A real man makes his own luck.
-Zane, Survivor: Philippines
A few days ago, on the cusp of the premiere of Survivor: Filippines: The Rise of Skupin, we were asked if Survivor as a series (not the Survivor Series) is still entertaining after twenty-four seasons. “How could it possibly be?” they wondered. But we told this person that the show, against all odds, manages to be fresh and new almost every season, that although the game uses essentially the same format that it started with back in Borneo, each season and its cast members offer something new and different, something that makes the show worth watching. Case and point, in the first episode of our new season, we are blessed with Zane, who once again proves that no matter how long this show goes the players will continue to be stupid. And that, my friend, is why, twelve years later, Survivor is still very much worth watching.
But, in our normal fashion, before we get to end and Zane’s stupidity, let’s start at the start. And we start with Jeff Probst channelling Bruce Willis in Striking Distance and rolling up in a speedboat, looking as confident and determined as ever, putting to rest any worries that one might have had that he’d be preoccupied with this just premiered daytime talker (and, perhaps, in another post it would worth discussing just how much Probst has meant to Survivor, and how much it owes its success to the man in blue). And we get our first look at the new cast, which in addition to the returning players that we’ve already discussed – Mike “Two Scoops” Skupin, Jonathan Penner, and Russell Swan (who, apparently, came directly from a jazz performance) – includes former Facts of Life star Lisa Whelchel and former Major League Baseball MVP Jeff Kent.
A few hundred words on why we hate Jeff Kent and then the game is afoot…
It’s Yom Kippur and we’re going hungry.
(the official song of the 2012 High Holidays)
We intended to make this breathtaking photo last week’s Parting Shot, but, as we often do, we totally forgot. So, instead, let’s kick off this week with a bang, an Opening Shot.
Obviously, this beautiful, heartwarming Tanner family portrait graciously Tweeted by Andrea Barber (née Kimmy Gibbler) raises two important questions: 1) Who are the old dudes, and 2) where are the Olsen Twins? We assume that the elderly gentlemen are Thomas Miller and Robert Boyett, the namesakes of Miller-Boyett Productions and the foremen of the late 80s-early 90s TGIF hit (and miss) factory. As for Mary-Kate and Ashley, we imagine they either got tangled up in a tandem wool poncho or were still waiting for their venti lattes from Starbucks, not realizing that the two cups languishing on the counter for several hours labeled Murray and Ashlie were indeed theirs. Certainly, their absence is not the result of spite or bitterness, because who would willingly miss an opportunity to hear Bob Saget deliver the Aristocrats in person?
Also missing from the family reunion are Blake and Dylan Tuomy-Whilhoit, who played little Nicky and Alex Katsopolis respectively. While no one has seen or heard from them since 1995, we have a theory that Blake and Dylan are, in fact, Tia and Tamara Mowry. Implausible, yes, but impossible? When it comes to TGIF, nothing is impossible.
Normally, on Jeopardy “Who is Chelsea Handler?” would be the answer to a clue. But on this particular edition of the long-running nerdfest, this interrogative statement was very much a question, something that all the contestants were asking themselves.
Take that, Handler!
And let’s discuss why those responses are so terribly wrong.
1. Margaret Cho: Really? Nowhere in that clue do they ask who plays Kim Jong-il on 30 Rock.
2. Joan Rivers: Yes, she’s on E! and she’s a comedian and best-selling author, so
Donna Veronica was close. So close in fact that the judges later considered Rivers to be an acceptable answer and awarded her the money. However, Joan Rivers is not an acceptable response (and we will not budge on this) because a) Fashion Police does not air late-night, b) it is not a talk show, and, most importantly, c) the right response is Chelsea Handler.
3. Ellen DeGeneres. No. Just wrong. You’ve embarrassed yourself, Dan. For so many reasons.
But who knew that Trebek was such a Handler fan? We guess we know what he was doing during
his heart attack recovery Jeopardy’s summer hiatus.
Inspired by Ben Folds Five and their Fraggle-inflected (infested?) video for “Do It Anyway,” we went down to the caves for today’s A Newsroom A Day. Dance your cares away!
Just a reminder, tonight is the premiere of Survivor: Philippines, AKA Survivor: The Skupin Rises. After eleven years, Mike Skupin returns to avenge his premature exit from The Outback, along with a couple other guys from other seasons that we don’t care about and we assume have no chance to win and should probably just go ahead and give it up already. We’re not normally ones for predictions (at least for the first episode), but we think it’s safe to say that the first player eliminated tonight will be fire itself, as Skupin will immediately declare war on his arch enemy. How will they cook the heaps of fish and piles of wild boar that Skupin will no doubt catch and kill with his bare hands, you ask? With Skupin’s piercing, steely gaze, of course. How will Jeff Probst snuff out voted out players’ buffs? Simple, he won’t have to. All vanquished players will offer their buffs up to Skupin as tribute, and he will wear them like pelts, trophies from the kill, a hero reborn.
Redemption starts tonight. Until then:
Yesterday Ben Folds Five, in conjunction with Nerdist and the Fraggles, released the video for “Do It Anyway,” the first single from their new and apparently much-anticipated album The Sound of the Life of the Mind, and it’s awesome. It’s just awesome.
Let’s just run down a quick list of why this is awesome:
1. Fraggles. Duh. Obvious #1.
2. Specifically Uncle Traveling Matt. Or, as you may know him, Tarzan from Survivor: ONE WORLD!
3. Rob Corddry, doing general Rob Corddry things (the smarmier the better).
4. A pretty rocking Ben Folds Five song. In fact, it’s so good that we’ve been forced to reassess our whole perception of Ben Folds Five. Thanks to his service as a judge on the Sing-Off, Ben Folds had already endeared himself to us as perhaps the one and only genuinely polite, affable and respectful judge among all reality competitions. But that was specific to his personality and gratitude, his completely unironic earnestness and enthusiasm. It did nothing to make us think of “Brick” as anything other than an okay song that we periodically remember is about abortion which VH1 used to play every morning just before or just after the video for Sheryl Crow’s “Strong Enough,” a song we much preferred. Nor did his positivity and humor suggest to us that we should go back and give Forever and Amen a listen, that perhaps when we surmised that Ben Folds Five was for the other guys, we were mistaken. No, we just grew to really like the guy. However, this video completely calls into question everything we thought we knew about Ben Folds Five. Perhaps we had them wrong all along.
And 7 more reasons why this is awesome…
Well, Rosh Hashana is upon us again. Has it really been a whole year already (we’re really asking; even we get a little confused with the Hebrew Calendar)?
The nice thing about the Domino’s is that they don’t Jew you on the pepperoni.
– Michael Ian Black, Mike and Tom Eat Snacks, Episode 32
Let’s celebrate the New Year with breaking down Jewish stereotypes. Yes, we like challah bread and matzoh ball soup and potato kugel and bagels. And, yes, we run Hollywood. And, yes, we make dynamite plastic surgeons. And, yes, we like to get to the movie theater extra-early to make sure that we get a good seat. We are all these things. HOWEVER, not all of us are cheap, parsimonious bastards who will Jew you out of every possible penny. In fact, sometimes – as Jon Benjamin and David Cross illustrate – we’ll even Jew you up.
So dip the apples in the honey! (we will not, because we are allergic to apple, and thus will never have a sweet new year. It will be one unbroken string of bitter misery)
Coffee is my religion.
With the proper premiere of Go On this week and its promising ratings, it seemed like the appropriate time to revisit our Groaning Pains series, specifically Go On star Matthew Perry’s short stint as Carol’s ill-fated boyfriend, Sandy. In other words, it’s time to discuss how we learned about drunk driving (and that a guy could be named “Sandy”).
When Friends premiered back in 1994 we may have been the only eleven-year-old in the country who thought to himself “there’s the guy who was in the Married with Children backdoor pilot and there’s the guy who was Carol’s boyfriend on Growing Pains that died from drinking and driving.” The former is Matt LeBlanc, whose Married With Children character Vinnie Verducci – Joey Tribbiani’s spiritual predecessor – was spun off with his father Charlie (the immortal Joseph Bolonga) into the very short-lived series Top of the Heap, and the latter is, of course, Matthew Perry. For years, Matthew Perry stuck in our mind because of his role on Growing Pains – 1) because his arc ended so tragically, and 2) because we never could quite wrap our heads around the fact he was named Sandy – and it would take a little while for us before we thought of Perry as Chandler Bing and not as Carol Seaver’s love lost, a cautionary tale.