Alright, guys, let’s try to do this before the entirety of the Matisyahu Tribe is completely decimated and all we have left is the memory of Angie’s boobs. We’ve been dark for the last few weeks, but all we missed discussing was the systematic destruction of Russell Swan and the Gang. But after tonight, when Denise and Malcolm will likely be forced into tribe cannibalism for survival and admission to the merge, things should get more interesting. So throw away your binders full of women and let’s get to it.
(Note: we want to thank Nate Silver from the Electoral Blog FiveThirtyEight for providing absolutely no scientific of statistical input for these predictions.)
Abi-Maria: Well, if the idea of the game was to out-crazy, out-make no sense, out-constantly touch your hair, then Abi-Maria would have this game completely locked up. Unfortunately for her, that is not how the game is played, and what she considers strategic, clever gameplay is actually loose cannon paranoia that verges on schizophrenia. Perhaps the reason that she keeps pulling at her tresses is that she’s trying to keep the voices out (or in). Certainly, considering the rapid disintegration of her alliance with RC Cola, her loyalty and judgment are suspect, and we think she’s ripe for a blind-side down the road. Odds of Winning: 45-1
Artis: Four weeks in and we really can’t say we know that much about Artis other than that he was pissed at Skupin for breaking the dive mask (with his face) and he seems generally competent and likable and pretty okay. But that’s as much of a function of Matisyahu’s domination of the game (and by domination we mean the exact opposite of domination), and not necessarily any particular Survivor aptitude on Artis’s part. He hasn’t made any enemies thus far, but, at the same time, we can’t confidently say he’s made any strong alliances. He’s seemed more than capable in challenges, and if he can stay away from typical cranky older guy emotional blow-ups, he should go deep in the game. But we just don’t see anything exceptional – whether it be socially, physically, or strategically – that would give him an inside track at the million. Flying under the radar is a fine, tried-and-true Survivor tactic, but it may not work for a dude who looks like Michael Jordan if he’d just shave that damn Hitler mustache. 23-1
Carter: Has anyone wearing fire-red jeans ever won Survivor? Not that we can tell. We don’t think that bodes well for Carter, who, besides wearing those hard on the eyes Levis, has done little to distinguish himself other than standing near Jeff Kent. Still a huge question mark, but we think Dana has a better shot. 30-1
Dana: You have to be tough to be a tattoo’d, spiky-haired lesbian from Texas, so for that fact alone we like Dana’s chances. She also seemed to hit it off with Jeff Kent due to their mutual love of ranches and clearing brush, so she can play both the girl power card with fellow Kabbalah tribemates Dawson and Katie, or she can team with Kent and her celebrity doppelgänger Carter. And if this doesn’t work out, there’s always Top Chef. 25-1
Dawson: If there’s one person in this game that we feel like know nothing about, other than an affinity for novelty t-shirts, it’s Dawson. And that’s why she scares us. Yes, she’s visible from space with her pink t-shirt and pink bathing suit, but we have this sneaking suspicion that she’s going to slide unnoticed through this game, Sandra Diaz-Twine style, stealing the million dollars when the jury realizes that she’s still there and didn’t really piss anyone off. We can only hope for a temper tantrum sometime soon that would prevent any such outcome. 13-2
Denise: Denise has two things working against her 1) She’s been on an all-time terrible tribe, and if she makes it to the merge she’ll be the only one from Matisyahu to do so, likely a brief stay of execution, and 2) as Malcolm and Russell so eloquently pointed out in tandem at the last Tribal Council, nobody on any tribe wants to be sitting next to Denise at the end, they wouldn’t even bother trying to convince the jury that they deserve the million more than her. She’s already proven herself to be a beast in challenges, she’s well-liked by tribemates, and her sex therapist background would certainly be an asset in navigating the social game and earning other players’ trust. Should she outlast Malcolm tonight she’d no doubt move on with a giant target on her back. However, if she can endure the initial onslaught, we could see her allying with some of the older players – Skupin, Lisa, Artis – who would value her athletic ability and loyalty instead of fearing it. 50-1 for the next two weeks; 5-1 anytime after (IF)
Jeff Kent: We hate to say it, because we hate Jeff Kent, but if Jeff can keep his baseball career (his secret identity) under wraps, he’s got a really good chance of winning the World Series of Survivor. He’s strong, but not a physical specimen; he’s good-looking and charming in that douchey kind of way; he’s a provider around camp, but not an overt, overbearing leader; he appears to have formed good relationships with both the men and women of Kabbalah; he figured out Penner found the Idol and negated their alliance by giving him a four finger handshake (btw, wtf?); and years of batting behind Barry Bonds show that he doesn’t have to be the guy, and years of batting behind Barry Bonds show that he’s capable of dealing with, or at least tolerating, lunatics. The only thing that can hold Jeff Kent back is if anyone figures out that he’s a millionaire former ballplayer who might garner serious Hall of Fame consideration (that and his jacked up knee). 11-1 if he maintains his cover; 377 All-Time Home Runs-1 otherwise
(Former Miss Delaware) Katie Kapowski: Katie should be using her prestigious award-winning good looks to cast a spell over her male tribemates. Instead, she’s hiding her curves behind my grandma’s blouse and her pretty face under all that Bayside brand Zit-Off. She hasn’t shown any specific talent for strategy, nor has she demonstrated exceptional athletic skill, so her best bet is to bat some lashes and latch onto a dude that she can, ahem, ride to the end (Jeff Kent?). It’s certainly been done before. 16-1
Lisa Lisa: So far it seems that superfan Lisa “Blair” Whelchel has been completely overwhelmed by the game, and years of being on camera and subject to intense scrutiny and pressure have done nothing to prepare her for being on camera and subject to intense scrutiny and pressure. Indeed, Blair seems lost without Mrs. Garrett (she’d probably settle for Tootie at this point). It just goes to show that being a child star can prepare you for lots of things, but it can’t prepare you for sleeping outside in the pouring rain or subsisting on rice that has been boiled to oblivion (nor can it prepare you for catty bitches like RC and Abi-Maria). Four weeks in, it does appear that Blair is just another nice Christian mother who just can’t hack it, who just can’t be mean or vindictive or deceitful enough. Then again, maybe she’ll look within herself, tap into her Jo side, and prove us wrong. 50-1; 2-1 if George Clooney makes a phone call
Malcolm: In another season, on another tribe, this could be Malcolm’s game to lose. He’s strong, he’s smart, and the girls we watch with want to fuck him. He erred by cozying up so quickly to Angie but a) can you blame him?; and b) had the Matisyahu tribe not been so inept, forming a twosome with Angie may have not been a such a bad idea, as pretty pairs have found success in this game before (see: Rob, Boston; Brkich, Amber). But the rapid demise of his tribe, along with Angie’s immaturity and general uselessness, rendered such an alliance futile. If the game was now broken down into pairs, we’d put Malcolm and Denise up against anyone, they are the very reincarnation of Bobby Jon and Stephenie. But that’s not how the game works, and while Malcolm can stand up to just about everyone physically, mentally, and socially, we think he’d quickly find himself the odd hunk out should he even make it out of Matisyahu. Dillon Panthers #33-1
Penner: Penner did himself a tremendous favor by finding the Immunity Idol, ensuring that he wouldn’t be the first returning player to exit the game, despite his tribe’s desire to do so, and their obvious distrust of him as he so obviously searched for the Idol to ensure he wouldn’t be the first returning player to exit the game. A player like Penner really illustrates what an advantage it is having competed in the game before, how much experience helps. Just like Boston Rob pulled every right string and played every right chord in Redemption Island, Penner could use his vast knowledge of Survivor to anticipate and dictate the game. However, and we don’t relish saying this, he’s not as likable as Boston Rob, his tribe doesn’t adore him like Boston Rob’s did him. So the first chance that Kent and Co. get to vote out Penner, they’ll take it. 44-This Many(1)
RC Cola: RC Cola started off as an intolerable, repulsive mean girl, mocking Skupin and deriding Blair. But once she split from her partner in slime Abi-Maria, she’s softened, become much more likable. Which doesn’t necessarily mean she’s any better positioned to go far in the game, but at least we don’t find her so repugnant. Right now, her power seems to have diminished, but that all can change once the Lt. Dan Tribe (or a merged tribe) has to go to Tribal Council for the first time. She just better get Abi-Maria before Abi-Maria gets her. 18-1.
Skupin: We had impossibly high hopes for the return of Michael Skupin. He is the Arrested Development movie of Survivor players, the competitor who we so desperately wanted to be given just one more shot, one more opportunity to make things right. And we would be lying if we said we weren’t somewhat disappointed in Mike’s performance so far, his propensity for injury approaching Clousean levels. But it’s not fair to conclude that this is the real Michael Skupin, that the sample size in Survivor: Outback was too small to realize his inherent clumsiness, because that’s just not true. Yes, he fell into a fire, and is the only Survivor to do so, and it may have been the result of his own carelessness, but he was in that game longer than he’s been in the Philippines, and his early success there could not be attributed to luck alone. Has he perhaps lost a step or two in the intervening eleven years? Sure. Is he maybe not as adroit as we had believed all this time? Definitely seems that way. But is he a total and complete clutz whose utter incompetence in the Philippines is revealing his performance in Australia to be a total fluke? We think not. And while his body has already taken more abuse than Sylvester Stallone’s in The Expendables, we still think he’s a strong player in this game. He still offers survival skill, leadership ability, understanding of team dynamics, and, now, prior Survivor experience. We can only (and really have no choice but to) believe that Skupes is going to get better as the game goes on, dialing it up to 500% percent like Wesley “Two Scoops” Berry. 2 Skupes-1
And The Fallen
(with an A-B-C for each)
Zane: Always Be Chess Playing (Poorly)
Roxy: Always Be Contentious
Angie: Always Be Craving Cookies
Russell: Always Be Collapsing
And that’s it! Apologies for not including any Muppets, that’s an oversight that we will certainly attend to the next time around. We want to also thank Nate Cohn of the political polls analysis blog Electionate for likewise not providing any insights or numbers for this post. Heck, thanks to all the Nates out there who run electoral map analysis blogs and offered no legitimate basis for these odds. You’re what makes this country great.
Tonight: Denise or Malcolm? Always Be Cannibalizing Your Tribe.