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Broken record time: this recap was exceptionally late due to my trip to the East Coast. To make matters worse, I actually had things to do this week. You know, like meetings and interviews. What is this? I’m supposed to be blogging, dammit! I figured I’d just put off the recap until after I was done with this week’s Amazing Race, but then a quick look at the calendar revealed that it was Thursday and I was about to commit the cardinal sin of television blogging: getting lapped by TV! Yes, if I didn’t hurry up, a new episode of Survivor would air before I’d even had a chance to post about the old one. Not cool. It didn’t make things much easier for me that this week’s episode of Survivor wasn’t exactly thrilling. I mean, it wasn’t bad or lame — just average. But anyway, I’ve already babbled enough about my poor time management. Let’s revisit all the glorious moments (all three of them) from the latest installment of Survivor.The episode began with bugs crawling all over stuff. You know things are getting tense when Mark Burnett shuns the ever popular crab-in-the-dark intro. Anyway, we then cast our eyes on resident twig Janu who was still smarting from Coby’s departure. “I felt this huge loss,” she explained, possibly referring to her weight. While she moped and lost valuable heart tissue, Katie and Jenn had a heartfelt conversation down on the beach. Were they discussing politics, social issues, or maybe existentialism? No. They were gossiping. Better yet, they were gossiping about Janu – a.k.a. the woman sitting ten feet away.
“Janu is completely mad,” said Katie in an interview. She then went on to describe her tribemate’s wacky behavior: “Last night at tribal council, she was sitting like a jack-in-the-box with this really creepy smile and eyes on her face.” This from the girl who looks like a beached walrus in bikini bottoms. Seriously, she’s one set of eyeglasses away from being the island Piggy. Wow, that was mean of me. But hey, if she’s gonna be vacuous and shallow, so will I.
Well, Janu overheard Katie’s yapping and immediately accused her of carrying on with a high school mentality. Actually, I would have revised that to “middle school” after Katie opened up her trap in defense: “You’re being creepy. I’m sorry!” Hey Katie, you’re being fat (Hey, I never said that I was above middle school level either).
The two women continued to go at it until Janu finally laid down one of the more bizarre insults by saying “You’re Saturday Night Live.” Had Katie had any semblance of brainpower, she would have responded with “Well, you’re Mad TV!”, but of course she lacks any wit or verbal ingenuity and was unsurprisingly silent. Maybe she hit her head one too many times while swinging from vines. By the way, if SNL ever does become only as funny as Katie, Lorne Michaels may want to simply turn the show into a drama (or at least fire Horatio Sanz).
Anyway, the argument eventually climaxed when Janu turned to the assembled group and said, “All you guys are gonna turn on each other.” Ian simply stared off into the distance with a look that seemed to say, “Oh yeah. She’s right… I wish Tom would hold me right now.” Tom would then place a hand on Ian’s shoulder and say “I’m already here, buddy. I’m already here…”
Soon it was time for everyone to head out and meet good ole Jeff Probst for the Reward Challenge. Our intrepid host explained that the tribe would be split into two groups that would then piece together scaffolding in the water. The first team to build its entire structure, grab a flag, and then return to shore would win. There wasn’t much noteworthy about the challenge except that it appeared to be extremely draining. Katie for one had a difficult job swimming, breathing, and keeping her ass in her pants. Yes, for the first time we appreciated CBS’s nudity blur as the island tart bared some butt crack to America. Later, Katie won my vote for “Most In Need of a Sports Bra” when her boobies went flopping all over Palau as she ran back into the surf. Seriously, anyone in a two foot radius might have wound up with a bloody nose.
Eventually, the plucky group of Tom, Gregg, Caryn, and Janu won the reward and immediately went off to have lunch with some native islanders. Before the meal though, the winning survivors participated in a traditional ceremony that had Caryn waxing poetic. She explained that she was thoroughly moved by the chief’s blessing, but sadly Caryn neglected to let us know whether the experience was better or worse than that time she stumbled into Macy’s half-off sale. Nevertheless, the chief placed a flowery garland around Caryn’s head, and I couldn’t help thinking how awesome it would have been had he given her a curly wig instead. Then she could have played out scenes in Meet the Fockers.
The group soon chowed down to what appeared to be a delectable feast, but unfortunately, Janu’s pea-sized stomach couldn’t take the sudden influx of nourishment. Moments later, she excused herself and booted in the bushes. If you need a visual on this one, just imagine a broomstick vomiting. Amazingly enough, Gregg seemed to be actually mad at her, noting that there were four other people who surely would have happily taken Janu’s place at the table. Until Gregg drops the “G” quotient of his name down to a healthy 40%, I can’t take him seriously.
Anyway, the crew brought back some feast goodies for the losers back at camp, and immediately, everyone tore into it. Janu, revived after her tropical yakking, picked at some of the desserts, much to the dismay of Katie who could not have seemed more angry. She should just be happy they brought the food back. Knowing Katie, she probably would have kept it all to herself (not because she’s hefty but because she’s selfish. Okay, and hefty too). Truthfully, what Janu did was somewhat poor form, but not nearly as rude as the ladies last season who literally only gave the men chicken bones after one feast (the worst incident had to be from Marquesas when Neleh took a mint out of her mouth and offered it to her tribe).
The next day, Jenn and Tom fetched the tree mail which seemed to promise a very Fear Factor-ish immunity challenge. Actually, it was a total Fear Factor challenge. Survivors had to sit under a grate, and as the tide rolled in, it would eventually cover their mouths. Last person standing would win immunity. Oddly enough, today I watched a rerun of Fear Factor — something I literally never ever do — and the final challenge was almost completely identical. Coincidence? I think not! Sorry, just felt like being clichéd there for a moment.
Anyway, Steph fretted that she really needed immunity because she simply didn’t feel safe — after all, she’s the strongest girl and that may pose a threat. You know, after over thirty minutes of anti-Janu sentiment, I was pretty offended that the producers would even try to throw in this lame attempt at misdirection. It was more than obvious that Steph would be sticking around; so why even attempt this? Eh, not worth the effort to complain. I’ll just accept it.
Jeff happily ushered the tribe into the challenge, but this time he had an extra twinkle in his eye. Why? Because the first person to bail out of this mission would be forced to sleep overnight on another beach. Wow, this would have been really scary had we not seen Stephenie in the same predicament JUST LAST WEEK! Nevertheless, the Survivors all took spots under the grate and waited for the tide to rise. Ian tried to pass the time by joking, “This man walks into a bar…” but sadly, his humor was undermined by his complete and utter inability to be funny. Actually, it really wasn’t that bad. I just have negative reactions to smelly people, and you just know that by now he smells like a thousand Eastern European armpits rolled into one.
When the comedy finally died down, Jeff questioned Janu about how she felt. Shivering and cold, she expressed her discomfort and then suddenly bowed out of the competition. As she climbed onto the ever ubiquitous pontoon, her tribe members began joking and laughing, prompting the always welcomed lash-out by Probst. He noted how no love was lost between the tribe and Janu, even though she was about to head off to a scary beach all by herself. Everyone immediately denied the accusation, but the surly host stood his ground. “You guys are crackin’ jokes like you’re at open mic,” he said. One might say they’re like Saturday Night Live. High-five, Janu!
Anyway, Tom won immunity again — shocker! — and Janu went off in her little boat to her island exile. Man, Mark Burnett just loves stranding women places. However, instead of a frightening evening alone, Janu kept busy as she started a fire (exposing her thong in the process) and then danced on the beach. I kind of felt happy for her. I always sort of liked Janu after that first episode when she climbed up the tree, and while she hasn’t been my favorite person, I always liked her more than the other cliquey girls on Koror. Seeing her have a moment of tranquility and loony hippy reverie was somehow heartwarming for me.
The next morning it was back to business. The scheming quietly surfaced in Koror as Gregg expressed interest in voting Steph out that night. Unfortunately, Tom couldn’t really sign off on this because he had that pesky secret alliance, but eventually it seemed as though he had folded and had resigned to voting her off. Later, Stephenie confronted Ian about voting off Janu, and he simply nodded his head and said “Yeah” quietly. GOOD COVER! You know, I love Steph, but I wish she’d stop letting other players decide her fate. Scheme for once!
Meanwhile, wayward meta-castaway Janu returned to Koror from her evening in the more-wilderness. The team peppered her with faux-happiness (way to guilt them, Jeff), but Janu wrote it all off, chalking up their smiles to superficiality. Man, she’s really bitter.
Tribal Council finally arrived, and we met up again with Coby who now sported a striped tank-top, brighter highlights, and a freshly shaven face. In stark contrast was Ian who shuffled in wearing some sort of green toga contraption and patches of hair on his cheeks. Janu explained to Probst that she loved her night alone on the beach and didn’t feel like she belonged in the tribe. Caryn became livid and insisted that this was all in her head. For a moment I thought she’d lose it big time — like the time Sheila Mankowitz scratched her Celine Dion CD (you just know Caryn does step-aerobics to “Love Can Move Mountains”). But luckily all tempers stayed calm and collected. When asked about his voting strategy, Tom replied that “Nobody’s voting based on who they like or who makes us laugh.” The camera then cut to Jenn who I half expected to say “I’m voting on cuteness. Tee hee! I win!!!” Seriously though, Jenn is really hot.
Probst then asked the golden question: “Katie, why keep you?” My thoughts exactly. Katie responded that she posed no real threat. Ah ha! Even SHE admits that she’s useless. Now I don’t have to feel so guilty about slamming her so much. When Jeff then asked the same question to Janu, she replied “They can get rid of me.” Uh-oh. Do we have an Osten moment coming up? Janu defended her statement, saying she’d gotten everything she needed from the experience. Meanwhile, Stephenie looked like she was about to die. She gave an impassioned speech about wanting to stay and compete, ultimately culminating in a teary admission that she was on the hot seat. As her voice devolved into little squeaks and whistles, it suddenly dawned on me that she might be my favorite Survivor woman ever. I don’t think she’ll make it all the way, but man, if she gets voted off and Janu stays, that would really suck.
Luckily, Stephenie’s speech truly resonated with Janu, and even though Coby couldn’t believe it, she willingly quit the game. Normally I’d be annoyed at such actions, but in a way, Janu’s move was a sacrificial gesture. By quitting, she ensured Stephenie’s safety for at least three more days — time that she hopefully will spend scheming to oust the power players. Even Probst had to respect this move. When he snuffed out Janu’s torch, he spared her the usual snide remarks like “Get out of here” and simply let her walk off peacefully.
Next week, it looks like Steph will finally be getting her act together by organizing a female alliance. Hopefully she’ll bring people to her side by exposing Tom and Ian’s hypocrisy, but I also have a strong sense that this will all be misdirection.
What do you think? Should Janu have quit? Can Stephenie last another episode?