Survivor: The Amazon - Questions, Answers, and Snow Jobsby Ken Kellam III -- 03/22/2003
Programming Note: CBS has informed RealityNewsOnline that the sixth episode of Survivor will air Sunday at 10:00 PM Mountain Time and 9:00 Pacific Time (it will not air in Eastern or Central time zones because it already showed on Wednesday). However, this could, of course, be affected by war coverage.
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Well, it looks as if the merger will occur on the next episode of the Amazon edition of Survivor. As far as the one that aired on Wednesday, the end may have been one of the strangest, and most unpredictable, of the season. And frankly, that's a good thing. Nothing takes the fun out of the show like predictability. But as always, questions remain about what we just saw, and what we'll be seeing in the future.
First of all, how ironic was it that a place as hot and humid as the Amazon featured so many "snow jobs" in episode 6? Yes, I know. Snow jobs have always been a part of Survivor, but the latest episode seemed to have more than its share.
Let's start with the now-departed Shawna. Was she ever really sick in the first place? The nation watched the red-haired one spend two episodes moaning about how she wasn't feeling well, to the point of asking the others to vote her off. The dehydration had not only sapped the water from her system, it sapped her will to go on. But was she suddenly hydrated with a healthy dose of Alex? Sorry, I'm with Deena on this one. She claimed that Shawna's problem was mostly mental, and let's face it: If she were REALLY as bad off as she claimed, an island full Chippendale dancers wouldn't have been able to bring her back to life. If fact, she recovered enough to participate in the reward challenge, beating Heidi not once, but twice. Sounds recovered to me.
Then there was the snow job pulled on Heidi and Christy by Butch and Roger. Their explanation of why Jeanne was gone was so obviously spin control that it even caught Dave off-guard. They claimed Jeanne had qualities that Butch already brought to the table. Uh, yeah, now that makes sense. But did Heidi pull a snow job herself? Her explanation of why she voted Jeanne was just as lame. She told Christy that she couldn't vote Butch because if she did, there was no way they could sit there and still be a team. Hello? Ask Christy if she thought it was a real team at that point.
But more snow jobs are on the way. The guys tell Christy that they were now a team, and tomorrow is a new day. Frankly, they sounded like they were running for office. The next morning, we saw they'd basically given Heidi a campaign promise, as they left her and Christy alone and split up to do different duties. Of course, Heidi, not realizing she'd been used, said of the separation in the morning, "This is a bunch of crap." Uh, not really. You'd served their purpose for the time being, and they had no more use for you. A couple of RealityNewsOnline readers suggested to me that Dave approached Heidi because of the three, she was the dumbest and most gullible. I wasn't sure about that, but it seems so much more plausible now.
Now here's a question for thought: When Butch gave Christy his little "defining moments" speech, was that yet another snow job? Was he just sucking up when he said he liked the way her face lit up when they said they kept her for her talent? Possibly. Maybe it's just strategy to soothe over the loss of Jeanne. Of course, if there were no merge, and they lost again, it'd be interesting to see how much that talent meant to the men. Then again, maybe Butch was genuine. A bit sappy, maybe, but possibly genuine. Given the way he and Roger went to lengths to accommodate her and her disability, maybe his speech was just another extension of the "Believe in Yourself" banner.
Oh, but there's more snow to shovel yet. Rob seems to think he pulled a massive snow job on Matthew, and he may just be right. I realize Rob's playing the game, but to hear his utter contempt for Matthew makes it harder to root for him to win. When he told Matthew there was nothing "shifty" going on, how many viewers pulled a Stacey Stillman eye-roll? Of course, Matt said the offer of an alliance from Rob seemed genuine. That's because Rob is smart enough to keep his denigration of Matthew to the cameras.
Now along with the snow jobs, the sixth episode brought about numerous questions. First of all, let's examine Roger. Is he a bigot who hates anyone different than him, or is he a compassionate soul? After his comments on gays, and his "kung fu chop" comment regarding Daniel, it was easy to dislike him. But when he made every effort to make Christy feel like a part of the tribe, he seemed somewhat human again, and made it hard to root against him. Was his accommodation of Christy just strategy? I really doubt it. Otherwise, certainly we'd have seen Butch or Roger state as much to the camera. But I'll give him the benefit of the doubt on this one.
Now some questions about Christy. Just how gratifying was it to see her outlast Jenna not once, but twice in the reward challenge? She was obviously determined to show her former (and most likely future) tribemate a thing or two, and she did just that. Hopefully this won't be the last time she outlasts the swimsuit model. Being that she defeated Jenna twice, while Shawna did the same to Heidi, does this mean being a skinny girl is a disability?
And there are also questions about Rob. When he scrubbed Shawna's back, did he at all imagine himself holding a knife instead of a scrubber? Right now, he may be playing the game as well as anyone. He was smart enough to realize that no matter how much Matthew annoys him, the restaurant designer is valuable to the tribe and needed as a food provider. But does Rob hold the key to Matthew's fate as much as he thinks he does? Too bad the Magic 8-Ball isn't around to answer that for us.
What exactly is Deena's position in the game now? I thought she'd for sure be a target at the last tribal council, but she ended up outlasting Shawna. Will she be seen as a threat after the merge? In all likelihood, yes. Plus, the guys will keep Jenna around just for purposes of ogling. Deena was smart to align with Rob and Matthew, although it'll be interesting to see the dynamics of the next vote.
Did Shawna have the strangest quote of the season when she said, "I think guys always think about bathing in Amazonian rivers with three half-dressed women?" Uh, okay. To be honest, when I think of Amazonian rivers, the first thing that comes to mind is not half-dressed women trying to get me to eat out of the palms of their hands. More like piranhas trying to eat the palms of my hands.
Speaking of eating, did anyone notice how Heidi got perhaps the biggest piece of meat for her tribe? Was it because she's a competitor, or because she just has a big mouth? As much as I've trashed her in past articles, she does deserve props for coming through in the immunity challenge. And here's some food for thought: Suppose Outback Kimmi had been in this edition of the show. Would she have sat this one out? And what if her tribe needed everyone to participate. Would she have obliged, or would she have stood there and carped about her "morals"?
Finally, did anyone catch how, at the end of the challenge, the meat swung back and hit Deena on the side of the head? Talk about adding insult to injury. Of course, at tribal council, it was Shawna who ended up getting whacked with four votes. And did anyone else think that was the strangest tribal council of the season? Only half the tribe voted along gender lines. In contrast, when the other tribe went to tribal council, the only one who didn't vote along gender lines was Heidi.
Finally, one more question about Rob. Yes, he seems to be playing a good game, even if he's less than cordial about it to the camera. But if it comes down to it, will he be able to put his libido aside and vote against Heidi or Jenna? I suspect their charm may wear off rather quickly. Kel, who lasted just six days in the Outback, said that when you're out there, you're just trying to survive, and sex is the last thing on your mind. I think Rob is probably reacting to finally having some women in his tribe, and if they'd been tribemates all along, he might view them differently. Well, it all remains to be seen.
Ken can be reached with any comments, criticisms, or money orders at YourNextOfKen@aol.com.
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