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Thursday, January 7, 2010

Cool Beans!: Survivor All-Stars Preview

For the tenth anniversary and twentieth season of Survivor, the best of the heroes and villains are returning for another All-Star season. If this season is going to be anything like the first All-Stars season, it could make for some great television. As I have mentioned already, Survivor is the only reality show that I care about even if I'm now convinced that the majority of it is scripted and influenced by the producers. Which is why after this season, I am done with the show. But I can't resist seeing some of my favorite Survivor contestants from previous seasons together trying to win the big prize. So I'm psyched to watch. But seriously, when they have a bunch of contestants that are now playing for a second and some cases a third time, don't you think these people must be offered a lot of money to come back? Or having confirmation that they won't actually have to suffer in Samoa, but will only be filmed in rough situations to make it appear real on television because they really are all actor wannabes and reality academy graduates? Or maybe these people are so shallow and obsessed with seeing themselves on the boob tube so much that they are willing to play one of the most brutal social games ever? I'd probably say the latter. The tribes are broken down into two groups this time: 10 of the most lovable heroes of past seasons, and ten of the most ruthless and despicable villains ever to appear on the show. Hopefully this time around, the winner of Survivor All-Stars is actually deserving and not some hot chick that wasn't even supposed to be on the original All-Stars edition who won simply by riding on the coat tails of others.

Here are the cast members with my little quirks and comments about each of them:

The Heroes!!!

Rupert Boneham (Season 7: Pearl Islands, Season 8: All Stars) - Rupert is the most popular Survivor of all time, which helped him earn one million dollars per a fan vote after finishing fourth in the first All Stars season. This might hurt his chances of going far. Would you let somebody who is totally lovable and has won a million dollars stay in the game? No chance! Rupert still has the infamous beard and is sporting his familiar tye-dye clothes, but must have been on the Jenny Craig diet because he's really skinny this time around.

JT Thomas (Season 18: Tocantins)- JT is the first Survivor to win the title without even breaking a sweat. He didn't lie, steal, or cheat letting his buddy Steven take the fall for him. There is no way he will be able to get by just because he is likeable. Just like his fellow tribe mate Tom, he will have a huge target on his back because he only won a million dollars in the eighteenth season, but also won the fan vote for an extra amount of cash. Unless he wins immunity or builds a solid alliance with the ladies, he isn't going too far.

Tom Westman (Season 10: Palau)- The last time we saw Tom on Survivor, he simply dominated the game. He made key alliances, didn't even see a tribal council until the merge, and won immunity challenges when his neck was on the chopping block. I'm surprised he agreed to return, but am so happy to see one of the best players make another run. He will need to be more ruthless this time, because being a hard worker and getting along with others isn't going to work for him this time. The fact that he already won a season of Survivor and is regarded as one of the best players ever won't sit will with the other players, so I don't expect him to make it to the merge unless he can find the hidden immunity idol which wasn't around when he last played.

Colby Donaldson (Season 2: Australia, Season 8: All Stars)-
Colby returns for the third time. I'm cool with this because he is one of my favorite contestants ever even if he royally screwed up the first time being not bringing Keith with him to the finals costing him a million dollars. Although Colby was on the first All-Stars season, he really didn't make much of an impact. Because he is the alpha-male of Survivor and good pals with Jeff Probst in real life, there is no reason why he shouldn't be allowed to compete once more. Colby truly is the perfect male specimen who I have a total man crush on even though I'm 100% hetero-sexual. In fact, with my baby being born in a few months, I even wanted to name it Colby if it's a boy in tribute to the reality cowboy and to increase the chances that my son will be a superstar! Do I think Colby has a chance to win in his third try? He might go farther than he did on the last All-Star season and make the jury, but I think he falls short once again.

James Clement (Season 15: China, Season 16: Micronesia)- Another of the most popular players ever on the show, even if he totally blew it all on first season not using either of the immunity idols in his possession. He supposedly was an actual grave digger, but with all of the fame he gained from his appearances on Survivor, I doubt he is digging ditches anymore. He had to leave the game due to injury on his second season, although he probably wasn't going to make it further in the game at all. He has some important allies like Cirie, Parvati, and Amanda in this game, and could be a surprise threat to finally win.

Stephenie Lagrossa (Season 10: Palau, Season 11: Guatemala)- The hard-nosed athlete from Jersey is another one back for a third season. She is one of the most determined players of all time, even though she did seem to whine and complain a lot. Her first time saw her make the jury after being the only left from her tribe when the merge happen, while her return in the following season saw her make it to the final two. If she can build solid alliances, there might be an opportunity for her to win the million dollars.

Amanda Kimmel (Season 15: China, Season 16: Micronesia)- Amanda holds the record for most amount of time spent on Survivor making it to the final three and final two in her two competing seasons. And the fact that she did it with no rest speaks volumes of her passion for the game. This time around, her boy Ozzy isn't around to protect her, but she still has allies in James, Cirie, and Parvati which could help her in the game. I don't think she is one of the best players in terms of strategy, but she can compete in challenges and isn't bad on the eyes, so I'm okay with her competing a third time. How awesome would it be if she wins runner-up again?

Jessica "Sugar" Kipher (Season 17: Gabon)- The cute pin-up girl is back for a second attempt to win a million dollars. The last time she finished in third place because she played with her heart and not her head by bringing Bob to the finals with her. She definitely was one of the surprises in Survivor history making bold movies and even finding the immunity idol even though the other contestants thought she was just another dumb blonde. As long as she builds a strong alliance with the southern boys like James, JT, and Colby, she should be able to at least make it to the jury. If she doesn't expect to cry a river like she did last season, then she is in for a rude awakening.

Cirie Fields (Season 12: Panama, Season 16: Micronesia)- The first time Cirie played, she was a lost soul in the game and didn't have a clue. Even not having outdoors experience and rubbing people the wrong way, she made it to the final five. Her second time out on the island saw a whole new side to Cirie. She was actually playing hard because she genuinely wanted to win the money, but was only able to finish third. Cirie is probably one of the best women to ever play the game, and deserves her spot. Because of the way she played in Micronesia, she will be seen as a threat and probably won't make it far. But she has surprised me in the past, and maybe she can do it again.

Candice Woodcock (Season 13: Cook Islands)- I am still scratching my head on this one. I don't mind her being on the show because she is one of the best-looking girls ever on Survivor, but was she one of the best players ever? No way! Is she even considered a hero? I doubt that. I'm sure our buddy Billy Garcia will be watching her in action this upcoming season, though. What I fear is that Candice could be the next Amber Brkich from the last All Star season. Amber only got on the show because Elisabeth Hasselbeck didn't need to bother since she was on The View, and Mark Burnett needed another hot chick to fill out the cast. Amber added nothing to the show other than riding Boston Rob's coat tails and winning that season because the jury had major bones to pick with Rob. I fear Candice might be in the same position, as she has a major ally on the villains team in Parvati who she was pals with on the thirteenth season. She's my dark horse favorite as of now.

The Villains!!!

"Boston" Rob Mariano (Season 4: Marquesas, Season 8: All Stars)- In this Survivor fan's eyes, Boston Rob is one of the best players ever in the history of Survivor. He should have won the first season of All Stars, but even though he didn't win the million dollars, I would say winning Amber and gaining a wife and a few more minutes of fame on The Amazing Race was a nice consolation prize. It has been awhile since he last played the game, and maybe married life and children have tamed him? He could be a threat to make it far in the game if he can build a strong alliance. If he gets cocky, there is no doubt he will be blind-sided because the other contestants already know he is a snake.

Randy Bailey (Season 17: Gabon)- One of the nastiest and cruelest contestants ever, but could be a wild card if the smart player can maneuver getting him to the final with them. He rubs people the wrong way and won't win, but could cause some major damage with blind sides and breaking alliances. I'm still not sold on him being an All Star, but if there is a villain group, I guess he has to be there because he is hands down the nastiest player ever.

Tyson Apostol (Season 18: Tocantins)- Tyson didn't make it too far during his time on Survivor. Yet he made us laugh with his witty testimonials and not giving a crap about anything or anybody. He can fake a good smile smile though while preparing to stick a dagger into your heart. I like his chances this time around, especially being in the same tribe with his former cast mate and head coach "Coach" Wade. Tyson is a total bad-ass, and I can't wait to see him scheme with guys like Boston Rob and Russell.

"Coach" Benjamin Wade (Season 18: Tocantins)- Yeah baby! There is no second season of All Stars without the funniest and most interesting character of all time. Coach needs to stay on this show as long as possible for pure entertainment value. He is sure to bring more laughter, and I can't wait to see him interact with the other legends of the game. With his assistant coach Tyson on his team, and his good buddy JT on the heroes side, he is in good shape to form a solid alliance and go far in the game. I only hope that he has more tall tales to tell thanks to his pathological visions of grandeur.

Russell Hantz (Season 19: Samoa)- Russell is the true wild card in this game. He is there to compete and prove he is the best Survivor ever, but he might be seen as threat because his fellow contestants don't know much about him. Judging from his reaction on the Live Finale a few weeks ago after not winning, I fear he was also pissed because he didn't make it too far on All Stars. If he's truly the best player, he needs to align with Boston Rob and Parvati while also continuing to find hidden immunity idols with no clues. Rupert was an unknown on the first season of All-Stars and actually finished higher. I can't wait to see how far Russell can go.

Jerri Manthey (Season 2: Australia, Season 8: All Stars)- The first true bitch on Survivor makes her third return to Survivor. Her ouster on the second season of Survivor was one of the biggest mark-out moments ever. On the first All Star edition, Jerri was kind of bland and boring as she attempted to win fans over by not being such a reality mess. She claims that this time she is reverting back to her personality from Australia. She may not be the smartest player in the game, but she could make the game very interesting. How awesome would it be if her and Colby actually hooked up and formed a secret alliance?
Seriously, though, is Jerri only doing this again for the paycheck or does she think appearing once again will get her serious dramatic roles in the future. It's been ten years, and she's still only known for milking her reality success!

Parvati Shallow (Season 13: Cook Islands, Season 16: Micronesia)- She definitely deserves a spot on the villains team due to her awesome blindsiding of the guys during her second stint. Oh yeah, also because she is so damn cute! She does have allies on the heroes side with Cirie, Amanda, and Candice, but she'll need to form a solid alliance on her current tribe in order to make it to the merge. Since she also has already won the million dollars, she also has a huge target on her back as well.

Sandra Diaz (Season 7: Marquesas)- Although I'm glad that they got another previous Survivor winner on this season, I was hoping for somebody a little bit better. I also would not classify her as a villain, but the producers must have needed a lot of help to cast women for this season. Sandra probably won't last long, I expect her to be the first or second one out.

Courtney Yates (Season 15: China)- Well, at least they were able to bring back one real bitch to the show. She was not a good player, but she got under your skin and deserves her spot. I'm shocked the producers were able to lure her onto the show. Courtney has no redeeming qualities, and is a total whiny bitch with no real chance at winning immunities due to her less than spectacular physical skills. If she can make it to the merge and lay low, she could very well make it to the finals. Usually there a lot of accidents when All Stars are on the show. Because she is so brittle and skinny, I'm concerned she could be a casualty and leave the game early. Wait, I forgot that this won't be true reality, and she'll be treated fine. Nevermind!

Danielle DeLorenzo (Season 12: Panama)- Uggh! The only really bad casting job. Danielle was totally forgettable on the twelfth season, and should not be on this season. Did I also mention that she isn't even that nice to look at? I also fear that she'll fly under the radar again and make it to the finals. Could Mark Burnett not be able to lure Susan Hawk or Eliza Orlins back instead?

Yet I can't complain too much! Mark Burnett and his crew picked a pretty decent cast for this go around. I am shocked a bit that nobody from the first season is on for this All Star edition and only four Survivor winners are returning. I would love to see the ultimate Survivor featuring only the nineteen winners, but the chances of that happening are pretty unlikely. Here are a few Survivor contestants I would have liked to have seen return:

Richard Hatch (Season 1: Borneo, Season 8: All Stars)- The central figure behind the success of the Survivor franchise would have been the perfect villain for this season. Too bad he's stuck in prison on tax evasion. Otherwise, I'm sure he would be on this season to stir up more problems and create more mind games.

Brian Heidik (Season 5: Thailand)- Brian was one of the best players in the history of Survivor who outwitted everybody without ever being threatened to be voted out. He also has had a history of domestic violence issues which may be why the producers didn't bother asking him back for either All Star seasons. He also could have been a good villain. If there ever is a season of just the winners, I would bet money on him to go far and possibly claim the title of Best Survivor ever.

Terry Deitz (Season 12: Panama)- He should have been on the Heroes team. If I'm not mistaken, he won every immunity challenge except the final one while also holding onto the immunity idol. What made him so great was that he was in jeopardy of being voted out every single time because he had lost all of his allies, but he was able to make it to the final three. A true competitor, he should have been considered!

Ozzy Lusth (Season 13: Cook Islands, Season 16: Micronesia)- The best Survivor ever in terms of competing in the challenges. Ozzy was a threat to win rewards and immunity at all times. He went to the final three in Season 13, and was one vote short of tying Yul for the prize. His downfall in the sixteenth season was that he was too cocky and didn't think he needed to use the immunity idol, which in turn got him blind sided. Ozzy was the my favorite Survivor in terms of the physical game, plus he got bonus points for hooking up with Amanda while supposedly having a pregnant wife back home. This is what I learned from Billy Garcia at Chiller a year ago.What a sleazy but balls out thing to do.

Yul Kwan (Season 13: Cook Islands)- A very good strategic player who was also able to keep his honor. Yul has stated he would only return if the All Star edition only had the winners. Otherwise, I'm sure he would have been involved.

Johnny Fairplay (Season 7: Pearl Islands, Season 16: Micronesia)-
John Dalton, or should I say Johnny Fairplay, was the most charismatic Survivor until Coach came along. He lied right through his teeth in one of the best moments ever on Survivor when he claimed that his grandmother was dead in order to win a rewards challenge. He did return for the sixteenth season, but seemed totally disinterested and requested to be voted out first so he could return to his pregnant wife. Probst can't stand him, but I'm sure would have wanted him to take part if he would be able to put his head in the game. Imagine an alliance featuring Boston Rob and Johnny Fairplay? They would be so vicious.

Taj George (Season 18: Tocantins)- She was a hard-nosed player with a heart of gold. Also known as the wife of Eddie George, she was one of the most lovable characters in Survivor history. I would have put her on the heroes team instead of Candice, and then move Candice to the villains team and eliminate Danielle from the game. Oh well!

Elisabeth Hasselbeck (Season 2: Australia)- Of course there was no way she would ever do it again, but having her on would definitely boost ratings. Considering Survivor paved the way to future stardom, why can't she go on one more adventure since it's just acting anyway?

We still have over a month left until Survivor All-Stars returns on Thursday, February 20th. Should make for some great television viewing. I simply can not wait!!!

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