Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Survivor South Pacific Recap: "Cochran Makes Prank Calls & Massages His Mom"

Tonight's episode of Survivor is the beginning of the endgame for the final seven contestants. With only the Upolu 6 and Cochran left, who will be the target now that they have no choice but to turn on each other? Will it be Cochran, the obvious choice? Or is something in the works to keep the flip-flopping Ginger in the game?

My Random Thoughts:

- Previously on…Survivor, Brandon told Edna that she was 6th in a group of 5, and we saw a recap of the decimation of the Savaii Tribe, which left Dawn, Ozzy, and Whitney currently on Redemption (Non) Island.

- Night Vision Recap at Te Tuna camp: Coach was thrilled because they had now “eradicated all former Savaii members”, and Cochran was still comfortable with his decision, even if it meant he was currently 7th on the totem pole. He did make a point of saying that he was aware that ‘the family’ could turn on him at any moment.

- Cochran talked about being a rebellious 5th grader, which involved making prank calls and saying things like “I think you’re so hot, I really want to trade sperm with you.” That doesn’t sound like a prank call as much as it sounds like something that would require a 10-year-old girl to learn what a restraining order is.

- Sophie says that she sees why people get annoyed with Cochran, because he constantly carries himself like he's exceptionally proud of the move he made, and that he still thinks that someone will take him to the end. Speaking of Sophie, I have to mention that my comparison photo of Sophie and Tinky Winky from last week’s Mini-Recap was such a hit, that Sophie actually posted it on her Facebook page.
- Cochran talked about ‘the family’, describing it more like a cult, and with the creepy music playing, it sure came across that way. He then talked about Brandon being “obsessively devout”, and said that he didn’t want to be Sharon Tate in this scenario, but he felt like he was about to be given the poisoned Kool-Aid. Look Cochran, I get that you’re witty and smart, but now you’re cross-referencing two separate cults at once? Just pick Jim Jones or Charles Manson and go with it…you don’t need to combine them.

- Cochran then talked to rest of the Tribe about keeping him around for one more vote, as a way of showing that they appreciate what he did for them, and lying to them about his birthday coming up to hopefully play on their potential guilt. After he walked away to let them discuss it, Coach and Albert both said that they support the idea, but they want it to be a group decision. Sophie, meanwhile, was vocal in her disapproval, saying that she felt Cochran’s flip was a stupid move.
- At The Redemption (Non) Island (Non) Duel, Ozzy, Dawn, and Whitney squared off in another balance competition. I have to say, I firmly believe that if you wear a bathing suit all season, and then show up to a competition in jeans, you’re ready to go home, so I assumed that not only would Whitney not win, but that this would be another easy win for Ozzy.

The most entertaining thing in this (Non) Duel, was the fact that instead of Jeff tossing out suggestive double entendres, this time he apparently decided to make everything he said sound like it came straight out of a Dr. Seuss book: “Dawn went to yawn and it almost cost her this game”, “a million dollar do-or-die duel”, and “Whitney starting to wobble a little.”
In one of the tense moments, he was eyeing up the contestants and said “anybody can win this game if you can just get to the end”, and you just KNOW that Russell Hantz jumped up and screamed at his TV…”That is BULLSHIT!”

Ozzy went back to Redemption (Non) Island to fish, Dawn told Jeff she loved him, and Whitney couldn’t leave fast enough, presumably to get to Ponderosa where she could bang Keith without cameras around.

- Not a lot was happening around Te Tuna camp: Albert is lazy, Edna was doing laundry, Brandon was fishing, and Cochran’s sole job was to hold the fish in the same manner that men are left to hold purses while their significant others are shopping. Be honest…when Cochran was talking about delivering the fish to the rest of the Tribe, how many of you wanted it to jump out of hands and back into the water?
- Rick gained the ability to speak this week, apparently along with WWE’s Hornswoggle, and complained about Albert, saying “there’s a reason they call him Prince Albert.” Really, Rick? You barely speak for 11 episodes, and now your first major line is that? If you don’t understand why I’m semi-outraged, just Google “Prince Albert.”

- On the beach, Coach and Cochran were taking part in the morning Coach Chi in an effort to center and empower Cochran. Coach said “one of the two of us should win immunity today because we’re doing this.” Would that really be the case?

- The Immunity Challenge was another Déjà vu Re-hash, (complete with coconuts, of course) with an added reward of a spa afternoon featuring an awkwardly named “Bush Shower” and a massage. In the first part of the challenge, the first three to toss a sandbag on their three crates would advance, and it was Albert, Rick, and Sophie moving on…proving that the morning Coach Chi session was relatively useless..
The second part of the challenge was coconut-chucking, and thank God Mikayla wasn’t there for Coach to be frustrated with as she was using the slingshot. Rick jumped out to an early lead, Sophie kept missing low, but may have been using an Angry Birds-like strategy to simply destroy the base and have everything topple over, and Albert eventually won Immunity.

This was one of those rewards where you get to pick someone to join you, and Albert picked Coach. He then offered up his own reward to Cochran for his (fake) birthday. Cochran’s response was to say “I’ve given my mom massages over the years”, which shockingly was not even the most uncomfortable thing he said THIS EPISODE. (Nor was his comment during the massage, “having a beautiful woman stroke the inside of my legs for me is a new experience.”)

Lesson: apparently Coach Chi on the beach means you can suck at the challenge, not come close to winning, yet still both get the full reward.
- There was a flurry of activity at camp as Albert and Edna tried to align with Cochran in an effort to vote Rick out. Albert doesn’t like being called Prince OR Princess, and thinks Rick is “as sharp as a bowling ball.” Edna, after receiving comfirmation from Coach that she is 6th on the list, really wants Coach to vote with them.

Coach now has a dilemma: does he want to be a man of his word, and play with honour & integrity, or does he want to align with Edna and Cochran, who he says will never vote him out. This is the fork in the road, because, as he correctly states, his decision will determine the rest of the game.

I didn’t believe for a second that he would flip and keep Cochran, but I’ll explain that at the end.

- At Tribal Council, Cochran said that he wanted to collect a debt for helping Upolu eliminate Savaii, Jim rolled his eyes, and Albert agreed. Jeff asked Rick “are you worried at all, that if Cochran does play his card tonight, that means it’s one of the other 6?” Well if Cochran stays, of course it’s one of the other six!

- Edna got emotional, Jeff gave strategy tips again, Brandon told everyone that it was black and white (and grey is lying), then started crying again talking about wanting to do bad things. Just when you started to forget he was a nutbar, there he goes again. Coach was remarkably silent for a Tribal Council, and Cochran had the best line, taking a theme I have used for years and saying to Jeff, “talking strategy with Brandon is like talking to you about shirts that aren’t blue.”

- In the end “Cokran” was voted out, which pleased the Jury to no end. How awesome would it be for Cochran to beat Ozzy next week at Redemption (Non) Island?

- Ok, here’s why Coach didn’t flip, and why I didn’t buy it for a second. A) if he flips, it’ll be the first time in 3 seasons of playing that he has actually gone against his word, and say what you want about Coach, he has always shown he is loyal to his alliance, B) if he flips, it pisses off 3 Jury votes in Sophie, Rick, and Brandon, and C) if he flips, it sets Brandon off on him being disloyal and a liar and not playing with integrity, which nobody wants to deal with, and I honestly believe would hurt Coach more than actually losing the game.

- I just want to mention that this week, I will be part of a Survivor podcast at I’ll be on the air with David and Nicole discussing all the happenings from this week’s episode, and the season so far. I was a guest on their podcast last season as well, and I’m happy that they have asked me back as a special guest again. I hope you’ll check it out when it goes up on Friday morning.

Next week: Edna is Mad, and Ozzy is Cocky.

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. I’m learning the power of Twitter, as some of the Survivor cast has been retweeting my recaps, so please feel free to share a link to this page if you feel like recommending it to others.

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Thanks for reading.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Amazing Race Recap: “Mustangs, Pigeons, and Waffles”

Tonight's episode of The Amazing Race continues where last week's cliffhanger left off...with the teams starting a new leg immediately after reaching the Pit Stop. Would Cindy and Ernie be penalized for stowing away on a train last week? Can Bill and Cathi keep going strong into the final stages? And how many NFL Analogies will Marcus make this week?

My Random Thoughts:

- I loved the reaction of Amani upon finding out that the next leg was starting right away. First she dropped an “oh brother”, and then went crazy and exclaimed “shucks!” Someone get this woman and her language under control! At least it was better than the constant audio clip we hear for Marcus at least 3 times an episode, of him screaming “Whoooo!” like he’s Ric Flair.
- The opening Route Info for the next leg of the Race instructed teams to drive themselves to the Ford Proving Ground in Lommel, Belgium. In the car, Marcus told us that “everybody wants to take the champ out”, and I understand what he was getting at…but you’re hardly “the champ” at this point…you just won one leg. The champ wouldn’t have been as woefully lost as you were on the way to Lommel.

- Ernie and Cindy arrived 2nd at the Pit Stop, and when Phil said “You’re team number Two. However…” I fist-pumped and yelled “YES!” at my TV, expecting them to be penalized for stowing away on the train to Brussels last week. But my soul was crushed when Phil followed it up with “…the next leg of the race starts now” and dismissed them with no penalty. That was absolutely brutal.

- Meanwhile, both Andy and Tommy, and Bill and Cathi were still striking a pose at the bodybuilding challenge, which I think was just another way to work in a second week of gratuitous Speedo shots. If you think I’m wrong, watch the camera shot of the Snowboarders ripping open their clue after they finished.

After they arrived at the Pit Stop, they were sent on to the next leg as well, which makes me ask the obvious question: If Amani and Marcus won a trip for winning the leg, how come nobody was eliminated? And even if I buy the excuse that this was an absurd FOURTH non-elimination leg this season, why was that not mentioned? And why was there no Speed Bump? So now, coming in last in a leg incurs no penalty whatsoever?

- At the RoadBlock in Lommel, one member of the team would have to get behind the wheel of “an American icon”, which made wonder what Bob Barker had to do with anything…but I soon found out that Phil was just talking about the Ford Mustang. After the earlier Ford Focus episode, and this week’s Mustang-centric adventure…we get it…Ford is a sponsor!

- The Roadblock itself was described as a 3-part task, but nobody had a problem with part #1 (speeding and braking), or part #3 (double victory donut…which, frankly, sounds delicious if it were a pastry). The second part was a slalom course that had to be completed and stopped in a specified zone in under 16 seconds, and this was problematic for most of the teams.

- Did you notice the difference in the first two instructors we saw at this Roadblock? Jeremy’s instructor was very personable and supportive, giving clear directions along with handshakes and back patting and fist bumps. Ernie’s instructor, on the other hand, was all business, and seemed incredibly disinterested.
Honestly, he came across like a German interrogator in a WWII movie, offering terse and pithy comments like “here you lose” and “start again.” Ernie had a lot of trouble with the slalom, constantly missing his time and ramming the balloon car off the track. At the end, when Ernie finally completed it, the instructor told him in a monotone voice “Well done”, which obviously meant “You have wasted my day. Be gone, you fool!”

- Marcus said that the Roadblock was more of an adrenalin rush than catching touchdown passes, and after completing the entire thing, he arrived back to meet up with Amani, and promptly yelled at her happily “from now on, THAT’S HOW YOU DRIVE!” it’s not.

- Tommy ended up doing the Roadblock for Team Snowboarders. Andy explained to us, that since Tommy had trouble with the poem on the last leg, Andy was now going to do the “mind ones” when it comes to Roadblocks. Is it just me, or did he essentially call Tommy stupid and say “I’m doing the ones that involve thinking”?

- After the Roadblock, teams travelled to Gent and found their next clue, which was a Detour offering them a choice between “two things that Belgium is in no short supply of”, Water, or Waffles.

- 3 of the teams chose the Water portion, in which they had to build a raft and search the Gent waterways for two halves of a clue which would tell them their next destination. While they were building their respective rafts, Marcus yelled at the Snowboarders, “You guys are gonna get creamed!”, and they responded by smiling, building their raft, finding both clues, and arriving back before Team NFL was even on the water.
- Both Ernie and Cindy, and Jeremy and Sandy chose Waffles, which involved assembling a waffle stand, and forcing the team to “bake and decorate 18 perfectly formed waffles.” After making butter a few legs ago, this didn’t seem that difficult.

Looking at their waffle machine, Cindy said “that it is spurting like a monster. We’ll call that waffle Ernie”, which made me cringe until I realized that she was talking about flatulence. Jeremy and Sandy had problems, and the Waffle-Maker Judge only offered to them “It’s not quite right. Please go check the demonstration.”

This is what I was saying last week about the Bodybuilding Judges! They should have just given them the score and teams would have to figure out what was wrong instead of being told explicitly. Now, they implement the same logic on the Waffle Detour? If the judges last week could tell them exactly what to do differently, why couldn’t the 15-year-old Belgian kid this week say “Sorry, your blueberries are falling off?”

- On a side note, CTV in Canada has once again been showing a commercial for Dukoral, a medication that helps to control “Traveller’s Diarrhea”, and they showed it right after this challenge. Must be from all of the butter and waffles, this season. This is something that I have ranted about in a previous blog post.

- Ernie and Cindy completed the Detour first, and led the charge to De Muur Van Geraardsbergen, where the next clue told them that they would have to help a pigeon trainer release a flock of homing pigeons. Phil told us “when it comes to international pigeon racing, Belgium is team number one.” Phil, you’re so crafty with your wordplay!

After “helping” the pigeon trainer release the pigeons, they would then have to race to a pre-determined address where they would meet up with the flock and get their next clue from the band on the leg of one of the birds. The reason I put “helping” in quotation marks is because all any of the teams did was watch the trainer open the coop and let the birds out. How is that helping?

I liked the concept of this in principle, but let’s be honest, there’s no way to know if those damn birds flew to that address. For all we know, they just released a bunch of pigeons, gave the teams an address, and planted one bird at that address with the next clue on its leg. I don’t care if that’s what they did, but I’m just saying that it’s not a certainty that all of those birds were even homing pigeons.

- The clue on the bird’s leg told the teams that they could now head to the Pit Stop at the Atomium in Brussels. Ernie and Cindy left in first place, but got lost again, leading to tension between them as Cindy barked at Ernie to stop for directions. Our pal Ernie may be reaching his breaking point as he snapped back “I couldn’t park there because people are on my ass. Chill the hell out.”
- Without having to stop for directions, Andy and Tommy arrived first and won their 6th leg. The prize…wait for it…was a BRAND NEW MUSTANG (gasp!) for each of them. They also won the option to customize the car exactly how they would like it. I guarantee that the next episode starts with Andy and Tommy on the Ford website customizing their cars. You just wait.

- Jeremy and Sandy were team #2, and Ernie and Cindy arrived #3, steaming Cindy once again that they lost out on the prize. Never mind that you’re now in the Final Four and really close to winning the million dollar prize, she’s still annoyed at losing out on short-term gains.

- Amani and Marcus were in the car on the way to the Pit Stop, and we saw Marcus clapping and pumping himself up with sports catch-phrases. He told us that the “next leg is the Conference championship, then on to the Super Bowl.” What do I know, I was watching the Amazing Race while The Grey Cup was on. (For those of you who don’t know, the Grey Cup is the CFL’s version of the Super Bowl.)
- In the end, Bill and Cathi were eliminated, but let’s give them some credit, because they really did great on this Race. They had a great relationship, and a great attitude, even though Cathi fell a lot.

Bill summed it up by saying “It’s been a hoot.” I agree.

Next Week: The Final Four are Panicked in Panama.

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)

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Survivor South Pacific Mini-Recap: "The Coach And Cochran Show"

With this week's episode being the annual Thanksgiving Clip Show, I wasn't planning on any sort of recap. As a matter of fact, I didn't even watch the episode until Thursday night. After being inundated with texts and messages saying I should be doing a recap, and after seeing the episode, I decided to throw together a few of My Random Thoughts:

- How was Cochran being respectful (and PETA-friendly) to the fish as he was ripping its guts out? And what did he mean that he wasn't putting his fingers where the fish wouldn't want them? If given the choice, I'm pretty sure the fish doesn't want your fingers IN THE HOLE YOU JUST CUT IN ITS ABDOMEN.

- Brandon talked with Coach about his goal to play the game honourably (Canadian spelling, even though it's American Thanksgiving) and then we heard a sound bite of him telling us "Nobody would have guessed that Russell Hantz's nephew would do something like that."

But here's the thing...if you listen closely, you can hear that the "Russell Hantz's nephew" is spliced into the sound bite. I'm serious...go back and watch that scene again. It's painfully obvious. Did they just take a recording of him saying that, and work it in wherever it's necessary to remind us that Brandon is his know, just in case you forgot.

- Cochran getting advice from Papa Bear on how to pick up women at a bar was painful to watch. From the creepy hand motions, to the suspect fashion suggestions (tight shirt to show off Cochran's 'muscles'?), to the stalker-ish "you're really pretty", it was fraught with disaster, Cochran's social awkwardness notwithstanding.

- Coach had a hissy fit about Mikayla taking too much sugar for her coffee, which reminded me of Saggy Drawers Phillip from last season ranting about crispy rice. He decided that the best solution for his ire was to taunt a weak-stomached Mikayla by barbecuing pork fat on a stick and fake gagging in front of her. It seemed to work, and as much as I was a fan of Mikayla, I thought that scene was pretty funny.

- Cochran looked like a boy with a schoolyard crush as he pushed Elyse in the hammock, but the story he told was embarrassing and disgusting. You're seriously going to tell a story about crapping your pants when you were five years old...and in such detail? Well, at least it gave us the line "She got to my butt and, of course, it's jackpot."
- Whitney and Keith in the Lover's Bungalow...with Cochran alluding to what may happen 9 months later? I'm sure Whitney's (ex?) husband was not pleased watching that scene.

- The scene with Ozzy and Cochran killing a rooster was inconsequential, and while you may think it was shown to indicate more of Ozzy's behaviour towards Cochran, I think the message was in the closing comment of this scene from Cochran, where he talked about his strength being able to worm his way into each alliance once the Merge happened and the game became an individual game. Mission accomplished so far.

- Coach wears a toe ring. My girlfriend spotted it in the episode, and the PVR back-up confirmed it. Just wanted to make sure you know that.

- Coach talked to Cochran and compared everyone to Greek figures of myth. I thought it was apt that he compared Cochran to Hercules, because Coach was indeed "riding the bull" with this ridiculous speech.

- We heard that "the weak will become the strong, and the strong will become the weak," which was indeed the case after Cochran flipped, and started the Savaii Domino Chain of Keith, Ozzy, Jim, Dawn, and Whitney being eliminated.

- I say this as a big fan of Sophie, but after weeks and weeks, I finally realized who she reminds me of:
- Brandon lost a chicken by not holding it tight enough, which made me think that since it was a female chicken, and he's a married man, he couldn't be anywhere near it. Why did the whole tribe watch and say nothing as he decided to just kill the other chicken anyways?

And did Rick really suggest that the best way to deal with the chicken was to either A) grab it by the neck and swing it around, or B) bite it? Maybe it's better if you don't talk know, like you have for the entire season.

- Jim didn't say a word until the end of the episode, and even then, it was only to laugh at Brandon for losing the chicken and praying. Yep, Jim is a giant douchebag.

- Based on the editing of this recap show, I'm thinking that Coach and Cochran make it to the end, because it was certainly heavily weighted towards those two. I hope I'm wrong...not because I don't want them to make it, but because I'm getting sick of the blatant editing that gives the whole show/season away.

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. I’m learning the power of Twitter, as some of the Survivor cast has been retweeting my recaps, so please feel free to share a link to this page if you feel like recommending it to others.

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, November 23, 2011

Survivor South Pacific Recap: November 23, 2011: Caption This

Tonight's episode of Survivor South Pacific is a recap/clip show, featuring some "new" scenes, so there will be no recap tonight. In the meantime, let's see who can come up with the best caption for the above picture in the Comments section. (I have left it caption-free) Winner gets a mention in next week's recap.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Amazing Race Recap: “Teacups, Lego, And Speedos”

This week's episode of The Amazing Race finds the teams still Racing through Europe, visiting Denmark, Germany and Belgium. It is also alarmingly entitled "It's Speedo Time", and I'm sure after looking at the picture above, you don't need an explanation why.

My Random Thoughts:

- This episode started off at the Pit Stop in Copenhagen, Denmark, which Phil told us “has the cleanest waterfront in the world.” Is that really the best point you can come up with when talking about Copenhagen? Not that it is the capital of Denmark, the highest population in Denmark, or even the fact that it has the largest airport in Scandinavia? But rather that our harbour is ok to swim in?

- Ernie and Cindy left the Pit Stop first, and on the way, we learned that Cindy’s parents would have liked for her to marry a Chinese guy, but she hopes they’ll see that her and Ernie have “a very fun relationship.” Can you imagine that discussion? “Mom and Dad, I know you want me to follow our cultural history, but I met this guy in a bar…and he’s lots of fun, so I’m going to do this instead.”

- From the Pit Stop, teams had to find a statue of Hans Christian Andersen where they were faced with a Roadblock asking “Who wants to take a fairy tale ride?” The Roadblock entailed them having to memorize a poem by Andersen, then follow a map on their bike wheel, and then perform the poem for a skeleton wearing a top hat.

Thank God Liz and Marie weren’t still in the Race for this Roadblock. Remember how long it took for them to get a word-for-word repetition earlier in the season? And that was when it was spoken to them and all they had to do was repeat it…having to memorize, ride, and then perform would have been an absolute disaster.
- Cindy did the Roadblock on her first try, and Marcus employed what maybe the worst strategy ever, trying to distract his teammate when she was trying to memorize something, but Amani still completed it on the first try as well.

- In the car after the Roadblock, Marcus said that completing that task so fast was like they “took the opening kickoff and ran it for a touchdown.” Between that and Amani comparing herself to Peyton Manning off the top, I’m wishing that I would have implemented an NFL Analogy count for this season, like I have done in previous seasons for things like the Rhode Island Detectives, Louie and Michael, always saying “baby”, or Jordan and Dan calling each other “bro.”

- Cathi couldn’t find the theater at first, then got one word wrong (“untold” vs “remote”) in her performance, but on the second go-around got it. Tommy and Sandy both recited the poem perfectly, but simply read it, leaving Danish Skeletor to tell them “more drama, please. I need you to bring life to the words.” Essentially, they just needed to overact instead of recite…should have asked for advice from Sofia Coppola in Godfather Part III.

- After the Roadblock, teams were off to Legoland park, where they would have to work on a Lego puzzle while riding the Spinning Teacups. The only thing is that they had to fight motion sickness while working on the puzzle, and only while it was actually in motion. Once it stopped, they had to put their hands in the air (but not “wave them like they just don’t care”), and continue again when the ride started up for the next passengers. Eventually, the puzzle would tell them that their next destination was the Hamburg Train Station in Germany.

I was shocked to see that Ernie and Cindy had some initial trouble with the puzzle, because I was assuming I would hear them talk about how they specifically practiced completing Lego puzzles on amusement park rides. But what I really took from this whole challenge was that Legoland looks awesome, and I want to go to there. (Liz Lemon voice)

Amani and Marcus were both on the verge of being sick, leading Amani to say that “I would hate to throw up on any kids.” I guess it would be OK to vomit on the adults? How about the teens?

Jeremy and Sandy nearly got sick as well, and then lost a piece of the puzzle. Andy and Tommy breezed through it, and after finally getting there after getting lost, Bill and Cathi just wanted a hot dog and a Slurpee afterwards.

- On the way to Hamburg, Ernie talked about having an American dialect, and control-freak Cindy was only too happy to correct him and tell him that the word he obviously meant to use was “accent.” Once again, Ernie’s B Student status comes to light.

- At the Hamburg train station, teams found out that they had to take a train to Brussels, Belgium, which would be the 3rd country of the leg. I thought that was pretty lame, because if you’re only going into Germany to pick up a clue and then hop a train, selling this episode as a 3-Country Leg is pretty weak.

- Since the only train was at 12:30 am, teams were going to be, as Cindy whinily put it, “all on the same stupid train.” This apparently angered her so much, that she threw her train tickets on the ground, and continued to whine even more upon discovering that they were gone.
They talked to the conductor on their first train, but she wasn’t able to help…so what did they do? They decided to get on the second train from Cologne to Brussels anyways in the hopes that no one would come by and check for tickets.

How on Earth this doesn’t equate to a penalty is beyond me. Aren’t they essentially stowaways on the train now? If Phil won’t check them in at the Pit Stop for not settling up with their cab driver, how can teams take a train without a ticket and not be penalized?

- In Brussels, teams had to find the Parliament building for their next clue, which reminded us that “Jean-Claude Van Damme is Belgium’s most famous bodybuilder.” Do you think that Belgium’s second most famous bodybuilder has a hissy fit every time Bloodsport comes on TV?‘

The clue told the teams that they would “now have a chance to walk in the shoes of the Muscles from Brussels” as they would have to compete in a Bodybuilding Posedown. And not just compete, mind you, but compete while wearing tiny orange speedos, a bronzing paint that was referred to as “Competition Oil” (??), and impressing a panel of roided-up Belgians until they scored a total of 12 points. All of this was explained with the added bonus of Phil demonstrating…complete with “flexed” eyebrow.
- For the last couple of seasons, I’ve complimented the TAR producers on getting away from the trend that we saw in Season 14: having contestants take their clothes off as often as possible. Remember the Sauna Buss, the footrace in underwear, and more? But now, they appear to have gone back to it in what I can only describe as the most awkward thing I have ever watched on this show.

- I didn’t like that the judges gave their critiques in English. How much better would it have been to see them just give the score and have the teams have to adjust? There is always a language barrier in other countries on TAR, but in this episode, it seemed like everyone in Belgium spoke English.
- I had to laugh at Cindy’s complaint that the judges mainly focused on Ernie's portion of the posedown in their critiques. I was hoping that Ernie would turn to her and yell “At least I didn’t lose the train tickets, Miss Straight A’s!” And did you see the bruises on Cindy’s legs? What the hell was that from?

- And yes, I saw Ernie giggling at Andy and Tommy putting oil on each other, and talking about locking eyes with a man in the audience, and then spinning around as he ran out of the Bodybuilding hall. But even though I get 10-15 hits a day from people Googling “Ernie Amazing Race Gay”…I’m not going there.
- Amani and Marcus finished first, after a posedown that was filled with whistles and catcalls from the local Belgian Cougars. They made it to the Pit Stop first and won a trip to Panama. We didn’t see the rest of the finish order, because Phil told them that the next leg starts immediately.

- A couple of thoughts: First, I didn’t like the ending, but only because I need to see if Ernie and Cindy got a penalty for not having tickets for the train. If they don’t have one next week upon reaching the Pit Stop Mat, I’m going to be furious. Second, why was there no Detour on this Leg? Only a Roadblock and 2 team tasks?

Next Week: Trash Talk in Belgium And Driving Really Fast

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.

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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Survivor South Pacific Recap: "Who's Running The Show?"

This week’s Survivor tease on the CBS website stated “castaways are shocked with the announcement of another double elimination”…which translated to “if Dawn or Whitney don’t win Immunity, we’re just going to let Upolu get rid of them both so we can get on with the game.” I anticipate this being another predictable episode, so let’s just get right to it…

My Random Thoughts:

- Previously on…Survivor. The merge meant nothing since it was still Savaii vs. Upolu within the Te Tuna Tribe. Whitney was disgusted by Cochran, and Ozzy and Jim were both sent to Redemption (Non) Island to keep Keith company, despite Albert’s attempts to “switch up the game” and vote out Dawn. Jeff asks us “will anyone seize the opportunity to team up with Dawn and Whitney and turn the game upside down?”

- Night Vision Recap at Redemption (Non) Island: Jim joins his old drinking buddies, and whines about the fact that Upolu all chose to sit out and eat at the last Immunity Challenge. Perhaps he should have been griping about his inability to last longer than 30 seconds in said challenge. He correctly pointed out, however, that “the longer that Coach has them believing that they’re all one tribe, the more likely it is that he wins the million dollars.”

- Night Vision Recap at Te Tuna camp (now with millipedes!): Coach says that he tries not to judge people, but then goes ahead and judges Jim, telling everyone that they’re a family now that he’s gone. He then goes on about how everything is equal and how he’s not running the show, but everyone knows that’s a crock, especially Whitney, who says that “Coach is running the show like he’s Jesus.” I’m not sure what that means, since I don’t recall Jesus ever dictating to people what they needed to do, or lying to them, or telling them about that time he paddled up the Amazon and was captured by pygmies who wanted to eat his ass (remember that nugget from Coach?)
- The next day starts with some Dragon Slayer Chi on the beach as Coach teaches Cochran his methods of meditation. Cochran talks about the fact that he is drinking the Coach Kool-Aid, “not in huge gulps, but taking little delicate ginger sips because if I’m not on the cult leader’s side, I’m gonna meet my untimely death.”

Coach then expresses that he’s worried, but says he’s not sure about what. He’s worried about being blindsided, is what he determines, which is another reminder to us, the viewers, that he’s NOT in control of the game. “Fishy things are abroad”, he tells us…and I don’t think he’s talking about Ozzy’s underwater hunting excursions.

- At the Redemption (Non) Island Arena, everybody is there to watch the three-person “Duel”, and Probst embraces his blue-itude by doing something crazy…double blue, people! Light blue hat, dark blue shirt.
I was dreading the Redemption (Non) Island (Non) Duel because I was afraid that it was going to be the same scenario as last year, where only the last place finisher was eliminated. Thankfully, this season, it’s only the winner who stays. I hate the overall concept of Redemption Island to begin with, but it was absolutely absurd last season that a person could be voted out, and then finish 3rd out of 4 at a “Duel” and still not be eliminated.

The Duel itself was a balancing competition with Brandon cheering for Jim, Whitney cheering for Keith, and no one cheering for Ozzy. Jim went out first, which any legit poker player will tell you is always humiliating (but Jim did that quite often this season), and even though it was edited like the end of the competition was close, we all knew that Ozzy would eventually win.
Why did we know Ozzy would win? Because of what may be the worst preview editing in Survivor history! Remember last week’s preview, where we saw Ozzy fishing, grilling, and standing atop a palm tree? Well, at this point in the episode, we haven’t seen ANY OF THAT YET…so he obviously wins. Very disappointing.

So the losers head to the Jury, meaning that the Jury will be 9 people this season, and that there will be a Final Three. I say that because I can’t ever remember a time where there was an even number of people on the Jury, so I doubt it would be 10 on the Jury and a Final Two.

- How does Ozzy celebrate at  Redemption (Non) Island? By catching more fish, of course! First he brags about it last week, then he brags about it again at this week’s (Non) Duel, then we see endless shots of him fishing. We get it…OZZY CAN FISH.

But the interesting part of this segment was Ozzy talking about how pleased he was that he doesn’t actually have to play the game, and instead he can just hang out at Redemption (Non) Island and take his chances one-on-one (or two) at the Duels. In essence, what he’s saying is “I would like to win without having to play the social game.” If it’s just about Survivor, he can survive and win. Unfortunately for Ozzy…it’s not just about that.

- At Te Tuna, Rick was checking the fishing nets…and finding nothing, but let’s give the big cowboy some credit, it’s the most he’s done in four episodes. Cochran said that he was looking to team up with Dawn and Whitney, but they would still need to find 2 more willing participants to take control of the game.

- Off to the Immunity challenge, where Probst blew my mind with his reverse double-blue ensemble, this time with a dark blue hat, and light blue shirt. Damn you’re crafty, Mr. Dimples! This challenge would see the castaways carrying rice on head over 2 teeter totters, then emptying it in a bowl without touching it along the way. First one to fill their basket wins immunity.
As I pointed out last week, this season’s challenges seem to be heavily based on balance. Both the Redemption (Non) Island (Non) Duel, and the Immunity Challenge this week were balance challenges…and the Immunity Challenge had two different elements: balancing the rice on your head, and balancing as you walked over the teeter-totter.

It seems like Survivor’s challenge-creating team goes through phases where they just go with a theme for most of the season. We’ve seen seasons where it’s based on physical strength, seasons where it’s mostly puzzles, seasons where every challenge ended with ‘cut a rope and raise a flag’, and the dreadful TILES from the past two seasons.

This week’s Unintentionally Dirty Probst-isms during the challenge: “making sure you get a good fit on your head is key”, “Use your body!”, and my personal favourite, “once you find that sweet spot, this gets easier.”
Sophie ending up winning Immunity by transferring a giant bowl of rice on her third trip, but all I could think about was all of the rice that was being wasted as they were dropping it throughout the challenge. After presenting Sophie with the Immunity necklace, Double Blue Probst warned of an impending twist at Tribal Council, which would only be revealed AT Tribal Council.

At one point in the challenge, Probst Blue Ribbon said “Dawn not messing around, she knows she needs Immunity tonight!” This reminded me of a few weeks back when he made comments during the challenge on how Cochran was screwing up. I’m all for Probst commenting during the challenge, and throwing his witticisms in when necessary, but I think he’s been crossing the line lately and interjecting too much of the players’ strategy into his comments.

- At camp, the plan was to vote Dawn because she is a legit threat to win the entire game. Cochran assumed that the twist was a potential double elimination, which could potentially endanger him. Now flipping (again) made more sense. Would he really do it?

Cut to a shot of a rat scurrying along. Hmmm.

- Dawn and Whitney know the only chance is to try and swing someone. According to Whitney, Brandon is a loose cannon, Rick isn’t even playing, and Edna is “so far up Coach’s butt, it’s ridiculous.” Allusions to what may or may not be in Coach's butt notwithstanding, that pretty much leaves Albert and Sophie…so they present pretty much the same argument that Jim made last week.

But now Albert is considering it, because he realizes that he needs Savaii votes on the Jury (Pesky social game. Good thing Fisherman Ozzy doesn’t have to worry about it!), and wants to reward Cochran for the move he made earlier to save Upolu. Everyone else, meanwhile, seems content to write Woody Aiken off as seventh place.
Albert then talked to Whitney about voting Edna. Did Coach hear as he was wandering nearby? Then he pitched the idea to Sophie, who saw the logic in it, especially after Albert comically pointed out that “this game’s not Outorganize. Outclean. Outgather.”

- Coach was paranoid about all of Albert’s scrambling, and said that Albert is either “trying to come up with a last second plan or he’s trying to curry jury votes, and neither one of ‘em is acceptable in my opinion.” That doesn’t sound like someone who is insisting that he’s NOT running the show, does it?

He then called the gang together and said “If anybody wants to go against the five, it’s instant death.” As he told us, his method was to approach it like an old Mob Boss. Hey, Dragon Slayer, Boston Rob is the Island Godfather, not you. And at least he used the Buddy System, so his dictatorial ways didn’t come across that way.

- At Tribal Council, Keith showed up with a horrible moustache (and I can relate, more below), Dawn talked basic math, Cochran said that it was the perfect time to make a big move, Coach insisted that he isn’t running the show while asking himself questions and answering them, Albert referred to Coach as “a figurehead”, and Rick once again said nothing.

- All the talk of a big move was hot air, as Dawn was sent to Redemption (Non) Island, despite Brandon seemingly voting for some unknown guy named Don. Then Probst dropped the most predictable bomb in Survivor history: there would be an immediate Immunity challenge and another vote.

- The Immunity challenge was a simple Survivor quiz, Big Brother-style, meaning that a wrong answer would eliminate you instead of a total score being tallied. It came down to Whitney and Sophie, and Sophie ended up winning, setting up the predictable vote to eliminate Whitney and leave the Upolu 6 (with a side of Cochran) remaining.

2 Tribal Councils = 0 Drama.


Next week: Brandon is on The Hot Seat, And Coach Becomes Zeus.

Just a reminder that I’m growing a moustache for Movember to help raise funds for prostate cancer awareness. Rest assured, I DO look ridiculous, but it's for a good cause. If you're interested in donating to help, please visit
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. I’m learning the power of Twitter, as some of the Survivor cast has been retweeting my recaps, so please feel free to share a link to this page if you feel like recommending it to others.

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Thanks for reading.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Amazing Race Recap: “Bunny Hurdles And Sweaty-Ass Butter”

Since last week’s introduction of the Double U-Turn was a resounding flop, why not try it 2 weeks a row? That’s right…the Double U-Turn made a return tonight on the next leg of the Race, which saw the teams running, jumping, and dancing their way through Denmark. Would it be of any consequence this week?

My Random Thoughts:

- Previously on The Amazing Race… 7 teams raced through Malawi, but when Jennifer stumbled at the Road Block, Amani and Marcus were able to overcome their last place standing and stay alive. Ernie and Cindy used the Express Pass to get ahead of Andy and Tommy but lost in a footrace to the Pit Stop mat.

- Departing the Pit Stop in Malawi, the spread between the first team to leave and the last team to leave was only 24 minutes. The teams learned that they were headed to Copenhagen, Denmark…for the first time ever (Gasp!)…where they would pick up their spiffy new Ford Focus and make their way to a Bell Tower for their next clue.

- Ernie and Cindy, upon seeing that there would be a Double U-Turn again, responded with Cindy saying “We’re so using it.” Ernie then talked about losing on the last leg, saying that “we had first place stolen from us.” After last week’s editing job, we’re continuing this week on our new TAR theme: Ernie and Cindy are both Bad Sports. Let’s call this Exhibit #1.

- Laurence and Zac talked about the fact that they used the U-Turn last week on Amani and Marcus, even though Team NFL was in front of them, and speculated that since they already used their one opportunity to U-Turn another team, it “might burn us.” Did anyone realize after hearing this, that it was essentially a 100% guarantee that Laurence and Zac would get U-Turned this week?

- I’m not going to go into all of the airport drama, which saw everyone find different flights, and arrive in Copenhagen at different times, because it was all a non-issue since the Bell Tower predictably didn’t open until 7:30 am the next morning.

The only two significant things that happened in the airports were that Laurence and Zac found an early flight, and a visibly annoyed Cindy thought it was “super shady” that they didn’t share that info. Let’s call that Exhibit #2, because there’s no way that they should share that info.
Other than that, the only happening that mattered was that Amani and Marcus decided to simply “look at other planes” and sleep. This meant that that the next morning, as the other teams were heading up the Bell Tower, Amani and Marcus still had not yet boarded their plane.

- In Copenhagen (where Cindy commented that “everyone is so blond”) teams had to climb the spiral staircase at the Bell Tower and figure out via 2 separate flags that their next destination was Frederiksburg Slot, a Danish castle.

Most of the teams figured it out relatively easily, but Jeremy and Sandy only looked at one flag, and interpreted that as a clue to take them to a local restaurant. After exiting the tower on the way to the castle, one team shockingly remarked “Oh, the cars are still here.” Well, of course they are, didn’t you know that your car is a Ford Focus? Why would Ford pay to only show it once on the show?
- It was time to dance at the Frederiksburg Slot, as teams encountered a Roadblock where they would have to learn a complex 3-part dance routine. Ernie raised some eyebrows talking about the tights, stockings, and makeup that he had to wear, and Cindy watched him dancing while doing her best “Macauley Culkin in Home Alone” impression.

Laurence explained rap music to Bill and Cathi while doing a horrible beatbox, and Zac struggled mightily learning the routine, leading “worst father of the year” candidate Laurence to talk about how he could have done it faster.

Highs and lows from this Roadblock: the high point was hearing Bill and Cathi’s love story…being together since the ages of 12 and 13 (especially compared to Ernie and Cindy’s “we met in a bar over shots” tale.) The low point for me, was the creepy skinny guy that was the partner for the 3rd element of the dance challenge. He looked like Kevin Kline with white hair and about 80 less pounds.

After completing the Roadblock, teams would then have to drive to Frielandmuset to get their next clue. How would they get there? Why, in their Ford Focus, of course!

- Jeremy and Sandy had to go back to the tower and figure out the flag clue properly, but by the time they returned, Airport Slowpokes Amani and Marcus had now arrived at the Bell Tower. Both teams left for the castle at about the same time.

- On the way, Team NFL lost their way, and Marcus talked about the fact that “being lost bothers me”, but also that he’s not the type of person to stop and ask for directions. That makes no sense at all. It’s kind of like saying that you hate being hungry, but it annoys you when you have to eat.

Eventually he stopped to try and find someone to ask, but no one would stop to help. But, to be fair, it’s not like he pulled into a gas station to ask…he just pulled over and started randomly trying to flag down cars, trucks, motorcycles…anyone…even going so far as wandering in between the traffic. Let me ask you this, and answer honestly: If you’re a Danish local, and you’re driving down a country highway and you see that (along with a cameraman and audio guy), would you stop? I’m not sure I would.

After some time, he finally got the correct directions, and then made the obligatory NFL comparison, saying that getting lost was just like a turnover in a football game.

- At the Detour, teams reached into an old-school Post Box to find out that they had a choice between All Hopped Up and All Churned Out. Before even finding out what either of those were, I looked up to see that the farm setting at the Detour included a table with a Pig’s Head on it! Did I see that right? My PVR was not working tonight, so I couldn’t go back to check.

- In All Churned Out, teams were forced to work cream into butter and, as Phil told us in a fantastically worded sentence, “once the finished product is stamped, a dairy maid will hand them their next clue.” This was clearly the most sexually suggestive Detour in Amazing Race history, as we were subjected to constant shots of teams thrusting the churning poles (?) up and down over and over while saying things like “smack it hard” and “there’s something dirty in it.”

They even went so far with Sandy as to show her yanking on the pole between her legs, and bending over the churn so that you could see her cleavage as she “worked the pole.” Come on…that was just shameful. Well, at least they weren’t making the Racers take their clothes off, like in past seasons.
At one point, Bill asked if they could eat the butter, and Cindy responded by saying, “I don’t know if you want to eat my sweaty-ass butter.” Now, I’d like to point out that in that quote, it is extremely vital that the hyphen is placed between “sweaty” and “ass”, thus indicating that the butter itself is “sweaty-ass.” Without the hyphen, one may infer that what is “sweaty” is the “ass butter” which is, frankly, too disgusting to even explain.

Neither of those things are things that Bill would have wanted to eat anyways, but I think it’s important to clarify the meaning of the sentence, especially in the written form for those of you who didn’t actually see or hear it on the episode.

- In All Hopped Up, teams had to assemble a rabbit-hopping course, and then pick a rabbit to run the course, jumping over all of the hurdles. This may have seemed odd, but I did a little research and found out that Rabbit Hopping is not only real, but quite popular in Denmark. I’m not joking…check out this video of 2010 Danish Championships in Rabbit Hopping. (I could seriously do an entire blog post on this 3-minute video. Wait until you see The Long Jump.)

Now, teams not only had to assemble the course, and get the rabbit to leap over the hurdles, but they also had to have a “clean run.” Bill and Cathi were the first to attempt it, and when Hopper, their first rabbit, got winded, they went with Speckles, who nailed the course.
When Amani and Marcus did this Detour, Marcus was jumping higher than the rabbits before turning into a rabbit whisperer and telling his bunny “I love you” after completing the course. If this was as easy as it looked, why didn’t more teams do it instead of churning butter?

- Ernie and Cindy finished the Detour first and then had to travel on foot to a nearby windmill, where the Double U-Turn awaited. After saying off the top that they would definitely be using it (and after seeing last week’s preview), I wasn’t shocked to see them do so, but I couldn’t believe that they used it on Bill and Cathi! Are you kidding me? Cindy said that it was because the Oldsters were right on their tails, and that they “can’t be nice anymore. It’s a million dollars.”

I’m just going to call a spade a spade here and say that’s Total Bullshit.

That was definitely NOT a millon-dollar decision, that was an “I want to win this leg” decision. U-Turning someone far behind you is a smarter strategic move, someone already near the cusp of being eliminated…not someone in 2nd place. I have absolutely no problem with them using the U-Turn, and I also have no problem with them U-Turning Bill and Cathi because they want to win this leg. But I do have a problem with U-Turning someone for personal short term prize gain, and trying to tell us it’s for the long-term prize.

In the car (a Ford Focus!), Ernie said that he didn’t really want to U-Turn anyone, and Cindy responded “I’m sorry I’m the mean one.” Let’s call that Exhibit #3.

- After the U-Turn decision, teams then had to drive 7 miles back to Copenhagen to the Pit Stop. How would they get there? Have you forgotten about that spiffy Ford Focus already? I thought so.

- Of course, Ernie and Cindy won the leg, arriving at the dockside Pit Stop first to see Phil, the Skipper, and The Accordion Player. I was sure he was going to tell them that they won the Ford Focus they had been driving (or maybe two!), but it was just a trip to Fiji. Cindy then told us that you "have to do what you have to do to secure first.” No, you have to do that to win a trip.

I really have to laugh any time Phil tells a team that they’ve won a trip that include a spa treatment, because it always sounds like he’s saying “spar treatment”, which makes me think that they won a boxing lesson.

- Did anyone else assume that as soon as Jeremy and Sandy were in the car on the way to the Detour, and we heard Jeremy say “we can’t get lost!” and Sandy’s response of “I know where we are”…that they would definitely be getting lost?

- The end was relatively uninteresting, so I’m going to blow through it rapid-fire: Marcus made another NFL analogy (Hail Mary pass), Laurence and Zac got U-turned (which Angry Sailor Dad thought was “bloody ridiculous”), Jeremy and Sandy got lost (but luckily still had the incredible comfort of a Ford Focus), and Team Snowboard was happy for Ernie and Cindy to win the leg.

- Despite driving on the shoulder to avoid traffic (which should have been a penalty anyways since teams cant speed either), The U-Turn was too much to overcome and Laurence and Zac arrived last to find out that they were eliminated. The first ones to arrive in Denmark were the last ones to the Pit Stop, and Team Sailing Family could now set off into the sunset.

Next Week: Overacting, Spinny Tea Cups, And The Return Of Making The Racers Take Their Clothes Off.

Just a quick note to say that I'm joining with my fellow RogersTV broadcasters to grow a moustache for Movember and help to raise funds for prostate cancer awareness. Rest assured, I look ridiculous, but it's for a good cause. If you're interested in donating to help, please visit
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, November 9, 2011

Survivor South Pacific Recap: “Pastries, Coconuts, and Two Tribal Councils”

Last week saw the Savaii and Upolu Tribe merge into the horrendously named Te Tuna Tribe, and a dramatic Tribal Council that saw a tie vote before Cochran switched sides to vote Keith out. This week, what would the ramifications be for Cochran after betraying his alliance? Is Brandon really playing the role of Bully Protector? And are the rumours true…is this week going to be a Double Tribal Council?

My Random Thoughts:

- Previously on…Survivor. Ozzy returned to the game, the Tribes merged, and Cochran flipped after showing that he was the worst double agent in history. Whitney got the Idol from Ozzy but received no votes (why did they mention that?), and Keith was sent to Redemption (Non) Island.

- This week’s Night Vision Recap was the fallout after Tribal Council, as the rest of the former Savaii Tribe berated Cochran for his betrayal. Ozzy said that he felt screwed over, Jim ranted and raved and called him names, and Whitney apparently just wanted to swear at him (hey, at least they’re showing her saying something!)

During the Cochran Attack, Brandon popped in to make sure that no one was “being aggressive,” and Ozzy responded that it was fine because “we’re not, like, gangsters out here, man.” I find it interesting how Brandon became the protector at the end of Tribal Council last week, and into this week.
Cochran maintained that his decision was based on the concept of self-preservation rather than wanting to screw Savaii. “I haven’t been obsessed with this for 11 years to have my fate decided by picking a stone out of a bag”, he told Ozzy, which is a pretty sound argument to me. Ozzy didn’t agree, saying “That’s the easy way out. That’s how a wiener plays.”

I’ve heard all the arguments on how Cochran’s move last week was cowardly, and stupid, and that flipping from 6th of 6 to 7th of 7 made no sense, but I don’t agree. I’m completely with Cochran that drawing stones is an absurd way to decide your fate.

- The next morning, Coach basked in the glory of the Upolu victory with a prayer and some Tai Chi, while talking about being “confident but not arrogant”, and “humble but not weak.” He thinks he has a good shot at going all the way, and I have to say I agree. This season is looking more and more like last season with Coach in the role of Boston Rob.
- There was no Duel this week since Keith is alone at Redemption (Non) Island, so off they went straight to their first Immunity challenge of the episode. This challenge featured…yep, you guessed it…more coconuts! And not just in one stage, but two! First, Coconut Bocce, and then smashing them and drinking the water for the second stage. It’s all about sustainability, people…using the WHOLE coconut.

For the first stage, teams had to toss a coconut into a mini-golf-esque type rope hole, with only the first 4 to do so being able to advance. The four to advance were Dawn, Whitney, Jim, and Sophie. Jim did a girlish jump in the air when he made his shot, and Ozzy was visibly angry, clapping and swearing after finding out he was eliminated. At least there was no flying kung fu kicks this time.

Let’s revisit a little game we played earlier in the season, but one that I’ve shied away from in recent weeks: Which Jeff Probst Comment Was Dirtier? Option A)“Whitney getting a good mouthful!” or Option B) “Sophie slidin’ down that pole!” Discuss in the Comments Section.

Jim was begging for Jeff to tell him he had won, even though his water level was clearly below the line. Sophie had a shot to win, but gagged and had to spit her water out, allowing Jim to arrogantly celebrate early as he won Immunity.
- After the challenge, Brandon made it clear to Cochran that the remaining 6 Upolu members would all be voting for Ozzy. Ozzy, meanwhile, was trying to bargain with Coach. Coach didn’t want Ozzy to leave. Dawn considered flipping. Jim wants to give Ozzy the necklace and make a speech about voting for Cochran.

Whoa, whoa, whoa! Hold it right there…this is nothing but diversionary tactics to draw attention away from the fact that Ozzy is definitely getting voted out at Tribal Council.

- At the first Tribal Council, they talked about the fallout over Cochran’s flip, Brandon talked about supporting Cochran, Jim said “if you’re a turncoat, you’ve got no place in my tribe”, and Ozzy, who knew he was going, told everyone that at Redemption (Non) Island, “I’ll make you a nice fish and I’ll send you on your way.”

In the end, Ozzy was voted out 9-2 because Dawn and Whitney flipped to try and make inroads with the Upolu members.
- At Redemption (Non) Island, Ozzy went fishing and started hauling in a monster catch, so he and Keith would be well fed for their Duel…which inexplicably did not take place this episode.

- For the second Immunity challenge, the castaways had to stand while balancing a ball on a beam. This season’s challenges are all about balance. First, the RNI Duel with the stacked poles, then last week’s coconut on a string challenge, and now this one.

But the best part was the tradional Survivor Twist: Compete or Eat. They were given the option of battling for Immunity, or scarfing down pastries and iced coffee. These decisions are always good for creating some animosity. Coach was visibly steamed that the rest of Upolu wanted to eat, but chose to stay with them because “we stick together.”

So it was only Dawn, Jim, and Whitney competing for immunity. Well, actually, it was pretty much just Dawn and Whitney because Jim was out in about 30 seconds. How awesome would it have been if someone fell right after, and the Immunity challenge was over in a minute or something, and the others had barely any time to eat? That would have been pretty funny.

Jeff: “Coach, still wishing you were participating in the challenge?”
Coach: (laughs with muffin crumbs flying out of his mouth)
Jeff: “Yeah, that’s what I thought.”


I had to laugh at Brandon’s celebration when Jim was eliminated, throwing his arms up in celebration and shouting “Yes!” Then, when Brandon was full, he went to his new BFF and rested his head on Cochran’s shoulder. Did anyone else notice that Edna was feeding Rick? What the hell was that about?
In the end, Whitney outlasted Dawn, who looked like she still had a mouthful of coconut water from the first Immunity challenge as she tried to maintain her balance. Whitney was emotional over the win. Good for her…maybe now we’ll see more character development. She certainly has been edited horribly (but not as badly as Rick.)

- Here’s an interesting thought that was brought up in the Comments section after last week’s episode (and yes, I always read all the comments.) Let’s assume that Brandon makes it to the dreaded “Loved Ones” episode (and regular readers will know how much I hate that annual tradition)…who do you think his “loved one” will be? His wife…or Uncle Russell?
- Cochran dressed up as Coach and did an impression back at camp, while Jim ranted that he was destined for 3rd place with anyone. Hey Jim, if you’re talking about someone being so unlikeable that they’ll get taken to the Final Three and get no votes…you also just described yourself. But interesting to note here, is Jim’s allusion to the fact that there will be a Final Three instead of a Final Two. Are they informed in advance?

- Jim was scrambling to save himself, and went to Albert and Sophie because they are “the only two people that aren’t drinking the Kool-Aid, and aren’t in the cult.” Albert, had a plan to oust Dawn, and Coach just wanted to compare everyone to animals, but essentially it simply boiled down to a choice between Jim and Dawn.

- The second Tribal Council was relatively uneventful, save for Whitney channeling her inner Brandon and breaking down in tears. Did you notice what I was mentioning last week, that Albert’s sweater looks impeccably clean at Tribal Council? What the hell?

Jim was voted out 7-3. No big shocker.

- Why the Double Tribal Council episode out of the blue? They did this last season as well, when everything fell into place for predictable pick-em-off voting results…they jammed two weeks into one. Same thing this week with Ozzy and Jim getting the boot. Why waste 2 hours showing us what we all know is going to happen when you can condense it to one?

I was annoyed that there was no Redemption (Non) Island Duel, because that means that next week, we’ll see a “competition” featuring Ozzy, Jim, and Keith, which can’t be labeled a “Duel” since there are 3 of them. I just hope they change what they did last year where only last place was eliminated, and that only the winner of the 3-Person Redemption (Non) Island (Non) Duel is the one who stays.

Next week: Albert Has A Plan, And Ozzy’s Fish-Fest Continues.

Just a reminder that I’m growing a moustache for Movember to help raise funds for prostate cancer awareness. Rest assured, I DO look ridiculous, but it's for a good cause. If you're interested in donating to help, please visit

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.

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Sunday, November 6, 2011

Amazing Race Recap: “Just Standing Around In Malawi”

Tonight's episode marks the return of the dreaded Double U-Turn, as the teams remain in Malawi for the next leg. Will the Double U-Turn be used…and if so, would it be a factor?

My Random Thoughts:

- Previously on The Amazing Race…Justin and Jennifer narrowly missed out on a first place finish, and Team NFL was saved by a third non-elimination leg.

- Teams were shown at the Pit Stop in Malawi, as they checked in and set up their own beds in huts where would be spending the night. Everyone seemed to embrace the concept except for Ernie and Cindy, who were shown complaining about the size of the huts, mosquito nets, and the straw roof. (Editor’s message #1: We want you not to like Ernie and Cindy for this leg.)

- We saw a recap on Andy and Tommy, and how they had won 4 legs of the race so far, 3 of which have been a result of other people’s mistakes. (Editor’s message #2: Andy and Tommy are probably going to win this leg, and maybe due to a mistake by another team.)
- Justin talked about being gay and coming out to his sister. (Editor’s message #3: Justin and Jennifer will be eliminated this week, that’s why we’re showing you more about their personal life that we haven’t shown you before…just like we did when we introduced the concept of Kaylani’s daughter on the episode that Team Vegas was eliminated.)

- Laurence and Zac told us “the reality is, if you need to U-turn somebody to stay in the race, you need to do it. That’s all there is to it.” (Editor’s message #4: Laurence and Zac will definitely U-Turn someone on this leg.)

- Ernie and Cindy then said “we’ll probably have to use our Express Pass to get ahead.” (Editor’s message #5: Remember that Ernie and Cindy have the Express Pass, since they will be using it on this leg.)

- I found that the first part of the episode was essentially a way to remind viewers of what they needed to know for the episode, or foreshadow what was about to happen. Usually we see a bit of it, but this was all pretty blatant.
- The most entertaining thing for me was Marcus and Amani’s reaction upon finding out that they were only given $1.00 for this leg of the Race. Marcus responded by saying, “What are we going to ride, a pachyderm?”

Where the hell can I find a $1.00 elephant ride? Seriously…I want to know.

- After the teams took a Bus to Salima, Marcus and Amani were faced with a Speed Bump as soon as they got off the bus. I immediately did the following math in my head: Speed Bump + Bus = SaunaBuss? I was seriously hoping for a repeat of the most awesome and most awkward Speed Bump of all time…but alas, it was just a slide puzzle.

A slide puzzle? Are you kidding me? And with the picture provided for you? With the flag hanging right there? How did these two not solve this in less time? That was ridiculously easy, and not worthy of being a part of this Race. As I’ve said before, I’d rather the last place team on Non-Elimination legs receive no penalty rather than a lame-ass one that makes a mockery of the Race.

- In Salima, the teams encountered their Roadblock, which saw one member of the team delivering fish via bicycle taxi. Except that instead of being the passenger on the taxi, they would have to be the driver, and carry someone on the bike with them. And of course, they would also have to deal with the obligatory Handlebar-cam that we see any time TAR has a bike challenge.
- On the Roadblock, Laurence and Sandy were trying to work together, but were unsure of where they were going, which prompted Laurence to say that it was “like finding a hair on an elephant’s butt.”

I’m sorry, but I was really confused by that, because I had no idea that an elephant’s butt was so hairless that it would seem odd to find a hair there. Are elephant’s butt’s hairless? Is that why the rides only cost $1.00? And why do I really care? Is it just me, or is this week heavy on the elephant references? 

As far as comfort was concerned, Laurence said that the bike seat was “something that could crush your balls in a heartbeat if you got the wrong bump”, and Sandy said that she wasn’t going to be able to have kids after the ride.

- Cindy was commenting on what she saw in Malawi, saying that it was more primitive, less developed, and wondering why the kids weren’t in school. She was also frustrated that English is the official language in Malawi, but she couldn’t find anyone that understands her. (Don’t forget Editor’s Message #1 from earlier.)
- The order of finish for the Roadblock was Cindy, Andy, Cathi, Laurence and Sandy, Marcus, and then Jennifer. Well, Jennifer was actually in 4th place at the point where she delivered the fish, but upon finding out that she had left the clue with Justin, had no idea that she was to return to the starting point. So what did she do? Did she ride back to Justin and get the clue to find out what was required (which would have completed the task, since he was where she needed to go)? Nope.

Instead, she inexplicably thought that the best strategy was to just stand around and wait, hoping for the answer to come to her in the form of another team that would be gracious enough to stop and show her the clue. What a terrible strategy. And when she finally did decide to head back, she did it with no urgency whatsoever. Now, instead of 4th place, she and Justin were in dead last. (Please remember Editor’s Message #3)

- As Marcus and Amani left the Roadblock, Amani told their cab driver to drive fast “like your mama’s in the hospital and you gotta get there.” Marcus, meanwhile was yelling at the goats on the road and telling the driver to lean on the horn, just like he used to do in the NFL: “Get out the way, Miami Dolphins, I’m coming!” (One of three NFL reference from Stringer Bell this week.)

- Did anyone else catch the part when Bill said that he and Cathi worked well together because they have been together for 50 years, and they know each other’s “modem operandi”? Is that a part of your computer?

- This week’s Detour took place at Lake Malawi, which Phil told us “has more species of freshwater fish than any other lake in the world.” The teams would have to choose between Dugout or Lugout. In Dugout, teams would have to participate in the Lake Malawi Dugout Canoe Race, and in Lugout, teams would have to unload cargo from a ferry boat “just like the locals”, and that cargo would include 8 passengers “who expect to stay dry.” Did you notice that the wording was just that they "expect" to stay dry? Not that you actually had to keep them dry? Interesting.

- Most of the teams chose Dugout, but after Ernie and Cindy struggled with the canoe, and watched Tommy and Andy speed off, they decided to use the Express Pass (Editor’s Message #5), stating that with a Double U-Turn ahead, “even if someone U-Turned us, it wouldn’t matter.” Is that true. I don’t remember hearing that before? It was a non-issue in this episode, but I’d like clarification on if (and why) that is the case.

- Jeremy tried to direct Sandy on how to paddle the canoe properly, but his directions were painfully vague, and not really helpful at all. He told her “you put the thing in the thing and you turn it like that.” Meanwhile, Laurence and Zac struggled with their own paddling rhythm. I guess if it doesn’t have sails, these two have some problems.
- Andy and Tommy were having fun, flipping off of their canoe into the water and dancing and running with kids on the beach. Seriously, how can you not love these guys? They soon caught up to Ernie and Cindy, who made a mistake by leaving the Beachside village looking for the Jamaica Shop, only to find that they had to go back down. Now they were neck and neck.

- After finding the Jamaica Shop (which was difficult for most teams, despite the clue saying “find the Jamaica shop in the village”), teams were now faced with the option of using the Double U-Turn (now featuring iPads!) After making their decision at the U-Turn mat, the next stop was the Pit Stop at the Sunbird Livingstonia Resort.
- Nobody decided to actually use the U-Turn except for Laurence and Zac (Editor’s message #4) who decided to U-Turn Amani and Marcus...even though they had just run into them AS THEY WERE RUNNING AWAY FROM THE DOUBLE U-TURN. “I hope they hadn’t just come past. They were going the wrong way”, Laurence told us. How on Earth could he assume that?

- This was by far the most irrelevant U-Turn ever, since the only team that used it decided to U-Turn a team in front of them. Somewhere, Kent and Vyxsin were shouting “Yes! It wasn’t just us!” At least there was no whining about teams bitter that the U-Turn was used on them. Maybe next week, since it looks like it’s making a return…

- The race for the Pit Stop Mat came down to a footrace between Team Yellow and Team Snowboard. Even though Ernie was carrying both packs, he was still ahead of Cindy, who was lagging behind, allowing the snowboarders to catch up. Had they not left the village looking for the Jamaica Shop, they would have definitely won the leg.
Just as the Pit Stop came into sight on the beach, Andy and Tommy passed Ernie and Cindy to win the leg, their 5th win in 7 legs (Editor’s Message #2). I know some of you are going to say “Come on, they’ve already won 4 legs.” So what? It’s the same argument as saying that a team that doesn’t need the money shouldn’t win. I love their competitive spirit. I really do. And how lame was it that as they were being passed on the beach, Cindy called out to them, “Boys, please let us win”?

Andy and Tommy then found out that they won $15,000 on a Discover card. You know what that means, right? They can now take the wives on all 3 of the trips, AND buy that elephant that they want, which they will undoubtedly make sure has no hair on it’s butt before they start charging $1 to ride it.

- Justin and Jennifer were too far behind to catch up, and they were eliminated after arriving to the Pit Stop mat last. No more UNC hat? Oh well…Go Duke!

Next Week: Dancing In Denmark, Circus Rabbits, and Another Double U-Turn (Hey, if it didn't work this week, keep trying...)

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)