The Tester 3 – Episode 6 Recap: Survey Sez Suzkaiden

TheTester3Episode6

In the weekly maelstrom of goofball challenges, melodramatic post-production interviews and piles of free PlayStation stuff, it’s easy to forget the key difference between The Tester and the other more mainstream reality-TV shows it sometimes strives to ape. Unlike the producers of The Bachelor, The Amazing Race or The Apprentice, shows that hold out fame—or at least our pale modern definition of it—as the primary prize, The Tester is a show run by a company that’s auditioning an employee for a studio that has to produce actual products that generate actual profits. You know, real-people stuff. Where The Bachelor and The Apprentice reap ratings gold by keeping the crazy around for as long as possible (we’re looking at you, Gary Busey), Brent Gocke has no such luxury–even if he does have an awesome Journey T-shirt. I thought this might be the season where Sony played with fire the way Ben the Bachelor played with the hearts and psyches of a soccer team’s worth of forgettable floozies, but when the sawdust settled on this week’s episode, only the employable still stood a chance. Somewhere, Asuukaa, BurnNibelheim and Kwajamonster are sharing a virtual flute of Dom Perignon. And selling their Sony swag on ebay.

Synopsis: The five survivors circle answers on a survey designed to tally what they all think about each other. When they predict the most popular answers, in not quite Family Feud style, they’re given time to build a tower of blocks. One goes all warlock, one has her house fall down and one rests a little too fatefully on her pancake stack. And gets compared to Quasimodo. Twice. Snap!

Dopey reality-show trope: Let’s hear it for the scripted moments. Anyone else believe that Skyd1ddy’s impossibly precarious Tower of Doom waited until the exact moment the cast stepped inside the compound to finally collapse? It was also awfully nice of krystipryde to let us watch her tearful reaction to reading Kwajamonster’s farewell pep note–and to let the cameras film her reaction at perhaps the most unflattering angle we’ve seen so far this season. Seriously, we haven’t seen that much interior nostril since Dustin Hoffman’s schnoz stole a starring role in Joan of Arc.

Jaw-dropping quote: “You just said all this shit you thought you could to this person you don’t know.” Suzkaiden, describing her reaction to scoring a truly impressive trifecta–being voted the weakest, most annoying and biggest liar by her castmates. Sweetie, I think after having spent several weeks watching you cuddle cloyingly with your oversized Sackboy, parade around in your robe and bust your Dominican tornado routine at the drop of a SixAxis, they know you pretty damn well. Apparently quite a bit better than you know yourself.

OK, not bad, actually: Guest judge Dylan Jobe pulls no punches as he links each contestant’s performance to a real-world game-studio scenario, yet another indication that we’ve reached the big-boy segment of the competition. Contestants are fragged for failing to recognize when it’s time to let go of a project, resigning themselves to failure, not showing enough passion and resilience and “bringing the gray”—hey, just like in average offices across America! At one point, the words “Why would I ever hire you?” escape Jobe’s lips. Good thing he fronts Lightbox Interactive and not Santa Monica Studios.

Leader in the Clubhouse: It’s tempting to hand it to Skyd1ddy, but a.) he’s busily clutching his new PlayStation 3D display and b.) rarely has a challenge winner taken such pointed criticism from a judge. We’re going with the survey results: AkilleezMight still has the edge.

On the Precipice: Krystipryde seems like a fascinating and thoughtful individual, but it’s impossible to ignore how lucky she’s been that others have flamed, flailed and failed, directing the judges’ attention elsewhere every single week. Unlike almost every other contestant, she’s really done nothing to distinguish herself, and in fact gets called out this week for a severe lack of passion. Can steady really carry her to victory?

Next week: We take a hard turn back into Reality’s wheelhouse, as the challenge asks the players to answer PlayStation trivia questions to win the right to stick their rivals in a dunk tank. It’ll be interesting to see how the judges relate the ability to accurately throw a baseball—a skill Krystipryde regrettably lacks—to the ability to succeed in QA. Incoming!

Image credit: Tester-Season 3-Episode 6 – Tower Power!

About the Author

Aaron R. Conklin has been writing about games and games culture for more than 15 years. A former contributor to Computer Games Magazine and Massive Magazine, his writing has appeared on IGN.com and in newspapers and alt-weeklies across the country. Conklin's an unapologetic Minnesota sports fan living in Madison, Wisconsin, home of the Midwest's most underrated gaming vibe.