May 3, 2018
Utopia RECAP: Pastor Jonathan gets saved (S1:E4)
Gotta wonder about Dan Piraro—you know, that guy who did that Bizarro cartoon? What’s he doing, narrating the rip-off American version of a Dutch reality show when he could be illustrating really weird and creative things of his own instead? And why is he talking to us like we’re five? How many times does he have to tell us this is the biggest social experiment in history, especially when it’s such a big disaster? How much are they paying him to spout all this blather?
Piraro begins the latest episode by droning on and on about all the earth-shattering crap these idiots have been doing for the past two weeks, and then reminds us—because we must all be on the edge of our seats—that there are two new potential members of Utopia. But the pioneers can only choose one to add to their tragically disfunctional crew. Just one, despite the fact that Dave left. And no, they can’t tell Red Van Winkle to go running after his buddy Dave and keep both because… why?
Because not one goddamned thing on this show makes any sense.
Oh, by the way, they kept Kristen and dumped Rhonda. But you already knew that—at least if you cared. (There are live 24/7 video feed, after all, so the internet knows all.) They chose Kristen because they are spending money like the Kardashians and at the rate they are going, they will be broke by the end of this month. Kristen has a marketing degree, so surely that’s got to help somehow. Doesn’t it?
Bri gets Kristen up to speed on who is fucking who, a very sweet, manipulative way of marking her territory. Yeah, Mike’s taken, and Bella thinks Josh is taken, but she’s delusional, and oh, by the way, touch Chris and you are dead meat, bitch. Ooh, no, I meant, yeah, you see those scratches on Chris’s back? I put them there. Just saying. See these nails? I can scratch other people too, you dig? Oh, and back to the gossip… Hex is getting really, really, really, really uh… thirsty. We mean… you know what we mean.
Kristen says she can take care of her own thirst, if you know what I mean. Did I really need to know that? Learning all about a stranger’s masturbation habits… that is not my Utopia.
Anyway, these morons had $5,000, but they bought a toilet, a fridge, a stove, and food—oh, look, Aaron did get Ramen after all. Go figure. But guess what, Josh? In order for that stove to actually work, you need a gas line. That’s over $600. Shouldn’t you have known that, Mr. Building Contractor? Amanda hears this, and I’m afraid she’s going to give birth right then and there.
Amanda decides—about two weeks too late—that they might want to figure out how the hell they’re going to replace all the cash they’ve been tossing around. Mike’s worried, too. Red concurs—what? Hey, asshole, weren’t you the guy who stole money from the safe and tried to set up your own society? Didn’t you spend it all on hamburgers or something? Where’s that money you took? Did you and Dave spend it all?
And we learn something new about Utopia: Don’t get hurt. Poor old Pastor Jonathan breaks his thumb playing ball with Josh, and when the doctor arrives—I bet that cost money, too—he gets some bad news. He needs surgery. They need to stick pins in his hand. And guess what? He needs to recuperate someplace CLEAN.
Funny thing about Utopia—it’s as grimy as a campground. It’s our corrupt, imperfect, civilized world that has places where an injured man can recover without, oh, I don’t know, LOSING HIS THUMB. To save his thumb, he’s got to leave. He thinks it’s for six-to-eight weeks, but the rumor now is that it’s forever.
Man, what a choice. Give up your thumb to hang out with Red, Bella and Rob while slowly starving to death on a failing farm while the money runs out… or have surgery, go home to your loving wife, and sleep in a nice, soft, warm bed where you can heal. Oh, pastor, whatever are you gonna do?
Bella cries. Actually, everything—including dead chickens—makes Bella cry, so that may not mean much.
Bri’s so obsessed with the sex lives of other females on the farm, she decides to play matchmaker… for the chickens. That henhouse needs a rooster! There’s another fifteen bucks gone, but it’s probably one of their less idiotic purchases. It’s also the first thing Bri’s done besides drape herself all over Chris. The rooster arrives with a guy named Lefty, and Bella gets a bright idea. Hey, Lefty. Come look at my garden. You’re a real farmer. They’ll believe you. Tell them I’m right. Tell them chicken tractors aren’t stupid. Tell them they need to do everything I say. Can you do that, Lefty?
Lefty likes the chicken tractor. SCORE! See? See, guys? I’m right, and you’re wrong. Neener.
Oh, by the way, says Lefty, everything else you are doing is wrong. The chickens need to be in the shade and that garden of yours? Screw that keyhole stuff, you’ve got to make it bigger. A LOT bigger. WINTER IS COMING, and that’s not even close to enough food to keep you alive through December. Damn, people, you’re like the grasshopper and the ant, and I tell you what.. you are not the ants. Stupid city folk, all they wanna do is gossip about sex…
Kristen was voted in for her business sense, so why is it Amanda who calls another Super Urgent Business Meeting? Because Kristen’s too busy gossiping with Bri? OK, does anybody have any great business ideas? Anything at all? Damn crickets. Come on, anybody?
Hey, Utopia is a television show with a $50 million production budget, none of which is going to the pioneers! Dozens of people all over the nation must watch it every once in a while! Maybe they could offer… drum roll… touristy stuff? Jonathan’s got this (really not bad) idea for a campground, and maybe Red could offer some kind of… hillbilly… outdoorsy… uh, class? Now the ideas are flying! Hex wants to make jewelry out of bent, rusty nails! Folks will flock to that! Bella’s all up for donation… memorial… rocks… for their pets.
Kristen wants to make sure they don’t devalue their brand. I think the damage is already done on that score, Kristen.
And then Nikki’s got it. She’s going to offer a yoga class! Yep! That’s the winning idea! That’s what everybody votes for! Just let Kristen market it, because she’s feeling pretty useless at the moment.
Jonathan’s still trying to decide if it’s worth it to lose the use of his thumb to stay on television. After much thought and prayer, he announces to the others that his Utopia is the Kingdom of God. It’s not this contrived televised train wreck with naked swimming women and people screaming and stomping canned goods to get air time. He’s going home.
That is the most sensible decision anybody has made since the show began. In stark contrast to Dave’s departure, everybody is weeping openly at the news, because, as Dedeker puts it—and remember, Dedeker is the free love guru who appears naked on all the advertising—he’s the best example of a Christian that she’s seen in a long time. One man of genuine decency and compassion is walking out the Utopia gates, and this dark, nasty place just lost one of its few rays of light. Even former Marine Rob, who does not believe in God, is overcome with grief, and he tells Jonathan that Marines don’t need to question whether they’ve touched lives… and neither does Jonathan. Sniffle. I’ve got something in my eye.
Jonathan bequeaths his tiny crate of meager belongings and sleeping spot to Red. The morning after he leaves, Bella attempts to invade. She and Red almost come to blows, cursing and throwing things as they fight over Jonathan’s sleeping spot. What a way to honor his memory, morons. You know he saw that, don’t you?
For her next trick, Bella will release all the chickens all over the barnyard and wander off. Go, little chickens! Be free! Live the natural life! Eat whatever you can find, even if it’s cow poop! And don’t mind that hungry fox out there in the woods!
Hex loses it. I haven’t heard so much bleepity bleep since Dave left. Put them away, you bleep! I don’t bleeping want to hear it, you bleep! No common bleeping sense! Chickens are not supposed to eat bleeping cow bleep! You are going to bleeping kill these bleeping chickens and we are going to lose our cock and bleepity bleep bleep why can’t we vote HER off?
Bella thinks Hex has a bad aura.
So, Jonathan, are you recovering nicely at home? See what you missed?
Mike’s staring at the ledger, and he’s counting on his fingers and toes. Somehow, he got sucked into being Treasurer of the Damned, and he’s looking at a gruesome sight. After two whole weeks, they’ve got $3,000 left to get them through the year. And their big business venture is… yoga lessons on the poopy, chicken-pecked dirt in the hot sun. Yeah, winter’s looking kind of deadly right now. How’s that big marketing campaign coming, Kristen? Chris is making flyers? By hand? Please tell me he’s not using his own blood as ink. Surely they aren’t that desperate. Yet.
Also, they make a few phone calls to the many, many people they’ve befriended through the days. Hey, Lefty, you wanna pay $40 to do yoga with Nikki? No? Well, so much for that strategy.
Possibly to raise everybody’s spirits, Mike and Josh dress up in drag and do a faux burlesque show. It’s really pretty hysterical—on purpose! Maybe they should have charged admission. It couldn’t have done any worse than the yoga class. They get… one guy. It’s not Lefty the Farmer. The customer’s name is Ben, and he’s the one person who’s been glued obsessively to the live feed from day one. Yeah, that guy. Everybody greets him with gloomy, pouty faces and utter depressed indifference, because at Utopia customer service is a completely foreign concept.
It’s only hours later that Josh realizes they have possibly alienated their only confirmed customer and dedicated fan. He gave them forty dollars. It’s the first day they’ve made more money than they spent. Maybe they might be a little nicer about that? Naaaaw…. this is our Utopia, where we get to be complete brats to everybody, all the time, no matter how desperately we need their goodwill!
By the way, those yoga classes are still going on, along with some other new services that have been in development since then. How do I know? Well, Piraro mentions it once or fifteen times during the television broadcasts. That’s their real marketing campaign—national television advertising. For free. So, Kristen, feeling useless yet? Go milk a cow.
But chin up, everybody, there’s a new guy coming in! Hex, he’s the answer to your thirsty, thirsty dreams. Taylor is handsome, beefy, handy with his hands, and frequently shirtless. Hex takes one look at him and starts rubbing herself on stuff. He can do construction! (Watch out, Josh, this guy is about to take your job!) He can hunt! (Down, Hex.) He can cage fight! (OK, now we’ve got a new tourist attraction to market!) And best of all… he’s brought a whole lot of tasty meat to share! (By this, he means, you know, food.)
Hex lets off so many hormones every male animal in California can smell her. She’s got it so bad she… puts on makeup! And tries to flirt! The entire camp is cackling at her in a matter of minutes. Rob even writes her a dirty little song to let the whole world know how pathetically desperate this girl is for Taylor’s tasty man meat. What could possibly be funnier than that?
I’ll tell you what. It will be funnier if we find out Taylor is gay.