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  #651  
Old 03-28-2020, 03:42 AM
DKW is offline
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Intro is about “recipes for success”, complete with a joke recipe with “bucket of sweat” and “50 lbs muscle” and that kinda junk. I’m really bummed that UK is propagating the pathetic hard-work-equals-success lie...I mean, good lord, have you been AWAKE for the past 40 years or so...but it’s even more ludicrous coming on the heels of Daniel Woods, who could very well be the ANW “can win if nobody else shows up” contestant of all time. But since I’m trying to keep the grumbling at a minimum...at least I think I am...I’ll simply remind you that Joan Hilty did the joke recipe better ages ago. Wait, does that count as grumbling? Ah, dang.

(Oh, uh, forgot to mention that James Scott was in the first ANWJ, making it all the way to quarterfinals before losing to Collin Cella. He definitely knows how to win and could be making some noise two weeks from now.)

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

Boilerplate introduction, starting with a recap of last week’s thankfully non-embarrassing winners, and it’s on to the 9-10 opener. We see two not especially powerful-looking girls step up, and already I’m having world-class misgivings. All right, profile. Teafilia Walton says that she’s going to be “the best guitar playing ninja FBI agent ever”, which is simultaneously completely ridiculous and an extremely low bar, and I honestly didn't think we'd be seeing an impressive double whammy of lameness in just the second season. The rest of the profile doesn’t inspire any more confidence. She looks exactly like one of those “quirky” contestants you see in quallies who invariably gets dunked early on. That’s not a problem for the regular game (it’s moronic, it’s a colossal waste of time, but it’s not a problem), but when I see someone like that in a head-to-head competition, I always think, wasn’t there ANYONE they could’ve chosen who could’ve made it at least close to a contest? Sheesh.

= Exhibition 1: Meredith Kim vs. Teafilia Walton =
Highlights of this (extremely) slow-motion disaster, in order: Walton ogling her opponent at the start of Little Dipper and still somehow getting across first, Walton going into freaking Five Year Plan mode at the start of Block Run and allowing Kim to run away, both girls taking an entire home run derby's worth of swings on Flying Squirrel, and the whole brain-numbing mess ending in a freaking shid after Walton’s left hand slips out of the first notch. Bonus: Kim gyrating for what seems like an NBA time out atop the wall, thereby crossing the line from “bad sport” to “malfunctioning robot”. Make a separate contest for slow, hopeless girls, dammit. You can call it Fat Princess.

Albatross helpfully explains to Walton what she did wrong, and I imagine the temptation to say “everything” must have been massive. Shot of him and fellow back-patters Drew Dreschel and Jessie Graff. I always get a laugh out of her saying “always have your chest forward”. What the hey, I’ll get whatever enjoyment from this show that I can.

Charlie Ball is fond of his grandfather! What the hell is noteworthy about this? He doesn’t even do anything special in the profile, just encourages him as he’s training. I know they can’t all be WW2 heroes, but dang, a tiny bit of effort, please.

= Exhibition 2: Charlie Ball vs. Zay Maningo =
Ball takes the early lead, and that’s all he’d need as Maningo becomes the newest member of the You’re Supposed To Put Both Ends On The Track, Stupid! Club. This... This is the FIFTH prelim of the SECOND season, WHY are these ludicrous... Don’t these people want soooooooo cloooose?? Don’t they want hard-fought competition?? HOW IN BLOODY BLAZES DO THEY THINK...

You know what? I’ve had enough. Yes, already. Screw everything. Charlie Ball wins the final. What a surprise, huh? Swear to Reimu, 9-10 is absolutely blowing chunks this season.

Lessee, who was Sienna Perez again...oh, right, a supposedly strong, powerful, mighty, awesome, incredible girl who, in her first match that actually mattered, tried to get past Tic Toc without freaking jumping, with nauseatingly predictable results. It’s nice that the community got behind her (as opposed to the usual reaction to a female athlete making a huge blunder) and that she’s determined to do better this time, but does she realize that her problem, and indeed the problem for most of the girls, is upstairs? It doesn’t matter how much muscle and gristle and bustle you have, you lose your head and you pay the price in the water, it’s that simple. And don’t think that Tic Toc was the problem; Little Dipper has destroyed the overconfident and the sloppy this season, and it’s just getting warmed up.

= Exhibition 3: Sienna Perez vs. Rebekah Cornwall =
Cornwall is in the lead after two, but Perez has superior upper-body mojo and catches up at the end of the first ladder. Perez dismounts slightly sooner, 3rd to Cornwall’s 4th, but Cornwall’s fast feet give her the lead again on the blocks. It’s a classic strength-against-weakness duel; which will...ah, no it isn’t. Cornwall, although a bit wild on the nuts, manages to pull the trigger faster, she dismounts while Perez is still on the second, and that’ll do it. Dang, after all that early action I was kind of looking forward to a close finish.

Geez, winning the lousy exhibition is “a dream come true”? You still got work to do, lady, don’t get all Miss America just yet.

Daniel Hoxie...honestly just sounds really out of it and I’d rather not dwell on that fact.

= Exhibition 4: Daniel Hoxie vs. Andrew Marr =
A sluggish pace at the start and mostly even until Hoxie gets a bad dismount on Little Dipper. He clings to the landing area and stays in it but loses a lot of time. Marr is unimpressive on the second ladder but still manages a 2nd frontender. Still in the...yawn...lead after the blocks and...zzzzzzzzzzzz...I’m sorry, when the match is this slow, it’s hard for me to stay focused. Suffice to say that both are thoroughly unimpressive, but Marr slightly less so, and he finally puts this one to bed. Perhaps literally. Yes, that was most definitely a walk to the buzzer I saw.

Arr asks them what it’s like to face each other, and they respond like they have guns to their heads. Given that this is UK, I wouldn’t be surprised if this were the case. Figuratively. (Yes, I know what the word “literally” means, dammit. )

Graff gives a bit of advice to Perez before her win-or-go-home-...again! duel with Marr. Profile of the latter, who’s into woodworking, and you can refer to my previous comments on developing useful job skills at a young age. So he’s just building ANW obstacles, so what? Everyone has to start somewhere. Even better, he’s earning his own money to buy the supplies! Wow, once he gives up his ludicrous dreams of ever amounting to anything in this joke of a sport, he’s got a bright future ahead of him!

= Real 3: Sienna Perez vs. Andrew Marr =
Perez is ahead after two and does another nice 3rd dismount at the ladder. She’s clearly the better athlete; all she has to do now is keep the pedal down. Blocks, piece of cake. First nut transition...OOH! ...and she holds on. Second transition...good! And she’s the first to dismount, and you know someone of her caliber isn’t going to botch the wall. You go, girl! Looks like you finally figured out this “not royally screwing up” thing!

= Real 4: Daniel Hoxie vs. Rebekah Cornwall (3WA) =
This was a “just get it the hell over with” match if there ever was one. Cornwall flat-out dominated this one from start to finish. And I gotta admit, her singing is a far more pleasant capper than any other contestant’s dancing.

Kaden Lebsack is a wakeboarder. “It never gets old.” And...man, he looks ripped. His opponent, Blake Feero, made it out of prelims last year but didn’t beat anyone of note, so it’s tough to gauge his chances.

= Exhibition 5: Kaden Lebsack vs. Blake Feero =
Wow, you definitely see the difference with the older boys! A blazing pace all the way through Block Run, where Lebsack is in front but has a tiny stumble, and they’re dead even going to the rings. And nearly even throughout! But Feero has just a little more composure at the end, giving him a decisive win. Definitely grateful for the new wild cards, because of which I can appreciate this match instead of raging about it being in the goddam prelim!

And right to the next match without a profile! (Someone must have wasted a lot of time...gee, can’t imagine who... ) And...it’s two unimpressive-looking girls. GodDAMMIT. Look, UK, I understand the logic of having relatively even-strength matchups in the opener, but you do realize that if you have strong-strong and weak-weak, that’s only going to lead to incredibly predictable reals and an inevitable rematch in the final making the initial strong-strong even more pointless, right? I mean, strong-weak strong-weak isn’t a whole lot better, but at least the final actually has some weight to it! Or...to get really wild...have all four contestants of approximately the same ability! That way all the matches are worth watching!

= Exhibition 6: Nia Conner vs. Charlie Ham =
Conner has a massive crisis of faith at the start of Little Dipper but is saved when Ham freaking forgets which direction to go on the second ring of Sky Hooks, and there’s a fine line between “disappointing match” and “sheer torture from start to finish”, folks. It ends the only way at match like this could end, with a wall washout. (I watched a second time unmuted, and yes, there was, in fact a bee daah waw chant.) This match was sadder than every tragedy in the entire Final Fantasy series put together.

Do I really need to tell you what happened in the reals? After what we’ve seen, they’re...they’re...dammit, I’m tired of finding metaphors for this. All right, think of the most predictable thing you’ve ever predicted in your life. They were more predictable than that. There you go. And here we go to the next match promising a picosoupcon of that coveted quality known as “competition”!

= 11-12 final: Sienna Perez vs. Rebekah Cornwall =
Perez is flying high after her real victory, but unless she can find an answer to Cornwall’s powerful legs, her joy may be short-lived. Cornwall in the lead again after two. Perez makes her move on the ladders...hot dang, that was fast! And Cornwall is struggling! Perez is already on the first nut before Cornwall has even reached the blocks! And that’s the final straw; with her upper-body superiority, there’s no hope of a comeback. This is a completely different Sienna Perez than the lackadaisical choker we saw one year ago, and she seems to get stronger with every match. Way...to...go!

Thankfully there’s no unhappy ending here for Cornwall (who was impressive in her own right), as her time of 43.39 easily takes the top wild card spot. Arr does a cheerful postmatch with both of them, and they both state how grateful they are to have such strong competition. Given how a lot of other girls do here, that’s saying a lot. If they meet for a rubber match two weeks from now, I guarantee you it is going to blow the damn roof off. Whoa, did I actually use the term “rubber match”? Just no end to the surprises with ANW.

= 13-14 final: Kaden Lebsack vs. Blake Feero =
An unfortunate side effect of there being wildcards is that it’s taken a lot of the excitement out of matches like this. Before I felt rage that someone would unfairly be sent home early, now I feel...indifference. We all know that the loser is going to shoot to the top of the wild card standings and nothing short of getting arrested is going to keep him out of the wild card match. Sure, Lebsack losing means he ends the day 1-2, but he knows what truly matters and that beating up a nobody (e.g. Charlie Ham) doesn’t mean anything. Anyway, the match is largely the same as their first. Lebsack made a quick jump for the final ring but didn’t quite have the momentum for a one-timer, and that was the difference; Feero one-timed the last ring and...though it was close at the end!...completed a perfect day.

Lebsack puts up a jaw-dropping time of 28.27, the kind of number that makes casual viewers scratch their heads and ask “How the freak did he not win?” I pity the doomed hopeless doormat jabroni roadkill schmuck who’s going to get ground into a fine dust by him in the wild card match. The real question is whether he can beat Feero when it really really counts. It’s going to take an absolutely perfect run, but Lebsack’s shown that he’s capable of it. Whatever the case, there are going to be fireworks in the playoffs...and given the dreariness I’ve seen in this damn block, I say the more the better. (Which is probably the only time I’m ever going to say that about fireworks, so appreciate it!)

B2 qualifiers: Charlie Ball, Sienna Perez, Blake Feero

And with that I bring my shortest ANWJ recap ever to a close. One thing that’s become painfully clear is that this event desperately needs an early weeding-out phase, like the regular contest has with quallies. Put a whole bunch of kids out there and let them run the course unopposed, and the ones who don’t stink up the joint get to be in the real deal. I’m tired of reals and finals so predictable they may as well be scripted. I just hope that the guys at the top see the problem and make some effort to make a better product, or this could be on my “don’t care anymore” list by season 3.
  #652  
Old 03-31-2020, 03:24 PM
Huffleclaw is offline
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Originally Posted by Ellis Dee View Post
Your fury perplexes me. I can't wrap my head around where even a tiny fraction of that vitriol is warranted.

It rhymes with her name, which is a very common practice for nicknames.

No it wasn't. Scorpions aren't poisonous, they're venomous. Big difference. The former is poison to eat (thus the word "poisonous") while the latter is perfectly fine to eat. You just don't want to get stung by them.

Well, we could eat the insects, or we could eat babies. (Because babies taste best!)

Kid Rock is 47.
Sparkly doesn’t rhyme with Barclay. I think you’re confusing her name with the credit card company.
  #653  
Old 04-04-2020, 04:20 AM
DKW is offline
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In the intro, Eyes is...acknowledging failure? Seriously, the very first scene is Teafilia Walton coming up short on the wall, and here are his exact words: “For every moment of triumph, there are countless hours of failure. Behind each epic grab is a mountain of misses.” This seems to be implying the intense training required to get to a competitive level in ninja (which in turn, I guess, explains why we’ve seen so many complete schlubs here, but I’ve banged that drum enough already), but we’re seeing both training footage and the aftermath of competitors stinking it up on the course. This is pretty remarkable. ANWJ is the most positive, cheery, happy-happy reality show I’ve seen in my life (and absolutely jarring when compared to hardcore hatefests like Hell’s Kitchen, The Bachelor, or Survivor), and Eyes, the shillingest shill who ever shilled for shilly shill shill shill, just comes out and says “a lot of this is going to suck, there’s nothing anyone can do, just deal”? Wow.

All right, I’m not really expecting this to spark some wondrous renaissance of intelligent analysis and realistic expectations, but one step at a time!

(Sheesh, the only comment so far is digging up some old gripe I made about Barclay Stockett’s nickname? Enough. Let the past be past. I think “Bars” sounds better, anyway. )

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

Kicking off 9-10 are...two small, unimpressive-looking girls. Uggghhh... At this point this raging bullcrap has rocketed past “they never learn”, soared beyond “actual brain damage”, and landed smack on “completely addicted to a formula that absolutely does not work”. Goddammit.

Eyes proclaims that Josslyn Siembor is competing for “reasons that will warm your heart”, and that’s pretty much all you need to know about her chances of not getting squashed completely flat. Fricking... Aaaaaaagghhh... (Oh, it’s about the Special Olympics or something.)

= Exhibition 1: Josslyn Siembor vs. Evelyn Schmitz =
Highlights: Siembor losing her feet in the middle of Spider Walls, Siembor ogling Schmitz on Flying Squirrel, both girls valiantly struggle to remember what to do there (“Oh! Move your body in the same direction to increase speed!” ), and the clumsiest Warped Wall attempts I’ve ever seen that were not done by actual amputees. Schmitz hits the buzzer first, which I’m happy for because it means this match is over.

Bars, Meagan Martin, and Grant McCartney are today’s decent advice-givers.

Jake Scionti has a six pack, which will become something of a theme for him for the remainder of the season.

= Exhibition 2: Kaleb Perez vs. Jake Scionti =
Holy Marisa, did that really happen? I have to watch it again. Perez doesn’t get a smooth run down Little Dipper...it looks like he got slightly offtracked halfway down...and his momentum is completely shot at the end. He has no choice but to make a leap of faith and unsurprisingly comes up well short.

Oh joy, that makes TWO weeks in a row where we know who’s going to win the day after two freaking matches! The only question is if Perez really is as bad as he looked, for which the answer was a highly revolting “yes”. In the real against Schmitz he lost his footing near the end of Spider Walls and gave her the freebie. To Schmitz's credit, she was able to hang with Scionti for a while, but once it reached Flying Squirrel, she was toast, losing by a score of making-way-too-many-goddam-swings to not-making-way-too-many-goddam-swings. I freaking hate 9-10.

(Oh yeah, Noah Daul vs. Zay Maningo in the blah blah seriously who gives a crap.)

Tiago Lima does capoeira! No no, not “like” dance fighting! Own it! Represent, dangit! (Hey, we’ve all played Tekken.)

= Exhibition 3: Tiago Lima vs. Hunter Rowland =
Unfortunately you have to use your arms in this game. Lima gets a lethargic push off of Little Dipper, gets no speed on the descent, and falls about a quarter mile short of the landing area. Dang, Roland looks much better now than last year; I’m eager to see just how good she really is!

Anavi Angst is called “Das Ninja”. Because she’s from Germany. And she can cross her eyes, which I admit is a handy ability to have when watching these profiles.

= Exhibition 4: Anavi Angst vs. Asa Solberg =
Nearly even right up to Little Dipper, whereupon Angst immediately triggers it in her fans by making a horrible dismount, getting her feet completely ahead of her upper body, and sort of touching her toes before pratfalling straight into the water. Byakuren Hijiri on a cracker, why do black girls so consistently screw the pooch here?? I was there when Florence-Griffith Joyner and Simone Biles blew the roof off the stadium! I grew up with the paradigm-crushing, continent-moving career of Serena Williams! The WNBA is well into its third decade! I know that good black female athletes exist! Why hasn’t there ever been one in ANWJ? Whyyyyyy?????

And now Bars does a Tips And Tricks on...Shrinking Steps? Um, I don’t think that should be anyone’s priority, particularly with Little Dipper quickly becoming the new Tic Toc.

According to Eyes, Hunter Rowland “had one of the most iconic one-handed grabs in history”. Ummmmmm...other than emphasizing that she could beat Anavi Angst with one hand tied behind her back, I really don’t see the point of hyping up a match she freaking lost. Besides, that obsess-over-that-one-thing-that-one-time thing just gets incredibly old (think Kevin Bull going inverted or Jamie Rahn losing a shoe). Look forward, not back, dangit.

(I really, really, honest-to-Okina thought I’d be more positive this season...)

= Real 3: Anavi Angst vs. Hunter Rowland =
Even after one. Both girls have decent form on the dipper, thank goddess, and are on to the ladders. Angst...actually has better upper-body strength and catches up? Hoo yeah, it’s a contest after all! They’re on to the middle of the second ladder, and Rowland has to go to the third rung from the end before dismounting but still gets off first. Angst takes a hard fall on the dismount and finds herself a full obstacle behind. On to the nuts, were Rowland pulls the trigger on the first transition first while Angst loses momentum. But Rowland’s taking her time getting wound up again for the second, allowing Angst to catch up! But that’s as close as this would ever get, Rowland regaining her form, dismounting first, and slowly but surely ascending to triumph. Huh...this match was actually fairly decent. Okay, cool.

= Real 4: Tiago Lima vs. Asa Solberg (3WA) =
At first blush, this sounds like the totally wrong choice for the 3WA, as it’s between two boys. As it turns out, the only one who should be blushing is Lima, who didn’t even make it to the end of Little Dipper this time, electing instead to freaking lose the handle. In two matches he cleared a grand total of two obstacles, while Solberg’s headed to the final after what amounted to an extended practice run. Goddammit, I’m dying here.

(I really, really, honest-to-Hecatia thought that I’d be lamenting how I thought I’d be more positive this season just once per recap. Really.)

Evan Lavallee was inspired by big sister Sophia, whose amazing clutch win over Daniel Jones in Prelim #4 sparked an incredible run to quarters. But never mind friendly sibling rivalry when there’s an Acceptable Story to regale us with! That’s right, his mom is recovering from colon cancer! Wait, she’s going to live? Ah, heck, close enough!

= Exhibition 5: Evan Lavallee vs. Addy Herman =
Uhhh...not liking this matchup. Lavallee literally just turned 13 and doesn’t look especially athletic, while Herman actually made it to playoffs last year. My fears are quickly confirmed when Lavallee hesitates at the start of Little Dipper, giving Herman a...and now he’s caught up. Creative editing saves the day yet again! Herman is the first to Sky Hooks, and as always, it’s a race to 5. Herman makes the jump first; 1-0. 2-1. 3-2. 3-3, and Lavallee looks indecisive. 4-...

** SPLOOOOSHH **

Dammit, you hate to see this. Herman’s hands are on the last ring and they slip right off, just like that. Lavallee takes a long time to finish, but that doesn’t matter when he has all of it in the world. And just to add insult to injury, he needs two cracks to get up the wall.

The final exhibition is Autumn Mathisen vs. Gabby Romano, the former of which made it as far as ANWJ1’s quarterfinals and the latter of which made it to the first round. I’m honestly a little surprised to see so many returnees, especially the girls. Maybe after what they’ve done the producers are afraid to say no to them. No profile for either, so you know they’re here on merit. Sounds good. Sounds like it’s going to be the only good we have today.

= Exhibition 6: Autumn Mathisen vs. Gabby Romano =
They’re setting an unamazing but consistent pace, and it’s all knotted up after three. Mathisen has faster feet through the blocks but backs off from Sky Hooks! Girls! There’s no place for cowardice in sport! Even one as messed up as ninja! Luckily Romano has the same crisis of confidence, and they shuffle uselessly in front of the trampoline, neither wanting to pull the trigger. Gah! Mathisen is the first to grow some...uh, ovaries, and the totdia is on. 1-0. 1-1. 1-2...and apparently Mathisen forgot how to spell “move”. (“I need to...uh...em-oh-oh-dee? En-yoo-dee-ee? Em-ay-yoo-vee-ee? Dammit, I know this!”) She manages to tie it up at 3-3, and did I mention that these girls have become incredibly slow? Like, typical 9-10 cannon fodder slow? Mathisen, despite getting seriously sideways, somehow manages to dismount first and make a big show of hitting the buzzer. The 13-14 final is absolutely going to suck eggs, isn’t it?

= Real 5: Autumn Mathisen vs. Addy Herman (3WA) =
Herman didn’t repeat her mistake, and that’s all it took to stomp a very small, delicate mudhole in her hapless foe. Was it just one week ago that Blake Feero was tearing up the course? Was it a dream?

(I know this was completely unintentional, but Bodge shouting “Hasta la vista, baby!” just as the camera cut to Mathisen sliding down the wall has got to be his highlight of the whole season. That was nasty, and in this case completely deserved. Eat your crow and like it! )

Meagan Martin gives some advice to Lavallee. Eh, I dunno about “stay nice and calm”; if he was any more lethargic in his first match, he’d be in siffies. Gabby Romano hikes through the mountains outside her home and, since she can’t get her driver’s license yet, does lots of off-roading. Dang, it looks like everything leading up to her real against Lavallee is designed to convince us that it’s going to be utter annihilation, a bizarre editorial choice from show that pitches sugar with the fervor of a Def Leppard concert.

= Real 6: Gabby Romano vs. Evan Lavallee =
Fine, let’s get this over with. Even after one. Romano gets down the dipper first but Lavallee has the better dismount, and they’re still even. On to the hang bars, and... holy...Lavallee takes the lead! The shy little brother (who just barely became old enough for this group, I remind you) is pulling away! And Romano is struggling on the upper-body obstacle! Lavallee is quick through the blocks and right onto the first ring! He has trouble getting moving again, allowing Romano to catch up, but he still makes the first ring jump first. Let’s do this! 1-0! 2-1, 2-2! Now 3-2! 3-3, 4-3! Just the dismount left! And he’s off while Romano still hasn’t done the ring-to-ring! He’s...

Uh oh. He stops at the beginning of the ramp...and looks behind. And then he psyches himself up. No! Keep your head in the game, dammit! You’re so close to pulling off the upset and punching your ticket to the finals! One obstacle left, LET’S GO! Romano dismounts; he has to pull the trigger now! He does! He’s up...

...AND SLIDES BACK DOWN! Still can’t get it on the first crack! Romano is up, and she makes it easily. After fighting so hard, Lavallee loses this one with a shid. Beyond heartbreaking.

Forget it, I can’t go on. How pathetic was this group? It ended up a double steal. This had the look and feel of a total crapshoot, and our one shot at a feel-good story was crushed beneath the heel of physical limitations. Needless to say the final was a monumental bore-a-rama not even worth covering. Herman won, but if you seriously believe that there is any possible result for her in the playoffs other than getting ground into hamburger by Blake Feero or Kaden Lebsack, I definitely do not want what you’re having. Speaking of which, Lebsack, to the surprise of no one not in a coma, took the top wild card spot. Emma Liskey was #2, but I’d rather not draw attention to this as she really deserves better. And now I realize that either Feero or Lebsack will not win any money while someone who’s not in the same galaxy as either of them probably will, and I am so freaking depressed, man.

Huh...one more final? ‘Kay, whatever...

= 11-12 final: Hunter Rowland vs. Asa Solberg =
Rowland has a razor slim lead after the steps, but Solberg gets down the dipper slightly faster, and they’re even after t...no they’re not! Solberg’s feet go astray and he gets hung up on the net! But he has the better upper body and catches up on the ladders. He can really put the pressure on with a frontender...but he doesn’t have the chops for it and Rowland dismounts first. No development on the blocks, and Rowland is on the first nut. She needs a lot of swings for the transition...but so does Solberg. And with that, his luck has finally run out; Rowland completes the obstacle while he’s still on the second nut and calmly makes it official.

Rebekah Cornwall unsurprisingly and very deservingly locks up the #1 wild card spot, while Andreas Johnson’s stumble becomes a nonissue as his 50.27 easily trashes Andrew Marr and Asa Solberg’s times. I’m actually anticipating a pretty good wild card match between these two, and the way this season is going, “pretty good” could be the absolute pinnacle.

B3 qualifiers: Jake Scionti, Hunter Rowland, Addy Herman

Bah. Screw today forever. Let’s just get to playoff prospects, excluding 13-14 since we already know it’s going to be Feero vs. Lebsack III following three completely irrelevant squash matches.

9-10: Sausage party? Try hash. None of these boys have been tested, so we have absolutely no way of knowing how they’ll do against real competition when the pressure’s on. I like what I’ve seen from Nathaniel Honvou, and Jake Scionti appears to be a solid pick, but only a fool would be so bold as to make prognostications. Just like all of you, I’ll give the results when I get the results!

11-12: Sienna Perez and Rebekah Cornwall are at the top of this class, and it looks pretty likely that they will have their much-anticipated rubber match. But I also think Andereas Johnson has the potential to be an intriguing spoiler. He’s got to be fuming blowing his final against James Scott, and with his ability he’s the perfect candidate for a redemption arc. Whatever happens, this is going to be unpredictable and must-see all the way.
  #654  
Old 04-07-2020, 06:15 PM
Huffleclaw is offline
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Originally Posted by DKW View Post
In the intro, Eyes is...acknowledging failure? Seriously, the very first scene is Teafilia Walton coming up short on the wall, and here are his exact words: “For every moment of triumph, there are countless hours of failure. Behind each epic grab is a mountain of misses.” This seems to be implying the intense training required to get to a competitive level in ninja (which in turn, I guess, explains why we’ve seen so many complete schlubs here, but I’ve banged that drum enough already), but we’re seeing both training footage and the aftermath of competitors stinking it up on the course. This is pretty remarkable. ANWJ is the most positive, cheery, happy-happy reality show I’ve seen in my life (and absolutely jarring when compared to hardcore hatefests like Hell’s Kitchen, The Bachelor, or Survivor), and Eyes, the shillingest shill who ever shilled for shilly shill shill shill, just comes out and says “a lot of this is going to suck, there’s nothing anyone can do, just deal”? Wow.

All right, I’m not really expecting this to spark some wondrous renaissance of intelligent analysis and realistic expectations, but one step at a time!

(Sheesh, the only comment so far is digging up some old gripe I made about Barclay Stockett’s nickname? Enough. Let the past be past. I think “Bars” sounds better, anyway. )

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

Kicking off 9-10 are...two small, unimpressive-looking girls. Uggghhh... At this point this raging bullcrap has rocketed past “they never learn”, soared beyond “actual brain damage”, and landed smack on “completely addicted to a formula that absolutely does not work”. Goddammit.

Eyes proclaims that Josslyn Siembor is competing for “reasons that will warm your heart”, and that’s pretty much all you need to know about her chances of not getting squashed completely flat. Fricking... Aaaaaaagghhh... (Oh, it’s about the Special Olympics or something.)

= Exhibition 1: Josslyn Siembor vs. Evelyn Schmitz =
Highlights: Siembor losing her feet in the middle of Spider Walls, Siembor ogling Schmitz on Flying Squirrel, both girls valiantly struggle to remember what to do there (“Oh! Move your body in the same direction to increase speed!” ), and the clumsiest Warped Wall attempts I’ve ever seen that were not done by actual amputees. Schmitz hits the buzzer first, which I’m happy for because it means this match is over.

Bars, Meagan Martin, and Grant McCartney are today’s decent advice-givers.

Jake Scionti has a six pack, which will become something of a theme for him for the remainder of the season.

= Exhibition 2: Kaleb Perez vs. Jake Scionti =
Holy Marisa, did that really happen? I have to watch it again. Perez doesn’t get a smooth run down Little Dipper...it looks like he got slightly offtracked halfway down...and his momentum is completely shot at the end. He has no choice but to make a leap of faith and unsurprisingly comes up well short.

Oh joy, that makes TWO weeks in a row where we know who’s going to win the day after two freaking matches! The only question is if Perez really is as bad as he looked, for which the answer was a highly revolting “yes”. In the real against Schmitz he lost his footing near the end of Spider Walls and gave her the freebie. To Schmitz's credit, she was able to hang with Scionti for a while, but once it reached Flying Squirrel, she was toast, losing by a score of making-way-too-many-goddam-swings to not-making-way-too-many-goddam-swings. I freaking hate 9-10.

(Oh yeah, Noah Daul vs. Zay Maningo in the blah blah seriously who gives a crap.)

Tiago Lima does capoeira! No no, not “like” dance fighting! Own it! Represent, dangit! (Hey, we’ve all played Tekken.)

= Exhibition 3: Tiago Lima vs. Hunter Rowland =
Unfortunately you have to use your arms in this game. Lima gets a lethargic push off of Little Dipper, gets no speed on the descent, and falls about a quarter mile short of the landing area. Dang, Roland looks much better now than last year; I’m eager to see just how good she really is!

Anavi Angst is called “Das Ninja”. Because she’s from Germany. And she can cross her eyes, which I admit is a handy ability to have when watching these profiles.

= Exhibition 4: Anavi Angst vs. Asa Solberg =
Nearly even right up to Little Dipper, whereupon Angst immediately triggers it in her fans by making a horrible dismount, getting her feet completely ahead of her upper body, and sort of touching her toes before pratfalling straight into the water. Byakuren Hijiri on a cracker, why do black girls so consistently screw the pooch here?? I was there when Florence-Griffith Joyner and Simone Biles blew the roof off the stadium! I grew up with the paradigm-crushing, continent-moving career of Serena Williams! The WNBA is well into its third decade! I know that good black female athletes exist! Why hasn’t there ever been one in ANWJ? Whyyyyyy?????

And now Bars does a Tips And Tricks on...Shrinking Steps? Um, I don’t think that should be anyone’s priority, particularly with Little Dipper quickly becoming the new Tic Toc.

According to Eyes, Hunter Rowland “had one of the most iconic one-handed grabs in history”. Ummmmmm...other than emphasizing that she could beat Anavi Angst with one hand tied behind her back, I really don’t see the point of hyping up a match she freaking lost. Besides, that obsess-over-that-one-thing-that-one-time thing just gets incredibly old (think Kevin Bull going inverted or Jamie Rahn losing a shoe). Look forward, not back, dangit.

(I really, really, honest-to-Okina thought I’d be more positive this season...)

= Real 3: Anavi Angst vs. Hunter Rowland =
Even after one. Both girls have decent form on the dipper, thank goddess, and are on to the ladders. Angst...actually has better upper-body strength and catches up? Hoo yeah, it’s a contest after all! They’re on to the middle of the second ladder, and Rowland has to go to the third rung from the end before dismounting but still gets off first. Angst takes a hard fall on the dismount and finds herself a full obstacle behind. On to the nuts, were Rowland pulls the trigger on the first transition first while Angst loses momentum. But Rowland’s taking her time getting wound up again for the second, allowing Angst to catch up! But that’s as close as this would ever get, Rowland regaining her form, dismounting first, and slowly but surely ascending to triumph. Huh...this match was actually fairly decent. Okay, cool.

= Real 4: Tiago Lima vs. Asa Solberg (3WA) =
At first blush, this sounds like the totally wrong choice for the 3WA, as it’s between two boys. As it turns out, the only one who should be blushing is Lima, who didn’t even make it to the end of Little Dipper this time, electing instead to freaking lose the handle. In two matches he cleared a grand total of two obstacles, while Solberg’s headed to the final after what amounted to an extended practice run. Goddammit, I’m dying here.

(I really, really, honest-to-Hecatia thought that I’d be lamenting how I thought I’d be more positive this season just once per recap. Really.)

Evan Lavallee was inspired by big sister Sophia, whose amazing clutch win over Daniel Jones in Prelim #4 sparked an incredible run to quarters. But never mind friendly sibling rivalry when there’s an Acceptable Story to regale us with! That’s right, his mom is recovering from colon cancer! Wait, she’s going to live? Ah, heck, close enough!

= Exhibition 5: Evan Lavallee vs. Addy Herman =
Uhhh...not liking this matchup. Lavallee literally just turned 13 and doesn’t look especially athletic, while Herman actually made it to playoffs last year. My fears are quickly confirmed when Lavallee hesitates at the start of Little Dipper, giving Herman a...and now he’s caught up. Creative editing saves the day yet again! Herman is the first to Sky Hooks, and as always, it’s a race to 5. Herman makes the jump first; 1-0. 2-1. 3-2. 3-3, and Lavallee looks indecisive. 4-...

** SPLOOOOSHH **

Dammit, you hate to see this. Herman’s hands are on the last ring and they slip right off, just like that. Lavallee takes a long time to finish, but that doesn’t matter when he has all of it in the world. And just to add insult to injury, he needs two cracks to get up the wall.

The final exhibition is Autumn Mathisen vs. Gabby Romano, the former of which made it as far as ANWJ1’s quarterfinals and the latter of which made it to the first round. I’m honestly a little surprised to see so many returnees, especially the girls. Maybe after what they’ve done the producers are afraid to say no to them. No profile for either, so you know they’re here on merit. Sounds good. Sounds like it’s going to be the only good we have today.

= Exhibition 6: Autumn Mathisen vs. Gabby Romano =
They’re setting an unamazing but consistent pace, and it’s all knotted up after three. Mathisen has faster feet through the blocks but backs off from Sky Hooks! Girls! There’s no place for cowardice in sport! Even one as messed up as ninja! Luckily Romano has the same crisis of confidence, and they shuffle uselessly in front of the trampoline, neither wanting to pull the trigger. Gah! Mathisen is the first to grow some...uh, ovaries, and the totdia is on. 1-0. 1-1. 1-2...and apparently Mathisen forgot how to spell “move”. (“I need to...uh...em-oh-oh-dee? En-yoo-dee-ee? Em-ay-yoo-vee-ee? Dammit, I know this!”) She manages to tie it up at 3-3, and did I mention that these girls have become incredibly slow? Like, typical 9-10 cannon fodder slow? Mathisen, despite getting seriously sideways, somehow manages to dismount first and make a big show of hitting the buzzer. The 13-14 final is absolutely going to suck eggs, isn’t it?

= Real 5: Autumn Mathisen vs. Addy Herman (3WA) =
Herman didn’t repeat her mistake, and that’s all it took to stomp a very small, delicate mudhole in her hapless foe. Was it just one week ago that Blake Feero was tearing up the course? Was it a dream?

(I know this was completely unintentional, but Bodge shouting “Hasta la vista, baby!” just as the camera cut to Mathisen sliding down the wall has got to be his highlight of the whole season. That was nasty, and in this case completely deserved. Eat your crow and like it! )

Meagan Martin gives some advice to Lavallee. Eh, I dunno about “stay nice and calm”; if he was any more lethargic in his first match, he’d be in siffies. Gabby Romano hikes through the mountains outside her home and, since she can’t get her driver’s license yet, does lots of off-roading. Dang, it looks like everything leading up to her real against Lavallee is designed to convince us that it’s going to be utter annihilation, a bizarre editorial choice from show that pitches sugar with the fervor of a Def Leppard concert.

= Real 6: Gabby Romano vs. Evan Lavallee =
Fine, let’s get this over with. Even after one. Romano gets down the dipper first but Lavallee has the better dismount, and they’re still even. On to the hang bars, and... holy...Lavallee takes the lead! The shy little brother (who just barely became old enough for this group, I remind you) is pulling away! And Romano is struggling on the upper-body obstacle! Lavallee is quick through the blocks and right onto the first ring! He has trouble getting moving again, allowing Romano to catch up, but he still makes the first ring jump first. Let’s do this! 1-0! 2-1, 2-2! Now 3-2! 3-3, 4-3! Just the dismount left! And he’s off while Romano still hasn’t done the ring-to-ring! He’s...

Uh oh. He stops at the beginning of the ramp...and looks behind. And then he psyches himself up. No! Keep your head in the game, dammit! You’re so close to pulling off the upset and punching your ticket to the finals! One obstacle left, LET’S GO! Romano dismounts; he has to pull the trigger now! He does! He’s up...

...AND SLIDES BACK DOWN! Still can’t get it on the first crack! Romano is up, and she makes it easily. After fighting so hard, Lavallee loses this one with a shid. Beyond heartbreaking.

Forget it, I can’t go on. How pathetic was this group? It ended up a double steal. This had the look and feel of a total crapshoot, and our one shot at a feel-good story was crushed beneath the heel of physical limitations. Needless to say the final was a monumental bore-a-rama not even worth covering. Herman won, but if you seriously believe that there is any possible result for her in the playoffs other than getting ground into hamburger by Blake Feero or Kaden Lebsack, I definitely do not want what you’re having. Speaking of which, Lebsack, to the surprise of no one not in a coma, took the top wild card spot. Emma Liskey was #2, but I’d rather not draw attention to this as she really deserves better. And now I realize that either Feero or Lebsack will not win any money while someone who’s not in the same galaxy as either of them probably will, and I am so freaking depressed, man.

Huh...one more final? ‘Kay, whatever...

= 11-12 final: Hunter Rowland vs. Asa Solberg =
Rowland has a razor slim lead after the steps, but Solberg gets down the dipper slightly faster, and they’re even after t...no they’re not! Solberg’s feet go astray and he gets hung up on the net! But he has the better upper body and catches up on the ladders. He can really put the pressure on with a frontender...but he doesn’t have the chops for it and Rowland dismounts first. No development on the blocks, and Rowland is on the first nut. She needs a lot of swings for the transition...but so does Solberg. And with that, his luck has finally run out; Rowland completes the obstacle while he’s still on the second nut and calmly makes it official.

Rebekah Cornwall unsurprisingly and very deservingly locks up the #1 wild card spot, while Andreas Johnson’s stumble becomes a nonissue as his 50.27 easily trashes Andrew Marr and Asa Solberg’s times. I’m actually anticipating a pretty good wild card match between these two, and the way this season is going, “pretty good” could be the absolute pinnacle.

B3 qualifiers: Jake Scionti, Hunter Rowland, Addy Herman

Bah. Screw today forever. Let’s just get to playoff prospects, excluding 13-14 since we already know it’s going to be Feero vs. Lebsack III following three completely irrelevant squash matches.

9-10: Sausage party? Try hash. None of these boys have been tested, so we have absolutely no way of knowing how they’ll do against real competition when the pressure’s on. I like what I’ve seen from Nathaniel Honvou, and Jake Scionti appears to be a solid pick, but only a fool would be so bold as to make prognostications. Just like all of you, I’ll give the results when I get the results!

11-12: Sienna Perez and Rebekah Cornwall are at the top of this class, and it looks pretty likely that they will have their much-anticipated rubber match. But I also think Andereas Johnson has the potential to be an intriguing spoiler. He’s got to be fuming blowing his final against James Scott, and with his ability he’s the perfect candidate for a redemption arc. Whatever happens, this is going to be unpredictable and must-see all the way.
You’re forgetting about Raeya Linton.
Quote:
Byakuren Hijiri on a cracker, why do black girls so consistently screw the pooch here?? I was there when Florence-Griffith Joyner and Simone Biles blew the roof off the stadium! I grew up with the paradigm-crushing, continent-moving career of Serena Williams! The WNBA is well into its third decade! I know that good black female athletes exist! Why hasn’t there ever been one in ANWJ? Whyyyyyy?????
  #655  
Old 04-10-2020, 05:11 AM
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In my defense, pretty much everyone else has as well.

(Oh, and when you quote a post, make sure to delete everything except the part you want. Having to read my recaps once is punishing enough.)
  #656  
Old 04-10-2020, 11:41 PM
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Open to sounds of heavy breathing.

“Listen closely. That’s the beating of your heart in your chest.”

And we’re off to yet another flying start...

AMERICAN NINJA WARRIOR JUNIOR 2 - BLOCK B PLAYOFFS

I don’t know about you, but I’m just glad I’ll never have to talk about this royally pathetic bunch again after today. This has been the polar opposite of a Group of Death. Hell, I’m tempted to call it a “Group of Immortality”.

For second time in as many playoffs, Eyes calls the 9-10 wild card match a “showdown”, which is appropriate as it pits the upper-body aptitude of Homestar Runner (Zay Maningo) versus the agility and course sense of a wagon full of pancakes (Noah Daul). Yeah, this one’s probably going to be either really dreadful or completely one-sided, and just once I’d like someone in this group to pleasantly surprise me. Pretty please? I won’t hold it against you, promise!

Okay, Daul’s nickname is Goliath, meaning that Bodge had to do The Unbelievably Obvious Ten-Miles-Underground Fruit Cliche, and I’m rooting for him to lose so I don’t have to suffer through that anymore. (I bet Flip Rodriguez would beat him pretty easily! )

= Wild card match 1: Zay Maningo vs. Noah Daul =
Daul has quicker feet and is slightly ahead through one. At the dipper, Maningo still has nerves after his Exhibition blunder and takes a while to get going. Daul gets through first but lands clumsily, and Maningo remains in striking distance. Now the walls, where...

** SPLOOOOSHH **

Down goes Daul! Down goes Daul! Two steps from the end his right foot slips out! Maningo gets through without batting an eye, and just like that the upset is in the books. Man, I didn’t really think I’d get my wish this soon! Thanks, dumb luck!

Albatross gives some advice to Nathaniel Honvou. Shot of the other mentors, Jessie Graff and Drew Dreschel. Do they get paid the same on a day with fewer matches?

Recap of Jake Scionti’s day. Astoundingly, Eyes says he’s ready to “flex on the competition” without ever mentioning Jesse Labreck. Then a recap of Nathaniel Honvou which is...a bunch of sports cliches. Can we have a “total indifference” smiley?

= First round match 1: Nathaniel Honvou vs. Jake Scionti =
Scionti gets on the dipper first but Honvou has the cleaner dismount, and it’s dead even after two. And its...

** SPLOOOOSHH **

...a rather unsettling trend as Scionti...who, you’ll recall, got through Spider Walls three times last week without the tiniest trouble...loses his left foot three steps from the end, and he’s all wet. Man, beating up on three bungling halfwitted klutzes didn’t prepare him for playoff pressure at all, did it?

Recaps of Charlie Ball and Zay Maningo, and man, you can practically smell the desperation emanating off of Eyes and Bodge. This is what I’m now referring to as the Third Time’s The Worst match, a uniquely ANWJ2 phenomenon where: 1. whoever or whatever is in charge of prelim matchups puts the two hopeless contestants and two non-hopeless contestants against each other in the freaking exhibitions, 2. the loser of the non-hopeless goes on to pulverize whichever bum he gets in the real 3. and gets a rematch against the other non-hopeless in the final, which he loses 4. but still makes the playoffs as a wildcard 5. whereupon he faces the same boy who already beat him twice and is really feeling the creeping doom now. Let’s get one thing straight: The one that won the two is going to win the third a huge, huge majority of the time. If it’s a rubber match, with a 1-1 split leading up to it, it can be a huge thrill. If it’s 2-0, it’s pretty much a noisy waste of time. Yes, I know what happened to Bella Palmer. She’s a choke-prone girl who choked. I doubt Ball is going to be so charitable. I mean, listen to the announcers, how halfhearted their horse race narrative is.

Oh, profile: Maningo competes with his brother. Neat-o.

= First round match 2: Charlie Ball vs. Zay Maningo =
Nope... nope... nope... nope... nope, world not turning upside-down, strike three you’re out. On the plus side, Maningo got the FAAAASTEEEEEST TIIIIIIME of all the contestants who got their souls run through a car compactor!

And now both Bodge and Arr say “who wants it more” in the same minute! We go right into the wild card match...whereupon Bodge says that Andreas Johnson has “sneaky speed” What the...what is this, National Sports Cliche Day?? Are we making up for March Madness being cancelled or something??

= Wild card match 2: Andreas Johnson vs. Rebekah Cornwall =
You remember Rebekah Cornwall, don’t you? That lightning bolt who split a series against the powerful Sienna Perez? Well, Andreas Johnson is no Sienna Perez, falling so far behind he’s barely at the start of Wing Nuts when Cornwall has nearly dismounted. World stubbornly remains right side up; favorites continue rampaging along.

Eyes reminds us that the 11-12 playoffs are in “full effect”, which I’m assuming means that there won’t be a waiweewuwwawei. I’m thankful for that, so I’ll excuse his usual non sequitur spewage.

Profile of Sienna Perez. Her weirdo quirky talent is catching food in her mouth. We hardly have these type of profiles anymore, so I can’t really judge this. Ooh, she should catch a piece of pie in her mouth and one-up Molly Haywood! Recap of Hunter Rowland, who’s “undefeated”, and I’m thinking today is going to end in a lot of tears for her. (Strength of schedule, people! Strength! Of! Schedule!)

= First round match 3: Sienna Perez vs. Hunter Rowland =
Rowland gets hung up on the dipper net and gives up ground, she gives up a lot more ground on Tilt Ladders when Perez dismounts from the third rung, and that’s the living end of her pitiful pretensions of beating this girl. (Told ya! )

Postmatch announcer shoutfest! Perez is really glad to be here, while Rowland is doing her best to stay positive. (So am I, even if may not seem like it sometimes.)

James Scott! While other competitors focus on pure speed, Scott’s strategy is to have a bungling choking nimrod as his opponent! I can’t take any more of this...

= First round match 4: Rebekah Cornwall vs. James Scott =
Next! Cornwall leaves her pitiful foe completely in the dust for...

** SPLOOOOSHH **

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

(Do not scream... do not scream... blood pressure... do not scream... voice can only take so much... do not scream... calm... calm... you can do this... again... do... not... scream...)

HAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH. And this day was going so well. Yep, you guessed it, Cornwall, flying high after getting the best 11-12 wildcard time and convincingly dispatching Andreas Johnson, decided to get overconfident, with the result being that she fricking didn’t... she didn’t get the right side of the dipper bar on the track, with drearily predictable results. So what’s her excuse, huh? Pressure? What pressure? She had Scott outmatched 10 ways from Las Vegas. Over and over again I see girls (and it is overwhelmingly girls) shine in prelims and then get to the playoffs and completely lay an egg. I mean, once or twice a season isn’t a problem, but when it happens over and over and over and OVER AND OVER, it’s just absolutely crushing.

And guess what! Now there’s no reason to watch the Perez/Scott quarterfinal! Either Perez is going to win in a squash that makes an 80’s WWF Saturday jobber match look like the Rumble in the Jungle, or she’s going to go full-on panty-wetting choking crying jag baby girl mode and send YET ANOTHER grossly undeserving boy to the money round. Choose your poison, savage boredom or soul-wrenching agony!

I was really looking forward to that rubber match, goddammit.

And just to cap off this thermonuclear disaster, Scott hits the buzzer and howls. Howls. There’s pretty much zero chance of it not being soul-wrenching agony, isn’t there?

Oh, yeah, 13-14, where we see whether Blake Feero or Kaden Lebsack will be screwed out of a payday! Sheesh, I’ve never seen an episode of any reality show go from 100 to completely in the toilet this fast. I’ll just skim through the preliminary froofraw just to see that the first three matches are going absolutely 100% textbook chalk abandon-all-hope-ye-who-enter-here. Yep... yep... y...

** SPLOOOOSHH **

HOLY MOTHER OF ALICE MARGATROID... HOW...

Okay, for starters, the wild card match was a romp, as expected. Emma Liskey did what she could but never had a prayer against Kaden Lebsack. Then Isaiah Thomas stepped up to be the next victim of Blake Feero. Thomas ran his heart up but just couldn’t keep up...until Feero completely missed the Sky Hooks trampoline and tumbled into the water. No, really, that’s exactly what happened, he ran like a champion through 22 obstacles and then turned into Sport Goofy. (In the postmatch bull session, he claimed that “I caught one of my feet”, whatever the hell that means.) Dreschel gamely does his best hard-luck-old-boy, but this is a million dollar winner (and a $100,000 winner before that) and you know he has to be fuming at having to cover for this loser.

Well now. Right after a mind-blowing blunder by a favorite completely wrecks the drama of the 11-12 quarters, another one breathes new life into 13-14! Up until now Lebsack had the Liu Xun role, the super-talent who was doomed to never win anything meaningful because he kept getting thrown up against the one opponent who had his number. But with Feero taking a dive, Lebsack’s fate is completely in his hands. Meanwhile, Thomas, who was largely a darkhorse up to the fateful Feero match, is riding a huge wave now and will be a beast in quarters no matter who he faces. Better lucky than good, I say! Or rather, better lucky-good than lucky-bad! Yes, lucky-bad is a thing, we just saw it in 11-12, dammit!

= First round match 6: Kaden Lebsack vs. Addy Herman =
Lebsack leaves another doomed girl breathing fumes, and for the first time in his ANWJ career, he has a winning record!

Side note - We did get to see something which could turn out to be The Move, reaching out to the second ring on Sky Hooks immediately after making the first ring jump. Sky Hooks is by far the most time-consuming and technically tricky part of 13-14 course, and if he can consistently save time here, he’s going to be super hard to beat.

= Quarterfinal match 1: Charlie Ball vs. Nathaniel Honvou =
All right. This is it. No more cement-footed girls, no more addlebrained boys, no more punks, no more stumblebums. It’s the cream against the cream now. Let’s do this.

Ball slightly ahead after one. Both get through the dipper smoothly, and Ball maintains a small lead. Ball charges thr...

** SPLOOOOSHH **

HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA... [takes deep breath] [oh, screw it, you get the picture] What happened was that Ball reached too far ahead on the walls, his right foot gave out, and that’s ballgame. Look, I know you’re supposed to go fast, but when you successfully navigate an obstacle four times, I think that’s plenty long enough to get a feel for how fast you can go, how hard you can push it, how much margin for error you have. This is completely unforgivable.

Nathaniel Honvou claws his way out of the postapocalyptic wreckage of Block B to punch his ticket to the big dance. I won’t say he’s undeserving...all right, he probably didn’t deserve this, but as a famous fictional character once said, “deserve got nuthin’ to do with it,” and never has that been more true than in ANWJ. Who knows, if he gets two more opponents who are nearly as bad as Daniel Woods, he just might be hoisting the trophy in the end.

= Quarterfinal match 2: James Scott vs. Sienna Perez =
Scott has slightly quicker feet on the steps but stumbles a bit on the climb to the dipper, and Perez takes the lead. Perez is through the dipper cleanly, while Scott takes a long time to get the bar set and is well behind. Perez makes her way through the first ladder, while Scott... finds an extra gear and catches up! With his opponents flopping all over the place, we never got to see just how good he truly was, and as it turns out, it’s mighty good! He reaches for the...oops, whiffed, and Perez sets up another 3rd-runger. Scott recovers quickly but is slow on the dismount and is soon an obstacle behind. Perez is now two simple transitions and a dismount from crushing victory. She’s on the first. Scott goes flying on the first, and Perez is on the second...and she’s struggling! Scott finds his rhythm, and...THEY’RE ON THE LAST NUT AT THE SAME TIME! This is wild! Scott is through playing around; now he’s unleashed the BEAST! He’s about to dismount first...oh, oh, his body got twisted around and he needs another swing. Both dismount at the same time! OOTDIA! SHOOTOUT AT THE WALL! THEY’RE UP!!...AND!!...as has been the difference-maker so many times, Perez gets on her feet faster and hits the buzzer first.

Damn! In a day which already had a roller coaster’s worth of turns and dips and chills, we just got hit by another one... this match actually turned out to be good! Best of the day, in fact! All the credit in the world to Perez for gutting out a clutch win, but kudos as well to Scott for picking the best possible time to show us how good he really is. He definitely had a chance; just a couple fewer hiccups and he would’ve had it in the bag. Wow. Thanks, kids. I needed this.

I don’t like Perez’s chances in the final day. She’s not the kind of athlete who gets stronger as the event progresses, and I’m pretty sure she hit her peak in the quarters. But she’s a tough, gutsy, ice-veined girl who isn’t afraid of anyone, and as such it’s impossible not to root for her. Fight ‘till you can’t fight no more, champ!

= Quarterfinal match 3: Kaden Lebsack vs. Isaiah Thomas =
Lebsack in the lead after two. Lebsack still in the lead after three. No change on the blocks, and Lebsack is on the first ring. He does that same 1-2 move on the rings, and Thomas...

** SPLOOOOSHH **

Probably fitting that the day would end like this. Thomas is on the first ring... and then he’s off it. Just loses the handle, just like that, no muss, no fuss.

The championship has now officially become Kaden Lebsack’s to lose, and unless something truly monumental emerges from Group C or D, it’s hard to envision any result other steamrolling all the way to the top.

(“From the brink of elimination”. Jeeziz. Hey, Eyes, I got a nickname for you! “Nonsequiturcopia”!

Block B semifinallists: Nathaniel Honvou, Sienna Perez, Kaden Lebsack

Triple phew. Good episode? Bad episode? Let’s just say eventful and call it a day. Nobody talk to me for a while.
  #657  
Old 04-18-2020, 03:49 AM
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Okay, I know my tone’s been...harsh throughout Block B, and excessive negativity is something none of us particularly needs right now, so I promise to make an effort to be a little more open-minded. Less wailing and gnashing of teeth over dumb matchups or inexplicable Little Dipper screwups or macho posturing. It is what it is, and what it isn’t is worth ranting about every week. Okay? Okay. We still got halfway to go; plenty of time for something impressive to happen.

Preview is about this event’s ongoing freakish nickname obsession. I don’t recall this ever being a thing in any other sport, not even MMA. A cynic would say it’s to make up for almost nobody being paid anything, but...yeah, that’s probably it, sorry folks, drive home safely.

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

Bodge crows about last week’s playoffs and “Talk about these races coming down to the wire.” As I recall, there was one really close one (a very pleasant surprise), and pretty much everything else was a curbstomp or throwaway. It really sucks being a good soldier sometimes.

“You remember Brynli Smith from season 1?” Eh, I dunno, Eyes, all those endless hijillions of Tic Toc screwups kind of ran together for me.

= Exhibition 1: Jax Neubauer vs. Brynli Smith =
Smith takes the early lead but takes a while to get through the dipper, and Neubauer catches up. They’re nearly even on the wall, Smith retaking a tiny lead. No development on the blocks, and Smith is the first on the first swinging bar pair. Both kids are having trouble getting a rhythm going, and Smith is able to dismount first. Just the wall left...and no sweat, Smith gets up, over, and on.

Bodge: “Hey Brynli, you don’t lose the first race, do you?” Geez, given how her first ANWJ ended, that’s definitely not what I would’ve asked her. (It’s to the credit to this event’s truly impressive security detail that I didn’t hear anyone yell "No, she loses the last one!")

Shots of mentors Albatross, Jessie Graff, and Drew Dreschel. Dreschel is giving advice to last 13-14’s champion Vance Walker, an unenviable task if there ever was one. What the heck do you tell a boy who’s entering his peak rebellion years and has already proven himself?

Trinity Rocho lives in a mobile home, and I’m pretty sure I heard this exact same humdrum story last season. It’s a tight fit for six people, but of course daring to suggest that a couple should take measures to not pop out so many babies if their resources are in any way limited is total anathema, so we just get a bunch of uberboring tripe about travel. Whatever.

= Exhibition 2: Everett Lee vs. Trinity Rocho =
A fairly slow pace and it’s even after one, and that’s all the action we’d get as Lee whiffs on the dipper net and falls in. Oh well they can’t all be classics etc.

= Real 1: Everett Lee vs. Brynli Smith (3WA) =
A really tight one until Lee stumbled out of the blocks; Smith took the lead and never looked back.

Jax Neubauer is a magician, which means that once his ANW stint ends, he can go on America’s Got Talent and not win any money there either! (Although I hope he doesn’t. I mean, I’m not cruel or anything.)

= Real 2: Jax Neubauer vs. Trinity Rocho =
Neubauer’s has slower feet again and Rocho takes the early lead. Rocho goes down the dipper...and falls flat on her back! For a second it looked like her foot got caught in the net, but it’s fine. She takes a while to recover, and Neubauer surges ahead. Rocho makes another move on the wall, she goes too fast...YIIIEEEE!! ...and she saves it! She retakes the lead on the blocks, but Neubauer right there, and it’s TOTDIA time! Again both are struggling; their form is off and they can’t keep momentum. But Rocho executes just a little better and dismounts first. She’s up the wall, in the gaps...and she struggles badly! Here comes Neubauer!...and he struggles badly as well. Rocho wins by an arm.

Damn, there was some good competition in 9-10 today! Guess the producers burned through all the horrifying incompetence in Block B! Gotta pace yourselves, guys!

Benjamin Anfinson does a bunch of stuff, including drawing superhero comics. All I got to say is that I’d much rather see more of those comics than hear him having idiotic conversations with defective robots. Yeesh.

= Exhibition 3: Jordan Carr vs. Benjamin Anfinson =
Carr has a slight lead after two. Carr manages a 3rd frontender while Anfinson has to go further, and this one’s all but finished. Carr gets sideways on the nuts and Anfinson closes the gap, but it’s not enough; Carr dismounts first, and Anfinson’s last hope perishes when he fails to get up the wall.

= Exhibition 4: Carson Dean vs. Julia Marcus (3WA) =
Ugh. Never like it a contestant's first match gets the bum’s rush, especially since it’s always someone else’s fault. Dean rolled all the way to the buzzer.

Jordan Carr is a competitive climber. She’s been climbing since she was 1, which is apparently the magic age for this sort of thing. She’s so hardcore she once competed with a cast on. Yeaahhhh...not looking forward to her being in the regular contest.

= Real 3: Julia Marcus vs. Jordan Carr =
And the You’re Supposed To Put Both Ends On The Track, Stupid! Club gains its newest member as Marcus...wait for it...wait for it...pulled the right side of the bar clean off and took the short way down. I imagine it must be crushing to learn that you were brought on the show just to make the other contestants look good.

Carson Dean is severely hearing impaired. Given who’s in the booth, that might be a good thing. (No, that wasn’t a joke, whatever gave you that idea?)

= Real 4: Benjamin Anfinson vs. Carson Dean =
Dean is clearly the better athlete and exploits his advantage to the full, but runs into trouble on the ladders; he has to go all the way to the end before dismounting. Anfinson runs his heart out but can’t close the gap. To the nuts we go, and for a moment it looks like Anfinson has better form and might pull off the upset, but Dean makes two transitions with surprising speed and is off to the races. Dang, we’re seeing some gutsy, hard-working athletes do their best and just get beaten out. We need some kind of seeding system last year, never mind yesterday!

You’re never normal, Bodge, so I don’t think you have anything to worry about.

Kicking off 13-14 are Caleb Brown and Vance Walker. Brown, you’ll recall, was on track to win last year’s 11-12 until his one fatal mental error, while Walker did, in fact, win it all with an impressive clutch performance against Nate Pardo. Were there so many superstars that the producers weren’t able to spread them out among four Blocks? Given that Devan Alexander made it, I have my doubts.

Oh, look, the profile is painting Walker as a big underdog! Why? Cue Acceptable Story! Yeah, when he was 18 months old, he had cerebral palsy and needed braces to walk! Yeah, funny how properly diagnosed and treated medical conditions get better, huh? Hey, did I tell you about how sleep apnea nearly derailed my career? Sure it was years ago, but that story never gets old! Mainly because it never was worth telling in the first place!

= Exhibition 5: Caleb Brown vs. Vance Walker =
A quick pace, with Brown having the edge after three. At this level of competition, your first mistake is often your last; can he keep it up? Brown is a bit awkward on the blocks, and it’s all knotted up going to the first ring! Count with me! 1-1, 2-2, 2-...no, 3-3...and Walker just has a little more horsepower and edges out his foe. Keep gunning for that wildcard, champ!

Arr grills Walker about motivation, and he says some stuff about living up to the title and whatnot. Also “I can’t lose the first race”. Um, look, I know you’re fired up and all, but...the first race? Dude, priorities. Look at where Devan Alexander and Kaden Lebsack are now.

On to the final exhibition of the day, featuring...two girls. Normally this is the point where I slap my forehead hard enough to cause a temporary blackout, but these girls have impressive physiques...just look at those arms! Then again, we’ve seen killer physiques stink up the joint a lot more than they should. All in all, there’s a much better than zero chance that one of them is going to make the final. Maybe. Just maybe. Fingers crossed.

Ceri Evans designs her own clothing! I bet that saves a lot of money!

= Exhibition 6: Addison Mason vs. Ceri Evans =
Mason has a slight lead after one, then they both take a loooooong time to get started on the dipper; Mason stays ahead. Neither has quick feet, and it’s even going into the hang bars. Both dismount at the same time. Pretty much the same story on the blocks, and...

RRRRRRRRRGGGGGGG!!! (Sheesh, almost made it through the whole episode without a mad...) They’re at the start of Sky Hooks, Mason looks at the first ring, and she backs off. WHYYYY DOOOO GIIRRLLLSSS DOOOO THIIIISSSSSSS???? What the hell are you here for, the fresh Los Angeles air??

And then of course we have the absolutely perfect capper, Evans getting through at a snail’s pace en route to meekly falling off the third ring, Mason struggling mightily with the concept of “forward”, making a leap for the third ring, and immediately surrendering it and plummeting. All that arm muscle and neither of them could even complete the obstacle? Arrrghghbllghgglh...

Well, there’s yet another pair of bumbling girls capable of doing nothing but disappointing, and whaddya know, we get yet another Feero/Lebsack situation where it means jumping jack squat who wins the final because the other is 100% guaranteed to get a wild card spot and approximately 99.999% guaranteed to absolutely liquefy whatever sacrificial lamb gets lined up against him in the wild card match. Haaaah. Per usual, I’m not going to waste your time pretending that the any of this is worth wasting one keystroke covering, but would like to state for the record that Mason’s profile was completely about her father, which was both pathetic and completely understandable. Walker wins, what an inspirational yada yada etc.

= 9-10 final: Brynli Smith vs. Trinity Rocho =
Even through one. They head down the dipper at the same time...and again Rocho ends up on her back with a foot in the net! What’s that old saying about consistency being good only if you’re not a screwup? Both girls are running hard and setting a brisk pace, with Smith maintaining her lead through the blocks. She’s the first to...and you will not believe what happens. SHE FRICKING PAUSES AND WAITS AT THE START OF FLYING SQUIRREL. PLEEEEASSEEE REEEFERRRR TOOOOOO EXXXHIIIIBIIITIIOONNN SIIIIIXXXXXXX!!! :MAD: Argh! And then the perfect ending, as Rocho is so slow on the swing bars that she completely fails to capitalize on this break, giving Smith an easy win.

Postmatch interview where Smith cites how much more confident she is this season, which it sure as hell didn’t look like at Flying Squirrel. Just try not to embarrass yourself in playoffs, okay?

= 11-12 final: Carson Dean vs. Jordan Carr =
I like this type of final, where both competitors won both their matches but you still don’t know just how good they really are. That means it promises to be an exciting race where anything can happen.

Dead even after one; they both have fast feet. Dean pulls the trigger first on the dipper and takes the lead. He sets a good pace on the first ladder but takes a while to make the transition, while Carr makes it right away. But she gets a bit wile as Dean does a nice 3rd dismount. Carr takes way too long to dismount and gives up a big lead, and it gets worse as she stumbles out of the blocks. Dean now has a full nut advantage...but he loses speed for some strange reason, and Carr gets on the second nut. Dean finally gets swinging again and makes the second trans...

** SPLOOOOSHH **

And just like that, another great match gets deep-sixed. I don’t know what happened; Dean looked like he had good momentum and just plain messed up the grab. Carr, still on the second nut, does exactly the right thing, making absolutely sure her hands are right on the second transition and then building up a nice big swing for the dismount.

C1 qualifiers: Brynli Smith, Jordan Carr, Vance Walker

Well, I tried. Some better matches, at least. Keep watching, keep hoping.
  #658  
Old 04-25-2020, 12:02 AM
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AMERICAN NINJA WARRIOR JUNIOR 2 - BLOCK C PRELIMS, DAY 2

Some movie thing with flagrant misuse of the word “epic” (I wouldn’t even call NvN epic, and it’s a helluva lot closer than ANWJ), a girl in a black bikini jumping in a lake, and one of the extremely few sugar finishes we’ve actually had. Can we have a “meh” emoticon? I’m starting to think it’s time.

Jeremy Lauff loves a certain animal, and you’ll never guess what it is! Cheetahs. Y’know, because they’re not native to America or anything.

= Exhibition 1: Jeremy Lauff vs. Kaela Gerson =
Gerson adjust her grip on the dipper bar for some reason and gives up the lead. Then...oh dear. She doesn’t have enough arm strength to do Spider Walls properly, so she has to do this awkward push left-cross and push right-push left-cross and push right with her left arm. Resourceful, I’ll admit, but way slow, and it’s going to be an easy win for Lauff if he doesn’t mess up. Gerson stumbles out of the walls and stumbles again on the first block, and this is getting painful. Lauff, although taking a long time to make the transitions on the swing bars, gets through, and...he falls flat on his face on the runup to the wall! Man, I’ve seen contestants get tripped up here, but this was a total wipeout! Now he needs to pick himself up, brush himself off, and make sure his wheels are there for second attempt...and of course, he rushes it and comes up short of the first notch. Thankfully, Gerson brings this match to a merciful end by coming up short on the first transition (she took a helluva long time to pull the trigger, I might add) and dropping. Please, Sagume, let there not be two completely predictable reals yet again. You can help by saying “Both reals are certainly going to be highly predictable!” or something.

Bars tells Gerson to keep her knees to her chest or something. Ever get the impression that these mentors are secretly rooting for these also-rans to completely flub the real so they don’t have to deal with them anymore? Shots of fellow ‘ol boy hard-luckers Grant McCartney and Meagan Martin. Whoa, I’m pretty certain that girl is actually taller than Martin.

Payton Myler had a pretty good ANWJ1 as girls went, winning her prelim before losing in the first round of playoffs. She’s been busy since, touring Swaziland on a spread-the-word tour. Nothing really noteworthy, but from where I stand, a white girl learning to treat black kids as friends can’t be anything but a good thing.

= Exhibition 2: Payton Myler vs. Carter Samuel =
Myler has better form on the dipper while Samuel takes longer and doesn’t get his feet up on the landing area, and Myler takes the lead. Which she’d have for good as Samuel used his superior muscle to good effect on the walls but, as we’ve seen several times before, got too aggressive and paid the price in the water. Replay shows it was the left foot that went astray.

Eyes immediately crows about how Myler is “baaaaaack”, which is a tad insulting to her for reasons I’ve explained previously and pretty much just nails on a chalkboard to the rest of the planet.

= Real 1: Carter Samuel vs. Jeremy Lauff (3WA) =
An even match on paper. Unfortunately, that paper soon became unreadable by all the water kicked up after Lauff yanked the left side of the dipper bar clean off. At this rate, by the end of the season the You’re Supposed To Put Both Ends On The Track, Stupid! Club is going to need festival seating.

And that’ll do it for all the 9-10 matches that we aren’t as predictable as the Pope’s religion. (Oh, profile: Gerson skateboards. Gnarly. ) Moving on to...

** SPLOOOOSHH **

Ho-lee crap... Ugggggghhhhhh... AGAAIINNNNN!! Crap.

= Real 2: Kaela Gerson vs. Payton Myler =
Gerson, against all sense, won when Myler didn’t keep the right blah blah and an obstacle that she had no blah blah blah and she look so confident blah blah and Gerson looked even more ridiculous on the Walls, which blah blah and it’s yet another double steal, which is a testament to the enormous blah blah blah and who’s willing to put money that Samuel blah blah blah by the end of the season the You’re Supposed To blah. I haven’t quite suffered the same fate as this poor soul, but I’m getting close.

Moving on. Benjamin Rutledge’s family owns a farm.

INSTA-POLL: WILL THIS BE ONE SUBATOMIC PARTICLE DIFFERENT FROM ANY OF THE OTHER FARM BOY/GIRL PROFILES?
HELL NO | THIS IS ONE OF THOSE ASININE “BUT THOU MUST” THINGS, ISN’T IT?

= Exhibition 3: Benjamin Rutledge vs. Jack David =
Wow, I bet Rutledge is really fond of ducks, given how he waddled through Shrinking Steps before diving into the water after missing the Little Dipper net. (I’m sorry, my sense of humor gets somewhat decalibrated when I’m watching dispiriting reality TV.)

= Exhibition 4: Lexi Vasquez vs. Cassidy Short (3WA) =
And our latest exhibition waiweewuwwawei. Not exactly hyped up for the level of competition today. Nor should I have been, as Short made it down the dipper just fine and then fribbin’ lost the handle and took a cold bath. I am now firmly convinced that Ring of Fire wasn’t the problem, Tick Tock wasn’t the problem, Tic Toc wasn’t the problem, all these worthless choking bums were, are, and forever will be the problem.

Jack David plays competitive basketball and has NBA ambitions. Oooooh. As jocks go, he has the right idea (i.e. make money), but it is damn hard to get into the National Basketball Association. There simply are so few positions and roster slots (combined with a merciless salary cap) that you have to be the best of the best of the best of the best to have any kind of career there. He’ll definitely have to give up cheesy obstacle course racing at some point if he’s serious about this.

= Real 3: Cassidy Short vs. Jack David =
Even after one. Short is understandably tentative on the dipper after her first dunking, and David pulls ahead. Short makes a clean grab this time and is only slightly behind at the ladder. David makes it across the first ladder...and is having trouble with the transition! Short makes it through seamlessly...and a lot faster!...ooh, but needs to take rungs while Short dismounts from the 3rd and retakes the lead. Short dashes through the blocks but falls coming out, and he’s first to the nuts by only a couple seconds. Upper-body duel...dashed in short order as Short can’t build up speed for the first transition and briefly feels the front of the second nut before splashing down. A much better contest than I thought it would be, but you’re not going to make it far in this game if you find the water every time.

Lexi Vasquez trains with Bars!

INSTA-POLL: WILL A STAR MENTOR GIVE HER ONE MORE FEMTOGHOST OF A CHANCE THAN IT EVER HAS ANYONE ELSE?
HELL NO | WAIT, WHAT DOES “FEMTO” MEAN AGAIN? THOUSANDTH? IT’S THOUSANDTH, RIGHT?

= Real 4: Benjamin Rutledge vs. Lexi Vasquez =
Vasquez has faster feet on the steps but Rutledge pulls the trigger faster on the dipper. Both make it through safely and are even going to the walls. Still pretty even through the first ladder, but Rutledge finds an extra gear on the second and pulls ahead! Both have to go to the end before dismounting, Rutledge exiting first. On the blocks...

** SPLOOOOSHH **

...Rutledge further strengthens the case for some kind of qualifying system, as he completely loses it on the 4th block and falls off the 6th. Who the hell blows it on Block Run in the real? Vasquez graciously accepts another freebie and gracelessly does something on the wall which Eyes calls “dancing”. I dance better than that.

On to what is rapidly becoming the undisputed best part of the program, 13-14. The opener is between returnees Ella McRitchie and Abby McGuire. (It’s nice to see competitors who have a much lower chance of stinking up the joint, but I don’t want this event clogged with ringers. For now, I’m on the fence.) McGuire wasn’t too successful, but McRitchie made waves by 1. being incredibly tall, 2. winning a lot, 3. finishing an astonishing 3rd place and taking home plenty of cash for her trouble, and 4. did I mention she’s REALLY SUPER FREAKING TALL?? All right, what fighting words does she have for her sophomore outing?

“My goal this season is to win.”

Ummmmmmm... Well, you know what they say...the bigger...the...ah, screw it.

= Exhibition 5: Ella McRitchie vs. Abby McGuire =
McRitchie is the first down the dipper but gets her foot caught in the net...only briefly, but enough for McGuire to catch up. McRitchie makes the most of her longer arms on the hang bars and stays ahead. No change on the blocks, and now McGuire is running out of space to catch up. They set virtually the same pace though the first three motions; now all McRitchie has left is the final dismount and final dash. She commits...ooh, right on the edge, but she stays dry! This one’s ov...SHE MISSES ON THE WALL! It looked like she got lackadaisical and made her reach too soon! Can you even imagine an athlete of her caliber ever making a blunder like this? McGuire dismounts! They’re even at the start of the runup! Are we finally going to have a sugar finish? They’re up...and McRitchie falls again! McGuire doesn’t, and the upset bid is complete. My word, who would’ve thought this would end in a Heaven and Hell!

Meanwhile, McRitchie whiffs on her third attempt, and it’s clear that something is very wrong with her. Martin promptly tries to console her by telling her that she’s “second”. Martin, you’re a dear, but right now she’s way worse than second...as in dead in the water. I’ll spell it out: no finish, no wildcard. She has exactly one match to fix what isn’t working and get her everything in gear, or she’s going to be the next Collin Cella.

Arr grills McRitchie on her wall woes, whereupon she claims that “my feet just kept slipping”.

Josiah Pippel is the tallest competitor this season (5’ 11”) and...likes reptiles. Uhhhhh...I hope that means he’s not a...turtle....yeah, I got nothing.

= Exhibition 6: Josiah Pippel vs. Trey Williamson =
A brisk pace through two, with Pippel taking the lead after simply ducking under the net. No change on the hang bars...and then Pippel LEAPS across blocks, and just like that he’s a full obstacle ahead. Williamson finds water at the end of the blocks and nearly goes in, and that’s it for this as a contest. Man, Pippel is nimble for a big boy!

= Real 5: Ella McRitchie vs. Josiah Pippel (3WA) =
Oh, geez. Nothing to make you feel tiny like going up against a tower like Pippel. The smartest thing for her would be to forget about her opponent and treat this like a time trial. Which is pretty much how it turned out; McRitchie ran hard and actually gained some ground on Crazy Cliffhanger, but once it got to Sky Hooks, Pippel’s agility slammed the door shut. On the bright side, it seemed that the shoe change worked for McRitchie...see, that’s why you TEST those things! ...and she was able to get up on the first crack and hit the buzzer, getting that all-important wildcard time. Bodge immediately shouts that she’s a contender for the wildcard.

Time out for a cornball feature, the ANWJ Talent Show! Geez, if you have time for fluff filler like this, maybe use it to show one of the damn matches you threw into waiweewuwwaweiland? I made it all of five seconds before getting completely sick to my stomach.

= Real 6: Trey Williamson vs. Abby McGuire =
Getting back to what I thought this reality show was about...it’s an excellent matchup, with neither contestant able to pull away. McGuire’s quick feet give her a lead on the blocks but she falls at the end, and they’re knotted up on the first ring. Count with me, people! 1-0, 2-1, 2-2, 3-2, 3-3...4-3...but Williamson’s lost momentum! And McGuire one-times the third ring and is off first! Williamson dismounts, and we have an ootdia! They’re off! THEY’RE UP AT THE SAME TIME!...AND...AND...no sugar finish; Williamson takes way too long to pull himself over, and McGuire hits the buzzer while he’s still curled up at the top of the wall.

It’s our second no-rematch finals of the season, which means that everything’s completely up in the air. Even Pippel doesn’t look like a mortal lock anymore. Looks good! And I’ll take whatever “good” I can get from this show!

= 9-10 final: Carter Samuel vs. Kaela Gerson =
Even after two. Gerson does that same I-still-don’t-see-how-the-hell-this-works side-to-side traverse on the walls, and...she’s struggling? It looks like she’s running out of gas, and Samuel jumps to a big lead. Gerson falls coming out of the blocks and gives up even more ground. Samuel’s taking a lot of swings, and Gerson gets on the first bar pair...and stays there. Samuel finds his rhythm, dismounts, finds the notches, and drives a stake in this one, and Gerson’s final hope gets doused when she comes up well short of the dismount bar. Poor dear; just plain in over her head. Stop giving freebies to them in the real, dammit!

How much did Payton Myler’s bungle cost her? Her exhibition time of 56.35 was shy of Trinity Rocho’s (54.11) for the current #2 wildcard spot. Had she done her damn job against Gerson, at worst she would’ve had two more cracks at catching Rocho, one of which almost certainly would’ve succeeded since she was so close the first time. Head in the game, kids! Failure is not rewarded! Jax Neubauer still has the #1 spot with his 53.31, and his chances look better and better with each passing match.

= 11-12 final: Lexi Vasquez vs. Jack David =
Even after one. Vasquez let’s her focus waver on the dipper, enough to give David the lead. Vasquez is stronger on the ladders, but a more confident David does a 3rd dismount while Vasquez has to go a bit further, and David stays in front. David sprints through the blocks but stumbles very badly coming out, and Vasquez scoots right past him to the first nut. It’s a battle, folks! Both build up a lot of momentum, but Vasquez is a bit faster...makes the first transition first...then the second...and she’s off first! Just one to go...but she has a clumsy runup! Of all the times! She somehow finds the notch but is hanging by her fingernails. David charges, gets much better speed, and is in and out of the notch. Can Vasquez get up in time? YES! Cue that Def Leppard song I’m not sure any of you actually want to hear! For once the athlete who made the final mistake was able to recover from it just in time to seal the deal! I am liking this gutsy girl a lot!

David’s 48.44 is good for #2 in the wildcard standings, while Carson Dean remains on top with 44.64. The other also-rans in this block have not looked impressive, to put it mildly, and there’s an excellent chance that both times are going to hold up. It may have reached the point where anyone who’s capable of beating 48.44 is going to win the day outright.

= 13-14 final: Abby McGuire vs. Josiah Pippel =
Pippel runs...Pippel traverses...Pippel runes...oh, look, McGuire has caught up on the second ring!!...Pippel dismounts...and it’s over. Dang, guess he really is that good.

McGuire’s second and last stint at ANWJ ends in the same disappointment as the first as her 44.13 is well short of Ella McRitchie’s 37.39. Caleb Brown, to no one’s surprise, is lonely at the top with 29.99.

C2 qualifiers: Carter Samuel, Lexi Vasquez, Josiah Pippel

It’s nice to be on vacation! Same time next week.
  #659  
Old 05-02-2020, 03:07 AM
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Today’s intro lesson: Live your own life and be whatever you want to be...so long as it involves being very nice and helping others. Naturally, I find this astoundingly heavy-handed and cynical...and I agree 100% with it. Look, boys, when you are earning your keep and taking responsibility for your actions, you can be whatever you want to be. Until then, watch your mouth, keep your hands to yourself, mind your own business, and show some goddam respect.

Good message. I approve.

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

Is mediocre poetry really any worse than Bodge’s usual spewage, Eyes?

Owen Pham was going to compete last year, but...wait for it...wait for it...he got injured after falling off a bar. It was serious; he broke his left elbow badly enough to require surgery. Boy, it would be even more crushing if this Acceptable Story got derailed by him not making it out of today, wouldn’t it?

= Exhibition 1: Kali Pomerenke vs. Owen Pham =
Pham is a tick ahead going to the dipper but takes a while to dismount, and it’s all square after two. Pham has A SCARY MOMENT WHEN HIS LEFT FOOT GETS LOOSE ON THE WALL!!...but he recovers, and Pomerenke doesn’t have the muscle to capitalize. No development on the blocks, and the rest is boilerplate as Pham has better rhythm on the free bars and conquers the wall unchallenged. Pomerenke takes a long time to get up the wall. Yep, she’s cannon fodder.

Arr grills Pham about the recovery process, and it’s...textbook. Completely textbook. This event is becoming more conventional than college football.

Shots of Jessie Graff, Drew Dreschel, and Albatross.

Vincent Canales is a gymnast and the son of...Dominique Moceanu?? Holy cow, she didn’t just vanish off the planet after becoming the most overrated female athlete since Anna Kournikova, then butt-planting two straight vaults in the ’96 Atlanta women’s team all-around, the most embarrassing Olympic choke job I have seen in my goddam life, getting spoonfed a win in some stupid rigged exhibition, and then appearing in some cornball commercial? She gets to have a family? Man, there is no justice in this world, I tell you.

= Exhibition 2: Baylee Beckstrand vs. Vincent Canales =
Hold on... [looks up Beckstrand’s record] 0-2. Lovely. She proves that she definitely learned from her mistakes in the first go-around as she promptly collects her VIP pass for the You’re Supposed To Put Both Ends On The Track, Stupid! Club. Good Kanako, it sounds like Bodge is getting as sick of this crap as I am.

Remember, girls can do anything boys can, provided it doesn’t involve athletic ability!

= Real 1: Baylee Beckstrand vs. Owen Pham (3WA) =
Pham fell on the last two blocks but didn’t go down, and that was all she wrote for Beckstrand’s foolish ambitions. 0-4 now. Maybe someday she’ll be as elite a “veteran” as him!

Kali Pomerenke is a dancer! Remember, they’re called “dance briefs”, not “panties”!

= Real 2: Kali Pomerenke vs. Vincent Canales =
Canales takes the early lead but gets nearly horizontal on the dipper net, while Pomerenke has smooth exit and takes the lead. But she’s really slow through the walls again, and Canales retakes the lead. No change on the blocks, and now it looks like the stronger Canales all but has this wrapped up. And it becomes completely academic when Pomerenke loses the handle on the first transition.

Damn, this was unexpected. The usual pattern when it comes to two weak, obvious no-hope girls and two boys who are all but a lock for the final is to pit the girls against each other in the exhibition so that one of them gets to taste the joy of victory. In light of this, crushing the illusions of both girls strikes me as needlessly harsh. While I personally think that it’s more honest and produces a more meaningful and exciting final, if you’re going to do it for Pomerenke and Beckstrand, do it for everybody. Playing atta-girl for nearly three-fourths of the competition and then suddenly switching to cold-blooded no-mercy reeks of hypocrisy, and ANW has enough faults as it is.

Wow, we’re moving fast today; straight to 11-12 with no commercial interruption. Shot of Nevaeah Masso, followed immediately by a man holding an infant (Oh, get your mind out of the gutter, it’s her brother. ), and then opponent Emerson Hebel. Crowd shot, lots of extraordinarily repulsive-looking face cutouts. Just do a whole poster, guys; you’ll get more chances to get some part of her right. She turns to her fans and shouts “Hab faad, beema sebff, crashihhh!” If Mike Bernardo is watching, I hope he spared a “lezzzocreeblleeeehhhhh” just for her.

All right, profile...blech. Hebel play-acts being a teacher with stuffed animals. Whatever faults Bernardo may have, at least I’ve never considered him cringeworthy. She drones some stuff about teachers which will undoubtedly score her points with whatever school she’s in, which is good because she may be finding herself back there very soon, if you catch my drift.

= Exhibition 3: Nevaeh Masso vs. Emerson Hebel =
Ugh. Starts out slow and clumsy, then it gets incredibly slow and clumsy, and then slightly less slow and clumsy, and then somewhat more slow and clumsy, until Masso becomes so outrageously slow and clumsy that she can’t even make it to the end of the blocks. She looks a combination of bewildered and teary, which I suspect will shortly become a combination of “out” and “don’t let the door hit your butt on the way”. How do you MISS THE BLOCK, dammit??

Little blurb about camaraderie and...holy crap, guess who’s stepping up in the second exhibition. Roberto Garemore and...Sean Arms. You remember Arms, don’t you? His opponents had about as much of prayer against him as a soda can has against a steamroller. He finished 2nd last year, and were it not for an inopportune mistake on Spin Cycle, he would’ve easily won it all. Putting him in this block is simply cruelty. The only reason I could think of is that UK was pitting best against worst, and that would mean that they’ve implemented some kind of intelligent seeding system, which I have seen zero evidence of to date.

Gah. I can’t do it. Sean freaking Arms is not going to face any opposition from Garemore, and the chances of him not making it to the playoffs are absolute zero. You know as well as I do exactly how this story ends. The only thing of note was a little drama involving Hebel being unwilling to compete against Garemore in the real and Garemore actually having to talk her into it. The announcers, of course, play this up as a big beautiful heartwarming tale instead of the savage indictment of the producers’ ability to find contestants who meet the rock-bottom bare minimum standard of freaking wanting to do this, goddammit.

Moving on to what will hopefully be a non-fait accompli (fait non-accompli?). Valerie Saavedra hails from Venezuela. Her family came to America to find better opportunities in life. It’s an old story, of course, and nowadays it sounds just plain bizarre to me now. It’s dawning on me how the non-screwed portion of the world seems to get smaller and smaller every year.

Nice shorts, though!

= Exhibition 5: Valerie Saavedra vs. Karen Potts =
Saavedra has a crisis of faith on the dipper...honey, I know there have been plenty of screwups here, but you can’t let fear take over!...and Potts takes a big lead. Which promptly becomes a much smaller lead as she minces across the hang bars, while Saavedra sets a more appropriate pace. Potts dismounts first and stutter steps across the blocks and falls hard at the end right on her face. She’s slow to recover, and Saavedra gets on the trampoline...flails her arms, and refuses to jump. Suwako’s hat, this is getting worse by the second. Potts barely manages to summon the very last of her strength and agility and brings this match to a merciful end. I’m getting some seriously nasty Natalie Duran vibes from Saavedra right now.

Is it too much to hope the last exhibition is between two complete scrubs? Is “hope” the right word? Well, no such luck as Josh Auer has just stepped up to the line. He made it to the round of 8 in 11-12 last year, and there’s no reason to believe he won’t continue to dominate. Shouldn’t fewer contestants translate to better competition??

Auer’s profile: “Bathrobe. Bathrobe bathrobe. Bathrobe...bathrobe? Bathrobe bathrobe bathrobe, BATHROBE bathrobe. Bathrobe, bathrobe!” (And I thought Austin Gray had it bad...)

= Exhibition 6: Two boys who do a helluva lot better than Saavedra and Potts, leading to two more pathetically predictable reals that I completely lost all interest in sometime around March. Screw this and let’s just skip to the part that matters...=

= 9-10 final: Owen Pham vs. Vincent Canales =
All right, this is what it’s all about! Both looking good after one! On to...CANALES FALLS ON THE STEP LEADING UP TO THE DIPPER! I don’t remember ever seeing anything like this! Pham is cleanly through the dipper, Canales follows...and he falls on the exit! Pham is a little clumsy on the dismount from the walls but still has a slight lead going to the blocks. They’re both through cleanly, and Pham is the first to the free bars. And...that’s where Pham closes the door, making the first transition first, building up steam for the second, one-timing the dismount bar, and calmly making it official. Canales tries to rush the dismount and is rewarded with a cold plunge. A very nice day of work from the Vietnamese Velocitator! (No, I’m not seriously going to call him that, relax. )

Canales’ 54.46 is just short of the #2 spot, meaning that it’s going to be Jax Neubauer and Trinity Rocho in the wildcard match. Both competed on the first day, which gives you some idea of just how stacked that day was.

= 11-12 final: Sean Arms vs. Roberto Garemore =
Geez. Do I have to? Haaaaaahhh...FINE. Ahem. Even after one. Arms is slightly ahead on the dipper, gets caught up on the net a bit, but...Garemore surges past him? Uh, okay, they’re at the ladders...they’re even, Garemore makes the transition, and... DISMOUNTS FROM THE FIRST RUNG OF THE SECOND LADDER!! I don’t even remember the last time I saw that! No difference-make on the blocks, and Garemore is the first to the nuts! Arms is struggling, and that’s not a sentence I ever thought I’d be writing! Garemore makes the first transition! Arms makes the first! GAREMORE MAKES THE SECOND! ARMS MAKES THE SECOND! GAREMORE...

...can’t do it. Arms makes the final transition and one-times the dismount bar, taking the lead when it matters the most, and the wall is no object after that. In the end Arms proved that he's no fluke, but plenty of credit to Garemore for making it vastly more interesting than I thought it would ever be!

No consolation prize for him, regrettably, as his 51.55 puts him short of both Carson Dean and Jack David in the wildcard standings. Those boys were fast.

= 13-14 final: Josh Auer vs. Ryan Krauthamer =
Auer has a slight lead after two. Still nearly knotted up after the hang bars. Auer is the first to the blocks and races through. Now it’s on to the first ring...and...Krauthamer isn’t winning this. Nice fight, but just isn’t quite awesome enough. Always a tough way to lose.

Even tougher is being a few seconds short of Ella McRitchie’s time, which puts her and Caleb Brown in the wild card match. Dang, none of today’s also-rans were a factor at all.

C3 qualifiers: Owen Pham, Sean Arms, Josh Auer

Gah. Enough. Blocks A and B were excruciating; C was simply humdrum. Too many predictable results, too many cookie-cutter blunders. Let’s just move on to playoff prospects.

9-10: I’m quietly dreading this one. This group has been miserable all season, and I’m not seeing a great turnaround in Block C. I have the feeling that I’m being set up for a colossal disappointment here no matter what happens. Conventional wisdom says that Owen Pham is going to win handily, but we’ve seen contestants look impressive in prelims and flop like an entire netful of fish in playoffs. (They’re mostly girls, but still.) If you’re looking for a darkhorse candidate, Trinity Rocho is the ideal choice; that hard-fought win against Jax Neubauer is one of the highlights of the female contingent. Nonetheless, it wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest if Carter Samuel were to take this after his opposition chose this moment to turn into Dan Hibiki after ten beers. The way this season this gone, I almost have to expect it.

11-12: I’d love to scream my heart out for Lexi Vasquez, as she looks like the mentally tough girl this competition so desperately needs, but she very nearly blew it against Jack David, and experience has taught us that boys who lose tight ones turn it around. Sean Arms is as gutsy as ever, but today he looked like a AAA star getting his first taste of the majors and struggling. Jordan Carr caught a break and doesn’t look to be a factor. It looks like it’s coming down to Vasquez and whoever wins the Jack David/Carson Dean wildcard, which should be a really good one.

13-14: It’s going to be Vance Walker or Caleb Brown. Ideally they meet in the final; if we’re unlucky, one of them will go out like Blake Feero and the other will romp to semis. I’m not seeing any realistic prospect of any of the other three coming out on top. That’d be an upset on the magnitude of a Canadian team winning the NBA championship. It can happen...but it’s not supposed to happen.
  #660  
Old 05-06-2020, 10:14 PM
Huffleclaw is offline
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His time in the final showdown was actually faster than Carson Dean, but he was disqualified for dismounting from one side on the second Wingnut.
Quote:
No consolation prize for him, regrettably, as his 51.55 puts him short of both Carson Dean and Jack David in the wildcard standings. Those boys were fast.
  #661  
Old 05-09-2020, 02:10 PM
DKW is offline
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Dang, that intro was even more predictable that what I’m desperately hoping the remainder of this contest won’t be.

AMERICAN NINJA WARRIOR JUNIOR 2 - BLOCK C PLAYOFFS

No preview for the 9-10 wildcard, so I’d just like to point out that “only” is rapidly becoming the most abused word on this iteration of ANW, and we get another example as Eyes proclaims that Trinity Rocho won their first matchup by <<<ONLY>>> five seconds. Five seconds? You’re trying to blow off a spread like that? What do you think this is, a 10K run? Damn.

= Wild card match 1: Trinity Rocho vs. Jax Neubauer =
Even at the start. Neubauer hesitates at the start of Little Dipper, and Rocho slides ahead. Neubauer loses his footing on Spider Walls, makes a very pretty save, but loses even more ground. Rocho has bad form at the start of Flying Squirrel and Neubauer almost catches up, but it’s for naught as he splashes on the first transition.

Well, that was...to the point. Bars gives Brynli Smith some advice on Little Dipper. Shots of Grant McCartney and Meagan Martin.

Owen Pham is out for “redemption”! What kind of redemption, you ask? Elbow redemption, you fool! Carter Samuel plays hockey! And is probably not very good at it since the profile immediately segues to the “inspiration” fluff! This bullcrap is really short in playoffs, though, so I’m still reasonably happy!

= First round match 1: Owen Pham vs. Carter Samuel =
And...

** SPLOOOOSHH **

...WHAT?? Seriously, WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT???? Samuel went down on Shrinking Steps! Nobody’s gone down on Shrinking Steps! Hell, nobody ever goes down on the first obstacle! At least nobody the selection committee (there is a selection process for this, right?) would ever give the time of day! Between this and Blake Feero’s foot fault, that’s two complete shockers that didn’t have me spitting out mads and smacks like a machine gun. Here’s to playoffs!

Just watched it again with sound, and you’ve got to get a load of Bodge’s reaction. This is normally when he breaks out the window-shattering “woooatt!!!”s and goes into full armageddon mode. Here he sounds exasperated. “Aw, geez, not this crap again. I’m not getting paid enough for this.” My word...could the mask be cracking? Could he, despite all his ferocious efforts, be turning...gulp...human?? Can’t happen soon enough, says I!

Arr does a rather pointless interview with him, whereupon he promptly breaks out the word “Phamily”. Oh, crap. No way in hell did he come up with that on his own. He’s being groomed, I tell you, and with that much “redemption” treacle bookending roughly 8 seconds of work, it pretty easy to imagine for what.

Brynli Smith is bringing even more damn “redemption” to the table! Man, Eyes is really trying his hardest to save “only”, isn’t he? Trinity Rocho is still doing the overcrowded RV thing! To help her work out, her dad built a collapsible jungle gym, which...okay, it looks structurally sound, at least. (I’ll take my positivity wherever I can.)

= First round match 2: Trinity Rocho vs. Brynli Smith =
Even after one...

** SPLOOOOSHH **

Aaaaaand, welcome to the prestigious You’re Supposed To Put Both Ends On The Track, Stupid! Club, Rocho! Sheesh, I knew you were a big underdog, but can you at least go down swinging?? This group sucks.

= Wild card match 2: Carson Dean vs. Jack David =
(Thanks for clarifying the Roberto Garemore situation, Huffleclaw. The show never explains these things, and I don’t care enough to do any kind of research, so it’s great that fans like you have my back. ) On to what should be the best wildcard match of this event, which is not saying much, but again, positivity, dammit! It’s a tight one at the start, with both boys seemingly struggling to stay controlled in top gear. On to Double Tilt Ladders, which has always been the separator...

** SPLOOOOSHH **

...and here it promptly separates me from yet another precious chunk of my sanity as Dean falls off the first ladder. I kid you not. That’s all that happened. He hands were on, and then for reason that not even Kasen Ibaraki could possibly fathom, his hands were off. On the replay, Bodge tries to spin it by saying that the ladder descends suddenly. I’m sorry, did Dean manage this obstacle properly three times and then simply FORGET why it’s called Double Tilt Ladders? What is it with kids getting to playoffs and then completely failing to execute at all like utter morons?

Side note: Oh yeah, constantly harping about times during the one part of this contest where they don’t matter at all, that makes a ton of sense!

Quick profile of Jordan Carr. If a girl is 12 years old, how much of a concern does a slow-motion close-up of her shirt flying that far up actually raise? (Oh, come on, you think any of my friends have time to waste on this nonsense?)

= First round match 3: Jordan Carr vs. Lexi Vasquez =
Carr has quicker feet and more courage on the dipper bar and takes the early lead. Vasquez hustles on the first ladder and evens it, but Carr simply reaches to the second ladder, then does a nice, clean 3rd dismount...then hesitates at the start of the blocks. Vasquez dismounts from the middle and nearly catches up. No development on the blocks, and Carr is the first to Wing Nuts. She makes the first two transitions quicker...and gets hung up on the final nut! She squanders precious seconds getting re-straightened, allowing Vasquez to catch up! Carr dismounts first by a split second! They’re up the wall! And...no upset, Carr springs straight to the buzzer and hits it first.

Man, this was a really good contest, and it’s just a shame that someone had to lose. I really hope we see Vasquez again; she’s a top girl all the way and definitely earned more than she got. As for Carr, I admit I was sleeping on her since none of her wins were convincing, but she definitely convinced me here. Looking forward to an even better quarterfinal!

Sean Arms has a powerful upper body, which shouldn’t be news to anybody. The real story is that he donated $1,000 to a breast cancer charity. That’s a helluva lot of money for any 11-year-old, and I gotta wonder what’s been going on behind the scenes to encourage such generosity. (Which, given the usual proclivities of reality TV, I will be taking to my grave. It’s okay, I’m used to it.)

Um, word to the wise, Eyes...if Jack David lost but locked up a wildcard spot, he was not eliminated, so DON’T USE THE WORD “ELIMINATION”, YOU UNGODLY IMBECILE. Good Byakuren, the sheer number of words being positively butchered here would have Inigo Montoya spinning in his grave.

= First round match 4: Sean Arms vs. Jack David =
Arms is briefly ahead going to the dipper, but David zips right through and passes him. Both go for 3rd dismounts on the ladder; David does his faster and stays ahead. Blocks are a non-factor, and now Arms...eh...ehhhhh...no. David is no slouch in the upper-body department and gets through the nuts faster, and he still has no fork stuck in him, folks.

Oh yeah, “epic”, there’s another one.

Little sidebar here about records. You may have noticed that I haven’t made too much of a deal about them this season. Part of it is due to wildcards, meaning that winning the day is no longer strictly necessary, but the big reason is due to the completely nonsensical and borderline insane groupings in prelims. To give one obvious example, whose akutaq-brained idea was it to put Kaden Lebsack and Blake Feero in the same prelim? We’ve seen time and again that romping over scrubs means nothing, while fighting tooth and nail before losing a close one to a powerful adversary can lead to triumph when it actually matters.

Case in point, Ella McRitchie and Caleb Brown, 0-2 and 1-2, respectively, making this a dismal matchup on paper. But look behind the numbers and you get the real story. McRitchie lost her first match due to slippery shoes she somehow didn’t discover in time (a terrible break which honestly could’ve happened to anyone), then did far better in her real but against a much harder opponent who edged her out. Caleb Brown got immediately thrown into the lion’s den against Vance Walker, which in any event with an IQ above single digits would’ve been a quarterfinal matchup at the very earliest. Guess what, turns out they actually were better than all the other also-rans in 13-14, so they get another chance. That’s simple justice, folks. I know it’s an uncommon commodity in reality TV, but you shouldn’t be surprised when it happens.

= Wild card match 3: Ella McRitchie vs. Caleb Brown =
All the credit to McRitchie for making it a contest, but she just wasn’t ever going to win this one. Brown stayed a step ahead all the way to Sky Hooks, where his superior upper-body control put it away by a comfortable margin. McRitchie has the distinction of becoming the most impressive 0-3 contestant I’ve ever seen, a mark I doubt will ever be seriously challenged.

Tippa-tricka by Megan Martin about Sky Hooks.

Recap of Josiah Pippel. It looks like “Junior Giant” is going to become a thing. If he’s ever part of the main contest, I’ll have something. Vance Walker has a lot of pressure on him, which is what happens when you get Caleb freaking Brown in your first first first first first first first first first match. Seriously, what the hell was someone vaping, and can we ban that there too?

= First round match 5: Josiah Pippel vs. Vance Walker =
Even through one, and... More drama! Pippel fails to get a grip on the dipper bar and falls to his knees! He manages to right himself, but he’s off-balance...or shaken...or just got a harrowing vision of the increasingly-overcrowded You’re Supposed To Put Both Ends On The Track, Stupid! Club...and completely whiffs on the bar! He finally gets going, but there’s no making up that big a deficit against Walker. Oh, man, this had the potential to be the best match of playoffs, and it’s decided on the second obstacle. Heartbreaking.

I find it hard to believe that Josh Auer actually wants 100% of his identity to revolve around an article of clothing. We’ll find out in a few years, I guess. Caleb Brown’s hobby is taking pictures, which I guarantee you will, in fact, last longer than his desire to be in badly broken reality show contests.

= First round match 6: Caleb Brown vs. Josh Auer =
Man, I think I mentioned this before, but you cannot look away for a moment when the top boys hit the course. They are, as Bodge would put it, dee-ay-emm-enn eff-ay-ess-tee. Auer hangs in there but is simply in over his head, taking the plunge at the end of Sky Hooks.

= Quarterfinal match 1: Brynli Smith vs. Owen Pham =
Hahh...you had a good run, Smith, but it’s time to face the music; you’re...slightly ahead after the dipper? And still slightly ahead after the walls? And still ahead after the blocks?? Oh wow, she has a chance! But alas, she can’t match Pham’s lache skills, as he makes the first transition...then the second, and he’s in the lead. Smith is taking, big, biiiiiig, biiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiig swings and wasting too much time (she got completely inverted on the second bar pair!). And coming up way short on the wall seals it. This Vietnamese Vector of Vroom is legit!

Interesting how Eyes’ and Bodge’s stance on girls crying is now “You know what? You wanna cry, cry. We’re not going to fight it or make excuses anymore. We don’t care.” Can only deny reality so much, I guess.

= Quarterfinal match 2: Jack David vs. Jordan Carr =
Even after one. David pulls the trigger a tick faster on the dipper and takes a super-small lead. On to the ladders, where Carr actually has better rhythm, makes a powerful 2nd dismount, and takes the lead! It’s a tight...

** SPLOOOOSHH **

Guess how this one ended! If you said “Carr, after apparently using up all her running ability, composure, and dignity in the Vasquez match, stumbled like Wile E. Coyote in rocket boots on Block Run and did an impressive pratfall into the water”, you’d be partially correct, because I couldn’t even see where she stumbled! She just went left and kept going until there was no block area left beneath her feet! I...that is... Haaaaaaahhhhhhhh...

= Quarterfinal match 3: Caleb Brown vs. Vance Walker =
Geez...just give Brown an out. Anything. He deserves better than this. Anyway, blah blah no miracle blah blah Walker rules all blah blah I freaking hate this show blah.

Block C semifinallists: Owen Pham, Jack David, Vance Walker

Pham is a good winner, and I’m actually pulling for him to win it all. (It’s not good that he made his debut under the cloud of an Acceptable Story, but he can overcome that.) David, to put it mildly, has not convinced me at all. Everyone he’s beaten so far has been either not ready for primetime or an inopportune choker (You had ONE JOB, Carr!); I am not looking forward to seeing him and Daniel Woods compete on the same day. Walker is so many klicks ahead of everyone else that 13-14 has become downright depressing (even more than usual). He is a ringer. By rights he should be getting started in a real sport, not some cheesy Amateur Nite show, and here he is blowing the doors off of everyone and giving the final day all the thrills and suspense of a Presidential press hearing. He is the faitest of accomplis (accompliest of faits, whichever).

Hahh...twelve down, five to go. Still holding out hope. Somehow.
  #662  
Old 05-16-2020, 12:37 AM
DKW is offline
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Just a reminder that Ultimate Tag premieres on Fox on March 20th; the second season of The Titan Games begins on NBC on May 25. Both look like they’re going to be a lot more exciting than this year’s ANWJ. It’s wavered between predictable and depressing nearly the whole way, and now it looks like there isn’t even any point to watching the rest of 13-14. Hoping for a huge breakthrough in the final block, but I’m not counting on it.

We begin with a music video by someone named Grace Moon. Mmm. Girl, when you do get a day job, don’t quit it.

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

“Coveted.” That’s another word that gets grossly misused on this show. I should make a list.

Jeff Baumgarten assists his father Mark in his secondhand auto parts business. In the process developing a work ethic, getting a leg up on learning a useful trade, and living in the real world. I know they’ve already given us this type of story a bunch of times, but I can’t hear it enough. Here’s to boys who are not useless, shiftless jerks! Right off the bat he gets a tough test against Kaden Forsha, who made it to quarters last year and now has several more months of training under his belt.

= Exhibition 1: Kaden Forsha vs. Jeff Baumgarten =
Forsha gets off to a rough start, making the too-common stupid blunder of looking at his opponent at the start of the dipper and giving up a big lead. Forsha has slightly better speed on the walls and closes the gap...but he <<STOPS!>> and <<WAITS!>> at the start of the blocks... I can’t...I don’t... WHY?? WHHHHYYYYYY???? This is almost as bad as Collin Cella’s meltdown! Luckily for him, Baumgarten takes too long to get going on the free bars, and he one-times the dismount to take the lead. Bit of stumble on the runup, but it’s no sweat when Baumgarten completely falls down. This is one of those days where I’m sure there’s something in the water, and if there isn’t, there will be pretty soon.

Jeeziz, at this rate Eyes is going to praise someone who almost manages to get the other end on the track.

Arr interviews () (also , but mostly ) the, ahem, triumphant Forsha, where he proclaims that “I’m ready to crush it!” I sure as hell hope so, because he hasn’t come close so far. Also, dyslexia!

Shots of Albatross, Jessie Graff, and Drew Dreschel.

Airen Anfinson hates her brother! In other news, the Catholic leadership is full of hypocritical scumbags! (Ask me about my own sister sometime!)

= Exhibition 2: Skyler Awalt vs. Airen Anfinson =
Awalt slowly pulls ahead, then Anfinson slooowwwwwlly get going on the dipper, then she slllllllooooowwwwwllllly makes her way across the walls, then Awalt (FREAKING FREAKING FREAKING) wwwwwwaaaaaaaaaaiiiiiiiiiiiittttttssssssssss at the start of the blocks, then oh my Hina, Forsha is going to run away with this, isn’t he?

Well, there was yet another glorious failed attempt at not giving us a royally depressing story we've seen about 200 times before. See you in at the end when we once again have the (FREAKING! FREAKING! FREAKING!) only match in 9-10 that matters a damn. In the meantime let’s see who’s going to be hot and who’s going to be cold in the middle group. Chase Hughes has dyed hair and what I’m dubbing an Acceptiblish Story. See, he has a hole in his heart, which required an operation to correct. And...and...and...he’s fine now. Yeesh. I guess I should be grateful that his hair will make him easy to recognize on the course.

= Exhibition 3: Anna McArthur vs. Chase Hughes =
McArthur is noticably bigger, and it soon becomes clear that she’s the superior athlete. It’s an easy win for her so long as she doesn’t make any brain-dead blunders, and literally right as I think this she goes for a 3rd dismount on the ladder, takes a little water with her right foot, and proceeds to meekly backpedal all the way in. Did you know that WNBA players have to make on-the-spot decisions and have excellent body control for a full 48-minute game?

Blah blah overcome blah blah fight next match waiweewuwwawei sure why not.

= Exhibition 4: Emerson Smith vs. Jonah Maningo (3WA) =
Both contestants were fulleeeyyying until Smith heeeyiddeoouslee skaroooooeedd the pooooooooch on the bullloooockkzzzz. Smith, it should be pointed out, is a girl, making this much easier to understand.

I’m super-tempted to just zap past the reals, but we’ve had upsets in 11-12, so maybe, just maybe, something will happen to make today not completely drearily sausagefactorious. Emerson Smith is a budding architect. Marketable skill, future career, not useless, you know the drill. The best part is that she has no interest in designing obstacles, so we don’t ever have to worry about her becoming completely insufferable!

= Real 3: Emerson Smith vs. Chase Hughes =
Trouble right off the bat for Smith as she falls to her knees coming out of the steps. I don’t recall there being anywhere near this many balance issues in the first season; are these kids simply trying too hard? She manages to close the gap going to the dipper and is off first... WHHOOWHWOOAOAAA!!...left foot goes astray on the dismount and comes super close to losing it, but hangs on and stays alive! She has better upper-body muscle and catches up again on the ladders. Goes for a 3rd dismount, makes it...

** SPLOOOOSHH **

And there it is. Hughes goes for a 3rd dismount as well but gets a very bad release and lands in the water flat on his back.

Anna McArthur lives and works in an RV park! But has never met Trinity Rocho. I feel cheated.

= Real 4: Anna McArthur vs. Jonah Maningo =
Maningo with a slight lead after two. McArthur catches up on the first ladder, but, remembering her previous mistake, really builds up a head of steam before dismounting from the 3rd. I think she would’ve been better served just going a bit farther. Maningo wastes no time with his 3rd and is ahead going to the blocks. McArthur charges hard to catch up but stumbles coming out. She’s going to have to hustle hard to have a chance...and she does, and Maningo is struggling on the second nut! But McArthur struggles as well, and Maningo finally gets going again and is up the wall first. Not a huge win, but a win, and a win is a win.

Now we see what the fuss is about with Grace Moon. She’s a budding singer hailing from Jamaica, and...she’s really positive. Plus she’s a gymnast. She seems really...enamored with her father for some reason.

= Exhibition 5: Grace Moon vs. Katie Bone =
Moon starts off very negatively when she makes a bad dismount on Floating Steps and nearly falls in. Bone pulls ahead on the dipper, and despite multiple pauses for absolutely no goddam reason on the hang bars, she maintains the lead. Still in the lead on the steps, whereupon she...wait for it...wait for it. (That’s what SHE did!) (Literally, at the start of Sky Hooks, for several seconds! ) Y’know what, the producers should do a tour of the entire course for the contestants so they can get all the obstacle-staring out of their system then and there, and if it turns out that’s all they want to do, the producers can find contestants that actually try to freaking win their matches! Both of them valiantly attack Sky Hooks, which resembles nothing so much as a couple of highly indecisive trapeze artists. They dismount at nearly the same time, and I guess it’s fitting that this (extremely) slow-motion car crash would end in a flippin’ Heaven and Hell, Bone failing to find the top of the wall.

And we come to the “oh crap” moment of the show. Guess who stepped up to the line. Kai Beckstrand, last year’s 11-12 champion. Of course, there’s always the chance that he’ll be like Sean Arms and find himself in over his head in the stronger group, but I definitely wouldn’t bet on it. Profile on his opponent, Zach Hammer a rock climber from a family of rock climbers. One of the things he likes to do is “freewater soloing”, where he climbs to a height of 50 feet and drops straight down into the water. Uh huh. (Is that his sister? She looks pretty.)

= Exhibition 6: Kai Beckstrand vs. Zach Hammer =
Oh dear. That freewater soloing clip takes a level of cruel irony as the right side of Hammer’s bar goes astray just a few feet down the dipper, and down he goes. Dammit, I was hoping we could go one day without someone looking like an imbecile here.

= Real 5: Zach Hammer vs. Grace Moon (3WA) =
Hammer took care of business when it mattered, while Moon jettisoned the last tiny shreds of her dignity by egging on the crowd at the runup to the wall . You do realize that times MATTER now, right??

Hmm...should I insult your intelligence by pretending that there’s even a one in a quintillion chance that Beckstrand isn’t going to tear Bone approximately 500,000 new ones? Mmmmmm...nah, I’ve taken enough heat from the Subnautica thread. Let’s just wrap things up.

= 9-10 final: Kaden Forsha vs. Jeff Baumgarten =
Both boys seem to have a better feel for the course, so this should be a...decent one. Forsha takes the early lead, but Baumgarten powers ahead on the wall. Still with a slight lead after the blocks. On to the free bars...and again Baumgarten can’t find his rhythm, allowing Forsha to go right past him and dismount first. The final indignity for Baumgarten is when he gets a hand on the top of the wall and then loses everything and slips right back down. I’ve never seen anything like that before...did he just give up?

= 11-12 final: Jonah Maningo vs. Emerson Smith =
Maningo is a shade quicker through two, but Smith again closes the gap on the ladder. Both make 3rd dismounts, Smith first, and she’s ahead. On to the haunted, vaunted blocks...which Smith has absolutely no problem with this time, and she extends her lead! Maningo fights to catch up on the nuts...Smith is a little wild...but she stays dry...transition one, transition two...AND SHE DISMOUNTS FIRST! AND...sheesh, they both take a freaking long time to get up the wall, but they all count the same. We have a girl winner today. Somehow. I’m more confused than anything.

= 13-14 final: Kai Beckstrand vs. Zach Hammer =
Both clean through the dipper this time, Beckstrand with a slight lead. They surge through the hang bars and the blocks. Man, THIS is the match we should’ve had the FIRST time! Hammer makes a huge leap and they’re on the first ring at the same time, but Beckstrand makes the first jump immediately...

** SPLOOOOSHH **

Oh dear. Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. Hammer’s leap was just a bit too impressive, as it pulled the ring off the peg and sent him straight to the drink. That gives him one finish in three matches, meaning that he’ll have to sweat it out for two more days along with Chase Hughes. Worse, the best case scenario is looking like sneaking into the playoffs and losing to Beckstrand a third time. Cruelty.

D1 qualifiers: Kaden Forsha, Emerson Smith, Kai Beckstrand

Four more episodes to go! I think I can make it!
  #663  
Old 05-23-2020, 01:17 PM
DKW is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Hawaii
Posts: 3,041
Just watched the series premiere of Ultimate Tag. The question on my mind going in, of course, was whether this was the answer to ANW. I know it’s early, but I’m already getting a sinking feeling the answer is going to be a hard “no”. I’ll eventually start a thread for that, of course, but for now the bottom line is that I want ANW to work for me. So here’s super-duper hoping that the conclusion of ANWJ2 can at least somewhat deliver.

All right, intro, intro...well, whaddya know, Eyes has finally acknowledged the importance of the mind game! Go figure, it doesn’t matter if you can bench press a tractor or run circles around a leopard if you’re constantly mistiming jumps, stepping ion the wrong parts of the blocks, or putting one freaking end of the bar on the track and just assuming that’s good enough! Now what they have to do is showcase some really egregious mental errors, particularly on...

...and Eyes tosses out a bunch of pseudo-analytical crap, and we find out this is just some goofball thing a la “superheroes” or “recipes for success”. So close to a moment of goodness here.

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

John David Spatola is the grandson of Mike Kyrzezewski (You are not a college basketball fan unless you can spell that correctly! ), which means nothing, and spends a lot of time making lots of trick shots which...should be good for a few YouTube videos. He does seem way too excited about them, though. You are aware that actually winning a million dollars from one of these things is a highly rare occurrence, right?

= Exhibition 1: John David Spatola vs. Ryan Cooper =
Spatola does some weird gyration at the start of the dipper but thankfully doesn’t find the water, and it’s even after two. He hesitates again at the start of the walls, giving Cooper the lead. No change on the blocks. Spatola takes a bit too long to get going on the swing bars; Cooper methodically works his way through and dismounts first. Spatola tries to make up ground with a one-timer dismount but comes up short and finds the water, and Cooper closes it out. Wow, a conventional, unsurprising opener really is a rare treat, isn’t it?

Oh yeah, heaping praise on the competitor who screwed up and put up a time that has zero chance of making the wildcard, that makes a ton of sense, Bodge.

Shot of Bars, Grant McCartney, and Meagan Martin

Maddie Evers is really organized and spends a lot of time cleaning up! Ummm... Guys, how do I put this...“positive quality” does not automatically translate to “appropriate subject for profile”. Pounding red-hot steel and drawing showers of sparks is cool. This just comes across as preachy. And no, it’s not going to inspire me to get off my butt and finish cleaning my room, and that’s something I freaking WANT to do, dammit! Oh, and she exercises and builds up her strength, which is apparently extremely unusual for a girl who takes part in athletic competitions. This freaking country, I tell you...

(Ugh. I was critical about the leotard-and-shorts look last season, and the leotard-tights-and-shorts Daisy O’Brien is sporting here is even worse. Girls, just put on a pair of sweatpants and be done with it, sheesh.)

= Exhibition 2: Maddie Evers vs. Daisy O’Brien =
O’Brien scoots to an early lead but takes a really long time to get going on the dipper, but it doesn’t matter when Evers airballs the dismount, comes up short of the net, and gets wet. I have a pretty good idea of who won’t be turning in a killer wildcard time today, if you catch my drift.

= Real 1: Maddie Evers vs. Ryan Cooper (3WA) =
Cooper fell on the runup to the wall, turning a total top-down pulverizing into just a nearly total top-down pulverizing! That’s about as good as it’s been for 9-10 reals this season!

Here’s what I had for Daisy O’Brien last season: “A singer. And a subpar dancer. And an actress. Yeah, I was forced to do a lot of stupid crap as a kid too.” Let’s see what’s on her plate now...singing the national anthem. Oh dear goddess. Apparently she missed the memo about this gig being the biggest freaking joke in singing, and if you ever voluntarily accept it, it’s a pretty sure sign that either nobody respects you at all or your career is in the toilet. Hahh...and I has such reasonably high hopes for her...

= Real 2: John David Spatola vs. Daisy O’Brien =
Spatola is a bit clumsy on the dipper but stays in control and is ahead after two. Not the best form from either through the walls or blocks, and Spatola is still slightly ahead. He dismounts first...whoa, a little awkward up the wall!...but it’s not a problem; still up and over first. From a conventional opener to what’s looking like yet another way too predictable final. It’s so hard to nail the perfect formula, isn’t it?

Nacssa Garemore made it to the round of 8 last year and wants to go further. The most important lesson he learned is to not hesitate. He has what it takes to win it all. Geez...there’s robotic, and there’s Tank Abbott. And trust me, you never want to draw comparisons to Tank Abbott.

= Exhibition 3: Luke Milman vs. Nacssa Garemore =
Milman stumbles a bit coming out of the steps but makes a BIG dismount on the dipper and pulls ahead. He gets to the second ladder first and is angling for a 3rd dismount; so is Garemore, and he pulls the trigger first and retakes the lead! Strictly textbook though the blocks. It’s a contrast of styles on the nuts; Garemore has more fluid form but Milman has greater energy. It’s a tight one! And they dismount at the same...uh, no. Milman skews badly to the right, barely finds the edge of the platform, and meekly falls backwards and in.

What’s this? We don’t have to hear it when someone screams on top of the wall anymore? That’s the first unequivocally good thing this show has had in forever!

Serena LoScalzo loves nature because...oh, who the hell cares.

= Exhibition 4: Serena LoScalzo vs. Lindsey Ferrara =
Slow...boring...slow...boring...slow...boring...oh, hey, Ferrara made a huge splash with her left foot dismounting the ladders but stays alive. Okay, I’ll pick it up from here. Brief pause, through the blocks despite her wet foot, and she’s on the nuts before LoScalzo has started the blocks. Ferrara seems to take an incredibly long time to make the first transition, but she gets the hang of it and gets up...whu-oh, slips back down!...but remembers to put a foot in the notch on the second attempt and hits the buzzer. Liking all these second efforts today!

Puff piece time! The team wired up Gabby Romano, Nate Pardo, and Meagan Martin...oh, it’s more analytics. Look, I understand how technology has more or less completely taken over every facet of professional sports. But there’s an important distinction...pros are REALLY GOOD. The reason MLB teams take things like launch angles and exit velocities seriously is that at the pinnacle of the game, every little edge can make a big difference. When your league is full of plodders like Zoe Zogleman and chokers like Bella Palmer, I really don’t see how 2.25 Gs enters the picture.

= Real 3: Luke Milman vs. Lindsey Ferrara =
Milman makes another soaring dipper dismount and takes the lead, then follows with a pretty 3rd dismount. Still in the lead after the blocks and makes a very quick and clean first transition. Ferrara does her best but just can’t keep up with the big boys, succumbing to defeat on the second transition.

Bodge: “Hey Luke, you were so close in that last race. I know you wanted to get that buzzer this time around, didn’t you? Y’know, because it’d be incredibly embarrassing if you lost to a girl, especially given how the girls have so royally screwed the pooch again and again this season. I bet you’d never be able to show your face again if one of these cement-footed limp-armed crap-brained chokers beat you, huh?”

= Real 4: Serena LoScalzo vs. Nacssa Garemore (3WA) =
Direct quote from Eyes: “But when Serena came up short on the Little Dipper, Nacssa got the win.” No way, you mean a boy who made it to quarters last year didn’t faceplant on the 2nd obstacle? Perish the thought!

Cairo Rosa is a bigtime surfer, with some time for the skate park. And he can do tricks. Let's just hope he doesn't try to "hang ten" on Block Run. Yeeaaaah...I got nuthin'.

= Exhibition 5: Cairo Rosa vs. Anika Pivetta =
Pivetta takes the early lead. On the dipper, Rosa goes completely crazy-legs on the dismount...stays alive but loses more time. On to the hang bars, where Pivetta demonstrates her upper-body superiority. (Those are some beefy arms! Here’s hoping the real profile explains them! ) On to the blocks where she...whoa, whoa, whoa, whoooa, YIIIIKESSS!! ...makes it a real adventure and falls at the end but stays dry. She has a big lead now and has this in the bag so long as she executes on the rings. She’s on the first ring. She’s still on the first ring. Rosa sprints through the blocks. Pivetta. Still. Has. Not. Made. The. First. Transition. What is she waiting for, a text from her mother?? Luckily (?), Rosa settles the issue by failing to get a grip on the first ring and splashing. I think we can consider it a minor miracle if both reals do not end up sucking an entire carton of eggs.

No profile for the next match, but I do want to point out that one of the few contestants I actively hoped would return did: Sophia Lavallee, who capped off an incredibly clutch comeback win over Daniel Jones in the prelim (and this was before wildcards, remember) by knocking out the tallest competitor in the entire contest. In an event where the girls have served roughly the same function as the plain trunks-wearing nobodies on WWF Superstars of Wrestling, she is a massive breath of fresh air. Kick some butt, champ!

= Exhibition 6: Zachary Osborn vs. Sophia Lavallee =
Tight one through two. Osborn has a better rhythm on the hang bars and dismounts first. Lavallee is having trouble! Osborn dashes across the blocks and...no. NO! He backs away from the trampoline and waits!! WHY CHARGE ACROSS THE BLOCKS IF YOU’RE ONLY GOING TO PULL TO A DEAD STOP??? WHAT IS IT WITH THIS “HURRY UP AND WAIT” GARBAGE???? Well, this of course permits Lavallee to catch up...you know, at this point I think I’d welcome a conspiracy theory; it’d be FUNNY, at least. It’s close up to the 3rd action, but Lavallee finally decides that she’s had enough, does the ring to ring first, one-times the dismount, and runs away to the buzzer. Gotta take ‘em however you can!

= Real 5: Zachary Osborn vs. Anika Pivetta (3WA) =
Ooh. Sometimes the most dangerous time to face a boy is right after he makes a big blunder in the exhibition, because that’s when he makes the adjustment and really pushes hard. Which is exactly what happened here as Osborn kept his cool and executed properly at Sky Hooks this time. Pivetta couldn’t keep up and met her end on the third ring.

Sophia Lavallee does acro-yoga with her brother Evan. We saw a few clips of this earlier, and...it’s okay. Mostly I’m happy to see two siblings who can do intimate physical activity without it degenerating into fighting. I only wish I ever had as good a rapport with my own sister.

= Real 6: Cairo Rosa vs. Sophia Lavallee =
Lavallee surges to the lead after two. She’s manhandling the hang bars...Rosa starts to catch up!...and Lavallee does a big dismount from the third bar and makes it! Those are the kind of moves that win matches in 13-14! Lavallee still has a hefty lead after the blocks. Rosa pushes hard...and...backs off from the trampoline. Son of a... It’s bad enough when the girls do this crap, dammit! Well, it should come as no surprise that Rosa again fails to gain purchase on the first ring, failing in the exact same spot as his exhibition. Dammit.

Hey, when I do get around to making that constantly-misused words list, I’d better add “pressure”! Eyes, Rosa was toast! The only goddam “pressure” he felt was water!

And with that we get our fourth all-revenge finals of this event. Gorgeous. Given that the winner of the first match is 12-3 in these so far, I’m not holding out much hope for a thrilling upset.

= 9-10 final: John David Spatola vs. Ryan Cooper =
Nope. Spatola still can’t figure out Flying Squirrel.

= 11-12 final: Nacssa Garemore vs. Luke Milman =
Nope. Milman leads most of the way, but Garemore is simply too powerful on Wing Nuts.

= 13-14 final: Sophia Lavallee vs. Zachary Osborn =
And of course, one of the best girls this event has ever seen is the one who fails to maintain the status quo. Osborn pulls ahead on Crazy Cliffhanger and blazes to a huge lead on Block Run, and despite a nasty-looking fall is able to get through Sky Hooks faster and beat his tenacious foe to the buzzer.

D2 qualifiers: Ryan Cooper, Nacssa Garemore, Zachary Osborn

(Don't want to talk about wildcard standings. Next time.)

Well, this was a pretty...sad episode. Seriously, anyone else notice that the girl power is seriously lacking this time? We may need a kunoichified version of this sooner rather than later.
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