Inside TV+Movies with Daniel Fienberg
The teams head to Germany and prove they know nothing about the Cold War
Sunday's (April 21) installment of "The Amazing Race" was definitely one of those Legs that would be much more fun for the people participating than for those of us sitting at home on our couches.
I realized that as Joey from Team YouTube made his way through the Roadblock, which basically asked one player from each pair to navigate the "American Horror Story" opening credits, which were set up in the back of a Berlin bar.
Joey, as he does, kept emitting high-pitched squeals of pleasure and he insisted that this was the best Roadblock in "Amazing Race" history. I'm sure it was amusing for the people actually doing it, because they kept comparing it to being high, but for me sitting at home, it was just a confusing, seizure-inducing mixture of blinking neon, arbitrary fright masks and other exposed oddities edited together without any sense of physical space. I don't have a clue how easy or hard the labyrinth was to traverse, nor a clue how long it was taking anybody to do. A couple people were making it look hard, but I don't know what they were doing wrong. And because the maze was obviously at least somewhat small and limited, there was no opportunity for anybody to gain or lose an advantage.
From the perspective of a dude sitting at home on his couch watching on TV and hoping to enjoy the drama of The Race, it was a dreadful Roadblock. From the perspective of a shrieking YouTube sensation? Awesomesauce.
[More after the break...]
The Specialist talks Malcolm, Brandon, Boston Rob and Stealth R Us
Phillip Sheppard makes a lot of sense.
The former federal agent, who dominated much of the screentime in this "Survivor: Caramoan" season with his Stealth R Us alliance-building, his increasingly heightened conflicts with Brandon Hantz and his ongoing devotion to Boston Rob, was voted out on Wednesday (April 17) night's episode in a Tribal Council shocker.
Phillip's certitude has never wavered in his two "Survivor" seasons and it isn't a surprise that he sees Malcolm and the Alphas' big Tribal Council move as a validation of his strategic strength, rather than a condemnation of his "militaristic" dictatorship.
It also isn't surprising that my question about whether or not he regretted any of his interactions with Brandon led Phillip to basically answer a different question.
But a lot of what Phillip had to say in his exit interview makes a fair amount of sense.
Click through for the full conversation...
Which of the women received the fewest votes?
Having dispatched with five underwhelming men, it's time for America to get down to the more difficult business of picking a winner from this extremely solid all-female Top 5. I could look at all of the remaining singers and make an argument for how they might score the "Idol" crown, but I could also easily list weaknesses for all five.
It's anybody's game. Let's get down to recapping!
More Tribal Council excitement? Yes, indeed!
Pre-credit sequence. Enil Edam returns from last week's bananas Tribal Council. Phillip calls a Stealth R Us team meeting, leaving Reynold, Eddie and Malcolm alone. Poor Malcolm. He has a nickname and everything, but he's no longer invited to the SRU parties. "It was the right call. I don't feel too bad about it," Malcolm says of his play for Reynold's Idol. "We have nothing to be afraid of," says Eddie, knowing that the Alphas are at the bottom. As the Big Seven agree that everything will be OK as long as they keep the Alphas from finding an Immunity Idol, the Alphas are agreed that they have to go out the next morning to find an Immunity Idol. "I'd rather be my own man than be a puppet for Phillip," says Eddie, who has been drafting off of Reynold all season. Everybody else does a S-R-Us cheer. It's lame.
The first all-female Top 5 does double-duty on Wednesday
The voting order may have been a little strange, but "American Idol" ultimately ended up with what I would argue was the correct Top 5. In the auditions and sudden death rounds, the judges pretty clearly decided this was going to be a year for a female winner and the deck was stacked, but just because the deck was stacked didn't mean that America wouldn't find some way to screw things up.
And guess what? We're all good, America. Did Lazaro Arbos last a month longer than he should have? Absolutely. Should Curtis Finch Jr. have stuck around for a few more weeks? Probably. Would I tolerate an argument that Burnell Taylor *maybe* might have deserved Janelle Arthur's Top 5 place? Yeah, I guess so.
But here we are. We have five talented women remaining on "American Idol." And that's not bad.
I've heard a bunch of rumors regarding tonight's themes and my current headline just reflects the rumor I heard most recently. If Ryan Seacrest starts the show by saying something different, I'll change it.
Click through for the full recap!
Alabama team discusses their bickering Race experience
It was a roller-coaster end for "Amazing Race" Cardiac Kids Chuck & Wynona on Sunday (April 14) night's episode.
After an early season run escaping elimination due to misadventures or injuries to other teams, the Alabama couple seemed destined to finally head home after a physically arduous Leg in Switzerland. Then a weird thing happened and YouTubers Meghan & Joey, working with a comfortable cushion, couldn't find a cab to the next Pit Stop and ended up walking. Chuck & Wynona, finished a cheese transportation task well behind, but successfully secured a cab and made it to Phil Keoghan in next-to-last. But then a sad thing happened and Chuck & Wynona were assessed a 30-minute penalty for the way they chose to transport that cheese. Ooops. That was all the time Joey & Meghan needed to stumble to the mat and send Chuck & Wynona packing.
As often happens, Chuck & Wynona left the Race in an episode that began with them both agreeing that they'd finally gotten comfortable and found a way to have fun on the show.
In their exit interview, Chuck and Wynona discuss their bickering relationship both in real life and on "Amazing Race." Wynona talks about the injury we never saw, while they both explained what they got out of the "Amazing Race" experience.
Click through for the full Q&A...
Dan and Alan talk 'Defiance,' 'Hemlock Grove,' Roger Ebert and more
Greetings, Boys & Girls. It's Monday, but as those watching coverage of the deadly blasts in Boston know, it's not a happy one. My/our thoughts go out to all of my friends and family in Boston, but really to the whole city.
The news of the blasts broke really within seconds of us completing what inexplicably ended up being a ridiculously long podcast, apparently our longest podcast ever.
Most/Many of our listeners will have zero interest in a nearly two-hour podcast on this day of all days, but for those looking for distraction, here it is. It'll still be there tomorrow or Wednesday or whenever. And my apologies for my over-chipper "Happy Monday," which sounds pretty jarring as I listen to it now.
"Defiance" (00:00:50 - 00:15:10)
"Hemlock Grove" (00:15:15 - 00:31:45)
"Mary & Martha" (00:31:45 - 00:39:00)
Roger Ebert (00:39:05 - 00:50:00)
Listener Mail - Lead-Ins (00:50:15 - 00:59:35)
Listener Mail - "Game of Thrones" aging (00:59:45 - 01:07:50)
"Cougar Town" finale (01:08:00 - 01:14:55)
"Go On" finale (01:15:00 - 01:27:45)
"Mad Men" (01:27:50 - 01:52:50)
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.
Altitude causes problems for teams in the Alps
Due to live-blogging responsibilities on Sunday (April 14) night's MTV Movie Awards
(plus CBS' Masters overrun), I wasn't able to watch "The Amazing Race" in my normal Slingboxed East Coast fashion.
While that will delay tonight's recap, the work logjam proved serendipitous, because Sunday's episode wasn't really about the individual challenges or any real sense of drama. It was about grandeur, courtesy of one of the show's favorite locations, up in the Swiss Alps. A lot of things that might have annoyed me about Sunday's Leg got entirely swallowed up in the mountainous expanses which looked far better spread out in HD on my TV than they would have squashed on my computer three hours earlier.
And even though most of the Leg was just dedicated to Racers digging through their mental thesauruses trying to come up with original ways to describe snow and mountains, I guess things got exciting toward the end, though I have some serious questions about all of that.
Plus, somebody went home. It's odd that I've only done four "Amazing Race" exit interviews this season and we're in mid-April, so at least there'll be another one tomorrow morning. [The first eliminated team went home in a week in which Monday was a holiday, if you'll recall, hence no exit interview. And you're lying if you can remember the names of the two firemen who went home first. Lying.]
So let's continue with a brief discussion of this Leg. I still have to watch "Mad Men" tonight, so I'm putting a cap on this recap at some point...
Rebel Wilson hosts the annual golden popcorn giveaway on MTV
Welcome, friends, to my live-blog of the 2013 MTV Movie Awards!
Join the conversation below... Or start a conversation below!
Latest castoff talks Corinne, Phillip and turkeys
If not for a major shift minutes before Tribal Council on Wednesday (April 10) night's "Survivor: Caramoan," not only would Michael Snow not have gone home, but his name probably wouldn't have been written down a single time.
The votes were supposed to go against Malcolm, but sensing a move to send her packing, Andrea urged her alliance to switch from a complicated, Favorite-alienating vote, to the seemingly more simple elimination of yet another Fan. And, indeed, it appears to have been easy enough to make that shift, as Michael departed the game with a blurred display of his middle finger and the kiss-off, "You Turkeys."
To some degree, Michael deserves credit for having made it past the Merge at all. He was the last Favorite standing from the three who made a straggling minority in the motley post-swap Bikal tribe, having watched Julia and best bud Matt go out earlier. And the writing was on the wall after last week's episode, in which Michael's fiercest ally, Corinne, was blindsided.
In his exit interview, Michael discusses the turkeys who voted him out, his relationship with Corinne and the one good thing about getting voted out early.