Survivor: Guatemala – A Preview

Coming off a stellar season in Palau that gave us a tribal immunity goose egg, Ian’s colossal brain fart, and of course, Stephanie, we’re heading to Guatemala to play yet another game of Survivor. And aside from the cast, what’s new? Or, more accurately, what’s back? Well, we’re on a continent proper for the first time since Kenya. And we’re back down to the traditional 16 players after bloating to 20 last season.

But Survivor wouldn’t be Survivor without some twists. And CBS has promised not one, but TWO twists to kick the show off. And yes, it does sound more intriguing when Julie Chen doesn’t say it.

However, no matter what kind of twists and turns are planned for the show, the success of a given season lives and dies with it’s contestants. So let’s take a look at the players, and how I think they’ll do on Survivor: Guatemala.

Blue Tribe
Amy O’Hara, 39, Revere, MA (Cop)
If I recall correctly, the last Survivor from metro Boston came in second. But it doesn’t seem to me that she’s another Boston Rob. Her bio notes that Amy’s motivation for being on Survivor is to have the experience of a lifetime – which is never a good sign for a contestant’s chances in the game. She thinks that she can become Sole Survivor because of her persuasiveness and great instincts, but again, she’s just here for the experience.

Brian Corridan, 22, NYC (student)
Brian says that he’s “studied” Survivor for 5 years, which of course worked well for Rob C and Shii Ann. Oh wait, they didn’t win. He thinks his pysch background will help him win, along with his willingness to lie, cheat, steal and flirt. And a quick look at his “favourites” shows that he’s already playing the game. Team games like Cranium. RPGs like Final Fantasy II. Traditional college favourites like Matchbox Twenty. And finally, diverse authors in Christie, Shakespeare and Watterson. This kid is diverse, and I think it is likely to get him far into the game.

Brianna Varela, 21, Ednonds, WA (Retail Sales)
Brianna is another one who doesn’t seem to be here for the money. Rather, she sees Survivor as a challenge and test of her self-will. She’s willing to play it sneaky though, which is a good thing in this game. She also thinks that her creative cooking will be an asset, but I think that it will be her proficiency in securing a final two alliance that determines how far she goes.

Gary Hogeboom, 47, Grand Haven, MI (Ex-NFL QB)
Things seem pretty cut and dry with Gary – he looks to be this season’s Tom analogue. He’s probably a good team player, he’s obviously been a leader, and he looks to be in good enough shape to be an immunity challenge beast. The question here is, will his tribe be willing to keep him around long enough to show it?

Jamie Newton, 24, North Hollywood, CA (Waterski instructor)
Jamie looks to be one of those people that the casting agents plunk onto the show. But it looks like they found a dud this time. Glancing at his favourites and his bio, everything seems bland and generic. He seems like a nice enough guy, but I really don’t think that he’s going to be playing the game for long.

Lydia Morales, 42, Lakewood, WA (Fishmonger)
Lydia is a big fan of Survivor and has never missed an episode. She’s athletic, but doesn’t seem to be a manipulative type. Which will probably make her a fan favourite, but won’t necessarily propel her to the Final Two. So I’d guess that she’ll need to join forces with a guy like Brian to get her there.

Morgan McDevitt, 21, Decateur, IL (Waitress)
Plain and simple, she needs to get into an alliance if she wants to go far. Otherwise, buh-bye.

Rafe Judkins, 22, Providence, RI (student)
Rafe is the third Survivor fanatic on the blue tribe, and the only one that rubs me the wrong way. I find myself hoping that he goes out early, but he’s more likely to be the guy finishing tenth.

Yellow Tribe
Blake Towsley, 24, Dallas (Model)
Blake is apparently “so competitive it’s ridiculous”. He says he’s not the kind of person to plot, scheme and backstab, but he’s also not the type to accept second place. Which is good, because I don’t think he’ll get that far.

Brandon Bellinger, 22, Manhattan, KS (Farmer)
Brandon is your token good ol’ country boy/girl for this season. He’s not a guy who’s going to win the game, but he’ll be valuable to whomever he forms an alliance with. He’ll be carried as far as his alliance can take him, and then dumped at the first opportunity.

Brooke Struck, 26, Hood River, OR (Law Student)
Brooke is athletic, pretty, can handle herself well outdoors, and has a competitive spirit. All of which is an asset in the physical portion of the game – just ask Stephanie. If she can plot and scheme well, she could be a huge force in this game.

Cindy Hall, 31, Naples, FL (Zookeeper)
Cindy’s been a fan since the second season, and applied to be on the show four times, so you know she’s a bit obsessed with the show. In her case, this is a good thing. She should have a good idea of the ins and outs of the game, and this will help her get further in the game than, say, Morgan – if she can reign in her tendency to speak her mind.

Danni Boatwright, 30, Tonganoxie, KS (Sports Radio)
Let’s make no mistake about this – Danni is hot. The question is – will that get her further in the game? I think it will – but it won’t give her the Sole Survivor title. Jury members aren’t swayed by pretty girls at the final Tribal Council, which makes her a good Final Two candidate, but not a winner.

Jim Lynch, 63, Northglenn, CO (retired Fire Captain)
Jim is your Token Old Person for the show, and probably the analogue to Gary on the Yellow Tribe. He seems nice enough, but traditionally speaking the youngest and oldest tribe members don’t win the game. I’m thinking that his survival in this game will hinge on the older folk teaming up to drive out the younger tribemates, but that won’t keep him from eventually getting voted out.

Judd Sergeant IV, 34, Ridgefield, NJ (Doorman)
Judd for some reason reminds me of Ken Hudson Campbell, “Lust” from Herman’s Head. He says that he can “read and see through people”, but I have a feeling that this New Yorker could irritate people and end up a
older guy, could form alliance with Jim and Margaret

Margaret Bobonich, 43, Chardon, OH (Family Nurse Practitioner)
Sure, Margaret is a fan of Survivor, but really, she doesn’t seem like the type to be on Survivor. I don’t see her getting very far.

Out Before Merge:
Blake
Jamie
Jim
Judd
Margaret
Morgan
Rafe

Jury:
Amy
Brandon
Brianna
Brooke
Cindy
Danni
Gary

Final Two:
Brian
Lydia

Sole Survivor:
Brian