Monthly Archives: March 2017

The Amazing Race 29.1 “We’re Coming For You, Phil!”

After being off the air for over a year, The Amazing Race is finally back!

The Amazing Race has never quite gotten the buzz (or the ratings) of Survivor but I’m glad that it’s back.  I’ve always liked The Amazing Race, largely because my sister Erin and I have always jokingly talked about trying out for the show.  Beyond that, I love seeing all the countries that the teams go to.  I love seeing which teams can work together and which teams fall apart.  And I love Phil.  He’s a great host.  Much as how the snarky Jeff Probst is the perfect host for Survivor, the always compassionate Phil is the perfect host for The Amazing Race.

That said, I worry about The Amazing Race.  I don’t know how much longer it’s going to be around.  I suspect that the ratings are suffering because the show’s frequently been switched around on the schedule.  As well, the previous few seasons have been gimmicky in a way that the show never was in the past.  There was one season where The Amazing Race turned into a dating show.  And then, that was followed by a season where everyone was a social media superstar.

This season, the gimmick is that the teams are made up of strangers.  Everyone showed up in Los Angeles and, after running a race through the streets of L.A., they got to pick their partners.  Everyone was making their pick based on first impressions.  No one knew anyone before selecting them.  They’ll be getting to know each other during the race.

Which, to me, kind of misses what made The Amazing Race so special in the first place.  The fun thing about The Amazing Race was watching people with a history try to work together as they raced across the world.  The fun was watching marriages collapse, friendships fall apart, and siblings become closer.  That’s gone now.

With all that in mind, last night’s episode was good enough.  We met the racers.  We got to know some of them.  The first leg of the race took them to Panama, where almost all of them got lost and struggled with the detour.  As always, one team came in first and one team was eliminated.  In this case, the eliminated team was eliminated as the result of a time penalty.

Here are a few thoughts on the teams, in order of their finish.  Keep in mind that we still don’t know a lot about these people so these thoughts aren’t going to be particularly in-depth.  Hopefully, that will change as we get to know these people:

Coming in first, Seth and Olive!  Seth is a cop.  Olive is a fire fighter.  They bonded as soon as they met and worked really well together.  They are the early front-runners.

Coming in second, Becca and Floyd!  Becca and Floyd are Team Fun and they annoy the Hell out of me.  Becca is every teeth-grindingly annoying tour guide that you’ve ever had to deal with.

Coming in third, Matt and Redmond!  Matt’s a snowboarder.  Redmond has one leg.  Together, they solve crimes.  No, actually, they are this season’s bro team.  They seem like they’ll be a strong, physical team.

Coming fourth, Brooke and Scott!  Brooke and Scott finished well but still spent most of their time fighting.  When Phil asked Scott if he regretted picking Brooke, Scott may have said no but his body language said yes.

Coming in fifth, Shamir and Sara.  Shamir and Sara both seem to be really likable.  That’s pretty much the only impression they made.

Coming in sixth, Tara and Joey!  Tara’s a drill sergeant.  Joey’s a cop.  Tara picked Joey despite the fact that he was the last one to arrive in Los Angeles.  They worked well together but I don’t see this team making it far in the race.  Joey doesn’t seem to be that smart.

Coming in seventh, Vanck and Ashton!  Vanck is socially awkward.  Ashton won’t stop talking.  These two are doomed.

Coming in eighth, London and Logan!  They’re both just so pretty.  I’m Team London because we’re both artists.

Coming in ninth, Jessie and Francesca.  They fought in Los Angeles but they got along famously in Panama.

Coming in tenth, Liz and Michael.  I have a bad feeling about these two.  Liz is neurotic.  Michael is a bearded butcher who doesn’t know how to talk to people.  They would have been eliminated if not for the fact that another team got a penalty.

Coming in eleventh, and getting eliminated, Jenn and Kevin!  Jenn was a model.  Kevin was an athletic trailer.  They both had great hair but no sense of direction.  They got lost in Panama.  They had to leave the Detour when the sun went down and it became to dangerous to compete.  They managed to beat Michael and Liz to the pit stop but, because they couldn’t do the detour, they got hit with a two hour penalty.  They were the first to be eliminated.  It had to happen to someone.

So, as of right now, Seth and Olive seem to be the definite front-runners to win it all.  We’ll see what happens!

Lisa Marie

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Survivor 34 Episode 5 “Dirty Deed”

Tonight’s episode of Survivor was fun but predictable.  After what went down last week, I think we all knew that if Nuku went to tribal council again, J.T. would probably be voted out.  By telling Culpepper the plan, JT set up Malcolm to be voted out.  The laws of revenge and karma dictated that JT would have to pay.

In fact, J.T. played such a bad game this season that it’s easy to forget that J.T. has actually won Survivor in the past.  Then again, strategy was never J.T.’s strong suit.  He largely won because he was a nice guy and everyone hated Stephen Fishbach.  This season, he screwed up when he openly betrayed his tribe at last week’s tribal council.  He screwed up again, tonight, when he tried to convince everyone to go after Michaela and not Sandra.

Speaking of Sandra, she again demonstrated why she is the queen.  I’ve never been a huge Sandra fan and I really don’t like the idea of former winners getting a chance to come back and win again.  But tonight, Sandra showed us why she has won twice.  Sandra knows how to get into people’s minds.  By taking J.T.’s precious sugar and allowing Michaela to be blamed, she managed to shift JT’s target off of herself and onto Michaela.  By getting JT to go after Michaela and saving her, Sandra also ensured that Michaela is now loyal to her.

What surprises me is that Aubry decided to ally herself with JT.  What was Aubry thinking?  Then again, I’ve always felt that Aubry’s an overrated player.  Aubry may brag about using logic to play the game but she rarely seems to actually do that.

In the end, the deciding vote came down to Jeff Varner and he decided to vote for JT.  Despite having found an idol at the start of this episode, JT was voted out.  JT was so confident that he didn’t even bring his idol to the tribal council.  That’s just foolishness.

Other than the drama at Nuku, this episode’s big storyline was 51 year-old Debbie acting like a 12 year-old child over at the Mana Tribe.  At the reward challenge, Debbie bragged that she had a great sense of balance and hence, she could handle the balance beam part of the competition.  It turned out that Debbie had a terrible sense of balance and, as a result, Mana lost the reward.  Instead of taking ownership and apologizing for her part in loss, like a grown up would do, Debbie proceeded to declare that it was all Culpepper’s fault for running the tribe like a dictatorship.

Debbie proceeded to have a meltdown, claiming that everyone was plotting against her and that she had no say in how the tribe was run.  She yelled at Culpepper.  She yelled at Hali.  At the immunity challenge, she spent the whole time saying that she would compete and then that she wouldn’t compete.  When she got across the balance beam, she ran around telling everyone, “I was the first one across!”  Debbie claimed that she was venting but all she was doing was throwing a tantrum.

For most of the episode, I was convinced that Mana would lose immunity and Debbie would be voted off.  My main fear is that Tai would find the idol and use it save Debbie because, as we all know, Tai can always be counted upon to do the worst possible thing and the worst possible time.  But, to my shock, Mana won immunity and it was JT voted out.

Next week, it looks like there will be another tribal shakeup!  Who will get stuck with Debbie and will Sandra continue to be the queen?

We’ll find out!

Lisa Marie

P.S. Thank you everyone who replied last week.  I apologize to everyone who I didn’t get a chance to personally reply to, it was a crazy week.

P.P.S. Amazing Race coverage starts tomorrow!

 

Survivor 34 Episode 4 “The Tables Have Turned”

Okay, having watched tonight’s episode of Survivor, I have one question:

WHAT EXACTLY DOES THIS SEASON HAVE AGAINST PHYSICALLY ATTRACTIVE PEOPLE!?

Seriously!  First Caleb and now Malcolm.  (And I know that some of my male friends have said they thought that Ciera was hot, too.  I personally don’t see it but hey, whatever.)  If I was Ozzy, Troyzan, Hali, or Sierra, I would be really paranoid because it appears that the better looking you are, the more likely it is that you’re going to get voted off.  What’s especially bad is that all of these attractive people are getting voted off so early that they won’t even be on the jury.  We are potentially looking at the ugliest finale in Survivor history.

Okay, rant over.  Let’s talk about tonight’s episode of Survivor.

Up until that terrible moment when Malcolm’s torch was extinguished, this episode was shaping up to be one of the best in Survivor history.  The producers threw in an interesting twist during the immunity challenge.  Jeff Probst announced that, even though three tribes were competing, only one would win immunity.  Both of the tribes that lost would have to go to tribal council.

The immunity challenge was one of those challenges that drives me crazy because I know I wouldn’t be any good at it.  It was one of those things where each tribe picked a caller and that caller had to shout out directions while the rest of their blindfolded tribe tried to make their way through an obstacle course.  I have a hard time following directions and I get frustrated easily.  If I was on Survivor, I would be totally worthless in that challenge and I’d probably voted out afterward.

The challenge was won by Tavau, which means that Ozzy got a night off from worrying about being blindsided and Troyzan got to hold onto his immunity idol.  As I watched the other two tribes deal with their loss, I was pretty sure I knew what would happen.  Mana would vote out Hali.  Nuku would probably vote out JT.

But then — another twist!  Jeff announced that there would be only one tribal council.  Mana and Nuku would both go to tribal council at the same time and they would vote out one person!

Here’s where things got complicated.  Over on the Nuku Tribe, Sandra wanted to target Sierra because she was the biggest physical threat.  JT said he would go along with whatever the rest of the tribe did but, secretly, he was thinking that maybe he and Malcolm could somehow convince Culpepper and the rest of the Mana Tribe to vote for Sandra.  While Malcolm knew that he might be a target, he also felt that he and Culpepper, a fellow alpha males, had a connection.

Over on the Mana Tribe, Culpepper actually was thinking of targeting Malcolm, though he also seemed to be willing to go after Sandra.  However, in typical Brad Culpepper fashion, he overplayed his hand by trying to bully Hali into voting with her new tribe and against her old tribe.

Then, Tai went off and did some searching and found the immunity idol!  Now, if Tai was smart, he would have kept it for himself.  Instead, he decided to let the entire Mana tribe know.  The Mana Tribe now had an immunity idol but it wouldn’t do them much good unless they figured out who Nuku was going to vote for.  If they played the idol for the wrong person, it wouldn’t matter.  Nuku, with their one person advantage, would still have the numbers to vote out a member of Mana.

When everyone finally arrived for Tribal Council, the scene was complete chaos.  If not for the fact that it led to Malcolm getting voted out, this would have been one of my favorite tribal councils of all time.  Sandra was her usual snarky self, literally taunting Mana with the fact that JT was going to vote with his new tribe.  Meanwhile, Culpepper said that Hali would be in trouble if she didn’t vote for with Mana.  Both Sandra and Culpepper overreached and it backfired on them.

JT suddenly walked over to Culpepper and whispered in his ear, telling Culpepper that he was the target.  Hali whispered to Sandra.  Soon, everyone was whispering to everyone else.  Jeff Probst could only watch in shock as literally everyone scrambled about,  When he finally said that it was time to vote, no one seemed to know what was going to happen.

However, as so often happens when people are suddenly uncertain about what to do in Tribal, everyone stuck to the original plan.  Nuke voted for Sierra.  Mana voted for Malcolm.  Tai gave the immunity idol to Sierra who played it.  None of the votes for Sierra counted.  Malcolm was the fourth person voted out and he was definitely not happy about it.  I wasn’t happy about it either.

So, what does the future hold?  We’re four episodes in and it’s obvious that the show has been edited to emphasize the fact that three people are feeling very confident right now: Ozzy, Sandra, and Culpepper.  Usually, when someone gets the overconfident edit, that means that they’re going to be blindsided at some point in the future.  I’ll hate to see Ozzy go but I’m about done with Sandra and Culpepper.

One final note: for someone who has actually won the game in the past, JT seems to be absolutely terrible when it comes to strategizing.

Anyway — bye, Malcolm!  You and your amazing hair will be missed.

Lisa Marie

P.S. The Amazing Race stars next week!  Yay!  And yes, I will be covering the new season. 🙂

Survivor 34 Episode 3 “Survivor Jackpot”

“My name’s Caleb and I’m perfect!”

Well, that sucked!

In many ways, tonight’s episode of Survivor was a pretty typical episode.  It’s still early in the game and alliances are still being made.  Even though all of these players have been on previous seasons, we’re still getting to know them as far as this season is concerned.  It’s always amazing to me how certain players can be brilliant during their first season and then end totally screwing up during their second season.

Tonight started out with the big tribal shakeup.  The two tribes were split into three tribes.  Personally, I’m never a fan of the whole three tribe thing.  The show has a hard enough time focusing on just two tribes.  When it has to deal with three, that inevitably means that whichever tribe isn’t constantly losing and going to tribal council is going to be shortchanged as far as the show’s attention is concerned.  I also think that they’re doing the shakeup a bit too early this season.

But, no one asked me.  Instead, everyone met on the beach and randomly grabbed new buffs until we ended up with the following three tribes:

Mana

Caleb

Brad Culpepper (Formerly Nuku)

Hali

Sierra (Formerly Nuku)

Tai (Formerly Nuku)

Debbie (Formerly Nuku)

Nuku

Aubry (Formerly Mana)

Michaela (Formerly Mana)

Sandra (Formerly Mana)

Malcolm (Formerly Mana)

JT

Jeff Varner (Formerly Mana)

Tavua

Andrea (Formerly Nuku)

Cirie (Formerly Nuku)

Sarah (Formerly Nuku)

Ozzy (Formerly Nuku)

Zeke (Formerly Nuku)

Troyzan (Formerly Mana)

The most interesting thing about the new tribes was how lop-sided they were.  On Tavua, Troyzan was the only former member of the Mana Tribe and, as such, was the automatic target of the five former Nuku members.  On the new Nuku tribe, JT was the only previous Nuku member and now found himself being targeted by five former members of Mana.  And finally, on the new Mana tribe, Caleb and Hali found themselves outnumbered by four previous Nuku members.

On the new Tavua Tribe, Troyzan went searching for an idol and he found it.  Or, I should say, he found a clue that informed him where the idol would be hidden during the immunity challenge.  Troyzan managed to grab the idol without anyone noticing, which should give him a little peace of mind.  It’s interesting.  I couldn’t stand Troyzan during his first season but I really liked him during this episode.  Maybe it’s because he’s now the underdog.  It’s hard not to root for someone to survive when they’re outnumbered 5 to 1.

On the new Nuku Tribe, JT had less luck finding an idol.  Sandra, for some reason, was obsessed with eating a goat.  I’m glad that the rest of the tribe did not agree with her.  Don’t get me wrong — if it’s day 26 and you’re out of rice, eat whatever you have to eat to survive.  But this was Day 9!

Add to that, those goats were adorable.

Meanwhile, on the new Mana Tribe, it was pretty obvious that Hali and Caleb were the targets.  After they lost the immunity challenge, they went to tribal council and it really wasn’t a shock that they voted out Caleb.  Obviously, he’s a much stronger player than Hali and Survivor is a game where you have to get rid of the strong players in order to win.

BUT STILL!  IT SUCKED!  POOR CALEB!

To be honest, I’m not sure if I would have called Caleb a game changer.  If anything, he was a really likable guy who broke everyone’s heart when he had to be medically evacuated during his previous season.  But, regardless of whether he deserved to be called a game changer or not, Caleb is one of those players who you always want to see go far because he just seems to be such a decent human being.  Judging from his two seasons on Survivor, Caleb has matured a lot since his time on Big Brother.

But that’s the way Survivor works.  The likable players don’t always win.  Sometimes, the players that you’re most excited about end up getting voted out early.  If not for the tribal shakeup, Caleb would not have been voted out.  It was bad luck but then again, so much of Survivor is all about luck.

So, goodbye, Caleb.  Peace by with you.

Lisa Marie

NEXT WEEK — TWO TRIBAL COUNCILS!  DOUBLE THE EVICTION DRAMA!

Survivor 34, Episodes 1 & 2

Well, here we are!

Last night saw the premiere of another season of Survivor.  Jeff Probst started things off by mentioning that this was the 500th episode of Survivor!  Can you believe that?  It’s amazing that this show has not only lasted this long but it’s also managed to stay consistently entertaining and surprising.  Assuming the world doesn’t end over the next 17 years, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Survivor make it to a 1,000 episodes.

This season’s theme is Game Changers.  That players are returnees who, in the past, “changed the game.”  One thing about Jeff — no matter how silly the premise, he’s going to go out of his way to sell it.  He insisted that all of the players were game changers and he was so passionate about it that, while I was watching the show, I believed him.  It was only after the episode ended that it occurred to me that I wasn’t sure who a lot of these supposed game changers were.

I mean, I remembered the previous winners.  And, of course, I remembered players like Ozzy and Malcolm.  But then there were others who I struggled to recognize.  At the start of the episode, blonde Sierra (as opposed to brunette Ciera) found a legacy advantage that will give her automatic immunity from the 6th to the 13th tribal council.   That’s a big advantage and it’s good that she found it because I honestly don’t remember Sierra from her previous season.

Interestingly, some of the players who most changed the game are not playing this season.  There’s no Boston Rob.  No Richard Hatch.  No Russell Hantz.  Despite being one of the greatest players in Survivor history, Thailand’s Brain has never been asked to play a second time.

Here’s who did return:

Mana Tribe

Ciera (Previously on Blood vs. Water and Cambodia) — Ciera is truly one of my least favorite Survivor players of all time.  Ciera’s claim to fame is that she voted out her own mother on Blood vs. Water.  The main reason she’s famous for it is because she never shuts up about it.

Tony (Cayagan) — Hyper Tony.  He somehow won his previous season.  He started out Game Changers by shouting that he was going to look for an idol and then running into the woods.  Not smart, Tony.

Aubry (Kaoh Rong) — One of the most overrated players in Survivor history.  She lost what should have been an easy win, just because she couldn’t bring herself to socialize with the other members of her tribe.

Michaela (Millennials vs. Gen X) — Michaela, who is from my home state of Texas, was one of my favorite Survivors last year.  Hopefully, this year will end better for her.

Sandra (Pearl Island and Heroes Vs. Villains) — Still as outspoken as ever, Sandra is trying for a third win.

Hali (Worlds Apart) — Hali is one of those “game changers” that I can barely remember.

Malcolm (Philippines and Caramoan) — MALCOLM!  Malcolm is back and just as strong and nice to look at as ever.  Hopefully, he’s improved as a strategist.

Caleb (Koah Rong) — CALEB!  Listen, I’m really excited to have Caleb back but, again, I have to wonder if he’s really a game changer.  He was likable and it sucks that he had to be medically evacuated.  But did he really change the game?

Troyzan (One World) — I don’t have many thoughts on Troyzan.  If they had to bring back a guy from One World, I’m glad it was him and not Tarzan.

Jeff Varner (Australia and Cambodia) — I have no idea what Varner’s doing there.  Judging from how poorly he did in the challenges, I doubt he’ll be around for long.

Nuka Tribe

Andrea (Redemption Island and Caramoan) — I recognized Andrea but I can’t remember much about what she did during her previous two seasons.

Brad Culpepper (Blood vs. Water) — Was Brad really a game changer?  His wife was but, if I remember correctly, Brad was just kind of a goofball.

Cirie Fields (Panama, Micronesia, Heroes vs. Villains) — Cirie is back!  Again.  This is Cirie’s fourth time.  If she doesn’t win this season, it’s time to move on to another reality show.  Still, I did enjoy the rebirth of the rivalry between her and Ozzy.  It’ll be interesting to see how that plays out.

Sarah (Cagayan) — I have no idea who Sara is.

Ozzy (Cook Islands, Micronesia, and South Pacific) — Ozzy!  I love Ozzy, even if he is definitely starting to age a little.  But again, this is his fourth time.  At this point, he should know that he needs to be careful about getting blind sided and that he needs to up his social game.  If he hasn’t learned that yet, he may need to look for a new show to try to win.

Zeke (Millennial vs. Gen X) — Eh.  Zeke’s back.  Who cares?

Sierra (Worlds Apart) — I’m not sure why Sierra is considered a game changer but she did find that legacy advantage.

J.T. (Tocantins and Heroes vs. Villains) — J.T. is back and he appears to be just as likable as ever.

Tai (Koah Rong) — I know Tai is popular but I’m not sure he was ever really a game changer, unless you count convincing the tribe not to eat the chicken.

Debbie (Koah Rong) — Debbie managed to get through the first two episodes without having a paranoid episode or attempting to cast any hexes on anyone.  That’s progress.

As for the first two tribal councils, it was Mana both times and I was happy with the results of each tribal.  Ciera was voted out the first time.  Hyper Tony was voted out the second time.  As of right now, Sandra appears to be in charge of Mana.

So, what did everyone think of the premiere?  Also, it appears that they’ll be switching up tribes next episode!  No one should get too comfortable. 🙂

Lisa Marie 

Bye, Ciera

Bye, Tony.