Survivor: The Amazon - Why Heidi Lostby David Bloomberg -- 05/09/2003
Heidi at one point claimed she brought both physical strength and intelligence to the game. Her fellow contestants had to refrain from laughing. But she actually outlasted most of them. She did not, however, make it to the final four. What happened that changed her from a definite finalist to simply another jury member?
As always, we will begin our search for answers with What Amazonian Survivors Should Have Learned. And we'll start with rule number one - scheme and plot. It's hard to say how well Heidi did this. She was definitely a part of numerous alliances, but was she key to any of them? Shawna pulled together the cute girls alliance (according to my interview with Deena). She went along with Dave and the guys to get rid of Jeanne. She hopped back to her pal Jenna as soon as she had the chance. She told on Deena regarding the plan to get rid of Alex. So she was there, but she never seemed to actually make any decisions herself. She was always somebody else's lackey. The only time she really tried anything was with Christy, and I'm not sure that was her own doing so much as Jenna having her do it (because Christy was more likely to listen to Heidi than Jenna). So I can't really give her a whole lot of credit for success here. She went with the flow and hung on to Jenna's coattails. But eventually, those coattails gave out.
So what about scheming and plotting too much, keeping the scheming secret, and not backstabbing until it's necessary? Well, we all know she sure didn't keep their plotting secret. It's hard to do that when the four people in the main alliance are all lying around getting a tan while the other three are working to support the camp. But other than that, she pretty well picked her alliance (mainly with Jenna) and stuck to it. She didn't jump around too much or stab anybody in the back too early. But then, all of this is because she wasn't really doing anything other than going with the flow.
Another area where she didn't do anything was in pretending to be nice. She and Jenna talked about how cute they were, how the older women were fat, etc. They blew off Christy and only talked to her when it suited their purposes. I could go on, but you get the idea. It's like she really didn't know how to deal with people. In her case, though, I suspect that she was a bit nicer than Jenna - after all, Rob made it clear that he would have the best chance against Jenna in the final two, not Heidi. This may be why Heidi had to go first, or it may have been based simply on who the guys thought would be a bigger threat in immunity challenges. In either case, if she had only been a bit nicer early on, she might have won over Christy and the women might have taken the game back. A lot of "might"s, I know, but we never had the chance to find out.
The fourth rule is to not let your emotions control you. This applies both to positive emotions, like friendship, and negative ones, like anger. Heidi failed on both counts. Her friendship with Jenna precluded any possibility of forming an alliance that didn't involve her. I'm not sure what she might have been able to do, but she never even tried. The closest she came was in her final episode where she tried to convince Rob that Jenna should go first because she was ill (and because it would help Heidi).
On the flip side, she became enraged with Rob when he turned against the alliance. She eventually got over it, but what might have happened if she and Jenna had been calmer about it? What if they had taken him aside quietly and talked about it to form a new alliance? Lord knows Rob has never been averse to new alliances. But she lashed out at him, meaning everybody in camp knew there had been a fight and that something was going on. Yes, she and Jenna eventually came back to him for a single vote to get rid of Christy, but it could have been much more than that.
Now for the one at which she really blew it: "Providing Food Wins Allies / Don't Be Lazy." While Heidi has repeatedly claimed that she worked her butt off, we have seen no evidence of this. When the others in her tribe were out fishing, she was sitting at camp. When the others were working, she was sitting at camp. Maybe she meant she was sitting her butt off. I dunno. But it certainly did not endear her to others. Perhaps if she had been a worker, Matt and/or Butch might have been more likely to form a bond - and an alliance - with her. But they both saw how she acted, and it didn't make them eager to join up with her.
So, did the others do the right thing in voting her off? Simply put, yes. She was not part of the current main alliance. She was the strongest of the two stragglers, with Jenna constantly complaining about how she could barely walk, etc. And Jenna apparently is the less liked of the two, meaning if Jenna makes it to the final two, whichever of the guys is left has a marginally better chance.
Really, a great deal of why Heidi lost right now stems from the steps she took earlier in the game. She managed to get far as part of the core alliance that gradually cast off its own members, but in the end she couldn't make it all the way. Just as she turned against Deena, Rob turned against Alex (and, by extension, Heidi). She made herself a target because she was part of a twosome. We've seen pairs split before on Survivor and, of course, Big Brother. It was because she and Jenna would not vote against one another that Alex felt compelled to talk to Rob. This, of course, led to Rob voting out Alex, and the walls came tumbling down. Indeed, Heidi would have been gone even sooner if Christy hadn't hemmed and hawed to Rob before the previous tribal council.
Heidi managed to stick around a lot longer than most people expected - or perhaps "hoped." But in the end her lack of work ethic, inability to engage in any serious plotting, and her dedication to Jenna all combined to make her the perfect target. That is why Heidi lost.
David Bloomberg is the Editor of RealityNewsOnline and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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