Survivor Ranking: Amazon

16. The Amazon (season 6) 5.0/10 rating

I know many of you will be surprised to find Amazon ranked this low. If you change one little thing about this season, I would bump it up to a much higher rank. In fact, there’s some exceptionally great things about this season mixed in with exceptionally terrible things which leave it as a passable season.

Issues I had with this season:

1) Sexist division. I really don’t like sexist remarks and prejudice. Or 95% of poop jokes (sorry Dictatorship). So the first four episodes have a lot of quotes that really grind my gears and results in the show being irritating to watch from time to time. Big blow to the pre-merge phase.

2) The cast was on the side of being recent graduates of the school of Jockcraft and Douchebaggery. For some reason, this season created one of the most unlikeable casts in Survivor history. All of the younger players came off as people who at the time resembled those I disliked in the sixth grade, and the older people with the exception of Jeanne and Butch weren’t the greatest. From Janet’s granola bar to Joanna’s over-the-top religiousness along with Roger’s homophobia and Deena pretending she hadn’t already switched to women wouldn’t be people I’d root for. However, it’s ridiculous to think now that I judged these people as thinking this is who they must be in real life. In post-game interviews, virtually all of them (except Heidi) can come off as being good people and not who the editors want us to think they are (except for Alex, too. There’s just no hope for him. A**hole.)

3) The auction incident further infuriating my family’s feelings about Jenna and Heidi. Probably the only time we all hated Jenna more than Heidi. A very uncomfortable scene to re-watch to this day.

4) Rob C’s gameplay is now undervalued. It’s depressing to think “the smartest player to never win” is now recognized as “The Rob That Sucks.” Or, as players from recent seasons like to call him, “the guy who interviews me and frequently attempts Russell Hantz impressions after I chat with Joann and Stacy on Thursday mornings.”

5) Matt being picked on. I think one of the bigger problems while re-watching this is that Matt never really does anything mean to anyone all season long. In fact, he came across as being one of the nicest players in Survivor at that point. So to see him constantly picked on for no reason that we know of other than him possibly being crazy, and to see this continue after he’s already lost at the reunion show, was just a bit cruel even for my taste.

What also bugs me is that Matt, who didn’t seem to have any faults for his social game, is being punished for being…weird? Yet Jenna, who frequently got into arguments, was extremely lazy, and was on the outside of the vote more than Matt was ends up being rewarded with a win? I believe that no matter which seven players out of the other fourteen and what took place, Jenna beats Matt in the Final Two. Matt was screwed even before he entered The Amazon. I’m typically one of the much better people for accepting all reality show characters equally and never to take what they say or do to each other seriously, but Amazon is one of the few instances where I found myself having reactions to it. Which leads me to….

6) Jenna Morasca’s victory. Perhaps the most upsetting victory to this point in Survivor, TAR, and The Mole combined. Yes, at least Flo AND Zach were declared winners. When you contrast somebody who everyone in my house really wanted to win (Matt) and assumed he would win with anywhere between 4-6 votes, with somebody who was just one step above Flo or Heather (Mole 2) hatred, you’re either going to be really happy or really angry.  So when Jenna wins, it was important that she not only win by a little, but win by a lot (sue me Dan Kay) because it results in one of the most devastating reactions from a pro-Matt household. My mom was so pissed off that almost every 2nd word said during the reunion show made her yell at the TV. I think we were all hoping to wake up the next morning and find out that Matt was the one who won, and Mark Burnett was playing  a mean trick on us all (Burnett did have control of Survivor at one point). If it was a Jenna and Heidi final two, it would be nowhere near as irritating of a finish and instead be in the “Do not care what happens” pile with EI and All Stars. Thankfully, the blow has softened over an eight-year period where Jenna wasn’t annoying in Survivor Talk (well, when my mother and sister are around when I watched Survivor Talk, they criticized every word Jenna said). Also, it helps when you have accumulated worst reality show winners since then (Hint: Don’t watch TAR6). So for Jenna winning, that alone drops the rank of this season significantly.

Things I enjoyed about this season:

1) Very few twists. A switch after four rounds. It’s funny to think the producers made another attempt to force a hook-up like the Sean-Jenna Lewis ambassador meeting in season one. Guess they gave up after the camera operators were too frustrated that they got excited for nothing. Oh, and the “You will open this when you least expect it because this box containing a map to your new home would be too obvious for being this box’s contents”. That was it for twists. Yay. 🙂

2) The excuse to make fun of Probst at the episode six reward challenge. “Matt and Alex, former tribemates…squaring off.”

“Oh that’s neat—wait a minute, not so fast! This challenge is man vs. man and woman vs. woman, and we just had a switch in the previous episode. Of course EVERY match-up will pit former tribemates against each other! You think you’re Dorothy Ann with that observation, Jeff?” It’s just my interior monologue every time I watch this challenge. Odd, I know.

3) Sharply reducing the length to the Fallen Comrades segment. The producers finally got the placement of Fallen Comrades correctly. Do it after ALL strategy in the game (unless you’re Chris Daugherty) is done. Did you know that because Butch decided to the ceremonial burning of the camp five days prematurely, the producers were forced to move Fallen Comrades to day 39 to fill that gap? But seriously, there’s still so much strategy to do on day 38 to ensure you’re still around for day 39 if you lose immunity. Why waste it on Fallen Comrades crap? Instead, move it to when you have no one on the island left to strategize with and paint the players’ initials accompanied by a two second flash (no Christy, that wasn’t your cue. It’s not Mardi Gras).

4) Rob Cesternino using John Nash’s guide to non-cooperative gameplay for strategy and resetting the game every three days. Do you know why the end of the Thailand reunion featured a random advertisement of John Nash’s book of non-cooperative gameplay? Because the filming of Amazon would have just finished and Rob C kicked a** by integrating it into his overall strategy. Why do I think Amazon isn’t one of the most impressionable seasons ? Because there was never a main alliance. Think about it. John Nash’s guide hinges on you forcing equilibrium by having everyone choose a side and recognize your position. Once this happens, the game resets as everyone jockeys for a new position. Thanks to Rob, this occurred virtually every three days in the Amazon, leaving you with no “Aitu 4” or “Foa Foa Foursome”. Thanks for demonstrating a textbook strategy can in fact be used on Survivor, Mr. Cesternino. You left us with so much to discuss for seven months until Pearl Islands began airing, and then being swept off the face of the map when you became the Rob That Sucked thanks to All Stars.

5) Rob C importing the strategic gameplay and wittiness of the ORG world into a TV version of Survivor. For about a year leading up to Amazon, players in ORG began to a) form mega alliances b) realize coming up with witty confessionals would lead to the host wanting you to play again AND a freedom to diss fellow players in the most amusing way possible. So Rob, for accomplishing both, along with being the hundredth person to say “na na na na, na na na na, hey hey, goodbye” in their confessional. That was soooo 2002. We thank you.

6) Joanna’s participation leads to her being referenced on The Office approximately six years later. The Temp finds people of her body type to be attractive. Who knew.

7) Everyone’s gameplay in the finale. I can hate on Morasca winning and saying how much more I wished Matt won in the final two, but what I can’t ignore is how well all four of them played in the finale. Nobody makes social errors and everybody is making deals with each other to ensure they wake up on the beach for days 38 and 39. This is a strong plus for this season. The last thing anybody wants to see is somebody laying around not immersing themselves into the Survivor experience on finale night.

8) Alex’s elimination on day 30. One of the best blindsides in the history of the show. I remember how happy we all were thinking the “good people” would come out victorious this season.

9) Heidi’s elimination on day 36. One of the best blindsides in the history of the show. I remember how happy we all were thinking the “good people” would come out victorious this season.

10) Few ugly exchanges between the contestants themselves makes for episodes like Roger’s farewell or Deena’s exit to let you know all of the players are enjoying the experience and into the game.
In closing, not the most likeable of casts but this season certainly had its moments and appealing enough to keep the damage control down to a sixteenth rank.

‎11) Jacare is a sweet tribe name.

In closing, not the most likeable of casts but this season certainly had its moments and appealing enough to keep the damage control down to a sixteenth rank.

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