Thursday, October 27, 2005

Reality Revisited

It’s been a while since I’ve posted here. Aside from working on a few articles, not much has been going on in my life, and I didn’t want to dwell on the negative stuff. And I’m still taking my dose of reality television. It’s like watching sports on TV, except you know when the action will end. Last night’s finale to the World Series ended after midnight...and network executives wonder why it doesn’t pull down the big rating anymore.

Survivor: Guatemala

I’m going to get questioned on this, but I don’t care; How is Judd a horrible person? On the forums, I’ve read at least one poster say that Jon Dalton was better to watch. Can we get some perspective here?

Look, I know Judd is a dummy, but you have to look at things objectively. In the tribal shuffle, he ended up as the stud by default, while guys such as Bobby Jon got swapped to the other tribe. In last week’s episode, Margaret was his biggest critic, and she was halfway down Janu Boulevard with the parking brake off. After Nakum won the reward challenge, they ended up with beer, which Judd imbibed heavily. Of course, he acted like a dink at Tribal Council. And while other recappers might go on about how his tribemates were cowardly in giving him a pass, you have to remember they were down to eleven Survivors at the end of the episode. Logically, they might be one final battle before the merge. You need to make sure you don’t lose anybody. Judd’s a big guy who can throw his weight around in the challenges. Margaret? Not so much. Judd is nothing more than a bull in a china shop. Jon Dalton, on the other hand, would expose himself in a china shop. Notice the difference?

That said, I feel Judd should apologize for his actions. He shouldn’t even wait until he goes on The Early Show after his boot. Even if he woke up one morning to find Margaret trying to cut his hamstring, and that didn’t make it past editing? He’s gotta apologize. I honestly feel he’s a “good person, horrible TV” guy. Haters take note: not only can you bank on Judd not making the jury, but in eight months, he won’t even be the most memorable Judd in reality television history.

While this season hasn’t been as fun to watch as Palau, I can tell everybody apart, which does put it above most of the shows that I watch. I think it’s anybody’s ballgame at this point, and I can’t see how editing favors an eventual winner. You want some more predictions?

Stephenie and Bobby Jon lose again If you want somebody to hiss at, there’s Steph and her raging entitlement issues. I don’t think she can do better than eighth place. Bobby Jon has improved, even with his screaming fits and punching of himself, but he’s not taking home the million bucks.

Gary Hogeboom won’t win, either The man had no chance. Danni has been on to him about the whole ex-NFL quarterback thing since Day One. He does strike me as a nice guy, and he’s probably the best-equipped to be a team leader more than any of the other guys. But he’s not getting the big money. Maybe he’ll guest star on King of the Hill. I mean, wouldn’t Hank Hill slobber over old-school Cowboy QBs?

So who wins? With no access to spoilers, I’m going with Cindy the zookeeper. She’ll beat Brandon (farmer) 5-2 to win the $1 million. Rounding out the top four will be Lydia (fishmonger/pancake dancer/teflon Survivor) and Jamie. Amy’s my favorite of the current lot...while playing through repeated ankle injuries makes Stephenie look pitiful by comparison, she will eventually succumb.

The Amazing Race: Family Edition

This isn’t the worst thing in the world to watch, but diehard TAR fans have been jumping ship for other shows (I record My Name Is Earl, but that’s as far as I’ll stray). So far, the show has stayed mostly in the United States. Not there’s anything wrong with that, even with the gas-guzzling SUVs in full effect. In the first episode, they started in Brooklyn (my birth borough), drove to Manhattan (I don’t go there often enough), reenacted Washington crossing the Delaware River (can’t remember if I hit the first state in my lifetime), drove to Philladelphia (I commute to the Wizard World comic book convention every spring), then finished in Lancaster (family vacation...don’t know what my folks were thinking). I’m not a jet-setter...I’ve only been to two countries in my life. On the other hand, last week’s pit stop in New Orleans was sad, and I was playing “Do You Think Those People Are Still Alive?” at home.

So far, we’ve seen four teams get eliminated. Two of them hailed from Lousiana, and their patriarchs sucked eggs (Rogers, Schroeders). Two of them were pleasant family units who got shafted...the Blacks and Team Aiello. I’m ticked about how the latter went out, thanks to some poor leg planning. “Okay, everybody do the Detour! Now, get on one of two buses! Now race to a Roadblock which is first come/first served! Now go to a sponsored route marker! Now go to the Pit Stop!” Of course, everything after the Roadblock was in the same place, and the Aiellos drew the last position. Do you know how bad the other teams would have had to screw up in order for them to keep going? If there’s an “All-Star” edition, two members of the team should come on. Watching Tony Aiello and his three sons-in-law in action was fun, and I do miss them. And yes, I’m pissed that my “blood can’t win the Race” theory got blown to shit after three weeks.

After this week’s non-elimination leg, here’s how I see the rest of the Race going down:

6. Bransens I think that father Wally won’t be able to keep up with his daughters for too much longer.

5. Godlweskis All-female teams don’t last this long, and they’ve been cracking for the past few legs. Props to following Lynn & Alex’s example for last year, by putting on all their clothes in order to get around Phil confiscating the good following the non-elim leg. Am I wrong for wanting them to get passed by the Gaghans because of their waddling, followed by Phil taking them out?

4. Gaghans They will break out of their habit of finishing next-to-last during legs. Bill and Tammy have done a good job with kids Billy and Carissa, but they’ve made one mistake in each leg. This week, they followed the Paolos to the Fast Forward, and banked on them chickening out of the bungee jump. Carissa wanted to be like Rob & Amber...and those two made the same boneheaded play last season. They have to race faster and smarter.

3. Paolos Remember what I said about “good person, horrible TV”? I think this group qualifies. I thought their Race would’ve ended in the States, with their SUV stuck in the middle of nowhere, papa Tony sobbing on the road, and mother Marion choking the hell out of DJ and Brian. But they have Teri/Ian luck...they’ll squabble, but other teams will screw up harder than them.

2. Weavers I don’t get the extreme hatred for this family. I know mother Linda is a little nutty, and bears an unfortunate resemblance to Kathy Vavrick-O’Brien from Survivor: Marquesas. But if there’s a showdown between her and Mark Schroeder at TARCon, I’m handing her a frying pan to hit him with. Also, Rolly’s a cool kid. Unlike his sisters, he’s guaranteed to grow up functional.

Winners: Linzes Yes, they’re dorks. Yes, the brothers have the sense of humor of an eighth grader. No, I can’t remember their names, but their dorky hitchhiking gesture in the opening credits is scalded in my brain. But after outrunning the Blacks in the first leg, they haven’t been in any danger of elimination. Youth will be served this season, hold the chestnuts.