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Survivor: Thailand - First Impressions of Week Oneby Ken Kellam III -- 09/21/2002
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As usual, Mark Burnett threw everyone a few curves to start out. For the first time, he didn't choose the tribes, instead delegating that responsibility to the two eldest players, Jake and Helen. Just like "5th grade dodgeball," as someone put it, the two made their choices out in the open. Now, we all know someone always has to be the first voted out, but we didn't know someone would be the last chosen. That distinction went to Erin, while Clay was the last male chosen. There's plenty of humiliation to go around in the game as it is, without adding just a little more. Okay, I confess - I was one of those habitually chosen last in grade school phys-ed, (and 27 years later I still curse you Mrs. Kronenberg, wherever you are), so maybe I'm a bit biased. But I wonder why Jeff Probst couldn't be allowed to take Jake and Helen off to the side and pick teams without everyone hearing the order in which everyone was taken.
Anyway, now let's get to the business at hand: What kind of first impressions (and in John's case, last) did each player make? In order to go strictly on initial reactions, I wrote this immediately after the premiere episode, without viewing it a second time.
First let's start with the winning tribe, Sook Jai:
Jake: The Texas realtor was allowed to pick his own team, which can be a blessing and a curse. When Burnett and Co. say be ready for anything, they mean ANYTHING. But Jake handled it well, and frankly, did a better job of choosing his team than his female counterpart. Except for himself, his team is by far the younger and stronger of the two groups. And he handled his role as "team captain" well: He didn't flaunt it, or even try to take a leadership role. Perhaps being embarrassed at being thrust into a role he wasn't expecting, he seemed to try and blend in and not stand out any more than he already has. I can see him making the jury strictly on likeability, and then coasting to the final four because he's so non-threatening.
Ken: I doubt telling the group he's an NYPD cop starting out was part of his overall strategy, but it obviously worked in his favor, as everyone clapped for him when he announced this. Also working in his favor is that he didn't come across as a gruff New Yorker, instead showing himself to be levelheaded, without trying to assume a leadership role. Another good overall first impression.
Jed: He seemed to be following in the footsteps of Kel, isolating himself from his tribemates while going to fish. That's not a bad idea, Jed, IF you bring something back. But alas, the former high school football star came back "incomplete," both in terms of fish caught, and possibly, in gaining the good graces of his tribemates. Jed, don't set yourself apart this early, and for pete's sake, I hope that's not beef jerky I saw you chewing on.
Robb: I STILL ask the question: A SKATEBOARD? Even before the show started, the bartender didn't come across as too bright, and he did nothing here to change that perception. First he talked about how his tribe had all the "hot women," apparently not stopping to consider that a beauty pageant isn't likely to be one of the challenges. Then, there was his treatment of Shii Ann, demanding to see her hands. If he's not careful, he may see those hands as part of a one-two combination. Still don't think he'll make the merge.
Erin: The twentysomething Texan had the humiliating distinction of being the last woman, but handled it better than a lot of people may have, both in front of the others and to the camera. It looks like she's taking the right attitude, intent on proving her worth to her tribemates. Since she wasn't shown a whole lot after that, she must have blended in, and not done anything too noteworthy. Good for her.
Penny: My first impression of the other Texas hottie in the tribe is that I hope we see more of her in that two-piece. Yeah, I know, I just got on Robb for saying something similar, but I'm not claiming beauty is an advantage at challenges. Besides, 20-something Texas women in bathing suits are to me what fireman are to Susan Schechter. In episode one, we saw Penny more than we heard her. Maybe she's flying under the radar for now. But at any rate, a good beginning.
Shii Ann: She didn't waste time telling off Robb when he tried to assert himself over her. I loved her comment about, "Mess with the she-devil and you get the horns." I hope she STICKS it to Robb in upcoming episodes. She's also quotable, saying, "You're not seeing MY tatas." Looks like one of the more interesting players.1 2 Next-->
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