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What Pearl Island Survivors Should Have Learnedby David Bloomberg -- 09/18/2003
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This is the sixth edition of an article looking ahead to what Survivor contestants should have known before they set foot on the airplane that would take them away from the life they knew and to the life given to them by Mark Burnett. Each time, players have more history to draw on as far as how they should play the game – and how they shouldn't – and thus this article gets modified appropriately. This time, we have several brand new additions on tribal secrets and being a threat, along with the usual modifications to the previous sections to deal with what we learned from Survivor: The Amazon.
So it's time to bring us all up to date and take a look at what the contestants on Survivor: Pearl Islands should have learned by the time they got there. They had the opportunity to see previous series and to know that there would definitely be twists and turns. They probably did not predict that they would end up being thrown overboard while dressed for a party, so that may have thrown a monkey wrench into some plans. And we’ve been told there will be the mother of all twists midway through. But being flexible is part of the game, and they need to know that.
While the first run of the show had different people with vastly different ideas about what would be going on – some thinking it would be all fun and games while others actually playing to win – the type of people from that first group should definitely know better by now. Sure, some will still say they are playing "for the experience," and therefore not do what they are supposed to in order to win, but, hey, that's their problem. This article is about what contestants should do.
For example, players should not act like Colby did and decide that his friendship with Tina was worth more than a million dollars – in fact, that decision earned him a Reality TV Hall of Shame Moment. This game is about winning a million dollars, and people should be playing to win that prize. In the first series, the best player ended up with the prize. It could be argued that Tina was the best player of Survivor 2, though she attributes much of it to luck, and there is some good cause to do so. She would not have even had a chance had it not been for Mike's accident or Colby's bizarre decision or any number of other causes. But the effects of luck can be minimized, and that's what this article is all about.
Survivor: Africa saw some people revert to the cluelessness of the first series, owing mostly to those who admitted they had not paid much attention to the first two. Ethan, the winner, said that he watched the previous series; Silas, who lost, said he hadn't. There is a big hint in that.
Survivor: Marquesas showed us how to lose. You lose by showing your hand and practically daring anybody to go against you. You lose by being obnoxiously lazy. Much of the reasoning behind Vecepia's win stems from the irrational anger of several members in the Rotu 4 alliance who were tossed out by Neleh and never forgave her for daring to want to win the game herself. We did see that you can win by making whatever alliances are necessary – even if you need to switch them at a moment's notice. But in the end, it goes back to the Rotu 4.
Survivor: Thailand showed us that even people who read these rules and try to follow them, like Shii Ann did (and she even quoted them in her final words!), have to also remember to expect the unexpected. Shii Ann did exactly what she should have if the situation had been as everybody thought it was. But the producers pulled a fast one on them. Shii Ann was toast. It also shows that a master of strategy like Brian can still win – though it sometimes takes a creative way of looking at the way to do so. By making several individual alliances, Brian set himself up to either succeed wonderfully or fail horribly (if the others talked to each other and realized what he was doing). His skill allowed him to do the former. The next Brian will need to come up with a slightly different version of the strategy he used.
And finally, Survivor: The Amazon showed us that the best player doesn’t always win. Rob Cesternino was one of the best Survivor players ever. And I’m not just saying that because he read these rules and played accordingly. But in the end, he was foiled because he was too much of a threat to Jenna. He lost because he couldn’t stay on the beam longer in the final immunity challenge. While most of the game is mental, there is definitely still a physical aspect, and Jenna beat him using it. Still, he made it to the final three because of the strengths in his mental game. This series also showed us what can happen when you try Brian’s strategy of promising different things to different people and they talk to each other, as Deena did just that, according to Rob in an interview with RNO, and she ended up getting the boot for it.
Anybody who wants to be on the show needs to know a few things to survive. In previous cases, hunting, fishing, and making fire were downplayed – though still important. In Survivor: Marquesas, there were no rations and true survival skills should have risen in importance. However, as we saw with Hunter's removal, that wasn't necessarily the case. Still, as I said above, while physical skills can be important, the mental game is what allows a player to get to that point. It depends a lot more on how each person gets along with their fellows than whether or not they can make fire by rubbing two sticks together. If there was any doubt about this, the results of Amazon should lay them to rest. Matthew was definitely a more physical “survivor,” but the jury voted for the better player. As Rob Cesternino said in his aforementioned interview, “I think the strategic part of the game is the most important. Even though the physical part of the game is important, these are not X-games. This is the most amazing strategic game ever created and that's where the fun in the game lies.”1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Next-->
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