Welcome Back Kotter Survivor Diary

Welcome back, fellow Survivorens…Survivors?

I think they should use that song for the whole season in the opening credits; you know, mix it up a little.

So here we are again about to partake in the 29th season of Survivor. Not a lot has changed since I last left you. I recently ended a relationship because I’m convinced she single-handily jinxed my beloved San Francisco 49ers. I wish I were joking, but in my defense, the 49ers have been in my life for over 34 years.

Another happening since we last left you is Big Brother having the weakest season in probably the last five years, due to the fact that CBS was so traumatized by the Hitler Youth cast of last year that they played it way too safe this season. This rendered the season completely dull. The good news is it looks like Survivor has not gone down that “safe” path that Big Brother did and has some controversial players this season who should make things interesting at the very least.

With the Blood vs Water format it’s hard for there not to be weekly drama as it’s pretty much built into the format of the show. For me, the last time they did this, Tyson was such a dominant player from pretty much the get-go that it almost seemed inevitable that he was going to win from about the third week on, but this season it seems like it will be wide open.  So it’s 8 pm Portland, Oregon time… Let’s get this season started!

8 pm

Jeff Probst starts off this season by patting himself and the show on the back for the Blood vs Water format. Granted, it was a fantastic idea that really gave the show a shot in the arm.

8:01 pm

We meet some of the cast. Why do dudes show up wearing collared shirts and slacks? Both of the Jons (Johns) are in collared shirts and I’m guessing it’s the producers who make them wear that for “effect”. We get it…They’re leaving civilization for the jungle…We’ve all been watching this show for thirty-four years, so we don’t need cheap frills now.

8:03 pm

We meet Missy and Baylor and I know I covered this in the preview, but Baylor is Violet Beauregarde…Watch her Survivor introduction video and tell me that I’m wrong:

We learn that Missy has been divorced three times. One more and I think she gets a set of steak knives…Thanks. I’ll be here all night. Make sure to tip your waitresses.

Okay… I’ll say it… Drew and Alec have a stoner/Menendez Brothers vibe

8:05 pm

We meet Josh and Reed as they’re executing a crab with a rock, personally my favorite way to meet two people.

We meet Val and Jeremy, whom everybody on this site thinks are going to win this season including me. This will probably mean that they will be the first two voted out.

8:06 pm

We meet Natalie and Nadiya the twins from The Amazing Race. Identical twins are always a little creepy and usually have some form of black magic at their disposal, so it will be interesting to see how these twins choose to deploy that magic this season.

8:07 pm

Keith and Wes join the party with Keith only missing a Winston Light to compliment his old-man shirtless camo look. Let’s hope that’s in the first team challenge victory box with the flint and fishing gear.

8:08 pm

Jeff officially greets everybody. Jeff quickly shames the people who couldn’t make fire the first night. Everybody laughs. They should use a laugh track this season…

The group gets split into the two different tribes, the blues and the oranges.

Keith immediately identifies John Rocker. We’re left unsure as to whether he is going to try to hide his identity.

8:12 pm

We get the first reward challenge right away. Val and Jeremy are chosen to go head-to-head first. Jeff drops an Exile Island bomb on everybody.

Jeff over-explains the meaning of winning a competition. We get it, Jeff; they’re going head-to-head with their loved ones. We don’t need it spelled out every ninety seconds.

8:18 pm

Jeremy is victorious after a lengthy battle with his wife. Every husband and boyfriend secretly fist pumps. Jeremy is crying….gross. He gets asked to pick someone on his tribe to go to Exile and he picks Keith, who immediately starts crying himself. Come on, people. There’s no crying in Survivor. We need Jeff to pull a Tom Hanks here:

8:22 pm

First commercial break… While we’re waiting for Survivor to come back on, can I ask a Twitter question? Why do people try to get retweets from celebrities? I always see some dummy tweet a celebrity with something like “Hey, Leonardo DiCaprio. It’s my son’s second birthday. Can I get a retweet?” Why? Why!? Is your two year old really going to give a shit about a retweet? Why do we behave like this as a species? I think if you ever tweet a celebrity, a picture of that exchange should be handed out to all your friends so they can look on horrified and mock you.

8:25 pm

Back from the break and we join the blue team checking out their new digs.

Jeremy again gets emotional talking about his exiling his wife. Jeremy and Kelly immediately make a final two deal as they walk past each other. This is followed by Jeremy walking past Natalie and recruiting her, which is then followed up with Jeremy and Missy aligning. Is this the fastest anybody has ever formed alliances with three different people? It’s like he’s the one good looking guy at a “swingers” party.

8:29 pm

We join the orange team, which has all the twenty-somethings on it, with the exception of Dale and John Rocker. Dale finds some necklace that I guess isn’t the immunity idol. No further explanation is given, but what the hell was that?

Dale then wins the approval of the tribe as he gets the fire started. Good for him; he was moping around like Piggy from Lord of the Flies.

8:33 pm

We join Val and Keith on Exile island. They go snooping around and set the stage for a very interesting adult film plot.

They each have to choose an urn and Val chooses wisely as hers has a clue to finding an idol…Poor Keith’s is blank. Val chooses not to share the wealth, so to speak, with Keith and she doesn’t tell him that she has a clue. To be honest, I’m not liking Val. I don’t like when one player tries to treat another player like they’re completely dumb. Obviously, Keith got a blank cloth. I’m pretty sure he can put 2 and 2 together here.

8:41 pm

Back from commercial and Drew shares that he’s been the de facto foreman for the construction of the blue teams’ shelter. He lets us know that he’s not here to be a model. Thank god… We were all worried.

Julie shares that she’s not impressed with Drew. This seems like it’s important to point out…not really. Julie has been on camera, I think, for a total of fourteen seconds this episode. I’m guessing she’s not going to be playing a bigger role later on in this episode.

8:43 pm

Wes recognizes John Rocker and confronts him, but John gives the last name of Wetteland, who was the closer for the New York Yankees in the mid 90’s. John immediately decides to abort his alias and reveals to Wes that he is in fact John Rocker.  He caps this segment off by telling us that Wes is now his primary target.

8:47 pm


Is Steve Carell’s movie career now at critical mass? They just showed a preview for his new movie Alexander (with about sixteen other words after that) and it looks awful. What was Steve Carell’s last good (headlining) movie, The 40-Year-Old Virgin? How many times do we have to watch a TV star try to become a movie star with it always tarnishing their legacy? David Caruso, Shelley Long, Dustin Diamond…the list goes on and on. Remember the movie he did with Dane Cook, Dan in Real Life?:


8:49 pm

Back from commercial and apparently Josh has pink eye. Would that be a Survivor first?

Jon “I wish I had a tail” followed up with “I have a lot of depth to me”…followed by Jon telling a horrific story about his dad dying which now makes me feel like a dick.

8:53 pm

The two tribes come together for the immunity challenge. Let’s take bets now. I will bet that there will be a puzzle involved…What? Nobody wants to bet against that? I’m betting on the blue team ( I promise I haven’t watched yet).

8:58 pm

Mid-competition and John Rocker is literally throwing members of his tribe up the wall. He looks like Sloth helping the Goonies escape the Fratellis.

The orange team dominates the whole competition until it comes to the puzzle part with the blue team dominating that portion and snatching victory. We get two more people crying, which I think breaks a (non-surprise family visit) Survivor record.

9:02 pm


Have you ever seen Man on Fire with Denzel Washington? If you haven’t, you’re in luck because it looks like he has just made the exact same movie, this time calling it The Equalizer. Random question: In the last ten years, who has had the better movie run, Tom Cruise or Denzel? It’s probably Denzel, but you had to think about it for a second, right?

9:07 pm

Back from commercial… Keith is rejoiced that he is back with the tribe and not facing tribal council. That would suck. Val could be in trouble. Keith kind of has an Ernest vibe, no?

9:09 pm

We join the orange team as Val is on an immunity hunt. The guys of the tribe talk about voting out Nadiya. Nadiya doesn’t help her chances by calling Josh a girl.

All the orange girls join Meetup and decide to start an all-girls’ alliance with Josh. I give this alliance two weeks before they turn on each other passive-aggressively. For now, though, they’re gunning for Dale.

Does Dale have some secret power that he doesn’t know about with that necklace? Wouldn’t that be a hell of a thing tonight.

9:16 pm


Everybody try to make your voices as deep and gravelly as possible while saying “CBS Next Wednesday, Stalker and Criminal Minds”. Way too dramatic for two sterile network TV procedural cop shows.

9:18 pm

We’re back from commercial for our first tribal council of this season.

Everybody is talking positively so far. Nobody has fired the first shot yet at anybody.

Nadiya yet again offends Josh by basically calling him a “girl”. It looks like it’s either Nadiya or Dale going this week.

9:24 pm

Wes kicks off the voting in his Duck Dynasty garb. You can cut the tension with a knife.

9:26 pm

Nadiya is the first person voted off this season. She leaves the tribal very coldly.

9:28 pm

I feel like she kind of is getting off easy, too. I mean, she basically called a gay guy a “girl” twice. I feel that if one of the male players called Josh a “girl”, there would be a national outcry and possibly Senate hearings on this matter. I think making politically incorrect statements should mean you get voted off first, even though we don’t know the reasons why Josh voted how he voted.


So Nadiya makes the first walk of shame this season. Luckily for her, she has a chance still, but obviously her odds are not good. I don’t think we will see her sister throwing herself in front of the bullet headed for Nadiya next week. The big question I’m left with is whether the orange team girls will still try to stick together. I’m trying not to sound like a complete sexist when I say that I don’t think an all-girls’ alliance will work unless the guys playing Survivor are highly medicated and clueless like those from the season Kim Spradlin won (and she was a dominant player, gender not factoring in there).

Science tells us that all-girls’ alliances normally fail epically. I think with the personalities of the girls on the orange team that there’s no way an all-girls’ alliance will last. I think Val is coming off as “playing too hard” and that will catch up with her soon unless she backs off a little bit and lets the game come to her.

The orange team appears to be the less puzzle-savvy group, which is still the main skill apparently to have when playing Survivor, which means they could be purged by the fifth week unless they somehow turn it around. Right now (obviously early still) Jeremy appears to be our overall number one ranked player with his polygamist strategy.

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