“CordCutting.com Watches” is a new recurring feature in which the CordCutting.com 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, Editor-in-Chief: Alright, folks: What did we think?
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, 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.
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: 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: 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: 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.
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.
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.
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: 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.)
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.
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: 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!
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: 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: 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.
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.”
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.