by the Liberal Bastard
Survivor Contestant Review (Part 2):
I’m back with a look at the Zapatera tribe this week, again based on the preview interviews
and the short biographies that have been published at cbs.com (and the TVGuide special
that is playing now) on each player.
Once again, there are no spoilers here. Everything is my own opinion, and I haven’t even
talked to Russell Hantz! (If you haven’t heard yet, Hantz was fingered as the leaker for one
of the big spoiler sites. Apparently, CBS is NOT amused. It could cost Hantz $5 million or more!)
When you examine the players in any given season, you will start to notice the strategies that
various players use. Some use the “make yourself invaluable and they’ll keep you around”
(Rupert, Jane) method which seems to work for a while, but they usually get booted before
the finals. Others seem to play an “under the radar” strategy (Sandra (2 Wins!), Natalie (1 Win),
Tina (1 Win)). This appears to be a winning tactic, but it is not too popular with the fans.
(“It’s DULL!”) Of course, you’ve also got the ‘pain in the ass’ tactic (Russell, Jean Robert,
Jonny Fairplay) which may get you to the finals, but won’t lead to a win (Russell: 2 Final Juries, 0 wins)
because the jury hates your guts. And, of course, there is the “I’m a dumbass, just ignore me”
strategy (Jud/Fabio) which sorta worked, but Jud had to win a bunch of challenges to get to the end.
It is always amusing to watch the strategies evolve over a season. Maybe we’ll see a new strategy this time.
Now, let’s take a look at the Zapatera tribe:
Mike Chiesl, 31, from Del Mar, CA
Former Marine, Iraq veteran, played football at Navy, smart, good looks, what’s not to like?
Appears to be a really nice guy, but in this game, nice guys usually finish last. All of these good things
about Mike might actually be a ticket home early. The other contestants will take one look at this guy
and fall all over themselves getting rid of him. Nobody in their right mind would want to take Mike to
the Final Jury; he’s a sure winner. He’s also a charter member of the Hate Russell club, but I could
also see some problems come up with Rob as well (Clash of the Titans). Mike could make the jury,
but I’d bet he’ll be gone before the merge. That would be too bad – he looks like a winner, but he’ll
have to work hard and smart to stay around.
Predicted Finish: 8th or 9th boot (or possible winner).
Ralph Kiser, 44, from Lebanon, VA
There always seems to be somebody like this every season (Jimmy T, Big Tom, JT) who is a bit
‘different’ (redneck). Ralph is an applicant (rare these days; most of the contestants are recruited
for the game) and he’s also a fan. This means he’s going in with his eyes open. Unfortunately,
this type of player needs to have a strong social game, and has to be able to let others lead.
From Ralph’s bio, I think he’ll have a problem here – there are a number of people on his tribe
who will try to lead as well, and clashes over shelters, fire, and food will mean a quick boot.
Usually, people like this are used by the strategic players and tossed later. I don’t know Ralph’s
strategy, however, so he might be a surprise. His biggest problem will be the others taking him seriously.
(Wait ‘til you see him with his shirt off..) I think that he’ll get snuffed sooner rather than later.
Predicted Finish: 5th or 6th boot.
Krista Klumpp, 25, from Columbia, SC
Occupation: pharmaceutical representative
Krista is a southern girl, but she displays a self confidence and awareness that is fairly rare in this game.
She has a lot of outdoor experience, including fishing, which is a good tool to possess. She points to
Natalie White and Parvati Shallow as contestants she is like; not bad people to emulate. Krista should
also be pretty strong in the social game, and, if she can form a strong alliance, should go far.
One possible problem for her: she has stated a strong dislike for Russell (who hasn’t?) which could
be trouble, unless she allies with all of the other people that have similar feelings and they boot Russell.
(Personal Note: I met Krista once, but I doubt she would remember since she was about 1 month old
at the time. I knew her dad way back when in LA (Lower Alabama)). I think Krista will definitely
make the late jury, and a final two finish is quite possible. She is one of the strongest players, IMHO.
Predicted Finish: Final two, possible winner.
David Murphy, 31, from West Hollywood, CA
Occupation: defense attorney
According to Jeff Probst, David has the highest IQ of anyone who has played the game. After reading
David’s bio, I’d say he is also the most arrogant prick ever to play the game. His pet peeve is stupid people,
once again, NOT a good thing for somebody on Survivor. He also describes himself as sarcastic as well.
This does not look good. Since he does not appear to be an athlete, he’s got to play a careful strategic
game to last. This includes not alienating possible allies; he’s going to need a strong alliance to go anywhere.
If he starts off on the wrong foot with his tribe, his intelligence is not going to help him at all. OTOH,
if he gets into a firm alliance and plays it cool, he could make it really far in the game. I’m betting that
he annoys people and is kicked off quickly.
Predicted Finish: Early boot (1st or 2nd boot.)
Stephanie Valencia, 25, from Long Beach, CA
Stephanie (OK Survivor people, enough with the ‘Stephanie’s already!) is a tiny thing, which is both
good and bad. People will not look at her as a threat due to her size, but they may also question her
challenge ability. She describes herself as a brat, which does not bode well. How she handles Rob
and/or Russell will be a key, since she mentions in her bio that she did not want any returning players
in the game. (So much for that.) Usually, the tiny women are kept around until after the merge,
so that their tribe will have somebody small to use (throw around obstacles) in challenges.
Once the merge occurs, they are quickly booted since they aren’t needed anymore.
I think this will be Stephanie’s fate as well.
Predicted Finish: 1st or 2nd boot after the merge.
Sarita White, 36, from Santa Monica, CA
Occupation: visual effects producer
Sarita appears to be fairly athletic, so there shouldn’t be a problem with physical challenges.
If she has a good social game and makes a good alliance, then she may hang around for awhile.
I suspect that she might end up as Russell’s main ally if Russell is on Zapatera. The same could
also be true with Rob, as well. The question I’ve got for Sarita is whether she has the killer
instinct that winners have to possess. I don’t see it from her interview or bio. (She says she’s
like Courtney and James from China? I hope she realizes both of them LOST.) I see the same
problem with Sarita as with Mike – the other players would be nuts to take her to the final jury,
but I think she’ll make the late jury. If she has any luck, she could make a final two finish.
Predicted Finish: 4th or 5th place. (Possibly higher.)
Julie Wolfe, 50, from Oceanside, CA
Julie may be one of the more interesting players this season, if she is able to avoid getting
booted early due to the ‘older woman’ curse. I think she’ll get past this, if she plays the
social game well. She appears to be among the toughest physically on the tribe (Male or Female).
However, her bio has a couple of red flags. She describes herself as “hard headed, outspoken,
and spoiled”, definitely not good attributes in a game where these type individuals usually
leave quickly (Ashley). If she cops an attitude and annoys people, she’ll say “bye” early.
She may also have a problem if she gets Russell on her tribe as well, since she names
“bullies” as a pet peeve. I can see these two butting heads quickly. Somehow, I think
she’ll make it for a while, but I doubt she’ll make the merge.
Predicted Finish: 7th boot.
Steve Wright, 51, from Huntington, CA
Occupation: former NFL player
Steve was a teammate of Gary Hogeboom (Guatemala) and will be lucky to finish better
than Gary did (I think Gary was booted right before the merge, but I could be wrong.)
Steve was a TOUGH NFL player, with about 13 years of playing experience (average is
about 3 years). His interview and bio makes him come off as a really nice guy, however.
Despite his age, 51, I think he’ll be an asset during challenges and in camp, but there is
a distinct possibility that Steve will have some clashes with whichever returning player is
on his tribe. He names Tom as the player he is most like. This is a bit questionable;
Tom was a lot of things in his season, but I wouldn’t call him “nice”. Steve could do well,
but I doubt he’ll make the merge. If he does make the merge, he won’t go much further.
Predicted Finish: 11th or 12th boot (Maybe early jury).
That’s it for now. I’ll be back later with previews of Rob and Russell,
and a thought or two about the Redemption Island twist.