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Survivor: Vanuatu, Episode 12 MVP: Listen to Convincing Johnby Betsy Wasser -- 12/07/2004
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When I was a kid, I used to love the show Fraggle Rock. On it, there was a character who would appear occasionally named Convincing John. Convincing John’s strongest personality trait was… well, that he was convincing. If you listened to Convincing John, he’d tell you exactly what you needed to do. “Listen to Convincing John,” a song went, “and all your troubles will be gone.”
On Survivor this week, Eliza was like a confused Fraggle. She didn’t know how she should vote. Should she go back to Ami, with whom she felt friendship, or should she stick with Scout, Twila, and Chris?
For much of the episode, it looked like Ami was going to play the role of Convincing John. Her work started as soon as they got back from tribal council. She complained about how Scout and Twila wanted to get rid of Eliza every previous vote, in the hopes that Eliza would forget that she voted for Eliza this time and that Scout and Twila, in fact, saved her. When that doesn’t seem to be going anywhere, she says that Twila’s swearing on her son was “yucky.” It really is a shame that Twila became the first person on Survivor to lie, ever, so you can see why Amy was so shocked.
Eliza won the reward challenge, and got to spend an evening at a resort with Chris and Ami. Ami, of course, used that opportunity to try to convince Eliza further to abandon her alliance and vote with her. Ami started by apologizing for voting for Eliza, then said that it’s a shame the way Scout talks down to her. Eliza seemed to buy what Ami was selling. Then, at dinner, Ami suggested to Eliza and Chris that they’d be smart to break up Scout and Twila.
Ami turned up her powers of persuasion even further that night. She told Eliza that she saved her from being voted out many, many times and always had her back. Never mind that in the last tribal council, Ami apparently had Eliza’s back so that she could easily stick a knife in it. Instead, she said that she really cared about Eliza, and the two of them agreed that they felt like sisters.
Ami kept up her attempts to convince Eliza to vote with her until the very end. She grabbed Eliza for some female bonding by plucking each other’s eyebrows. If you’ll indulge me in a tangent, the eyebrow plucking among the women on this season has fascinated me. I can’t imagine being able to actually grab one of my eyebrow hairs and pull it out by hand. That’s some seriously advanced grooming. Okay, back on topic. Ami turned on the last ditch efforts at convincing Eliza by claiming that her feelings were hurt by the previous vote and that she’d be very sad not to be around her “little sister” Eliza anymore.
Ami was very, very convincing. At every turn, Eliza seemed to be wavering. But in the end, Eliza stuck to her word and voted Ami out with Scout, Twila, and Chris. Why? Because I think as convincing as Ami was, the role of Convincing John (and MVP) was actually played by Chris this time around. While Ami tried to appeal to Eliza’s emotions, Chris appealed to her sense of logic.
First of all, he played very well by beating out Julie in the reward challenge and preventing Eliza from being alone at the resort with Ami and Julie, which would have been risky indeed. And when Ami tried to tell them over dinner to break up Scout and Twila, Chris made it very clear that Ami was only trying to save her own neck. And after all, wouldn’t he and Eliza have a better shot at beating out Scout and Twila in those critical final immunity challenges than the stronger Ami?
Eliza may be young and impressionable, but she’s also studying to be a lawyer, which makes me suspect that she is no stranger to logic. Chris used logic to convince her that she’d be better off sticking with him, Scout, and Twila to the final four. Of course, the threat of a Purple Rock of Death tiebreaker undoubtedly played a role in Eliza’s final decision, but I’m not giving the MVP award to an inanimate object. Instead, I’m giving it to Chris, who like Convincing John, was able to sell Eliza on the best decision.
Next week’s episode seems to be a foregone conclusion at this point. Chris, Eliza, Scout, and Twila will vote together again to eliminate Julie and go to the final four… or will they? If Julie can turn into Convincing John this time around – or win immunity - she may be able to stick around for another week, which would certainly make her MVP material. Can she do it? Stay tuned.
Betsy Wasser is the Associate Editor of Reality News Online. She can be reached with any comments or Muppet-related discussion at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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