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Survivor China: A Chicken's a Little Bit Smarter (season premiere)

by Jackie Schnoop, posted Sep 20th 2007 11:41PM
Survivor China(S15E01) I think it might take me a bit longer to warm up to this latest season of Survivor. Don't get me wrong -- I am indeed an addict. But I miss the days of the two-hour premiere. When it's all over and the first boot is at the end of an hour, I feel strangely unfulfilled.

Oh, I'm entertained. I definitely see some interesting possibilities coming from the China setting and the castaways themselves. But, after tonight's episode, I have some reservations, too.

I think the thing which nags at me the most is that it's almost as if the producers have set us up for a Ulong type situation. The tribes, Zhan Hu (Fighting Tiger) and Fei Long (Flying Dragon), weren't selected by a random pick or even a schoolyard pick. It seems to me that the Fei Long tribe has the bulk of the muscle and speed. I find it unusual that the tribes were pre-picked this season. Any guesses? Just to shake things up?

Jeff is still cute!So far, many of my predictions about the castaways are coming to fruition.

Leslie, the Christian radio host who mentioned that she's a Christian way too much in her CBS video, was the first recipient of the negative spotlight tonight. When all of the cast members were attending a Buddhist ceremony not of a religious nature, she just couldn't stay. Jeff reminded her that he said it was just a welcoming ceremony, yet she thought it was betraying her faith. She deserves an eyeroll.

Then, another one I wasn't impressed with -- Courtney -- actually gave eyerolls, lots of them as she was in the Buddhist temple for the ceremony. I don't think the show should cast anyone named Courtney anymore. The last one, the performance artist a few seasons back, was flaky. This one is rude and has the "I'm so cool and you're not" attitude.

I know that it seems that Ashley Massaro, the WWE wrestler, is a fan favorite with many men and probably some women, too. But she fizzled this episode. She was sick for more than half the time they were there. Not only that, but her right boob kept hanging out. What the heck was with that, I ask? Since I'm on a bit of a rant here, I must add that her rings on her upper lip make her look like a vampire at a quick glance. I expect her eyes to glow next.

The guys were better off then the women clothes-wise, for sure. I hope they'll do something about getting the women some kind of clothes. I really have no desire to watch Sherea in her bra and panties each challenge, do you?

Then there are the men. Mmmm ... James could be one of those underwear models, couldn't he? That guy is built! Not that I'm shallow and just into the looks, mind you. (But, wow.) I decided Chicken needed a translator as I could barely understand a word he said. I was also surprised that he took nothing upon himself in the way of making any kind of decision even when asked for one point-blank. Hey, guy, if you're going to be that iffy, just go home. Oh, wait...!

Frosti leads the wayFrosti's specialty is supposed to be bouncing off walls and such. While I thought he was good around the camp, I was a bit disappointed in his challenge effort. Of course he was against James, but I expected more from a Parkour athlete ... even though I didn't even know what a Parkour athlete was a month ago.

One person I think I called wrong in my pre-show impressions is Todd, the gay Mormon. I think he might be a lot smarter about the show than I predicted -- if he can stay quiet, he might do very well.

I wasn't overly impressed with my pre-season pick to win -- Jean Robert. I'm going to have to see what happens next week.

I thought tonight's Immunity Challenge was kind of neat. It reminded me of being in Chinatown for the Lunar New Year. They needed some firecrackers, though! It will be interesting to see how the show keeps up with Chinese-themed challenges this season. I wasn't too surprised that the stronger team won the challenge, though. Shades of Ulong, I say! And they don't have a Stephenie on the tribe unless Ashley gets her act together.

We saw very little scheming, wheeling and dealing, before Tribal Council tonight. It seemed that either Peih-Gee or Ashley were the most likely to be voted out -- the former because she was bossy and cried after the Immunity Challenge, the latter because she had been so sick. But a contingent wanted Chicken to go.

Steve Chicken MorrisSo, what does Chicken do? He pretty much sunk himself during Tribal Council ... if they could understand what he was saying, that is. He came across with an attitude forcing those with actual attitudes to roll their eyes. The vote wasn't anywhere near unanimous and didn't really show any sort of larger alliance within the group. We will never know because the show was only an hour long.

To quote Chicken as his torch was snuffed, "Dayum!"

I'll be interested to see how the tribes play out. Fei Long, in addition to being the stronger tribe physically, also have their act together building camp and studying The Art of War. Zhan Hu is more along Keystone Cops trying to set up camp in Camden, New Jersey.

Who do you want to get the boot next week on Survivor?
Aaron2 (0.4%)
Amanda (who?)18 (3.5%)
Ashley112 (21.7%)
Courtney176 (34.0%)
Dave8 (1.5%)
Denise5 (1.0%)
Erik1 (0.2%)
Frosti6 (1.2%)
Jaime3 (0.6%)
James11 (2.1%)
Jean-Robert17 (3.3%)
Leslie26 (5.0%)
Peih-Gee105 (20.3%)
Sherea19 (3.7%)
Todd8 (1.5%)

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Chester....cranky, cranky, cranky....keep um comin' It is making the posts more fun than ever.

September 26 2007 at 5:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Hey Tom,

My read of your initial post was that you were saying the show is contrived. This was due to the way you seemed to portray all the advantages Ashley has had was the show's way of trying to boost ratings. This may be the case, but I really hope it's not. I really don't think it matters because I think Ashley is going home this coming Thursday. Anyway, if I read your post wrong, this is why.

As to your reading of the airline attendant, I think you may be right. In the past, the gay guy has generally done pretty well in this game (Hatch, Rafe, and kinda Coby). But I don't think that Todd has the intelligence of Hatch and Coby, and I know he doesn't have the perfect understanding of the social game that Rafe had. I think he will not be trusted and will annoy some people, so yes, I think he will eliminate himself from the game. Nice call, let's find out!

September 25 2007 at 11:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Tom Stoneburner

Coby is also from Texas the same as Colby. Hence, calling him "Colby". Nothing was said about their respective seasons.

Bogus? Contrived? Huh?

It's the host's job to shake things up. He can do this by dispensing rewards or punishments. Giving an incredible bonus (lit torches) in the show's first week to a losing team that is better than the opposing tribe's reward for actually winning the challenge seems a bit daft.

The actual elimination vote, as much as Probst and CBS try to 'guide' it, is in the hands of the Survivors. I don't see how Probst doing his job negates the harsh living conditions they go through.

If you're acting out of show loyalty, it's understandable. Knee-jerk reactions often cause people to accidentally overlook portions of a post and take things in a way unintended by the poster. Judging from your comments, you read paragraphs 1, 2, 4, and 5 (post 38). Would you mind reading paragraph 3 and giving your opinion?

Also, I would like to know what you think of my reading of the airline attendants behavior so far.

Let's hope that the season picks up after they trim some of the dead weight in epsiode 2. Heck, I hope their personalities develop to the point that viewers develop a bond.

September 23 2007 at 3:11 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Tom -

First off, it was Coby in Palau, not Colby. Colby was in Australia and All-Stars.

Second, Jeff Probst always gives the survivors their running shoes before the first challenge, and there is always a wrestling-type challenge early in the game. I don't see Ashley being given any advantages at all. If you have followed this game for a while you would know that Probst always asks these kind of questions at tribal council.

I'm getting tired of hearing comments about how the show is bogus and contrived. To a certain extent, all reality shows are contrived. But these people really do live 24-7 on their beaches and go through the hardships of having very little to get by on for weeks.

September 22 2007 at 11:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Tom Stoneburner

I'm surprised that no one has commented on the extra help Ashley's team received. She had the worst footwear (20-pound biker/combat boots with buckles). They would have become waterlogged, caked with another 20 pounds of mud, or simply weighed her down in any challenge that involved significant walking/running. Guess what? Santa Claus Probst brings his happy sack filled with their running shoes. Hmm.

Being disorganized leads a team to slaughter in the elimination challenges. Ashley's team lost one elimination challenge and Leprechaun Probst kept pushing until they picked a leader. This will at least give them some sort of chance in challenges. Hmm, Ashley was the likely one to go next week and Probst forces to do them something that has a decent chance of helping them win the next challenge. Interesting.

They were miserable and cold. Ashley's team lost and he let them carry their LIT torches back to camp! Probst negated the winning team's advantage by giving a better reward to the losing team.

Oh, next week's challenge apparently involves wrestling. Hmm, Ashley is facing the chopping block and the next challenge is precisely the thing you would expect her to do best in this game: overpowering physically weaker women. Strange.

I find it a bit odd that all of these bonuses were given to a losing team that Ashley was on and that all of the help benefits Ashley the most. Ashley is a current celebrity on TV . Survivor may have thought that Ashley would bring in huge ratings. All of the help Probst throws her way will not overcome her grating personality.

Oh, the Survivors seem to be fitting into past Survivor stereotypes. The openly gay guy is already scheming in what he thinks is a clever manner, but will probably contribute to him getting the boot. Pointing out someone as a leader in front of the rest of the tribe when the 'leader' never asked for that will hurt him in the long run. He targeted a male on his team. He'll get further in the game than the obvious losers, but he'll self-destruct like Colby(gay Colby, not Texas Colby). Colby first complained about not being included in fishing and then refused to go even when invited. Look for the airline attendant to 'eliminate' himself after coming into conflict with the other men.

There doesn't seem to be a standout player for everyone to root for yet. Hopefully, the next week or two will flesh things out. I'd rather root for someone because of cunning, heart, work ethic, or plain dumb luck instead of a cold evaluation of paper qualifications.

September 22 2007 at 4:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I think the ceremony in the temple was very religious in nature and it was rude to make them use "praying hands" and repeatedly bow. No matter what religion you are or aren't that was weird. I am not of any religion and would not have wanted to bow to anyone or anything in that manner. I am sure Buddhist wouldn't have wanted to do that in a catholic church, synagog or mosque. Jeff didn't show any compassion about this. I am personally have a beef with religious fanatics, but she had every right to leave the ceremony! I would have been rolling my eyes too and been completely offended by the monk who slapped my hands. That just wasn't right.

September 22 2007 at 1:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The whole thing about the Christian Radio lady is so bogus. Did you not notice that she really left the Budha ceremony ringing wet with sweat through her clothes? She was just really hot and they turned it into a religious issue. Watch the beginning again and she what you think?

September 22 2007 at 1:19 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Again, if a Muslim had walked out on the ceremony, would the same accusations of intolerance and ignorance be posted. Of course not.

September 21 2007 at 6:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

One's religion is personal...between you and your God. If she felt uncomfortable, she was right to leave. She was true to her belief. She was not intolerant...she did not put down anyone else for not leaving. It was her personal decision.
I would venture to say all of those shouting "INTOLERANCE!" would be just as quick, if not quicker, to shout "HYPOCRITE!" if she had stayed.

September 21 2007 at 6:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Why were the teams already picked!!! Unfair! Lots of lazy people on one side~and then ther's JAMES! Oh my what a gorgeous man! And Courtney is a B#+*%!!! She needs to go~who the hell does she think she is anyways? I hope James wins this season!

September 21 2007 at 5:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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