<p>A scene from Sunday's &quot;The Amazing Race&quot;</p>
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A scene from Sunday's "The Amazing Race"

Credit: CBS

Recap: 'The Amazing Race' - 'This Is Wicked Strange'

Teams head to Azerbaijan for fun with oil and apples and hay
It was only two weeks ago that I mused on the problematic nature of the "Amazing Race" Fast-Forward.
"Fast-Forwards are almost never any good, are they? And the show has structured them so badly that you almost never have two teams competing for the Fast-Forward because everybody knows that the tasks are easy, so the Fast-Forward becomes a reward for the first team to the clue, which is an arbitrary thing to reward."
With Sunday (March 25) night's episode, I was proven both right and wrong, as "The Amazing Race" had its second Fast-Forward of the month.
On one hand, two teams competed for the Fast-Forward, which was exactly what I said didn't happen nearly enough.
On the other hand -- the more practical hand -- not only was it the first two teams to reach the clue who attempted the Fast-Forward, but the Fast-Forward proved to be an all-or-nothing proposition. It was a difficult task, in an episode without a difficult Detour or Roadblock, meaning that the team that completed the Fast-Forward ended up winning the Leg and the team that didn't complete the Fast-Forward ended up going home, because there was no opportunity to make up time by excelling at later challenges. 
That meant that we deviated from the Only One Team Attempts the Fast-Forward norm exactly long enough to convince future competing teams that the dice roll that comes from attempting a Fast-Forward you know another team is attempting just isn't worth it. Attempting the Fast-Forward led to a 50 percent chance of winning the Leg and a 50 percent chance of total elimination. Not attempting the Fast-Forward had a 100 percent success rate in terms of not-being-eliminated, which is kinda the goal when you're gunning for a million bucks and not just the week's sponsored prize package.
So when a silly recapper like me dares to question why multiple "Amazing Race" teams rarely go for the same Fast-Forward, we have our cautionary tale in place.
Full recap after the break...
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<p>Colton of &quot;Survivor: One World&quot;</p>
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Colton of "Survivor: One World"

Credit: CBS

HitFix Interview: Colton Cumbie talks 'Survivor: One World'

What did this season's 'Survivor' super-villain have to say for himself?
It would be easy to call Colton Cumbie the most polarizing castaway of the "Survivor: One World" season, but that would imply that there are multiple poles of opinion. 
"Survivor" fans love Villains, whether they've been miscategorized like Boston Rob was in the "Heroes vs. Villains" season, or even if their actions have seemingly been beyond the pale. Jonny Fairplay. Russell Hantz.  Even "Thailand" winner and puppy shooter Brian Heidik probably has defenders.
At least for now, Colton has very few people in his corner. That's what comes from calling an African-American contestant "ghetto," from dubbing a little person a Munchkin and an Oompa Loompa and from tormenting an Asian player with eye-based slurs. 
Colton was also the season's dominant player, orchestrating a slew of bold moves to eliminate threats, including the unprecedented decision to lead his clan to Tribal Council despite winning Immunity just to evict a castaway he disliked.
In the end, Colton's sway over his colleagues remained unabated and it was only a medical emergency that pulled him out of the game in a shocking twist this week. Even carted out on a stretcher, Colton got the last laugh, taking a coveted Immunity Idol with him.
In our exit conversation this week, I asked Colton to address as many of the unseemly aspects of his run as I could. To his credit, he never cut off a single line of questioning and it'll be up to readers to decide how sincere he comes off. 
We also discussed his hopes for winning a jury vote and his thoughts on playing "Survivor" again in the future. 
Click through...
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<p>Colton Dixon of &quot;American Idol&quot;</p>
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Colton Dixon of "American Idol"

Credit: Michael Becker/FOX

Recap: 'American Idol' Top 10 Results - Down to 9

Haley Reinhart performs and America's decision is announced

Colton Dixon isn't going home tonight. That's why he's featured in the photo accompanying this recap of Thursday's (March 22) "American Idol."

I'd be hesitant to predict who *will* be going home, but America isn't about to vote off the guy who did an ultra-commercial version of Billy Joel's biggest hit on Billy Joel Night. I'm also reasonably sure Jessica Sanchez and Phillip Phillips aren't going home, but it's important to have some photographic variety, doncha know!

Click through for the full recap of Thursday's results show, which will also feature a performance by my "Idol" favorite from last season, Ms. Haley Reinhart. Meow!

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<p>Christina of &quot;Survivor: One World&quot;</p>
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Christina of "Survivor: One World"

Credit: CBS

Recap: 'Survivor: One World' - 'Thanks for the Souvenir'

The Fickle Finger of Fate gives the 'Survivor' season a good poking
Pre-credit sequence. We're back and Manono camp. Alicia finds a Tribal Council blindside nearly as funny as losing at a challenge. Christina's confused. Colton's an ass. "Good luck. You might could make an alliance with a hermit crab at this moment," Colton cackles, not caring if Christina knows that she's next. In fact, in addition to his normal conniving, Colton is also engaging in some psychological warfare, hoping the break Christina's spirits. "Honestly, Christina, you've been the human cockroach," Colton taunts her, telling her that if she makes it to the Merge, she'll be the first one going after the Merge. "Maybe I am an idiot and that's what it is," Christina says. And then things get worse. They won't even make room for Christina in the shelter (nor in Leif's tiny sleep-box). Alicia threatens to whack Christina if she tries pushing her way in. Christina's new goal: To get everybody to see that Colton's a jerk and that Alicia is playing without integrity. "All gloves are off and I'm ready to fight and I'm ready to fight hard," she says. And good luck with that!
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<p>The &quot;American Idol&quot; Top 10</p>
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The "American Idol" Top 10

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'American Idol' Top 10 Performance - Billy Joel Night

P. Diddy mentors the Top 10 as they tackle the music of The Piano Man

Welcome to Wednesday (March 21) night's "American Idol."

If scuttlebutt is to be believed -- and I always believe scuttlebutt -- Wednesday's theme is The Music of Billy Joel. And if additional scuttlebutt is to be believed, mentoring the Top 10 will be Sean Combs, because if anybody is trained to help aspiring singers with the work of Billy Joel, it's P. Diddy. 

Click through to find out how a man who can't sing steered our "Idol" hopefuls in the fine art of singing...

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<p>Kerri and Stacy of &quot;The Amazing Race&quot;</p>
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Kerri and Stacy of "The Amazing Race"

Credit: CBS

HitFix Interview: Kerri & Stacy talk 'The Amazing Race'

Latest bootees talk poor navigation, changing tires and fear of dolphins
Stacy Bowers and Kerri Paul weathered four Legs of "The Amazing Race," including two Legs that hinged on Stacy conquering her fear of heights to jump from planes or rappel down buildings. 
What did the Mississippi Cousins in on Sunday's (March 18) "Amazing Race" episode was that old standard: Bad directions. The Cousins had completed a Roadblock ahead of struggling Jamie & Nary, but faulty navigation left them in last place just minutes later.
In our exit interview, Kerri discusses her confessed navigational difficulties, Stacy talks about her fear of heights, Kerri tries to explain why she's afraid of dolphins and the cousins explain how pre-Race training paid off in a moment we didn't see on TV. 
Click through for the full interview:
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<p>Christina Hendricks of &quot;Mad Men&quot;</p>
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Christina Hendricks of "Mad Men"

Credit: AMC

Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 120

Dan and Alan talk 'Walking Dead,' 'Mad Men,' 'Touch,' 'Bent' and... Tim Tebow


Happy Monday, Boys & Girls.
It's a really busy podcast this week. We have reviews of "Bent" and "Touch" and a spoiler-free take on the new season of "Mad Men." We devour the brains of the "Walking Dead" finale, answer some Listener Mail, talk about the cancelation of "Luck" and then, because we'd only done a solid 80-ish minutes of TV talk, we discussed Peyton Manning's apparently decision to sign with the Denver Broncos and what that means for Tim Tebow.
Here's the breakdown:
"Bent" (00:01:20 - 00:14:20)
"Touch" (00:14:20 - 00:25:35)
"Mad Men" (00:25:35 - 00:33:50)
The cancelation of "Luck" (00:33:50 - 00:47:00)
Listener Mail: Following non-series content (00:47:25 - 00:53:15)
Listener Mail: Podcasts on TV (53:20 - 01:00:00)
"The Walking Dead" finale (01:00:10 - 01:16:35)
Peyton Manning versus Tim Tebow (01:16:45 - 01:36:20)

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.

<p>Mark and Bopper yodel in Bavaria</p>
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Mark and Bopper yodel in Bavaria

Credit: CBS

Recap: 'The Amazing Race' - 'Uglier Than a Mud Rail Fence'

Sunday's episode features yodeling, bearding and gnome-tossing
Discussion of The Rule of Chekhov's Gun has become so pervasive that folks are tempted to attach Chekhov's name to any instance of what is basically just foreshadowing.
That's not exactly what Chekhov's Gun really is about. I mean, it's close. But that's not exactly it. The Rule isn't exactly that if you put a gun early in your story, it needs to be fired by the end. It's more that you shouldn't put a gun early in your story if it *isn't* going to be fired in the end. The real point is that you shouldn't have anything in your play/movie/novel/recap that's superfluous. Everything needs to have a point and a purpose. If there's going to be a gun, fire it. Otherwise? No gun. It's more about literary economy than about foreshadowing, because there's already a name for foreshadowing and that's... um... foreshadowing.
That's my way of explaining that while it might be tempting to jokingly refer to how Sunday's (March 18) "Amazing Race" utilized Chekhov's Random Reference To Navigational Difficulties, that would be just me making an easy joke.
So no, this week's episode didn't use Chekhov's Random Reference To Navigational Difficulties. It was just wicked obvious foreshadowing. Fortunately, it was a good enough episode that it wasn't undermined by the simplistic decision to substitute said foreshadowing for convincing editing in the last act.
Click through for the full recap...
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<p>&quot;Amazing Spider-Man&quot;</p>
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"Amazing Spider-Man"

Credit: Sony

WonderCon Live-Blog: 'Amazing Spider-Man,' 'Looper' and 'Resident Evil: Retribution'

Emma Stone, Milla Jovovich and Joseph Gordon-Levitt hit Anaheim

It's been a busy WonderCon afternoon. 

First I live-blogged "Prometheus" and "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter."

Then I live-blogged "Snow White and The Huntsman" and "Battleship."

And now? The cherry on the top of the day, "Amazing Spider-Man," plus Rian Johnson's "Looper" and, because folks love Milla Jovovich, "Resident Evil: Retribution."

Click through...

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<p>&quot;Snow White and the Huntsman&quot;</p>
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"Snow White and the Huntsman"

Credit: Universal

WonderCon Live-Blog: 'Battleship' and 'Snow White and the Huntsman'

Peter Berg board game action and Kristen Stewart fairy tale hit Anaheim

Technology was fairly accommodating for the earlier pane for "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter" and "Prometheus." Hopefully it'll be just as accommodating for "Battleship" and "Snow White and the Huntsman."

Knock wood and click through...

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