3513: Million Dollar Night

Airdate: December 20, 2017
Boots:
Mike Zahalsky, Devon Pinto
Finalists:
Ben Driebergen, Chrissy Hofbeck, Ryan Ulrich (5-2-1)
Quote:
“Ben is like the bad guy in any horror movie. You just keep trying to kill him and he keeps coming back to life.” – Mike Zahalsky
Rating: 3 + Tier C (3) = 6

Over the course of the ninth season of How I Met Your Mother, we were finally introduced to Ted Mosby’s beloved, Tracy. Audiences couldn’t help but fall for this charming manic pixie dream girl, so it was deeply disappointing when she was killed off from a mysterious disease, diagnosed with a malignant case of inconvenience to the narrative. After nearly a decade of repeated reminders of how Ted and Robin were a terrible match for one another, Tracy was cast aside in order to bring that pair together.

How I Met Your Mother is clearly untouchable in terms of shows retroactively ruining themselves via a horrendously upsetting finale. But Survivor‘s 35th season, Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers, ended on a similarly frustrating note, with the producers rewriting the rulebook at the last second with an awful format change that further emphasizes the gaping difference between Survivor the game and Survivor the TV show. It’s tempting to just Continue reading “3513: Million Dollar Night”

214: The Final Four

214

Airdate: April 26, 2001
Boot:
Elisabeth Filarski
Quote:
“We’ve lost a third-grader.” – Elisabeth Filarski, on the final four’s combined 85-pound weight loss
Rating: 3 + Tier B (4) = 7

It’s the summer of 2000, and Mark Burnett and CBS have got a hit on their hands. In planning the obligatory Survivor sequel, they understandably adopted an “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality, only making one key adjustment: stretching the sophomore season by an additional three days. Whether this was because Continue reading “214: The Final Four”

3401: The Stakes Have Been Raised (Part 1)

3401

Airdate: March 8, 2017
Boot:
Ciera Eastin
Quote:
“That’s what I know how to do: make it to day 39 and not get voted off. The queen stays queen. Adios.” – Sandra Diaz-Twine
Rating: 6 + Tier D (2) = 8

Let’s just state the obvious here: Game Changers is the most unnecessary season of all time. Nobody was asking for a returnee season just a year after Cambodia, and certainly nobody was pining to see this motley assortment of randos and people playing for, like, the 15th time come together. Actually, this whole project of reviewing Survivor episodes via a random number generator was inspired by the Game Changers casting process, where the 20 contestants were chosen via a drunken game of darts between Jeff Probst and Tyler Perry.

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“I don’t care that T-Bird didn’t get voted in. I’m just pissed off we’re missing out on the Troyzan and Brad Culpepper showdown of the century!” – Some dude with brain damage the night the Second Chance cast was announced, probably

 

Look, if you’re reading this, you don’t need me to tell you how ridiculously Continue reading “3401: The Stakes Have Been Raised (Part 1)”

2204: Don’t You Work for Me?

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Airdate: March 9, 2011
Boot:
Russell Hantz (eliminated from Redemption Island); Kristina Kell
Quote:
“If I am able to watch Russell walk off and go home, that would be my million dollars almost.” – Sarita White
Rating: 6 + Tier E (1) = 7

Dammit. Dammit. Dammit. The first season I have to double-dip into is easily my least favorite season of all time (although stay tuned for season 38!). With this episode, I will have reviewed as many episodes from Redemption Island as I have from the first 11 seasons combined. Well, on the bright side, it means I’m a step closer to wrapping up this snoozefest, and this is the episode where Russell gets eliminated so I guess that’s cool. Of course, it would have been a lot more satisfying if Continue reading “2204: Don’t You Work for Me?”

1903: It’s Called a Russell Seed

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Airdate: October 1, 2009
Boot:
Ben Browning
Quote:
“This might be the worst group in history. And I might be the best.” – Russell Hantz
Rating: 3 + Tier E (1) = 4

The first few episodes of any Survivor season are a tricky beast. Some start slow but find their groove a couple weeks in, while others kick off with a bang but an unfortunate boot order depletes them of their most entertaining characters. Once in a while, though, you can judge a book by its cover–or maybe more accurately, its first few chapters. Samoa very much falls into the realm of “what you see is what you get.” If the Continue reading “1903: It’s Called a Russell Seed”

306: I’d Never Do It to You

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Airdate: November 15, 2001
Boot:
Lindsey Richter
Quote:
“I don’t care if I’m voted out tonight because I didn’t vote for a friend of mine, and that makes me the happiest person on the face of the earth.” – Lindsey Richter
Rating: 9 + Tier A (5) = 14

We’re officially in old-school Survivor territory here. Like, super-old-school. Which is worrisome for me. I haven’t rewatched any vintage Survivor episodes in well over five years. Yet I still stubbornly remember this as the “best” era of the show, a simple time when alliances stuck together and players were voted out because they got the most votes, not because they were the only person lacking some sort of trinket that guaranteed them immunity. Ah, those were the days. But what if the content that was so compelling in 2001 proved to be slow and dull in 2018? What if I found these episodes (gasp) boring? Continue reading “306: I’d Never Do It to You”

2002: It’s Getting the Best of Me

2002

Airdate: February 18, 2010
Boot:
Stephenie LaGrossa
Quote:
“Alright, great, you’ve been a winner your whole life? I doubt it. I’d love to tell him what a winner is and what a loser [is] and where he fits into that…equation.” – Tom Westman, on James
Rating: 9 + Tier A (5) = 14

This is the fifth episode I’m reviewing–from five different seasons, mind you–and the third that features Boston Rob. Frankly, given how many times the guy has played I’m surprised he isn’t in six of the first five episodes I review. It’s like Survivor whiplash, going from domineering manipulator Rob in the Redemption Island endgame to cocky underdog Rob in the All-Stars premiere to sensible voice of reason Rob in this second episode of Heroes vs. Villains.

Stuck on the “buffoon tribe” for a third time, Rob has to exert himself in order to keep his lazy, uncooperative team functioning. But his newfound gallantry proves to be Continue reading “2002: It’s Getting the Best of Me”