Survivor 35 Episode 2 “I’m a Wild Banshee”

Hi y’all!

How is everyone doing tonight?  I was just thinking about how, after spending three months writing on a daily basis about Big Brother, it’s always a little bit strange to transition to writing about a weekly show like Survivor.  On Big Brother, there’s something new to talk about every day whereas, with Survivor, we talk about what happened each week and then we wait for the next episode.

Myself, I enjoy writing about both shows but the experience of writing about Survivor is definitely different from writing about Big Brother.  That said, I love Survivor and I hope I can do justice to this season.  Thank you everyone for reading and giving me the chance to try!

As for tonight’s episode … well, there’s not really a lot to say.  I feel bad for SImone.  Tonight, the Hustlers lost the immunity challenge.  Not only did they have to go to tribal but they were also the only tribe not to win any type of fishing equipment.  Simone was pretty much the obvious target during the entire episode.  An attempt was made to create some suspense by showing how obnoxious Patrick can be around the Hustler camp but, for the most part, he only seemed to really be annoying Lauren.

Simone was voted out because she hadn’t really bonded with anyone on her tribe and her weak performance at the immunity challenge was a huge contributing factor to the Hustlers having to go to tribal council in the first place.  That’s the way it goes, especially in the early days of the season.

That said, I felt bad for Simone.  I think she could have developed into a stronger player if she had been given the opportunity.  But, again, that’s the way things go on Survivor.

As for the other tribes, everyone still appears to be feeling each other out.  On the Hero Tribe, Alan still seems to be intent on digging his own grave by being paranoid.  Ashley is trying to convince everyone that she and JP are not a power couple.  Chrissy did not use her superidol, which now has no use.  However, Chrissy says that she’s going to hold onto the idol so that she can use it to fool people in the future.  I don’t know if Chrissy’s really thought this through.  If she lets everyone believe that she has an immunity idol, chances are that her tribe will try to force her to play it.

On the Healer Tribe, Joe found a clue to the immunity idol but he had to recruit Cole to help him figure it out.  They found the idol buried near the well.  Joe grabbed it for himself and made Cole promise not to tell anyone that Joe had the idol.  However, as we know from watching the previews for next week’s episode, Cole is not going to keep that promise.

Personally, I groaned a little when Joe found that idol.  It’s early in the season but Joe has emerged as my least favorite survivor.  As we saw last week, he’s a bully and no one likes a bully.   As of now, the Healers are the only tribe to have not gone to tribal council.  Hopefully, a blindside of Joe is in the future!

Anyway to recap, poor Simone was voted out tonight.  At least she took it well and she still has pretty hair.

Lisa Marie

P.S. It’s early in the season but right now, my favorites are nervous Ryan and Dr. Mike.  Hopefully, they’ll go far!

The 2nd person voted out of Survivor 35, Simone Nguyen


Survivor 35 Episode 1 “I’m Not Crazy, I’m Confident”

Yay!  Survivor’s back!

And not a moment too soon.  After suffering through one of the worst seasons of Big Brother ever, there’s something very comforting about Survivor and it’s workmanlike confidence.  Survivor rarely gets the credit that it deserves for, after 35 seasons, remaining one of the most consistently entertaining of all the reality shows.  Even the worst seasons of Survivor display a competence that, far too often, is missing from other reality shows.

This season is called Heroes vs Healers vs Hustlers.  I have to admit that I’m not a huge fan of this season’s gimmick but then again, I rarely am.  The majority of the healers are doctors and youth counselors and that certainly makes sense.  And the heroes include a lifeguard, a cowboy, and a former pro athlete.  I can buy that.  But seriously — how do you define someone as being a hustler?  At the start of tonight’s episode, Jeff Probst announced that hustlers “have a strong work ethic.”  I have a strong work ethic, does that make me a hustler?  Do the heroes not have a worth ethic?  To be honest, it seems like they just had to come up with something to continue the H theme of the season’s title.

Well, no matter.  One good thing about Survivor is that these gimmicks are usually only important for three episodes.  Once they do the first tribal change-up, I imagine we won’t hear anything else about whether or not hustlers work together as well as heroes do.

First episodes of Survivor are always a little bit strange because it takes a while to get to know who everyone is.  There’s always one or two survivors who make an impression while the rest remain in the background.  To be honest, even after having watched the episode twice, I’m still struggling to keep everyone’s name straight.  With that in mind, I do have a few initial impressions and here they are:

Levu Tribe

This is the hero tribe.  They started out strong but narrowly lost the immunity challenge and ended up as the first tribe to go to tribal council.  Interestingly enough, the heroes currently seem like the tribe most likely to implode as a result of paranoia and backstabbing.  On the tribe, we have:

Alan — Alan is a former football player.  He is coming on very strong and seems to be extremely paranoid.  I’m actually surprised that he wasn’t voted out tonight but I guess he’s viewed as being a physical asset.

Ben — Ben is the cowboy.  Ben got some attention at the start of this episode because he was wearing a cowboy hat.  Time will only tell if Ben is another Cody Donaldson or if he’s just destined to just be another forgotten also-ran.

JP — JP appears to be this season’s forgettable but handsome guy.

Chrissy — Chrissy is one of the older members of the tribe.  She threw up after the immunity challenge.  I could have done without seeing that.  She avoided getting voted out this time but I get the feeling that her time is limited.

Ashley — Ashley and JP appear to be a potential power couple.  We’ll see how that works out for them.

Katrina — Katrina was the oldest member of the tribe and was the first person voted out.  She was voted out largely because it was felt that she wouldn’t be an asset when it came to winning challenges and because she came on a little bit strong in trying to convince the rest of her tribe to vote out Ashley instead.  I can understand the logic but, then again, Katrina wasn’t the one who collapsed after the immunity challenge.  (Plus, you have to wonder if the tribe realized that, long before coming on Survivor, Katrina was an Olympic-class swimmer.)

Yawa Tribe

This is the Hustler Tribe.  We didn’t really get to spend too much time with the Yawa Tribe tonight so it’s difficult to get too much of a read on any of them.  Here’s a few thoughts:

Patrick — If you noticed Patrick tonight, it was probably because of his red hair.  I always wish my fellow redheads well so, hopefully, Patrick will make us proud.

Ali — Ali didn’t really make much of an impression.

Simone — Like Ali, Simone still hasn’t had a chance to make much of an impression.  She has pretty hair.

Devon — Devon’s hot.  Like I said, the Hustlers didn’t really get too much of a chance to make an impression.

Lauren — Lauren was giving a lot of orders while they were constructing their shelter.  That always seems to be a sure sign that you’re going to end up getting on your tribemate’s nerves.

Ryan — If anyone on this tribe made an impression tonight, it was Ryan.  Ryan is neurotic, nervous, and anxious.  He did get an advantage when he found the Super Idol but he didn’t get a chance to use it because the Hustlers didn’t go to Tribal.  Instead, he gave the super idol to Chrissy, who also decided not to use it.  And now the Super Idol has expired.

Soko Tribe

This is the Healer Tribe.  So far, they seem to be the tribe to beat.  To be honest, I find almost all of them to be kind of annoying.

Jessica — Jessica didn’t get a chance to make much of an impression.

Roark — Much like Jessica, Roark didn’t make much of an impression tonight.

Cole — Cole is the big, handsome youth counselor.  He seems like a good guy,

Joe — Joe is that bald guy who looks a lot like Tony Vlachos, the winner of Survivor Cagayan.  Joe came across as being a bit of a bully and a jerk tonight, especially when he was demanding to know what Mike was looking for in the forest.

Desi — Sorry, Desi.  You made no impression.  That’s actually kind of a good thing, though.  In the early episodes of a Survivor season, you usually only make an impression if you’re on the verge of being voted out.

Mike — Mike is a “sex doctor.”  He got the most screen time of anyone in the Soko Tribe and I do think that it was cute that he looked for the idol specifically because his son advised him to do that before Mike left for the show.  Hopefully, Mike will do well.

Again, the Levu Tribe went to the first tribal council and Katrina was the first person voted off the island, by a 5-1 vote.  (Katrina voted for Ashley).  We’ll see what happens next week!

What did everyone think of the premiere?

Lisa Marie



The Amazing Race 29.12 “We’re Going To Victory Lane”

Last night, despite what I was expecting to happen, Brooke and Scott won season 29 of The Amazing Race.  Despite the show’s best attempts to create some suspense about who would be the first to reach the finish line, it really wasn’t even close.  Brooke and Scott were in front from the minute that the final three teams arrived in Chicago.  Despite all of Brooke’s whining, they ran a pretty much perfect final leg.

I have mixed feelings and I’m sure I’m not alone.

One the one hand, Brooke drove me crazy.  I think she drove almost everyone watching crazy.  While I eventually reached the point that I could tolerate Scott, Brooke’s nonstop whining was just as irritating during last night’s episode aa it was during the premiere.  Scott may have earned his victory but it’s hard not to feel that he basically carried Brooke across that finish line.  When Brooke and Scott came running up, none of the other teams looked particularly happy.  Even Phil seemed more subdued than usual.

At the same time, of the final three, Brooke and Scott were the only team who had really made any sort of impression at all.  Tara and Joey seemed to be nice people but, other than Tara serving in the army and Joey being from Boston, what else did we ever learn about them?  Joey did more talking last night than he had done in the entire race up until that point.

As for Logan and London — again, nice people but who were they?  They were both pretty.  That’s always a good thing but that’s about the only thing we really learned about them.

If Team Fun or Matt and Redmond had been in the finale, I would have had a far different reaction.  But they both got eliminated.  That’s the way the Race works.  That’s what distinguishes it from scripted television.  Sometimes, likable people lose.  Sometimes, the team you’ve spent an entire season actively disliking still manages to win.  That’s life.  That’s The Amazing Race.

Though I was worried that this would be the last season, The Amazing Race was recently renewed.  Hopefully, for the next race, the producers will abandon all the gimmicks and concentrate on what made the Race great to begin with.  No more attempts to turn it into a dating show.  No more forcing strangers to race together.  No more second chance or all-star seasons.

No.  The Amazing Race doesn’t need any of that.  It’s amazing on its own.

Until next season, everyone!

Lisa Marie

The Amazing Race 29.11 “As Easy As Stacking Cups”

I am so bummed out by last night’s episode of The Amazing Race!

The racers went from Vietnam to Seoul, South Korea and they ran the leg that determined who would be in the final three, racing in the final leg for the million dollars.  From the minute that they landed in Seoul, Matt and Redmond were running behind.

“NOOOOO!” I shouted as they made the mistake of taking the subway to their next clue.

“AGCK!” I exclaimed as they discovered that their cab driver didn’t know where they were going.

Meanwhile, the roadblocks and the detours were all difficult and all required a good deal of time and effort,  This was not the leg to run behind on.  As I watched the episode, I started to realize that there was no way that Matt and Redmond would be able to catch up.

“Please,” I said, “let this be a non-elimination!  Please, tell me Phil is going to announce that four teams are going to race to the finish line…”

But no.  Matt and Redmond were the last time to arrive and they were eliminated.  That’s just the way the race goes, sometimes.  To the end, Matt and Redmond were the strongest team but they just ran into a lot of bad luck in Seoul.

Still, that doesn’t make it any easier to take their elimination.  First Team Fun and now the Boys.  All of the likable teams have been eliminated.  Seriously, next week is going to feature perhaps the least likable final three in Amazing Race history.

Here’s who will be racing to the finish line:

Brooke and Scott!  Whiny Scott and bitchy Brooke.  If they win, I will throw something at the TV.

Tara and Joey!  Team boring!

London and Logan!  Somehow, London and Logan have made it to the final three without ever making much of an impression.  I like London because we’re both artists but, at the same time, the only thing keeping London and Logan from being Team Boring is that Tara and Joey have already claimed the title.

Typically, I would say that Tara and Joey would be the front-runners but I don’t know.  As of late, they haven’t really been impressing me.  I’m going to predict that London and Logan will come out of nowhere to win the Amazing Race.

I just hope it’s not Brooke and Scott.

Lisa Marie

Survivor 34 Episode 12 “No Good Deed Goes Unpunished”

Well, as far as Survivor goes, that’s a wrap!

The season ended tonight and, in the post below, I’m going to be revealing who was in the final three and who won.  It should go without saying that, if you haven’t watched the finale yet, this post is a huge spoiler so don’t read any further unless you’re okay with finding out who won.

As you may remember, I predicted that our final three would be Aubry, Tai, and Troyzan.  I thought there was no way that Brad would be able to win enough immunity challenges to avoid being voted out.  I was sure Cirie would be targeted and voted out.  I thought there was no way that anyone would be stupid enough to take Sarah to the end.  I figured that Troyzan, being the most likable of my projected final three, would win by default.

Well, I was right that Troyzan would make it to the final three but otherwise, I was totally wrong.  Brad won all three of tonight’s immunity challenges, guaranteeing himself a place in the final three.

At the first tribal on the night, Tai used one immunity idol on himself and the other on Aubry.  Sarah revealed that she had a legacy advantage, which meant she had immunity.  Troyzan played his idol.  Culpepper already had immunity from winning the challenge.  That meant that Cirie was the only person who didn’t have immunity and, as a result, she was voted out of the tribe despite the fact that no one had voted her.

The vote, by the way, was three for Sarah, two for Tai, and one for Aubry.  If Tai had not used his other idol on Aubry, she would have been voted out by one vote. Instead, Ciririe was voted out despite getting no votes.

(Incidentally, that seems amazingly unfair and I imagine the rules will change in the future.)

That was pretty much the most exciting part of the finale.  The rest, other than Culpepper’s challenge streak, was predictable.  Aubry was voted out at the next tribal.  After that, Tai was voted out because Culpepper wanted revenge for all the times that he felt Tai had betrayed him.

(Culpepper appeared to be obsessed with not only voting out Tai but humiliating him as well.  It was not pleasant to listen to.)

The final tribal council was different for what I’m used to and I’m not sure I cared much for the new format.  Now, instead of the jurors asking questions, the jurors discussed who had best lived up to the Survivor motto of “Outwit, Outplay, Outlast.”  The final three get to take part in the discussion and each got to make a final statement.  It felt a little silly, to be honest but then again, the juror questions were rarely that interesting either.

Anyway, the jurors agreed that Brad had played a good physical game but that Sarah played an all-around better social and strategic game.  I thought that Troyzan might win some votes based on his being more likable than either Brad or Sarah but it didn’t happen that way.  (Troyzan, it must be said, figured out early that he wasn’t going to get any votes and he handled it far better than most third place finishers.)  Sarah won by a 7-3 vote.

During the reunion, it was revealed that, if Brad had brought Tai into the final three, he would have actually won.  The jury would have voted 5-5, at which point Troyzan — having the least number of votes — would have become a juror and he would have cast his vote for Brad.

As for the rest of the reunion, it was okay.  Sarah is not exactly the most likable person to ever win Survivor so it was hard to get too excited over her victory.  I do prefer her winning over Brad, if just because Brad had a tendency to be a bully and that really got on my nerves.  Jeff Probst perhaps realized this because he spent most of the reunion talking to Cirie and Zeke.  He also talked to Jeff Varner, who came across as being just as smarmy as ever.

And so, another season of Survivor comes to a close!  What did everyone think of the finale?  Who would you have preferred to have won?

Lisa Marie

The Amazing Race 29.9 “I Thought We Were Playing It Nice” and 29.10 “Riding A Bike Is Like Riding A Bike”

Hi, everyone!

So, last night, we had two episode of the Amazing Race.  The first one ended with the revelation that it was a non-elimination leg, which was really good news for Tara and Joey.  The second episode ended with heartbreak as Team Fun — no, not Team Fun! — was eliminated after Floyd basically collapsed in Vietnam.

At first I didn’t like Team Fun but they won me over and I’m really sorry to see them go.  It’s especially upsetting because Floyd spent the final leg of the race helping out all of the other teams.  He and Matt worked together at the roadblock and then Floyd helped out London.  Both times that Floyd helped, he ended up setting himself further behind.  So, Team Fun is gone but fortunately, the Amazing Race has been renewed for at least a few more seasons.  So, who knows?  Maybe Team Fun will get a second chance to run the race.

(Or, maybe like Jeff and Jackie from season 26, they’ll end up in the Big Brother House!  Who knows?)

Anyway, there are now only four team left!  There are also only two legs of the race left.  Almost all of the early front runners are gone, leaving only one consistently strong team in the race.  Here they are, in order of how they finished last night:

Coming in first, Matt and Redmond!  Unless something goes wrong during the next leg and they end up getting eliminated before the final leg of the race, Matt and Redmond have to be considered the front runners right now.  They’re a strong team.  They have a good attitude.  They work well together.  With Team Fun gone, I now fully support Matt and Redmond to win it all!

Coming in second, Brooke and Scott.  It’s terrifying to think that Brooke and Scott could possibly win this season.  Scott is okay but Brooke …. oh my God, Brooke.  What a whiny little crybaby!  If Brooke and Scott win, it’ll all be due to Scott.

Coming in third, Tara and Joey.  Tara and Joey seemed like they were the front runners for a long time but, last night, we finally got a chance to see how they race when they’re frustrated and I wasn’t particularly impressed.

Coming in fourth, London and Logan!  Who would have thought that London and Logan would make it this far?  I like them both, mostly because I’m an artist and London’s an artist.  That said, they’ve yet to have a really strong finish and they’re continued survival seems to largely be a case of good luck.  They could make still make it to the final three, of course.  It’s easy to imagine Brooke and Scott having a meltdown and allowing London and Logan to slip by them.

And finally, in fifth place, Team Fun!  Oh well.  At least they made a lot of friends.

We’ll see what happens next week!

Lisa Marie

Survivor 34 Episode 11 “Parting Is Such Sweet Sorrow”

I’ve just finished rewatching tonight’s episode of Survivor and I have to admit that I’m still a little bit confused as to why everything happened the way that it did.

There were two tribal councils tonight.  The first one, which led to Andrea being sent to the jury, was pretty straight forward.  Brad seemed like the obvious target but Cirie and Sarah decided to get rid of Andrea instead.  Obviously, they felt that Andrea was bigger threat and the only people who were really surprised by this turn of events was Andrea and Aubry.

(For all her talk about playing with logic and understanding that she needs to “build a resume” before she goes in front of the jury, no one ever really seems to care much about what Aubry wants.  Any time Aubry comes up with a plan, it seems pretty certain that everyone else is going to ignore it.)

The second tribal was where things got complicated.  Since Brad had won immunity and, since Troyzan is so skillful at flying under the radar that the tribe seems to have forgotten about him, the majority alliance turned on each other.  Cirie, Aubry, Sarah, and Michaela all seemed to be going after Tai, while Tai was thinking of going after Sarah.  Sarah gave Cirie her “steal a vote” advantage with the understanding that Cirie would not play it at tribal.  Cirie, however, then tried to do just that.  This led to perhaps the greatest moment of the season as Jeff revealed that, under the rules of the advantage, only Sarah could use it.

This led to everyone running around tribal and whispering to each other.  I would have loved to have known what everyone said because somehow, it led to Andrea “stealing” Tai’s vote and then voting, with Brad and Troyzan, to get rid of Michaela.  Michaela and Aubry voted for Tai while Cirie voted for Aubry.  Tai did not play his immunity idol, so he obviously knew what was going to happen.

I wish this episode hadn’t featured two tribal councils.  It led to the whole episode feeling rushed and, obviously, the viewers were not shown a lot of the strategizing that went on before that second tribal.

Oh well!

Next week is the finale and we have six players left.  They are:

Tai, who hasn’t played much of a game but who does have two idols, which means that he’s guaranteed to make it to the final four.

Troyzan, who has flown under the radar so successfully that it’s easy to forget that he’s there.  Considering that he still has the third idol and that there are still bigger threats in the game, he also has a very good chance of making it to at least the final four.

Sarah still has the legacy advantage, which she will have to use during the next challenge.  At this point, Sarah should be everyone’s target so she’s going to either need to win immunity or make some brilliant deals if she’s going to avoid being sent to the jury.

Up until tonight, Cirie was playing a perfect game.  The way she screwed up her attempt to use Sarah’s “steal a vote” advantage would seem to indicate that she’s slipping a little.  And now, she’s lost her strongest ally.  Cirie should have a big target on her back at this point.

Brad Culpepper is seen as being a stronger player than he actually is.  For the most part, he’s survived this long through a combination of being good at challenges and just having good luck.  But he’s not much of a strategist and his social game doesn’t appear to be that strong either.  If I was picking someone to sit next to me in the finale, I might very well pick Culpepper.

And finally, Aubry.  Aubry is another player who has a reputation for being strong than she actually is.  Aubry has, to her credit, been for less whiny this season than she was during her previous season but, for the most part, she’s gotten this far by flying under the radar.  The few times that she has tried to step up and play mastermind, it’s blown up in her face.

So, here’s my final three prediction:




And Troyzan will shock everyone by winning, largely because he’s the only person to get through the entire season without annoying anyone on the jury.

We’ll see what happens next Wednesday!

Lisa Marie