Monday, December 20, 2010

Survivor Finale -- Fabio's win saves the season

I stopped blogging about Survivor Nicaragua when Jimmy T was voted out.  I found the mean-spirited way in which he was treated, just before getting the boot, brought a new low to the show.  It's one things to allow the TV camera to expose the truth about someone (I'm thinking of you, NaOnka) it's another thing to let fellow cast members to go all amateur psychologist, strip down someone's psyche until there's nothing left, then stomp on what's left of their dignity and vote them off.  So I was done with this incarnation of Survivor and even checked into spoilers to see if any of the most odious people went on to win.

The spoiler I heard gave me hope.  Fun loving Fabio makes it to the end.  The person who never said a mean thing about anyone else on the show?  Who didn't knock over a lady with a prosthetic leg or steal someone's shoes or mock people behind their backs?  Maybe this season could be redeemed.  Wait, then it got better.  NaOnka quits, I heard.  So this season's villain, who tried to make Russell look like a pussycat by comparison, did not take her bad attitude and hidden immunity idol to the end.  Okay, I'd keep watching.

Last night's two-hour finale completed this season's redemption.  Fabio won three straight challenges, including a challenge involving, dare I say it, smarts???  He used his newly revealed intellect to think strategically and get rid of someone who was a threat to get votes from the jury -- Holly -- and keep the loathsome Sash, whose insipid smile was apparently as annoying to his fellow tribemates as to us in TV land. He also was crafty enough to turn on the ol' water works when he thought he needed them during jury questioning, in his effort to counter-balance Chase's John Boehner-like emotionality.

I should give a shout out to Chase whose persona before the final tribal council was of a simpering, wishy-washy and supremely paranoid country hick who couldn't put together a declarative sentence without Brenda's help.  The poised and confident man who sat in front of the jury bore no resemblance to his prior doltish indecisiveness and insecurity.  He deserved the many votes he got just for that amazing turnaround.  But, he also undid all the good during the reunion show when he showed himself to be just another wannabe country musician using reality TV to further their stalled career (a la Wes from the Bachelorette).  I did find it funny, though, that given his chance to play before a large audience, he was drowned out by the needless hand clapping. 

In the end it was fabulous Fabio, ne Jud Birza, who got the five votes needed to make him one million dollars richer (less taxes, lest he end up like Richard Hatch).  Chase came a close second with four votes to Fabio's five. Unlike Chase, who vowed in front of the jury to give ten percent of his winnings to charity, Fabio is going to spend the money to have fun.  And Fabio seems to be all about fun, dude.

What were the big reveals at the reunion show that followed?  Jane is not as in dire financial straits as we were led to believe.  She says she makes $50,000 a year  (she owns the Shadow Hill Kennel and trains dogs for dog shows which, since she doesn't live in LA or NYC, is not exactly at the poverty level.  True, she couldn't buy Dan many shoes on that, but in rural Moore County,.North Carolina, it should go pretty far.  We learned that we were lucky the youngster tribe got rid of Shannon as early as they did because he was a jerk of immeasurable proportions, that Kelly B has no noticeable personality and that Holly gets maximum benefits from makeup.  We also learned that CBS is more interested in Jimmy Johnson and his merry band of football experts than they are in Boston Rob's new baby.

The next season of Survivor will return to Nicaragua and will feature a new twist that Jeff Probst promises will be better than the let's-forget-it-ever-happened Medallion of Power.  The new twist is Redemption Island which is a metaphor for Season 22 as this second go around in Central American will need to redeem the franchise after this disappointing 21st season.  On Redemption island, the newly ejected tribemate waits in solitude until joined by the next person voted off.  They have a competition to see who stays and who is gone for good, with the last castoff standing allowed a chance to reenter the game.  For those whose favorite is voted off early, it provides hope for a triumphant return.  And for those of us whose favorite reality TV show had its weakest season yet, it provides hope for a return to past glory.

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