Image Credit: Monty Brinton/CBSLet’s call this one THE DUMBEST DECISION YET.
But before we get to Survivor… for all of those concerned, my cushions… are dry. Hallelujah. Such a big relief. You really don’t know how good you have it until you undergo a major crisis such as wet outdoor patio cushions. I didn’t even share that when I called Pottery Barn – I mean when my assistant, actually my free intern, called Pottery Barn – they said those cushions were not being made anymore. Say what?!!
I truly thought for a moment, “What am I gonna do?” But then like a gift from the Universe, the sun came out. That beautiful ball of heat, the most important part of our incredible solar system revealed itself to Southern California and those cushions… that were once so wet…miraculously dried. I still marvel at the power of nature.
Okay onto Survivor…and THE DUMBEST DECISION YET.
RUSSELL: “HERE IT GOES AGAIN”
Admit it. Go on, admit it! You smiled when he found it. You turned to whomever you were watching with and said, “I don’t believe it. He found another idol!” I know I did. How can you not? It’s not Survivor if Russell isn’t looking, finding, or playing an idol. Now that he has it, this season is officially on, and things are about to change dramatically. How can they not, ‘ole Russell is now back in charge.
REWARD CHALLENGE – A TASTE OF CHOCOLATE
Ah, so much to talk about at what started out as a simple little Reward Challenge.
First, the chocolate tease. Occasionally when we really want to whet their appetite, we’ll tease the tribes with a small taste of the reward. So, I handed each tribe a plate with some very tiny pieces of chocolate. Enough for one bite for each tribe member. They were very small, but when you haven’t had much of anything to eat in a long time, even a tiny sliver of chocolate looks pretty good to most people.
But not Colby, or any of the Heroes for that matter. They wanted nothing to do with that damn chocolate. I get what the Hero tribe was doing. They were trying to psyche themselves up by staying focused. Fair enough. They were also trying to intimidate the villains a bit, which clearly was wasted energy. The villains are on a roll, they’re dominating the game and they’re not intimidated by anything at this point.
But the part that I’m sure a lot of you are talking about was my interaction with Colby when he instructed me, in no uncertain terms, to get the challenge started.
To which I replied:
Probst: “I got the message brother, and we’ll go when I’m ready.”
Don’t go reading too much into it. I was merely holding my ground as host, nothing more. I would have had the same response to anybody who attempted to tell me what to do. Because like it or not… “We WILL go… when I’M ready.” That’s what 20 seasons and the title of host gets you. The ability to go when you’re damn good and ready and not a moment before.
Oh, and one more bit of housekeeping from last week’s blog. I read many of your comments implying that I was hard on “America’s Favorite Survivor” Rupert because I was trying to save my buddy, Colby.
Let me be really clear about a few things:
1. The first time I had seen Colby in several years was at the start of Heroes v Villains. I have no more loyalty to Colby than anybody else.
2. If I wanted to, do you really think I could influence a vote by asking a simple and legit question? You think these players are so easily influenced?
3. If I could indeed influence the game, do you think I would risk losing a job that allows me to buy beautiful outdoor patio cushions by doing so?
Get a clue. Buy a vowel. Phone a friend. Whatever it takes, but pull your head out.
I was hard on Rupert because his logic made no sense. He was clearly voting with an alliance and trying to convince me he was voting based on keeping the tribe strong. Every Survivor knows I ask tough questions. That’s my job. He could have answered any number of other ways and got me off his back. He didn’t. Rupert dug his own hole, all I did was offer him the shovel.
REWARD CHALLENGE – SCHMERGENBRAWL
This is a challenge that was created by our grip department. These are the guys who build the scaffolding that makes it possible for us to shoot out in the water or put cameras high in the air. These guys are hard working and keep us all safe.
During a day off they created a simple game they named Schmergenbrawl. It evolved into a major day-long tournament where our crew divided into teams. They had T-shirts made and some even had their own mascots. It was full-on. The game was so popular with our crew that our challenge department stole the idea and with a few modifications turned it into a Survivor challenge that we premiered in Survivor: Samoa.
You may remember it as the challenge that resulted in me tossing somebody (Ben) out of the challenge for unsportsmanlike behavior and also resulted in the evacuation of Mike Borassi due to dehydration. We should have known that it was too rough, even for Survivor.
But instead, we brought it back again this season. Once again it was physical and once again it resulted in a major injury as James was removed from the challenge after wrecking his knee.
This challenge will NEVER be played again. It was officially retired after last night’s challenge and those of you who love justice being served will be happy to know that the grip that created the challenge was fired.
He wasn’t really fired. He was sacrificed. It turns out the Samoans have an ancient ritual that saved our season from becoming a disaster. We gave him over to the Samoan gods to do with him as they must and in exchange they were able to bless us and insure us a very good finish to our 20th season. A small price to pay if you ask me.
One grip in exchange for a really good season of Survivor. We’ll make that deal every year. Plus, one of the younger guys in the grip department got to move up and take his spot. That’s what you call a “win-win.”
I think my favorite part of the challenge was when Rupert threw Jerri up against the side of the course: “Like I meant to do that!” And Jerri responded by draining the winning bucket for the Villains. You think it was the chocolate that made the difference?
RUSSELL FINDS THE IDOL
I loved the exchange between Russell and Parvati:
Russell: Just grab onto my coattails.
Parvati: I don’t ride coattails, baby.
Russell: You’ll ride these.
Russell is very good at using the idol. I’d say he’s as good at using it as anybody. He really understands how to leverage its power and he completely changed the game by securing Parvati in his alliance and then bringing over Coach.
IS PARVATI RUSSELL’S ACHILLES’ HEEL?
Do you think Russell made a wise move? Or is he falling prey to one of the most deadly flirts in Survivor history? Both Russell and Parvati pulled out their big guns and told the other everything they need to know. Russell believes Parvati will ride his coattails. Parvati told him very clearly she does not ride anybody’s coattails. It may be the showdown of the season thus far, even more so than Russell vs Rob.
Parvati and Russell have both proven they can play this game very well. It’s a deadly duo if they stay teamed up but there is no way this relationship ends peacefully.
JAMES’ TRIUMPHANT RETURN
I was blown away by how emotional Amanda was regarding James and his injury. I guess I just assumed that after playing together three times that maybe she could handle it a bit better. Amanda’s affection for James is endearing but speaks to how complicated this game can get. Showing her loyalty and concern for James is a big, bold move and can’t help but separate her from the rest of the group, at least a little bit, no matter what is said or not said.
I love blindfolds. Yes. Read into that anything and everything you want. They just make life… and Survivor challenges… more interesting. Once again the challenge comes down to a puzzle, once again the heroes blow a huge lead and once again… the villains, led by Boston Rob, come from behind and win another challenge.
Okay, straight up – as the Heroes headed into Tribal Council, how many of you thought James would be going home? Me too. It seemed like a no-brainer. NO-BRAINER.
But then I reminded myself, “oh yeah, this is the Hero tribe. They’ve made more silly decisions than Tiger Woods.” The consistently lousy decisions made by the Heroes have been one of the biggest surprises of this season.
But the biggest surprise of the entire season (for me anyway) has been James and his newfound social game.
Set aside his lousy and increasingly agitated attitude –the gravedigger has learned to play the social game. How else could he still be in the game? He has influenced more than a few votes by talking to other people and manipulating them with his arguments. You have to give him credit. I was really impressed that he was able to convince the majority to keep him in the game over Tom. Yes, I know it had to do with alliances as much as anything but when you consider how many challenges the Heroes have lost – to keep a guy with a bum leg was a really crazy move and you have to give James some of the credit.
Once again, Rupert tried to sell his vote based on keeping his tribe strong.
Rupert: (referring to James’ bad leg). “He’s still stronger than Tom.”
Rupert, if you really believe that James, with his bad leg, is still stronger than Tom, then you need to stop drinking that pirate grog because you’ve lost your friggin mind.
Ah, but that isn’t what Rupert believes. Rupert is doing what he needs to do to keep his alliance strong. Once again, let me, “Mr. Back Seat Driver,” point out why this makes no sense. Your own personal alliance may be intact, but your tribe is dwindling and if and when there is a merge, you are putting yourself in a very weak position because you will have fewer members than the Villains.
You know how I feel. James has been a problem from day one. First it was his attitude and now it’s his physical limitations.
And no, I’m not friends with Tom, nor am I enemies with James. I’m just sharing what I feel and I’m guessing what the audience feels as well.
For the record, my niece most definitely could have beat James in a foot race. I just didn’t want to push the point for fear of him hobbling across tribal council with that bad attitude and messed-up knee, and thoroughly kicking my ass. Cause that’s something James could definitely do, even with two bad legs.
Due to the NCAA college basketball tournament, SURVIVOR WILL NOT BE ON NEXT WEEK! I know, we hate it too.
THE FOLLOWING WEEK
Survivor will be on for a special Wednesday night episode: WEDNESDAY MARCH 24TH
BACK TO NORMAL
On April 1st we return to our regular Thursday night time slot.
Spread the word.