Monthly Archives: December 2022

Survivor 43.13 — Congratulations to Mike Gabler!


By now, I assume that everyone has watched last night’s Survivor finale and I can finally ask the question that is on almost everyone’s mind.

How did Mike Gabler win Survivor 43?

The most obvious answer is that Gabler won by building a better fire than Jesse.  If Gabler hadn’t won the firemaking challenge, Jesse would have gone to the final three and I think it was pretty clear that Jesse would have won.  The jury was fully prepared to vote for Jesse and I kind of got the feeling that they never really considered a scenario in which Jesse didn’t make it to the end.  Jesse played such a good game that he seemed inevitable, despite the fact that he never won individual immunity and apparently never really learned how to make fire either.

The final three was Gabler, Owen, and Cassidy.  Of the three, Cassidy could probably claim to be the most strategic player.  She was the one who was always plotting and getting involved in blindsides.  Owen was the player who impressed everyone just by making it to the end despite the fact that he was always being targeted.  Gabler, on the other hand, often seemed to spend the final days of the game laying low.  After he won the one immunity challenge, he kind of stayed out of the limelight.

And that turned out to be good strategy because Gabler won the jury’s vote and he won easily.  (Only one vote was cast for Cassidy.  The rest went to Gabler.)  And then he won almost everyone’s heart by announcing that he would be donating the money to charity.

How did Gabler win?

It may have been unexpected but all the signs of a Gabler victory was there.  Gabler handled himself well while asking questions from the jury.  He didn’t apologize for anything that he did but, at the same time, he didn’t gloat.  He was humble and he was honest and the jury reacted well to that.  Owen was well-liked by the jury but he couldn’t really point to any big moves that he had made, beyond winning immunity when he needed it.  Cassidy had quite a resume but, like Aubrey Bracco in Survivor 32, she didn’t really bother to build up the type of personal connections that Gabler had.  In the end, Gabler won because he was likable and he had just enough of a resume that he could claim that he had played a strategic game.  

So, Mike Gabler is our latest winner.  Congrats, Gabler!

Well, we’ve got a few months off now.  This blog will return when either Big Brother, Survivor, or the Amazing Race returns.  Until then, thanks for reading!  See you soon!


Survivor 43.12 “Telenovela”


Wow, that Jesse will just betray anyone!

Well, in all fairness to Jesse, betraying an ally is something that you sometimes have to do if you want to win Survivor.  I was surprised to see Jesse leading the effort to blindside Cody but I can understand his reasoning.  Cody was a challenge threat and Jesse obviously did the math and decided that it would be difficult to beat Cody in a final three situation.  Jesse may be right about that and, if Jesse does make it to the final three, he can now brag about how he managed to blindside the biggest threat in the game.  Jesse is the last strategic player left in the game and, if he can make it to the final three, he can make quite a case for himself.  Of course, I could just as easily imagine a bitter jury voting for anyone but Jesse.

With Cody gone, we are down to our final five players.

First off, there’s Jesse.  Jesse’s in a good spot but he’s going to have to hope that he can win that final immunity because I just don’t see anyone voluntarily taking Jesse to the final three.

Secondly, there’s Gabler.  Gabler talks a lot but it’s been a while since he’s really done anything big in the game.  He’s someone who I would want to take to the final three, if I was looking for someone who I could beat.

Third, there’s Owen.  Owen has survived, despite being a frequent target.  He may not be as strategic a player as Jesse but he’s also a bit more likable.  I could see Owen winning if the jury is angry at Jesse.

Fourth, there’s Karla.  Karla’s been on the outside on the majority of the votes and she’s been targeted several times but she’s always managed to survive.  Her immunity victory from two weeks ago will always be remembered, whether she wins the game or not.

Fifth, there’s Cassidy.  Cassidy’s main weakness is that she’s tight with Jesse.  If she and Jesse are in the final three, I imagine the jury will just dismiss her as just following his lead.

Who will win?  It’s hard to say because there’s really not a single one of them who isn’t capable of winning an immunity challenge and guaranteeing their spot in the final three.  This is a strong group and it should be a suspenseful finale.  I would say that Jesse’s the front runner but that’s also why I don’t think anyone’s going to voluntarily take him to the final three.

My prediction, for what it’s worth:

The final three will be Jesse, Cassidy, and Gabler, with Jesse winning the jury vote.

We’ll see what happens next week!

The Amazing Race 34.12 — Congratulations, Derek and Claire!


Hi, everyone!

I assume, by now, everyone is seen last night’s finale of The Amazing Race.  The Race ended the way that I was hoping it would.  After traveling from Iceland to Nashville, Derek and Claire were the first team to cross the finish line and they officially won The Amazing Race!

I’ll admit that I cheered a little when it became obvious they were going to win it.  Derek and Claire are a likable couple.  Even if I didn’t already know them from Big Brother, I would have wanted them to win because they worked well together, they never yelled in anger, and they supported each other no matter what.  They were the type of team that you always hope will win The Amazing Race

Really, I would have been happy if any of the three teams had won.  And Emily and Molly should be really proud of themselves for finishing in second, despite Emily’s knee.  When the season began, I don’t think anyone expected much from them but Emily and Molly proved us all wrong.  Luis and Michelle, who came in third, were also a strong team and they definitely deserved to be in the final three.  I liked all of them but I was still really happy to see Derek and Claire win that million dollars.

(For the record, Derek and Claire are the second Big Brother couple to win the Amazing Race.  The first was the team of Jessica and Cody.)

As for this season as a whole, I really enjoyed it.  The previous season was a bit strange, what with the COVID delay leading to many of the stronger teams not returning to the Race.  This season, though, felt like a real season of The Amazing Race.  It was great fun to watch and I can’t wait for the next season!

The Amazing Race 34.11 “How Am I Going To Survive This?”


Last night, the four remaining teams went from Spain to Iceland and, by the end of the episode, we had our final three!

And I’m happy to say that it’s exactly the three teams who I wanted to see in the finale.

First off, we’ve got Derek and Claire.  I used to call Derek and Claire “Team Big Brother” but now I call them “Team Adorable” because I just love them to death.  I think when the Race began, a lot of people (myself included) assumed that Derek would be the stronger member of the team but Claire, despite some initial missteps, has really proven herself.  Much like Cody and Jessica, Derek and Claire have proven themselves to be much better suited for The Amazing Race than for Big Brother.  

Secondly, we’ve got Luis and Michelle.  Luis and Michelle are another really strong team.  They don’t have any glaring weaknesses so it’s going to be interesting to see how they do against Derek and Claire.  This seems like one of those seasons where it could all come down to who lucks out by getting the better taxi driver.

Finally, coming in third last night, are Emily and Molly.  These two are definitely underdogs, not because they’re not a good team but just because Emily’s knee has been slowing them down over the past few legs.  I would not be upset if they won.  They’re likable and they’ve never given up.  But Emily’s knee put them at a disadvantage.

Speaking of giving up, Aubrey and David were eliminated last night.  At the Detour, they decided they were never going to list the volcanic eruptions in the right order so they took the 2-hour penalty.  At that point, I’m assuming they knew they were in last place and they were going to be eliminated regardless.  They decided to accept it, instead of physically and mentally exhausting themselves.  And since Phil did announce that there were no non-elimination legs this race, their decision makes sense, though I would have kept trying just on the chance that Emily and Molly might get lost on the way to the pit stop.  If there had still been the possibility of this being a non-elimination leg, I imagine Aubrey & David would have kept going.

As I said, I’m happy with our final thee.  This is a rare case where the final three are also the three best teams.  No one snuck in.  Derek & Claire and Luis & Michelle are the front runners but you never know.  Emily & Molly might surprise us.  Either way, I’m going to be happy with whoever wins.  When was the last time you could say that about a season of The Amazing Race?

The finale is next week!

Survivor 43.11 “Hiding In Plain Sight”


Well, so much for Sami.

When this game started, I had mixed feelings about Sami.  I was creeped out by his profession as a “pet cremator” and I thought that he was too cocky for his own good.  He liked to strategize but he wasn’t particularly subtle about it and he never gave anyone much of a reason to trust him.  I was honestly expecting Sami to be one of the first people voted out.

Instead, he survived and, for a while, he thrived.  Even though I don’t think anyone ever really trusted Sami, he still always managed to paint someone else as being a bigger target.  He made it through the merge.  He nearly made it to the end and I do think that, if he had ended up in the final three, he  would have had a decent shot at winning.

But, last night, his luck ran out.  First, he made the mistake of admitting that he voted for Karla and then he tried to make Karla believe that Cassidy was the one who targeted her.  What’s interesting is that Karla kind of believed him but his actions reminded everyone else in the tribe of just how untrustworthy and sneaky he could be.  In the end, Sami knew he was going to be targeted and he played his shot in the dark.  (Remember those?)  The shot in the dark failed, Sami lost his vote, and he was exiled to jury by a vote 6 to 0.

(After three seasons, no one has successfully played their shot in the dark.)

Along with Sami’s downfall, this episode will be remembered for the large number of people who were safe from the vote.  Cody found an advantage that allowed him to “bet” on who would win the immunity challenge.  If Cody bet on the right person, Cody would also be safe.  Cody decided to bet on Owen and that was a smart decision as Owen did win.

Of course, so did Karla.

The competition was a brutal one.  The castaways hung underneath a grated steel barricade in the ocean as the tide rose.  The longer they held, the more time they would spend underwater and the more difficult it would be to breathe!  This would be a challenge that I would immediately fail at, as I’m claustrophobic and I have a fear of drowning.  However, both Owen and Karla hung onto the grate for so long that they actually outlasted the tide and, as a result, they were both given immunity.  Cody won his bet. 

That meant that three of the seven castaways were safe at Tribal.  Personally, I think that was a bit too many but still, Owen and Karla definitely earned their safety.

With Sami gone, we are down to six castaways and two episodes!  Karla no longer trusts Cassidy so we’ll see if the two remaining women are going to waste their time targeting each other or if they’re eventually going to realize that Jesse and Cody have the strongest alliance on the beach.

We’ll see what happens!


Sami, the newest member of the jury