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Survivor: Thailand - Why Stephanie Lostby David Bloomberg -- 10/17/2002
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Stephanie made a mistake early on, and even though she tried to make amends for it, it still came back to haunt her. In the fifth episode, we said goodbye to the firefighter from Fayetteville. As usual, let's look back at What Thai Survivors Should Have Learned and see where she went wrong - oh, so very wrong.
First up, as always, is a look at whether she schemed and plotted. Frankly, we haven't seen much in the way of such behavior on Sook Jai, but there does seem to be something of an alliance. The same group voted for both Jed and Stephanie - even though Erin said several times that Shii Ann was a problem. I suspect it's not so much a formal alliance as just a sort of banding together, but whatever it was, Stephanie wasn't in it. She chose to hang with Jed and Robb - and hang she did. If she tried any plotting or scheming, we sure didn't see it. And since she was so isolated from the rest of the group - by her own choice - it's hard to see how she could have been doing any alliance-building.
So she certainly didn't have to worry about scheming too much. We can skip ahead to the one she really blew - pretending to be nice. Stephanie was not very good in this area. Yes, I understand that she felt the tribe was focused too much on shelter and not enough on food and water, but this doesn't mean she had to be so bitchy about things. Nor did she have to separate herself from the rest of the group, whether it was by working on her own, sleeping away from the group, whatever. When she found the squid and most of the others were working at the fire, she just had to make a snide comment. Maybe she was right - but she didn't need to say anything. Stuff like that needs to stay bottled up - or said only to a cameraman - when you're on Survivor.
Moving on, did Stephanie allow her emotions to control her? Well, not really. Yes, she did allow some of that anger to seep through, but it was more her lack of emotions that set her apart. As she said, she's not a huggy type of person, and everybody else seemed touchy-feely. Well, we didn't really see that, but whatever happened, it only served to further set her apart.
An area where she felt that she succeeded, but only because she didn't understand the group dynamic, relates to the fifth rule - providing food wins allies and don't be lazy. She did provide food, so she should have had some allies, right? Well, the problem is that when she was focused on food, the others wanted the shelter. So she was perceived by some as being lazy because she wasn't helping with the building. In this case, it's a bit ironic that helping with the food made her look lazier, but there you have it.
So what about the rest of the tribe - did they make the right decision? Well, they are still in the part of the game where weak links need to be voted off. Nobody has really shown themselves to be horribly weak in the challenges (unlike on Chuay Gahn, where there were plenty of those), so the tribe needed to look at who was weakening their morale, much as they did with Jed. Stephanie had caused some infighting earlier, from what Penny said during her vote. While she was trying to make up for it, that impression stuck. Yes, Shii Ann has apparently been causing some friction too, but Jake likes her, and I suspect that goes a long way with the other tribe members. It would have been nice to see Robb go, but they shouldn't give up his strength yet, even though he is an idiot. So that brings us back to Stephanie. Since there are no other obvious choices, voting her off does seem like the right decision.
In the end, it came down to Stephanie not understanding the parameters of Survivor. She wanted the other tribe members to concentrate on survival - food and water and such. But as I noted in my article on what the players should have learned, "the real survival skills necessary here are more along the lines of something you might learn from Renaissance schemer Niccolo Machiavelli than anything you can get out of a survival book." Stephanie separated herself off from the rest of the group - she didn't play in their reindeer games. Even though she might have been working hard, she was viewed as an easy target to pick off, much like Kel Gleason was in Survivor 2. Dealing with personalities is a key in Survivor, and Stephanie didn't do it well. That is why Stephanie lost.
David Bloomberg is the Editor of RealityNewsOnline, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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