The Amazing Race 27: Dance, Racers, Dance!

Hi everyone and greeting from beautiful Lake Texoma, where I am currently enjoying a wonderful vacation.  I am very happy to be getting this chance to relax and unwind but you know what I’m even happier about?  I’m happy that the Amazing Race is back and that, so far, Season 27 is shaping up to be a good one.

Seriously, I love the Amazing Race.  The Amazing Race often seems to get overshadowed by all the attention given to Survivor and Big Brother.  And I have to admit that it worries me that the show has been moved to Friday nights because Friday night is often reserved for shows that the network no longer considers to be important.  Last season, which saw the Amazing Race suddenly turn into a dating show, really concerned me as well.  The whole dating thing seemed like an act of desperation.

That’s not what we watch the Amazing Race for!  I watch The Amazing Race because I love to see all the countries that they visit.  I also enjoy watching cocky racers have a meltdown when they discover that their taxi driver has no idea where he’s going.

Seriously, it’s fun!

As for tonight’s episode of The Amazing Race, I enjoyed it.  There was some legitimate suspense about who would be the last to check in, Argentina is a beautiful location, and I was so jealous of everyone who got to do the tilted tango at the roadblock!  That would have been right up my alley!

I was sad to see Alex and Adam eliminated.  These two cousins had a lot of spirit and they were a lot of fun to watch during the first episode.  What made it even more upsetting is the fact that both of them were so obviously upset over being eliminated.  Phil also had a lot of empathy for them and it’s always interesting to compare Phil’s style of hosting to Jeff Probst’s style of hosting.  Phil always seems to be on the verge of tears when he has to tell someone that they’ve been eliminated.  Probst, on the other hand, would be more likely to just shrug and say, “I’ve got nothing for you.”

(Before Probst was hired, Phil was a leading contender to host Survivor.  It’s strange to think about what Survivor would be like if Phil was the host.  I think the producers of both shows made the right choice.  Probst is perfect for Survivor.  Phil is perfect for the Amazing Race.)

Since this is only the second leg, we’re still getting to know the teams.  Here’s a few impressions from tonight’s episode.

  1. Justin and Diana finished first tonight.  Justin is obviously being set up to be this season’s villain and it is true that he appears to be racing hard.  On Survivor and Big Brother, they always say that you shouldn’t play hard.  But that’s exactly what you have to do to win the Amazing Race.  Justin and Diana may get on everyone’s nerves but they’re definitely strong competitors.
  2. Tanner and Josh came in second.  They’re from Texas, I’m from Texas.  Obviously, I’m going to like Tanner and Josh.  Tanner and Josh seem like the type of team that typically makes it to the finale of the Amazing Race.
  3. Denise and James Earl came in third.  James Earl is never going to forgive Denise for not being supportive of him when he first came out.  They came in third tonight but I have a feeling that, as a team, they’re going to end up self-destructing.
  4. Logan and Chris came in fourth.  I still don’t have much to say about Logan and Chris.  They’re a bit generic.  If Logan and Chris continue to fight with each other like they did during this episode, they’re not going to make it to the end.
  5. Cindy and Rick came in fifth.  Who?  Sorry, Cindy and Rick have yet to make an impression on me.
  6. Tiffany and Krista came in sixth but I liked their spirit and I’m predicting that they will be around for a while.
  7. Kelsey and Joey came in seventh.  Much like Cindy and Rick, Kelsey and Joey have yet to make much of an impression.
  8. Jazmine and Danielle, who came in second at the end of the first leg, came in eighth this time.  They seem like they should be strong contenders so maybe tonight was only a temporary setback.
  9. Ernest and Jin came in 9th and narrowly avoided being eliminated.  I like both Ernest and Jin.  They’ve got a lot of heart, they’ve got a good attitude, and I hate to think of them having to return to living in their car.  So, hopefully, Ernest and Jin will do better during the next leg.

And that was tonight’s episode of The Amazing Race!  So far, the season has been dominated by Justin & Diana and Tanner & Josh.  Will that trend continue?  And who will be eliminated next week?

I can’t wait to find out!

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Lisa Marie

Survivor 31: How do you solve a problem like Abi-Maria?

Hi everyone and greetings from beautiful Lake Texoma!  I’m getting some much needed relaxation for the next two weeks and it’s a wonderful thing.  (Seriously — after three months of dealing with the Big Brother house on a daily basis, I needed this vacation!)  However, just because I’m on vacation, that doesn’t mean that I’m going to stop watching and writing about Survivor and the Amazing Race!

So, on Wednesday night, I watched the second episode of Survivor 31: Second Chances and a few things quickly became obvious.

First off, the Ta Keo Tribe is totally dysfunctional.   And while I’m sure a lot of people would blame all of that on Abi-Maria, she’s actually only a small part of the problem.  There are “old school” and “new school” players on both tribes but it is only on Ta Keo where the differences between the two groups are really a problem.  While old school players like Terry Deitz and Kelley Wigglesworth still seemed to be struggling to figure out how to succeed in this new version of Survivor, new school players like Spencer and Shirin allowed themselves to get way too cocky.  Terry and Wigglesworth struggled with the constant strategizing while Shirin and Spencer forgot (much as they did during their previous seasons) that Survivor is social game.

Linking the old school and new school players was Jeff Varner.  I don’t remember enough about Survivor: Australia to be able to tell you whether or not Jeff was this smart during his previous season.  But, as of right now, Jeff appears to be one of the strongest and smartest players on the beach.

The other thing that became obvious is that Abi-Maria is probably going to be around for a while.  As Jeff Varner quickly realized, Abi-Maria may be annoying but she’s the perfect player to take to the finale because there’s no way any jury would vote for her.  So, fresh from joining with the new school players and voting out Vytas, Jeff returned to the old school players, teamed up with Abi-Maria, and got Shirin voted out of the tribe.

Seriously, it was impressive and, last week, I would never have expected this to happen.  After the previous tribal, it looked like Shirin and Spencer were in charge and that Abi-Maria’s days were numbered.  However, in just a matter of days, Jeff Varner managed to flip the entire tribe and now, suddenly, Spencer is on the bottom.

(Of course, Shirin helped out by laughing at Abi-Maria and underestimating just how personally Abi-Maria would take that.  After the way she was treated by Will and Dan last season, I will always have a lot of sympathy for Shirin.  I think the way she was treated was disgusting and I was cheering for her when she stood up to Will at the final tribal council.  That said, I’ve never cared much for Shirin as a player and this episode reminded me why.  Shirin’s downfall was assuming that she was smarter than everyone else.)

As for the other tribe, right now it looks like the Bayon Tribe has everything going for it.  It’s won every immunity challenge.  With the exception of odd man out Steven, everyone is getting along.  I’m sure that things will eventually fall apart but, for now, the show’s narrative is definitely that Bayon is the good tribe while Ta Keo is the messy, hopeless tribe.

But things are going to change next week!  As we saw in the previews, there’s going to be a tribal reshuffle and our two tribes will be divided into three!  Will Abi-Maria survive for another week?  Will Steven find himself off the chopping block?  Will Jeff remain in charge and will Spencer finally figure out how to talk to people?

We’ll find out!

Lisa Marie

P.S.  My favorite part of last night’s episode?  Woo not mincing any words as he told Shirin and Spencer why he would not be willing to work with either of them.  Go Woo!

The Amazing Race 27: Team TMZ Falls Apart in Rio!

I love the Amazing Race!

Well, to be honest, I love almost all reality TV.  Most of the people who will read this post already know this.  I enjoy Big Brother, I love Survivor and the Bachelor(ette), and I really wish they would bring back Paradise Hotel.  However, my favorite reality show remains The Amazing Race.

Why?  Well, first off, I love watching the racing teams as they go from country to country and deal with late arrivals and incompetent taxi drivers.  Secondly, I love the fact that this is a reality competition that actually requires that the racers actually be capable of doing stuff.  You can’t float through the Amazing Race.  You can’t float under the radar.  If you want to win The Amazing Race, you have to truly want it.  Finally — and this cannot be overlooked — I love Phil Keoghan.  He seems like such a nice guy and he really does seem to care about the racers.  (He is one of the few hosts to regularly tear up whenever he has to eliminate someone.)  If the snarky and somewhat cynical Jeff Probst is the perfect host for Survivor, Phil — with his inclusive attitude and curious demeanor — is the perfect host for The Amazing Race.

So, on Friday,  a new season of the Amazing Race began and so far, Amazing Race 27 is off to a good start.  Gone is the dating game gimmick that marred the previous season.  Instead, we have the traditional 11 teams of two.

Here are my initial thoughts about the teams.  Because The Amazing Race is nonstop, it takes a bit longer to really get to know the racers so I’m sure my opinions will change over the course of this season.  These are just a few first impressions:

  1. Tanner and Josh are best friends from Texas.  They’re both hot and they’re both from Texas, so I liked them.
  2. Jazmine and Danielle are track stars.  They didn’t make a huge impression but, with their athletic backgrounds, they should be strong contenders.
  3. Cindy and Rick are newlyweds and, for some reason, want to be known as Team ChacAttack.
  4. Denise and James Earl are a mother-and-son team.  They are from Alabama and there’s already a lot of drama between them.  When James Earl originally came out of the closet, Denise did not take it well.  For all of their smiling, there was definitely an edge to their relationship.  Denise appears to feel a lot of guilt and James Earl still seems to be angry with his mother.
  5. Logan and Chris are paparazzi and didn’t make much of an impression.
  6. Alex and Adam are little people cousins and I think they may do well because the other teams are going to underestimate them.  Alex and Adam proved themselves at the detour.
  7. Ernest and Jin are brother who are also professional dancers.  Ernest and Jin were entertaining during tonight’s episode.  Plus, they’re dancers so I have to cheer for them.
  8. Kelsey and Joey are dating news anchors.  They both had blindingly white smiles.
  9. Justin and Diana are engaged to be married.  They are lifelong fans of the Amazing Race and, during a recent trip, Justin put on a fake Amazing Race and asked Diana to marry him at the end of it.  During the first episode, Justin was portrayed as being too cocky for his own good.  I have actually briefly interacted with Justin on twitter and he came across as being a pretty nice guy.
  10. Tiffany and Christa are former cheerleaders from New Jersey.
  11. Kelly and Shevonne both work for TMZ and regularly appear on TMZ on TV.

And I have to admit that I had high hopes for Kelly and Shevonne.  I used to watch TMZ on TV and Kelly and Shevonne were always two of my favorites.  I liked that Kelly didn’t take any crap from anyone and that Shevonne got to flirt with the totally hot Max Hodges.  (Then Max left the show and I stopped watching.)

Unfortunately, Kelly and Shevonne totally self-destructed during the first episode.  The first leg of the race took the racers to Brazil.  Though Kelly and Shevonne were, at first, making good time, they ended up getting hung up at the detour.  They had to figure out a puzzle and, from the minute they started working on it, I knew that Kelly and Shevonne were done for.  Instead of looking for a pattern, they just kept moving the pieces around.  It took them 3 hours to solve a relatively simple puzzle and they never even made it to the pit stop.  Instead, Phil came down to the beach and told them that they had been eliminated from the race.

As for who won the first leg, Justin and and Diana were originally in the lead but an abortive chance to do the fast forward ended up putting them behind.  As a result, Tanner and Josh were the first to reach the pit stop and received the express pass as a result.

So, what did everyone think of the premiere?  I was happy that Tanner and Josh won the first leg.  As well, it looks we’ve got some interesting racers this time around so I have high hopes for this season!

I’m so happy that both Survivor and The Amazing Race are back!

Lisa Marie

Survivor 31: The Premiere

Hi everyone and welcome to our coverage of Survivor 31: Second Chances!

So, last night, we not only had the season finale of Big Brother but we also had the season premiere of Survivor 31.  And, needless to say, I am really excited.  Don’t get me wrong — I like Big Brother.  I enjoy writing about it over on the Big Brother Blog.  But I love Survivor.  It’s been one of my favorite shows ever since it started and I can’t wait to see what happens over the course of this new season!

Survivor 31 takes place in Cambodia and it features a cast made up of former survivors.  It’s a bit like all-stars except that all of this season’s competitors were selected by the viewers.  In other words, this season of Survivor is democracy at work.  If these survivors turn out to be boring and stupid or not fun to watch — well, we’ve got no one to blame but ourselves because we’re the ones that picked them.

As typically happens on the premiere of a new Survivor season, last night’s episode was mostly about getting reacquainted with the survivors.  Here are a few of my initial thoughts on this season’s cast.

The Ta Keo Tribe

Vytas (previously on Blood vs. Water) — I have never been a huge Vytas fan and last night’s episode did little to change my opinion.  I have to fully agree with those who call him “smarmy” and his resentment towards his brother is no longer compelling.  Instead, it’s just petty.  Also — what was up with his shorts last night!?  I’m surprised he didn’t get pixelated.

Spencer (previously on Cagayan) — Yeah, Spencer’s back.  I just hope he’s a little less whiny this season.

Terry (previously on Panama) — Some people might not remember Terry but he was a total badass on his last season.  He has absolutely no allies in the game but he nearly made it to the end because no one could beat him in immunity comps.  On his previous season, Terry was nicknamed “Capt. America” but his new nickname should be “Old School,” because last night, that’s all he talked about.  And actually, he was totally right — older Survivor players are all about trying to survive (i.e., making a shelter) while younger Survivor players are all about playing the game.  Anyway, it’ll be interesting to see how Terry does this season.  I’m curious to see if he’s still a challenge beast or if he’ll be too “old school” to survive with the younger players.

Abi-Maria (Philippines) — Abi-Maria is back and just as outspoken as ever!  Between accusing Peih-Gee of stealing her bracelet and talking about Vytas’s “immunity idol,” Abi-Maria was back to her old tricks.  Abi-Maria is either going to be really entertaining or really annoying.  I kept waiting for her to mention the imaginary immunity idol she claimed to have during her previous season but she didn’t.  I was sad.

Woo (Cagayan) — Woo is going to be around for a while.  He’s likable and he’s a challenge beast.

Pieh-Gee (China) — Pieh-Gee came on way too strong in her previous season and was voted out as a result.  It’ll be interesting to see if she’s learned anything from the experience.

Shirin (Worlds Apart) — Shirin!  I’m not even a Shirin fan but I still hope she does well, just because of all the cruel things that we’re said to her during her previous season.

Jeff Varner (Australia) — I don’t remember much about Jeff and I have to admit that I kept getting him mixed up with Terry during last night’s show.

Kelley Wentworth (San Juan Del Sur) — Kelley’s back and — well, okay.  I really don’t know if Kelley is someone who really seems like she deserved a second chance.  However, if she’s a smart player, Kelley will be around for a while because she found this season’s first immunity idol.

Kelly Wigglesworth (Borneo) — The big news this season is that Kelly Wigglesworth is back.  She was on the very first season of Survivor and she came in second.  But, to be honest, I have a feeling she might get voted out early.  It’s just a feeling I have.

The Bayon Tribe

Joe (previously on Worlds Apart) — JOE!  Joe is this season’s eye candy.  I thought he showed a lot of potential on Worlds Apart so it’ll be interesting to see if he actually lives up to all of our expectations this season.

Jeremy Collins (previously on San Juan Del Sur) — If I remember correctly, I think I liked Jeremy on his previous season.  He had a lot of potential on that season but he got carried away with the emotions of the game.

Ciera (Blood vs. Water) — I know a lot of people love Ciera.  On her previous season, she annoyed me to tears.  She was tolerable on last night’s episode.

Stephen Fishbach (Tocantins) — Stephen is either going to be one of the first people voted out or he’s going to win the entire game.  Last night, the show’s editors appeared to be giving him the Cochran treatment.

Tasha (Cagayan) — I don’t remember much about Tasha, to be honest.   I did agree with her about Joe, though.

Kimmi (Australia) — I remember next to nothing about Kimmi.  (The main thing I remember about Australia is Colby.)

Kass (Cagayan) — Oh God, don’t even get me started on Kaos Kass and her overinflated opinion of herself.

Keith (San Juan Del Sur) — Keith is back and it appears that he still doesn’t have the slightest idea how to play a social game.

Monica (Samoa) — I remember very little about Monica.

Andrew Savage (Peal Islands) — I recently rewatched Pearl Islands and you know what?  Andrew is one of the best players to never make it to the jury.  And what’s especially upsetting is that he was voted out as the result of a stupid twist (i.e., a former castway was allowed to reenter the game) that even Jeff Probst has declared to be the worst twist in Survivor history.  So, I hope Andrew does well.

Anyway, the first immunity challenge was won by Bayon.  The Ta Keo Tribe went to their first tribal council and the voting seemed to be mostly about first impressions.  Abi-Maria and Vytas both made a bad first impression on their other tribemates.  Abi-Maria got quite a few votes but, in the end, Vytas was voted out on a 6-4 vote.  Ultimately, Vytas just came across as being too smarmy for his own good.

Plus, there were those shorts!

One other note: I was so happy to see that Survivor is at least trying to make it more difficult to find the immunity idols.  For me, the highlight of this episode was watching Kelley Wentworth grab that immunity idol during the challenge.

So, what did everyone think of the premiere?  Who do you like?  Who do you think will win?  Comment below!

Lisa Marie

Survivor 30: Well, it’s over…


Well, it was a long and frustrating season.  There were high points and there were low points.  It was a season dominated by some of the least likable people to ever be featured on Survivor.  It was a season where Will started out as likable and then suddenly changed into a hateful, angry monster.  It was a season where Dan and Rodney showed just how annoying two people could be.  But, at the same time, it was also a season where a few people surprised us by turning out to actually be pretty decent.

Mike started out as annoying but, as the season progressed, he won me over.  And tonight, against all odds (because he literally was always one immunity challenge away from being sent home), Mike won Survivor 30!  Will received Rodney’s vote.  Carolyn received Sierra’s vote.  And the rest of the jury voted for Mike.

And you know what?  I can’t complain.  I would have been happy to have seen Carolyn win but, ultimately, Mike is the one who deserved the victory.  He was not always a subtle player and he made a few mistakes but, in the end, he outplayed, he outwitted, and he outlasted.

Congratulations, Mike!

As for the rest of the finale, I enjoyed watching smug Rodney get sent to the jury on the basis of having to make a fire.  As far as the juror themselves, Jenn and Shirin were definitely the stars.  When Jenn called out the jury for being bitter, I cheered.  When Shirin told Will that he was a “dead fish,” I cheered again.  And when Dan gave his final speech, I laughed because I knew Dan would never win Survivor.

Seriously, I couldn’t stand Dan.

As for the reunion show, I was happy to see Jeff call Dan out.  Dan’s sputtering performance only made him look worse.  Dan apologized for saying he wanted to slap Shirin but he qualified the apology by saying that he didn’t know Shirin had been abused, as if that was the only problem with what he had said.

As for Will’s apology to Shirin, I didn’t buy it.  It’s as simple as that.

Finally, at the end of the reunion show, we learned the 20 former Survivors who would return for Second Chances.  And they are:

Joe from Survivor 30

Vytas for Survivor: Blood vs. Water

Spencer for Brains, Brawn, and Beauty

Jeremy from Survivor: Blood vs. Water II

Terry from Survivor: Panama

Ciera (bleh!) from Survivor: Blood vs. Water

Stephen from Survivor: Tocantins

Tasha from Brains, Brawn, and Beauty

Abi-Maria from Survivor: Philippines

Woo from Brains, Brawn, and Beauty

Kimmi from Survivor: Australia

Peih-Gee from Survivor: China

Kass (Double BLEH!) from Brains, Brawn, and Beauty

Keith from Survivor: Blood vs. Water II

Shirin from Survivor 30

Monica from Survivor: Samoa

Andrew Savage from Survivor: Pearl Islands

Jeff Varner from Survivor: Australia

Kelly Wentworth from Survivor: Blood vs. Water Part II

Kelley Wigglesworth from Survivor: Season 1

Well, that concluded Realty TV Chat’s coverage of Survivor!  We’ll be back with Big Brother later in June!  Thanks for reading!

Lisa Marie

Survivor 30: Finally!

During tonight’s immunity reward, Dan finally said something that I agreed with.  As he struggled to move his ball through that maze (and I have to say that I always cringe whenever they do the maze challenge because I know it would be my downfall if I was ever on Survivor), he muttered, “I suck at life.”

“Finally!” I said, “Dan is showing some self-awareness!”

Tonight was actually a pretty satisfying episode of Survivor.  In fact, it was the first truly satisfying one that I’ve seen in a while.  Tribal council actually had a few surprises.  There was a genuine blindside.  And smug old Dan played his advantage and then promptly got voted out.  The look on Dan’s face when Carolyn played her immunity idol was priceless!

I have not been a fan of Dan since this season started.  He’s a blowhard.  He’s condescending.  He thinks he’s smarter than he actually is.  And it’s obvious that he has issues with women.  My greatest fear was that we would end up with a final three of Dan, Rodney, and Will.

But, with Dan gone, we now know that there will at least be one deserving player among the final three.  At this point, I could make a case that both Mike and Carolyn deserve to win the game.  They’ve both played smart games and Carolyn deserves some credit for actually managing to keep her immunity idol a secret.  As for Sierra, she hasn’t done much but at least she hasn’t been offensive.  Does she deserve to win?  No.  But I’d still rather see her win than either Rodney or Will.

As for the rest of tonight’s episode, Rodney continues to compete for the title of most annoying Survivor contestant of all time.  For someone who spends a lot of time bragging about being a blue collar guy, Rodney certainly does spend a lot of time whining.  I was so worried that Carolyn was going to give her reward to Rodney.  As Mike said, if Rodney really wants to get a reward that badly then he should try winning.

Will remains useless.

The highlight of tonight’s episode: that reward challenge!  Now, admittedly, the solution to the puzzle was not as obvious as Jeff seemed to think it was.  But still, it’s hard not to shake your head at the fact that it took Carolyn, Mike, and Will an hour to come up with A Reward With All The Fixins.

(Of course, it was fun to watch self-proclaimed genius Dan struggle to put the letters in order…)

The Survivor 30 finale is next week!  As of right now, I’m hoping that either Carolyn or Mike wins.

Lisa Marie

Survivor 30: Bitterly Disappointed

Well, that sucked.

At the end of tonight’s episode of Survivor, my favorite — Tyler — was sent to the jury.  After Carolyn won immunity and Mike played his idol, the remaining castaways decided to get rid of the biggest threat to win the game.  And so Tyler, one of the few likable people left this season, was voted out.

There was briefly some hope that we’d get rid of Rodney.  Since he celebrated his birthday on the beach, he assumed that he would get a chance to go on a reward.  When he didn’t get that chance, he threw a fit and acted like an obnoxious idiot.  Unfortunately, he ended up being so obnoxious that he probably improved his chances to make it to the end.  At this point, he’s the guy who is so unlikable that everyone wants to be sitting next to him.

However, it’s not just Tyler leaving that has me upset.  I’m also upset because I think I may have come across some spoilers as to who is going to be in the final 4 this season.  And I’m not happy about it.


At the end of tonight’s episode, Jeff Probst announced that the next season of Survivor will be returning players.  It’s something that they are calling Survivor: Second Chances.  (And can I just say “bleh” really quickly here?  I always prefer new players.)

And, if you go to, you can see the 40 possible returnees and you can vote for who you would like to see given a second chance.  Apparently, the entire cast is going to be determined by our votes!

So, I went to the site and I looked at the possibilities.  And I was excited by some of them.  For instance, I was happy to see a few Survivors from some very early seasons, including Andrew Savage from Survivor: Pearl Islands.  (I voted for Savage.)  And I was worried to see Kass McQuillen and Spencer from Survivor 28 because seriously, who wants to deal with either of them?

And, unfortunately, I saw that a lot of people from Survivor 30 are being given a chance to come back next season.  Shirin, Max, and Joe were all possibilities.  (I voted for Joe and Shirin.)  However, there were two other candidates from Survivor 30 and, as of this writing, we have yet to see either one of them voted into the jury.

So, assuming that their presence means that they didn’t make it to the finale, we can safely assume that these two players were voted out and we can also guess who the final four were.

Now, here’s one last warning before I reveal their names.


Still here?  Okay, here goes.  The two candidates who have yet to join this season’s jury were…

Mike and Carolyn!

So, if this means that neither Mike and Carolyn made it to the finale, then that means our final four consisted of:

1) Dan

2) Rodney

3) Sierra

4) Will

I mean, out of those four, who do you root for?  Sierra, I guess.

But, seriously, I hope I’m wrong.  Because if we’ve gone through all this for Rodney and Dan to make it to the finale, I’ll be bitterly disappointed.


Survivor 30: Mike Makes A Move

You know what?

Ever since this season started, people have been underestimating Mike.  It’s easy to do.  He’s not as arrogant as Rodney.  He’s not as well-spoken as Tyler.  From the minute the season began, his fellow tribemates have mocked his accent, his religion, and his tendency to get overexcited.

However, over the course of the last few episodes, Mike has slowly emerged as the only true power player in the game.  What he lacks in education, he makes up for in life experience.  He’s a strong competitor in challenges, as he proved tonight when he won immunity for a second time.  Finally, unlike just about everyone else left in the game, Mike understand human nature.  He understand how paranoid everyone else in the game is and he also knows how to trick the final six into revealing that they’re not as unified as they pretend to be.

Unfortunately, for all of Mike’s strengths, he’s a man without an alliance.  He is literally two immunity challenge losses away from being sent to the jury.  Fortunately, Mike has the immunity idol so he can survive one loss.  But after that, he has to either keep winning immunity or hope that the Alliance of 6 falls apart.

After tonight’s tribal council, that Alliance is probably more fragile than it’s ever been.  After winning immunity, Mike was safe so he announced that he would be giving his immunity idol to his only ally, Shirin.  Mike announced that Shirin would be voting for Tyler while his vote would go to one of the other four players.

In the end, Mike did not play his idol and most of the Alliance of 6 stuck with the plan and voted for Shirin.  Shirin went to the jury.  However, both Tyler and Will voted for Dan.  Which means that, just as Mike hoped, Dan now knows that he’s on the bottom of his alliance.

It was a smart move on Mike’s part.  Not only does he still have his idol but he also introduced some dissension into the Alliance of 6.  Now, we’ll just have to see what, if anything, this leads to.

As for the rest of the episode, it was pretty much a typical episode of Survivor 30, a collection of people behaving badly.  Will, even when given a chance to partially redeem himself at tribal council, refused to apologize to Shirin because he wasn’t sorry.  At this point, it’s hard to believe that I once really liked Will.  It turns out that he’s as much of a jerk as everyone else.

Also, Tyler finally did something.  He looked in Dan’s bag and discovered that Dan has an extra vote.  Judging by how angry Dan looked in the previews for next week’s episode, I get the feeling that he might be using the extra vote sooner than later.

Lisa Marie

Survivor 30: I Used To Like Will

Survivor 30: The Search For Someone Likeable.

As I watched tonight’s episode of Survivor, I found myself wondering if there was anybody on the beach who was, at this point, remotely likable.  At this point, I find myself liking Tyler and Sierra almost be default.  Neither one of them says much and that makes them a nice change for everyone else in the Merica Tribe.

Before tonight’s episode, I would have said that I liked Will but tonight, we saw a new side of Will.  I understand why Will was mad.  As a result of being the first to bid at the annual Survivor auction, Will was given the location of a secret stash of food.  He could have kept it all for himself but instead, he decided to share with everyone else.

So, of course, everyone decided that Will must have been holding out on them and the only reason he gave them the food was to distract them from whatever else it was that he had been given.

Interestingly enough, even though Mike was the one who started the rumors, Will blamed Shirin.  He went off Shirin and soon, he went from insulting her as a player to insulting her as an individual.  I’ve made no secret of the fact that I don’t like Shirin but even I started to feel sorry for her.

At the immunity challenge, Will requested to get a letter from home.  (The letters were offered up as a prize at the Survivor auction.  Since Will was back at the camp digging up his food stash at the time, Will was the only one who didn’t get a chance to even bid on his letter.)  Will offered to sit out the immunity challenge in return for the letter.

Jeff asked if anyone had any objections.

Shirin raised her hand.  I understand that Shirin was mad but I still think that was a stupid move on her part.  If someone’s willing to give up immunity, you let him do it.

But no matter!  Neither Will nor Shirin won immunity.  Instead, it was won by Mike.  And Mike was lucky to win because if he hadn’t, he probably would have had to sacrifice his immunity idol in order to not be sent to the jury.  As we saw at the start of tonight’s program, Rodney is plotting to get rid of Mike.  Of course, Rodney decided to talk to everyone about his plan while Mike was apparently standing two feet away.

(And, of course, this led to Mike having a meltdown after the Survivor auction and confronting Rodney on his scheming.  Mike is a surprisingly strong player but sometimes, he still does incredibly stupid things.)

With Mike winning immunity, the tribe voted out Jenn instead.  It wasn’t a particularly surprising situation.  Personally, I would have preferred to have seen Jenn voted out last week.  Joe probably could have won immunity this week and forced the rest of the tribe to choose between Rodney and Mike.

At tribal, Shirin talked about her abusive childhood.  Will said that it didn’t matter.  And it was, at this point, that I pretty much lost whatever respect that I once had for Will.  Ever since the season began, I assumed that Will was a likable guy who would probably be one of the last people sent to the jury.  But after tonight’s episode, Will showed himself to be no better than Rodney or Dan.

Speaking of Dan, he won an advantage at the Survivor Auction and I’m not happy about it.  He has an extra vote.  Which is to say that, if he chooses to, he can cast not one but two votes at some future tribal council.  I think that’s an unnecessary complication.

Plus, I can’t stand Dan.

So, to sum up, Jenn is now on the jury with Joe and Hali, Rodney and Mike are enemies, Will and Dan are jerks, Shirin is still annoying but I do have a little more sympathy for her than I did earlier, Carolyn is content to go along with the majority, and Sierra and Tyler are — well, they’re there.

And I have to admit that there’s a part of me that really thinks that Tyler might end up sneaking into the final three?  Why?  Because for someone who never does anything, he certainly gets a lot of closeups.  It’s as if the editors are trying to make sure that we don’t forget that Tyler is there.

We’ll see what happens!

Lisa Marie