Last night brought a close to the web-TV synergy chapter of Band In A Bubble, where the band Cartel was hung out to dry on the Hudson River for 20 days while recording an album. Our recap of last night’s episode–which included an actual live performance of some songs!–after the jump.
Episode 4: The Finale
- The VJ known as “Blair” introduces a montage of the last three episodes’ highlights, causing us to fondly remember the days when MTV’s hosts had last names.
- More footage from the day the front wall of the bubble shattered, leaving broken glass all over the band’s equipment and shocking the members’ moms, is shown.
- The mothers wisely flee shortly after Jeff, the bassist, questions the building’s structural integrity. Good thing you’re not on the water or–oh, wait. Luckily, the glass is put back up, good as new, on…
- The band is shown recording accordions and toy trucks, and auditioning harmonica players. The guy who gets the slot looks like he accidentally wandered over from the Renaissance Faire one pier over.
- The Boys And Girls Choir Of Harlem shows up, too.
- The producers sneak in for the sole purpose of leaving raw chicken feet all over the bubble, making us shudder to think of how the place smells now.
- Wyclef Jean, clearly looking for things to do, says that he is “vibin’” the Cartel record, and that he wants to supply some “crazy guitars.” The Gideon Yago-looking guitar player doesn’t seem too excited about the prospect, perhaps because he’s on the way to the bathroom.
- The “pranky” MTV people have moved on from dead chickens’ feet to a live rooster and a live sheep. Well, if Cartel’s album doesn’t work out, they can always become The New New Monkees.
- Will is starting to crack under the pressure of interacting with people outside the bubble, and his angst is interspersed with blurred-out shots of visitors. Drama! Wait, didn’t everyone who walked onto the pier sign a release?
- Blair claims that the next segment will show the band “scrambling to finish the album,” even though the people who read the site’s official blog know that recording wrapped Monday night. Um, guess the site didn’t get that many hits?
- Wyclef shows up and tells Will that he sounds “older on the phone.”
- The “featuring Wyclef” song will be called “Wasted.” Also, he says that Will, vocally, is a “beast.” Perhaps that means he’s stopped singing out of his nose?
- The band tips its hand when it calls the 5,000-person capacity of the pier a “lot of people.” We expected a band with 203,407 MySpace friends to be less impressed.
- The band is in busting-ass, being-mean-to-one-another mode. Also, their song “Georgia” sounds like it was written after listening to “Sweet Child O’ Mine” on endless repeat.
- One of Cartel’s songs is called “No Subject,” and it’s no doubt about the frustrations of poorly composed e-mail.
- A Sony executive named “Danny” stops by to listen to the record. His face is remarkable for its complete lack of reaction while the song is being played. There’s a tense moment where he whispers to the Epic liasion–but then he says the record is great! And “anthemlike”! And he’s ready to lead everyone in a Dr Pepper toast.
- The band, however, chooses to toast itself with Jack Daniels and mini-golf.
- And packing.
- A discussion of Cartel’s show, which will be played in front of an allegedly big audience. Um, anybody have ratings numbers on this thing?
- The glass breaks–but this time it’s supposed to! The band plays–and the song maybe could be not bad? But it’s hard to tell because the mix is absolutely terrible, like the water and the bubble are both conspiring to swallow the song up. The verses are all vocals and single-note-repeated guitar line, and things motor up a bit on the choruses, but not much.
- MTV is apparently aware of these problems, as it cuts to “Blair” (is that really his name?) midway through the second verse. You can buy the song on iTunes–but can you redeem Dr Pepper points for it?
Watching four episodes of Bubble–and periodically checking out the blogs and Webcam footage–made us actually kind of like the members of Cartel as characters, sort of like how we think John Mayer would make a great blogger. But everything around this stunt seemed chaotic and forced at the same time, with the obvious disconnect between the Web site’s content and the old-news televised portion being the most glaringly shoddy aspect of the proceedings. Were the producers of the Web content and TV shows even talking to each other? It seemed to us like the two halves were designed to actively discourage synergistic viewing of any kind, thus making the band the ultimate losers. This story won’t end until the album comes out next month, but for now, we aren’t sure that this thinly disguised infomercial will be any more beneficial for the band than its MySpaced-out video was.