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Survivor: One World – Who Will Go in Episode 9?by William Hammon -- 04/11/2011
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I’m just going to get this off my chest right now: I’m pissed off! As Troyzan put it in Episode 3, “It’s not Survivor if you’re not lyin’.” That’s all well and good for the players, but as a viewer, I absolutely cannot stand being lied to by the producers and editors.
Let me clarify. I know that misdirection happens within the preview material. Red herrings are just a part of the experience. It’s part of the fun of this column. Find the real story amongst the jumbled bits of misinformation and make an educated guess.
But there’s a difference between a red herring and an outright lie. A red herring is suggestive footage and text to make your brain think a certain way, only to show you a solution that’s completely different using the same evidence. Last week, on the other hand, was an out-and-out lie.
In the commercial promo, the narrator (along with text slates) said these exact words: “It’s the biggest shocker of the season… A major player is about to get played.”
Can someone please explain to me in what universe Mike was a major player? Yes, he was in the majority based on previous tribal lines, but he never had any say in the proceedings throughout the season. He stole supplies on the first day, entered into an ill-advised macho man alliance, and then when Matt was voted out, he lived on borrowed time for the rest of the game. The only thing close to a move he made was ratting Leif out to Colton, and even then, the plan was still to get rid of Bill. He may have lit the Colton powder keg, but he didn’t control the explosion one bit.
Also, how is it in any way shocking to get rid of the biggest physical threat left in the game? In reference to the press release, how does blindsiding the most obvious target “eradicate any sense of security?” I’m pretty sure everyone on that beach knows exactly where they stand at this point. The men know they’re screwed, and Christina knows she’s on the bottom of the women’s alliance. Absolutely nothing changed.
As fun as it is to do this column, and as much as I say that it’s not about being right every week, it really is frustrating to spend hours coming up with cogent theories, only to see them dashed by one of the most procedural votes in Survivor history. It took a long time to process all that information and eventually land on Sabrina as my victim, and all that effort seemed wasted when I saw Mike get the boot.
Yes, I’m sure Mike himself was shocked by the outcome, but the audience wasn’t. Anyone paying attention knew he wasn’t going to win, and that his days were numbered from the third week. It’s one thing to lie in the game; it’s quite another to lie to the audience.
The reason I harp on this is two-fold. First, the main reason I’m angry about this is because the editors broke one of their own rules. It’s one thing to throw a red herring in from time to time, but to directly speak a lie to the audience is fairly unprecedented. If a major event happens in the game, they’ll basically tell you what’s about to happen. When Kelly and NaOnka quit, they didn’t hide it. When people get injured, you see the medics, so you know an evacuation is coming. When the men gave up immunity to vote Bill out, they didn’t mince words. They said it would be a never-before-seen move, and it was.
So when they say that a major player was going to be blindsided in the biggest shock of the season, a move that leaves everyone’s security in question, that’s tantamount to an oral contract as far as I’m concerned. When you say such categorical things, we have to take them at face value. To be lied to after the fact is just insulting to our collective intelligence as an audience.
The second reason that this irks me so is that the past episode basically just ended the season for me. Barring a fantastic blindside (which I doubt since Mike’s ouster was supposedly the “biggest shocker” of the season), Kim has already won this game. This episode served notice. She and Troy were the only real contenders left, and seeing as how she chose the women and so easily duped Troy, there’s nothing else for it. Personally, I’d argue that the manipulation was more a strike against Troy than a point in Kim’s strategic favor (I much more applaud her ability to run interference with Jay), but that’s ultimately irrelevant. She was shown to have more of a handle on the game than Troy, and that’s all that matters.
The rest of the season will likely play out like a combination of Vanuatu and Thailand. There will be no intrigue as the men get Pagonged (or should I say “PaDONGed?” Is that too dirty?), and most likely Troy will be the last man standing by virtue of his idol.
For those who recall what is universally agreed as the worst season in the show’s history, the editors tried to inject some drama into the latter stages of the Thailand season, begging the audience to think that something other than the patently obvious was going to happen each week. It didn’t work. Eventual winner Brian Heidik played what is arguably one of the greatest strategic games in Survivor history, but it was just so boring to watch. By the time Penny got voted out, we just wanted to collectively fast forward to the finale just to get it over with. I get the feeling the same thing will happen with Kim’s near-guaranteed victory.
The only intrigue, if you can even call it that, will be in guessing whether a former Manono member and/or another man gets voted out each week. But even then, that’s like calling “tails” on a double-headed coin. I may finally get off the schneid, as I’m an embarrassing 0-for-8 so far this season, but any victory I get will be hollow at this point.1 2 3 Next-->
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