I Blogged Myself

Why do you always come here? I guess we'll never know. It's like a kind of torture, To read this blog, y'know.

Welcome to the most sensational, inspirational, celebrational, Muppetational blog since Kermit left just a little bit of the swamp in his pants.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

I Hear Ya

... And now I've answered ya.

Now, let me get one thing straight -- I am neither a woman nor a black man. However, I heard your comments and I have answered them.

My apologies to everyone who's left a comment in the past week or so - I've been remiss in my replies.

Well, yesterday I made time to go back through the past seven or eight posts and reply to each of you, so if you asked a question or left a comment, please feel free to track back through the archives and see my answers to you all.

Archives are listed towards the bottom of the index list on the right-hand side of my blog, if you don't know how to find older posts.

Cheers, everyone. Have a great weekend.


Friday, April 28, 2006

Star Wars Episode 7: Revenge Of The Dorks

... Spoiler Alert! ... Spoiler Alert! ...

If you haven't yet seen (and you intend to see) episode 7 of The Amazing Race Series 9 (TAR 9), do not read any further!


The last TAR 9 episode we saw here in Australia ended with the BBS, or Blonde Bimbo Sisters (AKA Danielle & Dani, who weren’t actually sisters but looked a little – and dressed a lot – like twins), being the fourth team to be eliminated. The pit stop was located inside the ruins of a temple on the island of Sicily.

Just an observation before we get underway: Until now, every team that’s been eliminated has been made up of two women. Does that mean that somehow the race has so far been advantageous towards the men? If so, that’s not very fair! Last week “The Pinks” went home, before that it was Wanda and Desiree, before that it was Joni and Lisa, and before that it was John and Scott. See? They were all chick teams. (Enough said.) Oh, and I’ve gone back and added a picture of the eliminated team in each episode, and will be including a picture of the eliminated team in each new post, starting today. My apologies to anyone with an RSS reader linked to my blog who’s been annoyed by all my re-posting in the last 24 hours! :)

For the record, this was the order in which the teams reached Phil on the mat, and the order in which they started this leg of the race:

1. BFG – Freaky Hippy Guys (BJ & Tyler)
2. FHG – Buff Frat Guys (Eric & Jeremy)
3. BSC – Dating WASP Couple [“Team MoJo”] (Joseph & Monica)
4. DEC – Deceptively-Elderly Couple (Fran & Barry)
5. NDC – Bigoted Southern Couple (Lake & Michelle)
6. DWC – Nerdy Dork Couple (Dave & Lori)
7. TBC – Token Black Couple (Ray & Yolanda)

Note: If you're already ahead of this point in the series, please refrain from giving any spoilers in your comments. Thank you.

As always, I’ll provide my thoughts on each team in this episode, listing them in the order in which they arrived at the pit stop (hence the 'Spoiler Alert!').


1. Buff Frat Guys (BFG) - they played a pretty good leg this time, and weren’t far away from the lead at any point. In fact, once they overtook the FHG, they didn’t fall behind again. I love that they won a cruise for two (and I don’t think it’s the first cruise for two they’ve won for reaching the pit stop first, either), so I hope they enjoy taking a nice romantic trip together. Of course, I realise that they’ll be ‘chick hunting’ the whole time, because that’s all they ever do*, but it made me smile to myself anyway. Each week, although I don’t really like them as a team, one of these guys tends to come up with a comment that amused me despite myself. Last week it was the crack about finding one of Phil’s turtlenecks during the clothesline detour task. This week I thought I’d get through the week without having to acknowledge their wit, but right at the end Jeremy made a comment to Phil about the smell of fish they were both coated in after the swordfish-carrying detour task. He said it was a new cologne they were trying out, called ‘Sword’. The joke itself wasn’t what made me smile (let’s face it, it’s a pretty simple joke); it was the fact that the name he came up with for it actually sounded plausible. If you see a cologne on the market by the name of ‘Sword’, my advice to you is to avoid it.

* Although there was a distinct lack of it during this episode, I noticed. Maybe they’re mourning the loss of the BBS.**

**... Yeah, right!

2. Freaky Hippy Guys (FHG) - as much as I love them, I wish these guys tried just a little harder to get from place to place and complete certain tasks a bit faster. Their enjoyment is self-evident, and their relaxed attitude keeps them grounded and sincere and prevents them from making nasty comments about the other teams, but it also leaves them open to being left behind – and my worry is that in one episode, this is exactly what will happen, and they may not live to tell the tale. But anyway, there were a couple of Star Wars references in this episode (hence the title of this post), and strangely enough, the teams who made these references were the FHG and the NDC. The first such reference was right at the beginning, when the FHG were heading off from the starting mat to find the town of Catania, which BJ was having all sorts of trouble pronouncing. Ordinarily this would annoy me no end, but at least he was making a joke of it by getting it more and more ridiculously wrong, eventually ending with “the Star Wars cantina”. The fact that they grabbed a scrap of paper and created an “official list” for teams to use to sign in as they arrived at the ruins of the theatre which looked nothing at all like an official list from the game, was beaten only by the fact that it took the airhead BFG so long to suspect that perhaps – just perhaps – the list might not be genuinely official. Ya think?? No wonder the FHG said “the Frats” were dumb, when being interviewed to camera later. I’m glad they came second (as opposed to last), but I wish they’d pick up their heels a bit and be careful!

3. Dating WASP Couple (DWC) - wow, I think I spoke too soon when I graciously spoke well of Joseph’s temper in my last review. (Although, the stress level was high and Monica wasn’t being overly helpful … but she wasn’t being majorly painful, either.) Still, I learnt some valuable lessons from this team last night; never hug a man in the street who is competing against me in a race – he probably has fish blood and guts all over him; if you don’t have a map, take one from a local; and if carrying a swordfish for half an hour is “the worst thing I’ve ever done”, you’ve been living a very sheltered life. To be fair, once they were back in their car after the fish detour, everything was fine again, but the way he screamed at her as they walked around the market was pretty disgraceful.

4. Deceptively-Elderly Couple (DEC) - these guys did okay in managing to retain their position despite a traffic jam that initially had them frustrated. Choicest dialogue included Barry, fairly calmly saying: “We’re screwed,” and having Fran go a bit crazy in her response: “Okay, calm down ... calm ... down ... okay??” Over-reaction, much? He’d barely said anything (at that stage, anyway – he got a lot more heated and angry later, however). Hilarious! I also loved Barry’s innocent and unintentional joke: “There’s a beautiful statue ahead ... (and then as it came more clearly into view) ... without a head ...” Apart from those amusing bits, and the fact that they lost their heads and directions in the traffic a fair bit, there’s not much to say about them this time. I’m not sure if their getting lost was the result of poor navigation, bad planning, missed streets, or what, but they lost the one spot they’d moved up when the DWC overtook them at the fish challenge. I think they were wise to go with the small fish option rather than the big fish. I wonder if Joseph and Monica would have been happier had they gone with the small fish option as well? They might have come in fourth if they’d done that, though. Oh yeah, and Barry made another comment about not helping Lake, which was interesting to note. I still wonder if it's going to come back to bite him on the butt in a future episode ...

5. Bigoted Southern Couple (BSC) - jerky-jerk boy Lake-the-Jerk was back in da house this week, which was great for everyone (except possibly Michelle, but she’s clearly used to him by now, because her patented ego-fluffing came in handy yet again – and she can almost get away with being sarcastic to him without him flying into a rage or hitting her ... which, unfortunately, I always think is just one smarmy comment away). Right off the bat, Lake shows his intelligence by stating that he’s $2 short of the allotted cash for this leg of the race. Unless he was just choosing that moment to complain about what he lacks in his measurements: “I’m short! I’m short!” Perhaps he was describing his temper. Either way, it certainly pays to check the damn envelope, doesn’t it, boy?! The money was all there where it should be. Then, on the road, Lake explains that he thinks he’s doing well with the sleep deprivation despite it really beginning to get to him. This is where Michelle risks her life by being sarcastic about how well he’s coping with it ... and it seems to go right over his head (either that, or he’s just filing it away under “H” for “Have to hit her later for that one”). Anyway, why does he get to explain that he’s annoyed by the sleep deprivation but she’s not allowed to be frustrated beyond all belief by him?! And what’s with his ‘overruling’ her? As if he knows better! Ahem, anyway ... I loved how he didn’t offer to do the canoe volleyball roadblock challenge, but he knew all about how it should be done so he could yell instructions at his wife from the sidelines. Every heard of an armchair critic, dude? Everyone’s an expert, eh? (*BEVIS looks conspicuously at own reflection for a second, dismisses it and gets back to typing*) When Michelle was reading out the final clue, saying that they should now travel on foot to the pit stop, Lake was so over-excited (did he drink a whole thermos of coffee or something?) that he kept yelling out in his cowboy ‘yahoo!’ way at every second word Michelle read: “Yeah! Foot! Yes!” Okay, good one, Lake. You’re excited about the word ‘foot’? Good on you. One final thing about this team that amused me, despite me wishing they were the ones who were eliminated this time: A couple of pieces of dialogue from when they were in the car, trying to navigate their way through the peak hour traffic, looking for street signs. Lake: “What is that thing right there?” Michelle: “A school bus.” Lake: “Damn!” ... and ... Lake: “I can’t believe it’s frickin’ bumper to bumper!” Michelle: “Well, it’s a town of 400,000 people!” Lake: “And they’re all right here!” I don’t know what it is about his accent, but it seems to add to the ‘yokel’ image I have of him in my head. I know that’s a stereotype and unfair, but in his case, I’m willing to make an exception. I wish he’d been the one to go this week, but unfortunately he lives to race another day.

6. Token Black Couple (TBC) - for a while there I thought these guys were going to be last (but I thought they were safe because I figured we were due for a non-elimination round by now anyway). Turns out I was wrong on both counts. They were second last, for the second time in a row. I question whether there should have been a time penalty awarded to them for not following the rules properly, though. The first clue said to drive to the underground theatre thing, but they got out and walked the last part instead. (Actually, now that I think about it, the clue may have said to drive to the town of Catania and find the theatre, so maybe they’re alright ... just!) It would certainly be interesting, though, if it turned out that a time penalty (usually half an hour when a team breaks the rules, if you haven’t seen this happen in an earlier season) meant that the eliminated team should have been the TBC instead of the NDC! Looks like it’s not going to happen, however … as they would have re-filmed the ending if they discovered after the fact that that was the case. The TBC seemed to spend a lot of time in the car also, but this is in part due to them departing in last place and having the peak hour traffic to deal with as well. There wasn’t much to say about them; they both handled the fish task well, and didn’t take any wrong turns. Ray was the only one to fall out of his canoe, but this wasn’t as funny as it might have been if it’d been Lake or one of the BFG. I like the TBC, but just last week I’d started liking the Nerds more. So it was mixed emotions for me when I saw what happened next ...

7. Nerdy Dork Couple (NDC): ELIMINATED! - it’s a shame these guys had to go, especially after getting through the previous leg, which seemed to rattle them a bit. I’m not sure what Dave’s problem was with Lori insisting that he ask for directions. “I can’t believe you’re doing this to me,” he said, and I can only guess he means that she was saying this to him on camera, challenging his ‘manliness’ or something. Embarrassing him in front of the guys, sort of thing. Well, if that’s what it was, he’s more stupid than I thought. I don’t understand (and have never have understood) the supposedly 'guy pride' thing (not to be confused with that 'gay pride' thing) about not asking for directions. I’m a guy, and I’m happy to ask for directions if I’m lost (although I never am, so this doesn’t really apply to me anyway). Certainly, if I’m in a race for a million dollars and I know I’m one of the last teams and I could be eliminated and I’m trying to find my way through a foreign country, ... I’d be asking everyone I passed! Anyway, when they finally did ask someone, they got a good guide who lead them to the place on his motorbike. And later, when they stopped to buy a map, I think that was a good idea (why didn’t they do that during their pit stop? Maybe they thought they’d be flying out of the country the next day ... costly mistake!). Whatever the reason, it’s a shame they weren't able to reach the pit stop sooner. This brings us to the second Star Wars reference of the show: When Lori wished Dave well in his canoe volleyball task with the words: "May The Force be with you." Dave's final words spoke volumes: "Nerds rule!" My sincere commiserations to Spankk and the many others who listed the NDC as their favourite team early on. As you know, they (eventually) won me over, too - so how about we take a minute’s silence as we gaze into their happy faces?


Last week's tips:

First Team: FHG (Wrong)
Last Team: BSC (Wrong)
Yield? No Correct!
Elimination Week? No (Wrong – next week for sure!)
Biggest Argument: BSC Correct!
Smartest Team: NDC (Wrong – I’m not even sure who it was, but it’s fair to say that it wasn’t the NDC … I guess it was probably the FHG)


Next week's tips:

First Team: BFG (I don’t want them to come first again, but they seem to manage it fairly often, so it’s kind of a safe bet)
Last Team: DEC (I think their luck will run out)
Yield? No (As I said last week – the next one’ll be much later down the path)
Elimination Week? No (it’s gotta come this time, surely)
Biggest Argument: BSC (Either them or the DWC, but I’ll stick with my man Lake)
Smartest Team: FHG (This one’s often a hard one to judge, but I’ll give my favourite team the benefit of the doubt)


It turns out that the ‘airport equaliser’ (see my review of episode 3 if you don’t know what I mean by that) for this episode wasn’t good enough to level the playing field very much. Teams pretty-much stayed in the same order from start to finish. The only changes were that the first two teams swapped around, and the last two teams swapped around. The theatre ruins opened after only two teams had arrived, instead of the usual full playing field of all teams waiting at once to stampede together. Traffic was the only other aspect to this episode to draw the teams out. No one miscounted the heads on the railing, no one took too long to complete the detour task (“Team MoJo” came closest to dropping the ball on this one, but even they didn’t seem to do too badly, and they overtook the DEC who had passed them on the road), and no one got lost on the road by taking a wrong turn. My tips certainly took a beating this week, so hopefully my tips for next week will prove to be more fortuitous.

Hey, I nearly forgot: what about the Dancing Phil, everybody?! I hope that helps to put Pomgirl’s mind to rest about him being scary-looking. He was happy, smiling, and doing a jig! Get down wid your funky self!

In other news, Adro was crowned Australia’s Biggest Loser last night, with Wal winning the $50,000 for losing the most body weight (based on his percentage) than any of the other eliminated contestants. Harry came a close second to Adro, with Kristie third and Fiona (surprise, surprise) bringing up the rear in fourth place. Harry got a ‘commiseration’ prize of $30,000, while Kristie got $20,000 and Fiona got $10,000. Meanwhile, Wal pledged $25,000 of his $50,000 to the Childrens’ Burns Unit where he's associated in his job as a fireman, which was a wonderful thing to do. But it was Adro’s night, as he won a complete home gym and $200,000 cash – plus the title of “Australia’s First Biggest Loser”, just as his daughter had predicted! He’s lucky he was accepted back into the top four, because if he hadn’t, he wouldn’t have won a cent. It was an interesting show, and I’m glad Jillian and Bob got to watch the whole thing via a live (and presumably very expensive) satellite link-up from LA. Everyone had lost so much weight, particularly the final four, Wal and Shane; so that was just fantastic for all of them. As far as weight loss went, I always felt that the contestants who deserved to win were (in this order), Wal, Harry, Shane, Kristie and Adro. I’m pleased they were all up there amongst the front-runners. Fiona didn’t deserve to be amongst the place-winners (I don’t care what Jillian says), so the only thing I feel is rotten was that Shane didn’t get Fiona’s part of the prize money. But hey – he got a proposal from Jillian, so good on him! (I wonder if they’ll get Adro’s daughter and Harry’s youngest son to be flower girl and alter boy at their wedding? I’m just suuuuuuure they’d behave! ...)

And in other other news, we watched the Mr Eko episode of Lost last night as well, and took special notice of the apparent clues hidden in the frame when we saw that (surprisingly significant, if a little strange) ‘glimpse’ of the Lost monster, which the show’s creator JJ Abrams told us last week that we should look out for. If you haven’t seen that episode yet and you intend to (or if you just don’t want to know extra clues about the show), read no further. We taped it and I watched it back in freeze-frame. There were single-frame flashes of other images superimposed throughout the black smoke as the camera panned through it (which may just have looked like lightning flashes at normal speed) ... and these images were for the most part hard to decipher from the surrounding whirls of smoke, but the majority of them appeared to be faces, and most of them in agony or anguish. What does this tell us? That the monster on the island is the collective spirits of those poor souls who’ve died, either worldwide or on the island? Bizarre and surreal, if it is. And not easily transferred into the Lost universe either, in my opinion. But I guess it leaves room for Shannon and Boone to re-appear at any time, eh! The other images in the black smoke that wasn’t faces seemed to be different man-made objects. I think I saw an ornamental Christ on a crucifix, and some kind of chest (as in a treasure chest?), but I can’t be sure. Did anyone else get a good look at any of these images? If you’re in America or something and you know more about what these images mean than we do, please don’t say anything. I’m only interested in hearing theories from people who are up to the same point in the storyline as I am; not ‘facts’ based on extra episodes viewed.


Thursday, April 27, 2006

Thank The Lord For Your Presence # 4

Last night saw the fourth episode of Thank God You're Here (TGYH).

Is it just me, or is this show already losing its edge?

Hopefully it was just an off night, or perhaps I was simply a little tired when I watched it (although I thought that'd only improve my viewing experience). I dunno what it was, but returning guest stars Angus Sampson & Peter Rowsthorn, and new special guest stars Santo Cilauro & Robyn Butler (the latter two predicted by yours truly in my post three days ago) seemed less-than-hilarious.

I think somehow we were missing the Frank Woodley / Shaun Micallef "loose cannon" / "professional ad libber" element. Robyn was really no better than Fifi Box, although granted, Angus and Santo didn't let her or Peter get much of a word in during their group scene at the end, there.

Santo even reverted to the script from an old Late Show sketch about the Drive Thru window for a Catholic church! It was almost verbatim! I'm not for a moment suggesting that he knew in advance what would be coming and looked up the old scene's dialogue (although he is one of the writer-directors of both shows), because I've done some acting in my time and I know how the dialogue from a much-loved scene can stay with you for years - particular if you were the one who wrote it - but it strikes me as odd that he decided to "go there" and consciously re-hash old material. Didn't he think anyone would remember? It was almost word-for-word! I certainly noticed!

Santo's solo scene was okay, with him not sure whether or not he should be making moves on the woman in the bed attire (he was playing the role of a plumber), but by the time he got around to deciding either way, the scene was almost over. The actress didn't give him many clues, though. I (like Santo, I'm sure) expected that if he made a suggestive comment, she'd embarrass him by making it clear he had the wrong idea. Santo also has a bit of a tendancy to talk and stutter over everyone else's lines (and he always has), so the actress in this scene (as well as everyone else in the group scene) had a hard time getting their lines out on occasion.

Peter did a great job of science fiction spaceship captain (putting one in mind of - but staunchly omitting any reference to - Star Trek). His crooked hand and off-handed commands to his crew members to "put them in the beta quadrant and let's get out of here" made me laugh.

Robyn had excellent set pieces (including big copies of a movie poster hanging from the walls, advertising the fictitious film, A Time To Die (or something like that) and featuring her face - I wonder if she got to keep one?), and amusing questions being asked of her by the ensemble cast at her 'film actress' character's press conference, but she failed to do any more than just barely keep her head above water. There was basically no initiative shown here. She didn't go above-and-beyond at all.

Angus probably did the best job of the night, closely followed by Peter, but they'd both appeared on the show before, so maybe it gets better/easier with practice. Angus' scene was as a DIY hardware store manager, being forced to fire a female employee with whom he has apparently been intimate. He went out on a lot of bizarre tangents in this scene, but at least he wasn't just reacting to what was thrown at him. Like all the best scenes, he made his own stuff up as well, and forced the ensemble cast to have to think on their feet too, in order to fit his material into the scene and yet keep it moving forward (which is the whole point of the show - and most of the fun).

Angus' work in the group scene of four Catholic priests sharing their brainstormed ideas with the head priest on how to get children back into the church (no crass puns, please) was easily the better of the four (if you exclude Santo's pre-prepared - by about 12 years - material as described earlier). He was walking around, pouring them all drinks, throwing in some updated prayers in "Snoop Dogg" language, and listing his parish as being "online". I'm glad he won (although I also could have coped with it going to Peter for his spaceship scene if necessary).

Again, the less said about Tom Gleisner's stupid judging comments, the better. His poor puns ("We have lift off") just destroy the show.

This episode marked Angus' third time on the show, so I'm beginning to wonder if the agreement they all have is to appear on three shows each, with a guarantee that the appearances will be mixed around enough to enable them all to be the 'winner' once each. If I'm right about this, Peter Rowsthorn will have to win the night the next time he appears on the show, because it will be his third (and, by that reasoning, last) appearance.

I guess we'll see if there's any truth to this theory next week.


Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Wheelie Good Fun

... Spoiler Alert! ... Spoiler Alert! ...

If you haven't yet seen (and you intend to see) episode 6 of The Amazing Race Series 9 (TAR 9), do not read any further!


The last TAR 9 episode we saw here in Australia ended with the IMD or International Mom & Daughter (AKA Wanda & Desiree) being the third team to be eliminated. The pit stop was located next to that ‘monument for peace’ or whatever it was in Germany.

For the record, this was the order in which the teams reached Phil on the mat, and the order in which they started this leg of the race:

1. BFG – Buff Frat Guys (Eric & Jeremy)
2. FHG – Freaky Hippy Guys (BJ & Tyler)
3. BSC – Bigoted Southern Couple (Lake & Michelle)
4. DEC – Deceptively-Elderly Couple (Fran & Barry)
5. NDC – Nerdy Dork Couple (Dave & Lori)
6. DWC – Dating WASP Couple [“Team MoJo”] (Joseph & Monica)
7. TBC – Token Black Couple (Ray & Yolanda)
8. BBS – Blonde Bimbo Sisters [“The Dani Girls” / “The Double Ds” / “The Pinks”] (Danielle & Dani)

Note: If you're already ahead of this point in the series, please refrain from giving any spoilers in your comments. Thank you.

As always, I’ll provide my thoughts on each team in this episode, listing them in the order in which they arrived at the pit stop (hence the 'Spoiler Alert!').


1. Freaky Hippy Guys (FHG) - these guys continue to crack me up – I love them. (The problem I have is I know how much this means I want them to win, and never has my favourite team crossed the finish line first to win the money – I’m worried I’m going to cost them the game simply by barracking for them!) I’ve named this post after their antics at the start in the airport – doing wheelies in wheelchairs and creating an obstacle course to race against the BFG (who couldn't help but be all competitive about it, despite the FHG being better at it!) - and they even had time to book the best possible flights from Germany to Italy ... despite other teams having as much or more time to book the same flights! Their little wheelchair obstacle course was a fantastic way to show their light-hearted approach to the ‘bitchiness’ of the race. I just hope it proves they’re aware of (and won’t be party to) the other teams’ nastiness. I hope they’re not completely oblivious to the potential treachery that awaits them there. I guess time will tell. I loved the way they played this leg – sure, they had some examples of good luck, but they were also level-headed at all times (they seem to be relaxed to a fault, actually), and they’re always enjoying themselves. Game-play aside, I have to address a few things they did that made me laugh, in addition to the wheelchair obstacle course: Imitating Italians while some were watching them as they did the clothesline detour; saying “We bring you clothes, Laundry Woman” and kissing her; wearing matching T-shirts that read “Bowling” and “Moms”, which is a direct reference to the “Bowling Moms” team from a couple of season ago (probably the most recent series that had aired before this current season had aired, seeing as they only take a month to film and they seem to put two “in the can” each year); and asking Phil in an exaggerated Italian accent if they get to eat “a pizza pie” for reaching the pit stop first. I really hope these guys continue to do well – it would break my heart of they were eliminated. Actually, it’ll break my heart if they don’t win the million. One question that bothered me, though: Did they win a digital imaging set each? It didn’t say so, and I’m sure they’d make a point of boasting about it if they were giving away two sets of camera, printers, etc. It’s a bit rough to give them one of these packages to share, seeing as they’re not in the same family. When teams win a holiday, they don’t win one ticket!

2. Buff Frat Guys (BFG) - these guys are becoming more and more obnoxious and distasteful as the race goes on. They seem to be pleasant enough … if you’re a jock or a pretty woman (and in the case of the latter, they won’t speak well or respectful of you after you’re gone anyway, it seems). Their frustration that they “gotta beat those damn hippies!”, after the way the FHG have worked with the BFG, really irks me. I’m glad they came second to the FHG, and I hope this continues all the way to the finish line. That’d be a nice lesson in humility for them, and it sounds like they need it. Objectional points in their performance of this episode include Jeremy (the blonde one) checking his hair in the rearview mirror before starting the car (“Your hair looks fine,” says Eric), the remark “Holy hottie!” as they arrived at the pit stop and saw the Greek girl standing there with Phil, and how Jeremy reacted to hearing they had arrived second. It didn’t even seem like they were close behind the FHG, so clearly the hippies did a much better job of that leg than you did, boys! I’m glad Phil said, “Do you think you could be a little happier?” in response to the spoilt-brat reaction he received on the mat. However, all of that said, their comment at the clothesline detour that they’d found one of Phil’s turtlenecks was brilliant! :)

3. Dating WASP Couple (DWC) - the only thing I’ve got written in my notes on Team MoJo is a frustrated “Baby, you’re doing so good!”, because she should have said “… so well!” I don’t know how or why this kind of poor grammar has weaved its way so deeply into the American education system – no one seems to have been taught how to talk properly. It’s a terribly uneducated way to speak, and makes everyone who talks that way sound like a hillbillied hick. Thankfully not all Americans speak that way (and I’m sure any Americans reading this speak perfectly!), but replacing ‘well’ with ‘good’ and dropping the ‘ly’ from the end of words like ‘bad’ in phrases like, ‘I want to do it so bad’ (unless they mean they wanted to do a bad job of it) are the sorts of things that anger me – but I’m a bit of an obsessive-compulsive, so you’re going to have to excuse me. Anyway, by way of coming up with something else to say about the DWC, I’m happy to say that they’re doing very well for themselves in the race. She’s not as dumb as you might first suspect (if you were unfairly judging her on the stereotype often attributed to those with her hair colour), and he’s not the bad-tempered meathead I seemingly-unfairly presumed him to be in episode one (I’m happy to say). True, he yelled at her very briefly in this episode as they were carrying the bell (and the ads for the episode showed that snippet as if it was a huge part of the race for them), but it really was only the three words “Pick it up!” when she put the bell down to discuss strategy, and then he didn’t yell at her again. She needed him to slow down, and he was rushing to beat the other teams, but after this tiny moment of angst, they seemed to find their stride again, so I don’t chalk that up to anything major at all.

4. Deceptively-Elderly Couple (DEC) - I rolled my eyes when they walked straight past the clue box again. I thought we were going to spend another three hours walking up and down the street to no avail, but thankfully they found it fairly quickly. Barry was quick to point out (for the camera’s benefit, no doubt), that “they only lost five minutes; no biggie”, but for all they knew it could have put them into last place by four minutes! A word of caution to the DEC, though (even though the whole series has been filmed and finalised before I type this) … you’re in danger of making dangerous enemies of Lake & Michelle with your constant “I can’t tell you” comments! Even Lake & Michelle tell (some) teams what to do and where to go (particularly when it comes to buying plan tickets and starting a detour or roadblock that they’ve already completed – ie. when there’s no threat to Lake & Michelle and they can afford to look like they’re being helpful … in order to leech of that goodwill if they need it in the future – oh yes, I know what they’re up to). I’m sure the time will come when Lake & Michelle take great pleasure in returning the favour of you not letting them know where they need to go next. But this is only a word of caution – I’m not suggesting they play it any other way. In the same position, I’d be tempted to do the same (I certainly wouldn’t lie, but I wouldn’t want to give any other team an advantage and perhaps even the chance to overtake us!). But back to the DEC. There wasn’t too much to go on in this episode, although they did manage to hold on securely to their fourth place position from the start of this leg.

5. Bigoted Southern Couple (BSC) - okay, this is the first thing I wrote in my notes while watching the show: “Lake is a jerk.” His initial interview to the camera, telling the world that “Michelle has a way to go, there” (I can’t remember what he was talking about, but critiquing her efforts like that when she has nothing but the best to say about him – which is too generous of her by far – is pretty disgraceful). Then he carried on like a pork chop* when it came time to book their flights from Germany to Italy, saying, “I can’t do the Internet.” And why would that be, Lake? Can’t you spell? The problem was, he was then breathing down Michelle’s neck as she was booking the flights, and wasn’t happy with the resulting flights she booked (because the others got ahead of them). Well, cowboy, if you were going to be picky, you should have booked them yourself! He’s a pig of a man. And let’s not gloss over his reaction to the other teams catching up with them during their stopover to Italy. What a baby! He literally threw a (relatively controlled) tantrum! “None o’ them sum-bitches are on our flight” and “Dang it, they all darn caught up with us now” being amongst my favourite quotes of the episode. But for all the wrong reasons. As for the Yield, it turned out that the BSC didn’t need to Yield the girls, because there was still another team well behind them – but to be fair, the BSC didn’t know what was ahead, or how closely the last team was on their trails. And everyone takes different lengths of time at the roadblocks, so I guess it was a ‘fair fear’ that the BSC felt they could be overtaken. It was a little mean from the BBSs’ perspective, but that’s the game. If the BSC hadn’t Yielded the girls, though, the TBC would have almost certainly been eliminated. I wonder if the BSC would consider that a better or a worse scenario. Either way, I’m happy, because it made my elimination prediction from last week accurate! But Lake’s comments when he starts to feel safe, running to the pit stop (“Fat Dave is behind us”), are as piggish as those he makes when he feels under threat, such as when they arrived at the hill in their car, hot on Dave & Lori’s tail (“That’s Dave! We caught up to you, Dave! I got you! I got you!”), and that just makes him a horrible person, in my book. Michelle should really stop overcompensating for his outlandish ego and unpredictable temper by lavishing him with (unworthy) praise to placate his volatile behaviour as she does. Until she puts him in his place, she’s just adding to the problem and making him worse – and just asking for her own special brand of ‘Lake trouble’ further down the track (in their lives after the race has concluded, if not on camera in a future episode).

* If you’re unfamiliar with that term, it’s an Australian slang expression, meaning that the person carried on like an idiot, a lunatic, a spoilt child, etc – but you were probably able to work that out for yourself from the context!

6. Nerdy Dork Couple (NDC) - they finally won me over completely with this episode. Until now, I simply haven’t had a problem with them, but in this leg of the race, they became my second-favourite team. They’re so sweet and lovely! They had a rough time of it, too. I’m not sure what Dave was thinking by his comment “… this is hard …” as they were doing the clothesline detour: It’s just laundry!! Take one off, check the label, and put it back! Instead, he was making a pile of them behind him, and then when Lori told him that they’re meant to put them straight back on the clothesline (they don’t want other teams to know where they shouldn’t bother checking, after all!), he said, “I know” while the camera panned down to show the pile of clothes behind him. He got flustered and gave this episode’s obligatory “We’re finished” face. He didn’t say it, though, and when Lori found the label, they were off and running again. They got a little snippy with each other as they were running up the hill to the detour, but their emotions were high and they didn’t really say anything too terrible anyway (in fact, it was kinda witty, with the “Please don’t say that” and the “Please don’t say that”). When they reached the roadblock at the top of the hill, Lori accepted the challenge because she’s good at puzzles. I felt really bad for her as she tried to put the statue together. A quick word on the roadblock: Having extra pieces is fun and interesting, and made for a great ‘outside-the-box’ kind of challenge. But it was mean. I know the producers were trying to toy with the contestants’ heads and see who amongst them could think laterally enough to ask their minder to check the statue even though there were two extra pieces. But there were a couple of different problems I had with this. First, only when they started to reach the end did they see that they had extra pieces, so telling them in advance that there’d be extras left over would have been playing with their minds all the way through it (and also had them second-guessing each and every piece!). Second, as teams were potentially going to be situated fairly close to each other as they put the statues together, one team finding out that there were two extra pieces was inevitably going to benefit other teams by having them see or overhear this fact without going through the same turmoil and possible time-wasting decision the producers were obviously going for here. Including the ‘extra pieces’ information in the clue would mean that all teams would have had the same level of awareness and self-doubt as each other, and that would not only level the playing field, but also enhance their panic as each team strove to work out which two pieces were those pesky redundant ones. As it was, teams got to the end and knew that whatever was left over was extra, because until then they didn’t realise there was any cause for concern about that, … do you know what I mean? Letting them stew over it the whole way through would have been more fun to watch. So it was with a sympathetic ache in my heart** that I watched Lori lose it and get upset with herself. Here she was, great at puzzles, but due to the day she and Dave had been having, coupled with the encroaching darkness and the panic of finishing quickly, she didn’t stop to think outside the square. To a point, this is fair enough, because normally the clues tell you everything you need to know, and teams are told to go by the letter of the law as stated in each clue. So departing from this would not have been expected; hence many of the teams being unsure of themselves when they’d finished but still had two pieces to go. I’m glad she finally asked her minder to have a look and tell her what she was doing wrong (not that they would have done that last bit), but it was what the minder needed to hear in order to tell her she was finished. That’s me looking at the situation while wearing my Kind Hat. Now I’ll just quickly pop on my Cynical Hat: Maybe there’s a reason that “… it doesn’t FIT!!” I’m glad she got through it, though. Dave’s tears at the pit stop because he doesn’t like “feeling that way” about Lori was just too sweet for words. Clearly he loves her a great deal and didn’t like how his frustrations on the race manifested as (fairly minor) grievances towards her, so I think that shows what a good man he is at the core, and how terrific a partner he must be to Lori. It also throws into stark contrast the relationship Dave has with Lori, as opposed to (oh, say …) the relationship Lake has with Michelle.

** I missed my calling – I should have been a poet.

7. Token Black Couple (TBC) - these guys were going okay until they tried to get anywhere. I counted them getting lost three times in this episode (if you count them reverting to the map to find their way in the dark from the roadblock to the pit stop). Before they got lost the first time, though, I wrote this note down on my writing pad: “I’m liking the TBC more and more – they’re a nice couple and they work really well together”. Then, a moment later, they overshot their turnoff and I could tell it was all going to go downhill from there, so I added: “They need a map, though”. Like I said above, if the BSC hadn’t Yielded the BBS, I’m pretty sure the TBC would have been eliminated from this episode. They were really thrown a lifeline, there. Luckily for Yolanda (and nothing against her at all), Ray was able to shine on this leg of the race, and he pretty-much got them over the line. Ray carried the bell almost the whole way himself, and Ray put the statue together in what appeared to be record time. Yolanda was also the one driving them the wrong way and getting directions that didn’t appear to help the first time (although this means Ray should have been navigating, so …), and it was only when Ray asked for directions that they got back on the right path. This doesn’t necessarily mean anything, though. I’m just saying. It was a case of ‘Everybody Loves Ray’. He (they) did well, and I hope they don’t stay in last place this coming week.

8. Blonde Bimbo Sisters (BBS): ELIMINATED! - at last! They’re gone! They were a stain on the landscape with their uselessness and stuff, although I admit to feeling a little bad for them when they were last to the seaside cluebox and one of them had to comfort the other (who was in tears), and then again when they were crying at the Yield. I would certainly feel that it was unfair as well, if it was me. But that said, they weren’t a strong team and needed to go. I don’t know what it is about so many teams on this show over the years not knowing how to drive a manual (“stick-shift”) car! Is it not common in America? It seems strange to me that the concept of a stick-shift appears so foreign to so many Americans. (Seriously, I’m asking a sincere question here – is it not a common option in American cars?) I think they embarrassed themselves by saying that Eric and Jeremy will be friends for life (or “forever and ever”, in their words). I got news for you, girls – just wait until you see the footage of how they’ve been talking about you behind your backs! In a way, I hope they’ve had as little regard for the boys as they have for you; at least then you’ll have deserved each other and won’t be insulted that they only wanted you to stick around so they could tongue-wrestle you during the pit stop … and then try to pick up other chicks on their travels! You’re better off out of the race, girls. And we’re better off for it as well.


Last week's tips:

First Team: FHG Correct!
Last Team: BBS Correct!
Yield? No (Wrong – darn it! I remembered to include it, but tipped it incorrectly)
Elimination Week? No (Wrong – as above, so below)
Biggest Argument: NDC (Wrong – I’d have to say that the BSC argued the most, and it was mainly just him. I actually don’t think the NDC argued very much, and neither did any of the others)
Smartest Team: TBC (Wrong – I think this was the FHG, pure and simple, for their flight bookings and keeping first place thereafter)


Next week's tips:

First Team: FHG (I want them to continue their good run)
Last Team: BSC (Oh, wouldn’t it be nice!)
Yield? No (Certainly not twice in a row – it’ll be much later down the path)
Elimination Week? No (I think it’s time to see someone stripped of everything they have except their passport and whatever clothes they’re wearing when they reach the pit stop)
Biggest Argument: BSC (Fish in a barrel, but it has to be said)
Smartest Team: NDC (I think they’ll get their groove back)


As the next episode of TAR 9 is tomorrow night, I hope to get my review of it posted on this blog sooner than it took for last week’s episode review to be posted (which is to say: Six days late). My apologies to the thousands of adoring fans who waited patiently for it to appear. My apologies also to the one impatient fan who emailed me to ask where it was (yes, I’m talking to you!). Hehehe. I will also try to post my TGYH recap sooner this week than last (which is to say: yesterday, also six days late).


Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Thank The Lord For Your Presence # 3

Okay, as much as I may like Fifi Box on The Shebang and think she did an ace job in the first episode of Thank God You're Here (TGYH), I think she's been on the show enough now. Her last two weeks haven't been as strong or impressive as her first week, which now has me wondering if it was "beginner's luck" or an inspired fluke, rather than it revealing that she's a more talented comedienne than she is generally portrayed as being (courtesy of her on-air personality). I trust that three appearances is the show's total for any of the guest stars, and that we won't be seeing her again.

Frank Woodley was good again (but was still just being himself), and I was surprised to see Glenn Robbins wasn't as witty and hilarious as I'd (perhaps unfairly) expected him to be. He was very good; but not as thigh-slappingly brilliant as I'd been going on about the other day.

Akmal Saleh was very funny, too, but all the stand-up routines I've seen of his have been 'quality', so it was no surprise there. I was happy enough with him winning the night; although I didn't feel there was anything stand-out about any of the performances.

Hey, don't get me wrong - I'm a big fan of the show and will continue to love it (I'm not going cold on the idea or anything), but I guess I'd hoped for one of them to be more spectacular than they were. Glenn seemed not be moving too slowly in his scene, and that didn't allow for him to make great use of the answering machine gags (in particular) before the actress in the scene with him had to move it along to the next set-up.

I have to say it again, though - and even more angrily than before. Those cuts to Tom Gleisner for his pre-prepared "special comments" as a completely irrelevant, unnecessary and redundant 'judge' (the words 'irrelevant' and 'unnecessary' were redundant from this sentence, but that's just how mad it makes me) just UTTERLY DESTROYS THE SHOW. It brings down the mood after the scene is finished, and makes the viewing audience cring with his absolutely crap delivery of lame 'Dad jokes' that have been written beforehand, made to look as if he has some kind of humorous-psychological edge over the contestants. What's the flippin' point? Why even have a winner? But if someone must 'win', Shane Bourne could do that without having to make pathetic moment-stalling gags (and it'd give his role more substance while we're at it, too).

If we didn't have to sit through Tom's judging comments, we could have an extra 60 seconds or so of each scene - time which is precious enough already and would only add to our enjoyment of the show.

I've never had much of a problem with Gleisner before now (hell, Spankk and I even interviewed him for a school assignment in Year 10), but his contribution to this show is really pissing me off. He does nothing but spoil the mood. Get rid of him.

(Problem is, who's going to tell one of the four executive producers to get lost? Maybe the people involved with another of Network Ten's shows, Neighbours, who purportedly check this blog periodically, could drop a note in Gleisner's pigeonhole at the office??)

Speaking of Neighbours, I'm sure we all noticed that no other stars from the soap appeared as ensemble cast members on TGYH this week. I wonder what was so special about last week that they had two on for that episode only?

It has also come to my attention recently that one of the regular ensemble cast members, Ed Kavalee (known on IMDb.com as Ed Hyland-Kavalee) is the guy who does the funny voices on Triple M's new 9am - 10am weekday morning show, Get This. The host of Get This is Tony Martin, who was one of those I was hoping would appear on TGYH. All this to say that the link between Tony Martin and TGYH already exists with Ed, so I'm relieved to hear that, as I assume it's just a matter of time before we see Tony up there, having a go at bluffing his way through a scene or two (at least I hope so).

As for who next Wednesday's guest star contestants will be, there has still been no appearance by Robyn Butler, despite her being in the promos before the first episode aired. Do I dare keep expecting her to appear in each episode until I'm finally right? (Yes; I dare.)

Just as long as the show's special guests don't include this woman. And no, I will NOT back off and leave her alone, Anonymous! Judith Lucy is worse than Gleisner with the crap jokes and the single, overly-done 'angle' of her humour (men are crap! *annoying-intake-of-breath noise*). Hopefully the producers managed to get Arj Barker while he was in town recently doing a tour (he's still here in fact, but they've obviously filmed these things a while ago, so I hope he was here in time to get involved). I think Arj is hilarious and would do a great job!

We're still waiting on Santo Cilauro to appear on the show, too. Any day now.* And if they're going to put him on, they might as well put Rob Sitch up there too. As long as he doesn't stray too much into private jokes and whatever makes him giggle, like he used to on The Late Show. The other cast members always had to bring him back to point, but it was still funny to watch. I don't know how they'd manage it, though, with both Cilauro and Sitch two of the writers and producers - but if they plan to do it with Cilauro (and remembering that they did it in this episode with Creative Consultant Glenn Robbins), then they can do it with Sitch as well.

* My tip's a Wednesday.


Today is ANZAC Day. It's thanks to the brave 'diggers' of yesteryear and their selfless sacrifice, that we can enjoy the liberties and freedom we do today. I have complete respect for the ANZACs and their families. I tip my imaginary hat to them this morning, and hope we can all stop and remember them at some point during these 24 hours.

Thank the Lord for their presence.


Monday, April 24, 2006

Oh, Brother - It's On Again

Okay, I got home and watched the Big Brother Launch show, which I finished watching about an hour ago. The big surprise is an interesting one, but not so Earth-shattering that I'm having trouble catching my breath or anything.

Two of the Housemates are mother and daughter, and they must keep this news a secret from the other Housemates for one week, or face nomination (or eviction if they purposely let the cat out of the bag - although why they'd do that, I don't know).

Karen, 36, and her daughter Krystal, 19

As I type this, the closest they've come to being discovered is when they told other Housemates about the matching breast enlargements they had done eight weeks ago. They bluffed their way through that near-miss by pretending it was an amazing coincidence. But really, is this actually a suspicious sign? I don't think I'd hear that and assume they were mother and daughter at all! What kind of mother gets a breast job along with her 19-year-old (and possible still developing) daughter??! ... For the answer, see the above photo. You can read more about the ruse for yourself here.

Incidentally, the information on the website says that Krystal is 20, but in her introductory video (and when interviewed by Gretel on stage) she stated that she was 19, so I'm going off that.

The new BB House looks quite different to all previous Houses (much moreso than other versions have looked, IMHO*), and I like the idea of the punishment room. I like the potential of it, anyway. Whether or not it's a wasted notion remains to be seen.

Other than that, Gretel is ready to get angry and snap at the Housemates when she's in a foul mood, and Mike Goldman is just as golden-tongued as ever. But Big Brother himself sounds like he's going to be much meaner to the Housemates than ever before ... which I think is great!

It's going to be an interesting three months, filled with laughter, heartache, blood, sweat and tears.

And I'll be watching.

* If you don't know, IMHO stands for "In My Humble Opinion".


Friday, April 21, 2006

Three Clues To Get Lost

Lost. We're all fans of it. If you're not, everyone's talking about you behind your back. Last night's episode in Australia was a recap episode. The kind they're always doing for big shows like that now. At least down here they are. (And remember, readers from elsewhere in the world, you're probably well ahead of us in the series -- or possibly behind us -- so let's all just be very wary of spoilers, okay? There may be some in this post for anyone who hasn't yet seen up to the episode fairly early in season two that featured Kate's flashback about her parents and her encounter with the black horse on the island.)

Well, this was our Lost season two recap, much earlier than I expected it (the one we got for season one was right near the end of the season). The 'tailies' haven't been with the original gang for very long yet, and already we're having a recap episode? The producers are hoping to attract new viewers to the show, I guess, by making it seem appealing and even possible to 'catch up' with past events.

But for some reason, JJ Abrams (co-creator of Lost) was out here (filming or promoting his movie Mission: Impossible III, perhaps?), so he'd filmed a few segments to 'book-end' the show and supposedly reveal three secrets about Lost that he was only revealing to Australia.

So because people from outside Australia may read this, I'm not telling you what the secrets were.

... Okay, you talked me into it.

Actually, I'm wondering if they're really that impressive. They certainly didn't seem to be, from my perspective ... but maybe others thought they were just fabulous; I don't know. It's possible, of course, that our North American friends have already seen the relevant episodes further down the track to know what these three clues allude to (well, maybe not Clue # 3, which doesn't directly relate to the show, actually - but the other two, certainly), and therefore this will seem like nothing much at all. If so, fair enough. I guess I'm speaking mainly to any Australian viewers who may be reading this.

Let's break the clues down one at a time, and see what we can make of them.

Clue # 1 - Hurley "may or may not be" the only survivor on the island to have spent some time in a mental institution. Well, okay. Presumably it's not "may not". Why say someone else may have done something if it turns out they haven't? That's not a clue; that's a lie. So surely we're safe in assuming that someone other than Hurley has spent some time in a mental institution. (REMEMBER, PEOPLE: If you already know the identity of this person, we don't want to know! Thank you.) It could be one of the 'tailies' (about whom we know very little, other than Ana Lucia at this point), such as Mr Eko or that blonde woman whose name I can never remember, and who said she was a psychiatrist (sounds like excellent potential for her previous life to have crossed paths with Hurley's in some way, don't you think?). Or I guess it could have been Charlie, Claire, Michael, Sawyer, Kate, Locke ... let's face it, until we know more about the characters in question, it could have been anyone! That's the whole point about the show ... we learn new things about the characters (and the parallel going on between that situation and the current happenings on the island) via each new flashback. So until they want to tell us about someone's past looney bin attendance, we're not necessarily going to know. But my question is: Is this really a clue? Or more specifically, is this really a worthwhile clue? Sure, we can play guessing games about who it might be as each week passes, but this could be something they don't reveal for a few more seasons yet! (Bear in mind that they've [perhaps loosely] plotted what's going to happen to the characters for the first six seasons at this stage.) And if it's going to be revealed to us eventually, it's highly likely that it'll be something we don't see coming until it surprises us with its revelation. And/or, that it won't mean anything to us until that point. So is this a helpful aspect of 'working out the mysteries of the island'? I'm not so sure that it is. However, it was probably the most concrete and (on the surface, at least) 'useful' of the three clues.

Clue # 2 - When we see a piece of the monster in next week's episode (and I'm sure it will be a lightning-quick flash), look out for the hidden clue/s secreted away in that shot. That's pretty rough. Clearly we'll need to tape it and watch it back in freeze-frame (not that I would, of course - seeing as that contravenes numerous copyright laws, etc). But if it's going to be our only glimpse of part of the monster on the island (and I'm sure it will be both fleeting and disappointingly minimal), I don't want to waste what I'm sure will be an all-too-brief moment, scanning the surrounding trees for a carving of Big Foot or whatever. I wonder how helpful this is going to be, but I guess if American viewers weren't warned to look for this clue before the episode in question went to air in the US, then we may have a decent heads-up on this one. We'll have to wait until next week before we know if this is a worthwhile clue. Did any Aussies watching last night feel ripped off with this clue?

Clue # 3 - JJ has hidden a reference to Lost in his new film, Mission: Impossible III. ... What the ?? This wasn't a clue about the show at all! This was a nice little amusing tidbit, sure - but it's mainly a way of trying to get us to go see the movie! I truly felt robbed of a third clue with this one. I doubt very much that the reference within the movie is going to be something revealing about the island. No way. I'm certain it'll be something like Charlie's band Drive Shaft's single "You Are, Everybody" (or whatever it's called) playing in the background somewhere for a second or something. Maybe there'll be a newspaper article on missing flight Oceania 815 that the camera will pan past. Maybe someone will work for Hurley's box company. Or maybe Ethan Hunt will walk through a department store and we'll see the DVD boxed sets of season one on a shelf behind him. Whatever it is, it's not going to enlighten us to anything on the show!

As usual, I blame Channel Seven in Australia for their poor decisions with the advertising used for Lost. They continue to promise us stuff in the ads that simply isn't in the shows they're promoting. The result? People watch for the promised revelations, don't feel that they get them, and then get angry and annoyed and resentful towards the show. AND THEN THEY STOP WATCHING! Listen up, Channel Seven big-wigs! This is why fewer and fewer people are tuning in each week, and why you have to resort to catch-up episodes. Stop making it sound like each episode is going to "finally reveal the biggest secret on the island, ever!" It's not meant to reveal stuff to us all the time - the show is a suspenseful drama, so the appeal is in how all the various mysteries continue to build and build, and in the clever juxtaposition of the flashbacks to the troubles currently brewing in the present, and in the weird occurrences and other unknown occupants on the island. Stop trying to make it sound like it's going to answer all our questions! I for one don't want it to. I enjoy the show too much the way it is; revealing everything would leave it nowhere to go. And all you're doing is making the dunderheads who think the show should be entirely resolved in one week (and don't realise that it would have to be over at that point) get angry ... and then us clever cookies have trouble convincing them that the show rocks. Because all they're focused on is the fact that you promised them they'd see the monster, or what's down the hatch, or whatever the next mystery's going to be, and they're continually let down because the show is not meant to satisfy every mystery as we encounter it.

Boy, that makes me mad. I don't know why people thought the show was just a three-part mini-series when it came out, and why they think it should have ended at the first season's finale, with them getting saved and ending the whole story. Bizarre. And those who hate the flashbacks and had hoped that they'd finish with them after the first season. Bizarre. And those who think the monster and everything else should be shown to us straight away, not thinking of how that would kill an future mystery in the stories thereafter. Bizarre.

I guess some people just don't get it.

But anyway, I'm kind of glad that JJ's three clues were less-than-Earth-shattering. If he'd shown us the monster properly, or explained who The Others are, or gone into detail about the originals of the computer countdown in the hatch and what DHARMA means, I'd have been extremely pissed off that we didn't get the chance to watch the show and work it out for ourselves - or at least have the answers revealed to us as they get revealed to the characters.

To spell it out for us any more than that would have spoilt the journey for all of us.


Thursday, April 20, 2006

Muppet Question # 10 Answered

On Wednesday, April 05, 2006 at 3:26:12 AM , Treespotter said...

quick question, when's kermit's b'day?

Quick answer: According to Wikipedia, Kermit's official birthday is 9th May, 1955. He'll be turning 51 in less than a month.

He doesn't look a day over 12 (and has the attitude of a 16-year-old).

You may recall that last year Disney (who have secured the rights to various Henson productions) released new versions of four Muppet movies on DVD. They were the special 'Kermit's 50th Anniversary Editions'. (I actually posted about these DVDs - and Kermit's 50th - back in October. You can read it for yourself here, if you like.)

I already own three of these new edition DVDs, and will own the fourth by Christmas.

It is the law.


Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Ma & Pa Have Flown The Coop

My parents, the erstwhile Mum & Dad of BEVIS' Blogdom, flew out of Sydney airport on Sunday evening to spend a month overseas.

They will be visiting all manner of European nations (actually, it's just England and France), and will also have time to stop off in Singapore for some illegal DVDs shopping.

My brother, pictured below, forgot to wish them 'Bon Voyage' before they left. He rang Dad's mobile, but it had been switched off already because they were inside the airport by then.

Tut-tut, little bro!

If you're reading this, Mum & Dad, I'm glad I thought to call you the day before your departure so I could tell you how much I loved you and wish you a wonderful holiday. It's a pity not everyone in the family loves you as much as I do.

By the way, you know how you asked if I wanted anything duty free and I said no? Well, can you get me something from the Sherlock Holmes Museum instead?

Anything interesting would be lovely, and would show me how much my kind words of farewell meant to you. Many thanks.

Your favourite son,



Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Thank The Lord For Your Presence # 2

I think it's fantastic that the team at Thank God You're Here had the good sense to heed my advice from last week and get Shaun Micallef on the show last Wednesday night. Matthew Newton (son of Bert) also appeared, and Angus Sampson and Fifi Box returned from the previous week (apparently most of them do at least two shows each, or something like that).

It was also amusing that the producers listened to my idea of getting some of the Neighbours cast on the show. Dan O'Connor and Natalie Bassingthwaighte (*excuse me while I take a short break to let my fingers recover after typing that surname*) special-guest-starred, but I meant they should appear as contestants, not fellow ensemble cast members! Oh well, at least I know the producers were listening.

I thought Shaun, Matthew and Angus did well, but Fifi's scene was a bit crap, and didn't allow her to do very much. She did much better last week as the fitness guru selling those weird contraptions on TV (who else wants to buy a Pumper?). It's bizarre that she won the night, seeing as her scene was clearly the weakest.

I wonder who'll be on tomorrow night's show. Perhaps Shaun and Matthew will return, and they'll probably bring in a chick, possibly Robyn Butler, seeing as she was shown in some of the teaser ads before the first episode aired. We already know from this week's promos that Glenn Robbins (who is credited as the show's Creative Consultant, incidentally) will be appearing. It had just better not be this woman. I'm serious, here - I will have to hurt someone if I see her on the show!

Did anybody else see it? If so, what did you think?


Monday, April 17, 2006

Too Eggs-travagant?

Well, Easter Sunday has come and gone. The Lord is risen, and we all have a lot of chocolate to prove it. New life, etc.

That's my annual sermon on the subject - I hope you didn't fall asleep.

So how'd everyone do with their Easter Egg haul? I did okay, but due to being out of work, it wasn't a massively crazy amount of chocolate (although I should be careful - to some of you, it still may seem like an enormous amount of chocolate).

To make things easier, I tried to take a photo of the entire chocolate supply for both Wifey and myself before we tucked into it. Unfortunately, this wasn't possible, so you'll just have to imagine that there are a couple of extra bunnies and a four-pack of mini Humpty Dumpty eggs in there (which you can't see because we'd eaten them by the time I took this photo).

Naturally, when I say "we", I of course mean "I". I'm the one who ate the missing chocolate, ... and I've eaten a fair bit more since the above shot was taken, too.

If you're wondering about the breakdown of Wifey's chocolate versus mine, she gets the one on the far left, and the rest is mine.

That totals:

  • 7 x 200g bunnies
  • 1 x 180g bunny (filled with mini-Smarties)
  • 1 x 150g 'Maxi' Kinder Surprise
  • 2 x 240g packet of Cadbury Creme Eggs (as seen on the back of the trailer in my previous post - only not quite as big, to be honest)
  • 1 x 58g packet of mini-Cadbury Creme Eggs (I really like them, okay?)
  • 1 x 120g packet of Fruit & Nut eggs
  • 1 x 120g packet of Turkish Delight eggs
  • 1 x 160g Cadbury Dairy Milk egg
  • 1 x 165g Humpty Dumpty (with Smarties)
  • 4 x mini-Humpty Dumpty eggs - the ones I mentioned earlier (with mini-Smarties) totalling 220g between them
  • ... and Wifey's 80g mini-bunny.

Wasn't it lovely of me to share?



In other news, apologies go out to my good friend Curly Top G, whose birthday it was on Saturday 15th April. I remembered a few times throughout the day, but never when I had the opportunity to call, SMS or email him. But he knows I love him (it's written on the matching tattoos we got when we were young and carefree).

Additionally, today is the birthday of Our Forgetful Friend from this post, and Wifey & I will be attending her birthday 'do' for the majority of the day.

Birthdays come thick and fast during this particular week of April. Thankfully we're through it now, but I must also say happy birthday (for earlier in the week) to LAA (12th), Mum (13th) and Dom (14th). I hope everyone's happy now.



Friday, April 14, 2006

Egg-cellent! (It's All In The Delivery)

Hi everyone.

I just wanted to show you what I got Wifey for Easter:

They're shown here pretty-much to scale, but they're supposed to be some of the finest chocolates ever produced. I bought them at the local petrol station (which is a 'gas station' to North Americans) late last night. I hope she likes them. Hopefully she'll share them with me, because I kinda have my eye on the chocolate in the bottom right-hand corner. (After all, I've only bought myself one Easter egg this year, so the least she could do is share hers with me.)

*sound of truck brakes screeching off-stage*

Oop, sorry everyone - I gotta go. The Cadbury truck just pulled up, delivering the Easter egg I bought myself. Have a great Easter, people!


Thursday, April 13, 2006

Happy Birthday, Mum!

Happy birthday to my Mum. She's turning 30 today ... but doesn't look a day over 24.

It's all true.

Artist's impression

Be quiet -- it is so!

Here; I'll prove it.


Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Thank The Lord For Your Presents

As you'd all know by now, Wifey is pregnant. To those of you who gave or sent us gifts, cards, and emails, and to the many people who have passed on their congratulations in person or via a comment on this blog:


Much love, BEVIS & Wifey.


Tuesday, April 11, 2006

My Parents Love Me

These pics were taken during my parents' recent trip to Melbourne (from their native Sydney), and prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that they love me very much. This was part of their carry-on luggage.

... and so on and so forth, times 12.


(And no, they hadn't eaten three on the way - it was a full box when they gave it to me, but by the time I got my camera out, three had ... er ... "mysteriously disappeared" hic!)


Monday, April 10, 2006

Thank The Lord For Your Presence

I wanted to let you know my thoughts about the new comedy show that premiered on Australian TV last Wednesday night, after weeks and weeks of build-up. It was made by members of the Working Dog team (and a few of their mates), and it's called Thank God You're Here. It's hosted by a well-known Australian comedian who is new to Working Dog Productions, called Shane Bourne.

If you like, you can read an article about it here, which was written before the first episode aired. Or, if you prefer, there's this one. Don't say I don't spoil you for choice.

The point of the show is that a celebrity (usually someone with a sense of humour) is dressed up in a costume, then instructed to walk through a blue door into a scene already underway involving other actors, props, and an entire set. The celebrity has no idea who they are, what the scene's about, or what they're supposed to be doing. But they take their cues from the other actors, and try their best to keep things moving along. Mix all ingredients, allow to boil on maximum heat, and stir. Hilarity ensues.

The premise rings of Theatresports to me, but only one particular game thereof. And as Tom Gleisner is quick to point out in one of the articles linked above, it's kind of the opposite end of the spectrum to Theatresports because the celebrity in this instance is the only one who doesn't know what's going on.

For this week's premiere episode, the guests the show featured as its victims (there's really no better way to describe it) were writer/actor Angus Sampson, radio drive shift co-host Fifi Box, stand-up comedian Frank Woodley and actor/comedian Peter Rowsthorn.

Due to his wacky behaviour (known by the audience from the way he carries on in his stand-up comedy duo Lano & Woodley's act), Frank Woodley was the most amusing (and he won). Of course, this was largely due to his tendancy to stray wildly from the scene presented to him, and to 'bend' the rules (putting it politely) in order to get the biggest laughs.

But that's the point of the show, after all - to be funny.

Despite Tom Gleisner's strained and forced attempts at humour when giving scores to each celebrity's performance (and I love all members of Working Dog - as well as the other original members of The D-Generation - but Tom has never seemed terribly comfortable in front of the camera ... he has a problem with both his pacing and his movement), I found myself really enjoying the show.

Frankly, I thought Angus mightn't prove to be very funny, and that poor Fifi would just embarrass herself, but I was pleasantly surprised by the efforts both of them put in - they each got big laughs. The pre-recorded bits of them pretending to be commentators during an equestrian event, real estate agents showing a couple through a house, and spruikers in a shopping centre selling a terrible vegetable slicer they'd never seen before) were also a highlight.

I didn't mind Bourne's work as host (such as it is), and I'm looking forward to the rest of the series (which is only eight episodes, apparently). From the ads they've used, it's easy to work out that Santo Cilauro and Robyn Butler will be featured as 'victims' in upcoming episodes, but who else they're going to get on the show in future weeks is a mystery. But I'll be watching to see who it is, and how they go.

A few suggestions: This guy, this guy, both of these guys, this guy, (and because it's Network Ten) this woman and (hey - why not) some of the Neighbours cast.

But pleeeeeeease! Not this woman.


In other news, I'm desperately trying to find out what gaming platform to get myself, as per Wifey's promise at Christmas that I could get myself one. It's either going to be an X-Box or a PS2; I'm not spending money on the new X-Box 360 'cos that's just silly.

The pre-requisite is this: I really want the following games. Both of these, and this one. But I fear that all three aren't available on the same platform. Does anyone out there know if this is the case or not? Methinks I'm stuffed. It looks like the third one is only available on PS2, while one of the first two is only available on X-Box (the other one looks like it's available on both ... now why couldn't one of the others be ambidextrous as well, to make things easier?!!). If anyone knows of any facts to the contrary, please let me know.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Itch Scratched

... Spoiler Alert! ... Spoiler Alert! ...

If you haven't yet seen (and you intend to see) episode 5 of The Amazing Race Series 9 (TAR 9), do not read any further!


The last TAR 9 episode we saw here in Australia was the first of a two-parter, where the competing teams discover (when they reach Phil on the mat) that this particular leg of the race isn’t over yet, and they’re still racing. Although a lot of fun for us to watch (and generally resulting in the next episode being even more stressful for the team members due to the absence of a rest period), it still amounted to a big tease for us viewers who were looking forward to the payoff of them all arriving at the pit stop and one team maybe being eliminated.

Well, last night, after a week of waiting, my itch was finally scratched.

For the record, this was the order in which the teams reached Phil on the mat, at which point they were told they were still racing:

1. BFG – Buff Frat Guys (Eric & Jeremy)
2. BSC – Bigoted Southern Couple (Lake & Michelle)
3. TBC – Token Black Couple (Ray & Yolanda)
4. FHG – Freaky Hippy Guys (BJ & Tyler)
5. DEC – Deceptively-Elderly Couple (Fran & Barry)
6. BBS – Blonde Bimbo Sisters [“The Dani Girls” / “The Double Ds” / “The Pinks”] (Dani & Danielle – although I might have that the wrong way around)
7. IMD – International Mom & Daughter (Wanda & Desiree)
8. DWC – Dating WASP Couple [“Team MoJo”] (Joseph & Monica)
9. NDC – Nerdy Dork Couple (Dave & Lori)

So that’s they order in which they set out on this half of that leg. They were still in Russia at the time, and were told straight away that they had to fly to Germany. Note: If you're already ahead of this point in the series, please refrain from giving any spoilers in your comments. Thank you.

As always, I’ll provide my thoughts on each team in this episode, listing them in the order in which they arrived at the pit stop (hence the 'Spoiler Alert!').


1. Buff Frat Guys (BFG) - I wasn’t surprised to see them reclaim the lead and stay there pretty-much unchallenged. They’re a very effective team and they generally power ahead (although admittedly they had a stroke of good luck with flight times, etc – but still managed to break away from the two teams who caught up with them at the BMW test facility), and they’re able to have (their own particular brand of) fun as they go. Their brand of fun basically involves flirting with (and physically assessing) any good-looking females they encounter. And it seems to work for them; they still managed to come out with kisses on their cheeks and a pair o’ Pinks to “play with” during their pit stop.

2. Freaky Hippy Guys (FHG) - they played another good game this week, returning from fourth place to second place within this half of the double leg. I found it hilarious that they ‘tipped’ Phil some money when he handed them their clue for the second half of the leg (they very sensibly took it back; they only had the amount of cash they’d received when they set out on the first part of the leg to last them the extra-long amount of time – in retrospect, I remember hearing one of them say it was $130-something dollars, which I thought was high, so I should have known it was the double leg). Like the BFG and the BSC before them, they had incredible luck at the Russian check-in counter as far as getting on that flight was concerned. (And how crazy was the check-in counter at the Russian airport? Those wacky Russians!) Also like the BFG, the FHG tried to ‘chat up’ the blonde German girl at the bottle-smashing detour (but at least the FHG had learnt some German; unlike the BFG who could only try to pick her up in English). But the icing on the cake for me was when they finally arrived at the pit stop and decided to approach the mat – for some bizarre reason – backwards. And then, when reaching Phil and the German man (whose name was ‘Peter’, according to Phil’s obviously filmed-after-the-event question in order to edit it in later, “They’re walking backwards; do see that, Peter?” Yes, of course he sees it, Phil; he’s German, not retarded*), one of the boys (I think it’s BJ, but I’m not 100% sure at this stage; the shorter one with the darker hair and beard, anyway) looked at Peter and exclaimed: “Santa!” It might not be terribly original, but it made me laugh out loud at his sheer chutzpah, nonetheless. I still think these guys are the greatest, and are clearly the most entertaining team there is this season. I hope they don’t get eliminated. (Oh, but what’s with the “I need a changing room – I’m not wearing any underwear” line at the bottle-smashing detour? You’re traveling around the world in all sorts of weather and sweating up a storm as you do so in a mad panic … and you’re not wearing any underwear? Ewww!)

* Please forgive me for that comment, Phil. I know you’re only doing what you’re told to do. I understand that something needed to be said so it worked better when it was edited together later! Still, you must understand that it sounded a little redundant.

3. Bigoted Southern Couple (BSC) - to be honest, they played a pretty good game this week. I can’t fault them on their game-play and although they also had better luck than most teams at the airport in Russia, they didn’t do too much wrong. They obtained navigational assistance from a German man who was clearly walking home after a big night out (he was still drunk!), and then they ‘tricked’ the FHG to follow them as they drove their ‘rented’ inebriated tour guide home, under the guise of the two teams being able to work together to find their next stop (when in fact, certainly from the BSC’s perspective, it was really just an attempt to prevent the FHG getting too far ahead; a ruse that didn’t end up working for the BSC anyway). However, they shared the biggest argument stakes with the IMD this week. Additionally, I thought it was a real shame that Michelle’s not allowed to be negative (although Lake seems to be permitted to complain whenever he likes), and she has to madly puff his ego to get him off her back!**

** Not literally.

4. Deceptively-Elderly Couple (DEC) - well, finally! Seeing as all the teams from fourth place down to ninth place caught the same flight to Germany, I’m impressed at long last with the DEC for coming in first amongst the lagging six teams. Big snaps for having a map and using it so well when they were in Germany. That’s probably the first instance I’ve really noticed where their age and experience have meant they’re prepared and able to approach a challenge such as driving through a foreign country with some success. They did well with that, and I’m pleased to see them stepping up and showing their mettle. They’d just better keep it up! :)

5. Nerdy Dork Couple (NDC) - still haven’t seen too much of what makes this team worth being wary of. I know Spankk and others like them a lot, but all I can see that they’ve got going for them is the ‘underdog’ thing (and the same can be said of both the FHG and the DEC, too – they need to have and bring more to the table than just that). Yeah, I know they’re cute and dorky and in love, etc, but so what. That’s not enough to endear me to them for a race such as this. They also did well to move from last place up to fifth, but this was in part due to the BBS and the IMD making some big mistakes, and their luck at finding ‘Prost’ on a label before the DWC and the TBC. There wasn’t much more to it than that. Don’t get me wrong; I don’t hate them or wish they’d be eliminated; I’m just being tough on them because I want them to show me more of why they earned their position on the race. They were smart to stop working in tandem with the DWC, so hopefully this is a step in the right direction and the next episode will show them truly shining (although what we saw on the preview for the next episode didn’t look promising).

6. Dating WASP Couple (DWC) - I’ll say this for Team MoJo; they certainly seem to have a lot of fun, no matter what’s going on. They laughed their way through the bottle-smashing detour and had a great time on the BMW testing track (but then again, who didn’t?!). I was highly amused at the German band coming in and marching around the bottle-smashing teams playing their music. It was all very reminiscent of the Russian band doing a similar thing while teams tried to find a clue in the Russian dolls from the last episode. Making a decision that at least one other team copied (swapping from the bottle-smashing detour to the thigh-slapping detour) was a good choice; especially for Monica and Joseph, who seemed to pick up the dance easily and quickly (and well). I’m liking this team more and more each week, and I’m starting to wonder if Joseph really has a volatile temper at all. Maybe it was just utter frustration with the taxi driver who was costing them so much time in that early episode; perhaps he’s not nasty to Monica at all. Only time will tell.

7. Token Black Couple (TBC) - it was good to see Ray and Yolanda enjoying themselves more this week. We saw Yolanda make a joke about Ray’s butt being too big to fit in the German pants, and (more importantly) we saw the big grin that broke over Ray’s face at Yolanda’s comment. They were ‘robbed’ at the Russian airport check-in (because they’d been lining up the longest, however it was the FHG who got the last available tickets), but the mishap benefited my favourite team, so I don’t exactly intend to write a letter of complaint over the incident. I must say; although Ray was trying his best to learn the thigh-slapping dance at the detour (which they swapped to from the bottle-smashing detour after seeing Team MoJo do the same thing and get their clue fairly quickly), he really was making a mess of it. But it didn’t seem to bother the dancing judge, who just appeared to be happy with anyone who put in an effort. Obviously not the long-lost German cousin of this guy, or this guy, or this guy, or this guy, or this guy, or this guy, then. And once they received the applause of the German band, what’s with Yolanda yelling out: “I love you, New York!” when they’re clearly in Germany?! A little bizarre.***

*** It’s alright; I know she’s quoting the stereotypical shout from a rock concert, etc. I just wanted to point out the perplexing nature of the comment. I ain’t as dumb as I smell, you know.

8. Blonde Bimbo Sisters (BBS) - well, the girls came in second-last again; and they can’t blame anyone but themselves … again. I don’t think they have what it takes to go very far in this race, and I’m pretty sure they’re going to be one of the next teams to be eliminated. I wonder what they’ll think of Jeremy’s (from the BFG) comment about hoping the girls would make it to the mat in time so they can enjoy some tongue-wrestling over the course of the pit stop. Actually, they’ll probably be flattered, the silly little things. As far as game-play went, the girls made a couple of near-fatal flaws. Whereas the DEC had a map and used it well, the BBS had a plan and used it badly: To follow someone else who looked like they knew what they were doing. Unfortunately for everyone involved, the team they chose to follow was the rapidly-disintegrating IMD. I don’t think they’d recovered from their swimming pool meltdown from the previous episode (they certainly didn’t really have much time to recover; although it was about eight hours in a hotel, so presumably it wasn’t so bad). But I’m discussing the wrong team, here. The BBS shouldn’t have followed the IMD, especially when they went off-track twice. On exactly the same path. That, if nothing else before that, should have rung very loud warning bells in the girls’ minds to find someone else to help them. But they continued to follow the IMD and only just managed to beat them to the pit stop. The future ain’t lookin’ bright for The Double Ds; I don’t care how bright their pink clothing is.

9. International Mom & Daughter (IMD): ELIMINATED! - okay, their mistakes were plentiful and their wise decisions were few. They didn’t use a map; they argued a bit when the mother was driving down the same (wrong) stretch of highway – both times; they argued a bit about the mother’s inability to speak in German properly; they panicked when they were the last team at the gnome roadblock (and the mother began taking it out on the daughter – which I thought was a bit rich after her own behaviour at the swimming pool the previous day!); and they parked their car properly rather than ditch it somewhere (even double-parked!) so they could beat the BBS to the pit stop. Anything to stay in the game! I must say, however, that the “Schnell or schlopp?” exchange was quite amusing. But in the end, they weren’t good enough – despite showing earlier promise – to remain in the game. And they said it best themselves, when Phil gave them the bad news: “You can’t win ‘em all.” Amen to that.


Last week's tips:

First Team: BFG Correct!
Last Team: DEC (Wrong – the IMD fell apart only a bit, but it was enough to make them bring up the rear; I also said the BBS and IMD were possibilities and they were the last two teams, but I’m not going to claim this as ‘Correct’ when my actual tip was the DEC)
Elimination Week? Yes Correct!
Biggest Argument: BSC Correct! (Although the IMD also argued a bit – you could be forgiven for saying they argued more. I’ll call this one a tie between the two teams but still take it as ‘Correct’ for me. :) )
Smartest Team: NDC (Wrong – I’m not too sure who it was, but it certainly wasn't the NDC. I’m going to say it was the BSC, as much as it pains me to admit it, for picking up their ‘rented drunk German guy’, and then keeping the FHG from racing ahead them until they’d dropped the guy home)


Next week's tips:

First Team: FHG (It’s time to support my favourite team again)
Last Team: BBS (Here’s hopin’!)
Yield? No (I forgot about the Yields until this week, so this is a new category that will be included here in future reviews)
Elimination Week? No (We’ve got to see the first ‘safe pit stop’ soon)
Biggest Argument: NDC (But this is almost a given, from the ad we saw of Lori losing it at a roadblock)
Smartest Team: TBC (Just to be different)


What really annoys me is that Lost and TAR 9 will be on hiatus again next week ('due to Easter'), so it’s another two week wait for the next episode. And that probably means our American friends will edge even further away from us, making Channel Seven’s promise of screening each episode less than 30 hours after it airs in The States a total farce (and a massive let-down).

That sucks. And it means a further delay in these reviews (which I know upsets the two of you who read these things – one of whom is me feeling sorry for myself). But it sounds like you’ll just have to wait.

Phil, if you actually are reading this, can you give your contacts at Channel Seven Australia a call and let them know that the show's Aussie fans are not amused?