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Survivor Fodder


It's all over, folks-- another season of Survivor is past us and it was definitely a good one. The tension built in the final few episodes leading to this exciting finale and the glory of One. So here's what's up: I'm gonna assume that everyone here watched the show, or at least does not need a play by play for what went down. If you didn't watch the show, I'm not exactly sure what kind of Survivor fan you are, and while I appreciate the readership and faith, let's be honest, you clearly didn't have very much invested. So it shouldn't come to anyone as a surprise when I say that:

The father from "Dinosaurs" is no longer the most famous Earl on television. Earl has won Survivor! 9-0, a clean sweep. A freakin' trouncing and it shouldn't surprise anyone, when you consider that he was up against Cassandra who didn't do ANYTHING (I'm sure I'll get a comment or two about how she played the game well by staying under the radar and getting into the final three, but c'mon, you need to EARN the final votes, and nobody except for Amber has every won by doing NOTHING), and Dreamz, who was hated by almost everyone on the jury (more on this later).

"What about Yau-Man? Wait-- final three?" you ask. Holy crap, you honestly didn't watch the finale did you? Don't have tivo? VCR not your bag? No dedicated internet server to watch it online at work? It's time for you to re-examine your life, but don't fret, until you have the chance, here's what went down.

Five competitors left-- Earl, Dreamz, Boo, Yau-Man, Cassandra. No reward challenges this week as the five head down to the first immunity challenge of our two hour finale. Yau-Man still has that target on him from giving Dreamz the truck, and Boo knows if he loses, he's out. The challenge is a doozy and I still don't fully understand how it worked, but it's basically five mazes with five keys that must be found to unlock draw-bridges that move on to the next maze. First one to the end wins...oh yeah-- AND YOU'RE EFFING BLINDFOLDED. So the race begins and it's clear that Yau-Man, Dreamz, and Boo are the front-runners. Earl is slow, and Cassandra can't even find her way INTO the maze. It's gets tight at times, but mostly because of editing, and Yau-Man pulls out the victory. HUGE. My girlfriend and I exchange high-fives, and we know for sure that we want him to win.

Since Yau has the immuntiy necklace, Boo is on the chopping block and he knows it. In fact he knows it for sure, because Yau tells him. Boo tries to mix things up by saying that Dreamz needs to go first, because he's dangerous in the final two-- he'll get the sympathy votes because he was homeless. Yau almost agrees and Cassandra and Earl consider it, but in the end, at tribal, Earl plays his hidden idol just in case, and Boo gets voted out 4-1. And then there were four.

But let's backup a minute. Everyone keeps talking about how Dreamz will get the sympathy vote. Later on, more people mention this-- but since when?? Since when does Dreamz have any pull at all with the jury? He lied and betrayed Mookie, Alex, and Edgardo and not in a way that will make them give him the "You got us good" votes. Stacy HATES him. Lisi LOATHES him. Rocky THOROUGHLY DISLIKES him despite their momentary friendship. Michelle LOVES Earl. Dreamz will have to betray Yau-Man to get to the final three, so Yau-Man won't give him the vote. That's like 7 votes against him right there. Dreamz is THE BEST person to bring to the final two and I'm not even sure why Yau-Man wants to vote him out.

Which brings us to the next challenge. Four people remaining. Suddenly, Jeff announces that the final THREE will go to tribal council in front of the jury. This mixes things up a bit and I have to wonder at what point Mark Burnett made that decision; at the beginning of the season or a few days prior? It's an interesting move and it definitely shakes up the next challenge. The challenge is the outlast challenge. This time around, the four must hang from a trapeze like grip against a board with water running down it. As time goes on, the angle of the board increases, so it becomes harder and harder and more and more painful to hang tough. It's kinda cool, but seems extremely slanted towards the men whereas in the past, the odds were even. Standing and balancing on something is much more even a challenge than hanging from something, where your upper body strength and weight distribution are huge factors. As proof, Cassandra is the first to fall. After more time and degrees of incline, Earl falls off and it's Yau-Man and Dreamz left hanging. In an earlier conversation, Dreamz declared that he would definitely keep his promise to Yau-Man and try his hardest to win the immunity necklace for him. He says candidly to the camera that he is proud to do it and to set an example for his son. So in a few moments, Yau-Man falls and Dreamz wins immunity. I have to admit, it's crazy that the odds worked out for Yau-Man and that the plan ACTUALLY could come to fruition. Jeff Probst gives Dreamz the necklace and says that the first half of the bargain is complete and the latter half remains to be determined. Dreamz says he will give it to Yau.

Back at camp, Dreamz talks big, but then says to Cassandra and Earl that if he does the "bad thing" and doesn't give it to Yau, they better vote together to get Yau out so one of them doesn't go. Yau says, "If you don't give it to me, will you at least not vote for me?" and Dreamz agrees, saying he is going to give it to him. Here is the first of Yau's mistakes. He gives Dreamz an out. He says it's ok, and re-negotiates the deal, giving him the middle ground of "at least not voting for him." It would have been better to leave it alone and not say anything, then give Dreamz ways to rationalize his change of heart. The other mistake Yau makes is not offering an alternative to voting out Dreamz. He only gives Dreamz the option of getting voted out or keeping the idol. He should have at least feigned the option of giving him the idol and voting out Earl, who (in my mind from what WE saw, at least) is the more dangerous threat. In fact, if I were Yau-Man, I would have tried to vote out ANYONE except for Dreamz after finding out the final three would be the finalists. At the very least, he should have known that Mookie, Alex, and Edgardo would vote against him. Not giving Dreamz a viable survival option besides betrayal and backing him into a corner was the mistake that destroyed Yau-Man.

And it did destroy him. At tribal, after some big words and discussions, Dreamz finally says, "I'm gonna keep it," and hangs onto the idol. Earl and Cassandra look shocked and in moments the vote is 3-1 against Yau-Man. The final three are determined-- and not only did Dreamz lie about giving the idol, he went on to VOTE FOR YAU-MAN. Ultimate betrayal. Yet, back at camp, Earl and Cassandra remain fairly calm and don't give Dreamz any shit. I know it's a game, but Dreamz needs to get an earful from SOMEONE about what he did, and even through the reunion show, he never gets what I think he deserves to hear. Boo comes the closest in the question process, calling him an immature Christian.

During the final statement and interview stage, a couple of interesting moments occur. Earl believes he should win because he played intelligently, manipulated without ever being voted for, and got there his way. Cassandra says she formed a good alliance (worst thing to say), and Dreamz says because he was homeless and the money will go to good use-- but he doesn't want the sympathy vote. I'm not exactly sure why anyone would trust that he would give the money away once he got it, since he's lied once about this already, but I'm sure nobody would have voted for him anyway.

The two really amusing parts were when Alex GOES OFF on Cassandra of all people for some weird thing about Stacy. Cassandra tries to tell him that the event didn't go down the way he thinks it did and he shuts her up, yelling at her not to talk. She tries to explain, but he repeatedly tells her to shut up and concludes with what was probably a very racist comment, but I really didn't get anyway, saying, "It's my time to talk, do not talk-- DO NOT TALK-- Do I need to say it in Spanish? Edgardo, translate for me." I think Alex really believes he should have won (and he did play a great game), and let his anger out on the easiest target as opposed to, oh, I dunno, Dreamz...who caused all the problems for him. The other amusing part was the aforementioned Boo question, where the discussion turned Christian really fast, and I think everyone watching got the impression that a lot of conversations weren't aired that would have explained a little better what was going on. Regardless, the whole thing was fairly awkward to watch. As a bonus, Lisi was apeshit, bat-cock crazy, and baffled everyone involved with her dropped-as-a-child logic.

A lot more happened, but it's not worth typing up here. Feel free to chat it up in the comments and get some conversation going if I missed something you found interesting or note-worthy. Anyway, the rest, as they say, is very recent history. Earl pulled a 9-0 victory over passive Cassandra and hateable Dreamz and the reunion show failed to reveal whether Dreamz is an idiot or an idiot savant. Either way, they made him look like Jamie Fox and he wore Dr. Dre's clothes, so it was all worthwhile.

Ultimately, I'm very glad Earl won. Of the final three, he was the best in my mind, and while one might argue that Dreamz was the best at the game because he did so much manipulation, I think the fact that the manipulating and betrayal was so blatant is an argument against why he should win-- he wasn't clever about it, and everyone ALWAYS knew when he had lied or betrayed someone. I know it's a game, but there's no moral excuse for taking the truck and breaking his promise-- he failed at his fair attempt to vote Yau out earlier and he didn't have to accept the truck. On an off the cuff vote, 6 people said they would have voted for Yau if he had made the final three. Make that 7 if Earl had been voted out. Yau-Man shoulda won, but that's not how the game goes. Earl is the Survivor Champion.

And he gave half the money to his mom. Not for a truck or nothin'.

Until Next Season, Keep Your Fire Burnin',

Notes: Yes, Pirate Master could be sweet, but the name sucks and I can't imagine ever being like, "I'm so pumped for Pirate Master 4." One season tops.

China could be cool.

Until next season, checkout, link to, and enjoy my non-Survivor blog (about tv, film, shampoo, and anything else) at or on myspace at

You've all been great readers and contributors, and I hope to hear from you again next season.

Posted by jon on May 14, 2007 6:04 PM
Permalink |

Good write-up, I lol'ed at a couple of those remarks.. Lisi's "dropped-as-a-child logic".. too funny.

I've been trying to find out how much money the second and third place people get? It is basically a tie for second, so do they get less or more? I've looked everywhere online and nobody knows.

Also : I'm so stoked for Pirate Master 4!!

1. Posted by: Scott S at May 15, 2007 1:08 AM


Was it just me or did Lisi spew some racial undertones with her "eeny, meeny, miny, moe" poem? U know historically it was not uncommon to follow that verse up with "catch a n****a by his toe". There just happen to be 3 blacks as the final 3. Food for thought....

2. Posted by: Frank M at May 15, 2007 10:44 AM

>Suddenly, Jeff announces that the final THREE will go to tribal council in front of the jury. This mixes things up a bit and I have to wonder at what point Mark Burnett made that decision; at the beginning of the season or a few days prior?

I'm pretty sure it was this way all along, and it seemed predetermined from the time the first juror was announced, since if they's gone doen to two, there would ahve been an even number of jurors, leading to the possibility of a tie.

Speaking of which, with three finalists, there's always the possibility of a tie, even a three way tie, and I wonder what they'll do if they get one? Split the mill? Make fire right there on the stage? Rock, paper, scissors?

3. Posted by: Cecil Rose at May 16, 2007 4:07 AM

>Suddenly, Jeff announces that the final THREE will go to tribal council in front of the jury. This mixes things up a bit and I have to wonder at what point Mark Burnett made that decision; at the beginning of the season or a few days prior?

I'm pretty sure it was this way all along, and it seemed predetermined from the time the first juror was announced, since if they's gone doen to two, there would ahve been an even number of jurors, leading to the possibility of a tie.

Speaking of which, with three finalists, there's always the possibility of a tie, even a three way tie, and I wonder what they'll do if they get one? Split the mill? Make fire right there on the stage? Rock, paper, scissors?

4. Posted by: Cecil Rose at May 16, 2007 4:08 AM

My mom had an interesting reason to the way Dreamz played the game. I wish I could remember her exact words, and don't get me wrong, we both dislike him for what he did, but she said something about he played the game like he lived his life as a homeless person. Almost always on the edge of panic and making really crazy decisions based on survival alone. I still think he was just a greedy little idiot, I don't think he ever had a plan, but I was also baffled that Yau didn't offer another idea of voting out Cassandra or Earl instead. I guess, like Yau said at the reunion show, that he didn't want to change his strategy because he didn't want to admit that he might be wrong about Dreamz' character. Yau still was the man all the way to the end, going out with dignity and honor. I love that man, and I hope he comes back in another season, Yau-Man is good TV and he deserves another shot. I think at least. I wish they would have brought up his making of the fake II in the reunion show, it would have been so funny. Okay, now I'm rambling. I also wanted to say that Lisi is crazy, and it was so much fun to see Papa Smurf, healthy and happy at the reunion show. And for some reason, I still feel really sorry for Mookie. Me and my tender heart I suppose. I can't wait for China, that looks rad! Okay, done now. Til next season!

5. Posted by: Sara at May 16, 2007 6:00 PM

If I were Yau, I would have explained (before TC) to Dreamz that if he went back on hs promise to give up the idol, he would have NO chance of winning, because people would resent his treachery.

However, if he kept his promise, there would be a very good chance he would pick up some voted from people who admired his honorable conduct and symnpathized with his financial difficulties.

I still don't think he would have won, but with the choice between some chance of winning and no chance, he might have done the right thing.

Plus it would considerably improve his post-show chances of reaping some economic benefit from his appearance - acting gigs, advertising, etc.

Explained that way he might have seen some economic benefit from doing the right thing.

6. Posted by: Cecil Rose at May 18, 2007 5:25 PM

Very funny review, and I agree with you that it was Yau Man all the way until he was voted out, and then Earl was a no brainer. I was kinda surprised that nothing was made about the all black final three, especially since race was at the heart of last season (okay for two episodes it was).

Um, was I hallucinating, or did they bring out the "Final Three" idea LAST season? I know this season was probably filmed before Survivor:Race Wars aired, so it makes sense that the contestants were thrown by the final three bit, but I kind of expected it once the 10th person voted off was in the jury.

If they ever do a Survivor Allstars 2, Yau Man is definately on the invite list!

Interesting question about the possibility of a two or three way tie, as far as I know, they have never said on air what would happen then. Okay, this is like a week after the finale, so I am not counting on anyone to read this...

7. Posted by: FenwayBen at May 26, 2007 6:05 AM

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