In episode 17 of Strip Search, the internet reality art show sensation, PA tries to get me to stop recapping this show by making the episode center around motorsports, one of my least favorite things. Fortunately, our favorite smoothie-fueled webtoonists seem to have much more interest in kicking the living shit out of the race track than actually “racing,” per se, so it all works out in the end.
Somewhere out there, there is a really funny caption for this screenshot involving a suspicious-looking Monica wearing pants that are not her own. I think the joke is funnier if we all just finish it mentally.
It’s a brand new day at the Artists Commune of Love (And Pineapples.) Graham asks a well-rested looking bunch of Strippers if they “feel the need…”
“To pee?” asks Monica. Always with the down-there-in-the-pants humor, that young lady.
“For SPEED,” Graham corrects.
There is a pause while the group considers this, then Erika ventures a “Yes?” with this amazing look on her face. If you’ve ever read a book where one character is said to look at another character “incredulously,” look at Erika here: this is what they are talking about. This is what they aspire to.
Graham then does the typical “Pack your bags, because one of you won’t be coming back,” spiel; for my thoughts on bag packing or lack thereof at this point, see here. The contestants soon arrive at Pacific Grand Prix, a go-kart race track, where Graham points out that this is the closest he’ll ever come to hosting Top Gear. I think Graham may be selling himself a bit short there; how does he know he’ll never get to host Top Gear? Maybe, sometime in the near future, the Top Gear producers will say “We’re tired of these kooky blokes, what this show really needs is a handsome Canadian who knows his way around a broad pun or three. Bonus points if he comes with his own gas mask.”
Erika confesses that she doesn’t drive in real life and driving scares her, which in my books counts as being intelligent; I mean, I drive because I have to, but I hate it and have always hated it. You’re always stuck with people who think that gaining territory on the road somehow increases their manhood and/or sexual prowess, when all you really want to do is get to the doctor on time or buy a frozen yogurt. Tavis is just glad the challenge isn’t horseback riding, because “the high, tall-moving animal is not something that I want between my legs.” I don’t want to make this recap 10,000 words long but damn, everyone is just so quotable in this episode.
They take a practice drive around the track in their go-karts, which look more like tiny parade floats than go-karts to me. I don’t know what I’m talking about on this subject, so maybe these are completely state-of-the-art go-karts here, but they look sort of odd. Everyone seems to be having trouble controlling their karts, and after running off the road, Katie puts her arms up; I will spend the whole rest of the episode trying to figure out if when the contestants do that, they’re flagging the race track staff for help, or if they’re just doing a “LOL I wiped out,” gesture. I never decide one way or the other. Also worth mentioning is that everyone has cameras on their carts, so we get a first-hand view of the action; Abby Cam and Erika Cam tend to be the most entertaining.
Maki then complains that he can’t seem to do “that drift thing everyone else is doing,” but as far as I can tell, no one else is at the level where they can drift into or out of corners, so what is he talking about? Were some of the contestants drifting like a boss and they just didn’t show it, or is Maki starting to hallucinate from lack of sleep and constantly inhaling fumes from COPIC markers? Another one of those beguiling Strip Search mysteries.
Practice round finished, they then do a qualifying round to determine their starting order in the actual race; this seems unnecessarily complicated to me, but then again, I am racetrack illiterate. Abby manages to inadvertently cheat by cutting across the grass at one point, which will be important later. At one point, Monica passes some kind of stoplight, which baffles me; why do they need lights on a race track? Isn’t it just green, all the time?
Erika, bless her, decides to make things more interesting by crashing into walls, to the point where her kart is so lodged into the scenery that a track guy has to come out and extricate her. Later, she breaks through the wall entirely and takes a glorious splash through a mud puddle, which we get to see in exciting first-person view. The implications are clear: you force Erika to drive, you better be prepared to face the consequences. I approve and award her an MVP title for this episode. Tavis also sends his helmet-cam flying at one point, but you know, he’s no Erika. So few are.
Now that #TeamScheme is gone, I have to wonder how Amy would have handled this challenge. Like, maybe she’s secretly an Indianapolis 500-level driver, but she would pretend to bump into one wall just to keep from standing out. “Oh my, I completely lost control of the car,” she would lie in a completely unconvincing, stone-faced deadpan, then do a marvelous drift around Maki’s kart just to play with his mind. Look, this show now has me writing Amy fanfiction.
The guy who waves the checkered flag to signify the end of the qualifying round has this great “I can’t believe we are letting these artists drive, this is humiliating,” look on his face. Dude, think of us artist-types who have to watch it. Anyway, Abby got the fastest lap time because apparently, accidental cheating did not disqualify her, so she gets to start at the front of the pack in the final (thank goodness) race. The last race is mostly uneventful, except Maki screws up when he tries to drift again (why? NO ONE IS DRIFTING!), and Abby nearly crashes into a pond. There is a little sick part of me that thinks “LOL it would be funny if she crashed into the pond for reals!” but I like Abby too much, so no. Shut up, little sick part of me that I neither admire nor like. Oh, and Katie does minor injury to her hand during a crash, but it doesn’t appear to be her magic art hand, so the Strip Search fandom all over the world breathes a communal sigh of relief.
When the dust settles, Abby has come in third (“I could have won, if I’d just been a little more careful…or reckless? Either one.”), Lexxy is second, and Erika is first. However, Erika apparently cut the course just like Abby did earlier, so she’s disqualified and Lexxy is crowned the winner of the Strip Search Grand Prix. I’m confused: if Erika got disqualified for course-cutting, why was it deemed okay when Abby did it earlier? I was worried about this for about a fraction of a second, then I realized I was in imminent danger of caring about something motorsports-related and got a hold of myself. Erika, continue to bless her, could not possibly give fewer shits about the fact that she didn’t win, and is just glad she had some fun in the end.
So Lexxy wins! I guess the small minority who think there’s some kind of Great Lexxy Conspiracy are probably rubbing their hands together with a strange mixture of stark outrage and glee, but for the rest of us it doesn’t really matter. On general principle I try not to comment on the Strippers’ appearances (since this isn’t a beauty contest, and I would be pissed if I were a contestant and people were objectifying me) BUT I have to confess: Lexxy has the most perfect teeth and it was actually distracting me during her interviews. Maybe the real Lexxy conspiracy is that she’s a secret orthodontist. In any event, she wins a complete set of First Party shirts, which is hardly the most exciting prize they’ve given away on this show, but I wouldn’t turn it down. Shirts are good, they cover your bits.
Naturally, we close out with Abby, zen master of never setting her goals too high: “At least I know that, among these people, I could fulfill my dream of being a race car driver.”
NEXT TIME: Well, I said StripCon was going to become a real thing, but this was sooner than I expected. However, instead of real guests, from the looks of things, the staff of PA are going to be using their acting skills to pose as adoring fans. If that’s even half as hilariously awkward as I am now imagining, it will be a great episode. One for the ages.