Thursday, February 12, 2009

Top 5 Thursday (Survivor Edition)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Lest you think I neglected to write my weekly Top 5 Tuesday entry, you must know that I deliberately waited until today, as my Top 5 list was written in honor of the premiere of the 18th season of Survivor tonight.

I know there are many of you out there who loathe reality television in general, and I completely understand. Most of it is empty filth, The Bachelor included. I cannot deny, however, that Survivor has long been one of my guilty pleasures. In my defense, it's a reality school classic, originating back when there was no "Fantasy Island" or "Date my Mom" or "Engaged and Underaged." Despite my feeling that the last five seasons or so haven't really matched the first few, I still watch, and I still enjoy.

For this week's Top 5, I have selected my five favorite Survivor players. Mind you, these are not necessarily the most wily, intelligent players, although I do have one or two who were less than scrupulous in their efforts to win the million. They're simply my favorites. As I recommend Lincee's recaps for The Bachelor, I also advise any Survivor fans to read Dalton Ross's recaps on Not as funny as Lincee, but give him a good season, and he'll give you some laughs.

By the way, I opted for a video that displayed two of my favorite opening Survivor montages: Africa and China, plus a few others. The theme song gets me all excited!

Without further adieu:

5. James Clement, Survivor China & Survivor Micronesia: Fans vs. Favorites.
Despite grave digger James’ obvious aesthetic appeal, he happens to be one of the nicest, most charming players ever to grace the game. Unfortunately, he’s also known for idiocy, having trusted his alliance so much he didn’t feel the need to play EITHER of his TWO immunity idols. It’s okay James, I forgive you.

4. Cirie Fields, Survivor Panama & Survivor Micronesia: Fans vs. Favorites. One of the sneakiest players I’ve ever had the pleasure of watching, Cirie manages to endear herself to her fellow tribemates in spite of extremely poor performances in challenges (she’s a self-proclaimed couch potato!) all while devising perfect plans to oust stronger players. The only reason she wasn’t able to win in her second effort in Micronesia was purely because of her likeability. Both Amanda and Parvati knew that taking her to the final two ensured defeat.

3. Amber Brkich, Survivor Australia & Survivor All-Stars. I’ll say it right now-Amber IS a great player. Yes, she rode coat tails in BOTH of her seasons, but she pioneered the art of “staying under the radar” in Australia and she cleverly used a stronger, more volatile player (Rob) to her advantage, letting him take all the proverbial hits while she sat innocently beside him, enjoying the unexpected benefit of Survivor love. Did she deserve to be an All-Star? Perhaps not, but she is undoubtedly resilient and wiser than she gets credit for.

2. Colby Donaldson, Survivor Australia & Survivor All-Stars. Oh, Colby. Original Survivor hottie. AND from Texas, my beloved home state. He was the first Survivor to show real physical prowess, dominating the vast majority of the individual challenges in Australia. He was able to outwit and outlast without hurting too many feelings or too many lies (and believe me, they are NECESSARY in this game, no matter how nice you area), up until the point where he basically GAVE AWAY THE MILLION. That’s right, Colby guaranteed himself runner-up when he selected Tina to go with him to the final tribal council. Sweet Southern soccer moms don’t lose, and Colby knew that. Rather than taking the unpopular, cursed chef-who-burned-the-rice Keith, Colby took the player HE felt deserved to be in the final, and he lost the million because of it. Poor strategy, but great heart. Did I mention his luxury item was a Texas flag?

1. Rob Mariano, Survivor Marquesas & Survivor All-Stars. Rob has always been the source of a great deal of enmity, and I can understand why. He’s arrogant, aggressive, and undoubtedly shifty. All those strong feelings aside, however, one MUST examine his game play-he’s a brilliant player. In spite of their familiarity with the show, more and more successive players struggle with the deception that is necessary to win the game. Rob has no such qualms. He selected an alliance (in All-Stars) and methodically eliminated player after player with no thought to anyone except his partner, and even then, it was only his developing feelings for her that kept him from sending her to the chopping block. This weakness is yet another thing that endeared him to me. He’s also quite formidable physically, though not as much during his first season. Yet another good character trait: learning from your mistakes. Rob is one of the few players from the early seasons of Survivor that I feel could equally make his mark with the new, more physically dominant and intelligent players of today.

Check out Survivor: Tocantins tonight, if you're interested! I watched a brief preview, and it looks promising!

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