Thursday, June 18, 2009

Mitch the Intern's TUF 9 Recap: Episode 12

*Editor's note: Mitch the Intern is an NYU undergrad whose favorite Wednesday night pastime includes the TV in his dorm room, a green beanbag chair and two hits of acid. Enjoy.*

The last episode of season nine and it's all about Frank Loser and his impending rematch with Team UK's James Wilks. Due to some editing miscalculation, all the drama was used up in the previous eleven episodes, so tonight we're treated to the TUF equivalent of a night at the theater in London, where things like eating a bowl of cereal and sitting in a sauna are made to seem as important as the assassination of Julius Caesar or Hamlet talking to a skull.

Enter, stage left: the Queen of England, who strides into the TUF House with an air of authority and the aura of a cartoon character who's been shot with the dart from a tranquilizer gun and now moves in comical slow-motion. The Queen is here to dine with her Team America: World Police subjects, and over finely barbecued ribs and steamed asparagus that's been in Frank Loser's ears, she says to him, "You don't need teeth to beat your opponent." Of course, the words take forever to come out, but you knew that.

Frank's missing teeth. Gone, courtesy of his first go-around with James Wilks. Gone like a TUF contestant's innocence when he unwittingly bites into a jizz-covered piece of fruit. Gone like a homoerotic sexual innuendo, promoted off-screen by a producer cognizant of ad sales and targeted demographics, and uttered by a TUFer for the paltry sum of a SpikeTV baseball cap and a chunk of dignity. Sure, Frank misses his teeth, but they'll run into each other every now and then, maybe at a party or in a crowded restaurant, Frank slurping from a bowl of chicken soup and his teeth sitting at a booth across the dining room, gnawing on a steak. Maybe they'll acknowledge each other, maybe they won't.

At that moment, the British Mr. T is advising James Wilks that Frank is dangerous - perhaps even more so - now that his teeth are gone. "He's probably hungrier now, seeing that he can't chew things," says British Mr. T. "You've got to bring your 'A' game."

Cut to Frank training, sweat beading upon his brow as an orchestra builds to a crescendo of percussion and horn. "I've fought three times in the last month," he says. "I have scurvy and gout, plus I have no teeth."

"You don't need teeth," says the Queen.

Back at the house again, and Frank and James Wilks are becoming fast friends, with the men autographing each other's underwear and sitting around in the sauna cutting weight. But what price their friendship? Could they have been friends if Frank still had his pearly whites?

Then Team UK has dinner. British Mr. T prepares a dish of chicken curry, the scent of which attracts coach Michael Bisping. Somewhere across town Dana White is dining alone, a forlorn look upon his face and muted profanities on his lips, but Michael is with his team. Laughter abounds, and when Andre the Weiner pelts British Mr. T with chicken they scurry outside, frolicking in and around the pool. As Andre the Weiner is a huge fan "Scarface" starring Al Pacino, he face-plants in a mountain of Bolivian Marching Powder. More laughter. Oh those Brits!

And it's fight time. The two remaining warriors make their way to the Octagon, ready to throw down for the right to face the Marquis de Johnson at the TUF finale and maybe be "The Ultimate Fighter" or something. From cageside the Queen starts to chant, repeating "You don't need teeth, you don't need teeth" over and over, while within the confines of the eight-sided crucible of a combat Frank and James Wilks wage war. For two and a half rounds the Brit picks the American apart on the feet, his crisper, sharper strikes taunting Frank's remaining molars with the promise of a better life in the Land of Tea and Crumpets and Benny Hill reruns. Yet, though Frank crumples from the onslaught in Round 3, his molars are intact. It's a moral victory.

So the finals are set. Two Brits who are extraordinarily hard to understand will clash for the TUF 9 lightweight whatever, and the Marquis de Johnson and James Wilks for fight for the welterweight version of "Jesus, I spent six weeks in the TUF House for that? What a waste."

What of the impending match-up between the coaches? No one cares. Not even the Queen of England's declaration that Michael Bisping is a "douchebag" is going to change that.

The end.

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