Survivor’s Erik Reichenbach Talks Caramoan, Jeff Probst, and that BS Reunion Special

Posted in TV on July 11th, 2013 by Nick

survivor-caramoan85Survivor: Caramoan may be long gone, but castaway Erik Reichenbach still has a lot to say! Once a former Fan on Survivor Micronesia: Fans vs. Favorites, Erik swapped roles and returned as a Favorite for the Caramoan installment, the second helping of the show’s newbies vs. returnees concept. I got the chance to ask Erik all about Survivor’s latest season, including his medical evacuation from the game, Dawn’s teeth, Brenda’s ousting and that total bullshit Reunion “Special.” Here’s what he had to say:

The Littlest Winslow: Is being on Survivor harder or easier than it looks like on TV? What’s the hardest part about the experience? 

Erik Reichenbach: Being on Survivor is a lot harder than it looks like on television. There are so many more factors that come into the gameplay aside from the elements, competitions, and the other players. My two biggest factors were primarily my diet and energy. It is extremely exhausting to compete on Survivor and for me, maintaining my food intake was super important. Playing the “game” portion is also a very difficult part of the game, but with a little understanding of social dynamics and people pleasing, you can go a long way. The fact that there is a production crew filming your every move is oftentimes an overlooked portion of the game. It’s almost the “meta-game” you have to play even before you get to compete on a show like Survivor.

How did it feel being MedEvac’d from the game so close to the end? Walk us through what was going on in your head at the time. 

I have been over this story many times now, as it has been completely ignored by the show itself. Basically I had a cut on my right leg from some ocean rocks that got infected late in the game. Leading up to the tribal council in which Brenda went home I got worse and worse, eventually getting a fever, dizziness, and a low blood pressure. After Brenda was voted out (which I was kind of half-awake for) I asked for some medical attention and Jeff declared me unfit to continue the game. A few hours later I woke up in the hospital with this dumb look on my face. What just happened? I remember what happened, I just was unaware of the gravity of the situation.

Were you aware that Cochrane and Dawn were working so closely together?

I was aware they were working together, but not to the extent I saw on television after the show aired, which in hindsight, was stupid. I should have known better that those two had something going on. I thought Dawn and I were tight. Pfft!

How shocking was the Brenda vote off? Did you know anything about Dawn’s teeth and their relationship at the time? 

I knew all about the teeth incident, but because of whatever the hell was happening to me at the Brenda Tribal, I was really unaware of what the hell was going on. I thought Sherri went home and that there were 7 votes cast (there were only 6 people left in the game).

Fun Fact: When Dawn came back to camp screaming, Phillip went to see what was going on. Malcolm, Reynold, Eddie, and I were playing cards and didn’t really care what Phillip did. A few minutes later Phillip returned to tell us, “It is something personal. Dawn doesn’t want to really talk about it.” All the guys agreed. Whatever Phillip, we can respect that, and kept playing cards. Phillip came back five minutes after that and informed us, “Dawn’s teeth fell out, she looks like a hillbilly” and we all kind of looked at each other like, “WTF PHILLIP YOU’RE BREAKING YOURE OWN GODDAMNED DON’T-TALK-ABOUT-IT-RULE! WE DIDN’T CARE IN THE FIRST PLACE!” But more subtle than that.

Which Survivor cast members are you closest with in real life these days? Erik-R

I still talk here and there with Stephen, Cochrane, and Bob Crowley, but otherwise I have been really busy working on comics and art. Christina Cha has talked to me about making a children’s book, too!

The Caramoan Reunion was pretty much bullshit, right? Care to comment on that? 

It sucked. Everything that a reunion should be about: tying up loose ends, finding out how people are doing from the season, talking about the social dynamics of a complicated game…all of that was overlooked by Probst for gimmicky shtick and pointless rhetoric. The game of Survivor has not run out of steam; there is still so much that can be talked about and discussed.

Speaking of…what is Probst like off-camera? 

Not what you think of him from watching the show. He wasn’t always that way though, and I specifically recall while filming Micronesia how I perceived him as a guy who was “hard, but fair” to all castaways (which is what made him a great host). He has definitely turned into a different kind of person since I last saw him with my little brother back in 2008.

Tell us a bit about your art – what kinds of stuff do you do and where can people buy it? 

I have always been an artist and illustrator, even when I was first on Survivor back in 2008. I’m working on multiple comic books and graphic novels, including a reality television parody called, “Starving for Attention” which has already reached 100 sales since June on Amazon. You can see all my artwork on my website, and I do commissions for just about everything!

You can find my work for sale online at Etsy, Deviant Art, and

Now for the kicker – Would you play Survivor again

I would definitely play Survivor again, but I’m pretty sure I won’t be asked back to play.


Survivor’s upcoming 27th season – entitled Survivor: Blood vs. Water – will debut with a special 90-minute broadcast on Wednesday, September 18 at 8PM ET/PT. You can find Erik on Twitter or at any of the links above.

Tags: , , , , , ,

Survivor Caramoan Premieres Tonight: Fans Vs. (Questionable) Favorites, You Guys!

Posted in TV on February 13th, 2013 by Nick

realitytv-survivor-caramoan-fans-vs-favourites-1Ever 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 Reichenbach – Original Season: Micronesia: Fans Vs. Favorites (Season 16)500

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?

9391073-largePhillip Sheppard – Original Season: Redemption Island (Season 22)

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.

Tags: , , , , , ,