Liveblogging Minute To Win It, Part I

8:28 PM This is the quietest I’ve ever heard the studio … giving Mark the blessed silence he needs, in order to listen — to really listen — to his oddly filled glasses. And now … he plays the glasses, and it sounds just like … ROW ROW ROW YOUR BOAT! The crowd bursts into applause and/or flames! Mark’s on a roll! Is tonight the night he vanquishes his demons???

8:27 PM This challenge is called “Spoon Tune.” You rearrange the ten “oddly filled glasses of water” (Guy’s description) so that they play Row Row Row Your Boat … and guess what? He only has a minute to win it! OKAY I’m crying FOUL on Mark’s super-intense, dire humming of the tune before he started arranging the glasses. That was too much.

8:25 PM Mark has another opportunity for another bonus: AN EXTRA LIFE. Goddamn, call me a paleoconservative, but when I first started watching MTWI, they weren’t throwing bonuses around willy-nilly. I feel like Pat Buchanan right now: “We need to take to the streets with our machine guns before we lose all that is essential to Minute To Win It!”

8:24 PM Oh shit, just had my first LOL of the night. Guy Fieri was looking at Mark and he said, “This is where we get into what I call RiDICulous amounts of money.” It sounded so awesome when he said it, I just plain ol’ chuckled. What can I say, I have a complicated relationship with Guy Fieri.

8:24 PM Well fuck a duck, Mark did it! He stacked the five apples! Whew! That was worth ten grands of money!!! (aka $10,000) He’s gotta be feeling good.

8:22 PM Okay, we’re back. Johnny Applestack … “it’s an old (challenge), but it’s a great one” (as per G. Fieri). “Steady hands and a good foundation …” I gotta tell you guys, I’m NOT liking these apples. I don’t think Mark can stack these goddamn fucking apples. These fucking cocksuckin’ no-good shit-hole butty apples!!! Come on, Mark, stack the apples!!!

8:18 PM Johnny Applestack, take 2: Mark tries again. He says to himself, “Come on, buddy.” That’s actually kinda cool. Oh, great: commercial break.

8:17 PM Great quote from Guy Fieri: “I’m not sure that I like that apple.” This apple stack ain’t looking like jack, if you ask me. Mark failed at the Johnny Applestack challenge. The audience is bummed. Mark’s daughters are crestfallen. Guy Fieri is mordant; that’s the only word for it. (“Mordant” is a word, right? A word that describes when a game show host feels sad on behalf of his favorite contestant?)

8:16 PM Turns out the challenge is called Johnny Applestack, which is a pretty cool name for what is (literally) just a guy attempting to stack apples on top of each other. It sounds like the name of a really good breakfast flapjack.

8:15 PM Mark has to stack some apples using a towel, or something(?). it’s hard to understand the challenges when you’re not really watching the TV. Most of the time, it sounds like this: “Challenge … must stack apples … a towel … a spoon in your toe … good luck.”

8:14 PM Pretty good commercials. Did you see that one about TurboTax? It looked interesting. I couldn’t tell what was happening because — OK WAIT A MINUTE: Guy Fieri just referred to Mark as a “living legend” because he’s the first-ever returning contestant. Not sure I approve of the use of “living legend,” there.

8:10 PM Mark did it! He just won five thousand bucks … and those sweet, precious extra ten seconds! We’ll be right back after these commercial breaks.

8:09 PM Guy: “You feel good?” Mark: “I feel great.” David Rees: “I feel great too. It’s been too long.” And here goes Mark with his yo-yo attached to his belt! he has to knock over some cans with the yo-yo. Guy Fieri: “This game is wild.” No argument here, this is one intense challenge on Minute To Win It.

8:07 PM Blueprint Bonus Game! That means he “not only gets the 5k, he also gets the bonus!” And the bonus is … extra time! A bonus that undermines the essence of Minute To Win It! Not sure how I feel about this. Mark is happy that the new challenge involves a yo-yo attached to his buttocks.

8:06 PM Gotta say Mark is dominating this pasta-related challenge. I wonder if he used to work at an Italian restaurant? Is Guy Fiere wearing a tuxedo jacket over his red shirt? “Level 2 complete!” Mark has completed the pasta challenge. The happy music is playing. How I’ve missed the happy music!

8:05 PM Guy Fieri is coaching Mark on how to get in the zone … not to be too anxious, too hungry. The poor guy has been haunted by his “Epic Fail” (my words) and now he’s back to avenge his past. So here he goes, about to put a piece of spaghetti in his mouth …

8:03:30 PM He did it! He emptied the kleenex box! (Computer is telling me to capitalize kleenex because it’s a brand name, but I’m so anti-corporate I’m not going to.) ON TO THE NEXT CHALLENGE: “Noodling around.” Using a piece of spaghetti in his mouth, Mark must lift other pieces of pasta. This feels like a weird dream.

8:03 PM First game is on: He has to empty a kleenex box of all hankies in ONE MINUTE.

8:02:30 PM Okay, here’s what’s up: Tonight they’re letting a former contestant who went home empty-handed try again. America is the land of second chances, and that’s why Minute To Win It is America’s show!

8:02 PM I hate to admit it, but Guy Fieri looks good tonight. I haven’t seen him in months, but he still looks good.

8:01 PM Let’s go!