Vecepia takes the million
Vecepia takes the million. Ken Tucker recalls the finale's coolest (and least cool) moments
Vecepia takes the million
It was really cool that genius producer Mark Burnett made ”Survivor: Marquesas” finalists Vecepia Towery and Neleh Dennis wait five months and then sit through a chilly Central Park evening last night before counting up the votes that gave Vecepia the ultimate ”Survivor” prize of a million bucks.
It was much less cool that, closely following the announcement, Rosie O’Donnell, hosting the post-game show, sang a version of the ”Gilligan’s Island” theme song with special (i.e., cornball) lyrics.
It was really cool that, once he hit Manhattan on the live, final-hour broadcast, Jeff Probst asked the cab driver for a receipt as he left the vehicle.
It was much less cool that the two-hour taped part of the finale was padded out with too many greatest-moments montages and the sequence in which Vecepia, Neleh, and Kathy bathed with some yellow gunk in a hokey purification rite — it was like CBS’ test to dare us not to turn over to NBC’s Bill Cosby special, or to check out David Duchovny’s return to the final installment of ”The X-Files.”
It was really cool that Vecepia took full advantage of being the first African-American to win the contest, dedicating her win to ”people of color.”
It was much less cool that, by the end of the night, O’Donnell had turned the show into a tiki-torch-lit version of ”The Price Is Right,” giving every ”Survivor: Marquesas” participant — as Bob Barker would say — a new car!
Coolest post-”Survivor” makeover? Kathy, with her new Marg Helgenberger hair.
Least cool post-”Survivor” jurist? John, with his new John Corbett hair. No sex in the big city for John with that ‘do, I’d wager.
How fitting that, on a Sunday night, ”two Christian women,” as Paschal put it, should end up the finalists. Except that on this Christian day of rest, we heard a lot of virulent anti-religious sentiment expressed by the losers. Among the final-jury statements, Tammy excoriated Vecepia and Neleh for their ”holier-than-thou attitude,” scheming ”under the guise of Christianity.” John — better known as John The Guy Whose Hand Got Peed On — scorned ”these Bible-thumpers.” Only Paschal — the kindly judge who (I admit my prejudice) should have been the winner — remarked neutrally, wonderingly, ”I don’t know what caused these two Christian women to be left” as the finalists.
”Survivor: Marquesas,” remember, started out pretty dull, full of moderately attractive people of less than moderate abilities to articulate their philosophies of life. But the game is a machine that Burnett is always tinkering with, and he souped up this slow-mover until the last few weeks just flew by, with last night’s delayed-finish-line surprise, when all was said and done, a triumph.
What did you think about the results?