“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, our long national nightmare is over: After last week’s “Stars on Mars” bye week, we are back with a new episode to discuss this week.
SHARI WEISS, Editor: Was I the only one having “Stars on Mars” withdrawals last week?! I found myself missing our little “space fam!”
ANDREW COLE, Internet Editor: The way they left us on the “new celebs are coming” cliffhanger did make me wish there was an episode last week.
DEANNA NGUYEN, Streaming Editor: No withdrawal for me. I think I needed the break. I needed some space.
STEPHEN: Well, I hope you rested up, because this episode is a doozy. We start off, for reasons I can’t fathom, with Lance Armstrong opining on transgender athletes.
ANDREW: Hey, Lance, Instead of worrying about categories for trans athletes, how about we create a category for athletes who participate in doping? Better yet, why don’t we just send them to Mars?
SHARI: Amen, Andrew. Can we just leave him on Mars forever?
DEANNA: I honestly feel like the show is trying to keep Lance for as long as possible, as long as it means garnering heated discussions online and offline.
STEPHEN: I do want to clarify that Lance’s comments do not reflect the position of the CordCutting.com Lance Armstrong Fan Club (CCDCLAFC).
SHARI: Just for the record, Stephen is the only member of the CCDCLAFC.
ANDREW: Lance’s comments pissed Adam off so much that he moved into the warpath by campaigning for the base commander position.
SHARI: I was happy to see Adam volunteer to be base commander and everyone immediately agreed, as he's been my pick from day one. It's kind of hilarious that every week Ariel doesn't get it when deep down we all know she'd love to go on that power trip.
STEPHEN: Of course Ariel wanted to be base commander. Anything to avoid the elimination risk. Get out in the field, Ariel!
DEANNA: I was glad Adam got picked, too, because we got more screen time from him and got to see his personality shine.
ANDREW: Adam was really making moves to get the B.C. role. I think this is the first time we heard someone explicitly say they weren’t going to eliminate specific individuals when it came to the chopping block.
STEPHEN: Yeah, there’s a little clique evolving with Adam, Porsha, and Tinashe. It was nice to see a little more of Porsha in this one. I feel like she’s been hurting for screen time lately.
DEANNA: I love Porsha. Tinashe would be my bias and Porsha is my bias-wrecker. Her little spiel about her “Mars curls” was hilarious, and she’s shown that she can get along with everyone.
STEPHEN: I still think Adam is a weak link. Every time there’s a new base commander, Marshawn does something obnoxious to test them. Everyone except Tinashe has failed the test. This time around, it was him immediately demanding to get the outdoor assignment, and Adam folded instantly. Weak leader! Bring back Tinashe.
DEANNA: Stephen is now the No. 1 Tinashe advocate in our group. How the tables have turned.
STEPHEN: Adam also managed to land the B.C. role in the one week without any eliminations. Oops!
ANDREW: He looked a little dismayed when he found out that he wasn’t going to get the chance to kick Lance off the planet.
DEANNA: He might not be the best B.C., but he’s a very likable person.
STEPHEN: No disagreement there.
Anyway, with their fearless leader chosen, our celebronauts were tasked with rescuing new contestants from a crashed ship, or pod, or something like that. But first, they had to pick up some kind of “nuclear materials.” Unclear who left those lying around.
SHARI: No one left them lying around, Stephen! They broke free when the rover crashed. Pay attention!
STEPHEN: Sorry, I must have been on my phone. Anyway, they had to pick up the nuclear materials with a claw-type thing. Marshawn said it was like “the claw in ‘Toy Story,’” and I’d like to imagine that this means he has never seen a crane game in real life and thinks they made it up for the movie.
SHARI: And the claw was attached to…
DEANNA: The RADDOGS!
STEPHEN: I am sick to death of the stupid robot cop dogs. I was ecstatic when they said the cop dogs would have to sacrifice themselves to blow up the nuclear stuff.
SHARI: Listen, nobody told me animal cruelty would be involved in this thing. This was not what I signed up for. Thank goodness for the miracle at the end. EARTHa and MARSha are ALIVE!
ANDREW: I went from elation to despair over the course of 20 minutes. Elation because they finally blew up those RADDOGs (despite their rather-cute names) and despair because they brought them back.
STEPHEN: When the stupid robot cop dogs showed back up in the hab at the end, I was livid. Bad dogs! Stay dead!
DEANNA: Every dog owner is clutching their pearls after hearing you say that, Stephen.
STEPHEN: THEY’RE NOT REAL DOGS!
ANDREW: Please, please, just jettison these sub-par pups into the deep recesses of the writers’ room, where potential sponsorships are just ideas and not realities. Product placement is fine, but they are taking it too far.
STEPHEN: What dirt does this company have on the “Stars on Mars” producers? Or is this whole thing just a psyop for the cop-dog industrial complex?
SHARI: They were hard to control, too. Tinashe struggled with the RADDOG controller more than I expected. She's lucky they completed the mission; otherwise, she might've gotten the boot.
DEANNA: Right? I’m convinced she wasn’t actually controlling it after declaring that she was a gamer a few episodes back. I suspect the crew was doing it.
STEPHEN: Sounds conspiratorial, but that does seem like the sort of nefarious thing that these narc dogs would be involved with.
ANDREW: Maybe they had to rig it to make sure we got our new arrivals safely on board. What did everyone think of the newcomers, by the way?
DEANNA: Seeing the new crewmates, I’m disappointed there’s not a single Asian person on the show!
SHARI: Earlier in the episode, I thought Porsha and Tinashe were being ridiculous when they hoped one of the new “celebronauts” would be a celebrity chef like Rachael Ray or Gordon Ramsay. Well, joke's on me, because Cat Cora showed up. The players better watch out — she already won FOX's “The Real Dirty Dancing”!
STEPHEN: I’ll take your word for it that that’s a real show. I actually thought Tinashe’s prediction of Rachael Ray was one of the more grounded ones we’ve seen, but maybe I'm underestimating the status of celebrity chefs. I just figured some of the less current ones would be down to show up. Like what’s Emeril doing these days, anyway?
SHARI: Emeril has been making fairly regular treks to my home base of Wilmington, North Carolina! For a good cause, actually. Rachael Ray too! Props to them.
STEPHEN: Oh, nice. I have the Rachael Ray oven mitts. They’re wonderful. Just wanted to share that.
SHARI: The foodie in me looks forward to seeing what Cat cooks up for everyone. Now that they have some cooking tools and various ingredients, she promised a feast and she better deliver. But wouldn't it have been more fun to watch if they had to continue to survive with only the basics?
ANDREW: It’s going to be hard for people to eliminate an Iron Chef! Who’s next to discuss?
STEPHEN: I have never heard of this “Bachelorette” lady in my life.
DEANNA: I know none of these new people.
SHARI: Stephen, that’s “Ashley I.,” as she's known in Bachelor Nation. Beware: She's also known for crying. A lot.
DEANNA: As soon as she said she’s “from ‘The Bachelorette’. I need the drama,” I was like, “Wow, she’s really saying that with her whole chest as if that’s her brand. Not a good look, IMO.
SHARI: I am praying for a classic Ashley I. meltdown. Let's get those tear ducts working! Preferably on a day where she hasn't used waterproof mascara.
STEPHEN: Shari is really selling me on Ashley’s reality TV drama potential. Starting to get a little excited.
SHARI: You're in for a real treat, Stephen.
ANDREW: I don’t know how everyone else feels, but I am super stoked for Andy Richter to join the show. I feel he’s going to have that, “I’m just a funny guy” vibe that keeps him under the radar, but even he said himself that he loves to beat competitive people. I wouldn’t be surprised if a non-athlete won this competition.
SHARI: I think you're right about Andy, Andrew — and not just because of your similar names. I think he'll be the threat that's hiding in plain sight.
STEPHEN: Moving on to another new arrival: I love that Paul Pierce IMMEDIATELY clocked Ariel as an annoying nerd. He was born ready to join the mean jock clique. Looking forward to seeing him help Lance and Marshawn bully people.
SHARI: Annoying nerd! I resemble that remark.
ANDREW: Maybe Ariel could’ve been a little nicer, but his reaction was way overblown. I thought someone with so many years in the NBA would have some thicker skin. I mean, really, Paul Pierce? You’re ready to throw hands after someone told you to quiet down on your first day into the mission? OK.
SHARI: I understand why it was a little jarring for Paul to enter the hab and almost immediately be shushed by Ariel. But, being new, he should've played things low-key and tried to blend in. Instead, he's already talking smack about Ariel and doing so right in front of her. How about you earn your place here first, Paulie?
STEPHEN: Paulie! My goodness.
DEANNA: I thought it was funny imagining this 5’1” girl just squaring up to a big athlete like Paul Pierce. At least she’s aware that she has a few targets on her back. She’s not going to buckle under pressure, and I respect her for that.
SHARI: The more people trash-talk Ariel, the more I want her to succeed. I know you ranked her last in the Power Rankings, Stephen, but that may come back to bite you in the booty.
STEPHEN: We’ll see!
ANDREW: Yeah, I think Ariel might succumb to the wrath of Lance and Paul. The social mechanics are in motion, and news travels fast (whether it’s accurate or not). I hope not, but that is the way of life on “Big Brother” on Mars.
STEPHEN: I’m just saying, before we knew for sure that there would be no eliminations, things were not looking great for Ariel. It would’ve been pretty funny if she’d gotten herself ejected because she managed to annoy three people within 30 seconds of meeting them.
SHARI: That lack of an extraction made it slightly anticlimactic, even with Porsha and Adam pranking the original crew into thinking there was going to be one.
DEANNA: The deadpan “Oh, great” reaction when they were told no one was getting extracted got me.
ANDREW: I thought it was a missed opportunity. If there was any moment when it was time for Lance to go, this was it.
DEANNA: Who can honestly stand the guy now? He’s made it clear several times that he doesn’t get along with everyone.
STEPHEN: True, but now he has some new people to annoy! I can’t wait.
DEANNA: I’m ready for the fresh drama next week.