Man, lot of cynics on this forum.
I don't think they pushed it too far this season, necessarily. Keep in mind, their basis for comparison was MKG, who took everything they threw his way in stride and swallowed it all. With that in mind, who can fault the network for wanting to push it farther in the sequel?
I know it's looking more and more like Ingrid was a bad choice, but again, after auditioning what had to be bland after bland auditioners, you can't tell me you wouldn't consider Ingrid if you were in the same shoes. She's got a personality that works for TV--she's witty and funny as hell. Throw the fact that she's a good-looking girl into the mix and you've got a winner. Honestly, reality TV fans: how many smart, funny, and attractive female contestants have there been on TV to date? The numbers aren't kind.
And you can't really blame Tim for buying into it all. It's just the nature of his personality--it's not necessarily that he's "dumb" or "gullible". It's just that, unlike Ingrid, he took this to be an opportunity to have a good time, to party. Hell, had I not watched each episode of this series a sh*tload of times already, I'd have been acted the exact same way were I chosen to appear on a reality TV show. Ingrid's more skeptical, but I'm sure they simply dismissed that sort of flaw and called it a challenge, with her other attributes too golden to pass up. In retrospect you can call them dumb for doing it, but really, who knows how this sort of thing is going to play out until it does? That's the appeal of the whole show.
Anyway, as far as this episode goes, I can't believe Ralph tripped up. Maybe it's the editing, but the man has always served as the rock of the show, as far I can tell. It's really something when even he slips up or cracks into laughter. I am glad they showed it, though--it would have been self-serving to do otherwise, and that goes against the whole spirit of the show. Hell, who knows? Maybe Probst has bitched a game or two. We all know he's made a couple of judgement errors during them.
I loved the entire Tim birthday scene, and wished more time was devoted to it. But again, when they've got to condense so much footage into a mere, what 40+ minutes or something, you can understand that kind of thing. Especially when they've got to set things up for the next episode, like in tonight's case.
Lot of gags I liked this episode, and I'm going to go watch it again to catch those I missed (my desire for smoke-breaks is in a constant struggle against the variable length of commercial breaks).
But as far as Ingrid goes: it'd be a shame if they had to take her out of the show, but in all honesty, I actually think it might do the show some good at this point. Again this episode it seemed as though we saw less of (or at least, less meaningful moments out of) Tim, and granted, that just might be due to what the show was given, but I think that the sooner this Ingrid's-going-to-find-out angle is over, the better. It's entertaining, for sure, but I'd like to see things start to flow more smoothly again, with more focus on characters and their respective interactions. Ingrid's kind of becoming a speedbump in the "flow" of the schow. Er, show.