I’ve been watching Survivor ever since I can remember– it’s been a staple of my childhood. We used to light tiki torches for our favorite players out in our backyard while cooking recipes native to that season’s location, heatedly discussing possible finale outcomes with family and friends. Stephanie was always my favorite player until J.T. came along…. (then both of them ended up in a season together and J.T. backstabbed Steph, ending my obsession with him. The jerk. To think I made cookies with his name on them when he was in the running for the million). I once got my neighbor’s autograph because she went on a cruise and happened to meet one of the past contestants… I was so young I thought that the famousness transfered over or something. (?) My mom applied for the show, once, and my sister and I helped her tape her audition video in exchange for cake.
Anyway, my point is that I’m a really big fan of Survivor.
The past couple years, though, I’ve been really disappointed with the direction of the show, and haven’t kept up with it as much as usual. It seems that the only contestants are fresh-off-the-cheerleading-squad twenty-something chicks, hot but arrogant dudes with perfect tans who live life shirtless, and crazy wackjob seniors designed to provide comedic relief. The challenges are always reused, the Redemption Island twist is stupid (seriously, no one ever gets voted off anymore!), and they don’t bleep anything out anymore.
HOWEVER, last night was the premiere of Season 24, “South Pacific”. And although I still hold to everything in the above paragraph, I’m making room in my schedule again every Wednesday night for the show. Why?
Meet John Cochran.
This kid is pretty much a first on the show– a Harvard law student with glasses, sweater vests, and no abs to speak of. He’s proficient in Survivor trivia to the point of obsession, but finds everything on the island a privilege to be able to try.
And he’s SO CUTE.
For example, on day one, the rest of his tribe decided it would be a great idea to jump in the ocean in their underwear– no problem for those killer-bodied chicks and guys. But watch his reaction…. <3<3<3<3
Anyway, if you haven’t seen last night’s hour-and-a-half long episode and were planning to, STOP READING HERE. Because I’m going to talk about it, obviously.
So last night, day one, they held an immunity challenge between the two tribes. One of the challenges was, in essence, shooting hoops with coconuts– you have to get so many coconuts in a net for it to raise up your flag. This gorgeous chick who wore her tank top five sizes too tight, sans bra, volunteered to try her hand at it. Impressed, the tribe let her have at it.
She got about five (if even) coconuts in and suddenly she was exhausted at the effort. You needed probably forty or so to tip the balance and send up your flag. Her tribe was shouting encouragement at her, tips, strategies, but she just huffed and puffed and ambled around “trying her best” to get them in the net. It was too late to switch players out, so her team had to watch helplessly as the other team came up from behind and won the immunity challenge.
When they got to camp, though, the chick to blame for the whole thing laid the brunt of the shame on this guy who’d rolled his eyes at the end of the challenge. She denied her direct involvement in their failure, and since she’d already made plenty of male “friends”, they decided she was right.
The only problem was that, chick forgiven or not, one person still had to go home. It’s like a game of duck-duck-goose:
Hot guy, hot guy, hot guy, hot guy, hot guy, JOHN COCHRAN!
The 20-somethings formed a decision: since John was the weakest-looking man, physically, they would vote him off and it would be all for the better.
At tribal council, John managed to talk his way out of the entire thing. Every single person on the tribe voted off the hot, but not athletic, girl. Cochran was safe, because they realized he had the smarts that she didn’t.
This week he’s promised to try to step up his athletic game, and they even showed footage of him attempting to chop a coconut again– hopefully this time he’ll be able to crack it open on the first try. 😉
As long as John’s on the show, I’ll be watching it and rooting for him. The world needs more victorious nerds. I’m proud of Cochran for having the guts to apply for the show, and CBS for having the guts to put him on it!
Best quote: “I know people are going to look at me, they’re going to think I’m a nerd– which is accurate–, they’re going to think I’m weak– which is also accurate–, and then they’re going to say, ‘We’ll make you the puzzle guy. For all the challenges.'”