Suspecting that their viewership would be down on Thanksgiving, while people watched football games, or inspirational TV movies on The Hallmark Channel, or just screamed at their ungrateful children, last night's show did not advance the game, but was rather a look-back show. Not exactly a clip show, but rather, a deleted scenes show.
The problem with deleted scenes, as all DVD devotees know, is that it usually quickly becomes obvious why they were deleted in the first place. Anyway, we saw old strategies of long-gone Survivors. I really never wanted to see Fat Chef Mike again, let alone after a large meal of rum-soaked turkey, and while getting severely sauced. It's bad enough having to look at Shambles's hair.
We learned that at the start, Erik appointed himself "Triggerman" to Galu leader Black Russell, making himself Oddjob to Russell's Goldfinger. If this had been an action movie, that might have held some significance, but triggerman to a leader who wore himself down and washed out of the game, without ever needing anyone "triggered," is kind of a nothing role. No wonder they never wasted airtime on it before. Fat lot of good it did either of them. Erik got blindsided out by his own tribe, and Russell, it turned out, couldn't cut it at all, and went out on a medical.
Watching early clips of Tribe Zsa Zsa was like attending your forty-year high school reunion; you're surrounded by total strangers who all know who you are, but whom you're sure you've never set eyes on before. (I recently attended my 90-year high school reunion. It was just me. I had to keep telling myself I didn't look a day older, and then tell myself what I'd been up to all these years, like I had any idea. I promised to stay in touch with me, but I know I won't. The odd thing was, I had to travel from California to Long Island, New York, just to attend an event at which I was the sole guest. This is what happens when the event planner is dead.)
So in these Zsa Zsa clips there was some old woman barking at MickMoron, while some slightly attractive guy asked his help. Who are these people? I'm supposed to remember people voted out in September? It was hard enough recognizing my future-ex-husband Jaison when his yellow shirt was still pressed. (Okay, I reran the opening titles. "Old Woman" was Betsy The Cop, and "Slightly Attractive Guy" was Racist Backwoods Ben. I'd completely forgotten what he looked like.)
We saw MickMoron's early strategy as elected Tribe leader. While Black Russell took the role very seriously, dictating to all and sundry Galuvians who should do what, and who shall suffer His Wrath, and while Shambles, in her one day as Tribe Leader, thought she was General Patton reincarnated, and tried to march on from Berlin to Moscow over General Eisenhower's objections, MickMoron's leadership style was, "I don't know. What do you think we should do?" If he'd had Dick Cheney on the tribe, he'd have been happily deregulating the oil industry.
We revisited Psycho Russell, back when his chest was still freshly-waxed, forming his early string of fake alliances with all the people he has since disposed of, calling himself "The Puppet Master," although he found along the way that some of his male puppets were Pinocchios, and had no strings to pull.
"My tribe will believe anything I tell them at any point, because they're just stupid." This was true for some of them, but Jaison is a Stanford law student with a degree from Oxford. He is not stupid, although he's not always a strong strategizer, as he doesn't think ahead. But these days, trust in Russell is pretty well non-existent, except for Natalie, and his continued survival has been due more to his uncanny power to find mildly-hidden immunity idols, and Galu's relentless insistence on self-destructing.
We saw again Psycho Russell emptying his tribe's canteens in the dead of night, justifying this childish prank with "I'm a do anything it takes to win this game." ("I'm a" is Russell's odd all-purpose phrase. I've yet to figure out what actual English words "I'm a" is supposed to replace.) 19 people have won Survivor so far, and not one of them found it required them to empty out their tribe's water supply at night. You need a strong tribe to win challenges, and come to the merge with numbers. Russell effectively helped Zsa Zsa turn into a tribe of loveable losers who couldn't win an immunity challenge if they played against themselves, thus sending himself into the merge with substantially smaller numbers than Galu, a terrible strategy. Again it's worked for him so far because of his skill at locating idols, and the lousy post-merge strategy of Galu, which Russell did not create, though he has exploited it effectively.
But we also learned of a new strategy of his we'd not seen before, and one which Mrs. Psycho Russell, back in Hell's Service Porch, Texas, may well not find too laudatory, unless of course she's a beaten-down dishrag, afraid to ever cross her seriously-disturbed psychotic husband. After all, only a devoted masochist would have married Russell in the first place.
One of the blonde bimbos: "I just prefer to have someone next to me, because it's so cold. Russell, you want to come sleep next to me?"
Russell: "Yea." Wow, he really took coaxing.
Russell: "It's funny how any girl, at any level, will cuddle with you at night because it's freezing out here. And it is very strategic." Yes dear, I wasn't being unfaithful. Cuddling with all the hot blonde bimbos every night was just "strategy." I wasn't glad to see them. That was just an immunity idol in my pants. (Oh, and I have not the slightest idea of what Russell meant by "at any level." Level with his eyes? Level with his pants?)
Russell, at night, seen through "night vision": "Oh, by the way, I'm happily married."
MickMoron: "Yea, good luck with that, you all."
Russell told us: "This is a game we're playing. You're supposed to lie, cheat, and steal." Well we'd seen him lie and steal before. Now at last, we saw him cheating. (By the way, when playing a game, you are not supposed to cheat. Who wants to play games with cheaters?)
Russell went on: "My wife's probably gonna be pissed off. Ha, ha, ha." I wonder if he's still laughing at that this morning. "Everything I do out here is playing the game." Russell, if you do win the million, bear in mind, it will become community property.
We saw The Viper Queen complaining about how out of it Shambles is: "She just doesn't get when she does something that annoys people, she just doesn't get it." This from a woman whose job is helping conservative lobbyists throw roadblocks against progressive legislation, while working to get regressive, repressive, "faith-based" laws on the books. Talk about someone who annoys people, and "just doesn't get it"!
The Viper Queen continued from on high, sowing the groundwork for the conflict that would eventually see her voted out: "She's 45 years old, and you'd think by then you'd get how to interact with people. That frustrates me, because I don't even like being around her." As if anyone would want to be around The Viper Queen, who, I might add, is a mere six years younger than Old Shambles. In fact, The Viper Queen is a grandmother, while Shambles is, by Christian or Mormon definitions of sex, probably still a virgin.
Rocket Scientist John put it another way, "The overt tomboyish behavior..." Overt Tomboyish Behavior. You mean like Chaz Bono's? "... I think turns a lot of people off..." The same people who complained about Adam Lambert's antics at the AMA's last weekend? "... especially when you have pretty girls here, like the hot chicks we have around here." He can not possibly be referring to The Viper Queen, who is neither pretty, nor a "chick." She's only "hot" under the collar.
We had Yasmin From Planet X referring to Shambles as "Shamu." That was a very rude thing to say about a lovely, sweet killer whale, especially coming from a psycho like Yasmin From Planet X, who got voted out by her tribe first, long before Shambles was even in the line of fire, because no one could stand being around her and her mouth.
We relived the making-fire drama of Galu, as Shambles, convinced that she alone was The Keeper of Prometheus's Secret, insisted on making fire, which she was pathologically incapable of doing. After watching her wear herself out making sparks but no fire, Danger Dave stepped in, and when he dug a fire pit to work in, Shambles was derisive. "Dave's just a complete and utter moron," said Shambles, who is a certifiable imbecile, about a man with a college degree, albeit, in "Opera," but still, where's Shambles's degree in anything? I have doubts that she even possesses a high school diploma."Nothing in my life ever operated without teamwork," Shambles added, unwittingly confessing that she's too stupid to have ever managed anything on her own in her whole life.
While Shambles was going on about how stupid Danger Dave was, Dave made a roaring fire. Of course, Danger Dave quickly exposed what his weakness is, and it's not his id nor his superego: "My awesomeness speaks for itself," said Dave, speaking on behalf of his awesomeness, just in case we hadn't heard it speaking for itself. "I'm the provider. I'm the firemaker." He left out, I'm the self-impressed pratt.
We saw again some of the game of tackle basketball (only on Survivor do we get such weird sports mash-ups), after which Jaison had a snit of, he thought, moral outrage, because Rocket Scientist John had played, he felt, too rough. Suck it up and be quiet, Jaison my darling. You're just making yourself look like a bad sport.
"Now I don't now who John is," said Jaison, admitting up front that, in what he was about to say, he didn't know what he was talking about, which is when you should shut up, "I know guys like this, guys who get ahead by not playing by the rules." Yes, Jaison, you do know someone like that. His name is Psycho Russell; he burned your socks the first night in camp, and he brags about cheating to win. But you do not know a damn thing about John, and playing rough in a game of tackle basketball is not cheating. It's the game.
Jaison, at least, manned up later, and said, "I should not have said what I said to John. Period." He then told a short version of the tale of how his father, from rural Mississippi, was "kicked off his land by the Klan," and went on to get a degree from Long Beach State, and a PhD from Stanford, and all without complaining. Jaison told how, when he bitches like he did about John, he feels he's letting his dad down. Jaison, my darling, let me kiss away the pain.
We got a follow-up to Shambles letting a chicken escape. The chicken, being a chicken and not a rocket scientist, didn't head off to parts unknown, but rather stayed near the Galu camp for days, taunting them with her "I'm here but you can't recapture me," clucking. That's right, it was a smug, sadistic chicken. Erik took it personally, and became obsessed with outsmarting that darn bird.
The problem was simple. The chicken is better equipped to run through thick jungle than a tall man is, and also, the bird can fly, and knows how to cluck, "Is that all you got, skinny boy?"
Psycho Russell was dealing with an inner conflict: his desire to win by lying and by concealing the fact that he's already rich, against his desire to brag, brag, brag. We saw him at night, just dying to say to his tribemates, "You all think I'm a dumb redneck. Well I'm richer than alla you put together." Instead, he said silly, teenage girl stuff, like responding to "what's your secret?" with, "I can't tell you," and "do I really look like I'm a millionaire?" Oh please. Over on Castle and The Mentalist (Which, incidentally, are the exact same, identical show!), whenever someone says "Do I look like a murderer?" it's a dead giveaway that they are the killer.
Russell told us, "It's definitely not going to catch up with me here, 'cause I'll tell nobody until the end."
The very next morning Russell said to Mick, "I own an oil company in Houston... Last year I made one point seven million." He managed not to add, "I'm what J.R. Ewing would be if he were a grotesque troll instead of lovely Larry Hagman." Russell is a compulsive braggart. (MickMoron confessed that he's an anesthesiologist, which explains why such a physically attractive man nevertheless puts me to sleep. Unless he just thinks he's an anesthesiologist because people are always telling him he's a knockout.)
Psycho Russell, sharing his delusions with us, "Mick is a good guy. If I tell Mick I have money, he's gonna think he can trust me even more. I mean, if I would a thought that Mick would say anything about what I do for a living, then I wouldn't a told him."
MickMoron to us: "If it got down to he or I at the end somewhere, and that was the only ammo I had against him, of course I'd use it." Of course! Psycho Russell is very fond of telling us over and over how everyone on his tribe is an idiot because they believe all his lies. Well who is the idiot now?
We listened to Erik on the day of the merge: "[Zsa Zsa], they think that they're gonna strategize and make friends. What's Samoan for 'get the hell off my island'?" This again, was Erik, whom Zsa Zsa tricked Galu into voting out the next day! Erik, what's Samoan for, "It's not your island, bartender. Go chase your chicken"?
Shambles grew annoyed at being left out of Galu's plotting, although this was the closest they came to a smart move since the merge. Shambles is not intelligent, and has allies on Zsa Zsa. "I mean, I'm not seven, and that's how I'm being treated," she pouted to Danger Dave, like a whiny seven-year-old. Most of the seven-year-olds I've met are considerably smarter than Shambles, are more emotionally mature, and have stronger hand-eye co-ordination as well. Maybe they should treat her like she's five.
Shambles defended herself, "I've been bossy around camp, I let the chicken go, I lost the snorkel." Shambles hasn't really got the hang of this defending herself stuff. If Dave hadn't shut her up, she probably would have continued, "I made friends with the other tribe. I'm disloyal to Galu. I'm lousy at challenges. I have a crummy attitude. I whine, like I'm whining right now. I made enemies out of all the other women on Galu for no particular reason. I wear this mullet. I'm stupider than a bag of potato chips."
Danger Dave told her to relax, and know that the guys are taking her "way into it." Being told that she has allies looking out for her and watching her back pissed her off. I apologize to all bags of potato chips. Bags of potato chips are much smarter than Shambles. Shambles bristled at Dave: "I resent the fact that you guys are taking me way into it. You guys." Yea, how dare these guys look out for this moron and try to help her? What a liberty!
"I'm nobody's ninny," Shambles self-righteously sneered at Dave. Nope. She's her own ninny. By the way, this is the first time I've heard "ninny" used in a sentence by an adult in about 70 years.
Shambles rebuffed every offer of friendship or help extended to her by her tribemates through Dave. You just can't help some people. "The tribe of Galu is going to take me deep into the game. Oh, I'm so appreciative. These people can kiss my ass." I think that's a little farther than they are prepared to go, Shambles, though they might kiss your ass by mistake, since both of your ends are equally repellant. If she's wearing a bikini-line mullet too, it would be impossible to tell when she's upside down, and when she's not.
Erik's quest to catch Daisy the Chicken continued. "I think the way to catch this chicken, you gotta be smarter than the chicken, not stronger than the chicken." Bad idea, Erik. You are stronger than the chicken. Play to your strength. Because this chicken could beat you at Scrabble.
Erik set a trap for the chicken, using the fishing net, but when Daisy came to call, Erik had already grown bored, and wandered off, having the attention span of - well - a chicken. The trap was sprung though, and we learned for the first time that Daisy the chicken was indeed recaptured, by the very person who let it go in the first place, Shambles.
Said Shambles of the chicken, "It needed me, and I needed it." Shambles, it's true you needed the chicken, as it was good for you to do one thing to redeem your many, many, many failings, but the chicken did not need you. The chicken was just fine living free, not penned up by humans who intend eventually to eat her.
Erik took Shambles's capture of the chicken he fruitlessly stalked for 12 days as a personal victory, despite his not even being around when it happened. Well, Erik was, at this point, just hours away from being voted out, so I guess he needed some illusion of victory.
A short-lived Victory, as Russell's old psycho ways re-emerged. He got up in the dead of night, and set both chickens free. Russell the Chicken Liberator. Well, if he's in the Final Two, he's got the chicken vote sewn up. He will get votes from the fowl and the foul.
But Russell was reaching a new, even more disturbing level of creepiness. He put the immunity idol around his neck, and went wandering among his snoozing tribemates in the dead of night, watching them sleep, and gloating over his perceived superiority to them. I guess he'd voted out all his cuddlemates. You know, calling him "Psycho Russell" was supposed to be just a fun, joke nickname, but he really is psychotic. He's the Blair Witch Psycho. He needs involuntary institutionalizing
His creeping about woke up Danger Dave, perhaps finally actually sensing real danger. Danger Dave demonstrated his right to be called Dimwit Dave as he chatted with Russell, while Russell was wearing the Idol out in the open, and never noticed it! Degrees in Opera must be easier to acquire than I thought. Maybe all you need is the superhuman ability to stay awake through them, hence Dave's wakefulness when Russell came a creeping. Dave was left confident that he was about to knock Zsa Zsa out, one by one. Dave has no future as a psychic either.
That is, they'd knock Zsa Zsa off one by one after they voted out Erik, because here was Dave, a few hours later, telling all of Galu to vote out Erik, which he'd been seamlessly maneuvered into doing by Zsa Zsa. As I said, Dimwit Dave.
Brett, who "designs T-shirts" for a living (a pullover torso, two short sleeves, hole for the head to go through. What's to design?), saw no sense to eliminating Erik, because, for Galuvians, there was none. But everyone assured him there was a reason, they just didn't know what it was. Rocket Scientist John said, "You gotta get on the train, because it's already left the station." Ah John, if the train has already left the station, it's too late to get on. When firing off your rockets, always put your astronauts on board before lift-off, or they ain't going on the ride.
Dimwit Dave had the reasons for voting out Erik instead of a Zsa Zsasian: "I thought he was legit. He's totally not. He's bad. He's cancer. We got to dump him now." Well, when you put it like that. Danger Dave is determined to appear cool, smart, hip, and in control. The problem is, he's really just a higher-functioning version of Shambles. He thinks that because he doesn't get lost going to the bathroom, and looks a bit like a tall, thin Kevin Spacey, that he's brainy. Shambles is a dumb dimwit. Danger Dave is a smart dimwit. She's a Stan Laurel; he's an Oliver Hardy. And who always ended up stepping into the potholes in the puddles? Ollie. Who stood high and dry, staring blankly at him as he did so? Stanley.
Now I have been expressing utter loathing for the walking sickness that is The Viper Queen for several weeks now, yet even I, who already abominates her, was shocked at her new bout of vileness. Shambles was recounting the not-at-all funny tragedies her family has suffered over the years to an uncaring Viper Queen. Shambles told of a brother who died at 3 months, and a sister who died of cancer at age 27, while a newlywed.
The Viper Queen, sunbathing as she listened to this litany of woe, with, I swear, a smirk on her face, tossed off this casual reply, "Sad. Well, they're better off."
What??? Did I hear correctly? Did this self-proclaimed lady's pastor, this "caring Christian," this vile piece of Republican crap, actually say Shambles's prematurely dead siblings were "better off"? This is the sort of deep illness I associate with Christianity, in all it's wicked, hypocritical forms. The pretense of empathy, the stock banality, and the always-sick concept that this life is a misery we endure for a better life when we're dead. By Christian "logic," we're all better off dead. Well, we'll all be better off when The Viper Queen is "better off."
Shambles understandably began weeping recounting this traumatic bit of her history, and The Viper Queen, continuing working on her tan, made insincere noises of pretend comfort, lies so transparent that only Shambles being lost in her grief kept her from seeing how she was being patronized in the guise of caring. As Shambles wept from her heart, The Viper Queen whined, "Come on, where's our sunshine?" I guess her tan wasn't deepening fast enough.
Now I don't like Shambles, and yet even I was appalled by this horrible creature disguised as a youngish Christian grandmother saying these vile things. The Huffington Post codes of blogging conduct forbid me from telling you in an unbridled manner what I think of this horrible, horrible woman. Surely there must be at least one reader out there who is acquainted with this despicable creature. If so, please relay my loathing to her. Viper Queen, I'd call you walking excrement, except I'd be insulting excrement. Do the world, and your grandkids, a favor, and go "better off" yourself.
In hindsight, Shambles didn't fall for the fake compassion. "I was pretty much broken down and sad, and she wanted to play buddy-buddy with me, and her little reach-out-and-touch-me superficial bull sh**." I couldn't have put it better myself, and I can generally put most anything better than Shambles can.
Shambles continued, "I can't stand [The Viper Queen]. I want no conversations with her. You don't even like me, and you want to sit here and pretend like you're befriending me. It's just like, don't make me throw up on your face." Oh go ahead, Shambles. Throw up on her face. I'd like to see that. In fact, I'd like to see all the members of Igag line-up to take turns throwing up on her face, but I had to settle for seeing her voted out last week.
We had a filler piece of Russell cementing an alliance with Natalie, the last of his "Dumb-Ass Girl Alliances," as he famously put it in the first episode. She actually said to him, as she promised never to vote him off even if she thought it meant the difference between herself winning or not (an idiotic promise to make, and an insane one to keep), "It's not worth the money to me to lose my integrity out here." Russell must have wondered what the hell she was blathering about. But then, you have to have integrity to lose it, and Russell has shown not a trace of ever possessing it, or even grasping what it is.
We were left, at the end with this from Russell, "I'm a write a book on how to win Survivor." Russell, speaking as the authoress of a book or two, let me give you one bit of advice: read a book, or even two, before you try to write one. Even Sarah Palin had read one book before "writing" hers. Okay, it was The Bible, but it is at least a book.
Overall, it was an hour of wasted time, but at least I enjoyed seeing Black Russell's massive manboobs again.
Oooh boy. We get rid of one religious crazy, only to spawn another. In the previews of next week, Shambles was shown believing she's getting messages from God to vote off Dimwit Dave. Shambles, let's pretend for a moment that this "God" thing is a real entity, instead of the fictional character it actually is. If it were real, don't you think an entity with the whole universe to attend to, mega-trillions of planets in billions of billions of galaxies, would be a little bit too busy to give a Mickey Mouse's butt about who gets voted off Survivor? I am mostly a lady of leisure these days myself, and yet I only care because I'm writing this column. A teensy bit of perspective and reality wouldn't hurt you, lady.
That said, getting rid of Dimwit Dave is fine by me. Just leave my Jaison alone.
Over the credits we had Shambles singing Eye of the Tiger, or at least what she could remember of it's banal lyrics before resorting to "doo-doo-doos." I was momentarily tempted to throw up on her face, except that:
1. It would have required walking over to the TV.
2. It would have made my living room an even bigger mess. And
3. The vodka I'm drinking is much too good to waste on Shambles.
Follow Tallulah Morehead on Twitter: www.twitter.com/@DouglasMcEwan