SH Sean Harding/blog
Arrogance in the Amazon
Thursday, February 13th, 2003

Tonight was the big night: the premiere of Survivor: The Amazon. I was not disappointed. The big twsit this year is that the tribes are split along gender lines, and I think it’s brilliant. Predictably, the guys (Tambaqui tribe) instantly were sure they’d win every challenge, and they made no attempt to mask their confidence. I think it’s been demonstrated time and time again that cockiness does not win this game — especially in the beginning. But the guys this season started off with more arrogance than I think I’ve seen in all of the other seasons combined.

The men did clearly beat the ladies (Jaburu tribe) in the race to get fire. They used the kerosene from their laterns to start it and got it going in a matter of minutes. The women used nothing but sparks and kindling, spending hours on the project. As we watched this spectacle, my girlfriend and I thought that surely the women must have missed the kerosene in their kit. Or they didn’t know what it was. Because if they knew they had kerosene, why on earth would they waste their time trying to start a fire without it??? Yet moments after showing that the women finally got their fire started, Deena was shown explaining that they had been using the kerosene lamps for lighting. Perhaps this was just an editing trick, but it certainly gave the impression that the women knew they had kerosene but didn’t think to use a little of it to help start the fire. Duh!

The guys also outdid the women in the shelter department. The ladies weren’t even in that race. On the first day, the men built what has to be the nicest shelter I’ve ever seen on a Survivor season. The women had four logs laying on the ground. I don’t think that’ll cut it.

The first immunity challenge required a combination of physical and mental skills. It had a mix of puzzles and races with the members of the tribe tied together. They collected keys along the way to unlock themselves and split into smaller and smaller groups. This challenge is where the guys’ cockiness began bite them in the ass. They had a solid lead in the beginning. The women took waaaayyy too long on the first puzzle and I was sure they’d lost the whole challenge right there. But the crack team of Ryan and Daniel managed to blow their team’s massive lead by being unable to make it across a set of balance beams. Then the men sealed their fate by taking forever on the second puzzle while the women made it look easy. Jaburu won immunity and the men had to face the fact that they weren’t as invincible as they’d thought.

I think this is going to turn out to be a pretty interesting season. I’ll be very curious to see how the challenges play out over the coming weeks. I’m also looking forward to getting a better idea of how the power structure in Tambaqui is going to work. Each time I thought I had it figured out this week, something threw me for a loop.

It might be natural for me, as a man, to root for the men in this game. But I just can’t do that. The arrogance they’ve shown makes me want to see them lose again and again. If they don’t get their act together, the women are going to pick them off one by one on their way to the final three. I think this is going to be fun.

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