Tag Archives: tribal council

survivor finale prediction: someone will win, but who?

Game-Changers-e1486573854660Yep, it’s already the end. Seems like we just got re-acquainted with these 20 former players; some we missed, some we wish would never come back.

So, who’s going to be crowned Ultimate Survivor tonight? Good question. The remaining six players are cagey veterans of the game; three of whom have made it all the way to Final Tribal Council in previous seasons. But when it comes to crowning a winner, it’s almost more important to analyze the jury than the players.

Jeff-snuffing-torchThe Jury
In order, it’s: Hali, Ozzy, Debbie, Zeke, Sieerra, Andrea and Michaela. Three more to come tonight for a total of 10. In a Final Tribal of three players, it takes at least four votes to win Survivor. Does anyone have four votes out of these seven? Honestly, it’s too difficult to know. But I’ll take a stab at guessing for whom (of the remaining six) these seven would vote.

Hali—She’s been on the jury awhile now. I could see her going with Culpepper, even though he did vote her out.

Ozzy—Tough one. Cirie, maybe? The person who orchestrated his ouster is on the jury, so he may go with whom he thinks is the next best player. But if Ozzy thinks athleticism matters more, he might go with Sarah or Culpepper…even Tai could get a vote here (but I doubt it).

Debbie—Culpepper or Sarah, leaning toward Sarah; just because she may have an axe to grind with Culpepper.

Zeke—Sarah. Even though she had a hand in voting him out.

Sierra—Culpepper. She was in his back pocket all along.

Andrea—Tough one, here. Maybe Cirie.

Michaela—Cirie. She worked hard to pull Michaela in. I don’t see Michaela betraying that.

Survivor-Game-Changers-Finale-PRThe Final Six
Who’s odds-on favorite to win? No idea, I’ll rank them in order of how I think things go tonight.

Tai—Though I hope I’m wrong, I have a sinking feeling Tai’s going to do something classically stupid to get himself bounced before the Final Four.

Aubry—I think she’s got a great shot at being at the Final Tribal again, because she’s yet to make a really big move. Her next target has got to be Cirie.

Troyzan—He’s been floating along this entire game on borrowed time. He’s got his idol to play, which could hurt one of the big players. Can he win? Well, if he goes on a run at the end, he could.

Cirie—The sneakiest player left in the game. She has almost no shot at winning immunity in any challenge (unless it’s a quiz or something). The rest of the players should bounce her immediately before she has a chance to talk her way out of last week’s Tribal Council fiasco. If they don’t vote her out when they get the chance, she’s going to win.

Culpepper—His back has been to the wall for quite a bit of this game, but he’s avoided the chopping block. So far. After Cirie, I think everyone’s most afraid of Culpepper going to the end. He’ll get votes. Can he win? Yes. But he’s got the biggest target on his back.

Survivor-Game-Changers-2017-Spoilers-Week-10-Sneak-Peek-17-550x310Officer Sarah—For my money, the best player this season, so far. If she makes it to the end, I think she could beat anyone; including Culpepper and Cirie. But if she’s smart, she bounces them and takes Tai and Aubry so they can be runners up again.

My Final Three Prediction
Sarah, Culpepper and Troyzan.

aubry-bracco-survivor-kaoh-rong-winner-620x360What Aubry Needs to do to Win
Because she’s my favorite player, I’ve given this some thought. She needs to win a couple more immunity challenges, just to beef up her résumé. Then she needs to vote out Cirie, Sarah and Culpepper. She’d be sitting at the end with Tai and Troyzan. That’s her best shot at winning.

Who Will Win
I’m betting on Culpepper or Sarah. But who knows? Tune in tonight!



Leave a comment

Filed under pop culture, reality TV, review, survivor

survivor re-cap: nothing to see here, folks!

Game-Changers-e1486573854660.jpgIn a season called Game Changers, tonight’s episode would’ve been better off being called “predictable.” It was the obligatory loved one visit episode of Survivor tonight, followed by a whole lotta nothing to see here, folks! While I don’t mind the tears and emotion from the players (who’ve been completely cut off from their families and friends for more than a month, at this point in the game), it’s really only a part of Survivor as a McGuffin to create a little bit of drama where none otherwise existed.

Who’s going on the reward? Are they taking me? Why didn’t they take ME?!?!

Bah! Who cares? Let’s have some real drama, please!

”Calm down!”
There’s always one who overreacts in the moment. Not surprisingly, it was Michaela who took it all a bit too personally when she was left behind. While Michaela, Sierra, Troyzan and Tai moped in the ocean, a motley crew of Andrea, Aubry, Cirie, Culpepper and Sarahshared a jungle barbecue with loved ones. It is no exaggeration to call this the oldest trick in Survivor’s book.

The entire point of this challenge is to stir emotions, positive and negative. Despite a few post-challenge outbursts from Michaela (shocking), the players seemed to accept the results and move onto strategy. But I did love it when Michaela’s mother had a very “mom” moment and told her daughter to “calm down!” when Michaela was throwing a tantrum.



All that was missing was some sort of argument with Six over a boy…or something. I don’t know. I never watched Blossom.

Special Episodes of Blossom Had More Drama Than This
Even though there was some light chatter about sending Culpepper home, all the attention focused squarely on Andrea and Sierra. And I’m not so sure the players made the right move, but we’ll get to that later.


It was really a fairly quiet boring episode with little in the way of actual game-changing moves. Seriously, everybody just sort of muddled along until Tribal Council. Honestly, was anyone surprised? And Sierra, true to form, went out with a dull whimper. For someone who knew she was on the chopping block, she did remarkably little to save herself. Special episodes of Blossom had more drama than this, for Christ’s sake!

Perhaps that’s because Culpepper won his first individual Immunity Necklace tonight, thus rendering moot any thoughts of sending him packing. In terms of distinguishing oneself as a championship-caliber player in this game, Culpepper really needed a necklace. I’m a firm believer that a Survivor champion’s game should be an equilateral triangle of performance at challenges, big, strategic moves and a strong social game that keeps your name off the parchment.

NerdAlertBannerSquare.pngGame of Geometry
Right now, Andrea is the closest to equilateral, with Culpepper right behind. Everyone else is working off all manner of isosceles and scalene triangles. It’s not pretty (look it up!). The fact that Andrea has quietly moved herself into the driver’s seat of this game is a bit shocking and impressive. I’ve never doubted her Survivor acumen, but she really and truly snuck up on bigger, bolder players in recent days while having to fend off serious attempts to snuff her torch. If you consider Hali as a player who faced similar circumstances, look at the start contrast in strategy to survive and advance. Hali never started playing until Tribal Council. Andrea? She never stops.

160129104607-12-break-up-movies-breakup-super-169The Break-up
I understand the strategery behind voting out Sierra tonight. It was about splitting up a voting bloc to further put Culpepper in a deep hole. If you don’t break up a power couple in Survivor, they will run the entire game.

Poor Culpepper. His alliance has essentially crumbled all around him in a matter of days. Unless he can sweet-talk Tai and another free agent or two (Michaela?), he’s going to need to win a couple more immunity challenges to save himself. As it stands, Culpepper has become the No. 1 target with one remaining ally: Troyzan. And if Troyzan’s smart, he’ll start shopping for a new alliance soon, lest he wants to be picked off too.

242e304d9db88ff0763d03104f50f167Lord of the Jungle?
Let’s talk about Troyzan for a moment. He is an athletic player and seems to have a sense of strategy in this game. Yet, here we are again, looking at Troyzan on the wrong side of an alliance. Sure, it wasn’t as blatant as his previous turn in Survivor One World, but his alliance—which was fairly tight a couple weeks ago—has completely fallen apart around him.

That may appear to put him in a bad spot, but he does have a hidden Immunity Idol in his pocket and I doubt he’ll be dumb enough to not play it. With the right votes happening around him, Troyzan could find himself in the catbird seat at the end of the game because, as of right now, he’s been a part of one, big move (Ozzy’s ouster) without voting against majority of the current jury. Could that play to his advantage in a Final Tribal Council (providing the jury members are smarting over getting betrayed and want to take it out on their Judas)? Too soon to tell, though, because Troyzan is not the only player with untold advantages in this game.



No, Russell Hantz is not on this season of Survivor. But he is the Survivor Patron Saint of All Holy Hell in this game, no?

All Holy Hell
On the surface of the game, Survivor is in a very calm, predictable state…sort of like a powder keg with a lit wick. Sure, it’s calm, until the flame reaches the keg. That’s how I see Survivor right now. We’ve already had some great and explosive Tribal Councils this season, but I think we’re very, very close to seen All Holy Hell break loose!


Between Troyzan’s hidden Immunity Idol, Tai’s TWO hidden idols and now Sarah’s two advantages—having been bequeathed Sierra’s Legacy Advantage last night—the stars are aligned for a perfectly crazy night around Jeff Probst’s Tribal campfire! With so much hidden treasure waiting to be exposed (let’s not forget Sarah’s other advantage in the game: the chance to steal a vote) we could be looking at, quite possibly, the most explosive Tribal Council of the season.

Oh, I hope so. I really, really hope so.

Survivor-Game-Changers-2017-Spoilers-Week-10-Sneak-Peek-17-550x310Big Move of the Week
Officer Sarah has, once again, made a brilliant move to advance her game on many levels. In addition to gaining Sierra’s trust as a close ally in order to be first in line for the Legacy Advantage, Sarah also successfully rallied the votes to get her “close ally” bounced out of the game. That’s some gangster shit, right there!

Perhaps Sierra will wake up to the betrayal at the Final Tribal Council—should Sarah make it that far—but I doubt it. Sierra was too passive in this game. She really didn’t pose much of a threat and Sarah exploited that. Sure, they chose to take out a pawn tonight instead of a rook (or a bishop, or whatever, in Andrea), but Sarah made off like a bandit by acquiring Sierra’s wares. That’s a solid, Survivor move right there.

SURVIVORSurvivor Employee of the Week
I’m giving it to Culpepper. He needed a big performance and he delivered twice; first, in the Reward Challenge and again in the Immunity Challenge. Sarah’s a close second, but Culpepper gets it because he had to win tonight.

Sure, he lost his closest ally in the game, but he probably would’ve been taken out tonight otherwise. Winning a must-win challenge—even if you don’t realize it—is a big deal to me.



Andrea’s moving her way up the chart. Fast.

The Haves
I’m still calling Sarah my top seed, but Andrea may have moved into a tie with her. Andrea’s been playing a more out-in-the-open game—and has staved off elimination twice while winning immunity twice—so her résumé is getting more and more impressive. Sarah’s playing more like a sniper, lurking in the shadows and maintaining a quiet dominance over the social aspect of Survivor.

After thee two, I’d put Cirie in at No. 3, but I’ve got to believe her backroom strategizing is going to catch up with her. She’s widely regarded as the smartest player out there by her contemporaries. And Cirie is the only player who can be a liability in challenges it won’t ever count against her. Figure that out.


The Maybes
If I had to rank the remaining five players, it would look something like this:

aubry-bracco-survivor-kaoh-rong-winner-620x3604. Aubry—Because she’s positioned herself on the right side of an alliance, but needs a big move under her belt to gain street cred. Aubry’s proven herself to be influential and perceptive—and a better competitor in the challenges than people might expect—but she needs to take out a big player to make people see her as a threat.

5. Culpepper—For now. He could fall next week, so he needs to step up and rebuild his alliance fast. No one is on shakier ground right now than Brad. If he doesn’t win the next Immunity Challenge, he will be going home.

6. Troyzan—He’s been an underdog this entire game, but found his footing when he joined the move to get rid of Ozzy. Culpepper’s been shielding him, to this point. Where Troyzan will either make or break his game is deciding when to stab Culpepper in the back. I don’t think he could win over the jury sitting next to Culpepper. Timing is everything.

7. Michaela—She’s starting to move out from Cirie’s shadow and play her own game. Although she’s only moved herself up to “swing vote” status. No one respects a swing voter enough to give that person a million dollars. It’s like being a permanent traitor. I still don’t think she can win, regardless, but she needs to make a big move to give herself a fighting chance. That means she has to knock off Sierra, Andrea and/or Sarah. Good luck, kid.

8. Tai—Perhaps I’m being disrespectful of Tai’s game, but I can never tell if he’s operating on strategy or just rolling with whomever gains his trust the day of a vote. Unbeknownst to everyone else, he has two hidden Immunity Idols. Finding idols is a good skill, but not enough to advance your lot in Survivor. Knowing how and when to play them is going to be critical to Tai’s fortunes. He’s going to have to take big risks and play like free agent for a couple votes, I think, to move up into the upper tier. He may be sitting at No. 8 right now, but that doesn’t mean he can’t move up into The Haves next week. He most definitely could.

Predictions for Next Week
If the bottom five were smart, they’d start picking off Sarah, Andrea and Cirie as soon as possible, but that’s less a prediction and more wishful thinking to stir up the drama. More likely is the girls gang up on the boys and either eliminate Culpepper or Immunity Idols are played and we finally get the All Holy Hell Tribal Council! Hey, a fella can dream.

Also next week, we’ll start examining the jury to look at potential voting outcomes. Stay tuned!

Leave a comment

Filed under reality TV, review, survivor, television

survivor re-cap: the lady doth protest too much.


If they were giving out awards on Survivor for most mercurial player, there’s no question who would win: Michaela; hands down. Just when I think she’s going to start playing the game for real, she resorts to her usual shenanigans (for this season, at least) of making a spectacle of herself at Tribal Council. And let’s be real for a minute here: did anyone buy her crocodile tears routine? If that’s gamesmanship, she’s going to have to explain whom she thought she was fooling. Was it her way of trying to swing a vote in the just-ousted Zeke? As though she were signaling to him, “it wasn’t me!” Do you really think Zeke would buy it, much less, respect it? After all, you’ve written Zeke’s name down THREE TIMES in the past four votes! C’mon, Michaela. Get real. The lady doth protest too much.

edbd2a54f2b5edf95a7f78fbcd0e7f87As for voting off Zeke at this stage in the game, it’s not a bad play. That being said, I was in complete agreement with Michaela about picking off one of the remaining bottom four players. This is where her understanding of the game is strong. She understands the numbers better than most players. She was keenly aware that going into the next Tribal Council at 6-3 is significantly better than 5-4. But then she completely threw that away and went along with Andrea’s plan. I suppose she knew it was smarter to just go along with the majority plan rather than rock the boat and bring attention to yourself.


Mustache of Sadness. Zeke watches his torch get snuffed.

However, the alliances in Game Changers are proving to be fluid and ever-changing. So removing the greatest strategic threat when you have the chance makes perfect sense. Give credit to Andrea for backing her way into a smart play, even though she acting purely on emotion. Still smarting over the vote where Zeke targeted Andrea, she proved to be more about vengeance tonight than strategy. Either way, it opens the game up even more.


I have to admit, I thought for a moment at Tribal Council that Tai was about to make himself the dumbest Survivor player in history. He’s sitting on two immunity idols and openly states he feels like he could be at the bottom and possibly going home tonight. In fact, he even got some votes. If I’m Tai, one of those idols comes out tonight; if, for no other reason, just to be certain you don’t go home with idols in your pocket. It’s like being on house money. Even if you don’t need it, you make the remaining players believe you’re out of idols. At this point, Tai’s game can best be described as “better to be lucky than good.”



Third Time’s a Charm? Andrea made it 30+ days in her two previous Survivor appearances. Can she make it to day 39 this time?

Move of the Week
This is a tough one, because the remaining nine players are making quiet, subtle moves. Even though it’s debatable if it was the best move, pragmatically, I’m going to say Andrea made the move of the week. Yes, she acted on emotion more than strategy, but coordinating a vote to blindside Zeke—one of the game’s smartest players—is a strong, bold move. Zeke plays a better three-dimensional game of Survivor better than almost anyone who’s ever played the game. Taking him out now is tantamount to taking out a queen in chess. But the prevailing question remains: was this the right time? Was it worth risking your six-person alliance right now?




Yes, that’s really him.

Survivor Employee of the Week
Culpepper. Seems like a strange choice, given we don’t seem to hear much from him, right? That’s exactly why he earns EOTW honors. He went from the very top to the very bottom in the span of three days. He’s one of the last remaining dual threats in this game—meaning, strong at challenges, smart with the social game—and has yet to see his name written down. He’s playing a very quiet, very strong game. He did well to build a rapport with Zeke after the Reward Challenge. No, it ultimately doesn’t matter anymore, but it did force Zeke’s alliance to consider him a threat for flipping. No, that wasn’t Culpepper’s plan, but still…no one’s written his name down yet. He’s going to have his work cut out for him next week, though. With only nine players left, I’m pretty sure the shanks are about to come out.


sarah-lacina.jpgThe Haves
Sarah and Cirie are my only two definite Haves in the game. They’ve lined up strategies that include jury management as much as voting strategy. Given her voting advantage, Sarah has a chance to truly flip the game.

I give Sarah a better shot at making it to the end than Cirie, simply because Cirie has a reputation for being a smart player. Sarah is still in the shadows.


I still think Troyzan has a decent outside shot at winning this game. But he needs a few stars to align first.

The Maybes
This is a long list: Andrea, Aubry, Culpepper, Tai, Troyzan and Michaela. Yes, Michaela. She earned an upgrade from me because she finally started playing the game this week. I’m still not 100 percent certain she’s got any votes on the jury or can win the game, though. I say that not because she had a hand in sealing the fates of Debbie and Zeke, but because she hasn’t orchestrated any big moves. Plus, her social game leaves much to be desired. Still, I’ll pencil her in on the low end of the Maybes; see what she does next week. But I have to be honest, I still don’t see her winning.

The remaining five Maybes all have nothing but opportunity before them. It’ll be toughest for Culpepper, I think, because he doesn’t have much of an alliance (nor any side advantages) to protect him. Troyzan and Tai, by virtue of sitting on idols, have tremendous opportunities to advance their positions in the game in a big way. It remains to be seen how strategic Tai will be, although he’s shown more game than people realize. Don’t count him out. Troyzan is a dark horse because he is a physical threat in challenges. However, like the last time he played, he’s always on the wrong side of alliances. He needs two votes to swing his way to earn a legitimate shot at making it to the end.

Aubry, still my favorite player, needs to start making moves right now. We’re down to nine and she has numbers. At some point she’s going to have to orchestrate a major move to take out a big player in the game. That means taking out one of her own; Cirie, most likely, in my opinion. Aubry’s smart and patient, but we’re making the turn into the homestretch. Time to get on your horse (yes, that was a Kentucky Derby reference).

SierraCovThe Have Nots
Sorry, Sierra. I just don’t see a path to victory for you. But this is written in pencil. It appears you’re about to step out from Culpepper’s shadow and start playing the game (finally!). To this point, your best move was really Tai’s best move. He saved you back on Day 11. Since then, you’ve been mostly coasting along. That might earn you a trip to the end, but it won’t earn you a million dollars (unless you’re sitting next to Russell Hantz). Make a bold move and we’ll talk in a week.

And I’ve just decided to downgrade Michaela to the Have Nots. Take a seat next to Sierra, Michaela. Yeah, you started to play the game, but you’re not going to win.

Predictions for Next Week
Something big is about to happen. A power alliance with Sarah in the driver’s seat will emerge. And we might see the first of three hidden Immunity Idols come into play. I don’t think the next Tribal Council will be the crazy one, but we’re going to have another nutty Tribal before we get to the end.

My only other predication is Debbie is going to remain the most obnoxious, least self aware player in Survivor history. You’re not as smart as you think you are, Debbie. And you can mutter “idiots” all you want from your perch in the jury box, but remember: you’re in the jury box. You were put there by players who were sharper than you. If they’re idiots, what does that make you?


Cochran’s still having flashbacks to this awkward moment.

Leave a comment

Filed under opinion, reality TV, survivor

survivor cambodia: second chance…week 3 recap.

survivorlogoIt’s been awhile since I’ve written about Survivor. This season’s only three episodes in, and I’ve decided it’s so good it’s worth blogging about. If you’ve been watching this season—Survivor Cambodia: Second Chance—you know the drill. Twenty former players, 10 female and 10 male, were named contestants by virtue of a fan vote. None of the players have ever won the game. I was most impressed that many of the old-school players from the first few seasons made their way back onto the island.

So who’s playing this season?

The cast of the 31st season of SURVIVOR is announced during the live reunion show broadcast from Los Angeles, Wednesday, May 20th on the CBS Television Network. Pictured (left to right) (Top Row): Vytas Baskauskas, Ciera Eastin, Peih-Gee Law, Keith Nale, Jeff Varner, Kimmi Kappenberg, and Kelly Wiglesworth. (Middle Row): Shirin Oskooi, Kelley Wentworth, Monica Padilla, Kassandra “Kass” McQuillen, Abi-Maria Gomes, Andrew Savage, Terry Deitz. (Bottom Row): Yung “Woo” Hwang, Spencer Bledsoe, Joe Anglim, Jeremy Collins, Latasha “Tasha” Fox and Stephen Fishbach. Photo: Monty Brinton/CBS ©2015 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Vytas Baskauskas — Voted out, Week 1. Why? Because he was a creepy back-rubber dude, if you ask me.
Shirin Oskool — Voted out, Week 2. Thankfully. She might be the most obnoxious, annoying, player ever.
Peih-Gee Law — Voted out, Week 3. We’ll get to her later.
Joe Anglim
Spencer Bledsoe
Jeremy Collins
Terry Deitz
Ciera Eastin
Stephen Fishbach
Tasha Fox
Abi-Maria Gomes
Woo Hwang
Kimmi Kappenberg
Kass McQuillen
Keith Nale
Monica Padilla
Andrew Savage
Jeff Varner
Kelley Wentworth
Kelly Wiglesworth

Week One Recap
Vytas came off as a weird, creepy backrubber dude. Shirin basically sealed his fate because of…who the hell cares. It’s Shirin. Somebody shut her up.

Week Two Recap
They shut her up. I’ve never been so happy to see someone get booted off the island as I was this week. I’m still annoying by Shirin’s bullshit grandstanding from last season. “I was verbally assaulted.” You got yelled at, you clown! STFU!

Week Three Recap
The remaining 18 players were split into three tribes of six. Good thing, too, because it was starting to look like one tribe was going to run away with challenges. On top of that, some of my favorite players were struggling. Spencer strikes me as a smart kid who finds himself on the wrong side of a winning alliance. The shakeup definitely helped him. Tasha earned my respect for calling out a “rat” in Jeff Varner for trying to communicate to another team after the Immunity Challenge. Seriously, what was he thinking? That was dumb, Varner. Dumb!

From there, you knew Tribal Council would be interesting for the newly formed Angkor Tribe of Varner, Peih-Gee, Woo, Tasha, Abi-Maria and Andrew. Perhaps it was due in part to Varner’s move, but the shift in power on Angkor was caused by an already fractious alliance of four between Varner, Woo, Peih-Gee and Abi-Maria. Let’s face it: Abi-Marie is crazy, unpredictable and unreliable. She was already on the outs with her original tribemates, so it should surprise no one that Tasha and Andrew were able to pull her to their side rather quickly.

I also think Tasha and Andrew were wise to vote out Peih-Gee instead of Abi-Marie. Peih-Gee was in full-on survival mode and would’ve said anything to stay alive. Abi-Marie is a free agent and has an axe to grind with her tribemates. In my mind, she’s a guaranteed vote in my favor. I’m sure Tasha and Andrew felt the same way.

And, as always, Woo sits at Tribal Council, the most surprised and confused man in the game. He seems like a nice kid, but boy does he miss out on the big strategy happening around him! Either he’s pretending to be an airhead or he is an airhead; either way, his tribemates think he’s disengaged. Just as Peih-Gee was blindsided, so was Woo.

So What’s Next?
I never make predictions until the merge. Right now, it’s just a matter of which tribe can keep itself sorted out enough to win challenges that’s important. But already, too many players are focusing on the long game and missing the short game. Spencer nearly got bit by that and has since course corrected.

#CluelessKass continues to believe her own press clippings, but she’s playing a different game this time around. What she still doesn’t realize is all her moves last time she played didn’t improve her game one bit. She was nothing but a pot-stirrer. She never once improved her standing in the game. Not once.

I’m hoping Terry can survive awhile. He’s one of the best players who never won the game. He came in third place the season Aras won (who never deserved to win. Ever).

Personal Favorites
Varner — Because he’s kind of a goof, but a conniving goof. He makes me laugh and occasionally hatches a smart plan.

Tasha — Strong player who previously was on the wrong side of a winning alliance.

Spencer — Same thing. Kid is sharp, but he needs to get smarter about building alliances.

Fishbach — I’ve always liked this guy. But he’s got to work twice as hard this time around to get deep in the game.

Keith — He’s a much better player than people think. I hope he makes it far.

Ciera — Because she’s a tough competitor and has proven she will be cutthroat to win…and she’s freakin’ adorable and cute. Call me, Ciera!

Leave a comment

Filed under survivor, television

survivor recap: mean girls, creepy dudes & way too much nudity. oh my!

Dan-FoleyWhen there are still 17 players in the game—most of whom you still can’t name—the episodes are less about challenges, strategy and alliances than they are about reliving every high school nightmare you’ve had. Over and over and over. Last night’s episode of Survivor was no exception.

Between the bickering, annoying voices and abundance of naked man ass, I’m just ready for the merge to happen right freakin’ now. I get it. At this point of the game, Survivor producers are showing us the social dynamics occurring at each camp.

Here’s how I’d break it down
White Collar:
Everyone’s laying back, waiting to make a move…and then beardy the weirdo goes free-ballin’ and gives everyone the willies! Except for the one chick who decides to go free-ballin’ too, making the Howdy Doody lookin’ dude all uncomfortable. You people are all trying too hard or something.

Blue Collar:
Hey, I like the fat guy. He might be annoying, but I like him. Not so sure about his choice in undergarments, but that’s another story. Who’s the dude who thinks Survivor is a job site? No. 1: he’s got a super-annoying voice. No. 2: chill out, dude. Chill. Out.

No Collar:
Vince is creepy. The young girls are somewhere between mean or self absorbed. Will is a cool dude. Joe is Mr. Perfect and Nina is crying. I think that covers everyone.

Immunity Challenge
Give the fat guy credit. He blasted through that obstacle. Really, everyone did an admirable job, but for Will. He pretty much choked on the last rung and it cost his tribe a shot at winning. But even if he didn’t screw up, I have my doubts anyone on the No Collar tribe could make a Survivor Free Throw™ if their lives depended on it. While all the other kids were in gym class, learning to dribble the ball, the No Collars were in a drum circle, trading shitty Grateful Dead boots.

But give credit to the White Collar dude who was draining the shots. My bet: he was his the starting point guard on his high school varsity team. And props to CBS and Survivor for the subtle-but-yet-not-really-subtle tie-in to March Madness on this challenge Oh, c’mon! Do you think they just pulled the free throw contest out of a hat for the first show in March? Please.

Tribal Council
I was a little disappointed in the outcome, but not terribly surprised. Vince is a wet blanket who comes on too strong and too nutty. His Crazy Eyez Killa stare is enough for me to not want to sleep at night in the same shelter with him, so I understand why he was the first to go from their tribe. I’m glad it wasn’t Nina, but I was a bit shocked Will was the deciding vote. The reason I was disappointed is because Vince made everyone uncomfortable. That was fun to watch. I guess we’ll just have to rely free-ballin’ beardy to supply the creep factor from now on.

Leave a comment

Filed under survivor, television

survivor finale recap: all’s well that ends well.

survivor-cast-photoAll’s well that ends well. That’s pretty much the way I feel about this season’s Survivor finale. I give credit to the show producers. Not a great deal of drama, honestly, other than fooling me into believing it was going to be a triumvirate of contestants at the Final Tribal Council instead of a Final Two. To that end, I thought Spencer’s attempts to woo (ha!) Tony into giving him a shot at a tie in the Final Four vote was smart. It was also the last bullet in Spencer’s gun.

Even Spencer’s final attempts were something of a microcosm of the entire game: it all revolved around Tony who, in the end, won the game by an 8-1 vote over runner-up Woo. I’m not sure I’m 100 percent convinced Woo isn’t regretting taking Tony to the finish. There’s no telling, but I do believe he would’ve beaten Kass in a Final Tribal. Hell, I think a bucket of spit could’ve beaten Kass in the final Tribal Council.

While there is truth to her view that women who play Survivor are held to a different standard than men, she’s awfully arrogant and completely unaware if she thinks her game was in any way as strategic as Tony’s. It wasn’t. Sure, she made big moves, but they were all the wrong moves. Nothing she ever did improved her position in the game. She just made moves for the hell of it. Tony made big moves to improve his chances of winning.

The only chance of winning Kass ever had was if she had aligned with Trish and Tasha to go to the end. But she never would’ve beaten Tasha. I’m not sure Tony or Spencer could’ve beaten Tasha, really. She had a more complete game than Spencer and Tony combined.

In the end, here’s how I’d break down this season’s players, from best to worst.

1. Tony—No doubt about it, he controlled the entire game. He didn’t win immunity, but he had everyone on their toes all along. Well deserved win.

(Tie) 2. Tasha—The one player who probably scared all the players the most. She won Immunity Challenges and made it look easy. She was able to keep herself off the chopping block for most of the game, until the merge. Too bad she got voted when she did. I think she deserved to be there much more than others. MUCH more!

(Tie) 2. Spencer—No player fought his or her way from the bottom more than Spencer. He won immunity because he had to. The target was always on his back. Always.

4. L.J.—A strong player, but an early victim to Tony’s strategy. I had him pegged early as a guy who could win. He posed a threat to too many people.

5. Sara—Had #CluelessKass not sacrificed her when she did, I think Sara would’ve been a finalist. She was strong in challenges and had alliances all over the island. She did not deserve to be the first juror. Not by a long shot.

6. Woo—I like Woo. He’s a great kid and made me laugh. Also, I’d rather have him on my side in challenges because of his physical ability. While Woo can preach integrity in his everyday life and that is admirable, it rarely translates into a winning strategy. Being the guy behind the guy is a recipe for guaranteed runner-up. Nevertheless, good job in challenges.

7. Trish—She was nothing more than Tony’s No. 1, which means she’ll never get higher than No. 2. Zero aggressive moves on her own. I thought Tony might take her to the end because I seriously didn’t see anyone on that jury giving her a vote. She was weak in challenges and weaker in strategy.

8. Jeffra—Seriously, did she have a strategy other than riding behind L.J.? She was so bent out of shape over Tony blindsiding her biggest ally, how did she respond? By sticking with Tony and getting blindsided herself. Brilliant strategy, Rommel.

9. Jeremiah—This dude…wow. For some players, they happen to the game. For Jeremiah, the game happened to him. He had nothing. Nothing. At least Jeffra THOUGHT about making a big move. That’s more than we can say about Jeremiah.

10. Morgan—She was pretty. And brought absolutely nothing else to the island. She didn’t even deserve to get as far as she got.

11. Kass—Awful player. Smug. Condescending. Zero self awareness. She made moves…all the wrong ones! Had she taken the opposite tack of each of her self-anointed great moves, she would’ve had a better shot at winning. “But she got to the Top Three,” people will say. Yeah, as a goat. She was never going to win this game. Not with her nonsensical, non-strategic gameplay. She flipped alliances at the merge, to what end? How did that improve her chances? It didn’t. Not for one second. Kass was worst than Morgan because she thought she was better at this game than she actually was. Smug arrogance without reason is annoying. Glad you lost.

One Final Note: Call me, Jeff Probst. I’m ready to play. And I’ll win.

1 Comment

Filed under analysis, opinion, television

survivor recap: and so there were four.

probstAnd so, there were four remaining survivors on the Survivor island. It’s been a peculiar season. Lots of drama but not a lot of big moves; just noise and rancor ahead of an anti-climactic Tribal Council. Tonight’s penultimate episode was no different. Oh, sure. We had the editors teasing us into thinking this might be the end of the line for the most useless, most self absorbed player on the island, but it was not to be.

Spencer’s victory in the Immunity Challenge was crucial because, without that necklace, he would’ve been toast. It’s a good thing he gets to fight it out at the end because he’s been one of the better players this season. His problem is he started out on a tribe full of morons who either overthought or overplayed their hands.

With Spencer winning immunity, it meant someone from Tony’s alliance of dunces would have to go home. Alliance of dunces? Yes. What else would you call a group of people who, week in and week out, get blindsided by their own alliance and then remain loyal to it? Dunces. All of them!

Despite a big shouting match between Trish and Kass that left us with a glimmer of hope that we’d finally see that smug, dead look on Kass’ face get snuffed out, it was not to be. Trish was given the boot. It sort of makes sense, but at the same time, I really thought Tony would keep her to the end out of loyalty. But, as they say, loyalty don’t pay the bills! And for Tony’s sake, Trish on the jury is better for him than Kass on the jury. He already knows Kass won’t vote for him. But Trish? She might.

Honestly, I’m glad Trish is gone. She was a nearly useless player. She had zero strategy and less contribution in challenges. As near as I can tell, all Trish did was get skinny and make stupid faces when people talked about food. She was a lousy player, nothing more than a follower. Name one time when she made an actual move in the game. One time. Getting rid of Cliff? That was Tony. Lindsey quitting? That was Lindsey (and a bad, dumb move on her part). Sure, I would’ve rather seen Kass’s smug ass get voted off tonight, but Trish was nothing more than a spectator; a waste of space in Survivor.

So where does that leave this final four?
There are two strong players (both of whom deserve to win), one good-but-not-great player and one completely undeserving load. Betcha can’t guess who’s who, eh? Let’s break down the final four, in order.

1. Tony
Though he’s won no individual immunity challenges, there’s no question Tony’s been the smartest, shrewdest and most influential player this season. He’s controlled every single vote. He’s controlled nearly every aspect of the game. He’s a complete player. Of course, having immunity idols in your back pocket help, but let’s not forget many players have mishandled that same fortune. What I especially like is he’s playing up that special idol, too, by pretending it works in the next Tribal Council (which it does not). Tony’s played the game nearly perfectly. Has he made enemies? Name one Survivor champion who hasn’t? Spare me talk of “integrity” in Survivor. At some point, you have to get blood on your hands. Tony’s owned his game play. He is still running the show.

2. Spencer
At this point, I’m pulling for Spencer. He’s Tony’s greatest threat. Unlike Tony, Spencer has had to truly fight and claw and scratch his way to this point in the game. He’s had to survive! His only true mistake in the individual game was misplaying his immunity idol. He could’ve wrested control of the game away from Tony, but blew it. Nevertheless, no one else on that island has had to fight through as much adversity as Spencer. He started on a weak, brain-dead tribe that couldn’t get out of its own way. Then that weak, brain-dead tribe completely botched their early votes. Then he had to deal with that bonehead Kass blowing up a good strategy—one from which SHE herself would’ve benefited greatly, only to destroy it for no discernible reason other than being attention starved. Bottom line: Spencer and Tony SHOULD be there at the end. Chances are, one of them won’t be.

3. Woo
A good guy. A nice guy. An entertaining guy. Decent competitor and ally, but absolutely zero strategy. The last time I wrote about this season, I said Woo was one or two power moves away from being a serious contender. We’re still waiting for that power move, Woo. Every move he’s made keeps him in the game, but it really advances Tony’s strategy more than his won. Whether Woo knows it or not, he’s been Tony’s dutiful servant the entire game. Dutiful servants often make to the end, but they rarely win. Unless Woo does the unthinkable—gets rid of Tony—the best he can get is second place (depending on who’s in the final three).

4. Kass
“Chaos” Kass? More like “head-up-your-own-ass” Kass. One of the least deserving final four players ever. After dodging a bullet tonight, Kass will likely remain to the bitter end simply because she’s insurance: everyone thinks the jury hates her, so they’ll drag her along to the end. I was hoping they’d get rid of her simply because she’s smug for no good reason at all. She made one move in this game that did nothing to improve her lot. Had she remained with her original alliance instead of flipping, she’d be in a much better position to win.

As it stands, she’s pretty much alienated everyone on the island in one way or another. She has absolutely no allies on the jury. The only thing Kass ever said that was true is it takes big moves to win the game. Her big moves were pointless. Sure, she coasted the past few weeks in her alliance with Tony & Co., but how many times was she on the outside of a blindside, looking in? How many times did she really and truly engineer getting rid of someone? Trish? Please. Don’t flatter yourself. The only reason she’s out and you’re not is because Tony said so.

The Best of the Rest
I was disappointed when Tasha got voted off. She was one of the best players this season and, like Spencer, she had to fight to make it as far as she did. Four immunity wins showed she was a tough competitor. Her early strategy was suspicious and self defeating (protecting a weak, crazy player), but she always made sure she wasn’t at the bottom…until the merge. Tasha joins a long line of great players who get taken out simply because she was a threat.

The One That Got Away
In terms of game-changing strategies, the window was open for Jeffra, Tasha, Trish and Kass. They could’ve formed a powerful alliance that would’ve completely shaken up the game and taken control away from Tony. After a couple blindsides, you would’ve thought Trish would’ve started thinking for herself. She didn’t. And Jeffra…oy. She had multiple opportunities to change the game, yet kept running back to an alliance that kept her at the bottom. Survivor’s an unforgiving game. If you miss your window of opportunity, chances are, your torch gets snuffed soon thereafter.

So How Does It End?
It remains to be seen how the final three shakes out, but if Tony isn’t there, it means Spencer wins. If Spencer isn’t there, it means Tony wins. If Spencer and Tony are both there at the end, it becomes a close vote; possibly a tie. I see absolutely no scenario in which Woo or Kass win. Woo’s best hope is second place, if he’s there at the end with Spencer or Tony + Kass. Kass has no chance at higher than third place. I can’t imagine a single jury vote going her way. I really can’t.

Leave a comment

Filed under analysis, television