Sarah is the latest to get the boot. But the tribe shuffling that led to the ouster of the Maraamu with the biggest, uh, heart, is messing with the integrity of the game, insists Dalton Ross
Sarah Jones, Survivor: Marquesas
Credit: Survivor Marquesas: Monty Brinton/CBS

Sarah gets the boot

We all knew it was coming, like a Mike Tyson meltdown or Michael Jackson crotch grab. We had seen it before on ”Survivor: Africa,” so once tribe Maraamu lost three members in a row and we saw ads promising a wild and crazy first 10 minutes, we immediately knew Mark Burnett was ready to pull another swictheroo and engineer his own little Marquesas exchange program.

And after watching the inevitable shakedown, my reaction — much like the contestants’ themselves — is mixed. On one hand, it DEFINITELY added some zest to what would have otherwise been a very predictable two more months of shows as Rotu picked off Maraamu members one by one. Everyone now has to rethink their strategy and in some cases form new alliances. Plus, the old group dynamics were getting dull. The old Maraamu had some interesting characters (lazy, stupid, and petty, but interesting nonetheless), but they had become sullen from all the losing. Meanwhile, the old Rotu had taken their whole love tribe vibe to truly nauseating levels. I mean, it was commendable and all, but certainly didn’t make for scintillating television.

But now we get some good ol’ fashioned drama. Mark Burnett’s ploy paid almost immediate dividends when Sean got in Gabriel’s face and accused him and his friends of being — get ready for the insult to end all insults — Clydesdales! He also compared his new living situation to slavery, which was only slightly less disturbing than Rob’s comment that his new tribe mate John was ”a big time queer.” (Rob who taaaaaaaalks veeeeeeery sloooow, yet actually had us believing for a brief moment last week he might have some strategic smarts to him has once again revealed himself to be an idiiiiiiiot.)

So, yes, it was nice to see Sean and Rob get theirs, but I also have serious issues with Mark Burnett’s maneuver. Not to get overly dramatic about it, but what about the integrity of the game itself. This is the second time in a row that Burnett has changed rules in the middle to spike drama and ratings once he saw his show going sour. (Not to make like Oliver Stone, but in the conspiracy theory department, remember host Jeff Probst’s little speech to the players about how ”like everything else in this game, your destiny was planned long before you guys even got to the Marquesas islands”? Did you notice how none of that actually appeared on camera, meaning he most likely didn’t say that to the contestants but rather into a studio microphone well after filming? Meaning that speech wasn’t for them, but rather for us, the viewers, as if to say, ”No, no, we’re not on our heels. We planned for Maraamu to get their ass kicked the whole time and then shake things up. Honest! Now, go buy a Snickers bar.”) Did the move make this last episode more interesting? Definitely, but we didn’t see the Patriots and Rams switch 30 of their players at halftime of the Super Bowl just to shake things up, did we? Why not? Because that would have been positively INSANE!

But similar to actual sports, this is a show that became popular when people began taking sides and keeping score. When you throw the structure out the window, all you have is petty squabbling, not strategy. We KNOW that the old Maraamu members are all goners, but we knew that last week anyway, so what does this really do in terms of ”changing the game,” as everyone kept repeating ad nauseum. Well, maybe it does change the game, but not the actual result. So the rest is basically a side show to keep it interesting en route. Also, if you start constantly changing the rules, when do you stop? Why not just play paper, rock, scissors to see who wins. Somebody, stop the madness!

Oh, by the way, in case you missed it, boobalicious Sarah finally got the boot. (C’mon, did anyone really think it was going to be Kathy?) I think she was genuinely a bit shocked at her ouster, which saddens me because I thought she was a pretty bright gal. (I’m kidding!) Burnett did manage to sneak in a few gratuitous T&A shots before she left . But wait, maybe she’s not gone after all. Maybe next week we’ll find out all the departed contestants have been readmitted under a new third tribe, Loseratu. Wait, Mark, I was joking… no, Mark. Mark!!!

Survivor: Marquesas
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