Ox Notes: March 7, 2008

Christian Siriano is all over the place after winning Project Runway 4. People has another interview with him, and he explained his fierceness scale to TV Guide. The PR 4 finale was watched by 5.18 million viewers.

Fellow designer Jack Mackenroth, who left mid-season due to illness, told People he’s thinking about returning for Project Runway 5, even though Tim Gunn and Christian think it might not be a good idea.

The fourth season of The Deadliest Catch returns to Discovery on April 15. The crews of the Northwestern, Time Bandit, Cornelia Marie, and Wizard will be back for the upcoming season, along with the crews of two new boats: the North American and the Early Dawn.

VH-1 announced plans for four more new reality shows in 2008. Celebrity Rehab wraps up its first season on VH-1 tonight, with an episode Reality Blurred describes as so honest that it’s as compelling as it is hard to watch.

Lost producer Carlton Cuse was likewise a little more honest than I wanted him to be when he explained to TV Guide how the show’s make-up crew created a fake beard for Desmond (Henry Ian Cusick) out of Cusick’s own beard hair. Yuck.

Last night’s episode of Survivor: Micronesia was brutal. Immediately after choosing new tribes (Zap2It’s recap includes the lineups of New Malakal and New Airai), teams competed in the most dangerous challenge in the show’s history, and all for the reward of a steak BBQ.

Pairs of players from each tribe were tied together by a rope, and each pair took turns chasing another pair from the opposing tribe through a wooden obstacle course. As competitors ran through the muddy maze, navigating over, under, and around the wooden beams, it was almost impossible to avoid injury.

Jason’s rope got tangled and he slammed into a tree. Parvati slipped and got a fat lip. Ami twisted her knee. A stick punctured Jonathan Penner’s leg. And Joel refused to give his partner, Chet, time to stand up after slipping, and instead dragged Chet behind him, slamming Chet’s head into wooden beams along the way.

Penner returned to camp with only a gauze bandage over his clearly painful leg wound. Later that night, a doctor was dispatched to camp to disinfect the wound and close it with three stitches. Penner participated in the Immunity Challenge, but previews for next week’s episode show medics diagnosing him with an infection that they say could become fatal without treatment.

While the rule has been that, if you have to leave camp for medical treatment you’re out of the game, don’t the producers bear some responsibility for causing the injury? Were the challenge testers so good (or timid) that none of them got hurt when running a trial of the course?

The circumstances of Penner’s injury are clearly not the same as when Michael Skupin fell into the fire during Survivor: Australia. An injury that occurs as a result of bad planning on the part of production is not the same as an accident that just happens at camp.

I admit that I’m partially upset because my favorite player is the one who’s injured. But I’d feel the same had Chet sustained a concussion during the challenge and needed to be kept under medical observation. The producers got exactly what they wanted when dumb lummox Joel began dragging Chet around like a sack of potatoes (and I admit that I laughed the whole time), and they bear some responsibility for the outcome.

Now that I’ve gotten my rant out of the way, props to Cirie for being the most calculating and persuasive player to ever play the game. After losing immunity, her tribe seemed set on getting rid of the useless Chet. Cirie immediately realized that targeting the weak players would soon put her in danger, so she Jedi-ed Ozzy and Amanda into thinking that Joel needed to go, instead. Now, Cirie not only has Chet as a buffer, but she also got rid of the player who thought her most expendable.

Cirie’s not looking too far ahead, and she never runs with a plan unless she has an airtight explanation for why her teammates should believe it’s the only way to go — even though she’s really only acting in her own best interest. She’s amazing, and I hope that it’s a long time before Ozzy realizes she’s been manipulating him all along.

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