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  #601  
Old 09-02-2019, 03:16 AM
DKW is offline
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Someday I'd like an insider to write a book about how reality TV shows keep such a tight lid on events that won't air until weeks or months later to prevent leaks. (It'd be a helluva lot more entertaining than a huge chunk of what goes on in those shows, that's for certain.) The thing I find remarkable is that even years after the fact, you don't see anyone coming forward with the real scoop on how this season was filmed, or how much gets done in one city before moving on, or the dates of the actual competition. It may seem implausible that not a single person has broken rank and spilled the beans, but there are ways of gaining 100% compliance amongst a small, carefully chosen group. Ever notice that in over a decade, there hasn't been a single ugly incident...bum rushing the course, attacking a contestant, throwing something nasty, starting a fight in the stands, really nasty heckling, etc., the kind of stuff that's a not-infrequent occurrence in nearly every big sport? That's not a coincidence. NBC wants fans who will completely behave themselves, and for an event as popular as this, they have free rein to choose the cream of the crop.

adhemar - I know. And this just serves to illustrate why finishing siffies is a meaningless accomplishment, but NBC went all-in with Kacy Catanzaro a long time ago and they can't back down. I'm actually more concerned about how Jesse Labreck and Michelle Warnky are going to follow up. Graff's legacy is secure, but unless Labreck and Warnky can accomplish something outside of team events, the "yeah but"s are going to attack in force.
  #602  
Old 09-02-2019, 10:57 AM
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Originally Posted by DKW View Post
Someday I'd like an insider to write a book about how reality TV shows keep such a tight lid on events that won't air until weeks or months later to prevent leaks. (It'd be a helluva lot more entertaining than a huge chunk of what goes on in those shows, that's for certain.) The thing I find remarkable is that even years after the fact, you don't see anyone coming forward with the real scoop on how this season was filmed, or how much gets done in one city before moving on, or the dates of the actual competition. It may seem implausible that not a single person has broken rank and spilled the beans, but there are ways of gaining 100% compliance amongst a small, carefully chosen group. Ever notice that in over a decade, there hasn't been a single ugly incident...bum rushing the course, attacking a contestant, throwing something nasty, starting a fight in the stands, really nasty heckling, etc., the kind of stuff that's a not-infrequent occurrence in nearly every big sport? That's not a coincidence. NBC wants fans who will completely behave themselves, and for an event as popular as this, they have free rein to choose the cream of the crop.
I like to say that they all have "five million reasons" to keep their mouths shut.

When Survivor first started, everything, including revealing the winner, was done on the island. Needless to say, if the winner's name was leaked, it would ruin the show, so the contracts that each contestant had to sign said that if they revealed any information as to how the show worked, they could be sued for up to $5 million. For some reason, that amount started to appear in other reality shows' non-disclosure clauses.
  #603  
Old 09-02-2019, 11:04 AM
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Short and sweet: Does production take any measures to prevent spoilers? Confiscate phones? Politely ask people not to post spoilers to social media?

We ask because the promos are strongly implying that someone wins the million this year, and the latest promo lightly implied the winner is a woman.

If that's true, the question is how do we not already know this from leaked photos on Twitter or whatever?
People are not allowed to photo/film course and can't spill results of ninjas until after show airs. Threats of $1M fine.
  #604  
Old 09-02-2019, 11:07 AM
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I wanted to know how much time between each run. I noticed that there was time to not only reset the course but for everyone to put on different t-shirts or to shuffle in a new set of people to support the particular racer wearing their branded shirts or carrying branded paraphernalia. Does each racer or representative go around handing out a bunch of stuff in between races?

also there appears to only be about a hundred or so people unless there are bigger stands on the other side that we can't see. tickets must be really hard to get.
There is usually 2-5min between runs. Depends on resetting course and if they need to do some adhoc filming with the competitor that just ran.

Some racers give supplies to the crowd before they run to boost morale. Some ninjas are supporting multiple runners so they swap shirts while in the crowd to support their multiple friends.
  #605  
Old 09-02-2019, 02:54 PM
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200-400 people at a time, depending on city and how many stands they have. They do bring in people in waves though, so they can have 1,000 people in a night. I think Baltimore had 1,000+ people a night.

You can pre-register for ticket notifications and then register about 1 month before the show for free. There are different time slots for when you can enter to watch.

Filming goes all night, 9pm-6am. Depending on how many runners.
  #606  
Old 09-02-2019, 10:19 PM
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Spoilers for Stage 1 Night 2


One thing is clear: A woman isn't winning the million dollars since none got past Stage 1. In the promo at the end of the show, the final shot of a guy climbing a rope in stage 4 showed him with a red t-shirt (not tank top), and if that's the guy who actually wins then my guess is Adam Rayl. It's also possible that specific footage was of Geoff Britten when he got robbed, though. (EDIT: Youtube footage confirms Britten was wearing a yellow shirt, so it wasn't him, and Isaac Caldiero climbed shirtless.)

Joe Moravsky finished with the 10th best time but still got WWWA'd, which almost felt like the show was a spurned lover bitter that he isn't training as much this year.

Mady Howard, the rookie woman who finished 8th overall in city finals, also got WWWA'd but she went out on the double dipper. That's far enough to be respectable -- hell, it's as far as Jessie Graff got -- so I'm thinking StarvingButStrong is right: She just isn't looking for ANW fame.

I think they should add a $10,000 prize to the last woman standing. Or maybe $25,000. Either way, if they did, it would have gone to Flex Labreck. Overall I was surprised and impressed that Barkley Stockett and Tiana Weberly tied for second place in terms of going the farthest, both making it to the warped wall.

Drew Dreschel's first run looked off to me the whole way; he didn't seem confident or fluid in his movements. Maybe it was just the safety pass messing with his head, because his second run looked like the confident and fluid Drew we know and love.

I was wondering why Dreschel ran so early, but then realized it was because of the safety pass so he'd have time to dry off before his second run. Except, that's not it at all, because Kid Awadi (very impressive run!) went last. What if he fell? Would he have had to immediately re-run after a quick towel off?

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Originally Posted by DKW View Post
Ever notice that in over a decade, there hasn't been a single ugly incident...bum rushing the course, attacking a contestant, throwing something nasty, starting a fight in the stands, really nasty heckling, etc., the kind of stuff that's a not-infrequent occurrence in nearly every big sport?
It's not a sport, and it's also not live. If there were an ugly incident, why would they include it in the broadcast show?

Last edited by Ellis Dee; 09-02-2019 at 10:19 PM.
  #607  
Old 09-02-2019, 10:26 PM
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Ever notice that in over a decade, there hasn't been a single ugly incident...
Of course if there was, we wouldn't see it.

That said, here's a reddit post with a collection of "scandals" of various degrees of seriousness that allegedly took place:
take with a grain of salt?


A bunch of big surprises tonight... Jessie Graff falling so early, Drew Dreschel using his safety pass, Sean Bryan out (and not due to his injured ankle? unless that someone played into what happened to his shoulder?).


So who's the favorite now? Gill? Kid? Rayl? Swanson? Has to be one of those four, I would think, unless Joe Marovsky returns to his form from previous seasons.

Then there's a whole load of consistent young ninjas who I can't really keep straight: Josh Salinas, Hunter Gerrard, Tyler Gilette, etc. Can one of them break through?
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This post is merely corroborative detail, intended to add artistic verisimilitude to an otherwise bald and unconvincing narrative
  #608  
Old 09-02-2019, 11:02 PM
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Originally Posted by MaxTheVool View Post
That said, here's a reddit post with a collection of "scandals" of various degrees of seriousness that allegedly took place:
take with a grain of salt?
Oooooooo, drama!

I was carefully scanning to make sure I didn't go past last season (10) and then ran across this comment from 6 days ago:

Quote:
No spoilers but wait until the controversy this year. Absolutely absurd.
I immediately stopped reading and closed that page, but curiosity piqued!
  #609  
Old 09-03-2019, 08:21 AM
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So who's the favorite now? Gill? Kid? Rayl? Swanson? Has to be one of those four, I would think, unless Joe Marovsky returns to his form from previous seasons.
I think Moravsky belongs in there with that group. Yeah, he didn't get the mega wall or complete Angry Birds, but neither did a single other person, including some pretty elite competitors. (People who got over the mega wall on a different course don't count, because it sure looked like there was something up with the wall when people who got it last year weren't even close this year.) One of the things that distinguishes elite competitors from the others is how effortless their runs look, and Moravsky's looked extremely comfortable on all the obstacles this season (except for the ones he failed, obviously).

And I'd definitely say Dreschel's still a fave.
  #610  
Old 09-03-2019, 12:39 PM
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I think Moravsky belongs in there with that group. Yeah, he didn't get the mega wall or complete Angry Birds, but neither did a single other person, including some pretty elite competitors. (People who got over the mega wall on a different course don't count, because it sure looked like there was something up with the wall when people who got it last year weren't even close this year.) One of the things that distinguishes elite competitors from the others is how effortless their runs look, and Moravsky's looked extremely comfortable on all the obstacles this season (except for the ones he failed, obviously).
I'm pretty sure the course was wet that night, making the megawall essentially impossible.

Quote:
And I'd definitely say Dreschel's still a fave.
Agreed.
  #611  
Old 09-03-2019, 06:17 PM
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Drew Dreschel's first run looked off to me the whole way; he didn't seem confident or fluid in his movements. Maybe it was just the safety pass messing with his head, because his second run looked like the confident and fluid Drew we know and love.
That's what we thought, too. Normally, he's so impressive because of his smoothness. Is the controversy that he "threw" his first run to create drama and not seem "too perfect?" Nah.
  #612  
Old 09-05-2019, 12:00 AM
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Stage 1, day 2! Hopefully with more of the good kind of drama!

0:01 Another replay of Danell Leyva’s un-freaking-believable save which, you’ll remember, still wasn’t enough to actually get him to the buzzer. I’m still not entirely sold on the idea of using spectacular moves which NBC will replay ad nauseum to garner publicity for their gym/business/commune/denomination/whatever in lieu of making one red cent in this contest (oh, BTW, confirmed numbers or there are no prizes for siffies), but whatever keeps them off the streets, I guess.

Quick rundown of the obstacles, then Sandy Zimmerman clears one lousy obstacle... Diving Boards this time...and gets a fist pump from Zuri Hall for her trouble. I never thought I’d say this, but this is even more pathetic than when Jake Murray did it.

And...wow, that is a big “2:30 TIME LIMIT” logo! And just to add insult to injury, Hall helpfully informs us that the contestants have...wait for it...only two minutes and thirty seconds! Can you say , everyone? I mean, shoehorning in “only” in a feeble attempt to pretend that something far too massive, tall, or long really isn’t is bad enough, but she expects everyone to conveniently forget that half the field has already gone and only two freaking contestants timed out. Furthermore, one of them got hopelessly hung up at Warped Wall, which I don’t think should even count. Seriously, the clock is about as much of a threat in 2019 as Osama Bin Laden. I will note, however, that on the converse, Hall has proven to be remarkably adept in cramming an astounding amount of BS into a short amount of time, as I’m already pushing 300 words and still haven’t gotten past the second freaking minute. Regrettably, I can almost guarantee you that this is not the last time this will happen tonight.

Huh. Had no idea Nick Hanson and Grant McCartney were buds. Worlds apart, in more ways than one.

0:03 Caleb Bergstrom takes the course and does...something with sister Caitlyn. I think it’s their reach-the-upper-cupboard maneuver. In the profile, we learn that Caleb...has a baby face. Seriously, that’s what they’re going with. Ooh, better avoid Sem Garay, he’s going to mess you up! Caitlyn meanwhile, is known for...her...hair. That’s right, a young woman having long, curly hair is considered noteworthy now. This country is beyond hopeless.

Caleb goes first, and in keeping with the depressing predictability of this show, does not hit the buzzer. A misstep at the end of Diving Boards seals his fate.

0:07 Profile of Nick Hanson. The big honkin’ deal with him is that he timed out on Stage 1 twice. Of course, that was when time mattered; now literally the only way it can happen is if the contestant gets horribly hung up somewhere (in all likelihood Warped Wall, and again, I consider that a plain ‘ol failure).

Eyes and Bodge are holding a container full of “akutaq”, a.k.a. “Eskimo ice cream”, which is made of... OH, COME ON!! Well, Eric Middleton introduced us to horrifying so-called food that war refugees would politely refuse, and David Wright taught us the joys of endless gorging oneself on empty calories, so I guess something that’s in the middle was the next logical step! Swear to Okina, the first contestant who puts the spotlight on tasty, wholesome vegetarian dishes has me as a fan for life.

As for the run itself, Hanson actually did pretty good up to Diving Boards. He still has 50 seconds left when he goes for it, and...oh. Remember that “horribly hung up” thing I mentioned? He nearly falls on the last board, barely manages to save it...and takes a while to get moving again. And then he sees the clock ticking, and despite not getting settled on the second spinner, he has to go for it...and it’s a long way down to the cold water. “So claings!” he moans, whatever that means.

Eyes and Bodge try one spoonful of akutaq and immediately decide that’s plenty enough, and it’s to Hanson’s credit that he never raises a stink about this. The way this show’s been going lately, I was half expecting him to forcibly cram the entire bowl down their throats.

0:13 Taylor Amann...<sigh> . What’s not to love. Drop-dead gorgeous, cheerful, fantastic shape, terrific attitude. Got her inspiration from Jessie Graff and may very well be supplanting her soon. Run is nothing special (gets too far forward on the Jumping Spider trampoline and splashes), but there’s still good news, as she was able to parlay her ANW fame into fitness modelling gigs. Run with it, champ. Run it with until you can’t run any more. To hell with the naysayers. You’ll get infinitely more out of it than you ever will from ANW, that’s for sure. (Four more seasons, tops; no siffies or Stage 1 clears. You heard it here first.)

0:16 Casey Suchoki, ANW’s designated “See? Not everything about Alabama sucks!” entrant. (Oh look, wife! ) Unimpressive run but still hits the buzzer with 4.34 left. I’ve never said “Stage 2 cannon fodder” before, but I’m thinking that I should start.

0:25 3WA: Garrett Lam (Spin Your Wheels), Caitlyn Bergstrom (Double Dipper), and Scott Behrends (Tire Run). Archer Steps remains scalpless. We really need to bring back Timbers.

0:26 Tiana “Tweb” Webberley. Y’know, upon further consideration, she looks more like something out of Tekken. Her mom’s about to get a kidney transplant, but that’s not quite the level of an Acceptable Story, so no weepy profile, just a front-row seat with the camera about three inches from her face, and it's a testament to her remarkable restraint that she's content to cheer at a reasonable volume. Out on Warped Wall, just the second so far.

0:29 Seth Rogers. Gee, it must really suck that you can only hype up “19-year-old” once, huh, Eyes? Nicknamed “Big Red”, which is neither completely moronic (he’s a redhead) nor suffocatingly omnipresent, so I’ll let it go. Clears with 7.40 left.

0:37 3WA: Matt Dolce (Spin Your Wheels), Julius Ferguson (Jumping Spider), and Dustin Rocho (Twist And Fly). Much like Sasuke, the one trick ponies are never long for Stage 1.

0:39 Brian Burk. Another unremarkable run (couldn’t stick the landing at Double Dipper and fell back in), but I’d just like to state for the record that “Burkinator” is the lamest nickname I have ever heard ANYWHERE, ANYTIME, so effective immediately, he is “BB”. Y’know, how Neil Craver is “CC”.

0:41 Sean “Church” Bryan! Much like Suchoki is the non-repulsive Alabaman, Church is the non-infuriating Catholic. He’s been on a tear lately; let’s see if that...no. On Jumping Spider, after what looked like a perfectly good jump, he immediately takes his right hand off and shakes his arm. A few seconds later, he works his way off the obstacle. It’s a dislocated right shoulder, and just like that, his season is over.

0:47 We get to see an on-site doctor work on Church (guess NBC finally figured out that they can’t expect Noah Kaufman to keep bailing them out). He’s fine now, but that’s the only good news for him tonight. Damn, how are we having so many injuries nowadays?

0:48 Ooh, it’s Karsten Williams’ “best season ever”! No way is he going out on Stage 1 a sixth year in a row! And...he...makes it! How about that? Okay, we all know he’s going to get destroyed in Stage 2, which will be so crushing that it’ll probably end his ANW career right there (he’s 38, so that’d hardly be a tragedy), but there’s still some good news, i.e. Eyes and Bodge can stop this “curse” crap once and for all. Guys...an elite baseball team rolling snake eyes 85 straight years was a curse. This isn’t anywhere close. Williams was cursed in Stage 1 the same way Jeff Tarrango was cursed at Wimbledon.

0:58 3WA: Mady Howard (Double Dipper), Anthony DeFranco (timed out), and Dave Cavanagh (finished, time not given).

0:59 Drew Dreschel, always focused, always powerful, and now has to be considered a prohibitive favorite now that Church has bitten the dust. But never mind that...what’s really important is that he’s about to HAVE A BABY! Because no matter what you accomplish on the course, you’re not a real man until you’ve contributed to overpopulation! Actual quote: “Potty training? Yikes.” Yeah, he’s totally ready for this! On to the course, and, oh dear, that was a bad leap to the second hoop on Tire Run, and he’s in the water. Luckily, thanks to his Safety Pass (as part of that stunning trifecta he pulled off), he gets to go again, and we should be in no way concerned that he blew his do-over in Stage 1 and will have extra mental baggage in Stage 2.

1:08 Highlight of Alyssa Beird’s Stage 1 triumph in ’17. One of the problems with the...Sasuke-ness of this contest is that with so few highlights to choose from, they have to show the same ladies’ triumphs over and over and over. Can you even imagine a highlight package that showcased only the Chicago Bulls’ first championship or Phil Mickelson’s first major?

And here she is, and what a crowd there is to support her! Sure hope there isn’t...aaaaand, there is. She gets to the moving wheel on Tire Run, shuffles forward, then, when the wheel stops, she shuffles backward, and continues moving backward until she’s in the water. The safest way to take this, assuming you can’t make a perfect dead-center landing and then one-time it to the second hoop, is to take a couple steps forward, hang on until the wheel reaches its farthest-back position, then climb up and make the jump to the hoop. Playing log-roll doesn’t make any sense; it just increases the chance of a blunder, which of course is exactly what happened. She’ll be second-guessing that one for a while.

1:11 Ben Udy, who goes by “Chad Flexington” in whatever wresting league he’s a part of (Seriously, does anyone have any idea?), or “Chaff”, as I call him because I still think four syllables is excessive. And he gets a yoo-ess-ay chant, and there isn’t anything that doesn’t make better! . Out on Double Dipper, and I honest-to-god didn’t know that was a wig.

1:18 3WA: Verdale Benson (Double Dipper), Tyler Smith (finished, time not given), and Joe Moravsky (finished, time not given). Geez, they just blew over Moravsky? It’s not like he’s fallen off like Brent Steffensen.

1:20 (Sheesh, that was a long 3WA...) Jody Avila, the “Big Dog Ninja”. According to his profile, he used to be afraid of dogs, but he visited dogs in a kennel, and now he’s all about the dogs. Now even though he’s not a dog person, he doggedly dogs the dogs of dogs dogs and dogs dogs dogs dogs. (On a related note, here’s my second favorite Baha Men song! ) Anyway, he gets overextended on the moving wheel and falls.

1:23 Ethan Swanson steps up, and the entire crowd starts doing that moronic arm flapping...

OKAY, TIME OUT: Folks, I’ve railed on about things like elevating Kevin Carbone to a god and cutting to a dozen instant replays in the middle of the run. But these are annoyances. Aggravating but ultimately harmless. This arm-flapping thing not only has the potential to utterly screw Swanson, it may be what very well drives him out of the event. See, NBC loves to foist “things” onto the contestants and some fans; it’s a common reality TV practice, it makes them easier to remember, and it’s just plain fun. But a lot of people don’t like being pigeonholed, and especially if said pigeonholing requires them to do a certain thing they might not want to do over and over, endlessly. Remember that cute boy who danced on the sidelines during his mother’s runs? And that became the whole purpose of his existence? Well, guess what, turns out he was just copying something he saw on TV, or practicing for a competition, or staying in shape, or trying to keep warm, or trying to impress his friends, or just goofing around like young boys are wont to, and he is not a prancing monkey who provides entertainment on demand anytime someone points a camera at him. He was tired of being The Sideline Dancer. Now, what happens when Swanson gets tired of being The Arm-Flapping Ninja? Because I tell you right now, corny body movements is the sort of thing that gets very old very fast, and the fact that it’s based on a corny pun will only accelerate the process. And that’s when he finds out there’s no way out. The arm-flapping, having been ingrained into his profile and every single one of his highlights, has become completely inescapable. It’s just like the tomahawk chop; it’s irritating as hell and everyone knows it, but it absolutely refuses to ever, ever, ever die. If he speaks up, even something as plain and humble as “Please, enough,” how massive will the backlash be? If he refuses to continue, will NBC drop him like a bad habit? Here’s hoping like hell.

Run, good, strong, finishes, better than Gil’s time, for whatever it’s worth, which is absolutely nothing, which means that Eyes has to pretend that it’s something. Whatever, I’m used to it.

1:30 3WA: Alex Blick (finished), Josh Salinas (finished), Hunter Guerard (finished), and Tyler Gillett (finished). Ah, the NBC Doesn’t Give A Crap About Them So You Shouldn’t Either Brigade, right on schedule. (Yeah, I’d like Salinas to fire a unibeam at Eyes...)

1:32 Grant McCartney, who somehow has become this show’s whipping boy. I honestly don’t get it. Sure, the dancing is annoying, but that’s more a function of Bodge going “DANCE, YOUNG MAN, DANCE, DANCE, DANCE, DANCE DANCE DANCE DANCE DANCE DANCE DANCE DANCE DANCE DANCE DANCE DAAAAAANNNNNNNNNNCE!!!!” than anything McCartney did. For the love of Sanae, have you seen some of the crap we’ve had to put up with??? And now the buzz on YouTube is how he “barrrrellllerrrulllyyyyyeeeeyyiiieieieieieieiee” made it to Stage 1, thereby implying that 1. This matters one Marvin The Martin subatomic particle worth of a damn, and 2. siffies are not outrageously ridiculous crapshoots with completely bizarre, random results, which is the only reason he didn’t make it last year to freaking begin with. In any event, I’m going to be rooting pretty hard for him to clear the stage, mainly because it’ll make his siffies results completely irrelevant for all time. It’s just like that in legit sports; win one championship at the pro level and all your college failures become ancient history...just ask Shaquille O’Neal. (I would say “shut everyone up”, but that’s a lost cause...just look at Lebron James, where the goalposts are on roughly their 25th trip around the planet by now.)

Plus that local boy thing I mentioned earlier.

Okay...burns up a lot of time on Spin Your Wheels, but the clock means crap, so who cares...didn’t see no stinkin’ “karate kick”...still good...moving wheel, does exactly what I recommended earlier, stays alive ()...still good...no trouble with Warped Wall...rock-solid across the boards...26 seconds left to finish...still good...

...and he hits the buzzer with 6.56 left! Welcome to the club, champ!

1:42 3WA: Jeff Harris (Double Dipper), Ben Wales (finished), and Michael Torres (finished). Harris came out in a garbage suit, perfectly encapsulating both the direction ANW is headed and his chances of getting past Stage 1.

1:43 The last female competitor remaining, Jessie Graff. She’s one of those eternally vexing stars who achieves greatness and just can never repeat it, and also gets repeatedly royally shafted by the system for no discernible reason. Kind of like the Seattle Seahawks. On top of that, she’s 35 and has a real job now, and I’m getting a pretty strong impression that she has better things to do with her life than cornball obstacle courses that pay zilch. Is it starting to sink in that she could’ve had a real career in a real sport, one where one teensy little mental error doesn’t wreck her whole year?

On to the course where...damn. Out on Double Dipper. Replay is no help in explaining how she missed the transition. In a nutshell, she was rusty and it showed. She had the look of someone who did not have anywhere near adequate time to practice. She tried to put a good face on it, but folks, we’ve seen the beginning of the end, and the end of the end could be coming up quickly.

1:47 Drew Dreschel’s do-over, and I agree with the guys on Primetimer, he’s had a lot of airtime tonight...so much that it’s suspicious. He finishes this time, of course...he’s not going to flub Stage 1 twice in a row...but I have the sinking feeling that all this overcompensation means that he’s not long for Stage 2.

1:55 Mathis “Cougar” Owhadi! Nope, still don’t give a damn about who gets the top time on Stage 1, nor understand why anyone else should!

1:59 Hold the phone...“THIS YEAR THE WINNER WILL TAKE HOME $1,000,000”. Note that it didn’t say anything about “Mount Midoriyama” or “The 6th Buzzer” or “Total Victory”. Does this means that...the lance is now worth a million? That...damn, that would be a huge development. If it’s true, of course. Never know with NBC.

Whew, that went on longer than I expected. Oh, hey, if there’s anything I said that you need clarifying, just ask. And yes, you can get up all at once.

Ellis Dee - I don't truck in vague rumors with zero evidence. Pics or it didn't happen. As for Caldiero, the most likely scenario is that he took flack for "not really being the first American Ninja Warrior" and, in the heat of the moment, shot back. I probably would've done the same. It never led to anything, so I'm past the point of caring.
  #613  
Old 09-05-2019, 12:48 AM
Ellis Dee is offline
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Some good stuff in there, DKW.

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Originally Posted by DKW View Post
And...wow, that is a big “2:30 TIME LIMIT” logo! And just to add insult to injury, Hall helpfully informs us that the contestants have...wait for it...only two minutes and thirty seconds! Can you say , everyone?
A couple minor nitpicks: I think Stage 1 is normally 2:12 or 2:18 (I forget) and then they added 12 or 18 seconds because those two wheels at the start are much more time consuming than the old propeller rope deal.

As for timing out, in fairness, more people failed transferring to the cargo net because they were running out of time and had to rush it than actually timed out, but those still count as the clock beating them in my book.

I agree with you that the time-outs at the warped wall don't count as real time-outs because they wouldn't have completed even with an extra minute or three. They're just failed runs, especially for the two women who might never have gotten up the wall. (I think a third person, a guy, failed on the warped wall as well, but he wasn't even WWWA'ed.)

Quote:
“Chad Flexington” [...] Out on Double Dipper, and I honest-to-god didn’t know that was a wig.
Ha! I kind of assumed it was in the back of my mind -- it's Joe Dirt-ier than Joe Dirt -- but I was still surprised. Based on the color commentary, I don't think Akbar had any idea it was a wig.

Quote:
1:18 3WA: Verdale Benson (Double Dipper), Tyler Smith (finished, time not given), and Joe Moravsky (finished, time not given). Geez, they just blew over Moravsky? It’s not like he’s fallen off like Brent Steffensen.
Totally agreed. Reminded me of Travis Rosen a few seasons back.

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1:20 (Sheesh, that was a long 3WA...) Jody Avila, the “Big Dog Ninja”. According to his profile, he used to be afraid of dogs, but he visited dogs in a kennel, and now he’s all about the dogs. Now even though he’s not a dog person, he doggedly dogs the dogs of dogs dogs and dogs dogs dogs dogs.
Ha! I'm honest-to-god laughing out loud over here. That's good stuff.
  #614  
Old 09-09-2019, 10:04 PM
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Spoilers for Vegas Finals, Night 3


Well, okay, something clearly went wrong in the course design tonight: 31 runs, 21 completions = 68% success rate. They even pointed out that before tonight, all time the success rate was around 13%. Was that the controversy mentioned on reddit? (That's rhetorical; I'm not reading it until after next week, and don't want to know until then.)

No more playing coy, the promo for next week flat-out says we're getting a winner next week. Hopefully they changed up the rules so that nobody gets Geoff Britten'ed. If not, maybe that's the controversy hinted at in that reddit thread?

They showed the red t-shirt (not tank top) rope climber again at the start of this episode, but after watching carefully, nobody who completed wore a red t-shirt. Dave Cavanagh wore a red t-shirt, but he failed to hit a buzzer. So my best guess is that when we get to stage 4, they have Cavanagh demonstrate it like Jessie Graff demonstrated that spinny thing.

Daniel Gil is starting to look like the man to beat. Drechsel (8th) and Moravsky (5th) both still look strong, but Gil (1st) looked smooth and confident, and quite frankly just better.

Of the 14 runs that got WWWA'd, 12 were completions. Only Alex Blick (?) and Ben Wales (?) got WWWA'd and failed to hit a buzzer. To put it another way, of the 10 failed runs, we saw 8 of them. Which makes sense because they take less time.

All told we saw 17 runs in their entirety with 14 WWWAs.

Do we know how many of the 21 left have hit 4 buzzers so far? I'm pretty sure I heard the interviewer say that Ryan Stratis has, and I'm sure there are others: Both Gil and Drechsel, I think, but not Moravsky. Up to this point, Geoff Britten is the only person to hit 6 buzzers in a season, yes? I'm pretty sure Isaac Caldiero did not.

Last edited by Ellis Dee; 09-09-2019 at 10:05 PM.
  #615  
Old 09-10-2019, 08:45 AM
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Last night was awful TV. All the dramatic tension of "will he make it?" was gone. I was straight up bored watching last night's episode.
  #616  
Old 09-10-2019, 08:55 AM
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Yup. They're being really inconsistent this year. Some super hard city finals, then a cream puff for the second round of the finals. I guess they wanted to for sure have an adequate number of ninjas to make Round 3 fill out the entire show.
  #617  
Old 09-10-2019, 03:53 PM
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I think on paper, the snap back was reasonably expected to be harder than the already-hard curved board hang thing that used to be there. In practice it turned out to be a little easier, which I can't really kill them for. That was surprising.

Ditching the rope on the wall after the 11 foot jump was a solid change: Instead of being wholly ignored, that obstacle became a little tricky. Nice.

Where I would criticize "What the he'll were you thinking?!" is that trivially easy spinny thing that replaced the extremely difficult wingnuts. Wingnuts were the "killer app" that made stage 2 difficult, and the dopey spinny thing was both super easy and way, way faster. What the hell were they thinking? At the very least, if you're going to keep that dopey "obstacle," you should lower the time limit, but instead they increased it.

Last edited by Ellis Dee; 09-10-2019 at 03:55 PM.
  #618  
Old 09-11-2019, 10:22 PM
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Folks...I know you're expecting your usual dose of timestamped goodness, but...I can't anymore. I could mention the usual gripes I've brought up in the past...the gross disparity of airtime, the bizarre choices of profiles, the screaming directly into the camera (good Reimy, could we please have less screaming into the goddam camera?)...but there's a more serious issue, and this week's Stage 2 made it absolutely undeniable.

First off, you may have noticed how, for the first time ever, NBC revealed a spoiler at the end of the episode, that "There will be a winner!" And just so it was perfectly clear that this wasn't just the usual misleading trailer or an embarrassing leak, we not only saw it at the end of every episode, "$1,000,000" was tacked on just last week. They've been pounding away at this for over a month. Now, why would anyone do this? I mean, one of the cardinal sins of any prerecorded program is to give away the ending, right? Because not having a million dollar winner was messing with the narrative. They've been harping on this instant millionaire nonsense for so long that not having one, again and again (and very predictably, too, given how crushing Stage 3 had become) was making them look dishonest. Or at least ridiculously stingy. (Something a sensible prize structure blah Recurring Gripe #6.) So someone decided that this would be the year that there would be a winner, and the only way to guarantee it was to make sure there would be Stage 3 finishers...a truckload of them if need be.

I mean, just look at the course. A completely unproblematic walking test, a largely ordinary Salmon Ladder, a fairly routine front-to-back-grip transition, the almost completely toothless Swing Surfer, a mildly trumped up Propeller Bar, and the underwater task that's more a test of nerves than anything. (Nice job Hall did selling Grim Sweeper as this super tricky obstacle, BTW. ) There was no way this was going to take out anyone who had any real skill. Daniel Gil? No doubt. Joe Moravsky? In like Rin. Drew Dreschel? Can of corn. Ethan Swanson, Kevin Carbone, Michael Torres, Chris Digangi? Hit, hit, hit, and hit. A half-dead Nate Burkhalter made it, for crying out loud. But do you think there's going to be any acknowledgement about this on the part of NBC? Ever? You can bet all the lances in the world that it ain't gonna happen. It's going to be "Oh, we had such a pheomenally successful class for no discernible reason!"

And you can predict how it's going to end. We get a bunch of Stage 3 finishers, they all go up the rope one at a time, one of them is a bit faster than the others, and he's the American Ninja Warrior Total Victory Grand Champion, plain as day, welp, we don't see anything that needs discussing! (Oh, in hindsight mega-screwing Geoff Britten was perfectly fine because these things just happen, y'know? )

Ever wonder why when a team event finishes, NBC usually never gives it the time of day again ("What was Taylor Amann in? Are you sure that's a thing that happened? Sounds pretty farfetched to us." ), and we haven't heard any news about a new one? (NvN ended in June of last year; ANWJ concluded this April.) Guess what, when you put two people head-to-head, lots of unpredictable things happen. Flat-footed scrubs find a way, shining favorites stumble to defeat, pipsqueaks play like giants, giants play like corpses. Why, if I didn't know better, I'd say that this was just like...gasp...a sport! No! Too much excitement! Too far off the script! Shut it down, shut it down now!

All of which points to the one underlying massive problem that's common to all reality TV...it's all so bogus. Yes, I've known for some time that Survivor and Hell's Kitchen cherry-pick good moments and stir the pot, but now anything that doesn't fit THE NARRATIVE is taboo. Wedding! Sick parent! Military! Injury comeback! Motherhood! Dancing! Ask yourself this: how is it that in 11 seasons we have not seen one LGBTQ contestant? Not one childfree militant? Not one reformed domestic abuser? Not one strident feminist or New Age guru or Libertarian or marijuana farmer or drag queen? These people exist, for crying out loud! And for that matter, bad people exist too! It's okay to acknowledge them! That a bad person wanted to take part in your event doesn't make the event bad! The name Antonio Brown ring a bell?

(Sigh)...be back for the finale. After that, wake me up if we ever get another NvN.
  #619  
Old 09-12-2019, 08:28 AM
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And you can predict how it's going to end. We get a bunch of Stage 3 finishers, they all go up the rope one at a time, one of them is a bit faster than the others, and he's the American Ninja Warrior Total Victory Grand Champion, plain as day, welp, we don't see anything that needs discussing!
Yeah, I think you're right. I'm dreading the finale.
  #620  
Old 09-12-2019, 11:06 PM
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Ask yourself this: how is it that in 11 seasons we have not seen one LGBTQ contestant?
I'm almost certain we have... although not any of the big names.

Maybe Quest O'Neal? Or some other somewhat hard-luck female contestant?


Anyhow, it's very hard to know to what extent the producers wanted 21 finishers on stage 2, or anything like it. I can't imagine they wanted zero finishers, zero finishers, ten finishers (or whatever it was) the last three weeks of city finals. So maybe they've just done a particularly poor job of figuring out how difficult obstacles would be this year. (Or in the case of stage 2, a poor job of choosing a time limit).

As someone on reddit pointed out, cut thirty seconds off the time limit, and there are eight or ten finishers, which I would bet good money is close to what they were aiming for.


(I _really_ feel for my favorite ninja, Flip Rodriguez. He's never beaten stage 2. There's finally a really easy stage 2, he does manage to hit the buzzer... but he's fighting a leg injury, and times out by just a few seconds. )
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  #621  
Old 09-15-2019, 11:26 PM
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I remember a similar situation with the US Open (golf), how for a long time it had a reputation as an extraordinarily difficult event where the winning score was close to or even over par. Problem is, in recent years equipment and training had advanced to the point where top golfers were getting under-par scores on even the most brutal courses, meaning that the only way to continue to get high scores was to make the greens brick-hard. To the point where any putt that didn't go in rolled completely off. It turned one of golf's most prestigious tournaments into an utter joke and got slammed harder than a Hulk Hogan opponent at Wrestlemania. Eventually the USGA accepted the reality that the era of over-par champions was over, and the US Open became watchable again.

This is what happened with siffies this season. A powerful group of deciders saying "It's a TEST! It's supposed to be CHALLENGING! We're not trying to HUMILIATE the greatest ninjas in the country, we're trying to FIND them!" And then Angry Birds turns a siffie into an absolute farce. And then Northwest Passage turns another siffie into a near-absolute farce. Decision time. "The contestants hate it. The fans are grumbling. We convinced ourselves that this is what siffies should be...is it?" And so we got a course reminiscent of '13 or '14, and it got a relative wealth of finishers, including Michelle Warnky and Jesse Labreck.

That, in a nutshell, is the problem with attempting to tailor the course to have a certain number of finishers...there's no telling just how strong or weak the field is, and since one tiny mistake is all it takes to kill a run, dumb luck is going to skew things even further. So pretty much the only choice is to become totally heavy-handed...and, as we've seen, this makes something of a mockery of past results. And I ask this again: Why does siffies need a certain number of finishers? How is 1 or 2 or 5 or 20 finishers a benefit or a detriment? By design the same number goes through every single time. i]That[/i] should be the milestone, not "finishing", which depends in a huge part on timing.

And yes, decreasing the time limit would mean fewer finishers...but it would also mean less time to put screaming fans on camera. They're everywhere now and the main reason this show has become hard to watch. I get the feeling we're not going to get another NvN until NBC finds a way to include more screaming fans.
  #622  
Old 09-16-2019, 05:31 AM
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Why does siffies need a certain number of finishers? How is 1 or 2 or 5 or 20 finishers a benefit or a detriment? By design the same number goes through every single time. i]That[/i] should be the milestone, not "finishing", which depends in a huge part on timing.
Only 13 are guaranteed to go through: The top 12, plus the power tower winner from qualifiers. Potentially another 2 women advance for a maximum of 15.

Everyone who hits a buzzer advances regardless how many there are, so if you go above 12 to 15 finishers you're adding extra participants to Vegas that otherwise wouldn't have advanced.
  #623  
Old 09-16-2019, 08:53 PM
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Local TV station (or their translator station) just lost signal (right before Daniel Gill's run). 15 minutes later and I wouldn't have cared...

Brian
  #624  
Old 09-16-2019, 08:59 PM
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Looks like you can watch on youtube:
https://www.americanninjawarriornati...online-youtube
  #625  
Old 09-16-2019, 09:07 PM
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(sorry for the spam)
Saw both rope climbs, still missed Gill's stage 3 run

Brian
  #626  
Old 09-17-2019, 02:58 AM
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I can't believe they still haven't addressed how stage 4 finishers with slower times get nothing. Gil didn't finish so it's moot now, but I mean, come on. I think stage 4 finishers without the fastest time should get $100k. Done and done. It's the same last man standing prize because you beat the course; your run ended standing.

How nuts that there was only a 1 second difference in their stage 3 times.

Caldiero still holds the record for fastest time up the rope.
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Old 09-17-2019, 02:28 PM
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WTG Drew!

what was the announcement they were hyping from Dwayne Johnson?
I wonder if Daniel had enough time to recover after his 3rd stage run to recover.
  #628  
Old 09-18-2019, 03:05 AM
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Well, by now everyone knows the result (and more than a few of us called it weeks ago thanks to NBC’s still-inexplicable spoilerizing), but at this point I’m more interested as to whether it’s going to still be worth my time. So, much like a determined movie reviewer, I’m scouring this one front-to-back trying to find anything that might conceivably qualify as “good”.

Here we go.

0:00 Cliches. Cliches. More cliches. Eternal Geoff Britten screwjob going from “blowing off” to “forgetting he even exists. “$1,000,000” shoved into the screen. Cliche-a-palooza-rama-fest-mania-shakalaka. Shot of Drew Dreschel’s pregnant wife. Why was I expecting anything different?

0:03 All right, Stage 3. Grip and Tip (sorta like Battering Ram, but the frames move a bit), High Summit (a climbing board ascent and descent which does not look in the same galaxy as Northwest Passage ), Crazy Clocks with just two clocks, Ultimate Cliffhanger, which looks the same as last year’s, Pipe Dream, a watered-down Pole Grasper with a bit of slidy stuff, and the always-tricky Cane Lane and Flying Bar. Oh, right, at no point is the contestant ever required to do more than one without rest. It’s definitely a massive step backwards from 2017, but since that was an unmitigated horror show, the jury’s still out as to how easy this is. I’m still holding out hope that a lot of beneficiaries of the ridiculously softball Stage 2 are going to get a rude awakening.

First contestant is...someone neither you nor I nor anyone with a modicum of decency need give a crap about. Seriously, get bent.

0:06 Michael Torres, who won the Safety Pass and never got to use it, because nobody’s allowed to use the pass on Stage 3, because reasons. I wonder how he’d feel if someone who did use the pass won it all. Probably super bummed. And apparently “Chicago” is just the current Thing They’re Completely Overhyping Of The Hour, having previously gone through “rock climbing” and “mother”. It just feels funny how for nearly the entire season it’s tiny little village this and quaint farm that, rural, rural, rural, rural, and from that NBC effortlessly switches gears to the third largest city in the country.

Profile shows the reason for this...a big publicity push by Ethan "Lemming" Swanson. Man, if he knew he’d become this big, I bet he’d have chosen a nickname that wouldn’t associate him with eternal stupid ridiculous arm flapping.

And now the first of about a hundred absolutely unbearable chants has begun. Torres starts running out of steam on Ultimate Cliffhanger, has to rush the dismount, and comes up short.

0:13 Oh, lovely, a waiweewuwwawei. In Stage 3. Of course with 21 contestants this was going to happen, but I didn’t expect it to be this fracking soon. It’s Chris Digangi, out on Ultimate Cliffhanger.

Now comes the last of the Chicago-ers, Lemming. And you know what that means! Being forced to do the same stupid ridiculous embarrassing motion at the start of every goddam freaking run and see a bunch of utterly mindless drones do the same! With no possibility of any change no matter how sick of it he gets! This... ...I’m sorry; we’re reached the point where to continue watching would be cruelty. Enough. I’m done. Out on Ultimate Cliffhanger, all three Chicago-Chicago Chicago something Chicago. Next!

0:21 “Ultimate Cliffhanger! It used to be a thing we love repeating endlessly for episode after episode after episode!”

0:22 3WA: Hunter Guerard (Ultimate Cliffhanger); not one of the super-good contestants, so not much surprise. Incidentally, I find “Lizard” an almost insultingly stupid nickname, but I’m not sure he’s the kind of competitor who gets enough airtime for this to be an annoyance. The last I remember of him were a couple runs in NvN. Anyway, I’ll have my own nickname ready should he ever get any real hype.

Lucas Reale steps up...oh, geez. Listen, mourning is natural, but obsessing that much over a dead relative that long after the fact is downright unhealthy. Ask anyone who’s studied the issue. It’s kind of like that profile that went on and on and on about the dead child while trying to ignore the fact that there was a living child who still needed to be raised. Out on Pipe Dream, and for crying out loud, just live, kiddo.

0:32 Profile of Joe Moravsky, where he dwells on his failures, because that’s just the thing to get the crowd fired up. Oh, yeah, career winnings: $0. Lance Pekus has $2,500, dammit. This year, tragically, would only result in more agony as he...

OH, YOU’VE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME!! THEY’RE SHOWING A GODDAM CLOSE UP OF HIM RIPPING HIS SKIN OFF! RIPPING HIS SKIN OFF!! FOR THOSE OF YOU KEEPING COUNT, THIS IS THE SECOND TIME THIS SEASON NBC IS GLORIFYING SELF-MUTILATION! OH, AND NOW THER’ES A SLOW-MOTION REPLAY! YOU’RE ALL SICK! YOU’RE ALL COMPLETELY, UTTERLY SICK! I’M NEVER WATCHING ANOTHER GODDAM EPISODE OF THIS AGAIN!! RAAAAAAAAAGGGGGHHHH!!!!

...makes it all the way to Cane Lane, flubs the last transition, and falls. Add to that NBC’s apparent new direction of pretending that all the team events never happened, which effectively erases his TNW2 heroics, and I honestly have to wonder what the hell keeps him going.

0:43 3WA: R.J. Roman (High Summit). That’s three so far.

And just like that it’s the anointed one himself, Drew Dreschel. He got more airtime than anyone last week, and now he gets the boffo Olympic-size profile. Given how much NBC is trumpeting him, you have to think that he’s either a lock to win it all or he’s going to underachieve in horrifying fashion. That’s usually how it works with reality shows. All right, profile...oh, lovely, a sappy leitmotif. Which, incidentally, is the one thing on this show even more nauseating than self-mutilation. Oh, in case you missed it, he’s going to be a father, which is why he really needs the million, as opposed to Alyssa Beird who just needs an apple every so often. I am damn glad that he keeps it completely real about the course, as his image couldn’t be more bogus if the goddam President made it.

As for the run itself (remember that?); no mistakes, smooth all the way, clear. Like there was any doubt.

0:57 3WA: Tyler Gillett (Cane Lane). Four.

Karsten Williams, another middling-to-pretty-good contestant who’s been around for a long time, accompanied by a shrieking bag whom the camera cuts to approximately once every five fricking seconds, so here another one I’m just going to fast forward and forget. Out on Pipe Dream, as well as could be expected.

1:06 3WA: Tyler Smith (Pipe Dream). Five.

1:07 Seth Rogers! He’s 19 years old! He’s 19 years old! He’s 19 years old 19 years old 19 years old 19 years old 19 years old! By the time Eyes shuts up about it, he’ll be 20! He does a phenomenal job, getting as far as the start of Cane Lane, but time will tell whether this is a portent of a great career or a brief high he’ll never achieve again.

1:18 3WA: Nate “Dimbulb” Burkhalter (Iron Summit), Casey Suchocki (Ultimate Cliffhanger), and Kevin “Wingman” Carbone (Cane Lane). What the...a full waiweewuwwawei now? That makes eight total, already over a third of the competitors here tonight. Sheesh.

1:19 Mathis “Cougar” Owhadi, whose thing is now apparently that EVERYONE has to repeat his Designated Nickname (not “Cougar”, obviously) over and over and over and over and over, endlessly, constantly. I’m making terrific progress here! Out on Ultimate Cliffhanger.

1:27 Our last (mercifully) 3WA of the night, Karson Voiles, going out at Cane Lane. Oh, and Bodge...get help. Just...get...help. In all, 42.86% of tonight’s Stage 3 field was bumrushed.

1:28 Adam Rayl, who is really muscular. And went upside-down that one time, which a surefire way to get that clip played over and over and over and over for years. He didn’t quite make it, coming a roll-up short on Cane Lane, but there’s definite future potential here. Whether that translates to more tragic near-misses or his moment of triumph where he gets screwed out of a million because he was a bit slower up the rope but has some killer footage for his upcoming ninja gym remains to be seen.

1:39 The second to last competitor, Josh Salinas, who...makes a bad jump on Grip and Tip and goes straight down! Mark it down, folks: out of 86 naffies competitors, he was the only one with a no-result in any stage. That’s...pretty wild.

1:40 Closing it out is a man who knows a lot about closing things out, Daniel “Dag” Gil. Who, let’s not beat around the bush, totally conquers the course. You’ll recall that he completed two legs of the trifecta but just wasn’t able to keep up with Cougar in the Safety Pass match. That means that he was under the gun from start to finish, and he handled the undoubtedly enormous pressure brilliantly. If he beats Dreschel, who needed a Safety Pass to make it here, how sweet justice would that be? There’s already been talk of the dreaded “asterisk”, a.k.a. the dreaded “incredibly pathetic snivelling whine from utterly impotent fans whom the record holder in question would not urinate on if they were on fire”, and nothing would make me gladder right now than for Dag to erase all doubt, cement his spot in history, and get a cool approximately six hundred grand after taxes to boot.

1:53 Dag’s Stage 3 run was a shade faster, so he gets to pick 1st or 2nd; he picks 2nd. Dreschel takes his place at the bottom of the rope. From a normal standing start it’s a simple 80’ climb to the top with a 30 second time limit. The timer counts down. He’s off...and...

...that was pretty. Hit the buzzer with 2.54 left. Man, he really had the look of a competitor who sacrificed way, way, way too much of his life for this, as he revealed last week!

1:56 Oh, wow, “screaming their hearts out”, what a stunning revelation, Eyes. Maybe it’ll be...gasp!...directly into the camera as well! Haaaahhh...anyway, the literal last man standing, Dag, is ready to take his shot at the ultimate steal. He looks intense. All right, here we go. And it’s a fast start! Dag is setting a terrific pace! Halfway up, he’s still charging! And..and...

...uh oh. We saw this in the Safety Pass match. He simply can’t keep up such a blistering pace the whole way. And sure enough, he slows down. He’s only at the 70’ mark by the time the buzzer sounds.

So Dag, one of the greatest athletes this...

...and there’s that freaking leitmotif again. [Deletes recording forever.]

...contest has ever had completes the season of his life and walks away with jack squat. Meanwhile, Total Victory goes to quite possibly the biggest blank-slate tabula rasa cipher reality TV has ever had. NBC bent over backwards to get the result they wanted with the winner they wanted, and they got it. Good triumphs over evil, love conquers all, Yukari is on our side, ad victor spolarum, etc. What was once a fun, screwball event based on one Japan’s most thrilling amateur athletic competitions has congealed into a perfectly scripted melodrama where nothing a micron off center is ever permitted.

Am I angry? Disappointed? Bitter? Betrayed? Meh. What-freaking-ever. Like I said before, that’s the natural endpoint for reality TV. I can’t get angry at this any more than I could over gravity. It is what it is.

Ah well. Time to find something else to waste hours writing about. Don’t really think it’s going to be the Titan Games, but what the heck, it’s worth a shot.
  #629  
Old 09-18-2019, 01:25 PM
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I can't parse most of (any of?) your rage, but particularly regarding Gil not winning money. Gil didn't complete stage 4, and someone went further than him. What prize money should he have won?

I also find your bitter disappointment and betrayal to be bizarre and nonsensical. What lietmotif were you banging on about? Who was the unspeakable monster that went first? Wasn't it Ryan Stratis? Did he steal your girlfriend or something? What's wrong with Stratis? And seriously, "glorifying self-mutilation"? Maybe a med check is in order, because that reaction was about four orders of magnitude more severe than is warranted.

It's fine that you love Gil and hate Drechsel, but these conspiracy theories are getting a bit nuts.
  #630  
Old 09-18-2019, 02:42 PM
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what was the announcement they were hyping from Dwayne Johnson?
I wonder if Daniel had enough time to recover after his 3rd stage run to recover.
The announcement was, NBC renewed The Titan Games for Season 2.

As for Daniel Gil...
SPOILER:
Reportedly, he had only 30 minutes between stages 3 and 4, while Drew had closer to 90


Also, Matt and Akbar made it sound like that if both of them would have completed Stage 4, only the winner would be an "American Ninja Warrior."
  #631  
Old 09-18-2019, 04:07 PM
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Drew was on Ellen DeGeneres receiving his million dollar check.
  #632  
Old 09-18-2019, 05:11 PM
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Well, by now everyone knows the result (and more than a few of us called it weeks ago thanks to NBC’s still-inexplicable spoilerizing),
They tried to be a bit clever about it, by showing a clip of someone whose face we couldn't see climbing the rope. That person was wearing a red shirt.... causing many to speculate that Adam Rayl would make it to stage 4.

(I believe that it was actually Jake Murray testing stage 4 in a red shirt).


But yeah, why on earth did they decide to spoil that there would be a million dollar winner? Such a weird decision.
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Old 09-18-2019, 05:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ellis Dee View Post
Oooooooo, drama!

I was carefully scanning to make sure I didn't go past last season (10) and then ran across this comment from 6 days ago:



I immediately stopped reading and closed that page, but curiosity piqued!
Going back to look now, that comment was removed and nobody has explained what the controversy was, except it was offered that the controversy happened in stage 3 and they definitely wouldn't be broadcasting it. Maybe the OP in that thread will get updated to add it eventually.
  #634  
Old 09-18-2019, 06:16 PM
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As for Daniel Gil...
SPOILER:
Reportedly, he had only 30 minutes between stages 3 and 4, while Drew had closer to 90


Also, Matt and Akbar made it sound like that if both of them would have completed Stage 4, only the winner would be an "American Ninja Warrior."

I wonder if that was a strategic move by Drew? They run stage three in order of their times on stage two. Drew could have realized that going just fast enough to finish in time would put him early in the Stage Three runs and thus gain him extra, potentially important recovery time before Stage Four.

Clever strategy, if so.

Last edited by StarvingButStrong; 09-18-2019 at 06:16 PM.
  #635  
Old 09-21-2019, 08:14 AM
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ANW was re-run Friday night on NBC so I did get to see Daniel Gill's stage 3 run (impressive, seemed more than 1 sec faster than DD's)

Brian
  #636  
Old 09-21-2019, 06:26 PM
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I can't parse most of (any of?) your rage, but particularly regarding Gil not winning money. Gil didn't complete stage 4, and someone went further than him. What prize money should he have won?

I also find your bitter disappointment and betrayal to be bizarre and nonsensical. What lietmotif were you banging on about? Who was the unspeakable monster that went first? Wasn't it Ryan Stratis? Did he steal your girlfriend or something? What's wrong with Stratis? And seriously, "glorifying self-mutilation"? Maybe a med check is in order, because that reaction was about four orders of magnitude more severe than is warranted.

It's fine that you love Gil and hate Drechsel, but these conspiracy theories are getting a bit nuts.
I'm not enraged. I'm bored. Just as bored as I am of Hell's Kitchen, America's Got Talent, Wipeout, and anything by that hack Bear Grylls. (So You Think You Can Dance should be on the list as well, but I'm keeping it in "avoid like it's radioactive" territory as long as that hellspawned banshee Mary Murphy is on board). Just like those others, ANW has gotten so prepackaged, canned, filed-off, sterilized, neat, tidy, and bite-sized that I'm not sure what's even the point of watching anymore. I want my competitions, even vaguely sports-like amateur nites, to be organic. When the heavy favorite falls flat on his face, or the lifetime underachiever finds inspiration, or the "challenging" obstacle turns out to be completely broken, or the first runner of the night ends up taking the #1 spot wire to wire, I want to see it, start to finish, in real time, as it happened, unedited, unfiltered, and uncensored. A small amount of The Reality TV is acceptable. A total takeover just drains the life out of it. And I can guarantee you that I won't even have anything to say about season 12 because it's just going to be the same old gripes, the same old side-eyes, the same old nagging little doubts. May as well start another Simpsons thread.

Leitmotif = musical bit associated with a certain person. That little fanfare for Odie in Garfield and Friends was a good example, and some video games are full of them (every main enemy in Touhou has her own theme song; a few have more than one). Sometimes they can be really good. When it's some sappy movie-of-the-week tripe, it is never good. I have way too much goddam horrible music in my life as it is, I don't need any on my freaking sportsesque program. Not offensive, just supremely irritating. (For the record, I felt exactly the same way about Hank Williams Jr. on Monday Night Football.)

I don't find Ryan Stratis objectionable in the same way as, say, Eric Middleton. (He's loud, but since he doesn't position his mouth two inches in front of the goddam camera, it's usually tolerable.) What I absolutely cannot brook is the...endless...insufferable...beard bet. Remember how it all but took over Stage 2 last year? And you know what, as hideous as that experience was, I would've been perfectly willing to put it behind, let the water flow under the bridge, live in the here and now. Except HE DID IT AGAIN THIS YEAR! And when he, blech, won, he bragged about it! Look, when Bodge says "fee fai fo fum" eight times every time Jon Alexis Jr. is on the course or Alyssa Beird has to pretend a goddam apple is anything other than a patronizing token that will not meaningfully benefit her life in any way or Drew Dreschel gets hideous godawful unlistenable music played during his profile, I don't hold it against them. Outside forces caused that. They had no choice in the matter. Wasting airtime and building up an obscene level of hype for a stupid, cheesy, pointless personal bet is ENTIRELY on Stratis' head. He wanted it, he did it, no one else. (Oh, and Brett Sims, who is just an unbelievable moron for allowing himself to get dragged through the mud like this again, but that's another issue.) Is it as offensive as constantly begging for everyone else to give up their body parts while making zero sacrifice himself? No. Is it super irritating? Oh yeah. For the last time: I do not mention that man's name on this thread again until He. Does. Something. Else. Hula, skydiving, shakerboarding, running onstage at the Emmy Awards, capoeira, slash fanfiction, South Park episode reviews, something!

What exactly do you call ripping off one's own skin if not self-mutilation? And, more importantly, what do you call showing repeated close-ups of it if not unbelievably disturbing?

I take it that you're under the assumption that I'm perfectly fine with the show's utter lack of a sensible prize structure. (Which, come to think of of it, is more like Recurring Gripe #4. Sorry, after 11 seasons the lines tend to get a little blurred.) Let's just say that I'm resigned to the fact that there will never be anything remotely close to proper compensation for these athletes. I know that's how the show works. It's still ridiculous, and it'd be just as ridiculous if Gil had won the million. I just got the feeling that Gil was due for something good to come his way, and it's just sad that it's never going to happen on this show.

And just so we're clear, I'm not begrudging Dreschel anything...he worked his butt off, he kept his head up through the difficult times, he lives clean and stays out of trouble, he deserved it as much as anyone else. (And the trifecta! That was pretty awesome, wasn't it? ) But the hype he got in Stages 2 and 3 was way overboard, and no one deserves to get saddled with obnoxious elevator music the way he did. It's just the way NBC presented the man that I had more than enough by the time he hit that final buzzer.

Conspiracy theories? What do I need conspiracy theories for? The hype, the relentless editing, the giving away of the ending before naffies even began? I wish it were all hidden in the shadows. Then maybe I could ignore it.

That Don Guy - Just checked out The Titan Games on the NBC site. Season 2 is accepting applicants until December 6, so it's going to be while yet. I didn't become a huge fan in the first season, but I think this one has promise, mainly because Dwayne Johnson actually seems to like honest results and isn't trying to fill a whole bunch of narratives. Will, of course, resuscitate the old thread once the new season gets going.
  #637  
Old 09-21-2019, 06:54 PM
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Can't stand Daniel Gill and his stupid Mona Lisa hair. So, I'm happy!
  #638  
Old 12-08-2019, 10:36 PM
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2nd season of American Ninja Warrior Junior confirmed for February. Quick sneak preview on americanninjawarriornation.com. The Univeral Kids page on YouTube has a bunch of videos, but no news so far.

There's been no talk of another head-to-head event for the grownups, the last one of which concluded in June of '18, so I have to assume that one is history and Generation Whichever has completely taken over match play competition. The cynic in me says that it's because the powers that be were tired of seeing so much sport in the team events...all the blowouts, all the collapses, all the crushed narratives, all the women who can't hold on to a freaking swinging pendulum and make a freaking jump to a platform with a net, HOW HARD IS THIS YOU USELESS INCOMPETENT...ahem...and if they're going with handpicked tykes, there are fewer X-factors and gray areas to derail the stories. But the realist in me...okay, it's going with "you don't worry about them developing problematic qualities because you'll never see any of them again anyway".

Given how far off the deep end the other ANW events have gone, this is probably the best it'll ever be. I enjoyed commenting on the first contest a lot and I'll definitely be here for this. More info as soon as I get it.
  #639  
Old 01-24-2020, 07:18 PM
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Heads up! USA vs. The World 6 coming at you fast and furious...well, furious, anyway...this Sunday, January 26, starting late, check local listings per usual. I have Monday off, so I'll chime in with my usual disinterested recap that day. As you may know, we've taken 3 of these things to Europe's 2, with Australia being the "not good enough" squad, Latin American being the "day late and a dollar short" contingent, and Japan/Asia being the "where the hell did they find these bums" embarrassments.

I'll be tuning in mainly to see if we can finally live up to our potential and start running away with this, eventually reaching a point where the rest of the world is so demoralized that they can't convince anyone to compete anymore, and we can finally be rid of this obnoxious farce. I do not exaggerate when I say that the only reason this has not been an utter whitewash is because of one man...Sean McColl. He was the hero of 1, sparking an incredible 8-point comeback with two astounding clutch saves in round 6, then coming back from a devastating blunder in round 9 to beat Travis Rose in the ultimate climb, and he iced 4 by outclimbing the powerful Sean Bryan. We had the Europeans dead to rights both times until he stepped up. Well, you saw what happened the moment he left: Goose. Egg. And our competitors just keep getting better. This year we're bringing Drew Dreschel, Daniel Gil, Karsten Williams, Jesse Labreck, Adam Rayl, and Michael Torres. Any squad where Karsten Williams is the weak link, you know it's going to be damn tough to beat. Here's hoping Russia or wherever can at least scrape up one point.

ANWJ 2 will be up and running on February 22. The big news is that are wildcards, which, until Universal Kids actually learns the goddam first thing about seeding, will be a regrettable necessity. More news as soon as I get some previews on the cable box.
  #640  
Old 01-27-2020, 10:45 AM
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Looks like Bryson Klein is the new Sean McColl. Besting one guy could be considered a lucky run. But besting every single American he's competed against, two of which had already run the course before? Completing stage 2 25 seconds faster than Daniel Gil? Completing stage 4 faster than Drew Dreschel? I'm beyond impressed.

A lot of the European competitors looked like they could have kicked some ass if they had had more exposure to the obstacles beforehand, the way Americans do. It made it less fun to watch, as I didn't get the impression that the American team was nearly as athletically superior as the scoreboard indicated.
  #641  
Old 01-27-2020, 04:12 PM
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Looks like Bryson Klein is the new Sean McColl. Besting one guy could be considered a lucky run. But besting every single American he's competed against, two of which had already run the course before? Completing stage 2 25 seconds faster than Daniel Gil? Completing stage 4 faster than Drew Dreschel? I'm beyond impressed.

A lot of the European competitors looked like they could have kicked some ass if they had had more exposure to the obstacles beforehand, the way Americans do. It made it less fun to watch, as I didn't get the impression that the American team was nearly as athletically superior as the scoreboard indicated.
There are two main problems with USA vs the World:
(1) If the non-USA athletes have zero exposure to the course before running (which is unclear... they may have a day to try out all the obstacles individually or something) then they are at an immense disadvantage, kind of rendering the whole thing pointless
(2) The scoring is just ridiculous. So for the first stage, you get 0,1,2 points for finishing 3rd, 2nd, 1st. Then for the second stage they increase the scores to..., 1, 2, 3. THAT'S THE SAME!!!! FFS!
(2a) Also, why do we want three runs each on stage 1, then 2 on stage 2, then only one on stage 3. Stage 3 is the one we have seen the least of in the regular season to begin with. Show us MORE of it!
(2b) And "top two advance to stage 4 no matter what" is just idiotic. Not that I really care who "won", but USA losing to Australia despite beating them in 5 out of 7 races on the day is just insane. If you really want things to always end on stage 4, then give a handicap to whichever team was trailing... one second of time per point (or something like that).

Really disappointing, imho.
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  #642  
Old 01-27-2020, 06:53 PM
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All righty, time for another round of gratuitous nativism! One year ago our squad had no trouble dispatching the combined forces of Europe and Australia, so what the heck, they’re coming back for another go! Yeah, we’re having whiplash as it is trying to follow all these rule changes and paradigm shifts; no sense making things any harder than they have to be with inconvenient non-English speakers! (Given our current political climate, that might actually be a smart move, so I’ll spare you the rolleyes.)

Of course, keeping the contest fresh is all about making adjustments, and so we have a revamped scoring system. Last year’s 2-1-0 had a serious flaw; without a potential for a big comeback, it allowed a team to be mathematically bounced well before the end of the contest. Granted, Europe was a lost cause regardless, but having no reason to play two-thirds of the way in was a bad look. So now they’re going with something slightly more goldensnitchious (bronzesnitchious?): 2 points for Stage 1, 3 points for Stage 2, and 5 points for Stage 3. Runners-up get consolation points; exact amount TBD.

The contest begins, and...call me crazy, but it honestly looks like 1. the chants are being drastically scaled back, and 2. Eyes and Bodge are going to try not to be utterly obnoxious. Could this, of all things, be on the road to respectability again? Fingers crossed!

= ROUND 1 =
Stage 1 obstacles: Archer Alley, Spin Your Wheels, Double Dipper, Jumping Spider, Tire Run, Warped Wall, Diving Boards, Twist And Fly

Profile of Australia’s Olivia Vivian. You may recall that her only run last year was a humiliating Stage 2 no-result. Fortunately, she was able to recover from that devastating blow to get past “semifinals” in that year’s Australian Ninja Warrior. (She went over six minutes, so don’t break your arms applauding her or anything.)

She hits the course, and...oh. Geez. Goddammit. You know what she is? You want to know what she really, truly, honestly, wholeheartedly is? A dragger. From start to finish she preens and poses and smiles and waves and gaaaaahhh. It will come as no surprise that “semifinals” is their version of siffies, and you can bet she makes full use of all that precious infinite time she’s given. Finish in 2:56.26, and of course it’s all smiles and joy and laughter and pretending that one of the other two much faster competitors is not going to blow that lackluster time to bits.

Profile of Thomas Huebner, the first true Frenchman we’ve had in this contest. He’s a Cirque Du Soleil performer. And a damn good one. Quick cut to a couple of performers dressed as zebras, but they’re unarmed, so Bodge doesn’t have a freakout. On to the run. Heubner sets a good pace. He knows the psychological importance of getting on the board, so he wants to put as much pressure as he can on Torres. A tiny bit squirrelly on Spin Your Wheels but stays clean. And just like that...doom. At the end of Jumping Spider, his right foot slips off and the rest of him follows. It looked like he just plain got sloppy. Damning.

Quick break to show Vivian, with apparently nothing better to do, conducting Australian chants, followed by the usual American morons doing the usual chant, and it says something that NBC is as sick of this mindless droning repetition as I am and still needs to show moments like this. It looks like I’m still going to have to do our team’s runs on mute if I want to keep my sanity, so I’m just going to expediently zip past them and try not to miss too much.

The door’s been left wide open for Michael Torres, [fast forward] who [fast forward fast forward] finishes in 1:31.20, over a minute faster than Vivian’s time. Wow, putting women against men is a great idea we should do as much as possible, am I right?

Good guys up 2-1 over kangarooland.

= ROUND 2 =
Steffi Noppinger is Swedish, female, and a competitive skier. I have reservations about swimmers being in this event for obvious reasons, and a sport where you’re constantly sliding isn’t much of an improvement. She was inspired by...who else?...Jessie Graff. Yeah, funny how you never hear about Kacy Catanazaro or Alyssa Beird or Jessica Clayton bringing international jocks into the sport. Okay, here she goes...and she looks back at the end of Archer Alley? Why? On to Spin Your Wheels...where she whiffs on the transition and plunges straight down. I’d put a shocked smiley here, but I’ve seen this so many “inspired” contestants suffer these wipeouts at this point that I can barely feel anything.

Adam Rayl considers being chosen for this event “the highest honor” of his athletic career, and just how pitiful was...ended at age 12, yeah, I see it. He does a pretty handspring coming out of Double Dipper and an impressive one-timer on the first spinner of Twist And Fly (I didn’t think anyone would ever do that!), and in general picks up right where he left off in season 11. Finishes with a confident, stumble-free 1:52.50; beatable, but it’s going to be tough.

Time for Australia’s Josh O’Sullivan, and whaddya know, it’s an Acceptable Story. He was reduced to a vegetative state after a horrific MMA training accident...and...came back from it. Light on details, but we do learn that Australian Ninja Warrior has a “Heat 6” and “Grand Final 1”. I need to find out more someday. Starts out energetic and is keeping good pace with Rayl’s time...and then fatigue starts to set in. Uh oh. It becomes academic when his feet go astray on Diving Boards and he splashes down.

Status quo holds and the lead is now 2.

= ROUND 3 =
Kesu Ahmed is our first ever Romanian contestant, and I am struggling very hard to think of a reason that’s a big deal. He’s also a rapper, and insipid overrated poetry recitation does not sound any better in a foreign language. He hits the course and...oh, crap. He sticks his tongue out at the start of Double Dipper. And proceeds to hideously flub the transition and plunge straight in. Man, these Europeans have really learned from last year’s humiliation, haven’t they?

And of course there are going to be waiweewuwwaweis, don’t be silly! The first victim is Cam D’Silva of Australia, who struggles mightily on Spin Your Wheels before bouncing off the landing platform and going down.

Now it’s time for Jesse Labreck, the heroine of Ninja vs. Ninja, but screw that because we’re going to obsess over her failing Stage 1 three times in a row! We see the mark, Spin your Wheels in 17.66, and it just looks so pathetic when it’s right there on the screen. Of course she has no trouble with Double Dipper, so we can focus completely on her quest to exorcise the demons which she does and it’s a beautiful triumph free at last baaaaack and you do realize this is an unofficial clear, much like the one she got on Stage 2 last year, right, guys??

Lead is now 4 over the Aussies and 5 over the Continentals, and not one of them has been even remotely in contention. The second event seems like a century ago.

= ROUND 4 =
Stage 2 obstacles: Giant Walk The Plank, Extension Ladder, Snap Back, Swing Surfer, Grim Sweeper, Water Walls

And the scoring is going to be 3-2-1. Which is exactly the same as 2-1-0. Jeeziz, if you’re going to have a bronze snitch, have a goddam bronze snitch. This contest can be so stupid sometimes.

First up is Daniel Gil, who needs no introduction. Just another day at the office, finishing in 2:24.47.

Anton Fomenko is a Russian acrobat who’s been spending the past several months travelling America, and I was around for the height of Reaganist paranoia, and it still feels strange to type those words. He’s right on Extension Ladder, and right off it almost immediately after.

Aussie Daniel Mason is always barefoot, hence “Barefoot Ninja”, and no doubt Jamie Rahn is breathing a sigh of relief. He can’t quite figure out the tricky Snap Back but still gets further than Fomenko, and Europe eats yet another generous helping of crow.

= ROUND 5 =
Aussie Bryson Klein is into mountain motorcycling. Cool. I guess. Looks energetic on the course and finishes in 2:02.39. If we’re ever going to get the feeling that anything leading up to the dumb one-and-done rope climb is going to have even the semblance of a contest, it’s going to be here.

Damir Okanovic is from Bosnia, which, as you undoubtedly know, has an...unpleasant history. Wow, he looks strong in the early going! He looks fast! He looks focused! He’s in it to win it! You know how this ends, of course: He completely screws up the jump to the Swing Surfer pendulum and falls off. He went out on freaking Swing Surfer. That’s how hideous it’s been for the Continentals tonight.

Karsten Williams steps up. He’s our weakest team member, and with such a commanding lead, I doubt there’s much urgency for him to outrun Klein. He should be content to just keep his feet dry and further extinguish Europe’s hopes. And in this regard, he succeeds, taking a hard hit on the Swing Surfer wall but hanging on. Botching the dismount on Grim Sweeper ices his 2nd place position, the first round tonight we didn’t win.

So we’re now 4 points up on boomerang country and 8 on the grand coalition, and taking a look at Stage 3 scoring...uh huh, yep, yeah. It’s 5-3-1 (which blah blah 4-2-0), meaning that...uh huh, yeah, sure. They forgot to mention that there’s only one round, meaning that Europe advances only if they win and Australia finishes last. Enjoy your meaningless exhibition, everyone!

= ROUND 6 =
Stage 3 obstacle: Grip And Tip, Iron Summit, Crazy Clocks, Ultimate Cliffhanger, Pipe Dream, Cane Lane, Flying Bar

Norway’s Magnus Mitbo laments that there is no Norwegian Ninja Warrior, so he consoles himself with a YouTube channel, which, naturally, has lots and lots and lots of hits. He has tremendous upper body strength but not so much speed, and it’s a struggle through four before Pipe Dream gives him the boot.

On to waiweewuwwawei #2, and hot dang, if it isn’t the exact same team! This... this is... good Yukari... Matt Tsang goes out in the same place as Mitbo but with a slower time, which means that this one, against all odds, is going the distance. It’s kind of like how no matter how depressingly predictable the NFL gets, you still know what all 12 playoff teams are going to be until they play the full season.

Recent millionaire Drew Dreschel steps up, and whaddya know, the man who conquered the entire course last year...is struggling on Pipe Dream? But he’s a trooper, so he gets through it...and he’s in a lot of pain. Oh, CRAP. Don’t freaking hurt yourself for this, champ. You know how many heartbreaking injuries we’ve had the past two seasons alone? You see what happened to Travis Rosen? You won. You did your part. Just end it, now. But of course nothing sensible can ever happen on ANW, so he has to finish the course and soooooo inspirational <BARF>.

Final result for Europe: 5 dead lasts, 1 second. It’s honestly almost as bad as Japan now. You’re nothing without Sean McColl, you hear me? Nothing.

Back from commercial, and oh look, sun’s up. It’s bad enough that these stupid events have fascist rally-level chants, next to zero competitive drama, and plenty of physical pain, they can’t even finish in a goddam timely manner anymore. We have a development: Drew Dreschel messed up his hand (what, really, no way, get out) and can’t compete. Adam Rayl has stepped in. Opponent is Bryson Klein, who’s carrying the bitter stigma of how Drew Dreschel completely obliterated Ashlin Herbert last year. He’s spent a lot of time climbing in the meantime, intent on taking the reins should he get the chance. “I’ve waited a whole year to climb the rope and I’m getting to the top of the tower tonight.”

*** THE ONLY THING THAT MATTERS IN THIS STUPID CONTEST ***
And they’re off! And...

Oh, geez, maybe you really do need a specialist for this. Rayl has a slim lead at a start. But Klein pulls ahead. And pulls further ahead. And pulls yet further ahead. And keeps pulling ahead. Rayl can’t keep up at all! And then fatigue sets in, and it’s over. Klein wins in an absolute blowout. The replay shows that...oh, come the freak on, WHY do our guys keep doing this?? Rayl didn’t use his legs. He tried to beat Australia’s strongest member, and definitely the best rope climber, with just his arms. That’s just...anyone should not to do that by now.

Australia has its first trophy. Looks like this is a tight, competitive contest after all!

You can lay this failure on the shoulders of one man: Drew Dreschel. Leaving aside the incredible hubris of refusing to quit stage 3 after it was clear he was hurting, when he KNEW his team would need him in the rope climb, taking the very last run of the day was mind-bogglingly boneheaded. You’re going to spend your energy with the single most draining task in all of ANW coming right up? If you wanted a warmup, you could’ve done any of the Stage 1 runs.

Look, the rope climb is here to stay. It’s a ridiculous injustice, but it provides exciting finishes, so NBC is keeping it. You cannot win USA vs. The World without a strong rope climber. That is the harsh reality. It doesn’t matter how many pointless, meaningless runs you win up to that point. So keep your strongest rope climber healthy! That’s what you need to do! That’s ALL you need to do!

Hmph.
  #643  
Old 01-28-2020, 12:38 AM
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Exactly right, it's pretty darn stupid. The entire contest boils down to:

1) Be just good enough to not be dead last going into the rope climb.
2) Win the rope climb.

Nothing else is relevant. USA vs The World has devolved into a rope climbing contest, and that's boring and lame.
  #644  
Old 01-28-2020, 08:14 AM
The wind of my soul is offline
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She was inspired by...who else?...Jessie Graff. Yeah, funny how you never hear about Kacy Catanazaro or Alyssa Beird or Jessica Clayton bringing international jocks into the sport.
Didn't Olivia Vivian say in her profile that she was inspired by Kacy Catanzaro?
  #645  
Old 02-22-2020, 12:35 PM
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As of right now we're a few hours from the debut of season 2 of American Ninja Warrior Junior on Universal Kids. As it so happens, there's already an upload of the full episode on YouTube. Of course, I'm not going to spoil anything for those of you who for whatever reason prefer to see it on TV, but this does give me the opportunity to give a bit of a preview. So...

Age groups are still 9-10, 11-12, and 13-14, and each will run on the same course for the duration of the contest. The powers that be still haven't figured out a way to guarantee two matches for everyone without this "placement/knockout" nonsense, so we're stuck with the grossly unfair system where loss-win is perfectly fine and win-loss is doom.

As for the playoff structure, in an attempt at better pacing and more fairness, it's been revamped. (Presumably there will be no inexplicable two month layoff either.)

- There are a total of 48 contestants per age group, split into four blocks of 12. (I'll refer to these as "Block A", "Block B", "Block C", and "Block D". I get creative when I feel like it, dammit. )
- For first 3 days, 4 contestants in the 1st block compete, with the winners of each day advancing to the playoffs.
- The best finish time of each non-winner is recorded. At the end of 3 days, the top two times advance to the wild card match. (It's theoretically possible to get a top two spot without finishing the course, in the same sense that it's theoretically possible to listen to the judges on The Masked Singer without wanting to take a sledgehammer to their skulls.) The winner of that match advances to the playoffs. It is not necessary to win either the exhibition or real match to qualify for the wild card match; only times matters.
- Day 4 is playoffs. The 3 prelim winners and wild card compete single-elimination to determine a finallist in each age group. (I'm pretty sure this will include the wild card matches...per usual, you'll learn when I learn.)
- Days 5-8, 9-12, and 13-16 follow the same pattern as 1-4, all leading up to the climactic day 17 where the 4 finallists in each age group battle for the championship.

The second, and fourth obstacles are the same for all contestants:
2. Little Dipper - An easier version of Double Dipper, this is a horizontal sliding bar balanced on two curved steel rails; at the end the contestant must leap to a net.
4. Block Run - Six large blocks mounted at various orientations on a large bar. The first, third, and fifth blocks spin; the others are fixed.

The age-specific tasks:
9-10
1. Shrinking Steps - Five mounted steps, tapered off at the top, that ascend and go from largest to smallest, followed by a jump to a rope swing.
3. Spider Walls - Essentially the same as Jumping Spider except it's straight across and there's no trampoline jump.
5. Flying Squirrel - A jump from a pair of unattached rotating bars to another pair, then the finish; the gaps are smaller than the normal contest and there's no net at the end.

11-12
1. Shrinking Steps - Same as for 9-10
3. Double Tilt Ladders - Two horizontal ladders which pivot in the middle; the first with seven evenly-spaced rungs, the second with three in the front, two slightly past the center, and two at the end.
5. Wing Nuts - The familiar horizontal-swinging test; 3 nuts in all.

13-14
1. Floating Steps - Five sharply angled small platforms going left-right-left-right-left.
3. Crazy Cliffhanger - Four Cliffhanger-style handholds separated by small gaps.
5. Sky Hooks - Another scaled-down version of a grownup obstacle; this requires jumping a ring from one hook to another, switching to a second ring, jumping it to another hook, leaping without the ring to a third ring, then jumping to the landing area.

The 6th is once again 13' Warped Wall with two open notches for 9-10, one for 11-12, and none for 13-14.

Note: At this point I'm well aware of how reality TV operates and why it puts out what it puts out, and I know that certain things are simply never going to change, so I'm going to try to keep an open mind about the continuous flood of irritating blabbage I'm going to be subject to. However, I absolutely MUST mute the runs, as the BS that pours out during this time is reaching the level of suffocation. Seriously, if I ever have to hear "paralysis by overanalysis" or "Mister Wilson" again, it'll be too soon. In fact, I've decided that I'm pretty much going to have to completely ignore Eyes and Bodge entirely if I'm going to avoid yet another top-down grumblefest, and I extremely desperately want to avoid yet another top-down grumblefest. If this means you miss out on some funny angles, I apologize in advance. Unfortunately necessary sacrifice.
  #646  
Old 02-23-2020, 02:12 AM
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“We’re not just kids.” “We’re not just teenagers.” True. You’re well-behaved, well-mannered, humble, compassionate, hard-working, and courageous, which puts you ahead of roughly 99.999% of your particular demographic. I work in public housing, and some of the stuff that happens is about two steps above Lord of the Flies. Seriously, shows like this are pretty much the only way I know that very good, really nice children exist at all. (Masterchef Junior is another good choice. I always like that one.)

“To be the best version of ourselves...” ........... You need proper nutrition? You need to shell out $4.99 for the coin doubler? What??

AMERICAN NINJA WARRIOR JUNIOR 2 - BLOCK A PRELIMS, DAY 1

Quick overview of the event structure. It took me a while to hash it all out, which is why I’m glad to have the YouTube upload in advance. In a nutshell, it’s three honest qualifiers and one backdoor passer per block, each block to play out over four days. They’re still using the weaselicious term “runner-up”, but this time it makes all the difference who the first runner-up and second runner-up are (although we won’t actually KNOW who these personages are until all three days of prelims have been played to completion, so it’s still nonsensical to put them on the bracket screen, but that’s another issue). With fewer contestants this time around, the hope is definitely there for better competition and closer finishes, not to mention fewer than 20 freaking girls hideously bungling the second obstacle.

Laurie Hernandez is unavailable this season due to preparations for the upcoming Olympics (Hern is a jock? Why didn’t anyone ever mention that before?), so we welcome the newest member of the Ninjunity, Paralympics gold medallist Victoria Arlen. She kicks things off by claiming that the 9-10 course has “stepped up the level of difficulty”. Not sure what kind of difference that makes in a head-to-head contest where finishing is not required, but she’s just workin’ with what she got, I guess. Of course, with the new wildcards, finishing matters, so expect to see more second efforts and gut checks from kids who previously would have cut their losses. Not a lot more, but more.

We take a look at newcomer Bradi Brownfield, the “Bunny Whisperer”. She suffered a knee injury competing in gymnastics at age 8, which left her bedridden for 3 months, the memory of which still makes her angry. She got into bunny raising to give her something to do with her hands, and also because she’s not a dog person. Her words, not mine. It worked so well that she’s now helping others with animal therapy. Eyes: “Such great endeavors these junior ninjas accomplish.” Well, yeah, I can see that, but you seem to be implying that ninja-ing somehow inspires acts of goodness, and...well, two words: Eric Middleton. You’re hand-picking the best of the best. This is absolutely the right thing to do, but own up to it. “This is the level of goodness we require from our junior ninjas. If you can’t measure up, don’t bother.” is a perfectly acceptable position.

= Exhibition 1: Adil Mbondo vs. Bradi Brownfield =
Brownfield is a little faster up the Shrinking Steps but hesitates at the start of Little Dipper, but then Mbondo gets a little too high on the dismount. Brownfield pulls slightly ahead on Spider Walls but takes a hair longer to dismount, and I can’t remember when any ANW opening match was this good! Brownfield maintains a slight lead through Block Run. She’s struggles with the first transition on Flying Squirrel, but Mbondo is also flagging and can’t capitalize. Brownfield dismounts first! Just one obstacle separates her from victory...she stumbles on the runup to the wall! Somehow she still gets to the first notch, but Mbondo is right there! Brownfield is still a tick ahead...until her left hand slips off the top of the ramp! And of course the show has to choose THIS EXACT FRICKING TIME to cut to the worthless bloviating waste of oxygen announcers, so we don’t even get to see the contestants going over the wall. Unbelievable...the first goddam match of the competition pulls this steaming bullcrap. Mbondo completes the upset.

Shot of the mentors Barclay Stockett, Grant McCartney, and Drew Dreschel. All right, I’m giving them today to impress me, and only because I think I might need some gap-filler now that I’m muting the runs.

Bars, to Makena Cook: “Also speed up in between your obstacles; try to get from the end of one obstacle to the beginning... <snaps fingers> like that, okay? You’re ready to go; you don’t need anything.” Steeeerike one!

Eyes informs us that Cook is our first returnee. Lessee...ANWJ1 record...0-2. Yeah, that’s totally something you want to draw attention to.

= Exhibition 2: Makena Cook vs. Neil Sekhri =
Short and sweet as Sekhri whiffs on the Little Dipper net and plunges straight in. Bars is right there to tell him exactly what he did wrong in front of everybody, which is a double-edged sword if I’ve ever seen one. Cook, apparently wanting some insurance, soldiers on all the way to the buzzer.

Arr does the usual boilerplate postmatch with her, whereupon we learn that she is happy to get her first buzzer, thanks for asking.

= Real 1: Neil Sekhri vs. Adil Mbondo (3WA) =
A waiweewuwwawei this early? Oh dear, Sekhri is one of those reality show contestants, isn’t he? Sure enough, he went out in the exact same spot. Yeah, makes a ton of sense to give a nickname to someone who’ll be on for half a minute and then disappear forever, huh? He’s not even worth giving one of my even-dumber replacement nicknames. (But if he was, it would be “Splashri”. )

Quick look at Makena Cook, where we learn that she’s been 1. training really, really hard and 2. sticking her tongue out at the camera in an effort to channel some of Michelle Warnky’s strength, which really is not anywhere near as effective as they seem to think it is.

= Real 2: Bradi Brownfield vs. Makena Cook =
Brownfield gets a slightly better dismount on Little Dipper, and that’s all the good news there’d be for her as she loses everything on Spider Walls and splashes. Another buzzer gets mercilessly compressed by the overjoyed Cook.

Our first look at the 9-10 wildcard leaderboard, showing the best non-winner times, and it’s just so sad how they pretend that Sekhri isn’t going to be a complete footnote to this event, it really is.

Profile of Lucas Cvitanich, who’s a huge mythology buff and bookworm. And is both in excellent health and good spirits, which would seem to indicate that he does not get regularly beaten up at school. I really should make a thread on how much our school systems and attitudes toward bullying have changed since I was a student. One of these days.

= Exhibition 3: Harry Robinson vs. Lucas Cvitanich =
Virtual mirrors through two. Robinson has better form on Double Tilt Ladders and makes a pretty dismount from the middle two rungs, while Cvitanich has to go on the end. Robinson hesitates a bit at the start of Block Run but gets through at a brisk pace, but then gets hung up at the start of Wing Nuts. Cvitanich gets through the blocks without a hitch, and all of a sudden they’re even again. But when Cvitanich needs to spend time building up momentum, Robinson pulls ahead, this time for good. Easy run to the notch, up, over, ballgame.

Taylor Greene was one of two girls, the other being Ella McRitchie, who made the final day last year, which means that she won some actual freaking money, something not a single woman ever has been able to claim. What was especially impressive was that while McRitchie only took out largely hapless girls, four of Greene’s five wins were against boys. This made her an unlikely rising star within the ANW community, and she’s become a big, big inspiration to other young girls. I am not exaggerating when I say we could be looking at a successor to Jesse Labreck; she is that big.

Well, if she does finish in the money again, the first thing should buy is a face shot that doesn’t look like a freaking Halloween poster. Good Yukari, that thing is ugly. Quality, not quantity, dangit!

(Can someone tell me how a 1-year-old can do gymnastics? I’m afraid of what I’ll find if I look it up.)

= Exhibition 4: Taylor Greene vs. Raeya Linton =
Greene proves she’s no fluke as she methodically grinds her good-but-not-as-good-as-me foe into the dust. Linton makes a brief surge on the second ladder, but that’s as close as she’d ever get.

On to the obstacle-of-the-day segment, hosted by McCartney. He’s on Wing Nuts...and...holy cow, that’s actually pretty sound advice! He even shows us how to do it! This is, without a doubt, the farthest from “completely useless” this part of the show has ever been!

Profile of Harry Robinson, who’s an apprentice blacksmith, which gives the profile maker the opportunity to show us plenty of shots of red-hot metal and flying sparks. This is admittedly much cooler than the usual pablum about veganism or annoying brothers, so I give it a thumbs-up. The only thing I found amiss was his claim that convincing his parents “was not as hard as you think it was”. Um...really? “I would like to learn a useful trade skill which I can eventually make a good, honest living at and ensure that I will not be a burden on you or society in my adult years. It will teach me the value of hard work and being of use to others, and it will consume enough of my time and energy that I will have none to waste on video games, television, comic books, Twitter, vandalism, gang activity, etc.” I think that would be a very easy sell for most parents.

= Real 3: Raeya Linton vs. Harry Robinson =
Linton (who has seriously ripped arms, I just noticed) makes a strong move on the ladders and gets a nice dismount from the middle rungs. No change at the blocks, and Linton is first to Wing Nuts. But she takes just a bit too long to make the first transition, and Robinson, although he hasn’t been blazingly fast, has enough form to dismount first. Loses a bit going up the wall but is still the first to the buzzer. Dang, Linton looked really good today and just got outperformed both times. Sports can be cruel sometimes.

Shot of the 11-12 wildcard leaderboard. I don’t know why they even bother to count minutes.

= Real 4: Lucas Cvitanich vs. Taylor Greene (3WA) =
Greene made a powerful dismount from the front of the second ladder, and that’s as far as the production crew was willing to give a rip about Cvitanich’s prospects. It honestly looks like the producers are holding back so they can really hype up Greene later...I’ve seen this exact pattern of behavior regarding the main contest’s favorites in the past.

Straight to 13-14...and...the heck is going on? Why is this show pushing things along so quickly? None of contestants so far has eaten up a ton of time, the matches are proceeding at a brisk pace, there hasn’t been a ton of time burned on any one profile, the interviews and instructional segment have been quick and to the point, the intro certainly wasn’t that long, and we’ve had two waiweewuwwaweis on top of that...and we’re still pressed for time? Is 15 matches simply too much for one hour? Opinions appreciated.

The first match features two names that should be familiar to first season watchers, Jonathan Godbout and Cal Plohoros. The former made it all the way to the final day before taking home 3rd place, while the latter made it to quarters. They competed in the same prelim, too, so there’s a bit of shared destiny as well (at least that’s what the matchmaker seemed to think). Godbout, you’ll remember, came really close to completing the ultimate comeback after losing the exhibition, losing a close one to Vance Walker in the championship match. Now, at 14, he knows this is absolutely his last chance, so expect him to have a ferocious sense of urgency and come out firing.

= Exhibition 5: Jonathan Godbout vs. Cal Plohoros =
Plohoros hesitates at the start of Little Dipper and gets a lot of air on the dismount; Godbout has better form and takes a sizable lead on Crazy Cliffhanger. No change on Block Run. Godbout is the first on Sky Hooks...and that’s where his run dies, as he simply takes much too long to get going. Plohoros is smooth and efficient through all three rings, and the wall is no object after that.

Oh my. Eyes informs Godbout that “This is just the seeding round!”...a lead-pipe cinch that he is in serious trouble. Unless he can figure out Sky Hooks quickly, his swan song could become one-note.

Arr helpfully reminds Plohoros that he’s a lot smaller than the guy he just beat...geez...three words: Jon Alexis Junior. Plohoros answers as best as a 13-year-old boy who still has fricking work to do can.

And here’s Dreschel! He really does not want Godbout to go two-and-out and gives him a pep talk in hopes of instilling some kind of fighting chance for the real. “If you go out there a little more relaxed than [the talent?], I think everything will smooooth out and flow better. It’s like you got in your head a little. Easy, son.” Eh...I’ve heard stupider advice. <deep, deep, deep, deep sigh> All right, all right, I give the mentors a goddam passing mark for today. Don’t blow it, you hear me?

Next up are Rose Lord and Olivia Kosanovich. Lord had a nice run to the playoffs in the first contest even though she never had a realistic shot of going any further; it’ll be interesting to see how she does in the stronger age group. Eyes mentions that Kosanovich had “terrible joint pain”, which I’m certain we’ll learn all about before the real.

= Exhibition 6: Olivia Kosanovich vs. Rose Lord =
Lord has a slim lead through Shrinking Steps and gets through Little Dipper first, but Kosanovich lands on her feet and closes the gap going to Crazy Cliffhanger. She powers through faster and is nearly across the blocks by the time Lord begins, but falls at the end! She lands safely on the landing area, though, and after Lord drops to her knees in the same place, it’s dead even going to the rings. They’re both making sure jumps, avoiding mistakes...it’s hard to say who has the advantage...and...they dismount at the same time! Ootd...no. Lord pauses at the start of the runup, while Kosanovich takes off right away, and her faster legs take care of the rest. It looked like Lord had (mostly) better form and simply lost out on physical ability. That’s always a tough loss to take.

Y’know, I kinda wish Eyes would use arthritic pain as a cheap excuse for spewing out so much crap on a weekly basis. Damned if I can think of anything better.

= Real 5: Rose Lord vs. Cal Plohoros (3WA) =
Yep, definitely need another half hour. Plohoros took the lead for good at Crazy Cliffhanger. Lord splashed down at Sky Hooks, denying her even the fantasy of wildcard contention. Tough, tough way to go after how she shined last year.

And here it is, profile for Kosanovich. She was once a multi-sport jock before coming down with juvenile idiopathic arthritis at the age of 8, and damn, it’s harsh for a kid to have to learn how to pronounce that, much less live with it. Long story short, she has pain in her ankles, knees, hips, and lower back. As someone who’s had to deal with pain in those areas without a degenerative medical condition, I can only imagine how agonizing that must be. Now she can only do low-impact exercises, which, I can attest from my ill-fated and most definitely last attempt at squeezing any enjoyment out of Pump It Up, are a good idea at any age.

= Real 6: Jonathan Godbout vs. Olivia Kosanovich =
Godbout once again demonstrates superior footspeed and gets to the hangbars first. Kosanovich (whose aptitude on upper-body obstacle is much easier to understand after the profile) narrows the gap, but Godbout surges across the blocks, and Kosanovich, despite staying on her feet, can’t quite keep up. Now it’s make or break time for Godbout; if he can keep it close on Sky Hooks, he should get up the wall first easily. He’s on the second hook by the time Kosanovich mounts. They’re both struggling now. Godbout slowly works his way across. He’s on the last ring but has a lot of sideways movement. Kosanovich still isn’t moving. Godbout makes a big correction and straightens out. He dismounts...and Kosanovich falls! Man, all the credit to Godbout for running hard and never giving up, but that has to be a withering loss for today’s Acceptable Story, who looked like she had a really good chance.

This is how you want your first set of finals to go: A couple of there-can-be-only-one showdowns between hard-charging contenders who won both their earlier matches, followed by an emotional revenge match between a second-year fireball and a veteran at the end of the road. Should be as good as it sounds. Let’s go.

= 9-10 final: Makena Cook vs. Adil Mbondo =
Cook is slightly ahead after one...and well ahead after two as Mbondo gets too horizontal on the dismount. Mbondo narrows the gap on the walls but falls coming out. Cook gets tripped up coming out of the blocks, and Mbondo makes it tight again. They’re on the free bars. Cook was only slightly ahead...and her ambitions come to an end as she simply takes too many swings on both the first and second pair. Mbondo pulls the trigger, and despite being slow up the notches, hits the buzzer in plenty of time.

Back to the 9-10 wildcard leaderboard, and Neil Sekhri is officially the first contestant eliminated from the playoffs. Congratulations on this momentous milestone! (I feel I should be doing that UrinatingTree blood-on-the-logo thing.)

Grant McCartney gives a friendly reminder of the wild cards before the 11-12’s step up.

= 11-12 final: Harry Robinson vs. Taylor Greene =
It’s a tight one at the start with Green having a razor-thin edge. Both manage front end dismounts from the second ladder. Greene is first through the blocks but falls at the end and can’t pull away. It all comes down to...Oh. Wow. Greene gets on the first nut, reaches over to the second, gets her hands set, reaches again to the third, and is off to the races. A bad stumble at the end by Robinson which puts his right foot in the water is the final straw.

Ooh, nice spin control, Eyes! I might buy that that 51.49 was from the run he just finished IF I WAS GODDAM BLIND YOU UNBELIEVABLE FREAKING TOOL stay positive, stay positive...

= 13-14 final: Jonathan Godbout vs. Cal Plohoros =
Even through one...and Plohoros gets slightly hung up at the start of Little Dipper, giving Godbout the lead! How many breaks is he going to get in one lifetime?? No change at the hangbars or the blocks, and Godbout has a healthy lead going to the rings. All right, champ, it’s do or die now, have you found the way? He goes for the first transition immediately...and makes it! Plohoros makes a quick first transition! And...makes the second...and it’s a one-timer on the third. And that will bloody well do it. Godbout stretches his footspeed advantage to the breaking point, but it’s just...not...enough. Plohoros wins by a double neck, and Godbout, who had so much confidence going in today, sees his American Ninja Warrior Junior ambitions now hanging by a thread.

A1 qualifiers: Adil Mbondo, Taylor Greene, Cal Plohoros

Mbondo narrowly outlasted two tough challengers, but in the other two age groups experience won the day. Greene and Plohoros showed plenty of mental toughness in their wins, and I mentioned how often that was the difference-maker in the first contest. I’m intrigued to see if this holds up. We could see a new avenue for young athletic stars to emerge. That’d be plenty cool!
  #647  
Old 03-01-2020, 01:31 PM
DKW is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2000
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Day 1 was really good, so let’s see if today’s action can keep up that positive vibe! All right, what do we have for an intro...“school”. Assuming that the intro has jack squat to do with the actual competition, which is usually the case, I have high hopes!

AMERICAN NINJA WARRIOR JUNIOR 2 - BLOCK A PRELIMS, DAY 2

We begin with...“fantasy leaderboard”?? The hell is this? I assume it’s some contestant-guessing thing, given that there’s currently a five-way tie for fourth (oh yeah, definite ), but other than that I don’t have a clue. Eyes doesn’t seem interested in explaining. Damn, the AAF left a painful legacy.

Another rundown of the playoff structure for those of you who missed it the first time. It’s a wee bit counterintuitive with the separate blocks, so I don’t mind the refresher. Woman-on-the-ground Victoria Arlen gives a rundown of the obstacles. Najee Richardson gives some advice about “downward pressure” and “weight on the core” to the first pair of contestants.

Bo Durr’s father is in...the Army, from the looks of it...and has to move whenever the government tells him to. Bo has already lived on five bases so far, so he's never been able to build lasting friendships. On the plus side, he gets to see lots of cool military hardware. Bo, take it from someone who's been there...“normal” childhood sucks beyond belief. Just enjoy what you have and worry about making friends when you need to get a job.

= Exhibition 1: Bo Durr vs. Shae McCarl =
It looks like McCarl jumps the gun (I had to unmute the start to be sure), but no, Durr is just slow off the blocks. And is really slow on Shrinking Steps...damn, don’t remember when I’ve seen anyone so tentative on the first obstacle. No change on Little Dipper. McCarl isn’t a speed demon, but she’s smooth through Spider Walls and Block Run, and Durr is running out of obstacles. On Flying Squirrel, McCarl takes a long time to make the first transition, but the second is no problem. It’s all over but the shouting, and by “shouting” I mean Durr passively falling off the first pair of bars. Man, that Army gym did not help at all.

Quick shot of today’s mentors, Najee Richardson, Jessie Graff, and Meagan Martin. Oh, they’re rotating? Guess since their advice is merely obvious now, as opposed to brain-dead, they need to spread the burden around.

Lindsey Zimmerman trains with her mom...wait, who was that again? The crazy one? The overbearing one? The underachiever? The nagger? All these third-tier female ANW contestants are starting to run together for me.

= Exhibition 2: Logan Millard vs. Lindsey Zimmerman =
Zimmerman quickly leaves her hapless foe in the dust and is on cruise control all the way to the second bar pair, where her left hand briefly slips off. Fortunately she’s able to recover, and even more fortunately Millard is so slow that he still hasn’t started Flying Squirrel by the time she’s dismounted.

Was there some “make the girls look good” directive this season? It looks for all the world that Universal Kids (hereafter known as “UK” because I get the feeling I’m going to be using it a lot) actively sought the two most lethargic boys in the whole field for today’s 9-10. Barring an epic collapse...and I know it’s still early, but this doesn’t look like a season for epic collapses...McCarl and Zimmerman should win their reals easily, followed by Zimmerman leaving no doubt in the final. I didn’t like it last season when you knew the two boys were drubbing the two girls, and I can’t say this is an improvement.

= Real 1: Bo Durr vs. Lindsey Zimmerman (3WA) =
Good Meiko, even for a 3WA this was pitiful. Zimmerman once again trotted to the lead as Durr looked half-asleep out there. Then Zimmerman got stupid. At the end of Flying Squirrel...which, I remind you, is a fixed horizontal bar from which the contestant must do one very freaking simple lache to landing area...she FRICKING GODDAM RUSHED IT. Her right foot got wet, followed quickly by the rest of her lower body. She did manage to luck out when Durr fell off the second bar pair, giving her the win on speed, but it was about as convincing as that “Intelligent Design” crap. My only consolation is that we only have to wait two more weeks to see her get creamed. Sheesh.

More “fantasy leaderboard” nonsense, and henceforth I will not waste any more keystrokes on this until someone at UK does their damn duty.

Shae McCarl is a nature person who touts an active lifestyle. Thanks for shar...and right in the middle of the profile is some “Who do you think will win” voting thingummy at the bottom of the screen. Damn you to hell, AAF!

= Real 2: Shae McCarl vs. Logan Millard =
McCarl gets to work and quietly wins it running away. Too bad she got creamed in the vote 22% to 78%, ha ha ha ha ha ha owned owned owned owned! (How many rolleyes-es is this one going to require? A thousand? I’m thinking somewhere around a thousand.)

Man, I am no-joke no-irony no-hedging feeling sorry for Bodge right now. He just witnessed a hapless boy get his butt completely kicked by a girl who, honestly, didn’t look all that impressive, and now he has the task of spinning that into something remotely positive. Sheesh. Sean Spicer’s job was a milk run compared to that.

The 9-10 wildcard leaderboard goes up and...uhhhhhhhh...why is Neil Sekhri still there? He has absolutely zero chance of anything. I mean, so do Millard and Durr, but at least they actually competed this week. Huh...baptisms of fire are always so...so...fiery.

Moving on. Our first match for 11-12 is an intriguing one, Collin Cella vs. Luke Beckstrand. Cella, you may recall, won the inaugural 9-10 by beating the powerful Sean Arms, a match he dominated most of the way but had a bizarre hiccup on the wall and very nearly blew it. Luke Beckstrand is the brother of another champion, Kai Beckstrand, who won 11-12 in convincing fashion (after Caleb Brown royally screwed the pooch in the semis with an incredibly stupid gamble, but that's another story). No doubt Luke wants to do his family proud, and what better way than to take down the champ right after he exposed his weakness. Profile of Cella, who’s been something of a rockstar since his triumph; he even got the key to the city. No pressure, kiddo, it’s all in good fun!

“Who do you think will win?” You mean, besides the bookies? And with that, I am done wasting time on this brain-dead internet poll bullcrap. (Could you at least not do a pop-up in the middle of the freaking run, you bums?? )

= Exhibition 3: Collin Cella vs. Luke Beckstrand =
It’s tight at the onset, with Cella having an ever-so-slight edge after the steps. Which becomes a considerably larger edge when Beckstrand falls on the Dipper exit. It looks like he’s about to catch up on Tilting Ladders, but Cella makes a clean dismount from the middle rungs and puts his foot on the gas. He has good form on Wing Nuts and, oh my, did he one time the last? And then, apparently no longer wanting anything to do with stupid notches, goes straight to the top of the wall. Man.

Due to time constraints, or more likely not giving a damn, we go directly to the next match.

= Exhibition 4: Aubriella Hairston vs. Emily Keener (3WA) =
Ohhhhhhhh crap. I’ve seen this dance before. First exhibition is between two strong boys, second is...a waiweewuwwawei, meaning that they took so long that theirs was one of the runs UK chose for choppification, meaning that the reals are fait accomplis and we are damn well going to have our revenge match, aaaaaaaand down goes Keener on Little Dipper and I wouldn’t mind being almost 100% right on these things, you know.

Oh look, Graff is giving Beckstrand advice about his real. That’s apparently her role today. Instructing a strong contender on how to beat a mediocre girl.

Profile on Hairston: Her dad drives a lot. No joke. That’s it. Cripes, this is just getting sadder and sadder.

= Real 3: Luke Beckstrand vs. Aubriella Hairston =
Hairston falls coming out of the dipper, Beckstrand dismounts from the front rungs, and this happens, and that happens, and the world stubbornly refuses to turn upside-down, etc., etc...and so on...

On to the impending one-sided slaughter, and it appears that Cella is starting to break down, but I’ve seen this dance as well, and all that’s happening is that he’s shaking off some unrelated minor personal issue, or perhaps feeling a twinge of guilt at having to bury yet another grossly overmatched opponent, but in the end it means absolutely nothing and will have zippo effect on the end result, although it does give Eyes the opportunity to uncork that predictable “defend his title” bullcrap, which, as I’ve stated many times before, is beyond ridiculous because he has the goddam title and nothing can ever take it away from him, unlike, say, boxing champions who do have title defenses as the term is properly defined, and boxing has been in the public eye for over a goddam century so why does he persist in this moronic...I’ll get to the match when I’m ready, dammit!

= Real 4: Emily Keener vs. Collin Cella =
Fine, let’s get this over with. Right out of the gate, Cella...is tentative? Keener actually has a slight lead after one. On to Little Dipper, where Cella blows right past his doomed foe and...pauses at the net? Meanwhile Keener is a little more careful and makes it through, slips right under the net, and retakes the lead! Cella...stops and looks at the crowd? What is going on here? Keener gamely makes her way through the ladders. Cella slowly makes it to the end of the first ladder...

AND HE LETS GO! HE JUST GIVES UP! Keener goes all the way to the end and celebrates her unlikely win. What the heck is wrong with Cella?? I listened to it again with sound and couldn’t see anything. Arr questions Graff, who informs us that “He has been feeling bad for a couple of days.” Feeling bad? That can mean a lot of things...care to elaborate? “He tried to push through it.” Seriously, we needed Jessie Graff for this? Did Natalie Duran have an emergency bikini wax today or something?

Wow. On just the second day of competition, we get not only our first shocking exit, but also our first double steal! I have to say it again: Sports are great because they are unpredictable. The ability to thrill, to excite, to shock, to amaze, to electrify, to inspire, all of it is possible because they are honest, real-world, real-time events contested by human beings and not a formulaic mush served under the pretense of “reality”. That’s why ANW’s best events are match events like these, because you can’t script two determined athletes trying to beat the other.

13-14 opens with Nate Pardo vs. Devan Alexander. Pardo is another returning powerhouse, who despite some blunders finished a very strong 2nd place last year. The only misgiving I have on him is that he still has that stupid “Don’t par-think, just par-do”, which is especially egregious since it doesn’t even get the goddam pronunciation right. The O in Pardo is pronounced a long O, not a long U. “Going to win some Pardo” or “Ninja is as easy as Pardo re mi” would’ve been a better choice. (I didn’t say a GOOD choice, dangit, just a BETTER one!) Oh, and he also says that he’s going to win first place, because these kind of brash boasts never backfire! Profile on Devan Alexander, a chess aficionado. As nearly every book I’ve read about the subject was either 1. 5% fun/interesting stuff and 95% suffocating pretense, or 2. 0% fun/interesting stuff and 100% suffocating pretense, I’ll refrain from elaborating on the subject. (Seriously, not one website dedicated to the fun stuff in nearly three decades? This should’ve been a slam dunk! )

= Exhibition 5: Nate Pardo vs. Devan Alexander =
Dead even through...

** SPLOOOOSHH **

And the stunners just keep on coming. Alexander’s dipper bar catches air, the right side comes off, and just like that it’s game over. Arr has a quick chat with the winner, where we learn that he is completely focused and very intense and you absolutely should not mess with him.

All right, a couple more “veterans” on tap, Peace Lopez and Molly Haywood. Apparently “veteran” is ANWJ code for “girl who lost in prelims the last time, but it wasn’t a complete massacre, so we’re going to prop her up and you can’t stop us”. No profile for either yet, and for once I’m actually fairly eager to see if UK found something better than “thinks very highly of herself” or “that brain-numbing pi crap”.

= Exhibition 6: Peace Lopez vs. Molly Haywood =
No major stumbles in the first two, with Lopez taking a slight lead. She keeps it through Crazy Cliffhanger. Block Run, still no change. On to Sky Hooks, where both set nearly the same pace, and Lopez is still slightly ahead. Lopez is on the last hook...Haywood jumps to the last hook, and Lopez jumps to the final ring...Haywood...one-times the final ring and takes her first lead of the match! It’s pretty close at the wall, but Lopez can’t make up the distance, and Haywood seals the win. What a finish! What a rare opportunity to agree with Eyes for a change!

= Real 5: Devan Alexander vs. Molly Haywood (3WA) =
There’s a squash job akin to Gouki versus an animatronic robot on deck, and this gets the 3WA? Man, add “programming decisions” to the issues I have with ANW, although I admit this is waaaaaaaaaay down the list. Anyway, Alexander, freed of the pressure of competing against, y’know, someone actually good, has no trouble with Little Dipper and proceeds to [word I’d like to use but can’t because I’m talking about a girl] [not to say that it’s any better when it happens to a boy, but the fact is that girls] [oh, never mind] win handily.

Profile on Pardo, who vividly remembers his unlikely 2nd place finish in the inaugural ANWJ, and has been training...whoa, whoa, whoa, redemption? Redemption?? For WHAT? You have nothing to be ashamed of! You ran hard, set the bar, survived a couple of potentially fatal blunders, and narrowly got beaten by a very strong athlete in the final! You freaking won money, goddammit!!

= Real 6: Peace Lopez vs. Nate Pardo =
Mike Tirico? What the hell was that all about?

Arr shoots the breeze with Lopez about “motivation” or whatever.

And so we have another milestone: for the first time ever, we’ve had a no-stealer, a one-stealer, and a two-stealer on the same day. This really goes to show you how wide open the contest is and how quickly fortunes can change. Pardo is the clear favorite in 13-14, of course, but I could see either contestant winning the other two groups.

= 9-10 final: Shae McCarl vs. Lindsey Zimmerman =
Nice ‘n steady through two. Zimmerman has slightly better speed on the walls and is the first through, but McCarl is a tick faster coming out of the blocks, and it’s a dead heat going to the swing bars. Both make the first transition at the same time! And...Zimmerman makes the second transition first! But she needs a second swing on the bar, while McCarl one-times it. Ootdia with Zimmerman ahead by a neck. They’re both in the notches...it’s coming down to who can climb up first...and...and...

...is it just me or did it get really casual all of a sudden? Here’s what happened: McCarl sorta reached for the top and missed, then Zimmerman reached for the top, and she kinda leisurely pulled herself up, and she sorta moseyed over to the buzzer, ho-hum, no biggie, and then McCarl gradually made it up, and Zimmerman lazily raised her arm and nonchalantly slapped the buzzer, and McCarl’s like, oh, there it is, reach, oh, too late...it seemed like both of them mailed it in at the end and McCarl just mailed a little harder. Weird finish.

Update on the wildcard leaderboard. Shae McCarl has the top spot with 42.90, while Bradi Brownfield hangs onto second with 50.18. Given how lackluster the 9-10 nonwinners have been, McCarl might actually have a very good shot of getting a backdoor pass. We shall see two weeks from now!

= 11-12 final: Luke Beckstrand vs. Emily Keener =
Another even flow through the first two. Beckstrand has better control on the ladders and makes a forceful frontender to take the lead. Keener frontends as well but is now well behind. No change on the blocks, and Beckstrand can really put the pressure on at Wing Nuts...and doesn’t. He spends far too much time on the first nut, allowing Keener to get back in it. But he finally finds his rhythm, staying a step ahead the rest of the way and winning a close one. The Beckstrand legacy of victory continues! Somehow!

Emily Keener takes the top spot in the wildcard race (48.52), with Harry Robinson a close second (51.49). With Cella out, this one’s very wide open and I won’t be so arrogant as to prognosticate anything. (Not that I usually do, of course. Friggin’ Super Bowl...)

= 13-14 final: Devan Alexander vs. Nate Pardo =
Alexander, confidence restored by his win over Haywood, has no trouble with the dipper this time, and the race to the buzzer is on! Pardo is slightly ahead going into Crazy Cliffhanger, but Alexander has the edge in upper-body muscle and pulls even. Pardo dashes through the blocks quicker, retaking the lead, but stumbles at the end...but Alexander stumbles just before the trampoline and Pardo is the first on Sky Hooks! Will it come down to who makes the last mistake? It takes five motions to complete Sky Hooks: ring transfer, crossover, ring transfer, ring-to-ring jump, dismount. Pardo 1. Alexander 1. Pardo 2. Pardo 3. Alexander 2. Pardo 4, Alexander 3. Alexander 4...and he one-times the final ring! AND PARDO IS HUNG UP! He has a lot of side-to-side movement and can’t correct it! Alexander climbs to victory unopposed. Man, the last time I saw a day of upsets like this, it was a basketball tournament of some kind!

Jonathan Godbout maintains the top wildcard time (31.39) while Pardo slips into #2 (34.42). His championship dreams aren’t dead yet, but they’re on life support.

A2 qualifiers: Lindsey Zimmerman, Luke Beckstrand, Devan Alexander

Today's 9-10 was lackluster, but the other groups were full of twists and turns, keeping me on the edge of my seat until the very end. A couple matches were predictable but there were no absolute massacres (in hindsight even Lopez/Pardo wasn’t that bad). My biggest gripe was the ridiculous irritating obnoxious intrusive stick-out-like-a-sore-thumb-in-a-crowd-of-ears poll pop-ups. I’m hoping this generates ton of backlash and gets pulled after a few episodes. Other than that, two out of three ain't bad at all. Really like what I'm seeing from this season so far!
  #648  
Old 03-08-2020, 03:44 AM
DKW is offline
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“They tell me not to, and since I haven’t fallen and broken my jaw yet, I can tell them to shove it!” Inspiring.

(Seriously, though, anyone have any idea what happened to Collin Cella? News sites have nothing.)

AMERICAN NINJA WARRIOR JUNIOR 2 - BLOCK A PRELIMS, DAY 3

Bodge: “What I like about this competition is that it’s not just about the skill of getting through these obstacles...”

I paused at this point because, well, I could use a good game in my life, and since Kongregate has pretty much degenerated into all overdifficult garbage all the time, I figure a nice round of “Guess What The Rest Of The Sentence Is going To Be” should fit the bill. Here goes!

“...it’s about your opponent having less the obstacles through getting the skill.”
“...it’s about the agility of getting over these obstacles, and the strength of swinging below these obstacles.”
“...it’s about keeping 90-degree L’s and em-oh-vee-ai-en-jee moving so you don’t jinx the paralysis by overanalysis WOOAHHHTT ollie ollie oxen free akutaq.”
“...it’s about saving more money by switching to Geico. Or was it staying at a Holiday Inn Express last night? Dang, I gotta check my notes...”

All right, unpause...“it’s doing them at an all-out sprint”. What? But you’re always preaching about how speed kills! Speed kills, hypocrite!

Daniel Woods enjoys dirt biking. Why yes, uh...that is, in fact a fun activity that would be readily accessible to a 10-year-old!

Bars yells “You can do it!” and I seriously pity anyone who needs her damn permission for anything.

= Exhibition 1: Daniel Woods vs. Bella Palmer =
A brief seesaw battle with Palmer taking the lead on the steps, then hesitating at the start of the dipper and Woods pulling ahead, then Palmer pulling ahead on the walls. And then Palmer calmly surges further ahead on Block Run, and that’ll do it for the “contest” portion of this battle. (Ooh, skipping the first notch, nice!)

Meagan Martin and Grant McCartney round out mentoring duties today. Bars tells a later contestant to avoid lifting the bar on Little Dipper, as that’ll increase the chances of losing control. That’s...actually good advice. Man, it’s like season 1 was a rough draft or something.

Barrett Eads does Civil War reenactments. As he’s wearing a Union uniform, I have no idea what kind of opinion I should have of this.

= Exhibition 2: Riley Cvitanich vs. Barrett Eads=
Eads struggles a bit with the dipper bar but has better form on the walls and has a slight lead. Which soon becomes no lead as he puts a hand down on the blocks, then falls, then falls again. This is the worst I’ve ever seen anyone do on a balance obstacle without going out. On to Flying Squirrel...and Cvitanich takes a brief time out to ogle his opponent. Oh no, you do not do this. The both take a lot of swings on both bar pairs, and it’s neck-‘n-neck (nnneck?) going up the wall. They’re up! They’re at the notches! The camera cuts to a flow-killing shot of Eyes and Bodge, because how else can you tell that this is an exciting finish! THEY LUNGE FOR THE BUZZERS AT THE SAME TIME...AND...

...I can’t tell. And since this was a sugar finish...yep, another fun made-up ANW term from yours truly! ...and Bodge is going triple bananas right now, I am damn well keeping this muted. No, screw it, not going to try to find out who won, too freaking bad.

= Real 1: Barrett Eads vs. Daniel Woods (3WA) =
Okay, it was Eads. (Isn’t paying attention to how an event is structured simply awesome? ) Sadly, he was much less thrilling when it mattered, inexplicably losing his grip on Little Dipper.

Profile of Bella Palmer, whose ANWJ1 effort can be summed up as follows: Made complete hash of Tic Toc after she’d nailed it in both the exhibition and real, which is somehow even worse than making complete hash of it in the exhibition and real. Since then she’s been spending a lot of time building obstacles, the idea being that if she can prevent her brain from collapsing in on itself long enough to make something actually usable without drilling a hole in her hand, she’ll have no trouble maintaining her focus for a full day's competition. Pretty solid gameplan if you ask me.

= Real 2: Riley Cvitanich vs. Bella Palmer =
A hard-fought duel through four, with Palmer having smoother form but Cvitanich a seemingly greater sense of urgency, and they’re nearly locked up going into Flying Squirrel. We’ve seen Cvitanich struggle badly here last time, will...no. Palmer leaves him breathing fumes, one-times the fixed bar, avoids touching the same notch like it’s an ex-boyfriend, and puts this one resoundingly to bed. Man, didn’t take long for that sugar to go from sweet to sour, did it?

Shae McCarl, still #1 in the wildcard standings with her time of 42.90, locks up the first wildcard spot and will be competing one week from today. Let’s hope she’s learned to stop running after the race this time.

Tate Allen did not have a nickname in ANWJ1 because he’s a freaking boy and doesn’t require some stupid embarrassing moniker. Here’s one that I think would work: Money. Y’know, ‘cause he finished second and won prize money. Come on, it’s been ages since Michael Jordan retired, give me a break.

= Exhibition 3: Holden McNeil vs. Tate Allen =
Allen picks up right where he left off, frontending the ladder, one-timing the final nut, and skipping the notch. Can we call this “hitting for the cycle”?

= Exhibition 4: Sabrina Levine vs. Iris Flink (3WA) =
And segue right into the Doomed Hopeless Pathetic Cannon Fodder Girl Matchup of the Day. Eyes loudly proclaims that this is the “seeding matchup”, which is appropriate as both of their hopes will soon be growing daisies. Flink splashes down on the last nut, allowing Levine to complete her long, arduous journey to the blessed buzzer.

Did Bodge just say that Flink would be “real competition” for Allen?? Holy...what the hell did he see in that exhibition that I didn’t? Were rocket boots involved?

= Real 3: Iris Flink vs. Tate Allen =
Oh look, Allen is holding back! Oh look, Flink is keeping it close! Oh look, they’re dead even on the first ladder! Oh look, Allen did another frontender! Oh look, Allen is a full obstacle ahead! Oh look, stupid horse race narrative #6,213,748 gets sent to the glue factory!

Sabrina Levine is from...New York? Oh, radical, our first ever ANW contestant from the largest city in the nation. (Given how farmocentric this show is, it’s remarkable she got a profile at all.) Congratulations, you get to set a new milestone before getting run completely into the ground and not making the playoffs.

(That’s a nice condominium! Dunno what the heck her problem is...)

= Real 4: Holden McNeil vs. Sabrina Levine =
Haahhh...fine, let’s get this over it. McNeil, to the surprise of no one, immediately takes the lead...

** SPLOOOOSHH **

And that’s the end of the road for Levine as the right side of the dipper bar comes off literally right after she...

** SPLOOOOSHH **

MCNEIL MISSES THE DISMOUNT ON LITTLE DIPPER!! MCNEIL MISSES THE DISMOUNT ON LITTLE DIPPER!! I have absolutely no idea what went wrong; he just plain whiffed on the net. He still gets the win, of course...man, who would’ve thought this would be the first speed win of the season...but this has to be big time demoralizing, and that’s a mental handicap he does not need against Allen in the final.

Emily Keener’s strong effort against Luke Beckstrand in last week’s final does her good; her 48.52 clinches the first wildcard spot. All she wants is a shot at revenge!

Sophie Shaft is a Crossfit competitor, and I’m super-duper hoping she does not completely frag up her body as a result. Seriously, there’s a reason ESPN dropped it like a bad habit.

= Exhibition 5: Sophie Shaft vs. Carson Edwards =
Even through two...and still even through three, both competitors powering through Crazy Cliffhanger. Edwards takes the lead on the blocks. On to Sky Hooks, where, again, it’s transfer, cross, transfer, jump, dismount...and Edwards puts the nail in here, smoothly making it through while Shaft is still figuring out the fourth step.

Mazeiah Andrade tried a bunch of sports that didn’t work out for him, so now he does ninja. Makes sense...if you have zippo chance of making a dime in sports anyway, may as well do one you love.

= Exhibition 6: Sierra Heflin vs. Mazeiah Andrade =
Heflin is a 4.0 student, which is fortunate because she sure as hell won’t qualify for an athletic scholarship, if you catch my drift. She gets her feet way too far ahead of her hands on the dipper exit, her thighs slam into the landing area, and she tumbles backward and in. If there was a “Wannabe Warrior Wip...” oh, forget it.

= Real 5: Sophie Shaft vs. Mazeiah Andrade (3WA) =
Huh...definitely not the finish I was expecting! Shaft actually had the lead after four, with only the tricky Sky Hooks separating her from the wall. But once again she couldn’t handle the ring-to-ring jump, allowing Andrade to completely catch up. And then he started going all over the place; it got so bad I’m surprised he was able to hang on. Shaft calmly collected herself and finally, FAI-NUH-LEE, made the jump, the dismount, and the 13’ trophy dash. Gutsy win!

Sierra Heflin... (but mostly ) ...screw it, not touching this one.

= Real 6: Sierra Heflin vs. Carson Edwards =
Edwards wins, Heflin loses, don’t let the pearl-encrusted door hit you yada yada let’s just get to the fricking wild card standings before I throw something at the TV.

No one today has come close to Jonathan Godbout’s 31.39, which earns him a spot in the wild card match. Now, with the last three prelim matches coming up, the last final wild card spots will soon be decided, and it’s looking very good for Nate Pardo, who’s still in the #2 spot with a 34.42.

Okay, just found out by chance what this “Fantasy League” business is...there’s a bunch of competitors, and you try to guess which one will bust out a dance move, talk to a mentor, do a fist bump, and other things that have jumping jack squat to do with actual competition. And with that, you are all now free to not give one femtocrap about the Fantasy League for the next three or four Big Crunches. Damn...

Well, surprise, surprise, it took all of three days to get our first all-revenge final. I know the ideal is for two good ones to beat two not-good ones in both the exhibition and the real, then meet to see who’s the king of the hill in the final...hell, that’s what I want!...but the sad fact is that it’s very often not going to happen. All we can hope for is that the best person lives up to the billing in the final.

= 9-10 final: Daniel Woods vs. Bella Palmer =
Woods gets off to a much better start this time, taking the early lead. Palmer falls on her knees coming out of Little Dipper, and the lead is now commanding. On to the walls...and of course Palmer blows like him like he’s, if not standing still, at least seriously mincing. And...yeah, we’ve seen this story before. Swing one, swing two, one-time the dismount bar, skip the notch, ballgame.

Woods can still hold his head, high, though, because he got the second wildcard spot! Even better, he actually beat Shae McCarl by .68 second! He’s going to...mmmmmm...sorry, guys, but wildcard or no, the writing’s on the wall. If he does beat McCarl, he’s going to be a massive underdog the rest of the way. I’m just not seeing any scenario where he doesn’t get absolutely clobbered. But hey, I don’t want to dwell on the negative, and anything can happen, so let’s just keep watchin’.

= 11-12 final: Holden McNeil vs. Tate Allen =
Allen pulls off a picture-perfect frontender...and that doesn’t change...and that doesn’t change...and that doesn’t change either...and neither does that...or that...crap. McNeil quietly walks away from the wall with a “Why did I get out of bed today again?” face. Followed promptly by his “I never said I wasn’t a crybaby” face. Yeesh.

The good news is, his has the best nonwinner’s time, 44.73, which puts him in next week’s wild card match against Emily Keener. If he wins it, his fortunes depend mostly on who he faces next. He has a puncher’s chance against Luke Beckstrand, he’ll need a miracle to get past Taylor Greene, and if it’s (Yukari forbid) Tate Allen again, he is absolutely toast. Gods be merciful! Or goddesses, depending.

= 13-14 final: Sophie Shaft vs. Carson Edwards =
Same story as their exhibition right up to the start of Sky Hooks. Shaft has yet to figure out the ring-to-ring jump; if she’s got a sudden growth spurt in her, now’s the time to use it. They both make the first ring transition...and Shaft does the crossover slightly faster...and she makes the second transfer faster...and...it ends exactly the same way as the exhibition, Edwards beating Shaft to the exit and running away with it. Geez.

No consolation prize for Shaft as her mark (36.76) is just shy of the one set by Nate Pardo, who can finally exhale now. It doesn’t get any easier from here, of course, but he definitely looks in better shape than the other #2s. The question now is if he can up his game, dig a little deeper, take more risks and make them pay. If he can’t, his farewell tour ends with a sad whimper against Jonathan Godbout. If he can, look for him to make a serious challenge for “better than second best”.

A3 qualifiers: Bella Palmer, Tate Allen, Carson Edwards

Not as good as the first two days. Other than the Cvitanich/Eads photo finish and the McNeil/Levine washout, the entire day was strictly textbook, the strong beating the weak, the winners winning, the chalk being resoundingly unerased. Even the profiles seemed more vanilla than usual. On the plus side, it looks like UK is doing a much better job of weeding out the completely hopeless cases. Even the bottom feeders are fighting to make it a contest now, and someone who bungled the exhibition can be counted on to step it up in the real. Here’s hoping the first round of playoffs provides the excitement we all know it should.
  #649  
Old 03-15-2020, 03:57 AM
DKW is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2000
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Nope. Not doing it. Not saying anything about how much more convenient prerecorded sports are for certain...reasons. I have my limits, goddammit.

(Man, Eyes is really losing his touch. I actually found his introductory drivel occasionally snarkworthy...remember “some will win and some will lose”? Now I can barely remember a word of it. Something about earned-not-given. Whatever.)

AMERICAN NINJA WARRIOR JUNIOR 2 - BLOCK A PLAYOFFS

All right, playoff time! As Bodge says, no more second chances! Could lead to nail-biting excitement, could lead to colossal injustices! Ya picks yer horse and ya bets yer money, dadgummit!

Eyes promptly refers to the imminent Shae McCarl/Daniel Woods battle as a SHOWDOWN. I’m already getting the sinking feeling that a wagon full of pancakes vs. Homestar Runner is going to be as entertaining as some of these wild card matches, but you work with what you have. Another 15K grand prize is at stake in each age group, and of course smaller yet still considerable lesser awards for 2-4. It still boggles me that the honest-to-Reimu most reliable way of making money in ANW is to start really young.

Jeez, these nicknames are getting completely out of control. Seriously, they’re approaching “Boy Who Does Not Know What A Hrung Is Nor Why One Happened To Collapse On Betelgeuse Seven” territory.

And...right into the match, no profile, no trivia. Only 12 matches today, too. Hey, we can look forward to fewer waiweewuwwaweis than usual. (“Fewer”. Not “none”. There are never no waiweewuwwaweis. It’s against the laws of physics or something.)

= Wild card match 1: Shae McCarl vs. Daniel Woods =
McCarl has clumsier dismounts on the first two, gives up more ground on the walls, and can’t close the gap on the blocks. But Woods gets tentative at the second bar pair and McCarl actually evens it up! And she goes for the fixed bar first...and that’s why you don’t rush these things. Comes up short and makes an impressive splash.

Shot of today’s tors-of-men, Najee Richardson, Jessie Graff, and Drew Dreschel.

Profile of Abil Mbondo. Somehow I don’t think the ability to punch really fast is going to be much help in this event. His mother is from Kenya, making her an African-American, which I remind you all actually means something. The usual random-home-country-words thing.

Ooh, stats! And they’re actually correct this time!

= First round match 1: Bella Palmer vs. Abil Mbondo =
Mbondo’s feet go astray on the dipper net, and he falls behind...and a few seconds later on the walls, falls off and in. Couldn’t see anything he did wrong; his left foot just slipped.

Brief profile of Lindsey Zimmerman. Hahh...why do I get a really nasty foreboding that she’s going to be desperately fighting to escape that LEGACY a few years down the line? Also a bit of stuff on Woods, only noteworthy in that Eyes claimed that the wild card spot was “coveted”. I know his head-scratching non sequiturs have gone down, but he still has a ways to go.

= First round match 2: Daniel Woods vs. Lindsey Zimmerman =
All right, let’s...and Woods is taking off! And has the lead through three! Wow, I know “turning it up a notch” is just an old cliche, but I actually think it’s not entirely off the mark in this instance! But once again he runs into trouble on Flying Squirrel; he just can’t pull the trigger in a timely manner. It’s dead even on the second bar pair! THEY MAKE THE JUMP AT THE SAME TIME! AND ONE-TIME THE FIXED BAR! OOTDIA!! IT’S GOING TO BE...

...no drama; Heaven and Hell finish. (Wow, haven’t had one of those in a while!) Palmer makes a bad descent to the runup and stumbles badly, tries to get to the first notch off-balance and without a proper run, comes up short, and slides down. After her final against Shae McCarl, I had the feeling that finishing could be her fatal weakness, but I didn’t expect it to jump up and bite her this hard.

And now Woods has a shot at the big dance, but to get it he’ll have to beat an extremely tenacious girl that not long ago beat him twice. Man, the tension is going to be Off. The. Charts.

Per usual custom, all the finales, in this instance quarterfinal matches, are saved for last, so we’re going to the 11-12 wild card matchup. No profile or trivia once again, which means the producers really hate one of them. Let’s find out who!

= Wild card match 2: Emily Keener vs. Holden McNeil =
McNeil already ended one run on Little Dipper and nearly does so again, barely getting his fingers on the net. He makes up a little ground on the first ladder, but Keener does a pretty frontender, something that’s still beyond McNeil’s ability and/or courage. Keener just needs to...

** SPLOOOOSHH **

Oh, no way, dude! (Dudette, whatever, I’m too frustrated right now to care.) She lost her footing on Block Run! Who the hell loses her-slash-his footing on Block Run?? Especially at this stage of the competition? McNeil pulls another one out of his Warped Wall notch. Geez.

Profile of Luke Beckstrand, who’s really into it. The good news is that he’ll have up to six chances to make a name for himself and make some real money.

= First round match 3: Luke Beckstrand vs. Taylor Greene =
Just another day at the office for Greene. Beckstrand actually had a good run, but simply good isn’t going to be good enough to outdo Greene. She’s giving me serious Brian Arnold vibes, she is that stone cold.

Quick preview of the upcoming Holden McNeil/Tate Allen slugfest, in which Eyes reminds us that Allen beat McNeil twice...hold the phone, he just came out and said it? He didn’t try to sugarcoat or spin or hem and haw or anything? And now he just proclaimed how much better an athlete Allen is. Ye gods...when Matt Jesus Aich Frickin Iseman can’t pretend anymore, you know it’s going to be a massacre. This is just cruelty. Isn’t there some way UK can just declare This Isn’t A Contest or whatever and let McNeil walk away with his self-esteem less than utterly carpet bombed? Maybe then you won’t need any waiweewuwwaweis!

= First round match 4: Holden McNeil vs. Tate Allen =
Well, this one’s mercifully quick, at least. Allen dismounts from the very first rung on the second ladder straight off the transition from the first, McNeil tries to frontend, doesn’t make it, dunks. Three up, three down. Screw everything.

Bit ‘o boilerplate rah-rah from Eyes and Bodge, and it’s on to 13-14. Damn, Eyes is really hyped up about this Jonathan Godbout/Nate Pardo match for some reason. Don’t get me wrong, I like a worst-to-first story as much as the next passive spectator too lazy or gutless to get out there, but wait until we actually get one, all right?

= Wild card match 3: Jonathan Godbout vs. Nate Pardo =
Godbout jumps out to a slight lead...

** SPLOOOOSHH **

PARDO DOWN ON LITTLE DIPPER! Holy... Replay isn’t much help. The right side came off during the descent; it looks like he simply mishandled it. Damn. I thought something was off about him...the scowls, the chest thumping, the disappointed tone, the pressures he put on himself. His head just didn’t seem to be in the right place. But no matter how bad it gets, the second obstacle should be a gimme. What a way to go.

Godbout looks a bit flustered by his win. “Wait...I beat Pardo on the second obstacle? My training partner? I crushed him like a paper cup? Are you sure some clueless girl didn’t substitute at the last second or something?”

Dreschel gives a few pointers on Little Dipper.

Devan Alexander something something check something checkmate. Cal Plohoros something size isn’t everything. Radical.

= First round match 5: Cal Plohoros vs. Devan Alexander =
Fast one. Alexander has a slim lead going into the dipper, but Plohoros is nimbler on the exit, and it’s nearly even going to the hang bars. Alexander still a little ahead going into Sky Hooks. Plohoros is quicker on the crossover and closes the gap. Alexander makes the second transfer first. Plohoros is going for another big finish. Onto the last ring, then one-time...

** SPLOOOOSHH **

Oh my, him too? Arguably the strongest contender in all of block A bites the dust. He simply never got a firm grip on the ring and lost it. Man, this has been a day for stunning falls, and somehow I doubt it's over just yet.

And guess who gets an exit interview now. Plohoros tries to keep it positive, and from his tone it’s obvious that he never really expected to win it all. Just gotta get out there and do your best. I like that attitude. Could use a lot more of it in my life.

Quick look at Carson Edwards. He runs track. Yeah. (Why not “C.Eddie”? Don’t understand how these people think at all sometimes...)

= First round match 6: Jonathan Godbout vs. Carson Edwards =
It’s a fierce neck and neck duel through four, neither contestant giving an inch or making any blunders. Still mirrored going into Sky hooks. Still mirrored after the crossover! And...Edwards puts this one to bed, going 3-4-5 in three easy swings and moseying up that wall while Godbout finds water. This one was pure sugar (just a friendly reminder ) right up to the homestretch; definitely expect Sky Hooks to be the difference-maker in 13-14.

Oh yeah, I know that look. Fighting super-hard to keep his emotions in check. Stay strong, brother.

Wait...no 3WAs today? So it really is twelve matches, no more, no less? Huh. All right.

Time out for some utterly pointless interview with Edwards’ dad. Please tell me that Arr was given that eternally asinine “Would YOUUUUU like to run the course?” question, because I want there to be one fricking regular on this show I don’t hold in total contempt, dangit.

Now the time has come to see who gets to compete on the final day, and, much more importantly, who’s guaranteed to take home money! (Look, it’s not a big deal for me in other sports. I never talk about contracts or salary caps or gender gaps. It’s a big deal for me in ANW.)

First up is 9-10, and...well, let’s recap how Daniel Woods’ journey has gone. Completely beaten down by Bella Palmer, received a gift after Barrett Eads completely flubbed Little Dipper, and proceeded to get bonked by Palmer a second time. Even though he ended up with the best wildcard time in 9-10, he came into today with a record of 1-2, which is about as bottom-feeditory as it’s possible to get. Worse, his two wins today were unimpressive, coming over girls who messed up in the clutch (as girls have an unfortunate tendency to do here). Granted, Palmer wasn’t exact tested against Abil Mbondo, but you can’t deny that she’s looked a lot better than Woods. I hate to call this a done deal, because I know anything can happen and anyone can screw up. But in this case, “screwing up” can mean winning by one whole obstacle instead of two. I’m sorry, but I just don’t see Woods winning this one.

= Quarterfinal match 1: Daniel Woods vs. Bella Palmer =
Woods has a small lead after two...

** SPLOOOOSHH **

...................................

[Just to clarify, that was Palmer, who barely made it a third of the way through before going full Chernobyl on an obstacle she’d previously nailed four fricking times. The number of smacks and mads needed for that one would take this post over the character limit. More on this at the end.]

Taylor Greene has powered past her competition so far, but she’s never faced a crusher like Tate Allen before. It’s going to take every ounce of her skill and mettle to have a chance, and even then she might have to get a break.

= Quarterfinal match 2: Tate Allen vs. Taylor Greene =
Allen does another first-bar one-time frontender, and the only break is the hearts of Greene’s supporters as Allen casually puts another notch on his ever-lengthening belt. (Metaphorically. He’s in great shape; he doesn’t need a belt.)

So we’ve seen a lucky dog score yet another outrageous upset, and a machine continue grinding along. Which scenario is Edwards/Alexander going to fall into?

= Quarterfinal match 3: Carson Edwards vs. Devan Alexander =
Even after one; both boys have quick feet. Edwards is sharp as a razor on the dipper and takes the lead, but Alexander has better armwork and retakes the lead on the hang bars. Alexander has a smoother dismount, and they’re dead even...

** SPLOOOOSHH **

Are these kids going for the record or something? Yep, you guessed it, Edwards, who yada yada flawless blah blah last spinning block bling bling bling totally in shock etc.

Block A semifinallists: Daniel Woods, Tate Allen, Devan Alexander

Phew. I don’t know about you, but I’m extremely glad we’re going to get fresh blood next week. This playoff just plain Wore. Me. Out. Final comments in brief:

9-10: How bad is it? All you need are five words: Daniel Woods will win money. It doesn’t matter if he gets totally whacked on the final day (which I still think is going to happen, although now it’s certainly not a lock), he’ll go home better off than everyone else in Block A who was supposedly better than him. Remember Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, one challenger after another who was supposedly ten times the fighter he was and could destroy him with a thought, and it mattered precisely jack squat because they didn’t, and at the end Pilgrim was alive and they weren’t? That’s what I saw here. I’m not exaggerating when I say this might be the weakest 9-10 contingent ever. And a huge reason for that is the same problem that’s plagued this event the first season: girls that are fit, confident, and capable in prelims and then completely turn into shivering, shrinking flowers in crunch time. I mentioned before that the boys’ big advantage over the girls’ was mental. Just too many girls who can’t keep their heads in the game and make one ridiculous blunder after another, and I am sick of this. Listen, UK, if you’re going to hype up staaah-roonnngg girls, they’d better be able to keep it up. As for Woods...you’re playing with house money now, kid, so just stay loose and try not to embarrass yourself. That’s all I ask.

11-12: Tate Allen. Man. Why is it always this group that produces all these big bullies? I don’t mean that as an insult, BTW; on the contrary, it’s great seeing someone who executes, gets the job done, and sets the bar. I definitely see shades of Brian Arnold in him (even more than for Taylor Greene). Once Collin Cella left, there wasn’t anyone else who had any real shot at this, and it led to a by-the-numbers playoff. But every so often, that’s fine; it’s nice to know that the best man...or boy, as the case may be...occasionally does win. It’s too early to make predictions, of course, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Allen won it all, and I can’t say he’d be undeserving.

13-14: Out of the massive, enormous, unbelievable, shocking carnage comes Devan Alexander, who had the fortune of having his massive blunder in a match that didn’t matter. Honestly, I still don’t know what the hell happened here. It seemed like six different contestants could’ve won this and Alexander just happened to get the long straw. We’ll find out soon enough if he’s the real deal and can handle pressure better than anyone else or just had a lucky day. Money’s just as good either way, of course, but it’s always nice to have closure, y’know?
  #650  
Old 03-21-2020, 06:59 PM
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Oh-kaay, let’s see which can of motivationatory Eyes decides to open for this week’s intro. “It doesn’t matter what part of the country you’re from.” And to really drive the point home, we see the shapes of Minnesota, Idaho, Kansas, Florida, Texas, Ohio, Iowa, and Tennessee, complete with two-letter abbreviations. Ehhhhhhh...this is yet another one of those instances where I have to ask, was this ever an issue? I mean, if it’s a sport you have to live in a certain part of the country to take part in or at least get exposed to, like, say, surfing, or skiing, or rodeo, I can see how gaining nationwide appeal would be a pretty big deal. But ANW? It’s obstacle course racing. Anywhere can have obstacles. Wasn’t there this one contestant who worked out in a ninja gym in every state except Delaware? If this ever was a regional thing, I’d say those days are long past.

AMERICAN NINJA WARRIOR JUNIOR 2 - BLOCK B PRELIMS, DAY 1

We kick things off by Bodge pretending that Daniel Woods’ making the final was anything other than a ridiculous fluke and Arr implying that there are going to be plenty of failures on Warped Wall in the near future. Should I just not cover the stuff before the first match and stop holding out hope that it’s going to be anything other than hyperpathetic? I mean, it’s not like these recaps aren’t long enough.

Oh yeah, Bodge says, and this is a direct quote: “All these ninjas only know too speeds, fast...and faster.” Here’s hoping that doesn’t turn into an evil omen.

Zoe Zogleman comes out in a tiara and Miss Kansas sash, and her profile confirms that she is, in fact, a beauty queen, which is totally okay now, trust us. She does the usual “don’t underestimate me” bit, which means that she’s going to be highly inspirational and totally powerful and get her sequins handed to her in the real. The only thing these big-talking girls ever put up is a lot of water.

Riley Tolman comes out in a “MINI FLEX” t-shirt in honor of Jessie Labreck. Honey, it’s a nice dream, but maybe wait until you’re sure you’re not good enough for the WNBA or LPGA.

Sheesh, I didn’t think it was possible, but these insta-polls are getting even stupider. “Which is the better way to flex?” Seriously? Kids used to get beaten up for answering questions like this.

= Exhibition 1: Riley Tolman vs. Zoe Zogleman =
They’re off...and geez, Denise, what is Zogleman even doing? I swear to Sagume I’ve never seen anyone that slow on Shrinking Steps; she’s practically tiptoeing. Now all Tolman has to do is set a decent pace and she can win this trotting away. And of course, she has to grind to nearly a halt on Spider Walls, allowing Zogleman to catch up. And then Tolman waits...and waits...and waits...and waits...and waits at the start of Block Run, and I’m unable to continue watching as my eyes have been locked permanently heavenward. Holy damn, what a painful opening match. Finally over when Zogleman comes up short on the Flying Squirrel dismount (called it! ). No, Tolman, please, forget the wall, we want to get this episode finished today, dangit. THERE’S your freaking jinx, Bodge!

And now Bars has the supremely unenviable task of convincing the loser of this farce that there’s a nanoghost of a chance that she won’t get squashed even flatter in the real. I'd back up the rolleyes truck, but that would just be cruel to Bars. It's not like she wished for this to happen.

Meagan Martin and Grant McCartney round out today’s spin control duty.

Stepping up...oh, Kanako H Suwako, we’re following up Girl-Girl Race To The Bottom with two athletic boys? Does one fricking person involved with this season remember how this arrangement always plays out?? Oh, by the way, one of them is the tallest competitor in this year’s 9-10! Haaahhh...all right, Nathaniel Honvou. Nickname that means “extraordinary” in some unspecified African language, fast feet, screams too much. Gorgeous.

= Exhibition 2: Noah Daul vs. Nathaniel Honvou =
Good gravy, Daul is just laughing his way through this course. Honvou does his best to keep up, but it’s just not enough. Now Daul has just Flying Squirrel left...

** SPLOOOOSHH **

...and he comes up short on the first transition! And Honvou passes him for the win! Hot tamale cocoa pursuit, I was not expecting that! Daul just betrayed a major Achilles heel, something you do not want to do in your very first match. Should make for an interesting final!

Arr asks Honvou how he was able to keep his focus after his opponent went down, and...okay, Arr, there’s stupid, and there’s Bizarro World. Please learn the difference before you’re asking kids their strategy for losing the next match.

Well, it’s real time, and neither girl is even in the frame for like 90% of the goddam race, and Daul doesn’t make the same mistake twice, and they’re utter curbstomps, and this was slightly less predictable than a typical Harlem Globetrotters game, and I freaking knew this was going to happen the instant I saw the boys step up, and once again we kick off an age group with FOUR COMPLETELY MEANINGLESS MATCHES, and now the wildcard leaderboard is up and I cannot freaking believe Eyes was able to say that with a straight face, and this is so damn depressing and you people don’t realize the sacrifice I make watching this misery so you don’t have to. (Oh, and the profile was that Tolman’s buddy owns a hamster. I wish I could make this stuff up. )

I need some fresh air, dammit. Andreas Johnson makes stop-motion videos. Lovely. Game on.

Wait, who was Taylor Richards again? [checks files] Got outplayed in her exhibition, caught a break to win the real, and in the final became one of approximately 2,000 girls to turn “hold on, keep your footing, and make a simple forward jump” into goddam America’s Funniest Home Videos. What a veteran, am I right?

= Exhibition 3: Andreas Johnson vs. Taylor Richards =
They both get a good start, and it’s nearly even through two. Double Tilt Ladder is where most of the big separations happen in 11-12; let’s see if that holds. Still nearly even at the transition. Johnson does a clean frontender from the first and second rungs, while Richards has to go to the middle, and Johnson takes the lead. No change in Block Run, and Johnson is still ahead at Wing Nuts...which would be enough after Richards whiffs on the first transition.

McCartney has a few kind words for Richards. With the way the girls are getting hammered today, the mentors definitely have their work cut out for them.

And now I just learned that because the opening match went on so long, we’re going to need a fourth 3WA...damn, getting really nasty flashbacks to Carli Snook...and guess which match just got thrown under the bus! That’s right, the second exhibition of 11-12! FOR CRYING OUT LOUD, FIND GIRLS WHO CAN FREAKING RUN!!

= Exhibition 4: Sitara Canada vs. James Scott (3WA) =
Grossly overplayed early stumble, creative editing, creative editing, and it’s plainly obvious that Scott hit the buzzer way, way, way before Canada went out on Wing Nuts, given that he’s not even in the freaking frame when we see her miss the dismount. All right, forget split screen, just give us an “Inspirational Cam” and crow about grit and determination so we know who lost and can get the hell on to the next match.

(I remember a time when I was really positive about this season. It seems like a dream now. )

Sitara Canada is a young feminist and an activist for LGBTQ rights. Well, how about that, ANW is starting to attract good people now! (Wouldn’t have waited 26 minutes to put in the first non-utterly miserable moment of the episode, but what the heck, I’ll take it!) Bit of friendly advice: Don’t get into sports. As soon as your ANWJ2 run ends (which, if I’m being brutally honest, probably will happen today), walk away and never look back. Every single lady jock that’s ever existed has been considered an inferior, looked down on, mocked, ridiculed, belittled, marginalized, and eventually cast aside and forgotten. Women’s sports is an avenue for slimeball perverts who look like they were dipped in toxic waste to call you ugly, fat slobs who can’t pick up the mail without breathing hard to proclaim that they could totally kick your butt, and empty-headed talk show hosts with the job skills of a street derelict to whine endlessly about how overpaid you are. You could not do more damage to the cause of women’s equality if you put a hit on Elizabeth Warren. Seriously, sports bad.

= Real 3: Sitara Canada vs. Andreas Johnson =
Canada gets way vertical on the dipper exit but manages to hold on, and she even catches up on the first ladder. But Johnson does another 1st-2nd dismount (that’s what I’m calling it from now on), while Canada has to go farther, and that’ll just about do it. Johnson’s steady the rest of the way while Canada runs out of gas and falls on the first wing nut transition. Back to the good fight, young lady, and may your light never fade.

= Real 4: Taylor Richards vs. James Scott =
** SPLOOOOSHH **. That’s what happened this match. ** SPLOOOOSHH **. It was unreal: on Little Dipper, Richards failed to place the right side of the bar on the track, and her anything-other-than-irrelevant-prelim-cannon-fodder dreams went into the drink. She’s now a glorious 1-4 all time in this event. Yeah, reeeeeal veteran.

And of course, Scott has to gyrate on top of the wall. Scott, bad things happen to contestants who celebrate cheap wins. You should have seen more than enough evidence of that by now. Don't be a punk.

11-12 leaderboard proudly proclaims “OUT ON WING NUTS” for Canada and Richards, and man, Eyes sounds downright subdued. That’s understandable but still a bit stunning coming from him.

(Seriously! I said things like “Really like what I'm seeing from this season so far!” I know I did! )

Martin is with the first contestants for 13-14 and trying to encourage them. They’re both girls, so this is both admirable and probably completely futile.

Emma Liskey is a scuba diver. And is apparently into environmentalism. Okay, thumbs up.

= Exhibition 5: Anabella Heinrichs vs. Emma Liskey =
It’s a good matchup, with Heinrichs holding a slim lead through three. Liskey is a little clumsy coming out and gives up more ground, and Heinrichs is the first to Sky Hooks, which has really become the make-or-break test of 13-14. Again, five motions, and you can count them. Heinrichs 1. Liskey 1. Heinrichs 2, Liskey 2. Heinrichs 3. Liskey 3...and Heinrichs can’t get her body steady for the ring-to-ring jump. That’s the nail in the coffin, as Liskey finishes the obstacle and ascends to the buzzer unopposed.

Isaiah Thomas is both a mama’s boy and a grandmama’s boy. Uh...thumbs up?

= Exhibition 6: Isaiah Thomas vs. Aiden Welsh =
Thomas gets a cleaner dismount off the dipper and takes the lead, then extends it with a fierce charge across the hang bars, and the hole gets deeper when Welsh falls flat on his face coming out of Block R...oh, wait, sorry, more creative editing, he’s actually just behind. (Seriously?? It’s a legitimately close match and they’re trying to HIDE that fact???? ) They’re both on the second ring, so it’s coming down to who can pull the trigger...and...it’s settled when Welsh can’t hold on to the third ring and plummets.

Barring a big mental blunder (which, admittedly, is always a possibility), Thomas should handle Heinrichs pretty easily, but I think Welsh is going to have his hands full against Liskey, who’s proven her mettle on the obstacle that matters the most. Not only is she the best chance for a non-100% sausagefactorious finals, but she might give us the only decent real of the entire day.

(Please don’t 3WA that one...please don’t 3WA that one...please, please, pretty pretty pretty alluring attractive photogenic lookism please...)

= Real 5: Anabella Heinrichs vs. Isaiah Thomas (3WA) =
Hey, all right! Heinrichs actually put up a pretty good fight, but Thomas’ upper-body advantage was simply too much to overcome. Heinrichs fell behind on Sky Hooks and, with no choice but to rush the ring-to-ring, took a bath.

Time out for a little puff piece on...children who are travelling by plane for the first time. Yeah. I’ve said it before that the biggest problem with Acceptable Stories was finding people who have endured that extremely specific trauma or tragedy or dramatic event AND are good enough at ninja-ing to not find the water in two seconds, and sometimes the producers just have to dig really deep one way or the other. I fully expect an expose on hotel reservations one of these days.

Aiden Welsh is a Minnesota native and really into winter sports. Sure thing.

= Real 6: Aiden Welsh vs. Emma Liskey =
Two capable athletes run hard and clean through three. Liskey has a nimbler dismount and gets through the blocks first, while Welsh takes another humiliating fall. Neither is completely smooth through the first three motions, and they’re even on the second ring. Moment of truth. And Liskey pulls the trigger first and one-times the third ring...and it soon becomes academic when Welsh’s feet hit the water on the dismount. He avoids going in, but it’s too little, too late, Liskey very calmly going up the wall and sealing it. A nice win from a nice girl at an extremely opportune time!

And...we’re going right to the finals? Sheesh, that puff piece was, like, one minute, and we had an extra 3WA. Seriously, just add a third time slot. I doubt that UK’s schedule is that tight.

= 9-10 final: Nathaniel Honvou vs. Noah Daul =
Daul is the better athlete, but not by much, and he cannot have another mental error if he’s to have any hopes of winning this. Fast-paced through two. On the walls...Honvou surges ahead? Was he holding back the last time? No change on the blocks, which means that Daul has to come from behind to win. Which doesn’t happen; Honvou makes a clean transition, one-times the fixed bar, and is off to the races on the wall. A little tentative up the notches, but it don’t matter when you’re that far ahead.

It will, of course, come to no surprise that Daul’s 45.11 completely blew away Irrelevant Girl and Other Irrelevant Girl. Today’s 9-10 was a complete freaking waste, dangit.

= 11-12 final: James Scott vs. Andreas Johnson =
Absolutely no telling who will win this one, so let’s get to it! Even through the steps. Scott pulls the trigger faster on the dipper and takes the lead. Scott makes the transition on the ladders...and has to go to the middle rungs before dismounting. Johnson should be able to make up some time with his 1st-2nd, and does, but took longer to get to that point and still trails. A mysterious stumble by Scott out of the blocks, but Johnson’s feet aren’t as fast and he can’t capitalize. It all comes down to who can be fast and smooth on the nuts. Scott’s taking too many swings, and they make the first transition at the same time. And Johnson makes the second transition first and takes his first lead of the match! Scott is struggling badly on the second nut, and Johnson dismounts first! He’s about to win the day with an impressive come-from-behind...

JOHNSON LOSES HIS BALANCE ON THE RUNUP! It looked like he feet got crazy for just a tiny fraction of a second, and it forces him to abort the attempt and try again! Scott dismounts and charges! Johnson has no choice but to go as well...and his rushed attempt is slow and comes up short of the notch! Scott is in, up, and over to cap off a wild finish. Man, the last thing I expected today was a Heaven and Hell!

Johnson’s foot fault results in a middling 50.27. Given that even Emily Keener was able to break 49 seconds, his chances are looking pretty dim. Expect a lot of second-guessing if he comes up just short.

= 13-14 final: Isaiah Thomas vs. Emma Liskey =
Thomas in the lead after two. Actually looks like he gives up a bit of ground on the hang bars but is still ahead, and...UH OH!...right foot goes astray on the last block but he reaches the end safely and avoids falling off the side. It’s a hard-fought duel on the rings...and Thomas gets turned around on the second ring!...but he quickly corrects it. He gets to the third ring and dismounts first, and that’ll ice it. It’s the closest finish we’ve had all day, but Thomas easily gets his hand on the buzzer first. All the credit for recovering from a pair of mishaps which would have ended the hopes of a lesser competitor. That’s what you call clutch!

Liskey finishes with a 43.65. That’s unlikely to hold up...I’d give it a 10-40% chance (Hey, it’s not an exact science, dammit!)...but I’d be perfectly cool with it if it did. She’s a tough competitor, especially compared to some of the dreck we’ve witnessed, and she definitely didn’t deserve to be sent packing after one day.

B1 qualifiers: Nathaniel Honvou, James Scott, Isaiah Thomas

Phew. Stick a fork in me. I think I’ll watch a lot of MMD videos now.
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