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  1. I haven't loved the tech theme this year, but I found the Cry Phone, Lie Pad and especially the Fear Buds (they tell you what's really going to happen) pretty clever. Though it was a little ghoulish to have a fake Steve Jobs, this show has always been the most charming to me when it's poking fun at itself .
  2. I'm totally unclear about the power of The Cloud. Because Big Brother has a couple times where you can be nominated (unlike Survivor, where the only time you're in jeopardy is at tribal council), would using the power prior to a nomination ceremony mean you can't be backdoored that week? But you can use it post-Veto if you get a bad vibe you're going to be backdoored anyway? If so, when is that? After a Veto is won, but not yet played? I actually think this is worse than a hidden immunity idol, because you have twice as many chances not to be safe in Big Brother as you do in Survivor (if one assumes one is "safe" if one's name is not written down the most at tribal council). Tyler's seemed pretty intuitive so far, so maybe he was a good one to get it, but trying to choose exactly when to use it would mess me up. It seems more mind game than power app to me.
  3. S20.E4: Power of Veto #1 2018.07.04

    I ... kind of feel like Tyler has a thing for Sam? Even from the time he was speaking to her when she was a robot? Maybe it's just me.
  4. Survivor In The Media

    I'm not sure I could disagree more if I tried. I thought there were an astounding number of (literal) "Purple Kellys" -- more than I remember on any recent season. The annoying-but-at least-had-a-personality characters (Jacob, Stephanie, Bradley) were all early boots, plus once so-bad-he's-good-TV Chris Noble went home, it might as well have been the Dom And Wendell Show, With Special Guest-Stars Donathan and Laurel. Tune in to see them half-ally, half-battle Kellyn and her Band of Naviti Nobodies! So, if she was fired for Ghost Island alone, I can't say I completely blame them. However, it's really hard to say that the woman who cast so many memorable Survivor players, and directly or indirectly facilitated more marriages than The Bachelor ... was bad at knowing how to put people together. She's allowed a few misses in my book. And if this means Probst is going to get more involved in casting ... that's not a development I favor.
  5. S36.E15: Live Reunion Show

    I for one am psyched for David vs. Goliath. It's a broad theme that leads to all sorts of interpretations of character, and it's a theme that doesn't really inspire tribal loyalty (i.e., not another season of Naviti Strong). I'm sure there are Davids who think they are Goliaths and Goliaths who think they are Davids. It motivates them to mix it up, and create those interesting post-merge alliances we usually see in every season but this one. This is what I think Millennials vs. Gen X did well -- it was a broad theme, but it was still delineated by something, even if that something was "random age dividers." Similarly, I think David vs. Goliath is going to have people trying to defy the negative connotations of their tribe, and that will even subconsciously incentivize some of them to try to escape those labels. Whereas when you pigeon-hole people by complimenting them that they're Heroes/Healers/Hustlers, you get less of an incentive to flip. And clearly, when you give them no labels whatsoever, most just attach to their original tribe forever. So, bring on 37! And also: let this be the last we ever speak of Naviti Strong ever again.
  6. S16.E18: Performance Finals

    I'm torn about what the outcome will be. Maddie got The Pimp Spot, but I feel like she was so head-and-shoulders above the rest that the judges never knew what to do with her. You could see it in Luke Bryan's face, he was basically Chris Farley in those old SNL celebrity interviews: "Remember when you sang that song? Um, that was awesome." Back on the Fox Idol, Maddie would've been a shock boot because there was no progression (drink!) or journey, and she was never the underdog, even though she seemed likable and humble to me throughout. She'd have been another Melinda Doolittle. But there wasn't enough manipulation for me to truly believe the producers don't want her to win. If anything, I don't think that they think she will win. So, their only strategy was to make sure that people knew she was closest to what they want out of the show (an artist, someone who knows who she is, someone who owns their performances and is comfortable onstage) and hope it translated to the audience. I'm not sure it did, but I hope it does. She sings with such emotion that I'm always engaged by her performances. I truly hope she can pull it off. On the other hand, this ... is American Idol.
  7. S36.E13: Always Be Moving

    Well, I guess we know now that Jeff Probst heard Laurel on that Yanny/Laurel thing.
  8. S36.E12: A Giant Game of Bumper Cars

    I always think people who use that argument have a tacit "and they were bigger jerks to you than I was, so I didn't really betray you -- they did" attached to the end of it. I don't know if this applies to all non-power players or just those on losing tribes. But I think everyone who does this is secretly hoping to be the next Amber on All Stars or Natalie White on Samoa -- the "they betrayed you, not me (and they're a bigger jerk than I am)" argument. Granted, the "they betrayed you, not me" argument has held less sway in recent years, but I do feel like it's still a thing for some people. I prefer that argument over the delusions of someone like Ryan last year -- "I was secretly in control, you just never knew it" -- or a total punt like Troyzan in Game Changers -- "I'm just a wild and crazy guy!" Own your role and spin it. Maybe it will work.
  9. S36.E12: A Giant Game of Bumper Cars

    For my money, Millennials vs. Gen X was the best family visit they've ever had, because for once, it wasn't just a break in the action. It actually advanced a season subplot (Adam's reward steal non-play/giveaway) and showed character development (Jay picking Adam out of seemingly nowhere, which turned out to be a minor turning point in that adversarial relationship). Plus, the health of Adam's mother -- love it or hate it -- created dramatic stakes, so it wasn't just the usual "oh, I'll just see her in 10 days." I did think of that when Kellyn was practically stomping her foot over not being chosen. This year, I feel like they at least tried to tie this visit to the plot with "you can give up your family visit to go to Ghost Island." What would've made it better if they'd teased it to the players beforehand, even something along the lines of "and family may not be the only thing you're playing for" or something. Or if it was one of those "an idol good at only the next tribal council" -- something that would make the family visit related to the plot, instead of the family visit completely separate from the plot (a.k.a. what happens most every year).
  10. S36.E12: A Giant Game of Bumper Cars

    Chelsea has ... "the most supportive little sister in the history of Survivor?" Really? Okay, Ghost Island -- Malcolm's advantage was cursed? Because he ... played it, it didn't work out and he went home? And what was that ridiculousness about how after this cursed advantage, "he's never made it to the Final Four since." (had to get that "since" in there, didn't you, Survivor? After all, he's "only" played three times.) As Jeff Probst is fond of saying, "you've got to dig deep" .... for these items to have relevance to an actual curse on Survivor.
  11. S16.E16: Top 7- Prince Night

    Cade did "Who Will Save Your Soul" like it was "Black Hole Sun." I'm glad Catie went home on a night she screwed up. If this wasn't a marathon voting show, she'd have been gone for sure, and rightfully so. Glad the marathon voters thought so, too. Yes, all performers screw up, but to me, she didn't deserve to advance over more competent performers. Her voice wasn't that good. Not to mention her cruise ship performance of "Oops, I Did it Again."
  12. S36.E11: The Finish Line Is In Sight

    Unpopular opinion, but I love that they did this with David's idol that caused Jay to play the fool. It showed a modicum of creativity on the part of the show, while being true to the idol's "backstory" and it made me realize what Ghost Island could have been: the "relics" but with some of their backstory in place. What if Donathan's super-idol was a two-part idol, where you had to convince someone else to play it with you, to protect only one person? What if, in order to activate the "effing stick," you had to show it to someone else and have them tell you it was fake? What if, in order for Erik's immunity necklace to work, it has to be given away to someone else? It would demonstrate respect for the show's past and history, and would make a lot more sense (and super-fans would get a bigger kick out of it) than their hokey "this fake idol has been living on Ghost Island and grown into a real live boy idol" stories that only an 8-year old would believe.
  13. S36.E11: The Finish Line Is In Sight

    Yeah, you had to do a microscopic examination of it to realize it was fake (apparently the note still had Gen X tribe colors on it). The brief moment of joy I got from seeing those clips -- and what a good sport Jay was about being fooled -- is just emphasizing how meh this season is, to me. I got the same "oh wow, remember that good season!" feeling with Micronesia and the stick, James and his two idols and while Game Changers wasn't my favorite, it had some unbelievable moments -- courtesy of its cursed items. In retrospect, I think it was a mistake to include those clips -- you don't want to be reminding people of superior seasons. Man, even Tai and Scot -- as heinous as I found that season -- actually provided a more dramatic moment than anything that's happened so far this season, for me.
  14. S36.E11: The Finish Line Is In Sight

    I sort of loved dividing them into two tribes. It felt like the producers being like "You people are obsessed with your original tribes? Now you can compete like it." And oh, when I saw that coconut, I knew that was Jay's fake idol, and I sort of loved that it's still a fake idol. Jay played the fool at the end, and it makes sense that to "reverse the curse" of his idol, you get to see if you can make someone else play the fool, too. (the question is will Jeff still toss David's work of art into the fire again?) I'm amazed Jeff didn't give that first tribe the middle finger when they wanted to stop discussion and vote right away. It looked like he was barely holding back.
  15. S36 Ghost Island Preview and Speculation

    I think Kellyn is very much Chrissy 2.0: the villain the (probably male) winner vanquishes in order to win. Looks like Chrissy had the third highest number of confessionals last season. I think they have abandoned the “shocking” winner edits of Kaoh Rong and Millennials vs Gen X (where the winner isn’t obvious by number of confessionals or actual importance to the season story arc as a whole) and gone back to a modified Mike Holloway “hero overcomes obstacles” approach. I wish that didn’t involve defeating an evil “witch,” like it’s the ... 1800s, but I guess the show does air on CBS ...