The Husband:

While we, the children of Saint Clare, have found the time to write about many of the biggest shows on television (and even some small ones), there is only so much time and energy we can spend on this site. The truth is, we watch a whole lot more than what ends up on the site, and since I watch most of these on my own and yet never find the ability to write about them, their absence is mostly my fault. But no matter. For those that fall through the cracks, I have here a grab bag of the 30+ shows I watch in addition to whatever ends up on the site. These are the ones that slipped through the cracks. And hell, I’m sure there are more I’m forgetting (and also not even bothering writing about, which tend to fall under instructional/educational stuff like anything on Discovery), so if you think I’ve forgotten something, please let me know. (And no, I don’t watch any CSI or L&O shows, so don’t even try to get all up in my grill.) Here they are, the missing shows of the 2008-2009 television season, in alphabetical order.


I really should have written at least some criticism on this season, but work piled up and I simply didn’t have the time. It started off as the most intelligent season with some of the most compelling political questions being thrown around (welcome to the show finally, “debate on torture”), but by the fourth time Tony twisted his alliance and Jack was infected with the disease, I kind of stopped caring. Great first half of the season, though, and I think Renee is the best new character in a very long time.

Adult Swim (Xavier: Renegade Angel / Superjail! / Squidbillies / The Drinky Crow Show / Metalocalypse / Delocated / Robot Chicken / Etc.)

Thank you, young people of Adult Swim (who I have spent some time with, don’t forget) for freaking my mind week after week, and giving alternative comedy a major boost in America. And for freaking out my wife.

A beacon of normalcy in a world of wackiness.

A beacon of normalcy in a world of wackiness.

Better Off Ted

It took me a couple episodes to latch onto the tone, but once I did I simply couldn’t get enough from this latest product of the mad mind of Victor Fresco. Check out some episodes online, then watch Andy Richter Controls the Universe (his previous show), and I guarantee you some of the oddest network comedy in a very long time. I still think Portia DeRossi is trying to hard, though, and should take a page from the book of Fresco mainstay Jonathan Slavin.


Bring it on, Nathan Fillion. Hypnotize me with your nostrils and your addictive but borderline-stupid mystery writer-cum-detective series. (Although how weird was that Judy Reyes episode? What the hell, Carla Turk?)

The Celebrity Apprentice 2

So sue me, I liked Joan Rivers. And the addition of the phrase “Whore Pit Vipers” to the television lexicon.

Celebrity Rehab (Sober House) with Dr. Drew

So help me, I can’t stop watching. It’s just a disaster. I will say, though, that I like the drama in the rehab far more than the sober house, as the latter seems to exist simply to destroy any progress the celebrities made in rehab. And now having seen all three of his seasons of Taxi, Jeff Conaway’s fall from grace is fishbowl television at its finest.

Dating in the Dark

Really fun, actually. I hope it gets a second season. I also hope that more matches will be made, and that people stop being massive failures.

Dirty Sexy Money

Everything I needed to say about the failure of the second season of this show can be found on this blog, and it ended its truncated run by turning itself inside-out by revealing that the show’s central mystery, who killed Peter Krause’s father, was a bust since he wasn’t dead after all. What the hell, Dirty Sexy Money? Oh well, your cancellation made room in Krause’s schedule for the much anticipated (by me) adaptation of Parenthood coming to NBC mid-season.

The Goode Family

It took a few episodes to find its footing, but by the end of its sped-up summer run, I was a major fan of the latest Mike Judge effort. (R.I.P. King of the Hill.) Vastly misunderstood by viewers who only watched the first episode, it, just like KOTH, found a middle ground between conservative America and liberal America and found the ability to make fun of both without drawing blood, choosing to love instead of hate. Some of the voice cast was misused (why was my beloved Linda Cardellini in the cast?), but as a Berkeley native, I had a blast relishing in mocking the stereotypes of my own people while rediscovering what it is I love so much about them. The bull dykes were also two of the most original characters of the season.

One Earth isn't just a grocery store, it's a way of life.

One Earth isn't just a grocery store, it's a way of life.

The Great American Road Trip

Any show that has two contestants debating over which is more correct, “y’all” or “youse,” gets major points in my book. A nice and forgettable summer trifle after a long, way-too-hot day. Silly, yes, but I can’t say it was bad. And it was a definite improvement over the similar family-based season of The Amazing Race. (I’m sure The Soup is really grateful for this show, too.)


Oh god, kill me now. Volume 4 was a marked improvement over #3, for sure, but I just don’t care about anybody anymore. And yet I feel that I need to keep watching. It’s too late to give up now. There was one great episode this season, though, and that was the flashback one surrounding Angela Petrelli’s stint at a mutant internment camp. Why can’t they all be this good?

Howie Do It

Yeah, I watched it. Shut the fuck up. About one-third of it was funny, and as I watched it on Hulu at work, it’s not like I wasted any of my own time. Howie Mandel is savvier than you think, but I wish he would return to his wilder roots.

How’s Your News

This Parker-Stone produced MTV show revolving around reporters who are developmentally delayed confused the hell out of me initially, but once I realized there wasn’t a mean bone in its body it became a warm bit of fun. I want a second season, dammit. These are some of the most joyful television subjects I’ve ever seen.

I Survived a Japanese Game Show

Better than the first season, but I’m still glad I only watch this online while doing something else.

In the Motherhood

Worst opening credit sequence of the year. Some pretty funny material hidden underneath unfunny slapstick. Horatio Sanz got thin. Megan Mullally couldn’t find a rhythm. I still think Cheryl Hines is oddly hot.

Lie to Me

I unfortunately didn’t start watching this until July, and I wish I hadn’t waited so long. While gimmicky to a fault and not nearly as intelligent as it pretends it is, this Tim Roth vehicle about an FBI specialist who studies the subtleties of the face (OF THE FACE) is clever, compelling and well drawn. I’m not sure about the addition of Mekhi Phifer’s character, but we’ll see how it works out next season, especially with Shield creator Shawn Ryan at the helm of season two.


This cancellation reallllly hurts. One of the unsung gems from the 2007-2008 television, this, the smartest network cop show in recent memory, took its great season one energy and hit the second season with all it had and came up with a compelling, hilarious, devilishly clever and gleefully violent run that was only marred by a major cast shift during the final few episodes. (I’m looking at you, Gabrielle Union. Your presence was what I like to call a massive failure.) A Zen-obsessed cop recently released from prison after serving over a decade for a murder he did not commit, this show had the best cases of them all. It also gave me one of my favorite hours of television of the year in an episode that revolved around a seductive assassin, fertilizer and pigeon aficionados. And at least the major serialized storyline (who framed Damien Lewis and why) got paid off in a major way thanks to the ever-reliable Garret Dillahunt.


My Boys

Putting PJ and Bobby together was a great idea, but your nine-episode seasons are too short to gain any momentum, and the spring training season finale was a bust.

Nitro Circus

Moronic glee.


Man, did they put Charlie through the ringer. First, he nearly gets his brother killed with a miscalculation on his part, he questions his own validity as a mathematician and then Amita gets kidnapped just as he decides that he wants to marry her. Otherwise, another fine, if somewhat uneventful, of this show that never captured the glory of its über-nerdy first season. Also, thanks for all the great guest star work, but sometimes it gets laid on a little too thick, such as in “Sneakerhead” which brought together Bruno Campos, Patrick Bauchau, Dr. Edison from Bones and Eve. (And points for making the Liz Warner character actually bearable. I fucking hated her in season 4.


So apparently the CW thought that their best idea ever was to get rid of this show, the smartest show on the UPN/WB merger since the Buffyverse, one that was technically pulling in bigger numbers than 90210, one that was a delight to watch and deeply addictive, and make room for what is sure to be one of 2009-2010’s worst new offerings, Melrose Place. I gotta tell ya, this cancellation hurts. While I wrote recaps and reviews of the episodes way into its freshman (and only) season, the looming axe, as well as a more heavily serialized structure, turned me off from writing on the final stretch of episodes, and I told myself that I’d only recap them if the show came back. Lo and behold, another Joanna Garcia vehicle has gone down the tubes. I’ll miss you oh so dearly, Ms. Too-Smart-For-The-CW Palm Beach satirical melodrama known as Privileged.

I hate to say this, guys, but I think Robert Buckley might be a showkiller. And that's sad, because he's so damn pretty.

I hate to say this, guys, but I think Robert Buckley might be a showkiller. And that's sad, because he's so damn pretty.

Rescue Me

I thought it was a great season, and thanks to an extended number of episodes (it didn’t air in 2008 thanks to the writer’s strike), the show was able to focus much of its energy on pages-long dialogue-happy battle-of-wits in nearly episode, which to be is melodrama heaven. Gone is the maudlin tone, returned is all the comic energy, and the stories seem to actually progress instead of just flopping around like a dying fish. Leary and Tolan deserve major praise for bringing the show back up to snuff. And now having seen all of Newsradio, I love any chance I get to watch Maura Tierney, although I’m still not going to watch ER. (I am proud to have only seen three episodes of that show ever, being a Chicago Hope fan.) Special shot-out to the Sean cancer storyline, if only to allow Broadway actor Steven Pasquale (husband of Tony winner Laura Benanti) the opportunity to belt out some songs in a handful of hallucination scenes.

Samantha Who?

One of the biggest upsets of the last two years was the rise and fall of this light-hearted, occasionally gut-busting amnesia sitcom that started off the talk of the town, only to waste away its final episodes after the conclusion of the actual television season. Ending on a shitty cliffhanger (Sam’s parents are getting divorced, so Mom is going to live with you and your formerly-estranged-but-now-love-of-your-life lover), we nevertheless found out who caused the accident that brought about Sam’s amnesia, Jennifer Esposito finally made it with the towel boy, and Melissa McCarthy continued to be one of the brightest stars of the year.


Like Privileged, I hesitated to continue writing due to the threat of its cancellation, but now it’s continuing on into yet another season (albeit with some major changes), so I really have no reason to stop writing about it. But let’s just say that while the hurry-up to conclude its many disparate storylines often felt rushed (those two Bahama episodes felt especially odd), the conclusion to J.D.’s years-in-the-telling tale was a lovely way to conclude the season. (No props for the awful awful Peter Gabriel song that accompanied his final walk down the hallway, as laughably bad as it was when I heard it in the remake of Shall We Dance?)

The Shield

I don’t have to tell you how amazing the final season was. Watch it. Seriously. You owe it to yourself to experience one of the hardest hitting cop shows of all time. Like The Wire, a Greek tragedy hammered into modern-day policework with some of the most finely drawn characters around. And oh man, did those final three episodes pack a major punch. Ouch, indeed.


Quite a bit like The Shield, really, had it followed Michael Jace’s beat cop instead of the Strike Team. A little too dour at times for me to really give a crap, and the sprawling ensemble needs to be cut down (which is what I hear it’s doing for the second season), but this L.A.-centered procedural has a lot going for it, not least of which its pitch-perfect direction. (I especially dig the long shots, including my favorite, which involved a cabin and a K9 unit bringing down a perp.)

Way better than dating Marissa Cooper.

Way better than dating Marissa Cooper.

Surviving Suburbia

A sitcom in serious need of finding one tone and sticking with it, this sometimes-sweet-sometimes-brutally-cruel suburban comedy worked as well as it did because of Saget as well as G. Hannelius’ performance as the precocious daughter. Still, all the jokes about disabled people, pregnant teenagers and strip clubs really didn’t mesh together with the clichés of the genre.

Survivor: Tocantins

I love Survivor, but this was one of the most boring seasons in its ten-year run. I don’t think I gave a shit about one person, and I simply couldn’t find anything compelling to write about. A waste of a good location.

True Beauty

The right person won, the losers got (mostly) schooled in this trick show designed to expose the douchery involved in modeling, Ashton Kutcher made another heroin-like show, and I concern myself for months with how they can pull the trick off a second time in the next season.

The Unusuals

When grading a cop show, I tend to focus on three things — the tone, the characters and the cases. A bizarre, pessimistic yet comedic take on all those wacky cops we’ve seen throughout the years all thrown together (one is deathly afraid of…death, one has a brain tumor, one talks in the third person, one is a closeted socialite, etc.) pushed into some remarkably dark territory, The Unusuals had tone and characters down pat, but suffered at the hands of some DOA storylines. But oh man, did the tone ever make up for most of the show’s shortcomings. Great ensemble cast, too, although I would have recast Eddie Alvarez.

Rather unusual.

Rather unusual.

Worst Week

A breezy and often hilarious slapstick comedy based off of a British hit, it could never regain its momentum after moving away from the initial “week” of the title. Kyle Bornheimer is a true find and made the more unbearable misunderstandings and embarrassing moments of the show (of which there were many) all the more palatable. I’m not the biggest fan of comedy based around humiliations, but this show found a likeable ability to have its characters not completely despise each other at every moment. This was, to say the least, very refreshing. Big points for giving me the biggest network TV laugh of the year (when Bornheimer wakes up his brother-in-law only to be thought a murderer) but major negative points for pushing back a major character-based episode into a weekend spot months after the show had already ended its run.

The Husband:

Survivor: Gabon is over, and HOORAY to Bob the high school physics teacher from Maine for taking home the $1 million prize. It was a rough final three hours, one in which Kenny was blindsided at the last minute and voted off first, a decision that would come back to haunt pretty much everybody who had a hand in his ouster (i.e. everybody except for Susie). Personally, I think while it was a good idea to vote out Kenny from a strategic point, I feel that he would not have done well with the final card-stacking challenge (just a guess, from one videogamer to another), and thus the worthless Susie would not have randomly won the final challenge.

So yeah, Susie winning that challenge really threw a wrench into the show that had been going so well (from Sugar’s perspective, as well as my own), with each unworthy  contestants leaving the compound person-by-person in exactly the order they should, leaving a final three for Sugar, Bob and Matty (all worthy contestants). But Susie, oh Susie, your win made Sugar have to choose between the two people to which she is closest, her Survivor brother (Matty) and her Survivor father (Bob). Sugar’s ultimate decision to force a tie and let the two duke it out over a fire competition should have been seen as noble, to let them duke it out on their own through show skills and whatnot, but in the end it end up biting her in the ass when Matty decided not to vote for her.

So how did things go down in the end? Here were the votes (best out of seven).

Bob, Susie, Susie, Susie…

Oh god…was this season going to suffer from that oft-heard bullshit explanation that the jury is only voting for the person who fucked them over the least? Aren’t we supposed to reward the best player, not vote along a stupid grudge on a show known for its conniving contestants?

…Bob, Bob, Bob.

Oh thank God. If it wasn’t going to be Sugar (which it should have been), I’m happy to see a nice man, a good strategist and a good game player win the million dollar prize. But Susie, how did such a crummy contestant make it as far as she did, and nearly win the money? There’s one every season, but I hope each time that the jury will put aside their differences and actually vote for somebody worthy of the game.

Im going to miss you most of all, scarecrow.

I'm going to miss you most of all, scarecrow.

So what are some other final thoughts before the next season starts up again next month?

  • Corrine decided to go out of the game mocking Sugar’s dead father. Very classy, you wench. Earlier in the episode, during the memorial let’s-remember-all-those-fallen-contestants montage, Corrine declares that being nice is not a personality, and that being mean is hard. Actually, Corrine, that’s not true. It’s our human instinct to be selfish, to be impulsive, to be cruel. It takes effort to be nice, to ignore certain problems and treat people with respect for the greater utilitarian good. What you are is someone who never grew up past high school, and are defending your despicable actions by making every else out to be the bad guy. Sorry, Corrine, being hated is no challenge. It’s easy to be mean, but it makes a world of difference to challenge yourself to be a good person. You are trash, and in order to stop feeding your actual need for boos and jeers, I will in the future, if needed to refer to how much of a bitch you were, refer to you only by “The C-Word,” so people in the know will understand who I am talking about, but you’ll lack those evil Google hits you desire so much. It’s a very appropriate name for you, C-Word, don’t you think.
  • Jeff, Randy got applause for his shitty attitude while C-Word got boos because it honestly seems like that’s the person he is and that he simply doesn’t know any better, while C-Word actually seems to have made a life choice to be so horrible. But please, Survivor casting directors, please don’t hire any more personality disorders. They are not interesting on camera, they suck the life out of everyone and everything, and in the case of Randy, I actually feared for the others.
  • The live-to-tape editors of Survivor get the biggest laugh of the month from me for one small instance. When asked who the sullen and douchebaggy Randy brought to the live reunion taping, he replied that he brought seven strangers. Cut to the strangers, whose image has this written underneath them on the screen: Randy’s “Friends.”
  • Sugar pretty much knew that she had no friends on the jury, so I appreciate her honesty with everyone involved. There’s nothing I hate more during the final episode than when the final two or three pull their punches and try to suck up to the jury, trying to convince them that they did not, in fact, play the game they were hired to play. It misses the point entirely, and while it cost Sugar every single vote that could have gone her way, I applaud her candor. Now we just need a jury that will see that as a good thing (because it IS). She deserved the final $100,000 additional prize, but will have to settle for the (unadvertised and always unspoken) third place prize of $85,000 (not much of a drop after the $100k received by second place).
  • Kenny, you got called out twice for being the reason Bob broke his promise to you, but you still wanted an apology? Great job. I actually respect your domination of Super Smash Brothers Melee, a great and difficult multiplayer game for those who really know how to play it, but your pettiness there hurt you considerably simply as a person. I very much respect that you realized your cockiness on the show and were nothing but apologetic at the finale.
  • Brazilian Highlands next season look very cool, but then again, so did Gabon, which kind of turned out to be a dud as far as visuals were concerned. Maybe South America can bring some of that spirit back to the show’s atmosphere.

The Husband:

In one of the smoothest eliminations of the series (and definitely the smoothest of the season), we finally have justice: Crystal Cox, Olympic gold medalist and all-around shitty Survivor player, has been voted out of the tribe.

Crystal, you just got burned.

Crystal, you just got burned.

But how did this happen? How did everyone finally notice that she was a worthless ally and a worthless enemy, and that if she made it to the final three that they would be rewarding bad gameplay, bad challenge skills and the cheapness that comes in hiding behind a greater threat?

Well, here’s how: Bob, ever the nice guy and perpetual challenge winner, is set to be voted off due to the fact that if he made it to the jury vote, he would almost without question win the entire season. Kenny, especially, has his sights set on sending Bob away after being lied to about the second fake hidden immunity idol (yes, Bob made two great fake ones this year), a lie that put Kenny in a predicament after Matty realized that hanging extra vote for him game from the Asian-American videogame champion.  So Bob, to make up for the lie, promises Kenny that if he won the individual immunity necklace, he would give it to Kenny.

And then he goes and wins the necklace. Unsure that Kenny would not turn on him and get him voted out now that he would no longer be immune, Bob renegotiates the deal and says he will only give it to Kenny if he feels that Kenny is in danger of being voted out. Kenny tries to rally the tribe to tell Bob that they want to vote Kenny out, which would presumably change Bob’s mind about giving up the necklace, but Sugar doesn’t like the plan to backdoor Bob (nor should she), so she reveals Kenny’s plan to Bob. Ever the resourceful duo, Bob and Sugar put into motion one of the great plans of the season.

At tribal, Bob refuses to give up the necklace, as he feels that Kenny is not in danger. He’s not actually breaking any promise, because it turns out that it’s the absolute truth. It’s Kenny’s main ally, Crystal, that is in trouble. The votes come in, and as Matty has been the scapegoat for his half of the tribe, he knows that he will be receiving some votes in order to remove him as a very physical threat in challenges (and for being a pretty cool guy). Ah, but Sugar makes extra sure that Crystal goes home, because as she has the actual hidden immunity idol and this is the final week it can be played, she gives the idol to Matty, post-vote but pre-vote reading, to ensure Matty’s continued stay in Gabon. Two of the votes don’t count (the ones for Matty), and Crystal Cox is out for good.

It’s amazing that Sugar felt so confident that zero votes were going to go her way at tribal council that she could give up the idol, and that she did such a good job convincing people she would never give it to Matty in the first place, that nobody even thought about blindsiding her. I don’t care what you think about Sugar’s personality, but you have to admit that she has been a great player over the last several episodes, and that she and Bob are the people to beat.

I am ecstatic to report that, other than the worthless under-the-radar Susie, I like every person in the final five.

  • Kenny, despite being a rat (or a snake depending on how you view Sue Hawk’s famous debut-season analogy replaced with this season), should be commended for lasting so long and for putting so many great plans into motion, even if they didn’t all work..
  • Matty has done very little feather-ruffling and yet has still risen as the good guy to beat. And his recent proposal to his girlfriend didn’t hurt, either.
  • Bob is a brilliant strategist and a surprisingly good challenge player. He is also probably the most likeable and noble Survivor player in seasons, and for once I’d like to see that rewarded.
  • Sugar is the best out-in-the-open player, using her brains to get her by. She’s flipped tribes so many times that she has no real enemies anymore, helped by her entirely genuine and genial nature. Unfortunately, she will suffer the wrath of being hated by the jury (especially terrible human beings Randy and Corrine) for getting them voted out and will not receive the rightful votes for her incredible gameplay. It happens almost every year, and it will continue to bother me until the end of time. Jury, you’re voting for somebody who outwitted, outplayed and outlasted you. Grudges are worthless and petty.

Sunday is the two-hour finale. Go Sugar and Bob, fools!

The Husband:

So here’s a small open note to Corrine, now that she has joined the land of the jury:

You can take your holier-than-thou, smarter-than-thou person-hating attitude that you love so much and shove it up your ass.

Shes in pharm sales. Did we expect her to be any less than a dickmeat?

She's in pharm sales. Did we expect her to be any less than a dickmeat?

Too much? I don’t think so. She was a hateful wench who liked nothing more than to take down and talk down others behind their backs, proclaiming that she was the only one worthy off attention and success, thinking her plans were successful when they were anything but. When she tried to convince Sugar to vote along with them and was so certain that Sugar was so dumb that she would have no other choice, Sugar turned around and voted the other way just to prove a point. This week, she was certain that by simply talking to people — putting on her wildly obvious fake respectful voice for others — and convince them that Bob, a week after tricking his ally Randy into using a fake immunity idol, had an actual immunity idol (also fake) that she was going to be using and that as a result, all her enemies should therefore vote against themselves.

Sounds a bit complicated and extremely far-fetched, right? Well, it didn’t work, and there was no way it was going to work. Basically, Corrine thought that sending Kenny and Crystal a veiled threat with her holding of a real (see: not real) immunity idol that the two of them would automatically vote for whoever Corrine wanted, when in reality Kenny is smart enough to notice that the plan had one very big flaw. Of course all of Corrine’s enemies would want to flush out the idol, real or fake, and that telling them that only made them want to vote for Corrine more. She was a goner no matter what would have happened.

Corrine, you don’t hate people because they’re hate-worthy people. You hate them because you’re a misanthropic asshole. Your cynicism is entirely of your own making, and all you’re doing is making the world a worse place. You are not better than any of these people as a person (save for Randy) and have done nothing to prove otherwise. Life is too short for people like you, and I think you need to take a hard look at yourself and realize that you are the problem and they are not. Perhaps they’d be more respectful of you (as you demand) if you weren’t so quick to disrespect them. You were a bad, poorly manufactured villain whose sole presence on the show was to be a catalyst for others to do actual good on the show and good in the world.

And no, I don’t think Sugar was mean. Ever. Every time she may have said something off-color — comments not even close to the depths of assness that Corrine went — it was only as reaction to somebody else being horrible. That’s how emotions work. They are cause-and-effect. They are not created out of nothing. You take pride in your pessimism, which is just a sign of being a bad human being.

Corrine: Dumb. Mean. Egotistical. That’s not my idea of a Survivor contestant.

On the bright side, how great was it to see Matty propose to his girlfriend during the Hey, Our Family Members Are Here! section of the show? He was so loopy that he didn’t even realize that she kept on saying yes. The proposal necklace he had created at the camp was an extra-nice touch.

A proposal from Matty that could not be refused.

A proposal from Matty that could not be refused.

On the topic of who is left, I still say that despite a few remaining enemies (who could easily be swayed by his good nature) Bob could very well go all the way. People think that he’ll only last if he wins every immunity challenge, but I think he’s found a good ally in Sugar, who has the power to slyly imply her own will and make it seem like others came up with it. Kenny is also playing a smart game, but I think Matty is going to turn on him after Kenny made the dumb decision to allow he and Crystal split their votes on Thursday between Corrine and Matty, just to hedge their bets. (Whoops! It wouldn’t have mattered.)

But if Crystal goes all the way, I’m going to throw a fit. Worst Olympian ever.

The Husband:

Sugar the Pin-Up Model is playing a very dangerous game, but it’s also an extremely entertaining one. While the smartest guy left in the group, Kenny, is still stuck on Crystal merely because of a pesky little thing called loyalty (*sheesh*), she’s making the bold moves that could make her for the long run but perhaps break her in the final five.

So, what has she done in the last two episodes? In the first, she was apparently “roped into” Corrine’s plan, post-merge, to have everyone they can gang up on Crystal and get her voted out (good choice, since she’s a worthless player) as Sugar has easily slid back-and-forth between alliances (which are constantly crumbling, sometimes at her own behest). Corrine knows that they have Sugar on their side, so what does Sugar do? She votes out Corrine’s ally Charlie, basically raising a big middle finger in her direction and calmly saying, “Eat my shit.”

Clearly, shes chaming them all with her whiles.

Clearly, she's chaming them all with her wiles.

I always appreciate a player who allows others to underestimate them all the way until their own eviction from the island or whatever location they’re in. It’s not balls-to-the-wall gameplay which has gotten many former contestants in trouble (in the last several seasons, in fact, they’re usually in the first six to go home), nor is it coming in under the radar (which I have never approved of on any show). Sugar is doing it very well, having others think she’s naïve and stupid and gullible when she’s playing her own game, relying on anyone when necessary.

Let’s move onto the second episode, where Asshole Randy becomes Mega Asshole Randy, and so Sugar helps put into motion one of the best things to ever happen on Survivor. Bob, a former enemy, was sent to Exile “Island” last episode, where upon not finding the hidden immunity idol (which Sugar still has) decides to create his own idol. However, unlike Ozzy’s fake idol last season which was just a piece of wood with a face carved into it, Bob used some brilliant arts-and-crafts skills to create something that technically looks nothing like the real idol but could convince anyone (who hasn’t seen the real idol) that it is the real deal. Good call, Bob.

So Sugar knows that the “good” side of the tribe (as opposed to the “evil” side) is adamant in getting Mega Asshole Randy out – despite initially wanting to eliminate a stronger player like Corrine before him – as he has become a psycho hell bent on driving the tribe nuts. She and Bob (remember, still not technically allies) come up with a plan where Bob will give Mega Asshole Randy the fake idol before tribal council, lifting up their hopes and making them think they have the upper hand, only to pull the rug out from underneath them.

And oh, does the plan ever work. Seeing Mega Asshole Randy’s face drop as Jeff Probst throws the idol into the fire, declaring it fake, whilst his enemies chuckle at their deceit (honestly, I could have done without the laughing, but as even the jury starting giggling, it makes perfect sense), was in the top 10 Survivor moments of all time.

Now, what Sugar needs to do is to keep a close eye on Bob and even perchance stick with him as long as she can, because while she will in no way under any circumstances get Mega Asshole Randy’s vote for the win (if she makes it to the end), her friendship with Bob could patch up the chasm between the “good” and the “evil.” (It’s going to be tough getting Corrine to vote for her, though, but that will come when it comes.)

And hell, even if Bob goes away next week, it’ll be because of his involvement in the idol prank, taking most of the heat off Sugar anyway.

You’re making some enemies, Sugar, but who could resist that sweet smile? That smile might net you one million dollars.

The Husband:

Why why why why why why why why why why can’t anybody on this show seem to get rid of Crystal? This former Olympian and gold medalist has been doing what some online commenters would refer to as “sandbagging,” but at this point it’s clear that this woman – let’s reiterate, who has a gold medal in track & field – is not intentionally failing at anything. She really is that much of a failure. She sucks hard at physical challenges (she lasted exactly two seconds in the Balance Sticks On The Backs Of Your Hands challenge), she openly bitches about living conditions (hey, why don’t you do something about that?) and her gameplay is so transparent and openly vicious that I can’t believe the otherwise awesome Kenny hasn’t simply turned around, took a good, hard look at his biggest ally and simply said, “Fuck this shit. It’s totally not worth it.” Even Yau-Man, that tiny Asian man, was stronger in physical challenges.

Below is an embedded video of an uncut Crystal interview from a recent episode. Aren’t successful Olympians supposed to be, you know, strong of will and pure of heart?

Imagine what would have happened in 2004 had she only received a silver medal. She probably would have exploded.

Since the assumed merge this week wasn’t actually a merge – thank god this time nobody pulled a Shii-Ann and made friends with her allies’ enemies, only to be voted off by her own friends – you’d think that pretty much everyone would see that Crystal is nothing but trouble, and that her continued existence will only serve in destroying whichever tribe she is on at any given time. Even if the contestants are having her stick around so when the merge really does happen she will fail at every individual immunity challenge and therefore not pose a physical threat, her crazy will undoubtedly rub off on somebody else. It’s only a matter of time.

The woman is a tornado of destruction.

Hurricane Crystal, coming to an African paradise near you.

Hurricane Crystal, coming to an African paradise near you.

And I’m definitely not the only one who thinks so. Here’s a text message conversation (edited for time as a day went by between the first and second text) with my very own Survivor­-watching sister.

Sister: Crystal: worst olympian ever.
Indeed. Worst olympian ever. I couldn’t even focus on the rest of the challenge.
For real. And Susie is a dumbass.
I don’t get Susie at all. She’s friggin’ psycho.

Yes, how psycho is this Susie? She nearly buries herself last week when she tells Corrine that she will without question vote her off that night, and then votes for somebody completely different and receives nearly enough votes to be ejected from the island for no reason other than she’s bugfuck crazy.

Or, as contestant Marcus would put it – I write “contestant” because, well, it always feels weird to write my own name down – Susie is “in the middle spinning around in circles playing dizzy bat.”

Best. Description. Ever.

And when did Randy become everybody’s abusive, alcoholic father figure? The man is going to kill somebody if they’re not careful and laugh out of place. (WTF was that about?)

The Husband:

If you can’t manipulate others into doing what you want, you might as well do it yourself. Or, more specifically, if others can’t even figure out their plan on their own, you might as well give them a big ol’ push. The first great blindside of the season has finally occurred, and who was at the helm of this deathship but everybody’s favorite pin-up model Sugar. Since the remainder of Fang simply couldn’t follow through with their previous plan – to decimate the Jacquie/Ace/Sugar alliance one-by-one – Sugar had to actually jump in, mix things up and get rid of her decidedly snakelike ally Ace. She looked into the future and saw that once the merge happened he would be no help to her, so she made good with the rest of the Fang tribe in order to keep some people on her side in the coming weeks.

Sugar, a girl who knows whats good for her.

Sugar, a girl who knows what's good for her.

Basically, we have another week of the weak, whiney gold medal winner Crystal bitching about everything and knocking over rice, but it might be smart of Sugar to sic this woman, who is still losing her damned mind, on the opposing tribe post-merge in order to get some of the focus off of her. Sugar is playing a smart game – which is appropriate, since upon being sent to Exile Island for the fifth time in a row she has had plenty of time to be alone with her thoughts – and I couldn’t help but cheer that when Ace began to feel all eyes on him and once again asked Sugar to lend him her hidden immunity idol for the tribal council, she completely shot him down, telling him that he was crazy.

Sugar possesses a quality that I very much like in reality show contestants – even when faced with very difficult obstacles and under the most high-pressure circumstances, she still has a goofy smile on her face, as if to state the entirely true understanding that this is all a game. Sure, she’ll have to crack a few more eggs, but she is going to do it with gusto and optimism, and I doubt that very much will sour this characteristic during the remainder of her stay in Gabon.

Ah, the great Survivor tradition of playing keep away continues.

Ah, the great Survivor tradition of playing keep away continues.

This week, after playing rounds of Play A Big Game Of Monkey In The Middle With A Gigantic Breakable Gumball and then later the first individual immunity challenge of That Log-Rolling Competition Nonsense You See Late At Night On One Of The Lesser ESPN Networks, we had our first double-elimination (both tribes had to vote somebody off no matter what). You already know what happened with Fang – as in blindsiding Ace and voting him off – Kota tribe made the completely bizarre decision to keep their weakest (and more boring) tribe member, Susie, for no reason other than to spite the eventual ousted contestant Dan, who to me only seems a threat as he looks like another contestant. His strength in the challenges? Nah, that doesn’t matter. I guess Kota wants to know what it feels like to actually lose again.

And on this week’s Survivor Blurred Theatre, we got the first (or first in a long time) blurring of a written tribal council vote when Sugar wrote “Ace-****” on her bit of parchment. I can only assume this originally said “Ace-Hole,” which is hilarious. Why didn’t I think of that when I was wishing and hoping and praying that Ace Young got voted off of American Idol so many seasons ago? (You know, like how David Archuleta was derisively referred to as Monchhichi.)

The Husband:
The Fang tribe may not have the worst loss record in Survivor history — that would be Survivor: Palau, in which the Ulong tribe was so terrible that it lost every single immunity challenge and its final two members, Stephanie and Bobby Jon, were asked back for the next season in Guatemala because, well, it was hard for them to play the actual game — but they are certainly acting pretty fucking stupid.
My issue is that even when setting up a fairly good plan to get rid of a power trio — in this case, Jacquie/Sugar/Ace — they couldn’t even get down and actually ride the plan out. After getting rid of Jacquie, they should have, by their design, gotten rid of Sugar and then put the hidden immunity idol back into play, since she would have been too blindsided to use it.
But no, they have to honor GC’s wishes last week and vote him off per his request. That’s okay. But this week they should have had no other choice, knowing for a fact that Sugar has the hidden immunity idol. (I like that, upon being sent to Exile Island for the fourth time in a row, Sugar’s spirits were finally broken, not out of grief but out of guilt that she gets to eat all the fruit at the “island” and all her tribemates back at camp are subsisting on a few measly scoops of rice a day.) At both the reward and the immunity challenge, Ace bites off more than he can chew, and in neither Run Around A Circle With A Wooden Snake And Catch Up With The Other Team nor Find Pieces Of A Flag And Put It Together does he redeem himself with anybody. It was especially during the immunity challenge that he shuns the rest of his tribemates and tries to put the flag together all by his lonesome.
Its a rain dance, I think.

It's a rain dance, I think.

That should be enough. That should be more than enough. You basically lost the challenge because of him. Bye bye, Ace. Ah, but Matty and Ace made a mutual promise not to vote for the other, swearing on respective loved ones, for no real reason. Come on, Matty. Your girlfriend will forgive you for swearing on her name and then breaking it. This is Survivor, dammit. Outwit that mofo.

Hell, this is even after Sugar talks Ace into returning to her the hidden immunity idol that she found — after she handed it over to him for safekeeping — leaving him wide open for an attack. Even if Matty wasn’t going to vote along with the majority, it would still have been enough to separate Ace and Sugar together. Now Ace/Sugar have been around long enough to rope in somebody else, the awesome video game champion Ken, and somehow get him and the rest of the tribe to vote out Kelly, one of their own.

What? Fail. Just…fail.

If they lose next week, I predict they will have completely forgotten about their “master plan” and vote out Crystal, the Olympic gold medalist (who they don’t know is a gold medalist) who, now that she can no longer stick to a regimented diet, is quickly losing her damn mind.

The merge can’t happen soon enough. This is just getting sad.

Its sad for us, too, yo. Sad for us, too.

It's sad for us, too, yo. Sad for us, too.

Catching up quickly with Survivor…

The Husband:

Quick thoughts on the last two episodes:

1. That elephant sighting was probably the only exciting thing to happen so far this season. Not only have the contestants been a little lackluster so far and possessing some fairly faulty strategies, I think there has been some extremely dumb decisions that lead to ho-hum television. It was far more interesting seeing that elephant basically freak out when approached by a bevy of American reality show contestants, preening and knocking down trees as if to say, “Get that motherfucking camera out of my face! I’m having a really bad goddamn day! Fuck off!”

2. Now that Sugar has been sent to Exile Island for the third time in a row — as a competing contestant joked as to why: “No strategy. Purely comedy” — I dig that she has dubbed it the Sugar Shack, and since she already found the hidden immunity idol, that she’s living it up, eating some fruit and tanning.

3. The new tribes are about as arbitrarily picked as the original tribes, so I really have very little to say about them.

4. Fang was right to vote out Jacquie in the third episode, thus attempting to take apart the Jacquie-Ace-Sugar alliance. So far it’s the only one that appeared to have any resilience, and since Ace is kind of a creep anyway, I’d suggest for Sugar to find some new allies.

Really, Sugar? You alligned with this guy? Really?

Really, Sugar? You alligned with this guy? Really?

5. Randy is a psycho. Pure and simple. There’s something very wrong with that fellow. I edited wedding videos for a mere six weeks and nearly lost my mind doing it, so the fact that he’s been shooting them for a couple decades now would have me believe that he is just barely holding onto the last strands of his sanity, if any exist anymore at all.

6. GC is a pussy. Quitting the show in any way gets no sympathy from me, and only tells me that you were completely ignorant of how Survivor really works. This is the show’s 17th season, so you have no excuse. Asked why he was asking to be voted out, he explained that growing up he had to deal with a lot of suffering, and as far as this show was concerned, “I’m kinda done suffering.” Whatever. Goodbye.

7. When Fang rooted through Sugar’s bag and found the hidden immunity idol, I’m sure we all thought she was completely done for. There was no way that she was going to play it against their presumed tribal council blindside against her, even though Probst basically told her in as many words that they already found out her secret. It was very dumb to vote off GC despite his desire to quit, because they could have easily talked him into playing better at the challenges and gotten rid of the alliance they were so intent on destroying only an episode earlier, and thus put the idol back into play. Watch out, Sugar. You can’t be that lucky a second time.

Most intense game of jai lai. Ever.

Most intense game of jai alai. Ever.

8. The Throw The Fruit Over The Goal Without Having It Destroyed By Swinging Clubs challenge looked like a whole lotta fun. They should add that to the Survivor attraction at Great America, along with some of the better small challenges. It’d get me to buy a season pass to that amusement park again after about ten years of not having one.

The Husband:

After last week’s near-implosion of the Fang tribe, said by EW and Probst himself to at that point to be perhaps the worst tribe in the history of the television program, they bounced back quite efficiently, winning in both the reward challenge (one by the name of Tear The Other Tribe’s Member Off Of A Pole In Any Goddamn Way You Can And Drag Them Half-Naked Across The Sand Until You Cross A Predetermined Line) and the immunity challenge (Slide Down The Best Slip-‘N-Slide Ever And Have Your Respective Nerd Solve A Simple Math Puzzle). This shouldn’t have been too much of a surprise, though, because the show editors felt it very necessary to show us Ace, a member of the Kota tribe, proclaim at his camp that hey, they are already sleeping just fine at camp and don’t need to waste good human energy on a reward challenge that would give them blankets and other such amenities. They the proceeded to make their tiniest member, Paloma, one of the two cast members from Kota to be ripped off said pole. That’s only an excuse for one challenge loss, but Kota’s members were already in such disarray by the end of the reward challenge — including Sugar The Pin-Up Model Who Was On Angel being sent to Exile Island — that their fate was simply in the hands of the Survivor gods, thus leading to a good-for-television loss.

Nothing says Africa more than a Slip n Slide.

Nothing says Africa more than a Slip n' Slide.

Oh, and about Sugar The Pin-Up Model Who Was On Angel on Exile Island (which seems to not actually be an island but just another isolated part of the compound with a lake in the middle). Despite all proclamations from other cast members and online bloggers about her airheadedness, they will in due time be eating their words. Why? Because after almost collapsing from emotional and physical exhaustion on the “island (but not really) of exile,” she found the hidden immunity idol. Is this the earliest in a season a cast member has found the idol since they instituted one? I don’t have the evidence in front of me, nor do I feel like researching it, but only three rounds into the competition seems like a new record.

I don’t think she should have told Ace about the idol just yet, despite their friendship, because if we learned anything from last year — what with “Favorite” Jason being coerced into giving up the idol at Tribal Council, only to be voted off minutes later — that you should probably keep that info to yourself until absolutely necessary.

Every island needs its equivalent of The Professor. Even when the islands are just jungles in Africa.

Every island needs its equivalent of The Professor. Even when the islands are just jungles in Africa.

In the lead-up to Kota’s first Tribal Council, Corinne the self-proclaimed bitch of the season acted all Michelle Costa-style paranoid and said in her confessional that she considered Ace to be such a con artist that his accent probably wasn’t even real. What the eff?! Bitchy is one thing. Stupid is another.

At Tribal Council, all conversation was basically reduced to Paloma and Ace bickering back-and-forth, leading Jeff to suggest they may have been brother and sister in another life.

Paloma: Yeah, in another world. In a thousand years. And I’m dead.
Jeff: Wow.

But all of Ace’s obnoxious qualities — his tribe members see it as negativity and snobbery while he sees it as pragmatism — could only muster up two votes against him, thus leading to the ouster of Paloma.

As far as the rest of the game is going, I would say to keep your eyes on Charlie The Gay Lawyer. He could be this year’s Todd The Gay Mormon Flight Attendant — by which I mean that they both seem sneaky, smart and potential winners, not that they both happen to be gay. Gay does not equal going far in the game, nor does it indicate deviousness. I give you Brandon the Shrieking Queen who couldn’t even fire an arrow from the first Africa season and Chet The Wilting (And Bleeding) Flower from Fans Vs. Favorites. I rest my case.

“If Ace wins the million dollars, I’ll probably never watch Survivor again.” –Paloma, during her exit interview

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