Classic Dishes...

You Donkey

We’re in the fifth go-round of Hell’s Kitchen, right? It seems to me that the show’s been around long enough now to be established.

So why is it that none of these people can, you know, cook? And I’m not talking about highfalutin’ complicated dishes, I’m talking basic staples.

If I’m going to throw myself at the mercy of Chef Ramsay, there are three things I’m damn well going to make sure I know how to do flawlessly before I even fill out the application:

  • Cook perfect scallops
  • Make a risotto
  • Prepare Beef Wellington

Five years in, Chef has those three items on EVERY menu he’s EVER had on the show, and we still have jackbags who can’t pan-fry a freakin’ scallop. Come ON.

Look. If I’m going to be on Survivor, I’m damned well going to make sure I know how to make fire. I’m not going to go on The Amazing Race if I’m agoraphobic, because I know at least one task is going to involve being up really really high. And I’m not going to be on Big Brother unless I know how to jump into a giant salad dressed like a cucumber. (Wait, what?)

(Aside: could that BE a more frightening picture of Julie Chen? And Les Moonves has to hit that. Yikes.)


The Donald was starting to lose me on The Apprentice. The incredible over-commercialization, Donald’s massive ego, and the complete ineptitude of the contestants was getting to be too much.

But The Donald won me back last night.

Following a reshuffling where each team was allowed to select three people to shuttle over to the other squad (and the men couldn’t dump off Markus quickly enough), the newly-intergendered (and now Markus-free) Excel team went on to suck down the biggest asskicking in the history of the show, actually causing the sporting goods store they were dispatched to create an “interactive sales event” for to LOSE sales.

So the contestants haven’t gotten any better. But the upside is that Trump apparently knows this too. Come Boardroom time, he stripped the Project Manager of his right to nominate people for firing, sent up the guy who was exempt (Brian, and, once again, the Vote For Exemption is more an issue of asskissing than any kind of assessment of the P.M.’s ability) and the two players who didn’t abjectly suck (Rebecca and Marshawn), and told the remaining four (Mark, Jennifer, the aforementioned P.M. Josh, and James) to go out into the hall.

Upon calling them back in, he let them try to shove each other in front of the bus for a while (hey, at least Trump knows what makes good TV), and then canned the lot of them. Wave of the hand. Yer all fired. Get the hell out of my office.

THAT was what brought me back. Making the four of them cram themselves in the Yahoo Cab Of Shame was just the icing on the cake. About the only way it could have been better would have been if the doorman went out of his way to hit them in the ass with the door.

They’re Not Worthy

So tonight I tuned in to my first episode of The Apprentice this season. I won’t spoil anything if you haven’t watched yet, but I have two observations to make:

First off, I’m in full agreement with my man Travis when he says that the Vote For Exemption is idiotic. There’s not a single reason TO do it, and yet the ladies handed one out tonight. Dumb.

Second, you would think that after three series of this, the contestants would learn one very important thing: If The Donald suggests or advises against bringing a specific person back into the Boardroom for potential firing, particularly if he does so after you’ve already announced your intentions, LISTEN TO HIM. The Donald does not bluff. If he’s telling you to do that, it means he either wants you to bring that person in so he can fire THEM, or that he’s NOT going to fire the person you DO want to bring in. Either way, NOT listening to him greatly increases the chances that he’s gonna fire YOU.

And, of course, the guy who did this tonight did not listen to The Donald, and therefore was sent packing.

So we have idiot women who don’t know how to play the game, and idiot men who try to throw someone under the bus at exactly the wrong time.

They should all lose. Where’s the Get The Hell Out Of My Office guy from My Big Fat Obnoxious Boss when you need him?

I Also [Heart] Rob

So there was much buzz over the start of this seventh installment of The Amazing Race, particularly with the inclusion of the champion and runner-up from Survivor All-Stars, Amber Brkich and Rob Mariano. Their (well, okay, Rob’s) scheming was generally resented on Survivor, and were they just trying to extend their fifteen minutes by running in the Race?

I never thought I would say this, but there is no team in this field I want to win the million dollars MORE than Rob and Amber.

While Rob’s scheming nature might have been distasteful on a social game like Survivor, it’s PERFECT for the Race. Amber is very much along for the ride (as she was on Survivor; her victory was more a matter of the jury not wanting to give the money to Rob than wanting to give it to her), but she’s pleasant eye candy, so we’re fine with that. Rob is the only guy out there PLAYING the game – bribing bus drivers, taking advantage of his (waning) celebrity to get help from the locals, even talking contestants into abadoning challenges in favor of a four-hour penalty – it’s obvious he CARES about winning and will go to whatever length to do that. And the other teams are standing there slackjawed, and bitching and whining instead of giving as good as they’re gotten. Bravissimo.

Fonzie’s Landed Safely

So let me get this straight: The same Donald Trump who shitcanned a contestant last week without the benefit of a second Boardroom session and allowed a player to forfeit an Exemption outright on a complete and total whim last season now refuses to fire a player at the behest of his ENTIRE TEAM who completely and utterly sandbagged their efforts because he was Exempt himself and could get away with it? All of a sudden, “rules are rules”? When the hell did THIS start?

Is that a single fin I see behind the landing ramp? The theme from “Jaws” I’m hearing? Evgeni Nabokov out for an afternoon swim? Why, it must be!

Reality Post-Mortem

It’s been a while, so let’s clean up some odds and ends…

First off, I can’t think of a Survivor in the history of the show who played the Final Council better than Chris Daughtery. Told every jury member EXACTLY what they wanted to hear, answered every question perfectly, he just did it all right. Between that and surviving a five-to-one women-to-men outnumbering just to GET to that Final, he may be the most deserving recipient of the million dollars, in terms of pure skill, that the show has seen to date. Bravissimo.

So, over to NBC and The Apprentice: Once Raj and Andy got fired, I admit my interest waned, so long as that silly bitch Ivana didn’t get the gig. Fortunately, The Donald finally ran out of excuses to keep her around and sent her packing, leaving Kelly to wipe up the floor with Jennifer M. in the Final Assignment. Hokay. The next installment, with the teams being broken up into Street Smarts and Book Smarts, should be much more interesting.

And that brings us to The Amazing Race. And I’ve been waffling on posting about this for a while, because I’m just not sure how I feel about it. Mainly, I’m disgusted with myself that I continue to watch every week and allow Jerry Bruckheimer to document and exploit Jonathan’s continued verbal abuse of Victoria in the name of good TV. Something about it (mainly, that Victoria continues to put up with it, but don’t get me started on THAT subject) doesn’t sit right with me. Based on the bio I linked above, it sounds like this marriage wasn’t on the best of terms going into the Race, I can only hope that we learn come the end that Victoria has grown a pair and told Jonathan to go screw after it.

Order Up!-date

The voting is in, and The Four Of You (actually I think we only enjoyed a 50% voter turnout) voted overwhelmingly for most-to-least-recent archive listing. Last night I looked up some code, and mashed it together with some code I already had, and I appear to have pulled it off. Go me. :)

In doing this (and after much banging of my head against a brick wall – the things I do for My People), I also have discovered a trick to get the blog to completely republish MUCH faster and WAY more reliably than before. (It seems Blogger doesn’t like overwriting files much. Not bad when it’s just dealing with the index, but a pain in the ass when dealing with 100 back entries. So if I blow out the blog manually and let the program republish it from scratch with nothing to write over, what used to be a half-hour of nail-biting happens in about a minute, and the first time.) So because of this, I may start tinkering with bringing the commenting system internal again. I like the LiveJournal conceit of displaying comments directly below a blog entry and providing an easy way to join in. What we have now with HaloScan isn’t bad but I can’t help but think we can do it better. So if you see the site with multiple comment links on each entry, it’s because I’m fiddling with it and it will be back to normal soon enough.

Firefox, by the way, is teh b0mb. Popups? Spyware? Those are things that happen to other, lesser people. Is Microsoft really so dense as to maintain that tabbed browsing isn’t a killer app? Look for it in IE within a year – and look for this Steve Vamos chucklehead to be seeking other employment.

So. I was gonna write my usual Friday piece on Survivor and The Apprentice, but with Raj getting the boot last week from the latter, and Sarge (Just as I’m not gonna tell Glenn Danzig he sucks, I’m not gonna tell Sarge that Lea is a girl’s name) getting axed for owning a penis on the former, there just isn’t much left on either show to hold my interest. Survivor is quickly becoming (what’s the opposite of a sausage fest? A tuna party? :)), and the only real interesting angles on Apprentice remain whether Andy will shake the “he’s just a kid” stigma (despite the fact that he’s carried himself just fine every time the ball’s been thrown his way) and whether The Donald will run out of people to fire instead of Ivana and be forced to hire her dumb ass.

(Revision: In looking up Danzig in Google to get the link. I saw some pictures, and apparently he’s let himself go over the last few years. I’m inclined to think that today, I WOULD tell him he sucks. :))

Reality Roundup

The Merge happened last night on Survivor: Vanuatu. The world yawned. These guys has the unenviable task of following up the All-Stars, but with the exception of Sarge, who doesn’t have a hope in hell of making it any further than the Final Three unless he runs the board outright, there just aren’t a whole lot of interesting people left in the game. CBS is TRYING to make them interesting, but this is just plain a weak cast. I look forward with great excitement to the next installment of The Amazing Race, though.

Over on NBC: You know that feeling you get right before you accidentally knock over a glass of Kool Aid onto a white carpet? The one where you KNOW it’s coming, and time stops, and yet you can do nothing to stop your arm from colliding with the glass? That was me watching Raj do himself in on The Apprentice last night.

Now, my brain knew from Day One that Raj didn’t have a hope in hell of winning. The idea of seeing someone like him actually working under The Donald is up there with appointing Gilbert Gottfried as your Secretary of State. But my heart liked the guy. The bow tie, the cane, the two-tone wingtips, the man was the very textbook definition of “dapper”.

But, he left Trump with no other choice. He was PM on their project, and he ultimately approved the piss-poor contractor they hired, and also didn’t fire him when he realized how poor he was. Trump even offered him an out, when Chris opened his dumb mouth to complain about his team’s makeup AFTER Raj selected his fellow candidates for dismissal, by giving Raj the chance to bring Chris back as well. If Raj accepts that offer, I dunno if there would have even BEEN a second session, Trump was so keen to shitcan Chris on the spot. But Raj, ever the gentleman and champion of fair play, refused, and sealed his fate at that moment.

Gotta give him props for going down swinging, though. As he waited for the Elevator of Fate to open, he took one last shot at getting digits from Robin the receptionist, who, I think, ALMOST gave ’em up. Raj truly _is_ a great man.

Newsflash: Houseguests Outthink Fred

It’s genius, really.

After that idiot Jase managed to win Veto power last week on Big Brother 5 (sealing Scott’s fate, so it wasn’t ALL bad), and Nakomis scarfed up Head of Household, I had it all figured out: nominate Jase and one of your faction-mates, and the four people in the Veto contest simply ensure that neither Jase or his champion win the Veto. Certainly they can’t handle a four-on-two dogpile, right? But would they think of this? In the past, Big Brother contestants haven’t exactly been known for being mental giants.

She did me one better. Even I didn’t realize at the time that the Anti-Horsemen have enough bodies in the game now (especially with the addition of Natalie’s delightful body playing alongside her sister, and yes, that [CLANK] sound you heard when Natalie walked through the door was the sound of Jase physically shitting a brick) that they could COMPLETELY frontload the nomination block, thereby guaranteeing a Veto win, which would then be used to free up a spot to throw Jase onto, with no opportunity to defend himself. Freakin’ BRILLIANT.

This last week of shows, from the point of Scott’s ejection up to the present, has been about as satisfying as it gets for reality TV fans: Finally the asshole gets his, and he gets it through the thoughtful and clever strategizing of his opponents who he has wronged in the past, not some lucky vote. Jase even made it that much more enjoyable for us in that it actually took him several days to piece the puzzle together, and the Oh Shit moment when he finally figured out he’d been screwed was utterly priceless.

And now he’s out for revenge, he’s gonna try and break things up between Drew and Diane. Well, frankly, I’m not sure that would break my heart, either. So if he can make himself useful on his way out the door, all the better.

I picked up on The Amazing Race this season, and it’s been reasonably good, but that “screw you” moment hasn’t come yet, mainly because the soccer twit^Hns and Mirna & Schmirna are still in the game. (I was, however, delighted to see Alison’s attempt to extend her fifteen minutes derailed quickly and quietly.) I’m enjoying it, but host Phil Keoghan’s effort to be the Clint Eastwood of reality TV is starting to grate on me a little bit.

What A Difference A Day Makes

First off, loved I, Robot. Loved it. Will Smith did not let me down, there was plenty of high-tech eye candy, and the story had enough twists and turns to hold my attention for two hours. Good stuff.

That said, here’s the Big Brother 5 stuff I promised you:

Had I written this piece yesterday, I would have lamented over the math, which pretty much spelled out that unless Marvin realized that he was in fact the Token Horseman (in pretty much every way imaginable), that ditzy bitch Holly was gonna survive the eviction ceremony, and Adria, who hasn’t done a single thing (either as herself or as her twin sister Natalie) to upset anyone that I’ve seen, was gonna get tossed from the game.

What I didn’t know was that the Horsemen were effectively going to blow themselves up following Tuesday night’s show. Had I known that, the 7-1 vote against Holly would have come as much less of a surprise, because there was NO reason to keep the mean IQ of the house in single digits otherwise. Without someone protecting her, Holly has done NOTHING to suggest she belonged in this game one minute further. My hearty congratulations to the house for issuing just about as much of as a mandate as you can in this format.

So as of last night, I had it on good authority that the HoH standoff was down to Jase and Karen. Jase is pretty much wearing a bullseye for being a general asshole now that he has no alliance protecting him, and Karen is still looking for revenge for being forced to shove Lori under the bus when Jase rescued Holly the first time. So this is huge. I’m pulling for Kathy, simply because that pretty much guarantees Adria’s safety, and I want to see if the former Horsemen are in fact physically capable of shitting a brick when they see a second Adria walk into the house. :)

(The HoH competition _is_ over, and I know who won, and how, but I don’t know if I should post it before Saturday’s show. I don’t think I will. You guys can make it 28 hours, right? Anyone who HAS to know before then, contact me via one of the accepted methods and I’ll tell you the whole story.)

So in the turnaround of about a week, BB5 went from a fair accomplit to what should be a pretty entertaining ride to the end. And all that had to happen was for Jase to stick his tongue down Holly’s throat. Hope it was worth it, chief.

(I’d like to point out that I made it all the way through this post without using the word “Nakomis“. Oh, damn.)