‘Survivor: Redemption Island’: The Rob and Russell Show is off to a good start

17 02 2011

I admit it: I hate that Russell is back again. I like Boston Rob just fine, but facing another season of the hateful troll was almost enough to make me give up all together. I’ve even heard (I have no evidence! it’s an online rumor! I’m probably wrong! but if you have evidence, please share) that Russell was responsible for leaking the results of his season, and therefore the reason the ending was ruined for me. I’m trying to avoid that this season (it happened for Nicaragua, too, and this season of The Bachelor), but it’s hard when spoilers are all over the comments section on EW.com.

But Survivor was my first true TV love (besides Thomas the Tank Engine), and none of that is enough to make me give up on Jeff Probst and his sexy summery button-down shirts.

ANYWAY. Okay. Premiere. I won’t be sold on the Redemption Island premise until I see it in action, and I don’t think that’ll happen until episode 3, but this cast is already worlds better than the Nicaragua cast. I loved the alliance/battle between Kristina, Francesca (oops, I mean Franquesta… Frankesta… Franquesa!), and Phillip, which lead to an amazingly satisfying first Tribal Council. I’d say that last night featured the best first-episode Tribal Council in Survivor history.

Phillip is above and beyond the Coach level of crazy. He’s well and truly nuts; hell, he could be Naonka’s daddy! And I love that they have a question mark next to his occupation—is he or isn’t he a former secret agent?! The world may never know! But what we do know is that he wants us to think he is, and he wants it so bad that he has to mention it every seventeen seconds. I can’t imagine he’ll be around too long, not after proving that he can’t keep his damn mouth shut about anything, including Kristina’s Hidden Immunity Idol.

Now, after Russell found all those HIIs in his first seasons, I recall being promised—PROMISED, I tell you!—that the producers were going to make them much harder to find. Well, guess what, producers! Hiding it under some rocks at the base of a tree isn’t good enough. It’s never been good enough. But I’m happy that Kristina found it, because it A) means she’s the first woman and second Survivor ever to find an HII without a clue, and B) made for an awesome Tribal Council once Phillip blabbed.

I do feel bad for Francesca, though, for getting herself caught in the middle. It would have been a tie between her and Kristina if Phillip hadn’t changed his vote—Rob and his doe-eyed fan club had a solid plan—but it didn’t shake out that way. I like Francesca, and I hope she has to shot to return from Redemption Island.

I’ll speculate more on Russell’s tribe next time, because I feel like we didn’t get to see a whole lot of them. It looks like Russell is up to his same old games with the new Natalie/Parvati girl (was her name Stephanie?), but he has to have some new twist coming up because he can’t hide behind his lies now that everyone’s seen his seasons.

It’s always easier to blog once the tribes are whittled down some, and you can expect much more from me now that I’m enthused about the season. Nicaragua broke my TV-loving heart with its awful, unlikeable cast, and I couldn’t bring myself to blog about it much, but… bring it on, Redemption Island! I’ll just try to ignore Russell until his tribe sends him home off to duel for a second chance.

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‘Survivor: Nicaragua’: “Sorry I smushed the bananas.”

30 09 2010

Maybe I’m an optimistic sucker, but I truly believed Coach Jimmy Johnson when he said he was there for the experience and not the money. This week at Tribal, I became even more convinced. He didn’t fight to stay, didn’t ruffle any feathers, spoke with honesty, and was sent packing because Marty and Jimmy T. are egotistical and insecure. I’d never claim to be a Jimmy Johnson fan outside of reality TV. I’m a Patriots girl through and through. But he brought heart, humility, confidence, and peace to Espada, and I was sorry to see him go. The heartbreaking part is if he had just fought, just talked to his fishing buddies and Tyrone, he could have easily gotten the votes to send Dan—who is useless—home. But he didn’t, and he’s gone. No wonder the editing was so Jimmy-heavy for the first couple of episodes; the producers knew he was leaving and wanted to get as much celebrity on our screens as possible! I never thought I’d feel sorry for a guy who coached the Dolphins and the Cowboys, but I did last night.

There’s really no one to root for on Espada, but I find myself hoping they’ll pull through anyway since La Flor is so much worse.. I like Jane and Jill, but they need to amp it up, not defer to Marty, and make decisions for themselves. Marty and Jimmy T. drive me nuts. Tyrone is okay, but he’s too soft-spoken. I wish Dan had never been cast—how did he even pass the physical?

I’m not sure if Marty telling the tribe about the Hidden Immunity Idol was a good move. I hope it will work against him somehow, because I don’t like his ego or his lack of humor. Can people steal the Idol? If someone swiped it and used it for themselves (preferably to send Marty home!), that’d be great. But I don’t even know if that’s allowed. No one’s done it yet, even when they’ve found an Idol in a person’s bag.

The only people I like on La Flor—Kelly B. and Fabio (Jud)—are on the smaller alliance. I really hope Naonka, who I may actually dislike more than Russell (shocker!), starts to alienate some of her alliance with her attitude and behavior. Knocking Kelly B. down to get a clue to the Hidden Immunity Idol (which the dummy couldn’t even decipher) was downright reprehensible. I don’t like having her horrible attitude in my living room once a week. It legit makes me upset. And her apology about ruining the bananas, with no mention of the fact that she shoved a disabled person to the ground, just made it worse. If I had a child going to the school or YMCA where she’s a PE teacher/coach, I would pull him or her out of the class or program immediately.

I also found out by reading Dalton’s EW recap that Benry used to be a Girls Gone Wild cameraman, which makes me hate him even though he’s had very little airtime. Girls Gone Wild cameramen get DVD footage by convincing college girls to take their shirts off when they’re not sober enough to make good decisions. It’s a morally bankrupt job, and Benry seems proud of it. I cringe when my boyfriend wears a Girls Gone Wild t-shirt around the house, and he even got it for free.

I’m annoyed with Jeff Probst for constantly referring to them as “older tribe” and “younger tribe.” You gave them tribe names, damnit. Use them. The Medallion of Power is still my least favorite addition to this season, but the harder Hidden Immunity Idol clues are awesome.

I’m concerned about not having enough good people to root for this season. It seems that everyone I like is either teamed up with the bad guys or on the outs in their own tribe, unlikely to last long. I’ll keep watching—I always do—but I really enjoy liking people on Survivor, even if they don’t win (and they often don’t). But it’s only episode three. There’s still time for this season to improve, and for some of the folks to grow on me. Except for Benry and Naonka. They’re in the Jess doghouse for however long they stay on the show.





‘Survivor: Nicaragua’: The Craziest Tribal Council Ever

23 09 2010

I don’t like La Flor. It’s as simple as that—as a responsible 20-something who feels pretty grown up most of the time, watching these people bicker like high schoolers makes me mad. (No offense meant to any mature high schoolers out there!) I’m so glad I’m not on that tribe, because I wouldn’t last long. I like Kelly B. a lot and if someone from that tribe makes it, I want it to be her. I also want to hear more from Purple Kelly, because she seems all right. I would never be able to put up with Naonka, though, and I consider myself a relatively patient person. Jud (Fabio) actually seems normal compared to her.

But that was one of the nuttiest Tribal Councils I’ve ever seen (and I’ve seen every one). Shannon completely blew a gasket and called Chase out for his alliance/relationship with Brenda, then turned to Sash and asked him point-blank if he was gay. Shannon claims it was taken out of context and that he’s not a homophobe or sexist, but regardless, he dug himself his own grave. It’s easy to make whatever claims you want after the show has aired and you’ve had months to reflect on what you said or did, and spin it in a way that makes you sound less like a jerk. But I’ll say it right here: Shannon, I think you’re a jerk. Even if the comments were edited badly, you still let your emotions explode all over Tribal. If you’re gonna play Survivor, people, learn to keep your feelings under wraps.

I don’t really like Sash either, though, with his minorities-only alliance ideas. I understand the reasoning, but I don’t like racism (or sexism, or most -isms) in any shape or form. I’m curious to see how the alliances work out now that Shannon is gone and Chase and Brenda have been called out (and possibly targeted).

Life at Espada isn’t all puppies and rainbows, either. Holly’s a bit of a nutcase, what with the shoe-stealing and all, but who brings $1,600 shoes on Survivor anyway? And at least she came clean in the end. Coach Jimmy Johnson is showing how much of an asset his leadership skills are, too. He pulled Holly back from the edge when she wanted to quit and really set the mood for the Reward/Immunity Challenge, which helped lead Espada to victory (the Medallion of Power helped too). I hope they keep him around for awhile, even though Jimmy T. and Marty seem jealous. There don’t seem to be any strong alliances yet, but Jimmy J. is making friends with a lot of people.

And Marty found the first Hidden Immunity Idol, too—but with serious help from Jane, who figured out the clue. I’m glad that Espada found the Idol before La Flor, even though I don’t like Marty that much. I like Jane, though, and I think she’s one of the strongest older women to grace Survivor for years now. (Anyone else still miss Madd Dog? I miss Madd Dog.) I just hope she’s able to get that Idol from Marty if she needs it. He doesn’t seem too trustworthy.

I’m loving this season so far. Heroes vs. Villains was great, but two seasons of Russell was just too much. It’s awesome to see some new people, smart people, strong people, dramatic people, and a few really great people. Let’s get on with the alliances and scheming!