The Super Bowl of Soap

More than 30 gazillion addicts will be offline on Wednesday with eyeballs
stitched to CBS’ Survivor
finale. With just four lucky contestants remaining, the late night soap
plans to sign off with a bang. Air-brushed onto a tropical island in the
South China Sea, the show’s original cast of 16 has at times shown absurd
ignorance and wicked back-stabbing that makes Silicon Valley look like
summer camp. With Wall Street still fresh from delivering the Internet’s
most violent shakeout to date, Survivor’s very premise has struck a
meaningful chord amongst techies.

Who’ll get booted off the island next? – is fast becoming the
adopted euphemism for dot-com start-ups and their army of worker-bees. So,
who better to speculate on who has what it takes to claim that pot of gold
at the end of the rainbow than a cast of risk-takers panning for Net gold?
Antigua-based gambling Web sites have even started taking bets on the
remaining castaways with Rudy Boesch the odds-on favorite to walk away a

The Sentimental Favorite

The 72-year-old former Navy SEAL narrowly escaped elimination in the early
rounds. Rudy’s tell-it-like-it-is attitude that nearly sent him packing is
what ultimately kept him in the game and made him a runaway favorite with
viewers. Older colleagues of mine started complaining bitterly when the
seniors appeared to be systematically poached one-by-one in the early
goings. But, sunburned Rudy outsmarted the young bucks, and whatever the
outcome, the grandfatherly crabapple will have had the last laugh.

My gut instinct tells me two things. Since Rudy plainly told Rich he would
break his stems if he were double-crossed by the alliance, that implies a
toss-up between the two. No one has stayed under the jury pool’s radar
better than Rudy, which seems to leave him an inside track at the feel-good
story of the year. 🙂

Just Keeps on Truckin’

I enjoy the spice that Sue brings as the self-proclaimed
redneck-playing-possum. She made a deal with Rich early on, and hasn’t
looked back since. Despite giving some serious consideration to a
double-crossing coup, it looks like she’s content to hold out hope for a
nod from Rich to join him at the finish line. With a snowball’s chance
opposite Rudy, there’s a strong likelihood that Rich chooses the next least
palatable candidate to join him as he stands before the jury.

A Deal With the Devil

What can I say about Kelly? Except that we share the same name, and that
she can’t row a canoe for squat. The girl with the tongue ring certainly
runs away with the “Nine Lives” award. I’m as shocked and indifferent about
her as the rest of you; but, if she got this far, one final strange twist
of events could easily find her in the winner’s circle. Bottom line – if
it’s between her and anyone else on the island, the Pagong jury will
undoubtedly put her in a new tax bracket.

The One You Love to Hate

Of the four jockeying to extend their fifteen minutes of fame, the
comeback-of-the-year award has to go to Richard Hatch. Sure, he’s downright
obnoxious, but who didn’t pencil the whiney corporate trainer’s name in to
get kicked to the curb during the debut episode? He also gets the nod for
the don’t-judge-a-book-by-its-cover award. After shedding some 80 pounds
under 100-plus degree heat, the 39-year-old Rich showed he was pretty nifty
with a spear and a pair of fins. But along with pulling his weight, he’s
also masterminded one of the most ruthless and sneakiest displays of
office-island politics most have ever laid eyes on.

He’d definitely go far at any number of Web start-ups, but there’s no
chance in Hades that an angry jury of his peers will let him near that
brass ring. My colleagues tell me that if Rich wins it all, it would be
like the bad guy winning. Call him what you will,

but the rascal has
provided the majority of controversy that makes this engine go. And to a
network that nobody used to watch, he’s worth his weight in gold. Rich is
the dark horse candidate – which is why he’s my guess to win the whole

Any questions or comments, love letters or hate mail? As always, feel
free to forward them to [email protected].

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