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Survivor: Thailand -- I Think I JAN, I Think I JAN!by Phil Kural -- 11/26/2002
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Well, as I am sure everyone who has read my articles knows at this point, Jan is my favorite player on Survivor this time around. I decided to put some time aside and share my thoughts as to why I like her so much, and why I think she deserves to win the million dollars. Some may argue that Jan has not played the game enough to deserve the win, but I think she has done more than enough to show she is worthy of the coveted “Sole Survivor” title. Below are just a few of these reasons and some of Jan’s crazy moments on the island which have made me come to love her zany ways.
From the first day on the island, I knew Jan was going to be a keeper in my book. Some may not realize it, but Jan showed that she was thinking smart from the second she started choosing her team. Instead of going right for all the young people, Jan decided to choose people who were more around her age, that way they would not see her as “much older” and vote her out as a liability right from the beginning. Jan understood that the old are seen as weak in this game, and that the only way for her to advance would be to build a team of people that were all in the same age range. Many scoffed at the way Jan chose her team and figured that Chuay Gahn would be crushed by the more youthful Sook Jai. That was not the case at all. We now see where Chuay Gahn is and the power that they had acquired. Some credit for this must be given to Jan. She is the one who created the team.
Everyone knows that the “old woman” role is a hard role to fill in this game. Usually she is the one who messes up the challenges and is voted out fairly early for her actions. Prime examples of this include Sonja, Maralyn, and Patricia (but she was more bossy than a liability). The only exception so far has been Kim J., but even she messed up a few challenges for the Boran tribe – there was just always somebody else to boot instead. Jan has been consistent in challenges and has not once come across as a liability in any way – well, maybe a little in the dummy-carrying challenge, but she was at least better than Ghandia. From the first challenge, Jan was the first one to jump in the water and work on releasing the flag. Then there was the second immunity, where she had to swim all the way out to release that flower part. Jan has shown that she has the endurance to outlast many of her peers in this game. There has not been a point where she has dragged the team down, or that that the team lost a challenge because of something she did.
It seemed that for a very long while, Jan would have been the next to go on her tribe. After Ghandia was gone, Jan knew that her time on the island was winding down. She did not choose to wallow in her own self-pity, but stick by her tribe and see where things went. She worked extra hard on challenges and tried to make it a point not to stick out like she sometimes did too well. I am positive she would have not lasted as long as she has if she had taken Jeff up on his offer to switch tribes. If Jan had gone to Sook Jai, there is no doubt in my mind that they would have voted her out the first chance that they had. Of course, that would have been a smart move because they would have went into the merge, when it finally occurred, probably with more people than Chuay Gahn.
But what is it though that makes me like Jan so much? Well, I think that it is fairly obvious that I like her because of the crazy things she does. I’m sorry, but when she did that little dance on the beach when she had the money for the reward challenge, I almost died. It was funny to watch her shimmy up and down the coast while Clay, being the jerk that he is, rolled his eyes at her. I love the fact that Jan does not care what the others think about her and still does what she wants. Another classic example of this is the pet cemetery. When Oliver (the bat) died, Jan did her best to make sure that he would have a quiet, serene place to rest. Many of Jan’s tribemates thought she had lost it at that point. I admit that the whole thing was a little odd, but as I stated in a previous MVP article of mine: people who care for animals are some of the most compassionate people you can find, and I stick by that. The madness did not end there though because Jan also buried the feet and head of the last chicken. This woman cares too much, and it is sometimes hard to watch her play a game where stabbing people in the back is one of the qualities you must possess. I don’t think Jan has it in her to do that, but at the same time there is something in me that says she is not as dumb as everyone thinks. Apparently, she is doing something right if she is still there while 10 other castaways are not.
My final prediction about Jan is that I now think she is going to make it to the final four. Originally, I had said that I thought it would be Brian, Clay, Ted, and Helen. Now though, because of the way Clay can never shut up, I am going to replace him with Jan. Thanks to an email from a reader, I now realize that Ted will probably see that Clay and Brian are a little too tight, not to mention Clay’s lies will all start to catch up to him. When this happens, Ted will try to forge an alliance with Jan and Helen that will carry the three of them into the final four after they get rid of Clay because he can’t be trusted. Do I think Jan will win the game? Well, if she makes it to the final two she has a very good chance because she has not pissed off as many people along the way. However, I do not think she will make it that far, unless she pulls a Kim J. and wins all the immunities from that point on. I would love to see it happen though, simply for the fact that Jan is my favorite. If you get the boot Jan, I really want to talk to you, and you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org day or night!
This game is going to get very intense once Jake is gone and the ex-Chuay Gahn members are then forced to scramble to form last minute alliances that will carry them to the final two. I would love to see Jan push her way in there and go all the way. Of all the people left in the game, besides Helen, I think Jan has played a clean game and has not really lied or backstabbed her way to get to where she is. Now we just have to sit back and see if Jan can realize that her greatest allies at this point are Helen and Ted, and see if she knows that it is time to pounce on the opportunity.
Phil Kural is a junior at Temple University, and can be reached at email@example.com with any questions, comments, thoughts or brainwaves.
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