By B-Side|Tuesday, March 8, 2005 | 1:01 am | 13 Comments
I like this new season of Survivor, but even the greatest Burnett apologist has to admit that this week’s installment was a little on the bland side. I guess we can blame a coconut for that. One unfortunate slip by Jeff, and then it was only a matter of time before we saw his name scrawled on various pieces of parchment later in the episode. Now, I know that I just provided a little spoiler or whatever, but it’s been four days. If you haven’t seen the show yet, that’s your problem, not mine.The episode began with the gentle image of a crab scampering across the beach. Is there really any better way to start a Survivor episode? Maybe someday Mark Burnett can fulfill his life dream of filming an all crab version of Antigone. Anyway, after viewing the journey of a lone crab in the dark, we gazed upon Ulong who had just returned from their second Tribal Council in a row. “We cannot go back there,” Stephenie insisted. And no, she wasn’t referring to a bizarro world where “Stephenie” is spelled with an “a” instead of an “e”. Kim and Jeff agreed. No need to go back to Tribal Council. Besides, Jeff Probst is a dick. Yes, according to Ulong’s campfire discussion, Jeff Probst was a little too harsh on the erstwhile sensitive not-couple of the week, Kim and Jeff. As viewers may remember, Jeff Probst had grilled Jeff (the player, not himself — although that would have been cool) about his burgeoning relationship with Kim. Jeff NotProbst had replied vaguely, saying that he really likes having a warm body to snuggle with late at night. And by “snuggle”, he clearly meant “bone”.
But no! This week, Jeff and Kim informed us that they had no relationship whatsoever. None at all. Don’t even get any ideas. According to Kim, Jeff Probst had been “con-JURing” the whole thing. Silly him. Their snuggling wasn’t romantic, or “ROMAN-tic” as Kim might say. The two not-in-lovebirds bristled at the idea of being an item, noting how much they hated the couple image. And just to show how much they truly despised each other, Jeff and Kim went to sleep in each other’s arms, nuzzling noses and stealing soft kisses. Yes, to all those people who saw them as a couple, for shame. You are nothing but dirty slanderers. Slanderers, I tell you!
Speaking of dysfunctional twosomes, the Koror tribe became the home of shrill friction as Caryn and Katie reached wits ends with each other. Caryn, talking to the camera as if it were her friend Judy from Pilates class, informed us that “Katie’s a very, I don’t know what the word is. It’s not outspoken… it’s TART!” Here’s why we all should love Caryn. Yes, she has an annoying activist haircut, and yes, her voice makes Melissa Rivers sound like a silky chanteuse, but tell me who else can call someone “tart” with as much conviction? Honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised if that were her main line of defense in the courtroom. “Your Honor, the defendant is clearly being very tart right now. I move to dismiss.” Motion is granted!
Anyway, Caryn’s main beef with Katie was that the obstacle-course-challenged girl always had some little bossy comment to say about everything, and after six days, enough was enough. Caryn instigated a shouting match which resulted in her yelling “GET OFF ME!” Katie was not too pleased with the confrontation and insisted that whereas before there was no animosity, now there is. She then put on her Tart Cap and pouted.
At the Reward Challenge, Jeff Probst dangled the prize of a sewing kit in front of the Survivors. Please, for the love of god, let Angie win this one. The challenge was fairly interesting. Jeff Probst would pull on some Medieval looking crank that would release an inner tube from the depths of the sea. Then a member from each team would swim out and battle to bring it back to the tribe pontoon. First team with four inner tubes would win.
Ulong predictably dominated the challenge. I enjoyed watching Jen and Stephenie battle it out for a tube, if only to see the vicious tug of war devolve into a round of water-splashing worthy of late night Cinemax. Perhaps the biggest surprise of this entire shindig was Angie who aggressively dunked any and all competitors in sight with a violent shove that seemed to say “TASTE THE PITS!”
In the end, Ulong won the trendy little sewing kit from Probst, but I was saddened to see that upon return to their camp, no one hastened to create some sort of protective garb for Angie’s pasty genital region. I know none of these people are ready to waltz onto Project Runway, but for goodness sake, just wrap a piece of cloth around her PLEASE.
Over at Koror, the guys gathered together to engage in some Steve Irwin-worthy antics as they decapitated a friendly family of massively venomous snakes. Jen and Katie observed eagerly, with the latter rasping, “Chop its head off! Chop its head off!” Settle down, tart.
With a fresh bounty of dead snakes to feast on, the guys hung the carcasses on a nearby limb, and as the blood slowly dripped into the sea, a roving group of sharks swam by to investigate. Tom and Ian immediately grabbed their hunting spears and proudly stalked the feared beasts, hoping to bring home some shark-fin soup for their hungry lasses. Sadly, the fishing expedition ended in failure, in no small part to Ian whose daft spear flinging had all the grace and power of an old lady tossing a wire hanger. Plus, let’s not forget the spears themselves. I have Crayons that are sharper.
That night, while the rest of the Ulong tribe slept, Jeff quietly went off to the “Little Boy’s Room” (or Little Boy’s Tree, as I might call it) to pee. Well, we’ll assume he had to pee. Maybe he had to take a dump. Who knows? The island holds many mysteries. Anyway, while walking back, Jeff stepped on an errant coconut and immediately rolled his ankle. Sadly, the cameras missed this painful moment, but Jeff still managed to communicate his discomfort through a series of little, high-pitched “eh” sounds. It was kind of like a toddler reaching for his bottle. Unfortunately for Ulong, Jeff had previously hurt his foot a year ago and this coconut mishap only reaggravated the injury (an AP article later revealed that he had been hit by a truck. No word on whether or not Sue Hawk was behind the wheel).
Jeff optimistically told the cameraman that he’d keep his ankle elevated overnight and maybe he’d be a new man the next day, but with the morning sun came no magical muscle-healing surprises. The beleaguered personal trainer hobbled out to Bobby Jon who curiously was fashioning some sort of crude diaper around his nether regions. Oh, if only Austin Scarlett were present to fashion a jungle gown from palm fronds.
Things went from bad to worse for our beefy cripple as the day’s immunity challenge turned out to be all about strength and endurance. In a glorified version of tag, teams were placed on either side of an oval course and told to catch each other. However, the tribes could only run in one direction and all the teammates would have to carry twenty pounds on their backs. Anyone who couldn’t keep up could duck away from the challenge but would also have to hand off their twenty pounds to someone else. First team to catch up to the other would win. Honestly, it sounds much more complicated than it actually was.
Unsurprisingly, Jeff took himself out of the competition immediately, burdening Ibrehem with an extra twenty pounds right off the bat. On Koror, Caryn found herself nearly trampled by her team as she stumbled and fell in the water. “Wait! Stop!” she yelled, flailing helplessly in the surf. I couldn’t help wondering how this scene would have played had Spielberg directed the episode…
Click on Caryn to play Spielberg’s version of Survivor.
One by one, people dropped out of the challenge, but none as dramatically as Coby who floated in the water as if he had just been baptized by the Pope himself. Eventually, the two tribes dwindled down to two sets of three people, and once again, Tom powered Koror to the victory as he, Gregg, and Ian tagged out Ibrehem. I suppose when your day job entails hauling heavy people out of burning buildings, a few sandbags under a tropical sun ain’t no thang.
Back at the Ulong camp, Jeff gathered everyone around to say that they should vote him off. “Every time I step, I feel like a tear’s gonna come out my eye,” he said. Jeff then added, “Oh shit. It’s just an eyelash. Never mind.” Nevertheless, it was clear the resident gimp would be going home, but we happily sat through five minutes of Survivor misdirection as the producers attempted to cast suspicion on Kim.
Tribal Council inevitably arrived, and the Ulong tribe poured in looking like rejected extras from Spartacus. Apparently togas and tunics were the only garments these people were capable of fashioning. The women all looked dazzling in their hybrid Halter-Tunics while the men opted for more traditional Greco-Roman ensembles. Only Jeff Probst bucked the trend by sporting his ever present khaki uniform. Sometimes I worry that he might do something crazy like wear a t-shirt. Then we’d know the show had jumped the shark.
Speaking of our beloved host, Probst tried to inject life into this predictable elimination by questioning that ever-so-lively castaway, Ibrehem. I guess this was to make up for last week when the big guy spent virtually an entire hour without saying one word. Probst then focused his wrath on Jeff, asking him to describe how he’s a team player. The hobbled trainer babbled some longwinded response that was brutally cut off when Probst snapped “What’s your point?” Simmer down, Cranky McSnapalot. I guess he saw those dailies of Jeff talking shit about him.
Anyway, Jeff the trainer was unceremoniously voted off the island, and so ended his uninspired alliance with Kim. It’s for the best. Had it gone on any longer, I would have had to mash their names together, and honestly “Keff” and “Jim” just aren’t very amusing.