Monthly Archives: October 2005

The Stunned

Oh, God! Make it stop! Less than twenty minutes into The Scorned, I wished I was the one who took a fire poker to the neck. I didn’t have much hope for this horror flick written by a reality star, cast with reality stars, and directed by a guy who makes movies for Playboy. But this is far worse than I could’ve dreamed.

I hoped to write a coherent set of paragraphs about the movie, but there seems to be some kind of contagious degenerative brain disease going around. I think I contracted it from the film’s writers. Here’s my list of grievances:

1. I’m not sure what trailer home the wardrobe stylist raided to get clothes for the cast, but none of the mismatched rags are flattering. Head-to-toe orange spandex was never in.
2. Reichen can’t act! It’s as if he’s never had a conversation before. But he’s not alone. Same goes for Trishelle, Bob Guiney, Stephen, Jenna Lewis, Johnny, Tonya, Ethan, and Stacie J.
3. The only cast members who get a pass in this movie are Trish, Toni, and Jenna Morasca. Granted, Toni and Jenna have about three lines each, and Trish’s character spends most of the movie in a coma.
4. Putting a sheet over Trish’s head would have given a more ghostly effect than their low-budget, “I made my own movie on a Mac” crap.
5. Advice to Rob Cesternino: Shut up and listen to how real people talk, it’ll make your dialogue more believable. And don’t just listen to your drunk reality buddies. They don’t count as real people.
6. I’m surprised they made this movie without hiring anyone to do sound. Why write crappy dialogue if you can’t hear the actors deliver it?
7. Ladies, stop smoking. You sound 30 years older than you look. Which means you sound 70.
8. Also, ladies, stop taking your clothes off. You just look stupid and slutty, and Rob gets to see your boobies. Why do you think he wrote the movie in the first place?

Life Continues

After nearly one-and-a-half seasons of avoiding The Apprentice: Trump, The Donald finally got me to watch an episode again. How? By doing something totally shocking!

At least that’s the way the promos played it. One of the teams failed so badly that Donald had to rush back from a golf trip to, gasp, do his job. I didn’t watch the show on Thursday night, but heard enough good things about it to catch tonight’s rerun. It was nice of CNBC to stop airing Mad Money for an hour to replay the episode.

Donald spent most of the show on the golf course, leaving Carolyn in charge. George, the other viceroy, was also out of town, so pinch hitter Bill Rancic filled in. Bill’s done a great job of improving his on-camera performance since he started filling in during Season 2. It’s actually possible to see him breathing now, so there’s no doubt that he’s alive and not a robot.

When Carolyn is on top of her game, she’s the best part of the show. She’s super intimidating but remembers what it was like to be a young professional learning the ropes. Contestants would probably learn more as Carolyn’s apprentice than Donald’s.

The challenge to boost sales in one department of a Dick’s Sporting Goods store was fraught with the danger of trying to sell equipment for a sport that the contestants liked, rather than one that they could sell. James encouraged Excel to pick baseball so that he could bring his Little League fantasies to life. The problem is that all it takes to play is a bat, a ball, and a glove. Oh, and a radar detector, according to Jennifer.

Capital Edge, on the other hand, chose golf, a sport they knew nothing about. Markus identified the key to their success: the people that play golf are crazy for it. It’s an expensive hobby that requires you to dress a certain way and carry a bunch of expensive equipment; golfers expect to spend lots of money. All Capital Edge needed to do was build the putting green to occupy the kids while the parents shopped. It was a brilliantly simple strategy.

Excel got crushed worse than any defeat in Apprentice history, going so far as to actually lose revenue in the Baseball Department by over 30%. They’d have been better off not showing up for the task. Trump picked three people, James, Jennifer, and Mark, to come back into the Boardroom with Project Manager Josh. Trump promptly gave them all the boot, even Mark, whose sole crime was spending too much time by the pitching machine. The four crammed into the back of one cab and brought new meaning to the phrase “uncomfortable silence.”

Now I’m going to have to watch the next episode just to see how the remaining members of Excel react. Brian, Marshawn, and Rebecca went up to the suite expecting three of their teammates to return from the Boardroom. Did they have to wait all night, wondering why no one came back? Did Robin send a note up to them telling them what happened? Did Trump himself deliver the bad news? Viewers will just have to wait until next week, and I guess I’ll be waiting, too.

Leper Island (Episode 11-7)

Survivor aired its first-ever Halloween Special tonight. Last week’s Reward Challenge rendered most of the contestants unrecognizable beneath their scabs, so tonight’s episode was a gross-out spectacular. The burn victims on CSI looked downright healthy compared to these ghouls.

Bobby Jon’s wounds were worst of all, not surprising since he’s got a rep for smelling the worst, too. Overnight, his congealing wounds stuck to his shirt, and the scabs peeled off when he removed his shirt in the morning. For a minute or two, my dry heaves drowned out the show’s audio.

Later, Bobby Jon got in the tribe’s swim cage, where he sat patiently as minnows fed off the scabs and skin. It gets worse. As the minnows feasted on his own twists of flesh, Bobby Jon put his face in the water and tried to eat the minnows that were nibbling at him. GROSS! Your injuries are not bait. I pity the women of Alabama if Bobby Jon is the best they’ve got to choose from.

Yaxha won tonight’s Reward Challenge and a zipline ride over the jungle canopy, followed by enough chocolate to make you weep. They wisely brought what treats they couldn’t eat back to camp.

The chocolate snacks came in handy when Yaxha decided to throw a birthday bash for Danni. In the spirit of good sportsmanship, Yaxha rowed to the Nakum camp to invite them over for a pool party. Nakum accepted and they were treated to a dip in the pool and some of the leftover chocolate. Now who wouldn’t enjoy that?

Jamie.

The Most Bitter Guy in Guatemala couldn’t stand fraternizing with the enemy and quickly pulled the plug on the party. His fellow Nakums were having a fine time, enjoying food, water, and company. Then, for reasons known only to him, Jamie told them it was time to go. Jamie’s hilarious contempt for all things fun makes me willing to endure a few more weeks of scab healing.

If it was so easy for Yaxha to paddle over to Nakum, why didn’t the tribes go to the other team’s camp before? A few late night panty raids by Nakum and we’ve got ourselves a season, folks. At the very least they could’ve stolen Yaxha’s deck chairs. This seems like a great prank opportunity wasted, and I’m a little disappointed.

Yaxha lost the Immunity Challenge and voted off Amy. At least we know someone received proper medical attention that night. Jeff Probst surprised Yaxha by instructing them to proceed straight from Tribal Council to Nakum’s camp. There should be no shortage of likely candidates to vote off of the newly-merged tribe next week. The oversized egos of Bobby Jon, Jamie, and Judd should bump them right to the top of that list.

This Is Baseball. You Can Swear. (Episode 8-5)

Despite watching it with my own eyes, my brain refuses to believe that the Paolos finished in first place on tonight’s episode of The Amazing Race. Every word that they speak to one another turns into a screaming match, and yet the Paolos finish first. I am stunned.

Teams left New Orleans for Panama for the first, and hopefully not only, destination outside of the U.S. The first plane departed nearly three hours before the second, but teams were quickly bunched together as they were forced to wait overnight before they could start on their next task. With as much criticism as the Family Edition has taken for not being a race around the world, I hope that teams aren’t regularly held up waiting for places to open. Nothing slows the momentum of TAR episodes as much as this bunching, and the slower paced Family Edition can’t afford to bore viewers. Not when there’s a chance that, over on ABC, Thelma might bolt from the White House and drive over a cliff.

Teams raced via boat to an island to look for a guy in a hammock. The nasally-voiced Godlewski sisters called out the guy’s name, Ricardo Diaz, as they ran, evoking memories of Gretchen’s infamous screams of “Chico Lolo” from The Amazing Race 7. Señor Diaz had both the Detour clue and the clue to the only Fast Forward on the entire race.

The Paolos and the Gaghans went for the Fast Forward, in which the team members would pair up for a couple of tandem bungee jumps. The Paolos arrived at the site first, so if they completed their jumps, the Gaghans would have to backtrack to one of the Detours. Brian and Tony leapt first, leaving D.J. and his mom, Marion, lashed together atop the platform. The show cut to a commercial as D.J. said, “I can’t do it.”

Anyone who’s watched even a season or two of TAR knows that when the producers cut to commercial as someone tries to back out of a challenge, it means that the person will inevitably complete the challenge. (I don’t remember any examples of someone actually backing out after returning from commercial, so please let me know if I’m wrong.) The Paolos headed for the Pit Stop, and the Gaghans were back in last place.

Meanwhile, the Weavers and Bransens went to a nature preserve to identify wooden birds stuck in trees. This sounds really stupid until you remember that real birds move around a lot, and that birding fanatics have an ungodly amount of patience. The Godlewskis, Linzes, and Gaghans searched the streets of Panama City looking for four instruments that they had to deliver to a jazz club. The Godlewskis teamed up with the Linzes in a brilliant scheme to make the burly Linz boys carry all the heavy stuff.

Buses took teams to a baseball stadium, where the Roadblock required one team member to get a hit off of a championship-caliber little league team. Rolly did the batting for the Weavers, mercifully limiting the number of times I had to watch Rebecca run in her spandex shorts tonight. Rolly was first to complete the task and the Weavers arrived at the Pit Stop in second place, followed by the Bransens and Linzes.

Sharon Godlewski had trouble making contact with the ball, causing sister Christine to inadvertently use the D-word. Michelle comforted Christine by saying, “This is baseball. You can swear.” Sharon’s trouble at the plate allowed Bill Gaghan to finish the task before her, and the Gaghans moved out of last place to finish fifth.

Knowing they trailed all the other teams, the Godlewski sisters prepared themselves for a possible non-elimination leg. This meant layering as many pieces of clothing over the clothes they were wearing so that Phil Keoghan couldn’t take them away along with their money and backpacks. Upon arriving at the mat, Phil asked them, “Do you know how ridiculous you look? Did you know that in Panama it’s illegal to wear underpants over underpants over your pants?” The sisters were promptly carted off to jail in handcuffs.

Go White Sox! (Episode 1-6)

No, this didn’t suddenly become a sports blog. You can’t blame me for being distracted by the World Series when Martha gives us such a crappy episode of The Apprentice.

Tonight’s task was borrowed from the first season of The Apprentice. Donald’s original cast of wannabe billionaires cajoled celebrities into donating their time for unique experiences to be auctioned for charity. Most notable from the original task was Omarosa’s frequent mispronunciation of clothing designer Isaac Mizrahi’s name. After that episode, Mizrahi became a household name by designing clothes for Target. Coincidence?

The celebrity auction is one of my least favorite Apprentice tasks. Watching goony contestants trying to schmooze celebrities makes me uncomfortable. A few more minutes of Ryan drooling over the NY Jets’ QB, Chad Pennington, and I would’ve needed a shower. Unfortunately, the shower was already occupied — by Chad and Ryan!

Primarius Redux had the better celebrities to work with: Todd Oldham, Susan Lucci, Paul Sorvino, and John Lithgow & Johanna Gleason, stars of the surprisingly stupid idea come to life, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, THE MUSICAL. And yes, you did read that correctly; this was the better list of celebrities.

Along with Chad Pennington, Matchstick II had Fran Drescher, Merv Griffin, and Bruce Vilanch. BRUCE VILANCH? I’d pay not to spend time with him. Did you see Hollywood Squares? I admit, I’m not a Broadway person, so maybe this list appealed to some people. But until Orlando Bloom stars in a reprisal of Hair, I’ll be at home watching television.

Oh, and I forgot to mention that this was an auction for dogs. No, the dogs wouldn’t be the ones bidding, but proceeds benefited some dog shelters or something, and the celebrity packages were supposed to be pet-themed. Todd Oldham designed a matching sofa and dog bed, and Paul Sorvino gave someone’s pet a bit part in his next movie. Pretty cool if you’re rich and have a screwed up preoccupation with an animal that is NOT CAPABLE OF LOVING YOU.

Surprise, surprise. Matchstick II lost and had to go to the conference room. Not such a bad fate considering that Primarius Redux’s prize for winning was some garbage speech from Martha about the joy of giving back. C’mon, at least give ’em a free meal. Maybe a salad with some of that nifty dressing from last week.

Marcela and David took the blame for the loss, and David was let go because he was young, nerdy, and didn’t have a chance anyway. Although Charles did seem intrigued by this “Internet” thing that David kept mentioning.

Next week, two contestants will be fired, and one of them better be Jim or I’ll throw the remote at the TV. I hate Jim, and not in a good way. The good way would make me feel superior to him. The way I hate him is not fun because I already feel superior and the producers still keep forcing me to watch him. He’s a bad guy, I get it already! Show me someone, anyone, who isn’t as obnoxious. No, not Bruce Vilanch!

I’m Not a Bad Sportsmanship

Sometimes you can have too much of a good thing. The producers of Survivor brought Stephenie back for a second shot at $1 million because of the overwhelming fan support she received on her first doomed foray into the literal and metaphorical jungle. However, fan loyalty can’t be relied upon in reality television. The audience is watching flawed human beings, not carefully crafted characters, and real people are petty, careless, and unlikeable some of the time. Stephenie’s return gives fans a second look at her, and many are not liking what they see.

Check the topics in the Survivor Sucks forum (http://p085.ezboard.com/fsurvivorsucksfrm1), and it’s obvious that lots of fans are pissed at Steph. Most of the hatred is centered on Stephenie’s use of the words “gay” and “retarded” as put downs. They’re juvenile and insensitive comments, to be sure. But they’re also funny as hell. No college-educated 25-year-old should be using those terms as insults, but that’s what makes it hilarious. The fact that Stephenie is stressed and bitter enough to throw around insults that she used well before she understood what the words meant means that she’s close to losing her mind. And losing your mind makes for good TV.

When you lose your mind on Survivor, you get Judd, who flew off the handle in such spectacular fashion on Thursday that it already ranks as one of the best Survivor moments ever. Margaret knew exactly how to bait Judd at Tribal Council, and every trap she set for him worked. Margaret said Judd talks too much and he ranted for several minutes in his defense. She said he’s a bully and a bad listener, and he demanded that each of his tribe mates declare him a good listener. Judd asked Rafe if he was a bad listener, and when Rafe responded with a thoughtful, “Well…” Judd snapped, “Just answer the question!” Judd didn’t even wait for a response from Rafe before he asked the same question of Cindy.

Because she had to know she was the most likely to go home, it was smart strategy for Margaret to expose Judd as a lunatic. Unfortunately for her, it didn’t save her from getting voted off. But at least she went down swinging–possibly damaging Judd’s chances down the line.

Judd’s ranting drew laughs from Steph, Lydia, and Jamie, who himself is a victim of fan fickleness, namely mine. Jamie started off the season on my shit list. No good reason for it, I just didn’t like him. But I couldn’t stay mad after Jamie turned into The Most Bitter Guy in Guatemala. Jamie hates everybody. He tolerates Stephenie and Judd because they’re competent in challenges, but deep down he hates them, too. It’s a beautiful thing to watch as Jamie stands apart from his own tribe and then tries to goad the opposing tribe into fights. His eye rolls at Tribal Council are enough to bring me to my knees with laughter. If I could control destiny, I’d make Jamie win.

Having footage of 39 whole days of Jamie’s overwhelming bitterness and broadcasting it to the world would be the greatest comedic gift I could give humanity. Only after I did that would I use my fate-control powers to fight poverty or something unfunny like that.

Ancient Ruin (Episode 11-6)

Judd took center stage on tonight’s Survivor: Guatemala. From solving Immunity Challenges for other people to picking fights at Tribal Council, Judd stole the show.

But first, Jeff Probst threw the Survivors a twist when they arrived at the Reward Challenge. Instead of just competing for the reward of a barbecue feast, both tribes would head to Tribal Council that night. The tribe that won the Reward Challenge would also compete in a challenge for Individual Immunity. Whoever won Individual Immunity couldn’t be voted out and would get to observe the losing team’s Tribal Council as well.

In the Reward Challenge, two people from each tribe worked against a pair from the other tribe in order to push a giant ball of rubber bands (or something that looked like rubber bands) across a goal line. Jamie loudly celebrated his and Judd’s victory over Bobby Jon and Brandon. Bobby Jon took offense and chest bumped Jamie while barking at him. Evolution started to work in reverse and the two grew tails.

Nakum won the reward and moved on to the Individual Immunity Challenge, which consisted of untying bags of lettered tiles and using the tiles to form a two-word phrase. Judd, who couldn’t seem to get his bags untied, figured out the puzzle by looking at Rafe’s tiles and said the answer, “Ancient ruin, ancient ruin!” Rafe listened to Judd and won Individual Immunity.

Tension was high at Nakum’s Tribal Council as Margaret fingered Judd as the tribe’s best example of poor sportsmanship. Judd protested that he wasn’t “a bad sportsmanship,” and went on a tirade about Margaret. She called him a bully, and Judd proceeded to bully other tribe members into saying that he wasn’t. Stephenie, Jamie, and Lydia laughed through much of Judd’s rant and sided with him by voting Margaret out.

Rafe stuck around to observe Yaxha’s overly positive Tribal Council, in which everyone was praised and no one was criticized – basically the complete opposite of what had just happened with Nakum. Rafe was allowed to assign one tribe member immunity, with his pick revealed after everyone voted. Brian received five votes and wasn’t saved by Rafe’s immunity, which went to Gary. Since Gary was in no danger of being voted off, it was wise of Rafe not to upset anyone on Yaxha by influencing the results. With only 11 contestants remaining, it’s just about time to plan on how to get to the Final Three, and the fewer people mad at you the better.