Recapping Television's Hottest Shows with Monkeys as Critics

Recap: 'The Amazing Race' - 'I Hate Chinese Food'

The teams face an eating challenge with multiple Reversals of Fortune

<p>Nick and Vicki of 'The Amazing Race'</p>

Nick and Vicki of 'The Amazing Race'

Credit: CBS
Sunday (November 28) night represented another speedbump in an already rough season for "The Amazing Race."
 
It's been a season characterized by less-than-appealing contestants and less-than-intriguing challenges. And it's been a season where the most memorable episode was the one that left much of the fanbase confused and alienated by an in-game rule change that could have easily been explained, but was instead left a mystery.
 
But I don't think I've ended an episode this season at totally frustrated and annoyed as I was as the credits rolled on Sunday's hour, titled "I Hate Chinese Food."
 
Full recap after the break, or as much of a full recap as I can muster the enthusiasm for. After all, why should *I* bother finishing?

Recap: 'Dancing with the Stars' Season 11 Finale - The winner is...

Would Jennifer Grey, Bristol Palin or that other guy claim the mirrorball?

<p>Bristol Palin of 'Dancing with the Stars'</p>

Bristol Palin of 'Dancing with the Stars'

Credit: ABC

Considering this episode has actually been on the nightly news more than once, and actually trumped the current Korean crisis for coverage (say that ten times fast), I’m worried that there might be picketing or small scale rioting, though I can’t imagine what that might look like. Maybe “DWTS” fans will knock over Capezio stores, or they’ll picket outside Arthur Murray studios.

[Who won? Who lost? Was there a revolution? Full recap of Tuesday's ("Dancing with the Stars" finale after the break...]

Recap: 'Glee' - 'Furt'

As a surprise announcement affects Kurt and Finn, Sue's mother arrives unexpectedly

<p>Carol Burnett, Jane Lynch and Piano Guy from 'Glee'</p>

Carol Burnett, Jane Lynch and Piano Guy from 'Glee'

Credit: FOX

There are times when I get asked about a certain show the following question: "What episode should I watch to get what it’s all about?" That’s usually a hard question to answer, because most of the shows I tend to love are highly serialized and jumping into a particular episode might leave a newbie lost at sea. Recommending "The Constant" to someone looking to get what the fuss about "Lost" is all about wouldn’t help said person know if the show was for them: they would just stare strangely at the screen and secretly hate me. But for people that want to understand the sum total of "Glee," the extreme highs as well as the frustrating lows, then I would point them directly towards tonight’s installment, "Furt." It’s the Rosetta Stone of the show.

[Full recap of Tuesday (Nov. 23) "Glee" after the break...]

Recap: 'The Event' - 'Your World to Take'

Leaders Martinez and Sophia handle insurrections from within

<p>Laura Innes and Clifton Collins Jr. of 'The Event'</p>

Laura Innes and Clifton Collins Jr. of 'The Event'

Credit: NBC

After two truly terrible episodes, “The Event” really needed a win tonight. This will never be a great show, but we can still hope that it makes some measure of improvement and avoids its debut season becoming an outright fiasco, right? In that respect, “Your World to Take” does just enough for the series to limp on.

[More on Monday's (Nov. 22) "The Event" after the break...]

Recap: 'Dancing with the Stars' Season 11 Finale - Part I

The dancers perform in the hard-to-call finale, but only one couple gets a perfect score

<p>Bristol Palin of 'Dancing with the Stars'</p>

Bristol Palin of 'Dancing with the Stars'

Credit: ABC

I hate to say it, but I’m almost relieved that this season of “DWTS” is about over. I still can’t believe an enjoyably silly little dance competition reality show has somehow become a flashpoint for American politics, the 2012 presidential race and a debate over why middle America hates the West Coast, but it has, sucking the fun out of what should be prime time fluff. Of course, this has also resulted in big ratings and even bigger buzz, so we might as well prepare ourselves for “DWTS: The Awkward Politico Spawn Edition.” Yay. 

[Full recap of Monday's "Dancing with the Stars" after the break...]

Recap: 'The Amazing Race' - 'There's a Lot of Nuts and Bullets'

One team takes a huge advantage, while two teams face U-Turns

<p>Nat &amp; Kat of 'The Amazing Race'</p>

Nat & Kat of 'The Amazing Race'

Credit: CBS

Chances are that unless you're at least an amateur film scholar, you've never heard of Edwin Stanton Porter. When it comes to legendary early silent film pioneers, George Melies or the Lumiere Brothers seem to steal all of the love.

Porter worked for Thomas Edison's film company at the turn of the 20th Century and he's credited with being one of the creators of the editing dissolve. Fortunately, he did not create the star-wipe. He's also credited with pioneering the use of cross-cutting to create tension. [Thanks to the awesomeness of YouTube, you can check out 1903's "The Great Train Robbery" in its entirety.] It's one of the most important innovations in the history of cinematic grammar. 
 
I bring Edwin Porter up for two reasons:
 
1) I'm pretentious.
 
2) Sunday (Nov. 21) night's episode of "The Amazing Race" was probably my favorite episode of the entire season -- Two Two, to be sure -- and it was nearly undone by some of the most poorly matched cross-cutting I've ever seen. "The Amazing Race" is a show that's rarely any less than exemplary in its technical crafting, so this was notably weak and annoying.
 
Click through for my recap of "There's a Lot of Nuts and Bullets"...

Recap: 'Saturday Night Live' - Anne Hathaway

The 'Love and Other Drugs' star hosts the last 'SNL' of November

<p>Anne Hathaway</p>

Anne Hathaway

Credit: Chris Pizzello/AP

Happy Almost Thanksgiving, faithful HitFix readers. It’s Turkey Time for “Saturday Night Live,” with returning host Anne Hathaway and musical guest Florence + The Machine. Hathaway’s appearance two years ago was a surprising highlight of the season, showing off her musical and comedy chops in a way that, for instance, “Bride Wars” did not. She’s here to promote her upcoming nudity (I mean, nuanced performance) in “Love And Other Drugs,” so look for fellow “Drugs” star and “SNL” favorite Jake Gyllenhaal to stop by the show tonight. Will Hathaway’s return performance exceed her first? Will I rage against Florence’s Machine? Only one way to find out.

On with the recap!

Recap: 'Fringe' - 'The Abducted'

A case from Broyles' past puts Olivia's chances to escape in peril.

<p>Lance Reddick of 'Fringe'</p>

Lance Reddick of 'Fringe'

Credit: FOX

“Fringe” is currently one of the strongest shows on television, with its multidimensional plotline having provided a surprisingly strong shot in the narrative and mythological arm. But the decision to play out back-and-forth episodes, while effective, also has a finite shelf life as currently constructed. The writers have luckily recognized that having an entire season as constituted would have been creative death. With “The Abducted,” we saw the beginning of the end of that structure, and while I’ve been a huge fan of the season thus far, I applaud the decision to end it in the near future. That’s not to say that we’ll see be done Over There. We’ll just get to see new dynamics at play there.

[Full recap of Thursday's (Nov. 19) "Fringe" after the break...]

Recap: 'America's Next Top Model' - 'Franca Sozzani'

Tyra Banks turns director and two models head home

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

Ann of 'America's Next Top Model'

Credit: The CW

We’re down to the final four, and Jane appears to have lost her personality in back the baggage claim at the Venice airport. That’s bad news, for, despite her lovely cube-shaped head, she isn’t all that memorable compared to the rest of the girls left on this 15thTK cycle of "America’s Next Top Model."

[Recap of Wednesday's (Nov. 17) "America's Next Top Model" after the break...]

Recap: 'Survivor: Nicaragua' - 'Stuck in the Middle'

A fire at camp upsets people for two seconds and then becomes irrelevant

<p>Chase of 'Survivor: Nicaragua'</p>

Chase of 'Survivor: Nicaragua'

Credit: CBS

Wednesday (Nov. 17) night's episode of "Survivor: Nicaragua" is titled "Stuck in the Middle." Does that mean that the week's Reward Challenge is going to be a Stealers Wheel concert?

 
Click through to find out...

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