Ken Tucker
August 22, 2000 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Richard could be the ultimate ”Survivor”

Okay, we’re coming down to the ”Survivor” wire, and time to squeeze in a couple of final opinions.

Why Susan Should Win She has proven to be the most good humored, resourceful, and up front in the backstabbing strategy that has resulted in, in the words of gibbering goofball Sean, ”a concerted effort to whack people on the island.” This working class woman is the real life Roseanne — unpretentious (on last week’s episode, we watched her spouting opinions while she casually shaved the inside of her left thigh), gutsy, and blunt (of Sean, she said succinctly, ”He is so dumb, is he not?”). When the castaways were shown home movies of their families back home, Susan’s reaction seemed the most unmediated by media manipulation — her eyes glowed at the sight of her husband, and she grew uncharacteristically silent. Of all the contestants, Susan is the only one I can imagine having a good, rowdy conversation with in a bar. Best o’ luck to her in this show’s foregone conclusion.

Why Richard Will Win Susan, I fear, will not defeat the deceptively blubbery Richard in the final competitions. Combine Richard’s surprising physical endurance with his amazingly disciplined, well reasoned strategy for ridding himself of all competition, and I think he’ll emerge the winner. I’ve heard the counterargument: That Rudy and Richard will be the finalists, and then when the ”Survivor” jury votes, they’ll get all sentimental and hand the million bucks to the old coot. I think, as numerous booted off contestants have said in interviews, the show has been edited to emphasize certain characteristics of the players. And so while Richard’s on camera footage showcases him as a scheming devil, I think there’s also a beguiling side to him that will ultimately lead the jury to conclude, ”Y’know, Rich played the game better than anyone.” He deserves the cash. If I’m wrong, you can razz me about it, but I’m sticking to my guns here.

For more about the show, see’s complete ”Survivor” coverage.

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