Archive for February, 2013

‘Survivor’ Castaway Hope: ‘Shamar Was Sherri’s Puppet’

February 28, 2013

Hope Driskill (CBS)

Quick Note: We’re going to be bringing you all kinds of “Survivor” fun this season including episode recaps, exit interviews, and Power Rankings with Michael Skupin. Be sure to follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute news and info.

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Let’s take a look at the list of reasons why people are early targets in the game of “Survivor.”

Always arguing?
Not helping around camp?
Spilling their alliance’s plans?

All of those things apply to “Survivor’s” newest problem child, Shamar. And yet he’s safely by Sherri’s side while Hope was sent to hang out with her buddy Allie.

I spoke with Hope the morning after her elimination and had a chance to ask her about the Sherri/Shamar alliance, why she didn’t take the offer to flip, and why Reynold held on to his idol…

Gordon Holmes: I’m very bummed to see you go. We don’t get nearly enough Missouri girls on “Survivor.”
Driskill: I know! I’m so bummed that I didn’t last longer. It’s hard to watch your torch get snuffed.
Holmes: And your name is so good for puns. The fans are Hopeless, Hope is lost. The one everyone missed? The fans have Driskilled their chances.
Driskill: (Laughs) I know, and I was waiting to see the #keephopealive trend start going.

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Holmes: So, last night Shamar was trying to get you to vote for Eddie. Why didn’t you make that move?
Driskill:  The entire day had been filled with everyone running around, talking, panicking… There were so many trust issues going on. Everyone was talking and strategizing with everybody else. And I was sitting there in the water and I was looking at Shamar and I honestly didn’t know if I could trust him. I didn’t know if he was telling me the truth. Or, if he was telling me something that his alliance had told him to tell me. I know that he didn’t really like me. But at the same time, there was something in his voice that made me think he was telling the truth. He hates Eddie enough to do this. So, I went back and told the tribe what he had said in hopes of maybe getting them to see that he was untrustworthy and potentially vote him out.
Holmes: Before the challenge, Shamar had talked about quitting, but Sherri talked him into sticking around in case you lost the challenge. After the challenge, was there any more talk of Shamar just quitting at Tribal?
Driskill: I’ll just say this about Shamar…he really didn’t want to be there. He was just making everyone miserable. He said that himself, that was his strategy to make life miserable. He for sure did that. My whole logic on this was, “Let’s put him out of his misery. He doesn’t want to be here. Let’s send him home.”
Holmes: Whoa…hold the phone here, Hope. You’re trying to tell me that Shamar was making people miserable? Cause I talked to Allie last week and she seemed to adore him.
Driskill: (Laughs) Oh, he was so much fun to be around. It was great.

Holmes: Sherri has taken Shamar under her wing as her Phillip. Was it obvious to you guys that that was her plan?
Driskill: Shamar was Sherri’s puppet. It was obvious to me while we were out there. There were so many interviews…which you probably didn’t see of me…but Shamar was her puppet. He was doing every single thing that she was telling him to do. And she was loving it. She was living it up. She’d get him rice and water, and let’s make Shamar comfortable. It was so irritating to watch. That played in to why I didn’t switch my vote and vote for Eddie. I knew that Shamar was completely being played by Sherri and that fed into the lack of trust that I had for him.
Holmes: You, Reynold, and Eddie had been on the outs for a few days. But do people like Matt, Michael, Julia, and Laura appreciate what’s going on? Does the Sherri/Shamar alliance concern them at all?
Driskill: I think. The day I got voted out, I do think that it was a little concerning to them because we’re all there for the same reason, to win. So, in the back of your mind you can’t really trust anyone. I think they all knew that Sherri was extremely strategic. And if she’s using Shamar like this, she’s going to keep him around as long as possible.

Holmes: Was getting the tribe to turn on Shamar the only angle you guys were working before Tribal?
Driskill: They didn’t show how much of a huge panic we were all in. Everyone was pulling people to the side. There was so much talking going on. Just thinking about it is stressful for me. There was a lot of talk very early on about Laura and her performance in the last challenge. So, we all thought at first, let’s talk to Matt and Michael and get Laura out. She’s not helping in the challenges and we need to start winning.
Holmes: Don’t be stressed out, this is a safe place.
Driskill: (Laughs) I’m safe now.

Holmes: Being down six to three, you couldn’t really use the idol to defend against a split vote. Was there any talk of trading the idol straight up for safety for your alliance?
Driskill: There really wasn’t. We had our hands full with talk of them trying to flush the idol. And all of the talk of them splitting the vote, it just made Reynold nervous. So, he kept the idol to himself knowing he’d need it later. And I don’t blame him at all for that.

Holmes: Alright, let’s do some word association. We’ll start with Allie.
Driskill: Friendship.
Holmes: Eddie?
Driskill: Clown.
Holmes: Did you say “Frown”?
Driskill: (Laughs) Clown! Like a class clown.
Holmes: OK, I had to be sure because I messed up last week. Allie said “Hero” and I thought she had said “Virile.”
Driskill: She told me about that, we were laughing.
Holmes: He’s both, but that’s not my call to make.
Driskill: (Laughs)
Holmes: Sherri?
Driskill: Strategizer.
Holmes: Laura?
Driskill: Swimmer.
Holmes: Julia?
Driskill: This is bad…but I think of puss blisters.
Holmes: That is bad. Michael?
Driskill: Jokester.
Holmes: Shamar?
Driskill: (Laughs) Sleepy.
Holmes: Let’s finish with Reynold.
Driskill: Actor.

Holmes: You were out there for nine days, which in “Survivor” isn’t a long time, but for the real world, nine days in that situation is a big deal. Did that time change you at all?
Driskill: I went on “Survivor” because it was something that was so out of my comfort zone. And I like to keep life exciting. I didn’t last as long as I wanted to, but I was out there for a decent amount of time. I did get to sleep in the rain and experience dehydration and all of the hardships. And I think that after the show I’m proud that I did it and it’s made me appreciate a lot of things in my life. It’s opened my eyes that I don’t need as many materialistic things as I thought I did.

Holmes: Alright, this is probably the most important question…
Driskill: (Laughs) There’s no telling what this could be!
Holmes: It’s a tough one. How hard was it to be away from Cardinals baseball during your time out there?
Driskill: (Laughs)
Holmes: That seems like a nightmare.
Driskill: It was a nightmare and I was nervous about that. But, it was so far from my mind. All I thought was, “We need to boil the water.”
Holmes: So it goes water, food, shelter, baseball?
Driskill: It was water, shelter, baseball, then sunburn.

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

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‘Survivor: Caramoan’ Episode Recap: La Cage Aux Fans

February 27, 2013

'Survivor: Caramoan' (CBS)

Quick Note: We’re going to be bringing you all kinds of “Survivor” fun this season including episode recaps, exit interviews, and Power Rankings with Michael Skupin. Be sure to follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute news and info.

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Last Week: Brandon was tempted to release his inner Russell, but he fortunately didn’t indulge, Phillip broadcast his alliance’s code names, which is info you probably shouldn’t divulge, and Reynold didn’t save Allie, even after Laura pointed out his bulge.

39 Days, 20 People, 1 “Survivor” Blog

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

The Bikal Tribe (wearing purple)
Andrea – Entertainment Host and Writer, 23
Brandon – Chemical Disposal, 21
Brenda – Paddleboard Company Owner, 30
Cochran – Harvard Law Student, 25
Corinne – Pharmaceutical Sales, 33
Dawn – English Professor/Power Rankings Champ, 42
Erik – Comic Book Artist, 27
Malcolm – Bartender, 25
Phillip – Chief Executive Officer of Enter Software Sales, 54

The Gota Tribe (wearing orange)
Eddie – Firefighter/EMT, 23
Hope – Recent Graduate of the University of Missouri, 23
Julia – Racecar Driver/Student, 21
Laura – Administrative Officer, 23
Matt – Brand Manager of Two BMX Brands, 38
Michael – Event Planner, 44
Reynold – Sales, 30
Shamar – Iraq War Veteran, 27
Sherri – Fast Food Franchisee, 41

The evening’s festivities kick off with harmony and smiles after Gota’s first Tribal Council. Just kidding, Reynold, Eddie, and Shamar get into yet another shouting match. Shamar then branches out and starts yelling at members of his own alliance. He’s versatile.

The next morning, Sherri practically begs Shamar to chill out. He claims he isn’t bothering anybody. Ha! He’s making Brandon Hantz look like Mr. Rogers.

Over at Bikal (BIKAL!), Phillip is getting his exercise on. He tells us that back home he plays basketball with people twice as tall as he is. Whoa! That’d be like playing one on one with Spud Webb on Yao Ming’s shoulders.

Later, Malcolm and Corinne go on an idol hunt. Sure enough, Malcolm finds it. Remember how impressed we were when Russell found the idol without a clue? I’m starting to think they just put 40 out there and then remove the other 39 once one is found.

Unfortunately for the lucky duo, Andrea doesn’t like how intensely Corinne and Malcolm seem to be in their private conversations. She seems more interested in keeping Brandon than Corinne. Really? This makes my heart hurt. It’s like watching my children fight.

Brandon’s excited that someone is throwing him a lifeline. But if they’re lying to him, he’ll get his revengeance by peeing on everything. I still say “The Urinator” is a sweet Stealth R Us Too nickname.

Back at Gota, Shamar tells everyone that he isn’t happy being the angry black man on “Survivor” and he’s OK being voted off next. Ooof…somewhere Allie just threw a potted plant at her television.

Sherri convinces him to stick around so that they won’t be down two people if they lose the immunity challenge. He says he’ll stay and fight. Reynold is very annoyed that Shamar looks like a hero for holding off on quitting for a few days.

Immunity Challenge Time: Both tribes will race out into the water to a bamboo cage. They’ll climb the cage, drop back into the water, and release a chest. They’ll then have to drag the chest back to shore. From there they’ll use grappling rings to drag sections of track together. The first team to push their chest down the track and to the finish line wins chairs, a tarp, pillows, blankets, and immunity.

Before the challenge starts, Michael tries to get a low five from Shamar, but Shamar isn’t having it. Can’t leave a tribemate hanging there.

The favorites jump out to a lead as Laura was having trouble backstroking to the cage. However, the fans catch up and are the first to untie the cage and start moving their chest.

It’s just about dead even by the time they get their chests onto the track. But the faves do some fancy ring tossin’ and track pullin’ and manage to score the win.

That challenge was awesome, the grappling section was super tense. Kudos to John Kirhoffer and the challenge team.

During the post-game wrap-up, Shamar snaps again. He’s awfully upset for someone who’s getting his wish of getting to go home.

Laura’s worried that she’s in trouble because of how poorly she performed. So, she decides to throw some hatred Hope’s way in an effort to take heat off of herself. Smart. She takes this plan to Matt and Sherri, and they all decide to split the vote in case the idol is played.

Sherri’s worried that Shamar might fudge the plan up. Sure enough, he does. He goes to Hope and tries to give her a hint as to what’s going on. He wants her to vote for Eddie so she can stick around. This is why Boston Rob would wait until right before Tribal Council to tell his Phillip what the plan was.

Then some crew member named Julia notices that Shamar is screwing things up. That’s weird. Usually the crew is invisible.

Anywho, Laura is not pleased with Shamar and goes to Reynold with the idea of getting rid of him. Man, none of the votes have been dull this season.

That night at Tribal Council, Shamar tells JPro that he thinks he’s misunderstood and people are making up lies about him.

Apparently Shamar told Reynold not to talk to him anymore. Wouldn’t the world be amazing if you could just Facebook block people who annoy you in real life?

Hope then admits that Shamar said her number was up and that she should turn on her alliance. Shamar disagrees saying that he said it wasn’t for sure that she was going home.

Matt thinks Shamar gets aggravated easily and that water is wet and the sky is blue.

Julia the boom mic operator doesn’t appreciate Shamar yelling at her. Jeez, she has a job to do, Shamar.

Sherri says she’s known lots of Shamars and once you cross them, you’re done. Shamar agrees.

Eddie thinks there’s a target on his back because Shamar’s been gunning for him. Apparently, Eddie’s on the “No Talk” list too.

Voting Time: Eddie votes for Shamar, Shamar votes for Eddie, and the rest of the votes go to the bottom of urn.

Jeff tallies and returns. We’ve got one vote for Shamar, one vote for Hope, one vote for Shamar, one vote for Hope, one vote for Shamar, one vote for Hope, two votes for Eddie, and…a third vote for Eddie.

Three-way tie! Make ‘em wrestle!

Voting Time Part Deux: No votes are shown.

Fun Fact: Even though Probst had to tally twice, he only gets paid once.

Alright, we’ve got one vote for Shamar, three votes for Hope, and the third person to be voted out of “Survivor: Caramoan – Fans vs. Favorites” is…Hope.

It’s official, the fans are Hopeless.

Verdict: This Shamar thing is rough. He’s a nice guy, I just think the game is getting the better of him. Honestly, it’s very similar to how I felt about Brandon before “South Pacific.” Anywho, the fans are a mess. And, if they go down in numbers to the merge or the tribe swap they’re done for.

Although, the faves might be mixing things up in places where mixing it up isn’t totally necessary. Is Andrea over-thinking things? We shall see.

At any rate, this season is off to a hot start.

Who’s Going to Win? Is Erik still in the game? I don’t remember seeing him. If he’s still around, he’s my pick.

Power Rankings Results: Michael had Hope in spot thirteen, I had her in spot seventeen. That brings our current score to Team Skupin: 21, Team Lighting Punch: 36

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

‘Survivor: Caramoan’ Power Rankings: Round Two

February 26, 2013

'Survivor: Caramoan' (CBS)

Quick Note: We’re going to be bringing you all kinds of “Survivor” fun this season including episode recaps, exit interviews, and Power Rankings with Michael Skupin. Be sure to follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute news and info.

The Rules: Each week Michael and Gordon 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 Cochran is voted out this week, Michael will receive 4 points and Gordon will receive 7 points. The person with the most points at the end of the season will be crowned the ‘Survivor: Caramoan’ Power Rankings champion!

Last Week: Michael Skupin’s first attempt at the Power Rankings didn’t go well. But at least nobody got hurt. He had Allie in spot eight while I had her in spot nineteen. The current score is now Team Skupin 8, Team Holmes 19.

Before we kick off this week’s rankings, let’s check in with our competitors…

Gordon Holmes: So, the fans had a rough run of it last week.
Michael Skupin: Fans, fans, fans…haven’t you been watching the show? Didn’t you develop a pre-game strategy? You tried to vote off your strongest player (Shamar) but ended up voting off potentially your strongest female and maybe the only strong swimmer (Allie, high school nationals) in a water challenge season. You have to “win” challenges to keep your torch lit, but you knew that…right?
Holmes: You guys pulled off that “Put the swimmer in the water” strategy nicely with RC last season.
Skupin: If you have a swimmer that went to nationals in high school and it’s a water challenge, please consider putting her in the water…wait, too late. They severely weakened their tribe last Tribal Council.

Holmes: Alright, how are you feeling about the favorites?
Skupin: There’s a pink elephant in the room; where is the hidden immunity idol? There are only a few trees on that island. Did they learn nothing at Russell Hantz’s idol finding school?
Holmes: Idol finding seems to be taking a backseat to nickname assigning.
Skupin: Well in case you’re wondering, I refuse to use any of Phillip’s nicknames in any of my Power Rankings.

Set Your DVR to Record ‘Survivor: Caramoan – Fans vs Favorites”

Michael’s Current Score: 8

Any advice for Michael? Drop him a line on Twitter: @mikeskupin

Gordon’s Current Score: 19

Any advice for Gordon? Drop him a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes

 1. Sherri: I flat out love her game.  She’s there to play and she’s there to win. Her returning-player-like strategies and view of this game shot her right to the top of my Power Rankings. In Boston Rob-type fashion, she’s not only leading the fans’ alliance, she’s built a powerful sub-alliance with Shamar (note that she was the only one smiling as Shamar tried to “shut-up” the camp). Other than Allie, she seems to be the only fan that truly understands this game. If the fans can somehow get it together in challenges, she will be a serious factor in the outcome of this game.
 1. Malcolm: I would trade all of the San Miguel beer in the Caramoan Islands to know exactly what was going through Malcolm’s mind when Phillip was introducing his Stealth R Us Too codename to the camera. It had to be some mix of “Yes! Phillip’s the leader and that’ll take heat off of me,” and “Oh crap, America’s going to see this.” Anywho, my boy is super safe this week.
 2. Brenda: She’s quietly playing as everyone’s friend. She did not forget how to play this game, but this 2.0 version of hers is very, very impressive so far.
 2. Andrea: So, Andrea got the second most votes at Tribal Council, yet Dawn immediately took the heat off of her back at camp. Was that intentional? Probably not. But, I’m sure Andrea appreciated it. Now she just has to sit back and let Phillip draw all of the attention for Stealth R Us Too’s moves. Best of all, after her moves in the first week, she’s probably the person Phillip trusts the most.
 3. Malcolm: He’s carrying a lot of firewood and has the respect of his tribe. They keep putting him into the “go to” spot in challenges which is a double-edged sword. We know his game, they don’t. I still can’t help but wonder how the short break in games will take a toll on him physically and emotionally.  3. Corinne: What I said about reading Malcolm’s mind? Make that double for Corinne. There had to be a few choice four-letter words buzzing around her brain. But, kudos to her for keeping those words to herself and playing along. Stealth R Us Too is ruling the roost at Bikal beach and there’s no reason to rock the boat.

  4. Corinne: More brilliance from the queen of curls. No reason to start playing too early and she understands that. She’s wanted to come back for a long time and appears focused on end game as much as anyone out there.
 4. Cochran: There really isn’t much of a reason to swap around the top seven people in my rankings. They aren’t going anywhere. But, Cochran gets a bump this week because he seems to be the best bet to keep Brandon in check. Even though Brandon’s days are numbered, he can make life difficult for them in immunity challenges if he wants to.

  5. Dawn: Dawn fell from the top spot because I was surprised that she allowed Brandon to drive her to tears. As a veteran she’s well aware that emotions run high, keeping them in check is a necessity (unless you’re Lisa Whelchel). I still have a ton of faith in the mother of six and believe her resolve will toughen like rhino skin before it’s too late.
 5. Erik:  Erik’s in a weird place right now, but he was smart to try to stay neutral during Brandon’s meltdown. Even when it was just the two of them he was going out of his way to not encourage or discourage him. If he can find a way to stick around until the merge or the tribe swap (which we all know is coming) he could get a new lease on life.
 6. Matt: I totally underestimated his game. It may have been his looks, maybe the edit, maybe the outburst against Shamar on day one but it appears he has an excellent handle on things. He’s smarter than the average bear (not that I’m comparing him to a bear, but he does have a lot of hair). As the only fan that appears to have alliances on both sides, if he can keep his game in stealth mode, he may be able to avoid hanging out with Franny and Allie.
 6. Phillip: OK, if you don’t want people to think you’re in charge, don’t call yourself the CEO. And send me an application for the company that brings entry level people in at middle management. And, just so you think I’m not picking on Phillip, he’s to be commended for nailing that clutch shot at the immunity challenge.
 7. Cochran: After realizing he can’t take the burn title away from me, he started to get smart and stay out of the sun. There are so many disruptive personalities out there on the favorites tribe, all he has to do is sit back in the most famous sweater-vest since David Cassidy and continue to strengthen his alliance with Dawn.
  7. Dawn: I’m thinking there was a lot more to the Brandon/Dawn discussion last week, because what we saw didn’t seem to warrant her reaction. Either way, it really doesn’t matter. Dawn’s safe and sound for the time being and the proud owner of a sweet new nickname.
 8. Michael: If watching people implode or eat each other alive is a good strategy, then Michael gets the gold star this week. Up from 13 last week, he’s showing a strategic side that I didn’t see before.  It’s still hard to determine if he’s Matt’s Phillip or Matt is his Phillip.
 8. Sherri: Sherri is hands down the fan who’s showing the most fire. She’s also playing a very dangerous game. But fortunately for her, it’s one with a very easy-to-use escape hatch. She can try to keep Shamar along as her Phillip, but if the heat of being his defender gets to be too much, she can always send him packing.
 9. Erik: Soooooo good in challenges that they have to keep him. If he can hold his trump cards and stops verbalizing his disdain for Phillip we’ll get to see him compete many more times.
 9. Michael: In the tribe where the fans are being loud and making rash moves, Michael stands out for his quiet strategy. Solidifying his alliance with Matt is super smart. They have a ton of options and will be the most fluid if they end up together if there’s a tribe swap.
 10. Andrea: As I said last week, a non-stop strategist. I believe she understands this game as well as any of them. If the favorites lose a challenge and her name doesn’t come up again, she’ll have adjusted beautifully.   10. Matt: So, from what I understand, you were almost a part of the cool kids alliance. That’s interesting. My only worry for you is that if you’re targeting Shamar, Sherri might start targeting you. Your best strategy is to just stand back and let the people that are in trouble continue to make bad moves.
 11. Phillip: Dropped a few spots this week because although entertaining and an attempt to stay necessary…it’s already raising eyebrows. Sadly, over-the-top attempts at humor, strategy, idol-hunting and gameplay usually end with a parting gift – your favorite meal on the south end of Tribal Council.
  11. Julia: Whaaaaaat happened out on the platform? Usually “Survivor” does a good job of assigning blame when someone isn’t doing well in a challenge, but I’m still in the dark as to what happened last week. Other than that, there isn’t much to say about Julia except I’m hoping her sunburned face doesn’t cause her too much trouble.
 12. Laura: Although it appears it was more than Laura who spotted the bulge (Sherri), and although it appears Probst had to literally beat it out of her at Tribal Council, she did glance in his direction.  And even though she was unwilling to “out” rump-loving Reynold, Probst seized the moment to call out her glance at him and she is now credited with “brilliant” gameplay.  She’s this far down in the rankings because I’m thinking a one-on-one with Reynold could have put her in the driver’s seat where even the racecar driver Julie can’t seem to get into. Also, as you stated…how would Reynold playing the idol have messed up your plan to get rid of Allie? Anyway, we all loved your tweet “I always notice a bulge,” take note, guys.
  12. Laura: I’m really torn on Laura at this point. She brings up Reynold’s idol at Tribal but doesn’t go the whole nine yards and call him out specifically. I don’t understand that move. If Probst doesn’t connect the dots, is it still a secret?
 13. Hope: Her good looks as a strategy might be fading as fast as hairless armpits out there. She’s still in an obvious two-person alliance (coined “showmance” on reality TV) and not a physical threat. I sure “hope” (pun-intended) that she can do puzzles.
  13. Reynold: Normally I wouldn’t have all of Gota’s challenge stars this far down, but something has to give in this tribe. You can’t have people screaming at each other on a day-to-day basis. Shamar and the cool kids are all on the chopping block this week.
 14. Reynold: Awesome!!! You found an idol without a clue! I don’t mean you don’t have a clue, I mean there wasn’t a clue to the missing idol…or maybe I did mean it. 🙂 You must understand it’s power, my friend.  We can tell there was no surprise in your alliance at Tribal Council when you Abi-esquely flashed the idol. That means you told your alliance that you had it. Maybe you should have taken a lesson from Malcolm in saving that moment for when you needed it. As if you weren’t a threat before, potentially being the ringleader in a three-person alliance with Hope and Eddie, now you’re a bigger target. Pulling it together during challenges may be your only hope from elimination.   14. Eddie: In a season where it seems like the faves tribe has a definitive strength advantage, you’d think Eddie would be super safe until the merge. But, Hurricane Shamar is shaking everything up.
 15. Shamar: The largest human to ever play “Survivor” is struggling. The calories are just not available (I was there) and although I’m 6’3”, 220, I’m a whole teenager smaller than him. We’ve seen the “game” affect many players throughout the years…self-coined “boo-boo the fool” may be affected the most. He’s definitely playing the villain (too bad Abi’s not there to hit him in the head with a coconut).  Maybe he is playing a better Phillip than Phillip did. Being Sherri’s “Phillip” is not an awful position to be in. If you want to win brother, pull in the reins just a bit.   15. Brenda: She’s trying. She’s trying so hard. Go back and watch last week’s episode and you’ll see her dancing with Phillip. You only dance with Phillip if you’re trying out for a junior internship with Stealth R Us Too. I think her best bet right now is a Bikal winning streak or a complete Brandon meltdown. Speaking of which…
 16. Eddie: Claims Shamar spent 19 of 24 hours in the shelter…and I thought Lisa slept a lot. 🙂 I also was wondering if he’s that good with a sun-dial.  I wonder if he has the game smarts to possibly join the “other” alliance and stay alive until the merge where he can breathe new life or will he stay committed to the now underdogs at the CKLTA. In any case, he needs to make a move.   16. Brandon: Part of me wants to see Brandon flip out on Bikal. If only because “The Urinator” is a solid Stealth R Us Too nickname.
 17. Julia: Making a run for most-sunburned out there, I can see a game inside of her but she doesn’t appear to be playing it. As a race-car driver, she would have never made it through casting if they didn’t see that fire also. This game can sneak up on you and you could be at the wrong end of Probst’s torch snuffer if you don’t make a move pretty soon.   17. Hope: Here’s what I see playing out if the attack on the cool kids continues. Option one has Reynold playing his idol and the others splitting their votes. That leaves us with a three-three-three tie and Hope going home in a re-vote because Eddie and Reynold are too valuable. Option two is pretty much the same, except Reynold holds on to his idol.
 18. Brandon: Brandon sees “Survivor” as a game, not a life-changing seven-figure opportunity. As one of the youngest to ever play, Probst said he changed…I’m not seeing it. In Pete Yurkowski fashion (and Pete should get another shot), he’s pushing hard in a game when the enemy hasn’t arrived yet. I’ve enjoyed the entertainment he’s always brought.
  18. Shamar:  Before the season started, Shamar said his goal was to get people to quit the game. This plan is flawed. People aren’t going to quit because you’re annoying them, they’re just going to vote you out. And Sherri is obviously super sharp, but even she has to realize that keeping her Phillip around is a risky strategy when your Phillip is picking fights every five minutes. At least the actual Phillip was doing stuff.

Chris Jericho: ‘Robot Combat League’ Is ‘Real Steel’ Without any CGI

February 26, 2013

Chris Jericho (Syfy)

The Bad News? Robots are eventually going to take over the world and destroy humanity in a scene similar to the James Cameron classic “Terminator.”

The Good News? WWE Superstar/rock god Chris Jericho will be our guide as we witness this sure to be awesome apocalypse on Syfy’s new “Robot Combat League.”

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I spoke to the man who can add “Host of Armageddon” to his lengthy list of accomplishments in the days leading up to the premiere. I had a chance to ask him about coming face-to-fender with these mechanical monsters and how he personally changed the face of the “Star Wars” franchise…

Watch the Premiere of “Robot Combat League”

Gordon Holmes: So, basically any kid who’s ever banged his Transformers figures together is going to love this show, right?
Chris Jericho: Yes. When I heard about it, it seemed like a cool idea, but how cool could it really be? I was expecting the robots to be really slow. I remember I even asked the producer, “What are these fights going to be like? Are they going to be any good?” And then I saw the robots and the first time I was in that battle pit and one of the robots came out walking towards me, if it hadn’t stopped in front of me I would have turned around and ran away.
Holmes: That’s not good for your image as a tough guy.
Jericho: It isn’t. It’s very intimidating. Eight-foot-tall very thick-based, very sturdily built.  It reminded me of the “Terminator” where the robots are walking over the skulls of the humans. That’s what these look like to me. And then the fights started and I couldn’t believe how fast they moved, how hard they punched, and how smooth it all was. You didn’t need to doctor it up at all. This was like the movie “Real Steel” without any CGI.

Watch the Premiere of “Robot Combat League”:

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Holmes: As a kid I knew we’d have fighting robots someday. It’s nice that they’ve finally arrived.
Jericho: It was interesting to me that all of these things that were predicted in the ’60s, from cell phones to Skype, to talking computers. Now we have robots that punch so hard, and there’s 2000 PSIs per punch, these robots could actually kill you. So, now that we’ve invented robots that can kill humans, in fifteen years when they take over the world you’re going to know that you saw it on Syfy first.
Holmes: So, the upcoming robot apocalypse that we’ve all been dreading is going to be your fault?
Jericho: Yeah. I’m hoping when they do take over the planet that they’ll keep me in a cage as their little pet because I was nice to them from the start.
Holmes: It’s going to be the exact opposite. When the humans send someone to the past to take care of this, you’re going to be the person they target.
Jericho: Right? Even though I didn’t invent the robots, I’m the person…I’m like the pimp. I’m the robot pimp. So, if I didn’t exist, the show wouldn’t be as good as it was, people wouldn’t flock to it as much and the robots wouldn’t have a chance to take over.
Holmes: I hope you’re able to make peace with that responsibility. It’s going to be rough.
Jericho: It will be rough. But, you guys are on your own because I’m with the robots now.

Holmes: One of the cool parts about the show is they literally hook up an athlete with the controls, so when they’re punching, the robot is punching. I know you had to have hooked yourself up to a robot at some point, am I right?
Jericho: You are. And it was very interesting to me, it was a lot like if you were snowboarding or skating where at first it feels very alien of foreign, and then as you start to work with it it becomes one with you. It’s an extension of your body.

Holmes: Of the eight robots, do you have a favorite?
Jericho: I like Scorpio. That was my favorite because it has blades on its fists. Each robot has a different character, a different look, a different name. And this robot in particular got a reputation because it could cut you in two basically. And it did cut one of the robot commandos right in half with this sawblade punch to the midsection. It caused it to break in two. We never expected that. One of the robots got decapitated. You can’t plan for stuff like that. It was just a fight and whatever happened happened. And as the contestants learned the pros and cons of each fighters, the fights got more and more entertaining all the way to the final round.
Holmes: I liked that each robot had their own strengths and weaknesses. I found myself trying to figure out my own strategies on how to take them down instead of just being like, “Swing for the head.”
Jericho: They all had their own identities. I’m thinking you can make action figures, video games, I’ve got this whole thing planned out for the next ten years.  The first day I showed up George Lucas was on set because one of his daughters was one of the contestants. And I asked him, “Isn’t this cool for you? This idea that you came up with is now true? Moving robots that can fight and kill you?”
Holmes: Did Lucas give you any insight on the new “Star Wars” movies?
Jericho: I think he sold it three days later. So, he actually asked me if I thought he should sell it. I consulted with him on it.
Holmes: And you were all for it?
Jericho: Absolutely. I said, “George, it’s time to step back and enjoy your retirement. Take it easy. Hand the reigns over to somebody else.”
Holmes: You made that man a lot of money.
Jericho: I did. So not only did I start the robot rebellion that kills the human race, I also made George Lucas a lot of money. Put that on my epitaph.
Holmes: This show hasn’t even premiered yet and you’re already changing lives with it.
Jericho: Exactly.

Holmes: I do the “Survivor” coverage here for XFINITY TV, which is a personality-based reality show. I wasn’t expecting that from “Robot Combat League.” But here we are with the potential for relationships between these teams of people who are working together.
Jericho: On these teams we have very intelligent people who have experience in science and robotics, there’s literally a rocket scientist. They were the ones that controlled the movement of the robot, and when they got the crap kicked out of them, they were the ones who went down between rounds and would try to repair the issues with the robots. Then we have the robojocks, they were the athletes who would control the fighting movements. We had MMA fighters and Olympic athletes and personal trainers. We took these people and put them together. They’d never met before (with a few exceptions). And then they had to control these robots and get along personally. And you saw some personality clashes.  That’s the other side of the coin that’s very entertaining. It’s not just about the robots. It’s the perfect mix of machinery and humanity. To see how the teams would gel and bond was incredible.

Holmes: Here’s my pitch for the Robot Combat League commissioner.
Jericho: Alright.
Holmes: It’s the end of the tournament, we’ve crowned our Robot League champion. And who does the new champ have to square off against, but a robot piloted by Y2J himself, Chris Jericho.
Jericho: The funny thing is I’m actually a robot now. I’ve turned over to the dark side.
Holmes: I feel like I’ve learned a lot this morning.
Jericho: (Laughs)

Don’t miss “Robot Combat League,” Tuesday, February 26, 2013 at 10 p.m. ET.

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

‘Survivor’ Castaway Allie: ‘I Never Hooked Up with Reynold’

February 21, 2013

Allie Pohevitz (CBS)

Quick Note: We’re going to be bringing you all kinds of “Survivor” fun this season including episode recaps, exit interviews, and Power Rankings with Michael Skupin. Be sure to follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute news and info.

Watch Full Episodes of “Survivor: Caramoan – Fans vs. Favorites”

Allie was an easy pick for the most promising “Fan” of the new season. In her pre-game interview she proved to be smart, savvy, sneaky, and a bunch of other positive “S” words.

Now the “S” word that best fits is “Sayonara.”

I had a chance to talk with the first fallen Fan the morning after her elimination and asked her about the Gota alliances, Shamar’s lack of effort around camp, and the cuddling controversy…

Gordon Holmes: You broke my heart.
Allie Pohevitz: I know, me too.
Holmes: You were my Fan pick!
Pohevitz: I know! I’m so upset. Ugh…the worst.
Holmes: I thought you were going to tear this game up.
Pohevitz: Wah wah…
Holmes: Wah wah indeed.
Pohevitz: (Laughs)

Holmes: Night one, it’s looking like some business is going on with you and Reynold.
Pohevitz: Oh, goodness…
Holmes: This is your opportunity to state your case to everyone. So what was going on there?
Pohevitz: I never hooked up with Reynold. I will never hook up with Reynold. We were cold and we were cuddling and that is the extent of it.
Holmes: So what appeared to be groping was just…
Pohevitz: We were cuddling. It looks so much worse than it was. I’ll stand by that until the day I die. We weren’t doing anything.
Holmes: I used Elyse Umemoto as an example of a woman who was sent packing when it seemed like she was in a couple. In those cases, they’re never going to get rid of the guy because with Ozzy and Reynold, they’re both strong challenge competitors. You know your stuff, so you had to know that was a possibility. So, I was wondering if you even knew people thought of you as a couple.
Pohevitz: To be honest, we weren’t acting like a couple. I know it’s so hard for everyone to believe because people think we were basically making out on night one.  A lot more happened. We really weren’t together that often. The one minute you see of us in the ocean is one minute out of five days. We hung out, but it was usually with groups of five and six. But, we didn’t realize that Matt and Laura were running back with the information that the four of us were saying.
Holmes: The thing I found interesting about that was Laura was saying, “Oh, look at all of that business going on.” But at Tribal when asked about your alliance, people thought that Eddie and Hope were the couple.
Pohevitz: I would agree with that. It looked like a good story because we were the ones cuddling. But, we were also the two on the end getting soaked by the rain. So, we were rubbing each other’s backs. It’s not as sketchy as everyone’s making it out to be.
Holmes: Is there some romance going on between Hope and Eddie?
Pohevitz: No…God no. Everybody is good friends.

Holmes: I was trying to figure out how the lines were drawn before last night’s episode. Was it the cool kids on one side, the three ladies on the other, with Shamar floating, and Michael and Matt as swing votes?
Pohevitz: Originally we thought we were with Laura and Matt. And once we realize that Laura had turned, we thought that Shamar would get voted out and once he was gone the four of us plus Matt would be versus the other four. We never thought it was us four against the rest of the tribe. We always had five or six. But clearly we didn’t have them as tight as we thought.
Holmes: I didn’t think you guys would think four was a majority in a tribe of ten.
Pohevitz: Yes. (Laughs) I passed Kindergarten.

Holmes: So, Shamar…
Pohevitz: Yeah…
Holmes: He is a US Marine. My brother in law is a Marine, I’ve known some Marines, none of them are as lazy as Shamar appears to be.
Pohevitz: Every human being I know is not as lazy as Shamar.
Holmes: Walk me through a day in the life of the Gota tribe as far as productivity went.
Pohevitz: Honestly, everybody worked really hard. Julia had really bad sunburn, so she stayed in a lot. But, that wasn’t because she was lazy, it’s because her face was peeling off. But, she was doing things around camp. The rest of us would get firewood. I went on ten water runs a day. We were constantly getting coconuts and things like that. Shamar would wake up, go to the ocean for three minutes, go to the bathroom, and proceed to lay in the shelter and bitch at us for the entire day.

Holmes: What was your first impression when you saw which Favorites stepped off of the helicopter?
Pohevitz: They weren’t my favorites. It was more like people who had made fatal errors as opposed to actual fan favorites. They were people who needed to redeem themselves.

Holmes: Alright, let’s do some word association.
Pohevitz: (Laughs)
Holmes: What’s so funny?
Pohevitz: I’m nervous.
Holmes: This is very important. You’ll be judged harshly and given a letter grade when it’s over. Let’s start with Sherri.
Pohevitz: Privileged.
Holmes: Eddie?
Pohevitz: Hero.

EDIT: Allie’s response to Eddie was originally misinterpreted as “Virile.”

Holmes: Hope?
Pohevitz: Soul mate…best friend. I love her.
Holmes: Julia?
Pohevitz: Quaint.
Holmes: Laura?
Pohevitz: Strategic.
Holmes: Shamar?
Pohevitz: Oh…I don’t know if you can print these words. Um…vile, dishonorable…disgusting.
Holmes: Reynold?
Pohevitz: Complicated.
Holmes: Matt?
Pohevitz: Stoic.
Holmes: We’ll finish with Michael.
Pohevitz: Witty.
Holmes: Your letter grade is an A, congratulations.
Pohevitz: Oh good, just what I was looking for.

Holmes: You said “privileged” for Sherri. You now know that she is well off financially. She’s the Wetzel’s Pretzels queen. Did you know that at the time?
Pohevitz:  I didn’t know exactly what, but you don’t come out there looking the way she did and not have some money in your background. Just the way she presented herself and carried herself, I know that it’s very different than the people I’m around on a day-to-day basis.

Holmes: It was sad watching your parting words last night. You’re a huge fan and this was a dream for you. Now that some time has passed, what are some of the good things you took away from your experience?
Pohevitz: Yeah, I met some of my best friends out there. And some of the people I met from the other tribe after the game. Just everybody I’ve met has been very cool. You never get to make those bonds with people from across the country if you’re not put into a random situation like this.
Holmes: Is it any consolation that you weren’t voted out first twice?
Pohevitz:  At least she got to play twice! Maybe I can be voted out second twice.
Holmes: That’s the right attitude.
Pohevitz:  That’d be horrible. If I go back, I’m destroying people.

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

‘Survivor: Caramoan’ Episode Recap: The Battle of the Bulge

February 20, 2013

"Survivor: Caramoan" (CBS)

Quick Note: We’re going to be bringing you all kinds of “Survivor” fun this season including episode recaps, exit interviews, and Power Rankings with Michael Skupin. Be sure to follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute news and info.

Set Your DVR to Record “Survivor: Caramoan – Fans vs. Favorites”

Last Week: Phillip put together Stealth R Us Too, Malcolm gave everyone an X-rated view, Reynold and Allie shared an amorous rendezvous, while poor Francesca experienced some heartbreaking deja-vu…

39 Days, 20 People, 1 “Survivor” Blog

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

The Bikal Tribe (wearing purple)
Andrea – Entertainment Host and Writer, 23
Brandon – Chemical Disposal, 21
Brenda – Paddleboard Company Owner, 30
Cochran – Harvard Law Student, 25
Corinne – Pharmaceutical Sales, 33
Dawn – English Professor/Power Rankings Champ, 42
Erik – Comic Book Artist, 27
Malcolm – Bartender, 25
Phillip – Chief Executive Officer of Enter Software Sales, 54

The Gota Tribe (wearing orange)
Allie – Bartender/Nanny, 25
Eddie – Firefighter/EMT, 23
Hope – Recent Graduate of the University of Missouri, 23
Julia – Racecar Driver/Student, 21
Laura – Administrative Officer, 23
Matt – Brand Manager of Two BMX Brands, 38
Michael – Event Planner, 44
Reynold – Sales, 30
Shamar – Iraq War Veteran, 27
Sherri – Fast Food Franchisee, 41

We meet up with the Bikalians after Tribal Council and Lil’ Hantz is getting ready to throw a big fit. Dawn tries to state her case, but he isn’t having any of it. Smartly, Dawn removes herself from the situation and has a bit of a cry. It’s OK, that’s her thing. She’ll feed off of those tears and use them to dominate a strength challenge later.

Later, Brandon pulls Erik aside and tells him that he’s feeling “revengeful” and is going to unleash his inner Russell. He then proceeds to do a break-dance wave. No, I’m not kidding.

The next morning at Gota beach, we learn that Shamar isn’t doing any work around camp. Oh, he’s one of those lazy Marines you never hear about. Allie thinks he needs to be sent home if they go to Tribal.

Later, Sherri brings Shamar into her alliance with Matt, Michael, Laura, and Julia. Oh man, the cool kids might get an early dismissal. Sherri later tells us that she wants to keep Shamar around because he’s her Phillip. Nice…look out for Boston Sherri.

Back at Bikal, Cochran is trying to make peace with Brandon. Brandon admits that he was going to destroy the camp, but  he doesn’t want to be known as a quitter. Cochran is disturbed by how quickly Brandon goes from rage to tenderness.

Brandon talks to Phillip about joining up with Stealth R Us Too. Phillip says he might be willing to bring him in as middle management. I would have gone with “Junior Partner.” At any rate, Brandon isn’t thrilled with his starting salary and immediately tries to turn the rest of the tribe against Phillip. Oof…how do you decide between those two? It’s like being stuck between a rock and an insane place.

Immunity Challenge Time: Really? This seems early.

Before the challenge gets underway, the Fans admit that they feel terrible for poor Francesca. Then, Phillip drops the Bikal flag and almost impales Corinne.

OK, three members from each tribe will swim out to a raft. Three other tribe members will pull the raft toward a platform. Once they’re at the platform they’ll dive down and release rings from a cage. When they have all nine rings they’ll return to shore and play some ring toss. First tribe to get three rings onto their posts wins immunity and fishing gear.

Laura will sit out for Gota. During the pre-game strategy discussion, Shamar’s woobie is hurt when people turn down his ideas. Seriously.

Brenda, Erik, and Andrea will be the raft team for Bikal, while Sherri, Julia, and Hope will go for Gota. Both tribes get to the platform quickly, but the Fans are having some serious trouble releasing their rings. The Faves get all of theirs rings back to the shore and start throwing before the Fans are even able to retrieve all of theirs.

Malcolm hits the first two shots and Phillip hits the third to bring home a win for the Favorites.

After the challenge, Phillip finally unveils Malcolm and Dawn’s nicknames. Apparently Malcolm is “The Enforcer” and Dawn is “True Grit.” Honestly, anything’s better than Fabio and Purple Kelly.

Meanwhile, the mood is somber over at Gota. During a post-challenge pow-wow, Reynold calls out Shamar because of his attitude. This goes about as well as you’d imagine. It ends with Eddie and Reynold walking off while Shamar yells at them.

Politicking around Gota is coming down to Shamar vs. Allie. It seems like Matt and Michael are going to be the swing votes. However, Matt wants to vote out Shamar because they’d still have a five-to-four advantage over the cool kids.

Realizing that he’s in some serious danger, Reynold starts hunting around for the immunity idol. Sure enough, he finds it almost immediately. C’mon “Survivor” production team, what happened to hard-to-find idols?

Before they head off to Tribal, Laura notices that Reynold has an idol-shaped bulge in his pocket. I’ve been doing this for years and I still giggle whenever someone talks about bulges in people’s pants. I’m not an adult.

That night at Tribal Council, Michael calls out the cool kids as an alliance. The Plastics do their best to play it off as more of a book club, except without books and they all vote together.

Shamar admits that he isn’t used to a situation that doesn’t have a military hierarchy.

Reynold thinks the tribe is frustrated with Shamar because he critiques people but doesn’t do any work.

Eddie claims that Shamar was in the hut for nineteen hours the previous day. Shamar admits it. He thinks he’s a scapegoat because he’s big and loud.

Before the vote, Laura lets everyone know that somebody has the immunity idol. She doesn’t say who has it, but Probst points out that she’s staring at Reynold.

Reynold immediately confesses. Meanwhile, I immediately wonder if Reynold or Shamar have ever seen this show before.

Reynold says he wasn’t going to play the idol because he thought everyone was voting for Shamar. However, now that it’s out he’s going to play it. Sure you are, Reynold.

Voting Time: Eddie votes for Shamar, Sherri votes for Allie, and the rest of the votes aren’t shown.

JPro tallies and returns. He asks if anyone wants to play an idol, Reynold doesn’t. We’ve got four votes for Shamar, five votes for Allie, and the second person to be voted out of “Survivor: Caramoan – Fans vs. Favorites” is…Allie.

Verdict: Nice to see the Fans finally playing, too bad they aren’t playing well. Don’t get me wrong, Sherri, Laura, and Michael could do well, but the rest left me scratching my head.

I had high hopes for Allie too. But, as a fan she should know that showmances will earn you a quick ticket home.

Who’s Going to Win? A Favorite. A Favorite is going to win. It’ll happen when a Fan trades their immunity necklace for a handful of magic beans.

Power Rankings Update: Michael Skupin’s first attempt at the Power Rankings didn’t go well. But at least nobody got hurt. He had Allie in spot eight while I had her in spot nineteen. The current score is now Team Skupin 8, Team Holmes 19.

Michael Skupin Accepts the ‘Survivor’ Power Rankings Challenge

February 19, 2013

Michael Skupin (CBS)

The Good News? “Survivor” legend Michael Skupin has accepted this season’s Power Rankings challenge! This fits perfectly with the season’s theme as Gordon is a huge “Survivor” fan and Michael is definitely one of his favorites.

The Bad News? Michael has a history of falling into the fire in Australia and smashing goggles over his face in the Philippines. Gordon has a history of being attacked by leeches in Africa, receiving a lump over his eye in Samoa, and getting into a boating accident in the Caramoan Islands. So, it is entirely possible that this is the first Power Rankings where both competitors don’t make it to the end in one piece.

The Rules: Each week Michael and Gordon 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 Cochran is voted out this week, Michael will receive 4 points and Gordon will receive 6 points. The person with the most points at the end of the season will be crowned the ‘Survivor: Caramoan’ Power Rankings champion!

Before we get started, let’s check in with this season’s competitor…

Gordon Holmes: Hey Michael, how’d you feel about last Wednesday’s premiere?
Michael Skupin: I must first say how painful it is to watch and not “be there” playing.  It had been so long since I played, I’d forgotten how much I love playing over watching. That said, I LOVED the fact that “Survivor” went back to two challenges per episode, it’s truly what we live for out there. The fact that the game opened up with one was iconic! If the first episode was any indication, the physical is back, and we love that! And we did get a sense of where the raw strength is…Bikal (returnees).

Holmes: The time for talking is over. The time for ranking is finally upon us. What strategy are you taking in this first week?
Skupin: My Power Rankings are based on where the contestants stand as they walk back to camp after Tribal Council.  There is an obvious lean towards the returning players as I know what an almost unfair advantage it truly can be (as long as you don’t play the exact same character from your previous seasons). There’s something about “coming back” that makes you a gamer even if you weren’t necessarily before.

Set Your DVR to Record ‘Survivor: Caramoan – Fans vs Favorites”

Michael’s Current Score: 0

Any advice for Michael? Drop him a line on Twitter: @mikeskupin

Gordon’s Current Score: 0

Any advice for Gordon? Drop him a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes

 1. Dawn: Smart as a fox, playing hard without anyone realizing it which translates as playing hard with the right people. She has the mental and physical toughness to go deep. She orchestrated her and Cochran as swing votes which haunted me post-merge so we’ll see if it’s a trend. If she continues to play the sweet mom, who wants to vote their mom out?  1. Malcolm: My biggest fear for Malcolm headed into the season was that his tribe would automatically turn on him because he was an unknown quantity. Fortunately, he was able to show his skills (among other things) at the first reward challenge. So, that should keep him safe until the merge or the tribe swap that I would bet is coming.
 2. Malcolm: Challenge beast in the first challenge, challenge goat in the second one. I kept thinking clay pot, clay pots but Malcolm was put in or chose that spot again. Although extremely physical, the fine motor skills may not be his forte’.  If he can create a good story on why he’s there ie. early injury, he can go deep.  If he spills too much, he’ll likely make the merge but it’ll be up a creek after that. Don’t forget how almost unbeatable he was at puzzles. I liked his moxy out there but am concerned if he has the durability after only four weeks rest between seasons.
 2. Andrea: Whew…that was a rough first episode for Andrea. I didn’t hate the move. It’s safe to assume that the fans are wary of Phillip and Corinne based on their previous seasons, so Phillip’s crew is a smart group to be aligned with. And, of the four that weren’t in the alliance, Francesca was probably the least useful at challenges (although she did well in the reward battle). Like the move or not, you can’t argue with the results. Phillip now fully trusts Andrea and she’s safely in the middle of the majority alliance.
 3. Corinne: Surprise, surprise, Corinne does have a sweet side.  An almost Jerri Manthey Season 2, 8, and 20-type of turnaround. She went so far out of her way to be likable; I actually liked her and wanted her to stay.  Her ridiculous good looks now could easily sway many of the younger men out there (Cochran, Brandon, Erik, Malcolm). So far, she’s playing amazingly well.  3. Corinne: Everybody expected Corinne to be stealing people’s lunch money. Instead she’s helping soothe Cochran’s five-alarm sunburn. I can’t wait for the deleted scene where she helps rescue kittens from trees.

  4. Cochran: JC got a boatload of airtime. He was funny, non-threatening, smart, playful, and is letting everyone else play hard. As much as he tried to be the new “burn guy” on “Survivor” and as unlikely as it is he’ll be a factor in any challenge, his name never came up.  He even let Dawn lead the charge in their newly formed fragile (yet necessary) alliance. Maybe in the “Celebrity Survivor” Probst is shooting for, Cochran could play Woody Alle… OK, I won’t go there. 
 4. Erik: Yeah, Erik isn’t in the Stealth R Us Too Alliance. Yeah, Erik doesn’t have a sweet nickname. But he’s still the most valuable member of the minority alliance. People forget that Erik was killing challenges in Micronesia. And, if he’s smart, he’s not letting Phillip know that he hates his guts.

  5. Brenda: Funny, gorgeous, strategic, and smart, she’s just flat out built for this game. She knows what her reputation is and she seems to be working a different angle (the only way she could go deep in the game).  She strikes me as a person in life who gets what she wants. When it didn’t go her way last time, she threw the towel in. I bet she won’t this time. 
 5. Dawn:  Yup, everyone wants to work with Dawn. The dues she paid in “South Pacific” are paying dividends now. (Is that how dues work?) Everyone thinks they can trust her. Her challenge will be finding the right combination of alliance members to get her deep into the game. Then she needs to play against type and betray them. If she doesn’t she’s playing for the jury because nobody will want to go to the end with her.
 6. Reynold: Although he is a founding member of the Cool Kid Lunch Table Alliance (CKLTA) (which I believe will haunt him more than help him) he needs numbers and he just drew a line in the sand against the other six (who likely aren’t smart enough yet to jump on this gift of an opportunity). Here’s where newbies fail, A.) They telegraph their alliances (KOD=kiss of death in many cases) and B.) Newbie’s fail to seize the moments that usually come in small doses on “Survivor.” So Reynold is safe for now. As he pounds his chest caveman style at his new conquest, he fails to realize that all two-person show-mances are one castaway too big in size, one has to go…the other forever labeled (unless your name is Malcolm). I’d like to be a fly on the wall as Reynold watches this with his wife.
 6. Cochran: I’ve been trying to think of something more embarrassing than being evacuated from “Survivor” due to sunburn. Hang nail? Ice cream headache? All kidding aside, that had to suck. And credit where credit is due, Cochran tore his way up that tower in the immunity challenge. I was impressed. Right now, Cochran has a ton of options and everyone seems to like him. If Bikal can stay out of a prolonged losing streak, Cochran’s going to make a run for this.
 7. Phillip: Wow! Right out of the gates. Senior Specialist, please don’t try to be Boston Rob and come out of the chute so headstrong.  Be Phillip, it worked well last time. Although he didn’t get a single vote, his name was mentioned often (although mostly by the first boot). I like Phillip, he’s entertaining and he’s for real. I’m impressed he’s playing and playing hard…all respect for the challenge beast! BR Rule #4 … don’t copy BR Rules unless you’re BR.
  7. Phillip: Is Phillip really in change of the Caramoan branch of Stealth R Us? Probably not. The fact is, now that Francesca is gone the others don’t need to keep Phillip around to have a majority. Don’t get me wrong, it’s nice to have Phillip along to take to the end, but if his quirky ways get to be a little too much, it isn’t the end of the world to cut him loose.
 8. Allie: By allowing her rear end to be the next test model for the new Charmin commercials, Allie made a huge mistake, putting herself to be a candidate for the first parental discretion warning since I fell into the fire on season 2. It wasn’t so much the PDA as it was the moaning that stuck out.  This will literally be her KOD or kiss of death.  She won’t be seen as the biggest threat in the (CKLTA) but she’ll always be attached to it. Jumping into an alliance with an alpha male is smart, telegraphing it is dumb.
 8. Michael: It’s still too early to have a clear picture of what’s going on over at Gota. I’m thinking you’ve got the cool kids’ alliance at one table, the less popular girls at another, and Shamar is…well I have no idea what Shamar is doing. Then you’ve got Michael and Matt. A pair of misfit free agent Gary and Wyatts who are about to find themselves as the most popular kids in school.
 9. Sherri: At 41, she is smart enough to see she’s obviously odd-man out in the kiddie pool of the under-25 females on her team. She was strangely quiet which is a sign that she understands the game and isn’t going to play her hand too soon. She was given the Monica Culpepper shot at being team mom because in Dawn’s females, there is only one under 25. She looks fit and is used to being the leader in life.  That won’t sit well with the alpha males if she tries to exercise control. She can quietly play an amazing game if she could see it as easily as we can.
 9. Reynold: Two big rookie mistakes from Reynold in episode one. First, being obvious about your showmance? That’s just a dumb move in a post Team Mariano world. And second, four people can’t dominate a ten-person tribe. Fortunately for you, your tribe will keep you because of your challenge prowess. It might work out so well for poor Allie though…
 10. Shamar: A leader in life, a leader in the tribe, but military leadership dictates respect, “Survivor” leadership dictates a long lonely walk to a nice meal and a hot shower. To my knowledge, Shamar is one of only three people in the history of the game to start a fire without the assistance of anything (Boston Rob on “Heroes vs. Villains” and Russell Swan/Malcolm on “Philippines”), although impressive, it won’t get him any votes.  His social game is on a thin thread here. As potentially a challenge beast and a survivalist, they may keep him to keep numbers strong but the CKLTA may be too cocky to care which breaks many “Survivor” rules of strategy.   10. Eddie: See Reynold.
 11. Hope: She could come out of this season as a new favorite, and I’m not normally this generous in early rankings to the young guns. As a founding member of the CKLTA, I’m hoping (pun intended) that she diversifies. At least she was smart enough to escape the late-night follies.     11. Shamar: C’mon, Shamar. Starting fights after being on the beach for 15 whole minutes? That’s not even “Survivor” 101, that’s more like Intro to “Survivor.” But, good on you for mending fences with Matt after the blow up. There are already fractures in Gota, it’s up to you figure out which side works best for you.
 12. Eddie: Swinging for the fences way too fast, very clever and a survivalist of sorts but c-o-c-k-y on steroids. Cocky doesn’t translate to late-game finishes. He’s athletic and scrappy but his ego will prevent him from advancing far. He’s most likely to experience an epic blindside by his own alliance. He’ll have to start a new club CKAP…Cool Kids at Ponderosa.   12. Matt: Nice to see Matt and Michael buddying up, but getting into an early fight with Shamar is a pretty big red flag as far as Matt’s social game goes. Hopefully their burying of the hatchet was legitimate and they’ll be able to move on.
 13. Michael: Seems nice enough, smart enough, likeable enough but doesn’t seem to understand the game. “Thinking” about forming alliances with a guy (Matt) that is obviously not in one isn’t a bad strategy if you have others already. Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear that way.   13. Sherri: We didn’t get to see much from Sherri, Julia, and Laura this past week, but we do know they’re aligned against the cool kids. Since Shamar has admitted that he likes the ladies, it shouldn’t be too hard to get him on board. Then it’s going to come down to Matt and Michael as the swing votes.
 14. Brandon: It’s so hard to put him any higher than this after seeing “scenes from our next episode.” There’s Russell Hantz “save yourself with strategic play” at any cost and there’s Willie Hantz (“Big Brother”) “when in doubt, go out memorable.” Brandon made it far and could have even won had he not made one of the top five blunders ever in the game by giving away his immunity necklace. Because of the Hantz name, a carefully crafted pre-strategy strategy was in order. If the “scenes” are any indication, I believe the fame and experience Brandon experienced on his last appearance will cause more tornados than strategic maneuvers.   14. Julia: There is someone on this show named Julia.
 15. Erik: He’ll always be a challenge threat and likely makes the merge because of it. His young, innocent looks could buy him additional time but (unlike Corinne who went from villain to hero) he’s gone from sweet to a developed callousness since his last appearance in “Fans vs Favorites,” or he just doesn’t like Phillip that much. I like his story, once a fan, now a favorite. He’s throwing Phillip under the bus maybe a bit too early. As owner of arguably the dumbest move ever on “Survivor,” he’s likely to make another blunder before the seasons over, costing him the seven figures once again.   15. Laura: Really? Making out with Reynold on day one? That’s like “Survivor” suicide these days. Oh wait…that was Allie? Yikes…can’t tell these two apart. Here’s hoping they receive some kind of distinctive swimwear in the next episode. Honestly, I’m hoping for nametags.
 16. Julia: Although at 21, she’s at a huge disadvantage from a life experience perspective, her Danica Patrick race-car career may give her more experience than we see. She’s possibly the least social in an over-the-top social game.  Making alliances with the right people is the only thing that can save her from the early Ponderosa adventure.   16. Brandon: Here’s a fun fact; when Brandon’s uncle (a guy named Russell) used to wreak havoc around camp, he didn’t tell anybody. He just went about his business and socks were burnt and machetes vanished. From the previews, it’s clear that Brandon tells Cochran what he’s up to. That’s probably going to be a problem for Lil Hantz.
 17. Laura: I had to go back and look up who she was as she was virtually invisible (and pretty blondes don’t get that treatment often), no significant moves (or they would have showed them), no alliances formed (repeat), insignificant in challenges (repeat). If under the radar is her strategy…she played brilliantly but it doesn’t appear that way. I hope she latches onto someone quickly.   17. Brenda: Oof…I hate to see Brenda in such a bad position so early in the game. From everything we’ve seen, it looks like she just ended up on the wrong side of the numbers. And if the faves lose again they probably won’t be able to get rid of two solid challenge performers like Erik and Brandon.
 18. Andrea: Although I like her a lot and am not picking her to go home early, she was one vote away from a purple rock and starring at trees for 36 days.  She played too hard, too early with the wrong people.  Rules here A, (you wrote some of them) …align yourself with people that are as good as or better than you. You didn’t follow that rule like you did last time with Matt and Boston Rob.  I bet she wiggles her way back in, who can resist those eyes, but it’s costly nonetheless. Andrea will never go down without a fight.   18. Hope: There aren’t a lot of hard and fast rules on “Survivor,” but they always make sure the prettiest girl is aligned with the most handsome guy. That’s why they put them on the same tribe.
 19. Matt: Rule #1: Don’t get in a fight on the first day.  Rule #2: Don’t get into a fight with the potential leader of your tribe.  Rule #3: Don’t get in a fight with the biggest player out there. Rule #4: All rules get broken eventually.  The Rumplestiltskin look works for you appearance-wise but play smart, bro. Mike asked you into an alliance and you said “wait.” Huh? What? Really? …How Penner-esque of you. 
  19. Allie: Of all the fans, I had the highest hopes for Allie. But, that night-one groping session is probably going to come back to haunt her. Just ask poor Elyse Umemoto. Her relationship with Ozzy Lusth was platonic and the others still felt the need to send her packing.

WWE Superstar Chris Jericho to Step Back into the Elimination Chamber

February 15, 2013

Chris Jericho (AP)

As the number one entrant into the 2013 Royal Rumble, Dolph Ziggler had to know the odds were against him. However, that didn’t stop the self-proclaimed show off from letting everyone know that he intended to go wire-to-wire and win a trip to Wrestlemania XXIX.

The unwritten rules of pro wrestling say that the man who drew number two had to be someone that Dolph had an issue with. You could see it before it happened; someone’s music would hit, Dolph’s face would go from a smug smile to a horrified frown, and then it would be on. But who would it be? Dolph had been feuding with John Cena. He’d had a ton of great matches with Randy Orton. And, he’d been giving Sheamus grief lately.

Much to the delight of the fans in attendance, it ended up being the man Dolph had gotten fired five months earlier, Chris Jericho. And the reaction he got was one of the biggest of his storied career.

I spoke with the “Ayatollah of Rock and Rolla” in the days leading up to the Elimination Chamber Pay Per View. We had a chance to talk about his ability to come and go from the WWE, his big match this Sunday, and what the guys on the undercard can do to get to the main event.

NOTE: This is the first part of a two-part interview. In the near future we’ll be talking to Jericho about his exciting new “Robot Combat League.” Follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute news and info.

Order WWE: Elimination Chamber

Gordon Holmes: You’re stepping back into the intimidating Elimination Chamber this weekend. But, this is nothing new to you, you were in the very first one in 2002. What was it like that first time at Madison Square Garden?
Chris Jericho: Well, it’s funny because when they first unveiled that, nobody had seen it before. We were trying to put on the best match we could in something that had never existed until that day. So, it’s very unforgiving. The floor is hard, the walls are hard, the pods are hard. If you’re in a ring there’s a little bit of give. The Elimination Chamber has no give. It’s almost like diving into a cold lake the first time you take a fall in there, it’s almost like “Oh my God, is it cold in there!” So, it’s a really strange contraption.  There’s a different kind of art to it.
Holmes: As the guy who’s been in more Elimination Chambers than anyone else in the history of the WWE do you have any advice for someone who’s stepping in for the first time?
Jericho: The only advice I have is that it hurts. (Laughs)

Holmes: What do you think we can expect from CM Punk vs. The Rock round two?
Jericho: It should be good. Punk’s at his peak. He’s the best performer in the company right now. It should be a fun match to watch.
Holmes: You’re someone who has taken some hiatuses from the business. Is ring rust a real issue someone like the Rock is going to have to deal with?
Jericho: Of course you have ring rust. Anyone that leaves and comes back for one match a year is going to have ring rust. That doesn’t mean you’re not going to perform at the highest level. But, that’s the same for anybody. You always have to get back into the groove again, but the Rock is more than capable of dealing with it. He’s one of the best ever.

Holmes: You kind of have a sweet deal going with the WWE. It used to be back when there was more competition, if you were burnt out with one audience, say with the WWE, you could move on to the NWA, the AWA, or World Class. That doesn’t really exist now. But, you’ve kind of created your own territory system where you can do your music with Fozzy or go do TV shows like “Robot Combat League.”
Jericho: I’ve been doing wrestling for 22 years. But, I’ve never considered myself to be a wrestler. I consider myself to be an entertainer. I’m in show business. I’ve always built my career this way. And in this day and age, you have to brand yourself. It’s not about being an actor, being a rapper, being a vodka salesman. It’s about doing a little of all of that. It’s about creating a brand and that’s what I wanted to do with Chris Jericho. I do love wrestling, and I do love Fozzy. I love the opportunities I’ve been getting with “Robot Combat League,” “Downfall,” “Dancing with the Stars”, and the movies I’ve done. I don’t want to do wrestling forever, but I do what to be entertaining forever.

Holmes: Your last biography “Undisputed” had a lot to do with your debut in the WWE and the problems you had climbing up to the main event level. Obviously, that story had a happy ending. We’re heading into Wrestlemania season and it looks like we’re going to see a show headlined by John Cena, The Rock, Brock Lesnar, hopefully yourself. My question here is; what do the midcard guys, the guys like Kofi Kingston who are popular and talented need to do to break through the glass ceiling?
Jericho: You’ve just got to take a chance, man. Do something different and change it up. I don’t know what a glass ceiling is. Some people get more chances than others, but you’ve got to make your opportunities. If I lived under the threat of the glass ceiling I wouldn’t be talking to you right now. When I felt like I was doing my best work I’d make a chance and do something different. Be a little radical. You can’t be the same person every week for 52 weeks a year and expect people to not get complacent.  So, I’d change it up. I’d completely reinvent myself.
Holmes: That’s a good point. You, Cena, the Undertaker, HHH, you’ve all gone through some pretty significant changes over your careers.
Jericho: I wanted to be the Madonna of wrestling. And what I mean by that is she always changed her image. She always looked different every record. Her sound always changed. It was still Madonna, but she’d put elements of flamenco guitars or dubstep or rap or whatever’s hot at the time. She’d weave that into her music. And I wanted to do that within my career. Always keep people never knowing what to expect. When they know that you’re always taking chances, that keeps them excited to continue following you. It’s like the Beatles, that’s why the Beatles are the best band of all time. They never did the same thing twice, but they always remained the Beatles. That’s what I want to be.
Holmes: Oh man, my girlfriend liked you. Then you said the Beatles are the best band of all time and now I’m pretty sure she loves you.
Jericho: (Laughs) She loves me yeah yeah yeah.

Don’t miss WWE: Elimination Chamber this Sunday, February 17, 2013 at 8 p.m. ET on Pay Per View.

Don’t miss the premiere of Chris Jericho’s “Robot Combat League,” Tuesday, February 26, 2013 at 10 p.m. ET on Syfy.

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

‘Survivor’ Castaway Francesca: ‘I’m Either the Worst Player or the Unluckiest’

February 14, 2013

Francesca Hogi (CBS)

Quick Note: We’re going to be bringing you all kinds of “Survivor” fun this season including episode recaps, exit interviews, Power Rankings, and more. Be sure to follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute news and info.

Set Your DVR to Record “Survivor: Caramoan – Fans vs Favorites”
I have come not to mourn Francesca Hogi’s unprecedented second first elimination from the game of “Survivor.” I have come to celebrate the fact that she was not content to coast along as so many have done before. And in the words of the immortal Def Leppard…

It’s better to burn out, than fade away.” – “Rock of Ages*”

I had a chance to speak with Francesca the morning after her heartbreaking loss and asked her about her shocking elimination, her Bikal tribe mates, and the fine art of rock cuisine.

*Yes, I know those lyrics also appear in Neal Young’s “My My, Hey Hey.” But what do you want? I’m a kid of the ‘80s.

Francesca Hogi: Hey, Gordon!
Gordon Holmes: Hi, Francesca…
Hogi: (Laughs) You sound so disappointed.
Holmes: I’ve never had a situation where everybody I know sent me emails saying, “When you talk to Francesca, give her our love.”
Hogi: (Laughs) Aww… That is so sweet.
Holmes: Because you know me, I love me some backstabbing and some deception, but…I didn’t feel clean last night when it was all said and done.
Hogi: (Laughs) It was a dirty, dirty move.
Holmes: I’m glad to hear you’re laughing. How are you holding up?
Hogi: I’m fine, I didn’t actually watch it. This obviously happened a long time ago and what can you do? It happened. You just have to keep it in perspective. There are much more important things in life. I wish this was the worst thing that ever happened to me, but I’ve actually suffered real loss in life. At least I get to be the polar opposite of Sandra.
Holmes: The Anti-Sandra.
Hogi: That’s kind of cool. All the hundreds of people who have played the game are somewhere in the spectrum between me and Sandra. I’m either the worst player or the unluckiest player. It’s kind of cool.
Holmes: Your attitude is amazing. I keep thinking of Russell Swan who was dealt two pretty bad hands in the game, and he had a rough time coming to terms with it.
Hogi: Thank you. But, what else can you do? It’s just “Survivor.”

Holmes: Today is Valentine’s Day.
Hogi: I’m in China, so Valentine’s Day was yesterday.
Holmes: When I have dinner with my girlfriend tonight, I was wondering if you had a recommendation for which wine goes best with rocks.
Hogi: (Laughs) I have so much heat for this comment, that I don’t even remember making. It almost makes me want to watch the episode so I can verify it, but I really don’t want to watch it. I didn’t think I was going home, I thought they liked me, I was an asset to my tribe. But, I’m not going to eat a rock. I will only eat a rock if Jeff Probst brings the exact rock that I had in my hand when I made that comment.
Holmes: So you’re willing to bet that CBS production won’t trek back to the Caramoan Islands to hunt down that rock?
Hogi: If they do that, I’m going to want some kind of forensic, CSI analysis to be sure it’s the exact rock.

Holmes: You and Andrea were in an alliance last night, but she was also a part of the new Stealth R Us. However, Andrea is someone who you had a relationship with before this season. You were both on “Redemption Island” and casts tend to become close with the reunion and all.
Hogi: Without getting into too much outside of the game, it’s no secret that I had a relationship with Andrea. For that reason, not that I was like, “Andrea, you and me to the end.” It wasn’t anything like that. But, I wasn’t targeting her, so as far as I was concerned she knew that and she didn’t have any reason to think any different. So, we have to ask Andrea why she made the decision she made.

Holmes: Can you walk me through the pre-Tribal scramble? All hell seemed to break loose toward the end.
Hogi: It was a stupid day. We were all in shock that we lost the challenge. No one wants to be seen as the person scrambling, so everyone sat around and we all just talked and told stories. Then we were like, “OK, we need to actually figure out who we’re voting for.”  I thought that Phillip was an easy choice because he’s insufferable and he’s not particularly good in challenges, and nobody really likes him as a person. So, this is an easy choice. Let’s get rid of the insufferable buffoon who’s not helping in challenges. But, there’s logic in that and that doesn’t always work in “Survivor.” I knew there was a hidden immunity idol. I suspected that Corinne and Malcolm had found it and that they had possibly shared it with Phillip. And, this goes without saying, but Phillip was acting bizarre.
Holmes: I was going to say, you need to be way more specific than that.
Hogi: (Laughs) Right? Even more so than usual. So, I knew they were up to something. Phillip is going to assume that I’m going to vote for him, so we need to do something differently because they could have an idol. That was what started the whole scramble and the splitting the vote.
Holmes: And were you leading all of this?
Hogi: I wanted to take a backseat. I didn’t want to be the person that was calling the shots. I just wanted to chill out and fly as far beneath the radar as possible. But nobody was doing anything. It just turned into a big (expletive deleted) show.

Holmes: Alright, let’s do some word association. We’ll start with Brenda.
Hogi: Stoic.
Holmes: Brandon?
Hogi: Sensitive.
Holmes: Erik?
Hogi: Amicable.
Holmes: Phillip?
Hogi: Insane, buffoon, choose any of those.
Holmes: I’ll use them both. Dawn?
Hogi: Weepy.
Holmes: Andrea?
Hogi: Conniving.
Holmes: Malcolm?
Hogi: He’s easy-going, but he’s not really. He’s calculating.
Holmes: Corinne?
Hogi: Snarky.
Holmes: And we’ll finish with Cochran.
Hogi: Oh…three-legged dog.

Holmes: My last question was going to be to ask what your takeaway from this crazy set of experiences is, but you hit on that pretty well at the beginning. I guess my last thought is how much it had to suck to take those long flights to the Philippines for such a short stay.
Hogi: Seriously, I was like, “Please let me go home.” I’d be gone a week, and it was an adventure, but whatever. But it felt like such a huge waste of time. I could’ve just stayed in New York. You know how people always say you need to say “Yes” to more things.
Holmes: Yes.
Hogi: I need to say “No” to more things.
Holmes: But you said “Yes” and now you’re in China.
Hogi: (Laughs) That’s true. I love it here.
Holmes: Well, thanks for your time and I look forward to talking to you before “Survivor: 30.”
Hogi: (Laughs) Now that is hilarious.

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

My Valentine’s Day Gift to ‘Survivor’ Fans

February 14, 2013

survivorlove“Survivor” is a game that seems to encourage lying, backstabbing, and bad behavior. It’s fun to watch, but it can lead to some bad blood. So, in the wake of last night’s heartbreaking “Survivor: Caramoan – Fans vs Favorites” premiere and in honor of Valentine’s Day, I decided to take a minute to send out some love to everyone in “Survivor” nation*.

*Is “Survivor” nation a thing?

(more…)


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