TV Question Qorner: James and the Giant Beeyatches, with special guest Miss Alli
Sarah: So you're not really watching Survivor this season?
Alli: I have seen some of it. But you have to understand how deep my dislike of Russell and Rupert really goes.
Alli: I just…why would I want a THIRD SEASON?
Sarah: And that he's a Hero…I just don't understand.
Alli: I think the Heroes are just the people whose action figures are on Jeff Probst's bookcase.
Sarah: In Rupert's case, I can see why some people would like him. I find him disingenuous, disproportionately pleased with himself, etc. and so on, but I can see why he has appeal. I don't approve, but I can see it. Russell, I don't get.
Alli: They're just determined to insist that he's extremely good at Survivor, when he has shown no ability, thus far, to do anything except convince people he's a great person to sit opposite on a jury.
Sarah: Who, Russell? Yeah, I agree. Didn't we hear from somewhere that production more or less led him to the immunity idol last season because there was just nothing else going on? And getting to final two/three does not convince me that you're good at the game. It means, often, that you're a big enough dick that taking you to the jury is a slam-dunk.
Alli: I don't remember the details of the idol story. But I did hear from Jonathan Penner that that's the spot on "H v. V" that he was originally perhaps going to get. Which is the worst trade since…ever. If that had gone the other way, I'd be watching.
Sarah: I don't enjoy production's attempts to convince me that things are a certain way when they clearly aren't. Russell is not a feared villain. He's a guy who successfully manipulated one of the dumber lots of contestants in game history, which is why I bailed halfway through last season. He was getting the victory edit, and I was like, "Ew. Bye."
Alli: He's also a big baby. Rob Mariano may not be a genius and may not have gotten himself to the promised land, but at least he has A GLIMMER of a sense of humor about himself, which Russell does not.
Sarah: He doesn't act like it's actual warfare. (…Coach. Who is still hilaaaaaarious.)
Alli: I did watch the premiere, and when they were, like, intimating that Jerri and Coach were going to do it, I didn't know whether to throw up, laugh hysterically, or make a bowl of popcorn.
Sarah: I went with those last two.
Alli: Man, I could have watched Coach again, but Tyson, who's just there to make comments to camera that they can use for "Can you believe he just said that?" value? No thanks.
Sarah: I like Jerri, so I was hoping that wouldn't happen, because Doing It with Coach is one thing, but then if you have to live with him for weeks afterwards? …Yeah, Tyson's a strange case. Every episode, I forget that I think he's a douche, and then at around minute 21, he says something that I'm like, "…Ah yes, right." He's funny; he's not as funny as he thinks.
Alli: I just think Tyson never does anything interesting except say stupid things that are designed to get on camera, which is sort of my whole problem with All-Star seasons in the first place.
Sarah: What I don't like is that they never seem to learn anything. That they booted Cirie so early was amazing to me; they never catch their snaps with that shit. But then the very next week, James is allowed to survive.
Sarah: Fucking James!
Alli: That is another guy I just could not bear to watch again.
Sarah: What goes into the Kool-Aid with that guy?
Alli: He's huge. He has huge arms. That's about it.
Sarah: This is the thing! What good has that demonstrably done them, ever? Because, leaving aside that he's dumb, that he's socially tone-deaf, that he's weirdly aggressive this season…did that gym-strength body ever really do him or his teams that much good? How long has he historically lasted?
Alli: Sort of middle. Pure strength is a wildly overrated skill. Go back to Palau, where the team with all the strong young dudes lost every…single…week and was whittled down to just Stephenie, when the only person booted from the other tribe went during a "both tribes boot somebody" week.
Sarah: I mean, the boot last week was ridiculous anyway, since James is currently INJURED, but even if he weren't…when Probst was like, my niece could beat you in a foot race, I remember thinking, "And I can beat him on just about everything else," because the challenges do not require bicep curls. They require weird interval-training combos. I'm not in the best shape, but I have spinster strength because I live alone and have to do shit by myself. And that is, I think, more effective in Survivor-type challenges than "I can bench 300."
Alli: Generally, what it takes to be challenge-dominant is a balance of lots of things. Ozzy, Colby, Rob Mariano — these are guys who are strong, but they're not JUST strong. People forget the challenge where Mariano went scrabbling across a bunch of wooden beams like a monkey. That is a very, very agile mook.
Sarah: And those are not dumb guys, either. I feel like James's ability to juggle all the aspects of gameplay mentally is…weak.
Alli: Well, like Russell, he doesn't have a good idea how he comes across to people. Probst loves him, so he doesn't get that he comes off like a condescending ass a lot of the time.
Sarah: That could also be cause, versus effect. Probst's favorites tend to get A Tone after a while.
Alli: That's very true. I can't remember whether James was less lecture-y before Probst canonized him, but he may have been.
Sarah: I always disliked Rupert, but in his initial season, he was not as snotty. Once he got the fan money, though: all ass, all the time.
Alli: Oh, I know. Like the lecturing of Jenna Morasca for going home to be with her dying mother. When he went all disappointed head-shaking.
Sarah: I think Probst would be happier if girls didn't fuck up the game with their weak arms and crying and shit.
Alli: Well, more and more, that's why I can't watch the show. Probst takes a larger and larger role, and he's more and more of a giant sexist every season.
Sarah: And I don't like her either, but: it's not pronounced "Poverty." I don't understand how she gets by with her shtick either, but she does; Probst just can't live with it. He would delete "Outwit" if he could. Knocks half the women out.
Alli: Well, and once I started reading that bullshit blog he writes in EW? Where he expounds more on how, if they admit it, everyone loves Russell? It just made it worse. I kind of lost all respect for him.
Sarah: That blog reveals more about Probst than he thinks it does. I sort of enjoyed him snapping at Colby that they'll start when Probst is ready, but then his defense of it annoyed me.
Alli: It's just…Jeff has given himself over to the side of himself that cares about Survivor in the wrong way. Like, he can't see "game show" anymore. He sees "battle to reveal the hearts of man."
Sarah: Also: too attached to the honor concept. Not how the game is designed, GUY WHO IS THE HOST FOR TEN YEARS NOW.
Alli: Yeah, I just can't stand him anymore. I'm just…maybe tired of the whole thing? At one time, I would never have skipped that show, but I find now, hearing about it mostly third-hand, I just don't miss it. The people they have back for the third time are, with the exception of Boston Rob, just EXACTLY people I didn't need to see again, and I just can't…I mean, Parvati again? James again? Russell and Rupert again? AMANDA again? So she can do what, blow ANOTHER jury speech?
Sarah: I know intellectually that some of the people they asked turned them down, but this group is pretty weak, and kind of sad. I mean, Candice? In the who?
Alli: And how is she a hero? She was ousted by the most lovable alliance in history.
Sarah: I guess the definition of "hero" here means "not villain." Although I don't see how Coach is a villain, either. A deluded pest, okay. …What do I know, I love Mariano like he's my child.
Alli: Oh, man. Me too. That guy twirled me once. It was intoxicating. I hated myself.
Sarah: The only thing I don't like about him at this point, honestly, is that he married Amber. And even she isn't that bad. I just thought he could do better.
Alli: No, I agree. I mean, you wouldn't REALLY like him, as a guy to be friends with, I don't think. But on Survivor, I wish he were on every season.
Sarah: Totally. Not sure we'd have much to talk about once my reservoir of Red Sox shit-talk is drained.
Alli: Well, there are no "villains." What would make you a villain? There are basically good players, bad players, and babies. The closest I can find to villains are always just people who act like babies. …LEX.
Sarah: The show's definition of "villain" seems to be players with a higher proportion of ruthlessness, but I wouldn't call that villainous. Jerri is not what I would call a sweetheart, but "plainspoken" is not "villainous." And neither is Russell, since villainy is distinguished at least in part by actually working.
Alli: Russell is all talk. Seriously, other than finding idols, that dude is all talk. Or he was last season, anyway.
Sarah: If he's the best casting can do at this point, I'm probably quitting after this season.
Alli: That's what I mean. I just got to the point where it would be on the DVR, and I would just…not watch it, and then it would be gone, and I'd find I didn't care.
Sarah: It's disheartening when a show's idea of what's going on is completely different from the viewer's. This is why I gave up on Shear Genius, in a way.
Alli: Oh, maaaaan. Shear Genius! I caught up on that yesterday, I am embarrassed to say.
Sarah: The concept of that show is great, but the judging diverges completely from not only what I think of the hair, but also what I think is funny or relevant.
Alli: Yeah, the judging/hosting is absolutely terrible, with the exception of Antin, who was BORN to be a reality-show judge. But when people do terrible, terrible hair, somehow I am helpless not to be entertained.
Sarah: Also hard to resist: the avant-garde challenge requirements vs. the client who's like, "Straight blow-out, THAT'S IT."
Alli: Yeah, there are these girls who are like, "I really don't want it cut much." You came to the right show, then!
Sarah: But that's never the focus of the challenge, which it totally could be; I'd be interested in how they judge that part of the job. But they're very inconsistent with how much "client satisfaction" actually counts. Also, I HATE Kim Vo.
Alli: Yes. Agreed. And the host? I'm sorry, but when, excitement-wise, I can honestly say, "You're no Jaclyn Smith," you have a problem.
Sarah: Did we learn nothing from Katie Lee Joel? Being Mrs. McConaughey is not enough. (I think that's Alves's primary "qualification.")
Alli: I was wondering what that qualification might be.
Sarah: "Tolerates bongos." You're hired!
Alli: Seriously, anyone who has ever been on America's Next Top Model would be better.
Sarah: Well. Not Jade. But whoever called Lisa an alcuh-holl-eek beetch would be awesome, AND THAT REMINDS ME.
Alli: Ha ha ha!
Sarah: …GET A JOB, JEN ON SOBER HOUSE! (Not this one! You suck at it!) (Alli, please tell me you watched CR/are watching SH.)
Alli: I watched CR; I have not yet watched the first SH, but I totally will. It's still Jen? Yeah, we knew last year she wasn't cut out for it. I was super-surprised that Dennis Rodman was like, "I guess I'm an alcoholic." I still don't get that guy.
Sarah: I do not get that guy, I do not get why Jen is thrown in to this situation when she can't handle it, and I do not get AT ALL why Kari Ann Peniche is still alive. How has someone not ripped her skaggy extensions out and strangled her with them? Because ain't a court in the land, etc.
Alli: I really do not get her, either. I don't get why it's not the right thing, at some point, to say to her, "Apparently, you are not ready for this. Come back when you are ready." Because she CONSTANTLY treats the entire, whatever, "process" like shit. I would be really upset if I were somebody who had followed the rules the whole time.
Sarah: And it's not like she's getting anything out of it if she's allowed to crap all over it.
Alli: I mean, at some point, if she's not willing, she's not willing. How much pain she's in is not the point.
Sarah: The way Dr. Drew speaks to her is way off, too. His emotional involvement with her case is…I don't know. He seems REALLY upset when she's about to leave, and oblivious to how over it his staff is with her. I like him, but I'm grossed out by how much leeway he gives her; it's weird, and it's disrespectful to the ones who have to drag Princess from pillar to post every day when he's not there.
Alli: I think he's become convinced that she's testing everybody, and he thinks that if you just don't rise to it, she'll eventually stop if you just ignore the acting out. Which I understand…up to a point.
Sarah: Right. But you have to ignore it, in fact. Pleading with her to stay and bending every rule for her comfort isn't ignoring it. It's showing her exactly what she can get away with, and allowing it — which, in addition to pushing my apple-polisher buttons, is not indicated therapeutically. "…She says, because watching CR qualifies her to make these diagnoses."
Alli: Ha! No, I basically agree with you. I think Kari Ann should have been sent home, again, a couple of times this season.
Sarah: I look forward to your reaction to the SH premiere, then. Seventeenth verse, same as the others.
Alli: Did Mindy McCready ever decide there was anything wrong with her other than being addicted to having people not be nice to her?
Sarah: Not really. She may have acknowledged she was an addict in the finale, but I don't remember.
Alli: Same with Lisa.
Sarah: Oh, Lisa.
Sarah: She's sweet, but she needs to get a grip.
Alli: Agreed on both counts.
Sarah: I'm not optimistic about Joey, either. I get the feeling that dude is headed down a Lillo Brancato Jr. path.
Alli: Well, I sense that he is sincere, but he's not fully cooked, and I feel like it's very hard for people to be fully sober before they're fully formed.
Sarah: I don't mean this meanly; he needs to be hospitalized for a while. He IS going to kill someone, otherwise. (I don't know if you watched his RW season, but…scary. Not in an entertaining way.)
Alli: Dude! He was really coming off like such a sweet kid, and then there was that thing where the dead eyes and the rage kicked in when they were destroying the TVs and stuff? And I was like, "Wow, this is…an actual different guy, basically."
Sarah: The abuse he's discussed was pretty far beyond — and I get the feeling he might have soft-pedalled it a bit, even. Something disastrous happened to him as a kid, clearly. I was disappointed that Drew didn't deal with that more, but when Mackenzie is like, "So I fucked my dad but we can't talk about it on camera," I guess you get distracted.
Alli: Oh, Mackenzie. Because on the one hand: she's very…open to everything. And she loves everybody. On the other hand, she's a professional patient, and I feel bad for her.
Sarah: And: probably broken beyond repair.
Alli: Like, I think she's made a good decision to try to get out and be a…sad example? But that's still sad.
Sarah: I feel bad for her son also. I think he is her parent.
Sarah: Well, have we covered our entire reality waterfront here? Any TAR comments?
Alli: Man, I'm behind on that show, too.
Sarah: Me too.
Alli: They did cast some stupid people, I'll say that.
Sarah: They did. But is it wrong to love Jeff? I think it probably is.
Alli: Oh, HEAVENS, no. That dude is so, so, so appealing. I think beers with that dude would be immensely enjoyable.
Sarah: At least it isn't just me. Love that guy!
Alli: He's really cute. Really, really cute.
Sarah: On another, sourer note: shut up, Brandy.
Alli: Oh, seeeeriously.
Sarah: Carol seems pretty cool. Girlfriend needs to revise her relationship plan. "Brandy, I'm sorry to tell you that only you have been eliminated from this relationship. Beat it."
Alli: Maybe she could get dumped on the mat. They could break up on the spot like Lenny and Karyn. (OLD SCHOOL!)
Sarah: "Thoooose were the daaaaaaays!"
Alli: Remember the Studebaker!
Sarah: That season is why I own a Smart Car.
Alli: Ha ha! "I'm drivin' a Swatch watch."
Sarah: SEVEN YEARS I waited. And, seriously. It's a lunchbox with pedals. They should give Kevin a commission on the sale.
Alli: I can't believe there was ever a time when I didn't love Frank. When I think about that season now.
Sarah: I need to rewatch that. Still the best cut ever, from that finale.
Alli: They're all so advanced now! I saw video of Kevin's kids dancing around to "I Like To Move It Move It" the other day.
Sarah: Obviously. I wish the first-season cast would have a reunion, and invite us.
Alli: THEY SHOULD. I would totally come.
Sarah: We would behave much better this time. Hee.
Alli: HAAAAA HA HA.
Sarah: (Not really. Chardonnaaaaaaaay how ya doin' I love you guyzzzhh.)
Tags: Amanda Kimmel America's Next Top Model Camila Alves Candice Woodcock Celebrity Rehab Cirie Fields Coach Wade Colby Donaldson Dennis Rodman Dr. Drew DVR Break-Up Jaclyn Smith Jade Cole James Clement Jeff Schroeder Jenna Morasca Jennifer Gimenez Jerri Manthey Joey Kovar Jonathan Antin Jonathan Penner Kari Ann Peniche Kim Vo Lex van den Shutuphe Lillo Brancato Jr. Lisa D'Amato lissen lissen lissen I love you guyssshh Mackenzie Phillips Mindy McCready overrated! Ozzy Lusth parenting gone horribly awry Parvati Shallow Real World Hollywood Rob Mariano Rupert Boneham Russell Hantz sexism shut up Jeff Probst's vast collection of smugly tailored camp shirts shut up steroids Sober House Stephenie LaGrossa Survivor The Amazing Race the former Mrs. William Joel TV Tyson Apostol unearned self-importance