Posts Tagged ‘shirin oskooi’

‘Survivor’ Champion Michele Fitzgerald Accepts the Power Rankings Challenge

September 21, 2016
'Survivor: Kaoh Rong' Champion Michele Fitzgerald

‘Survivor: Kaoh Rong’ Champion Michele Fitzgerald

QUICK NOTE: is the place to be for all of your bug-eatin’, back-stabbin’, “Survivor” coverage. During the season we’ll have insightful weekly Power Rankings, exit interviews, and full episode recaps. Follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute updates.

Don’t miss the season premiere of “Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen-X,” Wednesday, September 21, 2016 at 8pm ET.

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 players will earn.  The person with the most points at the end of the season will be declared the “Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen-X” champion.

Quick Note: XFINITY “Survivor” loudmouth Gordon Holmes will be unable to participate in this season’s Power Rankings due to being more than a bit spoiled. Therefore, he has invited defending Power Rankings champion Shirin Oskooi to take his place.

Yet Another Quick Note: No points will be awarded during the pre-season ranking portion. Scoring will begin next week.

Michele Fitzgerald and Shirin Oskooi’s Pre-Season Rankings

michele shirin

Michele’s Score = 0

Any questions for Michele? Drop her a line on Twitter: @meeshfitz

Shirin’s Score = 0

Any questions for Shirin? Drop her a line on Twitter: @theshirin

adam zeke
 1. – Adam: Dang, he says all the right things. Mix social, strategic, superfan with an endearing motivation to win… My vote goes to him.
 1. – Zeke: “I’m going to give you four reasons to watch Survivor: Millennials vs Gen-X … Number 2: Zeke.” – Jeff Probst
chris adam
 2. – Chris: He prides himself on being able to juggle peoples’ personalities so I have high hopes that he can handle all the balls that “Survivor” will throw at him.
 2. – Adam: Small, snowy, nonthreatening on the surface, like an iceberg, the bulk of Adam’s substance looms beneath.
 3. – Figgy: Nashville mirrors everything I like about Figgy: bright, fun and electric. She should be able to figure out when to stay in an alliance, and when to go, and be able to justify it without any hard feelings.
 3. – Chris: Gangster in a Oprah Louis CK suit.
 4. – Michaela: She definitely acts older than she is, and I appreciate that she doesn’t feel like the world owes her anything. “Survivor” doesn’t give any handouts, and I feel like she’s scrappy enough to fight for what she wants.
 4. – Figgy: Wasps fly into figs on a suicide mission to pollinate the fig and lay eggs. The fig rips off a wasp’s wings, antennae, legs, then digests the body, stinger and all. This is what it means to be “figgy.”
 5. – Taylor: I think this bro will get along with everyone. He seems casual, adaptable, and social. He should have no problem finding a comfortable spot on the Millennial tribe, and I foresee many open conversations with people about where he stands.
 5. – Ken: The motherhood penalty vs. the fatherhood bonus on the road to final Tribal Council. (see:
 6. – Zeke: Hello, you vibrant thing. I’m willing to overlook the New Jersey dig because you will probably soon be “Survivor” fan-favorite royalty.
 6. – Mari: She’s a self-made (YouTube subscriber) millionaire,

Thug livin’ on the island, pink dye in the hair.
michelle sunday
 7. – Michelle: “Studies dragons and the stars,” “inspiration is God” … I have no idea what to think here. She has definitely got her head in the clouds, but there was something endearing about her soft spoken meet-the-cast video. If she can stay grounded, she should connect with a lot of people on this cast.
 7. – Sunday: Sunday always comes too late. #thecure
 8. – Rachel: I thought this Playboy bunny was all soft and fuzzy until I realized she wrote a book and won 6 chess tournaments. If she can play up to the “beauty girl” stereotype, she may be able to slide deep and then surprise people.
 8. – Paul: Once that cyclone hits, Paul’s hair will be the star of a glamrock video. People will probably ignore the lyrics. #PourSomeSugarOnHim
cece bret
 9. – CeCe: As we saw with Cydney’s pregame, having multiple personalities isn’t always a bad thing, as long as you know when and how to use them. CeCe is like an onion, multi-layered and strong. I predict she should outlast most of the other Gen-Xers.
 9. – Bret: It’s always comforting to hear someone in law enforcement assert, “Not one person ever tells me the truth.” Here’s hoping Will doesn’t become Bret’s Brendan Dassey.
 10. – Jay: He seems outgoing, fun, and positive. I’m thinking he will be the challenge beast of the season, only to be sent packing as soon as he loses. His eagerness and enthusiasm have blindside written all over it.
 10. – Will: High school. Low voice. Medium finish.
bret hannah
  11. – Boston Bret: Police officers must be able to read the room, assess possible threats, and distinguish truths from lies. He has all the tools to go deep in this game, but listing his biggest pet peeve as “people who talk religion at thanksgiving dinner” means I’m predicting tension at the merge feast.
 11. – Hannah: May all the religious peeps this season form a prayer circle to save the smart, funny girl.
 12. – Ken: “I’m pretty sure there’s a lot more to life than being really, really, ridiculously good looking. And I plan on finding out what that is.” I’m getting serious Zoolander vibes from this guy – handsome, but maybe a little shallow.  12. – Michaela: She’s got hot sauce in her bag. #swag
 13. – David: I like that he embraces that “Survivor” is out of his comfort zone. He seems like a good mix between millennial mindset and gen-X, I just don’t know if he can find a strong place to fit in long term.  13. – David: Cochrans don’t win the first time they play. But the bullies’ reality is a high and dry future while even the invisible find their way back to the island.
mari cece
  14. – Mari: Whoa, this girl is intense. On paper, Mari has the tools to dominate this game. But sometimes what seems like obvious winner qualities (competitive, focused, calculating) doesn’t always translate to “Survivor.”
 14. – CeCe: You may wonder why CeCe is so low.
paul jay
 15. – Paul: I am getting Debbie vibes. It’s hard to tell whether a big personality like this will be endearing or will struggle to connect with other castaways. No matter what, I have a feeling Paul will be in our face until he gets sent packing.
 15. – Jay: You may wonder why Jay is so high.
 16. – Lucy: I love Lucy but describing herself as “stubborn” and “controlling” gives me some red flags. If she doesn’t loosen up, she may have a hard time at a swap.
 16. – Taylor: Re: Josh Wigler’s interview with Taylor: Like if I see a bro, some people look at that as just a boring Ozzy or Drew. I look at that as a jungle gym, and it’s like, TV gods are going to climb that bro. They’re going to go do that.
 17. – Will: It is in our nature, as Survivors, to want to break records. I worry that Will’s record as youngest Survivor ever will be his main accomplishment on this season.  17. – Jessica: I plead the fifth.
 18. – Hannah: Her quirkiness seems a little forced to me. I can see the comparison to Cochran and even to fellow Bostonian Aubry, but I think she will lack the complexity and maturity to use that fish out of water-ness to her advantage.
 18. – Rachel: (TIE) “I think sexiness comes from within…It’s in here like a little tiger. I can pull it out. And I attempt not to pull it out because if I do, it’s a little much.” Yeah, pulling it out is risky.
 19. – Sunday: I immediately see her as the physically weak link. She strikes me as someone who will be sweet, but may fall into the ‘mom’ role and could end up a little naggy. 
 18. – Michelle: (TIE) Michelle, a dinosaur with wings is called a “pterodactyl.”
20. – Jessica: I liked Jessica until I found out she drinks her champagne with salt and vinegar chips. No amount of persuasion could convince me that this is a good pairing. I worry for her choice in alliance.
 18. – Lucy: (TIE)  Holmes: If there is a twist, what do you think it could be?

Huang: That the weakest link will win.

‘Survivor: Kaôh Rōng’ Power Rankings: So-Long-to-Kaôh-Rōng Edition

May 17, 2016
"Survivor: Kaôh Rōng" (CBS)

“Survivor: Kaôh Rōng” (CBS)










QUICK NOTE: is the place to be for all of your bug-eatin’, back-stabbin’, “Survivor” coverage. During the season we’ll have insightful weekly Power Rankings, exit interviews, and full episode recaps. Follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute updates.

Watch Full Episodes of “Survivor: Kaôh Rōng”

The Rules: For the finals, each player will rank the remaining Survivors in the order in which they think they will finish. The first contestant is the winner, the second received the second most votes at Tribal, etc. Each correct placement is worth two points.  The person with the most total points for the season will be named the “Survivor: Kaôh Rōng” Power Rankings Challenge Champion.

Last Week: Shirin had Joe in spot five, I had him in spot three. The current score is Team Shirin 108, Team Gordon 103.


Shirin’s Score = 108

Any questions for Shirin? Drop her a line on Twitter: @theshirin

Gordon’s Score = 103

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

AubryBlack AubryBlack
 1. – Aubry: This game handed her lemons – some sour, some bitter, some rotting – but in the end she’ll be making #Lemonade.
 1. – Aubry: Losing Joe made the road to the end more difficult, but it might make her final jury speech a little bit easier. 
MicheleBlack CydneyBlack
 2. – Michele: “The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches…and the Dark Lord will mark him as his equal.” The prophecy could have applied to two, but in the end, Michele was not marked, though she did kill a Horcrux. #Nickgini 
 2. – Cydney: One of the great things about this finale is I’m OK with any one of the final four winning. Cydney’s got as good a resume as anyone. Although, she’s probably the most likely to face a bitter jury.
TaiBlack MicheleBlack
 3. – Tai: He stole America’s hearts but I don’t think he’ll have the votes. #FeelingTheBern
 3. – Michele: At first I thought you were a coattail rider, but now all of those coats are on the jury.  I don’t think you can win it, but you’ve played a solid, respectable game.
CydneyBlack TaiBlack
 4. – Cydney: She’s a fourth to be reckoned with.   4. – Tai: You made some questionable moves and you’ve stabbed half of the jury in the back. But, you’re likable and for that reason, they can’t let you get too far.

‘Survivor: Kaôh Rōng’ Power Rankings: WWE’s ‘Kaôh…Rōng Rocks’ Edition

May 4, 2016
WWE's New Day/'Survivor: Kaoh Rong' (WWE/CBS)

WWE’s New Day/’Survivor: Kaoh Rong’ (WWE/CBS)







QUICK NOTE: is the place to be for all of your bug-eatin’, back-stabbin’, “Survivor” coverage. During the season we’ll have insightful weekly Power Rankings, exit interviews, and full episode recaps. Follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute updates.

Watch Full Episodes of “Survivor: Kaôh Rōng”

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 players will earn.  For example, if Tai is voted out this episode, Shirin will receive five points and Gordon will receive four points. At the end of the season, the person with the most points will be named the “Survivor: Kaôh Rōng” Power Rankings Challenge Champion.

Last Week: Shirin had Julia in spot seven, Gordon had her in spot six. The current score is Team Shirin 97, Team Gordon 94.

Quick Note: Rankings are not based on who the player thinks is most likely to win. The smart strategy is to rank the contestants based on who is the most likely to be voted out in the next episode.

Another Quick Note: Shirin has become a pro wrestling fan since returning from “Survivor: Second Chance.” That is equal parts awesome and hilarious. So, we’re tying this week’s Power Rankings into our favorite WWE Superstars. My apologies to those who don’t know what we’re talking about.


Shirin’s Score = 97

Any questions for Shirin? Drop her a line on Twitter: @theshirin

Gordon’s Score = 94

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

AubryBlack JoeBlack
 1. – Aubry: If you want some, come get some. #CenaWinsLol
 1. – Joe: Toward the end of his amazing career, Andre the Giant teamed up with Haku and won the World Tag Team Titles. This was done to cover up the fact that Andre’s health wouldn’t allow him to do very much. He would basically let Haku do all the work, then come it at the end to do his duty.
MicheleBlack AubryBlack
 2. – Michele: With Unicorn hair as her wand’s core, the Power of Positivity courses through her and keeps her in the rumble. #GluteusFree
 2. – Aubry: Now, it may seem uninspiring to compare Aubry to mid-carder Haku in this analogy. But in real life, Haku was the most fearsome man on the roster. You couldn’t pay Hulk Hogan to mess with Haku. That’s Aubry. She’s gonna run through everybody.
JoeBlack MicheleBlack
 3. – Joe: He never loses but he’s still the Deadman.
 3. – Michele: Sasha Banks and Charlotte got all of the attention during the start of the Divas Revolution, but now the fans are starting to realize how talented Becky Lynch is. Don’t sleep on her or she’ll make you pay.
CydneyBlack TaiBlack
 4. – Cydney: And now I ain’t going home

Had a dream I hadn’t made it
There’s nothing dragging down me now
Cause a girl gonna push it all out the way.
 4. – Tai: I remember it like yesterday when you sent Scot flying through the barber shop window. You’re entertaining as heck and will go down as one of the show’s most beloved characters, but you won’t quite be the best ever.
TaiBlack CydneyBlack
 5. – Tai: From face to heel to face to heel… #BigShow
 5. – Cydney: Million-dollar body, but doesn’t quite have the personality to win over the crowd? Clearly you’re Lex Luger…Chris Masters…Sylvain Grenier?
JasonBlack JasonBlack
 6. – Jason: He’s on the (Lunatic) fringe and too public about his willingness to enter the (Ambrose) asylum. 
 6. – Jason: You had your moment in the sun a few weeks ago, but it’ll take a miracle for you to get to the main-event triple-threat match. And even if you do, there’s no chance you’ll leave with the title. Woo woo woo…you know it.

‘Survivor: Kaôh Rōng’ Power Rankings: Mutiny on the Bounty (Hunter) Edition

April 26, 2016

'Survivor: Kaoh Rong' (CBS)

QUICK NOTE: is the place to be for all of your bug-eatin’, back-stabbin’, “Survivor” coverage. During the season we’ll have insightful weekly Power Rankings, exit interviews, and full episode recaps. Follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute updates.

Watch Full Episodes of “Survivor: Kaôh Rōng”

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 players will earn.  For example, if Tai is voted out this episode, Shirin will receive five points and Gordon will receive two points. At the end of the season, the person with the most points will be named the “Survivor: Kaôh Rōng” Power Rankings Challenge Champion.

Last Week: Gordon and Shirin both had Scot in spot eight. The current score is Team Shirin 90, Team Gordon 88.

Quick Note: Rankings are not based on who the player thinks is most likely to win. The smart strategy is to rank the contestants based on who is the most likely to be voted out in the next episode.

Shirin’s Score = 90

Any questions for Shirin? Drop her a line on Twitter: @theshirin

Gordon’s Score = 88

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

 1. – Joe: Like “Survivor” winner Jeremy, he has his meat shield alliance in Aubry and Cydney.
 1. – Joe: Getting a real Dan-Lembo-without-the-Tribal-meltdown vibe off of Joe.
 2. – Michele: You’ve got an Erumpent Horn on your hands, not a Crumple-Horned Snorkack. Ditch it before it explodes and destroys your home.
 2. – Tai: Boy, that move last week was very entertaining. I just wish it made sense for Tai’s game. His only path to the million involved sitting with Scot. Now Scot’s gone.
 3. – Cydney: Jason may have an anus air freshener, but Cydney can smell the real traitor-ass.
 3. – Michele: Wondering what Michele’s speech would be at a final Tribal Council. Maybe Julia or Anna can give it for her.
 4. – Aubry: It turns out you can cause chaos just by treating your fellow players with respect and kindness.  4. – Aubry: Wow, she sure pulled a rabbit out of her hat last week. And in doing so, she might become this season’s only truly satisfying winner. Manatee power!
 5. – Tai: Everybody wants what Tai has. And they’ll pay the iron price for it.
 5. – Cydney: Why Scot? Because there’s a grudge between the former Brawns? I’d be doing everything in my power to get to the end with Scot and Jason. Wondering if that move was short-sighted.
 6. – Jason: Embracing the suck. Then. Now. Forever. #DontYouDareBeSour
 6. – Julia: What were you doing last week when you told Tai to play his idol? Did you know he was safe but wanted him to burn it? Either way, Aubry is on to her and smartly wants her gone. This week she might get her wish.
 7. – Julia: This is your final warning.

You know I give you life.
If you try this ish again
you gon lose your wife.
 7. – Jason: Losing your closest buddy is bad, but watching him take that long, lonely walk with your idol is way worse. Now, while I think taking Jason to the end is a smart move, I still think they’ll want him to pay for his tribe-wrecking sins.

‘Survivor: Kaôh Rōng’ Power Rankings: Poultry in Motion? Edition

April 19, 2016

"Survivor: Kaôh Rōng" (CBS)

QUICK NOTE: is the place to be for all of your bug-eatin’, back-stabbin’, “Survivor” coverage. During the season we’ll have insightful weekly Power Rankings, exit interviews, and full episode recaps. Follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute updates.

Watch Full Episodes of “Survivor: Kaôh Rōng”

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 players will earn.  For example, if Tai is voted out this episode, Shirin will receive five points and Gordon will receive one point. At the end of the season, the person with the most points will be named the “Survivor: Kaôh Rōng” Power Rankings Challenge Champion.

Last Week: Shirin had Debbie in spot seven, Gordon had her in spot eight. The current score is Team Shirin 82, Team Gordon 80.

Quick Note: Rankings are not based on who the player thinks is most likely to win. The smart strategy is to rank the contestants based on who is the most likely to be voted out in the next episode.


Shirin’s Score = 82

Any questions for Shirin? Drop her a line on Twitter: @theshirin

Gordon’s Score = 80

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

 1. – Joe:

Debbie was a genius.
Debbie commanded respect.
When Debbie died she left no instructions,
Just a legacy to protect.
#WaitForIt #Hamilton

 1. – Tai: So…did Jason and Scot give Tai their idol with their little skit at Tribal Council? It certainly looked like a legally-binding idol hand-off to me.
 2. – Michele: The Devil’s Snare snaking its way through Dara beach is easily subdued by the Incendio charm.
 2. – Michele: Right now the female/Joe alliance seems to have two options; flip Tai or sacrifice someone. Flipping Tai is obvious, the other involves throwing all of your votes at the idol and living with losing whoever the guys vote for. Fortunately for Michele, that probably won’t be her.
 3. – Aubry: If you don’t understand Aubry’s moves, maybe she should speak llama to you.
 3. – Joe: Hey, buddy. Hope you’re having fun out there.
 4. – Cydney:

Cydney doesn’t hesitate
She exhibits no restraint.

She takes and she takes and she takes
and she keeps winning anyway.

Changes the game.
Plays and she raises the stakes.
And if there’s a reason

She seems to thrive when so few survive…

#WaitForIt #Hamilton


 4. – Aubry: What a roller coaster poor Aubry has been on. I hope she steadies herself long enough to realize that she should actually be trying to get to end with any two of three dudes who are wrecking camp.
 5. – Tai: “Dark times lie ahead of us and there will be a time when we must choose between what is easy and what is right.” – Albus Dumbledore
 5. – Jason: I do not, repeat…DO NOT think the women will be able to flip Tai. The only way Tai wins is if he goes to the end with Scot and Jason. But, Tai has done weirder things.
 6. – Julia: Cydney and Aubry are not the ones to sit around and be played. So prove yourself to be the girl that you claim.
 6. – Julia: It can’t be good news that the person who was defending you last week is now out of the game.
 7. – Jason: There are lots of Darths. All of them died.
 7. – Cydney: That idol needs to be flushed and the guys only have one target on their mind…
 8. – Scot: Scot will be the first to fall when Tai remembers he’s Yoda and decides to only use his command of the force for good. #TheFallOfPalpatine
 8. – Scot: Flushing the idol is the top priority. But, if they all vote for Scot, are they sure the guys will use the idol to save a millionaire?

‘Survivor: Kaôh Rōng’ Power Rankings – Brawn-Almost-Gone Edition

March 1, 2016

'Survivor: Kaôh Rōng' (CBS)

QUICK NOTE: is the place to be for all of your bug-eatin’, back-stabbin’, “Survivor” coverage. During the season we’ll have insightful weekly Power Rankings, exit interviews, and full episode recaps. Follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute updates.

Watch Full Episodes of “Survivor: Kaôh Rōng”

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 players will earn.  For example, if Anna is voted out this episode, Shirin will receive twelve points and Gordon will receive five points. At the end of the season, the person with the most points will be named the “Survivor: Kaôh Rōng” Power Rankings Challenge Champion.

Last Week: Shirin had Jennifer in spot six while Gordon had her in spot two. (Yikes…) The current score is Team Shirin 6, Team Gordon 2.

Quick Note: Rankings are not based on who the player thinks is most likely to win. The smart strategy is to rank the contestants based on who is the most likely to be voted out in the next episode.

Shirin’s Score = 6

Any questions for Shirin? Drop her a line on Twitter: @theshirin

Gordon’s Score = 2

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

 1. – Michele: Strolling around Hogwarts, this vigilant headmistress observed the groundskeeper Hagrid, a big old softie protective of animals and the environment, precariously riding Buckbeak the Hippogriff, feral and proud yet loyal and caring. “How quaint. I’ll allow it.”
 1. – Cydney: Cydney went from being the fourth person in the five-person Hefty Smurf tribe to the second person in the four-person Hefty Smurf tribe. You’ve got to admire that.
 2. – Julia: What’s 50 grand to a mother<redacted> like me, can you please remind me? A few spots short of the million.
 2. – Aubry: Aubry got just what she needed after last week’s meltdown; an episode where she wasn’t featured in any of the tribe drama. She’ll get to be the swing vote when the Brainy Smurfs finally go to Tribal.
 3. – Jason: This guy has a–hole written all over him. More specifically on a tattoo under his armpit.
 3. – Jason: If I’m reading last week correctly, Alecia and Cydney told Scot and Jason that Jennifer wasn’t loyal. When they got to Tribal, her wishy-washy answers proved it. Jason made a move and Scot didn’t. Jason’s a player.
 4. – Scot: LeBrawn gets off Scot-free for missing the mark despite Darnell taking the Heat for losing the mask.
 4. – Neal: With Joe and Debbie on one side and a Peter and Elisabeth on the other, it’ll come down to the Miss Manatee and the Ice Cream Man (which is a hell of a band name).
 5. – Neal: What do we say to the god of death? Not today. #ASongOfFireAndIcecream
 5. – Anna: We spent three minutes with the Vanity Smurfs last week, and it was all focused on Tai’s idol hunt and the Beast Mode Gardener bro-mance. I’m assuming that means Anna’s ladies alliance is still in charge.
 6. – Caleb: Although classed as a flesh-eater, the giant panda almost exclusively eats shoots and leaves.
 6. – Julia: If this trio sticks together, they could totally make “fetch” happen.
 7. – Peter: 30% of the human brain is dedicated to vision. It’s no wonder with brains this big, Debbie can test water on sight, and Peter can do cat scans on sight.
 7. – Michele: You were in last week’s episode as well.
 8. – Cydney: Let’s try this again: Alecia exists…
 8. – Caleb: Are Caleb or Tai going to win this season of “Survivor”? Doubtful. But could they be the best television ever as an “Amazing Race” team? Totally.
 9. – Kelly: Holmes: Shirin, there’s no Kelly on this cast.
Oskooi: Yeah there is, the same one from every season. Blonde, pretty, quiet…
Holmes: Nick isn’t even blonde.
Oskooi: Who?
 9. – Peter: Alright, Peter. It’s you and Elisabeth vs. Debbie and Joe. It seems like a slam dunk for you guys, but Aubry and Debbie might be closer than you think.
 10. – Aubry: All she needs now is the Resurrection Stone and the Wand of Destiny to unite the Deathly Hallows and become Master of Death.
 10. – Scot: Last week had to suck for Scot. His closest ally basically admitted that she was plotting against him, and his second closest ally made a plan without him. Fortunately for Scot, his name can survive without two Ts, but his tribe can’t survive without him.
  11. – Tai: Looks like that key is just out of reach, just like that kiss from Caleb. Will the Tai-dyed tree continue to stump him?
 11. – Nick: I think the best thing Nick has going for him now is that he’s better in challenges than Tai. Unless the challenge involves leaving bloody graffiti on a tree.
 12. – Anna: Like a deleted tweet, Anna hasn’t completely disappeared. She’s still out there if you look hard enough. But is a Taidol wave on the horizon?
 12. – Tai: Tai and Caleb are adorable. But, Tai is the most expendable. If he can’t figure out a way to climb fifty feet up that tree, he’ll be in trouble at Tribal.
 13. – Debbie: She has the immunity system of a horse, and the frontal lobes of a horse…
 13. – Elisabeth: The first immunity challenge I ever witnessed in person was in Gabon. The Fang tribe was getting destroyed, but that didn’t stop Gillian from cheering for them. She cheered for them up until the second Kota placed the last puzzle piece. The Fang tribe looked like they were ready to murder her. If Elisabeth can’t use Debbie’s lack of self-awareness to her advantage, then this might not be the reality show for her.
  14. – Elisabeth: Liz wasn’t “ill” dehydrated. She hadn’t even gotten to the point of chapped lips.
 14. – Joe: I was getting a really strong B.B. vibe off of you last week, Joe. You’re on a tribe with younger people, you need to Netflix and chill. (Is that how that slang works?)
15. – Joe: Joey Kerosene knows there’s more than one way to get a person of interest off of this island, and he tipped his hand. But Joe, you needed to use the whole bottle!!
 15. – Alecia: I think Jason is going to try to bring Scot back into the fold and put Alecia back on the bottom. However, I will give Alecia mad credit for capitalizing on Jennifer’s mistakes last week.
16. – Alecia: Alecia has life in this game thanks to her embryo. Unfortunately for her, I can’t imagine it makes it past the first trimester.
 16. – Debbie: So, you can look at water and tell if it’s contaminated, but you can’t look at your tribe and tell if they’re annoyed with you?

‘Survivor: Second Chance’ Shirin: ‘I’m Going to Be in a Final-Three Deal with Everybody’

September 18, 2015

"Survivor: Worlds Apart" (CBS)

Quick Note: XFINITY TV sent me deep into the Cambodian wilderness to bring you all kinds of “Survivor: Second Chance” goodness. So, be sure to check back for exclusive interviews, photos, and behind-the-scenes tidbits. And, follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute news and info.

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Name: Shirin Oskooi
Season: “Survivor: Worlds Apart”
Finish: Eighth Place
Why You Should Remember Her: Shirin got back at Will after his tirade by not allowing him to read his letter from home.

WARNING: The following interview features spoilers for the “Harry Potter” book series.

Gordon Holmes: Hey! It’s Cherilyn!
Shirin Oskooi: It’s Shinini…not to be confused with Shane.
Holmes: Speaking of nicknames, the “Worlds Apart” crew likes to call themselves “The Dirty 30.” What are you leaning toward for this season?
Oskooi: I like “The Dirty One.”
Holmes: That’s terrible…there was the potential for five of you to be out here. Mike rendered himself ineligible by winning.
Oskooi: I love that guy, Mike.
Holmes: Join the club.
Oskooi: He’s Team Shirin, by the way.
Holmes: How’s Joey Amazing feel about that?
Oskooi: He can still cheer for Joe.
Holmes: Like Joe needs more people cheering for him.
Oskooi: He doesn’t!
Holmes: Max didn’t make it, Carolyn didn’t make it. Good for you? Bad for you?
Oskooi: I feel really badly about Max and Carolyn. I’m shocked that Carolyn didn’t make it, I’m not as surprised that Max didn’t make it. But, it’s so much better for me that they’re not here.
Holmes: You guys are all very active together in social media. More than any other cast I’ve ever seen. I think having a ton of you here would put immediate targets on your backs.
Oskooi: It’s true. If Carolyn came out here, people don’t know that we’re friends. But, if Max was here everybody knows how close we are. And no amount of distancing could have helped that situation.

Holmes: So, at the end of the finale, you guys all jumped on a tour bus. Did you take it all the way here?
Oskooi: (Laughs) Absolutely.

Holmes: I know you were really excited to do Power Rankings for this season. Does that put a damper on this experience for you?
Oskooi: As much as I was looking forward to doing the Power Rankings for this season, I know that I’m a lock for next season.
Holmes: Oh, are you? You think I invite first boots to do the Power Rankings?
Oskooi: (Silent Stare)
Holmes: (Laughs)
Oskooi: Excuse me?!
Holmes: Which you will not be. I won’t leave Cambodia if that happens. I’ll live here and carve the Power Rankings into the sand every week.
Oskooi: The winner of season 31: Shirin Lua Oskooi.
Holmes: With all eight votes. And they bring back the Player of the Season and give it to you.
Oskooi: Clean sweep.
Holmes: And as your hugging your family, Probst will run up and hand you the check. Or, he’ll fold it into a paper airplane and throw it at you.
Oskooi: (Laughs) Did you see Mike kiss Probst?
Holmes: No, I’m so jealous. I’m not sure of who though.
Oskooi: Maybe his lips went straight into that deep, deep dimple.
Holmes: We’re way off track.

Holmes: As we head into the game, how do you think most people see you?
Oskooi: I think I’m coming into this with a good reputation. I think people saw that I’m smart.
Holmes: You never flipped.
Oskooi: I was lucky enough to be super loyal the whole time.
Holmes: Even though that wasn’t your original game plan. You were ready to slit throats.
Oskooi: I never had the luxury of lying or having to turn on my own people. But, I had every intention to do so. That’s great for me on my second chance. I intend to use that as a bargaining chip. I don’t lie. My word means something. I’m “Boston” Robbing this. “Hey, you and me, final three.” I’m going to be in a final-three deal with everybody out there. They have all of these positive impressions of me, I also think they underestimate me. I think they think I’ll rub people the wrong way. Even if I don’t rub these people the wrong way, they just saw my season and I was portrayed as an annoying goofball, they’ll just assume that’s how I am. So, I think a lot of people will want to take me to the end because they think they can beat me. But what will actually happen is, if I make it to the end with great relationships with people, the voters will think, “Oh, but I like her. I’m going to vote for her to win.”

Holmes: Do you think you’re an early target?
Oskooi: I think the only way there will be a target on my back in the first couple of votes is if people care about the perception of challenge strength. Particularly in the individual challenges in my season I didn’t do so well. So, I need to come out guns blazing on these team challenges. I’m hoping there are strength ones because I have easily 50 pounds on the other women. So, if there’s mud wrestling or pillow fighting…
Holmes: Oh my God…pillow fighting would be amazing.
Oskooi: (Laughs) You know what I mean! Where you push someone off of a platform. These 100-pound girls are going to run at me and tap me with a pillow. And they’ll literally ricochet off of me and fly backwards ten feet in the air.

Holmes: Who is an early target?
Oskooi: I think Kass is an early target. She has a pretty negative, untrustworthy reputation already. I don’t think anyone will want to align with someone so chaotic.
Holmes: That’s why they call her Erratic Kass.
Oskooi: She makes illogical moves. Then you’ve got someone like Kimmi, lovely as she seems, but she’s already exhibited a lot of annoying behavior. She’s unaware of other people…GAH!

Note: At this point in the interview we were attacked by a BIG bug. I managed to dispose of it.

Oskooi: That was so manly.
Holmes: Right? But, if that thing fell on me in my sleep, I’d never be able to use that bed again.

Holmes: A lot of talk of pre-game alliances. Have you taken that road?
Oskooi: I think there’s a stigma to pre-game alliances at this point and I think people have clearly been afraid to be seen or caught doing any of that stuff.
Holmes: If you had to guess, who do you this is already working together?
Oskooi: I’m looking more at the already deep-rooted connections that people have. For example, there’s a foursome there that I look at with a little bit of trepidation. I want to split them up right away.
Holmes: And this is…?
Oskooi: That is…the center is Vytas and Ciera from the original “Blood vs. Water.” They haven’t hidden the fact that they are incredibly close and it’d be silly for them to do so. Everybody knows. Ciera’s mom played in season 19 with Monica and they were like mother/daughter. They were incredibly close. They have a deep bond. I’d bet Ciera and Monica are close. And on the other side you’ve got Vytas and Terry. Vytas’s brother Aras played 38 days of “Survivor” with Terry. And even though they didn’t get along in the game…
Holmes: A wahmbulance had to be called in.
Oskooi: That’s how serious it got. It’s no secret that Aras and Terry are incredibly close. So, you’ve got Terry, Vytas, Ciera, and Monica. I’d love to work with those ladies, but not with Terry and Vytas around. Terry because…I’m going to try to get to know him as a person and try to read him…but I didn’t like the way he played last time. I didn’t like the way he treated Cirie (Fields). I didn’t like the way he targeted women. And that is something I will not tolerate. With Vytas, I find him a little bit threatening. Speaking of first-boot targets, I think a lot of people…he has this past with drug addiction and I think people’s read on that is that makes him an incredibly good liar. I’m not intimidated by that at all, but I’m intimidated by other aspects of him. Like the fact that people seem to be taken by him so easily and the fact that he will be able to dominate individual challenges because of his yoga, tip-toe balancing skills.

Holmes: If there are any twists, and every now and then there are, what do you think they could be?
Oskooi: I presume there are going to be a ton of twists. If I were guessing I’d say there will be more tribe swaps. Maybe we’ll start with two and go to three. Maybe we’ll start with four and then go to two. I don’t know. Maybe we’ll start with one tribe. I’m not even going to try to anticipate the twists. I don’t want to have a million different contingency plans. When you’re in a situation like this, you don’t want to have set plans. You want to think of creative plans in the moment. Right now, I’m just hanging back, rereading “Harry Potter.”
Holmes: Which one?
Oskooi: I’ve already reread five and six. I’m working on seven.
Holmes: Six! “Half-Blood Prince” is my jam.
Oskooi: Six is really the best. Oh my gosh. I just started on seven, so in my mind Snape just killed Dumbledore.
Holmes: Jeez…spoiler alert.

Holmes: Alright, we’re going to play “Align or Malign.” In my hand I have nineteen cards featuring your competitors. You’ll go through them and tell me who you’ll align with and who you’ll malign. Trick is, you only get eight aligns.
I’m digging the lamination.
I’ve got twenty of these interviews to get through, I don’t want them to get all smudged and crappy.

Oskooi: Starting with the maligns. Joe…because he’s a golden boy. Too good at challenges. And, our Dirty 30 connection has got to be severed so it’s not a target on my back.

Note: Shirin threw Joe’s card down onto a pile of ants.

Holmes: What’re you doing?  I still have to use these.
(Laughs) That’s how I feel about these people.
You are the worst. Just hand them to me.

Oskooi: Kimmi…malign. She’s super annoying, you can’t deal with that for 39 days.

Oskooi: Woo…malign.  He’s a space cadet. You can’t trust him. He doesn’t think logically.

Oskooi: Terry…malign. He’s more of a guy’s guy and not that socially adept.

Oskooi: Kass…malign. I can’t anticipate what doesn’t make sense.

Oskooi: Vytas…malign. Too much of a threat in the individual game. Other people seem to be taken by him too easily. And, I just never trust him.

Oskooi: Jeremy…malign. Fabulous as he was in his season where he aligned with all the women, which I loved, he feels like that was his downfall. From his exit interviews I gather that he wants to align with other athletic, big men so he’s no longer the front-runner target of his alliance. I don’t think he’d want to work with me.

Oskooi: Kelly Wiglesworth…malign. She thinks that alliances are slimy. And, doesn’t own a TV.

Oskooi: OK, now we’re moving into more of the middle ground…
You’ve got to pick a side. It’s not align, malign, and indifferent.
Alright, Andrew Savage…malign. Love him, played in my favorite season. But, he’s such a lovable, nice, loyal guy, I can already see in pre-game that people love him.
What about the Yahoo! Connection?
That will hopefully bring us together so he’s on my side…deep into the game…then we’ve got to get rid of him because he’s too nice.

Oskooi: Tasha…malign. Love a strong woman. She’s too good at challenges. She’s easily the strongest woman out here in terms of challenges. I know she socially rubbed people the wrong way on her season. She had this thing where she felt she was pre-ordained to be the winner. And, I would rather work with someone more flexible.

Oskooi: Ciera…malign. Love her to death, but even if she doesn’t make a move, and gets to the end, her big move from last time will carry over and everyone will say, “Oh, you did it all.” I think she’s riding the coattails of her last big move.

Oskooi: Stephen…Mr. Know-It-All…really smart, really gets this game. Also really polite and respectful. I think people will really like him and feel threatened by him. I think if he makes it to the end this time, people will reward him for his reputation even if he’s dragged to the end. But, I don’t think he’d be dragged to the end. Align…but only so far.

Oskooi: Spencer…similar deal. Really smart, really knows the game. I feel most  kindred with Spencer. Going in, I probably trust him the most. I don’t think he’s a great liar, but I think he’s going to try to work with me. Align.

Oskooi: OK, now we’re down to the magic six. Monica…align. I think she’s a strong, fun woman. I think she’s going to be willing to be sneaky, but I think she’ll be loyal. Also, she’s brown. Woo! Love her.

Oskooi: Peih-Gee…align. Old school…middle schooler. Love that she’s a woman of color. Love that she’s quirky and sassy and a strong woman. I think she’s going to want to align with other strong, quirky women.

Oskooi: Abi-Maria…Brazilian wonder. Align. Last year when the social media ban was enacted, J’Tia (Taylor) tweeted…it was very Batman-esque…”I will represent the contestants who cannot speak for themselves and defend them to the death against other former players.” And she never did that. However, Abi did it. And Abi had a bad reputation from the last time she played as an emotional, crazy person. But, if you go back and rewatch her Ponderosa videos, she was incredibly contrite and lovely. She was so full of love. And I think she wants to repair her reputation. I want to be a part of that.

Oskooi: Kelley Wentworth…align. She reminds me of a more mellow version of me. She’s smart, she’s girl power, she’s a career woman. She’s a lovely, nice person who understands the game and is loyal, but is willing to make those moves that you need to.

Oskooi: Jeff Varner…my ultimate old-school alliance. I’m in love with Jeff. He’s funny, he’s goofy. He’s nerdy. He’s my love child. He’s my future 11th best friend.

Oskooi: And I’ve saved the weirdest for last. I think if you looked at this list and had to decide who the least likely person I’d align with…it’d be Keith. I think he thinks that too.  I’m going to pull him aside and say, “Mike and I thought we had nothing in common too. And look at us now. It’s because at the end of the day, Mike and I are hard workers who take care of who we love. We’re loyal.” Keith and I are in the same boat. Does that mean I’ll go to the end with him? No. Will he be upset after I cut him loose after a speech like that? Yes. I will not have his jury vote, but I’m willing to take that risk. Also, he’s the funniest person out here. I love him to death.

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

Survivor: Second Chance” will kick off with a special 90-minute premiere on Wednesday, September 23rd at 8 p.m. ET.

‘Survivor’ Castaway Shirin – “I’ve Offered to Donate $100 for Every Act of Misogyny”

May 1, 2015

"Survivor: Worlds Apart" (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 Josh Canfield and Reed Kelly. Be sure to follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute news and info.

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Usually my “Survivor” exit interviews take place over the phone in my office at the Comcast Center. This one took place in the waiting room of an Intensive Care Unit.

Quick Aside: Before we get too far into this, the procedure was a huge success. High fives!

My mother, my uncle, and I were the only ones in the room so the interview wouldn’t be bothering anyone else. And hearing from the recently booted player would take our minds off of the serious situation at hand.

As the interview went on, more and more families started to pour into the waiting room. And before I knew it, this little interview had turned into something of a live podcast.

When we finished up, everyone had questions about the show. They wanted to know how real it was, where the contestants went to the bathroom, why this guy Will was such a jerk to this nice woman. And from there, conversations continued with people saying how they’d play the game.

And while I think the one guy’s strategy of “hiding in the woods” probably wouldn’t pan out for him, it’s nice to think that “Survivor” could be a welcome diversion for him and for everyone else on what must’ve been a stressful day.

See…”Survivor” is awesome.

Fortunately, Shirin agrees with me. After the verbal abuse she suffered at the hands of Jay Leno’s favorite karaoke artist, she’s still high on the reality hit.

When life gives you bologna skin, you make bologna skin-ade.

Shirin Oskooi: Gordoooooooon!
Gordon Holmes: Whoa…holy cow.
Oskooi: Homie G!
Holmes: I love that enthusiasm.
Oskooi: Let’s do this. Come at me, bro.

Holmes: Alright, you’re in a supermarket somewhere. Maybe you’re picking out some produce or something. And then Bon Jovi’s hit “Living on a Prayer” comes on over the loud speakers. How do you react?
Oskooi: (Laughs) I sing along. I sing along louder, and more obnoxiously…with so much enthusiasm and love in my heart, because I’m living on a prayer.
Holmes: We’ve got to hold on to what we’ve got.
Oskooi: (Laughs) Because we’re only half way there.
Holmes: I’m proud of you for not letting your island experience ruin that amazing song.
Oskooi: You can’t. Honestly, I don’t even know if we should get into this. But when the Will attack happened, all of the people who were in camp who were watching and were complicit in what was going down with the way I was being treated, they’re all incredibly religious people, including Will himself…I didn’t grow up Christian. I’m not religious. The reason Will always loathed me…he claimed that I didn’t have a soul. I don’t know what that means. I don’t know where that came from. I’m guessing there might’ve been some kind of religious tint to that. So after it all happened, my knee-jerk reaction was to look at Christianity. Did religion do this to me? But then I remember, no…Mike Holloway exists and Mike Holloway is a man of God. It’s his faith that made him step in for me. You can’t take these outliers and make them make you think ugly things. You’ve got to look for the positive. When you make yourself smile, if you eradicate the hate in your heart, then life is so much better. So, I’m not deeply religious,  but I love Christianity and Christians, I love Mike Holloway.

Holmes: Someone like Jenn would say that you’re annoying. Which isn’t a great thing to hear about yourself, but it’s such a far cry from something as malicious as “This person doesn’t have a soul.” What didn’t we see that led to such an escalation?
Oskooi: So, back at the tribe swap, it was clear that Will didn’t like me. He wouldn’t make eye contact with me. He’d rarely talk to me. So, I pulled him aside a couple of times and said, “Hey, I get the feeling that you don’t really like me. Can we work through it?” And he’d say, “No, it’s all in your head, baby girl. You’ve got to get that out of your head.” But once the merge happened he tried to blame his flip on me. He was trying to say that I flipped and not him. He was calling into question my integrity and telling people not to trust me. That’s when he’d say things like, “You can’t trust her because she doesn’t have a soul.” And so, it started to emerge that he loathed me because I don’t have a soul. And he never explained it further than that.
Holmes: Well, this is coming from a guy who thought he could make sandwiches out of ocean water.
Oskooi: (Laughs) They never got those sandwiches. I was never a part of the sandwich deal, but I can assure you Jenn was very upset that she never got those sandwiches.
Holmes: The argument was so weird and baseless. You have no family, you have no friends. That’s clearly not the case. Does that make it better that the world is on your side or does seeing again just bring you back to that place?
Oskooi: I can’t lie.
Holmes: Don’t lie to me. We’re better than that.
Oskooi: (Laughs)
Holmes: The game is over. Time for healing.
Oskooi: It was rough. I’ve been anxious for the last seven months leading up to this episode. It was a horrible thing to live through and watching it again…I knew I had to relive it. But, when I watched it I watched it with Mike and Jenn and Sierra and Hali. I was surrounded by so much love and support.  We all cried together and laughed. This brought us closer together. Nothing can break up the Ladies Couch. It was a weight lifted. I thought CBS and “Survivor”  handled it very well with the editing. And people are having the right reactions. We don’t want to focus on the ugly and the negative. We’re trying to make this a positive. We’re raising awareness with a “Raise Your Hand” campaign against bullying and abuse. I’ve offered to donate $100 for every act of misogyny on this entire season.
Holmes: You’re going to go broke.
Oskooi: I’m going to go broke. I’m donating to the National Network to End Domestic Violence. And the response has been so positive. That’s amazing! Let’s do this, right?! Even if I go broke, it’s worth it.
Holmes: Agreed. And when I spoke to Jenn she said it was a crime all three of you were guilty of. You, her, and Mike…but he focused on you. Why would he do that unless it was socially acceptable to pick on you? That’s Bullying 101.
Oskooi: He told Jenn…a couple of people actually…that, “I don’t speak to women that way, but she’s not a woman.”
Holmes: Anybody who saw you running around half-naked knows you’re a woman.
Oskooi: (Laughs) Tyler was there! He should’ve jumped in and said, “Yeah, she’s a woman.”

Holmes: Were Dan and Sierra your best bets to make a move last night?
Oskooi: Unfortunately, Dan just is…his judgment is clouded by his personal feelings for people. He just disliked me so much that he was never going to vote with me, even if it was strategically sound to do so. Which it clearly was. We know he’s on the bottom. And with Sierra it was a matter that she needed to know that someone was going to come with us. She wouldn’t come alone.

Holmes: What about Carolyn?
Oskooi: I worked really hard on her. She was out there hustling. She’s playing a really understated, but stellar game. She’s got that idol. She’s always in the majority. Even with this Axis of Evil thing, Tyler’s kind of on the outside of that. It was supposed to be Will, Rodney, Carolyn, and Kelly. Carolyn is always in control of her destiny and she’s determined to get to the end.
Holmes: What was your pitch to her?
Oskooi: You’re going to go to the end with these people, but you’re not going to beat them. No Collar people didn’t like her that much. The people who like Carolyn who would vote for her to win are the Axis of Evil. They’re her friends in the game. Those are the people she should be putting on the jury. She should be sitting next to me because they’re the ones who don’t like me. I genuinely believe when I was voted out that Carolyn lost the game and Sierra lost the game and even possibly Dan. I don’t know if they can win with the people remaining because Mike, Tyler, and Rodney are such big threats. And it’s unfortunate because the only people left that I want to win are Mike, Sierra, and Carolyn…in that order.

Holmes: Tyler unearthed Dan’s voting advantage last night. Had that spread around the camp while you were there?
Oskooi: At that point he had just shared it with Carolyn.

Holmes: Alright, we typically would do a word association exercise at this point. But, your Dirty 30 buddies are trying to mess with my happiness and are coming up with their answers in advance. Did you plan ahead?
Oskooi: I have planned ahead. I have a word for every single person on this season. Even people I didn’t play with. So, I want you to name everybody.
Holmes: I’m starting to hate the Dirty 30.
Oskooi: You love me so much! You are Team Shirin!
Holmes: I am, but I’m also Team Word Association.
Oskooi: And now you have to be Team Mike.
Holmes: Alright, you want everybody?
Oskooi: Everybody.
Holmes: In order…let’s start with So.
Oskooi: Pansy Parkinson.
Holmes: Vince?
Oskooi: Professor Trelawney.
Holmes: OK, I see where this is going. Nina?
Oskooi: Percy Weasley.
Holmes: Lindsey?
Oskooi: Sirius Black.
Holmes: Max?
Oskooi: Somewhere between Dumbledore and Grindelwald.
Holmes: Joaquin?
Oskooi: Draco Malfoy.
Holmes: Kelly?
Oskooi: Katie Bell.
Holmes: Hali?
Oskooi: Luna Lovegood.
Holmes: (Laughs) Joe?
Oskooi: Cedric Diggory.
Holmes: Jenn?
Oskooi: Fred Weasley.
Holmes: Do you have one for yourself?
Oskooi: Hermoine.
Holmes: Alright, let’s hit who’s left. Mike?
Oskooi: Harry Potter.
Holmes: Sierra?
Oskooi: Seamus Finnigan.
Holmes: Carolyn?
Oskooi: Narcissa Malfoy.
Holmes: Tyler?
Oskooi: Lucius Malfoy.
Holmes: Dan?
Oskooi: Wormtail who’s spent his whole life thinking he’s Gilderoy Lockhart.
Holmes: (Laughs) Rodney?
Oskooi: Voldemort.
Holmes: And we’ll finish with your buddy Will.
Oskooi: Horcrux.

Holmes: I have a theory that people in the game like Rodney a lot more than people watching him on TV. What was your relationship with Rodney like?
Oskooi: He really is kind of how he appears on TV.  He’s a Boston bad boy. He’s whining a lot. He’s pretentious and reactive and explosive. But, he’s also comic relief. He’s the only person on the evil side who brings levity to the game and puts smiles on our faces with impressions. Rodney’s impressions I could listen to for days and days. And what you’re not seeing is that everybody wants to go to the end with Rodney and Will. They’re underestimating the power of humor in that swamp of (expletive deleted).
Holmes: Let’s not get too into this. But, I feel like your Jenns and Joes and Halis enjoy the guy and he could take it against the right competition.
Oskooi: A lot of people aren’t seeing that. Rodney’s a young, funny guy. The people on the jury are young dudes and dudettes who could support a funny guy. And the other thing is; he’s reactive and explosive, but he’s not vicious. He’s been kind to me on a number of occasions. He’s rarely proactively mean the way the others are. And that goes a long way.

Holmes: When a super fan goes on “Survivor,” there’s always the risk of hating something you used to love. Where are you with “Survivor” now?
Oskooi: I still absolutely love “Survivor.” I think it’s one of the greatest shows ever on television. I’m so grateful to be a part of the experience even though I had to go through some hardships. Those hardships did lead to some of the best moments of my life. Mike running in to save me, that was the first time anyone had ever stood up for me, let alone in a situation like that. For that to happen, I would take that attack over and over again just to relive Mike saving me.
Holmes: My mom already has a crush on Mike. You’re just making it worse.
Oskooi: That crush is valid!

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

‘Survivor’ White Collar Shirin – “Morons Are Great to Play With”

January 22, 2015

"Survivor: Worlds Apart" (CBS)

NOTE: is the place to be for all of your “Survivor: Worlds Apart” scoop! I delved deep into the Nicaraguan wilderness on a mission to bring you all kinds of 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 in the weeks leading up to the premiere, so be sure to follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute updates on all of this season’s “Survivor” fun.

Name: Shirin Oskooi
Age: 31
Current Residence: San Francisco, California
Occupation: Yahoo Executive

Gordon Holmes: I’m told there’s some special significance with your last name?
Shirin Oskooi: (Laughs) You may notice that my last name has three Os in it for Outwit, Outplay, Outlast.
Holmes: Hmm…my name has two Os in the first name and a third O in the last. I might steal that before this interview goes to press.
Oskooi: Doesn’t count!
Holmes: I’m stealing your gimmick.

Holmes: Yahoo Product Manager sounds super important. What does it entail?
Oskooi: It means that you’re like the CEO of your own product. You do everything from conception to launch to post launch. You have an idea and a vision and you work with designers and engineers. You work with marketing and PR. You work with users to collect their feedback. You figure out what’s missing in people’s lives, then you fill that gap for them.
Holmes: Much like someone would want to do on “Survivor.” How many people are under you?
Oskooi: (Laughs) I run the org of Yahoo Answers, so while I’m not their direct manager, I’m probably running a hundred people. A hundred people are executing my vision.
Holmes: Keeping a hundred people focused can’t be an easy task. Can that leadership apply to the game?
Oskooi: Oh yeah. Another thing about being a product manager is that you don’t have people reporting to you, so you have to lead by influence.

Holmes: How can you win people over in a situation where there is no corporate structure and there’s a goal that everyone shares, but only one person can achieve?
Oskooi: That’s very similar to how it was at Google. There’s nobody I can go to and say, “They’re not doing what I want them to do.” At the end of the day the engineers were king and they could do whatever the (expletive deleted) they wanted to do. It’s really about a couple of key things. My style is really befriending people and getting them to believe in me and trust in me. Not that they really can or should, but at the end of the day if you win someone over on a friendship level they’re going to have a much harder time (expletive deleted) you over. And you’re going to be able to have more frank conversations to get them to do what you want them to do. I don’t want to be bossy and tell people what to do. These people are going to be very type-A.
Holmes: Oh…so you’ve watched this show?
Oskooi: I’ve watched a ton. I want to have a one-on-one relationship with every player in this game. At best, that would be an actual friendship with all of them. And at worst, I want to have a working relationship with them. I don’t give a (expletive deleted) what I feel about them. I wanna have groups. A threesome here and go-to twosomes over here. I’m going to be constantly running these numbers in my head and adjusting as necessary.

Holmes: What are your early thoughts on this cast?
Oskooi: I’m pleasantly surprised and excited. There are a lot of fun, high-energy, youthful looking people. And when I say “youthful” I don’t necessarily mean age. There’s a positive energy here. And for me, I was hoping to play with people who are fun rather than a cast full of Phillips and me. (Laughs)
Holmes: That would be an adventure.
Oskooi: It would be challenging, but not enjoyable. There’s a girl here with a tattoo on her face. There’s a guy here with feathers in his hair. There’s a guy who’s like a beautiful specimen of man. He’s got Greek goddess hair and he’s tall. And beyond that, he’s friendly and gentlemanly. He’s got a first class ticket to the end. Because in spite of being attractive, he’s also so nice. You can tell that he’s outdoorsy and skillful and has an artistic side. He’s the kind of guy I want to work with. I want him to trust me. But, I’m going to have to (expletive deleted) him over. In JT’s season, everybody just wanted him to win. Nobody talked about voting him out. I think we’ve got a couple of people that if I want them out that nobody is going to be on board. I’m going to have to do some shady (expletive deleted).

Holmes: First thoughts on Nicaragua?
Oskooi: It’s beautiful. The weather has been perfect, which is a downer for me because I was hoping for pouring rain for days on end. I think that it’s going to break everybody down.
Holmes: And it won’t break you down?
Oskooi: I’ll be miserable. But I’ve been miserable plenty of times, including in cold, wet weather. And I can help people get out of a dark situation, or I can push people over the edge if I want them to quit.

Holmes: You don’t like “morons.”
Oskooi: It depends on the kind of moron. Morons are great to play with. You figure out what their needs are and make sure that they’re being met. It’s the stereotype that you get a couple of young girls who don’t know what they’re doing. They’re looking for mommy/daddy figures. As long as you’re keeping them happy and keeping them fed, they’re don’t realize they’re playing a game and will vote the way you want them to vote. It’s easy to get them to hate somebody. There’s one girl, she’s got a nose ring and short blonde hair, she reminds me of Kat. She walks and she will kick a rock and then be like “(expletive deleted)!” and then keep going.
Holmes: (Laughs)
Oskooi: And that just happened. I want her on my side. There’s no way that girl can win. She’s going to be a sore loser, she’s going to be a sore winner.

Holmes: Any issues with lying?
Oskooi: Lying comes easy to me. It’s like my first language. And because I’m such an expert at lying, I don’t believe in frivolous lying. I think people are going to come in thinking they need to make a big move and they’re going to lie a lot. It’ll be really easy to catch them in those lies. The easiest way is to let them run their mouths. And then a couple of days later you pick on a bunch of small things. And when you see their reaction you can see if they remember.

Holmes: You have a boyfriend at home, will that influence your ability to flirt?
Oskooi: I’m totally OK with flirting. But because I’ve had a boyfriend for four years, and we’re practically married, I haven’t had to be a sexual being to the world.
Holmes: You feel like a partner.
Oskooi: Right. And furthermore, for the majority of my adult life I was overweight by a lot…I was fat. I wasn’t attractive enough to use flirting to get ahead. And then there was a turning point where I lost a lot of weight and I learned how to flirt and how to use sexuality to get free drinks at a bar. So, I’m not opposed to doing that. I just don’t see myself in that way. I don’t think that I need to do that. It’s a tool that’s buried deeper down.

Holmes: You compared yourself to Jonny Fairplay and Rob Cesternino. I’m assuming that makes you an old school fan. Is it better to be a fan or to come in blind and open to more diverse possibilities?
Oskooi: I think if you know how to use the information that it’s an advantage. So for me, it’s an advantage. My boyfriend who watches the show because I make him, the more he watches, the worse the information he gives me. And he’s a brilliant guy. He has social aptitude. But for him, he does worse with more information. I think that’s a personality type. I know the twists and turns that have happened. I know what to read into and what not to read into. I know all the places the immunity idols have been hidden. As long as people don’t feel like I’m dangerous because of how much I know about the game, then it’s a tool. What I love about Rob Cesternino is that he had a one-on-one relationship with every single person at his camp. It wasn’t necessary friendship, but he had a relationship with everybody. That’s why he was able to flip as often as he did and as effectively as he did.
Holmes: He changed the game.
Oskooi: And another way where we’re alike is he was a big goofball.
Holmes: He still is.
Oskooi: (Laughs) But, I’m a big goofball.

Holmes: Any guesses as to what kind of twists Probst and his buddies might have in store for you?
Oskooi: It would be a twist to not have twists at this point.
Holmes: “Survivor: 30 – Twistless!”
Oskooi: Twistless! Back to season one. Pure…old school. That could happen. I just don’t think that will happen. I think they want to see people really squirm. I have a feeling that they might change the twists based on how the game is turning out. If they see one tribe that is way too successful, like maybe they’d do something to (expletive deleted) that tribe.
Holmes: So, “Survivor: 30 – (expletive deleted) Over Everybody.”
Oskooi: “(Expletive deleted) Over Everybody Constantly”…yeah.

Holmes: If you had your choice of any past player to align with, who would it be and why?
Oskooi: Amanda. I absolutely hate her.
Holmes: Amanda Kimmel?!
Oskooi: Yeah. To be clear, personally…I do not like her. But, she is loyal to a fault. She’s not quite as emotional as Dawn, but she’s emotional to the point that it makes you sick and alienates other people. If I could align with her I’d never have to worry about her deceiving me. She’d annoy lots of people. And, she’s good enough in challenges to not weigh me down, but she’s not always going to win.

Oskooi: I want to bring the chest bump to “Survivor.”
Holmes: That’s random.
Oskooi: (Laughs) No, it’d be like, “Yay! We won.” Chest bump. So, keep an eye out.

Holmes: So, I’m told you have a unique strategy for a fire-making challenge.
Oskooi: I’ve grown my hair particularly long so if we’re in a fire challenge I can cut off a ton of my hair, and it catches fire really easily, especially if everything else is really damp.
Holmes: That is hardcore.
Oskooi: I hope they have a gross food challenge. I’ve eaten every “gross” food item they’ve ever had except for a tarantula.
Holmes: I beg for that every season. Hopefully Challenge Producer John Kirhoffer will come through for us.

Don’t miss the 90-minute premiere of “Survivor: Worlds Apart” on Wednesday, February 25, 2015 at 8 pm ET on CBS.

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