Survivor: Season High School


Dec. 15 2008, Published 9:20 a.m. ET

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It’s late on a Sunday night (for me, since I have to be up for work Mondays at 5:45am) and I just walked home from the live season finale and subsequent reunion show for Survivor Gabon, the 17th season of Survivor.

I have many thoughts on the final show, the season and the contestants, but the sake of some sleep before dawn I’ll keep this to some stream of thought notes:

1. This season of Survivor was like high school, cool kids vs. geeks – and the professor went home with the prize. Bob, the 57-year-old physics teacher, played the game more creatively than the rest (a fake immunity idol, I mean, really? Brilliant), he was nice, fair, strategic and the good guy audiences root for – obviously, he also won Sprint’s audience choice award.  When the game began I would have pegged Marcus to win – a hot resident doctor who has looks, likeability, athleticism and as Jeff Probst pointed out tonight, the highest IQ of anyone, likely ever, to play the game. But, voting Marcus out early was a necessary strategic move for the players because I wasn’t the only one who knew he’d take it all if given the chance.

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2.Corinne versus Sugar. Let me preface this by saying that Corinne Kaplan has been a good friend of mine from since the time we both lived in NYC, and now while we live in Los Angeles. What you see is what you get with Corinne and she doesn’t tolerate stupidity. One of the things I like and find refreshing about Corinne is that she’s unfiltered and says what she thinks. Being an intelligent thinker those things are often witty and insightful, although don’t expect them to come, well, sugar-coated. I think she may have gone a little far with the comment on Sugar’s dead father, but I think I get what she was doing, leaving one final impression in her last chance to do so on the show. Mission accomplished.

Corinne is as unmasked as unfiltered and you hate her because she allowed you to, even coaxed you too. Sugar on the other hand pulled heartstrings as a sweet, sensitive girl with a big heart and nary a negative thought in her seemingly empty head -um, who answers, ‘I don’t know’ when asked why they should win a million dollars? Sugar even placed second for the audience choice award. She fooled everyone who placed one of those votes.

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Scene: Post-Survivor finale: red carpet at CBS Studios.

Sugar was more despicable than Randy, crueler than Corinne and more annoying than only herself as she paraded the red carpet dressed a cross between recently deceased pin-up Bettie Page and Marilyn Monroe telling anyone who would listen (and those like myself who eventually tried not to) that “I’m not a pin-up like they portrayed me to be, I’m an actress who has had a Screen Actor’s Guild card for ten years!” She added, “I’ve been on Gilmore Girls!” When someone said, ‘Really?’ in sincere surprise, she turned her back to them and pretended to ‘act’ a love scene with herself and then said, ‘Recognize that?’ No, groping yourself with your back towards us does not help us recognize you. If you were crying, maybe.

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Sugar went on to say she doesn’t like the attention she’s received being recognized since the show, telling me, “People walk up and just talk to me now, which is not something I’m really stoked about” (um, yeah, people go on national television because they like to shun attention) and when Corinne was mentioned her comments ranged from, “Her family should really take out some good life insurance policies because the way her karma’s going to be, someone in her family is going to kick it soon.” Was that a threat?

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When I spoke to Sugar I asked her if she’d go on Survivor All-Stars and she said it depended who else was on it. Since normally you don’t know who else you’re playing with prior to getting in the game I said, “Let’s just assume there was a possibility you knew Corinne would be there again as well” she said, “Definitely not! It wouldn’t be worth a million dollars to spend another second with her.”

If she could say anything to Corinne, what would it be? Her response, “Die b*@tch…Sorry, I’m not Sugar, that’s not even my real name, I’m Jessica Kipe.” Well, there you have it. Sugar was just for the game, and I’m glad she didn’t win because it would have been a more miserable Jessica Kipe who went home with the million dollars.

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3. I’m disappointed that yet again I got excited at the possibility of running into Jeff Probst – and didn’t. I met Jeff about five years ago when I went to the Survivor All-Stars junket in Panama and we bonded a bit chatting at a picnic table at camp. He’s one of very few celebrities I’ve interviewed over the better part of the last decade who really left an impression on me and I missed him yet again – just like backstage at this year’s Emmy’s when walking over to him, someone dragged me in another direction when I was less than six feet away and by the time I turned back around, he was gone.

Two of this season's Survivor contestants tried more than a dozen times to get on the show, guess I'll have to try a few more times before I get another opportunity to interview the host of the show.

4. Bob should really start a bow-tie company, like tomorrow. Bob and bow-ties became synonymous this season but when I asked him if he’d thought about marketing that and starting a bow-tie company he looked at me and said sincerely, “No, but that’s a good idea.” Ya think? My friend Dhani Jones plays for the Cincinnati Bengals and he has a company called Five Star Bow Ties. Dhani and Bob should talk. Bob, if you happen to read this, get in touch and I’ll hook you guys up – you could turn a world of boys into gentlemen, one bow-tie at a time ;) xoxo


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