John Cochran – photo courtesy of www.contactmusic/news/john-c
I would like to invent a new phrase – as a result of last night’s victory by John Cochran. As many of you might know, I am an all-in, 100% fan of the longest running (13 years) reality show on CBS TV – SURVIVOR. I relish the very things it stands for: Outwit, Outplay, Outlast. People of all varieties and ages are chosen to play the game, taken to a remote and challenging location somewhere on the planet (it is different every time), provided with rice and/or beans and little else, and asked to compete in not only surviving the outrageously brutal conditions of the locale but many competitive games to see who wins a million dollars. People can be voted off by their peers at Tribal Councils if they are unpopular, cannot manage to contribute to the greater good of the team they are on, or merely for being a weakling….because it is of course a show about survival of the fittest.
Last night for the first time I can remember in Survivor history, a sort of symbolic “97 lb. weakling” type of guy won the million dollar prize. His victory was based upon a consistently stunning display of daily cleverness in his personal relationships with his peers plus his ability to win 3 key challenges in games that required endurance and strategy and that granted him immunity from being voted off.
Cochran, John that is, who had played the game once before and been voted off, was invited to return to play again as an alum. He began by getting a horrendous, plum purple and hot strawberry pink throbbing sunburn on the tops of his feet, and when Jeff Probst the host asked him how he got such a bad burn he replied, “instantly.”
Cochran is a brand new Harvard Law School graduate. He is an anorexic looking, slight and rather stoop-shouldered guy, wearing mostly Ivy League button-downs in a t-shirt kind of situation, but brandishing a wicked sense of humor that allowed him to slide under the radar a bit. He seemed rather unthreatening for nearly half the game, lacking in confidence and unspectacular. Everyone else, all the brave, muscular, beautiful specimens of human fitness, thought they could beat him. Then against all odds he began to win challenges – 3 of them – that afforded him immunity from being voted off at critical junctures.
He began to emerge as a player – an authentic competitor – who had watched the show for half his life and had even written his Harvard thesis and other papers about it. He knew exactly what his strategy was, and he played without theatrics and drama and any kind of fanfare – tactics often used by the other “easy on the eye” players.
“I kind of want to get a Segway, as lame as that is,” he told The Hollywood Reporter of how he’d spend his $1 million check. “I don’t know how often I’d use it, but I’d like to just ride around on one. Even if it’s just doing circles in my living room.” He also mentioned sinking some money into a new apartment and “a lot of wireless gizmos and stuff.”
During the season’s high-drama season, Cochran was also able to survive the entire run of the game without having a single vote cast against him during Tribal Council, an impressive accomplishment that only one other Survivor winner can claim (J.T. of Survivor: Tocantins).
I am thrilled with this victory – don’t tell me to “get a life” because I have a nice full life, thank you very much, and one thing I absolutely love is seeing a winner who has really performed and who deserves it. Someone who was the underdog and the least likely person to succeed. I think I would like to invent a new word – a word that describes the underdog, the long-shot, the person who never gives up and to whom his/her obvious short-comings are irrelevant. I would call that person a COCHRAN! Hurrah for John Cochran! I am a forever fan! You are a winner! You pulled it off!
photo courtesy of www.fanpop.com/clubs/survivor