#WOW. Yes, Survivor is recycling hashtags, but that is OK! What an episode and I’m lucky to have Matt Bischoff, Survivor fan and contestant from Season 26: Caramoan. Let’s delve in shall we…

DAY 10-12

Mana Tribe. Tai contemplates his decision about voting out Caleb and the others commend him for it. Well done, Tai… I’m just happy Hali is still there! She’s werkin’ it with Debbie! But the ol’ military pilot/chem lab technician/ex-waitress thinks it’s too early to take out Tai and wants Hali GONE. NOO!

REWARD CHALLENGE

Only two members per tribe run this challenge; no pressure!! CAWFEE is on offer for the first winning tribe, with the second tribe winning a thermos of iced coffee; so spesh! It’s JT and Malcolm vs. Ozzy and Troyzan vs. Tai and F U Culpepper. No women, what’s with that?! Especially there being a lot of balance beams. And having JT in it? I don’t understand that decision. Out of the gates, Ozzy is killing this challenge.

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Ozzy; challenge beast! Then Troyzan effs it up…

Bean-bag throwing and it’s Malcolm who comes back to win for Nuku. Unfortunately for Tavua, Troyzan looked fatigue and lost reward. I giggle and Cirie giggling at how bad he was.

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No soup for you!!

Tavua Tribe. Ozzy goes fishing and shows us why he’s so great on Survivor. Personally I’m not his biggest fan, but damn he knows what he’s doing as an island boy. Massive stingray ensues!

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Massive unit.

Nuku Tribe. The guys get high on coffee! Sandra is ecstatic with who she’s with and how she’s playing. Someone’s getting cocky…! This doesn’t look good. JT tells Malcolm that the sassy Queen needs to go.

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All true though!

IMMUNITY CHALLENGE

I’m a fan of this challenge; it’s caller and blindfold time! Sandra and Troyzan sit out, and Probst advises that only ONE tribe will win immunity and BOTH losing tribes go to tribal council. OUCH! Now we’ve seen two tribes at tribal council before, but this Survivor first suddenly got intriguing. Cirie, Varner and Culpepper are the callers, and Cirie is definitely most vocal. Hilarious! Also funny is Tai and Debbie wandering aimlessly. And what about Michaela’s approach to this challenge…

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Blind shuffle…

Final puzzle time and each tribe needs to sink 3 balls. Nice to see Michaela out there for Nuku. Actually, this challenge ensures everyone has a go at the puzzle and I like it! And Andrea wins it for Tavua!! Poor Varner sheds a few tears 😦

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BOSS.

Probst announces to Mana and Nuku that they will be attending tribal council as ONE group and will be voting out ONE person. OOH LA LA!! Pretty cool and new twist!

Nuku Tribe. I’m now freaking out about Sandra. Mana might try and get Nuku to vote with them. They are going into tribal 6-5 over though, but who knows what JT is thinking. Tai and Sierra’s names pop up and they just can’t get it together. JT tells Malcolm that Culpepper (his best buddy) will target Sandra. Holy crap. The Queen is in trouble!

Mana Tribe. Culpepper tells Hali that the bonds she’s built with them are better than what she had before.. UMM, sure! And what’s wrong with Hali’s jaw? Tai goes out looking for an immunity idol and he starts climbing trees, thankfully not ripping them out of the ground this time. And he finds the clue, which says he needs to dig for the idol between marked trees. Man, Tai adds another HII to his collection. I then cringe when he tells Brad, Debbie and Sierra. WHAT THE F*CK?! WHY!? The argument here is, do you keep the idol for yourself, or going into this crazy tribal, use it for the greater good of the tribe?

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TRIBAL COUNCIL

The talk quickly turns to guns and who they’re pointed at. Sandra is convinced JT is voting with new Nuku, while the new Mana hope he jumps back. Culpepper calls out the big threats: Malcolm and Sandra. But the queen’s not worried one bit and is vocal about it. Bloody hell. How big a hole does Sandra want to dig?! Debbie’s question is right; does Hali flip, or does JT flip? Hali calls out both tribes and going by new Nuku’s reactions they don’t seem to need Hali’s votes. Sierra whispers to vote with her. Sandra starts whispering to her tribe members that they should vote Culpepper. Everyone then tells each other to stick to the original plan. WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON?! Then something we’ve never seen before, because normally each tribe know what they’re doing pre-tribal, JT walks over to Culpepper.

If production didn’t allow this to happen we wouldn’t have witnessed the following maniacal tribal council every played. JT tells Brad they are voting out Sierra. Hali gets mad and tells Sandra and the old Mana tribe to vote out Culpepper. It’s a riot!! Groups are conversing everywhere. Hali laughs at Probst and it leaves him speechless! I have a feeling Sandra is going with a JT flip back. Strangest tribal council ever. I’m so confused.

Probst says it’s time to vote… But Hali begs to differ.

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Hali, you’re killing me. xD

Eventually they get to the vote, and Tai plays his idol. And gives it to Sierra. ARGH! After 6 Sierra’s, I’m thinking Sandra… and BAM. It’s Malcolm!! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. My heart breaks. Bloody JT had to tell Brad they were voting Sierra. I know he was aiming for them to vote out Sandra, but he just took out his best buddy at Nuku and who knows if Brad will take him under his wing again after voting for Sierra anyway. JT really balls’ed up that move. He trusted Russell last time, he trusted Brad this time. Good one, buddy. Malcolm’s third attempt is cut short and he leaves in a bittersweet/bullshit style. He’s one of very few Survivor players I’d like to see come back for a fourth shot. I’d also like to commend Brad and Sierra, they are definitely pulling all the right moves here. And Sandra, oh Sandra, how many lives do you have?! Malcolm-5, Sierra-6.

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Sad to see Malcolm go 😦

NEXT TIME ON… SURVIVOR: Debbie actually goes bat-shit crazy this time!! :O


S34 Episode 4 Q&A w/Matt Bischoff

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It’s official guys, Matt Bischoff is one of the nicest beard men you’ll ever meet! Playing in Survivor Caramoan, Matt was cast on the ill-fated Gota “Fans” tribe. With their tribe depleting over a matter of weeks, a tribe-swap to Bikal didn’t help the cause either and Matt was on the receiving end of Phillip’s ‘Stealth R’Us’ alliance. A huge Survivor fan from Ohio, it’s a pleasure to have Matt on my blog!

LyndzO: Welcome to Reality Ramblings, Matt, aka oh mighty bearded one! Thanks for joining me on this week’s recap.

Now, I know you were a big fan of Survivor before Caramoan, how does it feel having been part of Survivor history and that it’s managed to stay on air for 17 years? Do you watch the show with your family? (your kiddos are the cutest by the way!)

MattB: Thanks for having me. I have been a fan of Survivor since Day 1. I applied in 2003 and no one ever contacted me. I thought ‘too many people apply for the show’, so I didn’t bother applying again until 2011 when I told my wife I was going to film a video and I was getting on the show this time. I will never forget getting the first call from casting. From that day on, it started an insane journey just to get on the show. It was a dream come true to play Survivor. A truly amazing life experience. From playing the game, to watching it on TV at huge viewing parties I had every week. To all the amazing people I have met, both fans and other cast members. All of the charity events, speaking engagements and cool things I get to do because of this show has been awesome. I am very blessed. My family watches the show together every week and it is so fun to be able to talk about the episodes and hear my kids point of view after watching. That is why Survivor has been on for 17 years.

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Gota never stood a chance.

LO: Is there any part of your Survivor journey you regret or wish were different (including the Caramoan reunion)?

MB: That’s a tough one because just getting on the show is a dream come true that very few get to do. So I am grateful for that. But.. for one, I wish I would have played an all Newbie Season.

I don’t think that Fans vs Favorites format is fair. Returning players have a huge advantage going in. Most of them know one another and could have alliances already locked in. The fans didn’t speak at all until we hit the beach. So from the start, the Fans tribe has a huge disadvantage. At least in an All returning player season, the players are all on the same playing field. I think it would have been an entirely different scenario playing all newbie Season.  As far as regrets, I would say my only regret is being too honest about the fact that I didn’t have an idol in my season. When the tribe swap happened the Fans were outnumbered by the Favorites and it was apparent that the Favorites were sticking together until the merge. I really thought at the time, that being honest with Dawn would gain her trust and I could work with her. We had a lot in common I thought with family etc. and I thought that was a good play for me. I should have just not been as honest in that situation, but it is easier said than done when you are out there playing your game. The reunion sucked. Not being on the stage with the rest of the cast was a huge slap in the face. Maybe we should have just walked onto the stage during the Live reunion anyway. What would they have done? I just feel that the reunion show would be closure to the experience and it pretty much screwed that up. (LO: amen!!)

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Never forget.

LO: What have been your favourite moments in Survivor, personally or game-wise?

MB: Personally, just playing the game, the strategy, the challenges, the whole experience was amazing. So many things were awesome that never got aired on TV. I climbed a tree and got coconuts down. I was terrified. I felt like Ozzy. They filmed it all, it never aired. On my season, I wish Michael Snow and my game-play were shown more. It was all about crazy Phillip and Brandon Hantz drama. Or the Shamar drama on my tribe. There were some smart players on Gota that never got a chance to be shown.

There have been a lot of great moments. I love watching people take risks at Tribal. The blindsides, the amazing challenges, the stories that unfold when someone really comes out of their shell.

Like Davids growth on last season or watching Coby Archa on his season. Countless amazing players. To see Cochran actually win Survivor Caramoan was a true testament that anyone can win this game.

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Who doesn’t love Coby?!

LO: When they announced the Game Changers cast, how excited were you about this mix of contestants, which also included people from your season (Malcolm and Andrea)?

MB: I was excited. Obviously some great players on this season, but I could have done without seeing people play for the 4th time. I think there are a lot of other great players that really were Game Changers that I would have loved to see on this season. It seems they used the majority of players that have played recently. Overall I enjoy the cast and seeing some friends play is super fun.

LO: Episode 4 rushes through the first half hour with reward and immunity challenges. Now I don’t drink coffee, but what is it about the luxuries, like coffee and beer, that contestants get so worked up about? (I also read you gave caffeine before going on Survivor)

MB: To me, the reward challenge didn’t mean anything.  Who cares about coffee. Pretty weak reward in my opinion. Immunity is really what counts. I mean I would play to win at all cost. Food or comfort would be a big one to win. When you are out there playing, you don’t have any of normal life luxuries, so to be able to get a little taste of real life is always good.

And before I went out to play, I trained my body to eat less and stopped drinking caffeine so I wouldn’t withdraw out there. When I cut caffeine cold turkey, it sucked for about 3-4 days of massive headaches and feeling like crap. Glad I did it before playing.

LO: People at Nuku want the Queen gone. Sandra seems to be coming off very cocky this season, how do you feel about her playing for a third time round and do you think she has a good shot at a third million? (She just keeps surviving tribal each week!)

MB: I love Sandra. She is super cool and hilarious, not to mention a brilliant player. I love watching her on this season and was laughing at her shit talking to Tony when he got voted out. But I don’t think it is very wise of her to come across so cocky.  Could be a big mistake for her pretty soon. I’m surprised she has lasted this long, however taking her to the end may be smart. Who would ever let her win a third time. Or it could be the most epic thing ever for her to sneak her way to the end and then convince the jury how bad ass she is. But honestly, I don’t think she will make the merge.

LO: After the Immunity Challenge, Probst tells the losing tribes that they are both going to tribal as one group and will be voting out one person. What did you think of this Survivor-first twist? Do you like the introduction of these new twists (including the Legacy Advantage)?

MB: It was a crazy twist. My jaw dropped when watching and I myself would have hated to have been in a situation like that. Here’s the deal. New twists keep the game fresh and exciting for the viewer. For the players, a lot of twists would suck and screw up your entire game.

I know a lot of people talk about the Old school Survivor, no twists etc. and that’s the way it should be. I like that idea too as a long time fan, however, there is a reason Survivor has lasted for 17 years. You have to keep reinventing and making things different or viewers will get bored. As a fan and someone who has played the game, my jaw hits the floor season after season because of some crazy twist or blindside. This is crazy game and I hope to see it continue for years to come.

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All our reactions to crazy twists and blindsides.

LO: Back at Mana, seems like Tai is a bit of an idol whisperer and finds another! What do you think of how he tackles the game? Is he too much of a flip-flopper to win?

MB: I like Tai. I liked him on his 1st season and I like him now. I think he learned from the 1st time and he seems to be playing a slightly different game this time. You can’t come back in a season like Game Changers and make the same mistakes.

I hope he goes far into the game and keeps playing with his brain and not his heart. Tai could very well win this game.

LO: Tribal council time, and what a tribal it was! Culpepper calls out Sandra and Malcolm being the biggest threats there. Do you agree and who do you think out of the two should they have targeted?

MB: Tribal was amazing. Culpepper is right to a degree. Sandra and Malcolm are big threats, but there are still tons of smart and strategic players that are big threats too. Malcolm is a likeable guy and a challenge beast, but it is still early and you need to win challenges.

Sandra is weak at challenges and is kinda the obvious choice to vote out. Honestly, as much as I like Malcolm, it is probably smart to get rid of him even though it sucked to see him go. Total Blindside.

LO: How did you feel about how everyone reacted to the tribal with everyone scrambling for spots and conversing in a chaotic manner? It started with JT, then Hali, then it just became manic! (Very exciting, and confusing at the same time! Even Probst was left speechless!)

MB: It was an insane Tribal like we have never seen before. You don’t ever see what we saw at Tribal because technically you are not allowed to just strategize in the middle of Tribal. JT said hell with it and then all hell broke loose. I loved seeing how it unfolded and Probst just let it happen naturally. That is the beauty of this game. Totally unpredictable. I’d like to really know how long people were talking and how long they were at Tribal Council because Tribal takes a very long time. I can tell you that I had no idea Malcolm was going home. One of the biggest blindsides and craziest Tribal council in a very long time. One of the best ever.

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Group huddles on Survivor.

LO: I’ll be honest and thought that Sandra was going home after Tai played his idol for Sierra. Malcolm’s name popped up and I was devastated. What did you think of this vote out? Should they have voted for Sandra instead? Was JT to blame for Malcolm’s departure as he told Brad they were voting Sierra?

MB: JT made what he thought was his best move. It was a crazy one and I think because of that, Malcolm got voted out. I thought it could have been Sandra, but honestly I had no clue after the chaos of Tribal. It was devastating to see Malcolm go out like he did. He was on the very, very bad end of the twists. I knew he was going to be totally crushed over it and I’m sure he will think about it for the rest of his life.  The thing is, you know what you are getting into when you get on the show. Especially with a season like Game Changers, the stakes are high and the twists and blindsides are going to keep coming so hold onto your seat.

LO: Also, Nuku had 6 members to Mana’s 5. After all the madness, were you surprised that they all stuck together in the vote? Including Hali?

MB: At tribal, Probst has a way of making you paranoid and question what your plan is in your mind. Not totally surprised because sometimes you have to ignore influences that may come up at tribal and do what Keith Nale always said.. Stick with the plan!

FINAL QUESTIONS:

LO: We see returnees every couple of seasons now, how much would you love to play Survivor again and if you were cast how would you approach your Second Chance?

MB: I would love to play again. I think about it all the time. I think most players that have played once would love to go back a second time. I think a season like Second Chances or Game Changers would be hard and very stressful.

I would prefer to play a Blood vs Water, Fans Faves or some other new concept, like Pre-Jury vs Winners! The first time I played, I was so focused on the game and it was so crazy playing Survivor. I think I came across way too serious on camera. I don’t think my true outgoing and comical personality came across like it should. I think I would be more relaxed in confessionals and I think I would just try and go with the flow until the merge. Wouldn’t want to put a target on myself like Ciera did this season. Playing too hard too early isn’t a good thing.

You have my number Probst; give me a call!

LO: We’ve hardly seen any “Fans” return (from S16 and S26), only Erik Reichenbach actually, so who from your Caramoan “Fans” tribe would you like to see back for a Second Chance?

MB: If I had one person to pick from Gota Fans tribe other than myself, haha, it would be Michael Snow. I loved playing the game with Michael and he is a very smart and competitive player. I would have loved to have seen Joel Anderson from the first Fans Favs play again too.

Maybe they will do a Fans vs Fans season and have both Fans tribes come back and battle it out!

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Matt and Snowy are still good mates.

LO: It’s still early, but which top 3 players do you think have the best chance of making it to the end?

MB: I think Aubry, Tai and Zeke have good chance to make it to the end.

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But I would like to see Sierra, Sarah, Michaela and Troyzan make it to the final 4 but who freaking knows in this crazy season!

LO: And finally, who do YOU want to win this season?

MB: This is such a hard question. To narrow it down to one person is near impossible.

If I have to pick one, I would say Troyzan. The reason I say this is because as a fan, I know how much it means to Troyzan to be playing this game. It is very emotional for him and he was so crushed to not make Second Chances season. He loves this game as I do, so I feel a connection to Troyzan. Would love to just see his reaction if he won.

That’s what made Adams victory last season so sweet.

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Troyzan; same as Neleh’s pick!

LO: Thanks for joining Reality Ramblings Matt, any final words? 🙂

MB: Thanks for having me. Love my Survivor family. I want to say to the fans out there… if you love Survivor and want to play the next best thing, check out the Durham Warriors Survival Challenge hosted at Bob Crowley’s amazing place in Maine. Durham Warrior’s FB Page

John Vataha and crew put on the best event in my opinion. It is the real deal and would highly suggest checking it out. I have had the chance to play the game 2 times and it was some of the greatest experiences ever.

Also, I take part in an event called Reality 4 Diabetes in my home town raising money for the JDRF. Please check out my walk page and if you feel like supporting the cause, that would be amazing.

Cheers!

Follow Matt on Twitter: @MattBischoff and Instagram: themattbischoff


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