Brought to you by asap and The Associated Press, The Slug tastes pop culture for you — just in case it's been poisoned. E-mail us at theslug@ap.org.


Friday, October 19, 2007

"Survivor: China" Cover-Up

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(AP Photo/HO/CBS)

Looks like we no longer have to wonder why undies are being blurred out by CBS on "Survivor: China." Jeff Probst didn't mention it, but the castaways showed up to last night's immunity challenge —  the first swimming competition of the season — wearing previously unseen swim wear. The Slug guesses the producers simply tossed the contestants their suits to put on before the challenge. Do you think that's fair? And what about the tribal switcheroo? Was it right to force the teams to trade their strongest players? Poor Aaron and James!

Friday, October 12, 2007

"Survivor: China" Head Games

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(AP Photo/HO/CBS)

Is sneaky editing to blame? Or are the "Survivor: China" castaways who've been privy to the Hidden Immunity Idol clues — Jamie, Todd and booted Leslie — just big dumb-dumbs for not realizing the Hidden Immunity Idol is that plaque hanging above their heads? It looked like smarty-pants Todd was staring right at it during last night's episode, but we never saw the flight attendant go up in the air for it.

Monday, September 24, 2007

"Survivor: China" Goes Below the Belt

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(AP Photo/HO/CBS)

The most shocking thing about the premiere of "Survivor: China" last Thursday wasn't the Buddhist welcoming ceremony, Chicken's dismissal, the fact that this season is set in China or that the castaways were stranded in just the clothes they had on. No, The Slug was most alarmed that CBS blurred the underwear of Zhan Hu tribe member Erik Huffman, the curly-haired musician from Nashville. What gives? None of the other skivvy-wearing castaways received a blur.

Sure, "Survivor" has censored plenty of butt cracks and nipple slips from scantily clad contestants over the years, but this incident didn't seem to fall into either category. When The Slug asked a CBS spokeswoman why they blur his shorts, she said, "I don’t know for sure but probably a wardrobe malfunction." Really? Judging from the publicity photo above, Huffman's undies don't even have a trapdoor. First reward challenge should probably feature pants as a prize.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

"Survivor" and "Real World" Stand-Ins

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(AP Photo/HO/CBS)

CBS has been posting some pretty cool YouTube videos shot by "Survivor: China" host Jeff Probst. The new season debuts Sept. 20. This one is about the Dream Team, a group of twentysomethings who test out the physical challenges and assist in other departments. They're like cast members, but they compete for beer instead of $1 million. Nice. The Dream Team members even sit at Tribal Council so the set can be lit properly for television. CBS says upcoming videos will be about walking to the challenges and a day in the life of Probst.

"Survivor" isn't the only reality TV show to have a Dream Team. When we visited "The Real World" house in Austin, Texas, a few years back for the AP, the producers also employed seven look-a-likes. Before the actual cast moved in, the look-a-likes — they were just called production assistants, not Dream Teamers — had to just hang out around the house so the camera operators could practice following folks around. They also helped confuse on-lookers who wanted to know who was in the cast before the show aired. Sneaky!

Friday, January 12, 2007

Jeff Probst Talks "Survivor: Fiji"

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(AP Photo/HO/CBS)

Nineteen castaways?! Two Hidden Immunity Idols?! Luxurious campsite?! What the heck is going on with the next season of "Survivor"!? (At least they're not dividing the tribes by race again.) The Slug called Jeff Probst for every detail we could squeeze out of him about the Fiji-set edition of the CBS show, premiereing Feb. 8. (And if you want to find out where those two Hidden Immunity Idols are hidden, you'll have to listen to our asap podcast.) The Q&A, after the jump. Unless you don't want to be spoiled. At all.

Continue reading "Jeff Probst Talks "Survivor: Fiji"" »

Monday, December 18, 2006

Sundra to Blame for Ozzy's Loss?

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Poor Ozzy. All that swimming, jumping, fishing, coconut tree climbing and puzzle solving for nothing! Well, not nothing. Lusth does go home with a $100,000 check and a 2008 Mercury Mariner. Listen in on our conversation with the "Survivor" runner-up about his soft porn past, Jeff Probst's infatuation with him and why Sundra Oakley may be to blame for his loss.

The Slug: Hey Ozzy. Congratulations on winning the car. Did you get to check it out?

Ozzy Lusth: I don't get to see the car until March.

The Slug: Whaaa?!

Ozzy Lusth: I know. Talk about buzzkill.

The Slug: It could have been a very merry Christmas!

Ozzy Lusth: I know. I wanted to take all my homies down to Baja for a big surf trip, but that ain't happenin' now.

The Slug: Too bad. So tell me how you feel about being the runner-up to Mr. Kwon.

Ozzy Lusth: It's bittersweet. I'm disappointed because I didn't win. Obviously. But if there's anybody to be runner-up to, it's Yul. He's an incredible guy, a lot of integrity. I respect him deeply as a friend and as a competitor. I think we both played an amazing game. He was able to convince one more person more than I was. That's a fact that might haunt me for the rest of my life but probably not.

The Slug: Jeff Probst seemed really upset you didn't win. What was up with that?

Continue reading "Sundra to Blame for Ozzy's Loss?" »

The Slug Talks to Yul Kwon

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The Slug just got off the phone with "Survivor: Cook Islands" winner Yul Kwon. He is more modest, intelligent and endearing than he comes off on TV, if you can believe that. We asked him all about crafting his undulating strategy, taming Jonathan Penner, teaming with Becky Lee and what he's looking for in a mate. Grannies will want to hear this.

LISTEN: Yul Kwon on his newfound sex symbol status and being single.

     

The Slug: Congratulations, Yul. How are you feeling?

Yul Kwon: A mixture of elation and sleep deprivation. I think I only slept for an hour because we had to get up early for an "Early Show" interview. Since we're matched to the East Coast, we got up at 3:30 a.m.

The Slug: Did you get to enjoy the after-party at all?

Yul Kwon: I did. It was wonderful having my family there. I think a lot of people were out partying. I didn't want to sound too stupid in my interviews so I thought I should probably take it easy.

The Slug: Doubt that'll happen. Walk us through your strategy. How did you go from Day One to Day 39?

Yul Kwon:
I think my strategy changed a number of times over the course of the season. I think the thing that helps you the most in this game — besides sheer luck — is the ability to adapt to different situations. I came in with the strategy or trying to play a clean game. I realized early on that is completely naive. Unless you're incredibly lucky, you can't be successful at "Survivor" without manipulating or deceiving to some extent. I wasn't comfortable with that role, but it's something I had to get used to.

The Slug: At what point did you think you could really win?

Yul Kwon:
Up until the mutiny, I was pretty comfortable in my position. I felt I'd done a good job deflecting attention away from me. In a strategic sense, I was able to play up Jonathan being the major strategic threat that everyone distrusted. Ozzy was the main threat in terms of challenges and physicality. When the mutiny happened, I thought we would be wiped out. I didn't think there was a possibility we would make it all the way through until the end. At that point, I pretty much gave up my individual game. I just wanted any of us from the Aitu four to make it through to the end. I realized that we might get to the end, and I might get to the end once we started winning the first couple of immunity challenges. I realized even though we were down in numbers, we worked much better as a team.

The Slug: Obviously, you were going to take Becky to the final two. Had there been a final two instead of final three, what did you think would've happened? Did you think in the back of your mind you could win against her?

Continue reading "The Slug Talks to Yul Kwon" »

Yul Kwon Is the Ultimate "Survivor"

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Don't you just love a happy ending? Smartypants —  make that smartyshorts —  Yul Kwon beat Ozzy Lusth on "Survivor: Cook Islands" with just one vote while Kwon's sidekick Becky Lee received zero, making that whole final three instead of final two thing feel totally awkward. And despite the highly controversial segregated tribes at the beginning of the game, a member of each racial group was present in the final five. Later today, we'll be talking to Kwon, Lusth and Lee. Send your questions into The Slug at theslug@ap.org.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Hats Off to Jonathan on "Survivor"

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Boo. Evil Jonathan Penner was sent to the jury — without his hat! —  on "Survivor: Cook Islands" last night. Other than Yul Kwon, he was probably the smartest person on the island (and least loyal). He took the chicken. He mutinied. He turned on his alliance. And he didn't give them any fish! We decided to find out if Adam Gentry was right and see if Penner is a cancerous rat in our cast-off interview. Reserve your judgment, Jonathan haters.

Jonathan Penner:
Hi, Derrik. I'm not excited to be talking to you.

The Slug: Hi, Jonathan. I'm very excited to be talking to you. I'm more excited to talk to you than anybody else. Why do you think they voted for you?

Jonathan Penner: 'Cause they're not stupid. They knew I was the last potential threat of them going all the way to the final four.

The Slug: What was your strategy out there? Obviously it wasn't to be under the radar.

Jonathan Penner:
I'm not an under-the-radar kind of person. I wasn't an under-the-radar kind of person within the first two minutes of the game because I stole the chicken and Yul saw me do it and then Jeff asked him about the chicken and I was outed in front of everybody. My role was established within a day. I'm not blaming them. That's who I am, and that's how I played the game. My strategy was to stay ahead of everyone. If there was a move to be made, make it before anyone else could make it.

The Slug: I thought you were going home every week you were at Tribal Council.

Jonathan Penner: We all knew. You can put this in is or not. It's edited. I think I was edited fairly, but the show is edited to generate suspense at the Tribal Council. I knew how every vote was going to go down.

The Slug: Except last night?

Jonathan Penner: No. Including last night. I knew was going home.

The Slug: Then what were your parting words all about? You said you wish you had been told.

Jonathan Penner: Nah, come on. Sure, one wishes one gets told because one's feelings get hurt when one is talked about behind one's back. I think what I was talking about was I understood why they didn't talk to me. The only reason you say that is because you're prepared to have a dialogue with the person you're talking to. And that's why the person who gets voted off never — or rarely — gets told because you give them an opportunity to say, "Don't make it me. Make it them!!!"

The Slug: Right. Why were you the villain? Were you the villain?

Jonathan Penner: I don't see it that way. Maybe I'm stupid. I think the moves that I made were antagonistic, but I think I was cut more like the comic relief or the narrator. I'm the Phil Silvers or something. Honestly, I don't think I was being mean. Yeah, I talk a lot — as you now know. But I was not a liar out there. I'm a pretty straightforward person.

The Slug: You have some acting experience. Were you playing a role or being yourself out there?

Continue reading "Hats Off to Jonathan on "Survivor"" »

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Three is the Magic Number

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Not sure what we think about this. According to TV Guide's Dec. 11 issue, Mark Burnett says the "Survivor: Cook Islands" finale on Dec. 17 will feature three finalists instead of the usual two. That'll totally mess up the "you and me, final two" deals so typically made toward the end of the game.

And with nine jury members this season, that means there could be a three-way tie for the $1 million prize (which would totally make for the blahest ending ever). But first: Parvati Shallow slices her hand open and the castaways' loved ones show up on this Thursday's episode. Come back on Friday for our cast-off interview.