Thursday, September 29, 2011

Survivor: South Pacific - Episode 3 in 15 seconds

It's not that I'm underwhelmed by this episode, I'm just not overwhelmed with excitement either.

That said, I do have some thoughts mulling over in my mind, so definitely stay tuned for those!

In the meantime, here's my 15 second initial reaction to this week's ep:

...and: well you'll just have to wait and see.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Survivor: South Pacific - Episode Two: Immunity Idols and Idiotic Insights

Cocky or just excited? Good move or cursed find? 

Yesterday was an incredible day. Not only was I in Washington D.C. visiting two of my favorite people, but I also a) bumped into Adechike from So You Think You Can Dance in a Chinatown Starbucks [figures I’d have to leave NY to bump into someone (semi-) famous!] and b) an old friend from college texted me saying that he was hanging out with Survivor: South Pacific’s very own Sophie, and they were READING THIS BLOG!!!!! To make things even more awesome, I’m going to watch Survivor with them a week from this Wednesday. Needless to say, I’m super pumped.

So pumped even that I rewatched the second episode of the season last night with my boyfriend, his Dad, whose interest I had piqued with my unfaltering ebullience, and a good friend of ours.

So without further ado, here are my thoughts from the episode:

1. Ozzy finding the immunity idol is both really exciting and dangerous.

Impressive monkey-skills and initial excitement due to favorite contestants finding Immunity Idols aside, Ozzy getting his hands on this Immunity leaves me with mixed feelings. Not only do I find it kind of strange that the idol was placed in almost the exact same way as it was in Fans vs. Favorites when he found it on Exile Island, but I also think it wasn’t his best move overall. Ozzy’s main issue is his social game and he needs to work extra hard to make sure his fellow tribe mates want to keep him around, without him having to use the idol to stay in the game. In Cook Islands, Yul demonstrated very effectively how the Immunity Idol was most useful: to get power in the game. Keeping it for the purpose of saving yourself on one occasion, provided you play it correctly, is not very helpful on the long run. And my main concern with Ozzy is that his natural confidence – which sometimes borders on cockiness and over-confidence – will return and he’ll pay less attention to his social game, thus shooting himself in the foot once again, and failing at the whole redemption thing.

2. The whole Keith/Jim/Ozzy alliance leaves me largely underwhelmed.

Ok, so if Ozzy might border on cocky in some instances, Jim is full on obnoxious. “I’m the mastermind and the architect of this plan”? Yeah, think again. That said, Keith handled the situation very smoothly and is turning out to be a physically strong but also socially apt player – always exciting qualities to see develop – easing my initial skepticism around this season’s mighty male players along the way. I will say Jim is entertaining to watch and is coming up with some memorable quotes along the way. But his “cool kid” attitude is going to get him into trouble – and I won’t mind one bit. (I mean really Jim: “I don’t see any of us 5 flipping.” Do you even know how this game works? And do you really expect to be certain of that 4-5 days in?)

3. I miss separate reward and immunity challenges.

This week’s challenge was exciting to watch, not least because I love a good comeback (especially when Ozzy’s at the helm!) but I can’t help but be disappointed it was a join reward/immunity challenge once again. If they can’t even give us two separate challenges before the Redemption Island duels begin, then it’s not looking good for later in the season. And that makes me sad… Come on! Survivor is also about the physical aspect of the challenges, ­­and beyond that, the way people react to reward challenges and the decisions they make around them can have a large impact on the game. It’s a shame to reduce that component. I’d much rather see more of those strategic moves than searching for hidden Immunity Idols.

4. Christine dug her grave, and deserves to lie in it.

Speaking of hidden Immunity Idols, Christine made a big mistake searching for it as openly as she did. It was obvious she was going to follow in Kristina’s – her namesake from last season – footsteps. She made a handful of other important mistakes too, like shunning Coach right off the bat and making no effort to mend that relationship, and being so aggressive both at camp (though her confrontation with Edna was really entertaining and I will look forward to seeing how Edna attempts to compensate for and/or improve her social awkwardness) and at Tribal Council.

5. Brandon is train wreck waiting to happen, and I’m eating it all up.

It looks like we’ll be seeing a lot more of his downward spiral into good vs. evil in the next episode, but we got a good look at how shortsighted, na├»ve and impulsive Brandon is this week, unflattering editing aside. While I think that divulging his identity to Coach turned out well for him because of Coach’s honorable game playing philosophy, I also suspect it had absolutely nothing to do with strategy. He just couldn’t keep his mouth shut. His performance at Tribal Council confirms this suspicion… You can’t just declare that you were behind sabotaging someone at camp – and a completely faultless and honorable someone at that – and not explain why or at least extend an apology. I’m sure if Brandon told Mikayla he’d feel more comfortable if she wore shorts around camp, she’s be happy to oblige (which would be a good strategic move for her too). Trying to get her kicked off for entirely selfish reasons is not the right way to go about it. Everyone likes a good train wreck, but this is taking it a bit far.

6. A Tribal Council like I like them! But why must the women always be first to suffer the initial elimination?

Tribal Council was a treat this episode! At first, I thought Coach was being reckless and stupid, but somehow he managed to come out on top of his “gloves off” policy. Albert impressed me in his eloquence and strong argumentation skills. (I love smart players on Survivor!) Mikayla needs to work on more than just her physical skills if she wants a chance to get deeper into the game. And why the hell did Stacey and Christine not vote together? Throwing away a vote is no way to either protect yourself or get yourself in any solid alliance. Neither one of them is going to last long. And though I know that weakness is the main criteria of elimination in the first Tribal Councils, I find it offensive and honestly narrow-minded to so obviously target the old and the female in the tribe. Look at Palau’s season: the ‘older’ and arguably less fit tribe of Koror killed the younger and stronger Ulong tribe with their strategy and brains. It’s time to open your minds a little more kiddos!

I’m looking forward to the Redemption Island duel! Who’s your money on for the win? (I’m going to bet on Christine, though I wouldn’t be opposed to Semhar getting herself some appropriate redemption by kicking butt.) What do you think of the Immunity Idol situation? Who’s shaping up to be your favorite player this season? Leave comments below! 

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Survivor: South Pacific - Episode 2 in 15 seconds

What an fantastic episode! I'm so glad the momentum hasn't been lost in the second episode, and I'm really enjoying every moment of this season so far.

Ozzy, use it right this time!!!

Brandon, get OVER yourself.

Mikayla, keep kicking butt! But ok, cover yourself up a little bit while doing it...

Jim: overconfidence never got anyone anywhere on Survivor!

Here are my 15 seconds...:

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Survivor: South Pacific - Episode One: Love, Loss and How To Call It

Ozzy the Survivor-ator solving the awesome puzzle
It’s Friday night, 10:48PM, and I’m on my way to Boston for the weekend. At the moment, I’m theoretically an hour away, but effectively stuck in a traffic jam that refuses to appear on my iPhone. So I’m completely in the dark as to how long this traffic jam actually is. It is ironic how annoyed I am by this considering I keep affirming that I am not at the mercy of my currently not-so-smart phone.

BUT! Never fear. Now that I have slept and listened to music for the past almost-four hours from New York, I am fully prepared to launch into my Survivor: South Pacific – Episode 1 run-through.

As I mentioned in my last post, I decided to try a new experiment this time and really connect with fellow fans on Twitter. The fact that Jeff Probst was tweeting and posting videos FROM HIS LIVING ROOM definitely helped. Russell was also there (obvi making comments on how Brandon – and well, everyone else – should play the game); I particularly enjoyed his Tweet on how Ozzy got powned by Parvati when Russell controlled Parvati: “Ozzy does not know how to play this game. He got punked by Parvati, I controlled Parvati.” Now now Russell… I would disagree on both accounts. But let’s not get into that today.

Now onto my episode highlights!

1. These contestants actually look ready to play.

We begin with a shot of Jeff and a helicopter. Very quickly, we zoom into Coach and Ozzy as they loom over the South Pacific island of Samoa, about to field various reactions from the tribes they are about to join. One thing is certain; the contestants are skeptical and make it very clear that the All-Stars’ fate will depend on whether they can be used… or shoo’ed. One Upolu tribe member, Christine, stands out as being a plain ol’ bitter pants when she states very assertively that these guys will not stay for long. That’s not just up to you, lady… And who ends up on her tribe? Poor Coach. Ozzy got a warmer welcome as he smacked his tribe’s red paint-filled egg against his heart. Now that t-shirt will be a winner for the eBay auction.

2. The first challenge is the coolest, most challenging puzzle ever.

A face-off between Coach and Ozzy turns into a united tribe effort when Ozzy has finished showing off his climbing, digging and being sexy skills and Coach has kind of kept up. This is actually the first time I’ve seen contestants being called out on not following the rules and taking a while to figure it out. Basically, the puzzle is a pyramid sliced into horizontal pieces from the base to the tip. The pyramid is complete on one table and the goal is to move the pyramid to a third table by only moving one piece at a time and only putting smaller pieces on top of larger ones. Ozzy showed his humbler side when he gestured to his tribe to help him out and the challenge became a screaming fest of “No! Not that one! To the left! Over here!” But it worked for Savaii, and Ozzy took home the “fire in the form of flint.”

3. Coach has some work cut out for him… And does a great job.

Without a doubt, Coach got the short end of the stick on this one. Not only did he end up on bitter Christine’s tribe, he was also clearly the less welcome of the two redemption-seeking All-Stars. Somehow, he still managed to get himself an alliance of 5, including a very intriguing, smart and highly intuitive recent grad, Sophie. The only girl of the alliance, she could go far. She definitely gets a “to-be-followed” card from me. But Coach’s biggest break was clearly this: Upolu won Immunity at the first challenge. Despite not being Coach’s biggest fan, I’m impressed at how he handled himself and look forward to seeing his next moves.

4. Ozzy falls for an over-confident, too-much-boob-showing show-off. A huge downgrade from Amanda.

Ozzy's love interest?
Now, don’t get me wrong, I was never Amanda’s greatest fan… But at least the girl was super hot, smart and could stand her own at a challenge (even if she couldn’t stand up for herself at Tribal Council). Enter Semhar, an outspoken young lady with awesome afro hair and a knack for showing too much cleavage. A few words of spoken-word poetry and Ozzy’s taking the bait. Ugh… Now, I realize that my TOUT comment on this came across more angry than anything else, but really I was just frustrated that Ozzy would be so keen to start another island romance when his last once so obviously took his attention away from the game. He even stood up for Semhar when she stepped forward claiming to have great aim and a good arm and then failed miserably at the challenge, ultimately losing Immunity for Savaii. Tssk Tssk Ozzy, tssk tssk.

5. Brandon: a doomed creepster that I hope will manage to step up and surprise me.

When I learned Russell’s nephew was going to be on the show, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I suspected he wouldn’t follow his uncle’s wicked ways, but I was hoping he’d actually have some game under there too. Turns out he’s a married father – even though he looks no older than 19-20 – and he’s a G-d fearing conservative prude. I will blame much of his creepster moments on biased editing, but that doesn’t mean I was not extremely disturbed – and somewhat entertained – by his sneaking up on and trash-talking Mikayla, who seems like a strong and promising contestant that just happens to also be pretty darn fine. Apparently that’s too much for Brandon to handle.

But keeping his t-shirt on in various ridiculous ways to hide his Hantz tattoos is totally up his alley. I mean come on, how common of a last name is Hantz? And wouldn’t lying and saying he wasn’t related right off the bat be better than dooming himself to having to explain why he won’t ever take his shirt off? Personally, I don’t think he’ll be able to keep the secret, even if that is in his best interest. Having a killer player like Sophie on the tribe will make this concoction for disaster a lot of fun to watch—I hope.

6. Why the hell are people all up in Jeff’s face about how to call them all of a sudden?

It’s one thing when quirky Cochran asks Jeff to call him by his last name because previous players that have had that honor have always been more awesome for the title (Mariano, Penner, Savage…) and it’s quite another when a dubious but admittedly cuddly-looking retired police officer by the name of Mark Anthony (also dubious…) asks Jeff to call him Poppa Bear. What’s next, Ozzy asking Jeff to call him Monkey Man? Or Dolphin Boy? Or simply Survivor-ator? Surviv-inator? (Well, something like that.) It’s ludicrous, and unless it’s a pronunciation thing, Probst (cuz he’s that cool) should have the last say on how he chooses players should be called. He gives the cool factor; it’s not imposed on him.

Ultimately, this first episode was very entertaining to watch and the 90-minutes just flew by! I’m more than pumped for this season and excited about some of these players. The girls seem to be promising as well as pretty (Mikayla, Elyse, Whitney), the nerds could have a lot to offer given the chance (Cochran and one of my front-runners right now, Sophie), we‘ve got some loud but entertaining folk (Jim, Christine, who I really don’t like and hope will leave the game soon) and of course we have Ozzy, who just keeps reminding me how much I love him and why I believe in him as much as I do. The one thing I’m not seeing right now is how the muscular men will prove to be more than just that.

What did you think about the episode? Who were your favorite contestants? Are you rooting for Ozzy and/or Coach? Were you happy with the first elimination? 

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Survivor: South Pacific - Episode 1 in 15 seconds

While eagerly watching the Survivor: South Pacific premiere tonight, I decided to do something different and actually follow what was happening on Twitter. (I've had to step up my Twitter presence for work, and have found that as long as I don't actually tweet about the uninteresting things I'm doing, but rather about the topics that interest me and hopefully other people, it's really a great tool!)

What I found out was a) there are TONS of people tweeting throughout the show, including Jeff Probst! b) I kind of loved the idea of responding to Jeff's comments and questions, c) Jeff was ALSO posting TOUT videos during commercial breaks, effectively making the 90 minutes of the premiere fly by and d) I'm really not cut out for the multi-tasking involved in watching Survivor, tweeting, reading tweets and watching Jeff's comments live from his living room at the same time.

On a more blog-related note, Jeff also made me discover TOUT, which I think is the perfect way to share my thoughts directly post-show, in 15 seconds.

So for now, before I articulate them better in a more detailed post, here's my Episode One Rundown from TOUT:

Friday, September 9, 2011

Most Stupid Survivor Moments

What's the DUMBEST Survivor move ever? Let us know what you think!

If it's not an option below, use the comments!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Deeksha's 10 Best Survivors of All Time

So let me preface this by saying that this is a list of 10 people who in my opinion are some of the best survivors of all time. Because of that some of my personal favorites (Rupert, Courtney) didn't make the list since I think their game lacks certain crucial elements necessary to win Survivor. Here's my list:

10. Ozzy Lusth (Cook Islands, Micronesia: Fans vs. Favorites, South Pacific) -I know that's really far down for Ozzy but I think although he is a great player, his game still needs a lot of improvement. In Fans vs. Favorites, although Parvati definitely outplayed Ozzy, Ozzy let his arrogance get the better of him. From the start he was almost disdainful of the Fans not allowing himself to believe that a Favorite like Parvati could see any reason to ally herself with the Fans. Before going in to the tribal council leading to his demise, he even said that he had a weird feeling and might play his idol, but then didn't. I think for Ozzy to ever really win the game, he needs to let go of his arrogance and start giving other people credit for also being smart players of the game.

9. Johnny Fairplay (Pearl Islands, Micronesia: Fans vs. Favorites) - I loved watching Fairplay on Pearl Islands. A lot of players say that they will say and do whatever necessary to get ahead in the game, but Fairplay is one of the only ones who is truly able to play the game in that manner. He would probably be higher on this list had he not quit the game in Micronesia.

8. Amber Brkich (Australian Outback, All-Stars) - Amber was so much fun to watch in All Stars. She was perfect at having a hand in making most of the strategic decisions alongside Rob, but letting him take the heat for them, ensuring that she was always liked just a little bit more than Rob. Although I love Rob, I do think his betrayal of Lex was unnecessary and I respect Amber for at least trying to take the high road on that decision and making a case for keeping Lex around to Rob.

7. Todd Herzog (China) - I adored Todd's handling of the final tribal council and I think Amanda's pitiful, doe-eyed performance, made watching Todd all the more spectacular. I think Todd is a very good strategist. Voting out James when he had 2 immunity idols was a bold and genius move. I also think Todd has an amazing ability to know exactly what people want to hear which he used impeccably at what was probably the best final tribal council in Survivor history.

6. Stephenie LaGrossa (Palau, Guatemala, Heroes vs. Villains) - I respect Stephenie so much as a player. I think she is probably the strongest woman to ever play the game of Survivor, both physically and mentally. The fight she has in her to never give up and to always try to stay another day in the game is admirable and got her much further in Palau than was expected. James's silly superstitions led to her early departures in Heroes vs. Villains but I would have really liked to see her around for longer in that season.

5. Yul Kwon (Cook Islands) - As I commented on Diana's post, I think any list of the best survivors ever must have Yul above Ozzy. I thought Yul was brilliant in his season. Without his move of using the immunity idol to get Jonathon to vote with them upon the merge, the amazing Cook Islands foursome would have probably still been annihilated due to their numbers disadvantage. Yul also managed to be a great strategist and make some game changing moves, while still maintaining a certain level of honesty about his game and not rubbing people the wrong way. I love everything about Yul and would love to see him back on the game. Unfortunately given his position with the Obama Administration that's probably very unlikely.

4. Sandra Diaz-Twine (Pearl Islands, Heroes vs. Villains) - A brilliant player of the game, Sandra takes the vote one day at a time, always making sure there is someone else to vote off instead of her. "As long as it ain't me" is right. Staying under the radar in a game like Survivor is hard work and she does that perfectly. I think in some ways Sandra deserves the number 3 stop above Russell since she knew how to play him perfectly. She planted the seeds that led to the elimination of Coach and Danielle and never let Russell get a whiff of the fact that she was actually the one trying to plot his demise. Still, I would pick watching Russell play the game over Sandra any day because of pure entertainment value and so he still remains at my number 3 spot, pushing Sandra back one to number 4.

3. Russell Hantz (Samoa, Heroes vs. Villains, Redemption Island) - Russell has some obvious flaws in his gameplay which will always make convincing a Jury to give him the million dollars a challenge for him. However, in every other aspect of the game the man is brilliant and the most entertaining survivor ever. Whether he has to steal, lie or bully, he will do whatever it takes to get himself ahead in the game. Diana said it perfectly. Russell MADE Samoa and he did it again in Heroes vs. Villains. One of my favorite Survivor moments is when Russell decided the reason he wasn't winning was because the game itself was flawed and needed to include audience votes when deciding the winner.

2. Boston Rob Mariano (Marquesas, All-Stars, Heroes vs. Villains, Redemption Island) - Redemption Island almost made Rob take the number one stop but I love Parvati too much to ever uproot her from that place. Rob played a perfect game. He knew what needed to happen before a blindside could take place and always made sure his alliance functioned in a way that a blindside was never possible. There was no window for planting doubts into the players minds or for scheming or doubting the alliance, the way Rob structured his alliance - making sure they were separate from the old Zapatera members at all times. It actually made the season a little boring to watch for me because no bid move was ever made. However, like the season or not, Rob's mastery of the game has to be acknowledged and respected. He should have really gotten further in Heroes vs. Villains but Tyson's stupidity is not Rob's fault.

1. Parvati Shallow (Cook Islands, Micronesia: Fans vs. Favorites, Heroes vs. Villains) - Blindsiding Ozzy; Getting Eric to hand Natalie his immunity necklace; Playing two immunity idols in one tribal council neither of which was to save herself - Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant! I cannot believe how amazing Parvati is at Survivor. She has given us some of the most shocking and amazing Survivor moments. She knows how to use her looks and charm to floor men but also how to form loyal alliances and friendships with women. A very smart and strategic player, Parvati also doesn't turn her back on her friends or allies unless there is an absolute need to - something that neither Rob or Russell can claim to do.

Other survivors I love: Rupert Boneham (for being an amazing person and an awesome survivor), Courtney Yates (for being so much fun to watch in all her seasons, whether she's playing the game or on the Jury), Heidi Strobel (for being much more of a fighter than winner Jenna Morasca throughout the Amazon), JT (for really playing and winning like a Hero in Tocantins), Andrew Savage (I really liked him and wish he had stayed longer in the Pearl Islands), Rob Cesternino (A really strong player and so much fun to watch.)

Check out Jeff's Top 5 Survivors of All Time. I am a little surprised to see Cirie on the list but I also haven't seen Panama. I think if Jeff loves her enough to say she is one of the 5 best survivors to ever play the game, there must be a reason and I must see that season.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Survivor LIVE @ Six Flags New England

This weekend, I had the privilege of heading to Six Flags New England with 4 mighty fine individuals. As we arrived and began checking out the park map and planning our day, I was suddenly overcome with joyous surprise.

Yes, Six Flags had a daily show dubbed Survivor LIVE. But show times were not indicated on the park map, so we headed to the spectacle location to find out when we could attend this un-missable event. 2:15pm, 5:00pm and 7:30.

I’ll spare you the details of how we ended up at which show we ended up, but sure enough, at 7:20pm, we were seated and ready to find out what this Survivor LIVE experience had in store for us.

Survivor trivia was been screened while we were waiting, and I set off to find out how I could be one of the four contestants picked to participate. The suggestions I received were to sit by the front or the aisles, and to be very loud and enthusiastic. Check and check.

As the show began, four tribal looking young folk began making odd sounds and shuffling around the audience. One lovely tribal lass came over to Marielle and started untying her shoelaces and other general silliness, at which point I said “Pick me!” When the selection began minutes later, my boldness was rewarded and Miss Shoelace picked me as a contestant!

I represented the Lopevi tribe, from Survivor: Vanuatu, the ninth season of the show. I unfortunately had not seen that season yet, so did not feel a huge connection with the tribe name, but I was so excited it really didn’t matter. Other tribes were Ulong (from Survivor: Palau), Mogo Mogo (from Survivor: All-Stars) and Kota (from Survivor: Gabon).

Looking around, I quickly realized I was far too old to be on the stage… The three other contestants were a very sweet and very young blonde Mogo Mogo, a maybe 16-17 year old Ulong and a 12-14 year old Kota. For once, I hoped I could pull off at least looking under 20… On the plus side, they were all girls so I didn’t totally feel out of place.

Once we were all seated and following some cool tribal dancing, a Jeff-lookalike came out and the challenges began. Challenge #1 was a totem pole puzzle. As my tribe representative, or avatar as I prefer to call her, explained the challenge to me, I realized that while this was going to be fun, it wasn’t exactly going to be very representative of the true Survivor experience. Indeed, each part of the totem pole was color coded, and my avatar told me one by one which color to go for while she put them together. It became a game of speed rather than speed + puzzle solving, and I only got to put in the final puzzle piece.

Regardless, I realized this was purely to keep the show under 30 minutes, and decided to give it my all either way. And I won the first challenge! This meant that the person who lost, 16-17 year old Ulong tribe member, Erica, was out, and merged with my tribe. I high-fived her, and waited for my reward, probably the best part of the evening: being given the immunity necklace.

What a feeling! It was heavy and imposing, sexy and commanding, just as I had always pictured it to be. And it was stripped away too soon, just as I am sure it would be on the actual show.

Next challenge, I had an advantage. The challenge was a memory game. Different items beneath numbered buckets. If you got one wrong, you had to carry six coconuts and not let them drop. If you got one right, you had six coconuts to distribute to the other contestants in any way you pleased. As the reigning challenge winner, my leg up was that I could give away six coconuts before the challenge began. My first instinct was to give six to one person and get that person out as soon as possible, but looking to my left and my right, I realized this would be too cruel. I think the 8-9 year old blonde Mogo Mogo made me realize this was NOT actually Survivor, and I couldn’t be that mean, so I split the coconuts evenly, three to each girl.

In this challenge, the audience got shown all the items while challenge participants turned their backs. So the guessing game basically became a trying-to-understand-what-the-audience-was-saying game when trying to match the items. Of course, people were also screaming wrong numbers intentionally, and I think that being the challenge winner, I did not quite have their favor. My first guess was wrong, and so I had to carry six coconuts. No big deal. Until my two rival tribes correctly matched their next guesses and decided to give me all their coconuts.

This was probably my hardest challenge the whole game, as I tried to balance 18 coconuts without letting one drop. I had some balancing on my shoulders and neck, and one nestled right on my face. I could barely make my next guess! Thankfully, it was correct! I gave six coconuts to the older Kota girl, who was the first to give me her six coconuts. That totaled 12 for her, and while I received an impressed nod from Jeff-alike, what needed to happen happened and Miss Kota dropped a coconut. Just like that, I moved on to the final two, and earned some respect from the audience for holding that many coconuts for that long.

Another dance later, we were on to the final challenge. Here is when the merged tribes came into play. The eliminated Kota member, who had joined Young Miss Mogo Mogo’s tribe, and my fellow Ulong, now a Lopevi tribe member, had to gather puzzle pieces from the audience which we had to put together and then pull up a tribe flag in order to win the final challenge.

This time again, my avatar basically directed my every move, which when trying to make a puzzle basically meant I wasn’t thinking at all about puzzle solving and just focusing on following my avatar’s directions. I was disappointed for the lack of neuron use, but I wanted to win. And I did! By a smidgeon, because I almost forgot to raise my flag, but I won!

Of course, true to Survivor rules, that did not ensure my ultimate victory. The jury, which consisted of tribe avatars, was to vote for a winner. But before, Jeff-alike asked the audience to cheer for their favorite. First up was cute Missy Mogo Mogo, who got many cheers and screams. But to my surprise, and my own personal best prize, the audience cheered most for me. I truly felt like I’d earned their support and it made me all warm and fuzzy inside.

When the avatars voted, I took one last look at my Mogo Mogo rival, and suddenly hoped that the avatars would vote for her over me. After all, all I wanted to do was play, and I got that opportunity even though clearly I was a little over the age limit. I felt that my price to pay for being selected was to graciously accept second place.

The votes came out: Mogo Mogo, Lopevi… and Mogo Mogo.

And she was so happy! It was actually heart melting. She was given a Survivor poncho, with flying bits of fabric and everything, and she literally threw her arms out and her head up and smiled so wide, it was all worth it. At one point, she turned to me and said “Sorry,” which was adorable but totally unnecessary. I told her not to worry and to just enjoy her moment, and felt completely serene and satisfied, which kind of felt unusual given my competitive nature…

As Erin, my Lopevi avatar, led me out, I thanked her, and met up with the folks: Nat, Marielle, Yashua and Himmat, who sat through this and were awesome in supporting my Survivor mania.

We went on for one last ride of Superman/Bizarro, in the dark, with the moon shining bright, and I gloriously continued to help my voice reach the low pitch it has maintained for the past two days.

What a great day!

And while I can’t yet be sure of how well I would do on the real Survivor, I’m certainly even more pumped for the show to start in 9 days! 

Friday, September 2, 2011

Diana's Top 10 Favorite Survivors of All Time

If I could say Jeff, I would!
Since you clearly set the bait for this one Deeks, here are my Top 10 Favorite Survivors of All Time:

10. Rupert Boneham (Pearl Islands, All-Stars, Heroes vs. Villains)
I love Rupert! It's hard to believe he's been shoved back to 10th place when he was straight off the bat one of my favorites from episode 1 of Pearl Islands when he got into the pirate theme and looted the other tribe's sandals. Though I don't think he's played the best Survivor game in general (especially when he just wouldn't heed Sandra's warnings about Russell in Heroes vs. Villains), he's always made the show fun to watch, and he clearly knew how to seduce the audience, which granted him a million dollars for fan favorite!

9. Andrew Savage (Pearl Islands)
I know, a bit random, but I really loved him! He was the only good thing about the Morgan tribe that season, and he got eliminated way too prematurely. I think he could have definitely been All-Star material had he stayed just a bit longer.

8. James Clement (China, Micronesia: Fans vs. Favorites, Heroes vs. Villains)
The first time I saw James was in Fans vs. Favorites, and I was completely crazy about him as a player. I think the Parvati-Amanda-James-Ozzy (PAJO) quartet had me at hello, and James totally impressed me in his physical game and his loyalty. I loved that he stood up to Parvati when she blindsided Ozzy. Then I watched China, and though enjoyed him there as well, I didn't appreciate his cockiness when he found the two immunity idols, and was actually quite glad he got kicked off with both of them. When I saw him in Heroes vs. Villains after that, he definitely lost some respect from me, which is why he's only 8th on my list. Not only was his all-around game still not that smart, but he had lost his charm as well. That said, his participation in the PAJO alliance keeps him in my Top 10 without regrets.

7. Amber Brkich (Australian Outback, All-Stars)
I was not a huge fan of Amber in Australia, which is why I love that she's made it to my Top 10 (cuz let's face it, my Top 10 is like, totally legit'). I thought she was bland, and not particularly strategic. I also could not understand why she was so close to Jerri. But in All-Stars... Wow! She really came out of her shell, and despite Boston Rob's awesomeness almost overshadowing her, I think she played a great game and stood out in all the ways necessary to win, which she definitely deserved to do. Plus, I totally adored seeing Boston Rob and Amber's romance blossom before my eyes... [sigh]

6. Courtney Yates (China, Heroes vs. Villains)
Courtney is ALWAYS fun to watch. I was shocked but so glad when she made it to the final three in China, and really appreciated that someone who plays this game so differently also got recognition. I think my favorite Courtney moments were when she was on the Jury in Heroes vs. Villains. Her facial expressions were priceless.

5. Sandra Diaz-Twine (Pearl Islands, Heroes vs. Villains)
The first double-winner of the show, Sandra is a surprise at #5. The first time I saw her was in Heroes vs. Villains and I was in utter disbelief when she won. I thought Parvati and Russell had definitely outdone her in every way, and felt that the Jury had been too begrudging of the other two. However, after watching Pearl Islands and Heroes vs. Villains for a second time, I really began to appreciate her game. Sandra manages to stay under the radar, while riding on nobody's coattails and constantly trying to change the game to her advantage. I think that by campaigning so hard against Russell to the Heroes, who naively and stupidly decided to ignore her warnings, while still managing to stay in the game when she realized they weren't going to listen to her represents perfectly why Sandra is such a great Survivor. Like Cirie, she caters to her strength: her strategy. Unlike Cirie, she actually pulls it off.

Plus, Sandra has my absolute favorite Survivor quote:
Russell "You're either with me or you're against me."
Sandra "I'm against you Russell."
(it only works if you actually hear the exchange in your head)

4. Ozzy Lusth (Cook Islands, Micronesia: Fans vs. Favorites, South Pacific)
Notwithstanding that I've had a major crush on Ozzy since the first episode of Micronesia: Fans vs. Favorites (which I saw before Cook Islands), I think Ozzy is one of the best players of Survivor ever. His social game may be "lacking" according to Jeff (I would argue that it's just been underused), but his physical and survival game is flawless. While Colby technically holds the title for most individual challenges won, Ozzy is without a doubt #1 in my mind. The folks on Cook Islands did not know what hit them, and while Jason put up a good fight in Fans vs. Favorites, Ozzy incontestably remains master. Furthermore, he is Survivor's best provider. Some might argue Rupert is up there, but while Rupert kept talking about how he provided for his tribe, Ozzy just went ahead and did it, time and time again. Close observers will have noticed that Ozzy has a social game too. Before Parvati totally outplayed him and shook things up, I'd say he was right up at the top of his strategic game and had the PAJO alliance stuck together, he would have probably won that season. There are many other examples, but I'd rather just sit and watch how he gets his redemption this season.

3. Russell Hantz (Samoa, Heroes vs. Villains, Redemption Island)
Oh Russell... Just like Rupert, he knows how to capture the audience's respect, but unlike his fan favorite counterpart, he rubs everyone else the wrong way. However you feel about Russell, there is no doubt that he MADE Samoa, period. No one else on that season is worth even mentioning, and yet it's still one of my favorites, purely thanks to moments Russell created. And then he got a second round, free of any barriers, in Heroes vs. Villains, because no one knew what to expect of him. Unfortunately, he wasn't as lucky in Redemption Island, and I wish that he'd gotten further, but I also enjoyed seeing a more emotional side to him - all-the-while remaining true to himself and leaving with a splash.

2. Boston Rob Mariano (Marquesas, All-Stars, Heroes vs. Villains, Redemption Island)
I really struggled with Boston Rob on this one... He's only a smidgeon away from the top spot. While I (shamefully) haven't seen him in Marquesas (yet!), he has progressively seduced me and won not only my heart, but also my respect. I never really got why he was pegged a "Villain" in Heroes vs. Villains. I understand that what he did to Lex in All-Stars is perhaps villainesque at best, but he didn't totally blindside him. He played the game, and was upfront about it. I have definitely seen worse villains in this game. Unfortunately, we only saw a glimmer of the great Boston Rob in Heroes vs. Villains, but that's totally Tyson's fault for falling into Russell's claws - and well, also Russell's genius scheming skills. But thankfully, we saw Boston Rob at his very best in Redemption Island. This is one of the times when seeing the contrast between Boston Rob in game mode and Boston Rob in private mode was the most entertaining, similarly to Russell in Samoa. The only thing I have to say against his game in Redemption Island is how he played his buddy Grant. I think he could have handled that situation much better, while getting the same results. Other than that: Boston Rob, I still don't know how you did it, but I applaud you and rejoice all the same!

1. Parvati Shallow (Cook Islands, Micronesia: Fans vs. Favorites, Heroes vs. Villains)
Perhaps only a smidgeon ahead of Boston Rob when I talk about Boston Rob, once I get to Parvati, there is no doubt in my mind she deserves to be #1. Owing her elimination to bad luck within her tribe in Cook Islands, Parvati took things into her own hands right off the bat in Micronesia: Fans vs. Favorites, making it my absolute favorite season of Survivor ever by the same token. Her feats included how she played James and Ozzy like a fiddle, how she orchestrated that black widow female alliance, while letting everyone feel like they were in control (hence Natalie Bolton's hilarious outbursts of 'faux' power), how she remained loyal to Amanda right till the end, how she rocked in challenges on top of being a social mastermind, and how she never once complains about anything. In Heroes vs. Villains, she was a target from day one, yet she managed to pull through all the way to the final three, losing by only a margin. Again, she played a great social game, took full advantage of a mutually beneficial alliance with Russell, and brought a loyal companion as far as she could with Danielle. Parvati may be scheming and mischievous, she is also a woman of her word when it comes to the alliances that matter. It will be very hard to dethrone Parv from her top spot, very hard indeed.

Honorable mentions: Amanda Kimmel (for being in the PAJO alliance), Jonathan Penner (for not being afraid to make unpopular decisions, and providing great entertainment along the way), Stephenie LaGrossa (for proving that women can do more than just flirt), Richard Hatch (for being the best Survivor a Season One Survivor could have been), Grant Mattos (for providing some extra eye-candy in Redemption Island) and Tom Westman (for being an actually likeable leader from the get-go).

What are your Top 10 Favorite Survivors of All Time?

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Thoughts on the Returning Survivors: Will Ozzy and Coach be able to Survive the First Elimination given Rob's Flawless Finish Last Season?

Extremely excited for Ozzy's return to the show. Although I wouldn't put him next to my all time Survivor superheros (Parvati, Rob and Russell...yes, in that order), I think he is one of the best players, physically (mm yes definitely physically) and strategically, that the show has seen.

As for Coach, I am quite surprised that he was chosen as the other returning player. Coach is definitely one of the most entertaining players Survivor has ever had but I would put him quite low on the list of players who are actually very good at Survivor. His sense of loyalty and uprightness in the game can make him a very good tool for a player who might eventually be winner of the show, but doesn't serve him well at all if he wants to win the game himself. JT was the only player in my mind who has ever really managed to pull off winning by playing almost a spotlessly clean game in Tocantins...and I just don't see Coach being able to pull that off.

Still having a superhero provider and a loyal dragon-slayer as the returning Survivors this season might put a very fresh spin on this season compared to having two of the greatest survivor strategists return last season. I am extremely excited to see what this season will bring. Now, on to how I think last season's results will affect the fate of the players this season.

Two interesting things happened last season - The team that supported Rob essentially gift wrapped the million dollars for him and the team that voted out Russell got anhilated as soon as he left. Strategically, voting out Russell so soon in and letting Rob get to the end so easily, were both extremely poor decisions. Don't get me wrong I am ecstatic Rob won but at points near the end I couldn't believe that the people he was playing with were making such poor strategic choices. This brings about a pretty big dilemma for players starting this season of Survivor: should we vote the returning players off early or keep them around?

This will partially be determined by how well Ozzy and Coach can make a case for keeping themselves around. They need to start things off by making themselves invaluable around camp and in challenges. I definitely think it makes sense to keep strong players around initially. There is always time to get them off later and numbers for a tribe are crucial going into a merge situation.

The second important thing is that Ozzy and Coach are no Russell and Rob. Coach can be an amazingly loyal ally throughout the game. A smart player should recognize that and use him. Ozzy is so charming and so physically able, that if he can woo some girls into being on his side, he should be good for quite a bit of the game. He is also lucky in that people often remember him as an amazing physical survivor and discount his strategic skills. Make no mistake Ozzy is a strategist through and through. In Cook Islands, he made his team throw a challenge a week in. And although he never went through with it, near the end of that season he definitely considered blind siding Yul many times.

Still there is no denying that after Rob's victory last season, Ozzy and Coach will have their work cut out for them. I, for one, hope to see them around for a bit. Good luck Ozzy and Coach!

Survivor: South Pacific Premieres September 14th!

So excited for the season, and so excited about Ozzy returning!

Get ready, September 14th is just around the corner.


Welcome To Our Blog!!

In anticipation of the new season of Survivor: South Pacific, Deeksha and I have decided to create a blog to share our thoughts and feelings on the new season, from different sides of the ocean.

Because our conversations are usually so detailed and interesting (yes, absolutely!), figured we'd share them with the world.