Readers of The Dozen are an inquisitive bunch, and I’m sure many of you are wondering what the life of a reality show blogger is like on Survivor Night… so here it is, my Running Diary from last Wednesday:
5:30 a.m.: Wake up. First thought: Who’s gonna find the SuperPowered Idol? Second: I’d be fine with just about anyone finding it… other than Trish, Woo, Morgan, Jeremiah, or Jefra. Third: You’re actively rooting against half the cast, Baker.
6:00 a.m.: Start debating with fellow SuperFans on Facebook. This will take most of the day. Unsurprisingly, I don’t feel bad about this.
7:30 a.m.: Listen to Rob C’s conversation with Laura Morett and Ciera Eastin on my commute to work. Disagree loudly with many of Laura and Ciera’s passive proclamations (“fly under the radar, that’s how you play this game”… YUCK). Notice more than once that people in the neighboring cars are staring at me.
8:00 a.m. to 2 p.m.: Teach English to middle school students. Work very hard to avoid making Survivor similes and metaphors while covering Romeo & Juliet, Raisin in the Sun, and King Arthur. Fail several times.
2 p.m.: Rapidly argue with writers, podcasters, former players, and fans about Kass, Sarah, Trish, Tony, and LJ. Lose every argument. Still feel I’m right.
3 p.m.: Take my Yoga & Hiking kids geocaching deep in the woods. Tell them we’re looking for immunity idols. Silently decide which of them I’d bring into my alliance and which ones I’d blindside. By the time we’re back to campus, I’m crafting my Final Tribal Council speech.
4 p.m.: Drive home. Wish I had Fishbach’s home number. Contemplate calling Rob C., even though I apparently burned that bridge (I still think he kicks ass). NEED to talk Survivor. Fortunately, wife is at home, assures me that Woo would not be getting this edit if he found the SuperIdol and used it to get him to the endgame. Realize that this conversation is proof that against the longest of odds, my wife actually loves me.
6 p.m.: Go to CrossFit. Get my ass handed to me. But so what? I will do whatever I can to prepare for my appearance on Survivor Season 31: Andy’s Imagination. On the agenda this summer: setting fires in my backyard.
7:30-8:00 p.m.: Gather all needed materials in the den: TV remotes, child, wife, puppy, dinner, notepad, buff, life-size cut-out of Jeff Probst at which I cast aspersions and throw darts.
8:00 p.m.: Squeal. Show’s starting. Still a fan, even if at times it may not seem like it.
8:01 p.m.: Did Spencer REALLY just blame Kass’s move on ESTROGEN? The boy may be a genius, but he’s also an idiot. And then he added insult to injury by insisting that Kass stop strategizing because it’s an embarrassment? Somebody didn’t read up on jury management…
8:02 p.m.: SEE, I AM NOT ALWAYS AN IDIOT. There WAS logic – and a fair bit of it, I might add – behind Kass’s moves. PITMAN, FREEMAN AND I WERE RIGHT.
8:05 p.m.: My momma always told me if I don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all… and right now, I have to keep my mouth shut, or I will be horribly mean to Morgan.
8:06 p.m.: My TiVo remote is having problems and I just want to punch Tyler Perry in the nuts because I blame him for everything that’s bad about this season, which includes remote malfunctions. (There isn’t much else to complain about; I LOVE THIS SEASON.)
8:10 p.m.: Did they really have Jeff bellow the word “chest” as Morgan emerged from the water? Of COURSE they did.
8:13 p.m.: My faith in LJ’s puzzle ability: restored. (With an assist from Captain Estrogen, aka Spencer.)
8:17 p.m.: I love challenges that temporarily disrupt alliances; bonding over rewards (winning OR losing) can be a potent catalyst for change. So it’s a shame that the teams weren’t divvied up in more interesting ways. Had potential wild cards like Tasha, Trish, or Kass found themselves in the right mix of players, the game could have shifted a bit.
8:18 p.m.: Found it interesting that Tony said Spencer is “influential with his mouth” – first, because it gives us a glimpse of what the other players think of Spencer’s strategic acumen, and second, because if Tony had said that about one of the younger female players… awkward.
8:18 p.m.: Wait -- Kass DOESN’T want to be the one who decides who goes home tonight? That’s either disingenuous or idiotic. It’s not like everyone’s going to say, “Well, she didn’t pick tonight’s target, so that major betrayal must have been a one-time thing – deep down, she must be a good person!” I understand the theory that you want other players to get blood on their hands, but once you’ve been elbow deep in viscera, you might as well just get covered in it, and make your Final Tribal Council argument, “I’m sorry, I couldn’t hear your jury question because my eardrums have been ruptured by the screams of my fallen enemies.”
8:21 p.m.: Ah, yes, the old “immunity idol clue in the napkin” trick. Was it random? Or an assist for an interesting player who finds himself in extreme danger? Here’s an odd admission for you: I don’t care. Why not? Because I can’t keep worrying about questions I’ll never have the answers to. Do some players get help? Probably. But I can’t get worked up about it any more.
On a related note: If I’m on this Reward, I’m doing two things: While other players focus on the food, I’m going to the table first (and poke around for a clue; you know there’s going to be one)… and, if I don’t find the clue, I’m spending 5% of my time eating and 95% of my time watching everybody else (there’s only four other people). If I don’t get the clue, I am absolutely leaving the reward knowing who did.
8:22 p.m.: Knew that Woo would figure out what Spencer was up to, did you? Liar.
8:24 p.m.: Hey Woo! What’s new? You walking, too? Let me do what I want to do, Woo.
8:25 p.m.: Survivor Commandment #22: Never leave an idol – or idol clue – unattended (or unhidden). Good God, Spencer, YOU KNEW YOU WERE BEING FOLLOWED. And yet you thought it wise to take off your clothes and LEAVE THE CLUE THERE?! Maybe it’s all that testosterone. It’s certainly an embarrassment.
8:30 p.m.: Everyone else is out looking for the idol, but Jefra and Trish decide that they’ll just stay back at camp? I JUST CONCUSSED MYSELF WITH A FACE PALM.
8:32 p.m.: Kass needed to ignore what Spencer was saying and focus instead on HOW HE WAS SAYING IT. While he was apologizing for being confrontational after Tribal Council, Spencer’s voice went soft and jumped an octave – a sure sign that he’s lying. In that moment, Kass should have known two things: Spencer was in no way remorseful about how he treated her, and that he had found the idol.
8:33 p.m.: WHAAAAAAT!? It’s a NORMAL IDOL?! CBS, you made us all believe that the SuperIdol was in play this week. I AM NOT PLEASED.
8:36 p.m.: The close-up of LJ after he falls out of the immunity challenge makes it clear that he will be bald by 50. Does it make me a bad person that I take some comfort in this? Answer: Yes, yes it does.
8:38 p.m.: An hour and a half on your tip-toes? Impressive. I wonder if there’ll be residual physical effects in the challenges to come; Tasha and Spencer’s calves will burn for days.
8:44 p.m.: Uh oh – Tony and the others are throwing around the “D” word. Survivor Commandment #83: There’s no such thing as “deserve” in Survivor.
8:46 p.m.: I love that Kass is aware of the human propensity to forgive. Unfortunately, she’ll also need them to forget, and given Morgan’s Ponderosa video this week, that just ain’t happening (Kass is already two votes down). And I doubt that it’s going to get any better for someone who proudly proclaims that she loves the ambush.
8:47 p.m.: If I’m headed into Tribal Council, I’m looking at how the producers are lining us up and where all of the players are positioned once we’re in there. Seat assignments tell the story. In this particular Tribal, Tony and Kass were placed in the middle because they were going to shape the debate and decide who was going home… and the other players need to take note of this if they want to keep on top of tribal dynamics. (It would be fascinating to do a macro study of where various types of players sit; I would guess that we’d discover trends regarding idol holders, swing votes, and targets.…)
8:48 p.m.: Love that Tony is lying about the identity of the target, implying that they’re going after someone strong and strategic. Of course, had Tony thought it through, he could and should have taken out Tasha: there was a 0.0% chance Spencer was going to share his idol with her when he’s down 6-4… all he would guarantee himself was being down 5-4 without an idol in his pocket.
8:50 p.m. to 8:53 p.m.: And here we get the Morgan pity party… honestly, her pitch SHOULD work; next to Kass, she’s the greatest goat left in the game… if she had helped out around camp and/or been vaguely pleasant, she would be part of everyone’s endgame plans. But that’s simply not who she is….
After the episode, I discussed Morgan with my Survivor Addict Support Group, and this was my quick read on Morgan:
Beauty has offered Morgan advantages from the beginning. Probably blossomed early. Possessed assets others coveted as she navigated her teens into her early 20s. Was an NFL cheerleader, where looks are emphasized (and was undoubtedly pursued by many professional athletes – the guys who "gave her things" because of her physical assets). At every phase of her young life, her "beauty" has made everything possible – including getting on Survivor – so why would she think that the world works any other way? No one – and no circumstance – has ever caused her to question this reality.
Add in the very human propensity to emphasize the importance of things we're good at (smart people think intelligence matters most; those with a strong moral compass think others need to hold themselves to a similar standard; athletes think that kicking/throwing/passing etc. are an objective measure of worth), and the way Morgan sees the world and interacts with it is as inevitable as it is objectionable.
8:54 p.m.: Morgan placing her hand on Tasha’s thigh and offering words of support after being voted out seems like such a small moment… but all of my alarms were going off: Is Tasha going to somehow make it to the end (perhaps with the help of the SuperIdol)? I would no longer be surprised.
8:57 p.m.: So Tony is going to get paranoid next week? Count me in! We’re at F9, a potential flip zone, so things could get crazy…
8:59 p.m.: If you had asked me what Morgan would say in her parting words, I would have been willing to wager my entire blogging fortune that she’d utter, “I’m proud of myself.” This, from a player whose apathy and petulance so rubbed her fellow players the wrong way that they voted her out despite her complete inability to win the game. Proof positive that the ego is a remarkably resilient – and delusional – facet of the human psyche.
9:00 p.m.: The cycle of obsession begins anew.
That’s it for this edition of The Baker’s Dozen – if you’d like to keep the conversation going, leave a comment below!
Andy Baker is a Survivor blogger who wants nothing more than to get a back rub from Jeff Probst the next time he's thinking about quitting his column. Follow Andy on twitter: @SurvivorGenius