More about that vast wasteland

My brain is fried from working on my Accounting and Organizational Behavior projects, so I want to talk about something that requires little or no thought whatsoever: good ol' television.

I'm glad to see that The Amazing Race is back for another season. This is really "the little show that could." It's not often a show gets the chance to build up an audience slowly; usually it's instant hit or straight to cancellation. Unless, of course, you happen to be on CBS, which lets shows find niche audiences and then leaves 'em on for damn near forever (do you even know anyone who watches JAG?). So that's one huge factor in TAR's favor. Plus, there's the fact that it's actually a decent show... certainly the best thing to come out of the reality TV boom, and its a darn good game show to boot. And thanks to (mostly) word of mouth, more people have been discovering that with each successive run (Erin and I came on board with Season 2).

This season seems like it should be a pretty good one. This group of contestants seems like they'll bring the proper mix of competitiveness and high drama. No favorites yet, but I already enjoy making fun of the high-strung blue-haired dude and his doormat wife. There's a functional relationship right there. I think if the wife pushes the guy off the mountain, the producers may pony up an extra million dollars to give to her for doing humanity a favor. It was also very cool to see that the first episode took place in Iceland, where Erin and I spent a few days on the way back from Scotland at the end of our honeymoon. We found it hilarious that people kept getting lost, since there are few major roads outside of Reykjavik (seriously, stay on the 1 and you'll see almost the whole country). We also thought it was great that the pit stop was at the Blue Lagoon, but hoped that the contestants got to enjoy the spa there (the building that those people who overshot the pit stop went into), because that is one of the more excellent places on Earth. Anyplace where you can swim outdoors in November and be perfectly warm (and enjoy a drink alongside some German tourists while doing so) is alright in my book.

Elsewhere, Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi debuted on the Cartoon Network this week. This is a cartoon (duh) starring the ridiculously cute Japanese pop combo Puffy AmiYumi. It won't be remembered as one of the great classics of American TV animation, but it's a pleasant enough way to spend a half hour. Like the band itself, the overwhelming charm, aforementioned ridiculous cuteness and catchy-as-hell songs will probably win you over in the end. The bullfighting segment was particularly funny. The show is probably best in small doses, though. Prolonged exposure to this much sweet cuteness may cause diabetes.

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