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Survivor : South Pacific – A Handy Scorecard For The Race To The Finish Line..

November 30, 2011

So, previously on Survivor : We’re Still In Samoa For The Third Time In A Row But We’re Hoping You Don’t Notice Because Of Our Really Ambiguous Title, 15 new castaways, 2 lame returnees and 1 Woody Allen Tribute Band battled it out for one million dollars and the title of SOLE. SURVIVOR.

Now, I have to admit, once I found out said returnees were Ozzy and Couche, I flat out refused to watch for the first couple of weeks.  Mostly because I can’t stand the aforementioned returning players.  And because there are approximately fifty bazillion other players out there that deserve a second or (in this case) third chance more than these two bozos.  But I’ll be damned if this isn’t the most entertaining non Heroes and Villains season since maybe Tocantins or Micronesia.  Even though the returning players have managed to dominate their respective tribes, there has been some amazingly unpredictable gameplay, some awesomely jaw-dropping moments of hunger induced insanity and there’s not a single dud in the whole entire cast (except for some extra called ‘Rick’).

Anyway, with only three episodes left, here is a handy rundown of those left standing and their odds of taking home a million dollar cheque and a title shared by such illustrious names as Parvati, Boston Rob and, ummm, Vecepia..

COCHRAN

Now, let’s get this clear.  At absolutely zero point in this do I want Cochran to win.  Heck, it would take a Final 3 of him, Coach and Ozzy for me to be happy with him getting the title, crown and sash of Sole Survivor and, even then, I think I’d still prefer Couche.  Come to think of it, I’d rather vote for one of the Tiki Torches.  But it’s hard to argue that this season, much like last season’s edition of Survivor : Rob Mariano, is pretty the story of Cochran and Cochran alone.  The editors have gone to painstaking lengths to justify each and every one of his moves and have gone so far as to give him a lot of credit for moves he didn’t in actuality make (the Elyse boot or Ozzy kamikaze mission spring to mind).  At this point, based on the editing, there is NO WAY he doesn’t win.  So, obvs, let’s sit back and watch him get voted out seventh.

BEST MOVE : Managing to survive both the Semhar, Elyse AND the Ozzy boots.  Even though the latter two could be attributed to Jim and Ozzy respectively.  Flipping at just the right time at the merge and managing to, at this point, redeem himself to at least Dawn and Whitney to regain their votes if he makes Final 3.  Also, aligning himself as Coach’s on-beach Padawan is actually pretty smart.
WORST MOMENT : Refusing to join everyone swimming on day one because he was too embarassed to take off his shirt.  The constant whining of being ostracized by his old tribe – it’s Survivor buddy, the whole game is about overcoming and surpassing group judgements, not whining about them ALL THE TIME.
ODDS OF WINNING : EVEN
SOPHIE

See, this is more like it.  If I could make my picks based solely on who is playing the single best game out there right now (not to mention, just the person I all around like the most as a person and find the most entertaining), it would be The Sophster.  From her complete post-merge challenge dominance (she’s come either first or second in every immunity challenge) – her epic mid-challenge coconut water upchuck being one of the moments of the season alone – to her savvy social gameplay and her acute reads on both the contestants and the game, she should be winning hands down.  If you watch the Insider clips CBS releases each week (almost a whole entire episode worth of deleted scenes each week), you would see that no one is playing harder or smarter.  But that’s the problem.  Very few of these scenes are making the broadcast edit, which means either (a) she’s going to get booted fifth as a threat when the Upolo Tribe have to inevitably start cannibalizing themselves or (b) she’s receiving the annual Amanda Kimmel Late Game Winner Distraction edit (see also Survivors : China, Micronesia) where an excellent player makes it to the end, doesn’t win for some reason so their overall story doesn’t matter but they’re useful to show late game to make the eventual ending a surprise to viewers.  I’m starting to lean towards the latter, although there is still a chance that she does indeed win (because heck knows she deserves to against all these loonies) and has fallen victim, once again, to Survivor’s ever so misogynistic editing team.

BEST MOVE : Playing the hands down most focussed, calm and clinical game of the season while still being immensely likable, dryly funny and a total challenge monster.
WORST MOMENT : Her make up in the Jack & Jill twin challenge.  *shudders*
ODDS OF WINNING : 5:2 *fingers crossed this increases*

COACH

WOW.  And the award for Most Improved Performance By A Survivor Who Previously Spent Two Season Behaving Like The Male Incarnation Of Kelly Killoren-Bensimon goes to.. *drumroll* Coach Benjamin (DON’T CALL HIM BENJAMIN) Wade.  Coach’s evolution from total lunatic to savvy strategic player has been one of the more enjoyable parts of this season (except for the fact everyone forgets that there is an alternate reality out where he came close to winning Tocantins, even if he was AWFUL).  More and more, it looks like he’s a shoe-in for Final 3.  But, be that as it may, I just don’t think he’s winning.  Even if this season has been refreshingly free of tall tales of being kidnapped by Pygmies and single-handedly inventing Toaster Strudel (probably), there’s still been little snippets of uncomfortableness, like the post-challenge prayer circles, or the vaguely uncomfortable misogyny directed at the women of Upolu, particularly Edna the Part-Time Mute.  Sure, Coach may make it to the end.  Heck, he definitely deserves to.  But a good Survivor Editor (and, let’s face it, these guys are the last true geniuses working behind the scenes in Reality TV), would NEVER show that kind of footage of a (male) winner.  Never.

BEST MOVE : Getting the whole entire Upolu tribe to revolve around him for no apparent reason.  Convincing Cochran to flip.  Because that’s the way it happened – not the other way around as implied on tv.
WORST MOMENT : All the religious praying nonsense.  Mostly just because it’s annoying.  In all fairness, it’s actually a really solid strategy if you want to unite an alliance and try and guarantee no one stabs you in the back before you can them.
ODDS OF WINNING : 4:1

DAWN

Ugh.  How adorable is Dawn?  Of all the ‘Mom’ types they have had on Survivor over the years, Dawn is hands down one of the best.  And one of the best physical players to boot.  Normally you wouldn’t place an Exile Islandee so high on the list, but my money is on Miss Mormon Mom 2011 to kick Ozzy’s ass to the curb and return into the game.  And be voted out in fourth place ala Cirie, Holly, Jerri and every other elder (by reality TV standards) female contestant who is simply too likable and strategic to keep around for a final vote.  Besides Sophie and two thirds of Couche, Dawn is the only other contestant I’d really like to win.  Which means, like the other 1 2/3’s of them, she has zero chance.  Unless she’s the female Bob and this is Survivor : Gabon Rematch edition.

BEST MOVE : Always entwining herself so far within the tribe that she never became a boot option until the merge.  Generally kicking ass in challenges.
WORST MOMENT : Having a total breakdown on Day 2.  Like, seriously?  You’ve been a fan for ten years, you should know better..
ODDS OF WINNING : 7:1

OZZY

Poor Ozzy.  He really can’t catch a break, can he?  It’s funny watching a returning players character arc on this show.  One season they can pretty much be God (see – Cook Islands) and then the next they can be nothing more than an arrogant, shaggy-haired doofus (Micronesia).  The Ozzlet has fallen somewhere in the middle this season.  On one hand, he’s still dominating nature like it’s his jaaawwwwb but, on the other, he’s highlighted as what seems to be the latest graduate of the prestigious Amanda Kimmel School of Bad Acting.  It’s nice they’re giving him a proper send off, but really – he had no business being back on the show, he’s just an AWFUL social player and always has been.  Anyway, here’s some naked photos of Ozzy from his past career as a soft core porn star to make up for his awful gameplay.

BEST MOVE : Single handedly winning every single challenge for his tribe.  Oh, wait.  That was Cook Islands.  FINE.  The ‘being voted out to rule Redemption Island and return at the merge’ gambit was a better one than it gets credit for.
WORST MOMENT : His amazing tantrum post Elyse getting voted out.  Yeah, way to save yourself when you’re on thin ice buddy.
ODDS OF WINNING : 15:1

BRANDON

Okay, I have to throw this out there.  I really LIKE Brandon.  Seriously.  Sure, he’s a few dates short of a Fruit Loaf, and his frequent likening of every single female contestant to The Greatest Hits of Old Testament Temptresses is disturbing at best, but there is something oddly real and, God help me (pardon the pun), endearing about him.  I don’t know if it’s the aching sincerity he carries himself with or just the fact that he constantly looks like he got lost on the first Yellow Brick Road out of Munchkinland, but I just kind of want to hug the guy.  And smack him upside the head.  But gently.  No chance in hell of winning.  But the inevitable post eviction meltdown is going to be TV GOLD.

BEST MOVE : Becoming Coach’s right hand crazy man.
WORST MOMENT : Accusing every woman that dared look at him of being out to tempt him and cause him to stray for the Lords Path.  CREEPY.
ODDS OF WINNING : 20:1

ALBERT

Awwww, if there was an award for the Sexiest Survivor of the Season, it would go to Dating Coach pictured above.  Seriously, whenever he’s on screen I can think of nothing else than helping him find my hidden immunity idol.  IN MY PANTS.  But he’s basically hidden for most of the season.  Maybe it’s just because he must be pretty much blowing CBS’s annual budget for pube pixellation.  But it’s bothersome when, the few times he is featured, it’s of him proposing smart plans.  That NEVER work.  Shame.  Better luck next year!

BEST MOVE : Getting himself in the majority alliance.  His tight bond with Sophie.  THOSE boxers.
WORST MOMENT : The fact that none of his moves, no matter how smart, ever ever seem to get got off the ground.  When you’re constantly being strategically cock-blocked by Coach Wade, you know you have problems.
ODDS OF WINNING : 25:1

EDNA

You wouldn’t say Edna is so much a contestant on the show as a Special Guest Star who pops up every now and then.  Kind of like Heather Locklear on Melrose Place.  But less frequent.  And less, you know, AWESOME.  Edna seems like a very nice girl.  But she literally disappears for episodes at a time.  And contributes pretty much nothing.  Oh well..

BEST MOVE : Making a homemade sun visor out of the tree mail letters.  And being the only person to be nice to Coach on the first day.  That *may have* helped somewhat..
WORST MOMENT : Being absolutely useless in every single challenge, ever.  Making a sun visor out of the tree mail letters.
ODDS OF WINNING : 50:1

WHITNEY

Poor Whitney.  She really got the short end of the interesting edit stick, didn’t she?  It’s sad, because she’s actually pretty watchable on the three occasions they let her speak this season.  But she’s been muter than a pre-merge Natalie White.  With worse hair.  And you know there is no chance in hell she’s winning when they couldn’t even be bothered to show that her and Keith spent he whole time F-U-C-K-I-N-G when she was MARRIED at the time of filming.  Jury Fodder with a capital Jury.

BEST MOVE : Letting Keith put his Immunity Idol in her in exchange for his vote for the first half of the season.
WORST MOMENT : That ‘voting out your best friend’ thing with Elyse probably wasn’t the smartest idea in hindsight, was it?
ODDS OF WINNING : Nil.  In fact, is there something less than Nil?  -700:1.  How about that?

RICK

Who?!?


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