March 18, 2011

Reality Rundown: Conch'd Out

The Amazing Race: Unfinished BusinessThe Biggest Loser
Survivor: Redemption IslandTop Chef All Stars

The Amazing Race: Unfinished Business - The teams fly to Lijiang, China where they'll get a mandatory flight to China (because flights are very limited) but have to find their own transportation to Lijiang. Since the majority of the racing teams are from season 14, they all remember the nightmare of 3 back-to-back legs in China; Ron and Christina are all smiles as they've been to Lijiang. Kent and Vyxsin make a vow for "PMA" (positive mental attitude) this leg and get lost trying to find the airport, leading Vxysin to whine and cry in the car. At 6:30AM, Kent and Vxysin still haven't made it to the airport; turns out they drove in the wrong direction for hours and the flight is at 9:30. Kent/Vxysin miss the flight as the rest of the teams head off in the sky to China. They are able to get a flight in the afternoon so they're not totally stranded. The other teams, meanwhile, are in China making their decision between train or plane to get to Lijiang. Ron/Christina leave first, on a train departing at 8:50. The rest of the teams are a little too late and get on the next train. Kent/Vxysin arrive in China, but the airport is closed, so they depart for Lijiang early in the morning.

Ron/Christina arrive first and stop to get Ron's favorite breakfast food and find the clue for marked shuttles, but they don't leave until 8AM allowing ample catch-up time. Everyone arrives at Jade Dragon Mountain to retrieve their clue: saddle and ride a yak. Cross that one off the bucket list. The next clue sends the team to Spruce Meadow via a gondola, where teams are feeling the difference in altitude, panting as they walk. There's a Roadblock awaiting them to search for charms of all the Chinese zodiac. There are hundreds of charms, not to mention tourists walking through the path too, which allows the teams to poke at the locals and make animal noises and gestures. I didn't need to see the cowboy going "BOK BOK BOK!" Maybe a "Ku-ku-ka-chaaaa" would've been better. Mallory finishes first, so they jump on the marked bus to head to Old Town Lijiang and an ancient prayer wheel. What, no anchor? Everyone gets through quick, but Zev has difficulty and in a miracle, Kent and Vxysin catch up. They said they were late because of a broken down car, but there's still the possibility for a penalty. It takes Zev forever but finishes since he realizes he had 2 goats- idiot. Vxysin is tired and stressed and starts crying more. Oh and at some point, Ron and Christina don't get on the marked bus but some trolley. Ron starts screaming, Christina jumps out of a moving vehicle and falls, but Flight Time and Big Easy tell their bus driver to stop for them.

In Old Town Jiang the racers have to find their zodiac sign, write down a wish, and deposit it. What a dumb fucking "challenge" especially since everyone puts some variation of win. Then there's a Detour where they have to hammer hot candy or lead a procession with a long ceremonial horn. The pit stop is at the top of a hill and called Eternal Tower: Margie and Luke are team #1 and win a trip to Aruba. BUT, the only interesting thing that happens this episode: the leg is to be continued! Everyone groans but takes off to the next destination. Kent and Vxysin really lucked out, huh? NO, because Vxysin left her fanny pack with the passports, money, etc. on the gondola and the bus driver refuses to turn around. HAHA the Amazing Race gods really have it in for the goths this leg.

The Biggest Loser - There is no red vs. black this week as they are combined into the blue team. Everyone will be safe this week if they lose 65lbs on the scale. The exciting momentum continues with medical consults with Dr. Huizenga and everyone improves, or so I assume because I fast forward through it. But the good news is, Moses death date has been postponed so good news! Then they pair up for a pop challenge to cook the best meal they can that tastes good and is good for them. The prize is not an arranged marriage with Curtis, but a Biggest Loser meal plan to help them stay healthy at home until the finale airs. Chef Curtis Stone and Lorena something choose Moses and Olivia to win with their baked cod.

Since it's one big group, the trainers all work together to achieve this week's goal. Kara even gets to work with the girls, a nice change of pace from all the jockish men. The women also get a sense of some new training and experience the Kara boxing magic. The red team finally get to training of Bob and Jillian, the trainers you'd assume you'd have coming on the show. Brett gets the honors of product placement with the ladies.

There's another challenge which is to follow a yellow rope to the finish line, except it's all underground and also has trivia questions to lead them in the right direction and bring more pairs in. It's confusing to type but know that if they finish in less than 90 minutes they will receive a 5lb advantage; go over the hour and a half, 5lb disadvantage. After a lot of tugging, and a lot of fast forwarding on my behalf, the blue team gets the rope across the line with only 6 seconds left. This group really needed this bonding session because the divide is very apparent this season.

At the weigh-in, Samantha Gene Brady looks slammin' in red as she reiterates the rules of the week for the zillionth time. The ladies losses are a little low. Olivia only loses 3lbs but hey, if she loses she's got feel meals til the finale. The guys follow suit and it's mediocre weight-loss on their behalf too, until Ken and his son Austin gets some decent numbers. There's a chance to catch up, but Irene clunks it up with only 2lbs, but Brett pep talks her up to know any loss is a good one. Marci is a clunker and loses no weight this week, but last week she lost a buttload of weight so it kind of makes sense. Young Kaylee has to lose 9lbs to keep everyone safe, but there's 20 minutes left so that's obviously not happening. Kaylee then one-ups Marci's clunker and gains 2lbs. Since there's an elimination, there's a yellow line with Marci and Kaylee below it. Marci volunteers herself to be eliminated because she feels her time is up and Kaylee needs to stay. Marci is one classy lady. Eventhough her team doesn't want to vote her off, she is eliminated per her wishes and promise to watch out for Courtney for her.

Survivor: Redemption Island - Phillip is annoying the hell out of his tribe which Rob realizes might be the perfect reason for Phillip to stay. That and he loves red undies. Zapatera, meanwhile, is in good spirits - except for Russell's henchladies, though Steve wants to bring them into the fold to make them feel like part of the family. The question is, do they want to be part of the group?

The henchladies Stephanie and Krista draw the lucky numbers to go see the redemption duel live and decide they want to inform Ometepe (repped by Rob and Grant) that they'll flip to their side in a heartbeat come merge. The duel is to collect big ass, heavy puzzle pieces to make a cube. My uncle made these once out of wood and I'd play with it for ages- love it. I'd ace it- well, hopefully. As Matt puts together the pieces, he also rants about Rob being responsible for his ouster and it wasn't needed. Kristina has a second wind, but it suddenly snaps for Matt and his puzzle just floats together and it's a third redemption win for him. While Matt tries to make a point that Ometepe sucks, Stephanie doesn't care and lets them know Ometepe could have the numbers with them on their side post-merge. Kristina's redemption is over and she tosses her buff into the urn.

While Rob and Grant are at the duel, the young ladies converse and Phillip sits on the sidelines as the odd man out. But he does compare the women to crabs and how they scatter away from him. The ladies fake it to make Phillip happy, but Andrea is tired of Stephanie and Ashley doing nothing around camp and their 24/7 girl talk. She'd rather dump them and bring Phillip into the mix but worries about the social game. They have a private discussion where Phillip talks about being an outsider and doesn't strategize with him. BUT Phillip thinks if Matt comes back it would be good to have an alliance between him, Andrea, and Matt and take out Rob the betrayer. Phillip may want to learn how to pronounce Andrea's name to get in her good graces though because no one wants to have their name pronounced like the nerd on 90210.

Stephanie returns to camp exhilarated about what could happen in the future, but that future is many weeks away. Krista is about excited as she can be- seriously, she's duller than Emily on The Bachelor. Zapatera isn't concern about the wavering henchladies and instead prefers to relax and bask in their confidence. Julie senses the overconfidence is bad karma; I call that foreshadowing!

The immunity challenge is the blindfolded maze to collect puzzle pieces, led only by their caller. Winning team gets immunity and a basket of breakfast pastries and all the fixins for a delicious cup of coffee. Sounds great in theory but I can only imagine how fast everyone will crap after eating and drinking a cup of joe. Stephanie is the Zapatera caller and Rob is Ometepe's caller, which is a smart move since he's good at puzzles. Stephanie has to step up too because if she's a crap leader, she'll be first on the chopping block and her dream mutiny will never happen. Ralph is too dumb to know his left from right, making it trickier to get his bag. Ometepe finishes first so Rob rushes to his word puzzle, with Stephanie following but gaining a lead on Rob while opening the puzzle bags. Rob gets a brain boost and solves the puzzle: "The smell and taste of victory." Zapatera realizes not making David the caller/puzzle solver was a bad move. Ya think?

Ometepe gorges themselves on what look like the greatest donuts ever. I am so hungry now. Grant goes to smell the coffee and sees the immunity idol clue in the tin, so he shares it with Rob. Using teamwork, Grant distracts the tribe while Rob sneaks off with the clue to hide this newest clue and instead leave the first clue around camp. Oh Grant? He has no idea Rob even had a clue before, so now they have this absurd clue with no real good hints on it. Rob plays it up for Grant and he searches, digs, and burrows all over.

With a strong group of 6, it's obvious either Stephanie or Krista will be making the trek to Redemption "Island" that night. The main 6 have a post-challenge session and Sarita tries to justify why she nominated Stephanie as caller, saying David gets a little pissy and stressed out. He responds by getting really angry and pissy. Julie and Sarita feel like they can work on Stephanie, which is so dumb since she's so fiesty, but know Krista needs to go now. You know, because she's such a vibrant personality. Stephanie feels Steve is the weakest and doesn't contribute at camp or challenges, but Krista kind of accepts her fate and thinks none of her tribemates will make it to the end.

At tribal council, Krista talks about being on the outs, lets them know she's "not here to make friends," and that she wants to play. Her tribemates point out she's done no gaming or made an attempt to besides teaming with Ressell and Stephanie. Krista makes a point that her and Stephanie could be good additions to their pairs, or at least for Dave who seems to be solo in the 6. Mike, my pick to win, lets Krista know that there has in fact been lots of strategy talk- she's just not part of it. Stephanie just knows the two of them need to keep the faith because there's always Redemption Island. In a 6-2 vote, Krista (or as one illiterate ballot says KRASTA) is sent to duel Matt at Redemption Island.

Top Chef All-Stars - Breathe in, Melissa. Time to enter a Carla-free world.

The cheftestants head to the Atlantis Kitchen and chef Lorena Garcia is standing with Padma, mainly to pimp America's Next Great Restaurant. The Quickfire is to pair up and make 100 identical dishes in 1 hour- consistency, yo! The pairs are Richard and Mike (who make pork bologenese) and Antonia and Tiffany (who make seared beef tenderloin salad). My dog made me take him out to pee during the Quickfire, but thanks to @bforte for letting me know the women won and Mike/Richard were shitty losers.

The Elimination Challenge is to cater a lunch celebrating the 80th anniversary of the Nassau Yacht Club. Put on some Christopher Cross, it's time for some yacht rock! The theme is deserted island, so Padma appropriately greats them in a bikini with a Sammy Hagar doppelganger who will bring them to the island. WE HAVE TO GO BACK! The rule of the day is you have to use conch and Richard and Mike talk about how much they practiced, but reading the Cliff's Note for Lord of the Flies doesn't count. The deserted island has lots of grub in crates: lobster, grouper, snapper... but no conch. Oh that's because they have to snorkel and get it themselves. What is this, a date on The Bachelor? So the chefs go out and struggle in like 5-6 feet of water and struggle to swim. Take a swim class, bums. Then it's cooking time the old-fashioned way: no liquid nitrogen, can openers, ovens, anything. Au naturale, baby. The main struggle is busting open the conch, though I'd imagine a bigger struggle is hygienic cooking when you're in bathing suits- grossout. Thankfully for us (and I'm sure because producers were tired of Mike Isabella's moobs in a wet white tee) they are given chef jackets.

The judges and yacht club yuppies arrive for the deserted island dinner wearing all white. Because nothing says roughing it on a deserted island like crisp white linens. Richard makes a Hamptons-inspired dish instead of Bahamas, which is always a wise choice. He makes sweet potato linguine with conch, and that pasta is just sweet potato ribboned up. Antonia serves seared snapper with conch tar tar and it's very spicy, but in a good way. Yuppies love tar tars. Tiffany's dish is a coconut chowder with snapper and conch, along with a conch ceviche. Piggy from Lord of the Flies, I mean Mike, makes a banana leaf steamed grouper with warm conch vinaigrette.

Judges' Table. Antonia's dish had a nice balance between sweet and spicy, but Tom wishes the conch was bigger. That's what she said! Richard wants to show uniqueness (shocker). The pasta was definitely unique and fooled many into thinking it was really pasta. Gail points out it wasn't necessarily using Bahamian ingredients. The judges think the dishes were cooked perfectly, except that Tiffany's chowder was cold, which is the total opposite of what chowder should be. Gail loved the savory pinenapple, which is sacrilegious to me. Tom didn't like the use of butter so let's hope he doesn't take a vacation to the Bahamas with Paula Deen. The winner of the challenge is Mike and I want to slam my laptop. Seriously, if he wins this season he might go down as worst winner ever. The chefs finally send Tiffany home and while I like her, she has been bottom of the barrel for weeks now.

Photo Credits:,,,


Brian @ PWYJudges said...

Thanks for the shout out :-)

I can't deal with a post-Carla season. I JUST CAN'T DO IT!