May 23, 2016

The Bachelorette: Loco for JoJo

5/23/2016 Posted by Mel Got Served , No comments
Week 1

After being led on by Ben for a bunch of episodes, Joelle Fletcher AKA JoJo gets the honor of taking on the most important role in our country: The Bachelorette. Much like the forefathers of our great nation, JoJo seeks advice from previous Bachelorettes Ali, Desiree, and Kaitlyn. With wisdom coursing through her veins (and a the remnants of a wine buzz), JoJo slips into a shimmery nude colored gown and takes her place in front of The Bachelorette mansion with Chris Harrison's folded hands.

As usual, I'm skipping the video packages in favor of limo entrances - except I'll quickly tell you one dude is the brother of NFL star Aaron Rodgers. His name is Jordan and he's first out of the limo and saying "My brother is famous" is not his intro line, surprisingly. The first limo is all the boring entrances who didn't get nudged by producers to be stupid - just basic one-liners and hugs but there's a hot fireman and an overly tan guy brings a bottle of wine. One dude brings cue cards for an awfully executed joke, so it's what I dream of in an intro: horrible. A guy named James Taylor is a singer songwriter, because I think it's a legal responsibility with that name, and busts out an original song on his guitar. Jonathan is half Chinese and Scottish so he shows up looking fresh as hell in a kilt. But it's Saint Nick who goes to the extreme for his intro, dressed up as Santa Claus. This is naughty list material and not in a sexy naughty way but in a nope, that's no good way. Santa isn't the only one with gifts, as JoJo also receives a slice of toast, a heart, stress balls, and a serenade by ALL 4 ONE from her suitors. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? You win, Wells. Luke the country guy shows them all up but riding up on a unicorn, AKA a sad white horse wearing a horn and demanding union dues. All the guys are getting pissed at the showy displays when they just did one-liners that flopped. U JEALOUS?

With the lackluster introductions over, JoJo heads inside to get to know the men more. Alex the Marine is the first to snag JoJo for alone time which includes doing pushups with her on his back. But everyone is really nervous around JoJo, mostly because they're a big batch of duds, which makes it really hard to have an instant connection. When you've got a guy who has to sell himself with the "Daaaamn Daniel" meme, you know it's bad. JoJo has a great connection with Jordan the former NFL quarterback whose brother is still a famous NFL quarterback. Thankfully there are a few non-duds around and JoJo starts to feel chemistry with more guys. Will uses a paper fortune teller to get an awkward first kiss with JoJo and I need to stress how horrible it was - and JoJo agrees. But she's not against kissing at all as a second meeting with Jordan leads to a hot first real kiss and a little dance. JoJo begins chatting up more guys and has some standouts: Chad charms her a bit, Ali's piano skills are swoonworthy, Luke's an "attractive" cowboy (her adjective, not mine), and Santa is actually attractive. When Chris Harrison does the famous First Impression Rose drop we all know that sucker is going tacked to Jordan's lapel in no time. Of course he accepts the rose.

It's that time of the night when uncomfortable guys get totally loaded to handle the process. Daniel appears to be the drunkest of all, dropping lots of Canadian "ehs" and poking belly buttons like Poppin' Fresh. He proceeds to be the drunk guy who strips down to his undies night one and jump into the pool. Ok, "Damn Daniel" is appropriate in this instant. The self described Bachelor superfan is probably like, "Cross this off the night one Bingo card!" Another dude get so wasted he basically blackout brings JoJo a glass of lemon water while she's doing a confessional interview. He leaves and then another drunk dude interrupts. Nothing like a slurry declaration of love to woo JoJo. Yet none get a pre-rose ceremony boot. Bummer, because they're clearly losers that'll make it three weeks tops.

Chris Harrison clinks the champagne glass to bring the cocktail party to an end and get this Rose Ceremony poppin'. Only Jordan is safe right now, and his connection is immediately questioned by Chad (and likely others). Just as JoJo's about to hand out her first rose another pair of brown loafers walks through the front door: it's former Bachelor douchebag Jake Pavelka. But THANKFULLY it's all a ruse to terrify fans. Jake is not there to date JoJo but instead to give advice. Um, didn't his ex Ali already step in to give words of wisdom? Jake is there a hot minute before departing to let the Rose Ceremony commence. Listing who gets roses is too much, so let's breakdown which guys are out the door and it's surprisingly not the sloppy drunks. Leaving us on night one is lemon water drunk guy, kilt guy, and a couple bland semi-attractive men. One big final toast with Santa's chant of  "Jo Jo Jo!" and it's the end of the first Rose Ceremony.

[All images credited to ABC]


May 22, 2016

Survivor Kaoh Rong: Michele is the Sole Survivor

5/22/2016 Posted by Mel Got Served , No comments
Week 14 - Finale

After Joe's medevac, the tribe dynamic shifts again. With his immunity idol expired, Tai is vulnerable for the first time. Michele has been the bottom of the four for ages. Cydney is feeling her spot for final three is looking good since she's tight with the girls. Aubry is feeling refreshed from her first solo Reward Challenge victory, a mix of balancing and mental cognition, that refuels her and all Cydney with a delicious meal of steak, veggies, drinks, chocolate cake, and a protein bar. But truly a hug from Jeff Probst is the re-energizing anyone needs. As Aubry and Cydney talk strategy over cake and Luna bars, Michele and Tai have time to bond more and talk about backup plans to save themselves. But in true Survivor fashion, the target wins immunity when Michele kills the three-layered puzzle after a grueling physical obstacle portion. Suddenly the game is afoot again. Aubry and Tai don't want to break up, so they have to turn on Cydney and likely end up in a fire-making tie. Michele tells Cydney they'll have the numbers to vote out Aubry, the bigger jury threat, so don't worry about fire. The big question is, does Tai want a tie that betrays his #1 ally?

Tribal Council time! With limited voting options, Tai says it's all individual and alliances are out the door now - cue Aubry's "oh crap" face. Cydney says "It's a me game, not a we game" which is oh so true at this moment. Aubry thinks the person heading to the jury in this last vote could change the course of the game. The question of the night is not only who do you eliminate, but which person are you agreeing to bring to the end? The answer to that question results in a tie between Cydney and Aubry which means we're going to fire! Whoever builds the fire that burns a rope first wins, and it's terrifying to watch. Cydney struggles to get a flame, while Aubry gets a fire growing but it's reaaaaly tilting left from the wind... then it all crashes down. Aubry restarts her disappearing fire and it's stronger, faster, and furiouser than ever. The rope burns and Aubry saves herself in the game, an emotional send-off to Cydney in this game who came to the game to make her mom's life better. But in the reunion audience, her mom is so proud of her strong daughter.

Hope you like twists, because there's still one more. The final challenge isn't to narrow it to a final two, but instead to win a massive reward: the ability to vote our a jury member. Yup, someone will be booted from the jury and won't get to vote at the final Tribal Council. One last knife in the gut and a decent twist to make the final three a little more exciting than it usually is. The challenge is to balance on a wobbly beam to stack balls on stands with a big ol' fork thing. It's oh-so-close but right at the end Aubry's fork wobbles and knocks down her stack. Michele wins the advantage and the choice of who to vote off the jury. Michele's initial reaction is to vote for Aubry's island BFF Joe, but Tai recommends Neal, a persuasive speaker who was ride-or-die Aubs until that hole in his knee took him out. Aubry urges Michele to vote off Scot, as he is likely to make a scene at the final Tribal and is a possible vote for Tai. Michele listens to both sides, but she is threatened by Aubry sitting beside her at the end since she played one of the strongest games and built relationships. The jury is shocked by the twist and a couple a little nervous that they've been sitting on the sidelines for nothing. While for a second it seems like she might vote out Scot, Michele chooses to eliminate Neal from the jury. Neal walks out but makes a stop for one last burn: "You came to this game thinking you're a badass bitch, but you're more like a cute little puppy still suckling at the teet and I don't think you stand a chance." Oof, I might've just soiled my ice cream pants.

On day 39, Aubry, Michele, and Tai receive their final celebration brunch and get to look at their emaciated selves in a dirty mirror. But the fun is quick before heading into one last Tribal Council. Aubry, Michele, Tai, and Mark the Chicken (yup that happened) take a seat on their stumps and get ready for the interrogation. Tai has to defend his flip-flopping, which he explains was largely because Jason and Scot were so close and he wanted to break that up. While he flipped on them once, from then on he was true to his ally. Debbie calls Aubry a "geek warrior" and Aubry uses her responses to defend her big moves, but credit those she considered threats (Debbie and Cydney). Aubry reminds the jury she was on the right side of every single vote, and Michele didn't know final four would end up in a tie. Basically, Aubry ran the show with the help of Tai delivering information. Michele defends her underdog status that no one had faith in. She was viewed as the weakest link and just a number for a long time, but won challenges and saved herself when it was necessary. She defends voting out Julia as a way to gain trust and stay in the game. Tribal Council comes to an emotional end with Mark the Chicken being set free, a moment that made even the bird hater in me verklempt (let's be honest, I cried a lot during this finale). With the votes tallied, it's time to jump back to real-time for the results at the live reunion show.

The urn of votes is opened and Jeff Probst reads off the votes which reveal that Michele is the winner of Survivor Kaoh Rong. The reunion is a great time to hear people awkwardly ramble about their game and big moments, but the thunder is stolen when elusive pop star Sia pops out of the audience to give Tai $50k for himself and $50k for a charity of his choice. Then Drew Carey hypes a Survivor-edition of The Price is Right (I'll DVR it because duh, Bachelorette premiere). All these interruptions leave the show with little time to address a fire-scorned Cydney, Neal's gaping leg wound, or the Brawn tribe battles.We did get to see Aubry's tweet where she dresses like Cochran, Caleb is alive and well, Dr. Joe gets a feature since the cast all kept passing out, Jason/Scot felt left out to dry with the Super Idol,  Jason wears an amazing floral blazer, Debbie has had a lot of jobs, Julia is wise beyond her years, and Joe got it done at 71. The night ends with a revealing preview of Survivor 33: Gen X vs Millennials, so get ready to hear about how old people are the worst or youths these days have it easy. Easy reunion to recap - I like it!

Before I get to the pre-show winner prediction trophies, I wanted to share a little more about this season of Survivor from a personal perspective. As a longtime blogger of this show, I spent all season writing as objectively as I could and I hope I succeeded, as this season one of my very best friends competed for the title of Sole Survivor. I knew Aubry before she went on the show, and our friendship has only gotten stronger as I have seen Aubry evolve into such an amazing person. Seeing her play this game with so much heart, strategy, and strength has been an honor and inspiration. I was part of Aubry's entourage at the Survivor finale and being able to sit in the second row and see my best friend celebrate the journey she went on is a memory I'll cherish forever.

Ok, onto the winner prediction results. Another loss for me, but I don't care because I backed my BFF with my heart and soul. But others of you nailed it and for that great work, you've all earned your [picture of a] trophy. Congratulations to all who selected Michele as their pre-show winner prediction.





[All images credited to CBS]


May 13, 2016

Survivor Kaoh Rong: Where's the Beef?

5/13/2016 Posted by Mel Got Served , No comments
Week 13

Probst rounds up the top five ("Top five, baby!") for this week's Reward Challenge, which is to run into the woods to get sandbags to toss into different slots. The twist is once you're out of bags you have to wait for everyone else to be out of bags. As the young'ns quickly grab bags and get oh so close, they get knocked out early. This allows 71 year old Joe the ability to take his time and underhand pitch the perfect tosses. He brings Aubry and Cydney along on a Survivor spa day, where he gorges on beef, satay, and presumably all the fixins.

This leaves Tai and Michele along back at camp to bond, which is a large feat to accomplish since the two don't mix at all. Tai feels betrayed by his tightest ally, Aubry, after she didn't join him in his attempt to blindside Michele. Nothing a little "Tai" massage can't fix, right? Tai and Michele dabble at the idea of being allies, but once Aubry is back she is able to emotionally reconnect with Tai. Best friends again! Speaking of friends, Cydney and Michele are keeping their tightness on the DL and wondering what kind of move they might need to make to get them to the end, which may involve betraying Aubry (who is also having similar thoughts about Cydney). It's Survivor Ally Gift of the Magi! Sorta.

But it's only appropriate that episode 13 is the unlucky episode. After his beef feast, Joe is feeling pretty crummy - which is expected when a starving person eats too much. One would expect a real severe trip to poo corner, but instead Joe is dealing with the inability to pee. All the food, compounded with Joe's age, affects his prostate in a horrible way. After a first consult with Dr. Joe, Joe the castaway's condition only gets worse. As the prostate problems could affect the kidneys when there's no urine passed, Joe is forced to quit the game. A third medevac of the season. It's a teary goodbye so close to the end.

[All images credited to CBS]


May 9, 2016

Survivor Kaoh Rong: A Bunch of Malarkey

5/09/2016 Posted by Mel Got Served , No comments
Week 12

Jason tries to save himself by encouraging scheming, but it's pretty much no use. Everyone is too busy watching Mark the Chicken eat a grub than actually heed Jason's words. People do listen to Jason in this awesome ocean balancing maze though, where his leadership skills lead to him, Michele, and Tai winning a day of food and wildlife reserve fun. If you've ever dreamed of a monkey flying at your head for a banana, just know Jason, Tai, and Michele lived this dream.
The majority alliance is finally starting to fracture a bit. Joe's pretty ornery after failing at the "dumb balls" in the challenge... or maybe simply because he's old and starving. He's a little too bossy for Cydney's liking who wants to eat coconuts and sweat in the natural Cambodian heat instead of around a fire. The dichotomy between Cydney's "Tortoise and the Hare" challenge victory over Joe's inability to spell "Immunity" in stacking blocks is pretty epic. On the other side, Tai is concerned that Michele has no enemies on the jury and is the biggest threat left. The group just looks at Tai sorta awestruck at this proposition; even Jason's like "What dude?" and he's the person likeliest to go home. Aubry agrees with Tai that Michele is a threat, but Cydney doesn't appreciate Tai trying to dictate the game. "It's like Sophie's Choice," Aubry says about the voting. Eh, close enough!



Tribal Council time! Probst uses the unpredictable Immunity Challenge as a metaphor to the ever-changing game because he's so deep. Tai pulls off a personal miracle at Tribal Council by not totally spilling the beans about his advantage (only Aubry and Joe know what it is), but regresses back to his TMI talks. Tai even goes so far to say he doesn't even understand why Michele's in the alliance and wondered why they had an extra person. Tai's honesty is hilarious as a viewer and must have caused ulcers for all his allies in the game. Michele actually makes her presence known at Tribal Council by calling out Tai's pecking order, throwing the word "malarkey" into the mix for the Triple Word Score. Jason finally gets to talk again, hoping that maybe the Tribal Council chaos could save him but figures it's probably still him. After everyone votes, Tai announce to Probst that he wants to use his advantage to cast an extra vote. Tai totally wastes his two votes on Michele while the rest of his alliance vote Jason out. The cursed extra vote strikes again, but maybe not as badly.



[All images credited to CBS]


May 2, 2016

Survivor Kaoh Rong: Four Plus One... Plus Mark the Chicken

5/02/2016 Posted by Mel Got Served , No comments
Week 11

While Aubry, Joe, Cydney, and Tai are celebrating their big Scot blindside, the three not part of that vote are a little salty. Tai apologizes to Jason after leaving him out to dry with the Super Idol, so Jason calmly listens while plotting his game revenge. Julia and Michele are upset they were left out of the plan and have alternate ways of restarting their game after this speedbump. Michele wins the Reward Challenge alongside Cydney, and they invite Aubry along for a day of helicopters, fried chicken, coleslaw, wine, and strategic bonding to get back into the fold. Julia and Jason scheme options to vote out Tai, then feast on Mark the Chicken when they succeed. Oh boy, now you're on Mark's shitlist.

The Reward Challenge is a real dull one to watch as everyone stands on a platform memorizing pictures/numbers to decipher a combination to unlock a puzzle. Michele wisely uses sand to write out her numbers and narrowly beats out Julia solving the completely obvious word puzzle, "BLINDSIDED." With immunity around her neck and back in the good graces of the four running the game, Michele is smooth sailing for 3 more days. But Michele is taken aback when the alliance wants to put the votes on her bestie Julia since the girl is strategic, well-liked, and good at challenges AKA will beat everyone at the end. Michele tells Julia she is still part of the plan to vote out Tai, an idea Cydney toys with as well. Who'd be a better person to leave in the game: Tai or Julia?

Tribal Council time! Julia and Jason talk about every move and action going forward will affect the decision at the end of this game. Julia says Michele and Cydney are on the bottom of the alliance and that Tai could win the whole game. Tai thinks the five should stay tight and not jump on a sinking ship, and you know I love a good Titanic reference. Jason warns that Tai has flipped twice before and a third time is probably coming. Tai tries to explain that he voted out Scot to break up a strong pair, which Jason thinks is funny since Tai joined up with super tight pair Aubry/Joe. Cydney believes the jury will reward strong gameplay, not the kind of player that throws people under the bus to get ahead. Jason tries to sell the value of him and Julia as a lonely pair ready to make a move, but it's too late. Despite a brief panic by Tai who asks Aubry if he should play his idol (with the most awkward whisper grab in Survivor history), Julia is voted out of the game and Michele sheds a tear for her eliminated friend.


[All images credited to CBS]


April 24, 2016

Survivor Kaoh Rong: Super Idol, Super Blindside

4/24/2016 Posted by Mel Got Served , No comments
Week 10

Hope your leg muscles are toned for this week's Reward Challenge to hold up clay pots with your legs on a balance beam. There are three different prizes on the line, but in a fun twist each person selects one item to play for and is only competing against who else chose the same prize. Julia easily beats Joe to win a letter from home, which she later reads and gets weepy. Michele outlasts Scot and Jason to win a bacon cheeseburger, fries, beer, and cookies AKA Mel's weekend dinner plans. The toughest fight is between Tai, Cydney, and Aubry to win an advantage in the game. Tai's endurance wins him his secret advantage: an extra vote at a future Tribal Council. Let's hope it's not as cursed as the last two times it was won.

Tai's advantage is a good secret to have, since his Hidden Immunity Idol is hardly a secret after the last Tribal Council. Julia suggests to Michele and Aubry voting for Tai this week to either eliminate the thread, or at the very least flush the idol. Tai is back to possessing just one idol after handing Jason's half back after Tribal Council. Hoping to bring peace back and make amends, Tai suggests the end of the camp sabotage, which Scot tries to use with Aubry as a bargaining chip to control the game. Hard pass. Aubry appeals to Tai's emotional side and an alliance begins to form. However Tai totally misunderstands this strategy talk and tells the guys Aubry wants to align with their trio. Scot has different plans: vote out Aubry. Aw sad Tai doesn't feel heard with the bros.

A brutal endurance challenge for Immunity has the castaways spreading their arms to their maximum wingspan, then using their fingertips to hold us discs connected to pots. Trying to explain this challenge in writing is almost as hard as this probably was physically. The survivors all drop one by one, until after an hour it's just Jason and Aubry in a literal spitting contest. Aubry's fingers eventually give out, making Jason safe at the next vote. Aubry's kickass performance in the challenge is the ammunition to guys need to support blindsiding her from the game. With an immunity necklace to wear, a Super Idol to play after the votes are read, and Julia's double agent status, the guys are feeling invincible. But no one is invincible on Survivor. Aubry and Cydney agree that Jason/Scot must be split up, but they need one more vote to have the majority: Tai. With a friendship already formed, Aubry tells Tai how the women want to vote for him but she would rather vote out Scot. Tai's heart wants to align with Aubry, but brain says stick with the ahole guys who you could beat at the end. Aubry promises Tai that if he wants to make the big move, she has three votes to back him up. What's a Tai to do?

Tribal Council time! The arrogance is running high again with the men confident they are safe since they have the force of the Super Idol behind them. It's basically Jason and Scot repeating over and over that their Idol trio will decide the entire vote. Tai lays low this time, which is a good thing since maybe he'll blab too much. Aubry talks about the challenge and how being dubbed Brain, Brawn, or Beauty is just scratching the surface of their personalities. Jason and Scot give her props for being a competitor, before returning to their theme of "We control it all." But all control is lost when the votes stack up to eliminate Scot. Scot turns to Tai to get the other half of the Hidden Immunity Idol, to make those Super Idol powers activate. Eyes are wide. Eyebrows raised. Awkward silence. But Tai shakes his head, "No." Wow, indeed. And that, my friends, is proof that you can't control it all.


[All images credited to CBS]