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A real-life survival story bookends a chaotic Survivor

Survivor Cambodia: Second Chance opened and closed with a real-life survival story, one that involved Terry Deitz’s 16-year-old son Danny. Terry left the game after Jeff Probst woke him in the middle of the night with the dire news. Can you imagine getting on that boat in the dark? Knowing that there’s at least 24 hours of flying and …

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What Fear: Buried Alive really taught us

The scariest thing about Fear: Buried Alive may have been how difficult it is to produce compelling live television. Thanks to the unpredictability of real people, however, the special turned out to be a lot better—and less sensational—than I thought it would be. The first hour of the two-hour special was quite flat. Even putting people in coffins and …

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An obvious blindside of a Survivor who suddenly reappeared

The facial expression Monica delivered at the end of Survivor Cambodia‘s Tribal Council was quite spectacular, and she clearly was blindsided by her alliance. From the first day 12 scene, however, to Jeff Probst’s leading questions at Tribal Council, her exit was anything but a surprise, leading to a kind of oh-okay-fine episode. If someone hasn’t been …

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From start to sad finish, a perfect episode of Survivor

Some episodes of Survivor are basically perfect, and this fourth episode of Survivor Cambodia: Second Chance, was one of those. Act after act, moment after moment, everything worked: The end of the reward challenge. A dejected tribe being reenergized and then flaming out. A classic immunity challenge that tests tribal communication and teamwork but is full of comedy and pain. Kass …

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Project Runway breaks the fourth wall and Tim Gunn breaks down

There’s something about Project Runway recently that has made it feel a little lifeless and listless. Maybe it was the move away out the city to a studio. Maybe it’s the casting. Or maybe it’s just the nature of this reality competition: Throughout its life, it has dipped into mediocrity (a weak start on Lifetime; a terrible final season on Bravo) and …

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Survivors drop their buffs, lose their minds

The disorientation felt by Survivor players after they’d gotten comfortable—or even comfortable in their ostracized—is something I experienced when watching tonight’s episode. In fact, I felt a little like Keith trying to get into a hammock: I was having a good time but wasn’t sure I’d gotten the hang of this thing quite yet. Keeping …

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Dramatic reversals, overreactions make for a thrilling Survivor Cambodia

Sometimes on Survivor, the best, most entertaining, most strategic thing happens, and it’s still a tiny bit disappointing. That’s how I felt about the rather incredible swing from last week to this week. The editing gives Jeff Varner a lot of credit for the major shift that turned members of episode one’s alliance into its …

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