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I never thought "Francesca" was a hard name to pronounce, but apparently it's impossible.

“Survivor: Redemption Island” Episode 1: “You’re Looking at the New Leader of Your Tribe” (Phillip thinks it’s him!)


Han Solo: “Keep your distance, though, Chewie, but don’t look like you’re trying to keeping your distance.”
[Chewie barks a question]
Han Solo: “I don’t know. Fly casual.”


If we’ve learned anything from recent seasons of “Survivor” it’s the need to fly casual. Lay low. Go ahead and strategize. Go ahead and find immunity idols. Go ahead and play hard like Kristina Kell, just don’t be as obvious about it as Kristina Kell. (Who is Yve + Alina from “Survivor: Nicaragua.”)

However, brava to her for making a big move on the very first episode of “Survivor: Redemption Island.” After “Nicaragua” I am starved for big moves. But make them SMART big moves. Pissing off Boston Rob Mariano on the first day? Not smart.

Also not smart: Making an alliance with Phillip “Pipe That” Sheppard and his motor mouth. How many sisters does he have? Seven? How have they let him get away with this “Did I mention I’m a former federal agent” and “You need to pipe that” and “We’re done talking” and “hyper state of arousal” and “excuse me!” horseshite for so long?

Ometepe, minus Rob.

Boston Rob — hero-worshipped right off the bat, as if “All-Stars” never happened — saw through Kristina right away and knew she was looking for the idol. (While everyone else was socializing and building camp.) He played it down. She should’ve tried to make an alliance out of it, but instead she panicked and decided to go against him.

Rob used her decision to go against him to go against her — calling her out at Tribal Council and making a big move in front of the impressionable young’uns. He won.

Rob proves if you get a second chance, you don’t waste it. You change or at least convince people you’ve changed. He will do well.

And he’s right: He’s playing with amateurs. Francesca Hogi should’ve kept her mouth shut at Tribal Council and Phillip’s “crazy outburst” saved Natalie Tenerelli’s fate and sealed Francesca’s.

Poor Francesca is now gone … but she’s gone to Redemption Island. We still don’t know how that will play out.

I feel sorry for Kristina, but what can you do…

While Rob was being casual, just making friends with the worshipping young’uns, Russell Hantz made a speech about changing and then went right back to his routine of trying to organize a “dumbass girls” alliance.

Immunity winners Zapatera, minus Russell.

LOVED his patronizing exchange with Stephanie Valencia, asking her — like a teacher, leading a student — who he took to the end the first time on “Samoa.” Natalie! The second time, on “Heroes vs. Villains”? Parvati!

He thinks she’s stupid enough to go with the “i” name theme. He makes his pitch. She goes for it, or at least says yes, which is the correct response even if you don’t mean it. (She is not living up to her namesake. The Real Stephanie, from “Palau,” would’ve told Russell off.)

And, point of order, Parvati owned the Russell/Parv alliance. She is not a “cute little girl.” She’s the best player this game has ever seen.

David Murphy (my pre-season favorite) and Mike Chiesl want Russell gone. Good idea. You can’t bank on having him take you to the end. He does breed paranoia and he can’t be trusted to stick with people. (He tried to get rid of Parvati and he ousted her BFF, Danielle, in a blindside. He’s also obnoxious and emotionally exhausting.)

Rob is on Ometepe, which has more women than men. He’s good with girls. Very good. Ashley Underwood even said losing the immunity challenge made her feel like she let her “leader” down. Phillip believes he’s good with girls, too, and then he pissed off his alliance mate, Kristina, and their co-conspirator, Francesca. (It’s worth noting, though, that Fabio clone Matt Elrod is probably even better with girls, without having to try.)

Rob said he was going to try to vote off Francesca (or whatever Phillip called her, with his dry mouth), because Fran said right off the bat that Rob was sneaky and she didn’t want him around. But Kristina’s obvious moves prompted Rob to change his mind. And by his mind, I mean everyone’s mind. Ometepe is now The Borg. And Phillip, Kristina and Francesca are on the outs.

So far Russell isn't doing much. Even though Rob's team lost the immunity challenge, he's still in charge.

Right now, even with his tribe down one player, Rob is running the game.

Who will go to Redemption Island next week, if Ometepe loses again? Phillip or Kristina? As annoying as Phillip is, he’s not as dangerous as Kristina. She (over)played her hand too soon. But she does still have that idol…

Side note: Enough with the “Redemption Island” “What if?” videos — like Shambo. Really? Shambo? We get the point of coming back.

These people are still around:

Ometepe Tribe

* Andrea Boehlke, 21, Random Lake, Wis.; student
* Matt Elrod, 22, Nashville; pre-med student
* Kristina Kell, 46, Malibu; law student
* Grant Mattos, 29, West Hollywood; former NFLer, yoga instructor
* Phillip Sheppard, 52, Santa Monica; technology executive
* Natalie Tenerelli, 19, Acton, Calif.; professional dancer
* Ashley Underwood, 25, Benton, Maine; nurse
* “Boston Rob” Rob Mariano

Zapatera Tribe

* Mike Chiesl, 31, Del Mar, Calif.; former Marine
* Ralph Kiser, 44, Lebanon, Va.; farmer
* Krista Klumpp, 25, Columbia, S.C.; pharmaceutical rep.
* David Murphy, 31, West Hollywood; defense attorney
* Stephanie Valencia, 25, Long Beach, Calif.; waitress
* Sarita White, 36, Santa Monica; visual effects producer
* Julie Wolfe, 50, Oceanside, Calif.; firefighter
* Steve Wright, 51, Huntington Beach, Calif.; former NFL player
* Russell Hantz


Catch up on my “Survivor” stories and spoilers in this nifty archive.


Russell groupies, don't even start. He's still not the best Survivor player ever. He won't be until he plays a third season, like Rob, where people will have SEEN him play before.

By Gina Carbone

I’m nowhere near a place where I can talk about what just happened on the “I’m Not a Good Villain” episode of “Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains.”

So I’d like to start with the top three descriptions for Russell Hantz:

3. “The Evil Oompa Loompa” (that one’s mine)
2. “The hobbit on crack.” (Boston Rob Mariano)
1. “A bandy-legged little troll who, you know, sort of like scampers around with his tooth missing and, you know, is in and out of the bushes and never washes.”

Thank you, Courtney Yates, for that last, apt description.

No thank you, Coach Ben Wade, for pointlessly writing Courtney’s name down instead of Russell’s.

And don’t give me that crap about “loyalty.” Your first loyalty was to Rob. Then you shifted to the second person you spoke to. Then the third…

At least Jerri's (dumbass) vote was an attempt at strategy. Coach's vote for Courtney was just passive-aggressive.

Coach is loyal to whoever pays him the most attention. He’s like my cat.

And Jerri scratches him behind his ego.

She’s his special lady friend.

And she’s weak. Very weak. Or as she put it, “I’m not a good villain.”

She waffles more than Sunday brunch at IHOP and her ultimate decision was to distrust Rob — whom she’s seen in action in the past — in favor of Russell.

Can you imagine Jerri’s face when she actually watched Russell on “Samoa”?

Because, really, what is her end game? She has Coach (for now) but how can she think she’s anything other than No. 5 on Russell’s list of People To Take To The End?

I believe he will at least attempt to stay with Danielle till the end, because she’s useless.

Seriously, Why Is Danielle?

Especially when she makes arguments like this:

Danielle: “What’s the positive to keeping Rob besides keeping the tribe strong? He’s a mover and a shaker. He can’t be trusted.”

Yeah, hi. It’s “Survivor.” Keeping the tribe strong is a strong argument for keeping him.

Yes, he’s a mover and a shaker. But he’s been an honest one to this point. A strong, benevolent leader.

If you want to ditch him — and I don’t really blame you, he is a threat — wait for the merge.

It’s not like anyone on the Heroes tribe is waiting to join up with him, knowing his past.

Whereas Russell, unfortunately, is tabula rasa.

No one seems to care that Russell has been dishonest and disloyal from the start. He is the No. 1 true Villain.

Seriously, did no one hear the warning bells after he stole the idol and lied to Tyson?

Coach? Where was your loyalty there? Tyson consoled you when mean ole Sandra hurt your feelings a few weeks ago.

Yes, I still hate Russell. Now more than ever.

Jerri, I used to like you and I still would if you voted for Rob because you really felt strongly about it -- the way Russell does. Instead, you waffled and whined and it was almost an accident that you picked this R over the other. You disappoint me, my not-so young padawan.

Do I respect his game? I respect how he manages to form insta-harems. No idea why. He’s disgusting enough on his own, but not washing and having a missing tooth? I’d cuddle with Rupert first.

He is so dang lucky. He got lucky with idiots last season and he got lucky again.

He also got lucky in that he got to sit out the final immunity challenge, where Rob failed to do everything for the Villains the way he usually does.

Jerri is weak. Coach is weak. Danielle is stupid. Parvati needs to have that big fake smile slapped off her face.

I can’t wait for the merge. I just pray that the remaining five Heroes stick together and don’t fall prey to The Russell Seed.

By the way, congrats, Colby Donaldson, on manning up. Three baskets (or two and an assist) in the basketball style challenge! Don’t get cocky.

And congrats to JT Thomas and Amanda Kimmel for finally figuring out how to solve a puzzle.

And congrats to Russell for … no, I can’t do it. I can’t.



Rob said he has played Survivor three times and the last night’s tribal was the first time he was “shocked” by an outcome.

Something doesn’t feel right, he said.

What? That the hobbit on crack got dumbass Tyson to make a bad move?

Rob didn’t understand how Russell, Danielle and Parvati could be so cocky.

They got him talking, anyway. They got him scared.

Rob is trying to figure out if one of the people in his tent (*psst*Coach!*andmaybeJerri*) is just pretending to be mad at the Three Stooges and if in reality the joke is on him.

Russell believes Jerri has “all kind of respect for me now” because he put his butt on the line for Parvati.

(Others may think that was chivalrous, but you, sir, are no Gryffindor! You are squarely in Slytherin.)

Jerri hated Parvati and he believes he brought them together.

Russell: “But I’m that good, where I can bring people together in this game for my good.”


The whole Rob vs. Russell thing has tapped into Jerri’s fear of commitment.

Parvati —with her big smile — told the camera “listen, crazy pants!” over Jerri, because at this point Coach and Jerri were in the middle of the two alliances: Russell, Parvati and Danielle vs. Rob, Sandra and Courtney.



Rupert, of all people, is making speeches about how they need Colby to step up.

Yeah, but have you met you, Rupert? Pot. Kettle. Consider doing the same.

But even Colby believes it is put-up-or-shut-up time for Colby.

And it is. Sure it is. But it’s past that point for Rupert.



Another basketball style challenge. Bad sign for the Heroes. They suck at this.

The reward: Waterfall lunch with beef, fruit and other stuff.

The villains sat out three women: Courtney, Sandra and Parvati.

(Sidenote: I HATE Parvati’s smile. Have I mentioned?)

Colby missed two shots while the other guys fought in the water.

Ha! But at least it wasn’t as sad as Coach’s shot.

Come on, Colby!


Finally, Colby does something. But I smell a rat. I think there was some production help on that. It seems to … perfectly timed. No?

Jeff Probst: “Colby has had Coach’s number in this challenge.”


Candice got the second point for the Heroes!

They were only playing to three.

JT is a good sprinter.

Colby got a third point!

Colby: “Redemption, baby!”

Jealous of the pick-up-hug he gave Candice, but she deserved it.

Colby said the win bought him some time and relieved tension in the tribe, but don’t forget: This was just the rewards challenge.

And the other person who got a goal was the other person on the outs with the main Heroes alliance: JT, Amanda and Rupert.

So if they lose immunity it’s still probably going to be Colby or Candice.



Heroes were enjoying their meal as “the fantastic five” when Candice read some slip of paper that said there was another immunity idol at their beach.

Girl, you should’ve kept that to yourself.

I LOVE Amanda’s green hoodie. Why don’t I have a green hoodie?

JT tried to play Rob, suggesting they all look for the idol together.

They all agreed.

Ha ha!

Colby believes they are all “fighting the good fight” as a team.

Maybe it’s true. But I don’t buy it.


Jerri talks to Russell and Coach.

Russell said he didn’t want to swear on his family or anything, but he wants to take Coach and Jerri to the top three.

Or so he told Coach and Jerri.

He also told them he didn’t think he could beat Parvati for the million.

Coach seems to be on to him. He told the camera Russell was “spinning a pure line of gold” and he was worried that Jerri was buying it.

Tip: If Coach is onto you, your game is too obvious. It’s going to backfire.

Jerri told Coach she’s made her decision and she hopes and prays Coach will be there because he’s the only other person she can look in the eyes and trust. They’ve been together since day one.

Love the soft guitar in the background!

Coach said, yes, he and Jerri are honor bound (was there some marriage ceremony in the background?) so he will follow her.

Ohhhhhh. Nooooooooo. Coach and Jerri are talking about how they don’t trust Rob.

But now it’s turning soap opera.

Coach’s feelings are hurt because she made a pact with Russell and just hoped Coach would follow.

He felt like she was saying she trusted him and Russell equally and he hoped that was not the case.

She said it was not the case at all.

And, once again, someone on the Villains tribe has to console the baby dragon slayer.

Jerri: “You and I are in a really good position and, you know, it just finally made sense to me.”

Coach, pouting: “I just can’t believe you just threw all of your eggs into Russell’s basket.”

Jerri: “Well, I wouldn’t say all my eggs.”

Stop talking about eggs. It’s kind of creepy.

Jerri told the camera Coach is too naïve. He is dead set against manipulating people and you can’t be that way on this show.

Well, it’s not true that he’s dead set against backstabbing an manipulating. He is supposedly on Rob’s side, but he bowed to Russell like a serf.



We’re back to tribal immunity. You know, I really liked the double elimination with individual immunity.

Villains sat out Jerri, Danielle and Russell.

(Has Danielle done a single thing in this game?)

Oh not another puzzle. We know how this tends to go. Maybe the Heroes will rally. (Ha ha!)

Rupert keeps falling ON HIS BUSTED TOE. *Is the obvious light flashing yet?*

Candice did very well on her first time running across that tarp thing.

Courtney, you may not be terribly strong at challenges, but you're funny. And you hate Russell. Therefore, I am on your side. Please connect with JT after the merge and convince him to toast the troll.

Courtney lost “a ton of time for the Villains,” as Jeff put it.

But that shouldn’t matter to the Villains at this point. They have enough numbers on their side that one “weak” player is almost a plus to keep around.

Jeff mentioned again that Rob tends to be good at puzzles. Which makes me think the Heroes will win and someone will try to get rid of Courtney. And by “someone” I mean the bandy-legged troll.

JT and Amanda were doing “a great job on the puzzle,” Jeff said.

According to the ousted Tom, JT is enamored with Amanda.

And they won.

So a Villain is going home.



Coach, of course, took the obvious knee-jerk reaction: Get rid of Courtney because in this one challenge she did not do well. He’s conveniently forgetting how Colby had his number in the rewards challenge.

I think Coach is just trying to justify his decision to stick with Jerri who has decided to stick with Russell.

Why do people follow Russell? Can someone explain?

Oh, and Russell describes it as Rob getting his butt kicked out there.

He was lucky that he wasn’t out there and I’m sure he believes he could’ve won it for them.

Why is Rob talking to Russell at all?

Russell said one of the two who should go home are one of these two “right here,” pointing to Sandra Diaz or Courtney.

Rob said he’d never heard of that approach before — just pointing at someone and saying “I want to vote you off.”

I’m so done with Russell’s self-congratulation in the video interviews.

Coach tried to convince Rob to vote out Courtney. Rob said Courtney is loyal and that matters to him and — nice touch — doesn’t that matter to Coach?

Rob knew Coach’s reputation for being loyal was the most important thing to him.

Coach bumped fists with Rob. Coach called Rob his right-hand man. He’s close to being a big liar here.

Rob wants to get rid of Russell BECAUSE HE’S NOT STUPID. He’s the only one.

The group wants to blindside Rob.

If only they had seen the “Samoa” season they wouldn’t say this.

Danielle: “What’s the positive to keeping Rob besides keeping the tribe strong? He’s a mover and a shaker. He can’t be trusted.”

What? That’s Russell.

Danielle said Rob is the biggest threat. If only they knew.

Coach is too easily led.

Coach said he can’t go back on his word to Russell and company, but he already gave his word to Boston Rob. So no matter what he’s screwed himself.

Rob knows that the other side is going after him.

Rob is the only smart player. OK, Russell is manipulative and savvy, but he’s mostly just lucky.

Rob to Jerri: “You can always trust somebody when their back’s against the wall.”

Once again, if only they had seen “Samoa.” They would treat Russell 10 times worse than Rob.

Jerri isn’t sure what to do.

I would like to read an interview with Jerri, explaining exactly what she expected to get from this decision.



Rob vs. Russell at tribal. Solidly Team Rob all the way.

Coach just wants his two soldiers to get along.

Rob: “At some point you pick someone to trust and you go with that. And that’s all there is to do. And I did that. And I think tonight’s vote is going to be to bring this tribe closer together.”

Jerri is still waffling but she has convinced herself she’s made the right call.

Rob voted for Russell. He believes “Game over. It’s either you or me.”

PLEEEEEEASE don’t give the troll the satisfaction of winning over Rob.

1. Rob
2. Russell
3. Rob
4. Russell
5. Rob
6. Russell
7. Courtney (must’ve been Coach)

8. Rob


I hate you, Jerri. Hate.

Rob: “You’re a little man.”

He said that to Coach or Russell? You know, I think it was to Coach. Even now, no one blames Russell for being evil. They blame everyone else.

He’s a magic troll, mama.



Rupert Boneham (Pearl Islands, All-Stars)
Colby Donaldson (Australian Outback, All-Stars)
Amanda Kimmel (China, Fans vs. Favorites)
JT Thomas (Tocantins)
Candice Woodcock (Cook Islands)

Sandra Diaz (Pearl Islands)
Danielle DiLorenzo (Panama)
Russell Hantz (Samoa)
Jerri Manthey (Australian Outback, All-Stars)
Parvati Shallow (Cook Islands, Fans vs. Favorites)
Benjamin “Coach” Wade (Tocantins)
Courtney Yates (China)


Catch up on past “Survivor” stories in my handy little archive.

"Survivor: Heroes vs. Villans" cast, standing from left, Benjamin "Coach" Wade, Courtney Yates, Amanda Kimmel, Rob Mariano, Cirie Fields, Rupert Boneham, Stephenie LaGrossa, Colby Donaldson, Tyson Apostol, Jessica "Sugar" Kiper, James "J.T" Thomas Jr., Danielle DiLorenzo, Sandra Diaz, kneeling from left, James Clement, Parvati Shallow, Russell Hantz, Candice Woodcock, Tom Westman, Jerri Manthey and Randy Bailey are shown. (Monty Brinton / CBS)

By Gina Carbone

There’s no crying in “Survivor.” There’s also no forced cuddling or bad puzzle-making.

One, maybe you get a pass.

Two, you seriously get on my boy Colby’s nerves.

Three? You’re out.

Sugar, you’re out. Auf wiedersehen. Go clean up your space.

The premiere of “Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains” has just come and gone.

True to the first episode’s title, “Slay Everyone, Trust No One,” my initial thoughts went to The Dragon Slayer, Coach Benjamin Wade.

Not only did Coach somehow manage to take out the still dreamy Colby Donaldson during a kind of rugby challenge — leaving the still hateable Tyson Apostol to say Colby should just give up his manhood and become a woman — he is running a flirty charm campaign on two fronts: With Jerri “Black Widow” Manthey and Rob “Boston Rob” Mariano.

He seems to be genuinely crushing on both.

Jerri’s fellow female villains are trying to make a cupid match between The Black Widow and The Dragon Slayer, but I’m rooting for more egregious sucking up as Coach repeatedly tells Boston Rob he’s “hanging on every word” Rob says.

*I sense a Valentine’s love match! Look out, Amber!*

Meanwhile a clearly envious Evil Russell Hantz silently seethes, still a patient spider waiting for the right moment to strike.

The Heroes tribe won reward — thanks in part to good football maneuvers by uber-threat J.T. Thomas and a topless run by Jessica “Sugar” Kiper.

They got fire as part of their reward, which didn’t mean too much when Boston Rob made fire from the sheer magical bounty of his awesomeness.

(Even Rob thinks his tribe would be smart to get rid of him first … but he doesn’t think they are that smart. Then again, judging by the previews for next week, Rob may take himself out of the game with a classic medical illness. There were already two injuries on night one — Rupert’s broken toe and … was it Stephenie’s shoulder? I still don’t know Stephenie.)

However, during the immunity challenge, the Heroes managed to blow a major lead from kayaking out to a torch when Cirie Fields, Sugar, Rupert Boneham and Amanda Kimmel couldn’t get it together to figure out a puzzle.

Meanwhile Boston Rob, Sandra Diaz-Twine and Randy Bailey owned their puzzle. (Are the villains smarter or just more able to work together this one time? It won’t last.)

On cue, Sugar started crying and — bless him — Jeff Probst called her on it.

Colby already wanted to dump Sugar (who competed during the Gabon season) because, as she told the camera, she’s used to having some kind of “protector” and wanted to snuggle up to him at night. And she talked too much at night when everyone wanted to sleep.

(Is Colby … not into women, or just some women? I only ask because he famously turned down Jerri, has no interest in Sugar and I’ve never heard about him linked to anyone, except that his Who’s Dated Who page says he was dating Vanna White in 2002 (?). Meanwhile, I’ve read gossip that JT has been linked to both Sugar and Parvati Shallow. I do not want to believe either.)

Tom wants to get rid of Cirie, because she’s a very strategic player and has played this game three times.

Cirie wants to keep Sugar around precisely because she is so annoying. She’s no threat. Cirie wants to ditch Stephenie LaGrossa. (Who?)

Amanda was debating between Sugar and Stephenie. “Cirie and I are here for blood,” Amanda said.”We are here to win this thing.”

Amanda has made it to the end twice? I am nowhere near a “Survivor” expert. She’s an unfamiliar face to me.

During the first tribal council, the Heroes went from 10 to nine by eliminating Sugar.

First vote: Sugar

Second: Sugar

Third: Sugar

Fourth: Sugar

Fifth: Amanda

Sixth: Sugar

Seventh: Sugar

(That was enough, but it was a 9-1 vote.)

Predictions? Even before “Survivor: Samoa” started I picked Russell Hantz as my favorite. He turned out to be evil.

This time, I am going to put my money behind … Jerri? Sure, why not. She’s manipulative without being too much of a threat. No one besides Colby is likely to have her on their radar. Coach has her back.

But I want Colby to win. He is such a gentleman. Still in love.

**Here are the remaining competitors**

Rupert Boneham (Pearl Islands, All-Stars)
James Clement (China, Fans vs. Favorites)
Colby Donaldson (Australian Outback, All-Stars)
Cirie Fields (Panama, Fans vs. Favorites)
Amanda Kimmel (China, Fans vs. Favorites)
Stephenie LaGrossa (Palau, Guatemala)
JT Thomas (Tocantins)
Tom Westman (Palau)
Candice Woodcock (Cook Islands)

Tyson Apostol (Tocantins)
Randy Bailey (Gabon)
Sandra Diaz (Pearl Islands)
Danielle DiLorenzo (Panama)
Russell Hantz (Samoa)
Jerri Manthey (Australian Outback)
Boston Rob Mariano (Marquesas, All-Stars)
Parvati Shallow (Cook Islands, Fans vs. Favorites)
Benjamin “Coach” Wade (Tocantins)
Courtney Yates (China)


Coach the Baby Dragon Slayer sobs, Puppet Master Cirie Fields sent home, Russell Hantz flubs idol on ‘Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains’

‘Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains’ recap: Russell disses the Red Sox; Randy goes home for being old; Villains, thy name is mud

‘Survivor Heroes vs. Villains’ recap: Boston Rob passes out; Villains rule; Stephenie sent home by James’ angry ‘one voice’

2009: The year No. 2 was the real No. 1

Holy crap! Natalie White beat Russell Hantz on ‘Survivor: Samoa’

Looks like Russell Hantz just won ‘Survivor: Samoa’ (Not!)

Survivor Samoa recap: And his name is Brett, the prayer warrior

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