Pin It
Favorite

Remote Possibilites 

by LUKE BAUMGARTEN & r & & r & Pirate Master


(Tuesdays, 10 pm, CBS)


& lt;span class= "dropcap " & E & lt;/span & very episode of Pirate Master begins with a propulsive orchestral flourish. Heavy on deep, insistent strings, blaring horns and thundering timpani, it's meant to convey a visceral sense of swashbuckling adventure. To this end too, producer Mark Burnett (Survivor, The Apprentice) and company have swaddled the simple Survivor-like premise of contestants fighting for treasure in an ornate, ridiculous and utterly fake Caribbean mythos. The 16 contestants are placed aboard a pirate ship and given clues to various spectacular treasures via "the recently discovered Chest of Zanzibar." The chest originally belonged to "legendary pirate captain Henry Steele" but now lies in the hands of this crew of blah blah blah.





The game itself, though, has a sharp-edged brilliance. Rather than having a lump sum prize for the winner at the end of competition, Pirate Master's money is meted out week by week. The ship has a captain, voted to power by the crew. The captain picks two mates. These three split the lion's share of the loot, dividing the rest among the crew. The captain decides what to do with his share, obviously, but spreading it around is wise because a dissatisfied crew can mutiny at any time. The winner, presumably, will be the one who is best able to exploit his opponents while keeping them complacent.





Though neither the producers nor contestants have things locked down yet (the producers picked morons; the morons don't grasp the nuances of corruption), the show has already offered cultural insight. Two players have held the captainship through most of the first six episodes. The first, Joe Don, was a slothful moron who hoarded the gold and didn't do any work. Dreadlocked yoga junky Azmyth, the latest captain, learned from Joe Don's mistakes at first, splitting the gold evenly. He too, though, has recently begun dipping more liberally into the winnings. This pisses people off.





"That blue coat changes people," said Joy last week, right before she got kicked off. Despite widespread dissatisfaction with everyone who's worn the captain's jacket, though, none of the deckhands has managed a mutiny. John tried in Episode One and failed. Since then the people grumble, but never cease to fall in line. Faced with staggering income disparity, and knowing they have the power to topple their tyrant, the hoi polloi do nothing.





Pirate Master, then, decoupages a lot of gaudy artifice onto a pervasive power structure: The rich get richer, the poor swab la poupe deck.





TiVo-Worthy


Flight of the Conchords


New Zealand's favorite comedy folk band gets a weekly half-hour chock-full of dark musical comedy touching brilliantly on the hipsterish ability to be both painfully cool and a hopeless loser. Outside that trope, the show's moderately funny but needs tightening. (Sundays, 10:30 pm, HBO)





American Body Shop


Can't decide whether this is one year late or three. Ostensibly a satire on the cottage genre gear-head documentaries spawned entirely by American Chopper's wild, unexpected popularity, it'd seem a whole lot funnier if anyone still cared about that show. Then again, no one cares about W, and yet we have Lil Bush. Business as usual for Comedy Central, then. (Sundays, 10:30 pm, Comedy Central)





The Bronx Is Burning


In the summer of 1977, New York was on fire. The heat was sweltering and caused extended blackouts. The city was going bankrupt. A serial murderer was on the loose. The Bronx Is Burning is an eight-hour miniseries dramatizing how the city was saved by New York Yankees baseball. God bless America, and God bless you, Mr. Steinbrenner. (Tuesdays, 10 pm, ESPN)


????

  • Pin It

Latest in News

  • Skunked
  • Skunked

    Why Spokane County Commissioners passed a temporary ban on new outdoor pot farms without telling anyone
    • Dec 8, 2016
  • Prisoner Problems
  • Prisoner Problems

    Computer errors continue to plague state Department of Corrections; plus, Washington ranked first in pro-charter-school policies
    • Dec 8, 2016
  • In Defense of Refugees
  • In Defense of Refugees

    In the aftermath of the presidential election, local residents seek ways to love and support their refugee friends
    • Dec 1, 2016
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Sat | Sun | Mon | Tue | Wed | Thu
Spokane Storytelling League: Christmas Stories

Spokane Storytelling League: Christmas Stories @ South Hill Library

Sat., Dec. 10, 4 p.m.

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by Luke Baumgarten

  • Chasing Whales
  • Chasing Whales

    Let's focus less on courting big companies and focus more on nurturing big ideas
    • Feb 5, 2015
  • Completely Repellent
  • Completely Repellent

    How can we expect people to find constructive uses for space that wasn't built for them?
    • Dec 30, 2014
  • Screw Big Cities
  • Screw Big Cities

    A mid-sized manifesto
    • Dec 3, 2014
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • Unfinished Business

    Isaiah Wall wants to get his life on track. But first, he's gotta buy drugs for the police
    • Nov 17, 2016
  • Fake-News Nightmare

    The social media dream of the 2000s is fading, but we can reset the system by sticking up for the truth
    • Dec 1, 2016
  • More »

Top Tags in
News & Comment

Briefs


green zone


marijuana


trail mix


Comment


Readers also liked…

  • Patrolling While Black
  • Patrolling While Black

    Gordon Grant's nearly 30 years as a Spokane cop have been affected by race, but that's not the whole story
    • Jul 8, 2015
  • Waiting For Their Place
  • Waiting For Their Place

    Rapid Re-Housing programs still mean months of homelessness for many local families
    • Jun 10, 2015

© 2016 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation