Ever since Survivor‘s 16th (and best) season, Micronesia: Fans Vs. Favorites, I have been hankerin’ for the show to do a second installment of the Fans Vs. Faves theme. Pitting 10 newbies against 10 returning veterans made for a perfect storm. There were shocking vote-offs week after week, medical evacuations, a mental breakdown, a fake idol and a Black Widow alliance of women who ran circles around the guys. It. Was. Awesome.
Tonight’s premiere of Survivor Caramoan finally (finally!) brings us the return of the Fans Vs. Favorites model…but who the hell deemed these castaways “favorites?” Let’s break down these questionable characters, shall we, starting with the few I’m happy to see island hopping once again:
Erik was originally a Fan, but now the former-ice cream scooper returns as a Fave…and that he is. Erik was a dominator at challenges and great around camp. He was also extremely likable…and gullible. The Parvati-led Black Widow alliance convinced him to give up his hard earned immunity idol at Tribal and then kicked him to the curb. A few years later, he’s back and hopefully much, much wiser. The Erik fan club line starts behind this blogger.
Dawn Meehan – Original Season: South Pacific (Season 23)
Dawn was a great spirit to root for. She had a rough beginning with all that moping and crying, but turned it around, proving to be a dominating female for her tribe. (Remember that weight lifting challenge she won for her tribe?) Now that she knows what to expect, hopefully she hits the ground running.
Malcolm Freberg – Original Season: Philippines (Season 25)
Malcolm only had two and a half weeks in between filming his Philippines season and heading back out to compete in Caramoan. He may be less physically fit than before, which is really what he was known for. He and Denise made quite the run in the Philippines though, considering their entire tribe was decimated under the leadership (or lack thereof) of Russell Swan. He’s a quality Survivor, but will he have what it takes to do it all again so soon?
OK – The following “Favorites” suck, but I get it. They’re probably going to be great for TV:
John Cochran – Original Season: South Pacific (Season 23)
Cochran is a nerd. He bluntly asked Probst to only call him “Cochran” so he could follow in the footsteps of Survivor greats like (Jonathan) Penner. Then he went and flipped on his tribe because he was scared of choosing rocks due to a tied vote, a feat only done once in all of the show’s history – Season 4′s Marquesas edition. Cochran then took a beating from his former tribe, but hey man, snitches get stitches. Though I don’t doubt that the kid is smart and probably learned from his mistakes, I wasn’t really holding my breath to see him again. Survey says: Meh.
Corinne Kaplan – Original Season: Gabon (Season 17)
Corinne sucks. I hate her lots, similar to how I despise Colton from One World. These two aren’t “fun to hate”-villains, I just loathe them. Corinne is vicious, crude and kind of a bully, but she delivers quality soundbite after soundbite, so I get why producers think she makes for good TV. They’re probably right, but I can’t get past the whole hating-the-shit-out-of-her thing to meet them halfway. I can’t wait to see her lose. Hard.
Brandon Hantz – Original Season: South Pacific (Season 23)
CBS’s infatuation with the Hantz family is really annoying (Big Brother‘s Willie, anyone?), but I must say, I was somewhat struck by Brandon during his first time out. The kid was only 19 years old and was really going through a moral, soul-searching inner struggle. He couldn’t deal with his emotions and couldn’t make decisions (how he passed the psych eval is beyond me). Like Erik, he gave up his immunity and was sent packing. It was entertaining to watch him, but I felt too bad for him to really get any joy out of it. And lets face it, he’s not the brightest crayon in the box. A second chance for this guy? Really, Probst?
Surely you remember Phil Sheppard, pink undies and all. Otherwise known as Boston Rob’s lackey, Phillip was another nearly psychotic castaway. He claimed to be a former “Federal Agent,” but who would be dumb enough to reveal that if it was true? This dude is so whacked, I can’t even get into it. I did have many fun nights watching this guy unravel though. He could really bring the crazy to this season, but he’s not ever going to be a great player. Without Rob, this guy doesn’t stand a chance.
These last three: I’m clueless.
Andrea Boehlke – Original Season: Redemption Island (Season 22)
You may remember her from….just kidding. She’s completely forgettable and you don’t remember her in the slightest. She had a thing with this guy Matt. She went to Redemption Island. She came back once. She was super boring and super useless.
Brenda Lowe – Original Season: Nicaragua (Season 21)
Brenda is a frustrating character because she could’ve been so epic. She started out strong and then got cocky and lazy. She didn’t even fight to stay once her name was thrown into the ring. She could’ve been the next Parvati, but she never lived up to her own hype. Why waste time on her for a second round?
Francesca Hogi - Original Season: Redemption Island (Season 22)
Fran-ses-kwa (as Phillip calls her) was voted out first during her season. Enough said.
Alas, though entirely psyched about the potential of this second helping of Fans Vs. Favorites, I feel like the producers squandered a really good chance at bringing back some serious players. Lets face it: This is a seriously disappointing and embarrassing list of “Favorites,” but I hope this season makes me eat my words.