What do you think of the ''Pearl Island'' finale?
What a fitting finale for ''Survivor: Pearl Islands.'' It started with Jeff Probst getting the players drunk on mimosas and ended with one of the best handlings of jury Q&As ever. I mean, if the jobs Sandra and Lill did at that final tribal council didn't spell out exactly why the former deserved to win, nothing did. While Lill was busy cursing, referring to herself in the third person, and generally just getting very angry at the people about to give away $1 million, Sandra stayed calm, cool, and collected. She didn't pander to them, but didn't paint herself as superior either. She was just Sandra. And that was good enough for me. And good enough for the jury too, by a whopping 6-1 margin. (Earth to Tijuana!)
I've gone on and on over the past few weeks on why Sandra should win, but let me tell you why I would've gone cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs if the scoutmaster had taken home the booty. First off, the woman was an emotional wreck. I seriously thought she was going to have an emotional breakdown any time she had to make a decision of any importance whatsoever. Fairplay wasn't the only one who thought her tears to be a bit much upon reading letters from home. Yes, I probably would've cried too, but I certainly wouldn't have made such a SCENE about it. Not that I want to lump myself in with Fairplay. I mean, did you catch that white man's fro and mustache he was rockin' at the final Tribal Council? Dude, where's the Foghat reunion?
Anyway, back to the show on a whole. It was so good, I didn't even mind the whole ''let's remember all our fallen tribemates'' montage, which I would say usually bores me to tears but I don't want you to confuse me with Lill. I mean, at least they got poured on while they did it, and at least we got to watch a big boat go up in flames. Plus, it was pretty funny to catch Osten in his montage yelling for help while doing the doggie paddle in 3-feet-high water. Osten -- classic.
So first went Darrah, and then Lill, after showing off her ''aerobic squats,'' brought Sandra instead of Jon to the final two with her. A strategic mistake, you say? I'm not so sure. Yes, in the reunion show (which we'll get to in a minute) the jury said they would have awarded Lill the winner had she gone up against Jon, but I'm not so sure that before seeing all the episodes, that would have been the case. I mean, love him or loathe him (and I think it's safe to say most of would choose column B on this one) you have to admit this guy played the game well.
Forget his misogynistic interviews and cocky attitude. Just look at the way he manipulated people and constantly managed to get the women to turn on each other instead of him. I probably would have given him the money over Lill. (But maybe that's because I can't get over the fact that she had already been voted out and wasn't there all 39 days… which obviously makes her a cheater. Obviously.)
So okay, Sandra. YAY! Someone we actually LIKE winning the game. When's the last time that happened? It's a good thing we got to see a lot of her during the actual finale since she was practically invisible during the reunion. One thing clearly on display, however, was Probst's reunion wardrobe. Dude, nice shirt! Did the ''Queer Eye'' guys get a hold of you or something? Spiffy. I also loved how the host with the most actually did that aforementioned impromptu vote to show Lill how badly she messed up by bringing along Sandra. Yeah, that's not rubbing salt on the wound or anything.
We also got to see Osten defend himself for being thought of as a wimp, Jon's grandmother defend herself for being thought of as dead, and repeated, uncontrollable yelling by our main man Rupert. Oh yeah, and my own Entertainment Weekly got a shout-out for the piece I wrote about that 14-year-old who came up with an Immunity challenge. (Other reporters break news about Saddam Hussein being captured; I write about ''Survivor'' and 14-year-old girls. Oh well.)
So, where does it all leave us, people? With a six-week break until ''Survivor: All-Stars.'' And I will say nothing more about that since I am literally contractually obligated to stay mum on the subject. But I will say this: the franchise is back. After the debacle that was ''Survivor: Thailand,'' we've been treated to two stellar seasons, and you have to figure the next one will be pretty great. (OR ELSE!!!)
Until then, I'll miss Rupert, Sandra, Pelican Pete, and yes, even you, Fairplay and Osten, you freakin' knuckleheads. To everyone reading along (i.e. my mother and you two teens out there who just hacked someone's AOL account), thanks for surviving these often-nonsensical ramblings every week. See you on Super Bowl Sunday! I hear they're even playing a football game that day…