Where do I even begin after last night's episode of Survivor: Micronesia? It marked the fifth week in a row that either a tremendous blindside, a jaw-droppingly stupid move, or both occurred at tribal council. The fact that this franchise is in it's sixteenth run and yet has somehow managed to come up with the most intriguing, most unpredictable, and most shocking season yet is a miraculous feat. Most shows on TV are lucky to make it through their first season and even the successful ones begin to lose steam around Season 3. So how is it that Survivor manages to get better and better?
If you ask me, it's because Survivor is not a television show - it's a sport. For example, the NFL just finished with its 42nd Super Bowl, and while I certainly didn't like the outcome, there's no denying that it was the most hyped-up, dramatic, and stunning installment of the big game ever. If football relied on writers and scripts, something like that just wouldn't be possible.What allows the NFL, or the NBA, or Major League Baseball to be successful is that it consists of a constantly changing flux of characters and environments all involved in a massive competition which cuts to the core of human nature. Look at that description again and tell me that it doesn't hold true for Survivor.
I think the aspect of Survivor that causes everyone to think of it as a television show instead of a sport is that it's all pre-taped. Unlike football games which take 3 hours, the game of Survivor takes 39 days and usually occurs in time zones where most of America would be sleeping while the majority of the action takes place. There's just no way to make it happen live. However, that doesn't mean they couldn't do things Big Brother-style. They could broadcast the show while the game is actually taking place and put it on several times a week, showing us what's happened over the past three days. Would this work better than the current format? It's tough to say, but I don't think trying it once would hurt. If nothing else, it's an interesting twist on the show and would certainly help in my campaign to get the show recognized as America's "fourth" sport. Anyway, I'm rambling. (What else is new?) Onto the observations...
1. Jonathan Goes Home. I knew that Jonathan was a goner the second I saw that cut, which is why held the lowest place in last week's Power Poll. Something like that was just bound to get infected in the conditions of Survivor, and the medical team was completely on point for forcing him out of the game. It's nothing new to see a contestant get sent home due to medical complications, but watching Jonathan go was hard to see.You could tell he would never quit unless his well-being was truly in danger, which was legitimately the case this time.I know how upset I'd be in that situation, knowing my competitive nature and how rare an opportunity it is to be on Survivor. To make matters worse, he knew that he was in a prime position to take over the game. James and Parvati were just waiting to be picked off. I guess some things aren't meant to be.
2. You Fool! As promised in the previews, Jason found Ozzy's fake idol and fell for it hook, line, and sinker. What amazes me is that Jason is one of the two remaining fans that I considered to be smart. Don't get me wrong, if I had found Ozzy's fake idol I definitely would have been excited as well, but I would have been cautiously excited. I would have kept the thing and used it as a potential safety net, but I never would have based any part of my game around it being legit. Think about it - when in Survivor history has the hidden immunity idol ever looked that unimpressive? It's always intricately decorated and leaves no question that it's the real deal. Knowing this, as well as the recent run of "fake" idols that have been around the past two seasons, I certainly would have questioned the idol's validity, since it looked more like a broken piece of wood than anything. As I mentioned this to the fiance, she replied, "Yeah, but these aren't real fans."
I think that sums it up right there. As amazing as this season has been, the fans, with the lone exception of Tracy, have been a bunch of buffoons. There's no way these people are "huge" fans of the game.Anybody who watches this show religiously should never make the multiple inexcusably stupid moves this crew has made. Dirty Ogre pulled made some of the dumbest decisions ever by somebody who thought they were being calculating, Erik followed him, Chet basically quit this episode, and Kathleen's probably going to quit next episode or have a major nervous breakdown. These are the supposed Super Fans? Don't get me wrong, this season is well on its way to being the best ever, but the quality of the fans has been appaling.
3. Worst. Survivor. Ever. See what I mean? Should this headline ever have to be written about a Super Fan? Unfortunately, there's no other way to hack it for Chet. Ironically, Chet was so historically pathetic that he actually turned the first six episodes into the best opening run in Survivor history. In no other circumstance would you be able to pull blindside, after blindside, after blindside like they did this time around. If you don't have that one horrendous person who should unquestionably be sent packing, then nobody would let their guard down the way they did. In some ways, the complete chaos he ended up causing would allow someone to argue that Chet actually isn't the worst ever. He did make the show interesting, and, deservingly or not, he did make it further than six other people. However, his utterly spineless exit is what sealed the deal for me.
Tracy had Ozzy gone. Let me repeat - She had him GONE. G.O.N.E. Finished. She had perhaps the greatest competitor in Survivor history, who also happened to be holding the hidden immunity idol, primed for the upset to dethrone all upsets. She had a completely oblivious Ozzy sitting squarely within Tracy's cross hairs...
...And Chet wouldn't give her a bullet.
I know he was hurt from the coral in his heel, but suck it up. For the sake of your one friend who carried you on her back through the entire game and gave you a chance when nobody else would even acknowledge your existence - Suck. It. Up.Fifteen minutes earlier you have Jonathan being dragged off the island in tears because staying could cost him his leg, and Chet's voluntarily leaving because his heel is sore.I'm sorry, but that's pathetic. Not only did he cost her the upset, but he left her in an almost hopeless situation. She's pulled off near-miracles in the past, but I just don't see how Tracy talks her way out of this one.
Don't get me wrong, for the sake of my Amanda second-chance pick, this was a very good thing, but I love to see blindsides, and I detest stupid moves. Quitting on Tracy like that was a stupid move. It was so stupid that I never thought he'd actually bail on her like that. I figured for sure he'd realize the magnitude of this vote and do the honorable thing by seeing it through with Tracy. I honestly believed Ozzy was a goner, to the point where I couldn't hold back the screams when Chet pulled his "Well, Jeff all the other people eliminated thought they knew who was going and were wrong" line.Had they actually been attempting the blindside, you couldn't have picked a stupider response. In retrospect, maybe this was his attempt at trying to trick Ozzy into prematurely using the idol, when he knew it was him going home, but that's probably giving Chet too much credit.
4. A Bonus Observation. I'm going to quickly cover one of the two extra points I mentioned that I had last week. It's this: In Survivor: Micronesia we have three of the Top 10 strategists of all time playing this game. You all know how I admire Amanda's game, and I'm including Cirie in on this as well. Every time a shift is about to occur, the woman is able to sniff it out and argue a convincing case to diffuse it. She's a non-physical person who should be viewed as a liability, yet somehow she always manages to end up in a position of power and keep herself there. Nobody does that better than her.
The third person, is Tracy. She has been a major, major underdog from Day 1 of this game, and yet she's pretty much controlled the vote for her tribe every single time. She's a fighter who refuses to give up and she has been able to manipulate like we've seen few others do. I mean, she single-handedely managed to get Chet to episode 6 and the only reason he didn't get to Episode 7 was because he quit. How do you explain that? The woman is gifted, no doubt. I'm just sorry that we'll never get to see how far she could have taken things with Chet. It would not have surprised me one iota to see the two of them sitting at the final given her track record. It's such a shame things ended up the way they did.
Just because I couldn't be any more obsessive, here's my list of the Top 10 strategists ever:
1. Yul (Cook Islands) - He's here because he won. I was seriously considering going with Amanda, but a victory has to count for something. Either way it was a very close call and at worst, he's in the Top 2.
2. Amanda (China, Micronesia) - Played a near-flawless game in China and has herself positioned strongly in Micronesia
3. Todd (China) - A few mental slips here and there, but won the game based purely on his ability to trick people.
4. Richard Hatch (Borneo) - He was the first person to truly figure out the game, but I can't help but wonder if he'd had still been able to win on a later season.
5. Cirie (Exile Island, Micronesia) She has managed to last far longer than she should based on her physical abilities in both seasons. It's also worth-while to consider she was eliminated in Exile Island via a fire-making challenge, not a vote. However, she could fall in these rankings if she gets knocked off too soon in Micronesia.
6. Brian (Thailand) - He orchestrated the game perfectly, but loses some points as he was never seated anywhere but in a position of power the entire time, which made things easy.
7. Boston Rob (Marquesas, All-Stars) - He swindled like nobody has ever swindled before. However, he screwed over way too many people and lost All-Stars as a result, which drops him a bit. Still, you gotta give him props for getting his future wife, Amber the win, which made second place equally as lucrative.
8. Rob (Amazon, All-Stars) - He dominated the mental game in Amazon, but getting knocked out by Boston Rob in All-Stars knocks him down a few pegs.
9. Stephenie (Palau, Guatamala) - Showed resolve in Palau and basically ran the show in Guatamala. To this day, I still consider her to be the model Survivor.
10.Tracy (Micronesia) - I can't put her any higher based on her small body of work, but what we've seen so far is as good as anyone has ever done.
Honorable Mention: Earl (Fiji) - Like Brian, he had an easy road to victory and Dreamz cheating Yau Man was what ultimately won it for him.
Ami (Vanuatu) - She dominated the game for most of the Vanuatu season, and is looking to be a major darkhorse factor this time around.
Vescepia (Marquesas) - Another person who had no business winning, but managed to wheel and deal her way through. I just didn't admire the way she did it enough to actually put her on the list.
And before we hit the Power Poll...
The Amanda and Parvati Hoochi-meter
You really didn't think I'd abandoned this, did you? After a two week absence due to a lack of promiscuous behavior, the Amanda and Parvati Hoochi-meter has returned. Amanda gets some points for her late-night snuggling scene with Ozzy, but Parvati is taking home crown this week for her flirtations with the Micronesian natives. "Are you guys married?"
Grand Totals: Amanda: 16 Parvati: 14