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.
If you asked us which television character we most resemble, many suggestions would rapidly come to mind. Zack Morris for his blonde hair good looks and cunning. Mike Seaver for his teenage heartthrob good looks and mischievous charm. Cousin Cody for his laid-back surfer dude good looks and martial arts skills. But while those are all great contenders, we have to admit that there’s another character in the television pantheon with whom we most identify: Arnold Horshack, played so brilliantly and honestly by Ron Palillo, who passed away yesterday at sixty-three.
We recall very clearly the summer in which we first fell in love with Welcome Back Kotter. No, it was not the Summer of ’77, but almost twenty years later when the show was in syndication on Nick at Nite, as that network began to shift its designation of “classic TV” from the black & white oldies like The Donna Reed Show and Mr. Ed to the grainy full color ’70s shows like Kotter and The Bob Newhart Show. Nick at Nite would run marathons of Kotter once a week, as part of their “Block Party Summer” programming gambit, and watching those episodes back-to-back-to-back was just about the best block party we ever went to. But we also remember the show airing nightly at 11pm, perhaps the following summer or the one after that. This sticks with us vividly because we recollect having to make a tough decision, a Sophie’s choice: Seinfeld, airing every night in syndication as still does to this day, the undisputed sitcom champ of its time and perhaps anytime, or Welcome Back Kotter, the over the hill has-been who was also the new kid on the block. Even though Kotter was about fifteen years older, and had achieved lunch box-level success, it felt very much like a wily up-and-comer taking on the unbeatable stalwart. But while our head told us that we should choose Seinfeld, that it was the superior show, the one that was not only plugged into the zeitgeist but was driving it, we felt this tug towards the Mr. Kotter and his Sweathogs. Did the latter show have hugs and heart while the former swore off that sort of sentimentality as its guiding principle? Certainly. But we weren’t quite the cynics we are now, not quite submerged in snark-infested waters. And despite the magnetic north of Nielsen ratings and cultural relevance pointing towards Jerry and the gang, and despite our unconditional love for that show then, now and forever, we followed our hearts further up the dial, further into the hinterlands of cable, towards Gabe and the gang.
Yesterday Zap2It wondered if CBS’s new fall sitcom Partners is actually a reboot of the 1995 Fox comedy of the same name. However, the bigger question for us is if ABC’s new Friday night show The Neighbors is actually a spin-off of CBS’s short-lived 1997 Bronson Pinchot vehicle Meego. The tale of the tape:
The Neighbors: The series, set in New Jersey, revolves around a gated townhouse community called “Hidden Hills.” This is where the Weavers (Lenny Venito & Jami Gertz), a normal average family, have decided to move to. But upon their relocation to this community they discover that this place is populated by residents who are actually from another planet, using names of sports athletes, where men can become pregnant, receive nourishment through their eyes and mind by reading books rather than eating, and cries out green goo from their ears. Not only that, it appears that these aliens have been stuck on Earth for 10 years, still awaiting for a distress signal to return home.
Meego: Meego (Pinchot) is a 9,000-year-old shape-shifting alien from the planet Marmazon 4.0. After his spaceship crashes, he is discovered by three children; Trip, Maggie, and Alex Parker (Will Estes, Michelle Trachtenberg AND Jonathan Lipnicki) . They live with their single father, Dr. Edward Parker (Ed Begley, Jr.!) and pass Meego off as human (he tells people he is from Canada). Although he plans to go home as soon as his ship is repaired, he becomes attached to the children and decides to remain on Earth to care for them.
The latter show was specifically created for the CBS Block Party, their attempt to topple ABC’s TGIF after picking up both Family Matters and Step by Step from the Disney network. Pinchot himself was coming off of a short stint on Step by Step as beautician Jean-Luc Rieupeyroux, which followed, of course, his long run as Balki Bartokomous on original TGIF member Perfect Strangers. While The Neighbors will air on Wednesday nights, not Fridays, it could have easily fit on that popular comedy lineup, and perhaps that’s where it will eventually end up, considering the statement from ABC Entertainment President Paul Lee that ““It’s time for Friday night to be a destination again for broad family entertainment.” May not be long until The Neighbors slides into Meego‘s old Friday at 8:30pm time slot.
Is it possible that residents of Hidden Hills are from the plant Marmazon 4.0? Why not? They all seem to have things coming out of their ears.
(and, yes, we realize that Meego is basically Mr. Belevedere with an alien. Or Free Spiritwith an alien. Or Who’s the Boss? with an alien. Or countless other shows with an alien).
Well, we assume that Dancing with the Stars was unable to strike a deal with Bartman to join their new cast, so they went ahead and secured the next best thing, Urkel!
That’s right! Jaleel “Steve/Stefon Urkel” White will be the centerpiece of Dancing with the Stars upcoming 14th(!) season (which begs the obvious question, how long until they do Dancing with the All-Stars?). And, we bet you thought we’d take this easy opportunity to post the Urkel Dance, right? RIGHT? WRONG. Nope, we’re taking this easy opportunity to post what happened after the Urkel Dance, Drunk Urkel! (but you should totally go watch the Urkel Dance when you’re done here)
This is it, guys! Merge time! And the end of Redemption Island!
Which would have totally been a surprise if they didn’t already tell us this in the preview for this week’s episode. And they didn’t just tease the game changer, but pretty much announced it. Which is kind of regrettable, as it took away a potential surprise in the midst of a run of pretty mundane episodes.
Also pretty regrettable – to us at least – is that the producers chose to coincide the merge with the reentry of the Redemption Island ultimate warrior back into the game. That’s too neat, too obvious, and we reckoned it would be too much all at once. Wouldn’t have it been more enjoyable, more entertaining if the Redemption Island duels continued while the remaining players vied for Individual Immunity? In short, in crass terms, our concern was that combining these two moves would pretty much be the equivalent of the show shooting it’s load. Would that be the case? We should see.
TGIF is pretty much my go-to subject for the Nostalgia Corner, but I’m not sure anything will ever top this TGIF theme song medley courtesy of tonight’s Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and a capella group Straight No Chaser. Late Night, you honor TGIF, and by doing so you honor us.