Survivor: San Juan del Sur Finale

Going into this season, I never would have guessed I’d be rooting for one of the “Twinnies” from The Amazing Race to win. Yet for the past several weeks, I’ve been rooting for Natalie to win. In fact, by the time we got to the final five (even before that, really) I knew I wouldn’t be satisfied with anyone else winning. So, did she do it? Click on through if you’ve seen the episode.

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Survivor: Time to make some moves…

I missed writing about Survivor last week as the double episode threw me off. (AKA it didn’t end until 11pm here and I had to go straight o bed.) Last week, all conversations were about Jon and Jaclyn’s huge fight. It was silly, immature, and poor strategy. And they were both equally at fault. It was annoying to watch them bicker and behave like children, when better players are sitting on the jury.

I’ve noticed a trend with Jon and Jaclyn. Jaclyn is always the one to question other players, to suspect something is not right, to have a hunch about who should be trusted. And she’s usually right. Jon is always the one saying “No, I think it’s OK.”

This time, it was about Natalie. Natalie voted out Alec instead of Keith last week, when she wasn’t able to carry out her plan to blindside Jon. So she had to convince Jon and Jaclyn that her vote had been an error, the result of a misunderstanding, and that she was still part of her alliance. They believed her, and when Jaclyn wondered whether Natalie might be trying to pull one over on her, it was Jon who reassured her. And he paid for it.

Natalie was working behind their back. She’s wanted Jon out since he voted off Jeremy, and I respect the gal’s ability to hold a grudge. That was some patient game play.

Reward Challenge

The Reward Challenge was a close one. Keith, Missy and Jon won a spa day – but it came at a price for Missy, who sprained her ankle during the challenge. As this season’s players are wont to do, Jon decided to give up his spot at the reward. For his wife, you’d think, right? Nope! For Baylor. So, he let a blood pair go off and spend the day bonding with the one guy not in his alliance. Dumb move, bro! Jon has been way too trusting all along.

Baylor was already considering working with Natalie to oust Jon, and the time she spent with Keith during the reward seemed to help her make up her mind. Basically, she came away thinking “He’s not such a bad dude.” That is exactly what you do not want to happen at this stage of the game, Jon.

Natalie volunteered to go to Exile (again, as this season’s players are wont to do – why are they all so nice?!) which left Jon and Jaclyn alone at camp together. Perfect. Great. Hang out with the one person you know won’t turn on you.

Immunity Challenge

Natalie returned from a rough stay at Exile and was greeted with a bowl of rice by her tribe. It was more like a bowl of energy! She won the challenge, which had required a combination of steady-handedness and endurance. I am really, really impressed with Natalie this season. She’s tough, she’s good at challenges, and she played an under-the-radar game up until it was the right time to make a big move. I hope she wins.

Natalie, Baylor and Keith were all solid to vote for Jon. But Missy wouldn’t go back on the promise she’d made him. UGH. I hate loyalty. This is a game! What exactly did Missy expect to happen, had Keith been voted out? That would leave two couples and a single – so both sides would be voting for Natalie’s vote. Missy’s alliance with Jon had an expiration date on it no matter what.

The group decided to split the vote because of Jon’s not-so-secret Immunity Idol. Missy and Baylor voted Jaclyn, Natalie and Keith voted Jon, and Jaclyn and Jon voted Keith. It was a 2-2-2 tie, and Jon did not play his Idol. So, he was eliminated on the second vote. Where do you think that Idol is? In his pocket? It seems unlikely that he would have kept it hidden at camp, somewhere that Jaclyn could access it.

Next Week’s Finale

Only one more episode left! Like I said, I’m rooting for Natalie to win. I think her best shot is to go to final Tribal Council with Baylor and Missy. It’s the only combination that will let her sit next to people who do not have loved ones on the jury. Keith has a guaranteed vote in Wes, Jaclyn has a guaranteed vote in Jon, and Missy/Baylor have a guaranteed vote in each other. Plus, hopefully having the mother and daughter up there would split the votes of jury members who sympathize with them as a pair. (Though I believe Missy would receive more votes than Baylor.)

That said, Keith and Jaclyn seem more unlikable. Can anyone beat Natalie? I think if she can make it into the final three, she’s got a pretty decent shot at winning that money.

Missy could win, I think, if she goes to the finals without Nat. Keith and Jaclyn are desirable players to compete against, but I think she’ll bring Baylor to the end if she can. The same goes for Baylor – I think she’d win against Keith and Jaclyn, but I don’t see the mother/daughter duo breaking up by choice.

Who are you guys rooting for? Who do you think will win? (Theories only, no Internet spoilers!)

Stray thoughts:

  • The way Alec’s mouth hung open during Tribal Council says everything one would need to know about him.
  • Keith thought showers and massages were for girls, but then he found some bacon in the “spa food” wrap and regained his precious masculinity.
  • Jon believing that Nat screwed up the vote was stupid enough. Him telling Jaclyn that he’d definitely “bring it up with the jury” was another thing. It’s not a job interview, dude. It won’t be a deciding factor for them.
  • Missy will struggle through her final days with a sprained ankle. Damn – everyone should get injured at the end of the game! That makes you look like such a baller to the jury!
  • What doesn’t make Missy look like a baller is the speech she made about loyalty right before she flipped on Jon.
  • Jon saying that Natalie winning Immunity made up for her screwing up their vote says everything one would need to know about him.
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Survivor – You’ve Gotta Risk It To Get The… Wings?

survivor episode 10Finally, real game-play! I think this might have been the best episode of Survivor so far this season, and I really hope the excitement continues through to the finale. Moves were made, Idols were played, plans were whispered at Tribal Council. It was great!

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Survivor: Exiled

survivor tribeWow, that was harsh.

This season of Survivor has been a bit lackluster, but at least we’re starting to see the alliances shift and players are beginning to make big moves. None of these people have the amount of strategic intelligence that Boston Rob has in his pinky finger, but it’s better than nothing.

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The Problems With This Week’s ‘Parenthood’

NBC is currently airing the final season of Parenthood, a show I love. It’s the sixth season, and will be thirteen episodes long. So, we’re in the home stretch.

Jason Katims has made great final seasons before. I adore the final season of Friday Night Lights. But we’re in the home stretch now (this week’s “Aaron Brownstein Must Be Stopped” was episode eight) and I have some concerns.

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Survivor: Full of Hot Air

merged tribeWow. The players on this season of Survivor are full of sh–, literally. Pre-merge, this season was already one of the weakest we’ve seen in a while. I blame that entirely on the cast. There were too many poor players to allow for good strategy. I think players like Jeremy, Josh and Reed could be great if they were playing against equal competitors. I liked my pick for the season, Kelley, and wish she’d gotten to play more. Even Natalie is surprising me.

But then there’s Rocker and Julie and Wed and Alec and Drew and Baylor and Missy and probably a few other total morons who are dragging this season down. I mean, when the most interesting part of an episode is an awkward conversation centered entirely around bodily functions, you know things are bad.

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‘Happy Endings’ Alumni: Where are they now?

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When The Mindy Project added former Happy Endings cast member Adam Pally to their show, I was thrilled. I want to see each and every person from that show working. (Except for maybe the guy who played Dave, because… he was such a Dave.)

Pally has blended in well with the new show, and has been the centre of a few of my favorite episodes.

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I was also happy to see Damon Wayans Jr. rejoin the cast of New Girl has Coach (he had been in the pilot), though that transition wasn’t as smooth. New Girl already as a large cast, and I don’t think they’ve quite figured out how to best use Wayans. His character Brad on Happy Endings was much more fully-formed, and funnier, than Coach. New Girl was struggling when they made the addition, and though the show has been stronger this season than last, I don’t think it has fully recovered. I’ve adored The Mindy Project this season, but I only continue to watch New Girl out of habit and the hope that it will get better.

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This fall, two new shows popped up featuring more Happy Endings cast members. Marry Me is a show I was looking forward to ever since I read about it. I was hoping to love this show, because it’s the work of so many people I like. It stars Casey Wilson (Penny on Happy Endings) and Ken Marino (of Veronica Mars and Party Down semi-fame), and was created by David Caspe. Caspe created Happy Endings and is now married to Casey Wilson.

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Unfortunately, this show has been almost unbearable for me to watch. Wilson is playing a character so similar to Penny, that the show might as well be a spin-off of Happy Endings. (In fact, it does take place in the same world. It’s shot on the same fake Chicago set, and included a crossover character in one episode.) Her chemistry with Marino is decent, but we’re only a few episodes in and I already think these recently engaged characters fight too much. The plots are too inane, the humor is too broad, and the supporting cast is too one-dimensional. I’ll keep watching, because I think sitcoms often take a while to find their groove. But I’ve severely lowered my expectations.

Then there’s Benched. It’s a little show on the cable network USA starring Eliza Coupe, who played Jane on Happy Endings. She plays an ambitious attorney who has a nervous breakdown and becomes a public defender.

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The show is basically a vehicle to show off what a great comedian Coupe is, but I already think the supporting cast is more interesting than that of Marry Me. It’s only two episodes in, but I’m already intrigued enough to keep watching.

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