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Survivor: The Amazon - Why Jenna Wonby David Bloomberg -- 05/13/2003
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It was a huge shocker to most people. How could Jenna, the self-centered, spoiled brat of Survivor end up not only winning, but winning in the biggest landslide in Survivor history? I've already gotten a ton of e-mail suggesting that the jury should be put into the Reality TV Hall of Shame for giving her the win. But when six out of seven people who have spent essentially 24 hours a day, seven days a week with two people all vote the same way, there has to be a reason. So let's take a good look at why Jenna won.
As we do with all of the articles in the series, we will look back at What Amazonian Survivors Should Have Learned. In some places, Jenna did well. In others, not so much.
The first, of course, is to scheme and plot. Jenna was part of the original "cute girls" alliance. She joined with Heidi, Shawna, and Deena to take control of the female camp. Considering that her original plan had been to use her looks in what she figured would be the usual mixed gender camp, she rebounded well in this alliance. The idea was to get rid of JoAnna and then Jeanne and Christy, the women who were doing most of the work but also - in JoAnna's and Jeanne's cases - making camp an uncomfortable place for the younger women sometimes. (Jeanne and Christy were taken to the other camp before the alliance could take them out, of course.) After the swap, Jenna managed to keep stay in the mix with a new alliance to take out Roger and Dave. When Deena wanted to get rid of Alex, Jenna pretended to go along with the plan but instead had joined Alex and Heidi in maneuvering to get Rob and others to vote off Deena instead.
Of course, that all went to hell when Rob joined the outcasts to vote off Alex. Still, Jenna wasn't done. She and Heidi tried to get Christy on their side. When that wasn't working and Rob approached her about a final two plan, Jenna decided to raise holy hell about it rather than accept his plan. She confronted him in front of everybody in hopes that they would see how he was playing games and side with her. It didn't work, but it was a nice try. When Rob came back to her and Heidi with the plan to vote out Christy, of course they jumped at the chance, knowing it would give them another three days.
After Heidi was voted off (in what was extremely lucky for Jenna, since she had been sick and was complaining for days), Jenna didn't really need to do any more scheming. She won immunity twice in a row when she needed it most. She did talk to Butch and Matt about who should be voted off into fourth place, and she formed the alliance that Matt proposed, but all of that seemed to be more reactive than proactive. It seemed she already knew she wanted to take Matt, so why not form an alliance when one was offered?
All in all, Jenna did a decent job of scheming when necessary. She was not like Rob in that she definitely did not have her finger on the pulse of every person. When she was in a place of comfort, she pretty well coasted while Rob was always thinking, always trying to find the best angle. So while plotting kept her around at certain points, it was not the main reason for her win.
Did she scheme and plot too much? No. If anything, she didn't do it enough, as mentioned directly above. While some on the jury seemed to think that she was guilty of dishonesty and the like, I still don't understand that (as I discuss regarding Matthew in the article, Why Matthew Lost). She lied to Deena because Deena was - in Jenna's eyes - a threat to her main alliance and Deena had to go. No way should Jenna have told her she was going! Other than that, we really didn't see too much that supported the jury accusations. I think it's safe to conclude that she really didn't scheme and plot too much.
That said, she did blow the portion of this rule that says you should keep your scheming secret. She made it very clear that she was part of the ruling alliance (as all four did) in the halcyon days (or day) immediately after Deena was given the boot. Because the alliance was so open, it gave the outsiders a good view of what was going on and how they might be able to fight against it - which they did, with Rob's help.
Another part she blew for much of her time in the game was the third rule: Pretend to be nice. Oh, Jenna could be nice, as long as she liked you. But Christy certainly didn't feel like Jenna was being nice, and it seems that Jeanne and JoAnna weren't too thrilled with her either. In the end, even Christy voted for Jenna (more on that below), but that doesn't mean it was okay to violate the rule. Christy could easily have chosen to cast the final vote with her emotions instead of with the strategizing part of her mind. It's happened too many times to count already on both Survivor and Big Brother. The same is true of others on the jury. Jenna should have played nice with everyone, whether they were in her clique or not.
However, she did well in not letting her emotions control her - at least in half of that regard. On the anger front, yes, she blew up at Rob multiple times over his vote against Alex. Yes, she got pissy several other times during the game. But when it came right down to it, she didn't vote with those emotions. Oh, sure, she talked about wanting Rob gone, but when Rob came to her with a plan to get rid of Christy, Jenna hopped onboard rather than trying to screw him right then and there.1 2 Next-->
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