Archive | February, 2012

“It ain’t Survivor unless you’re lyin’.” Survivor: One World Episode 3

29 Feb

Troyzan’s line mentioned above is a classic.

I’m worried for the men’s tribe, as I’m still waiting for a strong player to emerge while the women have two for sure in Sabrina and Monica. I put Michael on my early favorites list last time, but we didn’t see much of him this episode, as once again the women and Colton got the lion’s share of the camera time.

Other observations:

– Bad-weather episodes usually make for good TV and this was no exception. My favorite part was the shot of a bat hanging upside down in the rain. I don’t know what makes me more unlikely to go to Samoa — the cold rain or the bats.

– For a while I thought Bill might have a shot to go far in the game as sort of a black version of goofball Jud “Fabio” Birza, but Bill doesn’t seem to be the low-key kind of goofball. Plus he is no Boston Rob in the puzzle-solving department. Anytime a Survivor contestant looks over to see how the other tribe is doing, he or she loses.

– Tom Selleck has a moustache again and thus the natural order of the world has been restored. However, he seems to be cast in roles lately where he broods a lot. He needs more lighthearted fare. (All of which is a comment on a commercial that aired during the show, in case you were wondering).

– Alas, we’ll never get to see where Matt might have ranked on the all-time Survivor villain list, as the grade-A douchebag was voted out. His bio lists him as an attorney, which was a great loss to the world of automobile sales.

– That brings me back to Michael who I mentioned earlier. He must be in serious panic right now, and not just because he lost his pec-alike pal Matt. The likes of a gay drama queen, black Fabio, and a midget lend diversity but are not the core of a tribe you’d feel confident will get you to the finals.  There are more chickens than roosters, to use Matt’s terminology.

Early favorites: Sabrina, Kim, Chelsea, Monica, Michael

No-chance list: Colton, Alicia.


The Bachelor: Ben’s wang goes 3 for 3

27 Feb

Well, I smugly posted last time that it was incredibly obvious that Ben’s surprise visitor would be Ashley. Oops, it was Kacie.

But we did see Ashley as she joined her predecessor Ali for an interlude in which they told Emily Maynard and her big forehead what to expect as the next Bachelorette. Then the three did what girls do to bond, which is to get in a shameless plug for the release of Titanic in 3-D. At least they got to see a certified hit — I can remember the Survivor: Nicaragua movie night where the featured entertainment was Gulliver’s Travels . The Jack Black version.

This is as good a time as any to note that I love Ali and can’t stand Emily. At first I thought I just won’t be able to watch Emily’s season. Now I’m thinking that maybe if I fast forward every time she mentions Ricky (the little girl or the dead boyfriend) I can get through it.

I will give Emily this: when Brad offered her the opportunity to hit the Fantasy Suite she politely demurred. And of course this episode was all about seeing who would use the key and who wouldn’t. Obviously Courtney was a lock to say yes, and my pre-show prediction was that Lindzi would say yes and Nikki would say no (this is before I noticed Nikki’s tramp-stamp tattoo mind you). Well, Ben went three for three.

The dates were all very boring (for us, not Ben, wink wink) with only the Swiss setting providing some entertainment. However, I was amused to see Ben get into an empty plane, walk through an airport without passing everyone, and be the only person in every train car he was in. In Europe! If Europe were really that sparsely populated, I would be living there now. Trust me, it’s not.

You know, to succeed in a relationship you need to have many qualities. You need to be able to cut it short if need be, but also to hold your lover under a magnifying glass. Sort of like the many tools in a Swiss army knife. Moving on from that lame analogy (though no lamer than the ones that made the show), let’s talk about Kacie. She needed answers after the fact on why Ben broke up with her, so she sought him out to get those answers. I think everyone has tried to have this conversation at some point. It has no chance of going well, does not bring the desired closure, and is sure to leave you feeling worse than before you had that talk. Poor Kacie, she is only 22 and doesn’t know these things.

Ben went on record saying “I see myself with her for the rest of my life” (talking about Lindzi now). But I have to say I don’t see the chemistry. So I will go on record as predicting pigeon-toed Courtney will beat her out.

But the girls who I was cheering for are now all gone. So from here on out, I am neutral. Just like you-know-what country.

Celebrity Apprentice premiere: Thank goodness I don’t wake up next to Debbie Gibson

26 Feb

Debbie Gibson used to be cute. And I do mean used to be. Not a well-preserved 41. I am reminded that I wanted her to be my girlfriend in 1987. It was “Only In My Dreams”.. thank God!

Other observations on the premiere:

– I wasn’t prepared to see Dee Snider with an ear to ear smile. Maybe he had just heard about the Tipper Gore divorce? (I don’t have a problem with Tipper Gore. Among other things she has aged way better than Debbie Gibson has).

– I had never heard of some of the “celebrities”on the show, including Dayana Mendoza, who dressed as if she was cast in Robert Palmer’s “Addicted to Love” video.

– Nor had I heard of Patricia Velasquez, who claims in passing that she was the first Latina model??? She looks like she’s about 40 — was no Latina ever photographed in a bathing suit prior to 1988?

– Still, many women can look great at 40. Just not Debbie Gibson.

– The key to winning the challenge was calling up a bunch of buddies who would contribute money out of their own pockets. Odd that on Celebrity Apprentice it’s the key to winning the show, while doing the same thing on the Apprentice gets you thrown off the show!

– Ivanka Trump is hot. Not because of her looks but because of her brain.

– Donald no longer does his “cobra-strike” motion when he’s firing someone, which used to be the best part.

I won’t be setting a Tivo Season Pass for this one.




Best Survivor Alliances Ever: My Ranking

24 Feb

[This has been edited to reflect the end results through Season 36.]

In the Tribal Council of Wednesday’s Episode 2 of Survivor One World, several members of the women’s tribe admitted that they wished they could go back and choose their alliances over again. If you’re in a bad alliance your chances to win the game are very poor.

All of this got me thinking about previous seasons: which have been the best alliances in the history of Survivor?

I quickly established ground rules.

–       The minimum prerequisite to be considered was all alliance members finishing in the top 4. Getting to the top 4 should be the goal of any alliance, and anyone who promises to take an ally to the finals is almost always lying. And rightly so – once you make the final immunity challenge, the alliance has served its purpose, and winning the game should be the only goal.

–       I didn’t consider any of the all-star seasons since pre-existing relationships factored into all of those. I know the Battle of Waterloo was won on the playing fields of Eton, but I’d hate to think the seeds of a Survivor alliance had been sown at a TGI Friday’s months before the show.

–       Also, I ruled out any repeating players. Yes, Boston Rob formed a great group in Redemption Island but he had the advantage of competing for a fourth time.

–       An alliance formed early in the game has to withstand the most adversity, so I was most impressed by those.

On to the list.

#10 Yul, Ozzy, Sundra, and Becky (Cook Islands)

This group beat the odds with an amazing run.

Finish: Yul 1st, Ozzy 2nd, Becky 3rd at the finals, with Sundra finishing 4th as the last voted out.

Why They’re Not Higher: They weren’t an alliance from the beginning of the season unlike some ranked ahead of them.


#9 Kim, Chelsea, and Sabrina (One World)

This day-one alliance ended up as the game’s final three.

Finish: Kim 1st, Sabrina 2nd (getting two votes at the finals), Chelsea 3rd

Why They’re Not Higher: They were literally the only alliance in the game! Very weak competition that season.

#8 J.T. and Stephen (Tocantins)

The unlikely duo of the good ol’ boy and the Ivy Leaguer teamed up from the start of the game and made it all the way to the finals. They had help from Taj (4th place) for most of that time, but I didn’t include her as part of the alliance since she didn’t seem privy to the guys’ deliberations.

Finish: J.T. 1st, Stephen 2nd (not getting a single vote at the final two)

Why They’re Not Higher: J.T. shouldered much more of the burden in the social game (Stephen started at his feet in most of the group conversations). Then there’s the fact nobody ever even tried to take them out, though of course that is a tribute to them in some ways.

#7 Wendell and Domenick (Ghost Island)

Just when you thought game-long alliances were dead (nobody from the ten-season stretch of 26-35 made this list), these two revived the art form.

Finish: Wendell 1st, Domenick 2nd. They tied in the actual jury vote, but then Laurel, the third finalist, was charged with the tiebreaking vote.

Why they’re not higher: They both seemed to have idols the entire game, sometimes multiple idols, which made them safer throughout than a lot of these other alliances.

#6 Earl and Yau-Man (Fiji)

It’s amazing that this ultra-boring season could give us the top 10 of anything, but how could you not love the game being won by a black man in his 30s teaming up with an Asian in his 50s! And the older man is the one of the two who could win challenges!

Finish: Earl 1st, Yau-Man 4th (when Yau Man didn’t win the last immunity Earl wisely voted against him).

Why they’re not higher: The overall dullness of the season works against them, and Earl was effective but not memorable.

#5 Malcolm and Denise (Philippines)

Thrown together as the only two competent members of a weak tribe, these two made it all the way to the final four before severing the alliance because each was the biggest threat to the other. Denise became the first player to be at every tribal council for an entire season.

Finish: Denise 1st, Malcolm 4th

Why They’re Not Higher: Nobody ever really tried that hard to get rid of either one of them, their season was not as dramatic as some ranked above them, and Malcolm did way more than Denise did.

#4 Russell and Natalie (Samoa)

The tribe that went to the merge down 8-4 eliminated 7 of their opponents in a row, one of the most incredible runs ever. Their tribemate Mick finished third.

Finish: Natalie 1st, Russell 2nd

Why they’re not higher: Not exactly an even alliance, as this was Russell’s show all the way.

#3 Danni and Rafe (Guatemala)

The sportscasting gal from Tonganoxie, KS, allies with the gay wilderness guide. They rack up six individual immunity challenge wins between them. They promise to take each other to the finals, but there’s a big moment when Danni wins the final immunity and Rafe releases her from the promise. She votes him out and takes Stephenie instead.

Finish: Danni 1st, Rafe 3rd.

Why they’re not higher: Staying under the radar early was a key to their success, but I’m more impressed by the alliances that had an impact throughout the season.

#2 Tom and Ian (Palau)

It will be hard to ever top the drama of the final immunity challenge, with these two enduring for 12 hours until Ian felt guilty and gave up, with Tom voting him out on the spot and dispensing with tribal council.

Finish: Tom 1st, Ian 3rd

Why they’re not higher: They were in a strong group from the start, and it seems like they had fewer threats to withstand during the game than some other alliances.

#1 Todd and Amanda (China)

What a team – they formed their alliance in Episode 2 and were often shown strategizing throughout the game. They teamed up to find an idol and engineered the memorable blindside of James who had two idols. But the main reason I have them #1 is that they were both so good. I have Amanda in my top players of all time list, but Todd was just as devious, and it’s impressive that he was able to beat her out to win that season.

Finish: Todd 1st, Amanda 3rd

The tribe has spoken.

Survivor One World Episode 2: “Hold Me!”

22 Feb

Recycled challenges are not always a bad thing. This episode, the producers reused a challenge that forces both teams to balance on a long pole, and requires the person on the end to squeeze past all of the others until everyone is off the pole. There is built-in comedy here, at least with guys, because no man ever touches another man if he can avoid it, and in this challenge it’s unavoidable. Also, many funny quotes result such as Colton repeatedly shouting “Hold me!” Monica was the MVP of the girls’ tribe (not saying much because they were blown out) but perhaps overreacted a bit with her postgame assessment “I’m sad for women.”

Colton spent the entire show looking like one of the dumbest and worst players in the history of the show, but at least showed a glimmer of strategy when he conferred with his alliance-mates Troyzan, Jonas, and Leif. Still, he has made everyone in both tribes dislike or distrust him within just a couple of days, quite a feat. Declaring yourself an outsider before anyone else has had a chance to do so never works. When he gets voted out, he will probably spin it as nobody accepting his being gay. Guess what, idiot, some gay guys have done really well on this show, and a couple have won, in fact I just named one of them the 5th-best player of all time. Consider this: Richard Hatch whipped off his pants before half of the challenges and competed with his wiener flopping around, and even he related to everyone way better than Colton does!

Also, I tend to think that Colton came up with a repertoire of “killer” lines before coming on the show, and he’s just waiting for chances to work all of them in, to maximize screen time.

Colton should have gone on Big Brother, not Survivor. I could definitely see him saying “Who wants to see my HOH rooooom?”

Let’s briefly review the rest of the cast.

Nina (voted out): The older, super-outspoken type never wins, and I notice that police officers never do well on the show even though there is one in the cast almost every season. My analysis is that they are so used to having authority by virtue of their position that they are  ill-prepared to succeed in a more democratic setting.

Alicia: All talk and too outspoken. No chance to win.

Chelsea: Smart, seems athletic and knows not to have too high of a profile. One Survivor given is that if a female contestant has spectacular boobs, they will be on camera at every opportunity, Ashlee from Survivor Palau being exhibit A. Or rather Exhibit T. Anyway, Chelsea will continue to be on screen a lot.

Christina: The other women say she’s not playing the game, but we haven’t seen why. I always seem to like the Asian women who go on this show, yet they never seem to get far.

Kat: Dumb, but probably no more so than any 22-year-old.

Kim: The bridal shop owner is tight with Chelsea, and I could see these two taking that alliance all the way to the final 4 or 5, if not further. As mentioned previously, no doubt Kim’s experience dealing with bridezillas is the reason she’s handling the difficult personalities here. Or maybe I just have a crush on her. Or both.

Monica: Her profession is given as ex-NFL player’s wife, and that player is … Brad Culpepper? I remember him as a defensive lineman for the Vikings and Buccaneers. Monica is certainly athletic too, and seems to know what she’s doing.

Sabrina: Had the “leader” role thrust upon her, which can be the kiss of death, but the high school teacher handled it well.

In all, it seems that the women, though a weaker team, have some of the best individual players. But maybe we just know them better since they get most of the camera time.

I would break down the guys but… other than Colton none of them are on screen long enough to form an impression. Maybe next week?

Show highlight: The immunity challenge

Early favorites: Sabrina, Kim, Chelsea, Monica, Michael

No-chance list: Colton, Alicia.

I’m sad for women.

Followup Post … All-Kacie Edition!

21 Feb

I felt the need to go back and get another look at Ben’s ultra-lame answer to Kacie’s father’s question. Here it is:

Mr. Boguskie: “What made you choose Kacie to get this far?”

Ben: “Kacie has surprised me, I really… I like her a lot and I have since the very start.”

Mr. Boguskie: “Mm-hmm.”

Ben: “And, um, I don’t know, her ability to communicate, I think was… was a big thing and I just, I sensed this, this, this good quality in her and since that first meeting we’ve had, um, you know, a great relationship.”

Very weak. Either he should have had a better answer (beautiful, blew me away, etc.), or as an alternative, he could have sung the Officer Krupke song from West Side Story, adapting the lyrics to  say “Gee, Buster Boguskie…”

I also had another look at the climactic limo cry. Now, it so happens I made the drive from (near the) Beverly Wilshire Hotel to LAX airport just a few months ago. At no time did I need to drive down any secluded mountain roads en route. However in between each shot of Kacie you see the limo heading down just such a road. Conclusion: I suspect stock footage may have been used.

Hmm, something in a reality show wasn’t real? Perish the thought.



The girls are all-in, Ben’s not. Plus: How To Creep Out A Guy in 10 Seconds.

20 Feb

I’m not sure I can type because I’m in such suspense about the mystery visitor Ben will get next week! Just kidding, the chances are about one to a googolplex that it is anybody but Ashley, and any doubt was removed by seeing those spindly legs on the preview. Gosh, I hope she announces that she has dumped J.P., who is so annoying.

On to this Monday’s show, the eagerly awaited “hometowns” show. Hmm, why are all of these parents so skeptical just because their daughters are proclaiming Ben the love of their lives after one date? Yes, I looked it up: Kacie B. was the only one of the four to have two one-on-one dates, the others only had one date each.

We begin with Lindzi Cox, whose name is just that second X away from being in pornstar territory (or third X). Hmm, her horse farm is in Florida, how unusual. Maybe not really, but I associate Florida with two groups: Crockett and Tubbs and old Jewish men. Neither group is particularly easy to envision on horseback. I could not envision Edward James Olmos or Dan Marino on horseback either.

Lindzi is a nice person. Not a particularly good listener though, since it seems she never knew where her parents had gotten married and is shocked when they say it was at City Hall in San Francisco. Perhaps that never came up in 27 years of conversations. She loves Ben, but it’s not mutual. Ben’s go-to line for the chicks he isn’t that into is: “There are moments when I could see myself loving this woman.” He uses a variation on that here.

Then we come to Kacie Boguskie. Yes, I said Boguskie — that name was spoken on air for the first time this week. Hmm, if it’s between Ms. Boguskie, Ms. Cox or Ms. Shteamer (see an earlier post) I guess Boguskie doesn’t sound so bad. Back on January 20th,  I wrote, “Kacie is a lock to at least make the hometown visits, and I would give her about a 95% chance to make the final two.” What a naive fool I was back on January 20th! At least I was right about the hometowns.

I’m not sure what went wrong exactly (and neither is she), but when her father asked Ben what he likes about her he wasn’t really able to come up with anything! Did he really say “She communicates well, blah blah blah?” I did not see that coming, but I knew right there that either she or Lindzi would be going home. A bad situation because Kacie loves Ben.

Nicki is still around believe it or not, and thank goodness for that because I was dreading having to see her cry. When that comes, it will be the most heartbreaking cry of the season, I triple guarantee you. A corny date at the Fort Worth Stockyards is followed by the nicest of the family visits. As for Ben getting serious with her, “Why wouldn‘t he want that,” she says. Why indeed. Ben seemed less glib on this visit than the others, and hard to read — is that because he has the least feelings for her or the most?

Her last name didn’t come up, but my curiosity drove me to look it up just now: Nicki Sterling. Slight pornstar potential there, but she is such a sweetheart that I will ignore that. As is the case with the previous two, she is nuts about Ben.

On to the date with Courtney. Much like Ashley did with William the cellphone salesman on the Bachelorette, Courtney decides doing a fake marriage ceremony complete with rings would be a good idea. Very creepy, and even Ben who has the hots for Courtney in a big way is nonplused by the turn of events. I have to say this whole thing gave me insight into Courtney, though. Maybe she really isn’t a bad person but just a 12 year old, or even 10 year old, emotionally. Sigmund Freud, get the heck down to Arizona and bring Carl Jung with ya!

I had been fairly curious to see what Courtney’s parents were like. Her mom slips into borderline baby voice at times, so now we know where Courtney got her own baby voice. Wow, two baby-voiced women, one of whom is a model who needs Freud to make a house call, plus a sister who can’t listen to a secret without blabbing it out five minutes later. Dad must be going insane sharing a house with these three women. Apparently he deals with it by making signs that say “Casa De Robertson” and similarly twee things.

I suppose Courtney has to be the favorite to win now. I just don’t see the chemistry with Lindzi, and although Nicki seems to be making such a strong push at the end, I saw too little before this week to really buy it.

To the Rose Ceremony at… the Beverly Wilshire hotel! Why was the Bachelor mansion booked, I wonder? Anyway, Kacie B did not get a rose. I legitimately think she was shocked, too. In the limo she said “What the f— happened?”

Sweetheart, better to be Miss Boguskie than Mrs. Bogus.