“I Trust You but I Trust Me More”
May 17th, 2009
In my time writing here at Cultural Learnings, I’ve blogged through five seasons of Survivor, although there’s a pattern: I might start out with a few posts on specific episodes, or really commit myself to getting to it on a weekly basis, but without fail it falls off my critical radar. I don’t stop watching the show: although episodes are often spoiled for me, I still quite consistently dig into the week’s episode to see what the show will serve up next. It isn’t that I expect there to be something different, but rather there’s a combination of nostalgia (for a show that is highly familiar for me) and curiosity (to see the ways the show is trying to stay fresh in an environment where most other reality shows of the same era have perished).
This season has, for the most part, lacked major drama: other than Coach, one of the most ridiculous players in quite some time, the characters have been fairly under the radar. Outside of the one exception, people have been pretty pleasant to watch, and early season discussion of an Exile Island alliance seemed like it was going to be a potential dealmaker later in the season. Things got more interesting when the Jalapao Three began to work their way into an unlikely position of power in the season’s back half, but it happened so effortlessly that I was more baffled by Timbira’s lack of intelligence than I was entertained by the turn of events.
Survivor, as a show, is all about big moments or little quirks: either there’s a big personality that makes every moment they’re around like a powder keg waiting to explode, which Coach provided to an extent, or it’s just challenges and tribal council, and posturing for those in between. This makes a finale like this one, which cuts down a lot of the meat in the middle and gets right to the point until the final tribal council. Luckily for Mark Burnett and company, in the vein of some previous finales, there’s plenty of drama to rush through to keep things interesting: while the Jalapao Three have managed to stay strong thus far, it wasn’t based on thier own strategic genius, and with the only remaining Timbira member less incompotent than her predecessors it becomes clear that Three’s Company.
And with that comes the unraveling, which always makes for an engaging finale if not, perhaps, the clean ending the Jalapao Three imagined for themselves.
[Looking for details on The Amazing Race Season 15 finale with Meghan and Cheyne, Sam and Dan and Brian and Ericka? Find out who won, and whether they deserved it, here!]
Who Won The Amazing Race Season 14?
May 10th, 2009
In what began as one of the most promising seasons of The Amazing Race in recent memory, with some slick new editing and the much-loved pairing of Mike and Mel White, tonight’s season finale was in some ways a let down before it even began: while there are reasons to appreciate or even admire the three teams who have made it this far, they have all done things that have kept me from actually liking them. This isn’t to say that any of the three teams are objectionable, or that they don’t truly deserve to win, but rather that all of them feel at least a little bit problematic from an analytical perspective.
However, there needed to be one winning team, and after traveling tens of thousands of miles and visiting what seemed like even more individual countries than ever before (until the end, anyways), the winner of The Amazing Race Season 14 is…
[Looking for who won the 15th Season of The Amazing Race, featuring Meghan and Cheyne, Sam and Dan and Brian and Ericka? Find out at this link!]
Who Won The Amazing Race 13?
Eleven Legs, eleven teams, and eleven hilarious mistakes by Dan & Andrew have brought us to this point: we have three teams racing to the finish, searching for that flight back to the United State of America and the finish line.
Who made it there first? To find out how they did it, read Cultural Learnings’ full review. To find out who it was, and whether they deserved it, click on below.
This will be quick, I’m about to collapse out of exhaustion from a long day of graduation festivities, but below the jump some quick thoughts on tonight’s Survivor Finale.
“The Final Push”
January 20th, 2008
[Looking for the finale of Season 13 airing in December 2008? Well, Cultural Learnings still has you covered: click her for all the details!]
If not for Viva Laughlin’s early exit from CBS’ Fall Schedule, we would just be starting Season 12 of The Amazing Race. We would just be meeting the dating goths, saying goodbye to Ari and Staella, and pondering whether the entire race would be defined by angry animals making Nate and Jennifer’s lives hell.
Well, it turns out that they didn’t need animals but only each other, as Nathan and Jennifer were the last time to be eliminated before we head into a three-team showdown as the teams return to the U.S. in tonight’s finale. Will Ronald and Christina’s tenuous father/daughter bond be strong enough to survive the final leg and propel them to one million dollars? Or is it TK & Rachel’s laidback style that will allow them to nonchalantly waltz over the finish line and win the prize? And, can Nicholas drag his Grandfather Donald across the line at the same speed as the other teams and become the generational winners?
Well, only time will tell. For now, it’s time for the final leg of the Amazing Race.