CBS announces twist for ‘Survivor: Nicaragua’ season

29 07 2010

Survivor: Nicaragua logo

The 21st season of Survivor, my absolute favorite show (and the show that taught me the joy of TV addictions), will premiere on Wednesday, September 15th at 8 PM, followed by the Big Brother finale from 9-11 PM. Talk about one huge night for CBS!

This is the first time since season 1 in Borneo that Survivor will air on Wednesdays—news that initially freaked me out, because I planned my fall class schedule around Thursdays (yes, I do that, even though I have DVR)—but fear not! My Wednesdays are clear, and I hope yours are too.

Survivor has given us all sorts of crazy tribe divisions in the past: men vs. women, tribes split by ethnicity (affectionately nicknamed the “race war” season), fans vs. favorites, heroes vs. villains, older men vs. younger men vs. older women vs. younger women, and more. The twist in Nicaragua will apparently be a spin on that last one: two co-ed tribes, split by age. One tribe will feature 10 castaways ages 40 and older, and the other will have 10 primarily in their 20s (with a few in their 30s).

We know that Jimmy Johnson, 67, NFL analyst and former head coach of the Dallas Cowboys and Miami Dolphins, will be on the older tribe. In a game that generally—but not always!—favors younger players in physical challenges, will his years of leadership, teamwork, and strategy help his team succeed? Or will his fame and riches get him ousted early?

And it’s best not to count the older tribe out yet: Even if they’re weaker in physical challenges, they usually excel at puzzles and strategy. All I’m hoping for, really, is to have one excellent, evenly-matched season with a nice mix of physical and mental challenges—and without scumbag Russell Hantz’s ugly mug on my screen every week.

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‘The Bachelorette: The Men Tell All,’ and finale speculation

28 07 2010

Monday night’s special episode, The Bachelorette: The Men Tell All, was little more than a Justin and Frank bash fest. Justin deserves it, surely, but if it’s true what they’re saying about Frank wanting to leave sooner but the producers forcing him to stay for drama’s sake, then the man deserves less blame than I initially threw across his shoulders. If it’s not true, though, I still stand by my earlier comments: He ultimately did as close to the right thing as possible (the right thing would be to not come on the show at all, and it was too late for that), but he should have done it sooner.

As for Justin, I hope I never see him on TV again and that this whole thing blew up right in his smug face. I hope both girlfriends dumped him, and he finds himself in need of a new career. Sure, it’s just a TV show, and I’m not one to wish evil on people. But what he did was disgraceful, manipulative, and immature, and no one should be screwing with three women’s hearts at once. (Let’s ignore the inherent hypocrisy that comes with shows like The Bachelorette, kay?)

Kirk was so graceful, Craig R. was funny but he talked too much, Kasey made me laugh (in a good way), and the other Chris was chattier than I’d ever seen him—and that Phantom stuff was pretty hilarious. Actually, the outtakes were the funniest and most entertaining part of the show, because despite the special’s name, the men really just rehashed what we already knew.

I will not be covering Bachelor Pad, just to let you know in advance. This might change… but I doubt it.

Ali Fedotowsky, this season's BacheloretteThe following is pure speculation and is not meant to contain spoilers.
Come Monday night, we’ll finally have an answer to the burning question: Who the heck does the lovely Ali Fedotowsky pick as her husband? A rumor originating from Reality Steve says she picks no one. But like many fans, I doubt that’s the outcome. (And I’ll be really disappointed if it is—I know this is Ali’s insane love adventure and ultimately she has to do what’s right for her, but she strung all of us along, too!) Although people seem to think Ali was all set to pick Frank and she could not recover in time to decide on Roberto or Chris, I felt throughout the season that Frank was her dark horse (“My relationship with you scares me,” she said) and that he was consistently in third place. I always assumed that she would have sent him home and we’d have the same final two we do now. I could be wrong, though, and knowing that Frank appears on the After the Final Rose special makes me think something crazy might happen, like she rejects both Chris and Roberto and Frank proposes to her instead (after he realizes that yeah, Nicole was an ex for a reason). But, we shall see.

Between the last two guys standing, I’m still pulling for Chris. He’s well-rounded, sensitive, hilarious, and overall really great husband material. But I think she’s going to pick Roberto (if she picks anyone). They’ve had chemistry since the beginning, and the extra footage on The Men Tell All showcased the funny side of him rather than the snoozefest side. Of course, it’ll depend on her parents’ opinions too, and I’m really excited to see Monday’s episode.

What do you all think? The cute, funny guy from Cape Cod with the great family, or the sexy baseball player turned salsa dancer? I’ll be back next week for my last post on The Bachelorette—until next season, of course!

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Big Brother: Matt’s Nominations

26 07 2010

It was a long time to wait for the same information that Big Brother Live Online spoiled for me via Twitter a couple of days ago, but last night’s episode was still fun to watch. (I’m still trying to forget what they said about who won the POV competition, and thus far I’m doing okay, so please don’t respoil me!) I should note here that I do not subscribe to the live feed; I’d love to, but I’m a graduate student with more pressing things to spend money on.

Matt won Head of Household fair and square—although Ragan offered a deal, Matt decided to stick it out. His wife’s letter in the HOH room convinced even skeptical Andrew that her condition was real, so I have to give Matt (and his wife) props.

The order of elimination in the surfboard endurance competition:
1. Kathy
2. Lane
3. Kristen
4. Hayden
5. Britney
So they are the Haves for the week (along with Rachel, as outgoing HOH), and
6. Enzo
7. Brendon
8. Andrew
9. Ragan
are the Have Nots, meaning they get to eat baby food and bok choy along with slop. Fortunately for Andrew, America’s selections seem to be kosher.

Britney teaching Enzo how to pronounce words without his New Jersey accent was one of the highlights of my evening, especially when she got him saying “I reckon.” Britney and Lane made me laugh, too, by supplying voices for Brendon and Rachel exercising out in the yard. Even though that girl is catty and whiny, she is hilarious—and so is Lane, for comparing this role-play with talking to horses back at home.

Britney and Lane making fun of Brendon and Rachel

Britney and Lane role-playing Brendon and Rachel

Matt called out Rachel for not holding up her end of the deal when he volunteered to go up on the block, and he proved time and time again this past week that he knows how to think ahead. He made a deal with Brendon and Rachel not to put them up, and instead nominated Kathy and Andrew for eviction. His intention, though, is to break up the showmance by backdooring Brendon or Rachel, assuming one of them doesn’t win the Power of Veto. However, he’ll also be perfectly happy if the nominations stay the same. I hope they do, because I’m not ready for Brendon or Rachel to leave yet, despite what I said a few episodes ago. I’d like to see Kathy go, if only because she doesn’t bring the drama.

The Brigade is beginning to suspect and worry about Hayden’s showmance with Kristen, too, so I wouldn’t be too shocked if that blew up soon. What surprises me is that no one suspects the Brigade yet.

Looking forward to Wednesday! And I’ll be back tonight or tomorrow, after The Bachelorette: The Men Tell All.

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True Blood: Tara’s redemption, Sookie’s “fine line between feisty and delusional”

26 07 2010

Last night’s True Blood episode was one of my favorites of the season—and since I also said that last week, this is apparently one heck of a season. Each plot line had significant advances, though I find myself pitying Arlene for running Merlotte’s and babysitting customer-chomping Jessica (Merlotte’s does have Tru Blood, lady!) while everyone else is out smashing vampire skulls and hunting down dog fighting rings.

Tara and Franklin
This week, Tara chose to fight instead of die. She really found herself, and Rutina Wesley played her so well. Tara got the news last episode that Franklin intended make her his vampire bride, so she convinced him she was all for it, culminating in gnawing on his neck in one of the most gut-wrenching scenes of the season—and then, crept out of bed and smashed his brains all over the bed with a mace before high-tailing it out of there. But as any good vampire slayer knows, one must remove the head (and, to be sure, the heart), so something tells me we haven’t seen the last of Franklin.

Tara followed through on her telepathic promise to rescue Sookie, and the two ran out of the house, splitting up for Sookie to rescue Bill (despite the knowledge that he has a file on her) and Tara to find and hotwire a car. And we got a nice peek at Alcide’s backside as he launched forms from wolf to man and decided to help this newly-badass Tara out.

Sookie (Anne Paquin) and Bill (Stephen Moyer)Lorena, Bill, and Sookie
Bill spent most of this episode tied up and bleeding in Lorena’s hands—despite King Russell’s order to kill him, it took her forever to get going because letting go of Bill is serious business. And because there wouldn’t be a show without him. And because keeping the show’s female (and gay) audience enthralled with a shirtless Stephen Moyer spread out on floor the is a major plus. But I digress.

It looked like the end of Bill when werewolves Coot and Debbie broke in to “turn this here dead man into a fucking raisin,” and indeed, he looked awfully pale when Sookie showed up. I wish he’d warned her that Lorena was there instead of just moaning her name, but the guy’s judgment was probably a little off. It’ll be rough for Sookie next week, as the episode ended with Lorena’s fangs on her neck. Hopefully, Alcide heard her scream and he and Tara come to the rescue; alas, we must be patient.

Eric, Russell, and Queen Sophie-Anne
Eric’s played nice with King Russell, whose V-addicted wolves murdered his family back in the day. In doing so, he abandoned Sookie (Eric: “You mean nothing to me, understand? Nothing.” Sookie: “I hate your fucking guts, Eric Northman!”). But, I’m convinced that when King Russell is out of the way, they might settle these differences—though Sookie and Bill belong together, Eric’s pining adds some excitement to the mix. The visit to Sophie-Anne’s was awesome, with Russell’s (ultimately successful) marriage proposal and Eric threatening to “rip [the Queen’s] head off and throw it in the pool” as the means of revoking his allegiance to her. Brilliant. I’m excited to see how this plays out.

Jason and Crystal
Three things are pretty clear: These two are totally into each other, Crystal is some sort of shifter, and Crystal’s fiancé is a damned idiot for believing that she and Jason didn’t know each other. I’m ready for this plot line to speed up. Also, what does Jason have against QB One?

Lafayette and Jesus
The car scene was torturous. We all sat there in my living room, necks craned forward, waiting… waiting… and finally! The kiss. Our happiness was short-lived, though—when Jesus found out Lafayette deals V, he asked to be returned to his car. But this can’t be the end for them, because not only would the writers have wasted valuable time developing the relationship (and the fact that Jesus can kick some serious ass), but they know we all want to see Lafayette’s bedroom.

Sam, Tommy, and their parents
If any characters have run their course, it’s Melinda and Joe Lee. I wish Sam had listened at the door when Tommy and Melinda talked privately, because he would have come to the dog fighting conclusion much sooner—but as it stands, Arlene got to help by pointing out the pitbull to Sam, so I suppose there was some sense to the delay. I like Tommy and I want him to stick around, but it’s time those heinous parents were out of the picture.

What will happen in the second half of this incredible season? Any speculation? (No spoilers, please.)

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Big Brother: Live Blogging Episode 7

22 07 2010

This post contains spoilers for Thursday’s episode, as well as for Sunday’s upcoming episode. Don’t read all the way to the bottom if you don’t want to know who wins HOH before Sunday.

7:52 PM I’m already on a blogging tear today, so I figured why wait until tomorrow when I can just blog this as it’s happening? It is the live eviction and Head of Household (HOH) Competition, after all. If they can do it live, so can I!

8:00 Julie Chen just used words from my earlier post’s title (“bold move”)! It’s totally a coincidence, but still. Nice.

8:03 It is day 20 inside the House—I can’t believe they’ve been there for almost a month!

8:04 And that’s why I want Monet gone. I’m so tired of hearing “stupid bimbo” and other derogatory terms. I think Matt is safe, but there’s really no telling yet.

8:06 The showmance partners Rachel and Brendon have been butting heads, huh? Can’t wait for the dramatic falling out…. And now we’re back to the bitching crybabies, Monet and Britney. Shut up, ladies, or Enzo will have to start calling you “meow,” you’re so damn catty.

8:08 Hayden and Kristen have a “secret showmance.” Nice. I never once used the word “showmance” before this season of this show—even Jordan and Jeff seemed more real than these people. Good to see Kristen getting some air time, even if it’s just her making out with Hayden… and Andrew, unbeknownst to them, listening to every lip smack.

8:11 Rachel, you have it in the bag. Don’t spread rumors! That’s what messes things up!

8:12 Kristen to Monet: “Matt doesn’t deserve to go home over you. That’s the bottom line.” Sing it, sister.

8:17 I keep wondering why Rachel wants Britney as a friend, but I finally think it’s just because she wants to be everyone’s friend. I can’t believe she just told her enemy that Matt volunteered himself—I believe all Matt was doing was playing up the offended role to convince Monet and Britney that he didn’t volunteer himself. Rachel just blew it. Good meeting, guys.

8:24 Ragan: “Being tied up and strapped to a wall is a typical night in West Hollywood for me, Julie.”

8:25 I’m glad that the houseguests are actually tolerant of Andrew’s religion, and I thought that Kathy’s detective skills would serve her well in the house—I’m sad to hear she feels like she’s left them all at home! I actually like both of these folks, more than I thought I would. My feelings on Rachel and Britney keep changing based on their levels of stupidity and cattiness, the Brigade is a pretty lame (but so far successful) alliance, and after Annie’s departure I’m pretty sure Ragan is my favorite houseguest.

8:30 Rachel would pick Brendon over half a million dollars after knowing him for 20 days? Well, at least the girl knows what she wants.

8:33 Matt: “It’s all you, Chen-bot, take it away.”
And the voting results:
Andrew- Monet
Enzo- Monet
Britney- Matt
8:36 During the commercial break, I find myself eating my words. It’s possible that Rachel didn’t blow it, and the producers just wanted us to think she did. Typical. Let’s see how it turns out….
8:38 And we’re back. It’s 2-1 Monet so far. More results:
Kathy- Matt
Hayden- Monet
Kristen- Monet
Ragan- Monet
It’s official! Monet is going home!
Brendon- Monet
Lane- Monet

8:40 And here it comes… “Monet, you have been evicted from the Big Brother House.” Now, go be bitchy and catty somewhere else. Good luck with that modeling career.

8:50 Time for the HOH Competition! It’s a basic endurance challenge: stay on the surfboards for as long as possible. But the first five people who drop out get to be the Haves for the week, so it comes down to what they want more—the power, or good food and warm showers. And a room without maggots.

8:55 Of course, there’s no time to finish the HOH Competition tonight. We’ll find out Sunday—or sooner, if you subscribe to the live CBS feed. It looks like they’re offering a 3-day free trial, if you’re interested!

8:57 The water’s pelting the houseguests on their boards, but it doesn’t look like anyone’s going to drop out before the end of the credits….

See you next week!

Word on the street is that Matt won HOH after making a deal with Ragan. Proof, via Big Brother Live Online:

Matt wearing the HOH Key

Matt wearing the HOH Key. | Image Credit: Big Brother Live Online.

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Big Brother: Britney fights for Monet’s survival, and Matt makes bold moves

22 07 2010
The Big Brother 12 Cast

Image Credit: Cliff Lipson/CBS

In last night’s Power of Veto (POV) competition, I was certain that Britney Haynes dropped her suitcase too early and the nominations would, therefore, remain the same. But with Enzo Palumbo (that is, Meow-Meow) out seconds over the one-hour mark, Britney was able to remove herself from the block. (And Monet Stunson: 60 times 60 equals 1,200? I’m awful at math and even I know dunderhead Rachel Reilly one-upped her there.)

Cue scrambling. Britney and Monet almost convinced HOH Rachel to nominate Andrew Gordon, but showmance partner Brendon Villegas talked her out of it. Which leads me to wonder: Are Brendon and Andrew friends outside of the game? Now, that clue could just be one of Saboteur Annie’s lingering lies, but who knows? It’s more fun if I believe it’s still an option. Andrew made his happiness no secret when Rachel won Head of Household, and Brendon fought hard to keep him off the block, yet they have no public in-game alliance. How suspicious.

Instead of Andrew, legend-in-his-own-mind Matt Hoffman volunteered himself as a pawn for the block after lying to the whole house. In an attempt to convince them he’s there for charitable reasons, he took a disease name from a medical show and cited his wife’s need for major surgery as the reason he’s there. (See Melorheostosis: Matt Big Brother Revelation for information on the real disease.) We know podiatrist Andrew isn’t convinced, but will the rest of the house feel sympathy and keep Matt around? Or will the lie get him sent home (to his healthy wife)? Pawns tend to go home this early in the game, so it’s risky. And he’s not exactly the world’s greatest liar, with all that smirking and twitching going on. I do hope he stays tonight, though, because if I have to hear Monet call Rachel (who I don’t even like) a “skanky ass bimbo stripper” for another whole week, I will scream.

His lie is on par with Jonny Fairplay lying about his grandmother’s death to win a challenge in Survivor: Pearl Islands (which host Jeff Probst called “the greatest lie in Survivor history”—and that’s saying a lot).

Rachel fears Britney coming for her, but without Monet in the house Britney will have little power unless she can form a new alliance. Maybe with Kristen Bitting and Kathy Hillis, who were MIA this episode? Except Kristen is in with Hayden, who is part of the Brigade. No, I think if Monet goes home, Rachel (sadly) has nothing to worry about—until the guys come for her and Brendon again.

What do you think? Will it be Matt or Monet tonight? Are Brendon and Andrew real-life buddies? And who will be HOH for the next week? I can’t wait to see Julie Chen‘s face tonight, that’s for sure! I’ll be live-blogging tonight’s episode, so tune in!

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True Blood: “Trouble”—and Love—are A-Brewin’

22 07 2010

Sunday’s episode (I’m sorry this post is so late!) of True Blood found Sookie’s search for Bill and her relationships with Alcide and Eric on the backburner. Regardless, it was a fantastic episode, with lots of character and plot development.

Will Tara become Franklin’s undead bride?
Tara is still in serious trouble after her failed escape from Franklin—although she chose daylight hours to run for it, the werewolf on guard caught wind of her flight and chased her down. But she took control of the situation… for now. I don’t think Franklin will succeed in making her a vampire, but if someone’s going to be turned, Tara would make sense: she always seems to be in trouble, makes bad decisions, and is integral to the plot but not much would change—except that Merlotte’s would have two vampires on staff.

Jessica and Arlene
Jessica has grown to be one of my favorite characters, despite my initial misgivings. I love her territory battle with Arlene, and her use of mind control to tell patrons that, no matter what happens, they “should not tip the waitress” made everyone in my living room laugh.

Other Relationships
Jason has a new love interest in the mysterious Crystal and Jessica and Tommy gave each other the eye, but I’m fascinated by Lafayette and Jesus. Lafayette is one of my favorite characters and while this whole Jesus thing is adorable, there has to be something bad going down. Lafayette is too devious and prone to trouble for a normal relationship, at least in TV drama land.

And finally, Sookie and Bill
Sookie’s weird glowy power thing is back! We haven’t seen it since she defeated Maryann last season, and I’m glad it’s still in play. Bill is suspicious of her origins; as you recall, he asked her what she was when they first met. My boyfriend’s guess is that she’s an angel, and I could see that being the case. I hate to think it, but could Bill have been screwing with Sookie from the beginning, for some nefarious vampire purposes? He’s a wild card this season, with shifting loyalties and more broodiness than usual. He did run to her once discovering she was nearby—only to lead King Russell there, too. I want them to get back together, but at this point, who knows?

And apparently, Eric’s viking family was murdered by werewolves and, possibly, King Russell. What’s up with that? Is Sheriff Northman seeking revenge while he stays in Mississippi? (And, also, Eric was a Nazi and a viking? Dude’s got quite a past!)

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