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Chasing The American Dream

December 12, 2005


I’m becoming increasingly disappointed with one of the only two shows (Lost and Survivor) I watch. I’ve been watching Survivor since its inception in 2000. To me, what made this reality show interesting and different was the mix of characters and personalities. The game was once won and lost ‘on the field’ without interference from one Mark Burnett, the creator of the series. But then things started to change. The show got predictable. If one tribe had a mathematical advantage, it was inevitable the other tribe would be voted off one-by-one. So Burnett started taking matters into his own hands by playing switcheroo games with the tribes and changing the show’s emphasis from the players to an ‘anything can happen on Survivor’ approach. That has bothered me because the player could play a perfect Survivor game and be a victim of one of these silly switch games and quickly voted off. Silas of Survivor Africa, season 3, comes to mind.

But now, it’s the stupidity of the players that’s irking me. Physical strength in challenges is always viewed as one of the biggest assets a player can have. But strangely, if you have brains, you’re a liar, a villain, and someone unworthy of winning. It takes brains to have a unique strategy good enough to win the game. Often this strategy involves some deceit to alliances and lies to cover your ass. To me, that’s an essential part of the game. I mean, the slogan says outwit and outplay, right? Yet when it comes down to the final tribal council, it seems to me the nice person often wins because the jury’s ego is bruised for being lied to by the supposed villain who had the brains to think his or her way to the final two. Time and again, most of the jury’s final questions relate to lies being told and having the finalist justify lies and/or deceit. Almost without exception, the finalist fails to take advantage of these questions by explaining to the idiots on the jury that brains and strategy are part of the game. An integral part, in fact.

Stephenie was the villain finalist for Survivor Guatemala. She fielded all the usual questions from the jurors who felt wronged by lies or deceit. Stephenie rationalized her lies and strategy, blah blah without any effect. Man, I was screaming at her to tell this muscle-head Judd that outwitting and outlasting are part of the game. Steph, try telling Judd and the other hurt jurors to not vote on the fact that they were duped by and double-crossed by Steph, but vote on the fact that her strategy got everyone to bite and that outwitting is truly part of the game. Take the personal feelings out and vote on who truly played the game the best.

But human nature is to take things personally. Steph failed to make any reference to her superior game-playing ability and to warn the jury to not vote against her just because they felt wronged by her. And of course, the jury had their minds made up anyway that Danni was nicer, didn’t lie, and was more deserving. The final vote wasn’t even close. It was 6-1 for Danni. I liked Danni. She was sweet, nice, was very athletic. But she coasted along as a lot of ‘nice’ Survivor winners do. Sure, being ‘nice’ is a strategy, I suppose. But outlasting 17 other players with a target on your back for 39 days was truly an accomplishment and deserving of a win. But not with Survivor these days because you don’t get any credit for outwit and outplay. I guess when I think about it, outsmart is not part of the Survivor catchphrase. That’s a shame because this loyal viewer is getting tired of outnice which isn’t in the catchphrase either.


  • You don't get any credit for outwit and out play.

    Man, I wish that was a lie.

    By Blogger Sass, at 10:07 PM, December 12, 2005  

  • it's so true. First off, I couldn't believe Steph made it that far. Who doesn't think to vote out the strong leaders early on? They'll get ya! But coasting through and winning because no one really thought you were a threat isn't really "playing" is it? It's standing outside the fire, if you ask me. Steph should have won.

    P.S. Lost is wearing thin on me, too.

    By Blogger Amy, at 8:54 PM, December 13, 2005  

  • I'm a Survivor addict. I couldn't believe Stephenie didn't get respect votes. We all hated Richard Hatch, but he pulled it off. How could anyone going into that show not know they would be lied to - that's the strategy part of the game.

    But let's not take away from Danni's respectability and remember that the numbers were truly against her. Her strategic move to dig a hole for Judd is what ultimately won her the game.

    Now, I wouldn't feel so sorry for Steph. My guess is she's got a great future lined up for her, and has already received offers for bigger and better things.

    By Blogger Queen Helene, at 6:28 AM, December 14, 2005  

  • Steph should have won in my book.

    By Blogger Sherri, at 7:49 AM, December 14, 2005  

  • Sounds like I'm not missing much :)

    All of reality TV is wearing thin on me. If I'm going to watch reality TV then I choose something completely ridiculous, like The Surreal Life. At least this way I can be amused and entertained.

    By Blogger catsteevens, at 5:30 PM, December 14, 2005  

  • Ground control to major tom,, take your protein pills and put your helmet on.....

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:01 PM, December 14, 2005  

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