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

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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”

1203: Crazy Fights, Snake Dinners

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Airdate: February 16, 2006
Boot:
Misty Giles
Quote:
“Bruce is incredibly neurotic.” / “Courtney is a lunatic.” – Shane Powers
Rating: 6 + Tier B (4) = 10

In recent years, the Survivor producers have displayed a love for pointless alliterative labels, whether it’s Brains vs. Beauty vs. Brawn or Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers. Had Survivor: Panama – Exile Island been filmed in the modern era, it probably would have been called Trainwrecks vs. Traditionalists, because that’s pretty much the way the tribes were divided after a swap in episode two. Casaya was clearly the more entertaining group, which led to a bit of a Sophie’s choice for the pre-merge run. A Casaya victory meant that more of these delightful oddballs would live to see another episode. That’s good. But it also meant Continue reading “1203: Crazy Fights, Snake Dinners”

801: They’re Back!

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Airdate: February 1, 2004
Boot:
Tina Wesson
Quote:
“They could think I’m just cocky and arrogant and think I could last the whole game. Hmm, imagine that.” – Richard Hatch
Rating: 10 + Tier D (2) = 12

The universe and Google’s random number generator have thrown me a bone here and allowed me to review one of my absolute favorite episodes of all time. I realize that I’m defying all the rules of Survivor fandom by Continue reading “801: They’re Back!”

2213: Too Close for Comfort

2213

Airdate: May 11, 2011
Boot:
Ralph Kiser (eliminated from Redemption Island); Grant Mattos
Quote:
“He’s pathetic. He’s crazy. Not the n-word crazy, he’s just crazy.” – Boston Rob, on Phillip
Rating: 5 + Tier E (1) = 6

After subjecting myself to an episode of Worlds Apart to begin this project, the randomizer graciously decided my second episode would be from…Redemption Island? Come on. Is the universe trying to tell me not to do this? If the next three episodes are from Cook Islands, Caramoan, and Continue reading “2213: Too Close for Comfort”

3011: Survivor Russian Roulette

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Airdate: April 29, 2015
Boot:
Shirin Oskool
Quote:
“I don’t want to take anything away from Shirin, but I’m an adopted child.” – Dan Foley
Rating: 8 + Tier D (2) = 10

We kick things off with an episode of Worlds Apart, which is strongly making me rethink this whole project. Do I really want to sit through an episode of this horrid season again, especially one from after Continue reading “3011: Survivor Russian Roulette”