Survivor: Cook Islands - First Impressionsby Ken Kellam III -- 09/20/2006
As I watched the debut episode of Survivor: Cook Islands, it occurred to me that something was missing this time around. And now I know what it is… a breakout star, at least so far. Say what you will about Shane, and I certainly did, but at least he had people talking. So far, however, there doesn’t seem to be any one huge breakout star. Of course, it is just one episode, but to paraphrase Jeff Probst, 20 players, four tribes, one winner, numerous questions, and no obvious breakout personality.
Let’s start with the Puka Puka, or the Asian-American tribe. The person in this tribe that stands out, for better or worse, is Cao Boi. Do the others realize his name is not spelled “Cowboy”? He’s already managed to set himself apart with his long hair, unusual facial hair, and, of course, bad jokes. If the others think his name is “Cowboy,” that could set him apart even more. If and when he gets a vote at Tribal Council, it will be interesting to see how his name is spelled by the others.
As far as impressions: His jokes didn’t go over well in the first episode, and judging by previews, he hadn’t learned his lesson come time for episode two. His attempts to lighten the tribal mood may result in his torch being snuffed if he doesn’t take a hint and give it a rest. He may have gotten rid of Brad’s headache, but if he’s not careful, the others will see HIM as a headache.
Let’s take a look at Yul and ask this question: was it really smart to single out Jonathan for allegedly stealing Puka Puka’s chicken? Let’s say for the sake of argument that Jonathan was guilty as charged and knew exactly what he was doing. It still wasn’t smart of Yul to call him out for this, and should these two end up in the same tribe via a switch or merge, I have a feeling that “Yul be sorry.”
Does Brad now regret telling Cao Boi about his headache? Was the mark on his forehead worth it? My guess is the dot will go away within a week, and even so, Brad won’t even know it’s there, since there are no mirrors on the island.
As far as Jenny and Becky go, I saw nothing to make me form an impression, good or bad, except that one of them isn’t crazy about Cao Boi’s jokes. Nevertheless, these five were able to come together when necessary and finish first in the immunity challenge. Something tells me they may both be around awhile, if only due to staying under the radar.
Now let’s take a look at the Rarotonga or Caucasian tribe. Did Jonathan really set out to steal the other tribe’s chicken the way Rupert stole the other tribe’s shoes in Pearl Islands? To be honest, I believe Jonathan when he says things were so hectic, he didn’t know where the chicken came from. That whole opening scene looked completely chaotic anyway. How will he fare on Exile Island? Something tells me that while he may or may not find the immunity idol, he’ll manage just fine, in the tradition of Robinson Crusoe.
What about Jessica, whom some are comparing to last season’s Courtney? The first thing I thought of, to be honest, was Angie from a few seasons back, or Nakomis from Big Brother. She’s got two possible strikes against her already: her unusual look, and her mistake, which led to the chicken escaping. But despite what Jonathan said about not having to forgive her, will this action come back to haunt her? I seriously doubt it, as these kind of mistakes rarely come back to haunt a player, at least short term. Remember when Rupert went nuts over the lost spear? If I remember correctly, the person who lost it stayed around a bit, as did Ted in Thailand after he lost the tribal boat. In fact, during last season, didn’t Sally lose a fishing spear only to stick around awhile?
Is it just me, or does Parvati look like she was “separated at birth” from last season’s Misty? Hopefully she’ll stick around a little longer than Misty did.
What are Candice and Adam thinking by snuggling so close this early in the game? Didn’t they see what happened to Rob and Amber in… uh, bad example. Or what about Greg and Jen from a few seasons back? Anytime a couple gets this close early on, it’s setting itself apart. If they lose, Candice will be the most likely target, as the team needs Adam and his strength, at least in this stage of the game.
Let’s look at the Aitutaki or Hispanic tribe. So far, Billy stands out the most. His observation that his parents got to America on a boat and now he was leaving on one was wry and funny. But will his lack of skills (according to Ozzy) come back to haunt him? Probably not, although Billy apparently gives the tribe other reasons to have issues with him next week.
Speaking of Ozzy, his strategy of leading without appearing to be the leader is a good one, and he may turn out to be the sanest person with that name ever to appear on reality television.
As far as J.P., Cristina, and Cecilia, there’s just not a lot to go on just yet.
Finally, there’s the Manihiki or African-American tribe. Was booting out Sekou the smartest idea? And who should’ve gone instead? Personally, in terms of strength, probably one of the women would’ve been a better choice, but of course, the three women were not going to turn on each other.
But Sekou certainly didn’t help his cause by assuming leadership early on, then deciding he wanted to take frequent breaks. And stepping forward to assume leadership and send Jonathan to Exile Island without including the women in the decision couldn’t make his plight any better. Maybe he was like Tina, the lumberjill from Guatemala: physically an asset, but no real idea how to play the game.
Needless to say, Nate is on thin ice should the tribe lose again, and while part of it can be blamed on gender issues, he contributed to the problem when he and Sekou went off alone to discuss strategy.
When Rebecca and Sundra bonded early on due to their Big Apple connection, did it occur to them they were excluding Stephannie? Granted, they were able to get her to vote with them, but she can’t be comfortable with the tribal dynamics so far.
Speaking of Stephannie, did she do the right thing by siding with the women? No matter which way she goes, she’s in a perilous position, as Nate and Sekou could very well have turned on her eventually.
How long will it be before Mark Burnett shakes things up and mixes the tribes? My prediction is that it may happen in episode three, when the tribes can be divided into three equal groups of six, or episode five, when there can be two groups of eight. In any event, the race issue was good for scoring ratings, as noted by Amazon’s Daniel, but will eventually become as footnote. Okay, see you all Thursday!
If you haven’t already, be sure to check out these other recent Survivor: Cook Islands articles here on RealityNewsOnline:
Ken can be reached with any comments, criticisms, or money orders at YourNextOfKen@aol.com.
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