Posts Tagged ‘jimmy johnson’

Survivor Survival Guide: “What about Me?”

“It comes down to knowing yourself very well. I’m very aware of the vibes I’m giving off and how people perceive them.”

—JudFabio, summarizing in two sentences the essence of Survivor

So much of this 21st season of Survivor has paled in comparison to its 20th iteration. The castaways were not only unfamiliar, but seemingly unenlightened in how to play the game. The outsize personalities were less polarizing than simply unpleasant, and none of the final five could really lay claim to controlling the game for extended periods of time.

But Survivor: Nicaragua did deliver something that Heroes vs. Villains couldn’t: a completely compelling and satisfying finale with a more-deserving-than-we-thought winner. Let’s take a spin.

FROM FIVE TO FOUR

The “Previously on…” established the narrative arcs and the relative strengths and weaknesses for each of the final five castaways. Dan had done nothing, but that included not making any enemies. Holly had a nervous breakdown before taking down the game’s most powerful player in Brenda. Chase seemed to show genuine remorse each and every time he voted off an ally. Sash had made innumerable side deals, allying himself with everyone (and, as a result, no one). JudFabio was dumb—or was he?—and is a physical threat to win immunity.

Continue reading

Survivor Survival Guide: Previewing the Finale

I hope you don’t have a problem with me poaching part of this from last season’s “Previewing the Finale” post. My attitude on Survivor finales hasn’t really changed in the last seven months. If you already read that post, just skip down to the first bold headline.

Tonight is the season finale for Survivor: Nicaragua, and even though this has been, by nearly every measure, a disappointing season, I would describe my excitement for this evening’s proceedings as embarrassingly high. Survivor finales have regularly amped me up more than the finales of any other drama. This is for two main reasons. First, they provide closure in a way no other series does, for I think the obvious someone-wins-and-there-ain’t-no-cliffhangers reason. Second, most of the great dramas I have watched recently (The WireThe SopranosDexter, Mad Men, and Lost), I have watched either online or on DVD, meaning I can watch the finale immediately after the penultimate episode. This is one of my least favorite things about watching shows on DVD.

I love the Survivor finale because, no matter how clearcut it seems going in, you can never rely on the fickle psychology of the jury. You can’t predict which players will graciously vote for the person who caused their elimination because he was the best player, which ones will remain loyal to their alliances long after they’ve died, and which ones will hold long-term grudges. These questions are only amplified by the ambiguity of watching a season of Survivor: We the viewers only see so much, and it’s no secret that the editing plays a big role in the portrayal of different characters.

Continue reading

Survivor Survival Guide: Pulling the Trigger

“That’s just obnoxious…. All you need to is give him, Jimmy T., a little rope and he’ll hang himself from the nearest branch.”

“Anyone who calls out Jimmy Johnson and says that Jimmy Johnson might be insecure because of Jimmy T.’s leadership capabilities has got some issues going on.”

“He just doesn’t get this game.”

–Marty on Jimmy T.

“I’m easy to get along with — I think.”

–Jimmy T.

In the wake of Jimmy Johnson’s dismissal last week, Wednesday’s fourth episode of Survivor: Nicaragua, “Pulling the Trigger,” was bound to deal with the aftermath in the older, Espada tribe. More specifically, it was bound to deal with the tension between Marty, the man who largely orchestrated Johnson’s departure, and Jimmy T., the man who thought Johnson was threatened by his leadership skills, even as he (Jimmy T.) was the one who beseeched “Coach” to “put him in” the week before.

Continue reading

Survivor Survival Guide: “Glitter in Their Eyes”

“I hate to say it, but I’m looking forward to Tribal Council. We’re finally going to get this tribe to play the game. This is real, and it starts now.”

–Marty

You might even have been able to tell from the episode’s title — “Glitter in Their Eyes” — that last night’s third installment of Survivor: Nicaragua was going to be about Marty’s attempt to take down Jimmy Johnson.

Marty’s anti-JJ agenda has been clear for some time now, and he wanted to establish himself as the leader of Espada, the older tribe. It started while they were out searching for fruit, with Jimmy playfully making monkey noises and several of the tribemates practically swooning over him. “His soul is inspiring,” said Yve. Marty was having none of it, saying he couldn’t risk taking Jimmy to the merge, when his celebrity and leadership could win over a whole new tribe of converts.*

*It’s interesting and telling that Marty seems to have never considered the potential advantages of this. For instance, if the two tribes merge at roughly equal numbers, and Jimmy’s charisma is able to win over someone from La Flor, it can tilt the balance in Espada’s favor post-merge. Marty, it seems, is thinking even longer-term than that.

Marty won himself some dap by revealing to the tribe that he had found the Hidden Immunity Idol, doing so almost begrudgingly on Jill’s counsel. It was a calculated but, from his perspective, low-risk move: Keeping the idol secret only benefits him if he’s on the chopping block, and Marty doesn’t plan on being on the chopping block until after the merge.* It’s also clear that he doesn’t plan on letting anyone else use it anytime soon, but Marty had won at least one fan in his tribe. “That move just strengthened this tribe about five times,” Jimmy T. said. “I was like, ‘What a guy! Way to go, Marty!’ I wouldn’t have done that.”** In the process, Jimmy T. firmly reminded us that Espada is a tribe of the elderly by using “What a guy” and “Way to go” as his primary means of exclamation.

* Of course, if someone from Espada turns and lets La Flor know about the HII post-merge, well, it can come back to bite Marty.

**He also didn’t mention, at least in the footage we saw, Jill’s role in finding the idol at all. Hmm.

Continue reading

Survivor Survival Guide: “Fatigue Makes Cowards of Us All”

“Every time she speaks, it becomes more evident she’s crazy. I’m gonna keep one eye on Holly and one eye on my shoes.”

–Tyrone

The second episode of Survivor: Nicaragua, which I believe is the first episode of a television series to be named for a quote taken from one Super Bowl winning coach by another Super Bowl winning coach,* represented, I suppose, a slight upgrade from a bland opening salvo. The main thing it really did, however, was further the realization that a lot of these castaways are really bad Survivor players.

*Jimmy Johnson quoting Vince Lombardi: “Fatigue makes cowards of us all.”

We’ll start with Holly, who after going against her day-old alliance with Wendy in the season premiere, became a bit unhinged. First, she snapped at Jill for eating snails because she deemed them inedible (by watching Jill eat them), eventually throwing all the snails away. Then, after overhearing her tribemates making fun of her, she stole Dan’s $1,600 alligator shoes,* filled them with sand, and placed them in the water. Dan started wondering where his shoes were, Holly started wondering why she was rapidly becoming such a terrible person, and so she decided to come clean — which I believe only made the rest of her tribe think less of her.

*Really, Dan?

Continue reading

Survivor Survival Guide: “How to Make Fire with a Coconut”

“I don’t know about you, but I don’t want another girl to win. We already get owned in marriage. Pretty soon, we’ll have a woman president. A guy needs to sack up, and we need to win this one.”

–Shannon (who is a guy)

Let’s face facts: The first episode of a Survivor season is never any good. There’s way too many people with way too many names explaining the same tried-and-true Survivor principles. Fire is important. I’d like to make an alliance or two, but I don’t want to be overaggressive. Being a leader requires a deft touch this early in the game so as not to become a target. Survivor is really hard. I don’t even want the million dollars.

Okay, so the last one is new this season, and it comes from the biggest star the series has ever been able to nab: Former NFL head coach Jimmy Johnson. Johnson’s appearance on Survivor is, going in, easily the most interesting reason to watch this iteration of the show. Johnson, to me a shocking 66 years old, was fairly easily recognized by most of the castaways,* and he came clean early, saying he was there for the adventure and not the money — which his tribemates did not believe.

*The last thing I wanted was a weird, “Nobody recognizes me???” plot.

Continue reading

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 109 other followers