Archive for May, 2013

‘Survivor’ Summer Book Club – ‘Survivor: Cook Islands’ Episode 1

May 29, 2013

EP01Let’s hit on a couple of things before we jump into this…

First of all, I think it’s pretty safe to assume that anyone willing to participate in something this nerdy is well aware of how “Survivor: Cook Islands” turned out. If you’re looking to avoid spoilers on a TV series that happened seven years ago, this might not be the place for you.

Second, “Survivor: The Amazon” came in a very close second place to Cook Islands in our re-watch poll. If you’d like to tackle that season by yourself, Mr. Rob Cesternino is very generously offering his “Survivor: The Amazon – Unauthorized DVD Commentary” at an exclusive DISCOUNTED RATE for Summer Book Club members.

Third, our friends at True Dork Times are once again getting in on the fun with stats, awards, and more.

And finally, this whole Book Club thing is kind of a work in progress. If you have ideas on how to improve the proceedings, please let me know.


‘Survivor’ Finalist Dawn Meehan – ‘Cochran’s Win Felt Like My Win’

May 14, 2013

Dawn Meehan (CBS)

My favorite part of this “Survivor” coverage gig is getting to interview players before the game starts. They’re so full of energy and excitement; it’s intoxicating. It’s especially fun when that person is a huge fan of the game.

That’s why it’s so hard to see someone who has such a passion for the show have a rough experience. It broke my heart to talk to Russell Swan after his rough time on “Survivor: Philippines.”

Heading into this Sunday’s finale, I was worried Dawn Meehan was going to have a similar fate. The harsh online reaction she received after voting out Brenda Lowe would be enough to drive anyone to tears.

Fortunately, tears are to Dawn what spinach is to Popeye.

I spoke with the “Survivor: Caramoan” runner-up the morning after the finale and asked her about Brenda’s bizarre request, the Internet’s outrage, and how the XFINITY TV Power Rankings helped her dominate the game…

Gordon Holmes: How are you?
Dawn Meehan: Oh, I’m good.
Holmes: Are you sure?
Meehan: Of course! Am I ever going to be anything but good? (Laughs)
Holmes: Good, I was worried.
Meehan: Oh, don’t worry! It’s contradictory. I cry, so people think I’m not OK. I cry because it’s cleansing. I don’t cry because I’m weak. It’s who I am and how I express myself.
Holmes: You are one of the kindest, most selfless people I’ve ever met, so it’s not surprising that you’ve bounced back. I just wanted to make sure.
Meehan: I appreciate it, the love from CBS, from the press, from other players, from my family. The ending has been humbling, but I don’t want to take away that I got to go to the end of a game I’ve dreamed about playing and I got there with my best friend. Cochran and I have spent 67 days on an island together and we’ve accomplished something that’s pretty improbable. I feel success with his success. And I did earn a prize for my family.
Holmes: I hate the idea of someone who loves the show, the way you love the show…hating the show.
Meehan: I don’t think I dislike “Survivor.” I have respect for the game. But, it such a hard game. I wish there were a lot more moments where you saw people triumphing. I think that’s why Cochran’s win is so significant. That’s why it was emotional for me. Cochran’s win felt like my win. We’d play together, we’d wake up at 4am and make decisions. We made this agreement that in the end it’s 1.1 million dollars together. I’m OK losing to you, you’re OK losing to me. I think it was a more stressful combination of players this time. I’m starting to appreciate the Bob Marley Ozzy approach.
Holmes: It sounds like you’re coming at this from the proper perspective.
Meehan: I’m always going to, Gordon. I love the game. I’m a people pleaser and in “South Pacific” I was very much a people pleaser and it’s easy to love the game when you get 99% positive tweets and love from people. So, it was good for me to have a different experience and be in charge of my own game. Last night was hard, the Tribal Council was hard. It was hard to live through at the time. Even harder to know it was coming. Today I feel strong. I’ll be honest, I couldn’t watch it because it brought back some painful times. I love Corinne, I can’t explain how hard it was to vote her off. So, there was a sense of pride that I went mind over heart. I don’t typically live my life that way. CBS has been great, and Jeff. You know we have a great medical team and psychologists, I know they’re Dawn fans and they wish for me that it didn’t happen as uncomfortably as it did. And I’m a better person for it, even if there are Twitter followers who think I’m a jerk.
Holmes: Who knew that there was negativity on the internet?
Meehan: (Laughs) I know! I should be grateful nobody has included me in any pornography.
Holmes: Give them time.
Meehan: (Laughs) Give them time, that’s right. But, I’m so good, Gordon. “Survivor” stress was nothing compared to our six adoptions.

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Holmes: Last night when Brenda asked you to take your teeth out…
Meehan: Take your teeth out! Take your teeth out!
Holmes: What was the point of that? What do you think she was getting at?
Meehan: To hurt me. Well, in Brenda’s defense, she’s so kind, and I made peace with her at Ponderosa. It didn’t mean that we were going to keep in touch over ten months. And then watching the show, it’s like scratching off a scab. At Tribal, I think she wanted to take control back and she was hurt. When she talked to me at Ponderosa she said, “Dawn, I felt like a boyfriend had broken up with me. I couldn’t get over it.” And I think women play the game differently than men. We make emotional attachments, so those votes are very difficult. Maybe that’s sexist of me?
Holmes: I was going to say, I feel the way people react might be a little sexist. “Boston” Rob had a similar situation where he and Grant Mattos were never able to mend fences after Rob voted him out. But, all you ever hear about “Boston” Rob is what a great strategist he is. Do you think there is some sexism in the way female strategists are compared to male strategists?
Meehan: Yeah, this is the part that I love about “Survivor” because I think it raises questions. You turn to your boyfriend or girlfriend while watching the show and say, “Would you do that for a million dollars? Would you be willing to vote Grant out or throw away the clue? Would you be willing to vote out the woman that just saved your teeth?” So, to me that was the shocking thing. It raises questions about society. That’s what I love about it. But I think there’s a double standard, and it adds more that I’m a mother. I didn’t feel like I treated Brenda like I was her mother, but she mentioned that I’m like a mother to her. So, there’s something about having a mother do it, than having Cochran do it. And I don’t fault her for doing it. Voting people out was the hardest part, taking out my teeth wasn’t hard at all. And I did kind of feel like, “If this makes Brenda feel better? Amen.”
Holmes: We’re not all former cheerleaders.
Meehan: (Laughs)
Holmes: Some of us have imperfections.
Meehan: I hope she feels some peace. You don’t want anyone to be affected long term.

Holmes: Alright, word association time.
Meehan: I’m not as organized as Malcolm was.
Holmes: You’re not supposed to be!
Meehan: I have nothing but positive things to say.
Holmes: Well, that’s a waste. But let’s do it anyway. We’ll start with Erik.
Meehan: Insanely creative.
Holmes: Malcolm?
Meehan: He’s a brilliant strategist. The reason we won so many of those early challenges is because he was figuring out how to shave time off of the challenges. He’s very analytical.
Holmes: Eddie?
Meehan: Extremely lovable.
Holmes: Sherri?
Meehan: Strong.
Holmes: Brenda?
Meehan: Kind.
Holmes: Michael?
Meehan: My favorite person on the planet.
Holmes: Andrea?
Meehan: Andrea is family to me.
Holmes: Cochran?
Meehan: My very best friend in the whole wide world.
Holmes: Phillip?
Meehan: It’s so hard for me…he’s so many things… (to her husband) help me, Dave. I’m dying.
Holmes: Cheater!
Meehan: He is loyal.

Holmes: You are the most dominant competitor in the history of the XFINITY TV Power Rankings.
Meehan: You think I’m kidding, but you helped me so much. I started to look at the game from every individual players’ perspective and not just my own. I felt like I had this ability to put myself in other peoples’ point of view. I said that in casting. That’s what changed the game for me.
Holmes: That’s awesome. See, I did something good for once.
Meehan: Andrea and I would talk about the Power Rankings out there.
Holmes: I assumed you two would just write them in the sand.

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

‘Survivor’ Champion John Cochran – ‘I Thought Dawn Could Beat Me’

May 13, 2013

John Cochran (CBS)

Now that John Cochran is the latest million-dollar “Survivor” winner, he’s going to pass on practicing law for a while to focus on writing. Well, from one writer to another, here’s a little advice…

Don’t write a story about an underdog who gets a second chance to fulfill his childhood dream and pulls off a stunning victory. It was already done in “Rocky II” and it was awesome.

I spoke with the newly crowned champ the morning after his big win and asked him about his boyhood dream coming true, how he compares to other champs, and his teeny, tiny check…

Gordon Holmes: The champ…is…heeeeere!
John Cochran: (Laughs, Sings a few bars of John Cena’s theme music) Unreal, right?
Holmes: Over the moon for you, buddy.
Cochran: It hasn’t fully registered for me yet, but thank you. I appreciate it.
Holmes: Let’s see here…four individual challenge wins, no votes against you, all of the votes at the final Tribal Council…after all that, why did they give you such a tiny check?
Cochran: That pisses me off more than I should be talking about because it’s not the most flattering thing to be complaining about. And there’s a typo, my address is spelled wrong. I don’t think that’s going to prevent me from cashing it. Is a big, foam novelty check that expensive?
Holmes:  I feel so bad for you.
Cochran: (Laughs) You should!
Holmes: I mean, winning a million dollars is cool, and dominating the game you’ve loved since your childhood is nice, but having to cash a tiny check is brutal.
Cochran: I’ll get over it, but when I saw Jeff come out with that tiny check I thought, “Really, this is how this is going to happen? After all I’ve given you, Jeff? A typo-ridden, flappy piece of paper.”

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Holmes: You were worried about being Sugar’d, by that we meant, voted out first after being a star your first season. But now, it’s looking like you’re more of a Parvati.
Cochran: Yeah! The parallels are there. She was on 13 and 16. I was on 23 and 26. We both won on a “Fans vs. Favorites” season. She did a little bit better on “Cook Islands.” But to be compared to Parvati, even though the gameplay is different…you know, it’s blowing my mind now. When people reference other winners and I’m a part of it now? That’s so bizarre to me. As bizarre and stupid as that little Richard Hatch video thing was, the fact that I’m part of that lineage is unbelievable to me.
Holmes: That could be you some day. Naked on a beach.
Cochran: An incomprehensible video speech to pitch to some rambling Rudy. I don’t know what that was about. That reunion show? I’ve got to rewatch it. Living it was so bizarre.

Holmes: The worst part of your game was being a reporter who has to interview you the next day. Usually you ask about where things went wrong or why you made certain moves, but everything seemed pretty well documented. So, let’s try some “What if” questions. Erik went out first with his medical issue. What was the plan if he’d stuck around?
Cochran: It was to get rid of Eddie first. I thought Erik would still keep me around. I wasn’t sure if he’d keep Dawn or not. But after Brenda, I was inexplicably in everyone’s final three last night. It seemed like everyone wanted to take out Dawn. Nobody was talking about voting me out. We would’ve gone for Eddie, then Erik, and you’d get the same final three. Erik probably would have won that card-stacking immunity. And that would’ve been an immunity, not for the advantage. They converted it. But, he would have won that. Then we would’ve voted out Eddie.
Holmes: Could Erik have won at a final Tribal?
Cochran: I don’t think Erik would’ve won. I think Brenda would’ve had an OK shot at winning.
Holmes: Even if Erik went back-to-back in those last two immunities, I don’t think the jury would’ve given it to him. They seemed to respect strategy over challenge prowess.
Cochran: That’s the sense I got. Even Eddie, people said he would’ve had the Amigo votes, Andrea because of their relationship, Michael… Malcolm and Andrea wouldn’t have voted for Eddie. Reynold would have. And that weighed on my mind, he’d get at least one vote.

Holmes: Did you think Dawn could beat you?
Cochran: I thought Dawn could beat me. I didn’t go there thinking she’s a crazy, volatile lady that everybody hates. I knew people perceived her as paranoid and crying, but I thought of her as a legitimate threat. She played a super strong game.
Holmes: My thing with Dawn is, if you have a reputation as a player, people will respect you when you vote them out. If you act like you’re nice, they’ll get upset.
Cochran: Yeah. But some of that might be ageism. She’s an older woman, so I don’t know if there are maternal connotations. It’s different if your mother votes you off instead of your bratty, younger brother. Just the way Dawn connects with people is emotional. It stings more when she votes you off. I had good relationships with everyone, but we didn’t have these crying connections.

Holmes: Were there any big moves that we didn’t see?
Cochran: There were a couple of things where after I did them I thought, “Maybe I made a mistake.” Voting off Andrea, she would have gone to the end with me. And I think I would’ve beaten her. It would’ve been close. I voted out Andrea in order to keep Brenda who had no intention of going to the end with me. And I was wondering if that was a bad move.
Holmes: It worked out.
Cochran: Yeah, my rationalization was she had an idol and she wanted to keep Eddie. That freaked me out. And I shouldn’t be admitting this, because it shatters the illusion of me playing a magnificent game…
Holmes: Shatter away…
Cochran: At the merge, the most important vote was the Corinne vote. It wasn’t clear we were going to have the numbers. Andrea was going to talk to Eddie to get him on board, but she was called away for an interview. And it was at a point that we knew we were going to get called away for Tribal Council in the next ten minutes. I was terrified she wouldn’t get to talk to him. So I went to Eddie, not having spoken to him over the previous three days, and introduced myself and told him we were voting for Corinne. Malcolm saw me do this, Malcolm goes right up to Eddie. I see this intense conversation between them. That could’ve blown everything. Had Eddie ratted me out, Malcolm could have played the idol for Corinne and it would’ve been a disaster. That would’ve ruined my game.

Holmes: As you well know, we do word associations here…
Cochran: I haven’t planned anything for this. Damnit! I was so consumed with other things. I won’t have any clever things. You’ve got Malcolm with his big theatrical things….
Holmes: Malcolm is a filthy cheater, you’re not supposed to have anything prepared.
Cochran: I’m just going to legitimately do adjectives that come to mind.
Holmes: That’s what you’re supposed to do.
Cochran: I like that I’m admitting defeat by playing by the rules.
Holmes: Let’s start with Dawn.
Cochran: Dawn is wonderful. I do love Dawn.
Holmes: Phillip?
Cochran: Storyteller.
Holmes: Erik?
Cochran: I don’t even know…benign.
Holmes: Malcolm?
Cochran: Rivalry. Hatred, intense hatred. I love Malcolm too, but we have a joking feud with each other.
Holmes: Well, one of you has a million-dollar check.
Cochran: I know, but I still find myself jealous that he was fan favorite and I wasn’t even mentioned.
Holmes: Eddie?
Cochran: Goofball.
Holmes: Sherri?
Cochran: Intense.
Holmes: Brenda?
Cochran: Serene. And I want to go on the record, Phillip came up to me and asked what word would describe how calm Brenda is, and I said, “Serenity.” And then I see him walk over there and say,  “I’ve come up with a name for you.” Give me a break, can’t the intelligencia attaché get some credit?
Holmes: That’s another feather in your perfect game cap.
Cochran: (Laughs) Yes, I’ve also got a Stealth R Us nickname to my credit.
Holmes: Micheal?
Cochran: This is going to sound like a back-handed compliment, but he’s the most well-adjusted guy on the show.
Holmes: Andrea?
Cochran: Delightful. I like Andrea.

Holmes: The best part of all of this is, you can go back and play it Sandra style. “I’ve already won, you should take me to the end because they won’t give me another million bucks.”
Cochran: No, I think I’m done.
Holmes: What?
Cochran: We can joke about it being the perfect game, but I’m never going to do as well as I did this time. And, I don’t like the ten-month waiting period of filming the show and then waiting for it to air. I basically don’t function during those ten months.

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

‘Survivor: Caramoan’ Finale Recap: And the Sole Survivor Is…

May 12, 2013

"Survivor: Caramoan" (CBS)

Quick Note: Be sure to check back tomorrow for exit interviews with some of tonight’s finalists. Follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute news and info.

Last Wednesday: Erik tried to climb a tree that would take him out of the game, Cochran’s dad showed some skill tending to a barbecue flame, and Dawn shocked the world when she wrote down Brenda’s name…

39 Days, 20 People, 1 “Survivor” Blog

Let’s take a look at the tribe as it currently stands…

The Enil Edam Tribe (wearing green)
Cochran – Harvard Law Student, 25
Dawn – English Professor/Power Rankings Champ, 42
Eddie – Firefighter/EMT, 23
Erik – Comic Book Artist, 27
Sherri – Fast Food Franchisee, 41

Oh boy…Erik is in rough shape immediately after Tribal Council. Apparently he’s having dizzy spells. Probst calls in the medical team and they think the starvation is getting to him. They put an IV in his arm and in Eddie’s shining moment of the season, he explains exactly what the purpose of the IV is.

Probst asks the doctor for his recommendation and he decides to pull Erik from the game. Wow. Easily the latest someone has ever left the game due to medical evacuation. Poor Erik…

However, I’ll give Erik this…he doesn’t leave the game in dull ways.

Back at camp, everyone’s minds are blown to lose Erik and Brenda in such quick succession.

Cochran realizes he needs to get on Eddie’s good side as Eddie is the most likely to win the next immunity challenge. Why do people keep thinking that? He’s won nothing!

The unlikely duo strikes a deal that Dawn will go home next.

Reward Challenge Time: Players will build a stack of tiles on a platform with one hand, while holding a lever that balances that platform with the other hand. First person to reach the proper height wins an advantage in the final immunity challenge.

Note: A challenge similar to this one was done in “South Pacific.” The highlight of that was Sophie yelling at Albert to “Drop your damn stack!”

Not much to describe here except for some balancin’ and some stackin’. Dawn almost has her stack to the top when she loses it. Eddie suffers a similar fate. Sherri is oh…so…close…

Man, this is tense.

But…Sherri’s monster stack falls. Cochran comes from behind and wins the advantage.

Back at Enil Edam beach, Sherri tells Eddie that she wants to be next to Cochran and Eddie because she thinks Dawn will take all the votes. Eddie agrees with her. Wait, what?! All the votes? Did you see Brenda last episode?

Dawn doesn’t like that Sherri and Eddie are chatting with each other. Cochran tries to calm her down, but it’s obvious that keeping Dawn calm has been quite a chore all season.

Tree mail arrives, and it sounds like it’s time for fallen comrades…zzz…

First up is Francesca, Cochran says Francesca wasn’t voted out because she was a bad player, but because she was a threat.

Cochran doesn’t remember who Allie is. He’s reminded that she was Reynold’s girlfriend. Ouch.

Eddie refers to Hope as his first “Survivor” love. The first of many…

Sherri calls Shamar her “Brother from another mother.”  Her rude, complaining, terrible at “Survivor” brother from another mother.

The finalists don’t say anything about Laura, Matt, Julia, or Michael. Now it’s just getting mean.

Phillip is given credit for creating Stealth R US and “Boston” Rob is name dropped. (Mark your BINGO cards.)

Dawn thinks Malcolm was the biggest threat to win the game…and my heart.

Cochran thinks Andrea is charming, beautiful, and smart. She’s a hell of a Power Ranker, too.

Cochran thinks Brenda was one of the strongest players in the game.

Dawn thought that Erik would’ve made it to the final three.

Immunity Challenge Time: Players will race up a tower, untie puzzle pieces, then slide down. They’ll do this three times. They’ll then use those pieces to complete a fire-shaped puzzle. First person to finish their puzzle wins immunity and a guaranteed spot in the final three.

YAY!  A puzzle!

Cochran’s advantage is that he won’t have to untie the puzzle pieces, he’ll just have to grab them

The challenge starts off and Cochran’s advantage is paying huge dividends as he flies through the course. He has all three bags before anyone else has their second.

However, Cochran is having a tough time getting any pieces to fit and Dawn passes him. Cochran finally figures it out and regains the lead. Probst makes sure to point out that Cochran is the least likely person to dominate a challenge. So hurtful.

After about a half an hour, Eddie gets his first piece in.

Sherri and Dawn make a decent showing, but Cochran finishes first to earn immunity. Dawn seems happier about it that Cochran does.

When Probst presents Cochran with the necklace, Cochran compares himself to Colby Donaldson and “Boston” Rob Mariano. The irony there is neither of them won the game their second time around, and I don’t think Eddie, Sherri, or Dawn have a chance in hell of beating Cochran.

Back at camp, Cochran knows he wants to bring Sherri along, but he isn’t sure about Dawn or Eddie. He drops some cocky comments, calling Eddie a “chauvinistic, 23-year-old idiot.”

Cochran tells Eddie that he doesn’t think he can beat him or Dawn. Eddie says the jury likes him because he’s “an idiot.” Oh, I guess Cochran’s previous assessment wasn’t too harsh.

Eddie intends to use the money to open a veterinarian/bar. That’s what he said in his pre-game interview! At least his time out there hasn’t changed him.

That night at Tribal Council, Erik makes his return. Good to see him in one piece.

Eddie thought that Erik, Dawn, and Sherri were going to be the final three.

Cochran thinks it’s good that Erik left, but it was hard to celebrate due to the circumstances.

Cochran does a fantastic job of playing the underdog card in front of the jury. Yeah, he’s unbeatable.

Dawn knows that she’s upset the jury and she thinks the only jury member that Eddie has upset is Phillip.

Eddie agrees, but he thinks that shows how bad his strategy was. Ooo…smart, Eddie. Welcome to the game.

Cochran thinks they both have good arguments, and it comes down to what the jury wants in a winner.

Sherri thinks that people don’t see her as a threat, but she’s made alliances, and she’s heard everything.

Eddie flat out says Cochran’s best shot is with him and Sherri.

Voting Time: Eddie votes for Dawn, Dawn votes for Eddie, and Cochran votes for the only person he thinks can beat him. The rest are secret.

Probst tallies and returns. We’ve got one vote for Dawn, two votes for Eddie, and the seventeenth person to be eliminated from “Survivor: Caramoan – Fans vs. Favorites” and the eighth member of the jury is…Eddie.

Dawn gives Eddie a big hug as he leaves and everybody rolls their eyes. Uh oh…

The next morning, the final three is greeted by their day-39 brunch.

Dawn thinks she can beat Sherri or Cochran. Well, she’s half right.

Next, Cochran throws Harvard under the bus for not preparing him for a “Survivor” jury. Yeah, kids…stay away from Harvard, there’s no future there.

That night at Tribal Council, Dawn makes the first opening statement. She admits that it was hard for her to be deceptive. She said going into the game she wanted to have one ally that she’d take to the end (Cochran) and she wanted to control her game. She also gave herself permission to break trust and friendships.

Sherri admits that she’s a successful businesswoman who has 75 employees and several businesses. I’m not one to give the money to whoever needs it this most, but how does bringing this up help her?

Cochran goes last and points out that he is the true “Survivor” fan. He never thought he’d be a challenge machine. He never thought he’d be a calming force within his crazy tribes. He says he hasn’t been stronger or more strategic, but he’s had better timing. Better timing? Oh, that’s good.

Malcolm bats leadoff for the jurors. He doesn’t have a question for Sherri. He tells Dawn that he’s going to be her best friend, he says she’s cold-blooded, but she has to own it. Agreed. He says if she fights for it, he’ll vote for her.

He asks Cochran what quality he has that Malcolm doesn’t that made him successful. Cochran thinks it’s his higher level of insecurity because he was more likely to take out threats.

Clean-shaven Eddie asks Sherri if she was carried to the final three. She says she wasn’t and the entire jury laughs. That’s not a good sign. He then calls out Dawn for being weak and fragile. Dawn thinks she’s been strong, but he’s seen the wear of the game on her.

Finally, he asks Cochran where he’s sees himself after the game. Cochran says he’ll be hanging out at the bar with the Three Amigos. But will he join in on a chorus of “My Little Buttercup”?

Phillip goes next, he points out that Sherri joining the faves was a strategic move. He then kicks her out of Stealth R Us Too! Whoa! How will she go on? He then does his impersonation of Dawn freaking out and says he doesn’t think he’ll vote for her.

Finally, Phillip says he enjoyed playing the game with Cochran and he’s a class act.

Erik bats clean-up. He tells Dawn that her voting for Brenda crushed him. Dawn says that she was prepared to use relationships to advance in the game. She thought Brenda was a threat and she needed to go.

Erik asks Sherri why she’s still there. He says that she never did anything in the game and was a seashell on the beach. She thinks that’s his opinion and she doesn’t care what he thinks. She tells him he can sit down. Oof…

Some guy named Michael is next. He thinks Dawn and Cochran played the same game, but Cochran is getting off easy. Dawn thinks the difference in their game is that Dawn created relationships with people. She doesn’t think Cochran had as much say as she did.

Cochran admits that he’s happy that she’s getting these reactions, but the paranoia she had was tough on their alliance. Cochran thinks they wouldn’t be in the game if he hadn’t become her therapist.

Reynold admits that he didn’t like Dawn from day one because he thought she was a fraud. Reynold wants her to honestly describe him using three adjectives. She says “chauvinistic,” “great sense of humor,” and “vulgar.”

Andrea is next, she tells them to relax because she’s not bitter. She asks Cochran which animal he played the game like, he says a chameleon because he was able to change colors. Andrea then says she wanted to play the game like Dawn.

Last up is Brenda…here we go… First up, she gives Cochran grief for cutting her loose after she gave him the family visit. Cochran says he’s been able to separate the game and emotion. He says out of the game he’d thank her, but in the game he got rid of her because she’s a threat.

Brenda brings up the retainer incident. She thinks she had Dawn’s fate in the game in her hand. She asks if Dawn would have really quit without the retainer. Dawn says she wouldn’t have. Brenda asks Dawn to take her retainer out in front of the jury. Dawn refuses at first, but eventually agrees to do it.

That was awkward and weird.

So, I think Cochran’s got this thing won, Dawn did as well as she could have, and Sherri…was…in attendance.

Voting Time: Phillip votes for Cochran and the rest of the votes are secret.

Back in LA and Rudy Boesch is in the house!

Sherri says the odds of her winning are not good. Cochran says he feels confident, but when you’re confident you get screwed over. Dawn doesn’t think she’ll win, but she’ll be able to buy new teeth.

Alright, we’ve got four votes for Cochran and the winner of “Survivor: Caramoan – Fans vs. Favorites” is…Cochran.

Verdict: The pre-merge game was full of the weird Springer-esque stuff that loses my interest. Brandon and Shamar? No thanks. However, post-merge this season was awesome.

And for the first time ever, a Power Ranker has returned to the game and won. I’m so proud. Congrats, Cochran.

Power Rankings Results: Let’s see, Michael Skupin correctly called the final three for a total of 15 points. I had Cochran and Dawn in the final three for a total of 10 points. So, the final score is Team Skupin 156, Team Lightning Punch 163. Much thanks to Michael for being such great competition this season. Best of all, nobody got hurt!

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

‘Survivor: Caramoan’ Power Rankings – Finale Edition!

May 10, 2013

'Survivor: Caramoan' (CBS)

Quick Note: Be sure to stick around for the final days of “Survivor: Caramoan” as we’ll have full episode recaps, interviews with the contestants, and more. Follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute news and info.

The Finale Rules: The two combatants will rank the players based on how they think they will finish the game. Each correct placement is worth five points. 

Note: There is no weighting for the two finalists who don’t win. They are considered tied no matter how many jury votes they receive.

Last Time: Michael Skupin had Brenda in spot five while Gordon’s clean-up hitter Michael Skupin Jr. had her in spot three. So, the current score is Team Skupin 141, Team Lightning Punch 153.

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

Gordon Holmes: That was some rough business last episode. Any words for poor Brenda?
Michael Skupin: The world’s heart went out to you.  The ultimate sacrifice of love went not only unrewarded but penalized to a depth that you may not recover emotionally for years.  You put the pedal to the medal when you needed to and we began seeing the gamer that we knew you always were.  Your dad said, be humble and you played with humbled magnificence.  Remember, this is not a life-lesson, this is “Survivor,” a game you played very well.

Holmes: Family visits always get to me. As we saw last season, yours certainly got to you.
Skupin: The family visit, Lou Diamond Phillips tweeted that this was the best TV out there.  There is no love from contestants, production, or Probst for over a month and we’re served up love and it is more emotional than anytime we can remember.
Holmes: Well, that’s the first half. The other half is maybe one of the cruelest twists I’ve ever seen.
Skupin: The twist tortured Brenda and Dawn to a depth never seen before and allowed them to watch all the love and a full belly that Brenda had just passed up. Winning the family visit challenge may be the kiss of death, but I’d never recommend that one for your game. In any event, the goose bumps that may have lasted til the finale were immediately gone when the bone-chilling votes were read.  Likeability vs. liability as the once challenge beast quipped, turns out Brenda was both. An odd ironic thought: both Dawn and Brenda long outlasted all the other contestants in the last immunity challenge yet were the only ones that were robbed of the love-fest and love-feast. Only on “Survivor.”

Holmes: As we head into the finale, how has this season held up for you?
Skupin: A season that started out so slow, finished suspensefully as it most often does. One regret is Allie going home so soon. Arguably one of the fans strongest assets was removed way too early. That and Shamar and that grain of sand. Maybe we’d have been treated to a fan tribe that wasn’t at the mercy of the favorites the entire season.

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

Michael’s Current Score: 141

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

Gordon’s Current Score: 153

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

 Winner – Dawn: In order for you to win, I believe you need to get rid of Cochran and Brenda. You’d have had to betray every alliance you created from day one to do that.  You called many of the shots out there.  You took chances.  You’ll be remembered as one of the best to play this game.
  Winner – Cochran:I absolutely want to play again. My only fear is the reputation I have. I’ve proven myself to be weak, worthless in challenges, apparently I’m annoying, and I’m a traitor. I don’t think all of those are true, but I’m afraid I’d go into the game and there’d be no reason why people would want to keep me. People would be calling me Sugar 2.0. So, I want to do it, I just need major image rehabilitation.” John Cochran – December 8, 2011

The image rehabilitation worked. And if Brenda is to be believed, you’re the last threat in the game. This jury will respect that and reward you accordingly.

 Finalist – Cochran: Turns out your mother may have been your best alliance when she told you that Brenda was going to win this game.  You learned so much from the first time you played and were able to stay just far enough below the radar while playing the game hard.  You deserve it as much as Dawn does.
  Finalist – Erik: I think the voting block from last episode (Cochran, Dawn, and Sherri) is the game’s last alliance. So, if Erik is going to get to the end he’s going to need to win that final-four immunity. If it’s a big maze challenge or something physical, it’s all his. If it’s balancing on a floating dog house while reciting bread recipes, I think he’s done for. And even if he can get to the end, I think a jury that features Brenda, Malcolm, Andrea, Phillip, and Sherri is going to reward strategy over niceness. It also isn’t helping him that I gave him my pre-game curse.
 Finalist – Sherri: You played it safe, but I believe you will make it to final three and that is a big deal. 

 Finalist – Dawn: This Dawn thing has really stuck with me. Why does everyone hate on her for getting rid of Brenda, while other people are celebrated for their cutthroat moves? Is it that different from when Andrea was voted out? Andrea targeted Dawn, she went home. Brenda targeted Cochran, she went home. Would Dawn get a pass if Brenda hadn’t cried when she was eliminated? Is it because of the retainer? The bonding? The crying? I don’t have any answers. But, I’d imagine Dawn is in for a rough final Tribal Council.

  4. Erik: I’ll never forget one of your last quotes… “There’s nothing left to be said, there’s nothing left to be done.”  Although at final six, there’s an entire endgame to play.  Emotionally, that’s either your demise or your wake-up call.
 4. Sherri: Sherri is someone who played this game. She probably said some things, but very little of that footage was aired on CBS television. If Erik wins final-four immunity, she’ll finish in fourth place. If he doesn’t she’ll finish in third place. Either way, she’s getting scary skinny. I hope she spends some serious time at her Jimmy John’s and Wetzel Pretzels franchises when this whole thing is over.

  5. Eddie: Well done! You outlasted some of the best players in this game.  Call it dumb luck, beginner’s luck, under-the-radar, or whatever you’d like.  You survived your Bromigos getting voted out, your showmance getting blindsided and even quit immunity challenges and your torch hardly ever wavered.  No one will ever likely write a book about your gameplay but you accomplished what few people ever do.  One of your final comments sums up your game, “I’m forever grateful to everyone for continuing to keep me.”
 5. Eddie: Apparently nice guys finish fifth.

Let’s Play ‘Survivor: Caramoan – Fans vs. Favorites’ BINGO!

May 9, 2013

caramoanbingoAll good things must come to an end, and so too must “Survivor: Caramoan – Fans vs. Favorites.” But how do you celebrate this Sunday’s finale? Throwing rice on the floor? Giving your loved ones code names? Hiding idols around your living room? Voting for which season we should watch during the “Survivor” Summer Book Club?

Well…yeah. Totally do all that stuff.  But, play “Survivor” BINGO too!

How to Play: Print out the BINGO game boards below. During the finale, fill in your spaces. The first person to complete a horizontal, vertical, or diagonal five-square line wins!

Click to Enlarge
Click to Enlarge
Click to Enlarge
Click to Enlarge

Even More Whatnot…

‘Survivor’ Castaway Brenda ‘Probably Wouldn’t Talk to Dawn Ever Again’

May 9, 2013

'Survivor: Caramoan' (CBS)

Quick Note: Be sure to stick around for the final days of “Survivor: Caramoan” as we’ll have full episode recaps, interviews with the contestants, and more. Follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute news and info.

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“YOLO” is to youth culture what saying “it’s part of the game” is to “Survivor.”  They’re both perfectly acceptable ways of going about your business, but they don’t exempt you from dealing with the consequences of your actions.

If you break your arm while skateboarding, YOLO is as good a reason as any for attempting the move. But, it doesn’t mend your bones any faster.

If you vote out an ally on “Survivor,” saying “it’s part of the game” is a totally understandable reason. But, that doesn’t mean the ally has to reward you for it.

Brenda Lowe was dealt a pretty harsh lesson in “Survivor” last night when she was sent packing by the person she thought was her closest ally. And just because it’s part of the game, didn’t make it any easier to watch. I spoke with her the next morning and had a chance to ask about her relationship with Dawn, the new Brenda vs. the old Brenda, and whether players should start throwing the family challenge…

Gordon Holmes: Last night was rough!
Brenda Lowe: (Laughs) Oh, I know. It sucks.
Holmes: It sounds like you’re in good spirits, though.
Lowe: Yeah, I have to be. I’m happy about it. Well, I’m obviously not happy about the horribleness, but the experience overall.
Holmes: On a scale from one to ten, how much did you trust Dawn going into last night’s Tribal?
Lowe: Going into the Tribal it was a ten.
Holmes: Wow…especially after the retainer incident. People get upset and they cry, but that seemed to be on another level. It was such an intense moment between you two.
Lowe: You have those situations and you are in a moment where you have to take care of someone. It really reminded me of back home. I have a little brother who’s 11 years younger than me. And when we were younger he got hurt and he busted his lip open. Blood was pouring out and my mom was hysterical. I had to take care of him, and calm down my Mom, and make sure everything was OK. That’s exactly what I felt during the whole Dawn thing.  “You’re going to be OK. I’m going to save you. Don’t worry about it, relax.” That feeling of, “Man, I’ve done this before” made me associate her with family. I would never vote off Dawn. I would never do that. As crazy and unstable as she was, it was something you understood because that’s her character. But, I felt so attached. And I thought that was the biggest sign I could receive. This woman chose me to help her, I was able to help her. The two of us could be unbeatable! It sounds so corny now, but I was never going to vote against her.
Holmes: Is this going to stick with you? Will you be able to talk to her at the finale?
Lowe: Umm…I’m not sure. Of course you should always forgive. But, deep down inside with the friendships I have, the quality of friendships I have, probably not. That’s just me being honest. Will I be nasty? No, because my parents didn’t raise me like that. So as far as being warm and inviting? Probably not. If it wasn’t for the finale I probably wouldn’t talk to Dawn ever again.
Holmes: We obviously haven’t heard from Dawn yet about last night’s vote. But, I’d assume one of her counterpoints would be how you targeted Cochran. That’s been a theme lately. You tell Dawn you want to get rid of Cochran, you’re gone. You tell Cochran you want to get rid of Dawn, you’re gone. It seems like they’re doing a fantastic job of hiding how close they really are.
Lowe: That was a big mistake of mine. I knew they were close, but I thought they were close to keep each other calm. I didn’t know they were unbreakable. I thought for sure that Dawn would at least be honest with me. If it was me, Dawn, and Cochran at the end, I’d be fine with that as long as I was there. To their credit, I didn’t see how they genuinely wouldn’t turn on each other. Had I known that, I definitely wouldn’t have called out Cochran’s name. As far as strategy, he was the last strategic person there, so he had to go…the same way he thought that I had to go.

[iframe—Fans-vs.-Favorites/6680657917899399112/29486147728/Survivor%3A-Caramoan—Don-t-Say-Anything-About-My-Mom/embed 580 476]

Holmes: Of the final six, who would’ve been your dream final three?
Lowe: At that moment it was me, Dawn, and Erik. I  don’t think that Sherri deserved it. And Eddie is likable, but he found his way where he is now. And Cochran was the biggest threat, so why would I want him there?

Holmes: Before the game you and I talked about how when we met in Nicaragua you were the nice, fun Brenda we all know and love. But in the game you were stone cold.
Lowe: (Laughs)
Holmes: (Laughs) And this season you were nice and fun in the game. Was it your dad’s direction that put you on that path?
Lowe: Definitely. It was my dad’s direction, it was also getting an opportunity to play before and watch myself. That was a big deal for me. A lot of the time I’d be watching the show and I was on top and doing great, but some of the things I’d say would make me cringe. These are still people. The biggest lesson was that way did not work. You’ve got to do something different. And then out of nowhere having the strangest advice from my family. Before they were like, “Don’t come back without the million dollars!” Now they were like, “Just be humble, be kind.” I thought it was very strange, but it really did help me. It felt great. That attitude had a lot to do with how I was able to connect to people.

Holmes: In the Philippines, Malcolm wins the family reward and it comes back to bite him in the rear. Last night you win the family challenge and it bites you in the rear. Going forward, should players just throw the family challenge?
Lowe: No! I think it’s horrible. You can’t. How could you do that? You have to try your hardest. You’re pumped up with your loved one, doing a challenge together. You always want to do your best. To play it any other way is not good advice.
Holmes: Well…
Lowe: And it’s boring! Can you imagine if everybody threw the challenge? It wouldn’t be fun.
Holmes: Hey, I love my girlfriend, but I could see her two weeks later and possibly have a million-dollar check.
Lowe: (Laughs) That’s true.

Holmes: Alright, word association time…
Lowe: I’m going to do animals because I recently went to the zoo and I thought, “this is perfect.”
Holmes: You and Malcolm. Alright, let’s start with Cochran.
Lowe: When I think of Cochran I think of a red panda.
Holmes: Eddie?
Lowe: Eddie is a fox. A likable fox.
Holmes: Erik?
Lowe: Erik is a Cocker Spaniel. He’s very happy and independent.
Holmes: Phillip?
Lowe: A bear, a huggable one.
Holmes: Sherri?
Lowe: I think Sherri is an emu.
Holmes: Reynold?
Lowe: A lion.
Holmes: Malcolm?
Lowe: A horse, running free with his hair in the wind. (Laughs)
Holmes: His beautiful, flowing mane.
Lowe: (Laughs)
Holmes: Andrea?
Lowe: Andrea is golden panther with striking blue eyes.
Holmes: She’s going to be heartbroken that she’s not a unicorn.
Lowe: (Laughs) Oh! I didn’t see that at the zoo.
Holmes: Let’s finish with Dawn.
Lowe: Dawn…she’s like a beetle.

Holmes: What’s been the reaction from the fans after last night’s vote?
Lowe: I’m getting the best support. They’re so nice. You do get down and you think, “Did I do the right thing?” And people reach out and say you did the right thing. It goes to show how many people have a good set of values in them. So many people were so angered by that because they’re good people. They wouldn’t have done that.

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

‘Survivor: Caramoan’ – Exclusive Photos from Last Night’s Family Reward

May 9, 2013

'Survivor: Caramoan' (CBS)

Quick Note: Be sure to stick around for the final days of “Survivor: Caramoan” as we’ll have full episode recaps, interviews with the contestants, and more. Follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute news and info.

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Last night Brenda Lowe sacrificed time with her family in order to give four of her fellow castaways a fully-loaded barbecue with their loved ones.

The lucky Survivors had a blast, enjoying delicious food and taking pictures with their Sprint phone.

And, as proof that karma doesn’t exist in “Survivor,” the tribe promptly voted Brenda out of the game.

“Survivor” is funny. Well, maybe not “ha ha” funny.

Anywho, here are some exclusive pictures of the castaways before they sent the selfless former cheerleader packing…

John, Arlene, and Jack Cochran (CBS)

Parker, Jared, and Sherri Biethman (CBS)

Kurt and Erik Reichenbach (CBS)

Edward, Eddie, and Elizabeth Fox (CBS)

The Cochrans, The Foxes, The Biethmans, and The Reichenbachs (CBS)

Don’t miss the “Survivor: Caramoan – Fans vs. Favorites” finale this Sunday, May 12, 2013 at 8 p.m. ET on CBS.

‘Survivor: Caramoan’ Episode Recap: Will She Retainer?

May 8, 2013

'Survivor: Caramoan' (CBS)

Quick Note: Be sure to stick around for the final days of “Survivor: Caramoan” as we’ll have full episode recaps, interviews with the contestants, and more. Follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute news and info.

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Last Week: Eddie gave up a chance at immunity in exchange for a sugar crash, Reynold was voted out, and ended up with a sweet ‘stache, and Andrea found an idol, but will miss out on the cash.

39 Days, 20 People, 1 “Survivor” Blog

Let’s take a look at the tribe as it currently stands…

The Enil Edam Tribe (wearing green)
Brenda – Paddleboard Company Owner, 30
Cochran – Harvard Law Student, 25
Dawn – English Professor/Power Rankings Champ, 42
Eddie – Firefighter/EMT, 23
Erik – Comic Book Artist, 27
Sherri – Fast Food Franchisee, 41

Another Quick Note: You will not make me cry tonight, Jeff Probst…will not!

Yet Another Quick Note: My back-up headline was “Waving Brenda or Eddie Goodbye.”

We kick things off the morning after Andrea’s exit and Eddie’s mind is blown that all of his girlfriends keep getting voted out. That’s kind of like me, except instead of getting voted out my girlfriends keep being embarrassed by their boyfriend.

Meanwhile, Brenda tells Dawn that Cochran should be the next to go if Eddie wins immunity. Oh man, bad news for Brenda. Nobody’s picking up on how close Dawchran is.

Later, a frustrated Erik refers to “Survivor” as “The most beautiful prison I’ve ever been in in my life.” This begs the question; how many prisons has Erik been in?

Tree mail arrives in the form of a Sprint EVO LTE phone. True to form, it is loaded with videos from loved ones.

Sprint – Welcome to the Now Network

Everyone loses it while watching their family videos.  Well, everyone except for me. I’m a rock.

Oh boy, we get to the challenge and Brenda is greeted by her father Raymond. This touching display is enough to set Probst off. He cries for the first time in 146 seasons. Sissy.

Erik’s brother Richard is next and they have a little tickle fight.

Sherri has a meltdown at the sight of her husband Jared.

Cochran’s mother Arlene…and Cochran…they’re…damnit! I held out as long as I could.

Jenna’s daughters forgot to send a tape.

Eddie’s dad Edward gives him the father of all bear hugs. Adorable.

Then finally, David comes out and gives Dawn a beautiful embrace. Dawn, oddly enough, didn’t cry at all. #lies

Wait, if David is there who’s taking care of their 30 kids?!

Reward Challenge Time: Players and their loved ones will spin around to unscrew rails. They’ll then put those rails in place and throw bolos at them. First person to hit three bolos wins a barbecue with their loved one.

Team Erik and Team Brenda jump out to a slight lead. However, Team Dawn and Team Sherri manage to catch up.

Probst calls Arlene out for not being much of a challenge performer. Cochran understandably takes offense to Probst insulting his mother. Your mama is so slow at challenges…she thinks immunity is an old, old wooden ship that was used in the Civil War era.

It comes down to Dawn, Brenda, and Sherri, with Brenda’s team pulling off the win. She’s allowed to invite another couple and she chooses Dawn and David.

Probst then hands Brenda another Sprint phone that is loaded with videos of more loved ones! One for each of the Survivors. Sherri straight up loses the ability to stand with the announcement of this news.

Brenda is given the chance to either have the barbecue with her loved ones, Dawn’s loved ones and a third Survivor’s loved ones, or give the barbecue to the other four players and their loved ones. Oh man, that’s awful. How does Probst sleep at night?

And she chooses…a commercial. A crummy commercial?! Be sure to drink my Ovaltine?!

OK, we’re back…and Brenda gives up the reward. Oof… Fortunately, Dawn is calm and doesn’t cry about it. #morelies

At the reward, everyone’s having a grand ol’ time stuffing their faces and snapping pics with the Sprint phone.

Unfortunately, you can see the barbecue from Enil Edam beach. This is the meanest reward ever. Brenda thinks she made the right choice, but Dawn is having a hard time dealing with it.

That’s probably the best example I’ve ever seen of how much this game messes with you. Dawn is probably the most selfless person I’ve ever met and here she is livid that four people got to eat instead of two.

Immunity Challenge Time: The players will lean over a pier while holding onto a rope. As the challenge continues, the rope will get longer. Last person standing on the pier wins immunity.

Cochran is the first one out, he’s followed by Eddie and Erik. Looks like it’s ladies’ night.

Sherri’s out next and we’re down to Brenda and Dawn. Dawn tries negotiating with Brenda, saying that she doesn’t want to be up there for four hours and that she hasn’t won immunity yet.

However, Brenda doesn’t quit because she’s a competitor.

Brenda and Dawn battle it out, with Brenda eventually falling. Dawn wins immunity. Probst refers to this as her first-ever individual immunity win, but that isn’t true. She won one in South Pacific.

Back at camp, Brenda is psyched that Eddie didn’t win immunity. Her plan is to take out Edward, then Cochran. Oh, Dawn’ll love that.

Cochran thinks it’s time for Brenda to go home because she’s so likable. He pitches his idea to Sherri and she’s already one step ahead of him.

Dawn is interested in this plan, but she’s worried about Eddie winning immunity. Because he’s won so many this far?

That night at Tribal Council, we’ve got…Reynold’s mustache is gone! WHY?!

Brenda says she doesn’t feel bad about losing immunity because she likes Dawn. Famous last words?

Eddie knew his number was up if he didn’t win immunity. Probst points out that Eddie’s head has been on the chopping block for the last several Tribals.

Brenda doesn’t regret her reward decision. Dawn thinks that the long-term benefits of that choice will help Brenda.

Probst and Cochran both agree that Eddie is an easy vote. But, Cochran say the easy vote isn’t always the smart vote.

Eddie thinks he’s done, but says he’s had the best time. Good attitude, Eddie. You’re not good at “Survivor,” but you’re a good kid.

Voting Time: Sherri votes for Brenda, Brenda votes for Eddie, and the rest are super secret.

We’ve got two votes for Eddie, one vote for Erik, two votes for Brenda, and the fifteenth person to be eliminated from “Survivor: Caramoan – Fans vs. Favorites” and the sixth member of the jury is…Brenda.

As Brenda leaves, she says, “It hurts.”

Verdict: Ice cold. Wow. Everything.

From Brenda giving up her reward, to the reward being visible from the beach, to the final blindside…that was just rough.

Who’s Going to Win? Erik hasn’t stabbed anyone in the back, but nobody respects his game. While, Cochran is the most likable member of the dominant alliance. I’ll stick with Erik (my day-one pick), but I won’t be surprised if Cochran takes the whole thing.

Power Rankings Results: Michael Skupin had Brenda in spot five while my clean-up hitter Michael Skupin Jr. had her in spot three. So, the final score is Team Skupin 141, Team Lightning Punch 153.

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

‘Survivor: Caramoan’ Power Rankings: Skupin vs. Skupin Edition!

May 7, 2013

Michael Skupin and Michael Skupin Jr. (CBS)

Quick Note: Be sure to stick around for the final days of “Survivor: Caramoan” as we’ll have full episode recaps, interviews with the contestants, and more. Follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute news and info.

The Rules: Each week Michael and Gordon’s team 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 Brenda is voted out this week, Michael will receive 5 points and Gordon’s team will receive 3 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 had Reynold in eighth place and Andrea in sixth place for fourteen points. I had Reynold in eighth and Andrea in third for eleven points So, the current score is Team Skupin 136, Team Lightning Punch 150.

This Week:
In honor of the upcoming family-visit episode of “Survivor,” we’ve invited Michael Skupin Jr. to step in and show his Dad how it’s done.

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

NOTE: You may remember Michael Skupin Jr. from his appearance during the family visit on “Survivor: Philippines.”  He was selected by Malcolm, who had won the challenge, to spend the night on the island with his dad after Michael Sr. urged host Jeff Probst to allow another family member. And as you may recall, he bled just as much as his dad did…it definitely runs in the family.

Michael Skupin Jr.: I thought they voted out Malcolm last week, it seems like we saw more of Malcolm at the two Tribal Councils than any other player?
Michael Skupin: “Survivor” definitely gave the viewers what they wanted this week. Not tough challenges, not inclement weather, not iconic rewards, not drama, not blindsides, not big moves but… Malcolm.  Even though he was taken out by the power alliance last week I lost count at 15 cameos on the first Tribal Council and an equal amount at the second, so with 30 camera appearances, he may yet be a factor in this game. At times he appeared to be the only member of the jury when I’m sure there are at least four others there.

Skupin Jr.: When I was out there last season, you were in a final-six scenario. Now that the self-proclaimed winner of the rest of the challenges Reynold and the always strategizing Andrea are at Ponderosa, it’s a final six again and a reminder that the family visit is upon us.  I remember how many strategic scenarios we tossed around that day. Do you think it’s still anyone’s game?
Skupin: Final seven is one of the biggest votes of the game.  Erik had a chance to make a big move and completely change this game while at the same time earning the respect of the jury. All he had to do was tell Andrea about the alliance’s plan to blindside her, secure Eddie, and they get to send home whomever they want because the power alliance split the votes.  Then instead of being at the bottom, he’s at the top now. An epic failure if he’s playing to win.

Skupin Jr.: When I was out there in the Philippines, we won the meal after the reward challenge. Malcolm and Miles, Lisa and Justice, and you and I won all that food.  Homeless people look better fed than you guys did at that point in the game, I hardly recognized you. The “loved ones” sacrificed our share and went without because we saw how badly you needed it.  I noticed they’ve done three immunity challenges in a row without a reward. That has to be taking a toll on them.
Skupin: Traditionally Survivor’s lose a pound a day out there.  They appear to be losing weight faster this season and are desperate enough that over 1/3 of them even quit immunity challenges for hot dogs and donuts (Cochran, Eddie, and Erik). I can’t even imagine what’s going through their heads.  On Season 25: Philippines, we had food gatherers; myself, Penner and to a lesser degree Malcolm.  On this season, I haven’t seen a fish, a clam, a scallop, a stingray, a crab…etc.  As bad off as we were, we supplemented with at least a small amount of protein every day.  There are no hunters or gatherers this season and I agree it’s showing.

Skupin Jr.: Dad, with our size-13 feet, I was so glad when one of those balancing, small-foothold challenges didn’t show up on your season. As I see it, that virtually took any shot that Reynold or Eddie could have stayed in that game.  We’ve talked about this…don’t the smaller people have a significant advantage in those challenges?
Skupin: Definitely…I love the challenge idea but (Challenge Producer) Kirhoffer and Probst have to figure out a better way to even that up for the bigger-footed bros.  As I’ve seen it, women have way better balance than men too, so I do like the fact that the females get a bit of an advantage for a change, but just increase the size of the footholds. They go to great lengths to “fair” it up on the weight-holding endurance challenges by changing up the weight you have to hold based on your pre-game body weight. I wonder why they don’t do this here also?

Skupin Jr. So long, Andrea. Those pretty blue eyes and incredibly strategic play couldn’t finish the big move and it backfired. You snatched the idol that Erik found right out of his hand in one of the most brilliant, quick-thinking moves I’ve ever seen on “Survivor.” Probst seemed to drop a lot of hints as he often does at your Tribal Council, but you seemed so sure you were safe. You claimed if you felt a little paranoid, you’d play it, I can’t imagine feeling that safe at final seven. You were also right when you think you have your ducks in a row, that’s when the big wave comes rolling in. Hindsight sure is a witch. If I ever got the chance to play, I’d take a lot from your game and the way you played.   
Skupin: Two great players squared off; Andrea and Cochran, and Andrea lost.  She played so hard but made the same mistake Corinne did by getting too close to Michael and the same mistake Matt (Beard) did by getting too close to Michael…hmmmm…trend here? It appears you saw a final three with you, Eddie and Erik or you Erik and Sherri and in all those cases, you had a great shot at the big prize.  I believe you made the same mistake many have this season and you underestimated how close Dawn and Cochran are. You join the ranks of Malcolm and James by going home with an idol,  good thing you like jewelry!

Skupin Jr.: Adios, Reynold. So much for rattling off five consecutive immunity wins. If only that arrogance translated to challenge wins, your bank account would be bursting. After only one win, it appeared to be a lot of bark and not as much bite. Although I must admit, I love the porn-star mustache (not that I would know what that means) and now you and Malcolm “The Mane” (horse’s mane or ethnic “hey man”) can spend your remaining days lounging at Ponderosa, sipping mimosas, and fighting over who has better hair.
Skupin: BroStache…they had no choice but to get rid of you. I’ve been tough on you this season because your strategy never matched your arrogance but 8th place after being on the wrong end of every vote but one is a feat few have accomplished.

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

Michael’s Current Score: 136

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

Michael Jr.’s Current Score: 150

Any advice for Michael Jr.? Drop him a line on Twitter: @mls07

 1. Cochran: If you’re a Harvard nerd, you may be a rich one, and I think mom would still be proud of you. You only lasted 15 minutes into an almost 4-hour challenge but as I saw it, you really didn’t need immunity and the protein from the hotdogs may have been the brain food to take you to the end.  Your challenge run may be over but final three is way more enviable.  You are one big move from the finish line as everyone sees you as a final-three threat.  You’ll be thanking Dawn for her loyalty someday.
 1. Cochran: Andrea carefully articulated her big move to Cochran to feel him out and get him to turn on the power alliance possibly one Tribal Council too soon. What does he do? Goes and tells everybody on the island of her plan, essentially sealing her fate. The self-proclaimed “challenge monster” who came in last place on the second challenge, chose hot dogs and Coke over immunity. It appears his streak is over, but entertaining while it lasted.  It seems like he has everybody under his control without any of them realizing it.  Watch your back, Harvard man, someone may catch on.
 2. Dawn: They keep underestimating you, that’s no accident. Your sweet motherly way is your biggest asset, people trust you.
  2. Dawn: Andrea briefly had Dawn in her sights but Cochran wasn’t having any part of that.  Good for you to lock up Cochran as an ally so early. This game appears to really take a toll on you emotionally. Keep that in check and you have a shot!
 3. Sherri: It’s nothing shy of brilliant how you’ve adapted to this game. I believe you’ll not only be the last fan standing but you still have a shot to win this game.
 3. Brenda: Totally turned around Andrea’s plan to blindside her (with a lot of help from Cochran). You being a physical threat is gaining more and more notice as a potential winner of the game. It’s like the ostrich that finally took its head outta that hole and sees the prize.

  4. Erik: Since when is no strategy, good strategy? It may get you deep into this game but don’t they make you swear that you’re there to win?  Good news: You found the IDOL!! Bad news : You let Andrea snatch it out of your hands. The Erik Idol curse lives on.  No one has any idea how to play you in this game, keep ‘em guessing.  Michigan has two final threes under its belt (myself and Keith Famie from Season Two). I’m hoping you make it a trilogy!
 4. Erik: We waited a long time but you totally dominated Immunity for the first time this season making Michigan proud! You may have come into this game a bit too slender as it appears the lack of food is taking the biggest toll on you. Looks like you’re going to go to great lengths to satisfy your hunger, I hope the cost isn’t too high (coconut tree…pun intended).  You could have made a big move by aligning with Andrea and shaking up the game, but you earned yourself another easy three days by sticking with the Cochran Crew. Your opportunities to play both sides are dwindling.

  5. Brenda: You’ve taken a brilliant game and destroyed it by being a challenge threat. Although, I think you’ll last another week.
 5. Sherri: You’re either going to slide into the final three unnoticed and play to get as far as you can but have no chance of winning or you, Eddie ,and Erik team and one of you wins immunity, one finds immunity, and you play to win.  Neither option guarantees you more sunrises on the island.
 6. Eddie: I thought it was policemen that loved donuts, I guess now I can add firemen.  You gave up possibly a chance to win the game for a donut? You may have made it farther than the other two amigos but you lost my respect as a player.  And I bet you were at the top of the Phillip hater club when he passed on a challenge, you did the same thing.  The smart move may likely be to keep you around for one more vote but with your biggest ally (Andrea) gone, there’s no one left to save you. Go plead your case to Cochran and Dawn if you want any chance of pleading your case to the jury at final three.
 6. Eddie: He’s at everyone’s mercy out there. A potential swing vote if there’s a faction, he needs to start playing harder if he wants to survive or the only title he’ll end up with is being the last Bromigo.

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