Courtney continued to defy that critical law of physics which states: Objects diminishing radically in size at a constant rate so as to become nearly invisible, must eventually become inaudible.
In deference to the host country, all recent challenges favored “someone” with knowledge of Chinese culture, history, and trivia. Coincidentally, this allowed the Chinese-American girl to stay in the game . The hosts officially approved, but secretly they would have preferred a son, one named Frosti. Some of the Chinese officials were said to comment (unofficially) that this one should have been drowned at birth -- with a mouth like dat on her. (yeah, you know they watch bootleg Sopranos in China)
The cool kids’ clique of The TOAD, The BLUR, and STICKNEY got the numbers, with the help of their loyal lunch lady, DENSE. PG and Erik searched for that proverbial “crack” in the dominant alliance.
Thanks to the ever-present Amanda butt blur they failed to discern an opening there and instead they courted DENSE.
Big mistake. Bye-bye Erik. PG became the lone remaining Underdog. Please don’t take the term Underdog to mean anyone is rooting for PG to win. Underdog, in this case, translates as “She who is so screwed, but really, who cares?”
For more on the last episode, read all about it in strid333’s Ep 11 summary: here
Number of gratuitous James shots CBS finds an excuse to include in the “previously” segment : Only TWO. They’re slipping. Who will go join the ranks of bitter jurors tonight? Oh, the suspense. ________________________
NIGHT Day 33 "WHA DA FUG" Tribe
Obligatory post-TC remarks. Every so often this segment features boiling over tensions and the airing of bitter insecurities and empty threats. Not tonight.
DENSE: I could have made a move and been in the Top 3, and had my shot for a million in front of the jury. I chose instead to play it safe. DENSE’s definition of SAFE: Stay with alliance where NO ONE believes I should make it to F3. I can SAFELY expect either fourth place or, if the challenges keep favoring PG, fifth. I am now safely assured of no worse than fifth place thanks to my non-move. Oh, that’s right, there are five players left. Hmm.
DENSE: This may have been my first big mistake in this game. Nah, Denise, it’s certainly not your first.
Well, you know we summary writers are suckers for new gadgets. Tonight’s gadget is the D.E.L.U.S.I.O.N METER (This is an acronym for “Don’t EVER Let Urself See It’s Only Narcissism”)
Let’s plug it in and measure DENSE’s D.E.L.U.S.I.O.N level on a scale of 1 to 10 DENSE = EIGHT Reality Check Points for letting the word “mistake” creep into her brain. Delusion bonus: misguided definition of “safe.”
MORNING, DAY 34
PG: I’m not the most popular because I’m an outsider. I’m like the new kid at school trying to break into the cool kid’s clique and it’s tough. But I give myself points for never giving up.
D.E.L.U.S.I.O.N METER : PG = SEVEN Reality Check Points: YES, PG, you’re correct that you’re a pariah. Delusion bonus: Erik was a Zhan Hu and they liked him. Could it be because you’re a tactless BITCH?
We see the other four sleeping on a bamboo pole platform. It hurts me just looking at it. Dave would have fed this travesty of a shelter to the great fire-pit in the sky. PG: (demonstrating her sensitivity level) Rise and shine guys!
Skill and/or popularity will win them reward. TOAD (confessional) : Winning Rewards is the key to this stage of the game. Rewards help ME, Todd, feel energetic, happy and strong. A strong happy Todd is a winning Todd.
He is not too concerned how the reward losers feel, so long as he’s not one of them. Todd is a huge Survivor fan. He’s watched every single season, and based his strategy on his keen observations of human dynamics when placed in a competitive situation deprived of human comforts where you rely on OTHERS to reward you with the prize. Really he has. Todd, I have a name for you to meditate on. A fellow Mormon, even. Lo, and she was called Neleh, and she talked overmuch of BUTTER.
TOAD: I’m really hoping I’m both SKILLED and POPULAR right now.
D.E.L.U.S.I.O.N METER: Todd = ELEVEN Reality Check Points: ZERO Delusion Point analysis: Toad’s world is a scary place.
REWARD CHALLENGE: “Shaft the Ones You’re With”
PROBER explains they will fire barbs using a replica of a 4th century Chinese repeating crossbow. You may hit yourself, your friends, your enemies, or miss the mark entirely. Finally, a challenge design modeled on Courtney’s speech patterns.
PROBST: To make things interesting (thank you Jeff for your candor, because so far this is NOT too interesting) Each of you will get some alone time behind the wall where no one can see you. You will secretly insert your shafts in any or all of your tribes mates’ vessels.
In case there’s any way you missed the dripping sexual connotations, and in a season of balls, shafts, and battering rams, how could you, we now see footage of “Dreamteamers” sticking shafts in holes labeled Courtney, Denise, and Amanda.
Probst reminds them twice that they are not allowed to stick their shafts in their own holes. (Todd is bummed) They must shaft their fellow players. (Todd perks up) Probst: In this challenge you WANT to be shafted. Well, whatever gets you off. I always thought this game is for masochists.
No, I’m wrong, it’s still the show. Probst does his weekly ass-kissing of the host nation and pimps the Great Wall as a reward. In this case, the reward is truly awesome and the oohs and aahs are warranted. Mind you, this lot would squeal just as loud if you waved a Big Mac in front of them, louder if it came with fries and a Coke.
So they all go play “hide the arrow” and then pull them out in front of the group. The pecking order challenge!
PG – is last . She says she expected no less. Thank you, Courtney, for throwing a bone to a juror. DENSE – second to last. “Bottom of the totem pole” she remarks. PG rolls eyes until they almost pop out of her skull and punctuates with a DUH. PG never met an “I told you so” moment she couldn’t embrace.
Courtney is the most popular of them all. Either that or they thought Jeff said “give them to the one who most resembles an arrow.”
Have you noticed how Jeff cleverly sprinkles little “wake-up calls” into his challenge play by play? Let’s run them through the Probstlator:
Probst: Denise is sitting pretty and not doing anything. Translation: Someone PLEASE pay attention and don’t let a non-player win this game!
Probst: Denise, trying to hit her own name and not someone else’s. Translation: Denise, please note that the object of this game is not to facilitate someone else winning a million.
Probst: Courtney, it’s all in your hands. Translation: Anytime you want to start playing the game, Courtney, you have options.
Jeff doesn’t say much to prod Toad, Blurry, and PG – maybe because they ARE playing the game hard. But he notes that “Todd cannot miss.” Translation: Todd is getting his way in everything and you guys are letting him. PLEASE do not let this wanker win!
The big revelation when they start shooting is that TODD scores repeatedly by touching himself in multiple areas. Probst remarks that you’d think he’s been doing this his whole life, and Todd confesses it’s his “secret hobby.” (We would NEVER have guessed you were so into yourself, Todd).
Todd’s skill is for naught though, because Courtney deftly manages to spread the love around. Amazing how she manages to randomly give points to all her clique, none for PG. She builds suspense, alternating between Todd and Denise, who are tied. Oh, WHO will I choose? Oh, you know I can’t really hit anything I aim at.
DENSE wins reward. She chooses Stickney for giving her the reward. Fair enough. So far a safe choice.
Probst: We could let you take only one person, but that’s not what’s going to happen here. Choose one more to go; choose two to leave behind. Translation: We will force you to reveal who is the bottom of your alliance in your eyes. You will earn the wrath of two out of these three people. Why do you think Stickney threw the challenge?
Todd and Amanda smile and whimper, but PG takes off with a campaign speech. Pont A – I’m on the jury. Point B – I gave you Kung-Fu Point C – I gave you food when you were sick and hungry. All good points, wasted on the recipient.
D.E.L.U.S.I.O.N METER: PG = SEVEN Reality Check Points: colored her plea with a distinct “I already know you won’t pick me and I’m sooo bitter” tone. Delusion bonus: tried to reason with DENSE matter
DENSE asks Courtney who to take, says out loud she doesn’t want PG to get anything that might give her strength. Says she “has to” pick Todd. So much for her chance to pretend to have a reason based on fairness, such as, Todd got the second most arrows and was really the best shot.” Nah, that would be articulate, not her strong suit.
PG: I lost my cool. (We look around for PG’s lost cool, perhaps mislaid in her bag or thrown out with the fish guts) PG remarks she is mad that Denise said out loud that she wants her to stay weak. “Hello, I’m still a person.”
D.E.L.U.S.I.O.N METER: PG = TEN Reality check points: ZERO. Delusion bonus: a) personhood status debatable. b) Hello, this is Survivor, no points for personhood.
Now something interesting happens. PG and Amanda notice they are the only ones left in camp. They decide to talk to each other. Amanda wants to know why PG doesn’t like her. Translation: I really want you to vote for me at the end, and I sense your scorn. PG: I don’t dislike you. Translation: vote for Todd instead of me and you might get my vote.
They conclude that they both made assumptions about each other. Why? Because they never had a chance before now to talk to each other.
OK, so what I’m hearing is that in a group of TEN (now FIVE) people, stuck in the middle of nowhere, with nothing to do, day after day, and most importantly, NO INTERNET connection, these two never found the time to “do lunch.” I flash back to the old school cafeteria, where the cool girls can’t be caught dead sitting with an uncool girl. That must be the model for Wha Da Fug’s camp dynamic.
The girls find FRUIT. Pears and limes. James is not around to warn them against the repercussions of eating fruit. Suddenly it is like the Garden of Eden, and their lives no longer suck. We have girls-with-fruit bondage action. Oops, I mean bonding.
THE GREAT WALL GOES EVER ON AND ON AND SO DO TODD AND COURTNEY
As the private jet takes off, it's Stewardess Todd’s moment to show them all what he does in the real world. He announces Survivor Airlines Flight 15 departure, carrying the three coolest kids of all. Survivor FIFTEEN. He should hope the plane isn’t as old and creaky as the show.
SeeBS flashes a map graphic for geographically-challenged Americans. China, it turns out, is near Singapore. Who knew?
Todd is not too worried about Amanda getting dissed. “What’s she gonna do, ally with PG and a bush?”
D.E.L.U.S.I.O.N METER: TODD = NINE Reality Check Point: Todd can count to FIVE and understands that TWO is less than THREE. Delusion Bonus: a)Todd, it is not nice to refer to DENSE as a bush when she’s sitting right there; b) Even shrubbery has feelings and a vote
Todd is amazed when he sees the Great Wall. He makes us Americans proud of our youth as he marvels that “it just keeps going.” Yeah Todd, who knew those ancient Chinese guys were like Energizer Bunnies.
What we don’t get to see (thanks to editing) is the part where Todd and Courtney clue DENSE in that this ought to be the car reward. They were all expecting to see a nice American-made SUV sitting on the Great Wall ready for them to cruise the wall in style. They are bitter. They displace their bitterness onto the host country’s dinner offering.
In another proud moment for Americans, our envoys of good will complain when they’re served real Chinese food. Raw ingredients, neatly sliced and organized, and “a big bowl thing.” Guess Todd hasn’t been doing much cooking around the camp, because he finds this set-up mysterious. As do the others. You would think the lunch lady would get the concept, but you forget that she only serves COOKED food that mysteriously appears in her steam table.
Todd: this little Chinese waiter guy comes in and says, like, put it in … and we’re like, uh, OK.” You’d think he was being asked to, uh, like, do something deviant
Courtney: “I love that I have, like, absolutely no idea what I’m eating.” well, hon, I’m sure that’s not, like, a first for you.
According to Todd, all this mystery meat ends up in a big jumbly “jambalaya” in their tummies, and this freaks them out. Because, apparently, they believe that normal food sits in their tummies sorted into neat little piles with labels on them. Suddenly, they’re, like, full. And from the grimace on Todd’s face, not in a good way. The Great Wall will definitely smell like ASS tonight. The host nation censors this footage. Censorship can be a blessing.
Now as with all Survivor rewards, what is there to talk about except backstabbing folks back at camp? If PG wins immunity, how about blindsiding Amanda, proposes Todd. Courtney makes an insightful comment. She really does. She points out that the “name” up for backstabbing is pretty arbitrary, as by default it’s the person who’s not here. Like if DENSE were back at camp and Amanda were with them, the name might change. DENSE’s mental wheels begin spinning in the mud pit of her mind.
Courtney observes it was strategic of Dense to bring Todd instead of Amanda. An angry Todd is a Bad Todd, but Amanda is a lot less likely to stir up trouble back at camp. (cut to scene of Amanda stirring up trouble at camp)
MIRACLE OF THE FISHES
Will the Biblical symbolism never cease? First they stumble on fruit trees and now the girls find a plethora of fish in their net! Enough to feed the multitudes, or at least two skinny girls. They thank the producers for filling the net with fish. And here they thought spreading the net on the waters was a metaphorical exercise in existential futility. Well, PG thought that because she’s an English major. Amanda thought that James snuck back into camp after his blindside and took all the fish just to get even. Amanda: Oh my god <click> PG: Oh my god <click>
Amanda and PG pour the rest of the sake on the fish. They cook most of the rice left in camp, because the others are off stuffing their faces, so why not? They relish their camp meal about ten times as much as the whiners on the Great Wall. Possibly because they earned it. Other than the “producers filled the net with fish” part.
Amanda explains that Dense is just a puppet. Amazing. And here we thought she was a tool. Amanda and PG are in bathrobes and bonding like mad. It’s the first time PG ever saw Amanda without being distracted by her butt blur. Hello, PG, Amanda is a person.
PG asks: Would you be open to doing Todd or Denise next? If we could swing it? Amanda replies she has always been open to swinging. PG is amazed to learn about Amanda’s secret side.
BACK AT THE GREAT WALL
Todd and Courtney wonder if they can beat Amanda or anybody really in front of the jury? Dense listens. Toad & Stickney say they have the Meanies Alliance. They are the devil incarnate in the jury’s eyes and the catty ones should stick together. Meanwhile, Dense is still spinning those wheels in the mud pit. Dense: Somebody is going to get left out of our group. I don’t want it to be me.”
D.E.L.U.S.I.O.N METER: DENSE = EIGHT a) Reality Check Points: Denise can count. One of the FOUR will not make the Final THREE. b) Delusion Bonus: as if the Survivorverse cares what she wants.
You know those IQ tests where they show a group of items and have you circle the one that doesn’t belong? Dense is having a standardized test flashback. On the page of her imagination, she sees a group containing 2 catty punks, a pageant queen, and a lunch lady. She really wants to circle the pageant queen, but she knows in her heart the answer is lunch lady. She tries to sharpen her #2 pencil. The point breaks. She stares at the picture some more. Dense draws mullets on Courtney and Todd. She scribbles over Amanda’s butt. Then she draws PG on the outside of the group. She draws a circle around PG. She feels better now.
Denise comes back to reality. Todd and Courtney are still complaining.
RETURN TO THE BITTER NATIVES
Arriving back to camp, the paranoid returnees are shocked not to get a welcoming committee. Those pissed-off little bitches, they say! They’ve left us! Where’s our dinner? Maybe they’re fetching us water. Oh good, here they come.
Todd and Courtney are both Survivor fans. They now set some kind of record for most clueless return from a reward ever. The Great Wall was OK, but the food was bad. Mystery food. Amanda and PG are stunned. America is stunned and rightfully concerned that Santa will bring us all BAD "Made in China" toys for Christmas, just because MB had the judgment lapse of sending these complete wankers to the Great Wall. I mean, what's the point of being able to fix challenges if you don't fix 'em when international relations are at stake?
Denise confides to Amanda that there WERE boiled meat sandwiches earmarked for Amanda and PG, but Todd ate them all on the plane. I’m not sure what “The Art of War” would say about that, but let us consult the Survivor I Ching:
Hexagram 27: The Corners of the Mouth Pay heed to the providing of nourishment and to what a man seeks to fill his own mouth with. Commentary: In bestowing care and nourishment, it is important that the right people be taken care of.
Translation: It does not further one to bogart sandwiches marked for starving bitter jurors-to-be.
DENSE tries subtly to work Amanda: “I have nuts and stuff.” This revelation perturbs me, but Amanda seems intrigued. She and Amanda compare each others’ backs. Amanda tells Dense “I have some ideas for later.” I’m starting to get really worried where this is going.
IMMUNITY CHALLENGE – RECYCLED CHALLENGE EQUIPMENT
They will get a second chance on old challenges. Oddly, Jeff doesn’t say a word about Chinese cultural trivia. There will be a puzzle. Possibly PG is good at puzzles. Asian stereotype alert. This is a boring challenge except for the banter at the Gross Food regurgitation, so if you want to know any more, download the episode. I’m not paid to write this stuff.
Sure enough, Denise chokes on the Balut again. Jeff admonishes her: Do not think about what you’re eating. Think about something else and shove it down. He says it like a man who’s given that advice to many. He may have lifted it from the Hollywood Casting Couch Manual. This phase of the challenge separates the media whores out from those destined to toil at steam tables. Todd is out already, but you just know he would have shoved it down. PG, Courtney, and Amanda demonstrate that they get what Jeff is saying. To be in show biz sometimes you have to swallow, even if it gags you.
Denise says Jeff, I put it in my mouth and I puked it up. (Thanks for that image. Now I'll never want to eat petrified chicken embryo ever again) Jeff taunts her and says she’s quitting with a million dollar balut in front of her. Yeah, well, Sue Hawk did the same thing, Jeff. OK it was in back of her. Whatever. Point being, she got an Extreme Makeover from SeeBS. So shut up and get over Sue quitting already.
After two more stages, Amanda wins immunity. I’m not sure if it was close. I dozed off during the puzzle portion, as usual.
Now comes the part where the editing TRIES to convince us that even though the UNDERDOG didn’t win immunity, she will be saved. Someone will make a STRATEGIC move and shake up the game. And pigs can fly. Jerri Manthey will acquire tact. Big Tom will speak comprehensible English. Robfaddah will keep his word. All equally probable events.
First we get the “Todd is out of control” set-up. Todd accuses Amanda and PG of eating too much rice while he, Todd, was off eating bad Chinese food. They deny eating any rice -- which is a total fib, but whatever. They are stunned by his lack of trust. Todd has a trust deficit. Amanda realizes he might turn on her, unless she turns on him first.
PG, Amanda, and Dense are discussing their options. PG suggests a 3-girl scenario. She says the other girls will do what they wanna do, but she would love to see that.
Well, if it involves Denise, I would NOT love to see it. See what comes of all that fruit and fish bondage. James was right. Don’t eat the apple. The green acid is bad. * waves at dangerkitty *
Todd and Courtney check with each other to see if PG is lobbying against Todd. Stickney assures her Toad ally that PG hasn’t said a word. PG is probably just lying around waiting for the axe to fall. That is sooo like her. Unless, she points out, she isn’t bothering to talk to Todd and Courtney because she has two OTHER votes.
Todd: I feel kind of comfortable.
D.E.L.U.S.I.O.N METER: TODD = OFF THE SCALE
Todd says if the girls can figure out how to get rid of him, big “ups” for them. Now this is what confuses me about this scenario. Here is Todd, running the game. And all they have to do is figure out that if more than 50% of them write his name down, they can change that. It’s very simple, girls. You write T-O-D-D on your little vote card. It’s not brain surgery.
In yet another moment that makes me cringe to share a nationality with this girl, Courtney tells the jury that they went to the Great Wall, which was OK and all that, but the food wasn’t all that. Stickney: It would have been nice to have PIZZA.
Jeff asks if “deserves to be here” trumps “ I can beat that arsehole.” Courtney explains that anyone who sits OUTSIDE for 36 days with insane people, instead of sitting INSIDE in an NYC café drinking espresso with insane people … deserves to be there. <PG eye roll>
D.E.L.U.S.I.O.N METER: COURTNEY = 10 Reality check: Zero. Delusion Bonus: She might actually think she made a bona fide argument to the tribe, the jury, or America. Or not. It’s hard to tell with Courtney.
PG argues that a person who made it that far “honorably” deserves to go on more than a “backstabber.” <Todd eye roll> Amanda says she got to know PG MUCH BETTER in camp and she even respected her in the morning. <Todd rapid eye twitch>
They vote. Everyone votes against PG. SHOCKING. The jury stares off into space, bored. (I haven’t seen such glazed over eyes since Becky and Sundra faced off in that 4 hour fire-making challenge that exhausted the entire match supply in the Cook Islands) Even when Jeff mentions that the Finalists will have to face the jury, only Frosti reacts. When a jury can’t even conjure up some looks of wrath to make the cocky little finalists quake, you KNOW this Finale will suck.
Todd feels compelled to make up for this deficiency in facial expressions by letting loose with a bizarre series of contortions and smirks, ending with a side to side pecking action that suggests Todd is channeling deeply disturbed poultry. Where is Bird Flu when it would really accomplish something useful?
Jeff says it should be a “fun finish.” Not a suspenseful, tense, dramatic, provocative, struggle to the death. Nah. A fun finish. Well what can even Jeff say of an ending where all the real characters are gone, and he’s left with 3 cool kids and the lunch lady. Showdown at the OK Cafeteria is coming to town, and for two hours. Go to the store now. Buy caffeine and strong liquor. Renew your Vicodin script. You have been warned.
I will leave you with a second piece of wisdom from the I Ching, which I dedicate to TODD.
Hexagram 62: Preponderance of the SMALL (and by small, I refer to mental stature, get your mind out of the gutter people)
“If one is not extremely careful, Somebody may come up from behind and strike him.”