The Weekly Pulse: Mr. Coogan's Groove Tube Update

Let’s get the apology done and over with”¦

I apologize for no-showing last week on this column. It’s officially “wedding season” in addition to “finals season” for me. The two combine when you’re in your late 20s and in grad school at the same time”¦

Anyway, the two mixing make it difficult to keep up with the “TV season” as well. Please bare with me as I do my best to crank out the best work I can!


In the mean time”¦


** I’m still not sure how UPN scored the Britney Spears reality series. Next, you’ll tell me both of the Gilmore Girls are interested in having me over for a little “Mr. Coogan sandwich.” The UPN/Britney Spears match seems THAT unlikely”¦

** I included this link to an article about The Apprentice because the writer magically incorporated three complete different subjects related to the show all in one article. But all I remember is that The Apprentice third season finale will only be an hour long. In other news, God does exist and he’s now running NBC.

** Everyone should know about Showtime’s Reefer Madness. I have Showtime at my house, so if you want me to tape for you, let me know”¦It’s got Kristin Bell/Veronica Mars in it!

** Any time I can work a Jenna Jameson update into a column about television and not the porn industry, I’m taking it and running”¦

** Can Webste’s feet even reach the pedals?


** This is where I would link to the latest column Jonathan Baker and I did together. But his trip to New York and my trip to”¦work put us behind schedule. Stay tuned though!


** First up, we’ve got some Survivor recaps. Jake on Episode 8, J.P. on Episode 9, and Eliza is looking to catch up still. She’s stuck on Episode 3.

** Then, there’s our top notch writers for The Apprentice: Chris Russo delivers his STRONG OPINIONS about this week’s episode. As usual, old reliable, Nick Warnock brings his own flavor to the conversation. If you don’t think he has anything to offer, check out his prediction for the episode that aired this past Thursday:

It looks like Bren goes over to Net Worth in an attempt to even things out. At this point, I just don’t see how a team with Tana and Kendra can lose. I think we will see another Net Worth loss, and Chris will see his 7th boardroom in a row. Mr. Trump has to fire him, I mean there is just no way he would NOT fire him this time. I think. Oh, who knows?

He even knew Bren was moving over”¦Outstanding”¦

FLAGSHIPS — We may not know what they are exactly, but we have them!

** With the end of the semester coming for those students in college (and grad school), it looks like many people have had to put their writing career on hold a little bit. But Sarah Quigley talks about The Amazing Race and Laura Whitehouse recaps a couple of episodes of the latest America’s Next Top Model and waxes poetic about Frankie Muniz.

COLUMNS — Another strong week!

** Mike Sage rates his Top 10 Survivor seasons up to this point.

** Sarah Quigley delivers another piece and is in the same boat as me about Survivor. Good bye Ulong”¦worst”¦tribe”¦ever”¦

** Speaking of Survivor, Patrick and the VERY detail-oriented Dan Wentzel have a lot to say themselves!

** I’m with Mathan on this one: the E! True Hollywood Story. I think VH-1 doesn’t even air new episodes of Behind the Music“¦

RECAPS AND REVIEWS — as solid as a rock!

** As always, recaps for Survivor, The Apprentice, The Amazing Race and American Idol are up”¦here. Good job Micahelangelo, Kevin and Cheri!

** I’d be a fool if I didn’t let you fine readers know of the great gloomchen’s exploits recapping The Shield. She rules.

Mr. Coogan’s 5 Questions: The reality television edition!

1. A Survivor question: Did the producers/appropriate decision makers wait too long to merge the tribes? – Let’s be honest, watching Survivor these last few weeks has been an absolute disaster. Sure, there was some sort of “train crash so bad, you have to watch” feel to it as the Ulong tribe lost player after player”¦after player. But it really reached ridiculous status and those involved with determining the rules of the game did nothing about it.

Especially in the beginning, part of the allure of the game is watching the different teams take part in these reward and immunity challenges and rooting for the team you like the best to win. It’s similar to liking your favorite professional or college sports team.

But then it becomes the Devil Rays playing the Yankees”¦and losing. Or it starts to look like Binghamton University playing the University of North Carolina in college basketball”¦and losing. Or it starts to look like”¦well”¦just about anyone playing the University of Southern California in college football”¦and losing.

They are mismatches and they are about as fun to watch as a documentary about the War of 1812″¦narrated by Ben Stein”¦Bueller”¦Bueller”¦

With Ulong losing task after task, it allowed Koror to get fat and happy with their rewards and their lack of worrying about which players were getting voted off. That’s a huge part of the game eliminated for half the players who can sit around, kill sharks, drink rum and get hangovers. It’s certainly funny, but is that what this game is about?

Meanwhile, Ulong kept losing and they go back to their campground dejected, devastated and in a just foul mood about everything that had transpired. That builds and builds; the hole gets deeper and deeper and it gets to the point that no matter how positive you are, it’s really hard to win. Teams in organized sports that are good and have confidence don’t lose 10 or 11 games in a row. Sure, they may hit a bad streak, but they keep trying. But those bad teams? They keep losing.

So, what should be done? Change it up”¦drastically. Immunity challenges shouldn’t take place with eight people on one side and two on another. Sitting six people? That’s ridiculous and unnecessary. Once it got lopsided, the tribes should have been mixed. It doesn’t matter to me that isn’t in the “rules” or it “hasn’t been done before.” The bottom line is it should have because it would have made for a more compelling competition and, in turn, a more compelling television show in general.

My answer: To slightly alter a quote Col. Nathan Jessup from A Few Good Men:YOU’RE GODDAMN RIGHT THEY DID!!!”

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2. A The Apprentice question: Why did “The Donald” have such a soft spot for Chris Shelton? I mean”¦he pulled Chris back into the boardroom to pat him on the back”¦ – Sweet Jesus”¦poor Chris; he’s probably one of the worst players this game has ever seen. Yet, he continued to stick around week after week”¦after week. How did this happen?

The guy lost his temper and was about six milliseconds from being the first player in the game’s history to get booted from the show for inciting physical violence.

He lost SEVEN straight tasks (including several as project manager) before finally getting fired. SEVEN! Could you imagine walking into your place of employment and being allowed to screw up seven times in a row (costing the business money) before finally getting fired?

He made a real bonehead mistake last week losing that credit card at Best Buy, which ended losing him valuable time he was supposed to spend with his teammates working.

Dude”¦he dips. Sure, I’ll do it at times, but I also know it’s probably the grossest habit in the history of mankind (or a close second to picking your nose and eating it) and I would never consider doing it in the middle of an important business event or in front of a potential employer. Why not just wear dirty underwear over your suit pants instead? Hell, the two say the same thing”¦I’m gross and have no perception of how to ask in a serious, important situation.

But he wasn’t all bad either”¦

He kept plugging away. He kept losing but he kept trying too.

He may have been on a huge losing streak, but every task and every day was new.

He was too emotional for his own good, but he was also very passionate and showed some level of a killer instinct.

He yelled in the boardroom and got too carried away. But he also was able to take some level of responsibility when he made a big mistake too. (He deferred a lot of blame too though”¦But in that game, wouldn’t you if your team lost?)

In the end, despite the immaturity, the temper and the ridiculous tobacco habit, it appears Trump saw a little something in Chris that he probably didn’t see in many other candidates, not only in this season but the last two as well. It’s hard to argue against Chris being the most passionate and emotional person of all the groups.

But he was also one of the least ready to take a serious position in Trump’s company too. Maybe some day.

Or maybe it has nothing to do with any of this and Mark Burnett simply told Trump to keep this guy on as long as possible and hope he actually DOES hit someone”¦That seems possible too.

My answer: Either because Trump liked him and saw something in him or because Burnett liked him and saw him hitting something or someone”¦

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3. A Real World/Road Rules Challenge question: Doesn’t this show kind of suck now? Maybe it’s strictly a season to season thing depending on which cast members from which shows they get and what game they are playing, but this show has been DREADFUL the last two seasons.

First, Battle of the Sexes 2 was a complete mess because the challenges would take up half to two-thirds of each show and the women only won, what? Four of the sixteen tasks legitimately? Then there was all the drama involved and who was going to stay and who was going to go, but the girls never won so it didn’t matter who stayed. No one won anything anyway”¦ Meanwhile, the guys remained relatively drama free. Then, there was the fact that there were 36 people there, 18 on each side, making it impossible to see compelling storylines and keep up with the players.

Now we’ve reached The Inferno 2. The drama has been nothing short of hilarious, probably some of the best in the history of reality television. But Beth left the show and Karamo and Robyn lost in the Inferno (both in a sad, lopsided way) leaving some obnoxious people left, but no one really worth getting too excited about (unless Veronica and Rachel are having sex with each other again, they’re not interesting, they’re just mean).

Also, instead of having too many people (36), they cut it down to 20, 10 vs. 10, which doesn’t feel like enough personalities involved, especially since some of the more electric people have already left the show.

And finally”¦the biggest beef of them all: The “Good Guys” vs. the “Bad Asses?!” Are you kidding me? I liked the old “The Real World vs. Road Rules ” format so much primarily because I always liked The Real World so much better than Road Rules that I liked rooting for them in challenges. Then they took it away and went with the old “men vs. women” format simply because I’m a man and it’s fun to root for your own gender in a significant competition.

But this? This ridiculously contrived “competition” between 20 people with no real ties to each other except that 10 were given the blue outfits and 10 the red? C’mon”¦I always thought The Real World vs. Road Rules was kind of like the Hatfields vs. the McCoys, the Democrats vs. the Republicans, or the Yankees vs. the Red Sox.

How would you react if Bud Selig decided to team up Derek Jeter, Hideki Matsui, David Ortiz and Keith Foulke on one team and call them the “Good Guys” and put Alex Rodriguez, Gary Sheffield, Johnny Damon and Curt Schilling on another team called “the Bad Asses” just as a contrived away to maintain interest in the game? The idea is ridiculous and what Bunim/Murray Productions and MTV did here with the challenge show is ridiculous too. Yes, the actual “competition” isn’t necessarily as important as what happens when they get back to their bungalo and party, drink, fight and have sex. But as long as the competition aspect is there and they make it a primary part of the show, it should be taken seriously.

My answer: Yes, the show sucks now. But since they change the format and the cast every season, it’s prime for a come back whenever the producers get it right.

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4. An American Idol question: Will one of the guys win? Or will a female maintain the strangle hold of this competition? This probably would have been a more fair question at the beginning of the finals when there were six men and six women instead of now where the men outnumber the women five-to-two.

But I will say that my position hasn’t changed since I saw who the Final 12 were going to be:

It’s raining men! Hallelujah, it’s raining men!

While some of the more talented men have long since left the competition (Nikko Smith, Mario Vazquez prime examples), leaving people who obviously won’t win like Anthony Federov and Scott Savol still in, between the raw, emotional talent of Bo Bice, the marketability, knowledge of the industry and obvious stage presence of Constantine Maroulis and the mixture of all those attributes in Anwar Robinson, it could be tough for Carrie Underwood and Vonzell Solomon to even crack the Top 3, let alone win the entire competition.

And to this point, the women have dropped like flies. They haven’t secured really big fan bases like the men and overall, their performances have been sub-standard compared to the men, who all have strong, powerful voices and personalities to go along with that fan base they’ve secured along the way.

It also got me thinking”¦could this be a continuing trend? It seems like more teeny bopper girls are doing the voting these days and the show almost feels even more sugary and sweet than it has in the past. Hell, it may devolve to the point where it feels more like an issue of Tiger Beat and the girls are voting for their newest cover boy.

Then I realize it could just be cyclical. After all, the women ruled this thing last year and that’s because overall, they were better singers. The pendulum just happened to swing this year”¦

But I’m watching”¦Too many more “’90s night” or “Billboard #1 hits” nights and I’m going to get suspicious. There was nothing wrong with the Barry Manilow and Elton John nights!

My answer: A guy is definitely winning. I just think the reasons for that are up for debate.

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5. A PoweR Girls question: I couldn’t have possibly found another reason to like this show, could I? – I’m giving this show more P(owe)R than its worth, especially if you believe in the industry’s mantra, “any publicity is good publicity.”

But I’m getting to the point where I love venting about this ridiculous show so much, I’m thinking of turning into a spin-off column where I let the inner dialogue I keep stuck inside me because it’s too mean, rude and crude to let anyone ever hear or read come out and rear its ugly head.

But for now, I’ll limit my venom to the idea of failure. I just love seeing these women fail. Last week, Millie, who thinks she’s the greatest thing since Friends came on the air, was bitched out by Lizzie for completely dropping the ball when she was assigned a task that Lizzie ended up having to cover for. Let the fangs come out! Millie FAILS!

Then, this past Thursday, Ali worked with a group known as the Valli Girls on various etiquette issues and dealing with the media and one of the dopey girls makes a completely inappropriate comment in front of a reporter for Elle Girl magazine. You know THAT one isn’t going to just slip by. Ali FAILS!

Finally, in Lizzie’s quest to make Ja Rule’s latest album #1 on the charts, she works big time to get a release party in Los Angeles organized for the big event. But no celebrities show up giving the entertainment press nothing interesting to talk about. When Lizzie and Rachel go into spin mode, it does little good. Ja Rule doesn’t open at #1, he opens at #7, which is like your end-of-the-year bonus being about 1/7 as good as you hoped it would be. Lizzie FAILS!

I’ll admit that this passage is mean and vindictive. I will say that don’t really hold any ill will toward these women. It’s just easy to root against them because of their blatant, ridiculous superficiality and when they FAIL it’s funny!

My answer: To quote Col. Nathan Jessup from A Few Good Men:YOU’RE GODDAMN RIGHT I DID!!!”

I better wrap this up before I start quoting As Good As It Gets“¦

— Coogan