18 Feb 19
The Mercury News
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The latest installment of “Survivor” returns at 8 p.m. Wednesday on CBS, with four returning players, promises of new twists and the introduction of Extinction Island, which we assume doesn’t actually involve endangered animals or the deaths of any players.
“Survivor: The Edge of Extinction” will be giving torch-snuffed players a choice to either go to Loser Lodge or take their chances on Extinction Island, described as “barren, harsher and potentially lonelier.” Once there, the exiled players will compete for a chance to reenter the game.
The four returning players — Aubry Bracco, David Wright, Kelley Wentworth and Joe “The Man-Bun King” Anglim — all came very close to winning in their previous seasons. Bracco was runner-up on “Survivor: Kaoh Rong” and made it to Day 37 on “Survivor: Game Changers.” Wright, who worried viewers with his skeletal appearance, came in fourth place on “Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X.”
[related_articles location=”left” show_article_date=”false” article_type=”curated” curated_ids=”5855468″]Wentworth was voted out early in the family-themed season of “Survivor: San Juan del Sur,” but returned two seasons later for “Survivor: Cambodia,” lasting 38 days. Anglim, a fan favorite who excelled in challenges, played in “Survivor: World’s Apart” and “Survivor: Cambodia,” where he staved off elimination for 29 days until an untimely drop in blood sugar caused him to pass out at a challenge, costing him immunity and resulting in his being voted out.
“Survivor” debuted in 2000, but it just keeps coming up with fresh angles. We’re excited to see what this season brings, so let’s meet the cast.
Dan “The Wardog” DaSilva, 38
Dan ‘The Wardog’ Dasilva, (Robert Voets/CBS)
Law student/former military; Los Angeles
Pet peeves: “Weakness for sure, but most of all negative energy; that person who just complains constantly that the world never breaks their way.”
Survivability: Wardog, who has a habit of talking about himself in the third person, thinks he has a “certain sex appeal that men my age haven’t had for over a decade or most have never had,” and thinks his sharp mind, joyful personality and ability to be subservient when he needs to be and a leader when it’s called for, will win him the game. We think those very traits will send the Wardog to the pound very quickly.
Reem Daly, 46
Reem Daly, (Robert Voets/CBS)
Sales; Ashburn, Virginia
Pet peeves: Intolerance, humming, bad manners, nose picking, slackers and snobs
Survivability: Reem seems nice enough, but she appears conflicted. On the one hand she says her social game “is amazing” and on the other, she says she trusts no one and that “words mean zero to me.” She says she is “honest to a fault,” but that she knows “when to chill,” which we guess is her euphemism for lying. Reem says “Actions speak louder,” to which we say, “Sorry, we didn’t hear you all the way from Loser Lodge.”
Rick Devens, 33
Rick Devens (Robert Voets/CBS)
Morning news anchor; Macon, Georgia
Pet peeves: Not taking ownership of actions, over explainers, waiting in line, and people not using coasters
Survivability: Seriously? Coasters? Rick thinks his training as an Eagle Scout along, no doubt, with his ability to deliver the news with a blend of humor and gravitas, will help him win the game. He also takes credit for rescuing a cat from a tree, not by climbing up the tree and bringing it down safely, but by doing a story on it, which brought in the people who do climb trees. Mr. Devens, we’re sorry but your show has been permanently preempted.
Wendy Diaz, 25
Wendy Diaz (Robert Voets/CBS)
Small business owner; Bell, California
Pet peeves: “I cannot stand when people don’t carry their weight. I also hate quitters! Find a way to get something done! Don’t just give up when the going gets tough.”
Survivability: Oh, Wendy is just going to be a joy around camp. She is conflicted over whether to bring Scruffy, a stuffed animal she has slept with every night for the past 20 years, because what would happen if Scruffy got dirty? Relax, Wendy. Loser Lodge has a dry cleaning service, but you probably won’t be around long enough to get Scruffy scruffy.
Lauren O’Connell, 21
Lauren O’Connell (Robert Voets/CBS)
Student at Baylor University; Waco, Texas
Pet peeves: “People who are intolerant of someone else’s personal opinions and beliefs, unnecessary rudeness and those misguided people who choose Twizzlers over Red Vines.”
Survivability: Lauren, who has undergone four orthopedic surgeries and still manages to compete for Baylor, is one of those players who says she’s primarily there to test her skills and herself by playing “Survivor.” She also needs the prize money to finance her dream of becoming a dentist and spreading confidence by creating beautiful smiles. Excuse us while we go unroll our eyes.
Keith Sowell, 19
Keith Sowell (Robert Voets/CBS)
Pre-med student; Durham, North Carolina
Pet peeves: “When self-absorbed people talk about all the money they have and things they’ve done, and only actively engage in conversations when the topic is about them or their ‘equals.'”
Survivability: We want to like Keith, we really do. He’s had a difficult time growing up poor and living in a trailer park, and he’s determined to make something of himself so he can help and support his family. Those are admirable qualities and we have no doubt he’ll make a fine doctor. But he seems to lack the basic survivor skills and his social game isn’t promising. Still, he might be able get into an alliance, so he could go far.
Chris Underwood, 25
Chris Underwood (Robert Voets/CBS)
District sales manager; Greenville, South Carolina
Pet peeves: Laziness, political Facebook posts, people who are all talk and no walk
Survivability: Chris says he can make fire, fish, build shelter, and “most likely” will be doing the cooking. He also boasts of being a hard worker who “won’t lay around camp.” Chris professes to be a team player and says he knows how to get a group to work together for the common good. Here’s the problem with that. “Survivor” is never about the common good, only the individual good. We suspect all the rah-rah-rahing is going to fall flat, as will Chris.
Kelley Wentworth, 31
Kelley Wentworth (Robert Voets/CBS)
Marketing manager; Seattle, Washington
Pet peeves: “Unseasoned rice, games involving balls and people who think they’re basically badasses.”
Survivability: This will be Kelley’s third bite of the “Survivor” apple and presumably she has learned much from her experience. She improved her standing with each season, but returning players are frequently early targets. If she’s careful with her alliances, she could end up with a win this season … or spend a month at Loser Lodge.
David Wright, 44
David Wright (Robert Voets/CBS)
Television writer; Sherman Oaks
Pet peeves: “Sudden loud noises, people who don’t use the turn signal, people who don’t clean the lint trap after using the dryer, people who don’t keep their dog on a leash and then act surprised when it jumps on me, people who believe in ghosts and psychics, and people who incorrectly use the word nonplussed. People.”
Survivability: Ah yes, David. A former player who almost parlayed obsessive-compulsive disorder, nervousness and paranoia into a million-dollar win. No doubt he’ll be just as obsessive, nervous and paranoid this season, which should make for entertaining viewing, but can he make it all the way this time? We’re betting not, but we’re often surprised by outcomes.
Joe Anglim, 29
Joe Anglim (Robert Voets/CBS)
Multimedia artist; Ogden, Utah
Pet peeves: “I find it incredibly displeasing when I see someone lose their patience and become aggressive, disrespectful and rude.”
Survivability: We’ve been a big Joe fan with each of his appearances, and he definitely knows how to win challenges and protect himself with immunity. He also seems like a genuinely nice guy, and we even forgive him for his man bun. It will take a lot for him to win this season, as he’ll have a big target on his back. But with the combination of luck and smarts, we’ve ready to pencil his name in on the check.
Aubry Bracco, 29
Aubry Bracco (Robert Voets/CBS)
Marketing director; Los Angeles
Pet peeves: Revisionist history
Survivability: Aubry got much further in both of her seasons than we predicted, despite being dealt some bad hands — being part of a losing tribe and being out-played by the eventual winner. In every instance she fought back, and her return to “Survivor” is true to form. She says she doesn’t want her past season to be the end of her story. We like Aubry and we wish her well, but she’s in for a battle.
Victoria Baamonde, 23
Victoria Baamonde (Robert Voets/CBS)
Waitress; Bronx, New York
Pet peeves: “Slow walkers, leaving cabinets open, my guinea pig who I named Peeve, and when customers don’t read the menu and then ask dumb questions like, ‘are there meatballs in the meatball sauce?'”
Survivability: Just when we were despairing the lack of a truly clueless player, along comes Victoria. She says she’s always been a hustler, works hard, is sociable, very smart, strong and self-aware enough to know which of her many glorious qualities she needs to tone down. So why are we skeptics? It probably has something to do with the meatballs in the meatball sauce. Waitress, could you clear this table pronto?
Ron Clark, 46
Ron Clark (Robert Voets/CBS)
Pet peeves: “I’m a sore loser. Like really sore. I’ll stew over a Monopoly loss for weeks, wondering, ‘just where did I go wrong.’ Also, I hate when people slurp food (like soup) or smack chewing gum. People, we can hear you!”
Survivability: OK, we agree about the noisy food eaters, but when you’re on a game such as “Survivor,” you better learn to hide the bad loser attitude and ignore the slurping. We don’t think Ron, who is a teacher at a school he named after himself, will be capable of that, which means he’ll soon be founding the Ron Clark School of Losing Without Grace.
Julia Carter, 24
Julia Carter (Robert Voets/CBS)
Medical assistant; Bethesda, Maryland
Pet peeves: Being ignored, loud chewing and when people document everything on social media
Survivability: Julia says she survived the death of her father by throwing herself into episodes of “Survivor.” Now she wants to test herself in the real game, and says she is a team player and an “excellent communicator.” She boasts of having charm and wits, and is not afraid to make risky moves. We suspect Julia will be the player at the post-season reunion show that has everyone asking “Who was she?” And then, OMG, we’re so going to post the whole thing on Instagram.
Eric Hafemann, 34
Eric Hafeman (Robert Voets/CBS)
Pet peeves: “My biggest pet peeve is people taking themselves too seriously. Come on, relax people. I try to remember that 99.9 percent of the time I am not the smartest, coolest, most interesting, deserving or important person in the room.”
Survivability: OK, we’re kind of put off by the faux modesty and humility, but we don’t care. Eric is the local boy trying to make good, so he’s our favorite, until he gets voted off. He does sound like he knows how to play — take advantage of every moment and never stop strategizing and plotting — but that takes a lot of mental and physical stamina. We hope he has it.
Aurora McCreary, 32
Aurora McCreary (Robert Voets/CBS)
Divorce lawyer; Orlando, Florida
Pet peeves: “Know-it-alls, ignorance, playing the victim card, any noise coming from the mouth, the easily offended, slow walkers and people who are homophobic.”
Survivability: What do these people have against slow walkers? And for someone who doesn’t like people who are easily offended, it seems that getting worked up over strolling qualifies in that category. We also fear Aurora’s ego is writing checks her talent can’t cash. She dismisses the difficulty of challenges as just “fun,” and claims skills at “reading others and finding out what drives them” and then “manipulating the situation to make them think my goal is theirs.” She also says she has the ability to put aside compassion and exercise her cutthroat side. Of that, we have little doubt.
Julie Rosenberg, 46
Julie Rosenberg (Robert Voets/CBS)
Toymaker; New York City
Pet peeves: Hoarders, people who invade my personal space and anything that’s floral scented.
Survivability: Whoever had “toymaker” in the “Survivor” pool of unlikely professions, wins. We’re just hoping the tropical jungle where Julie is going isn’t too flowery smelling for her. We predict Julie is going to be that player who will realize just exactly what she got herself into about 5 minutes after the game starts. She admits to having limited physical skills and strength, but thinks her laser focus will see her through. At least maybe she can whittle some toys while spending many days at Loser Lodge.
Gavin Whitson, 23
Gavin Whitson (Robert Voets/CBS)
YMCA program director; Erwin, Tennessee
Pet peeves: “Holding the door for someone and they don’t say thank you, people who vape, people asking me if I am still in high school, slow texters, other people touching the radio in my car, and parents yelling at their kids in youth sporting events.”
Survivability: Gavin might have the unique distinction of looking exactly like what you think a YMCA program director would look like. Gavin doesn’t appear to have many survival skills. His own mother thinks he’ll be the first voted out and that he’ll pass out when he gets hungry. Gavin, however, listens to the “Survivor” theme song when he showers and dreams of winning immunity. Sorry, Gav, but we think your mom is onto something.