It seems ages ago that our Fans v. Favorites (version 1) was aired and Parvati showed the audience she learned a thing or two from her prior season. Her girls powered their way through the rest of the cast and also allowed three returning players to be at the end.
I spent quite a bit of time during that season questioning the “new” players as one would think that the demise of returning players should be a predominating goal. Ironically, the first episode title You Guys Are Dumber Than You Look took on new meaning as we saw the girls make dummies out of the guys selected in that season and it was refreshing to see a female alliance dominate.
Since this time, I have been waiting to see (on those seasons featuring returning players) new contestants immediately eliminate the returning players just on sheer principle! Yet time and time again, at least one veteran manages to circumvent their way to the end game. Thus, I fully expect this to happen this season. While my love for editing prevails, I am also a factual person and statistics show that we are more than likely going to see at least one veteran at end game especially since they are consolidated on one tribe initially and could always dominate in challenge performances to keep their numbers alive.
If the vets are smart, they will make sure there is more than one at the end game as well. Depending on the makeup of the jury and who they are there with, we may possibly see another “favorite” win the title.
I was a little less than overwhelmed at the selection of those asked to return; some were barely a blip on my radar and like other seasons, there are one or two candidates that will probably spearhead the visibility factor but I’d be hard pressed to believe they will do well ultimately. Brandon and Phillip seem like fairly obvious candidates to return (although the term “favorite” would not really be the appropriate adjective) due to their “entertainment” value but since they are not mixed in with fans, I have trouble seeing the other vets dealing with them on a long term basis. Insofar as the others, time will tell.
Naturally, this thread welcomes the viewpoint from an editing standpoint and those posting in here have always been very respectful regarding the omission of sourced information and after all these seasons, let me again thank everyone for respecting my “unspoiled” editing eye.
The tribes are:
RETURNEES – BIKAL
Andrea – Redemption Island – age 23 – NY: Andrea was interesting in her season; she was a star that wasn’t a star and I’m not sure if I can describe it better than that. Potential was there but a break out role did not really happen. Her physical capabilities and decent personality may help her to stay the course for some time and even though Francesca and Phillip were both on her season, there was no true connection with them that would automatically have me assuming there is a built in alliance although I would not be surprised that at least one of them doesn’t immediately try do so.
Brandon – South Pacific – age 21 – TX: What does one say about Brandon. Despite what he brought to the television table, I’m frankly surprised the powers that be would risk his being on the show as the editing made it very clear on his season that stability is not part of his makeup. That being said, we will probably know fairly quickly if he is still cut from that same cloth and either he will be gone very early or we may see some contestants feel that he is worth the crazy to benefit their own game.
Brenda – Nicaragua – age 30 – FL: Brenda was a popular contestant to viewers although I don’t remember being overly impressed with her and can’t say whether anything will change with this season. I wouldn’t be surprised if the likes of Malcolm or Erik or John have a little flirtation with her and her physical capabilities may serve her better over some other contestants.
Corinne – Gabon – age 33 – CA: Looking back, Corinne’s attitude is not nearly as potent as it seemed to be back then. Since Gabon, we have seen bigger and better so I’m not sure what Corinne will really be about this season. We may actually see a different side to Corinne but it is amazing that in Survivor terms, she looks outdated. Should Corinne be the "mean girl" I wouldn't expect her to stick around very long considering the makeup of this group.
Dawn – South Pacific – age 42: Utah – Dawn was a popular contestant on her season and despite her being the “eldest” female, she was not an early boot. Considering her temperament, it would not be unlikely that she does rather well among her fellow vet players and she already has two players that she knows from her season so she may have an automatic buffer at the onset. However, should there be any missteps in challenges where she is a direct cause for a loss, she may be vulnerable. I would hesitate to think that however since we have some very polarizing characters on this tribe who may be a more attractive option to boot than Dawn.
Erik – Micronesia – age 27 – CA: Poor Erik – best known for a move that is herald as the dumbest in the history of Survivor, I can’t fathom that we won’t hear about it from his own mouth on the first episode and a bold statement from him that he will not allow that same mistake to happen again. I recall that a huge premise of returning players is the thematic approach of whether someone will repeat their earlier mistakes or fine tune how they play the game. If anyone needs to redeem themselves, Erik is our man and whether he does or not, remains to be seen. He certainly has the personality that will get along with mostly everyone but that also doesn’t mean he will be able to change an inherent part of his personality. It will be interesting to see if Erik learned or not.
Francesca – Redemption Island – age 38 – NY – Although she shared a season with Andrea and Phillip, she barely had time to settle in before she was gone from the game. In the scheme of the makeup of this tribe, I don’t expect her to fare much better this time around.
John – South Pacific – age 25 – Washington, DC – I never felt such a strange reaction as I did with this contestant. The manipulation of his character was overwhelming; as much as I tried to pull out some measure of empathy for him as the edit did intend at times, I was immediately overwhelmed by a dislike at the same time. There is no question that John adores this game and it would be devastating for me as a fan of the show that someone like John (a real fan) doesn’t go back and dissect the blatant atrocities in their game. While I do believe John is smart enough to do that (it also certainly helps that Dawn is there with him) like Erik, will John be capable of rectifying his past mistakes? Time will tell but with other fish to fry first on this tribe, he may be in a decent position. I will be interested in seeing how he and Erik get along as in many ways, they are similar and could be allies as well.
Malcom – Phillppines – age 25 – CA: Malcolm was extremely popular last season and for good reason. He was athletic and a hard worker with a very nice personality. This should serve him extremely well UNTIL both tribes become one tribe. Like most young, athletic males, the target gets bigger when merger occurs because nobody wants to go to the end with someone like that and are scared they can win challenge after challenge and get to the end. I presume that these contestants do not know how he fared due to filming but common sense dictates they will believe that he is either a very popular character and/or did extremely well in his season. Either way, one may assume we will hear the “he is too much of a threat” talk about Malcolm and this usually occurs around merger.
Phillip – Redemption Island – age 54 – CA: Notwithstanding any possible entertainment value Phillip holds, there is no Rob Mariano this time around and despite what he thinks otherwise, Rob was Phillip’s safety net. Regardless of two other members from his old season, Phillip’s polarizing personality is going to eventually be too much to bear; it’s just a question of when. I don’t even know if anyone will tolerate keeping him as a “goat” as his overbearing ways probably won’t fly this season.
On that note – there are viable candidates to stay the course this season with possible long term success and the dynamics on this tribe actually seem fairly obvious on paper. I would be more inclined to see those with more to say not fare as well as contestants such as Andrea, Malcolm, Dawn and Erik would probably not welcome a lot of antics. Even though Brenda and John are a bit more on the vocal side, they are still not even close to personalities such as Phillip, Brandon and Corinne and I would suspect quiet may be key.
NEW PLAYERS –GOTA
From a cursory glance, this group doesn’t seem very diverse but over the years, it’s inevitable that casting has their ideas for reality shows. I would suggest that, like past seasons, the usual reasons for booting someone may come into play. Who lost the challenge for them? Who is a little too overbearing at camp? Who appears to be making too many deal too quickly? We should be able to see the “set up” fairly quickly as character development for the first boot must be done as soon as possible.
Alexandra – age 25 – NY: Cute girl but it wouldn’t be Survivor without them and cute girls normally don’t have any worries this early on. Unless something unforeseeable occurs, Alexandra (as well as some other cute girls on this tribe) should have no reason to be worried at the onset of the game. We may see the always popular “I’m young and cute and can’t handle the elements” or “I’m young and cute therefore let’s be lazy” situation but on paper, one can’t judge the young, cute girls until their edit is displayed.
Edward – age 23 – NJ: Two East Coast players around the same age could be an immediate alliance. Like all young, athletic men, challenge performance is everything. If the tribe needs Edward to win, Edward will stay for the short term at least. Barring the typical obnoxious behavior that we have seen from some young, male contestants, he should also be in a fairly decent position. Merger is always the danger zone for these contestants so his edit being shaped for us in earlier episodes can help determine if he isn’t meant for the long haul.
Hope – age 23 – Missouri : Another cute girl candidate and not much more can be said for Hope as was said for Alexandra. One cannot predict any sense of longevity for these types of characters until the episodes flesh out so by virtue of her description, she appears to be on the lower end of first boot candidates.
Julia – age 21 – California: I am anxiously typing so I may at least be able to state something relatively original since we have yet another young, pretty female who, to the “naked editing eye” has no alarm bells going off as leaving our screens immediately. Like the others above, the first episode will tell the tale to see where her edit is headed. See the two descriptions under our first young, cute girl to look out for.
Laura – age 23 – Washington DC – Please refer to Alexandra, Hope and Julia for further information. Perhaps this foursome try and stick together as some type of girl power? Unfortunately, we have also seen girl power go down the toilet quite often.
Matt – age 38-Ohio: The physical appearance alone tells us why he was selected by the powers that be. This type of selection either fizzles fast or does surprisingly well; either way, should his looks go hand in hand with his characterization, Matt will be milked by the editing until his time is over. On paper, he may be in early trouble but a lot depends on whether his persona is the quirky, entertaining “let’s keep him around” character or the obnoxious, overbearing, “he thinks he is fun and he’s not” character. He is also one of the “older” ones (please note that 38 is not old but in Survivor context, it could very well be) so it will be interesting to see if the older members (Michael and Sherri) find themselves as a minority. Perhaps Shamar joins that fold as well and possibly even Reynold as well.
Michael – 44 – NY: Like Matt, Michael is on the “older” spectrum so if he is what is perceived as the direct result of their tribe losing any challenges, he could be an easy sacrifice. The tribes always try to look for an obvious reason to boot someone and challenge performance is the easy way out. Depending on how he gets along with the other members is obviously key as any “older” member can do very well as long as they are not the direct result of a tribe losing time and time again.
Reynold – 30 – CA: By appearances alone, Reynold seems like we either have a real charmer or someone who will be recognized by their arrogance immediately. Looks can be deceiving as we know so until we really see him in the flesh, the jury is out on Reynold. He is a little older that he could do very well with the slightly older crowd on his tribe and young enough to relate to the younger members as well. He could conceivably play both sides nicely and if he is as fit as he appears to be, he should help them for challenges. Once again, merger is key for someone like Reynold and he may be viewed as an obvious threat.
Shamar – age 27 – NY: Another East Coast contestant, Shamar, despite his 27 years appears to look a little older and being a veteran, probably has an “older” persona as well. He is in a minority being the only African American on his tribe and while my brief view of a picture of him shows that he looks formidable, sometimes “bulkier” males have some trouble with certain challenges. Naturally this is speculative at best but Shamar may have some trouble depending upon that military background. If Shamar tends to have an exaggerated authoritarian role, it may be off putting. Once again, the first tribe boot is a result of either challenge mistakes, overbearing demeanor to the rest of the tribe, health issues and so forth. We will know if Shamar runs into any of those issues right away.
Sherri – age 41 – Idaho: The older/younger woman who can put the young women to shame physically but hopefully act her age. The older woman on a tribe can do extremely well IF they don’t try to act too much like a real mother. Sherri can be the “mentor” to the young girls but mix nicely with the older sect as well and quite a lot of mature women who are physically fit can be quite successful as for some reason they are still not truly viewed as a threat since their male counterparts seem that much more threatening. Thee does not appear to be any major reason to suspect Sherri would be in any immediate danger with her tribe and could conceivably escape the “merger threat boot” since there are physically fit males that would appear more threatening than she could be.
All told, I am not overly impressed with the new contestants either. However, one really cannot know these players until their edit is fleshed out so we may be pleasantly surprised and I do not like to pre-judge based on very limited information.
Please provide any of your wonderful insight and I look forward to reading your entries this season.