Friday, May 15, 2015

My "Survivor: Second Chance" Ballot

As you might expect, I’m very excited about getting to actually vote on a new Survivor all-stars cast.  Sure, CBS has openly said that fan votes aren’t the only factor in picking the cast for season 31, yet still, I’m a sucker.

The rules: CBS provides a pool of 16 men and 16 women, and you must pick 10 of each.  Each ex-player has never won the show, and none have played since their original appearance.  In my opinion, these are strong rules; firstly, it keeps my dream of an ‘all-winners season’ alive, and secondly, it prevents obvious choices like Rupert, Boston Rob, Parvati, etc. from returning for their umpteenth time.  The only downside is, of the 32 choices, CBS made some odd calls.  To my picks…

Women: Peih-Gee Law (1), Kelly Wiglesworth (2)
Men: Terry Deitz (1), Stephen Fishbach (2), Shane Powers (3)

If CBS gave me free reign to pick any Survivor cast members from the entire series under the “no winners/no past returnees” rules, I would’ve had Shane, Kelly, Terry, Stephen and Peih-Gee on my list.  I highly suspect Kelly and all of the guys will make the cut so we’ll get to see them in action again, and hopefully Peih-Gee gets in as well since she was an underrated player who was continually caught in bad situations in Survivor: China.  Stephen is a very good strategist who, given JT’s craptacular performance in S20, may have been the uncrowned winner of S18.  Shane is just nonstop comedy; not that I’d wish poor health on the guy or anything, but part of hopes he’s kept smoking for all these years just so he’ll have to go into nicotine withdrawal again while in the game and subsequently lose his mind.  Terry was arguably the biggest challenge beast in Survivor history, and even at age 55 now, he’ll probably still kick some ass out there.  And as for Kelly, how can any true Survivor fan not want to see one of the S1 icons back out there again?

Women: T-Bird Cooper (3), Ciera Eastin (4), Sabrina Thompson (5)
Men: Andrew Savage (4), Jeff Varner (5)

More pretty easy votes here.  Varner and T-Bird get in as vintage old-timey Survivors who I’m interested to see play a modern game.  Sabrina was a good player who might’ve won had she not been up against the best winner ever.  Ciera showed a lot of game in the Blood vs. Water season and now that she’s on her own without a loved one tied to her, who knows what’s next.  Savage is not a great player in my view, yet he still earned a firm yes from me simply because he was screwed in his original appearance due to the highly-unfair “outcasts” twist that has never been repeated since S7 since even the producers realized it sucked.  I’m honestly shocked that he never got a return invite since he was one of Probst’s original bromances.

Women: Tasha Fox (6), Kelley Wentworth (7)
Men: Vytas Baskauskas (7), Jeremy Collins (7)

Tasha is another good player who was behind the eight-ball from day one thanks to her crappy original tribe, so with better luck this time, she could go far.  The others, like Ciera, were also from Blood vs. Water seasons and all could fare better apart without their loved ones either acting as a threat (in Vytas’ case) or as a hindrance (in Jeremy and Kelley’s case).  Kelley in particular is an interesting wild card; she was given great respect as a clever game player in S29 despite not showing much on camera, so perhaps she’ll emerge as a power player with a second showing. 

So that makes a solid seven on each gender ballot.  And, to steal a quote from Principal Skinner, now we’re into the dregs.

Women: Carolyn Rivera (x)
Men: Mike Holloway (x)

Minor sidebar here to explain why I’m not voting for either of these two, though they’re clearly among the better players on the list and would make my top ten in a pure “who would I like to see in the game again” circumstance.  Firstly, since they’re both in the current season, they’re obviously going to get in the final ten anyway, so they don’t need my support.  Secondly, there’s a good chance that one of them won’t be in the S31 cast anyway since as CBS has stated that if Mike or Carolyn wins the current season, they’re ineligible for the vote and the 11th-place person will crack the cast instead.  As we head into next week’s final episode, I would say there’s about a 90% chance that one of these two will be the winners — Mike will beat anyone in a final vote, Carolyn beats any non-Mike player in a final vote, and I’m hard-pressed to see any circumstance where the sad-sack trio of Will, Sierra and Rodney can keep both of them from winning the last two immunity challenges.

So basically, I just don’t feel the need to throw my vote away on either of these two when I could be using it to support a player that might need more help to get up the table.

Women: Kimmi Kappenberg (8), Shirin Oskooi (9), Mikayla Wingle (10)
Men: Joe Anglim (8), Max Dawson (9), Woo Hwang (10)

These are more votes against the remaining candidates than they are votes FOR this sextet, since this is an underwhelming bunch.  Kimmi gets in just because she’s from one of the classic seasons, yet if I’m picking one of the old-timers to come back, I doubt she cracks my top 40.  Joe and Woo bring nothing but dim-witted athleticism to the table, and my votes honestly won’t matter since both going to be surefire top-tenners anyway; Joe may get the most votes of anyone given how he was edited as such a saint during the current season.  That said, they’re harmless enough, why not.  Shirin and Max are in the same boat as superfans who may simply be have too big of a know-it-all vibe to actually be able to succeed in the game, and their behaviour could actually get worse in this fantasy camp Survivor scenario.  If they’re the experts they claim to be, however, they’d be able to adapt their games and potentially thrive, which would be interesting….or they’ll be hilariously blindsided as Max was this year, which would be a hoot.  Mikayla gets a token vote since she deserves better than to have people remember her Survivor persona only as “the girl who was creepily lusted after by Brandon Hantz.”

There’s the 20 on my ballot, and since I’ve already explained my anti-Carolyn and anti-Mike reasoning, here’s my take on the other ten.

* Brad Culpepper and Troy Robertson: Blowhards who bring nothing to the table other than to have Probst bro-crush on them for the entire game.  Who, aside from Probst, would actually be interested in seeing these two play again?
* Jim Rice and Spencer Bledsoe: Also some severe douchebag vibes, with Jim in particular being so relatively obscure that I’m surprised he got on the ballot.  Spencer is a fan favourite for many but I never cared for the guy and felt his game was severely overrated.
* Monica Padilla, Natalie Tenerelli, Stephanie Valencia: Clearly someone in the casting department has a thing for cute brunettes, as I can’t see any reason why any of them would be candidates to be brought back other than CBS felt the ballot needed some eye candy.  (And while these ladies are good-looking and all, if I’m adding past Survivors based purely on looks, I get a fair distance down the list before I get to these three.) 
* Abi-Maria Gomes, Keith Nale, Kass McQuillen: Does anyone see their games doing ANY differently than their first appearances?  Keith will be a bumbling tag-along in an alliance, get eliminated post-merge and be on the jury again despite not really knowing how to play the game.  Abi-Maria and Kass will irritate everyone out there and either be one of the first few players out or make it to the final three as a goat.  Either way, they’re not bringing anything new to the table.

Sadly, of my bottom ten, probably at least a half-dozen of them will make the cast just as a personal affront to me.  You still have a week to vote, so for my sanity’s sake, please just everyone vote for my choices.  If everyone just does as I say, the world would be a better place.  (Note to self: come up with a better slogan when I run for Parliament.)

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