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Survivor Fodder

Survivor: Fans vs. Favorites -- The Finale

14.jpgAt the beginning of the reunion show last night, Jeff Probst declared this season the most popular season of Survivor since maybe the first season of the show. Maybe I'm just bitter and jaded and have seen one too many stupid moves, but I'm not sure why this season was so popular. I think every reality show's quality level is determined by how good the characters are, and this season just didn't do it for me in that respect-- at least as far as who stuck around the longest. I mean, all the characters that had any real layers or energy (Yau Man, Mikey B, Johnny Fairplay, Truck, etc) were voted out early on. People like Chet and Erik, and Kathy, and to some extent Jason, were just plain annoying to have to watch, and two of the best players James and Jonathan, were taken off the show for medical reasons. There were some exciting moments, some great blindsides (Ozzy), and some hilarious moments (Erik), but overall, what we were left with seemed to be the flattest characters and the most obvious situational results. It all added up to me feeling very uninterested by the final four, and ultimately, the final vote.

Final Four -- The final four had to be whiddled down to the final three, and so the first immunity challenge ensued. It was a water bucket filling, race chasing affair, and in the end, the only important thing to know is that Amanda won. Back at camp, Natalie was clearly the odd woman out of the alliance, but tried to make some things happen. Unfortunately, this season, as noted, has been pretty straightforward-- even if it seemed difficult to make it so (i.e. Erik was supposed to get voted out and while it took some great absurdity to get him out, it happened as expected). Natalie got sent home and the final three, Amanda, Parvati, and Cirie, were left together as they had allegedly always planned.

Final Three -- At tribal, Cirie had mentioned how she has always been at the bottom of the alliances she's been a part of throughout the game. When they get back to camp, Amanda loses her shit, and my respect. She calls out Cirie for "throwing her under the bus" and thankfully, Cirie comes back swinging, explaining to her exactly why that's the way it has been. Amanda talks like she can't understand what Cirie means, even though Cirie points out that Amanda had Ozzy, Parvati had James, and Parvati had SAID that she couldn't vote out Amanda ever. Amanda still acts baffled at which point Parvati earned her only points in my book by saying, "I see what she means, I think it makes sense..." to which Amanda actually replied, "I know..." and goes on to say how she's losing it after being on the island for so long. It all refers back to the "glazed over expression" that Amanda had throughout the game, as someone points out later on. While they referred to it as being her expression that feigned ignorance, I think it's actually the expression that Amanda had every time she was not respecting the person she was talking to, and was secretly not listening to what they were saying, because it didn't fit into her plan or she didn't believe them.

The three are elated, but nervous, as they wake up in the hopes of a Final Three breakfast. With so much talk of the "final three, final three" there wasn't any doubt in my mind that there would be only a final two. As they read tree-mail, it appears that I was wrong, except at the very end of the message, it makes mention of another immunity challenge. Everyone's hearts drop, and they proceed to Exile Island to do that awkward, often condescending thing where they remember all the people they stepped over on their way to potential victory.

At the final immunity challenge, the three must hold a stick made up of individual pieces together, while balancing a small ball. If the ball falls, they lose. Every few minutes, they add another block of stick that they must push together to maintain. Really, from everything we know, Cirie has to win in order to go to the final two. Parvati is the first to lose and it becomes tense as Amanda and Cirie battle it out. As Cirie reminds us after the fact, she is a nurse who assists with surgeries. In surgery, you have to be able to hold something like a clamp or tool stationary for hours at a time, so she should be good at it. Time passes more and more, but there is a momentary lapse in concentration or balance, or something, and Cirie's stick falls apart and the ball falls off. Amanda wins immunity again and is guaranteed a place in the final two.

Here's where things go poorly for Amanda and for me. I hadn't really cared who won the thing anymore until I decided I'd like Cirie or Natalie to win. After all, I was a James fan, and Parvati had betrayed him, even if she didn't have anything to do with why he had to leave. Amanda has been a bit holier than thou throughout the year with her numbers advantage, and I wasn't psyched about the Couples Alliance, even if it did include James. So I decided to root for the underdogs. Once Natalie was gone, I was for Cirie. So, somehow, I was hoping that Cirie would throw everyone a curveball and force out Parvati. Without that happening, Amanda had to make the decision of who to bring with her to the finals. At tribal council, she was still bursting out into tears and acting like she had the weight of the world on her shoulders-- while everyone in the jury wished they had that burden. Real or not, and I believe she was genuine, nobody likes seeing that. Ultimately, after what felt like a bit too much deliberation given that Parvati and her were BFF and together since the begining, Amanda did what everyone knew she'd do and sent Cirie packing.

Final Two -- With Amanda and Parvati in the final two, nobody seemed happy. Nobody had been rooting for them on the jury, nobody liked what they had done to get to the finals, and as a viewer, I didn't feel particularly psyched for either one of them. They made some very good moves, but I don't feel like that's primarily why they got where they were. They deserved to be there, I just didn't really care. They went into the question portion of the "trial" and this was more entertaining than it was useful. A couple of people called them out, like Erik who was near tears, and James who was clearly hurt by Parvati's betrayal, and Natalie, who walked an odd border between liking and hating them. Ozzy came out the champ though with his very heartfelt explanation of why he felt betrayed, why he felt his friendship had been compromised (very reminiscent of Lex), and ultimately with a declaration of love for Amanda. Fortunately, he didn't follow Boston Rob's lead and sat back down before a proposal could escape his lips. After the questions it FELT like James had said it best, "Amanda we all know you have this thing in the bag..."

THE VOTE -- Cut to the live (well, taped for me) finale in New York, and we're ready to hear the votes. Jeff opens them up and starts reading. It's tied 2-2 as we knew from the end of the voting session, and then it's 3-3. One more vote left. When it was 2-2 I thought Amanda was going to win. When it was 3-3, everything changed in my head. Amanda appeared to have it locked up UNTIL she cried in front of the jury, and until she answered some of her questions with that same condescending "glazed over look" that she used during the game. James' comment of her obvious victory seemed detrimental to her. The three votes we had already see or KNEW for Amanda were James, Erik, and Ozzy (I would hope). With Jason, Alexis, and Natalie more than likely voting for Parvati, it's up to Cirie and Eliza to make the call. The next vote is read and it's 4-3 Parvati. This leads to my shouting at the tv, "WHAT HAPPENS IF THERE'S A TIE???" Jeff doesn't tell us. He simply reads the next vote: Parvati. Parvati goes from being being referred to as Poverty to winning 1 million dollars. She is the sole survivor and champion of Survivor: Fans vs. Favorites.

I don't know if I care one way or the other. I will save the reunion show for tomorrow so I can separate the two and write some more for you all. Plus, sneak previews of next season's show. But really? After all that? Parvati?

Keep Your Fire Burning,

Posted by jon on May 12, 2008 4:18 PM
Permalink |

Haven't posted here right away because the winner was too depressing. I'd have even taken Cirie over Parvati. Sigh.

1. Posted by: Cecil Rose at May 22, 2008 12:42 PM

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