Survivor Pearl Islands Panama - The Complete 7th Season
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The seventh season of Survivor made a legend out of Rupert Boneham, the most popular contestant in the history of the kingpin reality show. Was it because the giant bear of a man harbored a gentle personality, expressed in his job as a mentor for troubled teens? Was it his tie-dyed shirt and makeshift skirt? Or was it just good fortune that the season was set in the Pearl Islands of Panama, which allowed black-bearded Rupert, in the very first episode, to steal the opposing tribe's shoes, all in the name of the pirate theme?
But the season wasn't only about Rupert. It got off to an unusual start when the 16 castaways were tossed overboard wearing their street clothes and left to find supplies in a small village. There was Armani-suited attorney Andrew Savage straining to support a load of sand bags, muscular Osten Taylor making a surprising decision that inspired host Jeff Probst to alter his tag line, Sandra Diaz-Twine sneaking around in the bushes, tall blonde Christa Hastie in tears after being accused of throwing away fish, and Jon "Jonny Fairplay" Dalton pulling off a dirty trick and becoming one of the show's great villains. Other memorable contestants included athletic Burton Roberts, sexy mortician Darrah Johnson, and Scoutmaster Lillian Morris. Then when the 10 remaining people in the Drake and Morgan tribes expected a merge, an unprecedented twist prompted one castaway to declare, "Revenge, baby. It's all about revenge." Bonus features consist of commentary on two episodes by the team of Rupert, Sandra, and Christie, and on three episodes by Jon, Ryan Opray ("Ryan O."), Burton, and Andrew; a 29-minute season recap featuring new interviews with a number of contestants; and clips from each person's pre-game interview intercut with in-season footage that either supports or undercuts their plans. --David Horiuchi
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We stayed largely because of Rupert and Sandra, based on their attitudes in the first episode. Rupert's love for life, and Sandra's respect for the islanders they meet in the market, and skills in dealing with them, won us over.
OK, I'll admit there was also some appeal to seeing just how bad "Johnny Rotten" could be, some amazement at the contrast of resources and attitudes between the two tribes, and the twist with the "Outcasts" was very well done (and unexpected), but none of those elements alone (or even all of them together) would have kept us watching for the entire season had it not been for Rupert and Sandra.
We were very disappointed at the DVD options. Hving a 'play all' option is almost a required feature these days and not having one detracted fro the value of the DVD. In addition, not being able to select subtitles (some of the interactions are a bit hard to follow) was a negative aspect.
As a final note, we just could not believe Osten's decision in the first episode with respect to his clothing, were astonished at how Lill's behaviour following the Outcast episode was in such contrast to her oft-stated values, and were not impressed at all with Osten's attitude - did he just not know what he was getting into?