March 2005 Archives

Catching Up

Some quick TV thoughts:

  • I predict the final two candidates on The Apprentice will be Tana and Alex, with Tana getting the final hire.
  • Rob and Amber made their first real mistake this week, choosing to follow other contestants to the airport instead of checking a map to find their own way. As it turned out it didn't matter, but it could have. The first rule-- the absolute first rule of competitions like that-- is that the people in front of you don't necessarily know any more than you do. Blindly following others is a recipe for disaster.
  • Lots of newspaper columnists have been decrying Rob and Amber's behavior and their very presence on the show, but they're all missing the point. They're the only ones who are in full-on game mode. Granted, they could have stopped long enough to ask if everyone was OK, but they may also have seen that Lynn and Alex had already stopped and figured there was nothing more they could offer that Lynn and Alex couldn't already provide. I do feel that their Survivor fame has given them a few unfair advantages during the race, however. Much as I like Rupert, I really don't want to see him and his family getting an edge over other families next season by virtue of his fame.
  • Battlestar Galactica has turned out to be the biggest surprise of the season. I eagerly await each episode, and the accompanying audio commentary from series creator Ron Moore. This is not your father's cheesefest.
  • Looks like the promised Lost fatality will be Boone, but nothing's as it seems on this show so I wouldn't place any offshore bets. I certainly wouldn't mind seeing him go-- his character adds nothing, and he and Shannon are the least interesting characters on the show. But if I had to guess, I'd pick either Michael or the Korean guy. As for Locke, I'm unclear on why we were shown that particular flashback this week. It didn't seem to tie into the island storyline, other than the vision Locke had of his mother. It didn't explain how he became paralyzed. Perhaps it was meant to echo his current state of despair. He remains the most interesting part of the show by a large margin, however, so no complaints.
  • Bobby John is clearly not the sharpest tool in the shed. How in the world Steph could think he'd be a better spotter than her is beyond me. I've felt bad for her all season, since she is so clearly fit, sharp, and capable and yet stuck on a cursed tribe. They've got to merge next week, though, and Koror might decide to turn on themselves and cull the herd a bit rather than picking off the easy Ulong targets-- so Steph might finally have a chance if she can make the right friends quickly.
  • So the Apprentice contestants create a meatball pizza on tonight's hour-long Domino's commerical, and then what does Domino's do? They advertise a new Cheeseburger pizza-- even after the Donald says on camera that he heard Domino's was going to market the meatball pie. Ironically, later in the same show Papa John's advertised a new spicy meatball pizza. I'm wondering if that was a local spot, because I can't believe Domino's wouldn't have insisted that they'd be the only pizza company advertising on tonight's show. If I were the Domino's marketing guy responsible for the Apprentice deal, I'd be crapping meatballs right about now.

  • Comments (6) | last by Mark M, Apr 7, 7:53 AM

    Holy Cannoli

    Un-freaking-believable. Rob and Amber continue to outperform all past and present Amazing Race teams. Their performance on this leg, vindicating their previous gamble of taking a four hour penalty, was astounding. Squeaking onto that flight was a huge break-- Rob and Amber must crap Lucky Charms. But that's part of the game, and they're capitalizing on it. They're making things happen, which is more than you can say for any of the other teams-- certainly not now-eliminated bitch-factory Patrick. Good riddance. Lynn and Alex or Ray and Deanna next, please?

    Comments (8) | last by dana, Mar 24, 9:30 AM

    Jeopardy! Alert

    Sorry for the late reminder, but if it hasn't already aired in your area, SZ readers may want to watch tonight's episode of Jeopardy!. Former 5-time winner and Static Zombie commenter Eddie Timanus will be competing in the Ultimate Tournament of Champions for a chance to lay the big smackdown on Ken Jennings for $2 million. Tune in and cheer him on! And Eddie, if you'd like to make any comments about the experience, we'd love to hear 'em.

    Comments (6) | last by Daniel Rice, Jan 28, 7:40 PM

    Rob and Amber-- OK, mainly Rob-- are by far the best players ever to appear on The Amazing Race. I don't think quitting the eating challenge was the right decision-- in four hours, it should have been possible for Rob to pace himself and get all four pounds of meat down. Easy for me to say from my couch, of course. But the canniness of convincing other teams to quit also was inspired. Completely logical, but inspired nonetheless. Never has a player worked the angles so thoroughly. The odds are stacked against Rob and Amber-- at the next two yields, the other teams are sure to penalize them if they have the chance. It doesn't matter that they've already won a million bucks-- nobody deserves to win this million more than Rob. My cap is off to you, sir.

    Comments (4) | last by Eddie, Mar 16, 3:40 PM


    So you're walking through your neighborhood, trying to decide where to go for dinner and kinda tired of all the usual choices, when you notice a new place you hadn't seen before. It beckons to you the way a mudhole calls to a three-year-old in Sunday finery, whispering of forbidden delights heretofore unknown to your poor senses numbed by mediocrity. Excited, you give it a try and it is a revelation. Every morsel throws a new penalty flag on your taste buds for excessive jubilation. You walk out the door energized, already forseeing many future returns to your new favorite haunt. The next time you visit, the doors are boarded up and the place is emptier than Wrigley Field in the post season.

    Perhaps you buy into the ballyhoo of a new fall television program. You set your Season Pass or, among the hoi polloi, schedule your Friday evening around the show. You get sucked in by the quality writing, delightful plotting, and chemistry among the cast. You can't wait to see how the show's mysteries unfold over time, how the bread crumbs of future developments ever-so-carefully doled out come to fruition in due course. The show becomes a highlight of your viewing week. And then WHAM, before the season's half over, the plug gets pulled and you're left mourning what might have been.

    Well, then, you understand how I feel about H�agen Dazs Caramel Cone Explosion ice cream. Available on the American market for a brief time a few years ago as part of their "Extraas" line, Caramel Cone Explosion was quite simply the best ice cream flavor ever. It even eclipsed Ben & Jerry's defunct but sublime Rainforest Crunch (the victim of rising South American nut prices and a heinous maybe-they-won't-notice metamorphosis into Dilbert's World Totally Nuts), the previous title holder. Just how good was Caramel Cone Explosion? A single cup had as much artery-clogging saturated fat (20 grams) as two McDonald's Quarter Pounders with Cheese. Oooooooh, baby.

    But just as suddenly as it appeared, Caramel Cone Explosion went away. Not since the unexpected disappearance of the PBMax candy bar-- the most divine chocolate-and-peanut-butter concoction ever to grace the planet-- had I been so traumatized. What is it with the sugar barons at these confection conglomerates? Are we just toys to them? Mere playthings to be teased at their whim? "Here, my pretty-- have some live-giving oxygen. Drink deeply of its sweet purity. Now gasp in wretched, unending agony as I take it away forever."

    So you can imagine my joy as, stealing a glance at the ice cream case en route to suckling once again at the Tater Tot teat, I espied a new flavor in the H�agen-Dazs section: Caramel Cone. Apparently explosions are no longer a marketing coup in a post 9/11 world, or perhaps almonds were a catalyst to the explosive effect and, lacking nuts in its new incarnation, the company elected not to promise what it could not deliver. Be that as it may, the essence of the flavor has returned and I rejoice.

    I cannot, however, tell you how it compares to its ancestor. First, because in claiming the follicles from atop my head the mists of time have seemingly also stolen my memories of bygone flavors. Second, because I have not yet sampled the new apple in my supermarket's frozen garden of Eden. I'm wise to their tricks now. Fool me once, and all that. I'm sure Caramel Cone will be on the shelves just long enough to send me into spasms of insulin withdrawal when the company fiendishly discontinues the product.

    And third, I've moved on. Dissatisfied with the prepackaged options I took matters into my own hands and got myself an ice cream machine. When Caramel Cone sang and smiled I lashed myself to the milk, cream, and almonds in my basket and sailed clear of the ice cream case completely, setting course for a batch of homemade toasted almond ice cream.

    Let 'em try and pull cream off the market.

    Comments (25) | last by, Feb 12, 1:26 AM

    Quote of the Week

    From Lynn and Alex (boyfriends) on tonight's Amazing Race:

    "There's ten teams, there's two flights, so now we're just at the back of the pack again."
    "But that's OK, we're good at pulling up the rear."


    Comments (2) | last by dana, Mar 10, 7:38 PM

    Never Again

    As a Jew-- even an atheistic one-- it's impossible to remain unmoved by stories of the Holocaust. So black was that darkest time of the modern era that the smallest acts of kindness, bravery, or nobility, when we hear of them today, blaze like suns in the heavens. In recent years the common refrain, "Never again," has lost some of its power over me as genocide continues to be wrought around the globe-- in Serbia, in Rwanda, in the Congo-- while the world's Jewish community fails to rise up and stop it. It's hard to fight another nation's battles when Israel itself is besieged, but Jews in America and Europe-- particularly the wealthy and powerful ones-- have no excuses.

    But I digress.

    This story moved me. It moved me with its demonstration of man's capacity for noble sacrifice. It moved me with its demonstration of the Internet's power to bring people together. And it moved me with its awesome illustration of serendipity.

    Comments (2) | last by Michael Becker, Mar 9, 7:45 AM

    The Amazing Idiots

    Your IQ must drop a few dozen points when they turn a camera on you, because tonight's teams on The Amazing Race displayed astounding stupidity. Faced with three mounds to search for plane tickets, each mound holding tickets for a specific flight (6 AM, 7 AM, 7:40 AM), three-- count 'em, three-- teams stopped at the 7:40 mound and didn't bother to check the next mound to see if it had earlier tickets, despite having plenty of time to do so. The mind boggles.

    Rob and Amber have got to be the big underdogs here, since none of the other teams want to see them win again. They're going to be on their own, and I'm rooting for them (although how can you not root for Lynn and Alex?). You've got to give them props for going from last to first (ultimately finishing a close third), even passing people who were on a flight that landed over an hour before theirs. I think it would be terrific to have two Survivor winners (well, a winner and a runner-up) win the Amazing Race as well. Yeah, yeah, give someone else a chance, blah blah blah.

    If you're Amber, you've got to want to have Mark Burnett's baby. Amber's fame pretty much ran out fifteen minutes after Survivor: Outback ended. She distinguished herself by not distinguishing herself in any way. She was Jerri's lapdog, a complete zero in the game. Fans rushed to their dictionaries when she was named to the cast of All-Stars, thinking the term had a meaning heretofore unknown to them. Thirty-nine days later, her entire life had changed. Not only was she a million dollars richer, but she was the center of a fairy tale romance with her newfound fiancee and castmate. She was hosting TV Guide specials and walking red carpets. All because Mark Burnett gave her a second chance. Some day-- and that day may never come-- he will ask her for a favor. Rob hopes that Burnett's first child will be a masculine child.

    Comments (8) | last by Eddie, Mar 7, 8:38 AM

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