"Life is bare, gloom and misery everywhere,
just can't get my poor self together,
It's raining all the time."
- Stormy Weather, lyrics by Ted Koehler
In the flashbacks to last week at the top of the show, we heard Brenda say: "I get a good vibe from Na," meaning NaOnka, the Most-Horrible Woman in Central America, and South Central Los Angeles. Oh dear. Because she gives off vibrations that would make Charles Manson say: "Whoa. The lady needs therapy."
When the Antiques returned to camp, depressed from having to vote out the very popular and well-liked Superbowl Guy, it was pouring rain. As they stood about in the torrential downpour, Jimmy T hit the stage for Jimmy T: Live in Concert! Jimmy T apparently thinks he's Bruce Springteen. In fact, he is Bruce Springsteen, if Springsteen could not sing - at all. Jimmy's captive, drenched audience was finding the deluge preferable to Jimmy's serenade. (And Tyrone, half-naked and damp, was rocking that night-vision.)
Marty, who did not look that great wet in nightvision, summed up Jimmy T with succinct accuracy: "He's a loudmouth; he's a ... he just ... he just has to hear his own voice, 24-7."
Then, in a flesh-crawling series of terrifying nightvision shots of the most-feared nocturnal predator in all of Nicaragua, we saw Jimmy T, one by one, attempt to dry-hump every member of his tribe, even Jill, the right-wing, conservative, Christian, ER doctor who looks like a lesbian but isn't one. (Which is too bad, as I like all of the lesbians I know better than any of the right-wing, conservative Christians whose paths I've had to cross.)
Apparently Shoeless Dan from Manhattan was still, in his opinion, insufficiently shoeless. First the $1600 alligator shoes that all sensible people wear into the jungles of Central America, where, if the Jurassic Park movies are to be trusted (and how could they not be? They're Spielberg!), they have live dinosaurs, are stolen and drowned by a swimming coach who may be that little girl in the movie The Bad Seed all grown up. But Shoeless Dan had a reserve, "casual," pair of shoes left, so he cooked them. This is what comes of seeing Chaplin's The Gold Rush in its original release, when Dan was a boy, well, young man anyway, and he was left imprinted to believe that, when surviving, one should eat one's shoes.
(Some have theorized that Dan wore $1600 alligator shoes into the jungles of Nicaragua in order to find his shoe's mates. If so, the laugh is on him; all they have there are crocodiles!)
The rain washed out the Antiques's fishing beach and waters, and they are being hit with famine. Now there's great TV entertainment: old people experiencing famine.
NaOnka, the Most-Horrible Human Being CBS Has On in the Family Hour, slept through the monsoon, blissfully sleeping the sleep of the unjust and oblivious.
NaOnka and Brenda had the Hidden Immunity Idol clue, one degree easier than the one that Jill, who is a proudly right-wing Christian, so she's not actually very good at figuring things out, nonetheless solved. Brenda worked out that the drawing of treemail meant "treemail." She tried the idea that the alignment of tree, man and sun, meant you had to be on the same side of the tree as the sun, which sort of changes during the course of any day.
Eventually Brenda worked out that it was "west" of treemail. NaOnka was just impressed that Brenda could get meanings from black ink marks on paper. NaOnka still doesn't know about this "reading" gag. She thinks it's just some sort of universally-shared practical joke on her.
There still remained the small matter than neither of them seemed to know what "west" means.
But NaOnka managed to quite literally stumble over the idol. Brenda and she were together. Brenda was squealing and carrying on as though she would have some use of this idol. NaOnka, with her now-legendary charm, told us: "The immunity idol is mine! It's mine! It's mine! It doesn't belong to anyone else!" This will be news at some point to Brenda, though it shouldn't be. NaOnka shoved a one-legged woman to the ground and mud-wrestled her for this idol. You think she won't take a broken bottle-neck to that little beauty-queen's face when it comes down to that?
"The idol is in my sock," said NaOnka. Well, to be accurate about it, they're Fabio's socks.
Alana and Kelly One-Leg saw that Brenda and NaOnka had gone out idol hunting: "So we have to find it," said Alana as NaOnka hobbled past her with the idol in Fabio's sock on her foot. They're the Too-Little-Too-Late Alliance.
NaOnka, knowing she had the idol, needed only to sit back and enjoy watching her selected enemies pointlessly using time and energy searching for what wasn't there, but this wasn't good enough for the evil little psychobitch. She felt she should come over and pointlessly berate Kelly One-Leg, who is still playing that I-only-have-one-leg card, like that somehow makes her better than this ranting, insane cow, bitching at her for daring to not-like getting justly shoved to the ground by the in-every-way superior NaOnka, whose goodness God had rewarded by not making her into some gimpy little one-legged girl gettin' in NaOnka's way!
NaOnka has somehow mutated her defensive reaction to people not approving of her slamming one-legged persons to the ground, by taking it to the other extreme, and deciding it somehow made she, NaOnka, morally-superior to all the phonies out there who don't trample on the disabled. Have you tripped a blind person today? You haven't? Just who the hell do you think you are, you self-righteous losers?
And just to make sure we understand what a fine woman this vile sack of slime is, she sent us to commercial with: "And screw your leg! Screw your leg! Keep it away from the fire."
Do you have kids in a high school gym class NaOnka teaches? I'm guessing she doesn't handle Special Ed kids.
Back at the Antiques camp, Marty suggested Tyrone should run challenge strategy, craftily not putting himself forward. Marty knew he was waving a red flag in front of Jimmy T, who is obsessed with the idea that he should be leading this tribe of people who all find him annoying. Jimmy took the bait.
Marty did what infuriated Jimmy T most, he basically agreed with him, but in an "of course" manner, that implied that Jimmy's contributions were slight, which they were.
Jimmy T: "Marty's definitely not a big Jimmy T fan. ["Big"? He's not a Jimmy T fan at all. No one is.] It hasta stem from insecurities [This must be a very insecure tribe, because most of them find Jimmy T an annoying gasbag.] ... A couple a times I'd like to tell Marty, 'will you shut up, you preppy little bitch. You wouldn't last a minute in my world'." Charming. Possibly right, but Marty has sense enough not to be a New England fisherman in the first place, which is part of the real point. And for the record, Jimmy T wouldn't last a minute in Marty's world either. And Marty doesn't spend every day of his life, smelling like fish.
Treemail clued The Antiques in that the next challenge involved blindfolds. Oddly, The Antiques didn't make the common assumption that I did, that it would be a sex game. (I naturally thought it would be the one where you try to guess the identities of the men who did you, in the order you received them while blindfolded, based on their technique, or the feel of their skin, size of endowment, and/or wound locations. I was the Official American National Champion in the years 1922, 1923, 1929, 1934, and 1936-40. What other blindfold game is there? We called it Blind Men in the Buff.)
The Antiques decided to practice walking about blindfolded while the sighted contestants shouted confusing stuff at them. It was like working for Otto Preminger all over again.
Reward & Immunity challenge: This involved one caller, and everyone else blindfolded. The caller would call out to couples who were blindfolded and handcuffed to each other as well. It was like two Alfred Hitchcock kinky-subliminal-sex-game suspense films in one. They then had to collect a bunch of stuff. It looked like wholesale looting during a riot at the Braille Institute.
The reward, along with Tribal Immunity, allowed the winning team to select three different sets of items from a product placement sponsor. Since the sponsor hasn't paid me for product placement here in my column (despite my being ready, willing, and very corruptible), I will refer to the company as "Acme." (not the real company's name.)
So the winning tribe could chose three sets from Acme's Castaway Survivor Collection: such as the Acme Giant Tool set, the Acme Big Tarp set, the Acme "My First Fisherman" set, the Acme Personal Rocket-Pack set, or the Acme Road-Runner Foolproof Trap set.
The Acme Medallion of Power! [Fanfare] was good for a 20% advantage in this challenge. The chicken-hearts on the Fetus Tribe decided to play The Acme Medallion of Power! [Fanfare]. And so, young ones, thus it was that The Acme Medallion of Power! [Fanfare] passed again into the wise hands of the Tribal Elders, and also Jimmy T, who might have more need of it shortly.
The game was devised for 7 players, so The Antiques had to sit out one, while the Youth Run Riot Tribe sat out two. Predictably, Twice-Shoeless Dan sat out, as sitting is about all he can do, and the two Kellys sat out for the Fetuses, reducing their team by three legs.
Brenda was calling for The Antiques. Tyrone was calling for the rehearsed Antique Tribe. If it occurred to the kids to rehearse with blindfolds, we saw no sign of it. Maybe the cameras were blindfolded too, like my samba band.
Although I think Blind Men in the Buff would make a riveting and highly entertaining Survivor challenge, I do enjoy all their blindfold challenges, for one inarguable reason: people walking into stuff and falling over stuff. Out on the sidewalk, if you see a blind person walk into something, and you laugh at them, people look at you weird, and some people are even rude enough to make remarks that were mean, and only partially true.
But when a blindfolded Survivor contestant walks into something or falls over something, it's okay to laugh! In fact, when it's NaOnka slamming into stuff, It's okay to cheer. NaOnka was handcuffed to Alana, who was just dragging her along willy-nilly, as Alana charged about gathering stuff. Alana was able to process taking the directions and functioning in the blindfold about a billion times faster than the useless NaOnka.
Seeing Marty fall over a barrel, and have a devil's time trying to get up again was funny. But Marty marching full speed into NaOnka, slamming into her with neither of them knowing who had smashed into them, was Appointment TV.
This one turned into a rout. Certainly the headstart provided the Fetuses by The Acme Medallion of Power! [Fanfare] helped, but what really helped them was Jimmy T's absolute refusal to listen to any of the directions Tyrone bellowed at them with his powerful voice, a man used to shouting commands at fire scenes, resulting in Jimmy T and his cuffmate, the insane shoe-thief Holly, still wandering around aimlessly, collecting none of their items, long after the Fetuses had won, taken the their prizes, and gone home to catch a road runner for dinner.
Another week when we won't be getting rid of NaOnka.
Twice-Shoeless Dan, who hadn't played, began explaining to Tyrone, back at camp, why they'd been so humiliated. Tyrone was not happy. Twice-Shoeless Dan: "It was really tough. I mean, it wasn't easy." Thank heaven he cleared up that possible misunderstanding. "And I don't know, if I was in there, I don't think it would-a mattered." I don't think it would have mattered either. Twice-Shoeless Dan couldn't have made it worse than it was, and it's inconceivable that he would have made it better.
Twice-Shoeless Dan had a great self-effacing excuse for the tribe. It was the fault of The Acme Medallion of Power! [Fanfare] Mind you, they lost by about five items (counting the chest and the keys). The Acme Medallion of Power! [Fanfare] only gave them a two-item headstart, so even without The Acme Medallion of Power! [Fanfare], they still lost by a whole lot.
But Tyrone hasn't spent his life in fire prevention without learning how to grasp a straw. He instantly moved to this ridiculous position: "That alone says something about us, you know. They needed an advantage to beat us." No they didn't. They would still have won without it, just as they would still have won the previous challenge without it also. All it says about this tribe is that they are better at constructing face-saving fantasies, and believing in them in record time, than they are at winning challenges.
Jimmy T again asked for "action." He was in the whole challenge, in which he accomplished almost nothing, refused to listen, and generally screwed up. Clearly less Jimmy T "action" would have helped that challenge, not more. Tyrone summed it up for us this way: "[Jimmy T]'s comments today, I didn't dig at all." Cool, daddy-O. Hear ya on the flip side.
"God Bless [Acme]" Fabio sort-of said as the Fetuses arrived back at their camp with the Acme tool kit, fishing gear, tarp, and clothing-bedazzler.
Chase is big, beautiful, and as dumb as a Christine O'Donnell campaign contributor. He found the clue to the Hidden Immunity Idol in the Acme Tackle Box, behind the cigar-grenades and the punching-bags-on-springs, and successfully got it into his pocket undetected. Then he trotted off to tell Brenda he had found the clue. This would be the Brenda who didn't share with him that she had already seen and solved the clue, been with NaOnka when she found the idol, and knew where it was at that moment, being NaOnka's most-uncomfortable odor-eater ever.
Brenda started to take Chase on the Hidden Immunity Idol equivalent of a snipe hunt, looking for an idol she knew was elsewhere, but then, for reasons I couldn't figure out, she told Chase everything, even NaOnka's prize secret, that she's walking on the Idol in Fabio's socks. I have a feeling that NaOnka would prefer Chase not knowing she has the idol.
In fact, she'd probably prefer no one knowing it. At this point, I suspect that the only thing keeping Brenda alive is that the Survivor rules expressly forbid contestants from murdering each other. Mind you, if NaOnka could just figure a way to kill Brenda without anyone finding out ... but that would require killing off the camera crew that follows her every movement. No, it's too complex for her, like a TV Guide crossword puzzle.
Jimmy T was out catching sea urchins. Yes, this professional fisherman was picking up sea urchins. I'm impressed. He found Marty eating a couple, and implied he was not a team player. Said Marty to us: "So Jimmy T trying to tell me that I'm not a team player, and calling it out in front of the whole tribe, that's the equivalent of putting a gun to your mouth, pulling the trigger, and blowing your brains out, as far as I'm concerned." Clearly Marty has never spoken with the housemaids who have to clean up crime scenes when the investigations are over.
Some folks were for voting out Twice-Shoeless Dan from Manhattan. Makes sense, in a lose-tribal-dead-weight sort of way. But Marty, who saw Dan as an exploitable swing vote, was trying for a Jimmy T expulsion. Either would work for me. Twice-Shoeless Dan is probably the wiser choice, but you can't blame people for wanting to be rid of the braless blunder.
Tyrone favored voting out Twice-Shoeless Dan, so Marty went scurrying over to play on Tyrone's natural state of annoyance with Jimmy T, since he couldn't very well say: "I need to keep Twice-Shoeless Dan. He's my alliance's swing-vote when I come after you."
Jimmy T was down on the beach, using personal paranoia to try and win votes from the women. Why, he wanted to know, was he not being given the opportunity he felt was his due at challenges: "The question is: why aren't I gettin' a chance? Why is it, every time I say hey, let me get a chance at it: no, no, no. Why is that?" I was expecting him to start spouting: "You know why? It's the Illuminati. Look at the CBS symbol! It's the all-seeing eye! CBS is the Illuminati, and they're out to keep me down.
Jimmy T feels isolated, because no one talks to him. Of course they don't. They're afraid a question as simple or innocuous as "Nice day, eh?" would provoke a monologue of epic proportions, the theme of which would be "Why is everyone out to hold me back?" Actually, by now most everyone is out to shove you forward - right out the door.
Tribal Council: Tyrone's wildly self-delusional statement about the Blindfold Challenge: "Today we went with our plan. Worked out well..." provoked a double-take from Jimmy T that Bert Lahr would have called "overdone," and made Jeff Probst's head explode. Happy now, Tyrone? You've made Jeff Probst's head explode. As Tyrone started whining about how, without The Acme Medallion of Power! [Fanfare], the challenge would have been "much more competitive," the pitiful excuse sounded even more incredibly lame in the cold light of Council.
Marty explained to Jeff by his magic math how they were only one item behind the other team. Jeff pointed out, using real math in the real world, that they were way, way, way behind. Marty - changed the subject: "You know what? It's behind us. We gotta move forward." Smooth, except Tribal Council is all about rehashing what has happened, as they can hardly discuss what hasn't happened yet.
When Jeff asked Marty if he was open to letting Jimmy T be leader for one challenge, Marty was frank about not being onboard with that at all: "There is zero tolerance for paranoia, delusions of grandeur, popping off." Actually, I suspect he was all for Jimmy T popping off out the door. "Paranoia, delusions of grandeur." I felt like Marty must have been reading my notes for this column.
Holly, already known to be a shoethief, and insane, decided to hop to Jimmy T's defense, which did neither he nor she any good.
Eventually, Jimmy T began to see they weren't going to buy his soap, and he needed to retreat. He promised to be a "good worker bee", though I see him more as a drone, droning on and on and on.
Jimmy T was voted out 5 to 3. He got the Acme Blindside, the Tribal Council equivalent of the boxing-glove-on-a-spring-in-a-box. Marty was gleeful. Twice-Shoeless Dan would have to hobble back to camp yet again.
In the previews of next week they promised that "NaOnka becomes her own worst enemy." Edgar Bergan once told WC Fields that Charlie McCarthy was "his own worst enemy."
Fields replied: "Not while I'm alive." So, if NaOnka is truly her own worst enemy, I must be dead!
That's a sobering thought, and sobering thoughts are my least-favorite kind. Cheers darlings.
Follow Tallulah Morehead on Twitter: www.twitter.com/@DouglasMcEwan