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Survivor: The Amazon – Ghosts of Survivors Past, and Other Observationsby Ken Kellam III -- 02/22/2003
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Now in its sixth edition, the Survivor franchise has been around long enough that certain players and incidents inevitably bring back memories of OTHER players and incidents. Who gives us a feeling of déjà vu? And who is like nobody we've ever seen on the show?
Let's start with JoAnna. I don't think any Survivor contestant has ever made me so angry so quickly. Okay, besides Jerri. Let's start with her dislike of the idol in her tent. She's right that the Bible says, "Thou shall have no other gods before me." She also mentions that the Old Testament talks about people being struck down for worshiping idols. However, I don't see any of her tribemates bowing down before the idol and worshiping it like it's a god. Nor have they demanded she do so. They're simply letting it sit there. Ironically, by harping on the subject, she's calling more attention to it.
Then there was her assertion that they were getting so much rain because of the idol's presence. If that's the case, the men must have a copy of the idol at THEIR campsite. JoAnna's rantings bring back memories of Linda from Africa. Linda was the one who claimed they lost a challenge because the spirits could sense the discord in the camp. Well, the spirits removed some of the discord by booting Linda at the next tribal council. If JoAnna isn't careful, she could meet a similar fate.
JoAnna also brings back memories of Kimmi from the Outback. Contrary to what you may have heard, Kimmi was not booted for being a vegetarian. Rather, she got the boot because she couldn't quit REMINDING everyone she was a non-meat eater. This probably didn't factor into her ouster, but Kimmi also tended to shout whenever she talked in the tribal tent at night. Similarly, JoAnna's proclamation that she's "gonna talk all night long about the goodness of the Lord and the Land of the Living" might land her in the Land of the Voted Off if she doesn't watch if. I can't help but wonder how JoAnna would feel if a Jewish or Muslim contestant claimed they were getting a storm because they were eating a pig.
The problem is not her proclaiming her beliefs. The problem is with her trying to force those beliefs on the others. And while we're at it, how many other strong Christians have been on the show without having a problem with the immunity idol? Rodger (the Outback one), Paschal, Neleh, Dirk, and Vee obviously come to mind, but none seemed to have a problem with the immunity idol. Does JoAnna also object to the show American Idol as well?
Later there was the confrontation with Christy. Granted, when Christy used the word "stupid" to describe her tribemate's attitude toward the idol, she should've made sure JoAnna wasn't within earshot. But JoAnna reacted in a completely inappropriate manner. First, she accused Christy of "going all around telling people," when in reality, Christy only said it to Jeanne. Unless, of course, there's more footage we haven't seen.
Then JoAnna told Christy not to interject in her conversation negatively. EXCUSE ME? Who interjected? Again, is there something we're not seeing? This may be the biggest mystery since Erin's ouster from Thailand. Christy tried to keep the peace, saying they both made mistakes. But JoAnna, says, "You made your mistake first." That's a matter of opinion. In MY opinion, JoAnna made the initial mistake by not clamming up about the idol in the first place. And then, putting her hand up to Christy the way she did was about the most arrogant thing she could have done, especially considering Christy's disability.
It gets better. JoAnna said she didn't jump in Christy's conversation, but that's exactly what she was doing. She then informed Christy "You won't be hurt if you don't come up into my face." Come Again? She also warned Christy to get out of her face. That's like going up to someone and hitting them, and then warning them not to hit you. The Amazon jungle may be largely unexplored, but JoAnna seems to be blazing her trails in hypocrisy. Later, she voted for Christy at tribal council, claiming her attitude stinks. This harks back to Lex claiming Frank was a grump whose attitude was bringing down camp morale, when it was LEX who went on a witch hunt after getting a single vote. Obviously, JoAnna's luxury item isn't a mirror, because she could certainly use a good look into one.
Next, there's the whole "granola bar-gate" incident. It's hard to not see this and think back to the Beef Jerky allegations in the Outback. But here, we actually see tangible evidence that someone is guilty of food-smuggling. But regardless of who did it, how could this get by the producers? Aren't the contestants searched beforehand to prevent this from happening? Did one of the crew throw it in there at Marky Mark's request just to cause trouble, or accidentally leave it behind and not ‘fess up ? And WAS it Janet, as one of her tribe members alleged? For some reason, I don't think so. In fact, if someone is so quick to make accusations, maybe THEY should fall under suspicion.
And of course, the testosterone-laden men weren't immune from controversy, just as they weren't immune from tribal council. Seeing Alex and Roger's tiff over the "gay" issue brought back memories of Frank in Africa going on ad nauseum about gun control, to the obvious exasperation of his tribe. There are some subjects you just don't talk about in this kind of setting, and this was obviously one of them. The smartest one here seemed to be Rob, who kept his mouth shut, but made a mental note of the argument, with plans to use it to his advantage.
It seems that in almost every edition of Survivor, there's at least one female who gets sick early and gets sent home, i.e. Ramona, Jessie, Tanya. But this time it was the oldest lady in the tribe, Janet. How prophetic was she when she said, "Physically it's taking its toll and it's so much tougher than I thought." That was enough to make you wonder how much she'd watched the series in the past. Maybe she'll fess up to "granola-gate" later.
A few words about Christy are also in order. Her attempts to communicate and bond with her tribe are laudable. However, her claim that she's the only one in her tribe working is not. Even if she feels that way, she would be better served to keep it to herself. Stephanie made a similar claim in Thailand, and it cost her. Christy also didn't help her case when the others came to help her and she suddenly decided she wanted to fish. They must have been thinking, "darned if you do, darned if you don't."
As for Jenna, she continues to NOT remind me of a swimsuit model. And her attitude toward Christy isn't exactly model behavior. Toni, an RNO reader who last week said Jenna looked like "a skeleton with an attitude," commented after the second episode that "skeleton with an attitude had more attitude." She also suggested the women's theme song should be "Gimme Shelter."
Finally, did anyone catch the irony of the immunity challenge tonight? Who could've imagined that the women would take two physical challenges in a row, while the men would take the first mental one?
Ken can be reached with any comments, criticisms, or money orders at YourNextOfKen@aol.com.
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