Archive for March, 2012

The Double Bonus: Final Four Preview

The Double Bonus podcast is back to break down the most important questions of this year’s Tournament: What was this year’s worst commercial? Are all 15-2 upsets alike? How did the winner of the West Region not start with the letter “M”? And just how bad was Duke this year? Tim and John S also break down the Final Four, and make predictions for every possible iteration of this weekend. They also break the mold with their choice of theme music. Click here to have your mind completely blown!

Real World/Road Rules Challenge: Battle of the Exes, The Grand Finale

“I know I don’t have a rocket scientist as a partner, so this is basically going to be the blind leading the blind.” —Johnny

 

 

“I just want to say: Johnny, you’re the worst person to motivate someone.” —Camila

Spreading the final challenge over two episodes has some obvious logic to it: It allows MTV to continue making them more and more difficult every season, and it led to a nice cliffhanger ending last week, with the shot of the three team’s sleeping on the mountain. The problem, though, is that it meant that last night’s episode was all one challenge. There was no foreshadowing or exposition or storylines being set up.

While I appreciate the leanness of an episode like that—as opposed to the filler included last week—it can diminish some of the payoff of the ending. So when Diem was trying to get C.T. motivated, or when Ty/Emily briefly took the lead, there wasn’t as much resonance as there should have been because the episode lacked any real personal moments in the house (like Abram declaring that he has “always been good at” final challenges before crapping out in Cutthroat, or Landon vowing to do whatever it takes before pushing his partner up a mountain in Fresh Meat II).

The finale began in the middle of a challenge, with TJ Lavin rousing our contestants at 5 AM to begin the second day of the final. Continue reading

Real World/Road Rules Challenge: Battle of the Exes, Week 9 Power Rankings

“What? Iceland? Who goes to Iceland?” —Emily

 

 

“I’m scared to die.” —Camila

 

 

First off, my most sincere apologies for the delay on this week’s rankings. I was unavoidably detained. Luckily, I will be able to provide a prompt recap of this week’s finale.

Last week’s episode, on the other hand, seemed like a lot of filler. With two teams needlessly sent home at the beginning of the season, MTV had to do some reshuffling to reach the usual ten episodes for a season of The Challenge. As a result, the episode killed a lot of time focusing on Mark’s choice of headgear and Robin’s latest crisis of confidence before getting to the task at hand: The final Dome. Continue reading

Questions Inspired by Slate’s Explainer

Slate’s Explainer column recently tackled its toughest question yet: “Why are there so few dunks in women’s basketball?” Amazingly, the column was longer than just, “They’re shorter”—it stretched on for 473 words.

This got me thinking that perhaps this is a neglected field for blogging. Perhaps there is an underfed market of people seeking answers to questions that you would never think required explanation. Here at NPI, we aim to please, so over the next few weeks, prepare for us to explain the questions so tricky that they never even occurred to you to ask. Questions like: Continue reading

Monday Medley

What we read while putting away our hoodies and Skittles…

Monday Medley

What we read while debating the merits of Spandau Ballet…

The Double Bonus: NCAA Tournament Preview

It’s the return of the Double Bonus Podcast! The NCAA Tournament has brought Tim and John S out of their unintentional retirement. Today they break down all four regions, pick all 32 games in the First Round (We don’t buy into the new terminology here at NPI), and make their Final Four predictions. Neither technical glitches nor an utter lack of awareness of what happened in college basketball this season slowed them down! It’s a podcast so long it had be split in two: Listen here for Part One, and here for Part Two, the grand finale!

Real World/Road Rules Challenge: Battle of the Exes, Week 8 Power Rankings

“That’s one of the dumbest moves I’ve seen in Challenge history…” —TJ Lavin

 

“Robin is actually doing exceptionally well: She hasn’t totally freaked out and she’s not crying yet!” —Mark

 

One of the biggest factors determining whether or not a reality show contestant is well-liked has to be how entitled he or she seems. Players who come into the game acting as if they are somehow owed a pass to the finals come off as spoiled, whereas audiences will root for anyone if they feel he’s earned his keep.

Compare, for example, Camila and Paula in last night’s episode of Battle of the Exes. When C.T./Diem announced their decision to send Dunbar/Paula into the Dome—a puzzling decision that even TJ criticized—Paula took it in stride and didn’t complain, even though it pitted her against her new beau Ty. Dunbar was a little confused, but only because he didn’t understand the logic behind the move. Continue reading

Against Brackets

There is nothing better than March Madness. But like all great things, March Madness gets exploited in the name of some stupid shit. And the ubiquity of various pop culture brackets every March is one of the most annoying trends.

This year’s bracket du jour is Grandland’s “tournament” of characters from The Wire. On paper, I should love this, as it combines two of my favorite things: March Madness and The Wire. And while I’m always in favor of conversations about the greatest television show of all-time, I was only mildly pleased by Grandland’s bracket—and not just because of the huge flaws made by the committee.

Continue reading

Monday Medley

What we read while Joseph Kony stood up to his cyberbullies…