Rosie's Survivor Showdownby David Bloomberg -- 07/10/2002
Last year, Rosie O’Donnell began her season with a show full of contestants from the first Survivor, and gave all who appeared (except Rich) a new Pontiac Aztek. This year, things started on a similar level after Debb introduced the host (all decked out in a Survivor bandana, etc.) and chatted with Rosie for a few minutes, after which Rosie gave her a new Aztek as well!
But before the giveaway, Rosie and Debb chatted about how horrible it was that the press and others ripped Debb’s personal life apart. Debb talked about how the press came into her life, made accusations, and then waltzed out. She repeated her comment from the reunion show that they had robbed her of her self-confidence. Rosie chimed in that it was one thing for a celebrity to be under such a microscope, but another for a working person like Debb. Debb then added that everybody has said she should have known. She did know it would happen, she said, but she didn’t know the magnitude. She would read stuff on the Internet day in and day out about how she is ugly, stupid, etc. She said that people need to stop being mean to each other, and that they should judge her by her son (no, not her step-son!), who she raised and sent out into the world and who is a sergeant in the Marines now.
You know, that’s all well and good, but I still have a hard time accepting it. Yes, I saw the messages where people gratuitously insulted her, and they were uncalled for. But she didn’t have to go on the Internet to read them day in and day out. Also, as I mentioned in discussing the reunion show, she should have known the magnitude of press digging. Regarding Rosie’s comment that it’s one thing for a celebrity, well, you know what? These people are celebrities now. That’s one thing they knew would happen (indeed, many wanted it to happen) when they signed up.
Anyway, so she gave Debb the Aztek, and Debb gave her the backpack and (very clean) hat she’d worn in the Outback, for auctioning on eBay to donate for Rosie’s kids charity. Not a bad trade for Debb.
Then it was on with the show. Rosie introduced her first guest (Debb wasn’t technically a guest, I guess) with a music video set to “I love you, I honestly love you” featuring Colby, who she calls, “The Tom Cruise of the Outback.”
After grabbing him for a big hug and kiss, Rosie moved on to the interview questions, asking how it was in the Outback and whether he’d do it again (“great, I had a good time” and “I would” were his answers). With some other questions, he said that he would be interesting acting or anything else that might come his way; he doesn’t have an agent yet, though.
Rosie said that if he’d have won, people wouldn’t like him as much. He agreed that he would have just been another Rich Hatch – conniving and smarmy. Rosie also said for him that he knew when he took Tina with him to the final two that he wouldn’t win, and Colby agreed. This is a bit of revisionist history, I think. He knew it would be tougher, but I don’t think he knew he’d lose.
Rosie then brought up an issue that is rather controversial, though she apparently didn’t know it (and Colby showed no sign that he realized it either) in talking about the side bet he and Tina had made indicating that the winner would buy the loser a new Harley. (The rules of Survivor preclude such deals.) Colby said he hasn’t gotten it yet from Tina (she only got her check a few days ago!), so Rosie gives him what appears to be quite a nice Harley. Colby was obviously in shock, repeating things like, “You are kidding me!”
Following the commercial break (though with all her plugs, it’s hard to tell the difference sometimes – just like Survivor), Rosie introduced Tina. She said if you want to know how she became a millionaire, watch the next clip – which was the one showing Colby voting off Keith.
Rosie then told Tina that she just saved her a lot of money by buying the motorcycle, and Tina asked, “Does that mean I’m off the hook?” Colby replied, “No.” Still, Tina practically had tears in her eyes and she said she couldn’t believe Rosie had gotten him that. Rosie responded, “I love him.” And Tina agreed, “We all love him.” Rosie pointed out that Tina should love him the most! After all, who would have voted for Keith? Zero. He was not well-liked and he couldn’t cook rice to save his life! Tina indicated that she wishes she’d won the last immunity challenge so she could have taken Colby and still won – that way she’d feel less guilt about it.
Then Rosie moved on to one of her favorite topics for the day – Jerri. She said she thought the best part was when Jerri asked her question in the final episode about anything that they regret. Tina, of course, turned the question around by saying she regretted searching Kel’s backpack when “someone” suggested it. That someone, of course, was Jerri. Tina said she’s begged forgiveness from Kel, Kel’s mom, Kel’s dad, Kel’s dog, you name it. Rosie kept right on going, saying that the best part was the fact that she turned it around on Jerri – “like she’s not Satan.”
Rosie then switched gears and asked Tina how she likes fame (it’s exciting now) and also asked if Tina had been rich before, because she’d read things like that on the Internet. Tina said no, not at all, and Rosie pointed to Debb and repeated that you shouldn’t believe everything you read on the Internet (I agree – except for this site, of course!).
So, Rosie said, Debb got a car, Colby got a Harley, what’s Tina get? “Nothing. ‘Cus you won a million dollars.” Tina didn’t seem terribly hurt. In fact, she brought her hat from the Outback for Rosie to auction on eBay.
Incidentally, by the end of the interview, Colby did agree that Tina is off the hook now for the Harley. Still, the deal was made even if they decided not to pay it off. I’d love to know what Survivor executive producer Mark Burnett plans to do about it – if anything.
Next, Rosie introduced the “sweetest survivor” – Elisabeth. She said she wasn’t sure about Elisabeth at first because of the flaky headdress, but when she saw her go into the water with Mike when he had his accident, Rosie began to fall in love with her. The two of them discussed what they thought of the first Survivor and how everybody knows her now – no big revelations in either. But Elisabeth brought Rosie her own headdress. In return, Rosie gave her some peanut butter (relating to a challenge on the show) and a trip to Paris for her honeymoon to see a fashion line (Elisabeth designs fashion footwear, if you recall). Elisabeth pretty much freaked out at that point.
Next, Rosie welcomed “a guy who can’t cook rice” – Keith. She began by asking him what the heck happened with that rice – was it just that Jerri was Satan? Keith said that although he had a pan, he had no lid, and it didn’t just work very well. He said Jerri was very smart – she saw an opportunity to gain an advantage and she took it. All in all, Keith has been particularly gracious about Jerri, which puts him on a much higher plain than she ever will be at.
Rosie asked Keith, “Do you know what I loved about you?” Keith responded that he was just happy there was anything she liked – when he was waiting to come out, he wasn’t so sure. Rosie replied that of course she loves him, or else he wouldn’t have been invited! “I probably have a big present for you.” Keith wondered, “Cases and cases of rice?” She said she would never do that…
Anyway, she loved the look on his face as he waited for his girlfriend to respond to his marriage proposal in e-mail. He didn’t reply directly to that but took the opportunity to explain that their “peas” and “carrots” pet names weren’t some weird chef thing, but referred to the fact that the first movie they’d seen together was Forrest Gump. We do find out, though, that Tina was the one who suggested he ask her at that time – he had planned to try to write his proposal in the sand and hope the show got an aerial shot of it.
So Rosie gave him his gift. It did indeed revolve around rice, including a box of Minute Rice, which she said he can’t ruin. But more importantly, she gave him and his fiancÚ a two-week honeymoon in China, where they can have lots of rice.
Following Keith, Rosie introduced Maralyn and Mitchell together. Rosie said she couldn’t wait to meet Mad Dog, and Maralyn returned the favor by giving Rosie her grungy, autographed, Outback bra – size 38-D. Ick. She later pointed out that she was the only woman on the show wearing a real bra, and that she did it because if she hadn’t, it wouldn’t have been a family show.
Rosie said that Maralyn had the most chutzpah, the most personality, etc. So what happened? Maralyn said if she’d been more focused on the game and less on the kangaroos, she might have gone further. Still, it was the best experience she’d ever had.
Then Rosie brought up the Bryant Gumbel reunion crack about how Maralyn is “back at fighting weight” now. Rosie wanted to take a stand for all women who aren’t a size two, and pointed to a paunch showing in a photo of Gumbel himself. She then noted sarcastically that when he was on the Today show, he wasn’t as fat as he is now!
From fat to skinny, Rosie moved on to Mitchell. He said he’d tried to put on some weight before the show, but it hadn’t worked. She asked how his songwriting has been and he said he co-wrote a musical that he hoped to get going soon. (Hey, I know an aspiring actress who’s looking for work…)
Speaking of which (or witch), Rosie then introduced “Satan’s friend,” Amber. She pointed out the obvious, that it was a big mistake for Amber to team up with Jerri. Amber said that she knew she needed to be in an alliance and when she was approached the first day, of course she joined.
Talk quickly moved to the announcement that she had posed for a layout in Stuff magazine. She said she turned down Playboy, and didn’t go nude for this – she’s wearing a skimpy bathing suit. Still, that issue ought to be a sell-out.
Maralyn, Mitchell, and Amber all got a trip to Las Vegas together from Rosie. But that wouldn’t be the end of the giveaways.
Next was the “Survivor Showdown,” a head-to-head match between the Survivor II contestants who appeared today and some of the Survivor I contestants who showed up just for this. From the original series were Gretchen, Joel, Gervase, Jenna, Dirk, and Susan. The challenge was a series of multiple choice questions that true survivors should know, plus a couple of physical challenges.
Then Rosie feigns shame and says it was unfair that she helped, so she has to give away prizes to both teams. For the Survivor I crowd, they all get trips to Australia to see the Great Barrier Reef (if any is still left after Colby took it apart, though Rosie didn’t mention that). The Survivor II group each gets to go to their choice of a Carribean resort.
So ends the great Survivor giveaway. I tell ya, the Survivor I group made out like bandits – just show up for a few minutes and get a nice vacation! The Survivor II crew did pretty well for themselves, too. As might be expected, Rosie didn’t exactly ask the hard-hitting questions, even when she accidentally hit upon controversy. But that’s not what Rosie does. Still, a fun show overall.
Be sure to sign up for our e-mail update so you can stay informed about new articles on the site! And take a look around the Survivor Article Page for everything from claims of a "fix" to episode summaries!
Remember to take a peek at the rest of the site. You can find our most recent articles at the Home page, take a look at our sections on Boot Camp and The Mole, and browse through our book reviews. You can even buy Survivor stuff at our Survivor Store!