We've Survived Survivor XIV! (Fiji's in the Books)

So, I totally don't watch Survivor, but when the request -- to watch and report on Survivor: Fiji's twisty finale -- came down from my editor-handler-caretaker, I saddled up.

Why?

Adventure, man. That's just me. I blog hard, or I don't blog at all. (I mean, sure, I guess occasionally I blog "medium," but it's very rare. Like, if you catch me blogging medium, snap yourself a picture, and I'll autograph it. And then burn the picture. No one wants to see that weak stuff.) That's what it's all about: challenging yourself, watching a show you've only heard of, maybe while enjoying a snack you've never tried. Feel that rush? Yeahh. That's my life, baby, and that's how I live it, 7/52 (= way more extremer than 24/7). It's a high-wire existence, and it's why I do what I do. That, and they pay me. But mostly, it's the face-pounding adrenaline highs. Anyway.

By Sunday, there were five standing: (male) cheerleading coach Dreamz, consensus favorite Yau-Man, ad-exec Earl, college administratrix Cassandra, and a construction worker (willingly) called "Boo." First order of business: a blindfolded race through a complicated maze; winner gets the second-to-last immunity-necklace-thingy. They stumble through, host Jeff Probst plays Marc Summers to their Double Dare with overdramatic play-by-play, and Yau-Man comes out on top. Thingy saves Yau-Man at the next vote-off point; Boo goes down instead.

Next, the remaining contestants pay homage to their "fallen comrades," placing namesake torches in a boat and pushing it out to sea, like a freakin' Viking funeral. Meanwhile, we get a protracted farewell montage of all 15 of 'em, set to the sort of swelling music you'd expect to hear at the end of a movie in which William Wallace dies on the Titanic. Then it's on to the last-ever immunity-thingy challenge, which Dreamz wins. Now, remember: He's promised to give it to Yau-Man in exchange for a truck that the latter won earlier (I know this thanks to helpful in-show flashbacks), said such things as, "I promise to God" and how he wants to show his son he's a man of his word. So, when the moment of truth comes and he decides to keep it instead, I nearly spit up my spinach-artichoke hummus (I eat it 'cause I'm tough). Shock all around, venomous glances hither and thither, but Yau-Man's cut loose nonetheless.

Cassandra, Dreamz, and Earl then get "I made it" montages -- the music's Jurassic Park-y this time. Back at the campfire, they face a jury of their dismissed peers, which will decide the winner. Questions start off innocuously enough, but get pointed (one lady asks Dreamz if he even knows how many zeroes are in a million, Boo comes at him all, "As a Christian man, I want your Christian answer" about the deal-breaking). The jury votes, and then, in a neat little trick, Probst walks offscreen ... and into a Stateside studio months later (Sunday), where the winner will be announced live. The gang's all there, the house is packed. With surprisingly little ado, Probst pulls four straight "Earl" votes, and Earl's the winner.

Ta-daa!

So now that I've watched one episode, I can see where one might get sucked in. But I've gotta ask: This Probst fella -- is he always such a smug prick? If so, my pitch for the next show is Survivor: Lord of the Flies, complete with bloody rebellion.

Sucks to yer ass-mar, Probsty.

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Brian Villalobos lives in Austin, Texas (practically), writes on film and TV, and totally cried at Stuart Little.

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