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Survivor: Vanuatu, Episode 1 MVPs Ė Looking for Balanceby Betsy Wasser -- 09/22/2004
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Let me get one important thing out of the way: I am writing about the Survivor MVPs and I am not Phil Kural. Phil has faithful served RNO through many seasons of Survivor, passing out MVP awards every week to those deserving players, and Iím afraid we might have worn him out a little bit. So now the torch is passed, and Iíll do my best to fill his shoes.
For those of you who arenít familiar with the MVP columns, hereís the premise. Every week, Iíll identify the player who contributed the most to his or her tribe, and will award him that teamís Most Valuable Player. While there are two tribes, there will be two MVPs, and after the merge when thereís one tribe, Iíll just give out one award. Sound good? Well, this week, it wasnít so easy.
The Lopevi tribe started off the game with a bit of an advantage Ė that is, they were warmly welcomed by the native tribe in a way that their female counterparts were not. Sure, the object of the game isnít to fit in with Vanuatu culture, but it would have to be disheartening to start out living in a new environment treated as a second-class citizen. The men were able to feel positive about their new experience from the beginning. And one player stood out in that first ritual Ė Brady. The very fetching FBI agent was chosen to climb up a greased pole to retrieve the spirit stone, a good luck charm for his tribe. No one wanted to be the one thrust into the spotlight that way Ė slide down the pole and youíre immediately embarrassed in front of the tribe of guys that youíre trying to impress. But Brady did a great job. He watched how it was done before, then did the same thing, taking care to coat his palms and feet with dirt. Sure enough, he climbed up that pole like a monkey, easily grabbing the stone. However, Iím not going to give Brady MVP status this week. Sure, getting the stone was impressive and gave his tribe a morale boost. But that skill isnít what keeps a player in the game Ė itís much more important to survive the other players. Brady didnít get voted out, of course, but he did cast the lone vote for Rory, which means that he hasnít joined an alliance yet. The alliance that ousted Brook is big enough such that they donít need him next week for a swing vote, so Brady (along with John K, who voted against Chris) is in a vulnerable position.
The MVP for the Lopevi tribe this week goes to none other than Lea. Sure, it might have been tempting to vote out Chris after watching what a hard time he had on the balance beam. But Lea saw the writing on the wall, suspected that the younger men might band together to vote out older players like him (and knowing your Survivor history, thatís a decent bet), so he decided to beat them at their own game. He rallied the troops, took early control of the game, and proved himself to be a pivotal member of the tribe. He saw that balance in the game wasnít about keeping on the balance beam, but about tipping the balance in his favor. For that reason, Lea is the first MVP for Survivor: Vanuatu.
Maybe itís because modern women often struggle to find that elusive work-home life balance, but many of the women of Yasur seemed to take the motto, ďAll work and no play makes Jill a dull girl.Ē Unfortunately, only Twila, Scout, and Leann seemed to get that all play and no shelter building also makes Jill a wet girl. While these three women were hard at work building the shelter, the rest of the women were far too focused on the exfoliating effects of sand. So, I should give the MVP award to one of the worker bees, right?
Well, actually, no. In the first few days in camp, the best strategy seems to be to go along to get along. Many the player has been voted out because they just didnít fit in with the rest of the tribe. By doing the smart thing Ė working hard and building a shelter- Scout, Twila, and Leann actually might be damaging their prospects in the game, which is not MVP behavior. Itís a shame, but when the rest of the tribe has decided to sit back, itís not such a good plan to step up. On the other hand, I canít see giving the MVP award to one of the spa girls, either. They might be plotting and scheming while theyíre bonding in the water, but unfortunately, we didnít really see it this week. And none of the women particularly excelled at the challenge Ė for the most part, it was a team effort. So, this week, the women of Yasur will have to go without an MVP award. Women, I expect better of you next week. Make my decision about who is the best a tough one!
Thatís it for this weekís MVP awards. For grabbing the balance of tribal power, Lea wins the MVP award for Lopevi. And for having no balance at all between work and relaxation, the women of Yasur have no award this week. Will the balance of power change next week? Weíll soon find out!
Betsy is the Associate Editor of RealityNewsOnline and can be reached with any comments at email@example.com.
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