Friday, December 02, 2005


I had expected the long-awaited Letterman/Oprah interview to be the highlight of Thursday night TV, but like so many things, it failed to live up to the hype. Dave went into the fawning mode he usually saves for beautiful young starlets, and even Oprah seemed shocked by what a straight interview it was. ("Thank you for being nice to me.")

Instead, the best moment came on "Survivor," when Judd proved once and for all what a poor sportsmanship he was. After saying minutes earlier in Tribal Council that getting voted out wasn't personal, just business, when he discovered that he had been voted out, his anger management problems bubbled over again and he called all the other players "Scumbags!" (Between this and that "Daily Show" interview with our governor a few nights ago, I've never been prouder to be from Jersey.) Not since "Survivor: All-Stars," when Lex told his backstabbed pal Ethan to learn to lose with a little class, then became the sorest loser of all after his pal Boston Rob did the same thing to him, has a contestant been this big a jackass at their exit.

Since I didn't watch anything else last night (I didn't realize "The O.C." was new, and upon realizing that I'd missed it, didn't feel that bad), a few other "Survivor" observations:
  • Cindy's identical twin sister is named Mindy? That's some good parenting right there. And seeing the two of them sitting next to each other and looking very different was one of the better reminders of the physical toll the show takes on people.
  • Unless they edited a lot out, this was the first food auction I can remember where all the contestants didn't wind up getting some grub. Weird, since the whole point of it is to prevent a lot of late-in-the-game whining about how everyone's too tired and hungry to do anything interesting. But if this is really all that happened, then Danni had a genius performance: she gets the two major sources of protein (the jerky and the steak sandwich), plus the clue that allowed her to stick around.
  • I can't believe how much I despise Stephenie this time around. It's so obvious that what we thought of as pluck and grit in Palau ("I can't believe how much I'm losing") was actually her enormous sense of entitlement, which has been allowed to flower by her position in this game.
  • In all, this is turning out to be a better season than I'd expected. Not remotely in the class of Australia, the Amazon, Pearl Islands or the original, but certainly a step up from Africa or Thailand or Vanuatu.
Two links: My review of "Sleeper Cell," and my column on NBC's scheduling moves.

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