At the end of Survivor China, they revealed that the next Survivor installment (premiering 2.7.08) would feature hardcore Survivor fans competing against former castaways. All they would reveal is that at least one of them would be from the Survivor China cast. In anticipation, I composed a list of people I would like to see return to the show. Here it is in a very loose, but nevertheless countdown format.
The Top Twenty Past Survivors I Would Like to See Return for Survivor: Micronesia - Fans vs. Favorites
20. Gary Hogeboom, Survivor Guatemala -- This guy was a quarterback in the NFL for ten years in the 80's. For the purposes of Survivor, he claimed his name was Gary Hawkins, and that he was a landscaper, because he thought his football background might cause other players to eliminate him. Unbelievably enough, there was another contestant named Danni, who was in sports radio, and she recognized him instantly. However, he denied everything and kept his secret safe the entire time he was on the show. There's really no reason to have him back; I just think he's cool.
19. Clarence Black, Survivor Africa -- Early on in the game, the rest of his tribe went off somewhere and Clarence stayed behind with one of the girls, who wasn't feeling well. During this time, he opened a can of beans and ate it. When the tribe got back, everyone was furious. He tried to say that he opened it for the girl who wasn't feeling well, but she said that was a bunch of shit. This is the reason he was voted off.
18. Rupert Boneham, Survivor Pearl Islands/All-Stars -- During the first episode of his first stint on Survivor, the two tribes had washed ashore of a small village with nothing but the clothes off their back and were desperately seeking food and supplies to bring to the camp. Rupert hung back, stole the shoes of everyone in the opposing tribe from their unattended raft, and used them to barter with the villagers. Later in the season, a fellow castaway trying to pull her weight accidentally dropped their only fishing spear into the ocean, and promptly forgot where. Rupert searched an area the size of like three football fields and found it. He was later awarded a million dollars for being the most popular Survivor in All-Stars.
17. Terry Deitz, Survivor Panama -- A former fighter pilot and retired Commander from the US Navy. His entire tribe was picked clean, but he made it to the final three by winning pretty much every single individual immunity challenge. Then he lost the final immunity and got the boot. Makes you wonder if he could do it again.
16. Elisabeth Filarski, Survivor Australia -- Better known now as Elisabeth Hasselbeck, mother of two, wife of Arizona Cardinals QB Tim Hasselbeck, and four-year conservative co-host of The View. When she first started out, she was nothing more than a 23-year-old shoe designer with a pretty smile. I'd love to see how the years have changed her.
15. Ted Rogers, Jr., Survivor Thailand -- This guy tried to get cozy with a fellow castaway one night, and when she gave him shit about it in front of everyone, he shot back some of the best bullshit that's ever been said on Survivor. Some quotes that stand out lovingly in my memory are, "I'm not even ATTRACTED to you!" and "I am one hundred and fifty... to two hundred percent devoted to my wife!"
14. Ashley Massaro, Survivor China -- A lady wrestler for WWE who was voted off second this season, partly because she was on a shitty tribe. I think she could be pretty good.
13. James Clement, Survivor China -- The hugely sculpted grave digger who contributed a refreshing dose of levelheadedness and work ethic to his otherwise mostly spoiled tribe. Was eventually double-crossed and eliminated while holding two immunity idols in his backpack.
12. Yau-Man Chan, Survivor Fiji -- This was the funny little Asian guy who got pretty far despite his diminutive stature. He stole our hearts, but fell three spots short of stealing the million.
11. Rob Cesternino, Survivor Amazon/All-Stars -- This guy played everyone in Survivor Amazon. At one point, he was quadruple-crossing people and for some reason, everyone still generally liked him. He was one of the few boasters who actually knew what he was doing, but landed in 3rd place after blowing an endurance challenge. When he returned in All-Stars, he was almost instantly voted off by his tribe, who pegged him as a potential threat.
10. Jenna Lewis, Survivor Borneo/All-Stars -- About four Survivor chicks have gone on to appear nude. Three of them did it in the pages of Playboy. Jenna Lewis did it in a "leaked" graphic sex tape. I would like to continue seeing her gradual decline from youthful mom to public whore.
9. Robb Zbacnik, Survivor Thailand -- A very abrasive, hostile guy who picked lots of fights and ate more than his share of bananas. On his last night, he had some kind of spiritual awakening, and suddenly he loved everyone and wanted to mend his relationship with his father. He was voted off immediately. Also, his luxury item for the beaches of Thailand was a skateboard.
8. Shane Powers, Survivor Panama -- A two-pack-a-day smoker who quit cold turkey to be in the game, and became extremely irritable and moody from the withdrawal. He would get into lots of arguments and occasionally ask to be voted off. There was this oddball woman who seemed to have a crush on him, who he would casually treat like crap, which was amazing to watch (typical dialogue: "How did this happen! Courtney!" "Don't yell at me." "I'm not yelling at you. I'm yelling in general."). Aside from this, he was just a weird guy. He would talk into a piece of wood, pretending it was a BlackBerry (and not in a jokey way, like Greg from the first season). He also waved his testicles in front of a terrified female castaway's face because she was an OR nurse and he thought there was a potential problem with his balls. After the season was over, I recognized him as one of the guys who tries to molest the two main characters in a parking lot in the pilot episode of My So-Called Life.
7. Lex van den Berghe, Survivor Africa/All-Stars -- I remember after Lex's Africa stint, he had some kind of column where he would write editorials analyzing new episodes of Survivor. When All-Stars came around, he and a couple other guys had alliance deals with each other before shooting even commenced. During the show, he sacrificed his own numbers to protect Amber Brkich at the request of Rob Mariano. Rob went on to vote Lex off and Lex took it really personally, becoming enraged, even though he had betrayed his friend Ethan earlier in the same season (Ethan didn't seem to give a shit).
6. Parvati Shallow, Survivor Cook Islands -- Just a hot little number who got by mostly on shameless flirtation. I think if I was on the show, I would probably give her my immunity and thank her for the privilege.
5. Hunter Ellis, Survivor Marquesas -- The clear dominant male in the fourth installment of Survivor. He always had a great attitude, and I expected him to kick everyone's ass, but all the weak players got together and voted him off in the third episode. I remember this as the first time that shitty players figured out how to get rid of good players (resulting in generally unlikeable winners), a trend that continued for some time after that. A couple weeks ago, I saw Hunter Ellis as a fitness guru in a late night infomercial.
4. Richard Hatch, Survivor Borneo/All-Stars -- The first ever winner of Survivor. Primarily known for constantly being naked, he was also a very smart player, like Rob Cesternino, and was eliminated from All-Stars for the same reason. He is currently doing time in a federal prison for tax evasion, so I guess he would have to appear live via satellite in a little coconut TV that the castaways have to carry everywhere they go.
3. Judd Sergeant, Survivor Guatemala -- Judd was a doorman who was always excellent to watch because of how unbelievably stupid he acted. At one point during the season, he received a clue that the hidden immunity idol was hidden in a tree, so he told everyone that it was somewhere on the ground, to throw them off. Fellow contestant Gary Hogeboom later spotted him off by himself, squinting up at the trees. During tribal council, Judd claimed he never lied to anyone during the game. Gary called him out on the tree thing, to which Judd responded, "Okay, I lied about the damn idol." I guess there was no real graceful way to handle that. Gary ended up finding the idol and playing it when he was about to get voted off. There have been many knuckleheads on Survivor, but never one as big as Judd. One of my all-time favorite Survivor moments is when Jeff Probst was introducing a challenge by saying it would be a test of the castaways' mental skills, and seeing Judd immediately close his eyes in silent defeat.
2. Courtney Yates, Survivor China -- The waiflike pixie with an acid tongue and a heart as black as coal. She was just such an unapologetic shrew that I feel like I must have her approval at any cost.
1. Colleen Haskell, Survivor Borneo -- She was one of the few people to turn down All-Stars when they asked her back. But a fella can dream.
Also considered: Alicia Calaway (Survivor Australia/All-Stars), Jerri Manthey (Survivor Australia/All-Stars), Colby Donaldson (Survivor Australia/All-Stars), Tom Buchanan (Survivor Africa/All-Stars), Christy Smith (Survivor Amazon), Heidi Strobel (Survivor Amazon), Jessa Morasca (Survivor Amazon/All-Stars), Danni Boatwright (Survivor Guatemala), Aras Baskauskas (Survivor Panama), Sekou Bunch (Survivor Cook Islands), Yul Kwon (Survivor Cook Islands), and Amanda Kimmel (Survivor China).