What? Survivor again? All I care about is how feral Claire turned into Rousseau, becoming Clouseau. Oh well, it's a dirty job, especially this week, but someone has to do it, and I am definitely someone.
Back at Camp Likeable, returning from an acrimonious Tribal Council, Tom, who had seen in the vote that he had overplayed an empty hand, when the tribe voted to oust Stephenie, immediately changed his tune and started making nice to James. We heard the sweet, sweet sound of Tom osculating James's butt, right where he'd bitten it earlier that evening. Have you seen James's butt? Very kissable.
Meanwhile JT, who had only had an alliance with Tom, and also had only had an alliance with James, had to make nice to Tom about his leaving Tom swinging in the breeze. Tom, needing to cultivate friends not alienate foes, forgave him, at least verbally, though I assume he won't make the error of trusting him again. Tom figured he could possibly use the guilt he thinks JT feels over betraying him somewhere down the line. I wouldn't bet the farm on JT's "guilt" being real.
Colby, who clearly has not been watching Survivor since his appearance ten years ago, is bothered by what a mean game it's become. He was making drop out noises. As he is Tom's only actual ally, Tom, had to squelch this in the bud, and, after acknowledging that they are not playing Marquis of Queensbury Rules Survivor (Survivor is more of a Marquis of Machiavelli type game), offered Colby a sound new strategy: "Be smarter." Good advice.
Third time player Boston Rob offered future Survivor players some sound advice: "For anybody that's going to play Survivor in the future, I'm gonna give you the key to figuring out who's on what team. Watch how they sleep at night. [No, Voldetool, he doesn't mean sit up all night staring at them as they sleep, watching the rise and fall of their breasts, reaching out and almost touching them. At least, I hope he doesn't mean that.] Whoever's sleeping next to who, and I'm even guilty of it, will tell you who's aligned with who. Because at night when you go to sleep, you don't usually go to sleep next to the guy who you want to vote off." What "guy" do you sleep next to, Rob? But he's right, especially about himself being guilty of it, as he's been sleeping for 6 years next to his old ally Amber. Now if he could just learn the word "whom," and when to employ it in his sentences.
Rob went on: "I don't trust Russell's ass at all." I don't trust any part of Sore-Loser Russell. His ass is at least straight-forward and honest in what it spews. Rob is equally distrustful of Voldetool ("Ex-Coach" to new readers), who has taken Rob's advice all wrong, and is creepily stroking Jerri's hair as she sleeps, while gazing at her with evil, staring eyes, which the night-vision camera reveals as Village of the Damned evil-alien-children eyes.
The Likeable Tribe built a chicken coop with spaces between the bamboo bars larger than the chickens, so the chickens wandered off, looking for Shambles so they'd have someone to chat with. The men of the tribe organized a chicken hunt, using Clyde Beatty rules, and caught them and brought them back alive. Rupert then applied too much thought to it in retrospect: "The chickens getting out was supposed to happen to help us bond." Was "supposed to happen" by whom? Is Rupert saying some god ordained the chicken escape for a purpose? Was it Fate, or Jacob manipulating them from his lighthouse? Was the chickens' free will involved? Rupert, it's just folks playing a game on TV, and some loose fowl. There is no Divine Plan. Sometimes chickens running free are just chickens running free.
Over at the Insufferable camp, the two most insufferable players of all, Sore-Loser Russell and Voldetool, are putting their heads together, and not in the good way either. Worse. They're talking. Voldetool is warning Russell that tribemates are beginning to notice his snuggling with Parvati. He seems oblivious to the fact that he's doing the same thing with Jerri. And why is he warning Russell at all? Why isn't he pleased to let Russell paint a target on himself? I'd be handing Russ the paint, paint brush, and a stencil. Voldetool called Russell's attachment to Parvati "puppy love". While I agree that Parvati is a dog, I suspect Mrs. Hantz's lawyers will have a different term for it, like "grounds for alimony."
Then Boston Rob contributed to the warning of Russell against Parvati. Guys! Let him cut his own throat. Why are you trying to help him? Rob said: "I seen this go down before." Indeed he has. It was what he was doing instead of studying English grammar. I was surprised he didn't say: "I seen this go down before, and now I'm lumbered with a kid."
Fortunately Russell is impervious to receiving advice from people who aren't him. "Everybody knows [Voldetool] is a big joke." Well, he has a point there. "So he can go 'round flapping his jaws all he wants. The thing with Rob: he thinks he's the boss of the camp, like that's my daddy. Well I'm the daddy around here." Oh great. Another island full of castaways with Daddy Issues.
Russell then scurried (well, slimed) off to give Parvati a completely false account of it: "I went to [Voldetool], I said, [Voldetool], you think I should stop hanging out with her? He said, 'No. No, she'll know somthin's comin' then. Just keep doin' what you're doin'." Not one word of that is true. In fact, it's the full opposite of what actually transpired. At last, our old Russell the scheming, bald-faced liar is emerging from his chest-waxed cocoon.
Yet, from this mass of lies, Parvati extracted a Turth: "Wow. He is demented." No argument there. Voldetool is demented.
"Why are they always trying to vote me out?" Parvati asked us. Well, apart from the fact that her tribe hasn't gone to a Tribal Council yet, so no one has tried to vote her out yet, there is the little matter of everyone knows she schemed her way into winning the money once before. And her ability to glean Truth from a lie was short lived: "I actually do trust [Russell], even though he's kind of a lunatic." Lunatic? Yes. Trustworthy? Nonsense.
After two episodes he was barely in, Evil Sore-Loser Russell decided to emerge from his cocoon in full Death's-Head Moth form. While Voldetool was putting the Insufferable tribe to sleep with bedtime tales of him getting sick and covered in sores on his earlier imaginary adventures (From anyone else, these tales would just make you ill, but contemplating the image of Voldetool getting sick and covered in sores warms the heart, and sends one off to blissful slumber), Russell went off and got rid of the tribe's machete. Now he didn't fully commit to it, by which I mean he didn't drop it down a well or throw it into the sea. He buried it where he'd be able to retrieve it. Still, this was our old sabotage-his-own team Russell. I've yet to figure out why he thinks weakening his tribe at the point in the game when it's in his interests to keep his tribe strong makes any sense. Last time it resulted in his tribe getting reduced to half their opposing team's size. Only the stupidity of Galu after the merge kept that from being a disaster for him, and this time the other team isn't all composed of idiots. There's no Shambles or Dimwit Dave over on the Likeables. But Russell seems to feel that fomenting suspicion, and weakening his own team will play to his advantage. We'll see.
The producers now seem set on also weakening their audience by deliberately inducing vomiting in the home viewers. It's bad enough that we often get shots of Voldetool preening and posing on the beach, doing the fake quasi-oriental discipline he invented, but now they've added a further stomach-churning ingredient, a sound track of Voldetool "singing" a chant along to it, like Enya in the Lord of the Rings movies, only without any trace of talent, skill, or musicality. (Yes, I know Voldetool the ex-coach also claims to be a maestro of an orchestra. He also claims to have battled off tribes of South American Pygmies. He's full of crap.) Then they follow this with a shot of a shirtless Randy emerging from the sea. Guys, I ate just before the show. Do you know how hard it is to clean vodka-scented puke out of a keyboard?
Randy's feelings were hurt because no one wanted to eat his clam. I'll bet this has happened to him all his life. No one's ever been interested in eating his clam. Randy has his own world he's been living in, which he mistakes for Reality: "Survivor in so many ways is like the real world; you don't get ahead by being smart, clever, hard-working. You get ahead, unfortunately, with a pretty smile, and being able to schmooze people." Actually, you can get ahead by being smart, or clever, or hard-working, or even having a pretty smile and being able to schmooze. And if you can do a combination of two or more of those things (I, for instance, am all of them except "hard-working") you can do extremely well. But it's no wonder Randy is bitter. He's none of those things.
Back over at the Likeables (Are we ever going to get to a competition this episode? I'm getting really weary of tribal politicking.), some girl, who is this girl? - is trying to make an alliance with JT, like there's someone who hasn't. Oh, it's "Candice". Has she said or done anything since the first episode? Or did they just add her now? Another fugitive from the Forgettables. But she's "scaring" JT. I suspect a drive-in movie screen (It turns out they are not completely extinct.) would scare JT. Look! Giants! Run fer yer lives!
JT, having learned a thing or two from the Insufferables, went and told Cerie that Candice was plotting against her. I'm plotting against Cirie, but since I'm not playing, it doesn't matter. All Candice was doing was trying to strike an alliance with JT.
But Cirie went and told Candice that she, Cirie, heard that she, Candice, didn't trust her, Cirie. And then Candice went around the tribe trying to figure out who invented this story about her, and I suddenly felt like I was tied to a chair in a girl's high school cafeteria, and was being forced to listen to a bunch of tween girls gossip, and was supposed to write it up and make it funny for you, when it was boring me out of my mind. PLEASE get to a challenge, before I lose my mind!
At least she went whining to James next, who seems to have lost all his shirts (If I were on the tribe, I'd have burned all of James's shirts the first night.), so I could at least look at his chest while this endless round of adolescent "Did you say blah blah to her? Who's lying about me?" went on and on and on. God, I was bored!
Reward & Immunity Challenge: Finally. Twenty-four minutes into this episode, we got to a challenge. Mark Burnett, you have to have two challenges in every episode. These one-challenge episodes have just reached a point of terminal dullness. There simply is not enough that is interesting going on in the camps so far this season to sustain this much blah blah blah in the camps. Until you have an immunity-losing team, the maneuvering and backstabbing has no weight, and this episode particularly, there was just too much of it, especially since there will be more once the challenge is over.
At least the challenge was a good one. It was basically a mash-up of Sumo wrestling, mud-wrestling, and a pillow fight, like a teenage slumber party battle for bulldykes. Shambles would have been great in it. Two players, head to head, would try to push each other off the platform into a mudpit, using only large pads. And they had to wade through the mud to get to the combat platform. Good TV. Somehow, they omitted having the players, once they hit the mud, having to retrieve puzzle pieces, and then assemble a three-dimensional jigsaw puzzle model of the Eiffel tower, but maybe that will come next week.
Along with Immunity, the winners get coffee, rice, sugar (no vodka?), and personal items from home. If the Insufferables win, Russell will have lots of stuff beyond Boston Rob's hat to destroy.
The villains had to sit out two women. Not surprisingly, one of the ones they sat out was Courtney, who now weighs 5 ounces, and is being hand-animated by Ray Harryhausen, using the same skeleton that fought Kerwin Mathews back in 7th Voyage of Sindbad. If she gets any bonier, she'll have to be CGI.
Although Russell is younger, possibly stronger, and certainly ornerier than Tom, Tom knocked him off in seconds. Of course, Russell may be throwing the challenge. Not getting to vote allies off each week has been weakening his game. He may want his team to lose.
Candice and Parvati had more of a battle. Jeff had said that you had to keep both hands on the handles of the pads at all times, and Candice took one off and swung an arm around, yet didn't get disqualified. Excuse me Jeff, do the rules count? Anyway, Candice shoved her into the mud, and Parvati pulled her in also, though Parvati hit the mud first and lost, and both girls got covered in filth, which is the real point anyway. They both looked like me on my second wedding night. (Don't ask.)
Next Rupert vs Voldetool. Is Rupert's broken toe recovered enough? Not wanting to take a chance of not getting slimed, Voldetool slapped some mud on his revolting chest before he even started. It then began raining, which only improved this game. Voldetool got Rupert into the mud but Jeff called a do-over because Voldetool, unsurprisingly, had cheated, letting go of his pad to push Rupert into the mud with his hand. Once Jeff got Voldetool's attention (He was roaring in "Dragon" victory, rather than paying attention. So full of himself) and could tell him he was going to have to do a do-over, or, given what he looked like with brown mud smeared all over him, a doo-doo over, Voldetool flipped Jeff off. You never see that on Jeopardy.
On the doo-doo over, Voldetool ended up where he belonged in the mud. Then Cirie quickly shoved Jerri into the mud, almost as though Cirie had been shoving girls into mud all her life. It was now Likeables - 4, Insufferables - 0. It was looking like a rout. Rob's ability to solve jigsaw puzzles wasn't going to help now.
Next a Toncantins rematch, JT vs Tyson the Nude Mormon. Would Joseph Smith look up from Mormon Hell to help Tyson? Nope. Tyson into the mud. And then, in an odd moment, Tyson kissed JT. Hello? Is there a secret Tocantins alliance just waiting for the merge? Is it a man crush? Was there tongue?
By now the platform was covered in mud, with rain still pouring down, so there was no longer much traction. Amanda next against Danielle. (There's a Danielle? Where's she been?) Amanda triumphs. Likeables - 6, Insufferables - 0. What kind of villains can't even sling mud? Richard Nixon would have had this one in a walk.
Colby vs Rob, which looked like a fair match-up, got so dirty and mud-covered I only knew which was whom by Jeff's calling out their names. Colby got Rob into the mud, and the score was now 7 - 0, playing to 8. The Insufferables backs were against the wall, which was covered in mud. The outlook wasn't happy for the Mudville 8 that day. "This sucks," said I think Danielle, but it's hard to tell when: 1. She's covered in mud, and 2. I wouldn't know her clean. In any event, I didn't think it sucked, after that insufferably boring half-hour lead up to the challenge, I was finally enjoying the show again.
Casey wasn't at the bat for Mudville now though. (Hi Casey. We're Facebook friends these days, but I digress.) It was Randy, slimy, whiny Randy, against that not-gentle giant, my James. Randy was advised "Fight as dirty as you can." They're covered in mud. How much dirtier can they get? James had the size, strength, and intelligence advantage, Randy had the playing-covered-in-slime-experience advantage. Could the Insufferables come back from 7 - 0 in a play-to-8 game?
"Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright;
The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light,
And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children thud;
But there is no joy in Mudville-- slimy Randy's in the mud."
It took James one gentle push, barely a flick of his finger, to send Randy into the mud. The bout lasted two seconds, and James was striding off, displaying to us a butt odes could be written in praise of. "Real classy," Randy hollered at James lamely from his mudpit of defeat. Randy wouldn't know class if he was having cocktails with Noel Coward.
And best of all, now Voldetool could get voted out tonight. Please, please, please, please, please. (Nah. No chance this early. Drat.)
Randy, sensing that, as the oldest person on the tribe, as well as being a dreadfully unpleasant pile of excrement to be in the company of, not to mention being the "Why bother to try and make fire?" guy, knew he was on the block, and immediately began doing the only thing he could do: Pride Spin Control, telling us that he's doomed because the pretty girls can bat their eyes and get what they want from the men. He may be right, but there are so many reasons to get rid of him - and to get rid of Russell, and to get rid of Voldetool. (Please, please, please, please, please.)
Besides, would Parvati stoop to using her feminine wiles to keep herself safe? Nonsense, as she showed while going around to each of the men in the water and getting them to help scrub the mud off of her breasts, even if it meant re-mudding for the next guy. She didn't have to stoop. The men were happy to kneel.
Voldetool believes he's immune to flirting, but only because he's never met a woman desperate or depraved enough to flirt with him.
The anti-Parvati logic Randy was now desperate to sell hung on this idea: Randy has no friends anywhere (True, and this includes back home as well.), whereas Parvati allegedly has a bunch of friends back on the Likeable team. Not true. What there is on the Likeable team is a bunch of people she beat out for the million dollars. Those aren't "friends." Those are bitter defeated foes who want to see her lose more than anyone on her own team does. They even want to see her lose more than I do, which isn't easy. I have no argument with sending her home, I'd just like to see Voldetool go first, then Randy, then Russell, then Tyson, then the women. Sadly, I don't get a vote.
Jerri's defense of Randy was a lame; "I think everyone has their own strengths." Randy's only "strength" is his amazing obnoxiousness, and at that, he's not the most obnoxious member of this tribe, nor even the second most. he and Russell can battle it out for third place, after Voldetool and Tyson.
Parvati called Jerri: " a bitter old cougar." Parvati could almost make Jerri seem sympathetic, until one remembers Jerri's goo-goo eyes for Voldetool. What self-respecting cougar would chase that?
Randy told Voldetool when campaigning against Parvati that "If I am Dead Man Walking, a lot of my friends are next." What "friends"? Randy doesn't have any friends - on earth. Actually, his only real friend right now is Parvati, because her campaigning against him is annoying more and more people into wanting to vote against her.
"There's nobody out here who's honorable," said Voldetool, who apparently thought the "Villains Team" would be made up of fine and noble people: Nelson Mandala, President Obama, the ghosts of Mother Theresa and Christopher Reeve, me. "I hate to pontificate about that," lied Voldetool as he began pontificating in earnest, citing Reverend Martin Luther King in his strategy for deciding who to vote off of the Survivor Villians team. Pretentious much, Voldy? (Yes, actually.)
Oh, and his "quote" from King was priceless (Anyone who knows, did King ever say anything this dopey?): "The greatest measure of a man is not in the way he handles times of comfort..." It's not??? Nonsense. Any jerk can rise to greatness battling adversity. But a man who can show true nobility while munching caviar and sipping champagne in a recliner in an Italian villa on a peaceful mountain lake, while being ministered to by naked nymphs who live only to serve his every whim ("Come Zoot, it's time for the oral sex"), is a man great indeed. Only then do you learn the real test of his character: how does he treat his staff?
But, being Voldetool, he kept on babbling: "The last thing we have in Life, or in this game, is hope that the impossible happens, that we dare to dream that Randy's going to wake up in this camp tomorrow. So yes, there's still hope, while I still have a breath or a brain cell in my brain, I will fight for him." I was not moved to tears exactly by this deranged speech, but some damp substance was forcefully expelled from my body by listening to it. The last thing we have in Life is hope that Randy wakes up in Samoa tomorrow? Well, it would mean he was waking up nowhere near me, so okay, although I don't think that would be my last hope. As for it being "the impossible," actually, given how the show was edited, it looks far more like Parvati will be getting the old heave-ho, in her case literally heaving out the "Ho." As for Voldetool still having a brain cell in his brain, that seems far more iffy. I did like his admitting that he's down to a single cell in his cranium, even if that estimate seems high.
But from somewhere above, on a distant mountaintop, I seemed to hear, as this Black History Month draws to a close, The ghostly voice of The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Junior saying, "Yes, that is exactly what I was talking about. I have a dream, that one day, an obnoxious old white guy named Randy, who hours earlier had been trying to fling a fine young black man into the mud, would survive Tribal Council. Say amen, my brothers!"
Tribal Council: at Tribal Council there was a large feather dangling from Voldetool's ear. I'm pretty sure it's one that leaked out of his feather brain, and snagged on his earlobe.
After Sandra told Jeff that a certain someone, let's just say her name is spelled P - A - R - V - A - T - I, had a lot of friends on the other tribe, Parvati, in her defense, stupidly just said she intended to remain loyal to her tribe and not flip, when she should have pointed out that all those people on the other tribe who've played with her before all hate her. The things that slip your mind. It's starting to look like, as far as this edition's million dollar prize goes, "Parvati" could be spelt "Poverty."
Sandra also pointed out that Voldetool tended to assign people tasks, and then, instead of working himself, he wanders off to pose and preeen on the beach. Voldetool replied, "Sandra, you only mentioned me in that." Actually, she first mentioned Rob, but since Rob isn't Voldetool, that part didn't register with the terminally self-loving idiot. You know, one thing I usually feel sorry about with narcissists is that, if they just dropped their all-consuming self-love, they could do better. But in Voldetool's case, I don't think so.
Sandra also brought up the mystery that their machete "grew legs and walked off." (Cut to Russell smirking his brains out.)
Frankly, given the ripe angers festering in this tribe of misfits, it was a fairly dull council. Time to vote.
Casting her vote for Randy, Parvati said: "I wasn't going to go down without a fight," though I bet she has without a fight thousands of times. In fact, that was probably the basic strategy she successfully employed to get Randy voted out, as he was, and good riddance. The nice thing about the Insufferables being at Tribal Council is that, no matter who gets voted out, it's all good.
In fact, Parvati got no votes at all. Voldetool, for all his talk of his honor, his last hope, and his imperviousness to women's wiles, made the ghost of Martin Luther King Jr. weep, by voting to oust Randy, though I have yet to work out why King would care. Voldetool, all mouth.
Randy wasted his vote by voting for Rob. Pointless douchebaggery, but then, that's Randy all over, and Randy is all over.
In the preview of next week's episode, we saw Voldetool hilariously whimpering and weeping like a little girl to Tyson: "Why does nobody say anything good about me?" Because they've met you! After all:
1. There is nothing good to be said, and
2. Why should anyone else bother to say nice things about you, when you spend all your time saying nice things about yourself?
Plus we saw the Likeables looking for Hidden Immunity Idols, so I guess they're going to have them this season after all. No point in the Likeables looking for them though. Russell probably already has them, even though he's never even been to their camp.
Plus we heard Rob say the magic words: "Russell's a bonehead; time for him to go home." Unfortunately:
A. Russell's not a bonehead. He's evil, and he's a massively sore loser, but he's not a bonehead.
B. If there are Hidden immunity Idols, Russell probably has six of them, and
C. If they're showing us Russell in danger of going home in the previews, that invariably means he'll be safe next week.
But still, a girl can hope, can't she?