Everyone was lying on the latest episode of Survivor: Guatemala, and yet no one was scheming. It’s the darnest thing. This season has yet to really get off the ground (might be too late at this point), and despite a colorful cast of characters, no one seems willing to really scheme. I place the blame on our sad minority alliance that’s done nothing but quietly wait for their numbers to dwindle. On a great season, there’s always that one mischievous bastard (or bastardette, if you will) who will stop at nothing to turn the groups upside down. Who can ever forget when Kathy from Marquesas brought Paschal and Neleh over to her alliance, stunning John with a surprise ouster? Or how about Amazon’s Rob Cesternino who basically orchestrated a coup every single episode? Even Jenn from last season managed to turn Ian and Tom against each other (a luck-of-the-draw tie-breaker challenge backfired on her though). On Survivor, when you’re down, you’re only out if you let yourself be out, and sadly, such has been the case for the shrinking alliance of Danni, Gary, Bobby Jon, and the now eliminated Brandon. C’mon, people! Scheme! Just a little! Now, if only I could get my urgings to go back in time and somehow make it to Guatemala. We can do a lot of things at TVgasm, but that might be beyond our scope. I think…Anyway, as you may remember from the previous Survivor, there was quite the dustup at Tribal Council when Bobby Jon called Jamie classless. Well, just because Jamie’s classless doesn’t mean that BJ can just go and say that! When the Xhakum tribe (or however you spell it) returned to their humble camp, Jamie lit into Bobby Jon once again, refuting the notion that he was classless. Poor Rafe tried to play peacekeeper by quietly suggesting, “Let’s just take tonight and sleep.” This was then followed by a nervous laugh and any other mannerisms you’d expect a gay Woody Allen to have. Still, despite Rafe’s pacifist pleas, Jamie would not let it go. And worse, he was no carrying on that his feelings had been hurt. “That was just because that’s how I felt at that moment,” Bobby Jon said, trying to explain his accusation.
“It broke my heart, it did,” Jamie replied. Awww. Poor Jamie. That “classless” remark really sparked something in him. Maybe he was verbally abused by a very classy father as a child. We then flashed back to Jamie’s youth as we saw an old, patronly stiff yelling, “You have no class! I shan’t be taking you to Picadilly Circus to wed Penelope. You are far too barbaric!” Young Jamie then ran away to Vienna where he rose from bootstrap to entrepreneur to eventually the toast of high society. But still, his father’s words haunted him. And in Bobby Jon, he saw his past.
Aaaand scene. It should be noted, however, that Jamie’s fictional father was played by Michael Gambon.
The next morning, the sun rose to the jazzy beat of Lydia mashing corn, and you know, I can think of no better way to wake up than to open my eyes and find my favorite fish monger making sweet music with the maize. Anyway, Bobby Jon, Danni, and Gary headed out into the jungle to hunt down that darned mini immunity idol, which meant we had to listen to some dumb story about how Gary once passed for three hundred yards in one quarter of a game against Detroit. Huh? I thought he was a landscaper!
Eventually, we headed out to the reward challenge which involved throwing an arrow with a… atladal? You know, I’m not even gonna look it up. I’m just that lazy. Feel free to correct me, anthropologists. Basically, this game was a mix between Jai Alai and archery. People had to throw an arrow and hit a target on the ground. The closest to a pole in the center of the bulls-eye would win first place in the reward. Now, here’s the catch. The reward was for food, but everyone would be eating. You see, first place would get a sweet-ass steak and lobster dinner, and from there, the desirability of the meals would decline, leaving the person in last place with a craptastic culinary selection. Oh, and one more thing. The winner of the challenge would also receive a clue to the location of the hidden immunity idol. Very exciting…
Well, Judd was up first and right out of the gate, he had a solid throw as his arrow landed close to the bulls-eye. In one of the happy perks of this challenge, we then got to see Jeff scurry out to the arrow and pound a wooden post at its location. Wasn’t there a PA around to take care of this? No one makes the Probst work!
Next up was Bobby Jon, who flung the arrow the way I’d expect Dakota Fanning to. Actually, she can probably fling an arrow quite well, seeing that she’s a robot and all. Point is, Bobby Jon’s throw was lame. Okay, I’m not going to detail everyone’s throws because honestly, it’s not terribly interesting to read about. I will say that I was surprised to see what looked like abs on Lydia (maybe she’s spending too much time with ab-monster Danni), and I also have to say that considering he was an NFL quarterback (who threw 300 yards against the Lions in one quarter, DIDN’T YOU HEAR?), Gary really put in a pitiful showing with this challenge. Yeah, using an ancient Mayan device is not the same as passing a football, but if I feel like being irrational, so be it!
In the end, no one could beat Judd’s awesome opening throw, and he claimed first place. Jamie ranked fourth, but after the previous night’s accusations of being classless, he decided to make a selfless gesture (all in the hopes of improving his image, natch) and volunteered to take the last place meal so everyone else could bump up a spot. Who knows what the motivations behind the move were, but it still meant a bunch of people would be eating better, so hey, let’s give it up for Jamie. Even Bobby Jon shook his hand to say thanks.
“We’re one tribe now. And I’m sorry I didn’t see that sooner,” Jamie said as inspirational music soared in the background. This was more touching than ten episodes of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. Actually, it wasn’t. And when Jamie said they were one tribe now, I’m sure this meant he wouldn’t be voting on old alliance lines, right? Right? Yeah, that’s what I thought…
Well, it was time to feast, so the gang headed over to some thatched-roof dining room, and oh look! Puppies! Are they going to be Jamie’s dinner? Gross! Actually, the dogs belonged to the owner of this mysterious estate, but who cares about the dogs? Let’s check out the menu. We already knew what Judd was gonna get (steak and lobster, for all you short-term memory jerks out there). Second place Cindy had a lovely plate of chicken and veggies, and following her was Dannie with spaghetti and meat sauce. Not bad. Not bad. Steph nabbed a burger and a beer — also solid for a hungry Survivor — and Probst was more than happy to remind Jamie, “This is where you would have been in the line.”
“Nothing tastes better than my self-respect,” said Jamie, who was apparently noshing at the Hometown Buffet of self-respect. I’m surprised the usually testy Probst stood for this silly answer. He should have just reiterated “But this is where you would have been!!!!” over and over again until Jamie finally threw some punches. Anyway, next on the meal line was gary, who received a slice of pizza, and then Rafe, who happily greeted a ham and cheese sandwich with brimming optimism: “I’m happy! I still got meat!” I’m sure that’s not the first time he’s said that. ZING!
Bringing up the rear of the pack was Bobby Jon, who got a lowly baked potato, and then Lydia, who was served a little fish and some water. Amusingly, she began crying with relief as she confessed, “I expected a cracker!” Note to self: do not buy Lydia crackers for Christmas. It’s sardines all the way. Finally, it was time to reveal Jamie’s sacrificial meal: some nuts and boiled lake water. Tasty!
One thing I haven’t mentioned was the seating arrangement of this curious meal. Judd sat at a small table while everyone else was seated across from him at a long table facing him. Basically, it was construed so that everyone would have to stare jealously at the big prize winner. Making matters worse for some, Judd was then given the chance to pick two people to sit with him and enjoy the dessert menu and open bar. Had he been a good guy, Judd would have invited Jamie up, but then again, this is Judd — not the smartest guy and certainly not ruled by diplomacy. So instead he invited up Bobby Jon, which was a surprise, and Steph, which wasn’t a surprise, given that she was already soundlessly begging for him — kind of tacky, I thought. But again, Survivor‘s not the best place to turn to for class.
Well, everyone ate their meals; although, Gary was clearly still famished. When he was done with his slice of pizza, he stared down the royal three, passive-aggressively showing his dismay. Bobby Jon told us he tried to be respectful of the others and not over-indulge, but of course, Judd had no shame. He lapped up all the food and drinks in front of him, getting wasted off of the oh-so-manly beverage of vodka and cranberry. “When you make the vodka, double up on it. Throw a whole load of vodka and just a little cranberry,” he told the waitress. Here’s the thing. Getting drunk is fun. Sometimes even awesome. But if you’ve been starving in the wilderness and then the next day you will continue to be starving in the wilderness, it’s not always so great to get tanked. Again — asking a lot out of Judd. Whatever. I don’t care. He do whatever he wants. Makes for good TV.
Later, as the tribe returned to camp, a drunken Judd could barely walk, and even worse, he was quoting 50 Cent. Ahem, I mean Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson: “I love you the way a fat kid loves cake,” he mumbled to one unlucky tribemate. Hey, at least he didn’t tell us he was a “P.I.M.P. pimp” or regale us with scandalous tales of the “Candy Shop.” And if 50 Cent is famous for suffering numerous bullet wounds, Judd will now be famous for suffering numerous tree-trunk wounds. Yes, in a drunken attempt to wrangle some firewood, Judd tried to haul an entire 30-foot tree over to the camp. This led to him slipping, falling, and bonking his face on the tree. And of course, America laughed. Maybe even 50 Cent. I wonder, does 50 Cent watch reality TV? Maybe he reads TVgasm. Maybe he’s reading RIGHT NOW!
The next morning, the gang woke up to the warm stench of fresh JuddVomit in the shelter. When confronted rather kindly about it, Judd denied barfing, saying, “No, I got up, and I went over theres [sic] in the ruins.” Oh, well THAT makes it better! Nothing says respect like having a fat drunk guy booting all over archeological remains. Thankfully, Judd was simply lying (Exhibit A: the red, cranberry-infused vomit in the shelter); so I think the anthropologists can take a breather — for now.
Later, Judd read his special clue to the immunity idol and even shared it with Steph. The message said the idol was above ground in a tree or something; so of course Judd immediately addressed the group and announced that the idol was on the ground. Very sneaky, Judd! I suppose that’s why we then saw a green snake slithering up to the camera. You see, Judd is the snake. Get it? Get it?
Elsewhere, it looked like we were finally getting some scheme action as Rafe and Jamie kind of made a pact to protect each other. Sort of. Actually, it was just an opportunity for Rafe to tell us again that he simply does not trust Jamie. This has been going on for some time now. Is Mark setting up some big backstab or falling out with these two guys? It’s on my radar…
After this powwow, Jamie then talked to Gary who said, “I will vote with you today. I mean, I have to.” Before I could scream at my TV for Gary’s total lack of scheming, Jamie then went to his alliance and announced, “Gary told me he’s going to vote against me.” Huh? Was that a ploy of Jamie’s or did he seriously misinterpret what Gary had said. Believe it or not, Jamie was being dead serious. Just goes to show, it always pays to learn your prepositions: contrary to popular (READ: Jamie’s) belief, “with” does not mean “against.” Well, now Jamie was spouting off about Gary, which then caused Steph to tell us that Jamie was a loose canon who might have to go home. Please, don’t even try with the misdirection, Mark Burnett.
Eventually, it was time for the immunity challenge, and man, I can’t even describe this contraption to you. Just imagine your standard, elaborate Survivor balancing course. Basically, there were two phases that would whittle the playing field down to two people who would then go head to head in one last course. And everything involved balancing. Okay, it was essentially just a ropes course.
For part one, everyone had to balance across a beam and untie two boards. Almost immediately, Steph took a super nasty fall, but she was back up and right back in it. Jamie, meanwhile, decided to straddle the wooden beam and slide along it. “That’s gotta feel good!” said an expectedly sarcastic Probst. I don’t even want to think about the splinter/scrotum possibilities. We then saw Bobby Jon fall on his nuts — ouch — and after some heated balancing and untying, Jamie, Gary, Steph, and Rafe all moved forward to the next round.
Section two was fairly tricky. People would have to use the two boards they had untied in part one to create a makeshift rope bridge of sorts. The four players carefully plodded through this difficult challenge, and eventually Rafe and Jamie wound up victorious. For the last portion of the challenge, the two finalists had to walk along a tightrope, using only traverse lines to balance with (easy peasy for anyone who’s ever done a ropes course). Unfortunately for Rafe, he was unable to get a proper balance and wound up comically getting his head dunked in the water by our old friend Mr. Gravity. Jamie won immunity, which meant he’d be around another week. It kind of sucked because a Jamie ouster would have been the minority’s best chance at shaking things up, but hey, at least we’ve got his crazy paranoia around for some more fun.
Xhakum returned to their camp all sullen and glum, and if that wasn’t bad enough, Mark Burnett was playing the saddest, Mayan-inspired music EVER! Well, Jamie wanted to organize a movement against Gary, simply because of that one line he had misinterpreted, and because his alliance really didn’t care, everyone agreed that the ex-quarterback — I mean, landscaper — would go next. Hmmm… the producers would never tip their hand so easily. Something is up…
We then cut to Gary as he approached Steph about that evening’s Tribal Council. He asked if she’d tell him if he’s gonna go, to which she said, “If I know, I’ll tell you. All I know, the plan is Bobby Jon.” Mmmm… lying, deception — I like it!
Meanwhile, Bobby Jon and his crusty, infected, and generally nasty shoulders approached Jamie and Judd to find out what’s the dealio. Actually, he really wanted to campaign against Stephenie, saying that she’s a mastermind they had better beware of. Judd and Jamie politely listened, but then reassured him that he was in no danger whatsoever of going home that night. Hmmm…. So Gary is definitely going home and Bobby Jon is definitely safe? Clearly it’s the inverse. This is the worst misdirection of all time.
Well, Gary headed off into the jungle to do some idol hunting, and who should he happen to find? Judd. But here’s the thing: Judd was searching in the trees, not the ground. Kind of a weird thing to do if the clue says it’s on the ground. Oh, beware those quarterbacks. They’re very observant! I had to admit though, I was sort of enjoying Gary this episode. In the past, he’d pretty much annoyed me, but now for some reason, I was a little more pro-Gary than usual. Maybe it was because he was an underdog. Or maybe it was because he was showing some signs of sharpness. I didn’t know what it was, but I accepted it. Anyway, we didn’t see the results of this latest idol treasure hunt, but considering Steph then said, “It would be amazing if Gary found it,” I had a sneakin’ suspicion that maybe there’d be a quarterback sneak…
At Tribal Council, Probst posed some generic questions for the first few minutes, and then he asked Gary, “Have you told any lies?” Oh, that sneaky Probst! “No,” replied Gary. Oh that sneakier Gary!
Jeffy then moved onto Judd: “Judd, you lied in this game?”
“No, sir. Not yet. You know, it might happen, but as of this point in the game, no, I haven’t lied about anything yet,” Judd replied with wide, bulging eyes. Rule of thumb: if Judd has wide, bulging eyes, he’s lying.
Probst then asked Cindy if she trusted her fellow survivors, and she admitted that yes, she really does because gosh darn it, they’ve been through a lot together! Aww. Sweet, naive Cindy. She trusts the tribemates. So cute. Everyone pet the Cindy! Just adorable!
Well, the moment of judgment had arrived. Time to vote. Smell ya later, Gary. There’s no way you can get out of this now. But wait! What’s this? Gary found the idol! HE FOUND IT!! Dunh dunh dunh!!! I never would have thought (except for the painfully obvious misdirection and foreshadowing!). With this kink in the plan, everyone had to change their votes, and while person after person climbed up those pyramid steps, Gary simply watched with a deservedly smug smile. I hope this lights a fire under his ass. Play this game for real now! Turn those mofos against each other!
Anyway, as the unusually loud and vigorous drumming of the voting music played, we saw a few votes cast Bobby Jon’s way, and from there, it was just a wait for the inevitable. Jeff read the votes — Steph got two and wee Cindy even snagged one for herself — but everyone else was against Bobby Jon, and he was voted off the island. Hey, at least he’ll be on the jury this time. With great pride, he brought his torch to Jeff and said, “Thank you very much. I enjoyed it.” AGAIN.
It was a good run, BJ, and certainly much more productive than your tour of duty in Palau. But sadly for him and Steph, their images will be forever tarnished by this lackluster season. What do you think? Could Bobby Jon have done anything to save himself? Who will go next?