December 19, 2006: The Bachelor Party and Stolen Vows
Let me start with two completely unrelated facts that you should tell everyone you know:
1) Someone just sent me the complete version of the
meltdown, and the one part that was cut out of the version most people saw is where
is high-fiving him.
2) We're on twice this week. Tuesday at 9 and 9:30 pm/ET.
In keeping with the theme of twos, this week I'm going to present to you the two-part
guide to torturing your coworkers.
1) Outthinking: "The
During this week of shooting,
and I spent countless hours in his trailer playing Connect Four for $50 a game. Josh and I were about evenly matched, having a good time, feeling solid about our skills, until Kurt showed up. He watched for a few minutes, and then he asked to play. Thankfully, we didn't play him for money. We played him just for "fun."
I use quotation marks because it didn't take us long to realize that the fun was over. For one thing, we learned quickly that Kurt Fuller is the greatest Connect Four player who has ever lived. You might say, "How can anyone be that good at it? It's a game with two 7-year-olds on the box. Anyone can play it as long as they're old enough to not swallow the pieces." Just understand that when the box says "5 and up," Kurt is the "and up." The man plays Connect Four like one of those savants whose brain is so full of every possible combination on a chessboard that they can't tie their shoes or say hello to you - and I'd rather play Connect Four with that person, because he wouldn't taunt me.
The mind games made you want to throw the board. Between classic Fuller backhanded compliments, Kurt gave us a reason for his superpowers: He said it was because he has two children. He said it to make us feel better (and, of course, also a little bit worse), but it made me feel sorry for the children. If our many games are an indication, Dad's style of parenting doesn't involve letting the kids win. It does, however, involve taking the time after a loss to infuriate them by pointing out where they could have won five moves ago if they had just been paying attention. Kurt is one of those guys who treats knowledge like Vicks mentholated ointment - the way he gives it to children is by rubbing it in.
After a while, Josh and I didn't feel like playing Connect Four anymore. He ended up a few games ahead of me, but I didn't want to get back to even, or look at another Connect Four board ever again. When I have children, I'll have them play baseball in the house.
2) Not thinking: "The
Marla Sokoloff is a sweet girl, but this week she did more damage than Fuller. But Josh and I enjoyed this method a lot more, because we were the witnesses to it and not the subjects.
One of the guys on the set, whom I will call
(not his real name, but I don't want this to show up when people Google him, and also, the real Jarrett is my friend and a talented guy, and I figure he could use the plug at the bottom of this blog under "TV Guide Links") came back after a few weeks away, during which time he was supposed to get married. When he showed up, he said hello to Marla and Josh and me. Marla asked Jarrett how his wedding went. It didn't happen, Mr. Grode told her.
Let's pause the tape here and point out that "the wedding didn't happen" is what I like to call a conversational danger sign. About as subtle as "I just got back from the doctor's and he explained why I've been losing weight." It says to the alert listener, "Careful - this conversation might be heading into some nonlaughter territory." Not that it's certain disaster. Just be careful. You have a few safe responses. You can try an ambiguous "Oh, really?" Maybe "Ring! Ring! I have a call I have to answer on my cell phone." Or the recommended method: Change the subject with a "Hey, did you see ABC's new slate of comedies? The only show better than the one on Tuesday at 9 is the one on Tuesday at 9:30. And I hear that Dr. House is a racist." All of them would be better than:
"What, did she get cold feet and break it off? Ha ha ha ha."
Marla was frozen in mid-joke when Jarrett Grode - in a dead monotone only heard from prisoners of war and people telling the absolute truth - said yes, that was exactly what had happened. Josh Cooke and I had a hard time figuring out who felt worse about it, Marla or Jarrett.
probably would have been able to figure it out easily (it was Jarrett), but our judgment was impaired by the fact that we were laughing so hard. Sure, it might have been more polite to be silent, but it was like watching someone win a game with a shot from half court. Someone's going to have their heart broken, but that's why it's so special.
Which one are you? Let me know, and watch Tuesday at 9 and 9:30 pm/ET.