Survivor: The “Heroes vs. Villains” has been one of the best cycles of “Survivor” in its decade-long history, but it’s also been one of the most frustrating. It’s clear at this point that, whether we want to or not, we have to acknowledge Russell’s superiority over the game. I don’t get it. I don’t understand why people continue to trust him. I understand that none of this season’s players were actually able to see last season (where Russell dominated the game), but you’d think that, by now, a few more alarm bells would go off. And yet, that little rat bastard has been able to manipulate the game to suit his strategy from the beginning (save for Parvati’s ownership last week).
It’s frustrating because Russell has managed, in his alliance with Parvati, to eliminate some of the best — and most popular — players in the game’s history, starting with Boston Rob and culminating last night in the ouster of Amanda, who heretofore had spent more time in the game than any other player in “Survivor” history (Parvati will take that title next week).
Last week’s immunity idol heavy Tribal Council was one of the best in recent memory (and one of the rare surprises the show’s editors didn’t spoil) and though they couldn’t top it in last night, the show’s editors did a magnificent job not giving it away. But in the end, for reasons that don’t make a lot of sense to me, Candice flipped on the Heroes because Russell had an idol. I’d like to think it was a dumb move, but so far, siding with Russell has advanced everyone who has done so up to this point. The few remaining heroes are in trouble. Without Amanda, I’m not sure I care. I think, at this point, Rupert is the only person in the game left to care about.
Of course, scenes from next week reveal that the Villains’ tribe may finally be falling apart. But then again, we’ve seen similar upcoming scenes before. And Russell is still there.
Will somebody please boot that fucker off the island?
The Office: I have to admit that, while “The Office” hasn’t been on its game since Jim and Pam’s wedding, last night’s episode was one of the better ones this season. Dwight attempted to outmaneuver Daryl in pushing Kelly through the Executive Program for minorities (only to regret it later), but the A plot last night revolved around Michael’s attempts to kiss the nightclub owner, despite having his advances rebuffed over and over and over again. The level of discomfort on last night’s show was as high as it’s been since Michael botched that scholarship program for high schoolers and couldn’t follow through on his promise to pay their college tuition (that episode was brutal).
I honestly do appreciate the comedy of discomfort, but don’t you kind of wish that just once … just once … Michael Scott could win the day without making the rest of us feel so unbelievably uncomfortable. Bravo for his persistence, and double bravo for Pam’s deliciously lame puns last night.
30 Rock: “30 Rock,” of late, has become a show propelled by three or four outstanding one-liners in otherwise mediocre episodes. Last night was no exception; each of the three subplots fell kind of flat. Jenna fell in love with a drag-queen version of herself (Will Forte), a subplot that was almost completely devoid of laughs (it was more dumb than creepy). The subplot involving Grizz, and his attempts to make Dot Com his best man over Tracy (not realizing that Dot Com was in love with Grizz’s finance, Feyonce) was pretty funny (the show doesn’t utilize Grizz and Dot Com enough), but the one involving Jack and that goddamn peacock was atrocious.
Fortunately, the show did deliver two excellent one liners. When it was suggested that Jack might have to stay in a haunted house over night, Liz cracked, “You better hope everyone else there is black guys and sluts.” And later in the episode, Liz questioned Jenna’s unusual level of happiness, asking: “Why are you so happy and nice? Are you soaking your tampons in vodka again?”
Those two lines alone were worth 22 minutes of my life.
Community: “Community,” as it has since it found its legs around episode three, was on its game last night, tossing Pierce from the group after he pantsed Shirley, realizing then that Pierce was the group’s lightning rod, who absorbed all the group’s nastiness. Without him, their meanness bounced around at each other. Meanwhile, Jeff and Brita had to deal with a few students who insisted on childishly torturing them, a subplot that satirized, in a way, Internet trolls. It started out hilarious but kind of lost steam in the “retard-off” (for lack of a better word) in the end. But, as usual, the highlights were Troy and Abed, and the awesome combination of The Bucket List and an ’80s college comedy. They killed.
The one caveat, however, is that “Community” seems to be basing a lot of their premises on movie genres, which is great and a source for a lot of great material. For a while. “Pysch” used to do this, too, but once they exhausted all of the genres, the show careened off the tracks. Let’s hope the same doesn’t happen to “Community.”