It’s Wednesday once again which means another Survivor Oz Top Ten is coming your way! This week, we conclude a two part series bought to you by Ozlets Ben Powell and Nick Chester. Last week, Ben bought you the ‘Top 10 Reasons Survivor: Philippines is better than Survivor: Caramoan’ and today Nick turns the tables and reveals ten reasons why Caramoan is better than Philippines. Ben’s top ten definitely caused some debate and with Nick wrapping up the installment with his views, we’re sure there is going to be lots to talk about! Remember to get involved and leave your thoughts below!
Prior to Survivor: Philippines airing, Jeff Probst gave a number of interviews about the upcoming season. As Survivor: Caramoan had been shot directly afterwards, he knew the details of both seasons that were due to air, and hinted that although season twenty-five was great, season twenty-six was even better. As Survivor: Philippines unfolded, most fans were thoroughly entertained and couldn’t wait to see the following season, given Jeff’s enthusiasm for it. However, not everyone was as impressed as Jeff and felt that perhaps our expectations had been raised without good cause. Following on from last weeks Top Ten, I will now give you ten reasons that Survivor: Caramoan is better than Survivor: Philippines.
10. Better underdogs
As will be touched on later, Malcolm’s status as an underdog in Caramoan as opposed to the untouchable challenge machine in Philippines made him more relatable and fun. But he was the leader of a group of misfit underdogs who were almost impossible to hate. Yes, the Denise/Malcolm underdog story was touching and ultimately had a satisfying end when Denise won, but the three amigos were just wacky and entertaining. I admit to not liking either Eddie or Reynold for most of the game, but you had to feel for both of them when they were voted out as they had tried so hard despite being pretty naive about the game. Seeing Eddie create history by being on the wrong side of the vote the most often in Survivor history was sad, funny and endearing all at once. And as a dog lover myself, anyone whose dream it is to allow me to drink with my canine buddy is OK in my book.
9. More water challenges
OK, this is a bit of a cheat. Production had always intended on doing a lot of water challenges in season twenty-five but the weather for the first three weeks made this almost impossible. Whilst challenges aren’t that interesting to me, I know lots of people like them and especially the water challenges, which have been all but absent since Micronesia. So it was great to see so many in season twenty-six, including some classics – the “hold your breath under a metal grate in the water perhaps was the highlight.
8. Better narrators
OK, so Penner is pretty hard to top as a narrator for the action going on around him. He doesn’t fail to deliver and Philippines was no exception. Credit where credit is due. But Cochran has gone from the student to the master and gives a better sound bite. Yes, it’s possibly more contrived whereas Penner sometimes feels more natural, but the quality of the one liners from Cochran are great. Not to mention great supporting roles from Corinne, (yes, we all wanted to throat punch Phillip by the end), and Malcolm, Caramoan was a quotable season and the one liners kept things funny when the strategy flat lined.
7. Forward momentum
Caramoan got off to a slow start by anyone’s standards. Jeff talked the season up so much that we were all left wondering what on earth he saw in it during those early episodes. But as the season carried on, it picked up speed and became pretty intense as it reached its conclusion. Just look at that list of episodes in terms of their boot – Corinne, Michael, Phillip, Malcolm, Reynold, Andrea, Brenda. That’s a pretty wild string of episodes to all follow each other. Philippines on the other hand started strong, (the Matsing demolition made for surprisingly interesting television), then flat lined during the episodes where the Kalabaw females left, picked up again for a few episodes at the Merge, then slowed down again during the Carter and Abi-Maria vote, and finished with a pretty quiet finale. You could argue Caramoan started off so bad, it could only get better, but that momentum towards the end is much more preferable to the other way around.
6. Better use of the Hidden Immunity Idol
Prior to season twenty-five and twenty-six, the Hidden Immunity Idol was becoming stale as a game twist. Players would use them in ways that was either predictable, and therefore making them useless, or telling everyone they had them and negating their real value. Whilst Philippines made things more interesting, Caramoan was where the Idol had its true resurgence, thanks in large part to Malcolm’s trickery, both in keeping his Idol secret, (apart from Corinne, who was voted out before telling anyone), and then the famous “hold up, bro” moment. There was even time at the end for Andrea to get voted off with one in her pocket! If Idols continue to play a large role in the game, we can thank the players in Caramoan for helping keep this game twist alive.
5. Bigger, better blindsides
Most Survivor fans are delighted by blindsides. There is nothing better than someone getting voted out when they least expected it. Both seasons in question delivered on this front, and on multiple occasions. The big difference is that the blindsides in Caramoan felt bigger and more shocking, and ultimately had the fan community talking straight after the episode. The boots of R.C., Jeff, Artis and even Penner were interesting and made great television, but they didn’t grab fans and get them talking quite like those of Corinne, Michael, Phillip, Andrea and Brenda did. It was edge of the seat stuff, providing fascinating Tribal Council moments possibly not seen since Heroes vs Villains.
4. More interesting Final Tribal Council
To be fair, both Final Tribal Councils felt pretty predictable going into the vote. Both Denise and Cochran looked likely to win before a word was even uttered. There were highlights in Philippines, (Penner’s speech was fun), but was pretty much a non-event. Caramoan was a different story altogether. Almost every juror created a memorable moment and asked great questions. Things got very personal between Dawn and Brenda and left everyone talking after the show. Cochran’s handling of his questions was the final act of his transformation from nervous super fan to fully fledged Survivor strategist and it was undoubtedly more interesting than Denise’s performance.
3. Better winner
Denise is a great winner and going to every Tribal Council and surviving is an incredible feat and not one to be overlooked. However, Denise’s fate was out of her hands at times and I don’t think this a criticism that can be directed at Cochran. He came into the game with a somewhat untrustworthy reputation but immediately bonded with his tribe mates in a way he didn’t in South Pacific. He was not afraid to make big decisions but always stayed loyal to his alliance, who incidentally were people he could also beat in the end. Managing to make the big moves without getting the blood on your hands is an impressive feat. Two great winners, but Cochran’s game plan and the overcoming of his previous weaknesses make him that little bit better.
2. Malcolm’s like me
To a degree, both seasons will be defined by Malcolm and how he played the game. The stats show that Malcolm did better in the game in Philippines than Caramoan. But it was his second season that cemented him as a fan favourite and a person the audience connected with. Even being down in the numbers as Matsing went on their losing streak, it never felt like Malcolm was in serious trouble in season twenty-five, obviously until the very end. But he became a loveable underdog in Caramoan, and everyone loved him for it. Not one to lie down and die, he kept the game interesting and everyone on their feet as the game progressed, and this made him someone that the fans related to much better. He also managed to choke in challenges, which helped his image as an ordinary guy instead of the challenge beast who could do no wrong in the Philippines. This made his exit all the more brutal the second time around, (as that girl crying on YouTube will attest to). I don’t think its coincidence that he won the Sprint Player of the Season award in Caramoan, despite a lower finishing place than his first time around.
1. Better “emotional older lady”
First off, I’m a huge fan of both Lisa and Dawn. I think they both brought a great deal to the game and proved that strategy isn’t as easy as being cold and heartless for everyone. Seeing them struggle with the ethical implications of the game was really interesting and I think it’s a shame that they have both been dismissed as “weepy” when I think the complexities of their struggles were fascinating television. Although Cochran, Malcolm, Phillip and Denise get all the airtime and the glory, it was actually these two who drove the decision making progress on their respective seasons. But if we are going to compare them, Dawn was better. Lisa would almost certainly have gone if Tandang had lost an early Immunity Challenge, and wasn’t really in control of the game until the Merge. Dawn had control from day one and was the key decision maker in aligning with ‘Stealth-R-Us’ over Francesca. She used her reputation as a sweet mother to act as a confidant to many players, then use the information they gave them to engineer their demise. While Lisa’s emotion at times seemed to impact her ability to make rational decisions, Dawn’s didn’t. Yes, she cried and became very emotional but it didn’t deter her from making the big moves when she had to; and by the way, you get your four front teeth knocked out, lose the retainer on national television, and be fine with it. Easy to say it wouldn’t bother you in a million dollar game, but not so easy to do when it’s you.
What do you think of the top 10? Do you agree? Disagree? Is it in the wrong order or are there ones that didn’t make the top 10 that you feel should’ve? Leave a comment below to let us know your thoughts!