'Survivor: Cagayan': Meet the beauty, brains and brawn
02/19/2014 01:31:13 PM PST
02/19/2014 01:46:05 PM PST
Welcome to "The Breakfast Club," or at least the "Survivor" version.
The venerable reality show is back for its 28th season, and this time they have divided the players into three tribes -- Beauty, Brains and Brawn.
We always are skeptical when "Survivor" creates this artificial divisions, and this one reminds us of our high school study hall. We're giving them the benefit of the doubt, however, as in the past when we thought "Survivor" was jumping the shark, things always seem to work out.
"Survivor: Cagayan" opens with a two-hour epsidose at 8 p.m. Feb. 26 on CBS.
And speaking of high school behavior, we offer our traditional snarky look at the players.
Cliff Robinson, 46
Former NBA All-Star Survivor skills: Cliff survived 18 years in the NBA, playing for the Portland Trail Blazers, Phoenix Suns, Detroit Pistons, Golden State Warriors and New Jersey Nets, in that order. Cliff also plays golf, goes off-roading, camping and bowling. Those talents, as odd as it may sound, could actually be useful in "Survivor." Survivability: Cliff can fish, cook and perform well in physical challenges. We also imagine with his height advantage he'll be great at grabbing coconuts off the trees without the need of a ladder. He also thinks that he has the ability to make people feel comfortable around him. Sadly, they may feel so comfortable they'll send him to the bench.
Lindsey Ogle, 29
Hairstylist Survivor skills: We're not sure how a hairdresser who owns her own shop and is proud of being able to smile at herself ended up on the muscle tribe, but she must have some mad skills beyond tinting and highlighting. She says her brain works better under pressure. "I'm athletic, a fighter and cut the fat in every situation." Survivability: She likes camping, recycled art projects and planning parties; she hates incapable people, party poopers and when people don't tell you that you have something in your teeth. She describes herself as random, powerful and tenacious. All we can say is thank goodness they'll finally have someone who knows how to braid hair. Maybe we should make an appointment now at the Loser Lodge Curl Up and Dye.
Sarah Lacina, 29
Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Police Officer Survivor skills: Sarah is one of two police officers this season, and they both are on the muscles tribe. Sarah thinks she has the brains and skills to dominate the game. "I'm very strategic and determined. I interview people on a daily basis and get confessions. I will destroy this game." Survivability: We officially are scared of Officer Sarah, and on the off chance she's reading this, we just want to say that we never go over the speed limit and obey every law ever written. That said, we think she will immediately be sent off to solitary confinement at Loser Lodge, where she will pass the time investigating crimes and misdemeanors.
Tony Vlachos, 39
Jersey City, N.J.
Police Officer Survivor skills: All those warm, fuzzy feelings we have about police officers are starting to get confused, what with Officer Sarah's aggression and Officer Tony modeling his style of play after Russell Hantz, the Evil Little Troll. We will give him points, however, for his choice of items he'd bring to the island if he could. He chose cigarettes, coffee and liquor, not because he partakes of any of those but because he'd use them to coerce his fellow castaways into doing his bidding. Survivability: Officer Tony gets our vote for player "Most Likely to Eye the Machete in a Disturbing Way." His pet peeves are "thugs who wear skinny jeans" and "people who see me speaking on the phone, but yet they feel the need to start a conversation with me. Like it's that urgent for them to know 'how's it going' while I'm speaking on the phone. SO RUDE!!!" Contestants aren't allowed to bring handcuffs and Tasers, are they?
Trish Hegarty, 48
Pilates instructor Survivor skills: Trish likes figure skating, writing and swimming, and she dislikes liars, laziness, manipulators and arrogance. So it's good she's going to be playing a game where figure skating will never be a factor and those who aren't lying and manipulating aren't playing the game. Survivability: For years people have been telling her she'd make a great contestant on "Survivor." We can only hope they didn't then turn away to hide their laughter. Trish, however, listened to them and has been studying up on how to play the game. She says she is a great team player, a hard worker, a positive thinker and an incredible people person. So, all looks good for some figure skating at the Loser Lodge ice rink.
Yung "Woo" Hwang, 29
Newport Beach, Calif.
Martial arts instructor Survivor skills: Woo is one of those players who says he's in the game to test his abilities in the ultimate physical and mental challenge. And we sort of believe him. He's great at martial arts, surfing and sports, and his laid back surfer guy persona is likely to engage people. Survivability: On paper, Woo appears to be the top contender for the "sole survivor" title. "With my martial arts experience, my game is very strong, humble, grateful and respectful." Of course, a lot can change when you mix in a bunch of crazies, but he's likely to dominate in the challenges and if he's as good at the social game that he says he is, he should make it far.
David Samson, 45
President, Miami Marlins Survivor skills: David managed to get Miami officials to contribute more than $350 million toward a new baseball park. During a recession. Obviously the dude has something going for him. He also has competed in the Ironman World Championship in Hawaii, although we're a little fuzzy on the dates. Survivability: David says he has the ability to lead without looking like a leader -- something extremely important in the early stages of the game when people are looking to vote off threats. But he also says he is persistent in getting things done, which might make him annoying to his fellow castaways. We also think that once the tribe learns what he does for a living, he'll find himself managing the home team at Loser Lodge.
Garrett Adelstein, 27
Santa Monica, Calif.
Pro poker player Survivor skills: Garrett definitely has it in the brains department, being valedictorian of his high school class and graduating Summa Cum Laude with honors at the University of Arizona. But then he kind of ruins the image by announcing that he wants to win enough money to "impress girls in L.A." He also thinks that he will be forced to deal with extreme circumstances in a way he never imagined possible, which will help with his self growth. We're not sure there's enough extreme on the planet to help with that. Survivability: For the past six months, Garrett has dedicated 2,000 hours to preparing for the strategic, social and physical elements of "Survivor." He completed 50 hours of yoga, over-analyzed every episode of "Survivor" and became a master at slide puzzles. We bet he didn't strand himself on an island with other annoying people, though. We suspect we'll be dealing him out in the early rounds.
J'Tia Taylor, 31
Nuclear engineer Survivor skills: The cast picture of J'Tia made us wonder if they had put her on the wrong tribe. She is undeniably beautiful, but her brains also are on full display. She was the first black female to successfully defend and receive a Ph.D from her university department. Did we mention she's a nuclear engineer? Survivability: J'Tia thinks she's most like Richard Hatch, the first "sole survivor," when it comes to playing the game. Her analytical brain will come up with solutions, she says. She also says she's good at motivating people and helping them achieve a goal. She just needs to remember that not everyone wants to motivated, and her goals probably aren't theirs.
Kassandra "Kass" McQuillen, 41
Attorney Survivor skills: Kass says she is resourceful, logical and patient with the ability to assess a situation quickly and be reasonable. She put herself through law school and won a million-dollar case in her first trial, all with no courtroom experience. We would suspect she has a Chihuahua named Bruiser, but we'd be wrong. Survivability: For some reason, lawyers don't do well in this game, and when we read Kass' list of pet peeves -- "stupid people, toilet paper rolls left empty on the roller, laundry outside the basket and whining" we weren't exactly filled with confidence she would be making a final argument in front of the jury.
Latasha "Tasha" Fox, 37
St. Louis, Mo.
Accountant Survivor skills: Tasha is one of two NFL cheerleaders, but the former St. Louis Rams "Embraceable Ewe" has been assigned to the brain squad. She likes golfing, dancing and skeet shooting. She also is unapologetically in it for the money, which she plans to use to help her family. Survivability: On paper, she appears one of the weaker brainiacs, so we can only hope she's physically strong. We have a feeling she might struggle to adapt to the surroundings. Her pet peeves include "people biting down on the fork as it leaves their mouths, bad breath and panty lines." We have absolutely nothing to add.
Spencer Bledsoe, 21
Student Survivor skills: Of all the brainiacs, Spencer appears to be the most nerdish, but he has some skills. He was captain of his high school cross country and track teams as well as Georgia's 2009-2010 high school chess champion. He also tied for first at the World Open Chess tournament and is a U.S. chess expert. Survivability: Spencer describes himself as a natural leader but admits he can come off as pompous or bombastic. As a chess expert, he can plan his victory 10 moves in advance. "I can use economic game theory to know the incentives of those around me. I'm the only guy who has these skills and is still personable enough to win. Think of me as a John Cochran who doesn't suck." We'd prefer to think of him as the first person voted off his tribe.
Alexis Maxwell, 21
Student Survivor skills: Alexis credits her experiences studying abroad in Ireland and visiting eight different countries for making her "independent, adventurous and responsible." On the other hand, she's hot and she plans to exploit the hotness to, you know, disguise how she's really bright. Survivability: Aexis will rely on her self-awareness to recognize her place within the tribe and "lead in a sneaky way." She also plans to use her education and flirty personality to assure she's always in a good position. Well, no one has tried that before. We wish her well during her stay at Loser Lodge.
Brice Johnston, 27
Social worker Survivor skills: Brice is the only one in his family to graduate from college, and he also credits his mother for working two jobs to give her children everything they needed. He definitely appears to have a big heart, but we're not so sure that will translate into surviving the jungle and his fellow castaways. Survivability: In a season that divides tribes into categories, Brice says he could have been placed in any of the three. He's nice looking, even if he seems a bit obsessed about smelling nice; he's got a college education; and he's a good runner. He says he sizes people up quickly and can be successfully fake with folks he doesn't like. We find that people who think that about themselves usually aren't as good as they think. Brice could find himself shopping for body spray at the Loser Lodge mall before he has a chance to work up a good stench.
Jefra Bland, 22
Miss Kentucky Teen USA Survivor skills: Take it from us, Jefra may have won her pageant title in 2009 and made it into the top 15 at Miss Teen USA before getting the tiara-high wave off, but she's no Honey Boo Boo. She's one tough woman, successfully battling cervical cancer, overcoming financial disaster and addiction. "It takes a fighter to survive this world and that's what I am," she says. Survivability: Jefra's hobbies include traveling, hunting and pageants, which could be helpful if there is a challenge involving putting on an impromptu beauty contest where her talent could be bringing down a javelina with one shot. Oh we mock what we don't understand, but we sort of think she has a chance.
Jeremiah Wood, 34
Male model Survivor skills: Male models have a reputation for mastering the blank, distant look, but that doesn't mean there's nothing going on between the chiseled ears, does it? Jeremiah is most proud of buying a house all by himself. He also like to fish, hunt, play slow-pitch softball and stand with his jacket thrown casually over one shoulder while staring wistfully toward the horizon. Survivability: He's pretty confident he can win the game and show the world that a "country boy can survive." Jeremiah thinks that players on the beauty tribe will flirt, players on the brain tribe will use their smarts, and those on the brawn tribe will use their muscles, but he still thinks it will come down to who wants it more -- him. Good thing none of the other players came to win. Start polishing the mirrors at Loser Lodge.
LJ McKanas, 34
Horse trainer Survivor skills: LJ is another contestant who could have fit, it seems, in any of the three tribes, but he earned a place on the pretty tribe, in our hearts anyway, when he answered the question about what three things he'd bring him with to the island, if it was allowed. His answer was "Starburst and an iPad." Math may not be a strength. Survivability: He thinks his puzzle skills, athletic ability, wittiness and logical thinking will see him through. He explains the advantages and weakness of the tribes thusly: "Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder and brains seem to be smarts lacking the physical abilities. You can be brawny and good-looking and we have a brain." We think if nothing else, LJ is going to be the most quotable survivor this season. And for that, we hope his torch burns brightly.
Morgan McLeod, 21
San Jose, Calif.
Ex-NFL Cheerleader Survivor skills: Morgan was still in high school when she joined the Gold Rush, the cheer squad for the San Francisco 49ers. Her skills are interior design, working out and dancing, all great skills for improving the life of her fellow castaways. Survivability: Morgan believes she will win "because when I want something I get it." She is willing, she says, to whatever it takes to get what she wants. "I am ambitious and very adaptive. I am never afraid to manipulate and back stab people when it puts me ahead. These qualities will be essential to me being the final survivor." She also notes that "When you are beautiful you get what you want and I like getting what I want." Us, too. We wanted to like you, but now we just want you to go.
Check back every Wednesday night for an episode recap.