Utopia RECAP: Dave go bye bye (S1:E3)

Utopia baptism

They’ve done it, I tell you! The great minds behind that earth-shattering social experiment, Utopia, set out to make history, and now, only one week into their epic adventure, they’ve succeeded! This is one for the records books, folks, and the jaw-dropping acheivement is being trumpeted all over the Internet. Utopia is going to remembered forever as the biggest flop in television history!

Move over, Cop Rock. Lower your head in shame, Brady Bunch Variety Hour. Weep bitter tears of regret, My Mother the Car. You have all been bested… or more accurately, worsted. Somebody tried to create an ideal society with fourteen people who belonged in jail or an asylum. What could possibly go wrong?

In the most recent edition of this horrific train wreck, somebody in the production staff finally remembered that there were supposed to be fifteen people in this god-forsaken booby hatch, so they’ve sent in two new victims for the dungeon: Rhonda Deniston and Kristen Vanstrom. The unsuspecting pair arrive at the gates and declare that they come in peace. Somebody – I think it was Mike – shoots back, “You’ve come to the wrong place!”

Hey, I don’t have to make the jokes anymore. The cast is writing them for me. These women have three days to make a good impression on the other pioneers. The lucky one gets sent back to civilzation before her soul is crushed. Now that they’ve both been introduced and their fates hang in the balance, we will ignore them for the rest of the episode.

There are pioneers who are still trying to make Utopia work; with no internet available, they don’t realize they are piloting the reality show Titanic. Josh and Rob, high on their success with the electricity, are trying to make an indoor bathroom. Josh is also hiding from Bella. Josh expressed mild indifference towards the chicken tractor rather than outright hostility, so now he is Bella’s favorite person in the whole entire world. Bri’s not going to be the only girl in the compound getting laid, oh no! Bella’s got plans for Josh. She’s ready to pick out curtains and satin sheets for two.

Josh would rather become a monk or shoot himself. Rob actually says the line, but Josh is thinking it. Bella, about your boyfriend… you two want different things. You want Josh’s body and he wants to keep his sanity. It’s not you… it’s him… well, it is you, actually.

Dedeker, the polyamorous goddess who wanted to spread the gospel of free love to all the world, has to be miffed that she wasn’t the first girl in the compound to get laid. She’s got a plan to get herself a man, and the sap in her sights is Mike. Her mode of seduction: dress up like a washerwoman and look sympathetic as Mike frets about money. Oooh, baby, did Rob and Josh spend hundreds of dollars for all that bathroom stuff? Talk about cash down the toilet! Here, let’s go swimming and I’ll make you feel aaaaaaall better.

Don’t worry, Mike. Go ahead, live a little. Go swimming and make out. Try not to pick up any nasty diseases. That cash doesn’t have to last you all year anymore. You all will be canceled and home before Halloween.

As the handymen do their thing, Pastor Jonathan attempts to do his: he’s out to save Dave’s soul with kindness, compassion, and really weird trades. He’ll allow Dave to give him a haircut if Dave allows himself to be baptised. Dave likes the idea, but his inner demons fight back with a vengeance.

It’s dinnertime, and Aaron is doling out the food; the Utopian State of Stupid gets their own, separate supply. But what’s this? Their order is short! Dave wants six bananas and he only gets four! It’s war! It’s war! He’s being cheated by the oppressive Utopian government! He lent Amanda two bananas, and he demands to be paid in full! NOW! RIGHT NOW! Or there will be screaming and hollering and throwing things and cursing!

…And Kristen asks if this is normal. Yep. Welcome to Utopia. Still want to stay? Why?

At the apex of his latest world-televised temper tantrum, Dave delivers an ultimatum! He can’t stay here with these people who are cheating him out of his rightful bananas, so he is LEAVING! You hear that, everybody? I’m LEAVING! FOREVER! Because I can’t live with the enemy! Don’t nobody try to stop me, because my mind is made up!

Dave grabs his crate and trudges out of the compound. I’m leaving! I really mean it! Don’t nobody try to change my mind! Here’s me, leaving the compound! You all gonna be sorry when I’m gone! Um…. guys? Why isn’t anybody running after me to plead for forgiveness? Whattya mean, “And there was much rejoicing?”

Much rejoicing! Ten minutes after Dave hauls his sorry butt out of their lives, everybody throws a huge party. There’s guitar music and belly-dancing and laughter and the amazing sight of civilized people getting along and enjoying each other’s company. ‘Tis the day of Jubilee indeed! “This is my Utopia!” crows Rob.

Actually, there are a tiny handful of people who are mildly disappointed by this turn of events: Aaron and Jonathan had been haboring delusions that they could get Dave to behave like a decent human being. Red’s devastated; he has just realized that he’s going to have to surrender at Appomatox. The Utopian Civil War is over. Fortunately for Red, he will not have to go through Reconstruction before he’s readmitted to the Union. These people are really a lot more forgiving than I might have been. Hex even attempts to console him!

Well, now that the show will not be about All Dave, All the Time, maybe we can check in on how these two new ladies are working out? See Kristen try to milk the cow. See Rhonda try to help Bella out with the farm. See Bella go apeshit on Rhonda because she’s doing it all wrooooooooong! Everybody else is wrong! Bella is the only one who can do anything right! Everybody should do it exactly like Bella! See Rhonda give up in disgust. See the producers start ignoring her again in favor of the local freak show.

Why won’t anybody help Bella anymore? See Bella seek out Josh for advice and consolation. See Josh consider jumping off a cliff.

Poor Josh. He’s like that one poor kid in school who has somehow been assigned to befriend the brat who eats crayons and throws dirt at people. He can try—very patiently—to explain to Bella that she’s a micromanaging lunatic who is driving everybody else crazy, but it doesn’t mean she’s going to listen, no matter how much she bats her eyes at him and tells him how wonderful he is.

Delivery arrives with a new refrigerator, and a new reason for Mike’s blood pressure to explode. There’s another $500 gone. Can we all start discussing a long-term economic strategy here?

Oh, no, Mike! We can’t! We got mail! We got mail! This is much more exciting than budget planning! What could it be?

Oh, for fuck’s sake.

Dave has written a weepy apology letter asking to be reinstated in Utopia. Rob is almost ready to pull a Dave-level tantrum as he bellows his opposition to the idea. Hey, folks, remember that big party where we all sang and danced and had fun? You know why? NO DAVE. No No No No NO!!

Rob may be a bit belligerent, but he’s not alone in his refusal. Only gentle Jonathan is able to get a single concession out of the group. Dave still owes him that baptism. Can he come back and do that?

Atheist Hex agrees to this. OK, preacherman. You can shove his head underwater for a few seconds if you want (FOX knows we all want to do that, for a lot longer), but he still isn’t going to rejoin the group. They take a vote, and this becomes the plan. Jonathan is OK with this.

On Day Ten, Mike and Dedeker are now in looooooove. Free love for everybody! Josh and Rob have finished the plumbing. Clean water for everybody! At least until they get the bill. Or is FOX paying for that?

Dave arrives to make his last minute plea, like an abusive husband asking for a second chance. I messed up, baby, but I tell you, I’ll change. Jonathan here’s gonna baptize me, and then I’m gonna be a new man! It’ll be a magic bullet to solve all my problems! C’mon, baby, whattya say?

The only people willing to let this trainwreck back in the camp are Jonathan, who is really trying his damnedest to save a sinner, and Red, who has visions of the South rising again.

In one of the very few scenes in this awful mess that I simply refuse to lampoon, Jonathan Lovelace, genuine man of God, reads a few verses from his beloved Holy Book and baptises Dave Green in the lake. “We are born of sin. Be baptized, and be a new man.”

Well, Jonathan, no matter what happens, you tried. You tried really hard. Don’t be too downhearted if, six months later, this attention-mongering thug gets arrested in a Wal-Mart because he attacked a clerk for giving him the wrong change.

Once Dave is gone again—at least for now—we can return to more important business: voting on Rhonda and Kristen. (Remember them?) No, no, that can wait. Mike has to mess with Bella’s head first. Let’s see, how can we push her buttons…? Got it! Let’s buy a microwave!

Bella: NO NO NO NO NO! Deadly! Radiation! Disaster! We’re all gonna die! Mike, you uneducated lout! This is not my Utopia! Josh, hold me!

As Bella flips out and runs off in tears, Mike admits that he doesn’t want a microwave, which they really can’t afford, anyway. He just wanted to see if he could make Bella cry. Oh, Mike, you horrible bully, you.

And that concludes this… no, wait. Was there something else we had to do? Oh, yeah.

OK, Kristen and Rhonda, you were brought in because we had fourteen people in Utopia and we need fifteen. Dave has just self-destructed all by himself, so you should both get to stay, right?

NOPE! We are going to vote one of you out anyway! Because the producers need a cliffhanger, and they just suck at basic math! So, make your pitches, ladies. Why should we keep you?

Rhonda: Well, I make a terrible first impression, nobody likes me when they first meet me, and I am a hardline member of the Tea Party, which ought to be a really popular stance with this group of free-love advocates, pot farmers (that’s Red, although they aren’t talking about this on the show), and unwed mothers. But if you don’t let me stay, I’ll cry. Look, I brought silverware!

Kristen: I have a degree in marketing, so I can pull money out of my butt. I’m positive!

And that’s it! Tune in next time to see which of these lucky women gets to run screaming from Utopia forever! No, they didn’t tell us who was voted off during the broadcast, because that might ruin the suspense. Like the 24/7 live feeds haven’t already done that. You want to know who’s still in the compound? Google it yourself. A kindergartener could crack this mystery.

Update: Ratings for episode 3 are the worst yet:

The show drew just 2 million total viewers at 8 p.m.

Let’s put that in perspective. NBC delivered 3 million in the same time slot with the outdoors reality adventure “Running Wild with Bear Grylls” and ABC notched 4.5 million with two episodes of Tim Allen’s sitcom “Last Man Standing.” And those were all repeats.

Previous episodes:

UTOPIA RECAP: Give me Ramen, or give me a really stupid lingering death from starvation and malnutrition (S1:E2)

UTOPIA RECAP: It’s Not Utopia, It’s Lord of the Flies for Adults (S1:E1)

For more Claire Abraham, check out her website – Recapper’s Delight!

TV Show: Utopia

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