First I’m going to say, if you DVR Survivor and have a few cast members as friends on Facebook, avoid visiting the site until you’ve watched the episode.   I loaded up Facebook this morning to check my usual stream of copy/pasted inspirational messages, complaints about whatever weather people are having in their party of the country, and of course Ashley Underwood accepting the friends request of pretty much everyone on Facebook except me.   Why such hatred, Ashley?  We have no problems with you at TRJ!  My comments about being a beauty pageant winner from Maine were all in fun, will you ever forgive me??

Sorry, I got side-tracked a bit there.  Anyway, between all the status messages, I also got a spoiler of who was eliminated between Stephanie and Matt.  No problem, I knew I was going to find that out 10 minutes into the episode anyway, but I was shocked how it happened.    For the third time this season, the Survivor crew put together a challenge that was basically an over-sized puzzle I used to get as a stocking stuffer as a kid.   First the picture scramble thing (with the one slot open for movement), then the puzzle moving a ball around a maze without letting it fall into a hole, and last night a giant game of memory.  Seriously?   Not only was it s kids puzzle, but it was an easy kids puzzle with only like 10 pairs to match up.  About 4 moves in, Matt was already solving based on process of elimination.

Needless to say, Wonder Boy easily defeated Stephanie who was sent packing with the comfort knowing there was essentially 0 challenge in the duel that took away her chances at a million dollars.   Next week, my guess is that the puzzle will be an over-sized sudoku game with 75% of the board already filled in, and they simply have to throw bean bags on open slots then pick a number from 1-3 which would solve that square.   Boom, sounds like a Survivor: Redemption Island quality challenge right there, make it happen.

Speaking of next week, it appears the winner will be re-joining the game, and the Redemption Island portion will be complete.  This will cap off the new twist to the show this season which was supposed to make voting people out different (It didn’t), and add to the excitement by having an entertaining one-on-one duel to remain in the game (it wasn’t).  Instead, we got to witness awkward conversations and/or prayer sessions between the evicted players in the 5 total minutes of airtime they got all season outside of their “puzzle battles”.   Then we got to watch Matt dominate puzzles that were clearly designed for the weak players who were likely to be eliminated early, and not a guy like Matt.

On to the non boring part of the show, which was the great rice debate of the Ometepe tribe.   If clipping armpit hair and Phillip bitching about not getting the crunchy rice was the best the editors could come up with for that tribe, there must have been countless hours of mind numbing boring footage of the girls laying on the beach and the guys playing catch or something.   No wonder they do All-Star seasons, because people actually try to play the game, not use the time as a vacation.

Over on the Zapatera tribe, the get-along-gang was unsure what to do with itself now that they rid themselves of Russell and his two followers.    They got what they wanted, and now it was time to have the tribe start really thinking ahead about the final 4, and the super secret sub-alliance comes out and lays a slap down on people.  Wait, that didn’t happen either, it was basically Sarita vs David bickering back and forth until the challenge.

The challenge was almost identical to the one last year where players had to go through an obstacle course that had the brick walls in it teams had to crash through.  Remember Kelly Purple breaking through last season for the pizza?

Kelly Shinn is hungry!Well insert the Redemption Island players into this picture and you have this years challenge.  It makes me wonder if the seasons were shot simultaneously in Nicaragua, and those challenges were set up back to back.  I don’t think so though, I remember last year featured a lot of rain, which hasn’t really been there this year.

Anyway, Phillip slowed down his tribe quite a bit during the challenge, Sarita slowed hers down, but both tribes managed to end up neck and neck of course, and it all relied on the basketball skills of each team.  Let’s just say, Grant was pretty much the only player on either tribe with any skill as he sunk I think every ball for Omatepe giving them immunity and the volcano picnic Fabio and crew had last year.  The difference being there was no volcano sledding this time.  Too bad.

Team overconfident-and-willing-to-throw-challenges (long nickname) head back to camp after losing yet another, and for the first time in the game actually had fewer numbers than Team Rob.  That’s good to see, sometimes it’s fun watching karma slap somebody in the face.  Say what you’d like about Russell, but they deserve it after simply throwing a challenge.  You never do that in almost any game/sport, unless you’re competing against your child, but even then sometimes you need to slap them with some reality that life isn’t always about winning!  Yea, I’m ruthless!  I’ll dominate the shit out of some kid on Xbox!

It came down to picking someone who was useless but trust-worthy (Sarita) to someone who was mostly useless and willing to flip at merge (David).     After much non-strategizing or full agreement, the tribe went to tribal council and voted out Sarita, choosing the less trust-worthy player.  This move could work in their favor though, as it basically guarantees Matt’s return to the game, and it’s very unlikely he’s siding with Rob again, so they may have just luckily swapped a weak player for a strong one at a key time in the game.

I don’t think they thought of that, or thought of much at this point.   Once their big plan of voting out Russell was complete, they’ve pretty much just stuck to the course headed for the iceberg.  They’re clearly not even all on the same page as they couldn’t even get their votes straightened out.

With the merge coming next week, and Rob’s position still not very secure, it should be interesting to see who flips, who stays loyal, and if a 3rd rogue alliance forms between the outcasts such as Phillip, Matt, David and Andrea.   So far the first half has been very weak, despite a strong start to the season, but the second half has the potential to be pretty entertaining with the tribes merging.   Vacation time is over, kiddos.. time to play Survivor!

I don’t know what was more disgusting this week, watching Natalie clip Ashley’s armpit hair, or the entire time Matt and Krista were on screen together  *puke*.  The first part of the episode was the two of the exiles bonding, praying, and chatting.   This was an extremely boring part of the show and making me hate the idea of redemption island even though I like the concept.  Maybe next time, they should try not to vote out someone so boring like Matt early on.   It’s no wonder the non-challenge portion of that segment gets so little airtime, and what little they do show is too much.

The weekly duel was a very easy challenge where both players to had hook three bags using a grappling hook, then open the correct bag containing the ball which is used in one of those mazes you got as a kid.  Trying to steer the ball through a maze without letting it drop into a hole, only on a larger scale.  Krista had a lead on Matt, but despite taking her bible to the island as a luxury item, God clearly liked Matt better and forced her ball to fall through a hole letting him win.   Like those before her, it was a quick one and done stay at redemption island for Krista.

On a side note, at the end, Krista gave Matt her bible because they’re now super best friends, which filled Andrea’s eyes with a jealous rage.  I mean she’s known the guy a week and got all worked up because he made a friend while in exile?   Run far away Matt.

While Andrea wasn’t in a rage-fest over Matt, she was back on the Ometepe side lounging with the other girls Natalie and Ashley, clipping each others armpit and leg hairs and treating the game like it’s a nice vacation.  This of course pissed off the Gorilla, or is it the Lion in Phillip because he’s the one doing all the work around camp.    When he confronted the girls, he targeted Ashley especially and went off on her about collecting wood.    Rob them stepped in and diffused the situation, and all was calm again back in the “Resort of Rob”.

While all this exciting stuff was going on, back on Zapatera, we get to see the fallout from the “wild” tribal council the night before, when Stephanie tried hard to out people and stir some things up before the vote.  This pretty much resulted in Steve crying because he had 2 votes, and still not really understanding the game of Survivor.    Last week he wanted to bring the girls into his alliance making the entire tribe an alliance, and this week he didn’t realize that someone had to receive votes aside Krista.. unless of  course he thought Krista was going to vote for herself, which wouldn’t really shock me.

There was also a little drama because Sarita had a toothache and was telling anyone who would listen about it, which started to rub people the wrong way, David especially.    He is clearly getting sick of Sarita, and considering he’s the smartest person on that tribe, he may have actually started to realize that 6 person alliances crumble sooner than later, especially when there are no more whipping people outside of it.   David got together with Stephanie and basically told her he was on her side and she should kiss ass, and push for a Sarita vote, which was refreshing to see someone thinking ahead more than one week.

Stephanie did just that, and even swallowed her pride and apologized to Steve for playing the game, saying she’d rather have voted Sarita (then why didn’t you?).   Her method was to play the “I’m stronger than her” card, but the reality of the situation was put out there by Steve, which is that neither are very strong, but only one is loyal.   Trying to play the strong card on a team with an ex-Marine, ex-NFL player, and a lumberjack red neck is not an easy challenge.  Here is an idea, how about the 6 person alliance nobody ever talks about?   You had David, all it took was convincing two other people that rolling with 6 is a horrible idea, and a tight 4 had a better shot.

When challenge time came, you’d think Stephanie’s efforts would pay off when Sarita voluntarily sat out without giving it a second thought.   It was an easy challenge too, one player from each tribe used a large slingshot, and shot balls into pairs of players from opposing sides.   Catch the ball, win a point, score 5 and win.  Simple concept, and it turned out to be a simple victory for Ometepe as Grant dominated Mike and caught most of the balls that came his way.

Any decent player would have easily spun the numbers combined with Sarita’s whining and her willingness to sit out of challenges into votes against her, but the “best efforts” by defense attorney David (please never represent me if those are your best efforts) and Stephanie were for nothing except to likely put David on the chopping block next.   Stephanie was voted out, and David couldn’t convince the get-along-gang to split up at all.

Hmm, maybe they are the tight 4 person alliance (minus Sarita) that I mentioned above, and the editors just made it seem like they’re one large happy group.  If that’s the case, Julie, Mike, Steve and Ralph are doing a great job not only masking that from David and Sarita, but also the cameras.   That can be a real threat at the merge if they’re really tight, and not just really dumb.   Only time will tell.

On the bright side, it is still fun to see the team that threw the challenges lose legitimately now, making what was once a comfortable lead completely evaporate.   Just goes to show you, throwing challenges is a bad idea.

I like my new method of blogging Survivor, waiting until Thursday morning to watch it, then blog right after.   Doing it on Wednesday night I’d have to worry about those west coasters reading spoilers and complaining, but now I can say what I want without worry of spoiling it!  I’m going to make up a 12 hour window after a show airs for someone to watch it before you’re allowed to post spoilers without a huge warning.  Why 12 hours?  Because it sounds cool.

I’d like to first make a comment about the title, Sarita said.    Obviously dead ducks can’t just sit on a lake, they’re dead!   But it made me wonder, do they still at least float?  And according to the random people answering questions at UK Yahoo, yes.. yes they do float, at least for a while.   The source being Pat T, and he’s yet to steer me wrong!  I mean the guy’s got a 50% “best answer” rating at Yahoo answers from 245 questions, that’s pretty amazing.

Why am I going off on random stuff before actually talking about the show?  Well, it was a pretty bland episode and I guess I’m just filling words.   Although to be fair I did crack up in real life seeing Phillip walk around in his “pink panties” and hearing Rob comment about them.   The Phillip / Rob scenes usually make the entire episodes.. in fact, I propose a spin-off sitcom featuring the pair.   In the sluggish economy, the Government had to lay off some “super agents”, with Phillip being one of them.   He moves into Rob’s studio apartment (who is living there because Amber threw him out due to her jealousies of all the girls from Survivor falling in love with him), and the pair have to share a bed together with Phillip wearing his pink panties every night.

The pair create a private detective firm and go around solving weird random cases, like trying to find out whether or not ducks actually float on water after they die.   I’ll watch it!  Set it up “USA Network”, you guys are known for the quirky crime solving shows!  (I want royalties though)  The name will play homage to The Pink Panther, and it’ll be called “The Pink Panties”.

Ok, back to the show..  I guess.   Even though I’d rather write about the new show I just created!

Here is the basic rundown for what’s going on in the game  (note: when I do bullet points, it’s a sign I’m too lazy to create a well written article trying to tie everything together)

  • Matt is rocking the shit out of his Redemption Area In The Jungle challenges (I can’t really call it an island – since it isn’t).    The guy is questioning Rob in the middle of putting together a puzzle and still dominates Kristina.
  • Because of that, Rob has to seriously consider getting Andrea out of the game before she comes back to bite him if/when Matt re-enters.  I don’t know when it’ll happen, but it really can’t be much longer.    My guess is merge, which should be happening in what, 3-4 more episodes tops?
  • Steve sounds like a moron when he talks.   His goal early on was to try and bring Stephanie and Krista into their 6 person alliance to form an 8 person alliance.   Hey buddy, that’s the whole tribe.   Who are you allying against if the whole tribe is together?  The ghost of Russell?  Are you going to keep trying to vote him out even though he’s on his way back home by now?  Maybe you should throw another competition, vote yourself out and make sure he’s really not hiding in Redemption Area In The Jungle.
  • I absolutely LOVE the plan of Stephanie and Krista flipping when tribes merge to cling on to Rob’s coattails.   This strategy works extremely well when you do absolutely nothing to stay in the game until merge.   Or were they using Brenda Lowe’s strategy of not begging to stay in the game in hopes people will randomly have a change of heart?  That’s clearly the winning strat!
  • The rest of the episode consisted of David crying because he didn’t get to solve the puzzle.  Ashley, Andrea and Natalie having a Cinemax moment under the waterfall.  Rob finding a clue to an idol he already has, and one of the most predictable votes we have seen this season, despite Jeff’s little attempt to cause drama by pulling the name “Steve” with the first two votes.   I’m sure there wasn’t any editing involved in that one!

Wake me when people actually start playing the game.    This had potential to be a great season, but it’s quickly becoming a snore fest.

I can’t even think of any talking points to get comments stirring this episode.    Should the coin landed on heads and they voted Stephanie out instead of Krista?    Does anyone care if David actually did the puzzle?

One good talking point is, what do you think should happen on Rob’s tribe?    He may not see it, but the walls are slowly closing in on him right now.  If his tribe wins out, he’ll have the numbers post-merge, but then he’ll have angry Andrea, Phillip and possibly Matt flipping to whoever is left on the other tribe.   If they lose and he gets rid of his threats, he’s going to go into the merge with an alliance of 4 vs 6. …  I almost wonder if that’s his best chance because that alliance of 6 is probably more vulnerable than winning back Andrea, Matt or Phillip (if Matt comes back).

What do you think Rob should do to stay in this game?  What’s his best course of action?

I wasn’t going to post a Survivor blog this week.  Why?  Truthfully I am getting a bit burnt out on blogging and needed a little break.  I’m not sure people even read the stuff considering my posts usually get no comments.   Taking screen-shots is also very time consuming, and it usually winds up with me watching the episode like 3-4x which leads to quick burnout there.   I decided to skip the screen-shots this post to see how it goes, but maybe later in the week I’ll run through and snag some shots if I get any requests for anything specific.  I know there were a lot of bikini shots out there for the guy viewers / readers, so I’m sure people will be expecting some sort of eye candy this post.

Considering  I didn’t plan on blogging about it, I didn’t watch it with my trusty notepad this week, so it’s very likely I will miss a lot of stuff to talk about.  I do know one thing I want to talk about, is the immunity idol and how it possession of it forces the holder to lose any brain power they have.    It seems the longer someone holds it, the more they forget how to play the game and just say / do dumb things, as Ralph proved to us this week.  To be fair, I’m not really sure the guy had much brain power to begin with though.

I never really understood the reasoning behind revealing to more than your closest ally that you have the idol.  I’ve seen it numerous times over the years, and the only time it has ever worked out has been Russell, but that was only due in large part to a) Smart people want to sit next to him in the finals anyway and b) A bit of luck at times.    Ralph randomly deciding he has to show the entire tribe that he has a huge position of strength was mind boggling to say the least.    He had a good spot on his tribe as the hard working redneck who will carry the tribe through some tough physical challenges, but then decides that wasn’t good enough, he needed to put a target on his back.

The best part of the episode was during the Redemption Island duel between Matt and Russell, as most know by now, it was won by Matt.   Russell had his breakdown which we’ve all seen before, but he explains he’s mostly upset he was beaten by a bunch of dummies.  Ralph then instantly proves his point by letting him – and the other tribe know – that he’s not dumb because he found the idol first.   Well played Russell, if you’re going to go home, may as well take a few with you.     By the way, he said he’s never playing again, and under the same situation I’d agree with him, but I have a hard time believing he wouldn’t come back in a second for another All-Stars run.

The rest of the episode was fairly weak, especially during the challenge which almost made me want to shut it off right there when it was basically sponsored by Sears.   The only thing missing from the challenge was for them to spell out the word “SEARS” with the wooden planks before running up.   I hate sponsored challenges and product placement, and I’m going to hate it in a few weeks when they have the movie themed one which the reward is going to pre-screen another awful movie (more like punishment).   I still have visions of Benry forcing his laughter trying to watch Gulliver’s Travels.

(btw, you know a movie is bad when you screen it to a few people who haven’t had any entertainment for weeks, and they need to force laughter)

Not surprisingly, the male dominated team won the physical challenge on the backs of Ralph and Mike who killed their parts of it.  Grant made some good pushes to keep his tribe in, but the advantage Ralph and Mike gave were just too much for Rob’s team to overcome, so yet again it was time for tribal council.

In a not-so-surprising move, the decision was going to be a toss-up between Kristina the player, and Phillip the nutjob.  They had to decide if they wanted to be annoyed for another few days while getting out the potential threat, or cut Phillip loose before they lost their mind.   They choose getting rid of Kristina (Rob’s biggest threat) first and deal with Phillip for another few days… and they didn’t even have to throw a challenge to do so.

Was getting rid of Kristina the right move?    If you were Rob, would you rather risk having her flip a few people and blind-side you for the sake of camp harmony?   Honestly this would have been a tough decision to make for me, Rob still doesn’t have the numbers considering Andrea is still scorned and easily flippable.   What are your thoughts on who should have gone home?   Let’s see if I can actually get some replies this week!

I don’t know what’s worse in a competition, pure quitters like NaOnka and Kelly Purple, or people who throw challenges.   In the game of Survivor, I’d have to say those who throw challenges for a few reasons.  Every season, the “recruited” to “applied” ratio is getting more and more in favor of the recruited – those who were approached by Survivor producers to be on the show for ratings.   Kelly Purple is an example of someone who was recruited – most likely due to her very strong personality (sarcasm alert) – so it’s no wonder she bailed when it started getting rough on her.  She went to get publicity to help her modeling career, mission accomplished, so it was time to stop the torture and leave the game.  You can blame the producers for a quitter more than the quitter, especially in the case of a recruit.

Those who throw a challenge though, it’s hard to forgive in this game, especially this early in.  Anyone who has seen more than 5 minutes of the shows 1 million seasons knows things can turn really quickly, and one thing you don’t want to do is willingly hand over numbers because someone makes you a sad panda in camp.   When you factor in it’s been like a week since the show started and only 2 people have been voted out, those on Zapatera are a bunch of dumb shits so far.

Before I keep going off on that, other stuff did happen this episode, including the first person officially eliminated from the game, which is weird to see on the 3rd episode, but I kind of like it so far.   Matt and Franchesqua were set to “duel” on Redemption Island (which doesn’t appear to actually be an island), and the loser will be sent home for good,  with the winner living another day.   Both tribes had two people randomly selected to go witness the first challenge for some reason.  Andrea was one of those chosen which made her happy allowing her to see her new bff/boyfriend (that she’s known a week) at least one last time before he’s sent back to the real world.  This also gave her a chance to let him know she didn’t vote for him, just in case he made it back she can have a good alliance… as if that were ever in doubt.

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Andrea and Matt getting close on the islandSo we’re two weeks into the season of Survivor: Redemption Island, and I already think it’s better than the entire least season.   It’s hard for me to say because I’ve actually chatted with quite a few contestants, and many of them were extremely friendly and polite despite the amount of messages I’m sure they received on facebook.    It’s just that last season was doomed from the start because of the horrible tribe setups, it never really found it’s legs.

The redemption island part of this season?  The most hyped up feature of the new season has yet to even have any impact on the game or strategy.    This week featured Francesca going to the island, lighting a fire, and writing in a journal..  easily the most uneventful thing the show has aired in many seasons now, that includes pretty much every moment Dan was on air last season.    You know you’re going to have a good season when you bring Rob and Russell back in the game, period.    And that brings us to this week’s random thoughts about Survivor segment that I just made up now!

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His foot makes his mouth dry

And we’re off!  The much anticipated season of Survivor has arrived, with old favorites Rob Mariano and Russell Hantz returning to the game to compete against each other, and the episode really didn’t disappoint.

Right away we got the long introduction with Jeff hyping up the season, and we can clearly see just from the helicopter ride that teams were going to be much more even than they were last season, regardless of the split.     No grandma Jane’s, no guy with about zero cartilage left in his knees, and no crazy old guy rambling about random things..  wait, scratch that last one.  There was Phillip, and based on this episode, I can simply say I hope he remains on the season for as long as possible. The guy screams entertainment.

The best part of the season is easily the fact that two of my personal favorite players are returning, Rob and Russell.   Love them or hate them, both of those players know how to play this game, and it’s great to see them both back in the same season, and competing against each other.   However, did anyone notice Russell sounds different?    Maybe he hit puberty late or something because his voice is definitely different.

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Show: Survivor Redemption Island
Contestant:  Sarita White
Age: 36
Tribe: Zapatera

Sarita White Redemption Island SurvivorMeet Sarita White, the child of hippies, and someone who enjoys getting from point A to point B without a dollar in her pocket.  I hope point A is her bedroom and point B is her bathroom because that’s all I can relate to.  I need cash in my pocket any time I go out, for the simple reason of grabbing food or a drink which I enjoy having while I drive around.   Hey, I get dry mouth a lot, what can I say.   Ok, I’m rambling and this isn’t about me, it’s about Sarita, but when you haven’t seen an episode and avoid spoiler sites, there isn’t a whole lot to go on.

Here is her CBS bio for more info:

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