November 25, 2012

Reality Rundown: Malcolm In a Spa Towel Alert!

The Amazing RaceSurvivor: Philippines

The Amazing Race - Following up on last week's To Be Continued, James and Abba are required to track down their passports before being able to check in.  They have a fair amount of time to search/call the cops/request new passports since Josh/Brent and Abbie/Ryan are still far behind.  Josh and Brent don't actually finish the Detour and have to take a four hour penalty since the pool has to close.  But the bottom two teams do stick to their agreement to do this leg together, helping each other out along the way.  James and Abba are still searching when Abbie/Ryan and Josh/Brent check-in, so they are still in the race after being complete and utter failures.  James and Abba come back to the mat passport-less and Phil announces it's a non-elimination leg and they have to find their passports to move on.  ARE YOU F'ING KIDDING ME?  This show is absolutely horseshit.

The next leg of the race kicks off by sticking around Moscow, so convenient for James and Abba who need more time to find passports.  The first clue is a Roadblock where they need to calculate timezones of five Russian cities (but they get just brief glimpses of the maps and it's a timed test).  Jaymes and Lexi, front of the pack, pair together to complete the task together which is smart since both are kinda dumb at times.  Twinnies Natalie and Nidiya use their Express Pass because they have to use it this weekend and timezones suck.   After, there's a Detour to  perform a Russian soldier dance or identify historic Russian leader lookalikes.  Pick the dancing it's like Russian breakdancing!  Other James has an injured ankle and has a hard time dancing. Worst Chippendales ever.  Thankfully he stands up for his male stripping routes and finishes this task.

Jaymes and James, the only team I am routing for this in this, checks in as team #1 and win a trip to Costa Rica.  Netx to check in are Trey/Lexi and Natalie/Nadiya.  The other three teams of losers start racing and by this point, I could care less.  We just watched this lame leg and now we have to watch a bunch of dummies do it.  Abbie/Ryan do the tasks, James/Abba wander the streets trying to find their passports, and Josh/Brent play four hour catchup to James/Abba who needs someone to be a translator for them.  Some youth helps translate for them, so they get back into the race to at least complete the leg in case the passports arrive.  Ryan bombs the timezone test a bunch of times and gets stressed.  Josh/Brent's smarts help them makeup some good times, acing the timezone quiz and awesomely identifying the historical figures.  The non-elimination means absolutely nothing as James and Abba check in last and never get their passports.  I wonder if they'll be trapped in Russia forever with Toni and Dallas...

Survivor: Philippines - Abi and Pete are alarmed at what went down, but Skupin knows in order to win the million he's gotta make real moves.  Skupin's bestie Lisa is torn between undying loyalty to an alliance that hates her and moving on.  But Lisa is kinda content potentially losing to a nicer alliance because Pete and Abi suck.

This week's Reward Challenge is another team task: a head-to-head drum flipping battle.  It's not an easy one to recap, but it's an interesting physical challenge requiring lots of running.  Abi finally gets to participate in a challenge and proves why they never used her: she flips over the other team's drum.  Skupin also does the wrong drum flip, but his is the worst possible moment as he gives the other team a victory.  Carter, Pete, Abi and Malcolm are treated to a day at the Survivor spa with a bath, mani/pedi, massage, cocktails and food.  There's an agreement for no game talk and instead just letting a bunch of Filipino women bathe them.

Turns out the losers had a pretty relaxing day at camp too... until Abi returns.  She won't STFU, yapping about how amazing it was.  She never learns.  Unspoken at camp it's completely obvious everyone wants Abi gone immediately.  So with another possible easy week ahead, Malcolm starts gaming and works to make a final four deal.  Talking with Skupin, Malcolm proposes it be the two of them plus Lisa and Denise.  Skupin is game, but Lisa trusts Penner more and would prefer Penner/Carter.  Penner likes the offer but he thinks it's too early to make such a deal.  This unwillingness to commit solidifies Lisa and Skupin's opinions and shake on a final four with Denise and Malcolm in the woods.

The immunity challenge is to maneuver a buoy through a tangled rope, then around a balance beam, and then through a water obstacle course.  Pete and Abi need immunity the most, but they don't make it past the first round of qualifiers.  Denise, Carter and Skupin battle it out in the final three water round.  Carter wins immunity but from us viewers no respect because he still seems like a dope.

The plan is set to vote for Pete and Abi, 3/3, and if the idol isn't played everyone votes for Abi in the tiebreaker.  Penner honestly believes the six will stay strong and not make a stupid decision to save them.  Oh boy, foreshadowing.  Abi and Pete want to try to get rid of Malcolm since he's powerful with an idol.  Abi approaches Lisa and Lisa kindly decides the offer to vote off Malcolm, which is pretty hilarious.  Carter is a dunce but correctly says, "Well I'm in a pretty good spot."  Penner also says no, so Pete pitches the idea to Skupin.  Suddenly Skupin wonders if he made a poor decision earlier making a deal with Malcolm, the guy most likely to beat anyone in the end.  Malcolm is aware of the plan but fears if he plays the idol he loses his leverage.  The game is on, yo!

Tribal time!  Malcolm speaks openly about knowing he's a target but won't admit it's smart to get rid of him.  The attempt to vote off Malcolm isn't subtle, as Pete brings up they need one more to vote off Malcolm.  Abi acknowledges her attitude is "not gentle" but uses the English as a second language excuse.  Denise basically says it's a crock of shit and Abi is just a nasty person.  Denise rules, you guys.  Denise continues to be amazing when Probst asks if it would be smart to keep Abi around to beat in the end.  Denise says if you want to play that way, yeah, but she doesn't want to win against an unlikable deadweight or bring a person that she'd beat by default.  Abi is too dense to notice that she's the unlikable one, but Probst and her claim it's cultural (uhh no).  Denise tries to explain herself a little more, with Abi butting in and getting fiesty.  Once the votes are tallied, Abi tearfully plays her hidden immunity idol and so her alliance member Pete is eliminated instead.

November 18, 2012

Reality Rundown: Skupin Takes a Stand

The Amazing Race - The next leg of the race brings the teams to Moscow, Russia. But there's lots of airport stupidity, like Trey and Lexi's inability to retain the name of the kiosk they need to visit (paper and pen, people). Thankfully the Twinnies get the four of them on a flight arriving at 4am; other teams get a flight coming in at 2am. Other teams take normal, reasonable flights too. Except Abbie and Ryan, the race meanies, take a risk by booking tickets on a flight with a very quick layover in Frankfurt. The Beekman Boys end up on this same flight by using the wisest choice of all: a coin flip. I hate you. The universe hates them too because the flight to Frankfurt is delayed and they miss the connection. The next flight to Moscow gets them there are 3:10PM, practically a half day behind the others in terms of this race. While waiting around the two teams make a pact to run the whole leg together.

Teams land in Moscow and, what a surprise, have to wait until 9:30AM to retrieve the clue (still doesn't help the Frankfurters much). The Twinnies, daters, and Chippendales group together, while Abba/James/Long Hair Don't Care go solo and get to the Detour faster. This week's choices are to search a card catalog (in Russian) to retrieve library books or go synchronized swimming. Do they have the Dewey Decimal System in Russia? Abba/James and Trey/Lexi go to the library and Chippendales/Twinnies head over to the pool. Long Hair Don't Care quits the library to try the swimming because reading Russian is ridic (except Trey/Lexi figured it out sooo). Both tasks suck a lot and the Twinnies want to use the Express Pass but Jaymes/James point out it's a total waste because the other teams are HOURS behind so they aren't getting eliminated. Wise call, boys.

After Detouring, the teams head to the "Trees of Love" which are a made up of a ton of locks. The "trees" each have a ribbon and one teammate will have to use a circle of keys to open the locks. It's like being a janitor in a race for a million dollars. When the ribbon unravels there's a ruple inside (Russian dollar dollar bill y'all) and they need to find the location on the back (The Bolshoi Theater) to check into the Pit Stop. Trey and Lexi, who I totally underestimate, are team #1 and win a trip to Maui. Long Hair Don't Care continue their stupidity, leaving their bags in a cab- including their passports. When James/Abba check into the Pit Stop they can't officially check in without having passports so in order to move in they must retrieve the passports from the mysterious cab. Does this mean that complete flight losers Abbie/Ryan and Brent/Josh, who are so far behind they HAVE to swim because the library closed, stand a chance? TO BE CONTINUED. Ah damn you, Race!

Survivor: Philippines - Turns out last week there was no plan and Penner did sort of unintentionally screw it up. The goal was to get rid of Pete and instead Jeff went home- whoops. Malcolm and Lisa make nice, and she's so surprised he is so forgiving. The big issue is that there are five original Tandangs left and if they all stick together, they'll pick of the rest. Penner sees the divide between nice Lisa/Skupin and mean Abi/Pete/Artis and wants to try to sway the duo to his side. Penner plays therapist and kinda cracks Lisa's past and why she's such a people-pleaser to try and be liked. Penner is such a Dr. Melfi.

In the reward challenge, the survivors are split into two teams to crawl through mud and rice to retrieve bags of balls to shoot into a basket. The winning team gets to go to a local village as Survivor ambassadors and bring school supplies and toys to the local children, with a feast as a thank you. I love this giving back reward. No surprise, Abi is chosen to sit out of the challenge and I'm pretty sure she never is in any team challenges. She'd probably pitch a fit halfway anyways. The red team (Malcolm, Denise, Carter, Penner) smoke the yellow team and win reward.

The winners visit the village and have the immediate reward of children's smiles. The village is warm and welcoming, busting out the clay pot pinatas for the festive occasion. Beers are cracked, food is served, and the game talk begins. They can't believe Skupin would tolerate being treated like shit and stick with that alliance. Their goal when they get home: get Lisa and Skupin to jump ship. Speaking of, at camp Abi and Pete are super passive aggressive towards Lisa. Super rude. And yet they stick with a trio that shits all over them out of this weird loyalty, yet the other alliances wants and values them BOTH. Ugh, idiots.

For immunity, survivors have to balance an over-sized paddle while maneuvering six balls into the slots at the end. This seems tedious but I'm so glad it's not a puzzle. Skupin wins immunity and god I hope he uses this newfound safety and possible power to make a less dumb choice in alliance.

Sure enough when the tribe returns to camp, Abi wishes they could vote off annoying Skupin instead of Penner. Abi is worried about Lisa and Skupin, but Pete shushes her and assures her to have faith. The other side decides to put their votes towards Artis, since Abi has the idol and could pass it to Pete. Thing is, they are only an alliance of four and need someone to flip. Penner breaks it down to Lisa in TV terms: who would viewers want her to align with? Some assholes or the routable cool folks? Lisa still wants to be loyal (giant eyeroll). Penner continues his campaigning and pleas to Skupin. Skupin would switch but only if Lisa is OK with it.

Tribal time and I don't know what's going to happen. Lisa talks about how graceful the others were to her after selling them out, not her alliance who were kinda turds. Abi gets all pissy again. Artis says Tandang is one of the strongest tribes in Survivor history and all is going as planned. Denise points out no one should feel so comfortable, which Artis chimes in saying he doesn't feel 100% safe and he could be blindsided any time. Talk turns to Skupin, Lisa, and their loyalty for the zillionth time. Penner hopes the numbers will come his way, so Probst asks ticking time bomb Abi who they might not have. Now a person who understands Survivor knows you don't answer this. Abi says Lisa. Ouch. So the question of this week's vote is will Lisa still put up with being kicked around by a group of turds? NO!  Skupin (not Lisa) take a stance against the group of dicks and Artis gets totally blindsided.

November 11, 2012

Reality Rundown: Every Crack is an Opportunity

The Amazing RaceSurvivor: Philippines

The Amazing Race - This leg of the race sends all the teams to Istabul, Turkey and when booking flights at a travel agency Long Hair Don't Care leaves all their American money out in the open. The twinnies snag all of it, unbeknownst to them (they assume it fell out in a cab). A wonderful woman gives the rockers the money they need to get a cab to the airport, showing good deeds done around the world. The twinnies split the money with Trey and Lexi to split the guilt. And so all the teams hop aboard the same flight, therefore causing little issues for Josh and Brent who dodged elimination last week. They'll just have to deal with what'll be a lame speedbump that barely puts them behind. Yawn.

Istanbul is actually partially in Europe and partially in Asia. The teams land on the Europe side, but their first clue sends them on a ferry to the Asian side to retrieve their next clue (which leads them to another clue). That clue is Detour to transport Turkish bagels (simits) on their heads or get cleansed at a Turkish bathhouse. Now before Josh and Brent can begin the Detour they must endure a grueling Speedbump: eating Turkish ice cream. Are you goddamn kidding me? I don't care if there's laughs, or that the vendor takes forever because he's a show-off, this is ridiculous. But they get lost carrying their bagels which is even less interesting.

After getting cleaned or toting bagels, the teams make their way to their Roadblock. One teammate has to get decked up in Turkish clothes and serve 40 cups of Turkish sherbet. It's not ice cream, but I guess the first soft drink and I'm picturing the sherbet punch we used to drink every Christmas. Holiday flashbacks! Lexi is very peppy, which is both helpful and annoying (one guy buys to shut her up). Since no one will buy from Ryan, he makes a deal with a local guy (like a broker) and gives him commission on the sales to get to the 40 cups. Smart!

The sherbet leads to success for Trey and Lexi who check in as team #1; they win a trip to Australia. Chippendales, Beekman Boys, and Monster Truck are battling each other out trying to sell their sherbet in a fight to not be last. There's then cab chaos, forcing Beekman Boys to get out of their cab to make the traffic move. Josh and Brent, despite that insaaaane ice cream eating task, beat Kelly and Rob to the mat. The Monster Truckers are eliminated from the race.

Survivor: Philippines - Penner is alive in the game, idol-less, and pretty ticked off that his alliance turned against him. Skupin encourages Penner to not give up because there are cracks; they need to take advantage when the time is right. The good news for them is most hate Abi, Pete and Artis so things could be changing.

The teams meet up with Probst for the reward challenge where they'll split into two teams to collect fishtraps from the ocean that contain, what else, puzzle pieces. As a person who always enjoyed a good mindgame or puzzle, I resent them so much now. It looks like Skupin might blow it for his team of players no one likes anyways, but they re-catch up fast. In an intense battle of building the final flag puzzle, the yellow team (Penner, Malcolm, Jeff, Lisa, and Denise) win an afternoon picnic in the jungle. With ribs!

While the others are feasting and having fun, Skupin is on the sidelines which the others legit talk about being in alliances with everyone else but him. In front of him. Abi speaks so brazenly, leaking crazy information to Carter that she should shut up about. Pete pulls Abi aside to talk game and she gets pissy, per usual. The reward group talk about the "evil three" and that maybe they should take out that group of douches. While Lisa likes this, in theory, she also knows she could beat any of those jerks. And Lisa decides to get sneaky: she suggests to Michael Skupin that they take out Penner next, then essentially force Pete to keep Michael in the fold because Malcolm has the hidden immunity idol (and Tandang can blindside him).

And so comes time for the Immunity Challenge, which Penner needs to desperately win. Survivors will need to retrieve puzzle pieces (I KNOW) as the weave up and down and untie ropes in an obstacle course. It's one of those tiered ones that only the top three from the main round move on. Pete, Jeff, and Penner move to the final round of putting together the stupid snake puzzle. And so, of course, the guy who needs immunity the most wins immunity as it always happens on this show. I swear to god Blair Warner, you better not ruin my pre-show winner prediction yet.

Penner's immunity obviously throws a wrench into everything, so it's time to make a new plan. Michael Skupin is the easiest and most obvious choice for them since the plan is get rid of a returning player. Desperate to save her buddy Michael, Lisa tells Pete about Malcolm's idol and pleads to blindside Malcolm. Pete confronts Malcolm about having the Matsing idol, which he denies but clearly makes a face when Pete says Lisa told him. But Pete buys Malcolm's acting ability, suggesting instead to take out Jeff. Malcolm also heads to camp to deny to all he has an idol and rally the troops for Jeff. Lisa gets wind of the Pete/Malcolm meetup, worried that Pete dimed her out (he did, but denies) and to get more info. Aw Lisa, you tried. Pete has a little interview talking about masterminding, but maybe he's not in the know. When Jeff gets wind that his name has been thrown out, he approaches Malcolm to form a group of six to take out Pete instead. Malcolm isn't even confident so he scrambles to pack up his idol just in case. Ahh tribe disarray!

Tribal time! Malcolm brings up Lisa throwing him under the bus, surprising Probst who is holding back everything to not reveal she was a teen star. Lisa blabs it all about the entire plan about Penner, trying to save Skupin by taking out Malcolm. So much for mystery. Tandang is upset that Malcolm was apparently not in their alliance, which means Abi blurts out too much as she always done. Lisa openly tells all Malcolm does have the hidden immunity idol and since he's tired of the chaos, pulls out his idol. Malcolm is safe and playing it tonight so deal with it. And when probed again about idols, Abi just whips hers out too. Because she doesn't think at all. "This is awesome," chuckles Penner. Penner makes one last plea to the potential six about creating an alliance. Lisa also tries to show her loyalty, put the past behind, and make a majority. But Pete is like, "It's probably me!" Then Jeff says he is, pointing out so are Malcolm, Lisa... everyone! WTF is going on? The votes are cast. Malcolm doesn't play his idol (brilliant psych-out!). It's a crazy tight vote too but Jeff is elimination with 5 votes (4 for Pete, 1 for Abi). Oh man, shit's cray!

November 4, 2012

Reality Rundown: Always Clean Your Pockets Before Laundry

The Amazing RaceSurvivor: Philippines

The Amazing Race - The first clue is a Roadblock to weigh out wood on a balance scale, constructing the scale and then having to balance the wood against rocks.  Yaaay fun times.  James and Abba had a considerable lead thanks to the Fast Forward from last week, which is the only positive thing happening since James gets word that his father's cancer is stage four.  The twinnies really rock the task, which surprises the others considering it's a girl.  Struggling the most is Brent who is so far behind others pass him, leaving him the lone person at the Roadblock as he begins to stress out and dehydrate.

Once the Roadblock is completed, there's a Detour.  The choice is to untangle jute to put into a machine to manufacture a bag or collect and deliver bamboo.  Most teams choose the bamboo, though Abbie and Ryan tackle the jupe.  Natalie and Nidya almost take out a few locals with the long bamboo poles.  The only interesting thing that happens is Chippendales forgets a few bamboo poles, so they get screwed and have to go back. That's the only interesting thing in this extremely boring episode.  I fast forwarded through a lot because it was such a snooze.

Because they were hours ahead, James and Abba are team #1.  They also win a trip to Malaysia, so good news for a team that got some crappy news that day.  Abbie and Ryan come in second, which is great but disappointing to them as they wanted to beat Rachel and Dave's victory leg record.  Eventhoug Jaymes and James, the Chippendales dudes, have their bamboo falter they are not the last place team.  Josh and Brent are the last to arrive but, as my mom pointed out, there hasn't been a non-elimination episode yet and they are spared.

Survivor: Philippines -  Boats come to deliver news to the two tribes: merge! They hop onto the boats after getting ten minutes to ransack camp for stuff and get on the ship of destiny.  A feast awaits at the new camp as the tribes celebrate coming together.  It also gives everyone a moment to ponder backstabbing their current alliances as soon as possible.

On a new beach the men get to building the shelter so Lisa decides to do women's work and hang the laundry out to dry.  When Lisa goes to hang up Malcolm's flannel, she notices it's preeeetty heavy because there's an immunity idol in it.  Malcolm realizes Lisa's discovery so they have a private chat.  She assures him she truly didn't mean to do it, but since she knows Malcolm decides to bring Lisa into the fold with him and Denise.  Malcolm's concern isn't trust, it's that both women could beat him.  Lisa is happy for the promise but also knows everyone is acting on this island.  Speaking on acting, Penner also recognizes that Lisa is a former Facts of Life star.  Lisa is actually loving this undercover "star" thing because people are liking her for her and not for being a fabulous bitch character with bouncy hair.  On the outs of their former tribe, Michaek Skupin and RC consider making new alliances, perhaps with Penner.  Jeff Kent is on the other side rallying the troops to get rid of returning players, so the idea is to split the votes evenly between Penner and RC, hedging the bets with the immunity idol.

The new big ol' tribe meets up with Probst to catch a glimpse of the new individual immunity idol.  In this challenge, they'll hold a handle attached by rope to a bucket in an endurance battle.    BTW, Probst is rocking a teeny dirt 'stache.  Skupin drops firsts, followed by Pete (but I think he dropped out intentionally).  There's male and female immunity, with Denise snagging the lady prize first.  Finally a tribal where Denise can semi-relax.  Artis, Jeff, and Carter are the final three fellas holding on.  Once Artis drops out, Jeff whispers he'd owe Carter one if he (Carter) would drop out.  Instead Jeff drops and Carter wins immunity.

RC is blissfully unaware of her status within former Kalabaw, thinking her and Mike are part of a solid six (LOLOLOL U IDIOT).  Skupin, on the other hand, knows he's screwed because he's not close with Kalabaw and he's a returning player.  Skupin approaches Jeff about an alliance, but Jeff's hesitation is keeping Penner around and Penner outlasting him.  Jeff Kent is really the swing (since he controls Carter) as he has the choice of joining Tandang and take out Penner (but they're the bottom of the totem pole) or keeping Penner and Skupin against his no-veterans policy.

Tribal time!  Tandang lights their torches for the very first time, which is impressive and record-breaking.  Denise also gets props for being someone who has been to literally every single Tribal Council which is a kinda more awesome thing.  So RC brushes off the tiffs previously had at Tandang, until Abi Maria openly says RC betrayed her trust and they've moved along from trusting her.  Abi tells all about what shenanigans went down with that stupid immunity idol clue thing.  Other topics include past tribe alliances and numbers, returning players, and the potential shifts that the outliers could cause in alliances.  The tribe votes and Probst drops his usual immunity idol question.  It's usually left with a lingering pause that ends with nothing, but Penner decides to play his idol.  It's a completely wise move because the votes come pouring out for Penner, with the other votes for Pete and RC.  But as we know, the votes were split and RC becomes the first person on the jury.