Episode 1 of our new reality show - Barstool vs. America presented by High Noon premiered last night. If you missed it, catch up above. There will be a new episode released at 7 PM ET every night this week, culminating in the finale on Thursday. As our resident reality competition show fiend, I'll recap each episode in a blog the next day like I do for Survivor episodes.
Here is the basic breakdown of the show: the eight employees are split into two teams of four on separate RVs. Each morning there is a captain challenge where you face off against your teammates. If you beat your other three teammates, you become the captain for the challenge later in the day. The winning team of that later challenge gets an AirBnB and amenities for the night, avoiding the RV. HOWEVER, the big twist that the contestants didn't know and isn't revealed until later in the episode, is that the captain of the losing team has to pick someone from the winning team to join their team, thus missing out on the AirBnb for the night. Conversely, the captain of the winning team gets to pick someone off the losing team to enjoy the house for the night and join their squad for the next day. They can't pick the other captain or the person who was just taken from their team. This will also be case for the final challenge, when the winning team of four each gets $10,000 and a shared beach house for the summer. Got it? Okay now let's get into the episode recap.
Our first episode started with Jeff D Lowe doing his best Jeff Probst impression and he nailed it. From the cadence while saying "10 days. 8 contestants. 5 cities. $40,000 and a beach house on the line. THIS is Barstool vs. America" to the signature arm raise.
Just call him Jeff D Probst.
We are then introduced to each of our eight contestants. They walk out and get to choose if they want to be on the blue or yellow RV. Let's meet them all
Dana B: The name is Dana B and the B stands for Back. Mr. Zillion Beers reveals that he is 28 years old, shocking many in the audience. But age is just a number and Dana has the spirit of a 21-year-old. He lets us know that he's very passive aggressive and will just stop talking to someone if they wrong him. We'll see if that comes into play. He chooses the blue RV because it's his favorite color.
Marty Mush: Next up is Dana's best friend and roommate - Martin Archibald Mush. As a former college athlete and professional baseball player, Marty says he should be one of the biggest challenge competitors there. The problem for Marty will be if there is any challenge that involves having any semblance of a brain. He joins Dana on the blue team.
Kelly Keegs: Kelly cuts up a great promo as only a reality TV show expert can. She lets everyone know that she's here to be the villain and pull the strings behind the scenes. She showed in Surviving Barstool that she has the chops to be strategic and play the villain role. Let's see how that plays out here. She also joins the blue team.
Vibbs: Vibbs is the hustle guy. High energy. Wants to give his team his all. Says he wants to be the jokes and bits guy, but also is very much here to win. He chooses to join the blue team too, leading to disgruntled looks from Marty and Dana who say they wanted Balls. Trouble in paradise already?
So the blue team is all filled and the drama of who picks what team is pretty much done.
Kayce: Kayce lets us know she's not here to be the villain. She also says she's not maintenance, which is something almost exclusively said by people who are in fact high maintenance. Since the blue team is filled, she doesn't have a decision to make and is the first person on the yellow RV.
Glenny Balls: The man, the myth, the legend. Nobody was more excited for two weeks of drinking High Noons across America than Glenneth Balls. What does Glenny do here at Barstool? He eats food. He drinks occasionally. He gambles sometime. He doesn't want any drama. He just wants to have a good time and live out his dream of having a shore house. Glenny came out to the fat guy tuba music, which was a rather mean edit but also undeniably funny.
Gay Pat: Pat gets the villain edit right off the bat. He says he's not here for a vacation, he's here to win. The anti-Glenny. I love it from Pat. He's also a good athlete, so mixed with strategy he could be a serious contender. Keeping my eye on him.
Spider: Last up, we have our wild card fo the group. I live with the guy and I never know what to expect from him. He describes himself as very outgoing and says he can mix it up with anyone, which I can attest to. The Spider Respect Tour beings, and he doesn't want people to underestimate him. We also get our first taste of Spider vs. Jeff D Lowe, which seems like it'll be a storyline all show. Spider just fucking hates the guy.
Now that we've met all our contestants, the teams settle into their RVs. Over on the yellow team, Glenny Balls only has one concern. Where is he going to poop?
He wants to drink High Noons. He wants a place to poop. He is a simple man.
Another storyline to keep an eye on is a possible showmance brewing between Vibbs and Kelly?
All reality shows benefit from a good showmance (think Trysta and WSD in Surviving Barstool), so this could definitely give us some added drama if Vibbs and Kelly end up being a thing. Something to monitor.
We then focus on Spider being, as Pat says, "unhinged." Spider plans to be the most annoying person for two weeks, but seems to mainly have his sights set on Jeff D Lowe, who is not a contestant. Spider was annoyed that Jeff D Lowe called him the biggest complainer he's ever met, so Spider proceeded to complain that Jeff D Lowe gave his team pizzas with olives when the other team got buffalo chicken.
I simply cannot imagine Jeff D Lowe was responsible for the pizza orders, but I love the tension anyway. Little known fact: Spider has a Jeff D Lowe dartboard in his apartment that he uses every night to get out his frustrations.
After the first night on the RVs, everyone is pretty tired after a shitty night's sleep. But it's time for their first challenge. We're in Dallas for this one and it involves mechanical bull riding. It's the challenge to decide who becomes the captain for their team in the later challenge. So you're competing against your teammates. You get to pick one Stoolie to compete with to complete your duo. Longest total time on the mechanical bull wins.
The Stoolie with the mullet is Vibbs' first overall choice. No brainer. You have a mullet you can ride a bull. Spider swiftly picks Christina, leading to a bonking from Dana. Kayce gets paired up with her sister. We have all our teams.
The yellow team is up first, and the duo of Spider and Christina are our winners. That means that Spider is the captain for the later challenge and Christina joins the team for the rest of the day, as well as that later challenge. Kayce and her sister technically lasted longer, but they got a two-hand violation so five seconds were added to their time.
Over on the blue team, it's Marty Mush and his partner, jacked, Aggies fan Marcel, getting the win. So we're set up for later with Marty and Spider as our captains.
On the yellow RV, there's some serious strategy going on. Glenny Balls uses his Survivor fandom to hypothesize that the challenge will likely involve a maze with the team captain up on a pedestal directing his blindfolded teammates. This ended up being impressively correctly and exactly what the challenge was. Amazing what watching Survivor can do for you. You learn everything! Stoolie Christina says there's a hack that if you just keep your left hand along the wall in a maze, you can find the exit. Had no idea this was a thing, but it's definitely something I'll be keeping in mind for a future Survivor season/if I'm ever stuck in a corn maze in some horror scenario. On the blue RV, Dana B says he feels good Marty being their captain, as long as the challenge isn't a math problem. Well put.
Alright it's team challenge time. The challenge is exactly what NostraBalls predicted. Spider and Marty have a bird's eye view directing their blindfolded teammates through a maze, where they then must complete a puzzle. The challenge legitimately looks like it's straight out of Survivor or The Amazing Race or something. Incredible this is a Barstool production.
After Spider chirps Marty for calling his team morons when Marty is the biggest moron of all, it's time for the challenge. First though, a quick bonk for Kayce.
The highlight of the challenge was a blindfolded Balls being the only one to get lost in the maze, as Jeff D Lowe blogged earlier. It was as amazing as you think it would be.
The blue team got through the maze first, but Marty's crane guy took too long to get him down, so their lead evaporated. If I was Marty, I would've demanded $10,000 on the spot after being screwed over like that.
The puzzle was a pretty close race, but the yellow team pulled it out in the end, partly because the blue team was clearly missing pieces and had the ugliest looking puzzle of all time.
Another quick shoutout to Jeff D Probst who did a great job narrating the challenge and also had the classic arm raise at the end. He also had a great "Wanna know what you're playing for?" before the challenge started.
With a win under his belt as captain, the Spider Respect Tour was officially underway.
So it seemed like the winning team of Spider, Glenny, Kayce, and Pat would be enjoying the AirBnB for the night. Glenny had a hot tub, a place to shit, and High Noons. What more does the man need?
But the big twist of the show was revealed to the contestants. Jeff innocently enough asked Marty, the losing captain, who from the winning team he wouldn't want to enjoy the reward. He initially said Kayce, half joking. But when he realized this was a serious question and he'd be actually making that decision, he switched his answer to Pat. And just like that, a furious Pat was swapped to the blue team. Spider then got to choose who he wanted to add from the losing team, and he chose Kelly. So the new teams are Spider, Glenny, Kayce, Kelly in yellow. Vibbs, Dana, Marty, Pat in blue.
This is where the strategy of the show comes into play and will be very interesting. If you're the captain, you have power and are immune from losing out on the reward, but you also have made an enemy. And you want as few enemies as possible on that last day when the big decision for $10,00 and a beach house is on the line. Also does it make sense for a captain to add a strong or weak competitor to their squad? You want a weak competitor to beat in the captain challenge. You want a strong competitor to help you win the team challenge later on.
I think personally I wouldn't try in the captain challenges until the last day. You have to play for the big prize, not the nightly rewards. Don't make enemies. Make allies. Also maybe before the final team challenge, would you make a deal with the other captain where you throw the challenge for your team and guarantee that the other captain adds you to the winning squad? A lot to think about. A lot of strategy at play. I'm excited to see it unfold.
For now, enjoy Balls in a hot tub.
Episode 2 is tonight and it looks like some strategy and drama are in store.
See everyone at 7 PM.