Friday, September 09, 2005

Reality Preview

The Apprentice

Once again: I’m done with Donald Trump. After two seasons ranging from sucking to mere blandness, I’m not wasting time with this show. I took a quick look at the cast...anybody local? No? Hey, there’s the token black guy! And token black girl! “Toral”? Weird name. Hey, I knew an Alla in high school. Is that...nope, it’s not. My Alla was tiny and laughed like Elmer Fudd on helium. Screw it.

Seriously, don’t watch this crap. It’ll be the same story...Trump looms large on the scene, flanked by his bobbleheaded sidekicks. Carolyn and George? Vastly overrated. Trump will make us remember that he knows famous people. Trump will butt in the middle of the episode and give us a valuable lesson, spoiling the contest’s results in the process. Trump will make crappy decisions while firing people. None of the cast members will be as lovable as Kwame and Troy way back in 2004. Hell, the producers actually recycled a detestable character in Kristen, a two-time gold medalist in the Fuglympics. The closest thing to a cool character from last season was Tana, and she went batshit crazy in the end. Actually, I think she realized that the “winner” would get a windowless office, receive chump change in comparison to other reality show victors, and get paraded like a show pony. Would it be that hard to believe Tana morphed into a flyover looney just to wriggle off the hook? Now she can get a better deal with less attention to herself. Or, failing that, tour with Lil Jon. “Hey, Yin Yang Twins? Kay, I get ‘crunk’ now, but what the heck is ‘twurk’? Can I do it with my Beadazzler?”

I will look into Martha Stewart’s edition for at least one episode. I’m curious as to what the credits will be like. I’m thinking we have Martha tunnel out of prison and channel Tim Robbins in The Shawshank Redemption, heavy rain and all. And how would she dismiss people? Trump owns “you’re fired,” cobra hand motion and all. In keeping with the ex-jailbird motif, I suggest the dismissed candidate try and survive a shiv fight with the domestic diva herself. Eh, she’ll just say something like “I no longer need your services.”

Survivor: Guatemala – The Maya Empire

After the slam-bang good times of Palau, this season is going to be a letdown. Looking at the cast (mostly white...Mark Burnett hearts white people!), there aren’t too many standouts. Judd the he the first Judd on reality TV since Judd Winick on The Real World: San Francisco waaaaaaaaaay back in 1994? There’s Morgan, the magician’s her make weight vanish in two weeks! The biggest name in there is Gary Hogeboom, who used to play quarterback in the NFL. Probably didn’t make the insane amounts of money that his descendants earn nowadays, but he’ll be keeping his identity a secret from the others.

The challenges sound intense...I heard about an 11-mile hike on the second day, in the oppressive heat. According to Shawna Malcom of TV Guide, “The challenges are so intense they’d make Palau winner Tom Westman cry for his mommy.” To which I say, “Lady, did you not see Tom in action?” The guy did everything but kill Jeff Probst and take over the show. Once again...his season will be tough to top. I should mention there’s supposed to be two twists. Originally, I figured it had something to do with several contestants being identical twins. Not that Burnett would take cues from Big Brother, but it doesn’t sound too unlikely that lookalikes would tag in and out of the game. Nope, here’s what I read in TV Guide:

Two past Survivors return and take the game to a whole new level!

I’d rather have ancient Mayan cannibalism, to be honest. From what I’ve heard, the returning Survivors are Bobby Jon Drinkard and Stephanie LaGrossa. Last season, they were on the doomed Ulong tribe, which got schooled every week by Koror. Midway through the season, they were the Ulong tribe. And after another immunity loss, they had to face off in a firemaking challenge. Bobby Jon lost, and got his torch snuffed by Probst. Stephanie ended up getting acquired by Koror, and managed to stay on for nine days before getting voted off. They seem like two great people, both of whom might have made the final four in any other season. But after All-Stars, I didn’t think anybody should get a second chance at the million bucks. Besides, last season taught us a valuable lesson: once Tom Westman kicks your ass, your ass stays kicked. Or maybe last season’s first cuts will get a second chance. A grueling eleven mile hike, with Wanda Shirk making up lyrics to “She’ll Be Coming Round The Mountain” along the way? That would make Tom cry for his mommy.

The Amazing Race

Flash back to February 9, 2005. I’m manning the VCR at 8:40 a.m., recording segments of The Early Show. The previous night, I saw the finale of TAR6 at TARCon, held at the Play-by-Play in Manhattan. Along with hundreds of my fellow fans, I witnessed empty suit Freddy Holiday & all-around bitch Kendra Bentley luck into winning the million bucks, while fan faves Kris Perkins & Jon Bueller ended up making out and waiting for a train to pass. To make matters worse, Freddy and Kendra didn’t show up to TARCon, even though they were in town to pick up the check. The only other no-shows were wrestlers Lori& Bolo, but they had prior obligations. I hobnobbed with some of the teams, took pictures, finally met Darwin Conner from Mole 2 (greatest season never to get rerun), and stayed the hell away from Jonathan Baker.

Anyway...sometime after the weather guy clipped Adam Mallis’s hairhorns and Freddy and Kendra got their precious check, Harry Smith talked to host Phil Keoghan about the next season, which would air in three weeks. After Phil went on about how he didn’t know Rob Mariano & Amber Brkich, Harry let it slip that applications were being accepted for the season after that...for families. Apparently, that season would bring out families of four. To race. Around the world. And we’d later find out that the age requirement would be lowered past 21. Phil should’ve told us. He should’ve taken the camera solo, and told us in the same way your daddy told you why he and mommy weren’t sleeping in the same bed anymore.

A family race. Super. Bad enough the seventh season had the specter of hoping that a safe would land on Rob’s head, but the next season might suck as well. I do try to stay positive. Back when Big Brother harpy Allison Irwin made it to TAR5 with her dumbass on-again/off-again boyfriend Donny, I tried to look on the bright side. I imagined a Roadblock where she’d have to deal with mimes (this coming after a painted clown tormented her in the BB house). Sure enough, she and Donny got eliminated in the second episode. What we’re facing now might have the potential to rock the house...or suck worse than TAR6.

We have ten teams of four this time around. The youngest Racer is Austin Black, age 8. I don’t care if he’s disciplined with the Tae Kwon Do, it’s still a bad idea for the little ones to race. Carissa Gaghan, age 9, said that you’re either a hero or a zero. Upon hearing that, forum posters began to hope that she has to beg for money in India. Two families are from Louisiana (the Schroeders from New Orleans, the Rogers from Shreveport), and I’m hoping that they’re doing all right as I write this. There’s the Linz family, part of a huge family collective that wants to represent the city of Cincinnati. This may entail betting on the outcome of individual legs, doing the Ickey Shuffle on the pit stop mats, and dropping live turkeys from helicopters whenever possible.

My prediction for who wins? It’s a funny thing...blood may be thicker than water, but it only gets you third place at most (siblings Blake & Paige Mycoskie in TAR2, brothers Ken & Gerard Duphiney in TAR3) We’ve seen parents and children, siblings and cousins race...but the only winners have been best buddies, married couples, and a “Are We Dating?” duo. I want to say it’ll be the Black family. Of the three couples of color, two have won (Chip & Kim, Uchenna & Joyce), and one came close (Frank & Margarita). What counters that? Tae Kwon Do. Hear me out...I think I’m onto something. Last season, we saw Ray & Deana making with the martial arts in the opening credits, and they flamed out mid-race. Avi was seen practicing Tai Chi in a clip seen on The Early Show, and he and Joe got eliminated in the first leg of TAR6. You want more? In TAR4 the four remaining teams had a Detour in South Korea: bust boards with their hands, or eat live octopus. Which team didn’t break boards? Reichen & Chip. Which team ended up winning? Reichen & Chip. Coincidence? Perhaps not.

Anyway, it’s going to be Team Aiello winning. It’s the perfect situation: Tony is the father-in-law for the other team members (Kevin, Matt, David). You’re telling me that kids will end up helping their teams? Mark my words: only one team with underaged representation will be in the final four. And there’s no blood relations within Team Aiello, so it will work out. Of course, I had Rob & Amber finishing sixth last season, and Ryan & Chuck being the fan favorites, so maybe I don’t know what I’m talking about.

Real World/Road Rules Challenge

You didn’t think I’d skip past this, did you? The Challenge remains my bread and which I’ll have to wait too long to eat. The season premiere is set for October 31. Now...let’s ignore the likelihood that I won’t go to La Case Cee because I don’t want to deal with people in costume all night. Why so late? Filming was wrapped up months ago. Are you telling me that Laguna Beach is that compelling? They have Hillary Duff singing “Come Clean” in the opening credits! Just move the show over to Wednesdays, and let the has-beens and also-rans reclaim their proper spot.

The good news is that BMP is going back to the Gauntlet format. Last time, teams had to send in one of their own to compete in an individual contest, where the winner stayed and the loser went home. It was one of the best seasons in series history, what with the upsets (self-proclaimed puzzle master Steve getting wasted by Trishelle in a puzzle challenge), the righteous ass-whumpings (Alton destroying Laterrian in Pole Climb, Mike sinking Abram in Knock Your Block Off), and the evolution of Sarah Greyson from a two-time loser on Road Rules to the butt-kicking Queen of the Gauntlet, winning five times, while nobody else went in more than twice. From what I hear, team members might be forced to duel in the Gauntlet this time around, which will be an interesting wrinkle. Another twist: the teams will be separate by how many Challenges they’ve done. Competing in two or more seasons places players with the Veterans, while everybody else runs as Rookies. Beats “Good Guys” and “Bad Asses,” doesn’t it?

As for the cast? A lot of familiar faces won’t be coming this time. Coral is apparently done with the Challenges. Mike retired following Inferno II, going on to join the WWE, where participants take steroids for fake contests, and where the boss is fifty times worse than Bunim or Murray ever were. The oh-so-compelling drama embodied by Tonya, Veronica, Rachel and Tina won’t be back. The bad news: Beth will return, even after she took the coward’s way out by quitting last season. Brad will try not to go out like a punk for a third time, and he’ll have to face Randy, his best buddy in San Diego. We’ll be getting two flavors of Adam this season: the dopey Adam King, whose Ace fetish will be alive and well with that schmuck on the cast; and Adam Larson, who still has a lot to answer for after the original Gauntlet. Katie also returns, but since it’s been revealed that she slept with Jon Dalton, she’s dead to me. On the NOLA front, Jamie Murray will try and join Darrell as the only players to win three Challenges in a row. On the other hand, Julie will come back with her half a brain, 424,620 teeth, and obliviousness to how much she sucks. Normally, I’d have her slated for yet another humiliating endgame...but with Coral getting knocked out of Battle of the Network Stars, I think Julie’s luck might change.

(Side note: How bad did that last episode suck? We get a new team of “Underdogs,” none of whom are that endearing. Bradford? Couldn’t win anything except a Tony Kornheiser lookalike contest. Mirna? She’s back to her histrionic ways. Nikki? Probably cries herself sick anytime somebody mentions Kelly Clarkson. But this new team survives, and Team Coral gets bumped off...and that includes my girl Melissa, Gervase, and “Joe Millionaire” himself. Worse, Coral sprains her finger while bullriding, and her team’s remaining members couldn’t survive the multilegged race. Then ex-Team Coral member Adam Mesh crows about how he wished Coral was there, since he hated her. He was on Average Joe. When should somebody from a Bachelor knockoff say anything, ever? If Coral ever sprains another finger, may it come from pummeling that idiot senseless. At least I got Team Chip to root for. I’m rooting for them to win, and for Sue Hawk to humiliate Richard Hatch in an entertaining way.)

Anyway, once the cast list is announced by MTV, I’ll write some preview material to whet your appetites. And BMP is set for the next Challenge. When I was in San Diego, I read about a new twist: RW and RR alumni will face brand new people. That’s right...the road to the Challenge doesn’t have to lead through The Real World anymore. Like TAR8, this could either rule or suck. Sadly, the age range is 18-25 years. I wouldn’t be inclined to answer the call, but there has to be a fit guy in his mid-30s, a guy who would love to show up folks in his age range (Beth, Eric Nies, Mark Long, etc.) And who is BMP to deny long simmering resentment?

The Real Mean Girls

After I came back from San Diego, I caught wind of another BMP idea, something that chilled me to the bone:

Veronica and Rachel from Road Rules and The RW/RR Challenge are filming a new show. The girls are looking for a BFF and someone to help them out with their clothing line, College Dropout!

We are looking for smart, sexy and fun girls who have what it takes to hang out with two of the most notorious girls of reality TV.

Silly me...I thought that Veronica would get her own damn life after competing in seven of the past eight Challenges. But no, she gets rewarded for being a bitch. And she’s joined by Rachel, who is just the ugliest person inside and out. What was the reasoning for this show? Because of their torture of Tonya? News flash: Tonya is the easiest target in reality TV today. The girl has no self esteem, no comeback skills whatsoever. What will Veronica and Rachel do for an encore? Swipe candy from a baby? Shove senior citizens into traffic? Beat up Stephen Hawkings? And why do they need a new best friend? I thought that was Shane’s department. If Rachel is “Butterface,” then Shane is “Pat.” Maybe Rachel forgot to roll the car window down, and Shane almost died because of it.

I also heard that Tina will be on the show. I tried to give this chick the benefit of the doubt in the past. I reasoned that she joined those two in Inferno II because of her petty rivalry with Tonya. I figured that Tina was just looking for the one big score, and that she wasn’t going to go the Hollywood route. Hell, she never tried to commit a sexual act in front of cameras, unlike Butterface and Verantula. But if Tina is involved with this show, then she sucks, and she’s nothing but Coral without the mystique.

I don’t know when or if this show will air. If it does hit the screens, I won’t watch. The only way I’d watch is if BMP sets them up for a fall. Like, in the season finale, Sarah would lodge her extra-large shoes up their asses. Or Emily would drop by with her bloody axe. Or maybe Pua and Ayanna would “borrow” funds from Veronica’s bank. Honestly, Veronica and Rachel cannot fall far enough or hard enough to suit me.

1 comment:

TPorter2 said...

Excellent look at the new reality season! Your comments about TAR Family Edition are right on. And did Donald's hand picked cast have to mean they all love real estate investing?