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Musings on Survivor.

2004-05-07 - 11:52 a.m.

I was going to have my “child” theme this week segue into an entry on Mother’s Day, but I think I’ll save it for Monday. The topic in my mind really won’t be germane by then so it’s now or never.

My former roommate and I used to watch Survivor together. We had very different social styles and circles so Survivor Thursdays became our roommate-bonding night. Once we moved on and out of the old apartment, we still got together for a lot of Thursday dinners and Survivor.

I am not a huge TV watcher but I do find it fascinating to watch the way people interact with each other under these stressful and completely contrived conditions. The challenges, sure, they add some suspense and it’s very interesting to see who performs well in the different types of challenges which require very different strengths. Some of them are geared towards more traditionally male strengths (e.g., scaling walls); some towards more traditionally female strengths (e.g. balance or endurance challenges). Some of them are more mental, some of them are more physical. Still, it’s the human behaviour, during the challenges and back at camp, which is the main attraction for me.

This is all to say that I have been watching the series since the second season, have seen most of the players on the current “all-star” season before, and have developed some opinions about the players – within the context of the game, I obviously have no idea what kind of people they are in real life -- and about how this season is evolving. (No! Opinions? Moi? It’s a shock, I know.)

Right off the bat, I have to say that I think Rob or Amber (do you think they’d prefer to be called Ramber or Ambob?) should totally win this season. You might not like Rob but he’s winning almost all the challenges, and not just the physical ones, he’s calling all the shots and, as I mentioned in Zoot’s comments section, I’ve never seen a player that can influence the other team the way he has. With one brief sentence he had the other tribe vote out one of their own people in favour of keeping Amber, who’d been transferred to that team.

Rob's playing the best and controlling the game but Amber is controlling Rob so they are both playing well, in different ways.

Naturally there’s been talk among the remaining players about how they have to get rid of Rob and Amber or they’ll win. To this I can only say, DUH. Simple logic says that if you don’t get rid of two players in a game of elimination, one of them will win because, well, they haven’t left. If they don’t get rid of Rupert and Jenna, well, one of them will win. This isn’t a logical argument for getting rid of someone in my books. Now if you say, ‘we need to get rid of Rob because the odds are high he’ll win the last immunity challenge and be able to decide who to keep, he won’t pick either of us over Amber,’ now that at least makes sense.

I, for one, get tired of all the mediocre players ganging up and voting out the strong players. Perhaps there’s a lesson there somewhere about how the meek can overcome if they have the numbers, but it still doesn’t sit quite right with me. I don’t like getting to the end of the season only to have had the choices of who to root for whittled down to the weak ones that were only kept around at the beginning because they were compliant voters. The whiners. The ones who did no work. The ones who almost never won any challenges, yet seemed to have very high opinions of themselves and low opinions of other people in the game. (Shii Ann - who, thank goodness, got the boot last week – I’m looking in your direction).

I also want to throw in that I really thought Jerri had come so far since her Survivor Australia persona that I was sorry to see her get the boot, and for such a stupid reason. At least she left with grace and dignity, unlike some others this season (Lex, now my eyes are rolling like Shii Ann’s in your direction).

Now, about last night’s episode,

Am I the only one with the suspicion that they gave the second car to Amber because it would be a popular move with the viewers? I honestly think that if anyone who wasn’t part of the “couple” had won, they wouldn’t have given the second car and that’s why it was hidden out of sight at the “drive in” they’d set up. Say Big Tom had won and brought Rupert (not likely I know but just as an example), would the second car have been brought out? I personally think not.

I also think that we saw the second biggest tactical error in the game last night (the first was when Lex voted out his own ally Jerri). If Rob and Amber had kept their alliance with Big Tom, they would have been able to pick Rupert and Jenna off and the chances are good that one of the twosome would have won the final immunity challenge. Now they’re going into the final stretch with even numbers so the next vote will be a lot more up in the air and the outcome of the final challenge isn’t as predictable with Rupert or Jenna competing.

Finally, what is up with the snarky jury this season? Lex made a mistake and paid for it with his ousting, but that doesn’t seem like it should be a license to have patent shock and disbelief writ large across his face as a reaction to every single utterance a still-surviving player makes. And I’m getting tired of Shii Ann’s eye rolls. I cringe every time they show the jury now for fear of seeing yet another one. Miss Alli in one of her Television Without Pity recaps said it best,

“I think if her eye-rolls were laid end-to-end rather than just going round and round, Shii Ann would have rolled her eyes to Seattle by now."


On that note, which I cannot improve upon (picture me bowing in a Wayne’s World, I’m-not-worthy manner), see you Monday.

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