While I've missed the last two seasons, before that I had a well-documented Survivor obsession which I think qualifies me to do a little color commentary with the list.
- Richard Hatch, winner of the original "Survivor: Pulau Tiga," along with Rudy Boesch, Sue Hawk and Jenna Lewis.
No argument with Rich. Frankly, I think he grasped the possibilities of the game long before Mark Burnett caught up, and he was a terrific villain. Rudy and Sue were great fun to watch. But Jenna? If they wanted a cute chick from the first season, why not Colleen, a cute chick with a brain? Glad to see that creep Kelly won't be back, but where is my all-time favorite Survivor, Gretchen, a great player and a good person to boot (she's used her fame to raise money for numerous charities)? For entertainment value, they should have considered wacky Greg and Dr. Sean, possibly the stupidest Survivor contestant ever. I still want to know how he got through med school.
- Tina Wesson, winner of "Survivor: The Australian Outback," as well as her runner-up, Colby Donaldson, and Amber Brkich, Jerri Manthey and Alicia Calaway.
Tina? Cool. Colby? Cool. Alicia always seemed like a cool person, but she didn't really get to show much of her personality on the show. I can see why they'd want Jerri, one of the best/worst Survivor villains ever, back. But Amber?! What is all-star about Amber? Are they really bringing her back just to lick Jerri's boots? To whoever picked Amber: What the fuck are you smoking, and can I have some? Better choices would have been Mad Dog or the guy who fell in the fire (Michael?). And I loved Elisabeth and Rodger.
- Ethan Zohn, winner of "Survivor: Africa," plus Lex van den Berghe and Tom Buchanan.
I liked Ethan, he certainly didn't seem like the sharpest knife in the drawer but whatever. I was one of Lex's biggest fans until he turned into a megalomaniac. But Big Tom? Isn't Rudy kinda covering the politically incorrect angle? Wish they'd brought the wronged and wonderfully bitchy Kelly back instead.
- From "Survivor: Marquesas," Kathy Vavrick-O'Brien and Rob Mariano.
I don't think I even remember these two. Actually, I don't remember much of Survivor Marquesas because it sucked. But if they really wanted an interesting choice from that bunch, they should have gone with Gabriel, the guy who wanted to create a new society instead of just backstabbing. Would have made for an interesting change of pace. Plus, he was cute as hell.
- From "Survivor: Thailand," Shii Ann Huang.
Okay, here's one I actually agree with. Shii Ann was a cool person who got a bad rap because she was stuck in a tribe with a bunch of assholes who looked at her funny for not being a party animal and for eating stuff they thought was weird. You go, girl. I hope you win it all.
- Jenna Morasca, winner of "Survivor: The Amazon," and Rob Cesternino.
- Rupert Boneham, from "Survivor: Pearl Islands."
Didn't watch either of these seasons, but I heard that Rupert ruled.
What's the problem with this list? Well, in addition to the astoundingly stupid move of including personality-free, motivation-free, brain-free Amber, this list seems to break into two groups: villains and unoffensive winners that I can barely remember. Great, just what we needed: a whole island full of obnoxious people who won't do chores. Gotta love how pop culture rewards those who really don't deserve it, even in terms of a game. What about some of the more interesting contestants, like Greg or Gabriel? Too weird for prime time? How about some actually nice people, like Gretchen? Whoever picked this list dropped the ball big-time. I'd been planning to watch, but now I suspect it would just do a number on my blood pressure.
EDIT: And just in case you're wondering, yes, I am quite embarrassed that I apparently have this much brain space devoted to a TV show. I mean, that's taking away brain cells from my Homicide obsession! :P