December 31, 2011

Charity of the Month for December 2011: American Cancer Society

12/31/2011 Posted by Mel Got Served
I can't believe 2011 is over and we're moving into 2012. For the first time ever I truly made a new year's resolution and actually seeing it through has felt great. I've learned about so many new charities this year and I am sure my contributions will help do great things in this world.

For my final charity of 2011, I decided to donate to the American Cancer Society. This holiday season someone close to me lost someone to cancer. It saddens me this for disease to continue in this world and I hope that my contribution can help in taking the steps forward to curing cancer as well as providing help for those currently battling. I encourage you on this final day of 2011 to make a donation, just a little one, to a charity that means something to you. Trust me, it feels good.

December 26, 2011

Reality Rundown: The New Dragon Slayer

12/26/2011 Posted by Mel Got Served , , , No comments
Finale! Survivor: South PacificTop Chef: Texas

Finale! Survivor: South Pacific - The final duel is the most Ozzy-est of challenges: hang on a pole as long as you can. Brandon does a decent job staying up for a while but of course Ozzy prevails. So Ozzy returns to the game and becomes the prime target. Ozzy of course wins individual immunity in the form of stacking blocks like a card house. Sophie, who for some reason owns a card stacking book, throws a hissy fit for Albert to help her. Albert tries to use this as leverage as to why Sophie should be the next to go, though Rick is really the top one to go. Ozzy reveals to everyone at Tribal Council that he made a final three deal with Coach, making him livid, and then says Sophie is a brat, leading to her having a breakdown. It's silent mustached Rick whose torch is snuffed.

In the last immunity challenge, there's one of those big obstacle course jungle gym things to retrieve puzzle pieces and then assemble them. Ozzy takes the early lead and gets all his bags first, but he's a puzzle failure and Sophie wins immunity. Coach declares Sophie the new Dragon Slayer for finally taking Ozzy out. Despite reassurance from Coach that the deal is still on and begging for a fire challenge tie breaker, Ozzy is eliminated for good.

At the jury, Albert keeps pretending he was BFF with all the jury members and insists he was the puppetmaster. Sophie makes logical explanations as to what she did to stay in the game: strategy, alliances, and winning challenges. Coach feels this is his redemption story and he played with "honor and integrity" and because he keeps saying this phrase over and over, it rubs the jury the wrong way. Coach eventually admits he had to play shitty sometimes. Albert still gets the most ripping by the jury because they believe he knew Brandon was going home and Rick thinks Albert used god to get ahead. The best part of the whole jury questioning is when Sophie reveals they staged the whole Upolu "We found the idol!" moment since Sophie/Albert/Coach found it early and kept it a secret from Rick and Brandon. They jury votes and we come to the present day set and the winner of Survivor: South Pacific is.... SOPHIE!

At the reunion, Sophie gets like four minutes of airtime before Probst only speaks to the male contestants. He gives Ozzy so much credit and Ozzy wins fan favorite by a landslide margin. The worst moment of all time goes to Probst suggesting a Brandon vs Russell Battle of the Hantz season and I will tell you know if that happens, get your recaps elsewhere.

Now, most importantly, at the beginning of each season of Survivor I predict who I think will win based on questionnaires, pre-show interviews, etc. Obviously I was totally wrong with Mikayla, BUT this season we have a winner! Everyone please congratulate Phil Robinson who chose Sophie before the game started. Kudos to him because truth be told, I figured she'd be one of the first out.

Top Chef: Texas - The Quickfire is interactive this week, taking suggestions straight off of Twitter. This includes having to cook something with bacon in it (snooze), make a hash (hashtag challenge, har har puns), and use a random ingredient picked by another cheftestant. Paul is declared the winner for getting bacon, blueberry, asparagus and clams to not taste like shit. He wins $10,000 but no immunity.

The elimination challenge is to create a dish inspired by the person who taught you to cook. Here's where you get a lot of clips about their moms and grandmothers. Alleged new judge of the entire season Emeril finally returns to collect a paycheck and is joined by celebrity guest judge, Patti LaBelle. The winner of the challenge is Sarah who was inspired by the stuffed cabbage her grandparents made. The bottom three are attractive Chris, Grayson, and Heather. I figured Grayson was the shoo-in to go after making a literal copy of her inspiration dish and having horrible portions. Turns out karma's a bitch for nasty-ass Heather who is eliminated for overcooked, tough, dry meat.

December 15, 2011

Reality Rundown: Hmm I'm Gonna Go Smell the Pizza

Finale! The Amazing RaceFinale! The Biggest Loser
Survivor: South PacificTop Chef: Texas

Finale! The Amazing Race - The final destination on the race around the world is Atlanta, Georgia and man I would like a Phaedra Parks cameo. Amani and Marcus are from Atlanta so lucky break for them. Their route info sends them to a flight simulator which would be puke city for me. Marcus has a fear of flying so has trouble not really flying on the ground. Amani and Marcus takes ace to succeed at fake flying.

Next, teams go to "The Dump" which is the residence of the dude who wrote Gone With the Wind. Since they have to figure it out themselves, they're lost. Jeremy and Sandy end up in a furniture store, frantically searching. Ernie and Cindy are able to make a call to find the right location. At The Dump is a "who gives a damn?" Roadblock to type out their next clue on an old typewriter, but there's no 1 key so they need to use lowercase L. What an exciting finale task. Ernie and Cindy complete the task before Jeremy and Sandy even arrive.

The next clue is at Turner Field based on Hank Aaron's stats. At the field, there's a big ass map that one team member has to climb up and use a rope and carabiners to plot out the race course. This is a better challenge as it requires brains and brawn. Cindy really remembers the race course so her only challenge is maneuvering up on a harness. They receive the clue to head to Swan House, the final pit stop in the race. Then they hover over their cab driver's GPS cursing the "Recalculating" voice. Smart editing makes it seem like Jeremy and Sandy are close but I'm doubtful. Ernie and Cindy make it through the cheering crowd of losing racers and become the winners of The Amazing Race: Worst Season ever. Seriously, what an unchallenging, uninteresting, piece of shit season. Of the remaining three teams, I guess I was pulling for Ernie/Cindy or at least I remembered who they are (sorry, Jeremy and Sandy).

Finale! The Biggest Loser - If you're looking for two hours of filler with periodic weigh-ins, have I got the finale for you! Anna even puts on a pleasant face for someone who was fired for being unlikable and intolerable. While we get some silhouettes of the final three, until then it's the other losers competing for the at-home prize of $100,000. The "huge difference" in this finale is that all the losers have already weighed in and the top three will get on the giant fake scale for the final at-home prize weigh-in. I don't love the way they display the weight loss as it doesn't make it as clear as to their starting weight and ending weight. The at-home prize contenders are Vinny, Patrick, and Jennifer. Yeah I don't really remember two of those people either. The big fake scale is rolled out and Jennifer wins the at-home prize after losing 43.94% of her body weight (145lbs).

The final three, Ramon, John, and Antone, come strutting out to reveal their new skinnier looks next to their fatass holograms. The show then fills and immense amount of time and I'm not kidding about this: I started watching the episode at 9:50PM and completely caught up at 10:21 PM. We get a sneak peak of Biggest Loser 13 which premieres in only three fucking weeks and the twist is they arrive as pairs but the pairs are split: one family member with Bob, one with Dolvett. John loses 225lbs to win The Biggest Loser and gets the confetti in his hair he dreamed about.

Survivor: South Pacific - Ozzy and Edna battle in the latest duel: slide puzzle, hatchet to cut puzzle pieces, than a stackable puzzle of cubes. Ozzy has an early lead but hey, the commercial shows Edna's possible upset. Even Upolu is giving her help from the sidelines to take on Ozzy. No upset at all: Ozzy wins.

It's time for the five to start eating each other alive and Albert can't wait to pull of the biggest blindside yet: Sophie. Are you fucking kidding me? GET RID OF COACH. He even begs Coach to listen to his Sophie pleas, but Coach isn't listening and sees the paranoia. Albert sees Sophie as a threat now so wants to adapt his gameplay to work with Rick and Brandon better. Albert realizes Rick would be ideal for final three because he's a total follower that has done exactly nothing. What Albert isn't considering is how fucking obvious it is that Coach will win. Well until Ozzy inevitably comes back into the game and gets all the Savaii jury votes. Sophie suggests to Coach that Brandon should be sent to Redemption as their best chance to maybe eliminate Ozzy permanently, or at least eliminate his god-loving chances of winning. Coach starts to get Russell flashbacks with Brandon, who is bossy and a butt-inski.

The immunity challenge is to climb a wall to collect puzzle pieces which have to be sorted into pairs, but the extras will make a number code to unlock a box. Gahhh could they make challenges easier for recaps? Winner gets immunity and pizza, soda, and garlic bread. Since the entire pre-immunity strategy talk was to get rid of Brandon, he of course wins immunity and thanks Jesus. He gets to pick one other person to enjoy pizza with him, so Brandon picks Rick to join him while they eat pizza in front of them.

Since Brandon's safe, Coach and Sophie agree it's Albert's time to go since he thinks he's better than everyone. Sophie goes to "smell the pizza" and lets Brandon/Rick know the plan is Albert and he's got a final three with everyone. Brandon doesn't like liars cause the bible hates liars. Rick even speaks saying that Albert checked him with him re: a final three as well. Sophie loves seeing Albert squirm. Albert knows he's screwed but tries one last time to get Brandon to open his heart to him and Brandon forgives him and announces he won't vote for him. Brandon even says if he has to he will give Albert his immunity necklace. Brandon knows he's safe with Coach and even tells Coach said plan. Well this puts Coach in an awkward position.

Tribal Council time! 4 seconds into Tribal, Brandon announces he'd like to give his immunity necklace up and puts it around Albert's neck. Brandon is willing to give his space up for others to show his alliance dedication. Brandon is fucking crazy and dumb. Jeff asks Albert if he would in turn re-give the necklace to Brandon if he were in trouble; Albert says yes, Sophie's not so sure. The realization begins to hit Brandon his time could be up but Albert hopes Brandon has faith in himself and Coach to keep him alive. No shit he keeps the necklace. The votes are cast and, a-duh, Brandon is eliminated.

Top Chef: Texas - Quickfire: make a dish that pairs well with the product placement tequila. Tasting time- shots, shots, shots, shots-shots-shots! Best dig: Heather's dish tasting like the dish of the week at a chain restaurant. The winner is Ty-Lor who made steam clams in a That style fish caramel sauce, a good spicy contrast to the tequila.

Elimination challenge: pair up with the person next to you to cook game meats for their assigned famous chefs, who each come with their meat request. Other catch: all the cheftestants will be judges too and there's double elimination. Winners split $10k so that's a positive. Heather gets paired with Beverly, who she hates. This will not work out well for the bitch. Chris Jones is also in the partner shitter by messing up the sweet potatoes and his partner, Grayson, gets pissed when he admits the flaw. Ed and Ty-Lor are named the winning dish for their quail.

The cheftestants have to vote the three worst pairs to send for elimination. To the judge's table go Heather/Bev, Chris Jones/Grayson, an Nyesha/Dakota. Nyesha/Dakota made a great dish (gratin success!) but the meat was too rare. Grayson/Chris cooked the meat well but the dumb chain linked fence of sweet potato was dumb. Beverly/Heather could've been rendered more but didn't feel like a finished dish. Heather throws Bev under the bus as fast as she can, questioning her work ethics. Dakota comes to Bev's defense because Heather's just being a bully, though her argument is that Bev just doesn't have enough self confidence and over-questions. The pair eliminated is Dakota and Nyesha which I think is kinda bullshit but I guess you have to cook meat right in a meat challenge.

December 11, 2011

Reality Rundown: I Won't Be Happy 'Til the Confetti Falls

The Amazing RaceThe Biggest Loser
Survivor: South PacificTop Chef: Texas

The Amazing Race - After sleeping in the Atomium and shoving more Ford product placement in, the teams have to dress as detectives from the Tintin comics, realize who they are, and find a Tintin mural. What's funny is they didn't attempt to make this a movie product placement yet shove Fords down our fucking throats. The snowboarders get a good idea and Google what they look like, but fail when they think they're Charlie Chaplin. Others have the good fortune of finding people that know the comic and characters.

Teams cross the Atlantic to Panama City, Panama and I pray they never have to go to the cesspool of Panama City Beach, Florida the week of spring break. Horrible! Once there, the teams take cabs, then boats in the dark to sign-up for tattoo appointments. It's not real, thankfully, but just paint and it is actually their next clue: San Francisco Bay Towers. It's a Roadblock to cross a tightrope, round-trip, 35 stories high above Panama City. Sandy has to do it, based on the rule that at the end the Road Blocks must be evenly split, and she's afraid of heights.

Teams then have to find a statue to their Detour clue. The Detour this time is to deliver assorted seafood to vendors or make a pair of sandals. All the teams completely misinterpret the next clue on the dancers for the Pit Stop and end up in a totally wrong location. This is a fail on the race's behalf because they made the clue completely horrible and difficult to find. Here's a hint: next time you want to send them to a location and hide it on the dress, don't let them wear other pieces that say another location all over them. Lucky for most teams, Jeremy/Sandy's cab driver gives their cabbies all the correct location. Jeremy and Sandy are team #1 and win a trip to Turks and Caicos. Last place are the snowboarders Andy and Tommy, who drove way to far to a wrong possible Pit Stop. They are last to check in and eliminated from the race. I can never pick a fucking winner.

The Biggest Loser - The final four head home to be greeted by their families and townsfolk where they show off their new bods. They receive DVDs from their trainers that also include the pre-show interviews with their fat selves. This is 30 minutes of filler before we get to the only interesting part: Vinny proposes to his girlfriend at the Grand Ole' Opry. I went there once! Then Antone benches his kids. The trainers eventually visit the losers back at home to make sure they are fucking up their progress. John is still a dick even to his wife. Becky is the only person who goes back to work afterwards, making this a more accurate representation.

Then, the final four return to campus (well the desert) to run their season-ending marathon. Then all the loser losers get off a bus because as you recall, everyone will run the marathon and whoever wins gets a guaranteed spot in the finale. BUT, there's more: Walgreen's is going to give money to the top 5 finishers ranging from $2,500 to $25,000 (for the winner). Big stakes! Old lady Bonnie isn't running which I know surprises us all. Annoying old man Johnny walks the marathon while wearing a barbershop quartet hat or something. Courtney, who went home week three, is the early leader; Ramon passes her at like mile 9 but Courtney is still close. Dr. Huizenga thinks a lot of the losers are looking horrible which is like duh, these people are not trained marathon runners. He pulls Joe from the race eventhough Joe wants to finish his last 5 miles; he refuses. Smart move for that torn ACL. Ramon wins the marathon, gets $25k, and a spot in the finale. Rounding out the top five are Courtney, John, Jessica, and Patrick.

Final on-campus weigh-in! The final four are duking it out for the remaining two spots in the finale since Ramon snagged the first slot. No America's vote- yay! John gets all dickish and says he won't be happy til he's pulling confetti out of his hair. Bob admires John's competitive nature. Joining Ramon in the finals are... John and Antone. Vinny and Becky are eliminated which is a bummer cause I guess I liked them. I didn't really care; I had no one I was routing for this season.

Survivor: South Pacific - Cochran realizes he got used and abused by Upolu. Ozzy is confident he's going back into the game. Their duel is to retrieve balls in bags, which will then by used for a table maze. Cochran comes so close but fucking Ozzy wins again. Cochran's not totally bitter because he lived and breathed Survivor now and all the moments he's seen on TV he's now experienced. It brings him to tears.

More tears come rolling because after a tree mail cell phone pre-game, the loved ones are on the island to visit. Instead of a competition, Ozzy gets to choose whose loved one sticks around for the day. Ozzy chooses Albert, Coach, and Brandon to get family time. Do we have to give Coach fucking everything? The families will head to Redemption Island with Ozzy, and the cameraphone, to takes pics. Best moment: Coach says being on Survivor is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Says the guy whose been on THREE TIMES. Also, Coach proposes a secret final three deal with Ozzy when he likely returns to the game. Brandon's dad is like, screw the god stuff and play for the million. Brandon's dad decides his son's game sucks so much that HE tries to get Coach to bring Brandon to the end.

The immunity challenge is to flip puzzle pieces to make a path and not step on the same tile twice. The best part is the big ass puzzle is shaped like a pineapple which reminds me on Psych. Jeff makes some metaphor about it being like the game of making big moves early to get the biggest piece. Edna tries her damndest since she knows she's the outsider without immunity this is her last day. It's pretty clear she knows she's next too since Brandon tells her everyone is gunning for her elimination. Well Coach wins immunity so Edna is fucked.

Edna feels like a second-class citizen on the tribe, excluding herself from prayer circle since she knows Brandon doesn't want her in the tribe. The tribe doesn't like Brandon's big mouth and wishes he had some tact, but I guess they forget he's a Hantz. Edna tries to campaign against Brandon to Coach, Sophie and Albert and uses Brandon's horrible, inconsistent actions regarding honor and integrity to help defend herself. Edna even tries to get Coach to play his idol, but he declines. All the scrambling doesn't matter because at Tribal Council the core group of five vote off Edna.

Top Chef: Texas - This week's Quickfire is a saucier test where the chefs draw knives of different types of "mother sauces" and make a dish with a personal spin on the sauce. I enjoy seeing the judges scoff at when someone doesn't use a roux. The winner of the Quickfire is Grayson's ravioli and beschamel.

The Elimination Challenge is to work as one big team to make a four-course steak dinner for 200 people, in which two courses must include steak and must be cooked medium rare. The challenge winner gets some Toyota car too because we need more product placement so badly. During prep, Ty-Lor cuts his hand up all nasty and bleeds on his marrow bones. As if they weren't gross enough. He's in charge of steak cooking though so he's very nervous. No one else is willing to step into the grill leadership role since no one wants to get eliminated. Meanwhile, fat Texan Heather won't STFU about Beverly's shrimp prep and taking a long time.

The Cattle Baron's Ball is being held at Southfork Ranch, so add in lots of dated references to Dallas. Since it's a charity event I love that it's a steak event with a bunch of women who are like "oh, red meat!" and look startled. First course: tomato-watermelon summer gazpacho, which is deemed safe. Second course: grilled New York Strip carpaccia with a tomato and grilled asparagus salad. The steak is great, but the salad is a clunker. Third course gets delayed which means cold, ugly steak. The dish itself a grilled rib eye, braised brussel sprouts, and creamy potato gratin. The steak is overcooked and the gratin sucks. The final course is dessert and they serve up a "right-side up" peach cake, which the judges love but diners aren't so keen on. The dinner is deemed just fine, so I look forward to a hostile judge's table.

The group wonders in the stew room what excuses they should pull out and Heather gets pissy about the shrimp... again. Chris J, Nyesha and Heather are the best this week. Nyesha made an excellent compound butter and sauce that saved the dish. Heather's cake was tasty but the original cake base wasn't hers (it's Ed's). Chris' steak was perfectly cooked and flavorful. The winner is Heather, which delights Ed so much. Ty-Lor, Whitney and Ed are the bottom of the pack. Ty-Lor knows his steaks were overcooked and takes responsibility. Whitney's potato gratin was not ideal given the climate, plus it was undercooked and borderline raw in spots. Ed's asparagus and cherry tomato salad was safe, lazy, and didn't compliment the steak on the plate with it. Tom says tonight was so easy and Whitney is eliminated..

December 4, 2011

Reality Rundown: The Pagonging is Complete

The Amazing RaceThe Biggest Loser
Survivor: South PacificTop Chef: Texas

The Amazing Race - The To Be Continued leg goes on, sending teams to the Ford Proving Grounds (still in Belgium). Ford is THE Ford as in the cars and this Road Block is a giant product placement to drive an "America icon" in tests of speed, slalom, and donut... in Belgium.

Afterwards teams drive to the city of Gent for their Detour: build a floatable raft or assemble a waffle stand and make/decorate perfect waffles. If you get to eat the waffles, I'm all in. The teams are split between the Detours which is good cause I hate when all the teams to one obvious option. The trick of the float is the clue is split in half so you have to retrieve both pieces, which the snowboarders didn't notice. Jeremy and Sandy suck at waffle making and this is the first time I remember their names. If they win this race it would be the least memorable team ever.

At De Muur they have to pigeon race and let a bunch of pigeons free and find the address. I'm totally birdphobic so I fast forward. At the address they get a teeny picture of this Atomium sculpture which teams have to find to check in to the Pit Stop. Andy and Tommy are team #1 and win new Mustangs which they can customize themselves. Last place is Bill and Cathi which I knew since on Sunday night my mom was like "Bill and Sandi..." and I'm like "STOP I haven't watched" and she said "Well you don't know if I was going to say they went home" and I was like "Then why would you bring them up?" Then it took me seven days to watch cause this season is lame.

The Biggest Loser - The losers meet Ali out in the mountains and it's a put the weigh back on challenge, which they do ever year. They strap on weights and drop them as they reach check-in points. Everyone realizes what fatties they once were and they never want to be in that state again. A-hole John is the winner, narrowly beating out Antone, and receives a 1lb advantage.

This boring-ass race just leads to their Progresso Soup sponsored makeovers (plus $5,000) so that they'll look "soup-er." UGH. They get the Pretty Woman hooker treatment on Rodeo Drive, new 'dos with Ken Paves set to annoying music, and get pampered at a spa (gold facial, whaddup). Their looks are revealed on a red carpet to a crowd of extas. Inside the theater? Their families, of course. The losers and their loved ones, some who have slimmed down at home as well, take in a private showing of Cirque du Soleil's Iris. The families also get to stick around the ranch for a bit and meet/get lectured by the trainers. There's one last chance workout which is the last time in the Biggest Loser gym.

Sunny kicks off the weigh-in losing only 1lb, which sets Bob off a bit. John loses 9lbs and gets his 1lb advantage; Dolvett is cheering because he's not getting kicked to the curb yet. Also, hot red blazer on Dolvett. Vinny loses 10lbs, getting him into the final four as well. Below the yellow line are Sunny and Antone, who even though he lost 8lbs it's not a big percentage. Sunny is eliminated which surprises me since I figured John would take the easy way out. Now, everyone goes home and returns for one last weigh-in on campus before the big finale.

Survivor: South Pacific - There's another truel because producers don't understand the word origin of "duel." Ozzy, Whitney, and Dawn balance ceramic dishes on a wobbly arm. It's a mix of bowls and saucers as usual. Dawn, the mom who should be better with dishes, drops first. Whitney drops next which means stupid Ozzy is still in this game. If another three-timers wins this season. Ugh, just no words.

The tribe is cracking now that they have to pick each other apart. Sophie is over Cochran, who really aced prank phone calls as a kid ("I'd like to trade sperm with you.") Cochran notices the tribe is a Manson-like cult, weird prayers and suppressing evil urges. Cochran pleas his case to stay and Albert/Cochran do feel like the owe Coach but Sophie definitely doesn't. Albert is earning the rep of "Prince Albert" for sitting around and doing nothing, though he thinks the people who do laundry and forage are useless too. Edna is just desperate to not be eliminated right after Cochran. Still no one dares consider kicking off Coach. LEMMINGS.

The immunity challenge is a narrow-down sort of thing. Toss sandbacks, then sling coconuts at targets. Whatever, it's lame since it's all rehashed shit. Albert, Rick (who?), and Sophie finish the sandbags in the first three positions so they move onto coconuts. Albert wins immunity, a shower and a massage; he picks Coach to bring along with him but gives his massage up to Cochran as a birthday gift (Lie! His birthday was six months ago!). Hope it has a happy ending.

Back at camp, Cochran and Coach see their shower, massage table, and two unlucky women who will be caressing their creepy bods. Coach and Cochran bond more as Coach sees Cochran as a little warrior. Post-massage, Cochran and Albert talk strategy and Cochran is sure Coach would flip on Rick. Cochran even tells Albert about the new nickname around camp. Edna is down with voting out Rick, anything to give her another three days. Finally Cochran approves a lei-clad Coach to give all the deets about Rick and where the votes could lie at Tribal.

Oh mysterious Tribal, what will happen? Coach feels the game is pretty open-ended and there aren't final deals in place yet. Cochran says he's likely 7th out and hopes Upolu will give him a mercy three days for helping them get to this point. Brandon can't ever keep a secret and blabs that it's either Edna or Cochran, no one else. Then he starts having some ethical dilemma about wanting to do bad things but stopping himself. Uhh, awkward. Sophie talks but then Cochran interjects that basically all that matters now each week is the immunity winner. So is it Cochran or Rick- which side will Coach choose? The Pagonging is complete and Cochran joins the rest of Savaii on the jury.

Top Chef: Texas - Still at the Tejas Rodeo, Padma tells the cheftestants the next morning they'll be departing for Dallas. So long, Alamo references! Into the product placements they go and crank up their "Life is a Highway" (or so I'd assume). But the "highway", which is a completely closed off street, has a cop pulling them over. Of course it's a setup and Padma and famous chef John Besh are standing in the fields for a Quickfire. The task ahead: create a dish using the survival kits packed in the trunks of their cars. So there should've been a tip off when the show was like "Hey, don't put your luggage in the car." Lots of canned goods, no knives, hardly any equipment; what fun. The winning dish is Lindsay's vienna sausage soup and a sandwich made with saltines. Sounds... interesting?

When the cheftestants get to Dallas, they will create a course for a "progressive dinner party" which means they eat one course at each house and then move along. The teams are split randomly by Padma based on where they are standing and eventhough it's teams, they are judged and creating dishes as individuals. Lucky for them, the couples hosting these dinner parties are total richers and have super nice kitchens. The cheftestants are appalled when dessert house guy expresses a passion for gummy bears. SNOBS! Won't lie, I kinda like this progressive dinner party thing. It's like a key party of houses with food. The judges join the party hosts, including some lady who classes it up with some Henna tattoos, and go house to house hatin' on the food (and sometimes liking it). Best part: these richers have no palettes and Tom Coliccio hates everything they like.

Sarah, Grayson, Paul and Dakota are brought into the judges' table first with the best dishes of the night. Two desserts, two apps. Dakota's bread pudding seemed like a large portion, but was a favorite across the board. Grayson made a delicious chocolate dessert. Sarah, I forget what she made. Paul's brussel sprouts were executed well and he wins the challenge. Bottom group: Chris Jones, Ty-Lor, hot Chris, and Chuy. Hot Chris' cupcake was awful- chocolate, strawberry, banana and mint. Too much! Ty-lor's plate was out of proportion and too much food that looked bad. Chuy's salmon was overcooked and the goat cheese developed a weird texture. Chris Jones knew he took a risk making his dish look like a cigar but it wasn't the best use of ingredients. Chuy is the dinner party fail and eliminated.

November 30, 2011

Charity of the Month for November 2011: Community Servings

11/30/2011 Posted by Mel Got Served
I'm great at donating, bad at blogging. I've been meaning to post for weeks but have been a slacker. Forgive me.

I was riding the train from from work and along with staring at the weird people, I always check out the ads. That's where Pie in the Sky, part of Community Servings, got my attention. Pie in the Sky is their Thanksgiving drive where people can sell pies, donated by restaurants, to raise money for meals to deliver to people with critical and chronic illnesses who cannot shop or cook. Every Thanksgiving you can either buy a pie for your dinner and pick it up or buy a pie that they'll deliver to one of their clients. I was like a day late to donate a pie to someone else so opted instead to donate directly to the organization. Just $25 can provide a week's worth of meals to someone. During these holiday times, it's a small thing that can make a huge difference.

Plus how could Mel Got SERVED not donate to a charity with SERVINGS in its name?

November 27, 2011

Reality Rundown: 20 Miles to Legoland!

11/27/2011 Posted by Mel Got Served , , No comments
The Amazing RaceThe Biggest Loser
Top Chef: Texas

The Amazing Race - Teams head to the Hans Christian Anderson statue to retrieve their first clue for this leg of the race. It's a Road Block: memorize a poem, ride a bike with a map on the wheel, and then repeat the poem verbatim in a super dramatic way. Because it's a tourist landmark, Cindy encounters issues reading the poem since a bunch of schmos are blocking the poem. Most teams just can't ride a bike and look at a map on a wheel at the same time. Others need to step up their acting game.

After they finish the poem they head to LEGOLAND! George Michael, 20 miles to Legoland! At Legoland they need to put together some legos while riding a Lego version of the tea cups with a pirate theme. HURL CITY, YO. Sandy almost pukes and almost is no fun when you're watching reality TV. Do it to it, gurl. Once they complete the puzzle, teams have to drive across the border to Hamburg, Germany where I'm hoping there will be a Five Guys eating challenge. Nope, they now have to take a train to Brussels, Belgium which, quel surprise, is an equalizer. At some point, Cindy loses her ticket and we know this because the show does a dramatic zoom in. How do racers never notice their camera person not moving and taking a shot of the ground? Cindy/Ernie don't have enough Euros to buy another ticket and need to get ta thinkin' so they get on the train and decide to see if the conductor can help them reprint while on the train. Oh wait, the conductor never ends up collecting tickets so nothing happens.

The next task is a Brussels from Muscles challenge where they need to get in some skiivies, get a nasty spray tan and oiled up, and perform body building moves. It. is. gross. From day one I'm like, man I can't wait to see the old people in speedos and bikinis so mind read. I don't know if there's any ball slips because of online pixelation but I sure hope there was! Amani and Marcus wisely make the choice to take their time practicing so they get it right the first time. It pays off because they arrive at the mat first except it's to be continued leg! I hate non-elimination legs, but I love to be continued. It lasts forever and they get cranky. Yesss.

The Biggest Loser - The kitchen is covered in plate of delicious Thanksgiving food, which Alison decides is an opportune time to remind us we all eat like shit that day. There's three incentives benefits to this Thanksgiving temptation: $500 per pound lost this week, an at-home gym installed, and a 3lb advantage. They have five minutes to eat as much as they want but it's not about how much you eat, just who has the lowest number on the bottom of the plate. Lowest number gets to pick first, etc. Sunny can't believe everyone is eating and gives into eating to not be the only one not participating. It becomes a little psychological, deciding whether to stick to one dish and or try to get a lower number while perceiving others had a good number and that's why they ate less. The winners are, in order: Vinny 3lb advantage, Becky the home gym, and Antone gets the money for pounds lost.

The big cliffhanger this week is that if John, the last red team member, is eliminated, Dolvett is out. Anna makes her people play tennis. The losers have a Thanksgiving dinner where they say what they're thankful for. Bob likes Sunny best because she reminds him of her sister.

There's a challenge to race one mile on one of those Jacob's Ladder endless staircase machines. Enjoy those calves tomorrow, losers! There are three prizes, a give/get: give the Biggest Loser meal plan to an eliminated contestant (and get some for yourself), $2,500 to give and $2,500 to keep, and a 1lb advantage for yourself and a 1lb disadvantage for someone else. John completes the challenge first and picks the 1lb advantage (he will give the disadvantage at the weigh-in). Sunny comes in second and picks the meal plan (her meal plan to give goes to Bonnie). Ramon rounds out the top three and is given the remaining prize, the money (he also gives $2,500 to Vinny).

At the weigh-in, John gives the 1lb disadvantage to Sunny because it's easier to knock out a woman and Sunny has the potential to lose much more weight. Classy move! John loses only 5lbs (ouch), upped to 6lbs with his advantage (1.94%). Maybe the creepy slicked back hair reduced his weight? Antone wins $4,000 for losing 8lbs. Vinny passes the 100lb mark, making it a special weigh-in for him (11lbs lost plus a 3lb advantage). The two below the yellow line Sunny (lost by 1/100th of a percent thanks to the disadvantage) and Ramon. Sunny is pissed because it's allegedly Thanksgiving week and this is a shitty thing. John gets the chance to save face and keep Sunny, yet still votes her out because he wants to compete against Ramon. What a turd. Based on a tie, Ramon is eliminated for having the lowest weight-loss. Ramon heads home, gets his own makeover, go on a skydiving date. And of course we'll see him propose on the finale.

Top Chef: Texas - The kitchen is filled with tons of super hot chilis and the hotter they are, the more money their worth. This is because if you win the challenge, the hotter chili you use the more money you make (up to $20,000 if you use the ghost chili, the hottest chili in the world). Only one dude (Paul) chooses the ghost pepper for the money and to test his skill, while others choose varying degrees of heat. The risk pays off for Paul, who made a chilled coconut soup with ghost pepper relish; he wins $20,000 and immunity.

The Elimination Challenge is a chili cook-off and all I can imagine is a big bowl of Scott Tenorman chili. The cheftestants are split into teams of three to create one pot of chili and get all night to cook. No time limit? Score! Oh that's because they have to cook it at home, not in the Top Chef kitchen. They will serve their chili at a rodeo and the attendees will select a winner. Along with the raid on the supermarket, the house becomes a shitshow to grab equipment, stuff from the fridge, and a spot to cook. Chili tastes better the longer it cooks so a lot of teams pull all-nighters to get the perfect stew.

The rodeo begins and all the cowpokes start sampling all the chilis. Green team (Sarah, Chuy, Chris C) makes chili con carne, no beans with beef chuck topped with a roasted corn mixture. The flavor gets better as the judges eat it, but wish they had a bread or tortillas for all the extra sauce. Red team's (Dakota, Whitney, Chris J) chili is braised brisket and short rib and just typing that makes me hungry. It's smoky with a fair amount of heat (so kids don't like it) but the texture is a little odd. Blue team (Heather, Edward, Paul) have smoked brisket chili with summer pickles (and topped with pork rinds- ew). Black team (Nyesha, Beverly, Richie) serve chili mole with cornbread, so it has chocolate and cinnamon in it. The cornbread is a pleaser but the chili isn't what they judges necessary wanted. White team (Lindsay, Grayson, Ty-Lor) become mortal Texas enemies when they serve a three bean and beef chili (since beans in chili is a Texas no-no). They have poblano cornbread though and any cornbread is OK by me. The pickled veggies in the chili is divisive amongst the panel.

Padma rides into the rodeo on a horse to announce the winner, selected by the diners, of the chili cook-off. The Green team wins and while I'm sure the chili was great, perhaps Sarah's constant declaration of being an authentic Texan helped. The Black team is named worst chili by the judges. They have a chance to prove they belong in the competition by transforming their losing chili into a winning dish. Beverly makes seared tuna with habenero creamed corn. She is given credit for owning up to the mole by using the sauce while changing the flavor profile. Nyesha serves Frito-encrusted black tiger shrimp with roasted corn salsa. The judges think it lacked sauce and the corn seemed easy. Richie also rocks the Fritos, encrusting a pork tenderloin over potato hash and ricotta cheese chili puree. The judges find it lacking in seasoning, one-note, but made a lot. The person bucked from the Top Chef rodeo is Richie, making his BFF Chris very sad.

November 20, 2011

Reality Rundown: Bunnies Jumping Hurdles Are Cuter Than Anything Imaginable

The Amazing RaceThe Biggest LoserSurvivor: South PacificTop Chef: Texas

The Amazing Race - It's off to Copenhagen, Denmark, a first time ever for the show. Not a first time ever: shoving Ford Focus product placement down our throats. Oh and there's another dumb Double U-Turn will be waiting for them in Denmark. The only thing that could be good is that dumb father/son Laurence and Zac used the U-Turn on Amani and Marcus last week but it didn't matter since they were ahead of them. All teams are on the same flight to Denmark via the Netherlands except for Laurence/Zac who book a different flight via London, which arrives first. Amani and Marcus make the dumb mistake in Amsterdam that everyone will be on the same flight so they go eat and doddle around a Hudson News or something. Wrong! Everyone is way gone and they are stupidly still there.

Who gives a shit about flights though when there's an equalizer, as the clue opens at 7am (well, Marcus and Amani might because their flight lands at 8:20am). When the location opens, teams need to search for two flags that will tell them their next destination: Frederiksborg Slot. The teams deduce that "borg" is castle and a map at the castle incorrectly advises the dating couple to go to some other castle. I don't even know this couple's name but eventually learn it's Jeremy and Sandy; still don't care. This dumb mistake gives Amani and Marcus time to catch up, but then blow it by having horrible sense of direction and an overuse of football metaphors.

At the Slot the teams encounter a Road Block: one person needs to rock a period costume and learn a three-part old timey dance. Zac is horrible at it and takes forever and his dad yaps that he could've done better if he did it because it's "his forte." Well maybe you should fucking volunteered, braggart. After dancing to some hypnotic flutes, the teams perform a Detour: lead a rabbit through a steeplechase course on a leash or churn butter. In case you were wondering, seeing bunnies on leashes completely an agility course is the most adorable thing you will see in your entire life. Churning butter is less adorable and a little more like watching an episode of Gigolos.

Ernie and Cindy finish their tasks first and make it to the Double U-Turn first and use it on Bill and Cathi since they were churning butter together; Ernie isn't a fan of the move. But since Bill and Cathi come upon the Double U-Turn second, they U-Turn Laurence and Zac since they know they were behind them. I am happy about the U-Turn only because everyone was churning butter and neglecting the adorable bunnies since animals are temperamental at challenges. Bill and Cathi nail the course thanks to their newest, cutest pal, Speckles. Amani and Marcus easily get their bunny through the course too which shows that bunny challenges are perhaps the best choice going forward.

Ernie and Cindy head to the Pit Stop, Havet Ship, and finally win a leg (and a trip to Fiji). Jeremy and Sandy get so lost and they seem the obvious elimination choice, or maybe just last place seeing how many non-eliminations there have been. U-Turned Laurence and Zac have a quick course thanks to an encore use of Speckles but then get insanely lost driving and stuck in a massive traffic jam. This mishap allows Jeremy and Sandy to check in as team #5. Laurence and Zac are eliminated from the race.

The Biggest Loser - Alison informs the losers they are competing in a pentathlon all week and teams are gone; singles time! Return of the yellow line! The person who has the most pentathlon points at the end of the week wins immunity; last place in points gets a 1lb disadvantage. Alison, who has been standing by an election curtain, asks the losers to rank each in order of most deserving aka popularity contest and the coolest/least biggest a-hole gets 7pts and so forth. Sunny uses the Sean season 1 of Survivor strategy: alphabetical order. Others do strategy, Bonnie gives better scores to teachers, and John goes by weight-loss. So one event down, four to go!

Event 2 is to retrieve pegs to eliminate other players, so it's about playing the game and removing the threats. Sunny wins the challenge taking out Becky. Event 3 is "Knowledge" which is nutrition trivia. In a question about cheese, Bonnie calls it "mozzarelly" and "provoloney." Antone wins trivia with close to a clean sweep. Event 4 is strength and balance by pulling themselves across a pool while balancing on some bright yellow peanut shaped float thing. Surprise, Bonnie falls immediately. I figured she'd fall on the pool deck so she beat my expectations. Sunny wins her second event, making her a contender for that final prize. Olympian Apolo Anton Ohno comes by to shove Subway sandwiches down our throats. Actually, the losers throats but how annoying. Apolo leads the losers out to event 5, the final event, is to run a mile really fast but Apolo is going to run with them to motivate them. Jeez, maybe they should've hired you instead of the failed athlete. Ramon wins the event and beats his normal mile time.

The highlight of the episode for me is when Dolvett has a talk with John and opens up about his past as a foster child and being adopted. Won't lie, I got verklempt. I love Dolvett. Dolvett encourages John to fight and explains the reason he is pushing John by dropping a medicine ball on his stomach to make him fight. John later opens up to Dolvett about the death of his father and how he did the ceremony. OMG sad.

Weigh-in. First, the results of the popularity contest are given and Antone wins immunity and top of the chart. Sunny's alphabetical order totally effed her over- HAHA! Last place is Bonnie, so she gets a 1lb disadvantage. Bonnie loses 5lbs, which is surprising and shows she doesn't give up (except at attempting to run a mile). Unfortunately, everyone has a really good weight loss week where 5lbs (1.88%) for a woman is kinda low. Bonnie falls below the yellow line with her former teammate Becky (4lbs, 2.15%). Bonnie cries a bunch and I had to have my roommate translate that Bonnie requests to be voted out and to keep Becky.

Survivor: South Pacific - If you play the game three times you should be a master, so Coach's improvement is somewhat awesome. He tries to pacify the remaining Savaiis about Jim being a threat, though Whitney isn't buying Coach's Kool Aid. Cochran admits to sipping it and does a little Dragon Slayer Chi with the man. Coach admits his paranoia and vows to protect Cochran as well.

There's a "duel" between Ozzy, Jim, and Keith to balance poles with a board on top. The winner of the duel sticks around, the two losers because the first two jury members. No one is routing for Ozzy, Whitney is routing for Keith, Coach routes for no one, and others want Jim to win. Well Jim drops out first so bummer there. Keith falls out afterwards meaning Ozzy's fish binge paid odd. He then yaps more about enjoying time alone at Redemption eating fish and getting strong.

Immunity challenge: balance a bowl of rice on their heads across teeter totters and put into a container. Brandon, Dawn, and Sophie are the top contenders in the race. Sophie gets real ballsy and fills her bowl over the rim. This extra rice adds lots more weight and tilts her rice scale to victory. No reward or anything but there's a big twist coming to Tribal Council and Jim won't announce it til either.

Dawn is desperate to stay and Cochran is open to flipping again and rejoining Dawn and Whitney, which he thinks will make him look better to the jury. After the immunity challenge, Cochran double checks with Coach that Dawn and Whitney are the targets. Cochran is smart enough to think ahead that the twist could be an immediate immunity challenge and another vote and sees he could be in trouble. Dawn and Whitney aren't rolling over and decide Albert would be the best bet at a logical player. Albert's open to this because it gets him in good Savaii graces on the jury, takes out Coach's bottom bitch, and makes Cochran feel appreciated and higher up the food chain. How does Albert convince Cochran? By telling him Cochran is definitely looking at seventh place and he buys it (whether it's true or not, who knows). Albert and Cochran approach Sophie to help make this Edna plan happen and Sophie's torn about being a swing vote. Coach sees the scrambling and is not pleased and threatens "instant death" to those who "go against the family."

Tribal time! The pecking order is the discussion because Savaii is getting Pagonged and Jeff doesn't believe Cochran isn't thinking ahead further. Coach denies being the tribe leader and Whitney rolls her eyes cause it's so obvious Coach is the don of his scrappy little mafia. Jeff talies the votes and my main lady Dawn is heading to Redemption Island to eat fish and fruit with Ozzy. What a waste of exciting editing.

Cochran's earlier suspicions are correct and there is an immediate immunity challenge and vote happening at Tribal. The super quick immunity challenge is survival trivia questions with a wrong answer being immediate elimination. #1 target Whitney comes very close to winning immunity, but Sophie beats her in a final true/false question. Whitney is then quickly voted off. Next week, Cochran will probably go and it'll be a full Pagonging of the Savaii tribe.

Top Chef: Texas - Audition bullshit is finally over and now it's time for the good shit: Quickfire. And the first real Quickfire: cook some rattlesnakes. And I won't even dignify reusing the Snakes on a Plane line Padma drops. Soooo 2007. Bottom: Paul, Richie (too much citrus), Nyesha (overcooked rattlesnake). Best: Beverly, Dakota (beer battered, yum!), and Sarah. The winner of the Quickfire is Dakota, who gets $5,000 and immunity.

The cheftestants draw knives to be put into two teams: pink and green. Their client is a 15 year old girl having her Quincenera which is like a Sweet 16 except a year earlier and Spanish. They have to cater the event and since it's a birthday party there has to be a cake. Ding dong Keith botches immediately for the pink team by purchasing cooked shrimp for a cooking competition dish. Uhh, duh. The blame should go to the others too for not saying anything. There's some team friction with Keith who just wants to compete and skip the bickering. Green team has an authentic Mexican on their team to validate flavors so score one for green.

Pink team's dishes are: avocado fritter, pork tenderloin with pineapple salsa, ceviche with some popcorn, choclo con chile, enchiladas with salsa verde, carne asada, cochinita pibil, and a cake with strawberry and pineapple. The green team serves: pork carnita charrone, shrimp ceviche with yuca chip, tomatillo gazpacho, empanadas, goat birria, beef short rib asada, pulled chicken mole, and a vanilla tres leches cake that's got a crazy lean on. All in all, Blanca has a pretty sweet birthday, wears a big pretty dress, and gets to be on TV.

The winning team is the green team, meaning crybaby Beverly is safe (ugh). The obvious target is Keith, the cooked shrimp purchaser. They call in Ty Lor, Sarah, Lindsay and Keith to the judge's table; they are the least favorite dishes. A lack of leadership and poor menu planning are cited as main reasons for the downfall. The cooked shrimp comes up quickly and Hugh thinks it was a dumb move and deserved the lashing he got. Ty Lor's corn fritter was dry. The storebought tortillas Lindsay used sucked. Keith gets flack for using a flour tortilla for his empanadas, since you use corn tortillas. Sarah is like "I grew up in Texas and never use flour tortillas" and the judges are like, um shouldn't you have spoken up? Sarah is this season's Lisa- WHO BURNED MY RICE? Considering Lindsay lived in Mexico and failed, it's kind of a strike for her right off the bat. The first to go is Keith and his crummy empanadas and shrimp buying skills.

November 13, 2011

Reality Rundown: No One Curr About Fish

The Amazing RaceThe Biggest Loser
Survivor: South PacificTop Chef: Texas

The Amazing Race - I hate to be a Debbie Downer but watching TAR this season is like homework to me. This week the teams take a bus to the town of Salima for their clues and are warned there's a Double U-Turn ahead. Angry Mel alert! A team is still in the race because of last week's non-elimination so they have to complete a Speed Bump and there's the possibility for two teams to get screwed over, or the non-elimination team to get royally screwed. This show is so poorly planned this season. The bus doesn't depart until 7am so, surprise, Amani and Marcus are able to catch up with the pack and cut the line to get onto the same bus.

Amani and Marcus are immediately greeted by their Speed Bump when they arrive in Salima: solve a slide puzzle. Finally, a Speed Bump that is challenging and not like "drink this glass of water." The rest of the teams jump right into the Road Block, which is to operate a bike taxi and drop off a customer. Would be a lot nicer if they got a banana seat. Jennifer finishes the task but doesn't have her clue since she left it with her brother, meaning she's stumped what to do after she's dropped off his passenger. She is wandering around hoping to see another team rather than, I don't know, find your goddamn brother, get the clue, and start over?? It takes her ages to make that decision which was to come back anyways or something.

Next task is the Detour to paddle canoes or unload cargo from a ferry boat, walking in the ocean. In case you can't decide, the most obvious choice is the canoes since the cargo is to unload a shitload of stuff and people. The show didn't even put fucking effort into this and instead made an obvious Double U-Turn fuck-over task. Can you tell I'm over this shadow, a shadow of what it once was? Ernie and Cindy can't operate a foreign canoe and opt to use their Express Pass to skip the canoe (and the lugging) and avoid being U-Turned. Amani and Marcus are the true geniuses that do the unload the cargo. Did I mention they have to carry PEOPLE TOO? They end up getting ahead of a few times so I guess it's not too hard to lift people and cabbage when you're a former NFL player.

Ernie and Cindy reach the Double U-Turn first and instead of stickers there are touchscreens to use technology to fuck other people over. Laurence/Zac (the father/son team) try to U-Turn Amani and Marcus but haha shitheads, they were there just before you! It's an Ernie/Cindy and Andy/Tommy footrace battle to get to the Pit Stop first. It's so close, pretty much the only exciting thing to happen all season; Andy and Tommy are team #1 when they get checked in by Malawi's Coolio doppelganger. Andy and Tommy win $15,000; I am one step closer to an accurate winner prediction. Justin and Jennifer are way behind thanks to the setback and for once, there's no a goddamn non-elimination and they are out of the race.

The Biggest Loser - Ramon is crushed they sent his girlfriend home. The loser explain their vote was because Jessica was strong and a "threat" which some people don't like that the competition angle came up. Joe thinks he made the best decision for the blue team, but Ramon isn't hearing it. If the game is going to be played, dear god let Ramon throw the weigh-in!

Alison shows up not to the losers but to the trainers. This week, only one loser per team will represent their team on the scale and the trainers will have to select. The trainers have until the weigh-in to decide so I guess the best worker of the week (or the fattest person left) will be their choice. The trainers are there to benefit everyone though and give equal time, perspiration, and therapy chats to each team member.

All the losers and trainers head to the Art Institute of California's Los Angeles school for a challenge. The teams, along with their trainers, have to whip up a healthy dish in 30 minutes and be judged by Biggest Loser winner Olivia and Devon Alexander, the author of all the Biggest Loser cookbooks that people drain their money on. The prize for this challenge is super lame: a private chat with Olivia and their recipe in the new cookbook. There's also 1lb advantage, so that's a decent prize that makes up for the other junk. The winning team is Bob and the black team's pork medallions and slaw, which had only 210 calories. Impressive! The black team enjoys their victory lunch with Olivia and get scrapbooks made by their families.

Weigh-in. The trainers have to select their weigh-in loser before everyone climbs on the big fake scale. The "lucky" losers: Becky (black), Joe (blue), and John (red). John loses 10lbs (3.04%) and isn't happy; turns out old lady Bonnie did much better percentage wise. Becky loses 6lbs for the black team along with the 1lb advantage (3.65%), which leaves her team unscathed. Bob is mastering this season. Anna made a wise choice not picking Sunny (2lbs) and Ramon loses only 6lbs. Only Joe's weight loss masters in terms of the game this week and he loses only 2lbs and they are up for elimination. The black and red team get to decide who goes home from the blue team between Joe and Sunny. Joe is eliminated from the game and feels a little betrayed. You mean like when you kicked off Ramon's girlfriend last week?

Survivor: South Pacific - Post-Tribal, Ozzy and Cochran talk solo and Cochran explains it wasn't a revenge vote but him playing the game he's loved for 11 years. Then Whitney asks if Cochran was the vote (um, dingaling, he admitted it a Tribal) and Whitney is pissed and is "disgusted" by him. The Upolu embrace the sad ginge. Coach later performs his Dragon Slayer Tai Chi on the beach and gets a shaky fist. Perhaps he's shaking his fist at the tribe name: TE TUNA.

Immunity challenge this early? Oh yes because it's Double Tribal Council night! The first immunity challenge is in stages: toss coconuts, first four to finish then crack coconuts and spit water into a tube Double Dare style. Physical challenge! I was routing for Dawn, who each week surprises me. Instead Jim of the former Savaii tribe wins immunity. Ozzy is screwed.

Coach and Ozzy talk because Ozzy knows he's done. Coach doesn't mind the desperation pleas but is also like ehh too little, too late, love your Jesus hair. Dawn does some ass-kissing in case her name comes up and considers flipping again. Jim and Whitney bitch about Cochran flipping. Jim proposes to Ozzy that he'll give Ozzy his immunity necklace tonight to try to get everyone else to vote out Cochran. Wow, this is dumber than Ozzy's original Redemption Island plan.

Tribal Council. Savaii makes their arguments to show that they always saved Cochran and he's dishonorable. Jim makes his "epic speech" about getting rid of turncoats, wanting to give the immunity to Ozzy, blah blah. Coach has no plans to change the game and thinks getting rid of Cochran would send the message if you stand up for yourself you lose. Ozzy uses his god awful "I feed the tribe" argument. No one gives a flying fuck about the fish Ozzy. After talking such a big game, Jim keeps his immunity necklace and Ozzy is sent to Redemption Island. Again. Ozzy joins Keith at Redemption Island and dives deep into the reef to catch a gigundo fish for them to feast on. Oh jeez, maybe they should've kept you on the tribe!!!

Immunity challenge 2! They have to balance on a beam while balancing a ball on a bow. For the arrogant players, they can sit out the challenge and feast on breakfast goodies: muffins, donuts, iced coffee. Coach is torn because he should compete but he is hungry. Only Jim, Dawn and Whitney compete in the challenge; all of Upolu and Cochran binge-eat on donuts. HAHA AWESOME. Best moment: Probst asks Coach if he regrets not doing the challenge and Coach just begins to laugh with a mouthful of donut. Dawn claims she'll stay up as long as she can so Upolu can stuff their faces because they're "one tribe." Kiss ass! Dawn ends up bobbling and falling and Whitney wins immunity.

Cochran dances around camp wearing Coach's gaudy blazer. Jim thinks Cochran is playing a great game for third place and is confident he's out. Jim approaches Sophie and Albert, who he believes aren't drinking the cultist Kool Ad, with a plan to get rid of Edna. Albert appreciates the effort but would much rather get rid of likable, friendly Dawn, who is making friends with Upolu and getting in with the alliance. A tribe talk has Coach trying to evaluate whether to get rid of the snake (Dawn) or the rhinoceros (Jim).

Tribal Council. Jim is physical, Dawn is likable (and pretty physical, too). Brandon doesn't buy Dawn's earlier kind words after she contradicts herself and feelings about the breakfast feast. Brandon is ready to pick off all of Savaii one-by-one, excluding Cochran. Whitney cries about being vilified. In the Savaii sacrifice, it's Jim meeting up with his bros at Redemption Island.

Top Chef: Texas - More audition round qualifiers- gahhhh. The "final" group (because we know the kinda-rejects will cook again tonight) have to decide as a group who will cook with each ingredient. There's octopus, brussell sprouts and most importantly: RICE! WHO BURNED MY RICE?!?!? There's one more twist: under another silver platter, each person gets a timer with different time allotments to cook. The people with 20 minutes are not pleased! Moving on: Paul (grilled trout), Lindsay (braised veal), and some other chick whose name I missed (Korean style octopus). Bubble chefs: Andrew (roasted mushrooms), Laurent (duck). There's another rice failure when the risotto dude fails to plate.

The bubble chefs are freed from the stew room afters hours of judging each others' merits. There are two slots left and the buble chefs have one more qualifier to get in. The almost-cheftestants can use any ingredients to make a dish that proves why they should be here. This guy Edward really slices his hand up and while he wants to jump in right away, the medics clean his shizz up first. Blood free duck, please! Coats go to Grayson (bacon wrapped shrimp with fig) and Edward (bloody duck dude). Thank god auditions are over cause this is dullsville to recap.

November 7, 2011

Reality Rundown: Enough GD Non-Elimination Legs

The Amazing RaceThe Biggest Loser
Survivor: South PacificNew! Top Chef Texas

The Amazing Race - The teams finally leave Thailand and fly to Malawi, Africa (home of Madonna's baby!) And whaddayaknow it's an equalizer with everyone on the same exact flight. Their clue takes them to a tobacco warehouse to pick up the next clue: a Roadblock. One teammate will have to transport 10 bales of tobacco through the warehouse using a little dolly. The actual workers of the warehouse are the only distraction, cheering and singing as the racers complete the task. It's fun to see how excited they are. The old folks and Amani/Marcus are at the back of the pack due to crappy seats on the plane and bad cabbies. For a big dude, Marcus sucks at pushing the little cart and the team that departed first from the Pit Stop is now dead last.

After haulin tobaccey, teams take cabs to Memorial Tower to retrieve the next clue. The clue is a Detour to sew up seams on a coat and pants or to head to a local school and build two children's toy trucks. I'd do the trucks just to give back to the kids with a fun toy, but the suits would also be helpful so it's a win-win. Ernie/Cindy and old folks Bill/Cathi do the sewing which isn't too hard but a little tricky to find. Jeremy and Sandy finish the toys first and head to the next clue at a wooden furniture shop.

The teams need to pick up two beds at the furniture stop and transport them on a truck to the next Pit Stop. No beds, well they'll have nothing to sleep on and get a penalty. Sibling team Justin and Jennifer are team #1, but didn't pay the truck driver that helped with the beds. This means Andy and Tommy, who arrived seconds after, are team #1 (again!) and win a trip to the British Virgin Islands. Amani/Marcus end up behind thanks to a broken down cab on the way to the Detour. They kind of catch up and eventhough Bill/Cathi have the didn't-pay-the-driver-blunder too, Amani and Marcus are last to check in. Oh but who gives a shit because there's a third non-elimination leg and who the fuck cares there's no stakes on this race.

The Biggest Loser - The age-based teams and gone and now Anna will be able to get people of a variety of ages eliminated. To get their new teams, the losers put on their original age shirts and meet up with Samantha Gene Brady. The nine are split into groups of three and have to guess calories of dishes. If you come closes you pick first, second picks second, third gets stuck with Anna (cause we KNOW that's what'll happen). In the end a young, middle, and old will end up on each team. The new teams are: Jessica, John, Bonnie with Dolvett; Vinny, Antone, Becky with Bob; Ramon, Sunny, and Joe stuck with Anna. Ramon doesn't like Anna for her stupid personal comments last week so this should be awesome. Now Joe picked Anna not for her hot bod or training abilities: he chose based on the members of the team. Now did he mean they would be a strong team or that he could beat the other two? We'll see.

Right off the bat, Ramon airs his grievances with Anna for being a buttinski. Joe just continues to insist Bob knows him so well and Anna will fail. Anna tries to explain that they can't be addicted to trainers, they need to do this on their own. Then she tells Joe to not be a crybaby. Anna kicks her teams' asses to show she's the boss. John, now on Dolvett's red team, breaks down in tears in Bob's arms. O. M. G. You're insane. Dolvett brushes it off and is ready for the challenge of working out losers in different age ranges and skills. Antone is a little mopey with Bob because he misses the old team. Again, get over it. Not bitching? Bonnie! She's free of Anna, loves Dolvett, and has an emotional breakthrough about finding love again.

The challenge is most awesome: slip 'n slides! They'll sliiiiide down, pick up blocks, and use these blocks to spell out the prize they want. Bonnie takes her time down the slide so that her teammates can do the puzzle and she cries at the end? Another fake injury? Nope, overwhelmed with joy. The blue team wins with "Immunity for 1" and the black team is just seconds behind (they were shooting for "3lb advantage"). Blue team has only five minutes to choose who gets immunity and are all boo-hoo we all want immunity. Well maybe you should've read the puzzle right. They rock/paper/scissors for it and Joe gets immunity.

Weigh-in! We learn a twist this week is that the two winning teams will vote one person off the losing team. Dolvett's red team puts up some great numbers (3.84%), with John dropping 15lbs- crazy! The black teams heads to the scale and all hit double digits (4.15%)- crazy x2! For Blue, Sunny and Ramon put up great numbers and it's up to immune Joe to not screw over the team. Joe drops big weight too and gives the blue team safety (4.91%). Goddamn, now I can't make Anna sucks jokes. Dolvett ends up the losing trainer again and it's time for the blue and black teams to vote off a red teamer. I figured it was a pretty obvious vote with Bonnie heading home. Except the votes aren't coming out in Jessica's favor and she's eliminated. Ramon ain't happy, especially with his new teammates.

Survivor: South Pacific - Savaii starts planning for post-merge. Keith is passive aggressive and Cochran agrees to be the double agent that will pretend to flip on his tribe. Ozzy, over at Redemption Island, tells Christine that Cochran played the idol which eliminated him from the game. Will the move pay off?

In a weird twist that clearly screams "tribe merge!", everyone is invited to watch today's duel between Christine and Ozzy. Ozzy puts on a pissed off show while Cochran plays sad sap loser; Upolu doesn't buy it. The duel is to construct a long ass stick to collect keys to unlock locks. We've seen this a bunch of times. And of course, Ozzy's master plan could come to fruition, because indeed the winning playing will re-enter the game. After kicking ass for many days alone, Christine loses the duel. This means Ozzy's ballsy move pays off and Savaii might've pulled off something amazing. If anything, this is a huge selling point for Ozzy should he make the finale.

The newly merged tribe gets their feast and crushes some brews. Coach and Cochran have a little chat and he tells Coach the tribe hates him. Coach isn't stupid and completely calls Cochran out on everything and can tell it's some BS story and it was a bold move that played off and Savaii will be drawin' rocks next Tribal. Coach said if it's true Cochran felt ostracized, join the Upolu side and change the game. Cochran is not sure what to do: he actually trusts Upolu but reciprocates the trust from Ozzy and gives the immunity idol back. Cochran and his Savaii tribemate Dawn talk about their outcast status and worries about backstabbing the tribe, however Savaii treated Cochran like shit and she feels bad for not standing up for him.

First individual immunity challenge and what a second, there are two necklaces! One man and one woman will win immunity. They have to balance a coconut on an ever-expanding rope. This could be huge for Cochran and Dawn! Or just Dawn since she wins immunity for the girls while Cochran barely outlasts first-out Edna. Oh lordy, Cochran. The men comes down to Ozzy and hot Albert balancing their coconut. Albert drops and Ozzy wins immunity.

The Savaii 6 chat who to vote for and choose Rick after considering Sophie. If both tribes go 6/6 then you have to draw rocks and whoever pulls the purple rock goes home. Cochran tells Sophie the Savaii plan and Cochran might be wavering- it's hard to tell. Cochran just doesn't want to get jumped gang style after Tribal. Dawn and Cochran chat and he's thinking of flipping his vote once they get to a second re-vote.

Tribal- gaaaaaah what'll happen. So it's an obvious fact that there will be a 6-6 tie and likely it'll be up to fate to choose who is eliminated. I'm trying to pay attention but all I can think is "pull some fucking rocks!!!!" The immunity idol is a question and Albert points out Ozzy's horrible acting skills. Ozzy says WE, his tribe, have the idol. Ozzy plays the idol at the vote, or rather he gives it for Whitney to play. One problem: all the votes are for Keith so that didn't work. The votes are tired between Keith and Rick so there is a re-vote and you can only vote for Keith or Rick. The votes come in 7-5... Keith is eliminated. Cochran immediately admits he flipped and says he'll explain. He's called a coward by his team and Brandon defends him and says that's what you get for talking to people like that. Wow, SERVED. But then I feel SERVED because Keith's not out-out... Redemption Island still exists. Oh FML.

New! Top Chef Texas - 29 chefs meet up at the Alamo because it's Texas and you need to shove a Texas landmark in within the first 25 seconds or this season is shit. They will split into groups of three and then compete to make it into the top 16. The potential cheftestants head to the Top Chef kitchen for their first quickfire, hosted by head judge Tom Coliccio and new judge Emeril Lagasse. The teams will need to create dishes using the different cuts of a full pig (which they need to butcher themselves) and then majority rules when judging their dishes. You're either in, our, or on the bubble and will need to compete again. Those who make the grade get their navy blue Top Chef coat.

First group, which is like 90% chefs from Chicago. Some asshole guy, whose name I could care less to learn, brags the whole time and then ruins pork tenderloins and other meat. Tom is like, go, please go, you're cut. YAY! Two of the chefs competing are actually colleagues at the same restaurant and help each other. Coats go to: Chris (for an interesting take on pork and applesauce), some chick who made crispy pork skin, Nyesha (braised pork shoulder with TexMex flavors), Heather (baby back ribs over grits), Richie (onion soup with pig ears). On the bubble are cruise chef Molly (soup) and Grayson (itty bitty stuffed pork tenderloin). They will compete another time to maybe get the 16th slot.

Group 2 quickfire: all ten must pick the same ingredient and make a dish using it. The group picks rabbit and I weep on the inside. I thought Padma was the ultimate fail at pronouncing Tyler until I saw a dude's name was actually Ty-Lor. My apologies, Padma. Who gets coats: Whitney, Keith (cold rabbit and corn salsa), Dakota (rabbit creppinettes), Ty-Lor (confit rabbit leg with a side of sweet mustache), Chris (confit rabbit, best cooked of the day according to judges), and Chuy (adobo marinated rabbit). Bubble: Ed, Janine (rabbit nugget over grit and hash).

But wait, there are still nine chefs we haven't seen and bubble people. NEXT WEEK DORKS.

October 30, 2011

Reality Rundown: And Twins!

The Amazing RaceThe Biggest Loser
Survivor: South Pacific

The Amazing Race - This week's leg kicks off still in Thailand, but with a fun task: ride elephants! It's followed by a Road Block to listen to some dude play a wooden flute while searching murky water near a waterfall for a clue. It might be the easiest task ever. The twins (Liz and Marie) depart maybe 2 hours behind the pack and have to do a Speed Bump due to their non-elimination leg check-in. Before riding the elephants they must pick up the elephant shit and bathe them (in water, not shit).

To retrieve the next clue, teams them disassemble a spirit house (Thai shrine) and bring the pieces along with them. Again, easiest task ever. Next clue is another Road Block which is to reassemble the spirit house, which can only be done by the team member who didn't do the water. While disassembling was easy, reassembling is tricky since no one really paid attention.

This leg, which never ends, then sends the team to Bangkok for another GD clue. Turns out the cab ride is a huge expense out of the $186 stipend they've been given for this leg. Cindy and Ernie's cabbie gets pissed that they pay him with American money and demands Thai bahts; they end up paying $150 and ragin'. Zac and his British/Aussie dad (what is he?) book tickets on a first class bus and after driving a bit realize it's against the rules and have to back-pedal (turns out that only pertains to planes, not buses- whoops). That means they have to wait until 8:00PM after originally getting a 4:30PM bus. Despite waiting like two and a half hours, the twins are still behind them and don't have enough money for the cab. The hold-up with the cab driver makes them miss the bus and they now have no money for another ticket, but the cabbie agrees to take the money and drive the twins to the bus. Well that's no fun.

The teams arrive in Bangkok and get into cabs, which I hope are cheap since no one has any money. The teams feed the fish in the canal to get their clue which leads to the Pit Stop. Another waste of time, kind of like the hour I waste watching this show. Amani and Marcus check in as team #1, with old folks Bill and Cathi just seconds behind them. Amani and Marcus win a trip to Bali, or maybe Phil said "Bally's" like the shitty Vegas casino or the sports club. The twins find out that walking to the fish feeding is going to take like five hours and they didn't want to beg poor people for money. The getsta walkin' but a generous cabbie ends up giving them a free lift. Post-fish, another cabbie agrees to give them a free ride to the Pit Stop. It's great editing as if the girls stood a chance but they were hours behind. The twins are eliminated from the race.

The Biggest Loser - It's Halloween week and the losers are shocked, probably because this was filmed in like April. Alison Sweeney is dressed like Bridge of Frankenstein and drops sad facts about Halloween and fattiness. Alison makes a temptation offer: for every pound of candy they eat, they get a one pound advantage. Sounds awesome until they learn it's not about the individual this week: the entire group (10 people) must lose 100lbs together. If they don't make the 100lbs, the entire group votes someone out meaning team divisions will make some big choices. Ali give one last tip: the group can eat up to 10lbs of candy. The candy will lurk in the kitchen all week.

Since it's one big ol' team this week, there's some trainer swap going out. Jennifer is really clingy to Bob, which Anna notices. It's pretty easy to notice since Jennifer cries to camera about missing Bob's shouts. In a Dolvett bonding session with John, who has adopted sons, we learn that Dolvett was adopted as well. In the kitchen, the red team skips the candy and eats (what else but) Jenni-O turkey. Jenni-O turkey also works as an aphrodisiac as Ramon and Jessica have found a love match in the house. They share a romantic picnic in the sunset and Ramon drops the love bomb. Again, The Biggest Loser has a better track record for love than The Bachelor.

The teams meet Alison at a hay maze for their latest challenge: collect as many apples as you can in a hay maze to obtain a weigh-in advantage. If they collect 150lbs of apples they get a 5lb advantage, 200lbs of apples gets 10lb advantage. The catch is that at the end of the 10 minutes if anyone is still in the maze, the advantage is lost and they instead get a 5lb disadvantage. My favorite moment is someone giving the Carla Hall "Hootie Hoo!" to have their location known. The losers work together to make sure no one gets trapped in the end. Antone won't go into the fake Styrofoam graveyard, I guess for fear of being haunted by non-recyclable materials. With a minute left, some people run in for more apples because they're close to the 10lb advantage. It's as if the Titanic sinking the way people were screaming to get out. With seconds to spare, everyone gets out of the maze in time and get over 200lbs for a 10lb advantage.

The losers decide that it would be funnier to tell Bob they got a 10lb advantage eating the candy instead of winning a challenge. Bob is livid and it is hilarious. Luckily it's a joke but they'll still pay in the gym. Bonnie screams like she's being tortured when Bob finally works with her and he even gets her to laugh. Proof that Bonnie isn't lazy, she just truly hates Anna. Dolvett and Anna really give the losers a whipping but Jennifer refuses to put her all into any workout unless Bob is leading it. Get over it, woman. John, so desperate to be in the game, fears he's a target and will go home this week. Get over it, man. We also learn Vinny gained a lot of weight as a child to look to big to abuse. Yikes, sad.

Weigh-in time. The losers 100lb drops to 90lbs since they beat the apple maze challenge and not a size bite of candy was eaten. Everything is going pretty well until Sunny gains 5lbs. The coaches encourage her to not be humiliated or discouraged but use this as a motivator. Jennifer acknowledges to the group she's Bob reliant and working to get used to the other. Old lady Bonnie only loses 1lb, crushed since she thought she had her best week yet (her blue teammate Becky only loses 1lb too). Jessica, maybe infected too much by the love bug, is happy with her 4lb loss, and Ramon only has 2lbs lost. Anna decides to interject and blame their romance on this. STFU Anna. As a team, the ten people lost only 38lbs out of the needed 90- WAMP WAMP!

John is the biggest loser of the week, making him safe. Considering how much screentime Jessica got this episode, I think it's most obvious who is getting voted off. Jennifer's attitude is a topic of discussion and black is a little torn between following Bob's orders of unity and eliminating a moper. The three red team members vote for Jennifer, and I'm assuming a black team vote block for Roman (who Jen and John vote for). Nope! Phil and Antone are tired of her distraction and Sunny's vote seals Jennifer's fate and eliminates the first black team member from the game.

Survivor: South Pacific - Christine and Mikayla prepare to duel and dear god, Mikayla win and get back in the game for my winner prediction. The challenge is to rip apart a crate made of planks and use the planks to assemble a bridge, then you have to unassemble the planks to put together a puzzle. Goddamn that's awful to type for a recap. Christine wins and the duel and Mikayla is out of the game. And there goes my winner prediction.

Ozzy lets Cochran know that Christine is dominating Redemption Island and worries if they lose they need to send someone to Redemption Island. Ozzy says that if that scenario arises, he'd like to be send to Redemption as he'd have the best shot of beating her. He would give the immunity idol to someone else on the tribe so that they'd have it later. It's a huge ballsy move and could be amazing if it transpires and works, but it's Survivor and nothing ever goes with the plan.

Coach performs his Dragonslayer Chi and babbles on about the idol and wanting to tell everyone, but still isn't going to. Brandon, Rick, and Edna want to keep searching for the idol since they aren't in the loop. The tribe goes searching for the idol, but Coach and Sophie head to tree mail and pretend they found the idol just now instead of days ago. Brandon believes prayer helped find the idol- heh.

The Immunity Challenge requires the teams to pair up and paint themselves in matching paint and rock clothes. Twin time! Along with immunity, they get a sneak peak viewing party of the horrible looking Adam Sandler movie Jack and Jill. At least they get movie snacks. Jack and Jill are twins, which leads Jeff to make the longest, most convulded explanation of how this challenge and the movie are similar. The challenge itself is one set of twins to be callers to the other pairs of twins, guiding them through an obstacle course to collect masks. Once the masks are collected, the twins have to make matches using only their sense of touch. Another fun one to type! Edna is a waste of space on Upolu but Savaii loses momentum when the team becomes tangled in their ropes. BENJAMIN starts praying to god for a challenge win. Ozzy and Whitney catch up to Albert and Sophie, but it's too little, too late: Upolu wins immunity. Ozzy is pissed, blames who hooked the ropes (Cochran), and starts kicking stuff like any child would do. Hard to take a man in braided pigtails seriously.

Upolu heads to their private screening of that torture flick. The food looks better: candy and hot dogs. The best part is Sophie trying to laugh but clearly hates it.

So Cochran knows he's kinda screwed his team and everyone's avoiding him. The group has to decide who they want to send to Redemption Island and Ozzy, who earlier said he'd go to Redemption, takes it back and says Cochran needs to go. Ozzy says it's risky to send Cochran but riskier to go himself. Everyone believes Cochran can do it and redeem himself. It would be epic if he wins against Christine but Cochran's self esteem is pretty, pretty, pretty low. Cochran doesn't want to be a Redemption Island hero, he just wants to stay in the game. Though later, Ozzy heads to his tree and grabs his hidden immunity and gives it to his team. Ozzy is here to redeem himself and while Cochran agrees he deserves to go, his confidence is low. Ozzy thinks he has good odds of winning but his tribe doesn't necessarily dig the plan.

Tribal time and I have no idea how it's going down. Cochran admits he's embarrassed by his challenge performance. The tribe discusses the optimism of Redemption Island and that whoever is eliminated tonight will defeat Christine. Ozzy has created a whole plan/story for Christine that Cochran had the idol, played it, sent Ozzy home, and now he's seeking vengeance. Jeff does his immunity idol schpiel and Ozzy gives Cochran the idol after a scary fake-out and says he better get it back when he returns. The tribe does comply with the plan and they vote out Ozzy. Now will this be an amazing move or the dumbest move ever? Will there even be a merge next week? STAY TUNED SUCKAS.