Archive for February, 2012

Monday Medley

What we read while Billy Crystal sang…

Real World/Road Rules Challenge: Battle of the Exes, Week 5 Power Rankings

“Camila turns into the Camilanator and I don’t even know what happens to this girl.” —Paula

 

“Emily competes almost like a dude.”

—Mark

 

How is MTV’s Challenge like this Republican primary season? Well, in many ways, but the most obvious is the pressure that comes with being the frontrunner. Following in the tradition of Rick Perry, Newt Gingrich, and Herman Cain, Johnny and Camila seemed to crack under that pressure last night.

The episode began with the cast drinking and carousing at Club Ohno—the name would be an ominous presage of what would come. Signs of discord began at Ohno—Oh no! Camila doesn’t think Johnny is paying enough attention to her and Oh no! Camila is drinking way too much—but things really came to a head back at the house, when a drunk Camila fell asleep in Johnny’s bed. Rather than sleeping somewhere else or just sidling up next to her, Johnny decided to kick her out. Someone—I believe it was Ty—made the mistake of telling Camila that Johnny was “really pissed off,” which sent Camila into a screaming, chair-throwing, walking-into-the-pool-with-clothes-on rage. Continue reading

Monday Medley

What we read while ESPN got a little carried away with the Jeremy Lin jokes…

Real World/Road Rules Challenge: Battle of the Exes, Week 4 Power Ranking

“I just want to be on the same page as her, and I don’t know what page she’s on… or what chapter. I don’t know what book she’s reading.” —C.T.

 

“What is a second? It’s like… a second!” —Jasmine

As reality television has grown and evolved, a lot of attention has been paid to producers’ Orwellian attempts to spy on every aspect of the participants’ lives: The Real World producers alone have infamously put microphones in headboards to capture the cast’s pillow-talk, filmed a cast member receiving the news that his mother died, and captured a girl getting slapped in the face. Lost in all of this, though, is the fact that the secret to reality TV’s success is what the cameras don’t show.

Last night’s episode of Battle of the Exes was a perfect example. With Johnny/Camila once again in the position of Power Couple, they have to choose which team to send into the Dome against Tyrie and Jasmine. Johnny is leaning toward sending in Rachel, who voted against him on The Island (Dude, can hold a grudge—that Challenge was almost four years ago), and her partner, Aneesa, but Mark, Rachel’s friend, tries to intervene on her behalf. Continue reading

The Worst Commercial Ever

This is probably the worst commercial I have ever seen. It is perfectly designed to make someone never want to use Ancestry.com.

To recap: This commercial introduces us to Scott Krinsky, a regular guy who has a cute little story about where his ancestors came from: “The story was that my grandfather was born on the boat on the way over here. In school they had us put a tack on the map where our grandparents were born: Mine was in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.” You can even hear the happiness in his voice as he tells the story. Then he goes on Ancestry.com and finds out… no, that’s not what happened. His grandfather was born in Poland, like tens of millions of other people. Continue reading

Monday Medley

What we read while Adele gave acceptance speeches… 

Real World/Road Rules Challenge: Battle of the Exes, Week 3 Power Rankings

“I’m loving me some Paula right now. She’s nailing these questions.” —Dunbar

 

Emily: “You’re a little scared, in my opinion…”

Paula: “She is correct! …Yes ma’am! Have you seen you?”

So the contestants this season are really dropping like flies. After last week, when Vinny and Sarah were sent home for Vinny’s sexual harassment, a fluke injury to Dustin when he tripped on some stairs ended up sending him and his partner, Heather, home before last night’s first commercial break. Battle of the Exes is rapidly turning into a battle of attrition.

Dustin and Heather’s departure left only nine teams for last night’s challenge, and man was last night’s challenge lame. I can only assume MTV’s producers wanted an extra week off or something, because “Mental Connection” was obviously put together in under ten minutes: Players were asked questions and, when they got one wrong, they were flung from a catapult into a river. It was just a really dangerous* trivia game. Continue reading

2012=2004?

Two of a Kind

With Mitt Romney’s nomination by the Republican Party all but inevitable now, many pundits have started to point out how this year’s election bears an uncanny resemblance to the 2004 election. Most of them, though, focus on Romney’s resemblance to the ’04 Democratic nominee, John Kerry. And those resemblances are obvious: Kerry and Romney are both wealthy patricians from Massachusetts; both come with a reputation for flip-flopping and have a problem connecting with the common voter; both had a relatively easy primary season, despite not being particularly well-liked by their party’s base; both ascended largely by virtue of “electability”; Kerry was, just as Romney is, the least objectionable alternative to the incumbent president.

The similarities are eerie, but enough has been said about them that I won’t add more.* What’s more interesting to me is how the similarities hold true on the other side of the aisle. In other words, I expect President Obama’s reelection campaign to look a lot like George W. Bush’s.

*Although here’s one more: They each have weird middle names. “Mitt” and “Forbes”? Really? What the hell is that?

Imagine, for a second, that you are a political operative working for Obama, and that your main goal is to get Obama reelected. What would you do? Well, I’m not an expert (obviously), but it seems like you’d do three things. First, you’d desperately try to avoid talking about the economy. Second, you’d try to focus on foreign policy and social issues. And, lastly, you’d try to make your opponent look out of touch. Continue reading

Monday Medley

What we read while accidentally scoring a game-winning touchdown…

Prior to the Snap: Super Bowl XLVI

So here we are: This is it.

I should have asked earlier; do you want an epigraph? Only one?

Knock yourself out: “It seems to me I am trying to tell you a dream—making a vain attempt, because no relation of a dream can convey the dream-sensation, that commingling of absurdity, surprise, and bewilderment in a tremor of struggling revolt, that notion of being captured by the incredible which is the very essence of dreams.” —Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness

“All great deeds and all great thoughts have a ridiculous beginning.” —Albert Camus, “The Myth of Sisyphus”

“In truth the way matters but little; the will to arrive suffices.” —Ibid

“This, to use an American term, in which discovery, retribution, torture, death, eternity appear in the shape of a regularly repulsive nutshell, was it.” —Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita

Those last two sound familiar: There are only so many that work that well for a Super Bowl.

Are you at least excited for this one? Obviously. But two weeks is still too long. This game needs to be played the week after the championship games.

But a week’s too short! Play the game on Wednesday!

Continue reading