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Surviving the South Pacific, Episode 1: White & Nerdyby David Bloomberg -- 09/15/2011
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I’m sure many people will come into this season expecting puns and metaphors comparing this South Pacific season of Survivor to South Pacific the musical and movie. While I do believe I may have actually seen the musical at one point at a dinner theater while I was in college, that was perhaps more years ago than I’d care to admit. So basically what I’m telling you is that you shouldn’t expect too much from me in that regard. The only thing I can think of off the top of my head is the song that goes, “I’m gonna wash that man right out of my hair,” which would seem rather apt for the first guy who gets voted out, but I also suspect it’s already been used too many times to count around the internet. So I think I’ll skip it.
With that prelude out of the way, it’s Survivor time! Tonight marks the official changing of the seasons! No, I’m not talking about summer giving way to autumn, but rather Big Brother passing the torch to Survivor on CBS. The RNO staff is ready for another season, and we’ve already made our usual predictions about how each player will do.
I will note that I picked Jim before I had my suspicions confirmed that his poker playing success has been rather exaggerated. As Paul Harris noted his radio show, The Final Table, this week, Jim did indeed win a tournament sponsored by the World Poker Tour – but it wasn’t what most people would call “a WPT tournament.” That is, when most people talk about the WPT, they think of the main events that are put on TV. This was a preliminary event with a smaller buy-in. Also, Paul Harris confirmed something I had noted, which is that the “Hendon Mob” database that tracks poker players’ wins, shows only a few tournament cashes for Jim, not the 40 that was claimed for him. So apparently, by ignoring my initial suspicions, Jim bluffed me. Maybe that’s a good sign and he’ll be able to bluff his fellow competitors right into handing him a million dollars. We’re a long way away from that, though!
OK, enough with this preliminary stuff – it’s time for Survivor to begin! We start with Ozzy and Coach flying in via helicopter. Coach tells us he needs to control his self-righteousness. Ya think? He wants to prove this game can be won with honor and integrity. I say it can’t – not 100%, anyway. Ozzy admits he’s been the hunter and challenge god, but not such a great strategist. Again, ya think? He believes he’s more mature now and has learned from his mistakes. I bet he hasn’t – not fully, anyway.
The new contestants have to row their way in and the first person we meet is John Cochrane, a true Survivor geek who, like yours truly, has never missed an episode. He even wrote an award-winning essay about the game in law school. Elyse hopes that her ancestral Native American background will somehow help her to survive. Rick owns his own Utah ranch and dresses the part. He says if you didn’t train before you got here, “you might as well spit in the wind.” I can already tell he will be a source for great quotes.
Stacey is a funeral director and mortician with four kids. She will have her eyes and ears open, be awake when others think she’s sleeping, and be nosy. Next we meet Russell Hantz’s nephew, Brandon. He compares it to being related to Hitler. I’m thinking 6,000,000 Jews and many millions of others might disagree with the comparison. But in any case, he acknowledges that most people wouldn’t go around admitting to being related to Russell, but he came out to redeem the Hantz family name.
Jeff Probst makes his appearance to tell us the usual about contestants creating a society and adapting or getting voted out. Then he gives us the words we’ve been waiting for all summer:
The contestants arrive at the beach, mostly dressed in street/work clothes, and are welcomed by Probst. They’ve been divided into two tribes but then Coach and Ozzy are flown in. Brandon says he’s a little nervous to see who it might be, and Edna giggles to him that she hopes it’s not Russell. Brandon says that would suck. Heh. He tells us he’s never telling them who he is, but knows he has to keep his shirt on because he has two tattoos of his last name! Good luck with that, Brandon.
Ozzy steps out first and Mikayla (I think) says she hopes he’s on their tribe because “he can fish like a son of a gun.” Coach follows him and Mikayala isn’t nearly as excited for his looniness.
Probst asks Christine for her reaction and she immediately calls Coach “the Dragon Warrior” (no, it’s “Dragonslayer”), saying it’s good to see them. Probst draws out of her that she believes they are “temporary players,” earning an “ouch” from tribemate Mark (who had just been telling his tribemates to welcome the returning players are part of the family – Christine obviously didn’t listen!).
John is asked next but he immediately requests that Probst call him by his last name, Cochran, because all the memorable and great players were called by their last names. Probst seems obliging enough (I was wondering why he was referring to John by his last name all the time on Twitter and Facebook – now I know). Anyway, Cochran’s reaction is that they both played twice and have so much knowledge and will be huge assets. Probst notes that Cochran didn’t even hesitate in saying they both played twice before – Cochran notes that he’s a huge fan with a buff collection at home and he’s just flat-out thrilled to see Ozzy and Coach.1 2 3 4 5 6 Next-->
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