Friday, August 21, 2009

Recap 6/4 - 6/9 2009

I'm going to discuss a bit about the following shows: I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here; Burn Notice; Next Food Network Star; and Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List. It's gonna be a looooonnnnnggggg blog.

Burn Notice:

The first season was about Michael trying to find out who burned him.
The second season was about Michael being controlled by the people who had him burned, and his wanting to get out from under their thumb.
This season looks to be about how Michael is now no longer "protected" by the people who had him burned and how he adapts to his new situation, all while trying to get his old job and life back.

I liked the first episode, and I figured out very quickly that Michael's "friend" Harlan was going to double cross him. Some of the positive comments that I've read about the episode were that it was more like the first season. Some of the negative comments were that Sam & Fi had nearly nothing to do and there wasn't any sort of "reunion" when Michael returned alive and well. Going forward, this season has the potential to be the best yet as I can see Michael having to watch his ass at all times.

Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List:

I was sorry to see that her assistant Jessica left, but it had been rumored and wasn't surprising. Tiffany, who had been Jessica's assistant, is now Kathy's assistant, and she looks GREAT! I think she lost a bunch of weight, and has had a makeover that she keeps up. She had better makeup and her hair looked great. She looks like Christina Ricci during her "heavier" period. The interaction of Kathy and Bette Midler was great. You could tell that Kathy adores Bette, while Bette admires Kathy's abilities but seemed a little put off her behavior at times. Which is weird because Bette's early stuff was VERY raunchy, and she still does burlesque. This season, the theme is Kathy trying to learn from A-List stars so she'll be hanging out with stars in (apparently) every episode.

Next Food Network Star:

I'm not overly enthused with the current crop of contestants. Half of the 10 are exactly 30, which is interesting. More than a few aren't chefs. And really, after only 1 episode, I have already chosen the eventual winner. I'd be VERY surprised if this person doesn't win it all. The first person kicked out called herself a "modern housewife" or "housewife 2.0" or some such. She prepared green beans with walnuts as her dish to impress. Wow. I was shocked when I read her bio on Food Network's website that she went to the French Culinary Institute. I also read the guy who runs programming and is one of the judges posted back in December the good and bad of each finalist, and he said that the Asian gal cooks great, but doesn't seem to know food at all. That showed in the episode. They loved her spicy mayo she made for crab cakes, but her crab cakes were kinda so so. But, she was in charge of the team and failed at shopping for the ingredients, and then failed by allowing a LAME dessert to be presented. I think her sauce saved her. The guy who won the first challenge will be the eventual winner. He is nice looking, good with the essentials, good with the camera, and although the team leader failed to get half of his needed ingredients, he was able to not only remake his intended dish BUT he ended up winning the challenge. This guy will win, take it to the bank.

*** Side Note # 1, prior to watching the episode last night, I saw a FN Sandwich Challenge from 2007 and Ben Ford, son of Harrison Ford, won the contest. *** Side Note # 2, starting Wednesday at 10pm is Top Chef Masters where 24 well known chefs compete in Top Chef challenges. I noticed Oprah's personal chef Art Smith, dessert chef Elizabeth Faulkner, and my favorite chef John Besh of the restaurant August in New Orleans among others that I recognized will be competing. Top Chef is THE BEST food competition and normally is relatively unknown chefs competing. This is like Iron Chef America on steroids where well known chefs (and many who have appeared on ICA) will be competing. I can't wait!

I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here:

I watched the version that was on the air a few years ago, and that one tried VERY hard to be just like the original British version, even calling the challenges "Bushtucker Trials." The host of that version is now the creator, writer, and star of a series on TBS called "10 Items of Less" that has aired 5-8 episodes each year for the past 3 years. Howard Stern's flunky, Stuttering John Melendez ended up getting hired to be the announcer for the Tonight Show due to his appearance on that first version. Yep, Jay Leno's announcer is a stutterer. Moving on.

This new version has very little to do with the old version. They are in Costa Rica, not the Australian Outback, there are 2 hosts, and the challenges are just called challenges. They also seem to have far fewer challenges than the prior series, and that seems to be its biggest downfall. Well, that and Spencer Pratt and Heidi Montag Pratt.

I had no prior experience with the Pratt brats. I'd heard of them, and I'd seen pictures of her, but I've never seen The Hills or Laguna Beach and I'd never seen Spencer before and I'd never heard either of them speak. I wasn't missing much. She seems to be someone who had it rough in life, but came into money later in life. She also seems VERY caught up in Jesus. Look, people and their beliefs are their beliefs, but I am not a fan of "Jesus Freaks" especially people who espouse Jesus yet (a) seem to get the details wrong, and (b) don't seem to live their life being kind to others. Spencer apparently is a recent convert, but boy, what an a-hole.

The first week of this series, the 2 of them were insufferable. He was ALWAYS shooting crazy eyes and going off on people, and she just seemed clueless. They couldn't handle living in the jungle and left after 2 nights and 3 days. They spent the next three nights in a hotel before deciding to return. The conditions for their return were that they'd have to spend the night in a "chamber" full of spiders and possibly other critters like rats and snakes. Then the other "celebs" had to vote them back. As the show went off the air last Thursday, the "celebs" voted on their return and only 2 voted yes (John Salley and Janice Dickinson.)

By the time last night's episode aired, the "celebs" changed their minds (in other words, the producers got them to change their minds) and Heidi and Spencer were allowed back into the camp. Back in camp, they seemed much more reasonable, although they were still caught up with Jesus. They were trying to say that their previous behavior was the Devil and Demons tricking them, and then when Heidi got ill they blamed it on Demons. Oy. I know there are some people who buy into "spiritual warfare" where everything bad that happens to them is because of demons working against them, but I just don't buy it. I won't go into it any further than that. Long and short of it, Heidi was evacuated to a hospital and now it appears that she and Spencer are off the show for good.

There has been allegations from them and Heidi's sister that NBC mistreated them, left them in that chamber for too long, denied them food, and all this other horseshit. The video last night told the tale. They spent 1 night in the chamber. They left in very good spirits. At camp, they were offered food by the other contestants, but Spencer and Heidi said that they were going on a "religious fast" and weren't going to eat. Also, they were shown being told by the others that they need to drink more water. One of the other "celebs" noted that Heidi was told to drink at least 4 bottles of water a day, but had only been drinking 1. So at the hospital, the first thing they treated Heidi for was dehydration. Shocker.

I will give Heidi credit in that she claims to want to become a missionary, and said that she's wanted to do so since she was 8. I hope that she follows through with it, because right now she and Spencer just seem like shallow media whores. As of the episode to air tomorrow, Heidi's sister will join the camp in her place. Oy.

You may have noticed that I haven't really mentioned the other "celebs." That's because up until the last half of last night's episode, the series had been mostly about Heidi and Spencer. The other "celebs" are former NBA (and Detroit Piston Bad Boy!) John Salley; Janice Dickinson (who was on the British version just 18 months ago,) Sanjaya from American Idol Season 6; Torrie Wilson, a former WWE Diva/Wrestler who was in Playboy during her stint in the WWE; Stephen Baldwin; these 2 women known as a comedy team called Frangela since one is Francis and the other is Angela; Lou Diamond Philips; and Patti Blagojevich, the wife of the impeached governor of Illinois.

I will always like John Salley for his time with the Pistons and he was funny on The Best Damn Sports Show, but he lost his cool over Janice and her BS, but he felt really badly about it afterward and tried to apologize. Angela was the first person actually voted out by "America," and that led to Francis leaving on her own not too long later. After Heidi and Spencer left the first time, the show added Daniel Baldwin, Stephen's brother. Daniel has had a LOT of problems with substance abuse. He was on Celebrity Fit Club and ended up leaving due to his issues. He was once arrested in a hotel room full of cocaine. So, it wasn't surprising to see that he was still overweight (as is Stephen,) but what has been surprising is that he's often been the voice of reason, and the one person who ACTUALLY WANTS to play the contest the way that it's SUPPOSED to be played. You know you're in trouble when Daniel Baldwin is the voice of reason among the other people around him. Although, Lou Diamond Philips also has been reasonable, but he hasn't been "playing the game" until Daniel seemed to have pushed him in that direction. Sanjaya has turned out to be a very cool dude. he's up for almost anything, and has attacked the challenges with a fury. He looks like he has Small Pox, he has been DEVOURED by bug bites! Torrie Wilson also seems like a pretty cool chick, but she hasn't done much or gotten much airtime. Stephen who actually baptized Spencer has seemed like a more reasonable Jesus Freak compared to Spencer and Heidi. Janice Dickinson is still fake and manipulative and Diva like as ever. Patti is a joke. She's on there saying that they've lost their jobs, are losing their house, and still have to feed their kids and get them to school, and saying how "special interests" who her husband fought against got him fired without his chance to defend himself and that the truth will come out... Listen honey, we've seen the tapes, heard the audio (including Patti spouting vile obscenities while being a diva,) plus all of the other things that have since come out. I mean, come on lady, you and your husband got caught being the "King & Queen of Illinois" and not the people's servants. And living here in Michigan, I know a LOT of people who lost their jobs and houses and did NOTHING wrong. Heck, I'm fighting to survive myself, so the crocodile tears have no affect on me.

The episode that aired last night was probably the best one yet, but this series just isn't that good. They need to have the "celebs" do more challenges, and STOP having the live challenges begin 1 minute before the show goes off the air. If the "celebs" weren't playing for charities, this show would have virtually no value. Which isn't to say that I'll stop watching it.

At this point, I hope that Sanjaya wins. He and Daniel seem to be the most into the contest, but Sanjaya has embraced the show like nobody else. I really like his attitude and not only how he's handled himself, but how he's tolerated the others and been more than hardworking and generous. Good for him.

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