Survivor 21, Episode 1: Young at Heart

Yeah! Survivor is back! This blog will be more active! Although, to be fair, I haven’t posted much on it lately mostly by lack of time more than anything else. There are many topics that I meant to tackle in the past few weeks and I just couldn’t find the time to do it. But for Survivor I make time!
So the two main things this season so far are the fact that tribes are divided according to age and… Jimmy Johnson!

Older tribe vs younger tribe?
I gotta admit I like the idea. Nothing better to create a rivalry than a non-random division of teams. And that will help preventing the early targeting of older people by younger ones. Funny how on this season of Koh Lanta, the French Survivor (which sucks big time by the way), tribes are divided according to gender (yes, Survivor did it before, twice), and it seems that the reason they do it is that, there, men always target women. On the one hand that tells a lot about French machismo, on the other hand, if the producers didn’t always make them have physical challenges, women would be more competitive and wouldn’t as often be the reason that a team lost.
The second main thing: Jimmy Johnson!
This is the first time that a celebrity goes to Survivor, and I gotta admit I love the idea (as long as it doesn’t become a habit in the future). We’ll see as this works out as it goes. (in case you didn’t know before, Jimmy Johnson was not casted into the show, he’s a huge fan and it was the third time he applied).
My impressions of the first episode?
Oh well, just like any season opener, it’s not the greatest episode as we don’t know the characters and most of the episode is spent on introducing them, and I gotta admit that Jimmy Johnson had a little bit too much of air time. That could mean one of these two things: the editors tried to capitalize on his celebrity for this season opener, some sort of parallel with the “starstruck” feeling some of the contestants did feel when they saw him, and soon enough he’ll be treated (camera-wise) just like any other contestant. The other reason could be that he won’t last long and they try to capitalize as much as they can on the few days he lasted. I hope that won’t be the case because I want to see what impact he’ll make on the show.
Let’s talk about the contestants a little.
La Flor Tribe
Let’s admit it, the younger tribe -especially because they won the first challenge- will get cocky, won’t respect the older tribe, and it’s going to come back to bite them, and it will be fun to watch.
  • Alina Wilson: We barely saw her, but the little we saw is not that positive. First she’s annoyed that she has to share the secret of the Hidden Immunity Idol clue with Kelly B. (more on that later), then she barely hid that clue… Talking about the clue, if Alina and Kelly B. found a clue at tree mail, it must mean that somebody also found one at tree mail on the Espada tribe too. Strange that we didn’t see who found it.
  • Ben “Benry” Henry: I don’t remember seeing him.
  • Brenda Lowe: Wow! No, I’m not saying this because she’s hot but because she’s the only one so far that showed All-Star quality game play and on day one that’s rare, even for those who ended up being the best and most memorable players. She’s playing hard, she’s smooth, it seems that she’s controlling the tribe. All of that without anyone seeming to pay much attention to her. Definitely a potential winner.
  • Chase Rice: Is that me or we hadn’t seen an Alpha male frat-boy type with no personality and not much brain in a long time? I loved it how Brenda totally made him spill the beans about his alliance with Shannon. Sadly, those kinds of idiots tend to make it to jury too often.
  • Jud Birza: OK, I rarely met such an idiot. But even more unique, I’ve never met such an endearing and fun idiot. I don’t know how long I could spend next to him, but on TV he’s gold, and I hope he lasts long, although I’m afraid he won’t.
  • Kelly Bruno: I like her. OK, I admit the fact that she’s an amputee and that she has the guts to do be on that show is part of it, but even more, the fact that her teammates want to get rid of her for that  very reason really annoys me. To their defense, Kelly will have to prove herself, just like anybody else, but that’s the point, “just like anybody else”, but don’t get me wrong, if she’s been selected to be on the show, she can do it. Hopefully, her teammates will look past her leg, just like it happened in Vanuatu with Chad Crittenden, although his teammates were a little more mature, which is not negligible with those kinds of things. Of course, she messed up as much as Alina did with leaving the clue of the idol aside and not keeping it for herself.
  • Kelly Shinn: She has purple hair…
  • NaOnka Mixon: Note to the Survivor casting team: can you guys stop casting young black women that are stupid bitches? That gives a bad reputation to young black women, you know. This woman looks like a clone of Yasmin Giles (and to a lesser extent Candace Smith). I mean, do we really need a new Yasmin Giles on Survivor? Wasn’t one enough?
  • Matthew “Sash” Lenahan: He didn’t impress me much, and the little I remember of him was not very pleasant. On the official page, he says he’s the most like Tyson Apostol (yeah! I found a way to talk about Tyson even when he’s not in the show), I’m sorry but Tyson is the funniest and one of the smartest (and of course most awesome) contestant on Survivor. So far Sash was not funny, didn’t show much smarts, and was definitely not awesome. You’ll have to do better dude.
  • Shannon Elkins: What an idiot! Yes, he does make a good alliance with Chase, all muscle and no brain. At least, Chase doesn’t seem to be too mean, Shannon on the other hand. Your typical stupid bully that thinks he’s the shit because he has some muscles. Idiot. If he’s to last, I hope that at least he’ll be entertaining (in a “he’ll be ridiculed” way).
Espada
The older team seems more interesting that the younger team and as the underdogs we’ll of course root for them, unless they’re all obnoxious, which won’t happen, because they all seem like very interesting characters with lots of life experience and stories to tell.
  • Dan Lembo: I like his looks.
  • Holly Hoffman: I’m not sure what to think of her. On the one hand I found her too quick to form an alliance (that seems to be the thing these days, people are so afraid to be left out that they’ll make an alliance with the first person they’ll talk to), but she was smart not to stick to it when the wind turned against Wendy. Apart from that, I don’t know… I guess we’ll have to see more of her.
  • Jane Bright: I already love her. That scene with the fire was priceless. When she showed up with the coconut husk saying “I found a coconut husk, we have fire!” I saw the whole thing unfolding in my head: she would fail at making fire, she’d make a fool of herself, she’d insist on making fire, she’d annoy everybody, she’d be the first voted out. Except that she made fire in 30 minutes and totally impressed everybody in the tribe and gained their sympathy and approval. And guess why she made fire so fast? Because, knowing she was going to be on the show, she learned to make fire! (ok, also because she had glasses). I’m still baffled when I see people, 21 seasons in, that are clueless about to make fire and such things that can be learned before the show starts. Now, let’s hope she doesn’t say or do anything stupid, but she seems that she has her head on her shoulders. I hope she lasts long.
  • Jill Behm: I don’t really have anything to say about her yet.
  • Jimmy Johnson: Oh my God! That’s Jimmy Johnson!!! Funny how I hate the Miami Hurricanes (but I didn’t know college football at the time he was their coach), I hate the Dallas Cowboys, especially at the time he coached them, but I really like this guy. I guess that’s his personality. In any case, yes I am starstruck to see him on Survivor, and of course I’m rooting for him and I hope he wins or more realistically that he goes far. I’m really curious to see how he will fare. I understand why people would feel threatened by him, but before the merge, it would be foolish to get rid of him; his team has the amazing chance to have the quintessential coach with them.
  • James “Jimmy T” Tarantino: I like his looks, he seems like he’s a very interesting character, and I want to like him, but aside from the fact that he looks like a psycho when he makes some faces (I’m not saying he is), I don’t understand why he seems so set on wanting Jimmy Johnson out? As I just said, you have a great coach in your team, use him! Get rid of him after the merge if necessary, but early in the game is stupid, and that’s the thing with Jimmy T. I’m not sure he’s that bright and I don’t think he’ll last long.
  • Marty Piombo: He’s the one of the characters to watch closely this season. He seems that he has a lot of the qualities that make a great Survivor contestant if not a winner: intelligent, smooth, manipulative. I think he’s almost a sure bet for final five, unless he makes too many enemies too fast (although that didn’t prevent some previous contestants to go far)
  • Tyrone Davis: We haven’t seen much of him yet, but I liked what we saw, be it his appreciation of Jimmy Johnson’s pep talk, and the faces he made during tribal council: both entertaining and revealing that he gets what’s going on in the tribe without voicing it too loud. He should become one of the leaders of the tribe, and he will hopefully go far.
  • Wendy DeSmidt-Kohlhoff voted out: She seems like a genuinely nice and likable woman, but she’s definitely not cut for this game. It’s interesting to see how every season some people are obviously cast to be the early boots, and it’s interesting to see that some of them go much further than expected. But for Wendy, it unfolded just as planned by the production. First boot this season. I must underline the fact that never before in Survivor I’ve seen somebody digging their grave so much and so deep at tribal council. If anybody in the tribe was still unsure about their vote before tribal, they were not anymore when it was time to vote.
  • Yve Rojas: Mark Burnett is a genius! The risk you run when you decide to have a tribe made of older people is that there’s no eye candy in the older tribe, right? Wrong! Because Mark Burnett found Yve. That being said, she really should spell her name Eve, maybe she doesn’t know that Yves is a guy’s name in French. Apart from that, i’m not too sure what to make of her yet. She seems to have personality, but I’m still not sure I like that personality.
Next week: Well, it’s pretty hard to make guesses this early in the season. Apparently, Dan has trouble walking and that could cost him a lot. In the La Flor tribe, I’m not sure who could go first, although I can imagine Shannon and Chase targeting Jud or Kelly B., and the rest of the team ganging up on them.

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