Author Topic: Lex van den Berghe: The Skinny ,I知 baaaack!  (Read 2275 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline puddin

  • **puddinpiepork**
  • I Live at RFF
  • *****
  • Posts: 85454
Lex van den Berghe: The Skinny ,I知 baaaack!
« on: October 25, 2004, 06:17:18 PM »
Lex van den Berghe: The Skinny
全urvivor: Vanuatu is half over, but the game is just starting
I知 baaaack!
A month has passed, and I致e clocked more than a few thousand miles on my frequent flyer plan. And what a month it痴 been. The standout highlight was definitely my trip to the South Pacific islands of Vanuatu, host country to this season痴 "Survivor."

And so I watched this week痴 episode with an extra measure of nostalgic melancholy, already missing these extraordinary islands just days after returning home.

I was relieved to see the action and drama in Vanuatu finally heating up. After all, with nearly half the season already over, it was high time for the show to hit its stride. If you ask me, "Survivor: Vanuatu" so far had barely sputtered to a start, and I blame gender-based tribal division in part for the show痴 lackluster entertainment value thus far.

But now that boys versus girls has become boys meet girls, mouths are flapping, drama痴 brewing and the game is officially ON.

Aside from the final couple of episodes, when drama hits a fevered pitch and storylines get set to crescendo, I enjoy this part of the "Survivor" season more than any other.

Nearly three weeks into the game (real-time) the players begin to succumb to starvation, fatigue and paranoia, and as conditions get more extreme, the veneer of propriety peels away, and they start dropping their game faces.

This is when we really start getting to know the characters, and can begin to flesh out their motivations, strategies and personalities. We池e down to just 11 players now and can finally get a sense of who痴 who.

 This is also about the time that we get a glimpse at who the real power-brokers might be and what everyone痴 place is in the game. As I see it, there are power-players and there are pawns, and the beautiful thing about "Survivor" is that both have a pretty even shot at going all the way.

Let痴 run down the list of players still standing, and I値l make my call on who I think is really driving the game and who is being played by the game.

On the Lopevi tribe
LEA (A.K.A. SARGE): Lopevi痴 gruff self-proclaimed and self-assured figurehead, Sarge is true to form (he痴 a real-life drill sergeant) and has no problem barking orders to his tribe mates. As the obvious leader, his head is always on the block, but his spot seems secure for now, as he痴 cemented his place in one of the games most solid alliances (with Chad and Chris). My only regret is that with the recent tribe switch he lost his Gomer Pyle (Rory), and we may not get to hear a rousing chorus of "Move it, move it, move it!" Sarge is a POWER-PLAYER with a target on his back.

CHRIS: The low-profile member of Lopevi痴 power trio, Chris seems to follow Sarge痴 lead whenever he comes to a fork in the road. He痴 eager to please, unfailingly loyal, and does as he痴 told, which makes him a very valuable PAWN.

CHAD: We haven稚 seen much of our local boy Chad in action yet, but something tells me there痴 a lot we池e not seeing. On those few occasions that Chad痴 been featured, he痴 seemed comfortable voicing his opinion without hesitation. There痴 something deliberate and purposeful about his game play, and I doubt this guy痴 a waffler. Chad痴 been consistently strong in all challenges without appearing as a threat, and for him this could prove essential. I mean c知on....you壇 have to be crazy not to see the obvious threat in the positive-minded, cancer-survivor/amputee who can do it all. This is definitely NOT the guy you want sitting next to you in the final two.

He痴 made a very shrewd move in locking a spot in Lopevi痴 power trio ... it could be his ticket to the end. Since we haven稚 seen hard evidence yet that Chad痴 playing a hard-core game, but we have seen hints, I値l call him the WILD CARD.

JOHN: Poor John, never had much of a chance to realize his potential in this game. When his early alliance of young置ns were wiped out one by one, he became virtually emasculated. He now continues to survive thanks to immunity challenge victories, but unless he can cook up one hell of a Hail Mary pass, he値l soon exit this game a PAWN.

TWILA: This homespun highway repair girl from Missouri takes no crap from no one and always speaks her mind, for better or worse. Her unapologetic abrasiveness rubs some folks the wrong way, but her no-nonsense style has gotten her "in" with Sarge, resulting in a valuable invitation to join Lopevi痴 all-male power trio. She痴 now secured a stake in both Lopevi and Yasur alliances, making her a POWER PLAYER.

JULIE: Julie has worked this game without climbing into the driver痴 seat. And although she痴 been careful to avoid the alpha role, she痴 never let the game play her. When she found herself switched to a new tribe with only one of her Yasur girlfriends, she did anything but lie down and die. Well OK, she did lie down naked and turned the tribal male majority to her possible advantage by playing on their carnal instincts. This makes her a POWER PAWN.

On the Yasur tribe
AMI: Yasur痴 undisputed Alpha-Grrrl, Ami is playing a hard-core, balls-to-the-wall power game. There痴 nothing subtle or sneaky in her attack it痴 full-frontal and in-your-face. She does what she wants, when she wants to, and you壇 better hop on board or get out of her way, making Ami this game痴 ultimate POWER PLAYER.

SCOUT: Like Chad, Scout痴 another player that I suspect is moving and shaking a lot more than we池e seeing. Perhaps her approach is a bit understated, but I知 pretty sure she痴 got a veritable bag of tricks up her sleeve. She seems to be in nearly everyone痴 good graces, and commands respect with both young and old. If she makes the merge, I think this WILD CARD will go very far.

ELIZA: There痴 not a lot of grace or style in Eliza痴 playing style or personality, but you致e got to admit this one痴 a pistol. Unashamed and unapologetic about spouting off, it痴 a wonder she痴 still in the game. But crafty maneuvering and a knack for last minute scrambling has kept this endangered POWER PLAYER in the game.

LEANN: Poor Leann seems to be in a pickle just like John. Since the very start, she痴 been the odd-girl-out, and doesn稚 seem to have made any strong relationships in the game (a deadly sin for sure). She痴 going to have to find someone to hook her wagon to, and soon. Leann does seem to be a firecracker, but as long as she keeps the fire at bay, she値l be a PAWN.

RORY: Like it or not, Rory knows that in the Yasur tribe, he痴 nothing more than a puppet with a limited shelf life. His stock did go up slightly this week, as he seemed to be in the loop with the voting majority at tribal council. The girls could致e left him in the dark about who was getting the boot, but instead they let him in on the deal. And Rory knows the value of inclusion, even if he痴 being played better to be a PAWN in this game than all alone.

When so many challenges lately have seemed like thinly veiled clones recycled from seasons past, both the reward and immunity challenges this week were fresh and top shelf.

The reward challenge had each tribe chasing crazed pint-sized pigs in muddy sties. The first tribe to capture 10 pigs won steak and eggs. The action was pure hilarity as both piglets and players mud-wrestled and squealed like lunatics. Eliza was the only player to catch no pigs, giving up early because she didn稚 want to get dirty, and Lopevi slayed Yasur, 10 pigs to five.

The immunity challenge was an elaborate and gnarly water obstacle relay course that tested players speed, stamina and swimming skills. Leann, who was Yasur痴 third player to swim the course, got stuck in the underwater portion and ended up losing the challenge for her team.

Tribal council this week was particularly delicious and exposed just how much power and sway Ami has over her tribe. In a strange last-minute twist, an unintentional slip of the tongue from Lisa shortly before tribal council ended up costing her the whole game.

As Ami was leaving camp to go find manioc for their next meal, Lisa chimed in "Can I go with you, just in case ..." At which point Ami assumed Lisa was going to finish, "just in case you池e voted out" (since I don稚 know where the manioc grows).

Ami痴 vengeance (or damage control) was swift and extreme. Lisa was gone hours later. What seemed to be nothing more than a grudge boot, did reveal the extent of Ami痴 control over the tribe痴 voting decisions. In no time flat, Ami had managed to convince nearly all the women of Yasur (Scout excluded) to vote against one of their own based on her suspicion that Lisa was not a 100 percent loyal.

No doubt about it ... in Vanuatu, game is definitely ON.

Contact Lex van den Berghe at

Offline puddin

  • **puddinpiepork**
  • I Live at RFF
  • *****
  • Posts: 85454
Re: Lex van den Berghe: The Skinny ,I知 baaaack!
« Reply #1 on: November 29, 2004, 11:57:47 PM »
I was reading some of the pre show articles and thought I'd bump this one up and add some highlights from other articles here..some of what Jeff had to say about Eliza/ Scout/Chris/Ami /Twila & Julie before the show really got underway ..

Jeff Probst Survivor: Vanuatu Media Teleconference

Question: You're impression of Scout Cloud Lee?
JP: Scout, it's hard not to get behind her because the woman can barely walk, she survived cancer, she's got this spirit about her, visually if you had to draw her, she's like a tree standing there with her branches open saying "come to me". She very much fit into the Vanuatu scene in terms of spirituality. She bought into it and didn't think it was for joking. She brought a bit of fresh air, she wasn't a cynic, she was an optimist.

Question: Eliza Orlins, anything about her personality that stood out for you?
JP: Eliza, when we first saw her tape...Certain people leap out on their tape... Eliza was one of them. She's got a strong point of view and it's very well thought out for someone who hasn't been on the planet very long. Eliza's thing that is going to work against her, she likes to share that point of view all the time. She's adorable. Cute. Kinda like the puppy that just won't go away, you kinda want to tell her to be quiet yet she wouldn't listen if you did so you just let her go. We saw that on day one, interviewing her that she's going to have a big personality for as long as she lasts.

Chris Daugherty
is a great blue collar guy. He gets off to a tough start as you guys saw in the first episode. He's got a big heart. I think he's engaged. He's a good guy. He's not a quitter. He knows how to play this game. Will do what he has to to win. Kind of like Mariano. In that sense he's super exciting to us. That's what we dream of... a guy who no matter what word he's given to somebody, he'll consider breaking it if he gets it further in the game.

Twila: Cannot not be Twila. As you see in the first episode, you get a taste of her. She's going to say what she feels. She's the least equipped socially. She works 3 jobs in her real life. She doesn't make much money. She's here for one reason, a million dollars. She doesn't care about making friends. She's instantly likeable as far as I was concerned because her goal was so clear and her need was so strong but she's going to have to learn a lot out there because these people could eat her alive

Julie Berry from Maine. Youth mentor, smart ass, a flirt, great for the show, funny. It' probably works against her that it's men vs women. She would probably rather have men to try to manipulate, I saw that with a smile on my face. She's got a good spirit about her. She told us that if she can use it to get ahead, she will.

Ami:    Beautiful woman, gay.  We have two women that are gay this season, her and Scout.   Ami comes from a background that has prepped her to be a leader.  She wanted to put those skills to the test, she wanted to see if she could be a leader.   Ami is the type that would lead by inclusion.  Not by separating herself.  She would want to say "let's all be on the same page".  From day one when they found out it would be all women she would say "let's do this together, let's not fracture."   AS with anyone that takes that leadership role, you are a target.,3385.0.html

Jeff Probst on the Survivors

Jeff Probst on the Survivors
Find out why Jeff thinks the Survivors of VANUATU are closest to the Survivors of THE AUSTRALIAN OUTBACK
Voice Over

JP: This group is the closest group to the Australia group that I think we've had, in terms of vitality and attitude and look. It's a young looking group, good looking group and pretty confident. They all seem to think they have a handle on the game. And I'm sure more than a few of them will get themselves in trouble with that confidence.

I think Ami is a person that if she stays in the game long enough, people are really going to like her. I think she's a genuinely cool person and her soul seems to just come out of her and I think people are going to see that. She's very comfortable in her own skin... very comfortable in her body. She's got an adorable smile and some interesting life experiences that I think may give her a bit of an advantage in the game.

If Chris is everything he purports to be, he'll do just fine in this game. That's the question, is he putting on. Or is he this strong, "I'll tackle anything, bring it on, you can't beat me" kind of guy. I don't know. I think he's one of those kinds of guys that could emerge really strong or fade fast.

Eliza could emerge as a villain on this show, in the sense that she's very lippy. And she will say what's on her mind and she will get into little cat fights. She's adorable but her mouth could get her into trouble. That's going to be her big test. I think she may see that as an asset, lipping off. But in this game I'm not sure it is, I think less is more in the case of Eliza.

I think Julie knows she's good looking. I think she's used her looks to get things in the past, like we all use our assets. I think that's going to be her game plan coming in... "how can I use my sexuality in this game". The fact that they were then divided into tribes of men and women may throw her for a little loop. The other girls aren't going to care, and the guys that do care are on another island. So we'll see how that goes. I think Julie, I think she's a fighter. I think if she digs deep, she may surprise some people.

Scout is one of my favorites. I like her, she's overcome a lot. This is a woman that isn't supposed to still be alive. Here she is out here taking on, what for her will not be the biggest experience of her life but certainly a monumental experience. I think there's something about Scout, that you want her on your side. She doesn't seem to be an adversarial person. I don't know what quality that is but I wouldn't be looking to kick Scout off. I'd want her to hang around awhile, even if you're a threat in the game, I'd still want you around. I think you're valuable and I think you'd be fun to hang out with. I think Scout will be a favorite for people.

You can't help but pull for Twila.  This is a woman that works 3 jobs.  She works 7 days a week with no days off.  She works 365 days a year for not a lot of money. Very little money.  When she sat down in the chair and we said "why do you want to do this?"... she said "I'm wearing out.  I can't do this much longer".  This is a woman who is here because a million dollars would change her life.  You look at her and you see the wear and tear that life has taken on her body already.  I'm pulling for her.  What's working against Twila is that she is so out of her element out here.  I don't know how she's going to handle the first 3 days.  If she can get through the first 3 days then maybe she can get some momentum.  But she's going to have an uphill battle,3226.0/all.html

Offline puddin

  • **puddinpiepork**
  • I Live at RFF
  • *****
  • Posts: 85454
Re: Lex van den Berghe: The Skinny ,I知 baaaack!
« Reply #2 on: November 30, 2004, 12:11:13 AM »
While I'm in the Lex topic, lets see what he has to say ~

November 28, 2004

Lex van den Berghe: The Skinny
Game on: Plenty to give thanks for on 全urvivor
Thanksgiving night痴 episode of "Survivor: Vanuatu" truly delivered and gave everyone something to be thankful for.
Last-man-standing Chris was certainly thankful that, against all odds, his butt was saved rather than kicked off the island. And we were all thankful that strategic twists and eleventh-hour scrambling saved what might致e become a dull and predictable final four episodes to this season.

Truth is, after a day of celebrating and a belly full of beer and tryptophan-packed turkey, if this episode hadn稚 been as action-packed as it was, I would致e spent my Thanksgiving night as I traditionally do: passed out in the easy chair (grandpa-style), rather than typing away at my laptop into the wee hours of Friday morning.

But before we get too deep into this week痴 episode, let痴 rewind one week and check out some highlights.

From a sentimental point of view, last week痴 episode was a favorite of mine. As you might remember, I was lucky enough to travel to the island paradise of Vanuatu just a few weeks ago and last week痴 show took me back to familiar places.

Reward challenge winners were treated to a journey deep into Vanuatu痴 backcountry, to a primitive village where people still live as they have for hundreds of years. There, they enjoyed friendly hospitality Vanuatu-style, complete with ritual dancing, roasted pig and plenty of kava, the local narcotic nightcap of choice.

Watching Ami, Eliza, Chris and Chad "go native" made me nostalgic. I was lucky enough to visit that very same village, where I danced, feasted, and made some new friends. And as small as that village is, it was easy for me to identify some of the local friends I壇 made while I watched last week痴 footage.

But last week痴 show wound up with anything but a happy ending. A victim of the battle of the sexes and a character no one in their right mind would want next to them in the final two, our local boy Chad was sent packing and I was truly bummed to see him go. I was left with the feeling that we壇 never gotten the chance to know Chad and that he was ejected with a lot of game still left in him.

Even though this week痴 episode featured the ever-popular family visit and a couple of interesting challenges, there was so much strategic scrambling and maneuvering Thursday night (a quality sadly lacking so far this season), that I felt I should give it the most attention.

The one player whose situation was most desperate, Chris, began planting seeds of dissent in the girls. It seemed that his stock in the game had practically hit rock bottom, but, despite all of his lying and deceiving lately, you致e got to hand it to him he never gave up. Chris wasted no time in approaching a few of the girls and telling them stories he knew would erode what little trust they had in each other.

And it worked. Before you knew it, there was conflict in girl-town.

First, suspicion was cast on Twila and Scout when Chris exposed their history of double-dealing with the men-folk. Ami wasted no time in waging an inquisition to smoke out any possible traitors. And so the wheels of destruction were set into motion and girl power became a thing of the past.

Ami made another potentially game-ending mistake when she caved in to Leann痴 silly impulse to vote Eliza out of the game next because she thought that Chris somehow deserved to stay in the game longer than Eliza.

What? Deserving? It痴 so funny how players almost always stray down this path of misplaced righteousness, especially toward the end of the game (I should know. I致e strayed myself). But thinking this way will only cloud your judgment and make you screw up. You never keep people around because they deserve to be there. You keep them because it makes strategic sense to keep them.

When Twila and Scout caught wind of Ami痴 decision to eliminate Eliza, they saw their opportunity to change-up the whole game and climb to the top of the pecking order. Twila simply murmured to Chris that although his situation seemed hopeless, it was anything but.

And so, just when we all thought that this game was over, for all intents and purposes, and that it was going to predictably wind down like a tired old clock, that Hail Mary pass I talked about a few weeks ago was thrown and Chris was shrewd enough to catch it and run with it.

A new alliance of four Twila, Scout, Eliza and Chris was formed 30 days into the game, and the course of the game was radically changed.

Leann stepped up this week and made it clear that in the tribal chain of command, she was lieutenant to alpha-dog Ami. But when her boss won immunity, it cost her big time. Given their druthers, the new alliance of four would致e been gunning for Ami, but they had to settle for the next best thing. And so, in one of "Survivor痴" best blindside bootings, Leann痴 torch got the snuff.

Tribal council was deliciously tense and awkward this week you could practically feel the air tingling with electricity, even through the television. And as Jeff read the votes one by one, the players facial expressions said it all. For Eliza and Chris, it was relief mixed with pure elation that they壇 actually pulled off such a coup. For Ami and Leann, it was shock and the harsh realization that their foolproof plan was unraveling at the seams.

With only a couple of episodes left before the finale, let痴 take a quick look at the remaining players and evaluate their chances...

Chris is just lucky he痴 still in this game. He痴 done a great job of latching onto and piggybacking other players (first it was Chad and Sarge, now it痴 Scout and Twila), and he痴 also exploited a few rare golden opportunities, but I still put him on the endangered list.

Ami is one of "Survivor痴" great players. She痴 proven herself to be a master manipulator, she痴 always thinking several moves ahead, and she痴 willing to take great risks. Unfortunately, her brazen game style and unapologetic boldness have made her an obvious target and may reduce her shelf life. And one of her strengths, her ability to play this game with little emotional connection, could prove to be a tragic flaw. I think she痴 now very alone in this game.

Eliza has proven to be a very resilient and slippery wild-card player this season. She seems to be on the chopping block every week, and yet she survives each time. It would seem that of all the players she has the fewest friends on the jury, which would make her a good choice as a final-two partner. This could prove to be her final wild-card play.

Julie is excess baggage at this point. She痴 not much good to Ami anymore because of the numbers disadvantage, and nobody can really trust her because she痴 been playing all sides and everyone痴 on to her. She痴 done.

Scout has played a brilliant under-the-radar game. She痴 always been on the inside track when it comes to planning and decisions, but she痴 never gotten her hands dirty in the process. Scout and Twila are now in the driver痴 seat.

Twila has played a very strong game, acting and moving when she needs to and pulling back when it made sense. I suspect that if she found herself in the final two, she壇 have the support of the men in the jury, which could prove to be her secret weapon.

In a perfect world I壇 love to see Ami and Twila face off in the final two, but realistically it just ain稚 gonna happen. Hardcore, cards-on-the-table players like Ami rarely make it to the final two. And now that her loyal troops have all either defected or been eliminated, her only hope is to win every single immunity challenge left.

If I had to put money on it, I壇 say the safe bet would be with Twila, Scout and Eliza. Mark my words, two of these girls will be the last pair standing. And from my vantage point, I壇 say Twila痴 the one sitting in the ol catbird seat.

Contact Lex van den Berghe at