Recapping Television's Hottest Shows with Monkeys as Critics

Recap: 'The Event' - 'Cut Off the Head'

Senator Lewis tests blood, while Leila questions her blood ties

<p>Sarah Roemer of 'The Event'&nbsp;</p>

Sarah Roemer of 'The Event' 

Credit: NBC

If  nothing else, “The Event” gave me my favorite moment of the series, tonight. For the most part, “Cut Off the Head” is a dull transition episode, moving from the reveal of Sophia being a genocidal maniac, to the climactic end-game battle between humans and aliens that appears to be coming. It’s not nearly as bad as much of the show has been, but it’s relatively inert (the cliffhanger is a closeup of a coffee mug!)

Recap: 'Dancing with the Stars' Performances - American Week

The competition gets tougher as judges start handing out high scores

<p>Chris Jericho and Cheryl Burke of 'Dancing with the Stars'</p>

Chris Jericho and Cheryl Burke of 'Dancing with the Stars'

Credit: ABC
It’s American week! Because… why? Isn’t every week American week, as the show takes place here? Unfortunately, this random theme means our celebrities will be forced to dance to songs that were never, ever meant to be danced to. Like “Yankee Doodle Dandy.” Yes, you can stomp out a good parade march to it, but ballroom dance to it? Egads. And look! Our celebs are dressed like they’ve been sucked through a vent at an American flag factory! I’m all for patriotism and the good old American way, don’t get me wrong, but I just don’t see this working out very well.
 
[Full recap of Monday's (April 18) "Dancing with the Stars" after the break...]

Recap: 'The Amazing Race' - 'I Cannot Deal With Your Psycho Behavior'

The racers look to avoid Freudian slips as they race through Austria.

<p>Zev and Justin of 'The Amazing Race'</p>

Zev and Justin of 'The Amazing Race'

Credit: CBS

On a night when many are following an epic struggle over the Iron Throne of Westeros, “The Amazing Race” honestly feels sort of quaint. While the “Unfinished Business” conceit has perhaps added additional emotional interest to the race, in that we have preexisting connections to these teams, the actual legs have been fairly nondescript. The only major change this season has been the proliferation of “You’re Still Racing” moments, which are not exactly new and have created artificial cliffhangers instead of actual tension. That doesn’t mean the season has been bad, per se, but it hasn’t been anything to write home about.

However, with Dan indisposed this evening, I have my first chance to write about the season since the premiere, and “I Cannot Deal With Your Psycho Behavior” offers a few twists and turns which I thought were pretty effective. It’s not a perfect leg by any means, bunching in the same space we would expect it to bunch in, but a tricky detour tests each team’s sense of strategy and delineates between those who are letting the game control them and those who are looking to take control of their own destiny.

And, unsurprisingly, it’s the latter teams who come out ahead, as the former teams find they’ve bitten off more than they could chew.

Until they discover, of course, that one can always throw up and try again.

[Recap, and hopefully fewer terrible metaphors, after the break.]

Recap: 'Fringe' - 'Lysergic Acid Diethylamide'

Walter and Peter race against time to help Olivia return to her own mind

<p>Anna Torv of 'Fringe'</p>

Anna Torv of 'Fringe'

Credit: FOX

There’s a great passage in the recent Chuck Klosterman book “Eating the Dinosaur” about the movie “Vertigo.” In arguing why the movie is so compelling to viewers, he states, "Some might argue that Novak becomes interesting because the watcher can project whatever he desires onto her form, but that's not really what happens; what happens is that she becomes interesting simply because it's interesting not to know things." The emphasis is his, and I think it applies to my reaction to tonight’s episode of “Fringe.” To think about “Lysergic Acid Diethylamide” is to think about the ways in which the show can move forward, both in this season and beyond.

[Full recap of Friday's (April 15) "Fringe" after the break...]

Recap: 'The Vampire Diaries' - 'The Last Dance'

It’s a battle to the death between Bonnie and Klaus… or is it?

<p>Steven R. McQueen and Kat Graham of 'The Vampire Diaries'</p>

Steven R. McQueen and Kat Graham of 'The Vampire Diaries'

Credit: The CW
If tonight’s episode gives you a creeping sense of déjà vu, for once it’s not just another pesky “Twilight” flashback. As we now know, Klaus is inhabiting Alaric’s body. For those keeping score from home, that means we have Elena and Katherine (same actress) and Klaus/Alaric (same actor). Is “Vampire Diaries” low on funds or just ideas? Oddly enough, Klaus/Alaric’s vaguely European accent pretty much disappears after the first scene for no particular reason. But he still calls Katherine "Katarina," so I guess that passes for an accent on the CW.
 
[Full recap of Thursday's (April 14) "The Vampire Diaries" after the break...]

Recap: 'American Idol' Results - Down to 7

Rihanna and Kelly Clarkson drop by before the latest elimination

<p>Stefano Langone of 'American Idol'</p>

Stefano Langone of 'American Idol'

Credit: FOX

It's Elimination Thursday for "American Idol." Somebody's going home. I can't really predict who it's going to be, though I said "Paul McDonald," because you've gotta say something. Between absentee judges and a lack of truly awful performances, we could be headed for another surprise. Or the "American Idol" voters may just eliminate another woman, in which case Haley Reinhart is probably doomed.

Click through for my recap of the proceedings... It's sure to be fun!

Recap: 'Survivor: Redemption Island' - 'The Buddy System'

Rob tightens his grip as two Tribal Councils loom

<p>Phillip of 'Survivor: Redemption Island'</p>

Phillip of 'Survivor: Redemption Island'

Credit: CBS
Pre-credit sequence. Matt returns to Redemption Island. I might be amused. You might be amused. Matt is not amused. "First and foremost, I'd like to congratulate myself on being the most naive person ever to play the game of 'Survivor,'" Matt grumbles. "I can't believe I got blindsided twice by the same people," the clearly irate King of Redemption whines. Matt doesn't understand why God wanted him back on Redemption Island. "I trust you that this is your will, you using my stupidity for your glory," Matt tells God. I suspect God's all, "Sorry. Earthquakes. Chilean miners. Double rainbows. Baseball season. Then I'll catch up with 'Survivor' on my DVR..." God, however, does not get a "Survivor" talking head.
 
Full recap of Wednesday's (April 13) "Survivor: Redemption Island" after the break...]

Recap: 'Top Chef Masters' - 'Everything Old Is New Again'

One chef drops out, another comes back and a third is crowded out

<p>Geoffrey Arend, Christina Hendricks and Curtis Stone of 'Top Chef Masters'</p>

Geoffrey Arend, Christina Hendricks and Curtis Stone of 'Top Chef Masters'

Credit: Bravo

It’s “Top Chef Masters” time, and I’m really ready for the chefs to stop playing nice and start slinging a little mud and throwing diva-esque temper tantrums. So far it’s been altogether too polite for a reality TV show, and while the food is probably outrageously good and we can’t expect chefs of this caliber to steal recipes or toss knives at one another, it’s getting a little dull, like watching a cooking show hosted by an NPR newscaster or Chris O’Donnell.

But wait! Drama! Oh, wait, that’s just the music, it’s not actually a big deal; it just sounds like one. John Rivera Sedlar has had to drop out due to an emergency. Naomi doesn’t care, because that’s one less slab of human meat she’ll need to slice her way through to get the finish line. I have high hopes for Naomi, because she’s either going to have a meltdown or her own or drive another chef to one with her hypercompetitive streak. Anyway, Hugh Acheson comes back to take John Sedlar’s place. John Currence is glad he’s back, because they’re drinking buddies. I’m glad he’s back because he was kind of funny and not just because of the monobrow.
 
[Full recap of Wednesday's (April 13) "Top Chef Masters" after the break...]

Recap: 'America's Next Top Model' - 'Lana Marks'

Tyra Banks teaches the girls about portfolios and they pose at a landfill

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

Brittani of 'America's Next Top Model'

Credit: The CW

 

Another week, another opportunity for high drama here at Cycle 16 of "America’s Next Top Model." Like a cockroach, Alexandria survives still, even after the nuclear meltdown she caused by way of archenemy Brittani. Before Brittani’s dressing down at the last panel, she was a model to beat in this competition. But at this moment, stealthy competitors such as Kasia are starting to look pretty darned good over here. 
 
[Full recap of Wednesday's (April 13) "America's Next Top Model" after the break...]

Recap: 'American Idol' Top 8 - Songs from the Movies

Casey and James defy Jimmy Iovine and one singer actually gets criticized

<p>James Durbin of 'American Idol'</p>

James Durbin of 'American Idol'

Credit: FOX

In case you've forgotten, Pia Toscano was eliminated on last week's "American Idol." Don't worry, "American Idol" isn't going to let you forget.

But how will last week's shocking results impact Wednesday's (April 13) show? What will the blowback be? Can we expect a newly feisty judging panel, ready and eager to voice their criticisms? Can we expect an judging Affirmative Action program to protect the endangered species known as the "American Idol" female?

Click through to find out...

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