Hello, good people, and welcome back to the Season Preview of Survivor Millennials vs Gen X! Yesterday, I broke down the Orange Millennial Tribe; today I'm taking on the Gen X Tribe. The Gen X tribe will wear purple, and why not, Prince was Gen X, amiright? What I learned about my own generation is that we've apparently become our parents and we REALLY hate the idea of participation trophies. Never thought that we'd be the ones that walked to school in three feet of snow, with no shoes, uphill, both ways. But apparently we did. Further, I have a feeling that many of these people may just bow out of the game so they can get back home and make sure those damn kids stay out of their yard. But I digress...
Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X - Season Preview
Gen X Tribe
By Jim Van Nest, Gen X'er
September 21, 2016
At the end of this column, I will make my season predictions - merge/jury, final tribal and winner. Since I did all the setup yesterday, let's get straight into breaking down the Gen X tribe, again in alphabetical order.
Bret LaBelle - Okay, I like Bret. He's a Boston police officer who likes to do improv in his free time. So he has a million stories, the fantastic Boston accent and you never know when he's actually telling the truth. One thing that will help him though is as a police officer is that he feels like he'll be able to tell when the other players are lying to him - not unlike #TeamTV himself, Tony Vlachos. Bret has taken notice of a couple other alpha males from his tribe, '80s rock God Paul and a dude that looks like he could be an NFL player. He must be talking about Chris. He does point out though, if Chris played for the 2007 Giants (the team that stopped his Patriots from going undefeated) his ass is gone first thing. I think Bret is going to be another goldmine of confessionals. I also think he might have a little game in him. If he can get out of the gate on the right side of the numbers, he could have a future in the game. But, like CeCe, I think the beginning of the game could be important to him. Does he tell them he's a cop? And if so, does Tony's game hurt him? Does anyone match the accent with Rob Mariano and just assume he's a strategist and deem him as "needs to go"? I don't think those things will happen, but in this game, you just never know.
Chris Hammons - Chris is a self-made trial lawyer and appears to be the total package. He went to college on a football scholarship and has become a pretty successful attorney in Oklahoma. He looks like he can be a hardass, but when he talks he seems more like he'll be very approachable and will have a pretty solid social game. He's going to be a large part of the physical strength of this tribe when the game begins. I'd wager he'll have a hand in shelter building and will be a huge asset around camp. What he contributes around camp will easily be enough to get him to the swap. I'd wager that even after the swap, he'll be an important player in his tribe and will easily make the merge. If he can remember that even though the younger players may not have his work ethic, they're equally important in his run to the end, he could last deep into the game. Some of this tribe will have a hard time getting over the theme - I don't expect Chris to be one of them. Lots of potential here.
Ciandre "CeCe" Taylor - CeCe stands out to me on this tribe as one of the people that could potentially go far. She works in insurance handling car accidents and injuries. She negotiates settlements and actually gets to see people at their absolute lowest. I think this can be super important in the game of Survivor. People will be at their lowest or their worst, and if you're used to handling and speaking to people at those times, it can really help you here. CeCe has a strong work ethic and she's also worked hard to instill that into her kids. She's definitely taught them that even if you don't succeed, you have to keep trying. She strikes me as a person that people might underestimate, a little bit like Cydney from last season. No one paid her much attention and then all of a sudden, she's part of a duo that's literally running the game. I think CeCe could have a similar arc. The first couple of days will be super important for her. Those are the times when the alpha males try to stake their claim and things can be tough on the women, especially the strong women. But if she can lay low and let them get it out of their system, she could possibly take over and go very far.
David Wright - What is this guy doing on Survivor? He's camped one time in his life and hated it. He's very funny, though and he should make for great TV as long as he's on the show. Also, one of his hobbies is making 3D-printed puzzles. And yes, he has made many of the puzzles we've seen on Survivor. Remember when Spencer flew through a puzzle in mere seconds because he happened to have made that exact puzzle and practiced it? No? That's just me? Anyway - it happened. Look it up. Anyway, that's David in a nutshell, except with many of the puzzles. He's one of the weaker and smaller guys on the tribe, which makes him non-threatening. And once Chris and Ken handle the heavy loads in early challenges, David could prove invaluable on the challenge ending puzzle portion. All it takes is winning one challenge for your team and you can make it through several votes. Apparently, Cochran is the new Parvati as the answer to "which Survivor are you most like?" David relates to Cochran as well. What remains to be seen is whether he'll have the strategy and relationships that Cochran had. I think he has a shot to do well.
Jessica Lewis - Here's the second Jessica on our cast AND the second attorney. Jessica is an assistant DA in New York and seems to be very passionate about her job. She seems to think that her skills as an attorney and her ability to size up a jury will serve her well with the Final Tribal Jury. See what she did there? She already has herself at the end. She's also a wife and a mother. She's the youngest of four girls born to farmers. So much of her younger life was spent helping on the farm with the rest of the family. If nothing else, that's given her a work ethic and made her physically stronger. Jessica is rocking a sweet almost full back tattoo, though the video doesn't really show us what it is. I'm not sure Jessica has a winner profile, but I do think she could be a solid under the radar player. She likens herself to Cirie Fields, which bodes well for her, I guess. However, everyone is on to Cirie's game now, so I hope she doesn't go out there claiming to be the new Cirie. No one would ever trust her again. Also, Jessica holds the distinction of being the first of the Season 33 cast to follow me on Twitter. Sure, that means little to you, but it's important to me...and I'm in charge here!
Ken McNickle - Ken is aptly named. He looks like a Ken doll. He's a model who had spent several years living completely off the grid. Solar panels, composting, growing his own food, everything. Then he got word that he was a father to a four and a half-year-old girl. I can only assume that some bad choices got him into this situation, but he seems to have stopped everything, gotten back into the world all to raise his daughter. Not sure how it happened, but he calls himself a single dad, so I guess he's raising her now. He's playing this game for her and hopes to use the money to provide for her and help other people, which is his daughter's wish. Due to living off the land for so long, he expects to be an integral part of his tribe's physical survival. Ken seems like a great guy and he has the potential to be a great player. But all I can see when I look at him is "merge boot." He'll make the merge, but I don't think he'll live through it. He's the exact type of alpha male that they love to send to Ponderosa first.
Lucy Huang - Lucy might have the title of the "hardest person for me to get a handle on" in this cast. She's a 42-year-old dietician and mother of four. She's also a pro body builder now. She wants to show people that moms can do all kinds of things, including win Survivor. She doesn't give much insight into how she'll play the game or what her strengths are. I think she's one that might be hoping to be a tribe mom out there and boy won't she be disappointed. I honestly could see Lucy going anywhere from first boot overall to the final four or five. She could easily be one of the people that make it deep in the game based on the alliance she makes. She doesn't strike me as the person to lead an alliance, but she can be a loyal vote and all of a sudden at final five, we'll be trying to figure out how she's still in the game. So, I'm gonna have to put some more thought into the potential for Lucy, because right now, "Got nothin' for ya."
Paul Wachter - If Zeke is the Millennial that everyone will love and that will give amazing confessionals and won't last to the merge - Paul is the Zeke of the Gen X tribe. Paul is a rock cover band singer, he rocks the long hair and looks the part, but when talk comes to the Millennials, he sounds more like the old guy telling the kids to turn their music down. Paul hates a participation trophy and feels that the new generation is lazy, whereas Gen X are crazy hard workers. Anyway, I fully expect him to give great confessionals. I also fully expect him to annoy even his own tribe. I don't think they're ready for a personality this big and being the oldest and largest, he might have to be voted out to help the older and more out of shape purple tribe keep up with the younger, faster, stronger orange tribe.
Rachel Ako - If I were to label someone as "most likely to quit due to uncomfortableness," Rachel would be that person. She's a recruiting director and author. She's also a former Playboy model in print and on Playboy TV. She seems very perky in her interview, but I wonder what she will be like once the adversity sets in. The book she co-authored is all about triumph in the face of adversity, but I wonder if she ever had this type of raw, physical, in your face adversity. She has been sizing people up and has decided that she likes everyone, except for one guy (not sure which one). Honestly, her bio and video were both thin on information on her, so I'm having a hard time getting an opinion of her. Ultimately, I think she'll be a non-factor in the game and may end up being a pre-merge boot.
Sunday Burquest - Ah, Sunday, Sunday, Sunday! Can't read her name in anything other than my obnoxious Monster Truck announcer guy voice. So, Sunday could be cast on our Christians vs. Crisis season on either tribe. She and her husband are youth pastors and she's a breast cancer Survivor. She's also from Minnesota, which means every episode she is on will sound like Fargo. She's a mother of four and I could see her easily filling the mother hen roll this season...if only all the young people weren't on the other tribe! Sunday seems to be a talker, and that won't go over well with this group. Also, at 45-years-old, with four kids under her belt, you can probably bet that she will not be a challenge beast. So, when Gen X loses challenges (and I think that may happen more than we would like) - she is a very good target for an early boot. Possibly, even the first boot overall. She's going to have to spend the first couple days on the island really finding her niche and getting in an alliance. Without it, she's dead in the water.
And that'll do it for the preview of the Gen X tribe. I have several people in this tribe that I think can go either way. A lot will depend on their challenge success against the kids. I do feel confident that Chris, CeCe and David will do well. I really do see Ken as that merge boot. And I don't see long runs in the game for Paul, Rachel or Sunday.
With that in mind and my thoughts on the Millennials tribe from yesterday, here are my "sure to be wrong" picks for Survivor Season 33:
I'm going to go with a 12 person merge, meaning eight people will be out prior to the individual game. My merge 12 are: Adam, Figgy, Jay, Mari, Michaela, Michelle and Will for the Millennials and Bret, CeCe, Chris, David and Ken for the Gen X'ers. See? Probably already wrong on several of these. I really do see Ken as the merge boot, sorry dude. And I'm gonna pick Figgy, Mari, CeCe and Chris as my final four. Sadly for CeCe, I see Chris winning the final four immunity which seals her doom. I have to tell you, I keep going back and forth on my winner pick. I usually go for who I think will play the solid strategic game, but Michele Fitzgerald last season showed us that the social game is starting to become more important. But, I am who I am and I have to pick the way I have for the last several seasons. (Remember, I was on a bit of a streak before Jason let me down last season) and I have to proclaim Mari Takahashi as my pre-season pick as Sole Survivor from Millennials vs Gen X. Congrats Mari - don't spend your million all in one place!!! Real quick shout out to Figgy though...if she is who I think she is, I see an awesome social game in her future which could easily make her the winner.
Thanks so much for hanging out with me while I break these tribes down...and be sure to keep an eye out for my recaps all season long, starting with the 90-minute Premiere of Survivor Millennials vs Gen X this Wednesday, September 21, 2016 on CBS starting at 8 p.m., 7 p.m. Central! 'Til next time, kids, take care!!
I wanna know what you think, Survivor fans. How do my predictions look? Hit me up on the Tweet box: @vannestjc