Aaaaaaaanaaaaaaand we’re back! For Survivor’s 26th season they’ve returned to the Philippines and revisited a familiar format with Survivor: Caramoan – Fans vs. Favorites 2 Legit to Quit. Except, this time around, the “Favorites” aren’t necessarily favorites, or heroes, or even skilled players. They are, for the most part, memorable personalities, some remembered for as much bad as good. Whether that was a wise casting decision will be borne out over the next few months. However, before we dive into the new season, let’s take a brief look back, way back, to Survivor: Palau.
Why return to the 10th season of this long-running series, which premiered in early 2005? Because, after recently completing our second viewing of the season, we feel confident in asserting that Palau is the strongest and most entertaining entry in the Survivor pantheon. And why do we say that? Well, let us tell you, in list format:
Read on: Five Keys to Palau and Phillip Puts the Team Together
For the last few seasons we’ve become increasingly irritated by the presence of God, or, rather, some players’ insistence that he (or she!) has some influence on the game of Survivor, from Matt justifying his repeated exile to Redemption Island as part of Jesus’s plan to Brandon Hantz invoking the will of the Lord in his quest to purge Mikayla from the game (and maybe the Earth) because of her fictional harlot tendencies. For one season we can deal with these bible thumpers, but as it became a consistent aspect of the game, it became grating, obnoxious even. Sure, God may love Survivor, but as a true fan he would never get involved. When it comes to Survivor, God is agnostic, and if he had a dog in the fight, it wouldn’t be someone from the God Squad, it would be a rough and tumble champion, like Sophie or Lt. Tom Westman. But even if God had a rooting interest, we were sure that he (or she!) had no impact on the game, just like he has nothing to do with Tim Tebow (unless sending him to the Jets is God’s idea of a holy hilarious joke). However, after this week’s Survivor: One World! we’ve changed our mind. Because if that wasn’t divine intervention, if that wasn’t an instance of God reigning down vengeance from above, we don’t know what is.
Read on: What goes The Worst comes around…
In just a matter of our CBS will premiere the newest edition of Survivor, this time set in the vast wilds of the South Pacific. Also returning this season will be the much-maligned (at least by us) Redemption Island twist. Also also returning, the inclusion of two returning Survivor players from season’s past. Will one of those players be Steve, competing in back-to-back seasons?
Actually the two returning players are Coach (!) and Ozzie. Now in his third game of Survivor, we wonder if Coach will exhibit his trademark modesty.
See you at Tribal Council!
Our Redemption Island journey came to an end Sunday night, and while the home stretch of the season had been rather uneventful and predictable, if economical, we still had the chance for fireworks in the last two hours. Would Rob complete what was unquestionably one of – if not the – definitive Survivor performances, winning it all in his fourth attempt? Or, perhaps, would Matt fulfill his destiny and return from Redemption Island to become the Sole Survivor (if that was God’s will)? Or would Mike, the lone remaining member of Zapatera, the double threat of soldier and Jesus lover, reenter the game and lockup votes from his former teammates? Or would Grant, the remarkable physical specimen, go undefeated down the stretch, the jury rewarding his unparalleled athletic prowess with a million dollars. Or, finally, would Andrea prove victorious in the final Redemption Island duel and surprise us all by going all the way to the end? Well, there’s no way that could happen, right?
Wrong! But could anyone possibly stand in the way of Boston Rob???
We sincerely apologize for the absence of Redemption Island recaps the last month; Gawker.TV ceased publishing weekly recaps and our day job has been monopolizing our time. But, with the finale airing tonight night, we felt it was our responsibility (and our pleasure) to give some thoughts on what’s transpired since our last recap and what is still to come.
Before we delve into the eliminations, duels, blindsides and bonehead moves of the past month, it’s come to our attention that we’ve been going easy on Matt and his love of Jesus. So, to right that wrong, we’re going to go ahead and dedicate the first part this post to Matt and his savior.
“Are you there, God? It’s me, Matt. Why have you abandoned me?”
“Because, Matt, I don’t care about reality television. I’m the almighty creator, and I have infinitely more important things to do than interfere with or preordain some reality show competition. And if I were to get involved with any of these shows, it wouldn’t be Survivor, hands down it’d be Top Chef, because a) I fancy myself as a bit of a foodie and b) have you seen the rack on Padma? One of my finest creations.”
“Oh, so that one set of footprints. That wasn’t you carrying me on your back?”
“Nope, no way. All you, buddy.”
Read on: Some more Matt bashing, why Boston Rob does and doesn’t deserve to win, and our FINAL prediction…
We’re bringing this “daily” feature back after a too long hiatus (mostly because we’ve been busy, but also because our search terms everyday for the last six weeks have all been some variation on “Survivor Federal Agent Phillip”), today working with a non-Phillip term, “www.cbs/jeffprobst.” Last week on Redemption Island Probst played with fire, just dying for a fine from the FCC and a rash of angry letters from the Parents Television Council. Luckily, he toed the line, and while it seemed like he was just begging to blunder (a la Jenny Slate), he managed to somehow get out the following challenge commentary without explicitly describing a lewd act (but certainly suggesting it). We included this in our recap, but it’s worth posting again. Probst, living dangerously!
Oh, and if you were really curious (although, why you would search for a url, we don’t know), check it: cbs.com/jeffprobst
This is it, guys! Merge time! And the end of Redemption Island!
Which would have totally been a surprise if they didn’t already tell us this in the preview for this week’s episode. And they didn’t just tease the game changer, but pretty much announced it. Which is kind of regrettable, as it took away a potential surprise in the midst of a run of pretty mundane episodes.
Also pretty regrettable – to us at least – is that the producers chose to coincide the merge with the reentry of the Redemption Island ultimate warrior back into the game. That’s too neat, too obvious, and we reckoned it would be too much all at once. Wouldn’t have it been more enjoyable, more entertaining if the Redemption Island duels continued while the remaining players vied for Individual Immunity? In short, in crass terms, our concern was that combining these two moves would pretty much be the equivalent of the show shooting it’s load. Would that be the case? We should see.
Keep reading: The Christian, The Sheppard, and The Last Supper
A few weeks ago we posited that the tattoo on Former Federal Agent (?) Phillip’s right shoulder looks more like a pimp than a lion. But even then we knew there was a better comparison, but we just couldn’t think of it. It was on the tip of our tongue, at the very precipice of our cerebral cortex, but we should couldn’t find it. Until now.
It’s Beverly Hills hairstylist and Jackée Harry’s ex-husband to Elgin Charles! DUH!
See for yourself:
Jackée, what do you think?
Well, agree to disagree.
Before we start this Survivor: Redemption Island recap CBS would like us to visit www.cbs.com/jeffprobst. Normally we’d demur that kind of blatant and heavy-handed promotion, but we love Probst too much to complain in this particular instance. So go, now, and then come right back here.
Back? Okay, good! You got back just in time to listen to Stephanie list every food item ever, which, as any survival expert will tell you, is the best way to stave off the hunger of being by yourself in a sweaty jungle for two weeks. Right, Matt? Isn’t she helping? Isn’t Stephanie detailing every flavor of Pop Tart just melting your hunger away? But Matt totally wins us over by quoting The Sandlot, telling Stephanie “You’re killing me, Smalls.” GREAT REFERENCE. You know what, Matt, you’re okay by us. Just don’t start talking about how God is on your side again and how your faith will help you succeed in this reality TV competition. Oh, no, there you go. Nevermind. That didn’t last long.
More! Sarita steps up, David deliberates and Phillip doesn’t get his fill…
So this week we entered the post-Russell Hantz era. And for those of you who complained that Russell was a sneaky, nefarious player who only made it to the finals because he had no chance to win, and that his dominance was a product of editing, and that he was a bore and boorish, well, do you miss him now? Because, say what you want about the guy, there’s no denying that he made things interesting. Which is perhaps something you can’t say about last night’s Survivor
Keep reading: Phillips say the darndest things. Plus: Tetris! Rubix Cubes! A giant maze!