March 26, 2017

Survivor Game Changers: Two Tribes Enter, One Man Leaves

3/26/2017 Posted by Mel Got Served , No comments
Week 3

A Reward Challenge kicks off this week's episode where only two member of each tribe get to compete for the prize of iced coffee with all the fixins (including some unnamed Milano Cookies but we all know a Milano when we see it). The twist is only two members from each tribe compete, and after Nuku wins first, Brad Culpepper smokes Troyzan in tossing beanbags at pins. It's bad for Troyzan because it only heightens his placement at the bottom of the tribe, but in good news Tavua has human/fish hybrid Ozzy who catches a stingray for dinner. Nuku celebrates their victory together, savoring each bite of the Milano cookies, but the scheming quickly picks back up. JT and Malcolm bro out together and wonder if they could amass the numbers to get out the two-time queen Sandra. 

But things all change at the Immunity Challenge when Probst announces only one tribe will have immunity and the other two tribes will go to Tribal Council. Nuku has a major lead but Jeff Varner can't finish the balancing puzzle, allowing Tavua to sneak in and win immunity.. Mana and Nuku will be attending Tribal Council tonight but another twist: they're attending together and only one person will be voted out. It's a Thunderdome Tribal Council: two tribes enter, one man will leave. Both tribes return to their respective camps to begin pondering their strategy. Sandra wants Nuky to vote six-strong for Sierra Dawn Thomas who is Mana's strongest female (and maybe because they share the same "SDT" initials). While Malcolm wonders if he could be the target, him and JT assume that Brad will target Sandra. That's correct, but Mana has only five members and would require one current Nuku member to flip. Then Tai finds a Hidden Immunity Idol, and everything changes as long as Mana can play the Idol right.

Tribal Council time! Strategy is quickly brought up since this is a whole new twist on the game, but also each person has a different agenda. Both tribes thought out all the different scenarios of idols, targets, etc. and it promises to be a messy evening. JT is at the forefront of Tribal Council since he was formerly a Mana man but recently swore himself loyal to Nuku. Hali's in a similar position and at one point says they should target a physical threat, which kicks off a whisper session as everyone tribes to deduce Hali's intent. Suddenly, JT gets off his damn stump and walks over to Brad and tells him Nuku's plan to vote out Sierra. Then Hali gets up and tells Sandra they have to vote for Brad. And then everyone gets up into group huddles like they're pondering taking the Double Dare Physical Challenge. This key piece of information JT shares with Brad is enough to change the game: the immunity idol is played for Sierra, nullifying all votes cast against her. The Sierra null votes come pouring out of the urn, which means after six votes the identity of tonight's boot will be revealed. In a major blindside only hinted at earlier in discussions, Mana successfully targets and eliminates Malcolm from the game.

[All images credited to CBS]

March 19, 2017

Survivor Game Changers: Drop, Swap, and Roll

3/19/2017 Posted by Mel Got Served , No comments
Week 2

It's been six days in Fiji, but there's no resting in a returnee season so the tribes swap into three tribes. 

The New Nuku is comprised of JT and 5 original Mana tribemembers, so he's on the outs and needs an idol. Using his classic JT charm, he lures the tribe far out into the ocean for snorkeling, then heads back to camp solo to retrieve pliers but really scavenging for an idol. No such luck, but A+ hi-jinks. Then shizz gets real at Nuku, as the protein-starved tribe captures and considers killing a goat. Since it's a momma goat and she's got a baby, she's set free and a chicken is devoured instead. Over at New Mana, Brad's already making himself at home, decorating the camp with glass orbs and talking about his passion for antiquing and interior design. Watch out Chip and Joanna, the Culpeppers are comign for you! Hali and Caleb are on the outs with the group, but Caleb is reunited with his Kaoh Rong pal Tai and hopes this will ingratiate him into the fold. There's a looming uneasiness of 3 castmembers from Kaoh Rong sticking together, which paints a bigger target on Caleb. But no one is quite as lonely as Troyzan, the only Mana member on the newly establish Tavua tribe. In a pair of underwear that perfectly matches the new tribe colors, Troyzan scours the beach until he successful finds a clue to the Hidden Immunity Idol, tucked under a puzzle table at the upcoming Immunity Challenge.

The Immunity Challenge sends half of the tribe through a series of obstacles, ending with the other half of the tribe untying and assembling puzzle pieces. The first tribe to finish is Nuku, winning immunity, as well as an almighty tarp and some comfy pillows. Second place is Tavua who also win immunity and the reward of spices and sauces. While Tavua rallies together for a victory celebration, Troyzan uses the classic "I'm so tired I'm passing out ont he table move" to maneuver around until he successfully retrieves the Idol. Mana wins nothing except a tribe to Tribal Council, which is basically a choice of voting off Hali or Caleb. Caleb is an asset in challenges, but his history with Tai and connection to more Kaoh Rongers concerns the others. Brad and Tai talk, who talks about how keeping Caleb around creates an even bigger for Tai when the merg comes. Tai is torn between the friendship he has and what's the better move for his game.

Tribal Council time! Probst rights away bring up the Kaoh Rong threesome and the assumptions that come with their grouping. Sierra and Hali insist despite being on the season they have no friendship compared to Caleb/Tai. Caleb believes Hali is easier to manipulate and he's more of an asset in terms of strength and loyalty. Hali calmly argues her side, lawyering her way to a victory. History repeats itself for Caleb and he leaves the game of Survivor on day 9. But hey, he's healthy this time!

[All images credited to CBS]

March 13, 2017

The Bachelor: Nick Viall Actually Proposes

3/13/2017 Posted by Mel Got Served , No comments
Week 12 - Finale

It's time for the final two women to meet Nick's family, who I'm sure are so thrilled to go through all this crap again. But at least they get a free vacation! Raven is first up and she's met the Vialls before, so this is just a happy reunion especially with Bella who loves Raven and hopes her big bro picks her. Raven's maturity, sincerity, and love for Nick wins over the Viall family, so #TeamRaven (for now). Vanessa's family visit is... different. The vibe seems off and when Vanessa confesses that wants Nick, but unsure if she's ready to be engaged, it's definitely a red flag for a family that's seen their son's heart stomped on for TV purposes twice. Nick's dad understands his type but points out that hasn't worked out so well in the past, but a mutual cry sesh between dad and Vanessa makes him approve. Nick and his family have a recap on both women and foreshadowing the idea of Nick being alone at the end of this (which we all expect, let's be honest).

For Nick and Vanessa's final date, they ride horses through the cold, wintery woods and it's breaktakingly beautiful, especially the camera angle of the jiggling GoPro strapped to the horse. Nick knocks on a random cabin door and it's Santa Claus. Nick says love tops his wish list, but I beg to differ when the Dancing with the Stars glitterball trophy is out there. Santa gives a gift to the happy couple: a wooden etched rendition of Nick and Vanessa which they place awfully close to a campfire. Nick and Vanessa talk about their relationship, which is another chance for Vanessa to remind us all that she only wants to be engaged once and takes it very seriously. Also that being slightly more loved than the loser isn't something she's into either. Vanessa's skepticism continues into the evening portion, tired of Nick's vague, runaround answers, and disliking the unknown. When asked if Nick is ready to propose, he dodges that question too with BS runaround and it's like... give me a break.  But Nick goes onto a long diatribe that to be honest I tuned out of and Vanessa is sorta OK and still crying in fear. Great date!!

Nick and Raven meet up for some ice skating at the ol' Lapland Safaris, the place where nearly every single date has taken place since arriving in Finland. Cue the reprise of Nick and Raven's song "Kiss Me" by Sixpence None the Richer, a song well over a decade old but I suppose timeless as the 90s teen rom-com it was featured in. They makeout laying down on the ice, which seems like a terribly cold decision, leading towards bundling up and sipping what I'll guess is spiked cocoa by the fire. Oh and petting husky puppies!!! The puppies are left behind and Nick meets up with Raven at her hotel for one last hoorah. Whereas Vanessa spent her night stressed, Raven is more relaxed and reassures Nick there's no hesitation and is ready. Nick says he always feels in the moment with Raven, lots of laughter, loyalty, and passion. Nick and Raven kiss goodbye and she drops one last "I love you" before they part. We're denied another craft project of love. Sigh.

By a romantic campfire, Neil Lane and Nick pick out rings for the fourth time together. But choosing a ring and having to make eye contact with Neil Lane is only the second hardest thing Nick has to do. Yes it's time for the hard part: dumping one woman, a runner-up heartbreak Nick knows all too well. Raven and her shimmery silver dress, reminiscent of an ice queen, arrives for her proposal but we know that's not coming. Raven is giggly and nervous and gives her profession of love, but doesn't seem to read the look on Nick's face which is clearly, "I'm dumping you in three minutes." Nick tells Raven he's not sure he's in love with her and his heart is somewhere else. Raven takes it all with class and saves her tears for the car ride to the airport.

Nick tell us he's been falling in love with Vanessa for a long time and no longer fighting it, hoping she'll accept his proposal. Vanessa arrives in a sparkling black gown and a big ol' fur, which Chris Harrison hangs up for her because his job is literally coat check at this point. Nick talks about how he began to fall for Vanessa at the second rose ceremony and he's in love with her, so much so that tears are streaming down his face. Vanessa talks about how she feared Nick would never notice her, but he notices everything about her. Nick gets down on one knee (AGAIN) and proposes to Vanessa, who in fact accepts despite all her past hesitance. Oh yay a happy ending for Nick!

Onto After the Final Rose, which will allegedly have the most dramatic, historic event in history but I once watched a man dump his winner to pick the runner-up, so bring it.

There's a quick Nick interview before bringing out Raven, who Nick hasn't seen since the Finland dumping. Nick's a pro at being dumped on reality TV and understood Raven's feelings, but she wishes him only the best. Since The Bachelorette is taken, we'll be seeing more of Raven on Bachelor in Paradise. Vanessa is brought out and explains how the relationship has been difficult so far, in particular differentiating Nick the person and Nick the Bachelor. Oh and because they're long distance in different countries and he's off chasing fame. Nick and Vanessa are reunited on stage and are very boring as they awkwardly "answer" questions and feign happiness. Thankfully, there's a reprieve in the form of new Bachelorette Rachel, who looks flawless. Chris asks lots of questions and she's most nervous this process won't work. Finally, the much hyped surprise is revealed: The Bachelorette is beginning immediately on After the Final Rose. They roll out a large format print of the mansion and bring out a few guys to meet Rachel, arriving in limos of course. DeMario has brought plane tickets (and a ring) to elope in Vegas, a guy named Blake with nothing interesting to say, a sweet guy from Baltimore with everything good to say, and a guy who says he's ready to go black and never go back. 2 out of 4 ain't bad.

[All images credited to ABC]

March 12, 2017

Survivor Game Changers: War of the Winners

3/12/2017 Posted by Mel Got Served , No comments
Week 1

The 34th season of Survivor has put together a group of legends and randoms for the moves they made to "change the game". I mean, technically every person could qualify since every vote changes the game, which would the explain some on the people cast. But this is only the beginning of the "Game Changer" puns, so buckle up. Probst does a little question and answer session with the group before kicking off the classic marooning to grab supplies and GTFO. In the midst of chaos, Andrea unearths a Secret Advantage envelope... and totally misses it. Sierra Dawn Thomas snatches it right up. Ozzy the human/dolphin hybrid is first in the water to snag up a toolkit, and after ransacking the boat, everyone else joins in the water to paddle to their new homes and the cutthroat game ahead.

Nuku bonds right away and admires their campsite overridden by goats. Sierra sneaks off to read her envelope, which is an updated Legacy Advantage; it guarantees her immunity if she plays it when there are 13 people left in the game, or 6, and must be willed to another if she's eliminated. Game Changers is a whole new season, but the history between Cirie, Ozzy, and JT are tales we still tell our grandkids about. While Ozzy and Cirie talk and there's an impression of peace, a truly cringeworthy chat with Tai and his inability to lie shows that Cirie might still be in trouble. Over on Mana, the big names are the targets with Tony initially the biggest. He pretends to run off to find an idol, then continues to re-use his famous bag of tricks by resurrecting the spy shack as a "spy bunker," a hole by treemail. Too bad this secret hideaway is discovered immediately by Troyzan and now Tony is on the radar. Big names, big targets.

The tribes assemble for their first Immunity Challenge, where Jeff unveils the sea diving helmet idol. If the Sprint Player of the Season award returns, I'll give my vote to whichever castaways tries to fit that helmet over their head. Probst has an even bigger reveal than Steve Zissou's helmet: in the event of a tie at Tribal Council, the re-vote is gone and it immediately goes into a group discussion, and then rocks if a unanimous agreement isn't made to eliminate someone. Talk about a game changer! Get it? OK, the first immunity challenge is to complete an ocean obstacle course, find puzzle pieces in the sand (to mentally screw with the Kaoh Rong folks), and end by assembling a ship's wheel puzzle. Nuku wins the immunity challenge and gets to bring home the sea diving helmet idol and wins flint.

Mana returns to camp defeated, but as veterans of the game they're all ready to begin scheming. Tony is top-of-mind because he's sneaky, but the tribe needs to remain strong in challenges. Ciera was quick to drop Tony and Caleb's names as targets, indicating that she's playing the game hard already. The majority agrees that Ciera should go home because she's physically the weakest and a slick player who will do whatever it takes. In order to make the plan seem real, the group tells Ciera they are voting out Michaela, and surprise: Michaela isn't happy and can't hide her emotions. But is this emotional reaction enough of a game changers to switch the plan? Again, see what I did there? 

Tribal Council time! This season's set is an amazing lighthouse and shipwrecked boat, which reminds me of Survivor: Palau's military theme. When Hali says "loose lips sink ships" I feel like every producer cackled with joy to hear that phrase spoken in front of their finely crafted dilapidated boat. The tribe discusses being dubbed "game changers" and how past impressions impact the current game. Probst mentions that Sandra would be the easy vote because she's already won twice, but Sandra argues no one would give her that win a third time (wrong). Michaela answers that she expects that she'll see at least for herself tonight, which is a subtle burn of majority control. Sandra subs chapter one of Survivor: Game Changers "The Unknown" and then the tribe votes. As discussed and to her surprise, Ciera is eliminated in a 9-1 vote.

Onto hour 2 of the premiere!

After an easy consensus of a first vote, the real game begins and Tony starts to assemble his alliance of fellow threats: Aubry, Caleb, Malcolm, and Sandra. It's all great until Tony overhears a late night conversation between Sandra and Troyzan that mentions his name. The niceties are over and it's a war of the winners, with Tony and Sandra each trying to acquire an army to take out the other. Over on Nuku beach, Cirie is still worried about the looming danger of Ozzy/JT so she tries to make deals with Debbie (who keeps pronouncing her name as She-ree), Zeke, and Sarah the cop (who accepts for now but admits she'll play like a criminal this season). While someone like Sarah is open to change, Tai is the same ol' Tai, putting the chickens on leashes and making them pets. Don't get me started.

The second Immunity Challenge has the survivors untying and carrying a giant snake from the ocean, solving a puzzle, and wrapping up with the most pressure-filled game of ring toss. While everyone was distracted by double entendre snake jokes, I'm impressed at this interesting new challenge and how cool this big, 400lb anaconda looking thing is. In a ring toss showdown, it gets oh-so-close but JT narrowly defeats Malcolm, securing immunity and fishing gear for Nuku and sending Mana back to Tribal Council. Given their terribleness at challenges, Tony's side tries to flip Michaela, a challenge beast, to their side to keep Mana strong. Sandra's side plans to target Tony, but since he might find an idol they're going to risk splitting the vote on Tony and Aubry. This is a Game of Thrones level battle for the Mana kingdom and someone's going down.

Tribal Council time! There's discussion about needing to keep strong physical players around. Troyzan thinks the vote will make the tribe 50% less paranoid, an obvious tip of the hat to Tony, which Sandra hops onto and agrees with. Then a bug attacks her because I'm guessing the bug is totally on Team TV. Varner says they're a round hole getting rid of a square peg, which confuses Tony and gives Sandra another chance for a dig at Tony. Sandra casts a vote against Aubry as a precautionary idol move, but it's Tony who is eliminated. The battle is over and Sandra gets one last tiff in as Tony's torch is snuffed.

[All images credited to CBS]

March 6, 2017

The Bachelor: From the Bone Zone to the Hot Seat

3/06/2017 Posted by Mel Got Served , No comments
Week 11 + The Women Tell All

Nick wraps up his overnight date with Raven and she skips down the street happily high fiving strangers because she got laid and finally had an orgasm. Or so they imply. We get it, Raven. You're not the first to go to the Bone Zone with Nick Viall.

Next up for overnight dates: Rachel. Nick and Rachel meet up for an extremely awful attempt at cross-country skiing but it leads to petting a reindeer and a sleigh ride and that's cool. Rachel is surprised she's made it this far and fears her feels won't be reciprocated. Fast forward to nighttime and cozy sweaters, wine, and a crackling fire. Rachel's having a hard time verbalizing her feelings to Nick, and he tries to give guidance she's he done this three other times. And so Rachel finally says it: she's falling in love with him. Nick says he's falling for her too and they smooch a lot. Out comes the Fantasy Suite card which they gladly accept for some sexy cabin times. Nick makes Rachel eggs in the more which I can only assume included the classic one-liner, "How do you like your eggs: scrambled or fertilized?"

Vanessa arrives for the final overnight date, the sloppiest of all seconds at this point. Embracing the Finnish culture, Nick and Vanessa throw on matching swimsuits to dip into an ice bath for ten seconds. It takes a few tries. Thankfully there's a hot tub awaiting them to warm up and discuss the terrible hometown visit to meet Vanessa's parents. Apparently tradition freaks Nick out because Sunday dinner and bonding with family is so weird. Their night date is in a cozy teepee with another crackling fire because that's a sign of winter. Vanessa is still concerned this "traditional" comment is implying Nick doesn't want to be a part of her family, but he clarifies. But this really brings up an important question: where are they going to live? Nick doesn't see himself living in Canada because he's "really proud to be an American" and boy is it awkward. This conversation only points on how much these two are on totally different pages despite having a strong connection. But they're optimistic it'll all work out and Vanessa tells Nick she loves him. Nick and Vanessa accept the Fantasy Suite card to head to the Bone Zone and hopefully stop hearing about Vanessa's "core values."

With all three overnight dates over, each girl solemnly walks through the winter landscape to ponder their future with Nick.  But alas, there are only two roses on the podium for Nick to handout and one woman will be devastated. Nick gets verklempt in his speech and ultimately extends his roses to Raven and Vanessa. And so after knowing for weeks this would happen, it finally happens: Rachel is eliminated. Nick cries about how incredible she is, because she's a damn catch. Cry not viewers at home because Rachel is the new Bachelorette and deserves far better than Nick.

Then the worst happens: The Women Tell All. The most miserable 2 hours to recap every season as each women tries to make herself noticed so she'll get invited for Bachelor in Paradise.

Highlights. Alexis can now identify a shark versus a dolphin. The girls all shout over each other about Corinne and Taylor's behavior, requiring Chris Harrison to whistle to shut them up. Liz explains at Jade and Tanner's wedding she hooked up with Nick but her heart was with someone else, and applied for the show because she was genuinely into Nick, not TV fame. Taylor and Corinne each get a shot in the hot seat to scream at each other and allow others to shout their opinions too. Corinne admits she did stuns to get attention, Raquel isn't a nanny but wouldn't degrade her by calling her a cleaning lady, and gifts everyone cheesy pasta. Because of the show, some kids from Kristina's childhood orphanage have reached out to her but is still upset Nick dumped her since they had a connection. Nick attends his first Tell All since he's always a runner-up, never a winner, and the women awkwardly grill him. There's a quick round of bloopers before bringing Rachel out for everyone to be excited about her new role as The Bachelorette. I love her. All in all, an excruciating two hours.

[All images credited to ABC]

March 3, 2017

Survivor: Game Changers Pre-Show Winner Prediction

It's that time of the year again: Survivor is back! The 34th season of the reality show has assembled 20 returnees under the theme of Game Changers. The cast includes stand-out players from across the series, as well some questionable definitions of the term "game changers" but alas I am not part of CBS casting or marketing. I'm just a fan.

The tradition of making a pre-show winner prediction lives on, as I cull through videos, bios, and press interviews to suss out who I think has what it takes to win the title of Sole Survivor.


Aubry will win Survivor: Game Changers

To quote the great Igor Korotayev: well well well lock who come crall back. Guys, my BFF Aubry is playing Survivor again! Not only am I playing the Friend Card again, but this time it's with an even higher amount of confidence. After seeing how stellar Aubry played in Kaoh Rong, I know she has the skills across the board to win this game... if she can avoid being a target. Aubry's recency makes her a top-of-mind target, but this cast is has a lot of other big targets. And if anything, maybe this is the season everyone learns to spell her name right (it's Aubry, not Aubrey).

Now it's your turn! Time for YOU to cast your pre-show winner prediction. Who do you think will be the winner of Survivor: Game Changers? VOTE BELOW - voting closes right when the east coast premiere begins!

[All images credited to Entertainment Weekly and CBS]