Inside TV+Movies with Daniel Fienberg
The 4th place finishers discuss Japanese game shows and on-air fights
Wisecracking, occasional Mean Girl Vanessa and her affable, but occasionally pugnacious boyfriend Ralph were one of the more polarizing teams on the recently completed season of "The Amazing Race."
For some fans, Vanessa's loopy and occasionally biting wit, plus Ralph's solid physicality made them an easy team to root for.
But for other viewers, it felt like Vanessa was picking on "Big Brother" veterans Brendon & Rachel, which would only be a negative if you happen to believe that Brendon & Rachel didn't deserve to be picked on.
Ralph & Vanessa had a steady, but unremarkable "Amazing Race" run, always competitive, but never rising above third on any Leg.
At least they had a memorable departure as Vanessa, nursing an injured ankle from an earlier fall, was forced to complete in a Japanese game show Roadblock that asked contestants to sprint against the tide of a treadmill, periodically leaping to grab rubber chickens. It was an exhausting challenge under any circumstances, but with a sprained ankle, it seemed to be untenable. While Ralph urged Vanessa to quit and take the penalty, Vanessa battled through, refusing to quit. They still finished in fourth and were eliminated, but at least they left with their heads up.
In their exit interview on Monday, Vanessa & Ralph discussed that last Roadblock, their battles with each other and with Rachel & Brendon and why fighting may have been the secret to Dave & Rachel's winning success.
Click through for the full interview.
Dan and Alan talk 'Common Law,' Upfronts and more
Happy Monday, Boys & Girls.
Time for another installment of The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast.
Due to a paucity of new show premieres this week -- USA's "Common Law" is our only review -- most of this podcast is dedicated to premiering next week's upfronts. Oh and we talked about Rory Gilmore and Mr. Belding guesting on "Mad Men."
As we mention in podcast, due to upfronts we have no clue when we'll be able to podcast next week or how many times. Smart money says there'll be a podcast on Monday or Tuesday and then a second podcast on Thursday or Friday.
Here's today's breakdown:
"Common Law" (00:01:00 - 00:11:10)
"Desperate Housewives" reflections (00:11:10 - 00:18:20)
Upfronts Preview (00:18:20 - 01:01:50)
"Mad Men" (01:02:00 - 01:26:20)
As always, you can subscribe to The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast over at the iTunes Store, where you can also rate us and comment on us. [Or you can always follow our RSS Feed.]
And as always, feel free to e-mail us questions for the podcast.
The remaining teams head to Japan and then Hawaii to wrap up the season
Shortly before Sunday (May 6) night's "The Amazing Race" began, I tweeted, "Is anybody actually *rooting* for a team in tonight's "Amazing Race" finale? Yeah. Didn't think so."
Over the next three-plus hours, I got many, many responses. Most people asked if rooting against teams counted on some level. No. No it did not. A couple folks suggested they were rooting for Mark & Bopper to somehow re-enter the game and win. That also does not count. A few tweeps proposed that they were rooting for single players on teams, with Vanessa earning votes for hotness and Rachel (of Rachel & Dave) earning mentions. One person and only one person said that he liked all of this season's teams and would be happy for any winner, but didn't mention a single specific team her was rooting for.
I'm not going to say that my brief Twitter survey was a snapshot of the entirety of the "Amazing Race" viewership, but in an industry that makes million dollar decisions based on the imperfect non-paragon of representative statistical sampling that is the Nielsen system, I'm OK with feeling that I got a sense of a broad problem with "The Amazing Race 20": Sometimes this is the best-cast show on TV. That was not the case this season.
"The Amazing Race" dedicated two hours on Sunday night to crowning a champion who most viewers probably didn't like very much. That, plus the obligatory crummy "Race" architecture, took much of the fun out of Sunday's finale.
But at least Sunday's finale wrapped up with the most deserving available team coming out victorious. I'd rather root for a team that's both likable *and* deserving, but by the end of the finale, I was rooting rather loudly to get at least one of the two, but for a brief window, it seemed reasonable that we might somehow end up with a team that was both unappealing and unworthy.
More after the break...
'Life,' 'Deadwood' veteran promises building Season 2 momentum
We're still a couple months from discovering if Stan Larsen was in any way responsible for the death of Rosie Larsen.
For now, Stan is just one of a slew of viable suspects on "The Killing" and nowhere near the top of the list at this point, but we keep learning new disturbing facts about the moving company owner and grieving father.
There's his past as a mob enforcer. That's pretty dark, especially when it has led to violence against other suspects in the case. Then there's Stan's increasing estrangement with wife Mitch (Michelle Forbes) and his increased closeness with Mitch's sister. Oh and then there's the pesky recent discovery things may not be so clear with Rosie's paternity.
I got on the phone with Brent Sexton last week to discuss the changes in Stan Larsen in Season 2 of "The Killing." The "Life" and "Deadwood" veteran also discusses the season's upcoming momentum and how close he came to solving the show's central mystery.
Why is Kat in such a hurry to get a second chance in the game?
After being voted out on Wednesday (May 2) night's "Survivor: One World," Kat Edorsson said that she hoped she might get to return to the CBS series someday to prove that she's not the most naive player in the game's history.
The 22-year-old wasn't referring to not knowing what her appendix was or for occasionally misusing the world "touche."
For the most part, she was talking about the string of bad decisions that led from her ignoring Troyzan's advice to take control of her own strategic destiny to a big mistakes in picking players to join her on the visit-from-home Reward to a complete Tribal Council blindside when she expected Sabrina to be heading home.
In her "Survivor" exit interview, Kat certainly seems to have given some consideration to her downfall, suggesting failings that went well beyond just choosing her Reward partners based on who she wanted to get drunk with.
Check out the interview and you can decide for yourself if she seems introspective enough to deserve another shot...
Anything can happen for Jessica, Phillip, Hollie, Skylar and Joshua
Your guess is as good as mine here.
After a Wednesday night of mixed-bag performances from the Top 5, I really can't make a prediction that I feel comfortable with.
Phillip Phillips has been the presumptive favorite for months, but will a poor second performance and Ryan Seacrest's reveal of his girlfriend take a bite out of his voting totals?
Will Jessica Sanchez be punished for botching Tina Turner? Will Hollie Cavanagh's growth be ignored after a pair of solid, but unremarkable performances?
We'll see! I'm using a picture of Jessica not because I'm assuming she's safe, but because it's a pretty picture.
Click through to find out if I'm going to need to pick a new pic...
A visit from loved ones shakes things up with the Women
Pre-credit sequence. Nobody can believe that Troyzan's finally gone, though he's left Kat struggling to make sense of his parting words, "Do it." Kim is physically relieved by Troyzan's departure. There's also the question of how Christina ended up with that extra vote against her, leading to Alicia's not-so-surprising realization that Christina really isn't all that smart. Alicia has, in fact, decided that Sabrina is a bigger threat than Christina and she's changed her priorities. "Little do they know that I'm at the top, controlling everything. I'm the most powerful player in this game," Alicia has decided. My instinct would be to laugh and point, but weird things keep happening this season. Maybe she's right?
Jessica, Joshua, Hollie, Phillip and Skylar tackle two themes
It's a double theme night on "American Idol."
Apparently Wednesday will find the season's Top 5 singing British pop songs and Songs from the '60s.
And yes, I'm also disappointed that the theme is British Pop and not Brit Pop, because I wanted to hear some Pulp, Blur and Oasis tonight. Instead, we get two themes that might as well be the same theme.
Let's see how it goes...
Team Kentucky talks about their reception back home and more
In an "Amazing Race" season that has sometimes struggled to find teams worth rooting for, self-described Kentucky boys Mark Jackson and William "Bopper" Minton never had any trouble endearing themselves to viewers.
Mark & Bopper were so immediately relatable and sympathetic and their enthusiasm for the experience of "The Amazing Race" was so contagious that at one point during the season, Art & JJ offered a chunk of a first place reward to Bopper, to assist his daughter. "The Amazing Race" isn't a show in which teams routinely give away their prizes, so that's not a gesture to take lightly.
That was the first time Mark & Bopper finished last, but it turned out to be a Non-Elimination Leg and they recovered in the next Leg to continue their journey.
A few episodes later, difficulties mastering choreography for a Bollywood dance number, coupled by health issues for both Mark & Bopper, led to their second time in last. Fortunately for them, it was a second Non-Elimination Leg.
It was like "The Amazing Race" couldn't stand to see them go.
Of course, when Mark & Bopper finished last for the third time on this past Sunday's episode, there was nothing to be done and Team Kentucky was sent back to Clay County, hoping they'd done right by their community.
In our exit interview, Mark & Bopper talked about how they've been received back home, how they maintained their spirits on the Race and about that offer from Art & JJ. [As viewers of the show know, they're pretty passionate guys, especially Mark, and there were a bunch of questions I didn't get to ask... ]
Click through for the full interview...
Now might be a good time to tune in to The CW's Canadian transplant
It's not too late to catch up with The CW's new drama "The L.A. Complex," but after last week's less-than-robust premiere numbers, you don't want to wait too much longer to tune in.
The story of a group of young transplants, mostly Canadian, trying to make it as actors, dancers, comedians and musicians in Hollywood is simultaneously familiar, but freshly executed and Sepinwall and I said nice things about "The L.A. Complex" in last week's podcast
I also chatted [before the show's launch] with "L.A. Complex" creator Martin Gero, whose credits start with the indie feature "Young People ****ing" and also include writing and producing runs on TV shows as different as "Stargate Universe" and "Bored to Death."
A lot of our conversation hinged on me trying to get Gero to admit that "L.A. Complex" is a very Canadian-feeling show, but it also includes discussion of his approach to Hollywood, the show's approach to controversial subject matter and The CW's approach to side-boob.
Click through for the full interview... And don't forget that "L.A. Complex" airs its second episode on Tuesday (May 1) at 9 p.m. on The CW...