October 22, 2010

Reality Rundown: What's Black and White and Tastes Like Soap?

The Amazing RaceThe Biggest LoserSurvivor: Nicaragua
Top Chef: Just DessertsProject Runway

The Amazing Race - After doing their good deed of helping repair the African school, the teams leave the heat for the Arctic Circle: Sweden. Turns out there aren't a lot of flights between Ghana and Sweden, so everyone has tickets on the same flight that connects in Frankfurt, but can ditch those tickets for other ones. Kevin and Michael, already looking ahead to their speedbump, find an earlier flight leaving Frankfurt and confide into Mallory and Gary. The doctors and home shoppers figure this out as well, but the remaining teams are stuck on the later flight, unknown to most of them until they see 4 teams hauling ass in the airport while they're sipping hot chocolate and then in clicks.

In Sweden, the teams drive to an Ice Hotel which I highly recommend you visit cause it's awesome. Like just visit, don't sleep there- that seems too cold. Their clue is a Swedish phrase carved into a big ice block that has directions to follow to receive the next clue. Michael and Kevin get their Speedbump right away and have to sit in an ice chair for 10 minutes before picking up their clue; totally extreme!! This doesn't deter them and find the Roadblock first, which is for one of them to mush dogs using a summer training sled, since there's no snow, while collecting flags. My dog was clearly exhausted because he didn't even bark back at the barking sled dogs, nor at the fake bear hiding in the bushes. It's an easy task for all except Jill and Thomas who miss an arrow and get lost, putting them behind.

After completing the Roadblock, the next clue sends the teams to a train station where they receive their Detour. The choices this week are sled down a mountain in less than 1:58 (minutes, not hours) or build a tent-like dwelling with a comfy inside. Michael/Kevin realize the sleds won't work for his dad, so they make the tent; all other teams opt for the sleds (though some by default have to do the tents). Doctors Nat and Kat check into the Pitstop at the Norwegian border first and win a trip to Belize. As other teams begin to check in, Thomas realizes that they're dead last and the Express Pass could help them bypass the next challenge and keep them in the race. Once they see the tasks, Jill and Thomas use the Express Pass and skip the Detour and head to the Pitstop. Stephanie and Chad struggle with the sleds, with the speed and daunting course intimidating her. She starts freaking out and quits the task; just do the damn tents then. Stephanie isn't the only one incompetent on a sled; the volleyball girls and acafellas have to switch to the tents too. The acafellas are the last team to check in and are eliminated on the day they would have graduated from college. Total Debbie Downer moment.

The Biggest Loser - The 5 wannabe losers that didn't win the challenge to get onto the show come back to weigh-in and whoever has the highest weight loss gets to compete in the show. Anna, rocking the green shirt, wins the spot on the ranch with 39lbs lost. Also, the game changes and turns into the Blue vs. Black teams and Anna gets to pick the teams. There's an odd number of people, so that odd duck gets immunity and joins the losing team next week. Anna interviews everyone about which trainer they prefer and then get told by every player to take immunity for herself. Anna basically grants everyone their dreams except for Patrick; she gives him immunity and wants to join the Black team to train with Jillian. Overall, the teams are pretty evenly balanced so it's game on. The Black team discusses Anna being completely stupid for turning down immunity, while the Blue team knows that if the Black team loses they will gain Patrick and that team will be stacked. The guys on the Black team are sneaky and I smell a weigh-in throwing.

Team challenges are back where they will travel around LA and answer questions at 5 stops about food. If they get the question wrong they will receive a red penalty card, which is a physical challenge (no, not that one). Winning team gets 40 weeks of the Biggest Loser meal plan and letters from home. The challenge is close and since they really overestimate the number of calories in a slice of lasagna, it's up to the physical angle which is going up 21 flights of stairs. The Black team wins (and so does Patrick since he's not on any team) get their grub and letters. Lisa on the Blue team is bawling, so Brendan on the Black team gives his letter to her, but then the rest of his teammates opt to get rid of their letters for the Blue team.

During workouts, Jillian and Bob discuss the teams and that this season it's Jillian who got the gameplayers, not him. It's so obvious that Anna is going home if Black loses, and Jillian fears they'll throw the weigh-in. Jillian pulls the women aside to encourage them to fight because for her it's not about the game but helping. She tries to appeal to the guys and they have a team meeting to say the weigh-in will not be thrown. The Blue team weighs in and it's fine and dandy; the Black team, however, doesn't keep their word about throwing the weigh-in. Frado's a jittery mess, the girls can't pull their weight (except Aida who is awesome), and Brendan only loses 2lbs in a lame attempt at throwing the weigh-in but swears on his family's life he didn't. It may seem like the game play is over but it's not: at elimination, Rick (who has the highest percentage of overall weight-loss and would benefit from Patrick joining the team) is blindsided in a major game play move.

Survivor: Nicaragua - As Espada, Yve feels left out and Danny wants to quit. Over at La Flor, Marty and Jill feel like the old people out, while Jane fits right in with the kiddos. Brenda, the only young person really playing the game, already has it planned out to make it a 3-3 vote between Marty and Jill and flush out the idol, since Marty was stupid enough to tell everyone last week. The catch this week is that there's no tribal immunity this week, but individual immunity because both tribes are heading to Tribal Council this week. The challenge is to toss rope ring with a paddle and catch it in a backpack thing. The 2 winners then compete in a tribal reward challenge: a feast which they will get to eat in front of the other tribe while overhearing the other tribe's Tribal Council. Holly wins immunity on Espada and Jill wins for La Flor; Jill then wins the ring toss, giving La Flor a kebab feast.

La Flor basks in their victory, but it's fake because Brenda knows her plan to split the votes can't go as smoothly. Sash proposes splitting the votes between Marty and Kelly B (prosthetic leg Kelly), but lead Kelly B to believe Jane is who they will vote for. Marty confides in Fabio that he is a grandmaster in chess to Fabio to try and align him for a power play, but really that's a lie and he's not a grandmaster and knows Fabio is too dumb to know the truth. Fabio buys it hook, line, and sinker, with a promise of an alliance of 4 between himself, Marty, Jill, and Jane. Fabio is bummed when he hears Sash wants him to vote off Marty; sad puppy. Tribal beings predictably with Marty and Kelly B getting the focus, until Jeff asks Jane about being safe and Brenda brings up that Jane should be afraid Marty and Jill will vote her off. Marty argues that he never initiated votes for Jane and La Flor brought that up to him (true). Marty and Jill vote for Brenda, but the rest of the tribe splits the votes between Marty and Kelly B, forcing a tie (since Marty opted to not play his idol) and thus a re-vote. The re-votes are cast and the person not feasting on chicken and beef kebabs is Kelly B. Why can't Jeff just say kebabs? Is there a need to be so specific?

At Espada, since Holly has immunity she knows she needs to vote with the majority to not make herself a target. Since the old fogies are out-numbered, it's a toss up between weak-ass Danny and actually-wants-to-be-there Yve. The young dudes think voting off Yve is a better choice since she wants to play the game, whereas Danny is a non-entity. Chase and NaOnka aren't as down with the Yve plan and would prefer to get rid of Dan. Yve makes her plea to the girls, citing Danny's wanting to quit but puts her foot in her mouth when she says she has strong bonds with the old people on La Flor which will help in the merge. D'oh- stupid. Espada drools at Tribal Council while La Flor eats their kebabs (beef and chicken- nothing else!!). Danny calls Yve arrogant, which she takes offense to since he brags about his Ferraris and expensive shit. Espada makes the decision that losing is awesome and votes Yve off the tribe.

Top Chef: Just Desserts - The executive pastry chef of Le Bernadin guest judges the Quickfire, I mean Dawn Hand Renewal Quickfire, which is to make a savory dessert with just one pot. I have never seen so many product placement shots of stupid dish soap- you can't even tell what the chefs are making. Close-ups, subtly hiding it behind other things so it appears in the shot- my god, it's annoying. Danielle's dessert had practically raw corn, Eric's dessert is moreso breakfast, and Heather had undercooked beets and hardly any bacon. Best: Morgan who used liquid nitrogen to make sorbet, Zac's beet cake, and Yigit's use of fois gras and bacon. Zac wins the Quickfire and proclaims himself to no longer be the Susan Lucci of the show. Does anyone remember that Susan Lucci DID eventually win an Emmy once, it just took a shit load of times? Anyhoo, Zac gets the choice between immunity or a cash prize (he negotiates it up $5k)- he takes the money.

Elimination Challenge: cater a party exclusively with black and white desserts for a party for the LA Times. Danielle gets freaked out since she hates white food, but I really think it's because she's done whoopie pies twice before and can't do it again. Now, is layering chocolate and vanilla JELL-O acceptable?? For the record, Zac is the person who picks the obvious whoopie pie, but he deep fries it. Hello, gluttony! Heather thinks maybe Morgan stole/hid her white chocolate rice krispies I guess just because he's kind of toolish. He also hates hearing Zac's voice. Morgan complains a lot.

Judges' Table. Heather, Erica, and Danielle are called in first, but it's so obvious they're pulling a fast one. They are obviously the worst. Heather veered from black and white and included reds on the plate. Erica made a blackberry creme brulee and poppyseed and lemon ice cream, and both were a let-down because the lemon tasted like soap and it lacked actual blackberry taste. Danielle's plate was more petit fours, not a dessert, and had a flavorless meringue. The best dishes are all the fellas, who breathe a sigh of relief. Zac's deep fried whoopie pie had a great creamy filling and made a good iced cream. Morgan's plating was excellent and a tasty sticky toffee pudding. Eric layered his textures well and is finally getting good at plating. Yigit's dessert was complex and had hidden chocolately gems you discovered while eating. The winner of the challenge is Yigit and his adorable smile. The loser of the night? Erica because eating soap is never a good thing.

Project Runway - The final 4 are sent home to work on their collections, but only 3 will be judged at the finale. Tim will of course come visit to check on their progress, so make sure there's baked goods and no photos of Taylor Momsen on your mantel.

Tim visits Andy in Hawaii first, eats, chats with the family- zzzzz. Andy then reveals his collection to Tim which is inspired by Laos, where his family immigrated from. Not much is constructed so he instead presents sketches, which Tim warns could be a hot mess down the line. Next up is Michael who is inspired by the colors of sky and the movement of feathers and has a shitload of looks (12 total, with another 6 in the reject pile). I see old Hollywood glam but I guess he doesn't make that connection. While eating, Tim meets Michael's son and we learn that Michael's family has been pretty stand-offish until he got on the show, possibly because his boyfriend outed him to them. Stop 3 is Mondo's trendy little work room and his inspiration is creepy Mexican circuses and Day of the Dead. The looks are fun except one creepy hot pink pajama-looking thing with red fuzzballs; truly terrible. Last up is Gretchen, perhaps because it takes about 3 months of drinking to tolerate her. Gretchen's life is in the shitter a bit: she's broke, single, and having to find a new place. Her collection is western roots meets foreign/world style, including knitwear.

Time has passed and everyone comes back to New York to reunite and ta-daaaaa: Tim Gunn has a velvet bag-o-surprise which contains trips at Hilton Hotels for them. Is this obnoxious product placement week or what? The next day as the designers prepare to fine-tune their collections, Tim arrives to explain that to get to the final judging they will present 3 looks to the judges: 2 from their collection and 1 new look they have to create now. If you didn't see this coming you obviously haven't watched this show before.

Judging time. Mondo's looks are black and white with pops of color, screenprinting, and bold, mixed prints- so, it's Mondorific. The judges worry he might go too far in his collection, but he assures them he has some good surprises coming. Andy's 3 looks should be called metallic pleats and the judges are surprised at how intricate his just-made look is. The judges wonder if he has no range and the collection has no transitions. Michael C has that 1930/1940s flowy silk look and I actually don't hate it. His dress is praised for looking effortless and Heidi likes one of the tops, but all the looks having the same blush color evening clothes isn't impressing the judges. Gretchen's looks have some interesting darker colors, but the looks are sort of hippie/Urban Outfitters/Anthropologie and not as chic. Her looks are more daytime, but she defends that she has night looks, etc. After deliberations that I didn't pay much attention to because I was too busy talking about the American remake of Skins on Twitter, Michael C is AUF'd and not being judged at Fashion Week (which, BTW, was spoiled in a commerical break earlier in the episode so great job, Lifetime). Good news is you still get to present there with 5 other decoys because everyone and their mom gets to present now. Heck, I have a collection prepared just in case.

Photo Credits: BravoTV.com, BuddyTV, CBS.com, MyLifetime.com, NBC.com, Survivor.com