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I must extend a massive apology. The tenth season premiere of Survivor aired last Thursday, and here I am a whole five days later with the recap. Why did it take me so long? Well, there was a little backlog of activity this past week, and besides, I’ve been holed up in the gym for nearly 96 hours in the wake of viewing this abs-tastic new cast. Seriously, everyone is in shape, even the old people (well, maybe not Wanda, Angie, and Coby but hey, there are always exceptions to the rule). You know what they say: if people have stunning, near flawless bodies on TV, well, shame on me for not being exactly like them! Hmmm… I wonder how many calories I burned typing that last sentence. Maybe I can have a banana chip now.As usual, this tenth iteration of the reality franchise began somewhat ostentatiously with Jeff Probst zooming around on a motorboat. Thankfully, the military extravaganza that followed All Stars last year was absent. Apparently the island nations realized these contestants were not, in fact, nuclear bombs.
Jeff gave us a nice little tour of the area, but you know he really got his rocks off when he boasted about the perils of the local seas. We saw sharks, jellyfish, sting rays, and a massive underwater vagina. Oh wait, that was just a giant clam. Above water, we encountered our latest batch of survivors rowing across the sea quietly, perhaps bewildered by the lack of gym equipment floating amongst the waves.
Probst motored up next to the contestant and pointed out their beach which was about a mile away. Once there, they would find two immunities — one for a guy, one for a girl (finders keepers). It was up to the survivors to decide how they’d get there: paddle or swim. With that, Jeff revved his engine to life and sailed away. Moments later, a flock of doves and peacocks descended from the heavens and carried the Probst vessel back to Television City in Hollywood.
After some brief confusion on Coby’s part, the group decided to row closer to shore, and as their boat neared dry land, kooky English teacher Wanda rose to her feet and began singing some crazy “We are Survivors!” song to the tune of “Heart and Soul”. Personally, I was shocked she didn’t then segue into a rousing rendition of “Follow the Fold!” Wanda later commented, “I’m all about this being one big party as long as it lasts.” I get the feeling Wanda’s definition of “party” probably revolves around apple juice, some banjo, and a touch of LSD.
Eventually, the boat veered close enough to the beach that Stephanie and Jonathan decided to jump ship and make a swim for it. The two dove in gracefully (actually, Jonathan’s dive was sort of like a retarded kangaroo hop), and almost immediately, we knew it was a mistake. That’s because upon hitting the water, the patented Survivor “stupid music” began. You know the type: you hear a few tom toms that go “Blom… blom blom blom…. blom blom,” and you can just imagine Mark Burnett standing off to the sidelines making a LOSER gesture on his forehead.
In time though, everyone jumped into the water, including Angie who nearly blinded me with her pasty white thighs. Ian and Jolanda snagged the immunities first, and with that first challenge over, everyone introduced themselves and got to work building the shelter and finding water. To their dismay, the survivors were not given any supplies whatsoever and weren’t even split into two tribes. Oh Mark Burnett. You and your twists. Wanda, meanwhile, alerted us that she’d prepared all sorts of songs for the experience, which makes me really optimistic that we’ll be seeing a novelty record on the shelves soon. Apparently she collaborated with Lil’ John and Usher. We can only cross our fingers for a cameo by Ludacris.
Anyway, a group of five survivors set out to find fresh water, and after a little bit of searching, they came across it in the middle of what seemed to be a golf course. Seriously, it looked like there was even a road in the background. So does this mean the survivors were stranded on an island resort? Maybe Fiji? (somewhere, the cast of Real World: Philadelphia just broke out into screams of delight at the mere mention of “Fiji”).
Along with water, the survivors also found a sack of shoes. Just like a real survival situation! As the group headed back to the main beach, Coby and Angie quickly bonded as the two pegged each other as the tribe outcasts. Why? Was it because Coby’s gay and Angie’s got lots of tattoos? No, silly. It’s because they’re both mildly overweight! No abs = no acceptance!
Back at the camp, Janu — who resembles a polynesian Troll doll — scampered up a pine tree to help build the shelter. You know she totally smoked pot afterwards. If she didn’t bring a hookah as her luxury item, I would be very surprised. Nay, disappointed.
The next morning, an ominous, sockless figure walked through the woods to the survivor. Was it a real castaway, happy to finally reach civilization? Or maybe was it Gary Sinise showing up to promote this week’s CSI: NY? Actually, it was neither. It was predictably Jeff Probst who shunned his usual maritime entrance for a surprise jaunt through the forestry. Jeff had everyone stand together as a group, including Wanda in her sex-ay slip, and pulled Ian and Jolanda out of the crowd. He told them that they’d each pick someone from the opposite sex for their tribes. That person would then, in turn, pick someone else from his or her opposite sex. So basically, we’d be alternating by gender. The big twist though was that each team would only have nine members, and oh, by the way, there were twenty survivors. Two would be going home. Smell ya later Wanda!
The picking was relatively predictable with the old people and Angie being saved for last. What baffled me though was how so many rounds could go by while Ibrehem — a.k.a. the tall, super-cut black man — stood there unpicked. Was he missing a leg or something? I suppose he fell victim to the Osten/Clarence reputation: jacked black men who severely disappoint the tribe. That’s the only reason I can come up with to explain why Kim chose doughy hick James over Ibrehem.
Gosh, that jacked guy in the middle won’t be of any help with the physical activities
In the end, Wanda and Jonathan failed to make the cut. I was a little surprised about Jonathan’s ouster, seeing that he appeared to be a young, energetic buck. However, with Caryn being the last woman to choose a guy, it was obvious that she’d pick Willard over Jonathan as a potential ally for herself (they’re both over the age of 28). The two non-popular rejects hopped into a boat, and as they floated away, Wanda rose to her feet and once again performed her little Survivor song. We then cut to Jonathan whose sad facial expression seemed to say “I have to ride back to America with this old bat? This sucks. I hate me.”
See ya at the Grammys!
On shore, Probst distributed the tribal buffs — one for Ulong (not to be confused with Oolong tea) and another for Koror (not to be confused with Passover staple, Maror). After Ian sniffed his buff like it was a pair of Adam Duritz’s used undies (he’s a big Counting Crows fan, according to his bio, Jeff left the two tribes to co-habitate the same beach. “It’s definitely gonna be weird all staying on the same beach,” said Angie to Stephanie, who responded, “BE QUIET, NON MODEL!”
Ian’s tribe, Koror, immediately sat in a circle and held an orientation meeting. Greg insisted that they’d have to use their brains since their average age was higher. Yes, in a tragically unbalanced outcome, Koror’s group of old fogeys wound up with an average age of only 30, as opposed to Ulong’s spry age of 28.
Actually, turns out those extra years of wisdom on Koror were just what they needed as they approached this episode’s first big challenge, an obstacle course. Probst greeted the tribes as he stood next to a mysterious object sheathed in a blanket. He told Ian and Jolanda to remove their immunity necklaces, and then said, “This is what you covet now!” Jeff then removed the blanket and revealed… a miniature idol of Jeff Probst! “Behold! BEHOLD! Bow down before your demigod and marvel at the power of KHAKI!” he screamed as thunder clapped in the skies above. Unfortunately, Bobby Jon refused to genuflect, causing Probst to unleashe a torrent of fire from his mouth, quickly roasting the survivor into a burnt skeleton.
Actually, none of that happened. Instead, Jeff only revealed this season’s team immunity idol. He then explained the rules of the challenge. Teams would have to go through some net things and whole other bunch of shit before arriving at several crates of supplies. Teams could take as many or as few supplies as they wanted, but they’d have to carry them through the rest of the obstacle course. Basically, whoever won immunity would also win the supplies they had taken.
The two teams started off neck and neck in the course, but then Koror’s three extra brain cells kicked in. They opted to only take fire (no food, water, or any other comfort) so that they could move on quickly and get through the course with a lighter load. Ulong, however, came to a near halt as they decided which supplies they wanted. I half expected musac to come piping in as these people perused the goods like bored window shoppers on Melrose Avenue. Ultimately, Ulong grabbed food and water, but no fire. I guess their plan was to cook the food with their hunger.
In the end, Koror won immunity and fire. Jeff then offered them the choice to go back to the beach with Ulong or travel to a new beach instead. Unsurprisingly, Koror opted for the new beach, and like that, all the big twists of the season came to an anticlimactic end. Honestly, why even have them on the beach together in the first place? And every season lately it seems like the survivors are stripped of their possessions, only to have them returned within the first three days. Seriously, what’s the point? These twists are just like window dressing on the formula. I don’t really mind them, but at least follow through a little bit more. Now someone please hold my hand as I step down from this soapbox.
Actually, the best twist in all this was one from Mother Nature. As Koror happily paddled to their new beach, a wave came by and capsized their outrigger. So much for that crate of fire supplies! That was pretty bad luck. Or maybe they were cursed… cursed by Wanda! Suddenly, the survivors could ever so faintly hear Wanda’s voice cackling on the wind: “Enjoy your fire now, my pretties!”
Meanwhile, Ulong schemed to oust either Angie (for no real reason. Oh wait, she’s not a model) or Jolanda. I wasn’t really sure why they wanted to get rid of Jolanda. Some of the tribe members said she was the one who slowed them down, but I don’t know. Not feeling it. Angie meanwhile campaigned for votes by proudly displaying her fluffy patches of armpit hair. Don’t worry Angie. We’ll just tell people they grew really, really fast. It wouldn’t be unheard of. After all, at Tribal Council, we soon discovered that Ibrehem had nearly a full beard already (sadly for him, his previously shaved dome had now given way to severe male pattern baldness as well).
Speaking of Tribal Council, Jeff Probst tried to stir some sparks in this new group, but sadly, there was no drama to be had. James babbled a little bit about his team’s strengths, and it occurred to me that he’s sort of like a male Twila. Or actually, he sort of IS Twila. Sadly, no mullet was present.
In the end, Jolanda was voted off because… um… she was black? Sure. Let’s play the race card. Might as well. It didn’t really make sense, but sometimes these first Tribal Councils are lacking in logic. After Jolanda walked off into the night, Jeff scolded the team by saying “Stop with the excuses and get a plan!” Sheesh! It’s not like they’re writing college essays.
Anyway, the TVgasm Tivo cut off the Jolanda’s final words, so I’ll assume they were something like “This was a great experience. I’m surprised. I didn’t want to leave first. Did you see that Bree Van De Kamp’s son is gay?” Granted, I don’t know how Jolanda would have gotten an advance copy of Desperate Housewives, but hey, it’s my little fantasy. Just go with it.