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Surviving Thailand, Episode 1: Some People Never Learnby David Bloomberg -- 09/20/2002
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It doesn't seem that long ago that we watched in stunned amazement as Vee won a million dollars on Survivor: Marquesas. I guess time flies when you're watching American Idol and Big Brother (and Mole 2, and…) over the summer. Because here we are again, with a new crew of castaways vying for another million dollars - and a new way of determining tribes.
In the first few moments of Survivor: Thailand, the 16 players are led through a small Thai fishing village and depart in two boats - one for the women and one for the men. When they arrive on their island, they remain split up by sex. Host Jeff Probst tells them each to introduce themselves - name, age, and occupation. He notes that if giving that information would interfere with whatever strategy they have planned, they don't need to do it.
So each player provides the requested info (see the RNO Roundtable preview to find it out for yourself). Ken the NYPD officer gets a round of applause when he introduces himself, but otherwise it's pretty low-key. Next, Probst brings up the eldest members, Jake and Jan, noting that in Thailand the elders are treated with the utmost respect. These two first must pick, based solely on the color of the buff and the fact that one is sunrise and one sunset, their tribe affiliation. They are told that one has easier access to shelter and the other to water, but not which is which. Jake goes with sunset, so Jan gets sunrise. That puts Jan in Chuay Ghan and Jake in Sook Jai. You know, I can tell already that it's going to get awfully tiresome to type those names over and over again. Plus, whenever I see Chuay Ghan I think "Qui-Gon" from The Phantom Menace. So let's just go with CG and SJ, 'kay?
At first, it seems like it's going to be the men against the women, and Ghandia is just fine with that - she says they'll kick butt. But Probst says no, that's not the way it is. Instead, we're going back to the schoolyard days so many people dreaded - Jake and Jan are picking teams. They go one by one, alternating men and women, with Jan starting first to pick a man and then Jake with a woman. Jan is a bit uncomfortable with the role she has been put into, as she is not really a leader and has been put into the spotlight.
Jan picks Ted. Jake goes with Stephanie, noting later that she looked ready to take on the world. Jan picks Helen. Jake goes with Ken. Jan picks John. Jake picks Penny - uh oh, is this another Rodger/Elisabeth - Paschal/Neleh thing? We'll see… Jan takes Ghandia. Jake goes for Jed. Jan picks Brian the soft porn star (although I recently read an article in which Probst said Brian chose not to reveal that particular part of his life to his fellow tribemates). Jake picks Shii Ann. Jan goes for Tanya. Jake picks Robb the skateboard freak (who had been hoping against hope he wouldn't end up with the fogies on Jan's team). Jan goes for Clay, who knew he was going to be last because he's the smallest and oldest of the men. And Jake ends up with Erin.
So, this is what the tribes look like:
Chuay Ghan (CG)
Sook Jai (SJ)
Jake says he doesn't know what Jan was thinking as far as strategy for picking. He picked based on athleticism. Penny notes that they have the four best-looking guys on their tribe. Ted is surprised by Jan's picks, too, because they are generally older. But he also notes that the other tribe is all excited because they think they can walk all over his tribe, and they're wrong.
Each tribe is assigned a boat with "meager" supplies and just a single can of beans as food. They have to row off to their camps. The younger crew of SJ hops right in and starts rowing, without realizing they are facing the wrong way. The CG team takes the time to turn their boat around, noting that it isn't a race.
John immediately starts griping that people in his tribe don't know how to paddle a boat. If you only paddle on the right, it goes to the left! So he sits in front and takes command right away. Hmmm. Somehow I can see him in Australia, holding a compass and directing people where to walk. We saw how well Debb did with that particular strategy… Tanya notes that John has immediately jumped into the leadership role. She isn't terribly pleased about the tribe she's in, as she isn't sure she can relate to the older folks. Well, hey, at least she isn't bossing them all around within the first five minutes.1 2 3 Next-->
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