Jeff Probst blogs 'Survivor: Samoa': ep. 1
Welcome back, Survivor fans. Okay, enough small talk, let’s get to it.
Back in the good ‘ole days of the movie business, stars and starlets were often discovered having a malt at the corner drug store.
Well, not many folks drink malts anymore and the corner drug stores are long gone, but stars and starlets are still being discovered every week…on reality shows.
If you’re an actor you hate me for even suggesting such an idea. Reality shows responsible for discovering stars? Hogwash. “Reality shows” and “stars” are mutually exclusive ideas, you protest.
Hang on, cause I’m gonna take it one irritating step further. The truly great reality stars of today… often write their own material as well!
Go ahead, writers, pelt me with tomatoes. Throw stones at my head. I get it. I understand the frustration, but it doesn’t deter my beliefs.
In fact, I am going to challenge you to be honest with yourself and with me if and when you respond to this blog.
A new star has most definitely been born. He stands about 5 feet tall and when he slips that buff on top of his head, he transforms into a pirate, missing tooth and all. He was discovered on Survivor, the greatest reality show of all time, his name is Russell Hantz and in addition to being absolutely captivating on television, he writes and delivers some of the greatest material ever heard in 20 seasons of Survivor.
As long as Russell is on the show you are going to be talking about him and I am going to be writing about him. Instead of protesting like you did last season about my infatuation with Coach, why not try “riding the horse in the direction it’s going.” ‘Cause trust me, that is the direction this blog is going.
But for now, a brief detour.
I love Shambo! Shambo is the prototype for what we look for when casting Survivor. The voice, the walk, the hair! I think Survivor fans are going to adore Shambo and root for her to win. Who knows… maybe she will.
She is clearly a bit of an outcast on her tribe and that is part of her appeal. She moves to her own beat but she respects her leader, I’ll refer to him as the “Dreadlocked” Russell, (who is off to a great start leading Galu) and that’s commendable. If I had to guess, I’d say Shambo is already one of the most popular people of this season. While I’m at it, you’re going to like Dreadlocked Russell as well.
Ben is a bully. I don’t really like bullies but I also don’t want Ben showing up at my front door looking for revenge, so I’m going to call Ben the “likable Bully” but the truth is I don’t know him well enough to know if he is likable, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t. Likable, that is. Could be very likable. Probably is.
Marisa doesn’t like bullies. She also doesn’t appreciate anybody telling her what to do. I really liked what I saw of Marisa, but her reluctance to take a step back and “count to 10” did her in. I was bummed to see her go so early. Attractive women are not in short supply on Survivor, especially this season, but attractive women with a strong point of view are few and far between. Marisa left too soon.
Back to Russell Hantz, let’s just call him “Evil” Russell to make it easy.
I must admit, I am instantly intrigued by a villain who spouts as his philosophy: “The most important thing is honesty.” Then proceeds to make alliances with everyone on his tribe.
Russell: “I have an alliance with the dumb short-haired blonde. I have another alliance with the even dumber long-haired blonde. It’s my dumb-ass girl alliance.”
INSIGHT: Keep in mind that the interviews you see on the show are done in private, away from all other Survivors. So last night when Ashley and Natalie were watching Survivor at home and heard Russell’s comments about them it was for the first time. Imagine watching with your family or your boyfriend as Russell refers to you as part of his “dumb-ass girl alliance.” Ah, this is going to be a fun season.
Without question, the most jaw-dropping sequence in last nights premiere episode of Survivor: Samoa was this one:
Russell: “I lived in New Orleans, right by the levee. The storm (hurricane) was a category five. When it hit… it broke the levee…. I was in my house. Me and my German Shepard, his name was, uh, Rocky.
I tried to get out of the house and realized I wasn’t gonna make it. So I grabbed my axe.
Because as a fireman, one thing you learn that if you go in something you have to be able to get out… The water was rushing in… I looked at Rocky, I couldn’t see him.. It was muddy water. He’s gone, I couldn’t find him.”
Cut to: Russell: I never lived in New Orleans. I’m not a fireman. I never even had a German Shepard. It’s crazy how you can break their hearts by telling them a lie.
In a span of 10 minutes, he emptied everybody’s canteen (his own tribemates) and burned Jaison’s socks in the fire. Not since Denzel Washington in Training Day have you seen someone this evil.
Ah relax, I’m just pushing your buttons. But be honest, your jaw hit your knee when you heard the New Orleans story, right?
Talk about using and abusing a national tragedy for your own good. With that lie alone, Russell earns consideration into the Survivor Villain Hall Of Fame.
Okay, a few more thoughts.
SHOW INSIGHT: You may have noticed, this episode did not have our normal “Survivor Open,” where we show you really sexy shots of all the Survivors. Not to worry, it does exist, we just had so much good material that we decided to use the time to put more content into the show. Look for it next week.
PERSONAL INSIGHT: Voting out Marisa over Mike Borassi? I think it was a mistake. I like Borassi a lot. He’s a great character, but Marisa was strong. Foa Foa made their first mistake and I think it will cost them in challenges.
TOURIST DESTINATION: At the beginning of the show I always say “39 days, 20 people, 1 Survivor.” The spot we chose this time is called “The Blow Holes” located on the island of Savaii in Samoa. I gotta tell you it ranks right up there as one of the coolest places we’ve ever shot the tag line. Those blasts of water shoot nearly 100 feet high. If you watch it again it looks like I must have been drenched by the water, but the truth is, I never got so much as a drop on me.
Betsy is a wise woman. She’s on to Evil Russell. You gotta love and trust the insight and wisdom of a cop. A female cop, no less. It’s a two for one deal. You get a woman’s intuition and the experience of a cop. Betsy is right. 100%. Don’t trust Russell.
The question is, will anybody listen?
Until next week…