Survivor China

Last season showed there was still life in the show’s concept as long as the individuals are interesting - Yau, Earl, Dreamz made the show, but even their opponents were at least playing the game in interesting ways. I also liked Yul’s season.

I’m skeptical about this season based upon that first episode - too many models from agencies, too few personalities. Most importantly, too few intelligent players. Might be misleading, however – although he came across as a lumpy idiot, Jean-Robert is actually a smart guy.

Yeah, I’ll agree with that. Survivor is only as good as the people they pick.

On a side note, Jeff has been getting more and more involved at tribal council. I find it interesting the way they try to shape the game and bring things out no one really wants to talk about.

Absolutely. The Earl-Yau-Dreamz axis would have been a pretty ordinary one and quickly forgotten, had they not had to face off against the cocky “Horsemen” alliance of Alex, Eduardo, Mookie, and, er, Dreamz. That one tribal council was my favorite moment out of all the seasons of Survivor.

Yeah, I’d agree with that. My wife and I sat there completely enthralled. It was pure awesome sauce.

It was especially nice because I have often been frustrated in past seasons by players who absolutely fail to understand or execute the strategic aspects of the game. The last two seasons we’ve had first Yul and then Earl who ran through the voting scenarios in their heads each week and then took appropriate steps accordingly.

Jeff’s more active role at tribal council is actually a little annoying. Last season he absolutely swung the vote at one council and I was pissed off. I work with someone who had a cousin on the show and she said that, for the most part, the producers influence the show in passive ways. E.g., They might send two people off to get tree mail together or say, “Hey, why don’t you three go hang out by the dock together?” The sort of influence is not only acceptable but it almost certainly makes the show better. Steering the voting against a specific person, however, takes the game out of the player’s hands.

I thought it was an o.k. episode, although once again one of the bigger characters was given the boot.

Actually the most interesting thing about this season so far is how 'on edge" and hostile people are to others in their tribe – it’s as if they immediately fast-forwarded to the crazy mindset they typically have about 3 weeks in, where they lose perspective and get annoyed by even minor things, and take them personally. I think it’s because the conditions are so harsh right now, constantly soaking, little food/sleep, that people are far more on edge than normal at what is normally this “team-bonding” phase. People are openly saying they hate other tribe members on day 3!

Is Jeff really being more active at tribal council? I think most people don’t realize how much of a grilling tribal council has always been - it actually goes on for a couple of HOURS, and we just get to see the juiciest bits Jeff manages to elicit, and it seems like it’s over in a couple of minutes.

As the years have gone on, Jeff has not only become more active, but craftier (I’m sure directed by producers and the like). They watch and come up with the questions that break alliances, alter peoples feelings, etc.

I’ve seen more than a couple of times in the past two seasons where Jeff/Producers have altered the game in ways it wasn’t going to go. They’ve changed votes at council time. And for every success they’ve had with that, they’ve failed a lot too. Tried to save favorites and it didn’t work out, etc.

I actually think they’re less hands on about that stuff - obviously they were sued on the grounds they tried to manipulate the show to keep Rudy on the first season, but that bitter contestant Stacey.

Nothing I’ve seen lately has been such a blatent manipulation of the game as what they pulled in Africa, in the 3rd season, where they basically got a young guy, Silas, who was in complete control of his tribe, kicked off of the show immediately by just moving him to the other tribe (in order to also save crazy army guy Frank, who I think they hoped would be another Rudy).

If they really were trying to manipulate things, they would have done a better job at keeping chicken and ashley, since obviously they were 2 of the bigger characters this season.

I’m not sure why you would say that Chicken and Ashely are the bigger characters or the most robust personalities of either tribe. They were the just the first two drama queens that CBS allowed us to see. They have been laying the foundation for Derek Zoolanders’ big leadership conflict next week. But who knows, every one could be droning about the Christian chick or the Flight Attendant on the winning team and they simply don’t have air time to focus on the that is not making elimination choices.

That’s true - they tend to give characters their own ‘story arcs’, and we may have just seen everything of interest relating to the bootees because they were getting the boot. Other characters could definitely be interesting players yet, but haven’t geen given opportunity to show their stuff.

Aaron’s Favorite Video Game?

Rachet & Clark

Yes…I am that guy who looks at the video game bio’s of Survivor cast members…only in odd numbered years though.

I’ll save you some time.

Only Peih-Gee listed World of Warcraft. And one of the ladies listed Oregon Trail

Oh man, that was one of the sorriest performances I have seen in a completion in a long time.

I’m really surprised that they decided to keep little Miss Anorexia. But I guess Sister Christian really screwed herself with the talk of all those Christians in the other camp, and how wonderful they were.

Yeah, she was too weak to even earn a cool freeze-frame effect by slicing the rope. Of course, they lost since they didn’t have “heart”.

Courtney did have a point at Tribal, though. Between last week’s boulder rolling, this episode’s grapplefest, and whatever the hell they previewed for next week (bolas?), I can’t remember a more brutal series of challenges to kick off a season of Survivor. Still, I’m glad the tribe voted somewhat rationally, since it’s way too early to boot your strong players, no matter what the reason. (I would’ve voted for the 80-pound weakling who isn’t Yau-Man, rather than prematurely freak out over a nascent Christian Coalition.)

Finally, James starts showing some personality that’s a lot more intriguing than “Gonna make 'em love me!” JR also turned in a good, straight-talking, performance at Tribal. Meanwhile, I look forward to Dave turning into a louder, pudgier, nuttier version of Deadwood’s Sheriff Bullock. He’s even got the crazy Olyphant eyes.

I really don’t think my boy Jean-Robert could be doing worse. Sad. This season continues to suffer from not having any truly likable, or even competent, characters. I still like James the most, but even he came across kind of creepy.

That really was the most pathetic challenge performance ever, at least since that fat Chris guy tried to get over the balance beam. I definitely think that tribe is going to blow up, despite having a huge physical advantage, because their morale is so abysmal, and they are so fractured.

It sounded dishonest to me. She’s a DJ for a Christian radio station who immediately claims to not be religious. Possible, in that being religious wouldn’t be a requirement, but if it’s true she’s probably really crappy at her job.

As a Christian myself, I was actually quite interested in the whole Buddist temple thing. It really looked like a setup to me. Hey, we have a Christian DJ. What can we do to make her react? “This isn’t a religious ceremony. Now go over there and bow to that shiny statue.”

Personally, I wouldn’t have done it either. However, I wouldn’t have claimed it was a result of my non-religious religious beliefs.

Semantics. For some christians, “religion” implies rituals, sacraments and salvation through works or effort. “Relationship” implies personal faith and dependance on God.

So it’s not dishonesty, it’s church speak. Making this distinction is Leslie playing the advocate on tv; it’s not like she tried to hide the fact that she’s a christian. If she did, she’d still be around.

No, it’s dishonest. You can call it what you like, but you’re a religious person if you’re a practicing christian.

And you think if she wasn’t a christian she wouldn’t have got kicked off? I’d say that’s a pretty big interpretation. I might suggest she would of had a much better chance if she wasn’t so…annoying about it.

Was Chris the rocker guy who told everyone he was in love with a girl from the other tribe at tribal council?

What cause did she have to be deliberately deceptive about it? Unless you’re saying that honesty about something as vague and broad as “religion” has no intentional element.

I wasn’t saying she was kicked off because she’s a christian, I’m saying that if she wasn’t so foolishly flamboyant about it – in the manner of “omgosh i made so many new christian friends on the opposing team” – they wouldn’t have targeted her. Again, nothing about her behaviour supports that she was trying to be deceptive in the first episode.