Thursday, March 22, 2007

Episode 6: The Whiner and the Jerk

OK. Thankfully, the tribes got shuffled. This was shaping up as the most lopsided season in Survivor history. Analysis of the team selections you say? For now the new Moto looks great because they won the first challenge, but at the time of the picking you had to wonder what Boo was thinking taking Michelle instead of Rocky. With Edgardo, Mookie and Alex staring from the Ravu mat, representing three of the most powerful physical players in a game where strength has dictated victory, you pick the smallest girl in the game? Michelle picks Cassandra next, and the new Ravu gets Dreamz AND Rocky.

While I think team chemistry will be better with Moto, the ex-Moto members of Ravu will not be sitting back at camp whining about how hard it is like Rocky and the Ravu Tear Droppers did. They already showed they could get food, and they showed that they will be competitive in challenges, which the old Ravu rarely was. The new Ravu won't be content to me an emaciate, emotionally beaten group.

The big question is how much of a factor is the luxury camp now for the new and much less physically competitive Moto? Does it even the field? Time will tell.

I have to say that I was praying for a second glass bottle to emerge for the new Ravu when they lost the challenge- I wanted desperately for them to need to get rid of Anthony AND Rocky.

Anthony was unbelievably timid and passive, and his constant sighing and anxiety monologues were wearing. You don't go to play Survivor with a mindset to be everyone's whipping boy or anyone's easy to pick on nerd/geek/dweeb (as he described himself). To do so is to walk around an easy target and a sure thing to get whacked early, and that's what happened.

There have been lots of players who have demonstrated emotional depth coupled with incredible guts. You can be sensitive and tough, but Anthony showed up convinced that he could only be one or the other and let past experiences dictate that it was going to be sensitive. It's a shame, because I think he could have won a lot of respect by at least holding some boundaries and being clear about things. He tried at tribal, but it was too late for him.

Rocky is an obtuse and self-righteous megalomaniac. He's not able to look in the mirror. His rant, while containing some good tips for Anthony, wandered way too far into buffoon territory (like Donald Trump has in standing up to Rosie O'Donnell- make your point- you don't need to assassinate people while you're at it. Outbullying the bully isn't right or going to win you points with anyone, except the meathead crowd.) Calling him effeminate, saying that he should take his skirt off- WOW. Anthony missed a golden opportunity to ask Rocky how many challenges he had won single handedly yet. Rocky has been a big a disappointment as anyone on Ravu for all his he-man braggadocio, and should be the last to point out weak gamesmanship relative to competition.

He's not even remotely playing the game beyond a physical competition standpoint, and the only way I can see him lasting longer in the game is if the new Ravu goes on a streak and makes it intact to the merge, or if someone wise, like Alex and Edgardo, realize that Rocky is a perfect take along and throw away alliance member at the jury stage. Everyone would understand getting rid of the guy because he's just so arrogant and abrasive, and no one would bother listening to him rant at a final tribal because everything that comes out of his mouth is a sexist, macho caricature of men on steroids and too much beer.

I don't think anyone can stomach carrying him that far in the game though, and they would have to carry him, because he's not someone who scares anyone in straight up physical competition.

One thing I would like to say about tribal council- Probst is losing his ability to point out flaws in games equitably. Piling onto Anthony and letting Rocky's rant, which CLEARLY made everyone in the tribe kick the dirt and cover their eyes, go without challenge was awful. I like that he used to point-counterpoint with clashes at council, giving to each opponent equally, but far too often over the last few seasons he seems to be happy to shape the game so that loudmouths stay around and make big stink (Adam vs. Jonathan last season comes to mind- Jonathan got it from everyone, including Probst, where Adam, save for one immunity win, was as competitive as a coconut husk). I don't like that he is becoming a bigger factor in the flow of the game- there was value in interjecting some objectivity into tribal council discussions, but it's shifted to making one player squint under the glare of the spotlight.

Finally, how dippy did Lisi look in pouting over not being chosen and getting sent to exile? Any player I have ever seen cop to giving quitting and going home serious consideration has never recovered in the game (remember nurse Stephanie last season?). She, like Rocky, is abrasive an know-it-all, and has yet to demonstrate any subtlety to her game, with her faith for victory firmly based on her impression that she and Stacey could she-pout and manipulate their ex-Moto male alliance members to do whatever she wanted. Now that she has left the impression that she could care less about the game and would be better off at home, don't be surprised to see her take the long walk without a torch very shortly.

I have to give Dreamz props for being able to do more than just hype and gripe. Where Rocky just assumes everyone will worship at his shrine, Dreamz gets that relationships are built and alliances earned and developed cooperatively. At one point I questioned if he would be able to reign in some of his extrovert tendencies to be able to navigate the finer points of the game, but he is impressing recently. He's also a guy who won't be afraid to make big moves to shake the game- he knows who he's there to play for, and that gives him a focus not many others seem to be showing right now.

Glad to see the game shifted. That was close- this season was one more boring week away from being banished to my exile island of shows not worth watching. Here's hoping the new Moto stays undefeated one more week and we get to see Rocky either dance for his dinner or go phony-Boston apey after getting blindsided by the rest of the Ravu men...

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