After a long, Probst-free summer, Survivor is finally back, and the man in denim is ready to preside over the case of Blood v. Water. With only a few hours until court is back in session, let’s get right to it.
The burning question for this season, as we noted in our pseudo-primer/preview, is “has Gervase, after thirteen years, learned to swim?”
Well, from the looks of his very tentative entry into the water, it seems unlikely.
But it was more of an encouraging start than that of Tyson’s girlfriend Rachel, who apparently agreed to sleep in the jungle for 39 days on the one condition that she can never get wet.
When the Survivors and their loved ones arrive on dry land (including Kat and her boyfriend/big brother Hayden), they learn that they’ll be spending their first night alone, and while the game is afoot, the formation of the tribes will wait. Colton, of course, is back, because no ruptured appendix can deter a monster that terrible. He’s returned with his boyfriend Caleb, which serves to make him more sympathetic terrible. And even though he has his southern boytoy to take care of him, he’s still livid about having to spend a night in the elements.
Before we dig deep into this week’s episode of Survivor: Caramoan – Fans vs. Favorites 2 Legit 2 Quit, we owe you, the loyal reader, an apology. You see, we had gotten so wrapped up in the sad, soul-sucking sagas of Shamar and Brandon that we had forgotten about Former Federal Agent Fillip(?). Specifically, we had forgotten how capable he was of equal soul-sucking, his stewardship of an imaginary corporation (painfully imaginary to everyone else but him) serving to dominate camp life and suffocating other players. We had hoped – erroneously – that the exit of Shamar and Brandon, two divisive but attention grabbing personalities, would open the game up. Instead, it just passed the speaking baton to the equal of three evils. Not that FFAF is complaining, being the singular intolerable, maddening, petulant male personality left only enhances his chances of making it to the end.
However, Fillip has some flaws in his game. Namely, he thinks he’s running some kind of top secret covert operation and explains this to every player he encounters, creating something more akin to a completely obvious overt debacle. But in addition to his delusions of grandeur, FFAF is also incredibly sensitive. He is easily rattled when someone challenges his leadership and integrity, and he demonstrates this trait when the Favorites returned to camp after they evicted Brandon from the house. Wearing the classic tucked in poncho characteristic of all great CEOs, Fillip was so hurt that Brandon said such mean, unprovoked things about him, and no one stood up for poor FFAF. Corinne jumped in too, saying how uncool it was for Brandon to only pick on her and Fill, that she sympathized with Fill’s frustration and anger with the rest of BeKool for not stepping up to the plate. And this made up The Specialist’s mind once and for all: he needs to get rid of Corinne, because her commiseration clearly makes her the biggest threat, for some reason entirely unclear to us. But that’s why he’s The Specialist and we’re just a dude writing a blog and not running a made-up paramilitary organization.
Ahead of the premiere of the twenty-eighth (!) season of The Real World, set somewhat curiously in Portland, MTV has scheduled a weekend marathon of three “classic” seasons of the trailblazing reality show. Starting Friday night at 8pm MTV will air the first entry in the series, the groundbreaking Real World: New York, followed by the booze and sex soaked Las Vegas season Saturday at 2pm, and rounded out by the Puck and Pedro-fronted season three, Real World: San Francisco, beginning 8am Sunday. While we applaud the selection of NY and SF as 66.6% of the marathon, we cannot support the further promulgation of Las Vegas, especially at the expense of more worthy, important, less debaucherous seasons like Los Angeles, New Orleans, Seattle, or even the underrated Miami.
Choosing New York to lead off the marathon is a no-brainer. It was not just the first season of the long-running series, it defined what the series would be. Like Richard Hatch on the maiden season of Survivor, The Real World: New York set the mold for what this show would be, and, in many ways, set the course for Reality TV for the next twenty years. It’s cultural relevance and impact cannot be understated. Likewise for San Francisco, which was even more captivating and controversial for its inclusion of Pedro, an HIV positive Cuban-American, and Puck, a bellicose bike messenger with questionable hygiene and even more questionable social skills. This season – with its portrayal of a gay man (living, not dying) with AIDS and the caustic, boorish punk who alienated his housemates to the point of eviction – truly launched the show, and as well as awareness of the deadly disease, into the public consciousness, establishing The Real World as an MTV institution and a cultural phenomenon with immense significance. Nearly ten years later, Las Vegas began to undo everything that San Francisco and its peers has established.
Well, we all saw this coming. We saw this coming back on South Pacific when he accused Mikayla of being an evil temptress, and we saw this coming when he went back and forth and back with his relationship with God and spoke of battles with inner demons. And we saw this coming in episode two of Fans vs. Favorites 2 Legit 2 Quit when, in beautiful night vision, his neck tattoo glistening in the twilight, he threatened to go on a rampage. So no one – no one – should have been surprised when Brandon Hantz finally lost it on Survivor: Caramoan. Which isn’t to say it was predictable, or that it wasn’t riveting, truly unsettling television.
But first, who’s that girl next to Michael and Eddie?!
Oh, right, Julia. That person that exists on the Fans tribe. At this point, she’s our pick to win it all, solely because everyone will keep forgetting that she’s there and no one will ever write her name down. Also, she might be a ghost.
Normally, on Jeopardy “Who is Chelsea Handler?” would be the answer to a clue. But on this particular edition of the long-running nerdfest, this interrogative statement was very much a question, something that all the contestants were asking themselves.
Take that, Handler!
And let’s discuss why those responses are so terribly wrong.
1. Margaret Cho: Really? Nowhere in that clue do they ask who plays Kim Jong-il on 30 Rock.
2. Joan Rivers: Yes, she’s on E! and she’s a comedian and best-selling author, so Donna Veronica was close. So close in fact that the judges later considered Rivers to be an acceptable answer and awarded her the money. However, Joan Rivers is not an acceptable response (and we will not budge on this) because a) Fashion Policedoes not air late-night, b) it is not a talk show, and, most importantly, c) the right response is Chelsea Handler.
“I know I lied to you and voted you out, but I have no boobs left so have a little mercy.” – Kim
It is somewhat fitting and poetic that in a game defined by boobs – both anatomical and intellectual – it was the least endowed woman who triumphed over her more busty peers (and, no, we’re not talking about Nina). In the end, it’s not what you have here (pointing to our chest), but what you have here (pointing to our head). And whatever Kim may not have or may have lost in her bosom, she certainly more than made for up with her brains (we could also note how she played the game with a lot of heart, but that would require also pointing to our chest, which would confuse the whole point. She also played with a lot of guts, but if we’re going to point to anyone’s stomach, it’ll be Colton’s to giggle at his doughy appendix scar).
For the last few seasons we’ve become increasingly irritated by the presence of God, or, rather, some players’ insistence that he (or she!) has some influence on the game of Survivor, from Matt justifying his repeated exile to Redemption Island as part of Jesus’s plan to Brandon Hantz invoking the will of the Lord in his quest to purge Mikayla from the game (and maybe the Earth) because of her fictional harlot tendencies. For one season we can deal with these bible thumpers, but as it became a consistent aspect of the game, it became grating, obnoxious even. Sure, God may love Survivor, but as a true fan he would never get involved. When it comes to Survivor, God is agnostic, and if he had a dog in the fight, it wouldn’t be someone from the God Squad, it would be a rough and tumble champion, like Sophie or Lt. Tom Westman. But even if God had a rooting interest, we were sure that he (or she!) had no impact on the game, just like he has nothing to do with Tim Tebow (unless sending him to the Jets is God’s idea of a holy hilarious joke). However, after this week’s Survivor: One World! we’ve changed our mind. Because if that wasn’t divine intervention, if that wasn’t an instance of God reigning down vengeance from above, we don’t know what is.
What continues to astound us about Survivor players, season after season, is how little they understand the format of the game, how they continue to be surprised by surprises they should have seen coming, if only by the precedent set by every season of the show ever. And what’s particularly interesting in a contradictory way is how they’re so myopic in looking so far ahead. By already thinking about the end game – i.e. we have a strong alliance that can take us to the end, or at least to the merge – they fail to acknowledge or comprehend the twists and turns that will come along the way, i.e. a tribe shake up. Because OF course that’s going to happen, ESPECIALLY since the tribes were originally drawn up along gender lines. When you have such a stark contrast between teams, it’s a matter of a when, not if, the tribes will be realigned. By handing over immunity to the Salami Tribe last week the men may have accelerated the tribe shake up, but it was a foregone conclusion to occur sometime soon.
As such, the universal look of shock on the players’ faces when they learned at the beginning of this week’s Survivor: ONE WORLD!that the tribes would indeed be redrawn was shocking, but only because they should have seen it coming. To not have anticipated this shows how clueless these people really are, even Colton, who has self-professed himself to the master of this game.
And what’s up with Monica? In the first episode she refuses to do a strip tease, then offers to do a pole dance in the third, and now this? Lots of mixed signals, Monica (also, are you an ex-football player‘s wife or an ex-football player’s wife? We’re a little confused. Like we said, lots of mixed signals).
Alright, by now you probably know how utterly confusing and mind-boggling and “bum puzzling” this week’s Survivor: ONE WORLD!was, so we’re getting right to our ABC of the week.
Always be CuckooBananas.
Because that was perhaps the most baffling, head-scratching, what the fuck is going on episode of all-time. Of ALL-TIME. It had everything: racism, sexism, donuts, senility, betrayal, stupidity, and the most despicable fucking human being ever to play the game.