One of the great paradoxes in Survivor – an element of the game that makes this show truly fantastic and always enjoyable – is that to make it far you must build a strong alliance with a numbers advantage, but a strong alliance that has the numbers almost always means that the alliance will need to turn on itself at some point, often times the weaker members taking out the strong. In many ways, you’re penalized for playing the game too well. If you form an alliance that is too strong, too large, you may wind up eating you own tail. And frequently, this happens just after the merge, which is why this junction in the Survivor: Caramoan – Fans vs. Favorites 2 Legit 2 Quit is so critical. It could be the last chance to dump some dead weight – or a significant threat – before getting too deep. With some players on the outs looking to get back in and other Survivors feeling vulnerable in their alliance, this is the time when loyalties shift, and when the permutations sometimes feel endless. This is why you can watch this show for twenty-three seasons and still see something new.
However, before we get to a merge the BeKool tribe, still not sure if actually voted out some person named Julia or just busted the myth of her existence, returns to camp from Tribal Council and Stealth ‘R’ Us CEO Former Federal Agent(?) Fillip immediately calls a board meeting. “Conference room, now!” Stepping into his executive chambers (a completely visible space four feet from the shelter), Fill clings to the tall tale he spun to Cochran last week, explaining to S’R’U Senior VPs Dawn and Corinne that he deliberately threw the Immunity Challenge in order to vote off that person who may or may not have existed (Gulia was it?). Of course, Dawn and Corinne know this is an absolute lie that Fillip absolutely believes, and, through some feat of herculean strength, play along with FFAF’s delusion. But they know that he’s living in a fantasy world, and Corinne is starting to find it really embarrassing.
Last week’s episode of Survivor: Caramoan – Fans vs. Favorites 2 Legit 2 Quit began with another temper tantrum from Brandon upon returning from Tribal Council. This week, not to be outdone, Brandon’s counterpart on the Fans side, Shamar, sounded off loudly after the vote. We talked in our last post about our uneasiness concerning these two bellicose, volatile players, that their unhinged – and often selfish – behavior would unfairly take center stage, and this happened once again in the latest episode, right off the bat. Here’s how it sounded at Goata camp.
And let’s celebrate with the greatest pretzel-related moment in television history (with all due respect to Seinfeld):
*Editor’s note: when we went off to Jew camp the summer before 9th grade we recorded onto cassette tape the audio from one episode of Seinfeld and one from The Simpsons, the latter being the episode above. Listening to it over and over again on our Walkman got us through those four long weeks and we are forever in its debt.
Note: We began this post the day after Lost’s series finale. Unfortunately, do to a series of fortunate events, we became otherwise occupied, and soon a Lost finale review seemed rather dated. But with the end on the year quickly gaining on us, we thought we’d finally finish that piece, perhaps all the wiser for having an extra half-year to let the series’ end sink in.
For most of Lost’s final season (and for the first five) we’ve offered little, if any, commentary, instead leaving the expert analysis to the experts. In fact, besides a couple of links and a few Jimmy Fallon videos we’ve only really spoken in-depth about the season premiere. However, much in the fashion of Lost, we feel compelled to call back to that post and close the circle.
However, before we delve into the finale, the series, and the nature of season finales, I think it’s necessary that we first outline our particular history with Lost. The show premiered during my senior year in college, the four-year period when I probably should have been OD’ing on television, at least on the Mr. Show DVDs, but instead foolishly focused on my studies, only making time for The Simpsons, Survivor, Friends for some reason at beginning and, thankfully, Arrested Development towards the end (talk about growing up). Lost premiered during the fall of my Senior year, but I was far too wrapped up in my penultimate semester, and getting in as much Mario Tennis as possible, to pay it much mind (plus, it seemed like a risky venture to get involved with such an ambitious show that likely wouldn’t make it past its first season). During winter break of that year, I did record a couple of episodes on VHS (the dark ages!), and found it interesting, intriguing and definitely full of potential. But without the benefit of having seen the pilot, and understanding the context of those episodes, I was, in essence, lost. So it wasn’t until the following summer when, on somewhat of a whim, I just went ahead and purchased season 1 on DVD. And that basically changed my life.
We were on Wikipedia this morning reading about old TGIF shows, as is our Thursday morning custom, and we were stunned to learn that the exterior Chicago shots in Perfect Strangers’ opening title sequence were shot on September 11, 1987.
Normally we might not think anything of this, but after reading this yesterday we’re not so sure. If The Simpsons foretold the events 9/11 four years before they happened, could Perfect Strangers have been warning us fourteen years in advance? What did they know??
Here’s the video in question:
And now think about the lyrics:
Standing tall, on the wings of my dream.
Rise and fall, on the wings of my dream.
In addition, the USA Network stopped rerunning the show in syndication as of September 11, 1998, eleven years after the opening sequence footage was shot.
Anyone know if Bronson Pinchot is in the Illuminati?
And that’s not all; Wikipedia also notes that Lost‘s Elizabeth Mitchell appeared in the pilot episode of the classic 1980s Nickelodeon show You Can’t Do That On Television. However, the show originated out of Canada, while Mitchell was born in LA and grew up in Dallas. EXPLAIN THAT ONE! Another one of Lost‘s mysteries that will remain unresolved? Or is it part of a greater conspiracy?
Back in the late 80s, pre-Simpsons, there were exactly two shows on Fox: Married with Children and 21 Jump Street. The latter was brought to us by the legendary Stephen J. Cannell. We were too young at the time to fully appreciate his already cemented TV legacy – creator of The Rockford Files, The A-Team, Greatest American Hero, Baretta, among others – but we knew that we loved his undercover cop drama, and we also grew to recognize the Stephen J. Cannell Productions logo at the end of his shows as a symbol of quality programming. In the 80s it ran neck-a-neck with “Sit, Ubu, sit,” for foremost production company tag, but we always found Cannell’s footnote to be the gold standard, a warm, fuzzy blanket, a comforting old friend. And when we heard that crescendo and saw the typewriter paper flying at the conclusion of later favorites like The Commish and Silk Stalkings, we knew we were in the capable hands of one of the all-time masters, a TV titan.
We’ll leave the in-depth retrospectives and the analysis of his influence on current television to the real critics, those who have a better appreciation for the breadth of his career. So we’ll just say thanks for the great stories and compelling characters, and we’ll always yearn to see you at your typewriter, finishing a script with a flourish.
Perhaps I would not have be so indignant if the episode had was a celebration of a milestone number of episodes. Or if it arrived in conjunction with another episode wholly comprised of wholly original content.
But for this excuse of an episode to arrive after a 5 week hiatus is rather insulting. I feel used, played, betrayed. And if they were going to start 2010 with a retrospective, why not do it last week when all the other Thursday night sitcoms returned with new episodes? Instead, The Office totally sat out the week, let 30 Rock turn in two new episodes, and still phoned it in this lackluster effort this week. So while 3/4 of NBC’s Thursday night lineup is already two weeks into their 2010, mostly firing on all cylinders, The Office hasn’t even really left the bench. What I posited about “Secret Santa” last week, that the writers were probably burned out and needed an extended rest seems even more accurate now. I can only hope that this extra week allows them to come back even stronger next time (and now they need to deliver even more than they needed to this week).