Stranded in Cambodia
Season 13 – Men vs. Women
(March 3rd, 2011 – April 5th, 2011)
Stranded in Cambodia was the first season after Stranded with Rivals, the extremely successful superstar season. Already, it had impossible shoes to fill. On top of that, this marks the first of two seasons in which the normal host stepped down and passed the torch on to Natalie Bolton (Catalie). In a Stranded first, the tribes were divided by men vs. women. For the first time, the male reps were played by real males and the females by real females. It was a true online battle of the sexes. In the beginning, there was a twist to the format. For the first challenge, the tribes were both told that they would vote members of their tribe off. What they didn’t know is that instead of being voted off the game, the victims of these Tribal Councils were voted off of the tribe. This resulted in one male joining the female tribe, Devata, and one female joining the male tribe, Naga. Although the season was plagued with inactivity, the first boots on both tribes ended up being huge characters. Betsy on Devata quickly established herself as a dominant force on the tribe and wanted to oust the mostly inactive tribe’s most active and outgoing tribe member, Natalie. Ben was deemed a troublemaker on Naga and was also booted.
However, both exiled tribe members thrived on their new tribes. Natalie’s bubbly personality quickly helped her establish a strong alliance on the tribe with Erik. Ben on the other tribe helped the women as they struggled in challenges. Eventually, both Ben and Natalie made the merge and Betsy’s epic reign of terror ended just prior to it. In the merge, the game mostly surrounded the men, as big characters Ben and Russell went early on. Highlights included Monica’s epic storyline of surviving Betsy’s reign and Kelly and Laura’s alliance. She integrated herself well with the men and ended up making it deep into the merge. Towards the end-game, it was a strategic battle between such threats as Mike, Dave Ball, and Erik/Natalie. In the end, one man and one woman who formed an early alliance became the final 2. The jury rightfully rewarded Natalie as the winner for overcoming huge odds as the potential first boot. Erik and Natalie’s friendship will go down as one of the most powerful and strategic friendships in Stranded history.