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S40: Amber Mariano

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I might be in the minority, but I'm happy to see Amber back.  Frankly I think she sucks as a Survivor player, and I kind of wish she was on here without Rob (as I expect that to make her a bigger target than she would have been alone).  But I would have liked to have seen what she could do by herself.  It's been so long that my dislike of her has waned through the years.  I'm happy her and Rob made it together, and they have some adorable kids.  

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Part of me wants to see her win again, just for the collective internet meltdown it would cause.  And, just like in All-Stars, she's again going into a season flying completely under the radar....

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I could see Amber as making it a significant way into the season:

  1. There’s no way anybody’s going to ever perceive Rob and Amber as anything but a F2 pair from the start - not without considerable justification, mind you.
  2. I believe both Rob and Amber are strategically savvy enough to recognize (a) many will be targeting them from Day 1, and (b) there’s no way both of them can avoid every shot which will be taken at them - so the best they can do is try to leverage the situation to their own best advantage.
  3. Give the sexism inherent in Survivor I could easily see Amber being presented as a beta to Rob’s alpha, which could lead many to assume ejecting Rob would render her strategically impotent.  
  4. Such an assumption, however, would also create for Amber a window of opportunity; in the time frame immediately following a Rob eviction, Amber would be widely disregarded as being too strategically diminished to pose a threat - which is precisely when she could make some serious strategic inroads with others with minimal risk of exposure.
Edited by Nashville · Reason: Typos
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I really liked her and Rob on The Amazing Race, they seemed a nice couple who were very competitive.  But I didn't like the blood v water seasons with Survivor.  Survivor is an individual game.

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1 hour ago, amazingracefan said:

I really liked her and Rob on The Amazing Race, they seemed a nice couple who were very competitive.  But I didn't like the blood v water seasons with Survivor.  Survivor is an individual game.

 They were on All Stars together. Amber won that season. 
Are you thinking of Natalie and Nadyia who were on the Race and Survivor. 

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7 minutes ago, ProfCrash said:

 They were on All Stars together. Amber won that season. 
Are you thinking of Natalie and Nadyia who were on the Race and Survivor. 

Amber and Rob were on TAR; season 7, IIRC.

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1 hour ago, Omeletsmom said:

Amber and Rob were on TAR; season 7, IIRC.

Yes, but Rob and Amber were on All Stars for Survivor together, before Amazing Race. They met on Survivor, Amber won the season they played together. It was their Survivor stint that led to their inclusion on the Amazing Race.

Rob and Amber were not on a Blood vs Water season for Survivor. The Twinnies, originally on Amazing Race, were on a Survivor Blood vs Water.

I was under the impression, perhaps mistaken, that amazingracefan was saying they liked Rob and Amber but thought they had played in a Blood vs Water season on Survivor.

 

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Here is her cast bio

 

https://www.cbs.com/shows/survivor/cast/216301/

"A lot of time has passed since I last played Survivor. Heck, it's been 20 years since I played the first time on Season 2. Not only has the game evolved and changed a lot... so have I. I'm no longer just playing for myself. I'm married with four children who will be closely watching and listening to everything I do and every word I speak. I'm 20 years older too. I was the youngest in my Tribe when I played Survivor: The Australian Outback. Now, I'm going to be one of the "older" people. People see me in a whole new light. Plus, being married to "Boston Rob" paints a HUGE target on my back. When I played the first two times, I didn't have that pressure. So, I guess for me I'm going to try to focus on my social game in a big way and try hard to find Idols/advantages! I'd like to think I'll be good at challenges but let's face it, I am not in the shape I was before having four kids. But I also want to focus on enjoying the experience and showing my girls how strong their mom is! I'll never give up and I'll show them to always go big and finish what you start. And in the end, hopefully, win it again!"

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16 hours ago, ProfCrash said:

I was under the impression, perhaps mistaken, that amazingracefan was saying they liked Rob and Amber but thought they had played in a Blood vs Water season on Survivor.

No I didn't mean that.

The first time I saw them was actually on The Amazing Race.  I was catching up on past seasons around 2011/12, then later I looked at Survivor.

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I know Yul was a huge get, but when I saw Amber, I screamed. I followed casting on this season for weeks, leaving my happy home here to venture into unfriendly territory, and she wasn't on a single person's radar. Not one. Everyone else was at least mentioned. She was never even considered.

So, I consider this probably the biggest casting coup of the season. Arguably before Boston Rob became this outsized legendary figure, "Rob and Amber" (as a unit) were the bigger story. They are such a massive part of early Survivor history, and in a season of recency bias to the extreme, I love that Amber is on again.

I know Ethan is technically from an earlier season, but short of getting Richard Hatch or Rupert, I think nobody else exemplifies the essence of early Survivor, at least from a pop culture perspective, than "Rob-and-Amber."

Go, Amber.

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10 minutes ago, Eolivet said:

I know Yul was a huge get, but when I saw Amber, I screamed. I followed casting on this season for weeks, leaving my happy home here to venture into unfriendly territory, and she wasn't on a single person's radar. Not one. Everyone else was at least mentioned. She was never even considered.

So, I consider this probably the biggest casting coup of the season. Arguably before Boston Rob became this outsized legendary figure, "Rob and Amber" (as a unit) were the bigger story. They are such a massive part of early Survivor history, and in a season of recency bias to the extreme, I love that Amber is on again.

I know Ethan is technically from an earlier season, but short of getting Richard Hatch or Rupert, I think nobody else exemplifies the essence of early Survivor, at least from a pop culture perspective, than "Rob-and-Amber."

Go, Amber.

I admit I was excited to see her, too.  I got so sick of Rob and Amber being everywhere after All-Stars, although I did get a kick of the bitter jury awarding Amber the million (who I guess was the lesser of two evils in their minds), yet Rob basically won it, too.  And look at the publicity they got, and I know that's the type of publicity a lot of reality show contestants back then would have given their left arm and first born for.  Over the years I've grown to like Rob, although most of my dislike wasn't really his fault, it was the show pimping him as some great.  But as I mentioned before, I love that their marriage made it, and their kids are freaking cute.  I feel like if you want true love, forget the dating reality shows, and trying Survivor or a show that isn't about finding love.    

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56 minutes ago, Eolivet said:

I know Yul was a huge get, but when I saw Amber, I screamed. I followed casting on this season for weeks, leaving my happy home here to venture into unfriendly territory, and she wasn't on a single person's radar. Not one. Everyone else was at least mentioned. She was never even considered.

Right! I didn't think she'd ever return. From her EW bio it sounds like she didn't think so either!

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I saw an interview with here that was shot before the season started.  In it she made a comment that made me laugh.  I am paraphrasing here, "I do not think Rob and I will end up on the same team.  But everyone knows that Rob and I are a package deal so if you look out for one of us, you will get the other as an ally."

Somewhere out there Lex and his blue mowhawk of injustice is flipping out over that comment.

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"When did you first watch Survivor?
Watched from the beginning, Season 1."

This quote from her cast bio amuses me...makes it sound like she was a huge fan for so long before playing, when she first played on...Season 2 XD 

Amber is one of the ones I'm most excited to see. Her and Rob's time on the Amazing Race showed her off much better than her Survivor seasons, imo, and opened my eyes to her capabilities. Granted the Amazing Race doesn't involve the same kind of strategy, but it still gives me hope she'll do well.

And omg if she wins. It will be even better than Natalie beating Russell in terms of "fan" (over)reaction.

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Sadly, I think EoE is going to kill Amber's chances, which really bums me out. In a non-EoE season, I think she would not be seen as a huge threat by herself if Rob was voted off. But Rob has always been great at challenges, and I think nobody is going to want to take a chance on leaving Amber in the game when there is a chance Rob could win his way back in. I think everyone will want to minimize any chance of them teaming back up late in the game. I think they will want to put both of them on EoE as fast as possible. 

I sure hope someone can poke some holes in my logic here because I really want to see Amber do well. I wish she had come back without Rob.

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I loved the two of them on Amazing Race, and I was full on Rob and Amber on All Stars. Wanted him to win it, but oh well he did just fine considering they have a happy life, marriage and super adorable kids together.

Excited to see how she'll do, but I just feel like both of them have a really huge target so I don't have high hopes.

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Amber interview

https://my.xfinity.com/ed/tv/2020/01/31/survivor-champion-amber-mariano-i-saw-some-shocked-faces-when-i-was-revealed/

Yep she was on Survivor when it was a big deal:

Mariano: I was in LA having dinner with a friend, a publicist who became a friend, and when we walked in we noticed Jennifer Aniston, Brad Pitt, Gwen Stefani, and Gavin Rossdale all sitting there having dinner there. I thought, I have to do something because the “Friends”/”Survivor” thing was huge at the time. So, I asked the waiter what kind of wine she was having, and they said pinot grigio. I said, “Send her a glass of wine on me and say, ‘Sorry we beat you in the ratings, but I’m still a big fan.’” Which was true because after we’d watch “Survivor,” we’d watch “Friends.” We had taped it. So after dinner, I looked back and they were standing up, waving me over to their table. And so I went over and Brad stands up and says, “Hi, I’m Brad.” And I’m like, “Yeah, no (expletive deleted). I know who you are. C’mon.” But, they said they taped the show every week and they loved it.

Edited by LanceM
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On 1/20/2020 at 8:21 AM, RescueMom said:

I wish she had come back without Rob.

This. And I adore Rob. But I've been saying for years she was a player I would be interested to see play again but particularly without Rob. Because I felt like she was exactly the type to be underestimated, especially since she hasn't been on the show in so long. 

The fact is, many did dismiss Amber's performance in All Stars and believed she won because of Rob. That he did the heavy lifting and by that token, took the hits, so that when faced with having to vote for one or other, the jury went for in their eyes, "the lesser of two evils". 

So for all those reasons and the fact that she'd been out of the game for so long, I just couldn't see the players seeing her as this huge threat, if she was there without Rob.  Not with your big threats like Tony, Sandra, Parvati, etc. Amber could have very easily just slid under the radar for a few tribals. 

But Rob's being there is just a massive target on her back because HE comes with a massive target. And that's amplified with the two of them there, reminding everyone what they did the first time they played together. In what world are these players going to allow that to happen again. 

I hope Nashville's scenario above plays out or something similar but I'm not holding my breath. I've already made my peace that a player I care not a whit about is going to win this season. Hell at this point, funnier than an Amber win, would be if Michelle wins. We all know how many felt about her original win. 

Spoiler

Adding this behind spoiler just in case. But I feel like the first five minutes of the season premiere shown during tonight's special further confirms how the target will be hard on Rob and Amber, with Sandra being shown saying she felt betrayed because she and Rob were out on the island for 36 days and he never told her he was coming back for the season or Amber as well. And Ethan "casually" pointing out to Rob, "oh your wife's here too". 

 

Edited by truthaboutluv
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Based on the Gordon Holmes interviews I've read so far, some of the women (at the point of the interviews, the only ones besides Rob who knew Amber was playing) want to target her for the Rob reason, but a fair number of others seem interested in working with her, even if Rob is there. So who knows?

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On 2/5/2020 at 9:51 PM, tracyscott76 said:

Based on the Gordon Holmes interviews I've read so far, some of the women (at the point of the interviews, the only ones besides Rob who knew Amber was playing) want to target her for the Rob reason, but a fair number of others seem interested in working with her, even if Rob is there. So who knows?

Well that optimistic view didn't really pan out, did it? XD 

Disappointing but not surprising that Amber's out early. I was just so interested in seeing her, not only from a gameplay standpoint but as a person. You could just tell from her voice and the look in her eyes that she's not Lamber anymore, she's a more mature, complete person. She hasn't really been seen since their Amazing Race days, other than as a rare phantom on the edges of Rob's instagram account, so I wanted to hear more from her 😞 

Oh well, I guess we'll still get a little Amber on EoE, until more people show up and she gets crowded out.

Edited by tracyscott76
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I didn't want to start right out saying that Rob deserved to come back and Amber didn't, because it sounds sexist as hell, but based on the level of play we just saw from both of them... yeah, I'm gonna say it now. Plus, Rob has won the game without Amber's help, but Amber has not won the game without Rob's, so if it's either/or I do lean toward just Rob.

That said, however, Rob has been on the show so many times now that if they'd wanted to just leave him and give Amber another chance, fine. I mean, she did win once. I don't dislike her or even think that she only rode Rob's coat-tails. And without the giant target on her back, she might be able to play a better game than we just saw.

Mainly, they should not both have been cast. Whichever one gets "voted out" is still able to keep helping the other one from Monkeyshines Island, and it's an absolute no-brainer that they will, because they and they alone have a built-in immunity to the "no prize-sharing" rule.

I did chuckle at her pre-game comment about wanting to beat Rob again, but, even if she had, it would be just like last time she beat him. If they're both living in the same house, raising the same family, then he is still going to benefit from a big chunk of that two million. It's not fair to the other players to have a rule that big that only applies to most, not all, people. And that is why I would like to see her actually out of the entire game as soon as possible. I have no need for a whole 'nother subplot devoted to one more person helping Rob win. At least Jeremy earned a guardian angel through actual social skills. Even if Amber and Rob secretly hate each other and are planning a divorce as soon as this game is over (unlikely, to say the least,) it is still in the direct financial interest of whichever one is in exile to maximize the other one's chances of victory.

Between the marriage loophole and the crappy island twist that nobody even likes, Amber's presence is not a good thing for this season. Even people had understood the writing on the wall and voted out Rob, then Amber would automatically have a guardian angel instead of being one.

I could go on forever, but it'd really just be me saying the same thing over and over.

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Quote

 

I think all winners deserve credit for their season, because they made it to the end and got people to vote for them. If you can do that, you deserve credit. Amber formed a strong alliance. Not just with Rob, but they had a final four alliance, and then she and Rob had a sub-alliance. She played a role in Rob making her his number 1. Then she used him as a shield so that people were more likely to vote for her at the end. It is a similar tragedy to Natalie White, who beat Russell. 

She also did well in challenges, and I remember she once threw a challenge so that Rob would win and not be on the chopping block. That may sound like she was just protecting him, but she was really in her best interest.

 

And a few other things. Amber and Rob both mentioned after the season how they had talked about making a deal with Alicia, since that was kind of their game play, to make side deals with everyone. But while Rob did, Amber never did and just made him think she'd talked to Alicia.  Because she wisely realized that all those side deals were going to come back and bite him in the ass. 

And sure enough it did, when Alicia used that as the reason to not vote for him. Of course I think Alicia was just looking for a reason to be pissed about something and riding the Lex/Kathy/Big Tom wave of hatred but whatever. 

Two, Amber spent time bonding with Shii Ann because she wisely realized that Shii Ann would likely be the person to not be bitter and vote on who she thought played the best game. So she worked to plant enough seeds in Shii Ann's mind to convince her that she was pulling Rob's strings and likely even playing him. She wasn't but Shii Ann didn't know that. Rob didn't give Shii Ann a second of his time because he didn't think she was necessary to his game. 

And finally, it was Amber's decision to go for Big Tom at 5, when they were set on Jenna. And I've always firmly believed that that's where Rob lost All Stars. Jenna would have likely still voted for Rob even if they'd blindsided her at 5. His betraying Tom allowed Tom to seethe along with Kathy and Lex and ensure that Rob would never get his vote. Something I think Amber was banking on. 

I don't think anyone's arguing that Rob was essential to Amber's win during All Stars. But some could argue that he might not have gotten as far without her. Because Jenna said after the season that she did come to Amber to blindside Rob, which is the challenge Amber threw for him to win. Because Jenna was ripe to try and blindside him at that moment. 

And I know many focus on Rob's asking Lex to save Amber as the only reason she stayed. But Shii Ann and Kathy both later talked about how they were still set on booting Amber, despite Rob's plea to Lex, until Amber put forth the option of her and Rob with them, along with Big Tom who was with them and so Lex and company saw a chance to get the upper-hand come merge. Which is also why Lex's whole "a brother came to me and I answered" spiel was complete and utter bullshit. 

I do think Amber was obviously overwhelmed, likely owing to how long she's not played the game. She definitely seemed tentative and a little unsure of herself. And I understand the argument from some that Rob had a target on his back too and was able to maneuver, while Amber didn't even seem to try.

However, aside from editing not showing everything, we saw how the tribe members were with Kim, literally not even wanting to talk to her. If it was anything like that for Amber, then was there really much she could have done? 

Rob also had Ben who is apparently some weird fanboy of his, on his tribe and Parvati who has as big a target as him so she was willing to work with him so they could protect each other. He and Jeremy seem to be friendly and of course Jeremy came with Natalie.

So numbers wise he wasn't in as precarious a position as Amber, who had Sandra gunning for her because she's pissed at Rob and Yul, Sophie, Wendell and Nick all seeing her as non-threatening by herself but a threat because of her connection to Rob. 

Edited by truthaboutluv
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13 minutes ago, truthaboutluv said:

I do think Amber was obviously overwhelmed, likely owing to how long she's not played the game. She definitely seemed tentative and a little unsure of herself.

Love for your entire post, but I pulled this quote because it made me think of a bit from the first hour. Amber was talking about exactly this, that the game had changed and she needed to change, too, and they showed her looking for an immunity idol. Eventually she quietly said to herself "I've been gone too long" and she walked away. It kind of broke my heart a little bit. She was trying!

Edited by tracyscott76
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20 hours ago, truthaboutluv said:

And a few other things. Amber and Rob both mentioned after the season how they had talked about making a deal with Alicia, since that was kind of their game play, to make side deals with everyone. But while Rob did, Amber never did and just made him think she'd talked to Alicia.  Because she wisely realized that all those side deals were going to come back and bite him in the ass. 

And sure enough it did, when Alicia used that as the reason to not vote for him. Of course I think Alicia was just looking for a reason to be pissed about something and riding the Lex/Kathy/Big Tom wave of hatred but whatever. 

Two, Amber spent time bonding with Shii Ann because she wisely realized that Shii Ann would likely be the person to not be bitter and vote on who she thought played the best game. So she worked to plant enough seeds in Shii Ann's mind to convince her that she was pulling Rob's strings and likely even playing him. She wasn't but Shii Ann didn't know that. Rob didn't give Shii Ann a second of his time because he didn't think she was necessary to his game. 

And finally, it was Amber's decision to go for Big Tom at 5, when they were set on Jenna. And I've always firmly believed that that's where Rob lost All Stars. Jenna would have likely still voted for Rob even if they'd blindsided her at 5. His betraying Tom allowed Tom to seethe along with Kathy and Lex and ensure that Rob would never get his vote. Something I think Amber was banking on. 

I don't think anyone's arguing that Rob was essential to Amber's win during All Stars. But some could argue that he might not have gotten as far without her. Because Jenna said after the season that she did come to Amber to blindside Rob, which is the challenge Amber threw for him to win. Because Jenna was ripe to try and blindside him at that moment. 

And I know many focus on Rob's asking Lex to save Amber as the only reason she stayed. But Shii Ann and Kathy both later talked about how they were still set on booting Amber, despite Rob's plea to Lex, until Amber put forth the option of her and Rob with them, along with Big Tom who was with them and so Lex and company saw a chance to get the upper-hand come merge. Which is also why Lex's whole "a brother came to me and I answered" spiel was complete and utter bullshit. 

I do think Amber was obviously overwhelmed, likely owing to how long she's not played the game. She definitely seemed tentative and a little unsure of herself. And I understand the argument from some that Rob had a target on his back too and was able to maneuver, while Amber didn't even seem to try.

However, aside from editing not showing everything, we saw how the tribe members were with Kim, literally not even wanting to talk to her. If it was anything like that for Amber, then was there really much she could have done? 

Rob also had Ben who is apparently some weird fanboy of his, on his tribe and Parvati who has as big a target as him so she was willing to work with him so they could protect each other. He and Jeremy seem to be friendly and of course Jeremy came with Natalie.

So numbers wise he wasn't in as precarious a position as Amber, who had Sandra gunning for her because she's pissed at Rob and Yul, Sophie, Wendell and Nick all seeing her as non-threatening by herself but a threat because of her connection to Rob. 

Wow how do you remember all this!!!!?

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16 minutes ago, SoWindsor said:

Wow how do you remember all this!!!!?

lol, sad right? For better or worse All Stars was one of those indelible seasons that I just always remember a lot of what went down and yes, I did own the DVD, which is where some of this stuff was shared. For example, the stuff about Amber not making a deal with Alicia.

She shares this when her, Rob, Rupert and Jenna narrated the final episodes. Same with her bonding with Shii Ann, which Shii Ann confirmed when she, along with Lex, Kathy and Alicia narrated the middle episodes. 

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