The Thursday Report – Working Down in H-Town

Houston isn’t a bad place for food. Being from Toronto I can tell you that the Chinese food is pretty bad, with a few exceptions – the restaurants at 8880 Bellaire, and Hong Kong’s cafe in the Diho Square – but you can pretty much enjoy any type of food here. I used to live close to Rice University, and I’d recommend heading to the Rice Village as you’re likely to find something you like. Personal recommendations there are Thai Spice (Thai), Istanbul Grill (Turkish/Middle Eastern), Kubo’s (Japanese) and Two Rows (brewpub).

Enough about food though. On to the random items that may or may not have anything to do with television!

Bits and Pieces
– Hasn’t Toronto copyrighted “T.O.”? Isn’t there some sort of way the city can make fun of the ex-Eagle?

– And in other football-related news, we have an incident involving two Carolina Panthers cheerleaders in Tampa. Insert Gold Club joke here.

– Finally, FINALLY, new episodes of ‘Arrested Development’. And of course it doesn’t disappoint, taking incest, the British, mail order and Super Dave, mashing it up and giving us two half-hours of brilliance. Plus we get a random cameo by Frankie Muniz. I have no idea what that was about.

– Scary thought: CBS is moving ‘Threshold’ to Tuesday and ‘Close to Home’ to Friday for sweeps, which means that there’s a Jerry Bruckheimer show on CBS every night of the week (Saturdays they air a repeat of one of the procedurals). But don’t get too excited just yet. ‘Threshold’ (and ‘The Amazing Race’) is being pre-empted (again) next week for some sort of awards show, plus it’s up against the best of the ‘Law & Order’ shows, ‘Special Victims Unit’. If you’re a fan, pray that this isn’t the kiss of death for the show.

– Guest Star sightings: Michael Gross (‘Family Ties’) on ‘CSI: New York’ as Tom Endecott. And James Badge Dale (’24’) was pretty damn creepy as serial killer Henry Darius on the CSI Miami/New York crossover.

Quick thoughts on ‘Lost’
– Killing Shannon better depussify Sayid. Otherwise, it’s about as meaningless as the death of Tasha Yar.
– On the other hand, if Ana died, would anyone care?
– Apparently sleeping with his stepsister was just the tip of the iceberg. Boone interest in cosmetics apparently extended to wearing quite a bit of it…
– And finally, it’s more or less confirmed that Jack had a hand in Shannon’s dad’s death. It’s a small world, and the ‘Lost’ universe is apparently a lot smaller.

Apparently, not being a moron was a one week thing…
OK, so you’re on the run from Secret Service agents who think you’re dead, and you’re trying to fly under the radar. The remote safehouse you’re holed up in inexplicably has internet access. Should you:

a) Try to use it as little as possible,
b) Play solitaire on the laptop, since you’ve got nothing else to do, or
c) Turn on your instant messenger, so you can let friends and family know you’re ok?

If you answered c), you might just be Victoria Donovan, the dumbest person in the ‘Prison Break’ universe.

You know, other than that, this was a great episode. Michael gives up Fibonacci, only to get Philly arrested for violating parole. Meanwhile, we just might see C-Note become part of the escape team. The question is, will he be there for long? Your favourite Saskatchewan resident, Scott Keith, has his recap up, so make sure you read it to get the (pardon the expression) 411 on ‘Prison Break’

‘Ultimate Finale Live’
Kenny Florian def Kit Cope (tapout, rear naked choke)
As the curtain jerker match, it served it’s purpose. Florian won a squash and the action was fast enough to get the crowd going.

Joe Stevenson def Luke Cummo (unanimous decision) to win ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ welterweight title
Great fight, the crowd was really into Luke at times. Although Stevenson probably had the line of the night when he said “Luke, I am your father” after the pre-match introductions. I don’t think the outcome of the fight was ever in doubt, but Cummo had an impressive showing in escaping Joe’s continuous submission attempts and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him get a contract a la Nate Quarry.

Rashad Evans def Brad Imes (split decision) to win ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ heavyweight title
Another great match, and easily the best heavyweight match of the entire ‘TUF 2’ show. Imes was obviously pretty green, but he shows a lot of potential and will probably also be signed by Zuffa. I actually think that Rashad came off as the worse prospect of the two, as he continued to show an inability to finish. But still, there’s some room for him to do well if he drops down to the light-heavyweight division.

Diego Sanchez def Nick Diaz (unanimous decision)
I was as surprised by this as many seemed to be. Sanchez set the pace throughout the match, and that pace was fast. Fast enough that every time Diaz tried something, Sanchez was able to counter or escape it. People seemed to question whether Sanchez deserved to be in the position he was in, and after this match, I’d say that he did.

Double Leg Special
Two legs of ‘The Amazing Race’ to cover, which makes up for no race next week, I guess. There’s three legs left to race, but how did the teams do on legs 7 and 8?

Flights – San Jose, Costa Rica (SJO) to Phoenix, Arizona (PHX). Teams took one of three routes.

Linz took Delta Airlines (DL) and connected via Atlanta (ATL).
Bransen, Paolo, and Weaver took Taca Airlines (TA) to Kennedy Airport in New York (JFK), and then flew America West (HP) to travel from JFK to PHX.
Godlewski also took Taca to travel from SJO to JFK, but took a taxi to Newark (EWR) in order to fly America West to PHX.

The Godlewskis encountered some luck in being the last team to the airport, as their JFK-PHX flight was not confirmed and they ended up with an earlier-arriving flight from EWR. 45 minutes earlier, which is huge. And obviously, they had a lot of time to travel to EWR, since that’s probably a 30-45 minute taxi ride.

Detour (Leg 7) – While Barrel seemed to be slightly faster than Brush, all five teams played to their strengths with this one. And the bottleneck at the airport negated any huge leads anyways. Although oddly enough, the outcome of this Detour managed to have an inverse effect on arrival times in Phoenix.

Detour (Leg 8) – Clearly, Bailing was better than Bearing here. All four teams that Bailed realized that flipping the boat over was the key to finishing quickly, although the Linzes used their strength to complete this a bit faster. Bearing was a bit drier, but navigating with a compass was tricky when you consider that you had to keep the raft going straight as well.

Roadblock (Leg 7) – There was one unofficial Roadblock in Costa Rica, as one person had to swim out to a buoy to get a clue. I kinda like this – if you’re going to tell people exactly where to travel to, you might as well make them earn the clue through some physical task. So nice work there, I guess.

The official Roadblock was in Phoenix. 50 laps in hot, dry weather has to be pretty brutal, and while there were no position changes here, the Linzes managed to make up significant ground on the Weavers.

Roadblock (Leg 8) – This Roadblock served to separate the teams out into a lead pack and might-be-eliminated pack. Not much else to it.

10. Black
9. Rogers
8. Aiello
7. Schroeder
6. Gaghan
5. Paolo (FF, Y) – You guys were rough around the edges, but you turned out to be good people in the end. I liked the fact that even though you were in an obvious race with the Bransens for fourth, you supported each other during the Roadblock. And kudos for reminding the Bransens about the possibility of a non-elimination leg.

Weaver – What the hell is wrong with you people? First you’re all whiny about your dad/husband dying on a racetrack, so much so that even the other teams – who you want nothing to do with – know about it, and then, when they try to offer some encouragement, you dismiss it as “insencere”. Look, I feel for you guys about your dad/husband dying, I really do, but try and realize that others are, in fact, sensitive about that and want to show some support.

Also, you try and pretend that you’re the angels and victims in this game, yet you try and delay the Linzes, you make fun of the Paolos and Godlewskis, you dismiss the Bransens and you also committed a crime by littering on a highway. So Lynn and Alex, step aside – you are no longer the biggest hypocrites to ever participate in ‘The Amazing Race’, as the Weavers have blown past you to claim that title.

Reaching the Finish Line:
Bransen – At this point, not having to carry any bags around becomes an asset. Carrying Wally around, well, that’s a different story.

Godlewski – Yes, you bicker amongst yourselves a lot, but other than that you’re doing pretty well. Being the last team to San Jose airport was the best thing to happen to you, as it forced you to look at other options for getting to Phoenix. Keep up that level of intensity, and you just might win.

Linz – Once again, your driving skills and youthfulness are making up for your occasional poor decisions. I guess this makes you Chris and Alex, in a way.

Winners of The Amazing Race:

What exactly does “Xakum” mean?
On ‘Survivor: Guatemala: The Mayan Empire’, we saw the new merged tribe come up with a name that would make Penny and Jake (from ‘Survivor: Thailand’) proud. Yes, they took parts of the old tribe names and mashed them together to form one name.

Alliances – OK, Bobby Jon got his wish fufilled and is on the jury, and his “one-time” deal with Steph is done. We’ve got an alliance of five with Steph, Jamie, Rafe, Lydia and Judd, with a further alliance between Steph and Jamie, although that might change given last night’s proceedings. There’s an outside chance that Steph still has an alliance with Gary going, hence his position as the “last Yuxha standing” on the pecking order. Which is a stupid thing to do, as Gary could run the table on immunities similar to Tom last season. So my question is, if there isn’t an alliance with Gary there, shouldn’t you sack him?

Reward Challenge – None

Immunity Challenge –

OK, to the rankings!!

18. Jim Lynch
17. Morgan McDevitt
16. Brianna Varela
15. Brooke Struck
14. Blake Towsley
13. Margaret Bobnich
12. Brian Corridan
11. Amy O’Hara

Merge Boot:
10. Brandon Bellinger – A respect vote of sorts. Mind you, the new Nakum also played the numbers game

Bobby Jon Drinkard – OK, you’ve made the Jury. Now it’s time to shift your focus and move up from your “fate” as the first jury member.
Cindy Hall – You KNOW you’re an outsider on the Nakum alliance, and you could’ve forced the tiebreaker here, so the question is… why didn’t you? The purple rock of doom is gone, you’re not in danger of getting booted out, so why not force Brandon and Jamie to build a fire?
Rafe Judkins – Chances are, if you think you’re on the outside looking in, you ARE on the outside looking in. Time to use that online Survivor acumen and make your move.
Stephanie La Grossa – It’s pretty obvious that you’re in control here. Don’t let it slip from your grasp.
Lydia Morales – Cindy might not be playing the “as long as it ain’t me” card, but you sure as hell are. And unlike Sandra, you’re a really nice person. Can a nice, under-the-radar competitor win this thing? I’m not sure, but you’re sure making a go of it.
Jamie Newton – You may have screwed yourself over. with a 6-3 majority, Rafe and Cindy may feel that they don’t need your idiocy around anymore, and side with the former New Yuxha to give you the boot.
Judd Sergeant – Well, it seems like you’re not the biggest loudmouth on the tribe anymore. Good work.

Final Two – I’m probably dead wrong at this point, but I’m sticking to my (slightly altered) picks here.
Danni Boatwright
Gary ‘Hawkins’ Hogeboom

Sole Survivor
Danni Boatwright

Hmm, my initial intention was to write less this week. Obviously, I must blame the Weaver family. That’s it for this week.

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