6. Marquesas (season 4) Rating: 7.5/10
I’m surprised how much I’ve liked this season over the past couple years. I assumed that by its boot order from day 24 up until purple rock, that it would be a boring stretch of episodes to go back and re-visit. I was wrong. Compared to other seasons that seem to have an extremely predictable boot order on paper, Marquesas still has a decent enough entertainment value.
I know production virtually ignores this season with the exception of Boston Rob and calls it a ‘snoozer’ by the end and the annoying no-no sandflies, but hey, the viewers didn’t have to experience them. We were only privy to one scene that mentioned the no-nos, otherwise it felt like just any other beach and water-heavy season of Survivor. So my apologies to Probst if ranking Marquesas sixth instead of twenty-first doesn’t make me a real Survivor fan, but this is my countdown. I loved Marquesas.
Issues I had with the season:
1) Maraamu is winless after three rounds…THEN THERE’S A FREAKIN SWITCH! I wanted to see history, dammit! Sadly, we’ve never seen a winless tribe in Survivor history. Sure there’s Ulong and Ravu that never won immunity, but even they pulled out reward victories (Ulong 3 and Ravu 1).
2) The Maraamu tribe made a ridiculous move to eliminate Hunter in the third round but are magically saved by a switchup the next day. The switch prevents any accountability for this action.
3) The overemphasis of religious talk is annoying throughout the season. Sometimes I quickly fast forward through these little confessionals in these sections on a re-watch.
4) The race card popping up multiple times throughout the season really grinds my gears at times.
5) The relationship between Paschal and Neleh makes you just wanna shake them Jeff Varner style, you know? It started out adorable, but then it gets progressively more annoying the further along you get into the show, and at times you feel like they have a sense of entitlement to being in the end over the Rotu 4 alliance. Entitlement from an underdog alliance doesn’t exactly make them the best people to get behind. A re-watch of Marquesas now makes the relationship much more inappropriate considering Paschal English’s recent tabloid scandal.
6) Gina’s exit on day 18. It’s still a sad episode to watch. The funny thing is that a few years later I would play in an ORG that played out almost identically to Marquesas where the post-switch popular and active tribe rallied back after losing so many times against the inactive and controversial tribe, only to be forced to TC right before merge to let some of the extremely inactive players to be on the jury. So I’ve been there, in a way. After Maraamu was on such a roll, seeing them suddenly lose a crucial immunity made you want nobody to go home and hope Jeff changes the rules. Or maybe if they just keep Gina, but Kathy can go. Unfortunately, worst case scenario and Gina goes home. I still remember in the fifth grade when my family and fellow students were pissed off after that episode aired. Oh well. Survivor moves on.
7) By day 38 Kathy was built up to be a juggernaut player in the Survivor universe, and it was virtually impossible to not see anyone be rooting for her. Then with a combination of Neleh tricking Kathy at 4 hours and 30 minutes into a challenge, then Vercepia makes a deal ten seconds later to save her butt and win the season, a Kathy exit was borderline blasphemous. However, as time passes, Vercepia’s brilliance is a decent counter to Kathy’s colossal fall.
8) Some of the General’s confessionals came off a bit too harsh and wasn’t exactly too likeable at times.
9) What applies to Rob the General can be applied to Rob the Construction Worker.
10) Once upon a time about two or three years ago, I had compiled so many VHS tapes between 10-14 seasons of Survivor, 12 seasons of TAR, a couple seasons of The Mole, a couple seasons of Simpsons and Family Guy, 5 or 6 seasons of 24, and numerous TV specials my mom taped on top of that. I had a few weekend’s project where I went through the task of going through the tapes and properly labeling them all because many random episodes of Survivor or TAR would end up on another tape if I either ran out of room on my tape and there wasn’t enough time to send my dad out to buy me a new pack or if I couldn’t find it fast enough before the show starts. At one point I got frustrated that this was happening so many times so I finally went through every tape and labeled it. During this process, I discovered the Marquesas finale that I had never seen since its initial airing many many years before that. So I threw in the Marquesas finale and found it wasn’t the greatest other than the two challenges and the purple rock TC. It just wasn’t thrilling for me. I happened to find the Amazon finale on its own tape during this project, too.
11) What a horrible reunion show. No insight was given or for a season that was heavy in strategy, none of it was discussed.
12) I’m trying to find other things to complain about, but I can’t.
Things to enjoy about this season:
1) Despite Paschal and Neleh’s relationship being odd, at least it’s not as odd as if say, Paschal had that same type of relationship with Natalie T, or if say, he voted for her as the most attractive survivor in a 39 Day Survivor Challenge where anyone who is over twice her age gets a visit from Chris Hansen. Don’t worry Ian, Brian, and Daymond, I won’t report you guys to Chris Hansen.
I’ll leave that to the admins.
2) The religion stuff is annoying, but remember this exchange:
JEFF: Alright, it’s down to Neleh and Vecepia. Next person to hit the other person’s target and cover their tiki with sand, wins immunity and a guaranteed spot in the Final Five. Survivors ready. . . Aim. . .
VECEPIA: Dear God, please give me the strength
NELEH: Oh my heck, god of the land of Mormonio, if I could get new hair extensions and a sweeet new pony to add to my barnyard doll collection, I’ll be happy. Oh, can you say hi to mommy and daddy, and tell them Pappy is taking good care of me? X O X O
PS. Did you know I was named after my mom, but the name is spelled backwards? Yep, my mom’s name is Helen. Isn’t that soooo cool? She got the idea from her Spanish friend Ramon Garciapaara. I think he was our butler at our ranch for a few years. His son had ODC or OCD. I alwaaaaaaays mix up the letters. K, thx bai 😉
JEFF (thinking this challenge is a snoozer): Okay guys, you can hit your targets now.
(NELEH misses, but VECEPIA hits her target.)
VECEPIA: Thank you Jeeesus! Thank you Jesus! Praise Jesus–
LOGAN’S MOM: Okay, you can stop talking about Jesus. You won your immunity. Good job. Just stop talking about Jesus, Vercepia.
LOGAN: It’s Vecepia.
LOGAN’S MOM: Really? Isn’t it Vercepia?
JEFF: Vercepia wins immunity!
LOGAN: Oh, guess it is Vercepia.
(JEFF attempts to put the immunity talisman around VECEPIA`s, er I mean, VERCEPIA`s neck.)
VERCEPIA: Praise Jesus! Thank you God! Thank you Jesus!
JEFF (trying to dodge VERCEPIA’s fist pumps): Here is immunity Vercepia, if–you–just–hold–still–for–a–second–
VERCEPIA: Thank you Jesus!!!!!! Thank you!
JEFF: IF YOU DON’T STOP MOVING WE WILL NEVER INVITE YOU BACK FOR AN ALL-STAR, AND WE’LL DECLARE THIS SEASON A SNOOZER WITH THE EXCEPTION OF THAT CONSTRUCTION WORKER FROM MASSACHUSETTS!
VERCEPIA (slo-mo): Thaaaaank yooooooou Jeeeeeeeeeeeesuuuuuuuuuuussssss.
(cut to JEFF frowning, his nose wrinkling, frustratingly leaves the talisman loose around VERCEPIA’s neck, and walks away with his tail tucked in between in his legs. The remaining contestants assume that VERCEPIA is safe, and that for one of the five of them, the game will end tonight. They also assume they can head back to camp and JEFF will see them at Tribal.)
Yes, my mom still calls Vecepia as ‘Vercepia’ today. I’ve tried hard to correct it each time I’ve heard this mispronunciation, but I think it’s safe to say that it’s going to stick forever considering nine years has passed. My parents tend to mispronounce Parvati as ’Poverty’, too. Another funny little thing is that from Amazon through Heroes vs. Villains, my dad and I made predictions for who would win immunity and who would be booted each round in the finale episode, along with who will ultimately win and by what vote. The first time we did that in Amazon, I was confused when my dad put an ‘A’ above somebody’s name. I asked him about it and he seemed mildly annoyed that I couldn’t figure out that the ‘A’ was short-hand notation for ‘Amunity.’ He, in turn, asked what my ‘I’ meant on my paper. Sadly, even when we got to Heroes vs. Villains I would still see the ‘A’ on his piece of paper, and at that point I ask him what it means for my own little cruel inside joke. Of course, spelling isn’t my parents’ strongest suit. They grew up with the three R’s of Reading, Riting, and Rithmetic. Some old people never change. Wait, I mean ALL old people never change.
3) Even though they switched, Jeff said that the twist to switch up the tribes after three rounds was decided long before the survivors were flown in for the game. Contrary to the past several years of Survivor where they can change to a Final 2 with only a week left in the game or decide to hide an idol in Russell’s shoe.
4) This season could be argued to have the ‘realest’ cast ever assembled in the show’s history. Just take a look at their occupations and the towns they’re from. Nobody had a semi-hidden mactor career that the more hardcore fans could dig up prior to the show’s airing. A limousine driver, a fishing captain, somebody who used to live in a Commune, a crime reporter, a seventh grade teacher from Harlem, and some of the most obscure hometown origins ever in the show? Add to the fact that Boston Rob and Kathy have been the only two ever invited back, and Sarah’s “modeling” career was short-lived. Definitely a big plus and makes a re-watch refreshing in a time where we’ve been plagued with California mactors.
5) Remember when the S.O.S. challenge used to be a Survivor staple? I love that Marquesas made the reward challenge prior to the S.O.S. immunity to be for a camp raid. It would essentially turn the reward into the first part of a two-part immunity challenge, and would make the winner of a subjective challenge much more obvious because whoever was raiding would have an enormous advantage. It’s great they didn’t let the subjectivity come into play. It seems that although this challenge embodies the survival aspect which Survivor has long forgotten, the producers realized subjective challenges don’t belong on Survivor and would be too controversial. So they use it for tradition’s sake in All Stars, and then its farewell in Palau.
6) One of the best challenge catalogues of any season. For a water-heavy season, the challenges they had on land were all great too. This wasn’t Cook Islands where it was swim out then retrieve puzzle pieces then solve it. Each of these challenges were quite unique, and several of them were used in All Stars. You can’t go wrong with Hands Hard on Idol. Sadly, by season four it was already on the brink of retirement. We would see one last appearance in All Stars, then it would be retired. Such a shame.
7) After Sarah goes, Maraamu becomes one of the most freakin’ easy to root for tribes in Survivor history. They’re down 8-4, then Rotu crumbles for three challenges in a row. I don’t think I’ve cheered for a tribe as much as I did with Maraamu.
8) Sean and Kathy are easily two of the most complex characters in Survivor history. Sure, this season is filled with them, but Sean and Kathy are at the peak of the list. You start off screaming at your television for them to be kicked off, then you like them, then you hate them again, then you’re sad to see them go. That’s the definition of the types of characters you crave to be on Survivor. It indicates that these are real people.
9) The kite flying challenge that
10) Jeff Probst’s VISA bill after Paschal gives the waiter a two hundred dollar tip for a three hundred dollar meal. Months after Marquesas, I picture Probst looking at the bill in his home then looking up at the camera with a McCaulay Culkin expression on his face.
11) Sean and Paschal on a reward together. That pairing is epic. They’re unbelievably different.
12) The Rise and Fall of John Carroll. I feel bad because in hindsight John is a likeable person on the show, but you have to admit, the first successful Survivor coup d’etat is satisfying to see. We didn’t have Brandon Quintin there to screw it up this time.
13) The radio show and the rapping segments are simultaneously cringe-worthy and a little bit funny. Marquesas at its core.
14) I know I had more of a fun time with this write-up than I usually do but that’s because overall Marquesas is a fun season to go along with that. Look at the reunion show. It’s hosted by freakin’ Rosie O’ Donnell. By today’s standards, is the Marquesas reunion show the worst one ever second to only Nicaragua? Yes. That’s because Rosie never asked any intriguing or philosophical questions, who voted for who, and instead chose a different route by going over the season’s highlight reel and forcing the survivors to eat a gummy worm to own a new car. You can’t tell me that’s not fun if you’re the group of sixteen. Sucks as a viewer, but fun for them.
Oh, and remember the interview Kathy did with Rob Has a Podcast? She said everybody from the cast gathered for a BBQ last year. Do you know how ridiculous of an idea this would seem to the casts of recent seasons? Or even some of the earlier ones? No way that happens. In fact, there are only two other seasons who I think would do that, and being contractually obligated by CBS with them paying for your airfare and hotel DOESN’T count. So not only does a cast reunite completely on their own accord just to have a fun time, but if you listened to that interview, you know what makes the story even better? Nobody could contact Zoe. Nobody could find her. The editing department and the viewers had the same problems when Marquesas was airing, so they shouldn’t feel too bad about it. The best thing to that story? Zoe was in town the whole time! That’s the cheesy Marquesas-like humour at its finest.
**One last note**
My best friend who was into reality shows as much as I was at the time didn’t get to see the Marquesas finale at the time. So beforehand I promised I’d tape it for him and I’d let him borrow the tape at school on Monday. On Monday morning, standard procedure is that the class lines up outside of the door until the teacher comes to unlock it. While we were lined up, guess what happened?
Yep, within about thirty seconds somebody announced who won and spoiled it for my best friend. He was PISSED. A ten year old was having his first experience with a spoiler. I still remember his reaction to this day. He borrowed the tape regardless, and considering I have it in my possession today, he must’ve watched it.
PS. I tried to get him into the world of ORGs that same summer. However, he was in so many extra curricular activities that my efforts were futile. What makes this seem so long ago is that he hasn’t watched Survivor in probably six or seven years.
Anyways, that does it for this entry. We’re in the top five now. I’m sure you think it’s the oddest top five you’ve seen in anyone’s countdown, but hey, I really enjoyed those five seasons.