I don't know if I'm violating a Huffington Post Entertainment Page guideline or not, but this column will not be discussing Susan Boyle. Wait! Don't click away! There are other interesting things to discuss besides endlessly rehashing the living troll doll who sang better than Simon Cowell expected her to. Okay, maybe an episode recap of Survivor: Tocantins isn't one of them, but wouldn't it at least make for a welcome change? And fellow-bloggers, if you look at the page, and see there are already 27 Susan Boyle essays posted, do you really think your reflections on her are needed as well? Really? So let's forget the warbling gremlin for five minutes, and instead discuss last night's Survivor.
Is it just me, or does Susan Boyle look just like Bette Davis in the opening reels of Now, Voyager?
Damn! I slipped up. Sorry. No more. I'm declaring this column a Susan Boyle-free zone.
Where'd everybody go? Come back, Shane.
We join Survivor tonight in the fresh ashes of the tragedy of last week's ouster of beautiful Brendan Hot Pecs. Now there is no one left for whom I am rooting. But, there are still some contestants I am rooting against! In order of loathsomeness, they are Voldetool, Tyson the Nude Mormon, Stephen the Snake, and Taj the Treacherous. This leaves me with JT Redneck, Debbie Bad Nose Job, Sierra Mist For Brains, and Erinn Friendless. Great Thalberg! Three not-too-bright women and a guy with no pecs! Not my usual drugs of choice. This is what the Evil that is Voldetool has wrought. A sexy-hunk-free Survivor. The boredom. The boredom.
The only person more depressed than I am by the grisly turn of events is Sierra. Tyson The Nude Mormon announces that he is "Pretty bad ass." Well, his ass is pretty bad, but frankly, all of him is fairly repulsive, with nothing more creepy than his withered soul.
Voldetool is so enraged at Sierra for voting against him, and for being a female, and for not worshiping his awesomeness, that he has forgotten that he hates Erinn, whom, you will recall, he repeatedly referred to as "a cancer" in previous weeks. I guess Erinn is in remission.
Sierra takes aside Voldetool, a.k.a. Ex-Coach, a.k.a, The Chosen One, a.k.a. The Dragon Slayer, a.k.a. The Douchebag of Tocantins, and begs for mercy, explaining how she didn't intend to write his name down when she wrote his name down. Huh? Maybe she just misspelled Crotch. Voldetool is having none of it, and sees fit to lecture her on the folly of not submitting to his total mind control: "You could have written down anybody else's name in this game that doesn't have the character like I have." Voldetool's grammar is as weird as his ego is gigantic, but his logic is inescapable. No one else has a character like his, fortunately for humanity. Kim Jong Il is saner. "Everybody out here has lied except for me" he says, lying to her face. He adds, "In love and war, it's kill or be killed." Blind ladies of the world, never go on a date with Voldetool! (I'm assuming no woman who can see would ever date him in the first place. Even Susan Boyle would call him visually repulsive. Damn! No more Susan Boyle references!)
The Chosen Douche is celebrating stabbing Brendan in the back. "The dragon slayer has vanquished the dragon once and for all. Ahhhhh! Over! The battle has already been won. Victory is mine." he says of creating an enemy and putting him on the jury that will decide if Voldetool gets the million dollars. I truly, truly despise this piece of egotistical garbage.
JT has now dubbed himself, Stephen, Tyson, and Voldetool as "The Warrior Alliance." I may vomit. Again guys, Jerry, the army sergeant veteran of Afghanistan, was the only warrior in the game, and you got rid of him weeks ago. JT isn't a warrior; he's a ranch hand. Stephen isn't a warrior; he's a "corporate consultant," i.e., unemployed. Tyson isn't a warrior; he's a "Professional Cyclist." (Remember The Bike Wars?) And Voldetool isn't a warrior; he's a gasbag who used to coach girl's soccer.
Meanwhile, Sierra is going around from person to person, whining for her life. Apparently she plans to annoy everyone into not voting her off. Odd plan. Debbie Bad Nose Job, no rocket scientist herself, lectures her, as though voting for Voldetool was a crime.
Tyson the Nude Mormon, who gets uglier both outside and in with every passing day, finds Sierra's desperation "funny." "I've never liked Sierra," he says, "To me, she's of no worth. I mean her parents probably love her. I can't imagine her boyfriend's that cool." Coincidentally, that exactly sums up my feelings for Tyson, except I don't believe even his parents love him, and I'm certain his boy friend is not cool. If he's an example of a product of "Traditional Mormon Marriage" (which is between one man and seven or eight unwilling teenage girls), then maybe we should have only Gay Marriage!
They had this priceless exchange:
Tyson: "Scramble all you want..."
Sierra: "I'm not trying to scramble Tyson," (Scrambled Tyson. Now there's a disgusting breakfast! Huevos Revoltus!) "I'm trying to explain my side, so it doesn't look like I was the mastermind behind it."
Tyson: "I don't think you were the mastermind. I don't think you're smart enough for it." He has no manners whatever, but he has a valid point. Sierra is many things; mastermind is not among them.
Reward Challenge: Two teams must assemble a puzzle. Nooo! Mark Burnett, we've discussed before what lousy TV viewing puzzle solving is. Must I remind you that there is a first-run episode of Smallville on right this very second? I have a remote control. I'm not afraid to use it.
Enormous, Swiss Cheese-like puzzle pieces must be arranged so they line up all their holes (They lined up a bunch of "holes" when they cast this show), to see vowels that they then use to ... actually, it was so insanely complicated that the explanation lost me right about here. They're trying to win a feast with the locals. What? Did the locals lose a challenge?
Jeff Probst adds that, after they feast, the winning team will be "treated" to a performance of Capawarra (That was how the closed captions spelled it), a "Brazilian martial art form that combines dance and music." Isn't that the opening number of West Side Story? Voldetool claps his hands in joyful anticipation. I guess he's forgotten that he never wins challenges. Voldetool is all mouth; no game. Gamey, but no game. But then, maybe he'll have an advantage at lining up holes, being such an enormous hole himself.
When Taj carries back a puzzle piece which is quite heavy, and about the size of one of the black monoliths in 2001: A Space Odyssey, Jeff Probst says to her, "Careful Taj, snap your neck." Has he looked at her neck? It's under her chins. You could snap a steel girder more easily.
The final part of the challenge involves scrambling not Tyson, but letter tiles, to spell a message. It's Survivor Scrabble, and it's every bit as thrilling as watching Scrabble. Will the Immunity Challenge be a grueling round of Parcheesi? After all, cheesy is par for this show.
The red team beats the black team by about three hours. Which team is Voldetool on? Black, of course, the color of his soul. Stephen gets sent to Exile Dune yet again. JT explains to us that they're sending Stephen to keep Sierra from getting the other Hidden Immunity Idol. Since Stephen already has the other idol, and JT has seen that idol with his own eyes, this strategy is particularly stupid. How much nicer it would have been for everyone, if they'd sent Voldetool.
Jeff, noticing that Voldetool's money is never anywhere near where his mouth is, rubs salt into The Chosen Douche's wounded pride: "Coach, you continue to lose out on these nice rewards. All that Life Experience not helping you out here."
Voldetool's reply is classic ego-blather: "I didn't line up boards like this on the Amazon." You just know that if, before the challenge, someone had said no one has ever lined up boards on the Amazon like this before, Voldetool would have said, "I have."
Erinn is thrilled. Since she's been on Voldetool's teams all through the competition until today, this is her first reward. And frankly, she looks like she needs the feast. She appears to weigh an ounce. For that matter, Tyson only looks to weigh 2 ounces, and one of those ounces is beard stubble. (Tyson is blond. Blonds should not grow beards, or in my case, marry beards.)
Debbie mentions that she hasn't brushed her teeth in 26 days. She's an educator, and yet she didn't know enough to bring a toothbrush with her? By the time the run of the show is over, her teeth will be in worse shape than her nose. "We're eating like savages," she tactlessly bellows while dining surrounded by a tribe of very polite local natives. I guess they don't train school principals in diplomacy, manners, or oral hygiene back wherever she comes from. She says of the locals, "They're all looking at us like, what's wrong with these people." How coincidental. That's the same way I'm looking at them!
Citing as an excuse that she misses her children, and her 908 pupils, Debbie starts coming on to the local kids. "I just gravitated towards these little boys," she says. She pats a boy of around 8 or 10, saying "You're beautiful. You're a very handsome man." She's turning into the primitive jungle equivalent of an internet predator. Chris Hanson, you're needed in Tocantins. "What are you doing here, Debbie? I have your treemails. 'I want to take you deep into the bush.' Is that an appropriate thing for a middle-aged botched-cosmetic-surgery survivor to write to an eight year old boy who knows no English?"
The "Brazilian martial art" of Capawarra turns out to be guys turning cartwheels a couple feet from each other. This isn't martial arts. It's tumbling to music. (I've actually seen Capawarra before, and it struck me as silly as hell then too. The ballet-dancing street gangs of West Side Story look butcher while twirling on point.) Erinn, Debbie, and Tyson foolishly accept an invitation to join in the Capawarra. (It's a measure of how difficult this "martial art" is that people who have watched it for five minutes can do it. In fact, Debbie did a back flip and received a black belt.) Erinn did cartwheels right after eating her first large meal in four weeks, and experienced what many a 10 year old before her has found out when riding Space Mountain five minutes after pigging out on cotton candy and hot dogs. She threw up her feast all over her own feet. So much for the bonebag's first nourishing meal in a month. I'm sure she impressed the locals.
Exile Dune: Stephen hopes there's another Hidden Immunity Idol, because Brendan, the fool, took his with him. Oops. There isn't. Mind you, he already has one, but he wants two. He's not just a snake; he's a greedy snake.
He's alone and miserable. Good. It's what he deserves for turning on Brendan when he could have voted out Voldetool.
Incidentally, the 7th clue to the no-longer-hidden idol is:
"If you want salvation and to be superior,
Inspect the huge cranium in its posterior."
"Cranium"? Are they saying it has its head up its butt? Stephen is liable to start searching Voldetool for it, since he always has his cranium in his posterior.
"Thank God I have no food and bleak surroundings for a couple of days." says Stephen, who quite naturally finds being stranded with nothing on a featureless sand dune in blistering heat infinitely preferable to spending time stuck with Voldetool and Tyson. Who wouldn't?
Back at Forza, Debbie is explaining to Sierra that she "deserves" to go, for the crime of being Brendan's ally. They bandy this term "deserves" around a lot on this show. This one deserves to be here. That one deserves to go. "Deserving" has nothing to do with it. "Use every man after his desert, and who should 'scape whipping?" asked Hamlet, too rattled to pronounce both syllables of escape. (Hamlet was Scandinavian; he hated deserts. He'd have detested Exile Dune.) It's pretentious drivel used to make pragmatic back-stabbing seem somehow morally justified.
"I love you to death. I care about you. I don't like to have to vote you out." Debbie hypocritically blathers. It's self-serving double-talk to try and make her own selfishness sound somehow noble. Her high moral ground is deep within the pit below the pendulum. I hope this woman isn't in charge of teaching her 908 pupils moral ethics, or we'll have 908 more Dick Cheney's running about.
Sierra doesn't do herself or my dinner any favors when she starts blubbering. She's losing a game show. She hasn't been watching her family get murdered. Butch up girl; there's no crying in Survivor. "The alliance is going to kick me in the face," she sobs.
Debbie says, "No one is kicking you in the face." Ah, yes they are.
Erinn, who only last episode felt doomed because Joe Adonis, her sole ally, had washed out, is now so happy that someone else is low woman on the totem pole, that she begins treating Sierra with the same insufferable rudeness she herself was shown in previous weeks. Erinn says that Sierra is dumb. That's the black hole at the center of the galaxy calling the kettle beige. "The game will change, and I am the one who's going to like turn all of this on its head. Guilty as charged." Pay close attention to just how much the scheming and plotting of strategic genius Erinn Friendless has to do with what happens later in this episode. Suddenly her self-delusions are approaching Voldetoolian levels. The others are in Tocantins. Erinn is on Mars.
Sierra humiliates herself further by begging Voldetool to save her. Although Voldetool has repeatedly said his Viking philosophy is that "the honorable path for a warrior" is to die in fierce battle with a worthy opponent, he now tells Sierra, "The honorable thing is to accept your fate, not try to make deals with people. And the Samurai warrior, if he did dishonor to himself or his family, you know what he would do? He would fall on his sword. Death before dishonor." Actually, that's death after dishonor. And anyway, it's also what happened whenever a Samurai tripped over his robes.
Now first off, this is the opposite of everything Voldetool has ever said before, and is certainly the opposite of what he would do if he thought everyone was about to vote him out. (as they should!) Secondly, Sierra hasn't dishonored herself. She just voted for Voldetool at the last council, having been told by Stephen, JT, and Taj that they were all voting against Voldetool. If anyone has acted dishonorably, it was those three stooges, I mean, the surviving Jalapenans, not Sierra. However, it would make Vodletool's life easier if Sierra just went out without a struggle. I have no words adequate to express the depth of my loathing for this despicable man.
Sierra tells him, "Would you be Coach, the one who pushed up against me to make me work harder at challenges, if you didn't think that I had that in me?" Sierra dear, that is not why he "pushed up against" you. That was to make him "harder," so you might have "that in me." That's not coaching; that's perving. Voldetool hasn't had a date to bury in his basement in at least 26 days now, if not much, much longer, and the Bad Urges are returning.
Immunity Challenge: It's pouring rain and freezing cold. During the first challenge, 27 days in the past, it was 120 degrees. Now it's so bone-chillingly cold that you can see all the players shivering throughout the whole challenge, as well as all being soaking wet.
This challenge is Survivor Shuffleboard. SHUFFLEBOARD??? Wow, a challenge my long-dead grandparents could do.
And there's a twist that will turn out to be crucial. Contestants can choose to skip the challenge and eat pizza instead, if they think they're safe. Voldetool, Stephen, and JT, all brimming with overconfidence, opt for pizza. Three out of the four members of "The Warrior Alliance" choose eating. Yup, that's just what a real warrior would do, opt out of the fight for a luxury instead. Samurai warriors were always skipping battles to hit the sushi bar. They don't seem to realize the obvious fact that the fewer people who are playing, the higher the chances Sierra could win immunity. Fools.
I've never seen people shivering while they eat pizza before. And it's raining so hard that the shuffleboard is flooding.
When Sierra takes the lead in the challenge, and Voldetool realizes what a terrible strategic blunder he's made by choosing not to compete, I saw something beautiful, something gorgeous, Voldetool's omnipresent smug smirk wiped off his repulsive face. Suddenly he sees the danger of his arrogant overconfidence.
Unlike the puzzle challenge, this one is pretty good, between the monsoon, the shivering, the idiots eating, and the suspense as to whether Sierra or Tyson will win. But Sierra and Tyson both lose. Out of left field, Debbie wins. It's the first individual immunity challenge Tyson has lost. Erinn, who is going to flip this whole game on its head remember, is a non-factor.
Time for Tyson the Nude Mormon to show us yet again his vile personality traits so common to his church's hierarchy , dedicated as they are to imposing their prejudices into our laws, and stripping gay people of their civil rights. He launches into one of his "Aren't I adorable showing myself to be a Sadistic, evil little prick? Isn't my moral bankruptcy amusing?" monologues.
He tells Debbie that if he'd known she was going to win, he'd have had pizza too. With Sierra losing immunity, he is certain she's going onto the jury, as is she.
"There's nothing awesomer than seeing somebody celebrate before the game is over" says Tyson, celebrating before the game is over. I myself would say there was nothing awesomer than the vastness of The Universe, or the magnificence of vodka, if I thought "awesomer" was a real word. Sadly however, I didn't learn English in Utah.
"Tonight's tribal council is going to be awesome," Tyson says, still employing his favorite trite term, "I'm hoping that Sierra will cry a lot." Foul human. Somewhere Brigham Young must be very proud of him.
But just when all seems horrible beyond belief, the tables begin, silently, to turn. Taj and Stephen, recalling that Tyson has won immunity twice in a row, and almost won it again today, suddenly realize that right now, when Tyson has no immunity yet believes he doesn't need it since The Warrior Alliance has set its sites on Sierra, would be a very good time to blindside him, and send his skinny butt and sunburned mini-sausage to the jury.
Tyson has forgotten that Stephen and Taj are only in an alliance with you while they're talking to you. The Awesome Foursome meant nothing to them last week. Now The Warrior Alliance may prove to be an equally empty charade this week. Taj and Stephen, I have lambasted you in the past, but if you send that dillweed home tonight, all will be forgiven - for now. At last, Stephen can use his snakish treachery for Good.
But can they pull it off? JT must sign on to have enough votes, and he is dead set on sending Sierra home, whom he hates for no discernable reason. "Sierra's a lying bitch," JT says rudely, ignoring the fact that so is his closest ally, Taj.
Plus, JT is actually reluctant to turn on his Warrior allies. It's almost as though he thinks his word should mean something. A man who actually honors his word? Where did he come from? Oh yes. An Alabama cattle ranch. Stephen, a lifelong Manhattanite, is not burdened by ethics or honor.
Erinn signs on to stab Tyson in the back. (A narrow target) It might happen! I hope Tyson cries a lot. "Do you think Erinn is solid?" Stephen asks Taj. I suspect she's mostly liquid myself, as I am. Voldetool is all hot air.
The snakes make a really smart move; they realize that they don't need to talk to Sierra about it, since being seen talking to her might tip off Tyson and Voldetool, and Sierra would be voting for Tyson anyway.
That he might be in danger never crosses Tyson's curdled, spider-infested brain. He is secure in his overconfidence and arrogance. However, it has occurred to Voldetool, who lobbies JT to stick with ousting Sierra with this bit of grade-school playground logic: "It would be ____ stupid ..." (Not only did they drop the sound out for one word, but Voldetool's lips became a pixilated blur for that moment, to avoid offending prudish lip-readers. I assume he used the obscene F-word. No, not Faith. The other obscene F-word.) "... if we made an alliant [sic], gave it a name, bandied the name about, talked about ourselves being warriors, and then chickened out at the last second." Actually, it's ____ stupid whether you chicken out or not. Now I know who Voldetool reminds me of: Eric Cartman on South Park, only not as charming, sexy, or emotionally mature.
"You have my word," says JT, shaking Voldetool's withered claw. Then JT tells us that he isn't sure which way he'll vote. Welcome to ethical relativism, JT. Look it up, JT.
Tribal Council: You know who you can not trust? The folks who edit episodes of Survivor. They edit what we see to make it look like one thing will happen, and then something else does. Now they edited the last ten minutes to look like Tyson may get blindsided, yet the force of the whole show, not to mention JT's honor, lies in voting out Sierra. Will they vote out Tyson, or have the Sadistic editors merely been toying with me, only to crush my hopes again, like last week?
Brendan arrives in the jury box looking fine. He's the first attractive man I've seen since the show started. It's like vodka in the desert.
At Tribal Council, Tyson is overwhelmingly arrogant and smug. If I'd been present, I'd have had a hard time resisting the temptation to set fire to his scraggly little beard. Let's face it; burn scars could only improve his looks. Jeff Probst effortlessly tricks Tyson into revealing all the members of his Warrior Alliance. Idiot. Voldetool is also swimming in smugness.
Sierra answers a question in such incredibly vague terms that Jeff interrupts with "I don't know what you're talking about." Tyson volunteers to translate from Sierran into English. Sierra actually points out the obvious fact: Tyson is considerably less funny than he thinks he is. Tyson smirks at her, secure in her imminent departure.
Tyson states that he's "tried to be friendly and cordial" to her. Friendly like "I'm hoping that Sierra will cry a lot."? Cordial like "I don't think you were the mastermind. I don't think you're smart enough for it."? Does Tyson even know what friendly and cordial mean? Well, it may not be his fault; he was taught English by people who think robbing gay people of their marital rights is "loving them."
Sierra lays out the argument for voting Tyson out. Jeff springs on this, and asks Voldetool about it, knowing that The Chosen Douche can be counted on to spout pretentious blather. Sure enough, out it comes: "I've said from the very beginning that I wanted to walk the path of the noble warrior."
"And then you voted out Brendan." says Probst, instantly pointing out Voldetool's extreme hypocrisy. Voldetool non-explains that he voted out Brendan because Brendan pitted himself against him, even though exactly the reverse is what happened.
"But I thought that was what you wanted." says Jeff, sniffing out the contradiction at once.
"Exactly, and I won." says Voldetool, now in his own universe of Bizarro logic. Taj, Stephen, JT, Brendan, even Jeff, are smirking and laughing at the insanity-presented-as-sense that is spewing from The Dragon Slayer's gasbag mouth. Voldetool is as impervious to the fact that no one is buying his crap as he is to logical reasoning, or to Reality. He is certain that the vote will go as he has ordered it, and feels free to luxuriate in the sound of his own voice. How did Voldetool find room for pizza when he's so completely full of himself? Voldetool has feathers in his hair and pony tail. I thought he'd stuck them there, but I now realize that they are feathers trying to escape from his feather brain.
As he votes, Voldetool says, "Last week, Sierra, I slayed the dragon. This week I had to take care of his bride." Wait a minute! Sierra is Brendan's "bride"? Why didn't they show that? It sounds much more entertaining than watching shuffleboard played in a monsoon. I could have sworn that last week he called her the dragon's droppings. Now she's the dragon's bride? Well that's a hell of a promotion, although for Voldetool, it's a natural mistake; he is madly in love with his own crap, so it's natural for him to assume other dragons are also.
For once the counting of the votes is truly suspenseful and entertaining. Tyson was cool with getting one vote. He knew Sierra was voting for him. But when his second vote was announced, a crack in his smugness appeared, and when he got his third vote, genuine panic hit his ugly face, where it looks good, and the smugness on Voldetool's face was wiped away also, and that looked even better! When they hit 3 votes for Sierra and three votes for Tyson, both Tyson and Sierra started looking shocked. Remember, Sierra had no idea that the treacherous threesome had decided to shaft Big T. She was receiving the first-ever reverse blindside, being saved by surprise. When Tyson got his fourth vote, he suddenly sat up and looked angry. This was not going as planned at all. Where are my warriors?
I had to run the DVR back (Yes, after the VCR failure of two weeks ago, I decided it was time to upgrade, and get a DVR.) To see how everyone reacted to the announcement that the second member of the jury was Tyson, because I was jumping about and cheering so much, I spilled my martini.
Sierra, certain she was being ousted, looked like she couldn't believe her deliverance. Brendan was grinning, clapping, and barely able to restrain cheering. JT and Stephen were grinning with triumph. And why not? Jalapeno had arrived at the merge seriously outnumbered, facing certain doom, and now, three eliminations into the merge, not one Jalapenan has departed yet. Instead, they had decided which old Timbirran to pick off when, whittling their lead away. Voldetool exchanged a "We got screwed" look with Debbie, who had clearly not gotten the tree-memo and had voted for Sierra. Voldetool's arrogance and smugness were erased.
And I was cheering: TYSON IS GONE!!! BACK TO UTAH, NAKED BOY! In the words of my one-time paramour Groucho Marx: "Let joy be unconfined. Let there be dancing in the streets, drinking in the saloons, and necking in the parlors." and when I thought of the misery in Salt Lake City tonight at the failure of their favorite tool and Bad Will Ambassador to Brazil, I cheered even more. After the horror of last week's episode, this was the feel-good tribal council of the year. I haven't enjoyed an election result so much since last November.
"It's a little weird being outfoxed by an idiot," said Tyson in his exit spiel. Except he wasn't. Sierra didn't engineer Tyson's departure; it was as big a shock to her as it was to him. He did it to himself. No man tiaras for Tyson. Looks like he'll have to go on wearing his mom's jewelry while she's out.
In the preview of next week, a complete reversal of this week, Voldetool trying to convince Sierra to help him and Debbie survive the Jalapeno Tornado, and she's just shy of telling him to go suck it. Sierra, Bride of the Dragon, your honeymoon has arrived. Time to slay the dragon slayer, I hope.
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