Sunday, March 27, 2011

Amazing Race Recap: "To Tea Or Not To Tea"

The preview for this week’s episode of The Amazing Race teased a major meltdown by Luke at one of the tasks for this leg of the Race. Could I actually be that lucky? To have the ultimate Mama’s Boy eliminated on the same day as the North Carolina Tar Heels were bounced from the NCAA Tournament? Let’s find out.

My Random Thoughts:

- In my first recap of the season, I said that I would be doing a season-long “Goth Count”, to see how often Kent and Vyxsin said the word “Goth.” Well, we’re six episodes into this season, and we still haven’t heard it yet, so I’m tossing it aside. Kent, I know you’re reading, and I tip my hat to you: your efforts to make sure you weren’t edited into the repetitive “Gothsters” that we saw last time around have thus far proven successful.

- Mallory went back to her manic ways in this episode, coming across once again as a Cheri Oteri character from Saturday Night Live. She shrieked when she opened the clue at the Pit Stop, she almost had a seizure when she found out she was going to India, and she freaked out when they arrived in India to see how many people were outside of the airport. I had a tough time noticing much else about her because my eyes were always drawn to her giant yellow watch. Did you notice that? I’ve seen televisions that were smaller than that watch!

- Many of the teams were shocked to find that they were staying in China to start this leg, but Luke and Margie were visibly annoyed and upset. That didn’t shock me at all, because those two will complain about absolutely anything. Karmic foreshadowing, perhaps?

- Did we really have to have the phrase “Holy Cow” shoved in our face when the teams arrived in India? Did the producers think we weren’t going to be able to interpret “Holy Cow”, and actually needed subtitles? Yes, we get the irony of the teams arriving in India, where the cow is a sacred animal, and saying “Holy Cow”, but did we really need to be told “Look at us…we’re funny!”
- I enjoyed the montage of insane driving that saw most of the cabs having the teams fearing for their lives, and Ron and Christina almost getting blindsided by a truck...only to find out that the mad racing everyone was involved in, had all of them arrive at a location that didn't open for 8 hours. If you're going to take your life in your hands, I'm thinking that maybe you pick your spots a little better.

I had a good laugh at Big Easy and the others yelling at other arriving teams to run down to the end of the street and sign up on the sheet, sending them into a panic for no reason other than their own enjoyment. Everyone pretty much took it in stride, though, and I had to acknowledge the fact that these racers are generally more good-natured towards each other, and try to have fun with each other in the times they're not racing. Take the impromptu basketball game last week, or that practical joke tonight. Quite a stark contrast from the bitterness of, for instance, Carol and Brandi towards Brent and Caite a couple of seasons ago, don't you think?

- I liked that the teams had to participate in the tea tasting that would come back later in the episode in the form of the Road Block. Zev thought it was “pointless” at the time, but I think the fact that the clue specified that it was a “tasting” should have told them that what they were tasting would be relevant later.

For the Road Block itself, Ron got it on the first try, Kisha did it for the Sisters Team, presumably because Jen would have had to stop to pee a few times (I know that joke will probably be made by 100 different people, but I'm still going with it), Mallory seemingly had trouble keeping the tea in her mouth with the constant drops dripping off of her chin, and prayed to Jesus (yet again) for help. Maybe you don't need help from your saviour...I'm thinking that a napkin or a sippy cup would suffice here. And I absolutely loved this back-to-back exchange as the teams were presenting their mango and papaya to the man at the Road Block:

Kent: "I bring you papaya...and I bring you mango"
Flight Time: "Here you go, homey"

But the best part of the challenge (Exhibit #1 in the Sean is an Asshole case) was Luke's total and utter meltdown. "Why is this so tough?", he cried, "So hard, hard, hard.” Personally, I think the challenges in a Race around the world for a million dollars SHOULD be hard, but the reason it was so tough for you, Luke, was because for the first time in this Race, you two had to do something on your own! No listening in for clues, no getting help from other teams. This time, Margie and Luke could only count on Margie and Luke...and guess what? It wasn't good enough. Team Freeloader was on their own for once.

But this petulant child kept whining and complaining to his mom, which accomplishes nothing but delaying him in completing the Road Block even longer. And with the way he was wailing constantly, it's not like her consolations even helped him. He just kept crying like Roy Williams after one of his teams gets eliminated from the NCAA Tournament (by the way, adios UNC!)

And don't even try to fool me with your redemptive music and everyone at the Road Block cheering for Luke once he actually found the correct tea. After the table had hundreds and hundreds of cups, by the time he found it, there appeared to be only 6 or 7 cups left, and he was too lazy to even walk up to the guy with the list. He just slouched on the table and held it up from there. Did the posse of Indian men just herd all the cups at the end for him to do that? I guess if you cry long enough, they'll adjust the rules for you?

- Flight Time and Big Easy weren't able to immediately figure out that the clue was in the Snapple cap, but they did find the clue once they were in the cab, speeding along the streets of Kolkata. Let me ask you this, if they didn't know where they were going to get their next clue...where the hell were they going in that cab?

- I'm hearing "Baby" way too much this season. It's making me feel like Louie and Michael, the Undercover Cops from Rhode Island (that still kills me!) are back on the Race.

- At the Detour, teams had to choose between Art and Literature. The Art portion of the Detour saw teams working to "paint, dress, and adorn" a statue of an Indian Goddess. This was a perfect task for Kent and Vyxsin, who gushed about the fact that it was pink, and that painting on eyebrows and accesorizing was what they themselves did every morning. And did I hear something wrong in the cab, or did he just call Vyxsin's breasts "tea pillows"?

The Literature portion saw teams delivering children's books to a school, and I was thinking to myself, any Detour that involves the instructions "teams must direct their driver through the congested streets of Kolkata” is something I would stay as far away from as possible. Shockingly, all of the teams that chose this one breezed right through it, none faster than Gary and Mallory, who arrived at the Pit Stop first...faster than when they used their Express Pass last week.
- Once they arrived at the Pit Stop, I waited to hear what their prize was going to be for winning the leg, and then I listened to Phil launch into a long explanation about two new brands of Snapple, and how Gary and Mallory were going to be the first two people to try them. Mallory was ecstatic, and it reminded me of that scene from Seinfeld where Kramer agrees to a deal just a tad too early.

I'm thinking to myself...Iced Tea? What the hell?

But then the Snapple commercial continued and we heard that they were also getting an Indian Feast, a Dance Party, and the sum of ONE MILLION Rupees ($20,000 USD). Ok, that's pretty good.

- It was obvious that Margie and Luke were going to be eliminated after the tea debacle. Flight Time and Big Easy even gave them a hug goodbye at the Detour. What was obviously edited out of that scene was Margie saying "Will you please stay and paint it for us?"

I'm absolutely thrilled that Margie and Luke were eliminated, and I have no sympathy for Luke's crocodile tears at the end (Exhibit #2). He was his typical, sulky self, plopping himself down on the mat like a child having a tantrum. Phil made the effort on EVERY LEG in BOTH of their seasons to use sign language to give them their result specifically for Luke, and now he's refusing to even have the decency and respect to stand up and listen to Phil?

Good riddance. Now you can head back home with your mom/prom date (come on, you know that's one and the same), and keep baking together and heading off on your romantic trip that you won thanks to the other teams.

Next Week, there will be no episode. The Academy of Country Music Awards are on Sunday night. TAR returns on April 10th.

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 Twitter, where I post all of my recaps (and other Random Thoughts) as soon as they go up. Don’t forget to mouse over the pictures for captions, and please leave a Comment in the Comments section if you’re so inclined.

Related Posts:
EW.com Amazing Race Recap by Darren Franich
Spoiler TV Recap

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Deep Down, Every Man Wants A Fat Ho...Burger

I saw this fantastic news story from Waco, Texas about a new burger joint with an...interesting name. Check out the video below...and wait until you see the neighbouring establishment! Personally, I can't decide whether I would order The Supa Dupa Fly Ho (which, as the menu specifies, features "Double Meat"), or The Sloppy Ho Brisket.

Truth in advertising indeed...I just wish that it was situated right between a Hardee's and an In'N'Out Burger for the full innuendo effect.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Survivor Recap: "The Pageant Is Over"

After 4 solid weeks of Survivor: Redemption Island, last week’s episode was the first one of the season that I would consider to be “weak.” But after starting off the season with a bang, on a season that I was skeptical of to begin with, I think I can look the other way on one downslide in an otherwise high-level season.

Before I get to this week’s episode, I want to mention that recaps for the next two episodes (March 30 & April 6) of Survivor are likely to not appear on Wednesdays as usual. I am on vacation next week and don’t return until after the April 6th episode. I’m not sure if I’ll get a chance to see the shows while I’m gone, but if I do, I will throw together a quick recap and try to get it up. Otherwise, you can expect recaps for both shows in one post on April 7th, after I watch them upon my return.

And let’s just take a moment to appreciate one positive thing about Survivor’s switch to Wednesdays. Remember those two episodes every year that switched to Wednesday night because of the NCAA Tournament in March? Those two episodes that you generally forgot about until about 7:57 on Wednesday night, and you got that cold rush over your body like you get when you see a police speed trap? Well…no more. (Sorry, that’s the only positive thing I can find about the move to Wednesday)

My Random Thoughts:

- Previously on... Survivor. Jeff reminds us that Matt is awesome, Phillp is annoying, Zapatera has lost their mojo, David freaks out while insisting he's not freaking out, and Stephanie needs to scramble to stay alive. Pretty straightforward...let's see what's going on at Redemption Island.

- Redemption Island's Night-Vision cam shows us Matt sleeping and awaiting his next opponent...and when Krista shows up, she just climbs right into bed with him. Is this standard practice when you're about to be involved in a duel? Should you be sleeping alongside your opponent? Sleeping with the Enemy, as they say? (now with 100% less Julia Roberts!) Also, according to the wildlife edits, Redemption (Non) Island seems to be infested with spiders and snakes. Sounds like fun.

- Ometepe's camp featured another Beach / Spa Day that saw Ashley and Natalie working on each other's hair and eyebrows, and even featured Natalie plucking hair out of Ashley's armpits. They should have been over at Zapatera to work on Russell's pus-laden pits. (Still gross!) It looked like a slumber party scene, but at least Natalie spoke...for a minute. Best line of the segment: "Rob’s making a daybed, and Andrea’s pretending to help.”
Phillip was frustrated at the girls, and despite their positive responses to his instructions on how to check on the fire every 25 minutes, he still made it clear that another Phillip meltdown was brewing. "The Pageant Is Over", he told us. I'm being serious when I ask you this: how boring would this season be without Phillip? Honestly?

- Back at Redemption (Non) Island, Krista got her luxury item, which was a bible. Cue the soft music and blonding bonding moments between duelling faithsters Matt and Krista. Uh-oh Matt, looks like all of your good vs. evil talk might be irrelevant here now that there is another believer? They prayed together, insisting that they would be duelling in God's honour (??) and then even thanked the Lord for being on Redemption Island (??????) before heading off for their Duel.

Probst gave them their directions on the Duel, and for what it's worth, any challenge with a grappling hook is automatically cool. Ever since 1977 when I first saw Luke Skywalker swing across the Death Star chasm with Princess Leia, grappling hooks have been ultra-cool.

After retrieving 3 bags, which seemed pointless, other than having them have to use the grappling hooks, they had to manouever a ball through an obstacled puzzle maze. Krista jumped out to an early lead, and things were looking grim for our reigning champ, but Krista eventually faltered, and Matt won his fourth straight Duel. That's right, just when it looked like God chose Krista, he gave it back to Matt and then said "Aw shucks, buddy. You know I can't go against you!", and then playfully punched him in the shoulder like two old pals would do.

Krista was just about to play BYOB (Burn Your Own Buff) when she asked if she could give her Bible to Matt. Cue the soft church music again as she gave her personal item to him. All joking aside, I appreciated that moment between the two of them...until...

SCREEEEEEEEEEEECH!

The tenderness of the moment was broken by Andrea's apparent rage at the gesture. All of a sudden, she went from cheering on her blond tribemate/showmance to being apparently furious that he had bonded with Krista in their 8 hours together. Now, as she told the camera, maybe Matt needed to go because he's not who she thought he was. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned...or like a woman who just watched a guy who isn't her boyfriend get a Bible from another woman, who also isn't his girlfriend. Same thing, right?

- Sarita was complaining of a dental issue, and made sure everyone in her camp knew about it. I've been saying for years what Ralph said tonight in terms of how ridiculous it is that people pick and scrape their teeth with dirty sticks, and it pains me to admit that Ralph and I have something in common. Really...it does. But he did wonders for the Southern stereotypical hick when he declared "Who in God's name would be worried about your BACK teeth?"

- Dave came to Stephanie and laid out a plan for her to possibly be able to stay by targeting Sarita for elimination. Or, as I'm calling it, "Sarita called me out and pissed me off, so now I'm not going to be her friend anymore." I'm not saying he's wrong, but his logic is emotional, based on last week's clash between the two.

Stephanie had no choice but to take his advice and try to sway some votes Sarita's way, and had to go suck up to the people she hates, starting with Steve. Interesting choice seeing as she clashed with Steve after Tribal Council because Mr. Post-NFL had his feelings hurt that there were 2 votes cast for him. But she swallowed her pride and did her best, and even had Steve tell her that he thought she was stronger at challenges.

UNLESS THERE'S A PUZZLE! THEN DAVE'S DOING THE PUZZLES! REMEMBER?? DAVE IS JOHNNY PUZZLE-MASTER...ALL PUZZLES, ALL THE TIME! PERIOD! POINT BLANK!

- Back at Ometepe, Phillip's meltdown was ready to blow, and he got into a verbal confrontation with Ashley and Natalie. Well, by "Ashley and Natalie", I mean Ashley yelled back at him while Natalie just walked around saying "Wow!" Apparently, Ashley didn't like the way that Phillip talks to the girls vs. the boys, and Phillip doesn't like how the girls do nothing at camp. Next thing you know, Phillip is mis-pronouncing "Andrea" (and somewhere in front of her TV, Francesca is laughing so hard, she's choking on her popcorn), Rob is running damage control, and Ashley is insisting Phillip is crazy

The best part of this blow-up was when Phillip said that he was the "red stepchild." Man, I love when Phillip messes something up verbally because he's all riled up. I know he meant "red-headed stepchild"...he even said it correctly earlier in the episode, but Red Stepchild made me laugh. What happened to the stepchild? Was it left in the sun too long? Was the temperature on the tanning bed set too high? Did he/she take a bath in beet juice?

- The Challenge was another combination Reward/Immunity challenge, and the Redemption Island aspect of the show made me realize tonight that we now never get the classic line "getting their look at the new (insert Tribe Name here) Tribe." because the observers of the Duel already know who was voted out. Gone too soon. Sigh.

I was annoyed from the get-go at the Challenge, because Probst's shirt wasn't just any blue this week...it was Carolina Blue. And for a die-hard Duke fan (Go Blue Devils!) to see that colour in March, it just makes my blood boil. But March Madness digressions notwithstanding, Powder Blue Probst explained the challenge, another flashback competition where, the last time we saw it, J.T. lost a tooth in Survivor Tocantins...and just spit it out!

The pre-game bravado was over the top, as Mike explained what a great challenge it would be, and Steve gave Phillip an awkward forearm motion that was intended to be insulting, but came across as non-threatening as when Lenny and Squiggy would bite their palm on Laverne and Shirley.

Probst played up the Grant vs. Mike matchup as the NFL vs the Marines, and from what I saw, the locked-out football players just gave the U.S. Military an ass-whipping unlike anything it's ever seen. Grant got 4 of Ometepe's 5 points with ease, and Mike was relegated to trying to rip Grant's clothes off to stop him...and even that didn't work. Grant could have scored himself a pro lacrosse contract from this episode. I'll say it again...look out for this guy. He's got all the same traits as Ozzy. He could go all the way.

I loved Ralph's "Shoot it to me!" insistence that was met with him head-butting the ball instead of catching it.

Zapatera was never even in it. You could tell they were panicking when they were behind. As I said last week, and in the podcast I did, they are too complacent, too talent-less, and I don't see anyone coming out of this Tribe who could actually win the game. They're just a bunch of misfits.

- The Reward saw Ometepe enjoy a feast with Lobster and other goodies, which made me think of this week's episode of Iron Chef America, which saw Canadian chef Chuck Hughes defeat Iron Chef Bobby Flay in a lobster battle. For those of you who have never read the story of the time I ran into Bobby Flay in Las Vegas, do yourself a favour and read that story. I guarantee you will enjoy it, and you will never guess what happened.

The only thing that really came out of this excursion was the fact that Phillip told us of his new nickname for him, Rob, and Grant (Stealth R Us), and then he caught Rob and Grant secretly checking out the clue to the Idol. Crazy Phil then told us off camera that he was ready to kick some ass in the name of the Lion AND the Gorilla, because "hell hath no fury like a lion or gorilla when he thinks he's been provoked."

Did you notice he specified that it's when the lion or gorilla "thinks" it's been provoked, not just when it's been provoked? Lesson: Don't ever let lions and gorillas misunderstand your intentions.

- Looks like the wild kingdom footage was cut down this week in favour of MORE GIANT HAIRY SPIDERS. Come on...are the editors reading this blog and just messing with me now?

- Tribal Council was uninteresting to me. Sarita vs. Stephanie. Trust vs. Ability. Yawn. The only thing remotely interesting was Stephanie and Sarita's Wayne's World-esque argument where they each tried to get the last word in on each other.

Then Ralph made his worst spelling mistake of the season thus far (Ressell, Krasta, and now STIFINIE??), and the firecracker was off to Redemption (Non) Island. I think Matt's in for some trouble next week.

Next Week: Zapatera loses it, and Jeff is shocked.

Also, I’ve added a new blog to the sidebar: Colette Lala’s Bitchy Survivor Blog. I highly recommend you check it out after each episode. She’s hilarious! (There’s also a link to her Amazing Race blog as well.) And if you didn’t get a chance to listen to my guest appearance on David and Nicole’s Survivor Podcast from last week, here’s the link again.

Survivor Fans, feel free to bookmark the site or add your name as a Follower on the sidebar to the left. You can also add me on Facebook 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.

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

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Amazing Race Recap: The Return Of The Double U-Turn

Last week’s episode of The Amazing Race ended with seven teams continuing on in the Race after the Pit Stop, Zev and Justin still working on the final task, while Kent and Vyxsin tried to convince a speeding bus to turn around so they could look for their fannypack, which they left behind.

A lot of people have commented that they don’t like the “double legs” that we’ve been seeing so far this season. I actually like them, and think it’s a nice change to see the teams have to keep going without being able to rest. These teams have all done the Race before, and I’m all for making it as hard as possible for them this time around. However, if we end up seeing a double leg turn into a Non-Elimination leg, that will piss me off.

My Random Thoughts:

- Kent and Vyxsin had to turn around and head back to the mountain gondola to look for their missing fannypack, which contained all of their money and travel documents. Luckily for them, it was still there (likely turned in), and they were about to continue. Hey, here’s an idea…if you have a fannypack, wear the damn thing. Pretty hard to lose it when it’s attached to your body, isn’t it? How many people do you know who have ever just randomly wondered “Hey, where the hell is my belt?” And for the record, that looked more like a binoculars case than a fannypack.

After the documents were found, and we learned that all of the teams would be on the same train 7 hours later, we were treated to an abbreviated version of Kent and Vyxsin completing their final tasks from last week, which included Vyxsin's reason for choosing Hammer over Horn because "I don’t want to have to navigate." I know you had a tough day Vyxsin, but maybe a race around the world isn't the best idea if you "don't want to have to navigate."

- When the Goths caught up with the rest of the teams, they decided not to share the news that Phil told them, that they had a 30 minute penalty to serve at the next Pit Stop. I understand the logic, but why on Earth didn't they own up about the 30 minute penalty, but then tell everyone that it was already served when they checked in with Phil at the last Pit Stop? Yes, Phil told them that they were still racing, but the clues are still referring to that point as a Pit Stop, so it's entirely believable if they said that the penalty was incurred, and served, already.
- I loved the impromptu basketball game at the train station. Especially because we don't hear or see anymore of those mandatory rest periods that allow teams to "eat, sleep, and mingle." Did you see how badly Big Easy stuffed Jet on one of the Cowbro's shots...without even leaving his feet? REJECTED! I thought it was a good team-building, light-hearted moment for everyone, complete with former NFL cheerleaders Jaime and Cara dancing on the sidelines. Even Big Easy's "Don't ruin the basketball game" after hearing the Goths had arrived, couldn't spoil a fun moment.

- At the flower garden, teams were instructed to find the next clue box at "The Golden Arches", which was explained as the location of the Golden Horse and Jade Cock Memorial Garden. Did some of the teams mis-interpret the Golden Arches part of the clue and end up at McDonald's...or was that just a coincidence where the cabs dropped them off? Maybe Ron was just hungry again and looking for food?

The fact that they had to go to a place called the Jade Cock Memorial Garden would lead one to believe I have to make the obligatory dirty joke here, but instead, I will tell you a true story from this weekend:

I was listening to the radio in the car yesterday, and a commercial came on the radio for a GE brand of caulking. The line in the ad was as follows, word-for-word, "Now you can have a high-performace caulk without the sticky, stringy mess." Honest to God, that's what it said. I can't make that up. (Well...I suppose I could, but I didn't.)

- For the Detour, teams had to choose between Honour the Past and Embrace the Future, the Amazing Race's tried, tested, and true fork in the road where you have to decide between memory and brute force. Embrace the Future seemed like the easier task across the board, with teams donning bright green jackets (Happy St. Patrick's Day!) and lugging heavy boxes up stairs to put together solar panels.
Honour the Past saw teams dress in traditional garb--which appeared to include giant mortarboards with Ramen noodles hanging off of them as headwear--and watch a traditional routine of chanting and dancing/marching before having to remember the order of the participants. I get the concept, but how much are you really "Honouring The Past", when the participants are using cordless microphones?

Jen and Kisha breezed through it, reminding us all that they are a force in this Race, as long as they're not swimming. I still think that they're a pretty good combination of everything you need to win the Race, minus the water skills.

- A lot has been said on this season, and in their original season, about Ron's strained relationship wth Christina. They both talk about having to improve the way they interact with each other, and I'm thinking that Ron closing the cab door on her leg as Christina was getting out, is probably a couple of steps backwards.

- Kent and Vyxsin U-Turned the Redheads right in front of them, which was a pretty ballsy move, if you ask me. But I like the immediate accountability of that decision. As I've stated before, the U-Turn is a tool to be used within the parameters of the game, and any team that doesn't use it to get ahead is foolish. Kent and Vyxsin had to U-turn somebody, and after their mistake last time, Jaime and Cara were the logical choice. The Redheads had no choice but to use the other U-Turn as well...if you have to do another Detour, then you need to make sure someone else does too.

The one thing that does bother me about the U-Turn, is when teams apologize for using it. It's part of the game...within the rules! Do you think that when a baseball player steals second base, he gets up, calls time with the umpire, brushes the dirt off of his uniform...and then apologizes to the second baseman?

- In the cab afterwards, Cara indicated that she was frustrated, but they would do their best to overcome the new obstacle. I admired her reaction to being U-Turned...while Jaime just sat there with a look on her face that indicated she was thinking about all the different things she could do with Kent's head after she cut it off.

Then their cab driver had to stop for gas, and she complained "it's like Hawaii all over again." Hey, here's an idea...when you get a taxi, just ask if he's got enough gas when you hire him, because you don't have time to stop since you're in a Race. Seems pretty straightforward to me.

- At the Stone Forest, the Roadblock saw one team member putting together a life-sized dinosaur puzzle, which from the get-go looked like an incredibly difficult and physically demanding challenge.

Team Freeloader looked to do as little as possible again as Margie turned to Kisha for direction on how to help her get started. Why on earth would Kisha offer any assistance after the exchanges between these two teams last time? And again, because another team helped them, Margie and Luke actually finished the task, and this leg, ahead of Kisha and Jen. Team Freeloader wins again.

Christina was explaining the main structural challenge of putting the dinosaur together:“if the hips were not wedged in correctly, then you were basically toast.” Yes Christina, Shakira would have indeed been proud of your assessment, but the beautiful irony of it all was that you had it upside-down!
Gary and Mallory arrived at the Road Block last, and made the no-brainer decision of using their Express Pass to skip it and head straight to the Pit Stop, where Phil would assuredly tell them about a wonderful prize coming their way for finishing first. But not so fast, Bubbly Daughter and Superman Father! (Cue the City Slickers theme song) Jet and Cord finished the Road Block and won the $10,000 cab and footrace to the mat. Way to go, Cowbros...Oh My Gravy!

- Flight time asked Cara why they were U-Turned, and she passed the blame on to Vyxsin, explaining that "they started it", to which Vyxsin responded by explaining the necessity of using the U-Turn since they had a time penalty coming at the mat. I think a much better argument for Vyxsin would have been to tell the truth, that Jaime and Cara were yelling at them to U-Turn the Globetrotters. I'm sure that would have carried a lot of weight with Flight Time, and it would have been pretty hard for Cara to deny.
- The Globetrotters were able to overcome the U-Turn, but Jaime & Cara were not. They can blame the cab driver's tank, or the U-Turn if they like, but I think it's probably more due to the fact that Jaime kept falling off of her mini-ladder and wasn't able to put the dinosaur together (couldn't she just look at the other ones that were completed?)
When she finally did finish, she snatched the clue out of the paleontologist's hands, which was the exact opposite reaction that Christina had. (Did you see her going in for the kiss on that guy before the camera cut away? Awkward.) One of Jaime's closing comments was that "it never goes our way”, which I think is a pretty ignorant statement from someone on a team that made it to the Finale last time.

Next Week: A Calcutta Tea Party makes Luke a blubbering mess. (I can’t wait...I'm such a prick.)

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 Twitter, where I post all of my recaps (and other Random Thoughts) as soon as they go up. Don’t forget to mouse over the pictures for captions, and please leave a Comment in the Comments section if you’re so inclined.

Related Posts
EW.com Amazing Race Recap by Darren Franich
Spoiler TV Recap

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Vote For Brian!

Ok folks...I have a favour to ask. My friend Brian is trying to win a job as a BMW blogger and needs people to vote for him in The Ultimate Blogger Contest. What I need you to do is simply click this link to vote for him...consider it a personal favor to me. I'll owe you. :)

All it will take is two clicks: one to get to the site, and one on the +1 Icon to actually vote for him. You can vote once per day, so if you're willing to help, please bookmark the site and vote daily.

Lost Fans, Survivor Fans, Amazing Race Fans, poker fans, or just regular readers of Sean's Random Thoughts...every vote counts.

Thanks,
Sean

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Survivor Recap: "The Brady Bunch Goes Camping"

Before I get to this week’s episode, I want to revisit the elimination of Russell last week, because it spawned a lot of conversation over the past 7 days. Many people assumed from my response that week that I’m one of the (many) Russell haters out there. Well, for those of you that are relatively new to my Survivor Recaps, let me set the record straight. I had initially written a LOT on Russell to go in this space, but then I decided that one week later, it wasn’t really worth taking up that much space. I’ll summarize as best I can.

I started off as a HUGE Russell fan. If you don’t believe me, go back and read my old posts from Survivor: Samoa. I wrote at length on how he was the best player to ever play the game, and how he got screwed out of the million by a bitter jury twice. It was the biggest injustice in Survivor History, and Reality TV in general.

But the bottom line is that I just got plain sick of him. Two back-to-back seasons, where he made the finale and lost, then all of his bitterness spewing out of him after he lost. Yes, he was right that he should have won, but he couldn’t have handled it any worse. I was sick of him already before I heard that he was coming back for a 3rd time in 4 seasons, but the news that he was the one who leaked the spoilers for the past three seasons (which I 100% believe), was the nail in coffin.

Russell, you had me…BIG TIME. I was one of your biggest apologists.

But you lost me.

Good riddance.

Now, on to this week's episode...

My Random Thoughts:

- Not much happened in the first few minutes of this episode, other than we saw how hard it was raining, and more of Phillip’s ass than we cared to see. Seriously, how awesome was that moment where Ashley and Natalie were forced to have those saggy pink briefs right in their faces?
It reminded me of being in Las Vegas a few years back, and sitting on the place with my friend Neil. I was sitting in the aisle seat, and Neil was in the window seat. I was facing him as I was talking to him, and as I turned back to the aisle for some reason, I was greeted by the posterior of a very large man...right in my face. There was no contact, but it was close...and as I semi-shouted "Whoa!", Neil said "What's the matter?"

My response: "I've got a bad case of Ass In The Face."

When Neil saw the whole situation, he started laughing so hard that tears were rolling down his face for a good 15-20 minutes. I didn't find it all that funny at the time, and perhaps the medication that Neil was on for the flight played some part in his reaction, but seeing Phillip's backside in the face of the girls, I was reminded of that phrase.

- Off to Redemption Island for tonight's Duel, and I have to point out that I'm happy that the Duels are taking place early in each episode. No drawing it out...no wasting time...let's just get it over with and on to the real part of the show, not this ridiculous twist (which I'm still not a fan of). Matt defeated Kristina to go 3-for-3 at Redemption Island, and I have to say he did it with relative ease.

The reason I say that, is because he did it while conversing with Jeff and Rob about why he was voted out. Talk about muti-tasking! I loved Rob's response to Matt's question about why he was voted out: “ It doesn’t take one person to vote someone out, Jeff. You know that.” He's just so cool and collected. How can you not love him and the game he plays?

The end of the duel saw Stephanie trying to plant seeds in Rob and Grant's head about their value to Ometepe in the event of a merge. Rob and Grant pretty much shrugged it off, because at this point, no merge is coming anytime soon, so what's the point?

But as this all was going on, Kristina was just left hanging, waiting for Probst to kick her out. Here's a question: if you're Kristina watching this all go down, are you somewhat happy because it is delaying your exit, even by a few minutes? Or are you thinking "Hey! Blue Shirt! Let's get on with this!" Personally, I think the latter.

Probst told her to drop her buff in the fire, and she asked if she had to. Jeff told her yes, and in it went, and down the path she exited. What is the insistence that Survivor has with forcing people to burn things on this show? And I'm not just talking about the concept of making fire, I'm talking about plain old arson...setting stuff on fire. Whether it's your camp on the last day, or the staff/plaques of your Fallen Comrades, or now your buffs...do you think Smokey The Bear approves?

- I asked last week what was going on with all of the colour-coded bathing suits and outfits, and while I didn't find out a definite answer, I think I've convinced myself that there has to be a connection. With this episode being so Stephanie/Krista-centric, I almost expected to see a graphic saying 'Tonight's episode is brought to you by Welch's Concord Grape Juice." And why so much purple on a season AFTER we had a contest (inexplicably) named Purple Kelly?

- The wildlife parade continued in this episode with crabs, fish, stingrays, snakes, frogs, 2 types of monkeys, egrets, buzzards, turtles, some sort of leaf-eating insect, and the return of that damn giant hairy spider. Seriously, man...is this Animal Planet now? The frog and buzzard were both in the episode more than Natalie!
- Philip gave me the laugh of the night: "These girls remind me of crabs." There are so many jokes swimming around my head I find it difficult to pick one, but it made me think back to a great comment by EW.com's Dalton Ross about Parvati and crabs. (Google it if you want, you'll laugh).

- Philip's comedic gold was followed up by a gratuitous shower scene (in HD!) of Ashley, Natalie, and Andrea at a waterfall, and then walking along the beach, and then some tanning. Well, it was really just Natalie and Ashley tanning. Andrea was having an extremely confusing conversation with Phillip that I still don't really understand. All I know is that everyone was "under the bus", Phillip was talking about making an alliance with someone who wasn't even in the game anymore, and then Rob was a King and Phillip was a Lord. It was at this point that I realized this was NOT a good episode.

- Steve gave a pep talk to his tribe using strong terms like "victory" and "defeat" and "play hard", and then even pulled out the ultimate cliche, "there's no 'I' in team." Look, Mr. Salt-and-Pepper-Hair-With-Caterpillar eyebrows...I know you are a former NFL player, but Jimmie Johnson was on LAST season. Nobody needs a coach anymore. And the best part of it all, was that Captain Motivation then sat out the challenge!
- The challenge was relatively uninteresting (no tile-smashing...sigh), but I really enjoyed watching how Stephanie managed Ralph in it. She essentially yelled at him to go and sit in the corner and wait until I'm ready for you, which actually ended up being a good strategy because the Furry Hick couldn't understand directions as simple as "left" and "forward." Yes, that's right, Ralph went right when told to go left, and stood still and asked "Forward?" when told to go forward.

Sitting off on the side and yelling at Stephanie to tell him what to do, I was reminded of Jimmy T. from last season, and his whole "give me a shot!" phase. And for those of you keeping count, that's now 3 Survivor Nicaragua references in this recap. Should I try for 4?

I didn't really understand Sarita's logic in choosing Stephanie as the caller/puzzle solver in the Challenge because she was "bossy as all get out." (Easy there, watch the language, Sarita!), but once everyone else accepted that, then there should have been no excuses at the end. But sure enough, 3 of the Tribe insisted that it should have been Dave.

Well, if it should have been Dave...then why didn't you pick Dave? Making excuses at the end does nothing but place blame, and you can't blame Sarita if you all agreed to go with her idea. In a team pow-wow, Silent Dave put his attorney fist down and declared that he would be doing all puzzles for the tribe from this point forward, "Period. Point Blank." Keep in mind that Dave is a lawyer. Do you you think he sums up his closing arguments the same way? Interesting verbage.
I liked how Sarita defended her logic by saying that Dave doesn't respond well under pressure. To which Dave responded to her that he doesn't freak out under pressure. It is key to note that he told her this while freaking out under pressure. Point for Sarita.

- Grant and Rob found the second clue for the Immunity Idol, and ran a complex screen-and-roll to get it out of camp. Hey, it beats knocking a one-legged contestant over for the clue. (That's 4!) Rob then had the presence of mind to swap out the second clue for the first clue, and then share the clue with Grant. What I'd give to be watching tonight's episode with Grant when he saw that for the first time and heard Rob say "I have to entertain myself out here somehow."
I love Rob's game so far this season, but I'm concerned about Grant. This guy is good, but as much as Rob as making him the deputy, he's still keeping him at arm's length. If Grant finds out that Rob has the Idol, and kept it from him, and even went out of his way to deceive him about it...that bond could be broken, and Grant could be the reason Rob goes home. Something to watch for.

- Stephanie and Krista were screwed the moment that Russell was voted out. But I like Stephanie's spunk: she's excited and aggressive, while Krista seemed to just sit off to the side and go "Yeah...what she said." The Stephanie-Krista dynamic reminded me of Russell and Natalie in Samoa.
Then, at Tribal Council, Krista commented that no one in her tribe was "playing the game", like they should be...and I thought "WHAT?", since she's been doing nothing. Then Mike told her she was on the outs because she was abrasive...and I thought "DOUBLE WHAT?", because I find Krista's demeanor about as abrasive as a satin bedsheet.

Tribal Council was boring, and in actuality, with all the talk of Stephanie failing at the challenge, the big winner coming out of all of this...was Dave. He was essentially the saviour of the Tribe, and everyone agreed that they would have won with him...and he really didn't do anything in this episode other than gather firewood and yell at Sarita.

Krista was predictably voted out and sent to Redemption Island, which just became the blondest it could ever be. On a side note, can we please have a list of the contestant's names in the Tribal Council voting booth, just for proper spelling?

Krasta? Really, Ralph?

Next Week: Spa Day at Ometepe sets Phillip off.

I'll be honest. I didn't really enjoy this episode. Not much happened, and what did seemed like manufactured drama to fill the hour. But seeing as this was the first bad episode of the season, I'll look the other way.

For now.

One final note. This week, I will be part of a Survivor podcast at survivorpodcast.blogspot.com. 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 hope you’ll check it out when it goes up on Friday morning.

Survivor Fans, feel free to bookmark the site or add your name as a Follower on the sidebar to the left. You can also add me on Facebook 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.

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

Monday, March 14, 2011

One Shining Moment...In Lego

The brackets are out, so let the Madness begin! What better way to re-live some of the greatest moments from NCAA Tournament history than to watch them in Lego?
Chris Webber, it's been 18 years...but I still love ya!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Amazing Race Recap: "Meltdowns All Around"

In last week’s Amazing Race recap, I talked about the unfairness of the penalty that was handed to Flight Time and Big Easy. Not that it was undeserved, but that the way it went down was unfair. If it was an offense that warranted a penalty, then it should have been assessed when The Globetrotters hit the mat, not after Ron and Christina whined about it to Phil.

Again, it's not the point THAT they got penalized, but WHEN they got penalized. It's like driving by a police officer doing 75 in a 65 zone, and not getting a ticket...but later he gives you the ticket because the guy behind you said you were doing 75 in a 65. Ridiculous. I'm surprised it wasn't addressed in this episode.

This week, the 9 remaining teams were off from Japan to China. Can Zev and Justin pull of a third straight first-place finish? Which team takes a big-time wrong turn? And what’s with all the yaks?

My Random Thoughts:

- Last week I made a joke about the Commodore Perry Pit Stop. Did nobody get it? Really?

- Zev and Justin talked about the last couple of legs being "rocking chair legs" for Zev, meaning he pretty much had to sit back and do nothing. Hello Mr. Foreshadowing...why not just put a flashing neon sign on the screen that says "Zev has to do a Roadblock this episode and has a lot of trouble with it!!"

- Mallory's grunt-fest continued right from the mat at the beginning of the episode, as she made some sort of gutteral noise as she and Gary opened the envelope to start the leg. To be fair, she wasn't as bad for the rest of the episode, and I'm wondering if she's being edited like she was last season...to be a manic freak for their first few episodes, and then a calmer and mellower Mallory for the last few episodes. The fact that we may be seeing that switch already leads me to believe that we aren't going to see much more of Gary and Mallory.

- Kisha and Jen, upon seeing that they were returning to China, reminisced about their last trip there, with Jen saying, "we had a bad leg where I called a deaf guy a bitch." I certainly hope she wasn't calling it a bad leg because she called Luke a bitch...because in that situation (loved seeing the replay), Luke was a bitch. (I wonder where he learned that from...more on that later) I think the bigger focal point for Jen and Kisha would be to make sure that they don't have to make any unscheduled bathroom breaks in China this time.

- Jaime and Cara also commented on having a bad leg in China last time (more old footage...but not of Jaime yelling at non-English speakers. I remember that's where her major meltdown happened last time. On a completely separate note, Happy Birthday to Cara, who is celebrating her birthday today (March 13). Facebook is a wonderful thing.

- Kent and Vyxsin stated that they wanted to approach this leg with PMA: Positive Mental Attitude. That mindset went out the window before they even got into their vehicle, as they rambled at each other in a combined state of confusion and panic. Then, they had no clue how to navigate the streets of Japan, and seemingly decided to just make random left turns until they found themselves in a metropolitan construction zone before getting on the highway in the wrong direction. Wow...what a disaster.

Kent tried to keep a panicky Vyxsin calm by telling her "The Amazing Race is about tragedies...but it's also about miracles." Kent...I love ya, but The Amazing Race is about neither. The best part of the segment was when they came back from commercial and we heard this dramatic horn music, because it was almost exactly the same as when Lost would send things to commercial on a dramatic note. Seriously, go back and listen if you're a Lost fan.

With 10 full hours between when they left the mat and when the scheduled flight left, even with all of that, they still should have been able to make their flight, but they didn't notice the direction on the compass (!!) until far too late, and they did indeed miss their flight. Justin later wondered if they would incur a time penalty for missing the required flight, and I'm not sure what the ruling will be on that, but I have to think the SIX-HOUR delay they had getting out of the airport after missing the flight might suffice for any intended penalty.

Once they did get that flight, they landed to find an empty airport, and declared that they needed to find a place to hang out. If you're working in a Chinese hotel and you see those two come in at 4:00 am, what would your response be?

- Enough Moon & Cloud shots to signify impending troubles...we get it. It's not a Twilight Movie.

- After arriving at Jade Mountain, teams had to find a marked shuttle, which looked like a Pixar creation that could have been in either A Bug's Life or Cars, before saddling up some yaks and crossing a river staircase. Mallory thought she was in a parade, Cord smacked his hat on the yak's ass, and this was the first in what is sure to be another season full of tasks where locals laugh uproariously at the contestants. Remember that cheese-rolling episode a few seasons back? That was the jump-off point.
- The Detour with the charms was pretty straightforward, but definitely difficult. Big Easy looked for guidance by talking to a cow, Christina thanked her mom for making her memorize the Zodiac signs when she was young, Cord clucked like a hen while asking a local to help him find a rooster (seriously...wouldn't "cock-a-doodle-doo" have been a better sound effect than clucking?), Vyxsin wore gloves that looked like she should have been scuba diving...and picking up sea urchins, and Zev annoyed the Clue-Giver so much that he just sat down and waved a hand dismissively at our favourite Duck Whisperer.

Mallory breezed through the challenge, then inexplicably helped Luke with his. This right after Margie told us "I'm sure he'll do fine. He is really good at details." Um...Margie, do you remember the Surfboard challenge? The one where you guys were ready to win a million dollars? Until Luke and his awesome way with details couldn't...remember the details. Yeah, sure...Luke is just GREAT with details.

But once again, Luke and Margie got ahead thanks to another team instead of on their own skill and ingenuity. Left to their own devices, these two can't do anything. New nickname for Margie and Luke: Team Freeloader.

- Best line of the episode: "This is not a bus. Buses have doors." Yes Ron and Christina...buses have doors. But perhaps you should read the clue that instructed them to get on "the marked bus", and not "the first vehicle you see." Ron freaked out, Christina actually jumped out of the vehicle, and then Ron just threw things. Yes...another meltdown!

- After the Road Block, teams had to make a wish and deposit the wish in the box that corresponded to their own Chinese Zodiac sign. This was if you knew your own sign, of course, which Margie apparently didn't know (she must have asked another team), and the Globetrotters had heaps of trouble with. I felt bad for the poor guy handing out the clues on this one, because he must have had a legend in his pocket telling him what the correct answer was for each racer.

- The Detour took teams to Old Town Lijang, which appeared to be filled with nothing but candy makers and stray dogs. As the teams were pounding out their Chinese brittle with giant hammers, Ron couldn't stop eating it. Did you notice that he spent this entire episode either eating...or trying to stop for random Chinese street food? Yes, we know you're Chinese, and you like your steamed sticky buns, but if they're going to make you look like you're about to cry when you're running afterwards, maybe you just skip it. Ron just doesn't get the concept of the Race at all if he's justifying stopping for snacks along the way.

- When Team Freeloader arived at the mat first, I was furious, because the only reason they were up that high was because of Mallory. Phil told them "You are the first team to arrive" instead of "You're team Number One", which gave me hope that there was perhaps a penalty on the way...but alas, it was just a swerve because the teams were still racing. Margie and Luke were indeed #1, and won another romantic mother-and-son trip that included a massage (just like last time...how awkward.)

But the best part was when Phil told them that they were still racing, and instead of being happy that they were #1 and just won a trip, she snarkily told him "You don't know what I want to say right now." I'm just going to be blunt...what an ungrateful bitch. I wonder where Luke learned his behaviour from.

- So, our half-episode ended with 7 teams racing ahead, Zev and Justin still carrying a giant horn, and Kent and Vyxsin realizing that they lost their passports and money, and trying to convince a speeding bus to turn around. (What is this...a Sandra Bullock movie?)

Next Week: The return of the Double U Turn and the search for the passports continues

Just a quick note for those of you that also read my Survivor recaps on Wednesdays. One of the things I pride myself in is the fact that my recaps are up within one hour of when the show airs on the East Coast. Unfortunately, that will not be the case this Wednesday as I have another commitment that will keep me away from home until later in the evening. I should still be able to get my recap up by midnight ET, so be patient…and your weekly fix will be there, albeit slightly delayed.

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 Twitter, where I post all of my recaps (and other Random Thoughts) as soon as they go up. Don’t forget to mouse over the pictures for captions, and please leave a Comment in the Comments section if you’re so inclined.

Related Posts:
Darren Franich's Amazing Race Recap at EW.com
Spoiler TV Recap

Duke DESTROYS UNC To Win The ACC Tournament

It's always a beautiful day when Duke pummels North Carolina in a beating for the ages to win the ACC Tournament. Balanced contributions from the whole team, Kyle Singler broke out of his slump vs UNC to have a big game, and Nolan Smith was on fire with 20 points and 10 assists.

I loved how UNC fans went nuts every time the Tar Heels got within 15 points, getting out of their seats...only to have to sit their powder blue asses down every time we extended our lead.

Selection Sunday tournament seeds get announced in 3 hours. Duke should be getting a #1 seed for sure.

Enjoy these photos from the game. (mouse over for captions)



Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Survivor Recap: "Hey Dumbass, Aren't You In My Alliance? Don't You Work For Me?"

Last week’s episode ended with a Survivor First: Russell Hantz getting his torch snuffed. It was such a momentous occasion that I felt it was only fitting to revisit this historic moment by starting this week’s recap with a photo commemorating the event. If you haven’t done so already, take a moment to look up there, breathe it in, and appreciate what nobody in Samoa or Heroes vs. Villains was able to do…vote Russell out of the game.

Before I get to this week’s episode, I want to mention something. For a number of years now, I’ve been having fun at the expense of Jeff Probst’s constant wardrobe choice of blue shirts for Survivor (three different shades of blue tonight, by the way). It’s all in good fun, but with Mr. Probst recently entering the world of Twitter, I thought I’d take a direct approach. Last night, after I saw a couple of updates from him, I Tweeted to him “I have to know…how many blue shirts are in your Survivor wardrobe closet?”
I don’t suppose I really expected a response, but within minutes, he Tweeted back that it was between 10-15 shirts for each season. Now there’s a man who goes with the flow, and I give him credit for embracing his blue-shirted-ness, and all that comes with it. For those of you on Twitter, I highly recommend following him (@jeffprobst), and watching his Comments as the show airs.

But on to this week’s episode… Would Russell be able to stay in the game at Redemption Island? Who will find the Hidden Immunity Idol at Ometepe? And just who exactly is working for who?

My Random Thoughts:

- Previously on…Survivor: Jeff Probst would like to remind everyone that at Ometepe, Rob is the leader, Natalie loves Rob, Phillip is still crazy, and Kristina wants Rob out. At Zapatera, Russell got voted out…what else matters?

- Night vision recap: no, it’s not a new Christopher Nolan movie, but look at all the Bats! Apparently Redemption Island is infested with them. Doubtful, but it’s just another animal we can see in glorious HD shots this season. Matt made a great comment, saying he was “Blindsided by Rob, and Bunking With Russell”, which I believe is also the title of an X-Rated movie.

- Why on earth was Phillip sweeping around camp while people were trying to sleep? And no…I’m not going to go on again about how strategically ridiculous it is to do anything that wakes your tribemates up in this game. What I’m wondering is “why was he sweeping?”Isn't sweeping a way of cleaning up dirt on the ground? What's the point...when the dirt IS the ground?

This conversation then led to Ometepe talking about how annoying Phillip was, as we watched more footage of him chucking spears once again at miniature crabs. Rob summed it up best when he talked about Phillip's wardrobe choices: "It's not only disturbing...it's disgusting." Hands up if you disagree. Didn't think so.

- Ok, how many bathing suits does Kristina have? So far we've seen red, an orange and white striped one, and now a pink one. Seriously, how many does she have? I'm starting to think that the producers provided the teams with new suits because there is a LOT of orange and purple, and it always seems to be on the corresponding tribe.
- With Russell off on Redemption Island, you would assume that Stephane & Krista may feel the need to revisit their strategy within their tribe, but that wasn't the case. Obviously still swirling Russell's kool-aid around in their mouths, they decided that their best way to stay alive in the game would be to find the Hidden Immunity Idol, so they promptly...went tanning on the beach together? Really? This is your plan?

- Ralph told us that he didn't want to tell anyone on his tribe that he had the Idol, and I screamed at my TV, "FINALLY!", since I've been saying for years to never tell anyone you have it because only bad things can happen. But no sooner than I hear him say he's not telling anyone, then he strolls right on over and spills the beans. What the hell?

- The Redemption Island Duel between Matt and Russell is what everyone was waiting for this episode....the ultimate Survivor battle of Good vs. Evil. Hell, based on what Matt was saying, it was God vs Evil.
I loved the domino challenge, and especially loved that the final moment of the challenge was...say it with me, folks...breaking a tile! You know damn well that ball could have rolled down and raised a flag, but this is Tile-Break-A-Palooza, and we were destined to see another one smashed. After a couple of tense trials, we got to see Matt's dominoes all fall over, releasing the ball, and ending Russell's season for good. Be honest...who else fist pumped in their living rooms?
Cue the soft music and tears from Russell. Johnny Blue Shirt pensively asked questions as to why Russell was so devastated, and everyone seemed genuinely moved. I almost expected a rainbow to appear off in the distance with a unicorn flying over it.

But then Russell became Russell again, and went out in a blaze of glory, swinging wildly at anything he could find. "It's hard to be a professional quarterback, and have Pee-Wee Leaguers on your team. Cuz I've gotta run the ball, I've gotta catch the ball, I've gotta throw the ball. I gotta do everything."

First of all, somebody needs to tell Russell that if he's doing all of that, he should throw the ball BEFORE he catches it...not after. That's why he's all screwed up. He's catching the ball and then just chucking it away. Ask Grant or Steve...not a good football strategy.

Second, it was the same argument he used when Natalie won in Samoa. That taste is still the same as it was 3 seasons ago: sour grapes. Russell, your fifteen minutes has finally expired.

When I read today on CBS.com that “the second duel reduces one castaway to tears when he is eliminated from the game for good“, it was pretty apparent to me that Russell was going to lose tonight. With all the media attention surrounding Russell’s supposed leaking of spoilers over the past few seasons, I expect this is the first part of his comeuppance from CBS, who are rumoured to be suing him. There’s no way they could start legal proceedings against him after they made him the focal point of every promotional tool for this season, but now that he’s gone, wouldn’t you love to see that lawsuit get announced tomorrow morning? You may think I’m joking, but I wouldn’t be surprised.

- Rob faked constipation on his proposed beach day in an effort to look for the Idol. Come on, who else but Rob could used his bowels to further himself in the game? Did you see him BUST IT back to camp, then start climbing every tree searching for the Idol? He was like some bizarre hybrid of Usain Bolt and an urban runner. But it worked. Man he's good.
- Rob on Phillip: “Hey dumbass, aren’t you in my alliance? Don’t you work for me?” What else can I say...that can stand on it's own.

- Before I talk about the Immunity challenge and Tribal Council, I want to take a tangent for a moment. I’ve noticed some similarities between this season’s cast and some famous faces. I’ve mentioned some of these before, but I thought these photos would get the point across better. What do you think?






















































- OK, back to the Immunity/Reward challenge, sponsored by Craftsman. More Tiles to Break! YES!!!!! And I'll just say it, any challenge where one of the instructions is “You must saw through a wall” falls under the category of AWESOME. Thoughts from this challenge: Grant is a physical monster, and reminds me of Ozzy (He will dominate late in the game); the teams were actually running with saws in their hands. I know they weren't scissors, but come on...safety last?; and don't even try to tell me Probst's shirt was black...it was dark blue.

- An uneventful reward celebration back at Zapatera, where we learned that Mike hasn’t thought about sex in 2 weeks, and that Ralph wants to lick mustard off Steve’s nose. Ummm...ok?

- Howler monkeys, jaguars, snakes, spiders, bats, red eyed tree frogs, buzzards...was this Survivor or Wild Kingdom? Eventually it'll just be wildlife shots and audio clips. What the hell was with the unannounced GIANT HAIRY SPIDER that made me scream at my TV like an eight-year-old girl? Did we really need to see that twice? Dammit man, bring back the lizard running on water.

- Tribal Council was uneventful. Phillip rambled about "the Sheppard stamp", his mom dying, being in the army, his honourable discharge (I bet THAT'S a story and a half!), his medal in "field sanitation" (did I hear that right?), and then adjusted his sleeves so we could take in both the Lion and the Gorilla. Kristina, meanwhile just said "I’m smart and I can be trusted."

And Kristina got voted out. Maybe a better argument would have been "I'm NOT a ticking time bomb in saggy pink briefs." Nice touch with the thunder as the votes were being read. So, it's off to Redemption Island for Kristina, where a duel with Matt awaits, along with presumably another new bathing suit.

Next Week: Ometepe gets a bad case of Phillip's ass in the face, and Russell's minions are up to no good.

Survivor Fans, feel free to bookmark the site or add your name as a Follower on the sidebar to the left. You can also add me on Facebook 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.

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

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Amazing Race Recap: "Are We About To Get Super Dirty?"

In last week’s Amazing Race recap, I commented on the ridiculous kangaroo outfits the teams had to wear, and said “I'm sure that Kisha & Jen, Luke & Margie, and Jaime & Cara all had no problem with them, because at least they weren't running around St. Petersburg in their underwear in the winter like last time.”

Remember when TAR went through that phase, where seemingly every other challenge had teams stripping down to their skivvies for Detours and Roadblocks? From winter jogging, to playing giant golf in the wind, to the incredibly awkward “SaunaBuss” (remember THAT one?), to the Estonian mud volleyball…it seemed like Bertram van Munster just wanted the teams stripping down all season long?









On a side note, that mud volleyball challenge in Estonia will forever remain one of my favourites of all time. Remember how Sam and Dan (the gay brothers) had their crotches blurred out during the challenge, and I speculated in my recap why that was? Well, that led to my absolute favourite Google search ever that led a reader to one of my recaps. Somebody actually Googled…and I’m not making this up…”Amazing Race Mud Volleyball Boners.”

But my point was this, after seeing the promo photos and clips for this week’s episode, which featured teams frolicking in the mud in what appeared to be giant diapers, I feared we were traveling back down the Road to Race Disrobing. Is that actually the case? Which team needs a Japanese driving lesson? And where the hell is my fanny pack?

My Random Thoughts:

- Only 31 minutes separated all 10 teams, and we saw them all racing off to Japan at the same time. But upon arriving at the airport, we saw that they had 2 different options: a direct flight that landed at 6:15, or a connecting flight that landed at 6:00. This led to a new kind of airport drama...take the connecting flight and risk connection problems for the reward of a 15 minute lead, or take the sure thing. As much as it seemed like a gamble, as long as there were other teams on the connecting flight with you (and there were 5 of them), it wasn't that bad since you were all in the same boat. Of course there was a delay, but in the grand scheme of things, that 90 minutes didn't seem to matter much.

- So, off to Japan they went, and after being reminded of one of my favourite TAR moments (EAT THE WASAAAAABIIII!), the teams headed off to a rotating garage to pick up their vehicles. The garage looked like something straight out of a Star Wars movie, and after lame vending machine jokes from Mallory and Jet, Zev and Justin saved the comedy gold with a Press Your Luck "No Whammies!" comment.
- Mallory seems to be even more manic than last time. She's apparently prone to mini-seizures, spasms, and random noises for no reason. I was at a hockey game the other night, and there was a 10-year-old kid in our section who was pounding back a giant bag of cotton candy before the game even started, drinking pop and iced tea throughout the game, and powering down a box of mini-donuts in the third period. At every whistle, once the arena music started, he would jump out into the aisle and start dancing frantically, including some incredibly awkward pelvic thrusts at times. That's how I view Mallory each week.

- After getting their cars, the teams were off to a compound where it was some sort of Japanese jousting / horse riding / archery / samurai theme. Essentially, it was Kill Bill meets A Knights Tale meets Robin Hood, set in a Medieval Times Dinner Theatre. While most of the teams were able to balance the Form and Precision needed to complete the Roadblock, Ron had a lot of trouble, and while he and Christina arrived in 1st place, they left in 5th place.

- Jaime and Cara ran into some car troubles, in the form of driving into another car. While they were dealing with the situation, Jaime said “The language barrier here makes it very difficult to communicate,” which was a decidedly different approach than her last exposure to non-English speaking people she would encounter on the Race. I suppose it's just human nature when the other person is on the phone with the police after you've driven into their car! Maybe this isn't the best time to yell "Learn English!"

- Did you see the flag-waving kids at the clue box for the Detour? At first, they were enthusiastically waving their mini Japanese flags over their heads as the teams arrived, but as the last few teams arrived, their interest was clearly waning, and the flags were apathetically being waved at their knees...and by the time Jaime and Cara arrived, they were hardly moving at all, obviously just hoping they could head home soon.

- For the Detour, the Frog of Luck portion had teams undressing in the cold and searching through the mud for a frog that was under the surface somewhere, all while being pelted by mud from other partygoers. (Was it a party? Seemed like a party to me?). The most confusing part of the whole challenge was someone--who appeared to be Taboo from The Black Eyed Peas--running around and randomly doing belly flops in the mud for no reason. Mallory looked like a muddy Gypsy/hippie, and Cord slid headlong into the mud, since he thought he was looking for a live frog, and his frog-wrangling experience had taught him that's the way to flush the little buggers out of their hiding spots. - For the Prayer of Purity element, teams had to do a Japanese ritual that culminated in standing under an ice-cold waterfall running down from Mt. Fuji (now looking even more amazing in HD!) Flight Time and Big Easy performed an incantation at the incense portion of the ritual, and apparently, they just said "Ching Chang, Sing Sang" over and over, which was good enough. Wouldn't you think "Globetrotters" would be more culturally sensitive?

Even though it was ice-cold water and cold outside, this would have been the obvious choice for me. I'm never a fan of the needle in the haystack challenges.
- Zev and Justin were the 10th team to receive their car, but once again, they were the 1st to arrive at the Pit Stop, which apparently was named for Commodore Chandler Bing. (I hope some of you get that joke.)

- Ron seemed more interested in using big words like “lackadaisically”, “ineptitude“, and "consternation" than working on the Race. Somebody ought to tell the old codger that he's not making money per syllable on the Race, and maybe he should focus on getting along with his daughter and getting ahead for a shot at the million dollars.

- Is Kent now just fondling all of the clue givers?? Between the Australian surfer ass-slap and the Japanese muddy hug, I'm sensing a pattern.

- Fanny Pack-gate was a topic of discussion at the Pit Stop Mat after the Globetrotters inadvertently took Ron and Christina's Travel Documents and just left them with their clothes instead of returning them back to the Detour site. It was an honest mistake, and I would have had no problem whatsoever if they were assessed a penalty for it. But I thought it was a horrible decision for Phil to assess the penalty after Ron and Christina whined on the mat about it. The show has always handed out penalties based on the fact that they see everything that happens with the accompanying cameras. If it wasn't a penalty when the Globetrotters landed on the mat, NO WAY it should have been a penalty after the fact based on Ron and Christina telling Phil about it.

- Mel & Mike were unable to deal with the cold, and Jaime and Cara--already miles behind everyone else from their fender-bender--passed them on the Detour as they shivered in an ambulance. It was a tough way to go out, but as I mentioned last week, Mel just isn't able to physically cope with the demands of the Race. Then, a tender moment followed, as Mike talked about his dad, and we even got a close-up shot (in HD!) of Phil welling up. But let me ask you this, isn't the tender closing sentiment of how much Mike cares about his dad, and how Mel's health was more important than the Race, somewhat diluted when we see Mike wearing a Vegan Mafia T-shirt?

Next Week: Ron freaks out and The Goths veer off course.

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