You know how paperbacks often include a “book club discussion guide?” I thought it might be fun to do one for this week’s installment of Survivor Nicaragua.
Question 1: What tribe member may suffer from apotnemnophobia? If so, discuss some examples where this may have manifested itself in the game.
Question 2: Who said: “You’re a petty little bitch”? To whom was the remark directed? What does it tell the viewer about the person who said it?
Question 3: What tribe member admitted they just didn’t want to “walk around in the mud”? Do you think this was a typical example of this person’s attitude in the game?
Question 4: Which tribe member was accused of not being a “team player?” Do you think the accusation was justified? Might it lead to retaliation against the accuser?
Question 5: Which tribe member most reminds you of Gollum in The Lord of the Rings? (Hint: “It’s mine mine mine!”) Does this person have any redeeming qualities?
HE CAN’T SING AND HE CAN’T FISH
Thanks largely to Marty’s machinations last week, Espada team member Jimmy Johnson was sent back to his duties hosting Fox’s NFL Sunday. Back at camp after tribal council, the left-behinds are huddled around the fire, cold, wet and miserable. JimmyT, for some utterly unfathomable reason, decides that his singing loudly and out of tune will provide cheer and comfort. Instead, it infuriates Marty: “That’s who this guy is, he’s a loudmouth. He has to hear his voice 24/7. That guy’s just obnoxious. All you gotta do is give him a little rope and he’ll hang himself from the nearest tree branch.”
Things aren’t much better the next morning, when the gang heads to the beach and discovers the overnight rains have left it covered in mud and debris. Dan steps on something that leaves a huge gash in his sneaker. Jane finds that funny, “Too bad we can’t eat your shoe. Then we’d have [i]filet of sole[i].” You know you’ve got a dull bunch of contestants when a lame pun is their most entertaining comment.
Marty and JimmyT have a heated argument about the best way to cast the fishing net. JimmyT knowingly explains to Jane that the trick is to sit and wait and watch ‘til an unsuspecting fish shows up, and then to snatch him up with one’s hands. Bare-handed fish nabbing not shown.
“NOT EVEN A ONE-LEGGED PERSON CAN STAND IN MY WAY”
Checking in on the Junior High crowd, also known as the LaFlor tribe, we find Brenda and NaOnka examining the clue to the hidden immunity idol. NaOnka might as well have been looking at Egyptian hieroglyphics. But never mind, Brenda explains their meaning and directs NaOnka to exactly the right spot to dig. Oooh, bright move Brenda, just give away the idol. And to NaOnka? Nooooooo. NaOnka quickly locates the idol, snatches it up and after uttering a few dozen “Ohmigod, ohmigod, ohmigod” ejaculations, stuffs it down into her socks. Yes, the ones she stole from Jud. So technically, if she’s putting the idol into Jud’s socks: doesn’t that mean he rightfully owns the idol? Okay, not serious about that, just wishful thinking on my part–I can’t believe Brenda just blithely handed immunity to the witch.
NaOnka, whatever Brenda might wish to believe, has no intention of sharing the idol: “It’s Mine; It’s Mine; It’s Mine! It’s not anybody else’s. It’s a million dollars on the line. It’s a million dollars on the line. Not even a one-legged person can stand in my way. One shove and she’s outta here.”
Alina and KellyB, who got the very first clue to the idol and yet didn’t bother going to look for it, decide that since NaOnka and Brenda have been out searching, perhaps they should do the same. NaOnka follows them. “I’m trying to scare them, ‘cause they’re weak.”
NaOnka launches into a verbal attack on poor KellyB: “I don’t like you; I never liked you. You’re on the outs.” To the camera, she’s even more vituperous: “I don’t need no charity case on the jury. You might as well quit the game. And screw your leg; you better keep it away from the fire.”
“SHUT UP, YOU PREPPY LITTLE BITCH”
Night 10 at Espada. JimmyT is having one of his private rants about the wonders of his leadership abilities and his low opinion of Marty, “Mahhhhhty is definitely not a JimmyT fan. Coupla times I’d like to tell Mahhhhhhty, ‘Shut up, you preppy little bitch; you wouldn’t last an hour in my world.’” I’m surprised; I never really thought of seafood inspection as being a particularly dangerous occupation. (Though JimmyT is described in his show biography as a fisherman, according to his hometown newspaper, he’s now employed as a seafood inspector.)
The next day, tree mail arrives accompanied by blindfolds for everyone. Marty takes charge and decrees that they should practice with the blindfolds and he appoints Tyrone as the person to shout out the directions. The plan might have worked, except that JimmyT, determined to exercise his “leadership,” drowns out Tyrone’s commands with counterdicting ones of his own. Marty is disgusted, “JimmyT suffers from both paranoia and delusions of grandeur.”
GOD BLESS SEARS
The challenge will be for both immunity and reward. The winner will get to choose three fabulous prizes of tools and equipment presented by Sears. The letters S-E-A-R-S are boldly stenciled on nearly every visible surface save Jeff Probst’s forehead.
As Marty foretold, one team member will shout out directions to team members who will be blindfolded and lashed together at the ankles, three-legged-race style, searching in a field for a collection of objects. Once the objects are assembled, three chests must be fetched and unlocked.
Brenda is designated caller for LaFlor; Tyrone for Espada. Dan, as usual, gets to sit out for Espada. sBack in the good old days, the rule against ‘sitting out the same person in back-to-back-challenges’ meant exactly that; a few seasons back that changed to mean ‘challenges on the same day.’ As a result, the tribes almost invariably bench their weakest player over and over again.
LaFlor opts to use the wondrous “medallion of power”, which allows them to eliminate two of their assigned objects. Brenda calmly directs her team, while Tyrone shouts at the elderly as they stumble about the field. In the end, it’s Holly and JimmyT who are wandering aimlessly in the wilderness as LaFlor makes quick work of the task and wins the challenge. They choose fishing gear, the tarp and cooking supplies. Back at camp (and I am sure totally without prompting, Chase (or one of the other young guys we’ve barely glimpsed) expresses his heartfelt gratitude, “God bless SEARS. What a win!!”
Tyrone can hardly hide his disgust with JimmyT, “…that boy don’t listen.” JimmyT makes a feeble attempt to claim that he just couldn’t hear Tyrone’s instructions. And as they all commiserate over their loss, JimmyT continues to yammer and claim he’s not getting to show his extraordinary leadership skills.
HE HAS A CLUE, BUT SHE’S CLUELESS
Chase has managed to spot a clue to the hidden immunity idol in the tackle box so generously provided by SEARS. Does he go out to search for the clue? Well, not immediately; first he needs to share this wonderful news with his lady-love, Brenda. The two of them head out to the field of dreams, which by now has been thoroughly excavated. Brenda is torn; she knows that, thanks to her, NaOnka has already removed the idol. Should she allow Chase to search?
Brenda bats her best cheerleader eyelashes at Chase, “How much do you trust me?”
Chase (hopelessly infatuated), “More than anyone here.”
Brenda confesses that NaOnka has the idol, and reveals, “But I found it for her.”
Brenda then makes the case to Chase that NaOnka is completely trustworthy, but that he can’t let NaOnka know he knows she has the idol, because she’s promised NaOnka not to tell and if NaOnka thinks she can’t be trusted, then NaOnka will turn on Brenda and Chase. He acquiesces to her pleas.
Camera on: Vulture in tree.
“I JUST WANT TO MAKE SURE YOU’RE A TEAM PLAYER”
That’s what JimmyT tells Marty as soon as Espada gets back from the challenge. Marty, whose hair is already standing straight up on his head, bristles like an angry porcupine: “Him telling the tribe I’m not a team player–that’s like putting a gun in your mouth and pulling the trigger as far as I’m concerned.” He’s going to spend the rest of the afternoon putting the bullets in that gun.
Marty has some tall talking to do if he’s going to get rid of his nemesis JimmyT. Others, like Jill and Tyrone, are very concerned about Dan’s physical limitations and the fact that he doesn’t contribute at all to camp life. Jane reveals that she’s channeling subliminal advice from lost compadre Jimmy Johnson, “I’m gonna write Danny’s name down. I think he’s been hintin’ around. That’s what Coach put down last week and I think Coach was sending a message to us.”
Marty wants to keep Dan; he knows it’s a vote he can totally control. He argues to Tyrone, “some things are just wrong. He’s [JimmyT] like a cancer. His feedback is that he wants to be the leader. He can’t lead anything.”
JimmyT, meanwhile, is sporadically gathering ugly spiny sea urchins, and trying to convince his skeptical tribe-mates that the pea-sized lump of meat in them has exceptional powers of nutrition. He’s also nattering incessantly and annoyingly that he’s being deprived of the chance to show his talents as the Great Leader of the Western World.
THE SQUEAKY WHEEL
Time for Tribal Council. Camera on: a scary snake. It’s a new one; not the one we’ve seen lurking around the campfire the last few seasons. I hope he didn’t get fired for nipping a producer.
Host Probst starts off the discussion with his usual probing questions. Jill expresses everyone’s frustration at their repeated defeats, “We’ve gone through an NFL coach and I’m tired of losing.”
JimmyT can hardly wait to express the injustice done him, “Every time I say, ‘put me in Coach, they ignore me. And I’m easy to get along with. [pause] I think.”
After some talk of needing to strengthen the tribe (i.e. Dan is worthless), Jeff gives Dan an opportunity to justify his lack of contribution to challenges. Dan protests, “I told everybody I did not feel comfortable with my knee sloshing around in the mud.”
Jimmy T can’t stop complaining, “I’m the squeaky wheel that doesn’t get oiled.”
Marty snarls, “You’ve got paranoia, delusions of grandeur, popping off.”
Holly rushes to defend JimmyT, “All he’s asking for is a chance. How do you know he can’t do it if you don’t put him in?”
JimmyT by this time has begun to realize his days are numbered. Tears are forming in his eyes as Jeff, sounding like a preacher offering salvation to the sinner, asks, “JimmyT, are you willing to accept the role this tribe wants you to have , which is as a follower, not a leader?” JimmyT manages to choke out, “I’m man enough if that’s the role my tribe wants me to take, I’m man enough to take it. I’ll try to be the worker bee, if that’s what my tribe wants.” He’s not entirely convincing.
In the end, what the tribe really wants is for JimmyT to be is GONE. Holly and Jane cast their votes to get rid of the weakling, Dan, but the others follow Marty’s direction and reject the Glousterman. Jimmy takes the walk of shame through the graveyard and Marty doesn’t bother to try to hide his glee.
Next week, looks as if there’ll be new tribe assignments and we’re promised that it will be “a whole new game.” Thank goodness for small favors.
Until then, I’ll leave you with this quote from JimmyT’s audition video in the SEARS “pick a contestant for Survivor” contest (he won): “If you vote for me to become a cast member, I swear on my grandmother’s soul, you will get one of the most colorful characters on the show…maybe of all time!” What do you think: did JimmyT make good on that promise?
And if you guessed apotnemnophobia means, “one who’s terrified of amputees,” give yourself bonus points! Granted, it’s not so much that NaOnka is fearful of amputees as that she just hates, loathes and villifies them, but I’m not sure there’s a word for that…..