Stephen Fishbach: Survivor's Survivor

Stephen Fishbach: Survivor’s Survivor

By Andrew Singer

When a lanky New York City corporate consultant who went to Yale started out on this season of Survivor, it didn’t seem like he would make it too far.  But against all odds, Stephen Fishbach used a combination of wits, strength and his warm, friendly personality to forge allegiances, win challenges, get on everybody’s good side and ultimately make it all the way to the end, facing off against his close friend JT.

Even though the tribal council ultimately voted for JT to become the champion, Stephen came in second, putting him in the company of this year’s fellow reality show runner-ups Adam Lambert and Susan Boyle, which isn’t such a bad place to be.  City Scoops recently caught up with Stephen to discuss his experiences on the show, now that he’s had some time to reflect.

CS: What was the highlight of being on the this season’s Survivor?

SF: One of the highlights was meeting and befriending people I would never otherwise have met in the world. JT, my chief ally in the game, is an Alabama cattle rancher, and now he’s one of my best friends. The other was being forced to survive in the wild. I was definitely a city boy, so it was amazing to me just how resilient I could be when put into extreme conditions.

Had you ever spooned with another man before? If yes, then how did this compare? If no, then how would you rate your experience, and would you ever do it again?

I’d never spooned with another man before I was forced to spoon with Brendan on Exile Island. It was pouring rain and freezing. I thought there would be more awkwardness but we clung to each other for warmth. I had to focus on the small warmth coming from his back or his chest because every other part of me was wet and cold. Definitely if I were ever freezing again, I would happily spoon with another man.

What camera tricks did you learn to put yourself in a good light, both in terms of doing the actual interviews and testimonials, as well as spending time around the camp in general?

The cliché is that you don’t even notice the cameras – and it’s really true. You absolutely forget the cameras are around. There were a few moments on Exile Island when I felt overwhelmed where I reminded myself that I was on a TV show and that if I freaked out, it would almost certainly be seen by 14 million people. But for the most part you really are so hungry and tired, and so focused on the game, that you just forget about the cameras.

Do you feel that you have been a role-model for anyone? Who are you looking out for, and what lessons would you like to teach them?

I definitely don’t think I’m a role model. Some people have emailed me to tell me how my gameplay has inspired them – that I played Survivor with honesty and integrity. I was like – did you watch the show?!

If you were invited back to do a reunion competition show or another similar style reality TV, would you do it, and why?

It would be hard to pass up – an amazing adventure and the chance to play the greatest strategy game in the world again. On the other hand, I don’t feel some need to stay on television at any cost. Survivor was an incredible experience, but I also feel like it was self-contained.

If you were to become a corporate spokesperson, what product would you like to promote?

Some kind of food. Basically every business idea that came out of Survivor was based on food. I would want to endorse something with peanut butter and chocolate.

After all the bromance you developed on screen, will you and JT be hanging out together more now that the show is over, or will you go your separate ways? Which people from the show will you be staying closest in touch with?

JT and I are definitely still best friends. I’ve visited him and his family in Alabama, he’s visited me in New York, and he’s spent time with my family in Los Angeles. I think it’s fun for both of us not just to hang out, but also to explore worlds so different from what we’re familiar with. I’m in touch with pretty much everybody – I still stay in regular contact with Erinn, Taj, Coach, Tyson, Sierra, Sydney, Spencer, Joe, … really, everybody.

(Photos by Monty Brinton, ©2008 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All rights reserved.)

Andrew Singer performs all over the NYC as comedic rapper “soce, the elemental wizard.” He has toured Europe and the U.S., and been featured on numerous media outlets, including MTV, VH1, Here TV, Logo, The Source, Out, Howard Stern and Sirius Shade 45.  He recently had a small cameo in a commercial for Sierra Mist.

Posted on 17 Jun 2009 at 3:26am
Down with 'Earl':	 NBC Drops Camden's Karma-Loving Hillbilly

Down with ‘Earl’: NBC Drops Camden’s Karma-Loving Hillbilly

By Jobana Soto

In an attempt to clean up its Fall 2009 schedule, NBC has pulled the plug on ratings downer My Name is Earl to make room for more “promising” shows like Parks and Recreation and newcomer hopefuls Trauma and Parenthood. The daunting news came just over a week ago with Earl sidekick Ethan Suplee (Randy) confirming the cancellation via his twitter.

So what does the future hold for Camden County’s loveable gang of hillbilly thugs? If you ask me, the outlook just plain sucks. Earl fans had their fingers crossed in hopes of Fox or ABC rescuing the show from its bubble status, but as of now, Earl is dead.

The timing couldn’t be worse since this means we probably won’t be seeing any closure from last month’s season finale shocker—or not, depending on how well you know Joy and her turnstile uterus—on whether Crabman is the biological father of Early Hickey, Jr. Gotta love that baby mama drama.

In lieu of sending wife-beaters to NBC headquarters to protest the cancellation, though it would be a nice way to show support, I’ve decided a roundup of my favorite Earl moments is a better call.

Black Cat Fever
Season 2, “Larceny of a Kitty Cat”
All grown up, Randy finally finds himself a girl without having to pretend to be somebody else, as was the case in previous relationships. While Randy is off smooching with his cat-loving girlfriend, Earl must fix the damage he’s done to her prize-winning cat, Sebastian, by training him for Camden’s upcoming  cat competition. Strangers with Candy’s Amy Sedaris guest stars.
Best Quote: “Being a Tanya Harding fan, Joy tried to get me to Nancy Kerrigan the cat so it couldn’t compete.”

Bad Boys, Bad Boys
Season 2, “Our ‘Cops’ Is On”
How can you not love a spoof on Cops? Especially Randy’s fumbling of the show’s song lyrics—“bad boys, bad boys, who you gonna call” or “…what’s it gonna be?” Camden folks are running scared when they get a visit from the show’s production crew, who are now bearing witness to the delinquency going on around town. Time to sit back and watch the crimes unfold.
Best Quote: “This is a big misunderstanding officer, these batteries are ‘buy one, get one free.’ We’re not stealing, we’re just taking the free ones out to the car and coming back to buy the ‘buy ones.’

The Joy of Motherhood
Season 3, “My Name Is Inmate 28301-016 (Part 1)”
Joy really puts her motherhood to the test when she has to take care of Randy while Earl is in jail. That’s the price you have to pay when your ex-husband takes the fall for your crimes.
Best Quote: “Randy! That thing zaps bugs. What do you think it’s gonna do to your finger…..Randy!”

What are some of your favorite Earl moments? Sound off below.

To save My Name is Earl from total annihilation, sign the EarlTwitition to show your support.

Jobana Soto is a freelance journalist from New York currently living in Lima, Peru. When not harassing llamas, she spends the remainder of her time covering cultural, travel and entertainment news. Her work as been featured in publications such as Batanga, Venus Zine, and MTV Tr3s’ Blogamole.

Posted on 01 Jun 2009 at 10:18pm
Sucking Up Is Hard To Do: Lessons From 'The Office'

Sucking Up Is Hard To Do: Lessons From 'The Office'

By Jobana Soto

Let’s face it. Sucking up to the boss is inevitable, and recently on The Office our very own Jim Halpert finally became the man he’s dreaded since season one—Dwight! So what is it about the new Regional Vice President of Dunder Mifflin that has Jim brown-nosing his way at work? And how can you avoid the same mistakes?

Not so great first impression
While wearing a tuxedo to mock Dwight’s recent dress code memo, Jim meets the new Regional Vice President, Charles Miner, with embarrassment (“New Boss”). Instead of keeping a low profile, like he should, Jim tries to schmooze the VP but ends up having to explain to Charles why he’s wearing a tuxedo, making him look very unprofessional—classy tux or not. What Jim should have done: Kept to himself. There’s always time to make a good impression, but first impressions happen only once. Jim should have sat this one out, but instead, was forced to explain himself and, in the process, made himself look pretty dumb.

Posted on 21 Apr 2009 at 5:20am

American TV remakes yet other “Ab Fab” Britcom

By City Scoops

By Jobana Soto

Don’t hate me sweetie darlings, but I am so looking forward to Fox’s remake of the hit Britcom “Absolutely Fabulous.” While the Ab Fab Twitterati are disgusted over this monstrosity, I have two reasons to disagree—Kristen Johnston and Mitch Hurwitz.

The “Third Rock From the Sun” funny gal is set to play Patsy Stone, the always drunk, chain smoking nymph while Hurwitz, the mastermind behind the unjustly canceled “Arrested Development,” is on board to exec produce the show. The show already began filming and pictures hit the web early last month of Johnston and Kathryn Hahn, who plays Patsy’s BFF and and main character, Edina Monsoon, dressed in Ab Fab attire. I’m not too familiar with Hahn’s work—sorry “Crossing Jordan” fans—but she does capture a striking resemblance of original actress, Jennifer Saunders. Continue

Posted on 01 Apr 2009 at 6:19pm
TV's Killing Spree

TV’s Killing Spree

By Jobana Soto

Sweeps week may be on hiatus this season (hello, digital!), but network execs have a sure fire way to boost their ratings – a killing spree! It’s a cheap ploy but you got to admit it works every time.

Law & Order: SVU had me jittering in my crime fighting underoos when actress Mariska Hargitay, who plays detective Olivia Benson, was rumored to be leaving the show, threatening the Benson-Stabler duo. I’m sure we all gave a collective sigh of relief when Hargitay’s rep confirmed she will remain with the show indefinitely. Seriously, hasn’t anyone learned from the Mulder and Scully fiasco? So while Benson and Stabler are safe, the rest of the cast is not so lucky. By end of the season, someone will be heading to the city morgue a little earlier than expected.

Ugly Betty is also preparing for a funeral and many fingers point to seamstress Christina since actress Ashley Jensen is jetting back to L.A. But that’s just a little too obvious, don’t you think? No one knows exactly which other cast member is leaving, but my money says it’s not Betty.

Oh, Desperate Housewives… what can I say? It’s about time one of those ladies got the cleaver. Chuck and CSI:NY are both expected to rack up a kill each, while Heroes, 24, and Smallville aim to score higher posthumous points.

But that’s fiction. Reality shows, on the other hand, are getting closer and closer to making The Running Man a reality. It’s not exactly Schwarzenegger battling chainsaw-wielding sociopaths, but the reality show audience is finally getting a taste for blood. The most unlikely contestant on Dancing With the Stars, Steve-O, hurt his back while doing a flip in what may be his most ironic injury yet. Sure, it’s not really a phenomenon, but I think it’s kind of funny… kind of.

So while sweeps week results may have the networks crying, at least we’ll be a bit amused by the blood and mayhem heading our way. Too bad it won’t save TV.

Oh the sorrow.

(Photo via NBC)

Jobana Soto is a freelance journalist from New York currently living in Lima, Peru. When not harassing llamas, she spends the remainder of her time covering cultural, travel and entertainment news. Her work as been featured in publications such as Batanga, Venus Zine, and MTV Tr3s’ Blogamole.

Posted on 30 Mar 2009 at 4:02pm