Jeff Probst's Blog
Posted 25 February 2011 - 02:57 AM
Survivor Redemption Island Episode 2 blog 2/23/11
by jeff.probst on February 24, 2011
The rain at tribal came out of nowhere. It's going to happen a lot this season. Thankfully tribal is covered otherwise they would have been drenched. The rain was, as Matt said, literally blowing sideways. If you know me at all, you know I LOVE it when it rains. The harder the better.
Posted 25 February 2011 - 12:26 PM
Posted 03 March 2011 - 07:51 AM
Survivor: Redemption Island – Episode 3 Blog 3/2/11
Historic Moments in time:
Jan. 10th , 1935 Canned Beer invented
May 6th, 1954 – First Sub-Four Minute Mile
July 20th, 1969 – Apollo 11 lands on the moon
March 2nd, 2011 – Russell Hanz voted out of Survivor: Redemption Island
Survivor fans all over the world will no doubt remember this day for decades, and if science hurries up, perhaps centuries to come. Those that missed the episode will no doubt tell their kids years from now, "I was there. I remember it like it was yesterday. Sitting on the couch and yelling at the TV." And Russell Hanz will no doubt be telling this story to his grand kids, "I was so good they had to purposefully lose a challenge to get rid of me!"
After back to back seasons during which he was never voted out, lasting the entire 78 days, Russell Hanz finally met a tribe he couldn't control.
Russell Hanz is gone.
More on that later…
THE FIRST EVER REDEMPTION ISLAND DUEL
More history was made as Matt and Francesca squared off in the first ever Redemption Island duel.
We decided to use smaller versions of previous challenges as the duels because we knew they worked and we didn't want any risks when it came down to a one-on-one duel.
LETTING THE TRIBE WATCH
The decision to let two members of each tribe watch was made just a few days before we began. That was Mark Burnett's call. He was right. It created yet another layer by separating the tribe. The two people at the duel have valuable information but in exchange for it, they're away from camp where alliances can shift quickly. The opposite is true for those left at camp. Information is king in this game so anytime you can create a situation in which some people have the info and others don't, you increase your chances for great reality.
The idea for the Redemption Island Arena came early in the process but the design and execution of the Arena was still mind blowing. The first time I walked into the half finished Arena I knew it was going to be a good season. The creative team that is our Survivor Art Department really hit it out of the park with this one. They created a ruin that looks as though it has been there for hundreds of years. It was built small enough to remain intimate but large enough to accommodate our cameras. It is one of my favorite builds of all time. What will they do next year?!
PRIOR TO THE DUEL
From a producing point of view we were certainly nervous before the first duel. Remember, this is a massive format change. Survivor had worked just fine for 21 seasons and now we are changing everything. This was our first test of the twist that we had pinned the entire season around – would the duel work?
From a drama point of view we couldn't ask for me. I really thought Francesca was going to win. She was ahead so quickly that it appeared over. But Matt never panicked. Not for a moment. He continued to take his time and re-work his stick until he had it just right and then he went on a tear and made history, winning the first ever Redemption Island duel.
Matt is now the guy to beat on RI and if he can continue to win, Matt will get a chance to come back into this game..
The possible threat of Matt returning is already causing Rob major stress. You saw him trying to soothe Andrea, but I don't think she was buying it. If Matt gets back in the game and Andrea is still around, there will be trouble.
LYING TO RUSSELL
I'm guessing so many of you were finding a lot of joy when Zapatera lied to Russell about who lost at the first duel. It does seem fitting that everything Russell had done to others for two seasons is now being done to him.
What is most fascinating to me is the justification of ethics. My most favorite topic. When someone is taking an action that "we" support then it's awesome, it's fantastic, it's brilliant. But when it's someone that "we" don't like taking the same action, they're a villain, a loser, untrustworthy. I'm just sayin… the Zapatera tribe is acting as dickish to Russell as Russell has acted to his tribemates in the past. Is one action more acceptable than another?
STEPHANIE & RUSSELL
Stephanie is no joke. She is a player. She's smart and she's feisty. Her idea for a fake idol, while not a new idea, was still a good one. It was a worthy performance as she pretended to protect her bag. The double team effort to get Julie to flip and join their alliance was a valiant effort. I give Russell credit, he chose the right person for his alliance as Stephanie is a barracuda. Stephanie's problem now is quite obvious. She and Krista have nobody left. They must make a move or they'll be gone soon.
RUSSELL'S ARM PIT
Damn that was nasty. Note to future Survivors, if you're gonna shave body parts that previously have not been shaved, please do it a few times before you leave for location. Let your body get used to the sweating and the clothing rubbing against the skin because nobody should have to endure that visually disturbing sight.
As for the challenge itself, you might remember this from last season. It was a huge construction build and so unique that we decided to use it again. If you are one of the people strapped to the wheel it's a bit unnerving to be spun round and round while going under water, having to take a gulp of water and then spit it into a tiny trough. You wanted to play Survivor, you got it.
Now to the more interesting aspect of the challenge.
It's very easy to back seat drive in this game but if you examine Survivor history, throwing a challenge rarely works out well.
When you let the other tribe win a challenge you give them confidence. You give them what they need to begin to believe in themselves. You risk the momentum shifting to them.. Often, you are also giving up a valuable reward. All so you can get rid of one tribemember, which also reduces your numbers, potentially making you weaker when you go to the merge.
Zapatera was so focused on getting rid of Russell that they could see nothing else. From day one, their focus has been "get rid of the cancer." They wanted him out so badly, they not only threw a challenge, but they gave up a TARP! Next to flint, a tarp is the most sought after item on Survivor.
The other big risk is that anytime you go to Tribal Council, regardless the plan, you risk being voted out.yourself. Blindsides are very common in this game.
That's how badly Zapatera wanted Russell gone!
THE OTHER SIDE
Having said all of this, I'm sure there are times when the risk feels worth the reward. Leaving Russell on your tribe is risky. He's a proven player who can manipulate and if you go to a merge, and he's on the bottom, it's a given that he'll flip.
I'm not second guessing Zapatera's move, but it will be interesting to see if history repeats and Zapatera lives to regret their decision.
I don't know if it's my Midwest roots but I understood Ralphspeak almost immediately. Sure, it takes a moment, you have to let it roll through your brain, but as it makes it's way across your neural pathways, it slows enough that you can pick up enough words to make sense. Ralph is a sharp dude, don't underestimate him just because of the unique way in which he speaks.
RALPH'S SLIPPERY SLOPE
Ralph's biggest issue is not his manner of speaking, it's his ego. Ralph is heading down the same slippery slope of ego that has consumed Russell. Ralph is not quite as smart a Survivor player as he thinks and his biggest liability is his mouth. He doesn't think before he speaks. Ralph has the idol and he's been strong in challenges. He has so much going for him but if someone doesn't get his ego in check he'll do himself in.
WHAT I DON'T UNDERSTAND
When the entire tribe knows they threw a challenge and they're about to vote out the person that they threw the challenge to vote out… and that person knows they threw the challenge too… why do they still lie to me when asked, "Did you throw the challenge?" I never get this. Maybe it's just a basic premise surrounding the idea that "saying less is more" at tribal council. But now that I've seen the interviews confirming that they absolutely threw the challenge, I am once again confused as to why they wouldn't say – "Yes we threw it, so we could vote out Russell. Come on Probst, how hard is this to figure out?"
As I often do I refer back to the idea that maybe this is why I am only a host, not a player.
THE NEAR BLINDSIDE
Did you think Russell had Julie convinced? Ah we'll never know how close she was to flipping sides. A lot? A little? None at all?
After all was said and done, Julie stayed true to her alliance and just like that – Russell was voted out.
Were you happy? Sad? Are you rooting for him at Redemption Island or do you want to see Matt destroy him?
This is brand new territory for Russell but we all know that Russell can never be counted out. He is always playing. But he will have his work cut out for him with Matt. Matt has had a few days to adjust, Matt has been to the Arena before, Matt has already competed and won a duel. On top of it all, Russell thinks he is going to battle against Francesca, a far cry from the athletic abilities of Matt.
Will Russell try to intimidate Matt? Will he try to befriend him? Will Matt ask Russell to pray with him? Ah so many good questions.
You don't want to miss next week – it is do or die time for Russell Hanz. You can't get a better tease than that.
Posted 10 March 2011 - 08:46 AM
AN ERA ENDS
It's still settling in. Russell is gone. The evil, tattooed, sock stealing, water dumping, idol finding Survivor gnome is gone. His reign is over.
For any of you who are already frustrated that I'm going to dedicate most of this blog to Russell, you might as well stop reading.
This time, let's skip the beginning and save that for the end…
Am I still the only one who enjoys Phillip? I read your tweets and your comments on the site and I am surprised that Phillip annoys so many of you. Don't you see any fun in watching him? It's not like you're stuck on an island with him. He's on your tv. For my money he is gold every time he opens his mouth.
Even something as simple as grabbing the tree mail becomes an adventure as he peers through the rolled up scroll like a telescope.
My favorite Phillip moment of this episode was after the Duel when Phillip was walking with Rob and Grant – holding court, stretching out the story of what he learned at Redemption Island, much to the frustration of Rob.
Rob: Hey dumbass, aren't you in MY alliance? Don't you work for me?
Even simply writing that sentence makes me laugh.
THE GAME CONTINUES
Despite losing one of the biggest players of the season, the game continues and Boston Rob is on fire. On fire. This is why Rob gets invited back so often. He's really good and he's really fun to watch. After four times playing, Rob has his PhD in Survivor.
For those of you who complain about it being unfair because Rob has played before – let me remind you of the basic rule of Survivor – the tribe votes out whoever they want. Just like Zapatera did with Russell, Ometepe could have chosen to get rid of Rob early on, but they didn't. They gave Rob a chance and now Rob is starting to prove his worth as a leader, while simultaneously playing a very good game and positioning himself as a threat to go deep. As many days as he lasts in this game, he earns them all. I feel that way about every contestant. Whether they sand bag it like Sandra or come out swinging like Russell. You earn it.
THE RACE FOR THE IDOL
Rob searching for the idol while the rest of the tribe was playing "Sunday at the beach" was one of the most riveting scenes we've ever had. We had to cut it significantly for time. He was really hustling to make sure he got back before Grant and the girls realized he had been gone.
As I watched the first cut of this at home on my MacBook Pro, I was literally squirming in my seat. Remember, I've never seen this footage. I was screaming "Hurry up! Find it! They're gonna be out of the water soon and wonder where you are!"
I'm really not as biased as I sound, it's just that I love good drama. If it had been Ralph or Natalie or Russell or even Sarita I would have felt the same way – "Hurry! Hurry!"
THE REWARD/IMMUNITY CHALLENGE
Let me educate you about the future of television. Product integration. It's a phrase you hear in every conference room of every advertising agency in New York and every television network in Hollywood.
On Survivor, product integration is when you take something like the Sears Craftsman tool kit or the Sprint Evo phone and you build it into a challenge or a reward. Lots of you guys complain about these product integrations. But here's the thing – you are the same people who are DVRing your show to watch it later at a more convenient time. The problem is when you watch it later, you skip through the commercials. The advertisers know this, so their only option is to get their products inside the show so you can't avoid them.
This is not going away. This is the present and the future of television. Product integration. Don't waste energy fighting it. Embrace it.
While we're talking about it, let me brag on Survivor for a moment. Nobody integrates product as well as we do. Last night you watched an incredibly dramatic challenge that was built all around tools from Sears. The tools were used to complete the challenge. The tools were necessary. It worked really well.
Many shows just shove product integration into their show. We work hard to make it work as well as we can even though the products don't always lend themselves to the middle of a jungle.
But the bottom line is this…without Sprint, Sears and our other sponsors, we aren't on the air. It's that simple.
WHAT IS RALPH CROWING ABOUT?
Fortunately, Zapatera won the challenge, because if they hadn't I would have been on their ass for throwing the challenge in the last episode. But I will say this, if I was on the Ometepe tribe I would have a hard time not knocking Ralph right off that perch as he crowed like a Rooster. That is one annoying move.
Ralph's ego is going to be his biggest obstacle. He's not alone. It happens to a lot of people. They do something amazing, like finding the idol, but then they so badly want to share their brilliance with everybody else that they weaken their position by telling everybody.
I do it in my life all the time. I'm constantly giving away information that would be better off kept to myself. It's so hard to just shut up. Ralph – shut up. You'll go further.
On the other hand, the fact that his crowing annoys me, means it probably annoyed Ometepe, which means it's working!
I offer proof once again that Survivor is the toughest reality show of all time. Note this conversation from Mike and Ralph regarding the food reward:
MIKE: I've never been this hungry in my life. I haven't thought about sex in two weeks. All I'm thinking about is food.
RALPH: It tasted great. I sucked stuff out of my fingernails that haven't been cleaned since I got here. And I asked any of the others ones if they wanted their fingers cleaned and licked, I'd work on them too."
RALPH: Steve, can I lick that mustard off your nose? Your tongue ain't long enough.
Once again Ometepe is back at tribal council and by a 4-3 vote, Kristina is sent to Redemption Island where she will have to face Matt in a duel.
Okay now to the guts of what made this episode historic. The Fall of Russell. It started with a late night arrival at Redemption Island.
Russell was not expecting to find Matt sleeping in the shelter. He was expecting Francesca. I think that tiny little "lie" that Zapatera told him had a big impact on Russell's psyche. I think expecting to find Francesca and instead finding a young, very fit Matt threw him for a loop and began his downfall.
MATT v RUSSELL: GOOD vs EVIL
This duel was the closest thing we've ever had to Good v. Evil. Matt, the young man who puts all his faith in God, battling against Russell, the older man who many believe is a force of evil. It was historic before it began.
THE DUEL –
As many of you already know – challenges and duels are created and built weeks in advance. We had no idea who would be playing this duel but I couldn't have been happier that it involved so many different skills: balance, patience and thinking ahead.
Everybody on the crew was invested in this duel. We all loved Matt, he was a favorite, he had been on Redemption for days and he was very likable. On the other side, you have Russell – a guy that has been such a polarizing force on our show that you couldn't help but want him to win simply because it is such a huge story if he does. It's also a huge story if he loses. So in that sense, it was a win-win.
The drama was fantastic. First Matt thought he had it… but he was short. Then Russell thought he had it, but he too was short. I was pacing back and forth, as excited as I've been at a challenge in a long time. Finally Matt, who never panics, got it together and won the duel. In doing so Matt single-handedly put an end to the Russell era. It's over.
THE TEARS OF A WARRIOR
The tears that Russell shed were real. It was a very emotional moment for a guy who has spent most of the last two years of his life playing this silly little adventure game called Survivor.
It was emotional for all of us to watch him break down. It was a gift from Russell to let us see the emotion. We all knew the day would finally come –when Russell was finally sent home- and we all wondered how he would respond. I loved that he shared it with us. That's how Russell did everything – full tilt boogie.
I'm guessing that a lot of the Russell haters were moved as well.
Like him, love him, hate him, despise him – there is simply no denying that Russell has given Survivor as much if not more than Survivor has given him.
If you are a fan of Survivor, then you too owe Russell a nod of the head. The dude brought it. Every single day he played – he brought it.
In some ways he reignited our franchise as he brought in a new kind of villain. An unscrupulous terror.
To give context… Johnny Fairplay is a clown… Russell is a villain. I'm not sure Russell is a nice person. I wouldn't want Russell to know where I live. There isn't much I would want to do with Russell outside of Survivor.
But within the world of Survivor, Russell is family.
When you make a deal with the devil, you must be prepared to get burnt. So complaining about Russell would be hypocritical. We put him on the show in Samoa, we invited him back in Heroes v Villains and he completed the trifecta with Redemption Island.
Russell will go down in history as one of the most notorious contestants of all time. Maybe THE most notorious.
For all he has given us, I have to take my hat off to him and say "thank you."
RUSSELL LIVES ON
Before the tears could even dry, the Russell of old was back, once again stirring up trouble. As with Rob, this is another example of why some players get invited back and most don't. Russell played Ralph like a finely tuned fiddle. He baited the hook, dropped it in the water, let Ralph nibble on it and then hooked him. As charming as Ralph is, he was so outmatched it was hard to watch.
Russell suckered Ralph into bragging about the idol in front of the Ometepe tribe. They now know he has it and if a merge comes, and Ralph still has the idol, it may cause him more problems than it will help solve.
In that moment, Russell flipped the game once again and he did it after he'd already been knocked out of the game. That's why he's played three times and… despite his claims that he's finished… that's why he'll probably end up playing yet again.
Thanks for the memories, RH.
Posted 17 March 2011 - 08:14 AM
First off… thanks to everyone who joined in on the "live tweets" on both coasts. What a blast. Let's do it again next week. If you aren't on twitter, sign up and follow me @Jeffprobst. We tweet live together in a "virtual living room." Okay now to the blog…
LIFE AFTER RUSSELL
Well, I'll admit that there is a hole now that Russell is gone. It's kinda like having a really funny friend leave your big summer party a few hours too early. You miss him. The party misses him. It takes a moment to adjust.
But… if it's a good party, you won't miss him for long.
CAN ANYONE STOP MATT?
Thus far Redemption Island has given us everything we could have hoped for when we started the season. Dramatic duels, lots of surprising and game turning information revealed, and a hero emerging in faith-based Matt.
How do we keep getting so lucky? Of all the people that could have been our first Redemption Island representative we couldn't have hand picked a better one than Matt. He's humble, he's competitive, he's kind, he has a strong moral compass, he's handsome and as of yet, he can't be beat.
Thank you Matt for doing us right! The question is how long can he continue to dominate? How long before the person on Redemption gets to come back into the game and continue their pursuit of the million dollars?
ROB CONTINUES TO DOMINATE AT OMETEPE
From a macro view, Ometepe is in very good shape. Since winning the challenge that Zapatera threw, their confidence is up and it shows.
But no matter how good you have it, as Americans know far too well, there is always something to complain about. For Ometepe, it's Phillip.
WHY PHILLIP IS A STAR
Ometepe's complaints about Phillip are a great example of why Phillip is both a pain in the ass (if you're an Ometepe member) and a "star" (if you're CBS).
They walk around camp muttering things you are probably saying yourself as you watch from home:
This Phillip guy is nuts!
Former Federal Agent, my ass!
Dude, what is up with that salmon colored underwear?
For crying out loud, would ya quit chasing the crabs with a stick!
A lion and a Gorilla? Come on.
Phillip…. please shut up!!!!!
Just like with Russell or Coach, the louder you scream the more we know we have a star. Phillip is a star.
And while the others are complaining that Phillip should be voted out, Rob is working hard to make sure Phillip doesn't go home. He realizes what the others don't – Phillip is worth more to him in the game than he is being sent to Redemption Island. For now anyway…
FISHING AT ZAPATERA
I love seeing the tribes catch fish and do other domestic chores around camp. I wish we could more of these types of scenes in the show, but we just don't have enough time. Whenever we show the Survivors truly earning their keep, it reminds the audience that this is a major adventure. It is no joke. There are no commercial breaks where you can grab another slice of pizza from the fridge. These guys earn every single thing they get on this show. I always respect the people who choose to partake of the Survivor adventure because there is nothing else like it on television.
KRISTA & STEPHANIE GO TO REDEMPTION ISLAND
Julie really showed how little she understands the game when she said that "Krista and Stephanie" are just pawns in this game and are not a threat any longer. Anybody that is in the game is a threat and anybody who is low on the totem pole within a tribe is a MAJOR threat What if we have a tribe switch coming up? Or an early merge?
I'm not foreshadowing anything (or am I?) but I am making the point that you can NEVER let your guard down in this game. The moment you lay your sword against the tree while you go take a leak, is the moment your sword ends up in your back mid-stream.
An experienced player would view Krista and Stephanie as potential problems and that person… would be right.
WHAT YOU DIDN'T SEE DURING THE DUEL
What you didn't see was that Kristina nearly passed out during the challenge. Literally. It was so hot, she was so tired, the puzzles pieces were so heavy and the pressure was so much… that she nearly fell flat out.
It was also a much longer challenge. The puzzle was created by resident Survivor genius, Dan Munday and it proved much more difficult than it appears when finished. Both Matt and Kristina had trouble with the puzzle – the difference was Matt never lost his mind or got frustrated. He just kept studying it until it finally became clear.
Finally, there was also a much longer discussion between Boston Rob and Matt where Matt quizzed Rob about why he voted him out. Redemption Island continues to deliver.
I THINK YELLOW MIGHT LOOK GOOD ON ME
This is what I'm talking about. When Stephanie told Boston Rob that she and Krista were no longer loyal to Zapatera, she gave away so much information that Rob and Ometepe can now use.
He now knows there are two people on the outs, which tells him that the tribe has drawn lines in the sand. He now knows there are two people that might come to the other side if a switch or a merge happens. Those two pieces of information alone can swing the game completely in his favor. Krista and Stephanie are not just pawns, they are still players in this game.
I loved this challenge. It was very exciting on the day. I like challenges that put someone in the "hero" or "goat" role, it almost always produces good drama.
Chaotic challenges always reveal so much and reminds how important it is to remain calm. Panic never helps. Ah but it's so easy to say "don't panic" yet much tougher to actually remain… calm.
Grant is the unsung hero for Ometepe. He's a talented athlete and if they let him last deep into this game he is going to move from the "quiet dude with dreadlocks" to a major threat to win the game.
I gotta give Stephanie credit. The girl does not shy away from asking for responsibility. Say what you want but Stephanie has never backed off of a challenge. She wants the ball and when there is no time left on the clock, she's the one who wants to take the shot. When your ass is on the line, it's the only play you have.
I GOTTA SAY IT
Zapatera has a bit of a bitchy attitude toward most everything. First it was Russell being a bad seed and in last night's episode it was Stephanie not being smart enough at the challenge. Does it all go back to throwing the challenge to get rid of Russell? Have they simply given Ometepe too much confidence?
And most amazing of all is that after losing another challenge, they still managed to find a bright side, however misguided it may be:
Julie: Even though we lost the challenge today, we really won. It's going to be between Krista and Stephanie.
Don't you guys watch this show? What are you thinking? This is not good news. You didn't really win by losing. Losing another member of your tribe at this point in the game does not make your tribe stronger. There are so many cons that come with losing a tribe member, not the least of which is the more Ometepe wins, the more unified they become. This is a potentially disastrous situation come the merge.
Someone has to step up and gather the troops or Zapatera is going to continue to fall apart day by day.
I loved Sarita and David getting into it, can't resist a juicy throwdown. Sarita hit David's sweet spot and he lit her up:
David: I do very well under pressure! My entire life is based on being under pressure!! There's no butts, I'm the only one who is doing puzzles from here on out!!! Period!!! Point blank. No questions.
And then Mike says without a hint of irony –
Mike: We just need to win a challenge.
LET'S FAKE THEM WHILE I FAKE YOU!
When I saw the first early cut of this moment I was laughing so hard I couldn't stay in my chair. Rob often approaches Survivor like an organized game theory expert and other times he plays it like a 5-year old. This was old school playground shenanigans. Grant covering for Rob while Rob is double-crossing Grant. Wouldn't surprise me if Rob had his fingers crossed the entire time.
Rob is so in control I think he even yelled to our camera operator, "We gotta move" as if to say — if you want to get the shot of me trading out the idol notes, then you better start running, because I have no time to waste!
IT WAS CLEAR…KRISTA OR STEPHANIE
There wasn't much else to the story –you knew it was going to be Krista or Steph and truthfully all we could hope for is that Stephanie stayed longer than Krista, only because she is significantly lippier and therefore a more interesting character.
Krista is gone but not out. Krista is a farm girl and is a legitimate threat to beat Matt in a challenge. This may be Matt's biggest competition to date.
NEXT TIME ON… SURVIVOR
A great duel, a great challenge, and a great tribal council!
Posted 17 March 2011 - 10:49 AM
Posted 19 March 2011 - 10:30 AM
Survivor made a bold move with Redemption Island and it's working, mostly cos the right guy went out first (just my opinion). I think the Rob/Russell thing was/is a big flop (again probably in the minority, but heck, I don't make my living producing this show, and I can watch something else if I don't like it)!
All they have to bank ($$) on now is Rob and the rest of the goof-balls in awe of him (which I still don't get), and if Jeff came over to my house I would smack him upside the head and tell him so and probably still be gracious enough to fix him food (tho he'd have to go out to the garden and get it first...Survivor ya know!!!). Enough is enough bringing ppl back...move on Probst!!!
Posted 20 March 2011 - 09:52 PM
I think it's his time to win though.I believe he is the best play to never win.
Posted 21 March 2011 - 11:25 AM
I hope not, because I'm rooting for the guy. But luck eventually run out on us all, and if it's his time, so be it.
As for Rob, I hope he makes it to the merge, because I'd like to see if he can "Jedi mind trick" his way into making himself invisible as a target.
(These are not the droids you are looking for.)
Otherwise, he'll be one of the first three to go once it's an individual game, if the rest of them know what's good for them.
(Good luck, Boston Rob!)
Posted 24 March 2011 - 07:10 AM
The "Previously On" is always edited by Eric Gardner and it's interesting to me how much they have evolved over the many years. I sometimes battle with him over these becoming too soap operaish, but I am so happy with his great storytelling. These two minute stories always remind the audience of everything they need to know before the start of a new episode. It truly is an art in and of itself.
RI is starting to feel like Matt's house. He now has a big home court advantage because he is so comfortable on the island and at the Arena. It's like a sports team that has been to the finals taking on a team that has not been to the finals. The experience is often the difference.
RELIGION ON REDEMPTION
The religious aspect of Redemption Island is not something we ever anticipated when we called it Redemption Island. Having a religious and very likable person like Matt last this long in the first season of RI was a fascinating development. It brings an entirely new texture to the island and one that has a lot of people in the church community talking.
The Bible was Krista's choice for her luxury item. We gave them their luxury items when they arrived at Redemption Island because we knew they would be lonely and might need a pick me up. We did not plan it or decide on it because we thought it would give us extra story from Krista and Matt. It was already laid out.
I respect people who have faith in whatever brings them comfort and security.
When Krista gave her bible to Matt I was moved. It had nothing to do with my thoughts about the Bible. It was the human kindness shown in a game that rarely sees the good side of people. Despite losing and being out of the game for good, Krista still had the presence of heart to think about helping out Matt.
ANDREA GETS JEALOUS?
Man this game is tough. Matt is alone on Redemption, battling as hard as he can to stay alive. A competitor gives him a Bible on her way out and as a result, his one ally in the game, gets jealous and turns on him. WTF? Were they going steady? Did I miss the engagement? It was a Bible, not a love note. Man. Survivor is a tough game.
IN DEFENSE OF THE SPA DAY
Spa days and other seemingly mindless, wastes of time that seem to consume the girls days of late…aren't as outrageous as they seem. The contestants do have a lot of free time on their hands. On days when there is not a challenge or tribal and their shelter is built they really have very little to do. However reasonable it may be, it doesn't change the perception of others when they see you lying around.
PHILLIP WANTS TO BE APPRECIATED
Ah yeah, baby. The ego of the lion and the gorilla is coming out and I like it. Phillip's explosion was not about the girls not helping with the fire. His frustration came from not being appreciated. That's all he wants, is a little credit.
One of the lessons I've learned from Survivor goes like this:
If you have a goal, and your success in achieving this goal requires the support of other people, then you have to remove your ego from the equation.
In other words, when you're playing a zero sum game, ie a game in which there is only one winner – and the losers of the game are the one who will decide who wins – leave your ego at home.
Otherwise your chances for success plummet.
I'm not saying it's easy. Not saying I can do it myself. But from a back seat point of view it's quite clear.
Phillip wants credit. Nobody is giving it to him. The more he complains the more annoying he will become… because Phillip – nobody cares.
Stoke the fire and stay out of the way. You'll last longer.
THE GODFATHER INTERVENES
Once again the wisest person on the tribe is Rob. I know you hate me talking about Rob, but the proof is in his actions regarding Phillips and the fire tending duties.
Four of them to be exact:
1. During the argument he was the only one still focused on the big picture. His biggest overall goal was to keep the tribe strong.
2. Simultaneously, he understands how beneficial the fight between Phillip and the girls can be to his game. The more they fight, the more likely he is to stay in control and the more they hate each other the better for him if he makes it to the end against any of them.
3. Rob then talked to Phillip to ensure that Phillip doesn't do too much damage to the tribe dynamics while also letting Phillip know that he understands him.
4. After Phillip walked away, Rob then mocked him which in turn endeared Rob even more to the angry girls.
Mission complete. It was deft handling of a very delicate social situation.
Krista was no joke. Growing up on a farm she knew her way around the rope. Three tosses, three connects. It was amazing. I really thought Matt was going to lose. Krista gave Matt his biggest challenge so far.
One of my favorite exchanges of the season thus far was between Phillip and Steve when discussing the Gorilla and Lion tattoos. I really appreciate Phillips simultaneous earnestness and sense of humor. Is that even a proper sentence? What I mean is that he really believes everything he says and yet he has enough awareness to know that I'm poking fun at him for those same things he takes so seriously. Hmm, was that sentence any better than the first one?
Philip gets it. How bout that? He gets me anyway. Moving on.
We've done this challenge many times over the years and it never fails to deliver.
This challenge is both physical and frustrating. Ralph for one was clearly irritated that he wasn't getting enough action. But the star of the challenge was Grant. Stud. Dude is the real deal. Mike did his best to defend but there was no stopping him, not even by ripping off his shirt. If Grant is allowed to stay till the end he could be a millionaire come mid-May.
HIDDEN IDOL CLUE
I'm a broken record but Rob played this moment very well. So far this season he has done a good job of assessing, adapting and then executing very well. Letting Grant find the clue to the hidden idol was a great call as it further solidified Grant's trust in Rob.
Getting caught with the note however, was a rookie mistake:
Phillip: Whatcha got there boys? I saw it.
Phillip: What's it say?
Rob: Back at camp?
Rob: Back at Camp.
Phillip: (interview) I have been in an alliance with Rob, Grant and myself. In fact, I call ourselves Stealth Are Us. I'm… the specialist… Rob is the mentalist…and Grant… is the assassin.
Phillip: Remember boys. Stealth.
Phillip: (interview) And yet today when Rob and Grant found the clue for an idol they tried to hide it. Well,
Hell hath no fury like a… lion and a gorilla when he thinks he has been provoked.
Music transition. Patriotic. Strong. Preparing for battle.
Phillip: (interview) If you're gonna make an alliance with me you better adhere to it because I am all about integrity. I served my country for four years, eleven months and thirteen days for duty, honor, country. That means something to me.
When you try to trash on that… me and the United States got something for you when you try that little baby…
I could dwell in the place of negativity right now based on what I just saw, but I'm not gonna do that.
I'm gonna smile and when the time comes…. I'm gonna kick a little ass around here.
Let it breathe. Gonna just let that little piece of poetry sit there. No comment needed.
But I can't resist. F*&king genius. Phillip please grab Coach and come back and play again as soon as possible.
I think a lot of you are glad to see Stephanie out of the game. I'm not sure what it is about me that likes the spunky, lippy folks but I am bummed she is gone. She's definitely a competitor and she's a great interview.
I've said it before but I think Zapatera's biggest problem is they are playing a "too cool for school" game and it's biting them in the ass.
It's the Russell factor. They are so happy to "defeat" Russell and his two "girls" – Krista and Stephanie – that they're in danger of losing the big picture.
David realized that tonight. I agree with David. I would have voted out Sarita. Nothing personal, Sarita, but I think Stephanie wanted it more and the tribe could have used her spunk.
Okay I know I've been ignoring everybody else in the game… so here we go.
DAVID – If memory serves I think David scored the highest on our IQ test during casting. He is a smart dude. We fought to get him on and I'm glad we did. He's giving us great story and he's a legit threat to win the game if he can get his alliance figured out.
STEVE – I like him. He's laid back and probably a pretty nice guy in his normal life. He would drive me a bit crazy as a member of my alliance because he is so laid back! I want the guy who played in the NFL for 13 years. Maybe he's saving that for the individual portion of the show.
SARITA – I think she's too soft right now. I liked her in casting but I think the game is overwhelming her right now. She needs to get over the toothache and find that inner strength otherwise she is going to be seen as a pain-in-the-ass.
MIKE – How can you not like Mike? He's strong, seems pretty bright. A major threat to win this game. If both are still in the game when they merge – he could prove a worthy adversary for Boston Rob.
MATT – The undisputed underdog. If he can win long enough to get back in the game, people better watch out. I have a feeling that even his faith will not be able to contain his desire to get even.
NATALIE – I've said it before I am so impressed. She is 18 years old. Think about the 18 year olds you know. How many of them could handle themselves this well in this cut-throat environment. Natalie is a long shot to win but IF she can get to the end the jury may feel like I do that based on age alone she has earned the money.
JULIE – Julie confuses me. I like her and I think she's a fairly good player but I haven't seen any moves yet that make me think she could make it deep. She's a mom which helps in dealing with people and she's very reasonable and that could take her a long way into the game. But a big move will be necessary.
RALPH – I love Ralph because he's so fun to listen to and so fun to watch. He so very smart in his own way but his liability is that Ralph hasn't found himself in this kind of social situation and it shows. If Ralph can figure out how to deal with the others in his alliance he could last.
ANDREA – She's a bit wishy-washy regarding Matt but she is definitely a fighter and a player. She will not lie down for anybody. I like her but her problem right now is her status within the alliance.
ASHLEY – Dark horse to win the game. She's very good in the challenges and come the individual portion of the game she will be a threat. She also has friends in the girls and will probably make more friends if she makes the merge. If I was Rob I'd be most worried about her in the end game.
GRANT – Grant is a bit ill equipped socially because he is so trusting. At this point he believes in Rob 100%. So long as that lasts, these two could go deep. But if that trust is ever broken, my hunch is that Grant will turn on Rob and vote him out.
NEXT TIME ON.. Survivor.
One of the greatest challenges of the season… and one of the funniest moments in our history.
Posted 24 March 2011 - 06:06 PM
Posted 31 March 2011 - 10:44 AM
by jeff.probst on March 31, 2011 ·
Thanks again to everybody that tweeted with me last night. If you're still not on board, you should join us on Twitter at @JeffProbst. We're having a fun conversation in " the interactive living room" and a great shared experience.
Okay onto last night's episode…
I like David. He's the kind of player I'd like to have on the show every season. He's playing a long-term game and he's willing to make big moves. He came to win, not make the jury.
I don't have much time for people who are satisfied with making the jury. I'm not convinced Sarita wants to make it to the end. So far I haven't seen the killer instinct. Maybe it will come out next week on Redemption Island. I had huge expectations for Sarita. I loved her in casting, but I really believe the game was much more than she anticipated and ultimately just too difficult. Now she faces an interesting dilemma. Does she give it her all and try to beat Matt or just throw in the towel and call it a day?
What's to say? Matt is unstoppable. Five straight duels without a loss. Our duels are scheduled long before we know who will be competing so whether it's physical, mental or both, it has nothing to do with who is at Redemption Island. It's just luck of the draw.
Watching this episode reminded me how damn hot it gets while shooting Survivor. Redemption Island was especially hot because there was absolutely no breeze. I always seem to sweat more than the Survivors and that's annoying. I guess they acclimate since they are living in it, and maybe because they're dehydrated most days, but I always notice when I'm the one dripping from the forehead and they're not.
I continue to be impressed by Rob's game play. Granted it's his fourth time so he should have something figured out, but seven episodes in I think he has played as close to a perfect game as anyone ever has in our 22 season history.
He hasn't missed a single opportunity to gain favor or advantage. He is squeezing every bit of juice out of every opportunity.
I'm going to take a moment for all the "Probst loves Rob" haters to scream at me… go ahead. Let it out. Let it breathe…
I like Rob. Always have. Going all the way back to Survivor: Marquesas when he told me after he was voted out, "Give me another shot. I'm not finished." I liked him in All-Stars when he took advantage of Lex to keep Amber in the game and then asked Amber to marry him just before the reading of the votes, thus ensuring the million dollars would be his no matter what. I liked him in Heroes v Villains when he miraculously changed his stripes and went from the dark side to the light. Still not sure how that happened.
And yes… I still like him today.
While we're shooting the show, I'm unaware of most of what goes on out on the beaches. I don't know the nitty-gritty and truth be told I really don't know all that much about how the individual players are playing the game. But when I get home and start watching the episodes, I'm no different than you guys – I find myself rooting for and against different players and different tribes. Right now, Zapatera is driving me nuts with their infighting and complaining. I know it must be frustrating to read this if you're a Zapatera member but it's really how I feel. I can't take much more of their whiny-ass complaining.
Enough philosophical chats, for crying out loud. Do something. Change your fate.
I want someone to stand up and take control of the tribe and start leading them. Specifically…David. That's who would get my vote for leader and the reason is I think he's the only guy capable right now of making bold moves to get his tribe back on track. Ralph makes fun of him for being an attorney. The truth is, the guy is the only one right now who is looking at the "big picture" and is trying to right a quickly sinking ship.
Zapatera is a great example of the psychological phenomenon "groupthink." In Zapatera, you have a group of people who are making decisions that match the group consensus but without ever truly evaluating the worth or long term effect of their decisions. They so desperately don't want conflict that they get rid of anybody who doesn't peacefully agree with the group. It's not working. You have to have the balls to stand up and tell the Emperor that he's naked! Zapatera is naked!
I think they made a great move in voting out Sarita and that may just be the first move in the right direction.
A FEW SPOONFULS OF RICE A DAY
The scene in which they debated about saving Rob some crispy rice was funny and caused great drama surrounding Phillip who was clearly picking a fight because once again he WANTED TO BE HEARD!
Beyond that though, it was a great visual reminder of how little they are living on every day. They are given a tin of rice on day one and told to ration it so it will last the entire time. They know from past seasons that if you run out, it will cost you something valuable to get more rice. So that is why they eat only a few spoonfuls each day.
ROB v PHILLIP
I love this ongoing love/hate, mentor/student relationship between Rob and Phillip because it highlights the truth about how we treat each other in our society. Age doesn't mean a damn thing. Nobody respects you simply because you're an elder. Should we respect our elders? Hell yes! Do we? Hell no.
We respect you if you're powerful or rich or famous or hot or really good at sports, but age? Ha! You're just an old dude whose ass I can kick, so get the F out of my way before I run you over with my Prius.
There is a guy at my gym, Abraham. He's a very nice guy who fancies himself a comedian and as a result he is constantly spouting one-liners. All day, long. He's a bit of a wordsmith, I'll give him that. He has a turn of the phrase or a corny joke for every moment.
The truth is if he was a twenty-something I'd probably give him some attitude and tell him "not everything is an anecdote." But Abraham, is in his 80's and because of that, I have a different attitude about the whole thing. I listen and I laugh and I always appreciate that this man has lived a lot longer than me and if he wants to tell a few jokes we should all be happy that he's still sharp enough to pull it off and support him.
But Survivor doesn't care. Outwit, Outplay, Outlast. Being older on Survivor is rarely a plus but instead just a great reason to get rid of you. Is it fair? Doesn't matter? Would I feel the same way if I was in the game and had some "old dude" slowing my tribe down? Probably. Then again, I'D be the old dude. Maybe that's the real truth. I'm just channeling my own frustration that on Survivor, I'D BE THE OLD DUDE!
Survivor blogs. Humbling and cheaper than therapy.
This was without question one of the greatest challenges in recent Survivor history. We had all the elements. Great stakes – a helicopter ride and afternoon picnic. Great weather – pouring rain and deep mud. Great competition – it was back and forth until the last shot!
A massive effort by both groups. This challenge was no joke. Busting through the hay, crawling through the mud, climbing through the sticks, over the net craw and finally through an amazing "brick" wall. It was awesome.
The brick wall was made out of wood and each brick was hand placed by our art department. It took hours to get the walls just right. We had to think long and hard before deciding to rehearse this challenge because of the amount of work required to set it up. I could see our art department team watching the rehearsal with equal amounts of excitement at watching their challenge play out and dread knowing they'd have to replace every.. single.. brick…brick-by-brick on the wall.
I loved this challenge. Look for it again next year.
When I see them at the end of a challenge like that, there is no question in my mind as to why so many of you want to play this game. It really is the ultimate adventure. A chance to test yourself on every single level.
Another great moment in this episode. A helicopter ride is still a special treat for most people as it's not something many of us ever get the chance to do. When you add in that you're flying over and then landing on an active volcano it makes it all the more special.
This reminded me of the old days when we had enough time in our show to have some amazing rewards. Strategy has taken over the game and so now our time is limited and that's why you see fewer epic rewards.
ROB OFFERS A CLUE TO THE GODS
Rob tossing the clue for the idol into the active volcano was one of the funniest things I've ever seen. All credit goes to Rob for that one. He could have just tossed it before getting back on the helicopter, but instead he saw the opportunity — ah forget it. Just refer back to my earlier comments about Rob.
SARITA HAD TO GO
Sarita, I know I have to see you at the live show so I hope you won't be frustrated but this was the right move. Your heart wasn't in it.
Unfortunately for Sarita, she doesn't get to go home. Instead, it gets worse. She has to go to Redemption Island where the worst thing that could happen is that she beats Matt and has to stay in the game even longer.
Matt may have his easiest duel yet.
See ya next week!
Posted 31 March 2011 - 11:42 AM
Rob tossing the clue for the idol into the active volcano was one of the funniest things I've ever seen. All credit goes to Rob for that one. He could have just tossed it before getting back on the helicopter, but instead he saw the opportunity — ah forget it. Just refer back to my earlier comments about Rob.
I doubt this is the funniest Survivor moment ever, and it might not even make the top 10, but I still rewound it and watched it twice when I saw it because I was laughing so hard!
Come to think of it, a compilation of the 4 clues Rob's had so far for this idol could make the Survivor Top Ten Funniest list very easily.
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