Well, this was a long time coming, but now that we’ve reached the all-important game-changing merge and oxygen-sucking loudmouths Shamar and Brandon are gone, it seems like a good time – perhaps the only time – to deliver our Survivor: Caramoan – Fans vs. Favorites 2 Legit 2 Quit celebrity look-alikes and player odds (for those Survivors still in the game). Let’s do this a little differently this time around and look at the Favorites then the Fans. We’d tell you to buckle up, but that seems really unnecessary considering you’re probably just sitting on a couch or at a desk or maybe on the subway, and even then it’s the movement of the train and not the content of this article that is most likely to create some turbulence.
Andrea: If we want to talk about people who really learned from Boston Rob (as opposed to Former Federal Agent(?) Fillip), then Andrea might be the one in that discussion. Her acuity for the game is what hurt her last time – and her infatuation with Matt – as Boston Rob respected her ability and intelligence but more importantly recognized her as a threat. There’s no one as cunning as Boston Rob on Caramoan, so Andrea has a shot to put it all together this time, especially now that she’s made the merge with the new powerhouse Goya tribe. However, there’s something in those smokey eyes that tells us that she’s going to play the game a little too hard and a little too paranoid, and that will be her downfall (much like Tara Reid experienced a similar fall. But that was due to the shots of Patrón and required several stitches). 11:1
Previously on Survivor: Caramoan – Fans vs. Favorites 2 Legit 2 Quit we found out that Corinne has a truly curious and rather unsettling affection (affectation?) for gays. Well, it seems that everyone is letting all their skeletons out of the closet now, as this person who is apparently named Julia has decided she wants to pretend she has some semblance of a personality and reveal something very private and kind of gross.
TMI, Ju…damn, forgot her name.
Michael is taking the loss of his partner in crime (the crime being losing every Immunity Challenge) BMX Bike Sales Matt surprisingly well. In fact, he’s single and ready to mingle. And he’s in luck! Corinne is more than eager to envelop Michael and keep him close to her bosom, Mama Corinne keeping him safe in this game as long as she can. Good thing she’s been quiet about her love of gays or else someone in her alliance might start to grow suspicious. Way to play it close to the blue bikini top!
In case you’ve missed every episode so far, Former Federal Agent(?) Fillip is in phenomenal shape. The guy is a freak of nature. Unbeatable in anything that emphasizes upper body strength, which, as we know, is every Survivor challenge ever. He’s so strong that he can even beat a physical specimen like John Cochran at arm wrestling. JOHN COCHRAN! A pasty yet sunburnt indoor kid who could serve as Captain America’s “before” photo; someone who is probably half Fillip’s size (which means that if Cochran played basketball at Fill’s gym then he’d be balling against guys four times his size. Wow!). So how could FFAF defeat the Hulk-like Cochran (Hulk-like in so far as he’s probably really good at physics)? Well, he’s got a can’t-lose technique.
Before we dig deep into this week’s episode of Survivor: Caramoan – Fans vs. Favorites 2 Legit 2 Quit, we owe you, the loyal reader, an apology. You see, we had gotten so wrapped up in the sad, soul-sucking sagas of Shamar and Brandon that we had forgotten about Former Federal Agent Fillip(?). Specifically, we had forgotten how capable he was of equal soul-sucking, his stewardship of an imaginary corporation (painfully imaginary to everyone else but him) serving to dominate camp life and suffocating other players. We had hoped – erroneously – that the exit of Shamar and Brandon, two divisive but attention grabbing personalities, would open the game up. Instead, it just passed the speaking baton to the equal of three evils. Not that FFAF is complaining, being the singular intolerable, maddening, petulant male personality left only enhances his chances of making it to the end.
However, Fillip has some flaws in his game. Namely, he thinks he’s running some kind of top secret covert operation and explains this to every player he encounters, creating something more akin to a completely obvious overt debacle. But in addition to his delusions of grandeur, FFAF is also incredibly sensitive. He is easily rattled when someone challenges his leadership and integrity, and he demonstrates this trait when the Favorites returned to camp after they evicted Brandon from the house. Wearing the classic tucked in poncho characteristic of all great CEOs, Fillip was so hurt that Brandon said such mean, unprovoked things about him, and no one stood up for poor FFAF. Corinne jumped in too, saying how uncool it was for Brandon to only pick on her and Fill, that she sympathized with Fill’s frustration and anger with the rest of BeKool for not stepping up to the plate. And this made up The Specialist’s mind once and for all: he needs to get rid of Corinne, because her commiseration clearly makes her the biggest threat, for some reason entirely unclear to us. But that’s why he’s The Specialist and we’re just a dude writing a blog and not running a made-up paramilitary organization.
Well, if you still needed something to wash out the taste of misogyny and disrespect towards women after the Oscars, then a trio of announcements concerning female-centric projects might just finally cleanse your palate. Basically, it’s Ladies Night and all the girls drink for free. To wit:
1. Comedy Central has, very wisely, picked up a ten-episode order of Broad City, a comedy based on the web series of the same name created by and starring the brilliant Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson (full disclosure: they are close personal friends and two beautiful, strong, hilarious, independent women). Loosely based on their own lives, it’s the anti-Sex and the City that Girls** isn’t. Here is the Season 2 finale, a love letter to NYC that features Amy Poehler, who is executive producing the series (and is another beautiful, strong, hilarious, independent woman):
As promised, we’re going to quickly dip our toes into the somewhat toxic pool of The Newsroom analysis. Like with any review or analysis, anything we say is ultimately futile and inconsequential, because, in the end, it’s not going to change the way you feel about the show, and it’s certainly not going to alter Aaron Sorkin’s vision or persuade him to reconsider his writing style. But in the case of The Newsroom, anything we say, any argument we make, feels especially meaningless in the wake of all the criticism and (less so) praise it’s received. But, hell, let’s be a Greater Fool and try anyway.
Let’s just say out of the gate that we like the show, and while that might put us in the minority we stand by our verdict. But what’s interesting or pertinent to us is not so much that we like it – or if it’s “good,” assuming there’s some kind of objective rubric which can calculate a show’s quality (which there’s not) – it’s the question of whether or not the show is worth watching. And we think the answer is: absolutely. Doesn’t that fact that the show seems to be so reviled (or snickered at) in so many corners yet still watched obsessively indicate there’s something of worth there? Certainly, The Newsroom doesn’t garner the same level of propulsive minute-by-minute Twitter reaction on Sunday evenings as Breaking Bad (nor does it come close to the AMC show’s unanimous, breathless praise), but it’s definitely one of the most talked about shows, even if much of that talk comes with head shaking, finger wagging and head scratching. And if the show was bad, unrelentingly terrible, it wouldn’t have lasted, or at least the discussion would have quieted down. We can’t imagine that if Work Ithad not been canceled after one week the din about its repugnancy would have continued. We would have had our fun and then watched it fade away, nary giving it another thought. But with The Newsroom the debate continued for ten episodes, and seemed to increase as we approached the season finale. Clearly, people were entertained by the show. Which, we certainly concede, isn’t necessarily the same as enjoying the show.
Today we continue our look at some of Growing Pains more memorable – or notorious – moments, especially those bits of dialogue or storylines that surprised (or mildly stunned) us when we rewatched the show as an adult.
One of the episodes of Growing Pains that we remember most from our youth, one that stuck with us all throughout childhood and beyond, is Season One’s “Reputation.” In this episode Mike Seaver* prepares, fully intends, to cheat on his Civil War exam in Mr. Dewitt‘s history class, writing key dates, names and locations on the soles of his largest pair of sneakers. But a funny thing happened on the way to the test: he actually learned the answers, and when the time came he didn’t need to take a peek at the bottom of his Reeboks. He absorbed and retained that information, and in much the same way we absorbed and retained this episode. It was because of this episode that we’ve known for as long as we can recall that Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President of the United States, and Andrew Johnson took over after Lincoln was assassinated in 1865. Yes, we’ve always had an aptitude for history, but we feel entirely comfortable crediting Growing Pains with teaching us about this specific and significant event in US history. And in addition to the lesson this episode provided, we also vividly recalled Mike Seaver’s stirring, high-pitched, plea of innocence to his parents – “I did not cheat!” and Jason Seaver’s surprising but unwavering belief in his son’s word. If we didn’t already have a father who loved and trusted us, we would have desperately wanted Jason Seaver to serve that role. And even though we weren’t in the market for a replacement parent, we never forgot or stopped admiring Jason’s unconditional love.
But despite having such a strong connection to this episode, something did take us quite aback when we years later watched the episode on DVD, Mike’s explanation to Ben about the crib-sheet sneakers.
We’re not sure what’s more hard to believe, that they so casually equated a black guy with the basketball team, or that there would actually be a black student in their white, upper-middle class, Long Island suburban paradise (a neighborhood not unlike the one we grew up in). We’re racking our brains trying to come up with a single black character on the show, and we’re coming up empty (Apparently Growing Pains was the Girlsof its day). But it is the first reaction – the flippant political incorrectness – that really struck us. We could envision a line like that a few years later on a more provocative show like Married with Children, but it’s not like Growing Pains was ever considered edgy.But, then again, the TV landscape has changed, and while you can say, do and show more now, you can also say, do and show less. As the limits of sex and violence and vulgarity have expanded over the last twenty-five years, you can make the argument that the levels of political correctness and racial sensitivity have conversely, almost paradoxically, expanded in kind. Appomattox Court House, captain of the Dewey High School basketball team, is a perfect example of this.
*We’ve been talking about the New York Mets a lot lately, so it’s worth noting here that the Seavers were named in honor of Baseball Hall of Famer Tom Seaver, who just this past Sunday was named to the Mets All-Time Team as right-handed starting pitcher. Also named to the team as the all-time lefty starter was Jerry Koosman, which not coincidentally is the surname of the Seaver’s next-door neighbors.