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S15: China

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I'm rewatching this right now and am up to mid-season where they've just merged. I like her, but Peih Gee is actually kind of a terrible player. Although I think her strategy of throwing the challenge after the shuffle so they could vote off either Aaron or James and protect Frosti and Sherea was a sound one, she should never have admitted it at the TC where they voted Aaron out. After she realized that Frosti and Sherea had likely flipped, it was sort of hilarious of her to keep asking James if he would stick with her, Jamie, and Erik when she had already shown she had no loyalty to him whatsoever. Ultimately it didn't matter because James wouldn't have been with them in any case, but it did make her look really dumb.

 

And I had forgotten what a douche Dave was. If he had lasted longer, I think we'd remember hating him more.

 

James is really likeable though. He was so socially awkward and was friendly enough but basically didn't care for small talk and didn't want to be hugged. I can see why they brought him back, but his personality really deteriorated with subsequent appearances.

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This season had me convinced that Courtney was probably the most hilarious player ever.  I still remember her impression of Jamie.

 

Aaron and Frosti should get second chances.

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I agree about Aaron and Frosti. They're both so low-key and normal, I doubt that the producers think they'd be enough of a draw, but they were both good all-around players who had the bad luck to end up on the wrong side of the numbers after the shuffle.

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Jean-Roberts has me totally confused. He's an asshole, but he looks like Fabio from Top Chef. I like him and then he opens his mouth. 

 

Not feeling the James love, though, for sure. He's super strong (!), but not game smart. Amanda, though, she's smart!

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Yeah there is really no excuse for the editing treatment of Jaime.  She did everything right (except not throwing the second challenge, but that would have backfired anyway.)  She was right to throw the challenge.  She was right to try the non-idol.  She had a good social game and a head on her shoulders; it's just that Fei Long had James and Zhan Hu could not possibly compete with that.  She didn't deserve to be treated like a buffoon.

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Yeah there is really no excuse for the editing treatment of Jaime.  She did everything right (except not throwing the second challenge, but that would have backfired anyway.)  She was right to throw the challenge.  She was right to try the non-idol.  She had a good social game and a head on her shoulders; it's just that Fei Long had James and Zhan Hu could not possibly compete with that.  She didn't deserve to be treated like a buffoon.

Yeah, she actually didn't play a bad game and the editing was pretty harsh, but I have to admit that she kinda drove me nuts with her utterly inarticulate speech pattern. The thoughts in her head may have been cogent, but something got lost in translation on the way to her mouth. For example, her FTC question was an interesting IDEA, but the way she tripped all over herself trying to spit it out made her look stupid. 

I didn't watch this season live, but I'd read about the "epic moment" of her playing the non-idol and being shut down by Probst and I was disappointed to see the reality of it, which was basically "I'm not really sure if this is one, but on the off chance it is, I'm going to bring it up" which is exactly what she should have done. People made it sound like she strolled up there with all confidence and Probst gleefully tossed the non-idol in the fire to her humiliation, but it wasn't like that at all. 

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Jean-Roberts has me totally confused. He's an asshole, but he looks like Fabio from Top Chef. I like him and then he opens his mouth. 

LOL, Jean-Robert...what an utter doofus. He's one in a very long line of reality TV contestants that entertain me on TV but who would drive me around the bend in no time in real life. The way he completely fell for Todd's blatant vote-grabbing ego stroke at FTC had me rolling, especially when Probst replayed it in grand detail at the reunion and JR was clearly the only one who didn't seem to realize he got played.

Amanda's FTC performance is much talked about, but wow, I'd forgotten how bad it really was. The whiny, apologetic tone, the way she hammered home her betrayal of James in grand detail (I get that she wanted to highlight a strategic move, but she went about it all wrong), etc. Courtney actually did a pretty nice job in her answers and came within one vote of winning, which I'd also forgotten about. For some reason, I had it remembered as a clean sweep for Todd with a single Courtney vote. 

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I'm rewatching this right now and am up to mid-season where they've just merged. I like her, but Peih Gee is actually kind of a terrible player. Although I think her strategy of throwing the challenge after the shuffle so they could vote off either Aaron or James and protect Frosti and Sherea was a sound one, she should never have admitted it at the TC where they voted Aaron out. After she realized that Frosti and Sherea had likely flipped, it was sort of hilarious of her to keep asking James if he would stick with her, Jamie, and Erik when she had already shown she had no loyalty to him whatsoever. Ultimately it didn't matter because James wouldn't have been with them in any case, but it did make her look really dumb.

Agreed. She made a lot of key blunders, particularly in the social game aspect. She was a bit Shirin-like in her zeal to be strategic without actually reading the room and seeing who she could work with and who she couldn't. 

Denise was a bit of an uncomfortable one to watch. Part of me was frustrated with her for sticking to a plan that was destined to get her 4th place, but a lot of me just felt sorry for her in general. Am I remembering this wrong or did she get in trouble after the season for misrepresenting something about her background (maybe because Mark Burnett gave her $50 grand at the reunion show)? I just watched this season/reunion this weekend but I missed the part where Denise talked about whatever it was that caused him to give her the money. 

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At the reunion, Denise said that because she had taken time off to go on Survivor, she'd been fired as a lunch lady and now had to be a school janitor and clean toilets. She also made an open plea that if anyone was looking for a lunch lady, she was available. Then a couple of days later, the school district made a statement that she hadn't been fired and that she'd actually applied for the janitor job before she left for Survivor and that she was making more money as a janitor than as a lunch lady, which prompted Denise to make a public apology and say that all that was true and that she never meant to mislead anyone. I think she also said she wouldn't accept the $50K from Burnett, but I'm not sure. I vaguely remember that the school district only spoke out about it because they got some negative local press urging them to give Denise her old job back.

I kind of liked Jean Robert. Don't get up, I'll see myself out.

Edited by fishcakes
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I never thought Amanda did such a horrible job in either FTC. I think that has become an Internet  "truth" with very little substance. In reality, I don't think the questions and answers matter, anyway. I think people know who they will vote for before FTC ever starts. If they feel betrayed, some people just aren't going to vote for someone, even if they played a hell of a game. I don't criticize voters for doing that, but I think it's how many of the jurors vote. 

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In Micronesia she had literally the worst answer I've ever heard at FTC.  Cirie asked her why she voted her out and thought Parvati deserved to go to the end more than her.  Very easy answer: "She doesn't deserve it, that's why I took her, because you played amazing and I couldn't beat you."  Instead Amanda says "well Parvati played better than you because x y z" which is just insane as an answer, insulting Cirie, hyping her opponent, making it seem like she has no fucking idea what game she's even playing.

I can't agree that Amanda's crummy FTC performances are a made-up Internet legend (like Jaime's "EPIC BLINDSIDE" certainly is). I do believe she lost Peih Gee's vote at least with her whining in China; and maybe she couldn't have flipped Cirie around to vote for her (I think Cirie is one of those great-at-the-game-but-not-so-great-at-the-jury people) but Jesus Christ, Amanda.

Edited by KimberStormer

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Just saw the Shaolin Temple reward episode; that was beautiful.

I'd say Peih Gee could have helped herself further if she had told James, "Hey, they're voting for you. Play your idol." But Erik--now, he was dumb--he voted for James, too. So had James played the idol, you've got a tie: one vote for Peih Gee, and one for Todd. Who knows, maybe she did tell him. 

I never watch with the sound (CC rules!), so I never get the tone. Not sure how Amanda's FTC will come across without sound. We'll see.

On January 10, 2016 at 4:22 PM, fishcakes said:

James is really likeable though. He was so socially awkward and was friendly enough but basically didn't care for small talk and didn't want to be hugged. I can see why they brought him back, but his personality really deteriorated with subsequent appearances.

Not really. His comments about women, especially Courtney and Peih Gee, were pretty bad.

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8 hours ago, azshadowwalker said:

I never thought Amanda did such a horrible job in either FTC. I think that has become an Internet  "truth" with very little substance. In reality, I don't think the questions and answers matter, anyway. I think people know who they will vote for before FTC ever starts. If they feel betrayed, some people just aren't going to vote for someone, even if they played a hell of a game. I don't criticize voters for doing that, but I think it's how many of the jurors vote. 

In some cases, I'd agree that the jury is pretty set (for example, Boston Rob in All-Stars was likely a dead man walking at FTC due to the way he played a lot of the people), but I don't see the China jury that way. Plus, Amanda really hadn't betrayed anyone that badly, except for James. She and Todd worked hand in hand and Courtney was their third pretty much the whole way, they all had the same blood on their hands and Todd had worked people over harder. Amanda was always the one making nice with people, greeting them after rewards when no one else would get up, etc. She should have had a much better shot. 

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   ON JANUARY 10, 2016 AT 4:22 PM,  FISHCAKES SAID: 

James is really likeable though. He was so socially awkward and was friendly enough but basically didn't care for small talk and didn't want to be hugged. I can see why they brought him back, but his personality really deteriorated with subsequent appearances.

 

Not really. His comments about women, especially Courtney and Peih Gee, were pretty bad.

Yeah, I think James comes off better the less he actually talks, which is why China was probably his best season (and he had his shitty moments there). Plus, he was on a winning tribe for the first section of that season and his crappy attitude toward women doesn't seem to shine through until he's on the losing end of the stick. 

His "apple biting" speech to Parvati in Micronesia always irks me. So condescending and such utter bullshit. She had a perfectly sound reason for getting rid of Ozzy and planning to get rid of James, it clearly worked since she won, but he's belittling her for it. For what? Not sitting back and letting Ozzy march to the finals with James by his side? So irritating. 

James is funniest to me when he's commenting on things at TC, he does come up with some funny stuff even when he's being a bit of a jerk. 

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I'd say Peih Gee could have helped herself further if she had told James, "Hey, they're voting for you. Play your idol." But Erik--now, he was dumb--he voted for James, too. So had James played the idol, you've got a tie: one vote for Peih Gee, and one for Todd. Who knows, maybe she did tell him. 

Honestly, I don't think she ever had a prayer of flipping James, partly because of how visibly hard she was trying and partly because he was the most dead set on "sticking to the plan." He basically laughed at all of her attempts to talk strategy with him and wrote it off as a desperate person trying one last play, which it was in a way, but she was also right. Too many times, people get so complacent about their "secure" place in the majority that they sit back and snicker at the outsiders without considering whether they could be useful (like Alicia with Shii Ann in All-Stars, she was all up on her high horse about not needing Shii Ann BEFORE the immunity challenge, which SA won and Alicia got bounced.) 

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All right. This season wasn't that good. I had high hopes, but alas. Beautiful scenery. Crappy winner. (You know who got the gun set to whore for the reunion? Todd!)

I didn't like Todd. The FTC was The James Show. I don't think Amanda was that awful--the jury was out to get her more than anyone else. It felt like the show was out to get her too: the whole thing with "I've got your back" with Denise felt edited in, and not in Amanda's favor. Jamie was despicable. So was Denise--I had no sympathy for her. 

My favorite player? Courtney! I know! Surprised the hell out of me. The most strategic player? Peih Gee. Which says more about the quality of the other players on this season than anything else.

My favorite thing were the credits. I enjoyed the separation of jury/not-jury, and wish all competitive reality shows would do something of that sort (e.g., X or gray-out those who've been eliminated). But this little guy made me laugh every time. I hate snakes, but I still laughed.

FullSizeRender.jpg

Edited by cherrypj · Reason: Tpyos.
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On 5/26/2016 at 2:04 AM, cherrypj said:

[...]

My favorite player? Courtney! I know! Surprised the hell out of me. The most strategic player? Peih Gee. [...]

Coutney was a revelation and a unique kind of player, because while she never seemed to care either way, she still stuck with it and was a great narrator. And she had fun with it all, which always makes me like a player. 

As for the most strategic player, I'm torn between Peih Gee and Amanda. Actually, I think both were super strategic, and both fluked on the social game. TBH, when FTC council started, I thought Amanda had it in the bag, because she had been the brain behind every major strategic decision, as well as the muscle that kept winning immunities that allowed her alliance to vote out outsiders such as Peih Gee.  

I never expected Todd to win in all - and in retrospect, I wish he hadn't, as it seems his win totally destroyed him, but then again maybe just making it far could have been as detrimental, who can say? I loved Amanda in China and was very saddened to see that Amanda in Heroes vs. Villains was only just there, like a ghost of the person she used to be in China, and who showed will, energy and determination (and also was much more physical - remember when the tribes were dressed as warriors? She and Aaron looked like a pair of gladiators, the kind you do fear...). And she was also good in FvF, if more in the background, and less instrumental to some decisions but still key to the overall strategy.  

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She definitely grew on me, but no I just can't.

For me, there's no coming back from these:

Strike 1: "Look at me, I'm from NYC, namedrop, namedrop, namedrop." I've lived in Manhattan, I cannot stand these transplants/people.

Strike 2: Cultural insensitivity with the monks.

Strike 3: Cultural insensitivity/superiority with all the rewards.

It's worse because she's exactly that kind of person that purports to be so sophisticated and cultured. I always picture in my head one of those old-timey Tarzan movies. She's totally that Euro aristocracy that travels just so they can brag that they traveled wherever and have such insight and experience, show up and have dinner with Tarzan and totally ridicule he and his savage ways.

Edited by Potanical Pardon
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I just started this season - I like it fine so far. I recognize Pei Gee from Second Chances. Amanda also looks very familiar - has she been on a season past 25? Or maybe Amazing Race? The last episode I watched was Todd's "amazing" idol strategy where he found the idol with 2 other people watching, gave it to James to throw IC and use the idol on himself at the other tribe (James was visiting Todd's tribe for the day), then told everyone else he found it and what he did. Then comes the Immunity Challenge - eating gross stuff. James and Denise had balut. Denise simply couldn't eat it. James tried to throw it but couldn't because Denise gave up. So Todd's super plan went bust. Now I'm curious to see if James just keeps the idol or if Todd gets it back.

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10 hours ago, Lamb18 said:

Now I'm curious to see if James just keeps the idol or if Todd gets it back.

HEHEHEHEHEH. HAHAHAHAH!

You'll see.

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Well, James is holding two idols now. He found the one at Pei Gee's camp, too. Then Jaime found a pseudo-idol which she plans to play. But she also found James's two idols he hid in his pants leg.

Also in discussing the merged tribe names, John Robert lets loose with something like, "We can't have `black' in the name for when James goes home" (meaning there will be no black people left after James is gone). Then Frosty says something about having yellow in the name because of Pei Gee.

And Jaime just played the fake idol which Jeff disposed of in the fire.

Courtney wants John Robert gone so bad. She votes for him every single time no matter who else is up.

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My favorite Courtney quote regarding Jean Roberte was when she said he was like the Susan Lucci of TC-his names always there, just not enough to send him home.

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This is not really on topic since it's about Todd and not the China season, but it seemed like as good a place as any.

STAT News (a healthcare news site owned by the Boston Globe) did an investigative report on the Dr. Phil show, and the article features an interview with Todd, who first appeared on Dr. Phil about four years ago while severely intoxicated. His parents had apparently contacted the show to see if they could get help for Todd who has been battling alcoholism for the last decade or so. Although Todd credits the show with getting him the help he needed to eventually get sober (he appeared on the show four times), he says that on that first infamous appearance, he came to the show's taping sober after detoxing for two days but then was left alone in his dressing room with a 2 liter bottle of vodka, and after drinking the whole thing, a Dr. Phil staffer gave him a Xanax. He says that on his subsequent appearances, there was also vodka in his dressing room. The show denies all of this and also says that the at-risk guests are "medically supervised" at all times, which seems like a claim they might not want to make since they have guests who, like Todd, appear on the show drunk or high, and they've also filmed some guests buying heroin before the show.

In any case, it sounds like Todd is currently doing well, and he appears healthy in the video included with the story, but I find his gratitude to Dr. Phil a little hard to understand. They paid for his rehab, but they also exploited him, set it up so that he'd get drunk off his ass then filmed it, and they could have killed him. Paying for his rehab is the least they could do after that.

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