By admin|Monday, December 13, 2004 | 2:55 am | 21 Comments
Survivor: Vanuatu sort of picked itself up towards the end of this season. By the time we had reached last night’s season finale, Mark Burnett was actually able to string together several enjoyable episodes back-to-back. There was even some suspense as to who would be left in the final, and who was going to be the overall winner. I was ready to sit back and enjoy a couple of hours of programming, but was stupid and didn’t fast forward through the into to this episode. The producers tried to recap the entire season full of tribal councils, but in doing so made it quite obvious who was going to end up in the running for first and second place. Just in case there were a few million people out there that were watching the finale but didn’t tune into the rest of the show, CBS wanted to make sure they were all caught up, and quickly revealed the two people about to battle for the win.There may be a few people out there that didn’t watch the finale, so I will try and refrain from being too obvious. Julie was shown the door in the last episode, in a betrayal that was easy for all of us to see, but took a lot of people by surprise, including Eliza. Eliza couldn’t believe that Chris was just able to lie to Julie like that, but still maintained that Chris was the only person that she trusted. She should have been happy that she had lasted as long as she did. Her deal was to make the final four, and she did. The rest was going to be up to her.
Things got really heated at camp. Julie thought a lot of Chris, but apparently Chris didn’t think as highly of her as we were led to believe. When asked about his decision, he said that Julie had it coming ever since she broke with Lopevi, and he got her back. Twila and Eliza went at it once again. Why is Eliza such a whiny bitch all of the time? She started up an argument about the lack of respect people show her, which basically meant Twila. For her part, Twila countered with one of the more truthful statements of the year, in that Eliza has only stuck around because people used her until they didn’t need her any longer. Eliza countered that just because Twila worked hard doesn’t mean she deserves to be around. You see, Twila’s strategy was to save herself for the challenges. Brilliant strategy Eliza! You have won, uhhhh, uhhhh, one immunity! Great way to keep yourself in the game.
Normally, Eliza would simply take a thing like that and talk about it for a little while, and then do her little grimace/head nod/eye twitch thing that she ALWAYS does when she is talking. I am not sure why it bugs me so much, but it would probably bug me more if I wasn’t so distracted by her boobs all the time. Anyway, when asked to give her version of events to the camera, Eliza called Twila a dumb bitch, and then went over to Chris to make sure that everything was cool. “Ye of little faith”, said Chris. You see, Chris had built a friendship with Julie, but lied to her face. Eliza had no such rapport with Chris, but he was going to be honest. She was sure of it. It’s these types of incidents that makes me hope I am never in a position to have Eliza represent me in the court of law. Could you imagine if your defense lawyer was that gullible?
Eliza got another chance to prove to Twila how she wasn’t riding coattails. During the last part all CBS reality shows, there must be an obligatory reference to riding coattails from one player to everybody else on the island. The last immunity was actually a very good one that allowed everybody to test just how they would stack up with everybody else. It was a vertical maze and inside there were ten items that contained letters. Collect all ten, then find the two words that those ten letters spell out, and you won yourself a shot at the final three.
As expected, Scout was out of the running almost from the start, but Chris, Twila, and Eliza raced through the maze up and down and through various spots to collect all of their pieces. Chris got all of his first, then Twila, with Eliza a little bit farther behind. Chris solved the puzzle first spelling out “FINAL THREE”, and winning immunity.
At that tribal council, Eliza was clinging on to the hope that Chris would honor their alliance, she would tie with Twila for the number of votes, and then the stone tiebreaker would come into play. When Eliza was named the next person to be voted off, she simply stood in shock when she realized that (gasp!) Chris lied right to her face about being loyal with their plan. She picked up her stuff, gave a strange goodbye look, and that was that. I am not sure what kind of logic Eliza employed in her decision. Did she actually think that Chris was going to vote off Twila or Scout? They gave him the best chance at winning the endurance immunity.
Much has been said about how much Eliza liked to talk, and everybody was quite happy to see her go. That way, they could enjoy all of the added quiet around the camp. That is until they decided that the would be happier talking about how much quieter it was without Eliza than actually keeping quiet themselves.
The final immunity is always some sort of endurance challenge. Before that, they had to go through the obligatory “remembrance” part of the show, where the Survivors go past the names of all of the fallen and give a little bit of wisdom into the insight of each person. This is supposed to have some dramatic effect, but is pretty boring in the process. It’s like reading those stupid holiday cards from the people who love to put those three page updates on what happened to their family during the year. Well, if any of my family is reading, I throw away those updates, just like I delete all of those stupid words of wisdom and joke of the day forwards that I get in my e-mail box. If I cared about either I would ask. And so I ask that Mark Burnett kill this part of the episode. If I want to be reminded of the people who lost, I will get the DVD.
This season added another embarrassing bit of show. I am not sure if Vanuatu made a deal with CBS about adding extra info about their islands in the show, but we had to watch as Scout, Twila, and Chris paid their last respects to the first chief of Vanuatu who was buried alive for trying to unite the islands. Because of all of the chicanery I am used to with these producers, I am fairly skeptical that they were actually at the grave of this first chief. I mean, how in the hell are any of us to know that it was his actual grave? It was just a slab of stone in the middle of some dirt. And are we really supposed to believe in those stupid monologues the final three gave at the end? When Scout started doing her what I presumed to be some sort of Native American prayer, did it mean anything more than the gibberish I was hearing? This isn’t National Geographic or the Discovery channel, so why am I subject to this crap?
Since Scout hasn’t been a factor except when she is sitting out of challenges, you knew it was going to be between Chris and Twila. Does anybody else remember the old days of the endurance challenges when they could go on for hours? What the hell happened? For this endurance, the Final Three had to strike the warrior pose with a bow and arrow with their feet on two posts. They pulled the arrow back as far as it would go. When that happened, it would drop a paper disc in place, so that if the person let go of the arrow too much, the arrow would puncture the paper, and that person would be eliminated.
Although we haven’t heard much of it Twila and Chris apparently had a little bit of deal for the final two. If either of them won immunity, they promised to take the other. Normally, this would mean that the immunity challenge would be short-lived. That was not the case, as Chris heard Scout encouraging Twila, so he began to think that Twila had a plan of her own. Therefore, he was not going to go down easily, and he started to engage in some psychological tricks with Twila and Scout. Well, I think they were supposed to be tricks, but they didn’t make sense. Chris started asking them about the deal as if he didn’t have to take one of them with him. Twila wanted to win badly, but she eventually began slipping off the posts, and Chris won, assuring him of making no less than $100,000 from this show.
The lead up to the final tribal council was anticlimactic just like most of this season. Neither person campaigned their case to Chris, although Chris did try and figure out if Twila had lied to him and made a deal with Scout. Given a chance to screw Twila over and lie about any previous deals for the final two, Scout told the truth that Twila had no plan. Honorable yes, but it didn’t make for very good television. In fact the final vote would not have been exciting at all if it wasn’t for what happened right after Chris picked Twila to be his opponent for the jury. Chris went to give Scout a little goodbye peck on the cheek, but she intercepted his mouth with a full on lip-to-lip smooch. I was sort of mystified, sort of revolted, but had to replay it about a dozen times on the Tivo before I stopped laughing enough to go on. And don’t e-mail me to tell me it was an accident. Scout went in for the kill and even opened her mouth a little bit before doing so. Maybe she was delirious from the heat and she thought she was kissing Annie. I hadn’t laughed so hard since I learned that Julia Roberts named her twins Phinnaeus and Hazel. It was so great, I had to share a little clip for you:
Click to play (Quicktime required)
So, it has come down to the part of the show that we loved the best. The final two survivors versus their peers on the jury. It’s the last chance for people bitter about losing to get their final words in for the camera, and get the last word on national TV. Eliza started it off the final interrogation by telling Chris and Twila that they were both deceptive lying bitches, but that Chris pretended to be her friend. She always expected Twila to be a deceptive lying bitch, which I guess was Eliza’s attempt at a compliment. She then asked for each to give her an apology, which Twila refused to do, further enshrining her into the J-Unit Hall of Fame for her blunt responses all season to people asking what she had on her mind. Chris kissed Eliza’s ass and told her what she wanted to hear, which was to be a theme throughout the rest of the questioning.
Julie basically said that her vote was for or against Chris, and asked him why he had made such a big deal about the brother/sister thing. I would make fun of Julie more for buying into his ploy, but even I am a little loathe to make fun of an adopted kid who felt betrayed by somebody calling her a little sister. For Chris, it came down to something very easy. He didn’t play Julie, he just lied to her. Oh that makes it MUCH BETTER! I am going to try that in a bar someday. “I wasn’t hitting on your girlfriend, I was just giving her compliments.” or maybe “I didn’t mean to punch you, I just hit you with a closed fist”. Chris kept the on with the brown nosing, and it seemed to work for him.
Most of the rest of the questions fell under some variation of the theme on how Twila is a liar, she swore on her son’s life, and why she should or shouldn’t be crucified for that statement for the rest of her life. Leann, Ami, and Sarge all said similar things questioning Twila’s integrity. Ami seemed to get over what Twila did to her and complimented her on how she played the game. I think Sarge may have had something interesting to say, but I was mesmerized by his shirt. I wonder if he made it himself, because there is surely nobody out there that would be dumb enough to try and sell it in stores. Whatever he did say, it nearly brought Twila to tears talking about it in her final statement. Chad posed a question like all teachers would, asking what each person learned, to which Chris kissed a little more behind. Scout, who gave me the high comedy moment of the year just moments earlier, continued to raise my opinion of her (not difficult, I admit) simply said that Chris was full of bullshit.
The Survivors cast their votes, and we were treated to what has become another beloved tradition the Jeff Probst mission journey away from the remote location and back to civilization. Now, I have got to believe that the producers have a lot of fun with this segment, because if they are taking this bit seriously, the person in charge of the segment needs to be fired. After collecting the votes, Jeff started hacking his way through the rain forest. I thought that they would suddenly show him hacking his was through a jungle on the set in Hollywood (sniff, we didn’t get into the party, if you haven’t guessed). Well, I was wrong, because suddenly it was day time. Jeff spent all night hacking through the rainforest, but got on his plane and headed for California.
Seeing how high the ratings were for The Amazing Race, the Survivor producers decided to do a little bit of the plane trails over the map of the earth. It turned out to look more like a rip-off an Indiana Jones movie, because we were supposed to believe that Jeff was able to fly thousands of miles in a propeller plane with a range of about 500 miles. CBS got back to “borrowing” from the Amazing Race when Jeff didn’t just land the plane at LAX like any normal host. No, he did a sky dive back to earth, with the vote container firmly strapped in the back. But no, the hilarity gets better from there. There was no helicopter to meet him, but a lone motorcycle, to which he strapped the votes and drove for the CBS lot. Next year, I hope they don’t even pretend to make it look real. Wouldn’t it be more exciting if they did some sort of Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow sort of thing with Probst flying the things in? Perhaps blue-screen him into the back of the airplane as Jude Law flies it all around the world? Now that’s great TV.
The votes were read, and Chris’ plan to kiss ass and give people what they want to hear turned out to be the winning strategy. Only Ami and Scout voted for Twila, and it became clear quite quickly that while everybody chastised Twila for lying to their faces, they rather vote for Chris who lied to their faces in the game, then lied to their faces with his explanation as to what was going on. Chris was quite happy to win, and embraced his family. I am not sure if they are selling Chris ponytails on the street, but somebody in his posse tried their best to look like they had. Not all was sad for Twila, she won $100,000, and the mullet is back. It had been in hiding since her French braid episode, but it was back in full force. A whole lot of business in the front my friends, and one slammin’ party in the back.
I might write more on the reunion show, but I can sum it up in a few sentences. Jeff Probst only cared about finding out what people thought about Twila swearing on her son, and pointing out that Chris lied more than anybody else in the game, but all of these people offended by lying gave him the win. And no, Scout didn’t try to kiss anybody else, which means I might be able to try solid foods again when I wake up in the morning.