Oh, my babies, welcome BACK! It’s an all-new season of Survivor, and I have to say I am so much more excited about this season than I have been in god knows how long. Fans vs. Favorites! My two favorite things – people I already know and like/hate, and people who actually WANT to be on this show, versus wannabe-models hand-casted by CBS. How could this be bad? How could it go wrong? It can’t! It’s gonna be awesome! I’m seriously psyched. And that only has a little to do with the wine I’m drinking tonight. Sure, I feel happy and in love with everyone, and am right now *totally* willing to think anything is a great idea. But this IS going to be great.
Survivor has chosen a group of uber-fans, who’ve been applying to the show for years, and a collection of previous contestants whom they think we, the viewers, consider “favorites.” The reason why I like this, even though the Survivor All-Stars wasn’t that great, is that to be a fan favorite you’d have to have a personality. Despite what I’m sure are casting choices based almost entirely on personality (and then on looks) they seem to get quite a few personality duds each season. Bland, pretty people, bleh, get off my screen!
Don’t I Know You?
The survivors will be in Micronesia this time. Micronesia is a collection of islands in the Pacific, north of the Philippines. We start off watching the group of fans rowing along in a canoe, and Jeff says they’re unaware they’ll be up against their favorites.
Jeff greets the fans on the beach, and then starts bringing in the favorites. The fans are shocked, but excited, and they give a lot of applause to Yau-Man, Ozzy and James. Not so much for the girls. Jeff saves Jonny Fairplay for last. Jeff notes that he “already looks intoxicated”; Fairplay is wearing a trucker hat that reads “Will lie 4 food.” He’s in khakis and a blue shirt, like Jeff, who asks if he intentionally dressed like him. Fairplay responds, “Wanna know what you’re playing for?” Jeff says he’s glad to see Fairplay has aspirations. Oh, snap!
Tracy apparently relishes the challenge of playing against the loathed Fairplay. “He’s a loser pig,” she says, adding that she has a wish to kick him. Get in line, sunshine.
So, let’s do a quick, biased, less-than-informative intro of all the fans and faves:
Alexis: Cute, girlie, from Austin , utterly unremarkable in this first eppie.
Chet: Bwahahaha. Gay (as we’ll see during a quiz from Kathy), apparently fond of a deep-V neckline, and I have serious high hopes for his potential for creating drama. Seriously, he trains pageant queens, y’all!
Erik: Did someone resurrect Leif Garrett as a kid from Michigan ?
Jason: A student teacher. He owns a corn snake.
Joel: Who in my mind could easily be cast in the role of “Neanderthal #2” in a movie about … people who look like Neanderthals. No offense, Joel! You could totally be the smartest dude out there for all I know. I just judge superficially on looks at first. And you look like a WWE wrestler.
Kathleen: Also known as Kathy. OH. MY. God. Ya’ll just wait for the crazy. But I have to say she reminds me SO much of Kevin Cronin, one-time lead singer for Reo Speedwagon.
Mary: Who? Seriously, she must be part of the background palette of “pretty half-dressed girls” in the first episode. She also seems to be a loan officer. Yawn.
Mikey B.: Helloooooo, pretty. *bats eyes* Who is he? Where is he from? Who cares? He’s cute! He once owned a chimney/masonry company, which tells yours truly that he’s cute AND he can work with his hands. If someone votes out my eye candy here I am going to be PISSED.
Natalie: Um, did she do anything this episode, or did I get her and Tracy confused? I am not sure. She’s a personal trainer who “previously fronted a rock band,” and I would like to know what that means. Did she sing? Who knows?
Tracy : possibly also known as Natalie. Seriously, they DO look somewhat alike. I think it’s because they’re both trying to look alluring. Hell, it’s the first episode, let them try that while they still are somewhat bathed. I’m pretty sure either Tracy or Natalie, or both, have fake boobies.
Favorites (i.e. the people about whom we/I already have strong opinions):
Amanda: Wasn’t this girl JUST on my TV? Yes, she was. The last season.
Ami: I remember her as being tall, voluptuous, sexy and lesbian, and also for having an all-women alliance that somehow let the ONLY REMAINING MAN talk them into letting him win. So I have my doubts.
Cirie: Now, I liked Cirie. I still can’t remember which season she was on, but she was cool.
Eliza: I DO NOT LIKE THE BUG-EYED ONE. Never did, never will. That is all.
James: Hello, sugar! James, like Amanda, was just on my TV, and I am not yet tired of him. His mangled quips and jokes, revealed to me via the magic of closed captioning, plus his muscle-bound torso, have endeared him to me forever. You go win, baby!
Jonathan: I remember him. Smart, sneaky, but why the HELL did he mutiny like that last time?? Dude, that was so stupid! He left Ozzy and the rest all furious, and they went on to kick his ass! So we know Jonathan has a lack of the loyalty.
Johnny Fairplay: I don’t even remember this dude’s last name. Just “Fairplay”. And I want to hate him. I do, because I do think he is a loathsome person, what with the dead grandma ploy and all. But seriously, I tend to give more respect to anyone who really does the “outwit” portion of the game, and as slimy as Fairplay is, he really worked that one. You name me one Survivor who’s better known, other than Richard Hatch. See? He did his job well.
Ozzy: Awww, so cute, so winsome. Did he win his season? I don’t remember. But he played hard!
Parvati: LOATHE. This girl’s gameplay was entirely concentrated in her fluttering eyelashes and jutting boobs. And her last name is Shallow. Seriously.
Yau-Man: Oh, little Asian Yau-Man! Who stealthily amassed immunity idols and hoodwinked everyone, until he was undone by his misplaced and naïve trust in Dreamz! Yeah. Cute little old pocket-sized dude, gonna get his ass handed to him.
And, that is everyone! So let’s get to it, finally. Someone – I don’t know who they all are yet – says this is a great setup, because they already know the gameplay style of all the fan favorites. Since, you know, gameplay is locked in stone.
Jeff throws them buffs and gives them tribe names -- like then directs them all to their boats, with maps to their campsites, which are apparently across some shallow lagoon. But twisty! There’s also an immunity idol, good only for the first tribal council, hidden for each team over near the boats. First to find it does not suffer the ignominy of being first voted out! Go!
They all swim/slog across the lagoon and peer up at trees for a while, until Fairplay discovers the idols are actually just hanging off each teams canoe. Score! Except he grabbed the wrong team’s idol. He realizes this right when Yau-Man does, and in the dive for the right idol, Yau-Man wins and simultaneously smashes Fairplay’s hand on the boat. Not cool, Fairplay thinks. Despite Yau-Man’s apology, he says, “Yau’s not nice. He sucks.” Yau also directs Kathy, of the fans tribe, to grab the idol Fairplay dropped in the sand. So she’s safe. To her team’s discontent, as we’ll soon see.
The Fans tribe arrives at their new camp and start getting acquainted. Tracy launches into an attack on Fairplay, hoping others will share her hate, and says the fans are out for blood.
Meanwhile, Mikey – whose name keeps being followed by a “B” but I do not know why, as there no other “Mikeys” out there, and there are probably very few Mikeys that he runs into in regular life, unless he spends most of his time in 3rd grade. Seriously, dude, get a grownup name – has a nickname for just about all of his new tribemates, in an effort to demonstrate how diverse they are. All demographics are represented, such as Gay Pageant Coaches, Ignorant Sheltered Middle-Aged Crazy Women, and the ever-present Pretty Young Things Who Totally, Like, Want to be Actors.
Can’t Fight This (Crazy) Feeling Anymore
And speaking of the Ignorant Sheltered Middle-Aged Crazy Women, allow me to present exhibit number 1, Kathy. She approaches Chet and asks if he’s homosexual, then asks if that’s the proper term, and whether it’s ok to call him gay, but that she doesn’t think it means he wants to be a girl, and says she’s never had a gay friend before, except possibly one bartending co-worker years ago. Chet, to his credit, assures her that “gay” is appropriate, allows her crazy ass to hug him, and informs her that she probably has more gay friends than she thinks. I doubt he’s going to be one of them, though, somehow.
But Crazylady’s not done! She then approaches Tracy and informs her she’s never seen breast implants up close. I just ….. wow. I don’t even have a joke to make here. I’m just floored. Where the hell is this woman FROM? This one I’m looking up. Illinois. And she’s the one who named her dog “Wilson Von Barkypants Goldendoodle.” Dear god.
The rest of the tribe react to Krazy Kathy’s remarks by giggling to each other in that shocked, “omg did she really SAY that?” way. They’re pretty bummed she has that immunity idol, as she has already made herself Target Numero Uno for an easy first boot.
Them Sex Kittens, They’re Everywhere
Over at the Favorites camp, Ozzy says their experience is an advantage. Since they’ve all already built a shelter in the jungle and fished for food, they start in on that, and before long Ozzy has speared some squid thing and a shelter is well under way. James says it’s so nice to be on a tribe of people who actually work. Fairplay talks about how this go-round, he’s got a pregnant girlfriend and needs the money. That just makes me shudder, by the way. I’m not sure which is scarier, the idea that anyone – a model, even! – would sleep with him, or the fact that he’s going to be raising and guiding a young, impressionable child.
Parvati tells us she wants to win this time, not starve and be miserable. She says that in the Cook Islands, her strategy pretty much revolved entirely around flirtation – ya think? – and that this time she wants to play smart. Besides, she says, James is the only hottie there to flirt with. So, of course, because she’s Parvati and apparently can’t help herself, she starts flirting with James. Oh, yeah, way to play smart there! Entangle yourself in a flirtatious relationship with the strongest physical threat there. Way to play, Parvati.
James, poor muscle-bound gravedigging James, is perfectly willing to go along with this. He says he’s attracted to her. “She’s one of them sex kitten type girls,” he says. “And I like it.” Well, I don’t.
Meanwhile, Amanda is having a gush-fest with Ozzy, whom she says is one of her favorite players. He’s perfectly willing to let the pretty girl fawn over him, so they start bonding. Between that pairing, and the James/Parvati pairing, that makes four dangerous people, according to Eliza.
Back over at the Fans camp, by the way, the shelter-building went a little too slowly, and it rains that night and they get wet and Krazy Kathy cries and says it sucks. What, is she missing Wilson Von Barkypants Goldendoodle?
Those Who Do Not Learn History Are Doomed To Repeat It
The next morning, the flirting continues in the Favorites camp. Ami, Yau-Man, Jonathan and Eliza form a fast alliance, and agree they’re concerned about the Flirty Four. They also aren’t sure what to do about Fairplay and Cirie, neither of whom are in an alliance at the moment. I don’t know what there is to not be sure about – go GET them, win them over! Get the numbers! But no, they yammer about how while they want Fairplay on their side, they don’t trust him. Well, duh. I’d say even his not-dead grandmother doesn’t trust him.
But Ozzy has moved faster, and talks to Fairplay first. He says they’re wary of Eliza, that she was crafty on her own season. But Ozzy also doesn’t trust Fairplay. “He’s got his villain persona to live up to,” Ozzy says.
Fairplay tells us he’s actually a very nice person, he just happens to be able to lie very easily.
And so he approaches the other alliance, the one not based on phermones, and tells them that the four flirts are gunning for Eliza. Jonathan says he wants to take out Parvati. He also says he’d take Fairplay to the end if he could, that he’s a dream of an ally. Presumably Jonathan is basing that on Fairplay’s extreme unpopularity.
Fairplay tells us he can’t believe any of these people actually trust him and believe what he says. “Have you not watched this show before?” he asks, rhetorically.
Apart from this, the camp goings-on are mostly domestic. Yau-Man uses his glasses to start a fire, and Eliza gloats that they’re all well-rested, well-fed, and watered, and ready to win the challenge.
Over at the Fans camp, tree mail arrives regarding that challenge. Apparently they’re not so well-fed over there, because on the way to get the tree mail one of the women says she’s so hungry, “I’d eat rat guts right now.” Knock on wood! Because it totally may come to that.
The clue says something about not wasting time redoing what’s been done before. Mikey says the Favorites think they’ll win, but that the Fans are champing at the bit to finally get out there and do a Survivor challenge.
Maybe The Faves’ Egos Were Too Heavy
So let’s get on with that, then. Everyone arrives at the challenge, where Jeff prompts Eliza to brag about how totally sheltered and fed the Faves are. Fairplay chimes in that they’re eating three courses each meal and he’s getting fat. The Fans say they don’t really believe that.
Jeff explains the challenge, which is for immunity and fire. They’ll take puzzle pieces and build four wheels, affix the wheels to a cart, push the cart over some obstacles, stop and dig some boards out of a sandpit, use the boards to build a bridge, push the cart over the bridge, take off the wheels, disassemble them and use them to make a big wheel that they’ll turn, which will raise a fire wok, which will light something on fire and signal the winner. It sounds more complicated than it is.
The Fans get off to a head start almost immediately, and they’re off and running over their obstacles while the Faves, supposedly so good at this and well-fed, are still working on their wheels. The Faves finally get it together and push their cart, only to crash, knocking Eliza onto the ground and hurting her eye, which she clutches and moans about.
At the sand pit, the Fans almost have all their boards, so Erik turns his efforts to throwing sand INTO the Fans’ sand pit, and/or onto Fairplay’s head. The Fans get their cart over the bridge, and while the Faves aren’t terribly far behind, they’re far enough. The Fans win! So much for the cocky Faves and all their three-course meals. The Fans are ecstatic, as well they might be, having just beaten their idols.
Fairplay’s Fetus Fears
Back at camp, the Faves are disappointed, but recognize they were a bit cocky and that the Fans were just so enthusiastic and had more heart. Ozzy says it will humble them, and motivate them to kick ass next time.
Of course, this also means one of the Favorites is going home tonight. Cirie says she has no plan and doesn’t trust anyone. I’m not entirely sure her tribe has even noticed she’s there yet.
Fairplay says he could go either way, with either of the alliances who believe he’s with them. He’s playing both groups. But then he tells one of the girls that he really just wants to see his girlfriend. He says he wants to win for the girlfriend and the baby, and that he’s out there worrying there’s something wrong with the baby – a girl, but also at this point, a fetus, as it’s not born yet – and he worries that he’s being a bad father by being gone. He may have cried around this point.
He tells Parvati he leaning toward asking to be sent home, although as others have pointed out on the Internet, he’d still be stuck living in Loser Lodge, so there’s actually no point in leaving the game if seeing his girl is really his motivation. Parvati says that would throw Eliza off, and I am left at this point with the impression that this is all a ruse, and that Fairplay and the Flirty alliance will actually vote off Eliza. Fairplay goes on to tell Ami he’s just emotionally not there and wants to go home.
She asks him to stay, but tells others what he said. Ami says he’s a loose cannon but that they can’t trust him. She guesses the same thing I do, that this is just a strategy. Ami expects tribal council to be crazy either way.
Quitting To Win (In His Own Mind)
At tribal council, Jeff asks Fairplay what kind of advantage the Faves have. He says things are great n camp, the only problem is over-confidence. Eliza says that people’s reputations from their previous seasons are very important, because people remember how you played before.
Jeff says no one has a bigger reputation than Jonny Fairplay. Fairplay says everyone’s surprised to see the real him, but that he’s only thinking about the baby. Jeff points out that he’s not a father yet, but that does not dissuade Fairplay from his argument. “It changes your head, it makes you crazy,” he says of his (impending) fatherhood.”My head is screwy right now.”
Yau-Man volunteers that this makes him just think, “What’s his scheme?” And Ozzy says he doesn’t think Jonny is really having problems hacking it. Jonathan says, though, that if Fairplay really wants them to vote him out, then fine.
Jeff says that’s a quit. Fairplay quit. We all know how Jeff (and myself) hate people who give up on the game. Fairplay says it isn’t. Jeff says he’s skeptical. Eliza says it’s not a quit if they still have to vote.
And the vote is, shockingly, to evict Fairplay. Wow. Seriously, I thought he was just playing, and had a gameplan going. Was he just playing us all, though? Was this a plan to go out without getting truly evicted? Make the biggest scene possible and then bail? Methinks so. What a pity. He’d have made this season more entertaining.
“I never would have predicted that,” Jeff says. Get in line.
Fairplay insists on a hug from Jeff and leaves, telling us later he did the right thing, and went out on his own terms, and had every one of them eating out of his hand. What baby?
The Fans team is in turmoil, Jeff explains a new two-person Exile scheme, and someone makes out with Ozzy. Presumably Amanda, but it’s hard to tell in the night-cam. See you then!