HOLY HELL. Have you been watching Survivor this season? We’re already and the merge mark and, no joke, this season is shaping up to be a Top 5 Season of ALL TIME candidate. Seriously. It feels like a belated April Fools Day joke (coincidentally – the day I actually sat down and wrote a good chunk of this article before my general life distraction got in the way), but this 28th season of Survivor has managed to be non-stop phenomenal. Which is all the more impressive when you consider all the bad signs going in. I mean – look at all the twists. And the stunt casting. And the fact that it was filmed in some bizarro world where Survivor steals ideas from Allison Grodner’s Evil Workshop of Evilness. But, yet, here we are.
So, what is it about this season that is making it so amazing? Firstly, the casting has been top notch. Out of the eighteen players, all of them have delivered and deserved their spot to some degree. Even the more anonymous Mactor-types have brought us either sleazily scattershot gameplay (Jeremiah) or been delightfully disdainful (Morgan). The editors has helped this by really bringing their A-Game this year and giving us equal time to get to know each contestant and nicely setting up both their game and reasons they left. Pretty much every boot so far has left us with a lasting impression of who they were as a character and been memorable to some degree (J’Tia, Garrett and Brice in particular were all TOP NOTCH casting).
Also, not having returning players has really let these newbies shine. The thing that Probst and the suits at CBS never seem to get is that yes, while we love watching big characters being brought back, what we love even more is watching a fair fight. Keep the All Stars to All Star seasons. AWESOME. Heroes vs Villians is and probably always will be the single greatest season of a competitive reality tv show EVER. But arbitrarily mixing in a couple of returning players into a pool of newbies is never fun to watch, because it’s an unfair fight – it’s like watching the Boston Red Sox take on your local Little League. Sure, it’s exciting for a few minutes seeing big hitters in your hometown, but there’s no thrill in watching the game, no actual drama. Because the logistical advantage of being a returning player is too great.
The fact that the few seasons where the new player has totally owned the game (Guatemala and South Pacific come to mind), they’ve totally hidden the winner’s story and focussed on the returnees. If this kind of format is ever going to truly work, you’ve got to do it right – people LOVE the story of David vs Goliath. But you know what they DON’T care about? The story of how Goliath is really just a self-entitled asshole who was never that great to being with, and ends up gettng arbitrarily slain by some nameless townsperson who is a basically glorified extra. Which is especially upsetting considering Danni and Sophie both played Top Tier games that were deliberate and calculated (see our Ultimate Survivor Winner Ranking article HERE) – all the things that we should respect in a Survivor winner. I mean – what’s the point in spending hundreds of thousands of dollars casting a TV show if you’re not even going to pay attention to two thirds of the people in the first place? It has all the dramatic momentum of watching a bad slasher flick.
Anyway, enough of THAT rant – let us go back to the land of Cagayan, where comedy accents are plentiful and everybody is getting thinner but their chests are magically staying the exact same size. With tribes evenly divided and no one faction in power (thanks to the three tribe twist which, as with in Philippines, is proving to be the safest bet yet to ensure the kind of continued alliance instability and fluid gameplay that is the mark of all the greatest seasons), all signs point to a complete clusterfuck of a post merge – and what more could we really want as viewers?
So, based purely on the editing (i.e. what we’re being shown on air versus what’s getting left behind in the excellent weekly CBS Insider deleted scenes, and also what we glean from the press exit interviews), lets break down our official winner picks for season :-
One of the advantages of social media (Facebook, Twitter) these days is the previously unfathomable level of minute to minute contact it gives us to our nearest and dearest. What they’re wearing, who they love, what Weight Watchers meal they’ve artfully rearranged for Instagram – it’s all RIGHT THERE for your enjoyment and insta-consumption. The downside to this, of course, is that you’re also subjected to whatever banal obsessions happen to have struck their fancy on any given week. Now, this in itself is fine if you’re friends with an interesting fella like me, who is only obsessed with AWESOME things like Food and Sex and British Girlbands and the many, many looks of Julie Chen. But it turns out that literally hundreds of MY friends are obsessed with someone/where/thing that is called ‘Candy Crush’. Now, the upside to never listening to radio or watching free to air TV (or basically never doing anything in life ever without reading about it first and actively seeking it out) is that your exposure to communicable pop culture diseases is greatly minimized. Angry Birds – never played it. Desperate Housewives – only watched season one. Gangnam Style – don’t even know exactly what that is. (like – is it a song? Is it an suit? Is it Superman?) And, seriously – think how much more swell YOUR life would be if you could say the same? It’s like, imagine if the ghost of Christmas future told you to stop watching Smash after the pilot, wouldn’t you still look back fondly on it – instead of hating it with the fiery, fiery passion that is usually reserved for every single Ryan Murphy show EVER? In all honesty, it seems like these days I can’t log onto social media without finding it full of pointless posts of this so-called ‘Candy Crush’. And that’s wasting valuable newsfeed space that could be filled up with useful things, like status updates, or gay porn. It’s insane. I swear, if my days weren’t already so busy with my jam-packed schedule of napping, chronically masturbating and freebasing black coffee whilst watching the Big Brother Live Feeds, I’d just about scream. So, what is this ‘Candy Crush’ exactly anyway? From what I can tell, it’s some sort of game, and not the sort of one *I* usually play. And judging be the rate it’s spreading through my friendship base, Gwyneth Paltrow is due to be scalped by medical professionals within a week.. Fortunately, things are all good in Case Del Glenn – I’ve seen the warning signs, I’ve avoided all contact and I’m stocked up with enough cans of tunafish to pretty much last out the rest of the year (or reinvent myself as a lesbian in the process). So, while I keep myself cooped up and safe from cyber infection, here are some of my best guesses are to who or what this Candy Crush really is :-
01. A CONTESTANT ON THE UPCOMING SEASON OF DRAG RACE.
02. SOMETHING THEY SERVE AT PINKBERRY
03. A GAY SUPERHERO
04. THE PREVIOUSLY UNKNOWN FINAL EVOLUTIONARY STAGE OF A POKEMON
The New Adventures Of Drunk Glenn – A REINTRODUCTION (and Series of Obscure Pop Culture Comedy Selfies)
Hey Guys – Whattup? Just thought I should that I should take a few minutes out of my busy, busy schedule and introduce myself to all you newbies (and explain to all you less-newbies) who exactly I am and whose faceless rantings you’re reading right now (my actual face is AFTER THE JUMP).
So, who am I anyway? Well, for the most part, I’m actually a pretty cool guy. Decent even. I’m kind of like that goofy fat guy who plays the best friend in every rom-com ever, except for some strange reason I have abs you could grate cheese off – which baffles me (even) more than it baffles you if we’re perfectly honest. And whilst there is a separate, more serious and in-depth entry about why I haven’t been around much on here this year, I am sorry that I haven’t kept you guys as entertained as you’re used to. Mostly, I’ve just been busy working, and those precious few hours of free time I have each day where I’m not binge-eating, sleeping or jerking off furiously, I’ve been trying to finish up a few writing projects that could actually be really big. Like, I have nothing but mad props for people that blog (honestly – it’s hard work and dedication, no matter how much of it is basically you trying to fellate your own navel several times a week), but this isn’t my big writing goal in life. Mostly, it’s just something I do to keep the writing part of my brain active, and it’s kind of a word vomit barf bag that I can write impassioned pieces about movies and music and reality TV without boring the assholes off my friends. Basically, it’s the one form of writing where I can be totally self-indulgent (albeit sometimes intelligently) and just relax into the fact that anyone bothered to read beyond the shirtless photos is doing so because they’re just as into the same weird fringe shit that I am and thus aren’t glazing over in boredom at any given minute.
The thing is – with all of my other writing, it’s ALWAYS so expressly written with an audience in mind. Whether it’s my songwriting or my screenplays, my strength as a writer is not my brilliant way with words, but my ability to not just understand an audience, but know *exactly* how to make someone FEEL something, whether it’s laughter or sorrow or just that basic human desire for connection and comfort. I may never win an Oscar, but we’re probably not too far away now from the time where I’m mentioned in the same breath as Kevin Williamson or Ryan Murphy (without the formers self-imposed years in the commercial wild and the latter’s crippling levels of Creative ADHD).
THEY SAY YOU CAN TELL A LOT ABOUT A PERSON BY GOING THROUGH THEIR TRASH. AND, CONSIDERING THE SHEER AMOUNT OF EMPTY BOOZE BOTTLES, CANDY BAR WRAPPERS, NOVELTY POP CULTURE MUGS AND EMPTY CONDOM PACKETS IN PLAIN VIEW, I’D SAY MONA RAMSEY AND KE$HA MIGHT BE RIGHT..
GOOD EVENING AMERICA – And WELCOME BACK to tonights thrilling final instalment in out epic two part countdown of all that is great about Summer’s best worst show. After last weeks episode eliminated the first seven contestants (relive all the highlights in black and white HERE), we make our way through the Final 8 after the break. Who will be voted out next? Who should be getting ready for their Chen-terview? And who have we very conclusively and scientifically proven deserves the honour of coming in (But) First? Let’s eavesdrop on the remaining houses…
08 – SEASON FIVE
WINNER - Drew Daniel
ARBITRARY TWIST - “Project DNA”. Which stood for “Do Not Assume”. And referred to NOT JUST a long-lost (and previously unknown!) half-brother and sister being reunited in the house, but also the revelation that housemate Adria was actually a set of identical twins who swapped places every other day (see clip below).
HOUSEGUESTS WE’D MOST LIKELY EXPECT TO SEE AGAIN - Nakomis is really due for one last shot of glory after her pointless boot in BB7, and we also always had a soft (semi hard) spot for Wil. Plus Adria and or Natalie would be a nice tribute to one of the greatest BB twists that ever was.
In a lot of ways, season five is really where modern day Big Brother was truly born. S2 introduced us to basic strategy. S3 gave us well thought out and engaging casting. S4 is where Grodner first dipped her hands into the ether and delivered the first of many, many batshit insane twists to come. But it was Season Five where, for the first time, all of these key components of Big Brother life as we know it coalesced into one big compelling whole. And what a whole it was! From historic game-defining strategic firsts (Nakomis’s ‘Six Finger’ Plan – see HERE, Diane’s equally impressive but oft-overlooked plot to hijack the power from the Final Five Veto) to the delightfully bonkers twists (Long Lost Siblings! Identical Twins! Holly!), Season Five was one big joyride from start to finish. And while it set the precedent for blandly deserving winners (aka the proto-Hayden Drew), it’s overall cast is one of the strongest and most entertaining in the shows history, making for a consistently engaging run. Plus, Diane’s season long spiral into complete and utter Tanorexia basically INVENTED Jersey Shore, and means we basically can’t watch anything from the second half of this season without breaking out into Willy Wonka songs which, let’s face it, is an AWESOME problem to have.
BEST MOMENT - Lesbehonest, the Twin Twist is basically the GOAT moment of not just US Big Brother, but Big Brothers EVERYWHERE. Short of them both being played by Sheryl Lee, this could not have been more perfect.
07 – SEASON ELEVEN
WINNER - Jordan Lloyd.
ARBITRARY TWIST - The “Cliques” (Brains vs Athletes vs Outcasts vs Popular Kids aka some special school production of The Breakfast Club)
HOUSEGUESTS WE’D MOST LIKELY EXPECT TO SEE AGAIN - Obviously Big Jeff is a dead cert from now til the end of time (even though we’d much rather see Jordan, to be perfectly honest with y’all), Russell, Michele. And maaaaaaaaybe Jessie, if only for the fact he seems to live permanently in the outer-reaches of the CBS Backlot these days from what we can tell…
Sometimes a great Big Brother season is defined by thrilling gameplay. Sometimes it’s the exciting twists. And, just sometimes, all it really needs is enough genuinely likeable people to make it to the end and some equally deplorable ones to give you something to root for and against. What should have been a thoroughly mediocre season (the ‘Cliques’ twist will not only remain one of the weakest and uninspiring of the series, but also it’s most ineffectual if not for the glorious seven day implosion of S12′s ill-fated Summer Of Sabotage) somehow evolved early on into the greatest battle of Heroes vs Villains seen outside a series of Survivor. Cooping up that many truly delusional people in one house might be unbearable if you’re an adorkably normal neuroscientist or a blithely innocent southern belle but, as a viewer, we’ll be damned if it didn’t make for great TV. The classic post-Jessie pity party of Natalie, Lydia and Chima mourning will forever make laughing at people okay, especially in light of the latter’s historic meltdown and subsequent producer expulsion (although we’ll always be kinda sad that it obscured her genuinely fascinating backstory). And the Jeff, Jordan, Michele and Russell group of misfits made for the most rootable against all odds alliance since the golden days of S6 (even if Big Jeff himself did his gosh darned homophobic best to almost ruin it). Jordan’s come from behind win at the last minute really helped to redeem it and showed that, whether in real life or Reality TV, sometimes, just sometimes, nice guys finish first. Plus, you know, who could forget the completely surreal sight of the HEAVILY PREGNANT CHENBOT!
BEST MOMENT - While Chima (Princess of Glower)’s epic evening of Production-baiting and eventual expulsion was a basically a Big Brother (But) First, we’ve always had a modicum (and only that) of sympathy for her considering the Coup D’etat is the Big Brother equivalent of being butt-fucked without warning or lube from a gameplay perspective (you can watch said player dry-fucking HERE). On the other hand, the gloriously absurd mock funeral the estrogenic trio of terror presided over the night before is everything that makes good Big Brother great – crying, hysteria and that special kind of spiralling group delusion that seems to thrive when already borderline personalities start catching crazy by forced osmosis. In short, it was AMAZING.
Good Evening America – I’m (Julie) Glenn and we’ve just reached that time of the year again where a bunch of Model/Actor/Bartenders from the Greater LA area have been set free from from the giant fake house where they spent their summer riding various phallic objects, all the while competing under the watchful eye of a wily, disinterested Chinese-American automaton known as The Chenbot. Ladies and Gentlemen – THIS IS BIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIG BROTHER!
After unveiling what seemed to be the most underwhelming cast since the dark, dark days of season nine, Big Brother 15 exploded into one of the most unexpectedly thrilling, thought-provoking and idiotically entertaining shows of the year. Who knew that, 15 years after purporting to investigate and celebrate seemingly ordinary Americans and the various ins and outs of human nature, it would end up finally doing just that (CONGRATULATIONS JULIE – YOU’RE A REAL JOURNALIST NOW). Whilst this season definitely benefitted from the first signs that Julie was actually Chenuinely (SEE WHAT WE DID THERE? SEEE?) engaged and aware of the program she was hosting, it was also bizarrely refreshing to see the program both address and haphazardly discuss the sorts of issues that it was actually designed to. Lets take a second to appreciate the irony that, by being one of the shows most ignorant houseguest of all time, Aaryn managed to force Summers most willfully shallow show to finally get smart (albeit inadvertently – and, as we we discuss later, somewhat undeservedly).
But First – where did it all begin? And where does this current crop of hamsters stand in grand scheme of BB History? Let’s take a look..
15 – SEASON NINE
WINNER - Adam Jasinski
ARBITRARY TWIST - “Till Death Do Us Part” aka the one where players competed in Producer predetermined ‘couples’ for no good reason except because apparently everyone in the Big Brother creative team are joyless assholes.
HOUSEGUESTS WE’D MOST LIKELY EXPECT TO SEE AGAIN - James, Sheila, Natalie.
Remember when CBS dragged Big Brother out from the dregs of Summer Programming and tried to launch it on to an unsuspecting Primetime? Yeah, neither do we. But it happened. And it was AWFUL. Apart from being responsible for Sheila, who yew kneewwww was the best older female contestant this show had ever seen (at least until the following season when The Grod deigned to gift us with Renny), this was the one where the most memorable contestant was Joshuah, who would stay up late telling tales of how he’s do blow off his boyriends butthole and then spend his days apparently trying to become the human embodiment of the word HIDEOUS. Or Adam – who was smart enough to know how to win, but not quite smart enough to know that referring repeatedly to disabled people as ‘retards’ might actually jeopardize his career as, you know, a Disabled Childrens Care Worker (also – not quite smart enough to guess that starting up a large prescription drug ring with his winnings might not be the best way to not be spending the next ten years of his life in jail right now). So, yeah, pretty much everyone on this season was THE WORST. And don’t even get us started on ‘Crazy’ James or the arbitrarily-partnered ‘Til Death Do Us Part’ twist either. And the less said about the CLEARLY RIGGED F4 tie-breaker question where you can all but hear the Producers deciding which contestant they wanted to win the tie-breaker before revealing the ‘answer’ on live TV, the better..
BEST MOMENT - None? Can we go with none? Although that time Natalie counted out the 27 letters of the ALPHABET was pretty neat we suppose..
14 – SEASON ONE
WINNER - Eddie McGee
ARBITRARY TWIST - Staying Faithful To The Original Format.
HOUSEGUESTS WE’D MOST LIKELY EXPECT TO SEE AGAIN - Eddie; plus maybe Chicken George, who actually grew on us during All Stars (kinda like a chia pet).
And then here we are Ladies and Gentleman – right back to where it all began. Back in a day when Reality Television was just a vague idea in the back of a television executives mind and Julie Chen was still a Very. Serious. Reporter. Look – lets face it. Big Brother 1 was a mess. And not just because of the ridiculously Serious Face WWBN Casting (although, seriously – that DID NOT HELP AT ALL). But mostly because it showed us that, as a whole, the country of America CANNOT be trusted to systematically vote people out week to week from a personality driven game show format. Because, you know what you end up with? A limp, barely watchable nightly broadcast with all the charm and charisma of watered down Wal-Mart security footage, but with far less sassily dressed fat people. Watching America systematically vote out every single mildly interesting person (The Black Supremacist! The Stripper! The Menopausal Mom Mid-Mid Life Crisis!) was vaguely soul-destroying, especially considering none of these people were particularly interesting to begin with. The Season Two overhaul of the show was the best reinvention since Lana Del Rey discovered collagen and the joys of Vintage Stage Name Magnetic Poetry Kits.
BEST MOMENT - This HISTORIC Big Brother moment, courtesy of Julie Chen and her barely recognizable old face..
Sorry I haven’t written here in a while. I’ve been busy going out and doing things. Or, as I like to call it, trying to ‘participate’. It’s kinda weird, because I used to be really good at this, but after spending six months basically not leaving my room, I’m having to start from the ground floor up again, like I’m in the Sydney Social Mailroom or something (I meant that as a corporate analogy, although there like a 73% that’s ACTUALLY the name of a Gay Night at some bar I’m sure).
It’s fine actually, cuz Lord knows I need to meet me some new people. Truth be told, I’m actually enjoying enjoying it quite a bit. I always liked going out by myself anyway – it’s the best way to meet new people. And I mean that genuinely, not as a euphemism for those obscene hand gestures I’m so fond of. It’s all kind of surreal as I’m finally, after two long years in the gay wilderness, back to my fighting weight and evidently looking mighty fine. Which is great for getting laid, not that I ever really had a problem in that regards, but more so because people, like, talk to me now and stuff again. It sounds so funny, because most people lose weight to help them with sex, and relationships, and with the opposite sex. And sure, it helps, but I mostly use it to make myself socially palatable, which is something that I need to work on.
Having just crowned our 25th (25th!) Champ mere hours ago, what better time to stroll down Survivor Memory Lane (N.B. Not a real place, although probably the working title for at least three of the seasons) and update our Epic countdown from last year.
Points will be awarded for various things, for example :-
- How much control contestants had in getting themselves to the end and how much of that winning journey was actively planned.
- How close they came at times to being voted out.
- How much they had to rely on immunity wins.
- Bitter Jury Syndrome.
- Overall luck involved.
25. NATALIE WHITE – SAMOA
The most maligned of all Survivor winners due to her shocking (SHOCKING) defeat of Russell Hantz last year. Whilst her social game was approximately one million times more impressive than said bandy-legged troll, she loses major points for the fact that going into the Final Tribal Council, no one from the jury was even planning on voting for White – she won them over with thoughtful answers that were better than Dr Mick.
Plus, her most memorable move was that time that she killed a rat with a stick. I mean – what’s not to love? :-
BEST MOVE : Orchestrating the pivotal merge boot of (the incredibly sexy) Erik, that set the whole Galu post-merge crumble in motion.
SHOULD HAVE WON : *sigh* Russell. Whilst his social game was just AWFUL, he did play an incredible strategic game and changed the way Survivor was played forever.
24. BOB CROWLEY – GABON
Who? Bob sauntered along most of Gabon half-asleep, crafting a few admittedly impressive fake immunity idols along the way. Loses points for the fact that he was planning to take Matty to the end who would have kicked his ass ten ways to Sunday. Also for the fact that Randy (who cast the pivotal vote) was planning to vote for Susie to win until she burned him on his jury question.
BEST MOVE : Playing the Grandfather role to human waterworks Sugar, who forced the tie that allowed him in front of the Jury in the first place.
SHOULD HAVE WON : The aforementioned Sugar. Controlled the entire game post-merge without once becoming a target. If she had’ve actually decided to play for the Win instead of just for Fan Favourite, it could have all turned out very different.
23. SANDRA DIAZ-TWINE – PEARL ISLANDS
Better known as the only two-time winner in Survivor’s 25 season history. Less known for winning through sheer virtue of not being Lil or Jonny Fairplay. Gains points for pioneering the completely mercenary ‘anyone but me’ voting strategy. Loses points for having no real control over her fate in the game. Even her win came solely down to the fact that Final Immunity winner Lil knew she couldn’t beat either of her opponents and figured that at least if she took Sandra to the end and gave her the win, the million dollars wouldn’t be spent on strippers and coke.
Here’s an amazing clip of Sandra displaying those social skills that won her her first million bucks. I CAN GET LOUD TOOOOO! :-
BEST MOVE : Openly having her vote for sale every Tribal Council. Warring factions kept using her to vote each other out, ensuring she was never the target.
SHOULD HAVE WON : Umm, no one? Is ‘no one’ an option? Pearl Islands was a rollickingly entertaining season with Rupert! Outcasts! Dead Grandmas! but no real strong strategic players post-merge. Or, for that matter, pre-merge. Jonny Fairplay though probably, if you pushed us..