Well, another week down and another pleasantly enjoyable, although not exactly exciting, episode of Survivor: Vanuatu has passed. This may not be the most – how do you say – intense season, but the jiggle ratio is quite impressive and the concentration of blandness amongst the men is really quite a feat for casting. Truthfully, I’m not really down on the show. Every now and then we get a bum season (Africa, Thailand), but the series always bounces back with great vigor. So for now, I’m just going to quietly take Vanuatu for what it’s worth and hope that Mark Burnett stops fooling around with junk like “The Casino” and “The Contender” and focuses on things like, I don’t know, good casting for his trademark show.The good news is that even the worst casting can’t undermine the pure joy of a cat fight, and that’s what we got right at the top of the show. Eliza was just a wee bit mad at breasty Lisa for backing out of the alliance, a complaint Lisa had leveled at Eliza just two days prior. This spat of course led to lots of dazed looking people in night vision and of course the obligatory shots of crabs scuttling around the beach. Run for cover! The humans are arguing and if we don’t move, there will be no symbolic imagery!!!
Anyway, after Eliza served up a fresh cocktail of passive aggression and sort of deserved annoyance, Lisa made her point clear: “I’m not going to be confrontational!” she yelled, uh, confrontationally. Scout meanwhile threw in a dash of her own brand of eco-friendly passive aggression when she said, “My environment is a little polluted. I’m going to sleep.” Twila followed, probably sad that Ami’s feminine makeover wouldn’t be happening that night. As the team settled in for a long, angry night, Lisa nestled in with the older women, a smart move which could keep her in the game just long enough.
Over with the men at Lopevi, young John was complaining about the voting strategy. Like, all the young guys are getting voted off. What’s the deal, yo? Actually, what John really said was that “all the good young guys with personality are gone.” Yes, those shining personalities. Remember JP and the time he said… that thing? Or Brooke when he was super charismatic about… you know… uh… He was radiant, okay? Just trust me! Besides, the younger guys are more athletic, John said. Brady agreed. The younger guys are quick, nimble, and strong. This was followed by a shot of a coconut landing on Brady’s head. Seriously.
Meanwhile, at dysfunction junction – aka the Yasur tribe – the girls eyed a rainbow, which of course prompted Ami to remark that it’s a sign that the girls are going to win. Hey, Ami, just so you know, that wasn’t a private rainbow. It shone for the guys too. Just saying. Anyway, both tribes made their way over to good ole Jeff Probst and the latest reward challenge. After some mindless banter, Jeff asked one of his favorite questions:
“Wanna know what you’re playing for?” Everyone nodded and a black man in a loincloth of sorts appeared by Jeff’s side. Well, apparently they’re playing for a slave! Oh wait, no. According to Probst, the guy was a “rockstar” on the island. “He knows how to find food, how to catch food, how to cook food,” Jeff said. “Plus, he’s HILarious.” Okay, that was a reference to last week’s Real World. I apologize, but if you’re confused, click here.
Anyway, what followed was a rather ordinary game of memory that the women took an early lead in. Eventually, it was up to Lisa to find the winning pair of random objects. As she walked – or pranced really – over to the potentially winning basket, the women all huddled together in a circle which had me wondering if there was some game of Family Feud going on. They looked like they were ready to steal the answer after three strikes. Anyway, Lisa made the correct choice, which meant the gals all could have their island guide, Da, for a day. It was during this time that I also noticed that sneaky Ami had given Twila that French Braid she’d been talking about at last Tribal Council. How could we be deprived of this awkward Twila moment??
After commercial break, we returned to the lovely ladies of Yasur who were all eager to greet Da at the beach. He just brushed past them and got to work showing everyone the secrets of the land. I enjoyed watching Twila and Da interact, and I couldn’t help thinking that if they had more than a day together, they could become the oddest couple since Brigitte Nielsen and Flavor Flav first lay eyes upon each other on The Surreal Life.
Without Da, the guys were in shambles. Rory and Sarge continued to bicker, a recurring theme which still hasn’t translated to good television. You’d think Sarge would maybe brush it all off, but apparently bickering is a high level skill set for career military men. Bubba, meanwhile, obliged us with the traditional daddy-misses-his-family (which he voluntarily left to be on a game show) speech. “My boys are my life,” he said, choking up. What about Bob Barker? You only have his giant face plastered on your big, orange T-shirt for us all to see. No love.
While the men went at it, the women continued to reap the rewards of Da. Honestly, Da was awesome. He could do anything. I thought his presence would be gimmicky and stupid – and it sort of was – but I found myself totally rapt by his resourcefulness. I was like SHOW ME MORE, DA. SHOW ME MORE. When it came time for him to finally leave, the women were on the verge of tears, and as he sailed off into the ocean, Lisa upped the Koombaya quotient by breaking into a song or a psalm of some sort. Everyone seemed to know the tune and joined in while Twila received a supportive hug. It was beautiful. So beautiful I wanted to never remember it ever again.
The makeshift Lillith Fair had to come to an end though as everyone set their sights on the immunity challenge. Eliza explained how she and Julie felt exceptionally vulnerable. Julie’s apprehension was evidenced by her completely blank expression and lack of speaking. When asked how she felt about the tribe situation, she responded with “…” This was followed by a cricket chirping.
If the reward challenge was a second grade puzzle, the immunity challenge was a steep increase in difficulty… to a fourth grade puzzle. I won’t even describe it except to say that the guys were hopeless and the women were on top of it. This was underlined by the music which alternated from curious “boing” sounds with Lopevi to determined drumming with Yasur. Sure enough, the ladies won, causing Julie to break out in a triumphant shriek that released days of tension and fear. And by triumphant shriek, I mean she quietly smiled and nodded her head.
As the men headed up to Tribal Council, John and Brady tried their hardest to turn the tide against Rory. I thought it might just happen too. Jeff Probst, attempting desperately to inject some drama into the group, carpet bombed the guys with inciting questions and passive aggressive quips. I like how he’s become such a dick over the past few years. Nevertheless, not even Jeff Probst nor Rory’s impromptu limerick as he cast his vote could spice up this sorry Tribal Council. Ultimately, Brady was voted out by everyone, including young John. Too bad for John that his gesture will probably go unappreciated back at camp. As for Brady, we’ll miss ya, tough guy. We’ve had so many memories together. Like the time you and JP and Brooke went and did that thing with the… uh… um… there’s an earthquake next week, let’s talk about that!