Another season is over so it's time to reflect on what we saw and how it compares with other seasons. So, since I was given the chance of summarizing the Finale, I'll tell you how it felt from my point of view:
This whole season was a lot like having the Harlem Globetrotters playing against a bunch of rookies. The veterans came from all over the world: Micronesia, Nicaragua, the Philippines, the Asylum, Gabon and all around the South Pacific. The newbies? They were found at Taco Stands, Fast Food restaurants, catwalks and bars in and around LA and New York. The casting process was supposed to be rigorous. The newbies were asked if they were fans of Survivor and if they would like to play the game for a million dollars. Everyone one of them had the same answer: “For a million dollars I’ll become a fan real quick.” Surprisingly, that was good enough because they had the look that the casting department was looking for:
At the start, the Globetrotters had an ego problem and it became evident when they chose LoudMouthLark Sheppard to be their team captain. Also known as Fillup “Airtime” Sheppard, he loved to be center stage and he told us about his game plan: “I had a chance to play with one of the best players ever, Boston Rob Chamberlainniano, and he taught me how to make a fool out of anyone. I intend to stand on his stilts and dominate this game by following what I call the BR crap. Crap number one is: Make sure you get airtime by saying all the crazy stuff that crosses your mind. Crap number 2: Surround yourself with people that won’t steal your airtime. Then Crap number 3: Dunk your allies before they dunk you. That’s old school baby. Step back and swoosh: Nothing but air.”
Francesca “Yogi” Hogi hadn’t even played a full game with the team in her first season but she was upset that “Airtime” was taking on the leader’s role. She pushed to split the team in two, convincing “Hurricane” Brandon, Erik “Scoop” Reichenbach and Brenda “Sweeten” Lowe to join her and tour on their own. Needing a few more players, they approached Andrea “The Eliminator” Boehlke and Dawn “Brutus” Meanhan but both had nice deals with the original Globetrotters so they stuck with LoudMouthLark. The group decided that the trouble making rookie didn’t deserve a place on the team so they put her on the waiver wire. No one claimed her so she had to retire in shame. The other three dissidents were forced to warm the bench while the team had fun beating the Rookies.
The early games were so dull that CBS didn’t even bother airing them. Instead, we had to watch some sort of documentaries based on locker room drama. The first documentary featured a soldier returning from 2 tours of Irak and suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. He tried to pick fights with everyone, probably thinking this was Hockey, not Basketball. For a few weeks we followed his erratic behavior while we wondered what happened to Survivor. We were about to gouge our eyes out but, mercifully, his story ended when he gouged his own eye. If that wasn’t enough, CBS thought we’d like to know how inbreeding affects a player. For some reason, they called this entertainment. “Hurricane” Brandon really didn’t understand the Globetrotters’ routine because, instead of throwing confetti on the crowd, he threw rice and beans all over the court. We even saw “Hurricane” Brandon on Jeff’s talk show where he huffed and puffed against his enemies, real and imaginary. Jeff had to restrain him until a team of “medics” took him to the back of the set to knock some sense into him. Anyone wonder why Jeff is out as talk-show host? If you think he wasn’t that bad, wait for tonight’s reunion, if you can call that a reunion!
The season really only started at the trade deadline. Being unhappy with his playing time, Malcolm “Big Easy” Freberg requested a trade to the Rookies’ team. The Globetrotters obliged, trading him and Corinne “Snap” Kaplan for Sherri “Tiny” Biethman and a dozen dirty socks. The games got a bit more interesting, especially when the Rookies figured out a new type of defense: The Triple Team. They put three defenders on Fillup “Airtime” Sheppard and they even did some voodoo idol tricks on him. That was too much for Fillup and he had to be placed on the 60-years disabled list, effectively ending his Survivor Basketball career.
Having learned their lesson, the Globetrotters adjusted their offense, going with a smaller, sneakier team which featured the quick dribbling John “Curly” Cochran. That enabled them to continue their dominance over the Rookies. Soon, none of them wanted to play anymore. The only one left, Eddie, told the Globetrotters that he knew he should retire but he asked if he could stick around and just watch how real players do it. Surprisingly, the Globetrotters not only agreed but made a secret plan to use Eddie “Dumbass” Fox in place of Brenda “Sweeten” Lowe. When the audience saw the new line-up, they went crazy, blaming Dawn “Brutus” Meanhan for depriving them of one of their favorites.
So that’s the story of the season and we entered the last game of the season with this line-up of 5:
- John “Curly” Cochran, aka “The Cockroach”
- Eddie “Dumbass” Fox
- Erik “Scoop” Reichenbach
- Dawn “Brutus“ Meanhan
- And...? Wait a minute. Isn’t there someone else? It’ll come back to me. No. I guess I miscounted because there’s only 4 left…
OK, as soon as the episode started, “Scoop” told us he ate too much ice cream and now he’s got a brain freeze. It’s serious because soon the medics appear. “Dumbass” Fox surprised everyone by telling the medic what to do. Who knew the guy had even heard about a “saline solution”, let alone what it does?! He almost sounded like a doctor which, ironically, would explain why he’s so dumb at this game! I know, I know: Doctor J used to be great in the NBA but I’m talking about Survivor’s Dr. Sean, and Dr Mick.
Do you know what I think happened? “Scoop” was getting close to winning the million dollars and he had no way to throw it down the drain by making a dumb move again so he panicked. He couldn’t go on, couldn’t risk having to answer all the questions about his game! He convinced the doctor to pull him out of the game.
So, we were down to three and Jeff said they still had three days left so that had to mean we’ll have a Final 2!!!! Yeah! After all these years we’re finally back to a Final 2.
We then saw the credits and the funniest thing is that “Scoop” was already placed on the jury. That’s the first time a player eliminated during the current episode gets put with the previously eliminated ones!
Arriving back in camp, the players were still stunned by Scoop’s departure, especially since the guy had been on every reward…Hummmm! That big Bar-B-Q had been just a few hours before but he was forced out of the game due to starvation. Yeah, I believe that.
Thinking ahead, “Curly” feared that Eddie would finally win an immunity so he had to make sure he’d have a deal with the Rookie. They shook hands on going to the Final 2 together, saying they needed to vote “Brutus” Meanhan out. Eddie thought the million was already his! That’s what happens, I guess when you spend so much time with a guy like Reynold who never had a clue. You get delusional like him.
Next morning, tree mail arrived and told them they’d be playing for a much needed reward. “Brutus” thought all she had to do was win challenges and then she wouldn’t have to apologize for any of the big moves she made. Oh! Oh! Someone doesn’t understand how the jury works!
The three players got to the reward arena and found out they’d have to build a house of cards on one side of a see-saw, holding the contraption steady with one hand. That’s another dumb challenge like most of them but the see-saw was a good symbol for anyone who remembers the song:
“Ride, take a free ride,
Take my place
Have my seat
It's for free.”
That could be the coat-tail rider’s anthem!
Once Jeff finished telling them the rules, he showed them what they would be playing for: It was just a stick! A small piece of bamboo. I can almost hear Eliza saying: “That can’t be reward.” But yes, it was; they were tight on budget and this was supposed to be only for immunity, the winner only getting that dirty necklace. Jeff can’t afford to send one of them to someplace nice where they would be treated like kings. The money for the reward would either have come out of his pay or Jeff would have to spend a night in camp himself, giving his 5-star luxury suite to the winner.
Turns out the piece of bamboo would become an advantage in the real immunity challenge. Did they really need to give someone an advantage at this stage? The only reason for it was that they had to fill up the two hours of airtime and with Eddie around that’s hard to do. Now, if Fillup was still there, “Airtime” wouldn’t be a problem. I wonder if Jeff tried to figure out a twist that would have allowed Fillup to come back, 60-year Disable List or not. Now maybe they could have done like Big Brother and asked for the viewers to vote someone back in the game. The problem with that was that viewers don’t know what makes a good player and they would have voted for “Big Easy” to come back instead of “Airtime”. Jeff was always disappointed by the dumb fans that watch his show. If only he could get The Amazing Race’s audience. French Survivor brings back the last eliminated player whenever someone is taken out by a medical emergency. Can you imagine the sparks we’d have seen if “Sweeten” Lowe had made it back in camp after that blindside?! Meanhan may have lost more than her bottom teeth! Pow! Brenda would be right back out of the game but the satisfaction!
So, the challenge started and we saw a lot of cards falling off the see-saw. All the players had something going at one point or another but, as someone said; “The first shall be last and the last shall be first.” (was it Coach?)
I love it when stupid Jeff tells the players to concentrate on their own stack, to forget about the others and then he proceeds to give them a play-by-play of where everyone stands. I miss the Penners and the Shanes that would either tell Probst to shut up or mock him. The challenge went on: Hands were shaking, the stacks were growing, the stacks were falling, the audience was yawning… And then “Curly” won it, his third individual challenge win and his second piece of bamboo if you count the one he bought at auction.
Returning from the challenge, “Curly” was gloating: “I am now as good in challenges as Suzie from Gabon! I stacked my cards just as fast as she did.”
While Eddie said they’d have to get rid of Meanhan, “Curly” told us about the various stages of her breakdowns. Today, we were seeing the catatonic Brutus, the one that can’t even lift a knife. “Brutus” felt the need to tell us that she finds it hard not to be paranoid. Geez! Thank you, we hadn’t realized that yet! Can you imagine the hysteria if she had heard “Curly” just then saying he was considering ditching her! She’d need medical help for sure right there and then. Easiest elimination ever if only “Curly” had thought of it. And people think he’s a smart player…
Right after we had another tree mail delivery telling them they’d have the “Rites of Passage” and their final immunity challenge. Some mistakenly call it “Fallen Comrades” but the real term is “Who are these DAWS?” If you don’t mind, I pressed Fast Forward after a few but I did have time to catch the line of the evening: “Curly” asked “which of the 3 Blondes was she?” when they got to Allie. You know why he asked, don’t you? Cockroach is using this season of Survivor to complete his bucket list: He’s won a challenge and he’s pretty sure he’s won the million but there’s one item on the list he would really like to cross out: Scoring with a Survivor chick! He flirted with one of the Rookies early on but he forgot her name so he wanted to know which one it was before he gets to the Reunion! You don’t remember which one it was either? This will help:
Curly: Her name was Laura.
They finally got to the immunity challenge arena which featured a 3 story tower with stairs and a water slide. They could have made it more obviously in favor of Firefighter Eddie by putting a pole instead of the water slide but I guess that would have been too much. There would be a bag of puzzle pieces tied at each of the 3 levels. They’d have to retrieve all 3 and then complete a flame-shaped puzzle. OK, that part is definitely not for Eddie! Someone in production goofed! They should have forced the survivors just to run a few laps around the tower to give Eddie a chance.
“Curly” read the note that was inside the bamboo stick. It revealed that his advantage would be to find each of his three bags already untied. That turned out to be a pretty decent advantage because “Curly” got his three bags to the platform before “Brutus” and Eddie got two. The problem was that “Curly” is more of a talker than a doer and he lost his advantage. “Brutus” was the first to place a piece in the right place. Soon she had 4 pieces in place when “Curly” finally got his first one to fit. “Curly” must have been studying the design of each piece because, as soon as he got one, the others fell into place quickly. Eddie looked like he didn’t have a clue what he was doing! “Curly” told Jeff that he was now tied at 5 pieces with “Brutus”. Eddie looked like a little kid at Christmas when he finally got one piece to fit! Even Jeff was in on the joke, pointing out that Eddie was suddenly at two! By then though, “Curly” was pulling ahead and he won his 4th challenge, his 3rd immunity necklace. Jeff told him he had made his place next to the Donaldsons and the Marianos (No one ever went wow! when he won a challenge though).
“Curly” told us that Eddie and “Brutus” wanted to work with him so he had his pick of the litter. He added: “There’s a devil on my shoulder that’s saying: Just get rid of “Brutus””
That is perfect misdirection and it’s not only to make us think Eddie could be safe but also that “Curly” could be making a $900 000 mistake by keeping “Brutus”. We got some more misdirection when “Curly”, quite arrogantly, said: “I got the million dollars, who deserves the $100 000 and second place? Do I want to bring “Brutus” and her constant meltdown or Eddie, a chauvinistic 23 year old idiot?” At least he had the decency to finish his tirade by saying: “It’s horrible for me to be saying this. I will, of course, lose.”
“Brutus” and “Curly” agreed that the best part was that they had done it together. “Brutus” was smiling because what else could she do? She couldn’t backstab “Curly” now that he has the necklace. I really wonder what “Brutus” would have done if she had won immunity. Probably given the million to the idiot.
Even Eddie called himself an idiot when he tried to convince “Curly” to take him to the end. He should have known that it works best if you have the nickname “Fabio”. Eddie was right when he said: “I haven’t pissed anybody off but I only voted 1 person off so how strategic have I really been?”
If Eddie really wanted to convince “Curly” to take him to the end, he should have told him his brilliant plan for the money: Opening a dog kennel attached to a bar so you could walk your dog and then leave it for a while and get drunk. Isn’t that what each neighborhood in America needs? Eddie will soon regret revealing his big idea on TV because everyone will invest their money in “Bar n’ Kennel” It will be the next big thing, I tell ya.
As they walked to Tribal Council, we had the classic F3 dilemma. “Curly” had to decide which player would be easier to beat. None of that idiotic talk about two pairs voting together and having a fire challenge deciding it. No, like in the good ol’ days Curly’s vote would be the only one that mattered.
Besides recalling what happened to Erik and how his exit could have opened the door for Eddie, this Tribal Council was mostly Jeff delivering a panegyric for “Curly” to the jury and the audience. We get it Probst; you want Cockroach to win…Meanhan just sat there, listening as Cockroach was scoring points with everyone on the jury.
Asked to make her case to stay, Meanhan said she had been mean to the jury while Eddie was so darn likable. (I haven’t read a single post praising Eddie but if that’s what “Brutus” thinks, what can I say?)
Jeff gave Eddie a chance to make his case but Eddie didn’t understand that it was his turn to speak. Finally, he said that he’d repeat what Meanhan just said but “Curly” should consider that he didn’t do a thing out there. (What a great winner he’d make!!)
It was time for “Curly” to decide and he was going with what he thought the jury wanted to see in a winner. We heard him say that he was eliminating the only person that could beat him and that was…Eddie!
We have our Final 2: “Cockroach” and “Meanhan” the two ex-Savaii dummies who gave that game to Coach and his alliance. Jeff invited them back the following night when the jury would be holding all the power. Meanhan smiled as she left but I bet she didn’t sleep that whole night.
The next morning started with two images of the flag, showing first Meanhan and then Cockroach’s name, the pair that Outlasted the rest. For some reason they were about to save 15% on their car insurance because the Geico gecko was there to wake them up.
A staff member was asking “Cockroach” for his definition of a pawn. Seeing the interviewer is something new but I guess it was simply a bad choice of camera angle and timing that revealed her to us. Anyway, Cockroach said that a pawn was someone that had no strategic value and was expendable like an Eddie, or a Scoop, or a Sherri. That was all the time we had for confessionals because the feast had arrived and that makes a Survivor even happier than saving 15% on car insurance.
Meanhan, who was excited to have meat in her hand, (Well she did miss out on being with her husband…) found time to tell us that she had been loyal to her family (but that was one season too early). She was smiling at the thought that she played a good game not realizing that it wasn’t her call to make. 8 jurors and the people on message boards were there to decide on that! She was so excited at the thought of facing the jury with Curly that it’s funny when you know that she will get slaughtered!
Cockroach had retired to his own corner and was reflecting on the jury’s expectations. He said he was frazzled because there was a big difference between writing about a Survivor jury and facing one. Can you believe it? This guy wasn’t even really considered a jury threat even if he had been preparing for half his life to field jury questions. Shows how dumb his opponents were when they targeted Fillup, The Eliminator Boehlke, “Sweeten” Lowe and Meanhan before him! He said he wasn’t sure of himself but he really only had to be sure of how the jury was reacting to his opponent every time she talked.
They were off to the Final Tribal Council, heading out without burning the camp down. That’s the new rule now: Since Survivor uses the same islands over and over again, you have to leave the shelter in place for the next group of DAWS. That will cut down on all those scenes where they get together to build a shelter and we will have more strategy discussions, more people finding idols without receiving clues and more stupid fights. Yeah!
Night fell and we saw three…wait a minute…Something’s wrong…I do see three torches heading towards the Council area. I must have pressed “replay” without realizing it and gone all the way back to Eddie’s final moments in the game…So, just press fast Forward and…hold on: That’s not Eddie. That’s…hummmm. I remember her but…Sherri “Tiny” Bitman! What’s she doing there? Wasn’t she sent to the minors right after the Stupid-R-Us team traded “Big Easy” Freberg and “Snap” Kaplan for her? She has no business being in the Final TC but I guess they have to have a Final 3 these days no matter what. How will she explain her game to the jury?
Meanhan was the first to address the jury and she told them the game had been hard for her. Really? No one noticed!! She told them that in her real life she doesn’t exploit people but she had to give herself permission to do that here. She claimed that she got herself and Cockroach to the end. For some reason, the jury, “Sweeten” Lowe in particular, didn’t look pleased.
Sherri said that she spent the whole time in a local village with Tata. So, that’s where she had been! She said she played Survivor like she runs her businesses which means she must delegate a lot. She couldn’t even keep a straight face as she tried to sell herself. In the end, she said she was very successful at outlasting them all because “somehow” she was still sitting there. Hmmmm, Sherri…Wasn’t explaining the “somehow” the whole point of your opening remarks?
Next came Cockroach and he delivered a masterful performance. He shot from 3 point range, he intercepted passes, got all the rebounds and dunked the ball in their faces! His opening statement was like a triple-double! He talked about his 13 years of passion for Survivor, that it was surreal and an honor to be there. He said he didn’t expect to be in the top ten of all-time challenge winners, he considered himself socially awkward but became like a therapist out there when paranoia was rampant. Strategically, he said he had to deal with more threats after the merge than in any other season. He said his game was about timing. Whenever a threat emerged, he struck before he could be struck.
“Big Easy” was the first to talk and he immediately told Sherri he didn’t have a question for her. Turning to Meanhan, he said he’d be her best friend but she really had to sell her cold-blooded game. His question was for Cockroach and he wanted to know what was the quality that he lacked to be as successful. Taking it like a job interview question where the employer asks for the person’s worst quality, Cockroach said he was insecure, something the Big Easy could never be and it was that insecurity that made him go against people that had plans of their own. That answer probably got him the one or two votes that could have gotten away from him.
Eddie turned to Sherri, asking her to admit she was carried to the final 3.
Sherri said she wasn’t carried to the final three. That made the whole jury laugh.
Eddie said Meanhan was the weakest, most fragile player there so how could she say she was a strong player
Meanhan said she took friendships and exploited them. Malcolm already looked like he was regretting being her friend.
Eddie invited Cockroach to hang out at the bar with them after the game.
Cockroach said he’d be glad to be at the bar with them but that there would be two women on each side of him! That also made the jury laugh but the good kind of laugh, the kind that scores a few more points.
Fillup was up and he was “magnificent”! Ha! Didn’t expect that one, did you?! He started by congratulating all three of them, saying he understood the satisfaction of waking up on day 39. Then he turned to Sherri, saying that her decision to join the Favorites was what started the process that got her to the end but that she was no longer a member of Stupid-R-Us! He rescinded her nomination and said he had nothing more for her! That got more laughter.
He then went to Meanhan saying it was impossible to live with her constant paranoia. He couldn’t tolerate that behavior.
He then told Cockroach that he enjoyed playing with him.
Erik talked to Dawn first, saying she crushed what they shared when she eliminated Brenda. He asked if she was aware of the damage she caused.
Dawn said she was just playing the game to get further.
He then compared Sherri to a seashell on the beach and wanted to give her some advice when she couldn’t understand why she was still there. Sherri shut him up, saying she didn’t want to hear his opinion and didn’t want his vote. She was done with him!
I’m starting to enjoy Probst’s dumb idea of bringing Sherri as Final 3! The vote is certainly not in question but we can have a few laughs in the mean time!
Michael was next and he said he knew Meanhan and Cockroach played the game together but that “Brutus” was getting the punches. Why wasn’t Cockroach the villain?
Meanhan said she was the one that developed the relationships that gave them the needed information. She added that Cockroach wouldn’t be there without the information that she got.
Asked if he thought Meanhan deserved these reactions, Cockroach made Michael laugh by admitting he was happy she was being treated like this but didn’t know if she deserved it. He disagreed about the part of not being there without her, saying there was symbiosis in their relationship. He said he became her therapist and that kept her in the game.
Reynold told Meanhan that he didn’t like her from day 1! He called her a fraud, disingenuous and that she created a false character. He wanted to hear the truth when he asked her: “What do you think about me?”
She called him chauvinistic with a good sense of humor but that he was vulgar at times.
That made him happy!
Andrea was simply happy to have played with them. She asked Cockroach which animal would best describe his game.
No, he didn’t say a cockroach. He went for the chameleon instead, paying a compliment to Fillup along the way by saying he had to adapt after his departure.
Andrea told Dawn that she was proud of her and would have played like her. (She didn’t say it but she still did not vote for her!)
Brenda was the last and she wanted to know why she should give her vote to Cochran after he took something away from her.
He told Brenda that he considered her gift as an emotional gift, not a game play gift. He took her out simply because she was a threat to his game.
She then turned to Dawn and it got ugly. Saying that she had held her game in her hand when she found her teeth, Brenda wanted to know if Dawn was so vain that she would have quit without them. She wanted Dawn to prove that she wasn’t that vain by removing her teeth and showing everyone. That was surprising!
After much hesitation, Dawn did remove her teeth and showed us all what she looked like. Still didn’t get her Brenda’s vote though!
It was finally time for the jury to vote and there really wasn’t any suspense left, especially when we heard Malcolm say that he wasn’t voting for the person he thought he was going to vote when he came to the Final TC. Cockroach won, getting all 8 votes.
Thank you for reading, I hope you enjoyed this summary.
Ils sont fous, ces Romains!