Monday, December 3, 2007

Survivor, or the one that finally surprised me and made me super happy

I know much of the audience is probably very sad right now, but I can just take a moment to celebrate? Not even so much on the outcome, but that finally, FINALLY, we had us an interesting episode? I hate to admit it, because my love of Survivor is clear and unabashed, but I have to say this is the weakest overall season that I can remember. Even Africa had more intrigue. (Plus, T-bird!). So, on to my reactions.

I thought the tease of having the reward challenge at tribal council was a lame, even desperate move by the producers to try and make it seem like something interesting was happening when really...nothing interesting was happening. When PG won I paused the Tivo and tried to guess who she would take, who would be the sentimental choices as well as the strategic ones. She took the sentimental choices, which surprised me a bit, and made me wonder how much she had given up any chance of winning so decided just to have fun on her trip. I would have picked Todd, just to see what would happen. Or Amanda. And I'll get more to my loving worship of her later, but I am very curious as to how she comes off at camp. Does she appear to be the power player that she is, or is she just a quiet sidekick? I can't quite tell how the others perceive her.

I'm sure the reward was awesome, and is one I'd love to do myself, but for TV it was fairly dull, as most of those kind of reward challenges tend to be, it is hard to capture wonder and awe on film. The huge plus was watching Denise go all ninja for us. Like, that warmed my heart and melted my brain with giddy delight. She has been so reliably uninteresting, that watching her have a unique moment all to herself was very exciting. And I believe her when she said it was something she will remember forever, and I'm a sucker when quiet people get a moment to take the spotlight.

But on the reward, the only game playing apparently done is PG telling Denise that they could vote together and take control, and all they would have to do is get the help of...James. I am absolutely flabbergasted by her determination that James would EVER be an ally to her. They hate each other! What possibly makes her ever even dream that James would swing to be with her? I just don't get her at all.

But then it happens. Back at camp, with James continuing his "don't bite the apple" theme, how the four of them are inevitable (note, inevitable makes for boring reality television!) Amanda makes all my dreams come true and says she is ready to make an apple pie. I sort of though that Courtney and Denise might be the ones to potentially switch as they increasingly see their status lower on the totem pole than they want to be. At least Denise has seen that, I'm never sure what Courtney is thinking, although somehow she has been increasingly less annoying of late. Perhaps in her emaciated state she is simply unable to fuel her brain much anymore to get a good rant going. But regardless, it isn't her, it isn't the ever-loyal Denise, it is Amanda, the person that from the outside you would think had the least amount of desire to shake things up. Because she is in a comfy spot to get to the end, and often just getting there is what people want to do, not really thinking about what they will do when they get there. If Amanda was up against Todd and James, I think she would be in a very tough spot to win. I think anyone would be challenged to win against James. And she is the only one really thinking ahead. And for that, she gets to step up to the pedestal as far as I am concerned. Let the intrigue begin!

In her wisdom, she targets James, who fortunately loses the immunity challenge. When it comes to who I love and hate, I have to admit I have a short memory. I know James was dominating the early challenges, but really, what was the last thing he won? I'm far more impressed with Courtney, who is at least improving. But man, if I was grossed out by how thin Todd has gotten, Courtney just looks like she is about to die of starvation. You got your wish Radha, and, ick. I wonder how much muscle mass James has lost over the month. But Amanda does well, and I'm still loving her for competing last week when she could have eaten a burger instead. Eric wins, which is a high point for him in my book. He is totally likable, but I'm result oriented in my fandom, and this is something I can finally get behind him for.

Anyway, if you are still reading this, you know what happened. I loved the delicious moment when PG approached Amanda about voting for James, and Amanda was like, just let it lie, trust me, and literally gave her a wink. Heh. It was a risky strategy, particularly for Todd. Instead Amanda and maybe Denise should have gone to PG and said we want to swing with you to vote for James. PG and Eric would have gone with it, and then Todd wouldn't have been at risk. But whatever, the plan worked. Though I'd love to hear more from Eric on why he didn't vote for Todd. Had James played the Idol we would have had a tie between Todd and PG, which still would not have worked out well for Eric. But Eric is just nice, not necessarily smart.

And James. It is no secret I loved him early, and that love has been waning with each week. I'm pretty sure I would have rallied for him had he given back one of the idols to Todd. But greed always gets people in the end, and it is his own fault he became such a target. You have to win, and he just hasn't been pulling it out. In the end I was surprised by his concession speech though, I really expected him to be bitter, and he gave a great speech which admittedly makes me like him a whole lot more in retrospect.

But for me, this is Amanda's game at this point. Todd has been great, but his moves haven't been as smart as he thinks they have been. Getting rid of James was a good move for him, but he totally let Amanda take the lead, saying "I'll do whatever you guys want to do" and being all wishy-washy about it. Also his totally reactionary panic when he hears PG asked Denise to target him was not the sign of a leader. If he makes it to the end, I think he has a great shot, especially with James gone. But at this point the more he wimps out about making decisions, the more ammunition he gives to Amanda to take it from him, which of course is what I'm hoping for at this point. We haven't had many stealth players on this show. People usually reveal their strategies from the very beginning, whether they are a player (Todd, JR) or a winner (James) or a drifter (Denise, Courtney). But for Amanda to enable Todd to do everything that he has done, and then to come in at the end and take over and change up the game - that is just awesome and sweet and great entertainment for me.

So we are down to six. Does that mean next week is it? Regular show on Thursday and then finale on Sunday? It goes by so fast.


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  2. I'm sorry, but I just don't get the whole Survivor thing... :)

  3. Don't worry Rick, I love you anyways. If I lived closer we'd have you over to watch with us and then you would understand. ;)

  4. Robb, You keep endorsing reality TV when you know you have a friend in the writer's guild. OUCH!

    When are you guys coming up?


  5. Heh. Sorry Steven, but the good writers don't seem to be working on commercial TV these days (with a few obvious exceptions). Or at least not the ones who appeal to my tastes anyway.

    We want to come visit! I just need a weekend off, maybe after the holidays.