Did they neglect the psych evaluations on the contestants this time around? Because we saw some seriously deranged behavior in this week's episode of Survivor, not to mention a crime wave of footwear theft. This week, the shoe was on the other prosthetic foot.
Hopelessly dim Jud: "There's dangerous animals here. It's like it's real." And this is like Reality TV. Jud hails from Southern California. I guess he thought Nicaragua was an extension of Adventureland, with robot animals. I keep waiting for a sound bite of him asking: "Where's the line for the Indiana Jones ride, man? My 'Fast-Pass' is for, like, now."
In the recap from last week, we heard Superbowl Guy tell The Antique Tribe: "As long as we're psyched up for it and we know what we gotta do, we'll kick their ass," just before the Fetus Tribe kicked their asses.
Antique Holly, after Tribal Council's eviction of marathon chatterer Wendy: "I really liked Wendy." Apparently Holly is totally deaf.
The Antiques first problem is that no one is getting any sleep, and these are people who are usually accustomed to going to bed when Wheel of Fortune ends at 8 PM. They should have kept Wendy. Listening to her chatter would put an Ecstasy-fueled tweaker to sleep.
Jimmy T. is annoyed that every one is taking the advice of Superbowl Guy on what to do each day, and no one is asking his opinion. Imagine people being so blinded that they are taking the leadership of a man who has led teams to national victories and made millionaires of of his players over the advice of a New England fisherman who has, ah, caught fish. (As a professional fisherman, he arrived in Nicaragua already smelling like that.) Jimmy T., do what you know; go catch some fish.
Over on the Fetus Tribe, Kelly Two-Legs said: "I've never gone this long without showering or brushing my teeth." Jud, known to the tribe as Fabio the surfing fool, replied: "I have." I believe him.
Sash, who says he is half-black (Not his visible half. He's paler than President Obama.), proposed to NaOnka, the black P.E. Teacher (Sash is a male, NaOnka is a female. I mention this as it's impossible to tell from their unknown names.), an alliance based on Racism: "I'd love to bring as many minorities to the end as possible." Ah great. So his priority is "Get Whitey." It's not bad enough we have an inherently ageist edition of Survivor, now we have Sash and NaOnka deciding to make it a race war as well. Lovely.
Physical disability isn't race, but The Racist Alliance instantly marked Kelly One-Leg for elimination. As always, no one wants to battle her sympathy votes at the end. NaOnka, a true humanitarian, called Kelly One-Leg "a charity case," and speculated in advance what she'll do if Kelly's artificial leg "falls off" during a race. What a fine human being NaOnka is.
Over on The Antiques Tribe, Jill, the ER doctor who only looks like a lesbian, was eating snails - raw. Jill darling, the French cook them in garlic, and only after they've given them time to eliminate their tiny bodily-wastes, so they're not eating snail crap. No one in their right mind eats them raw. Jill's a doctor. I want a second opinion. Jill decided that Holly was "mentally-unstable," because she did not want to eat raw snails. Hands up, readers: how many of you are mentally-unstable by Jill's standard? I must be crazier than a Scientologist, because I try not to eat garden pests at all, even when prepared by a master French chef.
Holly watched from a hiding place as Jill tattled on her to the tribe (Holly wouldn't eat raw snails. She's dangerously psychotic!), and decided that Dan the Mook was mocking her. Holly, I'm mocking you. So Holly had the mature, mentally-stable reaction you expect from a 44 year old wife, mother, and swim coach. She stole his shoes, filed them with sand, and sank them in the lagoon. What an excellent role model for her kids and youthful swimmers she is. Maybe Jill was right about her, though I'm still not eating any raw snails. Or maybe she has money invested in shoe manufacturing. And it's not like Dan has a doorbell there she can ring and run, while he comes out and finds a bag of flaming snail poop.
"I've been too nice up to this point," said Holly, as she sank the shoes of a man who can barely walk as it is into a muddy lagoon. "Payback," she added. That would be payback for her thinking he may have mocked her, although I'd think Jill telling everyone she was mentally-unstable, which now she clearly is, would be a worse offense. Holly, you need therapy.
When we returned from commercial, The Antique Tribe was on a hunt for Dan's shoes, which had apparently gone walkabout. Those shoes were made for walking, and that's just what they did. Oops. They were $1600 alligator shoes. This just went from an immature prank to larceny. Officer, handcuff that perp. No, no. Don't arrest Russell Hantz. He has an alibi. He was in America, scaring his family.
But Holly had a change of, well not exactly heart, let's say brain, and repented of her crime. So she called the tribe together and confessed. This was the only thing she could have done that would be more stupid than stealing the shoes in the first place. Can she actually imagine she'll survive Tribal Council the next time The Antiques lose an Immunity challenge, which ought to be in about twenty minutes? Can she actually imagine that Dan the Mook won't have her whacked when she returns to civilization? Or at least have his goons force-feed her $1600 worth of raw snails? (And that is a lot of snails. I'm usually full before I hit $50 worth.)
Number of friends Holly now has on her tribe: 0. But she said: "I'm sorry," so it's all right.
Over on The Fetus Tribe, NaOnka, the Let's-Get-Whitey PE Coach (Is there anyone this time who is not some kind of coach? I have never gotten along with athletic coaches, and I have driven three different acting coaches to suicide.), was complaining that her socks had strolled off. Did Holly visit in the night? If someone had stolen her socks, why didn't a camera crew catch it? NaOnka had a very direct approach to dealing with it. She stole Fabio's socks and put them on. He's dumb enough to actually believe his walked off without him. Cinderella kept better track of her footwear than these players.
NaOnka saw Fabio looking at his socks on her feet, and began shouting at him. To us, she said: "I don't want people to think that I'm like a B - I - T - C - H, but the boy is stupid." The boy is stupid, but she could give birth to a litter of puppies at any time. Imagine the nerve of that boy, wanting his own socks back. Honey, when you're voted off, leave the socks.
Back in Antique Camp, Holly went all crybaby to Superbowl Guy about how the game was tougher than she imagined. Don't these people watch this show before they apply to be on it? "I never failed at anything in my whole life." Well, you failed Morals 101 ten minutes ago, when you stole an old man's shoes. But having no experience failing might account for a woman 44 acting like a two year old when she finds the game is tough. When the going gets tough, the weak get weepy.
Immunity & Reward Challenge: I hate one-challenge episodes. They move too slowly, and there's too much time for campside blather, and footwear-related crime waves.
This one involved crawling though mud (always good), retrieving balls from haystacks (Story of my life. Hey. What are all these needles doing here?), tossing balls from player to player not with hands, but with flat "shields," and then throwing them into a barrel. First tribe with four balls in their barrel wins. The were playing for immunity, and a choice between a trunk full of fishing gear, or a tarp. Free shoes would be good too.
About the Tribal Immunity Idol: it's a squat statue that looks like a Spanish Conquistador crossed with a garden gnome. Given the mass murder wreaked on the Americas by the Conquistadores, this is in enormously bad taste. If they were doing Survivor: Netherlands, would the Immunity Idol be the statue of a Nazi soldier?
The Antiques could play The Medallion of Power [Fanfare], which would mean they would start with one ball already in the barrel, a 25% headstart, and allow them to sit their lamest player out. The Antiques would be nuts not to play it. They played The Medallion of Power [Fanfare], and The Medallion of Power [Fanfare] then went to the other team for next time.
The Fetuses had to sit a player out, and NaOnka sat out, where she could bitch at people without getting dirty. At least Fabio's socks wouldn't get all muddy. Note that The Fetuses having 10 players was considered an advantage, whereas for The Antiques, having 8 players was considered an advantage. I don't quite get sitting a player out as an advantage. Who'll be guarding the footwear while folks play the contest? And wouldn't it make a teensy bit more sense to sit out Kelly One-Leg?
Dan chose to sit out for The Antiques. Given how hobbled he is, this was wise, plus he could guard the socks from NaOnka.
I do wish Jeff didn't keep saying "Older tribe with a one-ball advantage." It kept making me do spit-takes, which is a waste of good vodka.
Oops. While Kelly One-Leg performed quite well, zooming through the mud, and finding the last of the Fetuses' balls, eroding 50% of the advantage granted by The Medallion of Power [Fanfare], Holly, already marked for extermination by her tribe for being a nutjob and a shoe thief, was blowing the Antiques lead for them. She, more than anyone else on the team, needed them to win.
Remember when, at the start of season 3 of Lost ([sniff] Lost, I miss you, even though I have all your DVDs.), we learned that the character we'd met as "Henry Gale," turned out to be actually named "Ben Linus"? For a while, a lot of us took to calling him "Benry." Well there's a player on The Fetus Tribe named Benjamin Henry, who goes by the name of Benry. He's a cute boy, but is he an evil, genocidal mastermind, seduced by Smokey the Monster, like Lost's Benry? Or is he just a 24 year-old "Club Promoter"? Well, he used to be a cameraman on Girls Gone Wild, so I have to go with Evil Mini-Mind.
In any event, Benry turned out to be great at tossing his balls into barrels, a skill undoubtedly perfected while working on that skank-fest series of drunken slut videos. (Some of those girls have Tunnels of Love larger than any barrel I've ever shot a fish in. You could crawl right up inside the wombs of many of those skanks, and ride there safely over Niagara Falls.) He ended the Antiques Medallion of Power [Fanfare] advantage quickly, aided by Antique Tribe barrelman Tyrone, the hot black fire captain, who was a buttershield if ever I've seen one. At least , at first.
But Benry the Evil Mini-Mind choked, and Tyrone came through. The Antiques won, and will have to guard their shoes for another three days, while the Fetuses were headed to Tribal Council to abort a tribe member. I've already written "NaOnka" on my ballot.
We're only halfway through the episode, which leaves an awful lot of time to fill with squabbling Fetuses. But these kids were ready, willing, and able to squabble their alleged brains out.
When the Antiques opened the fishing gear chest, they found the puzzle-clue to the Hidden Immunity Idol. It said it was "up to you" whether to share the clue with the tribe or not. Since the whole tribe found it, that was sort of moot.
Jill figured the clue out, and instead of keeping quiet about it, told Marty, and in front of Dan. So Marty found it, and that's known to Dan and Jill. Since Jill figured out the clue, she has a claim on it. Sure. Except it's in Marty's possession. Will he "play fair" when the time comes? I can't think why. Anyway, since they won Tribal Immunity, it won't matter this week. But Marty, whatever you do, don't store it in your shoes. You'll never see it again.
Over at The Fetus Tribe, the maneuvering for tribal abortion began. You'd think it would be a no-brainer: terminate the sock-stealing drama bitch who sat out the challenge. But Kelly One-Leg and Alina, a 23 year old art student, went all high school, and noted that Brenda, the Hispanic beauty pageant veteran, had gotten all chummy with Chase, the gorgeous "Race Car Jackman." (Sadly, no relation to Hugh Jackman, though nearly as beautiful.) Breaking up a couple struck them as a priority. They hadn't noticed the sparks building between NaOnka and Sash over in The Racist Alliance, which needs breaking up even more. Vote out NaOnka.
Over with the boys, Fabio, The Sockless Wonder, wanted NaOnka out. What does it say when the dumbest member of the tribe has it right, while the smart girls don't?
But Kelly One-Leg and Alina quickly nixed that idea in discussion, and steered them towards Brenda, to break up her budding could-be showmance with Chase. Insanely beautiful Shannon, was susceptible to this idea. Shannon, who knocked his girl friend up when he was 19, married her, and now, 11 years later, with three kids and with his 20s wasted, is a bitter woman-hater, and thus all for going after the girl who is coming between him and his bromantic other Chase. He scurried off to try and turn Chase against the prettiest girl on the tribe. Good luck.
Chase, who had "Prayed to God" for a trustworthy ally (There's a good strategy. Prayer. Another big, beautiful dope on this tribe.), had weirdly made an alliance with Shannon, and another alliance with Brenda the first day. Now he's squeezed in a Brenda-Shannon sandwich. Damn fine looking sandwich, All it needs is a condiment and some condoms.
NaOnka has noticed Shannon running around talking to all the men, but not to her or Brenda. So she slid up to Brenda to discuss getting Shannon out. Since the primary topic of discussion around camp is which of these two women to vote out, they better scramble fast. These Fetuses are rife with cliques.
Mind you, NaOnka would be okay with losing Fabio: "Yesterday I went off on Fabio, and it was just because he rub me the wrong way." [sic] It hadn't anything to do with your being defensive because he wanted the socks you stole from him back? This thief is a teacher! If she is your kid's P.E. Teacher, may I suggest that you have your kid moved to another class - or school. Morally-empty teachers make lousy role models for kids.
NaOnka invited Brenda into the Racist Alliance. The Get-Whitey agenda of the Racists made Brenda giggle. Where does CBS find these evil people?
Chase, who does not know the concept of discretion, went and babbled to Brenda that Shannon was trying to abort her. He had told us he had prayed for an ally he could trust, but how can anyone trust him? Tell him anything, and he'll immediately blab it to the other side. You want a trustworthy ally, Chase? Be one first. Because, baby, you are a big, white male. The Racist Alliance will use you and evict you in a hot second if you don't hobble their power right now. Sadly, Chase hasn't the smarts to figure that out, or much of anything else. In their mission statement "Get Whitey," you're "Whitey," fool.
But Brenda has a big mouth. The whole time she was trying to turn Chase against Shannon, she was so loud that Alina could hear every word, half a mile away. Okay, maybe not that far, but she wasn't creeping up listening to them. She was over in the shelter. Brenda just has a big mouth. So Alina, already set on removing Brenda, reported Chase's treachery to Shannon. I may need to diagram all this.
Tribal Council: Jeff asked Shannon a simple question about how difficult he was finding the game so far, and Shannon went off on Chase being disloyal to him, and threatening that if Chase voted to save his girlfriend, he'd be going home next, which is not the way to charm a man into voting with you. Shannon's bitter, too-early-marriage grudge against women is certainly ruling his brain. Jeff's reaction to this unexpected bombshell was "Wow!"
And although Shannon clearly knew that Chase was the crucial swing vote, and had been frank about coming to council unsure about whom he would vote for, Shannon nonetheless continued haranguing him, calling him "disloyal" and "dishonest." His anger that Chase should choose a "ho" before a "bro," as Big Brother's Brigade would put it, his feeling of betrayal at a man liking a woman in addition to liking him, was chucking his brain clear out of Central America. You don't win a vote from a fence-sitter by insulting him. Shannon, you want to be in episode 3? Shut up!
Jeff, marveling at how easy his job was tonight, said: "I gotta say, 21 seasons of Survivor, never had an opening question open that much whoop-ass on a tribe ever."
And who turned out to be the intelligent voice-of-reason? Fabio, the Sockless Wonder, who raised his hand to try and stop Shannon from making Chase into an enemy whose crucial vote they would lose if he didn't close his angry mouth. But Shannon had no intention of listening to reason, convinced somehow that insults and threats would get Chase's vote. And, I might add, empty threats, because if Chase votes with The Racist Alliance, Shannon won't be around to seek vengeance, and the survivors of his alliance won't have the votes to get his revenge, even if they were somehow motivated to so do. Shut up, Shannon.
Even Jeff referred to Shannon as "losing his mind." Shannon, you know what Jeff is saying to you? He's saying: "Shut up, Shannon." And this from a man whose job it is to get you talking, and for whom angry confrontations are the gold he seeks.
Brenda, seated between Chase and Shannon, was grinning wider and wider, as Shannon did her work for her. Shut up, Shannon.
Accused by Chase of being untrustworthy, Shannon asked each of his alliance mates if they trusted him, while each looked for the exit, oblivious to the fact that he was exposing his alliance. Now every one of his allies was thinking: "Shut up, Shannon."
Sash, secret leader of The Racist Alliance, told Shannon he was digging his own grave, which he was, even more dramatically than Wendy had the week before. Shannon's excessively stupid answer was: "Hey, I'm a-getting this out of the way right now. Are you gay?" Hello?
A. What does that have to do with anything? (And he's not the one who obviously hates women.)
B. Charming another vote out are we?
C. Have we seen anything to indicate Sash is gay? (No.)
D. Oh great. The best-looking man there is a homophobe, who thinks accusing someone of homosexuality is a way of discrediting them. Let's see, Shannon hates women, and hates gays. Who is he going to have sex with after he finally kills his wife?
Sash: "I'm sure I've had a lot more beautiful girl friends than you have, my brother." (Because, you see, gay men all have homely girlfriends. Sash is straight all right. A gay man would never use that idiot argument, no matter how deeply closeted.)
Shannon: "Trust me, you haven't."
Oh? Sash and Shannon are both 30, and Shannon has been married to the same woman for 11 years. Either he's been cheating on his wife and baby factory, or else Sash wins this one. Meanwhile, the members of Shannon's alliance, or should I say former members of Shannon's alliance, were all looking to find T-Shirts that said: "I'm not with Big Mouth!"
But Shannon wasn't finished showing what an offensive homophobe he is:
Sash: "I'd like to see you try and work your magic in New York."
Shannon: "New York's full of a bunch of gay people, yeah, so..."
1.Okay, there are a lot of gay people in New York. Also a lot of straight people. So?
2. Does this mean Shannon thinks he has a better chance of cheating on his wife with gay men? He does, but only with ones who weren't watching tonight's telecast.
3. Shannon is from Louisiana, and I know there are a lot of gay people there too.
4. Shannon, you're married, remember?
By this point, I was ready to vote him off, and I had been looking forward to gazing at his big blue eyes and his big brown pecs all autumn long. Unfortunately, his big, hateful mouth and his big stupid brain are attached to those eyes and pecs.
I wonder. Do you suppose the reason Shannon is such an oblivious, classic gay-hater is jealousy, because gay guys don't have to worry about knocking someone up and ruining their lives the way he ruined his? After all, he spent his 20s chained to one woman, having baby after baby (Shannon apparently never mastered birth control. "Condoms are for fags, man!"), working his butt off to support his ever-growing brood of kids. Gay men spend their 20s having constant wild, hot sex with anyone they want, and only supporting a couple cats and a stylish-clothes addiction.
Even Jeff was amazed at this blatant display of screaming homophobia. Jeff: "New York is full of gay people?"
Shannon: "They got a lot of 'em, Jeff, more than they do in Louisiana." Even if this were true, which it isn't, so?
Fabio: "Be quiet, Dude! We're on the same team for the next two, three weeks." More like: for the next two, three minutes.
Jeff eventually managed to move the discussion on to NaOnka's dislike of Fabio for daring to not like her stealing his socks. NaOnka: "Every time I say something to him, he has somethin' smart to say."
A. It's Fabio. He's only begun saying smart things since arriving at Tribal Council.
B. Speaking for myself, I prefer people who say smart things to people who say dumb things.
Usually it is Jeff who says it's time to vote, but Tribal Council had turned so ugly, with NaOnka also displaying just how unpleasant and - well - insane she is, that tribe members were begging Jeff: "Can we vote?"
Well, all those women-loving homos voted out Mr. Straight Paragon Shannon. I'll miss looking at him, but not listening to him. What a tool, a gorgeous tool. Meanwhile, the gay men of New York were sending him the message: "There's lots of gay people in California also. Please go there to cruise." Poor Mrs. Shannon. Her break from living with her bitter, resentful spouse has ended early.
Only Fabio and Alina held true to their alliance with Shannon after his idiotic, self-destructive tirade. Benry, Kelly One-Leg, Kelly Two-legs, and of course, Chase, all jumping ship to vote with The Racist Alliance. Certainly Benry, and the Kellys had arrived at Council intending to vote with Shannon rather than against him, and Chase had arrived undecided, but the idiot drove their votes away.
Nor had Shannon gained the slightest glimmer of self-knowledge from the experience. His grammatically-garbled exit speech was: "My biggest mistake was probably having to be: [sic] I should have gunned for Chase. La Fleur just got a lot weaker. I mean it just lost its leg and both his feet. [sic] These are a bunch of kids, man. I should have been with the old tribe anyway. I'm basically a grown-up. I been married for 11 years, so I mean, you could stack 11 years on top of us, so I'm really like 41 years old. I hope the old people whip up on 'em. I hope - ah - you know, they get what they deserve."
Where to start? His biggest mistakes were publically attacking and insulting a potential ally when he should have been wooing his vote, and then unleashing a torrent of bitter hostility at nearly everyone, and throwing in a large measure of gratuitous, ugly homophobia that may play in whatever Louisiana backwaters he infests, but doesn't really play anymore in an America where polls taken everywhere but Salt Lake City show that almost 60% of the American people now favor legalizing gay marriage.
I don't begin to grasp the math he uses to make himself 41. Apparently he finds his marriage so odious (and his hostility to women, and his comment in the opening show about how men get "owned in marriage," which was not said with any humor at all - Shannon shows no sign that he has any sense of humor whatever, and was never seen to laugh - all show that he does find being married odious.) that he feels every year one spends married should count as two years. Hmmm. Maybe that makes sense after all, though it makes me 200.
But the biggest fallacy in that speech was the simple sentence: "I'm basically a grown-up." At 30, and with three kids, he should be, but his tirades at Tribal Council display a deep emotional immaturity. Tribes don't vote out their physically-strongest player first when they need his strength for challenges unless they just can't stand to have him around any longer. I mean look at them: NaOnka is obnoxious, selfish, a known thief, and borderline insane, and she got no votes. No votes at all.
The previews of next week's program show NaOnka physically threatening Kelly One-Leg (Nice, NaOnka. Real classy.), and Superbowl Guy talking to monkeys. Oh this season is off and running. Until then, Cheers darlings
Follow Tallulah Morehead on Twitter: www.twitter.com/@DouglasMcEwan