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Survivor: Exile Island - Who's Barney Fife?by Ken Kellam III -- 02/28/2006
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None of us had any way of knowing Don Knotts, who many of us know as Barney Fife and Mr. Furley, would leave this Earth while Survivor: Exile Island was airing. But some of the people in this season’s cast seem about as inept; unfortunately, none of them are half as lovable as the characters Knotts became known for.
Let’s start with Casaya. Has there ever been a worse alliance in Survivor history? Let’s start with the obvious, that being Shane. Barney Fife wasn’t allowed to carry a bullet in his gun due to a couple unfortunate mishaps. Similarly, Shane seems almost determined to shoot himself in the foot regarding the game.
In the first place, what was he trying to accomplish by calling out Danielle the way he did, or was her alleged lack of work really the issue? It’s one of my beliefs that when someone seems to act out of proportion to a situation, something else is bothering that person rather than the issue at hand. Along those lines, I think the issue with Shane is his continued separation from nicotine, and this time, he took it out on Danielle.
Just think: Danielle is supposedly in his alliance, yet he calls her out in front of everybody, and does it via a loaded question: “Why do you have such an aversion to working?” How did he EXPECT her to answer? It’s almost like Barney Fife being appointed a U.N. Ambassador, and then asking someone from another country, “Why do you have such an aversion to peace?”
Whether or not Danielle works or not, in my opinion, isn’t the real issue. After all, Bobby, who isn’t in Shane’s alliance, was sleeping, yet Danielle, who was awake, became the target of Shane’s wrath, maybe for no other reason than that she was awake to hear his taunts.
At least Aras, when he had a problem with the work ethic of some others, talked to them in a calm, rational, tone of voice, kind of like Andy Taylor would have done. “Fellas, we need to have a discussion about the work on this here island.”
I don’t even think it’s strategy on Shane’s part to turn the others against Danielle for being weak. Why doesn’t he just go sit on a stump and shut up? But his idiocy doesn’t end there. After Danielle stands up for herself, he tells her, “Danielle, we’re not having this discussion.” Can’t you just hear Opie saying, “But Pa, isn’t Barney the one who brought it up?” Maybe Shane means, “We’re not going to have this discussion if you’re going to insist on standing up for yourself and having a backbone.”
Furthermore, when Danielle points out Bobby’s slumbering ways, Shane responds with, “We’re not talking about Bobby, we’re talking about you.” Yet he brings Bobby into it by insisting everyone feels the way he feels. Personally, I don’t want some nicotine-deprived psychotic to presume to speak for me. And notice how he didn’t wake Bobby up to ask for his opinion on Danielle’s work ethic? Can’t you just see Barney waking Bobby to ask for his half-dazed opinion on someone else’s work ethic?
Don’t get me wrong, folks. I realize kicking the habit of smoking is one of the hardest things someone can do, and I witnessed this from a dear relative who tried and tried and tried, and has now been smoke-free for almost 20 years. In fact, my hat is off to anyone who tries to stop, but Shane made a mistake by choosing the island as his personal detox, and his tribe is paying the price.
Shane isn’t the only one in this tribe guilty of Barney-like behavior. After the reward challenge, the others wanted to use the toilet for storing wood, while Bobby wanted to, shall we say, lay a log. You can almost hear Barney saying, “But Andy, it’s a toilet, that’s what it’s for.”
Not so fast, Bobby Fife. For one thing, Bobby’s already not part of the alliance, however tenuous it may be, and even if it IS a toilet, going against the wishes of the others wasn’t the smartest move. It’s not about whether the toilet should be used for storage or as an actual toilet. Rather, it’s about going with the majority, which Bobby failed to do. To compound his lack of judgment, he came out and said, “Well gosh darn Andy, I feel about ten pounds lighter.” You can just see Opie looking up at Andy and saying, “Pa, that was gross!”
Cirie is rapidly emerging as the most likable person in this tribe, when it looked at the beginning like she wouldn’t last long enough to emerge as anything besides an early boot. Remember the opening of Three’s Company, where Knotts’ Mr. Furley character was at the amusement park, holding on for dear life on, of all things, the carousel? That seemed to be Cirie at the beginning of the season. Imagine Furley hiding behind Jack, Chrissy, and Janet, looking terrified and saying, “Kids, help me, please! Keep that leaf away from me!”
But since then, Cirie has shown her mettle in challenges, and instead of acting like Barney, Opie or even Andy, Cirie has been more like an extra, staying in the background, not saying much, but letting her actions do the talking for her. Aras even noted her work ethic. She even commented that she was staying out of the drama. The only time she got even remotely pulled in was when Shane put her on the spot to ask her about Danielle’s work ethic. She later admitted she just should’ve walked away, but I think she did the best she could under the circumstances.
In addition to Knotts, sportscaster Curt Gowdy also passed away recently. It’s too bad he couldn’t revive his American Sportsman series. Maybe he could take Casaya as a tribe on a hunt for some common sense. Of course, he’d probably shoot Shane halfway into the program. Of course, they might have to halt filming while Bobby went and “took care of business.” Maybe Gowdy could wait until Bobby was out of the toilet and order the others to “ready, aim, fire!” It would give a whole new meaning to “shooting craps.”
While he was there, Gowdy could take Courtney on a hunt for a new place to do her yoga, judging from next week’s previews.
Suppose Gowdy took the La Mina tribe hunting instead? Well, that would be awfully hard without the spear, wouldn’t it Sally? But somehow, Sally hunted for and found the strength to not just go quietly in the night, and convinced the others to, uh, shoot Ruth-Marie instead. As Ruth-Marie herself admitted in her RealityNewsOnline post-game interview, she just got a little too comfortable out there, and didn’t think the others would, shall we say, turn their guns on her instead of Sally.
Finally, this is the first season of Survivor in which the first four bootees have been the same gender. Will the boys’ club continue to rule? If La Mina loses again, Sally will almost certainly be gone, but what happens if Casaya’s lack of cohesion finally catches up and they go to tribal council? Turn in Thursday to find out.
Ken can be reached with any comments, criticisms, or money orders at YourNextOfKen@aol.com .
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