Sunday, October 30, 2011

Amazing Race Recap: “We Love Your Country, It’s Very Spacious”

Before I get to tonight’s recap, I just need to mention that I absolutely love watching The Amazing Race on CTV here in Canada, because I don’t have to deal with delays caused by NFL football or golf. That’s right, people…while you’re waiting 29 minutes for the show to start, we Canucks are up here eating back bacon and maple syrup while the show starts promptly at 8:00 pm.

After last week’s elephant-tastic episode, the teams are off to Africa for the sixth leg of the Race. Who’s trapped under a bed? Why are the teams building toy trucks? And who hasn’t paid their driver?

My Random Thoughts:

- Previously on The Amazing Race…The twins had no money. The twins had no money! But at least they had an elephant-gasm, right? Team NFL came in first place, while the Twins were eliminated partially because, you guessed it, they had no money.

- From the Pit Stop of Bangkok, teams learned that they had to travel more than 5,000 miles to Malawi in Africa. Teams were all on the same flight to Malawi, so the first few minutes were spent talking about the teams

- Cindy is frustrated with their team making mistakes on each leg, while Ernie says “mistakes are inevitable”. Do you think after the camera was off of them, control freak Cindy turned to Ernie and yelled, “No they’re NOT inevitable…unless you’re a B student!”
- Amani and Marcus talked about having a special-needs child, and Jennifer talked about teaching Special Ed. But then, Jennifer referred to the Race as her “special baby.” Just when I thought she was being sensitive, it turns out she was actually being insulting. How do you think Amani and Marcus feel hearing someone compare The Race to a special-needs child? After last week's heavily edited “look how tolerant Jennifer is” moment with regards to other religions, I found this pretty interesting.

- All during the race, it’s been bothering me trying to figure out who Marcus reminded me of…and now I’ve figured it out. Fans of HBO’s The Wire (perhaps the greatest show in the history of television) are probably looking at Marcus and shouting “Stringer Bell!” Don’t you think they look alike?

- So the teams were off to Malawi…and here’s a fun fact about Malawi, in case you didn’t know: the government of Malawi has introduced a bill for a new law to try and stop people from breaking wind in public. The intention is to prosecute those “who foul the air” in an effort to “mould responsible and disciplined citizens”. I thought you should know.

- After landing, the teams had to find their way to a Tobacco warehouse, which was a relevant task since 60% of Malawi’s income is derived from the sale of tobacco leaves. I live in Southwestern Ontario, and there is a large industry nearby of farming tobacco, and also a legendary song by Stompin’ Tom Connors about the strenuous labours of working tobacco (Helpful tidbit: Tillsonburg is the name of the city that is the centre of the industry).
- For the Roadblock, teams had to move 10 “heavy-ass” bales of tobacco with a handcart around a maze-like warehouse that looked like the final scene from Raiders of The Lost Ark. Not only did they have to do this, but they had to do it while the local workers were still scrambling around the lanes and ramming them with their own bales of tobacco. And those that weren’t trying to slow them down were singing and dancing on the bales. Hey, at least they were happy instead of just laughing at the misfortunes of the racers. Maybe they just found out that Madonna has once again been refused in her efforts to adopt all of the children in Malawi.

Everyone was finding it hard to breathe (which is understandable since many of the workers had masks), the Snowboarders inexplicably DIDN’T choose Rock, Paper, Scissors to decide who did it, and everyone had trouble taking corners with the cart. Is it really that hard to know how to use a dolly/handcart? You have to step on the axle between the wheels to anchor it when you want to lift, people!

Amani and Marcus finished last, and apparently this was the green light for all of the workers to gather around Marcus, singing, dancing, jumping, and helping him take his orange jumpsuit off. The scene looked eerily reminiscent of the St. Louis Cardinals on Thursday night, mobbing David Freese at the plate after his 11th-inning homer. Did you see that game? Since when did ripping someone’s uniform off constitute a form of celebration?
- After the Roadblock, teams had to travel to the Memorial Tower, where they opened their next clue and were faced with a Detour. The choices were All Sewn Up, where teams would have to use a manual sewing machine to finish a suit jacket and pants, or Not Grown Up, where teams would have to visit a school and build toys for the children out of scrap materials.

Laurence showed his generational differences by stating that “this is where the women whip past us”, because apparently all women sew great and all men build trucks fast. I’m sure he’s hoping a future challenge includes a barefoot pregnant woman doing laundry while he chops down a tree and then reads the newspaper in front of the television. (And how awesome was it that Marcus, perhaps the “manliest man” in the Race, jumped at the chance to sew?)

- In All Sewn Up, the teams had to find their way to the tailor shop in a busy marketplace, choose a waiting patron, and work on his suit. What made this task so awkward was that the patron was waiting for them only a few feet away…with no pants on. Talk about putting a realistic spin on the task, huh? Ernie came up with the best line in this one, talking about how Cindy normally “holds the pants in our relationship” and her response was a predictable “Hey, Hey!” to shush him.

- Not Grown Up was a great challenge that seemed rewarding to all of the teams. This is really what the Race is about, not just the competition, but the adventure, the culture, and the human element of it all. It’s why I love it more than all other Reality shows, and why it has won 8 Emmys.

And then Laurence shat all over that sentiment by talking about how he loves the kids, only to be seen yanking the clue out of the hands of the young boy presenting it to him.


I liked that there were a couple of brief moments where the teams stopped to play soccer with the kids. Don’t you wish Ethan and Jenna would have still been here for this? This is what Ethan’s charity is all about.

- After the Detour (which Jeremy and Sandy finished in first place), teams then had to find their way to a roadside furniture shop, and transport their own beds to Kumbali Village, which was also the next Pit Stop.
- The teams had to take trucks for most of the way, which led to some interesting moments. Cindy was hanging off the back end of the truck, saying “I’ve never felt less safe in my life than right now”, while Bill was standing up, hooting and hollering “Yee-haw!” on the ride.

Here’s the interesting thing to consider, though…remember that footage of Cindy (and others) hanging off the back of the truck? Where the hell is the cameraman?? From what I can tell, he had to be sitting ON TOP of the cab of the truck as it sped down the road!

- After arriving “near” the Pit Stop, teams had to settle up with their drivers and carry their beds the rest of the way. It was awkward for most, but none more so than Cindy, who tried to balance the frame on top of her head, only to fall seconds later, creating her own personal temporary prison cell.
- Justin and Jennifer were the first to arrive, and danced with the local ladies to celebrate, until they found out that they had to backtrack and pay their driver. As a result, Team Snowboard won their fourth leg, which included a prize of a 3rd trip, this time to a private Island in the Virgin Islands. Hey guys, now you have to win more money so you can take the wives on that one too…and buy that elephant you want.

- Bill and Cathi also had to backtrack to pay their driver, leading to a “footrace” with Amani and Marcus. Come on, who do you think was going to win between a former NFL player and his wife, and the grandparents? Well, when the former NFL player has to carry a bed, it’s probably going to be the Oldsters every time.

- Earlier in the episode, Amani and Marcus talked about going from worst to first. Well, they’re back to worst again, and just like his former team, the Indianapolis Colts, he’s learning what it’s like to be on top, and then be dead last. Lucky for them it was a non-elimination leg. We’ll see how relevant the Speed Bump is next week.

Next Week: Bike Taxis and Log Canoes.

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 or on Twitter, 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.

(Photo Credits: Reality Fan Forum, CBS)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Survivor South Pacific Recap: “Sometimes You Just Gotta Sack Up And Go For It”

Last week’s episode of Survivor South Pacific featured Brandon breaking down (again), a heated discussion of loyalty vs. strength, and everyone’s favourite Lingerie Football Player heading to Redemption (Non) Island. This week, would Mikayla be able to end Christine’s winning streak? Why are the tribes wearing war paint? And who is coming up with a crazy plan?

My Random Thoughts:

- I missed the “Previously on Survivor” segment since my PVR wasn’t working at the beginning of the episode, but that may be a good thing since I’m sick of the constant reminders of what you need to remember for this episode. Maybe I’ll skip it every week.

- Night Vision Recap: Brandon is unpredictable, and Coach thinks there may come a time to “put a bullet in his head.” Pretty harsh considering last week’s episode ended with The Dragon Slayer telling his Apprentice, “I love you, man.”

- I love that we had the Redemption (Non) Island Duel right off the top with no buildup whatsoever. Let’s get this shit out of the way. Angry C and Mikayla had to take apart a crate, build a bridge, and then do a puzzle, all with the pieces from the crate. Jeff told us “this is a ‘do or die’ duel”, which despite the awesome alliteration, is kind of redundant, since aren’t ALL of them ‘do or die’?
Albert tried to help Mikayla, Probst suggestively hollered “both women getting into a rhythm”, and then offered up another obvious nugget with regards to the puzzle planks: “the ones that have a pattern are part of your puzzle.” Really, Jeff?

Mikaya appeared to have the solution, but it wasn’t right, and Angry C was able to get it together and solve the puzzle first to unbelievably win her fifth Duel in a row. Did you notice that neither Angry C nor Mikayla said a word until the challenge was over? No Probst pre-chat or anything, like it was a rushed way to just get it out of the way and get on with the rest of the episode. Mikayla deserved better than that. Raw deal.

After the Duel, Ozzy said that he was worried because if Angry C gets back into the game, she might “go to the other side.” You mean the side that voted her out? The side that she gripes about at every Duel? The side she gives the finger to when someone tries to cheer her on? That’s who you’re concerned about her aligning with at a potential merge?

And now you want to consider having someone go to Redemption (Non) Island on purpose to try and defeat her? This is the stupidest idea I’ve seen on this show since J.T. handed Russell an Immunity Idol after a challenge.

- Ozzy’s “worst case scenario plan” involved handing his Idol off to someone and volunteering himself to go to Redemption. Correction on what I just wrote: THIS is now the stupidest thing I’ve seen on the show. “It might be one of those big moves that I have to make”, Ozzy told us…because “sometimes you just gotta, like, sack up, and go for it.”

- I was thrilled to see the return of Dragon Slayer Tai Chi in the water, if only to hear Coach say “I am not worthy” 37 times in a row, which only makes me think of this. And the return of the Eagle’s Cry at the end…classic.
- In order to build team unity around the Immunity Idol, Coach created a ruse about finding the Idol. He felt he had to because he, Albert, and Sophie knew that he had it, but, as he put it, “people like Rick, and Brandon and Edna want to find the Idol.” People like them? Don’t you just mean the three of them? If you three already know, and those three don’t, there’s no need to sugarcoat “people like” them…it’s THEM.

- Upolu prayed for the search, and then prayed for victory in the next challenge. This is the part where I once again remind everyone that GOD DOESN’T CARE WHAT HAPPENS ON SURVIVOR!!!!

Sophie doesn’t put a lot of weight into Coach’s fake prayer since he already has the Idol, and she correctly commented on the insincerity of it all. I now officially love Sophie for saying that.

After the Idol was ultimately revealed to (people like) Brandon, Edna, and Rick, Brandon said it was thanks to the prayer they offered. How foolish do you think he feels at home watching this? And will he be upset at Coach at the Live Reunion show?
- For the Immunity/Reward challenge, the tribes were provided with paint to adorn themselves with what appeared to be an effort to re-create the greatest WWF Tag Teams of the 80’s: I saw the Road Warriors, Demolition, and even the Warlord and Barbarian. Maybe Sting and The Ultimate Warrior too, but you have to be a die-hard wrestling fan to know that they were a tag team named The Blade Runners before they became solo stars. My point is, all the teams looked ridiculous. (extra marks for Brandon’s painted-on bra)

- The Reward was a trip to the “Survivor Cinema”, where teams would be able to get themselves incredibly sick on candy, and watch the new Adam Sandler movie, Jack and Jill. Reality TV hasn’t been this un-realistic since Gervase got a single piece of pizza flown in by helicopter in Season 1.

- For the challenge itself, it was a variation on the caller leading blindfolded teammates to get bags to solve a puzzle. These challenges are always good for some injuries, and this one was no exception.
Jeff called out Cochran for messing up the “rope management” (screw you and your teal shirt, Probst!), and Coach kept grabbing his balls while calling out instructions. In the end, Upolu won, and I was honestly sickened at the blatant insincerity from Coach and his forced prayer both during and after the game. Turns out the paint served no purpose other than to make them look ridiculous.

Ozzy was angry and went Kung Fu Panda on the wall, Brandon threw the finger skyward once again for thanks, and God responded by saying “You get to see Sandler first, my son!”

- The Survivor Cinema was product placement right out of the Big Brother textbook. You and your staged reactions get no more time in my recap.

- At Savaii, Ozzy blames Cochran, and the group decides to send Woody Aiken to Redemption (Non) Island after a period of constant verbal abuse. Cochran was confused by the turnaround from Ozzy, saying “instead of the Trojan Horse, they’re sending the Court Jester.”
- But the next morning, Ozzy reconsidered and decided that he should be the one to go…much like he did an about-face last week on the “Free Agent” thing. What I’m taking from this, is that with all the flipping and flopping Ozzy does…he really needs to sleep on things! Seriously, the next time Ozzy says something that his Tribe doesn’t agree with, everyone should just say “let’s talk about it in the morning.”

The rest of the tribe was reluctant, because this is A RIDICULOUS IDEA! They have no idea when then merge is coming, and as Keith and Jim aggressively (and correctly) pointed out, if they have to compete in another challenge, they now have a significantly weaker Tribe.
- At Tribal council, Ozzy talked about making this decision because he had a dream. “This time, my heart and my gut is saying ‘get your ass to Redemption Island and prove to your tribe that you are worth keeping in this game.’ ”

He then talked about creating a story where Cochran is the bad guy, and can serve as a double agent after a merge since Upolu would think he is on the outs with Savaii. That’s actually pretty smart, if it wasn’t a part of the DUMBEST IDEA IN SURVIVOR HISTORY!

- Even if there is a merge, and IF Ozzy wins, I still think this is foolish. Jeff flat out asked him about it in this awesome exchange:

Jeff: If you don’t win the duel tomorrow, you go out a bigger fool than you did the last time.
Ozzy: Yeah.

Honestly, how else could you answer other than a resigned “yeah”?

- Just before voting, Ozzy seemed to change his mind, which fooled me for a moment, and had me believing that perhaps he had come to his senses and not followed through on what may be the DUMBEST MOVE IN SURVIVOR HISTORY…but he was just kidding.

- In the end, Ozzy handed off the Idol to Cochran (with a promise to give it back), and headed off to Redemption (Non) Island for his upcoming Duel with Angry C.

Next week: Will Ozzy’s Gamble Pay Off?

Survivor Fans, 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 or Twitter, 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.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Amazing Race Recap: “Clean Elephants And Free Cab Rides”

On this 5th leg of the Race, teams were still in Thailand, traveling from Phuket to Bangkok. Which team was threatened with a potential police visit? Who is downright giddy at the sight of an elephant? And who knows where to find the local ladyboys?

My Random Thoughts:

- Previously on The Amazing Race…don’t forget that Liz and Marie don’t have very much money. Did you hear that? The twins have hardly any money. Are you following me? No matter what you do…don’t forget that they have VERY LITTLE MONEY! You know…just in case it’s relevant later.

- From the floating village, teams had to take a taxi to a spot where they would have to ride an elephant up a river. Team Snowboarders had a big lead, so they had the whole place to themselves, and seemed to really enjoy it. As their pachyderm climbed the watery rocks, Tommy said “I never dreamed an elephant could be this nimble”, and said that he wants to buy one. Well, so much for the wives coming on those trips, huh Tommy?
- On the way to the Elephant Ride, Laurence and Zac were talking about how the clue specified that they had to take “local transportation.” Laurence even shook his fatherly finger at Zac to specify “we’ve got to make sure we travel by local transport." Would this be something we need to remember for later? Are the editors of Survivor working on this show now?

- I had to have a laugh at all of the different instructions given to the elephants along the way: “Giddy-up” (Andy), “Come on elephant, I’ll give you a back massage with my feet” (Jennifer), and “I love my Dumbo” (Sandy).

- After the Elephant Ride, teams were faced with Roadblock where they had to find the man who was playing the insanity-inducing flute music at the waterfall. Am I wrong? Wasn’t that incessant flute music driving anyone else crazy?

Teams had to deduce that once they found the bastard, they then had to dive down in the water (or simply reach down) to retrieve a bag off the bottom which contained a tiny statue of a fish…which they then had to smash to get the clue that was inside. Watching someone smash a statue in the jungle to get to what is inside, made me really miss Lost.
- After the Road Block, teams then had to travel to another location where they had to “disassemble a spirit house” and take it to a different location. Once there, they were surprised with a second Roadblock, and instructions that the other team member had to do it. I loved this twist…a second Roadblock instead of a Detour, and the forced participation of both members on one leg. I hope we see more of this staggered throughout this and future seasons.

The second Roadblock was the re-assembly of the spirit house, and some teams were ill-prepared compared to others. Some took notes, some used camera phones, and others had to travel back to see the original. Look, I’m just going to be blunt on this one: if you didn’t know after disassembling that you were going to have to re-assemble…then you may be too stupid to actually be on this Race. Did you think you were just going to drop off all the pieces, pick up your next clue and go? Come on! How could anyone be so foolish as to not take notes?

- As they were completing the re-assembly of the spirit house, we heard Andy and Tommy talk about their faith, and say that “God is greater than a temple” and “We know the one true God. It’s pretty straightforward when you read the Bible.”

Are you kidding me? The Snowboarders are that likeable, that now you have to try and paint them as religiously intolerant? I don’t buy it for a second. Shameful how they also threw in Justin and Jennifer talking about having respect for other religions. Nice editing, CBS.

The only thing I was really annoyed by during this Roadblock, was Cindy’s complaining about what they should have done after Ernie stumbled from not taking notes. I never understand why teams bitch and moan about what already happened instead of just focusing their energy on the task at hand. We also heard a soundbite from Ernie about his insecurities over being a B student and how that affects his relationship with Cindy.

- Liz and Marie left a full 3 ½ hours after Andy and Tommy, and had to face a Speed Bump (and don’t forget they are short on money!), so it was looking like an uphill climb for the Twins. I was pleased to see that instead of a lame Speed Bump like smelling tea, untying a knot, or sitting on a bus for five minutes, this one actually had some substance to it…washing an elephant. But my pleasure paled in comparison to Liz and Marie’s, whose squeals of joy were neverending during this Speed Bump. How many times have you ever seen a team working on a penalty and exclaiming “This is awesome”?
- I’m getting confused by Sandy. I know that the teams generally try to become associated with a certain colour, like Ernie and Cindy always wearing yellow, or Season 17’s Beach Volleyballers Katie and Rachel always wearing green (go Team Lime!), but I wish Sandy would make up her mind already. Is it purple, or is it yellow? The best I can tell is that she’s a Lakers fan. Wait…is that a blue shirt over her yellow shirt, now? I give up.

- After the Dual Roadblocks, teams then had to travel 550 miles on bus to Bangkok, which took 13 hours. There was a lot of irrelevant drama surrounding the buses, but it can be boiled down to this: express buses get there faster, and first class buses are ok.

- The more entertaining part of the bus scenario, was Taxi-Gate on the way to the bus terminal. First, Ernie and Cindy tried to short-change their cab driver and only pay him 2/3 of the fare, until some “crazy lady” came along, threatened to call the police, and Team Banana reluctantly coughed up the dough.
The most offensive part of this exchange, was that Ernie and Cindy justified the self-reduced rate because, as Cindy said, ‘You are terrible driver!” Not “You are A terrible driver”, just “terrible driver.” Leave it to the one Asian contestant to use an ethnic stereotype in her communication.

- The second part of Taxi-Gate was the drama surrounding Liz and Marie trying to pay for their cab, and their bus tickets, without enough money. Wait a minute…you didn’t forget that they were low on money, did you? I told you not to forget!

First of all, it was ridiculous that they left the cab to go buy the bus tickets before they settled their fare. What cab driver would let them do that, and not argue that the money you just spent on the tickets should go towards your fare? (I’m wondering if the bus fare was covered by TAR just as flights would be, but the point is still valid.)

Second, after being $40 short, finding out the bus is leaving, and the driver wont accept a partial fare, we go to commercial with the Twins in serious jeopardy…only to come back from break to find out that not only has the cab driver now accepted the cash, but the bus has also stopped to wait for them??? COME ON!

Once that bus stopped, Liz and Marie were so excited, I thought they were going to wash another elephant, but it smelled of the “plane turning around” controversy from the Finale on Rob and Amber’s season. If this leg didn’t end with Liz and Marie going home, you would have heard a lot more conspiracy theories surrounding this.

- After arriving in Bangkok, teams then had to travel to a bridge and feed some fish with the pouch of food that was provided to them by The Golden Child after finishing the second Roadblock. On the way, Ernie and Cindy told us that they were in Bangkok two years ago, but Ernie didn’t think that would help them much. Cindy then awkwardly offered “Unless they tell us to find some ladyboys. We know where that’s at?” If you don’t understand that comment, see The Hangover 2.

- Why the hell would Andy and Tommy hand over their clue to someone who just left to go teach a class? I didn’t understand that whole part.

- At the Pit Stop, Phil was actually waiting with a Bangkok Ladyboy, and they happily told Marcus and Amani that they finished the leg in 1st place, followed closely by The Oldsters Bill and Cathi. Marcus predictably compared the race to an NFL game, and found out that they had won a trip to Bali. Justin acted snide finding out he was in fourth, and Team Sailors learned they switched buses for nothing.

- With no money for the Twins after the bus ride (remember!), they had to find a way to get to the bridge since it was a 5 hour walk. They refused to beg, but for some reason, justified that it was ok to ask a cab driver to take them for free?

Let’s take a poll: how many of you think they would have talked their way into a free cab ride (equivalent to a 5 hour walk) in Bangkok if they weren’t young, blond, and pretty? They told us to “never underestimate the generosity of people”, and immediately following that line, my neice Emma (who was watching with us), said “or the creepiness of old Thai men.” They even got a second free cab ride after feeding the fish from someone who looked like he would be on the cast of Jersey Shore: Thai Edition.

- In the end, Liz and Marie were too far behind to catch up, and their elimination was never really in doubt. I liked them, but it wasn’t meant to be. At least they got to wash an elephant.

Next Week: Tobacco Bumper Cars and Carrying Beds in Africa.

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 or on Twitter, 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.

(Photo Credits: Reality Fan Forum, CBS)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Survivor South Pacific Recap: “Loyalty Can Be Faked. You Can’t Fake Strength”

Last week’s episode featured one of the most disgusting challenges in Survivor history, incoherent babblings from a contestant, and Ozzy’s Hammock Buddy being sent off to Redemption (Non) Island. Is Ozzy really going off on his own? Can Christine win her fourth Duel in a row? And what’s with all the coconuts?

My Random Thoughts:

- Previously on Survivor…Coach is getting stronger, and Ozzy is losing control. Upolu won the pork challenge because Mikayla ate off the ground, and Ozzy was blindsided by Savaii voting out Elyse (spelled correctly, thank you very much.)

- The Night Vision Recap was back at Savaii, where Ozzy was pissed over being left in the dark about the vote for Elyse. He told the rest of the tribe, “When you’re not on the right side of a blindside, you realize where the other people are.”

Well…obviously! If you’re on the right side of the blindside, you know who is getting blindsided, and if you’re on the wrong side, you’re either taking the blue-lit walk of shame from Tribal Council, or picking your jaw up off the ground after your alliance-mate gets voted out. After a blindside, everybody knows the skinny.
Ozzy then goes on a rant, talking about how he is a free agent, and that he is “done playing the alliance way.” I know we all were thinking this, but what the hell can be gained by this speech? Dawn called him out on his infantile behaviour, and said that he’s withholding stuff from them too. His response was essentially, “Oh yeah? Well, I have the Idol. Nyah Nyah Nyah. And I can win at Redemption Island if you vote me out anyways.” Keith’s response was golden: “If you want to go there, then just let us know, man.”

- The next morning, Savaii expected Ozzy to apologize, but instead, he was still sulking, or as Cochran put it, “behaving like a stupid bitch”, which just ostracized him further from the rest of the Tribe.

He told us that he was still providing for the rest of Savaii, and arrogantly declared “I’m a big part of this tribe.” Did that really mean anything when he says it in a nasal voice while wearing a mask and holding a fish that looked about 4 inches long?

- At Upolu, Coach is happy because he has the Idol and is enjoying a stir fry. He tells us that Brandon is a loose cannon (REALLY???), and that “I know he’s going to feel betrayed at some point in time…but that’s down the road.”

- While searching around camp, Brandon found the clue to the (already found) Immunity Idol. He was so proud of himself, comparing himself to his uncle. But it’s not the same thing Mr. Unbalanced…your uncle finds Idols (often without clues), you just find the clues. Use that clue at Tribal Council and see if it helps you. NOT the same thing.
- While Brandon was looking obsessively for the Idol, Coach realized that not telling him it was already found may later be a problem. “Is withholding information lying? It’s a grey area”, he said.

I actually agree with that, at least in the parameters of the game. So Mr Honesty and Integrity wasn’t really “lying” by not telling Brandon about the Idol. BUT, when Brandon asked Coach if he thinks anyone has already found it, Coach responded with “I don’t think so”, which is a full-on, bold-faced, 100% lie. And then right after he said it, he was heard saying “I want to play this game completely honourably.”

- Footage of Brandon morphing into Russell? Are you kidding me? ENOUGH RUSSELL ALREADY!
- The Redemption (Non) Island Duel was essentially a game of shuffleboard, which may be the only time that hanging out in a bar can help you on Survivor. Jeff asked Elyse how it felt to know that some of the people that voted you out are watching you. I thought that question was pretty ridiculous, since neither Ozzy nor Keith actually voted for Elyse.

Christine broke down, talking about how Redemption Island can break you, which was more like last season’s Matt Elrod than her winning streak is. Apparently, it can also make you a raging bitch, as she gave Rick the finger after he tried to cheer her on. I am now only referring to her as Angry C.

Angry C won the Duel, and now she’s 4 for 4. Elyse gave a weird goodbye speech about how she gave it her all, and pushed herself so far…but all I ever saw her do was cuddle and walk around in a bathing suit. Your ancestors must be proud.

After the Duel, Rick said that he thought that Angry C would flip on Upolu if she happened to get back into the game. He said, “she’s gonna have fire in her eyes. She’s gonna come back smokin’ and ready to kill us.” Apparently, Christine is a dragon. (Lucky for Coach!)

- Coach and Tree-Mail Visor Edna went looking for coconuts on the beach, but seemed to spend more time dodging crabs and complimenting each other. Coach told Edna that she is safe…for now…and that Mikayla would be the next one voted out. If you’re Edna, are you pleased about this? It’s not like he told her he was tight with her, just that she could last 3 days longer than Mikayla.

Maybe she was too preoccupied with the bites/sores on her legs (did you SEE that?) to consider that this was a pretty crappy deal. Either that or she was hypnotized by the smoke coming off of whatever Coach was burning the shit out of over the fire.

- Ozzy soon realized his mistake, and went to Keith (who would be played by Zac Efron in the film version of this season) to work together. He then went to the Tribe and tried to get back in their good graces. Jim astutely pointed out why it was good to have him back in the fold, saying “Ozzy helps me win immunity challenges before the merge, After the merge, he’s a bigger target than me. There’s nothing more that I could want from somebody on my team.”
- At the Immunity/Reward Challenge, teams had to build a wheelbarrow, work their way through an obstacle course collecting coconuts (I knew there would be more coconuts!), then dump the coconuts, and go Transformers on that wheelbarrow’s ass…changing it into a slingshot and chucking the coconuts at targets. The Reward was a picnic lunch at the Not-Very-Cryptically-Named Sliding Rocks, which Jeff still explained was a waterslide.

Rick and Brandon worked through the course well, while Ozzy and Dawn seemed to have heard Jeff’s instructions wrong and apparently thought they were playing some version of bumper cars, ramming into every obstacle possible. When it came time to dump the coconuts, Savaii was yelling for Cochran to help, and Woody Aiken decided to try and pull the wheelbarrow over instead of pushing it. Very awkward.

I won’t give you play-by-play on the coconut-chucking, except to say that the second Coach started yelling at Mikayla to stop, we all knew that Upolu would lose, thus creating the Tribal Council drama.

- Coach was frustrated at losing the challenge, and placed the blame solely on the Lingerie Football Pad-wearing shoulders of Mikayla, saying “if I’m going to coach this team, I need for people in the heat of battle to listen to me.” There’s just one problem, Benjamin. You’re a member of the team, but…and I’ll say this really slowly for you: You’re…not…the…coach!
- At the Reward, Ozzy changed from the One Man Wolfpack to Captain Team Building as Savaii feasted on Hoagies and fruit juice. “Savaii Six to the end” they said before cliff-diving and sliding down the moss-covered rocks, which seemed like fun in the board shorts the guys were wearing, but looked like it would hurt if you were wearing bikini bottoms like Whitney. I did enjoy Cochran’s face-plant into the water, though.

- I’m just going to say it, Rick the Rancher in blue and yellow board shorts is just wrong.

- At Upolu, Coach wanted Mikayla gone because she “wasn’t coachable” and didn’t follow orders. That’s the worst argument ever, especially to other members of your team. I’m betting Mikayla was at home watching TV and absolutely furious at that point.

Albert went to bat for her (pun intended, since he’s a baseball coach) and pitched (that one was intended too!) Edna as an option, but Mikayla had the best argument: “she’s half my size, and nearly double my age.” Brandon shockingly doesn’t want to vote Mikayla out...but still doesn’t trust Edna.


He apparently won’t vote Edna because he told her she was part of the 6. I guess at the next Tribal Council it would be fine, but now it’s not? “I’m gonna stick to my word if it costs me the game”, he said. I’m seriously getting dumber watching this Tribe this week.

Brandon plays 100% emotionally, which will never win. Albert put it best, “if we talk, like, more than five minutes of strategy with him, he starts grabbing his head and is about to cry.”

- Coach argued that Mikayla hasn’t done anything for Upolu since the first two challenges. May I point out that she almost single-handedly won the first challenge? Bottom line is that Edna is malleable and will do his bidding. This should have spoken volumes to the rest of the members of that alliance.
- There were a lot of underlying messages at Tribal Council, so this week, I will be offering translations. Coach said that they lost because they didn’t compete as a team. (Translation: Mikayla sucked.) Jeff asked Edna why she always sits out at challenges? (Translation: Can you do anything?)

There was a big discussion of Loyalty vs. Strength. Do you keep the players that help you get to the merge or take those that will be loyal? Albert says screw loyalty, you have to get to the merge with numbers. (Translation: Why save Justin Verlander for Game 1 of the ALCS when you haven’t yet won the ALDS vs. the Yankees?)

- Brandon said “I love you Mikayla” (Translation: You’ll need a restraining order for the Live Finale), but begged his Tribemates to vote for her. He then said “Vote me out today if we’re going to play disloyal.” Hey, at least he raised his hand to make his point.

Coach said that it is possible to be too honest, and that some cards can be revealed at a certain time, and that doesn’t mean you’re being disloyal. (Translation: Brandon, don’t be pissed at me when you find out I had the Idol.)

In the end, the final vote was 4-3 for Mikayla, which is so stupid I can’t even put it into words.

Coach ended Tribal Council by putting a fatherly hand on Brandon’s shoulder and telling him, “I love you, man.”

(Translation: We’re screwed now.)

Next week: Upolu Prays, and the Teams Don the War Paint.

Survivor Fans, 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 or Twitter, 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. (29 comments last week, let's top that this week!)

Thanks for reading.

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Sunday, October 16, 2011

Amazing Race Recap: “Phuket All, We're Going To Thailand“

In this week’s episode, the teams were off to Thailand for the fourth leg of the Race. Who is getting all wet when their boat capsizes? Which team is having a meltdown battling the wind? And who can’t figure out which way is North?

My Random Thoughts:

- Off the top, we are informed that Indonesia is home to 129 active volcanoes, but I think the more interesting fact is something that I noticed in a shot on the way to the airport. Did you notice that in Indonesia, “Taxi” is spelled “Taksi”? True fact.

- Exiting the Pit Stop, the Route Info indicated that the teams were headed to Thailand, where they would have to find a floating pier. How many different pronunciations of Phuket did we hear from the teams? I caught Poo-ket, Pooka, Bucket, Foo-Ket, and Puckett, which only makes me think of one thing…
- Andy and Tommy talked about wanted to win first place cleanly, and not because another team got a penalty at the mat. Didn’t they do that just the week before? Jeremy talked about the Race bringing out a couple of things in his relationship with Sandy that he felt they needed to work on…like the fact that Sandy apparently just wanders into traffic in a foreign country, which is the footage they showed right after he said that.

- 7 minutes of non-relevant airport happenings, since all the teams were equalized at the floating pier. When the most interesting thing is the snowboarders tickling Laurence in line at the airport, did we really need to see any of this travel escapade?

- I read some people giving Bill and Cathi a hard time since he threw on a fake Asian accent a couple of episodes ago. I’m sure those people won’t be pleased at his “Chop Chop!” directions to their cab driver with the creepy tattooed hand, but I’m not too concerned about a generational borderline racial comment. I’m more troubled by the images caused by Cathi calling Bill “babycakes” and telling him how much she enjoys the view while he is climbing the wall. I really like Bill and Cathi, but it’s a vision that I would prefer to stay out of my head.

- I was hoping the floating pier would lead to some entertaining moments like on an episode of Wipeout, but alas, it looked rather sturdy. I noticed that when Tommy got the clue, Andy just turned around and started running back without actually reaching the clue drum.

Did you catch that? He was about 20 yards shy of where the clue was. I always thought that both members had to be there to get the clue, otherwise, why wouldn’t you just send the fastest member and leave the other one back at the beach?
- After a short boat ride to the Detour site, which looked like a chase scene from an episode of Miami Vice, the teams had to choose between Coral Reconstruction, which had them building an artificial coral reef and placing it underwater, and Beach Preparation, where they would have to collect chairs and umbrellas and set them up.

- Coral Reconstruction was obviously the first-ever TAR challenge to include the phrase “when the marine biologist is satisfied with their work”, and was essentially a Lego/Meccano/Ikea combo building project for the first portion. I wanted to refrain from making the joke that the Snowboarders breezed through it because they’re clearly “good with a pipe”, but I’m just not that good of a man.

The harder parts of the challenge were the Kayaking and dealing with the currents underwater. Marcus told us he is not a competitive swimmer (Really?), and that he’s never been so tired in all his life (REALLY???), and Sandy said she felt unsafe, even though she had a lifejacket, a boat, and was only in about 7 feet of water.

Here’s the thing I don’t get, though. When the teams chose to switch tasks after their structure broke or fell apart underwater…isn’t it ridiculous that they just left it out there in the water? I mean, the whole point of the task was to reconstruct the reef that was damaged after the tsunami. Isn't leaving a bunch of plastic pipes on the ocean floor kind of counter-productive to that goal? Aren't they now just littering?

- In Beach Construction, teams had to deal with finding their items, digging problems, and wind issues. Most people got the task done in a reasonable time, except for the twins, who seemingly ALSO got a hand from all the other teams on how to do it since they were so hapless. This seemed like another challenge designed to have the locals laugh at the racers.
- After the Detour, the snowboarders were back in first place, and leading the charge on all the teams who had to drive 13 minutes North in their boat for the next clue, which was a Roadblock to climb a sheer rock wall to retrieve a clue from a bird’s nest. Pretty much everyone had an easy time with it, including Jennifer, who received helpful nuggets from her brother like “use your legs.”

- Ernie and Cindy got lost on the way to the Roadblock because they didn’t actually go North, and were looking for flags in the water instead of the giant rock formation that was sprouting out of the sea, as it was hinted on the medallion. They instead stumbled across a random boat in the open waters. I’m not going to lie, I was hoping it was pirates.

- Laurence and Zac seem to work well together, until they get lost navigating a boat! “What a bunch of useless sailors we are”, Laurence astutely pointed out, as the experienced mariners resorted to “Follow that boat!”

- At the Pit Stop, which was at a floating soccer stadium in the village of Koh Panyi, Team Snowboarder came first, winning a cool $5,000 each, which would be enough to take their wives on the trips they already won. Did anyone else notice that they are alarmingly interested in the hair/beards of the locals? First the guy who drove their speedboat, and then the greeter at the mat with Phil?

- Jeremy and Sandy had an impressive 3rd place finish on this leg, but I’m wondering if the way they were edited this week was an effort to lay the groundwork for some discord and disharmony in future episodes. I hope not, I’m actually enjoying not having a team to dislike, so I hope we don’t get a villain edited in the coming weeks.

- Liz and Marie were last to the Pit Stop, but after learning it was a Non-Elimination leg, rapidly changed their tune from “It’s like Riding to our death” to “It’s not over till it’s over.” We’ll see if next week’s (sure to be lame) Speed Bump will slow them down.

Next Week: Elephants in the Stream, and the Twins are Penniless.

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 or on Twitter, 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.

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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Survivor South Pacific Recap: "Who Wants Pork?"

Wow. What a night to have pork for dinner. And not just pork…but two kinds of pork: butterflied pork chops stuffed with sausage. There’s a lot to talk about with tonight’s episode, so let’s all just bite off a hunk of meat and dive right in.

My Random Thoughts:

- Previously On…Survivor: a gentle reminder that the tribes are evenly matched, and that Ozzy has an Idol, but Jim is working behind his back with Cochran. Also don’t forget that Dawn lifted weights to eliminate Stacy, and Brandon broke down at Tribal Council, where Coach was hug-snubbed.

- For our Night Vision Recap at Redemption (Non) Island (NVR at RNI?), Stacy and Christine vented about Coach like two hens clucking on the classic SNL skit “Coffee Talk.” Stacy turned on the crazy again, saying that everything was not “hunka-dory”, and then ranting that “all y’all gonna go to hell with gasoline drawers on.”

She then claimed that, at the Duel, she was going to “start up a bee's nest.” I thought the phrase was “stir up a bee’s nest”, like you would disturb the nest to rattle the bees and get them all riled up…how would one actually “start up a bee’s nest?” Sure, it would be easy if you were into apiculture, but I don’t think it’s that easy for the rest of us…walking around collecting bees and trying to get them to stay together in their new nest.

- Morning at Upolu started with another apology from Brandon, this time for waking people up. I’m starting to think that this guy will apologize for anything. I’m waiting for him to apologize for the colour of his shirt, the font on his tattoos, and his accent.

He then went on about Mikayla being “prejudiced” about him being a Hantz. Yep, that’s right…only 16 seconds into the show before we got a reference to Russell. Let it Go, CBS! Then he cried about his feelings, and told everyone he’s a good guy. Blah, blah, frickin’ blah…is there anyone out there who ISN’T sick of this?
- At the Duel, Stacy and Christine continued their angry-woman rant, which was clearly “All About The Benjamin” (sorry, couldn’t resist that link). Stacy then went off on her own language again, talking about anything and everything, none of which made sense. These are the exact quotes I took from her: “halloween jokes”, “Chuckie the Cheese”, “Ben was so loyalty”, and “Every day want a story…I want mine” before going OFF THE FRIGGING CHART with this nugget: “They tell you like, yesterday, like the Tribal was all cahoots. Benjamin, let’s give a hood. Keep that hood. Boop! For me…cuz it wasn’t real.”

Ok…just so you know…to get that quote, I actually had to pause the PVR and back it up 11 times, which took over 4 minutes! And, once again, I have no idea what it means. Thanks to those of you last week who accepted my challenge in the Comments section to translate the Stacy-ese quote I provided in the recap. I don’t know if anyone nailed it exactly, but digable, Jennifer Harris, Choirchick22, R.P. McMurphy, and Shannon A all gave worthy translations. (R.P. McMurphy, you were my fave…” the isthmus that is in actuality a peninsula” sealed it for you)

- The duel itself was a Redux of the Final Immunity Challenge from Survivor Tocantins between J.T. and Stephen, which I really liked at the time, and enjoyed watching again. Christine looked like an NHL goalie making save after save, while Stacy appeared disinterested instead of focused, like she didn’t really care. Christine won the Duel to go 3 for 3 this season.

The big news coming out of the Duel, was that Albert actually talked…even if he did just say “sour grapes” and “it’s only a matter of time”.
- After the Duel, Mikayla and Albert told Coach about Stacy spilling the beans about the situation at Upolu camp. The Dragon Slayer was clearly rattled, going so far as to label it “disgusting”, and saying, “if anyone calls me Benjamin to my face, I’m gonna go nuts. My parents call me Coach.” Your parents call you Coach? Really?

- At Savaii, Elyse and Ozzy were snuggled up in their hammock, where Elyse told Ozzy “You’re a good guy”, and Ozzy told her “You’re like my little omen.” (?????) Elyse then went on to speak confidently about her group of 5, including Jim, and how solid they are. Let’s call this our weekly SFMOTW (see last week’s recap for an explanation), as a blatant message that Elyse was in trouble.

- Cochran then showed he was the little Cochran that could, collecting wood and dropping it off. Ozzy asked him how to spell his name, and Cochran said not to worry. I know Cochran was trying to avoid the voting conversation, but I truly think Ozzy was just trying for a really awkward double entendre.

- Dawn and Whitney then gave the rest of Savaii the full scoop on Benjamin running the show at Upolu, and mentioned that Albert was allied with Coach. Ozzy then said “If Coach is smart, he’ll get rid of Albert soon” which was a really dumb thing for him to say. Think about it…the message he is sending is ‘I am in charge, I must get rid of a strong player, even if he is my ally.’ Big red flag for Jim. Nice read, Non-WPT Champion.

- Albert was frustrated as well, because he now knows he’s a target, so he decided to look for the clue to the Hidden Immunity Idol. It didn’t seem that hard, as he apparently just strolled up, with his non-blurred crotch, and plucked it out of a hole in a tree.

Now, that would lead to the obvious question as to why I was looking at Albert’s crotch…but I wasn’t. As he took the clue from the tree, my girlfriend said to me “Why isn’t his crotch blurred?” and then I noticed…but only for a second before my mind said “What the hell is SHE doing looking at his crotch?!”
Albert started climbing trees in the tide line, and when he couldn’t find it, told Coach and Sophie about the clue. Coach predictably took over, tree-hopping, but he too couldn’t find it, so he prayed for help. And lo and behold…he found it. “Ask and you shall receive,” he told us, but I will re-iterate once again, God has no interest in the outcome of Survivor.

He was understandably excited after finding the Idol, and told us “I’ve got to get a hold of myself and just say 'Dragon, just get back in there' ” as he motioned like he was putting his heart back in his chest. What did that mean? Is the Dragon coming out of his chest? Is he the Dragon? I thought he was the Dragon Slayer… I’m so confused...
- Cochran went on a fishing trip with the boys, even though, as he put it, he has zero experience, zero ability, and zero confidence. “‘The ocean is the canvas, and the fish are my palette”, he said, which seemed backwards, unless he was planning on putting the fish back in the water instead of trying to get them out.

Ozzy was once again happy to play the provider role, despite the hardships of fishing, like getting cut and having to hold his breath (the horror). Other than his few minutes a day where he was the provider, Cochran told us that he was essentially “a lazy ass”, which seemed about right.
- At the Immunity/Reward challenge, I was happy to see the King of The Blue Shirts wearing a nice Duke Blue button-up (Go Blue Devils!) Rick was equally happy see that big hunk of meat on the spit, nodding seductively and saying “that’s nice”.

The teams had 10 minutes to bite and spit to try and fill a basket with pork, and the team with the most would win. What would they win? Immunity of course, plus bread, veggies, and spices.


You’re telling me that the team that wins this challenge doesn’t get to keep the unchewed meat on the spit??? That’s like taking someone to a nice steakhouse, or a Brazilian Rodizio restaurant, and then telling them they can only have the salad bar and some dinner rolls.

Jeff had a ball with this one “Dawn with a big hunk of meat”, “Coach gnawing off something big”, and “Rick with a HUUUGE piece of meat”, to which I imagined Rick’s wife pointing at the TV at home and saying “Damn right!”
Keith had meat stuck in his teeth, so Dawn helped in a May-December sort of way, Mikayla took a piece off the ground (you go girl!), and the in-basket camera shots led Probst to say bluntly what we all were thinking: “This is a disgusting challenge.”

At the end, Ozzy was left holding the whole spit, like a dog with a bone, but it would come down to what was actually in the basket. Remember that part in the “Previously” segment where we were gently reminded how evenly matched these tribes are…and that one challenge came down to just one coconut? You knew this was going to be close.

Savaii ended up with 22 lbs, 12 oz, and Upolu scraped by with 22 lbs, 14 ounces. Only 2 ounces won that challenge…probably less than the piece Mikayla picked up off the ground. If she doesn’t stop for that piece, I think Upolu loses. Brandon then pointed skyward again to give thanks. Please see above for God’s interest in this game.

- The teams ended up being able to keep the chewed pieces (gross) and had a pork stirfry prepared by Brandon the Cajun chef, who I’m sure apologized to everyone for the spices he used, but that was probably cut out. Coach enjoyed his meal, but not as much as the “Taste of Victory”, which ironically was the name of tonight’s episode.

- In the aftermath, Dawn lost part of a tooth, and Cochran warned of oral herpes, awkwardly proclaiming that “you haven’t lived until you’ve had a cold sore.” He scrambled, trying to curry favor with his tribemates by cutting open some coconuts. I loved this exchange between him and Whitney:

Cochran: “Anybody want this coconut?”
Whitney: “Is there juice in it?”

Well, Whitney, I have to think that Cochran is employing a pretty bad survival strategy if he hands you an empty shell and says “No, chew on this.” OF COURSE there is juice in it!
- On a side note, watching the cast hack away at coconuts with a machete, I have to wonder: how has no one ever lost a finger on this show?

- Cochran, Dawn, and Jim were allied to vote for Elyse, but they needed one more vote. Jim talked to Keith about Ozzy’s earlier comment, and Keith immediately agreed that Ozzy’s Hammock Sweetheart needed to go. But they disagreed on whether to tell Ozzy or not. I think it's an interesting strategy that Keith and Whitney voted for Dawn to "keep their hands clean", but I think it will have the same result (pissing Ozzy off) as if they had just voted for Elyse.

- At Tribal Council, Ozzy was overconfident, and not worried about trust, stating that it’s all about keeping the Tribe strong. Cochran was on the defensive again since Jeff pointed out that he always receives votes. Elyse was very sympathetic towards Cochran, which was another clear sign she was getting voted out.

- Despite Ozzy’s attempt at wittiness in the voting booth that the “Coch-train” (which I think was the name of one of his pre-Survivor soft-core films) was on its second-to-last stop, she of the knit bikini was sent to Redemption Island in a spectacular spelling display that saw 100% of the votes cast for her spell her name wrong (Lys, Elice, and Elise). I re-iterate the need for a spelling template in the booth.
- I have to say, I am getting seriously aggravated with the editing that gives away the entire episode week after week. This was by far the worst. It used to be so much more subtle, but now it’s so obvious. Am I wrong? Is there anyone that didn’t know how this was all going to go down tonight after watching the first 5 minutes?

- Also, Just a quick note to send out a special thank-you to Mikayla Wingle and Edna Ma, both of whom have been re-tweeting the links to my recaps on Twitter. Follow them at @ILuvMiki and @BareEase.

Let's get going in the Comments section! Only 9 Comments last week when we regularly have 20+...

Next week: Ozzy is a Wolfpack of one…and more coconuts.

Survivor Fans, 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 or Twitter, 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.

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Survivor South Pacific Recap: October 12, 2011

Tonight's episode of Survivor South Pacific teases an intense Tribal Council, a shocking betrayal, and a whole lot of pork. My recap should be up by 9:30 pm ET, so make sure to check back.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Amazing Race Recap: “Planting Rice, Carrying Sheep, and Counting Buddhas”

In this week’s episode, the teams remained in Indonesia for the third leg of the Race. Which teams are having trouble counting? Who keeps wiping out in the rice fields? And will ditching a taxi prove to be a costly mistake for one team?

My Random Thoughts:

- From the Pit Stop, teams had to take part in what I viewed as the slowest bike ride ever, riding through the streets with some sort of Dutch-History-Themed bike patrol. On the ride itself, the snowboarders popped wheelies and surfed on their bikes, Jennifer drove into a local, Ernie lost a pedal, and everyone seemed to reference Lance Armstrong.

During the ride, Cindy said that “Ernie’s dad is a cop, so I think he’s feeling pretty at home right now” which didn’t make a lot of sense to me. Do police officers ride bikes slowly and dress like Kim Chee, the handler of 80’s WWF superstar Kamala the Ugandan Giant.
- Cindy reminded us that she is a “control freak”, but I’m just not seeing it yet. Yes, she told us that she packed for the Race 3 months in advance, studied travel books, took language courses, and exercised all prior to the Race, but that doesn’t seem to fall under “control freak” as much as it falls under”prepared.”

- Bill and Cathi pointed out that they are fearless because “at our age, you know, we’re gonna die soon anyways, so it’s all good.” Really? That’s your selling point? We’re going to die soon, so we’re not scared to go hard? Did the “we’re going to die soon” part cross your mind when you were spending 4 hours looking for a sign in the first episode?

- After the bike ride, teams had to travel to Salakmalang Village, where they faced a Detour. At first glance, seeing the muddy rice fields reminded me of Estonia a few seasons back, and the fact that I still get weekly hits on this site from that episode, of people Googling “Amazing Race mud volleyball boners.” No, that’s not a joke, and in the ‘ridiculous Google Search’ category, while this episode aired tonight, someone actually landed on my site after Googling “plus size strip clubs in Chicago.” 

- For the Detour, teams had to choose between Rice Field, which saw them deliver a mid-day meal to field workers, and then plant 300 rice seedlings, or Grass Fed, where they would have to fill bags with grass, deliver the grass and two sheep, and then fill a trough with water. Both tasks seemed tailor made for the age-old Amazing Race tradition of making the locals laugh at the contestants.

- Rice Field was uneventful, and the only teams that chose it were Kaylani and Lisa, and Amani and Marcus. After running on a strip of land that seemed to be only about as wide as a gymnastics balance beam, the teams had to do some dirty physical labour. Have you ever heard the phrase “sweating enough to grow rice?” It never made sense as much as watching Marcus with sweat dripping off of his face…while he was actually planting rice.

- Most teams chose Grass Fed, and soon learned that the grass bag must be completely full, and that sheep tend to not be very co-operative. Cathi wiped out not two, not three, but four times (which won't really matter because she's going to die soon, right?), and then lost her sheep. Why did we never see how she got it back? Marcus meanwhile, just picked up the sheep and carried it under his arm like it was a football.
- After the Detour, teams had to travel to the Borobudur Temple and climb up to the top before being faced with a Roadblock. Andy and Tommy made sure to ask if running on the Temple grounds was permitted, and then actually took the time to appreciate their surroundings, saying “that’s what I’m talking about. That’s why you do the Amazing Race. For stuff like this, right here.”

How can you not like these guys? Aside from that, at the Grass Fed Detour, when they learned that their bags weren’t full enough, there was no whining and complaining, just a focus on turning around, and doing it right. (Amani and Marcus, on the other hand, complained and then switched tasks)

I liked that they told Laurence and Zac to read their clue when they saw that they were using too many buckets, and I liked that they chose to team up to do the Roadblock together.

Plus, they’re still doing Rock, Paper, Scissors to make decisions on Roadblocks. And I love that the winner doesn’t automatically have to do it, but rather decides who does it. For this Roadblock, Tommy actually won the duel, and chose Andy to do it.
- The Roadblock itself was a counting task, where one team member had to count the exact number of Buddha statues and demonstrate the appropriate hand position for each. Counting tasks on TAR are always awesome, because they’re always a disaster. This one was no exception, with most teams having no idea how to differentiate between the statues and the carvings, and not considering the different hand positions.

- Amani and Marcus decided to let the taxi go because he was so bad, reasoning “we’re already in last place. It can’t get any worse.” I immediately thought to myself, Yes it can…like if you were to catch up to the other teams and then be the only one who didn’t have a cab to get to the Pit Stop!

- They then entered the Temple and ran into Andy and Tommy who flat out told them the answer (athletes gotta stick together, yo!), but Marcus wasn’t listening. I pretty much wrote them off at this point.

- At the Pit Stop, Laurence and Zac arrived first, but incurred a time penalty of 15 minutes for using 200% as many buckets as they were allowed. This gave Team Snowboarders the win and a trip to Dubai. They felt bad for Team Sailboat but not bad enough to hand over either of the two trips they have already won, instead telling Laurence and Zac “Talk to us when you need some snowboard gear.”

- It turned out that Amani and Marcus made the right decision ditching their cab, because without having to go back and settle the fare, they went from 9th to finish the Roadblock, to 6th to arrive at the Pit Stop. Bill and Cathi finished 3rd, but arrived at the mat 7th, and the Vegas Showgirls arrived last, eliminating them from the Race.

- Despite Lisa’s Buddha guesses that ranged from 4 to 400, and the fact that we all learned she “only sleeps in Pink”, they were forced to make a tearful exit while Kaylani waxed poetic about her four-year-old daughter and the struggles of being a single mom. As someone who was raised by an amazing single mom, that sentiment is not lost on me, but I’ll never understand why some reality shows only introduce the human element like that on the episode that teams get eliminated, and highlight it upon the elimination.

Next Week: Speedboats and Rock Climbing in Windy Thailand

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 or on Twitter, 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.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Survivor South Pacific Recap: “Is It Just Me, Or Is This Getting Heavy?”

Tonight's episode of Survivor South Pacific features a Redemption (Non) Island Duel between Papa Bear and Christine, and the return of the classic "How Much Weight Can You Hold" challenge. Plus...whose teeth are "suspiciously white?"

My Random Thoughts:

- Previously On…Survivor: At Upolu, Coach likes his alliance, Stacy is an outsider, and a recap on all of the reasons why Brandon is crazy. At Savaii, Ozzy is in charge, but the old and nerdy are on the outside.

- The episode itself starts with Elyse and Ozzy swinging in the hammock together, while Ozzy talks about how one of his favourite books is Robinson Crusoe. Did anyone buy this? Or did we all just realize that he was just trying to say the appropriate thing to impress the hot girl?

- Jim observed them from a distance and talked about the fact that a pair is strong in Survivor, and that he doesn’t like pairs. He then went to Cochran, and pitched the idea of Elyse as a target because, as he put it, Elyse is a variable, and he likes constants.

So, let me get this straight Jim, you don’t like pairs, and you’re uncomfortable when the factors in the game are variable instead of constant? Well, pardon my bluntness, dumbass, but then WHY THE HELL ARE YOU A POKER PLAYER? Poker is all about variable factors, and you want a pair when you look at your cards! Tell me again that you’re a poker champion.
Cochran, meanwhile, expressed that he doesn’t really trust him, mainly because his teeth are “suspiciously white.” Sounds like a good reason to me.

- Brandon was re-introduced to us this week with more ominous music, bells ringing in the background with smoke rising around him. He then apologized to Mikayla, but she was understandably wary. “Look who his uncle is”, she told us. Do you think Russell watches from home, and smiles ear-to-ear every time he gets mentioned on the show?

- On Brandon’s honesty kick, he then got all weepy to Edna, and went to her and told her that she was on the outside of her group of 6, and that there was only a core group of five. “This is probably the worst game strategy in the world” he told her, and it’s really not that bad…unless you’re in the group of five and telling the 6th…which he is!!!

It made absolutely no sense at all, and if he’s trying to come clean on everything, why didn’t he THEN go to the rest of the group of five, and come clean on the fact that he told Edna…and then go back to Edna and tell her that he told them? And so on? A vicious cycle.

- In the past couple of seasons, we’ve seen contestants on the show that have seemingly been provided with Tribe Coloured swim trunks. I mean, it was pretty obvious…how many people on the same Tribe just happened to show up with purple bikinis and bathing suits? But this season, we haven’t really seen that, and as a result, we’re generally seeing everyone in their underwear. But that question was answered tonight with a new basket of swimwear for each tribe.
- Last week I talked about the fact that all we see in the nature shots are crabs and lizards. Did you see that AGAIN this week?

- Dawn talked about being the weakest on her tribe, and compared herself to Rudy, the Oldster among the youngsters. Because I end up mentioning this every single week, I am now implementing a new feature in my recaps: The Survivor Foreshadowing Moment Of The Week (SFMOTW for short). Dawn's speech meant that she would either be the one voted out, or the one who won the challenge for her Tribe.

- At Redemption (Non) Island, before the Duel got started, Brandon decided he needed still more honesty brownie points, and apologized to Christine, who responded by saying “I accept it. Whether I buy it or not is another story.” That doesn’t make any sense. How can you accept it, but not believe it? Isn’t thinking the person apologizing is a liar a pretty good indication that you don’t believe they are sorry? Then why would you accept the apology?

- The Duel itself was the old “bags on crates” Survivor Carnival game. Did you notice that Papa Bear (Jesus, I can’t even remember his real name anymore) was dramatic with every throw? If he missed, it was his head in his hands, and if he hit, it was a thumbs up or clap and fist pump. Christine started off on fire, then slowed down, but still won narrowly, 10-9 over the Gay Retired NYPD Detective. And to be clear, I only typed that because I can’t imagine another instance in my life where I will have to type that group of words together again.
Then the soft music started as we all said goodbye to Papa Bear, who symbolically burned his buff on the way out,which isn't as dirty as it sounds. Now, before any of you start thinking that Christine is the new Matt for winning two Duels in a row, let’s remember that she beat Semhar (who I’m convinced was always on some sort of Peyote high), and an old guy.

- I’m sorry, I have to say it. Cochran’s popped collar just makes me want to punch him. I like him, but popped collars make me furious.
- Edna played the social game, talking about washing shirts, walking on people’s backs, and Mikayla’s modeling career, all while giggling in a manner that would make Rachel from Big Brother jealous. Stacy got annoyed, saying that she had no off switch, and that she “needs to be disconnected.”

- At the Immunity challenge (which came with a side of chicken), the teams had to “Shoulder The Load” in a classic Survivor contest of strength. Keith and Albert were the first two out, and then Brandon and Jim set a new Survivor record at 240 lbs each, even if they only held it for about 15 seconds each. In the end, it came down to the women, and Dawn held on longer than Stacey.

- Back at Upolu, Edna was worried that she was on the chopping block. Stacey, who I had already outed last week as the queen of clichés, decided that this week’s clichés would only revolve around eggs, saying, “Edna is on an Easter Egg hunt right now”, and “she is scrambling like scrambled eggs in a hot skillet right now.”
Stacey then went on about how well she did in her challenge, saying “Look how much I lifted today”, which would be a really great argument if every challenge was holding a weighted bar on your ass, but it’s not. So I’m pretty sure the challenges where Stacey will have to show her inner weightlifter are essentially done. She compared herself to Edna, saying that Edna couldn’t have lifted that much because “bones can’t lift too much if it’s all skeleton with the bones.”

Huh? Does anyone know what that means? I’m not just making a joke…seriously? When is a skeleton ever anything BUT all bones?

Her confusing language continued when she told us (and this is verbatim): “I gotta lie to kick it, and what that means is I gotta lie to try to get in to fit in. You lie to kick it, with the next man.”

Ok, what the hell does that mean? I will be eternally grateful to anyone that can comprehensively decipher that sentence in the Comments section. You’ll get a mention in next week’s recap if it makes sense.

- Right before Tribal Council, Brandon went to Coach and showed how gullible he is, as Stacy tried to put doubts in his eyes. Brandon scoffed at Coach when he was right to try and calm his fears. Don’t trust someone on Death Row, Coach astutely told him, but Brandon was still worried.

- At Tribal Council, who would it be? Stacy? Edna? Brandon? I’m just happy that Coach has reverted back to his old habit of asking and answering his own questions again. Jeff tried to foster a topic of conversation, asking the Tribe what was annoying about each other, and we learned that Rick can actually speak, Albert snores, Brandon doesn’t like Edna talking so much, Stacy is difficult to engage, and Mikayla told Jeff they all know Russell is Brandon’s uncle.

Jeff then talked incessantly about Russell, and Brandon broke down. Listen, I know I’m a sarcastic prick, and it’s my weekly duty to carve up the ridculousness of this show, but I have a soft spot, and I can appreciate an emotional moment. But I don’t buy any of Brandon’s crocodile tears for one single second. Sorry.

At the end of Tribal Council, Jeff asked Albert, “Does that mean the #1 topic for Tribal Council should be trust?” Might be Yes, might be No, might be Maybe…but I’ll tell you one thing for certain: The #1 topic for Tribal Council SHOULD NOT BE RUSSELL.

- In the end, it was Stacey voted out unanimously, and while Coach tried to give her a hug, Stacy snubbed him and headed over to get her torch snuffed and set up yet another Redemption (Non) Island Duel that I couldn’t care less about.

Next week: Bobbing for Pork.

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