Friday, May 20, 2005

Reality? TV

I admit it. I've gotten into watching "The Apprentice" this past couple of years. Last night was the season finale, where Kendra Todd was hired to work for Donald Trump. Although I'm not really a fan of Trump himself, and definitely take issue with some of his decisions in the course of this (and previous) season(s), I absolutely think Kendra was the right choice.

What bothers me at this point is how pathetically they tried to build up the suspense at season end as to whether Trump would hire Kendra or Tana (the remaining possibility). Besides the fact that Kendra displayed strong competence throughout the season (especially displayed during an episode where she almost single-handedly completed a promotional flyer for the Pontiac Solstice when her teammates, including Tana, had abandoned her), her performance on her Final Task outstripped Tana's in nearly every way. Where Tana was critical of her teammates from the beginning and spoke poorly about them (even asking if there was any chance for a trade almost the moment after her teammates were revealed), Kendra took the opportunity to mend fences (all the teammates on both sides were people who'd been "fired" previously) and saw her teammates as valuable contributors to the final task. Where Tana's task had several large-scale mistakes (including the publication of sensitive personal data as promotional material, the loss of an American flag to be used in an Olympic-style processional, and brushing off the Governor of New York), Kendra's potential disasters (including a mishandled meeting hijacked by one of her teammates, and the need to relegate one of her sponsors to a basement display area) were deftly handled and the situation resolved before they could get out of hand.

Do the producers of "The Apprentice" really expect us to believe that there was any question as to which of the two candidates was to be hired? The live finale consisted mostly of Trump and his lackeys saying things that attempted to portray an equal amount of good and bad about each candidate. Yet while there were serious problems to talk about regarding Tana, all the "bad things" they could pull up for Kendra were serious stretches of the imagination. Not untrue, to be sure, but definitely nothing of the same scale. (And to be fair, Tana did have some good points.) When George says to Trump "I'm glad I don't have to make your decision," are we really expected to believe him?

Of course, the fact that "reality" TV isn't all that "real" shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone. But I still wish they wouldn't insult my intelligence by suggesting that the obvious is anything less than obvious.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

The Wait is Over (or just starting, depending on your point of view....)

The first real Transformers news in quite a few weeks finally broke today: the Transformers comic license has been given to IDW Publishing. While this is definitely good to those of us who've been waiting anxiously for new comic news ever since former publisher Dreamwave folded (in what can only be described as the most acrimonious of circumstances), it really did come out of left field. Many fans were hoping that the license would be picked up by a company called Devil's Due, who publish the G.I. Joe comics. (G.I. Joe and Transformers were considered something of siblings back in the 1980's) Some had speculated that Hasbro would rather give the TF license to a company that was better known, such as DC, the publishers of Batman and Superman.

I'm not at all familiar with IDW.

The press release indicates that IDW has done comics based on several well-known television shows, and I confess to hearing something about such comics in the back of my mind. However, I'm not really a fan of any of those shows (no offense to those who are), and don't know what that means for the TF comic.

There seems little chance that IDW will attempt to pick up the TF storyline where Dreamwave left off. Why should they? I just hope that they don't end up folding, leaving yet another storyline in limbo just as it's getting good.

Wednesday, May 4, 2005

Having is not so great a thing as wanting. I know it isn't logical, but it is very often true.

Mr. Spock's quote seemed appropriate to some "news" that arrived on the Transformer message boards today, informing us that the first "collector's club exclusive" toy should arrive sometime at the end of the spring/early summer. This actually isn't anything we didn't already know: anyone who signed up to become a member of the new club (if you're interested, here's a link) by the middle of March was told that it would be sent at pretty much exactly that time. What is perhaps notable is the fact that 3H, the former owners of the club, had a reputation for setting back such dates ad infinitum, and so the fact that this news actually does have the same dates is considered a very good thing. I'm also reminded on Hobbes' (as in "Calvin and...") comment about lowering expectations to the point where they're already met....

But back to Spock's quote, I'm still deciding what I want to do with this thing when I get it. It's supposed to be the first part of a combiner that will take five years to complete. Each year, a new part is released. This, of course, not only assumes that I remain a member each year for that long, but that the club will still continue to exist at that time (call me a cynic). Since I don't have the other parts, and won't for so long, I'm toying with the idea of creating packaging for it. Of course, if the club actually puts this toy in a box or on a card, there's no point in my creating one. But usually these come in either an unmarked white box, or in a plastic baggie; neither of which would be suitable for display. Cards are easier to create and print at the size needed, but I wouldn't have a plastic bubble suitable for it unless I buy the "mass-market" version of this mold (oh, I forgot to mention, nearly all "club exclusives" are nothing more than recolors, or at best slight remolds, of existing toys). That wouldn't be a problem with a box (a flat sheet of plastic is easy to grab from practically anywhere), but I don't have a printer capable of printing to paper large enough to contain this size of figure when folded (the Happy Meal toys are pretty much the limit. I can't even do all of them....). I suppose Kinko's (I'll never get used to calling them "FedEx Kinko's," but that's another rant.) could do it, but that would cost a fair bit of change....

But as long as the toy is still something I'm waiting on, rather than something I have in my hands, I can continue to plan and to dream of possibilities. Which isn't such a bad thing....
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