Survivor China Check-In
Since the tribes merged last night, it’s well past time to discuss Survivor: China. Any fan of reality (or ‘unscripted’) television has to recognize that Survivor is the King of Beers, so to speak. No other show combines the psychological game play with actually demanding physical challenges, and clearly, no one is remotely as good of a host as Jeff Probst. (Seriously, he should be contracted to be the host on EVERY show. They’d all be better.)
The fact that they’re in China is marginally interesting – whether it’s the forced reliance on the writings of Sun Tzu (and I’m somewhat appalled that no contestant appears to have heard of, let alone read, The Art of War previously), or the slow-motion kung fu style they’ve put into some challenges, the fact remains they’re in a tropical island area (a gorgeous one, at that).
The irony of a show as successful as Survivor is that the best fans of the show make the best players – which makes for the least exciting seasons. They figured this out awhile ago, and most of their recent casts have been with people who are not life-long fans. Viewers like myself can therefore relish in the stupidity of Peih-Gee and Jamie intentionally throwing a challenge. This never, ever works. Surprise! Jamie was kicked off last night, and Big Ears Peih-Gee isn’t long for the game unless she rebounds quickly. (By the way, could Mark Burnett possibly cast an Asian woman who isn’t uptight and overly analytical? Just once. Thanks.) They’ve also finally stopped casting beautiful people everywhere, which got pretty old. In fact, the best looking people on the show have basically been kicked off, capped off with Jamie’s eviction last night.
The best part of the show last night – though not quite as amazing as it could have been – was Jamie thinking she’d found an immunity idol, which she hadn’t. James had both of them (courtesy of a brilliant plan from Todd in last week’s episode that backfired when lunchlady Denise couldn’t eat a balut) and was besides himself thinking of Jamie busting out an immunity idol that was simply a piece of plywood.
As it turned out, she had to try to use it – and did so in a way that didn’t make her look too stupid (though Probst tossing it into the fire was yet another priceless moment), and found her way out of the game. Jean-Robert looked terrified – somehow the possibility of the immunity idol didn’t seem to have occurred to him (and yes, he's a professional poker player) – as he would have gone had Jamie’s idol been for real.
Right now, there are a few folks I would like to see win, though I’m sure at least a few of them will do something repugnant in the next few weeks to make me root against them. I do like Todd, the flight attendant who probably would be the lightest contestant ever if Courtney, all 17 pounds of her, wasn’t sitting there acting like a coat rack. Todd knows the game and is obviously a huge fan, and so far is playing it quite well. James, the gravedigger who might have the most impressive physique of any contestant ever, is hard to root against – he’s likeable and competes at full strength all the time. But my current favorite has to be Frosti, the parkour athlete who seems to get along with everyone and not stand out for the athlete he obviously is.
Survivor keeps on proving itself to be the cream of the reality crop, and this season is no exception to that rule. I’m hooked.
As, of course, I am for The Amazing Race, which returns this Sunday! Can’t wait…