Week 2 of “Top Chef New York” was all about teamwork as the chefs were put together a “New American” menu and they would be judged by some pretty cranky and knowledgeable people –that is, apart from Tom, Gail and Padma: a group of chefs who were not chosen to be on TCNY. Now that’s a bitchy bunch, and some of these people did not disappoint with their probably scripted hissy-fits or snap dismissals of some of the food they were eating. More about that later. However, as Tom said to the judges at the end, this wasn’t, collectively speaking, a wondrous event for the ages since the chefs’ creations probably “set American cuisine back about 20 years”. Ouch. Read the rest of this entry »
So there I was –so there we were, all 50 million of us, according to the ratings—sitting down on Thanksgiving Day to watch the 82nd annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. It’s an institution and each year the “Today” show hosts try to uncomfortably sit through all the corny floats and engage in mawkish conversations with Al Roker and other C-list NBC actors (yesterday’s were Oscar and Meredith from “The Office”). What would this most precious of holidays be without firing up the TV and watching high school band after high school band, dopey float (with a special nod to Disney) after float.
Yesterday seemed to be going as planned, and in fact everything did work out pretty smoothly during the 3-hour telecast. Hey! There’s slutty teen phenom Miley Cyrus! She’s singing that song “Bolt”! And there’s the asexual American Idol runner-up, little David Archuleta! What the heck is the Varsity Fanclub and why do they look like they’re in their 30s? It’s the Broadway production of “Into the Heights”! Can’t wait to get tickets to that! And how do they lay down that green pavement stage area in front of Macy’s on Herald Square. Read the rest of this entry »
What was on NBC’s mind last week? Ratings for the “Today” show must be down. It’s November sweeps time and I guess it was time for the obligatory, flashy gimmick destined to generate ad dollars and publicity. Let’s see. We send balding, prickly Matt Lauer around to some exotic locations and call it “Where in the World is Matt Lauer” while the equally queasy hosts back in Studio 1A try to mockingly guess where he is, whether it’s on a plaza dancing a tango in Buenos Aires, or the kingdom of Bhutan. Never one to be tired, Matt and NBC News crew go to five different places during that week. And for what? Read the rest of this entry »
27 days in captivity with the contestants and this is what we have learned about the Survivor: Gabon this season thus far:
• This has been a season of blindsides. And not just this, but, in true safari style, some of the victims have been big lions. Ace the mastermind, the sometime British-accented guru: gone. Marcus, the ringmaster doctor who felt he could sway anyone with a wave of a hand: gone. And last week, it was Charlie, the lawyer from New York, who was also as self confident as Marcus, and was possibly in a bro-mance with him, and was trying to call the shots on Fang with evil Corinne: gone. Not that the remaining players are all weaklings, because they’re not. But there is some kind of triumphalism in that comparative weaklings like Susie and Ken, and especially Crystal are moving past the established players. Read the rest of this entry »
Tim Goodman of the SF Chronicle wrote an insightful post this week about what makes a good reality show. For all the “dreck” in current so-called reality shows like “The Hills” and “Real Housewives of Atlanta”, there is also a slew of decent reality shows that are in fact competition shows that, as Goodman states, are “acceptable” non-scripted programs. A show like “Project Runway” inspires awe because the contestants/designers literally have to produce each week, creating, fussing, crying, screaming, and then one of them is deemed “Out” by the Teutonically blunt Heidi Klum, who usually shows up wearing something pretty amazing. Read the rest of this entry »
How the mighty have fallen! Wow! Score one for the underdogs! After last week’s searing blindside of Ace from Fang, at the hands of his supposed kewpie doll/sorta love interest, Sugar, this week’s ouster was just as stunning. Marcus, the mighty doctor, leader, motivator, who liked to hear his own voice, was knocked to his knees at exactly the moment when he thought he was controlling his entire tribe. Uh uh. Here on “Survivor”, people’s fates can change in an instant and this was a classic, if not entirely unsurprising, moment. Here’s how this all went down: Read the rest of this entry »
Time to get caught up with the goings-on in Gabon. Week Five did not generate much drama, actually. As we know, Sugar has the hidden immunity idol, which she found weeks ago on Exile Island. Everyone on Fang knows this, including the Mephistophelian Ace with the maybe-phony British accent who seems to have taken a liking to the former pin-up model. In fact, on last week’s episode he told her that it seems that everyone knows she has the idol. To which she smiled gamely and said it didn’t matter much to her.
Also, Ace managed to pad his alliance with Sugar a little more with Matty, who seemed to be the most physically imposing of any of the other players. Matty gladly agreed, since no one else seemed to approach him about anything. Matty is a strong player, and he really stepped it up on a competitive level last week when lesser players like Kelly and Crystal could not. In fact, Crystal, Kelly and Ken attempted to sway Matty away from the clutches of Ace, i.e., how to tell him that Ace is a menace to everyone and that he is some kind of evil guru. Well, Matty for one isn’t seeing it. And given the fact that this lot is meager, starving and quite lacking in performing in any of the challenges, the choice for Matty was fairly clear. Read the rest of this entry »
With Paloma gone last week, Kota seemed to be ridding itself of someone weak and nattering. Yes, she complained a lot, and so did Kelly, who was a bit of a confidante or partner in crime in hating on Ace. Kelly the sales rep had a target on her, and Ace was apparently determined to go after her. She was not the cute sidekick to him that Sugar was. Hell, without the Idol that Sugar found, what use was Kelly anyways?
Over at Fang, fresh from two victories last week, you’d think they would settle their petty differences about, well, eating rice. They’re getting emaciated out there and someone at least (Randy) thinks they are going their food supply too fast. Except that a mini group of Ken, GC and Crystal –the non-white members, natch—don’t think so. They seemed to be pitted against evil-minded Randy (again), Matty the personal trainer, Dan the attorney-who-needs-to-find-himself and Susie, who brings up the rear because she doesn’t want her housewife-ness to get ousted. These cleavages within Fang are familiar. Read the rest of this entry »
We are still in the getting-to-know-you phase of Survivor. Jeff Probst is firmly at the helm of the reality show juggernaut, commenting at every turn about how both Fang and Kota tribes are settling in at their camps, winning or losing challenges, having some skirmishes between purported “:leaders” or followers. Each tribe is trying valiantly to win both reward and immunity challenges because they need the momentum and moral boost to carry them through these initial weeks.
In last week’s double episodes, Kota burst out of the starting gate with relative ease. People found their roles to play in setting up a shelter, finding water, digging latrines, and the stronger personalities prevailed over the lesser ones because of basic survival instincts. You need water and you want to complain that Ace, the worldly and slightly stuck-up photographer, is bossy? No. Let’s get this all done first. And let’s win all the challenges –and then figure out whether Ace or anyone else manages to rise to the cream of the proverbial crop. Read the rest of this entry »
As predicted, the winner of Big Brother 10 is Dan Gheesling, the 25-year-old Catholic high school teacher from Dearborn, Michigan. He was the unanimous choice of all the jury members, who were reunited all on stage at CBS Television City in Los Angeles for the live telecast. Dan and Memphis Garrett, the “mixologist” from LA, were the Renegade duo that was left in the end. They endured some grilling from the seven jury members –those who were tossed out of the house most recently—Jerry, Keesha, Renny, Ollie, Michelle, April and Libra.
Before the questioning began, CBS tried to stage some trouble at the “Jury House” by having them talk openly about who they wanted to walk in as the next jury member. “So guys, who do you think the next juror is”, said Libra in an unconvincing tone. Keesha wanted it to be Memphis because he was “arrogant”. Ollie with his stupid head mumbled something barely incomprehensible about Dan “mocking” everyone and “the entire process”. Then the dramz began with the entrance of Jerry, the next and final jury member, who waltzed I and all hell broke loose. Libra, with her face full of make-up, opined that Jerry wasn’t the “gingerly old man” that “America thought he was”, which begged the question as to what is a “gingerly old man” in the first place. Read the rest of this entry »
Quite a dramatic week inside the BB house, but that’s because we are near the end of the show and the houseguests are, as Jerry thoughtfully put it, “smelling the money” –the half mil the winner will get. After Renny’s ouster last week, we had two people voted out, Keesha and Jerry. That leaves the Renegade duo of Dan and Memphis to await the harsh questioning of the jury in Tuesday night’s final episode.
Watching Keesha get the boot was a little tough. She had been thinking for several weeks that she was in a Dan-Memphis-Keesha alliance, and to some extent she was right. Other people were backdoored or maneuvered our of the house as a way to preserve this alliance. Thus Michelle was unceremoniously let go; ditto Ollie and his stupidity (and his admission this week, from the jury house, that his regret was thinking with his heart and not his brain). In any case, Keesha felt she had a shot at the final two, and that somehow Dan or Memphis would bring her along for the final two selection.
With Jerry still in the house, that complicated things. Instead, Memphis and Dan had a plan that needed smart execution. Memphis elected to Read the rest of this entry »
Things appear to be going as planned–the Renegade Alliance plan, that is, between Memphis and Dan. After the double eviction of Michelle and Ollie last week, Jerry became HOH –the second time this season for him. With five members left, the lines have been clearly drawn. Beyond the strict (and secret) alliance of the two renegades, there is Keesha.
Dan and Memphis see Keesha as a partner. On the other side, Jerry was pretty much by himself. Renny, who is best friend’s with Keesha, was also alone for a couple of reasons. One, Jerry never found any kinship with the ‘Nawlins beauty shop owner, so he wasn’t going to ally with her. Her dislike for “The Colonel” was also well-known. Two, neither Memphis nor Dan liked Renny either in that they didn’t trust her. Yet Renny’s value up to now was that she was someone who would roundly beat whomever would be in the final two. And it’s only because Renny never reached the nastiness or horrible behavior levels of an April or a Libra. In the end, Renny was voted out. Jerry put up Read the rest of this entry »
With about three weeks to go before the September 16 finale, BB10 is getting pretty treacherous and, of course, incredibly trashy and filled with drama. This week Dan the devious Catholic high school teacher/football coach was HOH, and he hatched a plan that was designed to solifidy his “Renegade” alliance he has with Memphis. And it worked, although it was weird to see him alternately look terrified but, like a Puppetmaster, tell others what to do during the POV meeting or else risk being put on the block. When Chenbot told the houseguests at the start of Thursday’s live telecast that there would be a double eviction, they were clearly unsettled. This meant that a “fast forward” week would be done in one show, and Chenbot deftly rushed through an HOH competition, another pair put up on the block, a POV event (which we didn’t see), and then another live vote to kick someone off. (Whew! Give Mrs. Les Moonves an Emmy!) In the end, it was Portuguese Princess Michelle who was initially tossed out, and Read the rest of this entry »
April has been banished. One of the most vain, needy, self-centered contestants of any BB season was tossed out in a 6-0 vote. It wasn’t hard to achieve. She had simply revolted too many people and yet could not understand why –in her chat with sex partner/showmance partner Ollie—anyone would not like her enough to boot off. That’s how deep April was. The bleach blonde finance manager (at a car dealership) from Arizona who came on strong at the beginning, who formed alliances, then ruined them, then isolated herself altogether, really had no allies by the end. Perhaps she had Michelle’s sympathy, if not vote, and that’s only because she was the only woman left who spoke to her. April tried to get Dan’s vote and even hinted she’d give him money she won weeks ago, but Dan deftly exposed the fact that someone offered him money (it could have been Jerry, the other person on the block) for his vote. In the end he didn’t use the POV and created a little excitement in the run up to last night’s unanimous vote. For the third week now, Dan becomes the unlikely wild card vote. Other developments this week: Read the rest of this entry »
NBC probably doesn’t look forward to this week. After posting boffo ratings for its coverage, there is evidence that this has been very much related to the eighth wonder that is Michael Phelps. Phelps last night won his eighth gold medal at the Beijing Olympics, as the US team defeated the Australians in the 400 medley relay.
NBC has certainly milked each and every Phelps win, and it’s worth following his every move as he made it to the Water Cube, iPod in his ears, or putting a microphone in front of him to ask him (ugh) what “was going through his head”, etc., as he picked up yet another medal. NBC has stayed very close to Phelps’s Mom and his older sisters too, even dispatching analyst Cris Collinsworth to sit next to her at the swim events and dedicating a camera and microphone to record Mama Phelps’s every utterance. She has become almost the super media star that her son has, posing for photos with mega luminaries such as Kobe Bryant, Jason Kidd and Lebron James, all NBA stars and members of the US Olympic basketball team. Phelpsmania is everywhere.
Now with the swim events over, NBC’s ratings are almost certain to drop. As we here in the US of A cope with Phelps phever and deal with withdrawal, here is a list of suggestions we’d submit to NBC to improve its coverage in this, the second and final week of the Beijing games: Read the rest of this entry »
Michelle was HOH last week, and her first order of business was to “win this” for Jessie. She wanted to avenge his ouster the week before by going after Libra and Keesha, both of whom she blamed for this. Their heads were quickly put on the block. Picking Libra was too easy. She has proved to be the ultimate whiner and screamer, having others (like Keesha) do her dirty work, complain when she doesn’t do well in physical challenges, and, just be generally miserable and bossy. Even on the evening that Jessie got voted out, she got into a nasty yelling match with former ally, April, who gracefully called her, among other things, a scallywag and ‘ho -this was seconded by her cipher/nightly fornicator Ollie.
Libra certainly has done a lot to merit all the resentment. The problem is that Read the rest of this entry »