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Survivor: China – Relatively Interestingby Ken Kellam III -- 12/11/2007
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First of all, let me explain the two good reasons why I didn’t write last week: the Cowboys and the Packers. It’s probably the only time I’ve ever chosen the NFL over Mark Burnett, but then, it’s the only time I’ve been faced with such a choice. But my TV, not accustomed to being Survivor-deprived, rebelled and started playing tricks on me and somehow managed to jumble the two shows together. At one point, I was sure I saw Erik throw a star to Terrell Owens for a touchdown. Later, I swear Jeff Probst was in a referee’s uniform penalizing James for excessive cluelessness, and eventually, Brett Favre was ousted after failing to use either of his immunity idols.
Now that I think about it, how fun would it be if the idol part of Survivor were incorporated into the NFL? Each team gets a clue to “penalty idols” hidden somewhere in the stadium and, if a flag is thrown, the coach of the team with an idol can play it. Any penalty against his team is negated, but if the penalty is against the other team, the idol is wasted and hidden back somewhere in the stadium.
Well, I learned my lesson this week, and my TV was back to normal. Since I missed a week, let’s start by addressing one of the most surprising ousters in the game’s history (at least to the one on the receiving end of it). James made history by becoming the first person to be ousted while possessing two immunity idols. For that matter, he’s the first person to possess two immunity idols. The obvious question is – does he deserve his Hall of Shame moment? I said no, at first, because even using both idols wouldn’t have guaranteed him a spot in the final four. However, I have now come around because his fate was in his own hands, at least for two more Tribal Councils. Unfortunately, James foolishly chose to trust the others, and that trust came back to bury the gravedigger.
Then again, maybe it isn’t so surprising James made such a move. Hey, I picked the guy to win it all, but throughout the game, James has been more about brawn than brain, never quite showing himself to be a strategic mastermind. Others, frankly, had more to do with how far James got in the game than he did. Earlier, it was information provided from others that enabled him to have two idols. They only gave James the information in the first place because it was in their best interests, not his, to do so. And when James finally got the heave-ho, it was again because it was in their best interests. My colleague Betsy Wasser, in her MVP article, referenced the song “Amanda.” Maybe James should’ve been singing an old Steppenwolf lyric at Tribal Council; “Something’s happening here, what it is, ain’t exactly clear.” You can take this “For What It’s Worth,” but James even admitted he “caught a feeling,” but still failed to act on that feeling, and it cost him dearly.
One more thought on James – his admonishment to the others not to bite the proverbial apple was loaded with irony. After all, here’s a guy who not so very long ago had some very pointed things to say, not only about Leslie, but Christians in general. Yet here he was referencing the very first story in the Bible. And in the end, James was ousted because he foolishly ate of the apple of trust.
As for the others, did Courtney’s whining about others being in “her” cave remind anyone of Shane’s temper tantrum a couple of seasons back regarding “his” stump? The only difference is that while Shane had his meltdown in front of everyone, Courtney at least confined her whining to the camera. But when she said, “No talking in the cave!” I wanted to say to her, “From you, how about no talking at all?”
But Courtney wasn’t the only person who needed some cheese to go with her whine. I wanted to get Todd a muzzle for Christmas after he bellyached about Peih-Gee plotting against him. What exactly did he expect her to do, just lie there and let the others have an easy road to a million dollars? As Amanda noted, Peih-Gee is a fighter, and that’s what she was doing here. Plus, if Todd were on the wrong end of the numbers, there’s not a doubt in my mind that he would be doing the exact same thing as Peih-Gee.
If the players were given a “Fallen Comrades” type of quiz as a challenge and Jeff Probst asked, “Which of the players in this game has a black belt in the martial arts?” would anybody have guessed Denise? No offense to her, but I certainly would not have. While her online profile states she opened up her own karate school, the players certainly don’t have access to that information when the game starts. Guess it just goes to show that you never really know what people are capable of.
Okay, now on to the latest episode and the appearance of the players’ relatives. Be honest now – is there anybody watching out there who didn’t think “Jonny Fairplay” the minute the subject of Todd’s sister miscarrying came up? I certainly did, but at the same time, I thought this was real. For one thing, being the student of the game that he appears to be, Todd has to know about the famous “dead grandma” incident, and he strikes me as knowing better than to think such a maneuver could work twice. In fact, he even said later that he knew the others would think he was doing that just for strategy, but as we now know, he wasn’t.
The reward challenge also gave us insight into the players’ relationships with their relatives. For instance, how fun was it watching Amanda and her sister Katrina do bird calls to communicate? Obviously, this is something they have done before (the bird calls, not the challenge), and while they didn’t win, it was fun seeing that aspect of their relationship.1 2 Next-->
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