December 20th, 2015 | 14 Comments | Posted in Survivor 31 - Second Chance

Apologies for the delay in bringing you this column, but it’s been an interesting week.

We made it.

The finale. The final episode of one of the best seasons ever. I know that’s debatable, but I think most everyone agrees this has been one hell of a ride. Cast your thoughts back to April when we were exposed to this wonderful little idea of bringing some of the most popular Survivor players back for a Second Chance. You got to admit, the show did a great job of promoting the concept, the players, and the belief this would be OUR season. The fans. The people who make it all possible.

Yet, the game is not about us, it’s about them: the players. And while many times we’re recognized for being part of the process, I’m just not sure if the players fully grasp that concept. Maybe I’m wrong, but when Tash argued last week that Abi should go home because “we owe it to the fans to not take a goat with us,” that’s the first time I really felt a player got it.

Yes, many times players thanked the fans for voting them on to the show, but that typically came when they were going home and had finally gotten some perspective. What I would’ve liked to see is players reminding each other – frequently – that the ONLY reason they’re there is because of the fans. Let’s hope that’s something future “Second Chance” or “Third Chance” or any season where players are voted on by fans remembers. It’s a great concept, and one the show needs to remind players of before they set one foot on the beach.

I bring this up because I was able to cross off another item on my bucket list this week and finally attend a Survivor finale. And it was awesome. I can’t tell you how cool it was to be there, so let me say a little about the night, before we get into the recap. I’m sure EVERYONE reading this has already seen/digested/reached euphoria/came down from their Survivor stupor, so I’ll try to make this rather brief. I know you have a lot of Christmas shopping to still do…

Not going to rehash the whole reason how or why I got invited, I’ll just say I was given 2 tickets to the show. Typically, when I have tickets to a rather cool event, it’s a no-brainer…I’m bringing my wife. However, the one little hitch in that plan is my wife doesn’t give two f**ks about Survivor. Yes, she used to watch it with me, but that was when we were young and foolish, and trying to impress each other. Now, it’s, “Why would I want to see that? And who’s gonna watch the kids?”

Fair enough. That gives me the chance to spread some love an invite one of my friends; yet, I have no friends to spread the love with. Everyone I know wants nothing to do with Survivor. A lot of, “It’s just not cool enough anymore,” and, “Is that show still on television?” So maybe I have the wrong friends, but I don’t give a crap if my friends/family don’t watch the greatest competition show on television. I still do, and goddammit, I’m going to the finale alone if I have to!

But…I think to myself. Now’s a good opportunity to bring someone out of the norm. To bring someone who likes Survivor. Hell, it may be someone who loves the show and would actually like to attend. And considering recent events, I realized there’s a (Fish Rankings) Top Ten player who’s probably going to make the Survivor Hall of Fame this week. And I did interview him last season – and the season before that – and he recently retired from his job, so maybe he’d like to attend? I open Twitter and send a DM to Coach. And what do you know, he’s into it.

This was on Monday night, mind you, so there’s not much time to plan. I know the reason he left his coaching job was to be with family, so there’s a chance things won’t work out. But…he’s really into it. We’re exchanging DMs like a couple giddy schoolgirls talking about a boy, or nail polish, or if we’ve gotten our periods yet. (Too far?)

Again, coming from Hollywood, I know not to count on anything, so I try to play it cool and just let him know how honored I’d be to be his posse for the night. And then Tuesday, he’s named a Survivor Hall of Famer, so I’m thinking he’s got to come down and see his fans, right? Mingle amongst his subjects, something like that… Yet, still can’t be too excited.

Well, to make a long story longer, Tuesday night he lets me know it’s not gonna work out. Just can’t find the right flight. Damn! I’m crestfallen, but – as always – he handled it like a true gentleman, was concerned he had let me down, and assured me we’d get to meet over the holidays. A stand up move, from a stand-up guy. I love Coach…

So, I’m ready to go alone at this point (it’s late Tuesday night) but I decided to grow a pair and mention to him, “Well, if you know anyone who might need a ticket, let them know I’ve got one available.” I heard seats were being sold for up to $350, and in my current financial situation I was willing to go that route, but I’d also be happy to trade profit for coolness, so I ask him,

“Any chance I can sit near Christina Cha?”

I was just hoping she was going, but next thing I know Coach (who’s a friend of hers) is making it happen. Sure enough, the next morning (Wednesday) I get a call,

“Hi, this is Christina Cha, from Survivor…” and I’m like, “Yeah, I know who you are… I’ve written “some things” about you.”

Needless to say, everything came together, we both made it to CBS, and I was watching the Survivor finale sitting next to Christina Cha. (schwing)

Very cool chick. And believe me, if she was a bitch, I’d tell you. But she was so f**king cool. Very into the game, open to discussing “inside” Intel, the other players, the show, and just being an “ex-player.” It was very revealing. I’m gonna consider a lot of what we discussed as “locker room banter” that needn’t be shared, but be assured, the girl can sling it with the best of them. You think Corinne could throw some snark? S**t, she’s just the set-up girl for Christina the closer. But with a heart of gold.

And yeah, there were some benefits to sitting next to a (beautiful) former player. We (she) got a lot of attention, I got a lot of Intel, and we got to meet some of the most passionate Survivor “fans” around. Holy smokes, these people are passionate. And REALLY into her. I seriously felt invisible for a few conversations there.

But I had a plan. Any time these dorks did not show the courtesy of including me in the conversation, I asked them who they think has the best boobs of all the female Survivor players. You could see the sweat forming on their receding hairlines as they scrambled to figure out if they should laugh, answer honestly, say “she does” and point at Christina, or just walk away. And hey, it’s not like I’m trying to ruin anyone’s night, but I’m trying to find out if Colton is really that much of an ass, is Alicia still a bitch, and what does she really think about Kim, Kat and Chelsea? I’ll never tell…

Alright, that’s enough about me and my night. I’ll pepper some things in here and there but it’s time we get to the recap. Jeff promised us something “that’s never happened before” and I’m promising you the same thing. I have NEVER written a recap after watching the episode, so there’s a chance things will end up a little different tonight. Not sure how in depth I’m gonna go, because we all know Jeremy won, so I’m really gonna pay close attention to the edit he’s getting and not care so much about Spencer and Tash. And yeah, since we know the outcome, I don’t need to predict anything. Let’s get to it!

We open on a live shot of Jeff as he walks out onto the elaborate stage at CBS Television City. Survivor never holds back on production design and the finale set is no letdown. He reminds us this season “is all your fault since we didn’t pick any of these hacks” but we know he’s joking. Jeff is the first to admit this has been an epic season, and I’m pretty sure that 98% of Survivor fans agree. Ok, maybe 90%. 75%? It’s a toss-up between this and Heroes vs. Villains? We’ll figure it out later. We’ve got a lot of show to get through, and I just saw myself in the audience. OMFG, Becky…

14 thoughts on “SURVIVOR: SECOND CHANCE FINALE – 12/16/15

  1. Well worth the wait my friend . Great column . In the game of life based on the little we actually know about these people Jeremy is a slam dunk winner . Firefighter , family man and sure seems to be a great guy . Survivor though is a game . A game he did not deserve to win . I am not upset that he was given the million dollars . I am happy for him and his family . Personal feelings aside Spencer deserved to be named sole Survivor . I think he is an egotistical , self centered , obnoxious ( plus clumsy ) baby . I think his whole I wanted to grow as a person garbage was gameplay and total bulls%$t . However he won challenges he maneuvered himself from the bottom of the pecking order into a power alliance . He played better than Jeremy its that simple . I wonder if Kimmi and Tasha were Jeremy ‘ s preferred final three . Kelley Wentworth may go down as the player with the best game that didn’t make final tribal . Too skinny for me ( need a girl with a bit more meat like RC or Morgan ) but a charming and beautiful young lady . It was an honor to watch her play . Keith impressed me a little by not trying to play the fake idol . The former competitive athlete in me respects losing with dignity . Thanks for a great season of recaps .Best wishes for your future . Love to see you return in Feb but you have to do what is best for you . I mean sure my boss might fire me if there is no column to recap and she sees how little I actually do here but hey you do you . Merry Christmas Fish !

  2. I totally agree with rick above that Spencer probably played a more intense game and if that’s the measure of a winner, than he deserved it. But I also think Survivor is so fun to watch because its a game of finesse which Spencer never had. So, while you can be fierce in competitions and it can help you win sometimes (Mike), with other groups of contestants, it can also not help you-especially if you are an obnoxious conceited geek who thinks he’s better than everyone else. So yes, Jeremy didn’t win much but he did win when it counted and was savvy enough to use his idol at the right moment. I don’t really think that it was such a big deal to play the sympathy card with the jury. It worked so why is it wrong? t found Fishy Back much more appealing in that while he was whiny and a bit weird, at least he didn’t have that smug glare that Spencer wore the whole season. He had this angry look on his face like a newborn baby about to shriek. Fish, I have a question. Did they do much talking to the non-jury contestants at the live show? They hardly spoke to them at all on what we saw but I wondered if that was just edited out? I noticed Shirin looked totally bored and disinterested (maybe bc the attention wasn’t on her?) and was playing with her necklace every time the camera panned over her. Can we please NEVER see Kelly Wiggles again! What a baked, over filled, weirdo. I agree-go back to Mexico, please. Interesting tidbit about Vitas. I didn’t even notice he was gone. Tasha def. did not deserve to be in final 3 but she filled the role of goat well. She sure was different from the challenge beast she had been. Woo was so disappointing too. Just a total bore. I swear Abi said she was a realtor on her Ponderosa video. Next season looks awesome. Big Brother Fans, did you notice that Caleb (AKA Beast Mode Cowboy) is going to be on it? Hope you will be back Mr. Fish. We all love you and hope things go just your way in 2016. You sound like a great dad, you are a great writer and I bet you are a pretty cool guy. Big Kiss from your favorite redhead!

  3. Obviously I was the only one waiting with baited breath for this column so I will continue . Tasha embarrassed herself and my hometown of St Louis . Every year some delusional person thinks they are playing a winning game when they in fact are doing nothing but playing someone elses stooge (this season we had two ) . Tasha it cant be easy being a terrible person and player but kudos for pulling it off . Vytas had a choice 15 k or so at the Ponderosa spending time with Kass and Abi or go home . Pretty easy choice . Pack your bags and go !!!! Of course he missed out on some bro time with Joe and a possible night of hot monkey loving with Wentworth but I understand his choice .

  4. Rick: Thanks for the comment — and all your comments — this season. It’s nice to know I’ve connected with you and your Survivor viewing group. Yes, I agree, it seems that Jeremy is one

    hell of a class act. I’ve seen nothing to indicate anything but that. Now, I get what you’re saying about him not qualified to win. You’re echoing the same thing I wrote about in my recap. But…I

    will say that as a game, the rules shift based on each season, and the few contestants left in the game. And while his game may not have been strong enough if he was going up against

    the Boston Robs, the Ozzys, the Russell, the Coaches, the Tysons, etc…it was good enough to win THIS season. And even though he was going up against a guy like Spencer (who, we

    both agree, did enough to win) the simple fact is…it’s not up to us. All he has to do is convince those 10 players, not Jeff, not America, not us. I know you know all this, but it’s important to

    remember how little one season has to do with another. Look at last season. Mike played one of the greatest games ever statistically, but again, compared to other great players, would you

    really stick him in the same class as Rob/Tyson/Tony/Yul, etc? BUT…because he was part of one of the WORST groups of players ever, he shined. Kinda messed up, but that’s the game.

    Yeah, I get what you’re saying about Spencer, but I just look at him as a child. Seriously, the fact no one called him out for being such an immature brat is shocking. Who knows? Maybe

    someone did and we just didn’t see it. Like I wrote, the Triad all got the “hero edit” this season, so who knows how he was really treated? Jeremy just beat him on the most important

    aspect: the personal one, which is definitely the way to win. As I’ve mentioned, I adore Kelley, but I don’t know if she was such an amazing player. She found idols. That was her greatest

    accomplishment. And hearing what she heard at Tribal, she played them to save herself one more vote. Just so happens that those two plays were the two biggest moves all season. Good

    for her. I think we’ll see her again sometime… (I hope). And you can have the meaty girls. I’ll take the skinny, pretty, girls with small booties… Now Keith, on the other hand, won’t get my

    respect. He had a move to make. Whip out the idol and see if anyone panics. That was his ONLY play left. He has to try. If you’re down a run in the bottom of the ninth, you’re not gonna

    simply take 3 strikes. You’re going to go out swinging. At least try!

    I’ll try my best to return. I still love the show but recapping makes it a little more like work. Gotta balance that a little better. We’ll see what happens. It’s a long time til Feb. 17th. so we’ll just

    have to wait and see. A very Merry Christmas and a great New Year to you and your boss.

    Kate: Thanks for your unfailing support. I adore you…

    I’m really surprised that Spencer didn’t get a single vote. I guess his antics at the last 2 Tribals were enough to wipe away everything he had done to that point. Something for future players

    to keep in mind. No petulant babies at Tribal Council, please… And I’m not criticizing Jeremy for playing the sympathy card. More power to him. What he did right — and I think this fact

    escaped the viewers because we were always privy to his situation back home — is that he surprised everyone with his “It’s a boy” comment (as if his 2 daughters didn’t already qualify him

    as a great daddy…?). Did anyone else find that weird? Like, “I’m going to have a son so that’s so much more important than having another daughter.” I don’t get it…

    I think Fishbach recovered once he was out of the game. He was seriously creepy in it, and I don’t think he’s cut out for this kind of show. Many people aren’t. I’ve always wondered just how

    difficult it would be, but I think the hardest part would be the bug bites, the rats/snakes/scorpions slithering around, and the hunger, but not the interpersonal relationships and time away

    from family. I mean, this is what they signed up for…

    Regarding your Live Show question, what you see is what you get. There isn’t any additional conversations, at least on camera, as the show really plays out in real time. Maybe during a

    commercial break Jeff goes up and speaks to someone, but it’s not mic’ed, so the audience doesn’t hear it. I guess they don’t mind, considering they get $10,000 for being at the reunion,

    but I’m sure they’d all LIKE to say something. Gotta extend that 15 minutes, right. What did surprise me (I mentioned it) was when Jeff asked how many people felt any additional pressure

    to play better based on being voted on the show. Everyone — except Kass — raised their hand. Seriously? What kind of bitch/asshole doesn’t feel obliged in any way to their “fans.”

    Personally, I hope this is the last we ever see of her, considering how selfish she obviously is. What the fuck is wrong with you, America, for voting her in?

    Speaking of the “last we see of her,” I’m glad you agree with me on Wigles. She’s just not all there, and I just wonder if years of smoking weed just fried her brain. Not that I know that, but

    she just seems “off” a little. And all her surgery doesn’t fit the natural, healthy vibe she’s trying to give off. Just a confusing person… RE: Vytas, as I tweeted to Coach this week, it’s funny

    how Vytas is booted for making family a priority, but that’s what won it for Jeremy. You’d think — because these shows are loaded with smart, resourceful people — that if Vytas really wanted

    to be with his family, perhaps some arrangements could have been made to bring them to him? (And yes, I know passports are hard to acquire when both parents aren’t around.) But that

    should have been something he thought about. Again, he probably had NO IDEA he’d go home first, and was not looking forward to being away from his wife(?)/kid for another 36? days. He

    could have tried something different. And did they really have to drop the anchor like that? It’s not like he spoiled anything, so maybe they say, “Come to the Reunion show, but you won’t get

    paid?” I don’t know. This season was supposed to be about the fans, not the stupid players or the show.

    Yeah, Tash really didn’t get how little she was valued. Funny how she thought she was so important. Woo = never again on the show. Watch Abi’s Ponderosa again and tell me the exact

    minute:second she said she was a realtor. I believe you, but I want the proof! 😉 Next season looks intense. Wonder why it was so rough? Same location. I know time of year counts in that

    part of the world, so maybe it was just that much hotter/humid? You know I don’t do Big Brother…

    And thank you again for all your kind words. I’m an okay dad, an okay hubby, an okay writer, an okay everything. I’m just not great at anything. However, I’m a fantastic Survivor fan, which is

    what I really wanna get across in my recaps. I know there are errors, I know other people write better, and I know a lot of my stuff is really inappropriate/juvenile/dare I say prejudiced? “Ah

    heck,” I’m just trying to get a laugh. And I hope people realize that. As I’ve said, it’s right there at the top of the page: “slanted, sophomoric, and skewed,” so if anyone’s offended, “kiss my

    ass.” Thank you, Kate. And give my best to the bartender! Merry Christmas! XOXO

    Rick x2: You and Kate must have been writing simultaneously… Yes, delusional is never good, especially when millions are watching. Players try everything they can to find those

    soundbites that make them seem important, but it’s funny when they get burned by it. Tash must be a very nasty person, but again, I don’t know what kind of person Varner is to have said,

    “There’s a reason she’s a “40-something, single, childless,” scrooge. The one thing I keep noticing about many players is how brusque they are. The show wants big bold characters, and

    that’s who they cast. Wallflowers need not apply, because you’ll never get on the show. Too bad, I know a lot of nice wallflowers…

    And not that it matters, but Vytas would have gotten to hang out with Varner, Woo, Shirin, Peih-Gee and Monica, not the jury members. Bro time with Woo, and hot monkey loving with

    Monica, more likely… But, I think he just wanted to see his baby…

    Peace out, everyone, unless I see some more comments. Come on, where are you doc, ericah, thatguy…? 😉

  5. I keep trying to post, but blocked at work and site crashes pretty often while at home. I have posted a few times to only to have a crash before I can hit Post Comment. So I will go back to multiple short posts.

    Congrats on attending the finale and hitting the daily double, Asian and rackalicious!!

  6. Pretty much everything I wanted to comment on has been covered. Jeremy clear choice but no one could throw Spencer a vote? Glad to see the challenges stepped up, but why wait until he end? With the more grueling challenges at the end, doesn’t that give certain players an advantage? Mix it up!

  7. Us home viewers did not get much of a look at Monica, I hope you were able to, but then your eyes may have been occupied by a couple nearby large objects.

    I sure hope there is more to the next season than evacuations medical emergencies. Not sure why Survivor promoted that aspect so much, do the viewers really go for that?

  8. Hey doc, Merry Christmas! Thanks for the comment. Not sure what’s up with site, since I have nothing to do with that, but glad you were able to send them in. I know the frustrations of being blocked at worked (government jobs blow) but I was able to work around it using something called Tor. Look into it…

    Yeah, Christina looked amazing but unfortunately, not showing any boobage. It’s been a cold December in LA meaning mazophiliacs are SOL on the cleave…

    Agreed, not one vote for Spence? He’ll regret attacking Kelley for a loooooong time. And I get that they want those huge challenges at the end, for spectacle, but you’re right, they do tend to favor the strong. Whatever happened to simple balance things to give everyone a shot?

    I was sitting far enough away (and on the wrong side of the audience) to get a good look at anyone. After the show ended, I could have tagged along with Christina to get a close-up of players, but I’m not that guy. I simply don’t care about meeting people… And I agree that there’s gotta be more than “it’s physically grueling.” Maybe it’s another weak season with no standout players, which is why they promoted the Evac aspect. Who knows? We’ll find out in Feb. Have a great holiday season and a safe New Year. And thanks for all the comments this season.

  9. Hey Fish – I’ve enjoyed your recaps all through the season but didn’t always have a chance to tell you so. I’m a huge Survivor fan but am a distracted viewer, so having your recaps to fill in the blanks has always been helpful. I thought the season was okay – not the best, certainly not the worst – but overall I was entertained, and isn’t that the point? I’m extremely happy for Jeremy and his family – I always liked him, even in his prior season. Thanks for the laughs, the finale insights, and the great writing – as an editor, I value and appreciate that! Hopefully, you’ll be back at it next season!

  10. It was a great season, but final tribal was definitely lack luster.

    I’m overall happy with the winner, but I do hate how people can suddenly throw down “I came out here for family! I got a baby at home!” Would have had infinitely more respect for Jeremy’s win if not for that. Given the way the questions went, I’m not convinced that Jeremy had a clean sweep until he dropped that bombshell on everyone. I honestly feel like Spencer had the stronger game and was probably the more deserving of the two, but you can’t fight “I did this for the baby! Without the million, the baby may starve to death!” (I know that’s not exactly what he said, calm down). Yes, he definitely lost a lot of points in that final four tribal, but come on, he didn’t lose them all. It’s just one of those things that suck to be completely honest. You can’t force people to not use it, you can’t force the jury to pretend they didn’t hear it. It’s effectively a trump card which just feels like Jeremy played the hidden immunity idol that forces votes to him. It was obvious from the second he dropped the baby bomb that he won (although I didn’t think he’d get ALL the votes, I knew he won). Oh well.

    Having no votes count was definitely more exciting than I thought it would be, but really only because it resulted in yet another tie and the threat of someone who hadn’t received a single vote being the person to leave the game.

    Thanks for your write ups after the fact! Always a pleasure to catch up and see everyone’s opinions afterwards. See everyone in Feb!

  11. PS, sorry for the late response, holidays, family, log cabin in the woods, very spotty internet/phone service…

    Had to save my phone for an emergency medical evac if I started hearing Banjos playing in the woods…

  12. jlb! Glad you’re here one last time before the off-season. Thank you for checking in every week, I couldn’t do it without you. And I’m glad I can make your Survivor experience a little better. I try not to miss anything good, but sometimes I blink too… You’re right, the season was good, not great, not bad, not just okay. Pretty good. Yeah, it was pretty good. All this talk of it being “the best ever” is such bloat. There have been much better seasons — Heroes vs. Villains, Australia, Cook Islands, to name a few — but this one was definitely entertaining. I think if they had an amazing Final Tribal, it would be near the top. Everything just kinda fizzled… I really appreciate your kind words. And if you’re an editor, tell me what I can write for you! I need a job… Hit me up if there’s anything I can do for you…

    thatguy… FT: agreed (as stated). And I know what you mean about the “family” thing. Everyone’s gotta family, wants to make a family, or misses their family. And I’m sure on a fireman’s salary and benefits and pension, his family isn’t suffering. As I’ve said many times, this show seems to have a lot of contestants who are well off. Maybe not 1%ers, but who else can afford to take 6 weeks off from whatever it is they do? You know, I never really thought of Spencer as a possible winner because he (once again) was on the bottom much of the game. Remember when he was sitting pretty, and then the tribe swap, and he’s effed again? It’s like the deck was stacked against him. Maybe he’s just a prick…? And even thought he dropped that bomb at final four, you would think someone on the jury may have lost respect for Jeremy for caving to Spencer’s threat… Ya know? And yeah, that “no vote” tribal was crazy. Probably one of the best ever. How the hell did Wentworth become the player who dropped the mic at 2 tribals?! Amazing. Thanks for your support, guy, really means a lot to me.

    And one last cherry on the top of this season… Does anyone wanna know the tiniest spoiler I just read about next season? Not “who wins,” of course, but it concerns hidden immunity idols. Let me know if you’re intested. If not, I’ll see you in February…

  13. Ok, you win, 1-0, thatguy. Here’s what I read… And again, this ain’t gonna spoil anything for you. It’s just intel.

    Seems the show is tinkering with Immunity Idols next season again. This time, multiple idols are in play (duh), but they can be “connected,” as in, one piece is Yin, the other Yang, and will fit together creating a “Special Powers” Idol. Maybe it’s like Fishbach’s, maybe it’s like Dan’s, or maybe it’s like Tony’s “advantages.” IDK, and there’s some other piece that needs to be attached to let you know the pieces go together. I’m not sure how that works, and I have no desire to play investigative reporter and sniff this out. I read it somewhere, I’m giving it to you, go with it…

    Have a wonderful and safe New Year everyone. 2016 had better be better than 2015. Fish, out! XOXO

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