Please let me apologize to all the fans of “Shaq’s Big Challenge” out there who were left without a recap of last week’s episode. I had a hot date that night, and I’m one of the last people in Western culture without a DVR. I’m sure there were many (three or four) people that were counting on me and I let them down. I know we have at least one fan outside the show’s broadcast radius. Alright, I’m done apologizing all over myself. On to Shaq’s Fat Camp!
The show starts out with a mini-recap of last week: Kit was taken away on a stretcher during a workout…Shaq had a s
howdown meeting with the local school board regarding physical fitness in schools…Chris, the chubby Cuban boy exclaimed, “I miss ice cream. I NEED ice cream.”
We start out with Shaq telling us that Kit’s father has pulled her from the program after she collapsed during a workout. Shaq takes a trip with Doc to Kit’s home to try to convince her father that she should rejoin the program. Mr. Kit is upset, won’t allow cameras into the house and drops F-bombs like George Carlin. He finally concedes to allow Shaq into the house, by himself, with no cameras. They talk it out, and Shaq wins him over with his Shaq-ness. As they leave, the Big Fella says, “He’s a great father. We need more men in the world like him.”
Now that the group is whole again, Shaq declares, “Enough talking. A little more rocking.”
Mr. T (Tarik Tyler) is the hardass trainer assigned to whip the fat out of their lives. He looks like a cross between Billy Blanks and Clubber Lang, only with a salt and pepper goatee. At this point, Kevin has apparently gained three pounds since starting the program but tells his compatriots that he’s lost nine. So we’ve got a liar on our hands. But it’s okay, because he has this to say about himself, “I’m a leader, and it’s a burden sometimes.”
The plan is for Shaq and the Doc to team up with Shaq’s coach from LSU, Dale Brown, to give a pitch about their proposed school workout plan at a teacher’s meeting. Shaq is getting pretty serious at this point and tells the Doc, “Like my good friend Eminem says, ‘You only get one shot.’ ” As the pitch day approaches, it turns out that the Heat are requiring that he travel with the team to visit wounded veterans at Walter Reed Army Hospital and possibly the White House too. He’s out, leaving the Doc and Coach Brown to carry the torch.
When we come back from commercial, the Doc (who resembles a younger Mr. Clean) is bombing his presentation at the teacher’s meeting. We haven’t seen a speech this disjointed since Champ Kind professed his unrequited man-love for Ron Burgundy. THANK GOD Coach Brown was there. I can see why he was a coach, he’s doing a great job motivating these teachers to care about the health of their pupils. He’s dropping scary fact-bombs on them like he’s a bombardier over Dresden. “Obesity is killing more children than guns in this country.” “Obese children are 80% more likely to have type II diabetes.” Boom! Boom! You can tell they audience of teachers has goosebumps at this point. When he finally concludes and asks who wants to help save these kids’ lives, everyone rises to give him a standing O. It was a moving performance.
A few weeks later, the in-class fitness program launches. They do 20 minutes of stretches and calisthenics during homeroom. Some boys were checking out the girls during toe touches. Some kids were giggling. But overall, it seemed like they were enjoying themselves. Who knows if that was at all influenced by the cameras in their faces and the chance of Shaq stopping by their class. Meanwhile, Shaq has one of those “I’m rich, I’ve won four NBA Championships, and now I’m a reality TV star” smiles on his face.
This was filmed about nine months ago, because it’s Halloween: one of the most hallowed days of the year in a young fatty’s life. Shaq and Mr. Clean are worried that the kids are going to have a lapse in judgment tonight. We learn that Walter is going to be passing out candy to trick-or-treaters all night and playing a new video game. It’s okay though because Walter’s mom is a genius. She bought candy that he hates. James, however, goes trick-or-treating with his dad and proceeds to eat his own weight in candy as he rolls around on his living room floor. Mr. T makes him pay for it later. There is a budding rift growing between those two.
The kids are all getting weighed in to check their progress at the two month mark of the fitness program. Here are the winners so far in reverse order:
6. Kevin: -3 pounds
5. James: -8 pounds
4. Chris: -9 pounds
T-2. Ariel and Kit: -11 pounds
1. Walter: -15 pounds!
When we come back from commercial we learn that the fitness program got shut down “by the man.” A new superintendent of the school district has kicked Shaq, Mr. Clean, and the TV cameras out of the schools because he is worried that it will “reflect poorly on the district.” When Mr. Clean tells Shaq the bad news, to show his rage, he knocks over a cheap looking stereo in his gym in a pretty mild manner. Shaq tries calling the superintendent, but he’s out of luck. The guy is on a “f*cking retreat.” Later he gets call blocked. The guy isn’t even picking up his phone at this point.
Meanwhile, it seems that James and Mr. T may need to have an intervention. James complains to Shaq that T is always yelling at him. Shaq tells him that’s how it is sometimes. “You don’t think Pat Riley yells at me?” You know what Shaq, I don’t think he does. I think he’s afraid of you. But that’s just one humble blogger’s opinion.
As the episode winds down, things are looking up. The superintendent pulls his head out of his ass and allows the fitness program to continue. The fat campers all improve on their mile time, most of them by at least three minutes. The only negative is that Cuban Chris was a no-show for the fitness test. Could we have another Shaq house call next week?
Before they sign off for the week, we get a preview of next week’s episode:
– Shaq makes a deal with the kids that as soon as all of them have each lost 20 pounds, he’s going to bring them to a Heat game with floor seats and locker room access. The problem is, James is not keeping up his end of the bargain and the other kids are getting pissed that he’s standing between them and a White Out.
– Walter is trying to catch a live chicken with his bare hands. I don’t know what to say…
Until next time Fat Campers!