Articles for Survivor Season 20

Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains premieres tonight with a two hour kickoff. I would expect the same twin bill structure as the Gabon premiere, with the first person getting voted off halfway through, and second getting their torch snuffed to end the night. Speculating about how it will all turn out is a lot of fun because you already know the personalities going in. Can Russell and Boston Rob co-exist? Can Rupert, JT, Tom, Colby and James form the Survivor equivelant of the Justice League? Can winners go far? Is Randy the ultimate under the radar threat? I say no, yes, I doubt it, and probably.  Read more »
29 year old actress Jessica "Sugar" Kiper, who once had a short-lived run on The Gilmore Girls, had a shorter lived run on Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains. She was the first person voted out.Sugar‘s three days and nights in Samoa were a lot less fun than the three days and nights I spent eating Samoas, the delicious coconutty Girl Scout cookies. She cried several times, kept the tribe awake, and followed in a long Survivor tradition of trying to molest Colby Donaldson.   Read more »
Stephenie LaGrossa has competed on Survivor three times now. She‘s lost 80% of the tribal immunity challenges that she‘s ever competed in. Her record in Reward Challenges is pretty awful too. Simply put, Stephenie LaGrossa seems to lose no matter who else is on her tribe.Last Thursday night James started a witch hunt against Stephenie. It was crass, unfair and hard to watch. But it did raise an interesting question. No matter how likable she may be, do wins bounce off of Stephenie like bullets off Superman‘s chest? I asked Stephenie how she explained the stats, and she answered. I‘m not sure that I buy the airtight logic of her defense, but hey, Stephenie, we love you anyway, even if you are a ‘loser.‘  Read more »
Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains, and by all appearences he stayed out of trouble. Unfortunately, sometimes that‘s not enough to ensure your longevity in the South Seas.Last night on Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains, Randy Bailey became the first villain voted off the island. Sadder still, I felt like we never really got to see the Randy we know and love.   Read more »
No, Cirie was not voted out a second time on last week‘s Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains. This one got hung up at the post office and had to be rerouted to our BuddyTV offices. Look for our interview with last night‘s victim (err... boot) Tom Westman coming up soon.In the meantime, allow me to take you back to last week‘s episode when JT switched his vote to join Tom and Colby in voting out Cirie. As Tom said at the time, Cirie has a knack for wrapping weak-minded players around her finger, much like Amanda twirls bubblegum and locks of her hair.   Read more »
Yes, Survivor this week happened on a Wednesday rather than the usual Thursday. I sure hope you didn‘t miss it. If you did, then you missed out on a pretty unusual episode. It was a race to the finish, with two eliminations, one classic move, and lots of food.  Read more »
Last week on Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains we lost two strong characters--a hero-turned-horror--and an egomaniac who hadn‘t changed a bit since their first season.Tyson Apostol, like death and taxes, is a reliable force of nature. He may dominate the weak, taunt the hopeless and brag about his superior intellect for the rest of his life. And who won‘t miss that leopard print mankini?Tyson is the bread and butter that reality show producers feed off of, but a cut above. He‘s not your average cocky reality show pretty boy douche bag. He‘s above average, and he‘d be the first to tell you so.  Read more »
So the Villains were the tribe to beat on Survivor this season. Sure. Strong leadership, good performance in virtually every challenge, that ever-so-elusive "one voice"... okay, you can scratch that. Last week‘s events exposed the tribe‘s weakness: factions one-upping each other, aiming for an advantage. This week, that still goes into play.  Read more »
Most people would agree that The Godfather was a work of art, Part II was even better and the third one was a big disappointment. We loved The Robfather back in Marquesas, and he was even better in All Stars. But thankfully, he completed his trilogy in a way that even Francis Ford Coppola could not.Boston Rob has grown from a hungry kid looking to move up the ladder to a true Don of Survivor. He can command the respect of his tribe because he speaks from experience; and his impetuousness has given way to strategic wisdom that would make Vito Corleone proud.  Read more »
There was a victory of sorts in the Villains tribe last week: Russell finally whooped Rob‘s ass.Well, it was too quick a victory. And Russell victories are never definitive victories: there‘s always something behind the scenes that will just come up and threaten him (and his allies, if you count them) again. And in tonight‘s Survivor: Heroes vs Villains, it seems to be going in that direction again.  Read more »
There‘s no denying that the tables have been turned. Just a few weeks ago, the Villains were whooping the Heroes quite easily. Now, after a cocktail of bad timing, good timing and everybody‘s Survivor-bred competitive nature spiking up, it‘s the complete opposite: the Heroes are holding up, and the Villains are crumbling apart.  Read more »
How are you today?Hey! I‘m doing alright. Licking my wounds.  You said you were madder than you had been in several years.Well, not anymore. But yeah, I was when I said that. Then I listened to it last night and laughed because I‘d thought maybe my last words would be, "This game was brutal and it took its toll. I tried my best and I leave with my head held high." Instead I‘m saying, "I hope they wipe ‘em off the face of the planet." So it‘s kind of funny.  I‘m not mad.  Read more »
It‘s quite obvious that the episode title for tonight‘s season premiere came from the Dragon Slayer himself, Coach.And that seems to be the very theme of tonight‘s episode. It‘s Survivor: Heroes vs Villains. It‘s twenty previous contestants--ten known for their integrity, ten for their deviousness--returning to Samoa for one more shot and, definitely, one hell of a good time. It‘s the show‘s 20th season, on its 10th year, and it‘s bound to be good. So good, in fact, that tonight‘s season premiere stretches for two hours.  Read more »
You know the set up. Ten years, twenty of the show‘s greatest players, out again to battle for the title of Sole Survivor, and of course, the million dollar prize. Welcome to Survivor: Heroes vs Villains, kids, and this one promises to be quite a ride. In fact, that‘s how everything begins: four Army choppers, with five castaways each, gushing over who they‘re flying with, or thinking about how they‘ll prove themselves this time around. James wants to make it to the end. Rupert wants to prove that good always wins. Russell doesn‘t want to get too star struck over Parvati and Rob.Yes, I‘m a bit more interested in Russell. After all, Jeff described him as one of the ten most notorious castaways ever, something that elicits shocked reactions from the rest, who definitely haven‘t seen him play. This should be very good viewing. After more talk from the rest--JT feeling intimidated, Colby feeling humbled, Jerri feeling like Mother Teresa--it‘s off to their first reward challenge. They just landed!  Read more »
Ahh, the joys of watching a Survivor all-star season: seeing all your favorite contestants give the game another go, hatching plot after devious plot, or making friends out of everybody until they reach the very end.Well, it hasn‘t happened this early yet. If anything, the first three days of Survivor: Heroes vs Villains saw all twenty castaways get back into the groove of things rather than get dirty. (Obviously Russell, who just came off Survivor: Samoa, doesn‘t have a problem with this.) While there were flashes of the familiar during the two-hour premiere, like Courtney‘s "break her shoulder!" remark or Tom‘s plot to kick Cirie early on, the episode was like watching kids returning to school after the summer break, trying to get used to everything again.  Read more »
Back in 2002 my good friend Mario Lanza wrote a speculative novel for the web called All-Star Survivor: Hawaii. The thing was massive. When printed out it was longer than almost any Stephen King novel.  But it was just as addictive as the real show because his characters jumped off the page.  Mario went on to write three more, including one exploring of the Second Chance concept fans are still waiting for.   Read more »
You can say the game is taking a while to warm up, but it sure is warming up. After Sugar‘s easy elimination (lesson: don‘t get teary-eyed) and the Heroes at a slight disadvantage, anybody can tell what‘s going to happen on Survivor: Heroes vs Villains.The Heroes may have one down, but despite the jitters of having to eliminate someone, they seem to still have their groove going. Catch phrase: we‘ve streamlined, and we‘re going to do better in the challenges. Oh, wait, the old alliances are back in play. Oh, and Rupert‘s broken toe, and Stephenie‘s popped-out and popped-back shoulder. Read more »
The Heroes weren‘t lucky on Survivor: Heroes vs Villains last week: despite the confidence that comes with being the good guys, they broke down during the immunity challenge. Voting Sugar out seemed necessary, since she performed poorly and could prove to be a thorn on their side in the future. This week, they have to get back into swing and survive another day. It should be an easy task, right? I mean, they‘re still high with the "we‘re the good team" sort of euphoria.  Read more »
Welcome to Survivor: Heroes vs Villains, also known as a case study in world affairs.Imagine two countries. Two perfectly healthy democratic countries. One portrays themselves as the good guys, and for a while it does go that way. Everybody‘s feeling good about each other, everybody‘s working, everybody‘s got a common interest. The other is quite proud of being devious, and it starts pretty much the same way as the first, only they can‘t agree and are close to self-destruction.  Read more »
You‘ve got to love the dramatic Hero and Villain music this season. Apparently it was written by John Williams instead of Russ Landau. Not to go all Muppet Babies on you, but it takes me into the land of make believe. Instead of two Survivor tribes building their camps, you can‘t help but imagine...A molten-spewing rock pit on a colony far, far away :  A villainous army of skull-faced goons is mining ore. Their leader, the Shadow Lord Boston Rob, paces in front of them, growing increasingly disgusted with their incompetence.   Read more »
The Heroes have lost two of them, and the Villains have the upper hand. Or is it?The promos for tonight‘s Survivor: Heroes vs Villains suggest that the Villains are going to fall apart. There is, of course, this little hate triumvirate: Rob, who‘s seen the light; Coach, who‘s seen a new purpose; and Russell, who‘s confident nobody knows who he is. And since they‘re playing pretty hard this time, they‘re going to get on each other‘s throats.  Read more »
I think I cracked the one reason why we‘re all rooting for Russell this season.No, it‘s not because of the great (and not-so-great) things he‘s done back in Survivor: Samoa. Sure, he‘s one of the show‘s greatest villains, having done the most devious things we‘ve ever seen in the ten years the show was on. Sure, you can say he was robbed by a spiteful jury last season. He‘s done a lot of things that made us go wow. Read more »
Parvati Shallow may be the best Survivor player of all time. Don‘t insult her by suggesting that she‘s just succesful because she bats her eyelashes or wiggles her hips. Even prettier girls than Parvati have played that strategy and gotten voted off early on.  Coach came much closer when he said that Parvati makes people light up when she talks to them. We often talk about "chemistry" as though it could easily exist between any two people. But Parvati would have free and easy chemistry with a lamp post.     Read more »
Let me remove images of Russell cuddling Parvati first. Okay, that‘s done.The expectation with Survivor: Heroes vs Villains, of course, was that our favorite castaways wouldn‘t do exactly as they did before. JT, for instance, is obviously being the villain despite being on the Heroes‘ side. Tom isn‘t who he used to be. Rupert is getting slightly annoying (but I totally understand it). And Russell, despite being confident that he still has control of the game, is actually too starstruck to do anything.  Read more »
The one thing Survivor always packs: a surprise. Or a bunch of them. Tonight these surprises play a huge part in how things go. Everything just happened at just the right time, and that led to what Jeff called the season‘s "first official blindside."  Read more »
It‘s been eleven days on camp and I don‘t understand why Rupert is still looking for his tribe to "bond together".Off the bat: it‘s futile. It‘s not going to happen. Not when you‘re already deep into the game from the moment you arrived in camp, not from the moment you lost your first immunity challenge, not from the moment you all started contemplating who to vote off first, not from the moment you created alliances and promises that, in his words, you have to keep even if it doesn‘t make sense at the moment.  Read more »
Jeff Probst, my cardiologist will be sending you a bill for the heart attack I had watching tonight‘s Tribal Council!Was your mouth slightly agape? Was your breath caught in your throat? Was the tip of your tongue stuck out the corner of your mouth in concentration?     Read more »
On one side, we finally got a pretty good and intense Tribal Council on last week‘s Survivor: Heroes vs Villains. Sure, nothing definite came out of it--I still don‘t think Tom‘s got a grip on his feuding tribe--but it was good viewing, nonetheless.On the other side, it sucks seeing Cirie out just because of what she thinks. But, the things that get you in trouble on Survivor--she should‘ve known that. It‘s her third time!  Read more »
It‘s slightly funny seeing James finally get his "one voice" wish on Survivor: Heroes vs Villains last night. I mean, you can‘t get any better than being you tribe‘s sole caller in the immunity challenge--the only guy who can see where everybody is going! Nothing beats being in power and being omnipresent!That and one more thing: he somehow helped orchestrate Tom‘s elimination. Somehow, because he only floated the idea and let things roll from there. Sure, he argued that Tom was throwing the Heroes into confusion during the challenges--in my term, the voice of dissent--and isn‘t helping them live another day. But the plan wouldn‘t have succeeded if not for everybody else buying him logic.  Read more »
Throughout this season of Survivor, the Heroes tribe have been asking one thing: when will we win something?Some want it for the glory. Some want it for the strategic advantage. Some want it for the rewards. Seems their disagreement over this has led to several disappointing losses--and four votes, including Tom last week--and they‘ve never been in worse shape, at least opposed to the Villains, who are on a chocolate high.  Read more »
Everyone talks about car crash TV, but Thursday night was more like a three car pileup.The outcomes of both Survivor and American Idol made my eyes bug out like a bush baby. It was like if you saw the movie Knowing, left the theater spitting thumbtacks about the bogus twist ending, and then decided to cool off by watching The Village. And don‘t even get me riled up about those dirty tabloid lies regarding The Bachelor‘s Jake and Vienna today...   Check our our exclusive interview with Cirie Fields  Read more »
I‘ve always wanted to think that the Villains tribe aren‘t really the evil people. It‘s better to describe them are the most intense people. Hard players, cunning strategists, ruthless forces. I‘m not discounting the merits of what remains of the Heroes tribe--they wouldn‘t be in the Heroes tribe if not for what they did--but they‘re the sort of people that take care to not overstep the line.Thus, the best of last night‘s show came from the reds. Specifically, it was Rob and Russell‘s little game of wits that kept me glued to the screen throughout the episode: from their conversation in the middle of the night, to Rob‘s plans to flush the hidden immunity idol out, to Russell‘s attempts to flip one vote to his favor, to the final salvo--Russell giving his idol to Parvati. It may have been cruel, if you look at it one way, but that‘s Survivor at its finest: an intense, well-played game.  Read more »
Is it too early to say that King Russell is back?  Yes.Going into next week‘s episode, Russell still finds himself outnumbered five to three. Five players still want him gone, and none of their names are Shambo, Danger Dave, Screwy, Dewey or Louie.  Quite the opposite, Boston Rob, Coach, Jerri, Courtney and Sandra are five exceptionally strong strategists who have pulled off plenty of coups in their day. Russell has the momentum. But who doesn‘t remember the momentum Boston Rob built up in stopping Lex‘s dominance in All Stars? Read more »
Last week‘s Survivor finally swiped away the focus on the still-disintegrating Heroes tribe. Sure, Colby is still the odd man out, but it doesn‘t matter much at the moment. After James was eliminated, it seems there isn‘t much left to do--they think Colby should go, and his heart isn‘t in it anyway, so what scramble is there to watch?On the contrary, events at the Villains tribe are heating up. Russell succeeded in splitting the tribe through his quest for the hidden immunity idol. Watch Rob and Russell one-up each other is pure gold--more so, watching their plan disintegrate after Parvati got immunity and Tyson‘s stupid duplicity was revealed.  Read more »
As we saw this week on Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains, Russell and Parvati, Coach and Jerri, and Colby and Candace all have their own ways of showing affection. As my girl Courtney explained, Parvati will flirt with anything that moves. She‘s like a motion detector.  Stand still and you‘re invisible to her. But one little sneeze and she‘ll start flirting with you. This likely explains tabloid stories linking her to unlikely love interests like Conan O‘Brien, Anna Pacquin, Spuds McKenzie and a Teddy Ruxpin toy. Check out our exclusive interview with Boston Rob  Read more »
This week marked the return of two of my favorite girls, Courtney and Sandra. When most contestants get angry and start screaming I feel very uncomfortable, but when Sandra throws a fit it‘s the best thing on TV.    Except for Courtney. Courtney has been edited as a silent bathing suit beauty this season, which is ironic. After meeting her, I don‘t believe Danielle is quiet and withdrawn. I can‘t imagine Courtney hasn‘t been  nailing one soundbyte after another all season that ends up on the cutting room floor. (That one‘s aimed at you, Jeffrey. Editing Courtney out of the story isn‘t going to bring Rob back!)   Read more »
Last week on Survivor: Heroes vs Villains, the Heroes continued their fall from grace, after a particularly nasty Tribal Council sent Stephenie packing. While all that happens, the Villains find their footing. This week, a lesson for me: don‘t be very certain, because things have been flipped over. Again.  Read more »
I honestly do not know how to start my recap for this week‘s Survivor: Heroes vs Villains. I could start by talking about the vote resting on the hands of one person last week. I could talk about the circumstances leading to that. Or I can vote about what is perhaps the oddest reward in the show‘s history. Regardless, I still have a recap to do, so... here‘s your recap!  Read more »
Thinking ahead is a very good thing on Survivor. You think about who you‘ll bring to the final two. You think about the merge. You think about the connections you have to the other tribe, in this season‘s case.Thus, I completely understand what the Heroes are thinking. Seeing the Villains have eliminated Rob, they‘re thinking an all-girl alliance is calling the chops over there. Of course, they don‘t know what really happened--the rivalry between Rob and Russell, the existence of three factions rather than two--and they don‘t even know what Russell did before.  Read more »
Let‘s get a few things out of the way. It‘s promised that tonight‘s Survivor will be historical. It‘s also promised that tonight‘s episode would have a move that you can describe two ways. Call it "strange" if you‘re being nice. Call it "dumb" if you aren‘t. Tonight, it did deliver, and it floats a lot of questions: is it a brilliant strategy or is it the dumbest move ever?  Read more »
At least JT proved not to be as slimy as Candice makes him out to be. If he really is the black sheep among the Heroes, he would‘ve kept the hidden immunity necklace for himself from the very beginning, using it to his advantage when the merge comes and everything breaks loose. Instead, he decided to pull off what I choose to think is a bold move: give immunity to Russell in exchange for his allegiances once the merge happens.In theory, it‘s a really good move. Now, I‘m not expecting Russell to be forever grateful to JT--does anybody even stick to their word in Survivor apart from Coach?--but we‘ve seen, time and again, that moves made out of good will can get you far. What JT did may be a leap of faith, but it bought him and the rest of the Heroes much-needed time.  Read more »
Courtney Yates is the Howard Cosell of Survivor. Courtney can turn a mundame moment into a highlight on The Soup just by providing the play-by-play. Heroes vs. Villains has been an exceptional season, but it was even better when Courtney was given time to do her thing. I‘m already looking forward to her jury questions. I asked Courtney about her bickering with Jeff Probst, the tribal romances, Rupert‘s drooling, the Outback Steakhouse reward and the Life in Ponderosa series. Her answers were predictablly dry and witty.  Read more »
I loved this week‘s episode for two reasons. One, we saw how smart these players really are. Two, we saw how dumb these players really are. Parvati impressed me by not telling Russell about her Hidden Immunity Idol. Sure, if you‘re riding Russell‘s coattails the best you can argue to the jury was that made all of the decisions with him. But Parvati isn‘t riding Russell‘s coattails. She‘s letting him ride hers. Hiding the Idol from him proves that she‘s not reliant on him for anything. Check out the exclusive interview with Courtney Yates  Read more »
Will tonight really have one of the most surprising Tribal Councils in Survivor‘s ten years? We‘ll see about that.The big story this week, though, is the merge. And finally, after Jeff did this fake out a couple of weeks ago. But now it‘s safe to pick up the expectations we were asked to drop, because the merge is happenings, and things will get interesting.  Read more »
J.T. Thomas made a cataclysmic error last week, and it came back to bite him on Thursday. His votes were declined like an American Express card and he was blindsided with two Hidden Immunity Idols. Twice the fun, twice the brutal rejection. I feel sorry for J.T. He seems like a classy guy. But wow, did Russell and Parvati make him look like a chumpstain.I asked J.T the obvious questions: What?! How? Could? This? Happen??? Here is what he had to say.  Read more »
J.T. Thomas did not make the worst strategic move in the history of the game. For me, the worst move in the history of the game was Rafe threw the final immunity challenge to his new alliance partner, Danni, in Survivor: Guetamala. Rafe easily could have won the challenge and cinched the million dollars, but instead he decided to make a point. He wanted to show Danni that he trusted her to make the "right" decision (i.e. give him the million.) Poor Rafe still thought he was going to win until Danni turned around and voted him out, securing the million for herself.  Read more »
I can guarantee only one thing on tonight‘s Survivor: Heroes vs Villains: surprises.It‘s much like what happened last week. The merge happened. Russell‘s legs were showing. Sandra virtually flipped and told Rupert the truth. Parvati connected with Amanda. Danielle easily won immunity. JT got the toss after two immunity idols came to play. And all the drama in between makes things all the more interesting.  Read more »
Last week‘s Survivor: Heroes vs Villains was crazy. The Heroes lost one of their own. The Villains virtually lost one of their own. And Russell lost all shred of control that he has of his alliance. Now‘s the time to regroup... but the others are just getting started. So no, no regroup.  Read more »
Despite the potential wrestling match between Danielle and Amanda, watching Survivor last night felt like someone yanking the parking break when you‘re hitting 100 mph on the freeway. After the strategic onslaught that was the merge last week, this week‘s episode was disappointing in comparison.Sure, it was fascinating watching Sandra and Candice grapple with their conflicting positions. One wants to flip but can‘t go all out on it. The other has already flipped but can‘t be outright about it. Being the political junkie, I find it exciting to see two players butt heads when the decision gets this close to being made. "Vote for Parvati!" "No, vote for Amanda!" "No, vote for Parvati!" All the thinking involved, and all the suspense that goes with it.  Read more »
You‘ve gotta give Candice one thing. She is consistent. She always mutinees on her tribes. Someone ought to get the girl a novelty hat that says Candice the Mutineer. If she traced her genealogy for an episode of Who Do You Think You Are? I wouldn‘t be surprised to find such patriots as Benedict Arnold and John Brown in her family tree. All kidding aside, though, did Candice make the right move?   Read more »
On Thursday Amanda Kimmel became the fourth member of the jury, and Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains officially entered the home stretch. The Final Five is already thinking about how to spend their treasure, while some once dominant players now seem lost at sea.  Amanda was surprised that Candice switched sides because, according to her, "Candice wasn‘t on the bottom." It had appeared to me that Candice was in exactly that predicament, so I pushed Amanda to tell me who was the odd man out.  She said it was "probably Colby."   Read more »
The merge definitely screwed some people over--and led a couple of others into the light. But it‘s a merged tribe already. The Heroes may be languishing, and the Villains may have the upper hand, but anything can happen. In an instant, one might say goodbye to his chances of winning a million dollars.Tonight‘s Survivor is one of those instances. Snap! Tribal Council sends someone home. Snap! Another Tribal Council sends someone home. Yes, in tonight‘s episode there‘ll be two votes, and when you‘re caught unaware with the breakneck pace of developments, the best you could do is think of a quick plan and stick to it.  Read more »
Wasn‘t it just a few weeks ago when we were all writing off Colby‘s chances of survival? There was him virtually checking out of the game before the merge, and way before that, there was his alliance with Tom, one that put him at odds with everyone in the Heroes tribe and put his neck on the line for so long. Now, he‘s one of two Heroes remaining--a slightly unsurprising minority that has held on despite continued attacks from the Villains.Then again, Colby was just lucky to have gotten here. He got a reprieve after the whole issue with Tom. He got another reprieve when James‘ medical issues came to the forefront. He got a break when the Villains started fumbling, and even if he wasn‘t the Colby we saw back in Australia, he still managed to mosey along as the merge happened, and all hell broke loose. And to top it all off, he‘s proud of how he‘s played the game. "Are you?" he rhetorically asked Candice as he issued his vote against her.  Read more »
"I‘m closer to Parvati than you think." Seven little words changed the course of Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains. It‘s been four days since Survivor but that last Tribal Council still replays in my mind. Danielle broke down sobbing and Russell changed his vote on the spot to blow his ally away. The betrayal was so cold it felt like a Sopranos mob hit. I loved it.Russell plays like he‘s completely insane. His crush on Parvati reminds me of the Phantom of the Opera‘s crush on Emmy Rossum.  He‘s at once terrified and terrifying, a tragic figure and monster. He felt threatened by Parvati having anyone else in her life so he wiped them out, as if to say "You‘re mine now. Now we can be together forever!"   Read more »
When I talked to Danielle at the Survivor 10th  Anniversary Party, she told me that she would be a more entertaining character on Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains than she was on Survivor: Panama: Exile Island.  After being voted out on Thursday‘s Survivor, she revealed that she was disappointed by what the editors did not show.Danielle was understandably emotional in discussing Russell‘s betrayal, her wrestling match with Amanda and her friendship with Parvati. Her portrayal of Russell is the most severe on record, and perhaps  the most compelling.  Read more »
Candice Woodcock delayed her wedding to compete on Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains. Thursday night she became the fifth member of the jury. Candice had no strong allies for most of the season before making an ill-fated move to the Villains alliance. She tried valiantly to influence some of her tribemates at key moments, but experienced more setbacks than victories. Candice has since tied the knot.  I like Candice a lot as a person. She has spent much of her life in leadership positions facing bold responsibilities in collegiate sports, national student societies and now as a doctor-in-training. She could be one of those perfectionists who comes across as ‘above it all‘, but she‘s actually exceptionally down to earth. In other words, she‘s got a lot more going on ‘upstairs‘ than casual viewers may realize.    Read more »
We‘ve got two episodes left for this season of Survivor, and the remaining castaways are scrambling like never before.Nobody seems to be on top, really. I did put Rupert on top of my power rankings this week but, as I write this preview, I‘ve had second thoughts. Maybe Parvati, since she‘s still on the dominant side and can decimate the Heroes one by one? Maybe Russell, since he‘s moving sides right now after the big mess than he made in the last two Tribal Councils? Heck, maybe it could be Colby. Maybe his plan to pretend that he‘s not as capable as he was is working really, really, really well.  Read more »
I‘ve got a confession to make: this week‘s Survivor: Heroes vs Villains has got me confused. And I know I shouldn‘t be, because at this point I should expect everybody to be flipping sides, especially after last week‘s debacle. But I can‘t help it. I still am. And I don‘t know what will happen next.  Read more »
The Survivor finale should be red hot; but after a series of emotionally gripping episodes last night‘s show was underwhelming. It was the calm before the storm or, if you prefer, the elipsiis before the exclamation mark.  Russell turned on Rupert so quickly I initially believed I had missed something. It was only after rewatching the episode that I realized Russell simply changes allies without much provocation. Presumably Rupert is another jury vote he won‘t be able to count on if he makes it to the end.  Read more »
We might as well call next week‘s finale Survivor: "Hero" vs Villains. There‘s only one Hero left, and judging from the past three months or so, I don‘t think you can call him a Hero. There was a flash of brilliance (of sorts) when he allied with Tom and got himself in hot water for it, but at other times, Colby acted like he just wanted to go home."Let‘s take the afternoon off and not worry about tonight, because I‘ll be going home anyway." Remember that?  Read more »
This season of Survivor has been interesting. And I mean really interesting. But of course--it‘s an all-star season! And not a lame one at that. There really has been a lot of wrangling on both sides of the island, and there was no letting up: from the struggles of the Heroes tribe, to the infighting within the Villains tribe, to the messy aftermath of the merge. From beginning to end, it‘s left us both amazed and confused. I know I was.It all boils down to this. We have the final five, all of whom are people I didn‘t really expect to stick around. Read more »
Ten years and twenty seasons later, it felt like Survivor: Heroes vs Villains was the ultimate season ever. And in many respects, it was. Ten players known for their integrity, and ten players known for the devious moves. Put them all together, and we got a pretty wild ride, from rivalries and alliances, to dumb moves and disappointments, and eventually, to tonight, to the end, with one of them goes home with a million dollars.Last Thursday, we met our final five. There‘s Colby, who‘s a formidable player in Australia but struggled with this season. There‘s Jerri, the original Black Widow, who somehow managed to hang on. There‘s Parvati, that flirty manipulator who‘s out to win a second time. There‘s Russell, the person we once called "evil incarnate" in Samoa, out to prove that he is the best again. And then there‘s Sandra, the sneaky one with a heart of gold... one that you probably didn‘t notice.That should set up my recap for this Survivor season‘s finale quite nicely.  Read more »
Every Survivor season--well, except for the first, if I remember correctly--always ends with a reunion show, which gives every contestant of a particular season the chance to clear their names and have some fun. Of course, Heroes vs Villains is no exception... only it‘s crazy. Because, if we‘re to believe Jeff Probst, when these castaways are together, it‘s that crazy every single day.Sandra was named the winner of the season, making her the first ever person to win Survivor twice. Apart from winning the million dollars, as well as reuniting with her husband (who went home for two weeks just to watch the live finale), she also gets to be called, arguably, the best Survivor player ever... until Russell gets to talk, of course.  Read more »
First off, congratulations to Russell for achieving what we all thought as impossible before: competing in two back-to-back Survivor seasons and going all the way in both instances. Sure, he‘d say that he only competed once--"a looong time"--but if he wants to be considered one of the greatest Survivor players ever, he might as well count the last two seasons as two time periods rather than one.It‘s quite obvious he did too many things without taking a breather. His strategy in Heroes vs Villains remained the same as his strategy in Samoa: make a deal with everyone until you bring yourself in the end, and then hope that the jury will respect the way you play the game. You can argue that he didn‘t get the benefit of learning how the results of Survivor: Samoa panned out when he joined this season, which meant he wasn‘t given the time to contemplate and change his play. But him not getting a single jury vote this year should sound the alarm.  Read more »
Much like a Hershey bar, Jerri Manthey was the sweetest part of Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains. She and Coach seemed to find true companionship. Unlike some three time players, she wanted to be there, and fought to win every challenge. Finally, at the age of 39, she could still rock her once-trademark bathing suit as well as a lot of 20-somethings. In short, Jerri was once labeled a soap opera witch, but today she is nothing if not down to earth.For me, the one knock against Jerri this season was how easily she seemed to bend to Russell‘s threats. I was therefore very pleased with her strong, articulate explanation of her strategic decisions in the game. She also reflected on her friendship with Colby and offered a brutal answer about her romantic potential with Coach. That was cold, Jerri, but you warm my heart anyway.  Read more »
I have been very hard on Colby Donaldson throughout Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains. It wasn‘t until I talked with him today that I understood why he seemed so sad this season, and failed in all of the challenges.  There‘s a saying that you can‘t go home again. Like a lot of viewers, I was in awe of Colby‘s dominance in The Australian Outback. He was in a class by himself in the challenges.Ten years later I really wanted to see him dominate again, to prove that Survivors of old could still school the Russells and Coaches of today.   Read more »
When Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains began I was lukewarm about Parvati. By Survivor standards she was not a colorful personality in Micronesia, and she didn‘t play the game in an overly flashy manner. No one has done more to win me over this season.  Parvati got the lion‘s share of quotable quotes this season. Her gameplay was fire and ice - serene confidence and sassy dominance. After talking with her twice, I am well aware of the Parvati charm, and it‘s easy to understand how Russell could let it go to his head. I asked her about the after party, Amanda‘s vote for Sandra, Candice‘s comparison of Parvati to an abused wife, and where she draws her confidence from.    Read more »
Last night on Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains, Sandra Diaz-Twine became the only person ever to win two seasons. She seemed to steal the crown from Parvati - literally - without dominating the challenges or the strategic decisions. Rather, she constantly gave players like Russell the rope to hang themselves with, feeding on egos and conflicts, and manipulating others into doing her bidding like a trickster from a Shakespearean tale.Some viewers have complained that Sandra was less entertaining this season than in the Pearl Islands. But lest there be any concern that Sandra has changed, and become less foulmouthed and brassy, let me reassure you: That was just sensible gameplay. Talking to her this morning about Johnny Fairplay and Russell, she was hilarious. That she is, deep down, the same person who screamed at Johnny Fairplay is all the more proof that Sandra played a controlled, deliberate game, and deserved to win.   Exclusive Interview with Parvati Shallow   Read more »
I began watching tonight‘s Survivor: Heroes vs Villains with only two thoughts. One, having two Tribal Councils and at least one hidden immunity idol will literally twist the game. Two, with Colby and Rupert outnumbered, will they last? Both of those thoughts came true--and then some. No, wait, not some. A hell lot more.  Read more »
Today CBS announced its plans for the fall, and while the vast majority of the schedule comes from returning shows, some of the biggest series are getting new timeslots.  CSI: Miami, CSI: NY, Survivor and The Big Bang Theory are all moving to new nights.See More:The CW‘s Fall Lineup>>ABC‘s Fall Lineup>>FOX‘s Fall Lineup>>NBC‘s Fall Lineup>> Read more »
I was out of town last Thursday, which explains why I wasn‘t able to write a recap for last week‘s Survivor. But I was in front of the TV when the episode went on. Sixty minutes later, I had two thoughts: "what the heck was that?" and "why am I not writing about this?" Well, better late than never.Before last week‘s shocker of an episode, I thought Sandra‘s flip was the biggest move we should expect. And indeed she did: she told Rupert the truth about the previous Tribal Council, the one that kicked Courtney out instead of Parvati. Indeed, it was a big move: it was something Sandra badly wanted to do since, maybe, the beginning of the season. "I‘m a hero, not a villain," she insisted, and finally acted like one now she had the chance.  Read more »

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