Archive for December, 2011

‘Survivor’ Hall of Fame Post Mortem

December 23, 2011

The “Survivor” off season is finally upon us. While for most people that means an extra hour free on Wednesday nights, for me it means a break from Power Rankings, episode recaps, and exit interviews. I hardly know what to do with myself.

(That’s totally not true, I’m going to get to work rescuing Princess Zelda.)

What multiplies that workload is when it’s “Survivor” Hall of Fame time. On top of the previously mentioned work you’ve got coordinating executive committee votes, managing the vote tabulation team, creating art, updating the Web site, and about a dozen other things.


‘Survivor: South Pacific’ Winner Interview – Sophie Clarke

December 19, 2011
'Survivor: South Pacific' (CBS)

'Survivor: South Pacific' (CBS)

I’m almost always wrong when it comes to predicting “Survivor,” but I had a hunch about Sophie Clarke pretty early on. She was nestled comfortably in the Upolu alliance. She had a hand in calling the shots without taking much of the heat.

And that was before she became an individual challenge force.

Her last challenge victory sent Hall of Famer Ozzy Lusth packing from the game for good and pretty much wrapped up the million-dollar check. I spoke with “Survivor’s” newest winner the morning after her victory and had a chance to find out how she intends to spend her new-found wealth, if the use of religion in the game went too far, and what it’s like to win one for the smart girls…

Gordon Holmes: Hey Sophie, anything interesting happen lately?
Sophie Clarke: Not much. I did, for the first time in my life, make some purchases out of the mini-bar this morning. I bought like a twelve-dollar Diet Pepsi and a can of Pringles.
Holmes: Wow, now I don’t have the means to purchase such lavish items…
Clarke: I was hungry, I looked at the mini-bar, and I said go for it. I didn’t go for the jumbo cashews though. They’re probably twenty dollars.
Holmes: I feel like you’re going to flitter away this million dollars by the end of the year.
Clarke: By the end of the year. I hear that’s what Fabio (Birza) did. That was his goal.
Holmes: It’s so weird. They teach you how to crack open a coconut. They teach you which leaves to avoid. But, they don’t teach you not to blow your money on expensive Diet Pepsi.
Clarke: Exactly, I need more millionaire friends to teach me the ways.

Holmes: There’s something I’ve been meaning to ask you based on our initial conversation in Samoa; do you still think “Survivor” is easy?
Clarke: Gosh no. Well, I feel like I may have had one of the easiest strategical paths, only because I was playing with no variable. I was playing with all of the people who were answering to God. I don’t want to sound like a pretentious brat now, but physically, emotionally it was the hardest thing I’d done in my life.
Holmes: Was it pretentious or condescending?
Clarke: Did you know that she (Whitney) was actually going to use the word “bitch.” But, she had to hold back a little bit.
Holmes: My goodness. She’s got that country-singer, girl-next-door thing going, she can’t run around calling people “condescending bitches.”
Clarke: Right, right.

Holmes: That did seem to get to you last night at the final five. You got a little emotional.  Was that more because you were worried you might be going home or did those words really get to you?
Clarke: I think it did hit close to home. You can’t fake that on Day 36. I mean, I was talking as much trash at Ozzy as he was talking at me. But at first when I was calling him out, I was doing it for the jury. I’d reached a point in the game where I had to show people that I was playing the game. They didn’t show it a lot, but in the last four or five Tribal Councils I got very vocal. So, at first it was for the jury’s sake. But then when he said it wasn’t him, it was the people coming to Redemption who were saying this, that really hit close to home because I felt like I’d made good bonds. Especially with Dawn and Whitney in particular. It was so nice to be on a tribe with women at the merge. I was stuck on a tribe with men and Edna. So, to hear that hit very close to home.

Holmes: Before the game you’d said that something that drives you crazy is smart girls who act dumb. Was it extra sweet for you to get to prove that a smart girl can win by acting smart?
Clarke: Ooo…you know, it was. I think I’ve gotten some flack from people calling me a Coach coattail rider. But I don’t think that’s true. I definitely think I acted smart. I think I was subtle. But yeah, it’s nice. I think it’s rare on “Survivor” as well.

Holmes: Last night when you hollered at Albert to help you with your tiles and then later yelled at him for getting in your way during the ropes course…I got this image in my head of you two as an old married couple…
Clarke: (Laughs) It got to that point! You see Keith and Whitney, look at the strong relationship they formed. I think in 39 days Albert and I went from the honeymoon phase, to the married phase,  to the I-want-to-rip-your-head-off-and-divorce-you phase. He was such a pain in challenges. He was terrible in challenges. Albert’s a nice guy, but the whole point was we had to beat Ozzy. It sucked that he wouldn’t bend down and get my tiles. I had about twelve tiles on the ground and that would’ve gotten me to the top. Albert’s thing is he thinks he’s fantastic but there are some challenges where he’s not fantastic. Same with schmoozing the jury. He still doesn’t understand why he didn’t win.
Holmes: Even in the pre-game interviews I remember thinking, “I like this guy, but I wouldn’t trust him in the game of ‘Survivor.’” And, it seemed like that kind of carried through the game. Everyone I’d talk to in exit interviews seemed to think that he was a schemer.
Clarke: I think Albert seems to be a great guy. He’s attractive, he’s well-spoken, but then you realize that Albert has a superficial take on the world as well. His logic was, “I gave Cochran a massage, there’s a jury vote.” Everything was black and white. He didn’t think about what does Cochran really want? Does Cochran really want to be sent out with a massage? I think that’s very telling about who Albert is. He’s too smooth.

Holmes: Religion was a real big deal this season. I wanted to ask you if this was something you believed in? Was it a means to an end to get further with your tribe?
Clarke: This whole religion thing was great for strategy. These people thought they were answering to God. All these people on my tribe answered to a higher power, so I recognized the strategical value in that. And I knew that promoting it was good. But I did feel icky about it. It was overboard. I really do think that Coach and Brandon and Albert were well meaning. They all led each other on and it was kind of this rolling ball of fury. But I was raised going to church and I think when people are in very vulnerable situations that praying can be very comforting. I think some of the praying we did was for strength and was appropriate.

Holmes: We do a word association here…
Clarke: I know, I actually have a word doc open here. I’m quickly glancing over it.
Holmes: Clarke! That goes against the purpose of this whole exercise!
Clarke: I don’t like that I only have one word!
Holmes: You can give me one word, several words, go off on a tangent, have a ball.
Clarke: OK, that’s much better.
Holmes: Let’s start with Coach.
Clarke: Coach is a well-intentioned, fourteen-year-old boy.
Holmes: Edna?
Clarke: Oh gosh…Edna has never watched “Survivor” in her life. I don’t know what else to say about her.
Holmes: Brandon?
Clarke: Brandon’s a sweetheart. He’s well-intentioned.
Holmes: Whitney?
Clarke: Whitney is biting. And that’s a compliment from me.
Holmes: Rick?
Clarke: Rick was on a camping vacation or something. Rick’s hard working.
Holmes: Cochran?
Clarke: (Laughs) I don’t know. Let’s say…annoying.
Holmes: Let’s finish with Ozzy.
Clarke: Ozzy’s like my male twin. He’s hard-headed…competitive.
Holmes: See, that was painless.
Clarke: I was stressed out about the word association.
Holmes: You are the third person in a row who has told me that. What is it about this process that is intimidating people and how do I make it worse?
Clarke: I think it’s because every week I read the exit interviews, and that’s the thing I love to read. I love to see people sum me up in one word. I take it very seriously. So, I want to give as many people as many compliments as I possibly can.
Holmes: Is it accurate to say that the word association has become the must-read exit interview for the “Survivor” cast?
Clarke: You know what? Screw Rob Cesternino’s podcast.
Holmes: Right?!
Clarke: Screw Stephen Fishbach’s blog. The word association is where it’s at.

Holmes: Agreed. Have you figured out yet what you’re going to buy me with the million?
Clarke: Well, I have a whole mini-bar here in L.A.
Holmes: I heard there’s a big thing of cashews with my name on it.
Clarke: Yes, I’ll bring you some cashews.
Holmes: Nice. If there’s any money left over is there anything you intend to buy for yourself?
Clarke: A medical education.
Holmes: Worthwhile. Any particular field?
Clarke: OB/GYN. I want to deliver babies. Bring a little happiness into this world.
Holmes: Awww…
Clarke: Aren’t I sweet?
Holmes: You are adorable.
Clarke: I don’t know what Whitney was thinking.

Holmes: What did you learn during your time in the game?
Clarke: I hate this question. How do I answer without sounding cliché?
Holmes: You can’t. Cliché away.
Clarke: I think you learn what your limits are and you learn how far they can be pushed. You’re just in such a vulnerable position. I don’t know, I hate this question.
Holmes: Too bad, I asked it.
Clarke: Why don’t you make up something really clichéd. Say whatever Ozzy said last night. Say I learned that when I fall down I can always get back up.

Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes

‘Survivor: South Pacific’ Finale Recap – A New Slayer in Town?

December 18, 2011
'Survivor: South Pacific' (CBS)

'Survivor: South Pacific' (CBS)

Last Episode: Edna was the most recent person to be booted from Ozzy’s pleasure palace, Albert and Sophie turned against each other, and God helped Brandon win immunity, then told him to give it away, then told Coach to vote him out.

39 Days, 18 People, 1 “Survivor” Blog

Here is the tribe as it currently stands…

The Te Tuna Tribe (wearing yellow)
Albert – 26, Baseball/Dating Coach
Coach – 39, Slayer of Dragons
Rick – 51, Rancher
Sophie – 22, Medical Student

Currently Residing on Redemption Island (wearing a chance to return to the game)
Brandon – 19, Oil Tanker Crewman
Ozzy – 30, “Survivor” Hall of Famer

Quick Aside: Before we get into this mess, I just want to point out a conversation Coach and I had before he headed back out into the Samoa wilderness…

Gordon Holmes: Will your experience as a “Survivor” Power Rankings player help you at all in the game?
Benjamin “Coach” Wade: Having been unable to slay the dragon that is Gordon Holmes in the past, I think it did give me an insight into the game itself. I really didn’t watch the game for the strategic value. But it allowed me to look at the game as a strategy and to figure out who’s going to be on the outs. So, I think that will definitely help me.
Holmes: So when you win, I get an assist, right?
Coach: I think you will be the power assist leader. I’ll have to give you at least half of the credit.

OK, now that that’s a part of the official record, let’s do this…

We start off at Te Tuna beach after Tribal Council. Albert claims that he didn’t know that Brandon was going home. This irks the Dragon Slayer as Albert is clearly lying. Coach doesn’t like it when people try to appear holier than thou.

Is there a joke necessary there, or can we move on?

Redemption Island Duel: Players will take a spot on a pole. The last person on the pole returns to the game. Nice and simple.

Both guys are trying different tactics. Brandon is clutching his entire body up against the pole while Ozzy is pushing off with his feet and pulling in with his arms.

Both guys wobble for a bit, but it’s clear that Brandon is having serious trouble.

Sure enough, Lil Hantz loses his grip and falls to the ground. Brandon’s out, Ozzy’s back in the game…again.

When it’s all said and done, Brandon lets us know that he’s going to hold his head up because he made peace with God.

Back at camp, Coach takes Ozzy aside for a little All-Star chit-chat. Coach tells Ozzy that he’ll give him an immunity idol if he wins the next challenge. Ozzy doesn’t buy this at all.

Another Quick Aside: I have to think that Coach is more interested in improving his name than actually winning. It’s not dishonorable to vote Ozzy out unless you’ve told him that you’re going to keep him around. “Take the best to the end” is a nice bumper sticker, but it’s not going to get you a million dollars.

Immunity Challenge Time: Players will use one hand to balance a platform and the other to stack tiles. The first person to stack their tiles up to a certain level wins immunity.

During the stacking process, Sophie lets us know that she has a book on making card houses. Well, that’s random.

We’re midway through and Ozzy, Coach, and Sophie are doing the best. However, Sophie’s book didn’t take into account having a finite amount of tiles as she runs out. Ozzy faces a similar problem.

Coach’s stack just wipes out.

During the process, Sophie tells Albert to drop his stack and come pick up her tiles. He refuses. So, she yells at him. That was awesome and hilarious. I love Sophie so much.

Probst lets them know that helping is against the rules and if they want to beat Ozzy they’ll have to do it themselves.

Ozzy and Coach are the two frontrunners now…but Ozzy wins it. Great challenge.

Back at camp, Coach and Albert decide they want Rick to go home next.

Ozzy tells us that his goal now is to turn all of the Upolutians against each other. He kicks this off by needling Albert about the rude way Sophie talked to him during the challenge.

Ozzy then tells Albert that Coach told him that he was going to take him to the end.

Albert confronts Coach about this and Coach does not give him a straight answer.

That night at Tribal Council, Coach lets everybody know that he’ll be playing his idol.

Sophie thinks she’s a threat to beat Ozzy because she’s won the most immunity challenges.

Rick thinks it’s smart for Ozzy to keep him around because he can’t win immunity. Sophie thinks that proves her point and they need to keep people around who can defeat Ozzy.

Coach thinks they’re still a family, but Ozzy outs him by saying he wanted to take Ozzy to the end of the game.

Sophie doesn’t care about that kind of stuff because Ozzy has never shown her respect. Ozzy thinks she’s a spoiled brat.

Sophie breaks down a bit because she feels like Ozzy has been making personal attacks toward her. She also worries that other people feel the same way about her.

Voting Time: Rick votes for Sophie, Ozzy votes for Sophie, and none of the other votes are shown.

Coach does not play the idol…dun dun dun.

One vote for Rick, one vote for Sophie, one vote for Rick, one vote for Sophie, and the sixteenth person voted out of “Survivor: South Pacific” and the eighth member of the jury is…Rick.

Ooo…Coach tries to bid Rick well on his journey, but Rick isn’t having any of it.

The next morning, Ozzy unveils his very clever plan; to win. Super smart.

Later, the All-Stars share another pow wow. Coach lets Ozzy know that he’s annoyed that Ozzy blew up their alliance. Ozzy tells Coach that the reason he did it was because he’s been screwed before when he’s put all of his cards into one basket.

Mixed metaphor aside, that’s a good point. It’s Parvati’s fault.

Coach seems to buy it and they continue to talk strategy. When they try to choose between Albert and Sophie, they decide to try to force a tie between the two. They want them to build a fire. Here’s hoping Sophie has a book on that, too.

Immunity Challenge Time: Players will race through a giant flower-shaped obstacle course. They’ll try to retrieve five bags of puzzle pieces. First person to get all five bags and put the pieces in the proper order wins immunity and a guaranteed spot at the final Tribal Council.

Ozzy jumps out to an early lead, but the other three aren’t too far behind him. As the bag gathering portion continues, Ozzy manages to extend his lead a bit and is the first person back with all five bags.

Albert keeps getting in Sophie’s way in a comical manner. Between this and her yelling at him in the last challenge, it’s fun to think of them as an old married couple.

Coach is next with all five bags, Sophie is right behind him.

All three are hard at work by the time Albert shows up with his fifth bag.

All of a sudden, Sophie starts tearing through the puzzle and wins it. The Upolu guys are downright giddy. Ozzy? Not so much.

Back at Te Tuna, Ozzy is pretty sure he’s done. In a comical bit, Ozzy is giving a testimonial while the Upolu crew is cheering. Apparently Coach has crowned Sophie the new Dragon Slayer.

Ozzy pitches Coach the idea of going toe-to-toe with Albert in a fire-building challenge. Coach doesn’t want to go for it because he gave his word to Albert. Ozzy pushes the “take the warriors to the end” button. Coach is conflicted…and kind of a moron if he goes for this.

That night at Tribal Council, Sophie is super psyched to have immunity. As she should be.

Ozzy thinks it was a million-dollar puzzle and it’s going to nag at him for the rest of his life. Or the next time he gets to play.

Coach thinks it’s devastating to think it’s your last day in the game.

Ozzy says that if Coach is a man of his word that he’ll tie the vote and go to the fire-making challenge.

Coach backpeddles a bit, saying that Sophie and Albert are also warriors and deserve to go to the end.

Albert thinks he’s good at making fire, but that Ozzy is the challenge king.

Voting Time: Albert votes for Ozzy, Ozzy votes for Albert, Sophie votes for Ozzy, and Coach’s vote will remain a secret.

One vote for Ozzy, one vote for Albert, one vote for Ozzy, and the seventeenth person voted out of “Survivor: South Pacific” and the final member of the jury is…Ozzy.

Fun Fact: Ozzy is the first person to ever be voted out of a season three times. And the first person to ever be applauded by a jury.

Later we meet up with the final three as they enjoy their 39th-day feast. Afterwards, Coach and Sophie discuss the final Tribal Council. They both think that Albert has been squirrelly and should be called out on it.

Albert disagrees, as he thinks he’s played the best game out of the three.

Coach thinks that he has now become the dragon. Wait, what? That must be conflicting…

That night at the Final Tribal Council, Ozzy shows up with Pippi Longstocking braids. Yes, seriously. Well, that or he’s trying to get a Wendy’s sponsorship.

Opening statements start off with Albert letting everyone know that “Survivor” is a social experiment and that he’s looking forward to answering all of the questions.

Sophie thinks she managed to outwit, outplay, and outlast her competition. She also spoke super quickly. She seems nervous.

Coach thinks he had an uphill battle because people viewed him as a joke of a character. But he learned from people and grew as a leader.

Ozzy bats lead off for the jury. He claims that the game isn’t decided yet, but nobody wants to vote for any of them. He lets Sophie know that she’s still a brat and that Albert didn’t do anything to be there. However, he gives Coach credit for coming in at a disadvantage as a returning player.

Coach says the he tried to play with honor, but there were crossroads where he had to go against his word. Brandon does not seem amused.

Jim goes next, he asks Albert why the other two people don’t deserve the money. He also says if Albert starts with a compliment that it will cost him his vote. Albert proves he wasn’t listening by telling Jim that he loves how he’s playing the game. Albert follows that up by saying he was the real leader of Upolu.

Dawn then asks Sophie why she made an alliance with Coach. Sophie says that she wishes she were a man, because men on “Survivor” can get two young girls to follow them anywhere. Sophie then says that Coach is the equivalent of a young girl.

BAHA! Sophie FTW!

Rick bats clean up. He calls out Coach for not playing with honor and dignity.

Coach doesn’t have a defense, he just apologizes.

Then Rick calls out Albert for using Brandon. Rick doesn’t even let Albert respond.

He finishes up by asking Sophie about her lies. She says that the lie she feels the worst about was the one that sent Rick home.

Brandon takes the mic (not literally), he calls Coach out on voting for him. Coach thanks Brandon for raising the bar as far as believing in God. Brandon says he is hurt, but he does forgive him.

Brandon then asks Albert how he feels about using God to get to the end. Albert says he’d never use God to get to the end and he thanks Brandon for bringing him closer to God.

Brandon asks Albert if he knew he was going home. Albert tries to dance around it, but Brandon won’t let him. Albert finally says he didn’t know.

Whitney brings the hurt by saying that Albert is sleazy. She thinks Coach used Christianity to manipulate his tribe. And, she thinks Sophie is the most condescending person she has ever met.

Sophie agrees with Whitney, and thinks that’s something she’ll need to work on.

Edna thinks manipulation is the key to “Survivor.” She thinks religion has always been used to manipulate people. She doesn’t think they should hold the manipulation against them because that’s what the game is all about.

Keith congratulates the players, then asks Coach why he didn’t use the idol. Coach says the one time he would have used it was during the merge.

Sophie then calls out the fact that the idol was found earlier in the game and that they staged the finding of the idol. Brandon is once again unamused. Ooo…

Cochran gets to go last; he admits that he has become a fan of Coach. He thinks it’s impressive the way everyone thought they were going to the end with Coach. But he doesn’t like the way Coach threw around the word “honor.” Coach apologizes for misleading people and that he wanted to play in an honorable manner but it became a big convoluted mess.

Good move, Coach.

Voting Time: Cochran votes for Coach, Dawn votes for Sophie, and the rest of the votes will have to wait till Probsty can get to Hollywood.

One vote for Coach, one vote for Sophie, one vote for Coach, one vote for Sophie, one vote for Coach, two votes for Sophie, and the winner of “Survivor: South Pacific” is…Sophie!

Verdict: A few episodes ago I wondered if a season that’s short on smart strategy and bold moves could still be good if it had enough strong characters. I’m now prepared to say that I think it can.

Cochran, Brandon, James, and Sophie were great new characters. Coach and Ozzy delivered as always. And I bet there was good stuff waiting from people we didn’t see much from like Dawn, Stacey, and Christine.

So in the end, I’m prepared to say it was a really good, but not great season.

Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes

‘Survivor’ Hall of Fame Inductee – Tom Westman

December 16, 2011
Tom Westman (CBS)

Tom Westman (CBS)

Fifty percent of the voting for the ‘Survivor’ Hall of Fame was based on the ballots of the Executive Voting Committee. This blue-ribbon panel consists of “Survivor” luminaries such as Host and Executive Producer Jeff Probst, Challenge Producer John Kirhoffer, Executive Producer David Burris, Producer Jesse Jensen, the “Survivor” Hall of Fame Class of 2010, members of the “Survivor” press corps, and XFINITY TV’s “Survivor” Guy Gordon Holmes.

The other fifty percent came from “Survivor” fans like you.

The “Survivor” Hall of Fame is proud to announce that “Survivor: Palau” Champion Tom Westman will join Cirie Fields and Ozzy Lusth in the Class of 2011.

We had a chance to speak with the newly crowned Hall of Famer to get his thoughts on his induction…

How does it feel to be honored by a vote made up of your “Survivor” peers, the ‘Survivor’ production crew, the press, and the fans?
Tom Westman: Truly honored to have even been chosen as an inductee to the “Survivor” Hall of Fame.  I have a lot of respect for some of the stand-out players in the game, and it is great to be considered in their company.  I am proud to be a part of a production that has continued to set the bar for quality and entertainment in the reality TV world.  One of the greatest compliments I have received came from a camera person who was not able to speak to us during the game, but connected once the final Tribal Council wrapped.  He said that after 10 seasons, and 160 players, he had not seen anyone enjoy the experience more than me.  I recognized how unique the situation was, and appreciated every moment.  The game is exceptional on so many levels, and it is why I continue to be hooked on it today.

My experience with fans of the show has always been a pleasure.  Every aspect of participating on “Survivor” has been positive. It has let me get to know some wonderful people.  Many fans point out that it is one of the few shows that they watch as a family.  This is true in my home as well.

What’ve you been up to since we last saw you on the show?
Westman: I retired from the FDNY in 2005 and entered the corporate world as a sales rep selling group benefits to corporations.  It was a radical change in life style, but one that I have enjoyed.

What are your thoughts on “Survivor: South Pacific”?
Westman: I have been watching the current season, and feel it is one of the better ones.  Interesting characters, great challenges, and plenty of drama.

What the Executive Voting Committee said about Tom…

“He was respected by his entire tribe who recognized his leadership abilities. Tom was a challenge dominator. His physical strength ensured several tribe and individual immunity victories, and he maintained integrity and loyalty to his alliance.” – Sandra Diaz-Twine – Winner of “Survivor: Pearl Islands” and “Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains” and 2010 “Survivor” Hall of Fame Inductee

“He’s an all-around great player; physically, socially, and strategically. Everyone loved Tom because he truly is a great guy and a fierce competitor.” – Winner of “Survivor: Redemption Island” and 2010 “Survivor” Hall of Fame Inductee

“Tom is the Bruce Willis of ‘Survivor’—only more handsome and courageous. The New York City firefighter’s leadership, strength, indomitability, and integrity earned him the admiration of his fans and fellow Palau competitors, who gave him a million dollars—and top billing.” – Drusilla Moorhouse – E! Online

“Until Boston Rob on ‘Redemption Island,’ Tom had the most dominating season in ‘Survivor’ history in Palau when you factor in physical, social, and strategic gameplay. He led his tribe to an undefeated ass-whupping of the Ulong tribe, then coasted post-merge to the win. How the hell was he not in the original Hall of Fame class? Who’s voting on these things anyway?” – Dalton Ross – Entertainment Weekly

Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes

‘Survivor: South Pacific’ Castaway Interview: Edna Ma

December 15, 2011
'Survivor: South Pacific' (CBS)

'Survivor: South Pacific' (CBS)

Quick Note: We’ve already inducted two members into the ‘Survivor’ Hall of Fame’s Class of 2011. Click here to find out who and come back Friday to meet the third member.

“Survivor” has a long history of people who have played “Under-the-Radar” games and managed to walk away with the million-dollar check. In many seasons Edna Ma could have snuck her way into the finals and been viewed as a winner when paired up with kooky Coach, brazen Brandon, or ambitious Albert

But this wasn’t that season.

The Upolu five stayed strong to their first-night alliance and rode it all the way to the end. Good news for them, bad news for Edna. I spoke with the doomed sixth person the morning after her elimination and found out where she thought she stood in the alliance, how she feels about the way religion is being tossed around, and why my “Survivor” word association is so darn intimidating…

Gordon Holmes: Last night was…uh…something. How do you feel about the way Upolu was using religion to justify their decisions?
Edna Ma: I find it was much more heavy-handed then I realized when I was inside the game. I mean, obviously there was a lot of praying in the game when I was present, but I didn’t realize that there was all this other praying that was going on when they were by themselves. I think that when you’re in the game of “Survivor” there’s not really much you can hang onto except for your spiritual thoughts. But, that being said, historically in the thousands of years of humankind, religion has been used to control people and their behavior – for good and bad reasons. But, it’s not an uncommon tool that people have used.
Holmes: Do you consider yourself to be religious?
Ma: I’d consider myself to be more spiritual than religious.
Holmes: Did it bother you to see things like Coach praying for an idol that was in his pocket?
Ma: It was very disappointing to see Coach praying for an idol that was in his pocket. And then to see that he said something like he prayed three times and each time God gave him the same name. Wasn’t he saying Brandon’s name before he started praying? It seems so hypocritical in that instance.

Holmes: What was your relationship with Coach like? Obviously you two got along before the merge, but did he continue to be someone you trusted?
Ma: He’s very much a coach. His name is very much how he is. He was trying to coach Brandon on how not to be so disruptive and he got along very well with Sophie and Albert because they all played sports and Albert was a coach himself. I think later on after the merge my relationship with him became a little more unpredictable. It wasn’t as strong. That’s why I refused to believe I was sixth in the alliance.

Holmes: You were criticized for seeming to be OK with being on the bottom of the Upolu totem pole. Was that how you saw your standing during the game?
Ma: The game of “Survivor” is very dynamic. Everything changes on an hourly basis. So, I didn’t think people would be holding onto that first-day, five-person alliance when it was day thirty. And I actually thought they’d be a little more fluid.
Holmes: Once it was out in the open that you were the next to go, were there any cracks that you could have tried to manipulate?
Ma: I knew that my leverage in the game would be obliterated once Cochran was gone. So, I did my best to try to save him and try to engage Albert and Coach in a vote to save him. I knew if we saved Cochran that I’d have more control over the game. And Cochran really made a big sacrifice. I tried to get people to evaluate what their plan was after I was gone. It was going to be an Upolu implosion. It was very frustrating to get people to try to think differently.

Holmes: Now, this is a family site, but I wanted to discuss a point in the game where you’d promised to eat Coach’s…fecal matter if things didn’t go your way.
Ma: (Laughs) I think that was technically blurred, so that could have been Coach’s toenail or something like that.
Holmes: OK, good. I just wanted to make sure you weren’t forced to live up to that.
Ma: Of course not. Most verbal contracts in the game of “Survivor” cannot be enforced.

Holmes: I know you’re an accomplished inventor with your BareEase & Cream and Numb Nuts numbing creams and your sweet Tree Mail hat. Were there any other “Survivor” innovations you were responsible for during your time in the game?
Ma: I sewed up Albert’s trousers which he broke during the weights challenge. He was walking around with his pants open…um…it was not a family show. But I helped fix his trousers with some fishing line.

Holmes: Alright, we do a word association here…
Ma: I’m familiar.
Holmes: Excellent!
Ma: I’ve been anticipating it. But, I do have a question for you…
Holmes: Shoot.
Ma: I have been omitted for the last two weeks.
Holmes: What?! Oh…that’s embarrassing. But know going forward that you’ll totally be included in the finale interviews.
Ma: (laughs) I just wanted to tease you a little bit.
Holmes: God told me to leave you out. Alright, let’s start with Sophie.
Ma: Sophie is a very confident individual.
Holmes: Rick?
Ma: He’s a bit of a mystery. It was hard to engage with him regarding the game. If it didn’t involve his ranch I didn’t know what to talk to him about.
Holmes: Cochran?
Ma: Cochran is very endearing.
Holmes: Ozzy?
Ma: Free spirited.
Holmes: Brandon?
Ma: God fearing.
Holmes: Albert?
Ma: A paper tiger. Idle.

Holmes: Now if I remember correctly; getting on “Survivor” wasn’t your first goal.  
Ma: Getting on “Survivor” was an accident. I’m friends with Mick Trimming (“Survivor: Samoa”), he and I took residency together and I was trying to inquire on how to get on “Shark Tank” so I could bring more awareness to my business. And he suggested that there was a final casting for “Survivor.” I figured I’d try it out, what’s the worst thing that could happen? I could get cast on “Survivor.” And that’s exactly what happened!
Holmes: What was it like to end up with this totally different experience?
Ma: I think I surprised myself and my entire family when I got as far as I did. I thought it’d be smooth sailing once you get to the merge because usually after the merge you keep the people who are physically less threatening. What I did learn is that you can’t control everything around you and you can’t control the actions of an individual or the system. But I also did learn that I’m capable of more things if I just put my mind to it.

Holmes: Thanks for your time; I can’t wait to see how you do on the jury this Sunday.
Ma: This interview was actually not so painful. I was afraid of yours actually.
Holmes: Really? Why?
Ma: The word association.
Holmes: Understood. I’m very intimidating.

Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes

‘Survivor: South Pacific’ Recap – The Dragon Slayer Works in Mysterious Ways

December 14, 2011
'Survivor: South Pacific' (CBS)

'Survivor: South Pacific' (CBS)

Quick Note: We’ve already inducted two members into the ‘Survivor’ Hall of Fame’s Class of 2011. Click here to find out who and come back Friday to meet the third member.

Last Week: Cochran didn’t last long on the hot seat, Coach proved he’s the chairman of Upolu, and Edna was voted out, even after she’d promised to eat stool.

39 Days, 18 People, 1 “Survivor” Blog

Here is the tribe as it currently stands…

The Te Tuna Tribe (wearing yellow)
Albert – 26, Baseball/Dating Coach
Brandon – 19, Oil Tanker Crewman
Coach – 39, Slayer of Dragons
Rick – 51, Rancher
Sophie – 22, Medical Student

Currently Residing on Redemption Island (with next to nothing to talk about)
Edna – 35, Anesthesiologist
Ozzy – 30, Challenge Destroyer

We get things underway with the Team Te Tuna returning from Tribal Council. Coach is proud that his five were able to stay together and now are free to backstab each other with honor and integrity.

Albert then drops a bomb by letting us know that getting rid of Sophie is next on his “To Do” list. Wha-what?! SoPhail! Benedict Albert!

The following morning, Albert explains his plan, saying that Sophie is too dangerous to take to the end. Well…he has a point.

Later, he meets up with Rick and lets him know that they’re still going to the end together. Wha-what?! Albert thinks his best bet is to go to the end with Rick and Coach.

Redemption Island Duel: Players will race to complete a slide puzzle. Once the puzzle is completed it will release an axe. They’ll use the axe to retrieve puzzle pieces. First person to complete that puzzle stays in the game.

The duel gets underway and Ozzy is quick to solve the first puzzle. Albert and the other Upolutians start shouting instructions to Edna. It works as she’s able to release her axe.

The help from the peanut gallery continues, but it isn’t enough to give Edna the victory. Ozzy completes the puzzle first and stays in the game.

Back at camp, Sophie and Coach discuss how dangerous Ozzy is. She pitches the idea of sending Brandon to Redemption Island to square off against him.

Later, Albert lets Coach know about his desire to get rid of Sophie. Coach writes this off as Albert being intimidated because Sophie is smarter than him. Oh, then that explains why I’m so intimidated by Sophie.

Fun Fact: Albert is sporting a new buff fashion; he’s wearing it in his pocket like it’s a handkerchief.

During the conversation, Brandon comes over and says he’s nervous because they’re talking without him. Coach plays this off well by telling him not to act like Russell. Ooo…familial burn!

Sure enough, being compared to Russell hurts Brandon’s feelings. Brandon needs a hug to feel better about things. That works? Um…Mikayla hurt my feelings.

Immunity Challenge Time: The players will use a rope to scale a wall and retrieve bags of puzzle pieces. Once they have all five bags, they’ll have to match up pairs of pieces. Then, they’ll take the pieces that don’t have matches and run back up the wall. Once on top, they’ll use the pieces to unlock a combination. First player to unlock their combination wins immunity and pizza.

Rick jumps out to a slight lead, getting all his bags first, but Lil Hantz and Coach are a close second and third.

Brandon completes the pairing portion first, but Coach is right behind him. However, by the time Coach gets to the top it’s too late as Brandon has the right combination. Brandon wins immunity and reward.

Brandon is given the opportunity to share his reward and chooses Rick.

Quick Aside: I kind of like how they have to enjoy the reward in front of the rest of the tribe.

Back at camp, South Pacific Pizza shows up and delivers dinner for Brickdon. They aren’t allowed to share the food, but Sophie doesn’t mind as long as she can smell it. When she’s done smelling, Rick spills the beans that Albert wants to take him to the end.

Brandon hears this and his truth Spidey sense goes ballistic. He confronts Albert about this and all Hades breaks loose. A four-way fight starts up between Coach’s kids. When the dust settles it doesn’t look good for Albert.

Albert approaches Brandon and tries to win back his trust. Apparently this works. Brandon even offers to give Albert his immunity necklace to keep him safe. Wha-what?!

Brandon brings this idea to the Dragon Slayer. Lil Hantz thinks this is a great move because he knows Coach will never vote for him.

Another Quick Aside: Say what you will about Brandon, but I believe that he believes everything he…believes.

Coach then makes the distinction that God told Brandon to give up the idol. And that God told Coach to pray about what he should do. Ohhh…and I thought praying to find an idol you already had in your pocket was shady.

In other news; God is busy dealing with wars, poverty, etc…

That night at Tribal Council, Brandon wastes about half a second before handing his necklace over to Albert.

Somewhere Erik Reichenbach is having déjà vu.

Brandon then tells Probst that he’s willing to lie down on the sword for Albert.

Coach then clarifies that God told Brandon to give his necklace to Albert. God’s social game is soooo good.

Brandon goes on to explain that he has been crazy (or “loco”) loyal to his friends and he considers Coach and Albert to be his best friends.

Albert thinks their bond is real and that’s why he broke his bonds with Rick and Sophie.

Probst has some fun with Albert and asks if he’d be willing to give the necklace back. Albert says he would if he thought Brandon was in trouble.

Brandon admits that he doesn’t feel completely safe. Albert again says that he thinks Brandon will be fine.

Coach says he’s at peace with the evening’s vote because he prayed about it.

Oh man…

Voting Time: Rick votes for Brandon, Brandon votes for Sophie, Albert votes for Sophie, Sophie votes for Brandon, and the Slayer’s vote is super secret…

One vote for Brandon, one vote for Sophie, one vote for Brandon, one vote for Sophie, and the fifteenth person to make a trip to Redemption Island is…Brandon.

Oh man!

As Brandon is leaving, Coach hugs him and says, “It’s God’s will, go win Redemption.”

Verdict: Just…wow. As in wow.

I can’t wait until this jury gets to tear them apart.

Who’s Going to Win: Still Sophie.

Power Rankings Update: And in the final Power Rankings of the season; Andrea Boehlke had Brandon in spot three while I had him in spot four. However, she had Ozzy winning at Redemption while I had Edna. So, she gets four points and I get four points. The final score is Team Boehlke 156, Team Holmes 156.

A tie?! Do we draw rocks now?

(And a special shout out to @SherriErwin and @the_timgilmore for doing better than both Andrea and myself this week.)

Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes

‘Survivor’ Hall of Fame Inductee – Ozzy Lusth

December 14, 2011
Ozzy Lusth (CBS)

Ozzy Lusth (CBS)

Fifty percent of the voting for the ‘Survivor’ Hall of Fame was based on the ballots of the Executive Voting Committee. This blue-ribbon panel consists of “Survivor” luminaries such as Host and Executive Producer Jeff Probst, Challenge Producer John Kirhoffer, Executive Producer David Burris, Producer Jesse Jensen, the “Survivor” Hall of Fame Class of 2010, members of the “Survivor” press corps, and XFINITY TV’s “Survivor” Guy Gordon Holmes.

The other fifty percent came from “Survivor” fans like you.

The “Survivor” Hall of Fame is proud to announce that Ozzy Lusth will join Cirie Fields in the Class of 2011. Ozzy received the most executive committee votes out of any nominee.

We had a chance to speak with the newly crowned Hall of Famer to get his thoughts on his induction…

How does it feel to be honored by a vote made up of your “Survivor” peers, the ‘Survivor’ production crew, the press, and the fans?
Ozzy Lusth: Well, it feels like I just woke up from a dream where I could fly, shoot energy balls, become invisible, talk to water creatures, control the weather, and brew a damn good beer; hey at least I can actually do one of them! Seriously, THANKS!!! To all the people that watched me live a dream, it’s been a great journey! I hope to continue to inspire people to follow their hearts and imaginations.

What the Executive Voting Committee said about Ozzy…

“The most physical player to ever play this game is Ozzy. You have to give him credit for that. He is the number one most physical player to ever play the game by far.” – Russell Hantz – 2010 “Survivor” Hall of Fame Inductee

“Genetically bred to play the game from a physical perspective, we now must add to his list of accomplishments a heightened understanding of his own strengths and weaknesses, that is self-awareness — which led directly to the brash, risky, and well-considered strategic moves of this season.” – David Burris – “Survivor” Executive Producer

“Probably the most accomplished performer in challenges we have ever seen on the show. He is a power house both in and out of the water but also has a calm, focused way about him that keeps his mind clear to also dominate in the problem-solving and puzzle elements of the challenges. – Jesse Jensen – “Survivor” Producer

“The blissed-out beach bum deserves a spot in the record books for schooling his competitors in challenges and making tree monkeys seem clumsy.” – Drusilla Moorhouse – E! Online

“If anyone was ever born to be left to his own devices on an island, it’s Ozzy. The guy is the absolute epitome of the living off the land conceit that “Survivor” is all about.” – Dalton Ross – Entertainment Weekly

Be sure to check back Friday to meet the final member of the “Survivor” Hall of Fame Class of 2011.

Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes

‘Survivor: South Pacific’ Power Rankings – Week 12

December 13, 2011
'Survivor: South Pacific' (CBS)

'Survivor: South Pacific' (CBS)

The Rules: Each week our two combatants 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 Albert is voted out this week, Andrea will receive 4 points and Gordon will receive 3 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: South Pacific” Power Rankings Challenge Champion.

Last Week: Andrea picked it again last week. Both players had Edna going home. However, Andrea had Ozzy winning at Redemption Island while Gordon chose Cochran. The current score is tied; Team Boehlke 152, Team Holmes 152.

Wanna Play? Tag Gordon (@gordonholmes) in your own Twitter Power Rankings. If you do better than Gordon does, (like @SherriErwin, @the_timgilmore, and @JohnSActon did last week) he’ll give you 25 “Survivor” Points*.

* “Survivor” Points have no cash value and cannot be redeemed for anything, ever.

teamboehlke . TEAMHOLMES
Current Score: 152 Got any advice for Andrea? Drop her a line on Twitter.
. Current Score: 152 Got any advice for Gordon? Drop him a line on Twitter.
#1 Coach: And then there were five! Not just any five.  The CRABS alliance has prevailed and Coach appears to be a lock for the finals. So far nobody has brought up targeting him, he seems to have everyone buying into the ‘loyalty’ gig, and he also has an idol. Although I give him props for keeping his CRABS intact, I’m very curious to see who he thinks he can beat in the end. . #1 Coach: When I interviewed Coach before the season started, I told him I didn’t want to interview him again until after the finale. It looks like he has accomplished that feat. There’s no way he’s going home next unless he does it Ozzy-style with an idol in his pocket. But speaking of Ozzy; why would Coach make him a final-three promise? To sway Ozzy’s vote if he doesn’t make it back from Redemption? Seems risky.
#2 Sophie: Sophie has done great this season and has been a consistent Power Rankings Goddess. She seems to be pretty aware of her surroundings and may just slip into that Final 3. I have been a Sophie fan the entire season, so I’d be satisfied if Sophie was the ‘winner, winner, chicken dinner.’ . #2 Sophie: So, if Cochran is to be believed; Albert keeps coming up with ways to shake up the game, and Sophie keeps shooting them down. I think when it’s all said and done, Sophie’s going to be remembered as the silent manipulator of this game. And if she can get to the end, she can win if she convinces people she wasn’t a coattail rider.
BRANDON . albert
#3 Brandon: At this point, I can’t see anyone on the jury voting for Brandon—I actually don’t see a scenario where he could win. Who wouldn’t want to bring him to the Final 3? His FTC speech would be epic; I’d bring him there just to see what he pulls out. . #3 Albert: I have to admit, I have this Ozzy-to-the-finals thing stuck in my head. Is Coach determined to take the best to the end? Does that mean staying loyal to Sobert? Is he willing to cast Brickdon aside and incur the wrath of Lil’ Hantz on the jury? Well, let it never be said that the Dragon Slayer is dull.
albert . BRANDON
#4 Albert: As much as a SAC final three would make my day/season, I don’t know that anyone would want to bring Albert to the finals over Brandon/Coach/Rick. However, Albert is smart and aware and he also could go on an immunity run. . #4 Brandon: In any other season, Brandon would have been a shoo-in to make the finals. But who knows what’s going to happen with Coach getting all noble. However, you do have to admit that Brandon as a jury member would be five-star hilarious.
#5 Rick: All we have gotten from Rick this season are a few comments about Prince Albert and a butt grab, so I’m not really sure how to rank him anymore. My instinct is telling me that his days are numbered. Maybe he will have a break out episode and we will hear him talk, maybe even yell? I don’t know if I could handle that, I might faint. . #5 Rick: What does it say about someone when their biggest move all season is groping their own wife? Oh well, at least he was entertaining…for once. Good luck at Redemption where you’re sure to face…Edna?
Redemption Island Pick – Ozzy: I have faith in Ozzy. I would personally rather have a Final 6 of the COBRAS than the BRACES. Let’s be real. . Redemption Island Pick – Edna: Um…did last week’s preview really show Edna winning? That can’t be right, can it? Editing tricks? Hollywood magic? (Man, if I lose this season by one point…)

‘Survivor’ Hall of Fame Inductee – Cirie Fields

December 12, 2011
Cirie Fields (CBS)

Cirie Fields (CBS)

Fifty percent of the voting for the ‘Survivor’ Hall of Fame was based on the ballots of the Executive Voting Committee. This blue-ribbon panel consists of “Survivor” luminaries such as Host and Executive Producer Jeff Probst, Challenge Producer John Kirhoffer, Executive Producer David Burris, Producer Jesse Jensen, the “Survivor” Hall of Fame Class of 2010, members of the “Survivor” press corps, and XFINITY TV’s “Survivor” Guy Gordon Holmes.

The other fifty percent came from “Survivor” fans like you.

Who are the other inductees? Visit the ‘Survivor’ Hall of Fame to find out!

The “Survivor” Hall of Fame is proud to induct Cirie Fields into the Class of 2011. Cirie received the most fan votes out of any nominee.

We had a chance to speak with the newly crowned Hall of Famer to get her thoughts on this honor…

How does it feel to be honored by a vote made up of your “Survivor” peers, the ‘Survivor’ production crew, the press, and the fans?
Being a fan of the show since the days of Richard Hatch, when I was first chosen to be on “Survivor” I was in total disbelief. To think that of the hundreds of thousands of people who apply I was the one selected. The whole experience was surreal. But now to be voted into the Hall of Fame is more than unbelievable. My whole “Survivor” experience was amazing, the places I got to see, to be able to play the game that I enjoy and more importantly, to meet the greatest people ever, both on the show and behind the scenes. Everyone was so gracious and inviting, making my entire experience the adventure of a lifetime and for that I’m truly grateful. But now, to be selected by the fans, the crew and the press is more than I can fathom. I have been humbled by the entire experience and coming from the “girl on the couch” who thought she could play this game I am so very grateful to everyone. This was the opportunity of a lifetime for me and the friends and fans will be in my heart always. Thanks to everyone.

What’ve you been up to since we last saw you?
Right after “Heroes vs. Villains” I went to Japan with other “Survivor” alumni to support the troops. I also auditioned for a role on a talk show. Just being considered for something like that boggles my mind and eases the pain of not getting it. Since then I’ve been working and spending time with my wonderful family and watching my three boys grow into three handsome young men (where did the time go?). Now I’ve thrusted myself into furthering my career as an operating room nurse coordinator.

Are you enjoying “Survivor: South Pacific”?
Well, I can’t help but envy the notion of Redemption Island, and watching a player like Cochran who’s really bright, hilariously funny, and physically inept. I can see myself in him so I was really rooting for him. Ozzy, what can I say? He’s still amazing, I think after the show wraps up he’ll probably stay another few weeks just for the hell of it and who’s better suited? Brandon leaves me questioning my own faith and his sanity at times. I see Coach in a different light now. He has transformed from the quirky Dragon Slayer to a savvy ruler and tribesman slayer. You go, boy! I love all the new challenges, but, I always love them from the couch and not so much on the beach as a participant. Great season! I can’t wait to see who will be the sole survivor.

What the fans said about Cirie…

“One of the best players to never win, easy.” – Christian

“One of the best strategic players ever.”– Hawk_941

“Biggest transformation any contestant has ever had.” – Jonathan

“Cirie has an almost magical ability to just tell people something and make them believe it, no matter how ludicrous.” – James

“The perfect combination of personality and strategy. She should have won in Panama and Fans vs. Favs.” – Brian D.

What the Executive Voting Committee said about Cirie…
“Her asset is her disarming smile and her ability to make you forget that she is your opponent. She also deserves a spot in the Hall of Fame because she epitomizes the person who got up off the couch to live their adventure and that’s what the show is all about.” – Jeff Probst – “Survivor” Executive Producer and Host

“She played a great strategic and social game all three times. She is super smart and definitely someone that is a threat every time. Cirie is someone you would want in your alliance and not outside of it.” – “Boston” Rob Mariano – Winner of “Survivor: Redemption Island” and 2010 “Survivor” Hall of Fame Inductee

“What’s incredible about Cirie is how far she came from when she first started on “Exile Island.” The woman was afraid of the outdoors for crissakes! But she evolved into a stone cold killer who would have won “Fans vs. Favorites” had there not been so many injuries to other players (causing producers to abort the original final-three plan).” – Dalton Ross – Entertainment Weekly

Be sure to check back Wednesday and Friday to see the rest of the members of the “Survivor” Hall of Fame Class of 2011.

Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes

‘Survivor’ Hall of Fame Ballot – XFINITY TV’s Gordon Holmes

December 12, 2011

Gordon Holmes (XFINITY TV)

Gordon Holmes (XFINITY TV)

As the Senior Chairman of the Executive Voting Committee, Gordon Holmes has an awesome responsibility. His vote (along with Host Jeff Probst, Challenge Producer John Kirhoffer and other “Survivor” luminaries) will make up 50% of the final tally for entry into the prestigious ‘Survivor’ Hall of Fame. The other 50% came from “Survivor” fans like you.

Note: Fan voting for the “Survivor” Hall of Fame Class of 2011 has closed.

Gordon Holmes is an Assistant Managing Producer at Comcast and the lead “Survivor” know-it-all for XFINITY TV. He’s been hooked on “Survivor” from the moment he first saw Jeff Probst kick sixteen strangers off a boat and into the sea back in May of 2000. Gordon has visited the set of “Survivor” on three separate occasions (“Gabon,” “Nicaragua,” and “South Pacific”) and boasts a respectable 2-1 immunity challenge record. His biggest regret in life is not purchasing the Medallion of Power when it was available on eBay.

Gordon Holmes’s 2011 “Survivor” Hall of Fame Ballot

Why has “Survivor” survived?

My theory? It’s because it follows the same template the circus does…there’s something for everybody. If you don’t like the jugglers or the clowns, maybe you’ll like the lion tamer or the acrobats.

“Survivor” is the same way. If you’re not interested in challenge machines or exotic locales, maybe you’ll like the hot people in skimpy swimwear or the strategists.

That’s probably why some people get frustrated with Hall of Fame voting. We didn’t say vote for the most charismatic player or the best challenge performer or the best schemer. We just said vote for who you think is worthy.

Here’s who I think is worthy…

Rob Cesternino – (“Survivor: The Amazon” and “Survivor: All Stars”): Rob Cesternino was one of my picks for “Survivor” Mount Rushmore back in 2008 and he will stay on my ballot until he is a member of the “Survivor” Hall of Fame. I credit Rob with changing what had become a very boring game. Before Rob played, Survivors would stick with their alliances after the merge. It led to some very boring episodes while we waited for the lower-numbered tribe to be eliminated. Rob’s strategy of whittling down your alliance to stay off of the chopping block revolutionized the way the game is played. Sadly, the last two seasons have reverted back to the stick-to-your-tribe ways. We need to get a new Cesternino in there.

Jon “Jonny Fairplay” Dalton – (“Survivor: Pearl Islands” and “Survivor: Fans vs. Favorites”): I’ll put Fairplay in the same boat with Cesternino. They both changed the game and will stay on my ballot until they’re inducted. Jonny Fairplay changed the game with his infamous “Grandmother” lie. Not only did it set the precedent that you couldn’t believe anything people said about their lives back home (and Jim Rice had some fun with that this season.) But, it also removed the ceiling (floor?) for what is considered an unforgivable lie. Think about it; the public didn’t bat an eyelash when Russell Hantz said he was a fireman during Katrina who’d lost his dog.

Rudy Boesch – (“Survivor: Borneo” and “Survivor: All Stars”): Now that I’ve voted for the “Survivor” innovators who aren’t in the Hall, I’m ready to move on to the “Survivor” icons. First on that list for me is Mr. Rudy Boesch. The former Navy SEAL was one of reality TV’s first characters back before the idea of a real person being a character on a reality show even existed. His bizarre, heartwarming relationship with Richard Hatch helped turn the show into a ratings juggernaut and his face (along with Hatch, Rupert Boneham, and Jerri Manthey) is one of the first many think of when they hear the word “Survivor.” That, and he’s in the “Survivor” slot machine, which is awesome.

Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes

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