LeBron James’ one-hour ESPN special, “The Decision,” is no longer the worst televised announcement in history.
That title now belongs to last night’s episode of Survivor “You Started, You’re Finishing."
A player quitting on Survivor is certainly unique and deserves plenty of attention. But did we really need to stall for an afternoon to convene for a special tribal council so that Kelly S and NaOnka could make their quitting decision official? Obviously, Jeff was trying to get them to change their mind. Perhaps Kelly S might have been swayed, but NaOnka had clearly thought everything through. She even had a seemingly rehearsed speech prepared to tell Jeff she was finished.At least most of us didn’t really know what LeBron’s decision was going to be when we were dragged through the one-hour debacle. We may have wasted an hour, but we got an answer out of it. Try as they might, the producers couldn’t shake the presumption that NaOnka and Kelly S were going to quit regardless of how much time they were given. You could even argue that the rain at tribal council sealed any doubts that NaOnka had about quitting.
For my money, I simply wish they had let them quit and moved on with the game. Ok, we’re down to seven now and we have an immunity challenge tomorrow followed by tribal council. Eliminating/removing three people in the same episode would have been a new record. Go for it! Don’t waste our time with an unnecessary tribal council.
Despite the unnecessary nature of The Decision: Nicaragua edition of tribal council, there were plenty of silver linings to take away. Here’s just a small sample of the highlights:
- Holly excitedly reliving her Jimmy Johnson pep talk (what a mistake it was removing him from this awful cast).
- The hilarious look from Dan after NaOnka complained about joint pain.
- NaOnka claiming she was the lone remaining African-American and the camera jumping to Sash with the classic Survivor mistake sound effect playing.
- Jeff imploring NaOnka to “Regale me with a story, woman.”
- Jane providing her thoughts on the economy and employment. Survivor goes CNN.
- Alina crying (what was she crying about?).
- Last, but not least, Marty and Brenda’s furious looks as not one, but two players quit.
The thing about Kelly S and NaOnka quitting now that makes it unique from previous quitters is how long into the game they lasted before quitting. Quitting typically occurs when Holly was considering it, back in day. The length of their stay, 28 days, makes their decision both curious and understandable at the same time.
On one hand I think we can all understand how four weeks in difficult living conditions in the rainforest can drain on someone. Knowing that life or death does not rely on your survival in these conditions has to make it difficult for the players to stay in, at least much longer than if they had no other choice. You simply can’t shake thoughts of a warm shower and clean clothes.
Even more confounding is how someone could put up with these conditions for so long and decide, with fewer than two weeks left, they can’t take it anymore. Jud and Holly expressed it openly and I’m sure the remaining five other survivors are thinking it as well: it’s only eleven days! This is the easy part, as it were. You can see the end and it’ll only take that long if you make it to the end. There’s less than a 50% chance of that happening anyway.
What particularly sad is that you know pig-headed NaOnka will never admit that she regrets the decision. In fact, I almost want CBS to just edit out the part when Jeff asks her at the reunion show if she regrets it. She’ll make that dumb face she makes when she’s being defiant and keep talking about how she’s NaOnka and she’s no fool as the crowd boos her. Actually, if that causes her to storm off stage, I’m all for it.
Kelly S, on the other hand, is not the hard-headed boar that NaOnka is, but she’s a young, ditsy, wishy-washy kid and will probably give us a line like “well, uh, Jeff, you know, at the time I thought it was the right decision, but, uh, yea, looking back at it now, maybe it wasn’t a good move.” Thanks for coming, Kelly S.
I’m not the biggest Marty fan and Brenda’s arrogance as her plane was going down in flames drove me nuts. But, I’d much rather have both of them still in the game making things more interesting than Kelly S and NaOnka’s lack of heart. One of my hopes was that NaOnka and Kelly S would not be allowed to be on the jury because they quit. If that means that the tribe has to waste two tribal councils getting rid of them, so be it. I can’t think of a downside to that being a rule.
Perhaps one benefit is that we’ve trimmed the fat heading into the final seven players. Ok, so Dan might qualify as part of the fat as well, but, you know what? He’s growing on me. No, really, he is. What I like about him is that he’s unflappable. At the reward he commented that it was simply “pretty cool” and didn’t gush about food or the opportunity to sit in a chair (and I’m sure no one could use a chair more than him). He keeps an even keel through good and bad. Definitely an asset.
More thoughts from this week:
- Holly’s amazingly naïve. First, she tells NaOnka after tribal council that Brenda ratting her out makes her more trustworthy to Holly. Say what? Then, when NaOnka quits, Holly says she misjudged her personality. What did you miss, Holly?
- Lost in the quitting is that Sash has now backed into the perfect role in this game: the swing vote. He’ll be the swing vote between Chase, Jane and Holly and Benry, Jud and Dan. And he’s got a hidden immunity idol to boot!
- Apparently Jeff got wind of our Survivor Round Table question a few weeks ago comparing him to famous basketball coaches. He really stepped up his game at the reward challenge this week.
- Is Sprint trying to rig the Player of the Week for Holly? The nominees this week are Holly, NaOnka and Kelly S. How could either of the two quitters get votes? Isn’t Holly the only choice?