?
- M-Chuck’s refusal to attend her court-ordered therapy wasn’t even touched upon in tonight’s episode. With next week being the season finale, it’s likely this subplot will spill over to Season 3.
- That’s family, baby. Privacy is nonexistent if you’re living with loved ones. Even in homes with 22 rooms.