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April 26, 2007: Idol Hands

OK, I know it's just a TV show — a reality TV show at that — but I’m telling you that by 8:58 pm/ET I was on the edge of my seat and ready for next week's show. Survivor: Fiji has become pure entertainment and that's mostly because I have no clue who is going to win the million dollars! By now there's usually something to give most viewers an inkling as to who is going to win, but with no clear villain (come on, the Four Horsemen "bad guys" aren't all that bad), I'm not even sure if the Vegas oddsmakers have a clear-cut winner chosen. And that's the beauty of Fiji. It's anybody's game.Part of what's keeping Fiji so interesting are the great challenges, and tonight's were the best mix of athleticism and brainpower that I think I've ever seen on the show. It's a nice twist that, though we're at the individual portion of the game, the castaways are still forced to work in teams as they did for this Hasbro-inspired ball-launch game that I'm almost sure Yau-Man was trying ... read more

April 19, 2007: Mission Impossible

Do we even need to discuss the challenges? The strategizing between the game play was where the action was tonight. OK, a few words because I do love the What We Think of Each Other Axe Wield. Basically, Stacy should have her own CW sitcom because Everybody Hates Her if being voted the person no one wants to see again after the show is any indication. It was Cassandra, dear, "uh-huh"-ing Cassandra, who won her first challenge by answering every question correctly. Girlfriend's been taking notes and may even be making a move for the final four, but Boo and Stacy are definitely on the block.Next was the immunity challenge, which left me wondering about the minds behind this torturous device of miniscule footholds. Thankfully, Yau-Man came through to win the first individual immunity seemingly unscathed. Sadly, that sinister immunity necklace, made of what I'm going to say are wild boars' husks, was not all that flattering around his neck, though it did make for a fearsome stance at tr... read more

Survivor: Fiji's Michelle: The New Twist Did Me In

Michelle Yi, Survivor: Fiji

On Survivor: Fiji, nice girls finish... somewhere right in the middle. That, at least, was the case with Michelle Yi. The peppy fashion-design student, whose bubbly spirit led her to memorably fall off a platform during a challenge and hop right back up without missing a beat, was the first member to be voted off the newly merged Bula Bula tribe (or at least dismissed by half of it, thanks to a new tribe-within-tribe twist). TVGuide.com spoke to Michelle about Jeff Probst's very leading questions. TVGuide.com: I have to say, in your little exit interview, you were so peppy and happy about the experience. That's a nice change from read more

April 12, 2007: Bula Bula

So many changes, I'm not sure if my head has stopped spinning yet. I’m sure Michelle feels the same. Here was a woman who was certainly not playing for the Juror No. 3 spot, though that is now who she is. It's too bad because things were going her way up until that final twist. Beware, all future survivors, of the little note! Before we go there, let's go to Exile Island with everyone else who was summoned to EI with instructions to bring only their personal belongings and the assumption that this was the merger and their new home. They were only half right. While Ravu and Moto were no more, their home was not to be this snake-ridden rock. Moto's camp would be the new Bula Bula's home. Oh, the rejoicing over getting to live at the luxury camp! Apparently, a luxury camp by any other name really isn't a luxury camp. All the little perks of Moto were gone — no bed, no shower — leaving only a machete, fishing gear and fire. Yes, the gods have been cruel to Mookie, the onl... read more

April 5, 2007: Sweet Dreamz

I have a dream! It's true, I want Dreamz to do well in this game. You may recall that my first impression of this always-talking, inappropriate comment-spewing man was not a glowing one. I held out little hope for him making it past the first few weeks. I can't pinpoint exactly when I started to like Dreamz. Maybe it was around the time he mentioned that being on Survivor was better than living on the streets. Maybe it was when certain tribe mates thumbed their nose at his unfamiliarity with a French coffee press. Or maybe still when he tried to understand the psychology behind Rocky's anti-social behavior. Whatever it was, every Thursday when the players discuss sending him home, I find myself hoping that Dreamz will makes it through another tribal council.Again, I feared the worst for him this week when Ravu lost both reward and immunity challenges. For reward, tribes competed in an intense dance-off featuring the traditional Fijian Meke. Earl of Moto, looking particularly fetchin... read more

March 29, 2007: Great Balls of Fire!

Surely this isn't Survivor: Fiji that I'm watching? Talk about your quick turnaround. Tonight's Survivor was interesting, funny, entertaining, did I already say funny? At the end of the hour I was a happy armchair camper. Let me tell you why. I laughed pretty much through the whole show, including at things that weren't supposed to be funny — like the fact that the rub-you-the-wrong-way Lisi is a customer service rep. I found that funny. Tonight's show made me happy from Yau-man's successful hunt for the immunity idol to the flamethrowers and fireballs at the reward challenge. Heck, I was just happy we had a reward challenge. I laughed at Mookie's expression after Yau-man sunk a fireball for his tribe — that same Ravu player who moments before had been laughing at Yau-man's technique. I was happy that Ravu finally won a challenge. But I gotta tell you, I think the odds were stacked in Ravu's favor for this one. I mean, come on, this challenge was designed for a tribe of g... read more

March 21, 2007: The Cinderella Man

Sometimes nothing is sweeter than hearing Jeff Probst utter three delicious words. Drop your buffs. There is promise in that command and for a season like this one where — oh god, don't make me rehash it! Let's just say that realigning Moto and Ravu was the most entertaining Survivor has been since Sundra and Becky faced off over a fire-making challenge in the Cook Islands. What would we do this season if Ravu and Moto had not mixed it up with a schoolyard pick? Now the poor-camp dwellers are Edgardo, Alex, Dreamz, Mookie, Rocky and Anthony. On the rich side of the island are Earl, Yau Man, Michelle, Cassandra, Boo and Stacy. Odd-woman out, Lisi, after a stint on Exile Island, later joined the poor camp. Ravu lucked out by having Edgardo, Alex and Dreamz join their team. All three come across as decent, open-minded guys. The kind of men who would call Rocky on his disparaging description of Anthony as effeminate and boost morale by catching fish when all previous efforts to do ... read more

March 8, 2007: Live! From My Living Room

OK, I'm going to blog live tonight. Bear with me, please, I'm tired and I need to go to bed.So here we go: Earl and Yau-man, the only two Ravu members to have gone to Exile Island, decide to work together to find the idol. Earl, who is really quite good-looking, manages to get the whole tribe to go hunting for food, leaving Yau-man to dig at the cave. Why no one questions Yau-man's staying at the camp is beyond me, but whatever, they're hungry. Given this opportunity, it would behoove Yau-man to actually search for the idol rather than complain to the cameraman that he can't dig with only a machete. I'm just saying.This week the teams get to choose their reward before the reward challenge. Moto chooses toiletries because, you know, they don't need any food. Jeff explains that it's a one-on-one fighting challenge and as if on cue, Rocky picks one with Dre. They tussle and Rocky loses — as if we didn't see that coming. Oh dear, Moto leads three to one. Four to one. Boo trounces ... read more

March 1, 2007: "I'm Not Being Negative, I'm Stating the Obvious"

Let me tell you why I like Survivor. This show is always willing to mix it up. Call it a course correction, if you will. For example, say you have the brilliant idea to have one tribe live in luxury while the other lives, well, not in luxury, in the hopes that this will make for one kick-ass season. And let's say that as time goes by the rich tribe actually does kick the poor tribe's ass. Repeatedly. You worry that maybe, just maybe, the season could be a bit of a snoozer. What do you do? You course-correct. You whip out a little green bottle with a mysterious note, and you hope for the best. To recap, downtown Ravu has lost every challenge against uptown Moto. Every challenge. This starving tribe couldn't even win last week's food challenge for crying out loud — and let me tell you, Rocky certainly did. For a guy who can't abide whining, he's got that skill down pat. It's bad enough that Rocky morphed into Archie Bunker and started tossing the B-word around (that's "broad" fo... read more

February 22, 2007: Slip-sliding Away

OK, so we had a little action this week. And by little I mean watching Michelle make fire with her glasses. At least we had two challenges instead of the combo immuno-reward thing the show had been sporting for the past weeks. Regardless, Ravu lost both, but still it was entertaining. Perhaps because there were no puzzles to solve. The reward challenge involved grown men and women throwing themselves, face-forward, down a slick mat and then tossing a ball into a basket. Simple? Sure. Enjoyable? You bet. It's not often that you see a person actually try to swim on land and kudos to Sylvia for that brave effort. Yau-Man versus Dre at the net (thank god we're not calling him Dreamz anymore) was unexpectedly nail-biting. The Rita/Cassandra face-off was exciting, but can we please get these ladies some support? You know what I mean. Would it kill Victoria's Secret to sponsor the show and give some of these women Survivor's first underwire buffs?On to the torturous immunity challenge. Yes... read more

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