Archive for September, 2012

Real World/Road Rules Challenge: Battle of the Seasons, Week 2 Power Rankings

“This is rookie justice. That’s all this is. This is the rookie revolution.” —Frank

 

 

“I’ve never wrestled in oil. I’m excited to do it.”—Chet

 

This season of the Challenge is harder than any other to recap, for the simple reason that I still have no idea who these people are. Frank? Robb-with-two-Bs? Knight? These guys sound like a forgotten ‘90s boy band.

Luckily for me, though, the teams have made it easier for me by falling into nice, neat alliances already. Surprisingly, the dominant alliance is led by the rookies: San Diego, New Orleans, Cancun, and Las Vegas have teamed up, and those four teams had a majority of the players going into last night’s challenge. The team does have some vets, like Alton, Trishelle, and CJ, but it’s mostly rookies, and the leader/most-vocal-member appears to be Frank. Continue reading

Monday Medley

What we read while Mitt Romney convinced us to take responsibility for our lives…

Real World/Road Rules Challenge: Battle of the Seasons, Week 1 Power Rankings

“Danny and Melinda couldn’t work out their marriage; I can’t imagine they’re going to work on a team together.” —Nan

 

 

 

“We can win the money and then we can go back to Square One: hating each other.” — Chet

 

 

Aaaaaaaaaand we’re back! MTV is back with another edition of the Challenge. This time it’s Battle of the Seasons, and I have so many questions: Who will win? Who will get stabbed in the back? Who ARE THESE PEOPLE?

While every season seems to have a few people I don’t recognize, this season is the first time that I almost can’t keep up. It’s like I’m watching a spin-off show, or The Challenge: The New Class. Of the seven seasons featured in the introduction, I never watched a minute of four of them—St. Thomas, Back to New Orleans, Back to San Diego*—and I watched less than half of Cancun; thank goodness the Las Vegas team includes some of the original Vegas cast… Continue reading

Monday Medley

What we read while Chicago public school students didn’t…

Top Ten Things To Be Excited About For the Fall TV Season

Every year this list gets harder and harder to write. After a spring of Mad Men, Girls, and Veep, followed by asummer of Breaking Bad, Louie, Wilfred, and Pretty Little Liars, fall is starting to look like the worst part of television’s year: another round of network shows destined to be cancelled after a few weeks, or so broad and grating that they’re hard to watch. Nevertheless, there’s usually something to be excited about, even if I have to dig deep to round out the list:

10) Ben & Kate Premieres September 25 on FOX

I’m throwing this on the list because it felt wrong not to include any new comedies, even if this year’s batch seems particularly uninspired. At least this one has Jim Rash’s writing partner, Nat Faxon, in it. Plus a cute kid…

Continue reading

Monday Medley

What we read while Peyton Manning’s head stayed on…

Unabated to the Quarterback: The NFC East

We’re taking a different route with our NFL preview this season. Eschewing typical predictions—those require some form of legitimate knowledge—we’re asking what each NFL team means. An NFL season is a research paper, and each team enters it with a thesis statement.

New York Giants (11-5)

Why Aren’t the Giants Any Better?

“Virtue is nothing but a just temper between propensities any one of which, if indulged to excess, becomes vice.” —Thomas Babington Macaulay

Our introductory question is perhaps a counterintuitive one, given how, you might remember, the Giants won the Super Bowl last season for the second time in five years. But New York was, by the basic measurements, the worst team to ever do so: Its 9-7 record was the worst by an eventual champion, and no team had ever advanced to the Super Bowl after accumulating a negative point differential during the regular season, let alone win one.

It is hard to reconcile, then, these two different Giants teams — the one that was so thoroughly mediocre during the regular season (they lost to the Redskins! Twice!) and the one that steamrolled the 15-1 Packers and edged the Niners and the Patriots in the playoffs. Which team are the Giants really?

The answer, and this has been true for some time, is frustratingly in the middle. The Giants are a flawed team capable of overcoming those flaws in short bursts but not, it seems, for sustained stretches.* They are the modern sports franchise that thrives when it is counted out: the embodiment of every “Nobody believed in us!” cliché. The us-against-the-world mentality seems particularly powerful in football, a sport so built on emotion and where wanting it more might actually mean something.

*The counter-argument you can make here is the first dozen games of 2008, when New York was 11-1.

On the other hand, the Giants would also be better served if the NFL were like the NBA, where mediocre regular seasons were routinely rewarded with playoff berths, so New York could coast from Weeks 1 to 17 and then do its thing each January.

People believe in the Giants again, which is precisely why they shouldn’t. Continue reading