Survivor: The Amazon – An Ax (or Machete) to Grindby Ken Kellam III -- 03/27/2003
The seventh episode of Survivor: The Amazon had some of the best moments of the season. However, there was one person who affected the episode in such a way that it tainted an otherwise interesting installment. This person should've know better than to handle things the way he/she did.
This person has been at this long enough to avoid doing what was done, and is certainly capable of such. However his/her actions made the episode more predictable than it should've been. Just who am I so peeved with? I'll give you two guesses, and tell you it's a male. Nope, it ain't Roger. Granted, he should've known better than to do a lot of the things he did, but he didn't really manage to bring down the episode. In fact, I have a feeling his most obnoxious moments were left somewhere on a cutting room floor.
What's that, you say? Nope, it's not Rob either. Yes, he can be rather full of himself. But he's smart enough to keep his thoughts to the camera, and like the piranhas and crocodiles in the show's namesake river, he certainly adds bite to the goings-on. So who is it that managed to put such a damper on Wednesday night's episode? Let me answer that by asking a question in return, namely:
Why was it necessary for Mark Burnett to make it so obvious Roger was going to go? Last week, when Shawna got the heave-go, it was unclear what was going to happen. But this week, Burnett all but announced to the camera himself that the ex-Marine would soon be demoted to Loser's Lodge.
For the record, this really isn't about Roger. In fact, he brings to mind the following quote: "If one person calls you a dog, ignore him. If two people call you a dog, check for pawprints. If three people call you a dog, get a flea collar."
From the very first episode someone was complaining about Roger's bossiness. And in a post-eviction interview, Jeanne alluded to the same thing. Well, now that the merge was here, Roger had some new faces (and old) to tick off, and he did just that. So obviously it was, so to speak, "time for a flea collar."
The problem is with Burnett's editing of the episode. We were made so aware of Roger's ouster I thought I was reading a spoiler board. Well, I avoid spoiler boards for a reason, and didn't need to see one on the episode itself. When Jerri was booted from the Outback, it caught me by surprise (albeit a pleasant surprise), because even though we knew she was obnoxious, there were no hints that it was her turn.
However, that didn't follow here. In fact, Rob went so far as to say Roger was going by a 7-3 vote. And in the end, that's exactly what happened. Several players were shown saying they'd be voting Roger. In fact, it was made so obvious, I was sure he was staying. Then again, maybe that's Burnett's new trick: lead us to believe something, hoping we won't, and then have it come true. Whatever the case may be, hopefully the editing won't be so obvious next time. Alex stated that Roger had no idea he was going tonight. And what I want to know is, why did WE have to know?
Now, for some more questions. Let's start with Roger himself. Did Roger not realize what he was doing? Rob claimed he had no self-awareness and was completely in the dark that so many people disliked him. But in his closing comments, Roger said he was a strong personality, couldn't hide it, and knew it would put him at a disadvantage. You'd think that being an ex-Marine, he'd have the discipline to at least try, but apparently he couldn't adapt.
While physically, he bore a strong resemblance to someone with a very similar name, strategy-wise, he brought back images of B.B. from the show's first installment. After B.B. helped build the tribe's shelter, he was of no use, and got ousted (partially because he asked for it, literally). But he grated on peoples' nerves rather quickly with his bossy, domineering ways, even telling a tribemate, "When you're 64 YOU can be in charge." Yes, Roger lasted longer, but he too was ousted soon after helping build a shelter.
There were also shades of Patricia (she registers little more than a blip on the Survivor radar, but there are strong indications she was in Marquesas). She was so used to being a Mom away from the island, she tried to be one in the game as well, but these weren't her kids. In her Early Show interview, she said she wasn't changing who she was for the game. Neither was Roger, apparently. At least B.B. could use the excuse that no one yet really knew how to play the game. But being that this is the sixth edition of the show, Roger should've known better.
One final question about Roger: We saw various confessionals from people letting him have it. Why didn't we ever see HIS side of the story until his final words? Did Burnett choose not to let us see these so we would hate Roger all the more? Similarly, when Zoe lied to Kathy in Marquesas, we saw Kathy tell her side of the story, but never Zoe. This again is where editing comes in. It may have shed some light on Roger's mindset if we'd heard more of his to-the-camera thoughts, but then again, he didn't hide much anyway, so it might have been pointless.
Now where does Rob fit in the grand scheme of things? Is he the most obnoxious, narcissistic player in the history of the game, or is he playing the game as brilliantly as Rich or Brian? Most likely, a bit of both. But one thing is for sure: He makes the most of his time in confessionals, and like him or hate him, he's one of the few players in the game without a vote against him, so he's doing something right.
One thing that's disturbing, however, is his tendency to let his libido rule him. He has admitted jealousy of Dave's way with the ladies. Will he be able to keep that jealousy under wraps? He told the camera that he had a strategy in mind that would leave him, Heidi and Jenna as the final three. But that wasn't a strategy for winning so much as a strategy for being alone with two twenty-something ladies in bikinis (or out of them, if his fantasies come true). Yet next week, he's shown complaining that Dave is "sleeping with the enemy," referring to Heidi. Uh, if she's the enemy, why do you want to be in the final three with her? My gut reaction is that Rob is simply mad that Dave beat him to the punch.
Here's another question about Rob: Is he correct in his assessment that the other men have no idea what's going on around them? Obviously, he pulled a fast one on Butch, Dave, and Roger. And he's already bragged about Matt being his pawn. As for Alex, Rob said the triathlon coach hadn't had his head in the game, but that seems to have changed, as Alex joined Rob in voting off Roger. Rob may be right for the time being about the rest of the males. But what about his prediction that he'll be the last male left in the game? Well, Roger thought he had it in the bag as well. Rob may very well be overplaying, and if people start to compare notes, he could find himself pulling jury duty.
One other thought on Rob: Was his Casey Kasem imitation the best moment ever in tribal council? Usually during a vote, even if someone's comments are shown, they aren't on camera more that 10 seconds at the most. But Rob's "long distance dedication" to Roger earned him over 20 seconds of camera time. Like Charlie Van Doren on the ill-fated $64,000 question, the producers probably want to keep Rob around as long as possible, in this case because he makes for such good sound bites.
Now, where do Butch and Dave stand from here? They were obviously shocked to see Roger's torch put out. Will they be able to figure out what's going on enough to recover? Dave had previously said the women knew they were going to be quickly eliminated. Uh, right. Now it's on to Plan B – wait a minute, what Plan B? From the looks of next week's previews, Dave's at least smart enough, and charming enough, to schmooze with the ladies. And why haven't we seen much in the way of confessionals from Butch this week? Is that a sign he'll be around awhile? Or is it because he has nothing interesting to say? My guess is when he does confessionals, he doesn't bad mouth anyone or say anything much more controversial than "believe in yourself."
What about the four ladies left? First let's start with Christy. Could her star shine any brighter? She seemed surprised and grateful to make the merge. Well, Christy, here's a guess that most of the viewing audience is glad you made it as well. Your desire to help out on the shelter was admirable, and the way you and Deena outlasted the others in the immunity challenge further showed your ability to play the game. But hopefully that won't cause you to be seen as a threat.
What about Heidi and Jenna? Why exactly did they strip? Did they really do it for peanut butter? More likely, they did it to impress the impressionable guys and keep themselves in the game. In a dual confessional, they said the guys thought they would slowly pick the girls off, but obviously, it isn't that way just yet. Uh, pride goeth before an immunity ejection.
Finally, there's Deena, Rob's alliance partner and apparently soul-mate. She's gone from alpha female to back of the pack and back up to the top. But was it a good idea for her to win immunity? Did she need it? Judging by the way people were ready to boot Roger, probably not. Of course, being that she's perhaps the strongest, and definitely the oldest, of the females, I'd say normally she was in deep trouble, but she seems to be making the right alliances.
But is she playing the game as well as she thinks she is? She talked about how the guys were "so stinking cocky," but she showed a tendency towards cockiness herself this week, declaring, "The game is mine." Uh, let's hear you say that a few weeks from now. She declared that the game is no longer the battle of the sexes, but rather, the weak vs. the strong. So does that mean she'll be targeted by the more physically weak? She also claimed that staying in the game didn't depend on her winning immunity, but she chose not to assign it to someone else when she won it. It will be interesting to see how she fares in future challenges.
Finally, one last question about Roger, who wasn't an eviction dodger. Was there a more prophetic moment in the show than when he said everything was falling into place, and it was "too good to be true"? He didn't realize how right he was when he said that. Hopefully, if next week's goner says something as ironic, it won't be so obvious they're about to see their million-dollar hopes get fed to the piranhas and crocodiles.
Ken can be reached with any comments, criticisms, or money orders at YourNextOfKen@aol.com.
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