- Contraction of ‘Show’ and ‘Romance’, describes a romantic relationship on a television reality show. “Jenna and Charlie must be in a showmance”
(WARNING! THIS WILL SPOIL SEASONS 4,8,13,16 22, 23 and 33)
There are few things in reality television more uncomfortable, heart warming or heart breaking than a showmance. Survivor typically isn’t known for its showmances like Big Brother is, on account of the shorter game time and a less than optimal hygienic situation.
They are still a prominent aspect of gameplay though, so through the analysis of three of the most prominent showmances in the show’s history, we will attempt to discover all that we can from showmances young and old in Survivor history.
Part one: Flash in the Pan (Candice and Adam S13 – Cook Islands)
Ah Cook Islands, the season that proved once and for all that the hidden immunity idol is a powerful tool bordering on overpowered, Yul Kwon manipulates his way to the million by use of the hidden immunity idol and armed with the knowledge that Elephants can’t run up trees. Cook Islands was the genesis of such fan favourites as Jonathan Penner, Ozzy Lusth, Parvati Shallow and Candice Cody/Woodcock.
Candice Woodcock as she was known on this season entered into a little showmance with Adam Gentry, you might not remember Adam but he was the only person other than Ozzy to win individual immunity in Cook Islands.
He was also the person to give us one of the most uncomfortable moments in the first 13 seasons of Survivor. You see, Candice was in pretty bad shape at the merge because she and Penner had decided to mutiny at 12, meaning Rarotonga went to 8 players and Aitutaki went to 4 players, this Aitu 4 would go on to run the season and proceeded to participate in the greatest (Definitely not engineered slightly by producers) comeback in the history of the show. Candice, despite being part of a majority alliance on Rarotonga and having a distinct numbers advantage manage to lose 3 immunity challenges in a row and yet, still being 5-4 up managed to lose Jonathan who flips and thus began the systematic elimination of Rarotonga and guess who was next on the Aitu 4’s list.
So sadly, we say goodbye to Candice as her final vote gets read out Candice decides to leave us with 10 awkward seconds of pashing. Here in all of its uncomfortable glory.
Lesson learned: As Jeff puts it when he snuffs Candice’s torch “A kiss is nice, maybe if it were love he’d have given you the immunity necklace.”
A fun fact for everyone reading: when Cook Islands was airing Candice had already started dating her now husband John Cody, so remember all you future winners of ‘Survivor’: Don’t do anything you might find awkward watching with a partner later on down the line.
Part two – Totally Real… Right? (Ozzy and Amanda s16 – Micronesia)
Speaking of awkward, who can forget the just wonderful romance between Ozzy and Amanda in Micronesia. In Micronesia we were treated to a couples alliance of Ozzy, Amanda, Parvati, James and Cirie.
This went on to be the most important alliance made in the game because not only does from its ashes does the Black Widow Brigade get formed but their first target was original alliance member Ozzy.
Oh you are Ozzy, don’t worry. See, after Ozzy is blindsided with an immunity idol in his pocket, that isn’t the end of the relationship. Oh no, not by a long shot. Ozzy was not content with getting blindsided by his girlfriend’s alliance, no. Once his girlfriend got to final tribal council he gave us all this wonderful gift: one of the hands down worst juror speeches in the history of survivor.
Not only is this an advocacy speech, the worst kind of jury speech. Ozzy delivers it in the worst, awkward, awful manner possible. It makes it even worse when Ozzy pulls out his acting chops again in South Pacific.
Ozzy and Amanda dated after the season but their relationship had come to an end by the time Ozzy returned to Survivor in South Pacific. Oh and his little speech didn’t help either, Amanda lost 5-3.
Lesson Learned: If your friends blindside your boyfriend and they still like you afterwards, you may have done well but it won’t win you the game.
Part three – True Love (Rob and Amber – All Stars)
Here’s the one you’ve all been waiting for, Rob Mariano fresh off of being the merge boot in Marquesas sees a beautiful lady on his tribe of Chapera and the defining showmance of Survivor begins, this is the woman Rob will betray alliances, friendships and trust for: Amber Brkich, 6th place in Survivor: The Australian Outback and definitely deserving All Star!
Jokes aside, Amber and Rob run this season with Rob getting all of the flak. After all, Rob manages to upset Lex and the majority of the cast in protecting Amber especially through an allegedly production engineered swap to break up the couple an unlucky swap. Appealing to Lex’s good side Rob rewards him for keeping his girlfriend in the game by… blindsiding him at the first conceivable opportunity he gets.
Rob and Amber continue their dominance over the game, ruining friendship after friendship as they work through the post-merge with everyone’s favourite pirate and Rupert, right up until final tribal council where our two lovebirds are the last 2 All Stars remaining. It’s obvious going in that no-one on the jury likes Rob and there’s no way he’s getting the million some say he deserves.
Rob and Amber finish final tribal and it’s not looking good for Rob as the season airs. Not that he cares, he and Amber are happily dating and driving around the shiny car Rob won on the season. Rob has a winning move up his sleeve though and at the reunion show, right before the reading of the votes he proposes to Amber live on Television. Also Amber wins 4-3. It would take Rob another 3 tries to finally win a season.
Rob and Amber are the quintessential survivor couple, they appeared on the Amazing Race together twice, coming second and eighth respectively. They had their own short lived reality show called ‘Rob and Amber: Against the Odds’ detailing Rob’s exploits trying to become a professional poker player and they now have 4 kids. Basically they’ve done it all and they’re among the elite alumni of the game.
Lesson Learned: The lesson to learn from Rob and Amber is: don’t try. Never try, no-one will ever live up to the Rob and Amber legacy. No-one will get the tv shows, book deals or long term love like Rob and Amber.
I think that sums up showmances in general actually: Don’t try. In the most recent seasons people have been targeted for being in showmances (Figgy in 33 for example.) Showmances were a nice part of the formation of survivor but their time is more or less done. There will never be another Rob and Amber.
P.s. I’d like to point out that I’ve intentionally missed the incredibly easy target of Billy from Cook Islands: firstly because that would make yet another Cook Islands player I’m poking fun at. Most importantly though, I feel is secondly, Billy’s been through the ringer, he’s a hilarious meme but I think it’s about time we gave the guy a rest. So yes, you didn’t get your funny meme, sorry.
You can find me on twitter @TheRihasSpoken