Archive | September, 2012

Survivor: Philippines Season Premiere: “Leadership kills, dude.”

19 Sep

Whenever a Survivor player is shown early in the season proclaiming to the camera that he/she is running the show, using terms like “puppet master,” “calling the shots,” “wrapped around my finger” or the like, the chances are pretty good that that person is doomed.

Zane, a tatted-up, folksy type, gave us two strategic masterstrokes (in his own mind) before being voted out at the end of this first show. He began by making alliances with all five other people in his six-person tribe. While he’s hardly the first to have tried this, it has actually been known to be effective at times. However nobody who previously tried it then proceeded to tell someone that he has alliances with every single other person, as Zane did to Russell and Malcolm. Oops.

After that tribe lost the immunity challenge and everyone was furious at Russell, Russell gave a speech that was making everyone even angrier at him and essentially making it a lock that Russell would be voted out… until Zane interrupted the fate-sealing to say that he, Zane, was dragging the tribe down with his complete lack of athletic ability and should be the slam-dunk choice to be voted out! (He secretly planned to later turn this into a blindside of Russell through sheer aw-shucks charm.) Now, there have been plenty of horrible ideas on this show, especially after 20 or 30 days in the jungle when paranoia sets in, but when it comes to Day Three ideas this was perhaps the worst ever. Literally, doing anything else in that moment, including saying nothing, would have kept him in the game another week. But thank God he had the idea, because I think Zane would have gotten very annoying if he’d stuck around and monopolized camera time for a few more shows.

Zane actually managed to steal the spotlight from the returnees and minor celebrities, of which this season has five:

#1: Lisa Whelchel, aka Blair on the Facts of Life. Boy oh boy. Circa 1980 there was surely no American boy who wasn’t a little bit in love with Blair, certainly not this writer and definitely not…

#2: Mike Skupin, who is so agog that he almost calls Lisa “Blair” the moment he lays eyes on her. Right now it seems that Mike has wisely decided to go with the flow of his tribe whatever that flow might be, but I see alliance potential here. He can’t get over Lisa’s being there, but can you blame him? She’s Blair from the Facts of Life! Gosh almighty she was cute.

#3: Jonathan Penner, whom I find myself surprisingly glad to see. He’s a likable character who is relishing every minute of being back. For that reason I will overlook the fact that he doesn’t fit the theme of “what might have been if only this fallen hero hadn’t been injured.” After all Jonathan did compete in another entire season, namely Cook Islands, prior to being injured on Fans vs. Favorites.

#4: The aforementioned “black Russell” who was on the same Samoa season as Russell Hantz. By the way, notice that all three returnees were last seen on good seasons? The Survivor producers are obviously hoping to recapture some magic, and frankly they need to as three of the last four seasons have been stinkers: particularly the low IQ group that was last season’s Survivor: One World. Russell begins this game proclaiming to his tribe that he’s not a leader and proclaiming to the camera that only fools are leaders. But this is akin to Robin Williams resolving not to be the class clown, it just doesn’t work and goes against his nature.

#5: Jeff Kent, an ex-baseball player I had never heard of, but shame on me because it turns out he was once MVP of the National League! Despite his generic looks and generic name, one of his tribemates recognizes him right off the bat, though she wisely keeps it to herself for now.

Early favorites:

– R.C., the Wall Street investment banker who on this show is saying she’s an executive assistant. She seems like she could be a Kim-like player who is so ultra-personable she can have multiple alliances and get away with it. She is certainly guaranteed camera time because she’s a) quotable and b) has humongous boobs that the cameramen cannot get enough of.

– Malcolm, the bartender who reveals he once spent a year in Micronesia (site not only of a Survivor season but a good Survivor season, I’m sure the producers liked that bite-size bit of karma).

No-chance list: I have to put Angie the former Miss Teen Utah on there. Very young players seldom win, and she just does not seem strategic enough, plus she’s on a tribe that’s already down a person.




Bachelor Pad 3 Season Finale: Revenge of the Nerd

12 Sep

It’s a familiar scene from a thriller or murder mystery: the killer, a nondescript type whom nobody suspected, is exposed, and he goes on a wild-eyed, cackling rant about how nobody gave him any respect and how he’s getting the last laugh.

The same thing just happened on the amazing finale of Bachelor Pad. Who saw this coming at the end of a pretty boring season (I am skipping over the second-to-last episode, as the highlights looked so boring I skipped it entirely)?

Most of this finale was fairly boring too, or at least predictable, with Chris Harrison bringing up every single source of conflict or awkward moment, at which point the producers would cut to two girlfriends in the audience exchanging knowing looks. Blakeley was one of the people in the spotlight, and it turns out that Tony the chump lumber executive is still into her. So much so that they announce they’re moving in together. So much so that Tony proceeds to pop the question, but only after an INTERMINABLE preface to that key moment. He kneels and opens a little case to reveal a radiant, shimmering… Neil Lane logo (and a ring as well). No doubt the producers made sure the logo was well lit in return for a “promotional consideration.”

Then we come to Rachel. I believe I was impressed on her Bachelor season with how mature, classy, and self-possessed she seemed. Boy was I wrong. Then again I thought the same initially about psycho Jamie. Anyway, Rachel is a basket case because of Michael’s unconscionable crime… of realizing he didn’t feel that strongly about Rachel after dating her for about one week. “You were so into me,” she says. She says he said “I haven’t felt this way since my last relationship.” (To me that statement doesn’t seem to be going very far out on a limb.) Also, he told Rachel he didn’t want a long-distance relationship with her, then proceeded to have a long-distance relationship with someone else. My expert analysis: he liked that other person more. If you’re just joining us you might think Rachel was 14 based on all of this. She’s 27.

Nick and Rachel end up as the final two. You may recall the gimmick is that each then secretly chooses to “share” or “keep” the $250,000 prize. If both pick share, each receives $125,000. If one picks keep and the other picks share, the “keep” person gets all $250,000. But if both pick “keep,” both go away empty-handed and the money is divvied up among the rest of the cast. When both went to their deliberation rooms there were some fairly hilarious shots of both doing their best “pensive” looks, no doubt at the producers’ urging.

Rachel picked share and Nick picked “keep”… and the crowd answered with thunderous applause! Perhaps the gals in the audience thought Rachel was overdramatizing as well.

Nick provided zero entertainment value the entire season (and just as little on Ashley’s Bachelorette season), but he sure made up for it here. Wow.

That wraps up the season, but this blog post has meant a lot to me. In fact, I haven’t felt this way since… my last blog post.