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Surviving the China Reunion: I Love It When A Plan Comes Togetherby David Bloomberg -- 12/17/2007
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Immediately after the Survivor: China finale, it’s time for the live reunion to begin! First, we get some of Todd’s greatest hits – him talking about strategy, saying he feels like he’s the only one playing, telling Amanda they’re setting themselves up as power players, etc.
All 16 players are back, but of course host Jeff Probst starts with the winner, Todd. He notes Todd has been watching the show since he was a kid, waiting until he was old enough to get on. What was his game plan?
Todd says he knew he would do everything he possibly could to be sitting there. He needed a second person he could trust (he reaches to Amanda), he needed somebody smaller than him (pointing to Courtney), he needed to befriend the strong guy (back up at James). He had all those people in his mind to help him win, and he can’t believe it worked!
Probst says Todd also told him he was willing to make relationships he knew he would betray and then play that off at Tribal Council. Todd says he just hoped the jury would understand Survivor is a game. He meant it when he said his relationships were true, but the game was the game.
They play a tape of Jean-Robert telling Todd that if Todd screwed him over, he would not win. Yet Jean-Robert voted for Todd! Probst emphasized that Todd won because of him! What changed his mind?
Jean-Robert says he had a difficult decision because he said the same thing to Amanda, too, and we all know about his relationship with Courtney. Jean-Robert changed his mind at that Tribal Council with his answers, that it was all part of the game. After some pushing from Probst, Jean-Robert admits a good part of it was that Todd said he recognized Jean-Robert as a major threat. He originally thought Todd made a bad move getting rid of him, but Todd convinced him it was the best move for him.
So in other words, Todd totally played on Jean-Robert’s ego, and it worked. Jean-Robert even says it was a compliment. Probst says it’s a compliment if it’s true. So was it? Todd says he knows Jean-Robert loves his ego, so letting him know he was better… Probst straight-out asks if Todd played him? “Kind of, yeah, I played him.” He quickly adds, “You’re a great game player! I just… thought I was better than you.” Throughout this whole discussion, the other players are just laughing it up, and I along with them.
Jean-Robert says it was still a great answer. He also tells us part of what he said that we didn’t hear. We heard him say Todd stole a million dollars – but he actually said if Todd was playing him, he stole a million dollars!
Next, Todd talks about how he and Amanda had an instant connection and told her that he thought they could go far together. He explains how he then brought in Courtney so if they lost a challenge, she would be the weakest physical link rather than him – and then at the merge he realized people thought she was “ornery,” so why not keep her a little longer. “And it worked.”
Probst asks Todd about his move of giving James both idols. James puts his head down because he knows what’s coming to him later. But for now, Todd says giving James the idols was securing his own spot. He knew he needed the strongest person on his side. He knew he had to take a few risks in the game.
What was going through Amanda’s mind as she made her big move of getting rid of James? (Let me interject that I think Amanda actually looked better in China than she does all made-up for the reunion. I guess I prefer natural beauty.) Amanda says it was nerve-wracking because if he had made it past that Tribal Council, it would have been horrible at camp. It was a decision that could either highly benefit you or ruin everything.
Was there a point at Tribal Council when she thought he was going to play an idol? She says yes, the dramatic pause after Probst asked if anybody was going to play the idol. She saw James look at his bag, almost reaching down to get it. She really thought he was going to.
Which brings us to James. Before Probst can ask a question, somebody in the audience yells out their support. Probst says he has fans even in spite of making the biggest blunder in the history of the game (which, of course, led to a Reality TV Hall of Shame Moment). That earns laughs and applause.
Probst continues and points out that James could only use the idols for three remaining Tribal Councils. He was the most popular, the biggest threat, and didn’t win individual immunity. Why didn’t he use one of the hidden idols? James says he trusted his alliance and rolled the dice.
Does he think that cost him a million dollars? James says you never know, but it probably did.
Getting back to the strategy, why didn’t Denise jump with Peih-Gee and Erik when she had the chance? She says she thought it over and worried that Todd would win the tiebreaker. But Probst points out with the other three, she was at the bottom of four. With Peih-Gee and Erik, she was in the top three and had a shot at a million dollars. Denise says she thought if she went with Peih-Gee and Erik, Peih-Gee would definitely win. And she thought Todd would win if she went with him. But she thought her best chance would be to try to win final four immunity and take Amanda and Courtney.
How close did Peih-Gee think she was to getting Denise to switch? She says she knew Denise would be out at four and couldn’t understand why Denise wouldn’t make the jump. She thinks her biggest mistake was that she kept targeting Todd instead of Courtney. Denise says at one point she even suggested Courtney, but Peih-Gee was stubbornly sticking to Todd.
Probst does a quick poll: If it had been Peih-Gee, Erik, and Denise in the final three, would Peih-Gee have won? A show of hands says yes. Of course, we’ll never know for sure because at least two people admitted to making their final vote decision based on jury arguments, and we have no idea what any of these three might have said.
Some of Courtney’s greatest hits precedes the next topic, which Probst begins by saying she probably holds the record for the most one-liners ever in a season. Is she getting recognized a lot in her day job as a waitress in a popular NYC restaurant? She says she is getting recognized by tourists and little kids. Why kids? She says she thinks kids related to her because she was small and came off like a little brat.
Does she like kids? No, she actually hates ‘em! Lots of laughing there! Probst wants to talk about the weight issue. She started the game at 93 pounds and came off at 86 pounds. Anorexic? Eating disorder? What’s the deal? She says she’s heard that all through her life, but she comes from a small family. She doesn’t get bent out of shape about it. And her weight now is more than when the show started. She makes a comment about how Probst just called her fat. Heh.
Did she enjoy any part of this? She says she was miserable for most of it, but she’s really proud of herself because it was totally out of her element. But she made it to the end.1 2 Next-->
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