The Australian Outback Episode 2: Suspicion

Airdate: February 1, 2001
Kel Gleason
“Mike thanked God for making him the leader of the tribe. I don’t know when he was anointed. Apparently my back was turned at that moment.” – Kimmi Kappenberg
Rating: 10 + Tier B (4) = 14

Launching a sequel to a phenomenon is a high-stakes effort, and Survivor: The Australian Outback faced the ultimate test. Was the success of Survivor the previous summer an ingenious fluke, or did the show have legs? The premiere was destined to be a big deal due to the hype and a post-Super Bowl slot. The second episode was perhaps the more pressing guinea pig. How would the show fare in its new, competitive time slot against Friends?

On Thursday, February 1, 2001, about 22 million people tuned in to see what Ross and Rachel and the gang were up to, while a whopping 29 million watched a nearly flawless episode of Survivor.

The first two seasons of Survivor can often coast on a wave of nostalgia, as the show was fresher and more in the spotlight than it would ever be again. Many old-school fans, myself included, can be seen as too forgiving of slow pacing and politically incorrect behavior that hasn’t exactly aged well.

Survivor 41 cast, I want to be of the moment. Should I stop saying ‘fat naked fag’?”

But nostalgia be damned, the second episode of Outback boasts Continue reading “The Australian Outback Episode 2: Suspicion”

Micronesia Episode 10: I Promise…


Airdate: April 17, 2008
Ozzy Lusth
“Just because you’ve gotten on everybody’s nerves don’t mean a donut is going to make it better. You really can’t expect to appease everybody over a donut. So if you tempt somebody with a donut and they say, ‘Oh yeah, sure,’ they might just have wanted a damn donut.” – James Clement
Rating: 10 + Tier B (4) = 14

Have I been unfair to Survivor: Micronesia? My fairly low ranking of this incredibly popular season is by far my most controversial Survivor opinion…and other than my preference for Continue reading “Micronesia Episode 10: I Promise…”

Africa Episode 6: I’d Never Do It to You


Airdate: November 15, 2001
Lindsey Richter
“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 “Africa Episode 6: I’d Never Do It to You”

Heroes vs. Villains Episode 2: It’s Getting the Best of Me


Airdate: February 18, 2010
Stephenie LaGrossa
“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 “Heroes vs. Villains Episode 2: It’s Getting the Best of Me”