Survivor: The Greatest of All Time – #4 Parvati Shallowby Stinger James, Jeffrey Clinard, & Christian Williams -- 02/17/2012
If you are just tuning in to this multi-part series on the best Survivor players ever, we suggest you begin with our introductory article and then proceed with our write-ups on #1 through #3:
Now let’s move on to fourth on the list!
#4 Parvati Shallow
(49 / 100 points, Zero First-Place votes, Eight Top 10 Votes, Average Rank 4.8)
Parvati stands as proof that the panel took our voting duties seriously, because if we were voting based on who we liked the most, it seems unlikely that Parvati would have finished fourth on our list behind Brian Heidik.
The cute girl who flirts her way to the top, the Black Widow of Survivor, the winner of Survivor: Fans vs. Favorites, the woman who leashed the dragon, Russell Hantz. Parvati earned many titles during her seasons on the show, including more days played than anyone other than Rob Mariano. If we were forced to use one word to describe Parvati, it would be “polarizing” – and the voting reflected that. She received three second-place votes, but as many voters ranked her seventh or below.
Stinger James explains why Parvati is worthy of her place in the Top 10:
Ah, Parvati Shallow. A rose by any other name... It would be so easy to take her lightly, but you should never judge a book by its cover, or whatever old saying you want to insert here. Parvati's game plan is easy to despise. Flirt, play dumb, use the feminine wiles, set The Movement back about 30 years, but its hard to argue with its success!
Parvati cut her teeth in Survivor: Cook Islands, appearing to master only knowing which alliances to cling to and using a bandana as a bikini top. But, Parvati had learned far more than that. Using her gift with alliances, she managed to ride with Amanda Kimmel and Cirie Fields all the way to the final three of Survivor: Micronesia. Parvati, showed surprising guile and persuasiveness, convincing the jury that her machinations were more worthy of a win than Cirie's exceptional social game.
Parvati's rep had certainly grown by the time of Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains. Despite her constant protests that she shouldn't be considered a villain, everyone knew Parvati was not to be trusted. Parvati learned not to make a spectacle of herself and waited to make her move. Her move? Align with Russell Hantz and Danielle DiLorenzo. That alliance helped orchestrate one of the most stunning and exciting tribal councils of all time. This time, Parvati could not defeat the social game of Sandra Diaz-Twine and finished second. Having a first and second place finish among your three Survivor appearances definitely proves you are among the greatest ever. However Shallow, Parvati and her game of Flirt and Align has paid dividends.
-- Stinger James
On the other hand, there are those who feel that Parvati was more style than substance, and can’t quite forget her origins as the flirty girl on her first season of Survivor. Jeffrey Clinard explains why he left her off of his ballot, and why he didn’t much credit her jury speech where she declared Russell Hantz her pet:
Parvati was a hard cut, because she did so many things right in the season she won, and plenty more in one of the seasons she lost. However, I'm afraid I hated the entire Survivor Micronesia: Fans vs. Favorites season, both due to the strategic incompetence of the fans and the number of injuries suffered by Parvati’s fellow favorites. Winning is much easier when the game savvy players suffer a high rate of attrition due to injury. It tends to get amplified when playing against lots of returning player as well. While I subscribe to the belief that any win is a good one, this one felt cheaper than most.
While Parvati also got to the finals in Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains, she was taken there by Russell, and they both suffered from bitterness where the jury vote was more personal – as shown in Survivor: All-Stars. Was she a better player than winner Sandra or Russell? Possibly, but the vote didn't reflect it, and that sort of trumps everything in my book. Reading and playing a jury is almost as important as getting in front of it in the first place. To that extent, she failed.
-- Jeffrey Clinard
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Jeffrey Clinard has been writing about Survivor since its second season, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Stinger James has been a respected published writer for many years, as a music editor, entertainment critic, columnist, and interviewer. You can email Stinger at email@example.com. Christian has been reading Reality News Online for a very long time, but joined the writing staff a little over a year ago. A reality television junkie who still wishes Anderson Cooper would come back to host one more season of The Mole, he’s almost always willing to argue about Survivor, Big Brother, The Amazing Race, and about a dozen different Food-Channel shows. He and his writing partner Shane share a twitter account (@howwejudgeit), and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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