Never try to watch Survivor with Larry Talbot over for kibbles and bits. This episode opened with a couple of gorgeous shots of the full moon over Samoa, and the next thing I knew, Larry was clawing at the door to get out, and I had to send Little Dougie over to walk him for me. Let this be a lesson to me: no matter what those dopey Twilight movies tell you, werewolves make lousy house pets.
But someone else was morphing into his monster form under that full moon as well. Russell, aka Bulbous Baggins, the Hobbit on Crack, was changing into Darth Baggins, the Dim Lord of the Sith. Parvati, it turned out, was a separate person, not under his Sith mind control, and operating with secrets of her own. How dare she treat Darth Baggins the way he treats everyone else? Who does she think she is? Him? There was trouble a-brewin' in the Yo-Yo Tribe camp.
Of course, it's hard to have an angry confrontation with women when they won't stop giggling at you.
Darth Baggins: "You lied to me. That's how I feel."
Parvati: "I didn't lie to you. How did I lie to you?"
Darth: "'Cause you didn't tell me about it."
He's confusing lying with sins of omission. Oh yes, and he's acting like she exists only to do his bidding, when she's actually there to win, which would mean defeating everyone, including him. Darth exhibits the pathology of the True Sociopath: he forgets that other people are actual other people, not creatures of his creation, not extensions of himself. Parvati laughed at this. Laughing at sociopaths is a good way to end up down by the river in a shallow grave.
But Parvati summed up things pretty accurately to us: "Russell likes to be in control." That's like saying Adolf Hitler liked to tease Jews, "'Cause he thinks he's the godfather of this game. And I think having me have an idol that he didn't know about made him feel like he wasn't in control." Well, it's more like it showed him he isn't in control, but do go on. "And scared a little bit. But that's kinda what I wanted anyway. [Giggle]" All well and good, except Darth's usual response to someone he finds he can't control is to use all his powers of Sith evil to get them eliminated. On the other hand, where would he seek new allies? Surely The Pathetics are wise to his treachery now.
Come the dawn, Darth was working on Candice to flip, cannily making it sound like he'd been a full part of Parvati's poison surprise, trying to keep the breach opening between he and Parvati and Danielle from being known to the remaining Pathetics. Could she fall for it? Candy is known to melt in the tropical sun.
Reward Challenge: What bloodsport have lined up next? Boxing on stilts? Tackle Scrabble? Full-contact blindman's buff? Jousting on Galapagos tortoises? Jigsaw puzzle-solving under gunfire?
And the reward? The three winning players get to drop in on Robert Louis Stevenson. They're a little late with that treat. Dear sickly Bobby died 116 years ago, as detailed in The Q Guide to Classic Monster Movies, a book written by none other than Little Dougie himself, and available from Amazon.com. (Take that, Palin's Pimp! I can do product placement too!)
While at Bobby's, they were to be shown "the movie Treasure Island." Excuse me? Which film of Treasure Island? The great MGM one with Wallace Beery? The lovely-looking Disney one with Robert Newton? The ridiculously lame one with Orson Welles? The unintentionally camp TV movie one with Charleton Heston? (In that one, the treasure map is engraved on stone tablets instead of drawn on parchment, but at least Sir Christopher Lee is in it.) The felt-heavy Muppet version with Tim Curry? The animated one set in outer space? Be specific, Probst! How fierce the shuffleboard play will get may well depend on which one is the reward. Think how shafted you'd feel if you sprained a wrist playing a wild round of Survivor Shuffleboard, only to find out the reward was watching Charleton Heston play pirate in a dead man's house? Aaaarrrrgh!
Also, Probst described Bobby as being "most famous for writing the novel Treasure Island." Given that there are more movies based on Bobby's The Strange Case of Doctor Jekyll and Mister Hyde than on any other book ever written, even The Bible, a strong case could be made that he's most famous for writing that. However, I think we can all agree, he is not most famous for writing The Master of Ballantrae.
Winning this could be a good/bad sort of thing, you know, like Yin/Yang. Besides the very real danger that they might have to watch Charleton Heston do what he used to call "acting," (starving survivors could get very hungry while watching Cheston devour the scenery as a pirate), these three players would be away from camp overnight, while the other six players plotted against them.
Parvati summed up the "good" possibility: "There will probably be a clue to a hidden immunity idol at today's reward." Of course she doesn't know this for a fact. Maybe there will be no more idols. But they can be sure that the remaining six players back at camp will assume the three who go will have an idol clue, so they will be arriving back with fresh targets on them. But Parvati wasn't finished: "So I'm hoping and praying that myself, Danielle, Russell, or Jerri goes on that reward and finds that clue." A few things occur to me:
1. Notice the conspicuous absence of Sandra from that list. Nice.
2. Why on earth would she think Russell would be dumb enough to share a clue with her now that he knows she didn't share the last one with him?
3. What makes her think Jerri is really her ally? True, she saved her at the last council, but no real bond is there, and Jerri has proven to be a limp, boring player in this season. If Jerri has a brain in her head (an admittedly-doubtful theory), she would keep any idol clue she found, and the idol itself, if she found that, a deep, dark secret.
4. "Praying"? Putting aside how puerile and childish prayer and religious belief are at all for the moment, and assuming for a second that the absurd fiction of an omniscient, omni-powerful supreme being running the entire cosmos is real (sort of a giant Glinda the Good Witch of Oz), why would She care who finds hidden immunity idols on some little TV show on a small, insignificant planet in some backwater galaxy? And if, for no sane reason, a being concerned with micro-managing the entire universe was to take an active role in determining events on a reality TV show, why would She aid The Villains? Get a clue, dumbo.
Have you ever just watched a game of shuffleboard you weren't playing in yourself? I thought not. We had five minutes of highly-rated CBS airtime to show us just why it's never caught on as a spectator sport. It was every bit as boring as it sounded: watching people play shuffleboard to decide who gets to see a film of Treasure Island. Next week, maybe we can watch people play tiddlywinks to decide who gets to see a screening of The Love Guru. It made me wish I smoked, so I could slip outside for a cigarette. What's happening over on Flash Forward?
Wow! That pregnant lesbian FBI chick is a mole, no, she's a double agent, and that creepy idiot-savant has broken into Penny Widmore-Hume's house, and the hot Finnes brother found a ring of power hidden in a chess queen, but the pregnant lesbian has orders to kill him. (Naturally Charlie Pace, the actual hobbit, had to explain how the ring worked to Shakespeare-in-Love) And there's going to be another worldwide blackout! Good Grief, Flash Forward is fast-paced and exciting! What? I have to switch back and report on what? Survivor? Oh crap.
Back over on soporific CBS, Colby, Danielle, and Amanda had won the boring, thrill-free, snoozefest, shuffleboard contest. The only excitement was that three crew members fell asleep while filming it, and dropped their equipment on their own toes, but that wasn't shown to us. The Watching-Paint-Dry Channel's ratings suddenly spiked at 10 minutes after 8 PM. I wonder why.
A Night in the Museum, Part 3: Samoan Simpletons: Lucky viewers got to see Bobby Stevenson's house, and without even risking their lives playing shuffleboard. Perhaps that was interesting to some of you, but when you've been Bobby's personal houseguest guest there as I have, albeit, only when Fanny Stevenson was away for the weekend, it's so old cocked-hat.
Amanda's eyes were glazing over as she was shown such treasures as a first edition of Jekyll & Hyde. It's not like she's ever read a book anyway. Pearls before sows. She was busy trying to shake idol clues out of precious, fragile, 200-year-old first editions. I'd suggest the tour guide give her The Black Spot, except that, until she's seen the movie, she'll have no idea what it even means.
(A real treat would have been showing them the original manuscript for The Black Arrow, which is entirely in my handwriting, as Bobby had sprained his wrist writing A Child's Garden of verses.)
They ran them the Wallace Beery-Jackie Cooper version, which is pretty much the best one, but, without Johnny Depp in the picture, Amanda was too bored, and far more concerned with rooting around in a museum, ransacking the 19th century antiquities she was surrounded with for the idol clue. On the one hand, she is playing the game. On the other, never invite her to The Dickens House Museum in London, let alone The White House.
Well guess what? The clue wasn't hidden in the antiquities. It was in the bowl of popcorn. Unfortunately for Amanda, she and Colby were so wrapped up trying to figure out who the hell Jackie Cooper, Wallace Beery, and Lionel Barrymore even were ("Who are these people?" I imagine them asking, "Is the kid the father of the guy who played Perry White in that old Superman movie from before I was born? Is this Lionel guy Drew Barrymore's great-great-great-grandaddy?"), that they never saw Danielle find and slip out the clue. Only Colby could be dim enough to not notice a scroll of parchment in a bowl of popcorn he was eating from. They're lucky he didn't eat it.
But Sherlock Amanda snooped about and found the clue where Danielle had cleverly hidden it, lying on the floor, out in the open, and grabbed it and ran off. Finally we had some action. In a house filled with precious, priceless, fragile Stevenson possessions, Danielle and Amanda were having a physical brawl to get the clue away from each other, while Colby lay on the bed, watching the movie, far more concerned with Long John Silver, Jim Hawkins, and Billy Bones. Well, he hasn't been playing the game much at all lately. Why should tonight be any different? "I didn't even see it. I was watching Treasure Island."
Danielle felt the "Finders Keepers" rule should apply, while Amanda was going with the "Possession is Nine-Tenths of the Law" approach, and Colby just wanted to watch the movie. Who'd have thought the night-spent-watching-TV would have more action than the challenge?
Colby, forced to adjudicate who had "dibs," decided Danielle owned the clue, and Amanda folded, and handed it back! Why? Who made Colby judge and jury? As far as I could see, it belonged to whoever had it in their hot little hand. Frankly, they could have fought tooth and nail for it all night long. It certainly would have made up for that boring shuffleboard contest. Even Amanda admitted she'd been an idiot to give it back. And it was lousy strategy on Colby's part to insist that the clue be given to a member of his enemy alliance, instead of retained by his own ally. The obvious thing to do would be open it and read it aloud so all three heard it, but thinking isn't something Colby's been engaged in since Tom was voted out, or puberty; whichever came first.
Wasn't anyone there impressed that Wallace Beery could wildly overact with one leg tied up behind him, his foot literally stuck into his butt-crack, for the whole movie? No? Kids. No respect for Classic Cinema.
(Personal side note: In 1935, I tried my damnedest to help Jackie Cooper lose his virginity, but he seemed determined to hang on to it. Something about saving himself for Shirley Temple, and me being older than his grandmother.)
When they got back to Camp Yo-Yo, during a monsoon (and where we'd had no footage whatever of any conniving behind their backs while they were gone. I guess the entire Survivor camera crew wanted to see Treasure Island.), Colby could only brag about sharing one rather small bed with the two women; nothing at all about the clue. But Darth was alert and waiting, and watching when Danielle went sprinting out in the storm to find the idol.
Team Player Darth Baggins went Idol Hunting with Danielle. He found it when her back was turned, and, shock, surprise, he hid it in his pocket, lied to her that he hadn't found it, and scurried off, leaving the hopelessly stupid woman with no idea that she'd just been flanked by her "ally." Danielle is so dim, she couldn't even realize that the only possible reason Darth would stop looking and leave was if he'd found it. The Revenge of the Sith was on!
But of course, Darth is pathologically incapable of not bragging to anyone about having the idol. He went and told Candice, thinking to show her he "trusts" her to make her his new pawn. How many women have to shaft him for him to get the message to keep his secrets secret?
Candice actually got the secret part of it, so rather than tell Colby, Rupussy, and Amanda, her "allies," she decided to keep the knowledge to herself. This is a fairly smart move, though not the one I'd prefer her to make.
Sandra was all but wearing a t-shirt saying "I want to flip!" So who did she reach out to? Colby. Why bother? His head is not in the game. I half-expected him to interrupt her narrative of how she'd been screwed-over by the other Insufferables, to say, "That's nothing. Billy Bones got marooned on Treasure Island for years, and Long John Silver betrayed all his crewmates. Let me tell you about his parrot."
What Colby did say was even funnier: "I know Danielle has the hidden immunity idol, or she will." Oh Colby, Colby, Colby. Were you born this stupid, or did you catch it from JT? All you "know" is that Danielle has the clue. I'm not sure she could find her own butt, even with a clue, let alone the idol that Darth Baggins slipped out right under her nose. No one on the Pathetic tribe understands what "Know" actually means. So right off, he and Sandra are plotting under a false precept.
"If we do this," asked Colby of Sandra, "Do we first take out Russell or Parvati?" Please, please, please take out Darth. Just make sure everyone thinks you're going for somebody else, so the weaselly little Sith Hobbit doesn't play the idol you don't realize he has.
Sandra told Darth a cunning lie, cunning because it's so extremely believable. She told him she hadn't talked to Colby because: "He doesn't have no personality." If we extract her illiterate double negative (Does she pass on her horrid lack-of-language skills to her kids?), she's wrong; "no personality" is exactly what he does have. Darth told her they had a flipper from the other side, but not who it was. Could Glenn Beck chart all these double and triple crosses out on his chalkboard for me? I'm getting bewildered.
Sandra became my heroine by determining that Darth must go. But obstacles lie ahead. Who is the flipper? (Candice) If they tell all the Pathetics to vote for Darth, will Candice tattle to Darth, getting him to play his idol or would he think it was a ploy to flush out his idol, as Parvati did last week, and not play it? Can Candice see the wisdom of voting for Darth, and not alerting him? And there's still the unknown factor of whom will win immunity. I'm with Sandra here, but it could rebound on her right away, if she's not really careful. The chances of her winning the Immunity Challenge are, after all, nil.
And Colby was fretting over whether Sandra could be trusted, when the real issue is whether Candice can be trusted. After all, Sandra was the one who clued them into Darth's lies last week, the warning he stupidly ignored on the sage advice of newest jury member JT.
Immunity Challenge: Well this was kinda like Jenga. They had to build ten foot tall houses of cards, actually small wooden plaques, to win immunity. Better than another round of shuffleboard.
Thanks to editing, one has no real sense of how this was going, but each shot of a collapse was hilarious. Anyway Jerri, whom no one was discussing voting out, won immunity, beating Darth by a narrow margin. How exciting was this? Well I only got 71 words out of it, and I wrote a lot more than that about the boring shuffleboard competition.
Darth decided that Amanda would be his target tonight, because "She's kinda like Boston Rob in a girl's body." Yes, if he lost his all looks. Come to think of it, Boston Rob has been in many a girl's body, and he hasn't turned into Amanda yet, fortunately for Amber.
And notice how the relentless misogyny of Darth appears yet again. Does he aim at Colby or Rupussy? Nope. Amanda.
On instructing Candice to vote for Amanda, she agreed to his face, saying, "I'm ready to put her name down. She's crossed me too many times." Name once. Actually, Amanda's been Candice's one close ally and confidant. Could Darth's deciding to take out Amanda get Candice to stay loyal for this crucial vote? Might she even be able to mislead Darth into not playing his idol, by naming a fake target for the Patheics? At last, some suspense.
Candice flipped. She told Darth that he was the target. Damn you, woman! Damn you! And the treacherous little twit (Oh how my fingers longed to hit a different vowel) betrayed Sandra while she was at it. Evil, Candice, evil! May you spend eternity sharing a sleeping bag with Voldepussy!
Darth, fortunately, is filled with paranoia after last week's surprise. He's not sure he believes Sandra, so he went and asked her. What did he think she'd answer? "Yes, Darth, I've flipped, and I'm voting for you tonight." Because he's stayed focused on Amanda, as long as he feels safe enough not to play his idol, he could still go. Hope, that thing with feathers, still lives.
So Rupussy, Genius Colby, and Sandra confronted Candice. What's Candice going to say? "Yes, I ratted you all out to Darth Baggins?" Nope. She denied it, and swore she was still on board, and then Colby spoke these hideous words: "We're voting for Parvati."
"WHAT?????" I screamed at my TV, "No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No!" Vote out Darth! Can not anyone in this pathetic alliance of Pathetics stick to one plan for five minutes? I got me some bitch-slapping to do, starting with Candice, and movng quickly on to Colby. No wonder ABC cancelled The Colbys after only two seasons somewhat over 20 years ago. It wasn't just that it starred Charleton Heston. It was the idiocy of Colbys everywhere, but especially in Samoa.
So Sandra had a private talk with Candice. Oh, Darth tried to join in, but Sandra snapped at him and told him to get lost. Candice swore to Sandra she hadn't flipped, and then told Sandra to vote for Amanda, her one true ally! Hello? Candice promised she was not flipping. But did she tell Sandra that Darth had the idol? No. She kept that bit of info, which would have proven her honesty, to herself. Time for council. And I need another vodka, make that a double, because this sequence of Candice basically betraying everyone in Samoa, including total strangers she passed on the beach, managed what the shuffleboard tournament didn't. It got me all riled.
Tribal Council: Voldepussy went downscale for his Tribal Council fashion choice this time: a black jacket, a green t-shirt with vaguely 60s psychedelic stuff on it I couldn't make out, and a black Survivor baseball cap. Not even any feathers in his hair. JT was hiding his face in his hands in shame, like the sinister weeping angels on Doctor Who.
In describing his fellow Insufferables, Darth called Jerri "calm." I guess he didn't have the energy to pronounce all of "comatose." He called Parvati "Charming." He has a radically different definition of "Charming" than I do, but then, he would. Clearly, despite getting his filthy shorts in a twist about her keeping secrets from him, his lower brain is still responding to her a little more than Mrs. Baggins would like.
And, just to cement his alliance with Sandra, he called her "just there."
At least Rupussy had the sense to sit there and tell Jeff bald-faced lies. Gotta love him, mainly because there's no one else left who is loveable.
However, just to remind everyone how stupid he is, Colby announced definitely that Danielle has the idol currently holding its breath in Darth's shorts, and Rupussy chimed in agreement.
Could we get to the vote please? I want to watch The Office, where people only pretend to be idiots.
Well, voting for Darth became moot. He played the idol. As I said earlier, getting him out would have required Candice to convince him he was not the target, and this she relentlessly did not do. At least he was playing it in vain.
As the Amanda and Parvati votes began racking up, Courtney's skeleton had a laughing jag in the jury box, though the sweetest moment was Darth's whispered "Damn it," as he realized he'd wasted his idol.
But the flip went the wrong way, and Amanda was voted out. In the immortal words of Long John Silver: "Aarrrrgh!" Sandra and Candice both voted for Amanda, who received six votes. Colby voted to keep Amanda, but he'd have done her more good if he hadn't told her to hand the idol clue over to Danielle. I am officially sick of all of these morons.
Next week's previews made it look like Paravti vs Darth. Maybe that will turn out better. As for me, my timbers are thoroughly shivered. We had an hour of Yo-Yo Hos, and I needs me a bottle of rum.
Avast and cheers, me darlin's.