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Jeff Probst blogs 'Survivor: Samoa': episode #4

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survivor-Probst_lAren’t social dynamics fascinating? I’m guessing that a lot of you watching the show this season are enjoying Shambo. And why not? She’s got a great sense of humor and a great head of hair. So why does Galu dislike her so much?

Here’s my take. I think it comes down to the unpredictable nature of human interaction… social dynamics. You put a group of people together and natural relationships begin to form. Some people quickly connect, others not so much. But give it a few days and the tribe itself begins to form a personality.

As a tribe, Galu is a young, fit, hip group of people who are all feeling very good about themselves at this point in the game. They’re like the popular kids in high school. Really cool. In fact, at times, they’re too cool for school or in this case Survivor.

The odd person out is Shambo. For starters, her mullet hairstyle is older than most of her tribemates and the way she acts and speaks just throws everybody off. She’s former military, rides a motorcycle, is constantly excited by what the game throws at her… there is nothing about Shambo that fits in with Galu.

Trust me, if anybody from the Galu tribe is reading this right now they are screaming at me “You didn’t show how annoying she was! What a menace she was around camp!”

Oh, relax.

They can scream all they want, I remain committed to my thesis. I think if you put Shambo with a different group of people, say … Foa Foa… she would blossom. I think Foa Foa as a group is more forgiving and accepting than Galu. Chill. It’s not a criticism, it’s just my armchair psychology flaring up again.

I could also argue that if you took Kelly from Galu and put her on Foa Foa she too might behave differently because she’s around different people. Maybe she’d be less coy, less flirtatious, overall just less attractive. Oh go ahead. Take a moment and write me back about how sexist I am. I know it’s coming.

Let me ask you, would it sound better if I inserted the word JOHN instead of Kelly? Take a look…

“I could also argue that if you took JOHN from Galu and put HIM on Foa Foa HE too might behave differently because HE’S around different people. Maybe HE’D be less coy, less flirtatious, overall just less attractive.”

Do you like that better? Let me know. But don’t say you wish I didn’t say anything about anybody or the way they look or talk or act. That’s why it’s a blog. It’s my opinion. I have to write about something other than simply regurgitating what happened in the episode, right?

Back to the point at hand… social dynamics.

The members of Foa Foa are a completely different lot. They’re like the kids who were transferred mid-school year from that “other school.” There is always a story associated with “those” kids and try as they might, “those” kids never really ever end up fitting in with the other kids. They’re the ones you look at in the year book and say, “Ohhh, yeah… I remember that kid.”

Shambo is just on the wrong tribe. But then again, sometimes having someone you don’t respect can turn into a good thing. Just ask Eric and John. They were more than eager to befriend Shambo for a moment so they could take advantage of her good will.

Shambo is so unaware of how to play Survivor that she’ll gladly share anything with anyone. Even the clues to the hidden immunity idol. The one thing that can keep you safe in the game and ole Shambo is giving it away.

Ah, Shambo.

I did enjoy the look on Eric’s face as he was this close to getting all the information to the location of the hidden immunity idol… when John approached…with the same idea.

Eric: Shambo, you give ME the clue. If I find the idol…I’ll give it to you if you need it.

What? No way. Who on earth would make such a deal? Oh, that’s right. Shambo would. Ah, Shambo.

Shambo’s sharing of the information made me love her even more. The way she struggled to remember all the clues…and got so excited when she remembered the last line…verbatim!

But the line that summed it all up for me was the last thing she said after giving John and Eric every bit of information she had in her head.

Shambo: “And if I get to the final jury… you guys better give me your vote… and if you don’t, bad on you. Gotta go!”

If Galu are the popular kids, and Foa Foa are the kids from that “other school”, then Shambo (and I say this with absolute love) is the kid who just kinda wanders to her own beat. Wears different clothes than everyone else, has an unusual hair cut, probably odd shoes as well. The kid that may not have a lot of other friends either.

The kid that (if you are honest) you find yourself laughing at and then when you get home you feel badly that you laughed because you realize that kid isn’t doing anything to hurt anyone. They’re just living. They’re just being themselves. Expressing themselves. And they’re probably more pure and more honest than you have ever been in your entire life.

Ah, Shambo. They should make a Bobblehead of you, and if they did it would outsell mine 100-1. I would buy the first 50 for myself. That’s how much I like you. (Yes, they made a Bobblehead of me, yes, you can buy it through CBS.com, and no, I do not make a single penny off of it.)

HOST-LESS CHALLENGE INSIGHT – We have talked about doing something like this for a long time. A challenge in which nobody is there. Nobody tells them anything. We just watch to see what they do. This was a major experiment. How would it work without having me there to moderate and oversee everything? And for the record, I wasn’t hiding in the bushes, “just in case.” When we commit, we commit. I was back in my tent reading an old copy of Rolling Stone. Poor Michael Jackson.

And as you saw, the host-less challenge worked so well CBS is probably figuring out how they can do a “Host –less Tribal Council” as well! Hope not. I have not yet paid off my mortgage.

What do you guys think of an occasional host-less challenge? Let me know.

Regardless, Dave Ball came through big time! I root for Dave Ball. I really do. I think he’s a guy with so much potential and I think Survivor was a big risk and a big adventure for a guy like him to undertake. I was happy to see him pull out the win for Galu.

ERIC GOES IDOL HUNTING – You gotta love it, right? That “black short wearing, long black sock sportin’ excitable, shoulda been Galu leader” now has the idol.

Once again, he who works hard is rewarded. I hope he doesn’t tell anybody. For once, would someone just hold onto the damn idol and not tell anybody you have it! I like Eric. I think he has a great attitude. A little aggressive at times, but it comes from being a true competitor. I think Eric would be a humble winner and a good sport if he loses. He’s also a loyal soldier for Russell.

SHAMBO CLUCKS – Okay, now wait a second. You guys hate Shambo, but you put her in charge of the most valuable asset you have? You put the crazy woman in charge of the chickens! You guys did it to yourself. You watched her “cluck” with the chickens and yet you still left her in charge. Of course she’s gonna lose a chicken. It’s in her nature. You should apologize to your tribe, Russell. You’re the man in charge, what gives? Shambo is the kid with the helmet. You can’t give her a responsibility like this and not expect to have some drama. For crying out loud.

Russell and Natalie – in the final? Possible for sure. Probable? No. Russell is actually starting to seem like a parody of himself. Every time he talks I see Mike Myers with his pinkie in the side of his mouth.

FOA FOA WINS! FOA FOA WINS! FOA FOA WINS! It’s about damn time. Now that was an exciting challenge. A great finish and yes, I had to remind myself, “If yellow does in fact win, their tribe name is Foa Foa.” How great was it to see Jaison screaming, “1, 2, 3, 4, 5!”

Finally we get a chance to go back to Galu’s camp and hang out a while.

INSIGHT: You’ve been screaming at me for weeks that our episodes have been focusing too much on Foa Foa and not enough on Galu. I totally get it. Let me explain why that has been happening. After a tribal council we always follow the story of the losing tribe because they are the ones going to tribal council and ultimately the climax of the show centers around the question, “Who will be voted out?” So since Galu had not yet lost we didn’t have the chance to get to know them. Now we do.

PERSONAL INSIGHT: Kids, if you’re reading this…DO NOT LISTEN to Yasmin. Sorry, Yasmin, but your justification for not doing anything around camp was embarrassing.

Yasmin’s approach to the game seemed to be to avoid doing anything. Her reason being that if you don’t do anything then nobody can blame you for doing anything…wrong. That doesn’t work. Not in life, not on Survivor.

You have to be willing to step up. It’s why you have to respect Russell and Mick for taking on the leadership role. Of course they’re targets. But they were elected and to date they have stood up and made decisions. And whadaya know, they’re both still in the game.

Sometimes you win. Sometimes you lose. But not being willing to contribute in all aspects of Survivor life is reason enough to get my vote.

Sorry Yasmin, I do love the shoes and the effort to look good at tribal council but it’s time for you to go. There is some good news… at least your body will get the rest you requested.

See you guys next week. Remember, it’s all in good fun.

Check out the deleted scene below and read Dalton Ross’s ‘Survivor’ TV Watch.

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