Don't you guys miss the early seasons of Survivor? Nowadays, there isn't enough space to put the full title of the season on the header of our posts!
With that being said, Survivor - San Juan del Sur - Blood versus Water is just around the corner so I thought it would be fun to start looking at the people that have been cast for this season.
Last season, the editors surprised us by "hiding" the winner in plain sight. I fell for the "never give up" story that seemed centered around Spencer but, in the end, it was Tony that was saved by an unexpected challenge win by Kass and a last minute stupid decision by Woo. Despite the lucky turn of events, it was still a fun season.
Some will say that I messed up but I have missed obvious winners before, JT and Denise for example. I want to point out that, while I try to discover who will be the Sole Survivor, that isn't the main goal of this thread. What I want to do is have fun with the stories that are being told, the themes that are developped during the season. It's really about discerning the long term players of the season and how their stories evolve from the start. Kass, Spencer, Tasha, Tony and Sarah were the players that we followed through those themes and they were the ones that made it an interesting season.
Jeff says this is a fun cast and the events may prove him right but, from my perspective, most of the players' introduction videos were dull. First of all, it's a very young cast with only 5 players over the age of 35. 9 of them are in their twenties so we already have an indication that the senior citizens of this cast are in trouble. Also, it seems that almost every pair talked about voting out their partner as if this was part of the script that production imposed. Jeff talks so much about the need to make big moves that the equation is easy to understand:
Ratings need big moves +≠ People want to look good on TV = People make big moves because they know that, even if it kills their game, they will get a return invitation. Survivor Blows? Indeed! But we all knew that there wasn't much reality in Reality TV, didn't we?!
With the bashing firmly established, let's look at these DAWS and see if their introduction videos give us an indication of things to come.
John Rocker and Julie Mc Gee
Hopefully, we will get some laughs from ďOff-his-RockerĒ but it will be a surprise if he does better than Kent. The retared pitcher says he will take his clubhouse experience to get along with his tribe mates but that remains to be seen.
Listening to his video, I got the feeling that he talked to a PR expert and was trying to say all the right things but how long can he keep it up? For example, he says he can read people and change his personality to mesh with other but will he be able to do it for 39 days? Or even simply for a week?! He enters the game with the right attitude and his biggest fear is to be voted out first. His athleticism should keep him safe at first but the fear to be voted out could make him do crazy things that would get him voted out first. More likely, I see him going the way of Culpepper; leaving just a few rounds before the merger.
Julie could be in as much trouble as Rachel and Marissa combined in the first BvW! She should be targeted just to prevent John from having an ally at the merger. Or, like Monica, she will have to watch her husband get bashed by his tribe. I doubt that she will be able to take it as well as Monica and turn it to her advantage. Playing with her boyfriend on the other side eliminates a possible flirting strategy. She says she is good at earning trust and John says her social game will be excellent but I donít think Julie will make the merger.
Josh Canfield and Reed Kelly
Like his partner, Josh seems to have a fun personality and it could serve him well to make bonds with others. On the other hand, he could be too much for some of the other members of his tribe. According to Reed, Josh's weakness is a lack of a poker face so that could be fatal on Coyopa, a tribe with many big characters.
I get the feeling that Reed will lack the patience that is needed to play this game. Of course, he could go full tilt for 39 days like Tony just did, but that isnít the usual winning recipe. If he canít stand slow pedestrian and servers, how will he adjust when there is nothing to do for days? He is a big fan of the show so he could make it far in this game. He says he plans to work behind the scene but that generally isnít the first step. He needs to start by making connections in order to be able to do the things he wants to do behind the scenes afterwards. If he canít establish enough connections, then he will be spinning his wheels to no avail.
Drew and Alec Christy
This pair could go down the way of Aras and Vytas in the first evolution of this twist but with a lot less fan appeal. They will be needed at first because of their athleticism but no one will want them to take control at the merger.
Drew is older and he seems to be the true fan in this pair. On the other hand, he says he is there more for the experience than the money contrary to his brother so maybe we will have a Cain and Abel story but with the younger brother wielding the knife.
It was funny to hear Drew say that Alec canít shut up when it was actually the older brother that did most of the talking in their introduction video. I think Alec, the younger brother, the one that will be getting his college degree, has a much better chance to succeed instead of the big-planner, the party animal, Drew. Still, both are unlikely winners.
Missy Payne and Baylor Wilson
It seems that, according to Missy, the world has enough doctors, engineers and scientists so the little girls should all aspire to become Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders. Is it a Texas thing? At least the mom has made a business out of that crap. The daughter looks and sounds like a mindless puppet. People will say that she is still young but being 20 isn't an excuse for being that dumb. I see a spoiled brat that thinks she is better than everyone else.
The only interesting thing I found about them is that they put Missy, the person with the most pet peeves, on the same tribe as Jon, the guy who hates people that have too many of them! I'd love to see Missy start complaining about everyone's idiosyncrasies only to have Jon shut her up. If a conflict erupts between the two and the tribe has to decide between them, the athletic guy should have the advantage.
This pair was probably cast in an attempt to recreate the Laura and Ciera dynamics but I simply donít see it happening. These two practically put me to sleep while watching their 2 minute introduction video so I donít expect anything from them. This dynamic duo wants to make Survivor history by being in the final 3 together! I wouldnít be surprised, or disappointed, if they make history by being the first two voted out. They talk about Baylor winning every challenge? Then they say she isnít good in the water or in puzzles so that, right there, tells us that they are in way over their head.
Wes and Keith Nale
Wes says he will play like Ozzy and Russell which is about the worst combination possible! It tells us that he will become a huge target early on. He does say he understands the importance of the social game which was the downfall of his two idols but will he be able to apply it? I think he will go far only if he becomes someoneís tool.
Keith may have drawn the favorable ticket here by landing on the older tribe. At the very least, he has a chance of avoiding being the first one voted out because Missy could be seen as the weakest. That, however, is predicated on Honeypoo turning into a ďLove-TribeĒ where everyone gets along and they reach a consensus to vote out the weakest. Being teamed up with someone who looks a strong as Wes could hurt him also. I donít give Wes and Keith even the smallest chance of winning this game.
Nadiya and Natalie Anderson
Itís been a while since Iíve watched The Amazing Race regularly but Iím sure they could have cast a more interesting pair than this one. I saw the premiere of their second Amazing Race and it wasnít pretty to say the least. I think Natalie was more rational than her sister. From what I remember, Nadiya wouldnít stop complaining about the wrong decisions that she thought Natalie was making so that should get her in trouble.
I don't give either of the twins a chance to win this game. They are abrasive even to each other so imagine how they will be to people that get on their nerves and there will be people getting on their nerves. I don't think they will be smart players either because they simply don't know the game.
Jon Misch and Jaclyn Schultz
Like Julie, Jaclyn could be in trouble just for being tied to a strong guy. Ex-Beauty queens have had mixed results on the show so will she be like Danni and Amanda or more like Angie and Katie? Time will tell but it doesnít help that she compares herself to Jefra. In fact, it makes me think she only saw the last season and thinks she has the whole thing figured out.
I probably like Jon more than most viewers because he seems very well prepared for this game. I especially liked his answer that his pet peeve is people that have too many pet peeves. Could he be good for a few funny moments? That would be great. He seems to understand the importance of the social game so that could get him far in this game. I also like the fact that he doesnít come in with a pre-planned strategy, a ďready-to-wearĒ game plan. Like he says; you have to let the game develop BUT I hope he doesnít forget the importance of the early alliance.
Dale and Kelley Wentworth
In practically every pair, itís oneís person idea to be on the show, to play this game. In this case, it seems to be Daleís adventure and it sounds more like Kelley is there to accompany him. Unfortunately, he says that he isnít good at the social game so that could end his story fairly quickly. Even if Dale manages to get along with the others and shows that he is a strong worker, his age will cost him the game. Age has always been the biggest divider in this game. Being teamed up with his daughter is an advantage he has over the other older gentleman, Keith, because no one should target him to weaken her game. While farming isnít as demanding these days, it still keeps a man in shape a lot more than a sedentary job. Dale, like other older men, could go far if he survives the early votes but I don't think he will. He'd need a good social game.
Even if this wasnít her idea, Kelley seems to have the right attitude towards this game. She looks like a smart, athletic woman. If she is as good at scrabble and board games as she says, it could help her in some of Survivorís ďMickey-Mouse-challengesĒ. It must be noted that she has probably the worst pet peeves to play Survivor. She says she canít stand people who are either lazy, overconfident or donít stick to their word, so that could easily get her in trouble. However, she says that socializing is her strength so maybe she will find a way to live with the others. Being paired with a non-threat will help her fly under the radar. Kelley has to be considered as a possible winner.
Jeremy and Val Collins
Jeremy could be the surprise of the season. He names JT, James and Tyson as the players heís liked so we know he has watched the show before. Being a firefighter could not only help him get in an alliance with Keith and Wes but it should help him in the more physical challenges. He seems to be a very likeable guy so, hopefully, that will help him early on and not come back to bite him in the butt when the players start eliminating jury threats. His laid-back attitude could also help him if the tribe is doing well and getting along, but it could turn into a problem if they are struggling to win challenges or build a decent shelter. I think Jeremy could win this game.
Police officers have done well in strategy games lately so maybe Val will continue the string. She hates liars though so it makes me wonder if she will think everyone is lying to her. That isnít a bad way to play the game but it can be exhausting. Saying that she compares herself to Monica and Taj doesnít tell us much about her potential game as those two are probably people she liked more than players she would emulate. I was very impressed with her attitude and how she thinks her job will help her. If Jeremy doesnít win, maybe his wife will.