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Survivor: One World, Episode 7 Missing Intelligence Award – Me Tarzan, You Smarter Than Meby Chris Harris -- 04/04/2011
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Usually in a season, there are multiple candidates for a Missing Intelligence Award in any given week, but it hasn’t been that way quite so much for One World. Instead, we’ve had one primary example of missing intelligence each week who proves too obvious to even pretend it’s someone else. Typically it’s been Colton or Alicia.
This time? Welcome to the club, Tarzan.
Frankly, I should probably give it to him just for allowing other people to call him “Tarzan.” Let’s not continue the theme of jungle-related literary nicknames, okay? We don’t need to see a “Mr. Kurtz” or “Rikki-Tikki-Tavi” in future seasons. But no, there are many more game-relevant reasons for giving dear Greg Smith the MIA this week.
A couple of seasons ago, we bore witness to the spectacle that was Phillip Sheppard, former federal agent, bearer of an entire zoo’s worth of animal tattoos, and the most interesting man in the world. (“I don’t always wear underwear, but when I do, I prefer dirty, saggy pink tighties.”) We wondered if Phil’s mania was really an act designed to convince others to keep him in the game as jury fodder, and our special super-secret agent man pretty much confirmed this for us as the game went on.
It was an interesting strategy, to say the least, and hypothetically, in some seasons, it might have stood a chance of working. Had Phillip gotten to the jury and made a dynamite argument, basically pulling back the curtain and revealing the opposite of The Wizard of Oz -- that the crazy, ineffective old man was really a crafty and powerful wizard -- he might have pulled it off. However, he blew it by being basically the same argumentative, confrontational whackadoo that made him jury fodder in the first place. Moreover, no one was beating Boston Rob anyway. Phil’s ploy might have worked in another season, but not that one.
Throughout this season, however, it feels like we’ve had multiple people trying this same strategy -- become so disliked, so disrespected that anyone would be crazy not to take you to the end, then hope things get crazy with the jury and anything can happen.
To be fair, I certainly don’t think this was really Colton’s plan. He was more of a Russell Hantz, as I explained last week -- a guy who was playing hard, but couldn’t resist being a jerk to those around him. I don’t think Alicia is playing the Phillip Sheppard way either -- however she is in real life, she clearly just has an inner “mean girl” that comes out under high-stress circumstances (and around Colton).
Tarzan, however… I might buy it from him. We have no reason yet to suspect he’s playing this strategy for sure, but he’s been very Phillip-like, with his bizarre behavior, unintelligible rants, and even his willingness to drag his saggy old body around in unflattering shorts. Like Phillip, any other player in the game would be nuts not to take Tarzan to the finals, because anyone can beat him. Even Alicia could probably beat Tarzan, and I don’t think she could beat anyone else right now.
This was shown to be true when the tribe voted out Jonas -- yes, Jonas was well-liked. Yes, he deserved to stay more than Tarzan. Yes, more people wanted Tarzan out of their lives -- but that’s exactly why Jonas had to go. Because the inconvenience Tarzan caused was not worth the million dollars the others could win by sitting beside him at the end of the game.
Tarzan committed several offenses this week which pointed to why he’s made it virtually impossible for himself to win this game:
* We have to go back to the previous episode to really see how far off base Tarzan is. Apparently Jonas and Leif had already made the decision pre-merge to side with Christina. Colton was even on-board with the plan, it would seem. Only Tarzan was still clinging to the idea that somehow Alicia was more preferable than Christina, and even tried to convince Leif of this.
I don’t think it would have worked. Had there been a vote, and had Colton been around for it, Tarzan would probably have picked the wrong pony. The fact that the rest of his males’ alliance had basically chosen a strategy and weren’t worrying about how he would vote shows how little influence Tarzan really had, and how disrespected he was for so long, even by his allies.
* Fights over food. A Phillip Sheppard classic (remember the “Rice Wars”?). Tarzan wanted some of former Salani’s coffee. It’s not unreasonable to ask for a scoop of coffee -- if you get turned down because it isn’t for you, then graciously accept that and move on -- but in Survivor, it’s always important to keep your finger on the pulse of every member of your tribe, and that means being able to read the room. If Tarzan had looked at the people consuming the coffee, he might have noticed that it was only the people who had actually won the coffee.1 2 Next-->
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