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Survivor: Exile Island - Old Location, New Season, and New Questionsby Ken Kellam III -- 02/08/2006
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It happens every single season now: I always wonder if I’m up to writing about Survivor for yet another season, and every time, the answer is always yes. Once again, props must be given to Mark Burnett, who seems to have more twists up his sleeve than Rich Hatch has indictments. Let’s start out by looking at first impressions, both of the individuals and the tribes as a whole.
Why not start with the older ladies: At first glance, it would seem almost academic that the younger guys would dominate the game while the older women go one by one. But Ruth-Marie, the oldest of the older women, quickly put that thought to rest by finishing ahead of Danielle in the first reward challenge, thus sparing any of her teammates the possibility of heading to Exile Island. Now, if that hadn’t been the case, and Cirie ended up having to spend the night alone, there’s no telling how she would’ve reacted. If she couldn’t handle the environment in the company of others, how would she able to handle it isolated? Would she have taken herself out of the game rather than face the prospect of being alone?
Now let’s look at Tina. She was clearly the strongest of the older ladies, and may have been as strong as any of the younger ones. But while she made some key plays, she also made some crucial mistakes that may have led to her downfall. She obviously did her share of the work in the tribe, but didn’t do herself any favors by going off on her own and giving the others a chance to plot against her. She also didn’t help her cause by saying the others weren’t pulling their weight as much as she’d like in Tribal Council.
However, Tina’s tribe may have made the single most boneheaded decision of all time by ousting her so early. As Shii Ann would say, “Stupid, stupid people.” After all, she was totally comfortable in the environment, and she certainly wasn’t afraid of leaves, unlike Cirie. Tina may well be the Hunter of this game - that is, the strongest member of the tribe who ends up getting ousted by clueless teammates. When the Tribal Council votes were read, I literally sat there with my jaw open, staring at the tube in disbelief.
Chances are, Tina had it right when she said the others made a mistake by voting her out, and I couldn’t blame her for saying she hoped they would all do really bad. At least she was able to tell them, “Have fun” before departing, as opposed to calling them “scumbags” like Judd in Guatemala.
In the long run, it’s probably the viewers’ loss that Tina is gone so prematurely. She seemed like one of the more interesting players, and in some ways, tailor-made for the game. The show, and certainly her tribe, won’t be nearly as interesting without her. And of course, there was the matter of the fish she found and brought back to the tribe. The irony is, despite finding a fish out of water, she was ousted in favor of a fish out of water, that being Cirie.
Speaking of which, one question I’d like to ask Cirie is, “Why did you sign up for this game?” She seemed totally out of her element and looked clueless as to what she’d gotten herself into. Tina may have asked a better question than any one I’ve ever come up with: Did anyone tell Cirie which show she was on? Worse, Cirie couldn’t even call Tina by name, referring to her as “the lumberjack lady.” Sure it was early in the game, but it’s not like she had seven new names to learn.
Cirie says she’s afraid of leaves, or rather, what may be under them, but with as long as the show has been airing, it makes me wonder if she just crawled out from under a rock. Last season featured former NFL quarterback Gary Hogeboom. Maybe it’s a good thing for Cirie this season’s cast didn’t include former signal-called Ryan Leaf. Cirie most likely won’t be long for this game unless she turns over a new... oh, never mind.
Here’s a question regarding Ruth-Ann and Melinda: What on Earth were they thinking by ousting Tina and keeping Cirie? Did they think now that Tina had helped build the shelter and find water, she was of no more use? I have a feeling Melinda, a singer, will soon be crooning the blues.
Now for a look at the younger women. In promos, Danielle said she didn’t think anyone could match her, but as we saw in the first challenge, three of the players not only matched her, they surpassed her. Maybe when she said that she was referring to ego, but that obviously went out the window after the first challenge. She told the cameras she was here to be an athlete, but hopefully it has occurred to her that that’s not all it takes to play the game of Survivor. After all, Jolanda competed in the Olympics, but was the first voted out of her tribe, and Dirk from the first season played college hoops, but didn’t even make the merge.
To Danielle’s credit, she took responsibility for the loss and volunteered to go to Exile Island. To her teammates’ credit, they didn’t automatically take her up on the offer, and to Misty’s credit, when she had to go, she accepted it, although, as one of her teammates later said, she so didn’t want to go there. Personally, I hope Misty does well. Call it regional bias, but I find it hard to root against players with Texas ties. Other reality show players from my home state haven’t always done well. Wasn’t someone from Dallas the first one ousted on one of the Apprentices? And of course, there was Jonathon from a few Survivors ago, who wasn’t even chosen to play the game, instead exiting the island with songbird Wanda.
As for Courtney, she seems to be the eccentric of this season’s cast, going on about a dead turtle and all it represents. Although the show listed her occupation as “fire dancer,” the CBS website listed her as a “performance artist,” and she wasted no time performing for Sally and Danielle, and not to their total liking either. Maybe it would’ve been better if she’d been the one who’d been exiled so the others wouldn’t see her behave so bizarrely.1 2 Next-->
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