If you’re a Survivor fan like me, you always view the season finale as a bittersweet night. On one hand, we get to place that final piece of the puzzle: Who is the sole survivor? Who outlasted everyone else? Who was able to avoid becoming flotsam or jetsam based on wit, alliance, or luck? On the other hand, it’s a depressing night, because we know we’ll be without the show for a couple months, which means we’ll have to return to our pathetic, monotonous lives…
Okay, maybe that was a bit harsh, but sometimes it feels like that when Survivor isn’t on the air. If you’re like me, you mark on the calendar when the show is coming back, and you count the days. And you ask yourself, “maybe this time I’ll actually pay attention to when applications are due,” because – if you’re like me – you get so caught up in watching the season that you forget entirely to send in the application and video. That’s only happened about 20 times to me, so it’s not like it’s a pattern or anything…
But tonight is all about Blood vs. Tears, um, I mean, Blood vs. Water. As you may recall, I renamed this season based on the emotional impact that having family members as both your nemeses and your possible tribe mate, yet still maintain the integrity of the relationship whilst playing a game. I’ve said it before, this season ranks among the top 5 seasons of Survivor, purely from the emotional impact that EACH EPISODE wrought.
Sure, there have been seasons with more inter-tribe drama, bigger villains, stupid-er (!) moves, better locations…better boob jobs…but few of them can hold a candle (except Season 1 because it formed the mold) to Season 27. Despite all my teasing of the production for decisions made, they still pulled off one of the greatest seasons of reality competition television. And coming from someone who has worked in television for over 20 years, I know it’s always a great feeling to get through a season successfully.
And ratings are not always an accurate reflection of the success of the season, because the true determination of whether a reality show had a successful season is whether A) its core fans remained interested, B) the integrity of the competition was deemed fair, and most importantly, C) the show is renewed.
RE: A… As a “super” fan, I can attest that core fans remained interested. I’m sure many of you recall that at the beginning of the season, a lot of fans were saying they’d boycott the season because Colton was invited back. How many of them stayed away? I’ve trolled the CBS Survivor boards, and while people really don’t comment, “I came back after swearing off the show,” you do find that people are pretty high on this season.
RE: B… I don’t think this is really ever an issue with Survivor. I’ve said it before – I even tweeted it last week – I’m glad that I like a show that America doesn’t vote on. Sad to say it, America is pretty dumb when it comes to voting on reality shows. Either one target audience is significantly voting more than others (hello, Country-Western fans on singing shows!) or the opinions of the judging panel is either 1) not particularly constructive or 2) not honest. Because you know that when Simon hears an awful rendition by someone else’s singer, there’s a chance he might say it’s “amazing” so they stay around but is ultimately lesser competition for one of Simon’s acts. I’m not saying that happens every time, but you got to wonder what really goes on behind closed doors.
RE: C… As we learned this past week, Survivor was renewed for 2 more seasons, so the season is a success based on that alone. The renewal will take us through to season 30, a pretty amazing run considering it really hasn’t changed all that much over the last decade. Sure, there have been some tweaks to the format, but all-in-all, the show has remained consistent to its formula, which is the main reason why its fans have stayed so loyal.
But enough about the past and the future, we all want to get to tonight’s episode and see who wins this baby. As I mentioned before, it’s a wide open competition. At this point, I see everyone having a slim chance to bring home the big prize, depending on who they sit next to at Final Jury.
And pardon me if I don’t review the minutiae of every single scene and challenge. I think there’s something to be said for brevity in a 2-hour episode recap. Especially when I need to watch the reunion show, finish writing this, take my kids to school and go to work in the morning…