Survivor: Borneo (Season 1)

This post is part of a series that contain
SPOILERS
for the CBS Television show Survivor

My journey with Survivor began with Season Two and it took me several years to come back around to Season One when I was able to catch up through the magic of Tivo.

Unfortunately, this season is hard to rank against the rest of the show, for several reasons. The production was rough and most of what you would recognize as modern Survivor was not yet in place. Not to mention the fact that, even though this season had some interesting contestants, Richard Hatch made everything so uncomfortable all the time that it was hard to get through.

Many fell in love with Colleen Haskell, but since I started with Season 2, my heart already belonged to another (we’ll get to that in another post).

Since the show wasn’t really that great yet, much of what I recall from this season is the final tribal, where Susan delivered a speech that still ranks up there as one of the most dramatic in Survivor history.

Something I could have learned from this season, had I been watching it live, was to be ready for disappointment when it comes to the winner.

This season was undeniably the beginning of a cultural phenomenon which set the groundwork for one of the longest running reality TV shows ever and created a template for so many other shows to come. This makes Season One a must-watch for any completest, but one that can be skipped if you just want to experience the best of what Survivor has to offer.

Survivor

I have been a Survivor fan longer than I have owned the domain name for this website. I watched my first episode in January 2001 when Season 2 premiered after the Super Bowl, which I swear I was only watching for the commercials. Jeff Probst was in the belly of an airplane, shouting at the camera as he often did in the early seasons. From the moment the plane landed and we met the 16 contestants, I was all in.

Since that time, I have not missed a single episode and have even seen many seasons two or three times! A friend recently started a private Facebook group for Survivor discussions and I now find myself discussing the show on a daily basis. We talk about old seasons, the current season, and the international versions of the show. From strategy, to villains, to who is “island hot,” the conversations are varied and always interesting.

As everyone in the group started to rank their favorite seasons, I realized that I needed to rewatch the entirety of the show to make my list. This is no simple task, considering the show has 37 English language seasons: 34 American, 1 South African, 1 Australian, and 1 New Zealand (some harder to find than others!). As I progress through each season, I am keeping detailed notes about what I like and dislike, which I will add as posts here. That way, when I reach the end of my rewatch, I should be able to put together my ranked list of seasons. If you are at all interested in the show, maybe this list will help you to determine which season to start with.

Check back here as I add my breakdown of each season:

A long time ago, in a living room not that far away…

starwarsvhs

Growing up watching Star Wars marathons late in to the night with my brother Kevin, I never stopped to think whether the movies were good or bad. In fact, I never stopped to recognize that they were separate movies at all. Only later in life when I would discuss the movies with friends did I realize that people ranked the films separately. To me I couldn’t see the point in watching just one of the three, so the idea was just crazy.

Our marathons happened several times each year and we never started earlier than 10pm. This was to ensure that we were properly sleep-deprived by the time we saw dancing Ewoks. We watched full-screen VHS copies of the movies, that were taped from HBO, on a 4:3 CRT television. The quality was poor and got worse with each screening due to the magnetic tape stretching more and more. Keeping the VCR remote handy for adjusting tracking was absolutely necessary. About halfway through, we would take a break to make a pot of Kraft Mac&Cheese with the dayglow powder cheese, as none other would suffice. The pot we cooked it in was so old that the teflon coating would often scrape off and we would find what we dubbed “teflon surprises” and sometimes competed to see who had the most. A full 12 pack of Mtn Dew was also required, though it did little to keep us awake due to that being our normal intake of caffeine on any other night. Kevin always made it to the end, while I developed the ability to occasionally wake up enough to react to one of his jokes so that he wouldn’t realize I was sleeping already (he always knew). This was my Star Wars experience.

Then the prequels came out and while I now have my own opinions of those movies, I was one of the people who left the theater after Episode I with a great feeling. I actually enjoyed the movie because I wasn’t comparing it at all to the originals. Sure, I hated Jar Jar, but it was the first Star Wars movie I got to see in the theater when it was released. Episode I showed me a familiar world that I knew from childhood and so long as Jedi were hitting things with lightsabers and spaceships were flying around, I was overjoyed.

It was at this time that I really started to realize that people had very strong opinions of the OT and the new prequels. Suddenly the innocence that I experienced with the OT was brought in to sharp focus. I came to understand that these movies did not exist only in late night sleep-deprived marathon sessions filled with Kraft Mac&Cheese and teflon surprises.

Why do I mention any of this now? Nostalgia, for one. This new film brought back so many of the feelings I had surrounding the OT and in turn took me back to that innocent time. But, also because I have been reading a lot of reactions on r/StarWars that were making me feel upset until I looked at this from this new perspective. Everyone’s experience with Star Wars is totally different and unique and valid. Make up your own mind about this new episode and don’t let trolls ruin it for you. Enjoy your two hours in a galaxy far, far away and say hi to some old friends one more time.

Thanksgiving Episodes

Updates are hard, guys. Noticing that I have Christmas posts in the most recent updates here has reminded me that I should be updating more often. So, here’s my list of Thanksgiving TV episodes!

do-your-people-even-celebrate-thanksgiving

Starting, of course, with…

King of the Hill
3×7: Nine Pretty Darn Angry Men (November 17, 1998)
4×7: The Hank’s Giving Episode (November 21, 1999)
5×4: Spin the Choice (November 19, 2000)
7×4: Goodbye Normal Jeans (November 24, 2002)

That 70’s Show
1×9: Thanksgiving (November 22, 1998)
5×8: Thank You (December 03, 2002)
7×9: You Can’t Always Get What You Want (November 24, 2004)

Roseanne
2×9: We Gather Together (October 21, 1989)
4×10: Thanksgiving ’91 (November 26, 1991)
6×10: Thanksgiving ’93 (November 23, 1993)
7×10: Thanksgiving ’94 (November 23, 1994)
8×8: The Last Thursday in November (November 21, 1995)
9×10: Home Is Where the Afghan Is (November 26, 1996)

South Park
1×8: Starvin’ Marvin (November 19, 1997)
4×13: Helen Keller! The Musical (November 22, 2000)
15×13: A History Channel Thanksgiving (November 09, 2011)
17×7: Black Friday (November 13, 2013)

I will add more as I watch! For a more complete list of Thanksgiving episodes, see this page:
List of Thanksgiving episodes

Instant Justice

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Most drivers in Los Angeles have experienced the horrors of the 110 West through Downtown LA. Most specifically the point where the left lanes (110W) and the right lanes (off-ramps and on-ramps from the 101) come together. Smart drivers know that if you miss your chance to merge left, there is a dedicated off-ramp for the 110W you can use instead.

As most of us know, there’s always that one asshole who waits until the very last moment to move left in order to get on the 110W. They usually do this in some dramatic display that reenforces how important it is that they make this lane change, usually including them driving over the rough median.

On my way to work, I was a few cars behind a CHP cruiser as it was passing this hectic area of the freeway. The cruiser was in the right lane of the 110W with a line of cars to his right that were all presumably heading for the off-ramps ahead.

At the very last possible moment, a black SUV had their expected moment of panic and suddenly changed lanes (across the solid white lines) and found himself DIRECTLY in front of the CHP cruiser. The lights on the cruiser immediately lit up, as though the officer knew this would happen… because he did.

My laughter at this point was completely uncontrollable, as I have waited years to see this exact scenario play out and it finally did. As I passed the douchebag, I of course had to get a look at them to see what kind of idiot would pull such a stupid move. What did I find but a white guy driving while ACTIVELY texting on his phone.

This really made my day. I can only hope that the officer pointed out the off-ramp that would have saved him not only time, but now money.

Briandead

So, Brian isn’t dead after all. In case you missed it, Family Guy had a plan all along and the internet fell for it.

While watching “Life of Brian” a few weeks ago, I was not moved by the death scene. Maybe it was the whole time machine plot point that caused me not to be affected by the scene, as I thought Stewie would just rebuild the time machine and bring Brian back.

Well, I wasn’t too far off, it seems. Though, it looks like Stewie will be using the magical power of Santa to bring back his best friend!

Something to keep in mind with these shows is that they are written and created months in advance. Which means the internet outrage that was sparked by the death of Brian must have caused the Family Guy writers to sit back in their expensive lounge chairs, light up a doobie and laugh.

I found the whole online petition to bring back Brian laughable myself. If you actually signed the petition, you should probably go outside and play in traffic. Seriously. You signed a petition (online, so it’s meaningless anyway) to resurrect a FICTIONAL CHARACTER that you did nothing to help create or develop. Think about that and take a moment to reflect on your priorities in life.

Please be sad that Brian is dead(ish). That’s great! Someone else’s art made you feel that way. It probably reminded you of your dead dog, or something else you have lost. Isn’t that amazing? That someone else’s art can have that powerful an effect on you? Yeah, well… remember the important part is that it’s SOMEONE ELSE’S.

And ultimately, what did all that complaining and petitioning do? Nothing, because they were going to bring Brian back anyway. But, I for one have enjoyed the break.

Brian the Dog

Seth McFarlane killed his dog. Well really, he killed our dog, as Brian had become the epitome of the anthropomorphized canine we’ve always wanted. While this plot-twist in the Family Guy universe is sad for anyone who agrees that Brian was the truest character on the show, it’s also about time.

The problem with Brian on the show is that he is essentially just Seth in dog form. Seth didn’t choose a different voice for this character, so it allowed him to make Brian the singer and the performer. But, when you’re over-exposed to Seth’s voice on TV and movies that aren’t Family Guy, it gets a little tiring. TED was a great example of this, as Seth just used a thicker accent than normal, but was essentially re-creating Brian for the big screen. TED was a drunk, womanizing, anthropomorphized teddy bear. Not a huge leap from Brian in the end.

Through your tears, and beating your fists against the TV, remember that Brian was a dog. Dogs live about 10 years, on average, and Brian lasted 11. We will miss him dearly, but knowing what we know about animated shows, this likely isn’t the last we’ve seen of our animated best friend.

Vinne may be annoying, but is his accent really any worse than Lois’s?