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The Brain Game

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Gustave: B- | Grade It Now!
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Some Heads Are Bigger Than Others

Jamie Kennedy? As of this moment, we are no longer going out. Take care. I loved you in the Scream franchise. I rooted for you to become the next Matthew Perry. But now you've made this really bad career move. Yes, I know you have to eat but, ew. And by the way, there have been advances in men's hair color since Grecian Formula. Look into it.

Right before Popular begins, the WB, clutching at straws to appear like they still own the teen demographic this year, "starts the party off" with this blatant TRL ripoff called Face Time that seems to be operating as filler between tonight's Popular and the commercial breaks. Sort of cruel really. It's as if they're reminding the teens who are unfortunate enough to be home on a Friday night that some people know how to party. Anyway, Jamie explains to us and the studio audience made up of scary and rowdy teens that while we watch a brand new Popular, Maile from Popstars is going to make a band out of random girls in the audience. Maile confirms this to Jamie and explains that Eden's Crush will also becoming up next on Face Time. Then the studio audience for Face Time goes crazy at the prospect. Now some people might think that Maile making a girl band out of random studio audience members would seem to be a symbolic gesture -- a callous critique of the industry that gave her a show on the WB in the first place. There's lots of evidence that these two co-hosts are sending out encoded signals from behind enemy lines. The expression on Jamie Kennedy's bloated face. "Help me, I'm trapped in WB filler. Where did my dreams go?" It's too sad to watch.

The show starts, and oddly enough I can't seem to find the exact point that Popular begins. Right after the Sabrina credit sequence ends, some irrepressibly cheerful black girl is singing "I'm Ev'ry Woman!" and it looks as though they're-running the first episode of Popstars. Oh wait, Popular has started, and they are actually doing a very adept shout-out toward Popstars -- they've even got the same film stock. The three judges, one of whom is played by Jm J Bullock, have got the total thoughtful taking-in-of-the-performance down, including the whole pressing the fingers of each hand together in front of the mouth as if truly focused. They've even got that same tea set, and the room has that hotel convention room look to it. The irrepressibly cheerful black girl, whose name is Liberty, is told that her dream has come true and she's made it and she's going to be a guest on the show Teen Tartz. She disappears into hysteria and exits. Mary Cherry is the next contestant. She enters with a giant karaoke machine on wheels, wearing what appears to be a circus trapeze artist's costume. She turns the light bulbs on that adorn her dress and tells the judges what a fan she is of the show. "I would give anything to be a teen tart…anything," she says menacingly. The smug female judge, a handsome woman who looks like Lynn Redgrave, explains that Teen Tartz is a search for the nation's most talented teens, and that there are several categories to try out for such as "Whorish Models" or "Loose and Easy Baton Twirlers" -- which just happens to be Mary Cherry's category. Mary Cherry tries out with a vocal performance of "Rock Me Amadeus" by Falco. Only it's not a vocal performance; she's lip synching to the record. She even lip synchs to that rap at the beginning when it's all "In 1756, January 27, 1969, Salzburg Germany, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born." She also does this whole robot dance and pretends to be scratching records like a DJ. Last week, they brought back the Nicole we loved from last season. Tonight, they've brought back the Mary Cherry we loved from last season. The judges are scared. When she's done, they make her stand on a star so they can speak privately -- even though the star is about two feet from where she's already standing and she can hear them perfectly. When she steps over to the star, we can see the power cord coming out of her dress. The judges agree that she's probably some homeless person who snuck in, and consider calling security. "She's just not Teen Tartz material," says the earnest and avuncular black judge. Jm J Bullock tells her that she's just in. Oh, like Jm J Bullock, fresh on the heels of his failed talk show with Tammy Faye Bakker and a crystal-meth possession charge, wouldn't embrace Mary Cherry like a sister as soon as she turned on her gown. "Fine," says Mary Cherry, beginning to become enraged. "If that's the way it's going to be. I know you judges are all just jealous of my TIGHT TEEN ASS!" She tells the judges that she's going to be famous whether or not she gets on Teen Tartz. "I'm going to become famous if it's the last thing I do!" She gives us the classic Mary Cherry smile.

Credits. Then Jamie Kennedy tells us that Face Time is brought to you by Dr. Pepper, hiding his bitterness behind a smug ironic grin.

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