Friday, December 31, 2010

December 31, 2010: Happy New Year With DJ Earworm


Let's be honest, for my musical taste, 2010 was a horrendous year...but it's an annual tradition for me to post DJ Earworm's mashup of the Top 25 Billboard hits of the year. Enjoy...or not...but it's worth a watch.

Happy New Year Everyone!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Survivor Nicaragua Recap: "Finale Night"

You know when you’re watching a really crappy movie, and you need closure? You need to see how it ends? Or maybe you’re reading an absolutely horrible book, but you still need to make it to that final page? Or maybe you’re a marathon runner who has no shot of winning, or even finishing in a decent time…but you tough it out anyways and make it to the end? That’s the way I feel about Survivor: Nicaragua (ok, maybe the marathon runner analogy was a stretch, but you get the point), it’s been a struggle, but after 4 months of snake footage and breaking tiles, at least it ends tonight.

I’m back in the Eastern Time Zone, not having to wait that extra 3 hours for my Survivor fix, so let’s get right to business on this Season Finale. Would Fabio be able to hold off the open target on his back, as declared by Sash, Chase, and Holly at the last Tribal council? Would (as Rob Cesternino suggested tonight) NaOnka and Purple Kelly quit the Reunion Show since it’s raining in L.A.? Does Dan have a chance to win it all? (Answer: NO!) And is this indeed the worst Survivor season of all-time?

My Random Thoughts:

- I appreciated that the Season Recap to start the episode was only 3-4 minutes long, instead of the usual 10 minute rehash of everything. On top of that, Jeff gave us the road each of the Final Five took to the final instead of a recap on everything. A marked improvement, I must say. And the highlight of the recap was what I referred to in my last recap as the best moment of the season, when Jane tossed water on the fire. Not because of the extinguishing of the fire, but because of something I hadn’t noticed on Wednesday…that when Jane doused the fire, Dan was sitting right in front of it and got a spectacular faceful of smoke that sent him scurrying like a cockroach that just saw the lights get turned on. - I liked the opening immunity challenge where answering wrong meant you got an incorrect bag of puzzle tiles, but how much better would it have been if the incorrect pieces weren’t black, but actually looked like puzzle pieces, but didn’t fit? That would have been pretty confusing for the castaways.

Did you see how fast Fabio solved that puzzle, though? That was impressive. And I thought it was hilarious watching the others look over at his puzzle trying to see how to solve it. How many times at school do you think Fabio had people looking over his shoulder trying to copy? Not very often, I suspect. Also, wasn’t it great how we were supposed to believe that the piece that Chase dropped was a factor in the challenge, when Chase wasn’t even close to making progress on that puzzle?

- Did Dan really ask “How many votes do we need?” when there were only 5 people left? Is he that bad at math? Maybe that’s why he spent $1600 on shoes. I can see him in the store buying a $200 pair of shoes, and as he pulls his wad of bills out of his pocket and peels off a couple of hundreds, the clerk keeps telling him “keep going…”

- Listening to Holly talk makes me feel like I’m watching Fargo again.

- The first Tribal Council saw Dan hit the Yellow Brick Road and…wait…I’m mixing up my short jokes…Is he an Oompa Loompa or a Munchkin? Actually, I could see him as part of the Munchkin mafia, couldn’t you? And what was with his bile-filled confessional after being voted off? Where was that sort of passion and fuel for the past 37 days?

- The Fallen Comrades Walk: I’m not even paying lip service to this segment, always the worst part of a season, other than to say it was a nice touch that the 2 quitters got black shields. Seven-and-a-half minutes of our lives that we’ll never get back.

- In the Final Immunity challenge, Fabio completed his reincarnation of Kelly Wigglesworth, winning Immunity in the final challenges to earn his way to the Final Tribal Council. (For the record, that was a great challenge to watch in HD) I’ve been on record saying how much I hate the concept of a Final Three vs. a Final Two, but another of the reasons is the inability of the winner to choose who they sit beside at the end, which was always a huge selling point of the challenge, as Jeff would constantly tell us. It’s not like the old way, when there were two left and the two votes would cancel out and the Immunity holder was the sole vote…now it’s still a full 4 votes cast. While they’re all scrambling to see who Fabio will take to the end, he can’t really decide on his own…he’s just one vote. I think that’s part of the reason we see a Final Three sometimes, but I still hate it as an end scenario.

- The look, and the tiny little head-shake, that Fabio gave after Sash told him he was his “best friend in the game” was priceless. A full-on belly laugh in our household.

- I was somewhat surprised (but not shocked) to see Holly voted out 4th. I thought it was going to be Sash, but I think the threat of Holly winning the game meant too much to Fabio, and even if he voted for Sash, that only would have ensured a 2-2 tie.

- If we have to still refer to her as Purple Kelly for the entire season, couldn’t she do us the courtesy of wearing purple just once?

- Fabio came up with a great line at the suggestion by Sash that Chase and Fabio could be his wingmen. “Sash, dude, you can take a back seat. I’ll let you take notes on how this is gonna go, cuz it’s gonna be fun.” He’s been pretty entertaining all season, I’ll give him that.

- The traditional celebratory breakfast feast for the finalists was the typical fare of burnt pancakes and mimosas. I loved the imagery of the tight camera shot of the frying pan cooking the breakfast links…after all, this was the ultimate Sausage Party.

- The Final Tribal Council opening statements essentially went like this: Chase – Bring it on. Fabio: Let’s have fun with the money. Sash: I’m the best player. Three very different approaches.

- The questioning was all pretty benign, don’t you think? But Sash and Chase still both took a fair bit of heat from the Jury, while Fabio laughed his way through it all as he watched them. There was really no doubt he was going to win the million, was there?
- On the Reunion Show, Fabio was clean-cut and rambled on making no sense at all, Dan looked like Joe Pesci, Jimmy T. decided the occasion warranted a T-shirt, Chase sang some horrible country music, Purple Kelly looked like Terri Nunn from Berlin, there was WAAAY too much Terry Bradshaw, Holly gave out Ostrich boots (???), NaOnka’s mom was not only named Xena…but was also the size of Xena…, Jane won the $100K popularity prize, Shannon was even douchier than on the show, Wendi Jo has crazy eyes, and Season 22 was announced as Redemption Island (but not Boston Rob vs. Russell), as I reported in my earlier post. Check out this chat with Jeff Probst for a full explanation on how Redemption Island will work.

- Overall I thought the Reunion Show was pretty uneventful and quite weak. But then again, it wasn’t hosted by Bryant Gumbel, and Rosie O’Donnell didn’t hand out free cars to everyone, so that’s something. I suppose a bad season deserved a bad reunion show. The only really good thing to come out of this show (and this season) was the 100% BANG-ON decision to have the option to exclude quitters from the Jury.

So what did you think of the Finale? Did the right person win? How about the Jury questions? And what are your thoughts about the Redemption Island twist? Please note, now that the season is over and the spoilers are irrelevant, things are back to normal and I’ve removed Comment Moderation.

Survivor Fans, I hope you’ve enjoyed the recaps this season. Please feel free to bookmark the site or add your name as a Follower on the sidebar to the left. You can also add me on Facebook, where I post all of my recaps and other blog posts as soon as they go up. Don’t forget to mouse over the pictures for captions, and please leave a Comment in the Comments section if you’re so inclined.

Thanks for reading this season.

Related Posts:
Survivor Nicaragua Recap by Dalton Ross
Jeff Probst’s Blog
Spoiler TV Recap

Survivor Nicaragua: Predictions and Random Thoughts For The Season Finale

Heading into tonight's Season Finale, I have a few thoughts on the way Survivor Nicaragua is going to end, the Season as a whole, and what I have heard rumoured as the next season. As I've said for most of this season, I honestly feel that this is right up there with Survivor: Thailand as the worst seasons ever, but I still can't stop watching this show. It's my guilty pleasure. Honestly, other than NaOnka, who is memorable from this season? Who would you want to see on an All-Star edition? And NaOnka is memorable for all of the wrong reasons...as I mentioned earlier in one of my recaps, unlike other Survivor villains like Russell or Coach Wade, she was not good television.

Let's take a moment to look at our Final Five contestants, shall we?

Holly - I can't see Holly winning this game. I do see her having a shot at making the Final Tribal Council. While she didn't rub people the wrong way in terms of turning on them like Chase or Sash did, I don't see her game play as strong enough to win in the eyes of the jury. And I don't think this jury is going to be as bitter as the last two seasons, which saw Russell get denied TWO million dollar prizes because the jury was angry. Plus, if Dan ends up on the jury (fingers crossed), there's one vote against her based on the shoe incident alone.

Chase - The Pro Race Car Jackman may appear to have a heart of gold, but still turned on everyone he formed an alliance with up to this point. On top of that, he keeps telling people he's taking them on Reward Challenges only to turn back on that. I can see him winning, but only if he's up there against Sash and Holly.

Sash - I can see Sash swaying the jury with his explanation of two huge points in the game for him: 1) getting Marty to give him the Idol just before the merge, and 2) Staying alive as a "free agent" after his strong alliance of 4 crumbled in mere minutes after Brenda got blindsided and NaOnka and Kelly quit. I give him credit for playing a good game without really pissing anyone off, and if he was in the Final 3 against Chase and Holly, I'd have a hard time voting against him if I was on the Jury.

Fabio - If he can survive the next two Tribal Councils (which means likely winning Immunity for both), I think he wins the game hands-down. He played a great social game, didn't make any enemies (other than NaOnka, who stole HIS socks!), played well as a team member as well as individually, and stayed calm and level-headed throughout the game. And if he comes out at the Final Tribal Council or Reunion Show and says "Look, I'm not a moron. That was all an act" (which I still think is possible, but not probable), it'll be a great Survivor moment.

Dan - No chance to win. He did nothing. I'm actually angry he's even still part of the game going into Finale night, and if you would have offered to bet me in the first few weeks that I would see Dan on Finale Night I would have lost my house. I have nothing more to say about Dan except that my 9-year-old son noticed in the last episode that Dan was wearing Silly Bandz on his wrist. No joke, look at the screen capture below from the Loved Ones challenge on Wednesday.
I have to re-iterate how much I hate the concept of a Final Three at the end instead of a Final Two. Before they introduced this, the winner was always decided by having a majority of the Jury votes, not a plurality. With 9 Jury members, I find it disheartening that if, for instance, the vote was 4-3-2, the winner of Survivor: Nicaragua would have garnered less than 50% of the votes. That’s just not right.

One final thing, and it’s regarding the next season of Survivor, so skip this part if you don’t want to (potentially) be spoiled in terms of what the Season is going to be. I had read rumours that the next season was going to be Boston Rob vs. Russell, meaning two tribes of new contestants (not former players or All-Stars), led by Rob and Russell, as arguably the two best players went head-to-head. As well, there was supposed to be the introduction of a new twist called Redemption Island, which has been used in some international editions of Survivor.

Let me explain how Redemption Island works. After the merge, once the castaways are voted out, they go to Redemption Island, where they await the next voted out castaway. Once that next person arrives, the two of them compete in a one-on-one challenge where the winners stays on Redemption Island to await the next castaway and another challenge, and the loser is voted out for good. This continues until there are a certain number of players left, and the winner of the final Redemption Island challenge is allowed BACK into the game.

I hate this concept for a number of reasons, but I won’t even rant yet since it’s just a rumour.

Now, having said all of that…I didn’t believe that’s what the next season of Survivor was going to be. I didn’t believe the rumours…until I read Jeff Probst’s blog on Thursday where he said that the announcement about the next season of Survivor would be EPIC. Now I’m not sure. We’ll find out later tonight.

Tonight’s recap of the episode will likely be up at some point during the Reunion Show, and then I will update it about an hour after the Reunion show ends with any additional thoughts coming out of the third hour.
Quick-fire predictions for the Reunion Show: Shannon will get booed, NaOnka will get booed harder, Purple Kelly will giggle and shrug, Brenda will look amazing, Marty’s hair will not be crazy, Jane and Holly will both look totally different, Jeff will re-iterate his disgust at the quitters, Jane will invoke the honour of being from North Carolina, and at one point, Benry will let out a whoop.

See you in a few hours.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Survivor Nicaragua Recap: "The Dreaded Loved Ones Episode"

That sound you heard about 4 minutes into this episode? That was me vomiting.

You knew it was coming. I've warned you for weeks. And now, with tonight's episode being the last one before the Season Finale on Sunday, it's time for the dreaded "Loved Ones" episode. Just look at the picture above, as the Survivors check out the handy new Sony Evo.

What the hell is happening in that picture anyways? Jane looks like she's looking at picture of a fish she can sneak away with and eat on her own, Dan is confused, and Fabio is fixing his hair. Once again, I submit to you, Survivor Nicaragua is a candidate for worst season ever.

My Random Thoughts:

- Previously on…Survivor: as Holly said, What the f*** is wrong with Chase? Jeff’s voice-over reminded us of Chase’s indecisiveness, and his maddening trend of voting out his supposed alliance-mates. Remember when the “Previously on…” segment was simply a recap of the last episode? Now Jeff is constantly telling us what we need to know for the theme of the episode. Did anybody not think this episode was going to involve a significant amount of Chase?

- The loved one videos are painful to watch. Did they all get told by CBS to have a dog on their lap, in their arms, or in the background? Call me heartless if you want, but it’s the same crap season after season. Same with the introductions of the loved ones who (gasp!) are actually there. Have you never watched the show before? They’re always there. Don’t act like it’s a shock…we’ve seen it 21 times now.

- All of that notwithstanding, my Random Thoughts on the Introductions/Reward Challenge:
o Nice to see they’ve upgraded from the Palm Pre to the Evo, but Sony is still clearly paying a heavy price to finance this episode. Did you see all of the features, and hear that it’s Sony’s first 4G phone? And the quality of those photos and videos…wow. Gag.
o When Dan’s son ran up to hug his dad, Dan made some sort of sound that was like a cross between a squeak, an injured cat, and someone playing the bagpipes who has no idea how to play the bagpipes. And how awkward was the incessant kissing? I’m all for an affectionate family…I still kiss both my mom and dad when I see them, but that was just weird.
o Jane’s daughter Ashley came barreling out of the woods and looked like she was going to smash right into Jane, knocking her airborne and probably right into the ocean. I braced myself for what was sure to be a 10-million-hit YouTube sensation, but alas, Ashley geared it down and simply picked up peanut brittle Jane in a hug, careful not to snap her. Hey, how do you think that go-kart got broken?
o Chase wins the Reward Challenge (again), and even though he promised Fabio that he would take him and Sash on the challenge, you knew based on the “don’t forget how indecisive Chase is, and how he goes back on his word” montage at the beginning that Fabio was getting screwed. And how perfect would that Reward have been with 3 boys and their moms? Colby Donaldson was home on his couch, drooling…saying “Man, that would be awesome!”
o Once I saw the challenge setup from the air, I thought to myself “Dan has no chance.” Then Jeff said that the Loved Ones were going to be participating (and they were shocked. Again, have you never watched the show?), and I thought, ‘OK, maybe Dan has a chance.” Then Jeff said that the Survivors would have to jump into the water, get the bags, and run them back, and I switched back to "Dan has No Chance" again.
o After Chase chose Sash and Holly, Dan told his son, the human kissing booth, that Chase was a scumbag. Then, Fabio called him out on his promise. See what I’m saying? The Loved Ones episode is nothing but trouble!

- So off they went on a boring reward, took lots of pictures, and after 30 minutes of Hallmark schmaltz, we’re back to the game.

- I’ve had a lot of fun this season at Chase’s expense over his job description of Pro Race Car Jackman. I was thinking today, I understand what the job entails…I mean, the name isn’t really cryptic at all…but what exactly is the act of doing what Chase does called? Is it car jacking? Isn’t there a negative connotation attached to that?

- At the Immunity Challenge (another one where Dan had no chance), I could tell by the ‘retribution music’ that was playing, that Fabio would win after not being taken on the Reward. This season is painfully predictable.

- Best line of the challenge from Probst: “Holly is struggling…but she’s got her last bag. That’s gonna help.”

- At the pow-wow between Chase, Sash, Holly, and Jane, the crazy old witch was shooting daggers at the other 3 before being told she was likely going home. Then she gave Sash the finger (why even disguise it as a face scratch at this point? Why not just double-barrel it right in his smug face?) And then, she went on to tell us that Sash’s mom raised a liar. First Marty’s kids, and now Sash’s mom? When Jane gets angry, she brings the whole family into it, doesn’t she?

- Then, all hell broke loose as Jane was yelling at people not to even look at her, and doused the fire before they left for Tribal Council with a dramatic “By God, I started it…I’ll put it out.” It was a valid point, and arguably the best moment of the season so far (and how sad is that?), but I had to think to myself: Where the hell was Jane with that bucket of water when the camp was burning down!

- Tribal Council was dramatic as well: Holly’s a thief, Dan and Fabio are next, both Idols got played (how much of a non-factor were the Idols this season? Lame.), and Chase was put on the spot. Long story short, adios Jane. See you on the Jury.

Next Week (well, Sunday actually): It’s the Season Finale of what may go down as the worst season in history.

Once again, my apologies to those of you expecting my recap by 9:30 ET as usual. I am still on the West Coast, but I will be home this weekend, so my recap for the Season Finale this Sunday will go on as normal. I’m hoping to get it posted during the Live Reunion Show, and then updated after the reunion show.

My predictions for the reunion show: Shannon will get booed, NaOnka will get booed harder, Purple Kelly will giggle and shrug, Brenda will look amazing, Marty’s hair will not be crazy, Jane and Holly will both look totally different, Jeff will re-iterate his disgust at the quitters, and at one point, Benry will let out a whoop.

Just a reminder that Comment Moderation is still on due to the spoilers that are circulating Until the end of this season, I will have to approve Comments before they get posted on here. Rest assured I will post every Comment (positive or negative) that does not contain spoilers.

Survivor Fans, feel free to bookmark the site or add your name as a Follower on the sidebar to the left. You can also add me on Facebook, where I post all of the recaps as soon as they go up. Don’t forget to mouse over the pictures for captions, and please leave a Comment in the Comments section if you’re so inclined.

Thanks for reading. See you Sunday for the Finale!

Related Posts:
Survivor Nicaragua Recap by Dalton Ross
Jeff Probst’s Blog (featuring a tease on next season - see the Comments section below for details)
Spoiler TV Recap

Survivor Recap (Pre-cap): December 15th

You knew it was coming. I've warned you for weeks. And now, with tonight's episode being the last one before the Season Finale on Sunday, it's time for the dreaded "Loved Ones" episode. Just look at the picture above, as the Survivors check out the handy new Palm Pre (or whatever the hell it is...I'm sure Jeff will hold it up and tell us in great detail).

What the hell is happening in that picture anyways? Jane looks like she's looking at picture of a fish she can sneak away with and eat on her own; Chase is more excited than when he's Pro Race Car Jacking; Sash is smiley, Dan is confused, and Fabio is fixing his hair. Once again, I submit to you, Survivor Nicaragua is a candidate for worst season ever.

Just a reminder that I am still on the West Coast and my post will not be up immediately after the regular airing as usual. My apologies to those of you who are used to seeing it at 9:30 ET, but you'll have to wait just one more time. I hope to have my full recap up and posted shortly after midnight ET / 9:00 PT.

Please check back at that time. Thanks.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Amazing Race Recap: Finale Night!

Sorry for the delay in getting tonight’s post up, especially for those of you who are used to it being up at 9:30 ET. I’m still on the West Coast, so didn’t even get to watch the episode until it aired here. It’s Finale Night so let’s get right to it…

My Random Thoughts:

- The opening recap of the entire race was pretty much a 3-minute segment saying “Remember that Nick and Chad are both bad people.” The nifty little lingo that Phil used saying teams ‘sank, crashed, and clashed’ all showed video clips featuring Chad. And after seeing the watermelon smash one more time (seriously, I never get tired of it, do you?), we wrapped up Phil’s recap with the trademark eyebrow…now with a ‘ding!’ sound effect.

- Thomas scoffed at the idea of an all-girl team winning the Race, talking about how he wasn’t interested at all in history. As I mentioned at the end of last week’s recap, all of the Girl Power/history/2 women have never won the race/etc… going on, there is no way that Jill and Thomas were winning. Plus, we see it all again repeatedly before the first break?

- After all of the history reminders, we then heard the girls talking about how they have to beat Thomas. Not Thomas and Jill…just Thomas. Like the fact that this potential history-making moment puts the spotlight on him as the only one left with a penis, and therefore he is the bad guy. For the record, Thomas is the bad guy for reasons that extend (pardon the pun) well beyond possessing a penis, but I get the feeling that if either of the women teams could have added Jill as a third member, they would have done it. And I bet Thomas would have been fine with it.

-“We brought the cheetah pants”, said Brook and Claire as they showed up in the Seoul airport in spotted hot pants. But why even wear them…and talk about how you saved them for the final leg…if you’re just going to change out of them and wear long pants when you get to L.A.? If there’s any place that you’re not going to look out of place wearing cheetah hot pants, it’s Los Angeles.- We saw a lot of drama (including an ominous music commercial break) about Nat being scared of heights and maybe not being able to do the Bungee swing off of the crane, but there was no way she wasn’t going to do it. After Kat gave up 22 years of vegetarianism earlier in the Race, Nat was obviously going to do it.

- I’m sorry, but I laughed, and laughed hard, when Brook was freaking out after the Bungee drop. The spastic convulsions were just too over the top to not find ridiculously hilarious.

- 2 questions about the helicopter ride. First, if Nat is so afraid of heights, then how was the helicopter ride so exciting and unbelievable to her? Even before getting on the chopper, she said "I'm so excited to go on a helicopter", so it wasn't even cryptic. Second, why were all the teams so seemingly mind-blown over the ride? You just travelled the entire world performing amazing challenges, and a helicopter ride over L.A. is the thing that astounds everyone?

- At the Rose Bowl Roadblock, Thomas declared "this is the first time I’ve ever done anything like this." WHAT? There's something Thomas has never done? And he's admitting it? You mean between all of the rappelling, sleeping in railway cars, and every other Notre Dame-y thing that Thomas has done in his life, he's never done arts and crafts? NOW I know why we saw him bragging about everything all season...long-term-planned editing for the ultimate comeuppance in the final leg.

- Speaking of the Rose Bowl Roadblock, thank GOD Brook did it...only because we would have heard "C'Mon Claire!" about 200 times during the Roadblock. Speaking of the “C’Mon Claire!” count, tonight was a record-low 4 times, but I noticed how it's sounding the same every time, which makes me wonder the TAR editors just kept repeating the same soundbyte. If so, I think it should be a ringtone. You know how you can customize ringtones for certain people? Imagine if that was your ringtone for that annoying friend, your ex-wife, or maybe an old boyfriend who loves to eat ham.
- Another laugh-inducing moment was Thomas trying to explain to his cab driver how he needed to use the internet and the cab driver constantly talking about his GPS. Come on, tell me you weren't laughing.

- Bob Eubanks? I love a celebrity appearance in the final leg. This is a close second to Wayne Newton's Vegas appearance a couple of seasons ago. (On a side note, this past year in Las Vegas, we were in the Monte Carlo poker room and one of the pit bosses was telling us the story of the day they filmed that finale there, and how the poker-chip-counting challenge was done.)
- I always love when the final challenge is a mind-blowing complicated memory challenge, and this one might have been the best one yet. I loved the way this one worked, with the teams having to pick the greeters from each leg. Most teams now write down everything from each leg, but it was a nice swerve having something that seems like it’s unimportant, but right in your face, being what determines if you win a million dollars or not.

- I give a lot of credit to Nat and Kat for their win. They were a very deserving team, and when you really think about it, they could actually be the best team to ever run the Race. Think about it...they were calm, they were cool, they never argued (not even once), they were incredibly supportive of each other, and you could even make the argument that the two of them were perfect partners. When you are afraid of heights, you need that supportive partner instead of someone yelling at you, and these two were smart, athletic, and willing to do what they needed to in order to win.

Well, that does it for another season…and I have to say, it was a pretty decent season. From watermelons in the face (still the highlight of the season by far) to Oman proposals, it was memorable. And we don’t have to wait long for next season, as TAR 18 will premiere in February.

They didn't mention on the show tonight as they had originally planned, but as I reported here last week, Season 18 will be an All-Star season, featuring 11 teams from past seasons. Well, actually, it's being referred to as a "Second Chance" season, but that's just semantics. Click the link if you want to see who the teams are, or avoid it if you don’t want to be spoiled on the cast list. (Hint: Mallory's "Can we do it again?" in the closing moments probably wasn't a coincidence)

Thanks for reading my recaps this season. It’s been nice to see such an increase in traffic on the site. Feel free to bookmark the site or add your name as a Follower on the sidebar to the left. You can also add me on Facebook, where I post all of my recaps (and other Random Thoughts) as soon as they go up. Don’t forget to mouse over the pictures for captions, and please leave a Comment in the Comments section if you’re so inclined.

Related Posts:
Josh Wolk’s Amazing Race Recap
Darren Franich’s EW.com Amazing Race Recap
Spoiler TV Recap

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Survivor Nicaragua Recap: "Sash Is Still In Control...But For How Long?"

Sorry for the delay in getting tonight’s post up, especially for those of you who are used to it being up at 9:30 ET. I’m still on the West Coast, so didn’t even get to watch the episode until it aired here. That will happen again next week…but better late than never, right?

My Random Thoughts:

- Previously on Survivor…TWO PEOPLE QUIT! I still can’t believe it. But Probst’s voice-over reminded viewers of something that they may have forgotten: Sash got screwed. Leader of an alliance of four and holding an Immunity Idol, but a Brenda Blindside and the NaOnka-Kelly Quit-A-Palooza later, he’s now flying solo, a self-proclaimed “Free Agent.”

- Benry talked about mentioning at Tribal Council how they named the chicken after the quitters. Smart guy, huh? The quitters who get a vote, Benry! (and I still can’t believe that.)

- In Sash’s Free Agent speech to the others at camp, he talked about playing the Idol so that he’s not a “threat to the future.” There’s only 7 people left…eventually ‘the future’ becomes ‘the end’, and it’s very close now.

- Did you notice Sash drinking the water at the well right after he filled it? What happened to the days when the Survivors had to boil their water before drinking it? Now it’s just provided for them?

- At the Reward Challenge, it was painfully obvious that Dan had no chance. So, for someone who has exerted zero effort at anything this season, why even get dirty? Why not just say “I’m gonna stay clean thanks, Jeff.” Maybe he thought the mud was chocolate. (For those of you keeping track this season, that is “Dan is an Oompa Loompa” Joke #4)

- Chase and Benry smoked everyone on the bean bags (were the barrels 8 inches away?), and then Chase smoked Benry on the rings. After the pre-challenge talk between Chase and Sash regarding who would go on the reward, it was obvious that Sash was going to get snubbed. But it was fun to watch Sash’s smug face while Chase was choosing…the same face he made when Brenda wanted the Idol at Tribal Council.

- Dan: “If we get those three off, the four of us go.” Well, let’s give him credit, he knows that 3+4=7, and that 4 is more than 3. Someone now needs to tell him that $1600 is way too much to spend on shoes.

- Jane told Chase that the reward was an“overnight massage with the two oldest ladies left in Survivor.” Did I miss something, or are they the only two ladies left on Survivor? I wasn’t as troubled by that as I was by the creepy look that Holly gave Chase when she was showering topless in front of them. I thought Yve was the Cougar from this season, not Holly. I wish I had a screen capture of that look on her face, it looked like the cover from a horrible DVD you would see on the top shelf at a dingy convenience store. (I'll post a link in the Comments section if I can find it.)

- Just when I stopped thinking that Jane was crazy, she had a mental breakdown over the chicken getting killed. It was stupid when Shambo did it a few seasons ago, and it’s stupid now. The chickens are food, not pets. Jane said “they didn’t have to kill her”…yes they did! How else are you supposed to eat your food? I can understand being upset about the fact that the chicken was eaten while you were gone, and that you didn’t get any, but a grave, a heart made of shells, and tears and prayer? Jane has lost it.

- Thoughts from the Immunity challenge: Again, another challenge that Dan had no shot at winning. We never even saw one shot of him competing…seriously, go back and look. The potential imagery of someone running full-out when they didn’t have enough rope was too entertaining, but didn’t actually come to fruition. I wanted it to be like the old cartoons where the dog runs and nearly chokes himself in mid-air. Come on, imagine Fabio doing that. But it was anti-climactic, and Sash won Immunity, giving him Immunity, an Idol, and that nifty “free agent” moniker.

- Kelly and NaOnka show up at Tribal Council both wearing green. A sign of Quitters Solidarity? Just a coincidence? I think they both should have been forced to wear yellow.

- Benry got voted out, which I thought was pretty obvious, so Tribal Council was a snore.

Next Week: A big reward and a threat of execution. (Please God don’t be the Loved Ones episode)

Just a reminder that Comment Moderation is still on due to the fact that there are a number of spoilers circulating (I still blame a bitter NaOnka for actually leaking all of the info that has been leaked.). Until the end of this season, I will have to approve Comments before they get posted on here. Rest assured I will post every Comment (positive or negative) that does not contain spoilers.

Survivor Fans, feel free to bookmark the site or add your name as a Follower on the sidebar to the left. You can also add me on Facebook, where I post all of the recaps as soon as they go up. Don’t forget to mouse over the pictures for captions, and please leave a Comment in the Comments section if you’re so inclined.

Thanks for reading.

Related Posts:
Survivor Nicaragua Recap by Dalton Ross
Jeff Probst’s Blog

Spoiler TV Recap

Amazing Race 18: All-Stars Cast Revealed!

At the end of my last Amazing Race Recap, I mentioned that in the Finale Recap next week, I would reveal the "surprise" that Phil Keoghan teased at the end of the last episode. In the Comments section, I revealed that the 18th edition of The Amazing Race, which is premiering in February, would be an "All-Stars" edition, and that I would list the participating teams next week. Due to the overwhelming number of emails I received asking for the list of teams, I've decided that if you want to know that badly, then I'll provide the list for you.

WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD! (Duh!)

The cast list for the Amazing Race 18: All-Stars edition is as follows (with their original TAR season listed in parentheses):

Kynt and Vyxsin (Season 12)
The goths are back, looking all gothy, acting all goth-tacular, and making sure that viewers get their weekly GQ up (Goth quotient...of course).

Ron and Christina (Season 12)
Asian father and daughter who I could never really tell if they actually liked each other or not.

Amanda and Kris (Season 14)
U-Turn victims who were the eye candy for Season 14. I found them totally forgettable. Not sure why they're back.

Mel and Mike (Season 14)
Father and son gay men. 'Nuff said. Tell me you forgot that.

Jaime and Cara (Season 14)
The "former cheerleader" redheads return, presumably so Jaime can continue yelling at everyone, and Cara can continue being called "the redhead who doesn't yell at everyone." Jokes aside, I actually liked Jaime and Cara, and thought they got a bad edit in a season that needed a villain when CBS wasn't willing to make the "evil deaf kid" the villain. These two were the highest ranking female team in TAR history until this season.

Margie and Luke (Season 14)
Speaking of the evil deaf kid, he's back with the love of his life...I mean, his mom...and I'm sure he'll be just as whiny as last time. I wonder if this time he'll shove a woman away from a clue box and then blame her again, as mom protects the valor of her boy. Who was that team that Luke shoved anyways? Was it...

Kisha and Jen (Season 14)
Yes! It was Kisha and Jen...and I only have one piece of advice for the varsity sisters on this season: IF YOU HAVE TO PEE ON YOUR WAY TO THE FINAL PIT STOP FOR A MILLION DOLLARS, JUST GO IN YOUR PANTS AND RUN.

Flight Time and Big Easy (Season 15)
Who didn't love the Globetrotters? Possibly the most likable team in the history of TAR, even after taunting a terrified Mika at the top of the shark waterslide. (which I found funny, actually...especially after watching Canaan actually try to throw her down the slide!)

Zev and Justin (Season 15)
I honestly don't remember anything about these two other than the fact that they got eliminated for losing their passports. Yawn.

Jet and Cord (Season 16)
Oh my gravy! Bring on the cowboys for a return romp at the rodeo.

Gary and Mallory (Season 17)
The only team to return from this current season. I was pretty hard on Mallory from the start of this season (I still see her as a Cheri Oteri character), but I came around as she toned it down.

My Random Thoughts:

- Why only Season 12 onward? Nobody from the first 11 seasons warranted an invite? I understand that Season 11 was an All-Stars edition as well, but is that the concrete line, and now everyone included has to have initally appeared after that? I don't agree with that.

- No one from Season 13? Nick and Starr weren't available? Toni and Dallas? The frat boys who couldn't march?

- FIVE teams from Season 14? If you're going to have nearly 50% of the teams from one season, why not just invite everyone from that season back and call it Amazing Race: Do-Over edition.

- Where the hell are the midgets? They were annoying, but I think anything can be made better by adding midgets.

So, what do you think? Who will you be rooting for? And who has what it takes to win Amazing Race: All-Stars? Let's hear from you in the Comments Section.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Amazing Race Recap: "I'm Surrounded By Ninjas!"

Tonight was actually my own Amazing Race. I flew out of Toronto at 4:00 ET, and arrived in Vancouver at 6:00 PT. From the airport, to a quick stop at a friend’s house, to my hotel to check in, and a quick dodge out to grab a bite to eat, I had it all planned and ready to be sitting in front of the TV in my hotel room for 8:00 to watch tonight’s episode. It was a close call, but one scraped knee, a scraped elbow, a twisted ankle, and a spectacular pen explosion later…I limped to my hotel couch at 7:57. This is my commitment to these recaps, people!

My Random Thoughts:

- Is there a more redundant instruction when directing the teams to the border between South Korea and North Korea than “Do NOT cross the border”? Well, considering how bright Nick and Vicki have been on this Race, perhaps that was necessary. Does anyone really think it’s ok to even approach the North Korean border, much less cross it? Well…except for Sarah Palin.

- At the beginning of the leg, Thomas talked about how he and Jill were the team to beat, but that the other teams were made up of strong, athletic, and hungry women. Even the other racers have ruled Nick and Vicki out at this point.

- The airport seemed like it was going to be another great equalizer and give Nick and Vicki a chance to catch up, but it was a big ol’ swerve, and they found themselves an extra 3 hours behind.

- I liked how they made the rule about no panhandling or begging for money on the Race, but Nat and Kat circumvented it by convincing an English-speaking man in the airport to purchase a Korean travel book for them. I’m sure it was just out of the kindness of his heart, and had nothing to do with the TV cameras in his face.

- I loved the ‘Nick is a douche’ montage. It was nice watching him berate Vicki constantly in black and white.

- Look, I’m just going to say this: Rafting on the Race is great, but it’s a total waste of time if no one falls out of the raft. You know you were thinking the same thing when you were watching it.

- Similarly, what was the point of Phil specifying in the headband/ninja Roadblock that teams had to try to avoid getting hit? There wasn’t even a close call. How much better would that have been, though, if someone took a punch in the head from one of the “ninjas”?

- After the rafting, when the teams were at the Roadblock, did you notice that Jill and Thomas had changed out of their wetsuits and into their normal clothes, but Brooke and Claire still had their life vests on? Oh, they changed out of their wetsuits as well, but for some reason, put the life vests back on. Unless there’s some way to get a wetsuit off without removing a life vest that I don’t know about, that seemed very odd. Just how hard was it raining?

- When I saw the teams heading for the Seoul World Cup stadium, I was reminded of last season and how ridiculous cowboys Jet and Cord looked trying to kick a soccer ball and score a goal in their cowboy boots (Oh my gravy!). I was hoping it would be a Switchback where they repeat a challenge like last season’s ‘needle-in-a-haystack’ do-over, but alas, it was just a clue to send them all speed skating.

- Between the Rafting and Speed Skating, did someone at CBS get a big discount on spandex?

- We learned some interesting things about Jill and Thomas this episode: A) They said“we can skate. We suck at delivering stuff”, which made me wonder if the sample size to determine that really included them skating more often than delivering; B) That Thomas gets dressed much slower than Jill; and C) That they don’t like dealing with old people, whether asking for directions, or in cabs. Damn Ageists!

- I’m not sure if I heard this right, and I couldn’t go back and check, but when Brook (C’mon Claire!) was giving Claire instructions on how to push her at the Speed Skating, did she say “On the bum…just how I like it”? Did I hear that right? Speaking of the “C’mon Claire” count, I stopped counting at 20 this week.

- Nick thought that finding a man in South Korea who could direct their taxi might be their “lucky break” that could get them back in the Race. Well, unless this guy can actually stop time as well as having a keen sense of direction in Seoul, I don’t really think this was the break he was looking for. Although that whole situation seemed like just a smoke screen to allow Nick to say to Vicki “He wants you. I knew you were good for something.”

- Brook and Claire incurred a 30 minute penalty at the mat for taking a cab when they weren’t allowed to, and as a result they got to watch a trip to Argentina get handed over to Jill and Thomas right in front of them. Was there no camera shot of their reaction when Phil mentioned the trip? Opportunity missed…

- At 8:53, Nick and Vicki weren’t even at the Bridge yet. The result of this leg was never in question, as I speculated last week. Other than 10 seconds of them rinsing a tank (their Speed Bump), we barely saw them. Nick closed it out by saying about Vicki “I wouldn’t change her, not even for a second.” Then the cameras apparently were turned off as he yelled “Unless her damn Asthma acts up again!

- Could we have heard any more about the possibility of history being made with the first All-Female team winning the Race? With this much Girl Power going on, I expected the closing credits to roll with the Spice Girls playing. I would say that all of the comments in the show tonight would pretty much assure that Jill and Thomas do not win.

- So, who do you think will pull it out: Team Home Shopping, The Hot Docs, or Team I-Went-To-Notre-Dame-And-You’re-Just-A-Cosmetologist? Let me know in the Comments section below. (Don’t be alarmed by the Comment Moderation, all comments will be posted)

Next Week: The Season Finale, and a “surprise” announcement about the next season of The Amazing Race
(visit the Comments section to hear what it is. I won’t post it in the main article for those of you who don’t want to know.)

Amazing Race Fans, feel free to bookmark the site or add your name as a Follower on the sidebar to the left. You can also add me on Facebook, where I post all of the recaps as soon as they go up. Don’t forget to mouse over the pictures for captions, and please leave a Comment in the Comments section if you’re so inclined.

Related Posts:
Josh Wolk’s Amazing Race Recap
Darren Franich’s EW.com Amazing Race Recap
Spoiler TV Recap

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Survivor Nicaragua Recap: "Nobody Likes a Quitter...or Two"

It’s been two weeks since we saw Brenda’s torch get snuffed, so I’m not wasting any time. Seriously, it's December 1, who has time during the Christmas shopping season? Let’s get to it, and find why Jeff Probst teased tonight’s episode as one of his favourite from this season:

My Random Thoughts:

- Previously on Survivor… This was a fantastic ‘Previously’ segment from the King of the Blue Shirts, including: describing the fire as “accidental”, when most would use the term “idiotic”; referring to Purple Kelly as “blindly obedient” to Brenda and Sash; and the dramatic phrase “a month in Nicaragua had made one thing clear: this was no place for the weak”, followed by a recap of who wanted to quit, when, and why. Foreshadowing, anyone?

- In the opening segment right after they returned from Tribal Council, NaOnka asked“Do I look like Boo Boo The Fool?” At least that’s what I think she said…technically, it was “D’Ilooklikebooboodafoo”, so I’ll assume that’s what she said. Well, to answer that question…yes you do. First you talk about how you’re anemic and how the weather is affecting you, and how you want to quit once again. Then you just lowest-common-denominator all of it and declare “My ass hurts.” Yes, NaOnka, you look like a fool. I’m not sure if that fool is specifically named ‘Boo Boo’, but you have looked like a fool since Day One.

- A couple of weeks ago, someone in the Comments section of a message board I post on mentioned that Jane looks like an old Dakota Fanning, and that’s all I can see when I look at her now.

- After 10 episodes of knowing nothing at all about Purple Kelly, since she hasn’t spoken or done anything, how on earth can they expect us to buy into their attempts to turn her into a sympathetic character tonight? Could there be a less sympathetic character than the unknown young girl who says nothing? If this was the way she was going to go out, then there needed to be an effort throughout the season to establish her personality and character if we were expected to care.

- There was so much to talk about in the Reward challenge, I have to give it its own section in the recap:
o Did you see the Mud Pit that was created at the site of the challenge? If the river running through the beach didn’t tell you how bad the rain was, the quagmire (Giggidy!) at the challenge sure did.
o Why did Jeff specify that you couldn’t drop Gulliver during the challenge if you were allowed to drag him the whole way? What’s the difference between dragging and dropping? Is it touching the ground, or actually carrying it?
o The product placement/commercial for Gulliver’s Travels was so lame. I mean, I expect it from Big Brother, and I always expect it on Survivor for the horrible ‘loved ones’ episode when Jeff goes on and on about how wonderful the Sony Palm Pre is (and by the way, that has to be coming soon), but this was over the top. I was waiting to see Jack Black himself come out at Tribal Council to snuff the torches.
o Most of the team challenges this season have had the teams decided by a ‘schoolyard pick’, but why do we never see it?
o Dan was sitting in the giant chair wagging his legs, and then got all excited to learn that there would be unlimited candy at the Survivor Cinema. Ive said this before this season: Dan is an Oompa Loompa.
o Highlights of the challenge included Purple Kelly taking a boot in the face, and NaOnka falling out of the rope tunnel and faceplanting into Gulliver’s crotch.
o Jeff yelled at the teams “Don’t give up.” If at this point in the episode, if you didn’t know someone was quitting, you have a major interpretive problem.
o Right after NaOnka quit, she said “I’m not a quitter.”Is this nutbar for real?
o I liked the sacrifice option that Jeff gave the winning team in terms of the tarp and rice. I was disgusted with NaOnka for not stepping down for the team. One second she’s giving the Hidden Immunity Idol to Chase, and then she’s being selfish again so she can eat Nuclear Cheese and Pop Rocks?

- Holly told Kelly “You’re always gonna be remembered as the girl who quit Survivor Nicaragua 21.” (I love how she threw the 21 in there). No, she’s not…she’s not going to be remembered at all. And if she IS remembered, she’s going to be remembered as the other girl who quit right after the crazy black lady with the weird name.

- In response to Holly telling her to “suck it up”, Kelly responded “I have nothing left to suck.” (too many jokes, pick your own) But apparently that didn’t extend to licking, as Kelly licked around the bottom of her coconut rice bowl like it was a Dairy Queen cone.

- At Tribal Council, Naonka once again proved she is insane by talking about how she would definitely win the game because of her “drive.” Probst then openly mocked her. I love you, Jeff.

- Long story short, they both ended up quitting, and had their torches “smuffed.” Ridiculous. Here’s a question for you, if they had both decided not to quit, what would have happened then? Would there have been a vote right away, with no one having Immunity since there was no Immunity challenge? Or was this a special “Quitters” Tribal Council, just to address that issue? I look forward to Jeff Probst’s blog on Thursday morning (link at the end), where I’m sure he will address that.

- I hate when people quit on this show. Hate it. It’s so absurd that they take the opportunity away from someone else, and you could see how disgusted Alina, Marty, and Brenda were…and rightfully so. But even in NaOnka’s confessional, she still patted herself on the back. I submit to you that she may be the most delusional contestant in Survivor history
Here’s my suggestion on how to deal with quitters: If you quit, you’re gone…period. You’re not on the jury, you’re not on the reunion show, you don’t even get a goodbye confessional. Screw it…if you quit the game, you quit the whole game.

Next Week: Everyone wants to vote for everyone.

Just a reminder that Comment Moderation is still on due to the fact that there are a number of spoilers circulating (I blame a bitter NaOnka for actually leaking all of the info that has been leaked…that’s not a joke). Until the end of this season, I will have to approve Comments before they get posted on here. Rest assured I will post every Comment (positive or negative) that does not contain spoilers.

Also, one final note: I will be travelling to the West Coast for 2 weeks, starting this coming weekend, so that may affect my recaps for both The Amazing Race and Survivor. I think they should all still work out ok, but I haven’t exactly figured it all out yet. I’m hoping it all works out as usual…the only difference is that the recaps will appear later since I will be watching the show on Pacific Time. I will be back home for the Season Finale and Reunion show on December 19th.

Survivor Fans, feel free to bookmark the site or add your name as a Follower on the sidebar to the left. You can also add me on Facebook, where I post all of the recaps as soon as they go up. Don’t forget to mouse over the pictures for captions, and please leave a Comment in the Comments section if you’re so inclined.

Thanks for reading.

Related Posts:
Survivor Nicaragua Recap by Dalton Ross
Jeff Probst’s Blog
Spoiler TV Recap

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Amazing Race Recap: "Just Keep Puking. That's What They Did In Renaissance Time."

With Chad and Stephanie being eliminated last week, the ‘domineering boyfriend count’ was cut by 33%, as the final four teams headed to Hong Kong for a predictable non-elimination leg. Would Jill and Thomas be able to maintain their huge lead on the other teams, or would there be another airport equalizer? Why is Brook dancing like a fool? And who’s puking over sushi?

My Random Thoughts:

- I had wondered for the past couple of seasons about the off-leg rest periods, and what happens to the teams. In the past, Phil always methodically told us that they had “a mandatory 12-hour rest period that allows the teams to eat, sleep, and mingle”, but there has been no mention of that for a couple of seasons now, just the times that the teams depart the Pit Stop. Tonight, we heard Jill and Thomas talking about their big lead (which rapidly evaporated at the airport), saying that they haven’t seen the other teams. I guess that answers that.

- Brook and Claire decided that they in fact were annoyed about being U-Turned, and since they were the only team to ever survive a U-Turn and not be eliminated, they suggested that once Thomas saw them at the airport, he might “poop his pants.” Look, I get that these two Pink Ladies are cutesy about everything, but I can’t think that there is any chance that when Thomas saw them, that was going to happen. I understand it’s just a figure of speech, but it’s not like they’re giving a lesson to a group of second-graders. Does the phrase “poop his pants” really have any place here?

- Nick got teary at the beginning of the episode talking about Vicki, saying that “she’s a blessing.” Apparently she’s only a blessing until her damn asthma causes them to miss a ferry, putting them 30 minutes behind. Then his praise of his girlfriend turned into “You’d better hope you can keep up because I’m not waiting for your ass.” What a classy guy, huh? Especially after he threw in the “Quit Crying” for good measure.

- I liked how in Hong Kong, Jill and Thomas were the only ones to get on the first bus, meaning the initial bus to leave the airport. But then they were the first ones to get on the First Ferry, meaning…the name of the Ferry? Did you catch that…in giant capital letters: FIRST FERRY. It’s so optimistic…even Nick and Vicki could say they made it on the “First Ferry.”

- I loved this exchange between Brook and Claire:
Brook:“Let’s hug it out.
Claire: “We did suck it out.”
Brook: “No, hug it out.”
It’s funny enough that Claire mis-heard it, but what the hell does “suck it out” mean? Did she think Brook actually said “Suck it UP”?

- After last week’s over-the-top “C’Mon Claire” display from Brook, I decided that this week, I would actually count the number of times Brook said it in the episode, much like I did the “Bro” count with Dan and Jordan, and the “Baby” count with Michael and Louie from last season. In tonight’s episode, the Count–which includes the following modified phrasing: Claire C’mon, C’mon honey, C’mon Claire Bear and C’mon (bud did not include Brook leading the Karaoke crowd in the Claire chant, OR you got this, chica/Claire)–was FIFTEEN times. I think it’s only a matter of time before Claire Bear actually kills Brook.

- I loved the fake food search at the buffet. I thought it was one of the best challenges we’ve seen in 17 seasons of the show, and it was made that much better by the frantic-ness added by the karaoke singers and Brook’s dancing. It also reminded me of the ‘Eat the Wasabi” challenge from 2 seasons ago…which may be my favourite challenge of all time.

- Claire, did you really think after reading the clue that asked who was feeling peckish…that this was going to be a singing challenge? And did we really have to hear the puking/splashing sound effect twice?

- Credit to the creative department on this episode, because I though the two Detour options were also great. The Ding Ding challenge was nearly impossible, but I still would have chosen it, simply because the other one was taking place at night with flashlights in the harbour. In the daytime, it’s an easy choice, but I would have gone with the Ding Ding Detour at night.

- What was the point of the bird whistle? Other than making the teams look ridiculous?

- Nat and Kat came in first place and gushed like schoolgirls, putting their heads on each other’s shoulders and blushing. Awww…how sweet. That should give another week of multiple Google searches on “Are Nat and Kat gay?” Trust me, it happens…I see where the traffic comes from.
(Update: as of midnight ET on the night of the episode, with this recap only being online for less than 3 hours, there were a total of 46 hits from people Googling permutations of "Nat and Kat gay".)

- “We can just take a penalty. You can’t keep puking all night.” When this is the most compassionate we’ve ever seen Nick, then it’s pretty apparent he won’t be winning any Boyfriend of the Year awards. Vicki is rapidly becoming the Zach to Nick’s Flo…remember how everyone couldn’t stand Flo, and Zach became the most sympathetic contestant in TAR history? Vicki is getting pretty close.

Even more so after Nick’s tantrum on the Sampan, ranting about how he was tired, and over-using the word “Damn” like he was Myron Mixon. He complained that the Detour was ridiculous because the numbers weren’t even in order. What kind of challenge would that be, if all you had to do was count? To be fair, for Nick that would still be pretty difficult. But after tonight’s episode, he most certainly wins the “Whiny Bitch” award.

- Nick and Vicki came last in the most obvious Non-Elimination leg yet, and with only two episodes left, will now have to face both a 6-hour penalty AND a Speed Bump in the next leg. By my calculations, this should put them 6 hours and 3 minutes behind the other teams. If the next leg stays in Hong Kong without major travel or a venue that doesn’t open until a certain time, they will most assuredly NOT be racing in the Final Three.

Next Week: The penultimate episode, as the final three teams are determined.

Just one quick final note: I will be travelling to the West Coast for 2 weeks, starting next weekend, so that may affect my recaps for both The Amazing Race and Survivor. I think they should all still work out ok, but I haven’t exactly figured it all out yet. I am travelling on December 5th, which is the second-last episode of TAR, and I may not be able to actually see the episode, much less recap it. I’m hoping it all works out as usual…the only difference is that the recaps will appear later since I will be watching the show on Pacific Time.

Amazing Race Fans, feel free to bookmark the site or add your name as a Follower on the sidebar to the left. You can also add me on Facebook, where I post all of the recaps as soon as they go up. Don’t forget to mouse over the pictures for captions, and please leave a Comment in the Comments section if you’re so inclined.

Related Posts:
Josh Wolk’s Amazing Race Recap
Darren Franich’s EW.com Amazing Race Recap
Spoiler TV Recap

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Survivor Nicaragua: Non-Recap Of A Non-Episode

For those of you unaware, and I was one of those until about an hour before air time on the East Coast, tonight's episode of Survivor (November 24) was a Recap show of the first half of the season. I hate Recap shows, as I'm sure most of you do as well...as a matter of fact, that picture above shows my level of excitement over this episode.

We didn't really learn anything new tonight, except that Jimmy T. was even more annoying than we saw in the early episodes, apparently there was a sale on pink underwear before the Survivors left for Nicaragua, Jane didn't always look like a witch (and she starved herself in advance of the show!), Fabio rubs his eyes after touching hot peppers, and NaOnka's on-screen confessionals now warrant the theme from Jaws.

Speaking of on-camera confessionals, Purple Kelly finally got one! Although she basically just cried and talked about wanting to quit. Sure there were a couple of things that were new, like finding out that NaOnka told Holly about stealing the flour, and finding our how Jane got a second fire going (something I wondered about in the recap of that episode), but there wasn't any real substance. Did we really need an extended scene of Marty and Tyrone (neither of whom are still in the game) arguing about the placement of the fire? Also, I had forgotten that Tyrone was a fireman! How hard do you think he was laughing and pointing at his TV screen last week watching the camp burn down...exactly like he said it would?

Another wasted hour. I hate these episodes.

See you next week.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Amazing Race Recap: The Double U-Turn

When I saw last week’s preview of the Double U-Turn coming up in this episode, I braced myself for the invariable whining and complaining from the team that gets U-Turned. As readers of my Amazing Race Recaps from previous seasons may remember, I am a big proponent of using the tools that are available to you to win the game. It’s the same concept as a stolen base in baseball…it’s not unethical or ‘dirty’ to do it, even though the name ‘stolen base’ itself is a connotation of wrongdoing.

In previous seasons, we’ve seen teams get riled up over being U-Turned, but if you’re not willing to use the U-Turn with only 5 teams left in the Race, then you don’t really want to win. As I stated last season when Brent and Caite U-Turned Carol and Brandi, I think that any move that eliminates 20% of the field in a contest for $1 million dollars is a pretty smart move.

But on to this week’s episode, which saw the Final 5 teams travelling to Bangladesh…where the premiere of the dreaded DOUBLE U-Turn awaited them.

My Random Thoughts:

- I’ve been pretty hard this season on Thomas for his condescending ways, but I had a hearty laugh hearing him begin the episode saying that there was a “Do-Blay” U-Turn ahead. Now, I don’t think Mr. Notre Dame Class of ’02 really thought that was the correct pronunciation of “double”, but it’s an obvious editing ploy because he likes to correct Jill on anything and everything…like the difference between wheelbarrows and rickshaws, or what ‘extremities’ are on your body.

- Jill, meanwhile is becoming more and more dramatic with everything that comes out of her mouth. Tonight she said that “Getting to the U-Turn first is crucial”, and that getting the earlier flight was also 'crucial'. I would suggest the word ‘obvious’ could replace ‘crucial’ in either instance, but when you also factor in that just riding the rickshaw in Bangladesh was ‘crazy’ to her, and rappelling in Oman last week was ‘insane’ , I have a feeling that everything in Jill’s life is excessively dramatic. Like at dinner, she could turn to Thomas and say, ‘This Chicken is NUTS!’ He, of course, would respond with "I've had this a thousand times before."

- At the airport in Oman, we saw Jill and Thomas fight for an earlier flight, Nat and Kat head off to Dubai in search of something better, Team Home Shopping and The Tattoo Twins searching for other options…and Chad and Stephanie grabbing a snack. I guess they were still basking too much in the afterglow of their new engagement to actually focus on trying to win the Race. Maybe the circulation to Chad’s brain was cut off by that ridiculous neck pillow that he wore in the airport for no reason. Or maybe the Neanderthal football jock gene in his brain just kept saying “Mmmmm…Blizzard.” Did you love how they blurred out the Dairy Queen logo on the sign, but still left in the fact that Chad wanted to go get a Blizzard?

- Essentially, we saw the first 15 minutes in an airport, all just to learn that Jill and Thomas had a 7-hour lead. Was that really necessary?

- I had to laugh at the Sugar Cane drink challenge because we had a family brunch today with about 20 people to celebrate my mom’s birthday, and for the latter portion of the brunch at the restaurant, all of the kids were filling up their water glasses with sugar cubes from the table. One of the glasses had eight cubes in it, and we were commenting on how sweet it would have been. That’s what I imagined the Sugar Cane liquid would have tasted like, although Thomas pounded it back like he was the anchor leg on a Notre Dame Boat Race. (Nice touch on the Irish shirt this week, by the way)

- When Jill was doing the Rickshaw Roadblock, and talking about “nuts and bullets”, Thomas was calling out supportively to her, but all we really heard were two suggestive phrases, as he said: “she’s handling that wrench pretty well”, and “put that booty into it.” It was a little gratuitous, and I was half-expecting the Rickshaw supervisor to tell her that she couldn’t leave until she “greased his chain”, but thankfully, that was all. To be fair, I suppose you have to try and fit something interesting into the show when your leading team hits the Pit Stop at 8:28 and no one else is even in the country yet.

Speaking of the Rickshaw supervisor, did you notice how visibly disappointed he was every time someone thought they were finished but were missing something. It wasn’t a simple Yes or No from this guy…he was letting them know he expected better.

- Upon finding out they were U-Turned by Jill and Thomas, Brook and Claire’s only response was a simple “You’re lame", before heading off to do the Brick portion of the Detour. What ensued, however, was Brook essentially treating Claire as her own personal pack mule, as she hollered “C’Mon Claire!” no less than SIX times during the Detour. Claire was ready to drop, and she let Brook know after the fact. Brook responded by saying “You’re sick? I’m exhausted!” The obvious conversation-ender would have been to shoot back with “You’re exhausted? I HAD A WATERMELON EXPLODE IN MY FACE!”, but Claire took the high road.

- I expected Chad to go into a full-on bout of Roid Rage when he saw that they had been U-Turned. Little did I know that the rage would happen before even finding out, as he was shushing Stephanie repeatedly and getting frustrated with being lost. He impressed me with his handling of the U-Turn, however, as other than a few ‘grasping-at-straws’ taunts at Nat (which had no effect whatsoever), he essentially took it like a man. Previous and future teams should take a lesson from the two teams tonight on how to handle being U-Turned.

- At the Rickshaw challenge, Brook said “I’m gonna charge through it like a spider monkey.” I don’t get the reference. Are spider monkeys really fast at putting bikes together? Are they fast at anything? Or does putting this rickshaw together somehow require a prehensile tail? Someone explain this to me, because that made about as much sense as her saying "Let’s make like a stapler and get out of here.” And when did these two stop the Amazing Race Kiss Count? Or are they still kissing everyone possible and we’re just not seeing it?

- I found it a little suspicious that at the Pit Stop mat, Phil made a point to say to Brook and Claire “You still have a chance to become the first all-female team to win The Amazing Race.” I found it fishy, because he didn’t say it to Nat and Kat. Theories?

- Chad and Stephanie got the boot. At least they still have each other. I mean, they have been engaged for 2 days. I give it 18 months, tops.

Next Week: Brook does some Hong Kong Dirty Dancing, and Nick is Boyfriend of the Year once again.

Amazing Race Fans, feel free to bookmark the site or add your name as a Follower on the sidebar to the left. You can also add me on Facebook, where I post all of the recaps as soon as they go up. Don’t forget to mouse over the pictures for captions, and please leave a Comment in the Comments section if you’re so inclined.

Related Posts:
Josh Wolk’s Amazing Race Recap
Darren Franich’s EW.com Amazing Race Recap
Spoiler TV Recap

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Survivor Nicaragua Recap: "Maybe I Should Have Scrambled"

Last week, we saw the end of Marty, as the fake Chess Grandmaster made his way over to join Alina on the jury. Would Marty’s hair still be as crazy once he actually had a shower? Would Sash and Brenda continue to run the game? And why did CBS give us a cryptic teaser at the end of last week’s episode, only to reveal what happened in a later preview?

My Random Thoughts:

- At the beginning of the episode, Brenda talked about how she and Sash were the King and Queen at camp, but she was more like the King, and Sash was the Queen. Come on, be honest…you laughed. And you knew it was true.

- Upon returning from Tribal Council, Holly told Jane (and this is verbatim): “There comes a time in this game, Jane, that you have to start saying “See ya”…no matter how friendly they are, or how whatever.” Incredibly awkward sentence structure aside, Holly is absolutely right…but that day is DAY ONE! Not Day 25. Remember that we’re talking about the woman who ran around camp in the first hour telling everyone she trusted them, and then started sinking shoes for no reason.
- Then, as if Holly was in a zone where all she says is things that make people look at her like she’s insane, she told Chase “Kelly Purple crawls up Brenda’s ass.” Someone needs to talk to her about wording her thoughts a little better.

- I’m getting really tired of all of the snake imagery. I get that the producers always like some predatory sort of creature to use as a theme, and for the moment, I’ll just be happy that it’s not spiders again…but it’s way over the top this season.

- NaOnka asked: “Did I come all this way, from South Central L.A., to go home with nothing?” Well, I sure hope not, because that would have been the worst strategy ever, but if NaOnka keeps acting like an escapee from a mental institution, she’s not going to have much of a choice in that. And let’s be honest, even at this point, there’s no way she could possibly win this game.

- At the Reward Challenge, I was temporarily distracted by the fact that Jeff Probst was wearing a Green Shirt instead of the standard blue, but recovered enough to say to my girlfriend as the challenge was being explained, “The team with Dan loses.”

Sure enough, Dan’s team was never in it, and Jeff got in two HUGE burns on them: 1) “Brenda trying to roll on one of the barrels. That’ll work…for a minute., and 2) “If this were life and death…you’d be dead.” As the blue team won the reward, Jeff threw his arms upward in his trademark gesture and hollered, “Pizza, Brownies, and Volcano Surfing!”, which I have to think is the only time those words have ever been spoken together in the history of the English Language.

- Let’s talk about the Reward for a minute, shall we? First of all, it was more like Volcano “sledding” than “surfing”, but it still looked like fun. Fabio made a spectacular wipeout, and Jane looked like an old retired science teacher who volunteers at a prison, sitting there in her orange jumpsuit and goggles.
- I’m no camping expert (as my girlfriend will attest), but moving the fire CLOSER to the shelter never really seems like it would be that good of an idea. Of course, a worse idea would be to build a border around the edges of your fire to “protect” it…with all of your wooden items. I will re-iterate once again that this is the dumbest cast in the 21 seasons of this show. Their goal was to protect the fire from the rain, and what they did was create a roaring inferno…and they still lost their fire. Morons.

- Chase to Kelly: “You never talk really.” A hearty thank-you to the editors of the show, because I laughed so hard at that, I had to pause the show. Seriously, I was laughing so hard, my chest hurt.
- Chase told us “I trust Brenda. I trust her, and I’ve put my game plan in her.” Chase has such a schoolboy crush on Brenda, his “game plan” isn’t the only thing he’s trying to put in her. Jane said it much more succinctly when she said“Chase is sucking up to Brenda like he wants to get in her pants or something.” Mama Carolina is not pleased.

- The Immunity Challenge was another good one, but I have to think that it would have been a good choice for that Final Three Endurance challenge we generally see at the end of a season. Thoughts on the challenge: the rope burns would have been awful; credit to Dan for outlasting 4 others; seven players were out before the Survivors had to go to the 2nd knot (under 5 minutes), and Probst essentially talks Jane into the win when she was about to quit. Should Jeff be able to potentially influence a contest like that, or is it just Jeff being supportive to everyone? Your thoughts?
I liked that it was Jane and Chase at the end…All-Carolina. Kind of like a Duke-North Carolina game heading into March Madness. Knowing that Chase is a Tar Heels fan, that would make Jane the Blue Devils. The wily old veteran with experience against the strong young buck. By the way, who won the National Title this year?

- NaOnka turned into Shaggy at Tribal Council, refusing to admit her role in the plan that ultimately saw Brenda get voted out. But I appreciated Brenda’s parting shot when she voted for NaOnka, drawing the Immunity Idol on the parchment so everyone knew that she had the Idol.

- Did you see Sash look away when Brenda looked over hoping he would give her the Idol. Kind of like that fake “look-the-other-way” look that people do when you happen to run into someone from that one time…remember when you were really drunk? What were you thinking, anyways?

Next Week: NaOnka goes crazy…again.

Just one quick final note: since the message boards at both CBS and Entertainment Weekly have been proliferated with number of spoilers for this season, and some have found their way here to the Comments section (where I have deleted them), I have decided to temporarily enable Comment Moderation. So now, I will have to approve Comments before they get posted on here. Rest assured I will post every Comment (positive or negative) that does not contain spoilers.

Survivor Fans, feel free to bookmark the site or add your name as a Follower on the sidebar to the left. You can also add me on Facebook, where I post all of the recaps as soon as they go up. Don’t forget to mouse over the pictures for captions, and please leave a Comment in the Comments section if you’re so inclined.

Thanks for reading.

Related Posts:
Survivor Nicaragua Recap by Dalton Ross
Jeff Probst’s Blog
Spoiler TV Recap

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Amazing Race Recap - "Oh Man, Oman"

Last week I pointed out that Nick and Vicki were not forced to do a Speed Bump. One of the commenters here and on Spoiler TV explained that the reason this happened is because the previous week, in the Piano Detour, apparently they gave the correct answer but were told it was wrong. So they ended up being last, even though they should have arrived at the mat much earlier.

While I understand the logic, I think that it was inexcusable that CBS did not offer an explanation for this situation instead of assuming they could sneak this by their loyal, regular viewers. This was all anyone was talking about last week, and it’s insulting that it wasn’t addressed on the show.

For this week’s episode, the teams were off to Oman. Would the long-awaited proposal from Meathead Chad finally happen? Would Mallory get help from the heavens, as she seems to ask for every week? And on a scale of 1 to 10, how happy do you think I am that I live and watch The Amazing Race in Canada, where I can happily view the episode at 8:00 ET every Sunday, without waiting for football delays?

My Random Thoughts:

- After last week’s near-elimination for Chad and Stephanie, don’t you think that would have been a HUGE wake-up call for them to be on their game and make sure not to miss any details. I mean, after Phil tells you that you’re the last ones to arrive, AND you have a penalty…and then you find out that someone messed up even worse, and you’re still in the Race, how on earth could you possibly miss the start of your next leg? I know that their two hour sleep-in only resulted in them being behind by 10 minutes on their flight, but it’s still idiotic.

- So how does Chad decide that they should deal with this turn of events? The penalties, the near-elimination, and then missing your scheduled race start by 2 hours? He decides that NOW is the perfect time to propose…in the romantic hotbed of Oman? (and was the commercial break mid-proposal really necessary, when it had already been teased in the preview this week) Ok, I’ll drop the harsh exterior and give Chad some credit for using his mom’s ring, but any warming of the heart that I may have started to feel was immediately removed the moment the ‘Dating’ descriptor for Chad and Stephanie changed to a sparkly ‘Engaged.’ Gag.
- I loved how Chad talked about the fact that “no one has beat us”, because they’ve been causing their own problems that are preventing them from winning. What a horrible analogy. If you’re running in the 100 Meter Dash at the Olympics, and you fall coming out of the starting blocks…you know the guy that finishes first? He still beat you. And he still gets the gold medal.

- Brainiac Nick declared that “it takes just as long to look at the map and try to get an understanding of it, as it does to ask a local that, for sure, knows to where to tell you to go.” That actually made me laugh out loud, to think that some random local is a better directional option THAN A MAP. The problem is that Nick can’t read maps, and…some people out there in our nation…don’t have maps. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist) If you can’t read a map, then yes, the ‘talk to a local’ method is your best option, but don’t try to tell the world that the map is a bad idea. Nick then classily followed up his map ineptitude by doing what he always does: having a tantrum and yelling at Vicki, threatening to go home if she did anything else stupid, and saying that he was “ laughing at (her) dumb ass.”- How hard did you laugh when you saw that there was a second rappelling task on this season…and that Thomas the Master Rapeller wasn’t going to get to do it? And while we’re on the subject of classy boyfriends, did you love how he felt he had to correct Jill on the pronunciation of ‘rappel’?

- Jill: “I definitely do have a fear of heights. Just in a really high area.” Um…ok.

- Nick and Vicki encountered a flat tire, and Nick took his rage out on the tire iron, kicking it to loosen the nuts on the wheel. I absolutely loved the shot of Nick under the vehicle working to change the tire…because he was actually pumping the jack DOWN instead of up. I’m serious…go back and watch it again!

Earlier this season, I had a discussion with a fellow Amazing Race fan who reads and comments here, about the number of flat tires on the show. He suggested that the show, and vehicles, were rigged so that there would be flat tires on the show periodically. I said I didn’t think so, and he said to me “How many times have you had to change a flat tire?” I told him that I had to change 2 in the past year…and since we had that conversation in early October, I’ve had to change a third now.

- When Chad and Stephanie saw Jill and Thomas already pumping water from their water truck when they arrived at the Detour address, Stephanie said that she was pissed. Ok, forget about the near-elimination and oversleeping (covered above), but if I was Stephanie, I would be more pissed about the fact that my truck was equipped with a blurry camera, and that I have a water truck driver who is checking his blackberry as he’s driving!

Then Stephanie talked about how when she and Chad find a way to make it up front in the race, someone else finds a spot to “weasel their way in” to pass them. Ok, let’s use the 100 Meter Dash analogy again: if you’re leading the race, and then you’re not…nobody ‘weaseled’ their way in…they just beat you. And once again, they get the medal, not you.

- In last week’s recap, I wondered if the “you can’t pay a taxi to lead you” rule was across the board, or just a single instruction. I guess Jill and Thomas found out the hard way. No Belize for you.

- Upon finding out that they were Team #1, Chad did the most awkward girlish scream/jump on the mat. I’m sure his football buddies won’t mention it at all.

- The “Ali Baba In A Suit” challenge was significantly easier for trailing teams Nat and Kat and Gary and Mallory because the shop that Ali Baba was located in, was the only one open at the time they were at the market!

- Gary and Mallory arrived at the location from their first clue at 8:43 pm viewing time, after driving for nine hours. They never had a shot in this one, even though Mallory apparently turned into Flavor Flav, dropping a “Yeeee-uh” when she thought she saw another team. Did Gary really say Mallory was the “boy I never had?” Wow, way to tug on the heartstrings, dad.

Next week: Bangladesh stinks, and the premiere of the Double U-Turn.

Amazing Race Fans, feel free to bookmark the site or add your name as a Follower on the sidebar to the left. You can also add me on Facebook, where I post all of the recaps as soon as they go up. Don’t forget to mouse over the pictures for captions, and please leave a Comment in the Comments section if you’re so inclined.

Related Posts:
Josh Wolk’s Amazing Race Recap
Darren Franich’s EW.com Amazing Race Recap