Brain Spill: Optimism For The Hopeless

Some parting words never sounded so good. They were so articulate, full of surprise, yet lacking disappointment. It was almost as if they were meant as a complement, suggesting to those bastards who voted you out “You got me! Good job.”

I’m of course talking about Jamie. I like the guy now. Not only is his scumbag ass out of the jungle, but the way he went out was pure classic and classy. “Blindsided! NICE! Now THAT’S how you vote someone out!” With those words, he redeemed himself to a certain extent, which I will talk about later.

But more importantly, Jamie enters the hall of fame of parting wounds, joining such memorable sayings as Jerri Manthey’s Outback oust: “checkmate!” and Richard Hatch’s All Star exit: “I’ve been bamboozled!” Jerri’s quote came as she was the first ever victim of the non-Pagong – meaning her allies simply did not want her around anymore. Richard’s case was different, as the King of All That Is Survivor was on the chopping block; who wouldn’t pounce on the opportunity to vote his naked ass out? Screw alliances and all that gobbledygook, you’re playing for spite and bragging rights. If Richard beats you, he’ll never shut up… still.

I don’t know if it’s the excitement of Jamie “Unit of Force” Newton being voted out, or the constant stream of legal stimulants running through my blood vessels, but I’m pumped to get this column going. I’ve got so much energy to just tackle any obstacle the difficult, painstaking art of writing a column might throw at me. I’ll get my headband to prevent sweat dripping off onto my keyboard.

The problem is, however, for the third consecutive week, I don’t really have much to say. And this week I have no excuse, so I have nothing to blame my suckiness on.

So I’ going to share somethign else on my brain about Survivor.

You know how in Palau at this time in the series, several things we’re going on? You had the person everyone wants to win but is severely outnumbered, and is nothing more than a sentimental favorite. And then you had the really skinny young guy who had athletic ability, but had you convinced that he was truly mentally handicapped. Then you have the person who isn’t as likeable as many others, yet sorta is in their own way, and is just screaming to be Final Two bait. Then you’ve got the person who tries so hard to be part of something, and you almost feel sorry for her because she’s so oblivious to the world (and you dislike her because she’s not much more than a waste of space). Of course, there’s the person who’s bound for final four just because she’s accomplishing nothing and therefore won’t stick out, yet at the same time is on the outer fringes of an alliance. And then of course, you have the star of the show, who’s clearly destined to win the whole game, and every episode becomes another “yep, no one has voted them out yet, nor will they.” Well in case you didn’t notice those personality types in Palau, they were all there at this stage in the game, and (holy crap, a parallel!) they’re back for another go-round in Guatemala.

Last season, those above characters were played by the following real people, respectively: Stephenie LaGrossa, Ian Rosenberger, Katie Gallagher, Caryn Groedel, Jenn Lyon, and Tom Westman. This year, CBS has decided to recycle the same characters, but have different people fill the shoes. This year, they’re humbly portrayed by, respectively: Gary Hogeboom, Rafe Judkins, Judd Sergeant, Cindy Hall, Lydia Morales, and Stephenie LaGrossa. Go back and look at the character traits I gave you, and try to argue with me. The similarities are borderline disgusting. The only people I couldn’t relate to each other are Gregg Carey and Danni Boatwright. I guess the fact that they’re both hot.

Anyway, the point I’m making is that last season had these charactertypes, such that from this point of the game onward, anyone could pretty much predict what was going to happen in any given week. It became stale, to the point where you really only watched it because you had spent so much time working up to the end, you had to stay for the ending for purposes of closure. I have a feeling that is going to be the case for this year.

So what are we, as fans, supposed to do? Surely, the simplest way is to keel over and accept defeat, thus admitting that the season is beyond hope. In other words, detach yourself so that when the season’s over, you can look back and blame the whole season for being bad. And I gotta admit, I’ve done that myself in the past (Thailand and All Stars, to name a few. But in my defense, those seasons were doomed from the beginning, so I had nothing to do with it). So if you’re like many people, you can take this road, stop rooting for who you like, ie, Danni and Gary, since they’re most likely doomed, and come to terms with the fact that a Stephenie/Judd Final Two is looking less and less impossible. Also this way, since you’ve cut a couple ties with your favs of Danni and Gary, their inevitable boot isn’t such a hard pill to swallow.

Now that would be a realist’s approach. But on the opposite end of the spectrum, you have the idealist’s approach: keep rooting for your favorites despite all odds, and hope that something, just something, comes along to rescue them. All the time, you’re constantly worrying whether or not they’re going to make it, sitting on the edge of your seat, cheering at every non-affirmative vote to boot them. And when/if the time finally does come, you’re bummed because your player is out. And then you end up eating a whole quart of blackberry ice cream by yourself while listening to Norah Jones.

Okay… fine… vanilla… and Ryan Cabrera.

So the dilemma. Normally, I try to be realistic because that’s how life usually ends up. But come on, would life really be all that good if you always knew what you were doing and where you were going? I didn’t think so. I say live a little, and bet on the longshot! As of right now, I am officially not denouncing my faith in Danni. You know what, I hope she goes and kicks all their asses! So there! And before you say “Oh that never happens on Survivor,” just remember that this exact time last year (Thanksgiving) my favorite player EVER was in an even worse situation in Vanuatu: One man, outnumbered by six females. All they have to do is vote him out and the women’s alliance thing works! Wait a sec, that’s right; Chris not only helped turn the tides that episode, but he did it such that he ended up being the Sole Survivor. Ah, I love an underdog. Go get ’em Danni; I’ll still be cheering for you and your gorgeous long legs and stunning good looks.

And no, I’m not that way; just jealous.

And with that, time for the rundown. Not many changes to it this week, simply because I think this past week was a small wrinkle in the tablecloth that is… the Nakum Plan! (creepy pipe organ heard, followed by a wolf howling). In other words, regardless of what may be potentially going on at Xhakum this next week, it’s back to business as usual, and they’re going to resume pecking order.

In memoriam:

18- Jim Lynch
17- Morgan McDevitt
16- Brianna Varela
15- Brooke Struck
14- Blake Towsley
13- Margaret Bobonich
12- Brian Corridan
11- Amy O’Hara
10- Brandon Bellinger.
*Loser’s Lounge Update* The Loser’s Loungers decided to have a celebrity lookalike contest to compete for individual time in the spa. Fourth place went to Brandon, for going as Cowboy David Spade. Third went to Amy, as SNL’s Ana Gasteyer. First was neck and neck, between Morgan as a young Morgan Fairchild, and Jim as Jimmy Carter. Of course, these two not only looked like their celebrities, but also had the same first name, so it was wicked hard to decide. The crowd supported Morgan as the winner, not because of similarities, but because Jim admitted he would fart in the spa and pass it off as “the normal bubbles”.
Jury Junction:

9- Bobby Jon Drinkard.

8- Jamie Newton (7). Can you believe that I started a column kissing this guy’s ass? It’s true, because he’s G-O-N-E!!! Let me add a few more exclamation points: !!!!!!!!!!. I don’t have anything to say, really. Except this: Jamie went the whole season being class-less, and now he gets lots of credit for taking his boot like a man and a good sport. And now he’s on the jury. Provided he’s not a juror who’s bitter that “I wanted to win toooooooo!” (ie, all of Palau jury), Jamie will have come close to completely making amends. Nice turnaround, Jamie.

7- Gary Hogeboom (8). I still have to put Gary at the bottom, as much as it pains me. Basically, the secret is out about him, and he needs to get removed soon before he causes trouble. Yes, Steph did have a little heart-to-heart with Gary, but I think all it did was secure her another jury vote. This past week was an asterisk, and it’s back to business at Xhakum this week, by kicking off Yaxha. Or so I think. I sure hope not.

6- Cindy Hall (6). If Gary wins Immunity, Nakum may not be ready to get rid of Danni yet. So that leaves Cindy “Holy Crap She Almost Did Something Cool This Week in a Challenge But Not Really” Hall. Still no vibes (note: that line has been copied/pasted from a previous column, said in regard to Cindy).

5- Danni Boatwright (5). If Gary does win Immunity, Danni has to worry. But Immunity is one in seven (by the math), so that means there’s an 86% chance Gary won’t have it. So that means there’s an 86% chance MY STILL FAVORITE PLAYER will remain in the game for another week. Don’t count her out yet.

4- Lydia Morales (4). She was included in a decision this week, which shows that she is in some sort of circle. Whodathunkit? No reason whatsoever to drop her, yet not enough reason to promote her.

3- Judd Sergeant (2)
2- Rafe Judkins (3)
I’m grouping these guys together because they are the only switch in the rundown, albeit a very small one. I had to drop Judd slightly because he was not part of votine Jamie out, which COULD signal that he’s out of the loop. Also, I had to promote Rafe a little for winning Immunity again, as well as being an integral part of booting Jamie. He’s learning not to listen to his heart, which means he’s a good player. However, all that said about these gents, I still stand by my prediction last week as to where they’ll finish. Judd’s slight slip this week will amount to probably nothing, and I expect him to be at #2 next week.

1- Stephenie LaGrossa (1). Third week in a row for Steph at the top spot. No reason to drop her at all. She’s sitting totally pretty, complete with allies who have no clue what kind of stranglehold she has on them, and jurors (current and future) who worship her. Any potential coup to get rid of Steph would have to happen NOW. And I think if Gary was going to go after anyone, it’d be Judd at this point, not Steph. Plus Steph’s got Judd (who will come crawling back to her), and Lydia and Rafe. Rafe may be targeted to get rid of Steph, but I don’t think he’ll be able to go through with it. So going with the odds, it looks like Steph to win.

So that’s it for me again. It’s nice to have a column done on time for once. As always, I leave open the invitation to share your brain with me via email. I usually respond promptly. To all of you who emailed me last week, even David, I got an abnormally high amount of mail, and I had no time to even check it before Thursday last week, let alone respond to it. But thank you for emailing me; I do appreciate your thoughts.

Remember, miracles can happen on Thanksgiving. Just ask millionaire Chris Daugherty. With that in mind, GO DANNI!

Until next time, when we share our experiences about getting trampled in the mall by crazy Black Friday Shoppers, stay cool.


Join our newsletter

never miss the latest news, reviews, live event coverage, audio podcasts, exclusive interviews and commentary for Movies, TV, Music, Sports, Comics, Video Games!