The Survivor Thailand cast has much to be thankful for this holiday season, including the fact that CBS decided to prolong their 15 minutes of fame by delaying the completion of the program, and instead, inserted a week of “never before seen footage” involving this fine collection of humanity. Given the dearth of excitement in editing the first time around for many of these folks, one wonders what gems of video stayed on the cutting room floor (or in the case of Erin, stayed on the production room wall).
Going frame by frame with my TiVo through the previews allowed me to find the answer in very fine print at the bottom of two individual images…
”CBS defines never before seen footage as a generic term that may include footage seen many, many times before, and this is especially true of bikini shots…because as we all know, much like in the movie Alien, when you are starving and isolated in a survival environment, the first step is to strip down to as few clothes as possible.”
Ah TiVo, it really does explain many of life’s mysteries.
Nevertheless, it is not my job to critique the show… instead, it is my burden, primarily due to John having those damn incriminating photos of me in Vegas, to determine what the futures hold for our Survivors. Given this is a recap show, we have the opportunity to catch up with several folks not yet profiled.
I knew I would need powerful mojo to effectively pull this off, and so I trekked to the kitchen, and there in the fridge, was my answer. Two-year-old fruit cake from Aunt Betty. The stuff was foul to begin with, and should only be worse now. Taking a big bite, I began to get dizzy… I sat down at the dining room table as everything went black…
An announcer’s voice begins: “Welcome ladies and gentlemen, it’s time to play America’s favorite game show…”
“And here are the hosts of Wheel of Fate…Pat Sajak and Vanna White!”
The crowd was roaring in both appreciation and approval for these two beloved American icons of broadcasting. I was impressed that Vanna was able to use her walker to effectively creep out on stage while wearing a full length Sue Wong gown. How old was Vanna now anyway? 70? 80? She still looked great though.
“It’s time to play Wheel of Fate” Sajak began, “and this week is our special Survivor, Thailand celebrity show… and note, we use the term *celebrity* loosely with this bunch.”
“Who is our first contestant?”
The announcer chimes in, “Pat, our first contestant is John Ramsey, a Pastor from Slidell, Louisiana!” The crowd cheers…
John runs up on stage holding a bible in one hand and his outreached right arm is poised right in front of Pat’s face. He pauses briefly and then exclaims “Oh Lord, please heal this sick, sick man!”
“Uhm, John, there is nothing wro-“ Pat is cutoff in mid sentence…
John slaps him on the forehead with such force as to knock him to the floor. While Pat staggers back to his feet, John yells, “You are now HEALED!”
“John, there is nothing wrong with me.”
A smile creeps on to John’s face “Behold to all the power of God, this man was sick, and now he is whole!”
“John, there wasn’t anything wrong with me before…oh never mind. John, do you know how the game works? You will spin the wheel, and it will tell us your fate.”
But John isn’t paying attention; he is in the audience, passing around what appears to be a collection plate… “Dig deep my friends, or the Lord will call me home…” he is encouraging the crowd.
Pat has had enough, “fine John, I’ll spin the wheel for you.” With that, Pat gives a great big tug and the mighty Wheel of Fate begins to spin. Each spot on the wheel is only one word. But that word, properly translated via Vanna will foretell of the future.
The wheel finally begins to slow… and it stops on… Mosca
Pat turns to Vanna in confusion. “Mosca?”, he asks.
“Yes Pat, Mosca,” Vanna steps in, “Mosca is the latin derivative word for Mosquito. John, this means that you will perish during one of your many trips, to Central America, in a mass mosquito swarm just outside of the Copan Ruins in Honduras. I would advise against any trips to Honduras… John? Where is John?”
But John has left with his collection plate. Rushing out to his car, he would later be disappointed to find that the information that could have saved his life was squandered in favor of 74 cents, and three lint infested gummy bears.
“Who is our next contestant?” Pat wanted to continue.
“Well Pat, please give a warm welcome to a Social Worker from Kingsport, Tennessee; yes it is Tanya Vance!” The crowd cheers…
“Welcome to our game Tanya!” Pat greets her warmly and attempts the trademark Richard Dawson kiss.
“Thanks Pat,” Tanya replies as she pushes him away.
“Well you know how to play the game right? Go ahead and spin the Wheel of Fate!” Pat doesn’t even look at the wheel, his eyes are transfixed on Tanya.
Tanya steps up to spin the wheel, but she seems a little queasy. As she spins, she turns to the side and promptly upchucks the contents of her lunch all over Pat’s shoes.
“Still not feeling well Tanya?” Pat asked.
“I’m sorry Pat, those looked like good shoes. I just haven’t felt right since my visit to Thailand”.
“Well it is probably just a tape worm, nothing to worry about, and it will help you keep your weight down… here, have a mint” Pat responds in his most caring tone of voice. “Let’s see what the wheel has to say!”
The wheel begins to slow… and it stops on Greed
The crowd moans…
“Yes Greed, Vanna, tell us what this word means to Tanya!”
Vanna begins, “Well Pat, Greed as it applies to Tanya can only mean that eventually she will become bored with all of the social work she performs, and will lash out in a very effective way. Her first business, TanyaLiving.com will ride the second dot com boom and make her a multi-millionaire. But that will not be enough for Tanya, flush with capital; she will manipulate markets and violate SEC rules to further her power. In fact, she will eventually be known as the woman who made Martha Stewart seem ineffective, and it will all culminate with her hostile takeover of Microsoft.”
“Wow!” Pat steps in, “Tanya, seems like you are going to make quite a transformation!”
Rather than seeming upset at this news, Tanya is smiling “Oh Pat, I am so happy. I have always wanted to break out of my good-girl prison, and now I have the strength to do so. I am going crush the competition under my stiletto heels. Thank you all!”
With that, she gives Pat a full on tongue lashing of a kiss and skips off stage, smiling all the way.
“Our next contestant,” The announcer continues, “hails from Dallas, Texas and is currently in his senior year of Dental School, ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Jed Hildebrand!”
The crowd cheers again, but the ladies are all standing on their feet as they applaud. Pat is clearly upset at this turn of events…and it is obvious he doesn’t like Jed.
“Alright Jed, get over here and we’ll spin the wheel.” He says.
“How are you Pat?” Jed responds with a smile to the sound of swoons from the crowd. “Don’t you want to ask what I have been up to?”
“I really don’t give a crap Jed, spin the damn wheel.” Pat barks, as he stares longingly at Stephanie, still patiently awaiting her turn.
Taken aback, Jed steps up to the wheel and gives it the biggest spin yet. The show goes on commercial break while the wheel continues to spin, and after several minutes it comes to rest on Celebrity
“Pat,” Vanna cuts in, “I can take it from here…” As she talks, Jed walks over to Vanna and sits on her lap, while she runs her fingers through his hair.
“Jed, the future holds nothing but happiness for you. First, you will join the Keanu Reeves School for Struggling Young Actors, where I will take personal interest in your rising career. Later, you will star in multiple surfing movies including The Endless Like Really Hot Season…I Forget the Name, Surfing Dentists, Smokey and the Bandit VI and of course the classic, Hamlet.”
Jed is smiling as he hears his future, but he is not surprised. For Jed, everything in life has been rosy, ever since he made a deal with that nice man, what was his name again? Oh yes, Lou Sifer. He promised everything would be fine, and so far it had been.
“But Jed will not be limited to just fame and fortune,” Vanna continued, “Jed will want to give back to the community, and that’s why my baby…I mean Jed… will do public service announcements, including the award winning Teeth, They Aren’t Just for Picking Up Chicks!”.
Jed and Vanna then proceed off stage, hand in hand. “I’ll be right back Pat!” said Vanna.
“Alrighty then, let’s move on. Who’s next?”
The announcer’s baritone voice fills the studio, “Next up is a Legal Secretary from Denver, Colorado, please welcome, Ghandia Johnson!”
The crowd cheers as Ghandia runs up on stage, jumps on Pat, and wraps her legs around him and the host is forced to hold up the contestant in order to avoid falling yet again. Ghandia is trying to kiss Pat, but he is turning his head to avoid it.
Ghandia is visibly disappointed in this rejection, and responds, “What! You tryin’ to get all up on me Pat? Ghandia doesn’t like that”
“Ghandia, I didn’t do anything, you jumped on me.” Pat stammered.
“Oh sure,” Ghandia is shaking her head back and forth while wagging her finger in Pat’s face. “Ghandia knows you want to see these babies, but that ain’t gonna happen little man. Ghandia is a married woman again!”
“Again?” Pat was bewildered by her consistent references to herself in the third person... Reminded him of Bob Dole.
“Yeah Pat, sure my old husband left me, but he just didn’t understand about the Ted thing.” Ghandia continued “But it all worked out for the best, ‘cause now Ghandia has the love of my life, and he is a real man who will fight for his Ghandia… You hear me O.J.? Ghandia loves ya baby!”
Pat began to look a little nervous, “Did you say O.J., as in O.J. Simpson? Look, I didn’t touch you, and I don’t want any trouble with your husband.”
“Ghandia’s just jokin’ with ya Pat. Ghandia’s husband is out slashin’ through the brush lookin’ for those real killers. O.J. likes you.”
“Well that is good news, we certainly don’t want that case to go cold, now do we?” Pat responded, “Ghandia, why don’t you spin the wheel?”
Once again, the Wheel of Fate began to spin. As the wheel continued around, an obviously disheveled Vanna returned to her post. The wheel slowed… and stopped on… Aesop
“Aesop… Vanna, tell us the meaning!”
Vanna began, “Well Pat, this one is pretty simple. In Aesop’s fable, the Boy Who Cried Wolf, a young boy learns the lesson that those who make false claims are eventually not believed no matter what the truth is. Ghandia’s future will involve many examples of this principle being proven.”
“Ghandia don’t get it… You guys are ripping Ghandia off!” Ghandia responds. Then she proceeds to knock over set props and repeatedly slam her fists into the walls, all the while primal screaming at the top of her lungs.
As she walks off the set, she slides over to the nearest camera man and says, “That was my plan. Get up there, and shake things up a little. I just got caught that’s all.” Then she walked away, as the bewildered cameraman wonders why she needed a plan for this show.
Pat, who had been cowering behind a chair, finally gets back on his feet.
The announcer jumps in again, “Our next contestant hails from Fayetteville, Arkansas, where she is a Firefighter, please welcome Stephanie Dill!” Once again, the crowd cheers.
Pat is smiling as he watches Stephanie stand up and proceed to remove her overcoat. Underneath she is wearing nothing but her birthday suit and the same sand crusted fuzzy slippers she took to Thailand.
Stephanie runs up on stage.
Pat stares at her as the whole scene seems to pass in slow motion… Stephanie is coming toward him, she has a phenomenal figure… closer… closer… Pat is eager to greet this beauty…
Pat has a lifetime of visions in that moment, he loves this woman, and he can see her having many children, living together in an old Victorian home with the white picket fence… Joining him for long walks…
Obviously she loves him too, why else would she make such a bold statement…
Pat prepared for her embrace… his heart ached in anticipation…
He reaches out…
Stephanie runs past Pat and straight over to Vanna who she hugs and kisses. Pat is crushed.
“Well, nothing left to do but spin the wheel Stephanie.” He says with great sadness.
Stephanie reluctantly gets up, and returns to the wheel. She spins, but the entire time her eyes remain fixed on Vanna. The wheel goes round and round. Slowing… in stops on Footwear
“Footwear? Vanna, help us out here with an interpretation.” Says Pat.
“Well Pat,” Vanna responds, “I’m not getting much here, but I am hearing one phrase loud and clear. That phrase is: *comfortable shoes* and *not that there is anything wrong with that*…”
“That’s it?” Pat asked incredulously.
Vanna nods, and Pat shrugs as he continues, “Well Stephanie, I am sorry. I had hoped that we would share remarkable insights with you, but I feel I have let you down.”
“Don’t worry Pat,” Stephanie is smiling, “I don’t need a man to validate my life. It was nice to meet you all, I am going on a hike.” And with that, Stephanie walks off stage, head held high.
Pat watches her go, wondering about what could have been, but knowing that it can never be.
“Well Pat,” the now familiar announcers voice cuts in, “please join me in welcoming Rob Zbacnik, a Bartender from Scottsdale, Arizona!”
The audience cheers on queue as Robb enters the stage… riding his skateboard.
“Hi Bro… it’s frickin’ great to be here in New York!” Robb response and flashes his trademark Most Eligible Bachelor in Scottsdale smile.
“It’s good to have you Rob,” Pat responds, “but, we are in Los Angeles.”
Rob isn’t paying attention to Pat as he continues on, “oh and Dude, it’s two B’s”.
“Two B’s? There are no B’s in Los Angeles.”
“No dude…” Robb response exasperated, as if all of his collective intelligence is focused on this moment, “my name has two B’s in it. I could tell you guys weren’t saying it right.” Robb’s eyes begin to well up.
“Oh, my apologizes Robb, I assure you the mistake is unintentional.”
But it is too late for Robb who has collapsed into a quivering, crying, mass of skateboard and flesh.
“It’s okay,” he sobs, “I am just real emotional right now. I have never had anyone who cares like you do Pat. I have been missing that big brother ever since my Bro, Ken, had to go and get married. His wife won’t let me near the house!”
Pat was taken aback by Robb and his actions. Further, he was troubled that Robb had the impression he cared. Pat had his own problems, as the love of his life had hiked out the door only minutes before.
“Do you feel emotionally strong enough to spin the wheel Rob… I mean Robb?”
“I’ll give it a shot Bro…” Robb replied bravely.
What followed was either humorous, or sadly pathetic, depending upon your view. Robb continuously attempted to spin the wheel while standing on his skateboard. This act proved yet again several laws of physics that would indicate that the little wheels (on the skateboard) are much more likely to turn when forced against the much bigger wheel.
Robb continued to slide back and forth on his skateboard, unable to get leverage to spin.
“Bro… do you have this thing nailed down?” Robb continued to work the puzzle.
“Well, while we wait for Robb to finish up, why don’t we bring up our final contestant?” Pat said.
“Okay Pat,” the announcer continued, “Next up is an Executive Recruiter from New York City. Please welcome Shii Ann Huang!” The crowd cheers.
Shii Ann strolls on stage, and greets Pat.
“Welcome to the show Shii Ann,” Pat begins, “we thank you for being here.”
“It is good to be here Pat, it reminds me of a old proverb A good fortune may forebode a bad luck, which may in turn disguise a good fortune..
“Ahh yes, very profound.” Pat says, while feeling a bit confused. “In any case, are you ready to spin the wheel and learn of your future?”
“Yes Pat, for there is a proverb that says The longer the night lasts, the more our dreams will be. ”
“uhm, yes, that’s great Shii Ann.” Replied a now thoroughly confused Pat.
They both turn toward the wheel and find Robb still working on the problem of getting the wheel to turn while he remains on his skateboard.
“I am sorry Robb, but your time is up. It’s Shii Ann’s turn now…”
“Bro! Just one more minute, I almost have it figured out!” Robb protested.
“Robb,” Shii Ann jumped in, “there is an old proverb that applies here, it says How can you expect to find ivory in a dog's mouth? “
Robb paused from his labors and stared at Shii Ann, while his fury began to build. “Shii Babe, you know I don’t know anything about grammar! You are always pestering me with your proverbs and adverbs… I just want to get this damn wheel to spin!”
With that, Robb snapped. He flipped off Pat, and then stormed off the stage screaming, “Damn rules!”
Both Shii Ann and Pat were stunned by this reaction, meanwhile Vanna has snuck away to spend more time with her prized prodigy Jed.
“You know Pat, there is a proverb that says It is easy to dodge a spear that comes in front of you but hard to keep harms away from an arrow shot from behind. “Shii Ann was incessant.
Pat had heard enough, “What the hell does that mean Shii Ann?”
“Oh Pat,” Shii Ann laughed, “I am sorry that your feeble mind cannot comprehend the wisdom of the proverbs, I can only answer your childish question with these words: Flowing water never goes bad; our door hubs never gather termites.”
Pat was just getting started now though. “Shii Ann, everything you say is complete and utter bull***t! You aren’t fooling any of us, you just memorized a bunch of crap!”
“Pat, Pat, Pat,” Shii Ann responded calmly “you silly simple man, Distant water won't quench your immediate thirst.”
Pat threw down his cards and ripped off his microphone. “Robb!” he called, “Wait up Bro, I wanna hang out with you!” With that, Pat ran off stage.
Shii Ann went on to become the new host of Wheel of Fate, and she consistently astounded audiences with her remarkably insightful wisdom… even though no one seemed to understand it.
I awoke to find myself in the Emergency Room. Apparently the neighbor had called 9-1-1 for me after hearing groans of agony coming from my kitchen. I’ll never really know for sure if that agony was induced by the fruit cake or Shii Ann and Robb, but the pain itself was quite real.
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