wendy-jo-survivor.JPG“Survivor: Nicaragua” features only people over 40 or people under 30, split into older and younger tribes. Wendy Jo DeSmidt-Kohloff, the farmer from Montana, was the first casualty. Were you surprised?

After being made to hike through the jungle, the 20 contestants are told about a Medallion of Power, which gives the person who snags it a big power for their tribe (but they don’t know what yet). The 20 contestants take off running into the jungle.

A pretty, young Asian woman finds it first. I’m sorry, I don’t know her name yet and those are very distinguishing characteristics. Her name is Brenda, turns out. When they get back to camp, they are divided by age and the under-30 tribe immediately loves it and seems a little haughty. Uh, did they not see “Survivor: Thailand”?

Jimmy Johnson is a contestant (if you hadn’t heard) and the men are definitely aware of who he is (sorry, but now women seem to recognize him). The tribes are called Espada (oldies) and La Flor (young ‘uns). Interestingly (at least to me), the tribe names mean “sword” and “the flower,” which is the name of a bodice-ripper. Hee.

Brenda and La Flor are given the choice between keeping the Medallion of Power, which they don’t yet know the advantage of having, or taking flint and fishing gear back to camp and giving the oldies the Medallion. They choose to take the fishing gear and fire. Wow. Knowing this game, I would keep the power.

The talk of camp (and my apologies to the one woman who recognizes Jimmy) is that a former NFL coach and Super Bowl champ is on “Survivor.” I think he’s definitely teh most famous person to be on this show (no offense to Gary the Liar from “Survivor: Guatemala” or SWV Taj from “Survivor: Tocantins”).

A 66-year-old dog trainer named Jane starts fire using kindling and eye glasses, which is awesome. She also warms the cockles of my heart as she talks about needing the money to make life a little easier on her farm after losing her husband in 2009. Awww. There’s also some weird, annoying lady named Wendy Jo who farms goats in Montana. She’s going home if they lose immunity, I predict.

The first night, Jimmy is hurting. He starts coughing and gagging, he seems dehydrated from over doing it. But he rallies and before the challenge he gives a pep talk along the lines of the fact that he doesn’t really have a shot to win (which he doesn’t), but he wants to help someone from his tribe win. It’s a pretty good rallying point. Well done, Coach.

La Flor
The under-30 crowd boasts guys named Sash, Shannon and Jud who, I apologize, do not look like they have four brain cells to rub together between them. Good lord. There’s a girl named Kelly who has a prosthetic leg. Her right leg was amputated when she was a baby. She immediately has a huge target on her back because of the sympathy vote.

Brenda used to be a Dolphins cheerleader, so she knows who Jimmy Johnson is. Ha! That’s funny. She immediately hits it off with Chase, but he’s already got an alliance with Shannon. Rut roh.

And just by the way — the guys running around in their boxer-briefs is a little scandalous. There are things very obviously protruding. Yikes.

Kelly and Alina find a Hidden Immunity Clue together and Alina is annoyed because now she’s forced to be in an alliance with Kelly and doesn’t want to be. But since they are idiots, they can’t decipher the clue and so they re-hide it.

The young ‘uns come in with some silly little cheer and a dance, but the oldies don’t seem to care that much. The challenge is one person pouring water while five people control the water into a big barrel using pieces of slide. The bucket, when full, will counterbalance and drop some puzzle pieces. The four remaining tribe members put together the puzzle and that tribe wins. So the oldies have a chance.

We then find out that the Medallion of Power gives an advantage in challenges. The oldies can use it to get a one-bucket head start in the challenge. If they use it today, the MOP goes over to the young ‘uns for the next challenge. They have the presence of mind to realize that they don’t need it for a challenge like this one, so they choose not to use it.

Holly is pouring for the oldies and she’s not being careful with the buckets, she’s spilling a lot. The young ‘uns get their puzzle first, but the oldies are right behind. In this case, a one-bucket head start may have made a huge difference.

Jeff is full of platitudes like “wisdom or enthusiasm,” like the young ‘uns are stupid or the oldies are not having excited. The young ‘uns pull it out because the stupid old ladies could not put together the puzzle fast enough. Sheesh. Really? That’s weaksauce, oldies.


One really pushy Espada guy named Jimmy T. (James Tarantino) is pushing hard for Jimmy Johnson to go home, but he sounds like a total lunatic. He’s ranting and raving like he just got back from ‘Nam. It’s disconcerting. Way to paint a target on your back, weird old dude.

Jimmy J. talks to Holly about getting rid of the weakest player and he says it’s either himself or Wendy Jo, but he thinks it should be Wendy. So Holly feels bad because she kind of has an alliance with Wendy. Ugh, it’s been a day. Get over it.

When they head to Tribal Council, it seems to be a toss up between Wendy and Jimmy J., which is weird becuase Jimmy T. seemed to act a little cuckoo to me. Hmm. Could the reason CBS has been pimping Jimmy Johnson so hard prior to the show is because their celebrity goes home first? I hope not. He’s a good leader, I feel like.

Tribal Council

The tribe shares that they are leery of Jimmy Johnson’s claim that he doesn’t want to win. Here’s my ting — I think he’s legit. He’s tried out for “Survivor” three times and he’s a huge fan of the show. I think he wants the adventure, as he says. But of course he’s going to try and win because that’s the fun part. But I really believe he doesn’t think he CAN win because he’s so famous and already pretty wealthy. I’d keep him around over annoying Wendy any day. He’s a good leader, why do you think he coached an NFL team to two Super Bowl wins? Meanwhile, Wendy cannot stop talking about how nobody asked her age (which is weird) and how she needs to start talking more (which … uh, really?) and then she blathers on about how valuable she is while everybody looks bored.

Honest to God, she reminds me of a classmate of mine who was also from Montana. And she was just as socially awkward, like she had never been around anyone other than her extended family and the farm animals. It’s uncomfortable to talk to her. She gets the boot, I predict.

The Vote
After all that drama, Wendy Jo is unanimously voted out. No surprises there, she really seemed to rub people the wrong way. If you have questions for Wendy Jo, we will be interviewing her tomorrow morning, so please leave them in the comm

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Photo and video credit: CBS

Posted by:Andrea Reiher

TV critic by way of law school, Andrea Reiher enjoys everything from highbrow drama to clever comedy to the best reality TV has to offer. Her TV heroes include CJ Cregg, Spencer Hastings, Diane Lockhart, Juliet O'Hara and Buffy Summers. TV words to live by: "I'm a slayer, ask me how."