Countdown To Africa

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Joanna: C+ | Grade It Now!
Countdown or Smackdown?

Next, they start talking about fate and luck, which leads us to the fateful but not-so-lucky moment wherein Mike falls into the fire. ["Once again, we've all been assaulted by this footage so many times that I don't think I really need to link to it. Right?" -- Wing Chun] Sue says that the secret to winning the game is to "physically not hurt yourself." Hee. Sue. Jeff says that day "changed it all," and insists that he gave up when Mike fell into the fire. Tina says "fate played a huge role"; she believes she wouldn't have won if Mike hadn't taken a digger into the fire. And then she might not be sitting here right now in that ugly sequined tank top and the entire 1998 MAC Fall cosmetics line on her face. Rodger reveals that he'd allied with Mike to go into the final three with Elisabeth earlier that day. Sigh. Mike tells us that the incident proved that no matter what happens, you can never be in complete control.

And then we meet more Africa Survivors: Kim Johnson is fifty-seven -- she's a retired teacher from Oyster Bay, New York who wants to "kick butt" and "win the friggin' million dollars." She doesn't say anything about "taking names." Brandon Quinton is twenty-five and a bartender from Dallas, Texas. If there's a drink mixing contest in Africa, there will be quite the competition. Brandon sits at a desk and queens that he needs to win because he has a crappy apartment. The low battery light is flashing on his tape. This, by the way, is the guy who listed "smoking" as a hobby on his application. ["I LOVE HIM." -- Wing Chun] Diane Ogden is a forty-two-year-old mail carrier and Sue Hawk impersonator from Lincoln, Nebraska. She tell the tape, "What you see is what you get." What you get is some very big hair. And finally, Kim Powers: twenty-nine-year-old freelance marketer from Conshohocken, Pennsylvania. She does the interview from a bubble bath, and flirts her way onto the show.

We next get a montage of Survivor losers revealing the secret to winning. If they really knew the secret, wouldn't they have won? Various people list the following as factors in success: flexibility, blending in, good relationships, emotional detachment, lying (Jeff Varner), eating a lot and having a lot of weight to lose, persistence, making a contribution, not dominating, "fak[ing] it" (Gervase), hard work, staying low-key, good physical condition, not pissing anyone off, and being yourself. Tina then adds, "Luck."

And now, one of my favorite Talking Rudy Doll lines: he tells a cameraperson, "I'll probably never see these people again. That's the way I want it!" I wish I could say the same -- about not ever seeing them again, not about not wanting to never want to see them again. Did I trick you up there? Meant to. Anyway, we now get various clips of downtrodden tribes. We see the flood during the second season; we see the dire rice rescue, and the "Outback internet café." I think the editors just got tired and threw in the last moments of the "Most Outrageous Moments" special. Rodger tells us he came away with the belief that the show was real. He doesn't mention that a body double jumped off the cliff in his place.

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