So, I assume you all had fun?   

Happy New Week, folks. I kind of suck at replying to things. I meant to do that this weekend but then got distracted and by distracted I mean that I read three books over the course of two days. I guess I always be a bookworm at my core. One of the books left me with a desire to discuss something here and hopefully I’ll get a chance to write that up today, if I can find time for an extra break.

There was a lot of new TV for me last night but I didn’t actually watch most of it. Of course, it kind of works out since we’ve still got a lot of repeat TV during the week. So, without further ado…

Grease: You’re The One That I Want
This show better improve quick or I’m going to be saying, “Grease? You’re NOT the one that I want.” Of course, to be fair, I never expected to like the tryout portion of the show. In fact, I was debating just skipping these first two weeks of the show so I wouldn’t have to sit through the part I hate about all these type of shows. Oddly enough, I think it’s the editing that was at fault for how horribly boring it ended up being. I hate these type of auditions for shows like AI but the one thing I liked about the auditions we saw last night is that they were definitely more focused (as they should be) and we, the audience, had something by which to understand the judging. We know the roles of Sandy and Danny so we have a better gauge for how well someone is doing and, in general, whether they would work. It’s just too bad that it was so badly edited/produced that I couldn’t actually enjoy that part of it.

Starting with the end of the show first, it amuses me that they spent so little time on Chicago. I think it probably makes sense that they wouldn’t have found much talent there and I’m really hoping that the real interesting auditions are to be found in NYC as might be expected (although, if that were the case, they surely would have started with the NY auditions… right?). But, after having sat through an hour and fifteen minutes of the LA auditions, it was funny that we basically fast-forwarded through the Chicago ones. I barely remember any of the people who auditioned there. I do remember that they picked the 17 year old in Chicago. I, like Jim Jacobs, did like her look but it’ll be an uphill battle for her given her age. Kathleen did say the challenge with her would be finding a Danny that would match (age-wise) but I would think that would make casting the rest of the production just as hard, wouldn’t it? I mean, you can’t have a really young looking Sandy and Danny and then have the rest of the cast be noticably older than them. Yes, in a local theatre production, you could do that but not on Broadway. Oh well, she certainly wasn’t the strongest singer so I don’t know what I’m going on about.

As for the LA auditions… uhhh. First, the guy who was auditioning for his brother. It’s wrong of me to be so dismissive of him I think but my attitude was a good example of where the show failed. We have to get to know the contestants before we’re going to care about that kind of stuff. His reaction certainly didn’t help, either. Authentic or not, it was too dramatic for me. Second, what was up with the older comedic lady and why the hell would the producers/editors even bother including her in there? I mean, I know why they did it but that reasoning is exactly why I hate shows like AI. If I have to sit through auditions, it better be people who honestly think they have talent. It was clear to me that that lady was not seriously auditioning so much as trying to get her face on TV and I hate that these shows indulge that crap. Then there was Sunshine and the girl from The Bronx… I don’t even have much to say about that. Here’s the thing, it’s good to have confidence in yourself and it’s great to try and push the envelope but I also believe in being realistic. And they? Were not being realistic. I’m glad that the judges cut them because there’s no way I would have believed that Broadway producers of a show would ever consider them for the role of Sandy. EVER. And I’m not even talking about the looks here… Sandy has a certain quality about her and both of those girls were way too… loud (not volume-wise) for the role. It’s actually why I was a bit sad to see the pharmacutical rep cut even though she was bad at the dancing portion. There was just something about her overall look and presence that felt Sandy-ish.

In the end, though, I mostly found myself not caring about who made it. I mean, I wanted to know so that I could identify them in the next go-round but I didn’t actually care about who made it. The whole getting a second to audition was boring for the people at home, who could care less if the girl cried about not making it. In fact, since there was so little time devoted to anyone – making it near impossible to get attached to any of them – I think they probably should have just spent the first episode introducing the contestants who made it into Grease Academy by giving us a glimpse at their audition and then telling us something about each of them. Then I might actually remember them and care about whether they make it through the next round… which we don’t even get until the episode after next. Who wants to sit through another hour of the same auditions, just with different people? Again, I’m hoping that we at least get a more talented crew in NYC given that anyone who is desperate for a way to break onto Broadway is probably located anyway. NBC did a great job promoting this show and making me want to watch, maybe they should have done a little better job actually making it watchable instead.

Oh, one final thing, why oh why would you go to an audition for Grease and not sing a song from the show? I mean, I do understand wanting to sing a song that shows off your abilities or even not wanting to screw up because you didn’t know the words but… the songs are easy to learn (and, really, how can anyone who is serious about performing NOT at least having a passing knowledge of Grease songs?). I know that a few of those people made it into the next round but I dismissed almost all of them immediately if they didn’t sing a song from Grease. Am I the only one who feels that way?

The Apprentice: LA
Just when I think I’m out, they pull me back in… this show is really good at that. I’m hopeful that it can actually continue to entertain me this season (unlike last season) because moving to LA does open it up for more interesting tasks and that’s the part of the show that I love. I loved that they had to work together to put the tent up. I totally would have taken charage of that just like Heidi (only because I’ve put up tents like that so many times) which might be why I was immediately turned off by the way Frank seemed to take over telling people what to do. Then there was Martin who was killed me with his whole standing on the rock to “oversee” the process.

But, before I get into them – because they are the people I actually remember so far – let’s talk about the “twists”. I don’t know how I feel about the tent thing. I suppose because I don’t really understand it. I suppose it works as a motivator because watching the others in the pool certainly lit a fire under that one gir’s ass to get serious about winning next time. Except… I guess we’ll see whether she’s still as motivated once she’s in the middle of a task and having to deal with people. Other than that, it seems a bit excessive. I could see making them stay in lesser quarters or making all of them share one room and one bathroom but making them live outside with no elecricity seems a bit excessive. Especially since you know this had to be filmed sometime this later summer/fall when it was quite hot in CA. That said, it kills me that apparently the losing team did nothing to at least make their situation the best that they could. Trump even noted that the tent wasn’t put together all that great. I mean, if you’re going to have to sleep in it, why not do your best to make it comfortable? I will say, it’s sucky that they can’t have elecriticy but also aren’t allowed to make a fire and that seems excessive to me. If you aren’t going to allow them lights, you should allow them a way to make their own (flashlights don’t count). I didn’t notice how they were cooking their food so I wonder if they were allowed some amenties?

There were two other twists that I’m not sure the show considered twists so much as modifications to the way things worked. First was the project lead aspect. I actually like the idea of keeping the same project lead until a team loses. It should be interesting to see how the losing team now goes about selecting a new project lead. Will knowing that you could potentially have that person in that role for multiple projects force them all to put more thought into the decision? Also, I should hope that this means Trump can’t use someone not getting a chance to be a project lead against them. Knowing Trump, it won’t stop him. He’s not exactly the most logical person. Which leads to the twist of having the winning project lead being one of the two people who advise Trump in the boardroom. I’m not sure I like this one and I wonder if it’ll be something happens each week or just randomly? For one thing, I’d prefer to have two people who are actually observing the teams doing the task. It was interesting to have someone who had actually done the task being able to respond to things said but a competitor is never going to be unbiased and it feels like just another way for Trump to put people in impossible situations. He certainly loves to encourage the in-fighting and cattiness between the contestants.

Speaking of… Martin and Frank. Honestly? I would have been happy to see them both go. I was leaning more towards Martin until they got in the boardroom and Frank reminded me why I hadn’t liked him. Martin’s pompous attitude turns me off but Frank’s loud mouth makes me want him gone just so I won’t have to listen to him talk over everyone. It’s so abrasive and I can’t guarantee that, if I were in that boardroom, I wouldn’t have yelled at him to shut up because I can’t handle it when someone is doing that kind of stuff. In fact, if Frank continues to do it, I won’t be surprised if Trump finally breaks down and tells him to shut up. I will say that I thought he was almost a goner there for a second when Trump was doing that thing I hate… fixating on one stupid thing and not letting it go. And, also, again wanting the people in the boardroom to go at each other’s throats despite the fact that they still have to work/live together after they get done in there. (True, one of these guys was going home but he also chastised him for sending Tim back to Tent City even though he knew Frank didn’t really consider him at fault for losing.) But, in the end, Trump managed to bring his attention back to Martin.

I’m not sure I actually think Martin was at fault for this task. I agreed with Ivanka (sp?) that he probably wouldn’t mesh well with the Trump organization but he was not the person who lost the task for his team. Frank can say what he likes about not losing by a huge margin but I do think his sloopy management at the beginning of the task could probably be blamed for them not making the little bit more they needed to win. Trump picked on their prices but I thought they actually did a good job at that part. Clearly the other team couldn’t have charged as much because they had a lot of cars and still didn’t make that much more in the end. Frank’s team, though, didn’t even really start to get cars until about halfway through the task. He was the one who wanted them to get started immediately so I give him credit for that but then he immediately left the team to go… well, I don’t even know where because those flyers ended up being pointless. So, he disappeared for an hour to make flyers, leaving his team leaderless and I think that hour was crucial to the amount of money they made in the end. In that regard, I can’t agree with Martin’s elimination and it’s the reason I wish we had two impartial observers in the boardroom because someone surely would have picked up on that and asked about it instead of getting distracted by Frank’s harping on Martin’s inability to up-sell his car washes.

Either way, I’m happy with the results. I should have known Martin was going when he made this statement, “If I can pull this thing off, let me tell you, I will be the greatest Apprentice ever.” When will these reality contestants learn the power of the jinx and realize that egotistical statements like pretty much guarantee you’re going that episode… hell, you could have immunity but if you say something like that, you’re going. But, then there was Franks, “Tim’s playing Monday quarterback. It’s very easy to do that, having time to really evaluate the task. That’s a little funny in my book…” WTF? I can’t tell you how amused I was by that little gem. Like, seriously, dude, the point of the show is to evaluate how you do on a task AFTERWARDS. That’s not playing Monday MORNING quarterback! That’s getting ready for what Trump is going to ask you and honestly assessing what went wrong. Yeesh! Well, we’ll see how Frank gets along in the next few tasks. I suspect Heidi was quite happy that Frank was the one who stayed… because he was the one the entire team wanted fired and yet he was the one who went back to the tent.

See? I told you they had me hooked again. Dammit!

On my schedule for tonight: How I Met Your Mother (more on this in a post to follow), The Class, and What About Brian

5 Responses to “So, I assume you all had fun?”

  1. 1
    eolivet says:

    We know the roles of Sandy and Danny so we have a better gauge for how well someone is doing and, in general, whether they would work.

    That’s a very good point, although I didn’t understand why they’d sing “There Are Worse Things I Could Do.” Isn’t that…Rizzo’s song? Does Sandy even sing it? And if I heard “Hopelessly Devoted” one more time… :/

    We have to get to know the contestants before we’re going to care about that kind of stuff.

    See, I actually liked that guy — so I thought it was a production failure in another way: why give that very sympathetic piece of background info on him if he wasn’t going to make it in the first place? AI is good at creating sympathy and interest for the “good” contestants, as well as mock and ridicule for the “bad” ones. But focusing on the middle-of-the-road ones is pointless, y’know? If they’re not good enough to move on, or not so bad that it’s a trainwreck, it’s a waste of time.

    NBC did a great job promoting this show and making me want to watch, maybe they should have done a little better job actually making it watchable instead.

    To me, this is their M.O. This was “Treasure Hunters” all over again: excellent promos…subpar execution. It felt like a B-level reality show…and I’m not sure it had to be.

    Especially since you know this had to be filmed sometime this later summer/fall when it was quite hot in CA.

    Hee! I was feeling sorry for them because I was thinking they might be cold at night…forgot it was probably filmed in summer. ;p

    Also, I should hope that this means Trump can’t use someone not getting a chance to be a project lead against them.

    Oh, right — I forgot that he does that! I actually think it’s a good way to ensure that all the strong candidates stay on longer than the cannon fodder. Y’know how a real “star” candidate can have one bad task because of a sucky PM, and Trump will just randomly fire them? Hopefully, that won’t happen as much now… :)

  2. 2
    harper47 says:

    Hee – I thought alot of the same things you thought about this show but first to address one point.

    Actually, in the real world, you never, ever audition with a song from the show. I know for the Sound of Music auditions the director actually came out at one point and said if anyone else is planning on singing Edelweiss, please change your song or we will just have you sing Happy Birthday.

    A good singer chooses a song that shows their range, ability to stay on key and acting ability. Directors usually have a pre-conceived idea of how they want songs to be sung and if you sing the song differently than what they want, you sometimes hurt yourself.

    But – in this case – I know the show is encouraging contestants to sing songs from the show and we have actually gone to two auditions where they asked us to sing a song from the show but it is usually a very bad choice.

    I thought the guy in LA, the last Danny they picked, chose a good song to show a little charisma and fun and you could see the directors appreciated it. Although generally, when you are auditioning, you choose a musical theatre song. Choosing pop songs is usually a mistake.

    I do find it interesting that the judges are having the actors sing achapello. Much harder of course but also less fun to listen to.

    I found the show excrutiatingly boring but will hang in there in hopes it improves.

  3. 3
    westcoastlovin says:

    I was going to say the same thing. I found it was always a game to find a song that (a) showcases your talent the best and (b) is a semi-obsure musical theatre song (to show that you “get” the business and to avoid burnout. They don’t want to hear “Memories,” I promise.)

  4. 4
    harper47 says:

    I remember the year of Titanic – every single teenage girl I saw for an audition that year wanted to sing My Heart will go on. I let them but at the same time I was mentally checklisting them out of any significant role – unless by some freaky chance, they actually could sing that song.

    Memories – worst choice ever.

    Are you in musical theatre? If so I would love to friend you because I live and breathe MT and dance.

  5. 5
    westcoastlovin says:

    I WAS a musical theatre person and still love it, but totally not in the world. However, friend away because I love to live vicariously.