Here is a short rundown of what is my 10th season as your Friendly Neighborhood Survivor recapper. My how time flies. When I started doing this I had never heard of a Hantz. Sandra had only won one season of Survivor. Parvati was still that flirt from Cook Islands. The only Coach we had heard of was starring Craig T. Nelson.
And now here we are with the 24th season of Survivor. Amazing. This is also the fourth of the last six seasons to be set in Samoa. We’ve had Samoa, Heroes vs. Villains, South Pacific and now One World. Next season will be Fauxmoa and That Island That Some People Call Samoa will follow. This is also the first season since Samoa where we don’t have some sort of stunt casting. HvV was essentially an All-Star season. The two Redemption Island seasons had Rob, Russell, Coach and Ozzy. Even Nicaragua had Jimmy Johnson on board!
In addition, this season scraps Redemption Island (at least for the season) and goes to more traditional vote out rules. It goes to the well once more to set up a Battle of the Sexes. The last times we trotted this out – Season 6 Amazon saw an even split, and after the tribal jumble the gender battle was gone. Season 9 Vanuatu saw one of the strongest gender alliances ever as the women decimated the men, until the last man standing managed to break that alliance. Season 12 divided them into four tribes by gender and age – but that concept was scrapped in the second episode.
The new version divides them into men vs. women, except it throws in the new twist of having them both live on the same beach. Just as Redemption Island, Exile Island and Hidden Immunity Idols were all take offs of previous features of earlier seasons (Pearl Islands’ Outcast Tribe, a Palau reward challenge, and a singular idol hidden in Guatemala), this is a takeoff on the fake merge in Thailand. It is unclear how long the show will have all 18 live together, or if they do the first tribal jumble since Nicaragua.
Also new, two idols will be hidden in camp, but if you find it, you cannot use it for yourself. You have to give it to someone from the other tribe. NICE. TWIST. One thing Survivor does very, very well – tweaking itself and constantly reinventing the social dynamic of the game. The game won by Boston Rob and Sophie recently is worlds different from the game won by Hatch and Tina years ago.
Without further ado – and really, I couldn’t really wait much longer – the show airs tomorrow! Here are the new 18 – with information found on the CBS.com bios.
Nina Acosta – Age: 51 – From Clovis, Calif – Occupation: Retired LAPD Officer
Nina played basketball in college and credits her mom’s feminism for having her choose to be on the field in uniform over being off the field holding pom poms. She sees herself as a combination of Steph and Sue Hawk – interesting. I hope she means Palau Steph and Borneo Sue and not the evil Steph twin from Guatemala or the shell of Sue that went on All-Stars. She wants to prove someone her age can compete – clearly she didn’t watch Jane a couple of seasons ago. She was the only woman who competed for the S.W.A.T Team many years ago. Tough lady.
Chances of Winning – I don’t get a good feeling here. She seems tough enough, but perhaps too tough.
Christina Cha – Age: 29 – From West Hollywood, Calif – Occupation: Career Consultant
She seems to think that Asian women are not silly or funny and she wants to change that perception. Somewhere Margaret Cho is writing an angry letter. She is also a 29 year old woman who cites student government as an achievement. I remember student government – it wasn’t cool when you were actually doing it, much less using it as a reference years later. She chose Gandhi as an inspiration, and I guess we should be thankful she didn’t choose Ghandia. She is a snowboarder, which should come in handy on a tropical island. She sites RI Season 22 Kristina and Francesca as role models – you know, the women that were voted out of Rob’s tribe really, really early!
Chance of Winning – based on that bio? Slim.
Monica Culpepper – Age: 41 – From: Tampa, Fla – Occupation: Ex-NFL Player’s Wife
Her occupation refers to her spouse’s former occupation. Nice. She was 1991 Homecoming Queen – which may be worse than citing student government. She then talked about her husband throughout her bio. I anticipated that fairly famous NFL QB Daunte Culpepper was her husband, but no, it was more obscure defensive tackle Brad Culpepper. Less fun if she gets to the family visit. Remember Taj? We got to see Eddie George that season! She is one of several Survivors who list two-face people as pet peeves. Boy, wrong show. She gave up on medical school to defer to her husband’s career – because the world needs more football players, not doctors. I hope she gets to go back to pursue her dream now.
Chances of winning – Not much.