Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Will I Be Recapping Survivor And The Amazing Race?

With the new seasons of Survivor and The Amazing Race set to kick off next week, I thought I should address the status of my recaps, and what I’m planning for the upcoming seasons. As many of you know (or may have read in a previous post from March), I was taking a break from my recaps since everything was pretty busy. So the question is: Will I be recapping again for this season?
Before I answer that, let me give you a little bit of background on how these recaps came to be. At first, I just started making ‘Random Thoughts’ on the episodes, back when everything on here was simply in bullet-point Random Thought format. That evolved into posts on the individual episodes, and when the response was so positive, I obviously put a lot more effort into the recaps. Before long, with 10,000 hits/month, I wasn’t writing anything other than these recaps any more, and they were taking a lot of effort to come up with the ‘product’ that I wanted.
Now, I know that you can find any smarmy, sarcastic guy on the internet ranting about your favourite show. I’m not egotistical enough to think that I’m the only one that does that. But I also know that the major appeal of my recaps vs. others was that it was always up within an hour of the show ending. I mean, on Thursday morning, you can find 300 Survivor Recaps, but at 10:00 pm ET on Wednesday night, you can only find a handful. And with the proper promotion, you can ensure that when people are searching “Survivor Recap”and the date, you’re going to be one of the first hits, as long as you have a recap published by then.
But it’s a lot of work.
So, on Wednesdays for Survivor, for instance, I would get home from work, have dinner, and then by 7:00, I would write my teaser post, and search for any photos available from the upcoming episode. After that, I would have to load the photos to a dummy location to ensure when I was done my actual recap, I could just cut and paste the photos in where I wanted them instead of waiting to load them all. This would take close to an hour, so now we’re coming up on when the show airs live on the East Coast.
So at 8:00 ET, the show starts, and I’m watching with my laptop on my lap. I’m a quick typer, so I can jot my bullet points down as the episode goes on without really missing anything, but often I would have to pause the show (on DVR) and back it up to see something I may have missed, or to get the exact wording of a quote I wanted to use. I would make up all of the time on the commercial breaks, so I would finish watching at the same time, but it was always staggered with watching, pausing, typing, then watching, pausing, typing, etc… That’s not a fun way to watch your favourite show, trust me.
Now the show is over at 9:00, and I take my bullet points that I’ve been taking throughout the show, and write the recap itself. That usually takes about 30-40 minutes. After that, I work the photos in where I want them to go, and add some snippy little captions for each…then hit PUBLISH, and it’s up and live. This is usually done by 10:00 pm.
But there’s still more work. I now have to post links on Facebook at places where readers are used to getting them, as well as Twitter, and a few message boards. Yes, I know, it’s just self-promotion, but if you want readers, they have to come from somewhere. I’m happy that once I got readers, I was pretty consistently able to retain them, but you have to get them to begin with. The amount of work I had to do posting at these locations would take close to an hour.
So now, I’ve been working on this recap for about 4 hours. It’s late, I’m tired, I have to work the next morning, and I’ve barely spent any time with my girlfriend. (Thankfully my son isn’t with me on Wednesdays.) That’s a pretty big commitment. Factor in that I’m also doing it on Sunday nights for The Amazing Race, and there are 2 nights gone for the week.

 And here’s the thing…I love doing these recaps. They’re fun, and a great way for me to express my sense of humour, and sarcastically look at the show.
But my son is 11 years old, and spending time with him is way more important that watching TV. My girlfriend and I just bought our dream home and moved in 2 weeks ago, and I’d rather enjoy that experience as we adjust to our new lives there. I'm doing a lot of television work with local sports which keeps me very busy. Also, I’d much prefer to record Survivor and watch it later before bed, instead of making sure I’m in front of a TV at 8:00. And watching the show without having to pause it constantly is really, really enjoyable.
Here’s the thing, I still love writing about the show, but I know that if I write the next day and post it at some point on Thursday, I’ll probably get only 10-15% of the traffic than getting the recaps up within an hour of the show. Never mind that the recaps would actually be better because I wouldn’t have only an hour to digest the show, but now I’m just a small fish in a big pond. Add in the fact that I was dealing with some serious negativity and abuse over the recaps (specifically at ew.com), and even dealing with plagiarism, as it was discovered that someone was actually stealing my recaps…almost word-for-word. I’m not going to lie, that was a HUGE factor in this process becoming sour for me.
And keep in mind, that all this time, all the seasons I recapped for Survivor and The Amazing Race (and Big Brother for a while), I never made a penny. Not one single cent. I did it because I wanted to. Hey, if someone out there wants to actually pay me to write my recaps for their site, I’m sure I could work it in, but that would obviously be a different situation. I wouldn’t be getting them online until the next day…life is too important. And just writing is much easier than everything that was involved with producing my recaps.
I’m guessing by this time, you’ve probably figured out that I’m not going to be recapping Survivor and The Amazing Race anymore. I hope all of my regular readers (many of whom I can call friends now) will understand, and those of you who have connected with me on Facebook or Twitter will remain as friends.
Before I started recapping, I used to read Josh Wolk's recaps of The Amazing Race. If you never read any of his stuff, do yourself a favour and look it up. He is, quite frankly, the funniest man on the planet. When he decided to stop (due to similar family/work commitments), I was devastated, and that really lit a fire under me to start recapping myself. Maybe someone out there is reading this post right now and thinking the same thing. If so, I look forward to reading YOUR recaps.
I have to especially thank my girlfriend Devena, my partner in every sense of the word, who for the last 3 years has been 100% supportive of my commitment to these recaps. Life is better with you by my side.
Thanks to everyone who read and commented over the years. Your enjoyment and support was my motivation for doing it for so long.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Important News About My Survivor And Amazing Race Recaps

Many of you know that I wear a lot of different hats. I work a full-time job, I work for a local University as their Athletics announcer, and I also work for our local affiliate of Rogers TV on-air for their broadcasts of Kitchener Rangers hockey games. Add in to that the responsibilities of being a dad to a 10-year-old son, and trying to be a good partner to my loving and supportive girlfriend, Devena...and there's not a lot of free time.

I do these recaps because they're fun for me, and because people enjoy reading them. From a tiny little side project, to something that garners between 10,000-15,000 hits/month, this site sure has grown and evolved to places I didn't really envision. I'm very, very thankful and grateful for that.

But I need a break.

Things are way to busy for me right now to be putting in the required effort for my recaps. Work is busy, home life is busy, and the Rangers playoffs are starting in 2 days, which will mean I have a show almost every other night for a seven-game playoff series. Plus, I was just on vacation and missed three recap nights (for Survivor and TAR), and after tonight, I was going to miss the next two episodes as well.

So, I'm sorry to say that I will be taking a temporary break from doing my recaps for Survivor and The Amazing Race. I watched last week's episode last night, and I really enjoyed just being able to sit and watch it...so that's what I'm going to do for the next little while.

I'm not sure how long...I may be back before the end of the season, but I will definitely be back at some point. Like I said, I just need a break.

Thank you to all of the loyal readers, I hope this doesn't change anything for you, and you'll still be back when I start recapping again. Please feel free to add me on Facebook or Twitter to keep in touch in the meantime.

See you soon.


Sunday, March 18, 2012

Amazing Race Recap: March 18, 2012

Tonight's episode of the Amazing Race finds the remaining teams headed to Bavaria for Gingerbread houses, yodeling, and some beard shaping. Will Vanessa and Rachel continue to butt heads? Will Bopper and Mark be able to climb out of last place? And will Brenchel continue to annoy the holy hell out of me?

Unfortunately, I will not be able to recap tonight's episode as I am out of the country on vacation. I will add some thoughts on this week's episode at the beginning of next week's recap, which will be up as usual following the episode.

Please feel free to still comment on the episode in the Comments section.

(Photo Credit: Reality Fan Forum)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Survivor One World Recap: March 14, 2012

I can't ever recall a player on Survivor that has been as universally reviled as our beloved Sea Foam-Wearing Colton Cumbie. Pick your poison: arrogant, elitist, racist, obnoxious...all of the above? It's rare to see a viewing audience that agrees so much on one contestant. His antics are sure to continue this week, perhaps on a new tribe, as the preview last week teased a potential Tribal Swap. Is it really a swap? Or could his reaction in the preview just be in response to a disgusting eating challenge? If there is a swap, and he ends up on Salani, will he be forced to relinquish the Idol since it was specified that it MUST be given to a Manono member?

Unfortunately, I will not be able to recap tonight's episode as I am out of the country on vacation. I will add some thoughts on this week's episode at the beginning of next week's recap, which will be up as usual following the episode.

Please feel free to still comment on the episode in the Comments section.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Amazing Race Recap: March 11, 2012 - No Recap Tonight

Tonight's episode of The Amazing Race finds the remaining teams traveling to Italy, and is ssuggestively titled "Taste Your Salami?" Will the tension between Vanessa and Rachel be on the rise? Can Team Army reclaim their lead at the top? Based on the picture above, I have a feeling I'm going to enjoy this episode.

This is usually where I tell you that my Recap will be up around 10:00 pm ET...but there won't be a recap this week. I have other obligations tonight, and I'm leaving on vacation in 48 hours, so things are pretty busy. Sorry to those of you who were expecting my usual Recap.

Please feel free to still discuss the episode in the Comments section below.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Survivor One World Recap: “I’m Completely Bum-Puzzled Right Now”

The teaser from CBS for tonight’s episode stated “The battle of the sexes continues, and for the first time, a play will be made that will change the game forever!” Would Colton continue to be the ringleader of the Misfit Alliance? Can Salani continue their winning streak? And why am I writing a recap on my birthday? (Answer: because I love my readers!)

My Random Thoughts:

- Previously on…Survivor: the men dominated the game for the first 5 days, but the women are on a roll after winning the last two challenges. On Salani, Alicia and Christina don’t like each other, and the Misfits booted Matt last week. And don’t forget that Colton called Bill “Ghetto trash.”

- Night Vision recap: Michael thinks “the old guy, the little guy and the gay guy” are stupid for voting out a strong guy. Tarzan Greg is preaching to Troyzan Troy, and says that their alliance of 5 is solid, and despite Mike being “so peripheral he has no clue” (what the hell does that mean??), Bill is next on the chopping block, despite his charm and “beguiling character.” Oh yeah…and Leif sleeps in a box.

- The next day, while the women prepared a morning snack of boiled snails, and talked about how they weren’t struggling for food, the men strolled over and proposed a deal. Jonas asked about their fishing net, and the women said they haven’t had any success. The sushi chef then pointed out that he knows how to use a net properly (because he’s Hawaiian, you see), and suggested that the women let them use the net so that he can catch some fish…and in return, the men would give them half of the fish.
Chelsea wasn’t interested in the least, saying that she “doesn’t want to sound like a cold-hearted bitch,” but it’s a bad idea to feed the enemy. Jonas went on and on proclaiming he was fine with them not agreeing to it, but you could see they didn’t believe him.

Personally, I don’t understand why the women wouldn’t agree to the deal. You do nothing, you get half a catch of fish…and this is the important part…that you wouldn’t otherwise have, because you don’t know how to catch fish with the net. Maybe if the men were starving, I could understand it, but there was nothing to tell us that they were hard up for food to begin with, so I don’t see the point here.

And here’s the interesting part…I’ve been getting the promotional photos from CBS prior to each episode, and in the last two weeks, there have been not one, not two, but THREE photos of Jonas with the fishing equipment, including one of him with the net…and with Matt, who was voted off before that scene! (see one of them below) Either they made the deal and edited to look like it was nixed…or something else is going on. Something smells fishy, and it’s not just that net.
- The Reward challenge gave me goosebumps on the opening overhead shot, because I thought we were going to get to see a combination of two challenge themes from the past two season: coconuts and tiles. But alas, they weren’t tiles, they were planks. I guess Mark Burnett left all of the excess tiles in Nicaragua, but coconuts are always easy to come by.

The challenge was some good old-fashioned coconut-chucking at a giant 5x5 board, and the first team to get a Bingo would win the reward, which was a choice between Comfort (pillows, blankets, and a mattress), Protection (a tarp), and Luxury (coffee and donuts).
Bill sat out, Jay’s jaw dropped at the sight of donuts, Kat trash talked after hitting their first “tile”, Greg kept calling Jonas “Jason”, and the Survivor production team used a nifty graphic and sound effects to show us the progress on the board…because I guess they think we can’t tell from the GIANT HOLES on a wooden wall.

In the end, the women won (their 3rd challenge in a row), and chose the tarp as their reward. Greg was a poor sport both at the challenge and back at camp, branding the Salani win as ‘lucky.’

- While chatting on the beach, Leif let it slip to Bill that he was initially Colton’s target before the plan shifted to Matt before the last Tribal Council. “Bill Posley just got wowed”, he shared with us, as he was visibly shocked.

Upon hearing that Leif spilled the beans, Colton launched into more of his rehearsed faux rants, saying “that little Munchkin is about to get knocked back to Oz”, and “he’s turning into an annoying little Oompa Loompa.” He then called for Leif, as if he was some sort of regal being that requested the presence of one of their loyal subjects. Either that, or the Godfather? Or maybe Rob Mariano.
How arrogant and obnoxious was Colton in this scene? It was almost unbearable to watch as he browbeated Leif about what he said to Bill, over-dramatizing everything for the cameras and telling him that he sealed his fate and picked the wrong side. If you would have told me that I was going to be watching a scene with a small man wearing a panama hat talking to a Tribemate, and one of them was painfully arrogant…I would have bet my house that we would have been talking about Russell Hantz.

- The hint for the Immunity Challenge came in the form of a Tree Mail Puzzle, and the women quickly surmised that they would be working in pairs to solve a puzzle. Kat immediately pointed out that she needed a good partner since she wasn’t good at puzzles (hey, at least she’s a realist!), and when Alicia volunteered, Kat was less than impressed.

Kat said that Alicia wasn’t good at puzzles, so they shouldn’t be partners, and Alicia immediately got all fired up, pointing out that she just “threw that shit together”, talking about the Tree Mail Puzzle. I’d like to point out that the Tree Mail puzzle was only 6 pieces, so it wasn’t really that impressive of a task. When two-thirds of your puzzle are corner pieces, rest assured that a blind monkey could get it done relatively quickly.

I’m not saying that Alicia shouldn’t have been offended. On the contrary, I agree with her. But when the dumbest person on the Tribe is essentially calling you dumb, then it’s a bit of a blow.
- The Immunity Challenge was a 3-armed race, where the pairs (tied together at the wrist) would have to walk across a teeter-totter and then solve a puzzle to get a key. After doing this three times, they would have to use the three keys to unlock three locks and raise their Tribe Flag.

This challenge wasn’t even close, as the men cruised to a victory. We were made to believe that it was due to Alicia and Chelsea struggling at the first puzzle, but I think the men had this one in the bag anyways based on how quickly they did each puzzle.

But the big thing that came out of this was the fact that when the women couldn’t solve their own puzzle, they did exactly what they did last week, and simply tried to copy from the men’s puzzle. I can’t understand how the producers are allowing this to happen. It’s so blatant and brazen, and is an insult to the spirit of the game. Either the puzzles have to be different, or there needs to be a visual barrier between the two Tribes to prevent something like this from happening constantly.

After the men received the Immunity Idol, you would have assumed it was time for the Tribes to head back to camp, as they normally would. Nope…not this week. Not until our favourite Blue-Shirted host decided to dish out a verbal bitch-slapping to Salani, saying that it “barely qualified as a challenge.” He then turned his attention squarely on Alicia, who was nervously laughing at their defeat, and went on to point out that she was hopeless at solving the puzzle even AFTER LOOKING at the completed Manono puzzle.
- Back at the camp, Alicia pitched her case for her and Chelsea to both stay, saying they have been great at the other challenges, but Sabrina says that “Alicia is just dead weight with a mouth” and she wants Alicia gone. Kim says she’s not on board with that plan and still wants to vote out Christina.

- Over on the men’s side of camp, Bill wants to talk to Colton in an attempt to clear the air, so he approaches him and says “I just want to squash some beef between the two of us.” (Now, normally I wouldn’t take such an easy opportunity as this one, but after Colton’s reprehensible behaviour and comments the past two weeks, I feel I can go down this road.) Clearly, this is NOT first time that Colton has been asked to squash some beef between two men.

Instead of talking like two adults, Colton instead had another one of his toddler-like tantrums, saying “I don’t want to talk, I just want to lay here, I don’t want to think about this game.” And as he lounged there like Colton-patra, with his hands over his head in the shade, he showed his immaturity by not listening and just ranting to Bill, “You’re going home next so it really doesn’t matter. Bye!”
He then went to the rest of his Tribe to complain about Bill, and proposed a ridiculous plan: to approach the Salani Tribe and give them Immunity so that Manono would voluntarily go to Tribal Council and vote Bill out.


We’ve seen individuals give up Immunity, and we’ve even seen Tribes throw challenges to be sent to Tribal Council, but never in 24 seasons have we seen (or even heard of) a Tribe giving up Tribal Immunity after they had won it. (By the way, did you notice that Jason…I mean, Jonas…was holding the fishing net in this scene? No deal, my ass.)

I can’t understand why the rest of the Tribe would agree to this ridiculous plan, even though they gave some absurd logic that since Colton was calling the shots, they had to go along with it. Jason/Jonas even asked “What am I going to say? No?” HELL YES YOU SAY ‘NO!”

So the Tribal Pow-Wow was called and Tarzan Greg preached to Leif about what he had done. He told him “You should not have done that. That was bad.” Hey Greg, just because he’s that small doesn’t mean you have to talk to him like a child. Jay summed up what we were all feeling when he said “I’m completely bum-puzzled right now.” (I won’t make a Colton joke on that one.)
- The look on Jeff Probst’s face as the Manono Tribe entered Tribal Council was priceless. After his jaw dropping and head-shaking he pointed out that in 24 seasons and over 400 Tribal Councils, he had never seen a Tribe give up Immunity. Now, I am going to take umbrage with the “400 Tribal Councils” comment, because well over half of those were after the merge, and therefore there was no Tribal Immunity anyways, but the point is still valid, albeit exaggerated for effect.

- Other than a bad act by Leif, and a political rant by Greg, Tribal Council was pretty much just Colton and Bill talking about each other. Colton explained why he didn’t like Bill, saying that it was because he was loud, obnoxious, and a struggling stand-up comic. He channeled his inner Mean Girl when he said “It’s, like, ‘Get a real job’!”

We learned that Bill grew up poor while Colton had the Country Club lifestyle, attending a private all-white school in Alabama. When the topic of race came up, this shockingly ignorant exchange took place:

Colton: “I do have, like, African-American people in my life”
Probst: “Who?”
Colton: (pause) “My housekeeper.”

What made this even more offensive, was the flippant laugh from Colton as he said it, as if he knew how ridiculous his answer made him look, but he didn’t care. He went on about Bill, “I don’t associate with people like that in the real world, and I’m sure as hell not going to associate with people like that out here”

The “Let’s Vote Out Leif” ruse was poorly executed, and it was obvious to me that Bill was going home…and it was unanimous among the other 7 Tribe Members. Why else would Leif agree to the deal to give Immunity away? Even if you know you’re next to go, take your shot with winning Tribal Immunity until the merge, or maybe there is a twist on the horizon. It didn’t make sense.

- I was hoping that the rest of the Tribe would see what a golden opportunity this would have been to get rid of Colton and unite as a Strong Seven. He never would have played the Idol, and it could have been the greatest blindside in Survivor history.

- Please note that next week (March 14) I will be away on vacation, and unable to watch the show. I will get a recap up once I return on March 20th.

Next Week: A Tribal Switch Up?

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.

Also, if you’re on Twitter, please consider Tweeting or Re-Tweeting a link to these recaps if you have followers who are interested in Survivor. I’ve been getting a number of Re-Tweets from some of this season’s castaways (shout-outs to @monicaculpepper, @chelseameissner, and @christina_cha), and it has resulted in a large number of new readers.

Thanks for reading.

Survivor One World Recap: March 7, 2012

The teaser from CBS for tonight’s episode stated “The battle of the sexes continues, and for the first time, a play will be made that will change the game forever!” Would Colton continue to be the ringleader of the Misfit Alliance? Can Salani continue their winning streak? And why am I writing a recap on my birthday? (Answer: Because I love my readers!)

Tonight's recap should be up by 10:00 pm ET. Please make sure to check back.


Monday, March 5, 2012

Amazing Race Recap: “Stacking Watermelons In Paraguay Was On My Bucket List.”

Sorry for the delay in getting this week’s recap up a day later than normal. I was away on Sunday and wasn’t able to watch the episode until tonight. This week’s episode certainly was a nail-biter (no joke…I was actually biting my nails), and with the preview showing teams having a task involving watermelons, I was obviously hoping we would revisit one of the greatest moments in Amazing Race History.

(NOTE: Sorry, no Pictures/Captions this week since it's going up late)

My Random Thoughts:

- Before I get to tonight’s episode, I have to revisit last week’s Pit Stop, which featured Phil and a Diego Maradona impersonator. I have to mention that on a number of message boards, there were people who were trying to say that it was the real Diego Maradona, which is ridiculous. It was a Fake Maradona…guaranteed. Trust me.

- On to tonight’s episode, which started with Team Army (Good Rachel and Dave) and Team Border Patrol (Art and JJ) departing only minutes apart, just after midnight, and finding out that the teams would now be traveling to Paraguay…which I hope you figured out from the title of this recap, if you hadn’t already seen the episode.

Team Army wants us to know that they’re aggressive, competitive, and a target, while Team Border Patrol would like to point out that they are on their way to another Spanish speaking country, which is an advantage for them, and since both of these teams “protect America”, they will dominate.

- When they arrived at the airport, both teams learned that there were two options for flights: an 8:45 am flight or a 10:40 am flight. The earlier flight was full, but they would be able to put their names on the standby list at the check-in counters.

Flash forward to early morning, where we then saw all nine teams at the airport. I have to say, as I have mentioned in the past, I love when the producers do this…no fake drama and unnecessary footage of each team at the Pit Stop Mat opening their first clue to start the leg. It was essentially “OK, everyone is here. Everyone wants the early flight. Now you’re caught up.”

- Not everyone knew about the earlier flight, but for some reason Team Fake Teachers decided to tell as many people as possible about the earlier flight. Once all of the teams (or most of them) had put their name on the standby list, the teams that arrived later started trying to sweet talk the ticket agents into circumventing the priority list, and give them the tickets.

Thankfully, that didn’t work, and karma reigned, as the 8 tickets that ended up being available on the early flight went to the first four teams that arrived: Team Army, Team Border Patrol, Team Fake Teachers, and Team Kentucky.

This pleased Art and JJ to no end, as they started waxing poetic about how strong they were as a team, and how the other teams were just letting them “run the Race for them”, and following what they do. They then compared themselves to Michael Jordan, because he won 6 championships, and Art ended the rant with a Randy “Macho Man” Savage-esque growl of “OHHH YEAHHH!”

Frankly, the Michael Jordan comparison was ridiculous, because if you’re going to compare yourself to MJ because he’s won six championships, when all you’ve done so far is come 3rd and 2nd in two races…well, you have a pretty weak argument.

The rest of the teams were stuck on the 10:40 flight, and Rachel had one of her meltdowns prior to even getting on the plane. “I’m not calm, Brendon”, she whined, “This is a Race, and I’m not about to lose it to some doo-heads.” At least I think that’s what she said…

- Upon arriving in Asuncion, Paraguay, teams had to take a taxi to a junkyard, enter the junkyard via a kiddie slide, and then search through a bunch of BBQs until they found their next clue. I know that TAR usually designs these challenges based on cultural traditions and customs in each country, but what did this one mean? That Paraguayans love children’s park slides, trashy looking yards, and BBQ?

And bring on the cultural traditions they did, as teams were now faced with a Detour after finding their next clue. Teams had to choose between Stacked Up, which would require building a pyramid 0f watermelons, and Strung Out, which would require teams to string a harp.

Phil told us that Stacked Up would take place in “Paraguay’s favourite fruit market” during the “busy watermelon season”, but let’s be honest…as soon as we heard watermelons, we were all hoping this would happen again. We also learned that the harp is the National Instrument of Paraguay. Now you know!

Personally, I would have chosen Strung Out, solely because of the math of it. With the harp, you only had to untangle and then string a total of 36 strings. With Stacked Up, you had to construct a 10 x 10 pyramid that would have to be built outside in the heat, after you carried all of the watermelons, and with a high probability of problems, since you’re stacking a total of 385 ROUND objects (do the math…it’s 385.)

- Most of the teams chose Stacked Up, and while Team Border Patrol breezed through it, many of the other teams had problems, leading to the time-honoured tradition of allowing the locals to laugh uproariously at the contestants. The problems included arguments, collapses, and even Bopper getting hit in the head with a watermelon, which prompted him to utter the title of tonight’s episode: “Bust Me Right In The Head With It.”

And for the record, I don’t consider that getting busted in the head with it…this is.

Vanessa tried to get in Bad Rachel’s kitchen, first suggesting that Team Divorce block in Team Reality Whores with their watermelon cart, but Ralph was more focused on getting the task done, than the ridiculously simple task of annoying Bad Rachel. Then there was talk of being able to see Bad Rachel’s ass while she was unloading watermelons, and it all resulted in Brenchel leaving and switching Detour tasks.

The reasoning Brendon gave us was: “Real quickly, Rachel and I realized that this task was going to be very very difficult.” Let me translate that for you: “Because Vanessa was being mean to my TV girlfriend, we decided to run away. You see, we like to talk about people behind their back instead of to their face on this Race. We’re cowards.”

Obviously, the major factor in the switch for Team Reality Whores was the fact that Vanessa was “talking smack”, as Rachel put it. Oh the irony…the Queen of Smack Talk from two seasons of Big Brother can’t take it when another strong-willed woman calls her out?

And of course, once Brenchel were in the cab, the venom started spewing, as Brendon said that “Vanessa is one of those girls who tries to be all sweet and pretty and nice”, which is CLEARLY a foreign concept to him, considering who his fiancĂ© is. And then Rachel cattily said about Vanessa, “her disgusting smile is painted on just like her overdone makeup.”

- Strung Out was anticlimactic, and all of the teams that struggled with the watermelons ended up here. It was just a matter of hunkering down and getting it done, and most teams finished it in a decent amount of time, except for Team Twins. The only major element that came out of this was when Team Army arrived after switching, and saw all the other teams there…they decided to use their Express Pass.

- After finishing the Detour first, Team Border Patrol were instructed to head to Plaza De La Democracia where they found a Road Block that asked “Who’s ready to use their head?” Hey, I remember someone in a previous season who had to use their head! (That's right, FOUR times in one recap! BOOYAH!)

The Road Block required teams to learn a traditional Paraguayan Bottle Dance, which would mean they had to do specific dance moves while balancing a bottle on their head. If the bottle fell and broke, teams would be able to try again, but if they used all of the bottles they were provided (50 total) without accomplishing it, they would incur a two-hour penalty.

A couple of thoughts about this Road Block: First, I thought it was going to be so hard for teams, that it may have been a good strategy to just smash all of your bottles and get your 2 hour penalty started as soon as possible (remember Rob Mariano voluntarily taking the 4-hour penalty in TAR 7?), but most teams were able to do it.

Second, did you notice how easily the bottles were breaking? Either they were made of clear peanut brittle, or they were stunt glass bottles. That would explain the fact that, even though the Paraguayan women were sweeping up the pieces, nobody was cutting themselves by having bottles break in their hands, getting down on their stomach on the ground, and having the bottom of the bottle simply fall off while it was on their head.

- Team Border Patrol was confident, as JJ told us “Art’s got a big fat head, so this is gonna be good for him.” And sure enough, they finished the Road Block before another team had even arrived, and continued on to the Pit Stop at Escalinata De Antiquera, where Phil told them that they had won a trip to the Bahamas, although I’m not sure if Art actually heard what the prize was, since he was too busy breathing heavily and telling the model beside Phil “Wow, you’re really pretty.”

- Team Army was the second team to arrive at the Road Block after using their express pass, and Dave didn’t have a hope in hell of completing it, as he quickly smashed all 50 bottles while Good Rachel looked on helplessly. After winning the first two legs, they would now be faced with a two-hour penalty.

Here’s what I don’t get, though…why were they even given the clue and allowed to serve the penalty at the Pit Stop? In the past, teams had to wait out the penalty AT the site of the Detour/Road Block/Challenge, and then receive their next clue once the penalty time had elapsed. I didn’t understand why it was different this time.

- After everything was said and done at the Road Block, the order of finish at the Pit Stop was as follows: Team Reality Whores in 2nd (accompanied by more fake mat drama from Bad Rachel, whining and coughing), Team Guidos in 3rd, Team Kentucky in 4th, Team Fake Teachers in 5th, and Post-Penalty Team Army in 6th…only mere seconds out of 4th place.

Talk about a bad leg for Dave and Good Rachel. After winning the first two legs, they failed miserably on the Watermelon Detour, used the Express Pass late, and then failed even MORE miserably at the Road Block, resulting in a two hour penalty, dropping them from first to sixth. On top of that, they had to endure a speech from Phil at the mat, telling them that they were the first team to not complete a task and stay in the Race. (Translation: Everyone else did it, losers.)

- Team Badonkadonk finished in 7th, leaving only two teams…both of whom were still back at the Detour: Team Twins with the harps, and Team Divorce at the watermelons. Both teams considering switching, but stayed with their initial choice, working into the night to finally finish and move on to the Road Block.

And at the Road Block in the dark, once they saw the other team there, they were both revitalized. I wondered if this overall setup for the Road Block was fair, since when Vanessa and Ralph arrived, they (and presumably other teams before them) could clearly see what the Road Block was, therefore making the decision on who would do it easier, as Vanessa told Ralph “your head’s harder than mine.”

- She was right, and Hard-Headed Ralph finished first, launching Team Divorce into the 8th and final spot at the Pit Stop, with Elliot and Andrew close behind, finding out they were eliminated from the Race.

Not a good season for siblings.

Next Week: The Teams Travel To Italy, And Rachel Hates Brendon.

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.

Also, if you’re on Twitter, please consider Tweeting or Re-Tweeting a link to these recaps if you have followers who are interested in Survivor. I had a number of Re-Tweets last season for each recap (including many from some of the Racers themselves!) and it resulted in a large number of new readers.

And if you’re a Survivor fan, be sure to check back on Wednesday nights for weekly recaps on Survivor One World.

Thanks for reading.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Amazing Race Recap: March 4, 2012

This week, the Amazing Race travels to Paraguay for the first time in 20 seasons, as the teams are faced with another challenge involving watermelons. Could we be so lucky as to see another watermelon catapult to the Face? (Answer: highly unlikely.)

Unfortunately, I will not be able to watch this week's episode until Monday, so unfortunately, my recap will not be up until Monday night. In the meantime, since this episode is called "Bust Me Right In The Head With It", I'm going to leave the picture above Caption-Free, and challenge you to come up with the best caption in the Comments section.

Please check back on Monday for my full recap.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Survivor One World Recap: “Roosters, Chickens, And A Massive Ass Storm”

Tonight is the third episode of Survivor One World, and if the first two weeks are any indication on the way this is going to progress, we can expect to see Manono dominate once again, and send another Salani member packing. Will the women be able to come together? Has Jeff ditched the Green shirts? And why is everyone talking about poultry?

My Random Thoughts:

- Previously on…Survivor: The Men have won everything so far. Matt and his muscle alliance are running the show, but Colton has the Immunity Idol and has formed his own alliance. The women think Kat is an idiot, and a liability, but still voted Nina out.
- Night Vision recap: Alicia tells Kat not to cry at Tribal Council, and Chelsea thinks she’s weak. In the dark, Colton and Jonas sidle up to Kim and Chelsea and invite them over to their side because “There’s a massive ass storm coming in.” To their credit, the women refuse, saying that they’ll be fine, and tough it out. But sure enough, they can’t sleep, and end up huddling together for warmth in the darkness and rain.

- The morning after the massive ass storm (Acronym: MAMAS), Chelsea was begging Troyzan for the use of the fire to dry off, even though her thigh-high yellow socks/stockings looked pretty warm (although I’m sure they were drenched.) Kim pointed out that while the night before, pride prevented the women from joining the men around the fire, now that they are freezing their ass off, they have no shame.

- At the Reward challenge (still in the rain), Jeff Probst was wearing a powder blue shirt, hopefully ditching the new green shirt from last week’s episode and going back to blue full-time. I tweeted at Jeff (@Jeffprobst) during last week’s episode, asking what’s with the green shirt, and he tweeted back at me that he was just “keeping me honest.” Touche, Probst.

- But on to the Reward challenge, which was a head-to-head memory test, where the first team to win five duels would be declared the winner. The items to be memorized would be displayed behind a curtain to both of the participants, and either of them could drop the curtain at any time, which would drop it on both. I give major credit to the crew that lays out the challenges. This was a well thought-out, well executed challenge.
The prize would be a full set of fishing gear, including a canoe and paddles, which is an absolutely HUGE prize to win at this stage of the game. The head-to-head matchups went as follows:

Sabrina vs. Matt: Matt was done first, but his answer was wrong. Sabrina’s was right. 1-0 Salani.
Colton vs. Monica: Colton dropped the curtain almost immediately and scurried back to give his answer, but he was wrong. Monica was right. 2-0 Salani.
Alicia vs. Jay: Alicia dropped the curtain, and looked troubled as she gave her answer first. She was correct. 3-0 Salani.
Kat vs. Troyzan: Troyzan dropped the curtain immediately, presumably just so Kat can’t see the order. That made absolutely no sense to me. Why would you prevent yourself from seeing it as well? I suppose it may be a smart strategy if you were head-to-head with some sort of Rain Man-esque genius with a photographic memory…but we’re talking about Kat. Blue Shirt Jeff astutely points out that “the men continue to be pathetic in this challenge,” and after six (6!) more attempts, accompanied by crazy hillbilly music, Kat finally gets the correct answer. 4-0 Salani.
Christina vs. Bill: Anti-climactic. Christina gets it, and the women sweep the men 5-0.

As Jeff is awarding the women the fishing gear, he reminds them about the boat back at camp, and the fact that they do not need to share it with Manono. Of course not, but since stealing has become the norm on this show, what is going to prevent Manono from just taking it out whenever they want? Is there a combination lock that secures it to a tree back at camp?
Jeff throws a final barb at Manono as they are leaving, telling them “the women now know they can beat you at something.” To be fair, at this point in the game, the men still had 9 members, the women had 7 members, and all they had beaten them at was a game of concentration. His words didn’t sting just yet…

- Back at camp, the rain continued, we saw more bats, and Salani returned to find their boat. They celebrated by jumping and dancing on the beach, shouting “We got a boat!”, which made me hope that they would just take it out on the water and this would happen

Chelsea worked on fixing the shelter, which entailed stacking rocks up to make a wall. Kat and Monica tried to work on starting a fire, but when they weren’t able to get it going, they decided to turn to Manono: “Why don’t we just go over there and ask for an ember?” I had to laugh at that, because after proclaiming themselves as tough during the storm, and refusing help, now Salani was turning to Manono to help them.

So Monica and Kat asked the men, and they suggested that it would be a fair trade to swap an ember for use of the boat. The women were reluctant, and Matt was visibly annoyed at the handouts the men are dishing out to the women. Colton is also pissed off, and calls back upon his lessons at the Coach Wade School Of Pre-Planned Confessional Soundbites, stating “I’m a Republican…I do not believe in handouts.”

- Chelsea was showing off her waterlogged hands, which looked like white gloves (a la Super Mario), and then Alicia and Chelsea just strolled over to the Manono shelter, walked in and sidled on up to the fire. This was pretty telling because it showed that after Manono decided to help Salani twice (offering to let them dry off by the fire, and sharing an ember), now they apparently felt entitled to it, and are no longer asking.

The men re-iterated the boat-for-fire trade, and Alicia nixed it right away, saying that they can’t use the boat. Sorry, let me re-phrase that: Alicia said that the men can’t use their boat WHILE SHE’S STANDING IN THEIR SHELTER WARMING UP AFTER THEY GAVE HER TRIBE FIRE.
Even though she backed off her hardline stance and said she would have to talk to the rest of the tribe, the line in the sand was drawn, and Manono made it clear that there would be no more deals, and no more charity, because “One World is out the window.”

The women came across as very spoiled and entitled in this segment, and more so when Kat and Monica said that they didn’t make a deal with them either, and Chelsea saying that she was upset that they bombarded her with barter talk when she was just trying to warm up.

- The next day, after the Massive Ass Storm, the sun was out, and Monica, Kim, and Chelsea decided to take their new boat out and do some fishing. Cue the underwater fishing shots made famous by Ozzy last season, and after spearing three small fish, they returned to shore to share the catch of the day with the rest of their Tribe.

- Good thing they built up their strength with some seafood, because the Immunity Challenge was next. It was an obstacle course where each Tribe would have one caller, and 3 pairs, tied together and blindfolded. The caller would have to direct the pairs through the obstacle course to a series of points where they would have to pull a string to release a vat of coloured water, and retrieve a bag of wet puzzle pieces. Once all five bags are returned to the start, then the caller has to solve the puzzle.
The men teamed up Troyzan and Tarzan in the most predictable pairing ever, and jumped out to an early lead. Sabrina was the caller for Salani, and Bill was the caller for Manono. On the obstacle course portion of the Challenge, the men dominated, getting all five bags while the women only gathered two, despite the fact that Bill just seemed to want to awkwardly yell out “Reacharound!” as many times as possible.

But once the puzzle portion started, Bill struggled, even though his teammates were helping him solve the puzzle by telling him where to put the pieces (except for Leif, who appeared to just be looking at his shoes.) Here’s my question: why even specify that the caller has to be the one to solve the puzzle, if the others can help? This was just like the Ozzy vs. Coach puzzle last season, when Ozzy and Coach were just doing what their tribes were yelling at them.

Despite a gigantic lead, Bill is clearly no Puzzle Master David Murphy, and the women roared back to solve the puzzle first and win immunity.

- Back at camp, the women are understandably happy, and as the men trudge their way unhappily back to camp, Chelsea points out that “they’re all running around like chickens with their heads cut off, not knowing what to do.” Conclusion: Chelsea really loves Chickens.

- Manono tried to tell Bill he did a great job, but it was obvious lip service. Nobody was more upset than Colton, who said he was excited to vote someone out. He expressed how he was angry at Bill for constantly saying “yo” and “bro”, then channeled his inner NaOnka with two reprehensible comments directed at Bill: “Shut Up. Go Kill Yourself.” And “You’re Ghetto Trash.” Anyone who has any respect for Colton after those comments needs a long hard look at themselves in the mirror.
- NaOnka 2.0 decided to talk to his misfit crew, saying that he wanted Bill voted out because “he is too wishy washy.” Greg tries to use some logic, suggesting they stick with the plan to vote out Matt, but Colton is set on Bill.

Jay then strolls in, and everyone clams up. Greg says “we’re not voting you out, so don’t worry”, and asks if he wants to join them. Jay clearly understands basic math, and identifies that it would be Survivor Suicide to not join with the numbers.

Then Matt walks up, and everyone got quiet again. He bluntly asked them “Is my presence destroying the strategy talk?” and before he is even finished asking, Colton answers “Noooooo!” like it’s the craziest thing he’s ever heard…and Greg honestly tells him “Yes it is, at the moment.” The look on Colton’s face was priceless: I’m so busted.

- Matt left them to talk strategy, but later talked to Troy, trying to set up a sub-alliance that was the worst argument I may have ever heard on this show: “All of us are roosters, right? And we don’t want any other roosters around. I just want a bunch of chickens with me, so I’ll be the only rooster.”
Are you trying to tell me that the best argument to give is to try and get all of the Alpha Males (the roosters, presumably) together in one place? That’s just idiotic. Troy smiled and listened, and made him believe he thought it was a decent idea, but there was no way he would go along with it. “It ain’t Survivor unless you’re lyin’ ” Troyzan told us.

Troy returned to the Land of the Misfits, and pitched Matt as the target instead of Bill. Colton was still reluctant, but listen to his reasoning…and I’ll remind you that this is HIS OWN LOGIC. He wants to get rid of Bill because “he’s annoying, and I hate him, and I hate his voice, and I can’t stand to listen to him talk.” Matt, on the other hand, is “like the head of the snake, and you’ve got to chop off the head of the snake, for the rest of it to stop…ruh…whatever…wiggling.”

Listening to that logic, I now fully believe what he told the women last week, that he doesn’t care at all about the game.

- So Manono was off to their first Tribal Council, which began with Colton preening like a peacock and bragging that he wasn’t going home, because he had an Idol and was going to play it.
Bill was jacked up like just walked out of a Jamaican hotbox; Greg talked about how smart Colton was, and needing him on the Tribe; Mike talked about Colton and said “we didn’t know which way he was going”, which may have been the first time that was ever said about Colton. Matt wasn’t buying any of it and started telling Greg that he was ‘talking turkey.’ (OK, what’s with all the poultry comparisons this week: first Chelsea with the chickens, then Matt with the Roosters and Chickens, and now a Turkey?)

When it came time to vote, Colton didn’t use his Immunity Idol, but did use his “gay stereotype of the week” comment when voting, as he told Matt “you pissed off the wrong Queen.” Who is the right Queen?

Matt was voted out, and after Probst snuffed his torch, and Manono was heading back to camp, Greg asked if they could hear the two unseen votes. Probst dismissively scoffed at the question, saying no, and then Colton followed up with a mind-numbingly idiotic statement: “Save those questions for me.”

Colton is rapidly becoming one of the most annoying characters in the history of this show. Not because he’s gay…not because he’s effeminate…just because he’s a douchebag.

Next Week: Drama Within The Manono Tribe.

A quick note about the next two episodes/recaps. Next week’s episode falls on my birthday (March 7), and as of now, there are no concrete plans for anything that would keep me away from home and recapping as normal. But if that changes, I will post something saying that the recap will be delayed. The following week (March 14), I will be away on vacation, and unable to watch the show. I will get a recap up once I return on March 20th.

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.

Also, if you’re on Twitter, please consider Tweeting or Re-Tweeting a link to these recaps if you have followers who are interested in Survivor. I had a number of Re-Tweets last season for each recap (including from some of the castaways themselves!) and it resulted in a large number of new readers.

Thanks for reading.

Survivor One World Recap: February 29, 2012

Tonight is the third episode of Survivor One World, and if the first two weeks are any indication on the way this is going to progress, we can expect to see Manono dominate once again, and send another Salani member packing. Will the women be able to come together? Has Jeff ditched the Green shirts? And can Kat recover from last week's Tribal Council?

My recap will be up by 10:00 pm ET. Please make sure to check back.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Amazing Race Recap: “You Know I’m Not As Smart As You”

The remaining ten teams continued their adventure through Argentina this week, traveling to Buenos Aires on the next leg of The Amazing Race. Which team is working with a donkey? Who’s really good at Lego? And why are there never any tears when Rachel “cries” ?

My Random Thoughts:

- From the Pit Stop in Salta (Fun Fact: home of the world’s highest vineyards), teams had to drive to the Cafayate town square, and wait for the Chasqui to deliver next clue. I was worried, because “waiting for the Chasqui” sounds like something that involves a doctor and a foreign hospital, but thankfully it was just the mountain postman.

This was the equalizer for this leg of the race, as the Chasqui wouldn’t arrive until after the sunrise at 6:35 am, so any lead was lost. And with almost 3 hours separating all the teams, that could have been a pretty significant lead.

Here’s something interesting that I noticed, though. The interval between the 9th place team and the Guidos in last place, was only 6 minutes…which means that Misa and Maiya, who missed the Pit Stop last week, had to have been within that six-minute window. Three teams within six minutes on the very first leg? Talk about a tight finish.

- As the teams were all gathered in the town square waiting for the Chasqui, we learned a bit more about the teams: Team Army doesn’t want to use the Express Pass if possible, Team Feds lied about their jobs and everyone thinks they’re kindergarten teachers, Vanessa likes to talk to dogs, and Mark and Bopper’s attitude is “we ain't in no hurry to get to first.”
Bad Rachel said that “this game is super different than Big Brother”, which made me laugh because OF COURSE it’s different, you moron! You can’t just sit around in a hammock all day calling people names like you did on Big Brother. Plus, this show isn’t rigged for you to win like last season’s BB13 was. At least I hope it’s not…I stopped recapping Big Brother because of that, and I don’t want to stop recapping The Amazing Race.

I did, however, laugh at Art and JJ’s comment about Brendon, saying that he’s nothing but a sheep that follows what everyone else does: “He’s a UCLA student. What do you expect?” At that point, I really wanted someone to show him a video clip of what Brendon said last week about being half-Mexican and hating Border Agents.

We then learned that Mr. Clown had two separate bouts with Hodgkins, and has beaten it…and been cancer-free since 2001. That is great to hear, as was Mrs. Clown’s comment “if we can beat cancer twice, I’m pretty sure we can win the race.” Although, it’s a TAR tradition that once you learn the heartwarming human backstory on a team, it’s generally the night you say goodbye to them. Remember last season when Kaylani was talking about her daughter, and being a single mom? I wasn’t optimistic for Team Circus.
- When the Chasqui arrived, the teams swarmed him like pre-teen girls at a Justin Bieber mall-sighting, and all found out that they now had to face a Detour. The choice was between Boil My Water, which would see them building a solar kitchen, and Light My Fire, which involved gathering wood and clay, and walking a mile with a donkey to deliver it.

- Most of the teams went for Boil My Water, and they soon discovered that the only instructions they had to build this solar kitchen, were in picture form on the side of the box. So, under the watchful eyes of llamas, birds, cats, and a dog with a Mohawk, they set out to try and build their respective solar kitchens, which would eventually have to be functional enough to boil a kettle of water.

The clowns didn’t even notice the picture, Bad Rachel started her self-pity party complaining that she wasn’t good at it because “I’m just a girl”, one of the Guidos cut himself, and Team Badonkadonk offered a helping hand.

Did you notice the awkward swearing on this Detour? Within about ten seconds, we heard three different teams express their frustration as follows: “Oh Sh….shnikeys”, “Son of a monkey’s uncle”, and “This is hotter than…shenanigans.” It was like watching The Sopranos on A&E with all of the swearing edited.
Mark and Bopper breezed through the Detour, mostly due to Mark’s affinity for doing Lego with his son. And if you’ve ever done Lego kits with your kids, you’ll know what he means, because that was a perfect analogy. One booklet, all pictures…no words.

- Art and JJ were the only team to choose Light My Fire, and after getting lost on the way, and running into the teams at the other Detour, I was thinking that they were screwed. If you’re removing yourself from the rest of the pack, starting later than everyone else, and working on a task in which you have to walk a mile…it’s not a good idea.

They kept insisting that they could make up time, because as Art said to JJ: “I told you boiling water’s a pain in the ass in a solar oven.” The funny thing is that he said it in a way that came across like he was trying to say “I’ve told you this a MILLION times.”
The funnier thing is that the way he phrased it made it sound like “pain in the ass in a solar oven” is a figure of speech. If he said “Boiling water in a solar oven is a pain in the ass”…that’s one thing, but “boiling water’s a pain in the ass in a solar oven” is something else entirely.

- With Mark’s Lego prowess, Team Kentucky finished first, and Team Border Patrol made up the time like they promised and finished second. All the teams now had to go to the Salta Bus Terminal and take an 18-hour bus ride to Buenos Aires.

There were three buses that left with the teams, but there was no indication how much time was between each of the departures. The first bus carried Team Kentucky, Team Army, Team Border Patrol, and Team Reality Whores. The second bus had Team Guidos, Team Circus, Team Twins, and Team Divorce. The final bus had Team Badonkadonk (the cousins), and Team Fake Teachers.

But after a window exploded on the bus, with glass shattering inside, the second bus was delayed for over two hours, and the third bus passed them while they were stranded. They tried to fix it with duct tape and cardboard, but after seeing the footage of the curtains flapping later in the trip, it looks like they just carried on as it was after they cleaned the glass up.

- In Buenos Aires, teams were face with a Road Block that asked Where’s The Beef? Once they decided who would be participating, they had to enter the Cattle Auction Market, and based on the information given to them, they had to calculate the average weight of the cows in the pen. Then, they had to “run to the waiting Gaucho and give him your answer.”
To anyone with half a brain, this was simple arithmetic, but the producers decided that to fully and comprehensively illustrate the task, they needed to give us a graphic. The graphic showed “Total Weight” divided by “# of cows” would equal “Average.” But the best part was that the “# of cows” was illustrated by a pyramid of cows, as if they were cheerleaders stacked on top of each other.

- Bad Rachel started complaining about 4 seconds after volunteering to do it. After learning that she couldn’t use a calculator, she cried out “Oh No!” and started her pre-emptive complaining. “I don’t know anything about cows”, she whined to Brendon. Well, the challenge is about MATH…not cows. Didn’t this woman once claim to be a scientist? And now she’s saying that she can’t grasp long division?

And just in case you weren’t sold on the fact that Bad Rachel is a moron, after her whining about cow poo and math, she then dropped this bomb: “I don’t know anything about cows except that they taste good in steak.” It’s not an ingredient in the steak, you idiot…it IS the steak.

JJ and Good Rachel worked together to get the correct answer, and their clue told them to take a taxi to the next Pit Stop, which was at El Gomero, a 200-year-old rubber tree in Buenos Aires.

- Bad Rachel continued to be stressed out, complaining that “Brendon hates my guts right now.” Mark, for some reason, jumped IN with the cattle, and then was calling out to the “Groucho” to give his answer, which was wrong because he wasn’t rounding up.
Then, for some reason, Mark decided to work with Bad Rachel, even though she brought nothing to this temporary partnership, and all he was essentially doing was giving her the answer once he figured it out. None of that team-up made any sense for Team Kentucky.

- After the Road Block, Bad Rachel, of course, had one of her classic meltdowns, throwing out as much drama as possible for Brendon to deal with. Those of you who watched her on Big Brother will recognize this as one of her wonderful traits, and you will also recall her maddening habit of “crying” without actually crying.

Well, we saw that again tonight after the road Block, when she melted down and dropped the drama once again, crying that she wasn’t as smart as Brendon, and that she can’t handle things under pressure. But if you watch that scene, you’ll notice that it’s just the same whiny fake crying, as if she were a toddler testing her parents to see how much she can get away with.
And just like on Big Brother, Brendon has to now put all of his energy into trying to calm her down and apologizing to her for the next hour. Her response to his supportive measures was to tell him “you have a booger on your nose.” Talk about dysfunctional.

- At the Pit Stop, Phil was standing with a Diego Maradona impersonator…and for the record, it was a Fat Maradona impersonator, not a Hand of God Maradona impersonator. (Kind of like Old Elvis and Fat Vegas Elvis, you know?) Team Army was first to the mat, and won a trip to Grenada for winning the leg. Team Border Patrol was close behind, making the United States military and Border Service Agency equally proud.

- Back at the Road Block, the final three teams were The Guidos, The Twins, and The Clowns. My initial suspicion about the Clowns was confirmed when one of the Guidos said to one of the Brothers, “Yo, we can beat the clown. He said he’s terrible in math.” And sure enough, they teamed up to get the answer first and head off to the Pit Stop.

- Yes, The Clowns finished last, and with one final red-nosed step on the mat, Phil told them that they were eliminated from the Race. I thought their story was nice, but I was honestly turned off by the walk-off scene, with the circus music, sped up like a silent film, and with that campy fake trip. Why make them a heartwarming cancer-survivor story if you’re going to clown it up at the end?

Next Week: Harp Stringing, More Watermelons, And Rachel Brings The Bitchy.

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.

Also, if you’re on Twitter, please consider Tweeting or Re-Tweeting a link to these recaps if you have followers who are interested in Survivor. I had a number of Re-Tweets last season for each recap (including many from some of the Racers themselves!) and it resulted in a large number of new readers.

And if you’re a Survivor fan, be sure to check back on Wednesday nights for weekly recaps on Survivor One World.

Thanks for reading.

(Photo Credits: CBS, Reality Fan Forum)

Amazing Race Recap, February 26, 2012

The remaining ten teams continued their adventure through Argentina this week, traveling to Buenos Aires on the next leg of The Amazing Race. Which team is having trouble with a donkey? Who’s really good at Lego? And why are there never any tears when Rachel “cries” ?

Make sure to check back for my full recap, which should be up by 9:00 pm ET. (Canadian TAR fans please note that it is on at 7:00 pm ET because of the Academy Awards.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Survivor One World Recap: “We Are In A Tribe Of The Witless”

Before I get to this week’s episode, I want to touch on a couple of things from last week’s Season Premiere. Overall, I enjoyed the premiere, despite the anti-climactic (and predictable) ending with no Tribal Council vote, and I think this cast should give us a pretty entertaining season. I said that I was a fan of the “men vs women on the same beach” idea, because I thought it would be a fresh and interesting dynamic…and it certainly was, with stealing on both sides, and some early drama.

But what I didn’t expect, was a clear “Battle of the Sexes” in the fan base as well. I’ve been reading a number of message boards and forums, and it has been pretty cut and dry with the male and female fans getting rather aggressive with each other. I expected it from the players, but I suppose human nature has made a large number of fans gravitate to their respective sides based on gender.

The one thing that I heard a lot of from last week’s episode, was that after Kourtney was injured, the challenge should have continued. I read (and heard) a number of people say that either a) the men should have just sat someone out, b) the women should have had one member go twice, or c) that the challenge should have re-started.

All of those ideas (primarily suggested by female viewers who had vocalized their support of the Salani Tribe) are absolutely absurd in my opinion. Why on Earth would the rules for a challenge be changed simply because “your favourite team” was at a disadvantage? Manono won fair and square, since Salani—as a team—were unable to complete the challenge.

Now, on to this week’s episode, which finds the Salani and Manono Tribes adjusting to life together on the beach. Can the women get it together and stop their infighting? Will another Idol be found? And who's got gas?

My Random Thoughts:

- Previously on…Survivor: Troyzan wants to be the Greatest of All Time, Colton is unhappy on his Tribe, Sabrina found an Idol and gave it to Colton, Kourtney broke her wrist, and Jeff told the women they need to get along better. I’m pleased that there wasn’t a blatant “here’s what you need to know for tonight’s episode” sort of foreshadowing like we’ve seen for the last two seasons. Hopefully that’s a trend that will continue.

- Night Vision Recap: Manono told Salani they took care of the fire, and Kat said that she could have done it without them. Rather ungrateful don’t you think? Well, the actual quote from Kat was as follows: “Mind you, I am the fire person, and if they weren’t there, when I got back I probably would have set it…I would have been able to got it…WHOA!” (and then she got spooked by a bug flying by.)

Christina and Alicia had a heart to heart chat after attacking each other at Tribal Council. Alicia thinks Christina is rude, and Christina thinks that Alicia is disrespectful. Alicia did a lame attempt at a Sue Hawk impression by telling us “if I saw her swimming in an ocean and she was drowning, I’d probably look the other way.” In the end, though, they hugged and both said everything was fine, which neither of them believed.

Alicia then offered this nugget: “Nina looks like a bag of rocks, and I don’t even know what that analogy means.” No, Alicia…you certainly don’t.
- The next morning, Sabrina tried for a team building chat to set some ground rules, and before she knew it, this makeshift town hall meeting had seen her elected leader of the Tribe. She reluctantly accepted, saying truthfully that “managing the airheads is going to be exhausting.”

She quickly identified 3 areas that needed attention: Water, Food, and Shelter. Monica was on Water Duty, and Kat and Alicia were put on Food. As Sabrina was explaining to them, Kat piped up with a glorious piece of wisdom, saying, “I don’t want to observe the land. I want to get stuff.” Apparently not as bad as she wanted to go for a swim, though…as she and Alicia went in the water instead of searching for food.

- Tree Mail was a couple of wooden boxes and a letter that instructed the castaways to assemble both tribes in a neutral clearing. This was to be our first Do-It Yourself challenge of the season, which I had been looking forward to.
Bill read the instructions (in a fake British accent for some reason), which were simple: the first Tribe to untie all of the rope knots and free a ring from the center would win a tarp. Both teams would be able to keep their box and ropes, so that was kind of like a win already for each team.

Colton and his “jazz fingers” started everyone off with a dramatic “Survivors Ready…Set..Go!” which aggravated me because he was obviously trying to impersonate the Dimple-Tastic Jeff Probst, and any Survivor purist knows that it’s just “Survivors Ready…Go!” (there’s no “set”)

Go ahead, laugh at me if you must, but I know there’s a huge portion of the audience out there that thought the exact same thing.

- The Men won the challenge, Jonas spiked the ring into the ground, Mike lifted Leif, and Sabrina expressed her disappointment over losing by saying “We needed a tarp like a fat kid needs cake.”

OK, that’s a terrible analogy. The last thing a fat kid NEEDS is more cake, Sabrina! The fat kid may WANT the cake, but he sure as hell doesn’t NEED the cake. Someone needs to talk to this cast about making analogies.
- Back at camp, then men got all Bob the Builder with their new supplies, and Colton decided to sit, stretch, swing, and go visit the women. Not only was he not being helpful, but he was clearly being standoffish, and having a major attitude around camp. Jonas identified it, and saw that he was trying to make inroads with the Salani Tribe (last season’s cast would use the phrase “curry favor” here), and compared him to everyone’s favorite sock-burning Hobbit, saying “he’s making Russell look like a freakin’ little schoolgirl.”

Really??? How many terrible analogies can we have in one episode??

- But Johnny Sea Foam didn’t just stop at visiting the women, he was now helping them build their shelter, and trying to stay at their camp the whole time. It didn’t take long for the women to tell him bluntly that he wasn’t welcome at their camp. He left briefly, but returned shortly with a tearful plea for them:

“I don’t care about the game. I don’t care about strategy. Y’all can all call BS. This is what I’m saying. I literally feel like I have no one on this island. Not one person.” That may be so, Colton…but you can’t expect the other people to not care about the game or strategy so that you can feel good about yourself.

Kim spoke for the Tribe, telling him bluntly once again that they were two separate Tribes, and he is on the other Tribe. She correctly told him that it would be a dumb move on their part to let him stay.

Some people will make the comparison to Cochran from last season, being ostracized from the rest of his Tribe, and finding solace in the opposing Tribe, but this is different. Cochran was made to feel like an outcast by the rest of his Tribe (including that Cheatin’ Whitney!), where Colton is ostracizing himself from the Manono Tribe. This is a self-imposed exile.

- Seriously, what’s with all the bats? I was joking when I made The Dark Knight Rises comment last week, but now I’m starting to wonder.

- Why were my eyes subjected to having to watch Greg/Tarzan in a speedo? I was longing for the return of Philip’s droopy pink briefs after seeing that. And what made it worse was the odd campfire dance he was doing at night, carrying a spear and doing pelvic thrusts? Did he hit himself in the face? Is that how this happened?
But the better night show was Colton, as he showed the Idol to Troyzan, Leif, and Jonas, who all agreed that they need to “get the muscle out”, meaning blindsiding Matt or Mike at the first Tribal Council. Colton told the viewers,“They can call themselves the Misfit Alliance, I’ll just be their King.”

- At the Immunity Challenge, Jeff continued his anger-inducing (from me) transition to more green shirts, and Bill walked into the challenge slapping his fingers like a 12-year-old boy who just saw a boob for the first time. Well, maybe he just saw Monica’s hot pink bathing suit, and that’s what he was responding to.

I’m going to call this challenge Rubbin’ On Your Tribemates, as each member had to work their way across a narrow beam, manouevering around each other. You couldn’t fall, and you couldn’t touch two people at the same time. This was a good challenge. A simple one to set up, but a tough one to complete. I guess after constructing a giant course last week that went unused after Kourtney broke her wrist, they went minimalist with a beam over water.
Kat had trouble getting around Monica, stating “She’s got these big ol’ boobs. I can’t get past.” But we soon learned that Kat had trouble with pretty much everything in this challenge, and she wouldn’t be able to blame it all on Monica’s breasts. She fell in the water a number of times, threw her teammates in the water, and even jumped in the water on two occasions where she didn’t have to.

By the time Monica figured it out, the men had already completed the challenge, with all 8 of their Tribe members finished, while only one (Monica) had finished for the women. Everyone jumped in the water to celebrate, except Leif, who was pushed in by Matt. I half-expected Kat to jump in too since she had done it so many times already.

Chelsea wondered if Salani’s physical assets hindered them in the challenge, saying “It’s definitely the boobs are hard.” (which I sure hope meant ‘difficult’), but Nina summed it up more aptly, saying that there was “No communication. No Teamwork. Same old story.”
- At camp, the girls tried to hash out what happened during the challenge, and it was identified that Kat is eager, but also young and emotional, and can’t control emotion. Don’t we all know someone like that? Just a little too immature for the way they carry themselves?

Nina tried to campaign for Kat to be the one voted out at Tribal Council, but her argument was that Kat jumped in the water twice. Personally, I would have gone with “she can’t do it, won’t listen to anyone, AND jumped in twice.”

AND apparently thinks it’s ok to fart on her teammates! Did you see that? At camp where she just walked up to Alicia, raised up on her toes and dropped the bomb right on her hip? Who does that??

“We are in a tribe of the witless”, Nina told Monica, who agreed but also knows that it’s a fine line. How do you approach an alliance of 5 and ask them to splinter?
- Nina then pleaded her case to Chelsea, saying “you’re too smart to let this happen.” Chelsea told her that she was embarrassed, and talked to Kim about the option of voting Kat out instead of Nina. While they both agreed that Nina deserved to be there more than Kat, they still needed to keep trust within their alliance. Tough choice.

- At Tribal Council, Probst returned to the Blue Shirt, and told Salani that after only 5 days, they were off to one of worst starts in the history of the game, due to “absolute and total dysfunction within this group.” He then said that talking to them was like talking to sixth graders.

Jeff, please talk to these people about how to make a good analogy like that.

- Nina outed the Tribal division, and talked about being a retired LAPD officer, asking what experience Kat brings to the Tribe. Kat’s response was less than impressive: “I’m outdoors and I do sales and I work with people all the time, and um….”

Probst then interjects and says, essentially, “No, you should say ‘I’m young.’” and she pretty much says “Yeah…what he said.”

Chelsea and Sabrina agree they wish their alliance was different, Kat talked about never failing at anything, and then out of the blue called Christina out for some reason, while claiming that she wasn’t calling her out. (??)

I was hoping that the Tribe would do the right thing and vote Miss Farts-A-Lot out, but the downtrodden look on Chelsea’s face during Tribal Council made it painfully apparent that she was voting in a way she didn’t really want to, meaning Nina was taking the blue-lit walk of shame.

- I have to say, this season is shaping up to be a wash for the Manono Tribe. If there is no Tribal switch-up in the next 2 or 3 episodes, I fear that Survivor One World will be as one-sided as this.

Next Week: Here Comes The Rain Again

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