Location: Cincinnati, Ohio, United States

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Is one in the hand always worth more than two in the bush?

Tonight the CBS reality show Survivor offered one contestant the chance to make one very difficult decision.

In the second-to-last episode, Survivor held a reward challenge where one of the final 5 tribe members could win a car. It's a very traditional challenge, and at the conclusion of it, the shows host announced that the contestant could either take the car for themselves, and an overnight BBQ feast for two, or trade it away. Jeff explained that in Survivor history the winner of the car challenge has never won the entire game, so the winner of the challenge could either keep the prize package, or give their car away so that all four of the other tribe mates wouldbe given a car.

It's a decision, I hope I never have to make as the political implications, particularly in Survivor are astounding. As you a probably aware, at the end of each episode the tribe has to vote on of their own members out.

So the choice becomes, do you keep the car for yourself, then ask those same four people to not vote you out? Or do you give the cars away, and hope that this will generate enough goodwill to advance you further in the game. After all, it would seem hard to vote out a person who just gave you a car, but in the game of Survivor there are no guarantees and the other tribe mates could just as easily go up to the voting urn and say "So Long, and Thanks for all the Cars"

The way I see it the best way to handle the car challenge is to lose it. If you keep the car for yourself, you are as good as gone as you have just upset all four other people. I mean you may survive if you are on the majority side of a 3-2 alliance, becuase getting rid of you will make it even, and your alliance could lose your carefuly built power. If you keep the cars and you are in the minority alliance, you have given the other people a big reason to evict you, However if you are in a 4-1 majotiy, your Alliance can afford to toss you out of site and still keep the lead.

On the other side the arguments for giving the cars away aren't that great, I mean you might buy youself a vote or two, because it would be very hard to vote out the person who just gave you a car, butthinking long term, do you really want the person who gave 3 jury members a car in the final two. That is a lot of payola to the jury, who could base their entire vote on the fact they gave you a car.

As I said, the only answer is not to win, then odds would be that somoene else would give you a car.

Okay, what really happened was Cindy won the car, AND kept the car for herself, but a if she didn't cuase enough ill will, she kept on bragging in front of her tribemates about her new car. It should surprise no one except maybe Cindy that Cindy was evicted from the tribe at the very next opportunity.

What I would like to find out it, Jeff has used this "Give or Keep" twist on a challenge in a former season,. (mind you in that instance the prize was more sentimental than material), but in that case the contestant "Gave away" the prize to all the other tribemates, and Jeff respondede by awardingthe contestant another even grander prize for his generosity. I wonder if Jeff had another prize for Cindy in store in case she gave away the cars.


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