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Has Survivor: Vanuatu become Survivor Verytedious?by Ken Kellam III -- 11/08/2004
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Back when Survivor: Thailand was going on, it got harder and harder to find things to write about, and I once told someone that writing about that season was like trying to find the highlights in a 0-0 football game. Survivor: Vanuatu is turning out to be much the same way. The reason is simple: There aren’t any dynamic characters to the viewer interested. In short, no Ruperts this time around. Say what you want about the big man, but he at least made things interesting. Even Johnny Deadgrandma at least gave us something to watch.
The sad thing is, Survivor: Vanuatu started out with so much promise, and the first few episodes were worth writing about. But it has evolved, or should I say degenerated, into a ho-hum affair. It used to be I would get 10-15 pieces of email on each article I wrote, but as of late, I’m down to getting one per episode. I’m not sure if it’s because people have lost interest in the articles, or because people have lost interest in the reason in general, but Robert P., rest assured I do appreciate your taking the time to e-mail me every week.
The only time this season I’ve gotten a substantial amount of email was when I made two errors in one article: I kept referring to Chris as Bubba, or Bubba as Chris, and I referred to George Orwell’s 1984 as an American novel, when the author is actually British. Maybe the key to getting people to write is messing up; okay, so be it: I long for the days when Tina won challenge after challenge, but eventually blew the 7-figure check by taking Colby with her to the finals instead of Keith. Okay, here’s one more: Lisa, who got booted a few episodes back, looked great for 44. In fact, she looked like she was in her 20s. Kinda reminds me of Dorian Grey, the character created by Robert Louis Stevenson who never aged, but a painting of him did. Hey, maybe I should do this every week!
Anyway, years ago, Jimmy Johnson resigned as head coach after leading my beloved Dallas Cowboys to two straight Super Bowl victories. A couple of years later, a local sports talk show host remarked, “Jimmy was as miserable and as sorry as they come, and boy do I miss him.” That’s how I’m starting to feel about the great Survivor players of the past. Where’s a Boston Rob or Jerri when you need one? The closest thing to a villain this season is Ami, and she’s not even all that interesting to watch.
Here’s a good indication of how far the season has sunk: In the previews for next week, the most riveting footage Mark Burnett has to show us revolves around Sarge complaining about the women cuddling and Eliza bonding with a pig. Be still my beating heart. You’d think we’d see footage of Sarge having it out with Twila and Julie, unless there was none. To paraphrase Rory, as well as the title of my editor’s re-cap, “Boring people bore the living hell out of me.” Maybe there should be an immunity challenge among viewers to see who can stay awake through the next episode.
Okay, on to what passes for the week’s highlights. Let’s start from the beginning, when Chris asked, “Now does everybody trust each other?” after the vote to keep Twila and Julie over John K. Well, Chris, what did you EXPECT everyone to say? Just because they say that publicly doesn’t mean they’re telling the cameras the same thing. It brings back memories of All-Stars, when Big Tom stated regarding his pact with Boston Rob, “Do I trust him? Hell no!” Of course, this was eventually borne out.
As for Sarge, I’ll ask the same question I’ve asked all along: What does his wife think of his interactions with the women, especially this week, when he got a little closer to Julie, literally, and bared it all, also quite literally? Thank God for the blots over everyone’s backsides. I really don’t need a drill instructor mooning me, to be honest. And while we’re on the subject of Sarge, if he doesn’t make the final two, and they bring back fallen comrades, here’s a question Jeff Probst should ask: What is Sarge’s actual first name?
Are Twila and Julie in the same position Kathy was in the Marquesas? That is, in between two alliances? And is this a good thing? Well, it will get them farther in the game, but it’s doubtful either of them will win. If they go with the guys, they’ll eventually be outnumbered, but they’re also outnumbered by Leann, Ami and Eliza. You can say they betrayed the guys after being shown they could trust the guys, and believe me, I would’ve rather seen. Ami go before Rory. But this coming week will let us know if Twila and Julie were as faithful to the guys as the guys were to them. One of them had mentioned ousting Rory, then Ami. At least where Rory was concerned, they didn’t have an actual agreement with him, but now, if they oust one of the guys, they can’t help but turn on someone who helped them out.
How funny was it to hear Sarge state that he wished the reward challenge hadn’t happened, because he couldn’t hold the food? It brought back memories of Ethan winning a reward in Africa, but now being able to stomach it, and of Jerri doing the same in the Outback. Of course, most viewers couldn’t stomach Jerri, either.
Did Sarge doom himself by winning the individual immunity? They already know he’s a physical threat, as well as a leadership one. But did he make things even worse by coming out on top? Most likely, he’d be seen as a bigger threat than Chad or Chris.
Why did Ami, Leann, and Eliza get so little camera time this week? Is it because they’re going to be around awhile, or because they’re borrrrrrrrrrrrring? The most riveting footage regarding Ami wasn’t even something she did. Rather, it was seeing the look on her face when she got four votes. She at least has to know now she isn’t exactly well-liked. If I were her, I’d want to keep Eliza in the game, because in my opinion, that’s the only person she has a chance to beat.
As for Leann, the most interesting bit of footage must’ve been left on the cutting room floor, because we apparently didn’t see it. As for Eliza, her best moment comes in next weeks highlights and revolves around her befriending a pig. Isn’t this the same person who was wary of touching one of the swine during a reward challenge?
One more point regarding Twila: How ridiculous does Mia’s statement about her nemesis lacking social skills seem right about now? Seems like Twila’s fitting in just fine. As for Scout, I have but one question: She’s still in the game? We saw so little of her, or at least she made such a non-impression, I thought maybe she had entered a Survivor-witness relocation program. Maybe she’s been put in a different Survivor game, in an undisclosed location, and none of her tribemates know anything about her.
Well, as you can see, it’s getting harder and harder to find things to talk about regarding the current cast. Perhaps Mark Burnett has banned all interesting footage from being aired. Or maybe the merge makes things interesting… or even more tedious, dull, and predictable. Of course, if I start getting email again, I won’t have to include obvious factual errors just to see if anyone is paying attention. Then again, maybe doing so is absolutely unprofessional and a pitiful cry for attention on my part. After all, you don’t seeing President-Elect Kerry doing that, do you?
Ken can be reached with any comments, criticisms, or money orders at YourNextOfKen@aol.com .
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