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Survivor: The Amazon - Who is the Underdog and Should Ryan Have Been Voted Out?by Peggy Keller -- 02/16/2003
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Survivor is back and better than ever. Already, Survivor: The Amazon looks to be more intense and filled with more real drama than Survivor: Thailand. The Amazon is a place we all know, to some extent. We have seen enough movies where giant snakes and rivers full of piranha destroy anyone in their path. Man-eating spiders and bugs the size of turkeys are commonplace. As a television audience, we know that waving torches around will only go so far in scaring off the jungle life. It is a frightening, dangerous place.
The fact that the Amazon is so real, so earthy, is why I am glad the teams were separated by sex this time. Were the women and men put together, the women would be expected to cook and clean and gather water while the men ordered them around. Initially this puts the women at a disadvantage. We all know that when you have the VP of a construction company and a rocket scientists on your team that you are going to build the better house. It's a given. But eventually the women's tribe will be calm and filled with less tension than the men's. Most women are naturally nurturing and when they see someone who needs a break, they will allow that without it affecting their overall vision of the person. Men tend to punish and outcast when weakness rears its necessary head.
It wasn't so much that the men were better than the woman at doing the basics, but that they were more open-minded about the challenge around them. The women seemed to be cutting down dead trees, while the men went for the healthy ones. The men used their kerosene for fire starting, but it looks like the woman could not think outside the box on that one; since the kerosene was lamp oil they used it for lamp oil alone.
However, the most embarrassing thing the women did was when JoAnna began singing praise while trying to fish. It reminded me of that old Flintstones episode where Samantha from Bewitched joined Betty and Wilma on a fishing trip and used magic to catch fish while they were singing. Fred and Barney were flabbergasted. When you go fishing, you keep your mouth shut. You don't sing and you don't yell. The only sound you should hear is the opening of a pull tab.
And so the women, all of them, become the Survivor underdogs. Within the group of women, Janet, Deena, and Christy are further underdogs. In the men's tribe, Daniel is the underdog. In a typical game of Survivor, Daniel would be safe until merge for sheer strength alone. However, in Survivor: Boys Against Girls, Daniel needed to bring something else to the game besides muscles, and it's hard to see what that may have been. He has already pissed off Roger and Dave and now faces those who voted along with Roger. Daniel made a major mistake by hooking up with pretty boy Ryan, but should Ryan have been voted out? Actually no, because the boys should not have lost the challenge. But since they did, why was Ryan targeted over Daniel, who kept falling off the log, or Rob and Dave, who couldn't figure out the code? The teams were tied, even after Daniel lost the lead for them.
Dave was the outsider here. Rather than telling Daniel to his face not to lie, Dave chose to put on his coat of armor, climb his white horse, and make a proclamation to the people. He is damn lucky the act didn't backfire on him. In truth he was right, the guys are doing well enough in other area without having to make up stuff, but the girls did not know that. Perhaps a better response would have been: We have not caught any fish but we have built a fine, sturdy shelter. I suspect Dave wants to be able to say in his farewell speech, "I played the game with honesty and integrity." And is getting his proof ready now.
So who should have been booted if not Ryan? Daniel. His muscles are not needed, and according to Roger, at least, he doesn't use them to help the tribe anyway. He should have been able to easily cross the log, but blew it several times. He was cocky but still felt the need to make up smack on top of the fantastic success the guys have had. Perhaps with Ryan gone, Daniel will get down to business and wrestle an anaconda for dinner. More likely he will distance himself further still. So he has created a sympathetic character in himself by being a target, and at the same time deserves the bull's eye on his back.
I think Janet will be the one to go next, sadly, since she lives mere minutes from me; I was rooting for the local girl. So far, I must say Butch has impressed me tremendously. His positive, yet not cocky attitude, his way of leading without making anyone feel pushed, and his sense of humor are wonderful. Wilbur (Butch) Lockley is my favorite personality. I did not participate in this year's pre-survivor roundtable because I am horrible at guessing prior to meeting the Survivors in context. However, If I were to pick a merge team, it would consist of the following: Butch, Alex, Rob, and a begrudging nod to Roger from the men's camp and Heidi, Deena, Jeanne, and Shawna for the women. I like Christy but think the women will vote her off as a weak link before too long.
As always, I welcome your take on things.
Peggy Keller is Mother and Behavior Therapist to her two autistic sons and teenage daughter. Click here to e-mail her.
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