Thursday, April 17, 2008

Survivor: Yap, Yap, Yap, Yap, Yap, Yap

"Survivor: Micronesia" spoilers coming up just as soon as I eat Alexis' cookie...

"And I thought I was the dumbest Survivor ever." -James

Now, I didn't watch much of James' original season, so while I know that he got voted out despite holding two hidden immunity idols, I can't speak to the context of it and whether the number of idols outweighs the very shaky circumstances under which Ozzy should have, but failed to play his own idol. Right now, though, Ozzy looks like he fell victim to one of the classic "Survivor" blunders.

(The greatest, of course, is to not get into a land war with Tom Westman, but only slightly less well known is this: never go in against Cirie when a million dollars is on the line! Ah hahahahahahahaha!!! Ack.)

Splendid, splendid episode, with so much of the goodness "Survivor" still has to offer, even at this advanced age. We had the comedy of Erik partying too hard with the people of Yap. We had the even greater comedy of Alexis, then Natalie (yes, I finally bothered to learn their names), then James all losing their balance before they got the chance to say, "Jeff, I'll take the cookie, please." We got what seemed like an incredibly stupid move on Jason's part in giving up immunity to feed the others, and then we got Parvati and Cirie teaming up to blindside Ozzy, who didn't have Yul around this time to do the thinking for him.

And maybe best of all, for those of us who find Parvati repugnant (even if we can admire her gameplay this time around), we have the prospect of her having some 'splaining to do to the members of her various sub-alliances next week. I'm glad Ozzy's gone, as it makes things far more unpredictable from here on out, but wouldn't it be awesome if, in the collateral damage of his boot, Parvati winds up the next to go?

Now, before we open it up to discussion, let's rattle off some other infamous mistakes from "Survivor" seasons past. Feel free to include more, and we can argue for a while about where Ozzy's blunder ranks.
  • In All-Stars, Lex saving Ambuh at Rob's request
  • In Guatemala, nobody bothering to stop Danni from bidding on the immunity challenge clue
  • In Africa, Brandon refusing to be in an alliance with Frank, even if the alternative was to go home
  • In Marquesas, the Rotu Four making it abundantly clear what the boot order was during a reward challenge
  • In Pearl Islands, Fairplay and Burton going off on a reward by themselves and leaving the women to plot against them
  • In Cook Islands, the Raros refusing to entertain even the possibility that Yul had the idol
  • Whatever the hell mistake Ami and company made in Vanuatu (another season I bailed on early) that allowed their all-female alliance to collapse and Chris to win
  • In Australia, Colby taking Tina to the finals instead of Keith
What did everybody else think?

32 comments:

Nicole said...

Ozzy's blindside was BEAUTIFUL! I didn't hate him, but he was clearly buying his own hype and was too arrogant to bring his immunity idol or use it just in case. I think the best part of that moment was Eliza's reaction to the votes and how she couldn't contain her amazement.

Also, the Ozzy death stare at the end. He was still bitter when he did his exit interview.

It will be interesting to see who gets the blame for it, because he may choose not to vote for that person.

I'll give most of the credit to Cirie for that move, and her gamesmanship has certainly raised my opinion of her because it was getting too predictable, and the spoilers were getting to be too darn accurate.

I really thought Jason was a goner based on the editing, and what he did was dumb, since it is only luck and Cirie's machinations that kept him here for another week or two. This will probably be an all girl alliance from now on, because I can see Cirie getting Amanda to overlook the secrecy, since Ozzy would have had to have been taken out eventually. James, Jason and Eric are pretty much goners.

James still holds the title of dumbest HII move because he had 2 of them and failed to use any, with no further opportunities to use them after that particular Tribal Council.
Ozzy, was still risking something, with many more tribal council's to go.

Anonymous said...

People still watch this? The Office, Alan. Get to it.

Alan Sepinwall said...

I think the best part of that moment was Eliza's reaction to the votes and how she couldn't contain her amazement.

I often hate it when jurors start doing these wide-eyed, celebratory reactions to things happening at TC (see Nate for most of the latter half of Cook Islands), but because I liked Eliza -- and because I was psyched about the possibility of Ozzy getting the boot -- that only added to my enjoyment, too.

Linda said...

That is an excellent list of stupidest mistakes. What Ami's group did, for the record, was tell Scout and Twila that the final three were to be Ami, Leann, and Julie -- basically, "Once there are five of us, the three of us will vote off the two of you, just so you know." And they did this when there were SEVEN people left. Giving Scout and Twila a great reason to line up with the other two remaining people (Chris and Eliza), which they did.

I would also add, I think, some part of that asinine exchange in Fiji where Edgardo got booted -- the thing where Mookie had the idol, and then his dudes found out that the vote would be against Alex, so they gave the idol to Alex, and then something something and Edgardo wound up getting booted, and mostly what I remember is that IT WAS AWESOME.

I think I'd throw in poor Ian in Palau, allowing himself to be bullied and guilted into quitting and giving the money to Tom.

There's no way Ozzy's blunder was worse than James's. James had TWO idols and was approaching his literal last opportunities to use them. Ozzy had quite a way to go yet. I don't understand why Probst said that about there being a bigger mistake, but then, I don't understand why he was being such a bitch to Alexis either.

Alan Sepinwall said...

People still watch this? The Office, Alan. Get to it.

Wah, wah, wah. Patience, grasshopper, and you shall be rewarded.

Nicole said...

I think Probst gets a bit too attached to the challenge monster male contestants and so I can see him saying that this was the "biggest blunder ever" more because he was disappointed in Ozzy (and when he asked about anyone using the idol he was looking directly at Ozzy, practically begging for him to use it) than an actual objective blunder in the annals of Survivor history.

BGF said...

As it turns out? Even if you have no one to root for, there are still lots of people to root AGAINST. During tribal I was thinking, gosh, I hope they get Ozzy... But what if "godlike" Jason gets voted out instead? Don't mind if I do!

Anonymous said...

THE biggest blunder ever, has to be when Lillian voted out Jonny Fairplay instead of Sandra. She essentially GAVE Sandra a million dollars.

Why do people get so bent out of shape when they find out someone lied to them on this show. It's a GAME people...get over it! LOL

And Alan...LOVE the Princess Bride reference...my fave movie...ever.

Anonymous said...

The reason the blindside worked is because Jason is so powerless and alliance-free that he can pretty much be swung in any direction until it's time to get rid of him. I could definitely see Cirie, Amanda, Alexis, Nathalie and Parvati using him to take out James and maybe Erik before getting rid of him, or simply tossing him the next time he doesn't win immunity (or gives it up). He could even be utilized if Amanda is persona non grata with the new women's alliance to get her out. And it was wonderful that Eliza's HII realization did lead to the game being shaken up.
That was a GREAT list of blunders. Lex's screwup in All-Stars stands out to me not just because it was a bad move--I can sort of see how he did it, banking on an alliance with himself, Rob, Amber, Big Tom and Kathy--but due to him acting like such an idiot in its aftermath. Here are some other classic SURVIVOR blunders:
*Alex tells Amazon Rob that Rob will have to accept being voted at F4 so Alex can advance with Heidi and Jenna M., leading Rob to join forces with Matthew, Butch and Christy to toss Alex's arrogant ass
*Andrew tells Lill after the Outcast twist that she basically had no right to come back to the game, THEN asks her to help her old tribe in the. Um, Andrew? BYE!
*Twila buying into Chris' BS about honesty at the final Tribal Council and telling off Eliza--right before Chris gave her a phony apology that she bought. The look on Twila's face was unforgettable; she knew she'd been completely hosed.
*Jamie playing the non-II in China. I don't think she was confident it was real, but unlike Eliza, she didn't seem to try and make plans in case it wasn't. This one's a bit of stretch but I still think it qualifies as a blunder.

BigTed said...

To me, this episode wasn't about blunders so much as the weird ethics people have on all the reality-show competitions these days. It goes something like this: When you screw me over, you're a bad person. But when I screw you over, I'm just playing the game.

Thus, we had the group led by Ozzy that not only didn't give a single thought to keeping their promise to Jason, but felt he was an idiot for thinking they would. Yet when members of Ozzy's own alliance went back on their implicit promises to him and voted him out, he was furious. He obviously didn't see any disconnect between his word to Jason meaning nothing, and other people breaking their word to him.

This combination of self-righteousness and prevaricating has been a factor of "Survivor" right from the beginning. While in early seasons, some contestants seemed to think there was some value in at least trying to tell the truth and keep their promises, these days it really makes no sense to believe anyone about anything.

AB and the Bear Suits said...

This kind of episode is why I watch this show. I was seriously considering bailing on this season because it's spoiled most of my favorite contestants (either by elimination or revealing their inner jerkitude).

I can't wait to see if the women keep it together. History tells us that it's so rare for women on this show to keep an alliance together (why exactly, I don't know). But in this case, the remaining male contestants are not the brightest bulbs in the box.

Regarding blunders: what about Yau-Man trusting in Dreamz to protect him, in exchange for the truck?

Siddhartha said...

That was actually not a bad plan by Yau-man. His only mistake, maybe because he was too nice, was not telling Dreamz point-blank, "If you renege on your promise to me, there is NO way the jury will vote for you."

And it turns out NO ONE voted for him.

Siddhartha said...

Also, I'm curious to see how Amanda reacts, this is the first time in 2 seasons that she isn't #2 to the "leader" of the tribe.

I'm rooting for Amanda, Cirie, and Jason in the final. Ozzy's all hype - Jason is playing like he gives a damn.

dez said...

This was a fine, fine episode, even though I just lost my sweet little Ozzy (hee hee). The death glare, the "Screw you!" speech, and Eliza's slack-jawed surprise: fantastic. Then there was the bonus of how damn funny James can be--he got some classic lines off tonight.

I don't think Ozzy's is the worst blunder ever, but it was pretty dumb of him not to play the idol. OTOH, he probably couldn't see Cirie smugging it up in the front row or he would have whipped that thang out :-D

Alan Sepinwall said...

Regarding blunders: what about Yau-Man trusting in Dreamz to protect him, in exchange for the truck?

Yau-Man has said -- and I'm inclined to believe him, as opposed to some other contestants' after-the-fact rationalizations -- that he didn't want the truck (nor did he want to deal with the tax hassles that would come with winning it), and so he wasn't sacrificing nearly as much as it seemed with the deal with Dreamz.

Linda said...

It appeared to me that when Ozzy left tribal council, he didn't have anything with him except the clothes on his back and, I think, his shoes that he carried in his hand. I don't think he even brought his bag to tribal council, let alone putting the idol in his bag and bringing both. I could certainly be wrong, but it looked to me like he was so confident that he was staying that he brought nothing.

Adam said...

THE biggest blunder ever, has to be when Lillian voted out Jonny Fairplay instead of Sandra. She essentially GAVE Sandra a million dollars.

Fairplay might well have beaten her, but there was no way Colby was going to lose against Keith Famie had he chosen to go into the final two with him.

Good list. Can I add Terry Dietz's nonuse of individual immunity as well? Basically, he kept winning immunity at a point where, had he lost it and set himself up for a vote, he could have rewritten that season.

Alan Sepinwall said...

don't think he even brought his bag to tribal council, let alone putting the idol in his bag and bringing both. I could certainly be wrong, but it looked to me like he was so confident that he was staying that he brought nothing.

In the Life at the Ponderosa video, Ozzy admits that he actually went to the Idol hiding place, thought about bringing it, then decided not to, because if he had it at TC, he would be too tempted to play it.

So here's a question: if Amanda or James know where Ozzy was hiding the Idol, can they now take it and use it? I know you're not allowed to steal the Idol if someone else has found it, but what happens if the owner is gone but the Idol remains at camp? Do the producers dig it up and put it back on Exile Island? Does it lose all its power, ala the Elder Wand, because its owner never used it in battle?

Alan Sepinwall said...

Yes. Yes, you can. See When Captain America Failed for the first of many of my lamentations about Terry's lack of strategery.

Joe said...

The biggest surprise is the restraint the editors and promo department showed.

Maybe I missed the teasers, but this "shocker" came with little fanfare. With all the airtime Alexis and the other silent blonde got in the first 10 minutes, I thought one of them was gone.

renton said...

I've always wondered, alliances be-damned, why the people didn't flush out the idol as soon as they realized someone had it.

If you don't have it, and someone does, you've got to get it out of play. I don't care who has it or who you are.

This has turned out to be much more interesting season than I expected.

BGF said...

In the preview for next week, Nathalie says something along the lines of, "if we can vote out [someone, maybe James?] then the girls will be unstoppable!"

Unstoppable at WHAT? I hope she realizes it's an individual game at this point. Supposedly she's seen it before.

Joe said...

Now the new search begins for the immunity idol.
Did Ozzy tell anyone where it is?
Does someone tear the beach apart to find it?
Does Ozzy blink morse code to Amanda at the next tribal?

Also, the Ponderosa videos are fun at cbs.com.

dez said...

Maybe I missed the teasers, but this "shocker" came with little fanfare.

I saw some of the promos and never caught a whiff of what was coming. Good job on the promo monkeys for a change :-)

Anonymous said...

Ozzy not playing the immunity idol at Tribal Council wasn't even his biggest blunder of the episode. During the immunity challenge, he was so cocky and sure that he wasn't going home that he gave up midway through just for a little bit of food. In his original season, he would have never given up because he wanted to prove that he was the best and could win every single challenge.

Lex not voting off Amber wasn't his biggest mistake on All-Stars. My friends and I always talk about the "Lex Strategy" of voting off your tribe's strongest members before you get to the merge, thus ensuring that you will lose most challenges before the merge and have the fewest people in your alliance post-merge.

And "Dolphin Boy" Ian made the biggest blunder in Survivor history by giving Tom the million dollars in exchange for his friendship after the game.

Brilliant episode. Ozzie was one of my favorite players ever, but he wasn't the same this season. Now I'm rooting for James (who I like much better this season than last season) but it looks like he will be going home next week unless he can create a miracle...
Darren

Alan Sepinwall said...

Lex not voting off Amber wasn't his biggest mistake on All-Stars. My friends and I always talk about the "Lex Strategy" of voting off your tribe's strongest members before you get to the merge, thus ensuring that you will lose most challenges before the merge and have the fewest people in your alliance post-merge.

And yet, even with his weak-ass team, he was sitting relatively pretty at the moment of the Ambuh over Jerry vote. He could have voted out his opponent's biggest ally, then swung his pal Big Tom over -- and Tom has said he had every intention of rejoining Lex post-merge if Lex had the numbers -- and vote out the rest of Rob's alliance one-by-one. Instead, he voted out the one woman who would never vote against him in favor of saving the one woman who would never vote against his biggest rival, and sealed his fate.

And "Dolphin Boy" Ian made the biggest blunder in Survivor history by giving Tom the million dollars in exchange for his friendship after the game.

Eh. The Colby/Tina thing was far worse than this. Colby was guaranteed the win against Keith, whom everybody hated. Ian might have beaten Tom, but it would have been awfully close either way.

DolphinFan said...

Two more blunder-related comments:
1. Colby's blunder stands out because he let his personal dislike of Keith neutralize any common sense and strategy. The thought of Keith being in the final 2 and having a shot at the million angered him so much that he forgot that oh by the way KEITH WOULD HAVE FINISHED SECOND TO COLBY! I also got the sense Colby felt it would be a joke to beat Keith and he really did want the best competition (Tina) because that's just his sense of honor. So stupid.
2. Yau-Man said his family owns two hybrid vehicles. I don't think someone who is genuinely conscious in that regard wants a car that gets 5 MPG, especially with gas prices heading towards $4/gallon.

Mike said...

The biggest blunder ever was when Marsailles didn't take himself off the block when he won POV.

Which I realize is a completely different show, but it was such a HUGE HUGE mistake that it's awfulness bleeds through to other reality shows and this shadow of stupidity is still stronger than anything else that has every happened.

Matthew L said...

(and when he asked about anyone using the idol he was looking directly at Ozzy, practically begging for him to use it)

To be fair, everyone knew Ozzy had it, so it was reasonable for Probst to be looking at Ozzy in the first instance.

I often hate it when jurors start doing these wide-eyed, celebratory reactions to things happening at TC (see Nate for most of the latter half of Cook Islands), but because I liked Eliza -- and because I was psyched about the possibility of Ozzy getting the boot -- that only added to my enjoyment, too.

Absolutely right. Most of the time, you get the impression that the jury theatrics are there just to try and get back on TV (witness Coby(?) on Palau), but with Eliza it really did seem like genuine shock and excitement and what had happened. It's not good if it's all put on, but if the reaction is honest, it works.

I would also add, I think, some part of that asinine exchange in Fiji where Edgardo got booted -- the thing where Mookie had the idol, and then his dudes found out that the vote would be against Alex, so they gave the idol to Alex, and then something something and Edgardo wound up getting booted, and mostly what I remember is that IT WAS AWESOME.

I was thinking about that episode again with this week's show, simply because the way they filmed the votes was so similar. The way they arranged the vote count so that it looks like the expected person was going (One Ozzy vote and all the rest for Jason), everything is going to plan, and then, bam bam bam bam, with every vote you can see Ozzy's face, previously cocky and confident, suddenly dropping. Very fun to watch.

jimmo said...

Late to the comments, but James was referring to Jason being dumber than himself, by trusting the tribe to not vote him off. While a bad move, still not worse than James', so he's not off the hook.

Gotta agree Colby taking Tina over Keith is the single worst move in Survivor history

Kirs said...

Here's why Ozzy's move might be stupider than James' from last season: Cirie. Did Ozzy bother to watch the season she first played? How could he honestly trust her? Cirie is one of the nastiest players around (and I mean that in a good way). It was only a matter of time before she turned on him- because she eventually turns on everyone.

The whole tribe's stupidest move was not even contemplating getting rid of Cirie in the early stages of the game (why Yau and Jonathan didn't appear to try this route when Yau got voted off is beyond me). I think she might be the smartest person left on the island. Those left best hope that an upcoming key immunity challenge isn't all brains and no brawn- she'll snap it up and leave them to eat their own.

Chris said...

I haven't watched tonight's episode, so I thought I'd post here.

I'm a fiction writer (based in Austin). For whatever reason, EVERYONE I know who still watches and enjoys Survivor, even at its advanced age, is another fiction writer, even though most of my friends are not fiction writers (nor Survivor fans).

I have little idea what this means -- though I could make something up, using the phrase 'the human condition', if you like -- but I thought I'd mention.