It’s ironic that the latest edition of Survivor takes place in a land rich with several thousand years of history, tradition, and culture. That’s because several players have seemingly set the game back a few centuries. Join along as Ken tells us who he thinks has not gotten off to the greatest start, and why. He may even ask a few questions along the way.
In the pre-show RNO roundtable prediction article for Survivor: China, I noticed that one of my colleagues, Jeffrey Sadow, mentioned several times how he considered this field a weak one. My thought was, “How can you know that just by reading the bios?” Well, Professor, after one episode, I stand corrected. At times in the first episode it seemed as though nobody really knew how to play the game. It was almost as if we were back to the very first season. Let’s start by looking at some of the biggest offenders.
First of course, was Chicken. In an early confessional, he mentioned that he had more experience than these characters. In the first place, how amusing is it that someone who does by the name of Chicken is calling other people characters? At least the name “Rooster Cogburn” sounded somewhat manly.
Second, he may have indeed had outdoors experience, as he discussed in his RNO interview, but up until now, he hadn’t even had experience being out of his home state. As a result, he didn’t really have the experiences one needs to win a game like Survivor.
I’m not sure anyone gave him much of a chance, but he sure didn’t help his cause by the way he played the game. First of all, there was his attitude towards the efforts of the others. Not only was he sarcastic, but his body language and tone screamed chastisement and disapproval. Chicken forgot, or maybe didn’t realize, that’s it’s not what you say sometimes, but how you say it, and that communication can be non-verbal as well.
Chicken also showed an inability to adapt. When Rich Hatch’s initial strategy of being the tribal leader didn’t work, he had to adapt, and adapt he did. When Earl lost one of his greatest allies in Michelle, he had to adapt, and he won as well. But Chicken’s idea of adaptation was, “You don’t want my opinion, I’m not giving it to you, even if you ask for it.”
It seemed as if the game’s oldest player pouted like a small child because the other, inferior players were not smart enough to see his obvious genius. Perhaps if he’d taken an attitude of “From now on, I only offer my opinion if it’s asked for, and even then, whether or not you act on it is your business,” he might have stayed around just a wee bit longer. But his refusal to answer questions set forth by Peih-Gee only served to further cement his fate. Adapting to the climate and terrain is one thing. Adapting to your (younger) tribemates is a fighting tiger of a different color.
With his strong suthun drawl and graybeard look, not to mention his moniker, Chicken may have seemed to his tribemates like a fictional character come to life, and they weren’t quite sure how to take him. Speaking of which, did he look to anyone else to be a lot older than he was? If I saw him on the street, I would never guess he’s only about six or seven years older than me. In any event, he never quite did fit in with his tribemates, and never really intended to try. Indeed, despite watching season after reason of the show, he decided to forego strategy and just be himself, as he stated in his interview, and that’s part of why he’s the first one out.
Then there was Courtney. When she was in the temple, it was almost like “Bill and Ted meet the Buddha.” She may well have been the first person ever to refer to a Buddhist monk as “dude,” and when she rolled her eyes after getting her hand position corrected, it looked like one of those culture clash scenes you might see in a sitcom. I was half-expecting to hear a laugh track at any minute.
But she wasn’t finished making a fool out of herself, at least to the cameras. She complained about being in a tribe of flight attendants and Sunday School teachers, saying people don’t act like that at home. Well, Courtney, people where I’m from don’t act like you, or else I’d move.
She went on to describe the tribal situation as her own personal hell, due to the personalities involved. Somehow, I doubt having her in the tribe is a picnic for the rest of Fei Long either. But it will most likely become a moot point soon enough, mercifully. She strikes me as being unable to conceal her emotions and at least pretend to be nice. Don’t worry Courtney, you won’t be in hell long.
Also deserving scrutiny is Jean-Robert. You’d think a poker player could better keep his thoughts under wraps. Instead, he told Todd he thought the flight attendant is devious. That’s like announcing, “I think you’re bluffing,” to the entire table. By doing this, Jean-Robert has already shown one of the cards in his hand, and given Todd an ace that may be played later on.
And let’s not forget Peih-Gee. After the challenge loss, she started acting like Sylvia from last season, ordering people around. This after putting on a crying display following the loss. It’s almost like she was saying, “Just in case you haven’t got a reason to oust me, let me give you one – or two.” If there were an award for being overdramatic, she and Courtney would be dead even right now.
Now let’s look at Leslie’s decision not to go though with the ceremony. I can see where she was coming from, and I truly believe she wasn’t trying to be disrespectful, but rather, true to herself. After all, despite what Jeff Probst said, if it felt to her like a worship ceremony, then indeed it was. It should also be pointed out that she did not attempt to force her views on others, as did Joanna in the Amazon. Nor did she keep reminding the others of how she felt, in contrast to Kimmi in the Outback, who couldn’t seem to quit telling everyone she was a vegetarian.
But exactly what did she mean when she said, “I’m not religious, but I do have a relationship with Jesus Christ?” It probably sounded rather oxymoronic to the others, like something Yogi Berra would say.
Well, the season is officially underway, and it seems as though the producers followed the old rule of “location location location.” Time will tell if the cast is as colorful as the locale.
So far, Ken can’t say fighting tiger without thinking of LSU, and can’t say flying dragon without thinking of Shrek. He can be reached at YourNextOfKen@aol.com.
If you haven’t already, be sure to check out these other recent Survivor: China articles here on RealityNewsOnline: