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@vagueidea Posts

Survivor: Borneo (Season 1)

This post is part of a series that contain
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.


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…


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!


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)

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

George Carlin

George Carlin is the first comedian I remember watching and hearing as a kid. And he was the only comedian who was able to make me fall from my chair, roll on the ground and hold my sides from laughing so hard.

A true wordsmith and a man who always said exactly what he meant. He will be sorely missed. The world just got a lot less funny.

quick fall reviews

I’ve been watching quite a bit of fall television, even though I didn’t want to. There just seem to be a lot of shows I am interested in. Either that, or I am just hooked on silly drama.

That said, here’s my quick reviews of some shows I have seen…

Survivor: Guatemala
I like this season a lot. It might be that I can easily identify the tribes due to the recognixable faces of Bobby John and Steph, who were in last season and were brought back for this season. I like already knowing someone on each tribe, when usually I wouldn’t know anyone’s names until much later in the show. The setting is awesome and full of lots of dangerous critters.
Now, I have been hearing rumors that Jeff might be giving up the hosting gig to take over for Regis on the daytime show. It occured to me that the only way I would continue to watch the show is if Steph was the new host. Otherwise, I would watch the first episode with a new host and if I didn’t like it, I would officially give up on Survivor.

I got into this show last season and it captured my attention immediately. I love medical mysteries and I also really like when Brits speak with an American accent. The cast in this show is fantastic, I mean Omar Epps is in the show! You can’t go wrong with Omar Epps. Not much else to say about this show, other than to say it’s the shit.

Angel’s new show. Even though he’s a co-star. I like this show a lot, too. I feel bad for giving in to the FOX machine, but this show is just really well done. One of the best parts is seeing David in a role other than Angel. I mean, he even smiles sometimes! And he gets to work in the daylight! As far as I am concerned, this show is the beginning of his career. Towards the end of Angel, he was starting to lose his acting ability and I think that was just because the character was played-out. Now, he’s in a whole new role and he’s flourishing.

I only saw a few episodes of the first season, but I liked what I saw. What kept me from the show was just that I hadn’t seen it from the beginning. However, when I started to hear the ads for the new season, I got very interested. Then, I saw the hour-long recap show that was on before the premiere and knew I had to watch this season. I would still like to see season 1 in its entirety, but just from seeing the first 2 episodes, I am hooked. Great show, great cast, wonderful acting.

One of the many alien-invasion type shows. This one, however, seems more like a mini-series. Or, like a good movie idea that didn’t happen… oh, wait… it did happen, it was called The Abyss. In fact, it’s just like The Abyss, but it’s not set miles under the sea. Hyper-evolved sea mammals come to the surface and start fucking shit up. I likes. Not sure if I will stick with it, as it doesn’t have too much to offer, but I like it for now.

Another alien show. This one centers around a hurricane and people seem to be getting infected with some kind of alien life that appeared in the eye of the storm. I like this one a little better than Surface because it’s really aliens in this one. The cast is really good and there are even some recognizable faces. I see a lot more potential with this one than with Surface. Only time will tell, though. I might just get completely sick of the whole alien invasion thing.

Criminal Minds
With the obvious lack of Dead Like Me in this new fall season, one might ask, “where can I get a Mandy Patinkin fix?” Well, my friends, your fix is waiting on CBS with his new show about serial killers. This show deals with the Behavioral Analysis Unit of the FBI, which employs Mandy’s character. He’s essentially a profiler, but he seems to be a profiling genius who can accurately profile a killer with very little evidence. They draw on past serial killers and serial killer habits to solve the mystery of the week. Maybe it’s just that I love watching Mandy act that keeps my interest in this show, but I have a feeling it’ll do well. I’m just glad he got another gig after being fucked in the ass by MGM.

Too Late with Adam Carolla
Great idea… now he just needs a studio audience. What the hell, Comedy Central? You give a funny man a show and you don’t give him anyone to laugh at his jokes except for the crew? Or, maybe you just refuse to put microphones on the audience and that’s why it sounds like 3 people are behind the cameras, occasionally listening to what Adam says and maybe laughing out lod once and a while. Adam is one funny Italian (who looks like a Jew), but I’m not sure the live late-night call in show is the best place for him. I am anxiously awaiting the Adam Carolla Project on TLC (where he does home renovation) and also very excited at the possibility of him returning to morning radio as the west coast Stern replacement. Let’s all just hope he takes Dr. Drew with him and Ricky Rachtman doesn’t get the LoveLine gig back.

The Showbiz Show with David Spade
Hmmm… vaguely familiar. Oh! That’s right, this is just his celebrity bit from Weekend Update. Oh, you Comedy Central… you just get all your good ideas from SNL, don’t you? Okay show. He’s still rather annoying, but his writers are funny as hell. I’ll stick with it for a while.

There’s my reviews. If not for TiVo, I don’t know what I would do. :)