Eric Stein's Reality TV Wrap - America's Playa On Survivor, Amazing Race, Biggest Loser...
By Eric Stein
You know the excitement that you get when you hear the Ice Cream Man driving down your block on a warm summer's day? Well, multiply that feeling by 100 and that's what you have right here. I don't think it'd be going too far to call today "Christmas in May." And the reason? I, Eric Stein, am bringing my expertise to Realitywanted.com. For those of you who aren't familiar with me...you've been missing out...but here's the scoop. I was America's Player on Big Brother 8. Without exaggeration, it may have very well been one of the biggest, season-long individual twists in reality TV history. Since I like exaggeration though...let's call it positively, undoubtedly, the premier, number one, heavyweight champion of reality TV twists. The only other thing you really need to know about me is that I am one of the 25 biggest wastes of potential in this entire country. I am lazy, highly unmotivated, and value relaxation above and beyond all else. That commitment to nothingness has allowed me to become one of the preeminent, be all end all authorities on all things reality TV. If you don't believe me, read on. Since it's finale week for many of the reality big boys, let's get right down to business.
If you say something adamantly enough and continue to repeat it, does it eventually become the truth? Debbie and Coach have been suffering from what I like to call "liar's denial." Their indignant quests for the truth have been one of the most fascinating aspects of the show in recent weeks. Debbie went off on Sierra, citing "I am a 46 year old woman...I don't need to deal with a lying, 23 year old girl." Ironically, Debbie was lying through her teeth at the time. Don't get me wrong...I love liars. However, I don't like liars who don't think they are lying. And they seem to have deluded themselves into believing they are speaking the truth. Speaking of Coach, he is an excellent character...but he's a terrible player. He is transparent and mistakenly believes himself to be in control of a game that he lost control of weeks ago. Talk about Captain Delusional!
With Debbie's ouster, Taj/Stephen/JT have secured themselves as the final 3. It's a rare season of Survivor in which the three people who played the best games make it to the end...but I believe that is what we have here. By instigating a scenario in which the original Timbura members turned on each other at the merge, they took complete control of the game. That said...I don't believe that they have played the perfect game these past few weeks. In Big Brother, you need to hedge your bets because your enemy has the chance of becoming the next Head of Household or winning the Power of Veto. However, Survivor is purely a numbers game...so once you take control, there is no need to play both sides anymore. In turn, why would you target Sierra (a weak individual) before you'd target Debbie/Coach (a strong duo)? By stringing them along, all they've done is made their ultimate blindsides pointlessly aggressive. Nonetheless, they are going to be your final 3 and a deserving one at that. While Stephen and Taj will be able to better articulate their claims to the title, look for JT to take home the victory. His combination of perceived challenge skills and perceived likeability will result in the jury rewarding him.
THE CELEBRITY APPRENTICE
The dream showdown! Joan "The World's #1 Comedian...and London's Too" Rivers vs. Annie "The Whore Pit Viper Hitler" Duke in a battle for supremacy. This is a prizefight that I would buy on Pay Per View. As Brandy Roderick would say..."Holy S-R-A-P." Much like Survivor and the soon to be discussed Amazing Race, the brilliance of this reality TV season is that the best of the best are battling it out in the end (which is oh so very rare in the reality TV landscape). I do have some complaints about this week's episode though. Why did we have to rush the final 5 to a final 2 in one episode? We've invested so much time into this as viewers, why would we want to plow through the most important part of the game? Also, I take exception to the notion that Jessie James should be fired because he didn't enlist his wife's services. I mean if she cut a $100,000 check to charity, would he automatically win the game? At the same time, his repeated insistence that he's merely a blue-collar guy is absurd as well. The man owns a company with 500 employees, has TV shows galore, magazines, and is married to a woman who earns $20 million per film. Sure, he may have a blue-collar mentality, but let's not go crazy here Jessie. This is the one finale that I'm truly torn about the outcome. Joan Rivers has proven to be extremely talented and quick-witted...we'd be grossly wrong to count her out. Annie profiles very similarly to last year's winner, Piers Morgan. I think that they should put them into a Thunderdome and have them fight to the death to declare a winner. Cluck, cluck, cluck, cluck...SPLASH!
THE AMAZING RACE
This week brought us the most ludicrous elimination in the history of the show, as Jen cost her team a chance at the prize by taking a bathroom break. Um, whaaaaaaa?!?!? This is completely mortifying and inexplicable. You're not racing for $20 and a high five...this is a race for a million dollars! You better be damn certain that I would wet myself for a million dollars. Are you kidding me? Hell, I'd probably do it for $300, haha. They were even wearing some long flowing gowns...nobody would be the wiser. How about a cup? The floor of the cab? Or how about being a big girl and holding it for 5 more minutes and then going at the rest stop?!? This was astounding. There is NO WAY that I would have ever allowed my partner to do that. Jen, you should be ashamed of yourself. By the way, can't wait to meet you this weekend - hope you haven't read this article by then, haha.
Otherwise, this has been a high-quality, bounce back season for the race. There were several inspired casting choices that allowed for us to pick favorites to get behind. From the endearing Mel & Mike, to the boundlessly energetic Mark & Michael, to the "sinister deaf kid" Luke...there was something for everybody. Once again, I believe that the two best teams will be finishing one and two. How refreshing! Whether you love him or hate him, you have to give it to Luke & Margie. They are at a decided disadvantage, as Margie needs to do all of the driving for her team and Luke is unable to communicate directions to her while her eyes are on the road. There's no doubting that they have been front-runners from the beginning, along with Victor & Tammy. Tammy has to be one of the most down to Earth, levelheaded contestants to ever appear on the race. Combine that quality with their overt intelligence and their travel experience, and Victor and Tammy are going to be your winners.
THE BIGGEST LOSER
Another bounce back season, with MUCH more weight to lose and MUCH more likable characters. Last season it became a dastardly game with the vile henchmen Vicki & Heba running the show. Thankfully, this season we had the likes of Kristen who had the perfect perspective on the process and Tara, who has whooped the boys' butts for weeks on end. I've heard a lot of people referring to Ron as a manipulative villain. I couldn't disagree more. See, there are three types of reality TV players. Those who solely make for good TV, those who are there to play the game and not to make good TV, and those who do both. Put yourself in Ron's shoes. Their health and a whole lotta cash is on the line. Wouldn't you do anything within you power to help your own child succeed? Ron is doing what any good father would do in this situation and he's done it well. I can assure you, he could care less what the public opinion of him is, so long as Mikey wins the game. Last year, America blatantly disregarded Heba & Ed's plea to advance her into the final 3. Do not look for a repeat of that this year. America is going to vote Mikey into the final 3 and Mikey is going to deservedly win the game.
AMERICA'S NEXT TOP MODEL
I hate Tyra Banks. She is right on the top of my "5 Celebrities I'd Like To Punch" list. She is beyond fake, unnatural, patronizing, and permanently up on her soapbox. She drives me insane. Why did they cast the 25-year-old Celia on the show, if they were simply going to hold it against her the entire season anyway? Once she was cast, they should have dropped the age issue...or why have her in the first place? Also, Natalie was completely screw-jobbed. She was the deserving winner of this show and Tyra just seemed to personally dislike her. Man, she was so hot it makes me want to cry. Although she is the remaining contestant that I'd most like to have lunch with, Allison has no chance of winning...she can barely even walk. Aminat certainly is the most modelesque of the finalists, but she's struggled with the basic model fundamentals since the beginning. That leaves us with Teyona, who has been solid throughout but doesn't quite possess the born-in looks that Aminat possess. It's a coin toss between the two...if forced to pick, I'll go with Teyona for the win.
In my estimation, Adam Lambert is in a class of his own. From day one, he has just been on a completely different plane of ability from the other singers. Don't get me wrong, Kris Allen and Danny Gokey are very talented guys, but I have friends who I go to karaoke with who sing as well as they do. On the other hand, Adam is a total world beater...he's an elite talent. On pure vocal ability, Adam has joined Clay Aiken as the strongest male singers to ever appear on the show. Ultimately, I am hoping that talent will win out...although America has seemingly had a love affair with The Gokey since day one, so neither result would surprise me. Kris Allen has been a great story. With absolutely no screen time in the audition rounds, he has gone on an unlikely run to the top. It reminds me of Elliott Yamin's underdog run from a few years back. And much like Yamin, he should go on to have a very solid career from the three hole. I'd also like to note that I have designs on becoming Megan Joy's second husband. I loved her quirk. And her extreme hotness. Hell, I was so enamored with her...I even loved her voice.
I LOVE MONEY 2
This was a GREAT show! I'd call it my guilty pleasure, but my love affair with this show goes well beyond that. Much like season 1, this show is just absolutely an instant classic. There is something about a group of not the smartest people competing in a high stakes mental game. And somehow, they manage to pull off some really genius moments of strategy. It (the man, not the pronoun) was hilarious. The Entertainer always brings great television (he's another Coach...awesome character, not so awesome player). However, kudos to Tailor Made who is that rare breed who manages to juggle his role as a great player, while still managing to be a great character. He played a brilliant game. I loved how he teamed up with It, who actually stole his flowers and took credit for buying them on I Love NY 2. Let bygones, be bygones, haha. The one thing that disappoints me about the show is that it's predominantly a mental game, which is ultimately decided by a predominantly physical final challenge. In turn, the person who dominated the entire game did not win in the end.
Not much to say about this really. I predict Paula for the win. Kudos to Danny though, whose girlfriend is way hotter than I would have ever expected her to be. Trust me, I can really appreciate reality TV stars that date over their heads. Gotta love "The Velvet Hammer." Haha.
Was there ultimately any point to this show? Not a single relationship ultimately came out of it. Considering that was the entire point of the show, that doesn't make Steve a very good matchmaker, now does it?
NEW YORK GOES TO WORK
I've seen this show before...it's called The Simple Life. Do they think we are so dumb that we have forgotten that already? It even has that very same scripted, half-reality quality that was so prevalent on The Simple Life. Having been through America's voting ringer, the one thing that I can guarantee is that the viewers will always pick the worst option of the three for her. You'd think I'd be sympathetic to that, but actually I just take solace in knowing that other people have to go through it like I did.
THE ULTIMATE FIGHTER
Ultimate irony this week on The Ultimate Fighter. A fighter was offered a $100 bonus from his teammate if he knocked out his opponent's tooth during their fight. Guess what? His opponent knocked out his teeth instead. Whoops. Serves him right.
*The best sound bytes from this week in reality television*
"I grew out my big toe for 6 months...and then someone came along with vicious, malicious intent and they cut those toenails. And that is why I had to do what was right and call him into the Duel." -Real World/Road Rules Challenge's Isaac on why he called Landon into the Duel
"Apparently, his testicles are bleeding. I'm sorry, there's no way to sugar coat that one...his testicles are bleeding." Make Me a Supermodel's Sandhurst commenting on a manscaping incident on set
"I'm not afraid to put on my assertive panties to get things done." Andrea on Hell's Kitchen
"Yes, I do regret it...cause she doesn't have a mustache." The Celebrity Apprentice's Joan Rivers on whether or not she regrets calling a fellow contestant Hitler
"I feel like a crack head in the Crack Olympics or somethin'." and "I'm not gonna run across that things even if I had wings." - An incoherent IT sharing his thoughts on the competition on I Love Money 2
"I don't speak gibberish...I speak Canadian English." - Evan on Real World/Road Rules Challenge
"Go ahead and cry...it's male domination, get it. This world is run by bitches." The Fashion Show's Merlin while trying to be a good team leader
"I don't want my son to be, well you know...gay...so I walk around the house naked all the time." - Make Me a Supermodel's Amanda sharing some disturbing parenting tips
"Light competition, red dishes I've played before. Oil comes again to please the mouth. Good doll basket drum." (....) "We black, not Chinese." - The Amazing Race's Jen & Kisha trying to speak Chinese
"Okay, so we won't have the World's #1 Comedian...London's too...do any comedy. I'll just walk across like Helen Keller would have." -The Celebrity Apprentice's Joan Rivers trying to sell project manager, Clint Black, on why she should be allowed to say "cluck, cluck, cluck, cluck...SPLASH!" during their presentation.http://www.realitywanted.com/newsitem/1925-eric-steins-reality-tv-wrap-americas-playa-on-survivor-amazing-race-biggest-loser