Ten new Survivors take on ten former favorites.
Survivor: Micronesia Blog
1st Elimination: Johnny Fairplay
To be honest, not much happened during the first episode of Survivor: Micronesia. Most of it was built around alliances forming amongst the favorites, which ultimately ended up being pointless as everyone just decided to do themselves a favor and eliminate Johnny Fairplay. I'm going to touch on a few "quick hit" points before spending the bulk of this post discussing who I think actually has a chance to walk away with the million bucks. Here we go...
- First off, do they really expect us to believe that Jeff Probst was standing on the outside of a helicopter, unharnessed and hundreds of feet in the air, and then was able to maintain his balance as the chopper made a sweeping dive away from the camera? Why? Why? Why? This was even worse than the time they tried to make it look like he'd ridden a jet ski across the Pacific Ocean with the final votes and "just made it" in time for the results show. Seriously, he's the host of a reality TV show, not Jack Bauer. Save the stunts for 24!
- As Probst was explaining that this season would feature favorites vs. Survivor fanatics, the fiance said, "Oh, you should've been on this season!".
No thanks. This season features 20 people who know what they're doing. Whoever wins this thing will have pulled off an amazing feat. I'd much rather take my chances pitted against fire dancers, male cheerleading coaches, and a variety of other mental midgets. According to my calculations, I have a 36% chance of winning the game during an average season. With this crew, I wouldn't count myself in for more than 15%, and that's being generous. Yup, we're in for a good season!"
- The fiancé had an extremely astute observation going into the immunity challenge. Up until that moment, a copious amount of the show had been spent on two alliances of four forming in the favorites camp. James, Parvati, Ozzy, and Amanda had hit it off and Jonathan, Ami, Eliza, and Yau Man were plotting to take them out. As Probst was explaining the rules of the challenge, she said "You know the fans are going to win, otherwise they wouldn't have spent so much time focused on the favorites' alliances." It was a great pick-up on her part, and I have to admit that I was pretty proud to see how far she'd come from a Survivor newbie in Season 11, to somebody who knew how to read the game's subtle clues by Season 16.
Of course, that being said, she's completely boycotting my picking game and refused to make a selection this season. I don't exactly remember her reasoning for doing so. It was something about me being too obsessive, intense, or competitive... Maybe pathetic? Anyway...
- The whole time I thought for sure that Johnny Fairplay was lying about having a kid. Between the way he was constantly bringing it up and the extremely low odds that any female would be within 100 yards of him naked, I felt pretty justified in making this assumption. When I told the fiancé this, she completely disagreed.
"Did you see him before? He was crying!"
If only she knew... In the end, I guess he was telling the truth as he stuck to the story all the way to his demise. But you have to admit, that would've made for a pretty good follow-up to the Grandma scheme.
And now it's time for the picks! I have to say, I have never had a tougher time making a decision than this season. For starters, we're back to a bloated cast of twenty, which not only decreases the odds of picking correctly, but further muddies the waters by giving everyone less screen time. Now when you add to that the fact that 75-80% of this episode was centered around the favorites, picking one of the ten fans becomes a total crap shoot. To go with one of them, you would have to choose based purely on appearance and whoever doesn't sound like a complete idiot. At least you can know what you're getting with the favorites, as they've been on the show before. The only problem with them, is that they all have a major, glaring flaw. The reason they were chosen to come back on the show is because they have a big personality, which rarely equals success in this game. So when I boiled it all down, I basically had to choose between a known entity who was waving a giant red flag, or roll the dice and hope that I was able to size up a good contestant in ten seconds of interview time.
Before I reveal my pick, I'd like to do a short rundown on some of the favorites that I didn't pick...
Eliza: Too annoying
Yau Man: Too likeable
Johnny Fairplay: Too Johnny Fairplay
Cirie: Too much of an underdog
James: Too strong
Ozzie: Too good at challenges - and a very questionable strategist last time around.
So those guys were definitely out. That left me with Parvati, Jonathan, Amanda, and Ami. Here are my thoughts on them...
Parvati - Going in to the premiere, I felt that there was a decent chance I'd be going with Parvati. She was a good competitor who knew how to strategize and was likeable, but not too likeable last time around. She kind of had an "Amber" vibe about her, which obviously worked well during the last All-Star season. However, the way she latched onto James right away and flirted up a storm, just made her too big of a target. Also, it seemed that everyone else realized how big of a threat she was and were planning on taking her out.
Jonathan - The man is a strategist. However, he's a strategist who thinks he's smarter than he actually is, which lead to him pulling a game-ending mutiny in Cook Islands, only to flip back and hand Yul or Ozzy the game. He was just too erratic and did too many dumb things last time for me to trust him. Plus it's highly likely that he'll annoy enough jury members to ruin his chances even if he makes it to the end.
Amanda - Going in, I was seriously, seriously considering Amanda. I knew how big of a crap shoot this would be, and I at least knew I could trust her to play a smart game. Her performance in China was second to none in terms of strategy. She even played a better game than Todd as she was the catalyst of voting of James. In the end, Todd was able to talk circles around her in the final, and it won him the game. That left me a little bit worried that she might again make it to the end but be unable to seal the deal by rubbing the jury the wrong way. On the other hand, there isn't a "Todd" in this entire bunch, so if Amanda plays her smart game, she could easily nab that million.
She started out great by aligning with Ozzy and then James and Parvati. That's an absolute powerhouse of an alliance, and the best part is that she's the smallest target of the four. Seriously, when you consider the strength, skill, social skills, and intelligence of that foursome, they're basically the New England Patriots of Survivor. Unfortunately, as my inability to get a good night's sleep for the past four nights will attest, having an overwhelming amount of talent doesn't always guarantee victory. And when you start sucking face with Ozzy in the shelter, as we witnessed in the previews for next week, things really are bound to fall apart. Sorry Amanda, you're out.
Ami - Ugh. She's by far the most likely of the favorites to win it all. She's smart, a good competitor, and isn't overtly obnoxious. The only problem is that I can't stand her. If you've followed my Survivor blogs at all, you know how seriously I take my "picks" and how fervently I support them. Ami was the only one of my picks that I completely gave up on and started rooting for them to be voted off. There was just now way I could support her feminazi brain-washing dictatorship that she had going on in Vanuatu. It was just horrible and was killing the game until the tables were finally turned on her. To this day, I consider her torch being snuffed my most satisfying elimination ever.
I don't care about her odds. I refuse to make her my pick.
If you're scoring at home, that's ten favorites with ten very big reasons not to pick them. That left me with the fans who I knew absolutely nothing about. Basically all I could tell you is that Kathleen is crazy and that Chet is flaaaaaaaaaming. Hey, it worked for Richard Hatch and Todd, but I just don't see it this time. When it came down to it, the only person who made any kind of "Hey, he might be decent" impression on me was Mikey B.
The one glaring problem: do you really see a 34 year-old guy named "Mikey B" outwitting, outplaying, and outlasting 19 other people to win a million dollars? Let's be clear on one thing - there's nobody else in the cast named Michael, or Mike. He had unchallenged rights to the name and its many variations, and he went with "Mikey". And not only did he go with "Mikey", but "Mikey B". I just don't know what to make of this.
When push came to shove, there were clear warning signs surrounding every other Survivor, and the worst thing I had on Mikey B was that his name was Mikey B. So he's my pick. I have never been this unconfident in a selection before, so we'll see how it goes. Regardless of what happens, I have a very, very strong feeling that we're going to be in for an amazing season. See you next week with the Power Poll. I know far too little at this point to put together any legitimate rankings. I figure by next week we'll at least know if Parvati or Amanda is the bigger hooch.