I thought last night’s Survivor was very satisfying. I didn’t like the result, but it was entertaining. Very entertaining. A little too drawn out, though. Last year, the last two tribal councils were both on the last episode. This year they decided to draw it out, and it showed – it dragged at times. But it was still good.

Some random observations – I didn’t much like Salon’s commentaries this time around. They were good in the beginning, but about half way through, it just got too cynical, like it was written by someone who didn’t like Survivor. So the feeling was just too negative, and I think they missed a lot, interpreted a lot of things wrong, because their perspective was too negative. Like, they consistently misinterpreted Colby. They kept saying how dumb he was, when that clearly wasn’t the case. He was always the most in control, and as all the mental challenges in the end proved, he was pretty sharp. And Salon missed that, I think because they were just down on him because they were just down on the show. I don’t know, I just feel they were overly negative and missed a lot of things in their commentary, and I didn’t like it.

Also, I think overall the first series was better. I’m not totally sure why that is, but yeah, I liked it better. I think it was partly the first series, the people had a little more personality. Like, Greg the psycho guy and Sean the complete idiot. And then at the end, you had Rudy, who was crusty to the core, Kelly, who was mildly evil, Rich, who was pure evil, and Sue, who was stupid and evil. That just made it more interesting. This time, the interesting people / weirdos, like Maralyn and Mike, were gone too early. I really think next time around they need to have people with more personality.

Another thing. A common criticism by people who don’t understand is that they don’t like Survivor because it’s supposedly “reality” TV but it’s not real. I don’t know who made up this “reality TV” label, but I know it wasn’t the producers of Survivor. The head Survivor guy has consistently said in interviews how it’s not real, how it is a contrived situation, and it’s supposed to be. The beauty of Survivor isn’t in it’s being completely “real”, although the fact that they’re actually going through it is part of it. It’s just the unpredictability, the editing, the complexity of the factors the participants need to consider and all that. Just to me, to criticize it because it’s not fully “real” misses something.

Anyway, last night’s episode was pretty entertaining, I thought. There were some choice moments. Like when Keith got to ask them a question. He asks, what they did to manipulate people. He’s basically fishing for why he got kicked off, I thought. And they turn it right back around – they both say an example was when they manipulated to get Mitchell kicked off. They did this, of course, to save Keith’s butt. Brilliant response, I thought.

The best moment was with Jerri. She asks what they feel remorse, regret or guilt over. Again, you can tell she’s fishing. Wanting an apology or something for her ouster. And again, brilliant responses. Tina says she felt remorse for going through Kel’s backpack. Brilliant – turning it right back onto Jerri. What Tina regrets most was following Jerri in her evil ways. I loved it.

And then Colby responds, he feels bad kicking off Elisabeth and Rodger. And that’s all. Basically everyone but Jerri. Oh and also Alicia, the final slap in the face because he’s saying she deserved to stay more than Jerri did. Jerri got nothing she wanted, a total turnaround. And of course, because I’m evil, I loved it.

So then the vote and whatever. I found everything Colby did last night curious. For someone who played the entire game to win, he played the endgame terribly. The first thing of course was choosing Tina over Keith. Had he chosen Keith he almost certainly would have won – he would even have received Jerri’s vote, I would guess.

But he chose Tina. I can’t understand it. It could be one of two things. It was strategy, to give himself favor with the jury. But that doesn’t make sense. Because choosing Keith would have made it a done deal. The only other reason I can figure is that it was some noble act. That he felt Tina deserved it more than Keith even if it threatened his winning. I don’t know, it was weird.

Weirder still is how he acted at tribal council. It was terrible to me – he gave them no reason to vote for him, didn’t make them think about it at all. He could have said something like, everyone was devious, but he was devious as little as possible, counting not on that but on just playing hard to get here, and that’s how he did it. He just played hard. Survivor says to outwit, outlast, and outplay, and he did those three things best. I don’t know, there was a lot he could have said, but he didn’t say anything, and that made no sense to me, why someone who played so hard the entire game would lay down at the end when it mattered most. It was almost like he wanted Tina to win. I dunno, I just don’t get it.

Anyway, how utterly random that Tina won. Just think about it. What did she do to win? If you think about it, and she mentioned it, but one of the biggest reasons she got that far was because of Colby. And yet, she won. I don’t know, it doesn’t really make sense, and it reinforces to me how random Survivor is. But I suppose that’s what makes it fun.

The question and answer time I thought was really interesting. By far the most powerful moment to me was when Bryant Gumbel addressed Debb. She had been hesitant to come there and he asked why. It was powerful. Her voice quivering the entire time, on the verge of tears, she manages to get out how when she got home the press tore her apart. She wasn’t prepared for that, nor could she handle it. She goes on to say how she’s a strong woman, very self-dependent. But with all that’s happened, she seems to have lost her belief in herself.

It was incredibly powerful, because it was so sad and so real. I don’t know, it made me feel so bad. I felt like I was watching a gladiator contest or something. Just, all this time, I had been watching these people do whatever for my own amusement, even getting into their lives and ripping them apart, with pretty much no concern for them.

But seeing Debb fall apart I guess made me realize that they are real people, not just entertainment. I dunno what I’m supposed to do about it, but it just gave me perspective. She got her life torn apart, such that she completely lost all self-confidence, all for our entertainment, and that struck me as incredibly sad. Like I said, I don’t know if I personally can do anything about that, but yeah, it’s still sad. I felt terrible about it.

But Mitchell did something great. Later in the show, he made some comment, and he followed up by saying how he got to travel around Australia with Debb and found her to be a great person, so he knows the Debb that no one got to see. That remark was so good and so kind, it gave me a tremendous amount of respect for Mitchell. And, I think it helped a lot. Just, by the end of the show, Debb was making sarcastic remarks again. It was like you could see the healing in the process, and that made me feel better for her.

Anyway, I love Survivor. I’m kind of sad it’s over. Africa – that’s insane.

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