Recapping Television's Hottest Shows with Monkeys as Critics

Recap: 'Survivor: Samoa' Premiere

Jeff Probst and a new crop of castaways hit the beaches of Samoa and Russell H tells a big lie

<p>Russell H of 'Survivor: Samoa'</p>

Russell H of 'Survivor: Samoa'

Credit: CBS

Off to sea once more. After spending last season somewhere in the Brazilian Highlands, we're back to the islands for the Sept. 17 premiere of "Survivor: Samoa," which promises to be the survivoriest season ever. What? Nobody's called it that? Let me be the first. Let the survivorosity begin. I can almost taste the survivorishness already. 

Pre-Credits. We're deep in the heart of the South Pacific and waves are crashing around Jeff Probst. He knows no fear, for he is Jeff Probst, the most survivoresque man any of us know. But he may have competition from Shannon, with her flowing mullet and her healthy sense of self-confidence. People think she rocks, she tells us. Fearsome Russell H is already scaring the intriguingly hippy-hot Marisa. And Betsy, the hardened police officer with a thick New England accent, vows not to trust anyone.

[Full recap after the break...]

Recap: 'America's Next Top Model' - 'Fortress of Fierceness'

Models pose topless with horses and Tyra's superhero alter ego teaches them to Smize

<p>Bianca of 'America's Next Top Model'</p>

Bianca of 'America's Next Top Model'

Credit: The CW

Now that what’s-her-name from the clown baby shoot has gone, we can start getting down to bidness. It’s the NEKKID SHOOT episode of "America’s Next Top Model," Cycle 13. Everything’s all sped up this season: makeovers, sob stories, nekkid shoots. I love living in the instant gratification era.

[Recap of Wednesday (Sept. 16) night's "America's Next Top Model" after the break...]

Recap: 'Big Brother' Finale: Season 11 gets a peculiar winner

In which either Jordan, Kevin or Natalie won $500,000 after two hours of filler

<p>Kevin of 'Big Brother 11'</p>

Kevin of 'Big Brother 11'

Credit: Cliff Lipson/CBS

Alright, cards on the table. I'll tell you what I told my BB co-blogger Daniel Fienberg, which is that I am approaching tonight's show with an unpleasant, queasy-making mix of excitement and dread in my heart, which is probably how I approached my first day of junior high but, thank God, I blocked out that particular painful memory years ago. Still, as much as I want Jordan to win that big payday (even if she does run the risk of blowing it all on chewing gum or giving it to a nice e-mail buddy in Nigeria), I fear the final two might be slacker extraordinaire Kevin and lunatic loser Natalie, which will make me just so mad I might throw something. Something small and possibly squishy because I don't want to break anything in my house, but throw nonetheless.

[Who was the willing of "Big Brother 11"? Results from Tuesday's (Sept 15) finale after the break...]

Recap: 'True Blood' Season Two Finale - 'Beyond Here Lies Nothin''

In the season finale, Maryann's orgy reaches its climax, Eric and the Vampire Queen bond and Sookie faces a choice

<p>Stephen Moyer and Anna Paquin of 'True Blood'</p>

Stephen Moyer and Anna Paquin of 'True Blood'

Credit: Skip Bolen/HBO

What do you MEAN this is the season finale? Finale means end, as in to finish, as in to die. And that's just silly because vampires can't die unless there's the sun, and UNLESS I am MISTAKEN, it is currently 9 p.m. in the EVENING. That's called airtight logic. BOOYAH. For the next hour I shall be in high denial. Join me, will you?

[Recap of Sunday (Sept. 13) night's "True Blood" finale after the break...]

Recap: 'Mad Men' -- 'The Fog'

Recent traumatic events throw Don's personal and professional life into turmoil

<p>Vincent Kartheiser of 'Mad Men'</p>

Vincent Kartheiser of 'Mad Men'

Credit: AMC

In the wake of traumatic events, people face an often-impossible choice: dourly dwelling in the past, or pushing forward in a respectful manner. This week's episode of "Mad Men" focused on the fine line between the two, as deaths both personal and impersonal rock the lives of those in Sterling Cooper. While a death close to home affected a family dynamic, a death in the political world opened up a new business opportunity for the ad agency.  

Let's deal with the personal side first: the circle of life in which the Draper clan finds itself. With Sally acting out at school in the wake of Grandpa Gene's death, Ice Queen Betty starts going slightly mad while struggling to keep her emotions in check. Sally's teacher can scarcely believe that neither parent informed her of the family's recent loss, but neither Don nor Betty are particularly keen on anything approaching emotion when it comes to their children. Poor pugilistic Sally has to express emotions for the entire household.  

[Full recap of Sunday (Sept. 13) night's "The Fog" episode of "Mad Men" after the break...]

Recap: 'Project Runway' - 'What a Woman Wants'

Qristyl and Althea opt for basic black, but one of them blows it

<p>Althea of 'Project Runway'</p>

Althea of 'Project Runway'

Credit: Lifetime

Okay, let me start by saying that I'm leaning toward “over it” when it comes to Nicolas. Last week's creepy porn star lace chaps were bad enough, but then he has the brass ones this week to regally announce to his flatmates that it's time to weed out the talentless people. Uh, okay Lacey sans Cagney, someone's a wee bit overconfident, since it was your crap idea that landed you in the bottom three last week. But hey, he's only one of the designers working my last nerve this week.

[Full recap of Thursday (Sept. 10) night's "Project Runway" after the break...]

Recap: 'Big Brother' Thursday: Final Head of Household drama

In which everybody mocks Jeff in the Jury House, departed favorites return and the HoH contest continues

<p>Jordan of 'Big Brother'</p>

Jordan of 'Big Brother'

Credit: CBS

8:00 p.m. It's been well-reported that nobody is going home on Thursday (Sept. 10) night's "Big Brother," but I'm doing a minute-by-minute recap anyway, because that's what I do and I'm too lazy to learn another way...

8:02 p.m. When we left our three remaining hamsters, they were running circles on a log and rain had begun to pour down on them.

Recap: 'America's Next Top Model' Cycle 13 - Tiny Models Premere

Tyra Banks is doing all of the world's petite women a tremendous favor and she won't let them forget it

<p>Nicole of 'America's Next Top Model'</p>

Nicole of 'America's Next Top Model'

Credit: Jim De Yonker/ The CW

Tyra Banks doesn't just produce and host a show about models, no no no, girl. She changes the standards of the WHOLE MODELING INDUSTRY. Never mind we've never heard from what's-her-name since she won that time. America's Next Top Model is IMPORTANT. Because Tyra says so. That's why.

As we all know by now, this whole cycle of Top Model is about finding a supermodel under 5 feet 7 inches. Tyra's logic: We have like two or three super-successful tiny models out there, so that MUST mean the industry wants another short one, right? Right. Because Tyra says so. That's why. 

[A recap of Tyra Banks' salute to the world's petite women, specifically Wednesday's (Sept. 9) "America's Next Top Model" premiere, after the break...]

Recap: 'Big Brother' Tuesday - Then there were three

In which the Kevin and Natalie pretend to fight, PoV sets up a Special Tuesday and Michele makes her caseEviction

<p>Kevin of 'Big Brother'</p>

Kevin of 'Big Brother'

Credit: CBS

I am facing tonight's episode with dread in my heart. Natalie's reign of terror isn't quite over yet and you just know something bad is going to happen if that evil little sprite has anything to do with it. If anyone deserved to get yanked out of the house and thrown into traffic, I'd say it's Natalie, but that's just me.

By the way, has anyone else noticed that Julie Chen's hair gets bigger as her baby bump expands? I'm afraid by next week she's going to be in full-on "Dynasty" diva hair and that's just not a good thing.

[Full recap of Tuesday (Sept. 8) night's "Big Brother," complete with shocking elimination spoilers, after the break...]

Recap: 'Mad Men' -- 'The Arrangements'

Sterling Cooper courts an ambitious new client, Peggy makes a move to the city, and Gene makes plans for the future

<p>Jon Hamm of 'Mad Men'</p>

Jon Hamm of 'Mad Men'

Credit: AMC

Early in Sunday's (Sept. 6) episode of “Mad Men”, Sal confesses stress over his impending debut as a commercial director. He tells his wife Kitty, “I don’t wanna fail. A single mistake, the entire shot is ruined.” He’s talking about the shoot for the Patio account in which they have been tasked with slavishly recreating the opening sequence of “Bye Bye Birdie.” And even though Sal manages to mechanically achieve this, both the in-show audience at Sterling Cooper and the at-home audience come away with the same impression: it’s just a pale imitation.

The phrase “pale imitation” works nicely as a way to tie in the variety of personal and professional r elationships on display in this we ek’s episode, entitled “The Arrangements.” Most frequently, this played out as older generations looked down at younger ones with disdain, wondering how an entity with so much shared DNA could turn out so differently (read: inferiorly). We might as well start with the man behind the title, Gene Hofstadt, with our analysis. Previously, we’ve learned that Betty’s memo ries of her childhood were essentially lies constructed to glorify a past that never existed. This week, we learned Gene didn’t have much for their time together, either.

[Full recap of Sunday's "Mad Men" after the break...]

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