All Star Strategy #4: Don't Call Tina a Phony
Written by Mario Lanza
James Bond: Do you expect me to talk, Goldfinger?
Auric Goldfinger: No, Mr. Bond. I expect you to die.
you call Tina Wesson a "big phony," bad things will happen to
you. That is the lesson we learned in episode four of Survivor:
In my pre season column, I made one point
that I hope people will keep in mind after watching this week's episode.
Basically, before the season started, I wrote "the players in All Stars should be judged based
on how well they did their first season, and not by
how well or how poorly they did the second time around." And I am
glad that I wrote that now. Because with the dismissal of Rob Cesternino... I
feel that this theory is about to be tested.
Simply put, Rob
Cesternino is one of the two or three most significant Survivor players
of all time. I don't think that is even up for debate. He
basically re invented the way the game is to be played. He could
really even be called "the father of Survivor" if you felt like taking
Richard's ego down a notch or two. In fact, in many ways, I feel that
Rob was even MORE significant to the game than Richard
was. Well, okay, except for the pesky little fact that Richard came along first.
Sadly, what is going to happen now is that a lot of people are going to
second guess Rob's place in the annals of Survivor. I think a lot of people are going to say to themselves
"man... maybe Rob wasn't that good. Maybe we
were all wrong about him." In fact, you can tell that Rob is already
feeling some of this sentiment starting to build. In most of his post game
interviews he has come off as a bit defensive. It is as if he KNOWS that his reputation is going to take a big
hit. He seems to be going out of his way to say things like "I got put on a
terrible tribe" and "They treated me like I was a former winner" and "I never had a chance."
And do you know what? He is absolutely right!
Cesternino was dead meat the moment he stepped onto that island.
And he was
especially dead meat when he was placed onto a tribe like
it is nothing against Rob as a player, but his strategy just doesn't
work on a tribe with five worker bees. It can't work. His
entire M.O. is divide and conquer... separate the weak and offer them
strength... jump from alliance to alliance... always stay in
power. But the problem is that Chapera simply HAD no
weak. There weren't any Daniel Lues or Ryan Aikens floating
around for him to play around with. He was thrown onto a tribe
workhorses (plus Amber) and that meant that Rob Cesternino himself
became the weak. In an
instant HE became the weak one, the one who needed
help to survive. So really any strategy he tried on Chapera was
pretty much going to be a wasted effort. The tribe is dictated
(as it always
will be) by Rob Mariano. If Boston Rob wants you in, you are
to be in. If he wants you out, you might as well pack your
bags and go home. In fact Boston Rob even told us that,
almost word for word. Whoever Mariano picks to go home... well
that is going to be the person who goes
It was no surprise that the Robs squared off
early. I don't think anyone expected otherwise, and I don't
think many people predicted that Rob Cesternino would actually win that
battle. The showdown was pretty much inevitable, simply because
the two Robs are too similar. They are both schemers, they both
humor and buffoonery to hide their cunning strategic side, they both
love to lie, and... most
of all... their strategies both depend on them having sheep surrounding
them. They both NEED to have some clay they can
work with. There was no possible way the two of them could have
EVER co-existed on the same tribe. And since
Boston Rob is a workhorse who is not only more charismatic but is also
useful around camp, who do you think the rest of the tribe was going to
go with? Especially when Rob C. was dead meat as an honorary
"former winner" the minute he showed up there.
My prediction for Chapera was that Sue was going to
go first, and she would be followed by Rob C. In truth I probably just got them
reversed, but Rob C. just never had a chance at all. This tribe
layout was TERRIBLE for him. In fact, if you remember back
to Amazon, there were times when Rob was in danger at the start back then too...
simply because he is weak around camp. His strength is simply not
at the start of the game, and it never will be.
now Rob Cesternino is hitting the interview circuit, defending his
and telling the world that he never had a chance. He is trying
his best to salvage his legacy, knowing full well that a lot of
nitpicky Survivor geeks will
begin to second guess if he was actually ever that good. But my
point is that he doesn't
have to do that. Rob's legacy is secure and it always will
be. His brilliance as a player was evident when he went into this
game on an equal playing ground with everyone else-- in Amazon-- when
he wasn't treated like a former winner because he played against a
bunch of strangers. Which is the only way that true Survivor can
ever really be played anyway. You can only play Survivor with
strangers. Anything else is just basically an exhibition
editing of episode four can make it look like Rob Cesternino was
outplayed, or that Rob Cesternino
was booted for being lazy. But all you have to do is look at the
Survivor Insider voting comments to see the truth. Right down the
line, the Chaperas pretty much all said the exact same thing when they
voted for him-- "Rob, I
didn't like the way you played last time and I don't want you to stick
around." "Rob, you're too smart and we can't have you
here." "Rob, I don't want to face you in the endgame." You
see, Chapera KNEW they would never let Rob
Cesternino win this game. Boston Rob KNEW that
Rob C. was not a sheep, because he had seen him before. And for
that reason alone, Rob Cesternino, one of the greatest players in
Survivor history, if not THE best altogether, simply had to go
Don't let the editing fool you. Rob never had a chance at all.
None. If you can't take out Richard, you take out Rob C.
instead. That's just the way that All Stars is played. The better and more famous
you are, the more danger you will be in. Just ask Tina.
know I am a little close to this topic since I am friends with Rob, but
would have said this about any great Survivor player who went home
That's why I wrote that stuff in my pre season column, I knew it
would come up at some point early in the season. In fact, this
whole topic reminds me of
something that Stephen King once said in an interview. A
reporter was asking if he minded that so many of his books had turned
into shitty movies. Because over and over, his bestselling hit
stories would always wind up
being horrible movies. So the reporter asked him, "Aren't
that your work is being made into crap? Don't you worry that the
will ruin your books?" And he just smiled and pointed to his
bookshelf. He said "A bad movie doesn't ruin the book at
all. The books are still sitting right there, just like they
always have been, waiting to be read."
So yes Rob, you
never had much of a chance. You are absolutely correct.
But you still ruled in the Amazon,
when it really mattered. And when, let's be honest here, a
Survivor season actually counted. And if you want an All Star
legacy, how about we
leave it at this: I have never seen a player mouth so many angry,
disappointed f-bombs in one episode. In your final episode you
single handedly put
Andrew Dice Clay to shame. There, are you happy? Although
come on dude, I
never said anything in the Andy Kaufman strategy
about being voted out fourth. Way to fuck up my strategy,
Predictions for Next Week:
- Jerri is suddenly taking a turn into "I'm sick and miserable"
land, and this could single handedly save Ethan's bacon. Oops,
now I remember from Africa, Ethan doesn't eat bacon. Just ask
Tom. But Jerri's downfall could be starting. If Saboba goes to Tribal Council next week it is
probably neck and neck between if they would ditch Jerri or
Ethan. Jenna Lewis is perfectly safe, of course, and Rupert should be fine. At least, as
long as he doesn't build the next shelter on a giant anthill directly
under a wasp's nest. I pick Jerri to go home next from Saboga.
- Ahh, Richard. He truly is a great character and I
think he is even MORE fun to watch the second time
around. He is proving that he was no fluke whatsoever last time,
not as a
player nor as a fun TV character. Simply put, this guy is reality
gold. But that being said, at no point in this game has Richard
ever actually made himself any
safer. He has yet to face a Tribal Council, and
he should still be the prime candidate to go home should Mogo Mogo ever
wind up there. It will either be him or
Shii Ann, with I guess longshot Colby being at risk as well. Lex
for now and Kathy of course won't be going anywhere for a long, long
So my prediction for Mogo Mogo is that Richard will be voted out first.
And if that happens I think it will be a mistake. I
think voting off Richard prior to the merge would be a HUGE mistake.
It would simply be a selfish desire for revenge that doesn't
do anything other than satisfy the collective egos of his
I mean, get rid of Shii Ann first, she doesn't do anything. She
doesn't catch a dozen fish a day. But I believe Richard will go
home next... and I believe it will be a mistake from
which Mogo Mogo may never recover.
Chapera - I
predict Rob C. will come back as an Outcast and make bitches out of all of 'em.
Just kidding. Clearly this is Boston Rob (and Amber's)
tribe. Tom is just along for the ride, he will go anywhere the
power might be. And Alicia is probably their fourth, simply because
she is easier to control than Sue. It seems like a no brainer that
Sue would be voted out next.
My Twist Prediction
Look at it this way-- there are 27 days left and 14 people are left in
game. There HAS to be a point somewhere along
the line where more than one player gets voted off. It is
something that has to happen-- unless two people quit of course.
prediction for next week was going to be that the two losing tribes
both lose a
member. But then... I swear, just ten minutes before I posted
this... I saw
a commercial for next week's episode. In the commercial, Jeff
says that "the tribe that finishes last will be dissolved." So
that could be the twist we are looking for. And of course my
wife will kill me if I don't mention that she predicted this
before she even saw the commercial. In any case, twists are
good and memorable, and next week's episode should be fun to watch.
AFTER WEEK FOUR
Looks like we got some Chaperas ovah heah.
1. Tom Buchanan
Tom is rapidly becoming the most underrated Survivor player of all time.
2. Kathy Vavrick O-Brien
"Kittycat" is on a perfect tribe for her to succeed.
3. Amber Brkich
Will moan if she gets chocolate.
4. Rob Mariano
The best Italian left in the game.
5. Lex van den Berghe
"What's that one in the middle, Hatch? Is that your bait?" <-- the quote of the week.
6. Alicia Calaway
Still has yet to wave a finger in somebody's face.
7. Rupert Boneham
So much for his log cabin dreams.
8. Colby Donaldson
should be ranked higher but the Insider clips (and the Jenna Morasca
interviews) keep hinting that he is not very well liked out there.
9. Jenna Lewis
Still waiting for that video from home.
10. Shii Ann Huang
you ever notice that Shii Ann has a reputation as being "good at
puzzles" but she hasn't actually won one of them yet? She blew
the "number of flags" puzzle challenge in Thailand, she "pulled a
Daniel Lue" and re-asked someone about having a feather in the All Stars mixer challenge, and
then Mogo Mogo just wound up sitting her out of the cube puzzle
altogether. Shii Ann is not a very successful Asian person.
11. Richard Hatch
Anyone who can stab a moray eel in the head is okay by me.
12. Ethan Zohn
Still trying to get his hackey sack back from that African kid.
13. Jerri Manthey
Panama isn't as bad as living with Corey Feldman... but it's getting close.
14. Sue Hawk
Still denies there was an alliance in Borneo.
As a special note, Survivor-Central would like to congratulate Jon
Dalton (Johnny Fairplay) on the success of his new reality show, The Littlest Groom. Thank you Fox, for helping
Mr. Dalton find his one true love.
Lanza is a writer and all-around good guy living in Los Angeles. He is
the lead author of the S-C All-Star
Stories as well as the Survivor: Okinawa
project (currently on episode 6!) And he hopes that Rob wound up making nice
with "big phony" Tina in Loser's Lodge. And yes I want details.