Survivor: Caramoan just ended. I haven't written about it, or even shared in the weekly evening Tweet sessions much, if at all, this season.
Here's why, in a nutshell. I really got inspired a few seasons ago with the players who really showed their religion on their sleeves, showed how it got them through those long lonely days. I got spoiled on that. I could see, for a few, shimmering moments, how Survivor really could show the good in people, the quality, the integrity, the class. The spirituality. It was really blissful and inspiring.
Well, all that has gone away so far it may as well have been bludgeoned away. In point of fact, one of the architects that I'm speaking of (Brandon Hantz) went through a real spiritual journey on that first season he was on, taking spirituality to a whole new level on the show. So I was very excited to see him on this season again. However, between that first season and this one, things changed in a very negative way.
Personally, I think his uncle got to him, and advised him to be more of a dick to win. And so he did. Aside to Brandon: that wasn't the way to go.
So, what can we say about Survivor: Caramoan? If nothing else, it was indeed an exciting season. When looking at the strategy and the game play, some of the moves made caused a person to truly gasp in their seats, and it's been awhile since that has happened.
Here's the thing though. Somewhere along the way (of its 26 seasons), Survivor found its soul. It found, actually, that putting people in these crazy situations can actually lead to some insight that is much more profound than one expects when sitting down to a reality show.
And now, in the last two seasons, it's taken that back, with a vengeance. In fact, I would even say it stooped to Richard Hatch/Hantz Inc. level dickishness. The bottom line, at least for me, is that I don't want to see this whole "it's just a game" BS. I don't want to see someone friends with someone else and then slitting their throat.
The truth in life is that every moment of every thing you do affects every thing else. It should be that way in Survivor too. And, for a couple of blissful seasons, it was.
But in Survivor Caramoan, we had everyone out for themselves, back to backstabbing and blindsiding and hurting people that you were friends with and who trusted you. And I really dislike that ugliness.
Brandon Hantz, in point of fact, had one of the ugliest meltdowns ever in Survivor. In fact, if he wanted to surpass his uncle Russell in vile crassness and ugly humanity, he surely did. It took me this long in the article to even remember Russell's name, I just kept seeing Brandon pouring out everyone's rice over and over in my head. Ugly. Heinous.
I am, in fact, praying that the upcoming "Blood versus Water" season doesn't include ANYONE named Hantz.
I am also praying hard that Dawn never again graces our screens on Survivor. Certain people really need psychological counseling more than they need Survivor. I'm glad Dawn got rid of her Twitter. I hope she doesn't read this article. And I hope I never in my life see her on any TV anywhere ever again. She was a mental basket case. It wasn't pretty.
She went the opposite way, too. In the last season she played, she tried to... you know, have ethics. This time, she decided she didn't need to do that, and blithely cut anyone's throat who got in her way, with the trope, "It's only a game." And she wonders why Brenda never returned her calls.
As someone following strategy, I can see why Brenda needed to be voted out. It was a good strategy play, because certainly Brenda would've won. However, the female connection between Dawn and Brenda was really palpable. I felt pain when she turned around after her torch was snuffed, and said, simply, "That really hurt."
Integrity is more important than "playing a game." And if I were talking to Dawn right now, I would say: THAT is why you didn't get even ONE vote at tribal. You cannot forget that part of the game. Ask Russell Hantz.
Also interesting at the "Reunion" show afterwards, a show in which normally the entire Survivor season's cast is lined up from first voted off to Survivor winner, to chat about the past season, this season, for the first time ever, they only had the jury folks. 10 people, instead of 26.
Sure, perhaps speaking to every person gets unwieldy in an hour wrap-up show. Plus, the interchangeable blondes, Francesca who got voted out first twice... I mean, what is there really to say to any of them? Plus, again, I'm glad Brandon Hantz wasn't within 20 miles of those onstage.
Malcolm... *swoon* and his hair... well, I was really hoping Malcolm would win. And the reunion show really missed a trick in not having Malcolm's mother on to help celebrate Mother's Day. ("Enil Edam" was really "Madeline" backwards, for his mom.)
Philip and his Stealth R Us team was a fun aspect of this season. Philip, in quoting his strategies, mentioned one of Survivor's best players, Boston Rob.
Boston Rob, on the reunion show, brought along his new book (you heard me): "The Boston Rob Rulebook." You can purchase it here:
Boston Rob Rulebook
Congratulations, John Cochran. You did outplay, outwit and outlast. You deserved to win.
And now, hopefully on to (the Hantz-less) "Blood and Water" version in September. May it have more kindness and integrity than the past two seasons did.