This season started out really promising. Instead of a tribe filled with the typical young hotties and a few older folks thrown in for good measure, it was split evenly by age. And there was a Super Bowl-winning coach among them. And a crazy homophobic guy who had no problem spouting his thoughts on national TV. And a girl with a prosthetic leg. And a girl who wanted to throw that prosthetic leg in the fire. But then after a few weeks, it all just fizzled out, leaving us struggling to stay interested through the finale. Here's where we think Nicaragua went wrong:
10. Doubled Up Challenges
This isn't unique to this particular season, but it has been bothering us for a while now. Sometimes the producers decide to cram the reward challenge and the immunity challenge into one, instead of giving us two chances to see how people perform. It's lazy, uncreative and, worst of all, leads to more boring filler before Tribal Council.
9. Medallion of Power
In theory, this medallion could have played a major role, but the older team was so unfairly matched that it didn't matter. And instead of leaving it in play after the switch-ups to see if it really made a difference, the producers took it out of use. Lame.
8. They Are Idiots
Hey, we were impressed that Jane could make fire quickly and seems like a decent fisher-woman, but did she not think to stop her tribemates from putting the wooden boxes that housed all of their food and belongings in a ring around the fire pit? And after all of the hype about the fire, we didn't even get to see the reaction of the reward-winning tribe-members when they got back. We feel cheated.
7. Jimmy Johnson, LVP
Jimmy Johnson was the show's first actual celebrity, and the famed football coach seemed happy to just be playing, even if he (supposedly) wasn't in it to win it. He sure did soak up the limelight though, as Probst and some of the castaways seemed star struck in his presence. It was no wonder that after several losing challenges, he had his torch snuffed. Guess he didn't count on leading a team of other elderly folks against a bunch of fit twentysomethings.
6. Unplayed Immunity Idols
They made them harder to find after Li'l Russell's run, but the clues were too confusing for these not-too intelligent folks (see also: setting camp on fire). Once players did find the idols, they just hung around totally unused, even when they could have saved someone like Brenda (yeah, we're looking at you, Sash). And they were apparently so disposable that Marty just handed one over. What a waste.
5. Old vs. Young
Another failed experiment in the Survivor universe. Since the rest of the oldies weren't as tough as Jane, it was really unfair to pit the over-40 folks against the young bucks. And they mixed up the tribes fairly early... guess they realized that this season could quickly end up lopsided. The takeaway from this should be that if they ever want to try grouping teams by age again, they should send copies of the P90X tapes to everyone on the older team a month in advance.
4. Been Caught Stealing
We love us some mischievous thieving -- like when Rupert stole those shoes after all - but this season, the behavior's been rampant and just plain malicious. Holly stole Dan's shoes, filled them with sand and threw them in the water. And then there was NaOnka, who stole food, flour and pots and pans... before someone forced her to pretend to have a conscience and return them.
3. Invisible Men and Women
Until the week she was eliminated, we barely knew that Alina existed. But we were slightly more aware of her than "Purple Kelly" and Benry. What game were these two been playing all season? They did next to nothing, contributed little to the conversation and might as well not even have been there. Would anyone on the tribe even have noticed if Purple Kelly just up and disappeared in the night, instead of quitting in public? We doubt it.
2. Dumb Nicknames
Benry and Sash came into the game with some stupid nicknames, which we hate, but sort of understand. But what on earth possessed Kelly to allow herself to be called "Purple Kelly" for an entire season, even after the other Kelly was gone? What would've been wrong with "Kelly S."? And then there's Jud. Who is that you might ask? He's the guy they've calling Fabio all season, and even the editors are playing along with it. Ridiculous and pointless.
1. Just Quit Already
We'd heard that there were two people threatening to quit, but why draw this thing out for so long? If people just want to go ahead and throw in the towel, why not let them? As opposed to: giving them an afternoon to think about it; asking what they want to do with their torches; letting them sit on the jury; hashing out their reasoning, which amounted to "It's cold and wet," for the better part of an hour. It was all so tedious. Will "I got bit by a mosquito" be the excuse next season?
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