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“ Watches” is a recurring feature in which the 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.

Previous editions:

Episode 1 | Episode 2 | Episode 3 | Episode 4 | Episode 5 | Episode 6 | Episode 7 | Episode 8

Shari Weiss SHARI WEISS, Editor: We have to start by talking about the near-disaster that almost happened. I don't mean on “Stars on Mars.” I mean with me. My DVR (yes, I still have one of those) did not record the new episode. Were the Martian gods conspiring against me this week? Thank goodness FOX came to my rescue — I finally realized I could watch on the network's website.

Stephen Lovely STEPHEN LOVELY, Editor-in-Chief: Ah, well, you would have already known that if you had read’s own guide to streaming “Stars on Mars!”

 ANDREW COLE, Internet Editor: Join the Hulu + Live TV fam, Shari! We have all the shows and channels — FOX included.

Deanna Nguyen DEANNA NGUYEN, Streaming Editor: I only watch on unless for some reason they decide not to let me watch the newest episode, in which case I hop on over to good ole DIRECTV.

Stephen LovelySTEPHEN: This is a very conversation we’re having. I’m an antenna TV guy myself.

ANDREW: We should probably talk about the show. Should we start with the Marshawn Lynch-Lance Armstrong feud?

Shari WeissSHARI: First time we see Marshawn this episode, he's giving Lance the finger. Or I'm assuming that's what he was doing, as it was blurred out.

Deanna NguyenDEANNA:I noticed that too and I was like, it’s not because of any hand tattoos, right? Because they do that for Korean reality TV shows — tattoo = taboo.

Shari WeissSHARI: Oh, you're teaching me something new, Deanna! Thank you!

Stephen LovelySTEPHEN: I think they’d only do that on American TV if there was a swear word or something in the tattoo — which I suppose is possible. I didn’t research Marshawn’s tattoos ahead of this conversation.

Deanna NguyenDEANNA: Marshawn’s beef with everyone doesn’t have any merit, like, why are you so upset about one small thing? It’s honestly surprising because he started off as this comedic relief and now he’s the one who instigates unnecessary drama.

Stephen LovelySTEPHEN: Marshawn's beef seems super fake even by the standards of reality TV. That's not to say that it won't have an impact on the show; it's just to say that I think he's full of it. Totally fictitious drama.

Shari WeissSHARI: I think the notion that Marshawn is capable of cooking up a fake feud is giving him too much credit. And it’s not fake to Lance! He said he thought he and Marshawn would be “friends forever.” Poor Lance. Not.

Deanna NguyenDEANNA: When Lance said that, I snorted. Like you’re a grown-a** man and you’re sad because you thought the guy who’s in a competition reality TV show with you would stay as your BFFL until the very end? But you have no issues bullying and showing obvious disdain for Ariel?

Stephen LovelySTEPHEN: Well, I don’t know if those things are mutually exclusive. The popular kids showed obvious disdain for me in high school, but that didn’t mean they couldn’t have friends. Quite the opposite, really.

ANDREW: Speaking of friends, how about Cat Cora name-dropping Oprah?

Shari WeissSHARI: Let's be clear: Oprah didn't call Cat because she wanted Cat to join her hangout with Harry and Meghan. No, she wanted Cat to cook for Harry and Meghan. That's not the brag you think it is, Cat. You were part of the help.

ANDREW: “Hold up Harry, I know an Iron Chef who can come through.” — Oprah, probably.

Stephen LovelySTEPHEN: I love Lance's take on the queen, by the way. He's absolutely right. Caring about the queen as an American is undignified.

Shari WeissSHARI: Stephen, let the woman rest in peace.

Stephen LovelySTEPHEN: Can’t do it. Too patriotic.

ANDREW: We now call to order this meeting of the House Un-American Activities Committee…

Stephen LovelySTEPHEN: If McCarthyism had actually been about royalists, this country would be a much cooler place.

Deanna NguyenDEANNA: Speaking of systems of government…

Shari WeissSHARI: Yes! After her failed attempt at winning base commander last episode, Porsha vowed to try again, but “play it not so on the nose this time.”

Deanna NguyenDEANNA: Love that she was like, “You all can campaign for me. I’m just chilling.”

Stephen LovelySTEPHEN: She also debuted a special bra for the occasion.

ANDREW: “Base commander bra” is a vibe. It’s not the bra itself, but it’s the power imbued to the bra that gives you base commander energy. Side note: maybe there is a product deal here for the “Stars on Mars” online gift shop.

Stephen LovelySTEPHEN: You want to buy the bra? You could always write to Porsha and ask nicely.

Porsha in her victory bra

Shari WeissSHARI: Porsha was delighted to finally ascend to the throne, but Lance said in a confessional that she was “playing all sides.” Uh, isn't that the game?

ANDREW: I don’t think these people know what a game is sometimes. I will leverage all my powers (mental, physical, social) to win at Monopoly.

Deanna NguyenDEANNA: Wait — physical?

Shari WeissSHARI: So the first thing they had to do under Porsha's reign was… have a mental health day. They had two choices: play football outside the hab or have a spa session inside the hab. I guess Cat's spa supplies came in handy.

Stephen LovelySTEPHEN: I liked the bit where the “spa day” revived Lance's will to compete. Uh, temporarily, anyway.
Shari WeissSHARI: Lance is no longer a spa day virgin.

Deanna NguyenDEANNA: Anytime Ariel and Lance are in the same room together, the tension feels like it’ll snap at any minute. But good call on his part — I would not want to sweat profusely in a space suit while playing football. No thank you.

Lance gets in touch with his feminine side.

Stephen LovelySTEPHEN: After the recreational hour, things got political again.

Shari WeissSHARI: When Marshawn point-blank told Porsha, “We decided Paul is going to be the mission specialist,” I was — no joke — yelling at my screen, “Don't do it, Porsha!”

Stephen LovelySTEPHEN: Marshawn threatening to overthrow Porsha is more fake beef, but it's pretty fun, so I'll allow it.

Deanna NguyenDEANNA: I’m so glad she wasn’t persuaded and chose Tinashe as her mission specialist. Girl power!

Stephen LovelySTEPHEN: I noticed she waited until she learned what the mission was, though. Has it always been the case that they can wait to see what the mission is before choosing a specialist? Why has nobody taken that into account before Porsha?

Deanna NguyenDEANNA: Great point, Stephen. Maybe the rules changed and it was just so subtle that we didn’t notice before?

Stephen LovelySTEPHEN: Maybe! Anyway, this week’s mission had the celebs crawling around in vents hunting for an alien intruder. Question: Which trope did “Stars on Mars” do better, “2001: A Space Odyssey”-style rogue AI or “Alien”-style sci-fi horror?

ANDREW: I’m going to go with “neither.”

Stephen LovelySTEPHEN: I'm leaning the latter. Watching all the celebs crawl through the vents was pretty fun.

ANDREW: Marshawn was FAST!

Deanna NguyenDEANNA: I would’ve paid big money to see someone shoving other people away in the vents. This is survival, people! Play the part!

Shari WeissSHARI: If Paul wanted to get revenge, he could've thrown the mission so Porsha would've been up for elimination.

ANDREW: Paul was basically riding the bench this mission.

Deanna NguyenDEANNA: Correction: every mission.

Stephen LovelySTEPHEN: By the way, Deanna was talking just last week about how uninteresting the teams tend to be in these challenges. But Porsha finally did what the showrunners could not: She created a hilarious team of rivals by sticking Lance and Ariel together. Deanna, were you satisfied with the resulting fireworks?

Deanna NguyenDEANNA: YES! I’m so glad Porsha paired Lance and Ariel together. Great minds think alike.

Shari WeissSHARI: Everyone took note of the odd pairing right away, but I appreciated Porsha's comeback: “This is about adaptability. It's not about comfortability.” She had a point there.

Stephen LovelySTEPHEN: Oh, come on, no she didn’t. She was just stirring the pot and hoping they’d fight.

Deanna NguyenDEANNA: But rather than see them add more fuel to the flame, they ended up working in harmony together!

Stephen LovelySTEPHEN: Well, best-laid plans and all that.

ANDREW: Ariel and Lance definitely did better than some of the other celebs in this challenge.

Stephen LovelySTEPHEN: I was losing it at Cat facing down her recurring nemesis: screws. The poor woman simply cannot deal with a Phillips head.

Deanna NguyenDEANNA: Cat: *Immediately passes over the screwdriver* “Here, you do it!”

ANDREW: Like, really, didn’t they teach them righty tighty, lefty loosey? It looked like they were tightening the vent bolts rather than removing them.

Shari WeissSHARI: Who thought it would be a good idea to give her that kind of task again?!

With other teams already deep in the vents, Cat Cora struggles mightily with the concept of a screwdriver.

Stephen LovelySTEPHEN: Anyway, despite Cat’s worst efforts, the crew pulled off the mission and found the intruder. And I have to say: I feel sick. I feel betrayed. I am livid. I cannot believe the stupid RADDOG is back.

ANDREW: The whole time I was saying to myself, “Please don’t be a RADDOG, please don’t be a RADDOG…” How much did they pay them for this sponsorship? I want to see the RADDOG quarterly numbers.

Shari WeissSHARI: Props to Andrew for calling it. I didn't have RADDOG on my radar. (See what I did there?)

Deanna NguyenDEANNA: I was really hoping it’d be a staff member dressed up in a ridiculous space monster getup and chasing the crewmates in the vents. That would’ve been so entertaining. Needless to say, I was sorely disappointed that it ended up being a RADDOG.

Stephen LovelySTEPHEN: I hate these cop dogs so g**damn much. Defund the robot dog police.

Shari WeissSHARI: Them's fighting words, Stephen!

ANDREW: I cannot take more scenes with the RADDOGS. Unless they put freakin’ laser beams on their heads, I’m so over it.

Deanna NguyenDEANNA: There is no greater threat than AI dogs that can’t even bark.

Shari WeissSHARI: They do too bark! It sounds really weird, though.

Stephen LovelySTEPHEN: Shari, don’t defend the robot narc dogs.

Shari WeissSHARI: Fine! Then let’s talk about the elimination instead. Ariel and Lance put their differences aside to successfully work together. And how were they rewarded?

Stephen LovelySTEPHEN: With bottom-three status, of course!

Deanna NguyenDEANNA: Ariel, Lance, and Paul Pierce.

Stephen LovelySTEPHEN: After the mission, I figured we were looking at the departure of either Lance (for political reasons) or Cat (for “not being able to use a screwdriver” reasons). Once Cat was kept out of the bottom three, it seemed like the writing was on the wall. Lance must have seen it, too, because he suddenly volunteered to go home.

ANDREW: Maybe Lance realized that he was somewhat wrong about Ariel and that caused him to put the target on himself. Maybe.

Shari WeissSHARI: That is a generous reading, Andrew.

Deanna NguyenDEANNA: Or he’s just tired of the social warfare. He’s made several remarks about people playing sides and not being his BFFL.

Shari WeissSHARI: Poor baby.

Stephen LovelySTEPHEN: I think I’m with Shari in being skeptical of the “Lance learned a valuable lesson” theory.

Shari WeissSHARI: Ariel looked like she was going to burst into tears during the whole elimination process.

ANDREW: At least she didn’t go on a warpath immediately after about being in the bottom three…

Looking at you Cat Cora

Deanna NguyenDEANNA: She’s an empath. I know everyone says they’re serious about winning, but Ariel looks like she really does want to win and it sucks that she found herself in the bottom three. Girl isn’t gonna let that happen again.

Shari WeissSHARI: I really think she is most deserving of winning when all is said and done. No one has taken the game as seriously as she has. But as Lance has learned, likability matters on Mars. (And Earth, too.)

Stephen LovelySTEPHEN: I think everyone is taking it a little too seriously, to be honest. I think that’s part of why we’re seeing so many self-ejections — the celebs are competitive, and they’re desperate to look like they’re going out on their own terms. They’re trying to protect their pride and dignity. But what are we watching this for if not to see our C-listers sacrifice their pride and dignity? Let's be honest about the appeal of reality TV, here. I'm not watching that degenerate cyclist because I hope that he avoids humiliation. I am watching to see him receive humiliation and inflict it upon others.

Shari WeissSHARI: As much as I can't stand Lance, I didn't want Porsha to accept his resignation. And once again, I can't help but wonder how things would've gone down if the evacuated player wasn't someone who quit. Then who would've gone home?

Deanna NguyenDEANNA: Was there an instance where someone elected to eliminate themselves and the base commander didn’t eliminate them? Like, “I hear you, but no. You’re staying.”

Shari WeissSHARI: No, but we need that to happen.

Certified loser Lance Armstrong in his “you can’t fire me, I quit” era.

Stephen LovelySTEPHEN: Instead, we got everyone agreeing to let Lance go and then pretending to be sad about it, for some reason.

Deanna NguyenDEANNA: I, for one, am thrilled.

Shari WeissSHARI: Cat's tears over losing her “ride or die” — whom she's spent, what, like four days with? — seemed genuine.

Stephen LovelySTEPHEN: Yeah, but Adam, Tinashe, and Ariel were completely full of it. They just oversaw the complete destruction of the Jock Caucus. They should be celebrating! All that’s left of the once-mighty anti-Ariel faction is Cat desperately trying to forge an alliance with Paul.

ANDREW: Cat’s game plan: move on to the next-weakest person on the whole show and try to form a top-level alliance. Yeah, we’ll see how that works out.

Deanna NguyenDEANNA: She’s avoiding the young’uns at all costs.

Stephen LovelySTEPHEN: By the way, I didn’t get the chance to bring this up earlier, but at one point while watching this episode I was on my phone during the commercials and one of those Samuel L. Jackson Capital One commercials came on. For a wild second, I thought the show was back on and that Samuel L. Jackson had shown up. Unfortunately, that was not the case.

Shari WeissSHARI: Imagine! “Ge these muthaf**kin' intruders out this muthaf**kin' hab!”

ANDREW: No, Shari, he would’ve said, “You are on this team, but we do not grant you the rank of base commander.”

Shari WeissSHARI: Confession: I don't know that quote.

Stephen LovelySTEPHEN: Yikes! Let’s call it a week so that Shari can go home and watch “Star Wars.” See you guys next week!

One thought on “ Watches ‘Stars on Mars’ Episode 9: Venting Frustrations

  1. Kay says:

    The show became guilty pleasure. I was enjoying until Ariel and the other young kids in the hab couldn’t have a conversation and respect other peoples opinions which athletes have the right to have since topic was about trans in sports. I just thought if they were a little older, they would be respectful of his opinion because that caused a lot of drama and for people that are very empathetic that makes it uncomfortable. But then Marshawn thought he was just a laid-back goofy guy but obviously when you can’t see anything, most peoples instinct is to keep their arms out to the side or in front of them but when he got upset at Lance, it was uncalled for I thought it was a big joke at first, but when he kept saying stuff it makes me wonder if these NBA and NFL players aren’t getting paid a little too much because they all seem like big babies off the field. And I thought it was very disrespectful. The way Paul and Marshawn came in and told Porsha’ Paul is going to be the base commander. Sorry that’s extremely rude for one. Secondly, you were in the room when everybody agreed to let Porsha’ be the base commander why are you starting drama because you’re coming off as being two-faced and a fake person And I don’t respect anybody that can’t be themselves and can’t be decent to other human beings just because you’re an NFL football player doesn’t mean you’re the pope I didn’t even know who you were until the show came on and it’s not like I’m gonna be a fan of yours after either, because why would I wanna support somebody with a personality like that? I don’t. I support people that are nice to others and don’t start drama for unnecessary reasons or ratings . Why so fake and two-faced ? it was you and Lance against the world and then you couldn’t keep your hands out in front of you and you bumped into some thing you’re a 250 pound guy come on Are you going to tattletale if someone pulls your hair too? Also suck it up. Stop blaming your mistake on other people. You barely ran into the second rover and you’ve been outside the base. You know there’s two rovers most people know their surroundings, but I guess nowadays, that’s rarity. Nobody really pays attention to anything around them, because our world has become so narcissistic, everybody’s on line and playing the popularity contest, who can have the most likes. I just don’t like seeing when people treat others like crap for no reason or when can you come in and dictate like you’re the president of the hab that Paul is going to be the new base commander. I would’ve said no you can go get in line because everybody just voted for me and the official vote is coming up that was really rude on Marshawn’s part and that’s a disappointment and Paul also you let Marshawn try to do that to another person and you were OK with that. That tells me exactly what type of person you are . You were allowing someone to treat someone else being a woman like shit because u secretly like his idea, but don’t want to act like it your intent and emotion was seething off of you, but to allow another guy to treat somebody like that and you don’t say anything that’s not cool!!! And I really don’t understand how Ariel is still on the show. She hates Lance anybody who hangs out with him watch her facial expressions she secretly looks like she’s cussing him out or anybody else that is friendly to him but she also still has a lot of growing up to do. She said it when she first got there she doesn’t know who she is. And she also said she liked being outside and doing things and then all the sudden she wants to stay inside the hab like being specialist or the base commander is a big job and there was no set way to do it when she was trying to show Andy how to be base commander that’s her opinion that’s not how he had to do it. It was just funny watching that. And personally I’d like Andy Richter in there because I thought he was funny and there’s just a lot of drama now it’s a game guys I understand competition I was almost a professional athlete until a horrible accident so I get competition but this is a game show remember! Is it really worth it to have these little fights and spats? and if it really was mars I think porsha’ and Lance would be the only two still alive. Ha

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