It began with Jeff Probst's voice telling us: "This is Nicaragua: remote, mysterious, dangerous." He left out poverty-ridden (second-poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, barely beating out Haiti), oppressed, run by a powerful Marxist leader highly hostile to the United States, who is currently trying to circumvent his own country's constitution in order to gain himself another, illegal, term in office. And Jeff also failed to mention a recent United States State Department report on terrorism which accused Nicaragua of having a corrupt and highly politicized judiciary that could be taken advantage of by terrorists, and said it had expanded ties with Iran. Yes, CBS, let's help Daniel Ortega's tourism woes.
In point of fact, locals have been happy for the Survivor shoot, because they employ all the local police force on the set, and that leaves the local cops no time to engage in their usual daily activities of pulling over innocent drivers and demanding bribes not to arrest them on trumped-up charges.
I can see why little things like these might slip CBS's mind in the excitement over a new Survivor. Mark Burnett, Survivor's increasingly morally-appalling producer, has shown repeatedly in the past that he has no moral qualms whatever about whom he will work with, producing a TV show with the revolting Donald Trump (as far away as you can get politically from a communist like Nicaragua's President Ortega), and, in a fit of hypocrisy of truly Olympic proportions, produced a series on the wildlife and wilderness lands of Alaska starring that environmental rapist and media-whore-deluxe, Sarah Palin. It must have been a difficult task for Burnett to find someone even more disgusting than Trump and Palin to work with, but he went below the bottom of the barrel, and found ex-Sandinistan Daniel Ortega.
CBS's stated reasons for choosing to shoot in this gorgeous pesthole was "the country's natural beauty and the high level of support from the government." Yes, why not just bribe a communist governmental leader who hates America and has ties to Iran, if it gets you a "high level of support" from a man like Daniel Ortega? Morals? This is TV!
But man, them volcanoes are scenic.
We're always hearing about people wanting a "Celebrity Survivor," forgetting just what sort of celebrities this grueling ordeal of a game show would attract. Folks, Meryl Streep, Zac Efron, Matt Damon, Simon Cowell, Al Pacino, and Nicole Kidman are not going to go on "Celebrity Survivor" These folks get paid a million dollars in a single day, and without eating bugs, starving themselves (Well, Nicole's career involves starving herself, but that's voluntary.), sleeping outdoors, or any sort of discomfort whatever. They have people to be uncomfortable for them.
But there is one type of celebrity who sometimes itches to play Survivor, and that's aging once-weres from the world of sports, who need to prove that they're only 20 when they're actually 80. And we got one of these this year: Jimmy Johnson, whom the publicity materials tell me, is a famous football coach, and coached some team to two what are called "Superbowl wins," which I'm told is a big deal to people to whom football is a big deal.
To be 100% honest, I'd never heard of this man before, never set eyes on him before, nor heard his name before, nor was I in any way aware he existed until I started to see publicity materials about this edition of Survivor. I accept that he is very famous to people to whom people like that are very famous, but I'd be a lot more excited if it were someone I'd ever heard of before. But of course, the type of celebrities I like are usually smart enough to stay off of Survivor.
So, what is a 67 year old man (Yes, that's right, just three years from 70!) trying to prove by going on Survivor for a few weeks? (Because no way will an elderly celebrity make it to the end.) Obviously, he's out to "prove" that he's really only 27. People whose lives are all about games you can't still play after your early-to-mid 30s are always so public and physical in their forms of severe denial.
Oh well, let's hope he's pleasant company. Most coaches I've known were insufferable. (Think Brendon on this past summer's Big Brother, who was a swimming coach. And then there was last season's Ex-Coach Wade, aka Voldepussy, one of the most-insufferable contestants this show ever put on the air.) However, Mr. Johnson has grasped that being a bossy leader-coach can get you tossed out quickly, so he's adopted an advisory role rather than a full-out coaching role. That's good.
Because, just as Big Brother attracts delusional losers, so Survivor attracts Type-A personalities, future heart attacks on legs, along with those who think they are like that. (We'll get to "Wendy".) If you look through their CBS online bios, almost all of them list "lazy people" among their pet peeves. How is someone else's "laziness" your business, unless you're their coach, that is?
You know my pet peeve? People who vote for Republicans. I'd prefer one lazy liberal to ten all-out-athletic douchebags who, as Survivor contestant Dan Lembo put it for himself in his CBS online bio, considers Ronald Reagan his "Personal Hero". Well, Dan is 63. It's not like he's going to win. Or even survive.
They sent the Survivors off on a trek, divided into two groups they mistakenly thought would be their tribes. We were allowed to share their snap judgements on each other, just as I'm sharing my snap judgements on them with you here.
Jimmy Tarantino, not to be confused with Jimmy Johnson, or Quentin Tarantino I hope, is a 48 year old fisherman who easily looks 60. Said he of Dan Lembo, based solely on looking at him as he walked: "I notice an older gentleman, looks like a Mafia boss, and he looks like he wants to boss people around."
Jimmy T should listen to Lembo's recorded words in his CBS online bio. He sounds like a Mafia boss: "My nickname is Mr. Connected..." Hello? "Connected" is a longtime euphemism for "mob ties." "... and I can help many people out throughout New York City, and throughout probably - ah - the country, but in Miami and New York City. And I have numerous people who come to me during the year [When else? Outside the year?], for many different reasons, and I'm always there for them, and I've 'helped out' plenty of people."
And someday, and that day may never come, Don Lembo may ask a favor of you. Did I say "Don Lembo"? I meant Dan Lembo, of course. How could I make such an error? "Personal hero: Ronald Reagan."
23 year old Alina said of Marty Piombo: "There's an old gray-haired guy that's just pissing me off already. He seems like the kind of guy who's going to step into the leadership position."
What was Marty doing that pissed off Alina? He was being not-young. That's all. Marty is 48, a "technology executive," whatever that is, and amazingly hot for his age. I would do him in a second. (Marty, I mean it. Call me.) All you fans of Tom Westmore, who found him so attractive (as he was his first time on Survivor, not the pitiful wreck who crashed and burned last season) are going to love Marty. (Marty is the same age as Jimmy T, yet looks more than a decade younger.)
And who is Alina? Well, in her CBS online bio she says: "Everyone expects that I'm just going to end up being an actress or a model, or something useless. I'm going to prove something different." She is a 23 year old art student at Cal State University, Fullerton. Well, I'm glad she's not studying anything useless. (I'm an actress myself, and I can be put to more uses than Alina can, especially if Marty asks nicely.)
Kelly Bruno wants to keep the fact that her right leg is a prosthetic from just below the knee on down a secret. (Kelly is "Kelly Bruno" to distinguish her from "Kelly Shinn." I think Kelly Bruno should be the one named Kelly Shinn, since she only has one shin, and thus the singular last name would suit her. What? You don't think she wants equal treatment with the rest?) To keep that secret, she'll have to wear the world's only long-legged bikini, or one hip boot.
She's worried that she'll get voted out because people will think she'll be a liability at physical challenges. Nonsense, my dear. They'll vote you out because no one in their right mind, or even a Survivor contestant (Because, let's face it, you have to be a touch insane to go on this show. It's the "Torture Me More" show.), will want a one-legged person sitting next to them at the end, winning with sympathy votes. Who won the very first edition of Big Brother? The army vet with one leg. Kelly is toast as soon as her "secret" comes out, that is to say, the first time someone with eyes looks at her. (Well, it is a bit like a man with two heads wearing a hood over one head because he wants to keep his having two heads a secret.)
There is a dark-haired lad, the only hairy chest in this edition, a 30 year old guy named Sash Lonahan, of impenetrable ethnic origin. Sash gives his profession as a "luxury real estate broker in Harlem." Isn't that a bit like selling beachfront property in Kansas, or bikinis in Iran? If you can afford to buy what Sash calls "the largest and most-expensive Penthouses" in Harlem, then you could afford to buy a large and expensive penthouse in Mid-town Manhattan, or Beverly Hills, or London, or Paris. Why would you choose to live in Harlem when you can afford better?
Sash lists being "one of the youngest brokers ever on Wall Street" as his "Claim to Fame" in his CBS online bio. Wouldn't you want to keep that sort of shame quiet? That's one of those claims to fame designed to make people hate you, especially in 2010. You know those blood-sucking parasites that destroyed our economy? Well, I'm one of them! Hooray for me! To make matters worse, he answered "Which Survivor contestant are you most like?" with: "Tyson, because I have some great one-liners and because I'm awesome." Tyson the Mormon Moron was an idiot one should shun, not emulate, and any person who tells you he is "awesome," isn't.
Anyway, Sash showed up on the beach for his first day on Survivor wearing slacks, a button-down shirt, and a tie! They were soaking-wet rags by the first commercial break. What a tool.
Reward Challenge: They were sent off to find a "Medallion of Power" for their tribe. Oooh. What is this? Super Mario Brothers? They were given no clues beyond the vague information that it was over thataway a fair piece. They went charging off into a lagoon, Sash's nice clothes getting ruined pretty much at once.
27 year old Hispanic beauty Brenda found the "Medallion of Power," which wasn't so much hidden, as they had decided at the last minute to take down the searchlights on it, and the big sign saying: "Medallion of Power in this tree!" I half expected Russell Hantz to be sitting there holding it, saying, "I not only found it first with no clues, but I'm not even playing, and I beat all you bozos."As challenges go, all this had going for it was seeing Sash wading across the pond in waist-deep water, wearing his dorky tie.
After the challenge, Jeff Probst dropped this season's big bomb: the tribes were to be decided by age. Yes, it's Ageist Survivor! Oh joy. I'm so looking forward to Survivor 22 next spring, when it will be blondes against brunettes. Or better still, Hot Folks vs Trolls.
Everyone forty or over was in one tribe, and everyone 30 or younger was in the other tribe. There was no one between the ages of 30 and 41. At 30, Sash and Shannon were the oldest members of the one tribe, and at 41, a woman named Yve (Pronounced "Eve," and that's all about Yve for this week) was the youngest member of the other tribe. Talk about age discrimination! No wonder Russell Hantz isn't doing his third consecutive Survivor; Russell is 34. No "Prime-of-Lifers" allowed in this edition of Ageist Survivor.
"I'm young at heart" yelled the Superbowl Guy, while his 67 year old heart struggled not to burst at the exertion. Here his only real reason to go on the show is to prove that he's still actually young when he isn't, and the show goes and segregates him into the AARP tribe. What are they trying to do to him? Force him to face Reality? "I don't want any of the 'old people' with me," he said of his tribemates, every one of whom is younger than he is, some by more than 20 years.
A gorgeous 24 year old man with magnificent, giant pecs with very large nipples (not that I noticed) named Chase (what an odd name to give your nipples), who gives his profession as "Pro Race Car Jackman," whatever the hell that means (I know what a Hugh Jackman is: a slice of Heaven on Earth who can order you to "shut up and bend over!"with a divinely sexy Australian accent, but what the heck is a pro race car jackman?), said: "The Antiques have the best coach you could ask for." The Antiques? That's terribly insulting, particularly coming from someone as he expressed his admiration of a man with experience and The Wisdom of Age. So I'm using it for the Senior Citizens' tribe name. Yes, I know Jeff said they were called "Espada," but I'm sure that just means "Geezer" or "Sun Dried" or "Mortuary Fodder," or something of that nature. I'm going with "The Antiques."
And the other tribe, whom Jeff called "La Flor," I'm calling "The Fetuses." After all, having never studied Spanish (my gardener speaks English, and my housekeeper is black, so I haven't needed it.), I'm certain that "La Flor" just means "The Floor," which is what I hope The Antiques wipe up with the Fetuses. Yes, I'm rooting for The Antiques. What did you expect? I'm 113.
Superbowl Guy had no idea how to wear a Survivor buff. Has he never watched the show before? Because only every contestant that has ever played it in any of it's previous 20 seasons wore buffs at all times. If he hasn't watched it before, then he has no idea how much torture he's putting his geriatric body through. Plus, Mr. Macho Football Guy was worried about getting buff-hair. Ladies please! Butch up.
Since Fetus Brenda won "The Medallion of Power" (I expect to hear a fanfare played on French horns each time I type the phrase "The Medallion of Power".), it went to The Fetus Tribe, but Jeff offered them one of those devil's choices. They could keep it, or take a chest full of fishing gear, and flint to make fire. Whichever they didn't keep, the chest or "The Medallion of Power" [Fanfare!], the other would go to the other tribe.
Superbowl Guy was hoping for the chest of fishing gear and a flint, which I think was wise, but then, Superbowl Guy may never have played Super Mario Brothers, and may not realize what it's like to be cornered in a cavern by a dragon with your all Medallions of Power [Fanfare!] used up. ("Decide, children," we heard one of the old ladies say. Made me laugh.) In any event, the fetuses weren't born yesterday (Tomorrow? Maybe.), and they took the chest, and gave up The Medallion of Power [Fanfare!] to The Antiques.
Shannon weighed in on the debate: "I figured the old people needed the Medallion of Power [Fanfare!] more than we do. I mean, I don't wanna underestimate the old people, but I don't think they'll be able to handle some challenges. There's no reason why we should lose to them," he said, underestimating the senior citizens. In any event, why would he give them The Medallion of Power [Fanfare!] if he thought they needed it more? Is he playing for them?
Let's talk about Shannon Elkins. First off, he's not a girl, despite his name. At 30, he's tied with Sash for oldest member of The Fetuses, so he may receive a few "the old guy" remarks from some of his decade-younger cradlemates. I really hope he turns out to be likeable. He is beautiful, with rich black curly hair, the bluest Azure eyes you ever saw, huge pecs, and nipples the size of silver dollars. He's a "Pest Control Company Owner," which is to say, an exterminator, a Dalek for bugs. (I imagine him walking through homes he's fumigating, rattling out: "Ex-ter-min-ate! Ex-ter-min-ate!" as he spritzes poison about.)
His dad deserted the Elkins Family when he was five, so he vowed to be a good dad when the time came, which was about 20 minutes later, as he'd apparently not bothered to pay attention in birth control class, and got his girlfriend knocked up when he was just 19. Determined not to be a deadbeat like his dad, Shannon has now, at 30, been married for 11 years, and is raising three kids. Poor guy screwed himself out of his 20s altogether by not spending 50 cents on a condom. No wonder he came on the show. Eating bugs, enduring hardships, surviving on Survivor, must seem well worth it if it gets him away from small children and the baby machine for a month. Like I said, I really he hope he isn't a jerk. I want to like him, but I'm still burned by Lane on Big Brother and his 8-Second Game. However, clearly Life has been more serious for Dadless Dad Shannon Elkins than for born-rich Lane "Let's-Get-Drunk-and-Shoot-Stuff" Elenberg.
Most of The Antique Tribe knew who Superbowl Guy was. He worried that they might be "Philadelphia Eagle fans, or Washington Redskin fans." First off, it doesn't occur to him that there are some of us who do not give a rat's ass about football at all. Secondly, assuming that "Philadelphia Eagle" and "Washington Redskins" refer to football teams, I have to ask: professional sports still allows a major team to have a racist name like "Redskins"? Hello? That's tremendously offensive.
Holly is a swimming coach in South Dakota. Another coach! Shoot me now! So there are more than just three days a year in South Dakota when the pools aren't frozen over? A whole week? In her CBS online bio, she said her husband's ranch is in "North Central South Dakota." Huh? Is that North Dakota or South Dakota? I don't really need it quite that specific. If she'd just said "near the middle of the state," I would already know more than I need to. I'm not about to yell at her: "You call that 'North Central South Dakota'? Bah! That's, at best, Northeastern Midwestern-South Dakota, or at the very worst, North-North-Eastern East-Central West Dakota." Lady, the minute you said "South Dakota" you were pretty much off of my map. Can you see Canada from your house? No? Then who cares if it's North-East-Central Dakota, or South-Eastern-West North Dakota? It's the Dakotas. No one goes there.
Anyway, Poor Holly got suckered into an instant alliance about 10 minutes into the game, by Wendy. She sort of shook hands, and suddenly, before she knew it, she and Wendy were The Brigade. She will regret this very, very soon.
Ah Wendy, a professional "goat herder." It's like Heidi is on the team, looking, though not sounding, all grown up. She's such a case I wish she were on the show longer. Wendy's husband, a loyal and supportive man, told her she would be the first voted off. Clearly he was wishing he could vote her out of his life. He was also correct. He's married to her; he knows what hell living with her is.
She's a self-confessed chatterbox, but she decided to lay low about her chattering, so she didn't get voted out first. We'll see how that works for her. She's 48, just like Marty and Jimmy T., though she looks easily 20 years younger than Jimmy T. (So does my long-dead father, who died at 70), and listening to her talk, you'd think she was 40 years younger than Marty.
In Wendy's CBS online bio she wrote that her "claim to fame" was "Reaching the Lieutenant Colonel rank in the Army." I would think that should come under "Proudest Accomplishment." Becoming a "Lt. Colonel" won't make you famous, but it is certainly an accomplishment of which to be proud, especially if you've achieved it despite being a bit of a scatterbrain. Asked which previous Survivor she most resembled, she adamantly replied: "No one, especially not the other female military contestant, Shambo. We just have different personalities." Well I have to give some respect to anyone who wishes it made clear that she's nothing like Shambles. On the other hand, Shambles stayed on the show a whole lot longer than Wendy manages.
But it is in the area of self-deluding that she really excells. Remember I said that Survivor attracts Type-A personalities, and people who think they're like that, but aren't. Meet Wendy: "I have leadership skills." Sure she does. Here, she explained it a bit more in her CBS online bio: "I'm also good at strawteegee- ah - strategy, and thinking, and against the other team and such..." She can't even organize a sentence, but she thinks she's good at strawteegee.
(I was amused in her online bio, when she told her dad she was going into the army - which she decided to do after seeing the movie Private Benjamin, which she must have identified with heavily - he was furious: "He said 'they could have paid for your college. Why didn't you go a long time ago?'" Certainly how I'd react if I had a daughter entering the army during a time of war, when she could be killed on the other side of the planet, fighting to get The Bush Family more oil.)
Anyway, she latched onto Holly, who agreed to be in an alliance with her to the end, anything, just to get away from her unhurt.
And then there was Jane. Jane is a 56 year old dog trainer. Jane, who looks and sounds older than she is, has the full name Jane Bright, and she is. She went and learned how to make fire without flint before she came on the show. She practiced. It's almost like she took being on Survivor seriously. They had no flint on The Antique Tribe, but they had one thing you'll always find around senior citizens: glasses. Using a lens and the Sun, Jane made fire. Take that, young 'uns! We like Jane. She may have a lot of mouth, but she's not all mouth. Hey Superbowl Guy, did you think to learn how to make fire before you came?
(And Marty, shirtless, watching the fire-making, was adding to the heat by displaying a body any of the younger men would have been proud to have at 28, let alone 48. Marty, call me. I'll do you.)
Over at The Fetus Tribe, Sash was running his mouth for us: "This game, that's old guys vs young guys, we know we're going to be able to dominate." Well first off Sash, you've just erased from existence the ten women playing. And how many Superbowls have you won again, Sash? You might want to count them up before you get too set in how you're going to "dominate."
Then we met Jud Burza. Remember the song "Poor Jud is Dead" in Oklahoma? (If you don't, go watch some classic musicals. Seriously. Everyone should know the score to Oklahoma.) Add the word "brain" before "dead" in that title, and it's a song about our Jud. "As soon we was all thirty and under, it was like these are my people." Jud darling, that meant age 30 and under, not IQ 30 and under, so these, like, are not your people.
Jud is 21, except when he speaks, when he becomes 2. He's a surfer. He's the quintessential surfer. Long blonde hair, probably attractive to some, though not to me, no brain. Asked for three words that described him in his CBS online bio, he said: "intelligent, sexy, and goofy." It was a question about him, and he only got one word right. Okay, I'll give him one and half points, since some would find him sexy, if he lost the power of speech.
Asked why he wanted to go on Survivor, Jud said: "camping on a tropical island with a bunch of cute girls sounds like the best vacation ever." Has he never watched the show either? "The Best Vacation Ever" does not include eating rats, starving, grueling physical conditions, sleeping outside on a bamboo floor if you're lucky, and you made the floor yourself, being plotted against constantly, and painful and even dangerous contests. "The Best Vacation Ever" involves indoor plumbing, nice beds, gourmet food caught and prepared by someone else, and anyone nearby that is at all like Jud is on staff, and can be sent away, or just told to perform his task silently. I'll make all the noise, thank you.
After he nailed his own foot, and fell victim to a crab pincer, everyone on The Fetus Tribe caught on that Jud is an idiot, and began calling him a "dumb blonde." Shortly thereafter he was renamed "Fabio," and the tribe refused to allow anyone to answer to the name Jud. He must be Fabio. This is a bit insulting to the real Fabio, who, though no Einstein, is certainly not as stupid as Jud, and far better looking. "Dude, he's just retarded," said Shannon of "Fabio," winning points with everyone who takes a cavalier attitude towards the learning-impaired. (I want to like Shannon, but the "retarded" remark is his Strike One.)
"Dude, I don't care what they call me. I'm gonna win the million dollars," said "Fabio." I'm going right out on a first-episode limb here and say, under no conceivable circumstances will this idiot win the million.
Shannon and Chase immediately bonded, probably over having four of the biggest boobs in Nicaragua. Watching them walk side-by-side was Major Mammaries on Parade! Really. Their tits are huge! They're like male versions of Boobiac, except Shannon isn't an idiot, and those giant puppies are probably real.
And I don't want to say that their shorts were tight, or that they're really-well endowed, but CBS saw fit to pixilate their crotches in a shot of them, pants fully on, just walking along. Those bulges must have been so detailed, you could tell you if they were circumcised or not. (And Chase's pixilation blur extended almost all the way to his right knee! Me wanna see unblurred footage! I got very distracted.)
But Chase isn't the sharpest razor blade on the airliner: "You and I are definitely gonna be the strongest, as far as strength-wise." But perhaps not the smartest, as far as brainwise? (No matter how many times I rewound this sequence, it remained very hard for me to pay much attention to what they were saying. Their pecs, butts, and pixilated blurs were so loud!)
Shannon and Chase formed a stud alliance, the stated purpose of which was to see to it that a girl didn't win this time around. Said Shannon: "I don't wanna see another girl win ... It's important that we don't let these girls take over. We already get owned in marriage; pretty soon we'll have a woman president..." How awful. "... but I mean a guy needs to sac-up, and we need to win this." He certainly sounds like someone who has been mired in marriage since about ten minutes after high school graduation. All across America, millions of women looked at Shannon and fell in love, then heard this rampantly misogynistic speech, and fell back out of love again. Strike Two.
It didn't occur to Kelly B. that when you have no ankles and you kneel down, anyone can see that there's nothing there but a metal rod. Time to come out of the closet and 'fess up to being a unidexter. So much for that secret. Didn't make it one whole day. "I knew it!" shouted one of the men, who did not know it. Fabio asked her how she told it to move. It's metal and plastic, you idiot, you can't "tell it" anything.
And yup, no one wants to face that sympathy vote at Final Tribal Council. She's toast.
We got to watch her take it off, for all the stump fetishists in the audience (and any limb-deprived person out there can tell you that I'm not inventing stump fetishists.), and went to a commercial while showing the prosthetic leg leaning against a log all by itself, when everyone was out for a swim. All I could think was that if Russell Hantz were playing, that would be the last time anyone ever saw that false leg. (Oh, he would too!)
Just to further prove that he's a match for any 25 year old, Superbowl Guy was retching and being sick first day out. Jimmy T. thought he could be faking it, but why would you fake being sick? You'd just be getting yourself voted out quicker. Does Jimmy T. think you win Superbowls by goldbricking?
Next morning, Superbowl Guy was bitching about how awful it was, no sleep, sick. "I have watched every second of Survivor. I never imagined anywhere close that it was this difficult." So when he saw a big bull of a man like Black Russell in season 19 fall over and almost die, when he watched people fall apart, watched every player than was ever on it shed weight like Little Dougie sheds dandruff, when he saw players shiver through monsoons with a few palm fronds spread on some bamboo for "shelter," when he saw player after player get taken out for medical reasons, it never occurred to him that it was genuinely horrible? How can a man so smart be so stupid?
(Wait! He's "watched every second of Survivor"? And yet he had no idea how to wear a Survivor buff? He wasn't watching very closely. Did he think it was on radio, and he only listened to it? We have TV now, old timer, so you can see it too.)
Brenda over on The Fetus Tribe was star struck by Superbowl Guy. She said she knew who he was because "I used to cheer for Dolphins." I've cheered the performances of dolphins and porpoises myself at Sea World and the old Marineland. Marine mammals are great. What's that got to do with recognizing Superbowl Guy?
This past summer, three idiots and one smart guy formed an alliance called "The Brigade" on Big Brother. Although they turned on and voted out their only intelligent member, they dominated the game, and ended up comprising the whole of the Final Three. How did they manage that? By keeping it secret! Until the last week, no one in the house knew of its existence except its members.
Gorgeous Chase must have missed this (perhaps because he was in Nicaragua shooting this series), because the concept of keeping your alliances secret was lost on him. On Day 2, he blabbed his guy alliance with Shannon to Brenda.
The problem for Shannon will be that Chase is 24, not married, didn't forget the birth control and trap himself into a marriage at 19, sapping away his soul because he never got to be a young man who was free, and consequently, he doesn't hate all women just yet (He's young. Most men don't start really loathing all women until their 40s. But most men don't get trapped into marriage at 19. And most of those that do, have sense enough to get divorced when they realize how totally they've screwed up their lives.), and so the vote-out-all-the-women, make-sure-a-man-wins mantra of Shannon isn't Chase's motto. He could even, conceivably some day, vote to evict Shannon over Brenda. We're still in episode one, and the first alliance already has cracks.
On the other hand, Brenda - ew. "I'm kinda used to having guys do what I say." That one sentence, revealing her as a manipulator of men who gets by on her looks, is a tremendous turn-off. Want to make me hate you on a TV show ladies? Brag about how you can get men to do anything you want because you're cute. Her job is given as "Paddleboard Company Owner," which I take to mean, she works in a tiny shop renting paddle boards to people on a beach or at a lake. Yes, she's a "company owner"; she's the Donald Trump of Paddleboards. Anyway, she's got Chase's number: "He's a really nice guy, but he's clueless." She knew telling her that was a dumb move, even if Chase didn't.
Alina, whom I already hate (see her remarks re: Marty above), and Brenda B. found a hidden immunity idol clue. There were so many complaints over the last two seasons that the Hidden Immunity Idol clues were too easy, and that the idols were hidden in places like Russell's pillowcase or Russell's pants, so this time the clue, instead of a bit of rhymed doggerel the meaning of which was simplicity itself, they gave them a rhombus which I would mock Alina and Brenda B. for failing to understand at all, except I've had a clear look at the clue online, and I can't make sense of it either. "I never realized how hard these are," moaned Alina. That's because they weren't this hard before.
Alina was pissed that Brenda was with her when they found the clue, as it forces them into an alliance (since they at least understood to keep it secret. Don't tell Chase!), when she wants Brenda and her vote-magnet false-leg out of the contest the sooner the better.
Immunity Challenge: Superbowl Guy: "Everybody in the world needs motivation, and I think I can help motivate this team." What's my motivation for needing motivation?
There's a real coach for you. He thinks that people who have motivated themselves to get this gig, to beat out the thousands of other applicants for the handful of positions on the show, who each and every one of whom is aware of a million dollars worth of motivation, for some reason, need his help to "get motivated" to do what they are already motivated to do.
This man thinks that a locker room talking to is what they need, or they'd never go out with the will to win. Hey Superbowl Guy, shut up. This is exactly what you should not be doing! It's exactly what you said you knew better than to do. Stop "coaching". All you're motivating these people to do is to get rid of you sooner. Did your coaching get them to win the challenge? No. All the locker room cliches in the world aren't going to help a bunch of old ladies stumped by a jigsaw puzzle suddenly figure out how to solve the puzzle. This team could go out and lose it without your speech. And think of this, Superbowl Guy, 50% of all the locker room motivational speeches ever given in this world fail! Games aren't won by coaches babbling locker room cliches. They're made by players beating the other team, while you sat on that rather large behind of yours, yelling stuff at them that they had to shut out and ignore in order to get anything accomplished.
And there's this, since Superbowl Guy is already a millionaire, he doesn't seem to realize that, to people who are not millionaires, a million dollars is, all by itself, more motivation than can be conjured up by every locker room clichefest from all-time being all lumped together. Money talks. Coaches blather.
Superbowl Guy made his silly speech about how no jury would ever give him a million dollars, so he's just here to help them, plus they should keep him to the end, because no jury would give him a million dollars.
Honey, I'm from California. I know about juries and celebrities. They can't help but find in favor of stars. In court, all celebrities are innocent even if proven guilty. That OJ Simpson jury would have gladly handed OJ a million dollars as they were busy wrongfully-acquitting him of the two murders he committed.
Most of The Antique Tribe understood that Superbowl Guy's pitch was bull crap. He's not there to help them anymore than they are there to help him. He thinks his soap is selling. It isn't.
And as far as helping them goes, hey [SPOILER ALERT], they lost the challenge. "As long as we're psyched up for it, and we know what we gotta do, we'll kick their ass." Apart from the fact that "ass" should be plural in that sentence, there's this other factor: he was wrong. The Fetus Team beat them, and without motivational blather. They just went in and did it.
"I just got a pep talk from Jimmy Johnson" cheered Tyrone, a tremendously hot, black fire captain of 42, with enormous chocolate pecs, who could easily tempt me to set my house on fire if only he would come and personally give me mouth-to-mouth, whether I need it or not! (For a team of supposed geriatrics, The Antiques have two hot men I'd love to be sandwiched between. Honey, I am sooo motivated!). A short time later, Tyrone was able to cheer: "I was just led on to defeat by Jimmy Johnson," though he neglected to say that.
The challenge involved holding up bamboo troughs, and channeling buckets of water poured into them into a big barrel, to lower puzzle pieces for one of their infamous, boring Survivor jigsaw puzzles. Clearly they are going to keep putting jigsaw puzzles on the show, even though they make for BORING viewing, and I'm going to keep on complaining about them. I liked the bucket and troughs portion though.
The Medallion of Power [Fanfare!] could be used here for an advantage. The Antique Tribe could get one bucket full of water already in their barrel. This would give them more puzzle-solving time, which they would end up desperately needing.
But then, The Medallion of Power [Fanfare!] would go to the other team to use in the next challenge. They decided not to use it. Said Jimmy T.: "Let's make a statement, and hold on to it." They made a statement all right: "We're losers."
Bad Decision! Who is coaching these losers? It was an Immunity challenge! Those are the important ones. That extra bucket of water might have made the difference. They might have won had they played The Medallion of Power [Fanfare!]. Plus, then the Fetus Tribe would then get it for a Reward Challenge, which is far less important. They could set up a rotation that kept it coming back to them for Immunity Challenges. But someone (Superbowl Guy?) didn't think it through, being more convinced that locker room cliches were what they needed.
The Fetus Tribe arrived doing a cheer-walk. I'm assuming that ex-cheerleader Brenda came up with this idea. I know it was one of the women, because bitter, overly-married, woman-hating Shannon didn't participate in it. I doubt it played any role in their beating The Antiques this challenge, but it made for a fun, snappy entrance. And it did make them look like more of a team.
"We know what we have to do," said Superbowl Guy. Too bad your puzzle-solvers didn't know how to do what you had to do. Actually, since Jeff hadn't explained the challenge to them yet, they did not what they had to do, so Superbowl Guy's statement was a flat-out lie. All they knew then was "We have to win," and they didn't even do that.
The fun part of the challenge, with the water and the troughs, was pretty close. The Fetus Tribe finished first, but only by a few seconds. The Medallion of Power [Fanfare!] would have given The Antiques a significant lead. But the boring part of the challenge, the puzzle, was a rout, as the four old ladies "solving" the puzzle were hopeless. The Fetus Tribe won Immunity, and The Antiques were headed to Tribal Council.
Asked if she would have used The Medallion of Power [Fanfare!], Brenda said she would, adding: "When you're doing it right now, why are you thinking about tomorrow, the next day, when you're playing right now?" it's called strategizing, Brenda. The game right now may be one you think you can win without the advantage, but tomorrow's game will come. That's kids for you. They never think about tomorrow until it gets here, when it's too late.
"Weed out the weakest" was the mantra for the Antiques. I'll give Superbowl Guy this, he listed himself among the top two weakest players. He also listed Wendy, although what she did that was so weak was lost on me. Now a player who wasted everyone's time with locker room cliches, when what was needed was someone to tell the old ladies how to solve a jigsaw puzzle, seems to me like the person to lose.
Frankly, the Antiques all knew that Superbowl Guy, ridiculously too old for Survivor, and full of himself as regards "motivation," was who needed to go. But they were too star struck to vote out Superbowl Guy yet, so they turned on Wendy, who had done nothing I could see to earn an ouster. This is why you don't want Superbowl Guy in The Final Two, a star-struck jury vote.
Jimmy T. is also too old to play, not because he's 48, a healthy 48 year old can play Survivor without problems. But when a guy is 48 and looks 60, there may be a reason. "I can't even think clearly right now. I'm junked from the trauma of the challenge. I need to sleep. I'm 48 years old. This place already knocked me down, and it's only day three." This sounds to me like "I'm not in condition to do this. I should go home."
So now Holly wants to send Wendy home. Why? Because Superbowl Guy told her he thought she should. Let's toss that alliance she didn't want anyway away, and Holly was busily talking the rest of the tribe into voting out Wendy.
43 year old Jill, who looks like a butch lesbian, but who is a mother, so she may not be what she appears, and is an ER doctor, said: "Why don't we go around a circle, and just honestly say who you'd rather [evict], Is that fair?" Is that fair? Is it fair for everyone to have a say? Is it fair to say that I want a better ER doctor when injured than someone who feels the need to ask such a pointless, stupid question?
So they went around, and no one said anything. Marty at least told us that he wasn't buying Superbowl Guy's "No jury will give me a million dollars" nonsense. I'm definitely liking Marty.
Tribal Council: there's seldom much to discuss at a first Tribal council. People have barely learned each other's names, let alone developed hatreds and resentments. What's to dish?
Jane truly knows how to play. Despite looking like she's the oldest person there (though she's 11 years younger than Superbowl Guy), and being one of the women who utterly failed to solve the puzzle, no one is talking about getting rid of her. She made fire without flint, and she told Jeff Probst that she learned to do so after reading an article of his in which he expressed surprise that anyone would come to play Survivor without first learning to make fire, which was as smooth and efficient a piece of butt-smooching as ever I've seen.
Jimmy T. learned that, unlike in his work as a fisherman, where he's "a leader," here they have famous leaders, like Superbowl Guy. Jimmy T. felt like he had been king frog in a small pond, although that small pond he leads in is called The Atlantic Ocean, and as ponds go, it's the second-largest on earth. Pit the Atlantic Ocean against all Superbowl teams combined, The Atlantic is still going to win. It's an ocean. It's unbelievably mighty.
Superbowl Guy: "Let me make it clear; I'm not The Boss." Apparently all the rock star treatment was making Superbowl Guy think he was being mistaken for Bruce Springsteen. Too bad. Springsteen I've heard of. But while Bruce is no springsteen chicken himself anymore (he turns 61 next Thursday), he still could hardly be mistaken for the overweight geezer which is Superbowl Guy. Some people still want to shag Springsteen. I wouldn't turn him out of doors on a cold night.
Holly feels like she's in trouble at Council because she's breaking her word, and betraying her short-lived alliance. That might be why Wendy would be miffed by her, but it hardly makes Holly a target tonight.
Then Jeff started asking Wendy questions. Now I truly believe that, up until this moment, there was a fairly even chance that Superbowl Guy might have gone home first. But Wendy warned us she was a chatterbox, and when asked direct questions by Jeff, the damn broke, and she blabbed and blathered her way into fulfilling her husband's prophecy.
Wendy accused the tribe of not caring about her because no one asked her age. Who asks women their ages? Especially older women. That's what the internet is for. For the record, she's 48, just like Jimmy T. and Marty.
"Maybe I'll start tooting my horn," said Wendy, as though she was going to speak to any of these people again before the reunion show in December. In fact, that alone might have been the threat that got her voted out.
But she was just getting rolling. Out poured the verbiage. Wendy is one of those people who never says anything in two words that can be oversaid with 50 words. I'd transcribe the speech that bubbled out of her, but it would be tedious to listen to, tedious to type, and tedious to read, and it boiled down to "I talk a lot." She basically annoyed the Superbowl-Guy-votes all over to her. She did say: "I didn't want to come in and talk, talk, talk, talk, and drive people crazy, because people don't like people who talk all the time." True. So be quiet now, Wendy. Wendy, stop talking. Wendy, shut the hell up.
But she hadn't really even begun to amaze me yet. Not until Jeff Probst said: "All right, it is time to vote. Jane, you're up."
Wendy: "Can I say one thing?" Please remember that Tribal Councils are much, much longer than what we see on TV. They typically last an hour. But if a contestant wants to open her big mouth and make her own situation worse, Jeff will always dole out all the rope they need to hang themselves.
Jeff (not hiding his annoyance): "Wendy, you had something else you wanted to say?"
Wendy: "I would also like to tell the group, I think there's a lot that I can bring: my strength, my leadership..." Her leadership? Shut up, Wendy. "I can be very friendly, very honest, very funny..." Very long-winded? Shut up, Wendy. "Fun to be with, strong willed, strong physically. People like to be my friend. People like to be with me..." No one present at the Council likes being with you, not even Jeff. Honestly, Wendy, for your own sake, shut up. "... They trust me all the time. Trust is important. And I don't have any blisters on my feet, and that's an asset, that will help. Just a little thing I point out. I think that's about it."
Jeff: "I just wanted to make sure you got everything off your chest." For once, I don't think he meant her blouse. Remember, she said she just wanted to say "one thing". But thank Heaven she got the blisters comment in.
Superbowl Guy was saved by a long-winded goat herder, who might have survived the council if she'd kept her big mouth closed. I can picture her, lying out on a hillside by moonlight, chattering away to her goats, while they bleat to each other in goat language: "You butt her off the cliff." "Me? You do it!" "I tried, but she talked so much, I lost the will to butt." "Let's all attack her together, and gore her to death on our horns." All the goats in unison: "Deal!"
And that's what the other Antiques did, voting her out unanimously, except, of course, for her own vote for Yve, whom she misspelled as "Eve," a woman of whom we saw zilch in this opening episode. This episode was "Not About Yve."
Jeff, as he sent The Antiques home, said: "One good thing about coming to Tribal Council; you will leave here with fire," and he tossed a flint to them. I do wish Jane had stood up and said: "Hey Bozo, we arrived with fire! We don' need no stinkin' flints!"
I'll be back next week on Thursday with more Survivor, until then, cheers darlings.
To read more of Tallulah Morehead, go to The Morehead, the Merrier, or buy her book, My Lush Life.