Inside TV+Movies with Daniel Fienberg
Details on her mysterious injury and under-the-radar strategy
Cocky, manipulative and always good for a funny confessional quote, Brenda Lowe may not have had a long run on "Survivor: Nicaragua," but she earned her "Favorite" status on personality alone.
With those memories, Brenda was an early disappointment on "Survivor: Caramoan." For the first half of the season, she barely spoke and rarely appeared on camera and when she did, she seemed to be nursing some sort of injury that was never explained.
But then, in the past few weeks, Brenda began to assert herself. She had an emotional high point when she helped Dawn recover her teeth and resolve a crisis of confidence. She started growing tougher and tougher in challenges, including a memorable endurance showdown against Andrea. She became more vocal regarding strategy and targeting threats.
All of that was just setting Brenda up for this week's heartbreaking episode in which she won the Family Visit Reward, but sacrificed her personal gain for a prize for the majority. Then, at Immunity, she let Dawn take the Idol, certain that Eddie would be going home. Instead, Cochran decided that Brenda was both too strong and too saintly and when he went to Dawn, Brenda's best friend didn't hesitate to accept the new plan. Blindsided at Tribal, Brenda mostly held off her tears before giving one of the most emotional final interviews in "Survivor" history.
In this week's exit interview, Brenda reflects on Dawn's betrayal and whether or not she thinks it was the right move to send her packing. I also got to the bottom of both Brenda's injury and her early silence.
Click through for the revealing Q&A...
This season's winners joke a lot about intellectual deficiencies
Don't expect any enlightenment from my exit interview with "Amazing Race" winners Bates & Anthony Battaglia.
The hockey-playing brothers, who won five Legs during this season's Race, were easily the most physically dominant team on the course and they were able to overcome a few mental blunders, including Anthony's ongoing struggles identifying chartreuse jelly at a Detour in Belfast. They also won fans with their goofy, self-deprecating humor.
If you like that kind of thing, there's a lot of that goofiness in this interview, which led me to suggest that the guys possibly may have had a late night celebrating their victory before doing early interviews.
Click through for banter, and only a tiny bit of substance, in the final exit interview of this "Amazing Race" season...
Angie, Kree and Candice will wait a long time to learn their fates
I don't have a clue who's going home on Thursday (May 9) night's "American Idol." Not a clue.
I do, however, know that Alicia Keys is performing. So she gets to be my picture for what promises to be the most drama-filled "American Idol" results show since I missed last week's "American Idol" results show.
I just hope she doesn't perform "Girl on Fire."
Click through and find out who received the fewest votes between Kree Harrison, Candice Glover and Angie Miller...
Ubiquitous actor returns for the 'Person of Interest' finale tonight
There are plenty of candidates for Busiest Person in TV, but Carrie Preston would have to be in that discussion.
This summer, Preston will begin her sixth season as Arlene on HBO's vampire soap "True Blood," but being a regular on that premium cable hit hasn't prevented her from pivotal recurring roles on a pair of CBS favorites.
On "Good Wife," Preston has made nine appearances as quirky-yet-effective attorney Elsbeth Tascioni. While Elsbeth is just a part of the deep "Good Wife" bench, her every appearance prompts cries of "Spinoff!" on Twitter and message boards.
Although Preston has made fewer appearances on "Person of Interest," there remains a sense that her Grace is a pivotal character, both in life of Michael Emerson's Harold Finch and possibly in the overall shape of the show.
Oh and as if that's not enough on Preston's plate, she also has a developing behind-the-camera resume. Her feature directing debut, "That's What She Said," had a Sundance Film Festival premiere, with other producing projects ready to go for both the big screen and the web.
I chatted with Preston in advance of Thursday (May 9) night's "Person of Interest" finale, in which Grace appears, even if the actress playing her doesn't know the context. Preston discusses working with real-life husband Emerson, her Emmy hopes and how "True Blood" feels different without Alan Ball.
It's a good chat. Check out the full Q&A...
Newlyweds discuss making friends and losing the million on chance
One of the most common comments from contestants on reality shows is some variation on, "I didn't come here to make friends." Rarely has that sounded as true as when newlyweds Katie and Max Bichler warned viewers at the start of the "Amazing Race" season that people usually don't like them (or at least don't like Katie).
In the early-going, it looked as if Katie's prickly personality might cause tensions with other teams, but she quickly showed the ability to play nice and conflict never emerged, unless you count Katie mocking her husband after a speeding ticket in Africa or during his struggles with the season's final Roadblock in Washington.
In their exit interview, Katie & Max discuss that chance-driven climactic Roadblock, as well as their in-season bickering and whether or not they built any lasting friendships on the road. They also talk about whether there's any solace to be taken in winning money, a trip and two cars, but still finishing in second.
Click through for the full conversation. Last interview posts tomorrow!
A Family Reward leads to a big choice
Pre-credit sequence. Adorable Andrea is gone. What will I do with myself? What will the tribe do with itself? What will Eddie do with himself? "All the chicks that I go after and try to hook up with go home," Eddie laments, graciously. He expects that he's going to be a sitting duck at the next Tribal Council and he tells Cochran as much. Cochran asks who might be targeted next if Eddie wins Immunity and Eddie tells him that he -- Cochran, I mean -- might be that target. Cochran is taken aback and begins to wonder if he has "an expiration date that's rapidly approaching." Brenda agrees that Cochran is the target and tells Dawn as much. Naturally, this leaves Dawn feeling wishy-washy. "The good thing here is that I have options and hopefully I'm going to take responsibility for it in the end," Dawn says.
Angie, Candice and Kree performance thrice apiece
Due to events beyond my control, I missed last week's "American Idol" Top 4 Redux and had to leave the show in the very capable hands of Mr. Alan Sepinwall. For readers, I assume that was like going to a Yankees game to watch Wally Pipp play first base and getting stuck with Lou Gehrig.
So I apologize for returning.
I didn't watch last week's episode, but I'm not exactly surprised that Amber Holcomb went home.
Tonight, Angie, Candice and Kree will each be singing three times. That's a lot of performances and a lot of room for error. Click through and join the journey through Wednesday's performances...
Dan and Alan talk 'Family Tree,' 'Americans' finale and preview upfronts
Happy Wednesday, Boys and Girls! It's time for a slightly delayed installment of The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast.
My schedule kept us from recording on Monday. Sepinwall's schedule mostly kept us from recording on Tuesday.
So here we are a bit late! Sorry. Perhaps because of the lateness or maybe because we have no restraint, this is yet another record-lengthed podcast. Either "Sorry" or "You're welcome." Whichever applies.
And next week, we'll be probably doing multiple podcasts, but we can't guarantee which days they'll be on, due to upfronts. Again, either "Sorry" or "You're welcome." Whichever applies.
We do some upfronts previewing this week, chat about a number of finales including "The Americans" and, as always, spend lots of time on "Mad Men."
"Family Tree" (00:01:00 - 00:14:35)
Upfronts Preview (00:14:35 - 00:47:00)
"Parks and Recreation" (00:47:00 - 01:02:20)
"Happy Endings" (01:02:25 - 01:10:45)
"The Americans" (01:10:50 - 01:26:00)
"Mad Men" (01:26:25 - 01:48:30)
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.
Derby Moms discuss their third place finish
All "Amazing Race" season long, other teams targeted Hockey Brothers Bates & Anthony as being the strongest pair.
That ended up being appropriate caution, since Bates & Anthony won the million dollar prize on Sunday's (May 5) finale.
However, when the episode began and Bates and Anthony were assessing their Top 4 competition, the team that they said worried them most was the under-the-radar union of Roller Derby Moms Beth Bandimere and Mona Egender.
It wasn't that Beth and Mona were especially dominating. They didn't win a single Leg, but they battled back from a fair amount of adversity, overcoming a Speed Bump and a U-Turn in the season's penultimate episode. Of course, that adversity was often self-inflicted, like a misdirection in Washington that contributed to their third place finish.
In their exit interview, Mona and Beth talk about bringing trouble upon themselves, their relationship with the teams outside of their alliance and roller derby alter egos.
Click through for the full conversation.
Fourth place finishers share the story of Caroline's flying squirrel
Roughly two-thirds of my "Amazing Race" exit interview with Caroline Cutbirth and Jennifer Kuhle was a ruse.
Yes, I wanted to discuss the challenges in Belfast that led to their elimination, specifically Jen's Bog Snorkeling struggles and the subsequent directional misadventures.
And yes, I wanted to talk about their close alliance with Hockey Brothers Bates & Anthony, who won this season's million dollar prize with frequent assists from the two country singers.
But no matter where the conversation with this season's fourth place finishers went, I made sure I was leaving enough time to ask about the very strange story that Jen recounted when the teams were in Bali.
"She kept her pet flying squirrel in her bra, and it died of loneliness," Jen said of Caroline.
Now, the truth about Joey the Flying Squirrel can finally be revealed.
Click through for Jen & Caroline's full exit interview. And stay tuned over the next three nights for the remainder of this season's "Race" interviews...