Sunday, June 9, 2013

Reality Gamemasters - Pitting Big Brother Against Survivor

It's hard to be a reality fan and not know who Rob Cesternino is....he is one of the funniest and most genuine reality personalities "of all time".  Rob played Survivor back in the Golden Age when the ratings were peaking, and was also part of the Survivor All Stars before re-inventing himself as a go-to source for reality show news.

Yes, Rob does indeed have a website, and also an award-winning podcast chock full of Reality Infotainment.  He started following Big Brother closely last year and is on CBS' list to interview the (non-squestered) house guests as they are evicted from the game.

Of course, Rob also interviews the Survivor cast-offs, and has a variety of Survivor and Big Brother personalities who make appearances to chew the fat with Rob and sometimes his wife Nicole.  If you aren't already a Rob Has a Podcast subscriber, you should probably start with his Jeff Probst podcast, then maybe the podcasts featuring Jonathon Penner or John Cochran and go from there.

Rob has branched out with an original webseries, called Reality Gamemasters.  The series features 6 players--three from Big Brother and three from Survivor who are pitted against each other in a game of the boardgame Risk.  Rob drafted players carefully, picking people who he considered strategists and shrewd game players.  The contestants are:

Big Brother

Matt Hoffman - BB12
Eric Stein - BB8
Ian Terry - BB14 Winner


Steven Fishbach - Runner up, Tocantins
Sophie Clark - Winner, South Pacific
John Cochran - South Pacific, Winner Caramoan

I've just watched the first two episodes, and was impressed by the production values.  Rob has created an ESPN-type environment around the game, featuring seamless coverage from "the booth" with co-host Dalton Ross, play-by-play updates and Survivor Andrea Boehlke (!) covering the scene from the sidelines.  The players are VERY competitive and there is quite a bit of tension in the air.  There is a small curtained area where they can go for private conversations, apart from the others.  These little private pow wows started happening a lot faster than I thought they would, and paranoia about being back stabbed was getting contagious.

New episodes are released every Tuesday and Rob does a great job ending each webisode with a cliffhanger.  The episodes I've watched were less than 8:00 long, so the pace is lively.

And the game?

I really have no freaking idea.  Not only do I not know how to play Risk, I'd never even heard of it.  If I had, maybe I would be better at Geography.  Because playing Risk involves global domination.  A hefty task indeed.  Some of the players said they have played it since childhood.  Ian said he was the "Risk Champion of the Sixth Grade", or something lofty title like that.  Only Cochran claims that he doesn't know how to play. 

It's interesting to note that when they filmed Reality Gamemasters, Survivor Caramoan was still mid-season, so no one knew that Cochran made the Finale, and  even Cochran himself didn't know that he won.   He wasn't allowed to talk about that, but watching him on the webisodes, you can almost see the Tweetybird feathers poking out of his mouth.  He was almost a millionaire during this game of Risk.  (And now he is part of the writing staff for a prime time TV show....)

Ian seemed to be enjoying himself and it looks like he may be ready to play a big game.  It is great to see Eric Stein again, and what a treat to see Matt Hoffman in all of his smirky glory.  One funny (and sad) highlight was Cochran calling Matt by the wrong name and then apologizing.  (Don't get mad, get even Matt!)

Seeing Sophie Clark again is not a treat, however, and maybe I'll just leave it at that.  Okay, maybe not.  She has on WAY TOO MUCH eye makeup, and is much prettier without it in my opinion.  I can tell that Sophie is going to be a raging bitch on Reality Gamemasters, but I like that she owns that.  She wants to dominate the game and I will enjoy watching what happens, because I can't see her winning or losing with any grace whatsoever at this point.

Somebody's going to win of course, but five people are going to lose.  And from what Rob said on his podcasts, some of the losers are still mad.  Rob might even do exit interviews with them on the podcast as they leave the Risk playing field so they can vent and throw shade.

Here is the link to the Reality Gamemasters website.  I think I just talked myself into watching the first two episodes again....