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The Celebrity Apprentice
May 09 2012, 05:00 PM by Christine Montgomery
We're only one episode away from the season finale of Survivor: One World, and if you're having trouble predicting a winner, maybe it's time to start following your animal instincts. Last week, we introduced you to an exciting way of watching survivor called Edgic, and this week we're bringing you the role imagery and symbolism plays in Survivor: One World. How have popular Samoan legends snuck their way into episodes Survivor? Did Matt Quinlan's rooster crowing have a deeper mean than we originally supposed? Is the ultimate Survivor castaway also the ultimate coconut gatherer? These answers and more in our look at symbolism and storytelling in Survivor: One World.
By: Riva Gold
On a season where appendicitis is contagious and “big words” need to be “explanated”, is it any wonder the editors are starting to let animals do most of the talking? While the game is afoot, those regular close-ups of Samoan creatures may offer us much more than just pretty faces̶ – they can reinforce and foreshadow the season’s main storyline. Here’s a look at some of the show’s lesser-known stars and what they might mean in Survivor: One World.
In a once popular legend in Samoa, Nafuana, Goddess of War, humiliated the local men by winning battles through pure, unadulterated logic and careful decision-making. One day, Nafuana got stranded on a desert island and was rescued by bats, permanently tying the successful tribal leader to the benevolent winged creatures.
In Survivor: One World, the editors often show us groups of bats right before Salani talks strategy, especially when it’s Chelsea and Kim. Could this mean that a woman will become victorious on the island after a series of careful, well-planned decisions, leaving the men embarrassed and confused?
Many people think of rats as scheming, unsavoury creatures associated with disease. No surprise then that rats were linked to this season’s uber-villain Colton Cumbie. Even after Colton got medically-evacuated, rats were almost exclusively shown in scenes where the theme was social ineptitude or pettiness. Notably, we saw a rat as Tarzan confronted Chelsea to ask her if she hated him because she was frustrated with her own plastic surgeon. Clueless cartoon villain Mike was tied to a rat in his boot episode as he declared his love of blindsides. Like honey at a bee festival, rats are best avoided if you want to Survive.
Much like Fans vs. Favorites, this season of Survivor is rife with chicken symbolism. In episode one, Salani snatched two chickens (foreshadowing for Troy and Jay?) right out from the hands of Manono. Later, nuSalani masterfully caught and devoured a chicken while nuManono let one escape. Does the tribe that eats poultry together stay together?
Then there’s the bizarre inner-Manono storyline where unlikely fan favourite lawyer Matt Quinlan named his four-person frat pack the “Rooster Alliance” and pitted it against the Misfit men’s “Chicken alliance.” “The roosters can’t let the chickens win,” he insightfully explained. (Perhaps they don’t teach biology in law school?). The non-rooster chicken quickly became the victors.
When a pig shows up on the island in Never Say Die, it walks calmly across camp. While Troy, Sabrina and Christina chase it frantically yelling “Kill the pig!” à la Lord of the Flies, the pig manages to escape the army of hungry castaways at an almost comically slow pace. We soon learn that puppet-master Kim likes the pig and wants to keep it as a pet instead. In Golding’s world, a pig’s head is often thought to represent the savage, uncivilized aspect of the boys’ camp. In One World, does it share the same meaning?
This season’s editors have taken a clear stance about what it means to be a winner: if you can’t master a coconut, you need to go home immediately. If you can open it effortlessly, you are Master of the Game.
When Iraq war vet-turned-stand-up comedian Bill Posley lost immunity for his tribe, we were suddenly treated to a close-up of Bill struggling to open a coconut. He eventually gave up and handed it to Mike, who opened it effortlessly. Bill went home the next episode even though his tribe won immunity.
Later in the season, when Kat explained how important it was to her not to be seen as a weak player, she was shown struggling to remove the husks from a coconut. She went home the next episode.
Shortly after the merge, when Troyzan found the hidden immunity idol and then immediately won individual immunity, we saw him masterfully slicing coconuts as though he came out of the womb with a paring knife in his hand. A couple of episodes later, he was shown visibly struggling with a coconut as Kim convinced him to vote out former tribemate Mike and lose his numbers advantage in the game.
Like in life, success requires constant vigilance and correlates strongly with tropical fruit.
Keep checking our Survivor Blog for the latest Survivor interviews, recaps, and more!
Watch Survivor: One World Wednesday at 8.00 et/pt.
Watch the Survivor: One World finale Sunday at 8.00 et/pt.
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