Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Survivor 27.7

 Vag’s Evaluation:

Well, Blood vs. Water continues to be less than stellar. The first 22 minutes focused on the neurotic Kat and her weepy boyfriend Hayden. The dumb little bimbette is convinced that Hayden is gonna dump her because she was voted onto Redemption Island. Huh? C’mon, Kat, the guy might resemble Jethro Bodine in more ways than one, but give him some credit.

Probst turns the unnecessary drama-meter up another notch by reminding Kat and Hayden that they can switch places. This causes more blubbering from Bugtussle’s homecoming king and queen. Finally, Kat decides to stay in the Redemption Island Duel even though Hayden said he would swap with her. Oh the humanity!

The duel pits Candice’s husband John, Laura M. and the frazzled Kat. The combatants must untie a machete, then chop a rope that releases a bag of puzzle pieces that they must assemble into a flame-looking thing. Long story short, Kat is so much of a basket case she can barely open the bag of puzzle pieces. So, despite some trumped up “Survivor” drama, John finishes first and Laura M. is second.

This means they stay and Kat can go back to Bugtussle. But not before she starts weeping again. She embraces Hayden and, in between sobs, implores him not to leave her. Her last bit of brilliance is to ask, “You’re not gonna break up with me, are you?” Don’t worry, Kat, he isn’t that bright.

The next eight minutes are consumed with the Vytas love-fest at the Galang camp. Tina is even hoping that the reformed bad boy will hook up with daughter Katie and give her some grandbabies. Laura B. is making weird faces and crying at the thought of having to vote Vytas off if they should lose the Immunity Challenge. Oh brother.

It is at this point that I have a major epiphany. Maybe it’s because I have watched A League of Their Own three times in the last ten days, but I came to a couple of conclusions. First, just as Jimmy Dugan so eloquently said, “There is no baseball in baseball”; there should be no crying in Survivor! Secondly, Laura B., Rupert’s wife, bears a striking resemblance to Rockford Peach second baseman Marla Hooch. Google her.

The only thing going on over at Tadhana is Tyson, Hayden, Caleb, Gervase, and Ciera plotting against Aras who is off meditating on top of some beautiful lush mountain top. Honest, that’s it.

It’s finally time for the Immunity/Reward Challenge. Unfortunately I am so nauseated that I can barely pay attention. The challenge is something about four castaways from each tribe chained together gathering puzzle pieces so the fifth member can try to assemble and throw bolos at a railing. Blah, blah, blah…

Of course Tadhana won. Their reward was fried chicken and all the fixings. All they could eat! Once again producer Mark Burnett missed the boat and neglected having KFC sponsor the challenge. Then again, given the poor quality of this season, maybe KFC politely turned down Burnett’s offer. By the way, Tyson made the comment, “I don’t think I’ve gone to bed hungry once.” Nice…

Prior to Tribal Council, Marla/Laura B. proudly announces to Vytas that the four girls have decided to vote him off. Monica, Tina and Katie are flabbergasted. Vytas isn’t too thrilled, either. You know what this means – at Tribal Council Marla/Laura B. is sent to Redemption Island.

The only thing we have to look forward to next week is the merge. It also looks like the winner of the Redemption Island is back in the game. Hopefully this means that the two losers are sent hope. The sooner we get rid of these people, the better.

Mary Beth’s 2Cents:

Dear Mr. Burnett,

As an avid watcher of your series, Survivor, it is with a heavy heart that I write this letter. Let me start by saying that I was psyched to hear of the Blood vs. Water theme for this season. The idea of favorites coming back to play with their loved ones was a good one. But it was a short lived thrill when, in the very first episode, the loved ones were separated from the faves AND the stupid Redemption Island thing came in to play as well. The truth is, you're using the words “fan favorites” very loosely with this bunch. I don't remember half of them and I've watched every season of this show. Then the ones I do remember are the most boring, insipid group of people ever! The only one worth his salt was Rupert and you managed to get him off the show far too soon.

Tonight, the only words that came to mind where these. OH. COME. ON!! The ridiculous made up drama coming from Kat as she burst into tears wondering if her boyfriend would now leave her because she was voted off was the most annoying staged mess you have ever presented us with. It had to be made up. No one is that stupid to think their entire relationship would be over because she “disappointed” her boyfriend by losing on Survivor. Can they? I mean is Kat that stupid? It was completely pathetic as she walked away, tossed her buff in the fire and said, “Please don't leave me…” OH. COME. ON!!!

And another thing, why are none of these people starving? Why do they get full meals at almost every challenge? When will you ever go back to the good old days of Survivor when they ate so little rice they were nearly skeletal at the end. And enough with the puzzles, already! Remember that really great challenge where they had to stand on the poles in the sun over the water. We could see their ribs and how much weight they lost. Two of them got naked for chocolate. Remember that, Mr. Burnett? That was when Survivor was good. These days they sit around talking about their relationships. Tina was even playing Matchmaker for her daughter and hoping she would date Vytas! Who has time for this crap!?

By the time it got to the Immunity Challenge, I just didn't care anymore. I didn't care who went home because they are all dullards with no personalities. They sit around and eat and, frankly, I can watch the orangutans at the zoo do that. So the debate at Tribal Council between who should go, Vytas or Laura B. brought a resounding “Who gives a rat's ass!?” from my house.

It is time, Mr. Burnett, to shake up this show once and for all and the way to do that is not to get gimmicky and add more inane twists. It's not bringing back old players either. (Unless it's Russell Hantz – because I would watch Russell forever. Best player ever!) It's not the incredibly stupid and boring Redemption Island. That needs to go and be gone forever.

No. It's none of those things.

To shake up this show you need to go back to the beginning. You need to get two tribes of strangers. And not just bikini models but a real cross hatch of characters – like the Sue Hawks, Rudy Boesch, and Russell Hantz's of the world – throw in a little Colby-like goodness and a slick Pavarti-ish creature. All ages, all sizes, all strangers, all having to get to know one another, compete against each other and trust one another to the end. Don't feed them a banquet every day. Let them forage and fish and suffer a little. Make the challenges more physical with no more puzzles. In other words, go back to basics. Go back to pure, classic Survivor. We, the audience, will still be there and, I guarantee you will not regret it. Please save our show! We're begging you!

Mary Beth, Survivor Geek.

Wow. Until next time…from the booth.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

More Kenosha Flyers

My last blog dealt with memories of the good times surrounding the Kenosha Flyers of the ‘70s. At the end I made a short list of some of the more memorable events involving the Flyers. I encouraged readers to suggest which ones they wanted to hear about. On Facebook, my friend Gregg commented that he wanted to hear about the Flyer Fan Club meetings at the Quonset Hut in Waukegan. He also expressed interest in learning more about the time Joe Rosko kicked the snot out of a referee between periods. Here ya go, Gregg. Today’s blog will be about the Kenosha Flyers Fan Club.

The 1974-1975 season was the first year my brother Mike and friends Glenn Evenson, Keith Panasewicz, Bill Nicoll, Dave Proeber, Tom Tews, Curt Vergenz, Doug Becker and me started following the Flyers. Besides my brother Mike, Doug and Curt, the rest of us were all seniors in high school. Typically, the games were on Saturday night with an occasional Sunday afternoon tilt. Admission was only a couple of bucks, so we attended pretty much all of the home games.

Our group was usually located at the very top of Kenosha Ice Arena, just to the right of center ice. My brother and I were both artistic so we made several large posters that we attached to the wall of the arena right above us. Like the NHL Philadelphia Flyers, the team colors were black and orange, so that was the basic palette for our signage.

Two of the posters immediately come to mind – “Kelly’s Heroes” and “Alfie’s Army.” The first was for goaltender Paul Kelly. He rented an apartment in Kenosha, worked at the arena’s pro shop, and even attended the same church that I did. We got to know Kelly pretty well. In fact, Glenn and I even traveled with him for a road game in Peoria.

The second poster honored winger Alfie Morrison. He was older, good-sized, had jet-black hair, and wore black horn-rimmed glasses when he played. He was a decent player, but not too physical. That is until the playoffs started. Talk about kicking it up a notch! Morrison became a beast, destroying anyone who stood in his way.

Sometime after the holidays, it was announced that that the Flyers were forming a fan club. The club would meet at various watering holes after designated home games and dues would be collected. The fact that the players would be attending these get-togethers made it a no-brainer…we had to join the Kenosha Flyers Fan Club!

I can even remember some of the “administrators” of the fan club. The president was Floyd Hart. “Big” Mike Soens and his wife, Juanita also served as officers, although I’m not sure what their titles were. I do know that Juanita had a thing for Gene Stoney. Stoney was a defenseman that also served as coach of the Flyers. Stoney was American Indian, tough as a pit bull, a bit crazy and was rumored to bring a gun with him on road trips to Peoria. And Juanita loved him. A lot.

Because a majority of the players were from northern Illinois and the Chicago area, it was decided that the first fan club meeting would be at the Quonset Hut on Grand Avenue in Waukegan. This way it would be on the way home for most of the team. The Quonset Hut was a tavern that served pizza and Italian sandwiches.

It sounded good to us.

Yes indeed, it sounded good to us because we were going to get to hang out with the Kenosha Flyer players after the game. Another reason that it sounded so good to us was because it was going to be at the Quonset Hut, a tavern that served pizza and BEER! Hey, I know we weren’t “legal” yet, being only 16 or 17, but we enjoyed an occasional cold one whenever the opportunity presented itself.

Needless to say, four or five of us made the 30-minute trip south on Green Bay Road for the inaugural Kenosha Flyers Fan Club. We paid our dues, listened to Floyd Hart pontificate about the purpose of the club, and sat in awe of being in the presence of the players we had just cheered for.

Then came the pièce de résistance. After ordering a pizza, the waitress asked us what we would like to drink. Being the largest member of our group, I put as much as bass as I could in my voice, and belted out, “Give us a pitcher of Pabst.” And it worked! The server nodded her head and left to get our pizza and beer. This fan club was great!

Well, for a short while it was.

After a short time, Hart and his cohorts decided to move the meetings to Sullivan’s, a Kenosha saloon located right around the corner from the Ice Arena on Highway 50. We weren’t quite sure why they made the switch, but as long as we could get beer, what did we care? Besides we didn’t have to drive to Illinois.

Then we found out why the fan club chose to move the meetings to Sullivan’s. For a nominal fee, the bar would put out a buffet for the club and players to enjoy. Well, the fee wasn’t so “nominal.” Being high school kids with limited financial resources, we questioned the amount. We were told that the price had to cover the cost of the Flyer players; they ate for free.

Suddenly we weren’t so star-struck with these guys. As a group we decided to drop out of the official Kenosha Flyers Fan Club. We didn’t have a secret crush on Gene Stoney like Juanita Soens did. They could buy their own grub. We were content to “admire” them from the top of the bleachers in the arena. Besides, we were resourceful; we knew plenty of places to pick up a cold one after the game.

In a couple of days I will tell you about the number that Joe Rosko did on that referee. Until next time…from the booth.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Remembering The Kenosha Flyers

My senior year at Tremper High School is quite memorable for a number of reasons. Coming to mind are my various adventures while working at Burger King, my inebriated excursion down the railroad tracks and Kenosha Flyers hockey games. The Burger King escapades and the hapless trip on the tracks have been previously chronicled; so today I thought that I would share some of my memories of the Kenosha Flyers and the Continental Hockey League.

I’m not quite sure why the guys I hung around with starting going to Kenosha Flyer games back in 1974, but I am glad that we did. Our motley group included my brother Mike, Glenn Evenson, Keith Panasewicz, Bill Nicoll, Dave Proeber, Curt Vergenz, Doug Becker and myself. It was at these Flyer games where I met Leon Rosko which was instrumental in getting me involved announcing softball games at historic Finney’s West.

First a little history about the Flyers and the CHL:

The Continental Hockey League was a semi-pro hockey league that was in existence from 1972 until 1986. The league had humble beginnings. It began as almost a recreational league in Chicago and was made up of former youth league players. Initially, the players were not paid, but over time, the talent in the league improved.

The mid to late ‘70s were a time of relative stability for the CHL. A core group of teams – Chicago Wildcats, Chicago Cardinals, Peoria Blades, Kenosha Flyers, and Springfield Kings were the mainstays of the league. Other teams such as Madison Blues, Pekin Stars and Rockton Wheels also came and went. But the teams were relatively stable and the players were the same from year to year.

There were several occasions where teams temporarily moved or disbanded. One season the Kenosha Flyers had to play in Zion because the Kenosha Ice arena was not available. The Chicago Cardinals disbanded because of a lack of availability of a rink. When this happened, most of them went to play for Kenosha.

Some of the team’s rinks were less than desirable. The Logan Ice Dome in Peoria had a ceiling that was held up with air pressure. To make things even more interesting, there was only one shower for both the home and visiting teams!

Some of the more memorable players from the various non-Kenosha teams included: Chicago Cardinals – Ted Kaminski. Madison Blues - Phil Caruso, Cal Harris, Dan Corns and Clarke Blizzard. Chicago Wildcats – Sam Saltzman, Warren Munson, Jerry Kurth, Jim Krein and Bill Possehl. Peoria Blades – Ric Olson and brother Mike Olson.

That inaugural year of attending Kenosha Flyer games was special for many reasons, the biggest being the team winning the Walmar Cup, the CHL’s version of the Stanley Cup. This a list of the more noteworthy players from that team:

1974-1975 Kenosha Flyers
Reg Fleming
Pat O’Shea
Les Day
Jim Allen
Brian Glenwright
Lou Grassi
Mike Bednarik
Gene Stoney
Alfie Morrison
Paul Kelly
Jim McClellan
Paul Buck
Bruce Garber
Doug Glendenning
Chuck Kennedy
Steve Anderson
Don Walsh, owner

There are so many vivid recollections from, not only that championship year, but from many other “events” involving the Kenosha Flyers. It should be noted, that while they weren’t a part of that championship team, homegrown talents like Bob Arneson, Rich Rosko, Gene Rosko, and Joe Rosko played for the Flyers.

Man, there are so many memories; I don’t know where to start. Perhaps, I will do a number of short blogs featuring different highlights from my Kenosha Flyers remembrances. Yes, that is what I shall do! You can help me by letting me know which of these occurrences sound the most interesting to you:

•    Skipping homecoming to attend a Flyer game with Jean Kuczenski.
•    Reg Fleming pissing on a puck during practice.
•    Attending a game in Peoria with goaltender Paul Kelly.
•    Attending a Flyer Fan Club meeting at the Quonset Hut.
•    Being pulled over by an Illinois State trooper with an open 6-pack.
•    Joe Rosko knocks the snot out of a referee between periods.
•    Madison Blue teammates Cal Harris & Clarke Blizzard go at it.

I know that there are more, but this is a good start. Please leave me your comments here or on Facebook. You can even email me at I will probably do an installment on Sunday. Oh, one last thing, if you haven’t done so already, take a moment to do my new poll question. Thanks.

Until next time…from the booth.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Survivor 27.6

Mary Beth’s 2Cents: So, Galang returns from Tribal Council, where they have blindsided Laura M. with the idea that she can win at Redemption Island, and while most of them are feeling pretty low about what they just did, Laura B., Rupert's wife, is secretly celebrating the fact that it wasn't her that was voted off.

Aras realizes there may be a target on his back now since he was the kingpin of that blindside. Tyson and Gervase discuss when might be the right time to dethrone King Aras. Gervase even goes so far as to call him and Tyson the “new power couple” of Survivor. Now, I'm not sure what power they yield just yet because so far the only thing either of them has done is steal coconuts from the rest of the tribe.

Over at Redemption Island, John, Culpepper and Laura M. go head to head in a race that consists of walking along a balance beam, stopping to untie bags of number tiles and then quickly putting the tiles in order at the end from 1-100. Laura M. gets a quick lead and manages to hang onto it to easily win this one. She said she was confident and she didn't lie!

John and Culpepper duked it out for second place. John was making it easy for Culpepper by falling off the beam and not being able to untie a knot or two but Culpepper didn't seem able to count to 100 so John caught up and blew past him. Culpepper was sent home much to the whiney Monica's dismay.

Laura M. gave Vytas the clue to the Hidden Immunity Idol but he promptly tossed it in the fire. That clue means there's a target on your back and nobody wants it. Then Probst announces that it's time to “switch things up” a little. Usually this means a merge but this time, instead, they were given new buffs and rearranged into two new tribes. Vytas, Kat, Monica, Katie and Laura B. are the new Galang and Tyson, Gervase, Aras, Hayden and Ciera are the new Tadhana.

Back at camp they set to welcoming the new people to the camp. Tyson begins making new friends and influencing people, but pretty much amping up his “assholeness.” He eats more food whenever he wants and starts making snarky comments on what bad decisions Aras makes. He wants to put as much bad juju on Aras as he can so he can make the others think Aras is in charge. Hayden, the quiet one so far, is watching this and doesn't like what he's seeing in Tyson. I think Tyson is a twitload of twattle. He never played a very good game before and this time he's just a major jerk.

At the Immunity Challenge, it is a swimming challenge where two people from each tribe swim out to release a fish trap and return to shore. They have to bring back three traps and then they can complete a puzzle. Tina and Laura B. go out first for Galang and they do something so idiotic that I can't believe either one of them are still around! They swim out and release the trap but then swim all the way back without the fish trap. When their tribes yells and tells them to go back they stand there like they have no idea what the heck they're supposed to do.

Finally they go back but Galang loses a major lead and Tadhana is way ahead. The other members of Galang haul ass though and they do catch up. Three time…yes, THREE times… Galang, again with Tina, thinks they have the puzzle completed and all three times Probst tells them NO! They can't get it together and Tadhana sweeps past them for the win. Tina is no rocket scientist, that's for sure. Sheesh!

At Tribal Council, Galang is all a shambles. The plan was to vote off Vytas so the women's alliance stays strong but before they get to council, Kat tells Tina she's worried about Monica who “talks too much.” Tina, the brain trust that she is, runs right off to tell Monica who then turns the tables and sets the voting sights on Kat. Kat begs for her life at Tribal and Vytas sees his chance to throw some gasoline on the Kat flames. In the end, Vytas survives another day and Kat and her pouty face is sent to Redemption Island.

Quote of the week: Tyson - “I don't believe in anything. Except magic. Because that stuff's real!”

Vag’s Evaluation: Okay, it was a little better than last week. But just barely. Mary Beth and I decided to cover both tribes because of the highly publicized tribe swap. Big deal.

At the Redemption Island Duel Laura M. finished first and Candice’s wife, John came in second. That meant Culpepper had to go home. Great, another castaway with a bit of a personality is eliminated. Great. Just great. Oh ya, Probst asked Culpepper to compare Survivor and playing in the NFL. Dumb ass question. I used to like Probst…

Laura M., because she finished first, was allowed to award a Hidden Immunity Idol clue to someone. She handed it to Vytas who promptly tossed it into the fire. Yawn. Getting tired of the routine. In fact, I have pretty much had it with the whole Redemption Island concept. It pretty much sucks.

After John and Laura M. leave the Redemption Island Arena, Probst tells the two tribes to sit still. After everyone oohs and ahs for a moment, they draw buffs to establish new tribes. Aras, Gervase and Tyson join Caleb, Hayden and Ciera on the freshly configured Tadhana tribe. This leaves Monica, Vytas, Katie, Tina, Kat, Monica and Laura B. to form the new and not-so improved Galang tribe.

Here’s the Reader’s Digest version of what happen between the reformation of the tribes and the Immunity/Reward Challenge:

At Tadhana the old tribe members told their new teammates anything they wanted to know. Tyson acted like a real jag-off, eating all the food, which really pissed Hayden off. Over at Galang Kat led the new group in prayer and Vytas told everyone what it was like to spend eight months in prison. Zzzz…

When they finally got around to the Immunity/Reward Challenge, Mark Burnett, Probst and the other Survivor bigwigs really blow it. The reward for the challenge is turkey, roast beef, cheese, fresh bread and all the fixings. Probst kept gushing about what a great picnic these sandwiches would make. But did Survivor have Subway® or Jimmy John’s sponsor the challenge? NO! This season is really disappointing me on so many levels.

The challenge required the castaways to swim out in pairs to an underwater wooden cage where they must collect fish traps containing puzzle pieces. After all three fish traps are recovered; two members have to assemble the puzzle. Imagine, another puzzle!

For me, the only highlight of the challenge was when Laura B. and Tina of Galang swam all the way out to the underwater cage and back without retrieving a fish trap. Talk about a major brain fart. This gave Tadhana a huge lead, which they almost squandered, but not quite. The loss earns Galang a trip to Tribal Council to vote someone off to Redemption Island. Not off the show, but to friggin’ Redemption Island. Remember, people don’t get eliminated until the first ten minutes of NEXT week’s episode. Talk about anticlimactic…

Speaking of anticlimactic, that’s exactly what Tribal Council was. Kat was a liar and everyone knew it, so they sent her to…Redemption friggin’ Island. The part of Tribal Council that I found entertaining was the spectacles that Katie was sporting. Too nerdy! Hey, Burnett and Probst, are you listening? Get LensCrafters® to sponsor Katie’s glasses! You already blew with the sandwiches.

Until next time…from the booth.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Survivor 27.5

Mary Beth’s 2Cents: Tadhana Times – The hard part about writing about Tadhana is that I haven't really found one member of the tribe that I can fully like. The only person coming close to being liked by me is Brad Culpepper and, mostly I think, because he's the only one who's been actually playing the game so far and he's so hated/misunderstood by everyone else. He's sort of an underdog and I'm always a sucker for an underdog. He waving the white flag as he crept into camp on Redemption Island amused me.

Now, there are two people I cannot stomach. John and his skinny lipped, overly opinionated wife, Candice. She is a shrew and I silently wished her gone. Well, lucky me! My wish came true. In the Redemption Challenge, the three competitors had to dismantle a box, use the slats to make a bridge, dismantle said bridge and use only some of the marked slats to complete a puzzle.

Candice had an early lead but John soon caught up. Culpepper worked slowly and methodically, taking his box apart and carefully building his bridge. Candice lost her lead but they all worked head to head on the puzzle. It was a close race but John came in first and Brad Culpepper won the second seat by a very narrow margin. But it was a win that sent snake lips home! Whooo hooo!!

Overall, Tadhana is looking pretty beat up. They are covered in bug bites, open sores, scrapes and bruises. Katie's toenails are falling off left and right and I could have done without the close ups of her swollen, red, pus-filled feet. Pretty disgusting, I must say.

Now that Culpepper is gone there is a new vibe in Tadhana. Everyone seems at peace. Vytas spends some time trying to solve the human mystery that is Caleb. And Caleb divulges that he likes to exfoliate. Later, Vytas makes for some pretty eye candy as he does some interesting yoga moves on a cliffside. Yep, it's a whole new vibe.

At the Immunity/Reward Challenge, the tribes go mano y mano on a water slide/ring toss combo game. The reward, other than immunity, is a huge pile of steaks with all the fixins and a wok to cook them in. Or they could choose fishing gear. I tell ya, those steaks looked so good I almost wished I was there!

Right off the bat, Caleb, the exfoliator, gives Tadhana the early lead by making an easy ring toss. Not to be outdone, Tyson ends up tying it all up. Katie takes the lead back again followed by a score by Vytas, which put Tadhana two points ahead. The score goes back and forth for a while but Tadhana holds onto the two-point lead and FINALLY wins the challenge!

See? A whole new vibe. And, they chose the steaks because…well, who wouldn't!? I think they made the right choice. Not just about the steaks but they made the right choice about voting out Culpepper. Oh, he'll be back. I have a feeling he will but for now…it was the right to do so this motley crew can get some peace and move forward in this game.
Vag’s Evaluation: The Galang Gang –
This is where I am supposed to recap what happened on this evening’s episode of Survivor: Blood vs. Water. Well, I don’t know whether it is worth it or not. Please let me explain why.

On September 20, 1977, Fonzie jumped the shark. For the uninformed, jumping the shark became an idiom used to describe the moment in the evolution of a television show when it begins to decline in quality that is beyond recovery, which is usually a particular scene, episode or aspect of a show in which the writers use some type of gimmick in a desperate attempt to keep viewers’ interest.

Fellow Survivor Geeks, October 16, 2013 may be the date Survivor jumped the shark for yours truly. And, I do believe that I am not alone in this assertion. My standard Survivor ritual includes getting feedback from Fellow Survivor Geeks Patty 4-Names and Auntie Janet before I start writing. Tonight’s responses were most revealing…

From Patty 4-Names: “I dunno, I no longer understand this show. I have watched it since the beginning. My husband and I were in the city for a concert at the Chicago Theatre and I made him find a bar so we could watch the Finale of the first season! This is NOTHING like the old show!” The pièce de résistance was when she added, “I have no idea who Laura M. is?!?!?!!?

From Auntie Janet: “Who are these people?” She then asked me how many episodes were left this season. When I told her that this was only episode five and there are eight or nine more, disappointment in her, “Oh really” response oozed through the phone. Auntie Janet used to love Survivor.

So did I.

I was never a fan of the Redemption Island twist; it detracts from the drama of Tribal Council. Plus, it eliminates the Reward Challenge. Now, on top of all of that, they have added this Blood vs. Water thing. Blah, blah, blah…

Give me the good old days where the show was about the personalities of the castaways. I need people like Richard Hatch, Russell Hantz, Coach, and Parvati, please. It doesn’t have to be THOSE people, but it has to be people like them. Someone with character and charisma. Not a broken down Gervase and doddering Tina Wesson.

For crying out loud, even Emmy award-winning host Jeff Probst is finding it difficult to stir the shit up at Tribal Council. The biggest reaction he got was Kat rolling her eyes when he said something about Laura B.

Okay, okay, I’ll stop whining. Hopefully my partner, Mary Beth isn’t as disgruntled as I am and provided you some entertainment. Don’t worry, I’m contractually obligated to complete season 27, so I will be back next week. Hopefully I will have a better attitude. But if Probst is water-skiing wearing a leather jacket, all bets are off…

Until next time…from the booth.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Survivor 27.4

Mary Beth’s 2Cents: What’s Happening With Tadhana - Two weeks ago, when Peever and I decided to split up the tribes with him writing about Galang and me writing about Tadhana, I thought I would take some time to find the break out persona and write about that. What I discovered is that I don't like the people on the Tadhana tribe but I will admit that what they lack in personality they do make up in drama. There is an abundance of drama!

Last week, Tadhana voted John off to Redemption Island, a fact that did not sit well with skinny-lipped Candice who was already there. She didn't seem to understand that by continually giving him the clues to the hidden idol may have contributed to the big target on his back. Brad Culpepper, one of the only players this year that seems to be playing the game of Survivor tells his tribe that he “hooked John in” right from the start. Brad Culpepper talks too much and that might come back to bite him in the end.

At Redemption, Candice tells Probst that she was hoping the person voted off would be someone she “could hate! Someone like Brad Culpepper!!” She has it out for him because of the stuff Marissa's been telling her and now her beloved John was voted out too. John chimes in and tells them all not to trust Culpepper.

The Redemption Challenge was a rope maze through a ladder-type thing to release a bunch of puzzle pieces. First person to complete the puzzle wins. John makes easy work of this and easily wins the challenge. Marissa and Candace duke it out for a while but Candice steps up and wins which sends Marissa packing.

The winner, John, gets to give the clue to whomever he wants but does as he's told when Candice tells him to give it to Monica Culpepper. Not that it's personal or anything. Monica takes the clue and tosses it in the fire as if to say, “F... you!” Meanwhile, back at Redemption, alone at last, Candice and John are acting like they're at a Sandals Resort. EW! I dislike both of these people immensely.

Back at Tadhana, Brad has hurt feelings and pouts a lot while the others all pat him on the back to make him feel better. He turns around and points out the if the Galang tribe gets so upset when they vote out a loved one maybe they should vote out Caleb because his loved one, Colton, quit last week so they would have nothing to get mad about.

Hayden, Caleb and Vytas are creating their own alliance leaving Brad on the totem but very low on the totem indeed. Caleb, who may be smarter than he looks, says it's a good thing to keep Brad around because the spotlight is on him leaving the rest of them to do some dirty work and not get in trouble.

Both tribes come together for the Immunity/Reward Challenge. This time they have to paddle out to retrieve five crates, which they then use to build a stair case leading them to a puzzle which gives them the combination to a key which will allow them to raise their flag.

Reward is coffee, tea, biscotti and croissants or fishing gear. As always, Tadhana takes an early lead, easily paddling out and gathering their first crate. The lead last while Brad gets the remainder of the crates for Tadhana. Then, just as they are nearing the shore, all of the crates tumble out of the boat! Seriously! They lose the lead AGAIN!!

They muster it together and get on shore and catch up again at the puzzle portion of the challenge. Tadhana lets Ciera take the lead in completing the puzzle. Why? I don't know. She blew it the last time they did that and she blew it again this time. Tadhana loses again. AGAIN!! Hayden summed it up best when he said, “We lost to a one armed man and three moms.”

Before Tribal Council, Brad Culpepper tells the women he's voting for Caleb. He turns around and tells the men, he's voting for Ciera and then, because he cannot stop talking ever, he tells Caleb he told the women to vote for him. Of course, this set Caleb to thinking which leads to more drama at Tribal Council. Caleb admits he now does not trust Brad Culpepper and decides he's writing Brad's name down. He announces this to the rest of the tribe, which, of course, gives the women an out and a reprieve.

The first vote is tied three to three Ciera and Brad. The revote, with Ciera and Brad sitting out, is tallied and it's....drum roll please...Brad Culpepper is off to Redemption Island! I still don't like these people very much but they are pretty exciting to watch!

Vag’s Evaluation: What’s Going On With GalangHere we go again. It’s like déjà vu all over again. The episode starts out at Redemption Island and once again there is a “classy” broad flipping off Brad Culpepper. This time it is the lovely Candice. She is pissed off because the Tadhana voted off her wife John. Of course, she blames that all on Culpepper.

This week’s Redemption Island Duel involves maneuvering a key attached to a Nerf® football on a rope through a ladder bridge. John finishes first with his husband Candice coming in second. This eliminates little miss Potty-Mouth, Marissa. It also means that John has the privilege of awarding a Hidden Immunity Clue to anyone he likes. When Probst asks John who he would like to give it to, his husband, Candice quickly butts in and says, “We will give it to Monica.”


This causes Probst to enquire if that’s how it is at home as well. John giggles and responds that he lets Candice think he does as she says. He then promptly hands the clue to Monica. What’s another word for cat? To her, Monica tells John and his husband that she doesn’t need their stinking clue and tosses it into the fire. Obviously there is another woman besides Candice possessing more testosterone than John. And Probst is impressed.

Not much happens at Galang before the Immunity Challenge. Oh wait, Tyson and Gervase did form this wacky “Coconut Bandit” alliance. It involves the two of them carefully cutting into coconuts, drinking the milk and then replacing them in an effort to confuse the other members of the Galang tribe. Imagine the hilarity! Go ahead. Try to imagine it. I still am…

The Immunity Challenge entails the tribes to paddle, dive, and retrieve five crates. With the crates they must build a staircase, then make a puzzle that will give them a clue to which key to choose. If it is correct, a flag pops up and you win immunity. Along with coffee, tea, biscotti,  croissants and all the fixings. Blah, blah, blah…

Just like last week, the Tadhana tribe jumps out to any early lead only to have Galang totally dominate the puzzle-making portion of the challenge. And, like last week, it is Laura M. laying the ass whooping to her snot-nosed daughter, Ciera. And, like last week, Laura M. blubbers about having to beat her baby again. Blah, blah, blah…

Also like last week, Galang’s victory means that Mary Beth gets to report on crazy goings-on at Tribal Council. Oh well, at least my wish came true and Culpepper got to hook up with Candice and her husband, John at Redemption Island.

My Fellow Survivor Geek Question of the Week: Where did they find these people? It’s pretty bad when Krazy Kat is able to fly under the radar. Until next time…from the booth.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Survivor 27.3

Mary Beth’s 2Cents: What’s Happening With Tadhana - I'm trying very hard to like the new folks that make up the Tadhana tribe. I do like that they are strategizing and thinking ahead. I think it's smart of them to make their votes count for their futures and that they aren't simply eliminating whomever messes up the challenges. So, I was thrilled when they voted Rachel off last time with the idea that Tyson would step up and take her place at Redemption thus weakening Galang.

But at Redemption Rachel tells Tyson to stay put and play so he does. He lets off some holier than thou threats at Culpepper because, horror of horrors, Culpepper was smiling...of all the nerve! Culpepper fires back with the truth. No one at Galang has had to make the difficult decision to send anyone to Redemption yet. This send Marissa into a fit of foul language, which prompts a scolding from her Uncle Gervase.

All of this drama sends Colton into a full on ugly cry and he tells Probst he wants to quit the game. Probst lets Colton have it and even calls him out for being a big crybaby quitter who faked appendicitis the last time he played so he could go home. Colton doesn't care and he leaps into his boyfriends lap for a quick cuddle and to wipe his nose on his shirt. Probst sends him packing and doesn't even let him throw his buff in the fire because that's reserved for real players and not whiny baby heads that give up when they realize they can't win. Bye bye Colton. Don't let the palm tree hit you in the ass as you leave the island.

After the “All My Children” moments were over the real work began and Candice, Marissa and Rachel competed to stay in the game. Now I had two Tadhana to one Galang in this horse race and I thought my odds were pretty good. They had to stack wooden blocks on angled planks making sure to avoid trips bars that would knock them all over. It was a glorified version of Dominos. In the 114-degree heat Candice made short order of this challenge and was the first winner. Marissa and Rachel were head to head until Marissa pulled it out at the end and was the second winner. Bye bye Rachel…time for you to go. Candice, of course, gives hubby John the second clue to the hidden Idol.

At Tadhana, Culpepper starts to wonder if he's doing too much and making himself a target but the others reassure him he is not. John goes Idol hunting. He shares the clue with Culpepper but then tells him he wants to find it on his own which makes Culpepper a little suspicious and not sure he can trust John.

Tree Mail announces a head to head battle, which starts Vytas talking about how he would dearly love to beat his brother Aras. The Immunity Challenge is like a one on one gladiator style pillow fight where the winner pushes the loser into the water. The score goes back and forth, one bout after the other. Hayden easily pushes in Tyson and he pops out a shoulder and has to sit out for the rest of the day. Vytas does get to go against Aras and it's a hard fight but Aras wins and revels in finally beating his bully brother. Vytas shows some class though in telling Probst he's proud of his brother.

The challenge is tied three to three and it comes down to Laura vs. her daughter Ciera. Laura seems like she might be weak, even crying before they start saying she doesn't want to hurt her child. Then the match starts and she veritably kicks her child's ass! So, once again, my Tadhana is off to Tribal Council.

Back at camp, the men review their plan to eliminate one of the two remaining women. Then, when John goes a-hunting for the hidden Idol, Culpepper hints that maybe they should pull off a major blindside and get rid of John. He explains that if John stays and finds the Idol and Candice, his wife, continues to dominate Redemption, once the teams merge those two might be unstoppable. This gives the Tadhana women a reprieve.

Later, Hayden points out that maybe Culpepper might be the better target and a major move and everyone seems to see the logic in that as well. He starts to question Culpepper's loyalty when Culpepper tells them he won't vote for John but wants all of them to vote for John. That doesn't sit well with them. By the time they get to Tribal Council, I'm not sure what's going to happen. There's been so much talk and strategizing it's impossible to tell which way they'll vote but there is a culpable feeling that something big is going to happen.

And it does!

In the end, John gets blind-sided and he never sees it coming. It's one of those true Survivor moments that I love so well. But some questions remain. Has Tadhana fatally wounded their tribe by voting off a very strong player? I guess only time will tell!

Vag’s Evaluation: What’s Going On With Galang
– Wow! Splitting up the reporting duties is going to take some getting used to. Mary Beth’s Tadhana tribe pulled off a doozy didn’t it? Pretty exciting stuff. All my Galang tribe knows how to do is to quit, cry and beat their children.

I had better explain.

The show opens up at the Redemption Island Arena. Both tribes are seated as Candice, Marissa and Rachel enter, ready for a duel that will determine who will be the next castaway to be eliminated. However, before the duel takes place, Marissa decides to flip off Culpepper and shout out, “F*ck you, Brad Culpepper!” Classy niece you got there, Gervase.

Of course this causes a reaction from the other castaways. But not what you would expect. Not by a long shot.

Colton immediately bursts into tears! He whimpers something about not being able to take this anymore and that he wants to go home. An astonished Jeff Probst then asks him if this means he wants to quit.

Rubbing his tear-filled eyes, with a snot bubble in his nose, Colton sobs that he doesn’t want to play with these people. Again, Probst asks him if he is quitting. But this time he calls him out and says if he does quit it will be the second time. Probst then reveals that Colton feigned the appendicitis attack when he left Survivor: One World. Wow!

Colton, still blubbering, runs across the arena and jumps into his fiancé Caleb’s lap and does indeed quit. This causes Probst to chastise him even more vehemently, saying, “In see how it is, if things don’t go your way, you just quit.” He then banishes him from Redemption Island Arena without allowing him the honor of burning his buff in the Survivor fire. What drama!

The duel itself is sort of anticlimactic. Candice is the first to win the giant dominoes game, which leaves Marissa and Rachel to battle it out to see who else gets to stay. After several attempts by both competitors, the foul-mouthed Marissa is victorious. The sends Rachel packing, which makes boyfriend Tyson cry. At least Probst affords Rachel the honor of tossing her buff into the Survivor fire as she leaves. But Tyson was still crying.

The Immunity/Reward Challenge was a dandy. It was a physical battle pitting castaways in one-on-one sumo-style matches using padded bags. The first team to win five bouts wins the challenge. Here are the results:

#1 Culpepper over Gervase. Tadhana 1-0
#2 Laura M. over Katie. Tied 1-1
#3 John over Aras. Tadhana 2-1
#4 Kat over Ciera. Tied at 2
#5 Hayden over Tyson. Tadhana 3-2
#6 Tina over Katie. Tied 3-3
#7 Aras over Vytas. Galang 4-3
#8 Laura M. over Ciera. Galang wins 5-3

This was the third consecutive victory for Galang in Immunity Challenges. It also provided them with a reward of a tarp, pillows, blankets, a hammock, mosquito netting, comforters, maid service and valet parking. More importantly, they didn’t have to go to Tribal Council.

It should be noted that there were several significant occurrences in the challenge. When Tyson lost to Hayden, he dislocated his shoulder and possibly tore a muscle. This required medical attention. And, more crying from Tyson.

Speaking of crying, that’s what Vytas did after older brother Aras kicked his ass. That was despite Vytas pulling a blatant cheap shot. What were people expecting? Aras was a star athlete in college and Vytas was a no-good junkie. Sheesh!

The other notable thing that happened during the challenge, was that we had not one, but two cases of a mother beating their child. First, Laura M. showed some tough love by mopping the deck with daughter Ciera. At least she cried while she did it.

Tina shed no tears when she throttled daughter Katie. This one shocked me. Tina is pushing 60 years old and is not much more than 4-foot tall and her baby girl could do nothing against her. I don’t think Child Protective Services would even touch this case.

I will leave you with my Fellow Survivor Geek Question of the Week: Why didn’t Caleb of Tadhana and Laura B. of Galang compete in the challenge? Monica was the Galang member that sat it out. Hmm…

Until next time…from the booth.