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Survivor: Vanuatu – Eruptions, Volcanic and Otherwiseby Ken Kellam III -- 12/10/2004
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Because the finale airs on Sunday, there’s little turnaround time for those of us who write about Survivor: Vanuatu. Normally, I watch the show, take notes, watch again later on tape, take more notes, and eventually, get around to writing. No time for that now, however. My mission, whether or not I decide to accept it, is to get this done as soon as possible and make it interesting. Well, here goes.
Before getting started on this week’s episode, however, I’d like to address the issue of Ami one final time. After my last article, in which I pretty much tore her a new one (though I was by no means the only one), one reader from Australia wrote to rake me over the coals, apparently feeling that Ami played a better game than she got credit for. Soon after, a friend of mine IM’ed me and seemed upset that there was a lack of “balance” on the RNO website. That is, no one seemed to come to Ami’s defense, and everyone seemed to attack her like they knew her.
Okay, I’ll give Ami credit. Say what you will about her (and I have), she DID play an excellent game until Leann’s ouster (several other writers also said as much in earlier articles). In fact, after she single-handedly turned the tables and managed to get Chad ousted, it looked like she was playing the game better than anyone still in it. Yes, she acted like a dictator at times (and I even compared her to Napoleon), but she was not only playing the game, she was controlling it.
Ironically, her downfall came when she stepped back and decided to be a follower and not a leader. But while she eventually got outplayed and outwitted (i.e. double-crossed) by Twila and Scout, she showed herself to be a pretty good player beforehand, both in terms of strategy and challenges.
Now, let’s address the way she was blistered by me and others for her conduct not only throughout the game, but right before and after her ouster. I won’t claim to know what she’s like away from the game. In fact, I tried to limit my comments to the Ami we saw on the boob tube, which may or may not be a true reflection of the way she is when the cameras are off. Now having said that, you can’t blame it all on editing. After all, she did give everyone the middle finger upon leaving, which wasn’t exactly classy. And to quote Heather B. from the first Real World, “How can we blame them, if we gave them what they used?”
Okay, now on to this week’s episode. How ironic is it that the more strong personalities leave the game, the more interesting it gets? Once Sarge was gone, an already ho-hum series looked to become even more ho-hum, because it seemed like viewers were running out of people to root for. But once Leann, admittedly not such a strong personality during the show, was ousted, the season seemed to turn a corner. Then, last week, with Ami being shown the door, it looked to get even more interesting. And it did, but for a surprising reason.
After tribal council, Chris stated it seemed like it would be a quiet easy night. Of course, Twila saw to it that this wasn’t the case by confronting Eliza for her comments at tribal council. To refresh your memory, Eliza had commented on Twila’s swearing on her son’s name. I won’t be a hypocrite and blast Twila’s move, because I’ve already stated that it was good strategy. But her outburst at Eliza and the others is a different matter. Twila was in a position of power, so what did she have to gain by erupting at Eliza?
Was anyone else watching and thinking, “Twila, leave well enough alone. SHUT UP!” The “idiot” tag my editor used to describe Eliza last week seemed this time to fit Twila. To compound the idiocy, she then started ranting at Julie. What was that all about? Is there something Mark Burnett hasn’t shown us? It seemed like Twila was like a wildfire, destroying anything in her path. Eliza, of all people, summed it up best when she said, “If you can’t live with your past actions you shouldn’t have done it,” referring to Twila’s swearing on her son’s name.
Most likely, Twila didn’t realize what a controversy it would cause, and got mad at herself; but her regret manifested itself by lashing out at the others. It got so tense, it almost looked like Twila had had enough of the game and was deliberately behaving in such a way as to get herself voted out.
While I applauded the way she helped oust Leann and then Ami, it seemed like all her efforts were about to go for naught due to her inability to control her temper, and as my editor would say, “Pretend to be nice.” If she had been smart, she would’ve confined her rant to the camera. Speaking of which, why didn’t we hear Scout’s confessional thoughts on this matter? How great of footage would it have been to hear her tell the camera, “I’m like, ‘Twila give it a rest. We got the game where we want it.’”
Okay, now it’s time to move on. Let’s address Eliza’s conversation with Julie. Both women here were playing a smart game. Julie was smart to work on Eliza, asking her why voting Twila over her (Julie) would be a big deal. Eliza, in turn, was smart to answer “I don’t know,” although it was pretty obvious that she did know: Julie was one of those who tried to turn on Eliza, and since then, Eliza had made an alliance with Scout, Twila, and Chris, so turning on her alliance would obviously be a big deal.1 2 Next-->
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