Thursday, December 26, 2013

Dan Gheesling Discusses "Clean Your Own Mirror"

A couple of weeks ago we did our first live Google Hangout broadcast in which we were joined by Big Brother legend Dan Gheesling to discuss his new book, "Clean Your Own Mirror" (which can be purchased HERE). In it we discuss Dan's six necessary duties for leading and influencing others as well as how he applied those tactics within the BB house. It took us a fortnight to figure out how to embed it into a blog post, which turned out to be literally a 10-second procedure, and perhaps someday we'll figure out how to clip the audio to send it through to iTunes as a podcast, but probably not.  In any case, you can watch the video of our conversation on the player above.

Programming note: we'll be back "soon" for our final thoughts on Blood vs. Water.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Survivor 27: Quick Hits with Gordon Holmes

Blood vs. Water is officially in the books, but before we give our final HOT TAKES on the season, we check back in with Xfinity's Gordon Holmes to discuss his time on location as the game was just beginning, hear his first hand insight after interviewing each of the pairs, and get his take on how things played out after he left the Philippines. Plus, Gordon gives us his opinions on each of the 2013 inductees to his own baby, the Survivor Hall of Fame.  Listen to this episode on the player below, find the direct link here, or find us on iTunes here.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Survivor 27: She's A Freak -- Episode 13 Recap/Analysis

It's mere hours until the Survivor finale, and the only unresolved question seems to be whether Tyson will make good on his promise to throw the wildest party we've ever seen; still, we can expect to see some fireworks before the check is signed. How vicious is the jury going to be this time? Why is Ciera cruelly violating Jeff's preconceptions by actually winning a challenge? And just how deep did Jeff have to dig to get that installed as a 'classic Survivor phrase'? We cover this and more on an eleventh-hour episode, available below, here, or on iTunes here.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Survivor 27: Gloating and GOATing -- Episode 12 Recap/Analysis

Words can't do justice to that episode, but we can certainly try. How did Tyson go from cruise control to fading an elimination that would be both random and anything but? How did Hayden go from marked man to drawing rocks for a million dollars? And just what is Ciera doing? We puzzle over this and more in this week's podcast, available below, here, or on iTunes here.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Survivor 27: You Play Bad -- Episode 11 Recap/Analysis

Despite an ostensibly dominant performance thus far, a closer look at Tyson's decision-making process ultimately leaves much to be desired, the remnants of which are still embodied by Hayden's inexcusably continued presence in the game. But with Gervase and Monica seemingly satisfied with second place and while Snitchin' Randy Ciera seems eager to hand Tyson the check, does his laundry list of blunders even matter? Find out when you listen to this week's episode on the player below, find the direct link here, or find us on iTunes here.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Survivor 27: Big Bad MILF -- Episodes 9 + 10 Recap/Analysis

It's been an action-packed couple of weeks on MILF Island Blood vs. Water and today we're back to catch up on everything we've missed. Could Vytas and Tina have done anything to change their identically tragic fates? What can be made of Aras's legacy now that his time in the game -- and presumably his Survivor career -- is officially over?  Was booting Laura the right move for literally anybody? How much does prior experience factor into Tyson's apparent dominance, and, most importantly, can anyone challenge him for the title? All this, plus we reveal the identity of our upcoming first-ballot Hall of Fame retrospective guest when you listen on the player below, find the direct link here, or find us on iTunes here.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Reviewing Dan Gheesling's "How To Get On Reality TV"

In today’s inaugural collaborative blog post we’ll be offering our respective takes on both books in the “How to Get on Reality TV” series by Big Brother legend Dan Gheesling, which can be purchased HERE. Click through the jump to read the reviews.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Survivor, Science, and Super Duties with Yau-Man Chan

We are glad to be joined today be Fiji fan favourite, scientist/atheist extraordinaire, and all-around mensch Yau-Man Chan. He addresses the unseen factors said to have shaped Fiji, from racial dynamics to hidden alliances, and offers interesting tidbits that didn't and couldn't make the final cut. Seven years on he reflects on where he went wrong with the infamous truck deal, and what it meant for the show. He also displays his encyclopaedic knowledge of geography, explains how science is useful for more than cooking meth, and tells us just how he ended up snuggling with Miss Venezuela. You can listen here, or on iTunes here.

Survivor: Nicaragua with Marty Piombo

Marty Piombo takes listeners on a trip through memory lane today as he gives his perspective on everything that happened in Nicaragua, through his eyes as tribe leader turned desperate outsider and juror. Among other things, Marty tells us what went wrong for the power players in the game, why he rustled so many Jimmies, and gives his exclusive insight on the Sash/Jane mortgage accusations. You can listen below, here, or on iTunes here.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Survivor 27: Merge Discussion with Jay Fischer

It's that time again where dreams become realities, boys become men, and women become even more intensely scorned by Jeff Probst. That's right, it's the merge, and what turned out to be a predictable episode still featured all of the scrambling, scavenging, conniving, and double-dealing that we've all come to expect. How do things change with Laura M. back in the game? Was overthrowing King Aras the right move for Tyson? Where does Ciera fit into the long-term puzzle? And, apropos of nothing, who was the deserving winner of South Pacific? All this and more in this week's episode, featuring our old pal Jay Fischer.

Plus, who will be in the hot seat later this week for our newest retrospective? Find out when you listen on the player below, find the direct link here, or find us on iTunes here.

(Still doesn't appear to be up on iTunes. Hopefully this fixes itself because we're hopeless).

Friday, November 1, 2013

Survivor 27: Winter is Coming -- Episode 7 Recap/Analysis

Apparently helicopter shots of potential winners doing mountain yoga are getting handed out like Halloween candy this season, blurring the lines between the Baskauskai and the rest of the viable candidates greatly. How can one navigate such muddied edgic waters, especially with the emergence of Tyson and Tina as well as the ever-prophetic Monica Culpepper? More importantly, how might things shake out next week when the two tribes become one and Redemption Island will put another player back in the game?  Hear our latest analysis by listening on the player below, find the direct link here, or find us on iTunes here.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Survivor 27: Enjoy the Ambiance -- Episode 6 Recap/Analysis

After launching her campaign to return before she'd even arrived at Ponderosa, Santa Probst finally gifted international recording superstar Miley Cyrus Kat her second shot at the game. Long story short, Vytas is prettayyy prettayyy good at Survivor, and after 16 days, the votes came at the inaugural JLMFOTS like a wrecking ball. But was it the right decision for the ladies? What can be made of Monica's so-far ambiguous edit?  Will anyone ever keep a clue to the hidden immunity idol? And what are our HOT TAKES on the controversy surrounding John Fincher's appearance on RHAP? Find out when you listen on the player below, find the direct link here, or find us on iTunes here.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Expect the Unexpected? -- Episode 100

Fans of round numbers and arbitrary milestones that we are, we thought we'd mark our 100th episode by breaking with tradition and doing what we said we would a long time ago. And so, at long last... a podcast about something, available below, here, or on iTunes here.

On a serious note, thank you for listening to us and making this a truly fun and worthwhile endeavour.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Survivor 27: Laura Be Gone -- Episode 5 Recap/Analysis

(Apologies for the audio quality; I'm breaking in a new microphone, which should improve things going forward, but I'm still adjusting to it)

In yet another shocking blindside, the drama promised in the preview failed to materialize. Nevertheless, there was still a lot to discuss here: was Aras thinking ahead, or just overthinking? With more context about Caleb's move last week, how does it look in retrospect? In an episode where the editing was both complex and careless at times, what do the power rankings look like this week? And, just as Tadhana begins a possible resurgence, a swap threaten to snatch it away from them; or does it? This and more on this week's show, available below, here, or on iTunes here.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Breaking Bad: Series Review with Stephen Fishbach

After a captivating six-year run, "Breaking Bad" has reached its controversial conclusion and today we sit down with the very famous Stephen Fishbach to deconstruct the finale and debate its impact on the series as a whole. So as not to needlessly spoil any innocent bystanders, we'll refrain from using specifics in this blurb, suffice to say that one of us liked it, one of us constantly made himself the swing vote, and one of us may or may not have understood all of the long words that were being so casually tossed around. Listen here or on iTunes here!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Definitive Guide to BB15 with Andy Herren

Less than a month removed from his convincing performance in the Big Brother 15 house, newly-crowned champion Andy Herren joins us to share his perspective and rationale as he talks through each week of the game. Beginning with his casting process and working through the entire three months, Andy offers his real-time thoughts on everything from his notorious room-hopping to his backup plans for framing Elissa to the real reasons he took GinaMarie to the finals. Additionally, Andy shares his stance on the cloud of controversy surrounding his season as well as what kinds of terms he's currently on with the rest of the cast. Plus, what response does he have for the vocal criticism from Big Brother legend Dan Gheesling? Find out when you listen here or on iTunes here.

Special thanks to Glenn Oke (@GlennyfromtheB) for helping set this up. Find his work HERE, including a new piece ranking the 15 Big Brother seasons from first to worst.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Survivor 27: Three and Out -- Episode 4 Recap/Analysis

It seems spending nine years in the NFL wasn't enough for Brad Culpepper to learn the value of protecting the blindside.  While his uptempo approach resulted in several uncontested drives during the game's first quarter, Survivor fans now realize what Eagles fans knew a long time ago, which is that bad things happen quickly to The Chip Kelly Offense. After a last-minute audible from GLORY BOY Caleb resulted in the latest apple of Probst's eye getting JACKED UP, Culpepper will now consult with the doctors on Revis Redemption Island to determine if he'll be able to rejoin the action later this season.

In this week's episode we tackle the merits of Caleb's impromptu blitz, debate which sleeper picks have the highest upside, wonder which Baskausas is Peyton, and evaluate the likelihood that Ciera can PUNCH IT IN. As always, you can listen on the player below, find the direct link here, or find us on iTunes here.

Nothing but football puns? C'MON, MAN!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Survivor 27: Grow Up, Peter Pan -- Episode 3 Recap/Analysis ft. Gary Wise

In a season which has planted its flag on forcing emotion to critically impact game decisions, we're joined by a true family man to shed some much needed light on the merits of thinking with unselfish priorities, Pinnacle Sports' Gary Wise.

What can be said about Colton's fittingly gutless exit that Probst hasn't already said himself? What can the viewers, CBS, and Colton himself learn from this mess? Plus, how does Rupert's performance this season affect his Survivor legacy? Who do we have to tip to get some Tina, Tyson, or Hayden on our televisions? And will Vytas become Aras's long term foil or might we see the ultimate redemption? Find out when you listen to the episode on the player below, find the direct link here, or find us on iTunes here.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Breaking Bad pre-finale review

(NOTE: Six Feet Under finale spoilers at the very end of the episode)

We're just over 24 hours away from one of the defining pop culture moments of our generation, as viewers wait in uncontainable anticipation for the series finale of Breaking Bad. In preparation, we spoke about the season thus far, the series as a whole, and how this thrilling ride might come to an end. You can listen here or on iTunes here.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Survivor 27: Premiere review with Ian Terry

Formerly reigning Big Brother champion Ian Terry joins us today to give some brief thoughts on the close of one season - and the man who took his crown - and the start of another (Survivor coverages starts at ~28:00). How did the barrage of twists we saw at the start shape the way the game played out in its first days? What can be said about the returning players, who - in a true blindside - were the group neglected in the premiere? How pessimistic should we be for future episodes, with more content to be shown and less airtime to assign to it? And how awkward are the Peterson family reunions going to be? All this and more on this week's show, available here, below, or on iTunes here.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Survivor 27: Season Preview

Something erroneously labelled 'Survivor' is airing on CBS in a week, and podcasting about it is a good outlet for our frustration. Still, among a bevy of twists and a cast assembled by lottery, there are a few bright points: two Survivor winners, a Big Brother winner, and some nondescript female twenty-something who will inexplicably win Colin's heart. You can listen to the usual mix of predictions and lamentations below, here, or on iTunes here.

Friday, August 30, 2013

A Closer Look at "Whodunnit" with Kam Perez

During its inaugural run this summer, "Whodunnit" proved to be the smartest and most captivating game in recent reality TV memory. Today we're pleased to be joined by defender of the homeland and ABC's newest quarter-millionaire, Kam Perez, to talk about his time spent sleuthing, politicking, and ultimately winning the game. In this episode he walks us through everything from his near-miss casting experience, how he adjusted his strategy as events transpired, what ultimately made #TeamKam an unstoppable force, all the way to slapping the golden handcuffs onto the Killer Queen $250,000 richer.

What initially sparked the Kam versus Geno dynamic and how palpable was that tension in real time? Why didn't he ever suspect Cris or Lindsey to be the killer until they were the last ones standing? How did his real life knowledge and experience impact his investigations and political tactics? And why does he share Dom's ire for immortal mountain lions? Find out when you listen to this episode on the player below, find the direct link here, or find us on iTunes here

Kam's Reddit AMA

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Breaking Bad: S05E09-10

Breaking Bad made its long-awaited return to our screens two weeks ago, and the start of this final stretch has lived up to the hype. We discuss all the action from 5-09 and 5-10, use our historically unreliable powers of deduction to make predictions for the next few episodes, and explore the wider issues raised by Anna Gunn this week surrounding the show and its fandom. Listen here or on iTunes here.

Sepinwall: 5-09, 5-10
Anna Gunn's NYT piece

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Whodunnit: Discussing Episodes 7/8 + Finale Predictions with Jay Fischer

Freeing us from the shackles of the seasonal reality TV Grodnopoly, "Whodunnit" has proven to be a breakout star within the genre and today we're back to discuss the two most recent episodes, joined once again by our go-to guy for all things campy murder, Jay Fischer.

Was RonDawg's theory legitimate or was he just... monkeying around? Was Kam's knowledge of ricin designed by production or was it just a.... bad break... for the others? Was Lindsey's lack of familiarity with liquid nitrogen truthful or was it.... engineered? And what kind of beauty queens and flight attendants just so happen to also be ace detectives?

All of that as well as our predictions for this Sunday's final episode when you listen on the player below, find the direct link here, or find us on iTunes here.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

BB15: The Haters' Guide to Weeks 4, 5, and 6

In loving memory of the bear shirt (2013-2013).

Against our better judgement, we summoned up the motivation to talk about the last few weeks of a lackluster season of a show bearing a slight resemblance to Big Brother. With the gameplay tainted and cautious and the tone as low as it can be, there's more material for angry rants than for thoughtful analysis this season. Nevertheless, we managed to spend two hours talking about the events of the past few weeks and looking forward ahead to what will hopefully be a semi-normal game for the remainder of the season. Did Judd have America or himself to blame for his blindside? Who will and should be the first to strike in the inevitable Helen-Amanda showdown? How are this season's power players approaching the 'game within a game' of winning the hearts of America and production? And will any of these people learn to keep their mouths shut?

This and more on this week's episode, available below, here, or on iTunes here.

The Amanda insensitivity supercut
Ian Terry's take on the Spencer controversy

Friday, August 9, 2013

Breaking Bad: Season 5 Analysis (Repost)

When over-analyzing television is at the door, we are the ones who knock, and if you think we'll be covering the final season of "Breaking Bad," you're god damn right. With the last eight episodes beginning in less than three days, catch up on all of our previous analysis using the links below:

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Whodunnit: Investigating Episodes 5+6 with Jay Fischer


Previously on "Whodunnit"...

Despite the tried and true CBS business model, ABC decided to torch both their money and reputation by creating a reality game designed to combine intellect with political prowess which offers no incentive other than playing to win.  In a further demonstration of ludicrous judgment, they flooded the pool of contestants with highly capable and interesting individuals -- mostly ages 27-40 -- who were well-suited for what they were about to endure. If that weren't enough, they found a host who not only understands his intended role within the game, but actively embraces it. Yet somehow, despite all of these concerted efforts to the contrary, they've fluked their way into the smartest and most riveting reality game on TV.  Seriously though, don't blame Jeff, Allison, and Robyn; nobody could have seen this result coming.

Playful editorializing aside, "Whodunnit" has quickly become the pinnacle of modern reality gamesmanship, and today we're back with our good friend Jay Fischer to break down the two most recent episodes, discuss how we see the rest of the season playing out, and give our updated (and probably incorrect) winner/killer predictions. If you're already one of the enlightened three million people who watches "Whodunnit" regularly, listen to this podcast on the player below, find the direct link here, or find us on iTunes here. If you're not, bookmark this page and watch "Whodunnit" immediately.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

BB15: Guard Your Meat -- Week 3 Recap/Analysis

In this week's episode we tackle Helen's HoH, the implosion of The Moving Company, and Jeremy's backdoor, all with the Cherokee spirit and warrior-champion mentality we regularly embody. After that, we take a look at the latest happenings inside the house and give our updated rankings for who might win this shindig. Listen on the player below, find the direct link here, or find us on iTunes here.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Catching Up on "Whodunnit" with Jay Fischer

Welcome, mortals. On today's podcast, we tackle the first four episodes of the new ABC reality game slash murder mystery, "Whodunnit," and joining us for the conversation is Survivor Historian and livetweeting aficionado Jay Fischer. Drawing on examples from other shows, primarily the woefully under-appreciated "The Mole," we spend two hours talking through the strategy we've seen play out on the inaugural season, break down what we know so far about the mechanics of the game, debate who we view as potential winners and killers, and examine the mountain lion's susceptibility to cyanide.

You can stream this episode on the player below, find the direct link here, or find us on iTunes here. Listen to it or we'll fake murder you.

Our regular hosting site is currently experiencing technical issues, alternate link HERE


Saturday, July 13, 2013

(copy) BB15: Racist Ban -- Weeks 1 + 2 Recap/Analysis

(NOTE: We're duplicating the previous post in what will almost certainly prove a futile attempt to get iTunes to recognize its existence)

With the first two rounds of play complete in the BB15 house, we're back to break down all of the plotting, scheming, side-scheming, and backstabbing that The Moving Company, Mom Squad, McCranda and Jaaryny have seemed so desperate to engage in since the doors were unlocked.  We then spend the final 25 minutes of the episode discussing the controversy turned national news surrounding the bigotry and bile being spewed from some of the less camera- and humanity-savvy Hitler Youths contestants.  

You can stream this episode (regardless of race, religion, or sexual preference!) on the player below, here, and find us on iTunes here.


Index of insensitive remarks via reddit
NPR article

BB15: Racist Ban -- Weeks 1 + 2 Recap/Analysis

With the first two rounds of play complete in the BB15 house, we're back to break down all of the plotting, scheming, side-scheming, and backstabbing that The Moving Company, Mom Squad, McCranda and Jaaryny have seemed so desperate to engage in since the doors were unlocked.  We then spend the final 25 minutes of the episode discussing the controversy turned national news surrounding the bigotry and bile being spewed from some of the less camera- and humanity-savvy Hitler Youths contestants.  

You can stream this episode (regardless of race, religion, or sexual preference!) on the player below, here, and find us on iTunes here.

Index of insensitive remarks via reddit
NPR article

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

BB15: Season Preview

Sixteen people enter a house.  Over the course of the next hundred days, all but one of them will have their dreams demolished, ideally for nothing but personal reasons, and, if we're lucky, in such a manner that will form entirely new strands of psychological disorders that will plague the contestants for decades to come.

In today's season preview podcast we meet, judge, generalize, and objectify this year's hopefuls as their quest for the half-million dollar prize is finally ready to launch. We also evaluate some of the hottest innovations from the last few issues of Outcome Manipulation Quarterly and delve into how we think the powers that be may see fit to use such techniques over the coming months.

Which houseguest tore down the Berlin Wall of sexism and became the first male recipient of the Jenn Lyon Memorial Fox of the Season? And what is Colin's obligatory tinfoil hat theory of 2013? Before tonight's premiere (or at your leisure, we're not picky), listen to this episode on the player below, stream it here, or find us on iTunes here.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Survivor 26: Everything's Coming Up Milhouse -- Finale Recap/Analysis

We've spent the last three months complaining about highly questionable casting, lopsided edits, shameless pandering, the lack of respect CBS has demonstrated for its audience, and Jeff Probst's tenuous grasp on his job description.  Now that Survivor: Caramoan has officially come to its foregone conclusion, we're back one last time to discuss the finale with the mental inflexibility and unearned sense of entitlement we both so unequivocally enjoy.

Friend of the show John Cochran has not only won the hearts of the jurors, but also several lead actors across NBC's primetime comedy block.  How does his march to victory rank in the pantheon of Survivor greats, and what lessons can we learn from his evolution as a player? How does the season as a finished product stack up among the rest? What can we say conclusively now about players like Dawn, Andrea, Brenda, and Malcolm? And what generous compliments do we have for the producers pertaining to the reunion?

Find out when you listen to this episode on the player below, find the direct link here, and find us on iTunes here.  Due to jam-packed social calendars, we'll be gone for a bit, but back in June with more Survivor coverage as we try to cope with the fact that the next season doesn't start until September (Blood vs. Water!!!) (*wanking motion*). 

Show linksRob Cesternino's article about Reality TV & Social Media

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Survivor 26: #TeamDawn -- Pre-finale Recap/Analysis

Everyone's excitement about the finale, and Colin's excitement about the tragic loss of Brenda, was marred on Wednesday night by the backlash against the episode; apparently there were more Brenda fans than previously thought, and they emerged from the woodwork to hurl invective at Dawn. Amidst this fallout, the fanbase has had to confront some uncomfortable questions, which we try to tackle today after a happier discussion of the episode, predictions for the finale, and communication industry titans Sprint. As always you can listen below, here, or on iTunes here.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Survivor 26: Dear John -- Episode 12 Recap/Analysis

In less than a week the winner of Survivor: 'Fans' vs. 'Favourites' 2 will be crowned, and in the absence of suspense about who that's going to be we have to find other topics to talk about. Is Eddie seriously a threat if he somehow derps his way into the finals? Is Erik playing such a masterful UTR game that tribemates and viewers alike are blind to it? And just how insufferable will Colin be when Brenda inevitably meets an unfortunate end? All this and more on this week's show, available below, here, or on iTunes here.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Survivor 26: Are We Having Fun Yet? -- Episodes 9-11 Recap/Analysis

As one might expect, the episode we weren't able to talk about was the most interesting in a long, long time. Now, as this season's midgame and Malcolm's relentless hustling come to an end, we're back to discuss everything we missed. Did Malcolm's double idol gambit really change anything? What kind of wizardry could he have pulled instead? And can anything stop Cochran's seemingly inevitable victory? All this and more (but mainly this) on a feature-length recap, available below, here, or on iTunes here.

Rough start times for each segment:
0:00 episode 9, pre-TC episode 10
1:15 discussion of the double idol play
2:20 episode 11 & looking ahead

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Survivor 26: Max Dawson talks about Episode 9

After discussing reality TV as a genre with us a few weeks ago (here ICYMI), former #rtvf330 professor and current media consultant Max Dawson returns to get into the specifics of an episode that's certainly the best of the season and generally one of the best in recent memory. You can listen on the player below, here, or on iTunes here.

You can find Max on Twitter here.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Survivor 26: Stop Corinne and Get Over It -- Episode 8 Recap/Analysis

(Check out our check-in with Albert Destrade here)

In an uncertain world, there were a few things we knew: Cochran could never win a challenge, this season couldn't deliver, and the podcast would never be up with more than 48 hours to spare. Now, all we know is that we know nothing. Thankfully, there are still a few constants: Phillip's spying, Cochran's frying, and Dawn's crying (and the tribe name makes us want to), and we're here to talk about it. Where did everything go wrong for Corinne, and can Malcolm pick up the pieces now? How much responsibility did he have for this self-sabotage? And we have some new and unlikely players, whose names we're not quite sure about yet. With them never being shown, what can we baselessly speculate about their motivations? All this, and more, on this week's show, available on the player below, here, or on iTunes here.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Survivor: Merge Discussion with Albert Destrade

We waited patiently as CBS fed us episode after episode of Survivor: Who Cares Island and at long last it appears we've hit the tipping point.  Gone are the days of rice dumpings, lopsided tribes, "which one was she?" and carnival games (well, we hope).  At long last shake-ups, betrayals, scrambling, and blindsides are upon us, and today we're back to get first-hand insight on life at the merge from our old friend Albert Destrade (in addition to our regular show this week).

Drawing from his time spent studying and playing the game, Albert talks us through the fundamentals of optimally approaching a merge, addressing both the tribally-divided situations he faced himself as well as more unpredictable merge dynamics like we're seeing play now, focusing  on the very different but equally interesting positions facing Cochran and Malcolm.

Plus, what was Albert's take on seeing three of his former tribemates return to the game?  What advice did he have for Cochran before the season began filming? What was the catalyst for Corinne's game-ending error?  And how might the game progress from here? All this, and more, on this week's show, available below, here, or find us on iTunes here.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Survivor 26: Her? -- Episode 7 Recap/Analysis

For a while now, fans have been counting down the weeks (or hours, when you're reading this) until the merge episode, which might be this season's last realistic hope for redemption. Now it's finally upon us, and with it come the usual questions: what could happen, and how have decisions over the past few weeks led to these choices? What are the best moves for the game's promising power players? And might we at long last be rid of Phillip soon? I think we talk about Julia at some point as well. You can listen below, here, or on iTunes here.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Survivor 26: We Are Never Ever Gota Back Together -- Episode 6 Recap/Analysis

As the tribes are being switched up, one things remains the same: Gota continues to be the tribe where everything's happening, even if they aren't going to Tribal Council any more. As the fans look for new friends and the favourites mark their new territory, who stands to gain from this reshuffle? Will Erik and Brenda finally get a chance to shine (who are we kidding, but these things are tricky to write)? And Malcolm may not be an accomplished player when it comes to winning, but he's one of the standout performers this season. Is he set up for another deep run, and who should/does he want there with him? Meanwhile, on the beleaguered Bikal tribe, the fans await their execution. What hope is there for any of them that do survive until the merge? And might we actually see Phillip turn on Corinne, or is this just an excuse to give him even more screentime? All this and more on this week's show, available on the player below, here, or on iTunes here.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Survivor 26: Breaking Down the #survivorbreakdown -- Episode 5 Recap/Analysis

(NOTE: We discuss the 'Next time on ... Survivor' segment and the web previews towards the end of the show, so be aware of that if you want the next episode to remain a total mystery)

For better or for worse, people are finally talking about this season. Beyond the obvious questions - why things went this far, whether this could have been avoided, and so on - viewers and producers alike are forced to answer some more uncomfortable ones: whether it was irresponsible to invite Brandon back, what this says about Brandon's character and the culture of the Hantz family, and what this means for the show long-term. If you want to hear a more qualified voice talk about these issues, Coach gave us his thoughts on a parallel segment here; our take can be found on the player below, here, or on iTunes here.

Survivor: Coach on Brandon's Meltdown

(NOTE: Due to some problems while uploading, this and/or the regular episode recap might show up twice in iTunes. Apologies for any confusion)

When we interviewed Coach a few months ago, he told us something big would happen this season that he wanted to talk about; and after last Wednesday, there was no doubt what that was. As someone who spent more time than anyone with Brandon and is often compared to Phillip, Coach's insight into how and why their personality differences escalated into something unprecedented is well worth listening to. You can check it out on the player below, here, or on iTunes here.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Survivor 26: Phillip, Emo, Gollum -- Episode 4 Recap/Analysis

(in which Dom gets a new microphone after 70 episodes and it's somehow worse than the old one...)

Despite NPCs from Tata the Bushman to the 'Strayian medical team getting more airtime than half the Favourites, the season looks to be revving up. With one time US Marine and all-time attention whore Shamar removed from the game and another challenge loss sending them to Tribal Council, the Fans - the misfit men in particular - are forced to confront the timeless Survivor question of strength versus loyalty. Did they make the right choice, and what does this mean for them going forward?  Meanwhile, as Phillip, Andrea, and Cochran all reprise some old themes to compensate for a lack of action, are we about to see a meltdown of historic proportions, or is this an uniquely frustrating case of editorial misdirection? We discuss these questions and more on a late (some we would say timely!) episode available on the player below, here, or on iTunes here.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Survivor: Polite Conversation with Jonny Fairplay

(This interview is best avoided by the sensitive and is mandatory listening for everyone else)

Today's Survivor 'villains' are portrayed as a mixture of psychotic, lazy, bigoted, and/or stupid. Desperate for attention, many of them act up for the cameras only for their personas to come across as forced and inauthentic. Smart, complex antagonists are rare, which is why we're especially happy to talk to the one who set the standard by which all others are judged. Jonny Fairplay came into Survivor: Pearl Islands planning to be the greatest villain in the history of reality television and he delivered, redefining Survivor gameplay and reality TV villainy (and giving us a universally acclaimed season of Survivor in the process). He joins us to give the lowdown on everything  - his unique casting experience, the setup and fallout of the dead grandma lie, and so much more – with the bluntness and candour that he’s famous for. You can listen on the player below, here, or on iTunes here.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Survivor 26: Revenge of the Nerds -- Episode 3 Recap/Analysis

Three episodes in, the lunatics are running the asylum (and threatening to quit it). During the momentary breaks from the Phillip Sheppard and Shamar Thomas highlight reel, what is revealed about the other 16 contestants? With the game - and hopefully the season - likely to be shaken up by a probable tribe swap, how should people be planning ahead? And, with some of the favourites still missing from our screens, we have to wonder: is this a sign of their permanent irrelevance, or are they being saved for their breakout moments?

As always you can listen on the player below, here, or on iTunes here.

Monday, March 4, 2013

The Reality of TV with Max Dawson

It's impossible to fully appreciate shows like Survivor unless we understand the wider context that underlies them, so we asked Max Dawson, media consultant and professor at Northwestern University, to tell us what we need to know. He paints a vivid picture of the state of the American television industry at the turn of the century and explains how the show we all love revolutionized its genre and television as a whole, before looking at how reality TV has grown and changed over the past decade. We then return to the show that started it all, talking about the evolution of Survivor over the years in everything from casting to editing to gameplay, and try to find words to express our - and seemingly everyone's - collective disappointment with the current season. Finally, Max tells us about his TV course at NU (#rtvf330 for those of you in the Twitterverse), and the rewards and challenges of teaching an interactive class.

You can listen here or on iTunes here.

You can read more about #rtfv330 here and find Max on Twitter here.

For updates, like the podcast FB page or follow us on Twitter.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Survivor 26: Laura? I Hardly Know Her! -- Episode 2 Recap/Analysis ft. Gary Wise

(No, really, who is she?)

This week, there was much that went unsaid and much we wish had gone unseen. Since the editors didn't want to tell us, what can we piece together about the fallout on the Favourites? Was Brandon in the wrong making Dawn 'True Grit' Meehan cry, and will he ever back up his words with actions? With the misfit Fans' alliance in the ascendant, who are emerging as its quiet and not-so-quiet leaders? And, with Jeff Probst joining Chuck Klosterman for a revealing interview this week, what can we learn about the man at the center of the franchise? All this, and more, with friend of the show - and of ESPN - Gary Wise, below, here, or on iTunes here.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Survivor 26: Fran vs. Favorites -- Episode 1 Recap/Analysis ft. Ian Terry

After a short vacation in the Caramoan Islands, Francesca's Survivor record is as bad as our prediction record. How did someone as smart, assertive, and savvy as Francesca become the first player ever to be a first boot twice? Whose mistakes made this happen, and who stands to gain most from them? And, despite an early lead, are the Fans destined to be defeated and forgotten this season? We discuss all this, and more, with Big Brother 14 winner Ian Terry, who also gives his insight on the dynamics involving returning players. As always the podcast can be found here on the blog page, externally here, or on iTunes here.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Survivor 26: Pre-game interviews & information

In case you want to get in the mood for tomorrow's Survivor premiere, we've collected the various pre-game interviews and previews here: with Gordon Holmes (full cast):

Entertainment Weekly with Dalton Ross (favourites*, joint interview with Cochran and his mum*, questions with Jeff Probst):

Videos (full cast: 'Meet X', 'X's Memorable Moment'; TVGuide preview, Probst cast assessment, commercials/teaser clips):

Official bios:

*Damn right, that's a 'U'. Don't let your rancour about it colour your humour!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Survivor 26: Season Preview

Survivor returns to our screens this Wednesday, but before we begin another season of carefully responding to concrete demonstrations of character and personal motivation, we must first spend three hours offering baseless overreactions to the new cast, many post-scripted by our trademark insincere disclaimer that one can't judge a book by its cover.

Do any of the Fans have what it takes to defeat this motley crew of returnees?  What can be made of the controversial casting of the Favorites tribe, and how might their off-island relationships impact the game?   Can Malcolm overcome the collective fear of the the unknown?  Is Brenda the next Survivor superstar or a trendy impostor?  And can Cochran capitalize on what appears to be a hand-selected group of teammates?

As always you can listen on the player below, here, or find us on iTunes here, and join us after the two hour season premiere when we'll be breaking everything down with special guest, Big Brother 14 winner Ian Terry.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Survivor 25: Finale Recap + Season in Review

Much to the disappointment of Mayan fundamentalists worldwide, 2013 is real, and to kick off the new year of podcasting we're back to break down the Survivor: Philippines finale and give our take on the players and season in general.

How did it all go wrong for Malcolm, and what might have been done differently to prevent his downfall? With Lisa and Skoopin Skupin in the driver's seat, did they make the right call? And how did Denise ultimately manage such certain victory?

Plus, how pointless are final four reward challenges?  What kind of drunken Pin the Tail on the Donkey process has been used for final immunity selection the last several years?  How many of the cast might we see return for future seasons?  And what does Russell Hantz believe in if not respect for women?

Listen on the player below, find the direct link here, or find us on iTunes here.