Friday, September 28, 2007
Survivor, or Why I Love Television
I really don't think there is anything more beautiful and satisfying than some boring commercial ending and me hearing Jeff Probst say "Previously (pause) on Survivor."
Last night was a pretty typical second episode. Set up some feuds, but in the process introduce us to a few more people. I generally get the feeling that many of the fights are blown out of proportion via slick editing, but still you can learn a lot about people by the way they deal with others. As is always the case, the early challenges are always skewed for the stronger team, and poor little Frosti just can't compete with the fighting machine that is the Gravedigger. But watching the cocky "leader" Zoolander stumble was worth it (and props to Pro-Wrestler for coming up with that apt moniker for the former model). The mud wrestling was a little over the top for my tastes (just about everyone ended up somewhat naked, but if you are just going to blur it all out anyway, then Jeff is the one that gets any titilation out of it.)
However I was quite interested in the whole "kidnapping" thing. It didn't seem appropriately named, since she was really a guest and not like a slave which would have been more delicious. But the fact that she had a clue to a hidden immunity idol and had to give it to someone on the opposing team makes for very interesting game. And give the cute girl points for giving it to who she identified as the weakest member of the team, potentially keeping the other team weaker and having an ally come merge time that just might be weaker than you when you're done with them. I'm curious if she will tell her team what she did to get credit, or if she will keep it to herself in the hopes of finding the hidden idol herself.
She chose Christian Talk Show Lady, who at one point started to cry because she was sick and tired and didn't have her Bible with her. I imagine the unseen interviewer fished that comment out of you, but at some point I'm going to have to stop making excuses for you honey. You are on Survivor. If you want my loyalty you're gonna have to be a bit tougher than that.
The clue told us that the immunity idol is hidden in plain sight, and the cameras showed us where it was and her walking right by it over and over again. Which is unfair I suppose, because it just makes her look stupid, but still. Interestingly, she gave up and decided to get someone to help her, and turned to Gay Mormon Flight Attendant (GMFA) to help her, because "he is really witty". Her church talk is always edited to make her seem foolish, but in practice she is either genuinely just a nice person to everyone or is just willing to make whatever deals with the devil as it takes to win the game. Either way, I respect that. GMFA is still, in my opinion, playing his game too hard and obvious (and continually patting himself on his back for it), but I'd rather that than someone who doesn't have game at all. Anyway GMFA was flabbergasted that Bible-Missing Woman enlisted his help, and his first thoughts were of getting rid of her and finding the idol for himself, I'm sure confirming to the Christian viewers of Survivor that all the Gay Mormon Flight Attendants of the world are evil selfish sinners, and confirming to me that there is no excuse for the lame casting on "Pirate Master" because people like GMFA are definitely out there. But despite all his "wit", so far GMFA seemingly hasn't found the idol either, so we'll have to see how that plays out. Immunity idols that belong to a group make for incredibly difficult decisions (and Super Awesome tribal councils as we saw last season), so we'll have to see what happens with that.
The jury is still out on Jean-Rober the poker player. He seems like a lazy jerk, but he tells us he is cultivating that image on purpose so that when the time really does come to step it up he can make some big improvements to impress people. I'm not sure if that is a winning strategy or not, making people (including me) not like you so early on, but at least it does seem to be a genuine strategy. Also, casting people, what is up with having not one but two pot bellied contestants? Actually Zoolander looks like he lost 50 pounds in the three weeks before shooting started so his belly skin is all loose and flabby like he just had twins or something. I'll sacrifice hot bodies for good contestants any day (Rich Hatch, Rupert, Yao), but in the past you've been able to find people with both, which is always better. (Terry anyone? Stephanie? Or that lawyer who ran around Panama in boxer shorts and a suit jacket?)
Tribal Council was pretty boring, and they unfortunately booted off the Wrestler, who I really liked despite the creepy lip piercings. I understand wanting harmony in the camp, but you also need your strong players this early and she was probably the strongest woman in the competition. I suspect it is a choice they will later regret. The previously invisible Schoolteacher was obviously pissed about voting her off, because she really laid into Zoolander and then started crying, but she voted with the group nonetheless. For me this was very remnicent of last season when they voted off that cool girl with the afro way too early. But there is still plenty of time for me to fall in love with other players.
The one lame thing about Survivor is that I'm constantly subjected to commercials for CSI, a show that jumped the shark in its second season and is now just dark and creepy and totally unwatchable. Ick. Can we all please agree to stop watching that crap so it will go away already? Please?