• Bruce finds he’s over packed; • Shane and Courtney find they are under pact; • Cirie, Aras and Danielle find they are mud packed; • Terry checks that his idol is packed.
It was a dark and cloudy night, followed two seconds later by a glorious 2-second sunrise. Time has no meaning in this paradise christened Gitano; days and nights blur together so that inhabitants often pass 39 days in a few short hours (including time off for the mysterious rite of passage known as March Madness.) No one questions this odd passage of time, nor do they question the fact that their tribemates get “snuffed” out of existence by a strange dimpled man in Banana Republic shirts that change color, but not style. Things and people appear and disappear with such nonchalance it leaves onlookers dumbfounded. And yet still, we watch, we wait, and we pray that somehow the members of Gitano will get a clue on how to outlast, outwit, and outplay their mysterious circumstance. But alas, we are always left feeling a bit empty. The 16 inhabitants of this mysterious camp find themselves living a time-warped, Hobbes-meets-Darwin existence; survival of the fittest that is nasty, brutish and short.
Not to mention disappointing.
After the sun comes up, we find the members of Gitano trying desperately to contain a bad case of crabs. Their solution is to feed the crabs to the fishes, by tying them to a seaweed rope, as Terry looks on alone from the water, checking with a fishing line the buoyancy of his wood. He glances back to the other members of the camp with a paranoid glint, and proclaims to the morning air that he is “glad Bruce is gone, because I need rest so that I can win all the challenges and watch the Dimpled One snuff the others into the mysterious nether regions beyond tribal council.”
Meanwhile, on the beach, Shane drags and drops his pole, quickly checks to make sure no one is watching, pulls out his wood, and heads to his thinking rock for some private time. He pushes it in various places, quickening his pace until he loudly proclaims, “Send!” then looks at us with satisfied relief. When he catches his breath, he holds it before us, and proudly says “I’ve been playing with it since I found it.”
Courtney deems this “cute.” Danielle deems this “nuts.” Shane deems this “necessary, because I can communicate with people who aren’t here.”
I deem this dangerous, because I’ve found that people who commune with the text-type in their heads usually end up with media-given nicknames -- In this case “Son of Blackberry.”
Interestingly, Shane's BlackWoodberry disappears as quickly as it appeared, and is never heard from again. Such is the life in the mysterious Gitano Camp.
With seemingly no communication or directions, nor transportation (remember, they’ve let their one boat fill up with sand on the beach), we see the tribe making its way to Challenge Beach, where the Dimpled One is waiting in his baby blue shirt. This seems to please the tribe, as blue means that food is somehow involved at the end of playing his insidious games. The tribe is divided into two teams of three. They will be clipped to rings around a rope that runs the length of a beach and water obstacle course. The Dimpled One seems to have a sea life fixation as he explains that each team, while linked in line together to a thick rope, will slither like sea snakes over and under the first obstacles, then unhitch themselves from the rope, hop across a series of “lily pads,” dive down to Davey Jones’ Lockers, and retrieve a bag of booty from the chests, leap across the lily pads, link to the ropes, slither back to the beach, and drop the booty at the Dimpled One’s feet. We half expect to see Pirate Rupert show up with advice. Winners get a plane ride to a deserted island where they will partake in a steak, sausage, soda, and chocolate cake BBQ. What? No salad, fruit or veggies? Kimmie would be flabbergasted.
Terry, Danielle and Courtney are deemed the lucid and composed team. Aras, Cirie and Shane are deemed the deluded and frantic team.
The Dimpled One says, “Go!” and the fun begins.
Terry quickly leaps over the hurdle in a single bound, he being the superhero type, followed closely by Danielle and Courtney. Cirie, who has been tethered at the front of the line, gets “helped” by Aras who quickly heaves her over the hurdle, while Shane chuckles maniacally and tells his Woodberry to make sure it emails her thud to the voices. Once cleared of the hurdle, both teams make for the water, and begin slithering. Unfortunately, Cirie’s slither is not as quick as it used to be, and she gets stuck. Team Lucid, however, retrieves all their bags, get re-hitched, and are halfway back through the slither section when the Dimpled One shouts “Get your A$$ES out of the water” to Team Deluded. Shane and Aras finally get untangled from Cirie, get her butt on the platform, and manage to get two booty bags. Alas. It is too little, too late. Team Lucid crosses the finish line, and wins the challenge. We never find out what was in the bags; they disappear mysteriously.
Team Lucid has to figure out whom to send to Exile Island. Aras and Cirie point to Shane with wild-eyed looks, but Lucid declares Aras is to go to the totally underwhelming island of exile. Aras leaves for the boat, while Cirie and Shane walk off into the bushes.
The Dimpled One declares that the challenge is not finished. He gives the members of Team Lucid a bowl of marbles, a slingshot, and gestures toward colored tiles held together by twine strings. He explains that the first person to break all three of their tiles loose wins. Of course, they have no idea what the prize is ... and watch as he slowly reaches into his pocket to reveal ...
A set of keys! (What, you were expecting him to find Shane’s lost marbles?!)
Yes dear readers, it is time for that mysterious phenomenon know as the “Car Curse.” The curse that for 11 seasons goes like this: he or she who wins the car looses the purse. None of Team Lucid seems to realize this. The curse is never mentioned by the Dimpled One who ALWAYS before had relayed that bit of information to the people competing for the car. One hopes that the curse will be lifted this game, but that wouldn’t fit in with the voodoo theme. At $4.00 a gallon for gas these days, the winner is going to need to win the million to afford to gas up the 2006 GMC Yukon SUV that is the cursed car of the season. And by the way, shouldn’t we have a two million dollar purse now, due to inflation and stuff like that?
Now, instead of actually giving you a blow by blow of this tile breaking yawn of a challange, I’d rather relate to you a few words of wisdom on the art of target hitting, passed down since the time of David and Goliath, or at least from Dennis the Menace.
1. Never target with one eye shut, girls. You need both eyes for depth perception. 2. Fighter pilots know they need both eyes; you should pay attention to rule one. 3. Courtney, you need to shut up long enough to target, let alone shoot. One of the the others might just do a 90 degree rotation right before they fire off their projectile. 4. Courtney, you need to actually hold the slingshot near your eyes, not over your head, for maximum targeting. 5. Danielle, you need to stop being distracted by the mulit-colored marbles, and actually target the tiles. 6. Girls, you need to pull back harder on the sling, to get power for the shot. (Ra is rolling, saying, “ha ha, harder, pull, svwinng! Ah, that hits the spot.”)
As you should have predicted, Terry won this SUV with ease, and proclaimed “Lets go BBQ!” He and the girls are “airplaned off” to the “deserted” island. Now, you would think a fighter pilot would know that the correct term would be “flown off” but obviously his vocabulary and proper use of verbiage disappeared the second he set foot on mysterious Gitano Island. This seems to be a chronic syndrome of all of The Hatted One's volunteers.