Jeff Probst blogs 'Survivor: Samoa': episode #10

Erik: “And there goes the lead.”

It’s appropriate that Erik’s comment starts this blog since the downfall of Galu all started with Galu voting out Erik, one of their own.

Survivor hindsight is no different than any other hindsight, it’s always 20-20.  But man… if they only knew what they were starting, ‘ole Erik would probably still be wearing those black knee highs and most of the Foa Foa would be gone.

Instead… it’s wow, wow, wow.

Who would have ever predicted this kind of a turnaround?  Galu, the tribe who dominated for so long is now in a giant hole, not unlike a grave, that they dug themselves.

They should heed the advice of Dave Matthews and start talking to the grave digger right now:  “Grave digger, when you dig my grave, will you make it shallow so that I can feel the rain.”

Eric, gone.  Kelly, gone.  Laura, gone.  What?

How in “Gods green earth” to quote Shambo, are Jaison, Mick, Natalie and Russell still in this game?  Why have they been able to pull off a comeback and get themselves back in contention?

Two big reasons:  The first is this… Survivor is an individual game: I keep saying it because it’s important.  You can never take your eyes off the prize and the prize is ONE check for a million dollars.  Not four checks, each for $250,000.  Not 8 checks each for $125,000.  ONE check for ONE million dollars.  As long as Survivor remains an individual game it will continue to have unexpected flips and flops because everybody has their own agenda and that will always cause chaos.

The second reason for the Foa Foa comeback is “Game Play.”

Here’s my take on how Game Play factored into the comeback:
33% Russell’s individual game play, 33% Foa Foa sticking together and 33% Galu just flat out blowing one of the most dominant leads in Survivor history.  It’s like they lost their brains somewhere in the South Pacific.  And as of last night’s episode, they still haven’t found it.

I laughed out loud when John assessed Galu’s various voting strategies, each followed with:   “You’re an idiot.”

I gotta say, from where I sit – and again my vantage point is all based on hindsight – he’s right.  Targeting Russell?  What?  Here’s a guy who has shown you his willingness to play the idol and his ability to continue to find it.  Trying to take out Russell makes no sense at all.  Not in this episode anyway.

Mick has the individual immunity necklace so they really only had two choices:  Natalie or Jaison.  John is right, you have to try to get intel and/or take a guess as to who is the least likely to be given the idol and vote for them.  It’s the only vote.

Maybe if they had done that things would have turned out differently.  But I think a big part of John’s dilemma probably stemmed from the question of whether or not he believed the remaining Galu members were smart enough to help him make it to the end.

Laura and Dave’s jungle strategy meeting certainly didn’t give him any peace of mind, although it did provide me a favorite moment courtesy of Dave Ball:

John:  “The vote is Natalie.  Times five.  Find a problem with that.  I know you’d rather not—-“
Dave:  “No, no, no. I’ll burn her right now, I do not care… bro.”

I really do pull for Dave Ball.  Can’t explain it, doesn’t even matter why, I just pull for the dude.  I have since he first walked into casting a couple years ago and continued even though we didn’t put him on the show at that time.  When we brought him back again for Survivor: Samoa I was still rooting for him and as I write this tonight, I still am.

Back to John.  When he found out they were going to use him as the bait, things really started to shift.  Once that happens, a mutiny is almost sure to follow as people start to jump off the sinking ship.   People like John.

Like a good Tarantino movie, let’s play with structure a little bit and jump back to the start of the episode.

When everybody returned to camp after the last tribal council, Dave Ball came over to the Foa Foa four and said:

“You guys tell Galu I said this, ‘good move!’”  Did I miss something?   Does anybody know what Dave is talking about?  Dave, you ARE Galu, and the move Foa Foa made was as much on YOU as anybody else.

Laura said it best:  Wow.

She then followed with “I can’t believe that little snake.”  Why is Russell a snake?  Because he’s playing the game?

It’s always fun to hear one group talk about the other.  When Laura wins two immunity challenges, it’s “Awesome.”  When Russell finds the idol, he’s a snake?  Nah.  He’s awesome too, just in a different way.

Going back even further, (still with me?) let’s return to the end of the last episode when I said:

JEFF: (at last tribal council) “One more thing, the hidden immunity idol goes back into the game.”

As I said those words, I was thinking the same thing everybody else was thinking…
Can he do it again?  Can Russell find the idol for a third time?

Russell: “They’re like magnets to me, I’m just drawn to them.”  Now that is a damn funny and very cocky comment, but hard to argue.

It was one of the funniest scenes of the season, the entire group scurrying about looking for the idol.  And even with everybody following Russell…he STILL found it.

You wonder why nobody else finds the idol?  Just take a look at how the rest of the group was looking for it?

Jaison could barely be bothered to pick up a rock.  Dave was merely following Russell and in doing so nearly stumbled upon the idol but because he is so concerned with Russell he walks away from it and chases back after Russell.  Hilarious.

Laura is following Dave so she’s no help.  And what does Russell do?  He easily loses everybody and doubles right back to where Dave was half-assed looking and finds… the… third… idol.

THREE IDOLS!  Come on.  You have to give him some credit.  Check that, a lot of credit.  We’ve had hidden immunity idols for a long time now and up until this season nobody has ever thought to just start looking for them, with or without a clue.  Russell was so on top of his game that he gave us Producers a run for our money.  We were as shocked as you are that he continued to find them before anybody else.

Once again I ask, “He’s starting to grow on you a little, right?”

Let’s give credit where credit is due – the difference in the Reward challenge was Natalie.  Period.  She won that challenge for her group.  She extended her body waaaaaay out over the platform gripping it with only her feet and used her flexibility to reach much further than John was able to and that was the difference.

Now that Galu is starting to scramble it throws everything into chaos.

Galu actually had a very solid idea.  It took some doing, but Galu actually game up with a good plan.  Convince Foa Foa they are taking out another one of their own – John.  In fact, Monica did a very good job of working Foa Foa trying to convince them the vote was for John.  Trusting anybody is tough on Survivor, but in terms of pure performance, she did a great job of justifying why she would not vote for Laura but would vote for John.

But John’s no dummy.  Getting even one vote at tribal council is never a good thing.  Getting four votes is way too risky.  It suddenly becomes too easy for someone to “change their mind” and just vote you out.

Also working against the plan is the fact that Russell is as usual, one step ahead.  He’s not buying it and he’s not backing off his plan to vote off Laura.

John: If I’m gonna give you a Galu before you give me a Foa Foa, the next one needs to be a Foa Foa.  Deal?
Russell: Deal.

But even as he said it, John knew he would be making a deal with a guy who has proven week after week he cannot be trusted.  That’s why Survivor is still on, 19 seasons later.  You can never be sure what exactly is the best move.

It all came down to John.  Does he risk his neck to save Laura and hopefully get rid of a Foa Foa member putting Galu back in charge… or… does he play a more self-serving game and flop to save his own hide knowing his quest for the million dollars may have gotten just a little bit tougher.

John played it brilliantly.  He stayed true to Galu through the first vote, forcing a tie. This gave him the chance to see what was really going to happen.  Then he had a choice:

A. Let it go to a tie and draw rocks, putting him in jeopardy of being sent home or…
B. Flip to Foa Foa thus ensuring he would stay in he game at least one more day.

He flipped and Laura became the third member of the jury.  That was a big move.

IN CONCLUSION (Don’t you love it when you hear those  two words.. finally, it’s over)
I know that Laura had people rooting for her and against her.  Say what you want, but one thing you have to give Laura credit for is playing the game.  From a producer point of view, she gave us everything we could have hoped for and then some.  Sorry you had to go Laura, see ya at the live show.

If you had to vote today for your “favorite” player from this season?  Who would it be?  I’m not talking about who you want to win the game, although it might be the same person, I’m talking about your “favorite” overall player or person in the game?

Look forward to your responses.

Check ya next week.

Check out our exclusive deleted scene below and Dalton Ross’s TV recap.

[ewbrightcove “50647066001”, “50211900001”, “475”, “345”]

Comments (1084 total) Add your comment
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  • RIch Miller

    First comment 2 weeks running woot.
    RUSSELL WOOOT…thank god Laura is gone.
    Also, nice product placement Jeff…it doesn’t suit you…tell Sprint not to make you do it anymore.
    This comment was brought to you by xyz company…LOL

    • Scooter

      Wow, Rich Miller! Your mom must be so proud! First comment…how does that even matter? Woot-eva!

      • Khristina

        LMAO It’s like he’s exclaiming- “I’m the biggest d-bag ever!” and “I have no life other than to scour EW to have the first comment!”


      • shaye

        At least he commented on the show… you only commented on his post.

      • snoooooty

        Yeah scooter, you posted eleven minutes after he did, so clearly you are cooler than he is.

      • gwen

        But shaye, you didn’t comment on the show either, you only commented on another post. You probably don’t know what irony is, but I found it amusing.

      • Betsy

        You are a total loser picking on other people’s posts – woot-eva to you too.

    • alex

      Pretty sure Jeff has no say in product placement. But why not, it’s a great product.

      • Fiona Bloemker

        I agree Alex, I love Sprint.

      • DwightBigSurvivorFan

        Every single one of the pictures that phone took looked terrible. All overexposed.

      • Hollywoodaholic

        Now we’re even getting product placement endorsements … in the posts. Ed McMahon is laughing (HA!) in the grave with a can of Alpo in his hand.

      • puppy dog

        Dwight, the pictures weren’t great, but even the finest camera can turn out garbage when it’s in the wrong hands. The operator has to be smarter than the device.

    • Survivor Blog

      Russell is a maniac!! What a player.
      Check out my Survivor blog with picks for the rest of the season:

      • Marcus

        Jeff, my favorite player is RUSSEL! By far. No question.

    • Maximilian

      How on earth would one think television to be funded? Without advertisements there are no TV programs. Even PBS isn’t entirely commercial free. One would think in this day and age the population would understand how the economy works and desist demonizing money as if it’s somehow an illegitimate concern.

      • Bob

        But try watching the Ponderosa videos on the CBS website. This week it is a 5 part show and you have to watch the SAME Sprint commercial 5 TIMES! That’s 5 times in 10 minutes.

      • Maximilian

        And I’m sure they’re hearing that lovely Ka-Ching to indicate each one. If I’m not inaccurate, depending on the timeslot and the duration, commercials cost upwards of $10,000 per, on television. It’s cheaper to buy them in bulk, so that’s why we see the same commercials over and over and I believe those package arrangements are above $100,000. I know we don’t see any of that money, but the business people who enjoy this sort of competition will understand. Profit matters. So the television shows must be amenable to the advertisers and in kind would like to influence us to do the same. If you don’t like it, don’t buy it but for the love of goodness don’t give us the ‘money is the root of all evil’ routine. Capitalism is consumerism. We should embrace this. People who watch too many movies (e.g. Fight Club) might be swayed otherwise, but the reality is we could have a lot worse than a few products integrated into our lovely competition.

      • A

        I do not think the advertisements have to be in the show. We see enough of them during commercials.

      • KD

        I agree with A below. Here’s an idea: why not give us a commercial-free episode and use product placement throughout the show? Otherwise, just let the commercials do their job!

      • Erin

        Coming from someone who works in advertising, product placement is worked into shows more and more because of the impact that DVRs are having on commercials. Also, there is an element of engagement that commercials don’t have. You may not like it, but it’s been shown to work well time and time again – especially with shows that have a devoted following like Survivor.

    • Dr Zechariah Zenith

      I still despised Russell, but man I respect on how he played the game. If he wins, then he truly deserved it. He played everyone to the very bone. Can’t wait for him to be in Survivor Heroes and Villains.

      My favorite would be Kelly. Even if she is gone, she is like a sunshine in Galu. The producers clearly didn’t give her due with screen time. Hence people will say Kelly Who?

    • Jamie

      Russell is the man! He out ran Dave “Fitness Instructer” Ball for the idol and jogged most of the way while Dave huffed and puffed. Looked like he’d throw up there for a minute. Dave’s brilliance is in hindsight only. Russell sees 3-4 moves ahead. Russel acts, Dave reacts.

      • Jammy

        no mention of Shambo laughing her “blank” off when Laura missed the tile with her rock at the Immunity Challenge and was out? I’d be happy too my enemy was gone, but really now..she’s going to be in the jury now not one to mock so openly..

      • D

        I really question Probst’s taste in contestants sometimes. Why does he like Dave so much? I hope Dave is gone next.

      • Carys

        D, I agree. Dave seems conceited, and he dismisses other people’s ideas—Monica’s last week when she said “What if Russell has the idol?” and Dave said categorically that it wasn’t something they needed to worry about. He was just as firm, and just as wrong, this time.

      • jem

        I forgot that Dave is supposed to be a personal trainer or something. That makes it even funnier!

      • DC

        I agree, Jamie. This season has revolved around what Russell does (or doesn’t) do. He’s my favorite!

    • Lee

      My favorite player is Mick because I think he is playing the best game by not doing anything and letting the idiots take themselves out.

      • Tina

        I couldn’t agree w/you more! I think Mick is an overall nice guy and all he has to do is sit back and watch the other idiots take each other out. This is always the downfall w/Survivor when one team dominates, they end up falling a part one by one. In the end who really is the strong team? I like to see Mick win or win fan fav.

      • Ree

        Lee and Tina I totally agree with both of you. He’s not bad to look at either.

      • Lois

        I agree. I hope Mick wins! I have to give Russell props for being a strategic player, but he’s just way too pleased with himself. I have to admit it’s hard to believe how dumb this crop of survivors seem to be.

      • Seth Flex

        They’re not dumb, he’s just playing on such a higher level. That it throws your perspective out of order. People don’t realize, this was unprecedented. It’s hard to prepare for something you’ve never conceived of before. Russell was either a massive survivor fan or put in the work. To study the previous seasons, most importantly how production structures the “game.” That’s how he was able to find an exploit and break the system, like any good hacker.
        I believe the next “Russell,” can do something similar by studying the challenges. Currently I’m spending my time re re(You get the idea) re watching every episode to study how the challenges are designed(as the challenges are often rehashed), and the best way to not only win. But potentially by keeping your opponents from winning, which is a strategy that hasn’t seen used effectively yet.

        Jeff, you don’t read this far back into your blog. But I look forward to our encounter in the future. As I’m confident you’ll be captivated during casting, and I look forward to bring up this post later in the game…. potentially. As I would hate for my hubris to ultimately be my undoing.

        Let the games begin.

    • Siouxsie

      I agree, just say the name one time to get your check, then we see the commercial during the break…I would think that you, Jeff, know that the people that watch Survivor are way to smart for you to have to plug the product so much! I hope that at least the winners of that competition got one for free?????

      • amie loring

        Mick is, by far, the best. He is flying well below the radar. As far as the product goes, all the remaining players should’ve been given one. I am confident Jeff isn’t responsible for the fact that the previous episode was a plug for the phone, but Survivor fans want coverage, not ads.

    • Digicision

      Come on Laura. Typical bully attitude. “I’ll bully people and treat others like sh*t, and when I get called on it, I’ll say I’ve always been nice to her, I’m the innocent one…” GIVE ME A BREAK. At least have the guts and admit that you treated her badly… take some responsibility. Don’t act like the innocent victim.

      Laura (and all the other mean girls) always treated Shambo as an outcast. Shambo might not be the smartest cookie, but she did do work for her tribe. Laura could have saved her own ass by trying to be nice, or even at least PRETENDING to be nice, rather than being a condescending, holier than thou B**CH. It was clear at Tribal Council when she said that the “Galu that SHE knew was still cohesive”, clearly alienating Shambo, again. Even I would have laughed in Laura’s face after losing the immunity challenge… what a B**CH.

      I don’t think anyone deserved the treatment that Shambo got after being sent away from the reward twice. How could Shambo be SMUG? She was being singled out as the “loser and only a few of the guys even had the guts to suggest that it was a mean thing to do. That was inhumane and insensitive. Yes, it’s part of the game, but don’t going around later pleading innocence. Laura could have apologized earlier when she felt that Shambo was after her, if Laura truly thought the resentment was misplaced. Alas, she did not. Karma is a B**CH.

  • Kim

    Favorite player? Russell, hands down. Nat, second, and Shambo, third.

    • Amanda

      Russell is DEFINITELY my favorite. He has been since the first day, but he’s only proven himself to be awesome again and again.

    • puppy dog

      Jeff. Dave Ball has been my favorite player from day one. I don’t think he will win, but I really like the way the light bulb goes on over his head when he makes a mistake, and the way he is so pleased when someone does something that he sees as genius. While he has a high IQ, I think he is amazed at the deviousness of others. I don’t think he deals with that in his every day life. His job is to coach people, and he shows that in the challenges. Even if he doesn’t win, this will be a learning experience for him, that I believe he will treasure. Yeah, I’m a Dave Ball fan.

      • frog0569

        Why is he called Dave Ball and everyone else is called by their first name? I caught that last night from Jeff and now here on this blog.

      • Gabe

        I admire the same thing about Dave — that he appreciates a good move (in his hindsight) regardless of the impact it has on him. Russel’s 2nd immunity play hurt his position, but his face when played showed he appreciated the richness of the moment.

    • sonny

      How about least favorites? Russell, Shambo, and Dave

      • Dana

        Wow those are my three favorites!

      • Krusty

        You’ve got that right. That would be my final three. And I’m with Jeff, don’t know why I like Dave, he’s certainly been a dumb ass but I do.

      • D

        @Krusty-I don’t know why you and Probst like him so much either. Besides the reaction shots at being blindsided at TC, he is pretty worthless.

      • bteddy

        Least favorite: Brett, or is it Brad or Bert? Who knows, who cares? Hasn’t done one single thing in the game yet.

        Favorite: Russell followed by Eric laughing from the jury.

    • Caitie F

      I have to go with Russell also…I HATED him at the beginning and I think he is a chauvinistic jerk…but he is the most entertaining player that I have ever seen

      • Beth

        I hated Russell to! Now he’s my favorite

      • Tajah

        This is me too. I HATED Russell in the beginning of Survivor but now he has shown that he DESERVES to win, ass or not.

      • D

        Episode 1-hated Russell. Episode 2 onwards-love Russell.

      • frogger

        I cannot stand Russell, he is one foul jerk, but I have to say I truly respect the way he is playing the game. Wow.

    • Fiona Bloemker

      Have liked Mick from day one, and still do. I didn’t care for Natalie at first, but she is my favorite today. What to say about Russell…I admire his game play, one of the best I’ve seen. He is always thinking ahead, with his goal for the Million directing his choices(Preschool Word). My son has been rooting for him since the start. However, as I told Devin last night, he is fun to watch BUT I WOULD NOT WANT HIM AS MY BOSS, you couldn’t TRUST him.
      I think Russell will go to final 4, Natalie final 3 and Mick will take home the million.

    • Mike

      Russell has made it very enjoyable to watch. He has had a major impact on this season but the real impact will be what changes will be made on how the game is structured in the future.

      Will Russell make it to the end? Probably not. He has tooooooo big a target on his back. It will be fun if he does get close.



      • Maximilian

        I think you meant to say 2 of them. Neither of either two.

      • russ c

        If thats the best you can do, than go hurl… I bet you do a lot of that anyway

      • Applesauce

        so you are a super feminist who wants women to take over the world and publicly murder russell for calling some girls dumb? wow what a huge insult. im sure you dont think the same about laura who has called russell dumb. you sexist.

      • Anna

        Calm down Applesauce. RUKIDDINME’s schreechy capitals make my eyes hurt but nowhere did I read anything about publically murdering Russell or women taking over the world. Since Laura wasn’t mentioned we can’t speculate on how RUKIDDINME feels about her but I do think we can eliminate your super feminist hyperbole based on the written evidence of RU’s derision of Natalie (the original thread he/she was responding to) and Shambo. Go after the contents of the post, there was plenty of real material to work with, and leave cheap inferences out of it.

    • Joe

      agreed! I’d love to see Nat win it though.

  • Dustin

    Natalie is my current favorite. Laura was my favorite.

    • rob

      Laura was a mean-girl I”m glad she’s gone. And her fake boobs were looking more and more fake everyday that went by.

  • Carrie Bishop

    A.W.E.S.O.M.E. episode!

  • RIch Miller

    Favorite player day 1-3: John
    Favorite play now: Russell
    Everyone on Facebook says he is a Mole planted there by you guys. I keep fighting the good fight stating you guys would never ruin the game and do that. Please say it ain’t so…because they had a show like that…THE MOLE…and it lasted 3 seasons…now Anderson Cooper is doing news for a poor news channel…Jeff…we don’t want to see you on the news.

    • Jess

      I love your comment about Anderson Cooper and the poor news channel! I couldn’t agree with you more. There is only one real news channel. Oh, and Russel rocks.

      • K

        There is no “real” news channel anymore…just what the corporations want us to believe.

      • Drew

        Ha, I hope you mean Fox! Just because that would be so ironic!

      • Hollywoodaholic

        You would be talking about the BBC, of course, not Faux news.

      • Jennifer

        Yup, you can’t beat NPR for the news. They are the only ones that are trustworthy. Most of the others have an agenda they are pushing.

      • CD

        Thanks for the support Jess! NPR is probably the only REAL news channel.

    • Melissa

      Not positive on this but I believe Survivor is listed as a game show as such are subject to regulations about “rigging” or “planting” people. Big Brother on the other hand is listed as a serial (soap opera) and can manipulate things anyway they want.

    • pool

      The Mole was a great show and I’m sad it got canceled. I think it was the most intelligent and entertaining reality show on TV. Other countries have had The Mole going for several seasons. It’s a shame the American audience is so dumb they can’t appreciate an intelligent show.

      • Adam

        Russell has single-handedly made this the best season in Survivor history. I can’t wait to watch every week.

        And if you like The Mole, check out this new version of The Mole, featuring Bill McDaniel, the mole from season 2, in the first episode: Subscribe if you like it because the next episode will be coming out in the next few weeks.

  • Survivor Fan

    Great blog, jeff. :)
    Favorite player this season is Natalie. Though some might not see it, she is playing a very subtle but excellent game. Plus she basically orchestrated Erik going out. Love her :)
    Russell comes in a close second.
    Brett is third, though he’s invisible I find him super cute so hehe

    • puppy dog

      First day, I said “oh, oh, Jeff’s dimples have competition.” And close ups show that he IS getting baby whiskers. He’s pretty young, and maybe not from a hairy ancestry, but he IS cute.

      • PKing

        God, you sound like a pedophile.

  • Al

    You should never put a plan in place that jeopardizes a mamber of your alliance without their consent! I’ve LOVED Dave’s face these past 2 tribal councils. I wonder if he’s going to congratulate them this time, though….

    • Al

      Oops- member- up past my bedtime! Also Erik is pulling great tribal council faces…

      • leo

        Yeah he is alot of fun to watch, that’s for sure.

      • oopsydaisy

        You’re totally right! Eric’s pumping and commenting were completely spot-on. He is my favorite juror of all seasons now. Such a smart guy. Too bad the girls got rid of him too early.

      • puppy dog

        I totally agree. I love the reactions from him. And he has the right. They were idiots to vote him off. John says it now, but where was he before the fact? DARN!

      • Ted

        puppydog, watch the clip of the tribal voting for that episode… john explains that he tried to save erik but couldnt because it happened so last-minute

      • puppy dog

        Ted, I only watch the show as it is aired on TV. It doesn’t show the comments, at least on the station I watch. But if John had been playing better, he would have known before the last minute, in my opinion.

      • puppy dog

        Always stay up past your bedtime. Your comment was spot on.

      • Ilovefoafoa

        I do love his faces too

  • Annie

    My favorite is probably Natalie. She has been playing the game from day one, isn’t afraid to make big moves or do the work.

    My least favorite is Shambo. As the game goes on I like her less and less because she has no class. I understand why she doesn’t like Laura but to be laughing like that when Laura didn’t hit a tile in the immunity challenge is just so classless. And I feel like she behaves like a child, going after people and then acting all shocked and hurt when people go after her.
    Plus she is becoming so cocky it is annoying.

    • teresa

      Shamboo’s cockiness will get her soon. She couldn’t even keep quiet about who she was voting out, although it did work in her favor, this time.

  • RIch Miller

    Yeah who is this Brett dude. To be completely honest..i’ve only really realized his existence for the last 2 weeks or so…I’m like who is that guy LOL

    • sonny

      That’s because Survivor has spent the last 10 weeks making it the Russell show. It is hard to imagine playaz like Brett, are almost anonymous, even as the show is past half over.

  • sara

    Oh please! It is painfully obvious that the producers are helping Russell find the idols. Next time they might want to tell the camera crew not to make it so bleeping obvious! Sorry Jeff, but this nonsense has ruined this show. The reason Survivor managed to last this long is that there was always the sense that anything could happen – and anyone can be voted out. That is now gone, and any suspense it may have had is gone. You wanted to center this season all around Russell. So much so that this far in NO ONE KNOWS WHO HALF OF THEM ARE! And now handing your crush Russell idols every week to keep him in? Please. You want to script the show, fine. Just don’t try to pretend there is anything real about it.

    • AnonymooseBlog

      Your comment is TOTALLY WRONG!!! I never had a feeling that anyone could get voted out or that anything could change at any moment till THIS SEASON!! Also, how did the camera people help him find the Idol? You just throw around accusations and don’t back them up in the least! I HATE idiots like you!

      • sara

        LOL. “idiots like me??” You believe absolutely anything anyone tells you, don’t you? I’d explain to you exactly how the camera crews always just happen to be posed directly beside the idol everytime their pet Russell finds them, and how much money the show has invested promoting him, and how they are handing him the idols to keep himn in the show, but clearly you are a moron, and I am sure I could explain how one and one equals two you and you still wouldn’t be able to grasp it, so you contnue on and believe what you want. And the next time Russell “finds” the idol this season (or next season because he’s back then too!) then I am sure that will definitely not be because the producers helped him then either. lord.

      • AnonymooseBlog

        You must not realize that the camera people FOLLOW him around, just as they do with other contestants who leave the camp area!

        If you think that he is finding them just because he finds them on camera then I am truly shocked that you could figure out that one plus one equals two.

        You must have missed the montage of him looking in many different places before he got the clue which helped him narrow his search. You should learn to pay attention.

      • Jaimes


        Please don’t feed the trolls.

      • Fiona Bloemker

        I feel the reason so much of the show has been focused on Russell,is just like Jeff has mentioned on previous blogs, they highlighted the most interesting character, the one who impacted and changed the way the game is played. The show was taped earlier as we all know. To Sara:I am sure all the contestants where followed equally by camera crews the majority of the time they were on Samoa. However I feel the editing staff as well as the producers who reviewed the footage and choose what they considered was the most important parts.

    • Kris

      Are you seriously implying that there is no one intelligent enough to find the idol without a clue? if the producers were smart enough to think of clues, people are smart enough to find them without any. maybe you wouldn’t be able to because you obviously lack logic and a deeper level of understanding, but there are plenty of intelligent, normal people who would be able to find that, honey.

      • sara

        that’s hilarious! my you are gullible!! I guess the Survivor producers were right to think they had viewers dumb enough to buy this idiocy!

      • Um…

        I think that cameras just happened to be there when Russell found the idols because that’s their job – to document what the players are doing. I think at first it was like, “get a load of this, this dude thinks he’s gonna find the idol on his own, let’s follow him!” Then it was “psshhh, yeah right, no way he can do that twice, let’s follow him!” And tonight it was, “don’t let that guy out of your sight, he’s the freakin’ HII whisperer!” Would YOU want to be the camera guy who missed getting that moment on tape? There was nothing stopping Dave from finding that idol tonight – he was literally inches away from it. And this time, they all had the same clue information. It was anybody’s idol to find.

      • LOL

        knicker twistin’ conspiracy theorists are hilarious. keep it up, sara. you’re sanctimonious and condescending, but you’re funny as shit.

      • Amanda

        Rock on, Kris. Sara ~ you are so clearly wrong! Why wouldn’t the camera people follow the player who was looking for the idol? You are really doing a shallow viewing of this show if you can’t read Russell and the general patterns of the program enough to understand that he is not a ‘mole’. What’s with your unecessary and illogical suspicion? Just enjoy the show or don’t watch it!

      • AJ

        They’re called LAWS, sara. Legally, producers can’t manipulate the outcome of game shows, and giving Russell the idols would constitute manipulating the outcome. (Heard of the quiz show scandals?!?) You can rest assured that the government is keeping track of “Survivor,” one of the most recognizable game shows on the planet. Just because you don’t like the outcome doesn’t mean the fix is in. Always such an easy complaint for someone who isn’t actually there playing the game. Don’t you think the Galu players would be nonstop ranting if they thought the game was fixed? Dave was standing right there when Russell realized where he was. Why didn’t he move the rock? He was too busy worrying about what Russell was going to do. It’s not about liking or disliking Russell. It’s about someone finally cracking the code in a televised game that hasn’t changed its rules in 19 seasons. Quite frankly, it’s amazing it’s taken this long.

    • Barb

      I’m sure if it was one of your favorites you would be telling a different story. We don’t have to ask you if you like Russell. Why else do you think you are so superior?

    • Gary

      Duh, Sara. Get a grip. Do you not realize that EACH contestant has a camerman following him or her around? There are as many cameramen as there are contestants. No cameraman is ‘leading’ Russell. He is leading them. Get it ?

    • a.e.

      Sara, there are a TON of good shows that are on Thursdays at 8 pm. I suggest you choose one of them and watch that so you’re not left with your idiotic conspiracy theories. Like all reality shows (and I say this having had 2 close friends on reality shows, one of them being Survivor) there are many cameras around and usually one per contestant. Unless a contestant is headed to the bathroom, they have a camera on them. So while you call it manipulation, its actually called PRODUCING A REALITY SHOW.

      • Sue

        I agree. Sara needs to watch a new show. I know 2 people who were on different Survivor shows and producers, camara personnel are so not involved in staging. You just don’t like Russell and I am not crazy about him either, but it takes a better person to admit when someone you don’t like, is actually very smart and good at what they are doing. Good job Russell. Do you really have two girls? I can’t believe a word you say!

      • Maximilian

        Don’t say that. Love it or hate it, Any publicity is good publicity. I hope everyone watches, and I’m willing to bet so does Jeff Probst.

    • sonny

      Whereas I don’t believe Jeff is in on the plot to keep Russell in the game, I do believe there are producer(s) who would tell some crew people to assist Russell in finding these idols. Survivor does have alot invested in this troll, (mole)and again next season, from what I hear. Soo it makes good business sense that this a-hole is kept around, so he can keep up his shenanigans. I think he burns up a chicken next week? I mean, I recall episodes in the past where contestants had to find a specific tree, walk east 10 paces, and dig down in the sand about 4 feet or so, in order to find an idol. Now, the crew points in a general direction, and it doesn’t take long for a troll to go under a bridge, now, does it? I guess there are certain degree’s of Reality!

      • NC

        They hid the idols in logical areas so they could have logical clues and Russel had nothing but time to find them. He did need the video to find the 3rd idol.

        This past episode was filmed July 5 – July 7 and they have known the results of the show since July 19 (and the results of Season 20 since September 16.) The production team had months of time and thousands of hours of footage available to them to edit together for a 10 hour story.

        The editors could have downplayed the idols significantly if Russell had been kicked out earlier.

    • Pat

      Sara, I totally agree. In fact, it appears the idol was placed in (or near) the same area as the last one. Russell appeared to go directly to it. Personally, I think it’s time for me to check out one of the other good shows that a.e. pointed out.

      • Ben

        It looks like Russell goes right to the idol because they edit out the hours and hours of him walking around looking for it. Don’t forget they have 24 hours of footage for each contestant. With 10 players, that would be 240 hours of footage a day. They have to edit that to a 45-50 min show. So they don’t have a lot of time to show someone wandering around doing nothing, they just cut to the good parts.

    • DwightBigSurvivorFan

      You can’t script a show this good. You can produce and manage it, and change up rules at the last minute, but thats about all. I have watched every season since Survivor 1. Giving a contestent immunity idols would eventually be talked about by the other contestents and exposed. This has not happened. The show is legit. Professional wrestling is scripted.

      • Donna

        Russell got the II’s because he looked for them! Some of the others just followed him around, while the others laid around…EVEN while Russel was on another Island having a feast. This is not club med.It’s an individual game now, not a team game. I HATED Russell when the show started. After the merge I started liking him. I didn’t like Richard Hatch either but he played the game too. And I rooted for him and now I’m rooting for Russell. On a shallow note: John is sex on a stick.

      • D

        @Donna-I started liking Russell in episode 2-and you are absolutely correct in your assessment of John!

      • T

        Donna I agree with everything you said. EVERYTHING! Especially John – smoldering good looks plus brains for days. Does it get any better?

    • Curt

      Sarah, while i’m not sure I 100% agree I can’t deny I think about such things too. Survivor may be a ‘show’ for us loyal viewers but it is also a money making machine & they’re main goal is to profit off of it. Therefore I don’t think you’re far off completely, I’ve been frustrated that it appears to no longer be Survivor this season and instead The Russell Show. Game player or not I’m tired of him, as a viewer. Others are at least starting to emerge which gives a hope that he may get booted eventually, which would make this entire debate nice for viewers like me. Poetic justice. Just because a guy can make snide comments behind people’s backs, and find HII without clues doesn’t equal a worthy winner to me. His social game SUCKS. I am puzzled why producers continue to hide the idols this way THIS season – it seems intententional to me as well.



      • edge221978

        Dude, on the left hand side of your keyboard is a button called Caps Lock, press it

      • B

        Seriously. Caps Lock bro.
        And I’m sure he didn’t just ‘happen’ to stumble upon the idol, they had to edit the hours upon hours of footage they have to a 45 minute show. If the show was hours long like many other reality shows get the luxury of being, they might have shown more searching and running around. But since time is a luxury, they gotta keep the story rolling.
        And all these complainers about all the HII this season…THERES BEEN TWO PLAYED SO FAR. Thats it. Just two. There is normally always two, if not more. Calm down. Its only been the past three episodes the idols have even really come into play, and last night nothing happened except for genius Russel finding another one.
        I’m done ranting. Your play, RUKIDDINME.

      • Steeler6

        I have read all the comments you have made and I seriously think you are retarded.

      • teresa

        Please don’t say the R word (retarded). It’s demeaning to folks who are mentally retarded.

      • dohrayme

        There are a lot of people like me who refuse to read comments posted by jerks who cap everything. But in your case that seems to be OK since you offer nothing worth reading.

      • tanica

        What are you talking about?!!? Russell MADE this season! Without him this season would suck ass
        Thank gawd Laura is gone..hopefully dumbass Monica is next=))

        I love Dave!!! The way he looks so crazy shocked at the tribal councils is awesome! Total Kevin Spacey lookalike

    • chris b

      Sara – try learning about how the way the world works. It would be against the law for the producers to “hand over” idols to Russell or to do anything that could artificially affect the outcome of the game. Have you ever heard of the “Quiz Show” scandal? They’re following Russell and promoting Russell because he has taken over the game. Sare, go watch Big Brother. It’s more your speed.

      • Annie

        i have just read this whole debate and chris b is i think the only one who has stumbled on the key point.
        they are focusing on russell and the idols because he did take over the game. Like stated earlier shooting was over months before the real promotion started for this season. So they focus on Russell because the producers have decided that’s the route they want to take. The loss of reality is through editing, manipulation of footage and changing the rules on the fly while shooting. It’s not done by giving things away to contestants.

        the more important question i think is does it matter if it’s not as real as it appears? the show is entertaining. if it’s all fabricated it’s still entertaining.

    • Elle

      I just dont want to believe that the producers/cameramen are giving away the location of the hidden Idol. BUT, I it has occured to me a few times. Ya gotta like how Russel got them to follow him so he could come back to search the area later!:)I despise Russel but find him fascinating.I think watching Russel closely will teach me how evil people think so I can watch my back and protect myself in life from people like him. He is like a sociology project for me! Ha ha :) Love this show!!!!

      • Lori-689

        Hi, Elle. I agree with the “Sociology Project” point of view, or more like a “case study”, but then, I think every Survivor show is like that, and All the players. In spite of Russell’s more seemingly mean and aggressive approach, he still gets points in my book for his total “Self-Awareness”. He knows exactly what he is doing and why. He wants to win a million dollars and he hasn’t restricted himself to some “moral framework” that would otherwise keep him from doing that. Plain and simple. On one level, he is acting as a truly Free Man in this particular situation. And that is important. We may not know how he would act out in the “real world”, but he has given himself the freedom to act this way in this context.

      • T

        Lori-689 – precisely. The sociology aspect is a large part of why this show is still on. It’s clear from your word choice that you studied sociology and were probably a soc major like I was and that aspect of the gamae is what makes it watchable year after year after year. How does a microcosm of society form from complete strangers from different walks of life – especially when there is a million dollars at stake? How does what a person does/is like in the real world translate into their game self? How important is a social versus strategic game where you have no distractions offered by the real world? There are countless questions that speak to the sociological aspects of the game. Second, people on this post are forgetting that HIIs on the isolated islands versus HIIs hidden at camp. The HIIs at isolated island are very well hidden because the person is isolated and has tons of time to look for it. So the challenge becomes, is the person able to decipher the clues AND physically able to get to the location where the idol is. Sometimes, the castaway is solely focused on finding the idol and sometimes conditions – weather, fatigue – prevent the castaway from being able to really look for it. The HIIs at camp are rarely hidden in places where you have to do a great amount of work because it would be impossible to recover. There was the one year it was hidden in a hole or something and the guy’s partner in crime convinced the tribemates he was digging a bonfire hole – but I don’t recall if that was the actual location where the idol was found. Point is, at camp they can’t be as hidden as on the isolated locations for castaways. Remember the year the HII was hidden in the tree mail stump?

    • edge221978

      sara, let me help you find something else to watch on Thursday’s at 8 pm.

      • Lori-689

        Sorry, edge221978, this is actually a response to “T” above – Yes, I do remember the idol in the tree mail stump, and the one that Sugar surprised herself in finding (and no one believed she was smart enough to find). I had kind of overlooked the switch from the “Exile” locations to the “In Camp” locations. Otherwise, yes, my academic background is in Social Science, trying to finish up my BS by May 2010 after starting in August 1982! Big break in between, had to join the Navy to have access to money to finish. By the way, the first season of Survivor was just finishing as I headed off to bootcamp and I have come to see where the Military is very similar; i.e. you’re supposed to be a “team player,” but when it comes to advancement, it’s every person for themselves, so there are always similar “conflicts of interest” involved. Furthermore, I was a “Supply Petty Officer” as a collateral duty almost the whole time I was in, and I kept thinking to myself, “I know they won’t vote me off the island as long as I keep bringing home the fish!” : ))

    • konrad

      Hey Sara, did it ever occur to you that the reason Russell keeps finding the idol is that he is the only one looking for it?! I’ll admit that the idol has been easier to find the last couple of seasons but lets be real…if it takes 4 or 5 clues to find the idol then the idol isn’t in play, which sorta defeats the whole purpose of the idol. So they want it in nplay ASAP which means making it easier for ANYONE WITH HALF A BRAIN to find. The first 2 times Russell found it he was literally the only one looking and this last time everyone was so concerned about watching Russell they forgot to look for the idol. Dave was standing right there but he was watching Russell and Russell was the only one smart enough to realize the topography matched the clue.

      • D

        I agree. Even Sugar commented on how easy it was to find the HII on Exile Island. They want the idols to be found.

    • teresa

      The cameras follow everyone 24/7! It’s a TV show. Of course they’re gonna be there filming Russell. THEY FILM EVERYONE! Think about it…Russell doesn’t just sleep the day away. The man is out in the rain, he’s making deals, he’s looking for idols. Why wouldn’t the cameras follow him? He’s the only one doing anything!!!

      • KD

        I know–I don’t know why people aren’t comprehending this. If no one films everything–THERE’S NO SHOW! You don’t magically end up there when the good stuff is going down unless you’re there ALREADY. The camera crew is always active, following each survivor throughout the day and night. Sheesh, people!

    • pool

      I’m with Sara on this one. Sheeple, keep attacking her all you want. She’s right.

      • Leslie

        No…you and Sara are wrong and all the other trying patiently to explain to you the 24/7 camera thing are correct. Doesn’t take a lot of brain power to realize that they film ALL THE TIME so they can make a 1 hour program…complete wit product endorsements.

    • SomePeoplesKids

      Is it so hard to comprehend that it would be a legal FIASCO if CBS were giving idols to one person? It boggles my mind that people don’t understand that they film 24/7, and when filming wraps they pick the person who was most interesting to focus the editing on. It also gets me that people don’t realize that everyone probably searches for hours everytime a new idol is out, and they edit and so it looks like the idol was found in a few minutes. Sigh, some people’s kids (as the expression appropriately goes).

  • Survivor Fan

    Oh also, this season is getting really good especially after the merge. MUCH MUCH MUCH better than the past two seasons. Hope it continues to be as good if not better. If so, it will definitely rank among the top survivor seasons. Also, you had said Tocantins was gonna be a fantastic top 5 season but it turned out to be quite boring and predictable yet you didn’t hype this season at all and at first didn’t seem to like it but yet its so much more unpredictable, interesting and all-around better than Tocantins.

    • D


  • jef

    Russell to the end, Jeff. Russell to the end.

  • Daniel

    I’m soooo glad Laura is out. But I also have a feeling that Russell’s days are numbered. Previews can be misleading but it looks like he’s gonna shoot his own foot with the chicken thing. His tribe is not to be trusted either, they’re not as dumb as they look. Shambo could also betray him as well. I hope not, he’s the only reason I keep watching the show. None of the others have done much to deserve winning. They’re all kinda dull, especially Brett, but he could also be sneaky.

    • puppy dog

      Don’t post here!

    • sonny

      why do you bother to post here? Do you tell your friends how movies end, before they get to see them?

      • puppy dog

        sonny, that was in reply to a SPOILER. I don’t know why it got placed here. I posted it on page one. You can see the time it was posted. I don’t think spoilers should be posting on this page. Sorry if it seemed like I was talking to anyone else. I wasn’t.

      • puppy dog

        Anna, where are you?

      • Anna

        I got hit by that flu that’s been flying around the continent on Wednesday afternoon. I can’t ever remember feeling this crappy. Not even on each of the four occasions I gave birth; twice by C-Section and twice without an epidural. Not for lack of demanding one mind you, but my son shot out so fast there just wasn’t time. In retrospect I should just be grateful it didn’t happen in the elevator with Discovery Health filming the whole shrieking mess. Memories. I digress. I did watch the show Thursday night and do continue to have strong opinions regarding that boil on the butt of humanity. When I can compose a clear coherant thought process I will definately be posting it. Okay, back to bed now. Feel like I’ve been run over by a Mack truck and splatted by a locomotive.

      • Anna

        This post, Anna @ Sat 11/21/09 12:59 AM should have appeared in response to Puppy Dog @ Fri 11/20/09 3:39 PM.

      • puppy dog

        Anna, I got it. I’m wishing you a speedy recovery. Do take care of yourself. I hear that flu can knock the **** out of you. Oh, I’m not supposed to post here without (I don’t know who’s) permission. Beavgirl isn’t supposed to either. Cackle, Cackle.

      • davidellen

        What do ya think abt John’s decision? This season is lame, strategy-wise, minus Russell.

      • Fiona Bloemker

        Hope you are back on you feet soon Anna.

      • Carys

        Anna, I came down with the flu Monday and am still dragging. Commiserations. Hope you feel better soon.

      • puppy dog

        Carys, I hope you recover quickly. I have never had the flu. I gargle daily with salt water, and wash my hands about 20 times a day. Including the dishwashing, and dog washing, of course. But I swear by the salt water gargle, and it even helps people who already have the flu. I’ve had my friends do it, and they get better quicker. Anyway I do hope you feel better right away.

      • Carys

        Thanks, Puppy. I wash my hands dozens of times a day, too. I’m over the flu except for the cough and the weakness, and they will pass. Another Survivor tomorrow night! See you at the next blog.

    • Sue

      No one is as dull as Mick. If its his MO he needs to step up. So he won the immunity. And he actually spoke at tribal (he was safe too) and said something smart but he never seems to do much else. zzzzz

    • David

      I think the previews are misleading us. I think Russell tells Shambo he has the idol (again), and they cook up a way to get rid of another Galu. John wants a Foa Foa to go, so if Shambo convinces him to vote for Russell, and Russell uses the idol, a Galu goes and Russell looks like the victim that John turned on, not the conspirator.

      • Did You Climb In From Space

        The previews make it look like they are all conspiring to vote ER. As Jeff said, this is the game of Survivor, so who knows.
        I am Beyond Blazing Stoked that Laura was voted off. I hope Eric and Kelly are mean to her the first few days at Pondorosa. She was my Love to Hate in Survivor Somoa.

      • D

        It would be fantastic if they did another blindside like last time where they convince everyone to vote Russell, and then Russell plays the idol.

  • arcticjoe

    My favourite? Definitely Russell… I liked him from day one… and I pegged it right… he is a little leprechaun! Glad Laura is finally gone. Really liking Shambo too. I think Monica should go next.

  • Jim

    I’m really pulling for Russell to win. He may be an ass, but he’s a clever one. He’s playing this game harder than anyone else and has influenced it more than anyone else. If not Russell, I’d like Natalie to win, but only if Russell doesn’t make the final Tribal Council.
    My favorite players this season are Dave Ball and Russell. I love the dry wit and calm demeanor of Dave, I wonder if he is aware of how awesome his personality is. Russell is so cocky, but he backs it up; he just makes you pull for him!

    • Tracy

      Russell to win! He probably won’t because your would expect the jury to get a brain cell soon and wisen up to see it for what it is but Russell has got to be the most strategic and smartest player ever. Yes he has made a couple of dumb moves but overall he has been the most entertaining as well as the most deserving. Can’t wait for the reunion to see the comments of the rest of the tribes after they watch the episodes. They are going to fell like total idiots for sure.

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