Friday, February 26, 2010

Survivor 20: Episode 3

I've been obsessed with the Olympics these past couple of weeks, so switching over to watching Survivor was a nice change of pace for an hour. I was also pleased to see the Heroes totally dominate the Villains for once... and not surprisingly it was in an all-brawn challenge. Doug called the Hero sweep about halfway through. I thought a couple of the women's pairings would go the Villains' way, but NostraDoug was correct and the Heroes crushed their first victorious immunity challenge. I hope it continues!

I was surprised at the Villains' reactions when they saw that Stephenie had been voted out last week. They were honestly shocked that they'd voted her out. I wonder who they thought would be the next one to go... Cirie maybe? But Cirie is actually pretty beastly in challenges, and she's one of the smartest members of their tribe - a highly valuable commodity in their camp. She and JT are in full control of that tribe. It's almost scary how easily the others seem to have fallen under their control.

On the Villains side, it's a similar situation. Boston Rob continues to run the tribe, but Parvati really has a lot more control than anyone is willing to admit. I think it was smart of them to vote Randy out - he was absolutely their weakest link - but all of their concerns about her are legitimate. (Although I disagree with her having a good smile, I find her smile kind of scary.) Randy on the other hand, totally missed out on the charming genes. He's smart, but not socially smart, which is too bad for Bag. I told him Randy was a bust, since I've made the mistake of picking him before, but alas, Bag had to learn the hard way.

I was concerned that Evil Russell was going to bow down to Coach and Rob's pressure to not trust Parvati. I thought that his reaction to them might be different because they are all-stars and men, but I was so excited to see him react the same way he did last season. When he buried their machete I fell in love with him all over again. He and Parvati make up the most dangerous alliance that could possibly exist. I would never have expected two people who are so overly-confident in their own skills to actually be able to respect and trust each other, but somehow they do. It's going to be really fun watching them plow through their competitors like the Canadian curling team does to the rest of the world.

Current Standings:

"Douchey" Dachui: 24 points
1. Tyson (8 pts)
2. Boston Rob (8 pts)
3. Coach (8 pts)

"Beauty & 2 Beasts" Doug/Bri: 22 points
1. JT (7 pts)
2. Tom (7 pts)
3. Parvati (8 pts)

"All Blacks" Moon: 22 points
1. James (7 pts)
2. Cirie (7 pts)
3. Danielle (8 pts)

"Gorbag" Bag: 19 points
1. Rupert (5 pts)
[2. Randy (6 pts)]
3. Jerri (8 pts)

"Always the Bridesmaid, never the bride" Me: 18 points
1. Colby (7 pts)
2. Amanda (7 pts)
3. Courtney (4 pts)

"New Rookie" Courtney: 16 points
1. Evil Russell (8 pts)
[2. Stephenie (2 pts)]
3. Sandra (6 pts)


1. B2B: Doug and Bri get first place because their players are the most in control without looking like they are actually in control. JT is happy to let Rupert think he's running the show, and Parvati is taking it easy while Boston Rob is making himself ill trying to be a leader. But when it comes down to it, what Parvati and JT think in the end will matter more when it comes to deciding who will be voted out. Tom also did a great job this episode extending the olive branch, so I don't think they'll even consider him when they next need to vote someone out.

2. All Blacks: Danielle is flying so under the radar that I don't even know what her face looks like - although I saw waaay too much of her unnatural breasts this last episode. There are far too many others whose heads will roll before hers does. So she will bring in some solid points, although I don't think she'll win. Cirie has the ability to go all the way, and I'm starting to think James does too. He might be just the person to bring with someone to the finals. If I were there I'd ally with him and then play the "I'm the brains, I've been running the whole show, he's just the brake man in our bobsled team" card. Brawns usually doesn't win over brains in the finals. Maybe no one else is thinking that, but I think they should.

3. Douches
: Dachui dropped in my rankings today because of how badly the Villains collapsed. It seems like a rift has developed, and that rift will undoubtedly claim the lives of some of their villains. I'm also concerned about how little attention Tyson is getting. No TV time to me equates to not making the finals. Boston Rob is being the best leader he can be, but he's also becoming a huge target, particularly if the Villains go into the merge down players. I think the Heroes would take him out first.

4. Bridesmaids: It seems like Amanda and Colby are safe for now, and Courtney is laying surprisingly low. So my team's plan seems to be "survive for now, strategize later." I think the Villains women are going to band together, which is good, and that tribe won't realize how bad Courtney is at challenges since she can keep sitting them out, so she may coast through what I consider to be the most dangerous time for her.

5. The Rook: I actually like the make-up of Courtney's team, but she's down to 2 players, which will affect her scores in the long run. It makes it even more important for the players she still has to really excel. Evil Russell seems like he's in a precarious position as the new guy, but I feel like he's adapting quickly to the new situation, and his alliance with Parvati could become incredibly powerful. Sandra is playing a great game too, I adore her attitude of "I'll vote for whoever, just so long as we do it as a team."

6. Gorbag: Gorbag, are you suffering the trend of the previous-season's winner finishing dead last? Randy getting voted out was no surprise to me, but now you only have Jerri and Rupert! Jerri will definitely lose in a Parvati-Jerri catfight. Parv might even keep her hair afterwards as her grisly war trophy. Jerri's alliance with Coach is stupid, I mean c'mon, the man is psycho. And the two of them together is such an easy target. Rupert could go really deep, but Rupert on his own will not be enough for the win. Will Bag pick up Candice to hopefully boost his numbers? Or will he rely on a deep run by Rupert and Jerri somehow making top 5? (Odds on Jerri making top 5 I'd say are probably around 9:1.)

Friday, February 19, 2010

Survivor 20: Episode 2

What is wrong with the Heroes? They start off every challenge whooping the villains, and then they have a breakdown as soon as they're asked to use their brains. This season should have been called Brawn v. Brains, not Heroes v. Villains. I'm cheering for the Heroes because I like more of the contestants, and I have more players on their tribe. But I may have to switch over to cheering for the villains if they're going to continue outsmarting the heroes. It's painful to watch.

Obviously I'm happy that Stephenie was voted out over Amanda. Amanda is my pick, and more importantly, I really like her! Stephenie I don't like very much. She did a good job in the first episode laying low, but then she revealed her personality, which was so off-putting that she may have driven James crazy. And her strategy made no sense - she kept saying that Amanda needed to go because she was the weakest, which is so ludicrous it left me speechless (at first). She obviously saw her as a threat to her position and tried to take her out, but her reasoning was SO flawed that even people in her alliance weren't buying it. Did Stephenie actually believe that Amanda is a weaker player than Candice or Cirie? Could she really be that delusional?

Special thanks to my mom and sister for finding some interesting info, and answering some lingering questions! According to Candice, the producers choose what the contestants wear, which is why what they wear is so impractical. (We actually spent some time last night wondering why no one had thought to bring a rain jacket.) And, at least based on my interpretation, the JT/Sugar pre-season romance sounded more like a random hook-up than an actual relationship, which explains why JT so easily voted her out.

Current Standings:

"Douchey" Dachui: 24 points
1. Tyson (8 pts)
2. Boston Rob (8 pts)
3. Coach (8 pts)

"New Rookie" Courtney: 18 points
1. Evil Russell (8 pts)
[2. Stephenie (2 pts)]
3. Sandra (8 pts)

"Gorbag" Bag: 14 points
1. Rupert (2 pts)
2. Randy (3 pts)
3. Jerri (8 pts)

"Beauty & 2 Beasts" Doug/Bri: 12 points
1. JT (2 pts)
2. Tom (2 pts)
3. Parvati (8 pts)

"All Blacks" Moon: 12 points
1. James (2 pts)
2. Cirie (2 pts)
3. Danielle (8 pts)

"Always the Bridesmaid, never the bride" Me: 10 points
1. Colby (2 pts)
2. Amanda (2 pts)
3. Courtney (6 pts)


1. The Douches: Boston Rob's medical evacuation never happened, which is a huge relief for team Dachui. They completely switched their game plan from last season, which was to take likable losers, and the difference in results have been brilliant. They are wracking up points with players in comfortable enough positions to not have any fear of being voted out soon. I think that Randy, Jerri, Courtney, and Sandra are all more likely to be voted out than any of their team. Do any of them have the ability to close though? I don't know if Boston Rob or Coach do, but I certainly think that Tyson would be a huge threat if he made the finals.

2. B2B: Tom looks like he's on the outs, but the tribe still needs his strength in challenges if they want to compete. I think he's gone if they lose next week, but Doug and Moon think it's more likely to be Candice. I hope we don't find out, I'm hoping for a Heroes victory next week! JT is playing a very strong game, apart from being on the losing tribe. We haven't seen much of Parvati, apart from her getting clocked in the temple last night, but from what I can tell, she seems like she's very secure as well. It looks like Parvati may be trying to put together another all-women alliance... the ladies seem like they all get along really well, and there could be some awesome retribution taken on Evil Russ by the "dumb blondes" of this season.

3. All Blacks: James' overreaction to Stephenie may cost him in the long run - he drew a lot of unnecessary attention to himself last night. (Although his enormous muscles are probably what will get him voted out in the end.) Cirie is playing a dangerous but masterful game. She does the best when she positions herself as a swing vote, and stays outside the main alliance. But it's a risky play at the same time, I think, since not being in an alliance makes her an easy target.

4. Bridesmaids: I'm sooo grateful that Amanda didn't get voted out last night. That would have been the end of me. Colby was a waste of a pick - this man is not using his brain at all, and now finds himself on the outs of a losing tribe. He needs the Heroes to start performing well so that he can't get voted out. If he makes it to the merge though, he could go deep, either by jumping ship or by coming through big time for the heroes. I still love my pick of Courtney, but it all depends on her making it to the merge. This is the danger zone time for the scrawny one.

5. New Rookie: Losing a player early is very difficult to overcome. Fortunately for Courtney, she has lost what I consider to be her weakest player. With two villains left on her team, I think she may be able to rally. The real question is, will Courtney choose to buy the dreg Candice for 15 points? It would put her 7 points behind the last place player, and if the Heroes continue to perform poorly it could be a waste of points. But if they are able to turn it around, Courtney would end up kicking herself if she didn't take her. She has until Thursday to make her decision. Can't wait to see what you decide!

6. Gorbag: The more I look at Bag's team the more I hate it. Rupert is annoying me to no end - I don't think he's mentally all there... he seems to wander aimlessly a lot. And he's no good in challenges with that broken toe. He's in a good alliance though, which will probably keep him around longer than he probably should be, but it's possible that his own alliance will vote him out, since they have such a majority over the pitiful "on the outs" group of Tom and Colby. Randy I think will be one of the first to go from the villains tribe, and while I think Jerri is doing a pretty good job so far, I think her reputation will hurt her in the long run.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Survivor 20: The Draft

(First of all, yes, I geek out way too much about Survivor. Secondly, yes, I drank WAY too much last Thursday. So I want to apologize to everyone who tried to watch the season premiere with me last night and instead had to listen to me shout enthusiastically through the entire episode. But I don't think less booze is going to change the amount that I talk through the show... just the volume at which I do so. So if you actually want to hear the conversations of the competitors, it's probably best to not watch with me in the future.)

Going into this season I had outrageously high expectations for how awesome it was going to be. I tried to talk myself down, so that I wouldn't be disappointed when the show actually started. Inevitably, I decided, there was no way the show could meet my impossible standard. This turned out to be true. The first episode was even more amazing than I could have possibly imagined. I mean, does it get any better than that in their very first challenge there were 2 relatively serious injuries to people so tough that they refused to leave the game? How this will affect them long-term, I don't know. We'll have to wait and see (although I'm concerned that Rupert will be encumbered by his broken toe). It's a good indication of how much these players want to win this year that they both stuck around. I was disappointed in the first all-stars season because so many players voluntarily bowed out of the game. They didn't have the fire anymore. Not so this season.

Sugar was the first casualty of the game, and one of only two players that weren't picked in our pool. So no one has actually lost a player yet. More than anything, this makes me proud of our pool - it shows how well we know the game. Sugar was not a contributor at either challenge or around camp (that I could tell), so her leaving really doesn't take anything away from the season. According to New Rookie Courtney, Sugar and JT were/are in a relationship, but I think this could not have been true at the time of filming since she spent much of the first episode chasing Colby around camp. Maybe they broke up before the show? Or maybe they got together afterwards? I'm not interested enough in her to look into this more. So long, Sugar, we won't miss you.

I think Sugar was some of the only dead weight on the show though, so from now on there's going to be high drama and suspense. I am fired up about this season - these vets are playing on a much higher level than the average season allows. For example, Russell started this season the same way he did last season: he singled out some of the ladies on his team and tried to get them into secret alliances with him. One person bought it, but one didn't, the defending champ Parvati. She found it highly suspicious, but she didn't say anything or act on it. She said she trusted him, and now knows to keep an eye on him, as he is a big threat. This is so much better than what the women did last season. They either bought what he was selling them, or called him out on his BS, thus singling themselves out for elimination. I think they're all advanced thinkers and schemers, and I look forward to many Edgardo-type episodes this season!

Random thought - I went back to the Survivor 19 draft post I wrote to see what I'd included. I noticed that I had 77 comments, 74 of which were Japanese spam (which Google Translate courteously offered to translate into English for me). I wonder what attracted the spammers so much to that particular post? Is Japan as obsessed with Survivor as I am? Can this draft blog set a new record for spam comments?

1st place: 45 points (+15 for sweep)
2nd place: 30 points
3rd place: 20 points (+10 if makes jury)
Jury: 10 points

Wins a team reward challenge: 2 points
Wins a team immunity challenge: 3 points
Wins an individual reward challenge: 4 points
Invited to share a reward challenge: 1 points
Wins individual immunity challenge: 6 points
Finds the hidden immunity idol: 10 points
Plays hidden immunity idol at tribal council (success v. fail): 10/-5 points
Plays a fake immunity idol: -10 points
Sits out a challenge: -2 points
buy bad item at auction/don't buy an item at auction: -2 points
buy good item at auction: 2 points
buy a dreg: -15 points

Everything is pretty much the same this season; we only added a couple new rules. First, there are now small point rewards for buying a good item at Auction (if they have an auction this season), and small point penalties for buying a bad item, or not buying anything at all.

More interestingly though, there is now a rule that if one of your players gets voted out, you have the option to buy a player who wasn't picked in the draft (in this case, Candice) for 15 points. Players don't have to already have the points to buy her, they can go into point debt. After the episode in which their pony gets voted out, players have up until the next episode to buy the player. The dreg would not bring in any points with them. So for instance, even though Candice won 2 points last episode, if someone had lost a player this last episode and chose to buy her, she'd start out at zero. If the player who lost their pony doesn't buy the dreg before the next episode, they forfeit the opportunity to buy her later. Which means that the next week if someone lost their player, they would be the only ones with the opportunity to buy her.


"Douchey" Dachui: 9 points
1. Tyson (3 pts)
2. Boston Rob (3 pts)
3. Coach (3 pts)

"Gorbag" Bag: 8 points
1. Rupert (2 pts)
2. Randy (3 pts)
3. Jerri (3 pts)

"Beauty & 2 Beasts" Doug/Bri: 7 points
1. JT (2 pts)
2. Tom (2 pts)
3. Parvati (3 pts)

"All Blacks" Moon: 7 points
1. James (2 pts)
2. Cirie (2 pts)
3. Danielle (3 pts)
"Always the Bridesmaid, never the bride" Me: 7 points
1. Colby (2 pts)
2. Amanda (2 pts)
3. Courtney (3 pts)

"New Rookie" Courtney: 8 points
1. Evil Russell (3 pts)
2. Stephenie (2 pts)
3. Sandra (3 pts)

ANALYSIS (in order of strength of teams):

There is really very little difference between the strength of any of our teams, at least at this point in the game. The difference between the person I rank first v. last is negligible. All of our teams are really strong. But I'm going to rank us all the same.

1. Beauty & 2 Beasts: I made a conscious decision not to pick any past winners because I thought they'd be easy targets for the rest to eliminate. Doug and Bri had no such qualms. They picked all past winners, and since my hunch appears to be way off, I think that their team is the biggest favorite to win this season. JT, Tom, and Parvati are all the complete package. They play physically, mentally, and the all look good while doing it. I still think there's a danger of them not winning because of their past success, but it doesn't seem to be nearly as big a deal as it has been in past seasons.

2. All Blacks: Moon's team basically has all the players I wish I'd picked. I thought I could get Cirie later in the draft... looking back on it now I have no idea why. James is returning for the third time much wiser and equally as ripped. I expect James to go far this season. Danielle, I have no idea about, but it looks like she put herself in a position to pull a Natalie on Evil Russell, which would be HILARIOUS if it happened two seasons in a row.

3. New Rookie: Courtney went after players that a lot of us overlooked. Evil Russell was not at the top of many peoples' lists, and when Stephenie was picked in the 2nd round most of us scoffed. But they both did better than many other players in the first episode. And I'm particularly excited with Courtney's Sandra pick. It's my opinion that the women this season are going to crush*, and Sandra is definitely a threat when it comes to strategy.

4. The Bridesmaids: I'll be honest. I'm not loving my team that much. I was going to place myself last, but because of perceived injuries I put a couple of other teams lower. All of my players have finished 2nd in previous seasons, so I know that they have what it takes to succeed (if not close the deal). But I found Colby's physical and strategic games both lacking in the first episode, and I'm really concerned that Amanda's name came up in the very first episode as well. I'm most pleased with my Courtney pick - she's not a nice person, but she is super crafty!

5. Douches: I'm pre-emptively ranking the Douches 5th because of the preview for next week. It looks like Boston Rob may get medically evacuated, a devastating blow to the Douches. If Boston Rob sticks around though, I think Dachui is more of a top 3 team, since Rob is such a great player. I think Tyson is a fly-under-the-radar threat: he doesn't have a big reputation and he's one of the smarter players in the season. He could easily go far. And somehow Coach managed to stick around forever in his last season, so I see no reason why this couldn't happen again.

6. Gorbag: I'm placing Bag last because of Rupert's toe injury. While Rupert is a strong player, I have a feeling this will seriously affect him in challenges, and that his team will end up voting him off because of it. And if Rupert is gone that leave Jerri and Randy - two people who need to work hard to hide some unappetizing personality traits. They may not be as glaring amongst a group of villains, but I have a feeling that people aren't going to like Randy (again).

* The past two seasons have resulted in female victories, both largely the result of the men in the seasons being played like fiddles. These women are not like Natalie from last season. They are the praying mantises and black widows of the Survivor animal kingdom. They are extremely skilled at luring men into their traps and then blindsiding them when no one is watching. I think this is the smartest group of men they've ever had before too, though, so we'll see how this theory plays out.