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.

That’s How They Do

Sir Monkeypants recently got his hands on all five seasons of The Wire, a show few people in Canada have seen but one that is widely regarded as one of the greatest series of all time. He started watching it late at night after I was in bed, but then he got so sucked into it he wanted to watch it the very minute the kids were in bed.

As a result, I jumped in at about episode six of the first season, and OH MY GOD. I totally see what the fuss is about. The show is so amazing — absolutely mesmerizing and a true-feeling picture of a completely different world. The police on the show, with their electric typewriters and “secret” tape recorders the size of my arm, and the drug dealers, with their fabulous wardrobes and constant paranoia, and the drug addicts with their terrible hand-to-mouth existence in the projects, are all just so compelling. I loved it right away.

But I hate watching stuff out of order. Don’t even think of trying to get me to watch a sequel before the original. For the two hours of constant whining, bitching, and sulking you’re going to get, you may as well have driven to the video store and rented the original and made it a double bill. Ask Sir Monkeypants. Trust me, HE’LL TELL YOU.

So, since I had already missed several earlier episodes, and Sir Monkeypants was still watching it after I went to bed, he’s now hours and hours ahead of me in the series and getting farther ahead all the time. Each evening for the past week, he’s dashed to the TV after the kids are down.

I didn’t even get to watch Dance Show this week, people. THAT’S HOW HE DO.

Anyway, I find myself suddenly with a couple of hours of free time on my hands in the evenings now. Turns out, if you keep your butt off the couch at the end of the day, you can actually get something accomplished — who knew?

Last night I was working on labelling some of our old photos and getting ready for my book club meeting tonight and making lunches for the next day. Then, while tidying up the art supplies, I got distracted with this:

Pretty Pretty Ponies

Oh, that’s right. I coloured. Pretty Ponies. For a good half hour. There I was, picking out the perfect shade of pink or purple or yellow for a pony’s mane, while the TV showed drug dealers in jail and teenagers getting beat down and plenty of cops using the word, “motherfucker.”

Just another typical evening in the Turtlehead household!

Handicapping SYTYCD

We’re into the top 12 on SYTYCD now, and that means I am officially obsessed.

Last year I fought and fought against it, but I found the only way I could get anything done around here is to vomit all my Dance Show thoughts all over this blog. Clear my head, take out the garbage, so to speak.

So, let’s rank the remaining candidates, shall we?

1. Brandon. Is there nothing he can’t do? So far he’s rocked the hip-hop, ballroom, and disco, and we KNOW he can rock the contemporary. I can easily see him pairing with any of the other women, and his solos are going to be awesome. He’s the frontrunner.

2. Janette. She’s a little firecracker and seems able to handle any style despite having no formal training. She’s got The Snap, which is something all dancers dream of having. She’s lucky to have electric chemistry with Brandon; I hope she can do as well with other partners.

3. Melissa. Every movement of hers is definite. She’s in control of every single body part at all times. I love her facial expressions, too. For some reason, I find her a little reserved from the audience, and I worry about the day she draws hip-hop. Still, she’s been nothing but impressive so far.

4. Ade. What’s with the hairpick, dude? Still, I find Ade to be totally charming and modest. I don’t even know what his native style is, because he was never featured before the top 20, but so far, he’s done great. He’s a good partner for Melissa, but also stands out and draws our attention to him, which is a tough job. I’d love to see him do a solo so I can get a better idea of what his real strengths are.

5. Jeanine. What I love most about Jeanine is her attitude — she’s so positive all the time. Also, she should apparently give up this contemporary crap and become a hip hop dancer, because she ROCKS the hip hop, totally keeping up with Phillip. I mean, when Phillip is on stage, and yet my eye is still drawn to Jeanine, that’s saying something. I can’t wait to see her paired with some other dancers.

6. Kayla. This week was the first time I really saw something special there. She’s obviously flexible and strong, but seemed a little…bland. This week she was awesome during the show, although her solo was not that great, so she continues to be kind of a mixed bag. Still, I think she’ll be a solid performer going forward.

7. Jason. I don’t think Jason gets the credit he deserves — the judges are always fawning all over Caitlin but Jason is clearly the stronger dancer in his couple. He’s strong and interesting, and he does a fairly good job at partnering. Good solos, too.

8. Randi. She’s so cute, and despite her fluffy bubbly personality, she’s able to really get into character onstage. I think she’ll be a great match with any of the male partners, but she needs to work on standing out from the crowd a bit more.

9. Evan. Okay, I love Evan, although he hasn’t been as strong as I thought he would be. I love his personal style, but he wasn’t great at Broadway, and I fear the hip hop. Oh my God, can you even imagine Evan and Randi doing krump? Hee hee. Also, Evan has a great click with Randi but he’s in real trouble when they split up the partners, because of his height. I can’t imagine him partnering Melissa or Kayla. So while he might make the top 10, I don’t think he will win.

10. Phillip. Clearly, there are more skilled and more well rounded dancers. But I ADORE the Chbeeb. ADORE. There’s no question that if the voting were based on personal style alone, he would win. As it is, I’d just love to see him make the top 10. He’ll have to really kick it this week at whatever they give him (my prediction: contemporary) to avoid being eliminated on Thursday.

11. Kupono. I don’t know about Kupono. He’s actually danced really well in his routines, and he’s really well matched with Kayla. Plus, he’d probably make a more versatile partner in the top 10 than Evan or Phillip. But his solos totally suck, and he just doesn’t pop when he’s on stage — I’m always watching Kayla. So he’d be my pick to go home this week.

12. Caitlin. I do not understand why the judges love Caitlin so much. I like her personality, but I really feel that her dancing has not been great. She’s the only dancer right now in the competition that I actively want to see go home. She’s all flashy tricks, but doesn’t have the smoothness of Melissa or the great transitions of Janette. She just doesn’t have The Snap, and I don’t buy it when she tries to get into character. She’s the girl who I think should be voted out this week.

That’s it…sorry for the obsessiveness, but I’m afraid I intend to make this a weekly post. Otherwise, I’ll never get the dishes done!

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!):