May 3, 2018
Utopia RECAP: Give me Ramen, or give me a really stupid lingering death from starvation and malnutrition (S1:E2)
Two episodes in—and the behavior of certain people (cough, Red, cough, Dave) is already getting so appalling it really isn’t funny anymore and I’m beginning to regret signing up for this mess. I mean, there’s slipping on a banana peel, ha ha, and then there’s watching people get hit by a truck. I have a very difficult time believing that adults who are aware that a year lasts 365 days would behave the way these two morons have without a script or specific prodding from unseen forces behind the camera.
I don’t think Fox is conducting a social experiment at all; I think—or at least, desperately hope—that half this horrifying crap is staged. If it isn’t, these people WILL starve to death because WINTER IS COMING, and at least some of them don’t deserve it. Like that baby Amanda is carrying. Or really, anybody not named Red or Dave.
Not funny so far? Sorry, no. This is downright disturbing, and I’m not laughing anymore.
It all begins on Day Four when Red and Dave decide that, in their own personal perfect society, neither of them should have to answer to anybody else at all on any grounds whatsoever. Of course, the root word of “society” is “socio,” having to do with, you know, WORKING WITH OTHER PEOPLE. They have exactly $5,000 to spend for the welfare of fifteen people over the course of an entire year, and that’s not poverty line, folks. They’d have to multiply their cash fund many times over to hit the poverty line. But Red and Dave decide they want to guarantee everybody’s starvation by demanding their “share” of the money, right this minute, to spend however they like. They are setting up their own government – The Utopia State of Freedom! Freedom from Aaron’s despotic plans to buy wasteful things like white rice, beans and fresh vegetables! Freedom from oppressive orders to do the basic chores required to run the farm! Freedom from the societal expectations to behave like humans instead of rabid animals! And yes, the guy named Red is the one leading the march to secede from the Union. You think this isn’t a fucking setup? If I told you this was the second reality show he’s been on, and he’s basically a professional character, would you believe me then?
Of course, they aren’t actually allowed to, you know, go anywhere and set up camp by themselves with the $900 they’d have together for a year, so what the Utopia State of Freedom really amounts to is two obnoxious louts laying around, making demands of everybody else but refusing to cooperate about anything.
Mike points out that if Red and Dave leave Utopia, they aren’t citizens there anymore, and the show is not called “The State of Freedom.” That’s Utopia’s money, so the two self-made confederates shouldn’t get any. He’s right, by the way, and they should have listened to him.
Of course, before Red and Dave can secede over the contents of the grocery list, they actually have to be able to call the grocery store. That’s going to require electricity, which means SOMEBODY has to lay the wiring required to get that done. SOMEBODY is going to have to dig the trenches. SOMEBODY is going to have to work very, very hard to put a little light on the subject. Who is SOMEBODY? Well, it sure as hell isn’t Red and Dave.
It’s Josh, in fact, still trying to earn his redemption from the whole drunken ass-grabbing thing. He and Rob are busting their butts, apparently so Dave and Red don’t have to.
In more benign, more laughable news, Aaron is becoming very uncomfortable with all the women wandering around nude at the lake, washing each other’s hair, splashing each other’s bodies… you get the picture. Josh loves the scenery—that figures—but Aaron would like for the women to use the crappy little shower stall he’s set up with a tarp, and that makes Hex cry because he’s made her feel like a slut. She’s uncomfortable because he’s made her feel like she’s making him uncomfortable. Why don’t they all try making each other feel comfortable, instead? Because this is Utopia, where nobody seems to give a damn about anybody but themselves and their own, VERY narrow, VERY divergent views on what’s reasonable and acceptable behavior.
Chris and Bri ignore all this ranting and make out a lot. They’d like to find a place to consummate their relationship for real, but there’s all these damned CAMERAS around to watch their every move! Because that’s the point of the whole show!
By Day Five, everybody is beginning to starve on less than 1,000 calories a day. Bella, desperate to get the farm going, pleads with the others to stop making fun of her chicken tractor and help. Even if they do think she’s crazy. Even if they are right. Because at least she’s not trying to secede and take the group’s money with her. Bella persuades some of the others to help with the planting and the watering, but just as they really get going… oh, joy. Here comes Dave. He grabs the seeds, demands to know what she’s planting, and when she tries to rescue her precious, extremely limited resources from the resident madman, he throws them at her and dances around in a fit.
That’s the food supply for the year, moron. Have you ever read Game of Thrones? Can you read at all? WINTER IS COMING, and you make the Lannisters look like a sewing circle.
By nightfall, a small miracle happens. Somebody just did something genuinely useful and helpful. I guess they are all glad they didn’t vote Josh out after all because… drum roll please… they have electricity! Oops, no, they don’t. Oh, wait! YES! THEY DO!! Let there be light! Let there be cell phone use! And, as Dave gets out his clippers, let there be haircuts!
On Day Six, it’s time to order the food supplies. Unfortunately, nobody agrees on what they should order. Doctor Nikki, the nutritionist, who has been thinking about what might keep well because WINTER IS COMING, suggests canned veggies, but Dave would rather eat prison food. Keep the violent tantrums up, Dave, and that could be arranged.
The citizens of the Utopia State of Freedom decide to steal their “share” of the money from the safe. They creep to the safe and are caught by Bella…
Unfortunately, she’s so full of her own self-pity at being considered a bat-shit loony chicken-tractor lover, she pays absolutely no attention at all to what they are doing. She’d rather go off in a corner, cry, and hug herself than stop them. Fortunately, these two assholes couldn’t crack a walnut, let alone a safe… not yet.
Aaron and Mike arrive in the barn; they are about to make the phone call to the grocer. What are these power-hungry meglomaniacs ordering? What’s that? BEANS? RICE? RADISHES??? CARROTS??? And NO RAMEN NOODLES?!? Well, that tears it! Down with the oppressors! Power to the people! The revolution has begun!
“I’m just ordering rice and beans!” squeaks Mike in terror.
Dave screams and howls that he will BREAK THAT TELEPHONE — you know, their lifeline to the outside world? The thing they need if they ever want to order anything else ever again? — if he doesn’t get his noodles, and suddenly he and Red are throwing some of the meager canned goods the group already owns off the shelves and SMASHING THEM ON THE FLOOR. Um, guys? WINTER IS COMING. You just crushed the rations for January.
For Ramen noodles.
Aaron coldly informs the revolutionaries that he wasn’t even placing the order. He was just trying to find out how much the frigging stuff COST so they could make some cost-analysis decisions. You know, like adults on a really severe budget do sometimes?
Somehow or another, Aaron finally does get his order in to the grocer. He’s squandered $65 dollars on stuff that isn’t Dave’s damned Ramen noodles, and it’s time for retaliatory action.
On Day Seven, Dave and Red successfully steal their $900 from the safe. This time, the person who catches them is Hex, who is actually observant enough to, you know, CARE. They tell her that the Utopia State of Freedom is just taking out their fair share, and she decides that if they don’t belong to Utopia proper, they don’t need to be sharing the vegetables that Bella grows or any of the other resources they create for themselves while Red and Dave sit around being Free.
Dave insists that he’s an indigenous Citizen of Utopia and he gets to eat all the food he doesn’t help grow. I am not sure how he got out of that conversation with all his teeth, except that Hex is better at keeping her temper than either of them are.
Red and Dave grab their money, grab that phone they tried to break, and order about $150 worth of hamburgers, chips, cookies, and oh, yeah, Ramen noodles. Because spending $65 dollars on enough rice, beans and fresh vegetables to feed thirteen people is wasteful.
Then the Utopia State of Freedom uses the cooking utensils of Utopia Prime to wage a cookout. Come and get it! Get your yummy grub here! Join us! Be one with us! Here, preacher, have a hamburger. Chris, you want some chips? Join the rebel cause, dedicated to freedom, anarchy, and the sovereign right to use up every scrap of money we have for the year on junk food in the first two months!
A few people, including Nikki, Josh and Bella, refuse to take part. Bella munches on some dandelions, and that’s not as crazy as it sounds.
In the meantime, Bri and Chris are so horny they decide there must not be any cameras in the hayloft. They are wrong, but this is not actually a pornographic show so the producers leave them to their lovemaking.
For more Claire Abraham, check out her website – Recapper’s Delight!