Meyer fakes everyone out, and the pig farmer drags a girl with attitude down with her, says Justine Elias

By Justine Elias
Updated April 06, 2001 at 04:00 AM EDT
Boot Camp: Fox

EW.com’s guide to surviving ”Boot Camp”

Think what a great show ”Big Brother” would have been if frantic, thick necked U.S. Marines had been locked in the house, too, yelling at the top of their lungs about what SLACKER IDIOT LOSERS!! the contestants were for sitting around, waiting for a payoff. Well, credit Fox, the network that brought us sleazy ”Temptation Island,” for delivering ”Boot Camp” (Wednesdays at 9 p.m.; but airing Tuesday, 9 p.m. on April 10).

The game: Sixteen men and women submit to 30 days of physical training, sleep deprivation, and most of all, being yelled at by frantic, thick necked U.S. Marine drill instructors for a top prize of $500,000. The twist: As players are voted off, they drag someone else with them — so it pays not to make enemies.

Here’s EW.com’s guide to help you make it through ”Boot Camp”:

PROCESSING Military speak for ”rifling through recruits’ possessions while mocking them mercilessly.” D.I. Taylor, the lone female Marine, discovers that Thompson, a burly real estate agent, has brought along a toy stuffed lemon. ”WHAT IS THIS?” she yells, climbing on a table to get in his face.

D.I. Rosenbum joins in, screaming, ”WHAT DOES IT DO?” ”It’s Mr. Lemon,” says Thompson, like we’re all supposed to know this. ”He makes for a nice atmosphere.” By week two, the 29 year old is suffering from ominously high blood pressure, with hands and feet so swollen he can’t put on his boots. He’s put on temporary medical leave.

FALL OUT Line up outside of barracks. Retainer wearing, geeky looking recruit Yaney, 27, whose assignment it is to summon the other males in the morning, manages to screw it up so many times that the women, standing at attention, fight to stifle their laughter. ”There’s always a Gomer Pyle in the group,” explains D.I. Francisco in a rare non- yelling moment. ”But the kid has heart.”

Yaney’s occupation, balloon sculptor, is met with something like awe by D.I. Rosenbum, who forces him to sculpt a poodle and finds it sadly wanting. ”WHERE’S ITS FRIGGIN’ TAIL?” he shrieks, and then bites off its head.

HEAD CALL Bathroom break. The first to exit ”Boot Camp” is Recruit Katherine, who, the subtitles inform us, ”broke down in the head” (i.e., she started crying in the ladies room and refused to come out). She arrives overdressed (tailored leather jacket, gold hoop earrings) and escapes without revealing her last name.

ATTITUDE What you don’t want to have in ”Boot Camp.” The D.I.s immediately single out Meyer, 27, a smirking urban planner, as the guy with too much of it. To the camera, he calls ”Boot Camp” ”retarded” and admits that he’s faking injuries, sucking up to ”the girls,” and planning to work harder later on when it counts.

SPIRIT In ”Boot Camp,” they like people with team spirit, like Whitlow, who hollers ”Campbells Soup, SIR!” when D.I. Rosenbum asks where she works. ”What’s the Campbells Soup theme?” he wants to know. ”Mm’m Mm’m good, SIR!” she replies dutifully. ”LOUDER!” he barks. And she yells it louder. Sure enough, the next ad we see is for Campbells Soup. Some Fox programming executives have a little too much team spirit with their advertising department and a little problem with ethics.

FIRE PIT The bonfire where the Boot Campers relax at night before settling in to their sex segregated bunks — no drill instructors allowed. Brown, 27, a perky Los Angeles actress, casually mentions that she always wanted to be in the military, but isn’t allowed because she’s a lesbian.

Haar, the Midwestern pig farmer, confides that she is stunned: ”Been bunking right beside her — had not a clue!” Clever Fox editing here: stunned reaction shots and footage of all the women, in identical outfits, bedding down in adjacent cots — yes, a stealth lesbian walks among the Boot Campers!

DISMISSAL HILL A ”Boot Camp” only term, perhaps. In Week One, recruit Park — despised by the females for his bossiness — is voted out. (Katherine counts as the other dismissal.) Week Two is less of a surprise: Haar, felled by exhaustion and injury during the initial 5 mile run, is well liked but not up to ”Boot Camp”’s physical demands. Voted out, she takes along Pupo, the lawyer, who is accused of assorted attitude crimes. Meyer smirks; he’s got everybody but us fooled.

So, who do you think will go next?

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