Posts Tagged ‘survivor south pacific’

‘Survivor’ Host Jeff Probst Picks the Show’s Grossest Challenge Ever

October 8, 2012

'Survivor: South Pacific' (CBS)

XFinityTV is blowing up their coverage of “Survivor: Philippines.” Every Monday Jeff Probst and I will tackle a wide variety of topics with the “Survivor” Question of the Week. Every Tuesday I’ll be squaring off against “Survivor: One World” favorite Kat Edorsson in this season’s Power Rankings challenge. Every Wednesday briefly after the show we’ll have a full episode recap and every Thursday we’ll have an interview with the latest eliminated player.  Follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for all the updates!

Set Your DVR to Record “Survivor: Philippines”

This Week’s Question: What is the most disgusting challenge in ‘Survivor’ history?

Gordon Holmes: Alright, I’ve got this one. You know me; I love it when they eat gross stuff on the show. But, as far as the most disgusting challenge in “Survivor” history, it’s got to be the pig roast challenge from “Survivor: South Pacific.”
Jeff Probst:
I’d love to disagree, because I thoroughly enjoy disagreeing with you, but alas…I agree.  
Holmes:
For those of you who don’t remember, the two tribes could only use their mouths to rip meat off of this huge hunk of what used to be a pig. The tribe that got the most meat into their bin won. The disgusting combination of flesh tearing, spitting, barbecue sauce, and ripping bits from each other’s teeth did a wonderful job of making me want to never eat anything ever again. High fives for everyone involved.  
Probst:
The back story is that when it was first presented at our test block it was an entire pig…the whole thing.  It was simply too much to put on the air at 8 pm. So, I asked the guys to remove some of the more recognizable body parts (I know that’s a rough visual in and of itself) so it wasn’t so apparent what it was they were attacking.
Holmes:
Ugh…and for that I thank you.

What Is Your Pick? Send your answers to me on Twitter: @gordonholmes

Dawn Meehan Accepts the ‘Survivor’ Power Rankings Challenge

February 21, 2012

Dawn Meehan and Jeff Probst (CBS)

In honor of “Survivor: One World’s” men vs. women theme, it has been decided that XFINITY TV’s “Survivor” guy Gordon Holmes should lead a team of  “Survivor: South Pacific” guys against a team of “Survivor: South Pacific” gals.

Stepping up to the plate to face Gordon in the first round is Dawn Meehan!

Gordon Holmes: Dawn, thanks so much for playing. What have you been up to since coming back from the South Pacific?
Dawn Meehan: Survivor has shaped my life in so many positive ways. Not a day goes by where I don’t draw on my experience in the game; and I love that. Since the show aired, I’m back to being a mom to our 6 kids and teaching at BYU. And … if you can believe, I’m also giving a few motivational speeches at universities and professional conferences (Eeek!).

Holmes: Are you enjoying “One World” so far?
Meehan: I love the “One World” twist and cast! First, there are a number of REALLY strong players on both tribes—and that makes for great competition. And second, having both tribes on one beach just makes good sense! (I’m all for anything that encourages cross-tribal alliances. I’m also hoping there will be a tribe swap, too–to really shake things up.)

Holmes Are you jealous the One Worldians won’t have to burn their buffs?
Meehan: Heck yes, I’m jealous. Have you seen the picture of me taken just before I threw my buff into the fire (after professing my love for Jeff Probst)? It’s so sad! I look like I’m at a funeral for a friend. [Cue Elton John.]

© CBS, Monty Brinton, 2011.

Holmes: Look at the joy Probst is taking in your sorrow.
Meehan: You’ll be happy to hear that CBS did give me a new Savaii and Te Tuna buff after the finale’. I wore them for 28 days … to give them that “lived-in” look.

The Rules: Each week a representative from each team will create separate power rankings. The ranking of the person who is voted out of the next episode will determine the number of points the two players will earn. For example, if Troyzan is voted out this week, Dawn’s team will receive 15 points and Gordon’s will receive 13 points. At the end of the season, the team with the most points will be named the “Survivor: One World” Power Rankings Challenge Champions.

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

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

Set Your DVR to Record “Survivor: One World”

Current Score: 0 Got any advice for Dawn? Drop her a line on Twitter.
Current Score: 0 Got any advice for Gordon? Drop him a line on Twitter.
   
1. I always root for the home team—and Jonas is my home team. There’s no doubt in my mind, Jonas is going to play a smart game. I thought he was hilarious in his first confessional, talking about how hard it was trucking everything to camp–while giving his tribe the impression it was a cake-walk. And I don’t know if you noticed this,  but he carried that Hawaiian Sling/spear like he knew what he was doing. My hunch: this sushi chef is going to be feeding his tribe. And maybe Salani’s, too (if he keeps up the bartering w/ Christina).  GO Home Team, go!  1. Strong first episode from Leif. He’s an asset around camp, he’s obviously getting along well enough with the Zans (Troy and Tar) to participate in their yelling contest. My only worry is that he’ll end up with an early target on his back because of his height like Kelly Bruno (“Survivor: Nicaragua”) had for her leg.
   
2. Kim’s in a good spot. She’s athletic, level-headed, beautiful … and part of The Salani Five Alliance (Alicia, Kat, Chelsea, Sabrina, Kim). Based on her confessionals in episode 1 (about “Girl Power”), I won’t be surprised if Kim creates a second alliance of five/six/seven this week. But even if she doesn’t, Kim’s safe for now. 2. Michael’s thievery really set these two tribes down an ugly path. They’re so at odds, it seems like they’re fighting over the stupidest things. Jonas gets five “Survivor” gold stars for appreciating that you catch more jury votes with honey than with vinegar. (Or, something like that.) If Colton upends the Super Dude alliance with his idol, Jonas could be in the perfect spot to pick up the pieces.
   
3. Chelsea-the-Chicken-Handler was one of my favorites last week. Having chased a chicken or two myself, I was crazy-impressed with her ability to snatch those pollos. Part of The Salani Five Alliance, Chelsea has proven that she’s here to PLAY the game. (I loved that she kept both of the chickens–and didn’t back down when Matt pressured her to “honor” their agreement.) Chelsea will definitely outwit, outplay, and outlast this week. 3. It amazes me that after 24 seasons of this mess, some people still go out there not knowing how to create fire. Good on you, Jay. You’ve restored my faith in humanity. It’s the other seventeen players I’m not so sure about. Anywho, even though I have doubts about his Super Dude alliance, I think Jay will be safe for quite some time.
   
4. You can tell Sabrina is a teacher … because she is definitely in charge of her game. She’s in the majority alliance on Salani (The Salani Five), she’s found Manono’s hidden immunity idol, and by giving that idol to Colton, she’s forged a cross-tribal bond that may prove helpful down the road. I think my favorite thing about Sabrina is that she seems so relatable. She’s the kind of female player I love to watch: strong, charismatic, and intelligent. I hope we have many more weeks of Sabrina.  4. Anybody who’s getting caught up in the guy vs. girl drama is playing a very short-sighted game. Thumbs up to Sabrina for not only being above that mess and being a part of the dominant female alliance, but for setting up a member of the opposite team to take out some of their strongest players. Well done.
   
5. “Fire Starter” Jay isn’t going anywhere this week. In addition to making camp-life easier for his tribe (starting fire w/out flint), Jay is physically strong, a member of The PYT Alliance (Pretty Young Thing = Jay, Matt, Mike, Bill), and he hasn’t ruffled any Salani chicken feathers. I’d say Jay’s in a good position to make cross-tribal alliances down the road. We’ll see more of Jay next week.  5. The Super Dudes might be in for a rude awakening if they decide to make Colton their first target. I’m not convinced that’s the way they’re going to go, but Bill should be safe either way. A guy with a military background and a sense of humor should have no problem blending.
   
6. We didn’t see much of Bill in episode 1, but we didn’t see much of Sophie in episode 1 either … so I think that’s a good sign. I just plain LIKE Bill. And I think he has some depth. He’s both a veteran and a comedian. (I’d keep him around for 39 days just to tell stories and jokes. Camplife can be so monotonous.)  Now, if his PYT Alliance can find a 5th member, Bill’s in for the long haul. Or, at least safe for this week.  6. Sorry, Mikayla. You can’t be my “Survivor” girlfriend for a season that you’re not appearing on. It’s not you, it’s casting. Anywho, Chelsea caught two chickens with her bare hands and is a member of the First-Day Alliance (FDA, for short). She’s super safe.
   
7. Colton is such a character; I would have LOVED to play the game with him. Now, even though the previews for episode 3 hint that Colton’s buggin’ people on both tribes, he’s got the Immunity Idol. And immunity buys you 2-3 more days in this game. So, I think it’s safe to say that for this week Colton’s sitting pretty. 7. I’m not totally convinced that Colton is in as much trouble as they make it seem. Why wouldn’t he work with Matt and the rest of his Cobra Kai buddies to get intel on the SaLadies? Why would Matt be happy with his non-majority alliance of four when adding Colton to the fold makes it a solid five? Something’s up.
   
8. If you’ve seen Monica, then you know 41 is the new 21—because I’m tellin’ you, this sister is fitter than any woman that’s played the game in a long time. Wow. That’s Girl Power! Even though she’s not part of The Salani Five, Monica does seem to be close with Christina (partners in fire crime)—and I think the two of them could EASILY align with Nina and some of the Non-PYT Alliance (Jonas, Leif, Colton, Troyzan or Tarzan) on Manono and take control of the game. 8. I’m putting Kim in the same category as Sabrina and Chelsea right now. She’s in a good spot in that if something goes wrong with her alliance, she won’t be the most obvious choice to boot first.
   
9. Don’t underestimate Kat. Not only is she downright likeable, she got some fire in her. I liked how Kat got involved in Tribal Council last week. (That’s not easy to do when there’s conflict. It’s also not necessarily smart, but it does show strength/fight.) In the preview for next week’s Immunity Challenge, it looks like Kat’s holding onto Christina—helping Christina maintain balance? If that’s the case, then I’m sure we’re going to see more of Kat. She’s a team player. And for now, that’s the name of the game. 9. Not sure what to think of Kat at this point. According to Alicia she’s in the FDA, but she seemed to take it personally when Alicia and Christina were arguing at Tribal Council. She’s going to need to pick a side and toughen up if she’s going to be in this for the long haul.
   
10. Matt confuses me. I want to like him. I really do. He reminds me of one of my favorite tribemates–Jim Rice: intelligent, charming, and passionate about the game.  Matt’s the kind of player who makes the game fun to watch. BUT, last week, I didn’t love his bravado/confidence/attitude. I’m hoping Matt mellows a bit this week … and considers adding some women to his PYT Alliance (because 4 people do not a majority make). That being said, Matt’s safe this week. 10. Sure, stealing from the women was hilarious, but it could come back to bite you. If I’m someone like Leif and I need to curry favor with the SaLadies, I’d happily rat him out.
   
11. Oh Mike. Mike. Mike. Mike. Mike. Mike. Why did you have to throw Salani’s love away? Yes, the game is outwit, outplay, outlast, but it’s Day 1, not Day 32! You have to build SOME trust with people in this game. And I’m just not sure Salani OR Manono will trust you after your five-finger discount on the camp supplies. But I will hand it to you, you’re in a solid alliance (PYT)–and you’re not going home this week. You’ll have plenty of time to mend fences. (PS: Are you related to TV Personality Adam Carolla? Holy striking facial features, Bat Man.) 11. Kourtney adored Monica…you know…before she broke her arm in 40 places. That leads me to believe that Monica is on the outs with the FDA. And unless an idol is found soon, being outside of the FDA might be a bad deal. (Also, as a “Mean Girls” fan, can I propose the nickname “The Plastics” for the FDA?)
   
12. Forgive the Flight of the Conchords reference, but every time I see Leif, I have to sing: “I’m a hip-hop-phlebotomist.” Okay, not that funny. Well, kinda funny. But seriously, the first half of this game is all about keeping your tribe strong and unified. And from what I’ve seen of Leif, he’s going to keep Manono strong and unified. We’ll see Leif next week. 12. Did Nina do anything last week other than get a Wile E. Coyote-style net mark on her face? If alliance-lines are already set, then she’s somebody who needs to hang back and try to get everyone else to start feuding.
   
13. I like Alicia because she had her alliance of 5 SET before Salani even reached their camp! And I’ll admit: The Salani Five Alliance looks solid. But my main concern is this: it takes time to forge solid bonds/alliances.  And this early in the game, I can’t be sure that Kat, Kim, Chelsea, and Sabrina are locked. (In fact, my guess is that Kim and Kat aren’t 100% locked.) Hopefully my worry is unfounded—because Alicia’s gameplay is fun to watch. 13. If the Super Dudes are safe, that means they’re probably going to try to bounce one of the more annoying Manonoans first. I’m looking at you, Troyzan…
   
14. Christina gets things done! I mean, first she and Monica steal embers from Manono’s fire–in an attempt to start a fire for Salani. And when that doesn’t work, she negotiates a deal with Manono–and GETS THE DANG FIRE! If I were a betting woman, I’d put money on Christina for Final 3, but that’s only IF she can make it past these first Tribal Councils and align with Monica, Nina and/or some key Manono members. (Because after last week’s Tribal Council “banter” with Alicia, I’m concerned that The Salani Five may push for her early departure.) 14. And you too…
   
15. I like Troyzan. He’s a strong physical player. And I know from his pre-game clips, he’s got a real passion for the game. BUT, he’s also got a lot of “alpha male” in him—and there just isn’t room for 3 or 4 leaders on one tribe. So, where/how does Troyzan fit in? Right now we don’t see him aligned with anyone on Manono (he’s not part of The PYT Alliance). And, will any of Salani align with him after he consistently mocks them? Remember his words to the women at the start of game? Or again when Alicia and Monica tried to barter for fire? Troyzan’s probably safe this week, but I’m hoping we see his kinder gentler side here soon. 15. Is Matt smart enough to see how valuable someone like Colton could be to his alliance? If he is, he may get an idol out of it. If he isn’t, he could be sent packing. Also, it’s way too early in the game to let something like Chicken-gate bring you down
   
16. First of all, let me just say that I’m pretty sure I was ranked 18th, 17th, and 16th in the first three Power Rankings last season. So Nina fans, don’t take my ranking as an indication that Nina’s not in this to win it. I just think–based on what we’ve seen so far–she’s in trouble this week. She doesn’t seem to be part of any solid alliance and I think she may have an injury (the cargo net to the face—ouch!). Unless Nina’s working on a separate alliance with 4 other members of Salani and/or some of Manono, I think Nina may be the next female sent home.  16. Why do I think Alicia is probably safe? Because the last thing these women saw before leaving for Samoa was Boston Rob taking a solid alliance from the beginning to the end. Why do I think Alicia might be in trouble? Because if I were a guy who found the Salani idol, I’d do the exact same thing with it that Sabrina did; give it to the other tribe’s most vulnerable player. That player is Christina and Christina would happily use it to boot Alicia.
   
 17. If Manono loses this week’s Immunity Challenge, I’m fairly certain Tarzan is going home. I just haven’t seen any reason to suggest that he’s an asset to the tribe (physically, strategically, camp-wise, etc.). And forgive me for saying this, but Tarzan looks like he may need the R&R. (Or at least a wardrobe consultant. That shirt is so Tom Selleck, circa 1980s, no?) If/when Jeff does snuff Tarzan’s torch, I hope he at least gives a Tarzan “Ahhahhahhh” on his way out.  17. Bad news, Christina.  You’ve really ticked off the leader of your tribe’s dominant alliance. Oh well, maybe your negotiating skills will serve you well on Redemption Island. Wait…there’s no Redemption Island? Better hope an idol saves you, and quick.

‘Survivor: South Pacific’ Winner Interview – Sophie Clarke

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

'Survivor: South Pacific' (CBS)

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

And that was before she became an individual challenge force.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

'Survivor: South Pacific' (CBS)

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

39 Days, 18 People, 1 “Survivor” Blog

Here is the tribe as it currently stands…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Coach’s stack just wipes out.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Coach does not play the idol…dun dun dun.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BAHA! Sophie FTW!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Good move, Coach.

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘Survivor: South Pacific’ Castaway Interview: Edna Ma

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

'Survivor: South Pacific' (CBS)

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

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

But this wasn’t that season.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

'Survivor: South Pacific' (CBS)

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

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

39 Days, 18 People, 1 “Survivor” Blog

Here is the tribe as it currently stands…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Somewhere Erik Reichenbach is having déjà vu.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oh man…

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

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

Oh man!

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

Verdict: Just…wow. As in wow.

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

Who’s Going to Win: Still Sophie.

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

A tie?! Do we draw rocks now?

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

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

‘Survivor’ Hall of Fame Inductee – Ozzy Lusth

December 14, 2011
Ozzy Lusth (CBS)

Ozzy Lusth (CBS)

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

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

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

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

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

What the Executive Voting Committee said about Ozzy…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘Survivor: South Pacific’ Power Rankings – Week 12

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

'Survivor: South Pacific' (CBS)

The Rules: Each week our two combatants will create separate power rankings. The ranking of the person who is voted out of the next episode will determine the number of points the two players will earn. For example, if Albert is voted out this week, Andrea will receive 4 points and Gordon will receive 3 points. Also, each player will pick who they think will win at Redemption Island. If they choose correctly they will receive a bonus point. At the end of the season, the person with the most points will be named the “Survivor: South Pacific” Power Rankings Challenge Champion.

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

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

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

teamboehlke . TEAMHOLMES
Current Score: 152 Got any advice for Andrea? Drop her a line on Twitter.
. Current Score: 152 Got any advice for Gordon? Drop him a line on Twitter.
COACH . COACH
#1 Coach: And then there were five! Not just any five.  The CRABS alliance has prevailed and Coach appears to be a lock for the finals. So far nobody has brought up targeting him, he seems to have everyone buying into the ‘loyalty’ gig, and he also has an idol. Although I give him props for keeping his CRABS intact, I’m very curious to see who he thinks he can beat in the end. . #1 Coach: When I interviewed Coach before the season started, I told him I didn’t want to interview him again until after the finale. It looks like he has accomplished that feat. There’s no way he’s going home next unless he does it Ozzy-style with an idol in his pocket. But speaking of Ozzy; why would Coach make him a final-three promise? To sway Ozzy’s vote if he doesn’t make it back from Redemption? Seems risky.
SOPHIE2 . SOPHIE2
#2 Sophie: Sophie has done great this season and has been a consistent Power Rankings Goddess. She seems to be pretty aware of her surroundings and may just slip into that Final 3. I have been a Sophie fan the entire season, so I’d be satisfied if Sophie was the ‘winner, winner, chicken dinner.’ . #2 Sophie: So, if Cochran is to be believed; Albert keeps coming up with ways to shake up the game, and Sophie keeps shooting them down. I think when it’s all said and done, Sophie’s going to be remembered as the silent manipulator of this game. And if she can get to the end, she can win if she convinces people she wasn’t a coattail rider.
BRANDON . albert
#3 Brandon: At this point, I can’t see anyone on the jury voting for Brandon—I actually don’t see a scenario where he could win. Who wouldn’t want to bring him to the Final 3? His FTC speech would be epic; I’d bring him there just to see what he pulls out. . #3 Albert: I have to admit, I have this Ozzy-to-the-finals thing stuck in my head. Is Coach determined to take the best to the end? Does that mean staying loyal to Sobert? Is he willing to cast Brickdon aside and incur the wrath of Lil’ Hantz on the jury? Well, let it never be said that the Dragon Slayer is dull.
albert . BRANDON
#4 Albert: As much as a SAC final three would make my day/season, I don’t know that anyone would want to bring Albert to the finals over Brandon/Coach/Rick. However, Albert is smart and aware and he also could go on an immunity run. . #4 Brandon: In any other season, Brandon would have been a shoo-in to make the finals. But who knows what’s going to happen with Coach getting all noble. However, you do have to admit that Brandon as a jury member would be five-star hilarious.
RICK .
#5 Rick: All we have gotten from Rick this season are a few comments about Prince Albert and a butt grab, so I’m not really sure how to rank him anymore. My instinct is telling me that his days are numbered. Maybe he will have a break out episode and we will hear him talk, maybe even yell? I don’t know if I could handle that, I might faint. . #5 Rick: What does it say about someone when their biggest move all season is groping their own wife? Oh well, at least he was entertaining…for once. Good luck at Redemption where you’re sure to face…Edna?
OZZY .
Redemption Island Pick – Ozzy: I have faith in Ozzy. I would personally rather have a Final 6 of the COBRAS than the BRACES. Let’s be real. . Redemption Island Pick – Edna: Um…did last week’s preview really show Edna winning? That can’t be right, can it? Editing tricks? Hollywood magic? (Man, if I lose this season by one point…)

‘Survivor: South Pacific’ Castaway Interview: John Cochran

December 8, 2011

In the “Survivor” pre-game interviews several people said they wanted to win the million dollars, Brandon Hantz said he wanted to clear the Hantz family name, and John Cochran said he wanted to make the show better.

Well, we don’t know who’ll win the money and Brandon is still trying to keep his word. But, one thing’s for sure – Cochran made the show better.

I had a chance to speak to the person I consider to be the most entertaining new player in years the morning after he was eliminated from Redemption Island. We discussed the flip that doomed Savaii, Coach’s winning ways, and how Jeff Probst might’ve gotten him in trouble with his tribe.

Gordon Holmes: Do you prefer John or Cochran?
John Cochran:
I’m still skeptical as to whether or not I’ve earned the “Cochran” moniker. I’ll take John.
Holmes: Does anybody call you John anymore?
Cochran: It’s nice from a branding standpoint that I know people that call me Cochran know me from “Survivor.” All of my friends still call me John.
Holmes: I like that you said, “branding.” I can’t wait to get my Cochran t-shirts and hats.
Cochran: I’m sure people are flocking to get t-shirts of the 8th-place contestant on the 23rd season of a reality show.
Holmes: See, that’s funny to me. You know the exact numbers. Some people try to play it cool like they don’t know. I’m sure you know exactly how many votes were cast against you…
Cochran: I got thirteen votes, which is close to one of the records. I think Phillip (Sheppard) has the record with seventeen and it used to be (Jonathan) Penner with I think fifteen.

Holmes: Let’s talk about your game…
Cochran:
Uh oh…
Holmes: Now c’mon, you made the big move, now you’ve gotta talk about it. I was on the record as saying I didn’t think it was the smartest move. You seem to be a guy that looks at all the angles. What  logic went into make the decision to leave Savaii for Upolu?
Cochran: I don’t think that flipping was fatal to my game in the way that I think a lot of people do. The big turning point for me wasn’t the super cowardice of drawing rocks, the big thing for me was after the “Jack and Jill” challenge where I bombed the challenge by failing to fasten the clip properly, my entire tribe gathered together and told me they were voting me off. That was immediately before the merge. And I thought if any of these people really wanted to go to the end with me, they’re not going to vote me off. And it seemed bizarre to do it right before the merge because that’s when you’d want to get rid of a big threat. So knowing that I was dispensable to people who I thought were my closest allies, that was a big thing that made me want to flip. I would’ve changed things I would’ve done post flip. My big problem is I got complacent. I didn’t do a lot of scrambling or pulling people together. I think flipping is fine, I just didn’t follow up on it well.
Holmes: I have a theory that you threw the “Jack and Jill” challenge so you wouldn’t have to watch “Jack and Jill.”
Cochran: (Laughs) But I love bad movies. Have you ever seen “The Room”?
Holmes: I have.
Cochran: That’s one of my favorite movies. But I didn’t throw it. I have no delusions about being good at challenges. I know I’m horrible. But I’m not the one who fastened the clip improperly. Jim was the one that did it wrong. But I think Jeff’s commentary, when everyone else is blindfolded, all they hear is him saying, “Cochran, who is so inept at everything in the world, fails to manage the rope properly.” And that’s all they hear. That challenge and the aftermath were the turning point.
Holmes: Is that why you called Jeff out on his love of blue shirts?
Cochran: Jeff and I have a bizarre relationship, because I feel like he likes me. But, his line of questioning for me at Tribal Council was always peculiar to me. He’d say, “Keith, how important is it to win immunity?” “Jim, have you given much thought to the hidden immunity idol?” “Cochran, are you a huge loser in the real world? How many bruises have you received being a dodgeball target back at home?”
Holmes: (Laughs)
Cochran: They were oddly personal questions. So, I had to throw it back at him a little bit.
Holmes: Now, I’ve had conversations with all of the members of Savaii as they left the game, and they all said that they never bullied you. Was Jeff Probst bullying you?
Cochran: (Laughs) I don’t think Jeff was bullying me. I think he was fascinated by me. He thought I was bizarre in the way I’d fumble and stumble past Tribal Council every week. But Jeff’s not a bully, he’s a sweetheart.
Holmes: He’s a doll.

Holmes: Coach has a reputation for being kind of a goofball on the show. But in reality, Coach is very smart and personable. Did that realization that, “Oh, he’s not what I expected” help him get you to open up to him?
Cochran:
Absolutely. It was a huge shock. I thought he was a joke coming into this season. I think I called him a lunatic. And he’s a really smart guy. And even more than being a smart guy, I’m guessing you’re going to ask me for one word about each person at the end of this…
Holmes: What gave you that idea?
Cochran: (Laughs) Just my intuition. It’s never served me wrong. Is that an expression?
Holmes: Sounds like one.
Cochran: It’s never led me astray. That’s better. But, beyond being smart, he’s very disarming. Maybe it’s because he has this goofball reputation that you don’t feel threatened by him. I was very impressed. And seeing how he interacted with his tribe. You’d think between the two returning players that Ozzy would command the most respect. But Coach was running the show. He’s a charming, funny, intelligent  guy. They say “Don’t meet you heroes,” but maybe you should meet your villains.

Holmes: Now, I feel terrible catching you off guard, but if I give you the name of someone in the game, could you give me the first word or words that pop into your head?
Cochran:
I haven’t prepared anything for this, so it’ll be off the top of my head…with a few exceptions.
Holmes: Excellent, let’s start with Jim.
Cochran: Cunning.
Holmes: Dawn?
Cochran: Sweetheart.
Holmes: Coach?
Cochran: Disarming.
Holmes: Brandon?
Cochran: Complex.
Holmes: Sophie?
Cochran: Competitive.
Holmes: Keith?
Cochran: Romantic.
Holmes: Whitney?
Cochran: Talented.
Holmes: Albert?
Cochran: Disconcertingly polished.

Holmes: That leads into the next question. Albert seems to be someone who every week tries to get something new started and every week it seems to fizzle and die. Is he as smooth as he thinks he is?
Cochran:
I think he’s playing a good game in that even after all of these failed attempts at changing the game he still seems to be secure. But, I don’t think he’s as smooth as he thinks he is. Even giving me the massage I wasn’t thinking, “Oh wow, this is a gesture of kindness and goodwill.” It was transparent that he was going to vote me off and he wanted me to remember him fondly from the jury. But he’d come up with these plans, and Sophie would say, “No, let’s stick with the plan.”
Holmes: What’s the rest of the Upolu dynamic like?
Cochran: Brandon is an immovable object. It’s impossible to strategize with him. I spent seven hours on a hammock with him trying to woo him. I lent him my beloved sweater vest on multiple occasions. And all for nothing. Edna is a tricky case. She was told on day two that she was number six in that alliance and she was resistant to doing anything until I was voted out.

Holmes: We’re getting ready to unveil the “Survivor” Hall of Fame Class of 2011 next week…
Cochran:
I got like 40 votes! What’s that all about?
Holmes: You got a respectable amount. You should be very proud. Aside from last year’s class; Russell, Boston Rob, Parvati, Sandra, and Richard, who would’ve been your top picks?
Cochran: Todd (Herzog), he played a great game. I think Yul (Kwon) played a great game, granted he had an overpowered immunity idol, but that wasn’t his fault. Cirie (Fields) I think is great. Stephanie Valencia is a given, right?
Holmes: Yes, she’s a very popular choice amongst people from Louisiana.

Holmes: I’m willing to make the argument that you’re the most interesting, polarizing original character since Russell Hantz in Samoa. If they do an all-star “Lawyers vs. Bartenders” season, would you be in?
Cochran:
I absolutely want to play again. It’s this weird, addictive, perverted thing where you’re miserable at the time, and then you reflect on it and you love it. My only fear is the reputation I have. I’ve proven myself to be weak, worthless in challenges, apparently I’m annoying, and I’m a traitor. I don’t think all of those are true, but I’m afraid I’d go into the game and there’d be no reason why people would want to keep me. People would be calling me Sugar 2.0. So, I want to do it, I just need major image rehabilitation.

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

‘Survivor: South Pacific’ Recap – Now With Even More Hantz!

December 7, 2011

Quick Note: Voting for the “Survivor” Hall of Fame has ended. Be sure to check back Monday, December 12th to meet the first inductee into the Class of 2011.

Last Week: Rick gave Albert a nickname, Albert gave Cochran a massage (in a sense), and Upolu gave Cochran a trip to Redemption Island.

39 Days, 18 People, 1 “Survivor” Blog

Here is the tribe as it currently stands…
The Te Tuna Tribe (wearing yellow)
Albert – 26, Baseball/Dating Coach
Brandon – 19, Oil Tanker Crewman
Coach – 39, Slayer of Dragons
Edna – 35, Anesthesiologist
Rick – 51, Rancher
Sophie – 22, Medical Student

Currently Residing on Redemption Island (wearing awkward silences)
Cochran – 24, Harvard Law Student
Ozzy – 30, Challenge Destroyer

The evening’s festivities kick off with Cochran heading to Redemption Island to meet the great and powerful Oz.

Cochran feels like he was used by Upolu and that they didn’t have the decency to keep him around. OK, Cochran’s seen enough “Survivor” to know that you’re not really promised anything in this game.

Ozzy thinks a great way to get back at them would be to vote for him at the final Tribal Council. Cochran isn’t thrilled that it’s a foregone conclusion that Ozzy’s going to beat him at the challenge. He’s right, it’s entirely possible that the challenge will involve “Simpsons” trivia.

The following morning, Edna excuses herself from Te Tuna’s morning prayer because she doesn’t feel like she’s part of the tribe. Uh oh, that’ll cost her God’s vote at the final Tribal.

Edna let’s Coach know that she’s annoyed that they aren’t six strong. Coach says they are, but now they’re at the final six. He has a point.

She doesn’t like that a nineteen-year-old high-school dropout who advertises that he’s crazy (her words, not mine) is dictating her place in the game.

The nineteen-year-old high-school dropout who advertises that he’s crazy (her words, not mine) interrupts their chat to inform them that the day’s tree mail is a Sprint phone.

Sprint. The Now Network.

Sure enough, it’s videos from home. Videos include greetings from Rick’s wife, Edna’s sister, Sophie’s dad, Albert’s mom, Coach’s brother, and Brandon’s dad (also known as Russell’s brother).

Redemption Island Duel: The players will use a grappling hook (like Batman!) to retrieve three bags. In those bags are balls. They’ll use one of those balls to complete a marble-type table maze. First person to complete the maze stays in the game.

Ozzy gets off to a strong start, retrieving all three bags quickly. Upolu tries to help Cochran by giving him hook-tossing tips. Fortunately for Cochran he can’t be discouraged by the comical sound effects the “Survivor” editing team has added to his embarrassing grappling hook tosses.

Cochran eventually manages to get all three of his bags and it’s so on. Both players have to keep restarting the maze as they’re having trouble keeping their balls on the table.

Ahem…

During the proceedings, Probst refers to Ozzy as one of Cochran’s idols. I’m sure Cochran would dispute that.

It seems to be super close in the end, but Ozzy manages to pull out the win.

In the post-game chat, Cochran gets a little emotional. Probst gives him a touching pep talk, telling him that he’s seen him grow as a person in his time out there.

Probst then calls out the remaining players’ loved ones. Rick takes this opportunity to grope his wife. Oh, now he’s entertaining.

Fun Fact: Probst has about a billion catchphrases. The only ones that bug me are “Give (a person) some love,” and “Get some food in your belly.”

Ozzy is given the opportunity to pick three people to spend time with their loved ones. Ozzy chooses Albert, Coach, and Brandon.

Probst then lets us know that they’ll all be spending time together on Redemption Island. That’s interesting.

Coach claims that being on “Survivor” is a once-in-a-lifetime event. I’m thinking Coach, who’s on his third season, is bad at math.

The players and their loved ones spend some time taking photos of each other with the new Sprint phone. Apparently it’s super impressive.

Coach takes Ozzy aside to talk strategy. He tells Ozzy that he wants to take him to the final three. He punctuates this statement by saying he’ll do it “as a Christian man.” Coach says he won’t ever go against that word.

Oof…I know Coach’s is all “Take the best to the end,” but I don’t know if he could beat Ozzy in front of a Savaii-stacked jury.

Later, Brandon tells his dad (Sean) that he won’t go against his word to win the million dollars. His dad doesn’t approve of this. Well, he is Russell’s brother.

Sean tries to swing Brandon’s thinking by telling him that God wants him to make a good decision and to put his family in a good position. Even if it involves lying? I’m not the most religious person, but I’m pretty sure God has issues with that.

Quick Pitch: “Survivor: Hantzs vs. Kardashians”…make it happen, Jeff.

Sean questions Coach about his final-three strategy. Coach claims that he hasn’t decided yet. Sean tells Coach that he’s going to tell Brandon to do whatever Coach says. Coach isn’t buying it. He’s dealt with Hantzs before.

Immunity Challenge Time: The players will move across a giant pineapple-shaped puzzle board. Once they’ve stepped off a tile they’ll have to flip it over. Once they’re out of tiles to step on, they’re out of the game. Last person standing win immunity.

Note:
This seems very similar to the challenge Danni Boatwright won on “Survivor: Guatemala.”

Not much to describe here except for steppin’ and tile flippin’. Albert is the first one out of the challenge and is followed by Brandon.

After the elimination, Brandon admits that he intentionally eliminated himself to cut off Edna’s space. Edna, as you’d imagine, is not pleased.

Rick’s out next, he’s followed by Sophie.

Edna lets everyone know that they can’t be a team forever before she makes her final move. Coach wins immunity.

Politicking around camp seems to center around Edna vs. Brandon. Sophie and Rick both think it was messed up that Brandon admitted to sacrificing himself to eliminate her.

Brandon tries to apologize to Edna, but she doesn’t let him off the hook.

Later, Edna approaches Coach, Sophie, and Albert with a proposal to get rid of Brandon. She claims to have shown more honor and integrity than Brandon has throughout the game. Edna then asks Coach if he’d use his idol for her. He says he won’t because it’ll show his tribe that he doesn’t trust them.

He does, however, tell her to tell Albert and Sophie that he’s on board. I’m not sure what he was getting at there.

Sure enough, Edna tells Albert and Sophie that Coach is voting with her, she even offers to eat a piece of his (excrement) if Coach isn’t on board. Yikes, I know they’re hungry out there but that seems extreme.

That night at Tribal Council, Edna admits to targeting Brandon. She thinks he hasn’t been keeping up with Upolu’s mantra of honor and integrity. More tribes need mantras…or a mission statement…or at least a catchy jingle.

Brandon doesn’t think Edna should take shots at his character. Probst calls him on that, saying that Brandon admitted to lying at earlier Tribal Councils.

Albert and Sophie think the tribal alliances end with this Tribal Council.

Voting Time: Brandon votes for Edna, Edna votes for Brandon, and the rest of the votes will have to wait until the next paragraph.

One vote for Edna, one vote for Brandon, two votes for Edna, and the fourteenth person to make a trip to Redemption Island is…Edna.

Verdict: Ozzy wins? Check. Edna gets the boot? Check. Very predictable episode. Next week though? Who knows.

I think ultimately “South Pacific” will answer the question; can a season with predictable gameplay still be entertaining if it’s packed with interesting characters?

Who’s Going to Win: Sticking with Sophie.

Power Rankings Update: Andrea picked it again this week. We both had Edna going home. However, she had Ozzy winning at Redemption Island while I chose Cochran. The current score is tied as we head into the final ranking; Team Boehlke 152, Team Holmes 152.

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


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