Surviving the Tocantins

Ok, I gotta admit something. I am a huge fan of the show Survivor, I don’t think I have missed one single episode since day 1 (ok, maybe I missed one or two, but no more).
Don’t get me wrong, I usually don’t like reality shows (except the ones that are so bad they’re good if you see what I mean) but I really genuinely love Survivor. Mostly because I don’t consider it a reality show, for me it’s really a game, and the best strategy game I know of. I have to admit I’d love to be on Survivor, not for the 15 minutes of fame, especially not for the 15 minutes of fame, I’d actually prefer to play it without the cameras, but really to play the game. But that will never happen as you need to be a US citizen to be on it (and the French version really sucks big time, they do everything to minimize the strategy aspect of the show as much as they can).So I meant to talk about it for quite some time now, but then I don’t do it because I think it won’t be interesting for anyone reading this blog, but today I decided, why not trying, maybe some of my readers are Survivor fans too, and maybe that’s gonna attract new readers that are fans, or maybe I’m gonna make some of my readers interested in the game, who knows?

The way I see it right now (but it can change) is to -after each episode- talk about it by talking about each of the people (and maybe some particular events if necessary), we’ll see how it goes. I’ll try to do that all season long (despite the fact we’re already at episode 4 this season), and the following seasons if people were interested.

So, Survivor 18 aka The Tocantins is so far a pretty interesting season with lots of interesting characters and lots of people that seem to know how to play the game, and most strangely a season in which pretty much everybody seems likable (quite a change from last season where Kenny was pretty much the only one I liked, but even him by the end of the season was becoming a bit annoying at times).

Of course, if you haven’t watched this week’s episode yet and plan on doing it, do not read what follows before doing so.

Let’s start with the Jalapao tribe:

Joe: Pretty much every season, there’s a couple of pretty women on the show that have been cast for obvious eye candy reasons, most of the time they’re gone quite quickly because they had obviously no reason to be on the show except the eye candy value. This season, they’re doing it with men too which is good for equal rights purpose, but not so good for the game itself. This is pretty much what I feel about Joe. I don’t really know what there is to him except good looks. He doesn’t seem bad, but he doesn’t seem good, I’m not exactly sure whether he has no personality or if he’s shy, but overall I don’t find him that interesting. And unless he made alliances that we’re not aware of, it could well be the next to go if Jalapao has to go back to tribal council before the merge. And if he survives until the merge, it can be happy with a number 7 or number 8 spot.

JT: He really impresses me. Almost every season we have the good old Southern boy that knows how to survive in the wild, who is quite strong, and these kinds of things, but most of the time they severely lack brains and/or social skills. Not JT. Jt seems to have everything, even good looks. He will certainly go very far (if Jalapao is in a dominant position when merge comes of course), still, for some reason I don’t see him win, even his friends will see how he’s unbeatable in a final two or three and they’ll give him the boot soon before the end.

Sandy: Ah Sandy, we’ll miss you…. not… Sandy is strange (this is an understatement), she reminds me of two women I know quite well (one being a family member), kinda crazy, unbelievably annoying at times, but still likable. It makes sense that they all “voted” her out at the very beginning of the game, but then it makes sense that she survived the first vote. It also makes sense that she didn’t survive the second one. People like her just can’t go far on Survivor, it’s just impossible, this is even why they’re being casted.

Spencer: When I first learned about Spencer he became my instant favorite, but for the wrong reason, because he’s a Gator…. Corinne last season was also a Florida alum, but I’m quite embarrassed by that. Back to Spencer, it’s not that I don’t like him, but so far he’s been quite underwhelming, first reading about him, I assumed that he was gonna be either a very amusing or exciting contestant, right now he’s none of those. Maybe it’s his young age (19, youngest Survivor contestant ever), but he’s just cruising along right now doing nothing very interesting or noticeable. I hate to admit it, but I hope he becomes interesting soon or that he gets the boot (which he won’t in the near future, everybody seems to like him in the tribe)

Stephen: He may be my favorite in the tribe. I love as he’s so clueless about nature, but he’s totally aware of it and genuinely tries to do his best and to learn (from JT for instance). Because Stephen is very smart, and could go very far, especially because his tribe is doing well, so he’s not a liability and he’s making the right friends for the moment. I don’t know about you, but with the underdog editing he’s getting, he could just be the winner of this season.

Sydney: So, she’s this season hot babe (and man, she fulfills that role perfectly, she could be the most gorgeous contestant ever), reading about her before the beginning of the season I had high hopes that she would be more than just the hot babe, but so far she’s quite a disappointment, she reminds me of Parvati (during her first season) minus the bitchiness that made her entertaining. I hope we see more interesting sides of her soon… if she has any.

Taj: I love Taj, so far, she’s the one that’s playing the best game in Jalapao (with Stephen, even if it seems that it’s all happening by chance for him), but I’m afraid her crazy cross-tribal secret alliance won’t work, but if it does, it could be one of the best strategy move in Survivor history. What worries me about her is the fact that she voted against Joe, most likely because she had promised Sandy she wouldn’t vote against her, or something similar. Still, voting against Joe was stupid, and can only lead to alienate him and potentially more tribe mate. In next week’s preview we also see her arguing with most of her tribe, I wonder why is that and what it will mean exactly. Is it just an outburst of emotions that is just that or is it a real fallout with her tribe that could lead her to mutiny and switch sides as she has now two allies in the other tribe?

Timbira

The people at Timbira are a bit less likable than the ones in Jalapao (yes, I seem to say only bad things about them, but that’s because I really like all of them so I’m trying to find their weaknesses), but they’re the most entertaining so far (thank you Coach)

Brendan: He seems like it will go far: smart, strong, likable, in a secret alliance, but I don’t know why I feel this is gonna backfire sooner or later. As it’s just a feeling, I’m not sure if we can rely on that though. Let’s say that if his alliance works fine, he’s almost guaranteed a spot in the final four. If it doesn’t work out, he’s gonna be gone sooner than he thinks (and than we think) and he won’t see it coming (and neither will we).

Coach: Where can I start with Coach? Is he a bad person? No, I’m convinced that everything he says and does he says and does it out of the will to bring something to the people around him. But he’s so full of himself and so clueless about the way other people perceive him that he must be quite unbearable to be around, even though not everybody in his tribe seems to think that. I guess they keep him because they think that he a great ally to have (the guy seems incapable of lying) and he’s definitely the ideal person to have next to you in the final two, even if you betrayed and pissed off the entire jury, they won’t want to vote for him in the end. But they must be keeping him for entertainment value too, because man he’s just the funniest character on Survivor ever (too bad we’re not laughing with him, but we’re laughing at him). I don’t think I could be around him more than just a few hours without either hating him or not being able to not laugh to his face every time he speaks; but watching him on television is never ending entertainment.
A big mystery to me is what will be his downfall in the end? I don’t think it’ll be his mouth as he survived two tribal councils already (sure, the first one, people may have not realize he was full of shit yet, and for the second one, Jerry had to go -I hate when interesting likable people like Jerry get sick and leave the game early, but that’s sadly part of the game too).

Debra: First I thought she was gonna be the typical middle-aged woman that rides the coattails until she gets the boot or ends up in the final two only to be torn apart for just riding the coattails, but she seems to have a great personality that could get her far… Still, so far she seems to be just tagging along under the radar, it’s not long before she may rides the coattails. I hope she doesn’t and become more pro-active on the strategy side.

Erinn: I think Erinn is in the wrong place. She seems very likable, someone I could want to be friends with in the real world, but I wonder what she’s doing in Survivor. I hope it’s not just to recover from her bad break-up as she mentioned in the previous episode. I don’t know if that’s gonna work, but what is not working now is her as a contestant. I’m even worried about her, she seems genuinely depressed. I kinda hope she gets the boot soon (which she will) for her own mental health.

Sierra: I really like Sierra, she’s pretty, she’s stronger than she looks, she’s not the typical “hot babe” (that’s Sydney as we’ve already established), she’s not afraid of the wild and she’s quite smart. She could be my favorite if only she smiled once in a while. Why does she seems so angry and unhappy all the time, even when she’s not? I hope she lightens up a bit soon.
She could go very far though, especially with the now infamous secret alliance, but the preview for next week seems like a very bad omen… We’ll see.

Tyson: He’s also a very interesting character: funny, smart, hot (I guess), he has everything to go really far too (except that he may be an early target post-merge if Jalapao gets the advantage and stays united). One thing that’s pretty strange about it’s all the very mean comments in makes in the solo interviews when he comments his game. Is he joking or not? Hard to tell. I guess he does (after all, if I was on Survivor, I always imagined myself being all happy go lucky around camp and totally talk trash about everybody during the interviews), but sometimes I’m really not sure (once again, people are usually not sure when I’m joking or not… well, mostly when they read me, when I speak it’s easier to tell most of the time).

Next week: two things were shown that could destroy the secret alliance and its member with it: Taj’s outburst and Tyson suspicions. Misleading clues from the production or really the dawn of the demise of a few people? We’ll see.
Barring a twist, if Jalapao goes to tribal council, I’d say that Joe or Taj are on the hot seat, if it’s Timbira, Erinn is pretty much toast (or Sierra if the secret alliance is busted).

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Frenchman, addicted to Survivor (yes, there is such a thing) to the point of having a blog dedicated to the show where I like to analyze and speculate about what we see every week.

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