Survivor: Why Elisabeth Lostby David Bloomberg -- 07/10/2002
As we wave goodbye to America’s newest sweetheart, Elisabeth, we have to somehow bring forth the strength to do what we do every week – look at why she lost. And, as always, we’ll do this by comparing her actions to what I said needed to be done in my earlier article, What Future Survivors Need to Learn.
TV Guide recently referred to Elisabeth as having a Koala technique – meaning she has a cute face but sharp claws. I’m not sure I would go quite that far, but she did show a great deal more strength than most people expected out of her, especially when it looked like Kucha was going to be voted out one-by-one after the merger.
Elisabeth managed to scheme and plot – the number one rule – well enough to get a majority of the Ogakorans to risk their shot at the million bucks by voting out the evil Jerri. Sure, Jerri made it easier by, well, being herself. Still, it looked to be a solid alliance until Elisabeth took the lead in trying to convince Tina and Keith and Colby to switch sides, if only for a little while. Indeed, Elisabeth was the last of the Kuchans to stick around. Call it being friendly or nice, or call it plotting and scheming. However you want to label it, the fact is that it worked for her.
The second rule never came into play for her – Elisabeth didn’t need to worry about plotting too much. But she did have to worry about being a target if others followed rule three and voted people out in the proper order. Elisabeth survived the first rounds of voting off the weak and then the first group of strong competitors. She managed in part because she helped pick off Jerri and Amber, both of whom were weak without their alliances. But Elisabeth herself was too strong to stay around. She wasn’t strong in the sense that she was a threat for winning challenges or being a leader – because there really wasn’t anybody to lead by that point. But, as she noted in her final words, if she had been allowed to make it to the final two, she’d have kicked major butt. She had too strong a personality – in a good way – to be allowed to make it that far. She had to be voted off now, or else there was a chance she could win immunity next time and make it. That would have been deadly for whoever else was left.
Elisabeth herself never backstabbed anybody, and so didn’t have to worry about the fourth rule. However, she certainly encouraged backstabbing by others. Sometimes she was successful, but usually not. It took her several attempts to get rid of Jerri and Amber, and then could do nothing to save herself or Rodger. The others didn’t want to be caught in a backstabbing maneuver that might end up hurting them. They followed rule four, and that meant Elisabeth was out of luck.
Rule five is that one should pretend to be nice. Like Rodger, Elisabeth didn’t have to pretend – she was, as Colby noted, the real thing. She won people over well enough to stick around longer than she perhaps should have. But the flip side was that the others knew she had to go because she also would have won over the jury easily.
Elisabeth broke the sixth rule because she formed emotional bonds. Still, for her this didn’t really have negative consequences. Her bond with Rodger allowed her to stick around an extra week. Her bond with Tina kept her around even longer. No, it wasn’t enough to keep her until the end, but it worked for her. And even when she did have an apparent bond – such as with Amber after Jerri was gone – she didn’t let it interfere with her votes.
Finally, we get to the rule about providing food and not being lazy. Elisabeth worked much harder than many of the others – both to help with food and just doing things around the camp. Even when she could barely move, she apologized to the others for not making it out to fish. This was definitely not a problem for her.
In the final analysis, Elisabeth lost for much the same reason that Rodger did – she was just plain too nice. Nobody wanted to face her in the end, for fear they would be easily smashed. Yes, her personality allowed her to make it as far as she did, but that same quality became a detriment when she could not win any immunity challenges to force the Ogakor alliance to turn on itself. She was simply too good to stick around. And that is why Elisabeth lost.
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