What’s Hot on TV Friday and Saturday – The Vow

Suddenly, Channing Tatum is all over the place. He's been in so many movies lately. Last week Starz highlighted 21 Jump Street on Saturday night, and this week they're highlighting The Vow. Catch up with your favorite shows you may have missed at TV-Links.

Friday

1. Undercover Boss. Season premiere. The president of Tilted Kilt goes undercover in his own company. 7:00 PM CT CBS

2. Last Man Standing. In order to build character in Boyd, Mike secretly forms and after-school dodgeball club for the neighborhood kids. 7:00 PM CT ABC

3. America's Next Top Model. The aspiring models need to create and star in a commercial, and the winner gets to go back to Jamaica and international exposure, and later the models wear bikinis in an photo shoot for a fragrance ad. 7:00 PM CT CW

4. Kitchen Nightmares. Ramsey tries to help the owners of Mama Maria's in New York turn the restaurant around. 7:00 PM CT Fox

5. Monsters Inside Me. A pregnant teacher has terrible experiences of diarrhea, and a parasite attack a truck driver's vision. 7:00 PM CT Animal Planet

6. Malibu Country. 7:30 PM CT ABC

7. CSI: NY. A psychiatrist's patients are systematically murdered, leaving the CSIs to play a game as they pursue the killer. 8:00 PM CT CBS

8. Grimm. Hank reflects back on an earlier arrest when a man claimed he committed murder in self defense against monsters, and MOnroe becomes involved in an unexpected situation. 8:00 PM CT NBC

9. Shark Tank. Business ideas include a motorized vehicle suit, a computer instruction project presented by Bruce Vilanch, and sugar-free candy chips. An update is given on a foldable guitar. 8:00 PM CT ABC

10. Nikita. Amanda sends a rogue Division agent to free Owen from a Russian prison, and when he escapes from the agent, he tries to contact Nikita. 8:00 PM CT CW

11. Fringe. One of the members of the team assumes a new role, and Walter follows a lead. 8:00 PM CT Fox

12. Say Yes to the Dress: Bridesmaids. In the first half hour, a nasty mom of the bride threatens to ruin her daughter's appointment when she lashes out at a bridesmaid, and another bride has a hard time convincing her sister, who is an exotic dancer, to wear a traditional gown in church. In the second half hour, a bride and her wedding planner fight over big hair and deal with big personalities, and the baby of a family stands up to her eight siblings. 8:00 PM CT TLC

13. Ghost Adventures. Zak Bagans, Nick Groff and Aaron Goodwin head to the infamous Brookdale Lodge in Brookdale, CA in search of notorious spirits lingering around the building. With the help of Bagans’ dog, Gracie, the guys hope to contact the spirit of a diseased little girl. 8:00 PM CT Travel Channel

14. Blue Bloods. A man is stabbed by someone dressed as the spirit of death, leaving Danny to investigate a voodoo community, Garrett tells Frank a dark secret, and Nicky and Erin take Jack and Sean trick-or-treating. 9:00 PM CT CBS

15. Dateline NBC. A love triangle and strange game lead to an unexpected suspect in the investigation into a young woman's murder. 9:00 PM CT NBC

16. 20/20. Stories tonight include bosses mistreating their employees, job interviews, extreme commutes, an entrepreneur who ran out of money, then squatted in the Palo Alto, CA, AOL offices, office romance, and missent emails. 9:00 PM CT ABC

17. Haven Audrey is pushed to her extremes with a dying Nathan. 9:00 PM CT Syfy

18. Brides of Beverly Hills. In the first half hour, a social has a difficult time finding an unconventional gown that she can wear while riding a camel to her wedding, and another bride wants to find a dress that will make her mom cry. In the second half hour, a psychic bride, bride Rebecca and her sister, and Renee gets a visit from a reality TV star. 9:00 PM CT TLC

19. Real Time with Bill Maher. Panelists include James Carville, S.E. Cupp, Andrew Sullivan, and Samuel L. Jackson. 9:00 PM CT HBO

20. Hunted. After Jack Turner is forced to bid more than he can afford, Sam aims to discover how he will raise the money in a short time. Turner appears to have hatched a diabolical plan with hedge fund manager Lewis Conroy (Richard Dormer), and Sam searches for the connection. Meanwhile, Aidan discovers some of Sam’s secrets and begins an investigation of his own. 9:00 PM CT Cinemax

25. Late Show with David Letterman. The guests tonight are Anderson Cooper, Myq Kaplan, and Alberta Cross. 10:35 PM CT CBS

Saturday

1. College Football. Arkansas at South Carolina. 11:00 AM CT CBS

2. College Football. Louisville at Syracuse 11:00 AM CT ABC

3. College Football. Northwestern at Michicgan. 11:00 AM CT ESPN

4. College Football. Wisconsin at Indiana. 11:00 AM CT ESPN 2

5. College Football. Colorado at Arizona. 12:30 PM CT FX

6. College Football. Oregon at Stanford. 2:00 PM CT Fox

7. College Football. Texas A&M at Alabama 2:30 PM CT CBS

8. College Football. Penn State at Nebraska. 2:30 PM CT ABC

9. NASCAR Racing: Nationwide Series Great Clips 200 from Phoenix International Raceway in Avondale, AZ. 3:00 PM CT ESPN

10. 2012 World Series. Kansas State at Texas Christian 6:00 PM CT Fox

11. College Football. Mississippi State at LSU. 6:00 PM CT ESPN

12. College Football. Georgia at Auburn. 6:00 PM CT ESPN 2

13. College Football. Notre Dame at Boston College. 7:00 PM CT ABC

14. The Wishing Tree. Lonely and heartbroken English professor Evan Farnsworth is still mourning the loss of his wife when he agrees to stay on campus to watch the kids who aren’t going home for winter break: privileged bad boy Drew, shy singer Juliet, and nerdy Albert. When Drew vandalizes the nearby small town’s ancient Wishing Tree, he lands in jail, and Evan, along with the support of the pretty new drama teacher, Clarissa, force him to turn his negative attitude around. 7:00 PM CT Hallmark

15. Too Cute! An aunt coaxes a Cavalier King Charles spaniel out of its shell, Alaskan malamutes compete to see who will be top dog, and three Dalmations at a fire station display their skills. 7:00 PM CT Animal Planet

16. Ghost Storm. A storm of spirits hits the world. 8:00 PM CT SYfy

17. Welcome to Sweetie Pie's. Robbie puts the focus on consolidating restaurants and gets ready to receive an award, and Time blows off Jenae. 8:00 PM CT OWN

18. Dateline: Real Life Mysteries. In the first hour, Dharum Ravi who was convicted of webcam spying after trying to intimidate his gay, freshman roommate. In the second hour, Yvonne Stern who thought she had the perfect life until someone tried to kill her three times. 8:00 PM CT TLC

19. My Fair Wedding: Unveiled. David must balance bride Summer’s baroque wedding with groom Ryan’s desire to drive a hot rod down the aisle. But with the outgoing groom drawing him in, David can’t figure out what his blonde bombshell bride wants. 8:00 PM CT WE

20. The Vow. A newlywed's wife wakes up from a coma, and he works to restore her memory and restart their marriage. 8:00 PM CT Starz

21. 48 Hours. A killer may have filmed his victim, an aspiring model's, death. 9:00 PM CT CBS

22. Wedding Band. Tommy's ex conflicts him she she asks the band to play at her wedding, especially considering Seattle's premiere wedding planner will be there. 9:00 PM CT TBS

23. Iyanla, Fix My Life. A pastor's wife thinks about divorcing her husband after he admits to having affairs with women in the church and fathering a child with one of them. 9:00 PM CT OWN

24. Pit Bulls and Parolees. Tia and the twins look for a dog that was abandoned in the swamps, and a young parolee has a difficult time coping with Work and parenthood stresses. 9:00 PM CT Animal Planet

25. College Football. Oregon at California. 9:30 PM CT ESPN

26. College Football. UCLA at Washington State. 9:30 PM CT ESPN 2

27. Saturday Night Live. Anne Hathaway hosts, and Rihanna is the musical guest. 9:30 PM CT NBC

 

Survivor: Philippines – Episode 8 – What In Holy Hell Just Happened?

So, I think I am a pretty smart guy. I sure spent enough money on my education to ensure that smartitude. I have also seen every episode of Survivor and feel fairly confident that I usually know what is happening and can make an educated analysis of the goings-on. My gift to you, my loyal readers. That said, what in holy hell just happened in that Tribal Council? I mean, really, what the hell happened?

There was never a Tribal Council much like this in 25 seasons. So many things happened. And it all happened thanks to the survival of Jonathan Penner. That’s right – despite what I said last week, we have not experienced our final non-jury episode of Penner. That’s because the man who had never won an individual immunity challenge managed to step up. The challenge was one of the physical challenges to weed it down to three contenders, and then a puzzle segment at the end. It was not a memorable challenge when it comes to nuts and bolts – maneuver around a series of obstacles and collect bags of puzzle pieces, and then solve a puzzle…a snake puzzle. I guess the winner gets immunity and a place in Slytherin.

The interesting part is that Penner needed to win or he was doomed. He had never won immunity in Cook Islands, and was removed before the merge in Fans vs. Favorites. PBP and Kent finished first and second which left one slot open in the Finals. Penner was with several others at the finish, but it came down to him vs. Skupin for the third place. Amazingly, Penner dove over the finish line barely ahead of Skupin for the win. It was that close. And in a puzzle challenge – Penner is one of the best. He’s no Boston Rob, but he’s good. He lagged behind for a while before figuring it out and blasting ahead of the others and winning the challenge. He punctuated it with a Mary Tyler Moore hat toss and a Usain Bolt pose. Love. Penner.

That’s how close this came to being a very different episode – Penner almost lost twice, with the second time to Kent. Mere seconds from it being very different.

So, the tribe could not vote out Penner. Commence scrambling!

While the Penner survival was a huge portion of the episode the other part was the revelation of Blair’s game. We shall see how the season progresses, but Blair is shaping up to be the second coming of Cirie. She started off horribly and then all of a sudden burst out with this huge strategic game. She started the episode with a plan to join with the Kent faction and wound up turning on her Matsing allies following the Reward challenge. She pulled Skupin aside and pulled a new plan out of nowhere – after Penner goes, instead of Scoopin’ (new nickname!) going next, she would plead with PBP that Malcolm should get blindsided. Why? Because of his idol. Yep – despite her promise to Malcolm, she has turned on him.

Of course, Penner won immunity, so the tribe needed a new plan. After the initial plan to turn to Scoopin’ for the vote, Blair unleashed her Get Malcolm plan on PBP – who was shocked, just shocked, that Malcolm would not share with him the info about the idol. So he confronted him. And Malcolm lied. And PBP – the self-proclaimed mastermind – believed him. He “looked into his soul” and decided there was no idol. Granted, Malcolm did some decent lying, but still. Upon buying the lie, now the vote has fallen upon Kent.

However, Malcolm was now getting his house in order and floated Carter’s name. The other tribe was stunned as they forgot Carter was part of the tribe. But then, Kent sensing some troubles started to move against PBP. He gathered up Carter, Penner, Scoopin’ & Penner, and the Matsing Duo and built a six-person, anti-PBP coalition. So we head to Tribal with possible votes being cast against Kent, PBP, Malcolm, Carter and Scoopin’. And it all seemed to take place in about a half an hour of real time. Insane. And amazingly, when the votes were cast, two of them got votes and a third person who was NOT mentioned wound up with one.

At Tribal, it started early when Malcolm called Blair out for turning on him. She fully admits to plotting against him, calling him a huge threat. But it escalated. Abinormal pandered a bit to Malcolm – calling him “one of us” and thus worth keeping. Blair threw it back at her – if Malcolm was one of us, why was she so sour on Scoopin’ who actually was one of them from the start. Abinormal made her first fail by arguing that it was always her, Blair, PBP and Artis – prompting an “I told you so” reaction from Malcolm.

Blair alludes to the idol, leading Malcolm to show it. “There’s way too much chaos…I’m safe. I’m playing it. If you vote for me, there will be a mean surprise for you in a second.” Wow. Probst was surprised/impressed and jokingly asked if anyone else would be willing to show an idol. And Abinormal did!!!!! For no reason, she exposed her secret. Penner hysterically said, “This is awesome!” He and Kent were reacting to the goings ons like a couple of fans watching from home.

Penner then turned and said to the group – let’s keep our group of six together. Kent muttered a “wow,” which in retrospect could now mean anything. Blair very carefully made her pitch to the group to move to her Plan B, focusing on loyalty. As the Survivors voted, Penner made a “boom” motion with his hands – things just blew up. I’ll be honest – as Probst read the votes, I had no clue who was going to go home.

Spoiler alert – It was Kent. I was very curious to see who voted for whom at the end of the episode and upon doing so became even more confused. Kent got five votes – Artis, PBP, Abinormal, Blair and Scoopin’. PBP got four votes from Carter, Kent, Malcolm and Denise. Penner voted for Abinormal. Why? I don’t get that. If Penner voted for PBP, it would have been 5-5 and a revote between Kent and PBP. Assuming no one flipped, it would have been Purple Rock time. Perhaps Penner saw that as a possibility and tossed a vote aside.

Maybe Penner was just as confused as everyone else and had no idea where the votes were going. But that seems doubtful – he is a savvy player. The only thing I can think of is that Penner knew that Blair and Scoopin’ were not on board with the PBP vote and he latched on to that group. He’s the sixth in that six. He’s Blair’s Plan B. If so, it bodes badly for Carter this week. However, the intriguing part comes at the F8 where Blair/Scoopin’/Penner decide if they should flip the game on the PBP crew or not.

However, there was one more thing which I loved, loved, loved and which has put me firmly in a fandom position for this guy. Malcolm. As Probst asked for idols, Malcolm, who just moments before had told the tribe that he was playing his idol…decided not to. HA! Huge bluff from Malcolm. Remember, you really have a hard time winning Survivor if you fail to take chances and make big decisions. Malcolm just made one. And I think it makes the F8 scenario even more interesting. We now will have a weekly game of chicken between Malcolm and the rest of the crew – will he play it or not. Bold. And awesome.

Oh, and Kent is a bitter Republican. Just saying – even if you hate the President, Kent, remember that taxes are lower now than they were under W (look it up, it is true). Also, $600,000 could change lives – don’t be a prick. And last, this show was filmed in the spring and aired the day after the election. What if Mitt Romney had won? Bet you would have felt stupid there. Damn, I just can’t escape politics – even on Survivor!

Amazing Race 21 – Episode 6 – “Bangladesh Good. Not Bad”

Yeah, yeah, late again. I know.

This week’s Amazing Race involved a change of setting – bye bye Bangladesh, hello Turkey. Teams got bunched up and sent to the European side of Turkey, only to be re-routed to the Asian side of Turkey – a fun usage of the unique nature of Turkey. But despite the tasks, the scrambling and the elimination of a team, one occurrence which took place this week stands out as the item of conversation.

Look, Twins, I want to like you guys. You are a strong team – you understand how to run this Race, and you are an all-female team who seems to be rather strong in challenges. You can be a good team. So, please, I am begging you, stop doing things that piss me off! I can almost live with the endless shouts of “Twinnie” and the still-unexplained hatred of Team Apprentice. I can live with never knowing which one of you is doing a challenge. I can live with having to look up each week how to spell your names. But, I am having a VERY hard time looking past your theft of another team’s money.

And it was a theft – no matter how you, other teams, or the Show try to spin it. I have read tweets from Racers that upon finding the Hairs’ lost money, the Twins were told to not give it back. I don’t buy it – and if true, shame on the producers. That’s manufactured reality show drama, which I do not care for – it would mean they chose to have the Hairs wander through impoverished Bangladesh because it would make for good TV. And, who’s going to stop the Twins from ignoring the producers and handing that cash back to the Hairs? What? Are they going to be kicked off the show for doing the right thing? And shame on Texas for going along with it – I give partial kudos for Trey for at least having the initial instinct that this whole idea was wrong.

The result of this cash incident is that I am officially in Team Hairs’ camp for rooting interest this season. They have been good for a funny quip, and have shown serious resolve – lost cash, injured knee, ailing father, etc. My respect for Twins and Texas took a serious hit – while respect for talent on the Race remains, respect for sportsmanship fallen to nil. This wasn’t the same thing as giving wrong directions to another team, or taking a cab from another team. To me this is taking away possessions from another team. To me, this is worse than Romber driving past Breg (second reference to that incident this season!) – where at least they could see the show staff tending to the brothers. This was something that could have been settled right away – how many people in that Bangladeshi travel agency were carrying around a wad of American cash? You pick it up and ask your fellow racers, “Hey, who lost some money?” And then you go beat them in the Race course fair and square.

Boo!

Ok, rant over. The Goats were going to be in a lot of trouble this week, as they left the Pit Stop six and a half hours behind the Hairs, and 90 minutes behind Magic Mike. They also got very lucky that there was an airport bunching. As it turns out, the key moment for the outcome of this leg was at the Istanbul airport. Teams had to decide whether or not to take a cab or the Metro to the Detour. Important Race note – 99 out of 100 times, it is better to take a cab. Always.

However, Magic Mike and the Truckers did not follow this plan, and they began to fall behind. Y realized that this was the Road to Elimination and the boys bolted for a cab. The Truckers, upon seeing this, failed to see the light themselves and stayed the course. Rob even mocked James Squared by calling them followers. The big guy is in his own world sometimes. As a result, they lagged behind the whole way, and while they caught up at the Roadblock, really needed someone to get lost in order to stay alive. They didn’t and met Browsie’s elimination. We are now down to six – five if you realize that the Goats have barely hung on for a few weeks now.

Detour – The choice was Simit or Scrub It – Simit is a kind of Turkish bagel. Teams had to stack a whole bunch of them on a tray, balance it on one person’s head, and then deliver them to three locations. The other task involved a spa and a massage. Somehow, two teams decided to haul bagels. Over a massage. There are few things in the world I would choose over a free massage. I mean, if you are offering one now, I’m ready to go. Crazy.

Granted, the Turkish deep tissue massage was a bit brutal, but still. You’ve been racing for a couple of weeks. You’re tired and dirty. Take the damn massage! The task did bring us the closest we’ve come in a while to seeing Racers naked. I remember the underwear race in Russia, the frozen dip in icy water, and a few other naked or near naked moments, but this one presented more than half of the Racers naked except for some flesh colored wrappings. I was looking down for a moment, looked up and thought Abbie was buck naked. I was surprised it made it past CBS censors. But, alas, it was an illusion. Male and female Race fans were a tad disappointed in the development.

Meanwhile, the Goats struggled with direction in more than one way. Before they had trouble getting directions to move the bagels, they had their Speed Bump. It was arguably the easiest one ever – eat ice cream. Really. That was it. Go to the marked stand, endure some goofy antics from the vendor, and eat ice cream. And they messed that up! They went to the wrong vendor, which meant they had to eat seconds. Normally, that would be far from a punishment, but, you know, the Race. Only the Truckers’ decision to do the bagel task made some sense – the massage would take a set time, the bagels could, in theory, be a chance to make up some time.

Roadblock – Serve Turkish Sherbet. This is the traditional Race task of selling a local product until you reach a certain level of sales. I would imagine it would be fairly easy to do this kind of task since the locals would have the fascination issue going on – crazy Americans with cameras selling treats. Who wouldn’t buy from them?

Anything of interest here? Actually yes. Lexi’s cheerleading skills came into play as she worked the crowd like a master. Ryan’s Apprentice skills come in as he turned it into a challenge from that show – he found a dude and hired him to help him out for a percentage of the sales. It meant selling more than needed, but at least he had some help. And Brent also showed some great skill in working the crowd as his sales history came into play. Oh, and Chip James found some women. Duh.

In the end, Texas earns their first win, and the Truckers get booted. Rob may have been a stubborn Racer, but he went out with class. He praised his wife, who without her, he’d be nothing.