But D.I. McSweeney's rants are the reason to watch Fox's military game show, says Justine Elias

By Justine Elias
Updated April 26, 2001 at 04:00 AM EDT
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Credit: Boot Camp: Fox 2001
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  • TV Show
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  • Fox
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”Princess” Coddington gets booted from ”Boot Camp”

If you want the news, not the weather, don’t stand too close to ”Boot Camp”’s Drill Instructor Leo McSweeney. The ex- Marine turned Fox TV game show personality has a wicked harsh Boston accent, so he tends to drop his Rs when he gets riled, which is often. He also appears to spit when he yells, which is even more often. For Recruits Jennifer Moretty and Katie Coddington, who are about a foot shorter than D.I. McSweeney, his rants and expectorations are like spring thunderstorms, raving and unexpected.

Seen from the safe distance of the TV screen, though, the Boston D.I. is a hilarious, bracing presence on a sometimes dispiriting game of attrition. Here’s what you missed:

Cloudburst No. 1 D.I. McSweeney accuses Moretty of ”rolling her eyes” while she’s doing pushups; she denies it. ”Shut your mouth!” he yells in her face. She breaks, hollering, ”Quit spitting on me!” (Fox cameras are not close enough to capture actual precipitation. But we believe her.)

Cloudburst No. 2 This week’s squad leader, Recruit Dana Jackson, 28, a filmmaker, says he’s on ”Boot Camp” ”not to learn discipline or leadership…I’ve got that already.” McSweeney dismisses Jackson as ”too cocky.” Maybe he is: The week’s mission fails after Jackson ignores the D.I.’s briefing. McSweeney has a military style tantrum, or as Jackson says, he ”throws everybody’s crap around for no reason.”

Cloudburst No. 3McSweeney refers to Coddington, the dainty, always injured, Beanie Baby collecting recruit as ”Princess” and ”a sweet little cuddle doll.” (Has he got a crush on her or something?) Before the sexual tension can become unbearable, she’s voted off — and she takes Yaney, the daffy balloon sculptor, with her. (Pop!) Though Coddington claims she has the utmost respect for the other three D.I.’s, she takes a moment to dis McSweeney: ”The only thing I learned from him is what it’s like to be spit on by a very mean, nasty man.” (Oh, it is SO OBVIOUS what’s going on here!)

If ”Boot Camp” were a movie, the next scene would have McSweeney and Coddington meeting accidentally on purpose in an off base bar. Which one, do you think, would be the first to go, ”So…truce?”

Celebrity Boot Camp

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  • TV Show
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  • In Season
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  • Fox

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