When Survivor: Caramoan – Fans vs. Favorites 2 Legit 2 Quit began just three months ago we bemoaned the ubiquity of loud, boisterous, attention-grabbing personalities like Shamar, Brandon Hantz and Former Federal Agent(?) Fillip. It felt like a season plotted by casting – and by casting just a few controversial, polarizing figures, stunt casting essentially – than a season anchored by appealing, charismatic, engaging characters who we would want to root for, and a season that might rely on shock value and stock reality show antics than good stories, solid gameplay and jaw-dropping twists. Well, we are happy to say that we were wrong. While the pre-merge game was dominated by those big names and big bodies, and while some of our favorite players were eliminated earlier than we would have preferred, after the merge Survivor: Caramoan has delivered great Tribal Council after great Tribal Council, offering some landmark series moments. It was like viewing a Sandra Bullock film back to back to back. Blind Side after Blind Side after Blind Side. And it’s left us with five somewhat unlikely players, none of whom are physically dominant or socially controlling or remarkably devious. Just five players who’ve managed to get to the end, through considerable disadvantages and obstacles, each carving a somewhat different path. It wasn’t what we foresaw for Caramoan, but we’re not complaining.
Cochran, for sure, is the front-runner, having played a smart, strategic, clean game. But Dawn has been right there with Cochran, and she’s made stronger personal bonds, which could play in her favor. Don’t discount Sherri though, who took an entry-level position with Stealth ‘R’ Us when the fans’ alliance fell apart, came in everyday on time, punched her card, worked hard, and is one of the few employees still with the company. Then there’s Eddie, who’s been on the outs from day one, has been to nearly every Tribal Council and was always at risk of going home, and who has made no enemies. Finally, you have Erik, who’s ruffled very few feathers, managed to flip and flop without seeming untrustworthy, and has an excellent chance to sweep the remaining challenges. Really, out of these five, you could make a case that all of them can win the million and it’s going to be interesting…
Ahead of the premiere of the twenty-eighth (!) season of The Real World, set somewhat curiously in Portland, MTV has scheduled a weekend marathon of three “classic” seasons of the trailblazing reality show. Starting Friday night at 8pm MTV will air the first entry in the series, the groundbreaking Real World: New York, followed by the booze and sex soaked Las Vegas season Saturday at 2pm, and rounded out by the Puck and Pedro-fronted season three, Real World: San Francisco, beginning 8am Sunday. While we applaud the selection of NY and SF as 66.6% of the marathon, we cannot support the further promulgation of Las Vegas, especially at the expense of more worthy, important, less debaucherous seasons like Los Angeles, New Orleans, Seattle, or even the underrated Miami.
Choosing New York to lead off the marathon is a no-brainer. It was not just the first season of the long-running series, it defined what the series would be. Like Richard Hatch on the maiden season of Survivor, The Real World: New York set the mold for what this show would be, and, in many ways, set the course for Reality TV for the next twenty years. It’s cultural relevance and impact cannot be understated. Likewise for San Francisco, which was even more captivating and controversial for its inclusion of Pedro, an HIV positive Cuban-American, and Puck, a bellicose bike messenger with questionable hygiene and even more questionable social skills. This season – with its portrayal of a gay man (living, not dying) with AIDS and the caustic, boorish punk who alienated his housemates to the point of eviction – truly launched the show, and as well as awareness of the deadly disease, into the public consciousness, establishing The Real World as an MTV institution and a cultural phenomenon with immense significance. Nearly ten years later, Las Vegas began to undo everything that San Francisco and its peers has established.
Beloved author, screenwriter and New Yorker Nora Ephron passed away suddenly nearly two weeks ago, and we wouldn’t be doing our job here at Jumped the Snark if we didn’t report on it nearly two weeks later. Like with a lot of celebrities and significant figures who left us this year – Richard Dawson excluded – we didn’t have the same deep personal relation to or affection for Nora Ephron that many others did (and still do). Did we respect and appreciate her work? Surely. But did we harbor a rapturous devotion to her romantic comedies? Not quite. When we think of Nora Ephron, we think of You’ve Got Mail. And when we think of You’ve Got Mail, we inevitably think of this scene from Undeclared, when a warm-keg-beer-filled Seth Rogen declares his love for the film.
And this soliloquy can perhaps be applied to Nora Ephron’s body of work, at the least to her film career. Later in life she became synonymous with “romantic comedies” which became synonymous with “rom-coms” which itself became synonymous with “melodramatic, insulting, mindless treacle,” which is not quite an appropriate usage of the transitive property. Yes, some – maybe even most – rom-coms are uninspired and vapid forms of low art designed to appeal to a specific demographic and not necessarily to be good, but not all rectangles are squares, and not all rom-coms are “typical American tripe.” Like with You’ve Got Mail, you may think you’re better than Nora Ephron, but you’re not.
Coincidentally, we just this afternoon read New York magazine’s tribute of sorts to Ephron, a reprinting of her inaugural “Women” column, and we found her writing witty, confident, fun, and, much like Greg Kinnear in You’ve Got Mail, very likable.
We had a temporary return last week with the unfortunate memoriam for the late Andrew Koenig, but as you can see with the new header, you can now consider Jumped the Snark officially back in action, NY Style! Coming soon will be short thoughts on SNL, Funny or Die, The Office, Michael & Michael Have Issues, American Idol (BOWERSOX!) and Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains. See you then (you, specifically)!