Two days before what will probably be a cathartic (and probably catastrophic) finale for The Amazing Race: Family Edition, we gotta sit through two final hours of Survivor: Guatemala - The Maya Empire. I want to keep things real, so I'll be writing my thoughts right now before the finale, then post on what happened later.
It's been a good season...not anywhere as good as Palau, but good enough to not totally suck. You had the race to camp disguised as a death march. You had Bobby Jon looking like Jesus and smacking himself. There's Brian setting off Operation: Bait Blake, proving that being platinum is better than gold. There's Judd jawing with Margaret over possibly having ADD. Look at Jamie and Bobby Jon nearly come to blows. Or kissing. I still wish that they made Day 39, just for the Southern-themed deathmatch. Lots of other stuff comes to mind: Lydia's pancake dance, Stephenie's entitlement trip, Rafe running from the hornets, Gary getting the hidden idol after refusing to fall for Judd's lies, Judd saying "man" the way The Boondocks liberally drops n-bombs, Howlie the Howler Monkey barking out loud, Gary dissing Steph and ripping into Judd's lie at his final Tribal Council...like I said, fun season. The big question: Who walks away with the big cardboard check?
Here's my breakdown:
She's the one that withstood a potential Pagonging. While she had to say goodbye to Brandon, Bobby Jon and Gary, she managed to stay on to Day 37. Right now, I can't see her winning, since I haven't gotten that certain editor-influenced buzz off her. Also, I have to root against her, because the head honcho of Reality News Online inducted her into the Hall of Fame. I don't get that at all. So she literally bought a clue at auction, giving her an advantage at the Immunity Challenge. So what? That's more about how stupid the other contestants were to let her get it. After Chris went from a 5-1 disadvantage to win Vanuatu, holding off one's demise isn't as great to watch anymore. I'd e-mail the guy about it...but my opinion didn't matter to those people back when I was writing for the site, so why would it matter now? Anyway, look for Danni to go out 3-1 on Day 37.
Forget Judd...here's the real villain of this season. Forget about her entitlement trips and freaky eyebrows. Two episodes ago, Judd won a visit from his wife at auction, and he could bring two other players and their loved ones to stay overnight. He picked Cindy, who had fronted him money to clinch his win. Then he picked Steph. A few days later, Steph, Rafe, Danni and Lydia turned on Judd. Cut to the next episode...Cindy wins the Reward Challenge. After skipping through the whole "car curse" stuff, we see that she can bring somebody with her on a trip. She chooses Steph. And guess who Steph votes for at Council? Even if they didn't make the connection that Steph sold them down the river, dontcha think karma should take care of her? Also, if she wins, there's a huge asterisk attached to her time, since she (along with Bobby Jon) was brought back for another season. Trust me...it's better if she loses out in agonizing fashion.
Why does everybody cringe at the thought of her winning? So she sucks at challenges. Big whooop...Tina and Sandra never won an individual immunity challenge, and Sandra never got any part of an individual reward. Lydia helped around camp, to the point where Brooke and Morgan got booted over her. I just like watching Lydia operate...it's like seeing Mama Solis from Desperate Housewives, only without the crankiness and the vechicular homicide. But the real big sign was from Jamie in his aftershow speech, where he ripped into Lydia. Translation: she makes it to Day 39, and he tears into her. She's sweet, she'll win immunity on Day 38, but she'll lose 5-2 to...
I just feel that the gay and Mormon communities are due for a win from somebody who doesn't totally suck. Sure, he might be a little too Ian when it comes to dropping the hammer. When he was kvetching about being a part of the "Axis of Evil," my reaction was, "If you don't slit some throats on Survivor, you're just not playing." But he's managed to turn on Cindy and Judd (including a vote for "Juddinator," which was dorky cute), and most people are starting to see him as the Keyser Soze of this season...the guy who stops limping and walks away with the $1 million.
As far as jury wigouts, I'm thinking that Judd and Jamie are givens, with assists from Steph and Cindy. The editors will do the ol' "We're doing the vote reading live, and you won't know until you hear the crowd" thing...I think I've only fallen for it the one time. Judd will get worked over at the reunion for being a dope, Gary for being such a lousy liar, and maybe Amy can bench-press something or someone, because she's that tough a cookie. And maybe...just maybe...Bobby Jon and Jamie will make out for us. Finally, we'll get a look at the next season, and pretend to be happy that Jeff Probst is staying on. I was hoping Shii Ann Huang would replace him, because she's smary, funny...and her presence would honk off a certain recapper. Ah, well.
I'll check back later to see how right...or wrong...I was.
Sometime after 2:00 a.m...
Lesson learned? I shouldn't be predicting anything, ever. Nostradamus? Try Nostradumbass. Why didn't I learn from the time back when I was on RNO, and had predicted Rob Cesternino would win Survivor: All-Stars? Stupid, stupid, stupid.
Anyway...this was a good finale for a good season. Nothing could have beaten Palau, but this wasn't a letdown. If anything, it gives Survivor a great headstart at an Emmy, since The Amazing Race is still on the family season.
I'm still bitter how things turned out...though I'm not joining the Rafe hate train. He is who he is...gay, Mormon, and a bit of a dope. I mean, he's small and cute and I get this weird urge to scratch behind his ear. But telling Danni that he was releasing her from their alliance? What the hell? I mean, odds were good that Danni would've picked Steph no matter what. I'm not seeing why Rafe needs to be dropkicked.
Anyway...Rafe? Gone. Lydia? Gone. So it came down to Steph and Danni. And the jury wasn't that bitter. I still use the All-Stars jury as a measuring stick, what with Lex's guilt trip, Rupert's raging entitlement and "Don't be stupid, stupid!" The only guy who stepped up to the plate in that regard was Judd...and even then, he was only registering a 6 out of 10. And he was ripping into Steph lying to his wife about staying in the game, so that made it all right for me. Of course, I didn't get him telling Danni she should go to confession, since he was the big poopy-headed liar to begin with. In the end, Danni won, 6-1. Not bad for a chick who was looking like the biggest target this past Thursday. The bad news: Rafe goes from being a good power player to the loser's table, where he's doomed to spend eternity with the other sole dissenting votes (Butch, Tijuana and Coby). Poor lil guy.
The reunion was decent, and we got to see what the next season is about: something about new twists and exiling people on a crappy island for days at a time, kinda like what happened to Janu last season. I don't know when it will start airing (TAR9 is being delayed to March so as not to go up against the Olympics), but I'll be there.
I guess that I can't muster up any real feeling either way for this season. After all, when it comes to guys like Judd, Jamie and whoever else, what are they compared to the buttholes of The Amazing Race (Weaver family), The Apprentice: Martha Stewart (Jim) and The Gauntlet 2 (damn, where the hell do I start?). Just be glad that it's over, and start the speculation. My biggest question? When Stephenie pops up on TAR10, will she race with her boyfriend or with Bobby Jon? Come on, like you weren't thinking that.