The last time we blogged about Freshman Year, CNN's You Tube-y reality show about two totally different congressmen picked to serve in the House, we had these predictions for forthcoming episodes: Conservative Utah father-of-three Jason Chaffetz gets drunk in a hot tub; liberal and openly gay Jared Polis of Boulder gets kicked out of a nightclub; and both of them get into a nasty, spit-in-your-face fight with Nancy Pelosi over who drank the last Red Bull.
Sadly, none of that happened. Last night, we watched episodes five through ten, and after losing nearly all faith in democracy (judging by the show, it seems that all freshman congressmen do is eat cheeseburgers and complain about foot blisters), we decided that one of them -- either burger-loving Chaffetz or blister-hating Polis -- must be voted off the island. Our vote is Polis.
Here's a breakdown of why, episode by episode.
Episode 5: Polis practices his Spanish... by saying that he needs to "ir de compras" for turtlenecks, his favorite thing to wear. Chaffetz flirts with -- and then leg wrestles! -- Stephen Colbert. Polis complains that his dress shoes give him blisters. Chaffetz flirts with the guy who cleans the floors of the Capitol by filming him after-hours on his zamboni-like floor-cleaner. Winner: Chaffetz.
Episode 6: Polis talks to the Colorado Board of Education. Chaffetz talks to constituents in Beaver, Utah. Polis's cousin's baby shits at the White House. Chaffetz practices holding his video camera level with his nose, therefore sparing audiences the uh, pleasure of looking up it whenever he turns the camera on himself to narrate about the cheeseburger he's eating. Winner: Polis's cousin's baby.
Episode 7: Polis meets Bono. Chaffetz turns 42 and manages to call Nancy Pelosi ugly, sort of. Polis's staffers play an April Fool's joke on Chaffetz by replacing all of the junk food in his office with apples and hanging an "ever-famous Jared Polis turtleneck" in his closet. Chaffetz finds the turtleneck, puts it on and says, "Hi, I'm Jared Polis. And I want to tell you about the benefits of being a Republican." Winner: Chaffetz. Mostly because Bono translates to negative points.
Episode 8: Polis and Chaffetz go to Iraq. Chaffetz won't shut up about what he calls "Iraqi cheeseburgers" and "Iraqi onion rings," which is just American food served on American military bases. Polis won't shut up about the opulence of Saddam Hussein's former palaces, now used by U.S. troops: "Yeah he may have been a terrible dictator, but he had a pretty good sense of style, I'd say. I mean, this is a nice palace." Winner: No one. Including viewers.
Episode 9: Polis and Chaffetz are still in Iraq. Chaffetz eats yet another cheeseburger. Polis films a mailbox. Both play ping-pong against some soldiers. Both of them suck. Winner: Hard to say. The mailbox? The cheeseburger?
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Episode 10: Polis goes to an event called Microbreweries for the Environment, at which he takes the microphone and says, "Let's give it up for protecting our environment!" and then proceeds to raise the roof. Chaffetz takes his family on a tour of Washington, D.C. Polis speaks to the Human Rights Commission about being a gay congressman. Chaffetz visits Guantanamo Bay, where he learns that detainees are allowed to take classes for seven hours a week and are force-fed butter-pecan-flavored Ensure when they go on hunger strikes. As he sails away from the prison, he says, "This person from Utah hopes we keep Guantanamo Bay." Winner: Polis.
Aha! It would appear we have a tie! To break it, we analyzed the very first bills introduced by Polis and Chaffetz, as covered in Freshman Year. Polis's bill? It's described as a measure to give tax breaks to those who invest in troubled sectors of the economy. Yawn.
Chaffetz's first bill, on the other hand, is a ban on "whole-body imaging," a fancy technique that allows airport security guards to look at people naked. "It's TSA porn, for goodness sake," Chaffetz says. Plus, he got Ron Paul to sign on as a sponsor. Boo-ya.
That's why Chaffetz, the conservative Utah father of three who sleeps on a cot in his congressional office to save money, wins. After being called a "naughty little thing" this week by the security guard at Denver City Hall for making the metal detector go off, the last thing we want is TSA agents seeing us in our birthday suits. Thank you, Jason Chaffetz. And thank you, democracy.