Friday, October 29, 2010

Survivor and Apprentice

I was looking back at some of my earliest posts on this blog and realized a couple things: (1) I used to blog about every reality show I watched. During college. (2) I was much funnier back then. (3) I had zero attention span then and I have even less now.

I always have this feeling that I need to record my thoughts. That someday I will want to look back and evaluate or something. Lately, I've just accumulated a lot of shows on my external and that's been pretty satisfying, scrolling through the various shows I have on file. You know how many married men have man-caves in their homes? When I have a house someday, my goal is to have an entire room dedicated to my collection of shows. It'll have a desktop computer with all my externals attached, a huge TV, and a really comfortable couch and probably a recliner. These are the things I think about.

There was a period of time of maybe one or two years not so long ago when reality shows kind of hit a bump in the road. The best way for me to pinpoint this period of time is by describing it in Survivor time. It was from Fiji to Tocantins, with kind of an exception of Fans vs. Favorites. That's in Survivor terms though. The rest of reality shows didn't really have that exception. I feel like reality got a little boring for that period of time. And that's how I explain the decline of my interest to blog. Reality is on the upward climb for me right now, though. Survivor's revived itself, and that's really the soul of the reality world to me. Top Chef is doing an All-Stars with an amazing choice of contestants. I'm a little more interested in TAR because I finally see some potential all-female winners. Real Apprentice is back and hilarious. Hell's Kitchen is pretty funny. I'm feeling good about reality again.

I've also added a huge load of non-reality shows to my viewing list. That could also account for why I can't focus on blogging about reality. Actually, that's probably the main reason.. I've overloaded the TV part of my brain (which is the majority of it) and my attention span is zero. Anyway, I would like to talk about some of the memorable moments of reality shows from the past few weeks. I feel like there are some epic moments that should be discussed.

I also watched a couple seasons of Keeping Up with the F***ing Kardashians. That could have something to do with the decline of my mind as well. Anyway.

I actually really enjoy Old vs. New.. or Young. Same difference. I like when they do seasons with specific categories of people. It's already interesting when you toss a bunch of people into the middle of nowhere and force them to play a game with certain strict guidelines for some things and no guidelines for other things. When you then add an even more unnatural grouping or distinction to their "new society," it's even more fascinating to see how they cope.

Also, they continue to typecast and I'm sure the casting process has gotten more vigorous and the story-building pays a bigger and bigger role earlier on in the process as we go through more seasons. The editing continues to fascinate me too.

I won't say too much here, but I will say I have been on Team Brenda since they first showed all of the contestants on the beach in episode 1. She stuck out for me right away and I thought, could this be the next generation of the cunning female, played first by Morasca and then by Parvati twice-ish. There's no secret that in shows with competitions that involve physical strength and athleticism, I always pick a strategically and socially strong female to win.

I still stand by the claim that Morasca was the first person to strategically make a genius counterintuitive play. She challenged the unwritten rules of the game, which said that anybody with a mind should keep individual immunity to themselves. She chose to give that immunity to Heidi, knowing she would in no way endanger herself and would also save an ally in the process. For ten seasons following hers, I stood very firmly to the belief that Jenna Morasca, the 21-year-old winner of Season 6 made the most brilliant move in Survivor history.

Then came Parvati. Actually, in her first season, I made the same observation that I made of Brenda this season. I knew she was brilliant. She didn't show it in her first season, which really confused me. Maybe that's why the next few seasons didn't really capture my interest. I felt like something was unfinished. And of course I knew I was right about my impression of her, so I was really confused. Then 16 rolled around and we saw how brilliant of a social player Parvati was. In Heroes vs. Villains, she showed how physically competitive she could be, but she lost a little steam in the social aspect towards the end. I still think she's the most well-rounded Survivor contestant ever.

Anyway, I said I wouldn't say too much. Can't help it. What I want to say is that this past episode was disappointing because I saw her get a little aggressively-confident during tribal council and I really don't understand her move to eliminate Kelly. She needs to tone it down to pull off a win.

Okay, so I started this post about a week ago and am now trying to finish it. I have to say, I've realized one thing about the Apprentice. Either you're a big regular Apprentice fan or you're a big Celebrity Apprentice fan. I feel like the demographic is slightly different for the two. Oh, and of course, you could be neither.. most people fit in that category, actually. I have always hated celebrity reality shows and I don't really make an exception here. I have come to realize the hilarity in Celebrity Apprentice, but I still prefer watching strangers be hilarious.

And on the topic of strangers, there is actually a contestant this season that I had prior knowledge of. I was the same year as Poppy at Stanford and I have actually been to several of her synchronized swimming meets. She's a world-class synchronized swimmer. Fun fact. So when my friend, who I went to the meets with, messaged me that Poppy Carlig was on The Apprentice, I decided to tune in. I really didn't think it would be too good, coming back from several celebrity seasons, but I have to say, it's kind of a hoot like it was before.

First of all, there's this David character, who is insane and kind of a douche. I think the best way I could describe him is by saying he's the type of person who tells you how funny he is. Which, of course, is the best way to tell people that's you're actually not funny, and are instead extremely annoying. So it's great watching him piss everyone off.

Then, we have some great characters on the women's team. There's Brandy with her dead eyes. She doesn't speak up much in the boardroom, which is why she's doing so well. But she's the type that I would be afraid to share a room with because she seems like she could kill you in your sleep and then get away with it. I wouldn't trust her, basically.

There's Liza, who I basically think just wants people to acknowledge her and appreciate her. The women like to blame her for just about anything and Liza usually loses her mind when that happens. So that's great to watch. Lately, though, I think she's reached some sort of unspoken agreement with the others and they haven't been throwing her under the bus as much.

There's Stephanie, who's another one I wouldn't trust. She's kind of the type of person who thinks she's presenting herself in a certain way, but the way people see her is totally different. She's now been shown to be somewhat volatile and has been clashing with the other women in the more recent tasks. I think this stems from an insecurity that is very deeply rooted but somewhat unrecognized by her.

I've talked about Poppy and when it comes down to it, I think she's too normal to be a good character on the show. There are too many loud personalities and crazies stealing the spotlight. Which is not such a bad thing.

Lastly, there's Mahsa, whom I've referred to as Mahsa Balls for awhile now. Of course, the reference is to Matzah ball soup, but also refers to her personality. After tonight's episode where she was fired, she proceeded to show that she has the balls to call The Donald out. She posted this awesome video on youtube basically calling Trump out for all sorts of things, mainly because of the last ten minutes of the episode, where she was called a liar and she says her reputation has been tarnished. She's clearly upset in the video and I hope she doesn't end up regretting posting it, but I have to say, it's amazing. It is Mahsa in all her glory.

My previous favorite Mahsa moment was the runway challenge where the only apparent contribution she made (the only one shown on the episode) was choosing the name Tristan as the name of the example consumer whose story they were presenting. The best part of it was that they then put in a confessional of her explaining why she liked the name Tristan. So we'll see if anything comes of this video. Either Trump comes back bashing her for some of the things she said about him that are unrelated to the liar thing, or Trump half-asses an apology on the finale. If it's the first scenario, then we're guaranteed to not see Mahsa at the finale, which will be a disappointment.

Hell's Kitchen
I want to talk about how amazing the cast of Hell's Kitchen is this year, but it hasn't been on for two weeks, so I'll try to post when it's back on. All I'll say is I can't believe they found a way to make the opening credits even creepier this season.


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