Dave Cullen's Blog

Conclusive Evidence of My Existence

Dave Cullen

Dave Cullen
New York, New York, USA
June 03
Written for NY Times, W Post, Slate, Salon, Daily Beast. Publisher Twelve (Hachette)
An expanded paperback edition of my book COLUMBINE came out March 1, 2010. Links to the book and my bio below: http://www.davecullen.com/columbine.htm

Editor’s Pick
DECEMBER 12, 2008 1:10AM

Survivor: Best . . . move . . . EVER!

Rate: 4 Flag

Now I really love Sugar.

Near the start of the episode, I was shaking my head. I love Matty and Sugar, I decided, but I could hardly call them good at this game. Matty boxed himself into a corner without even realizing he had done it, and his solution was to be angry and bitter about it. Dude, think.

And Sugar, I love the girl, but tossed by the wind again, open to every passing breeze. I usually like to see the prize go to a worthy competitor as well as a good human being, but tonight I said fuck it: Matty and Sugar don't deserve it, but I'm rooting for them anyway.

(Bob, on the other hand, is smart enough to win the thing, but hasn't seemed to figured out he's in the game. He was kind of going backwards. Last week he rigged up a fake idol and then came up with a scheme that made it useless, and all he accomplished was get Kenny in trouble, making him feel so guilty he promised Kenny a future necklace. So now he was at negative one immunity necklace from where he started last week. He's going backwards.)

But then . . .

Little Miss Windblown l decided what she wanted, and man did she make it happen.

She engineered Crystal's ouster two different ways. I don't believe that's ever happened on Survivor before. She organized four out of six votes for Crystal, and then fooled everyone on the idol and let Matty play it as a backup plan.

Wow. The idol play in itself was a bold move, and I think a first, but coming on top of the ouster she had already organized. Impressive.

It was tough organizing the votes to begin with. She had to pull a big act on Crystal and Kenny, faking that she had faked to Bob. At the same time she had to convince Bob that her other fake was the fake one, and her plea to him was legit. She had to do the same to Matty--easier, since he had little to lose--and get him to convince Susie.

Sugar had to work every single person in the game to make it work. And she did.

And she figured out a way to do it so that Bob would trust her more because her plan involved him keeping his idol, and he still got to save face with the jury, by being true to his word, with vote going for Crystal and protecting Kenny.

It all fit together.

And then she wore the idol openly, and convinced everyone she would play it since it was the last night it mattered, so there was almost zero chance of her getting a vote and she could safely pass it to Matty.

Most hidden immunity idols have gone unused, with the holder voted off holding on for later. She got hers to protect two people in the same vote.


Until tonight, no one was really playing the freaking game except Kenny, who was overplaying it, and maybe Crystal. Those were the only two really trying to think ahead and play the game out, but they didn't assess the people around them very well.

It's kind of an odd season, coming down to four of the five finalists fumbling along with no real strategy week to week. In most other Survivor crowds they would be obliterated by an organized pack, but the pack leaders have all self-destructed this year.

And I mostly like who's left standing.

I'd love to see Sugar, Matty and Bob in the final three, and I think I might get to--though this game seldom goes where it seems to be headed.

I'd like that, though. And after tonight, I'm rooting for Sugar first again, and Matty has dropped to second. But I'd be thrilled for either of them. I think it would change either of their lives for the good, and I think they're both wonderful people. And I'd love to see either of their faces lit up. They'll be happy without it, too, though, and that's the best part.


FYI: Last week's Survivor summary. 


So anyone who's interested, I'll host a live blogging of the finale and reunion show Sunday.

The right side of the country sees the show before the left side, which includes me, but that's OK. Here's the rules:

No rules. Post whatever you want.

I'll open the thread before the show starts east of the Mississippi (more or less), 8ET/7CT. You all on the right side can start posting right away in the comments. Anyone like me wanting to avoid spoilers, just don't look at the comments.

I'll blog in text of the thread as I get the feed an hour behind you and two hours ahead of the Pacifics. You can chuckle about me heading in all the wrong directions, oblivious to what is about to smack me in the head.

Once I get to the winner, I'll plunge into the comments and see what insights I missed.

Everyone else can play it however you want--peeking ahead or not. On other forums, when I'm an hour behind, I've just posted blind: meaning I add comments without reading the other comments, since many are way ahead of me.

And if no one is that interested in Survivor, I'll just post along by myself.

Now if anyone has another idea, I'd be open to adapting.

Author tags:

reality tv, survivor

Your tags:


Enter the amount, and click "Tip" to submit!
Recipient's email address:
Personal message (optional):

Your email address:


Type your comment below:
Yes, yes, yes--go, Sugar! You're giving her an awful lot of agency, though. Are you sure she played it--or was it sorta kinda maybe just happened that way.

I would tune in to your live blogging, but I can't imagine any way it won't be spoiled by the East Coasters.
It sure looked like it was all her doing: she's the one who went to Bob, for sure, and then came back and lied to Crystal and Kenny. We saw her tackle everyone but Susie, and she told Bob that she planned on Matty taking care of that.

Did you mean the vote or the idol? I don't think either one just happened. If she did all that to mastermind the vote, I'm sure she thought through the idol as well.

And it was clear that she had pre-arranged giving the idol to Matty, because did you see how he reached out for it, totally expecting. There was no surprise on his face. They had worked it out.

And I would not be surprised if it worked the other direction as well: If Bob and/or Susie was wavering, the proposed idol manuever may have clinched it.

Coups on that show only work if people believe it can be pulled off. Nobody wants to be on the wrong side of a failed coup--like Kenny last week, for instance. The weakest players, especially, want to vote with the majority.

They may have doubted Sugar could pull it off. At that point, she may or may not have played her trump card: telling them that she'd pull a switcho on the idol to invalidate votes for Matty.

I doubt she did that, though. Much wiser not to take that chance. They might double-cross her. Her best bet was to have everyone but Matty think she was going to play it herself, so that no one voted for her.
Count me in Dave. Nick and I are HUGE Survivor fans. We always enjoy each episode. I love Sugar...I think she is smart with a heart. She was brilliant last night and I was very happy to see Crystal, who has always had a mean streak (IMO) leave and not suspect it. I haven't cared for Kenny for awhile now. I love Bob, Sugar and Matty and as Sugar said last night, it would nice to see the final 3 good people make it to the final. Corrinne was one of the nastier people I've seen it awhile and I was happy to see her go.

When I was visiting my daughter this fall, we went to Cape Cod for the weekend. I was at a local coffee shop and the women at the table next to me all knew Bob and were talking about the show. Being a huge Survivor fan, I butt in on their conversation. They told me Bob is a great guy and he and his wife own an island in the area. A physics teacher owning an island? Yes, well, it's small and very rustic...been in the family for awhile. I don't know...think Sugar or Matty (who went goo gaa gga desperate over his gorgeous girlfriend/now fiance) might be able to use the money a little bit more.

Still trying to figure out how to participate in live blogging without looking at the comments...
Is it worth it to watch if you missed the whole season? I usually follow the series, but not this time. Will there be a recap?
She's clever and very sweet. I do hope Sugar wins. As of lately she's played better than Kenny. I just don't think that vile jury (except for Charlie) will give it to her.
Here, here! Last night's episode made me stand up and cheer.
Glad to see fellow Survivor fans. I still enjoy it.

Lea, there are five people left and their personalities will come through very fast--I think you'll enjoy. They also start the final ep with a ten-minute recap of the season, but I'll try to find a link online. There are lots out there.

Mary, nice to know we're in perfect tandem. There seems to be a lot more consensus about favorites than in the past.

An island? I would not have suspected. Yeah, I think Matty and Sugar can both see a bigger impact on their lives. They could use the money AND the confidence boost. (Matty is confident on the surface, but clearly also has a lot of self-doubt. He could use this.)

I'm wondering the same about the jury, Melinda. It will get either to or three more members, depending how many finalists they go with.

They absolutely, positively have to keep Bob out of the finals, or he'll win in a landslide. He'll probably get all four votes of his old teammates, and he'll get others too, because he's a nice guy, a smart guy, dominated in challenges, would have overcome huge odds to get there on his own . . . He'll cream any competition.

That means they can't bring him to the final three, because sometimes there are three finalists.

I'm afriad that the two bitters--nast Corrine and the evil troll craving more attention with that idiotic mohawk--are unlikely to vote for Sugar, but she could win a lot of others, especially if she is seen as the surprise mastermind who played dumb and fooled everyone. (Though some will be sure she was just lucky and dumb.)

I think Kenny will vote his crush on her if he's on the jury--as well as some respect for beating him--and Matty will be grateful and also like her better than the others. Bob will probably give it to her. He looked damn proud of her and impressed last night. And if she makes it to the finals, she'll have carried through on it.

At least one or two or three of those will be on the jury, and she has a good shot at all their votes.

I have no clue what Susie will do. I don't think anyone on the show can predict her behavior.

It's also very hard to know how Crystal will go if Kenny is not in the finals--and I doubt he will be. I think she'll also vote for Bob if he's available. If not . . . I don't see her voting for Susie, but might vote for anyone else above Sugar. She seems like a grudge-holder.
Mary, did you mean you're torn about having the self-control not to look?
I don't watch this show, but your post is making me consider it so I can follow your live blog.

we had Randy's scooby doo eyebrow lifted expression when Prebe threw his "idol" into the fire tivoed for two weeks.

If I can figure out how to get my laptop to be comfy during the finally, I will live blog with you!

of course you love the gay son more! moms always do. hahaha. but i'm telling all your other kids. (would you mind emailing their phone numbers?) oh wait, they already know. i was/am my mom's favorite, btw. that's not my opinion, that's the unanimous and not-entirely-pleased consensus of my eight sibs, so i'm taking their word for it. i'm way down my dad's list.

lt, just tune in sunday and join in. it will be interesting to get the reactions of you (and hopefully lea) who don't have a history with these people, and see if they come off differently.

epriddy, make it work. wouldn't be the same without you.

my laptop is also on its deathbed--enough to keep me from live blogging either election night or the Project Runway final--but i pulled it back from the brink this week.

(it's got two problems: 1) the power cord never fit snugly into the back and somehow got looser, so now i have to be very ginger or it goes onto battery power. if i watch it closely--which i'll do sunday--i can keep it going for 3-4 hours, which will be more than enough. (i'll do all the pre-posting from my desktop in the office down the hall, and can always retreat here as a backup.)

how the hell do i fix something like that? duct tape? maybe if i can get it into the exact right position when i tape it.

what a piece of shit.
I will try to be there on Sunday, Dave. You have made me really curious and it will be interesting to see how involved I can get without all the previous details and drama.
yea!!! glad to hear it lea.

and RS, yeah, it was something. not who i would have predicted to pull the big move, i have to admit.

but she actually struck at least one big deal before, didn't she?

you know what i thought was odd: the key to her plan was turning bob, and when she met up with him on the footpath, she faced the same direction as him and looked straight ahead as she made her pitch, instead of looking him in the eye. strange. any explanations?
Lea, I gave up after season two. The fact the show produced one Elizabeth Hasselbeck was enough to turn me off. I didn't even know it was still on. Consider Jeff Propst the luckiest man alive.
My keyboard list its Y key and now I have to press a recessed button in the middle of the keyboard very carefully or it won't make a Y.

Also, the power. i hate laptops, but I hate desktops even more...
I love the show and have been watching Survivor since the Iron Age, but the finales always leave me cold after about the first 45 minutes too much schmaltz before the jury shows up and too much niceness after the jury shows up.

But I'll watch.
john, i agree that the finales tend to have filler. they seem to have 90 minutes of material, stretched to two hours. i tend to start them late and FF through the starting recap, the fallen comrades section and some others. or i just post to my blog!

it's been a few years since i did that--will be fun to be back. it's better, too, because i always feel i will miss some good stuff mixed in. this way i can keep an ear open as i post. same for you guys.

i really love the reunion show (about the only reality show where i like their reunion), and am always hungry for more. i'd be very happy if they trimmed the finale to 90 minutes and gave the extra half hour to the reunion. i'm not holding my breath, though. they want to hold their audience by withholding the result.
This is a fantastic season for Survivor. I've read some terrible criticism of it, however. I don't understand why. Sugar and Kenny are so much smarter than they initially let on. I like all of them, but I think I'd like to see Sugar or Kenny for the win.
Dave, yes, I'm afraid I'll look and find out who won before they announce the winners. Since you're doing the live post, are you going to find out beforehand?
kelly, get some self control! hahaha.

nope, i'm not planning to peak. just going to post blindly along, knowing that i've already been proved dead wrong on a vote or challenge or two. seems more fun that way.
live blog now open here:


so let's move the conversation there, thanks.
Comments are now closed.