Reality TV Roundup

Sir Monkeypants and I are regular watchers of The Amazing Race, but we’re thinking about ditching it after this season because we get so mad when the locals don’t judge the detours with equal and appropriate criteria. Last week, the teams had to build a tower of 15 levels of wine glasses, using a total of 640 glasses (I think, or maybe it was 670, and I’m too lazy to do the math to check — left as an exercise to the reader!).

When the host, Phil, was outlining the task, he talked about how the challenge lay in “doing the math” to make the tower. Sir Monkeypants and I love that sort of thing, so we immediately paused the TV so we could figure it out. Our calculations showed that a square-based tower, like the Egyptian pyramids, would not work — you would not have enough glasses. The total number of glasses only worked with a triangle-shaped tower.

So, we got all excited when all the teams who chose that task started in on a square-based tower, thinking they were totally screwed, and feeling all mathematics-superior. But know what happened? When they got to the 12th level and discovered they were out of glasses, they just pulled few from the 12th level and placed one inside the other, making three more “levels” with one glass each.

And apparently, that was good enough, because they got their clue, even though MATH VIOLATION. Man, were we pissed.

In general we hate it on that show when some judges are all, oh, you half-heartedly coloured in that picture or half-assed building that wall, so, good enough, when other teams are being super careful about it because they don’t know how tough the judging is going to be and then they get screwed.

Also, we hate MATH VIOLATIONS.

Man, I can NOT believe I had a rant in me so long and involved over THE AMAZING RACE. I need to get out more.

In other news, I am totally back in with Survivor. I know, I know, we broke up years ago and I was over it, really, I was! But then they brought back Boston Rob, who is powerfully good television, and I had to check out the first episode, you know, kind of like looking up an old boyfriend on Facebook just out of curiousity.

But whoa hey! The first episode was amazing! And the second! And the third! Surprises! Backstabbing! Injuries! Actual executions of complex strategies! Amazing. So of course, now I’m totally back in. I think I’ll be able to get back out, though, after this season.

Also eating up three hours of my week: American Idol. This year’s singers are awful, terrible, I could do better. Almost everyone I actually cared about has already been voted out through the MORAL LACKING of the American people. And yet, I must watch it. After this season, though, we are done. Through. I’m moving on! I deserve better! It’s not me, it’s you!

Whew. I feel better.

Musical Notes

I’ve become a little obsessed with the song “Viva la Vida” by Coldplay. Yes, I realize I am at least what, a year? a year and a half? behind the pop culture times. I have embraced my squareness. So should you.

Anyway, I was watching the video on YouTube and holy cow, why didn’t anyone tell me that Chris Martin is so beautiful? That Gwyneth Paltrow is one lucky lady.

In other music news, after listening to Viva La Vida about 30 times in a row in the car, I took pity on poor Little Miss Sunshine and moved on to the next CD in the loop, which was The Best Of Cyndi Lauper. And yipes, did you know that the song “She Bop” is about masturbating?

You probably did. After all, I think I’ve proven that I’m a little behind the times, pop-culturally-speaking.

I am not that surprised that I did not understand the true content of the song as a teenager, because I was a very innocent, naive, goody-goody of a teenager who was completely unaware that things such as “master-what-now?” existed. I’m a little embarrassed now to have sung that song at full volume in front of my grandparents, however.

I am amazed, though, that this song was a major radio hit. Where were the stiff-upper-lip Victorian puritans of the 80s? Why didn’t they protect me from such a grandparent-related humiliation? Censorship has failed me.

And in other music news, Tuesday night’s American Idol featured the song “September” by Earth, Wind, and Fire, one of the grooviest songs of all time. I got really excited when I heard the second line of the song mention the “21st night of September,” because September 21 is Gal Smiley’s birthday.

(I know FameThrowa is rolling her eyes right now and saying through gritted teeth, “I have told you about this song on at least THIRTY SEPARATE OCCASIONS.” However, what she doesn’t realize is that my supernatural ability to completely block out Dora The Explorer has the side effect of also blocking at least 80% of the other stuff I hear. It’s WORTH IT.)

Anyway, I’ve decided to make “September” into Gal Smiley’s official life theme song. I played it for her this morning and while I was shaking some serious booty around the kitchen, I asked her, “Isn’t this the danciest song you’ve ever heard?” And she said, “I don’t think it’s the danciest, but I do think it’s THE LONGEST.”

You can decide for yourself.

Idol Snark

I don’t want to crowd up this blog with lots of American Idol chatter, now that I’m a total convert to the cult, but I have to say that Blind Scott’s brother is my absolute favourite person on this show (well, after Simon, of course). I just adore the way he runs in with Scott to help him make his marks and find his way, but at the same time, puts himself so totally out of the spotlight. The whole time he is just totally focussed on his brother, pointing at him and cheering at him and you can tell that he’s a guy with his priorities in order.

Good brothering like that brings a tear to my eye.

And in other American Idol news, if you are watching the show at all — or even if you’re not — you MUST go to Television Without Pity to read the recaps of the show. I used to waste many, many potentially productive work hours at Television Without Pity, which is a site that writes extremely detailed scene-by-scene summaries of popular TV shows. The founders of the site and almost all of my favourite writers have moved on, so I rarely go there anymore, but I recently discovered that the immortal Jacob is writing up for American Idol, and that guy is a GOD.

Check this out, from his summary for last night’s show:

Kara pulls a total Paula and very clearly enunciates something that makes no sense; meanwhile, Paula is wearing the tackier-looking half of Björk’s swan as a shrug over an ugly beaded top, and saying nothing of consequence. Ryan makes a half-assed segue from her rambling about the giant stage to a sort of sweet dig at how Simon’s consumed with himself, and there’s a lot of static from the idiot they have on the panel with them, and finally Simon reminds them not to forget the words, and not to be swallowed up by the ridiculous stage and all its moving parts. I mean, they’re right in that the giant-ass stage is stupid and is going to make each and every one of them look like they’re the 2:35 show at Knott’s Berry Farm, but I don’t see the point in worrying about it considering they are the 2:35 show at Knott’s Berry Farm. Slap some sequins on these bitches and let’s get to it.

BRILLIANT. You want to go to there.

TV Nirvana

Confession time! I have been watching American Idol.

I know, it is just about as low as you can go in terms of crap television. And it’s all the more surprising, given that I was able to completely resist it for seven full seasons before this.

Actually, almost seven full seasons.

I became a junkie late last season when I heard they were going to have a Neil Diamond night. I loooooove me some Neil Diamond — so kitchy yet so sincere, and plus, he reminds me of my mom. So, I watched that episode, and loved it, and then since I knew who the competitors were now, I actually read all the articles in EW on the subject, and then WHAM, I was hooked.

Then this season started, and nothing else had started back up yet, and I thought, “Oh, it can’t hurt to check out just a couple of episodes.”

And then WHAM, I was a goner.

My point here is that I was watching last night, which was the final selection night for the people who are actually going to make it to the voting round, when out of nowhere, they showed some blond girl who they had never featured before.

As you might imagine, the fact that we had not seen her before did not bode well for her getting advanced to the voting round. So I was all prepared to just ignore this particular segment.

Until I realized…IT WAS JENN.

Jenn, of Hi-5 fame!!!

I almost passed out. Hi-5 and American Idol, together! It was better than Peanut Butter Cups.

So as I predicted, she got cut. Simon Cowell, for the record, said it was, “absolutely the wrong choice.” He was behind Jenn all the way. Granted, it was because she was cute and stylish, not because he thought she could sing, but WHATEVER. He got overruled by the other three judges, but they were SO WRONG.

I don’t think they realized the built-in soccer mom audience that Jenn could have commanded. Seriously, her Idol-winning CD would have sold millions. She could have been the female Jack Johnson, people!

(Don’t worry, LuckySevens, I recorded Jenn on the PVR because I know you are DYING to see her. Although, it’ll probably be on YouTube later today).

Speaking of Simon Cowell, I have the wee-ish of crushes on him. I know he’s not very nice and he has questionable hair, but he’s snarky and is so damned right all the time. Apparently, I find that sort of thing attractive in a man (exhibit A: Sir Monkeypants).

And speaking of kids’ programming, we are now totally addicted to the new version of The Electric Company around here. I don’t remember watching it much as a kid, and when we first checked it out a few weeks ago I wasn’t sure about it — it’s a very busy show, with lots of quick cuts and a ton of information flying at you all at once, and I thought it was a little much. But since the new episodes are only on once a week, we have a chance to watch each episode four or five times over, and after that many viewings the kids are actually starting to learn some cool stuff.

So far, we’ve discovered from Lin-Manuel Miranda that Silent E Is A Ninja (an instant classic, the kids and I are already performing this one regularly around the house):

And that Jimmy Fallon has a pocket full of H’s and he’s not afraid to use them:

And Sean Kingston explained that there are Two Ways To Say C (did you know that the soft C sound is used before an E, I, or Y? It’s totally true!):