Monday, May 29, 2006

'The Apprentice 5' - Ep. 14 -or- "The Prelude to a Finale"

I wasn't expecting much from this latest episode of The Apprentice as it's basically just setting things in place for next week's season finale. And, sure enough, I wasn't delivered much. So, no recap/review this week.

Oh, okay, since you're here and reading and all...

The show opened with Roxanne and Allie getting fired once again. Been there, done that! Lee and Sean, the only two remaining candidates, were awaiting the return of one of the girls to the suite. Lee was already chowing down and Sean, perhaps the more mannerly of the two, decided against waiting. After all, his Tammy is gone and he felt her firing was the work of Roxanne and Allie. They received a phone call instructing them to head to the Boardroom immediately. Of course, they had no clue both women had been fired, so they fussed while dressing to meet Trump. Once there, he gave them the news they were the final two. So, it's the Politician against the Brit, friend against friend.

Trump told them they were about to undertake the hardest task in the fifteen-week long interview. They would have to select a team of three to lead in the task from previous candidates and meet Trump in the morning.

Little did they know that all their former rivals for the position were waiting for them at the suite. Woohoo, a par-tay! All of the former candidates were vying to be on the teams. Sean had his team selected -- Tammy (of course), Andrea and Tarek. Other than Lenny as a definite, Lee seemed a bit more undecided with his decision. He finally settled on Lenny, Roxanne and Pepe.

Pepe? I had forgotten he existed! Was it the second week that he went? Yikes! I personally have some doubts about Lee's team. I know Lenny is fiercely loyal to him and that's why he was chosen. But Lenny is abrasive, falls back on his "I'm Russian; I didn't know" bit too much and he could be a detriment. Why Roxanne and Pepe, I haven't a clue.

The teams had a choice of two fund-raising, celebrity-laden tasks. They had to manage all aspects -- business, creative and logistics. Sean, whose team became Synergy, took the BareNaked Ladies (rock group) performance at the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City. He only got that as Lee handed it over to him, taking a celebrity hockey game at Chelsea Piers instead. It was an act of good will or perhaps politics on Lee's part.

As the teams got into the tasks, they realized how much they had to do. I think Sean and his team were more on top of things as Lee seemed clueless about so much. Both teams appeared to be overwhelmed.

Sean got a decent start, touring the facilities at the Taj Mahal and such. However, he seemed to be letting his affection for Tammy take him over a bit. Tarek and Andrea, thankfully, are both strong and smart.

Oh, but, Lee! He managed to offend Denis Leary's representative for one of the big recipients of the proceeds. He missed an opportunity with one of the Pontiac folks where he could possibly have gained matching funds. Even Carolyn commented that he was too laidback and not showing good leadership qualities.

Then Sean faced his own team dilemma. While I never liked Andrea, she is a smart woman and an important part of the team. For unbeknownst reasons, she started coughing up blood and ran off to the doctor.

Oh, no! What will happen? It's a cliffhanger, I guess. The task completion wasn't shown; the last we saw was Andrea walking away crying. The finale show is next Monday, June 5 at 9:30 ET/PT in most viewing areas. In the meantime, viewers are encouraged to vote for their favorite at the NBC website and could even win $30,000. If you visit that site, don't bother with Trump's Blog -- it's "notes" from the Trump University. Yes, I rolled my eyes and deep-sighed, too!

Lee and Sean have their respective sites begging for votes, too.

Me? I won't bother voting. I think Lee will win, but right now it's not looking too good for him. But he has a history of succeeding while always on the brink of failure.

Dollar bills, y'all...

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

'American Idol' Finale East Coast Update - The Winner Is...

...Taylor Hicks!

The Summer of Reality (TV) Is Coming

Remember the olden days of television? There was little new content for the summer, thus we had to be content to watch repeats with the exception of a few variety shows. An example of summer fare was The Summer Smothers Brothers Show circa the late-sixties. There were other beach-related shows, too. But, that was about it. Mostly, television was reruns all through the lazy, hazy days of summer.

In the current TV market, networks compete with each other for viewers, and for the even more important advertising dollars. In scouting around for this year's summer shows, I found it to be a Summer of Reality TV more often than not. So, if you're not a reality television genre fan, you might end up with reruns or feel free to accompany your child to summer camp!

Now, this is by no means a complete list of all the new summer shows (and returning ones) for the season, but I took a look at the big networks to see the major players in the market.

On CBS this summer:
Of course, there's my guilty pleasure summer staple, Big Brother. This year, BB7 is being called Big Brother All-Stars.
Dates to mark on your calendar:
Wednesday June 21, as from
the CBS website -

For the first time in BIG BROTHER history worldwide, viewers will vote on which former HouseGuests will compete in BIG BROTHER 7: ALL-STARS. On CBS Wednesday, June 21 at 8PM ET/PT, Julie Chen will unveil the top 20 candidates from seasons past. Web voting opens right here [ site] after the show at midnight ET/9PM PT. The polls close Wednesday, June 28 at 11:59PM ET/8:59PM PT

Thursday July 6 at 8 PM ET/PT, it's the season premiere.
Just a note: I'll once again be blogging the live feeds in some capacity although it's too early to announce any details. Stay tuned!

RockStar: Supernova will premiere on Wednesday July 5 at 8 PM ET/PT. The second episode will be shown after the season premiere of Big Brother All-Stars the next day, then the regular day and time will be Wednesdays at 8 PM ET/PT. This is the second season for the show; last year's band was INXS. This season a new band (Supernova) will be formed with the winner accompanying former Motley Crüe drummer Tommy Lee, former Metallica guitarist Jason Newsted, and former Guns N' Roses guitarist Gilby Clarke. The music genre isn't so much my cuppa tea, so I probably won't tune in too much to the show, though I'll give it a look-see from time to time.

On ABC this summer:
ABC-TV only has one of its expected five summer reality shows featured on its website - How to Get the Guy - a "romantic reality series." The premiere is slated for Monday June 12 at 10 PM ET/PT. I tend to not watch reality television dating shows, so don't look to me for reports on this one.

Other shows previously-announced, but no premiere dates available are:
1. Master of Champions - Six competitors vying each other in extreme challenges.
2. The One: Making a Music Star - This one follows musical academy aspiring singers and the audience will vote one candidate off each week. It sounds a bit lifted from American Idol in concept. I may or may not watch.
3. Buy It Now - This one is a bit of a fresh concept mixed with a house-makeover kind of family dream (or something similar). A family puts up prized possessions for auction on EBay; neighbors and friends also put items up for auction to help the family realize their dream. It's to be aired twice a week. I'm just using the remodel show concept as a comparison -- the dreams may be very different. Heck, they may want to go to DisneyWorld.
4. One Ocean View - Five young NYC professionals spend summer weekends at an exclusive beach. These Friends may remind us of The Real World as one of the producers of the MTV series has a hand in the series.

On NBC this summer:
Wednesday June 21 starting at 8 PM ET/PT is the two-hour premiere of America's Got Talent. This one is on my list to watch. Created and produced by American Idol's Simon Cowell and hosted by Regis Philbin -- I predict a summer hit! Yes, a talent contest, but an all-encompassing one, not just singing. I'm psyched for the debut!

The other summer show on NBC that I'm very interested in watching is
Treasure Hunters. It sounds like a cross between The Amazing Race and The Da Vinci Code (sans the religious aspect). The two-hour season premiere is on Sunday June 18 starting at 8 PM ET/PT. After that, its regular day and time will be Mondays at 9 PM ET/PT. Here's a bit of what the NBC website had to say about the show:

In this fast-paced adventure reality series, multi-player teams try to stay one step ahead of each other as they are mentally and physically challenged in their quest of a promised hidden treasure. The teams must avoid elimination as they travel to historically significant locations where they must decipher cryptic codes and puzzles, each with a clue leading them closer to solving the ultimate puzzle, and obtaining the coveted grand prize.
Last Comic Standing returns for its third summer stint Tuesday May 30 at 8 PM ET/PT. I may check it out now and then, but I lost interest in the show after the first season. I liked Rich Vos and he's a very local guy I actually talk to now and then, so I watched for him. Since then, yawn. (Well, for me, at least!)

On FOX this summer:
Hell's Kitchen's second season premieres Monday June 12 at 9 PM ET/PT. I enjoyed the first season with really-ranting chef Gordon Ramsay. I'll be watching. Or taping.

On Thursday May 25 (tomorrow) at 8 PM ET/PT, it's the second season premiere of
So You Think You Can Dance. I can take this show or leave it. I enjoyed the start of last season, but lost interest halfway through the season. I'll probably give it a glance now and then dependent on what's up against it. And, no. I don't think I can dance. If you saw me dance, you'd agree.

So, there's a bit of what's on the TV this summer. I have a few shows I'm really looking forward to watching, but predict I'll be listening to a lot of music and reading. Oh. And watching Big Brother live feeds and blogging. Now, that's a summer!

The Meaning of TTOW! (BJ/Tyler of 'The Amazing Race 9')

Aha! I found a good explanation of TTOW, the exclamatory "word" used by BJ and Tyler throughout the recent Amazing Race season. This TV Guide online article also gives lots of insight, so check it out!

But, TTOW? Here ya go: What does "TTOW" stand for?
BJ: Truth, justice and the American way. No, for real.
BJ: It's basically the Chinese word for "good times." We went to China in 2002 and ended up with these awesome shirts that randomly said TTOW on them. In Asian countries, they like English characters and it didn't mean anything at the time, but since we bought the shirts and have been yelling out the phrase on national television, it has become our power call to the universe.

Monday, May 22, 2006

'The Apprentice 5' - Ep. 13 -or- "The Embassy Suites Space Cadet Program"

It's down to the Final Four, two episodes to go after this one. Yes,'s the 13th week of the 15 week long interview. Thirteen is bad luck, right? I guess it was for...

Wait, let me tell you about the episode first!

The show opened with Sean preparing a salad for whichever Synergy team members survived the Boardroom. He was so hoping that Tammy would return, although he acknowledged there was a strong possibility that she was the one Trump fired. He looked absolutely crestfallen when Allie and Roxanne walked in. Then he changed to determined and outright angry. "They lack integrity!"

In the morning, the teams met up with Donald Trump and the Trumplets -- his adult children Ivanka and Don, Jr. For no reason on earth (that I can think of) other than to promote his own fragrance, they met at the Estee Lauder offices. The actual task for the teams involved Embassy Suites, so you figure the reason they met at Estee Lauder and showed the design of the fragrance bottle.

The task had the candidates in their gender war team mode, Gold Rush men, Synergy women, designing uniforms for Embassy Suites staff. They had to create four designs -- front desk, bellmen, suitekeepers, and chefs. The finished product would be voted on by Embassy Suites employees.

Lee decided he wanted to be the project manager for Gold Rush, and he went with Sean to meet up with the E.S. executives. He wanted a focus group of employees and that's pretty much what the execs suggested, too. They went about asking the employees what they liked about their present uniforms and what they would want changed if they could. They didn't go hog-wild and worked on more functionality than changing everything around.

Sean seemed to know a lot about fashion and clothing design. He believes it's because he's a metrosexual. That prompted Lee to say, "What's a metrosexual? A cross between a homosexual and a heterosexual?" He must live under a rock.

I was out in my kitchen getting a cold tasty beverage during the commercial break prior to the Trump Firing Prediction Quote, so I missed the actual quote. The gist of it came down to business and friendship don't always mix. that point in the show it could be either team. Sean and Lee had just been saying how great they got along. We know that Allie and Roxanne are tight. Or...are they?

The second they showed Synergy (Roxanne and Allie), I knew they were doomed. Allie decided to be the project manager, but oh-we're-really-co-PM mindset took over. She didn't want to just tweak and update the uniforms; she wanted to create fashion! I swear Roxanne almost rolled her eyes at her, perhaps gave a deep sigh. But she played along. Bad mistake. Roxanne thought she was rude to the designer (she was, she was!). But she told us; she didn't tell Allie.

The day of the fashion show was a hoot! The Gold Rush uniforms were the clear winner with the crowd -- fashionable, but very functional and improvements the employees themselves suggested to Lee and Sean. You could almost hear horrified gasps coming from some of the employees when Allie's Space Cadet designs hovered down the runway. Oh. My. God. It was like she took her designs from a '60s science fiction space novel! On the models they kind of looked um...interesting. Put real people with not-so-great builds in the uniforms, get the fashion police -- a crime has been committed!

Sure enough, the employee vote went overwhelmingly to Gold Rush - 83 votes against 37 for Synergy. Sean and Lee won the honor (well, to them, I guess) of having dinner at Aquavit with Ivanka and Don, Jr. As for Roxanne and Allie, someone wil be fired. Or...

Lee and Sean's dinner with the Trumplets went very well. They asked a lot of questions about growing up Trump, being Trump employees and on and on. I found it interesting that Trump gave his son $300 a month on a credit card when he was in college. He had to budget or get a job if he wanted more. I went to college in the Dark Ages, so I could have done a semester on that, but judging on his age, that wasn't exorbitant at all. Lee spilled the beans that Sean was smitten with Tammy (fired last week).

As Allie and Roxanne prepared for their last night together, they cuddled and said they'd never turn on each other. "I'd throw myself under a truck for her," said Roxanne. Yeah, right.

In the Boardroom, all started well. Then, the more nervous and defensive she got under Trump's questioning, the faster and higher-pitched Allie's speech became. Soon she was laying the blame on Roxanne. Then Roxanne spoke up (which she should have done in the task) saying she didn't decide the designs and Allie was rude to the designer. Catfight! Meow! Ivanka literally lit into Allie. Don, Jr. just watched for the most part. Meow, meow, hiss, hiss.

"Stop it! Roxanne and Allie, you're both fired!"

Afterwards, he commented on the lack of loyalty. They came in as good friends and all fell apart over a loss. Well, of course it did. One would have to get fired. While I understand where Trump was coming from, what did he expect? Each one would have to defend their own actions and they best way to do that is to focus on what the other did wrong. Although I get his reasoning for the double fire, I think Allie should have gone as she made the fashion decisions and failed miserably.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

'The Amazing Race 9' - Finale Part 2

I'm so happy, I'm so pretty, so pretty...!

Well, um...

This season was almost perfect in my eyes, at least. After a bit of a recap of the last leg, I'll be reflecting back on a very satisfying season of The Amazing Race.

Now, where were we leave off? Japan? Ah, yes, that's it! Domo arigato! We were at the Pit Stop where Phil announced there would be no more eliminations in the race. However, since Ray and Yolanda came in last on the leg, they lost all of their money and Tokyo (a very expensive city) with only the clothes they had on their backs and their passports.

BJ and Tyler only had a two-minute headstart against Jeremy and Eric, but made sure to stop at Ray and Yolanda's car to leave them some money and "stuff." I don't believe Jeremy and Eric left anything at all. While the flight tickets are paid for by the production staff, nothing else is. So, they had to beg.

And, beg they did. They went to restaurants, Ray wore a white sign dangling from his neck which read "yen." While he made more of an effort than I ever thought he would, even a humble and gracious one, it was Yolanda who brought in the bucks. The Japanese businessmen in one restaurant thought she looked like Janet Jackson and she had them handing over the money with ease.

All three teams caught up to each other at the airport and were on the same flight heading to Anchorage, Alaska. None of the teams seemed to be too happy about that situation, but the Frat Boys (Eric and Jeremy) seemed outright disgusted.

Once in Alaska, the teams had to drive thirty miles to Mirror Lake where they faced a Detour (a choice of two tasks relating to the local area). This one was Drill It or Deliver It. In Drill It, teams had to drill ten holes in the lake's ice with an auger, then drag an ice-fishing shack over to their area, setting it up to be approved by a local. In Deliver It, teams would have had to fly supplies 150 miles while doing the navigation for the pilot. Scratch that. All teams had to do Drill It because bad weather grounded all the planes.

Eric and Jeremy finished the task first and received a clue directing them to a chalet in Kincaid Park where they had to don snowshoes and follow an intricate map to find the next clue. BJ and Tyler weren't all that far behind, but walked right by all the snowshoes! Argh! Not once, not twice, but at least three times! A sidenote: When I Googled "Kincaid Park," the information I found starts with "Don't throw snowballs at the moose." Heh.

So...where my favorites, BJ and Tyler, far behind? And, what of Ray and Yolanda? Did they throw snowballs at the moose? Did a polar bear think they were salmon heading upstream? Well, the latter team was way behind, but in the end it didn't matter. All three teams made it on the same flight to Denver.

They first had to head to Golden, Colorado to find hidden clues in what looked like a dilapidated chicken farm. First Eric/Jeremy, then BJ/Tyler. Alas, Ray and Yolanda lost any chance of winning right then and there. Between getting lost and having trouble finding, they were too far behind too close to the end of the race to catch up.

The race would end where it began, in the Red Rocks Amphitheater (Denver). But there was a Roadblock before the Pit Stop. At Red Rocks, one member of each team was confronted with a field containing 285 flags. That team member had to select the 9 flags which represent the countries through which they had traveled. The racer had to take them one by one to a stand where they had to be placed in the correct chronological order. The other team member couldn't help physically, but could shout out advice.

Eric and Jeremy got there first with what seemed like a huge lead, but they really had no clue. BJ and Tyler arrived and, while they had some difficulty, they nailed it in the nick of time and ran their way to the Pit Stop to win the million dollars! Woohoo! As Eric and Jeremy said, "We didn't know the last one would be about brains." I love it!

This team has been my favorite since about the second show. Watching them deal with the people in the various countries was refreshing compared the the "Ugly American" persona we've seen in some teams other seasons. In a lot of countries, they knew at least bits and pieces of the language. They obviously were out to have fun and an adventure, as well as trying for the million dollars. They entertained me without going for that idea of nastiness is "good TV" -- can you say Jonathan Baker?

All in all, this was one of the best seasons in a long time. Even the villains this time around weren't once that had folks up in arms thinking they should be arrested. Amazing Race -- thank you for a fun, entertaining, exciting and truly amazing race.

And, for BJ and Tyler, TTOW! Well done!

If anyone out there reading this is interested, the CBS website has the information for applying to be on The Amazing Race 11. Where was this show before I wrecked my knees? Also, if you missed it, Ray proposed to Yolanda on The Early Show:

Ray shocked Yolanda by proposing, live, on his knees, in the plaza Thursday.

"I think the race was, I mean, it was a once in a lifetime experience," Ray said, "and I mean, you got to hang out with hippies and frat boys but, most of all, sharing the race with Yolanda. It was something that was special. I would have not been here if it wasn't for you and you're like everything I've dreamed of my whole life. Will you marry me?"

With onlookers cheering wildly, she said yes, tears streaming down her face.


Wednesday, May 17, 2006

'The Amazing Race 9' Finale Part 1 -or- "May I Touch Your Beard? Arigato!"

Well, well, well...a perfect conclusion to a fantastic season of The Amazing Race. Of course, that's in my own humble opinion. Yes, the lackluster, boring, tedious, and family-safe family version faux pas of last autumn is but a distant memory. This season was one heck of a whirlwind ride with excellent casting (overall), excitement, and lots of close finishes. Ah, but close doesn't win the million, does it? On with the show...

The three remaining teams (BJ/Tyler, Eric/Jeremy and Ray/Yolanda) left their last Pit Stop at the Marble Temple in Thailand taking a taxi 75 miles to the Royal Kraal Pavilion - an historical place where wild elephants used to be taken in round-ups. Today, it seems like a trained elephant hangout. Now, what would the show be without a product placement? The clue there, passed by elephants to the team (via trunk mail) was a T-Mobile cell phone with a message. Although the teams left the Marble Temple in their arrival order with a few hours between first and last, this was another bunching point as they waited for the Pavilion to open. Rats, there went BJ and Tyler's lead! One thing I noticed -- Ray and Yolanda had a bright pink taxi. I thought some of the taxis in New Jersey had odd colors!

Teams took off to the airport to fly to Tokyo, Japan. BJ and Tyler were ecstatic as Tyler speaks fluent Japanese, has a Japanese girlfriend and hiked the length of the country. Of course, it would have behooved them to get the first flight to Tokyo. Nope. Eric/Jeremy and Ray/Yolanda filled that one. My heart sank. Instead of the two-hour lead they had, all of a sudden they were running two hours behind the other teams! Ack!

Once in Tokyo, teams had to drive to Shibuya which is so much like Times Square in Manhattan that I had to do a double-take. They had to search the huge video ads on the buildings for a clue which turned out to be "Find Hachiko." What's a Hachiko, you ask? It's a statue of a beloved dog, an Akita named Hachiko. Ray and Yolanda fell behind in Tokyo and set the pattern for the rest of the leg. Their obstacles were the language barrier compounded by a big traffic jam. The fun note on this leg was when Ray told Yolanda he was "driving Miss Crazy."

The clue at Hachiko was a Detour, a choice between two tasks usually having something to do with the locality. The choices were Maiden (carrying a maiden to a tea house) or Delivery (delivering two packages to separate businesses on folding bikes). Eric and Jeremy chose Maiden, probably because there was a woman involved, those HornDogz! BJ and Tyler thought they could make up time with delivery as Tyler could easily ask for and understand directions in Japanese. Ray and Yolanda? Still roaming in the search for Hachiko! Once they got there, they took the Maiden Detour and whined less than Jeremy and Eric about it.

Oh, no! The clue after the detour led to yet another bunching point. All teams spent the night in the Capsule Land Hotel -- a very odd hotel whose accommodations reminded me of morgue shelves with better lighting. Definitely not a place for folks with claustrophobia! Teams departed the hotel in the morning in 15-minute intervals, Eric/Jeremy first and Ray/Yolanda last.

Teams were then off for Fujikyu Highlands, a huge amusement park located near an even larger mountain -- Mt. Fuji. Either Eric or Jeremy called it Mt. Tokyo. (Yes, I rolled my eyes!) In a Roadblock (a task which must be completed by only one team member), racers had to ride three very fast, high, and wild rides searching for a man holding a sign which had their next destination written upon it. At the amusement park and throughout Tokyo, the locals really took a liking to Tyler, blond and bearded, and fluent in their language. "Want to touch my beard?" he asked when a young girl told him she liked it. Both guy teams finished at the same time and headed to the Pit Stop which was a gigantic swan boat in Yamanaka.

BJ and Tyler won the paddle-boat race with Eric and Jeremy to the bird and took first place. As per usual, they didn't win a cruise or trip. They won a T-Mobile phone and service contract, hence the earlier product placement. Jeremy and Eric came in second and got razzed by Phil Keoghan for letting BJ/Tyler beat them in a physical endeavor. Heh.

What? Ray and Yolanda? Dead last. The clue had read the last team may be eliminated. It was a non-Philimination leg. I sort of figured that as they usually have three teams racing for the million dollars at the finish line. They lost all their money and possessions except for their passports and the clothes on their backs.

Stay tuned for Part 2 which I'll be writing up tomorrow evening!

East Coast Update - 'American Idol' Boot 5/17

Elliott Yamin is going home.

YAY! 'Amazing Race' Finale Winners!

BJ and Tyler!

'The Amazing Race 9' Finale East Coast Update

Pit Stop order:

1. BJ/Tyler
2. Eric/Jeremy
3. Ray/Yolanda

Non-elimination, heading to Alaska

I Did It! I Did It! Dilemma SOLVED!

I've been in a bit of a panic about tonight's television. I'm glad I don't throw things out and keep them because I might fix them someday.

What does one sentence above have to do with the other? Read on...

Tonight's television at the 9 PM hour was putting me in a quandary. The Amazing Race finale show starts at 8 PM, ends at 10 PM. I have to watch that one and take notes to blog about it later (as well as provide East Coast Updates here on this blog for the West Coast Viewers Who Can't Wait). Lost has a new episode on at 9 PM. American Idol has an hour-long results show this week starting at 9 PM - while I don't necessarily blog that show, I give an East Coast Update on the boot.

I don't have TIVO.

I do have cable and have it going to two TVs -- one in my computer room (s/b dining room) and another in the living room which I can actually see from my computer set-up area. What I've been doing at 9 PM on Wednesdays is to watch Lost by the computer, tape and have on American Idol on the living room TV (where my working VCR is) so that I can watch it later, but catch the boot. Throw The Amazing Race in there at that time and you can see my quandary.

What to do? What to do?

I dragged out my two not-working-correctly VCRs -- my first old 2-head one from the '80s which, last I knew, only really had issues with the timer and limitations of a VCR from that time period. My other non-working VCR is more modern, 4-head and retired due to the fact that it eats tapes. I first hooked up the older one to my computer-room TV. No go. I haven't tried it in years and it just sort of sits there. So, I tried the second one, removing its top cover and trying a tape I don't care if it gets eaten. Sure enough, I saw the mechanisms go to eat the tape! Ack! I stopped it and gently threaded the tape back to what it should be. I then wiggled the mechanisms inside and made progress trying again and again.

I fixed my VCR. Woohoo! So, here's the plan for tonight:
  • Watch The Amazing Race live, take notes for a later review (probably will post it tomorrow evening due to the plethora of TV watching I'll be doing tonight and the fact I must go to work early).
  • Tape American Idol on the computer room TV/VCR while running it live on the living room TV so I can catch the boot.
  • Tape Lost on the living room VCR as it plays AI so I can post the boot. I know for sure that VCR works with no issues, so it's the safest to use for taping Lost. I'm more concerned about actually watching Lost than I am about American Idol.

Just call me Jackie, VCR Technician and TV Addict.

Stop by later for the updates!

Monday, May 15, 2006

'The Apprentice 5' - Ep.12 -or- "Eye-Rolling? Me? @@"

Oh, my...this season is dwindling down to its last few weeks. Oh, whatever will I do? Survivor has ended; The Amazing Race finale is on Wednesday. I might have to hit up my book pile for entertainment going into June. Well, that can be fun, too! Onto the show...

When the girls (Roxanne, Tammy and Allie) saw Lee and Sean returning from the Boardroom without Michael, they all seemed a bit surprised Lee remains in the running for the job. I personally think that no one's more surprised than Lee himself. They all pretty much think that Trump has taken a special liking to Lee. I can't really disagree. He squirms his way out of that Boardroom each and every time he could be fired -- and that's a lot of times! Tammy, of course, was happy to see Sean return. She fluttered her eyes and all. I think she's smitten with the Brit.

This week, it's Bill Rancic and Ivanka Trump who monitor the progress of the teams and report back to Big Daddy Trump. The task looked like fun, but I don't think it's the best challenge they could face. Bigwigs from MicroSoft and Wal-Mart explained that the teams had to create an environment within a Wal-Mart store focusing on MicroSoft's XBox 360™ geared for display and promotion of the product. The envirnoment created had to be interactive and three-dimensional. Now, that seems to be kind of easy. Just with the "360," it screams out full-circle, doesn't it? Use their promo designs and colors and you're there!

Sean and Lee were immediately full of ideas and excitement about the task at hand. Their team, Gold Rush, is down to just the two, so they outsourced almost all of the labor details -- flooring, a roof, the banners, signage and all. "No more Kinkos for us!" Sean was the Project Manager, but they both took on even roles in the task. Both were very familiar with the product, so they knew what could tie in with it as far as goods sold within Wal-Mart. Ivanka peeked in on them and seemed to be very positive about their teamwork and enthusiasm. Their only real downfall was that by sourcing out the work, they lost control on the completion time. That's bad, very bad.

Ah, the after-commercial Trump quote and Forecast O' Firing this week was "Death to Traitors." I think it was a bit over the top, but then I was never good with office politics and backstabbing ways. He lectured about getting rid of those who sabotage your efforts from within. Hmmm...I never was into that either. Since they had already shown Lee and Sean working great together, I knew it had to be the Synergy team. And, it was.

Tammy wanted to be the Project Manager for the task to prove herself worthy or something to that effect. She literally said, "I want this to be about me!" Eep. Her idea was a rather odd red carpet Hollywood ordeal focusing on the entertainment aspect of the Xbox 360™. Okaaay...that's her choice, though certainly not something which would come to my mind when I think of the product.

She assigned Roxanne the sign-making tasks as she's into graphics and, to be honest, I can't recall what she assigned to Allie, if anything. As they shopped for supplies, both Roxanne and Allie were so not into her ideas or her plans that it was super evident. Not only to me, but to Bill Rancic who stopped by to check on their progress. He saw the eye-rolling and disdain wafting out from both Allie and Roxanne. Uh-oh! Traitors! Off with their heads! Oh, wait. Trump didn't say be-head, just generic "death." Tammy was the Rodney Dangerfield of the episode -- "I don't get no respect." I think her main turn-off with the team dates back to her statement that she wanted it to be all about her.

As the time came close, Gold Rush (Lee and Sean) had a super-dilemma on their hands -- no ceiling for their enclosure! They did the best they could with the banner-walls decorated in the product theme, having several related items from Wal-Mart, the specification sheets, and the pricing of the items.

When the Wal-Mart and MicroSoft bigwig dudes arrived, they didn't seem all that thrilled with either exhibit. In the meeting to discuss the efforts of both teams, they went with the Gold Rush effort even though it remained unfinished. They loved the product tie-ins and thought it integrated both companies very well. The reward was a neat one this time around. No stomping grapes, we're talking a private jet trip to California. a meeting with Jeffrey Katzenburg of DreamWorks Studios, and a voice audition for parts in the upcoming movie Over The Hedge. I officially give this one the Best Reward Award! Oh, but it made the Synergy team quite jealous. Plus, of course, they have to go to the Boardroom where one will be fired.

[If you watch the movie, watch for BBQ Barry in a scene where critters run through his barbeque -- that's Sean's voice. And Lee is the voice of Lunch Table Larry, a critter himself.]

Before heading to the Boardroom, Allie and Roxanne moped and whined and then fussed that they wanted that reward. Too bad, girls! Tammy thought Allie gave a half-assed effort in the task. She thought Allie was just following Roxanne who "isn't capable of sabotaging me!"

The catfight in the actual Boardroom pitted Tammy against Roxanne while Allie was smart enough to basically sit this one out. I noticed that she went for the Lee Politician Approach a lot during Trump's questioning. A very wise decision, indeed. Trump thought their task looked like a place where tired shoppers would sit and fall asleep or, as he said, "a cheap third-rate liquor lounge." Well, it did look comfortable enough! Voices were raised! Accusations of eye-rolling or not were um...accused! Trump declared he actually hates some people! Nobody can get along with each other! A lousy idea! A horrible team leader! A shot rang out! The maid screamed!


"Tammy, you're fired."

All in all, the best thing about this episode was the reward. Y'see, I am a firm believer in eye-rolling. I eye-roll a lot at my own writings. @@

'Big Brother 7: All-Stars' News

It's official. This season's Big Brother 7 (USA) will be an "all star" version and we (you, us!) get to decide who we want in the house for our summer's voyeuristic pastime! According to the official CBS website:

For the first time in BIG BROTHER history worldwide, viewers will vote on which former HouseGuests will compete in BIG BROTHER 7: ALL-STARS. On CBS Wednesday, June 21 at 8PM ET/PT, Julie Chen will unveil the top 20 candidates from seasons past. Web voting opens right here after the show at midnight ET/9PM PT. The polls close Wednesday, June 28 at 11:59PM ET/8:59PM PT.

The season premiere is slated for Thursday, July 6 at 8 PM ET/PT in most viewing areas. Information regarding the live feeds hasn't been announced at this time, but I feel it's likely going to be RealPlayer providing them for a fee once again.

I'm personally not a huge champion of reality television "all-stars" shows, but the show is a guilty pleasure of mine, so I'll be watching. And blogging about it, although I don't foresee a summer out with knee surgery like last year. But, then again, I didn't expect it last year! Right now I'm trying to think what previous houseguests might make the top 20 candidates from seasons past. It could be a scary bunch!

'Survivor: Panama - Exile Island' Finale and Reflections on the Season

Sniffle...this will be the last time I get to use my cool revolving Survivor/Jackie logo made by Zoetawny. She rocks, y'know!

Well, last night was the big night, the season finale. As I thought, the commercials deliberately misled viewers to thinking that Cirie would win the fire-making tiebreaker challenge against Danielle. As an observer of the show and its promos since its inception, I know the editors tend to do that sort of thing. So I wasn't surprised when when the Final Three turned out to be Danielle, Aras and Terry. I was a bit surprised at who won the final Immunity Challenge, but that's getting a wee bit ahead of things at this time.

I want to focus just a little on Cirie at this time. Here's a city born and bred woman, coming up from Jersey City, New Jersey. She didn't know woods, critters, fishing, camping, or anything else of the outdoor life going into the show. She knew her couch, TV and stuff of the city. I'm sure if someone asked her how to catch the PATH train into lower Manhattan, she'd answer with ease. But ask her to make a fire with flint, catch a fish or make a camp? No way! It was amazing to watch her grow through the season. Apparently, her couch-sitting ways made for decent people-skills and strategical planning. She vastly improved her outdoors skills while she was the true manipulator of people on the show. Her buddy Aras wasn't the leader - Cirie had him wrapped around her finger. Hats off to Cirie and I'm glad she won the Yukon SUV voted on by show fans. She added a lot to this season.

Back to the finale show...I was leery of Danielle turning on Terry once again with good reason. Once the three returned to camp, Terry brought out the shrunken-head Immunity Idol from Exile Island so that Danielle and Aras could check it out. Right then and there, it was evident that her alliance was still with Aras, not Terry. She made a few comments about the macho thing between Aras and Terry, but seemed to think Terry was gloating.

Instead of the expected Immunity Challenge, the three had an opportunity to play for Reward - a power meal, cot and pillow which might help the winner be in better shape for the final Immunity Challenge. It entailed finding pegs in bags on spinning wheels and then using the pegs to climb a three-story wall. It was only seconds between Terry and Aras at the end, with a Terry win and Danielle way out of the running. But will it work? Will Terry come back refreshed and ready? Will Aras' determination push him into high gear for the win? Oh...and what about Danielle? She hasn't won anything all season.

As inevitable as the season recap which took up the first ten or more minutes of the show, we had the Memory Walk to endure. I watched as each previous castaway had his or her blurb and the three remaining said basically kind words about them. Eh. The only rather neat thing about this segment was they used the torches to set the huge bamboo skull on Exile Island afire. Alas, it was a very smoky fire; the material must have been damp from all the rain. It was all very symbolic and all that stuff nonetheless.

Well, Immunity was back up for grabs for the last time. In this one, it's a mix between endurance and balance as the castaways had to stand on floating "lily pads" and move to smaller ones in 15-minute intervals. Uh-oh. This one is a challenge geared for a woman to win. After all, women have a lower center of gravity. In a shocker, Terry couldn't get up and stay up on the third pad and was out of the running. Then a wobbly Aras took Danielle's nod for a jump-off and Danielle won her first challenge ever in the show - the most important Individual Immunity of the season. She's guaranteed to be in the Final Two and it's her choice to pick the other half of the Final Two.

Aras immediately got a bit threatening when talking to her about her choice. "If you don't choose me, you'll lose both my vote and Cirie's vote!" Terry was a bit more laidback about things, but almost killed her with fairness. It's a tough decision for her, indeed. But, my own thoughts? I don't think she stands a chance to win against either of them. Now, if she were up against Shane in the Final Two, she may win. Terry or Aras? Nope, both of them have played so well and so hard that she'd be doomed to second place. Her choice? Aras. It doesn't matter; her fate is sealed anyway. All it really does is enforce the Survivor Winner of the Car Curse - no player has ever won a car and gone onto the million dollars. Terry, of course, won a car a few episodes back.

Tribal Council was rather uneventful and almost "nice" compared to some of the past finales. Who can forget Sue's speech about rats and snakes and not giving a drink of water to Richard (or was it Kelly for that - one was a snake while the other was a rat) dying of thirst in the desert? Shane got a bit odd, but he's Shane. He's angry that they did better than he did and both betrayed him in the game. In the end, like mimicking Greg (Season 1) with the Blackberry bit (Greg had the coconut phone), he told them to choose a number and the closest would get his vote. Courtney was still a bit of a space cadet in her comments and I just wanted her to stop talking. What the heck was her point?

As I guessed, Aras won. I had a message board bet elsewhere that he would win, but that was just on the pre-season bio information. Too bad it was just a cyber-bet, eh? The vote was 5-2 with just Shane and Bruce voting for Danielle (I believe - correct me if I'm wrong on that). They didn't show the last vote, but 4 was enough for Aras to win. In the reunion show, through a show of hands, Terry would have won against Danielle with roughly the same count - only Bruce and Cirie would have voted for her. So, she would have lost either way.

To me, this season was the best in a long time. My favorite Survivor season remains the first one when all was fresh and new. I picked Richard Hatch for the win on that one and he was instrumental in starting the alliances which have continued throughout the show's run. I wasn't happy with Vanuatu and Africa didn't rank too highly on my list either, although I liked Ethan (the winner). I felt last season in Guatemala was tainted with the gimmicky return of Bobby Jon and Stephenie from the previous season. They had their chance; I don't want previous castaways returning. I want fresh meat. Um...players! If there ever is to be another rehash of castaways (I don't like All-Star versions, either), let it be those we never got to know - perhaps those castaways voted off in the first show each season. The person voted off first is usually an unknown entity in game play and all but forgotten as the season goes on. Bring them back if someone must come back!

In this season, we had Super Terry who did a fantastic job. We had wacky Shane who's still wacky though cleaned up for the Reunion Show. We had Cirie who possibly backstabbed others more than anyone else, yet came away with them all liking her. I give this season an A for its entertainment value to me. Good casting, nice location and a different twist with Exile Island and the hidden Immunity Idol. Although the idol itself was never used, it certainly played a huge role in the show just by folks figuring Terry had it.

Next season it will be Survivor: Cook Islands and it's to have an Exile Island with a new twist. I'll be there! Well, not on the show, but watching it!

Sunday, May 14, 2006

'Survivor: Exile Island' East Coast Reunion Update/New Season Location

Cirie won the Yukon voted on by viewers.

Next season's show will be Survivor: Cook Islands and it sounds like there will be another Exile Island there.

I'll be writing up the finale and reflections on the season in the wee hours or in the morning. Please stop back!

Winner 'Survivor: Exile Island' is...

Aras is the sole Survivor.

I won my bet! ;-)

'Survivor: Exile Island' East Coast Finale Update - Final Two

Danielle chose Aras to go to the Final Two with her. Terry has his car, no million.

'Survivor: Exile Island' - East Coast Update Finale - Immunity

Danielle won Immunity. Although Tribal Council hasn't occurred yet, it looks like she'll probably take Aras with her. They were on little floating platforms and she gave him a nod to jump indicating he'd be her choice for Final Two.

It looks right now like the Car Curse of Survivor holds true. Terry is most likely not going to win the million...but he has a car!

'Survivor: Exile Island' East Coast Update Finale - Rewards

In as close a finish as one can imagine, Terry won Reward against Aras. (Danielle was way behind.)

Reward is a power meal, a cot and a pillow which could be an advantage in the Immunity Challenge.

'Survivor: Exile Island' East Coast Finale Update - Final 3

Danielle won the tiebreaker.

The final three - Aras, Danielle and Terry

Thursday, May 11, 2006

'Survivor: Panama - Exile Island' - Ep. 13 -or- "Call a Waahmbulance, It's To Be Continued!"

Time is dwindling and the season is near an end. On Sunday evening at 8 PM ET/PT in most viewing areas, the two-hour finale will air followed by the reunion show. The Final Four are Cirie, Danielle, Aras and Terry. Who will win the million dollars? And, more importantly, will Shane clean up enough for the reunion so that he stops looking like Reverend Jim from Taxi?

But that's Sunday, let's get into tonight's episode (5/11). Four are left. Who will be voted out tonight?

The show opened on Night 33 at the Gitanos camp as the four remaining tribe members returned from the Tribal Council where Shane was blindsided by Cirie's scheming. Cirie plopped her torch to the ground and Terry almost tripped over it in the dark. So, then it started. He spoke harshly to her; she defended herself. Then Aras got into the verbal brouhaha by telling Terry he was ruining the time they should be celebrating as the Final Four. All grouchy-pusses at the camp. Terry went off to bed and told them they could celebrate.

The Rewards Challenge was a bit different from ones we've seen before. It entailed the tribe members tied to ropes following a path like some of the ones in the past. But they each had to go to six locations, one at a time, count what was there, return with the number and then set out to do it all over again. Once they had all the numbers, they had to use them to open combination locks. At the locations they had to count iguanas, poles, rocks, fish, sea shells and hermit crabs. Cirie did her squeaky voice when it came to the iguanas.

Terry and Aras had several sort of rough encounters on the course, deliberately blocking each other, bumping each other and words. All of them had to go back through the locations due to miscounts. Terry mistakenly thought they could only return to one location at a time and noticed Aras was gone a long time - checking all the locations in one outing for a double-check. When Terry mentioned it to Jeff, Aras started yelling, "Call a waahmbulance! Terry's whining!" (Yes, I'm rolling my eyes here. Aren't you?)

Aras won Reward - a cruise in a 100 foot luxury yacht through the Panama Canal, a five-course meal and an overnight stay. Since he could choose one guest, he naturally chose Cirie. Both Danielle and Terry were sent to Exile Island where Danielle belatedly decided to flip and work with Terry. Now, that's something she should have done long before the Final Four, don't you think? Of course, Terry's out of cards to play (with the exception of the hidden Immunity Idol from Exile Island), so he seems to have forgotten that Danielle backed out of the last alliance attempt. He once again told her he would give her the Immunity Idol from Exile Island if he won Immunity. The yacht trip was a bit less eventful for us as we all know that Cirie and Aras are loyal to each other.

Both groups of two met up next to compete in the Immunity Challenge. This one was a bit funky. Puzzle pieces in three bags were hidden in sand pits. Surrounding the sandpits were markers. The castaways had to use coordinates to cross ropes to know where to dig. Each puzzle led to the coordinates to the next puzzle. And, Aras was on a streak. Not only did he win Reward, he also won Immunity - both firsts for him. Terry's winning streak of all individual immunities thus far finally ended.

When they got back to camp, Terry confronted Aras about a nasty statement he made regarding him disrespecting women. To my surprise, Aras apologized and it seemed to jolt him back into a nicer person overall. Both shook hands and it appears the boys won't be catfighting through to the bitter end.

Although Terry hasn't admitted to either Cirie or Aras that he has the Exile Island Immunity Idol, they've assumed he does. Therefore, the whole tribe knows that both Terry and Aras will both be safe and it's Cirie and Danielle whose heads are on the chopping block (figuratively, of course!). It's also quite likely to be a tie vote. Unless that silly purple rock deal (Survivor: Marquesas) rears its ugly head and it's totally random who leaves, the tiebreaker is usually fire. Cirie had made a fire while alone with Aras and had success. Danielle has made fire on and off through the season. Still, Aras teamed with Cirie and Terry with Danielle for fire-making classes.

Sure enough, at Tribal Council, it was a tie - two votes for each woman. And, sure enough, the tiebreaker was a fire-making challenge. Since it was a tie and Terry himself received no votes, the hidden Immunity Idol never came into play and this show was the last one in which it could be used. I suppose that Terry could take it home and call it Shane. After all, there is a bit of a resemblance. The show left off on a "to be continued..." note with both Cirie and Danielle ready to start the challenge. Apparently, they will finish that at the start of the finale show on Sunday and it's not until then that we'll know the Final Three.

In a sidenote: What the heck was that giant ring taking over Courtney's hand in the jury box? Sheesh! It looked like the Mood Ring Which Ate Cincinnati or something!

At this time, I think I could support any of the four for a win. Terry has played a fantastic game and I think he's the most competitive man ever on the show. Aras, though he has some weak spots, came around with his apology to Terry tonight. I have the feeling that he's more that sort of man than what we've seen. Cirie? For someone scared of leaves in the first episode, she's proven herself to be a strong competitor and an excellent strategist. At the bottom of my choices would be Danielle.

How about you?

'Survivor: Exile Island' East Coast Update - 05/11 -Tribal Council

The vote was two for Cirie, two for Danielle. A Fire Tiebreaker Challenge was set up between them and be continued (on Sunday night finale show, starting at 8 PM ET/PT).

A full review/recap will be posted here later tonight. Now I must watch C.S.I.

'Survivor: Exile Island' East Coast Update - 5/11 - Immunity

Aras won Immunity.

'Survivor: Exile island' East Coast Update 5/11 - Reward

Aras won Reward - an overnight cruise of of the Panama Canal on a luxury yacht, feast. He chose Cirie to accompany him. Both Danielle and Terry went to Exile Island.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

'The Amazing Race 9' - Ep. 11 -or- "No Money, No Pants, No Mo' MoJo!"

Like deja vu all over again, due to last week's non-elimination leg...

Four teams remain. Who will be eliminated next?

We last left our teams in the Australian Outback with Ray and Yolanda arriving first at the Pit Stop and mandatory rest period. Teams depart twelve hours after their arrival time and I noticed that they're down to mere minutes betwixt first and last. Ray and Yolanda left at 1:13 AM while the last team (BJ/Tyler) left the Pit Stop at 1:22 AM. We're talking 9 minutes difference in a whirlwind race around the globe as we head into the next to last show of the season. At this time, any of the remaining teams could win the million dollars. The teams are toughening up and trying not to make errors. Ah, but we know some errors will be made. I just hope it's not on the part of my personal favorites, Tyler and BJ!

Speaking of BJ and Tyler, they lost all their clothes, money and possessions while being saved by the last leg's non-Philimination. BJ had no shoes, a t-shirt and boxer shorts. Yolanda left her purple running pants on their car and one of the Frats (Jeremy and Eric) left a pair of sandals. Oh, my...BJ looked very silly in Yolanda's pants! The clue the teams received upon leaving the Pit Stops directed them to drive to the airport and catch a plane to Bangkok, Thailand. Once there they had to take a taxi to a bus terminal, then a bus to the Three Spires Pagoda in Lopburi -- the sacred home of tons o' monkeys. The clue told the teams how much money they had for the leg and ended with "one team has no money...and no pants." Heh, poor BJ!

The BJ/Tyler and Monica/Joe rift is still going strong in the leg. As BJ says, "They have a date with not being in the race anymore." Was he right? Just wishful thinking?

At the Darwin Airport, three of the teams got on a flight expected to arrive in Bangkok at 11 PM. BJ and Tyler headed to downtown Darwin to hit up folks for money. Of course, they were successful. These guys have so much spirit and friendliness that I think it's hard to resist giving them something. BJ even flashed his chest at a couple. He finangled new shorts in addition to the money. When they hit the airport, although the other three teams hadn't left yet, the flight was full. They managed to find a flight expected to arrive fifteen minutes earlier than the other and all looked up for the hippies until...

Argh. The flight carrying the three teams arrived forty-five minutes early! Huh? What? How can that happen? Sigh. So, BJ and Tyler were behind once again. Team MoJo got into a taxi that Joe thought was "shady." He was right -- the driver wasn't the best, not at all. Ray/Yolanda and Eric/Jeremy were lucky to get on a midnight bus to Lopburi. Monica and Joe arrived before BJ and Tyler, but didn't get the right information about the next departing bus. It ended up that BJ/Tyler caught a bus leaving an hour before the one they took. Too bad, so sad for MoJo. Heehee!

The Three Spires Pagoda was a hoot with monkeys all over the place! The clue the teams received before the task was directing them to a Fast Forward -- the last of the two in the race. Eric and Jeremy couldn't do it as they already took the first one a few legs back. Both Ray/Yolanda and BJ/Tyler jumped on it. When it turned out to be eating a school's favorite dish of fried crickets and grasshoppers, Yolanda backed out even though she claimed people from the South can eat anything fried. They headed back to the sacred monkeys while BJ and Tyler struggled with huge bowls of crispy critters. Where was MoJo? Way behind, hooray!

After making an intricate feast table for the sacred (and not so well-behaved monkeys) in a Roadblock, the teams' next clue led them to a Detour. Unlike a Roadblock, a Detour is completed by both members of the team. In this one, teams had a choice between two Thai tasks -- Move It or Altar It. In Move It, teams had to carry 72 pots on their shoulders (supposedly) using a board. Once they delivered the pots to the marketplace, they'd receive the next clue. In Altar It, teams had to make a shrine to Buddha complete with gold paint and gold-leafing. Burnt on the last physical task, Jeremy and Eric chose Altar It, as did Yolanda and Ray. For some foolish reason, Monica and Joe went for Move It -- prompting Monica to fuss and whine that it was "the worst thing I ever had to do." Now, she said that about carrying the swordfish a few legs back. She said that about having to catch a crayfish. What's with that girl?

As the teams worked on the Detour, BJ and Tyler finally finished eating their bowls of ick. Er, crickets and grasshoppers. They got their clue directing them to the Pit Stop at the Marble Temple in Bangkok. Briefly changing their "TTOW" chant to "TTHAI," they were first on the mat. Now, they've been lucky in that both times they came in last, they were in non-elimination legs. However, they've both been unlucky in that both times they came in first, there was no really cool prize. No cruises for them! The last time, they won a digital imaging center or something to that effect. This time the prize was dependent on a clue to be brought with them from earlier in the leg. One clue would have a Golden Gnome (Travelocity), the others would have "gnormal" gnomes. Theirs wasn't the Golden Gnome. Ah, least they're in first place. TTOW!

The arrival order of the other teams:
2. Jeremy and Eric
3. Ray and Yolanda - Golden Gnome clue in hand. They won a cruise around the Sidney (Australia) Harbor, a trip to the Barrier Reef and a hotel stay for the evening.
4. Monica and Joe - Philiminated!

I'm so not sorry to see those two go. I'm tired of her crying and fussing. If she thinks everything she's had to do is "the worst thing I've ever done," I'd hate to see her face a real crisis. Joe has his own bad points, but he didn't irk me as much as Monica. So long, MoJo, not sorry to see you go!

Next week is the two-hour finale show. My "hippies" are still in the race! Yay! At this time, I think any of the teams are deserving. All three left are very competive and it should be an exciting finish to the season. That said, this season has certainly redeemed the show from last season's family-safe version. That is a good thing indeed.

'American Idol' East Coast Update - SHOCKER!

The top two were Elliott and Taylor, not shocking.

The bottom two were Katharine and Chris.

Going home is CHRIS...shocking!

'Amazing Race 9' East Coast Update 5/10 - Finish Order and Philimination

The teams arrived to the Pit Stop in this order:

1. BJ and Tyler! Alas, they won nothing as this time around a clue brought to the Pit Stop must contain a Golden Gnome.
2. Eric and Jeremy
3. Ray and Yolanda - Had the Golden Gnome clue, won a cruise around Sidney, Australia, a trip to the Barrier Reef and a hotel stay.
4. Monica and Joe - My least favorite of the remaining teams...Philiminated! Too bad, so sad. Heh.

A full recap/review will be posted late tonight. Also, at approximately 9:30 PM EDT I'll be posting the American Idol boot. Now, I must watch Lost!

Monday, May 08, 2006

'The Apprentice 5' - Ep. 11 -or- "Don't Give Up the Cheerleaders, You Bloomin' Onion!"

Once again this week, Deal or No Deal ran over its finish time. What's up with that, NBC? It's annoying to get all settled to take notes for blogging The Apprentice and then sit through 3 minutes of a show about people choosing briefcases. I don't understand the show; I don't watch it. I want it to end on time so I can watch "my" show. Is it too much to ask? What's Trump's opinion on this? Is he going to let a bald Howie Mandel stomp all over him? I think not! Okay, now that I have that out of my system, it's onto the show...

In the hotel, Sean has worked his way up from repeating "awkward" situation by adding a syllable. Now it's "awkwardness." Remember, he spoke against Allie in the Boardroom two weeks ago and she wasn't the one fired. She's as thick as thieves with the other two members on Synergy, Roxanne and Tammy. He said, in his British accent, "I'm adrift in a sea of eastergene." In came Lee and Michael from the Boardroom with the news that the most recent event was a double firing -- both Tarek and Charmaine gone. Right then and there I figured Sean has his way out. The teams can't run two against four. Trump will flip one Synergy member to Gold Rush and I'd bet dollars to doughnuts that would be Sean.

They got the call to meet Trump at Rutgers University Stadium in New Brunswick, New Jersey. (Not far from where I'm writing this article.) He took his TrumpCopter and they hitchhiked. Well, perhaps they didn't hitchhike. I suppose they drove there. Once there, Trump explained the upcoming task. At the Navy versus Rutgers football game, the teams were to each put on a tailgating party feast selling Outback Steakhouse food. Synergy was assigned the Yellow Lot while Gold Rush had the Blue Lot. Naturally, the team earning the most money would win the task. And, as I had thought, he evened the teams out. Sean volunteered to join Gold Rush, so the show's back to a gender war once again. Tammy, Allie and Roxanne were so happy that they danced. I personally thought that a bit much, but that may just be me.

This week's ominous foreshadowing quote and Trump lecture after a commercial break was "Deliver the Goods." It was a dead giveaway as to which team would win once the task was on. "You can talk a good game, but it's no good unless you deliver the goods," said Trump.

Lee stepped up to be the Project Manager for Gold Rush saying that he's a recent college graduate, a football fan and blah-blah-blah. I think he thought it was a sure thing, didn't you? He delved right into things, planning and scheming with Sean and Michael. He arranged an exclusive on having the cheerleaders join them, got a "money pit" (an enclosure with dollar bills blowing around - people pay to go in and grab as much money as they can in an allotted time span), planned an eating contest and generally went to town with plans run amok. They decided on low prices and went for the crowd scene.

Meanwhile at Synergy, it looked like the women were doomed. Roxanne was the Project Manager and, to me, it looked like they didn't have much of a plan. They decided to visit Outback to sample the food. (Now, I wouldn't have to do that...give me a bloomin' onion any day, mate!) They decided that each dish would be $5, no matter what. They lagged in the actual doing of things to prepare, though. While they were planning, the men were already hyping their tent at the pep rally with flyers. The women's flyers weren't even ready at the time! The more they showed of the team, the more sunk they seemed to be. It looked like the men had this one in the bag. Synergy tried to get cheerleaders, but Gold Rush's exclusive deal with the cheerleader team's coach nixed that. Actually, the coach tried to give them some and silly Michael almost agreed, but Lee and Sean made him insist on all the cheerleaders.

So, Synergy themselves donned little cheerleading outfits. I think all of them were cheerleaders in past lives, or at college. Then it happened. The Trump Quote came to play. Gold Rush had so much going on that it was a cool party, but the focus was on partying, not selling the food. Synergy had almost nothing but themselves and their $5 an item food plan when they hit upon delivering the food through the lots. The baseball team bought $200 worth, taught them the Rutgers football cheer and they were on the run from that point on. They were delivering the goods.

In the Boardroom with both teams present, it was obvious that the delivery (thought of on the spot at the event) won for Synergy. Their proceeds for the Outback Steakhouse were $2750 and Gold Rush only brought in $1750. Synergy won a trip to Raphael Vineyards on Long Island where they made and private-labeled their own wine while Gold Rush won a trip back to the Boardroom where someone would be fired. I would like to mention now that everytime I see people stomping on grapes with their barefeet, I promise I'll never drink wine again. They had a grand old time and each left with a bottle named after themselves.

As Gold Rush prepared their bags in the hotel, it was clear that both Lee and Sean would go against Michael in the Boardroom. They thought he spent too much time on the microphone being the emcee of the tailgate party and not enough time selling. Plus, they still were shocked that he almost gave some of the cheerleaders to Synergy. Once in the Boardroom, the latter is what did him in. Somehow Lee's performance as Project Manager skated through, but Trump and Company focused on Michael almost giving up the cheerleaders. "You don't give away your assets to rivals."

"Michael, you're fired."

All right, even though I still think Lee's days are numbered, I don't think Michael was the best candidate for the win anyway. I'm not sure that if I were Trump I'd fire him over Lee, but he did have to get gone. Michael seems like a very nice man, but he's wishy-washy. In corporate life, unfortunately, nice doesn't often make the grade. A politician-type such as Lee would do better. Sean is still a bit of a non-entity even this late in the game. I'm thinking it may be a Tammy or Roxanne win at the end.

Mark your calendars -- next week's The Apprentice will air at 10 pm ET/PT in most viewing areas. Be there or be square.

Dollar bills, y'all...

Thursday, May 04, 2006

'Survivor: Panama - Exile Island' - Ep. 12 -or- "What a Shame About Shane. Heh."

Five are left. Who will be voted out tonight?

The show opened on the 30th night at the Gitanos camp as we head towards the Final Four and the finale on May 14. Shane, as we could have predicted, was very upset that the voting plan changed and it was was Courtney voted out during the last Tribal Council. He wanted her with him in the Final Two as many others did, too. Except for Cirie, that is. She's playing it shrewd and getting her way. Cirie tried to cover with Shane by saying it was a last minute change and they couldn't get the news to him. Now, if he believes that, he's dumber than all get out!

Terry, though in good spririts about his winning streak, feels that Danielle lied to him. After all, the plan was Danielle, Courtney and Terry at the end with the vote to oust Aras. That is, until Cirie convinced Aras and Danielle to vote with her against Courtney. Terry should give up the idea of gaining allies. Cirie seems to be much more effective at rallying the tribe for a cause. The Lone Wolf Terry isn't a part of the pack.

The Rewards Challenge was the loved ones from home genre with a new twist. Jeff brought out family members of the tribemates - Terry's wife, Shane's son, Cirie's husband, Danielle's Mom and Aras' Mom. The winner of a "past challenges combined" obstacle course had to make some decisions. Two loved ones would go for an overnight trip with their respective tribe members. Another loved one would go back to camp overnight. One loved one would just get a hug from the tribe member. One tribe member would be sent to Exile Island and not be allowed to even touch the loved one. It was all up to the winner. And, as it's almost fated to be this season, Terry won. He and his wife and Shane with his son Boston took the overnight trip. H.B. (Honey Bunny? Eek!), Cirie's husband, spent the night at camp. Aras got a hug from his Mom. Danielle went to Exile Island. I personally thought his choices were just right. Even though I don't care for Shane, his young son was there. How could he have made any other choice?

Off at Exile Island, Danielle is mad. She knows Terry's reasoning. It doesn't make her much less angry, though. She chopped a coconut with a machete and pretended it was Terry's head. Oh. Did I mention she was very angry?

At the camp, Aras and Cirie put H.B. to work. He's as city as Cirie was on the first night. Unlike her, he wasn't scared of leaves. He didn't seem too thrilled with murky drinking water. In a side note - I think these two are a good couple. They seem to care a lot about each other. She kept calling him H.B. and Honey Bunny. I can't help but wonder if that's the "H.B." and how he explains it to friends.

On the overnight, Shane was in heaven spending time with Boston. He seems like a nice kid. He definitely thinks the world of his father. I hope he doesn't read this blog! Nuthin' against you, Boston. But your father really annoys me on the show, beyond annoyment. Terry's wife automatically got into strategical talks with him. Shane claimed she was more competitive than Terry. I didn't think that would be possible. I think he's the most competitive player ever on the show.

When the loved ones all went away and the tribe was reunited at the camp, Aras and Terry griped at each other. Terry thought his choices were right and Aras thought that he was slighted as his mother is as important as a wife or husband. Um, I don't think so! Aras is young. (If Aras reads the blog, he'd think I'm siding with Terry because we're both "old.") I bet if he had won the reward, he would have sent Terry to Exile Island. He should be thankful that Terry didn't send him there.

The Immunity Challenge had tribe members standing above water, each on a little platform, raising a bucket of water to try to dump down a small chute which would raise a flag. The first one with the flag wins. As in most challenges, Shane screwed up and misunderstood the directions. He was out first. And, as in almost all challenges (all Immunity Challenges), Terry won. He keeps breaking his own record. Five individual immunities and he's won them all. Plus, of course, he also has the hidden Immunity Idol from Exile Island.

So, the scheming starts. Shane wants Danielle out and thinks that's the deal. Terry has no objection to that choice as she played turncoat on his plan for the last Tribal Council. But, what is Cirie thinking? She's thinking Terry wants to be with Shane in the Final Two now as he might have a chance to win over the jury vote. She convinced Danielle and Aras to vote Shane and, once again, her mojo worked.

"Shane, the tribe has spoken. You must leave the Tribal Council area immediately."

He never saw it coming. He was so sure he had no worries. Terry just held his head in his hands while Cirie and Aras looked quite tickled pink over it all.

In the promo shown for next week, Danielle is seen saying that maybe it's time to ally with Terry. I don't trust the promo so much. But it's time that the Final Four really think about who they would take to the Final Two with them. No one will want to take Aras - he'd win the jury vote. Even Cirie and Danielle would be a worry. Almost any ex-Casaya member would stand a chance against Terry even though he's an incredible player. If the jury voted with their hearts, they'd vote the ex-Casaya the winner even if Terry deserved the win more. It's time for all the ex-Casaya to think that Terry's their best choice to be with in the Final Two.

Remember - the finale is Sunday May 14. Mark it on your calendars!

'Survivor: Exile Island' East Coast Update 5/04 - Tribal Council

Shane was voted out.

The Final Four are Cirie, Aras, Danielle and Terry.

'Survivor: Exile Island' East Coast Update 5/04 - Rewards/Immunity

Terry won the Reward Challenge. He chose his wife to accompany him on an overnight and then chose Shane and Boston to go with them. He chose HB - Cirie's husband to go to camp overnight with her. He chose Aras to get a hug from his mother. Danielle went to Exile Island and got nothing except a 20 feet apart talk with her mother.

Terry won Immunity. Again!

A full recap/review will be posted late tonight. I'll post the boot as soon as it airs in the East.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

'The Amazing Race 9' - Ep. 10 -or- "Warning! Crocodiles bite. They also move quickly."

It's down to the Final Four teams. Who will be eliminated next?

Last week we left our amazing teams in Perth (Australia) at the 9th Pit Stop of the race. Since Eric and Jeremy were the first to arrive there, they were the first to leave after a 12 hour long mandatory rest period. At 11:47 pm, they opened the clue which directed them to the Swan Bells Tower located about 15 miles away. The last team to leave, Ray and Yolanda, left at 12:23 am. So, we're talking a roughly a half hour between first and last - that's not a heck of a lot in a race around the world.

Oh, but of course, that doesn't stop the show from having yet another one of its infamous bunching points where the teams have to wait for a place to open! Sure enough, all the teams gathered before 1:00 am awaiting the opening of Swan Bells Tower at 8:00 am. As the race nears the end, teams are definitely a bit more stressed. Monica and Joe seem to have a few nasty words about everyone, but mostly directed at BJ and Tyler. Meanwhile, BJ tried to instigate Joe's jealousy by hinting that Eric was flirting with Monica. Hey, he flirts with every woman he sees. Of course, he's flirting with her. Ray and Yolanda got a bit away from the others, most likely to preserve their own sanity. Eric/Jeremy and Monica/Joe are now considered the "pretty teams." Um. Okay. Me? I still like BJ and Tyler the most with Ray and Yolanda running second. I find Monica and Joe pretty...pretty annoying, that is!

Why annoying, you ask? Well, here's one example: All of the teams called taxis to meet them after they found the clue in the tower. What did Joe do? He schemed with Eric and Jeremy to impersonate both Ray and Tyler canceling the taxis! What a lowdown dirty sneaky thing to do! When the time came to catch the cabs, BJ and Tyler had entered one believing it to be the one they ordered only to have Joe go into a thorny snit about it being his cab. BJ and Tyler got out and it wasn't long before the dirty deed was exposed. I may have missed it, but it looks like Joe even canceled Jeremy and Eric's cab although they were in on the scheme to cancel the others.

Ah. but once again, it didn't matter as all the teams ended up on the same flight to their next destination - Darwin, Australia. At the airport, Joe and Monica once again tried some sneaky moves by trying to get the ticket clerk to keep their flight a secret. Monica promised to kiss the clerk when he asked what it was worth to them. Obviously, that didn't work.

If the teams didn't bunch up enough on the same flight, once they arrived to their destination in Darwin, Crocodylus Park, they bunched more. It was closed with an opening time of 9:00 am. Okay, let me get this on record. While I understand the bunching points to keep the racers at least a bit close to each other (remember the team some seasons back stuck days behind in Alaska while the other teams finished the race in the finale thousands of miles away?), but I feel that for the past few seasons there are too many places where the teams gather for the night. It's become overdone. I realize that when they plan the show, they have no idea whether the teams will arrive during the day or night. But I suggest fewer time-restrained venues for them. There has to be some sort of happy medium. This season seems to have more than a few in each leg.

Once they entered the park, the warning sign read: "Warning! Crocodiles bite. They also move very quickly." Well, yeah...they're crocodiles, mate! That's what they do! Both team members had to don special wade-through-crocodiles garb and walk across croc-filled pools to retrieve their clues. No one got bit. Argh. I was hoping one would at least nip at Monica to freak her out.

The clue picked up in the Croc Pit led teams to an airstrip in Batchelor and warned that there would be a Yield ahead. (Now, you know what team I want Yielded...!) Once at the airstrip, teams faced a Roadblock - a task only one member of the team can complete. Skydiving, woohoo! BJ and Tyler got there first and completed first. All the teams seemed to get a kick out of that one, even Monica. Yes, she's the one who did it and unlike any fishy escapades, she loved skydiving. But, before she and Joe could get to the airstrip, BJ and Tyler rightfully Yielded them. Like sand through the hourglass, what comes around goes around. Heh.

After the Roadblock, teams had to drive 20 miles to the Magnetic Termite Mounds in Litchfield National Park. Have I mentioned recently how much I love learning new things watching this show? I've never heard of "magnetic termites" before. Their mounds always face to the north, such the name. Cool. But I wouldn't want one in my yard.

That clue led teams to a Detour - a choice of two tasks usually having something to do with the country or culture at hand. Teams had a choice of Wet or Dry this time around. In Wet, they had to swim a mile down a shallow creek amidst poisonous spiders and plants to receive the next clue. In Dry, teams had to drive 6 miles on a dirt road, pick up a painted diggery-do, track down an Aborigine playing a diggery-do with the same markings and each learn to play a note. Here's where both BJ/Tyler and Jeremy/Eric messed up. While it sounds easier to hike/swim a mile, the other task took less time. Ray and Yolanda got through the Dry task with ease and earned themselves first place at the Pit Stop for the first time. The other teams were literally in a footrace to the mat almost to the point of pushing and stumbling to get ahead.

Here's the order of arrival at the Pit Stop:
1. Ray and Yolanda - each won a year's lease on a Mercedes
2. Eric and Jeremy
3. Monica and Joe
4. BJ and Tyler - only saved as it was a non-Philimination leg. Phew!

What's really bugging me about Monica and Joe is that they think BJ and Tyler were so wrong to Yield them, yet it was okay to cancel the cabs of others to get ahead? The Yield is a part of the game and can be used. Canceling the arranged taxicabs of other teams is just a sleazy sneaky thing to do. I can't share in their sense of outrage over it. As Judge Judy would say, "You didn't come in here with clean hands." I felt bad when Dani and Danielle got needlessly Yielded by Lake and Michele earlier in the season. That was just Lake being mean. This time, BJ and Tyler had reason to use it and they did.

I want Joe and Monica to go away next week. Please!