Survivor Blood vs. Water: Family Ties Rejuvenate an Already Resilient Series

Posted in TV on December 12th, 2013 by Nick

Survivor-Blood-vs-Water

(Spoilers from last night’s episode abound! You’ve been warned.)

For 27 seasons Survivor has graced our TV screens with starving castaways, shocking blindsides and that charming, stud of a host Jeff Probst. As a fan who has watched from the beginning, I often get a lot of: “That show is still on!?” and “I haven’t watched in years!” But in order to tackle the perilous terrain of network scheduling and avoid the Cancellation Bear, a show must adapt in order to….survive (har har). And how does a Reality show last this long? Look no further than Survivor’s latest Blood vs. Water edition for the answer.

This season, 10 returning players came back to the island with a loved one in tow. Mothers played against daughters, finances braved the elements together…and even a few married couples put it all on the line for a chance at the $1 Million prize. Producers should be patting themselves on the back because this is how you keep your show interesting and viewers invested for 13 years.

Having a loved one in the game adds so many different layers to an already complicated game of strategy. Not only does it give the series strength in its gameplay and action, but it deepens the storylines of its characters. Win-win. (Ciera voting out her mother and challenge powerhouse, Laura? Tina knocking her daughter out of the game? Powerful stuff and great for overall story purposes.)

Blood vs. Water definitely makes my Top 10 favorite seasons list. (If that list existed. Maybe one day…) Not only has the concept katietinadelivered some great moments, but it looks like the season is going to finish out stronger than ever. Though I never wish for the Redemption Island twist to return, having that aspect in this game has allowed for some really great moments of television: Colton being…well, Colton, Rupert sending himself to Redemption by switching places with his wife, hidden immunity idol clue burning! What a spectacle. Having the entire cast observing the duels has led to these great moments and more, and it’s been chock-full of drama, fights, middle fingers, tears, and plenty of motherly emotions.

As it currently stands, Hayden, Laura and Tina remain at Redemption for one final duel, while Ciera, Monica, Tyson and Gervase await the returnee’s arrival and final moments of the game. You’ve just got to respect Hayden’s fight in these last two episodes. He went for broke trying to convince Ciera that she was 4th in her alliance, and it somewhat paid off. He survived another tribal, but lost his alliance-mate Katie when the tie was split by picking rocks (PICKING ROCKS!). In last night’s episode, Ciera and Hayden fought tooth and nail to convince Monica that Tyson had her on a leash, but to no avail. Still, you’ve got to love someone who goes down swinging til the very end. Kudos, Hayden.

Though I love Tina and Hayden, I really want to see Laura reunited with her daughter, Ciera, and get one more shot at an immunity challenge. Though Tyson has played a pretty-damn-skippy game, I don’t want him to win. Though if he does, he’s more than deserving. (Monica and Gervase are crazy to think they can beat him, right!?)

The success of Blood vs. Water almost guarantees that this formula will be back again (Probst has more-or-less stated so on Twitter). Having a second Blood vs. Water on the horizon makes me a happy viewer…but I’ll be even giddier when Survivor delivers its next crazy concoction and turns the game upside down once again.

The finale airs this Sunday on CBS.            

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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, www.erikreichenbachcomics.com and I do commissions for just about everything!

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

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.

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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.

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Guest Blog Alert: Nick Tells Liz What Happened On ‘Survivor: Caramoan’

Posted in TV on June 6th, 2013 by Nick

SURVIVOR: CARAMOAN - FANS VS. FAVORITESThis year’s Survivor season was the tits man. Like, for real. You might’ve been wondering why I never touched upon it on here (clearly, it’s one of my faves), and that’s because I was busy talking about it elsewhere!

I had a guest stint over at Liz Tells Frank where I told Liz (and Frank, too!) about what happened throughout this season’s island shenanigans. So if you bailed out on Jeff Probst this time around or couldn’t watch it from your Adobe hut in central Guatemala, head on over and check it out here.

Needless to say, despite the show’s 26-season-long run so far (!), I’ve still got a hankerin’ to watch people starve, cry and backstab each other.

Ahhh, television.

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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.

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Survivor Philippines: A Satisfying Scoop of the Crispy

Posted in TV on November 29th, 2012 by Nick

How is it possible that I’ve let this much time go by before talking about Survivor Philippines - perhaps, the best season to air since Heroes Vs. Villains? What kind of Probst fan am I!? Let’s remedy that ASAP:

(This post contains spoilers from this week’s show. You have been warned.)

If you’re watching the show, you already know that this year was “The Second Chance” season. Three returning players were brought back, all of whom were medically evacuated in seasons prior: Michael Skupin (aka “Guy Who Fell in the Fire” in the Australian Outback), Jonathan Penner (aka “Leg Injury Guy” from Fans Vs. Favorites), and Russell Swan (aka “The Dude Who Almost Fucking Died!” from Samoa). Although the returning players theme can get a bit nauseating, this year, it’s brought about a season filled with twists, turns, and ever-shifting alliances. Yes, please!

As I write this, only one returnee remains, and he definitely has his work cut out for him. Fighting for the title of Sole Survivor are:

Malcolm: This guy lost almost every challenge in the beginning while under the lead of Russell, yet he still remains. He’s great in competitions, a likeable guy, and formed a tight bond with Denise from the get-go. He’s still holding on to a Hidden Immunity idol and this makes him even more of a threat than he already was. Failing to flush his idol out could cost the other remaining five a million dollars. Odds of winning: 3:1

Denise: Following the path of Holly and Jane from Nicaragua, the sex therapist from Iowa has more than proven that middle-aged woman can play this game and kick some ass. She was down and out with Malcolm from the beginning and has even claimed an individual immunity win of her own. If she backs the right horse, she could very well find herself in the final four or three. Odds: 5:1

Carter: Who is this guy again? Odds: 1,000:1

Lisa: The former teen actress (Blair from The Facts of Life) has shown many sides of herself. She started out as a loner and easy target, yet transformed herself into a serious player post-merge. She’s trying to make huge moves, but does she have what it takes to backstab and make it to the end? That remains to be seen. What a great character though! She’s added a lot of heart to this season. Odds: 10:1

Abi-Maria: Every season needs a great Villain and Abi-Maria has unknowingly stepped up to the plate. She’s completely selfish, rude and forward, kind of like a seven year old with an only-child syndrome. Her communication skills are wretched, too. She’s completely unaware of her surroundings and how people perceive her. Basically she has one of the worst social skill sets we’ve seen on the show, but it’s cute to watch her try, I guess. With her Hidden Immunity Idol now flushed, nobody wants to play the game with her. We know this because she got quite the ass-whopping at Tribal Council two weeks ago (finally!). She’s gone the first time she loses immunity. Odds: 1,000,000:1

Skupin: I’ve been a huge Skupin fan ever since Season 2. Skupin was leading the very strong and united Kucha tribe before falling into the fire that would remove him from the game. This time around, Skupin is still playing a respectable game and winning some challenges on top of that. He seems like the nicest guy to never win Survivor. Maybe this will be his chance to turn fate around. But will he have the heart to make some tough votes that lie up ahead? He did just ditch Penner. Odds: 7:1

Which brings us to: Penner! What an interesting character, that guy. He walks a tightrope between “Hero” and “Villain.” He knows the game well and plays it expertly. Just check out his manipulation of Lisa for proof. His target proved to be too big, though, in addition to his unwillingness to choose a side. Had he given Lisa and Skupin his word, we’d be looking at a very different game right now and Denise most likely would’ve been ousted. Dems the breaks, dude.

Setting these odds is a challenging feat. I truly believe that four of these six castaways really have a strong case for winning the million, and in almost every case, they deserve it too! It’s been a great season – twenty-five seasons deep and I’m still yearning for another scoop of the crispy!

Don’t miss the (hopefully) exciting finish Sunday, December 16, from 8-10 p.m. The usual one-hour live reunion special will immediately follow at 10 p.m.

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Survivor One World: The Karma Police Come A-Knockin’

Posted in TV on March 23rd, 2012 by Nick

After this week’s disappointing, yet justice-filled episode of Survivor: One World, I tried really hard not to write about it. Why? Because I loathe Colton with a fiery vengeance. And even though that stupid little _______ (Noun) went down, I would have preferred to see his torch snuffed, while Probst shocked everyone with a brand spankin’ new catchphrase: “Colton: The Karma Police have spoken.” Or maybe: “Colton: Just. Leave.” Or maybe they could have just tossed him into the ocean surrounded by a gallon of chum and told him to swim back to the States. A fan can dream, can’t he?

That said, I don’t take pride in writing hate-filled diatribes like this.  I mean, this is TV, but these are people, right? Wrong. During Colton’s stay, he proved to be racist, hate-filled, ignorant, and a slew of other social No-No’s. Where does this kid come from…the seventh circle of hell? He’s like one of those really terrible white folk from The Help, except it’s 2012 and not the 1960′s. His behavior out on that island was simply ______ (Adjective).

Earth to Colton: What makes you think you can treat people the way you do? As much as I blame Colton for nearly everything that is wrong in the world, it’s really toolboxes like Jonas that let ________ (Plural Noun) like that carry on for so long. Dear Survivor-Contestants-To-Be: If someone admits to having an idol, you flush it immediately upon your next trip to Tribal. How hard is this? Do we not have it down yet? What you don’t do is let a spiteful little ______ (Noun) like Colton run the show. Shut it down.

Shame on Alicia for jumping aboard the U.S.S. Asshole to vote Monica out last week. Can we just stop and pause for a second and reflect on the fact that Alicia works with special needs children?  I am actually horrified at this notion. Alicia might as well tackle the closest amputee, that is, if she’s going for the NaOnka of the Year award. But getting back to Satan Colton, the world has really failed him. It raised him, coddled him, and allowed him to carry on his life in this fashion. Dear State of Alabama: You fucked up.

But none of this matters anymore Survivor fans! Cunton has been MedEvac’d, and all is right again in the world of Survivor! The Reality Gods have spoken! Although I would never wish any harm upon anyone, physical or otherwise, I’m thrilled that he’s gone. Appendicitis may be a bitch (Kat will just have to take our word for it), but so is Colton.

Bring it home, Kim.

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Survivor One World: Fueling the (Lack of) Fire with Chicken Hostages

Posted in TV on February 16th, 2012 by Nick

A new season of Survivor brings us One World, but thanks to the Reality Gods, that certainly doesn’t equal One Love. Last night’s premiere was a solid start to what looks to be a great season of Survivor, despite a faulty challenge, wrist injury and lack of a tribal (BLASPHEMY!). But hey man – at least Redemption Island is toast.

As we previously saw in the Amazon and Vanuatu – the ladies vs. gents twist mostly works. Pairing that with the One World aspect of this season is even more genius, I say. In just the first episode, we saw the tribes bickering over supplies, fire, chickens, and more, and we’re only getting started here.

I don’t really blame the men for not giving the women fire or for not finishing the challenge, really. It seems harsh, but it’s a game. The ladies need to learn that on Survivor, they need to build their own fires and take care of themselves (maybe if you find out you’re going to be on a show that sticks you on a deserted island, a light bulb should go off and you should practice your fire-making tactics…just sayin’!) Agreeing to share the chickens and then holding out is an OK move, but they definitely need to sharpen their bargaining skillz.

On Twitter, I mentioned that my friends and I are playing our very own, custom-created Survivor Fantasy Game, and dammitalltohell, Kourtney was one of my three picks. The way it works is we created a list of fancy Survivor happenings (Tribal meltdown, being mentioned for not helping at camp, nudity blur, finding an immunity idol, etc.) and then assigned each “event” a point value. We have about 20 “events,” with each participant holding three castaways. Points accumulate for your three picks, and whoever has the most total points wins. But daaaaamn, Gina…err…Kourtney! Listen to my man Probst when he tells you to fall correctly! He said it like nine times! So in case you care, I’m now left with Bill and Monica. I don’t feel strongly about my ability to win this game.

Here are a few snap judgments from what we’ve seen so far:

Alicia – You crazy. You don’t even have to vote anybody off and you’re STILL makin’ waves and causin’ drama? Classic Survivor 101 rookie mistake. SHUT UP. Actually, get voted off. I don’t really care.

Sabrina - Should’ve held on to that idol for a while. You could’ve used it to better advance your own game, or use it to strategically align with a male much stronger and smarter than Colton! Speaking of…

Colton – Dude. You know what show you’re on….right?!

All in all, it looks like the women have themselves an uphill battle. They need to pull it together and become cohesive as a team if any of them wants a shot at the million. But if Chris Daugherty could pull it off in Vanuatu, after being the only male in a female-dominated Final 7, I suppose anything is possible.

 

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Survivor South Pacific: And the winner is…

Posted in TV on December 19th, 2011 by Nick

A month ago, I wrote a review of the latest installment of Survivor in which I uttered these memorable and prophetic words: “Survivor South Pacific doesn’t suck.” (So deep – I knowwww!) With last night’s finale and live reunion special, I take pride in standing by my original sentiments, because not only did this season not suck – it kicked some major ass.

Not since Heroes Vs. Villains had I been so invested in the cast of characters and their scheming; Not since Heroes Vs. Villains was there a final challenge so action-packed and gripping that you had no idea who was going to take the glory. When all was said and done, Jeff Probst tallied the votes and declared Sophie Clarke, the 22-year-old medical student, the Sole Survivor!

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Sophie’s win on this here blog, because dammit, this season really stands as a series-savior for me. Sophie was always in tune to what everyone else in her tribe was doing. She was part of an alliance of five from Day 1 and stood with that alliance right until the end. She won immunity challenges at crucial moments in the game, the last of which took down the Oz-meister himself. Again: She beat Ozzy in a very physical, yet also very mental challenge. She suffered a minor meltdown, took an emotional and verbal beat down, starved, fought, won. Kudos, Sophie – you deserved it!

Coach played a great hand, but it fell a little too short. With all of his spiritual and religious superiority abound, he couldn’t get around actions and words that others later perceived as hypocritical. But hats off to The (Former) Dragon Slayer: It was the best game of his three-time Survivor career and I enjoyed watching him again.

Brandon Hantz also had a rough go at it. His inner conflict between being good or evil tugged at his heartstrings all game long. He wanted to do right by God and redeem himself, not from actions in the game, but from his former life. He’s only 19 and has a family of his own. Everyone knows The Winz is not a place that harbors love for his Big Bad Uncle Russell and his father’s appearance on the show proved my judgments feelings judgments all along – Brandon’s family life must not be easy. It was heartbreaking at the reunion when he said not many people were proud of the way he played the game. Russell then continued to bash his poor nephew for doing “everything wrong” and playing a terrible game. Brandon may have made some rash decisions, oftentimes not very strategic ones, but at least he was playing to better the perception of his family and trying to “do right.” I hope somebody out there is proud of Brandon. Hell, I’m proud of him. Anyone who tries to better his life like that deserves an A-for-effort in my book. Poor kid.

I know Ozzy is the fan-favorite this year, but dammit, I couldn’t handle all of his spewing bullshit at the reunion. I like Ozzy, but he no way compares to the true Survivor greats. He’s no Parvati, Boston Rob, Stephenie, or Richard Hatch.  Hell, he’s not even a Rupert, and even Rupert kind of sucks! Ozzy’s “you can do anything you want to” speech was nauseating. Dude, I can’t climb a fucking tree, OK? And I’m pretty sure if I tried to climb huge, tall palm trees, I’d fall on my ass, break something, and need Medical to evacuate me from the premises. Not everyone can do everything.  The fact of the matter is that Ozzy is good at challenges and nothing else. He still hasn’t perfected a social game; instead he bolstered the fact that he is a one-trick pony. Sorry, man. Parvati and Sophie owned you, and they can do it again in a heartbeat. #NotDrinkingtheOzzyKoolAid. I must say though – I enjoyed Ozzy’s stay this time way better than I enjoyed watching Boston Rob last season. That’s gotta mean something (even though I’m not sure what).

To sum: What a great fucking season of Survivor! This series has once again showed the complexity and vulnerability of the human condition in the coolest of social experiments. We saw some heavy, morally ambiguous tribal councils that really showed the toll the game took on its participants – from Sophie’s character being called into question, to Brandon’s religious struggle between good and evil, over to Coach’s desperate need for redemption through Christ – it was quite a ride!

February. Survivor: One World. Two tribes living together on ONE beach. This could get interesting!

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This Just In: ‘Survivor South Pacific’ Doesn’t Suck

Posted in TV on November 18th, 2011 by Nick

A couple years ago, I used to love blogging about Survivor, and did so after almost every episode. Lately, there just hasn’t been much to report or care about. Until now.

Ever since its debut in 2000, Survivor has been like television crack: a satisfying dose of weekly reality smackdowns. It forced its contestants to do things they never dared to imagine, and begged them to question their morals and friendships, while living in the middle of an island (no matter what Daniel Tosh says, HA!)

And then came Seasons 21 and 22, Nicaragua and Redemption Island. And I thought, with much despair, that my love affair was over. Not only was the new twist of Redemption Island terrible (it kills the tension and finality of Tribal Council, which is supposed to be the show’s ultimate climax), but the cast members were dim-witted models, pushovers and non-strategists.

Cut to this season’s South Pacific and the series seems to be back on track. Although Redemption Island is back, the twists and turns (and better casting!) have brought the series back from the dead. Survivor has in a way redeemed itself. Although following the same format as last season, with returning favorites Coach and Ozzy returning to lead a tribe-full of newbies each, we have some players on our hands this time around! There’s obviously Ozzy, a challenge-dominating extraordinaire; Jim, a loudmouth, jerk but superb strategist; Cochrane, uber-nerd and diehard fan of the game; Coach, who’s playing the best game we’ve seen out of him yet; and a plethora of new characters that are keeping viewers on their toes.

Survivor South Pacific really lays down the line: A season of Survivor is only as good as the cast members chosen to take part. If not for Sophie, Albert, Dawn, Jim, Cochrane, and many other worthy and interesting new players, the game will always fall flat on its face. Just see Nicaragua, for example. Or that horrid Redemption Island season that more or less handed Boston Rob the million on a silver platter.

Although Ozzy is kind of radical in almost every day, it would be a shame for another returning vet to take the money at the end. I want to see some tribal betrayals! Gimme some blindsides, injuries, and tied votes. Throw in some more Brandon breakdowns while we’re at it! A little more than halfway through the season, South Pacific is definitely entertaining, and remains a worthy installment of the series.

Here’s to hoping the ending is one to remember.

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Previously on………SURVIVOR!

Posted in TV on March 10th, 2011 by Nick

It’s safe to say that if you’re reading a blog about last night’s episode of a Reality TV show, you must’ve seen the episode, hence, will be unaffected by the inevitable spoilers that are coming as a result. Right? Ok, then..

Survivor: Redemption Island has really been a hard season for me to grasp ahold of. It’s no secret that I’ve been meh on the whole Redemption Island twist, but things just keep getting weirder and weirder. You don’t return to your tribe after winning a Redemption Duel? Blowing challenges this early in the game is a good strategy? Claiming to have bowel issues is your best excuse for trying to get away from your tribe? Looks like we might need to rename this season: Survivor: Batshit-crazy Island or Survivor: The Russell and Rob Show. Oh, wait a minute…

Duel Numero Dos saw a battle between Orange’s Matt and Purple’s Russell. And really, I thought there was just no way in hell Russell would be the second person booted from the game for good. Right? Wrong! Matt had Russell hitting the dusty trail soon enough, with an epic showdown that finally snuffed the torch of Survivor‘s most renowned and hated villain. Ever. Must feel good, Matty. Lord knows I’m sick of seeing that filthy little Hobbit’s face. Let’s move on and pretend he never existed in this season at all. Agreed? Great.

Rob finds the idol. Surprised? No, of course not. After finding the clue hidden within the seam of a chair last week, it was only time before Boston Rob nabbed that precious little idol. Rob is steps ahead of this game. Although I don’t think he’ll win, or even come close, it’ll be interesting to see who takes him out and how. I used to intensely dislike Rob, but now he’s OK in my book. Though, he’s no Stephenie LaGrossa.

Kristina lands a spot on Redemption Island, which sucks for her but doesn’t really affect me that much. At the start of the game, she was sitting pretty. Smart woman, hidden immunity idol in hand. But she trusted the wrong person and that guy (crazy Phil) blew up her spot. She plummeted…and fast!

Can she beat Matt? What madness do Russell’s little lackeys have up their sleeves? When and how does someone actually redeem themselves!? Does anyone have any idea what is going on here? TUNE IN NEXT WEEK.

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