Big Brother 12: End Game

(One of summer’s guilty pleasures for me is the CBS reality series Big Brother. If you haven’t been watching this season, this post will mean nothing to you. Move along; there’s nothing to see here.)

Now that it’s a done deal (although anything can happen in four days, but I’d be very surprised if anything changes) and a Brigade member is going to win the game, my interest level is hovering around “E” (for “Empty”, not “Enzo”). I suppose the eventual winner will “deserve” the $500k, because he lasted longer than the rest of the jury and convinced them to vote for him, but I can’t drum up enough enthusiasm to really care one way or another.

Enzo should be the first of them to go. They all have Final 2 deals with each other, but the Meow Meow hasn’t done anything to justify giving him the $50,000 2nd place money. Other than winning one Veto Comp, what has he done to even earn the money BB’s paid him this summer, other than hanging out at the house? All I remember is him saying “I haven’t started playing this game yet, it’s time to start” several times a day for the past month, bragging about what a tough competitor he is, planning his post-BB future in show biz, taking credit for everything and taking a lot of naps.

I can’t back Lane because of his off-screen personality, which has been well-discussed in various online forums. Look it up, or take my word for it – he’s not a nice guy.  Some have suggested that he makes up a lot of his stories for effect, but I doubt it. I don’t want to say much more, because he’s liable to get 2 or 3 of his good buddies together, hunt me down, beat me up and dance with my girlfriend, and harm my cat just for fun.

I guess that leaves Hayden for me to root for, but I’m not happy about that choice, either. Until the past couple of weeks, he’s spent the summer relaxing with the Brigade, letting others do the dirty work. When Britney was trying to prevent Brendon from winning Veto, Hayden grabbed cash and a Hawaii trip and let Matt take the blame, because he knew he was safe. I suppose that could be considered good gameplay, but not by me. But out of the three of them, he’s worked at winning the competitions to keep himself safe the past couple of weeks, so I guess I have to give him that. If he’s in the Final 2, I can’t imagine him not winning. But like he said last night, he’s going to have to get himself there; nobody’s going to take him. Now that it’s on the line, he’s tough to beat, and winning out the competitions is something that should impress the jury, Brigade or not.

That being said, I doubt I’ll be wasting my time on the feeds during the next ten days, and certainly not after Britney’s gone (hey, you never know what can happen). Especially if CBS blocks Wednesday night’s endurance comp. When it’s just the three of them left in the house, the WBRB bubbles will be more interesting than watching that lot congratulate themselves for a week.

I wouldn’t even bother with the broadcast, except I’m curious about what’s happening in the Jury House. Is Vegas Red still pissed that Brendon’s out of the game? I think that was the reason she went over-the-top with Matt, not just because of the cameras, but because she had to have some outlet for her disappointment that she and her man have no BB money in their future.  If she’s smart (a stretch, I know), she’ll keep her distance from Ragan (especially after he finds out about Matt’s lie); if she tries rubbing it in that he’s out of the game and asks him mockingly what he thinks of Matt now, the Backyard Slapdown will look like the Paris Peace Talks. It will not end well for her.

I’d consider skipping the finale, too, except it’ll be on right after Survivor, so I’ll be sitting there watching CBS anyway. I’m curious to see the reaction when Ragan is revealed as the Saboteur, since everyone’s so sure it’s Matt. I’m wondering if Brendon will actually propose to Vegas on live TV, and what she’ll say to avoid committing without making both of them look like total idiots.

And I guess I’m looking forward to the whole America’s Favorite thing, which Enzo assumes is his. My druthers would be that J Chen will say that, “Oddly enough, nobody cast any votes this year because you’re such a lame group,” but that’s just a fantasy of mine (one of many that involve Julie, but that’s a topic for another time). I know that a lot of people will be voting for Brendon, but I can’t. He’s not my favorite anything. He didn’t play the game for himself (despite what he told Julie; even the last vote he cast was “For Rachel”), he was a poor sport when it came to losing comps, and I don’t want him to have the chance share any of it with Vegas, either. It’ll just postpone the inevitable.  Sorry, Britney haters, but I’ll be voting for her early and often.

Survivor: Heroes Vs Villians

It’s here! Survivor 20, formally known as Survivor: Heroes Vs Villians,with “Outwit, Outplay, Outlast” replaced with “Return, Redemption, Revenge”. I love this! I had seen the cast list, of course, but actually seeing them on the screen again quickened my heart and shortened my breath. Rupert, you old softie! Good to see you again, brother! Stefanie! I’m still holding out hope you have a hidden longing for an older man that I can fulfill. Randy! I forgot what a dick you are. Same with Tyson. Boston Rob…I forgive you your past cockiness and douchiness. Marriage and fatherhood has softened up more than your abs.

I could go on and on. But it was good to see the old familiar faces once again. Say what you will about All-Star editions of reality shows, but there’s a reason they work, for me at least. If you spend a TV season investing emotionally in certain cast members, you want to know occasionally that they’re doing well. You don’t dump your friends after six months and lose interest in seeing them again do you? (I know, I know; you think it’s pathetic that I look at complete strangers on reality television in this light. Screw you.)

As the season progresses, I’d like to commend to you three entertaining sources of insight and analysis of HvV that I never miss.

First is Dalton Ross’ recap that appears on every Friday. Dalton’s been recapping Survivor forever, and provides a fan’s insight that’s dead on and hillarious to read. He generally spends a few days on site at the beginning of each season providing behind-the-scenes goodies such as the following that appeared in his recap of the season premiere:

” As some of you may know, often when there is a challenge on Survivor that is presented as a ”first team to three wins,” in actuality, it was something much longer. Take this reward challenge: What you saw on TV was a ”first one to three wins.” But in reality, the teams actually played all the way to five. Remember how the Villains went up 2-1 after Coach dragged Colby back to the Villains mat? In actuality, the Heroes had a whopping 4-0 lead when that contest took place, and that Coach victory merely got the Villains back to 4-1. But this was just the tip of the out-of-order iceberg, and what I am about to tell you is so convoluted and confusing we may need Lostexpert Doc Jensen to decipher it. The first-round match-up you saw with Stephenie and Cirie vs. Parvati and Danielle was actually round six and got the Villains back to being down only 4-2. But wait, it gets even more confusing. Remember how you saw Stephenie dislocate her shoulder and Probst remarked how she injured herself in the very first round of the very first challenge. Well, that was true, but it wasn’t the round you saw. The actual first round (that you did not see) featured the exact same match-up (Stephenie and Cirie vs. Parvati and Danielle) and it was actually a Heroes victory. Not only that, but the injury appeared to occur while Stephenie was slapping the mat with her extended arm to give her team the win. So, the round you saw presented as the first match-up was actually a rematch that Stephenie was participating in after she had already dislocated her shoulder! (How tough is she?) So, the injury happened in one place, but was edited into another. Now because this is all a bit hard to follow, let me be clear about one thing: There is no monkeying around when it comes to Survivor challenges. The teams compete and the winner is the winner. Nothing is rigged. When you saw people winning rounds, they were winning rounds, maybe just not in the exact order it actually happened. Like all elements of the show, the producers just often record much more than can actually show so then have to figure out the best way to condense it all. (For example, the one round where Coach dragged Colby to his mat took over nine minutes by itself. It was an epic duel that was mesmerizing to witness, but simply too long to show in its entirety) And Stephenie did injure her shoulder in that competition against those same players, just not in the round they showed us. I’m actually surprised they edited it this way because watching Stephenie dislocating it as she won, and then coming back to compete after injuring it was pretty dramatic in itself. Again, just not enough time.”

Just as entertaining an insightful is Probst’s blog that appears on on Fridays. A must-read every week. A sample:

“Okay, without thinking it through – just off the top of my head – here are some overall thoughts about some of the returning Survivors:

Sandra Diaz – I am so glad she is back. I love her lippy way of telling it like it is. Courtney is also surprising me early on. I like how hard she fought in the initial challenge. Cirie is a legit, 100% full-on threat to win this game. Parvati, if given any kind of an opening will worm her way back into a solid alliance. Russell is a no-brainer. Take him out early or risk seeing him in the final again. Tom Westman, so glad he came back for another go. He needs a strong alliance and if he gets it, he will go deep. He’s a very good “people person.” Rupert, Rupert, Rupert. It’s hard for me to distinguish the Survivor Rupert from the real Rupert. Maybe there isn’t a difference anymore, but I know this… kids still love them some Rupert!”

Want your analysis a little more biting and a little less mainstream? Then you must bookmark Colette Lala’s “Bitchy Survivor Blog“. Colette, you da best!

“We’ve met them all before. We know their reputations. We’ve seen them at their best and, by golly, we’ve seen them at their worst. The Heroes sit in silence, their capes billowing in the breeze of the helicopters. They look hopeful and eager with promises of success and ponies in their future. Over in the Villains aircraft they’re smug, arrogant, smirks on their faces and an overwhelming amount of opportunites to annihilate their opponents waiting for them patiently on the beach. The gentle hairy giant known as Rupert tries to tell us that ‘good’ will win. I put my cigarette out on the kitten at my feet and I just laugh and laugh. Silly man! Thankfully, a voice of reason takes over. It’s Lucifer (Russell Hantz) fresh off of Survivor 19 telling us it’s a fact that Villains are smarter than Heroes. “It’s a proven fact.” He insists we google it. I did. I marched right over to my laptop and punched in “Are villains smarter than heroes?” I never got my answer cuz it took me to an Asian porn page, but I’ll interpret that as a resounding YES! If you can’t trust Lucifer, who can you trust? I mean, come on, seriously.

And then it happens… the line I wait for every season… I’m getting tingly all over just thinking about it… Dimples stands alone on a mess of rocks, violent waves crashing all around him, and we hear it… 39 DAYS, 20 PEOPLE, 1 SURVIVOR!!! *throws confetti in the air* I throw my top off and twirl around my living room. Hay day doh dee doh dee doh doh… I study the opening credits for clues, quickly decide I’d rather not know, and go back to my half Irish, half Salsa gyrations.”

If you’re more of a podcast fan, hurry on over to iTunes and subscribe to Armchair Survivor. Mike and Marji dissect each episode with brutal (and expicit, truth be told) honesty, and just may have you squirt a beverage out of your nose once or twice. They record their show live following Survivor and encourage chat and voicemail feedback.

These articles, blogs, and podcasts greatly augment my enjoyment of Survivor, and I’m sure you’ll enjoy them too.

Random Thoughts #3

  • Have you been following Big Brother at all? My summer guilty pleasure. I missed the first season, caught most of the second, and have been an addicted viewer since the third (except for the infamous Season 9; I found that cast so vile and disgusting that I didn’t watch past the second week). Just my opinion, of course, but the current season is shaping up to be one of the best. I say that because the people I like are doing well, the people I don’t are gone or self-destructing, and there is no shortage of controversy. Gotta love Reality TV!
  • Hate to see summer end, but love to see football season start! Even if my team is the Cleveland Browns. Only one preseason game in the books, and I’m already thinking, “Oh, well. Maybe next year.” Which, I believe is the Official Motto if the Cleveland Browns’ Fans.
  • Another problem with the end of summer is everyone trying to cram in one last cookoout in a short period of time. I went to two this past weekend, and another is looming before school starts. On top of that, I’m visiting family in Ohio for a few days soon, and the day I hit town, I’m being taken to a sushi bar. I spent three months struggling to lose 15 pounds; in the past 60 days, I’ve gained 10 of them back.
  • I’m a huge, huge fan of Michael Nesmith‘s solo work. Check it out! I particularly like Infinite Rider on the Big Dogma.
  • The “l” on my keyboard has detached itself, and I don’t know how to stick it back on (I have a Dell XPS M2010, if you have any ideas on how to fix this annoyance).
  • That’s all for now. Aren’t you glad you stopped by? I am!

Why Probst Thinks We Should Watch Tocantins

Besides being a Lost and 24 dweeb, I’m a big fan of the granddaddy of so-called “reality shows”, Survivor.  I just caught the end of the first season, but I started watching religiously during the second season, and always look forward to the next.

Survivor: Tocatins begins this Thursday, Feb. 12. If you don’t know, host Jeff Probst writes a weekly blog at following each episode. In the current (Feb.13) edition of Entertainment Weekly, he tells us why we should tune in to the 18th season of the venerable series:

The first thing is CAST, CAST, CAST. (Here’s a tease: “Dragon Slayer” – just wait.) I’m putting my reputation on the line: If you don’t love this cast, I’ll offer to switch blogging jobs with The Bachelor’s Chris Harrison. And get ready for a BIG TWIST in the first five minutes that has lasting repercussions. Hint: Can you ever change a first impression? We’ll find out. As for THE BLINDSIDE, it is taken to a whole ‘nother level. We set a new record this season. Beastly. And the TERRAIN? High desert, 120 degrees, snakes, injuries, and a stunning river oasis. Exile Island will totally destroy them. Tocatins is so good, it may just crack out top five seasons ever.

If you’re a Survivor fan, you owe it to yourself to check out Jeff’s blog, and writer Dalton Ross’ recaps every Thursday at