Once again I am tardy with this recap of Survivor, but better late than never, right? Okay, I’ll just dodge that tomato. Anyway, the severe delay I have between watching the show and writing the recap should not denote any disinterest I have in this season’s cast. No, not in the least. I am a big fan of these people, even if half of them are too beautiful to bare. I read somewhere that the joy in The Amazing Race is watching average people navigate the globe, but the fun in Survivor is watching model/actor types languish amidst rats and bugs on an island. Truthfully, I don’t have anything against models/actors/beautiful people, but for some reason, that assessment really does fit. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy our Twilas, Sandras, and Willards, but man, I could sure use a lot less Big Tom and a lot more, well, anyone.This week’s episode began with Ulong nursing the wounds of their third straight Tribal Council. As usual, the mood was sad. Actually, it wasn’t just sad. It was saaaaaaad. Droopy faces were had by all, and James tried valiantly to motivate everyone with a hillbilly inspirational speech, but alas, his bon-mots fell on deaf, uninterested ears. Kim, for one, was lamenting the loss of person-trainer-turned-gimp Jeff — a.k.a. her NotLover on the island. “Jeff is great for the team,” she added, noting that “team” is her way of saying vagina. Meanwhile, James continued to babble on by the campfire. We’re not going back! he insisted, adding that the women ought to use their “seshiality” a bit more. Sadly, not even the bravest of lateral lisps could whip this team into action. Ibrehem, by the way, really lit a spark under the team by sitting… and staring… and dozing off. Do you think he listens to the Carpenters in his brain?
The next morning at Koror, Katie retrieved some Tree Mail for her tribe. I wonder if the survivors accidentally get Tyra Mail from time to time? Could be very confusing. Anyway, the arboreal missive instructed the team to elect a representative of the tribe. There was mild panic as everyone feared that the rep might have to switch teams, but luckily Coby was brave enough to volunteer. Now don’t go assuming that he got the job. Just because you volunteer doesn’t mean anyone cares. Ian and Tom instead went back and forth, nominating each other and essentially ignoring our resident hairstylists plea for leadership. Coby interpreted this as a subtle demarcation of tribal lines: Tom, Ian, Katie, Gregg, and Jen vs. Coby, Caryn, Willard, and Janu. Ah so. Dissension amongst the ranks? According to the cutaway shot of two storks commiserating on the beach, I’d say so!
At least Koror could pick a representative. Ulong meanwhile shrunk from the challenge and opted to go fishing instead. We knew they were in trouble when Mark Burnett revved up our favorite stupid tom-tom music. That’s his way of saying, “These people are idiots.” Anyway, back on Koror’s beach, island boredom turned to proud euphoria as Jeff Probst motored in on a formidable Home Depot boat. As usual, an overblown fanfare blared on the soundtrack, and for a moment, I thought the tribe were being recruited for a Jerry Bruckheimer movie. Instead, Probst simply asked “What’s going on Koror?” When the survivors asked what was going on, Probst simply laughed and said “Normally I’d answer that, but since I’m now representing Home Depot, it’s my duty to ignore your question and simply refer you to someone else at another beach.”
Actually, what Jeff Probst did do was open up a mobile tool shed from which Ian could choose six items to help build a bathroom and shower for the tribe. Coby gushed to us in an interview “Who’d have thought I’d be so excited to see tools?” Well, to be fair, they were all from Madonna’s new hardware brand, “Crazy for Tools.” Anyway, turns out all this hubbub was for the next rewards challenge. Tribes had to build their facilities and the winning team would have the official Survivor construction team erect a shelter for them. You have to admit, that’s an awesome reward.
After leaving Koror with all their supplies, the next stop on the Jeff Probst maritime tour was the solemn beach of Ulong, but unfortunately, the tribe was still out to sea fishing, instilling fear into the hearts of minnows and guppies worldwide. We then cut to the down-and-nearly-out tribe as they sat dejectedly in their outrigger. As usual, Ibrehem had his head cradled in his knees, and apparently the trend had caught on because both Kim and Stephenie had adopted this airplane crash position. Jeff called the troopers back to the beach, but his joyous mood quickly turned to joyous persnicketiness as he discovered there was no tribal leader yet. Finally, Ulong made an impromptu decision and elected James as the representative. I suppose it was based on his abilities to sport ultra high, ultra tight undies. Luckily, James seemed to have some sort of knowledge about construction, and soon Ulong was hard at work building their latrine.
Meanwhile, back at Koror, Caryn was voicing her mild frustration about the excessive Tom genuflection around camp. “The women can’t throw a stick in the fire without ‘Tom? Tom? Can I throw a stick in the fire?’” Caryn then turned to an off-camera Tom and asked “How did that sound? You like that?” Tom then nodded gravely as Gregg and Ian grabbed Caryn’s arms, causing her to yell “But wait! I thought you said it was okay! I didn’t mean to be insubordinate. Tom, you can’t do this! TOM!” She was then thrown in a makeshift dungeon created from bamboo and monkey bones.
At Ulong, Angie was having similar issues with her leader, James. He had taken to patronizingly guiding her through the vigorous world of hammering nails and using a staple gun. Angie bristled at the tutelage, telling us that she fixes EVERYTHING. Well, everything but her skimpy drawers. Bitch, sew a miniskirt already!
Meanwhile, workhorse Kim alerted the team that she was feeling weak headed and dizzy. Must have been from all that arduous not-working. Thankfully, she took a break from her break so she could get some quality rest time in the shade. You know, if you don’t get those 15 hours of sleep a day, it’s like you’re a zombie? Am I right people? While Kim rejuvenated her soul, her team’s knack for being without a knack at construction continued. Bobby Jon managed to expend a good amount of energy chopping down a tree, only to have it become wedged in another tree. James, meanwhile, made the brilliant Homer Simpson move of trying to fix a staple gun while having it directly face his eyes. Yes, something tells me the Ulong bathroom might be a few Air Wicks short of lovely.
The next morning, Probst and construction expert Jesse arrived at the camps to survey the new facilities. The two examined Koror’s offering first, and a few wisecracks and barbs later, it seemed like this tribe would be one to beat. Probst et al. then descended on Ulong’s beach where the most impressive sight was Stephenie who appeared to have fake-baked over night. I guess someone smuggled a little Charlize Oscar Glow onto the island. Anyway, Ulong managed to pull off a nice little latrine space, but it’s generally shaky construction and inability to cause Jesse to crack jokes was cause for alarm. That’s not to say that James wasn’t optimistic. He estimated that Probst would be back in two and a half hours, which was several hours short of the real arrival time: NEVER. Yes, Koror handily won the challenge, causing Ian to run about the beach with his limbs flailing like an elastic 1920s cartoon character. For his part, Tom revealed his inner acrobat by performing a lovely cartwheel celebration. Not even Caryn could dismiss that, especially since it reminded her fondly of the Celine Dion’s “A New Day…” concert at Caesar’s Palace.
As an added bonus to Koror winning an awesome shelter, the tribe also earned a surprise gift: two bottles of cold champagne. Well, a few swigs later, and Caryn was two sheets to the wind. She let loose a torrent of giggles for no apparent reason. I’m sure she had just finished telling a classic story. “This one time, Sheila Horowitz and I went shopping with Joanie Rosensweig. Anyway, long story short, I got this schmatte at Macy’s and so Sheila says ‘Feh’ and, well, you had to be there. Pass the champagne.”
While I enjoyed the little Extreme Makeover: Lavatory Edition, the most fun of the episode was the rowdy immunity challenge that had survivors battling each other for dominance. A member from each team had to ascend a platform in the sea and essentially shove the other player off using a giant cushion or beanbag of some sort. Bobby Jon and Tom battled first, with the fireman emerging victorious. Bobby Jon meanwhile slapped the water — of course — and pouted back to the sidelines. Next up with Steph who predictably dominated over Jen (wait, who is she again? Has she even said anything this season?). Gregg surprisingly managed to knock Ibrehem into the water, and Angie of course came at Caryn like a pitbull sniffing out a defenseless baby. James reeled in shock as Coby shoved him over the side, but he wasn’t nearly as surprised as Bobby Jon who suffered defeat again at the hands of Tom. Stephenie once again made Jen her bitch, sending the waifish blondie headfirst into the surf, and then in the most impressive display, Ibrehem came roaring out of the gate with a monster lunge that sent Gregg tumbling off the platform in less than five seconds. “Get your ass up off here!” screamed Ibrehem, suddenly louder than he’d been all season. Uh oh. Someone’s woken up the beast. Run!
With the series tied at 5-4 (first to six wins), Angie once again made quick work of Caryn, effectively tying up the score. “WE’RE NOT GOING BACK TO IMMUNITY!” shouted Angie, quickly correcting to “TRIBAL COUNCIL!” Ouch. That’s embarrassing. YOU ARE VERY SMOO— UH — SMOOTH!
It all came down to Coby and James once again. Honing his inner Hilary Swank, Coby splashed his face with ocean water and prepared to take down his scrawny foe. The two fought it out viciously, but at the end of the day, James proved Angie’s initial sentiments right: they were not going back to immunity. No, James fell into the water and like that, Ulong lost its fourth straight immunity — a Survivor record.
“Feels terrible having my butt whooped by a homosexual, you know? But a lot of gay folks are strong, man. They’re all working out at the gym, you know? Damn!” said James in what we’ll imagine was supposed to be a moment of understanding. At this point, a significant portion of Survivor’s sensitive viewers balked at the screen and switched over to Will & Grace, just in time to hear Jack say “Oh my god! We gay folks are strong, man! We’re all working out at the gym, you know. Damn!” Everyone then laughed and applauded. Thank goodness for the stereotype shattering powers of Will & Grace.
Anyway, the Ulong tribe members ambled around the beach with crushed spirits. Poor Stephenie continued to be in the state of OMG that had descended upon her in the first episode. Ultimately, the group grappled with either ousting Kim (duh) or James (nice misdirection). There was some mild babble about keeping an all-girls alliance, but, well, we know how that works out.
At Tribal Council, Jeff Probst greeted Ulong with a freshly minted asshole comment: “I saved your seats for you from last time.” Zinger! Good one Jeff. I’m glad you added “from last time.” Otherwise, I may have been totally lost without the context! Anyway, Probst got to work busting Kim, asking her exactly what she contributes to Ulong, or the world in general. Unsurprisingly, Kim had very few direct answers for the surly host, and instead she wound up bullshitting some lame responses.
Later, Probst came down on the guys for being less impressive than the women. Bobby Jon deflected the criticism by saying “If Kim can use that sling and kill us a bear, I want her to.” Kim smiled, but then added “We all know the best I can do is kill an ant. Well, as long as it doesn’t see me.”
Well, Kim put up a good fight, and by “good”, I mean “incredibly flacid” and in an unsurprisingly turn of events, our favorite Felicity Huffman look-alike was voted off by a margin of four to one. That’s okay. Now she can return to a life of leisure (pronounced “leh-zhure”) full of sitting on chaise-longues and giant pillows. Looking forward to weeks of “it was all the editing” interviews!