February 24, 2011

Reality Rundown: Who Deep Fried My Rice?

New! The Amazing RaceThe Biggest LoserSurvivor: Redemption Island
Top Chef All-Stars

New! The Amazing Race: Unfinished Business - 11 teams (see them all here) from previous seasons of The Amazing Return for a second chance at victory because they have "unfinished business." Wouldn't any team that didn't win have "unfinished business?" I digress.

The race begins in Palm Springs, California (wonder if they stayed at Jessie Spano's dad's hotel?), as teams arrive via golf cart to a windmill filled desert. What is this, Se7en? Phil greets the teams with his usual psych-up about racing around the world but lets the teams know the 1st team to check into the Pit Stop this leg will win the Express Pass, which they can later use to skip a task down the line. Instead of just grabbing bags with a clue, the teams have to search through a field of paper planes and bring the correct one to Phil (it will say QANTAS, as in the airline). This determines the flight you end up on as well. Last team to complete the challenge will receive an automatic U-Turn, which is a pretty sweet penalty. Flight #1: father/son Mike/Mel, friends Zev/Justin (in Harlem Globetrotter shirts- ha!), Cowboys Jet/Cord, Goths Kent/Vixen, father/daughter Ron/Christina, Harlem Globetrotters Flight Time/Big Easy, mother/son Margie/Luke, cheerleaders Jaime/Cara. Flight #2: sisters Kisha/Jen, father/daughter Gary/Mallory, and engaged couple Amanda/Kris. Amanda/Kris are last and receive the U-Turn penalty, which is awesome since they lost their first time around for being U-Turned. SERVED!

Flight #1 is in good shape until a man on the flight has a heart attack, leading to an emergency landing in Honolulu and nullifying the 90 minute difference between flights 1 and 2. The teams on flight 2 arrive in Sydney, Australia first, followed by flight 1. They make their way via train to Sydney Harbor, board a ferry to some place called Ocean World which sounds delightful! The first clue is a Road Block where teams will have to swim with sharks and a bigass stingray to find a compass and decipher a flag code sentence. AWESOME, unless you're Steve Irwin (RIP).

Teams then need to sail a 16ft skiff at "the firing of the seaman's gun" (insert laughter here) and to race, aka speed because it's only them, to find a buoy with the next clue. The clue on the buoy sends teams to the pit stop at Shelly Beach. In a "definitely wouldn't have ever predicted this" moment, Gary and Mallory are team #1 and receive the Express Pass, BUT the leg isn't over! The race immediately continues, with Amanda and Kris as team #2 with an impending U-Turn upon them. Some of the dumber and less patient teams have trouble deciphering the flag code and get help from smarter teams, but the Cowboys are way in the back of the pack, completely mind-boggled by the code. What will happen? We'll see next week!

The Biggest Loser - Alison drops a bomb on the losers right away: 2 players are being eliminated this week. There is a red line that they'll face as individuals (regardless of team), then the losing team will vote someone off as well. The red team exercises off-campus, boxing and kicking ass. Bob and Jillian continue in gym work-outs, as Jillian stares evilly sipping coffee.

The teams go to a football field with huge balls. Cue lots of ball jokes. The teams will have to bounced oversized medicine balls across the field while wearing boxing gloves, not to mention the ball can't touch the ground. The winning team gets a 3lb advantage at the weigh-in. It is almost as boring as soccer to watch. The red team wins the challenge because duh, they're jocks. The black team worries this is the beginning of a death blow, since last week was a big week for them. All the parents agree they are willing to sacrifice themselves to keep their kids there, except Jesse, who is big Arthur's dad. Jesse isn't really willing to sacrifice himself for Arthur, claiming they are both confident in their weight-loss, but also says he'll face it when he comes. He gets pretty pissed that the young people think they deserve it more than the old folks. Touche!

At the weigh-in, Rulon only loses 4lbs, looking like a prime candidate for the red line, until Jen gets on the scale and gains 2lbs. Sad- looks like someone is probably joining her dad. When the black team weighs in, Marci gains 1lb, but she's only +0.55%, so Jen is still below her. But then Jesse gets on the scale and gains 3lbs- so much for his angry tirade about needing to be there. It's +1.26% for him, so Jen is in luck. It then appears obvious that the parents are throwing the weigh-in for their kids when Deni gains 8lbs. Deni feels bad her obesity gene caused her daughter to miscarry kids and is proud of giving her daughter a chance to stay in the game; she is eliminated. But the eliminations aren't over for the black team, since they threw the weigh-in. The decision is which oldie to get rid of. Perhaps because he blew up at this team, Jesse is eliminated from the game as well.

Survivor: Redemption Island - Francesca (not Franquestka) is alone at Redemption Island, which has basic supplies, drinking water, and a daily ration of rice. Basically, she's killing time alone until the next person is eliminated and they go all Thunderdome to see who stays at Redemption Island for the chance to return to the game later. Later in the episode, Francesca gets her luxury item (god I miss those) and begins journaling her time at Redemption Island. Soon, she shall face-off for her chance to stay.

At Ometepe, crazy secret agent Philip assures Rob his vote is his until he's eliminated; Rob thinks he's crazy (way to read people). Rob and all the young'ns align together and decide to vote off Phillip next. His crazy does reach a new level as he goes hunting for crabs in his undies, so his team logically watches in amazement and does nature show commentary. Young adorable people Matt and Andrea begin to form a bond, but Rob knows pairs are not good and could be a threat to him, so he starts searching for his partner. Since all the good ones are taken, Rob settles for Natalie. Over at Zapatera, Russell calls Ralph the hick the dumbest player ever and then pulls some blonde Krista aside to get yet another Russell and his young hot girl strategy going. He's also going to search for the idol with no clue, and dear god I hope Zapatera's is hidden better than the one Kristina found. Ralph the hick, who Russell called the dumbest player ever, finds the idol with no clues first, completely by accident. F YOU, RUSSELL.

The immunity challenge is to jump and break tiles to retrieve keys, open a chest of balls, use the balls to break tiles on the ground Skeeball style. Fishing gear is also on the line so fingers crossed Ometepe wins so we don't need to see Phillip lunging in his underwear for crabs. Phillip is absolutely horrible at tile-breaking-Skeeball, while Ralph and his sweater is amazing and wins reward and immunity. FFFFFF another week of Russell Hantz survival. Rob is livid that Matt and his Fabio rip-off hair shakes hands with the other tribe as a congratulations. Jeff reminds them that the person voted off at Tribal tonight will join Francesca at Redemption Island for one last shot at sticking around.

The Troll (Russell) carries the reward basket home because he knows there's a clue. His team realizes this error and reminds themselves to get the reward themselves next time. Russell and his alliance crouch around the water supply and Ralph approaches Russell about the hidden immunity idol clue and that it was won as a team, not an individual. Russell gives one of his lame warnings, but we all know Ralph is already a step ahead of Troll boy.

Phillip gives his hero speech to his tribe wishing he could've performed better and lets them know he will not be begging for votes. Phillip seemed like a sho-in for eliminated, but Matt's social playing gesture really rubbed Rob the wrong way. The other tribemates noticed this as well and quickly the tides have changed; the 4 will vote off Matt and tell Matt/Andrea they're splitting votes between Kristina/Phillip. Matt is in awe of Rob's gameplay, as Rob informs Phillip he is safe as long as he shuts up at Tribal. Rob will give a secret shoulder-grab signal of who to vote for and asks Phillip to act like a dead man walking.

At Tribal Council, Kristina proudly rocks her immunity idol necklace and will likely play it. Phillip shows off his animal tattoos and their symbolic meaning to him and his country (animals: gorilla, lion). I honestly have no idea what the hell Phillip is talking about. Nucking futs. Jeff grabs the big ol' pot of votes, and Kristina promptly plays her immunity idol. Matt is stunned as votes with his name appear and thus eliminates him from the game. Total blindside, which he commends his tribe for. But it's not over yet: next week, Matt and Francesca battle at Redemption Island.

Top Chef All-Stars - In the top chef kitchen, a silvery wig catches the cheftestants eyes: it's Paula Deen. The challenge is to impress Paula with their deep frying skills. Richard knows the inner glutton in Paula and deep fries mayonnaise. Yeah, that's a definite WTF dish. More WTF: Mike Isabella's dish is stolen straight from Richard's idea notebook and he knows it is straight up dish-plagiarism. Worst dishes: Dale's many meat extravaganza, Carla's hush puppies. Best: Antonia's deep fried avocado steals Paula's heart but she broke the rules. Paula also loves Richard's mayonnaise and Mike's stolen chicken fried oysters. Mike then wins the challenge and $5k and the scorn of an entire viewing audience.

John Besh, probably the top New Orleans chef, is the judge for the Elimination Challenge. The cheftestants are tasked to make Gulf seafood, southern style, for a charity event. "Some friends" come to help them out AKA eliminated contestants and they each are carrying a different seafood protein; pick a protein, get the chef. Everyone is cool with their sous chef, except Tiffany who really wanted white shrimp and got Marcel with the package deal. Tre ends up being the biggest dud in Southern food, letting my girl Carla down. She requests to remove his NAACP card. Carla is hilarious. The chefs also learn Mike violated "chef law" and I hope violating that law gets him beheaded. They are not pleased, especially when he acts like a cocky dick in the kitchen (heh).

At service, Richard and Fabio get into a tiff right when the judges arrive at their table. The service is a wee bit stressful when they're cooking almost on-demand. The same thing happens over with Dale and Angelo, but it's less the demand and more than Dale isn't satisfied with the taste of his dish. The diners don't care for the overpowering mustard and the potatoes are over done. Tiffany runs out of glaze and asks Marcel to make a new batch, but fails to taste it- cue ominous music and a "you're screwed" from the Greek chorus. Carla gets feedback from diners that they don't like her dish and realizes she's in trouble- nooooo, not my Carla. Only Antonia seems to be having a smooth night, which shows in the judges love for her crabcakes.

Judges' Table. Antonia, Richard, and the thief are the best of the night. Richard put snapper with pulled pork, which was a surprisingly good combo. Mike covered his shrimp with grits, which I'm not sure if Richard wrote it in his diary first. Antonia's crab cakes had a nice smoky spice from the andouille sausage. The winner is Richard, so it's kinda like he won 2 challenges tonight if you count the first dish as his. Richard the class act also decides his guest for the trip will be Fabio for helping him achieve victory. Bottom 3: Carla, Dale, Tiffany. Tiffany's shrimp was overcooked, thanks to Marcel, and it was overly sweet because of the sauce. Dale's soup had raw potatoes and the croutons were covered with mustard, and not in a tasty way. Carla wanted to redeem her Quickfire fish and failed. The fish was overpowered by the taste of hot sauce and mustard and the collard greens didn't compliment in either. Dale is told to pack his knives and go- wowzer. Another front runner out of the game.

Big thank you to Dirt Squirrel Phil Robinson for the title of this week's Rundown!

Photo Credits: BravoTV.com, CBS.com, PopTower.com, Survivor.com