Fear Factor: Celebrity Edition
Original Air Date: September 23, 2002
This was a special 90-minute celebrity episode.
Junkyard cars, wrecking balls and salvage metal are probably not what these six celebrities were used to. Natasha Henstridge (She Spies), Matt Cedeno (Days of our Lives), Keshia Knight Pulliam (The Cosby Show), comic magicians Penn & Teller, Gena Lee Nolin (Baywatch, Sheena) and Barry Williams (The Brady Bunch) arrived confident that they each had a fair shot at winning big money for their charities. Joe quickly shattered that confidence when he revealed the first stunt.
A dozen junkyard cars were lined up side by side. At the end of the line was one Fear Factor car. In the car was a key ring containing six keys. Each player would have to find the key that started the ignition and drive the car a short distance across a finish line. The two players with the worst times would be eliminated. But of course, there was a catch. While the player fumbled with keys and stressed over his or her time, a 10,000 pound monster truck known as Big Foot would be making it's way ON TOP of the line of cars toward the Fear Factor car. In fact, Big Foot would crush the Fear Factor car - with the player inside - if the player did not move the car in time! Soap hunk Matt Cedeno was up first.
Did Matt get any advice from fellow Days of our Lives' cast member and Fear Factor alum Allison Sweeney? "She told me not to go first," relented Matt as he climbed into the car. While the rest of the players looked on nervously, Joe gave the signal to start the stunt. Big Foot revved its mighty engine and began crushing its way towards Matt. Matt fumbled with key after key, not having any luck starting the car. Big Foot roared over the other cars, crunching glass and pounding metal. Sparks flew and the noise became deafening as Big Foot stormed closer and closer. Matt still hadn't started the car as Big Foot slammed onto the roof, crushing the car with the soap star inside! The others were horrified, but as Big Foot rolled off of Matt's car and onto the ground, Matt fired up the ignition and drove his car over the finish line - emerging unscathed. His final time was 24.7 seconds, even though it seemed like an eternity! Barry Williams was up next, and he couldn't help but be reminded of that classic battle between Greg and Marsha Brady over who was the better driver. However, facing Big Foot was a bit more challenging than any Brady Bunch obstacle course. Within seconds of starting the stunt, Barry fired up the car and launched across the finish. His amazing time was 10.4 seconds. Diminutive magician Teller was next. Penn - the tall spokesman for the magic duo - was to do all the talking while Teller did all the stunts. Plus, at the end of each day, the magicians had to fly back to Las Vegas to perform their famed magic act! Penn is a big talker and was confidant that Teller would have no trouble beating Matt's time and thus, sending him home. Sure enough, Teller had the car started and across the finish in only 15 seconds. Matt was out.
First up for the ladies was former Baywatch babe, Gena Lee Nolin. She was determined to break the Baywatch curse. No other former Baywatch cast member (including David Hasselhoff, Kelly Packard and Brooke Burns) has made it past the first stunt on Fear Factor. Gena couldn't escape the crushing impact of Big Foot, but she did make it across the finish line in 23.3 seconds. Natasha, on the other hand, had a more difficult time. Not only was she stomped by Big Foot, but she also seemed to give up at one point. Finally, after completing the stunt in 48 seconds, she showed Joe the bent key that got jammed in the ignition! Natasha's brute strength cost her valuable seconds. She was soon sent home when Keshia completed the stunt in 32.3 seconds. And then there were four…
Day two found the players in an abandoned train yard. Soon they discovered Joe standing next to a huge water tank. At the bottom of the glass, aquarium-like tank were 1,000 hockey pucks, 100 of which were painted yellow on one side. Players would have to retrieve as many yellow pucks as possible in 90 seconds. Let's not forget the snakes. One 10-foot albino Burmese python would be swimming with them, and he brought 1,000 little snake friends along for the fun! Barry dove in first and Keshia worried about snakes making their way up his swim trunks. When time was up, Barry had retrieved 18 pucks. Since Teller was up next, Penn was poised to make a wager. Penn bet Barry $100 bucks that Penn would at least tie his score and Barry accepted. Penn climbed into the tank wearing his trademark suit and seemed to have no fear despite a face full of slimy snakes. On his third dive down he kicked off his shoes and still managed to retrieve 18 pucks. As Penn collected Barry's cash, he tried to talk Keshia into the same bet. And she accepted! Would Penn take $100 off a Cosby kid? Or could Keshia retrieve more than 18 pucks? Keshia was so focused, she didn't seem to notice the snake that wrapped itself around her neck for most of the stunt! However, she only nabbed 11 pucks. Gena - who gained fame in the waters of Baywatch - was next. She got off to a slow start but seemed to grab a lot of pucks. When time ran out, Joe discovered that half of the pucks were not the yellow ones. Gena's final puck count was only six, meaning Keshia was out $100 but in the finals! But wait! Joe made Gena an offer…
Gena could stay in the game and still have a chance at $50,000 for her charity if she ate one big fat hissing Madagascar cockroach. The same type of roach that many a Fear Factor player had chomped down in the past. While Gena contemplated the gross factor, Teller plucked a roach from the jar and happily chewed it up, much to the horror of Gena and Keshia! Ultimately, Gena chose not to choke down a roach and settled for $10,000 for her charity. At least she had broken the Baywatch curse!
On the third day, the three (four if you count Penn) remaining players arrived at a huge dam and reservoir. Suspended 200-feet over the dam was a 10x10 glass cube. Several Fear Factor flags were stuck vertically along one corner of the cube. Each player would have 30 seconds to transfer the flags one-by-one to the opposite corner of the cube. After 30 seconds the bottom drops out of the box, plummeting the player on a bungee cord down towards the depths of the reservoir below! Barry was a little hesitant of heights, but mustered up the strength to go first. He implemented a side-to-side sashay style that seemed to work well. When the bottom dropped he screamed an "I love you" to his wife and resurfaced with 10 flags in tact. Teller, who received shouted encouragements from Penn, did seem to move as quickly, yet tied Barry's score with 10 flags. Since Penn transferred his last flag six-tenths of a second faster than Barry, Barry was eliminated. Tough break! Penn said it would be better to lose to a Cosby kid than a Brady kid anyway. And so it was…Keshia placed 12 flags before her bungee drop, making her the latest Celebrity Fear Factor champ!
1. Keshia Knight Pulliam
2. Teller (and Penn)
3. Barry Williams
4. Gena Lee Nolin
5. Matt Cedeno
6. Natasha Henstridge