Archive for March, 2011

‘Survivor’ Castaway Interview: Stephanie Valencia

March 31, 2011

“Everybody is going to hate this comment, but I’ve played with the best. Stephanie is just as good as if not better than Parvati (Shallow).” – Russell Hantz

That’s high praise coming from Parvati’s former alliance member. However, Parvati will always be able to counter that argument with her two finals appearances and her induction into the “Survivor” Hall of Fame.

Oh…and that million-dollar check she picked up after “Survivor: Fans vs. Favorites.”

I had a chance to chat with Stephanie the morning after she was eliminated from “Survivor: Redemption Island” to get her take on Russell’s flattering comparison, her disagreements with the Brady Bunch alliance, and if there really is a Zapateran plot to get rid of Boston Rob.

Gordon Holmes: When I spoke to your buddy Russell a few weeks ago, he said that he thinks you might be better than Parvati Shallow. He said you were stronger and more strategic than Parvati. Would you agree with that?
Stephanie Valencia:
(Laughs) No, Parvati made it further than I did. If he’s saying that, that’s great. But, I would have liked to have shown it. I didn’t make it to the top three, and I don’t want to say I’m better than anyone who made it further than me.

Gordon: You pushed hard to get rid of Sarita last week, making the pitch that the tribe needed to stay strong for challenges. Was it frustrating to see them follow your plan a week too late?
It was so weird to me to be around those people. We’d be around camp and they’d say, “We’re such a strong tribe, things are so great.” But it was clear that they didn’t like Krista and I once Russell was gone. They didn’t give a (expletive deleted) about us. So, when I saw Sarita was voted off I thought, finally they get that they need to keep the strong players.
Gordon: Zapatera’s been on a bit of a losing streak. Were you taking any joy in that as you were watching last night?
Stephanie: Yes, it felt really good. Why throw a challenge? All they had to do was deal with Russell on this island. Maybe they didn’t think that in the future that maybe I’d want to get rid of Russell at some point. So yeah, when they lost it felt really good. But they don’t care about numbers. They care about being in summer camp and singing “Kumbaya.”
Gordon: Was there actual “Kumbaya” singing going on?
Stephanie: (Laughs) No, but it was close. If there was a guitar around, I’m sure one of them would have picked it up.
Gordon: I’m finding them hard to root for. A singalong would have cemented that feeling.
Stephanie: (Laughs)
Gordon: You mentioned that you might’ve been open to voting out Russell. Under what circumstances would you have done that?
Stephanie: I think about it all the time. Having Russell and keeping him until the very end is great because nobody wants to vote for him. I’m kind of afraid of the guy too. He says I’m a good competitor, maybe he would keep someone who isn’t great in challenges and lazy around camp. Even in my alliance I saw them as people who could potentially vote me out. But, I doubt I’d vote for him. Nobody’s going to vote for him (for the million dollars).

Gordon: You seemed to be having problems getting along with Matt last night. Did you just want to talk about food and he just wanted to talk about God?
I guess! I felt so stupid after watching that. We really had no time to hang out. I got there, we talked a little, I went to sleep, and things went pretty quickly. But he called me annoying! But I guess he’d find anyone coming onto his turf as annoying. But, I guess I talk about food too much.

Gordon: You warned Boston Rob that Zapatera was going to be gunning for him. Was that something you’d actually heard from Zapatera?
No, when they saw Rob and Russell get out of the helicopter, Zapatera (expletive deleted) their pants when they saw Rob. They love Rob, so getting Russell was the worst thing ever. They’d always talk about how things would be different if Rob was on our team. And I thought, “Yeah, things would be different. You losers probably wouldn’t even be here.” I just wanted to stir some paranoia. They got rid of our veteran. They blew a challenge like morons. So, I just wanted to mess things up.

Gordon: One of the things you did that I had a problem with was how you’d continue to defend Russell even after he’d been sent home. What was the strategy behind that?
I really was just a Bitter Betty. I could not understand why they threw a challenge. It made no sense to me. And even if I opened up and tried to be myself, they weren’t open to it. They weren’t worried about losing because they had me and Krista to vote off. So, if I continued to defend him it was because I was pretty much defending myself.

Gordon: Alright, time for some word association. I’ll give you a name and if you can give me the first thought that pops into your head…
Gordon: Krista had the worst time with this because she was trying to keep it clean.
Stephanie: Oh she would, she’s so sweet. I love her.
Gordon: Let’s start off with Steve.
Stephanie: Dying dinosaur.
Gordon: David?
Stephanie: I called him a (expletive deleted) to his face because he backed out of our alliance. I’d say he’s the dumbest smart person I know.
Gordon: Ralph?
Stephanie: Country bumpkin.
Gordon: Mike?
Stephanie: Anchorman? Phony?
Gordon: Julie?
Stephanie: Therapy. She needs help. She’s depressed. Depressing.
Gordon: Sarita?
Stephanie: (Expletive deleted). Bad person. Bad apple.
Gordon: You did this the opposite of the way Krista did.
Stephanie: (Laughs) You said the first thing that popped into my head.
Gordon: Well, I appreciate your honesty.

Any questions? Any comments? Our commenting system is down for the time being, but feel free to drop me a line on Twitter at @gordonholmes or chat with fellow “Survivor” fans at the “Survivor” Hall of Fame Facebook page.

‘Survivor: Redemption Island’ Recap: The Crispy Rice Incident

March 30, 2011

Last Week: Grant dominated a challenge, proving he’s quite good at games, Phillip made an imaginary alliance and handed out nicknames, and David’s attempt to save Stephanie went down in flames.

39 Days, 18 People, 1 “Survivor” Blog

Let’s take a look at the tribes as they currently stand…

The Ometepe Tribe (wearing orange)

Andrea – 21, Student
Ashley – 25, Nurse
Grant – 29, Yoga Instructor
Natalie – 19, Dancer
Phillip – 52, Former Federal Agent?
Rob – 35, “Survivor” Hall of Famer

The Zapatera Tribe (wearing purple)

David – 31, Defense Attorney
Julie – 50, Firefighter
Mike – 31, Former Marine
Ralph – 45, Farmer
Sarita – 36, Visual Effects Producer
Steve – 51, Former NFL Player

Currently Residing on Redemption Island (wearing very little in common)

Matt – 22, Pre-Med Student
Stephanie – 26, Waitress

We start off over at Zapatera beach after Tribal Council where David is telling Sarita that he doesn’t trust her, but he doesn’t have a problem with her. I’d consider not trusting someone a problem. But, I’m sensitive.

Sarita tries to make peace, but David isn’t having it. What’s with people not knowing when to make nice this season? David’s on the bottom of this alliance, he should be everybody’s buddy. Andrea gets it, why doesn’t he? It’s like David has come down with a case of Stephanie-itis.

Speaking of Stephanie, she’s at Redemption Island telling Matt about the food she can’t wait to eat. He’s ready for the challenge to start, because Stephanie would rather talk about chocolate shakes and snickerdoodles than God.

Invitations go out for Redemption Island, Phillip wants to go with Rob so he can keep an eye on him. Phillip compares his strategy to a book by famous Japanese horseman, Miyamoto Musashi.

For real! Does Phillip’s Coach impersonation know no bounds? Can I pitch Coach vs. Phillip for next season? Can we call it “Survivor: I-Have-No-Idea-What-to-Believe Island”?

Rob has a similar plan. He wants to keep Phillip close so he can keep him out of trouble. He refers to him as the most unaware person he’s ever met in his life.  Wait, Rob and Coach were on the same tribe. Maybe Coach is doing a Phillip impersonation?

In other news, David and Ralph will attend the challenge for Zapatera.

Redemption Island Challenge: The players will flip tiles looking for matching symbols. First person to match five pairs wins.

Matt goes first and finds a match with two random symbols.

Stephanie follows this up by finding a match with two random symbols.

Both go again and have no luck.

Matt gets the next match.

Steph misses with her next turn.

Note: It’s at this point that it occurs to me that I’m basically doing play-by-play for a great big game of Memory. My parents are so proud.

Both of them find matches on their next try.

Matt gets another match.

Steph answers with a match of her own.

The current score is Matt 4, Steph 3.

Matt fails to get his next one…as does Stephanie.

Matt finishes her off, finding a final match.

I know it’s too late to make challenge suggestions, but maybe they could do a big game of Operation using the Jack Black “Gulliver’s Travels” dolls from last season.

Before Stephanie heads off, she tells Ralph that Zapatera will be in trouble if they don’t get rid of Sarita. She then warns Rob that they’re going to be gunning for him. She’s like a little, adorable Russell.

J-Pro asks Phillip what he thinks of Matt. Phillip says that Matt is a samurai warrior and follows the bushido code.

And…I’m officially out of Coach/Phillip jokes. Feel free to make up your own.

When Rob and Phillip are on their way back to camp, Phillip asks Rob if he wants to share all of the information with the tribe. Rob says he wants everyone to be open so they can remain a solid unit. Later, Rob confesses that he’s glad Phillip asked about that so he can use it against him. Rob is convinced that Phillip is ready to flip.

Rob relays this little tidbit to the rest of his tribe while Phillip takes a break to climb a tree. To punctuate Rob’s point, Phillip promptly falls out of the tree.

Phillip’s fun.

Over at Zapatera, the Brady Bunch has decided that David is going to be bad luck after the merge like a Hawaiian tiki idol. I wonder if anyone under 30 gets that joke.

Back at Ometepe, the tribe is fighting over the crispy rice at the bottom of the pot. Apparently this is some kind of “Survivor” delicacy like cherry Starburst jelly beans.

What? They’re totally the best ones.

It seems like Rob is a big fan of the crispy rice and the girls were saving it for him. However, Phillip only had non-crispy rice.

No, I’m not making this up.

As you’d expect, this lack of crispy rice respect sends Phillip over the edge. He feels like all of the tribe members should have equal access to the crispy rice. In fact, as the oldest member of the tribe, he deserves more crispy rice than everyone else.

It never fails, after twenty two seasons, “Survivor” always comes down to food.

Immunity Challenge Time: Both tribes will rush through a series of poorly described obstacles and collect bags of balls along the way. At the end, they’ll shoot those balls into a basket. The first tribe to sink all six balls wins immunity and a super fun picnic.

Both teams are dead even until they have to retrieve their first bag from a large corkscrew. Rob ingeniously tries a tetherball-esque method and gets the bag quickly.

Ometepe maintains this lead until Phillip gets caught climbing through a ropes course. Next to him falling out of the tree, this is the second funniest bit of physical comedy he’s done this episode. Dick Van Dyke would be proud.

At the second large cockscrew obstacle, David uses Rob’s technique to give Zapatera a lead, while Rob accidentally pushes the bag the wrong way.

Things even up once it comes to the hoop shooting. In fact, the score was tied five to five until Grant sank the final shot to give Ometepe the win.

After a commercial break, we meet up with the victors as they enjoy a picnic on the edge of an active volcano. Rob, of course, immediately figures out where the clue is and snatches it up. During a confessional, he explains that he doesn’t need the clue and throws it into the volcano. Wait, what’s he gonna tell Grant?

Early consensus around the Brady Bunch seems to be that it’s David’s turn to go home. However, Ralph and Steve were both impressed with how well David did in the tetherball portion of the challenge, so Sarita could be in trouble.

That night at Tribal Council, Ralph makes an excuse as to why the tribe didn’t win immunity.

J-Pro busts out some Mad Libs for David and asks him to finish the sentence, “Excuses are for ___.”

David promptly responds, “Losers.”

Ralph shrugs it off, saying he must be a loser.

Finally, Ralph and I agree on something.

Again, Probsty brings up the Curse of the Thrown Challenge. Julie seems to buy into it. Does anyone else remember the challenge they won a few weeks ago?

Jeff asks Ralph how important it is for the group to be cohesive. Ralph responds that he doesn’t know what “cohesive” means.

Again, I am not making this stuff up. If you missed the episode you can watch it on XFINITY TV the morning after it airs.

Jeff doesn’t have a dictionary handy, so he changes tactics, asking Ralph if he’d rather have a team of strong players that doesn’t get along, or a team that’s less strong and gets along.

Ralph chooses the stronger team, Steve disagrees.

Voting Time:
Sarita votes for David, David votes for Sarita, and the rest of the votes will wait until some serious tallying takes place.

Fortunately, Jeff Probst is just the guy to perform such tallying. One vote for Sarita, two votes for David, two votes for Sarita…and the seventh person to be sent to Redemption Island is…Sarita.

Verdict: I was getting ready to type that all of the eliminations have been predictable, but then David threw us that curveball. I think I underestimated him. Well played, Mauer.

That said, I’m ready for mergeville (which we will see next week, along with the Redemption Island winner returning to the game). With Andrea, Phillip, Matt, Sarita, and David as possible flippers, it should be interesting.

Who’s Going to Win? Still anybody’s ballgame at this point. But I’m still liking Julie as my dark horse.

Power Rankings Update: Both Sash and I had Matt as the Redemption Island winner. He had Sarita in spot 11, I had her in spot 9. So, Sash added two points to his lead. The score is now Team Sash 76, Team Gordon 69. On Twitter, I was bested by both @SherriErwin and @JohnSActon.

Any questions? Any comments? Our commenting system is down for the time being, but feel free to drop me a line on Twitter at @gordonholmes or chat with fellow “Survivor” fans at the “Survivor” Hall of Fame Facebook page.

‘Survivor: Redemption Island’ Power Rankings: Round 6

March 29, 2011

The Rules: Each week, “Survivor: Nicaragua” finalist Matthew “Sash” Lenahan and XFINITY TV’s “Survivor” loudmouth Gordon Holmes will create separate power rankings. The ranking of the person who is voted out of the next episode will determine the number of points the two players will earn. For example, if David is voted out this week, Sash will receive 12 points and Gordon will receive 11 points. Also, each player will pick who they think will win at Redemption Island. If they choose correctly they will receive a bonus point. At the end of the season, the person  with the most points will be named the “Survivor: Redemption Island” Power Rankings Challenge Champion.

Last Week: Both Sash and I had Matt as the Redemption Island winner. He had Stephanie in spot 12, I had her in spot 11. So, Sash added a point to his lead. The score is now Team Sash 64, Team Gordon 59.

Wanna Play? Last week, several “Survivor” fans posted their own Power Rankings on Twitter. Tag me (@gordonholmes) in your own Power Rankings, and if you do better than I do, I’ll give you credit in my weekly recap.


Current Score: 64



Current Score: 59

grant . bostonrob
#1 Grant – Grant has every tool in his possession, except the idol, to win this game right now.  The only problem is that Final Tribal isn’t big enough for both Boston Rob and him.  Who will backstab who first? . #1 Boston Rob – Can Phillip harness his crazy and rally the troops to get rid of Boston Rob the Mentalist? No, not in a million years. Like not in a hundred billion years. Rob’s safe for a while.
natalie . natalie
#2 Natalie – Boston Rob’s pawn has an easy path to the end with or without him, but unless she actually begins to help around camp, she’ll have no shot at winning. . #2 Natalie – If Rob can go wire-to-wire and take lazy players like Natalie and Ashley to the end, it’ll have to rank as one of the most dominating seasons in “Survivor” history…
ashley . ashley
#3 Ashley – Ashley’s best move would be to align tightly with Grant, since Natalie is Boston Rob’s go-to girl.  Maybe when she’s finished arguing with Phillip she’ll figure out this is a game for a million dollars. . #3  Ashley …unless Ashley and Natalie realize this and bounce him before they get to the end. Do either of them have the strategic chops to pull it off?
bostonrob . julie
#4 Boston Rob – Boston Rob is in the best position of anyone right now, but the odds are still stacked against him.  Perhaps playing Arafat and negotiating the peace among his tribemates will continue to keep the heat off his back. . #4 Julie – You know what I like about Julie? Everybody is talking to her. This leads me to believe that she’s low key and getting along with everyone. She’s my sleeper to sneak to the end.
andrea . mike
#5 Andrea – Glad to see Andrea working hard around camp and keeping cool under pressure.  Her only way to win is to take out the Natalie-Ashley alliance and cozy-up with the boys. . #5 Mike – Yeah Mike, you got your racket handed to you in the last challenge. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. The last thing you want as you’re headed into the merge is to be seen as the biggest physical threat.
mike . grant
#6 Mike – Mike’s head-to-head match up (and loss) against Grant showed who has the ability to win individual challenges after the merge.  Mike may need to rely on his charm over his physicality to go far. . #6 Grant – Did you hear what I told Mike, Grant? You are now the biggest physical threat in this game. I think you’re fine as Rob still needs your vote, but once it gets down to six or seven you’re a goner.
ralph . steve
#7 Ralph – Ralph got no love in the last immunity challenge.  My guess is that he’s not going to get any love after the merge either. . #7 Steve – I think there is a lot of bad gameplay going on over at Zapatera. Steve gets his woobie all in a bunch because Stephanie doesn’t think he’s good at challenges. Suck it up, champ. What do you care what the next person on the chopping block thinks?
steve . ralph
#8 Steve – If Steve gave Stephanie and Sarita a “1 out of 10” where does he stand?  It’s now or never for this guy and getting “stomped on” may be in his near future. . #8 Ralph – Speaking of bad Zapateran gameplay…Ralph’s big mouth is going to land him in trouble after the merge. Complaining during the challenge about not getting a shot. Complaining at Tribal about not getting to be the ball launcher. Silence is golden, dude. That goes for the rooster calls too.
julie . sarita
#9 Julie Julie has been so wishy-washy with the departure of Russell and Stephanie that it has defined her vulnerability within the tribe. . #9 Sarita – Sarita took some serious shots this week, but I think she’ll be fine. At the end of the day the team picked her over David. But just to be on the safe side, she shouldn’t jam any infected plantlife into her gums for the time being.
phillip . andrea
#10 Phillip – The red-headed stepchild has been on the chopping block for ages and targeting Boston Rob may finally send him packing. . #10 Andrea – You turned on Matt because he got a hug and a Bible from a player who’s leaving the game? That’s fine. But Boston Rob didn’t see that testimonial. I still say as long as Matt’s on Redemption Island you’re in trouble.
sarita . david
#11 Sarita – The Sarita-David clash isn’t working well for either of them.  Perhaps gouging her mouth with a stick was a blessing in disguise by limiting her ability to speak. . #11 David – I think the David debate has been settled once and for all. He’s at the bottom of the Brady Bunch alliance and was scrambling like crazy for footing last week. If Zapatera loses again he’ll be the smartest guy at the Ponderosa.
david . phillip
#12 David – How do you go from first to last in a Power Ranking?  You vote against your own alliance and try to push against the grain.  David was kept in the dark on the last vote when defending Stephanie and now he will find himself following in her footsteps. . #12 Phillip – The code of honor, the tattoos, the alliance nicknames, the wild stories…you are stealing Coach’s gimmick! If this means you’re willing to follow in Coach’s footsteps and be next season’s Power Rankings opponent after I smash Sash, I’m all for it. Unfortunately, your dead-on impersonation is going to earn you a trip to Redemption Island the next time Ometepe loses.
matt . matt
Redemption Island Winner – Matt’s on fire and will take out pint-sized Stephanie with ease now that he has extra spiritual power from above. . Redemption Island Winner – You think I’m betting against Matt after he’s won 40 challenges in a row? No way. The only way he’s losing is if it’s a limbo contest or a trash-talking debate.

Any questions? Any comments? Our commenting system is down for the time being, but feel free to drop me a line on Twitter at @gordonholmes or chat with fellow “Survivor” fans at the “Survivor” Hall of Fame Facebook page.

‘Survivor’ Castaway Interview: Krista Klumpp

March 24, 2011

Imagine you’re former Auburn head cheerleader Krista Klumpp. You’re standing on a sunny Nicaraguan beach, excited to begin the game of “Survivor,” when all of the sudden a helicopter lands and legendary villain Russell Hantz steps out. What do you do?

A.)    Team up with the “Survivor” Hall of Famer and hope that he can work his magic a third time?
B.)    Go against Hantz knowing that his less-than-sterling reputation might rub off on you?

We know how this scenario played out in real life. Hantz was gone after four episodes and Krista was sent home shortly afterward.

I spoke with Krista the morning after she was eliminated from “Survivor: Redemption Island” to find out what her thought process was in teaming up with Hantz, if she ever had a chance to break into the Zapatera Six alliance, and how the Redemption Island twist has changed the game.

Gordon Holmes: It’s pretty safe to assume that anyone who partners with Russell is going to have a target on their back. Did you think that was your best bet or was there ever an opportunity for you to join the Zapatera Six?
Krista Klumpp:
When the game first started, everyone was in shock that Russell was even there. I thought Russell was going to look at me and think Natalie (White) the entire time. And you know how Russell is, if you’re not useful to him he’s going to get you out. So, I’m freaking out about Russell going against me and everyone being OK with it. So, when he came to me and thought I was an asset, it changed my whole view. I thought, “If this guy is ready to go with me, I’m going to jump on it.” But it seemed like once Russell got on board with me and Stephanie that everybody freaked out.
Gordon: People tend to think that Russell’s alliances are just Russell calling the shots and everyone else falling into line. Is that accurate or did you play a specific role within the alliance?
Krista: Aligning with Russell and Stephanie, who are such strong personalities, I knew I had to step back from that. So, I’m not as big on the drama, I was trying to get them to calm down. I was like their mediator. I’d say, “You guys cannot go into there and talk to them like this.” Or,  “You can’t talk to them like that because they’re scared of both of you.” So, my strategic play, I was having to keep them from scaring (the other members of Zapatera) off. And as you can see, they were completely scared of Russell. They threw the challenge to kick him off because they couldn’t handle it.

Gordon: I was a little shocked when you were voted out over Stephanie as she seems to be more difficult to get along with. Why did they gun for you first?
I think they thought Stephanie was stronger in the challenges. She’d step up to be the caller or the leader. I tried to talk to them, I tried to have conversations about how the game was going. But they wouldn’t talk to me about the game. They weren’t interested in keeping the strongest players. And Steve was going down fast. I don’t care what he says, but he was the weakest one in terms of health. So that was my strategy to try to keep myself in the game.
Gordon: I’ve heard that a lot about Steve’s health, but we’re not seeing it. Is he sick or is he not dealing well with the lack of food?
Krista: Steve is a big guy. I think he prepared to come out and use his strength, but when you don’t have food, energy, or sleep it’s tough. The challenge that I sat out of, he wanted to sit out, but I refused to let that happen because I wanted the tribe to see how weak he was. And he was very weak in that challenge. But they weren’t going with the strongest players in challenge, they were going with their comfort.

Gordon: David approached Stephanie with the idea of gunning for Sarita last night. Was David willing to work with you before you were voted out?
David started to see it slowly after Russell was voted off. And I think David was starting to regret it. He realized there wasn’t much he could do for me because he was the only one coming along that way. I guess it just really hit him after the challenge last night. They need to keep the numbers because Rob is running it over there.

Gordon: I’m a big believer in giving credit where credit is due, so is it OK if I use the term Brady Bunch to refer to the Zapatera Six alliance?
(Laughs) Yes, you can! I’ll allow you to do that. And that’s really what it was like, when we came back from Russell being voted out they were happy as can be. And talking to them was like talking to the wall here.

Gordon: Alright, word association time. Let’s start with…David.
Oh God…all over the place.
Gordon: Steve?
Krista: Boring.
Gordon: Matt?
Krista: Refreshing.
Gordon: Sarita?
Krista: Germaphobe. (Laughs)
Gordon: Ralph?
Krista: Ugh…one-word answers…
Gordon: There are no wrong answers.
Krista: Let’s come back to him.
Gordon: OK, Mike?
Krista: Oh gosh…
Gordon: This is like torture, I feel terrible.
Krista: I know! He’s boring, egotistic, all those.
Gordon: Stephanie?
Krista: Strong.
Gordon: Back to our buddy Ralph.
Krista: He is…I don’t want to be mean…
Gordon: Feel free to be mean, just watch your language.
Krista: (Laughs) He’s just…there.
Gordon: OK, Ralph’s rooster call?
Krista: Embarrassing. (Laughs)

Gordon: When you hopped on a plane to go to Nicaragua, you assumed that if you were voted out you’d go home. Now, with Redemption Island, that isn’t the case anymore. How did that change the experience of being voted out in comparison to how you thought it would be?
It changes how you think, I was thinking, “What can I do to get myself back in the game?” I started to work on that before I was voted out. And once you get to Redemption Island it was such a relief because I couldn’t stand being around the people on my tribe aside from Stephanie. So, going to Redemption Island was kind of a therapy. (Laughs) You have a chance to regroup, refocus yourself, and try to get back in. I liked it, I felt like I had a second chance when before when you were gone you were gone.

Gordon: Krista, thank you so much for your time, and War Eagle.
War Eagle!

Any questions? Any comments? Our commenting system is down for the time being, but feel free to drop me a line on Twitter at @gordonholmes or chat with fellow “Survivor” fans at the “Survivor” Hall of Fame Facebook page.

Why ‘American Idol’ Sucks Now

March 24, 2011

Even More Whatnot…

‘Survivor: Redemption Island’ Recap: Federal Offense

March 23, 2011

Last Week: Grant found a clue, but still doesn’t have a clue. David was puzzled when Sarita chose Stephanie to do the puzzle. And, Krista called out the Brady Bunch, and they voted for her…a bunch.

39 Days, 18 People, 1 “Survivor” Blog

Let’s take a look at the tribes as they currently stand…

The Ometepe Tribe (wearing orange)

Andrea – 21, Student
Ashley – 25, Nurse
Grant – 29, Yoga Instructor
Natalie – 19, Dancer
Phillip – 52, Former Federal Agent?
Rob – 35, “Survivor” Hall of Famer

The Zapatera Tribe (wearing purple)

David – 31, Defense Attorney
Julie – 50, Firefighter
Mike – 31, Former Marine
Ralph – 45, Farmer
Sarita – 36, Visual Effects Producer
Stephanie – 26, Waitress
Steve – 51, Former NFL Player

Currently Residing on Redemption Island (wearing faith)

Matt – 22, Pre-Med Student
Krista – 25, Pharmaceutical Rep

We start off this week’s fun at Redemption Island where Matt is greeted by his new bunkmate Krista. She’s a big fan of Matt’s positive attitude, and the fact that he has a dry place to sleep.

The two bond over their shared religious belief and their similar hair colors.

The following morning, Steve lets us know that he isn’t happy that he received two votes. Stephanie explains that it has nothing to do with him personally, but it was because he isn’t a strong physical competitor. Oddly enough, Steve takes this personally.

Meanwhile at Ometepe, Ashley and Natalie are plucking their armpit hairs. What’s worse? We’re treated to close-ups.

Note to “Survivor” Editors: Armpit close-ups again? Seriously, knock it off.

While the spa day is going on, Rob is building something, Andrea’s pretending to help, and Phillip is checking on the fire. Ashley lets us know that she isn’t lazy because she’s competed in basketball and beauty pageants. She should use that as her Tribal Council speech when her number is up.

Phillip swings by the salon and asks the ladies to help him with the fire. For some reason he’s annoyed with their lack of effort. Whoa…Phillip and I agree on something. I need a nap.

Over at Redemption Island, Krista’s Bible (her luxury item) shows up in tree mail. Her and Matt share a prayer and seem to be getting along famously.

Redemption Island Challenge: The players will use a grappling hook to retrieve three bags. Each of the bags has something in it, but they’ll have to keep opening them until they find a ball. The players will then use their ball in a table maze. The first person to complete the table maze gets to stay on Redemption Island. The loser doesn’t get to put their buff on eBay.

Andrea and Natalie are in attendance for Ometepe. Julie and David made the trip for Zapatera.

Krista gets her three bags first, but Matt is right behind her. Krista has some trouble with the table maze, Matt doesn’t. Matt remains the King of Redemption Island.

Before Krista leaves, she gives Matt her Bible. See Victoria Jackson, there are positive examples of religion on television.

Andrea seems to take offense to Matt’s close relationship with Krista. Oh man, every time Matt’s nice to somebody he ticks someone else off.

At Zapatera beach, Sarita is worried that she has gotten bacteria into one of her teeth while cleaning them. Julie can’t imagine how anyone who isn’t a dentist could figure something like that out, so she labels Sarita a “drama queen.”

David seems to share this belief and lets Stephanie know that politicking against Sarita is her best bet for survival.

Stephanie takes this bit of advice and apologizes to Steve for voting for him. Then she plants the Russell Stephanie seed that Sarita should go home next. Steve agrees that Stephanie is better at challenges than Sarita.

Chore-gate is continuing over at Ometepe. Rob and Grant agree that the women should be pulling their weight, but don’t intend on being the ones to tell them.

Luckily for them, that’s why God invented Phillip.

Phillip lets Natalie and Ashley know that they need to start chipping in. The best part of this rant? Phillip pronounced Andrea’s name wrong. Somewhere Francesca is screaming at a television set.

Rob tries to calm Phillip down, even referring to himself as the Arafat in the tribe’s peace process. Who had Boston Rob as the first person to reference Yasser Arafat in the pool? Nobody? Didn’t think so…

Immunity Challenge Time: Players will use a slingshot to launch balls at their teammates. The teammates will try to catch the balls in lacrosse-esque nets. Each caught ball is good for a point. First team to five points wins immunity and a trip to a mountain that overlooks San Juan del Sur for a nice picnic lunch.

Fun Fact: San Juan del Sur is where I stayed when I visited “Survivor: Nicaragua.” It is twelve shades of awesome. I’m seething with jealously right now.

Another Fun Fact: This challenge is very similar to one done in “Survivor: Tocantins.” Hopefully nobody will lose a tooth JT-style.

Before the challenge gets underway, Phillip tells JPro that both of his tattoo animals are ready to go. Oh man, that’s like using two Medallions of Power at once.

Sarita will sit out for Zapatera. Stephanie and David will launch balls for Zapatera, Natalie and Phillip will launch balls for Ometepe.

First Launch: Grant catches one ball, the other hits the ground.

Second Launch: Grant catches a second ball, the other hits the ground.

Third Launch: Grant catches a third ball (as Mike rips his shirt), the other hits the ground.

Fourth Launch: Boston Rob catches a ball, the other hits the ground.

Grant rips what’s left of his shirt off and throws it at Mike. Here’s hoping Mike doesn’t rip at his shorts next. Ometepe leads 4 to 0.

Fifth Launch: No balls are caught.

Sixth Launch:
Grant catches one, the other hits the ground. Ometepe wins immunity and reward. We win a commercial break.

We return to see the Ometepians on their reward and…YOU CAN SEE MY HOTEL! Man, I hate Philadelphia in the winter.

During the feast, Boston Rob and Grant notice another clue and manage to sneak it away. As they’re reading it, Phillip catches them. Rob plays it off and tells Phillip that the clue says the idol is back at camp.

Phillip then lets us in on the alliance he has with Rob and Grant. Apparently he calls them “Stealth R Us.” Yeah, it’s so stealth I’m sure Rob and Grant don’t know about it.

To hear Phillip describe it; Rob’s the mentalist, Grant’s the assassin, and Phillip’s the specialist. Sweet nicknames, but Coach is gonna call gimmick infringement on that one.

However, everything isn’t well in the Stealth alliance as Phillip is annoyed that Rob and Grant tried to keep the clue a secret. Apparently hell hath no fury like a lion or a gorilla when they’re provoked. I’m almost positive that’s not how that saying goes.
Although, it makes you wonder what color the sky is in Phillip’s little world. It’s probably like a “Bourne” action movie running 24/7.

Politicking around Zapatera centers around Stephanie vs. Sarita. The argument against Sarita is that she isn’t good in challenges. The argument against Stephanie is that she partnered with the devil and can’t be trusted.

That night at Tribal Council, Ralph thinks the tribe would have done better in the challenge if he had been shooting the balls.

Sarita says she wanted to be in the challenge. Stephanie disagrees, saying that Sarita wouldn’t want to get involved in a physical challenge.

JPro asks if it’s good to sit out so you’re not considered a goat. David jumps on that, saying that’s why Sarita sat out.

Sarita thinks she would have done well in the challenge. Stephanie responds with a one-word phrase that describes the after product of bull food.

When asked to name a few good things about Stephanie, Steve says she’s a “Warrior at heart.” Coach is livid!

David is really pushing hard for Stephanie, saying that trust isn’t the most important issue right now and that winning should be their top priority. Ooof…that’s a weird argument in “Survivor.”

Voting Time: Sarita votes for Stephanie (duh), Stephanie votes for Sarita (double duh), David votes for Sarita, and the rest are super secret.

Probsty tallies and returns. One vote for Sarita, one vote for Stephanie, one vote for Sarita, two votes for Stephanie…and the sixth person to be sent to Redemption Island is…Stephanie.

I think tonight might settle the debate about David’s gameplay. He was hardcore campaigning for Stephanie and it didn’t work. And if you can’t sway Steve, Mike, and Julie, three players who I doubt know much about strategy, then you’re in trouble.

Verdict: I think we’re all ready for a merge. The last couple of votes have been very predictable. But, as long as Phillip is busting out some hilarious speeches, I’m not going to complain too much.

Who’s Going to Win? Julie’s giving me a real Susie-Smith, coast-after-the-merge-to-the-end-of-the-game vibe.

Power Rankings Update: Both Sash and I had Matt as the Redemption Island winner. He had Stephanie in spot 12, I had her in spot 11. So, Sash added a point to his lead. The score is now Team Sash 64, Team Gordon 59.

Also, people have been sending me their Power Rankings picks on Twitter. The people who beat me this week are @SherriErwin and @truedorktimes. Think you can out pick me? Have any questions or comments? Drop me a line on Twitter at @gordonholmes.

Our commenting system is down for the time being, but feel free to chat with fellow “Survivor” fans at the XFINITY TV Facebook page.

‘Survivor: Redemption Island’ Power Rankings: Round 5

March 22, 2011

The Rules: Each week, “Survivor: Nicaragua” finalist Matthew “Sash” Lenahan and XFINITY TV’s “Survivor” loudmouth Gordon Holmes will create separate power rankings. The ranking of the person who is voted out of the next episode will determine the number of points the two players will earn. For example, if David is voted out this week, Sash will receive 1 point and Gordon will receive 10 points. Also, each player will pick who they think will win at Redemption Island. If they choose correctly they will receive a bonus point. At the end of the season, the person  with the most points will be named the “Survivor: Redemption Island” Power Rankings Challenge Champion.

Last Week: Sash picked Matt to win, I picked Matt to win. Sash had Krista in spot 12, I had Krista in spot 12. Apparently great minds think alike. The current score is now Team Sash 51, Team Gordon 47.

Before we get into this week’s throwdown, I though we should take a minute to see what our worthy competition has been up to since his impressive run in “Survivor: Nicaragua.”

Gordon Holmes: How has life been since returning from the Nicaraguan wilderness?
Matthew “Sash” Lenahan:
Life has been great since returning to New York!  I’m back to selling luxury real estate in Manhattan and Brooklyn, I just took a trip to Puerto Rico with my girlfriend, and I’ve really enjoyed watching “Redemption Island” with all the incredible “Survivor” and “Amazing Race” people who live in New York City!

Gordon: What are your thoughts on this season so far?
This season has been so much fun to watch!  It’s really interesting to see how the social game is unfolding and I’m rooting for the contestants who are playing strategically.  I am, however, a bit envious of their blankets, pillows, and tools.  Hey Probst, we could have really used those too!

Gordon: Would you have thought twice about voting out Shannon or Benry if Redemption Island had been in place during your season?
Voting out Shannon was a no-brainer for everyone in my alliance and I’ll never regret that.  Redemption Island would have definitely made me think twice about voting out Benry though as he was such a strong competitor during the challenges which is the only reason why he was targeted instead of Fabio at time of his departure…in retrospect that sounds crazy, right?  The thing about “Survivor” is that you have to make decisions based on that exact moment in time.  I have no regrets from my season and hope to have another chance at winning the title of Sole Survivor someday!


Current Score: 51



Current Score: 47

david . bostonrob
#1 David – David was right, “Survivor” isn’t a pee-wee soccer league, and with the exception of Rob, he’s the only captain of the squad. . #1 Boston Rob – Is Boston Rob playing a great game or is his tribe just rolling over? It’s probably a combination of both. Either way, he’s safe until the merge.
mike . mike
#2 Mike – I believe Mike has more cards he hasn’t shown yet and I’m looking forward to seeing how he plays them. . #2 Mike – If Krista is to be believed, Mike is close to both Steve and Julie. Having options once the Brady Bunch hits the merge will play in Mike’s favor.
grant . julie
#3 Grant – Grant has the greatest mentor of anyone with Rob at his side.  As long as Rob stays in the game, his apprentice will reap the benefits. . #3  Julie – Julie isn’t bugging anybody. She’s kind of got a Susie Smith vibe in that I could see her coasting after the merge to the end.
natalie . grant
#4 Natalie – Spa day may place the first spotlight on Natalie, but in the end what girl wouldn’t want to look good for Rob?  Trust me, he’s not keeping her around because she’s a good hunter-gatherer. . #4 Grant – Rob doesn’t trust you enough to let you know he has an immunity idol. You’re safe till the merge, champ. But you and Rob are going to be the Brady Bunch’s first targets.
ashley . ralph
#5 Ashley – Will the girls’ spa day put a target on her back?  Ashley has the most to lose as her closest girlfriend is also Rob’s closest girlfriend. . #5 Ralph – Now that Ralph’s tribe has a few no-brainer votes with Krista and Stephanie, there isn’t much he can mess up. Hopefully he remembers who to vote for better than he remembers his right from his left.
ralph . natalie
#6 Ralph – Ralph may have the idol, but that will only keep him safe for a short time after the merge.  Maybe his first step should be to figure out which way to turn when someone yells “left.” . #6 Natalie – Boston Rob is doing whatever he pleases right under Other Amber’s nose. Should she care? Honestly, probably not. If she ends up in the final three with Rob, she has plausible deniability.
bostonrob . ashley
#7 Boston Rob – Rob has shown he has mastered this game, but will his overconfidence get the best of him? . #7 Ashley – Applications are going to go through the roof now that Ashley is making the game look like a beach vacation. I’m thinking the next reward will be toenail polish and margaritas.
steve . sarita
#8 Steve – Perhaps Steve has been in retirement from the NFL for too long?  He needs to draw up some new plays; otherwise, he’s going to get sacked. . #8 Sarita – There’s no reason to fight with David over something as minor as who does the puzzles. Admit you made a mistake and let him dig his own grave.
julie . steve
#9 Julie Calling Krista and Stephanie “pawns in this game” shows how little Julie really knows about “Survivor.”  If one thing has held true for 21 prior seasons, it’s that anyone can be on the bottom one day, and on the top the next. . #9 Steve – What’s the deal, Steve? Why does everyone think you’re a physical liability? Are we missing something?
sarita . david
#10 Sarita – Sarita’s poor judgement, lack of leadership, and obvious temper with David mark a difficult uphill battle for her. . #10 David – Sash, ask yourself; would you have picked a fight over who did the puzzle? Would Todd Herzog? Would Parvati? Would Richard Hatch?
andrea . stephanie
#11 Andrea – Despite playing extremely well now, Andrea knows that when Phillip is your closest ally, trouble can’t be far away. . #11 Stephanie – I hope you stay forever, Stephanie. You’re adorable and hilarious. But, we both know you’re done unless a merge happens real soon.
stephanie . phillip
#12 Stephanie – Now that she’s flying solo, Stephanie has to divide and conquer.  I’m willing to bet the highlight of this season will be how, not when, she exits this game. . #12 Phillip – Phillip, you are entertaining to watch, but you must be a nightmare to take into account when it comes to strategy. Right now you and Matt are the only flaws in Rob’s game.
phillip . andrea
#13 Phillip – Phillip may be waiting for his opportunity to replace the king, but will his tribe send him to Redemption Island before he gets the chance? . #13 Andrea – I’m probably going out on a limb here putting Andrea behind Phillip, but Boston Rob has to be a little freaked out that Matt is hanging around. It might be time for a romantic rendezvous on Redemption Island.
matt . matt
Redemption Island Winner – Matt will continue his winning streak against Krista, but I have a feeling it won’t be easy.  I’m hopeful for another Rob-Stephanie gathering at Redemption Island. . Redemption Island Winner – Unless the challenge is having weak Tribal Council arguments, I can’t see Krista getting the best of Matt.

Any questions? Any comments? Our commenting system is down for the time being, but feel free to drop me a line on Twitter at @gordonholmes or chat with fellow “Survivor” fans at the “Survivor” Hall of Fame Facebook page.

‘Survivor’ Castaway Interview: Kristina Kell

March 17, 2011

The first Tribal Council of a new season is usually a pretty relaxed affair. Generally it’s a unanimous vote to get rid of the one person who doesn’t fit in.

Not this season.

After Federal Agent Phillip’s meltdown revealed Kristina Kell’s plan to get rid of “Survivor” Hall of Famer Boston Rob, the 46-year-old law student was never able to recover. She was able to hang around for a few more Tribal Councils, but couldn’t make inroads into Boston Rob’s solid alliance.

I spoke with Kristina the morning after she was eliminated from “Survivor: Redemption Island” to find out her thoughts on Boston Rob’s game play, who she’s rooting for now, and the truth about Secret Agent Man Phillip.

Gordon Holmes: I am so sorry.
Kristina Kell:
(Laughs) Not as sorry as I am, I can tell you.
Gordon: Every season I pick my favorite to go all the way, and every season they get eliminated. This season it was you. So, if you’re looking for someone to blame, blame me.
Kristina: Well, you have good taste. That’s all I have to say.
Gordon: That’s true, but it doesn’t help you much.
Kristina: It was tough, I went head-to-head with a four-time “Survivor” champion. He’s no slouch.
Gordon: Oh, Boston Rob is no champion.
Kristina: In a way he is. He got to the end of All-Stars in a very smart way. He plays well, really well. I think he’s a champion of sorts. The guy’s good.
Gordon: I’d agree with that. He seems to be playing on a different level than what’s left at Ometepe.
Kristina: Even watching last night’s episode, Ometepe’s level of play is really low. Take Andrea out of that mix because she has half a brain, but Natalie and Ashley and Grant, Rob looks really good compared to them  because they bring nothing to the table as far as the game goes. All they’re doing is laying around and following Rob. That’s what I was up against. Rob was helpful and Rob was great, but I knew what I was up against. I’ve studied the show. He was dangerous, and I wanted him out.

Gordon: Was there ever any chance that you could have gotten into that alliance and worked from the inside to get him, or were you shut out?
From day one I was kind of shut out.

Gordon: Is that why you felt the need to make that big move early on with the immunity idol?
I had an idol and I felt like I was targeted from the very beginning. I had 20 years on all of those girls, except for Fran, who I really related to. But Rob wouldn’t really look at me, or talk to me, or address me, or include me in anything from that first afternoon we got there. He was so tight with Grant and the girls right away. He wasn’t very nice to me at all. He didn’t want anything to do with me.
Gordon: What’s an example of him not being nice to you?
Kristina: He wouldn’t look me in the eye, he wouldn’t include me, he wouldn’t even speak to me. He didn’t have one conversation with me. And I tried talking to him and relating to him and he was not open to that with me at all. And it started from the second we got on that beach and I started looking through the stuff. He came over and he’s like, “I know what you’re doing.” And then he started helping me and we started looking for the idol together. And we couldn’t find it. And that was like the last conversation we had.
Gordon: Did you have any clue that he had found the idol the second time around?
Kristina: I knew somebody had a clue. I went up to them and I said, “There’s probably an idol in play.” Rob kind of made a gesture, he lunged forward and his arms went out and he said, “Somebody has an idol? How do you know?!” And at the time I remember thinking that was a strong reaction. But now when I look at it, it’s kind of the same thing your little kid does when you accuse him of taking two cookies instead of one. So, I had a feeling that he might have it, but I couldn’t prove it.

Gordon: If you had to explain Phillip to someone using just one of your Phillip experiences, what would that experience be?
I can’t think of just one thing, because everything that he said or did was ridiculous. There’s something wrong with him, I mean clinically wrong with him. He’s paranoid, he’s delusional. I’m kind of surprised he got on the show at all. I’ve never encountered a person that’s so loony in my entire life. The first night we were there he slithers next to me in the shelter and he puts his arm around my chest and he puts his head against my neck and like spoons me. I stiffened up like a cement slab. I got up and said I had to go to the bathroom, and went out into the rain and got completely wet just so I wouldn’t have to be next to him. And when I came back I went to the other side of the shelter because I didn’t want him next to me. There’s something really wrong with him.

Gordon: Alright, let’s do some word association. We’ll start with…Andrea.
Gordon: Phillip?
Kristina: Delusional.
Gordon: Natalie?
Kristina: Useless.
Gordon: Ashley?
Kristina: Princess.
Gordon: Phillip’s pink panties?
Kristina: (laughs) idiotic.
Gordon: And let’s finish this up with Boston Rob.
Kristina: Tactical.

Gordon: We didn’t get to see very much of you at Redemption Island last night. How’s Matt been holding up?
When I got to Redemption Island there was a rainstorm and everything I had was soaking wet. Matt was in that little hut. There’s about eight bamboo poles that Matt is sleeping on, hardly enough for one person. And I get there and Matt, who is the nicest guy you’d ever want to meet, sweet, kind, just a really good egg. And I’m wet, and I’m sad and Matt helps me peel off my wet clothes and he puts his arm around me and covers me with the blanket, leaving himself exposed. I had to compete against this guy, but at the same time I was so rooting for him. He took care of me.

Gordon: Sorry again for jinxing you.
(Laughs) I wish I’d had a better tribe. Playing against Boston Rob was unlucky. And the girls I was with and Grant, I include Grant in the group of girls, was a bummer because they were a bunch of Boston Rob followers without brains. It was really tough to play “Survivor,” a game I’ve waited a decade to play with a bunch of Rob zombies. It was really frustrating.
Gordon: I promise if they send you back I will pick someone else.
Kristina: (Laughs) No! I want you to pick me.
Gordon: I will jinx you and you will lose and I can’t have that on my head.

Any questions? Any comments? Our commenting system is down for the time being, but feel free to drop me a line on Twitter at @gordonholmes or chat with fellow “Survivor” fans at the “Survivor” Hall of Fame Facebook page.

‘Survivor: Redemption Island’ Recap: Moon Over Ometepe

March 16, 2011

Last Week: Ralph almost let the cat (er…immunity idol) out of the bag, Phillip’s pink panties and power play annoyed Boston Rob, and Kristina was sent on an all expenses-paid trip to Redemption Island. [Watch last week’s episode here.]

39 Days, 18 People, 1 “Survivor” Blog

Let’s take a look at the tribes as they currently stand…

The Ometepe Tribe (wearing orange)

Andrea – 21, Student
Ashley – 25, Nurse
Grant – 29, Yoga Instructor
Natalie – 19, Dancer
Phillip – 52, Technology Executive
Rob – 35, “Survivor” Hall of Famer

The Zapatera Tribe
(wearing purple)

David – 31, Defense Attorney
Julie – 50, Firefighter
Krista – 25, Pharmaceutical Rep
Mike – 31, Former Marine
Ralph – 45, Farmer
Sarita – 36, Visual Effects Producer
Stephanie – 26, Waitress
Steve – 51, Former NFL Player

Currently Residing on Redemption Island (wearing sadness)

Matt – 22, Pre-Med Student
Kristina – 46, Law Student

We kick things off with the Ometepians returning from Tribal Council.  Phillip asks Boston Rob to scoot over in the hut as they all cuddle up to go to sleep. Boston Rob is OK with this suggestion as long as Phillip has his underwear on. Phillip assures Rob that they are on, but that wouldn’t stop him.

Sorry, I had to go wash my brain out with soap.

The following morning, Rob is upset because he had to sleep with Phillip’s knee in his back. Well, he hopes it was his knee.

Rob realizes that everyone hates Phillip and that might be a reason to keep him around. Ahh…the old NaOnka strategy.

Over at Zapatera, Steve lets us know that his six-person alliance is super strong, but that he’d like to bring Krista and Stephanie on board. Not sure about that strategy, I can’t imagine either one of them wanting to be the seventh or eighth person on the totem pole heading into a merge. I’d assume they’d want to join Boston Rob’s Mouseketeers.

Invites for Redemption Island go out to both tribes. Zapatera sends Stephanie and Krista, while Ometepe sends Boston Rob and Grant. Apparently Stephanie wants to get word to Boston Rob that they’re ready to jump ship. Hey, I was right for once.

Watch Full Episodes:
‘Survivor’ ‘The Bachelor’ ‘Top Chef’ ‘Minute to Win It’

Redemption Island Challenge:
The players will race to collect Tetris-esque puzzle pieces. The first person to fit those pieces into a cube gets to stay on Redemption Island.

Matt gets his pieces to the podium first, Kristina is right behind him. During the puzzle portion, Matt asks Rob why he voted him out. Rob responds that it takes more than one person to vote someone out.

Asking questions during a challenge? Focus, Daniel-san.

Anywho, it didn’t matter. Matt was able to complete the puzzle first and send Kristina on her merry way.

Matt says he’d love to get back to Ometepe. Krista and Stephanie let Rob know that they’d like to jump to Ometepe too. Rob isn’t sure if he believes them. If only he had a former federal agent who could read minds for him.

Afterward, J-Pro tells Kristina that she has to burn her buff. She doesn’t want to, but is told she has to. She must know what those things go for on eBay.

Back at Ometepe beach, Andrea is frustrated that Natalie and Ashley don’t do much around camp. She’d rather vote out those two before Phillip. Then we’re treated to footage of the girls showering. That’s how you compete with “American Idol,” shower footage.

Phillip pitches Andrea the idea of teaming up with her if Matt can make it back into the game.

Speaking of which, Rob and Grant return from their stay on Redemption Island. Rob jokes with the tribe, originally saying Kristina won. Seriously, I bet that was a test to see how Andrea would react.

On the way back to Zapatera, Steph fills Krista in on her plan. She thinks their best bet is to keep winning challenges and then to join up with Rob after the merge. Makes sense, but any strategy that relies on winning challenges is troublesome. What if the challenge is Red Sox trivia or lie detecting?

Immunity Challenge Time: One person from each team will be a caller, the others will be blindfolded. The caller will have to lead the blindfolded members through a maze to collect bags of puzzle pieces. Once all four bags have been retrieved, the caller will use the pieces to solve a word puzzle. First tribe to unscramble the words wins immunity, coffee, and pastries.

Steve and Julie will sit out for Zapatera.

Stephanie will be the caller for Zapatera. Krista thinks she’ll be good at it because she’s so bossy. David is concerned because he thinks he’s better at puzzles.

Boston Rob is going to be the caller from Ometepe.

Not much to explain here. The highlight is easily Ralph freaking out when Stephanie is busy leading other people and then not knowing his left from his right when she starts telling him where to go.

Ometepe gets all of their bags first, but Boston Rob accidentally loses one of the pieces. Stephanie manages to take the lead by opening the bags faster than Rob. Rob eventually finds his lost piece and it looks like the two are pretty even.

During all of this, the Zapaterans are realizing that they should have let David do the puzzle.

Rob completes the puzzle first, winning immunity and goodies for his tribe.

Back at Ometepe, the tribe is enjoying their donuts. Phillip says he’ll trade half of a donut for a massage. For some reason nobody takes him up on it.

Grant and Rob find an immunity idol clue in the coffee. Rob swaps the clue with his original clue so Grant won’t know there ever was a first clue. Yeah, Rob’s on a different level than the rest of Ometepe right now.

Meanwhile, the Zapatera Six are discussing the afternoon’s challenge. Sarita defends picking Stephanie to be the caller because she doesn’t think David does well under pressure. David takes this the wrong way and throws a minor fit. David decides that he will be doing puzzles from now on. However, Sarita is still allowed to play with Lincoln Logs and Chutes and Ladders.

Politicking around the camp comes down to Krista vs. Stephanie. Although, Sarita lets us know that she wouldn’t mind if David goes home because she doesn’t trust lawyers. Well, you can’t argue with that logic.

Stephanie would like to see Steve go home because he doesn’t help around camp and he isn’t an athlete. Wait, NFL Steve isn’t an athlete?

That night at Tribal Council, Krista compares Zapatera to a Brady Bunch camping trip where they aren’t talking about strategy and have brought two step children along. Does that make Probst Alice?

Mike thinks the Zapatera Six have been playing the game, but Krista hasn’t been reaching out to any of them.

Krista then says the sub-alliances within the Brady Bunch are Steve and Mike, Julie and Steve, Sarita and Ralph, and the youngest one in curls.

Stephanie doesn’t think she should be booted over one challenge as she’s given her all in other challenges.

Voting Time: No votes are shown…boo…

Two votes for Steve, four votes for Krista…and the fifth person to be sent to Redemption Island is…Krista.

War Eagle, Krista. War Eagle.

Verdict: I’m thinking there’s a lot we didn’t see there as Stephanie seemed like the more disruptive of those two.

Kind of a down episode after last week’s Russell bombshell. But there are still half-dozen fascinating characters and Boston Rob is playing a really solid game.

Who’s Going to Win?
We’ve been giving David a lot of credit as a Fishbach/Cesternino-esque strategist, but his little snit with Sarita seemed really unnecessary. That, and he wasn’t outted in any of those sub-alliances. So, for right now I’m going to lean…toward…um…Julie?

Power Rankings Update: Apparently great minds think alike. Sash picked Matt to win, I picked Matt to win. Sash had Krista in spot 12, I had Krista in spot 12. The current score is now Team Sash 51, Team Gordon 47.

Any questions? Any comments? Our commenting system is down for the time being, but feel free to drop me a line on Twitter at @gordonholmes or chat with fellow “Survivor” fans at the XFINITY TV Facebook page.

Advertising’s Most Disgusting Mascots

March 16, 2011

I think we’ve probably discussed this before, but if we haven’t, I’d like to point out that I used to be “The Kid Who Puked” in elementary school. I wasn’t sick or anything, I just had a super weak stomach. The highlight of which was probably when I tossed my cookies from reading the word “Boogers” in a book. That’s right, reading the word was enough to send me sprinting for the bathroom.

Fun Fact: Before I became a whatever-the-crap-it-is-I-do-now (seriously, it seems to change every six months) I went to school for advertising.

Now, do I think my brief flirtation with a career selling goods and services qualifies me to be the ultimate decider on what works and what doesn’t? No. Does something like that ever stop me from speaking my mind? No. Am I a good judge of what turns my stomach? Yes. Do I answer too many of my own questions? Totally.

Anywho, here are my picks for the advertising mascots that have me wanting to relive my days in the bathroom stalls at Hanna Woods Elementary.


%d bloggers like this: