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Author's Commentary
Part 2 of 6

ALL-STAR ALASKA: Behind the Scenes (episodes 1-3)
by Mario Lanza

(Note: These articles give away the whole plot, so don't read this if you don't want to know the winner of Alaska. Read the story first!)

The thing that always surprises people about the All-Star stories is how unplanned they are. We really don't plan much stuff out ahead of time, because I prefer to keep everything spontaneous. I don't want the writers thinking ahead more than an episode at a time, because I don't want us to tip our hand with clues. Plus I always kind of enjoy chaotic last minute writing, I work best that way. So, as I prefer to do, I just sat down and wrote episode one off the top of my head:

EPISODE 1 (This Aint no Summer Camp)

I started the story with Kelly Goldsmith because I felt that, out of all the players, she had the best chance to win. I decided to make a pre-game pick this time and use them to open the story. I had her sit in the back and assess all the players because it fit her personality, but also because I felt it helped introduce us to the players and get things started with a bang. Also, I wanted to set the tone that this game would be a little nastier than Hawaii. Not more than a few words into the story, and Kelly had already written off Paschal as "too old" and Silas as "too stupid." Excellent start!

There were three characters I really wanted to work on in Alaska. I didn't want them to turn into stereotypes, and I felt they would all be important. The first was Jerri. There was no WAY I wanted her to turn into evil uber-bitch. I felt she probably wouldn't be around too long, and wanted her boot to be sympathetic, so it was my goal from day one to make you feel bad for her when she went. The second character I wanted to work on was Greg. He was going to be BY FAR the most challenging to write, simply because he comes off almost as borderline insane. So I absolutely needed to study Pulau Tiga again before I started to write him. I felt he would be important, although I didn't see him as a potential villain until later. And the third pet project of mine was going to be Silas. I don't know why, but I always had a soft spot for the guy. I like him, and so many people felt he didn't belong in All-Stars, so I thought it was a good idea to build him up, and make him likeable or (at the very least) entertaining. I wanted people to like him, and avoid the stereotype trap with him as well.

When I started writing, we didn't know who would get the boot yet. We didn't know who would win immunity. I wanted to keep it open ended, so we didn't plan any of this until I got to the immunity challenge. Everything could have gone either way up to that point. The writers were lobbying for Clay from the males (since no one seemed to like him) but I always dislike that kind of logic. I don't like booting someone just because we don't like them. As for our female boot, we had no idea yet. There were some candidates, but none that jumped out. Although if I had to make a guess, I would say Jerri. She would be an easy choice for the other players to kick out.

CJ and I did most of the Alaskan research for the story. I did the wildlife and campground stuff and she did the culture and Inuit games/challenges part. We worked together well, and the locale was very easy for us to write. There really ARE no fires allowed in Denali, so I needed to find a way around that. Thus, the gas stove. And yes you have to use an anti-bear container or hang your food from a tree at night, or else watch out for bears. I have been camping in similar areas before, and you learn that lesson very quickly. DON'T LEAVE FOOD SITTING OUT!

We picked black buffs for the females specifically because we didn't want them to be stereotyped as "the good guys." That would be too easy to do (watch as Probst favored the females in Amazon, that's the trap we wanted to avoid). The good guys usually don't wear black! And you will note that the female camp was much nastier in episode one than the males, that was also on purpose. Anything to avoid a stereotype!

As for tribe names, Tuktu really means "deer" and Amarok really means "wolf." CJ came up with those, and gave them to us among a big list of possible Inuit words. Ryan Crist was the first to pick out those two, and they Worked for me, so it became Tuktu vs. Amarok.

One thing you will note in the first episode is that Helen, out of most everyone, is underwritten at the start. She doesn't really have a character for a few episodes. And this is because we started writing this in mid November. Thailand hadn't ended yet, and I don't think we really had her down yet. A lot of the Helen's defining moments in Thailand came at the end of the season, so we weren't sure how to capture her yet. But she got some great development later on, so we were happy. At the start, we just didn't know who she was yet.

All of the Alaskan landmarks in the story are real. Denali, of course, is a huge national park in central Alaska. Polychrome Pass is a beautiful hillside covered with multicolored tundra. Mount McKinley is a massive mountain that oversees everything. There is mud and permafrost all over the place, and the mosquitoes are supposedly brutal. The weather is also nice in the summer, although a bit temperamental. All that is real. I don't know if it actually snows in the summer, but we made it snow a few days. It helped break up the monotony.

At the start of episode one, the guys trash-talked the women pretty mercilessly, as I figured they would in real life. I was surprised that we got some flak for that, as some readers complained that the guys were too mean-spirited and misogynistic. But as we saw in Amazon, guys really talk like that. Sorry, ladies, but we only act nice to impress you when you are around. Once you get a group of guys together alone (athletic guys anyway) this is what happens. That will never change. And we wrote this before Amazon aired, so it was just a coincidence that the two series started off the same way.

One of the first things you need to do at the start is come up with some relationships. Who would be the obvious choices to get along, or not get along? Those relationships have to drive the story at the start, because you don't have any other storyline yet. So we came up with a few obvious ones: Greg and Paschal are friends. Tammy and Kelly Goldsmith are a perfect complementary team. Brian is like a mentor to Silas (I always liked this one). Jeff and Brian fear one another. Clay and Tom are goofballs. And Elisabeth and Neleh would be best friends. Those are the first ones that sprung to my mind, so those were the key plots in episode one. There was one more VERY important one that came later, and that was that Tammy still holds a grudge against Neleh. That was key, and I didn't even see it until we were deciding on the final vote.

For the first challenge, I didn't really have a great idea off the bat. Which stunk, since my #1 goal in Alaska was to work on the challenges. I only felt about half of the Hawaiian ones were any good, and I wanted to change that this time around. I wanted to make them ALL memorable in Alaska. Challenges are very, very important to the story, I cannot overemphasize that enough. They are prime areas for drama. You can ALWAYS make them dramatic and exciting if you work hard enough, and that is a great thing to have as a writer. And challenges are much more interesting for me to write than all the strategy talks. Strategy all sounds the same after a while (and frankly, gives you a headache to write). So I wanted to make sure that the challenges were ALL good this season and all well written. The catch is that athletic challenges are just plain hard to write. You have to have an ear for sports writing, which not everyone has, and you have to keep it from being too complicated. So yeah, not all writers can write challenges. No matter how good you are, if you can't picture it in your head, you can't convey it onto paper.

CJ came up with the idea for the first challenge, and I loved it: The canoe relay race on Horseshoe Lake (which is a real lake by the way). It worked out great, and the men won the coin flip (for immunity) so they ended up winning in the story. As I said in the FAQ, every challenge winner is decided randomly, it keeps the story interesting for us and keeps us from cheating. And this was a good challenge to start off with, as either team could win, so it was perfect. Plus it established a nice rivalry between the teams, as well as Kelly Wiglesworth's "angry loner" persona. She hates to lose, and is kind of messed up in the head. That was the character we decided to give her (since she is rather bland in real life.) We needed to spice her up a bit for the story.

Ok, with the females losing, we needed a first bootee. And like I said, Jerri was the easy choice. But I racked my brain to think up what a good scenario would be, since Jerri was such a cop out vote. I thought of all the characters, and who they might dislike. And it was clear that the ones that held grudges the most were Tammy, Jerri and Kelly Goldsmith. (Helen would have been good too, but this was written before her Brian issues in Thailand so we didn't know that about her yet). Jerri, we figured, would dislike Elisabeth from Australia. Kelly hated people from Africa, but none of them were here on her team. But Tammy, if you remember from her Marquesas jury speech, was no fan of Neleh. She called her a hypocrite and a liar, and pretty much blamed her for costing Tammy the win. So it all came down to this: Who is the biggest sore loser out of Tuktu? Tammy or Jerri. And we decided that Tammy was easily the sorest loser on the team. Jerri is more of a whiner, Tammy is a person who takes action. Add that to Tammy's influence as the leader of the tribe, and the most foreceful personality, and the choice was easy.

Tammy could bully them all into voting for Neleh. It's strategic, because it breaks up Elisabeth-Neleh, and Tammy all of a sudden has a power bloc of votes. She needed a fourth, so she brought Helen in, seeing Helen as a kindred spirit in terms of competitiveness and strategy. So the choice was actually pretty easy. Neleh goes in the first vote, due to no fault of her own, and we have a great subplot about a split in Tuktu. I loved it. I was sad to see Neleh go, but it really spiced up the first episode. The girls are the nasty team, who would have predicted it??

And of course, we served the dual purpose of angering Murtz. You see, we would end up booting a Survivor-Central columnist in the first vote in both Hawaii and Alaska. It wasn't intentional, but that's just the way it happened! Sorry, Murtz! (But you're lucky Sarah isn't in All-Star Greece...)

I came up with the totem pole idea at Tribal Council. A lot of readers seemed to love that, so I was proud that I came up with the idea. I was trying to find some way to work totem poles into the story, and when I found out they denoted a "lineage" it all seemed to fit. Just have pictures of the departed players! Since 14 faces won't fit on a single totem pole, we made two smaller ones. It worked better, and since there were two, I wanted them to be "bookends." The doorway to tribal council seemed like an apt place to put them.

At this point, I knew we had a great series in place. With a first episode this strong, you know right away it will be a hit. Really, the first episode is the most important in a series, because without a good one, you have nothing to build on later. And we were originally going to post this AFTER Amazon, but with this good of a first ep, and "Red Rover" coming in episode two, I knew we couldn't wait that long. We had a future hit on our hands, so I decided we were going to get this out after Thailand instead. This episode was finished on December 1st, and there was no way I could wait five months to post it! So it looked like the time crunch was on, we all of a sudden had a tight deadline to get this story written.

Oh yeah, the episode title is the last thing we pick. We came up with "This Aint No Summer Camp" at the last minute. I suggested it, and everyone liked it. We had a few other options, but everyone liked this one the best.

EPISODE 2 (Red Rover)

This was a huge episode. It was going to make or break the series, because if we can't pull off the Red Rover, our whole story is screwed. The whole story centered around the premise that the readers would buy it could actually happen, and that they would see the new strategy behind it, and find it interesting. But if it failed to catch their interest, we would be pretty much screwed.

The first thing we had to do was the random coin flip for the reward winner. The guys won. Excellent. It was going to be further damage to the Tuktu girls. And the obvious choice for the guys to steal, in my mind, was Tammy. She was the Tuktu leader, she's the pitbull. She is a perfect choice.

At this point, all the readers thought Tammy's story arc would be as the leader of the females. We wanted to throw everyone for a curve, and it worked. Tammy's defection to Amarok was one of the best moments of the series, I think. No one really saw it coming, but it all made sense when you saw it in print.

CJ was in charge of writing this episode. This was her first experience of writing (as well as having me hover over her shoulder) so it was best to come early in the series. And she did a good job. Her final product was a little short, but she came up with the muktuk eating challenge (yes, that is real stuff - whale blubber) and she also came up with the rope web immunity challenge. They were both good ideas, better than I could come up with for this episode.

We really wanted the tribes to hate each other, and tried to make the reward challenge as nasty as possible. We tried to make the guys really unlikeable here. Silas and Jeff were the main culprits, heckling to their hearts content. I think we went over the top with Jeff, but it was fun having her taunt the poor girls.

The reward challenge was also Greg's first attempt to piss off Jeff Probst. If you read Mark Burnett's book about the first Survivor season, you will know that Greg did things like this all the time. Jeff really did hate him. Greg would do stuff like wear shorts with a hole in them, so that everyone could see his exposed testicles. Or he would try to crack everyone up at Tribal Council, so Jeff would have to break character. It was a funny subplot I enjoyed writing, Greg will go out of his way to annoy the host. And that subplot wasn't in the first draft of this episode, it was just something I added at the last minute, in final editing. I'm glad too, because it turned out to be a fun running joke throughout the series.

We still didn't have a name for the Red Rover reward at the time we wrote the episode. It was called "swap challenge" for a long time, but I came up with "Red Rover" at some point during the series, so we went back and retroactively changed it throughout all the episodes. I was hoping people would remember the rules of Red Rover (or had even played it in the first place) but luckily, it worked well. No one ever complained about its name.

The females won the immunity for episode two (which was great, since the males were on the verge of decimating them otherwise). CJ's rope challenge was perfect and the girls won. Great moment, although I would probably spice it up a little more if I could do this one over. It's one of the weaker written challenges (and my own fault, since I did the final rewrite of the challenge).

Rudy was chosen to be the boot for a few reasons. The main one being that he was inflexible. He thought the game was going to work exactly as before, and thought he had it pretty easy. Plus we wanted to symbolize that this was a "new" Survivor. This was not Rudy's world anymore, Survivor had changed a lot since he played. No one was going to come to him. Also, since Clay wanted to vote Rudy, we had the whole team jump on the bandwagon. He was no threat, but he was an easy vote, like John Raymond was in Thailand. And like John said, "If you hear people are voting for John, and your name isn't John, that starts to sound like a great idea." That was the exact premise here. Clay wanted Rudy out, and so he got a bunch of bandwagon votes. No one wanted to play their real strategies yet, so they just went along with the pack.

The main two I wanted to hide their intentions were Jeff Varner and Brian Heidik. Those were the key two, so I had them both vote for Rudy as a way for them to buy time. And in retrospect, the Rudy boot wasn't the most logical choice at first glance, but there was a lot of subtext I didn't really explain that well. I should have done that better. There was a point here, it wasn't just a random choice of bootee! We loved Rudy, and wanted him to stay, but his exit did symbolize a lot of things, mainly that this was a new game. Old man, your style doesn't belong here anymore, go away and let the kids play.

Instead of explaining it as a mob vote, what I did instead is just built it up as sad as possible, to make you really feel for Rudy, and how the world had passed him by. I think the scene where Silas ignores everything Rudy says is one of the sadder things I have ever written, Silas treats him like shit. That's a great scene, several writers have pointed that scene out as one of the best of the series, and I have to agree. It says a lot, with very little dialogue. It is all subtext, Silas is showing Rudy what he thinks of him, and Rudy doesn't get it. But in Rudy's defense, he does foreshadow the bear attack on camp, telling Silas they need to pack the food away better. But does Silas listen to him? Not a chance. And they pay for it later on.

The last thing is that we had a big debate how to end this episode. I had the line "Fuck them. Rudy wanted to go get a beer" in mind but I wasn't sure if we should swear. Do we want to use profanity? My general rule is "only in dialogue" but this one just seemed perfect. For once, I broke my rule, and used swearing as a verb. I felt we owed it to Rudy to have him at least go out with some dignity. Screw them all. Go Rudy!

EPISODE 3 (Just Because I Like You...)

Ryan Crist wrote this one, which you can tell from the opening paragraph. Ryan had a better understanding of Jeff Varner than I ever did, so if an episode opens with Jeff, you know I didn't do it. Ryan had Jeff meditating, a great opening. In the first draft, he also included a scene where Jeff checks his watch for the time, which Kixxy and CJ quickly pointed out wouldn't work. The players don't have watches out there! I hadn't caught that in editing, so I'm glad they did. Ryan changed it to Jeff "assuming" what time it is instead. A very nice job of changing it, I thought.

It is also easy to tell Ryan's writing from mine by the paragraph length. He writes long paragraphs, I write short ones. For example, Ryan wrote this:

The other seven members of Amarok were all asleep, as far as Jeff knew. Gradually, most had managed to adjust to the concept of a midnight sun, but not Jeff Varner. Sleeping in broad daylight never felt like more than a catnap to him, and after the first few nights, he had discovered that it was nearly impossible for him to sustain sleep for more than two hours at a time. Trying to retain at least some optimism, Jeff had decided to make his brief periods of nightly insomnia into meditation periods, times where he could relax and just chill with the forest while everybody else was asleep. He breathed deep breaths, inhaling the deep invigorating smell of the taiga. By Jeff's estimate it was probably somewhere around 3:00 AM, although with the ceaseless sunlight it was quite possible to become hours off.

Whereas I would write the same thing as:

The other seven members of Amarok were all asleep, as far as Jeff knew. Gradually, most had managed to adjust to the midnight sun. Most of them...

But not Jeff Varner.

Sleeping in broad daylight never felt like more than a catnap to him. After the first few nights, he had discovered that it was nearly impossible to sleep for more than two hours at a time. Trying to retain at least some optimism, Jeff had decided to make his brief periods of nightly insomnia into meditation periods, times where he could relax and just chill with the forest while everybody else was asleep.

He breathed deep breaths, inhaling the deep invigorating smell of the taiga. By Jeff's estimate it was probably somewhere around 3:00 AM, although with the ceaseless sunlight it was quite possible to become hours off.


It's not really a better or worse type of comparison, just a style difference. But if you look close, you can always tell who wrote what because of it. I love paragraphs that are one sentence long. They are pretty much my calling card, although they would make an English teacher cringe. I'm not really a writer but more of a storyteller. I don't have a lot of writing training, I just write it the way I would want it told, orally. Maybe that's why I handle dialogue well, because I try to write the WHOLE story as dialogue. I want you to hear it in your head, hence the strange writing style. Ryan is a better writer than me, stylistically. His papers would get A's, mine would get C's.

Ryan also wrote the scene where the girls talk about which of the guys is "cutest." I wasn't sure if it was too over the top, but CJ and Kixxy said it was realistic, so we left it in. It turned out well, and was a fun way to show how Helen is a little out of place. Plus it set up the "Silas is cute but we don't want him" subplot. I always liked that little running joke.

Oh yeah, Ryan wrote the tree mail here, as he did with most every episode. Besides being the only artist of the group, Ryan also understands meter and poetry better than the rest of us. It makes sense, since he is a musician. But he always makes the tree mail meter sound better. My poems are just plain embarrassing. Try to write tree mail sometime, it's harder than you think! I just stopped trying after a while. Either Ryan did it, or there was no tree mail whatsoever in the episode.

Ryan wrote all the Silas-Greg dialogue (very good) as well as the famous "Helen is a spleen" chat between Paschal and Greg. I can't tell you how many people commented on that line, and loved it. Ryan wrote it as a throwaway comment (let's see if I can come up with a useless organ to compare Helen to) but so many people liked it, we had to use it again. It was my goal to reuse that line at some point, and the finale worked perfectly. I couldn't believe our final three were Helen, Greg and Paschal, it was just perfect. Things don't always work out that well.

Oh yeah, one thing I did change from Ryan's draft is his portrayal of Silas. It seems that I am the only person in the world who likes Silas. Ryan, CJ and Kixxy consistently wrote the guy as the biggest idiot in the history of Survivor. And it's not surprising, since everyone told us to "Get Silas out of there!" or "We hate Silas!" Apparently I was the only one who wanted him to do well, so I tended to "soften" the other writers' portrayals of Silas during edits. I really didn't want Silas to come off as a doofus, despite Kelly Goldsmith's accusations. But I was the only one who was rooting for Silas, so I can't blame the other writers for wanting him to look bad. I was just being stubborn. The Silas-Greg scene is a good example of one that was changed a bit, I tried to make Silas at least TRY to match Greg's wit and cunning, but he still came off like a doofus a little more than I would have liked.

Ryan came up with the diving challenge. It was well written, but I think Ryan said he would have liked to do a more exciting one if he could do it over. It was pretty much the only recycled one we had during Alaska, but it worked good enough.

For the Red Rover, Greg ended up going to Tuktu, and that was pretty much a unanimous choice. Sure, Silas is an athlete, but really, none of the girls wanted him around that much. Remember that EVERYONE loves Greg (except Probst). That has always been the case, it happened on Pulau Tiga too. Women love him, and all of a sudden Greg was in a great position to win this game. Once again, I still didn't see him as a villain, but instead more of a lovable rogue. His first scene in Tuktu, with Elisabeth, was great because she could give some expositon, and explain how everything was working in Tuktu. I love scenes like that, where one person "explains" all the others, so you get a summary of the camp without it being blatant. As a writer, it helps focus where the episode should go, because it reminds you what is happening in every player's mind.

Over in Amarok, Tammy was being fought over like a piece of meat. I loved that scene. And she ended up going with Jeff, although some people (Coachocd at Survivor-Central for one) insisted that Tammy would choose Brian instead. I don't know, we just picked Jeff because the two of them are so cutthroat (plus it is a fun pairing). I never doubted that choice. Jeff and Tammy are just a good team.

Here's one of my favorite lines in the whole series, one that I added in final edits because I wanted to give Tammy some humor. Jeff had just joked that maybe Tammy voted for him last night:

Tammy matched his grin. "Varner, if I voted for you, you'd know about it." She placed an arm around his shoulder. "Cause you'd be gone."

That line still makes me smile. Yay for Tammy!

Ryan came up with the immunity challenge, the blindfolded race through the forest. A good idea, though probably better on TV than in print. We learned quickly that confusing multi-part challenges are hard to do in a story. It is too hard to keep track of who is doing what at any given time. To his credit, Ryan did a great job with it, although I touched it up somewhat to add some drama and "sportswriting" flair. But it worked, and the men won.

Day 9 was the day that Brian made his big move against Jeff. He recruited Silas as his second in command, although we had some confusion as to what was going to happen. Ryan had it set it up here as Brian's "big plan", to be revealed later, but the problem was that I didn't know what said plan was. So in the next episode (which I wrote), I just kind of forgot about explaining what Brian's plan was, and went with my own storyline instead. That's a good example of what happens when you have multiple writers. One writer sets up a loose end, and the next writer ignores it. Oops! I always wondered what exactly Ryan had in mind for Brian's big plan here...

We set up Silas as Brian's little sidekick here, a subplot that I loved, but some people said was unrealistic. We had mixed opinions on this. For one thing, Teresa Cooper said it was perfect, but I heard (second-hand) that Diane Ogden said it wouldn't happen. So I don't know, it was just a fun relationship to explore. Plus it gave Brian some humanity (not the easiest task in the world, believe me.)

When it came to the episode 3 bootee, I was stunned when we came down to a name. We did the math, and all of a sudden we figured out that Kelly Goldsmith would be going. WHAT?? At the start, I had her pegged as a possible winner, but if you look at the breakdown, she was in grave danger. She was done. Tammy leaving completely destroyed any chance she ever had. And it was actually a pretty simple vote, but I wanted to spice it up a bit. So I had Kelly and Jerri try to backstab each other, and Kelly lost. Outsmarted at her own game. I love it when hubris and pride lead to ones downfall, so there ya go.

Oh, and one thing I added at the last minute was Kelly's speech to Elisabeth and Gina, begging them not to vote her off for being small:

"Look, I'm not lying to you," she pleaded, almost nearing tears now, trying to beg for her own survival. She knew it was unbecoming of a mastermind, but she just didn't want to go home. And more than that, Kelly just hated being powerless. She hated having others decide her fate, and that was exactly what was happing right now. Elisabeth and Gina had already decided Kelly must go. "Don't vote me out just for being small," she finished, "That's no worse than voting off someone for being old." She knew that was a pet peeve that both Elisabeth and Gina shared, that old people always were voted off early. She hoped it had hit a nerve, and looked at Elisabeth, then at Gina. "Please, just do the right thing."

That was a touching moment, and I thought very clever of Kelly. We wanted to make sure she didn't go out like a sheep. And it ALMOST worked, it was the one argument that might sway Elisabeth. But Gina stepped in and said, nuh uh, Kelly is just as bad as Jerri. I liked that scene a lot.

Okay, here's one more example of a stylistic difference between writers. Look at the Tribal Council, where Greg throws his Amarok buff into the fire. That was Ryan's idea, and was a good one. But Greg's dialogue doesn't quite match the dialogue I had for Greg in other episodes. We just saw him as different. I saw Greg as cunning, kind of above the game, and the other writers, at times, saw him as more mirthful, childish, goofy. It's not really a better or worse, but like I said before, just a different interpretation of the same character. Greg here is very goofy, almost ten years old, but my Greg was always a little more sinister. But no one seemed to complain, and since it was written well, it was kind of masked. But Greg was one that often switched tones throughout the story. He is just a tough person to capture in print:

"Greg," the host asked, without really wanting to, "How's it been with the new tribe?"

"Oh it's super," he grinned, eagerly, "These black buffs are definitely my color." A few of the others snickered.

"So you feel at home here?" Jeff continued. "Is it odd straddling the tribes, with old ties in Amarok and new ones here with Tuktu?"

"Wait," said Greg, "Can I change my answer to the last question? Can we just stop the tape and film that part again?"

Jeff glared at him and shook his head, very faintly. It was a warning. Greg decided not to push his luck tonight.

"I like Tuktu," Greg said, adding "We have a great team here. Lots of camaraderie. A much better environment over here, more of a team feeling. In fact, this is what I think of Amarok." Greg pulled his "A" buff from his back pocket and casually tossed it into the flames, and assured the tribe, "Don't worry guys, I know it's our "Ass-whupping time" buff, but it failed us today. It has to die."


Altogether, it was a strong third episode. Ryan did a good job of writing it (as he always does). Poor Kelly Goldsmith, I really wanted her to do well, but she was out in three episodes! That's the nature of All-Star stories, there's always someone good that goes out early, someone you wished you could have kept.

And then, speaking of that, in episode four we ran into the Jeff Varner issue...

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