Watching any kind of competition is always more enjoyable if you have someone to root for. The problem with the last third of this season of Survivor is that there is no one left to root for. At this point, I think I'm rooting for Jeff Probst, and he's not going to win. All I have are people to root against, and that list is headed by Voldetool, aka "Dragonslayer" (in his dreams), aka the Wimmin-Hater, aka "The Chosen One" (chosen only by himself), aka Gasbag Emeritus, aka Dork Vader, aka Ex-Coach Full-of-Himself. This man is such a pig, you could catch swine flu from him.
Each week my loathing of this ghastly excuse for a man grows and grows, and to have to keep looking at his revolting face, and hyper-revolting ego, while my beloved Brendan Hot Pecs is stuck on the jury, where he wears a shirt, and my darling Joe Adonis is somewhere having his diseased legs amputated, or at least waxed, makes me ill. There's not enough vodka in the world, or at least in my wet bar. (Eduardo darling, be a dear and run down to The Liquor Barn and fetch me a couple more gallons of Vodka.)
There's only one reason to keep watching this train-wreck of a season, I mean besides because I agreed to write these increasingly mournful recaps, and that's to see Voldetool defeated, humiliated, and most important of all, voted out! I'm beginning to think that four more years of President Bush would be preferable to one more week of Voldetool, even though any more of the Bush Administration would have ended all life on earth. The extinction of all life on earth would be a small price to pay to be rid of Voldetool.
Last week I was triumphant at the conclusion because the blindside of Tyson the Nude Mormon was not only a joy in and of itself (This eviction is for the passage of Proposition 8!), but also because it wiped the smug look off of Dork Vader's hideous face, and sent him into panic mode, as he realized that he was not in control of the game, or indeed of anything, and that his only genuine ally was Debbie Bad Nose Job. The two of them opened this show in desperate course-correction mode. Let's hope they fail.
Dork Vader's immediate strategy was frantically kissing the butts of the Jalapenans, who had shown him who was really in charge. Dork and Debbie were both thanking them for keeping them in the dark about the blindside. "I've got really good intuition," said Dork Vader, deep in his pathetic self-delusions.
Debbie, whose surgery-ravaged mug seems to be rotting right before our very eyes, instantly started licking JT and Stephen's posteriors as well. "I just love you two to death, and I'll be honest," she lied, trying to steer their elimination sites onto Erinn and Sierra.
She told us, "Where I am in this game right now is, I'm recoiling, to figure out exactly what my next move is, kinda like a snake." Yes, she compared herself to a snake, and although that's highly insulting to snakes, it's still the most honest thing she's ever said on this show. I can't help but wonder what the students at the school she runs, and their parents, are making of seeing how ethics-deficient their principal really is. I imagine parents pulling their kids from the school by the busload.
Once she was alone with Dork Vader, she dropped the act and started speaking truth, admitting that she was pissed off about Tyson being kicked out (Debbie, are you trying to make me hate you?), and intelligently stating what she should have worked out two episodes back, that if they keep picking off Timbirrans, namely Erinn Hapless and Sierra Walking Skeleton, they are handing the game to the Jalapenans, and signing up for Survivor Jury Duty. Voldetool looked annoyed at hearing the wisdom of his not voting out all the women he hates on his own tribe.
Debbie also told us, "I would have bet my life that Tyson was still gonna be here today." If only she had. School's out!
Dork Vader is faced with the horrible-to-him prospect of having to ally himself with Debbie, Erinn, and Sierra, all females, to have a chance of not falling to the Jalapeno solidarity. What a choice for him: doing the smart thing, or continuing his mindless vendetta against every womb on his own tribe. Which way will The Chosen Boob go?
Reward challenge: Another two-parter. First a written pop quiz on their feelings towards each other. Debbie must have felt right at home. She probably had to bite her tongue to keep from saying, "Show your work, everyone." And I half-expected Sierra to whine, "A te-est? No one told me we had homework. I didn't study. I have strep throat."
Then in the second part, Jeff would ask everyone the test questions, and the players had to hold up the name of the tribe member they thought had been the most popular answer, sort of like Family Feud, only with the Manson Family. This clearly took them all by surprise, despite the fact that Survivor has used this exact same challenge before, and it's a staple on Big Brother. Don't these people watch reality shows before they go on them?
The players who give the most popular answers get to chop another player's rope. Each player has three ropes. When all three are chopped, that player is eliminated. The last player with an unchopped rope wins reward. The reward is dinner at some local family's home, presumably with the family. That poor family. Clearly, they lost a challenge. It's always the children who suffer. And I speak as someone who doesn't suffer children.
Question 1: Who has not lived up to their potential? Needless to say, the answer is Dork Vader. Even he answers himself. And he looks terribly pleased and flattered that everyone thinks he's been all mouth-no game. Voldetool just loves being the center of attention, any attention. I should mention that two people answered "Sierra." If Sierra manages to get through a day without whining or falling off a cliff, she's already exceeded her potential.
The chopping begins, as the winners take turns trying to deprive each other of dinner with strangers.
"I love you, JT," says Debbie as she chops one of his ropes. "I still love you, Taj," Debbie adds when Taj chops her rope. Lies, lies, lies.
Question 2: Who would squander the million dollars the quickest? Note that the question assumes that all of them would squander it. The only point to be determined is who would do it fastest. The question is inherently insulting, but I was unsurprised that Sierra was the winning answer. Actually, I don't think she'd squander it. I think she'd misplace it, and the million dollars would be discovered someday far in the future, behind her fridge.
Sierra was eliminated first. What does this tell you, Sierra?
Question 3: Who would never survive on their own? Although Sierra got a couple of votes, including mine, the answer was Debbie, and even Debbie answered herself. She knows she's useless. True to her own prediction, Debbie failed to survive this question.
Dork Vader was eliminated next. I like that trend. Let's remember that come Tribal Council.
Question 4: Who would you trust with your life? Frankly, none of them, but the unanimous answer was JT. Mind you, to pull off his blindsides, he's lied to every one except Stephen and Taj. The bar for trust is set very low in Tocantins.
Erinn is knocked out by JT. So much for trust. She returns the anti-favor. Now only Stephen and Taj are left.
Question 5: Who is most likely to stab you in the back? Now that is a difficult question. I'd think they'd look at the list of players and choose "all of the above." The answer turned out to be Sierra. This will prove ironic before the episode ends.
When Jeff asked the question, Taj was surprised by it. Had she forgotten answering it on her quiz form ten minutes earlier? Oh dear, short-term memory loss. I hope she doesn't forget whom she's blindsiding at council.
But Question 6 was the real poison pen query: Who would you least like to see win this game? By answering, you are destroying any chance at a pretend alliance with the person you named, all to win a dinner with strangers. Stephen answers Sierra. I'm remembering his mancrush on JT. Ah, Stephen, is there something you haven't told us?
I was, of course, screaming "Dork Vader" at my screen, and Taj too-honestly gave that answer, letting Voldetool know that she was his enemy, as well as losing the challenge, since Sierra turned out to be the right answer. Amazing. These people are more put-off by her incessant whining than by The Chosen Boob's preening and endless braggadocio. How awful must you be to have a group of people living with Voldetool dislike you more than him?
So Stephen won, and got to choose whom to send to Exile Dune, and to pick two players to enjoy the reward with him.
Erinn got sent to the sandy waste. Stephen's logic for torturing Erinn, his allay and alliance member, was to keep non-allied people, which at this point is only Dork Vader and Debbie, from getting clues to the Hidden Immunity Idol, even though he has it already in his possession. You will note that this is utterly stupid, and will come back to haunt him before the show ends. He thinks that a new idol is going to be put in play. Steve, if a new idol was going to be put in, it would have happened at the merge. Not happening.
He chooses Taj and JT to go to reward, although of everyone there, Taj is the one who looka least hard up for a meal. Everyone else has lost weight out there, but Taj is still waddling around with a behind that seats four. And this leaves all of Timbirra alone to plot behind Jalpeno's backs while they're gone. Plus, he and JT will have to look at Taj while they eat. Bad strategy all around.
Dork Vader is now worried that Stephen and JT will bond with Taj, with whom they are already bonded, and not vote against her with him. How can men not join him in his drive to eliminate all the women? It's a puzzlement to Voldetool, who doesn't get that not all men hate all women as he does. I like him worried.
The reward turned out to be my nightmare of a family dinner. First off, it was on a farm. Ever smelled a farm? I've always sung "How ya gonna keep 'em down on the farm, after they've seen the farm?" Of course, the moment JT walked past the pen full of cattle, and cattle's inevitable fragrant byproduct, he felt right at home. The "kitchen" in which they were to eat seemed to be open air, so you could be sure to smell the cowcrap good and strong while you're eating. And then, the family had a load of kids. If I wanted to eat around kids, I'd have some. I may be a bit sad that my daughter disappeared without a trace the night I got my perfect-match liver transplant from a headless accident victim my daughter's age and size, and wearing my daughter's clothes, some fifty years ago, but I don't miss her at meals.
Sure enough, just as Stephen gets around to calling the simple, wholesome farm foods they're being served "cuisine," a baby starts squalling. Children should be not-seen and not heard.
Instead, seeing a noisy, clumsy child shrieking after she's slammed her face on the table sends Taj into a torrent of Mommyism, whining about missing her kids at a level that would do Sierra credit. If you miss your kids so much, what are you doing in Brazil? It's not the money. She's married to a rich sports star. She's already got multiple millions. My mother never took off for Brazil, though I begged her to.
But worse was coming. Right after the meal, the Jalapenans are off for a dip in a natural spring, which means - arrgh! - Taj back in her bikini! For heaven's sake, woman; your tribemates just ate! Few sights are less appetizing than watching Queen Kong waddling about in a half yard of terminally overstressed fabric.
To keep their minds off of the gruesome flab floating about them while they try to keep their dinners down, the Jalapenans held a damp strategy meeting in the spring.
JT, who dislikes Sierra for unknown reasons, wants her to go next. JT, she's the best-looking woman left. Why are you so anxious to sink her? Dare I say Mancrush? Between JT, Voldetool, Stephen, and Tyson, this edition of Survivor has produced the largest number of repressed, latency cases ever gathered in one spot. No wonder they kicked out Spencer so early. He at least knows he is gay. It's the Brazilian franchise of Spanky McFarland's He-Man Wimmin-Haters Klub.
But Stephen makes the point that, since they saved Sierra, she is willing to vote with them, and they could take out Debbie instead. Good idea.
Taj points out that Erinn feels friendless in Timbirra, so she's with them. Uh Taj, do you recall that Stephen just sent her to ...
Exile Dune: Erinn has no clue, literally. There is no new idol. Erinn's boy scout skills are nil, so she's unable to start a fire, and gets to spend three days without food or shelter on a barren sand dune, in a freezing downpour of rain. Just how close do you think she felt right about then to the man who sent her there?
Back at camp, Dork Vader realizes that Erinn's Exile Dune excursion is likely to wean Stephen from Erinn's good graces, so all he and Debbie need is to seduce Sierra into a Timbirra vs Jalapeno alliance and take control of the game. There's only one problem with this plan, which quickly becomes apparent when they ask the girl they've been dumping on to join with them. Sierra rightly hates them. A small discussion quickly blossoms into a wild verbal fight, which Debbie tries ineffectually to opt out of once she sees how it's going.
Dork Vader wants Sierra to be "loyal" to him, even though he just tried to get her voted out. Sierra knows that the two votes against her were those of the two people trying to enlist her against the people that saved her. She has no reason to join them, and rather than take everyone else's tactic of pretending to take them up on it and then blindsiding them, Sierra is honest with them. This enrages both Debbie and Dork Vader, who hate honesty.
"So that's how it's gonna be? You're next then, baby," says Voldetool, who thinks threats are the way to charm a woman he's gone out of his way to endlessly insult, and just voted to evict.
Sierra points out that Debbie and Dork Vader are in a powerless alliance of two. Debbie tries a pathetic bluff: "You don't know who we have. You have no idea who we have."
Yes she does. The vote at the last council clearly showed they were alone, and while Sierra may look stupid enough to believe her, she actually isn't that dumb. When Debbie's pitiful lie doesn't work, she takes the same tactic I'll just bet she takes with her pupils; she gets good and mad. She tells Sierra not to threaten them, even though they have just threatened her. Then, since that isn't working either, Debbie declares the discussion closed. Debbie is a worse piece of work than the job some incompetent surgeon did on her honker. Lots of hypocrisy at work here. So much for Timbirra realigning. Dumb. They need to weaken Jalapeno, but Dork Vader is still caught up in his old ego-driven revenges. He's burned his bridges before he got to them.
Voldetool: "Sierra has no loyalty in this game" meaning loyalty to him, who has been out to get her since the first episode. Abandoning his only-hope-strategy of reuniting Timbirra, Voldetool decides to reel in JT. Bad luck.
Voldetool tries to seduce JT into following his agenda of eliminations: Sierra, then Erinn, then Taj, then Debbie, then they'll go find new women to eliminate. JT agrees. If The Chosen Boob believes JT, who lied to him about voting Sierra out last time, and who is clearly tight with Taj, he'll buy this bridge. Dork Vader just assumes all men hate all women as much as he does. "I trust JT" he stupidly declares.
Dork "I will never lie one time in this game" Vader tells JT that Sierra came to Debbie and himself, trying to reunite the old Timbirra against the folks who had just saved her. This is a gross, outrageous lie, the exact opposite of what we saw actually happen, and even JT ought to be able to see through it. But so great is Voldetool's need to believe himself holier-than-everyone, he appears to have convinced himself that it's true, much as he appears to believe the ridiculous lies he tells about his fictional adventures and exploits. "I don't want to get in bed with a snake," this cobra says (Going to slice it off, are you?), "She's going to do whatever it takes to get her farthest in the game without any honor." Is he advancing in the game with honor, telling this huge set of gross lies?
Sierra takes Stephen off and tells him honestly exactly what happened while he was gone. "They both went bananas." she says. But Stephen can't see that she's telling the truth.
Stephen then goes to get Dork Vader's wholly fictional version of events, and is greeted by Dork Vader telling him, "Stephen, I love you man." Stephen, RUN!!!!! In Dork Vader's latest revision, Debbie and Sierra both wanted to reawaken a Timbirra alliance, but he openly refused. Not only is this a total fantasy, but now he's backstabbing Debbie, his only actual ally. This is his playing "with honor." But then, ally or not, Debbie is still a female.
Alone together, JT and Stephen realize that Voldetool's story makes no sense, while Sierra is clearly telling the truth. They discuss sending Dork Vader home. YES!!!!!!!!!!!! Please, please, please, send that scumbag home today! Will my dream come true?
Immunity Challenge: It's raining. A cold, soggy Erinn arrives back from Exile Dune. Stephen, who sentenced her to that hell, has brought her a sweater to wear. Aw. How sweet. That should erase three days of shivering, soaking, and starving,
The challenge is in two unrelated stages. In the first, they must toss grappling hooks to retrieve bags. What are in the bags? Puzzle pieces? Keys to locks? Clues? We never know, because the contents of the bags have nothing to do with the challenge. Huh?
The first three players to retrieve three bags move on to roll a ball though a rocking table maze with holes, a large version of an eight year old boy's toy. Yawn. What's on Smallville tonight?
Except that the three who move on are Debbie, JT, and Dork Vader! Oh my Godless! He mustn't win! Suddenly watching grown people play with a large child's toy becomes gripping and suspenseful because, while Debbie is clearly hopeless at it (Apparently, her badly rebuilt face notwithstanding, she was never an eight year old boy), Voldetool turns out to be good at it. Finally we've found something he's good at besides blowing his own horn. It becomes neck and neck between him and Jt. Go, JT, go!
And then, JT blows it at the last hole! DORK VADER WINS IMMUNITY! NOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
All hope of sending The Chosen Boob home this episode is gone! Eduardo, another vodka fast! No tonic. Straight vodka. I need to get much drunker.
Since Dork Vader has never won anything before, not just on Survivor, in his whole life, we've not seen what he's like in victory. It's not pretty. "You better believe it, baby. Dragon slayer!" he preens as he wins. Voldy, you ran a little ball though a desk top maze. You haven't slain Smaug the Dragon at the Lonely Mountain of Erebor. To hear him, it's the latest in his string of (one) victories. Voldy, you lost 20 consecutive challenges over 30 days. I am not all that impressed that you lucked your way through this one.
But Dork Vader is obscenely pleased with himself. He wears the immunity necklace like he's been crowned Queen of England. To paraphrase Henry II, who will rid me of this meddlesome ex-coach?
Back at camp, Dork Vader is unbearably, over-the-top smug. "Did you hear me say 'dragon slayer'?" he asks, fearful that he hadn't shouted his pathetic little masturbatory fantasy loud enough. (He had) "The thing of it was, that was just my forte today." A child's game is his forte? If they ever have a hopscotch challenge, we're all in trouble. He is oblivious to the depressed looks of everyone (except Debbie, who hasn't snapped to the fact that the target on Dork Vader has just shifted onto her) around him. But then, how could he notice people who aren't him, especially in the glare of his own awesomeness?
Time for maneuvering and backstabbing, that is, if Dork Vader ever stops bragging about his victory. We see him explaining his strategy (don't let the ball fall through a hole), then we dissolve to hours later, and he's still going on about his awesomeness, while everybody else looks like they want to shoot themselves rather than hear another word. I have a "mute" button. They don't.
Sierra tells everyone what really happened while the Jalepenans were away. She openly confronts Dork Vader and Debbie Botched-Nose-Job, telling the absolute truth. Then we see what "totally went bananas" really means, as the confrontation escalates wildly, due mostly to Debbie's tremendously short-fuse temper when she's confronted with her own lies.
"I've not lied in this game, nor will I," says Dork Vader, lying his butt off. He has been spewing lies all day, while maintaining his non-existent "honor." Voldetool then goes on to recount the day before's events in an utterly fictional version, and Debbie jumps in on the lie. Students at the school where Debbie is an (un)principal, pay attention. It is okay to lie to Miss Debbie all you want. She's a total liar, so why shouldn't you be? How does she teach personal ethics? "Kids, lying is wrong, unless a million dollars is at stake, and then feel free to lie openly to people's faces on national TV."
Sierra makes a dumb move, she says to Dork and Debbie Vader, "I will walk out of this game right now, if you tell me you didn't say [what they did, in fact, say]!" What did she expect? That they would stop lying to keep her around? Dork's utterly predictable response was "Goodbye." Of course he calls her empty bluff, and of course she doesn't walk out of the game, which makes her look like the liar. That was a moronic bluff.
"This drama crap has got to stop." says Debbie, only because she doesn't like being called a liar while she's lying. Her face is crinkled up so bad her badly botched nose is straining at its seams to hang onto the face it is so unfortunately stapled to. She will not fight when she's clearly losing the fight.
And let's face it; this drama crap is all we viewers have to entertain us. It has to continue, not stop. "I'm too old for this," Debbie whines in a rare moment of honesty. In fact, the close up of her in hi-def reveals that she is indeed far too old for this. 30 days in Brazil has played hell with her lousy facial work. Out pours an amazing monologue to us of Debbie's insane self-justifications: "Sierra went crazy. She's pointing at me. Calling me a liar..." Well, that's because you are lying! "...I am a 46 year old..." Is that all? You look 56 at the moment, Debs. "...professional woman, and I can't believe I'm in a verbal combat with a 23 year old over what I did or didn't say."
Is this what she says to her students when they catch her in a lie? I'm older than you, so it's not lying. If the (un)principal says it, it's not a lie, even when it is. But she's not done yet. Her lamest defense is yet to come. "Honestly," (That's a lie right there) "a lot of it I don't even remember." She's moved from the Nixon defense of "If the president does it, it's not illegal" to Reagan's defense of "I do not recall." She shouldn't be a principal. She should be a Republican politician.
Stephen and JT finally realize that Sierra is telling the truth, and that they should vote out Debbie ... except ... JT is stuck on voting out Sierra for all the "drama." Well, she's surrounded by liars and weasels, and it's made her frustrated, and CBS put them out there for some drama. Now they want to send Sierra home to eliminate a "nutty variable." If they'd only watched the previous evening's episode of LOST, The Variable, in which Daniel Faraday's nutty behavior got him shot by his own mother before he was even born (you had to be there), they'd have seen just how much great TV a nutty variable can provide.
Tribal Council: Debbie Mealymouth and Voldetool are in rare form at Tribal. Debbie: "All this craziness going on is a part of this game that I just do not enjoy." Does she think Erinn enjoys soaking and starving at Exile Dune? It's Survivor, not a luxury cruise. And by "craziness," she's referring to being confronted with her own lies.
Sierra refers to Dork Vader and Principal Mealymouth as being up "____ creek," CBS having blanked her out and blurred her mouth, so that the 12 people in America who don't know the term Shit Creek will remain blissful in their ignorance.. Sierra tells Jeff the whole truth about what happened at camp. Again, she is telling the absolute truth.
"Two things I am not" lies Dork Vader, "a coward or a liar." Wrong on both counts. He is lying when he says he's not a liar, and if he weren't a coward, he'd give immunity away, and rely on his awesomeness to save him. He doesn't. Instead, out comes a real lulu of lunacy: "I forgive Sierra," a mealymouthed, self-aggrandizing lie, "because I really felt that verse come to me where Stephen says in the temple when he's being stoned to death, and his last words are, 'God, forgive them, for they know not what they do.'"
Now I am a proud atheist with a very low opinion of Christianity (in large part because it manufactures holier-than-thou asses like Voldetool by the busload), but even I know that it was Jesus on the cross who said "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." St. Stephen's last words were probably something more along the lines of "Ow! Stop messing about!" (This is all assuming that Jesus and St. Stephen ever existed at all, a dubious speculation at best.)
Dork Vader is now making a saint of himself, even as he continues to tell out-and-out lies. He also refers to Sierra as "24 going on 5." This from a man who has the emotional maturity of a malajusted 10 year old. No wonder Voldetool isn't married, I mean aside from his hatred of women; no one could ever love him a tenth as much as he loves himself.
Debbie says, "I hope that I'm not a threat because I'm likable." Debbie, on what planet are you likable? Because it's not earth.
The vote held one surprise. Yes, Sierra got voted out, but Erinn made her anger at her Exile Dune ordeal plain, by voting for Stephen. That made him sit up and take notice. His alliance with Erinn suddenly isn't as strong as he thought. And Taj must not have gotten the memo from JT and Stephen, because she voted for Debbie. First time I've ever liked Taj.
When Debbie narrowly escaped eviction, she kissed the little religious doodad she has dangling around her neck, although it didn't vote. Is that a cross or an Ankh? Does she wear it to school? Is she the principal of a religious school? That would explain all her lying.
The previews of next week clearly showed that Taj wins next week's reward challenge. Huh? Well then, I guess I can tune in halfway through. And apparently Debbie will become the Arlen Specter of Tocantins, as she is shown betraying on Coach. Don't tease me.
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