This was a a three-hour telecast, so we have a lot to discuss. Buckle up for safety.
Dan: "This tribe might think I'm a weak link, but I don't consider myself a weak link." He also thinks he's entertaining, that acting like one of the Sopranos is amusing, thought that $1600 alligator shoes would be practical jungle footware (I assume because they come from the jungle originally), and his "personal hero" is Ronald Reagan. In short, he can't get anything right.
Fabio understands proper Survivor accessorizing: "I'm not very comfortable going to Tribal Council without a necklace right now," he said. I'm the same way, and I also require earrings and a turban.
Sash is proposing marriage to each of the remaining players. That would work, if this were Survivor: Utah.
Immunity Challenge #1: Not a good visual start. It involved running out, or in Dan's case, hobbling out, to answer double-choice trivia questions about Nicaragua. (Made-up example: "Nicaragua is often mistaken for what other country at dinner parties? A. France. B. Hell.") The players return to base with a bag of puzzle pieces assigned to the answer they've chosen. If they were right, they have useful pieces. It they were wrong, they have blank pieces and must go back. They have to get through three questions. First person to assemble their jigsaw puzzle wins. So we have puzzle-assembling, my pet peeve in challenges because it's so dull to watch, and a sort-of quiz, which could be interesting, except they read the questions not speak them, so it's kind of a muddle of a contest. One saving grace: it was pouring rain. That's always a plus at a challenge for the viewers.
Not much physically, just a bit of running back and forth. If Dan knows more about Nicaragua than the others, and can assemble jigsaw puzzles quickly, he could win this challenge.
Dan will lose the challenge.
The first question was "What is the country on Nicaragua's northern border?" My answer, Jurassic Park, was wrong, but they all knew it was Honduras. Well duh. That would have been my second answer, or at worst, my third.
The second question was "The east coast of Nicaragua is also known as the...?" My answer, EuroDisney, wasn't an option. The right answer was a Harrison Ford movie. Well, Harrison Ford is always the right answer for me!
Fabio, who desperately needs to win this competition, took the bag for "Star Wars: Episode II: The Empire Strikes Back, but the answer was The Mosquito Coast. (Right answer. Good movie. A win-win.)
Question three was: "In the early 16th Century, these people claimed Nicaragua for Spain?" I was pretty sure the answer was "The Mouseketeers." Annette was always claiming stuff for Spain, which was odd, given her heritage was Italian.
By now, with Chase, Sash and Holly all working on their puzzles, and Fabio with one question left to go (Which was "Your name is ___?" He kept screwing up and answering: "Jud."), Jeff had given up even announcing where Dan was, though he was almost to the first question.
All season long you (and, every once in a long while, but rarely I'm sure, me as well) have mocked Fabio for being an idiot, but bear in mind, on that third question, he knew the answer was "Conquistadores," and not "Matadors." I think Chase flipped a coin.
In an amazing come-from-behind burst (Little Dougie's favorite kind), Fabio beat Sash and won Immunity. Chase, who had all his puzzle pieces back ages ago, still had a pile of meaningless pieces, as actually figuring out how to assemble the show's logo escaped his actually-far-dumber-than-Fabio's brain. That Chase had dropped a piece in the mud and never noticed, didn't help his game any either.
The four players who were all planning to vote Fabio out applauded and cheered through gritted teeth, their fury gleaming through their false bonhomie. (I believe this is the first time I have ever used the word "bonhomie" in anything I have ever written.)
Holly's snap pick to replace Fabio as victim: Dan. Well it's about friggin' time! His longevity in this game is an insult to all the truly fine players who have played, and usually lost, this grueling game, yet this is the first time someone has proposed voting him out. Holly should be remembering those $1600 shoes she destroyed weeks ago. She should be singing:
"These [sixteen-hundred dollar alligator shoes] were [caught, tortured, murdered, skinned, cobbled together into a vanity-bauble, overpriced into obscenity, and sold to one of the self-adoring overly-entitled] for walking,
And that's just what they'll do,
And one of these days these [sixteen-hundred dollar alligator shoes],
Are going to walk all over you."
I think Fabio might be wise to vote with Holly, Chase, and Sash against Dan, since his continued presence there offends me. But Fabio is thinking for himself. When did he start doing that? Anyway, Fabio wants to enlist Chase and Sash in voting out Holly. I am fine with Holly going, but she's Chase's last remaining Mommy Figure, and without her there, he'd probably cry a lot, and not eat vegetables. (On the other hand, this might save Dan's life, as he is the biggest vegetable out there.)
Chase feels Dan is more of a threat than Holly. Oh please, Dan is less of a threat than Ghengis Kahn, who has been dead for centuries! "Nobody's mad at Dan," said Chase. Well no one respects him either. If ever there was someone who doesn't deserve to win Survivor, it's Dan. Besides, he has a Ferrari and wears $1600 shoes, as he loves to remind folks. He doesn't need the money.
Dan owns a business, if not several. He has a lot of money. We are down to the Final Five. Since Tribal Council last night, he's been in the company of only four other people. When Fabio tried to talk strategy with him, Dan asked this question: "How many votes do we need?" He can't count to three? He and Fabio count as two people, though they're giving short weight if you ask me; they need one more vote. Yes, I can see how Dan could lose count before getting all the way up to "One."
Dan made his case to Fabio and Sash for voting out Holly. His reason was: she's a hard-working mom from a little farm who needs the money. They should keep Dan because he's already rich. He wasn't lying when he said Ronald Reagan was his personal hero. That's Reagan's "Screw the poor, give everything to the rich" philosophy in its purest form. What Dan forgets is that, if Holly is ever going to pay him the $1600 she owes him, she'll have to win the million. If Dan wins the million, he'll lose $1600! That should be able to scare off a man who can't count all the way to one.
Tribal Council #1: It's always fun to see the new jury member all cleaned up and glamorous again, but Jane, or Madame DeFarge, doesn't clean up well. She's just as scary after her annual bath as before, though her hair looked better.
Dan explained that his whole strategy from Day One was banking on his own unpopularity: Who'd vote for me? I'm a boring, annoying old gasbag who's been a dead weight in every challenge. No one can stand the sight of me, and I can buy and sell all of you. Keep me around. This strategy, effective as far as it goes, strikes me as not having a very winning endgame.
When Holly said she feared the four guys would vote her out, Jeff asked her why that would be a good idea, essentially asking her to make the case against herself. I believe the Fifth Amendment would protect her from answering that question, except she's in Nicaragua, outside the Constitution's protections, much like all of America under George W. Bush.
Holly said Dan wanted her out to have an all-guys Final Four. Since this was something that was only real in Holly's active imagination, Dan was a bit shocked. But this has been a pattern in Holly's "thinking" since Day One also. She invents stuff in her head, and then, since she thought of it, she decides it is true, then later is surprised because her fantasies weren't what was real. She'd make a good priest.
Chase said: "My mind's always turning." I assume in circles, because it doesn't produce much.
Asked to make a case against Dan, she asked if he'd been aggressive, talked to people, though I fail to see what that has to do with it. The case against Dan is simple: he doesn't deserve to be there; he's never won, or really even tried to win, anything, and he's rolling in money. You want to lose the money to a rich man, they way America did last week, when the Bush tax cuts for the rich got extended?
Useless Dan was - finally - voted out! It was unanimous, with Fabio calling him "Uncle Dan" on his ballot. Ew. More like Uncle Fester.
Dan's exit speech showed his usual matchless class. He called Holly "a crook" for stealing his shoes, adding: "They ought to cut your damn hands off." Dan's Iranian? I think that's a trifle over-harsh, even for Nicaragua. He should make that suggestion to Kelly One-Leg. Of course, if they cut Holly's damn hands off, and then she still makes the finals, NaOanka, or as we know her, Beelzebimbo, might physically assault her. You got no hands, fool? I'll show you, freak! Take that! And then Beelzebimbo would yank off Holly's prosthetic hands, and use them to bitch-slap her.
Dan's parting words were: "I wish them the worst, and I can't wait to cast my vote." So now Tony Soprano has a mole on the jury. The fix is in.
At this point, as Holly put it: "If Fabio wins [Immunity], we will have to turn on our own, and, um, it'll be very interesting to see what happens." Or, to put it another way, if Fabio loses Immunity, it will be very boring and predictable. Fabio, please win Immunity just once more!
March of the Fallen: The obligatory boring ritual whereby we revisit the torches of the fallen players, and collect "shields" from them to burn. We have to revisit names we were glad to lose, names we were sorry to lose, and who-the-hell-are-you-guys? names kicked off early on.
Wendy Jo: Who? I don't remember her. Let me look in my files. Oh yes! The scatterbrained, chatterbox goat-herder - yes, goat-herder - who made an alliance on Day One with Holly, and then talked so much and so incessantly, that she talked herself right off the show at the first Tribal council. I wrote of her in episode one:
Wendy is one of those people who never says anything in two words that can be oversaid with 50 words... Survivor attracts Type-A personalities, and people who think they're like that, but aren't. Meet Wendy: "I have leadership skills." Sure she does. Here she explained it a bit more in her CBS online bio: "I'm also good at strawteegee- ah - strategy, and thinking, and against the other team and such..." She can't even organize a sentence, but she thinks she's good at strawteegee.
At Wendy's torch, Holly said: "Whenever you looked at her, she glowed." Oh my God; she was radioactive! Was her touch deadly, like Boris Karloff's touch was in The Invisible Ray?
Shannon: Shannon I remember vividly! The most-gorgeous man in the show this season, married since birth, 40 or 50 kids, hates all women, and also homophobic. Basically, anyone who might want to have sex with him, he has total contempt for. He has a point.
Superbowl Guy: the big name celebrity, famous - apparently - for his Extenz commercials in which he brags about his giant, chemically-enhanced schvanstukker, and also for coaching some sport. CBS was really counting on him this season. He lasted three episodes.
Holly brought up at Superbowl Guy's torch how, if it weren't for his peptalk to her, she'd have quit the game way back in the first week. The players are supposed to say nice things about the "fallen". It's my job to say mean things about them. Why is she reminiscing over the worst thing he did while he was there?
Jimmy T: Oh good gracious, that windbag: a fisherman of 48 who looked 20 years older than he was, deeply in love with the sound of his own voice, always with a worthless opinion on everything, always whining that he wasn't being allowed to lead. He kvetched and annoyed his way out of the game, voted out because no one could stand to be around him a moment longer. Remember, they could have voted out Dan then, but voted out Jimmy T instead, for being horrible company.
In Jimmy T's flashbacks, we once more had to endure numerous shots of him shirtless and braless. He said in voice-over: "I'm certainly humbled." Remembering what a gasbag he was, I'd prefer it if he were mumbled.
Tyrone: the middle-aged, hunky black fire captain, whose inability to stop ordering people about like he was their captain too got him ousted. Great pecs, not stupid, often right about stuff, but zero people skills. I wish they'd had a camera on him in his home when he got to see on TV how the tribe's ignoring his fire safety advice got their camp burned down. He must have roared with laughter.
Kelly One-Leg: There's no way around how amazing her performances in the challenges were. She did inspiringly well. Compared to Dan, with two legs, she made 10 of him. Plus, she stood up (as best anyone could) to being physically and verbally assaulted by Beelzebimbo, for the crime of existing. Beelzebimbo is a natural playground bully (No wonder she became a PE coach, a perfect job for semi-bright bullies), and playground bullies are, of course, cowards who always pick on the weakest and most-vulnerable. She took one look at Kelly One-Leg and recognized her natural prey, and seemed puzzled that no one else could see that this was The Natural Order of Things, and support her in it.
Yve: Who? Where are my notes again? What did I say in the first show? Nothing. She spoke one sentence at Tribal Council. Well, Yve was a woman, and she was on the show, and then she got voted off. Let's move on.
Jill: Her I remember, the right-wing Republican, devoutly religious, Christian, ER doctor, who only looked like a hyper-butch Lesbian. She could have been a strong player, but she developed this very passive attitude of "Whatever you want, Marty" for her strategy, and it was death.
Alina: Oh yes. The other pretty girl on the jury. She - ah - she - she was on the show.
Marty: Marty is a successful businessman, and clearly thought he'd be able to manipulate everyone to his advantage. While he was on the original Antiques Tribe, he was actually fairly good at it, but once the Fetuses were tossed into the mix, he was in trouble. It wasn't just that he couldn't read them, or that he thought they would just accept his authority as a slightly (in his mind) older man. It was that he saw himself as "one of the guys" with Sash and Chase and all the other men 2 to 3 decades younger than him, who all saw him as just another old man to ignore and trick. And he gave Sash his Immunity Idol. Now he's on the jury, and Sash is still playing.
Easy on the eyes though. Marty and Tyrone were the only two men on The Antiques Tribe to look good shirtless.
Brenda: A beauty queen used to getting her way by manipulating men, but unlike a lot of beautiful manipulators, Brenda was smart, allowing her to recognize Chase as a besotted idiot to be toyed with for her own purposes, while realizing Sash was smarter than Chase, and more openly conspiring with him, though still remaining the one in charge, until her little male-harem turned on her owing to Holly's Manipulative-Mom wiles trumping her influence over these Oedipal wrecks, and found herself voted out.
Quitter Beelzebimbo: This walk is allegedly to honor the honorably fallen, not to honor the disgraced quitters. It's bad enough that this foul monster, who besmirched this season and then fled in cowardice, showing that when the going gets tough, the selfish shrews head for the hills, is allowed on the jury. Her torch should not be allowed on this walk either.
The editors had a little fun with Beelzebimbo's retrospective comments over her montage. We heard her say: "I always had a smile..." (So what?) while we looked at a shot of her crying (in self-pity of course, the only emotion that can make her cry.), and we heard her say "I was friendly..." over shots of her assaulting and beating up Kelly One-Leg. I see; it was not assault; it was just being overly-friendly.
Beelzebimbo, who is not at all ashamed of her game, continued. "I'm not trying to toot my own horn," she said, tooting her own horn because no one else on earth would toot it for her, "But I was literally the shmartest [sic] player in the game, hands down, and the craziest." She was literally not the smartest player in the game. But I'll hand her this, she was indeed, literally, the craziest. Really. She's insane. She needs to be confined in a rubber room. Literally. Where's Nurse Ratchet when you need her?
Quitter Kelly Never-Here: In her entire time on the show, she spoke a total of maybe 50 words on the air, of which, two were interesting: "I'm quitting." Not a horrible human being like Beelzebimbo, just young, young, young. Her body is a mere 20 years, and her brain is still that of an unborn fetus. She is untroubled by thought, but she responds to color and movement. She quit. Ignore her.
But Kelly's little speech showed she does excel at something: Self-Delusion. At the Self-Delusion Olympics, she could even compete with Beelzebimbo: "My reputation is not a quitter..." Actually, after you quit Survivor on national TV; your reputation is: a brainless quitter.
"...And people back home, they all know that..." You quit on CBS primetime, on a show that consistently scores in the Top 20, and was, according to the current issue of Entertainment Weekly, the ninth highest-rated show of 2010 (scoring just slightly below Survivor: Heroes vs Villains, which was the eighth highest-rated show of 2010.), which means a bit over 13 million people know you only as a quitter. That's more people than you've met personally in your whole life, so your reputation is overwhelmingly that of a quitter.
"...So it's going to be hard for me to be seen walking away from something, because that's not who I am." Hey Kelly, here's a headline for you: that's who you are. You're a quitter and you quit. Honestly, where do these two brainless women get the idea that you can quit, but if you just say you're not a quitter, then you're not a quitter? A quitter is one who quits. You both quit. You're both quitters.
I suspect that at the reunion show, Kelly and Beelzebimbo will announce that they will not rest until "the real quitters" are found and brought to justice.
As Johnny Cochran never said: "If the stolen socks fit her, she must be a quitter."
Benry: Benry modestly told us he would have won the Immunity Challenges that Fabio has won, "unless there were some puzzles involved." Good thing you're out then, Benry, because this most-recent Immunity Challenge depended on a puzzle, which Fabio, though he was the next-to-last person to begin working on the puzzle, nonetheless solved first. Think how embarrassed you'd have been. Now go back to talking drunken teenage girls into flashing their breasts on camera for Girls Gone Wild.
Madame DeFarge: Chase's Carolina-and-Mom obsession are still in play with Madame DeFarge, as he said that she deserved to win the show he voted to remove her from. If you win the money, Chase, will you give it to her? Come to think of it, he's such an idiot, and so vulnerable to mother-figures, she probably could talk him into giving her the money. For that matter, so could Sash.
Useless, Twice-Shoeless, Dan: "Dan the Man," the boys said in unison. So that's what that annoying, useless troll was? A man? Who knew? He doesn't need the money, and he's not getting it either. How can we miss him if he won't go away.
Dan: "I think I'm gonna be a lot less spoiled when I get back to New York." I don't. But somewhere in Brooklyn, his hot son Matt is waiting to renew their interrupted make-out session from the last episode. Now there's a boy who really wants into the will.
Final Immunity Challenge: This is it. The final challenge. It was a simple one, and not an endurance challenge either. They had to stack coins in a pile on the end of a sword's hilt which they are holding up, until their stack collapses and they're eliminated. It was like a combination of the game Jenga and a variety act on the old Ed Sullivan Show. A person doing well at this challenge might not just win a million dollars, he might also get a job at Cirque Du Soleil.
The coins weren't flat or even, so they could make stacks lean in crazy directions. This was a very difficult challenge, requiring intense concentration, and steady hands. I wouldn't have lasted five seconds. It also makes for tense watching, so unlike puzzles, it makes for good TV.
Plus there was a close-up of Chase's left nipple, I mean of Chase's coin stack that happened to require filling a quarter of my screen with a very close up shot of Chase's left nipple. I know because the shot is freeze-framed on my TV screen right this second, as I dictate this paragraph to Little Dougie. He types; I woman the remote control. I just happened to freeze on this image. Just happened to on my third attempt. (I probably could have gotten it on the first try, except the shot was immediately preceded by a similar close up of one of Sash's nipples, and it's hard to switch from "Fast-Forward" to "Pause" that quickly.)
Now Fabio must win this challenge to have any hope of staying in the game, and for me to have any hope that a person I can root for might win. Yet, thanks to lumpy coins, his stack is leaning precariously. I've seldom felt such intense suspense before, outside of competitive wine-tasting.
Holly's stack fell first. So much for Mom keeping a balanced budget. (Go Fabio.)
Chase went second. I expected him to go out first. Every time Jeff would say so-and-so was leaning or losing it, he would take his eyes off his stack to steal a glance at his competition. You can't win this challenge with that sort of lack of concentration.
So now it was down to just Sash or Fabio. Go Fabio!
You know, in extreme close-up, Fabio's pecs are not hairless, but have a fine, soft, very downy sweet hair covering his -- What Dougie? Oh. Sorry. I got distracted. Yes, who will win?
Fabio's stack was way off-center. It was getting wobblier and wobblier. Fabio was doomed! Fabio was .. was ...
The Winner of Final Immunity! Fabio will face the jury! Is there anyone left who could beat him?
I've been making fun of the poorly-toilet-trained surfer boy all season long, but facts are facts. His three-challenge run when the chips were very definitely down was amazing and impressive, and will be remembered in the Survivor annals. He absolutely deserves to win this game all the way. Were I on that jury, my vote for Fabio would be locked up, and something "unfortunate" might have "accidentally" happened to Beelzebimbo back at the hotel, while I had an airtight alibi.
Fabio, in ecstasy back at camp, just sat down to watch the others maneuver and wheedle to not be the last person voted out. He had no intention of participating, just watching and enjoying the spectacle. Me too.
Sash thought he had a deal in place with Fabio to take him to Final Three, identical to the deals he has with Chase, and Holly. But Fabio refused to commit, and just smiled like a Cheshire cat, and made ever-more-non-committal remarks as Sash tried to work him for his thoughts or his vote. The Great Sash can not believe that this stupid little surfer trash could outplay him merely by doing what Sash seldom ever did, win challenges. Who is he? No one! Who am I? Sash the Merciless!
Sash decided to scape Chase's goat, which is fine by me. He ran down the list of potential jury votes for Chase. Actually, much as Sash makes my skin crawl, he's probably a better choice to take to the end than Chase. Holly may pull in a few votes also, like Chase's if they put him on the jury.
Sash claimed he was not going to vote Fabio out had he lost Immunity. Fabio's intelligence has seemed to waver greatly throughout the season, but he's never seemed dumb enough to believe that, nor to believe Sash's insane declaration of love: "I feel like you're my best friend in the game." Oh puh-leaze!
And Fabio sat, grinning like Buddha, replying with monosyllabic cools, clearly not buying one word of Sash's lies, but noticing that he was being lied to. Fabio could teach Evil Russell how to play this game.
Chase wandered by, so that his and Fabio's nipples could have a last chat together. Chase wanted to know what Sash had been talking to him about, and Fabio took a wildly new approach; he told him the truth, that Sash had been trying to paint a target on him.
I was reminded of the scene in From Russia With Love, when Blofeld explains to Rosa Klebb (Played adequately by Lotte Lenya. I was up for the role at the time, but they went with Lotte because they said my Rosa Klebb was "too scary." Nor were my chances at the role improved when, after I snuck into Sean Connery's dressing trailer naked, and Sir Sean ran from the trailer screaming something about a giant squid in his bed.), how SPECTRE's technique is to turn their opponents on each other, then watch them battle each other to exhaustion, and then just stroll in and take the prizes themselves. This was Fabio, watching like a hot hairy Blofeld, stroking his kitty, and watching everyone else turn on each other, as the last alliances split asunder. My gracious, Fabio is a Diabolical Mini-Mind!
Chase is amazed to discover, on Day 38 out of 39, that Sash will do whatever he thinks he needs to to win. I guess up till now, Chase thought Sash's goal was: "Well, I'd like to win, if that's not inconveniencing anyone. Oh you want to win, Chase? Well, then I'll defer to you. You go, win, live. I belong dead."
Fabio's powers of description are so accurate, he should write this column: "It's almost like, if I just walked into a kitchen, turned the lights on, and all these little cockroaches are trying to scramble to get out of the way, and to throw someone else under the bus." I've seen the occasional insect in my home - I used to have an agent, after all - but never have I turned on a kitchen light only to see cockroaches try to throw someone under a bus. How big are the cockroaches in Fabio's beach pad anyway?
Chase tried honesty back, by confessing to Fabio that, had Fabio lost immunity, he'd have been toast. This was Chase's first smart move in the whole game, as Fabio appreciated the no-bull approach over Sash's continuing to insult his intelligence with transparent lies. (Okay, I've been insulting his intelligence all season also, but I repent. Fabio rules Survivor 21: Infants vs Senior Citizens!)
Tribal Council #2: Fabio is sailing on a joyous high. He knows the jury are all seeing him wearing that necklace a third consecutive time. Whoever wears the same thing three times? Darlings, If I wear the same thing even twice, I feel so common.
Sash, after sort of admitting that he's had alliances at one time or another with pretty much everyone, even players on previous seasons, and two on next season, and one with "The Brigade" on Big Brother 12, said to Fabio: "I think, over the past few days, I've been more committal to you than Chase has." Committal? Chase has been more honest with Fabio, but "over the past few days," just since Fabio began winning every Immunity Challenge, Sash been more "committal" to him, whatever the hell "committal" means. If Fabio believes a word of this bilge, I'll be attending his committal.
Sash was given one last pitch to Fabio. It was priceless desperation: "Fabio, we've been in this since the beginning..." Weren't all 20 of them "in this from the beginning"? Which of the players came late? Was someone not added until episode 3?
Sash made himself into such a clear liar, and outraged and amused the entire jury to such a level of contempt, that he saved himself. Holly, the last woman and the last Antique, was voted out. In the Infants vs Senior Citizens conflict, the Infants won. Somehow, a group of middle-aged-to-elderly geezers had been unable to defeat a tribe of fit twentysomethings in brutal physical challenges under grueling living conditions. Who ever saw that coming?
Back at camp, Chase and Sash both tried desperately to pretend that this was the Final Three they'd always really wanted. Fabio, the only one of the three who had actually wanted it now knew what a load of bull that was. He'd undoubtedly arrived at Tribal Council already knowing that Holly had the biggest number of likely votes on the jury, and already decided to vote her out, but he still put Chase and Sash through the wringer of having their machinations exposed to the jury for later. Sash and Chase wanted to party. Fabio was working on his summation.
Sash feels that only he of the three of them "deserves" to be in the finals. There simply is no logical argument that can be made to say that Fabio does not deserve to be right where he is.
Sash: "I really do feel I played the best strategic game..." except for little things like your whole strategy blowing up in your face, your being exposed as engaged in duplicity with everyone, and the small problem that everyone now views you with scorn and contempt.
And whose strategy has paid off best? Fabio's. Holding back, being thought the clown, and a lesser threat at challenges, until the chips were down, and then going into an overdrive no one had ever suspected of him, all without pissing off anyone but Beelzebimbo. It's a brilliant combination of mental strategy, social game, and physical prowess. Sash should be embarrassed to be seen beside him.
Sash called Fabio and Chase: "my two wingmen," utterly unconscious of how insulting that was. In Sash's mind, the world always turns around him, but Fabio is well aware that Sash is off-center, and it's cracking up the increasingly deliriously happy boy.
There is of course, no game to be played between the last two Tribal Councils, so it's always a waste of time, as the last players finally get to fill their bellies.
But Chase is still trying to work the game. He's trying to pump Fabio up into a state of overconfidence so grand that he somehow sinks himself at Final Tribal Council. This relentlessly stupid and blundering competitor is trying to psyche out the young man who had everyone underestimate him right into Final Council. However smart or not-smart Fabio is, one thing is clear, he's Professor Stephen Hawking next to Chase.
Sash's problem will be to deal with the fact that he either betrayed, lied to, backstabbed, or was just upfront hostile to everyone on the jury. Chase's problem is that he betrayed almost everyone on the jury. Fabio's problem will be finding nice tax shelters.
Before leaving for Final Tribal Council, there was the final ritual of burning their camp down. Been there. Done that. Good thing Tyrone didn't make it to the end; he'd have been a total pain about the arson.
Chase: "I didn't come out here playin' for second place." He went all the way to Nicaragua for third place? Well, he may have to put that dream behind him, because I think Sash has a lock on third place.
Final Tribal Council: Holly looked like she'd had facial-rejuvenating work done just in the 23 hours since she was voted out. Were they waiting in her hotel room with emergency Botox?
Beelzebimbo made a face (I mean even worse than her normal face) when Fabio said he'd enjoyed being out there with each and every one of them. Even she knew better than to believe someone could enjoy spending time with her. Fabio's lie didn't impress her.
Sash asked the jury to respect his backstabbing of each of them, and going back on their alliances, and to award him the money because of that. Sadly for this line of "reasoning," Brenda is first up, his closest ally in the game, whom he totally betrayed, sitting there looking at the sky when she expected him to hand her his immunity necklace, that he later used for himself on a night when he got only one vote anyway. It would have saved her. Getting Brenda to forgive that betrayal was going to be difficult.
"I am remorseful," said Sash, doing himself no favors by adding: "I did have to backstab nine people, but..." Nine people! I'd lost track of Sash's body count. He may be the first player in Survivor history to come out of Final Tribal Council with a negative number of votes.
I loved Marty's jury question. He asked each finalist who their pick was for The Dumber-Than-A-Bag-of-Hammers Award for this season. (I won this title in 1947, barely edging out Betty Hutton.)
Chase chose Marty, even though that was against Marty's rules. Had Chase forgotten that he was trying to win votes?
Holly asked Chase "What do you consider your best strategical move?" Sash uses that a lot too, saying stuff like, "I played the best strategical game." Okay everyone, the adjectival form of strategy is "strategic," not "strategical." You make strategic moves, not strategical moves. You play a strategic game (though not if you are Chase), not a strategical game. And I mean that literally.
Holly asked Fabio: "Do you think winning the last three Immunity Challenges was too little too late?" What? First off, there's nothing "little" about it. Let's see Holly try winning three immunities in a row. Oh wait, we did. She lost three in a row. It wasn't too little, too late. It was a whole lot, just in the nick of time.
Holly: "Sash, did you ever lie to me? Honestly, be honest." Listen to yourself, woman! What a pointless question. You know, if he says he did (and he said he did), that probably means he didn't. He works in real estate in New York City. Telling him to "be honest" sets off an automatic lie response. It's a reflex.
When Madame DeFarge stood up to talk, the questions arose: had she gotten over her bitterness? Had she matured in her emotional responses? Would she act her age?
No, nope, and no way.
Madame DeFarge to Sash: "All I gotta say is someone sure raised you good to be a New York river rat." Well DeFargie, that would be Sash's mother. You met her four days ago. Nice woman. Very pale and blond. Now about how you were raised...
She told Sash to go back to his sewers. I don't think Sash has that vote completely sewn up just yet.
DeFarge told Chase he'd made her time out there: "the funnest event I've ever had in my life," thus simultaneously shaming both her late husband and her high school English teacher, who's probably dead too.
The few seniors on the jury were determined to give lessons in class and good sportsmanship to their younger vanquishers, especially Sash.
First we had Madame DeFarge's sewer rat diatribe, delivered while still looking like a vengeful zombie who's wearing a nice wig.
Then Useless Dan lit into Sash with: "Sash, I think you're a liar, I think you're a phoney ... I think you're spineless, and I hate that smile, and I think if I was you, I'd go to the doctor tomorrow and get that eyes fixed." Wow! Now that is a low, classless blow. Yes, Sash has a wandering eye, he looks a bit wall-eyed, and he can't look you in the eyes with both eyes at once. Go back over the 14 columns I've written about this season. They're full of cheap shots and low blows, but you will not find one single joke, or mention, of Sash's eye problems until now. The idea, Dan, is to make Sash look bad, not you.
Dan told Chase that "Beauty fades, dumb is forever," which I guess was his way of saying that in 40 years, Chase will look just like Dan. Man, that's mean.
Dan said nothing to Fabio. People are reading Sash and Chase the riot act, one after the other, but so far that lame "too little, too late" question is the closest anyone's come to taking a shot at Fabio. I think I know who will be using a solid gold surfboard next summer, once. (A gold surfboard would not be terribly buoyant.)
Why do the quitters get to ask questions? They quit. It's bad enough they get to vote.
Kelly No-Brain: "You guys did what I couldn't do." Get more than 15 seconds of airtime? Speak in complete sentences? Sit up unassisted?
Beelzebimbo called Fabio her: "hippie friend." Would that be the hippie friend whose apartment you rob while he's out, to pay your own rent?
Beelzebimbo made Fabio cry. She makes the angels in Heaven weep as well. That's why its been raining nonstop for the last four days here in Los Angeles, where all these people are for the live reunion show due to start very shortly.
"You gotta dig deep in this game," advised Beelzebimbo, who had only dug shallow herself. Well, I guess when you are shallow, you can only dig shallow.
Alina said to Fabio that he was a boy, and she didn't want to give a million dollars to a boy, "I want to give a million dollars to a man." Anyone in particular? You're not unattractive. I'm sure you could find a man more cheaply than that.
And what is Fabio supposed to do, pledge to be older? He won individual immunity four times, including thrice consecutively. Alina, he isn't just a man; he's the man! He's more man than you'll ever get.
Marty declared his love for Fabio as he cast his vote. Have they registered china patterns anywhere? They'll make a darling couple.
As she voted, Beelzebimbo said to us: "It's been a pleasure." I can not return the sentiment.
Alina voted for Chase because she was "so impressed" with him tonight. If she were a man, I'd accuse her of voting from her crotch. Brenda voted for Chase also. That was forgiving of her.
Live Results and Reunion Show: Fabio with a decent haircut! Chase with no hair at all! Sash - ah - Sash was also there.
Voldepussy was in the audience! Damn! We've got to get that last Harry Potter movie into theaters, so he can be utterly destroyed, and never reappear on my TV again.
Why is no one shirtless? Oh yes. They're here in Los Angeles today, like me, and it's been cold, and pouring rain all day and all night for four days now.
Jeff said winning the million dollars "could be life-changing." For whom might it not be life changing? Donald Trump? Dick Cheney? Scrooge McDuck?
Jeff, after each vote, would recount the tally: "Two votes Fabio, one vote Chase," but ignored Sash. I wanted him to say: "Three votes Fabio, two votes Chase, no votes Sash."
Fabio became the youngest Survivor winner ever, at age 21, by five votes to four. Why did Chase get four votes? Oh, and that would be Sash: zero votes. I feel irrationally happy for Fabio. This is the first time someone I've rooted for has won one of these games since I started blogging them. Fabio just proved that not only can you win Survivor without backstabbing or lying, but that can even help you with the jury. (But really, who were all those votes for Chase, besides Brenda and Alina? I'll bet Madame DeFarge voted with her statehood instead of her mind, and voted Chase.)
The first of the jury members to hug Fabio were Alina and Brenda, both of whom voted for Chase.
Fabio tried coming out of the Stupidity Closet, but he's so blunderingly inarticulate, he has a hard time being convincing. Yet his strategy paid off; he's certainly smarter than Chase, he often seemed a voice of sanity amidst the madness (I remember him at the second Tribal Council, when Shannon's mouth was digging him the hole he shortly fell into, just saying: "Dude, shut up." which was excellent advice Shannon ignored.), and he seems a sweet boy, who holds malice towards none.
Chase got to audition his "new single." It's country-western music. I won't be acquiring it.
Superbowl Guy brought along that insufferable gasbag Terry Bradshaw and Jeff gave him airtime to run his boring mouth. Please. Lock Terry in a windowless room somewhere with Jay Leno, and throw away the key.
Holly cleaned up and made-up dropped years from her appearance. She looked 35 at the most. The alligator shoes issue was raised so Holly could make it up to Dan by bringing him what she called "full quilt ostrich boots." I didn't know ostriches even wore boots. In the process, she let slip that Dan said he had 20 more pairs of alligator shoes at home. That's $32,000 just in shoes. I'm sorry; that's obscene. Good thing his Bush-era tax breaks were extended, so he doesn't need to cash in his fortune in shoes to pay for his Ferraris. The country is bankrupt, but Dan has 20 pairs of $1600 shoes. Maybe his idol isn't so much Ronald Reagan as Imelda Marcos.
Jeff was still calling Madame DeFarge "one of this season's most-liked contestants." Really? Still? At first, when she seemed a loveable, slightly dotty, old granny-with-grit, she seemed adorable. But as time wore on, and the terrifying, hungry-zombie look took her over, and she bloodied her way through the game, and finally, became a raving, childish spirit of Vengeance and Spite, her former-loveableness became just a distant memory. Didn't it?
Madame DeFarge complained that on the first day, Tyrone and Marty had "fluffed her off." Madame DeFarge has probably never worked in pornography (At least I hope not. Ew!), so she is blissfully unaware of what it means "to fluff" in that industry. (It's a skill I've kept my amateur standing in for many years. I'm nationally ranked.) When Jeff asked Marty why he had fluffed her off, Marty clearly did know the funny meaning of fluffing.
Then came Dump-on-Beelzebimbo Time, which I'd been anticipating more than the game results. We had a montage of her horrible actions and hideous words. She got a smattering of applause, joined by some boos and jeering. She offered forth the standard: when you're playing a game for a million dollars, where it's okay because it's part of the game, and her judgement was impaired, though she stands by all her actions, and she never thought she'd come across as a villain (that much, at least, is true. She had no idea that people found her appalling behavior appalling. Common Human Decency is utterly foreign to her.), and the absurd: "I did exactly what I needed to do to win." Hello? The first thing you have to do to win is not quit.
By the way, her last name is "Mixon." I'm not fooled by one little line added to the first N. I recognize the sort of shambling Evil that in this country has long gone by the dreaded name Nixon.
And when Jeff brought up all the parents who have sensibly pulled their kids from her classes, and demanded her principals fire her (which Beelzebimbo tried to gloss over, by pretending it was only one parent), she hit the Reality Game Excuse word-for-word from the Evil Players Handbook of Excuses: "This is a reality TV show, and it's a game for a million dollars, and this has nothing to do with my real life. ... We shouldn't be judged with our profession with this game. I think that's ridiculous."
I've heard this argument again and again, though rarely expressed so ungrammatically, and it's garbage. This is indeed, Reality TV, and the Reality that gets exposed is who these people really are inside, what comes out as the pressure and the hardship mixes with the greed for a million dollars, to strip away their civilized veneers, and expose the players' actual characters. Their real self is who they show us. As the Romans sort-of said: "In Survivorus, veritas."
Fabio was also playing for that million, and except for peeing in the pool, he never ceased to be a gentleman, told no lies, stabbed no backs, assaulted no disabled women, stole no one's clothes nor food, screamed no insults at other people.
In short, Beelzebimbo showed us her real self inside, and her refusal to take any sort of responsibility for her atrocious behavior underscores that she is, in Reality, a terrible human being, an appalling role model for kids, and so bone-ignorant on such simple, basic teaching matters as familiarity with the English language that I've yet to figure out how the stupid cow ever got a teaching credential.
Not that I have any opinions on the matter.
Directly behind Beelzebimbo, Tyrone, a man who runs into burning buildings to save people and property on a daily basis as his profession, sat staring down at her in a cold, unspoken judgement of character. He'd shown his true character under pressure too. He's a boss at work, and in camp, he became bossy. But he was used to working with brave, dedicated professionals, not selfish crazy cows like her.
Then came justifying her quitting. She angrily complained that it was hard and unpleasant. She thought it would be a fun camping trip from which she would return rich, except she'd never been camping, so she didn't even really know what that meant. "I didn't know a rain forest's going to be a rain forest." The inability to work out that the term "rain forest" means a forest where it rains a lot not only demonstrates stupidity of an awesomely high level, but also again a level of ignorance that calls her teaching credential into question. Just how many accredited teachers in California don't know that it rains a lot in a rain forest? We should find out, and fire all of those. Never mind keeping your kids out of her classes because she's evil; keep your kids out of her classes because she knows less than they do.
Beelzebimbo's lousy mother, who failed to instill any ethics or an education into her disgusting daughter (and who looks like one really large, scary drag queen, though she doesn't sound like one), admitted she was somewhat like her daughter. She seemed a bit shell-shocked to be popped up on TV to try to assess and account for her daughter's rampage of atrocious behavior. Mom then, in Jeff's words, threw her daughter under a bus, though not literally, unfortunately.
Jeff then announced Beelzebimbo's and Kelly Brainfree's legacy: they've changed the rules, and from here on in, if you quit, no jury duty, because having those two quitters on the jury incensed the fans all over America.
Evil Russell was there. That explains the smell. Fabio's win coupled with Russell's two losses represents a total refutation of all Russell stands for, though he'd make a good team with Beelzebimbo.
The Dash Popularity Contest Winner of $100,000, voted in by the largest margin of votes ever, was Madame DeFarge. I guess she does remain popular. Why? Don't you find her scary? I do.
Jeff to the misogynistic, homophobic Shannon: "I want to give you a chance to redeem."
Shannon: "Redeem what?" The conversation should have ended there. The fact that he could even ask that simply reminds us that he's beyond saving already.
Shannon then launched into defending his calling Sash gay, saying he met Sash's girlfriend. Jeff could not get him to stop talking, so he could clarify which of his revolting aspects he was actually referring to, and so his homophobia wouldn't continue besmirching their show the very day after Don't Ask Don't Tell was repealed. He wasn't apologizing for his anti-gay attitudes. He was admitting that Sash isn't gay, so his "insult" was mistaken, missing the more-basic point that being called gay isn't an insult; it's, in Sash's case, an unearned compliment. (Tom Cruise always misses this point also.) Jeff got disgusted by Shannon, and cut him off, instead asking a question of Wendy, a risky escape, since it's only a one-hour reunion show.
Boston Rob was there, and Jeff let him talk at some length about the details of the birth of his and Amber's latest Survivor baby. Why on earth do parents think anyone else on the planet wants to hear their adventures in labor? Parents, next time you're tempted to discuss delivery room anecdotes you think are just fascinating, don't. I know they asked you, but they're just being polite. Believe me, everyone on earth except you finds your delivery room stories boring, and not just a tad revolting. They do think their delivery room anecdotes are deathless though.
No one cares. Have a nice baby, and give it a great life, but shut up with the birth anecdotes. Really. Shut up. Yes, you too. And put those photos and gory birth videos away also. No one wants to see them!
And that's Survivor 22: Infants vs Senior Citizens, a weak season with second-rate contestants, an incredible villainess, and the triumph of virtue in the end. Survivor 22: Redemption Island, a season with a return-from-the-dead twist, will be back in February, and barring sudden death, I'll be back chronicling the season for you.
In the meantime, I'll be back January first or second, with my third annual, irreverent, year-end dead celebrity round-up. Which reminds me; if you're a celebrity, and you're hoping to make my Dead Celebrities Year End Round-Up, the Deadline to have your death reported is December 30th, so get cracking, Time is running out for your time to run out.
This marks my 100th Huffington Post column, and the conclusion of two years here. To all my readers, both regular and sporadic, commenters or lurkers, adoring or hostile, thank you for letting me give you a giggle or two. Merry Christmas, Cheery Boxing Day, Joyous Kwanza, and a Happy Arbitrarily-Chosen Point in our Orbit of the Sun. See you in 2011!