Tag Archives: reality show

Earthquake night on “Big Brother”

Just finished watching tonight’s episode of “Big Brother” and all I can say is…wow. Not only did we get to see the houseguest’s stunned reactions to the earthquake we had down here on Tuesday, but we also got to see one of the strangest Head of Household competitions ever.

And for some totally wrong-headed reason the producers decided to end tonight’s episode with an earthquake-themed HOH competition.

Yep, you heard me, two days after the Los Angeles area was shaken by a 5.4 magnitude tremblor, “Big Brother” staged a mock earthquake as part of one of their competitions. Wow, man…that takes balls!

I’m sure they figured: “Hey, nobody died, it’s cool to have a little earthquake-tastic fun, right?” But man, talk about bad taste. After this week’s eviction — I won’t spoil it for you by telling you who got the boot — the houseguests lined up on the ledge of a two-story building facade in the backyard.

The rules were simple, whoever stays put on the ledge wins this week’s Head of Household. For you non-BB fans, that’s means you are immune from going home and actually in charge of nominating two people for eviction during your one week reign as HOH.

So, after the housequests took their places on the ledge, the entire facade began to slowly rotate forward, forcing them to hold on tight or risk falling off into the padded plastic mats below.

And then, the real shocker came when our beloved Chenbot — who I’m sure had nothing to do with this tasteless ratings ploy — uttered these immortal words: “You all felt the earthquake the other day, houseguests? Well, you should know, when there are earthquakes, there are always aftershocks!”

And then, to our horror, the building facade began to violently shake as sawdust rained down upon the startled housequests. I swear to God, Christine and I just paused the Tivo and stared at one another: “Um…are they really doing this?”

I mean, sure, no one died in Chino Hills, hell, nothing major even broke or crumbled, but still…an earthquake-themed HOH so soon after a real earthquake? Really?? What’s next, flaming wildfire competitions? Yikes…

And to make matters even worse, they ended the show without showing us the result of the competition! Which means we have to wait till freaking Sunday to see who won HOH! Argh!!

For shame, Chenbot, for shame…

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The Chenbot is not amused…

By now you’ve probably all seen this year’s list of Emmy nominees — if you haven’t, you can download the full list of nominees here — overall, this year’s crop was a pretty decent bunch. Glad to see smaller basic cable shows like “Mad Men” and “Breaking Bad” swing a few major nominations, but at our house, the news was all about who was not nominated.

And no, I’m not talking about the extremely talented cast and crew of “The Riches” or the writers of “Lost”, but rather, the elegant Chinese robot that is “Big Brother” host Julie “Chenbot” Chen.

With the announcement earlier this year that the TV Academy was adding a Best Reality Host category, we thought for sure our beloved Chenbot was a lock for a nomination. Of course, we expected to hear the names, Jeff Probst, Heidi Klum, and even cheesy old Ryan Seacrest…but what no one expected was to hear the next two names on the list: Howie Mandel and Tom Bergeron?!

Are you kidding me? Have you seen their shows? The best things on both “Deal Or No Deal” and “Dancing with the Stars” have absolutely nothing to do with those two ham-fisted windbags! I mean, really, take them out of the equation and the shows are just as good, or, you know…bad…without them.

But “Big Brother” without the Chenbot is just a bunch of crazy, white trash drunkards trapped in a house with cameras. Now, I’m not saying I wouldn’t watch that show too, but a huge part of what makes “Big Brother” so awesomely watchable is that cool, shiny-haired Chenbot!

So…any way you look at it, our girl got straight-up robbed this week, yo!

I guess our only consolation is that the tenth season — yeah I said tenth, you got a problem with that Emmy voters?! — of “Big Brother” started last week, so that gives us all summer long to enjoy the strangely lifelike beauty of our favorite Chinese robot! And better yet, the show airs three nights a week…yah!

Emmy or not, long live the Chenbot!

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The “American Idol” Truth Tour

This Wednesday, the Writer’s Guild of America launched its first ever “American Idol Truth Tour” with a fiery press conference at WGA headquarters in the Fairfax district. Designed to promote awareness of the gross mistreatment of workers on Fremantle Media’s top-rated “American Idol”, the Truth Tour will follow this year’s “Idol” auditions from city to city to promote the cause.

And what a cause it is. Since “Idol” is a defiantly non-union show, the producers routinely break California and Federal labor laws by forcing many of their workers to pull 36 hour shifts with no breaks, no overtime and worst of all, no health benefits or residuals for the work they do on the show.

One former “Idol” production assistant revealed to the crowd on Wednesday that after factoring in all his time spent working on the show, he averaged about $4 an hour. That’s less than half the California minimum wage!

And as several of the Teamsters in the crowd pointed out, “Idol” is also one of the only shows in Hollywood to use non-union drivers. I think WGA Vice President David Weiss said it best when he scolded Fremantle for preying on the starry-eyed new-to-Hollywood crowd when hiring and then systematically using these people up and spitting them out at the end of each season.

Not only is this practice morally wrong, but it’s also illegal and with scores of pending lawsuits and labor board cases against Fremantle and several other producers of so-called “reality shows”, the heat in this kitchen is about to get pretty damn unbearable.

I guess the thing that really galls me — and I am a huge “Idol” fan by the way — is the fact that Fox and Fremantle spend so much time and money touting their massive “Idol Gives Back” charity each year, while at the same time denying their own workers the most basic of benefits. It’s just kind of mind-boggling that the same people that raise millions of dollars every year for charity could be so goddamn greedy when it comes to paying their own workers. Insanity!

So, though I did not get my act together in time to get on the Truth Tour bus to San Francisco — the site of this year’s first round of “Idol” auditions — my friend Patty and I did attend the early-morning press conference on Wednesday to show our support for our WGA brethren.

And I mean to tell ya, that crowd was fired up, baby! Slipping on our new Truth Tour t-shirts, swapping war stories with my fellow WGA strike veterans…man, it was like old home week at the WGA. And even though I didn’t bring much more than a camera with me to the press conference, I have to admit, I was pretty tempted to jump on that bus at the last minute and call it a day.

But to the hardy souls who did get on the bus and staged a rowdy protest at the “Idol” auditions yesterday at the Cow Palace, I say, rock on, writerly soldiers! Here’s to showing the world what really happens behind the scenes at the top-rated show in America!

All we can hope for now is that the press actually covers the Truth Tour events — stories about the press conference were virtually non-existent on the local news last night — and that maybe, just maybe, the soulless bastards at Fremantle will do the right thing and go union.

I know it’s a tall order, but hey, sometimes a little bad publicity is all it takes to make these corporate robots quake in their boots…so, for now, que viva la WGA Truth Tour!

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David Cook wins “American Idol”

Wow…if you told me last night that I would be typing the words above tonight, I would so not have believed you. I mean, seriously, any true “Idol” historian will tell you that traditional wisdom totally favored David Archuleta to win…but traditional wisdom was thankfully nowhere to be seen last night at the Nokia!

And in a stunning upset over his elfin, 17-year-old rival, Archuleta, David Cook, the 25-year-old former bartender from Tulsa, Oklahoma won the title of “American Idol” last night in Los Angeles.

Not only did our boy Cook win, but he won BIG…to the tune of 12 million more votes than Archuleta. And when you consider that a whopping 97 million votes were cast on Tuesday night — an “Idol” record! — the victory is even sweeter. Sure, Archuleta was a good-to-great singer, and as I said earlier, I will totally buy his inevitable cheesy Christmas CD when it comes out, but, as far as I’m concerned, America finally got their “Idol” picking right this time!

Christine and I were out last night and got home so late that we had to fast-forward through much of the show — especially those shameless Mike Meyers promos for his lame-ass new movie — but even in our hyper-tired state, we were both left kinda breathless by the show’s stunner of a twist ending. Christine was like: “Did he just say…David…Cook?” We literally had to rewind to make sure we heard Ryan Seacrest correctly. And as luck had it, we did!

So, bravo, David Cook…you deserve it, brother! And another huge shout out to everyone who voted on Tuesday night — shockingly, we did not vote as we kind of figured Archuleta had it in the bag — for making the last few minutes of the traditionally-bloated season ender so f-ing thrilling!

Seriously, “Idol” hasn’t had a switcheroo ending this big in years! And while the bartenders of America scramble to concoct a drink in Mr. Cook’s honor — come on, you know they will, he’s one of them! — I’ll sign off with a line from our favorite creepy, soft-core billboard for “Gossip Girl”…OMFG!

Que viva el idolo nuevo, David Cook!

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A Tale of Two Davids…

Tried “live blogging” last nights epic showdown between the two Davids on “American Idol”, but honestly, I couldn’t stop watching the show long enough to write. Yes, it was that good! And no matter how strongly you support one over the other, I think America is gonna have a hell of a time picking between these two enormously talented, but radically different singers.

As you know, like Wendy and my Aunt Debbie, Chistine and I are big time David Cook supporters, but I have to admit that I really dug the first two songs David Archuleta sang last night as well.

Christine will say it’s the old man in me talking — she delights in saying that Archuleta is “Seventeen going on seventy” — but I gotta tell ya, man, I was digging me some smooth Archuleta grooves last night.

Starting with Elton John and Bernie Taupin’s classic “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me”, that creepy little kid was kind of amazing. And though he didn’t “sing his face off” as Randy later described David Cook doing, Archuleta worked magic with his second song, the awesomely cheesy “In This Moment”. Seriously, if this kid ever puts out a Christmas song with this much over-produced melodrama…well, move over “Christmas Shoes”, cuz I’m gonna be all over that shit. I Loved it!

That’s not to say that David Cook didn’t rock the Nokia Theatre himself, because he totally did. Opening with a super cool, crowd-pleasing cover of U2’s “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”, Cook had the rock star thing going for him in spades. And the thing I dig most about him is that, unlike previous “Idol” rockers like the humorless Chris Daughtry and kind of snoozy Bo Bice, Cook has heart to spare.

Seriously, just thinking about the songs Cook could write on his own after he breaks free from the “Idol” shackles on his second album kind of gives me goosebumps. Christine, who loooves him, says Cook is the most heartfelt, real “Idol” since Kelly Clarkson, and seeing as Kelly remains our favorite past “Idol”, that’s some mighty praise indeed!

Cook’s second song, “Dream Big”, was even cooler. Pop rock at it’s best, the song had a jaunty Avril Lavigne meets the All-American Rejects vibe — yes, that’s a compliment as, aside from sappy Christmas songs, I also loves me some cheesy pop — that was kind of infectious! And man, did he rock that stage, totally showing the world what kind of fun, radio-friendly tunes he’ll churn out in the years to come!

Round three was more difficult for both singers with Archuleta dredging up his tired, crusty rehash of “Imagine” and Cook working what magic he could with a fairly decent cover of Collective Soul’s “The World I Know”. As expected, Christine loved Cook’s version of the song, but I really think both him and Archuleta peaked on their second songs, which, I might add, were written especially for them.

And even though we both found the Michael Buffer opening totally groan-worthy — if I never him say “Let’s get ready to rumble” again, I’ll die a happy man — I gotta say our inner Olympic nerds kind of loved the Olympic backstory montages with narration by Olympic legend, Jim Lampley. And who could resist the site of lechy old Andrew Lloyd Webber drooling all over the Davids at the piano. Yikes…Sir Andrew could give his “Phantom” a serious run for the money in the creepy old man department.

At the end of the night, stunt guest stars and lame boxing analogies aside, it was a pretty decent penultimate show for the aging “Idol” franchise. And no matter who wins tonight, you can be damn sure they’re both gonna sell more records than the show’s bizarre, “ghost of Christmas future” closing act, Season Two winner, Ruben Studdard.

I’m sorry, but trotting the second weakest winner in “Idol” history onto the stage to sing us out was just weird. It’s like the producers were issuing a warning to the two Davids…watch out, guys, or you might end up like Ruben, or God forbid, Taylor Hicks. Scary…

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Pack your bags, Jason Castro…

OK, I promised myself I would not blog about every twist and turn of fate on this season’s “American Idol”, but after witnessing Jason Castro’s spectacularly awful performance last night, well…I kind of had to say something. Simply put, this tuneless poser sucks!

Sure at the beginning of the show Christine and I were charmed by his funky look — Dreadlocks? On “Idol”? Cool! — and goofy personality, but over time we have come to see that everything about this dude is as fake as Ryan Seacrest’s tan.

We might hate that eerily sexless — not to mention soulless — David Archuleta kid for being too slick and manufactured, but we despise Jason Castro for acting like he’s something he’s not. I mean, love him or hate him, Archuleta at least knows what he’s angling for — a comfortably cheesy Clay Aiken-ish career — but Castro has taken “Idol” phoniness to an all time low.

There is literally no substance to Jason Castro whatsoever. He doesn’t know shit about music, he doesn’t care about anything to do with the show — Entertainment Weekly reported that he was bored with the show and missed several rehearsals last week because some of his friends were in town…really, dude? During finals?! — and worst of all, he has absolutely no concept of how lucky he is to have made it to the final four.

As far as I can tell, the one and only reason this loser is still on the show is because of that damn hair. But something tells me that the hair has carried him as far as it can. After his epically bad rendition of Bob Marley’s classic “I Shot the Sheriff” on last night’s show, even the audience seemed puzzled. I’m not kidding, it was probably one of the worst performances in “Idol” history…and that, my friends, is really saying something.

So, here’s hoping Simon’s parting words to the dreadhead ring true — he told a bored-looking Castro to “pack [his] bags” during last night’s show — and that the prophetic pic above comes to pass during tonight’s elimination episode.

In the meantime, I’ll have to take comfort in my fervent hope that America did the right thing last night and sent Castro packing, but as Seacrest pointed out on last night’s show…you never know. This is the week that fan-favorite’s Tamyra Gray and Chris Daughtry went home on their respective seasons as well…so, really, anything can happen.

Keeping that in mind, Christine voted for her favorite David Cook ten times last night and I gotta admit that I hit the old redial button a whopping 60 times for my favorite, Syesha Mercado. The thing that makes me hate Jason Castro even more right now is that I got through every time I called. Poor Syesha…

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“Project Runway” struts to Lifetime

In a shocking turn of events, it was announced this week that Bravo TV’s Peabody Award-winning reality series “Project Runway” is catwalking down the cable dial to Lifetime. Yep, Lifetime: Television for Women. I know…talk about a “hot trannie mess!”

Even weirder still is that NBC Universal (Bravo’s parent company) just sat by and let this happen. I mean, come on…”Runway” isn’t just the top-rated show on basic cable, but it’s a pop culture juggernaut that is well worth any price that savvy shyster Harvey Weinstein asked for it. To let an iconic show like that slip away, to Lifetime of all places, is just plain stupid.

Of course NBC was quick to sue the Weinstein Company for breach of contract, but with the ink already dry on the Lifetime deal, it all sounds like too little too late to me. And the fact that Lifetime has already announced that Season 6 will premiere on their network this November — Season 5, which is currently casting, will air on Bravo — pretty much seals NBC’s fate.

So, like many “Runway” fans, I guess we’re gonna have to follow Tim and Heidi over to Lifetime. There is still no word on whether regular “Runway” judges Michael Kors and Nina Garcia will be making the move as well, but barring any last-minute courtroom theatrics, the deal is done.

Basically, it sounds like the greedy bastards at NBC Universal (yeah, you heard me, Ben Silverman!) gambled that they could renew “Runway” on the cheap and lost…big time. Ha ha…suck it, NBC! Sorry, guess I still have a little residual strike rage going on…

In any case, I salute you, Harvey Weinstein! You stuck to your guns and got a way better deal — rumored to be somewhere in the range of $150 million for five years — with a network that aside from desperately needing a hit show, just might actually appreciate the goldmine that is “Project Runway”.

So, this November, you can bet your ass we’ll be enjoying some rocking new episodes of “Runway” on Lifetime…um, you know, right after we finish watching that baby-switching movie with Emily Watson and Dermot Mulroney.

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