All Star Strategy #6:  Playing Through the Pain
Written by Mario Lanza on 03.05.04

"Don't go away sad.
Don't go away mad.
Just go away."
 -Blondie, "Just Go Away."


I don't know about you, but I am kind of tired of all the contestants quitting this season. So far, 33% of the players who have been eliminated from All Stars left the game of their own free will. And while both players (Jenna and Sue) obviously had their reasons to leave, quite frankly I am finding this whole new trend to be a bit annoying. It is not that easy to sit through an episode like last night's, and I really hope we don't have any more of them.

You know, this whole quitting trend probably has something to do with the fact that these players have all played Survivor before, and they aren't quite as hungry for it a second time around.  A lot of them (*cough* Sue) just seem to be out there going through the motions.  In fact, now that I think about it, since the beginning of the season I would say that really only about half of the players really, truly have been playing balls out and have been going for the throat. The rest of them only seem to be out there because they wanted a paycheck.  In other words, it is possible that All Star Survivor might not have been all that great an idea.

But oh well, what can you do.

Anyway, I don't have much of a column this week. I don't really have much to say about this episode, and anything I DO say would probably just get me in trouble. My only comment about this week's episode is that I hope that nobody else quits the game, because it is getting annoying. And also because I know that Helen Glover and Teresa Cooper are sitting at home each week, watching the show, and wishing that the casting department had called them instead of Jenna and Sue four months ago.

So let's get back to the game next week, guys.  Please?  For me?

Oh yeah, and Sue would have been a shoo-in for the "Playing Through the Pain" award had she actually stuck around. The folks at Tylenol must be furious about this. Without Sue, which player is going to win the award this week?  Who will win the coveted "Playing Through the Pain" award?   Oh, the suspense mounts!


1. Kathy Vavrick-O'Brien
I hate to say it, but Rob Cesternino might not be "the best player never to win Survivor" anymore.  It might be Kathy.

2. Amber Brkich
Yeah like she's not in the final four. Please.

3. Lex van den Berghe
The "best player never to win" comment about Kathy could very well also apply to Lex. And that was before we even knew he could fish!

4. Rob Mariano
"This is my game, buddy." I love that Rob has not changed one iota since the Marquesas. We could be watching unused Marquesas footage for all we know. These could just be the outtakes.

5. Rupert Boneham
Hmm... it's a big drop off after #4 but ol' Rupert is the food gatherer at Chapera now. He should be around for a while.

6. Tom Buchanan
Tom is never in any danger, but he never really has a close ally either. It is tough to justify a ranking higher than this.

7. Alicia Calaway
Is still mad at Kimmi.

8. Jerri Manthey
Jerri could be in a great position to do well if Lex rises to power. She could be the surprise of the season if that happens and she suddenly jumps up to #1. And as a reader named Thomas pointed out to me...did you notice that Jerri is getting the "God edit?" Everything she says and every observation she makes turns out to be correct. Have you noticed that this season?

9. Shii Ann Huang
Both she and Colby are ranked low for now but one of them will jump way up in the near future. I am betting it will be her.

10. Ethan Zohn
Poor Ethan still doesn't get to fish.

11. Jenna Lewis
Serves you right for voting off Tina.

12. Colby Donaldson
He is about to get savaged by the rest of his tribe. Say hello to the new Roger Sexton.

Boot pick for next week: Colby

Mario Lanza is a 29-year old writer and programmer from Los Angeles. He is the lead author of the S-C All-Star Stories as well as the smash hit Survivor: Okinawa (currently on episode 8!)