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Survivor: The Amazon, Episode 1 MVPs: The Meek Shall Inherit the Earthby Phil Kural -- 02/15/2003
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Well, here we are. Survivor: The Amazon has now started. We now have the chance to get to know 16 Americans, all from different walks of life. Some will bug the heck out of us, some we will grow attached too, and some will be MVPs. There is no doubt in my mind that this season will be one of the most competitive. Squaring the girls against the men was a brilliant idea. The women will strive for equality, and since the men have already seen that the women mean business they will up their game as well. This hour and a half premiere gave us a chance to meet everyone, form first impressions, and get a general feel as to how things are gonna go down this season. Just like last season, I will do my best to pick an MVP from each tribe. This person will be the one who has the ability to focus on their game, respect their teammates, and pull their weight as well. With that, let's jump right into it and see who our first episode of Survivor: The Amazon has supplied us with as MVPs.
Jaburu, the female tribe, had a very awkward and tedious start with Shawna not being able to untie the boat. However, right off the bat you could tell that the morale on the women's side was very high. They knew they had better communication skills than the men and the ability to multi-task. There were a few women who stuck out a little more than the rest. Two of our honorable mentions this week on Jaburu include Shawna and Heidi. I think Heidi did a great job this week in keeping up team morale. She constantly kept positive and was very comforting to Janet when she saw that Janet was feeling sick. I originally thought that Heidi was going to be chewed up and spit out, but I am already beginning to change my opinion. This little girl is much tougher than I think anyone expected. Although, she is a gym teacher, so that may explain it. Shawna had a bit of trouble untying the boat in the beginning but it was smooth sailing from that point. Just like Heidi, Shawna kept a positive attitude the whole episode and was a driving force when it came to the immunity challenge. Even her other tribemates knew that she did an awesome job by the way they all praised her after the challenge was over. Although these two women did a great job at camp this week, there was one person that out shined them. Who? Read on…
Early in the episode, we did not get to see too much of JoAnna. She kept pretty quiet and did not receive that much camera time. However, by about midway in the show she started to ascend out of nowhere and become a team leader who everyone respected. I have to admit, I had her pegged as another Vecepia, but by the looks of things that is probably wrong. Yes, she does like to get a little "holy" but that's okay if done in moderation. Vecepia was out of control with it. Maybe JoAnna thinks if it worked for Vee, it will work for her. We'll have to see about that. Anyway, when Jeanne and JoAnna went fishing together, Jeanne stated that JoAnna was a good member of the tribe and that she kept people happy. That is a good thing in the beginning of this game. If your tribemates see you in a positive light early on, that will carry you through the game. JoAnna is doing a great job at making sure everyone is comfortable and knows how to make a bad situation into a good one. This was seen when she caught that little fish. It may not have been much, but the girls cooked it up and ate what they could. JoAnna shined again during the immunity challenge when she helped her partner, Janet, across the balance beam while Janet was feeling ill. Not only that, but she quickly assembled the last puzzle in the challenge, essentially solidifying their lead over the men. JoAnna is going to be a force to be reckoned with this season. She looks to be in great shape, has a winning personality, and knows how to treat the others in her tribe. She is the MVP this week for Jaburu, and I don't think it will be the last time either.
The men of the Tambaqui tribe seemed a little cocky right off the bat. Actually, they didn't seem a little cocky - they were VERY cocky right off the bat. This ended up being their downfall in the first immunity challenge and this also ended up contributing to the reason Ryan got a ticket to head home early. The men had the potential to do very well in this game and they still do. I have faith that the men will see the errors of their way and figure out how to come together as a unit, weed out the individuals that are slowing their team down, and forge ahead. They have some great leaders in Tambaqui including Butch, Roger, and Dave. I think they need to realize this and figure out how they can outsmart the women and pull ahead. Only one honorable mention this week for the men, and that is Butch. Once again, someone that I had originally picked to come across as bossy and mean proved me wrong. Butch actually seems like a stand-up guy and he understands how to get the team motivated. His banner lifted everyone's spirits, and he knew how to give orders in a way that did not make himself look bossy. It was funny when he was saying he didn't want to take a leadership role because that person got voted off early. Then he caught himself doing just that. He was in no danger of being voted off this week, though. I think Butch will be around for awhile. He adds much to the team dynamic. One person was a little more extroverted than Butch was, and is the MVP this week for Tambaqui. That person is Dave.
Well, I called this one. I said that Dave was a shoe-in to be an MVP, and he didn't let me down at all. This guy is pretty awesome. Yeah, along with the others he was a little cocky and downplayed the girls for what they really were, but deep down he understood the dynamics of the game. Dave was constantly seen as a worker this week and looked to have all his stuff in order. During the immunity challenge he struggled a bit with the puzzle but anybody can get nervous if they are put on the spot like that. Also, his partner was Rob - isn't that enough? After the immunity challenge, Dave gave a speech to the other members of Tambaqui. Some felt that the speech was inappropriate, needless to say, that person was voted out. Dave has every right to sit there and tell the other guys that what happened at the challenge was s disgrace and due to a cocky attitude. He was not covering up their mistakes or making excuses, but stating the obvious and mentioning that things needed to be changed. The other members of his tribe agreed with him and left it at that. At tribal council Dave made it clear that the women were not their focus even if they did express interest in them. They were there to play a game and they were there to win. That is what they were going to do no matter how distracting the girls tried to be. Dave was an MVP this week simply for all the hard work he put into his tribe. He worked hard, played hard and made sure that everyone knew how he felt. Like JoAnna above, this will not be the last time Dave will be an MVP for this tribe.
There it is. Our first two MVPs for Survivor: The Amazon. Two players who I thought would do a good job did. Dave and Joanna are very different people but that goes to show you that personality, determination, and control all matter in this game. If you know how to interact with others, you're set. These two demonstrated that this week and have become our first two MVPs. Just like last season, I'm open to all suggestions as to who you think deserves and MVP and why. This is going to be a good season; I look forward to figuring out who is the biggest team player.
Phil Kural is a junior at Temple University, and can be reached at email@example.com with any MVP suggestions.
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