Posts Tagged ‘malcolm freberg’

‘Survivor: Blood vs. Water’ Power Rankings – Animation Edition

October 15, 2013

'Survivor: Blood vs. Water' (CBS)/'The Simpsons' (Fox)

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 Malcolm Freberg. Be sure to follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute news and info.

[xfinity-record-button id=”6541379645042428112″ program_type=”series”]

The Rules: Each week our two combatants will create separate power rankings. The ranking of the person who is voted out of the next episode will determine the number of points the two players will earn. For example, if Tyson is voted out this week, Malcolm will receive 1 point and Gordon will receive 5 points. Also, each player will pick the players they think will win at Redemption Island. They’ll receive a bonus point for each correct pick. At the end of the season, the person with the most points will be named the “Survivor: Blood vs. Water” Power Rankings Challenge Champion.

NOTE: If a current player decides to swap places with their loved one at Redemption Island, they’ll also swap places in the rankings. For example, if Monica swaps places with Brad, Brad will take the 10th spot in both Malcolm’s and Gordon’s rankings.

Last Week: Malcolm had Brad in spot 13, Gordon had him in 12. Malcolm had both of the Codys surviving at Redemption, Gordon only had Candice. So, the score for this round is Team Malcolm 15, Team Gordon 13. The current total score is Team Malcolm 56, Team Gordon 55.

Wager Update: Since Gordon lost last week’s competition, he has to compare each ranked competitor to an animated character. The loser of this week’s rankings will have to compare the competitors to Keanu Reeves movie roles.

Malcolm’s Current Score: 56

Any advice for Malcolm? Drop him a line on Twitter: @MalcolmWHW

Gordon’s Current Score: 55

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

 1. Tyson – I’m bored leaving people in the same top spots all the time, so I’m semi-arbitrarily shuffling my list. Tyson is my favorite so this was overdue, but I’ve been waiting for some legitimate hi-jinx to affirm my affection, and finally we got some. If Galang refuses to talk strategy, they deserve to be coconut water deprived, and dammit, the Coconut Bandits are going to do it. The fact that they bonded over this and formed a tight two is a good thing too I suppose, but significantly less important than the inherent hilarity.
 1. Tina is Velma from “Scooby Doo” – She’s smart, she’s respected, and she’s not a physical threat. In her alliance of five we’ve got Fred’s leadership putting a target on his back, Daphne’s loud husband putting a target on her back, and Scooby and Shaggy sneaking off to steal Scooby Snacks. Meanwhile, Velma just kicks back and enjoys her position as the least meddling kid.
 2. Gervase – I’m coming to terms with the idea that my opinion on Gervase will change on a weekly basis, and this week I love him. No obnoxious yelling at the challenges? Check. Being a member of my new favorite absurd alliance? Check. Saying to Monica what all of Galang was thinking about her husband? Check. Also, am I the only one who heard ‘koo-doos’?
 2. Hayden is Launchpad McQuack from “DuckTales” – He’s big, he’s likable, and his tribe manages to crash every challenge during the landing. Not only that, but apparently he was loyal enough to Brad to risk pulling rocks in a tie breaker. This game is like a hurricane.
 3. Vytas – We didn’t get shown if there was any communication between Hayden and Vytas before the re-vote, but considering Hayden’s struggle I’m guessing there wasn’t? So Vytas single handedly and independently kept the tribe from going to rocks? So Vytas is the new Cochran? …no, that’s not fair. Vytas made a good call to preserve his game and didn’t hurt his position. And he doesn’t wear glasses. And he’s not ginger. And he’s done a push-up before.  3. Vytas is Bugs Bunny – He’s probably the smartest guy out there, everybody seems to like him, but he has a bit of a dark side. Vytas probably didn’t love having to send the game’s big shield packing, but that’s much better than being sent to Redemption Island because you grabbed the wrong rock. Now we can watch him strike out the rest of the cast like they’re the Gas House Gorillas.

 4. Tina – Didn’t participate in the challenge, didn’t comment on Brad, didn’t talk about mysteriously drained coconuts. But quiet is good for Tina’s game at this stage and drama is bad, so while her family members watching at home are disappointed, they shouldn’t be – their girl’s in good shape.
 4. Gervase is Tramp from “Lady and the Tramp” – “You can never tell when he’ll show up, he gives you plenty of trouble. I guess he’s just a no-count pup…but I wish that he were double.” Gervase’s list of “Survivor” offenses is long; he has insulted women, he took a breather during a challenge, he talked trash after a challenge, he snuck out to drink coconuts. But, nobody cares. Everybody loves Gervase.

  5. Hayden – Has anyone ever crossed out a name indecisively at Tribal before this? Watching his wheels spin at the vote could be read as the goofy guy that can’t figure out what’s going on, but he’s already proven via confessional he understands the game, so I’m interpreting it as him weighing all the implications of a re-vote switch. He ended up on the wrong side of it, but it’s an easy enough mistake to explain away and shouldn’t hurt him.
 5. Tyson is Stewie Griffin from “Family Guy” – What the deuce? Mr Apostol says the most hilarious, inappropriate things, but the only people who can hear him are a cartoon dog and a television audience. Fortunately for Tyson, I haven’t seen a cartoon dog wandering around Galang beach.
 6. Aras – Not a Coconut Bandit and thus not my favorite anymore. This blatant offense against communist Galang would not be digested well by their noble leader Aras, who probably won ‘Best Sharer’ in kindergarten. Seriously though, the other two guys bonding without him is a red flag he’s unaware of, and the Baskasfkawkeaksdkas brothers are going to stand out as the biggest combined threat soon. I’m sticking with my preseason prediction that this perception hurts Aras more than Vytas.
 6. Katie is Rapunzel from “Tangled” – At every turn Rapunzel gets shut down by her more experienced mother. But, she seems likable enough and knows how to cook.
 7. Laura M. – Listen lady — I’ve been in your corner since pre-season, but you’ve got to stop getting teary eyed whenever you wipe the floor with Ciera (says the guy with no kids and whose Mom let him win things occasionally). Completely unacceptable. I hate when Gervase brags, but I’d love to see you spike a puzzle piece in celebration.
  7. Aras is Ned Flanders from “The Simpsons” – Well, hey-diddly-ho there, tribemate-areeno… Who loves Aras? Everybody! What’s not to love? He’s a great guy, he’s a hard worker, he’s ridiculously positive. Who wants to go to the end with him? Nobody! And now that Tyson and Gervase realize this, it could be bad news for the former champ.
 8. Laura B. – Attention Future Survivors: WEAR TIE DYE. You will look silly and I will mock you for it, but I’m now convinced it gives you +10 challenge prowess. Lady Boneham is proving to be capable in the water, but is unforgivably lacking in crab dietary knowledge.
 8. Laura M. is Popeye from…uh…”Popeye” – Laura M. is basically the iconic sailor man, except instead of getting her power from spinach, Laura gets her power from crushing her daughter’s hopes and dreams. (Note: I went with Popeye because I have no idea how good Jessica Rabbit is at puzzles.)
 9. Caleb – I never thought I’d be jealous of Colton Cumbie. Just last week I wrote things about Caleb ‘quietly maneuvering’ and not being a force — what a chuckle Tadhana must have been having at my expense. On principle, I love his taking control and fighting instead of just accepting the results of whatever Brad decided. I love the insight that Brad’s poor leadership, even considering his muscle, could possibly be the reason they were losing. I love that he did it loud and proud and last minute at Tribal, and now John has competition for my heart. The problem is now he’s the figurehead leader on a really bad tribe, and that’s not a great spot. Just ask Brad.
9. Laura B. is Invisible Smurf from “The Smurfs” – Remember the one Smurf that was all important in the beginning, but then Gargamel made him invisible and it’s like he never existed? Except occasionally you’d see him during Smurfberry reward challenges? That’s Laura.
 10. Monica – So everyone everywhere on Earth thinks throwing the clue away was brilliant because she kept a target off herself. And, as much as I was yelling at the TV when it happened, it probably was the right move for Monica. But because we’re likely to see that exact situation again, and because I’m kind of weird in that I like having idols in my pocket, I argue that some other castaways should keep a clue if it’s given to them. This was the right move for Monica because she’s not a power player – her best bet to win is to not take over the game but to fade into the background and slip to the end. That is not, however, a winning strategy for everyone. People who are viewed as threats and/or driving forces in the game, currently people like Caleb or Vytas or Aras, could use an idol to great effect. John’s epic mishandling of the situation shouldn’t scare everyone else off. Because of the public nature of the clues it has to be handled carefully and creatively, but the idol is still a massive advantage and weapon if used properly. So good move Monica, but it shouldn’t necessarily be mimicked every week.
  10. Monica is LeFou from “Beauty and the Beast” – If Brad is this season’s big, burly, not-quite-aware-of-what-people-really-think-of-him Gaston, then surely Monica is his sidekick LeFou. I liked the move to burn the clue. If John wasn’t able to find the idol with two clues, I’d assume it’d be tough to find it with just one. So, she was figuratively burning a target that the Codys were trying to place on her back. From this week’s preview it looks like Monica offers to take Brad’s place at Redemption Island. But I can’t imagine he’ll let her. “No one takes Tribal Council abuse like Gaston…”
 11. Katie – She makes funny faces at tribal and she’s not as terrible as Ciera. So yeah.   11. Caleb is Pinky from “Pinky and the Brain” – A mismatched duo where the smart one always gets it wrong and the supposedly simple one gets it right? Works for me. Now here’s hoping Calebs last-minute move doesn’t make him to risky to keep around.
 12. Kat – I’m really thrown by who gets told to sit out for Galang. I understand the logic behind not letting Kat do a puzzle, but why not rowing? For whatever reason, she’s on the bottom of a tribe that never has to go to Tribal, but once they do she’s going camping with the Codys.
  12. Kat is Ariel from “The Little Mermaid” – The question is; who’s the Ursula who stole her voice?
 13. Ciera –  No one is more thrilled than I that you got bailed out bigger than Wall Street last week, but it still may be a temporary stay of execution. Your tribe hasn’t won a thing, and all the boys seem to get along and think you’re about as useful as a doodie-flavored lollipop. As much as I don’t want you this low, you have to be until there’s some sort of switch/merge.   13. Ciera is the Baby from the “Tom and Jerry” episode “Tot Watchers” – I know this one is obscure, but stay with me. Remember the one where Tom and Jerry have to watch after a baby and it gets away and crawls into a construction site? There are a dozen times where the baby should be a goner, but blind luck keeps saving it. Now, is the Five Guys breakup the steel beam Ciera needs to keep crawling, or has her luck finally run out?
 Redemption Island Picks: Candice and John – Brad’s ego isn’t going to let his wife sub in, which actually increases the odds of him surviving his first truel. But I, along with the rest of the civilized world, am rooting for the Codys so hard my heart hurts. Also, can we discuss “Survivor” potentially giving us a “Hunger Games,” Peeta and Katniss scenario? What if they’re both at the last RI before re-entering the game and it could be the greatest “Survivor” love story ever? Do the Codys get a shot at double Redemption?   Redemption Island Picks: Candice and John are The Wonder Twins from “Super Friends” – They don’t quite fit in with everyone else, but you’d better watch out when they’re together. The only difference is instead of animals or water-based items, these two transform into challenge juggernauts. Bad news for Mr. Culpepper.

Watch Full Episodes of “Survivor: Blood vs. Water

‘Survivor: Blood vs. Water’ Power Rankings – Wager Edition

October 7, 2013

'Survivor: Blood vs. Water' (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 Malcolm Freberg. Be sure to follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute news and info.

[xfinity-record-button id=”6541379645042428112″ program_type=”series”]

The Rules: Each week our two combatants will create separate power rankings. The ranking of the person who is voted out of the next episode will determine the number of points the two players will earn. For example, if Tyson is voted out this week, Malcolm will receive 8 points and Gordon will receive 6 points. Also, each player will pick the players they think will win at Redemption Island. They’ll receive a bonus point for each correct pick. At the end of the season, the person with the most points will be named the “Survivor: Blood vs. Water” Power Rankings Challenge Champion.

NOTE: If a current player decides to swap places with their loved one at Redemption Island, they’ll also swap places in the rankings. For example, if Gervase swaps places with Marissa, Marissa will take the 5th spot in Malcolm’s rankings and the 4th spot in Gordon’s rankings.

Last Week: Malcolm had Colton in spot 14, I had him in spot 16. Malcolm had John in spot 12, I had him in spot 11. Malcolm earned one Redemption Island bonus point for guessing Candice correctly, I earned two for guessing both winners. So, the current score is Team Malcolm 41, Team Gordon 42.

Before we get into this week’s festivities, let’s check in with the two combatants…

Gordon Holmes: Malcolm, thanks again for participating this season. What’ve you been up to since we saw you last?
Malcolm Freberg: As much as you want me to say I’ve been studying Power Rankings strategies all summer, fact is I am just putting the finishing touches on a memoir of the year I spent as a teacher in the Marshall Islands. I also launched a self-help website,, with week-daily updates.
Holmes: How are you liking the season so far?
Freberg: Really good so far. The addition of family members adds an element of emotion to what had evolved into a really strategic, Machiavellian experiment. The new layer of complexity from the twist throws a wrench in all the hardcore viewers’ preconceived notions of how the game should play out. Also, I will never be a ‘fan’ of the Redemption Island twist for reasons too long to list here, but I’ll admit that, if it HAS to be done, the family members season was the time to do it.
Holmes: Since I would obviously be your loved one, what strategies would we have discussed going into this season?
Freberg: Obviously you would sacrifice yourself for me whenever I asked. Duh.

Holmes: That’s not very loving. Alright, we’re going to be doing a weekly wager here to spice things up. We’ve put a variety of topics into a hat. The loser of this week’s ranking will have to incorporate the topic into next week’s picks. And, it looks like the topic will be…’80s Cartoon Characters.
Freberg: Not ‘80s, I’m not that old.
Holmes: Fine, then just cartoon characters. However, I’m going to point out that the Ninja Turtles did start in the ‘80s.

Malcolm’s Current Score: 41

Any advice for Malcolm? Drop him a line on Twitter: @MalcolmWHW

Gordon’s Current Score: 42

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

 1. Aras – Most of the action at Galang was Colton- and Tyson-centric, so the status quo hasn’t changed. I suspect Aras has used all this free time to construct an open-air bamboo yoga studio complete with a wheatgrass bar and wind chimes.
 1. Aras – My exit interview with Colton shed a lot of light on the politics around Galang and apparently it’s an Aras lovefest. Between that and the way he spoke openly and honestly with Colton before Redemption Island, it’s apparent that Aras is playing the exact game he wants to be playing.
 2. Tina – When she’s not signing up non-alliance members for pre-merge trial memberships at the Galang Hot Yoga, she’s calmly telling quitters to shove it and continuing to embarrass her child on national television. It’s actually been really impressive so far.
 2. Hayden – Sending John to Redemption Island made Hayden 100 times more valuable to Brad and the tribe as a whole. Best of all, Hayden doesn’t have any blood on his hands.
 3. Hayden – He’s now proved that he’s a vicious killer of Mormon’s dreams and is probably not safe in the state of Utah anytime soon, but he’s in good shape on Tadhana’s beach. He’s a strong guy on a bad tribe that’s involved in the strategy discussions but not sticking out for being a threat yet.
 3. Tina – This wasn’t on purpose, but I’ve got all of the former champs at the top of my list. Tina’s golden right now. She’s the least threatening member of the dominant alliance in the dominant tribe. She’s also smart enough to know that the only time it’s safe to trash talk someone is when they’re in the process of quitting the game.

 4. Vytas – If Aras runs a yoga studio, Vytas is the sensei of Cobra Kai. I support the taking advantage of a merciful enemy, but don’t get beat doing so or you create a hero out of your opponent – which, in this case, is the guy you already hate for being a hero. Ouch. Good things he’s still safe pulling the strings of Tadhana with Hayden.
 4. Gervase – Good for Gervase for being the cooler head at last week’s Redemption Island. It looks like he’s safe and sound in Galang’s old school alliance. Which considering how disastrously he performed in the premiere is a miracle. If Gervase makes the merge, and at this point I can’t imagine him not making the merge, he’s going to be a threat to win this thing.

  5. Gervase – Still not in love with the guy, but he’s safe working under Aras and Tina as loudmouth lightning rod/studio security. He’d be placed at the bottom of this list if murder was an allowable way to eliminate a castaway because Brad wouldn’t hesitate.
 5. Vytas – Brad booting John really opened the door for a lot of options at Tadhana beach. Could Vytas take the lead and send Brad packing? Absolutely. Is that the smartest move? Probably not. Best to let Brad keep on being Brad. As far as losing the immunity challenge to his younger sibling, that might turn out in his favor if they’re ever looking to get rid of the more-threatening brother.
 6. Monica – I thought it was interesting that she sat the challenge, though I’m not sure how much to read into it. It may have just been that the moms asked to crush their daughters? Either way, Colton leaving clears away any doubt arising from her comments about possibly playing with him, so I think she’ll sit comfortably in the majority for a while.
 6. Tyson – Lost in all of the craziness of last episode was Tyson’s shoulder injury. Hopefully it isn’t too bad, because he has been tearing up the challenges so far. Also, when you see how Tyson treats Rachel, there’s no possible way he belongs on a “Villains” tribe ever again.
 7. Caleb – His handling of Colton wanting to go home was perfect. Now he’s freed from that loud, pink polo-sporting burden and can quietly maneuver his way through the game. Oddly, we’re never hearing his take on all the chaos on Tadhana, which is worrisome for his odds of ever becoming an end-game force, but also means he’s not putting a target on his back early like some are.
  7. Monica – Welp…it looks like Monica is doing everything she should be at Galang. She seems to be well-liked and is in good with the cool kids. But how many times do her alliance-mates need to see their loved ones chewing out Brad before it starts to get to them?
 8. Tyson – Never let Rachel go. She should be awarded girlfriend of the year for telling her proven challenge-beast boyfriend to sit tight and trying to make a go of RI alone. Now, Tyson’s safe in his alliance and I really don’t think he’s in any trouble, but if that shoulder doesn’t get better quickly he may become a liability. But I hear some light stretching and breathing exercises may do great things for your recovery, speak to Tina for more details.
 8. Laura M. – There appears to be a five-person alliance in Galang, and Laura isn’t in it. Fortunately, there are a few more obvious cuts before they get to her. And the way things are going, it’s possible Galang might never lose immunity. If Laura can get to the merge, everyone had better watch out. She’s done well in the immunity challenges so far and she was a significant force in Samoa.
 9. Laura M. – I knew those hesitations at the challenge were just for show — you couldn’t wait to run over dear old daughter. The moms are having their way with their daughters and it’s hysterical. A whole lot of silence in regards to the drama this week, so no real change in opinion.
9. Caleb – So, Colton claims he quit because he knew he’d be voted out and Caleb would insist on taking this place at Tribal Council. That’s very sweet. But it makes me wonder if Caleb is going to be willing to make the cutthroat moves that are usually necessary to win this game.
 10. Laura B. – I’ve decided Rupert was never that good of a competitor, but that tie-dye imbues one with superhuman strength. She looked good in the challenge, but, just like her similarly named tribe mate, we didn’t hear much else, so this spot looks good I guess…
  10. Laura B. – Hey, I remember her! That may seem like a knock, but Laura is doing exactly what she needs to be doing. She’s being useful around camp, and she’s staying out of the drama. Once they hit the merge she’ll be able to coast and weigh her options.
 11. Katie – So the girls aren’t out of the woods by any means on Tadhana, but Katie gets a bump up because her loss to her mom was marginally less embarrassing than Ciera’s loss to hers, and Brad is doing everything in his power to get booted ASAP.   11. Katie – Well, the guys laid it out pretty clearly with last week’s vote. Katie and Ciera both did poorly in the challenge, but Katie helps around camp and Ciera doesn’t. The question is; is being the 2nd boot enough for Katie, or does she try to rally the guys against the now untrustworthy Brad?
 12. Kat – She’s so stealth mode you don’t even know she’s still at Galang until she appears in the challenge just long enough to one-shot one-kill Ciera. Her problem is Galang doesn’t need physical competitors — they haven’t struggled in challenges. And, outside Colton, she’s the only name we’ve heard kicked around by the majority alliance. Lieutenant Corporal Sniper Edorsson looks like the first boot of Galang.
  12. Brad – OK Brad, you’re taking all of the bullets at Redemption Island. That sucks, but it’s something your tribe mates probably appreciate. But then you decide to weaken your floundering tribe by getting rid of John? Then you suggest Tadhana all stab John in the back while you get to keep your hands clean? You’re playing too hard, too early and now I’m doubting you’ll make the merge.
 13. Brad – The Grand Poo-Poo of Tadhana is catching all the flak at RI and at camp for the decisions he’s making and the graceless way he defends them. Usually I’d insert something about not necessarily deserving it, but it’s starting to look like he deserves all of it and more. He’s the nail that’s sticking out the farthest, and he’s going to get knocked down sooner rather than later.
  13. Kat – There’s an older alliance at Galang and Kat just doesn’t fit in. Which is a shame, because she’s nice enough and has pulled her weight in challenges. Maybe she could use the Brad ill-will to turn people against Monica?
 14. Ciera – Because Tadhana won’t sacrifice more muscle if they lose again. Because she was the girl Brad threw a vote at instead of Katie. Because she left her pulse at camp during the last challenge. And finally, because I think I cursed her by putting her #1 preseason. I’m sorry, Ciera, I’M SORRY.
  14. Ciera – Your number is up on a tribe that isn’t winning immunities and just booted one of its strongest competitors. Brad did you a favor by turning on John. Now you should return the favor by getting everyone else to turn on Brad. An obvious angle you can take is, “He can’t be trusted after turning on his buddy.” But, you could also try “I saw Brad with the idol.”
 Redemption Island Picks: Candice and John – I don’t mean to constantly doubt Marissa – I mean I guess I do since I keep doing it — but she’s not exactly getting through these challenges in grand fashion. Also, Candice has proven to be the RI monster, and now she’s going to be able to help out hubby dearest once she’s done with the challenge three hours before the other two.
  Redemption Island Picks: Candice and Marissa – My first instinct was Team Cody all the way, but Marissa has proven she’s got some skills. I think I’m going to stick with this duo until they lose. Either way, I hope Candice wins the clue and then tosses it in the urn.

Watch Full Episodes of “Survivor: Blood vs. Water

‘Survivor: Blood vs. Water’ Power Rankings – Round Two

September 30, 2013

'Survivor: Blood vs. Water' (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 Malcolm Freberg. Be sure to follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute news and info.

[xfinity-record-button id=”6541379645042428112″ program_type=”series”]

The Rules: Each week our two combatants will create separate power rankings. The ranking of the person who is voted out of the next episode will determine the number of points the two players will earn. For example, if Tyson is voted out this week, Malcolm will receive 11 points and Gordon will receive 10 points. Also, each player will pick the players they think will win at Redemption Island. They’ll receive a bonus point for each correct pick. At the end of the season, the person with the most points will be named the “Survivor: Blood vs. Water” Power Rankings Challenge Champion.

NOTE: If a current player decides to swap places with their loved one at Redemption Island, they’ll also swap places in the rankings. For example, if Gervase swaps places with Marissa, Marissa will take the 10th spot in Malcolm’s rankings and the 5th spot in Gordon’s rankings.

Last Week: Malcolm had Rachel in spot 13 while Gordon had her in spot 12. They both picked Candice and Rupert to advance at Redemption Island, so they each received one bonus point. The current score is now Team Malcolm 14, Team Gordon 13.

Malcolm’s Current Score: 14

Any advice for Malcolm? Drop him a line on Twitter: @MalcolmWHW

Gordon’s Current Score: 13

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

 1. Aras – I can’t tell if Aras is responsible for creating the Zen’d out, no-gameplay vibe on Galang, but it’s the best thing possible for him. Yoga bro can sit around and meditate all day and not worry about anyone actually talking about important things like, I dunno, “Survivor.” But don’t think it’s a coincidence that the peaceful, strategy-vacant tribe is being led by the two past winners.
 1. Aras – Centuries from now, “Survivor” historians will be sure to refer to late 2013 as the Great Baskauskas Dynasty.  The only question is; will they work together like Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris did when they led the New York Yankees to the 1961 World Series after their infamous home run battle? Or, will they self-destruct like Mega-Powers teammates “Macho Man” Randy Savage and Hulk Hogan?
 2. Hayden – Hayden should blame the challenge loss on his parents – they clearly didn’t take him to Chuck E Cheese’s enough as a kid. I hate carnival game challenges and am not going to hold what happened against him, and I doubt his tribe will either.
 2. Vytas – Things aren’t all rosy for the Five Guys (Burgers and Fries) alliance. Brad’s big and occasionally angry, John’s an immunity idol target, Hayden’s got that “Big Brother” thing, and Caleb comes with some…baggage. But Vytas? Who doesn’t love Vytas? He’s the most exciting new player since the guy whose rankings are to the left.
 3. Tina – Looks like Aras’s lieutenant is fully behind the YMCA programming at Galang. She’s locked into the majority alliance and thus should be able to navigate the hairiest part of the game for older women, so suddenly her odds to go deep look very good.
 3. Hayden – I’ll admit it, I like me some Hayden too. In any other season, he’d be the safest person out there. However, if Tadhana wins the next immunity challenge, what’s to stop Galang from doing to Kat what Hayden’s tribe did to Rachel?

 4. Caleb – The most we saw of Colton’s better half was in the preview for this week – apparently everyone’s favorite farmer will be getting a lap dance at RI on Wednesday. It’ll be interesting to see how Colton’s behavior affects Caleb’s game, but he’s insulated enough by the He Man Woman Hater’s Club (HMWHC) to be safe for now.
 4. Tina – So, we still haven’t seen any official alliances over at Galang beach, but it seems like Tina, Aras, Monica, Gervase, and Tyson are tight. That’s not a bad little group. You have some solid challenge competitors and just about everyone has a track record for being loyal.

  5. Vytas – You crafty devil you. That Rachel move was clever in a way never before possible in “Survivor.” He’s definitely the brains in HMWHC and safe for a while, but he may be putting a target on himself by being the obvious strategic mastermind for the beefcakes.
 5. Gervase – Gervase, buddy…I love you. You’re bad at swimming. You’re good at skee-ball. Either way, STOP WITH THE TRASH TALK! You are a likable dude. People like you. But, the way you’re acting has a former NFL player ranting about body slams. This isn’t good for your game.
 6. Monica – She started channeling her inner Lisa Whelchel for a bit and gave me traumatic Philippines flashbacks, but there’s no denying she did a great job of inserting herself into the Galang majority. Monica’s best bet is to go into stealth mode for a while.
 6. Monica – Seems like Monica’s in good with the cool kids over at Galang. I know she’s interested in working with Colton, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to keep him safe. That could make some of his bad Q rating bounce back on her.
 7. Brad – I can’t tell if I should laugh at him or be scared of him. The HMWHC is safe and he’s their figurehead, so no worries for the Culpepper clan this week. Plus, I’m kind of excited to see him go WWE on Gervase.
  7. Brad – Team Culpepper is on pretty solid footing at this point. John has surpassed Brad as the most vulnerable member of Tadhana’s dude alliance. But, Brad’s got to learn to tone it down. Threatening Gervase, getting into spats with Marissa…play it cool.
 8. Laura M. – She’s not the biggest target at Galang because she’s not ruffling any feathers, but she’s not in the majority and I can’t imagine she’s thrilled with the moratorium against strategic discussions. I’m actually kind of excited she’s on the outside of the numbers because she definitely seems the type to try and shake things up, but the time isn’t right yet. Hold on Mama Morette, hold on.
 8. Caleb – Oh, Caleb… I hate to say this, but Colton going home would be the best thing for your game. And you seem like a super selfless guy, but don’t take his place on Redemption Island. Colton can’t win. He isn’t built for “Survivor.” You are. Work hard around camp and be your usual likable self and you could go really far.
 9. Laura B. – Two tie-dye shirts was never going to be OK, but I think I can handle one. Not being dragged down by her hubby should be a positive for her game, and it seems the Galang majority has bigger fish to fry before finishing off the Bonehams. I’m cautiously optimistic for Laura B. to stick around for a while.
 9. Laura M. – It’s hard to tell where Laura ranks on the Galang totem pole. I don’t think she’s in with the top five, but I think she’s in better standing than tribe pariah Colton. Either way, she won’t be the next person sent packing.
 10. Gervase – Someone get him a muffle. Even at the duel he was sitting next to Laura B. and rubbing in Rupert’s loss. He really should be higher in these rankings per safety in the game, but I’ve become wildly disillusioned with this positive figure from my childhood. He’s safe because he’s BFF with Aras, but he needs to take a lesson from his buddy in grace.
  10. Tyson – Here’s my theory on the Tyson rant that took place during this week’s preview; I think he says it after Rachel loses at Redemption Island. But, just to be safe, I’m placing him lower in the ranking in case he takes Rachel’s place and Galang is annoyed and votes her out.
 11. Tyson – The mouthy Mormon damn near turned into the Hulk upon seeing Rachel on RI, and while I tried to read into that preview multiple times, I can’t tell if he’s going to swap in for her or not. Part of me thinks it would make sense: his majority alliance would take care of his girlfriend, and he’s a monster in individual challenges (see: Tocantins). But I also think the rest of Galang is going to try to talk him out of it – he makes his entire tribe weaker if he bails, plus we all saw how well switching in worked for Rupert. I think Tyson replacing Rachel is a coin flip.   11. John –  You know, it’s hard to be a target when you’re in the dominant alliance with someone as boisterous as Brad, but John has managed to do it. Keeping that clue to himself was a major miscue. He should immediately start referring to it as “our clue” and get his bros to help him find it.
 12. John – Shhhhh. It’s a good thing I love you for your looks because the things coming out your mouth weren’t nearly as pretty. You can gently push to keep Rachel, but being too stubborn about it raised flags. Combine that with publicly getting the idol clue then being shady about it, and you’re firmly planted on the bottom of the HMWHC. Could be safe for a bit still, but looks like a blindside waiting to happen.
  12. Laura B. – She certainly got off to a rough start. But, out of anyone, she’s the one with the cleanest slate. I’m still a big believer that there’s a real benefit to being a lone player out there.
 13. Kat – Hayden not spending enough time in divey skeeball halls may have bailed her out. From the sound of things, she was the first target of the returnees. But even if her gentleman lover pulls out a win next week, the other diva on Galang may have taken her spot under the guillotine.
  13. Ciera – It’s possible that the Five Guys alliance is unbreakable. If they lose a third straight immunity, Ciera’s going to have a hard time convincing the guys that getting rid of challenge strength is a good move. Her best bet is probably trying to work the John/idol angle.
 14. Colton – I actually understand being pissed off that no one wants to play the game you’re supposed to be playing, but blowing up about it is not going to help. And he’s correct about his ability to rule in chaos, but he’s not going to be able to force it with tribe Kumbaya. Bad situation for Colton, and the preview suggests he doesn’t react well to it, but how does quitting help? Caleb, the man-meat he misses, is still out there playing. I hope he doesn’t throw in the towel and tries to claw his way back in, but the odds are long on both.
  14. Kat – It seems like the politics around Galang are skewing older. That’s not good news for Kat. And like I said above, Galang could target Kat the same way Tadhana targeted Rachel.
 15. Katie – The new girls are in trouble, and it’s entirely their fault. What they were thinking to be born without penises is beyond me and they deserve to be kicked off for it. I think Katie may be safer because it seemed like Ciera was the brain behind the John votes – which I HATED – and someone’s going to have to shoulder the blame for those two shots across HMWHC’s bow.
  15. Katie – See Ciera.
 16. Ciera – Please, oh please let me be wrong. From first to worst in 2 episodes. Part of me wants to put her higher on principle and faith, but a bigger part of me can’t stand the thought of Gordon’s mockery if I lose our little game this season. If Tadhana keeps spiraling and the voting pattern holds true, my pre-game pick is done.   16. Colton – I know more about St. Louis Cardinals baseball than most people. That doesn’t mean I’m the best person to play first base in the NLDS. Colton is a mega “Survivor” fan. I’m sure he knows the show better than anyone else out there. But he is a bad “Survivor” player. In the pre-Phillip Sheppard days he’d be a unanimous first boot. His only play here is to be someone’s goat at the final Tribal Council.
 Redemption Island Picks: Candice and Rachel – Candice was a rock star last week and she’s going to be around for a while – no doubt about that pick. Marissa, however, only got through that challenge because Rupert was absurdly dumb with his tactics. The Rachel pick partially stems from the HMWHC’s consensus that she was a better competitor than the other girls on Tadhana, but, based on the wildly-confusing rules for both “Survivor” and the Power Rankings this season, she also gets a bonus because of Tyson potentially subbing in.   Redemption Island Picks: Candice and Marissa – This ties into my prediction above that Tyson is upset over Rachel leaving. That, and I still believe that poise and experience mean a ton at Redemption Island and Candice and Marissa have both.

Watch Full Episodes of “Survivor: Blood vs. Water

‘Survivor: Blood vs. Water’ Power Rankings – Round One

September 23, 2013

'Survivor: Blood vs. Water' (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 Malcolm Freberg. Be sure to follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute news and info.

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The Rules: Each week our two combatants will create separate power rankings. The ranking of the person who is voted out of the next episode will determine the number of points the two players will earn. For example, if Tyson is voted out this week, Malcolm will receive 5 points and Gordon will receive 3 points. Also, each player will pick the players they think will win at Redemption Island. They’ll receive a bonus point for each correct pick. At the end of the season, the person with the most points will be named the “Survivor: Blood vs. Water” Power Rankings Challenge Champion.

NOTE: If a current player decides to swap places with their loved one at Redemption Island, they’ll also swap places in the rankings. For example, if Gervase swaps places with Marissa, Marissa will take the 12th spot in Malcolm’s rankings and the 10th spot in Gordon’s rankings.

Malcolm’s Current Score: 0

Any advice for Malcolm? Drop him a line on Twitter: @MalcolmWHW

Gordon’s Current Score: 0

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

 1. Aras – He wasn’t around much. When he wasn’t dragging Gervase’s limp form through obstacle courses, he was probably balancing on fallen tree trunks doing a yoga tree pose, basking in the restorative, meditative irony of it all. Aras is just doing Aras, and he’s not going anywhere.
 1. Aras – Alright, I’m going to apologize in advance for how sexist this Power Rankings is going to look. But, the facts are the tribe that lost the immunity challenge has a dominant all-male alliance and the tribe that won almost got clobbered and we know next to nothing about their alliances. Aras is super safe at this point. But I have to ask; why did he vote for Gervase? My bet is it was to throw people off of their super-secret alliance.
 2. Hayden – Also quiet, but he’s smack in the middle of the loved ones male clique. From what we were shown, these guys are in the best position in the foreseeable future. Hayden is better than the next two on the list for calling them all “meatheads.”
 2. Hayden – He’s likable, he’s a challenge stud, and he’s in the dominant Tadhana alliance. Best of all, if the Super Tadhana Bros. group breaks down, Brad will be the first target.  The former “Big Brother” champ is truly the head of the household.
 3. Caleb – What is a Southern Shake and where can I get one? Same rationale as Hayden: because he has a penis, he got into his tribe’s majority. Though if they let Brad (I’m not using Probst’s pet name ‘Culpepper’) run things for long – which is a big if – the different sexual orientation could become an issue. No worries yet, though.
 3. Tyson – With Rupert chillaxing over at Redemption Island, the Galangers are hurting for challenge strength and Tyson might be the best challenge competitor out there. Add to that his ability to start fires with his mind and you have a very valuable tribe member.

 4. Vytas – Brilliant to come out with his past to everyone. Even more brilliant to be born a boy.
 4. John – Poor, John. He had to see the love of his life fly for a billion hours to get to the Philippines only to be booted after ten minutes. Then, he had to watch Rupert pull his knight-in-shining-armor act and save Laura. Welcome to the new era of “Survivor,” buddy. The good news is; you’ll be fine. You’re in the middle of a strong alliance and I wouldn’t be surprised if your wife hands you an immunity idol clue in the next couple of days.

  5. Tyson – The returnees appear to be a bit physically inferior, especially following the suicide of Captain Tie-Dye. This puts a premium on fit boys, thus increasing both Aras’s and Tyson’s value. I also have to admit an odd sense of disappointment we don’t get leopard print this year.
 5. Vytas – Don’t get me wrong, Vytas…I love that you’re keeping your options open with the Tadhana women. I just hope you’re keeping it a secret so it doesn’t come back to bite you.
 6. Tina – The run on boys is over. From what little we saw of the returnees’ camp, Tina seemed to be getting along with everyone fine. Combine that with the niche she carved for herself as a capable puzzle assembler/killer of her child’s ambitions and she’s in great shape.
 6. Tina – Just to make sure the following point doesn’t get lost, I’m going to put it in bold and italics; Tina, Laura M., and Monica killed that puzzle. How those three managed to pull victory from the jaws of defeat was inspiring. That being said, I wish I had a better understanding of the Galang alliances. I’m going to assume that Aras is running the show and he’s keeping Tina around as a “Winner” buffer.
 7. Monica – The scenes with her and Colton were interesting but ambiguous. Wasn’t really sure what to make of it, though if Colton blows his lid like we’ve been led to believe he will, she may lead the charge against him? *shrug* No real strong feelings on Monica yet.
  7. Laura M. – Same deal as Tina, Laura. You guys were awesome. But, you’re in the middle of the pack because I have no idea what’s going on at Galang.
 8. Kat – Similar to Monica, the biggest thing she did in ninety minutes was interact with Colton, though admittedly in a much more entertaining fashion. Hard to see where the alliance lines are going to fall in their camp, but Kat seems fun and athletic enough to be safe for now.
 8. Monica – See Laura M.
 9. Ciera – That whole being born a girl thing isn’t looking like the best decision right about now. My pre-game pick seemed to do all the right things, including not take any of the flack for the puzzle in the challenge, and seems safer than the other ladies on her beach.
 9. Brad – The leader of any majority alliance is always in a little danger. In Brad’s case, he’s so big and brash that I could see some people already figuring out ways to send him home. But, it’s probably too soon for Tadhana to get rid of such a strong challenge competitor.
 10. Laura M. – I was disappointed we didn’t get anyone’s rationale nor her reaction to being (expletive deleted) on in the pre-game vote. She survived it, and was part of Team Daughter Curb-Stomp at the challenge, but whatever that initial negative reaction was from her tribe mates was, it may not disappear over three nights.
  10. Gervase – The only water-related thing worse than Gervase’s challenge performance was the “Dexter” finale. (Tip your waitresses, folks!) Seriously though, I caught the live show and it was way worse than they showed. However, when it comes out that Marissa was voted out because Tadhana is mad at Gervase, wouldn’t that make Gervase the ideal person to align with?
 11. Brad– Give credit where credit is due: the guy spearheaded a surefire alliance by bonding over Y-chromosomes.Now that that’s out of the way, that whole counting thing may be a bit of an issue down the road. He’s also not been coy about wanting to be declared Grand Emperor of Tadhana, and his muscle isn’t nearly as valuable per scarcity as Aras and Tyson’s. I think he’s OK for now, but when the testosterone inevitably boils over the surface, he could be a mutiny victim.   11. Caleb –  I’ve gone on record saying that Caleb is my favorite person in the known universe (sorry, Malcolm). But, he’s lucky that he’s already in the dominant alliance because he was a part of that puzzle meltdown. It might be smart to lay low and be super useful around camp this week.
 12. Gervase – I felt a moment of sympathy for him during the challenge: guy’s not an original gangster, he’s an old gangster. But the gloating afterwards was like a third-string, bench-warming kicker mocking the opposing starting quarterback after a loss. After the premiere we know he’s no good in the water, he’s loud and obnoxious when he has no right to be, and the thirteen years off he’s bragging about are a hindrance more than an asset. The only redeeming quality here is that he’s competitive with his niece, and I don’t think he bites the bullet for her on RI.
  12. Rachel – The only reason Rachel is so low on this is because she isn’t a dude bro. She did very well in the challenge and appears to be well liked at Tadhana Beach.
 13. Rachel – Girl played in stealth mode for the first episode. No idea what’s going on with Senora Tyson, but she doesn’t appear to be the biggest target of the He Man Woman Hater’s Club yet.
  13. Laura B. – I know it seems like Laura B. should have a huge target on her back because of the Boneham’s day-one disaster, but I think Galang has bigger fish to fry. At this point Laura should keep her head down and go into a Sandra Diaz-Twine “anyone but me” defense.
 14. John – I’m sorry, I didn’t hear a word he said the entire time because I was lost in his eyes. I did a fist pump when he didn’t sub in for wifey on RI; it was the correct, rational decision. But then his eyeballs leaked fluid for the next three days and I’m concerned he’s going to do something dumb come duel (truel?) time and break my heart.   14. Ciera – You were part of the puzzle debacle and you have a uterus. That’s going to put a target on your back. Fortunately though, it looks like you, Brad, and Vytas did some bonding while being terrible at starting fires.
 15. Colton – I go out on a limb and support the kid, allow myself to believe in Remix Colton, and now it looks like we’re about to get more of that flamboyant fury that hell hath not. And no one’s dumb enough to put up with that again.
  15. Kat – Power Rankings veteran Kat was having a quiet episode up until the weird, mid-challenge blow-up with Colton. Without a clear picture of the alliances at Galang, I worry that she could be in trouble if someone’s hoping to take Colton to the end. Although, when he said he was going to hit her with a paddle, he could’ve meant it in a nice way.
 16. Katie – Seems all the post-loss blame fell on her shoulders. It doesn’t matter if she was actually being helpful or not, the perception around camp is that she didn’t pull her weight. Add on that whole femininity thing and she’s in bad shape.   16. Katie – A Tadhana tribe that is down numbers and ruled by an all-male alliance is going to be focused on challenge strength if they lose again. That is bad news for you, Katie.
 17. Laura B. – You poor thing. Out of the pan and into the fire. There’s a chance that someone at the returnees’ camp puts a target on their own back and delays the execution (*cough* Colton *cough*), but getting bailed out of RI was completely misguided.
  17. Colton – You’re crying, you’re yelling, you’re crying. So many emotions. The best part was when Monica asked if she could trust you or if you were going to stab her in the back and you responded, “Yes.” Right now, you’d better be hoping that someone powerful wants to Phillip Sheppard you to the end, otherwise you’re going to be bunking at Redemption Island.
 Redemption Island Picks: Candice and Rupert –We got a preview of their challenge for next week, and it’s a throwback to the final immunity in “One World.” It looks like you need to stay calm and have steady hands (I’d be screwed), and I like Candice’s odds the best. She also gets a bonus because if hubby dearest does something strategically stupid and takes her spot, a cool-under-pressure army doctor should be a lock to win this event.Rupert got to play hero and it was oh so sweet and touching and genuine and vomit. Terrible strategy for both him and his lady. So now he has to win challenges to stay in the game, and he’s certainly not bad historically in that regard, but this week’s event plays less to his strengths than some.I think Marissa’s toast. Think of her situation: her first individual challenge ever is against two people now with 7 seasons of experience between them, and the usual pressure to perform is multiplied by do-or-die circumstances AND having an audience of fellow castaways. I truly feel pity for her, and will be rooting for her to pull it off – Rupert goes home and I’m happy on principle, Candice goes home and I get John all to myself. But it’s a challenge that demands patience and calm, and those didn’t seem to be her strong points. I’m not optimistic.   Redemption Island Picks: Candice and Rupert – If it was a straight-up challenge between three newbies or three returnees, I’d think Marissa had a serious shot to advance. But trust me, Redemption Island is stress central. Rupert and Candice’s experience will make the difference. The main question here is; will Candice continue to feed Rupert for the next three days?Fun Fact: I participated (and emerged victorious) in this challenge during my visit to the Philippines. Check out my first-hand account.

Watch Full Episodes of “Survivor: Blood vs. Water

‘Survivor’ Fave Malcolm Freberg’s Pre-Season Power Rankings

September 10, 2013

Malcolm Freberg (CBS)

Quick Note: I had a chance to sit down with all twenty of the “Blood vs. Water” competitors before the game began. I’ll be posting exclusive interviews with each pairing in the days leading up to the September 18th season premiere. Be sure to follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for those interviews, behind-the-scenes exclusives, and more…

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I’m pretty good at being able to tell when someone is going to be a big deal.

I knew No Doubt would become a major band back when they were bouncing around Southern California. I knew CM Punk would become a big-time player in the wrestling industry when he was wrecking the Northeastern independents, and I knew Malcolm Freberg was going to be awesome on “Survivor.”

The good thing about that last one is we got to see Mr. Freberg pull off hilarious moments such as the Amigos’ triple immunity Tribal Council trick and his defense of Angie Layton’s cookie strategy. The bad thing is stupid CBS kept bringing the guy back and I never had a chance to guilt him into doing the Power Rankings.

Well, CBS finally let the guy take a break. Now he doesn’t have an excuse for avoiding the Power Rankings…

Note: Malcolm’s pre-season rankings are for exhibition purposes only. The actual Power Rankings will begin Monday, September 23, 2013.

Another Note: Betting on the XFINITY “Survivor” Power Rankings is frowned upon.

 1. Ciera – My favorite “Survivor”-related quote I ever stumbled upon was one of Hatch’s – “You have to know who you are to win ‘Survivor.’” This 24-year old with two kids has self-awareness in spades. Combine that with being cute, some subtle charm, and being fit without being intimidating, and she’s got everything she needs to take home the title. I was already a fan of her mom from Samoa, so get used to me sporting #TeamMorett.  2. Vytas – If Ciera has subtle charm, Vytas waves his in your face and dares you not to melt from it. The grizzly yoga master is clearly a physical asset early, but that can be said of many males this season, so why Vytas for my male pick? Because he’s actually not that smooth – he’s a bit unpolished in his interviews, Aras let slip that he’s a hot head, and he’s got a colorful past. But these ‘negatives’ are going to become the reasons people keep him over the other fit men come crunch time. Then he could win his way to the end – yogi’s always dominate – and own all of his faults at the final Tribal and get paid big for it, and it wouldn’t surprise me in the least. Also, it’ll piss off Aras that I ranked his brother higher than him.
 3. Hayden – I have never watched “Big Brother,” so I wasn’t completely sure what to make of the Hayden-casting announcement – in fact, I have a funny story about not recognizing him at LAX that I’ll make sure Holmes lets me share at some point. But all you have to do is watch how he handles Kat in their interviews to know he’s got the social game down pat. Knowing nothing else about him, that was enough for me to think he could pull it off. Also, I don’t think winning BB will manifest as harshly in other contestants’ minds as previously winning “Survivor” will.
  4. John – My man-crush. Apparently he doesn’t say anything ever, he just does push-ups with his wife on his back and saves lives in the army and looks at you with those eyes and *sigh*. He doesn’t seem threatening at all, but having rubbed shoulders (ostensibly amongst other things) with Candice for three years has to instill some sort of gamesmanship, flawed or otherwise. If he can maintain the image of the unassuming, happy-to-help soldier boy he could get taken deep, and he appears smart and strong enough to go on a win streak if he needs it. Biggest mark against him, unlike my top three but less-so than some people below him, is that I don’t think he wins without other people making the mistake of letting him get close to the end.

(Sidenote: My top four picks are newbies. I know historical precedent, and had I paid attention to that fact I might have altered it. But I put thought into this beforehand and this is how I actually felt, and I won’t apologize for the things that come out of my gut. Unless it’s a fart, then I politely excuse myself)

 5. Colton – He said insensitive things. Racist things. Horrible things. And I now pronounce my first of two unpopular opinions: I’m rooting for him. I want to believe that he just got caught up with his own wit, that on “One World” he forgot ten million people were going to see and hear what was coming out of his mouth, and that his story this season will be one of redemption. I’m not totally convinced he’s changed from his interviews, but his take on his reputation was exactly what it needed to be: he’s not going to convince us with words beforehand, but with how he conducts himself for (hopefully) the next 39 days. If you’re a fan of the strategic side of “Survivor,” you are, even if you don’t publicly admit it, excited he’s back. He could be the first boot and I wouldn’t be taken aback in the slightest, and if he acts the same as last time I’ll be over him very quickly. But if he survives the first few votes and turns his attitude around, he’s my favorite to win.
  6. Laura M. – The most terrifying grandma since the wolf in Little Red Riding Hood. In case you’ve forgotten, she was one of the first to recognize elder Hantz (we obviously can’t say ‘big’ Hantz) for what he was. I also feel close to her because we’d likely attend the same support groups for being on a tribe managed by Russell Swan. She’s a smart, fit, capable older woman with a shrewd mind for strategy. My biggest doubt is her ability to disguise those traits – she described herself as ‘a machine,’ and she oozes intimidation and intensity. If she wins, it’s because she powered her way through the end game and got there with coattail riders who never stood a chance. To reiterate, I’m #TeamMorett this season, but I like the daughter’s odds better.
 7. Tina – I’m surprised I have her this high, but thinking through it logically I could see her pulling it off. She could make it through the first phase of the game by getting in the right alliance, then she’s clearly likeable and non-threatening enough to navigate the middle without trouble, and if she gets towards the end she can pull the ‘no one will vote for me, I already won’ card, and then she’s smart enough and sweet enough to win a final Tribal. A lot of things have to go right for her – I don’t think she controls her own destiny – but I think a lot of people will carry her much farther than they should. I’m really torn; Tina could be the second member in one of two hyper-exclusive “Survivor” clubs after “Blood vs Water” – The Diaz-Twine Double Winners, or the Francesca Hogi Double Faults.
 8. Aras – I have the old winners next to each other by complete coincidence. Aras has all the traits of his higher-ranked brother, plus one very glaring flaw: not having flaws. He’s a mellow, laid-back guy who’s not the life of the party and someone who you feel very comfortable around, but he’s not going to slip through the cracks like last time. He was greatly aided in Panama by being a part of the amazeballscrazy pants Casaya tribe, plus being kept as the only viable chance to defeat challenge monster Terry Dietz. I think there’s a 0% chance Aras goes pre-merge, but I think he’ll be targeted soon after that because of how popular he’ll be. Still, if anyone lets him close to the end, his combination of likeability and overcoming past-winner stigma will be unbeatable.

  9. Katie – Little Tina gets points for apparently being ready to turn on mommy in a heartbeat. I think there’s a lot of power in NOT being a pair as the game moves forward, and if Tina goes early Katie may go deep by being kept around as an extra swing vote. Otherwise, she strikes me as a friendly girl, willing to follow orders and who could be taken deep, but not be so daft as to roll over in the end game. Slim chances, but there is a chance.
 10. Tyson – If I were ranking based on where my heart lies, Tyson gets Power Rankings spots 1-20, and everyone else can start after that on another page. I love the guy. But this is what I think of contestant chances, and I struggle to see him winning. Great television, yes. Great Survivor, no. I know I wasn’t out there and don’t know all the circumstances surrounding the vote, but I consider him voting himself out on “Heroes vs. Villians” dumber than JT’s note, dumber than Erik’s immunity surrender, and dumber than Jason’s f***ing stick. And his blindside in Tocantins wasn’t particularly encouraging either. He’s a hilarious, mouthy athlete; let’s enjoy him as long as we can.

 11. Caleb – It almost says something positive about Colton that his fiancé is so cool. He’s a capable, mild mannered provider that’s not going to upset anyone. But he’s got two massive things working against him – first, his boy toy has a reputation, and my bold prediction for the season is that this won’t be held against Colton, but against Caleb. In a move to weaken the flamboyant strategic mastermind, his enemies may strike his significant other. Second, he seems exceedingly passive – I imagine one would have to be to handle a relationship with Colton. If he’s going to make the end game, I feel like he’d have to be taken and, if my read on him is right, he’s way too charming for anyone to want to take him that far.
 12. Gervase – I was initially excited by the throwback pick for this season. I was twelve years old the last time Gervase played “Survivor,” but I haven’t watched Borneo in at least a decade. Then his interviews threw me a bit, and I admit to doing more research to Gerv’s reputation than I did for anyone else. Apparently he was lazy around camp back in the day, and I actually giggled a bit when I confirmed that he couldn’t swim on season 1. He seems like a guy I want to get a beer with, not a guy I’d vote for as sole Survivor. His interviews seemed a little recklessly strategically confident for a guy who didn’t really ‘play the game’ the first time out, and his choice of his niece as a good second doesn’t help his cause.
 13. Candice – I now get to say something I’ve thought for a long time – I had a crush on Candice in Cook Islands. But I was like eighteen at the time, and now that’s superseded by my crush on her husband, so I’m over it and can comfortably place her this low. I think her reputation is going to wreck her – she’s impossible to trust. On one season she mutinied, on another she destroyed her original tribe. If her tribe mates know their “Survivor” history, she’s one of the most disloyal players in history and they won’t give her a chance. If she does get deep, however, she’ll get carried to the end and could flaunt what she had to overcome to a jury, but that feels like a stretch even as I type it.
 14. Brad – The guy looks less like an ex-NFL’er and more like an extra from the set of “300.” He’s not going anywhere in the beginning – the ability to lift heavy objects is too valuable early. And I would actually put big money on him going deep into the game for the same reasons I picked Vytas: he lacks the threatening polished charm which some of the other fit guys have. But what he seems to lack is self-awareness. I can’t even put my finger directly on it, but he grates on me. I could see him getting dragged to the end, then leaving the final Tribal Council thinking he’d won, and having no idea until the votes were read live that no one picked him.
 15. Marissa – I actually like her, but only see trouble for her in the game. The way she talked over Gervase at a few points in their interviews seemed telling of social unawareness, like she cares more about her own voice than others. I want to make one of those ‘if she gets the right alliance’ speeches here, but even if she has that I feel like a big alliance would use her as a first cut.
  16. Monica – Confession = I didn’t watch all of “One World;” we were filming “Philippines” during most of it. But I seem to remember Monica being on the outs early, and feeling like she didn’t understand that she was being too preachy. I got the same feeling from the interviews, like she may not totally be aware of how she’s affecting those around her. I don’t have a strong opinion on where she may place in the game, but pulling out the victory would be a major shock to me.
 17. Laura B. Mrs. Rupert, in my eyes, had a major strike against her coming into all of this: she was Mrs. Rupert. We’ll get to my feelings on the big pirate shortly, but his personality makes it difficult to hear anyone else in the same conversation, so I really didn’t glean much from the interviews and could be way off base here.  To hear them talk about it, they’re both aware she’s the more realistic, less trusting one in the pair. And while that’s encouraging, I still found it difficult to take her seriously since they thought matching tie-dye was a good idea. My hopes are not high for the Boneham clan.
  18. Rachel – I mean absolutely no disrespect here, but I expected fireworks from Tyson’s girlfriend. I expected lighting and wit and radiance, and Rachel just seemed like a kind, quiet girl who may be a bit overwhelmed by her situation. I hope it was a temporary thing during the interviews because there were flashes here and there of personality, and I understand it must be difficult to make yourself heard over Tyson all the time, but as far as winning? Being that forgettable isn’t going to do it.
 19. Kat – I want to party with this girl. Let’s grab Hayden and go find a happy hour spot and put our feet up and hang out till sunrise. But “Survivor” victory? Even Hayden was barely keeping a straight face when the topic came up during the interviews. On some level you could tell she knew how she was perceived, and she spoke passionately about overcoming that image, but everything else she said lent itself to that high degree of naiveté. Kat’s ability to, at least on some level, acknowledge her own silliness keeps her out of the bottom spot.
  20. Rupert – And now for unpopular opinion #2: I’ve never understood the Rupert love. I comprehend that he’s an entertaining character to some, that his exaggerated speech patterns and shoe stealing are fun to watch. But the reason he easily claims the bottom spot on my ranking is exactly why Ciera got the top spot: self-awareness. I don’t think he understands the way he’s perceived by the rest of the world. And, quite simply, you can’t win “Survivor” without that ability.

Any Questions? Drop Malcolm a line on Twitter @MalcolmWHW

Don’t miss the special 90-minute premiere of “Survivor: Blood vs. Water” on Wednesday, September 18, 2013 at 8 p.m. ET.

‘Survivor’ Castaway Malcolm: ‘My Feelings Are Very Fragile This Morning’

April 25, 2013

Malcolm Freberg (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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Five months ago, Malcolm Freberg was sent packing because of his inability to recognize an ‘80s sitcom star. Last night he was done in by Andrea’s annoying little sister impersonation.

“Survivor” is a funny game.

Adios, Amigo.

I spoke with Malcolm the morning after his elimination and had a chance to ask about playing back-to-back seasons, where Erik really stands, and his role in one of the most memorable Tribal Councils in the show’s history…

Malcolm Freberg: What would happen if we didn’t talk about “Survivor”?
Gordon Holmes: So, if we talked about “Bioshock: Infinite”?
Freberg: Scariest thing ever! That one guy…
Holmes: Right? I’m a grown man sitting in my own house, and screaming like a little girl.
Freberg: I am not a grown man, I was drinking cheap beer and sitting in my dirty apartment and I jumped off of the couch.
Holmes: And you’re a man who lived on a crappy island for 60-some days.
Freberg: Yeah, and little video game monsters do the trick.
Holmes: I think CBS is going to be annoyed if we don’t talk about “Survivor.”
Freberg: I’m trying to get you fired.
Holmes: You’re ruining my gig.
Freberg: (Laughs) OK, shoot.

Holmes: So, “Survivor” sucks and I don’t enjoy it anymore.
Freberg: (Laughs) I feel the same way now.
Holmes: Let’s start there. Cochran gets credit for being the hardcore “Survivor” fan, but you’re no slouch yourself. Having been this close to it, two times in a row, do you still have a passion for the show?
Freberg: I think so. I haven’t seen “Survivor” in a year now without me on it. I don’t know how I’m going to react next week. I’ve seen every season and I’ve been so passionate for so long. I’m not sure how I’m going to feel about it now.
Holmes: I just assume it’s going to be a disaster.
Freberg: (Laughs) Keep saying nice things, it makes me a little more numb.
Holmes: I remember last time I made you feel way worse.
Freberg: You did! I forgot about that. Be conscious of everything you say because my feelings are very fragile this morning.
Holmes: My natural instinct is to be a (expletive deleted) but I’m going to try to steer away from that this time.
Freberg: (Laughs) Appreciate that.

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Holmes: What was the deciding factor in making the decision to branch off from Stealth R Us?
Freberg: It goes back to the first couple days. I managed to weasel my way into Stealth Is Nonsense, I refuse to say that name, but I was always on the bottom. I wasn’t a part of the decision making. And I’d gotten to the end of the game, so I know I’m not an immunity challenge monster. I’m good, but I’m not great. And nobody’s going to drag me to the end, so if I’m going to make this thing, I’m going to have to take control of my own fate and mix it up. I couldn’t see it working out sticking with the favorites.

Holmes: Cochran mocked you a bit during the vote last night. That shocked me a bit because it never seemed like there was any animosity between you two.
Freberg: We were surprised how well we got along. On the interior we’re very similar. Maybe we don’t look the same. Apparently we’re different on the outside, but we got along very well. I think…he’s going to kill me for saying this…but maybe there was a touch of jealousy there. Not on a superficial level, but because I was the one who got to make crazy moves and he was playing the sit-back, less flashy game. He will hate me for saying that.

Holmes: Eddie and Reynold are both really nice guys. And you know I’m about to insult someone when I preface something by saying they’re “really nice guys.”
Freberg: Yeah, way to tee it up.
Holmes: Do they get the game? You know the auction is going to feature an advantage and Reynold’s like, “Oh, a mystery item? Take my money.” And then the advantage does come up and Eddie has all of his money and he sits on it. Do they know what’s going on? Have they seen the show?
Freberg: I’ve been watching on TV for the past couple of months and I have no idea what they’re thinking. To this day I still don’t know what’s going on between their ears. I love them both to death. They’re both really good guys.
Holmes: That’s what I said!
Freberg: I don’t know if all the “Survivor” neurons are firing out there. Eddie could not get it through his head why you would ever vote off an attractive girl. It doesn’t make sense to him. One of my proudest “Survivor” accomplishments was convincing him to vote for Andrea. That was the hardest conversation I ever had. You could see smoke coming out of the kid’s ears. And Reynold, part of the reason you can’t help but like Reynold is because he’s such a reckless optimist. You come to him with an idea and he’s 110% behind it. Not everyone would give you an idol and I was toying with it, but Reynold absolutely would.
Holmes: Nice guys.
Freberg: Sweethearts. Maybe not cut out for the strategy portion of “Survivor.”

Holmes: After the merge, you thought you had Erik. Clearly you didn’t. What happened there, I ‘m having a tough time getting a read on him.
Freberg: Clearly I was having a tough time getting a read on Erik as well.
Holmes: Touche.
Freberg: I never was that sure about Erik. I said I did so my potential allies thought we had the numbers. But the words I’d use to describe dealing with Erik are “kid gloves.” Nobody knew what he was thinking. He’d hang out all day, then go swimming, then do a challenge, then go paint something. I don’t know. I couldn’t read him, but I thought he was going along with the Sherri vote until it got turned on its head. Then he randomly votes for Phillip. He was up for doing things, but there was no rhyme or reason.

Holmes: Russell Hantz played back-to-back seasons and he said it really took a toll on him physically. And then going from playing with civilians to facing all-stars was really tough as well. What was your experience like?
Freberg: Physically, I’m still not recovered. I was a pretty in-shape guy, but my muscle mass has not come back at all. It’s come back to some extent, and I’ve been working out, but my body is still wrecked from doing it in quick succession. Mentally, the exhaustion started to sink in when things weren’t going my way. Do you play poker?
Holmes: I do, badly.
Freberg: It’s like if you get all the way to the end and lose at the final hand, you’re like, “Let’s play again immediately.” And then you play and things start going wrong right off the bat and you start playing aggressive and more reckless than you need to. That’s kind of what happened to me. I stand by the things I was trying, but some of it was because I was so tired I started swinging for the fences.
Holmes: Are we going to see back-to-back-to-back?
Freberg: No. I need time to eat carbs and drink beer and sit on a beach without having to worry about people talking behind my back. Give me some time. I need a cuddle before this idea of coming back comes up again.

Holmes: I was going through the CBS press site looking for a picture to use with this interview and there’s one of you chugging a beer…
Freberg: That one.
Holmes: Normally I go with the picture of Probst snuffing…
Freberg: That one! That one!
Holmes: Fine, it’s how I prefer to remember you anyways.
Freberg: Imagine if you were going to tape a picture to my gravestone.

Holmes: Again, you’re a monster “Survivor” fan and you pulled off a monster “Survivor” move last week with the two idols at Tribal. I haven’t done the math yet, but I’m thinking that’s one of the top five Tribal shockers of all time.
Freberg: I wouldn’t put it that high because it didn’t go any way the way I saw it going in my head. It was a double down version of when I bluffed in the Philippines and Jeff Kent went home. All I wanted to happen was for us to pull them out, scare them, and get them to vote for each other. And then I was going to tackle Eddie to keep him from getting up and giving the idol to Probst. It was supposed to be a bluff. As far as entertainment value, it’d have to crack the top five, maybe top three. But as far as pulling off a great move, it wasn’t supposed to go that way.
Holmes: People have said you should’ve played them after the vote, but I liked how it was done. It forced them to turn on each other and gave you some ammunition to work with once you got back to camp. It’s a shame you had to lose two idols, but as for breaking up an alliance, it was pretty genius.
Freberg:  Well, thank you, first of all. Everyone’s got a different opinion on how we should have done that. There was no loss or risk, worst case scenario is what happened. Pulling them out afterwards wouldn’t have been any better. But, Erik of all people has to have his first lucid thought and we had to play them.

Holmes: I know I’m going to regret this, but we do a word association here…
Freberg: What’s word association?
Holmes: I’ll give you the name of someone on your tribe. You give me the first words or couple of words that pop into your head. It’s an exercise to get your true thoughts on someone.
Freberg: So, make it up right on the spot?
Holmes: Yes, having something prepared defeats the purpose.
Freberg: I see…that’d be really interesting if someone had something prepared beforehand.
Holmes: Not really. Only a horrible jerk would do such a thing.
Freberg: How disappointed would you be if I hadn’t prepared something?
Holmes: My heart would be broken.
Freberg: (Laughs)
Holmes: You’re the only one who gets this special dispensation.
Freberg: (Laughs)
Holmes: Alright, Phillip?
Freberg: I juggled with this one, because it’s not fair to the real El Guapo to call him El Guapo. So we’re going with Son of a Motherless Goat.
Holmes: Eddie?
Freberg: Ned Nederlander.
Holmes: Dawn?
Freberg: Dawn is Allison Reynolds.
Holmes: Reynold?
Freberg: Dusty Bottoms.
Holmes: Sherri?
Freberg: Sherri is Principal Vernon.
Holmes: Erik?
Freberg: John Bender.
Holmes: Andrea?
Freberg: Claire Standish.
Holmes: Brenda?
Freberg: Andrew Clark.
Holmes: Brandon?
Freberg: Brandon? You can’t have people from before the merge!
Holmes: Oh! I can’t?! You make up the rules here?
Freberg: Brandon is the Invisible Swordsman.
Holmes: (Laughs) Cochran?
Freberg: Cochran is Brian Johnson.
Holmes: Corinne?
Freberg: I wanted to say Carmen, but like if the girl from “Deadwood” was in “The Three Amigos” and was Carmen. That would be Corinne.

Holmes: Alright, we’re running out of time. Just, quickly, tell me the sun will shine again. Tell me I’m not always going to feel this bad.
Freberg: (Laughs) Nope, the world’s over. Sorry.

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?


‘Survivor: Caramoan’ Fave Malcolm: ‘Girls Are More Terrifying Than Guys’

January 23, 2013

Malcolm Freberg (CBS)

I had a chance to sit down with all twenty of the “Fans vs. Favorites” competitors the day before they left for the Caramoan Islands. I’ll be posting exclusive interviews with each contestant every weekday until we get through all of them. Be sure to follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for tons of updates.

Name: Malcolm Freberg
Age: 25
Hometown: Hermosa Beach, CA
Occupation: Bartender
Previous Finish: Malcolm came in 4th place in “Survivor: Philippines”
Memorable Moment: Malcolm allowed Lisa Whelchel’s brother to visit the tribe’s camp. Lisa’s brother promptly told her to vote Malcolm out.

Note: The “Survivor: Caramoan” pre-game interviews are unlike the pre-game interviews we’ve done in the past. Usually, the interviews take place on location, this time they took place in Los Angeles before the players flew out. At this point, all the “Favorties” know is that they’re flying out in the next few days. They have seen each other, but haven’t seen the new players.  They don’t know for sure where they’re going, and they don’t know any of the season’s twists.

Another Note: Since “Survivor: Philippines” hadn’t aired yet, I knew nothing about how Malcolm had performed.

Gordon Holmes: Whenever we go to “Survivor,” me, the press, Probst, we all sit down and we talk about who we like. I liked me some Malcolm.
Malcolm Freberg: My man. Appreciate that.
Holmes: So, you can’t tell me a thing about what happened in the Philippines, which is fine… and don’t do it. I need to stay pure and unspoiled for the Power Rankings.
Freberg: I won’t.
Holmes: When I left the Philippines you were in bad shape. Zane was voted out. You were on a tribe that seemed like it was destined for destruction.
Freberg: (Laughs)
Holmes: So…when I saw your name in the bios, I was super psyched. But, then that elation was followed by immediate depression.
Freberg: Depression?
Holmes: Because seeing your quick return made me think you didn’t win. Also, I’m thinking the reason you were brought back is because you did something super evil or super stupid.
Freberg: (Laughs) You’ll just have to wait and see.

Holmes: You are basically the new Russell Hantz in the sense that you’re going back into the game and nobody knows a thing about you. Is that a benefit or a detriment?
Freberg: I’m the new Russell…plus a foot. I just walked by Brandon Hantz in the hall and he barely scrapes my nipple.
Holmes: (Laughs) We just started and you’re already taking us way off track.
Freberg: (Laughs) It’s a double-edged sword. Because of Russell it’s a detriment because of how notorious he was. Everyone felt more duped because they didn’t have a chance to see him play first. That’s not necessarily the way I’m going to play it, but there’s a stigma that I have an advantage because nobody has seen me play. But, at the same time I’m a complete wild card. There are people out there who have negative stigmas already attached to them for what they did on their seasons. So, when it comes to going with someone you know is going to be a liability versus someone you don’t know anything about. Maybe you go with the wild card in that instance.
Holmes: But sometimes people will take the devil they know over the devil they don’t know. If I’m playing, here’s this kid I’ve never seen play before, and he had to do something to be brought back so quickly.
Freberg: The story I’m going with is I’m coming back because of the wonderful bounce in my hair.
Holmes: No sane person could debate that fact.
Freberg: Now that I have a look at who’s back, I’m not as worried about being shunned. Just because of aspects of the game that are important early in the game. Looking at some of the guys here, not to name names, but they’re not big physical competitors.
Holmes: You can name names, I can’t.
Freberg: OK, maybe you can give Brandon and Erik a little credit, but there are no other big guys. If someone’s going to try to take a hold of this game, they’re going to need to keep me at least a little while. It gives me time to show that I’m not this crazy, egomaniacal, kill-all, destruction strategist like Russell.

Holmes: You’re a huge “Survivor” fan.
Freberg: I am.
Holmes: What do you think the twist is, if there is one other than bringing back guys with amazing bounce in their hair?
Freberg: So, there’s ten favorites back, five guys, five girls. I’d imagine that we haven’t seen another ten. They’re probably not returnees. So, a repeat of season sixteen, Fans vs. Favorites. If that’s the case, more power to me. There were returning players in my season and I know what it’s like for the new people to see people they’ve seen on TV and have to play with them. The aura that’s around them, people get timid around that. People aren’t going to be as aggressive or as confident around people that they’ve seen on TV. You’re just the rookie on the baseball team. It’s your first at bat and you’re having to go against Mariano Rivera. You might be the best stud batter out of college, but you’re going to be nervous going against the veteran.

Holmes: Based on who you’ve seen, is there anyone you want to align with, anyone who scares you?
Freberg: Scares me? Nobody scares me, Gordon.
Holmes: I’m an idiot. Terrible choice of words.
Freberg: Phillip Sheppard and his underwear keep me up at night.
Holmes: See, you’re not a machine, you’re a human being.
Freberg: If he wears those things again…he’s already walking around with a feather. (Laughs) I was hoping maybe he’s a sane guy and we could have a rational conversation, but then I saw that.
Holmes: If that dude doesn’t finish the season with a full headdress I’m going to be so disappointed.
Freberg: I’m going to give him a new feather every day.
Holmes: Off track again!
Freberg: Allies… Strategically, the girls are more terrifying than the guys.
Holmes: Like who?
Freberg: Brenda, Andrea’s pretty smart, Corinne’s terrifying…but she didn’t really do anything strategically, but at the same time, they’re very Type-A girls. Wait, is that a thing?
Holmes: Yeah, you’re thinking of alpha males, but there are Type-A girls.
Freberg: They’re super Type-A girls where it seems like the guys didn’t come out of the gates as dominant on their first season.
Holmes: Knowing that, are you more likely to follow or work with a Type-A girl or lead around some of these guys?
Freberg: I don’t do critical thinking well around pretty girls. I learned that about myself the first time around. So, probably can’t do the girls just because my brain gets befuddled when pheromones start running. So, I’m naturally drawn to go with the guys, but Cochran will turn on you in a second, Brandon…I can’t even discuss Brandon, and Phillip’s crazy. And, Erik…I guess maybe I should align with Erik.
Holmes: What does all of this say about you?
Freberg: I know. (Laughs) What did I do that was so bad?

Holmes: This interview sucks.
Freberg: (Laughs)
Holmes: Seriously, this is really hard to do without knowing what happened in the Philippines.
Freberg: I’m thinking about my answers too, which is much less fun.
Holmes: OK, without getting spoilery, why do you think you were brought back?
Freberg: It can’t just be your looks. It can’t just be because I’m funny.
Holmes: Yes, but that combination can’t be denied.
Freberg: (Laughs) But there needs to be more!
Holmes: As the first Survivor to kill a man during the game, they had no choice but to bring you back.
Freberg: Being the first Survivor to take off his ice skate and stab somebody.

Holmes: Did you learn anything your first time around? Will you do things differently?
Freberg: You have to learn. When you play a football game, you go back and watch the tape. Having done it once, I know I can do certain things well in the game of “Survivor.” There are things I’m not great at. Now there’s no learning curve, especially having just done it. I’m going to hit the beach on day one and know exactly what I’m supposed to start doing.

Holmes: Playing back-to-back seasons took a big toll on Russell. Are you worried that you might not be physically up to it?
Freberg: I’m definitely not where I was the first time I went in, just muscle-mass wise. I only had a few weeks in the States in between seasons. I haven’t been eating healthy at all. It’s basically ice cream and beer. (Laughs)
Holmes: That’s pretty much my diet. I’ve been putting on sympathy weight for you.
Freberg: Appreciate it. But I’ve got cake batter on one love handle and chocolate chip cookie dough on the other and then beer in the middle. So, physically I am not in the same space that I was. But, I’m still in the upper tier as far as physical strength goes. But, part of the game is turning your strengths into weaknesses. At some point being strong is a weakness. If I can get really broken down for a few weeks, maybe that’s a move I pull out of my belt. Maybe it’s a feint I use a couple of weeks into the game

Holmes: I’m going to say something that’s probably going to break your heart.
Freberg: Oh no…
Holmes: Which is a shame.
Freberg: Because I have a fragile heart where you’re concerned.
Holmes: I’m aware. You’re human. When we spoke in the Philippines I said to myself, “If Malcolm does well out there, I’d love to have him do the Power Rankings for Season 26.” And then you went and got yourself cast on Season 26.
Freberg: (Laughs)
Holmes: How does it feel to miss out on the chance of a lifetime?
Freberg: I love the Power Rankings. Dawn just won.
Holmes: Dawn cleaned house.
Freberg: I guess I’m going to have to walk out of this interview. A chance at a million dollars is nice, but the chance of winning the Power Rankings… Wait, what do you win if you win the Power Rankings?
Holmes: One year it was a Jeff Probst bobblehead that was painted gold.
Freberg: Tell you what, you promise me a three-foot-tall, gold Jeff Probst statue with a snuffer, I’ll walk out right now. Oh, now she (the CBS Representative) looks nervous.
Holmes: You don’t have back-ups ready if he bolts?
CBS Representative: (Laughs) We’ve got nothing.
Holmes: The lure of the Power Rankings is too strong.
Freberg: It’s like I’m engaged to one girl now, but you’re so much prettier.
CBS Representative: Can’t he do it after this one?
Holmes: I guess.
Freberg: Maybe the magic will be gone.
Holmes: He’s going to be all changed after he’s been featured on national television.
Freberg: It’ll be like your high school girlfriend. She’ll always be your first love, but you’re not the same people anymore.
CBS Representative: But he hasn’t changed.
Holmes and Freberg: Not yet.
Holmes: Come talk to this guy in December when he’s a (expletive deleted).

Don’t miss the two-hour premiere of “Survivor: Caramoan – Fans vs. Favorites,” Wednesday, February 13, 2013 at 8 p.m. ET on CBS.

‘Survivor’ Runner-Up Malcolm: ‘Lisa Whelchel Is a (Expletive Deleted)’

December 18, 2012

'Survivor: Philippines' (CBS)

Quick Note: Don’t miss out on our interviews with “Survivor” champion Denise Stapley and runner-up Lisa Whelchel. We’ll also be having an exit interview with Michael Skupin  later this week. Follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute updates.

Don’t let the headline of this interview fool you, Malcolm Freberg and Lisa Whelchel are still buddies. That’s just another example of what made Malcolm such an effective “Survivor” player.

Malcolm wanted to play with the icy efficiency of a Brian Heidik…and he did. He didn’t hesitate to send people packing when he needed to. But, he paired that with a charm that probably would have earned him a million dollars if he’d gotten to the end.

Now, it isn’t news to anyone that my pre-game intuition isn’t always dead on. I thought Ace Gordon would be the major villain coming out of “Survivor: Gabon.” I thought NaOnka Mixon was way too sweet to compete in “Survivor: Nicaragua.” And, I thought Malcolm Freberg would win “Survivor: Philippines.”

However, I was right when I said that America was going to fall in love with the charismatic bartender.

I spoke with Malcolm the morning after his elimination and had a chance to apologize for placing a curse on him, ask him about the hesitation that probably cost him the game, and make him feel worse about his loss…

Malcolm Freberg: Hold me.
Gordon Holmes: I’m glad you’re in a good mood, but I feel terrible.
Be my big spoon. I need some comfort. (Laughs)
I feel awful. I’m the reason you’re not the “Survivor” champion right now. I cursed you.
That’s true, you jackass! I see “Oh, wow, I’m Gordon’s favorite! Oh, now it’s not going to work out. I’m toast.” (Laughs) This is all your fault. Seriously.  I’m going to start taking a chunk out of your paycheck up until a million dollars over the next 20 years.
(Laughs) It’s going to take a lot longer than that.

Holmes: Alright, let’s talk about this awful, crappy show that has ruined so many lives. What was your thinking when Denise came to you with the plan to split the vote and you responded by being non-committal?
Freberg: I didn’t see how dead set Lisa was on getting rid of me. I had no idea. All that I’d seen was that Lisa and Skupin shook hands with me and had stood by a final-four deal. So, if I can get them to shake on a final-three deal, that’s set in stone and that’s done. It sounds horrible, but as soon as we shook hands on that boat I thought, “Got it. Done,” even after I lost that immunity challenge. So, when Denise came to me I was just trying not to piss off a jury member. It’s a little bit of a cocky thing, but I thought I had it. I found out in the middle of that last Tribal that I was getting kicked off. Unfortunately, Lisa Whelchel is a (expletive deleted). (Laughs)
(Laughs) So, at the final five when it was a possibility to take Abi to the end, you didn’t see the need because you had complete faith in your alliance with Skup and Lisa.
I didn’t need to. I didn’t want to piss anyone off. I thought I had it. Have you ever played “Mortal Kombat”?
I have.
You know when you don’t get hit and you win the fight and they go, “Flawless Victory”? I’m pretty sure I said that in my head before we went diving with whale sharks. I thought I’d just won the game.
So in your mind, you’ve got a Westman/Spradlin-esque perfect clean run to the end.
It turns out I’m not as good at challenges as I thought I was, but I thought I’d pulled it off. I thought I had it locked. I had their word. Skupin doesn’t really have a mind for strategy and Lisa, I had no idea she was a professional actress. I just thought she was a crazy Christian woman who cried all of the time. I really thought I had it locked.

Holmes: When did you learn about Lisa’s role on “The Facts of Life”? At Ponderosa? (Note: Ponderosa is where the jury stays when they’re not at Tribal Council.)
Freberg: Nobody knew until Penner’s speech at Tribal. I had no idea. And when he said “Facts of Life,” I think me and Pete said, “What the hell is ‘The Facts of Life’”? (Laughs) Penner didn’t tell us beforehand. And I’ll tell you, Penner’s final Tribal Council speech was all-time awesome. They didn’t show it, but most of the jury applauded when he was done.
So you’re trying to tell me if Lisa Whelchel had been on “Boy Meets World” you would be a millionaire.


…That’s a really sad, true statement. (Laughs)
(Laughs) My goal was actually to make you feel much worse.
I know, really! Everyone else is being so nice and comforting and telling me I did a good job. You’re just throwing out scenarios to make me realize how close I was.
I think you did a fantastic job. You went out there and you were like, “I’m going to be cold-hearted, this is going to be a business trip. I’m going to be like Brian Heidik.” And you didn’t have to. The only misstep was trusting Lisa. I thought if you won immunity that would have been a slam dunk.
I’ll stand by my logic based on the knowledge I had at the time. The only thing I had wrong was my read on Lisa. She absolutely played me. And good for her, it’s a game. I told everyone going into this; if you get me, good on you. I’m  not going to be mad at you. But, I’m going to be pissed off that I lost. If we were sitting around playing Candy Land I’m going to be pissed off if I lose, I’m a competitive guy. And “Survivor” is the biggest stakes you can play for.
You can’t beat me at Candy Land.
(Laughs) You haven’t seen the way I can pull cards.
(Laughs) You haven’t seen my ability to pull the card that shoots you ahead to the…peppermint…thing…I don’t know. I’m canceling this joke.
(Laughs) You can’t remember the fine details of Candy Land.

Holmes: You’re a gamer. I knew you were going to vote for Denise because you respected that she got the best of you. But, you still gave her a hard time. Were you worried that something you said might have cost her some votes?
Freberg: Our jury knew who was winning that game. When I said “Congratulations, Denise” after I got booted, that was just the truth. Me and Denise at the final four, one of us is going to win a million dollars. They wanted it to look like Skupin and Lisa had a chance. They never had a chance. Nobody respected Skupin’s game. I still like Lisa and Skupin, I talk to them all the time. Nobody respected Skupin’s game and nobody thought Lisa was playing the game. She clearly was, but we didn’t know that. She was doing it all in interviews and confessionals. She was just this weepy Christian lady to us. So, everyone was throwing Denise softballs and I came off much angrier than I meant to. (Laughs) I wanted to make her get defensive. I wanted her to rip on Lisa a little bit. But, there was no doubt about who was winning that thing.

Holmes: As an original Matsinger, I wanted to ask about how Russell Swan was at the reunion. He and I spoke after his elimination and he hadn’t come to terms with what had happened out there.
Freberg: I get along with all but very few of the people at the reunion, but Russell, he’s just still that guy. He is not over it. He was not talking to anyone. It hit him hard. I’d be upset too if I got a second chance, and I was taken out a bad way the first time. He didn’t get to win a thing. The only thing he won was the challenge they did on “The View.” He’s still hurting. He was perfectly polite. We shook hands a few times. But, he’s still hurting really bad.

Holmes: Alright, let’s do some word association…
Freberg: Wait! Hold on, let me get my computer out.
No, no, no…
I didn’t prepare for this at all…obviously….but I need to look at my answers. (Laughs)
(Laughs) Damnit, Freberg.
You know I read your stuff every week. Obviously I prepare for these things.
I’ve had people before who’ve said, “I knew this was coming, why didn’t I prepare?!” And you’re the first one to ruin my fun.
(Laughs) I came up with this idea on how I was going to do this…I think I was drinking somewhere. I got home at like three in the morning. I thought, alright, this is happening, and I wrote it all down.
Somewhere drinking? That doesn’t sound like you.
I know, right? I have a Sierra Nevada in my hand right now.
You’re defeating the purpose of this exercise.
(Laughs) You don’t get to boss me around. I’m doing it the way I thought, and it’s awesome.
Well, after I screwed up your game, I guess we’ll call it even.
You cost me a million dollars, I get to cheat at word association.
Fair enough. Let’s start with Abi-Maria.
Abi is Iago.
Carter is Scooby Doo.
Pete ‘s Scar.
Denise is Pongo.
Lisa is Dory.
I couldn’t come up with one. Let’s come back to him. (Laughs)
(Laughs) You cheat and you can’t come up with one?! Skupin?
Skupin is the Sultan from “Aladdin.”
Let’s finish with Penner.
Penner is the Cheshire Cat.
Do you have one for Artis or do you need a couple of minutes and Google?
You didn’t ask me everyone.
If you’ve got your list, just rattle through it.
Kent is Jafar, RC is the second evil stepsister, I couldn’t think of one for Artis. Which Disney character just sits there and is a funny, charming guy who stares angrily at you and looks like he wants to kill you the entire time?
(Laughs) I don’t know.
That’s who Artis is.
(to the CBS Representative) He broke the word association, how did you let this happen?
CBS Representative: (Laughs) This is a first.
(Laughs)  I didn’t win “Survivor,” I did win the word association.

Holmes: OK Mr. “Survivor” fan, you got to go in there, tear it up, win immunities, meet your hero Jonathan Penner. What’s your takeaway? Was it everything you wanted minus that million-dollar check?
Freberg: Yeah, except for the amount of bank accounts I have to open today. It was everything I could have hoped for. Every time something I saw on TV would happen I’d have like a little baby fit of giggles. I didn’t play it cool at all. At the merge, when I got to make the flag, it was awesome except for coming up a day short.

Holmes: Malcolm, I love you.
Freberg: I love you too, buddy.
Although I hate you for the mockery you’ve made of my gimmick.
(Laughs) I wasn’t going to let you off the hook, you cost me a million dollars!

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

‘Survivor: Philippines’ Pre-Game Interview: Malcolm Freberg

September 17, 2012

Malcolm Freberg (CBS) sent me deep into the wilderness on a mission to bring you all kinds of “Survivor” stuff including behind-the-scenes tidbits, pre-game interviews with the cast, insights from “Survivor” host Jeff Probst and Challenge Producer John Kirhoffer, a look at the first Tribal Council, and much more. I’ll be cranking out this goodness daily, so be sure to follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute updates on all of this season’s “Survivor” fun.

Name: Malcolm Freberg
Age: 25
Home: Hermosa Beach, CA
Occupation: Bartender
Tribe: Matsing

Gordon Holmes: Being a bartender, you tend to have to deal with a wide variety of people. Is that going to help you in the game?
Malcolm Freberg: Oh yeah. Anybody who doesn’t think this is a social game at this point is an idiot. My job is making people feel comfortable and happy with me. If people don’t like me, I can’t pay my rent. So, that’s every day of my life. And it’s changing pace quickly too. Somebody can be at this end of the bar being loud and obnoxious and telling jokes, then there’s some discreet woman sipping some crap sauvignon blanc over here and I have to be polite. So, being able to change your attitude real quick, being the guy that everybody wants to see is definitely going to come in handy.

Holmes: It says here in your bio that you don’t like dumb people. I don’t mean to ruin Christmas, but there have been a few of those in past “Survivor” seasons.
Freberg: OK, I like dumb people when I’m sitting home watching them on TV. Don’t get me wrong. Erik Reichenbach is like my favorite guy. But, it’s when it affects you, that’s my biggest worry is that I’m going to put my trust in the wrong person to do a simple task. They’re going to screw it up or run there mouth. When somebody does something that makes no sense. If I get backstabbed, and it was in their best interest? I’ll be pissed, but I’ll get over it because they made a good move. If somebody does something idiotic and it hurts me and ruins my game? That’s when you’re going to see me flip (expletive deleted) on national television.

Holmes: It also says here, three words that describe you are charming, brilliant, and cocky. There are so few guys like us…
Freberg: (Laughs) We’re rare, aren’t we?  We’re a dying breed.
Holmes: It’s a little embarrassing to be so good at everything.
Freberg: When everything falls in your lap. When you never fail. There are no challenges left for us. Maybe that’s why I’m on “Survivor” to get away from all these people who are lavishing praise on me.
Holmes: I wouldn’t be willing to subject myself to lack of constant praise.
Freberg: Actually, I’m pretty sure I can get those 14 people in there to do it, so I’m not too worried about it.
Holmes: You’re crunching the numbers already. That’s good. What do you think of these folks?
Freberg: A lot of big guys, which is good. I’m going to be able to blend in more that I thought. Girls…a couple of cute ones. I was hoping for more from a network television show. I’m assuming everyone else has figured out there’s only six guys sitting in there. So, there’s still a variable. But it’s hard to make an assumption on how to play when there’s a big x factor out there.

Holmes: You’re a Russell Hantz fan…
Freberg: Alright, just stop. I’m not.
Holmes: It says in your bio that you love Russell Hantz. You can’t get enough of Russell Hantz.
Freberg: Don’t go putting words into my pre-game interview! Actually, that’s from the application. I put MF, my initials…hearts RH.
Holmes: That’s adorable.
Freberg: That’s why they picked me for the show. Actually, it’s tattooed on my left ass cheek. I think Russell is an idiot, you can control more than just your actions, you have to keep your hands clean and be more than just a miniature egomaniac, cracked-out (expletive deleted). If you know how to play mind games with people, you can play them against each other. Jonny Fairplay (Dalton) did it in Pearl Islands successfully.

Holmes: Guys like you and I who are cocky, charming, and brilliant can come off as villains. Is that something you’re worried about or is that something you’ll embrace?
Freberg: The only thing I care about being portrayed as is being a millionaire at the end. I don’t care what I look like. I want to play this game. I want to play it borderline sociopathically.  Emotion-free. The guy I want to play it the most like is (Brian) Heidik. He was…he’s not a nice guy (laughs) but he was liked by everyone. He was charming enough that he stabbed everyone in the back and still got the money in the end. Mr. Freeze, stone cold, that’s how I want to play.

Holmes: I know how this question is going to be answered…
Freberg: Go ahead.
Holmes: Are you prepared to lie?
Freberg: Yeah. I see it…and one of my favorites of all time (Jonathan) Penner saw it as a game of Monopoly. In my opinion it shouldn’t hurt your feelings if you land on Boardwalk and I have two hotels on it. It just sucks for you. Go watch TV while I go win the game. Do whatever it takes, lying, deceiving, manipulating, whatever other synonyms you can come up with.
Holmes: I didn’t bring my thesaurus.
Freberg:  But yeah, no problem lying.
Holmes: I agree with you. I’m a big believer that if you stab me in the back, I’ll be the first to shake your hand. But so many people have been hammered at a final Tribal over a lie.
Freberg: If it got to that point, then I haven’t played it right. You shouldn’t be hated at the final three. I read this in some essay that the entire point of “Survivor” is to create a jury that wants you to win. Sit next to a villain or sit next to someone who did nothing. Just don’t be the worst option. That’s how I’m looking at it.
Holmes: Will you flirt to get ahead?
Freberg: Oh yeah, that won’t be a problem. That little blonde’s already checking me out. What were those adjectives that described me?
Holmes: Us.
Freberg: Us, sorry.
Holmes: Cocky, charming, and brilliant.
Freberg: (Laughs) I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to leave you out of my adjective list. We’re in this together.
Holmes: It’s missteps like that that are going to send your ass to the jury.
Freberg: (Laughs) I should’ve used the plural, I apologize. But yeah, I’ll flirt, but I’ll steal Heidik’s line; this is a business trip. I’m out here to play the game and win the game. If that helps me? Great. I’m not out here to get booty blinded.
Holmes: So for “Survivor” catchphrases, Heidik has “business trip,” you have “booty blinded.”
Freberg: There’s my term. But if I can manipulate one of these little empty heads, I will.

Holmes: Anyone who tosses around the name Heidik as often you do is probably going to be branded a super fan. Is part of your strategy highlighting that or hiding that?
Freberg: I don’t think I need to pull that out like (John) Cochran or (Stephen) Fishbach do. They’re super smart guys, they’re strategic and they can help you in that way. The idea is to downplay my strategic and super fan status, actually, never tell the super fan stuff. At some point if you’re going to play dumb, you have to change gears and take over the game. And that’s the story that needs to happen for me.  If I look dumb and get voted out, I’m going to be remembered as the dumb guy. (Laughs) I’ll need to know when to go into Machiavellian beast mode.

Holmes: I already know you love Russell Hantz, but from a strategic standpoint, if you could align with any former “Survivor” player, who would it be and why?
Freberg: Gimme a second, cause you’re going to love my answer.
Holmes: There’s that cockiness.
Freberg: Let’s say Corinne (Kaplan) from Gabon. Total bitch. I used to date a girl exactly like her from New York. I know how to deal with it. Nobody likes her, so they’re not going to vote for her in the end. And I know how to get along with a person like that.

Holmes: OK, what’s the plan for the big check Jeff Probst is going to give you in December?
Freberg: The first purchase will be completely selfish. Just grandiose and indulgent. But after that, some will go to charity. I worked with Special Olympics in college and I did volunteer work in Micronesia. A portion of the winnings would go to that.

Don’t miss the premiere of “Survivor: Philippines” – Wednesday, September 19, 2012 at 8 p.m. ET on CBS.

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