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'Survivor: Kaoh Rong' recap: 'Kindergarten Camp'

Updated

Robert Voets/CBS

Survivor

type:
TV Show
genre:
Reality TV
run date:
05/31/00
performer:
Jeff Probst
broadcaster:
CBS
seasons:
34
Current Status:
In Season

The Fifth Amendment. Not as controversial as the Second Amendment, nor as celebrated as the Thirteenth Amendment. Perhaps it’s not the sexiest Amendment out there, as approximately 5,326 seasons of Law & Order (and The Practice, and The Good Wife, and every other legal drama) will attest under oath, which is why people on TV constantly waive the right to it while on the stand only to then end up putting themselves behind bars.

The Fifth Amendment is this: No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

The big part of that is the section that reads “nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself.” Basically, in layman terms, it amounts to this: the protection against self-incrimination. Which — because I feel I may need to break down this down even a bit further for “embryo”-loving Alecia — means that one need not open their yap unnecessarily to point out the various crimes they have committed. Sit there. Shut up. And you’re good to go.

Which brings us to one of the most bizarre scenes in Survivor history, as Jenny — in all of her Second Amendment-loving glory — brought a semi-automatic Uzi to Tribal Council, pointed it at herself, and fired away. At least metaphorically. Because there sat Jenny, seemingly the power player in deciding whether it would be Jason or Alecia going home, all of sudden revealing that the decision was “up in the air” and went “back and forth.” Uh-oh.

We’ve heard of loose lips sinking ships, but why would you want to go ahead and sink your own? It’s as if the Titanic purposefully charted out a course for that iceberg that caused Billy Zane to start acting like a total jerkface. And then not only did Jenny reveal she had wavered, but she proceeded to lamely attempt to lie and say it was all Alecia’s doing, only to then reverse course once again and admit she said to throw Jason on the chopping block. This was followed by her daring people to vote her out because she was one of the tribe’s strongest players. You know what? Dare accepted!

And then things just got plain freaky. The woman stood up on her post and bellowed out “Please trust the original alliance we had! Nothing has changed!”  At first I thought she would only come down if Probst could procure some peanut butter and chocolate, but alas she did come down, only to be voted out.

What a weird scene. And let’s tackle the second half of this equation before we move on: Jeff Probst. And to do so, let’s head all the way back to season 5, Survivor: Thailand. Not a lot of great things came out of Survivor; Thailand. There was the fake merge, there was the “Attack Zone” where Robb with two B’s choked Clay and forever changed the physicality of Survivor challenges, and there were the assorted drunken ramblings of Jan. But that was pretty much it. Except for one other thing, a newly emboldened host.

This is the point where Jeff Probst became more involved in the game. Some have complained that he has become too involved and too pointed with his questions and critiques, such as when many felt he pushed Janu to quit Survivor: Palau. While I have ribbed Probst about the Janu thing (I asked him on the Palau finale red carpet if he was going to somehow get her to quit the Reunion show as well), my viewpoint has always been this: Probst’s evolution as a host and his role in the game has been essential to the sustained success of the show. For one thing, it freed him up from being too robotic. Go back and watch those early seasons, and you’ll see what I mean. The guy was working on a leash, much like the talented Phil Keoghan has been forced to do under the all-controlling eye of Bertram van Munster on The Amazing Race.

Once Probst was allowed the freedom to assess and critique, he became a conduit for the viewer. Instead of us merely yelling at our TV screens, there was someone actually there to yell at them for us. Now, not everyone likes that. You may argue that Jeff Probst now has the power to affect the outcome of the game with his commentary and questions. And guess what? You would be right! But here’s why that is not a bad thing.

NEXT: The right and wrong ways to handle Jeff Probst at Tribal Council