In this business, reality show recaps are my Kareem hook shots. Adele was born to sing, Keith Morrison was born to narrate Dateline, and I can finally say I was put on this planet to watch and scrutinize reality television.
While expanding its Barstool cinematic universe, Surviving Barstool is clearly the marquee franchise. That’s because for the American people there is nothing more entertaining than watching the most random collection of people simply live together. Somewhere along the way MTV made the conscious decision to hitch its wagon to Ridiculousness, when we’ve been begging for The Real World ever since Trishelle and Steven had that threesome in Vegas.
Only one of contestants on the 2nd season of Surviving Barstool was on my dream cast list last year and that’s obviously Stephen Cheah. After Cheah and Eddie, the rest of the group is either new to the company or is not as well recognized by your average Stoolie as season 1. One thing is for certain, Tommy would have run circles around these cats.
It’s like a season of Survivor with all brand new players vs. a season of returnees; both are necessary for the longevity of the game. Not a lot of these people interact on a daily basis, whether out of coincidence or choice. That also creates for a lot of mystery and confusion on who to trust, which is exactly how the first episode played out.
Here’s the cast:
I’m a victim of following context clues of editing to predict what’s going to happen at the end of the episode, so when it was revealed Tiko Texas was almost 2 hours late to the start of filming, I figured she either won the first challenge or was kicked off immediately.
KFC is back on hosting duties for Surviving Barstool, and while I do thoroughly enjoy the switch up in hosts, it makes me kinda feel like I’m cheating on Jeff D Lowe and that feels gross. KFC announces the first challenge, which is not for any type of immunity but instead a stay in the Mattress Firm suite, of course. Worth playing for?
I’ll say this, Mattress Firm really listened to the conspiracy theories and thought no better way to disprove a conspiracy theory than becoming even more in the public eye. How could a company believed to be facing bankruptcy due to a massive money laundering scheme possibly afford to advertise this aggressively with one of the biggest media companies in the world?
Anyways the group has to rummage through a pile of blankets and pillows that will inevitably cannibalize into Big Cat’s pile over the next 3-6 months to find 3 keys. The first person to get 3 keys in their cup stays in the suite and gets to pick a roommate for the night, or not.
The first to 3 keys is Jackie Nichols, KFC Radio legend and the brains behind Bean Girl™ brand.
Moments after securing her victory, Jackie realizes being in any type of power on the first day is never good. I can just see Tommy Smokes and that adorable yet unfuckable smirk sitting at his desk shaking his head at Bean Girl now.
In her very first moments on Surviving Barstool, Jackie immediately alerts the entire cast, production crew, janitors, Doordash employees, and all of us watching live that Tiko Texas’ Aunt Flo is in town, and that she’s trying to use it for sympathy to get in the Mattress Firm suite. That strategy honestly would have worked on me, cramps are the worst. You ever see those videos of men getting hooked up to a machine that mimics cramps and most of them pussy out around level 5-6? Women don’t lie about that, unless it’s to get out of having sex.
Naturally after this proclamation, Jackie picks Kontent Kim to share the suite with her and it’s a no brainer choice. Kontent Kim is someone you want to align yourself with long term and in life. I mean, have you seen how nice the sun looks in Oklahoma? The Bennett brand is a good one to attach yourself to. Plus, the Bean Girl x Mean Girl collab would go brazy.
Sleeping arrangements for the night outside of the suite are determined in the most natural fitting pairs you would totally expect. Cheah and Tiko, O’Malley and Rudy, plus Caroline and Eddie break off on their own. Everyone is hunting for a clue or an immunity idol, while Grace was experiencing a traumatic panic attack thinking about Rudy listening to her snore for 4 hours of R.E.M.-less slumber. Jackie finds the immunity clue and any Survivor fan can sense she may be playing too hard too quickly.
Before Jackie should have officially declared herself the smartest person in the world, Rudy notices her being sketchy and snoops through her backpack to find the clue and then the actual idol, hidden behind the iconic photo of Brandon Walker pushing Devlin. Savage. Once Jackie figures out where it is, it’s clear she has been pickpocketed. Rudy gets no blood on his hands. Jackie should have picked her target and told the rest of the group they had the idol so she could figure out it was Rudy who went through her stuff.
Likely as a direct result of her unjunked sleep, Jackie continues her week 1 reign by breezing through the immunity challenge of maneuvering eggs through a cage up into a tiny Mattress Firm bed, probably the props they use for Yelp photoshoots to make it look like a real business.
Not to start a Tommy chant in blog form, but having him helping behind the scenes for the challenges and clues is huge. This one felt very actual Survivor minus the starvation and chance for injury. TOM-MY! TOM-MY!
Kontent Kim and Jackie are unjunked as fuck again. Is this just a giant fake bedroom in the middle of the Barstool office? Somewhere Mantis is fuming.
It’s eventually brought to light that Stephen Cheah and Eddie formed a pre-show alliance which no one else seemed to think of. Eddie then tries to bring Tiko into the power alliance by throwing Jackie and O’Malley under the bus. I didn’t expect any less from the voice of No Quitters Pod (bring it back) than strategic game play.
To give Tiko’s game some credit, she is appearing in almost every conversation. Suffocating any chance to openly discuss a plan to vote her out. It actually works and the girls all agree to stick together and vote Eddie out. The only problem is Eddie walks in the room and proceeds to record the entire conversation on his phone. Precisely why the real Survivor would never allow technology.
Eddie knows the first couple of weeks are a numbers game, and he doesn’t have enough with just Rudy and Cheah. Clearly the Tiko plan didn’t work, so next up was Jackie. Offering her “the deal of a lifetime” aka a textbook alliance proposal, a tie seemed inevitable. 4 votes would go to Tiko (Cheah, Rudy, Jackie, and Eddie) and 4 to Eddie (Caroline, Grace, Kontent Kim, and Tiko).
That is until Power Play Cheah stepped in. My All 22 on Stephen Cheah back in February ’21 was as follows:
Stephen Cheah would never make the same mistake as the season 1 Surviving Barstool contestants. He’d break down every second of 40 seasons of game tape before going on. Undoubtedly would end up taking this way too seriously and not sure he has it in him to backstab anyone for money. Integrity is Stephen Cheah’s middle name. I could see him voting against himself if he felt he was playing poorly.
Minutes before the tribunal, Stephen Cheah tells Tiko that Caroline, hired literally moments ago in the very same room, is making a big game move and all the guys are voting for her. Honestly, shoutout to Caroline playing in back to back seasons like Rupert from Pearl Islands to All-Stars. But she’s gotta be exhausted.
Tiko falls right into his trap and the votes shake out exactly as I said before. Except Tiko casts a stray vote for Caroline and sends herself packing on the first episode. It’s never great being the first person voted out, but Tiko Texas is a shooting star that burns so bright.
Episode 1 ends with Stephen Cheah at the top of the power rankings. Divert attention away from himself and his alliance, cast doubt into rookie Caroline, and avoid creeping everyone out by saying Giovani Bernard in a weird accent. I’m just not sure he can sustain it.
Tune in tomorrow for episode 2 I think? Finale on Thursday to see if Tommy Smokes can wiggledick his way into another reality show win.