Monday, February 28, 2005

Countdown to TAR7

I admit it...I'm ready for the preview special for Inferno 2. Hell, I might even tune into Fear Factor tonight, just to see if Omarosa ends up choking on something gross. But my mind is on the season preimere of The Amazing Race, which is less than 26 hours away.

After the fourth season, when CBS was on the fence in terms of renewing TAR, I wrote an essay explaining all the good things (yes, that's me with the handsome guys. Yes, I do look like a dork. No, I still can't tell Reichen from Chip). Since then, TAR fans have had a mixed bag: one insanely great season (TAR5), and one season where we had to apologize for anybody who had tuned in on our advice (TAR6). While blah Freddy and racist beeyotch Kendra did bug by winning, there was a bright side: there would only be three weeks until the start of the next season. I was at TARCon that night, and when CBS told us to stay tuned for scenes of the next season, everybody basically went "No way!" I should've brought my tape recorder, just to get the sound of jaws hitting the floor at the news of a former P.O.W. running the Race.

Of course, everybody is focused on Rob Mariano and Amber Brkich, both of whom had been on Survivor twice. Back when I was affilated, most of the other recappers didn't get why I was upset about this. To me, TAR didn't need to piggyback off the success of other shows. I wasn't bugged at the prospect of happens all the time (Daniel Lue of Tough Enough and Survivor: The Amazon, Kristen Kirschner of Murder in Small Town X and The Apprentice, just to name two). Sure, Rob showed how classy he was with a rendition of "Ding Dong the Witch is Dead" on Survivor: All-Stars, after Sue Hawk took herself out a few days after getting grinded by a naked Richard Hatch. Here's the point: The Amazing Race has its own fanbase now. It's grown for years, rooted in the forums of Television Without Pity. Bringing in "Ramber" is along the same lines as Allison Irwin racing with her on-again/off-again boyfriend one year after finishing runner-up on Big Brother. And that backfired after they got eliminated two episodes in.

Also, there's the really cyncial part of me that sees TAR7 as a way to make people care about Ramber again. Why? For their impending nuputals, rumored to be televised. It's been almost a year since we really care that much about Ramber? I'm guessing it's 50/50, give or take a few points. But CBS is probably salivating at the thought of the wedding. Hell, if it would guarentee a few more points in the Nielsens, they'd bring in Rupert to preside over the wedding.

Bottom line? I see them finishing sixth. While TAR is not as alliance-driven as Survivor, the fact that this team has won its million bucks will guarentee that the other teams won't help them. It should be interesting to see...after dying week after week last season watching good teams go out early and bad teams stay in (hello, Jonathan and Victoria!), TAR7 can't be any worse. Even at its lowest points, TAR can beat the pants off the best of any other reality series. And if you've yet to see this it. For me. Tomorrow night, 9 p.m. Eastern time.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Inferno 2: Good Guys

What is "good"? In a battle against "Bad Asses," you would want the nicest people to counteract the pure evil of the other side. But thanks to’s polls, some of these so-called "good guys" ain’t quite that good.

Brad Fiorenza (RW: San Diego)

Formerly known mainly as somebody familiar with the insides of San Diego holding cells, Brad broke out in a big way in Battle of the Sexes 2. But since he was a newbie, the foursome of Mark, Eric, Dan and Theo sent him packing. Brad was well-behaved in Santa Fe, but it remains to be seen if he can remain a nice guy this season.

Is He a Good Guy? Right now, he is. But look at Rachel and Veronica; they got screwed over in Battle of the Sexes, then proceeded to victimize others in The Gauntlet. The odds of Brad doing the same are 50/50 right now.

Darrell Tayler (RR: Campus Crawl)

If Pootie Tang and Nell ever had a child, he would sound just like Darrell. Despite being a bit of a mushmouth, Darrell is riding a consecutive mission streak of 30, tops amongst those playing here. However, he never entered an Inferno or a Gauntlet before, so his endgame ability remains to be seen.

Is He a Good Guy? He has his nice moments, but he can be negative about his team’s chances for success. And I’ve yet to forgive him for harshing on Sarah on his season and on Gauntlet.

Jamie Chung (RW: San Diego)

While the other girls of San Diego carved out their own somewhat negative reputations (Robin for toughness, Cameran for brattiness, Frankie for being a wreck), Jamie managed to stay sane. It also didn’t hurt that she was hot. However, we have yet to see her compete, making her the team’s biggest question mark.

Is She a Good Guy? Yes, she is. She is the kind of girl you can take home to mother, even if she insists on wearing the luchedor mask.

Jodi Weatherton (RR: X-Treme)

I got nothing on her. Seriously, that’s how underwhelmed I was with her season. All I know is that she lasted the entire season, and she wore a "J" on her shirt, Laverne-style. I used to confuse her with Kina. Well, Kina lasted all of three rounds in BOTS2, yet she swiped Eric Nies’ jump rope. Can Jodi leave a better mark?

Is She a Good Guy? I guess so. Last year, I was more put off by people like Patrick, Angela and Jillian than impressed by anything Jodi did.

Jon Brennan (RW: Los Angeles)

What separate Jon from Eric? Answer: a jump rope and one year. Not only has Jon not made as big an impact on the country music scene after debuting on RW in 1993, he also had the misfortune to be hooked up with Beth on Battle of the Seasons. Subsequently, they were tossed out after the first mission, due to Beth’s phoniness. Can our former mullet-wearing hero pick up the pieces?

Is He a Good Guy? No doubt...but there’s probably an evil part of him that would love to work Beth over in the Inferno. Hey, roommate vs. roommate is no longer a fantasy on the battlefield.

Julie Stoffer (RW: New Orleans)

This girl is psycho. After becoming the nicest ingenue since Julie Oliver way back from the first season, Ms. Stoffer has been a thorn in the sides of many BMP alumni. In her last Challenge, Julie managed to embarrass herself some more before getting upset in the Inferno by Katie. Julie has since married, and there’s a chance she could actually act like a human being this time around, but I’m not holding my breath. The same rule I laid out in Inferno applies here: the longer she’s on the show, the worse things will get.

Is She a Good Guy? She tried to kill Veronica. She peed on Coral’s bed. Let me repeat that last part: SHE PEED. ON CORAL’S BED. Hey, I know many of you have issues with Coral, but SHE PEED. ON CORAL’S BED!

Landon Lueck (RW: Philadelphia)

Landon has been a breakout star on the current season of RW. Sadly, it’s for all the wrong reasons. From his excessive drinking to his craptacular romance with Shavonda, Landon is just another good-looking guy who’s a complete tool. I understand BMP grows them on a farm.

Is He a Good Guy? Let’s I judge him for getting a knife and contemplating going after Melanie’s friends? Or for assaulting a horse? Seriously, he’s a good guy and Karamo isn’t. This is why fan voting doesn’t work.

Mike Mizanin (RW: Back to New York)

Mike goes into his fifth Challenge on the rebound. In BOTS2, he struggled to remain on the men’s team, but they cut him after seven missions. To make matters worse, not only didn’t he hook up, he had to watch ex-roommate Coral complete yet another Challenge. While he did make an impressive run on Tough Enough, the Challenge is Mike’s home, and he probably wants to take it back. Also, he’s the only team member to win at least one endgame, winning a Gauntlet and an Inferno.

Is He a Good Guy? Sure he is! Wait, there was that time when he yelled at Coral in the final mission, while she was dying from a spider bite. And the time where he got drunk and harangued squeeze du jour Kendall for volunteering to put herself in the Inferno. Oh, and what about his calling Lori a sellout after she got a 9-to-5 job? Yeah, the guy who has done six seasons of reality television and hawks "Miz" gear called Lori a sellout. Who said irony was dead?

Robin Hibbard (RW: San Diego)

Robin was a surprise for the girls’ team in BOTS2, lasting thirteen missions. Her struggles with the Semi-Cross course put her on Coral’s bad side, and that was enough for her ouster. Robin also found an unlikely romance with RR veteran Mark Long. With the power to avoid her own elimination, Robin might be able to pull it together.

Is She a Good Guy? Even with the smacking of the Marine in San Diego, she’s okay. But I wouldn’t mind if she cheated on Mark. Why should she be the accessory to a middle-aged reality star’s mid-life crisis? She deserves better than being Mrs. Dodgeball Boy.

Shavonda Billingslea (RW: Philadelphia)

If anybody other than Julie needed Coral’s special brand of tough love, it’s Shavonda. From her episode-halting phone chats with "boyfriend" Shaun, to her on-and-off romance with Landon, Shavonda just bugs. Like Jamie, she’s a bit of an enigma in terms of competition.

Is She a Good Guy? Put it this way: if she was a halfway decent person, the thought of throwing her into the path of wheelchair-bound children would be a horrible notion. But with Shavonda, it isn’t.


You know the laptop I got fixed? shut down on me. Again. I tried to get back on, all I got was a blue screen and a dead end. Couldn't go online in safe mode. I was able to get on later, but it's too late now. I called Dell, and they're sending a box. I put the laptop in the box, along with the power cord, and I send it to the magical land of Dell to get fixed. Meanwhile, I have to hack away on an old laptop. I was doing OK before...then it froze. Then it gave me grief. I feel lucky to be on it right now.

What the hell did I do to overheat the damn laptop? Seriously, is it a sign that I go online too often? That I wear computers down to their chips and bits? What will it take for me not to have bad luck?

The worst part...I could be without Net access from home. On weekdays, I go to the library at least once...gets me some exercise walking back and forth. But that's during the day. At night, I could have nothing. I'd have to make more trips, hit TWoP and waste minutes reading all the posts first. And this will put a cramp in my recap style, I'm sure of it.

Just needed to vent. I did the "Good Guys" overview on the messed-up laptop...all I have to do is convert it to Word, put it on disk and save it on this laptop. Now if you'll excuse me, my head and a wall have a date.

Friday, February 25, 2005


I'm logging in from the library right now. My laptop is in the shop, getting reinstalled. Honestly, I hope that fixes things. Otherwise, I'll have to get another computer...which is dicey, seeing how I don't have an ongoing gig as of yet.

Here's the sucky part...there's a chance that I might not get the laptop back until Monday. The thought makes me really twitchy. I can get Net access at the libraries, even on Sunday. But it's for such a short time...and I seem to prefer wasting my nights going online. Maybe the shutdowns are a sign that I should lay off for a while. Or maybe I was supposed to be Amish. In addition to the computer woes, I'm having trouble with the DVD. I watch a movie through sixteen chapters, and then it goes sideways on me. Try the laptop? Same problem. Blockbuster probably has about 100 copies of what I wanted, and I went 0-for-2. Maybe I'm a walking EMP wave, breaking down technology wherever I want.

Eh, I'll probably get things back to normal tonight...poking through drawers to find any CDs that I missed. Then I can waste my weekend getting set for the Inferno 2 preview on Monday. Only saw one commercial, but it looks like a welcome relief from the 50-car pileup that was Battle of the Sexes 2. Also, I'll try and write about the upcoming season of The Amazing Race. Have you seen the new commercial? CBS goes on about how people think there's nothing good on TV anymore. There's Reichen & Chip breaking down after winning TAR4. There's Charla giving her elimination speech. There's Gus and Don weeping. There's Aaron proposing to Hayden. Okay, that last one didn't belong. Anyway, we can all put TAR6 behind us and concentrate on what really matters: hoping really hard that Rob & Amber get taken out early.


The good news? I got the laptop back. Bad news? Now I have to reinstall stuff from online...and it's a lot. Right now, I'm doing Flash and McAfee. Dunno why I bother with media players, since the 56K connection turns most movies into radio events. That's a shame...especially since is doing an online show after Inferno 2 airs. Finally, I have competition...and the guy hosting it isn't a total tool! But I probably won't be able to watch! Damn!

That's it for now. I'll try and get the "good guys" covered before the preview special. Neither sleet nor snow nor computer meltdowns shall keep me from hacking at BMP flunkies.

Out & About

It's February...thermal pants weather...hours before a major snowstorm hits the area. Naturally, it's a good day to see some fencing action.

In case you haven't heard...there are a group of New Yorkers who want to bring the Olympics here in 2012. This week, the International Olympic Committee came over to check things out. Suddenly, we're in the middle of an epidemic...of Olympic Fever!!!!!!! Wait, why am I writing copy for Mayor Bloomberg?

Anyway, one of the events this week was a fencing demonstration on the steps of the New York Public Library. I caught the local train, took the ferry over to Manhattan, then took a few more trains up. The experience was anticlimactic...there's a huge movement to block the Games, since it would be a huge hassle. I'm on that side...I mean, the Republicans messed things up for a week last year, so why clog the five boroughs for two weeks and change? Surprisingly, no dissenters were present. Maybe they were knocked out and flung into unmarked vans. Honestly, I wouldn't put it past the local authorities.

They had two Olympic fencers to start...hamming it up as they battled walking down the stairs. They then showed us how fencing is done, with the different styles and lunges. Next, a pair of junior fencers came out...two sisters, getting ready for 2012. Afterwards, the guy fencer got to battle a volunteer from the crowd. It actually wasn't that hysterical...the girl got a point before losing. The whole thing took about 20 minutes.

I just wandered afterwards. I hit the 5th Ave. library for graphic novels, had lunch, and walked around before heading back. The highlight came on the 1 train heading for the ferry. A guy and his wife (I assume) wanted to take the Statue of Liberty ferry. Nice guy that I am, I point it out on the map. A few stops later, it dawns on me: only the first five cars let out at the end. I poke my head out. Crap! Lots of cars! I turn to the couple. Turns out she doesn't speak English and he's deaf. CRAP! Frantically, I had to write down the instructions, and they managed to get out.

The rest of the day was uneventful. I did fire off a cathartic letter to the head honcho of that reality site, almost three weeks after I got fired. If any of them are reading this, I just want them to know that I won't be going after them for the sake of doing that. They leave me alone, I won't bug them, end of story. I had a good run of two years, but the feuding tainted it for me. I don't know if this is the best format...but dammit, I've done this for four seasons already, so why not a fifth? By the way, I'll be handling the "good guys" in the next day or so. I'll try and keep the Julie hatred to a minimum.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Inferno 2: Bad Asses

When put out a list of potential contestants a few months back, there were a lot of folks that could be considered "bad ass." Or, at the very least, "extremely irritating." Sadly, the true asses have elected to stay home. That’s a shame, since I wanted to take a paddle to Puck again. And who doesn’t want to go after the likes of Donell, Patrick, or Slappy Stephen? We have some jerks, a few borderline cases, and one guy who just doesn’t qualify as a bad guy.

Abram Boise (Road Rules: South Pacific)

For those keeping score, this is his fourth Challenge. At this point, I wonder if he has any "real world" skills away from the camera. He’s a fierce competitor, but he tends to go overboard. In the first Inferno, the RW team was scared of losing a player to him, and the same might apply this season. He’s also the only guy whose romance with Coral made the air. With them being "just friends" now, he’s single and free to mingle...and he’s already "mingled" with two girls on his team.

Is He a Badass? He was the last guy to be kicked off Road Rules for his beatdown of Donell. He humiliated Katie when RR attempted to throw a mission. Yes, he is a "bad ass"...unless he gets another Mohawk. At that point, he becomes just another dumbass.

Beth Stolarczyk (Real World: Los Angeles)

I don’t understand why Beth has come back to the Challenge. With her limited physical and social skills, she would have been better off in the relative safety of The Fishbowl. She and Jon were voted out of Battle of the Seasons, since Norman and Becky made the Inner Circle, and neither one could stand her. One season later, she managed to get past the first mission, only because Melissa wanted to kick Julie off. But after the second mission, the Inner Circle booted her, as opposed to Gladys, who was pregnant at the time. That should tell you where Beth ranks among the BMP alumni.

Is She a Badass? Not so much a badass as a phony. How phony? Imagine a Rolex bought in Times Square, on the street, with a three dollar bill. That’s how big a phony she is. Remember her whining about how Ruthie was her friend after she got voted off BOTS1? Here is Colin's account about what a "friend" Beth can be.

Chris "CT" Tamburello (RW: Paris)

CT was RW’s best player during Inferno, winning three Aztec Lifesavers and taking out Shane in the Inferno. On the flip side, he gave Leah grief after she sat out missions with a doctor’s note, to the point where he spearheaded an effort to throw a mission in order to dump her in the Inferno. No matter what, you can expect one hundred percent from this guy.

Is He a Badass? It’s been a few years, yet the memory of him fighting a guy in the streets of Paris is still fresh, as well as him threatening to go "one on one" with Adam.

Dan Renzi (RW: Miami)

Oh, how I missed this guy. He’s one of the snarkiest guys in RW/RR history. Dan did well enough on Extreme Challenge, and he was a popular fella in Battle of the Sexes. Despite his tendancy to delve into bitchiness, his inclusion on the "bad" side is mystifying. Sure, he’s been on The Smoking Gun, but he didn’t assault anybody, save for himself.

Is He a Badass? Hell, no. I can’t understand why anybody would vote him onto that team. Then again, all three gay cast members have been shoved into the "naughty" category. Should I read anything into that?

Derrick Kosinski (RR: X-Treme)

Derrick can be seen as a bit of a problem child, having emotional difficulties on X-Treme and Battle of the Sexes 2. If he can stay off the booze and keep his head checked, he has a good chance of staying for the entire season. The alternative: a repeat of the time where he drunkenly following a frog around, singing "My buddy, my buddy." Good times.

Is He a Badass? He’s RR’s answer to CT; tough shell, mushy inside. If you want bad, there’s always Patrick, who ticked me off almost as bad as Donell last year.

Karamo Brown (RW: Philadelphia)

Karamo started off as a surprise on the current RW season, being the first openly gay black man in the show’s history. In his stay, he’s had to deal with issues both racial and sexual in nature. While I would have wanted Willie instead of Karamo (playing sidekick to Dan), I reckon Karamo can be a lot more competitive. And there’s the eye candy factor. Remember the shot of him in just a towel? Wow.

Is He a Badass? Temperamental, judgmental, and mischievous...but not a badass. Also, he only said he’d slit Landon’s throat if the cast were stranded on a desert island. Not like he actually got a knife and drunkenly contemplated carving somebody up, unlike some people I can name.

Rachel Robinson (RR: Campus Crawl)

In my mind, Rachel is a cockroach. In both BOTS seasons, Rachel ended up eliminated by Inner Circles, a victim of the need to shave both sides from 18 players to three. But in a format that has a "do or die" game like the Gauntlet or the Inferno, she can skitter across the floor, avoiding the foot of fate. Her physique may be impressive, but her game is lacking. Remember, she’s the one who got her butt kicked in wrestling by skinny Irulan during the annual RW/RR faceoff. She was mediocre in The Gauntlet, yet she wasn’t seriously considered to take a trip to the Gauntlet itself.

Is She a Badass? Well, I do see her as evil. She talks trash, she pals around with Veronica...oh, and she and Darrell wanted to throw Sarah under a bus from the first moment of Gauntlet. And she’ll probably wear a "Where’s Shane" t-shirt, and that gets really annoying as well.

Tina Barta (Road Rules: South Pacific)

Who should kick the BOTS2 men’s team in the teeth for throwing the penultimate mission? While it is logical to think of Brad, I wouldn’t dismiss Tina. She ended up being the last person cut from the women’s team, where a case could have been made that she had more skill than those doing the cutting. I called her "Discount Coral" on account of how mouthy she can get. With the actual Coral sitting this season out, Tina can fill her shoes quite nicely.

Is She a Badass? I don’t see it anymore. Despite her childish feud with Tonya, I like Tina a lot. And when you remember that she palled around with that obese pantload Donell, and flirted with Dave just to piss off Mary Beth, you gotta admit she has come a long way.

Tonya Cooley (RW: Chicago)

Tonya’s been a lot of things since we first saw her. She’s been a pain in the butt. A girlfriend of a bi guy (so I’ve heard). A caring player. An injured victim of circumstance. Nowadays, this former foster child seems to be making up for her lost year years by being a wild and crazy gal. She’s supposed to have skills, yet she’s had bad luck. Oh, and her worst enemy is there in the form of Tina. Think they can get along for more than five minutes?

Is She a Badass? Only as big of a badass as the participants of Girls Gone Wild. Sad, isn’t it?

Veronica Portillo (RR: Semester at Sea)

At this point, I think that Jonathan Murray should just drop the pretense and adopt Veronica. Then they can do a reality show about it. This is her seventh Challenge, dating back to Challenge 2000. Can’t we appeal to Congress to make her get a life? Damn, I’ve written about her every damn season that I covered. Enough is enough!

Is She a Badass? Once again, she’s the reason for the word "witch." Don’t let the lack of fireworks in BOTS2 fool you. Veronica will come back, twice as bitchy.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Inferno 2: Preview

Lala wraps the show up, thanking the guests for coming over, and telling us that Return to the Inferno starts up on March 7. In fact, once I got online and looked on, the new page was already up. All I know is that I’ll have my work cut out for me. The girls might not have had Ayanna’s back, but I got yours. I’ll be focusing on other stuff in the next few weeks, including hoping that Kris & Jon plow through the competition on The Amazing Race. If you’re coming to TARCon this Tuesday, you might run into me. But I’ll be ready by the end of the month, because these people are not going to snark on themselves.

That was the last thing I ever wrote for a leading recapping web site. Nobody got to read that, since the editor cut it up and subsequently fired me for reasons I do not wish to rehash here. The rules might have changed, but the game remains the same. There’s a new Real World/Road Rules Challenge on the horizon, and I’m still recapping it. Once again: I got your backs.

The Premise

It’s the usual deal: former cast members from The Real World and Road Rules compete for big bucks. This year brings us thirteen RW alumni to RR’s seven, the first time the sides have been uneven. For the second straight season, we stray from the "RW vs. RR" format. This time, the teams have been divided into "good" and "bad," with the classifications allegedly determined by an poll. Yeah, I don’t believe it, either...and once you see the teams, neither will you.

Teams compete in sixteen missions. The first fifteen are worth $10,000 to the winning team, and the sixteenth yields $150,000. The catch? Only those players still in the game for the final mission get the money. After the first mission, both teams pick somebody on the opposite team to go into the Inferno. In the next mission, the best player wins the Life Shield. Should either Inferno-bound player win the Life Shield, that person gets to pick somebody from their team to take their place. There is no word from about alternative gender during the vote.

The Inferno

The Inferno premise is simple: two players go in, one player comes out. In the first Inferno, players had to:

  • Stick their heads in "bug helmets" (boxes full of roaches and crickets)
  • Eat hot peppers for one hour.
  • Hold candles out and try not to lower arms.
  • Stand on boxes and listen to loud sounds for two hours (tiebreaker: listen to loud sounds while balancing on one leg atop a small block)
  • Eat cookies, drink whole milk, spin on a contraption, and try not to throw up.
  • Get coated in itching powder and walk on a treadmill for three hours (tiebreaker: jump rope without screwing up)
  • Carry bricks across a beam for three and a half hours wins.
  • Lay in a tub, get coated in gross stuff for four hours (tiebreaker: hold breath underneath gross stuff)
Needless to say, I was not a fan of the format. Out of those eight Infernos, there were only two truly heroic moments: CT taking David’s place and humiliating Shane, and Katie holding her breath longer than David. Maybe BMP got the notion that this isn’t Fear Factor, and made things a lot less messy. I doubt it, though.

The Teams

As mentioned, the teams are made up of "Bad Asses" and "Good Guys," and the lineups determined by fan vote. I’ll go over the teams in more detail later on.

Bad Asses: Abram Boise & Tina Barta (Road Rules: South Pacific), Beth Stolarczyk (Real World: Los Angeles), Chris "CT" Tamburello (RW: Paris), Dan Renzi (RW: Miami), Derrick Kosinski (RR: X-Treme), Karamo Brown (RW: Philladelphia), Rachel Robinson (RR: Campus Crawl), Tonya Cooley (RW: Chicago), and Veronica Portillo (RR: Semester at Sea)

Good Guys: Brad Fiorenza, Jamie Chung & Robin Hibbard (RW: San Diego), Darrell Tayler (RR: Campus Crawl), Jodi Weatherton (RR: X-Treme), Jon Brennan (RW: Los Angeles), Julie Stoffer (RW: New Orleans), Landon Lueck & Shavonda Billingslea (RW: Philladelphia), and Mike Mizanin (RW: Back to New York)

The Host

I have good news and bad news. The good news? We’re rid of Jonny Moseley and his tired ways. The bad news? Dave Mirra returns for his second Inferno season. After watching Dave perform in Acapulco, I was dying to see Jonny again. Dave might be able to ride a BMX bike on water and do tricks we could barely imagine, but the guy has zero personality. A plank of wood can entertain better than Dave. Hey, BMP! Ever think of going with an ex-cast member? Or did Mark Long and Eric Nies cohosting Battle of the Seasons forever ruin that idea for you?

The Inferno 2 kicks off on Monday, March 7, at 10 p.m. A preview show is expected to air a week earlier, on February 28.

Castaways & Cuthroats

Guess what? Survivor is back! And I don't mean that the show itself has returned. It's more about talking about it over the watercooler and ridiculing the poor bastards who watched Joey.

After the lackluster Vanuatu season, Mark Burnett went back to his sinister ways for Palau. To wit:

  1. Upon getting into a rowboat, Jeff Probst tells all twenty castaways that two immunities are up for grabs. The first man and woman to make it to shore and grab the trinkets is guarenteed saftey.
  2. Oops, turns out the immunity is good for one night, as the lucky duo gets to start the team-picking process. Last two left standing? Out of the game. Sick, right? Frail ol' Sonja Christopher got three days in Borneo. Bossy Debb Eaton in the Outback? Three days. Jonathan and Wanda? Two days, one night. Sick.

Right away, there's tension and paranoia, and Coby the gay guy and Angie the tatted alternative are supposed to be BFF, except Coby doesn't pick her to join his tribe...and on and on and on. Also, there's Coby trying to convince people to exclude Jonathan (aka Random Caucasian Stud #5216). Sorry for the stock term...I'm not good with telling who's who in a crowd. Then again, I can tell all 36 players from Battle of the Sexes 2 apart.

As for Wanda? Okay, here's an important rule: THERE IS NO SINGING IN SURVIVOR!!! This wasn't Avi & Joe singing about how they were Jews in Iceland. This wasn't Todd Glass singing his "I Need Attention" song to get under Ant's skin. This lady had songs ready. She sang on the boat ride to the island. She sang on the boat ride from the island. She'll probably freakin' sing on The Early Show and at the reunion. Yes...cutting people that early in the game is sick, but isn't it worth it to avoid the debacle the likes of the Tambaqui men singing "You Lost That Loving Feeling"?

As for tribe names? I'm sorry...Ulong? So now I have to think of Oolong the pervert pig from Dragonball. Why not name the other tribe "Bulma" while we're at it? Sorry...anime geek moment. Was planning on holding that off until Saturday.

Anyway, Ulong loses to Koror in the first Immunity Challenge. I'll spare the details, save that Koror takes firemaking material to their new home. On the way, a wave tips their canoe, and the equipment goes under. Not a good omen. Meanwhile, Angie the tatted outsider gets teased with oblivion again, but Jolanda (who had won immunity earlier) gets the boot. I like Angie...even though I'm not into ink or those gross ear piercings, but I tend to identify with outsiders more often than not. That also explains why I never tore into Frankie from The Real World: San Diego with the gusto of my TWoP friends.

Right now, I'm liking Tom the most. He's a firefighter from Queens...did you see him blow through the obstacle course? Not bad for a 41-year-old. The white hair is a poster compared him to Race Bannon.

The laptop's making me nervous, so I'll hold off on The Apprentice. Trump goes five-for-five and dumps another arrogant blowhard.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Me vs. Dell

Looks like I have a new enemy.

Last night, my laptop goes out. Again. Since I have nothing better to do so late at night, I run a diagnostic...only to face another shutdown. I call Dell...I explain things to the tech support guy. He puts me on hold several times. He tells me to take down a dispatch number, since I might have to ship in out for repairs. I wait. And wait. And wait. And finally, I get cut off.

After a few unsuccessful attempts to call back, I get another guy, who insists on calling me "ma'am," even know he see my name is "Jason." I have a nasal voice, all right? He bugs me to the point where I tell him to give it up, that I'll call the next day. Two minutes later, he calls back. Temper tantrums are not fun to have at 3 a.m., I'll say that much.

Why tell you this? Because my bloggin' and recappin' days might be screwed in the short term. I did find a repair shop near where I live, so maybe I can get things patched up soon. In the meantime...has any of this happened to you guys with a Dell computer?

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Odds & Ends

Second post...looks like I might get the hang of this yet.

Anybody else see the commercials for Inferno 2? MTV is presenting it as a comic book. Guys, I already have a nexus between reality televisions and comics, and his name is Judd Winick. So please...don't ruin it for me. Topic? Oh, right. Right now, I'm aiming to write a brief overview of Inferno 2 on Friday, covering the basics and the format changes. After that, I'll preview the two teams going into it, these so-called "Bad Asses" and "Good Guys." I have issues about the selections. More on that later this week.

Tomorrow, I'll try and briefly cover Mark Burnett's babies: The Apprentice and Survivor: Palau. Notice the word "briefly." I'm not that good recapping hour-long shows, so I leave that to the experts. For Survivor, I reckon it'll be an improvement over the dreadful Vanuatu season. I liked Chris and Twila, but there wasn't much else. On the bright side, I can see how many times CBS can cram Rob & Amber down my throat in one hour. Happily, over on The Apprentice, Donald Trump has done the unthinkable: fired four bozos who had it comin'. This time last season, he had some questionable kills with Stacie J. How good is Trump this season? Put it this away...the pain of Freddy & Kendra winning The Amazing Race was unbearable, but watching that beeyotch Kristen walk the plank numbed me quite nicely.

As for my comic-inclined breathen? Today was a good day...five comics, no duds, and even the "Krypto" episode of Smallville was pretty good (bad news: next week has Lana Lang emulating Zhang Ziyi). If you're looking for something self-contained, I recommend Livewires #1. It's basic table-setting, but this miniseries looks to kick some ass. I've been a fan of Adam Warren since his days on Gen13, and it's good to have him and Rick Mays back on a title. Now if only Priest can go back to humor and nonlinear timelines.

Not a bad second entry. Now if only I can figure out how to put up my fave sites on the side...

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

What the Hell Am I Doing?

"The more you suffer, the more it shows you really care."
- The Offspring, "Self Esteem"

I'm not a blogging person. I like to bitch about my life, but not to a huge audience. So why am I starting one now? Pull up a chair and I'll tell you.

For the past two years, I had written for a web site specializing in reality television recaps. I came on board in 2002, offering tidbits here and there. I recapped Dog Days, an eight-episode series from Animal Planet that is probably long forgotten. I didn't have the stamina to write about The Amazing Race, but I covered Kevin & Drew Unleashed, which centered on TAR1's beloved "Frats," Kevin O'Connor and Drew Feinberg.

In 2002, one of my favorite web sites stopped recapping The Real World/Road Rules Challenge. The show was the genre's version of Battle of the Network Stars, pitying "stars" from reality's oldest show against those from its redheaded stepbrother. I decided to recap it for the site, figuring it would give me something to do.

I ended up recapping four seasons in all: Battle of the Sexes, The Gauntlet, The Inferno, and Battle of the Sexes 2. I recorded episodes, took notes, snarked on the fools, praised the heroes, etc. I'd go into details, but I don't wish to bore you guys.

So why am I here? Well, this site had a Yahoo group forum, where we could chat. I offered opinions, I got my head ripped off. Okay, I was a little...intense...about things (thinking of what the Apex Coven did to Stacie J. still makes my blood boil). But these people were somewhat elitist. I'd say that I had my fill and quit, but I'd be lying. Ten days ago, I got a letter from the head honcho to the effect of "You're Fired." And just like that? It was over. The bad guys had won.

I could have taken this as a sign to get out of the business altogether. I could have hummed a couple of bars of "Breaking the Habit" and call it a career. But I got fans to think about. Heck, I met one last week, and she was bummed about me getting "fired." So I'll recap here. I'll talk about pop culture, I'll talk about news...maybe even chat about my life, if it gets any better. Of course, I could end up dumping this blog altogether by next week. Who knows at this point?