Well, well, well. We’ve reached a time in our Inside Pulse lives to welcome a new member to the team. So let’s do the awkward introductions, so we can put it behind us.
First off, hello. My name’s Dora. Hopefully you figured that out when you clicked the link. I’ll give you a brief bio about myself. I’m 20 years old. I’m a college student, originally from Upstate New York. I got this column because I’m a lot like you: I’m a smart person who knows how to talk about television, and wants to share my brain with you (not in the Hannibal Lechter way). Note that I’m not just sucking up to the audience by calling you guys smart; I truly believe that watching TV, especially reality, actually makes you smarter.
So now that you know who I am, I’ll let you know how I’m going to run my column. Basically, I’m allowed to talk about whatever I want, so long as lines aren’t crossed, I am master of my own domain. And I don’t mess around with crap, either. If you’re scared already, you can leave. Hopefully, you’ll press on; I think you may like it. I have most of my credentials in the vast field of reality TV. I would consider myself an expert on the good reality TV shows (ie, the ones on CBS). September makes me warm all over, due to Big Brother ending and Survivor and The Amazing Race starting up again. That’s pretty much how I’m going to organize this column. I’ll mix it up once in a while, so don’t worry.
Now let’s get to the good stuff. Survivor starts up next week, and who isn’t excited? Well sure, there’s millions of people (perhaps even billions) who aren’t excited, but they’re not reading this. So let’s be immature and talk about them while they’re not here. (whispers are heard, followed by two seconds of silence, then more whispering. Some dork whispers loudly “boobies,” and the rest of us shush him quickly.)
(The same dork is still laughing, even though it’s been thirty seconds)
But that’s the beauty of the column; dorks are welcome. It took me awhile to realize it, but a few years ago, I had to admit that even I am a dork. You’ll figure that one out real quick.
So let’s dive into the analysis of the new cast of Survivor: Guatemala. I stress the word ‘new,’ because you’ve hopefully seen the commercials, and you know one twist. But like dessert, a) it’s sweet, and b) we’ll save it for later.
I’m gonna go first into appearances, since all first impressions about people are totally correct. My mom used to say “you can learn a lot about people based solely on appearance.” Of course, my mom is a superficial supermodel, and would no have no association with ugly people. Which leads me to my next two points: 1) I’m better and prettier than you, and 2) Superficial Supermodel sounds like a CLASSIC Fox reality TV program. Can’t wait till Fall ’06!
These judgments are based solely on looks, and the three-line bio on the CBS website. To keep this fair, I won’t read their bio until after I complete this section of the column. Granted I know you’ve already jumped the gun, but I’ll lead you through my train of thought. I’ll go further into their bio, as well as impressions about how they’ll fare, later in the column. These, when combined, will provide you with a holistic approach to the game, so that you can use my advice/skills, and make bets with your friends. My advice is free, and even IF I’m perhaps slightly off, you get your money back.
It’s win-win for everyone involved.
Without further ado:
Amy- First off, it’s nice to see Amy spell her name correctly, unlike that bitch from Vanuatu. And you know what gets me about Ami from Vanuatu? At the final Tribal Council, she voted for ‘Twyla.’ Sorry Ami, not everyone misspells their name. About this Amy, she’s a police sergeant, eh? She sounds like maybe she’s tough. But that smile! And she looks like SNL’s own Ana Gasteyer. If this Amy can talk about Schwetti Balls on NPR like Ana did, then she’s golden.
Blake- Ah, a pretty boy. And he’s a model! (It reminds me of in Shrek 2, how Fiona’s dad says “Ah, on ogre from a swamp! How original!”) Not much to say about him, other than he looks like a soap opera star, and has the name, to boot. It’s always hard to tell how pretty boys will fare, as they’re either booted early on account of being oblivious, or kept around for the exact same reason.
Brandon- My INITIAL impression was a surfer dude who spends so much time in the sun that he becomes a congealed mess of sunscreen and salt water. Obviously, he’s not; he’s a farmer from Kansas. Talk about a curveball being thrown at me. Maybe he can play the surfer dude card, then totally upstage everyone in the 4-H Immunity challenge.
Brian- An Ivy League Student. Gotta throw the old Ivy League in there. He needs to make sure that everyone knows that he’s better than them, right from the get-go. That and his ears just make me want to laugh at him. But I can always appreciate someone who shows his hand from the start, regardless of what others may think. Isn’t that how Richard Hatch won?
Brianna- Ladies and gentlemen, we have a bombshell. Look at her, and you can see someone who is not messing around. She’s playing the Jenna Morasca card, and letting her looks shine, and everyone else can just bow down to her. Watch out for her. She’s a make-up artist (ie, she works at the Lancome booth at Macy’s), so her lack of a real job could mean that she needs money.
Brook- Looks only, she’s very pretty, but not made up to be pretty. This is one cat who might actually still look good after 39 days of no makeup, showering, or armpit shaving. What an asset to have. And to add to it, she’s a law student. This means she knows what she’s doing. Lawyers may not have the best Survivor outcomes, but no one can deny that lawyers have so much psychology under their belt. Remember the way Caryn tore apart Ian last season? Granted it didn’t work for her, but it did ultimately lead to Ian being the bad guy, to the point where he was so “morally torn” that he quit the final IC. Someday, I’ll share my true feelings on this, because I think it’s BS. But enough about that, Brook LOOKS like she has what it takes.
Cindy- I like her already, simply because she spells her name correctly. She looks like a gym teacher – great shape, and doesn’t put up with a lot of crap. This could get her in trouble, but she does have a certain charm about her. And she’s a zookeeper – an admirable occupation. She may be a unique one keep an eye on.
Danni- So much for everyone with properly spelled names. I hate how all streaks need to be broken. I’m assuming her name is Danielle, but Danni does have more appeal. She’s way too beautiful for Survivor. But she does host a sports show. That’s going to have an effect with her male tribemates. A hot woman talking about sports? All she needs is beer-opening skills, and she’ll go down as the hottest, most man-admired woman in Survivor history.
Gary- He’s an ex-NFL quarterback. Although, he must not have been TOO good since I never heard of him, and neither did my dad. One thing I do like about him is that he lists his old occupation and his new one. As opposed to only revealing to the public that he used to be a pro athlete, he also says how he spends his time now. That, and he just looks like the typical “Dad” (slightly reminiscent of Palau’s Tom Westman). He could go far, especially because he’s physical, but due to his age, probably not a huge target.
Jamie- Who’s he fooling with his hair? Cut it, then we’ll talk about you in Survivor.
Jim- Okay, he looks like Jimmy Carter, and his first name is Jim. Only the ages don’t match up. Maybe Jimmy Carter is going through a three-quarters life crisis, and needs an adventure to ‘stay fresh and alive.’ Although a Nobel Peace Prize might not be a prime personal luxury item. About this Jim, you never know. He could be kept because he’s not up to it, or kicked out because, well, he’s the old guy. But I’d bet on the latter.
Judd- I was expecting his job to be ‘country boy” or something of the like. Nope, he’s the guys who opens the door for you at a (I’m assuming classy) hotel. Who knows about this guy? Appearances only, he looks like he might be different enough to cause trouble.
Lydia- She looks like a sweetie. Of course she is a fishmonger. I can remember in high school, we read Hamlet. And my teacher laughed out loud when we got to the part where Hamlet calls Polonius a fishmonger. She explained how he insults him by suggesting he’s a prostitute. I doubt Lydia does that, but at least we know she’s got some financial backing if Survivor doesn’t pan out as she hoped.
Margaret- Being away at college, I miss my mom a little bit. It’s nice to know that I can get my weekly dose of mom this season of Survivor by watching Margaret in action. That’s the best I can judge her – the mom.
Morgan- Like Brianna, this one’s a pistol. But this one looks sneakier. Look at that mischievous smile on her cute face. She’s up to something. I have a feeling that she’ll either be scheming her way all to the million, with everyone oblivious to her plan, or she’ll get caught red-handed, and be booted promptly. I don’t see her blending into the scenery either. With looks like hers, she KNOWS that everyone will be watching her, so she might as well go all out and kick their asses. She will be fun to watch.
Rafe- I’m torn. He’s got the pretentious “I go to a better school than you, thus I’m better than you” bio (although, if you want to fight about it, we’ll see who’s really the winner when I have a job at 25, instead of being a starving full-time grad-student with a useless English degree from Brown. Zing!). But Rafe does have the look of a champ. He exudes this Greg Buis vibe, and who didn’t love him? He even looks like Greg. I’m going to overlook the Ivy League thing, and pick him as a good guy. That’s the way Greg would have wanted it.
And so, that’s the way they look. Now to delve further into who they really are, and see how it may affect their game.
Amy- Amy is the first female sergeant in her city’s history. Good for her. She Also used to be (I had to read it twice) a professional football player. Hmm. Her favorites are okay, but she only lists reality TV programs under TV. This says a lot about her. It shows she’s smart. She may have trouble in the game, because she describes herself as a motivator. Alicia Calaway was a motivator too. Note how she didn’t win, even after two trials. Amy’s going to have to separate being in charge at home from Survivor. If she can, she may fare well.
Blake- Here comes Blake. The only reason I knew that was because he made sure his presence was known well before he showed up. Yep, Blake is “That Guy.” I think I’m going to call Blake ‘That Guy’ until he proves me otherwise. His favorite color is camouflage. Not a color, but a design. My favorite color is not ‘checkerboard.’ Also, he lists WAY too many favorites for everything. Pick something you like and stick to it. He says he likes kissing. Folks, please hold your eye roll till the end. He also says he’s been ‘president of every organization he’s been a part of.’ Now you may roll your eyes in unison. One, two, three… Yes, That Guy has been president of four organizations in his life. Wow. Your merit badge is in the mail. IF That Guy wants to make it past the first boot, he’s gonna have to check everything at the door.
Brandon- Less is more. I did note how he loves National Geographic, and is fascinated by travel. This struck me kinda funny, being that he is from rural Kansas. He did list only one favorite for many categories, meaning he’s decisive. He may plan the Big Tom Buchanan card, and take a lot of people by surprise by his brains (which, he does play RPGs, games where you have to plan everything out way ahead of time). Brandon looks like he may be a contender.
Brian- Good news for you Blake (aka That Guy) fans out there. There is one person who I will pick on even more than Blake. Which brings me to Brian. To give him the benefit of the doubt, he does like Zoolander, an incredibly AWESOME movie, so he’s not a total loser. First off, the Ivy League thing. Then no booze. His accomplishments go on forever. Brian, this is not a resume, it’s Survivor. Tell us something interesting about yourself. He then says his hero is his sister, because, get this, she ‘rose above her juvenile diabetes to become the captain and star player of her high school field hockey team.’ Diabetes; that’s it?! My Dad has Diabetes. You know what that means? It means diet soda, eating smart, and checking your blood a couple times a day. Diabetes is something you live with, not a mindblowing obstacle. Hell, Diabetes might even help people in the long run. If his sister had one leg and did all that, I’d be proud. To make him worse, Brian says he would never check his ethics at the door. Dear God. One of these people again? When will they learn that they are allowed to watch Survivor before being on it? He’s asking for an early exit.
Brianna- Well I was right; she’s a booth operator for a makeup company in a department store. Her favorites include no alcohol or even cookies. How can anyone not worship cookies? Also, she likes ‘mustard and carrots,’ an odd combo if you ask me. But I’m not here to judge (chuckle). She says she’ll use cooking to gain people’s favor. Not sure how to make seven course meals using coconuts and salt water, but good luck. I’m still sticking that she CAN be up to something, and surprise people.
Brooke- Likes Lucky Charms and Bud Light. Attractive. Young. Lawyer with life experience. Describes self as problem solver and creative. Lack of flaws only points in the direction of success. That is all.
Cindy- Maybe I was wrong about her. Things aren’t adding up. I think she thought she’d get on the casting department’s good side by putting all CBS shows on her application. She puts ‘yard work’ as a favorite outdoor activity (one of many, which also shows that she likes everything, and could be all over the place). She has a twin, which means she could have experience fighting with those she’s close to. Those aforementioned are all okay, but it takes a turn for the worse. She has an ‘easily ignited fuse’ and she will ‘fight for her beliefs.’ Ooh. Not to sound too much like Bill Lumbergh from Office Space, but yeah, … I’m gonna have to go ahead and ask you,… You get the point; she may struggle.
Danni- Another Lucky Charms fan. It says a lot about a grown up who can admit to loving a kid’s cereal, similarly to a grown up who loves cartoons. She has beauty pageant experience, placing second in the Miss USA contest in 1996. If you didn’t believe me when I said she was beautiful, now do you? Despite this pedestal, she’s seemingly down to earth. She loves sports and country music. All she needs is the right guy to wrap around her finger, and she’s set. I give her a good showing.
Gary- I said a lot about Gary earlier, and I stand by it. He looks like a destined leader-role character (and being a QB, the leader of the team, certainly helps this). And the fact that he isn’t living in the past says that he is living in the now. He’s alert. He’s a huge outdoors fan, and perhaps an even bigger dad. It worked for Tom last time. If Gary can take the respected leader role, he should be all set. That may mean not taking full control. But if he can do just that, he could do well. We’ll see how it plays out.
Jamie- Maybe I was wrong about him too. He was an extra on All My Children. Don’t know exactly what that means, just an observation. He’s another twin, so I’m sure he has more experience than your ordinary brothers. He’s realistic; for him, the million dollars would be used for college debt and for his mom. He’s honest about his winnings. The best part about him is that he doesn’t have a lot of favorites, and has a short bio. I’m going to go out on a limb and say this is for a reason, not because he’s dull. This means he’s decisive, and not showing his hand. This could be great, or it could mean he’s not a team player. But I’d side with the former. If he cuts his hair, he has potential.
Jim- He’s a retired fire captain. He seems like one of these older guys who’s starting to do the things he’s wanted to do all his life. He’s traveled a lot, and Survivor is another notch on his adventure belt. So he’s in it for the fun; winning is secondary. About his gameplay, it’s hit or miss. He’s either one of the first people to leave because he’s older, or he’s final four because people respect him and trust him. It worked for Rudy; it didn’t for Sonja. Not much middle ground for Jim.
Judd- He’s not only the guy who opens the door for you at the hotel, but he also asks “how was your stay” as you leave. Another twin. What an odd coincidence. He seems to me like one of those people who spends evenings watching TV all night and drinking beer. But don’t dismiss him yet. He works in NYC, which means he knows how to shut people down the correct way. He does not mess around. And he’s got a daughter, so you better believe he’ll do what it may take to get that money. I sense a lot of determination from Judd, as well as physical toughness, which may be his ticket to the cash.
Lydia- I’m still on the fishmonger thing. Lydia does not look like a Times Square lady, so I’ll stop at that. She lists her personality as a strength. With some of the losers in this cast, it’s good to see someone admitting to a personality. It looks like it would come in handy, since she does not look like a physical powerhouse. She was raised in a military family, so she’s got experience. But her downfall: she likes Rupert. Now before you X out of this page, let me finish. I like Rupert a lot, and I even got the chance to meet him. He is a great guy. But the reason she likes Rupert is because he was hard-working, friendly, etc. It’s tough to look past that. She may be nice, but may be one early boot whose video after being voted out shows her naively saying “I thought I was a nice person, and they liked me.” She MAY be in trouble for this one reason.
Margaret- Hey mom, send more money! Two days later, there’s a check in the mailbox for $40. This is the type of person Margaret seems like. One of those great moms who’ll do whatever for her kids. Keep in mind I called her out as a mom before reading her bio. Margaret is destined for the Mom Role. Good for her. Her job is a Family Nurse Practitioner. So she helps sick people. And if that wasn’t enough, she sometimes does it FOR FREE. She’s from Upstate New York. She loves Frosted Flakes. The bonus points are going through the roof. She looks like she’s in great physical shape for Survivor. She also loves going on adventure vacations. Margaret seems like a person who is going to have fun doing Survivor, who the public will love, and will fare very well.
Morgan- Morgan knows exactly what’s going on. She was in National Honor Society in high school (not too shabby), also in a sorority in college. She’s smart and beautiful. She loves Coldplay, a big plus in my book. And she enjoys Dove chocolate, another wise choice. She’s got a lot to offer. A magician’s assistant by trade, she knows how to perform and work her magic (har!). I already said that she looks like she’s going to cause trouble behind her beautiful smile. She even describes herself as ‘conniving but sweet.’ Watch her very closely, as she could be performing a trick on the Survivors that they don’t even know about.
Rafe- Just looking at him, he looks like he is skilled in the distribution of BS. He’s got the smirk going on. Although I tore him a new one because of Ivy League status, I’m ignoring that (By the way, I don’t harbor animosity toward Ivy League schools. It’s not like I have rejection from them. I’m just sharing my observations about these people). Rafe is a big outdoorsy type person, which means Survivor may be great for him. The one thing I see as a potential obstacle is that he’s a Mormon. He MAY have trouble making some immoral decisions that Survivor requires. Of course, if he’s smart, he’ll pull a Neleh, use that as a shield, make said decisions, and laugh as he beats everyone.
Sooooo….. what does all of this mean? Not much really. All I can do is give you judgments based on what they chose to reveal about themselves. You never know what’s going to happen once they reach the island. We don’t know the tribes, if there are any. It’s hard to say how things are going to be run. So I’m going to leave it at that for now, since anything else would be in vain anyways.
When I first found out about the cast, I saw CBS advertised “16 New Survivors,” even though at the finale of Palau, they advertised 18 new Survivors. And I was all ready to write at length the possible twists, etc with that. But then I saw that they didn’t falsely advertise. They said 16 NEW Survivors. They furthered that by adding that two former Survivors were joining this cast.
Okay CBS, now you’ve made it better.
I can’t help but think that this would put the former Survivors at a huge deficit. What bigger targets could be implemented than these? True, former winners, but still. If I were on the island, I would not want these people back on. But then again, who better to have on your side than people you know won’t win? You get to the final two and say “he already had his chance, give me the cash.” Then the team carries you out of the Final Tribal Council on their shoulders, and you fan yourself with a handful of 100’s.
So who could it be? I know there were a lot of people from All Stars who are extremely memorable, and people would love to see them again. And I couldn’t agree more.
If they were on All Stars, that means they’ve already done this twice. Two is more than enough. And no previous winners, even though I loved Chris and Brian. I hope it’s two good people who were great TV personalities. They’d have to be from a recent season, so they’re fresh in people’s minds. Here’s some people who I’d like to see back: Johnny Fairplay, Sarge Majors, Sean Rector, Bobby Jon Drinkard, Eliza Orlins, Stephenie LaGrossa, Helen Glover, Darrah Johnson, or even Scout Cloud Lee. That’s some people I like. If I had to guess who it’s be (And I don’t believe in Survivor spoilers, so I truly have no clue), I’m going to say Stephenie and Fairplay. That sounds like two memorable people that the public would like to have back. Although I thought Fairplay had a restraining order filed against him by Jeff Probst. Who knows.
So I’m going to leave my thoughts where they are, until the premier next week. Then we’ll figure out how this game’s going to work, and take it from there. I’ll leave you with the rankings of how I think the contestants will fare. This isn’t a boot order, just their probability of winning based on what I think:
16- Brian Corridan. Too naive for this game. Sorry.
15- Blake Towsley. That Guy has small chance at this game. He’ll announce his presence, list what he’s done, then add “didn’t even make the jury on Survivor Guatemala” to his resume.
14- Cindy Hall. I really liked her, until I read on. If she can check her pride at the door, and learn to shut up (which seems unlikely, as even she said so), she could do well. But I don’t think it’s gonna happen.
13- Jim Lynch. Jim is at either end of the success spectrum. I put him at this end just because Willard was early to go last season. Hopefully I might be wrong.
12- Lydia Morales. No real reason for her being this low. Nothing stands out for her in my book. She looks like she’ll be fun to watch. The only reason she’s not higher up is the Rupert comment.
11- Brianna Varela. One of the bombshells will do well in this game, and one will get caught. I’m betting that Morgan is on the good end of the stick, and Brianna takes the fall.
10- Amy O’Hara. I did these rankings from both sides, taking the best and the worst, and working my way to the middle. They met at #10, and Amy was the only one left. I like her chances, but “motivation” only goes so far.
9- Rafe Judkins. Another person who may go far. I’m only worried about the Mormon thing. A few Mormons stopped over this weekend and talked to my roommate. They’re all good people, but nice guys often finish last. This may be the case for Rafe.
8- Danni Boatwright. I really only see two or three people who may be potentially threatened by Danni’s outstanding good looks, so it probably won’t be a factor. I think she may surprise some people.
7- Judd Sergeant. A New Yorker with determination; watch out.
6- Jamie Newton. I dismissed him too early. I think he’s in good shape, and he’ll be sneaky. This is great unless he gets caught.
5- Margaret Bobonich. Okay, I put Mom at #5. I just like her. I think people on the show will too, so long as she can bake killer cookies while driving a minivan.
4- Gary Hogeboom. He’s literally at fourth down (on the list). That was purely coincidental. Mom and Dad are 5th and 4th, respectively. I think Gary will fit right in great with whoever’s he’s with, and take them far.
3- Brandon Bellinger. Brandon really surprised me. I wrote him off, then delved further, and found out that he may not be easily dismissible. All it takes is for fellow castaways to write him off, and there he is, showing his skills all the way to the end. I have faith in him.
2- Morgan McDevitt. ‘Conniving but sweet.’ This has success written all over it. If she doesn’t get caught between sides, we will see her for awhile.
1- Brooke Struck. I’m a girl, and I’m in love with her. Dr. Struck can easily strike, and take this game by storm. And one of her favorite shows is Newlyweds. A lawyer with personality: a likeable liar. That’s exactly what you need to win Survivor. Right now, she’s my pick.
And this concludes my first column. It took several hours for me to write, and thank you for reading it. I liked doing it, and look forward to many more. I’m pretty sure I’ll be here every Tuesday.
In the mean time, I need fan mail. Drop me a quick email to say hi. Also, I’m thinking of a line to conclude all my columns with (like ‘ “See” you next week’). Any ideas, send them my way.