"Wave your little hand and whisper 'So long dearie,'
You ain't gonna see me any more.
But when you discover that your life is dreary,
Don't you come a knocking at my door.
'Cause I'll be all dolled up and singing a song,
That says you dog, I told you so.
So wave your little hand and whisper 'so long dearie,'
Dearie should have said so long, so long ago."
- Jerry Herman, "So Long Dearie," Hello Dolly!
We opened this week with a terrifying nightmare vision: Russell had cloned thousands of exact replicas of himself, and they were waking up, and flying off to attack! What a relief when they turned out to be merely a gigantic swarm of vicious, rabid, tropical vampire bats, nowhere near as nasty as Russell.
But they forboded the arrival at Matt's, aka Dr. Jesus's, Temple of Redemption, of Russell, Satan's Mentor. The Battle for Redemption between Jesus's Med Student and Satan's Mentor was pitched to be a classic struggle of simple good against pure evil, but to buy this reading of it, you had to accept Christianity as "good," and history is full of little, hard-to-notice, itsy-bitsy details, things like the 1000-years-long Dark Ages, The Inquisitions, the Holocaust, President Bush, which utterly negate any possible positive spin on Christianity.
It also takes a bit of the charge out of this ultimate confrontation between Shining Virtue and Blackest Iniquity that it came down to a fierce game of dominoes, but still, that's very Survivor.
Russell arrived in the middle of the night, full of anger at the "bunch of pussies" that had made him their bitch, I mean, were too stupid to play into his hands as they were supposed to, but instead went and loused up his carefully thought-out losing strategy. Sadly for Dr. Jesus, although he was as innocent of Russell's eviction as anyone washed in the blood of the lamb would be (Actually, the lambs have noted that anyone bathing in their blood is a criminal murderer as far as they're concerned. Just saying.), he was still the only person available for Russell to annoy while having his snit.
Oh, he tried to annoy we home viewers, but we were all so gleeful at his ouster, nothing he could say could bring us down.
Russell bitched to us about his rebellious bitches: "I was pissed off. I wanted to bitch-slap every single one of 'em." More please, Russell, this is the sweetest wine. "The whole time, they's a-lyin' to me!" Why poor Russell. Where ever could they have gotten the idea to play the game by lying at all times, even when there's no possible advantage to be gained by the lie, just lying for the sake of lying? Who could have set them such an example, Russell? Think hard, Russ.
Russell is even angry about the lie that Fransasquatch had beaten Dr. Jesus. Why, Russell? Was it your plan to get voted out when a weak player was on Zombie Island, and they cleverly tricked you into letting yourself be voted out when it's actually Dr. Jesus you have to play dominoes against? If they had told you the truth about who won Redemption last week, what difference would it make now? You'd still be here, and still playing against one of God's Saved.
But Russell knew just what was going to happen at the duel, and has not, can not, learn to stop orally writing checks his body never cashes. "He's a rookie. So he's going to be nervous as Hell doing the challenge against me. And I'm-a just take him out." Russell, he's a devout Christian. I highly doubt he'll date you. "Right now this is his house..." Actually, Russell, the technical term for it is "shanty." I'd think you of all people would know that. "I'm about to take it from him..." Yeees? Do tell me mooore! I'm on pins and needles! "...I'm-a keep winning. My tribe, they gonna come here one at a time. I'm gonna pick 'em off, and I'm gonna make 'em suffer. I'm-a say 'sleep in the mud, fool'." Yes, you are! Who's a big winner? Who's a bigger winner even than Charlie Sheen? You! Yes, you!
Actually, I believe I've spotted the fail-point in his strategy, which doesn't go as announced. It's when he said: "I'm-a keep winning." He should have said: "I'm-a start winning." Because what he's been doing is losing. And that's just what he'll go on doing.
Russell really puts the "squawk" in "The Squawking Dead."
Now Voldepussy last year and the year before, was a full-of-himself, deluded, braggart whom I found so utterly unbearable and obnoxious that every episode he wasn't voted off was physically painful to me. Likewise, Russell has always been a hideous person whose mere presence makes me want to shoot him.
But there is another class of Survivor Basket Cases that I love having around, because they almost write the columns for me. Shambles last year was like that. The big, butch, unmarried-for-life, ex-military train wreck in the world's most over-the-top mullet, who had deep, meaningful relationships with chickens, could be counted on to give me ludicrous behavior to chronicle and snort over.
This season has given me Phillip, aka Big Mouth, aka Special Agent Dry Mouth (he's getting treatment), aka Agent 00-Zero. I hope he's never voted out, even though his whole tribe wants rid of him. His weirdness is so damn bizarre, he's gold. The episode proper this week began with a shot of Special Agent Dry Mouth, in the early morning, while his entire tribe was trying to sleep, gratuitously pissing them off, using a palm frond to sweep the jungle!
Look at this rain forest! It's a jungle out here! Get out the long-handled duster for these trees. This place is a mess. We're cleaning up this wilderness right now. Chop! Chop! I'm reminded of MGM's Tarzan and His Mate. It's the second one with Johnny Weissmuller and Maureen O' Sullivan, and they're living together in the jungle in unmarried bliss. She's domesticated the hell out of Tarzan's treehouse, and has a gorilla for a personal housemaid. That's Agent Dry Mouth with his palm frond: Tarzan's gorilla housemaid, making the jungle cosy and domestic.
The idea that making a lot of pointless, unnecessary noise when your tribemates are trying to sleep is a very lousy Social Game move never crosses Agent Dry Mouth's razor-dull mind.
"Saggy bottom panties. Saggy bottoms. I could go thirty-nine days without seeing that," said Boston Rob. Isn't Saggy Bottom Panties a country-western musical number usually played on banjos? And Rob, I got you beat. I could go forever without beholding Agent Dry Mouth's saggy, droopy, fuchsia panties.
We all knew this day was coming, only not so soon. One thing all Survivor contestants do is lose weight. Agent 00-Zero's fuchsia briefs were revealing his lack of a concealed weapon way back in episode 1. Now, in episode 4, they are hanging off of him in a relentless blur of fuchsia pixels. Apparently the whole Big Mouth package now dangles freely in the wind through the Cumberland Gap between his shorts' now-stiffened-yet-empty crotch panel, and his now-far-away leg. Agent Dry Mouth's junk is minute enough to slip through tinier openings than this Grand Canyon of his crotch. No one is enjoying the view, not even me, and I'm usually a big fan of full-frontal male nudity. Why oh why hasn't Grant adopted this look?
"These young people out here, they don't understand me," said Agent Dry Mouth. Darling, I am not a young person by any stretch of the imagination, but I don't understand you either. "...They don't know if I'm a criminal or a schoolteacher." Big Mouth, those aren't the only two options. Some other choices for your occupation that your tribemates are considering are "Village Idiot" and "Escaped Lunatic." You told all of them, several times each, that you are a "former federal agent," so that's the one thing they are sure you are not. Most of the occupation-for-you ideas they have involve the word "fool."
Oh and Big Mouth, "Criminal" and "School Teacher" are not mutually-exclusive career-choices. I've known several people who were both, particularly in college.
Noticing that everyone thinking he's insane is hurting his Social Game, Agent Dry Mouth has a new, incomprehensible strategy at his command: "So there has to be another side of me that emerges: the guy that's undercover, 'cause I'll tell you this much: I'm prepared to do what I need to do to win a million dollars." He's prepared to start taking his meds again?
What is he saying? Is he saying he's going to go undercover, and pretend - I don't know - that he's not Agent Dry Mouth, the stupid putz who blabs everything ever told him in secret even as he announces that his word "means something"? Is he saying he's going to pretend he was undercover and now isn't anymore? That the village idiot he's been playing was only a clever ruse? Or is he saying that he has multiple personalities, like Sybil if she dressed like a gay, elderly homeless man, and now will "emerge" as a whole new personality, who will now go undercover by announcing he's undercover? ("Shh! I'm undercover. Don't blow my cover!" "To whom? You just told everybody you were undercover.")
Over at Viva Zapata, Russell's two cast-off concubines, Stephanie and Klumpp, had a solid plan for surviving on this tribe that hates them, and wreaking The Revenge of Russell. It involves Russell becoming a whiz at one-on-one challenges, and winning them all.
Stephanie: "Last night Russell went to Redemption Island, so now Krista and I are here, stuck here with all these goobers." These would be the "goobers" who defeated King Goober, your Goober God, Stephanie?
Great Minds in Denial: Klumpp: "I just hope Russell kills it, 'cause they're gonna be so..."
Stephanie: "He will kill it."
Klumpp is slightly less deep into the Cult of Russell dogma than Stephanie, whose eyes now light up and glow when she speaks of Russell, like the alien kids in Village of the Damned. Klumpp: "At this point, I'm bummed. But I've got to put the game face on..." This is Klumpp, remember. She doesn't do "facial expressions." They make wrinkles. Her "Game Face" is identical to her non-game face.
Klumpp continues: "...Because one of us is going to go home, unless we find the immunity idol." That would be the immunity idol in Ralph's, aka Mansweater's, bag? This means, by Klumpp's logic, she is hoping that Russell "kills it" so that he can be the one who sends her or Stephanie home. I don't see why she would desire this, but then, I don't understand any woman whose skin does not crawl at the mere sight of Russell. When he comes on my TV screen, my own skin doesn't just start crawling; it sprints for the door! I've had to send out Little Dougie to retrieve my skin from the nearby bus stop after some of Russell's appearances. (I'd go get it myself except, well, it's one thing to go outside without wearing any clothes, and quite another to go outside without wearing any skin. My neighbors have complained, the busy-bodies!)
Mansweater found the idol a couple shows back, and has wisely kept silent about it, enabling him to make Russell his helpless victim. Mansweater is proud of his achievement, too proud. He can't wait for the broadcast; he needs applause now.
So he announced his possession of the idol to his full alliance, thus making him a target if only to "flush out" the idol. And he really only did it so they could see how he out-masterminded Russell, and could admire his genius. Shut up, fool.
Agent Dry Mouth: "The early bird gets the worm. In this case, he gets the mail." No Big Mouth, in this case, he is the worm!
Big Mouth insisted on reading the treemail aloud in a silly, portentous voice. Maybe this was his new undercover personality emerging. In the process he revealed that a knowledge of proper French pronunciation was not a requirement for being a former-federal agent, as he pronounced "Rochambeau" as "Rotshampoo," only to be chorally corrected by everyone there, even the rotten shampoo.
This was a pretty lame treemail. We can't be bothered with coming up with a way to choose who goes to witness the Zombie Island duel, so you deal with it. Both tribes took all element of chance out of it, and let whichever two said they wanted to go first go. Big Mouth invited Kristina, who did not know she was about to discover a player with an even bigger mouth than his.
Over at Viva Zapata, Mansweater decided to go, so he could behold his final triumph over Russell, and Sarita went with.
Big Mouth wasn't just going because it was something to do. He had Federal Agent stuff for a reason to go: "I definitely want to visit Redemption Island because of my background as a special agent with the United States Government..." (so much for those rumors he'd been a Polish Federal Agent) "...I'm looking for a little intell to help me win this game." I think, when they serve breakfast, he says stuff like, "I must eat breakfast because of my background as a former special Agent for Amurrika, where we learned that breakfast is the most important meal of the morning." You've heard of The Mentalist? Well Agent Dry Mouth is The Mental Case.
Zombie Island Duel for Redemption: Russell set the tone: "This duel is going to be man-on-man, good versus evil type thing." Which side does Russell see as which? "I like Matt," Russell added, in a blatant attempt to swing sympathy away from Dr. Jesus.
Dr. Jesus weighed in also, though he's well-advised not to give sound bites. He's no good at it. "Russel Hanz is definitely the biggest villain in Survivor history, Hanz down," Doc Savior said, in his version of clever wordplay, adding: "But I'm fighting to honor my god." What? Brain Boy, if you worship a god so shallow, it is "honored" when a Survivor loser wins a game of dominoes, you need to find an imaginary entity to worship who sets His sites a little higher, or even better, wake up to Reality, and stop "honoring" make-believe magic gods altogether.
Dr. Jesus added this "Because I want it so deeply and so truly, I think I'm going to come out on top." Hey Quack Jesus, Russell wants it truly and deeply also. Coming out on top will be due to whoever does the challenge better, not how much they want it, or whether they got Divine Help from an imaginary god. (And if you use divine help, how are you honoring your fake god anyway?)
As I've said several times so far, it was a life-and-death game of lining up large dominoes on an up-and-down path, booby-trapped with trip wires. First one to successfully knock over their row of dominoes to release a tile-smashing ball wins.
Dr. Jesus heart-stoppingly blew a big lead when he didn't have the dominoes lined up close enough, and it failed at the halfway point, so he had to redo the first half, giving Russell the chance to pull ahead and win. Watching Russell's line of dominoes topple was more-suspenseful than any Hitchcock thriller, except arguably Vertigo or North by Northwest. If Russell were anything but all-mouth, he would have won it then. But Russell is good only at bragging, and pulling the wool over the eyes of excruciatingly stupid young women like Stephanie and Klumpp. Challenge winning isn't in his blood. His row failed also, farther along, and while he was resetting his, Dr. Jesus pulled ahead and beat him.
Russell is gone! Gone even before his chest hair had had time to grow back in. My cat ran from the room in fright after I bounded to my feet, cheering. Gone forever (he says, but he's said it before), his mission to prove "just how easy it is to win Survivor" is concluded by his proving he could lose it three consecutive times. He is gone, and I'll never speak slightingly of dominoes again.
As for Dr. Jesus: thank you for defeating Russell. You've played your part. The Island is through with you now. Like Dr. Jack Shepherd on Lost, now that you've defeated the Smoke-and-Mirrors Monster, you can go lie down out in the bamboo field and die, and let Hurley take over Zombie Island.
But let us now savor Russell's last Survivor moments, the moments when he turned pussy, and started crying.
Of course, Russell couldn't stand that he'd cried like a little girlie after proving for the third time that he will never win Survivor (Buck up, Russell. There's an opening now to direct the Spider-Man musical. There's a job for someone whose bragging exceeds what they can actually accomplish), so he hid under his hat, and then, after sobbing, said: "No. I respect this game too much to go out this way." Watch all the respect he lavishes upon the game. "You know, people like my tribe, that throws a challenge just to get rid of me, because I'm Russell, not even worried about Boston Rob and his team and numbers. So it's hard to be a professional quarterback and have Pee-Wee leaguers on your team."
Russell, you're not a professional quarterback. Nor are you a professional Survivor contestant, although Palin's Pimp does seem ready to put you on full-time, like Probst. Your team assessed their threats, and then effectively removed the biggest threat, through a very risky move, involving sacrifice by the whole team. Russell, you were outplayed, outlasted, and outwitted. Russell learned what "winning" means from Charlie Sheen, who uses a definition of "winning" that hews closer to the definition of "losing" known to most people.
But Mansweater took the bait, and Russell did manage to accomplish some last bits of mischief as he wound up. Mansweater would not let Russell exit calling his team fools for beating him, and rather than wait for Russell to see the broadcast shows to learn how he'd been outfoxed on the Idol, Mansweater had to brag about it now.
Mansweater stupidly bragged about finding the idol, forgetting that Kristina and Agent Dry Mouth were sitting there, taking in every word. Shut up, Mansweater.
Russell has no idea how to win Survivor, but the one thing he does know is how to play a braggart's ego. He played at refusing to believe Mansweater had the idol, and the rednecked idiot took the bait, and began digging into his bag to show him the idol. It took Sarita to whisper some sense in Mansweater's ear: "Don't do this, Ralph, don't do this."
Suddenly Mansweater realized what he was doing, stopped, and back-pedaled furiously, claiming he had just been faking them out. Not even an idiot could have fallen for Mansweater's sudden back-tracking, as Agent Dry Mouth quickly proved. "It was not a lie. It was not a lie," chanted Agent Dry Mouth, "I earned my living discerning whether someone's telling the truth or not..."
Mansweater: "And you're doing great."
Agent Dry Mouth: "And you have an idol."
Agent Dry Mouth accomplished several things by this. He made Russell happy and made him laugh, for which he shalt be damned for all eternity. He managed to prevent the entire Zombie Survival Duel from passing without his reminding everyone that he thinks he used to be a Federal Agent. He reasserted his belief in himself as a Human Lie Detector, a skill he failed at miserably back at his first Tribal Council, and he proved that even a stopped clock is right twice a day (unless it's a digital clock, in which case a stopped one is right only once a day), by actually uttering a freak correct statement. You see? Even Agent Dry Mouth can't be wrong 100% of the time.
Then Russell threw out as much "knowledge" about his team to Agent Dry Mouth as he could in his limited time, although his "intell" is strictly his tribe as perceived by Russell, and Russell has a very slanted view of them ("a bunch of bitches") which has little to do with who they really are (the heroes that vanquished Russell Hanz).
Russell said he would live on in the game through Agent Dry Mouth and Kristina. Of course, Kristina is a disgraced member of her tribe barely holding on, having alienated her entire tribe by making a power move the first day that blew up in her face thanks to her idiot companion, Agent Dry Mouth, who is not exactly in a power position back on his tribe. The odds on either of these two making the merge and having to deal with Mansweater and Sarita directly are very slim, and even if they do survive that long, Mansweater's idol won't.
Russell's Exit Speech: "It's just terrible when you play with people that didn't really come here to play the game; they came here, maybe for fame, or just for the money." Back on Russell's first-ever Survivor episode, in September, 2009, he gave this mission statement: "I'm not here for the money. I'm only here to show people how easy it is to win this game." You know Russell, for a lot of people, it's terrible to be stuck playing with someone who is only there to stoke his already-massive ego. Anyway, he has indeed proved just how easy it is to win this game. It turns out it's not easy at all.
"...This is my last time playing this game. That's it. I have nothing else to prove to myself, or to my family." But what if your daughters refuse to believe anyone could be so lame as to do nothing but brag, brag, brag about his expertise in this game while losing it three times? What if they say: "No one could lose Survivor four times, daddy. You'd have to be a really major loser to lose four times"?
By the time Russell walked off forever, I felt like I'd seen an entire episode. They didn't really need to run any more, but could have just taken off until next week. Anything after Russell's ultimate departure is just anticlimax. But Patrick darling, I'm your Auntie Climax!
Back at Ete Poem, Grant had his shirt off. Rob was talking about something, but until Grant's terribly distracting magnificence was off-screen, I couldn't concentrate on doughy Rob. Turned out he wanted to organize a picnic as cover for his Hidden Immunity Idol hunt. Rob is cagey.
Rob had to figure a way to keep people from following him when he slipped off to hunt idols, and he had a very effective-if-disgusting ploy. He told people he had diarrhea, the kind where you worry about blasting off the planet. It's a great way to discourage stalkers. I've used it to get rid of unwanted attention myself, although in my case, I never had to pretend.
It took him a while, but by looking for it, Rob found the Immunity Idol. As he returned, Andrea or Ashley asked: "Do you feel better?"
I'm certain he felt better, but he wisely said: "I don't want to talk about it." Not even to go announce it to Mansweater on the other tribe?
At Viva Zapata there was general rejoicing as Sarita retold the tale of Russell's downfall, and a formal cotillion ball was held on his grave. Julie was "stoked" that Russell was gone. "Stoked." She is 50!
Not joining in the jubilation were Russell's two concubines, who really need to snap to the fact that Russell is gone and never coming back, and if they don't try to bond with their tribe pretty damn fast, they will be following their master's path.
David: "Stephanie and Krista showed some emotions that indicated they were still in Camp Russell." Ah David, Klumpp doesn't show emotions. They make you look old.
Klumpp and ridiculously over-beautiful Mike had a small argument over whether numbers or tribe "synergy" was more important. It's hard to argue passionately when you won't let your face move. It was like watching a debate where one of the debaters is a clothing store mannequin.
That they handed over their brains, such as they are, to Russell in the first place, proved that Stephanie and Klumpp are morons. That they now devote energy to mourning his loss, defending his good name (like trying to convince people Dracula was a loveable old prankster who should run the Red Cross), and keeping alive the Cult of Russell, rather than saying: "Where am I? What happened? I don't remember anything since meeting Russell the first day. Have I been in a trance? He's gone now? Good," shows that "moron" was over-estimating their intelligence. These are two clumps of meat with the combined IQ of a rat that's been dead three weeks. Mind you, a rat that has only been dead two weeks, is still smarter than they are.
On their way back to camp, Agent Dry Mouth ordered Kristina not to tell anyone about Mansweater having the idol. He wants to tell Rob himself, and get himself some brownie points. He ever-so-lordly told her it would move her away from spot number 1 in the elimination order. He still thinks that...
A. He has some authority to give orders from somewhere on high. He doesn't.
B. Kristina is number 1 in their elimination order, when actually he is number 1.
C. Giving orders is the way to charm a woman into blind obedience, and if that doesn't work, try publically betraying any secret she's told you.
D. That she would want to let him take an advantage with Rob instead of her.
E. That that green-and-purple dragon you haven't seen because it's always just out of camera range is fond of pie. Actually, it hates pie, and prefers cake.
Were I her, I would immediately announce Mansweater's possession of the idol to all, just to let Agent Dry Mouth experience what having your secrets announced feels like. The odds of Mansweater still having the idol come the merge, which is the only way this information would ever be of any value, are smaller than a quark.
But Kristina decided just to shut up and watch the others have at each other. Even when one of the bimbettes asked directly if Russell mentioned who had the idol at all, and Agent Dry Mouth lied to his tribemates and said no, she remained silent.
Even within his elation at having outlasted Russell without ever having to directly confront him, Rob still sniffed mendacity in the air when Big Mouth denied Russell mentioning the idol. Rob is nobody's fool, least of all, Agent Dry Mouth's.
Big Mouth took Grant and Rob off to tell them "the whole story." Taking Grant was a good idea, as it gave me something to look at while Big Mouth had a snit because Rob kept asking him direct questions, instead of letting him give the speech and performance he had carefully written and rehearsed. Why can't Rob just see that Agent Dry Mouth is a former-Federal Agent, and listen?
Faster than a speeding snail.
More powerful than an unshowered tribe.
Able to leap large gaps of logic with a single blunder.
Look! Out on the beach!
It's a boob. It's a pain! It's--
Former-Federal Agent Man!
Yes, Former-Federal Agent Man! Strange visitor from his own private planet, who came to Nicaragua with powers and abilities far beneath those of mortal men.
Former-Federal Agent Man!
Who can change the course of simple conversations,
Bend logic with his bare mouth,
And who, disguised as Philip Sheppard, mild-mannered imbecile on a great American Reality TV show,
Fights a never-ending battle for Stupidity, Ego-Reinforcement, and The Ammurrikan Way.
(Did I mention that I'm a former-Federal Agent?)
Agent Dry Mouth tried to sell his useless "information" to Rob. (Russell had told them his tribe had a several different alliances, when there was really only the two, Russell & his concubines, and everyone else. By the time the tribes merge, these alliances will have shifted about, and the idol may have come and gone more than once. All this "intell" is valueless.) His price was moving Kristina down in the elimination order. Rob thought that "Dumb Ass" (Rob's affectionate, and extremely accurate, nickname for Agent Dry Mouth.) was already in an alliance with him, and should just report in like a good agent.
Is this why he's a "former"-Federal Agent? Did he return to headquarters with fresh intell ("I have learned that the late Nikita Kruschev was actually - Wait for it! - a commie!"), and try to sell it to the FBI or the CIA? Did he maybe have a bidding war, and not all the bids were in English? Should he announce at the next challenge: "Jeff, I'm a former-federal double-agent. I have ID cards for the CIA, the KGB, and SMERSH."?
This ploy was blowing up in Dumb Ass's face. (Well, when the name is right, it's right.) So he took a different tack, basically asking that if Rob knew that Sarita was running things over there (which she's not), and Mansweater has an idol (which he does at the moment), would it be helpful to Rob? Rob said it would be extremely helpful, though he knows it's basically worthless. The thing is, Dumb Ass has now sort of reduced it's resale value. "Will you let Kristina off the hook now?" "Or what? You told me what you were trying to sell me." Good thing Kristina let Dumb Ass handle it for her.
Grant: "You can't trust that dude, Rob. You've got to get rid of him." On the rare occasions when Grant fills his awesome lungs with air, causing his bewitching, perfect, hairy pecs to swell out towards us, just so he can speak such words, their weight must be adjudged mighty by The Wise.
But wait. That means Dumb Ass himself is now Number 1 on the Ete Poem Elimination Order! Kristina has been moved down! Agent Dumb Ass achieved his stated goal!
Mission accomplished! Who's a dumb ass now?
Immunity & Reward Challenge: Well needless to say, nobody intends to throw this challenge. Stephanie and Klumpp desperately need Viva Zapata to win it. However, I need Ete Poem to reign victorious, as, if they lose it, they will most probably send Agent Dumb Ass to Zombie Island (a bit redundant, if you ask me. He's already a zombie where ever he is), and the man is gold to anyone trying to write funny columns about this show.
This challenge involved demonstrating how well the tribes can use tools. At first I perked up. As an old tool-handler from way back, this sounded like my kind of challenge. But the tools they mentioned were all crap like hammers, saws, crowbars. (Why do crows even need a bar? They don't drink.) Not one tool had to be pixilated or blurred. In fact, quite the reverse; every tool had to be in sharp, Hi-Def focus, so the name of the tool company that had paid for all this tidal wave of product placement could be clearly read.
The actual challenge sounded to me like: "Take this hammer and this board, and build a canal across Nicaragua, large enough to accommodate supertankers." Using woodworking tools is something I let other people do. If I did everything brilliantly, the Little People out there (you know, like you) would get all snotty and resentful. So I don't do carpentry. I allow others to excel at that. It's a kindness I do from the goodness of my saintly heart. Also, I had a splinter once, and it hurt!
The Reward was everything needed for a barbecue except for my Uncle Fred getting drunk, and feeling up every woman there, even relatives. Normally I don't repeat the name of the companies paying Palin's Pimp to be mentioned since they haven't paid me, but I have to include the name in this quote as it's essential to what struck me funny about this. Jeff, describing the reward prize: "A barbecue set also provided by Sears. Everything you need to barbecue, including the food." That's right, they won Sears' Food! The only thing better than Craftsman French Fries are Maytag grilled cheese sandwiches.
Klumpp sat it out. I guess she's like me; she lets others do her hammering for her. What a selfless person. She has a fifty-fifty chance of being sent to Zombie Island if they lose the challenge, but she's willing to sit it out and let others decide her fate for her. Better than risking a splinter, or frown lines.
I suspect Mansweater has used a crowbar before. He showed practiced skill with it. Also, there's a full-size crowbar dangling on his key ring, labeled "Front Door".
Part of this challenge involved chopping through a log easily 7 inches thick. If I had begun chopping through that log back when this challenge was shot, suddenly last summer, I'd still be hacking my way through it today. But Mansweater went at that log like Samuel Goldwyn hacking apart a good script. He'll make some lonely hitchhiking teenage girl into the flesh equivalent of cole slaw someday with amazing speed.
I have never before viewed competitive sawing. It is my fervent hope, I never do so again. The least Mike could have done to soup up the sawing segment was go shirtless. I ask for so little - at first.
Agent Dumb Ass has a sawing style that might be most-charitably described as "methodical." It might more accurately be called damn slow. Little Dougie saws better than he does, and Dougie only just found out that the saw is not only a musical instrument last week.
Viva Zapata had a huge lead going into the last portion, which was the seemingly simple step of fitting the newly-sawn boards onto a stairway to create steps. Oops. It's secretly a bit of a puzzle, with the pre-drilled peg holes on the steps not matching up to all the stairway pegs. But they sent out Stephanie from Russell's harem to do it with Sarita. Sarita is intelligent. Stephanie loses arguments to her pets. On the one hand, she is most-likely to get voted out if they lose, so she's highly motivated to win. On the other hand, her idea of doing something is to find a man to do it for her, and Daddy Russell is gone forever. She can't really take Sarita's help. Sarita is also a female, and only men know how to do stuff in Stephanie's tiny little world.
And who is assembling the stair puzzle for Ete Poem? Puzzle-Master Rob.
Lesson for Viva Zapata: never assign an idiot to puzzle duty. Getting dressed each day is about as much puzzle as Stephanie can handle, especially without Russell to approve or disapprove of each garment. (Steph: "Does this make me look fat?" Russell: "God yes! You look like a sow. Take it off!" You know Russell would be the only straight man on earth to answer that question honestly.)
With their lead blown, it came down to Stephanie untying a hammer for Viva Zapata (The drama of watching knots untied is only relieved by the promise of getting good and hammered when it's done!), as Ashley or Andrea untied a hammer for Ete Poem. They were neck-and-neck, or hammer-and-hammer. Which hammer would be untied first? Was there any hope that either of those hammers would be used to knock me into blissful unconsciousness?
Finally, Stephanie managed to yank the hammer out of the knots, although I'm not sure if the man on her team yelling at her to "just yank my hammer" was referring to the competition or not. Mansweater then took over the last hammering-in of three loooong, thick, manly nails, and if there is anything I believe Mansweater has a lot of experience at, it's nailing stuff to other stuff. Ete Poem was nanoseconds behind them in freeing their hammer, but only John Henry could have hammered in those last big, manly nails with the speed of Mansweater. Mansweater is a steel-driving man, who appears to be covered with shredded copper wiring.
Viva Zapata won, retained their momentum (Remember, the only challenge they have lost, they chose to lose, so Ete Poem has never really won anything.), regained their two-person led, and Russell's concubines live on for another day.
Agent Dumb Ass however, is in over his head. But then, Shrek II was over his head.
Klumpp was so happy to be safe, and so gleeful to get the BBQ, she forgot herself, and smiled! Ever so slight, and as-yet unnoticeable, asymmetrical laugh lines etched their paths irrevocably into the up-to-now-perfect, soft, dewy flesh surrounding the corners of her lips. Though, when she remembered herself, and resumed her blank-faced gaze, these new laugh lines were undetectable to the naked eye, they are there now, where they hadn't been before, and have begun their many-decades-long work of turning this lovely blank face into a hideous old crone that makes the one in Snow White look like Rita Hayworth. Check back in 2040. It's now inevitable! Her slip at winning that reward has had permanent consequences!
I gotta love Mike. I'm contractually obligated. First he said of the Reward BBQ: "This victory truly was exponential." I'm sorry, but what he hell does that mean? You could as sensibly say: "This victory truly was alphabetical," or "This victory truly was Eggspo '74." He's just tossing out random words until they sound like a sentence, without any regard for meaning at all. This victory truly was ambidextrous.
But he had a more personal revelation for us: "I've never been this hungry in my life. I haven't thought about sex in two weeks." Coincidentally enough, I have yet to set eyes on Mike without thinking of sex. Quite vivid thoughts, actually. He's standing there, lit by moonlight from behind, naked as the day he was born, yet, fortunately, considerably taller, and able to walk upright. Indeed, he was walking towards me, and he was "upright." Bolt upright, I would say. The moonlight caressed whatever inches of his skin I wasn't, and together we...
Sorry. Where was I? Oh yes. Mike was saying how he was so hungry, he hadn't thought of sex in two weeks. I have never been that hungry, not even when dieting for a role. (I once had a producer demand I lose an amount of weight which exceeded my total weight by 15 pounds. Man, that was a harsh diet, but at the end, I was a total bone. The diet was so successful that the diet-doctor and nutritionist whose care I was under while on the diet lost his medical license, and served ten years in prison.) I have, however, been so horny, that I didn't think of eating for two weeks.
But the only time I have ever gone for two weeks without thinking of sex, I was in a coma. (And I'm including every week of my life, all the way back to birth!)
Mansweater, who is, not to put too fine a point on it, about as sexually-attractive as a rabid dog that's lain dead in the street, flattened by passing trucks, for two days, was so enamored of food with some flavor, that he told us after the BBQ: "I sucked stuff out of my fingernails that hadn't been cleaned since I got here. And I asked any of the other ones if they wanted their fingers cleaned or licked; I'd work on them too."
Okay. I'm not sure if that was funny in a disgusting way, or disgusting in a funny way, but it was a reasonable joke for him to make to camera, one-on-one, given his sense of humor. I was starting to consider lines to write about it, like "I understood now why he has a lifetime ban from all Kentucky Fried Chicken outlets," when they cut to a scene at the camp towards the end of dinner, where Mansweater really was offering to suck the fingers of Steve, who is over 50, an ex-NFL player (Football, according to Google), and was probably very attractive ten years ago. Funny is still on board. Disgusting is definitely still on board, and making an impressive showing. Plus a new player, Disturbing, has not only shown up, but is stealing the show. I truly hope that I never suffer a car breakdown during a raging storm, where Mansweater's shanty is the only shelter for miles. That might be awful!
"Did you notice, Sherif, that on every corpse, despite the disfiguring, and the dismembering, and the altogether-missing vaginas, that in all 37 cases, all of their fingernails, and toenails, were sucked clean! Their cuticles were so clean, you could eat off of them."
Mansweater to Steve: "Steve, can I lick that mustard off yer nose? Yer tongue ain't long enough." Two thoughts:
1. I can't wait to see Mansweater eating at Maxim's in Paris. "Why do I need a napkin when there's people with tongues here?"
2. How does Mansweater know how long Steve's tongue is? Under what circumstances did he have the opportunity to take its measure?
In all honesty, I'd lick Mike's fingers whether he had BBQ sauce on them or not. And Mike, that would be only the beginning.
Agent Dumb Ass, at the moment pretty much everyone's number one elimination target, and oblivious as always to any kind of reality around him, called a tribe meeting, as though he was somehow Speaker of the Ete Poem House. Well, he is a former-Federal Agent, according to a highly-placed source (Dumb Ass himself. Shh. Former-Top Secret Stuff. Need-to-know or need-to-reinforce-ego only!), so maybe he's a Former Speaker of the House. He's almost as stupid as the one we have now.
Boston Rob is not oblivious to what goes on within people around him. While Agent Dumb Ass lives happily within his constructed Reality, where everyone thinks what he mentally assigns them to think, Rob is alive to the faintest stirrings in his tribe mates. This hyper-awareness of other people's moods, drives, and motives is a big factor in why he is such a successful player. He summed up the tribe mood as Agent Dumb Ass was obliviously calling his tribe meeting at which only he spoke: "It's tough already, and Phillip? Never wants to shy away from a moment in the sun. I mean, at this point, there's like an utter malice towards him that's palpable." Rob is clearly right, and you know, it's kind of chilling. Plus, I could use the fool around a while longer. He makes good copy.
The local crabs were all campaigning to get Agent Dumb Ass out also. Oh, it wasn't his incessantly hunting them. He was so bad at it he hardly bothered them. They just don't like him.
And watching Dr. Jesus clean up Zombie Island with him would be amusing.
A girl called Natalie, whom my notes say has been here since the beginning, decided Kristina was being weird, and maybe she should go. Kristina was being weird, but you know, she's been weird since day one. But be my guest. Vote her out, and give me another week of Agent Dumb Ass jokes.
Natalie decided that Kristina had the idol, based on the fact that she had had one before, and they home, you know, like pigeons. Further, Kristina wasn't looking for the idol, which to Natalie's eyes, means she must have the idol. Of course, by Natalie's logic, Natalie has the idol. Hey everyone, Natalie has the idol!
Of course, Rob has the idol, but Rob looked for it, therefore, by Natalie's logic, he can't have it. Rob claimed to be baffled by the does-Kirstina-or-doesn't-she question he alone knew the answer to. He embraced Natalie's logic, which kept suspicious eyes away from him. One could feel him like Puck in Midsummer Night's Dream: "Lord, what fools these mortals be."
Rob also cannily noted that Kristina, who is weird but not insane (yet), is more of a threat to him than Agent Dumb Ass, who is, after all, an idiot. He can never be a credible threat to anyone except a fool who has trusted him, and I don't see anyone making that error this side of the still-far-away merge.
So Rob proposed the split-the-vote/flush-out-the-idol ploy, knowing full well that he himself has the idol, which will remain quite unflushed, but Kristina will be off to face Zombie Jesus on Zombie Island. (Which raises Sam Kinison's old, and very to-the-point question: how come, when Jesus came back as a resurrected corpse, no one ran screaming from him? Why didn't the disciples shriek: "Oh my Lord! A Zombie! Run for your lives! He'll eat your brains!" All other reanimated corpses strike terror into people. And he has been eating people's brains ever since. Ate my mother's entire brain, and wanted the rest of the family's.)
Ashley or Andrea tried to convince Grant to vote out Agent Dumb Ass, which took little convincing. Grant was on board. Frankly, I wish she'd needed to talk him into it more, because he was wearing very little, and he is more scenic than all those jungle-clad volcanoes.
Really, the more I see of Grant, the more intensely, deeply beautiful he seems. He has the quiet, just-there masculinity of my future ex-husband, The Old Spice Guy. He's intelligent. He has that Gary Cooper restraint where he doesn't talk much but what he says has weight. While Mike has a prettiness that is almost professional; he looks like a model, Grant has a real man quality, a beauty that is bone-deep, especially those cheekbones.
And don't get me started on his body. Or do! Grant is someone I could root for all the way to the end and the million. And afterwards, I would equally happily rut for him.
Where was I? Oh look, Survivor is on.
Rob is facing control issues. Now voting out Kirstina has become his demonstration of control over his tribe. If they vote out Agent Dumb Ass counter to Rob's orders, he knows he's not in control. It could aim him at Grant, although right now, with the tribe two people down, and yet to actually win a challenge, they can not afford to lose Grant, who rocks at challenges. (And if they send Grant to Zombie Island, I don't see anyone beating him in one-on-one contests.)
One chore remained before Council, Rob letting Agent Dumb Ass know what his mission for tonight was. "Good Afternoon Agent Dumb Ass. The woman you're looking at is Kristina of the Ete Poem Tribe. Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to vote out Kristina, while finding some unique way to make a further public fool of yourself. As always, if you or any of your imaginary team members are caught or killed, Rob will disavow all knowledge of your activities. Your brain will self-destruct in five sec -- Oops. Sorry. That happened years ago."
But Agent Dumb Ass did not decide to accept his Mission: Possible. Having now utterly forgotten that Kristina hates him from the first Tribal Council on, he now feels betrayed, because he told Rob that valuable misinformation that there are numerous alliances on Viva Zapata, which there are not, only two, that Sarita is running things, she's not, and that Mansweater has an idol. He does. For this he requested, but was not granted, clemency for Kristina. So now he feels betrayed.
Agent Dumb Ass feels like Bruno Antony in Hitchcock's Strangers on a Train. Bruno proposed to Farley Granger's Guy Haines an exchange of murders casually over lunch, and Guy, noting his lunch companion on the train was insane, smiled and humored him. Then Bruno went out and killed Guy's wife, and got very annoyed when Guy refused to murder Bruno's father. Bruno became a loose cannon, and almost destroyed Guy's life.
In Strangers on a Train, Bruno meets a United States Senator at a cocktail party, and not an evil one either. A nice one, played by cuddly old Leo G. Carroll. Here is exactly what Bruno says to him, as a casual acquaintance he's met two seconds before: "I'd like to talk with you sometime, sir, and tell you about my idea for harnessing the life force. It'll make atomic power look like the horse and buggy. I'm already developing my faculty for seeing millions of miles. And senator, can you imagine being able to smell a flower on the planet Mars? I'd like to have lunch with you soon, sir, tell you more about it."
Okay, now add: "Senator, I'm a former-Federal Agent," at the beginning and again at the end of the monologue. There you have it. Agent Dumb Ass to perfection!
And it's not like Bruno murdered a lot of people. Just one or two.
This is Agent Dumb Ass now. He proposed an agreement, agreed to his part of it, and also agreed to Rob's part of it for Rob, even though Rob flat-out refused the offer, and now is preparing to go off the rails at Tribal Council, which has worked so well for him before. Agent Dumb Ass is going rogue!
Tribal Council: I was braced for a blow, but this council started out slowly. As they had to, there was a lot of talk about Kristina being a target, but it, like Kristina herself, wasn't very interesting, particularly when you know Mt VesuviaDumbAss is going to blow any moment.
Asked to name the weak link in the tribe, Kristina happily threw Agent Dumb Ass under the bus (poor bus), which must have added a delicious new topping to the stew bubbling over in Agent Dumb Ass's brain. He was there, preparing to go rogue and run his mouth all over Hell and back because Rob wanted to vote out Kirstina, and Agent Dumb Ass wanted, for no known nor knowable reason, to keep her, and now she's turning on him. (Which isn't a turn at all. She's been against him since the first Council; he was just too dense to realize it.)
The fuse was lit. Was it the slow fuse, or was it, in the immortal words of the late, great Kenneth Mars (Rest his wonderful soul in peace): "ZEE QUICK FUZE!!!"?
The first spurt of sparks was trivial: Agent Dumb Ass and Kristina haggling over which of them did the lesser amount of work around camp. Yawn. Open some wounds! Make some irrational assertions! Give me ammo!
Agent Dumb Ass finally began to roll back the curtain ill-concealing his madness. Agent Dumb Ass: "Well for me, I have a history with the tribe..." Very, very true. Not a good thing for Dumb Ass, but true. Kristina also has a history with the tribe, so does everyone present. The phrase is meaningless in context. "...They know what I'm about."
Jeff: "You're a doer." In his sagging fuchsia panties, he'll never get to 'do'er'." Actually what he's about is himself, at length.
And sure enough, he then launched into an oral autobiography that was wildly irrelevant, but essential in his mind to establishing the Legend of 00-Zero Agent Dumb Ass. The double-0 means he has a license to be an imbecile.
I was reminded of how on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, whenever it looked like someone was taking an interest in Ted Baxter's life or career, he'd launch into his prepared autobiographical schpiel that famously began: "It all started at a little 5000 watt station in Bakersfield, California..." and never once got any farther. That's Agent Dumb Ass and his go-for-sympathy bio speech. The rest of the tribe's non-ending eye-rolling provided entertainment during that slow stretch in between when Agent Dumb Ass was born, the 47th child of a family with 800 children, to parents who died a decade before he was born, and his being at this particular Tribal Council, 52 years later. Like another famous "Jerk," he was born a poor black child.
We learned of The Sheppard Stamp, which I don't see commanding high prices on eBay next week. We learned he received, he says, "the second-highest medal you can get during peacetime..." Damn you Peace Time, you pussy! You're holding Agent Dumb Ass back from being all he could be, as are his meds. And what was this medal of Great Honor for, oh awesome one? "Field Sanitation." He got a medal, "the second-highest medal you can get during Peace Time," for portable toilets?
Agent Dumb Ass: "I think I've earned the right and the respect of my team members." I have no idea what the word "right" means in this sentence, but any man who has earned the respect of his team members for his work in Field Sanitation is jake with me. I hate an unsanitary field.
And let's not ignore his Sherlock Holmesian ability to deduce the thoughts of those around him
Agent Dumb Ass: "I think I've earned the right and the respect of my team members."
Boston Rob: "At this point, there's like an utter malice towards [Agent Dumb Ass] that's palpable."
Please don't vote him out yet. I can't write stuff that inspired and deranged.
The Vote: Kristina did not play the idol she does not have. For ominous omens, you couldn't beat the wild thunderstorm that broke over Council, appearing to have wandered over from a Vincent Price-Roger Corman-Edgar Allan Poe movie of the 1960s. For an added slapstick layer, although most of the tribe were seated under adequate cover, Agent Dumb Ass was apparently seated directly under an opening in the roof, because he alone was getting soaked as he listened to his votes read.
They listened to me, which is remarkable considering this was shot months ago, but an affair I once had with a certain Time Lord who will remain nameless, has left me with the sometimes ability to throw my voice back in time. It's called Ventrilchronoism. Anyway, at my behest, Kristina was voted out 4 to 3. More Agent Dumb Ass insanity remains ahead.
Hmm, next week, we'll have a Redemption Duel between Dr. Jesus and Christina. That should be a tad schizophrenic. Kristina told us her Redemption Duel strategy was to "Rock it." Oh yeah. She rocks. She rocks like Kate Smith's Rockin' New Year's Eve.
To read more of Tallulah Morehead, go to The Morehead, the Merrier, or buy her book, My Lush Life. Also, you can read Little Dougie's contributions to the newly published book Creatures of the Night That We Loved So Well: The TV Horror Hosts of Southern California by James Fetters.