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John Sciacca Writes...

Features, Reviews and a Blog by John Sciacca

Random Thoughts (Blog)

Random Thoughts (Blog)

39 Days, 18 People, 1 Survivor!

Posted on February 16, 2012 at 2:35 PM

So, new season of my favorite TV reality show started last night: Survivor One World. And so far this season seems to have all the classic ingredients of a big heaping bowl of Suvivor Sundae goodness! The big twist this year is that they are divided into two tribes – men vs women – living on one beach together. Traditionally groups are completely segregated – until challenge time – up until the tribes merge into one tribe near the end of the game. This keeps them from really developing a relationship with the other tribe and makes for a lot of last minute scrambling, positioning and back-stabbing come merge time. Obviously the teams living RIGHT next to each other is going to make for some interesting alliances, rivalries, conflicts and – judging by the total eye candy of the contestants that CBS rounded up this year – you can only imagine producers *hoping* for some romantical dalliances. (Survivor has spawned its share of love-nesting; from Rob and Amber to Ethan and Jenna to last season’s Whitney and Keith; Whitney ignoring that minor little detail that she was still married back in the real world.)

Here’s a rundown of the players and my first thoughts…

Nina Acosta – The oldest woman at 51 and a retired LAPD officer. She looks like she could be pretty tough if she doesn’t try to dominate the other girls, get on their nerves, and then get booted.

Jay Byars – Unlike the other guys that just look like they should be/want to be models, this dude actually IS a model and looks to be in great shape. Not sure what to make of him and his kind of Matthew McConaughey “Dudes! Here’s what we need to do. We need to get naked, start up a drum circle and find some sweet herb on this island. Who’s in?” He’s obviously in shape, which should serve him well during the first several eliminations.

Christina Cha – This is Christina describing her job. “I’m a recruiter for sales, marketing and PR for multilevel media to online media. I’m also a freelance journalist too, so I write about travel and food.” She goes on to then list all of these achievements that she’s done, always winning, ranking the top, etc. However, when people say “I’m not your quintessential Asian girl,” it usually means that they are. I can tell by her listing of accomplishments and expecting to win and I never lose, that she IS pretty the quintessential (Asian) girl. Initial impressions are that Christina is irritating; however, I totally dug Cindy Chiang from Amazing Race, so maybe Christina will win me over.

Monica Culpepper – I hate that she lists her occupation as “ex-NFL player’s wife” but she seems like a pretty tough chick and my initial impressions are pretty positive. But she is closest to my age (41) and looks like Shania Twayne, so I'm on Team Monica.

Colton Cumbie - This guy is gay. Like MEGA gay. Like how is he not on Next Design Star gay. He's a college student that comes off the truck looking like a white gay, preppy Carlton from Fresh Prince. (Is that double-redundant?) When Jeff asks him what he thinks about the other guys he answers, “There’s some good looking guys out here…” Nancy is not gonna fit in with his uber masculine tribe fo' sho'. He also reminds me a bit of Todd Herzog; if he makes it to the merge and finds his Courtney, he’ll be OK. (Oh, Courtney. Sigh...)

Kat Edorsson – She’s obviously super cute and I love her hair cut, so there’s that. But she’s a timeshare rep, so you know she’s gonna have no problem lying and backstabbing. So there’s that too. Honestly, she seems too sweet to sell timeshares. And she's young, so there is always room for some emotional "I can't believe this is SO hard!" meltdown. Until then Kat is like Miss Cute all-home USA.

Michael Jefferson – His bio says he’s a banker, but he really looks like he’s trying to be a model or something. And he looks a good bit like Carson Daly if Carson were to spend more time at the gym and chest waxing center and way less time at the bank. This guy seems cocky and arrogant and like he’s gonna declare himself leader and be hated.

Leif Manson – Leif is, uh, a little person. Dwarf? Midget? Cee Lo? Whatever the correct term is. Also, he is wearing a Russel Hantz fedora. Chaneling “L’il Hantz” didn’t work so well last year… I’m sure he feels like he’s got a lot to prove, and if he doesn’t have a chip on his shoulder or little-man complex or immediately do something that gets him pegged as “weak player,” then he might do well. Though from his bio, he says he thinks that people will misjudge him. But then he goes on to describe his job: "There's definitely a lot involved in being a is physically and mentally demanding; it is such demanding work..." Really? Drawing blood? Is physically and mentally demanding? Are you drawing blood inside of an Ebola cave in Africa or a USAMRIID Bio-Level 4 center or drawing it vampire style? Cause all of the people that have ever drawn my blood have been borderline obese.

Chelsea Meissner – On the one hand, this gal is from Charleston, SC, so I’m already kind of rooting for the home town girl. On the other, she wears cowboy boots and cut-off jean shorts and just screams, “I’m country!”

Kourtney Moon – Is a motorcycle repair person, which maybe explains all of the tattoos that she has. Maybe? She kind of reminds me of Sugar, which is really neither pro or con. She also came off the truck wearing a knit Orca head cap and says she fits in “nowhere” with her the other women out here. Dumb first comment, but she seems quirky and like she’s got some spirit. We’ll see.

Jonas Otsuji – Sushi Chef. This is a skill that could be pretty darn handy when a majority of what you are surviving on is freshly caught seafood. If my man can whip up some seaweed miso and maybe some wasabi-blend, he could make himself pretty handy. Also, he grew up on Hawaii so maybe he’s got some diving skills. His social skills will determine how far he proceeds.

Bill Posley – His hair is part Sideshow Bob and something about makes me think of a love baby between Lenny Kravitz and Terrence Trent D’Arby. Oh, and he’s a stand-up comedian, so DEFIITELY Sideshow Bob! Funny people can be disarming and fit in to the social dynamic, so let’s hope he really is funny.

Matt J Quinlan – While Matt may be an attorney at law, he again looks like he’s trying out for Soloflex ads. Seriously. Where do people find all the time for working out and chest waxing? "No one out here is gonna know that I'm a lawyer; I'm gonna withhold that from them.” Oh, Matt. Something tells me o'le Matt J Quinlan, Esquire is going to blurt out something along the lines of, "Listen to me! I know how to build shelters, people! I'm Matt J Quinlan, attorney at law. That means I'm a lawyer! Also, totally related, I should handle ALL negotiations with the other tribe and Probst, since I'm a licensed litigator and practice law for a living where lawyering and legalese and contract scrutiny are VERY important. To recap, lawyer equals me!" Thinking douche.

Alicia Rose – She’s a Special Ed Teacher, so props for that, but there is some glint in her eye  and set of her jaw/expression that just tells me she is going to be all kinds of irritating, arguing, trouble-causing and I already don’t like her.

Troy Robertson – Swimsuit Photographer. Pretty much the first thing he does is tell the camera that he is “Troyzan” of the jungle. So, I’m kind of leaning towards douche. Plus, swimsuit photographer doesn’t exactly scream king of the jungle. He does kinda remind me of the boyfriend on "Whitney" which doesn't really sway me one way or the other...

Greg Smith – He’s a plastic surgeon and the oldest player this year at 64. He also starts off by introducing himself to Jeff as “Tarzan.” Umm, OK. Let’s see.  I can tell you that none of the contestants so far need any of Greg’s skillz.

Kim Spradlin – Bridal Shop Owner; she thinks she is most like Stephenie LaGrossa (who she describes as a total bad-ass, honey badger, which is pretty awesome) so I’ve got good hopes for Kim. She’s also early front-runner for “prettiest Survivor gal 2012.”

Sabrina Thompson – High School Teacher. First impression, this chick reminds me of a combination of NaOnka and Ciree. While I know a lot of people liked hter, Ciree was just irritating to me, and I think NaOnka was one of the most vile players to ever play the game. I hated NaOnka. I *loathed* NaOnka. I could seriously feel my blood pressure spike and my jaw clench when NaOnka came on screen. So, first impression, don’t like Sabrina. Also, she looks like Nene from Real Housewives, so another strike against...

(Spoilers ensue if you have yet to watch the premier… You’ve been warned.)

When Jeff tells them that they are splitting into tribes of men and women, you could totally see Coulton’s “Uh-oh” wheels spinning. The idea of being stuck with a bunch of manly-men and not a drop of estrogen in sight is frightening to sweet Coulton. Then Jeff tells them they have 60 seconds to harvest whatever items they can from the truck and they immediately scramble and start throwing stuff into piles. In a total Rupert move, Banker Michael pretty much just pilfers tons of gear from the women’s pile. He also makes them sign for several toxic-loans. Game on.

Chelsea describes the girls as “one huge ball of bad-assness” if they can all work together. Watching the girls pack up their gear and head towards camp is a little Keystone Cops. Lots of dropping, struggling, complaining. On the guy’s team, WAY impressive is Leif. That little dude is a STUD. He is carrying stuff with a couple of guys and they are basically just putting ALL the weight back on him and he is manning it out. Super impressed!

Girls immediately start choosing the “stronger girls” and assemble some alliance of five athletic girls.

When they all arrive at camp, they see three chickens and immediately make a boys/girl deal that “y’all get one and we’ll get one.” Then they scramble around trying to catch the chickens, except Country Strong, Chelsea, snatches up two of them up like she’s been working out with Greased Lightning and Rocky and Mic for years. Serioulsy, Chelsea is a chicken catching rock star and made me love her a bit. And then the girls decided that they didn’t want to trade chickens so much. Matt Quinlan, attorney at law, immediate files a legal brief declaring a breach of contract. “Give us that chicken as an apology.” Uh, apologize for what? For how Chelsea is Miss Chicken Catch USA? Matt returned to chambers to file a continuance.

Dudes are NOT being affected by the good-looking ladies, and the boys all look DOWN to play. Except Coulton, cause, well, he’s really only with the boys when he’s WITH the boys. He’s gay, all right. Super gay. So hanging out with a bunch of macho dudes building shelters, working, bodies sweating and glistening in the sun, just hoping that a game of Ice on Mav beach volleyball will break out at any second isn't really his think. In fact he feels way more simpatico with the ladies and starts hanging with them and hugging all of them and is all, “Hey, y’all, I could really use any hidden immunity idol clues you all find!” “There’s basically two things that are gonna keep me in this game and that’s the idol and Jesus, and He’s not showing up.” He makes a bond with Sabrina who calls him “Country Club Coulton.” (Having worked at a Country Club for many years, I can tell you that there were NO members that even remotely reminded me of Coulton. And that was a club near San Francisco. Just sayin'...)

Matt takes a break from filing an injunction and pulls a power move on Coulton, immediately making Coulton want to vote him out. Matt makes an alliance of “the young thick guys” which is about the most Alpha Male tribe in the history of Survivor. It's practically an ad for Be All You Can Be watching them walk by all shirtless and buff.

Then the most awesome thing happens. Something that is pretty much unheard of in the history of Survivor…model Jay MADE FIRE! Actually MADE FIRE, not with some eyeglasses (sorry Yau-Man, that was awesome, but still) but with an actual piece of bamboo and friction and a nest bed of tinder. It’s like Jay has spent some time with ex-Green Beret Myke Hawke. (“Hey, Dana! Come and see Myke Hawke!” Classic.) Also, Jay isn’t getting himself all swept up by the girl’s charms. My man is out to play, and he is one of my early standouts. If he does nothing else in this game but make fire, then he’s still proved himself awesome in my book.

The girls of course see the smoke – and where there’s smoke, there’s… -- and come over. Boys no share fire. Alicia then tries to bum-rush the fire and steal some embers, but Leif L’il Hantz scampers over to block her. "Y'ell not get my pot of gold!" Sabrina tries to negotiate fire for chicken, and of course, when there’s a negotiation involved, you need an attorney. Where, oh where on this island can you find an attor…

“I’m Matt J Quinlan, attorney, and I’ll be representing the men in this case of fire vs chicken. We have a previous binding agreement vis-à-vis the chicken, and there will be no further negotiation in this matter. Case closed!” Alicia then tries to negotiate. “If Monica takes her pants off, will you let us get [fire]?” Classy!

We cut to evening where apparently a Survivor memo circulated through the girls camp calling for mandatory bra and panty time. They ALL are hanging out in underwear. You almost expected someone to shout, “Pillow fight!” as giggles and mayhem ensues. Girls just want to hang out and talk around a fire, you know? Not for the sake of having a fire but just for some ambiance. “What does that mean? Ambiance?” Oh, Kat! You’re so cute! Let’s discuss some literature, philosophy and opening chess gambits!

The men, meanwhile, are having a pre-Lord of the Flies moment, sitting around the fire and yelling and proving just how manly they are. Banker Michael heads off the girls before they can mosey over to camp and is put off that they don’t instantly recognize that he is the most in-charge, powerful-est, most viral man in all of the camp. “You think Tarzan is in charge? Seriously? Have you seen the guns on me? Hey babe, I negotiate million dollar deals for breakfast. I think I can handle this Eurotrash!”

Jay gets all Sun Tzu and discusses how they’re at war and any deal with them is ludicrous and if they’re down, we should keep them down and if they should all catch on fire in their bra and panty fights, then we should just let nature takes its course. Meanwhile Christina and Monica sneak over and steal fire. Nice! I’m digging Monica. She seems cool. Rock on, Monica. Even if you wouldn’t get nude for fire.

As the old saying goes, nothing burns out quicker than stolen fire. (That is a saying, right?) So, the next day Christina goes over to broker a deal. With Matt Quinlan off filing a last minute appeal, Jonas handles the bargaining. You weave us some palm frond thingies – 40! No. OK. 20! – then we’ll give you fire. This rubs Alicia wrong. Though you can tell that unless it is acting like a pimp and negotiating fire for naked Monica dances, lots of things probably rub Alicia wrong. Do…not…like…Alicia.

Sabrina, looking to take a bath in like 3 inches of stagnant water stumbles across the hidden immunity idol! Crazy! Except she can’t use it on herself! She has to give it to someone on the OTHER tribe! Oh, Coulton! It’s like Burnett is single-handedly trying to save you and your mint-green Polo shirt!

“Come on in, guys!” First challenge, and it is a crazy net, balance, climb, run, something immunity challenge. Starts off with a jump from a 25-foot tower onto a cargo net. Despite the fact that Jeff repeatedly says things like, “This is a very high fall! Make sure you keep your arms to your chest and land on your back!” “LAND ON YOUR BACK!” “KEEP YOUR HANDS TO YOUR CHEST!” We get a bit of foreshadowing by Jeff saying “Nina with a faceplant!” Also, Kourtney hurts her hand. Bad. Kourtney is just lying there holding her wrist, so Jeff  calls for a medical time out. Kourtney needs to leave to get an x-ray and the guys have the option of ending the challenge and winning or letting the girls play missing a member. The guys elect to win – duh! – though Jeff tries to guilt them into continuing. “It is the single biggest mistake in this game, is doing decisions early on that nobody will forgive you for in the end. But it is your call.” The real loser her was the set designers that spent all that time building the challenge that didn’t get used. I’d be totally pissed if that had been me. Also odd is that Coulton is the one elected to speak for the men, announcing, “We’re going to take the immunity.”

Chelsea realizes that the guys don’t care about the girls and that this is a no mercy game. Duh. It’s not called Friends, or Dating Island or Boy and Girl Buddy Up. It’s called Survivor. Outwit, Outplay, Outlast, OutSurvivor.

Then it cuts to Nina and…DAMN! Her face!


What in the hell happened to it? It’s like she got stung in the face by like 15 bees and then hit in the face with bags of oranges and then injected full of collagen with a rusty needle. Damn!

Sabrina talks strategy with Coulton, telling him that he can be the big move, the big vote and get off some of the big guys. She repeats that they think he’s disposable, and you can tell he no like that. But she gives him the idol and Coulton still loves him some Sabrina. For now at least. “Don’t let [Matt] punk your ass, cause I want you to stay around. This island would not be fun without you.” I’m digging on Sabrina. She is showing none of the NaAwful-ness and seems to be smart and playing a good game.

We then go to the season’s first Tribal Council and it is clear that Alicia no can stand Christina. She would rather have Kourtney back, multiple-broken wrist and all. Look, a broken wrist can heal, hating Christina can’t! Jeff throws some fuel on the fire and lets these two go at it for a bit. Christina’s eyes roll so hard that I think I might have actually heard her ocular nerve straining a bit. Jeff asks his usual who does what in the tribe and who’s the leader questions – allowing Alicia and Christina to cat fight at every turn “BECAUSE YOU’RE WRONG, OK, SO WHY DON’T YOU SHUT UP!” – before saying that Kourtney will not be returning due to injury and that there would be no one else voted off tonight.

All and all, a great start to the new season and so far enjoying the cast of characters. As always, I encourage you to read Colette Lala’s fantastic Bitchy Survivor Blog for a wickedly insightful commentary on each week’s events. She's a way better Survivor-recapper than I and keeps it going for the entire season. Survivors, ready?

Categories: February 2012, TV, Reviews

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Reply Byron
6:14 PM on March 1, 2012 
I think Kim Spradlin totally looks like Amanda Peet which ain't a bad thing!
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10:22 AM on March 2, 2012 
Byron says...
I think Kim Spradlin totally looks like Amanda Peet which ain't a bad thing!

I can see Amanda Peet. I said she was the prettiest! (Still, she's no Courtney. Ahh, Courtney....)
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