Monday, December 17, 2012

Survivor Finale and Reunion

 Mary Beth’s 2Cents on the Finale: So, at last, with the demise of the evil Abi, we find ourselves with our Final Four: Malcolm, Denise, Lisa and Skupin. It should be noted that each of these “couples” has been aligned right from the start – Malcolm with Denise and Lisa with Skupin – so it's interesting they are the ones still left standing.

Coming back to camp, they all felt the relief of having time without Abi. Skupin said it best when he equated it to “having a tumor removed”. Ha ha ha! Malcolm was lamenting the damage Abi did at Tribal Council when she pointed out that the others should start seeing him as a bigger threat. He spent some time looking cute and pouting about all the “damage control” he was now going to do. Then his eyes twinkled… Sigh…  Skupin, however, didn't seem worried because he said he had a better story than Malcolm and could probably win against him. Ah, sweet delusional Skupin!

At Reward Challenge, there was series of obstacles to be maneuvered and bags of puzzle pieces to untie with a final dragon puzzle to be done at the end. The reward was big! It was some kind of advantage in the final Immunity Challenge.

Everyone wanted this so they all got off to a fast and furious start. There wasn't a clear front-runner throughout the entire race until they got to the puzzle. Skupin, who had a slim lead in the foot race portion, completely lost his ability to think again and was sitting surrounded by his puzzle pieces with a sort of blank, brainless look. Lisa and Denise were doing great but Malcolm was faster and ultimately won! SIGH!! Could this be a premonition of things to come? I hope, I hope, I hope… 

After the challenge though, things changed. Malcolm winning was seen as a huge threat and it really didn't help that he sort of blew off Denise when she wanted reassurance that it would be the two of them at the end. I have no idea what he was thinking but he pulled a Penner and made some vague noncommittal agreement that sent Denise right into overdrive.

She started campaigning HARD to get Lisa and Skupin to vote against Malcolm. I almost hated her right then but what the heck was Malcolm thinking?? I mean, he's adorable but just wasn't using that noggin when he did that! But wait… Skupin still thought there might be some honor in taking Malcolm to the Final Three. He really believed he could beat him and that other people would see that too. Maybe this is Malcolm's lucky day? I hope, I hope, I hope…

Then comes the part of each Survivor season that I detest – the mandatory walk through the Torches of Fallen Comrades. So here's what they had to say about each one of the “comrades”:

Zane - “he gained 30 lbs. before coming here and he was insane”
Roxy – “strongest convictions”
Angie - “she was my sleeping buddy”
Russell - “he couldn't stop himself from being the leader”
Dana - “could have been competition”
Dawson - “a very lively addition to Survivor”
Katie - “potty mouth”
RC - “30 seconds into the game and she was all over it”
Jeff - “a great athlete”
Artis - “very, very loyal”
Pete - “Abi bit him in the butt in the end”
Penner - “entertainment on steroids”
Carter - “became a man out here”
Abi - “little Brazilian firecracker”

This was followed by the ceremonial, overdramatic, completely melodramatic burning of the torches as the music swelled and the cameras panned over the mountains. Sheesh! I hate that part.

Finally they were off the final Immunity Challenge. This time it was a ball balancing skill test where they had to balance a ball on the piece of wood and keep adding more length at times intervals.

Malcolm won an advantage earlier that was if he dropped his ball he got a second chance. Well, by the way his hands were shaking there were not enough chances in the world and he was the first person out – even after using his second chance.

Denise soon followed. Lisa and Skupin hung there for a long time but Lisa eventually caved and Skupin won immunity. Skupin was very proud to have beaten Malcolm.

Apparently, there is some honor to beating Malcolm, at least in Skupinland. I have to admit it was kind of nice that ol' Skupey was going to the Final Tribal Council. He last played 12 years ago and didn't make it very far because of his accident so seeing his joy at getting this far was somewhat special. Or maybe I'm just a soft touch.

Going into this last tribal before the final tribal, I honestly had no idea what was going to happen. I knew Skupin was immune. I knew Denise was scrambling and I knew Lisa was ready to take Malcolm out. Skupin spent the majority of the episode talking about winning with honor and made me feel reasonably assured that he, Lisa and Skupin would in the Final Three. So, I ask you…


I am inconsolable. I haven't been this miffed since Russell Hantz was voted out! How dare they take out my dear sweet Malcolm! I mean, sure he was a good player and made a lot of things happen and won a lot of challenges and is incredibly good looking with all that hair (perhaps Skupin is jealous?) and those twinkly eyes, but those are all the reasons he SHOULD win! Idiots, I tell ya!! I'm going to hold onto this pissoffedness until next season. This just isn't right. WRONG! Sheesh! I'm going to go lie down… Sigh…

The Booth’s Bits on the Final Tribal Council: I think I had better take over now. Mary Beth needs a to lie down and relax. With a drink. A nice, stiff drink. Besides, ever since Susan Hawk eviscerated Kelly Wiglesworth and Richard Hatch back in Season 1 on August 23, 2000, the Final Tribal Council has been one my favorite parts of Survivor.

The Final Tribal Council for season 25 started out slow and gained momentum. The opening statements were fairly mundane. Denise told everyone how wonderful she had played the game. Lisa took credit for eliminating Mary Beth’s boyfr… oops, Malcolm. And Skupin did not hurt himself or bleed.

The first juror to speak was Artis. He was bitter, saying the three finalists had a “holier than though” attitude and that they were hypocrites. He closed by saying “karma is a bitch”.

Carter was next and complimented Lisa and Skupin for the way they played the game. He really liked Skupin. He had nothing for Denise.

Pete didn’t really have anything for Skupin, but he did bring up Judas when going after Lisa. He asked Denise why she deserves the million dollars and she replied it was how wonderful she had played the game. Hmm, seems I had heard that before.

The next juror was the lovely RC. It was a tremendous and emotional moment. Oh, her questions were run-of-the-mill and quite forgettable, but it was a tremendous and emotional moment. For me…

Mary Beth’s boyfr… oops, Malcolm was obviously still pissed about being voted off. He immediately told Denise to quit nodding her head and trying to appease everyone. He was angry. She attempted to diffuse the situation by mentioning how wonderful she had played the game. Again.

Next up was Jeff. The former major league baseball player asked Skupin if he made things happen, watched things happen or wondered what just happened. He seemed satisfied that Skupin felt he made things happen. He then told Lisa she was useless and had nothing for Denise.

Maybe he didn’t want to hear how wonderful she had played the game.

Abi, the Brazilian spitfire, began her questioning by talking about herself. When she finally asked the finalists a question, it was the time-tested classic, “Tell me why you deserve the million dollars?” When Abi went after her, Denise told her she was sorry if she hurt her feelings by how wonderful she had played the game. Hmm…

The final juror stole the show. Penner rocked! His acting background was very evident. He put on quite the show. The rest of the jury broke into laughter several times during his interrogation of the finalists.

He told the story about when Denise confided in him that the one thing she never wanted to be thought of being a bitch. He paused and said that’s no longer possible, we got to see that part of you tonight!

Next he called out Skupin for saying that he was constantly “in the crosshairs” and that his “head was always on the chopping block”. He told said Skupin never received one vote to be voted off and didn’t think he would receive a vote to win the money. Skupin looked dumbfounded.

Finally, he revealed that Lisa was a teenage TV star. He thought that everyone should know. I have to report there were quizzical looks on the faces of several members of the jury. It was like, “The Facts of Life? What the hell is The Facts of Life?”

That was it for the Final Tribal Council. All that was left was for the jury to cast their vote for the Sole Survivor and winner of $1,000,000. I better let Jamie take over, Penner has me in tears. Plus, seeing RC again…

Jamie’s Prognosis on the Reunion Show: Probst walks past the sweaty, skinny survivors into the jungle… Probst walks down some stairs past clean, well-dressed survivors. You know the drill. Sitting at the fire are our three finalists: Former “Facts of Life” star Lisa Whelchel, Sex Therapist Denise Stapley and injury prone season two repeat player Michael Skupin.

OK before I go any further I am contractually obligated to state that ousted player and new BFF of Paul Vagnoni, Miss RC Saint-Amour looked stunningly beautiful. Yes PV, she truly is spectacular. And Mary Beth your boyfr… I mean Malcolm looked… kind of the same as he did in the Philippines. He’s super cute. And if I may say, Penner cleans up quite nicely. I will miss his Alan Alda voice. I liked Penner…

OK, back to the big moment. Probst quickly got down to business and I am THRILLED to report that my favorite player of this season Denise won!!!!! Yeah!!!!!!

Let’s reflect for a moment or two on her accomplishments. She started the game on a losing team whose players were picked off one by one. In spite of this, she survived.

She was very loyal to her alliances, specifically Malcolm. Well, except at the end. And she was a fierce competitor in challenges. She does make really weird faces, but this 41-year-old woman made the chicks half her age look just plain silly in challenges. She definitely deserved to win and I, for one, applaud her.

After announcing the winner, the Reunion show turned into the Lisa Whelchel show. Don’t get me wrong. I like Lisa. She seems to be genuinely sweet and good natured and well meaning and all but she does go on and on sometimes.

With only a limited amount of time for the other Survivors to get their last few moments on TV, I’m sure they did not appreciate her discussion of why God does not care about who wins Survivor. Not that I didn’t agree with her assessment, but Lisa does know how to work the camera to her advantage.

And then there was the recap of her emotional reunion with her brother. I’m sorry, but that was weird the first time and even more strange the second time. If I latched on to my brother like that on TV he would have pinched me and told me to get a grip!! Lisa was voted the fan favorite, and in spite of all her schmaltz, I do think she deserved the honor.

I think we were all waiting for a little more fireworks from the detestable Crabi… I mean Abi. Big let down. She acted almost human and claimed that she was sorry for being a big jerk on the show. This was followed by RC and Pete having a little 20-second tiff about Abi and that was about it.

I really think that Probst could do more to stir up some trouble on these reunion shows. I mean there has to be bad feelings aplenty and what better time to let that fly? That would make things a little more interesting. All of the loser survivors booted off early were able to get in their one line, but really they were long forgotten. I couldn’t even remember who Dana was, to be honest.

The one Survivor who made sure she got her moment was Dawson, who ran out onto the stage and literally threw herself at Jeff Probst, locking him in an uncomfortable kiss. Awkward, especially when he then said that she wasn’t half as good of a kisser as his wife. Ouch!!

I thought it was very nice that Probst held a moment of silence for the victims of the shooting in Connecticut this weekend.

And now looking forward to the next season. It will be a fans versus favorites show, which is always fun. Who knows?  Maybe Paul’s girlfr… I mean friend RC or Mary Beth’s boyfr… oh; I mean Malcolm will be surprise players!! Maybe RC will wear the Santa hat that Paul gave her. Maybe instead of buffs the teams will all start to wear Santa hats with their bikini’s and underwear. Maybe they could do a season in the North Pole and that brings me to a question that has been bothering me of late. If this is truly “Survivor”, why don’t they try to survive in other climates?  Survivor Iceland perhaps? I’m sending it in as a suggestion!

Until next season… from the booth.

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