Survivor: The Amazon – Questions, Observations, Showers, and Powerby Ken Kellam III -- 04/04/2003
To no one's surprise, Dave became the first person to join the "Jungle Jury." However, as always new issues have popped up, and more questions are begging to be answered.
First let me address a couple of things about last week’s column. Many of you wrote to tell me that when Rob said he didn't like someone in his alliance "sleeping with the enemy," he was referring to Heidi, not Dave. D’OH! Also, not too many of you agreed with my assertion that making it so obvious Roger was on his way out detracted from the episode. Apparently, you enjoyed being in on the joke this time, as Roger was so obnoxious, it was fun to watch him get a false sense of security. Fair enough. The truth is, there is no right or wrong on this (unless my opinion is in the majority, of course). Obviously, however, Mark Burnett handled the episode a lot better than I gave him credit for.
Regarding this week: It didn't take the Magic 8-Ball to figure out that Dave would be the target this week. This isn't rocket science after all. (Open note to the editor: Yes David, I knew we banned "rocket science jokes," but please indulge me since Dave's chances of winning have now been sent into orbit. [Editor’s Response: Hell, I titled the recap, “It Doesn’t Take a Rocket Scientist…” so don’t worry about it!]) But Mark Burnett threw in enough evidence that Matt might be going to throw us, including the machete scenes. Okay, now for a few questions:
Has there ever been a Survivor castaway more suited to sound bites than Rob? The guy has a thing for witty commentary and one-liners any stand-up comic could appreciate. For example: His comments on the gnats, which he said gathered around peoples' heads like Studio 54. If this had been an animated series, we probably would've seen a couple of gnats doing "The Hustle." Then there was the observation that when gnats gathered around you, you looked like Pigpen from the "Peanuts" comic strip with a cloud over you, which left me surprised Burnett didn't insert a rimshot.
That bring us this to ponder: Just where would this season be without the project manager? Like the previous people on the show sharing his name, he's got a conniving side, but shows it in a lot smarter and more enjoyable way. I can take him or leave him as far as winning the million, but without him this season would be lacking a key compelling character, and without a compelling reason to watch, it's easy to lose interest. Has anyone else noticed the prevalence of "Robspeak" in this episode? After all, some of his statements could use an interpreter. Let's look at what he's said, and what he may mean. Comment from Rob: "I've had an axe to grind with Dave for so long." Translation: "I'm jealous that not only is Dave smart enough to be a rocket scientist, but the ladies seem to take to him more than me."
Comment: Calling Dave arrogant and a show-off, as well as facetiously calling him "Mr. Personality" and "Mr. Adventure," and saying Dave probably thinks he's the smartest guy in the world. Translation: "If I had Dave's resourcefulness, you better believe I'd be showing off the way he does. And boy, what I'd give for his personality and sense of adventure."
Then there was another classic moment at tribal council. Matthew was asked if he was fitting in better and said that since the merger, people are more interested in what he has to say. He alluded to now having some "great friends and true relationships." Rob couldn't help but silently chuckle at the naiveté apparent in that statement, and then Probst called him on it by asking him how Matt was fitting in. Rob seemed rather shocked to be put on the spot, but answered with another example of "Robspeak." Comment: "Matthew has become an invaluable part of the tribe" and "I'm so proud of his progress." Translation: "Matthew has become an invaluable pawn to me, and I'm so proud of myself for being able to play him like a complete idiot."
And of course, who could forget the previously-mentioned "sleeping with the enemy" comment regarding Heidi? Translation: "It bothers me that Heidi curls up to him and not to me. Why should his libido be set on fire instead of mine?"
And what about his comments in the previews next week where he says Alex and Deena think THEY are running things, but he really is? In a way, he reminded me of the Bugs Bunny cartoon where two guys in white coats take off Napoleon for thinking he IS Napoleon, saying he's the 12th one today. At that point, Bugs turns to the camera and says, "Imagine him thinking he's Napoleon, when I really am." If all of his plotting comes to light, Rob may find out indeed controls the action – drawing all the Tribal Council votes towards himself. For now, he probably has a better chance of staying in charge than Bugsy has of making out with Josephine.
Then there was the infamous "twigs and sticks" comment in reference to Heidi and Jenna, and a not so subtle reference to lesbianism. "If I saw twigs and sticks rubbing together, I'd certainly catch on fire." Uh, okay. This used to be called the "family hour," but I'm glad I didn't have my kids watching when he said that (okay, so I don't have kids, but that's beside the point). He followed THAT up by saying he thinks with "this" head, pointing to the one resting on his shoulders. Yep, that's a real good for one the kids to hear. Several of my online friends watch the show with their children, and I would've hated to see the looks on their faces when these comments were made.
What about Matthew? Why DID he keep sharpening the machete? And did he have any idea now much he was creeping out his tribemates? Yet, part of me saw the previews last week and wondered if that would be much ado about nothing. And considering he only got one vote, it pretty much was. But at the same time I'm kind of glad to be watching all this from the relative safety of my living room. Maybe he's trying to combat the perception that he's "not the sharpest tool in the drawer." He commented that he was trying to "MacGyver" his ruined shoes into sandals, and when he did, he would be a much happier person. Matt, something tells me your tribemates are on board with anything that makes you happier.
A few comments about the Amazon's first jury member, Dave are in order. When he cited Roger's ouster as a prime example that nobody really knows what's going on, how many viewers at home couldn't sustain a chuckle at his naiveté? And did he play smart by staying aligned with Roger? It's usually a good idea to stick with your alliances, but in this case he clearly got trumped by Rob. At least he was aware enough to know he was probably next, and worked the group as much as he could. But in the end, the die was cast. So much, in fact, that even Butch, his closest ally, turned on him.
Here's a question about Christy. More than once during the episode, she commented that Matthew was "Creepy." But apparently, not creepy enough to vote for him, like she said she was going to do. Or did she simply see which way the wind was blowing? Her disability is fading more and more into the background, and chances are she'll be around at least a few more weeks.
A few thoughts come to mind regarding Dave's reward win. First of all, should he have held back from winning, since he was already on the chopping block? Probably not. Even if he had, it most likely wasn't going to change anything, so at least he had a little nutritional enjoyment before getting the boot. Or course, he didn't do himself any favors by downplaying the extra grub to the others. That brings us to our next question:
Was it wrong for Dave and Deena for partake of the manioc and fish once they got back, or did Jenna just overreact? Honestly, I'm not sure I blame Dave and Deena, because the reward apparently wasn't that filling. But Deena's loud proclamation of hunger wasn't the best idea either. On the other hand, could Jenna have been any nastier? When she said, "Screw you, you fat pig," to the camera regarding Deena, it served as yet more evidence that Jenna is completely full of herself and her body.
Jenna also said that she thinks that since they got to eat ice cream, they shouldn't eat the fish and manioc. Does anyone really believe that if the situation were reversed, she would've abstained if she'd won the ice cream, or would we have heard, "It's not my fault I did great at the reward challenge. Get over it!"? Similarly, when she started carping about Dave getting another shower, did anyone else want to say to her, "It's not Dave's fault he got another shower. Get over it!"? Apparently, "Skeleton with an attitude," as RNO reader Toni continues to call her, conveniently overlooked that fact that she'd already gotten one more shower than most of the people left in the game.
When and if Jenna and Heidi saw the latest episode on the tube, did they seethe with jealousy at the shots of Deena and Dave in the tubs? After all, they had just missed out on yet another attempt to get naked on national television.
Finally, the immunity challenge arrived. Ironically, the last two people left, Heidi and Jenna, are probably the two who needed immunity the least. But did Jenna really have that much to do with her win? On further review, she missed the first two questions, although she got the last three right. The men in this challenge were their own worst enemies. Heidi was right when she commented in tribal council that the men took each other out, leaving the four women to compete.
Finally, a question about the overall series: Has anyone else thought this is one of the more enjoyable of the six Survivor seasons? Rob alone is a good reason for watching. And love or hate Heidi, Jenna, and Deena, they've all got strong personalities that are at the least interesting to watch in action. Plus, you've got the underdog in Christy, who in light of a couple of performances at challenges, maybe isn't such an underdog after all. Like the piranhas in the show's namesake river, this installment definitely has some bite.
Ken can be reached with any comments, criticisms, or money orders at YourNextOfKen@aol.com.
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