January 29, 2004  
Volume 97, Issue 66  

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Survivor: All-Star: same old yokels

Mark Polishuk

Opinions Editor

There is some sort of a football contest this Sunday (go Man U!) but the big news for Survivor fans is that after the game, CBS will air the first episode of Survivor All-Star, the eighth installment of the trend-setting reality show.

It says something about the show’s popularity that in the era of flash-in-the-pan reality shows, Survivor can not only run for eight seasons, but can also amass so many interesting personalities the public is actually interested in seeing them again.

The gimmick of this series is that instead of being introduced to a bunch of average yokels, we’re going to be seeing 18 (up from the usual 16) of the yokels we’ve seen before, this time playing for a $2 million prize. Since the focus is on personality instead of achievement (only five of fourteen former winners and runners-up are back), the cast list consists of...

• Ethan, the only truly likable winner in the show’s history (from the season in Africa).
• Jenna Lewis, the yummy mommy from the first season.
• Jerri, one of the most hated “villains” in the show’s history (Australia).
• Rudy, the homophobic old crank from the first season.
• Rupert, the lovable wannabe pirate (Pearl Islands).
• Tina, the Machiavellian soccer mom who won the Australia season.
• Alicia, the buff and vaguely scary fitness trainer (Australia).
• Amber, Jerri’s sidekick from Australia who’s since gone on to pose in Stuff magazine. Yowza.
• Rob Cesternino, the girl-ogling, alliance-breaking “best player never to win” (Amazon).
• Rob Mariano, the would-be manipulator with the thick Bawsten accent (Marquesas).
• Sue, the truck driver from the first season whose über-bitter jury speech is one of the all-time great Survivor moments.
• Tom, the lovable crude redneck (Africa).
• Colby, the mama’s boy Texan (Australia).
• Jenna Morascu, the snotty model who somehow won the Amazon season.
• Kathy, best known for being wacky and loud (Marquesas).
• Lex, the middle-aged rocker (Africa).
• Shii Ann, the one rep from the dull Thailand season.
• And last but not least, Richard Hatch, the first season winner and the man who set the blueprint for victory.

Since everyone knows each other — whether it be from a past cast, media events or just by watching past seasons — it creates a new dynamic rather than a bunch of people meeting each other for the first time. Everyone already has a “character,” so to speak, so it will be interesting to see how they will adapt the second time around.

It’s now time for my bi-annual Survivor pick, which has resulted in one correct pick (Brian in Thailand) and players who finished fourth, sixth and 10th. Not too shabby.

It’s very unlikely that any of the former winners will win again, especially Hatch, whose status as the game’s greatest mastermind will put a huge bull’s-eye on his back. Look for a player who only had a decent finish (maybe not even a jury finish) to fly under the radar and ride to victory. My two picks are Tom, whose good ol’ boy persona masks a clever mind, and Jenna Lewis, a strong player who was likely handicapped because like most of the first season players, she had no idea how the game was played.

The bottom line is, Jeff Probst will continue to snark on the players. Huzzah!



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