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Stars On Mars

“ Watches” is a new recurring feature in which the staff watches and reacts to a streaming show or a movie.

For this inaugural edition, we’re watching “Stars on Mars,” the reality TV show on FOX that puts (real) celebrities on a (fake) mission to Mars and eliminates them weekly until a winner is declared.

Stephen Lovely  STEPHEN LOVELY, Editor-in-Chief: Alright, folks: What did we think?

Deanna Nguyen DEANNA NGUYEN, Streaming Editor: I really enjoyed it! I was wondering how they were going to pull off being on “Mars,” but I’m impressed by the set design and missions.

Shari Weiss SHARI WEISS, Editor: My first thought was that I couldn't believe how seriously the celebrities seemed to be taking the “experiment,” like they were actually on Mars.

ANDREW COLE, Internet Editor: “Celebrities” – I don’t know. I thought maybe the selection of stars was a little wanting.

Deanna Nguyen DEANNA: The casting…could be better.

Shari Weiss SHARI: I had to roll my eyes when some of the contestants thought subsequent arrivals might be Tilda Swinton, “The Martian” star Matt Damon or Beyonce. I mean, c'mon! Like some of the guesses on “The Masked Singer,” these picks are just ridiculous. Those A-listers would never do these shows!

Stephen Lovely STEPHEN: I loved that. They’re sitting in there with the guy who played McLovin, and they’re like, “oh, maybe it’s Beyonce!” “Maybe it’s Matt Damon!” Yeah, maybe. Maybe it’s the Dalai Lama. Maybe it’s the Lindbergh baby. But probably it’s going to be a Real Housewife, don’t you think?

Shari Weiss SHARI: I tried to imagine how agents pitched their clients, given the silliness of it all: “You're going to get to go to Mars! (pause) But not on Blue Origin or SpaceX. (pause) In an Australian desert that looks like Mars!”
But then I remembered how much I loved going to Mars 2112 as a kid (RIP), so who am I to judge?

ANDREW: I mean, who hasn’t looked around at the world the last few years and said to themselves, “When are we going to go to Mars already?”
Stephen Lovely STEPHEN: I’ve never been to Mars, but I did go to Mars 2112 as a child. Iconic establishment. This show might have better production quality, though.

ANDREW: Yeah, but calling the base “Celebrity hab” was the most ridiculous thing I heard in the episode. Beyond all the fake metrics, instrumentation, and screens, they couldn’t have thought of something better? I mean, come on, maybe “Starbase,” “Star Command,” “Star Station,” or just anything else would’ve been a lot less cringe.

Deanna Nguyen DEANNA: I’m impressed by the set design and missions! When Adam Rippon said, “Oh my god, it looks like Mars!” I thought, “Nooooo, my immersion!!!”

Shari Weiss SHARI: I might be rooting for Adam! I enjoyed the humor he brought to the episode and was relieved when he wasn't eliminated at the end. While he did admittedly take a backseat during the mission, he at least was excited about contributing to the cleaning tasks inside the “Celebrity hab.” His quips will keep me entertained.

Stephen Lovely STEPHEN: Who else has a rooting interest?

ANDREW: Calling it right now, Tinashe is my dark horse for this competition. When she was helping put together the winch, you could see her intensity.

Deanna Nguyen DEANNA: I wasn’t rooting for anyone in this episode. I need to spend more time with them; but with what little screen time they have, it’s hard to form a connection. I also only know like three people in the entire cast, and that’s just in passing on social media, not because I watch their shows or whatever.

Stephen Lovely STEPHEN: I’m the opposite. I was rooting for everyone. I love each and every one of these B-listers like they are my own children. I wish they could all stay.

Shari Weiss SHARI: More like C-listers.

Stephen Lovely STEPHEN: I’m kind of devastated that we already lost Christopher Mintz-Plasse. He was a definite C-lister, but at least he was a C-lister who I had actually heard of before this show.

Deanna Nguyen DEANNA: I was definitely rooting against Chris, which is funny because he was the first one to be introduced. I just didn’t think he had the right mindset and would rather watch people while he sticks to the background.

ANDREW: I’m rooting against Lance Armstrong. I think the challenges and social circumstances will eventually expose him for being a poor competitor, and the group will jettison him off the space bridge.

Shari Weiss SHARI: I'm rooting against Lance, too. When he entered the habitat, I was taken aback by all of the other contestants cheering for him, despite his rightful fall from grace. (Though Ariel Winter might've only been cheering because she thought he was Neil Armstrong.)

Deanna Nguyen DEANNA: “Lance Armstrong is a real freaking astronaut!” Not gonna lie, she almost convinced me that he really did land on the moon.

Stephen Lovely STEPHEN: It was extra funny to me because Lance Armstrong is easily one of, if not the most, famous person on the show. Like, you’re in there having to pretend you know this minor comedian or this Real Housewife, and then you get mixed up about the world-famous athlete who had the whole planet wearing the same yellow bracelet for like five years? Also, he was engaged to Sheryl Crow, you know. Not for long, but still.

ANDREW: But Ariel also had the best line of this episode: “When I have to just be myself, it’s an incredible challenge.” I thought this line hit most of why this show could be good. Celebrities tend to create a facade and present themselves in a certain way.

That said, Ariel was probably right to be a little afraid. Alex Dunphy from “Modern Family” wouldn’t have confused Lance Armstrong for Neil Armstrong.

Stephen Lovely STEPHEN: Lots of good lines in this episode. I was partial to Porsha asking “How often do you get a chance to be on Mars?” Not often, Porsha — this isn’t actually Mars.

Deanna Nguyen DEANNA: Porsha is probably going to steal the spotlight throughout the show, and I’m here for it! I love her personality, and I’m happy to see that she’s one of the stronger contenders for winning it all.

Shari Weiss SHARI: I wrote down so many lines! Like Porsha saying she was going to add “astronaut” to her Instagram bio (and she did — I checked!) and Christopher Mintz-Plasse declaring, “I think a lot of us would have died if this was really Mars out there” and offering these parting words: “Find me on Instagram.” But my favorite line was Adam Rippon quipping, “I think I'm mission-critical because I'm the hottest one here.”

But can we talk about how they chose Marshawn Lynch to be the first base leader? Mar-shawn. Martian!

Stephen Lovely STEPHEN: Whoa.

ANDREW: The group (or rather just Richard Sherman) choosing Marshawn Lynch as the base commander was pivotal to making the first episode amazing.

Deanna Nguyen DEANNA: That was a highlight for me — he’s in a total mood. Initially, it didn’t seem like Marshawn knows what he’s doing, and he’s just there for a good time. But once the second mission started, he really led the pack and showcased his leadership skills. Whether or not someone ran him through his role between each take, though, that’s up in the air.

ANDREW: With Marshawn, there are times it seemed like he was on a power trip, like when he was giving out roles or picking the mission-critical members. Then, there are times he is the best leader, like when he was perfectly comforting and supportive of Tallulah.

Stephen Lovely STEPHEN: As I wrote in this week’s power rankings, I think that Marshawn Lynch and Richard Sherman have a big advantage thanks to their existing friendship. If you could show up to a show like “Survivor” with a close friend and ally, you’d do it, right?

Shari Weiss SHARI: At first I thought that, too. But the premiere ended with the two arguing, and though it wasn't clear why exactly they started to fight, now I'm looking forward to seeing if some kind of feud develops between them. Or, you know, the show will pick up next week like that moment never even happened.

Stephen Lovely STEPHEN: All a ruse, if you ask me! A part of their strategy.

Shari Weiss SHARI: Ronda Rousey also smartly picked up on the “Survivor”-like social aspect. To outlast everyone else, you have to be likable and sociable. Or, in the game's parlance, you want to show you're “mission-critical.”

ANDREW: Of all the stars, Ronda Rousey’s fascination with the project is the most endearing.

Stephen Lovely STEPHEN: I’m not a big MMA guy, but I remember that I did see her get beat back in (I had to look this up) 2015, when her undefeated streak ended. That was the beginning of the end for her in fighting. And now here I am, watching her again. On fake Mars.

Deanna Nguyen DEANNA: I’m sure there will be missions that involve strategy rather than the physical missions we’ve seen in this episode. I’d be curious to see who can take the lead on that front.

Stephen Lovely STEPHEN: I bet you’re right. Any other predictions? Let’s bring this home.

ANDREW: I predict the stars are going to kill at least half the plants in the biome. I mean, if I can murder a succulent, how are they going to maintain these plants?

Stephen Lovely STEPHEN: I can’t think of a better note to end on. See you all next week.

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