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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.'

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Snap-Judging TAR9

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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.

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Man, Was That Satisfying, Man

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[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.

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.

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.

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.

The Amazing Race: Family Edition Kickoff

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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.

Annnnnd POOF! She's Disappeared!

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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?

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?"

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

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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.

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