Being Jeff Probstovich – Survivor: The Amazon; The Pre-Seasonby Lawrence AG Green -- 02/12/2003
What if you could be Jeff Probst for a day, and you found yourself at Tribal Council with the Survivor castaways? What questions would you ask them? And what answers would they give you?
By magical coincidence, I got the chance, and so I took it.
Hidden deep inside the offices of Survivor Productions LLC, on the CBS Television backlot, I found a secret portal into Probst's head that allows me to pose as the host and hang around the Tribal Council set for about 15 minutes each week.
Welcome to "Being Jeff Probstovich."
Every season in the weeks before the new Survivor starts, we die-hard fans are filled with great hope for the new cast, much like baseball fans during spring training. But in the spring, even the lowly, loveable Chicago Cubs have a chance to win it all, and in much the same way, we Survivor fans begin imagining that even the most unlikely members of the new cast will go all the way and become the Sole Survivor. We imagine that this will be the best-looking, smartest, most interesting and most entertaining cast we've ever seen in Survivor history.
We pore over the threadbare biographies that CBS posts on the new season's official website. We scan Court TV's Smoking Gun for arrest records and porno movie credits of the new castaways. We ponder the significance of such exotic luxury items as skateboards, body paints, and massage oils, and dream about the possibilities of the hottest-looking Survivors hooking up, just maybe. We fill up Survivor bulletin boards all over the Internet with insane theories about the hidden meaning of new season's logo. But of course, all of this is before the reality of the situation hits us.
And then, finally, the show premieres, on a Thursday night, right before CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. Jeff starts the show with his now-standard schtick: "Sixteen Americans are about to begin the adventure of a lifetime..." And by end of that first broadcast, we say to ourselves: For crying out loud, this cast is even dumber than the last. If this is the adventure of a lifetime, take my life, please.
Over the next few weeks, we watch in dumbfounded amazement as one by one each of the castaways violates all of the Survivor rules they should have learned before even stepping foot on camp.
And then we have to wait until the cast reunion show to see if someone like Bryant Gumbel, Rosie O'Donnell, or Jeff (if we're lucky) asks the real questions we've had for weeks, for this castaway or that. It's always the same basic question: What the *&%#@ were you thinking out there?
Well, that wait is over.
Starting this week, I will accost the latest castaway voted off before they even get the opportunity to leave the Tribal Council set. As Probstovich, I'll be in their soap-and-toothpaste-deprived faces as they take the long walk of shame. As they deal with the frustration of being punked and humiliated on national TV, they'll have to answer to me. And the beauty of it all is that they'll think I'm the host, good ol' Jiffy Pop, and I'm on their side. Fools. But it's all in good fun.
In just a few more days, the game will begin. And 90 minutes later, we'll meet the first castaway voted out of Survivor: The Amazon, and it will be a member of the Tambaqui tribe, the male tribe. Trust me on this. The Amazonian women of Jaburu will start the game off by kicking some righteous macho ass.
And I'm being Jeff Probstovich.
Lawrence AG Green has been a die-hard fan of Survivor since Pagong started charbroiling island rats on Pulau Tiga. He works as a professional web developer for the company that allegedly hired Survivor: Africa winner Ethan Zohn and then subsequently let the erstwhile soccer star go before he ever started. Lawrence AG can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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