Welcome to "Screaming at the Screen," my first-ever column about Survivor. I'm an unapologetically obsessed Survivor fan who has been watching since season 1. I've even been known to transcribe entire episodes. If you're anything like me, you've no doubt found yourself telling the players what to do, completely ignoring the fact that they played the game six months before they appeared on your screen. "No Cindy, don't keep the car! Give everyone else a car instead. They're all gonna be jurors!" "Evvie, why are you giving so much information to DeShawn?" "Man, everywhere Ben goes he steps on an Idol." "I wonder if they're throwing this challenge?" "Tommy seems to be the only one who knows how to handle Noura." "Play your Idol, that's the only way to be sure." "Don't play your Idol, can't you tell they're playing you?"
Chances are if you've discussed Survivor with me over the years on RHAP or here on True Dork Times, I've probably told you why you're wrong about something in no less than 4200 words. This column will never be that long, and is not about being right or wrong about anything (we can debate that stuff in the comments). Instead, these are just my first-impression observations on each episode. I'm sure I'll be proven wrong sometimes, and sometimes I'll be right. Who knows? I just always find it fun to compare my initial impressions to how things eventually play out. Oh, and I'd be remiss if I didn't give special thanks to Trent C. and Alex Keisler, both of whom have encouraged me to write about Survivor. Be careful what you wish for people, sometimes you'll get it. And away we go ....
* A 2-hour episode of Survivor is like finding the extra fries that fell into your McDonald’s bag after your parents took the food out. As a kid, I could eat fries for an extra hour. Not so much now.
*I’m always excited for a new season of Survivor, but this time around, I’m not looking forward to seeing more “Beware Advantages,” or that awful “Turn Back Time” twist. I’m with Danny on that one. It was a straight up lie. Put that next to the Medallion of Power please. The “Do Or Die” challenge didn’t thrill me either. Let the players live or die on their own skills, not dumb luck.
*Jonathan gets the first confessional. Some say that means something. I’m not one of them.
*Drea ran track? I hope she plays Survivor better than Crystal.
*Omar – “Act like a pigeon, swoop like an Owl?” Did he just copy Erika’s Lamb/Lion line? Did an on-site Producer feed that line to him?
*We’ve got a Lindsay. Survivor Lindsays don’t have a good track record. They’re like Survivor Matts. We saw a lot of bad games from Matts until Caramoan, and his was only slightly above average.
*Maryanne looks like she’s 12 years old. I guess last season’s marketing to kids worked. She’s giving off that annoying superfan vibe. My gut says she won’t last long.
*Two people race to get paddles, and the rest wait to help paddle the boat? The smart player won’t do the running. Don’t show of your challenge talent. What are the odds one of them gets the challenge beast label? Jonathan is back first, and Tori is on his tail? Welcome Beast label.
*Daniel dislocated his right shoulder? I’ve done that to my left, non-throwing shoulder. Its not fun. But it shouldn’t take him out of the game. Stephenie stayed in in HvV. I’d just slowly raise my arm above my head and let gravity slide it back in. Trust me, it hurts more popping out than going back in, but watching it go back in always makes people wince. If he’s right-handed, he’ll have a tough time. Then again, he could pull a Tyson, and play it up for sympathy. But that will only work if his tribe wins challenges. If they lose, he might end up like Jim in Guatemala.
*Interesting 3-person twist on the 2nd leg of the challenge. This is also why you don’t volunteer for the spotlight roles in early challenges. That really hurt Jeremy in SJDS.
*They’re laying it on a little thick…literally. Someone is bound to be suspicious. What’s Hai gonna say about “bleeding” when he doesn’t have any scars?
*Another 3-boat challenge. At least they didn’t have to unclip from anything this time. Jonathan jumped out of the boat and made his Beast target even bigger. Now he’s dragging the boat to the rope? Hmm…he really doesn’t want to make it to the merge does he?
*Rocksroy, Hai and Marya take spotlight roles getting that key. Rocksroy – “Don’t doubt me Probst!” I don’t think anybody in the game will doubt you dude. That’s a bad thing in a game where you should WANT to be doubted until around final 5.
*Zach’s confessional looks green-screened to me, but Swati’s doesn’t.
*Only one member does the “Sweat” part of the “Savvy or Sweat” challenge? Mike was smart to take himself out it. With Daniel’s shoulder, and “bleeding” Hai, he was the clear choice for the muscle duty. Good job, dude.
*Mike celebrates and slams his arm around Daniel’s sore shoulder. I told you Daniel would have a tough time.
*Mike is Puerto Rican? He looked like a white dude to me.
*Rocksroy is giving orders. Bad move. Annoying people leave early. Zach is already calling him a “leader” in confessional. How long until others start doing it in groups? He’ setting himself up to be another B.B. from Borneo (I know, I’m old school).
*”Advantage Amulets?” Now these three have incentive to get rid of each other. Does this mean we’ll have an early swap? Will Probst be saying “Drop your buffs” on day 4?
*We’re getting a lot of personal info on these players. I like that. The more we know about these players, the harder it is to see who’s gonna get booted early.
*I don’t know what it is, but there’s something I like about Chanelle. That probably means she’s gone soon. The last time I had that feeling was about Jacquie in Gabon.
*Tori (as she’s going off alone) “The one thing you never do is go off alone.” Bad move. That’s two for you now. On a 6-person tribe, if 4 want to stay in camp, stay in camp with them. Always stay physically close to a majority, at least until you lock down an alliance. She created a chance for others to start talking about booting her.
*DON’T GET ON THE BOAT!!!!!
*Maryanne in confessional “I know you don’t get on the boat.” So Maryanne gets on the boat.
*Maryanne in confessional “I don’t care about the million dollars.” I’m not buying that either.
*Yeah Jenny, I’d protect my vote too, especially since I don’t have an alliance yet.
*Hmm, I don’t know what to make of this Jackson/Lithium thing. Is he not allowed to have it during the game? Is this the first preventive medevac ever? This really sucks, but I’m not sure if this is Jackson’s fault or not. Surely Survivor knew something about this before adding him to the cast. After 41 seasons, I’d think their screening process would catch something like this. Does Jackson count as an official “first one out” now? Nobody voted for him.
*Maryanne is really taking Jackson’s exit hard. If she regularly goes to emotional extremes, she’s not long for this game.
*We’ve seen this vertical Dragon puzzle before. Philippines, Cagayan, Cambodia, and WAW all had Dragon puzzles, but I’m not sure if all of them were vertical.
*Why is Daniel and his sore right shoulder on the right side of the boat? Bad planning there. He can’t do much pulling either.
*Why is Daniel on the puzzle? He can’t lift up those puzzle pieces. He has to do it one-handed, or just hand them to Jenny.
*I think bossy Rocksroy is in trouble.
*In confessional, Zach takes the blame for the loss. That’s fine, just don’t do it in front of the tribe. Get some votes on your side. Time to create a reason to boot someone else.
*So Zach apologizes to the tribe.
*Tori – “I don’t have an Idol.” Congratulations, you just gave everyone a reason to vote you out. Did she just save Zach?
*Drea & Tori – “Let’s boot Rocksroy. He’s too bossy.”
*Romeo – “Drea, just hear me out.” Drea – “No.” Bad move Drea, especially since you don’t even know if you have a vote. People want to keep those they think they can control or influence. Its much better to appear cooperative.
*Rocksroy – “I’m not voting for Tori.” Dude, look at the previous line!
*Probst calls out the Therapist on her revealing body language. And now Tori’s getting defensive. Even if she survives this vote, she’ll have a tough time securing allies. She’s not playing like Denise Stapley that’s for sure. Three bad moves in one episode is a bad trend.
*Drea gets an Extra Vote. I LOVED her reaction.
*Last season’s players were a lot better at talking people out of taking their Shot In The Dark.
*Probst – “The 2nd person voted out is Zach.” Umm, who was the first one? Nobody voted for Jackson.
*”Next time on Survivor” says Drea and Mike are in trouble. In my book, that means they’re the two safest players in the next episode.
This episode flew by for me, which means it was pretty good. Losing two people in the same episode could be a good thing for us viewers. We might get more camp interaction than last season. Perhaps even a flashback of the Drea, Maryanne and Jenny returning to camp after going on their journey. Let the comments roll!
Damnbueno got his nickname in 8th grade Spanish class when his friend shouted out "You're pretty damn good at Spanish." The teacher insisted he say it in Spanish, so the friend said "Esto es damn bueno en Espanol." The nickname stuck. These days, when he's not forgetting his 8th grade Spanish, Damnbueno is indulging his obsession with all things Survivor. Reach him in the comments section here at True Dork Times.