“CordCutting.com Watches” is a new, recurring feature in which the CordCutting.com staff watches and reacts to a streaming show or a movie.
This time around, 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: Folks, it is once again that time: Let’s discuss “Stars on Mars.” Where should we begin?
ANDREW COLE, Internet Editor: How about new base commander (and new number one on the CordCutting.com “Stars on Mars” power rankings) Ronda Rousey?
SHARI WEISS, Editor: Ronda was so down in the dumps at the end of the last episode that I expected her to continue struggling emotionally this week. Apparently, all it took was some wrestling with Porsha and a base commander nomination to get that pep back in her step.
DEANNA NGUYEN, Streaming Editor: Yeah, I think it made sense for Ronda to get chosen this time around. They had to put her in the spotlight at some point, especially after Richard Sherman went home last week, which she was clearly distraught about. I love Porsha’s comment about how Ronda is strong physically but she’s gentle and soft-spoken – until the mission, that is.
STEPHEN: Even with Richard gone, Ronda has a whole constituency with all the athletes in the hab. She, Lance Armstrong and Marshawn Lynch seem to be in cahoots.
ANDREW: Don’t forget Adam Rippon, though. He has consistently tried to pick the base commander. Later in the episode, he mentioned that choosing Ronda as the base commander would be beneficial to him in elimination — which it was.
STEPHEN: Okay, but last time he backed Ariel, and she lost the election! I don’t think he’s in as good of a position as Lance, Marshawn, and Ronda.
ANDREW: Yeah, Marshawn has been a comedic staple in previous weeks, but he is becoming a better player. It was interesting to see him openly discussing all the alliances and cliques in the hab. Marshawn could have some serious staying power late into the game. Plus, he used the flamethrower.
SHARI: The flamethrower! But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. What else do we need to cover from early in the episode?
DEANNA: The Rad Dog training session! They were using PS5 controllers. Excuse me, I didn’t see Rad Dogs on the PlayStation Store. Was this a closed beta test?
STEPHEN: Was that the same controller they used on that submarine?
SHARI: Too soon!
ANDREW: I like how they spent a whole segment where they “trained” these dogs, and they didn’t even use them. Like, at least make them bring the dog into the cave or something so it doesn’t feel like such a plug for this robo-dog company (I’m not even going to say their name).
STEPHEN: Yeah, they really doubled down on the robot cop dog. I’m sick of that bit. Like Andrew said last week, it feels like product placement. Why do they insist on promoting the robot cop dogs? I do not support them.
SHARI: Didn't we determine last week that the dog's name was Marisha? Now it's suddenly MARSha??
STEPHEN: Yes, thank you! I thought I was losing my mind.
Anyway, the robot cop dogs are boring. Who can we talk about instead?
DEANNA: Lance, Lance, Lance! The show was probably trying to make him look a little better with that call with his son, but then Marshawn comes in and starts calling Lance a gassy dude, which I found so hilarious. It’s like a running joke at this point, and I love it.
SHARI: A “gassy dude” is putting it politely, Deanna!
ANDREW: Still waiting on the day when Lance is thrown into the Martian dust.
SHARI: By the way, Lance used an iPad to video chat with his son. Like Ronda calling her daughter last episode, I don't understand how these real-time conversations are taking place on Mars!
STEPHEN: I think you’re taking the “on Mars” part of this a little seriously.
SHARI: And, later, how was Tom doing his exit interview outside the hab with his helmet off? Wouldn't he DIE?!
DEANNA: I’m starting to think they’re not really on Mars.
SHARI: Anyway — part of me wants to give Lance credit for being a team player — he did help Tom and Natasha during the mission. But then he makes all these snarky comments in his confessionals.
STEPHEN: Yeah, he’s a team player as long as he thinks you can help him. If he thinks you’re weak, he’s gonna chase you with a cockroach.
SHARI: An Ariel-Lance rivalry has slowly been brewing, and I'm here for it.
STEPHEN: Ariel might be my least-favorite remaining contestant, and I support the mean jocks in their quest to bully her and the rest of the lame-os.
SHARI: I'm Team Ariel all the way, so I guess Stephen and I are now sworn enemies.
STEPHEN: One note: While I do support Lance deliberately upsetting Ariel, who is annoying, I cannot condone his methods.
ANDREW: Okay, everyone relax! Yes, Lance motioned the dead cockroach body toward Ariel, but it’s not like he threw it into her spacesuit.
STEPHEN: I’m not sure if the CordCutting.com staff knows this, but I am terrified of cockroaches. Lance picking up a roach with his bare hands is absolute psycho stuff. There is something deeply wrong with this man.
ANDREW: On the bright side, Lance also used the flamethrower in this episode.
STEPHEN: That’s the second time the flamethrowers have come up, so it’s probably time to address that: In this week’s challenge, the crew members had to find some fake alien fungus and light it on fire.
DEANNA: The “motherfungus!”
ANDREW: The only thing I could think of throughout the challenge was, “Are they going to trust these celebrities with flamethrowers?” Robo-dogs, drones, and space duct tape are all fine, but flamethrowers?
DEANNA: If I was a part of this mission, I’d want to be the person holding the flamethrower.
SHARI: Oh, definitely.
DEANNA: I felt like the crew had more fun with this mission even though it seemed like a pain in the ass to get people to cooperate.
STEPHEN: I liked the bit where Ronda was talking about how she enjoys reading maps while sitting next to the world’s simplest map. Incredible that Porsha still managed to get lost somehow.
SHARI: Hey, to be fair to Porsha, it seemed like it was really dark in there. You try going into a Martian cave and see how well you navigate!
STEPHEN: The flamethrower bit really carried this little sequence, in my opinion. There wasn’t a whole lot else going on. In the end, the drama here felt pretty manufactured — everyone was just strolling around instead of hustling. A light jog would’ve put this one in the books five minutes earlier.
SHARI: Yes, how amazing that the stragglers made it to the oxygen tank with a split second to spare … or at least that's how the editing made it seem. If I had the patience to watch the credits, I'd look to see who is credited with coming up with these “simulations.”
ANDREW: Fake or not, they got their patches in the end. By the way, I have a prediction: They’ve just been trinkets so far, but I think the patches are going to be valuable later on in the game. Not sure if that will get people extra food, access to certain amenities, or protections, but the patches will become a factor at some point.
SHARI: Did you catch Ronda marveling over William “Shatty Daddy” Shatner's lack of wrinkles and Ariel declaring he must get Botox? The man is 92 years old — let him collect his paycheck in peace!
STEPHEN: Speaking of Shatty Daddy, that smooth-skinned geriatric demanded a double elimination after this episode’s challenge. Which scared me! Can you imagine if we’d lost Marshawn and Lance at once? There would be nobody left to watch! Once we were down to the final three, though, I was pretty happy with the rule change. I figured Natasha was done-zo, and I knew I could live with losing Tom or Adam (it was Tom, in the end, of course).
SHARI: You could live with losing Adam, Stephen?! Not me! Natasha and Tom haven't been mission-critical since the start, so this wasn't much of a loss. But now poor Tom has to go back to the #Scandoval hell on Earth.
ANDREW: While I really wanted to see Tom continue on his “BTE” (Bottom Three Energy), I think we all knew it was time for him to depart. In the cave, he even tried to lead them the wrong way when they were leaving, and he didn’t really know how to use a flashlight.
DEANNA: I’m surprised about the double elimination! But the show needed to raise the stakes – and maybe because some people were really desperate to go home — *ahem,* Natasha.
ANDREW: Look, we all knew Natasha wasn’t destined to stay on Mars. That said, I didn’t think a light jog up a hill would be the thing to completely break her.
SHARI: The self-ejection! First Richard, now Natasha.
STEPHEN: I have had it up to here with people self-ejecting. Contestants should have to give their salaries back if they ruin the drama like that. Natasha’s self-ejection annoyed me even more than Richard’s, because she was 100% toast anyway. You think you can pretend this was a choice, Natasha? Get real.
DEANNA: She didn’t leave with grace, and I wish they’d chosen someone who really wanted to be part of the show. But I guess we’ll be getting that in next week’s episode with four new crewmates!
STEPHEN: Yes, the big twist! Who do we think the four new crew members will be?
ANDREW: The only thing I’m wondering is, “Were they saving the best celebrities for later, or will this just be another C-list resupply?”
STEPHEN: I’m assuming we’re working with the usual mix of C-list celebs and weirdly high-profile athletes, and I can’t wait to see what we’re getting. Another “Real Housewife,” but also Phil Mickelson? A failed “Bachelorette” contestant and Serena Williams?
SHARI: C-list celebs, Stephen? I think we're going down to the D-list. These are the second-string players. Their agents couldn't even negotiate for them to be on the A-team of contestants for a show called “Stars on Mars.” I don't know why, but Weird Al just popped into my head. How fun would he be? Could he bring his accordion?
DEANNA: I think at least one extracted crewmate from previous episodes is coming back. Maybe Richard? Because why would they show that preview of the spat between him and Marshawn?
STEPHEN: I like that theory. Maybe we’ll get McLovin back! But, whoa, great point about the Marshawn-Sherman fighting footage — we never did see that, right?
DEANNA: I think the show is getting more interesting now that they’re bringing more crewmates – hopefully they’ll be more entertaining and want to actually be on Mars.