March 13, 2007

Maybe I Misspelled It Too, But I Didn't Have A World Map Right In Front Of Me

I was never a real big fan of Rob. His "Ain't I A Stinker?" persona went stale on me before he got booted off Marquesas, and it just got more irritating each time he slurped up somebody else's fifteen minutes. I was less than enthused to hear that he was on this season's Race. That being said, I have to respect the skills (and have noted so before). Winning three legs in a row on the Race is pretty tough, and I'd probably like him even with the overexposure if he weren't such an arrogant bullying prick.

Charla and Myrna, on the other hand, fall in the category "Reasons I Wish Somebody Would Invent A Selective 'Mute And Blank Screen' Button." I don't want to hear them, I don't want to see them, I just want to forget them. They make my stomach hurt every time they appear, and the sooner they're gone, the happier I'll be.

That being said, I'm glad Rob was eliminated Sunday night instead of the harpies. The way I see it, they're no threat to win and will probably be gone at the next available opportunity (I think they'll also finish last next week, but in a non-elimination leg, much to the chagrin of my wife, who loathes them more than I do (if that's possible) and rather liked Rob), while Rob would have been a real threat to win if only he'd known how to spell 'Philippines.'


Posted by Chris at 02:25 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Reality TV

February 28, 2006

Snap-Judging TAR9

As usual, here is my instant and terribly biased evaluation of the racers in this season's Amazing Race:

  • Lake & Michelle: Not much travelling experience, differing personalities. That's not a great combination. Prediction: Early Exit.
  • BJ & Tyler: I'll either love them or hate them. Prediction: Early exit if I love them, Final Four if I hate them.
  • Danielle & Dani: Of course, I'll call them DDanielle and DDani. Lots of, um, 'personality,' not much travel experience. Similar to other pretty girl teams. Prediction: Mid-pack.
  • Ray & Yolanda: Stubborn and athletic. They remind me of two Season 1 teams, one of which tanked and the other of which finished second. I'll figure out which later. Prediction: whichever finish group BJ & Tyler aren't in.
  • John & Scott: This year's gay team. What? They're not? Sure. And one of them's afraid of flying? Well, we'll beat that out of him. Prediction: Final Four.
  • David & Lori: Steve & Debra, ten years ago. Prediction: Early exit.
  • Eric & Jeremy: Alpha males. Hate them already. Prediction: Winners.
  • Fran & Barry: This year's old couple. Good travel portfolio. Prediction: Mid-pack.
  • Lisa & Joni: Soccer moms. No travel. No shot. Prediction: Early Exit.
  • Joseph & Monica: This season's pretty couple. Well, at least she is. Prediction: Final Four.
  • Wanda & Desiree: Good language and travel skills; should do OK. Prediction: Mid-pack.

Update: Great job of handicapping there, Chris.


Posted by Chris at 08:35 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Reality TV

December 02, 2005

Man, Was That Satisfying, Man

[Warning: Survivor alert]

Judd was an obnoxious, overbearing, stupid (he lost the immunity challenge in the second move by not using both squares adjacent to his starting square) bully - in short, every bad stereotype the rest of America believes about "Joisey."

And he must have jumped on one of my hot buttons about twenty times just last night - if you're the perpetrator of some offense, you don't get to say "No hard feelings," you have to ask "No hard feelings?" The offended party is the one who grants forgiveness by saying "No hard feelings."

I kinda hope Stephenie and Rafe are the final two just so Judd has to vote for somebody who turned on him. That'll drive him nuts.

Posted by Chris at 08:11 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Reality TV

October 19, 2005

And New Orleans Is Known For Its Mountains And Arid Climate

I won't have a detailed entry on last night's Amazing Race ep because I was installing the trim on my front door and had my back to the TV most of the time, but I can sum it up like this: Lamest. Episode. Ever.

Yes, that's how much worse this season is: before, I would always record it on my PC and put it on a CD so I could take it to work and look at scenes again to answer questions that would come up when my coworkers and I were discussing it. Not to mention that I'd take detailed notes and write something like, well, most anything in this category. Now, I kind of half-listen to it while doing something else. I had some hopes after last week's ep that the show was improving, but having "go to this particular BP station" as a task was pretty much the final straw.

Oh, yeah, one other thing - Widow Weaver, Lake Pontchartrain is not a Great Lake. In fact it's less than 1/10th the size of the smallest Great Lake (Ontario).

You'd think an elementary school teacher would know that.

Posted by Chris at 10:00 AM | Comments (2)
Category: Reality TV

October 12, 2005

It Ain't "My Ox Is Broken!"-Quality Yet, But It's Getting There

Episode 3 of The Amazing Race: Family Edition was last night, and several previously-identified instances of watering down the Race idea have been dealt with. For instance, they went back to a 12-hour pit stop (the teams' departure times ranged from 2:26 AM to 3:05 AM), and that really took a toll on a few teams, especially the Weavers. I don't think I've ever seen Killer Fatigue hit so early, especially in such a lightweight Race. The Waffle House Breakdown will be recorded in TAR lore.

About that breakdown - the Weavers are the team who constantly ask God or Jesus for help in whatever task they're performing (I counted 3 Gratiuitous Weaver God References(tm) last night), which kind of bugs me. Do you need Jesus' help to read a map? Maybe the Rogerses did, but that was last week. Anyway, when the Weavers were in the bathroom of the Waffle House, and one of the daughters was having a breakdown, I was expecting Mom to circle the wagons and lead the family in a prayer. It would actually have made a lot of sense for her to do that, but she didn't! You ask God to help you in the race (which, objectively, means He would be hurting the other racers), but you don't ask His help when it looks like you could really use it? Strange.

Other stuff:

  • Apparently Mr. Gaghan refers to Mrs. Gaghan as 'Mommy' - when he's talking to her! I reckon I could have gone my whole life without knowing that, and been happy about it.
  • I think we're seeing a Redemption Subplot with the Paolos, as they're edited as being less argumentative than last week (which, in turn, was less argumentative than the week before).
  • The Linz sister pronouncing Dulles 'dulls' and one of the Bransen daughters pronouncing it 'dull-aez.'
  • I really hated the setup of the Roadblock as a team spacer; it sure looked like it was guaranteed to put at least 15 minutes between each team since it could only handle one team at a time. Running only a mile after that, then a short distance from the museum to the pit stop, basically guaranteed that whoever got to the RB last would be Philiminated.
  • And speaking of that, I was a bit surprised that last night was an elimination leg, meaning they've used three of their seven elimination legs already. If they have the standard 13-week season, either every other leg from here out will be non-elim (predictable), or they'll have to do two non-elims in a row (yuck).

Amazing Editing Moments:

  • Char, right after leaving: "Even though the kids are my stepkids, I'm their friend but I'm happy that they think of me that way, instead of, ooh, the stepmom (finger quotes), in that negative connotation . . .." Hunter, about ten seconds later: eyeroll and muttered "Whatever." Hunter about ten minutes later: "She's a bitch."
  • Megan Linz: "I definitely get frustrated when my brothers aren't listening to me . . ." then finally getting her brothers to listen to her when she spots the sign to the shrimp place.
  • Matt (not) Aiello: "I think we've been a little too business, let's be a little lighter and have fun with this." followed by sixteen million tries at the mud run.

Wow! Moment: The Gaghans (third week in a row), for making the mud run their bitch on the first try.

Key Play: The Bransens hustling off the second plane. Hustling to the Visitors' Center to catch the early bus. Hustling, hustling, hustling. Gives hope to us middle-aged fat men, it does.

It Was Over When: The Aiellos hesitated aboutthislong before checking in at the Roadblock, pulling the last ticket. See above as to why this killed them.

Next week: One of the 4UnfortunatelyNotNonBlondes comes out of transmit-only mode long enough to take offense at something. The other three, still locked in transmit-only, fail to notice. Also, the Weavers (recall that Mr. was killed in an accident during a race at (I think) Daytona) have to go to Talledaga for a task. flower_goddess thought this was horrible; I think I'll really like it.

Posted by Chris at 12:23 PM | Comments (1)
Category: Reality TV

October 06, 2005

Obviously The Producers Didn't Screen For Map-Reading Skills

Leg 2 of The Amazing Race managed to water down the race concept still further. Clearly they're not running 12-hour pit stops, since everybody seemed to arrive in the early-to-mid afternoon and leave eightish the next morning. So far, there haven't been any grueling drives, either, unless you count gridlock outside of DC, and the entire leg took less than 12 hours! The real race right now is between my ability to bond with one or more teams versus my overall 'meh' about how this season is playing out - I'm TiVoing My Name Is Earl and The Office right now, but The Not-So-Amazing Race is rapidly playing itself onto the bench, so to speak.

Wow! Moment: Once again, it's marathonfamily, medevacing five wounded soldiers with just mom and dad providing any useful input.

Key Play: The Rogers kept marathonfamily in the race by pointing out that they were at the wrong reflecting pool. Without this, they might still be there. And the Rogers might still be racing.

It Was Over When: I can understand how you can get lost, even in a part of the world as well-mapped as the eastern U.S. What I cannot understand is how you can stay lost on a well-marked highway especially with THREE non-drivers available to read the map! The Rogers family managed to pull this off, and now they're on their way to Sequestersville.

Hopefully they won't get lost.

Posted by Chris at 12:45 PM | Comments (1)
Category: Reality TV

September 28, 2005

The Amazing Race: Family Edition Kickoff

When I first heard that The Amazing Race was going to do a Family Edition with four-person teams, I thought "Great. Twice the bickering."

What I failed to realize is that it would be actually six times the bickering (do the math - it's nCk for n=4 and k=2). And although not every team is bickering, Garbageman's family is picking up the slack for ALL OF THEM! If they're not gone soon, I'll either stop watching or Brick my TV. And I don't want to buy a new TV. Actually, I do, just not right now. Anyway, on to the observations.

  • I can't hardly tell any of them apart yet.
  • The little kids (not the Black little kids (and, boy, am I going to be uncomfortable referring to them, even though Black is the family name), the other ones) creep me out because they sound exactly like small adults (and that creeps me out because I think I was just the same way at that age).
  • The twentysomething siblings looked great on paper but almost got the first Philimination. We saw a lot of them early; I bet that means we don't see them for long.
  • 4UnfortunatelyNotNonBlondes are all permanently in 'transmit-only' mode. They remind me of the recent MadTV sketch skewering The View as a room full of hens constantly talking without listening.

Wow! Moment: marathonfamily absolutely pwned the buggy push. Of course, they were working with a 200-pound weight advantage. But still.

Key Play: Garbageman's family leaving the campground in the last group but finishing the leg sixth. Dammit. I still want them gone, but props to one of the sons for being the only one to notice the 'hot dog' vendors were really The Frats from Season One!

It Was Over When: The Black family made an unspecified navigational error between the Detour and the pit stop, allowing the Linz family to make up the fifteenish-second gap and avoid Philmination. Don't let the editing that showed two trucks neck-and-neck approaching the pit stop fool you; both those trucks were black and the Blacks and Linzs drove gray trucks.

Posted by Chris at 02:42 PM | Comments (2)
Category: Reality TV

September 23, 2005

Annnnnd POOF! She's Disappeared!

Some Survivor 'inside baseball' here; feel free to move along if that ain't yer thing.

Memo to Morgan: honey, standing around doing nothing but looking pretty and pointing to things might work OK as a magician's assistant, but it won't get you very far on Survivor. How self-absorbed do you have to be to not notice that everybody knows you didn't do a thing around camp?

Posted by Chris at 08:29 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Reality TV

August 08, 2005

The Answer That Woke Me From A Sound Sleep At 3:00 This Morning

Normally it's a question that does that, so I didn't know how to react when I suddenly realized the answer to this question:

How come so many people on Survivor misspell the name of the person they're voting for?

Maybe this was immediately obvious to everyone but me...

Because it's not like you're going to be hiking to tribal council and ask somebody "So how do you spell your name, anyway?"

Posted by Chris at 07:43 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Reality TV

May 11, 2005

It's A Right Turn To The Airport, So Turn Left

A couple of quick thoughts on last night's TAR finale.

1. FINALLY, they went someplace I've been to; specifically, Potters' Field Park in London:

Potters Field Park, London.  Pit Stop for leg 11 of The Amazing Race 7

The Tower Bridge is in the background (it's NOT the London Bridge, which is several hundred yards upriver to your left, and is just a regular concrete bridge now that the original is in Arizona), the Tower of London is across the Thames just out of the left side of the picture, and just off the right side of the picture is where David Blaine hung out for 40 days in the fall of 2003 (I was there on day 3 of his stunt and didn't know what all the fuss was about until I got to the hotel that evening and saw it on the news - it was still Britain's top story at that time).

2. Once the doors of an airliner are closed and the jetway is pulled back, that flight has DEPARTED. I've never heard of the pilot saying, "Uh, never mind, hook us up again so we can let two more people on." I have to admit that it sure looks suspicious, like the producers bribed American to allow two teams on the first flight so that we wouldn't have a boat race ending, and I say that as someone who really wanted Uchenna and Joyce to win.

Posted by Chris at 02:30 PM | Comments (2)
Category: Reality TV

April 27, 2005

Rob, Meet Karma

Quick thought on last night's Amazing Race: If I'm at the airport waiting for the second leg of an itinerary that I know all four teams have, and two of the teams don't get on that flight, I don't gloat about how 'stupid' they are - I worry that they found an earlier flight!

And let's look at WHY the other two teams found the earlier flight - because Rob fucked with them by telling them there was one (when he 'knew' there wasn't), prompting them to go find it!

Look for a White Trash Wednesday entry later today.

Posted by Chris at 08:33 AM | Comments (1)
Category: Reality TV

April 05, 2005

The Amazing Halftime

We're about halfway through this season's Amazing Race, with five teams eliminated and six still remaining. Let's look at those who were left at the roadside (as well as my prognostications so far).

  • First out - Ryan & Chuck (my prediction: early exit). I don't think I've ever been this disappointed by a team being eliminated first. It's hard to get attached to a team when you only see them on one episode, but these guys were a lot of fun to watch and I'm really disappointed I won't get to see more of them.
  • Second out - Megan & Heidi (my prediction: early exit). Ddamn. Ddouble ddamn. And I didn't even get to see them dragged through the mud.
  • Third out - Debbie & Bianca (my prediction: mid-pack). Yeah, you wanted to prove that all-girl all-blonde teams could go far in the race. How'd that work out for you?
  • Fourth out - Susan & Patrick (my prediction: early exit). Patrick whined so bad, every time he opened his mouth my dog would leave the room. Damn, kid. Just grab a straight razor, put Jewel on the stereo, and get it over with.
  • Fifth out - Ray & Deana (my prediction: top four). OK, so she's afraid of everything, and he's an overbearing putz. We were only led to expect half of that from their bio, and no points for guessing which half. And I totally called it when I predicted they'd be out before Meredith & Gretchen. Of course, that was foreshadowed about as subtly as the second half of this year's Orange Bowl.

So far, I'm doing OK in my picks - three of my bottom-feeders were among the first four out, and the other was one of my mid-pack picks. Of course, I took a big hit when final-four pick Ray & Deana didn't make it to halftime, but it was worth it getting them the hell off my TV.

Posted by Chris at 12:51 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Reality TV

March 23, 2005

Honey, Listen To Your Mama

After the break, I have some thoughts about last night's The Amazing Race, so come back later for the White Trash Wednesday post if TAR ain't your cup of tea.

Rob and Amber are extremely dangerous. If you still think of Rob as the doofus wannabe Mafioso of his first Survivor gig, you need to re-evaluate that opinion. Rob has proven to be very adaptable - he was the first player in Surivor: All Stars to recognize that it's a completely different game when you play against people you already know (some would say that he's the ONLY player who recognized that). For Amber's part, she knows her place and doesn't challenge him, and team harmony is a real factor in the Race, especially late (Hayden and Aaron, I'm looking at you). My friend Paul (and why haven't you started blogging yet, dude?) says "They're a perfect match. He's scruple-free and she's personality-free." And speaking of scruple-free, Rob is not above bribing, which should come as no surprise to those of us who recall his pre-reality-TV-fame career of working construction in Boston. I could really like them if they weren't so gloaty.

Patty is such a little girl, and it has nothing to do with his being gay; he's just a little girl. And if he's tired of his mother seeing the glass as half-full, then he needs to stop trying to empty the glass. Off my TV, and don't come back!

Lynn and Alex continue to prance their way to top-group leg finishes. They're a lot of fun to watch, and I hope they stay in for a while.

Ray and Deana are like the anti-Hayden/Aaron. Where Hayden broke down because she didn't think Aaron was taking things seriously enough, Deana's going to break down because Ray's so overbearing. And from the way the editors consistently included Ray's fixation about beating Meredith and Gretchen ("We're not going to lose to the old couple," "They're about 20 years too late", "There's no way we can lose to such a weak team"), I have a suspicion that that's exactly what's going to happen.

Posted by Chris at 12:17 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Reality TV

March 01, 2005

It's Snap Judgement Time Again!

The Amazing Race starts again tonight. As usual, I will provide hasty judgements on the teams based solely on their bios. Let's begin:

  • Brian & Greg: What is it with this show hiring actors? I thought it was supposed to be reality TV. Meh.
    Predicted finish: top four.
  • Debbie & Bianca: Topless double bill! Oh, please let there be a task like in TAR5 where one of them gets dragged through mud behind a cow.
    Predicted finish: mid-pack.
  • Lynn & Alex: Hey, Mr. Alex's Dad? Alex is gay. Aren't you glad you found out on TV?
    Predicted finish: mid-pack.
  • Megan & Heidi: What I said about Debbie & Bianca? That goes double for these two. I just hope it happens early because I see...
    Predicted finish: ...early exit.
  • Meredith & Gretchen: Too old.
    Predicted finish: early exit.
  • Ray & Deana: 'On again, off again' relationship? See 'Adam, Rebecca and.'
    Predicted finish: top four.
  • Rob & Amber: Christ, who restarted the 15-minute clock on these guys? OTOH, Rob has proven to be nothing if not adaptable; that's a major skill in the Race.
    Predicted finish: mid-pack.
  • Ron & Kelly: He survived being a POW in Iraq; this oughta be easy, as long as he can carry his beauty-pageant-girlfriend's weapons-grade makeup case with him.
    Predicted finish: top four.
  • Ryan & Chuck: Um, OK. Look like they'd be fun to have a beer with.
    Predicted finish: early exit.
  • Susan & Patrick: Coupling meets The Amazing Race! Oh, wait, this Susan and Patrick are mother and son. Eeeewww. Um, no.
    Predicted finish: early exit.
  • Uchenna & Joyce: They're just praying the production company doesn't go bankrupt in the middle of the race.
    Predicted finish: top four. They can't afford not to be.

Posted by Chris at 08:44 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Reality TV

January 19, 2005

You. And You. Off My TV!

There was much rejoicing at the Dangerous Logic Galactic HQ when everybody's favorite manic-psychotic couple, Jonathan and Victoria, got Philiminated from The Amazing Race. They lasted about eight episodes longer than I would have liked, but you take what you can get.

At first, I felt bad for Victoria, having to endure Jonathan screaming at her all the time, because this is America and you don't have to put up with that (specifically, it's California, where not only do you not have to put up with that, you can walk away from it and take half its stuff with you!). As the Race went on, however, I lost all sympathy for her because she's about as shrill as anybody I've ever seen on the show (including season 3's Flo). I've come to the conclusion that they're a perfect couple, because this way they're only ruining each other, rather than each of them screwing up someone else's life.

Now if we can get rid of Rebecca and her girlfriend Adam next week...

Posted by Chris at 12:51 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Reality TV

November 24, 2004

It Could Only Have Been Worse If They Didn't Actually Have Passports

Let's cut right to the chase here: if neither you nor your teammate know how to drive a stick shift, you have NO business being on The Amazing Race. I was discussing this with a friend this morning, and he said he felt kind of sorry for them.

I don't. I feel sorry for the team that missed the final cut to be on the show, in favor of these two navigationally-challenged ladies. I bet they could drive a stick.

Posted by Chris at 09:21 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Reality TV

August 10, 2004

The Amazing Race: The Home Game

For the first time (as far as I can remember), we were told the actual arrival time of the first team to the Sphinx pit stop (Colin/Christie, 11:27 AM). From this, I've put together my scenario for everybody's departure times. If you don't watch The Amazing Race, there's really nothing more for you to see here.

  1. Colin & Christie 11:27 PM
  2. Charla & Myrna 6:15 AM
  3. The Boy With The Blond Afro & The Girl Who Looks Like Christie But Isn't 7:00 AM
  4. Chip & His Wife Whose Name I Still Don't Know Halfway Thru The Season 7:02 AM
  5. The Annoying Brothers 7:10 AM
  6. The Blond Twins 7:20 AM
  7. The Bowling Moms 7:22 AM
    My rationale:
  • In a rare thing for CBS, we are told exactly when C&C arrive.
  • C&M got to the camel detour right when it closed (5:30 PM) and had to walk a mile at what looked like a slow walking pace (20 minutes). 15 minutes to set up before, 10 to walk to the Sphinx after.
  • The next batch of teams got to Cairo an hour later, and to the block detour at roughly the same time, and I'm guessing the block detour was about 15 minutes quicker than the camels.
  • Chip & His Wife finished the block detour first but stopped to give the twins directions (WHY, CHIP, WHY?). Chip was surprised that TBWTBA&TGWLLCBI got past them, so I don't think they were more than a minute or two behind.
  • The Brothers looked pretty close to the others in the same group, but weren't done with the blocks by the time the twins arrived.
  • One of the Bowling Moms said, on the final run to the Sphinx, "Oh, look, they're not there yet!" If that referred to the twins, they couldn't have been far behind them.

Update: I did OK in some spots; others, not so much.

  • Charla and Myrna: I said 6:15, actual time 6:41. Looks like the camel walked slower than I thought...
  • Brandon and Nichole: I said 7:00, actual time 6:45. ...or the block drag was faster, because B&N made up just about the whole hour they were behind.
  • Chip & Kim: I said 7:02, actual time 6:46. Called this one right on (relative to the team ahead of them).
  • Brothers: I said 7:10, actual time 7:21. Close in actual time, not so close in relative interval. I guess Marshall's knee (was it Marshall? (shrug) Doesn't matter now) really slowed them down.
  • Kami & Karli: I said 7:20, actual time 8:33. Either they took a really long time to do the stone drag, or the brothers finished quicker and only clever editing made the girls look close.
  • Bowling Moms: I said 7:22, actual time 10:09. Speaking of clever editing, it's now clear that when they showed the girls from behind, then one of the moms saying "they're not there yet," she weren't referring to the girls.

Posted by Chris at 08:12 AM | Comments (2)
Category: Reality TV

May 10, 2004

Keep Your Friends Close And Your Enemies On Some Other Island

I think the one lesson we can take from Survivor: All Stars is this: don't play a psychological game for a million dollars against your friends.

Posted by Chris at 09:13 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Reality TV

May 07, 2004

If I Were Scripting The Survivor Finale...

[Another Survivor post. You have been warned.]

It sure looks like Survivor: Amateur Hour has become a boat race (these Einsteins are the All-Stars? They sure aren't playing like it!); so much so that I'm prepared to call the finish order: Rupert bites the dust next, then Jenna, and Amber beats Boston Rob in the final by 5-2 or worse.

If I were Rupert, here's the endgame gambit I would try. If nothing else, it would allow him to recapture the pirate mentality he embraced in the first episode of Survivor: Pearl Islands. I call it 'Rupert Gone Wild:'

  • Get up early one morning, while everybody else's lazy ass is still in bed. Take the tools and throw them in the well.
  • Go fishing as usual. Throw the spear in the well.
  • Clean and cook fish as usual. Everbody else will be waking up about this time.
  • Eat all the fish as fast as he can. Drink as much water as possible.
  • Throw the matches in the fire, then pour the last of the drinkable water on the fire to put it out.
  • Throw the machete in the well (who's going to stop him? He's carrying a machete, for cryin' out loud!).
  • Piss in the well.
  • Win both challenges because he's the only one who isn't starving to death.
  • It doesn't really matter who he's up against in the final - he'll win. Even if the whole story of his 'scorched earth' strategy comes out. Especially if the 'scorched earth' story comes out - the jury will be delighted that he got over on the Robfather!

Credit to my friend Paul for the 'Amateur Hour' reference and my friend Joe for 'Rupert Gone Wild.'

Posted by Chris at 02:47 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Reality TV

April 29, 2004

I Got Yer Ad Campaign Right Here

I've been getting a lot of hits from people searching for Omarosa (Assorama... Horrorosa... the hits just keep on coming!). Since I live to serve (even though I'm still too busy to blog anything resembling original content), I invite you to check out this collection of ad 'campaigns' featuring everybody's favorite [fill in the blank].

Posted by Chris at 08:51 AM | Comments (3)
Category: Reality TV

April 24, 2004

Reap What You Sow, Parts I And II

Another reason it's so much fun to snark on Omarosa is that her name is so mutilatable. I hadn't heard 'Omatrocious' before, but that's not the only reason I link to this TV Guide article:

BEGUN, THE MELTDOWN HAS : That whole N-bomb debacle is continuing to haunt Omarosa Manigault-Stallworth. The Apprentice diva walked off the set of ABC's Jimmy Kimmel Live last night after she allegedly spotted a lie-detector machine on the set. According to a Kimmel spokeswoman, the equipment was set up for a comedy bit with show regular Uncle Frank and was unrelated to Om's appearance. "The producers attempted to reassure [her] that they did not intend to ask her to take a lie-detector test," says the rep, "[but] she became upset and left." Kimmel kept the show going despite the sudden guest shortage, and even brought a producer onstage to explain what happened. "Apparently, her 15 minutes ended the second before I introduced her," Kimmel later cracked. "I felt like Jessica Simpson standing alone at the airport."
Today held a one-two schadenfreude punch, because TV Guide also reports this:
No doubt fearing a backlash from consumers, Herbal Essences has washed Omarosa right out of its hair. A spokeswoman for parent company Clairol confirms that the one-woman train wreck has been clipped from its upcoming "Streaking Party" commercial. Says the rep: "After reviewing the film... a decision has been made not to use the Omarosa take." The news likely hit Omatrocious like a ton of ceement.

Posted by Chris at 11:48 AM | Comments (2)
Category: Reality TV

April 18, 2004


I'm thinking about making Omarosa the poster child for this site, since she can be counted on to act Dangerously Stupid.

Anyway, I thought the last time I discussed her would be the end of her fifteen minutes. Alas, she's gone into Warhol Overtime. This week's People discusses her tenure as a 'worker' in the Clinton/Gore White House and Commerce Department. [All quotes from the 19 April 2004 People print edition.]

Perhaps unsurprisingly, she doesn't come off too well. First, there was a stint on what, yes, technically was a job on algore's staff, although I think calling her position 'social secretary' would simultaneously insult both real secretaries and social coordinators:

At her first White House gig, answering invitations received by Vice President Al Gore, "she didn't do her job and it got everybody in trouble," says a former Gore staffer.
Next, she was transferred to the White House personnel office. Not much comment on her job there, but I'm guessing she didn't distinguish herself, since she was later transferred to a job at the Commerce Department. She was transferred to another Commerce job because, "says another former administration official, 'because she couldn't get along with people.'"

For the coup de grace, we manage to get somebody to speak on the record:

At her last [job at Commerce], "she was asked to leave as quickly as possible, she was so disruptive," says Cheryl Shavers, the former Under Secretary [sic] for Technology . . .. "One woman wanted to slug her."

So now you have to figure she knows she's busted. Au contraire:

"I'm a moving target. As soon as they think they've figured Omarosa out, I've already moved on to a whole different industry."
Yeah. As in "Moved on one step ahead of getting fired, to somewhere they don't know me."

Despite being cold-busted as a liar by The Donald on live national TV, she still claims she's "inundated with job offers," to which I can only reply "There's a sucker born every minute."

Speaking of which, we have this Einstein weighing in on the issue in this week's MailBag. According to Crystal C. Brown, of Houston:

Black women who are assertive are always labeled aggressive and often singled out in the workplace. Omarosa is beautiful, intelligent, and savvy, and I'm certain she will find continued success without sacrificing her morals, ethics, or integrity.
...only because she doesn't have any of those left! NSA Rice is assertive. Oprah is assertive. Whoopi is assertive. I'd trust any of them with my life before I'd trust Omarosa to find out the correct time.

Posted by Chris at 08:04 PM | Comments (5)
Category: Reality TV

April 09, 2004

Karma And Other Concepts I'm Fond Of

Fair warning: this post is mainly about Survivor, and is rated R for language. If you're not a fan, but adult language doesn't bother you, pick up your reading where indicated on the extended entry.

I bet Lex is wishing he kept Ethan and Jerry around. Ethan is a good friend and could have been counted on to stay loyal, while Jerri had no loyalty at all to anybody other than Lex. If Chapera had gone into the merge with Lex, Ethan, Jerri, and Kathy, they would only have had to swing one Mogo Mogo person for the vote to come out in Lex's favor. Maybe it didn't matter; I don't know. What I do know is that Lex was an idiot for taking Rob up on his offer, and he was even more of an idiot to think that Rob would hold up his end of the deal. If there's one thing you can count on about Rob (who is playing pretty much the same way he did in Marquesas (although not as overtly aggressive), but this time there's no stronger counter-alliance to squish him early), he sticks to deals as long as they benefit him and not one second longer.

For Rob even to make the 'You take care of Amber, I'll take care of you' offer to Lex is a sign that Rob was motivated by pussy. Guys will do just about anything to get the strange they want, and once they got it, they don't never ever wanna lose it.

[Non-Survivor fans can pick up here] 'Motivated by pussy' is one of my favorite concepts. As a teenager, I once rode a crappy bike 25 miles uphill because I was motivated by pussy. It can affect men of all kinds, in any era, prince, president, or king. Never underestimate the ability of a man to do something stupid because of lust.

I first heard that expression on the Bob & Tom Show, in a fake Bill Clinton speech digitally assembled from bits of other speeches:

Good evening. This afternoon, in this room, from this chair, Monica Lewinsky moved onto my staff and my private parts - even Presidents have private parts - and that is why I am spanking Monica Lewinsky tonight. Indeed, I have a relationship with Miss Lewinsky that's nobody's business but ours.

In fact, it's love with Miss Lewinsky, not only fucking Monica Lewinsky, but, in fact, a fucking that no American citizen would ever want to watch. But I told the Grand Jury today, and I say to you now: I fucked with the people, including even my wife. I deeply regret that.

I can only tell you I was motivated by pussy, and I say to you now: I intend to lie, to hide or destroy evidence. I must do whatever it takes to get on with fucking Monica Lewinsky. And so tonight, I ask you to turn away from the spectacle of me or my fucking wife.

It is time to stop the prying into my relationship with Monica Lewinsky. It is private. It's nobody's fucking business but ours. Thank you, and good night.

Another concept I first heard about on Bob & Tom (a Mr. Obvious bit) is the idea of "'Fuck you!' money," having enough money so you can afford to tell your boss, "Fuck you!" I someday hope to have Fuck You money (I doubt I'll actually tell my boss "Fuck you!" since he's a pretty decent guy).

The last concept we'll discuss today is 'scoreboard,' which I first heard from sports talk show host Jim Rome. Basically, it means this: you can rationalize however, blame whoever, analyze whatever, and it doesn't matter. At the end of the day, the scoreboard tells you everything you need to know; indeed, it is the trump card to almost every sports argument. It works in a lot of other places outside the sporting arena, too: elections, Survivor, TV ratings, and more. Just remember not to call 'scoreboard' until the game's actually over. Boston Rob, I'm looking at you.

Posted by Chris at 12:20 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Reality TV

March 28, 2004


flower_goddess and I are big fans of The Apprentice. This is another one of those posts where if you're not already familiar with the show, you're probably not going to get a whole lot out of this. As the series has played out and Omarosa has acted like, well, Omarosa, flower_goddess remarked "I wonder what Omarosa is thinking now that she can see what a total bitch she is." Leaving aside the idea that calling her a bitch is too easy and that she is instead an asshole, I replied: "She'll blame it on selective editing. She won't see what everybody else sees - people like that never do." This is, of course, another reference to what is rapidly becoming my favorite psychological study:

People tend to hold overly favorable views of their abilities in many social and intellectual domains. The authors suggest that this overestimation occurs, in part, because people who are unskilled in these domains suffer a dual burden: Not only do these people reach erroneous conclusions and make unfortunate choices, but their incompetence robs them of the metacognitive ability to realize it.

You always run the risk of breaking your arm when you pat yourself on the back, but that's a chance I'm willing to take, because I called it:

"I was crucified because I was mature and professional," says the 30-year-old Omarosa, whom Trump fired in the show's ninth week. "There were people backstabbing, lying, sleeping with..." She cuts herself off. "And I became the villain. It's quite puzzling."
--People, 29 March 2004, p. 101
My first thought: I think it's puzzling only to her. My second thought: she worked on algore's staff (we think). Surely she at least has a passing familiarity with backstabbing. My third thought: sure, editing can show you in a bad light. But it can't make up something you didn't do, like playing basketball mere hours after deciding she was hurt too bad by a piece of falling plaster to help renovate the apartment her team had to rent out.

And about that alleged concussion:

"Even though I was walking around with a concussion and taking strong pain medication, I was still functioning 100 percent better than my colleagues".
A doctor looked at her and said 'no concussion.' The ER wouldn't see her - so she didn't qualify as a neuro exam candidate. So where did she get the 'strong pain medication?' On the other hand, claiming that she was still functioning 100 percent better than her colleagues is probably evidence that she wasn't thinking clearly after all. Or maybe she was just plain incompetent (from the APA study):
This study also supported Prediction 3, that incompetent individuals fail to gain insight into their own incompetence by observing the behavior of other people. Despite seeing the superior performances of their peers, bottom-quartile participants continued to hold the mistaken impression that they had performed just fine.

Omarosa did have one good point, though, although you need to get over the fact that her entire hand was composed of race cards to see it. Back to People:

She thinks racist stereotypes influenced the way she's depicted: "In 10 years of reality shows [10 years? Survivor:Borneo aired in the summer of 2000!], close to every African American woman is portrayed as hostile, aggressive, defensive."

Well, the NFL wives weren't too bad in TAR 4, but the next three black women I can remember on reality TV certainly weren't sterling examples of sisterhood: Earth Mother Linda from Survivor:Africa and uptight Bible-thumper JoAnna from Survivor:Amazon certainly fit Omarosa's characterization as 'hostile, aggressive, defensive'. Even Vecepia, who won Survivor:Marquesas, was one of only two former winners not invited to be on All-Star (used-car salesman sleazebag Brian, who won Thailand, being the other (and talk about cliches coming to life there)), but I think in that case it was a total lack of personality that prompted her snub. [You may or may not also count Osten from Survivor:Pearl Island, the first person ever to quit Survivor, as a big ol' girl.] since I have to think that thousands of black women apply for these reality shows; surely Burnett et. al would be able to find one who would be ratings-friendly in a positive sense.

Omarosa brought nothing but strife to whatever team she was working with, and I really don't remember her contributing anything of substance except continuous mispronounciations of Isaac Mizrahi's name. It's "mizz-RAH-hee." Please make a note of it.

flower_goddess and I did a happy dance when she got fired.

Posted by Chris at 06:26 PM | Comments (2)
Category: Reality TV

January 27, 2004

My Big Fat Obnoxious Twist

I've been watching My Big Fat Obnoxious Fiance, mainly to see how far they can push the joke before somebody blows it or Randi climbs a tower with a rifle.

In case you're not familiar with it, the premise is that two strangers -- Randi and Steve -- try to convince Randi's family that after a whirlwind romance (that the family had no idea about), they're going to get married in two weeks. If she can convince her family to accept this and go through a wedding without protesting, they both win $500,000.

The catch? Her betrothed is a fat obnoxious slob, and her family (as is she) are the most tightass WASPs ever to appear on network TV -- and I'm including Al and Tipper Gore. At least that's how Randi sees it, although I doubt she would acknowledge the tightass part. In fact, Steve is an actor, and he's going out of his way to irritate Randi and antagonize her parents.

Since this is a Fox show, I've got a real strong feeling that we're in for at least one major twist. Here's a couple of possible scenarios:

Scenario 1: Her family is in on the joke.

    Reasons for:
  • There was a brief shot in some previews where someone (her father?) stands up at the wedding in apparent protest - if it really happened that way, Randi would lose. It's possible that he was just saying "Honey, it was a big joke on you and we're all in on it."
  • The family as a whole seems too collectively tightassed to even be theoretically possible.
  • It's consistent with certain spoilers you might have read on the internet (which I won't repeat here).
    Reasons against:
  • Can the family maintain the act without giving things away?
  • This would essentially make the show "The Jane Schmoe Show", already done by SpikeTV.

Scenario 2: Everybody is in on the joke, including Randi; the joke's on us.

    Reasons for:
  • Randi is just too perfectly cast as the uptight little bitch.
  • She hasn't really tried to find out from Steve why he's acting the way he is with so much money at stake. That's certainly the first question I would ask if I were in her situation.
    Reason against:
  • This would make the show an 'unreality' show and might backlash with viewers (then again, this is Fox we're talking about)
What do you think?

Posted by Chris at 08:00 PM | Comments (7)
Category: Reality TV

December 09, 2003

Did He Even Realize He Fell Off?

I was on the stairclimber this morning about 6:25 when I saw Ozzy Osbourne doing the perp walk on CNN! I couldn't read the caption across the workout room, and the TV doesn't have any sound (because it disturbs the guys working in the lab on the other side of the wall). What's up with that?

Update: I guess I should always make sure I Google before I blog - turns out he was in an ATV accident, and the CNN footage showed him shuffling into the hospital. Accordingly, the title has been updated from My Guess Is He Was Arrested For Crimes Against Enunciation to Did He Even Realize He Fell Off?

Posted by Chris at 07:58 AM | Comments (2)
Category: Reality TV

November 14, 2003

Stupid Editing Tricks

All week, Survivor teased us with previews strongly hinting at a conspiracy against Rupert. The whole first half of the ep was nothing but different subgroups (including Rupert's Bitches) discussing how to take him down (um, by voting against him) and when to do it (like, now!). So when the Immunity Challenge comes up and it's one of those designed to take down a frontrunner (no matter how many questions you get right, you can't stop anybody else from moving you one step closer to elimination), I thought it was all over for everybody's favorite pirate. Lo and behold, NOBODY TOUCHED HIM until the very end, by which time it was too late and he won anyway!

This season is showing every sign of being a boat race, with the lazy-ass Morgans getting rolled up over the next three episodes (Lil last), with a possible pause to make a move on Burton. CBS is editing their asses off to make the show look more interesting than how the reality played out. And the only chance I see for them to stop Rupert is a rebellion immediately after they dump Burton, because nobody's going to stop him in the traditional 'stand in one place as long as you can' final immunity challenge.

Emboldened by my relative success in calling The Amazing Race's order of finish, here's my prediction for the remaining eliminations:

  • Tijuana
  • Invisible Girl
  • Barton
  • Lil
  • Sandra
  • Christa
with Rupert beating John in the final. As annoying as John is, I see him lasting until the very end playing the Keith Famie role - of everybody still left, who would you want to be up against in the final vote?

Posted by Chris at 03:50 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Reality TV

September 22, 2003

Now Known As "The Emmy Award-Winning...

Just tickled pink that The Amazing Race won the Emmy for Outstanding Reality/Competition Program (actually, the Emmy was for last year's TAR 3, not the recently-completed TAR 4). This makes it a near-certainty that will be a TAR 5, which I was very concerned about. The show got good, but not great, ratings during the summer, and didn't always beat Friends reruns.

Posted by Chris at 11:17 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Reality TV

August 22, 2003

Final Thoughts on The Amazing Race

Well, I almost called the final four in exact order. Too bad David & Jeff got stranded in Sydney; it would have been cool to have the three teams separated by only a few minutes at the end, like last year. How big a mistake was it for D&J to head straight to Sydney (besides the obvious answer "Big enough to knock them out of the running, dumbass!")? First, heading for a bigger airport as soon as possible without all-the-way-through tickets in your hand is generally considered a bad idea. Second, I think they would have been better off staying in contact (i.e., on the same flights wherever possible) on the basis that they would beat the other two teams in a footrace. If this opinion puzzles you, take a close look at how Reichen runs (what do you mean, you haven't been capturing and zaprudering every episode all along?). He looks like a shambling Frankenstein speeded up maybe 20%. He has the gait of someone with bad knees and/or ankles, and when I had achillies tendonitis about ten years ago, that's exactly how I looked like when I tried to run.

I could tell from last week's previews that nobody was really going to flip their SUV, but Chip got pretty damn lucky that he didn't get stuck, or get a flat tire, or hit something--anything that might have delayed them long enough to not be able to get a plane ticket. Dammit.

It looked like Reichen & Chip and Kelly & Jon finished sometime around 8:30 Mountain time (based on Reichen saying "It's about 8:00, traffic is starting to pick up" as they approached the final park), but I'm not sure how much time they spent on the bikes. I don't think it was very long, and I think they could see the finish line from the bike pickup, because they didn't seem to be in any hurry on the bikes. So that means that when David & Jeff get to the volcano at 5:30 AM local (three time zones back), and their clue said that the other two teams had finished, they must have just finished.

Posted by Chris at 07:43 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Reality TV

August 21, 2003

The Amazing Finale

Well, the finale of The Amazing Race is tonight, and I'd like to point out (again) that I called the final four -- and the final three -- before the series started. Soooo... lets compare what I said then to what I think now.

  • Jon & Al. What I said then: "They work well together, have travelled a lot, and seem to have a pretty good sense of humor." What I think now: the sense of humor clearly showed through (the mugging for the cameras didn't bother me at all -- it's their day job, what do you expect?), but what really impressed me was the way they treated everybody they came into contact with in a respectful fashion. There's no doubt in my mind that they were the class team of this race, and I bet if the other teams were asked "Which team (besides yourselves) is most deserving of the money?" the clowns would be the #1 answer.
  • Kelly & Jon. What I said then: "Kelly "admits to being high-strung and obsessive" so it's clear that she's being set up as TAR4's Flo. Jon is a well-travelled jock." What I think now: Jon certainly hasn't had to carry her like Zach did Flo, that's for sure. Jon's smarter (most of the time) than he looks (most of the time); he really seems to have gotten under Reichen & Chip's collective skin, and I think it pays off tonight with some kind of stress-related mistake on their part. Fair play? It's arguable, but I think so. Nonetheless, I find them both so personally irritating that the only redeeming factor to them winning would be Flo getting knocked off her perch as the only woman to win.
  • David & Jeff. What I said then: "Both these guys like to work out. Great--this year's set of Body Nazis." What I think now: basically, I wanted to hate them because they were beautiful. Unfortunately for my finely-tuned sense of indignation, they've turned out to be decent people and good racers. Yeah, they've been shown bumbling around a lot making little mistakes, but contrast that with the clowns, who are gone because of their one big mistake -- the only one we were really shown, at least. They've generally kept their cool and been good to each other (Jon & Kelly, I'm looking at you) and the people they meet (Reichen & Chip, I'm looking at you). Of the remaining three, I want them to win.
  • Reichen & Chip. What I said then: "Their bio hints at some possible interpersonal touchiness, but I think that's just the mandatory downside stuff. On paper, they've got all the necessary skills, and if they have agreeable personalities, they'll join the Clowns among my favorite teams. " What I think now: nope, it sure wasn't throwaway 'mandatory downside stuff.' I have never seen such a combination of arrogance and thin skin. They're kind of the anti-David & Jeff -- I wanted to like them, but their behavior turned me the other direction. At Mach 3. I think the biggest question of the finale will be whether Chip avoids the stroke he seems to be building up to.
  • Incidentally, the travel probability I alluded to yesterday is now up to 85%. But that'll probably change before I blog again.

    Posted by Chris at 10:38 AM | Comments (0)
    Category: Reality TV

June 17, 2003

The Amazing Race 4 At The Quarter-pole

OK, we're a quarter of the way through this season's TAR, so let's revisit my

  • Amanda & Chris. My prediction: first out. Actual: second out. I can't for the life of me recall one instance of Chris trying to screw anyone over (exactly as I predicted), unless you count his awful job on the Masquerade roadblock, and then he only screwed himself and Amanda over. Apparently, they were right on the Falconettes' tails in the very short dash from the Masquerade to the Pit Stop, but had to try to navigate around them because they thought Monica and Sheree would win if it came to a footrace (FORT link here). Too bad.

  • David & Jeff. My prediction: second place. Actual: still racing. Haven't seen hardly anything yet. They've managed to say in contention despite seeming to bumble around just about everywhere, mainly because they've avoided the Fatal Mistake. I'm a believer in the Airtime Inverse Proportionality Hypothesis (the less we see of a team early, the longer they're likely to last). If that's true, these guys win. At least they finally clued in to the way Reichen & Chip were using them. I don't loathe these guys nearly as much as I did before the race, but maybe that's just because I haven't seen much of them yet.

  • Debra & Steve. My prediction: fifth out. Actual: first out. The Weebles wobbled and fell down. And fell down. And fell down. Geez, my drunken chronic-vertigo-suffering inner-ear-disorder-stricken neighbor doesn't fall down as much as Debra did. Oh, by the way - they weren't out because they were slow, not really anyway. They're out because they grabbed a ticket for the last bus while there was a ticket for the second bus still available. That would have given them a two-hour lead over the last group, and they would have to have Fallen Down a lot to blow that lead.

  • Jon & Al. My prediction: fourth place. Actual: still racing. Another team we're not seeing a lot of (and when we do, it's almost always the clown schtick, but what can you do?). Liking them more as we go along, especially the way they stayed with Millie during her asthma attack and the 'just another day at the office' expression on Jon's face when doing the bungee.

  • Kelly & Jon. My prediction: third place. Actual: still racing. flower_goddess and I have pet names for each other that others probably would consider insulting, so that aspect doesn't really bother me. One thing's for sure, though: they'll won't be able to get away with NOT READING THE CLUE CLOSELY (snow rafting, not asking directions in Venice, the fiacre stand) forever.

  • Millie & Chuck. My prediction: sixth out. Actual: still racing. Millie occasionally gives off a Jill vibe but usually she's just irritating. Chuck is looking more and more like a non-person with each passing week. Meh.

  • Monica & Sheree. My prediction: second out. Actual: still racing. Quickly traversing the learning curve after a really stupid Fast Forward in leg 1. More physically imposing than I originally thought (I had forgotten they were both former Colts cheerleaders); they definitely intimidated Amanda & Chris into trying to run around them rather than by them. Also seemed like they escaped the FireCop trap of just following other teams around, with good performances finding the Mozart house and the Pit Stop (where they left the last train with several other teams but beat them all to the finish). We'll see next ep how big a lead they have.

  • Reichen & Chip. My prediction: winners. Actual: still racing. And I'm really hating these guys now. I have lots of gay friends, and NONE of them act as petty and childish as these two have. I really wanted to like them; now I'm hoping for a quick exit.

  • Russell & Cindy. My prediction: third out. Actual: third out. I like Cindy more now than I did during the race, mainly because it seems like the cluetrain finally arrived vis-a-vis Russell. And speaking of the Lord High Schmuck, he hasn't done his postmortem yet. Coincidence or sore loser?

  • Steve & Dave. My prediction: seventh out. Actual: still racing, although with two engines out and a third on fire. Normally I'd be worried about how far they are behind, but since this week's preview shows them with several other teams, it looks like they've caught up to the pack. But how long will they hold out?

  • Steve & Josh. My prediction: eighth out. Actual: still racing. Geez, Dad, say something! Josh is stepping on all your lines! Go away quickly, please.

  • Tian & Jaree. My prediction: fourth out. Actual: still racing. These girls are headed for a major meltdown. Personally, I think it'll manifest as Tian lightening Jaree's pack for her, where we'll see carton after carton of cigarettes flying out a train window. Tian is a good racer whose patience has run out; Jaree is an anchor.

Posted by Chris at 05:35 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Reality TV

June 04, 2003

Embrace The Weak, Punish The Strong

Over on Television Without Pity, I recently opined that another reason SlackerJosh may have pointed the NFLWives to the middle bus rather than letting them flounder on the late bus was that he wanted to keep a 'weaker' team up high, increasing the chance that a 'stronger' team would be eliminated. I've also seen seen this (twice in a row!) when I was in the studio audience for Jeopardy! in 1990. Making the comparison would have been seriously off-topic for the TWoP forum, and they're pretty strict about staying on-topic, but I can elaborate here (disclaimer: all details accurate as of August 1990, so if (f'rinstance) they've changed how many episodes they tape in a day, sorry).

In the third episode taped that day, the leader going into Final Jeopardy bet such that if A) he got the question right, B) the second place person bet it all, and C) the second place person got it right, they would tie for the win (the person in third place was not a factor). Lo and behold, that's exactly what happened. This is pretty rare; it generally only happens when two players are tied for first going into Final. Jeopardy! rules in such an event are to pay both contestants and bring them back for the next show as co-champions. That's how Sarah Cox, a schoolteacher from Bangor, Maine, won her first Jeopardy! game--on the coattails of someone who let her.

At the time, the dinner break was after the third show of the day. So as we're chowing down on the Soul Train set, I got into a conversation with a guy named Steve, and the topic came up. I said that I couldn't understand why Paul (I think his name was Paul) would let Sarah back into the game like he did. Steve replied that he thought it was a very Machievellian move, and his theory was that Paul thought he could handle Sarah in the next game and that way he'd only have to battle one unknown instead of two.

Did I mention that Steve's a lawyer?

Naturally, Steve got selected to play the next game. Going into Final Jeopardy, he was in exactly the same situation Paul was in the previous game (Steve leading, Sarah close, Paul not a factor). He bet exactly the same way. Final Jeopardy played out exactly the same way.

We'll never know just why Paul dragged Sarah along. But we know exactly why Steve did.

Posted by Chris at 08:36 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Reality TV

May 30, 2003

Never Mind Circumnavigation - Can They Make It Out Of Dodger Stadium?

    High points of my post about TAR4's Leg 1 over at TWoP:
  • Debra & Steve - In the last bus (knowing it was the last bus) against three teams that would all smoke them in a sprint to the Pit Stop, why didn't they try the FF? Did they know the Falconettes already had it? How? That they're fat is not the problem (to say otherwise would be pot-kettle-black on my part). They appear to be nice people and all, but there was just something about them that creeped me a little bit. The eyes. It was the eyes... flower_goddess was much less charitable: "I'm glad they're gone. They were an embarrassment to fat people." Classy exit, though.

  • So far, Amanda & Chris are looking like FloZach 2.0, but I'm sticking to my original prediction that Kelly & Jon will fill that role as the race goes on, although Kelly more than Jon.

  • Memo to self - pack duct tape. Tape the SUV hatch shut so there's no need to wait for another vehicle.

  • Kelly & Jon go far BECAUSE we haven't seen much of them yet. Ditto David & Jeff.

Yeah, I took a beating on the prediction, which only goes to show that you shouldn't put any weight on the biographies. For instance, I knew that Steve & Debra weren't going to be greyhounds, but I didn't expect them to be Weebles. I'm also looking pretty silly for picking Russel & Cindy 10th and Steve & Dave 6th, although I submit that there's no way you could predict the knee injury.

Posted by Chris at 07:03 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Reality TV

May 29, 2003

Handicapping The Amazing Race

I'm a big fan of The Amazing Race, so I'm anxiously awaiting tonight's start. I've gone over the mini-bios on CBS' site, and here's my pre-race jump to conclusions analysis:

  • Amanda & Chris. Sioux Falls, SD. Amanda is a 25-year-old medical technician; Chris is a 28-year-old freelance graphic designer. Neither has travelled outside the US. Chris admits that "traveling takes him out of the comfort zone and causes some nervousness." He also says up front that he plans to "scheme, betray, plot and backstab more than any other contestant," which to me is a sure sign that he either A) won't really do any of that or B) will do it really really badly. Prediction: early exit.

  • David & Jeff. Los Angeles. David is a 32-year-old owner of a marketing agency; Jeff is a commercial real estate broker and residential designer and developer. Both these guys like to work out. Great--this year's set of Body Nazis. Also, both have a fear of heights, which naturally leaves me hoping for a Swiss-scale bungee jump like AR3. Jeff also fears "moving away from the beach." What the hell does that mean? Is he in the FBI Random Witness Relocation Program, where he's just going to wake up one morning and find himself with a brand-new life in Chickasha, Oklahoma? There's also an ugly rumor over at TWoP that one of them originally listed 'fat people' as a fear in his bio. I hate these guys already. Yeah, it's jealousy. Embrace the rage. Prediction: Contenders, dammit.

  • Debra & Steve. Louisville. Debra's a 49-year-old artist colony director; Steve is a 40-year-old radio news director. Token fat team #1. Debra admits to being a "controlling and dominating know-it-all" and gets jealous of her husband's devotion to his work; he admits to sometimes letting "opportunities slip through my hands." OK--so it's the Dominatrix and Mr. Indecisive. Big quote (Debra): "I raised money for opera in Oklahoma. I think I can do anything." Prediction: Their (i.e., her) tenacity will pay off in a mid-pack finish; a lot higher than their physical condition may indicate.

  • John & Al. Long Island. Clowns. Literally. They work well together, have travelled a lot, and seem to have a pretty good sense of humor. All very useful traits, and how many people can claim over 5,000 successful Human Cannonball shots? I think these guys have what it takes. Prediction: Contenders.

  • Kelly & Jon. Miami. Kelly's a 30-year-old model (I thought the mandatory retirement age for them was like 22 or something); Jon's a 28-year-old real estate agent (which, incidentally, would not endear him well to Carl Hiaasen protagonists Twilly Spree or Joe Winder). Kelly "admits to being high-strung and obsessive" so it's clear that she's being set up as TAR4's Flo. Jon is a well-travelled jock. The twist on this instantiation of the Flo/Zach model is that Kelly is the one who is "very sympathetic for others" while Jon is "extremely critical of other people." Prediction: Contenders if Jon can carry Kelly through (what we're led to believe will be) her inevitable breakdown.

  • Millie & Chuck. They're billed as 'dating 12 years / Virgins,' so it looks like CBS will be pushing the sexual tension angle. That being said, they've traveled extensively together and appear to be pretty fit, so if they can make good decisions and minimize Chuck being too "anal and meticulous" and having a "unique pouty manner" (although that may go a long way towards explaing why they've dated 12 years and are still virgins), they may go a ways. Prediction: mid-pack.

  • Monica & Sheree. Duluth, GA. Billed as "Mother/Homemakers", but how much homemaking do NFL wives really have to do? Monica doesn't like cold climates (wasn't TAR4 filmed in January? I'll have to check), Sheree doesn't like weird-looking men, and both apparently have a problem with snakes. I just don't see them going far--I think they're both too pampered to cope with the first time they have a difficult situation beyond their meager language skills (a little Spanish and very little French, respectively). Prediction: early exit.

  • Reichen & Chip. Los Angeles. Great physical condition, lots of travel experience--together and apart, and foreign language skills. Their bio hints at some possible interpersonal touchiness, but I think that's just the mandatory downside stuff. On paper, they've got all the necessary skills, and if they have agreeable personalities, they'll join the Clowns among my favorite teams. Prediction: Contenders.

  • Russell & Cindy. Los Angeles. No, not these guys. Russell is a 32-year-old model/actor/entrepreneur (i.e., he's unemployed); Cindy is 39 and describes herself as a former supermodel. If you listen closely, you can hear her head swell. Russell says people say he looks like Mel Gibson ("Objection, your honor--hearsay! And arrogant hearsay at that!" "Sustained. The court directs the defendant to not be such a self-important prick."). Cindy blows off steam by "telling the person off right to their face," so I wonder what'll happen the first time Russell screws something up. Russell is "always on the go and and cannot stand not to be doing anything," a trait that will be entertaining every time they have to wait for a plane, a train, or a rickshaw. Prediction: early exit.

  • Steve & Dave. Chicago. Team Pushing Tin appears to be TAR4's Ken & Gerard, at least in body type and sense of humor, although they are somewhat older. Work together well in a very stressful day job; don't underestimate the usefulness of that trait. I like them for the moment, but I'm not sure they'll overcome their weak language skills and minimal travel experience. Remember, just because Ken & Gerard finished top 3 doesn't mean these guys will. Prediction: mid-pack.

  • Steve & Josh. Santa Barbara / Los Angeles. TAR4's Dennis & Andrew (although Josh's sexual orientation is not stated), with the polar-opposite father-and-son vibe going. Dennis "prides himself on being a good negotiator and on being able to bullshit through anything," which is a useful skill in lots of places during TAR. Opposite warning as above: just because Dennis & Andrew tanked early doesn't mean these guys will. Prediction: mid-pack.

  • Tian & Jaree. Models. I dub them "Team Jill & Grace" since Tian just came out of the closet and Jaree is straight. I'm sure CBS will handle this angle tastefully. Tian apparently has "one of the highest IQs of all contestants" and Jaree enjoys "precision driving," although this sure smells to me like pre-race spin so they won't be dismissed as eye candy. Doesn't work -- I'm dismissing them as eye candy. Prediction: early exit.

    If forced to pick an exact order, I'd go:
  1. Reichen & Chip

  2. David & Jeff

  3. Kelly & Jon

  4. John & Al

  5. Steve & Josh

  6. Steve & Dave

  7. Millie & Chuck

  8. Debra & Steve

  9. Tian & Jaree

  10. Russell & Cindy

  11. Monica & Sheree

  12. Amanda & Chris

Posted by Chris at 05:23 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Reality TV

November 30, 2002

Flo Screeches So High That My Dog Leaves The Room

Some thoughts on Wednesday's The Amazing Race, discussed at Television Without Pity:

To everyone who thinks Flo is watching herself now and thinking, "Oh my God, I'm such a screeching bitch," I disagree. I'm convinced that she was one of the bottom-quartile experimental subjects in this study. She shows the same lack of awareness of how little she's contributing to the team. Word to whoever said that if they win, she owes Zach her share plus every dollar she earns (dog calling? repelling mosquitos? what kind of job would she be good at?) for the next five years.

On the cell calls: I had just finished pontificating to flower_goddess about how there's no way the racers would be allowed to tell their families anything specific about their situation (since all we'd heard to that point was 'Love you,' 'Miss you,' and 'Dude, Where's My Credit Card Payment?') when Ian said "We're still in the race." flower_goddess was gracious enough to only laugh a little.

Did I hear Phil correctly when he said they had to assemble a Swiss Army Bike? I was thinking "What does it do, unfold into a submarine?" Then I thought, "Switzerland doesn't need any submarines." Then I took my medication.

Zach: benefit of the doubt on the 'pantleg caught in the chain' thing. But couldn't you have A) done it when the Swiss guy was inspecting your bike, and B) only unzipped the leg on the chain side? 20-20 hindsight, I know.

When Ian said something about how cotton underwear would have been impractical, I thought "Oh, jeebus. He's either wearing silk panties or going commando."

John Vito and Jill: couldn't you have peeked under the cheese chunks to figure out which ones you had to eat, rather than playing a twisted gourmet version of 'Battleship?'

When the first group was running (downhill) to get to the detour clue, did it look like there was almost a six-racer pileup (and indeed, it also looked like they were one rail fence away from a long long fall sans bungy)? Dangit - I've got to tape the ones I watch live so I can verify this kind of stuff later.

When Teri dumped her bike for no apparent reason, I thought "I bet Ian made her ride the bike he built, and it broke."

Finally, I was disappointed when K&G ran into the Singaporean TV guy and didn't do a Austin Powers-esque "Mooooooooole."

Posted by Chris at 04:38 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Reality TV

May 22, 2002

Hypocrites On Parade, Part II

I was listening to the Bob & Tom Show on the way into work this morning, and they were interviewing Vecepia. One of the things I've always wondered is why they voted out Hunter, Mara-morons' strongest member, so early. Evidently, he'd led the charge to vote Peter out first, based on Hunter's perception of Peter as a threat (and all this time I thought it was because Peter creeped everybody out). Vecepia then said, and I quote, "God don't like ugly," meaning (I guess) 'what goes around comes around,' so the tribe turned on Hunter and ran him at the next available opportunity.

God likes ugly just fine, V. If He didn't, you wouldn't have won.

One last thing, you good Christian woman, you--are you planning on tithing with that million?

One other last thing--my "Top Slogans That Insult A Rival University" is today's List Of The Day at Keepers.

Posted by Chris at 02:02 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Reality TV

May 20, 2002

Hypocrites On Parade, Part I

I originally planned on running a big analysis of the Survivor finale last night, but it basically boils down to this: I am really really tired of people who do something they know is wrong, then figure it's OK since they asked God to forgive them. If you watch Survivor, you know what I'm referring to. If not, you don't care, so there's no point in me going on about it.

About Rosie O'Donnell hosting the reunion episode: I've added a new entry to the list of Things I Never Thought I'd Say--"Bring back Bryant Gumbel!"

Posted by Chris at 12:23 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Reality TV

April 26, 2002

A Week Late And Three Votes Short

(This really should have been LAST Friday's entry. Oh, well.)

I'm a big Survivor Fan, and although there are lots of places where you can discuss it to death, there's a couple of things I'd like to throw out here.

John was a wannabe-Richard. He put together his Gang Of Four and thought he could ride them to the finals, but he forgot two things:

1. Everybody's seen Season 1, so they're on the lookout for overt alliances. Richard kept his secret until it was too late to stop him; John's alliance tipped their hand one vote too early, about which more later.
2. Right up to the end, Richard was seen as a nice guy by most of the others (despite how he was edited to look more like a chubby and occasionally-naked Snidely Whiplash). John never came off as anything but a scheming weasel, although this could also have been an editing trick.

About overplaying his hand: when the Immunity Challenge was revealed to be a knock-out-your-competitors contest like they seem to do once every season (BTW, anybody want to bet that the last IC will be "How long can you stand on one post with your hand on another?"), I thought it was rigged against Sean--the alliance would make damn sure he was the first one gone. As the challenge played out, though, and the alliance outed themselves by never targeting each other until everybody else was gone, the Clue Train finally arrived at Happy Naive-town Station and Sean was able to convice Kathy, Neleh, and Paschal that John's endgame plans didn't include them.

Posted by Chris at 01:43 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Reality TV

March 30, 2001

Ding, Dong! The Witch Is Dead!

2001.03.30 Ding, Dong! The Witch Is Dead!

I'm a big fan of Survivor,although I don't spend nearly as much time discussing it as I did the first series. And this morning, I've got to tell you, the sky looks a little bluer, the sun a little brighter, and the birds a little cheerier because JERRI GOT RUN! Per usual, Burnett et. al did their little editing thing, leading us to believe that Elizabeth (The Colleen Of The Outback) would be exiting sans torch this week--certainly it was the obvious play in the Ogakor-rolls-up-Kucha strategy, given that Nick earned immunity--even going to some length to show Keith and Colby discuss ousting Jerri, and then deciding not to. Then the vote announcements:

"Elizabeth." (Sigh. It was nice knowing you, Liz.)

"Jerri." (Yeah yeah yeah, just get on with it.)

"Elizabeth." (Snif.)

"Jerri." (Big surprise.)

"Jerri." (OK, they're just wanting to add a little drama to it, fine.)

"Jerri." (Wait a minute--that's four votes! SOMEBODY TURNED!)

Then a short pause for effect, during which I realized that it was already over; worst case was a 4-4 tie, which Jerri loses by having votes against her previously. Then Outback Jeff dropped the hammer:
"Jerri." And cue the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

That being said, was doing Jerri the smart move for Colby, Keith, and Tina? Hell, no, for two reasons:

  • Which person would each of the other seven want to be up against in a final vote for the million? It's well-established that Jerri is universally despised--nobody is going to want to vote her the million, except maybe Amber.

  • If Amber has half a brain (and that's being generous), she'll jump ship. She voted for Elizabeth, and what that tells me is that the rest of Ogakor hadn't told her of their plan to run Jerri, probably because they couldn't trust her. Without Jerri to protect her, and knowing that Ogakor can run her at any time, her best bet is to go over to the Kuchas, who would be delighted at the chance to gain the upper hand.

So my prediction for next episode is Kucha+Amber votes for Colby, Ogakor-Amber votes for Elizabeth, and Colby takes the long dark walk.

In what may be the biggest case of identity fraud yet, two New York men are charged with stealing identity data from dozens of people and using it to fraudulently obtain between $100,000 and $1 million in cash and prizes. These guys aimed high--they allegedly had identity data for several members of the Forbes 400, and in fact they were caught trying to steal $10 million from the holdings of "an unidentified top executive listed in Forbes 500 wealthiest Americans." Actually, the Forbes 500 refers to companies; individuals are listed on the "Forbes 400 Richest in America", but what do you expect from the New York Post, anyway? The best quote shows that our heroes may have been trying a salami fraud writ large: "They targeted people they figured were so rich they would not notice they were missing $1 million."

Posted by Chris at 08:56 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Reality TV