Thursday, April 24, 2008

Survivor: Chocolate! Chocolate! Chocolate! Ack!

Quick "Survivor" spoilers coming up just as soon as I enjoy a steamy bowl of bat soup...

After last week's masterpiece (by "Survivor" standards, anyway), this one was kind of unsatisfying. First, there was so much repeating of the plan over and over and over again, and Jason was so stupid, and James was so clearly unable to mount a counter-offensive against the women, that there was no suspense whatsoever to the latter half of the episode. Second, the one doing all the repeating was Natalie.

I'm sorry; was there a Natalie on the show before this week and I just missed her? This was, like, the first time she had spoken all season, and she got more talking head interviews than every other contestant combined. That's just bad narrative on the part of the "Survivor" editors. I don't care if she was the most boring, anonymous, doormouse of a human being for the entire pre-merge phase of the game; if they knew she was suddenly going to become a power player at this stage (even if it turns out to be for just this episode), they should have searched through every frame of film they shot to find something, anything, showing her having a personality before tonight. It's hard for me to get wrapped up in Natalie's big moment of triumph if I was spending the whole time wondering who she was.

I don't feel especially bad for Jason, as he is dumb as a lox, and as he was such an ass to the older members of the "fans" tribe early on. (He was the one who wouldn't let Chet or the others sleep in the young people's cave, and then I believe he started taking parts of the much better shelter that Tracey built.) But in terms of rooting interest, I'm kind of down to Erik, whose dumb exuberance has grown on me (him paying to lick Cirie's fingers was one of the weirder moments in show history); James, who's not the challenge god Probst always sells him as, doesn't have many options strategy-wise, and also has an injury that could lead to a Penner-esque evacuation; and maybe Cirie, who's about half an episode away from becoming insufferably smug again. (She may already be there, but whatserface with the implants was doing all the talking tonight.)

What did everybody else think?


Anonymous said...

Yeah, they really beat us over the head with what felt like interminable minutes of Natalie's "I'm a bitch" talking head stuff spliced with spider footage... Also, James is really fond of that Garden of Eden apple analogy.

Nicole said...

Probst pissed me off with his non stop "how can you women survive without Ozzy the provider?" at Tribal Council. Yes some of the women have too much silicone, but they aren't all incompetent.

The editors can't like Natalie very much, because holding all her interviews until tonight just made her so irritating. It wasn't a brilliant plan, it was actually quite stupid. Why not get the idol yourself? The only reason this worked was because Jason is as dumb as a box of hair.

I'm trying not to notice Cirie smugness, because I won't be left with anyone to root for.

BTW did Ozzy shoot the finger to them at tribal council? I wasn't sure what happened.

Johanna said...

I can't believe Amanda and James didn't attempt to mount some kind of a defense. (Unless Amanda actually wants to work with the women -- which is a little dumb, since she's the outsider in that alliance.)

Her whole, "I can't think of anything we can do" comment to James didn't make sense.

They knew the Parvati/Natalie alliance was planning to split the votes against James and Jason, as an insurance policy in case the idol was played. So why not try to pull in Erik and Jason and vote against Parvati? With the whole split, they would have had more than enough votes to send Parv home. Or, even if they didn't want to trust Jason, they could have probably swayed Erik. In which case, you'd still have enough votes to force a tie, assuming the others split the votes for James/Jason.

It's a little risky, but it's better than sitting there and doing nothing.

Anonymous said...

That plan would have been an actual blindside, Johanna. And probably made for a more enjoyable episode.

Instead what we got was five people going to extraordinary lengths to vote out a person who doesn't have a friend in the game, and the whole thing just seemed tedious.

But history has proven that James and Jason are too...shortsighted to hatch a plan like that. I don't know anything about Erik, and Amanda had every reason in the world to pull the three guys together, implore Jason to use his idol and send Parvati home packing. It seemed she was just unable to put the pieces together.

Bobcat said...

What johanna said.

Amanda wasn't told about the plan to oust Ozzie; therefore she will be the first one out of the five women (assuming they get to the final five). So...tell Jason about Natalie's evil plan, get rid of Parvati, pick off Natalie, Cire, and Alexis, none of whom are physical threats, rely on James's utter loyalty to any alliance he's in, as well as Jason's grateful stupidity, to take you at least to the bottom three instead. Then: profit.

And to paraphrase General Tommy Franks, Jason is the stupidest mother f***er on the planet.

bgt said...

Where's the Lost post??? OMGWTFBBQ what a freakin' episode.

Survivor - why in the hell didn't Jason, James, Erik, & Amanda form an alliance? With the girls splitting their vote in case Jason played the idol (idiot!!!), they could have easily voted out Natalie or Parvati.

After not hearing from Natalie for most of the season, I really wish she'd go back to a background player. Hopefully they're just setting her up for a giant fall.

Agnes B said...

I know that Jason is just another pretty face. There is no depth to the guy. But he's been edited to be more of a character than Natalie this season, so I was holding out some home that she might have gotten the boot tonight. Mostly because didn't realize that she was still there until now.

Also, since when is it okay to just stop finishing one's words. "Aggro?" It's right up there with Randy Jackson's "Dawg, you rocked the false tonight!"

Anonymous said...

I'm guessing Amanda has chosen to go with the women's alliance both because she's proved herself incredibly risk adverse and because she can rightly assume to be able to fend for herself against the other four in the final two immunity challenges.

If she can pull that off, she actually stands a good chance at winning a final tribal council, because her hands will be relatively clean (which helps explain why she's still buddy-buddy with James). Also, it's been awhile since a woman has won a final tribal when paired against a man (the last one was Amber), so it's probably not a bad idea to put herself in that situation.

Hyde said...

Johanna was thinking along the same lines as me. What surprised me was that even after Amanda received the lame explanation of why she wasn't clued in on the Ozzy plot, the other women showed the pecking order to her AGAIN at the reward challenge. Apparently she's OK with finishing fifth.

medusa said...

Seriously, the way that the Natalie interviews kept popping up (and I think it would be painful to rewind to check this out, but I am almost positive several were recycled and repeated, unless she just likes to repeat herself) had me half-convinced that Amanda/James/Jason were scheming off camera to take her down. And you'd think that all they needed to do was remind Erik that those girls took out his BFF Ozzy and he'd have gone along.

Or does licking someone's fingers bind you together for life? I mean, the boy just survived all that boob-exposure, his little lick-fest with Cirie might mean second base in his world.

Joe said...

I just hope there was a conversation with Amanda, James and Jason along the lines of: you are a target, you have the idol, work with us. We won't know for a while, but I doubt it happened. Too bad.

The people in danger need to convince the people at risk to work together. That's the counter offensive survival method.

I didn't get a whiff of a Plan B from James/Amanda. The girls power play was all that saved James/Amanda.

Jason and Erik are just no match for attractive, half-naked women. They will fall soon.

And I hope James doesn't leave for medical reasons.

Nicole said...

I too was irritated with Natalie's use of the word "aggro". I think it was at that point that I started to dislike her intensely.

Amanda is playing this very dumb once again. She should be working with James to pick off the chick alliance.

Anonymous said...

Amanda doesn't want to be in the finals with Eric or James. That's why she wouldn't have moved. That still leaves James, Eric and Jason with the counter-attack, which (if Jason played the idol) is plenty enough to kill Parvati - but first James has to convince Jason that he's a target, which means he has to be more convincing than Natalie, which means Jason has to not be a complete retard. And there's our problem.

Yes, that was Ozzie's middle finger. We rewound to check.

As someone else pointed out: the only reason the girls had to come up with this convoluted plan was that Natalie was stupid enough to send exactly the wrong person to Exile. That doesn't make you smart, Natalie.

Natalie is the only player guaranteed a spot in the final three, and the only one who can't possibly win.

Anonymous said...

James was right: Jason is dumber than he is.

If James leaves for medical reasons, I will be pissed. Just chop the finger off and be done with it :-D

Natalie isn't the kind of bitch she thinks she is. Ugh. If this is how the rest of the season is going to be, then...bleah. Pure, unadulterated bleah.

allieger said...

I think the reason we haven't seen much of Natalie before tonight is that she is a deeply unpleasant beyotch and the editors were trying to spare us from overexposure to her nasty smugness.

Also - as much as I don't care for Parvati - I had to hand it to her for straight up admitting to James that she sees herself at the end with all ladies. She could have tried to play it up as her, James and someone else in the final three. Also for not calling him out on his bullshit apple speech - which had to be tempting but ultimately would have been unproductive.

At this point if Cirie can hang in there and Parvati keeps taking the heat for all the oustings, Cirie should be sitting pretty in front of the jury. She and Erik (and maybe Alexis) are the only ones I have any inkling of positive feelings for at this point.

But for all the crap survivor has pulled over the years - last week's episode pretty much made it all worthwhile. For me, it will never get any better than Ozzy's booting. Priceless!

SMM said...

Presumably Amanda did not join James, Jason and Erik in overthrowing the girls because the endgame there is the two people who you've supported to the end are in the final three, and the other five alliants you've betrayed are on the jury.

Someone else here pointed out an alternate endgame for Amanda: acting like the put-upon patsy while James, Jason and Erik are still in the game -- if she can make it into the final three, she may keep their votes.

That sounds a little like (a) get rid of J/J/E, (b) ... (c) profit, but she may have a plan to turn Cirie/Parv against Natalie/Alexis. If she can actually pull that off, she can claim to be an outwitter for two members of the jury who are not sympathetic figures for anyone else on the jury.

Not that that will necessarily work, but being the fifth wheel is not an unreasonable plan for her.

Anonymous said...

I think people here commenting on how dumb Jason is and how 'easy' it should have been for Amanda to pull the boys together in an alliance and vote out Poverty are quite unfair and, frankly, shows a distinct sign of simplemindedness.

Calling people dumb for not playing a HII on the round they were voted off shows a lack of understanding of the game and long term thinking. If Jason played his HII last night, it would have bought him a round, but DESTROYED any possibility of being part of an alliance, because it also non-verbally declares that he does not trust anyone who reached out to him (in this case, Natalie). He just goes next week instead. It is worth the 'gamble' to NOT play the HII for even the small chance of joining a set, powerful alliance instead of declaring war on that same alliance by playing a HII. Jason was right in trying to use the HII as an inducement to allow him to join the Natalie alliance, instead of just burning it off for a single round of survival and then death.

Same goes for Ozzy - if he played his HII last episode, it would have been prophetic and stunning, but also crystallized his being Number One on the hit list and going out at the next opportunity. Playing a HII without telling those who you are trying to build trust with is like declaring an end to all existing treaties.

The only real criticism I've had with HII play is James in the last series, because he had TWO of them, and so few round left to play them. Playing ONE HII at "random" is very powerful, because it tells others that you cannot predict when I will play the second. But Jason and Ozzy didn't have that same capability.

In regards to Amanda being 'dumb' for not pulling the boys together, people need to remember that 'we' are playing along with PERFECT INFORMATION. We get to see all the confessionals and secret planning, so of course alternate, effective strategies are apparent to us. The contestants on the island not only do not get to see that, but are constantly being lied to and deceived, so confusion reigns.

Also, Amanda not pulling the boys together seems "dumb" only if a) she really will be voted out first if the 5 girls stick together, and b) most importantly, only IF THE 5 GIRLS STICK TOGETHER to the end. We hardly ever see this happen so cleanly. I can easily see a new alliance of James, Eric, Amanda, and Cerie forming and going after Poverty (hated), Natalie and Alexis ("mere fans" or "undeserving") in the very next round.

Or Amanda, Poverty, and Cerie turning on Alexis and Natalie EVEN IF the Black Widow alliance holds together and makes it to final 5, resurrecting the old Fans vs Favorites rivalry.

Amanda's choice to stick with the BW alliance is fine, and can't possibly be condemned as a mistake with so many players and variables left in action. Only in hindsight, which Survivor fans seem to be experts in, can we say if she should have switched it up, but it is unfair to call her out now and even later since the information that shapes our perception is not nearly as plentiful for her to form her own perceptions.

On another note, I think James is the funniest guy I've seen on the show for a while now. His nonchalantly chowing on bats, his little sayings and observations and head shakes, his effortlessly destroying bamboo over his knee - it's like watching another species.

Anonymous said...

"The only real criticism I've had with HII play is James in the last series, because he had TWO of them, and so few round left to play them."

Damn right. James had 2 idols and 3 rounds left before the HIIs would become null and void. Like the great Miss Alli said on TwoP, he would only have had to bluff once and he'd have been set for F4.

I don't think Amanda's screwed by any means, but she needs to lay low for the next 2 weeks (when James and Erik get voted out by the Parvati-Cirie-Nathlexis group) and then throw one dyad over in favor of the other. She needs to avoid the swing vote issue at F5 where the other four women could say she'd beat them at the end and will join up to bounce her. I think Amanda could make a strong case to Parvati and Nathlexis to vote out Cirie at F5 because none of them can beat her in front of the jury. Then she banks on winning immunity and offers her vote to Nathlexis to cast off Parvati, the jury has more favor for her than the two entities of Nathlexis, and she wins.

If only I was sure she wouldn't completely collapse emotionally and make the worst jury arguments this side of Twila Tanner like she did in China...

Anonymous said...

Two quick points I forgot to make in my last post:

1) I think they should make it illegal to go through other players' private bag. It's just tasteless, and there should be some boundaries even in Survivor. Sure, it's easy to hide a HII elsewhere, but the contestants should still have a small piece of private space regardless. The contestants who got 'caught' with a HII (including the great Yau Man) expected as much, and I don't find it unreasonable.

2)The HII is more a curse than a blessing, if people know you have it. Unless it is the very last round a HII can be used (and thus acts as a second Individual Immunity with no repercussion for being played), it just makes you a target.

Even if you time it perfectly and save yourself from a backstabbing attempt, all those who tried to backstab you then will not suddenly stop - they will fear you even more since you now have a real reason to seek revenge on them and thus are an even BIGGER threat than when they tried to stab you the first time. There will be no reason to forgive and forget on either side.

Thus, as an INDIVIDUAL reward, the HII is pretty useless, unless you are capable of sweeping all individual immunities and just happen to lose one (Terry comes to mind). It's real power is in alliance vs alliance wars, where it can change the balance of numbers. But if you are outside an alliance looking in, like Jason, a HII is pretty worthless anyway, and SHOULD be used as a chip to try to join any alliance yourself, turning the HII over to the GROUP.

Anonymous said...


Your post is very persuasive. I had been asking myself recently what Ozzy's prospects would have been if he had indeed played the idol. What could he have done to save himself after that, short of winning every single immunity challenge? Your analysis of the HII holder as perceived threat and, later, if s/he survives, as untrustworthy to everyone left because _he himself_ distrusts them all sounds right on the money.

Your comments about viewers' perfect information and Amanda's options also sound apt. So my questions are:

(1) In your opinion, had Ozzy survived by playing the HII, what strategy (if any) could he have employed to stay in the game and not simply be eliminated the first time he fails to win immunity?

(2) Trying to use only the information that, in all likelihood (I know: a lot of supposing and speculating), Amanda currently possesses, what, in your opinion, is her best strategy?

Anonymous said...

I thought Natalie's meanness was kinda hot.

Anonymous said...

UAM, while you have a valid point about the HII, your insult at the beginning of your post isn't conducive to persuasive arugmentation.

You also have the benefit of having the same information the rest of us have, plus not being fatigued and hungry like the Survivors, leading to clearer thinking on your part. Bad form on your first paragraph, frankly.