Well folks, B-Side is a little backed up these days. No, he is getting plenty of fiber – OK, I don’t know if he is or not, but the regularity I am talking about is TVgasm posts. With The OC on hiatus, I thought I would give hizzoner a little bit of a break and tackle a little bit of Survivor. Back in the days when I was less busy toiling away in the seedy underground of the entertainment industry consisting of machine rooms, fibre channel, and endless expanses of Avid, ProTools, Logic and Final Cut equipment, I used to like writing about Survivor; they even let me write about The Amazing Race now and then. But it’s clear that at this point I am not doing anything other than rambling a bunch of sentences so I’ll have what is considered a substantial opener. I guess I have distracted everybody enough, so let’s begin with a recap-type thing.First off, let me go out there and say to CBS that no matter how much they try to subliminally promote The Ghost Whisperer with that little bit of wording across the bottom of the screen, I am not going to watch that show, and I have a number of good reasons. First, I don’t want to admit that there is anything on television that we could keep me home on a Friday night; hell I wouldn’t stay in for Galactica, so I am sure not going to be doing it for JLH. Second, even in the world of Tivo where I could watch Ghost Whisperer on Saturday, still hung over from Friday night, if the promo doesn’t involve those juggs is not going to have my tacit approval. I know who is going to be having the better career!. Wow, we are exactly fifteen seconds in the episode and I have done nothing to combat the notion that I am fixated on young women with perky boobs. Oh well!
But seriously, lets get on with Sruvivor. This season has been absolutely brutal. Try to think of the number of things you would rather do than be a contestant for Survivor: Guatemala. I stopped somewhere around “Would rather watch John Goodman wax his ass” before I started to realize just how bad this is. In case you didn’t know, we took a visit over to the Nakum tribe. Although they had one the excruciating Mayan game/death wish the day before, they were all pretty slammed. Even though they didn’t have to send anybody home, they really couldn’t do much to celebrate other than lay around and pretend they weren’t thinking about how famous all of this was going to make them.
And then there was the heat! My God! The heat! If it wasn’t 104, it was 114. But of course as any person from the south-”but it’s a dry heat”-west will tell you, it’s the humidity that kills, and being in the middle of the rainforest, you are pretty much assured that it is going to be fairly humid. Then again, this shit happens every year. They can’t find food, they can’t stay cool, their bodies are slowly breaking down from their meticulously-sculpted “please put me in an American Eagle catalog” physiques. When I was just a little baby growing up in the rainforest, we somehow managed without electricity, and when the only protein that day was some caterpillars, we cooked them and LIKED them. Actually, my mom says I always hated them, which just goes to show you what a smart little kid I was. Not yet two years old and I was already learning the prejudices of Western society. Sweet.
It’s heat, not the plague.
Enough about me though, the tribes really have a lot of problems, like the Mosquitoes. Judd said that it was like that movie with the Killer Bees. I am not sure what they were talking about, because Wu-Tang has only really made music videos and the Houston Astros could only make a movie about how to suck once you get to the playoffs. The bugs segment does bring us a bunch of glimpses of that oh so sexy raw skin that looks like Randy Johnson and Edward James Olmos had children.
Yaxha had lost the last challenge, making Stephanie start to wonder if she was the common denominator in all of those Survivor challenges each and every team she has been on suffers. To take their mind off of bad things, Rafe and Gary decided that they would fish, making themselves a finely tuned fishing machine. Considering that they were proud of being able to catch 1/2 ounce minnows three or four at a time, I think they should turn their finely tuned machine off of the “Malnourish Me” setting and point the dial to “Fat like a Veal Calf”, or at least “Lean and Mean”. Malnourishment? That sucks.
What is everybody’s take on Stephanie? You know, I thought she was hot at first, but god I wish they took the Jersey out of the girl when they took the girl out of Jersey. At one point, she belted out this god-awful “Oh my gaaaawwwwwwddd” like she was Fran Drescher doing a bad impersonation of Fran Drescher, but I guess you could say she had good reason because there was this huge crocodile in the middle of the lake. Her tribe was mainly jealous at how this truly fine tuned fishing machine was able to glide through the water and chomp down Lydia-sized fish with seemingly no effort at all. We then got this little scene of everybody waiting by the edge of the water like the crocodile was going to get them. And indeed, Jamie gave a shout, but it was just a fish that bit him, which means he will have to eat about ten of them before he replenishes the calories that he just lost.
When it came time for the reward challenge, we saw that perhaps the producers had a sense of how brutal all of the challenges and the, you know, lack of potable water was doing to everybody so they decided that everybody was going to sit around and get rewards for basically no work. Jeff would ask the tribes a number of questions, and they would have to answer with the name of the tribe member they though most fits the circumstance. For instance, if he were to ask “Who looks like Corey Feldman during his arrest for heroin in the early nineties? Especially if he had a love child with Evan Marriott of Average Joe[that should obviously be Joe Millionaire. I am an idiot. thanks realiTV fan]?”, the answer would be Jamie[picture] Whichever tribe member got the most votes would win a prize. It would probably give a number of tribe members some good insight into how their team views the, but since both tribes were right across from each other, it would also let the other team see how they were perceived as well.
The first question was simple enough, asking Yaxha and Nakum which tribe member was most in need of nourishment. Jamie and Danni were voted the winners and for their troubles, they each got to eat an apple. Not too bad of a prize, but you did have to wonder what was coming up next. The second question turned out to be an interesting one, having the tribes pick who was the smelliest. It’s probably not the kind of recognition you are trying to get from the people you live with, but one that is obviously hard to deny. Gary and Bobby Jon won and were rewarded with soap, shampoo, and five gallons of water to shower. It was nice that they were able to clean themselves up right there, but don’t you think a nice before and after shot would have been sufficient? Did we really have to have that gratuitous full-frontal shot of Gary, even blurred as it was? The most amusing part of this question was that you knew that somewhere out there, Ian is still has a good millennia worth of showers before dogs will stop sniffing his butt and pissing on his leg.
The real prize came with the next question, which so naturally flowed off the mouth, i.e., which two people would most deserve a picnic on top of a Mayan ruin. Gary and Amy were chosen from Yaxha and Margaret and Judd were chosen from Nakum. Chuck’s smelly ass would now be clean and well fed. They all thought that Jeff was playing a trick on them and would open up the picnic basket to reveal a bunch of bugs or the intestines and/or testicles of some Central American wildlife. Alas, they were all spared a bunch of grief when Jeff revealed fried chicken, potato salad, chocolate chip cookies, and ice tea. And they wouldn’t be allowed to being the food back, so there was no need to be guilty about eating it all themselves.
After the four survivors took off to their little corner of the world, the final question was revealed. The question of who had the most team pride went to Brian and Cindy, and for their win, they would be immune when the tribes got shaken up. Yes, that’s right, we already have a tribe shakeup. Bobby Jon, Blake, Brandon and Danni went to the Yaxha and Rafe, Lydia, Steph and Jamie went to the new Nakum. When the people on the picnic returned, they would each return to their original tribes.
With the new split, the tribes returned to their respective corners of the jungle. When Yaxha returned, they found out that there was some fruit awaiting them, which I guess is their reward for Brian having so much tribe pride. Brian must have been excited at his new tribe because, let’s be honest, Yaxha now has the athletic advantage, but he was well aware that it is a numbers game, and if the new group of studs didn’t perform, they would likely pick him off along with Gary and Brian.
When Amy and Gary returned, they shared similar feelings to Brian. You can’t help but like your new tribe, plus they don’t have to deal with Lydia any longer, but Amy knew that it would be a numbers game as well, and she was worried that if they caught wind to how bad her injury was, and the verdict was in and it said she stuffed a softball above her ankle and she wouldn’t be full-strength for along time. Bobby Jon and Blake, showing that all great deals are made in the bathroom and not the boardroom, confirmed that Amy would be the first to go, but Amy would be glad that she wasn’t going to be eliminated first because of her injury, but because she was a woman. Next would be Brian because he was too effeminate, and clearly is not man enough to vote a woman out based on gender alone. Last to go would be Gary, mainly because he took a shower with, and because he once again reiterated that he wasn’t a football player. But how can you trust the judgement of people who shake on a deal while in the bathroon, and DON’T WASH THEIR HANDS?
Almost everybody who learned about the tribe shuffle was pretty wary of the change, and everybody was really worried about the new configuration and were staying loyal to the people who were in their original tribe. Well, everybody except for Judd. When Judd returned, he was ecstatic. He knew that Margaret would be a target and with most of the manly men moving off to the other tribe, he wouldn’t have to worry about “male tosterone” influence. God, where do they find people this stupid? Did Judd’s mom spend her first trimester removing asbestos from old buildings or testing paint for lead or something? And why wasn’t he worried that there would now be a strogen influence with all of the women around?
Steph and Jamie started to strategize. And I feel it is my duty to take this time to talk about just how much it makes me cringe every time I see one of these scenes on the pyramids. God, just the thought of some great anthroplogical find being ruined because of somebody put their ass in the wrong place or the film crews needing better lighting just pisses me off. But if the government of Guatemala says it’s OK, I guess I have to live with it. I just hope that Burnett goes back to spoiling nature, like God intended every enterprising individual to do.
Anyway, the strategizing – Steph and Jamie quickly identify Judd as easily swayed and start to buddy up to him. Judd isn’t exactly what you would call a “strategicalist”, and is naive to believe that he is simply going to make his team better by helping everybody get rid of Brooke. Yes, Brooke is weak, but hey, did you notice that you still have a fishmonger on your team? Did you notice that she hasn’t been ripping it up? At least you could look at Brooke, close your eyes, and imagine yourself stimulated enough to think about sex with her without having to dry heave once you see her naked. It might not win you challenges, but it would sure help you pass the day.
There would be no rest for the weary in the immunity challenge. With each team able to take advantage of a little mini-feast after the switch, they were both prime to go. For this challenge, the teams would row the familiar outrigger canoe past three buoys. At each buoy, the teams would pause to untie a bag of wait for it… Mayan war clubs. Next, they would row back to the shore, untie their bags, and try to throw the clubs at three different ceramic plates distanced thirty, forty, and fifty feet away. The only rule was that nobody could smash more than one plate, but you were able to change who was throwing on your own.
Although Survivor challenges basically break down into several typical styles, with the “row your boat out, bring something back” challenge a frequent participant, the editors always do a good job of making these things look close, even when there really isn’t a question of who is going to win. In this case, there was no need for anybody to fake anything, because the teams were close for a good portion of the race. You would think that Yaxha would have a slight advantage with more people to row, but that was not the case as Nakum got off to a good start, and employing a bit of strategy that is not often used in these games, bore down on Yaxha, giving a cry of “Ramming speed” (why do I always do a Sean Connery voice in my head when I say that? try it yourself, it’s fun) and then hitting the other boat, knocking them off course and preventing them from getting to the second bag. Nakum was returning with the third bad while Yaxha was still on their way to the second bag.
Nakum made it back to the beach first, and they were first to get their bags open as well, but with any throwing game, there is always a chance that one person will take a long time and let another person catch up. Since one person could throw all of the hammers without switching to another person, there was nothing to keep somebody who sucked from giving another player a chance besides some loud words and peer pressure.
Steph was first to go up, and I have to say that besides her sucky Jersey voice, I think that the store where she bought her bikini needs to be burned down, but picking a bad bikini is not necessarily a Jersey trait, so I guess I can’t hate on her that much. Besides, she quickly was able to break one of the plates. Although Danni broke hers not much later. Judd was up next, and although he was having a hard time hitting one of the plates, he wasn’t going to let anybody sub in, even when Yaxha started to catch up, he wouldn’t give up. He early said that it was his jungle, and he was determined to prove that was indeed a FACT. At first he thought he would show all of the new women in his camp (both of them) what a man he was by quickly breaking the last plate, but that became too difficult and he went back to the middle plate. He eventually was able to get the job done, but not before Yaxha was ahead. Yaxha was able to complete the task ahead of Nakum and won immunity.
Wow, look at that, Steph lost ANOTHER Survivor challenge. I wonder if Burnett is going to give her the option of staying on until she raises her batting average a little bit. The strategizing really comes into force after the immunity, and it was clear whom each side was voting for. The four original Nakum were so sure that a few of them talked about getting rid of Lydia right in front of Rafe. Now you can argue that it wouldn’t have mattered if they said it in front of Rafe or not because Lydia is the obvious choice, but knowing that you really don’t have numbers, wouldn’t you try to maybe win some votes, and not project what you are going to do?
Looking pretty good Ripley
Again, the only person who was really wavering in their commitment was Judd, and Margaret and her Sigourney Weaver “Alien transitioning to Ghostbusters” hair tried to get him to think about the numbers. She saw him socializing with Steph and Jamie and knows he doesn’t like her, so he tries to make it nice and easy for him. You can’t trust anybody, their loyalty means nothing, they’ll use your strength as long as it is convenient, and then will vote you off like anybody else. Judd almost seemed to grasp the concept and told Margaret that she got his wheel spinning. At this point, I imagined that Judd hat a little hamster wheel in his head that powered his brain. The hamster probably died years ago, but every now and then, the tides shift and the wheel moves, stimulating just enough synapses for Judd to put together several sentences and perhaps provide multiple consecutive moments where he is lucid enough to be considered “not in a coma”.
TVgasm Exclusive! Inside Judd’s brain.
At tribal council, it was clearly between Brooke and Lydia. BTW, does anybody else think that Lydia is really a human troll doll? The face, the hips, she needs to work on the hair, but she has got it down pretty well. Jeff started things off by asking Stephanie if he thinks she is bad luck when it comes to challenges. She was 1 for 7 during this season, which made her 4 for 21 in her total Survivor history. She’s like a cooler or something. Doing the math, she has actually *lowered* her Survivor average since getting to Guatemala, and considering she was already flirting with the Mendoza line beforehand, that’s not exactly a good thing. Saying you average 190 isn’t that great unless you are playing on a par 200 golf course.
As always, Jeff asked the really good questions, asking Margaret if she felt people would stick together. Not wasting any time, Margaret immediately called out Judd for hanging out with Jamie and Steph. Given a chance to respond, Judd sounded like somebody who was thinking that he would very calmly respond to his accusers statement by staying calm so people wouldn’t think that he is lying, but of course in the midst of being calm, these idiots end up rambling on forever making no sense, and in no time, people realize they are lying because they seem like they are just rambling to stay calm.
Everybody said what they needed to say, or at least had said all that Jeff could stand listening to, and they proceeded to the vote. You knew it was going to be very close, and might even be a tie between Lydia and Brooke. True to Survivor style, Jeff read the names, let Lydia get ahead a little bit before bringing Brooke in for the tie and then the victory, or the loss, as it were since she was being voted off, not voted in. It was obvious that somebody had voted for Brooke to go home, and since it wasn’t Cindy, Brooke, or Margaret that did it (not to mention her name was spelled incorrectly) it had to be Judd. In a biting last word, Jeff mentioned that the shuffling of a tribe is a good time to switch allegiances, but each time you switch it makes you harder to trust. SLAM!
What did you think of the episode? Which tribe now has the advantage? Was it wise to send Brooke home this week?