Thursday, May 20, 2010

2x03: The Tribal Shuffle

In which I try out a new recapping style to compensate for how boring they managed to make a tribal switch episode.


1. This post was originally posted on my newest blog, but I'm cross-posting here for the sake of completion. And also to see whether putting up a new post will fix the stupid "two-posts-per-page" fuckup with Blogspot.

2. Previously: Amber wanted food so badly that she decided to see if she could whine and whine for as long as it took for the producers to have pity on The Poor Celebrities and give them some. The rest of Mofo shared her sentiments, but not necessarily her methods. Hornebags, for example, decided to try and conjure up some actual melons as opposed to the synthetic ones she's stuffed into her bikini. Imogen was hearing voices in her head, and those voices were telling her to do different things than the voices in her loins were. At Cockula, jaunty island music announced the transition from "rats" to bitches. The least bitchy member of the tribe also happened to be the hottest tribe member, as well as the one most likely to not wind up impersonating a sun-dried tomato at the end of this. The Leech learned that the jungle actually does have items you could use to help you avoid, you know, dying a grisly and entertaining death. Turns out cavemen weren't magic after all. Who knew? Cockula had a lovely bunch of coconuts, but they also had nuts in their minds, and so wound up winning fruit but losing Immunity. Mofo almost wished they weren't suddenly so good at not sucking, because they wanted to vote out Hornebags. Gee, I wonder if the fact that nobody likes Hornebags is going to be relevant this week. At Cockula, the two main contenders for First Off The Sinking Ship were the Token Piece Of Eye-Candy and the Strong Smart Guy Who Could Win Almost Any Challenge Single-Handed. Unsurprisingly, because they're "celebrities" and not strategists, they voted off the guy who made them all look merely incompetent at things involving survival skills, rather than the one who made them look like a bunch of dumb horny frat boys. Ten vaguely human-shaped organisms are left. Who will be voted out... TONIGHT?

3. I'm not sure why Hornebags thinks storing the fruit from the last reward anywhere else (as opposed to the bag they came in) was supposed to be a safeguard against getting them attacked by fruit flies. I would have thought the bag was at least offering a layer of protection. But then again, if I actually were able to spend enough time to find any sense in one of Hornebags' pointless arguments, the world would probably implode on itself, so.

4. Hey, editors? Don't need the concept of "Oldfart is climbing a tree" to be shown with a shot from directly below, giving the impression we can see up his shorts. Just... ew. Oldfart confessionals, shorts safely below the bottom of the frame, that Cockula doesn't need a leader to be successful. No wonder he works in New South Wales state politics. Back out in the jungle, Oldfart shakes the tree so hard a coconut falls out and conks ManNan on the head. I suspect it's not the first time ManNan's head has had physical contact with a nut, but that may just be projecting. ManNan, Gab, and the Leech all laugh at his total inability to move out of the way of flying nuts.

5. Gab tells us that Cockula is "a really strong tribe" and is "capable of winning all the challenges". Aside from that one they just lost, I guess. She knows that "each person on the team" has got something they're good at, but she's still trying to find hers. I know, I know! Her special talent is being far less irritating than anyone else on her godforsaken tribe! It's certainly not chopping coconuts, from what we see. Or perhaps it's the ability to publicly embarrass people for "having a slash" on a beach in front of some cameras. Nah, it can't be that. The Leech is already doing a fine job of making a laughingstock of himself. Also, GROSS.

6. I know how the yawning lizard feels.

7. Hornebags provides a confessional, trying to explain where in her decision making process she made the leap from "everyone hates me" to "time for naked sunbathing!" She strips off and sits inside a small pond. It's wrong of me to hope that pond has flesh-eating bacteria in it, right? Okay, I won't. Much. It certainly does look pretty stagnant, though. More blabbering about how the act of getting nude on camera is a spiritual thing and not just some excuse to get more screentime, and WHATEVER. If I wasn't already gay enough as it was, that would have just pushed me over the borderline. (Bor-derliiine!)

8. You know what the best thing about not doing full recaps for this show is? I don't feel obliged to recap the treemail. Or the bit where the tribes can't figure out what the challenge is going to entail, even when it's pointed out so blatantly in the clue that I'm surprised there aren't little flashing neon lights wired into the plank of wood with the message on it. But anyway, the challenge is that one where you put something on one side of a seesaw and stomp on the other side to catapult it into the basket on top of you. Dicko calls it "The Basket Stomp", which is officially the least imaginative name since The Baby-Sitters Club was popular. Mofo have decided to come in war paint as a show of tribal unity. Which is convenient, because the Cowboys and Injuns (as Dicko put it) are about to be shuffled.

9. Also convenient? Justin and Gab both managing to avoid elimination in the first two episodes so they can choose their new tribes. It's one of those "choose someone of the other sex" deals, but this time Justin and Gab will do all the choosing, as opposed to each person picked choosing the next one. I like the other way better, but not by much. Justin does the smart thing and gives himself an out if his new tribe (let's call them MoFaux) loses, by picking Hornebags first. Long story short, MoFaux has Justin, Hornebags, ManNan, Amber, and Oldfart, while Shockula has the other losers. By which I mean Gab, the Leech, Nicolle, Wayne, and Imogen. Boy, it's hard to choose which tribe I dislike least. In theory, Shockula's only crime is having the two men, but then ManNan and Amber are stuck on a tribe with three irritating twats, so it sort of balances out. They are fairly evenly matched skillwise, though, which is a vast improvement on how it could have gone. Imagine how different this would be had some of these people been separated differently. Go ahead. It's not going to wind up looking this even on paper if Oldfart and the Leech switched positions, is it? And we came that close to this being another blowout. I think the onomatopoeia I'm looking for is "Phew".

10. The challenge itself is so dull that the most interesting aspects are Dicko deciding to re-welcome everyone to The Basket Stomp, as though they'd all been concussed after a nasty crash at the Whistler Sliding Centre (which, by the way, will now be remembered as part of the most awkwardly uncomfortable Amazing Race prize holiday ever, but more on that when I get around to writing about TAR16), and the fact that Dicko barely manages to avoid tacking "and it could all be yours, if The Price... Is... Right!" on to the end of his revealing the reward to be a full-on outdoor kitchen set-up. (I have now made Price Is Right mentions in two recaps for this and one for The Mole. Apparently, I really miss the little yodelling mountain climber and his dog.) Mofaux wins it.

11. Gab explains that while they were waiting for the new tribe members to arrive at Shockula (it looks like they didn't go straight there from the challenge, for whatever reason), Wayne and the Leech were busy trying to convince her to boot Imogen. Funny how they were treating her like crap just yesterday, and are now including her as part of the decision-making process because they no longer have an unassailable majority. Imogen tells us that she was able to hear everything they were saying, because the shoreline of Vanuatu is not exactly soundproof, and knew the men were going to try and get all the information they needed out of them before voting them out. Trying to get information to help them last longer than you in a game only winnable by getting rid of everyone else? Those rat bastards!

12. At MoFaux, Oldfart explains that either he or ManNan is likely to be voted out if the tribe loses, so there's got to be some serious magic juju to keep them both around. Luckily, Hornebags has found some freaky painted tchotchke, which she thinks is responsible for helping them find food and whatnot. ManNan thinks she's trying to pull a fast one on him, but soon discovers that she really is that batshit insane. Oldfart does too, contrasting her background in "paganism" with his conservative lifestyle. Conservative enough to self-describe as "metrosexual". Eh.

13. Hornebags wants the camp realigned in accordance with feng shui, but the only thing well-placed is the commercial break.

14. Risotto is a romantic meal, at any time of night and even with Oldfart as your chef-slash-waiter. Elton is jealous, realising that Oldfart's pretty much bought his way to safety by cooking them a decent meal, and making him the sole odd one out. Crap. The creepy idol thingy agrees with him and me, in that he's screwed (and not in any of the fun ways).

15. Wayne claims that the tribal shuffle has "brought a whole lot of new dynamics" to the tribe. Is 'dynamics' a new euphemism for 'boobs'? Unfortunately for him, the women are busy being self-sufficient and not at all like the 1950's Stepford Wife he and the rest of Cockula were trying to turn Gab into before the shuffle. Don't they know they can't make toothbrushes by chopping down palm fronds? He and the Leech are in denial about having the capacity to do anything to change their fate at this point.

16. Oh, look. Hornebags is naked again. Amber is discussing strategy with her, and God bless the editors for finding a confessional where she uses the word 'confronting'. That's almost too easy a target, really. Amber is aware that Hornebags and Justin are tight, as are ManNan and Oldfart, which leaves Amber as the least tight person on MoFaux. Not exactly the person I would have suspected, to be totally honest.

17. It's not so much fun not recapping the treemail when there isn't any to recap.

18. When they walk up to the challenge, it's a big jail set-up, which will be good practice for when the winner gets arrested for tax evasion or animal cruelty. Or whatever else they get imprisoned for. The challenge is pretty much the same as the one they used for the Outcasts in Survivor: Pearl Islands. One person runs down a path to grab the tribe flag before coming back. They dig under the gate to get into the cell and untie someone, and both of them dig into the next cell to untie someone else. All three of them use whatever they can grab to build a pole and grab a hanging key, which unlocks the next cell. Finally, they use the same pole to grab another key, unlocking the two people chained up inside like so many movie characters, and escaping out the front door. This is, of course, so much tougher than escaping from an actual Australian prison. And about sixteen or seventeen times less humane. They don't even get Foxtel here! They'd be lucky just to get GO! First tribe out wins. I don't know why neither tribe uses the pole from their tribe flag to help them grab the keys, but it'd be both longer (meaning making the pole takes less time) and more secure (meaning it's less likely to break and cause you to lose even more time) than the sticks on the ground are. Something for MoFaux to ponder over as they wait for Tribal Council, since Shockula wins.

19. Monkey!

20. Hornebags correctly blames herself for losing, calling it "a really big drag". Takes one to know one, I suppose. (Yes, I realise that makes approximately zero sense. I don't care.) She takes the time to check with the group whether they'll hold her responsible for making them lose the challenge, and stupidly decides to point out exactly where she screwed the team over. It's good to know she was at least paying attention to something in the challenge. She claims she'll be able to suck it up and deal if they blame her for the loss. Well, good.

21. Oldfart is only too happy to point out that a supposedly self-sufficient woman failed to, as he puts it, "bring home the bacon". He says the tribe's losing the challenge doesn't affect who gets voted out, but whether Hornebags can keep her numbers majority after losing the challenge does. So, in essence, he's saying he would apparently still be trying to vote for her even if they won the challenge. I can just imagine Hornebags retrieving treemail the next morning and wondering why the hell there are slips of paper with her name written in giant, television-friendly letters. Actually, given the intelligence of these people, it could be any of them.

22. During the commercial break, Hornebags moved back three steps so she could walk up the same path she was walking along during Oldfart's confessional. Because she just isn't getting enough screentime this week, between the fruit argument and the nude stagnant swamp bath and the losing the challenge. She thinks Oldfart is "totally, unexpectedly awesome". Well then. If Hornebags says she likes him, I suppose I have to add him to The List. I wonder who I can get rid of from the list, though. There's just so many hateable people on it at this point.

23. ManNan is indeed "rockin' it".

24. Quoth the Hornebags: "Unless I'm an absolute idiot and the, the biggest... um, like, most naive idiot in the world, I am 500% sure that Amber, Justin and I are locked in solid, and we've made our choice." Oh, my. OH, MY. Could they at least make me work for decent snark? This is like taking candy from a baby. And by "a baby", I mean "the editors". They're probably expecting me to lift their shirts and give them a raspberry for this.

25. Amber skates everywhere around the hole in the ice that is saying the words "I'm the swing vote", but unfortunately for Hornebags (let's be honest, it will be Hornebags), she's competent enough to avoid falling in. Barely. She must have been getting lessons from Imogen before the tribe shuffle. Oldfart tells her Hornebags has "lost her right to be here". Yes, really. Meanwhile, Justin and ManNan helped them win the challe... oh, wait.

26. Tribal Council is just as dreary and boring as it was under the old recapping style. But Amber does provide a very interesting answer about how she didn't expect the politicking to be such a major part of her time in this game, and didn't bother spending much time before the show trying to figure out how she should approach it. Apparently, she was hoping this would be Survivor: Kadina Edition. I knew I liked her. And Dicko has to ruin all my enjoyment of this whole scene by claiming the shuffle ruined the awesome little society Justin's set up for himself. Because, as we all know, when there are a bunch of women and only one man, the man is the centre of attention. It's exactly why we saw Charlie all the time and rarely saw his Angels. Meanwhile, Hornebags thinks "[her] tribe's safety and warmth was more important than [her] twenty-year-old pack of tarot cards". Yeah, let's see if she still feels that way in ten minutes.

27. To cut a long, boring and montage-filled story short, Dicko brings back the votes and Oldfart gets the first two, before Fiona gets the rest. Hey, this is actually tense! But it's Hornebags and Oldfart, so it doesn't really matter. I'm happy either way. The last vote is for Hornebags, and that'll do her. I wonder if her tarot cards would have seen this coming, had she looked at them. Rather than point this out, Dicko decides to go with a kiddie-friendly round of "Ding, Dong, The Witch Is Gone". Her final words are filled with an obscene amount of fake cheer and genuine bitterness. Ding, dong, the wicked witch is dead!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

2x02: Episode 2

In which Hornebags is both a witch and a bitch, in which Dicko treats his job as both hoasting and roasting, and in which ManNan is both out of the loop and a key part of Ben's unanimous boot. Sigh.


Previously on Missing Link? Me Too: Eleven people who count as celebrities in some upside-down parallel universe were "marooned on two islands, with nothing but the clothes on their backs and a few personal items". Except they're actually on different sides of the same island, despite what the map in the credits says. Remember when both of the American tribes had to walk to their camps that season? These are the same beaches. But whatever. Nine of them were divided into the men's tribe, Cockula, and the women's tribe, Mofo, at least until producers decided that there weren't quite enough boobs on the men's team and that the women needed help from a man. Nicolle and the Peroxidevil seemed unable to grasp the concept that you can actually use logs and stuff to sleep on in the absence of things like tents and commonsense. Imogen sucked at pretty much everything, but only the Reward Challenge fuck-up is dwelled on. When Cockula won the reward, Hornebags impaled a puzzle piece out of anger. Dicko talks in the present tense as we are reminded that the reward was not basic camping equipment. Gab mud-wrestled in her bikini, and it helped lure Ben over to Cockula. Gab confessionaled that he could save their lives, while he chose to focus on how much of a prize he is (and he really is). Imogen and Hornebags apparently had a non-important argument at Tribal Council, but the Peroxidevil clicked her heels three times and said "there's no place like the hotel", so she got to quit instead. Now, eleven people remain. Which of them will get a second chance to reclaim their fame... TONIGHT?

Credits! Fear the knife-wielding conservative politician! Fear the CGI flames! Fear the straw hat! (Incidentally, editors, thanks for the spoilery sight of ManNan in a Mofo buff.)

Mofo. Day 4. The tribe has apparently been given a blanket of some sort at some time, and they're sleeping under it. Just in case you thought they were using it to catch fish or something. Which sadly wouldn't be out of the question with this particular group of twits in charge. Imogen wakes up. She confessionals about how she's finding the game to be taking a toll on her both "physically and emotionally". She's perfectly fine mentally, apparently. Her body is telling her to quit, but her head wants her to keep going. I must have missed the memo where it was confirmed that your head is no longer considered part of your body. Did it come around at about the same time as Pluto was demoted? Back at the Mofo hut, Hornebags (busy tending to the fire, as all witches do) asks her if she's "about to vomit". Only at the sight of Hornebags still trying to make nice around camp. Nicolle confessionals that Imogen is "having a tough time", and thinks Imogen "needs some food" because she wasn't able to effectively throw up. Someone should tell these women that the anorexia sort of takes care of itself when you don't eat the food to begin with. Imogen is scared that the game is going to ruin their physical health. Starvation will do that, I've heard. Justin tells us that he's also "extremely weak", and we know. Thus why he wasn’t put on the tribe with all the professional sportspeople, even in spite of his man bits. Oh, he means because he hasn't eaten in a few days. Well, there's that too, I suppose. Amber whines about wanting food, and asks what she has "to do around here to eat", and yet the crew manage to avoid telling her that perhaps searching for food might help. Can you believe it's been four days now and they still haven't managed to find the secret all-you-can-eat buffet right behind the bushes? She wants to "smash a couple of bloody coconuts", and I can suggest a couple of blood-filled shells they can start with if she wants. Kyle Sandilands, for one, though I suspect his body has successfully managed to turn gravy into a passable facsimile for blood.

Imogen lies down and resumes not dry-heaving.

A speedy flight over Vanuatu's blue, blue water takes us to Cockula, where Gab is busy completing the postcard image by getting a tan on the beach. Meanwhile, the men (and by "men", I mean "the Leech") do something resembling actual work. ManNan confessionals (I KNOW!) that Cockula is probably much more successful than Mofo at the moment, because he doesn't think Mofo have managed to get any food. I get a kick out of his official claim to fame being "Former Wallaby". He must have gone to the same plastic surgeon as Michael Jackson, for that much of a change. (Too soon?) ManNan also says that Ben has "a wealth of experience on the land", which apparently amounts to "getting coconuts out of a tree by using a giant piece of bamboo to whack them out like pinatas". The Leech compares Ben's arrival at Cockula to going back to school and learning about something you never thought existed. Except I'm fairly certain maths and geography always were subjects.

Ben opens a coconut with a machete, and the boys eat, drink, and are merry. Wayne points out that having Ben around to treat like a slave is much nicer than when they were struggling to provide for themselves with only Gab to order around. Obviously not in so many words, given Ben's around and they're trying to court his friendship, but the basic point is the same. Gab is busy trying to make toothbrushes out of reeds, and decides in a confessional that "life has improved for our tribe... a-hundred-fold". Well, yes, every group of people stranded on an island needs its own Professor, Ginger.

The Leech tells us that he thinks, "Ben's a threat" because Ben actually knows what he's supposed to be doing out here, and so the guys need to weigh up the pros and cons of him staying or going. And, frankly, I can't see a single reason to get rid of him. He's strong enough to help you win challenges, he's resourceful enough to help you survive, and he's hot enough that you may not even need to know how to make fire. Ben tells us he sees himself as a threat to everyone else, but thinks they're not going to get rid of him at the first available chance. He is all cute and shirtless throughout this episode, and I wholeheartedly approve.

A moaning voice means it's time to go back to Mofo, even though it doesn't belong to a contestant. Justin and Amber sunbake, and Amber takes the chance to whine some more about being hungry. Now get to it, slave boy, and grab her some food! Justin promises he will go and look for food eventually. It's not like he'll have anything else to do over the next 22 days.

Aside from the challenges, that is. Nicolle has the treemail, and confessionals that she read it and doesn't think the challenge is going to be physical, because the women are so outskilled at anything requiring muscles. Well, yes, just like they deliberately avoided physical challenges last week. The message reads:

To improve the slumber of your little society
Comes a challenge with a lot of variety
Winning this will be quite a thrill
But it's important how little you spill
If you're really careful when you tread
You'll have sweet dreams tucked up in bed

Worst. Treemail. Ever. And I recapped every single one last season.

As the news that they're not going to play for any food settles in, Amber and Imogen whine about it. They try and figure out what the challenge is going to entail, but pretty much only reiterate that they'll be playing for a bed of some kind and will need to be careful about not spilling something. Justin confessionals that Mofo "don't stand a hope", if the challenge is going to be physical, because Cockula "are well-fed, strong, and physical, and the girls just can't do it". Imogen also says that Mofo will "be in serious trouble" if they keep losing. It occurs to me that what they really need to do here is come up with some twist to replace Justin and Hornebags with NoMind and Craig, who would totally have still been famous enough to qualify as a "celebrity". You know it'd work.

Volcano go boom-boom.

Challenge beach, where an painstakingly built and therefore ridiculously stupid obstacle course it waiting. The tribes walk in, and we see two matching cage-like things, as well as two piles of coconuts, and two empty glass milk bottles. Dicko welcomes the tribes, and makes the Leech do the bit where he would normally tell the tribe that the Peroxidevil got voted out last week if he was Probst. Dicko asks Hornebags whether it's "daunting" to have to go up against Cockula, and she thinks it isn't, if only for the reason that Mofo have "a bigger heart". Oldfart, visible for the first time in this entire episode, looks at her with the sort of glare you'd give to someone deciding to jump over a barbed wire fence with no clothes on.

Dicko decides to remind us that this challenge, which he calls "the Coconut Juice Challenge", is for reward. Just in case you thought they were going to get to the Immunity Challenge eight minutes and 21 seconds into the episode. He also points out that Mofo "really need[s] to win this", because otherwise Kadina will lose its place as Worst Performing Tribe On An Australian Version Of Survivor. Anyway, one person at a time will crack open a tribe-coloured coconut, and pour the juice into another coconut shell. Then, they will take that shell and walk over a "shaky plank", through a "box maze" (the same thing the American version usually call a "toughnut"), and across a see-saw. When you've done that, you pour whatever juice you have left into the bottle on your table at the end of the course, and run back so the next person can go. The first tribe to fill their bottle up to the marked line and bring it back wins. Simple. Dicko reveals the reward, which this week is in two parts. There's a "fabulous" bundle of fruits, which Dicko thinks Mofo will like, plus the outdoor bed mentioned in the treemail, which really looks to just be a couple of bolts of fabric stretched out over a wooden frame. Dicko really gets his Price Is Right on when explaining the bed, but I'm not going to bother recapping it because his appearing on this show is already embarrassing enough for him. Which is probably a good thing, because I don't remember any game on that show involving coconuts.

Commercials. Because this is such a logical place to put them.

We return with Gab walking her way over to the sidelines, because she's sitting out. Dicko gives us the Catchphrase Of Oh My God, Are You Seriously Still Trying To Get That To Take Off, Because That Stupid Catchphrase Is Even Worse Than "Fetch"? and they're off. Justin and "Big Ben" are the first people to play. Justin gets his coconut open quickly, and manages to steal some of the juice for himself while he's at it. As you do. The shaky plank, as it turns out, is nothing more than a balance beam that's swinging from a couple of ropes like a bridge rather than being anchored to the ground. Neither guy has any trouble with it, but then Ben's bulky frame has trouble getting through the tiny box maze, and he falls behind. Justin has no issues at all with the see-saw, and neither does Ben. Dicko reminds us that Justin is "getting all his juice in the bottle", as though it's some surprise that he'd try to win the challenge. Ben only has a few drops left, apparently, but it still goes in his bottle. Hornebags and ManNan are next. ManNan smashes his coconut open so much that not only does he not get any juice in his shell, but he also manages to get the shell he just broke open to fly halfway across the beach. It might have been the same reason Ben hardly had any juice. These two both fail to even make it to the shaky plank before spilling. In fact, ManNan spills so much that it's even visible for me to see on the little, middle-finger-sized video I'm watching. We get a shot of ManNan entering the box maze, and it's here I realise that they've literally just spray painted part of the bamboo to look the right colour. They didn't even bother to colour the whole bamboo thing, though, which makes it look even more low-budget than Australian Survivor ever did. Surprisingly, he manages to get more juice in the bottle than Hornebags does.

Randomly awesome music plays as Hornebags runs back so Imogen can start smashing. Imogen's up against the Leech, and somehow she manages to both lose the lead and be "gaining on [the Leech]" at the same time. The Leech runs like a girl. So does Imogen. Only one of them is to be expected. Wayne also manages to lose a lot of juice when he cracks open the coconut, which really seems to be the big issue here, because they haven't been losing much juice on the actual course. Nicolle, on the other hand, does not appear to lose any at all, and this may just be her first contribution to the game. Wayne doesn't get much, but Nicolle appears to get a whole lot. Ben's playing again for Cockula, even though Oldfart is yet to have a turn, and once again spills a lot of his juice early on. Justin gets a fair bit of juice into the bottle. Ben... does not. The Leech is in the box maze as Imogen smashes her coconut open. As Oldfart finally gets onto the course, Dicko tells us that even with Mofo consistently managing to get to the end with a fair bit of juice left in their shells, Cockula is ahead, and we're definitely missing a huge chunk of this challenge here, because only, like, one of the members of Cockula have appeared to make any significant contribution. Justin and ManNan are back again, and ManNan fills the bottle up. Cockula wins. How, I have no idea. They celebrate, complete with ManNan aiming the juice bottle at everyone like they just won a Grand Prix, and with the Leech impersonating Jesus or something. Blasphemy! Crucify him!

Dicko reminds Mofo that they're going home empty-handed again, and Hornebags feels the need to give a motivatory speech about how they can find their own food and hold each other's hands and whatnot. Because, you know, they've done such a good job of finding their own food up until this point. Shut up, Hornebags. Dicko asks Cockula if, since they're so good at not sucking at challenges, they'd like to share their food with Mofo.


This is EXACTLY why Australian Survivor didn't take off. There's no fun if everybody shares in everything. I want to see people engaged in gladiatorial combat just to win a grape, not this Montessori school crap. Anyway, moving on past the bit where they act like communists and make me want to take my little TARDIS to mid-2006 Vanuatu so I can get them to write their own names on The List, and the bit where Hornebags is noticeably not cheering at the concept of free food, and the bit where ManNan goes to kiss Imogen, shall we? Good. Dicko tells the "love-fest-ing" to end, and... It’s your own goddamn fault, Dicko, so don't try to put the blame on them. Twit. Everyone is sent back to their camps.

Cockula. A bird flies off of a tree branch, trying to desert the communist undertones of this show. Someone has apparently already delivered the bed to their camp by the time they arrive, which I find somewhat hard to believe. The Leech provides some motivational claptrap, then confessionals that he "felt sorry for" Mofo, but that he didn't want to win as a result of everybody dying. Because, you know, hoping for people to die is my little niche, and if wants to hope for people to die, he can take his spot right at the top of my List.

Oldfart decides that it's a good idea to whine that Hornebags is trying to play the game all the time, just because she wasn't immediately forthcoming with the hugs and smooches when Cockula gave up some of their reward. ManNan, the Leech, and Wayne all agree that she's Not Very Nice. And... I didn't see Craig kissing Joel when Tipara gave Kadina those phone calls, and you'd think I'd remember that if it happened, so... shut up, Oldfart. The mystery isn't why Hornebags didn't act like you were the saviours of all mankind, it's why everyone else DID.

Speaking of the Mofo tribe as an annoying collective unit, they arrive back at camp, with Justin lugging their bag of fruity goodness. Nicolle confessionals at sunset that "the gorgeous boys gave [Mofo] half their fruit anyway, so [Mofo] won!" Okay, firstly, you didn't win. You still lost the challenge. It's just that Cockula aren't thinking with their heads at the moment. Either of them. Secondly, Gab's gorgeous, yes, but it'd be pushing it to call her a boy. Thirdly, has she even seen the boys over on Cockula? Ben's gorgeous, ManNan is sort of passable, I suppose, but the rest of them make Pauline Hanson look like a beauty queen. When the tribe wants to see what fruit they were given, Hornebags decides to tell the others that she's fully sated but everyone can eat some of it if they want, as though somebody cares what she thinks. Imogen confessionals that the fruit was "better than... God". Heh. Someone tries to share the fruit with Hornebags, who says she's "fine on the stuff [she] found on the beach", and that she doesn't "care if [she's coming] across hardcore", and that the tribe doesn't "need favours". The only thing that's hardcore at the moment is how much I want this season to be over already. And it's only the second episode. And I took a six-month sabbatical in between recapping these two episodes. Hornebags rants that the guys sharing came off as patronising -- and she's right, it sort of did, the way Dicko handled it -- but that it's better for them to make Cockula think they're really struggling. Right. And saying you're doing perfectly fine as you pass up free food given because they think you guys are struggling helps you communciate this... how? Shut up, Hornebags.

Nicolle decides to shut her up by saying the food "tastes fan-damn-tastic". Hornebags claims that they should remember that they can still do it on their own, "with style, grace, and good humour". Well, she's 0 for 3 at the moment, then. Drums play slowly as Hornebags walks off, having successfully ruined the moment. Nicolle confessionals that Hornebags has "very strong views" about the ability of the girls to do this themselves. Really? I hadn't noticed. Amber confessionals that it's probably a good idea to "enjoy a nice gesture by someone else, and tone down the 'girl power' at times." I have no idea who she is or why she's here, but damn it, I like her. So, in other words, she's exactly like the other Amber who's been on this show, except I like her.

A snake slithers through some leaves. Imogen reminds Amber that she now has proof Hornebags is an obnoxious little turd. Imogen confessionals that she "is trying to convince everybody to vote for [Hornebags]", mostly because she thinks that Hornebags will try and get everyone to vote for her. Of course, there's also the reason that she sucks at challenges and will probably get booted if they keep losing anyway, but she doesn't seem to think this is worthy of reminding us about.

Commercials. Musical Rhetorical Question Of The Week: Is it wrong for anyone to say they like I Hate The Music?

Still Mofo. Still Day 4. Jungle-y music accompanies a flying bird. Hornebags shakes some limes or something out of a tree, and Nicolle squeals in delight. Hornebags confessionals that the tribe doesn't need Ben to win them food. Hornebags confessionals that the only problem they have with getting food is that nothing edible in the surrounding area is ripe yet. Well, she could always perform some magic on it to make it ripen up. (...What's that? It's not working? Guess she's not a very good witch, then.) She tells us that because of this, they're going to look a bit further afield. Which is where they find a few paw-paws. Mmmm, paw-paw. They also find some taro root or something. Nicolle confessionals that they "won't be starving or anything".

A spider hangs from its web, made invisible by the camera. As we and Imogen both knew would happen, Hornebags is trying to work Nicolle over, saying that the key to success in this game is a positive attitude. Which is exactly why Hornebags is on the tribe that's won every challenge so far, I guess. Hornebags asks Nicolle if she knows who she's going to get rid of if they lose, and Nicolle automatically goes into a long, possibly-rehearsed spiel, ticking off all the reasons why Imogen needs to go home. Essentially: Imogen is sick. That is all.

Cockula. The boys are busy chopping up the bed. Gab provides a confessional telling us that the guys were chopping up the bed. It sounds as if she doesn't exactly want to lose the one item of luxury she didn't help the tribe earn. The Leech tries to claim that they're doing it to "extend [their] condominium", and anyone who actually uses the full word 'condominium' automatically makes it on the list for sounding like an obsequious twatwaffle. Wayne wonders if they can use the tent-y covering around the bed as mosquito netting on their original shelter. The Leech confessionals that Cockula were "rapt" with the reward, but soon realised that having six people on a massive oversized bed is a little gay or something, and so decided to get rid of it so they could sleep in their even smaller shelter. Because that's not the least bit gay. ManNan confessionals (TWICE IN ONE EPISODE!) that "it's just boys and our toys", and that the machetes they have ae better toys than the bed would be. Gab tries to find something to do, and Wayne tells her to empty the bedding out of their existing shelter. Lesson: Women are only good at doing things inside the house, no matter how shabbily constructed it is. Thanks, Wayne. Oh, and: Shut up.

He does not, confessionaling that Gab's gotta do more work, or she's going to get voted out. He asks Gab what she thinks, apparently about the shelter, but then responds to her passive-agressive rebuttal by telling her he thinks she should be voted off, because Ben is more important to the tribe. This is said while she's still emptying out the bedding, and he's basically sitting in a tree doing fuckall. Gab confessionals that it was the Leech's idea regarding voting Ben out first, simply because he's the new member of the team, but that "there's different ways to look at it", now that Wayne's come out and said that he will probably vote for Gab over Ben, everybody's fair game. Sounds like fun.

The sun sets over the singular island, and the moon also rises over the same singular island. Convenient, that.

Dolphins swim in the sea the following morning. Yes, dolphins. Turns out they really did Free Willy. Amber asks Hornebags what dolphins eat, and she replies, "fish," like it's the stupidest question she's ever been asked. Amber wants to know what the dolphins are doing, and soon realises they're playing when one of them decides to jump up and say "Help me! I'm being gay-bashed by sharks!" Hornebags says she saw the pod of dolphins and knew it was going to be a good day. Apparently, her tarot cards told her today was going to be the Apocalypse or something.

Hornebags and Amber return to camp, where Justin is cooking. We have to endure hearing Hornebags blabber on about how delicious it looks and how good it's going to taste before we find out that he's pretty much boiling some coconut and some taro.

Hornebags takes the chance, with Imogen and Justin suddenly out of earshot (even though it appears to be the same scene as the previous one), to try and convince Amber and Nicolle that if they can win today's challenge, they can get the four of them to the merge, even though (1) she has no idea when the merge will be, (2) she isn't taking into account whether they will lose any more challenges before the merge, and (3) Imogen is still a part of their tribe. Amber tries to point out Imogen's existence, and Hornebags tells her that Imogen is both "more divisive than integrative", and banned from whining about how she's weak solely because she's ten years younger than anyone else on the tribe. Hornebags claims that she doesn't "want to be horrible or hardcore, [she's] just being honest". Yeah, well, I'm just being honest when I say that you've made The List and are steadily climbing up it like the Human Fly. Also, it's only taken us two episodes to get to someone using the "I'm not being an arsehole, this is how I really am!" excuse. Feh. Justin listens in from behind a bush or something, as she makes her final case that they've played this game too hard to not get to the merge and at least have a chance of winning. Tell that to the members of Kadina, most of whom also played hard enough to justify getting past the merge and doing well in the game, and still didn't. Because these people? Have done less than jack shit to deserve to win at the moment. Craig? Deserved to win. NoMind? Deserved to win. Caren? Deserved to win. Deb? Deserved to win. Tim? Boring, but deserved to win. Lucindork? Deserved to not get voted out unanimously in the first episode. Hornebags? Shook limes out of a tree. Amber correctly confessionals that most of the tension in their tribe -- oh, okay, all of it -- is between Imogen and Hornebags. Justin tells us that Hornebags "is on a mission", and that his mother is a much wiser woman than he is.

Commercials. I almost don't want to know why I just heard my sister yelling the words, "Get your toenails out of my nose!"

Challenge clearing, where a bunch of baskets or something are positioned randomly. Cockula marches in. Mofo marches in. I sit in front of my computer, happy that I don't have to recap another horrendous treemail message. Dicko does his little welcoming bit, reminding everyone that this is an Immunity Challenge. He asks Mofo if they were happy with the "handout" they got from Cockula. Everyone else says the fruit was "gratefully received", but Hornebags brags that they were able to find more food on their own. Way to make your tribe look weak! Dicko asks if they felt like they "were accepting charity", and Hornebags complains some more. As soon as she finishes ranting, Amber graciously thanks Cockula for the fruit. Gab immediately says that they're welcome,

Dicko reminds everyone that it's still an Immunity Challenge, in case they'd forgotten at some point in the past twenty-three seconds, and takes the Immunity Whatsit back from Cockula. Dicko asks Cockula if they're confident, and Oldfart tries to claim his tribe is "never overconfident". Has he even been watching the same show? Dicko snarks on him for how boring and irrelevant what he says is, and the girls laugh.

Amazing Fact For The Day: Dicko is entirely ill-suited for hosting this show, and is the latest in a long line of hosting decisions made because Seven just wanted to find someone who they erroneously thought was popular and stick them into any vacancy they have, regardless of whether it makes sense. (See also: Tom Williams, Kochie, Dan MacPherson, Grant Denyer)

Oh, fine. Dicko's Amazing Fact For The Day is that there are 105 different languages spoken in Vanuatu. However, there's one language, Bislama, which makes it possible to communicate anywhere in the country. Dicko calls it a "highly amusing and at times downright absurd corruption of the English language". So I guess we know what his opinion about Bislama is. Maybe it's because he's British that he thinks fucking with the English language is stupid. And moving on. He provides the example "NUMBA WAN PIKININI BLONG IM QUEEN", and asks the players whether they can work out who it's referring to. Oldfart, royalist as he undoubtedly is, is the first person to realise it's supposed to mean Prince Charles. I note that he doesn't tell us what the Bislama for "Princess Di" is. Probably "NUMBA WAN ZOMBI BLONG IM TUNIL" or something. (Oh, yes. You heard me. Di was unfathomably awesome in a way that only a few people ever have been, but it was twelve years ago, people. It's time to move on.)

And why is Dicko taking the time to tell us this, I hear you ask? Because it's part of the challenge. Essentially, they're playing Memory. Out in the clearing, there are twenty-four covered tables. On twelve are common items, on the other twelve are plaques showing the Bislama words for the twelve items, written by hand because this show's budget got all used up cancelling the celebrities' appearances at toilet cubicle openings. One person uncovers two of the tables. If they match, they score a point, and both items are out of play. If not, they both get covered up again. Either way, the other tribe gets to send someone out for their turn. The first tribe to five points wins. Which is kind of stupid, given there are twelve pairs, but whatever. Couldn't they have gotten rid of a pair and made it first to six? Or added a pair and made it first to seven? The way they're doing it, you could get a winner with over half of the items still unmatched. Cockula has to sit someone out (except Dicko says they'll have to "stand someone down", which doesn't sound nearly as intriguing or fun), and since it can't be Gab, they choose ManNan. Or, rather, the Leech chooses ManNan.

Survivors ready? ...Go? I'm really not sure how to answer that when they're not actually, you know, going anywhere. The good thing about this challenge is that Dicko doesn't give us the COOMG,AYSSTTGTTTO,BTSCIEWT"F"?, but he does tell us that Mofo can't even win a coin toss. Even Kadina won one of them!

Gab goes first for Cockula. She finds a mirror and a saucepan. Amber grabs some boardies, and the right translation - "CLOS BLONG SWIM". One point for Mofo. The Leech has fishing line and a towel. Dicko reminds us that these two don't exactly match. Justin has a mug and the words "BASKET BLONG TITI", and if you haven't figured out what's hiding under one of these covers and the hilarity the producers expect if and when it's found, I can't help you. Ben finds a toy helicopter, that most common of household items, and Dicko asks if he was in Black Hawk Down. Heh. His other selection is a saw, which he can use to decapitate his kidnappers when his helicopter is shot down over Baghdad. (Also, doesn't he get a point for finding two choppers?) Imogen finds "GLASS BLONG LOOK LOOK", and Nicolle is the first person to work out that it's supposed to go with the mirror. She finds it again, and they get another point. Oldfart has "STRING BLONG FISH", by far the least amusing translation out there, which seems oddly apt. He finds the fishing line, and Cockula finally has a point. Nicolle has "STICK BLONG FAIA", and your guess is as good as mine. Amber thinks it might be the toy helicopter. It's not. Wayne has some matches, and now that "STICK BLONG FAIA" makes sense, which is good, because it's right. We're tired up, two each. Hornebags has the bra, and I'm sure the producers really wanted one of the guys to find. She finds the matching label, gesturing to her own boobs as she reads the "TITI" bit, and goes to find the bra so she can burn it in a show of feminism later. Gab finds a sign reading "GRASS BLONG PIGIN", and Dicko has to correct her pronunciation, because otherwise the pigeon part of the name isn't funny. Or something. She also finds the non-subtitled name for the saucepan. Amber has said saucepan, and finds the sign again. We still do not get it subtitled. The Leech finds some feathers, but tries to match it with an empty basket. Because that sometimes works. Justin goes right up the back for the "GRASS BLONG PIGIN" slate, and the feathers as well. So Mofo wins what will undoubtedly be called a "tight contest" in next week's previews. Dicko claims that the idol has "been a long time coming". Yes, because five days is an eternity and a fortnight. He reminds Cockula that they're going to go to a weenie roast tonight. (Unless Mofo would like to share their Immunity, of course.)

Mofo, Day 5. Somehow, despite bringing their tribe flag with them to the challenge, it is missing when the tribe returns home with the Immunity Whatsit. Nicolle confessionals that it was "such a buzz" to know what it feels like to not lose. Imogen seems to think that winning the challenge proves the importance of "mind over matter" somehow, and damned if I can figure out what it is, because they weren't dealing with advanced Descartes-level philosophy, they were making pairs out of tangible items. Hmmm. Amber wonders "whether [Cockula] actually thought we had a chance of winning". I think as soon as they realised it was a thinking challenge they were done for. Because really? Wayne, ManNan, the Leech? Don't seem big on the brains-y-ness. Imogen confessionals that she wants to go to Tribal Council tonight, just so she can get rid of Hornebags, and thinks that both Amber and Nicolle agree.

You know who really is going to have to vote someone out? Cockula. They arrive back on their beach, and Oldfart points out that the Leech in all his motivational pseudo-glory told the rest of the tribe that they're "3 for 1", which manages to be both impressive and impossible at the same time. The Leech confessionals that just yesterday, "there was no paranoia, no concern," and now that they're going to have to do the bit with the voting people out, everyone's out for the jugular. The Leech and Wayne agree that they were going to lose at some point, but didn't know when. And now we know. And it sucks, because it means that not only do we not rid ourselves of Hornebags, but it also means that the boys club is almost certainly going to gang up on either Ben or Gab, and they're the only two people on this tribe I can really tolerate at the moment. The Leech confessionals once more, because nobody else can have a moment to shine on this tribe, this time about how it's "not a good feeling" to have to try and improve your chances of winning money.

Commercials. Oooh, Murder, She Wrote's back on afternoon TV! A whole new generation of old people can be bored out of their minds!

We are still at Cockula when we return. Gab wades out into the water, where three of the boys are frolicking in an entirely non-homoerotic manner. Or so they'd like you to think. Wayne confessionals that "the game has started", now that they've lost a challenge. Apparently, he thought the five days they've spent with no food until today were just part of the audition phase. Ben is out in a deeper patch of water (read: more than three metres away from the shore), alone. Wayne tells us while scratching his neck that even though Ben is strong and smart and helpful, the tribe has a pact to get rid of him because he's the new guy. Which reminds me: Have we ever actually seen Ben be included in anything the tribe has done, except tell them how to find food? Over with the main group, the Leech tries to enforce the pact they've made, because he totally wants to ogle Gab some more, but winds up wondering aloud whether "it's the morally right decision" to vote Ben out. For the love of criminy. This is SURVIVOR. Throw whatever morals you're pretending to have at the door, so we can move on with the fun bit of the game. Morals ruined Australian Survivor. I do NOT want them ruining another season. Gah. Wayne tells everyone that they all come into the game with different skills. These include such things as Ben's survival expertise, ManNan's brawn, Gab's flirtatiousness, Oldfart's and the Leech's shared ability to be a grandstanding fool, Wayne's... Wayne's... huh. I can't think of a single skill Wayne has that would help them in this situation, or that we've seen. It sounds as though Wayne wants to back out of the pact, and I'd totally be with him on that if he wasn't so damn annoying. Still, if it's going to keep Ben around for another episode, then I'm all for it, even if it keeps Wayne around. I'd really much rather get rid of the Leech anyway.

Wayne is now trying to see if the Leech is okay with getting rid of Gab, and he's very non-committal about it. Wayne points out that those two are pretty much "the only considerations" that make sense, even though Wayne has done absolutely nothing of any value in the past five days and, as any Survivor fan knows, the first people to get booted are usually the old people -- which would mean either he or Oldfart would be the likely candidates. So, probably, the only people who should really feel safe tonight, if indeed there is anyone who should, are ManNan and the Leech. They sort of work out that they're going to keep Gab around mainly for the eye-candy. I think. Then the Leech does the whole butt-spank-y thing that all professional athletes do at some point. Because that's not gay at all. The Leech confessionals that booting Ben will "weaken [the] team", while struggling to come up with the right words to say that it'd be worth voting out Gab just to keep the tribe "at its strongest". See, "she's probably can't do the most amount of work around the place". Because SHE'S A GIRL. She uses a "BASKET BLONG TITI", therefore she is useless. Fuck off, Leech. You've just made The List.

The music cuts out entirely. While Ben is cooking, ManNan comes up to the shelter, where Gab is, and she asks him if "everyone" is voting for Ben. Right on cue, Ben walks past all shirtless and delicious and muscular and I'll be in my bunk. ManNan shakes his head to signal that Ben probably isn't going to get all the votes -- which'll be true, because Ben's not Lucindork or the Peroxidevil -- unless "someone is lying" to him. The impression I get from this whole thing is that, even though they have both realised there's a clear misogynistic thing going on here, neither he nor Gab seem to think he's a part of it, at least not to the extent that the Leech and Wayne are. I think I like him. He's certainly in the top half of this tribe, as far as likability goes. Gab presses ManNan, wanting to know whether he thinks Ben is more necessary in this game than she is, and... asking if you're really, truly more important than someone isn't exactly the smartest way to win this game, Gab. It's just lucky she's asking this question to a guy whose picture would be next to "meathead" in the dictionary, if dictionaries actually had pictures. (I would like to see what picture they would come up with for "dignity". I bet it wouldn't be any of these people.) Gab confessionals that she's getting paranoid because the boys' club is so tight-lipped about what they're going to be doing.

Very pretty, very slow sunset, and we are on our way into Tribal Council. Fires burn all around the place, as we cut rather unfortunately from a skull looking like it's being burned to Gab looking like she's being burned. The tribe finally sits down, after about eight or nine seconds more of this pointless filler time, again with their lit torches and without the stupid ritual. Thanks, show! Dicko welcomes them, and gets straight into Question Time. Wayne, is Survivor harder than you and your boob-admiring brain thought it would be? Wayne argues that, basically, they were so arrogant going into the challenge that they didn't think they were going to lose, and were running around like headless chooks trying to figure out who to get rid of, because they'd all gotten so close. Dicko interrupts to get a jab in at his non-answer, pointing out that the question was about whether the survival aspect of Survivor was hard, not the politics. Gab, is Cockula "a boys' club", or are they giving her all the stuff that the whole Women's Liberation Movement earned her entire gender. Gab very wisely lies and says she's feeling perfectly welcome and equal as part of Cockula, and even proclaims herself to be "a boy". So, she's gone to the same gender-tester as Caster Semenya, then. Dicko asks the Leech who "the leader" is. The Leech thinks that since everyone is in charge of a different aspect of camp life, such as Gab's "making toothbrushes" (important, manly role, that), there is no clear leader, and that nobody is talking over each other trying to assert their point. The implied "except for me, because I am the Supreme And Benevolent Overlord of Cockula, and what I say goes" is omitted. Oldfart, does everyone else avoiding the question make you proud to be a politician? Oldfart claims to have "passed on what little knowledge [he has] of numbers and politics and democracy", and it really must have been little to have worked with Pauline for all those years. Dicko asks him to "shatter a preconceived idea about politicians", by answering the question "Who is the weakest link?" with a simple answer. He can not and does not, causing Dicko to raise his arms in the air in mock surprise.

It's time to vote. Oldfart is first to "exercise [his] democratic right". A skull is almost burned to a crisp. Oldfart begins writing a name down, and we cut to a pensive-looking Gab. The Leech is next, and for some reason, Dicko feels the need to call everyone out individually to vote. The Leech votes. ManNan votes. Ben votes. Gab votes, pulling her short shorts down low enough to actually make a decent attempt at covering her arse, because Wayne had been surreptitiously trying to pull them up during Question Time. Gab votes for Ben, solely because he is the newest member of the tribe. Logical reasoning. Get rid of the strongest player on the tribe and make yourselves even more likely to come back here, all because he hasn't been on the tribe since the moment they left the Yacht Of You're Screwed. Ben looks sad. Wayne votes.

Dicko goes to "count the votes". Or, as is more likely to be the case, "rearrange the votes for maximum dramatic impact". Gab and Ben are both stony-faced.

Commercials. I find it ironic that pretty much the only commercials they have after midnight are those for phone sex lines and those for erectile dysfunction treatments.

There are so many skulls in this Tribal Council, it's ridiculous. Dicko returns with the votes, and reminds Cockula that their decision is final, just in case someone thought they could veto their own boot with "Wait! That was a practice!" He begins reading the votes. Benny. Wayne. Ben. Big Ben. Ben. And so Ben is gone, but at least he got to vote for someone who deserved it while he was still here. And after all that, Gab didn't get a single vote! Ben and his giant eyebrows are somewhat surprised to get voted off, but he manages to show enough restraint to not throttle the tribe for their stupidity. With the same Pan Pipe Tiki Orgasm music from last week playing, he is snuffed. Damn. Dicko feels the need to point out that Mofo have a clear leader (which: WHO?!), and that "the good times may be coming to an end", before sending them off.

Next week: Amber tells Hornebags that she's a social disgrace, earning her Immunity from ever appearing on The List. Hornebags wipes her nose with the palm of her hand in response. Amber tells someone to "shut it down, or there will be trouble". Possibly whoever designed Windows Vista. Hornebags bathes naked in a stagnant puddle, and later dons war paint to celebrate being "clean". Dicko claims that switching the tribes up will be "the biggest shock yet". Wayne once again claims another false start. ManNan also baths in what appears to be a similar stagnant puddle, but remembers to keep his board shorts on. Shame. Amber does not like something. Oh, and someone gets voted out.

Ben enjoyed working with Cockula and passing on his knowledge and skills. Well, that's nice. He could not possibly sound more bored or stilted while providing his interview if he was an actual sock puppet. His charity is non-existent. Is it possible he was playing for himself, rather than for a charity? If so, I hope he enjoys his money. (What? I can totally be a nice person. Really. WHY ARE YOU GIVING ME THAT LOOK?)

Monday, October 12, 2009

2x01: The Premiere And Marooning

In which we learn that the word "Celebrity" has officially lost all meaning.


I assume at least someone is reading this as their first experience into my little recapping hobby, so I'll explain something ahead of time: I kinda have a history of people I mock (and or reference) in these recaps dying in unfortunate circumstances. And, yeah, of course I'm interested in using this power or whatever it is for the greater good. So, Kyle Sandilands, it might be time to lay off the Coke a little. I hear it can cause heart attacks in high amounts.

Previously on Like Survivor, But Australian (Or, "Channel Nine Did Not Learn Its Lesson, So Here Comes The Apprentice Australia"): Well, a whole season, technically, but on another network and several years before this. That season, in short? Irish jig theme, Mother Nature, Imaginary love, bad Telstra, Joel's unseen big one, Katie and Sciona's sadly less-unseen arses, Moby Dick, a teddy bear, a whole bunch of death threats, and one that came true. Oh, and kangaroos.

We open on a burst of lava, which I take it is supposed to represent volcanoes or something. Is it to early to hope that, sight unseen, at least one of the contestants accidentally falls into the crater? And does my saying that mean it's suddenly going to happen for real? Sorry in advance to the family of the future victim, whoever you may be. (Unless it's one of the many people on this show I don't like, in which case this apology is entirely hollow.) The music here sounds much more epic and ominous than it was at the same point last time, which is to say: it sounds slightly epic and ominous. Last time, you may remember, it sounded like we were going to an Irish circus.

Cutting through the smoke to a helicopter shot of the volcano, we suddenly zoom in to see one Ian "Dicko" Dickson standing on the edge. Don't do it, Dicko! You have so much to live for! Like... well, not working with Marcia and Ricki-Lee, but... I'll get back to you when I do find a reason. Dicko tells us that he's "standing on the rim of Mount Yasur", which has apparently changed its pronunciation to 'Yasoor' after Jeff Probst and the contestants on that other Survivor show kept calling it 'Yasser' for an entire season. The rotting corpse of Arafat is also pleased. Dicko mentions the frequent eruptions, but for some reason chooses to simplify the concept of "lava" into "hot, molten rock". Is it really that hard to understand what lava is? According to Dicko, "the locals believe this to be the final resting place for spirits of the dead". This is accompanied by shots of locals (and I'm so glad he didn't call them "natives", because my Lord, how annoying that is) who are all very much alive. He says that Vanuatu "is a nation with a living history of tribalism, sorcery, and voodoo". I would think it'd be difficult to find any current nation without a living history, but what do I know? I'm only the recapper. And it's not like we're going to see any of the sorcery and voodoo, because we're too busy admiring the stock footage of how amazingly beautiful Vanuatu is. And it really is, at least by these shots, which makes me wonder why we never saw any of this scenery the last time Survivor was here. Oh, right. Voodoo! Sorcery! CANNIBALS!

Of course, our fun has to be ruined sooner or later, and Dicko takes the time to tell us that "twelve Australian celebrities are about to be marooned". Really? These are celebrities? Even by the admittedly-low Australian standards, this is a crappy assortment of people. As you'll see when Dicko introduces us to them:

"Amongst the girls", all standing around on a boat, we have cover girl and serial celebreality pest Imogen Bailey, accompanied by shots of a couple of her men's mag covers; professional dancer and amateur quitter (spoiler!) Kym Johnson, shown with a shot of her and Tom Williams in THAT Dancing With The Stars routine, reminding us that as bad as Dicko is going to be as host, it could always be worse; white witch and apparent sometime Playboy model Fiona Horne, who I'm sure is about to get a letter of thank you from all the other races for not calling herself a black witch or a Hispanic witch or an Asian witch or an Islander witch or any combination thereof; "royal bridesmaid" Amber Petty, complete with giant shot of Crown Princess Mary of Denmark, who is totally wondering when Amber is going to quit mooching off her fame; and Nicolle "Quit Calling Me Rob" Dickson, who you may or may not remember from Home and Away, but whom I certainly don't, because I was only two years old when her character died, and she's done practically nothing since. I suppose watching Home and Away at any point might also have helped me recognise her, at least a little.

And yes, that is two Dicksons. Last time around, one was more than enough, thank you. Please eliminate at least one of them. (Though, unlike last time, not from life. Yet.)

"Among the guys", also on the boat, are Ironman champion Guy Leech (and what an appropriate surname); token champion-in-an-obscure-sport motorcyclist Wayne Gardner; One Nation Party co-founder David Oldfield, who is presumably also happy Fiona self-identifies as a white witch; and former Wallabies vice-captain Elton Flatley. What, was the real captain too busy gang-banging some Kiwi chick to show up? (Wait, that's the wrong rugby code, isn't it? Sorry. It's what you get when you live in Melbourne.) In any case, Elton reminds me of my Nan, which is weird, given she's 1) in her eighties, and 2) dead.

Didn't he say twelve celebrities? That's only nine. Well, less, really, but let's go with their definition of "celebrity", because this is going to be a long season and I really don't need another nervous breakdown right now.

Dicko says they all get to give $5000 to a charity of their choice, but the winner get a hundred grand to donate. So, you know, try and win. He adds that "none of them realise how tough it will be", which I'm sure is the case if the rumours about them being told this was a celebrity version of The Mole are to be believed. Turns out there really aren't going to be tents and food. Yet. In any case, we get the stock-standard Probstian "they must learn to adapt" spiel, except in a British accent. It's totally what Jeff Probst does on his days off, anyway. Also? "25 days, 12 celebrities, 1 Survivor".

Credits! Still claiming there are 12 celebrities, but there are only 11 people listed. Hey, is this like The Mole, where the person they forget to introduce is the one to watch out for? By the way, we're missing a Justin and a Gabrielle, neither of whom I actually recognise from their pictures. Not that that should surprise me at this point. (Incidentally, can I put in a request for more shirtless Elton and no shirtless Wayne? Kthx.)

Trees give way to water, and we fly over both to get back to the Yacht Of You're Screwed. As the crew goes about menial stuff like lowering the sail, a bunch of locals head out to the boat in outrigger canoes, much like the last time Survivor was in this country. It may even be the same people, but damned if I'm expected to be observant enough to check. Imogen and Wayne look nervous as the armada approaches. It certainly looks epic, much more so than, say, the "renovated" school bus they used on Australian Survivor. Dicko raises his oar in the air and pretends to know what he's doing here. Imogen looks excited, but is surely wondering where the hell Tom Williams is, what with this being a Seven show and all. At least he's not Kochie. (Die, Kochie, die!) Dicko paddles. The sublebrities clap as fakely as the audience at the Australian Survivor finale. Wayne or someone lowers a ladder for Dicko to climb up when he arrives. Luckily, Dicko isn't a Somali pirate in disguise. As far as I can tell.

At half past a cameraman's shadow, Dicko welcomes everyone to Vanuatu, and to Survivor. A music sting sounds to signify that this should be some sort of surprise to the stars (alliteration, whee!), but we don't get to see any of their reactions. Probably because they gathered it wasn't Celebrity Mole when Chesty McSmarmington didn't show up, and thus were deliriously overjoyed. Not because they weren't on The Mole, because that show totally rocks, so much so that I'm already recapping it; but because they didn't have to put up with Chesty. Dicko tells the sublebs that he's "not going to lie to" them, then lies and says "the next few weeks are going to be really tough". I suspect that for many of these people, the only way this will be tough is that they'll be missing from all envelope-opening ceremonies and thus relegated to their pre-fame levels of recognition. Which, ironically enough, are unchanged from their current fame levels. Dicko informs the players they're going to be thrown from the boat, because when Survivor is on a boat it turns into Pirate Master, and nobody wants to relive that fiasco, then feels the need to point out that they won't actually be physically thrown from it. Shame, really. Although it's probably good news for whoever was supposed to be throwing Wayne. They'll only be getting the clothes they're wearing, one other outfit, and a rain jacket. No food, no water, no cooking equipment, not even a machete. Nice. Of course, you know and I know that they'll be showered with lavish rewards throughout the game, so it's not as much of a big deal as they're probably expecting us to think.

In addition to the clothing, they will get to keep their one luxury item with them (again, a nice change from the recent US versions). Pointing out that the choice of luxury items is going to be revealing about their personality and their understanding of the game, Dicko asks Amber what she's decided to bring. Apparently, mascara is helpful in a situation like this. Sigh. Elton is taking a football. Hee, he's totally the Naomi! Of course, Dicko thinks this is a wonderful idea. Good to know he's got Probst's overt sexism downpat. Figures. The Windchimes of Whimsy and Wonderment tinkle in the background as Fiona tells us she decided to bring Tarot cards. I suppose she figures she can use them as kindling. Unfortunately for her, they can use the ensuing fire to burn her at the stake if they want. Hint hint. She appears to be thinking like a blonde in this situation, pointing out the usefulness of the cards to help read fortunes. My Lord, she has no idea about this, does she?

It's time to split the nine players into two tribes somehow, so Dicko has the bright idea to divide them by gender. Imogen gasps in surprise that they'll be using the same twist the US version did when it was here. I'd consider it more surprising if an Aussie reality show didn't steal a twist from its American version at this point.

When Oldfield refuses to cross the floor, he and Dicko both point out that we're probably going to find out that he's a tad girly. Upon hearing this news, the women giggle like the gossipy schoolgirls they undoubtedly have been at some point. Dicko hands the men their bag and tells them their name is Kakula, then gives the girls theirs and calls them Mofo's. Oh, sorry, "Moso". Inside the bags are the personal belongings, and their buffs, which Dicko is calling bandanas for some reason. Both tribes get given a map to their camp, which will apparently also lead them to fresh drinking water. So much for the survival concept.

As everyone fucks off, Dicko demands an end to "the lovefest". Oh, thank God. One overly happy Australian Survivor was enough. Now, I'm out for blood. I don't even care whose. And to show this, I'm going to be dividing my hatred between Kochie and Tom Williams throughout this season. This way, we can try to get at least one of them off of Australian television sometime soon. (Special consideration granted to Richard Wilkins, not that he'll know whether he's dead or alive.)

Everybody gingerly gets into the outrigger canoes, which will take them to the mainland. I'm sure it's supposed to be interesting television, otherwise it presumably wouldn't have made the final cut, but it's really not. Featured on the row: Nicolle looking delirious. It's only Day 1! How's she going to handle the starvation and the hunger and the bugbites and the sleep dep-- oh, right, this is a Celebrity edition. Never mind.

Wow, they must really be yelling loudly to be heard over the music.

Imogen provides our first confessional of the season, saying she's got practically no experience with the survivalist aspects of the show, but that she felt perfectly safe on the water with the locals. Or possibly because she was safe from running into Kochie for a few weeks. Incidentally, something you may not have known about this show is a little unwritten rule about the first confessional-provider being one of the stars of the season. Even if it's not the biggest personality (Sandra was chosen in Pearl Islands, amidst such egos as Rupert, Lill, The Douche Formerly Known As Jon, and Burton), it's usually -- not always, Thailand's first confessional was from the first booted player -- one of the people you can tell is going to make a huge impact on the game. Nice to see that that's going to continue. (And, also, it's at about the same time in the show as the US version's first confessional, compared to having to wait for half of the damn premiere for the Australian Survivor one. Bonus points!)

Luckily, the editors wisen up quickly and realise that Rowing Is Boring, so we cut straight to the Mofo tribe arriving at their beach, which I do believe is the same beach the women's tribe used in the US version. Hooray for consistency! Kym instantly confessionals that she loved how pretty it was when the big nasty warriors came out and took them to their camp. Back in the real world, she complains that her shoes are wet already. Well, yes, when you row to the shore and jump out into the shallow water, they will be, dear. She condescendingly waves goodbye to the local rafter guy, who I'm sure appreciates being talked down to like a three-year-old. Shut up, Kym. In the same confessional, she tells us that, basically, she wasn't expecting the locals to leave, and was expecting a pre-fabricated condo of some sort on the beach. But there wasn't anything. Oh, no! Won't somebody please think of the stars?!

Even Nicolle, walking along the beach, notices the complete lack of "basic camping equipment". What sort of low-budget celebrity reality show is this, anyway? Turns out she's already seeing things that aren't even there, like my desire to see Kyle Sandilands remain alive. Oh, she's going to be a fun person to recap, I can feel it now. (And you better believe I'm using my powers for evil, says the cackling recapper.) Nicolle also confessionals about how she loves all the beauty of the area, but that she doesn't love it enough to want to camp out in all that beauty, because once you take a second look, it's all mosquito-y and in need of a serious facelift. (I believe that was Kym's reason for dumping Tom Williams.)

Speak of the Peroxidevil, she's busy whining to Amber about how she thought they'd get tents and bottled water. Amber more-than-slightly-sarcastically points out how stupid the Peroxidevil is for thinking that, and I love her already. Is it too late to declare Amber the winner and ignore the rest of the season ever happening? It is? Damn it. I blame Kochie. The Peroxidevil confessionals that her "first impressions are not good". She's right, but I have a feeling she might be meaning that statement in a different way than I'm interpreting it. Like I care. Apparently, she's "not an outdoorsy girl, and this is extreme, extreme outdoors", and has also never gone camping. One wonders why she thought tents would somehow shift this away from "extreme, extreme outdoors". Lord knows I hate the outdoors too, but come on. Even I know tents don't count. Amber snarks some more on the Peroxidevil's lack-of-materials complaint. And, like, we knew the Peroxidevil was never going to build a marquee anyway. In yet another confessional, the she whines some more about how the tribe is going to have to pull together to get anything done. In case, you know, you thought teamwork was a completely foreign element in this game, like she must've. Shut up some more, Peroxidevil. She also thinks every beach in the world has to have a lot of sand. Sigh.

We fly from the Mofos to the Second Annual Cockula Beach Sausagefest, where a bunch of stragglers nobody invited are gatecrashing. At least last time, there were actually some decent looking guys. (Yes, I know this wasn't actually a year after they used the beach for the other men's tribe. Don't care, either.) As the Leech begins telling people in a slightly-muffled voice that they need to build their camp on higher ground, that oldfart Oldfield confessionals that his first thought was on getting something soft to sleep on. He might bust a hip otherwise, you see. Meanwhile, Wayne, ManNan, and the Leech banter about whether they can build a shelter off the ground, with all the coherence and bravado you'd expect from three former sportsmen. Incidentally, you may not that Wayne's wrist goes more than a little limp throughout this scene. Eek, he's already adapting to the lack of boobies! (For the record, and I don't think there's actually a way I can show how strongly I mean this without base jumping from the Eureka Tower and spray painting it on the windows on my way down, WE DON'T WANT HIM ON OUR TEAM. But will that fit?) Oh, and the Leech just can't stop rubbing his nipples. Someone get that freak a shirt. Wayne, slow on the uptake, is the last person alive to realise that they've got no way to tie anything together. He confessionals that they "certainly are marooned on the island". God, I haven't heard anyone use "marooned" in a sentence since the very first season of this show. Heh. In other news, they have no equipment, no supplies, and "no nothing" to help them. What is he talking about? They've got plenty of nothing! They could start looking in his skull for some of it.

Later, Oldfart swings from a tree. Yeah, you'll get to live out your Tarzan fantasies in due course. For now, though, just sit down, shut up, and grab on. Oh, wait, he did. Aside from the "sit down" and "shut up" parts. He, ManNan, and the Leech banter a little bit about shelter and water or some other dull survival crap, before walking off to go look for better dull survival crap to talk about. Or possibly the magical mystical monks who will bring forth the incredible eternal buffet. Oldfart confessionals that the island is paradise in theory, but it's very primitive in reality. Sort of like the internal structure of One Nation. (Ba-doom tish!)

A crab scuttles into a rocky wall. I think I want the crab to win.

Back over at Mofo, home of the blue buff brigade, Amber says she'll go and get the water, in case, you know, Chesty shows up to try and reunite with the Peroxidevil. She wants to avoid the awkwardness. Or perhaps she actually wants to go and get water. It's sort of hard to tell. In any case, she already hates Hornebags (Fiona, people! Keep up!) enough to ditch her and choose to take the map for herself, even if it means she'll be the only one getting water. It's probably a good move, because Hornebags seems like the kind of dumb blonde who would stop every eight seconds to ask twigs for directions. I can't believe I'm saying this less than ten minutes in, but: One point for the chick who brought mascara with her. Of course, as Hornebags hands it over, she claims to be bad with directions. Aaaand she's back to even. Nicolle offers to go with her. Nicole hates Chesty too. In a standing confessional, Amber says she's surprised that all the women got stuck together, because she was expecting men to help out with shelter and fire. Insert your own joke about the men being more skilled with wood.

Amber and Nicolle wander and wonder how they'll get fire. They both realise that they probably won't be eating dinner tonight. As Nicolle climbs up an embankment that looks about as tall as she is, she confessionals that she didn't think it would be this hard. And the wood jokes just keep on coming. Approaching what could best be described as an oversized puddle, one of them asks whether this is their water supply. I don't know, but if it isn't and they think it is, then they deserve whatever internal parasites they get from this. Even the Rattlesnake Noise Of Stupidity agrees with me on this. Amber realises that this probably is the water, reinforcing the fact that they'll need to boil it before they can drink it. Which, of course, means they could have just used the damn seawater at their beach and avoided the climb. Amber takes the time to snark about looking for Mount Franklin, and Nicolle points out that she actually was looking for it. Sigh. As they finish filling up the canteens, Nicolle exclaims that she was "visualising... you know, a tap". Because you know what things an uninhabited island in the South Pacific is bound to have? A named mountain sharing it's title with an Australian bottled water company, and a tap.

Almost as if on cue, heavy drumbeats take us to another outrigger canoe, which we soon discover is arriving at Mofo. Oh, good. Someone from Mount Franklin is here to scout the island for new sources of crappy-tasting water. Hornebags and the Peroxidevil are too busy getting flicked in the face by trees to notice, so Nicolle has to run in and see it for them. She confessionals that she was shocked someone was coming towards them. Quick, hide the Peroxidevil, Chesty's found her! And hide me, while you're at it! The Peroxidevil confessionals that they were looking at the boat but couldn't make out what it was, and yet somehow knew someone was coming to visit them. Hopefully this new person brings some sort of actual brainpower to this tribe, which is currently sorely lacking in it. As Amber and the Peroxidevil continue trying to figure out the obvious, we jump cut from a shot of them standing together to one of the Peroxidevil standing well in front of Amber and walking up to the boat as she realises who it is. Oh, great, it is Chesty. Man the bazookas!

Commercials. Musical Rhetorical Question Of The Week: If my baby smiles at me and I go to Rio, who pays for the return flight?

We return with a helicopter flight over the island, proving nothing other than that this season is taking place on an invisible lake in the middle of the jungle. Or perhaps this one finally is Underwater Survivor. The boat is still rowing, and time has somehow gotten itself stuck in one of those annoying post-commercial loops again, as usual for no reason. The Peroxidevil finally realises that it's not Chesty (one point) or Kochie (another point), but that it's Justin Melvey (minus four hundred and sixteen thousand, three hundred and seventy-eight points, but who’s counting?). In a confessional, we learn from Amber (because she's the logical person to explain this to us) that the Peroxidevil knew Justin from when he stank up Dancing With The Stars with her as his dance partner. I gotta be honest, as an entertainment reporter, she makes a damn good bridesmaid. Still, at least she's less annoying than Richard Reid and Nelson Aspen and those twits from X17 and Hollyscoop who keep stinking up morning television. Oh, and those twits from Channel Seven too. You know the ones I mean. They include Kochie.

Before we move on, if they had to go with someone else from that first Dancing With The Stars season, why not Matt Shirvington? He was still under contract with the network, if I recall correctly, he isn't a fuckerbitching arsehole, and would fill out a Speedo nicely for all the water challenges we'll no doubt be getting. (To quote from Firefly, I'll be in my bunk.) Wasted opportunities. Sigh.

Justin and the Peroxidevil hug with all the enthusiasm of meeting your long-lost Great Aunt Mabel at a family reunion. The Peroxidevil tells us that even though all the girls were capable and having a great time without the presence of The Cock, except it was a little overwhelming. Surprisingly, she does not add, "Until they sent in one of the biggest dicks in the country, and we realised how much better we really had it without him. Oh, and ladies? I'm not talking about what's in his budgie smugglers" with a matching waggle of her pinkie finger.

Eventually realising that, hey, there are other people here, Justin begins to walk over to Amber, who marches down to him and introduces herself. Probably a wise move, because now Justin can write her name down on the vote, as opposed to having to scribble "that blonde girl who isn't [the Peroxidevil]. No, the other one. No, the other other one." every time. Justin, bogan pride evident, confessionals that he felt like one of the guys, except that there weren't any actual guys. Oh for the love of criminy, just say you felt like an outsider, and quit hogging the camera. Nicolle asks if he's here to help them, and Justin helpfully points out in case she stopped watching Home and Away after she died that he's an actual celebrity who is also playing the game. And I use the term "celebrity" loosely. Imogen confessionals that there were mixed feelings about Justin turning up, because the women already swore they'd vote off a guy if they got one. Why are these feelings so mixed? Justin can't possibly be that popular, unless he's already started bribing people to keep him in the game.

Cockula. The sausagefest is about to get a couple of buns. The Leech confessionals that he saw the boat first. What is this, kindergarten? It doesn't matter who saw it first, all that matters is that whoever is on it is going to spice up this crappy tribe! Right now, the only person I'm even close to liking over here is Elton, and that's because he hasn't really done anything to offend. Or, you know, anything in general. As the canoe rows closer, a nasal British voice calls out that she comes bearing tits. Oh, sorry, gifts. It's the accent that confused me. Not that she doesn't have a giant pair, but... you know. Wayne confessionals that he could see the boat, but not who was on it. He'd go down great at the women's tribe, assuming he could avoid groping them. (In related news, Hitler is busy celebrating his Nobel Peace Prize win.) Turns out it's Gabrielle Richens, another bikini model, who doesn’t get promo shots like the other women. As Oldfart asks whether the already-darkly-tanned-and-therefore-not-worthy-of-staying-in-our-country-let-alone-on-this-pathetic-tribe Gab whether she's part of their tribe, she snarks that having a group of ex-professional-athletes competing against a bunch of blonde bimbos who are probably still looking for Mount Franklin isn't exactly a fair match-up. No shit, Sherlock. Oldfart points out in a helpfully subtitled comment -- it even has his name, so all the militant feminists know who to pester -- that Gab's slightly... how shall we say, "more developed" than most women. On that note, have I mentioned Gab's funbags yet? I really should. Gab, honey, if I'm a gay guy and your ginormous tits distract me, it might be time to get a slight reduction.

In a confessional, Gab tells us that she thought all the guys hated the fact that they were stuck with her, because she seems like the sort of person who isn't going to be much good at anything, except perhaps a challenge involving breasts (and even then, Wayne's already here to win it for the tribe). Her job is listed as "The Pleasure Machine", which almost makes me want to know where you stick the batteries.

Oldfart graciously welcomes her "to our island", with as much enthusiasm as the Peroxidevil had for Justin just minutes ago. Wayne, ever the gentleman, calls it "Boy Power" which... really isn't a great name for anything, much less an island. Elton is busily trying to think of something else to stare at, beside the boobs. Wayne confessionals that he thought Gab was a "ditzy, y'know, sort of model-looking chick" and that she'd be completely useless. For those of you playing along, that's one point off for misogyny, one for sexist stereotyping, and three for looking like a scoutmaster.

Gab, already in her patented Snarky Seductress mode, asks how the men are going, and seems almost disappointed when they tell her they're doing fine. Heh. Oldfart confessionals that he was hoping that she'd have "lots of food and implements for us". And by "us", he quite clearly means "him". See, I know the political lingo! (Someone suggested to me the other day that I join the Australian Democrats, because I'm apparently great at putting over-inflated egos back in their hidey-hole. Yeah, that'll work. I'll probably wind up leading them in six months, the way they're going.) But at least Gab brought flint, so they can eventually make a fire. Nice to see these guys were prepared enough for this show that they seem to know how to make a fire without matches. As opposed to, like, certain American contestants on a season airing at the same time as this and couldn't even get the damn matches working. But I'm not going to name names, Becky and Sundra, so relax.

Mofo, home of time-lapse clouds. Justin suddenly realises that he's going to have to be Fire Guy, and the Peroxidevil -- with a tiny edge in her already-whiny voice -- says he "better do that quick smart". Justin begins laughing and mockingly salutes her, asking if this is a rumba. Well, she is short enough to have a Napoleon complex, but, no, I think he clear lack of anything even approaching a dance floor shows that it's more likely you'll see an actual trotting fox than a foxtrot. The Peroxidevil confessionals that poor widdle Justin is the only guy and everyone else wanted fire and blah blah fish fingers blah.

Amber confessionals that the flint came to camp with something very primitive-looking, by which I assume she means Justin. No, wait, scratch that, reverse it. Justin brought the flint with him. Well, that's not nearly as fun. She tells us that "obviously", he was "in charge of the fire". Can I ask why? Or is this a "he's a man, therefore he does manly things like hunt and gather and build" thing? Because I'm a man, and I do less-manly things like snark and give guys head and visit tea shops with friends (not the same friends, obviously, because the tea shop would never let either of us back in), and I am offended by that. Justin confessionals that he felt like crap, because the girls had gotten so much work done, and he had nothing to show for his presence. I'm pretty sure this is intended as a metaphor for his acting career somehow, and it's even more depressing considering how not-famous most of these women are.

Justin and Imogen almost manage to make something approaching fire, but Justin isn't even competent at that. The Peroxidevil laughs. She confessionals that apparently he "was getting really panicky", and that sparks almost look like fire. Good to know. There's a whole bunch of footage in here with him failing to do anything of value. He's still going well after sunset, and the Peroxidevil finally realises that he couldn't do it. Fat lot of good he is.

Cockula, Night 1. Their fire is burning so brightly it's strobing the night-vision camera (eat it, Melvey!), and it's apparently Wayne's effort that did this. Damn it. I have to give him a point now, don't I? Gab voices over that the first night was fun because they kept laughing. (It was less fun for Wayne, who was not lying next to Gab.) Gab asks the men if they're all married, which they are. Right about here, a third of Australia's women organise spontaneous Tupperware parties to celebrate, a third feel sorry for their respective wives, and a third don't give a shit. Oldfart answers Gab's question about their wives' opinions with a simple "well, they didn't expect you!"-style answer, and she laughs. ManNan claims they would have loved the all-boys setup. Until everyone got bored and started a circle jerk.

Guy confessionals in bright daylight that he wasn't sure what anyone else's wife was going to say. That probably explains why he's not married to any of them. Gab confessionals about the same basic thing. Can we move on, please? Nobody really cares what Lisa Oldfield thinks. (As evidenced by the dismal failure of that ripoff of The View she co-hosted a couple of years back.) Wayne earns his second point in recorded human history by swiftly changing the subject to whether Mofo has fire.

Let's go check, shall we! They don't. Yawn. Until they do. Hornebags or someone does a fire dance, and the Peroxidevil confessionals that it was "such a relief" to get a fire. Other stuff happens, but recapping the "they make fire!!1!" scene annoyed me last season, and it's no better when it happens at night.

The next morning at Mofo, Imogen confessionals that she felt really "lightheaded" and "dizzy" after sleeping outside. Well, there's 24 days left for you to get used to it, Imogen. She blames it on not eating and... she's a model. A MODEL. If she wants us to believe she actually eats, how 'bout letting some D-grade paparazzi get a shot of it. I suggest the Herald Sun's people. They're suitably incompetent. She says, playing at least a little bit to the "women are useless" stereotype, that they need a spear so Justin can go fishing. Justin suggests giving the girls crabs. Oh, I'll bet he does. Hornebags does nothing and complains that she can't believe she's doing anything "without a double espresso". Hornebags is already pissing me off, and that's the first time in this entire episode she's even spoken. She provides us a helpful segue about a reward challenge.

Said segue takes us to Cockula, where Wayne and Guy wonder where the food is. Well, watching to see if people give themselves some sort of intestinal disease is part of the fun, isn't it? Guy confessionals that, mate, there aren't any coconuts, mate. Not in the forest, mate. None at all, mate. None, mate. Mate. Wayne points out a bushel of bananas with his machete, and they chop it down. Turns out it tastes "like shit". Wayne would know. And, boy, these guys are whiny babies. In the old days, they didn't even get bananas, and had to resort to clam lips and abalone and other stuff that tasted "like cut-up Dunlop tyres". (That line from Australian Survivor will never get old. Of course, now, neither will the guy who said it, but whatevs.)

Guy is suddenly with Oldfart and Gab as they check the tree mail, which this season is actually placed in a tree. We intercut with Mofo for the mail reading:

For this first challenge, it's a sure bet
You're gonna turn around and get wet
It'll help if your tribe's got several who are good with a knot
Now this isn't a fight to the death
But get ready to hold your breath

Wow, that's a sucky message. Even the ones last time were better than that thing. Nicolle confessionals that they want to win the first challenge, and that it might be food. We do not have enough time for everyone else's "we just wanted to limp home in second" confessionals.

Commercials. What happened to that chick who sang I Wish I Was A Punk Rocker, anyway? Was she attacked by zombies? I bet it was zombies. (The preceding was not a death prediction.)

We fly back from the commercial, over the challenge, which involves beaches and buoys. Or something. The two tribes march up to an exceptionally proud-of-himself Dicko. He asks Cockula whether Gab was as helpful as a spice rack, or just has a big rack attached to a useless body. Nice to see he also managed to mimic Probst's leering misogyny. Do I give him a point for that, or take one off? Nobody speaks up to begin with, which is surprising considering the loudmouthed buffoons present. And also answers the question. Who would have guessed three sportspeople and a politician could answer a question without a ranting speech or a cliche in sight?

Without a matching question regarding Justin's lack of worth for Mofo to answer, Dicko points out that this is a challenge. No! Really? It's a reward challenge, just in case you thought the editing was hinky and we were getting to the Immunity Challenge before the halfway mark of the episode. The teams must build what Dicko calls a "tribal tam-tam sculpture", but which does not match any definition of tam-tam I can find. It's really more of an anorexic totem pole, but without the Native American Indian stereotypes like feathers and casinos. Anyway, the pieces are floating out in the water, inside floating chests (none of which belong to Gab). One at a time, you swim out to the chests, dive down and untie the rope holding it in place, and drag the chest back to shore and onto your mat. When you've got all your chests, you can take the pieces out and assemble them to form your tam-tam. First tribe finished wins. Got it? Oh, and you're playing for a big red fish and the stock standard Survivor Fishing Experience they give out near the start of every season -- a mask, a spear, a fishing line, and a lobster pot. At least this time, there are no flippers. Justin still raises one eyebrow, pathetically reminding us once and for all that he's no Phil Keoghan, and that Phil wouldn't be caught dead being a Survivor contestant. Two points for Phil, two points off for Justin.

Everyone takes their place in their starting circle, and Dicko asks who's sitting out, as though it's not already obvious to everyone on the beach that Amber is.

Survivors ready? GO! Hornebags and the Leech are first into the water. Three guesses who gets to the chests first. They both appear to get the knot undone easily, though we don't see Hornebags attempt it, and bring it back to shore. Not surprisingly, the women watching Hornebags think towing a chest looks hard, while the Leech makes it look easier than Paris Hilton. Everyone else cheers supportively, but Justin's totally doing it for the camera, and you can tell pretty clearly that he doesn't mean what he's saying. And he calls himself an actor. Except, you know, he's probably pompous enough to pronounce it "ac-TORRE".

ManNan is next to swim for Cockula, running into the water like he's wet his pants. But at least he's in the water, so nobody will notice and recap it or anything.

Hornebags finally drags her chest ashore, and Nicolle takes off. Elton's already diving down, though, so she's got some ground to make up. Or whatever the water-based equivalent of that cliché is. She does seem to do much better than Hornebags did, so it's nice to see all that water around Summer Bay is helping her. Perhaps it's the fact that there aren't any boats nearby.

Of course, ManNan has to show off, picking his chest up and carrying out of the water with one hand. Pfft. I can do that, but I don't wanna. Wayne takes the swimming mask, as Dicko reminds us that Cockula is up 2 to 1 in this highly-unevenly-weighted challenge.

Nicolle brings hers back, and the Peroxidevil swims out. Wayne brings his back while she's diving down to untie their third chest, so Cockula is still up by one. Yawn. Gab swims out, and she'll be bringing two heavy chests back to the beach with her, only one of which contains puzzle pieces. Imogen is next for Mofo. While she's running, Hornebags and the Peroxidevil prove they're a match made in heaven (or a reasonable facsimile), both complaining about how exhausting the task is.

Imogen sucks at swimming, so much so that she takes the time to rest on her chest. (Rhyming, whee/twee! [Delete as appropriate.])

Gab gets back to shore without a problem, but seems to just collapse or something about half a metre away from where she's supposed to take the chest. She gets it across, and Oldfart runs away, because a woman proving their competence and independence is certainly something no uber-conservative politician can support.

Hornebags has to yell out at Imogen to dive down to find the knot. I like Imogen and all, but: MY GOD, has she ever SEEN this show?! Everybody knows to dive down. I know to dive down. The other contestants know to dive down. Even Sarah frickin' Palin probably knows to dive down.

Hey, look, Oldfart's already back! Just in time for the Earlybird Special! (He's expressed an interest in the runny eggs, provided it's possible to deport the yolk.) As they start solving, Dicko reminds us that they're ready to start solving. I don't know where I'd be without Dicko to explain these things to me sometimes! (Answer: Probably watching television that doesn't treat its viewers like goldfish.) Someone -- I think it's the Leech -- comes up with the bright idea to use the two conveniently puzzle-piece sized racks to place the puzzle pieces while they work the tam-tam totem out. Gee, thanks, Mister!

Eventually, Hornebags gets sick of waiting, and calls Imogen back in. Who voted for her to be team captain, anyway? When she gets back in, Justin heads out. On shore, Imogen attempts to explain herself while catching her breath. If what I can understand through her ragged breathing is right, there's two sets of knots, one holding the towrope to the chest, and one holding it to the anchor or whatever, and she was trying to undo the wrong one. As if to belabor the point, we get a nice shot of Justin undoing the bottom knot. Without the swimming goggles everyone else had, because they make him look like a twit on television.

Wayne has been placed in control of being in charge of taking over leading the Cockula puzzle-solving efforts. Yawn. Usually, the puzzle solving is the fun bit of these challenges to watch, but here it's just boring.

When Justin returns, he runs back out again to get the final chest for Mofo. Dicko helpfully reminds us that because Cockula can't erect a long thing made of wood, the challenge isn't over. Lincoln Howes wasn't spectacularly great hosting Australian Survivor, all things considered, but at least he wasn't as horrible as this. So one point for him, even though he's not here. Oh, and one point off, Dicko.

Okay, this challenge officially sucks beyond redemption, and I'm not even going to bother recapping the rest. Suffice to say, Cockula wins, and I have a new reason to hate Justin -- the nickname "Juzzy". Minus three points. Also, Dicko runs funny.

We join Mofo later on, still with the annoyingly sentimental You Lost The Challenge music playing. Imogen confessionals that she "was devastated" that they lost the challenge, because she feels responsible. Cheer up, Imogen! You've still got another 23 days worth of challenges you can fuck up! Imogen tries explaining to everyone else that the diving masks make her feel claustrophobic. Hornebags appears to agree, but immediately confessionals that she thinks Imogen is weak. Hornebags is a bitch, yeah, but she's completely right on this. I feel all weird, like the world is about to end.

Right on cue, there's lightning over Vanuatu. As Nicolle hands Justin some kindling or something for the fire, Imogen attempts to head undercover to get out of the rain. As she is wont to do, queen bitch Hornebags tells her to stay out, because she doesn't want the undercover bit to get wet. Perhaps they should have thought about that before, oh I don't know, standing in the rain. Just a suggestion. Once she's out of Hornebags's eyesight, Imogen gives a phony army salute, and all is right with the world again. Imogen confessionals that Hornebags is a skanky whore who needs to learn when to shut the fuck up. (I am paraphrasing.) She confirms that at some point, people might actually vote against Hornebags because she's so overbearing. Gasp! Voting? Against somebody? In Survivor? Never!

Out in the wet, wet woods, Hornebags goes for a walk with Amber, and uses the chance to plead her case for getting rid of "the weak players". I would like to know when exactly she came to the decision that she was not one of the weak players. Apparently Hornebags is already deciding whom she'll be voting for at the tribe's first tribal council. Clearly, it's Imogen she's talking about, so keep this in mind.

It's still thundering after sunset at Cockula. Shocking, I know. (GROAN.) The Leech and the subtitle guys tell us that the celebrities have "gone from the penthouse to the shithouse" in about five hours. Classy! And necessary! He continues his Patented Bitch Session, whining about how everyone on their tribe looks "like major losers". As you do, when you're trying to get these people to vote for you at the end of the game. Oldfart tries to scrounge up a modicum of dignity, pointing out that the night's going to be very, very long. Whether he's referring to the weather or the Leech's whining or Pauline turning up to strip is anyone's guess. The Leech confessionals that after three hours of complaining about the weather, he realised he wasn't God, so he decided to shut up. It took him three hours? I would have been, like, "And stop raining... NOW! [beat] Uh, that didn't work." Oldfart hypothesises that maybe Hornebags cast a spell to make it only rain on their island. The Leech wonders if Hornebags is really that good. Of course, given both tribes are on different parts of the same island this time, we can't even swing by Mofo to check. But that doesn't mean we're not going to.

We're not, of course, because that would give Hornebags some credit and we don't want that, but we are going there to see Amber bitch about what's going to kill them first -- the cold, the sleep deprivation, dehydration, or anger. I hope someone pointed out to her that you can't actually DIE from sleep deprivation, unless you happen to be driving a vehicle at the time. Amber confessionals that she's already sick of the game. She hasn't slept and hasn't eaten, but at least they have some green bananas to do something with. (Odds one of the women carried those bananas back to camp: Zero.) If the bananas don't feed everyone, Amber's already suggesting cannibalism. On Day Three. Even Rob took seven whole episodes to ask people whether he could eat their "big, meaty thighs". (Seventeen more points for dealing with that competently, Craig, even though I probably already gave you some.)

Imogen complains about the taste of one of the bananas, and the Peroxidevil pipes up to tell us that it's like potato. I'm sure the people on the island already figured that out, and the people at home don't care, so shut it already. Justin, Imogen, and the Peroxidevil complain some more, before the Peroxidevil confessionals that she'd gone hungry before in her life (being a world champion dancer apparently doesn't pay the bills, see), but she didn't think it'd be this tough. It occurs to me that we need a drinking game for every time someone says something ridiculous that shows they have no understanding of the game, on this or the American version. Sometimes, we wouldn't even make it out of Jeff Probst's "Previously on Survivor" voiceover. As Imogen and Hornebags try to stomach their potato-bananas, Imogen confessionals once again that Everything Is Her Fault, because she made them lose the challenge. She adds over more camp footage that if they lose this next challenge, then it'll be her fault again.

Challenge Pigpen. (Yes, really.) The tribes march in, while I do the No Treemail To Recap Happy Dance. This week, it's set to Moscow, by Genghis Khan. I'd even do the "throw your glasses at the wall" bit, if I could be bothered getting a poster of Kochie's face. Dicko wants to know how the tribes fared during the rain. He can watch the last few minutes of the episode to get the answers, because I'm not recapping them. Dicko informs us, as though we hadn't guessed, that this is the Immunity Challenge. And in news I'm sure the Peroxidevil is shocked to hear, they'll be competing for something called the Immunity Idol. It's... a vaguely head-shaped rock on a log, with bones or sticks or something hanging out of it. I think I prefer the Australian Survivor Immunity Bell. The winners of the challenge get the Immunity Thing, the losers go to Tribal Council. You may have gathered what the challenge is by watching this show before. Basically, you enter the pigpen one at a time, and retrieve a pig with its back spraypainted in your colour. Once you get it into your own smaller pen, the next person can go. The first tribe to five -- one for each person playing -- wins. And if it isn't enough of a giveaway that this challenge is a ripoff from the American version, they're even using the exact same fricking pigpen, right down to the same tree randomly sticking out of the middle of the pen.

As if the challenge wasn't horrible enough to the animals, now Dicko has to patronise how worthless the celebrities are. Okay, most of them deserved that. As a result of said previous night, and not at all as a way of evening up the numbers on the mismatched tribes, there's also a reward. Dicko directs everyone to look over at the previously invisible "Ben". We learn that this "Ben", who is now officially The Best Prize In The History Of Ever, And I Don't Even Care Whether He Can Actually Do Anything, is a former SAS soldier who just got back from Iraq. As the teatowel around his head and the machete show, Ben's a jungle survival expert. Hot and smart? We hit the jackpot, people! And he's going to be a full-time contestant, too, which makes it even better. Ben automatically scores a batrillion points.

Dicko reminds Mofo that because six is more than five, someone has to sit out. And because it can't be the same person twice in a row, Amber has to give the Danish media some fodder to mock her with. It looks like Hornebags orders Imogen to sit out, but she's not going to, because she wants to make up for fucking up the last challenge. But she doesn't want the animals to get hurt. Dicko tells us she's "well known for her thoughts on animal welfare", which surprises me, because I didn't think anyone on Mofo was particularly well-known for anything. Aside from Justin's being the Worst Actor In The Entire Badly-Acted History Of Days Of Our Lives. It turns out that the Peroxidevil is sitting out, which surprises me, because she'd be used to coaxing pigs into moving, what with Justin and Tom Williams and Jerry Springer and all.

There is something unnervingly hilarious about hearing the words "Tribes, into your pigpens", and I can't quite put my finger on it.

Did you know there are palm trees in the South Pacific? Apparently there are. Who'd'a thunk it? There are also pigs and celebrities, though those are a bit harder to differentiate. When said tribes get into said pigpens, Dicko gives us the first taste of what I'm sure will become a recurring joke throughout the season, which'll piss the producers off because it seems to be inteded entirely seriously. So: "Play hard, play fair, but play to win." For God's sakes, Dicko, I don't want them to play fair! That's what ruined the other Australian Survivor! Didn't you do your research?

Okay, here's the deal. I tried recapping this challenge. Really, I did. But it just kept devolving into the same basic joke. So let's just say "OMG SWINE FLOO!!1!LOLZ!!!1!1!" and move on, shall we?

Anyway, Cockula wins Immunity and The Best Reward Ever. Try to look surprised. It'll make up for how Mofo looks. Amber is crying. Literally. CRYING. Ben probably would be crying, too, if 1) he knew what Cockula was like, and 2) wasn't such a Big Strong Man. Dicko reminds us that Mofo are going to kick someone out at Tribal Council. Just in case you didn't know how Survivor works. And how was that rock you've been hiding under for the past decade, anyway?

After a montage of random badly framed shots, we return to Cockula Beach. Gabrielle gigglingly confessionals immediately upon arrival that they "won a boy" and that he "can actually save our lives". Gab, this isn't The Island from Lost, we don't need the histrionics.

Ben tells everyone around him that he's going to pass on all the survival skills he knows, as quickly as possible. And, of course, that means there isn't enough time to keep his shirt on. He's already my favourite person in this crappy cast. He confessionals that he thinks the tribe values him as a reward. Well, he is the catch of the day, I'll give him that. He does seem inordinately shy, though. I don't know whether to tell you that that's because he's just a quiet person (possible, and just makes him even cooler), or because he's awestruck by all the famous people (excuse me for a second while I choke on the preposterousness of this statement being true).

Ben grabs some random leaves from a random tree, and Wayne asks what it tastes like, as though it matters. Wayne, when you're on this show, if it's edible, you need to eat it. Regardless of whether it tastes like spinach (like this does, according to Ben) or "cut-up Dunlop tyres" (dead or not, mocking Rob Dickson's word choices throughout Australian Survivor will never get old, and Craig's "big, meaty thighs" agree with me on this.). Shut up, Wayne. He does not, and asks how it needs to be cooked. You know, if you'd have told me this was going to, Gab aside, be bulky athletes against girly girls (fine, Justin too), and that you'd get two tribe members exchanging recipes by the end of the first episode, I wouldn't have picked that they'd have been from the guy's tribe. Heh.

Wayne confessionals that he was surprised that he could eat most of the stuff he'd been walking over for the past few days. Crap. There goes part of the fun of this show. I want these people to be so starving by the end that they'd pay $500 just for a Dorito, dammit! And this just doesn't cut it, I'm afraid.

There's a pointless and utterly unsnarkworthy scene here involving Wayne returning to camp with an armful of leaves. Such wasted comic potential.

Mofo. As everyone marches back to camp, Nicolle exposits in a confessional that nobody actually wants to go to Tribal Council. Thanks for the heads-up!

Imogen is crying once AGAIN, this time in the water. Damn the Underwater Celebrity Survivors and their underwater onion farm. She confessionals that she wanted to win and didn't want to be weak enough for the other people on her tribe to vote her off, but that her work with P.E.T.A. made her want to protest... the idea that pigs are domesticated animals, I guess? It's not really the producers fault that the other D-listers were grabbing the pigs the wrong way in the heat of the moment.

Justin makes a fire, and of course Hornebags decides to speak up about getting rid of somebody, apparently not aware of the historical relationship between witches and bonfires. Does she need a reminder? ‘Cause I could probably get that sorted out if I have to. Their discussion of who to vote off is so unbelievably brief that it seems as though we're missing something pretty damn major. Hornebags confessionals that her entire strategy is basically the same one as Lance and the other alliance-deniers had during Australian Survivor -- get as many of the tribe's members through to the merge, and then let the best man win. Because it worked out so well for them.

On the beach, the Peroxidevil tells Amber says she doesn't want to vote for anyone else, because they're all "so passionate about being here". It might have helped to have thought about that before losing the challenge.

Commercials. I would have thought the Pope would have no reservations about calling someone named Mary a saint, but here we are. (Of course, let's be honest though, God isn't exactly the immortal being my thoughts are usually in tune with.)

It's now after dark. Mofo walks into the rocky and skull-adorned Tribal Council to the tune of some clicky drums and random moaning noises. Somehow, they already have both torches and fire, which at least means we will be spared the lame "fire is your life" ritual the Americans always have to endure. Dicko decides to head straight into question time, and I suddenly want to skip forward to the first time he has to deal with Oldfart. Anyway. Peroxidevil, did you think the outdoors was going to be cold at night and wet when it rains? "Never, ever in [her] wildest dreams". Some sheltered life she must have led up until this point. Hornebags, you've assumed the role of Token Yelling Bitch. Does it make you "vunnerable"? She says it will eventually, but she doesn't think it will tonight. She's told everyone to tell her to shut up when they think she's talking too much, because she will. The way she says it, it's unclear whether she means she'll shut up or whether she'll talk too much. Possibly neither. Imogen, you sucked at one challenge and everyone else sucked so bad at the other one that you didn't even get a chance to suck. Does that make you a target? Imogen thinks the tribe needs to win more challenges.

It's time to vote, even though we have half the tribe still left to answer questions. Amber is first, and votes for the Peroxidevil, eye-rolling back in the main area of Tribal Council, because she doesn't appear to want to be there. Justin votes. The Peroxidevil votes. Nicolle votes. Imogen votes. Hornebags votes. Kind of takes the suspense out of the vote-reading when they don't even have a second person being voted for, don't you think?

Anyway, Dicko goes to count the votes, and returns. Blah blah I'll read the votes blah blah decision is final blah blah leave the area immediately blah blah fiddle dee dee potatoes blah bling blee. All four votes we see are for the Peroxidevil. Even Dicko wasn't pretending to care the votes mattered. Well, bye, Peroxidevil. She smiles at the news, and this awesome bit of music begins playing. How awesome? Well, it's caught somewhere in the middleground between guttural moaning and an uptempo pan-pipes medley. The moaning is sort of cool sounding, though.

As Dicko snuffs the Peroxidevil's torch, we learn that the snuffer is... I have no idea what it is. It looks like what you'd get if you drew the space coyote from that episode of The Simpsons, put a crown on it, and told the props guys to build a snuffer from the picture. The tribe does their best to look sad as the Peroxidevil walks off towards the hotel. When she's gone, Dicko tells the remainder of Mofo that they're now down a person (remember, Cockula evened up the numbers by winning Ben), and need to work hard to catch up, before ordering them back to camp. Well, I suppose I should give him a point for trying. I'm sure it'll come off again soon anyway.

Next week: Amber wants food, and wants to know which tree branch she has to mate with in order to get some. Imogen is hearing voices in her head. People begin playing the game. (Presumably, something also might happen over at Cockula.)

We learn that the Peroxidevil's donation is going to Merry Makers Australia, whatever they do. The Peroxidevil cheerily says in her post-boot confessional that she thought the game was tough and the people were nice and she hopes Mofo wins the next challenge. Lofty aims. Now go and teach Jerry Springer to dance already.