‘Survivor: Kaoh Rong’ spotlight: Will Neal Gottlieb put his competition on ice?

Neal -

Neal Gottlieb strikes us as someone who really wanted to go out and play the “Survivor” game at some point. He’s not necessarily the prototypical male contestant, but he’s got a number of tools that could serve him well: He’s highly-intelligent, hard-working, and based on what we’ve seen in both his video and his bio, he prepared hard for it before even hitting the beach.

Can this ice-cream entrepreneur do what ice cream scoop Erik couldn’t in making the final three? That’s something that we’re ready to dive in and explore now in the latest edition of our show spotlight series.

Age – 38

Location – Sausalito, California. It’s across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco.

Tribe -Chan Loh a.k.a. the Brains tribe.

Occupation – Ice cream entrepreneur. Specifically, he is the man behind Three Twins Ice Cream, a brand of organic ice cream that is now sold all over the country. Ice cream’s one of those things we only have a few times a fear, but without trying it the stuff certainly looks fantastic.

Past “Survivor” comparison – Neal compares himself to a variety of former contestants, including Tyson, Boston Rob, Parvait … and yes, even Russell Hantz (even if he doesn’t seem to be fan). It’s interesting that the people who came to our mind were a little different: Jonathan Penner, Max Dawson, Richard Hatch, Ian Rosenberger, Stephen Fishbach, and maybe a little of Erik (who he also mentioned). The thing is that he’s got some of the personality of a Cochran or some other strategists, but he’s built more like someone who could be decent in the challenges and is a former athlete. He’s a hard guy to figure out.

Things to know – He started Three Twins himself after returning home from the Peace Corps, and despite owning an ice cream company, he claims in the video below that he doesn’t really eat a lot of ice cream! He did, however, intentionally gain some weight before coming on the show to build up some reserves (something that we’ve heard Penner talk about doing in the past). Just from reading his bio alone, you can tell that this is someone who really wants to be a part of this show and be good at it.

Advantages – There’s no denying that Neal has a lot going for him. He could be one of the better competitors on his tribe, and he’s also going to be someone more than capable of doing a little bit of scheming. His history and his hustle certainly suggests that he is the sort of person who will never give up, and we think he’d probably be willing to do whatever he could to win the game. We’re not sure that everyone else out there can say that.

Disadvantages – Neal’s primary problem could just be Neal, since we could see him thinking that he’s got the game all wrapped up only to be blindsided a few votes later. We get the sense that he knows that he is very smart and successful; that doesn’t mean he’s arrogant by any means, but he may come off as a bigger threat than he perceives he will based on his appearance alone. On a smaller note, he’s obviously a successful guy, and whether fairly or unfairly, this could cause problems for him out there if someone starts to come up with the frustrating argument that some people “need” the money more than others.

Prediction – Neal should make the merge, and even go a couple of votes into the jury. Then, we get this feeling that he could be the target of an epic blindside. The great thing about Neal is that if that happens, we feel like he’d probably congratulate whoever did it on the move and then campaign for them; he loves the game, and these are the sort of people who make watching the show so much fun.

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