Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Quick Reviews: Shows I Watched In Lockdown (Part 3)

I can't believe it's been a year since the Coronavirus lockdown started.  I thought this post would be an one-and-done deal, but here we are on part three. 

Below are my quick reviews of general shows - not really series - I watched over autumn/winter. Spoilers are included for The Bachelorette, football, game shows, and Atlanta.

The Bachelorette (reality show)

One woman is set up to date twenty prospective men and gradually sends them home weekly until she's left with one who is ready to propose.

The second that Claire was announced as the Bachelorette, I was holding my breath for the chaos to follow. Filming her season during COVID is one thing, but she's never been a trustworthy contestant where drama didn't trail her every appearance. When she 'fell in love' with Dale on the first night, it was the beginning of the end. I hoped she had found someone to finally settle down with, but they broke up like two months after they left the show. It wasn't surprising, to say the least.

To keep the series going, Claire was replaced with Tayisha (pictured above). After a gazillion years on the air, the producers cast the first Black and Latina Bachelorette - which is barely the first step to addressing racism on the show, but at least it's a start? She was a Bachelorette who managed to have fun, but remained sensible and vulnerable, and didn't put up with chaos. And Zac was genuinely honest about his shortcomings and ambition, and it never seemed like he was trying to put on a show with his respect for her. 99% of the time I watch this for the drama, but I got emotional during their proposal. They made me believe love was real for a hot second. I hope they're one of the few couples to last, especially as a rare interracial couple on the series.

Game Shows

Outside of reality shows and taking my time with other series, one thing I've come to depend on is game shows.

Supermarket Sweep was a staple game show I used to watch with my grandmother growing up, where people basically compete over food-related trivia in a grocery store. Leslie Jones rebooting this as a producer and host has been a real delight. Not only is she hilarious, but she's wholeheartedly invested in the pairings who get close to winning $100,000 or lose it all. I'm not sure it'd be the same without her.

The Hustler - The rules are tricky - Five contestants build a cash prize by answering trivia questions. One of the contestants is secretly designated as the Hustler and is given the answers to all the questions. However, they can never let the other contestants know they're the Hustler. When contestants are eliminated by the Hustler until the remaining two are left, they have the opportunity to win all of the money they've banked by correctly guessing who The Hustler is or lose it all by calling out the wrong person. 

I started watching this mainly because of Craig Ferguson. I miss his late night show so much and can only imagine what his monologues would've been like for the past four years. But, the show is quite interesting - it's like poker with trivia. Everyone has to bluff their way through until the Huster reveals themselves. Sometimes you can pin down who it is, and other times, it's a complete surprise.

Weakest Link - Eight contestants battle in several rapid-fire rounds of trivia. Money is "banked"  for every question they get right, but sinks to zero for wrong answers. Each round ends with the players voting one contestant off, and the last one left takes home all the prize money.

OMG. I absolutely loved the original series with Anne Robinson. I was wary with Jane Lynch as the new host, but she's been great so far - funny and stern. It's interesting how much the show is left to chance - if they get an obvious question wrong that everyone knows the answer to, that's like sending up a flare to get voted off. Sometimes questions are in the players' wheelhouse, and sometimes they're not. But it's disappointing how often two weaker players have voted off the "strongest link" right before the final showdown. So many people play the whole game fairly only to get booted off at the last second. It's cowardly ' cause you don't end up with someone to root for. I'm surprisingly knowledgeable with most of the trivia and would do anything to audition for the next season if it's renewed. *cross ya'll fingers* 


I would never think I'd end up a football fan, but here I am and it's mostly casual. I like to just veg out on Sunday afternoons and Monday nights, and not have to think about anything else. lol Obsessing over statistics and analytics just seems excessive to me, but that's men's sports for ya. Technically, I'm from Pittsburgh so my home team to root for should be the Steelers. But I hate Pittsburgh and the Steelers, so I tend to go for other teams that are exciting to watch - Seahawks, Ravens, Chiefs, and Patriots (I know). Ravens were disappointing this year, so I'll have to see if they're one of my teams next year. Loyalty? I don't know her. lol I'm excited for the Buccaneers in the Super Bowl. It's nice to have a 5% reason of being proud to live in Florida. 


Earn (Donald Glover) teams up with his rapper cousin Alfred also known as Paper Boi (Brian Tyree Henry) and friend Darius (Lakeith Stanfield) to boost their aspirations and careers in the music industry. 

I fell in love with Donald Glover last year. I don't know how many times I've watched all of his live performances, his interviews, even rewatched Solo (which I hated) because he's Lando Calrissian.  Like so many shows I've wanted to watch while they were on the air, I always tell myself 'next week I'll catch up', and then it's on the sixth season finale (Insecure, Claws, Glow, etc.). As soon as I got Hulu, I started Atlanta, which thankfully is only on its second season, and OMG. 

It starts out as a dry-comedy, mostly a "redemption arc" of sorts for Earn. Every episode is so well-rounded. You're not sure where the plot will amount to by the end, but it always weaves in humor, suspense, and commentary on racism/celebrity culture/hip hop/etc. Before you know it that one line or tiny conflict in the beginning spirals out of control and everything comes full circle. Gradually, the writing and direction divulge into a stronger surreal ambiance in the second season, where you don't know what will happen next - the series feels like it's slowly panning out into an alternative universe in Atlanta. I just can't wait to see where it goes. The entire cast is incredible from the leads - how has Lakeith, Zazie, and Bryan not won more - to the minor roles like Robert as Bibby - the cinematography, music, etc. I don't think there was one episode I didn't love, even Teddy Perkins. I just...I'm praying the third season production gets underway when it's safe to do so.
Rating: ★★★

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