Monday, October 12, 2009

1x02: Violent Weather And Violent People

Some idiot in post-production decides that “Mo’ Confessionals!” is an acceptable way to make the episode interesting. I am understandably unimpressed.

Last week on It's My Fault... Hey, Don't Agree So Quickly!: The abundance of fire in the cold weather made David sick and a quitter. Princess Jane was less sucky than Lucindork in what is generously being referred to as a “tense tiebreak”. The tribe spoke even louder than usual when every single person voted out Lucindork, including Lucindork. Now, one person is eating sushi in the Loser Lodge, the other fifteen are eating raw fish straight out of the Underwater Survivor fish farm. In the absence of Link saying it, who will be voted out... TONIGHT?

Credits. Believe it or not, you are watching a show just like Survivor, in case you didn't see the word “Survivor” any of the thirteen times it is clearly visible during the credits.

Tipara Tepee, Day 4. This week we are treated to lame stock audio of the wildlife pointing out that Hey Australia, This Is Still Goddamn Australia! instead of the usual lame stock footage, and I am eternally grateful. One episode and 72 seconds in and I’m already unable to think of interesting ways to say “kangaroo shot”. Feh.

In any event, the Immunity Bell is sweaty, and so is a spiderweb. Jeff wakes up and he is so boring doing it that he forces the editors to immediately cut to Princess Jane bitching about the cold. Of course, everyone agrees with her, because she is Princess Jane, and Princess Jane always gets what she wants. Except for “out of this hellhole”. Rob wonders whether they all got bitchslapped by the ugly stick, or whether it was just him. The correct answer? Everyone except Joel. Maybe Joel was the one holding the stick. Sciona demonstrates how to remove a bra without taking your shirt off, while she voices over and later confessionals about sleeping arrangements and not being able to stretch her legs out. And, seriously, she is probably the shortest person on the tribe, so she should shut up about this until all the tall people have been voted off. Back at camp, she shows off her bathers and someone (Lance, I think), says they'll catch an eye or two. Of course, the eyes will only be catchable because people are poking their own out in an attempt to avoid seeing the swimsuit. Rob confessionals about how Sciona's lovely and how he wants to go all the way with her and how I probably wound up thinking the wrong thing about that last part. Except for that last part. He adds that Sciona thinks of him as her little brother, and wonders who would vote their little brother off early. If they're anything like either of my little sisters, I would have bribed the casting people not to choose them in the first place, but to each his own.

Princess Jane, Hatie, and Rob discuss whether they would all voluntarily camp out with Sciona's bathers if they weren't playing for the money. It should be noted that Princess Jane has on a green tank top and pink bra, so clearly she is as colourblind as whoever decided Kadina's tribe colour was green last week. Jeff butts in to say that “the other morons” aren't getting a cent. Princess Jane confessionals about Jeff's rudeness and what he says behind their backs, and that Princesses would never swear and talk about people behind their back. You know, like she's doing right now. Hatie compares the odds of surviving through 14 more Tribal Councils with winning the lottery, and Lance cleverly points out the highly scientific principle that Fewer People = More Chance Of Winning. Clearly, he studied the notebook.

Fire. Kadina. Joel and Sylvain are talking about... something, it's hard to figure out what, but presumably it has to do with Tribal Council because we then get Sylvain confessionaling about what going to Tribal Council does to a person. It's an interesting concept he's trying to explain, but the problem is he's doing about as well as Sarah Palin explaining what the Bush Doctrine is. Deb confessionals about how they should already be thinking who should go next, because that's how much they suck. David confessionals about how everyone says they thought camping in the middle of nowhere with no food, no water, and no supplies would be a little easier. Wah wah wah. The tribe walks to the bee-infested windmill, where NoMind proves her nickname is apt by describing how everything tastes like fish when you cook it in a pot containing fish residue. No shit, NoMind. Craig sniffs the rice can, and Deb suggests eucalyptus leaves and water should get rid of the taste. Hey, these people are actually being shown trying to survive! What kind of show is this, anyway? David bitches about the fish smell instead of the taste. Because he likes being different.

In other news, over at Tipara, Hatie is massaging Rob's back while Jeff feeds him. Hedonist. Hatie confessionals that she's flirting with the guys, for the completely unrelated reason that when people look at her, they think she is a nice girl. They are no doubt soon proven wrong. Hatie auditions for the role of Least Humble Survivor by adding that she is clever and smart and a winner and blah blah I Am The Walruscakes, koo koo ca joob. She will have you know that she's not manipulative, but she is good at getting what she wants in a clever way. Wow, that is as good a piece of revisionist history as Survivor has ever had. Usually it’s “I might be a prick, but I’m just being myself”. But this is much more… well, not fun, per se, but… less boring, you know?

Time-lapse clouds. Kadina, who seem to love the elemental introductions this week. NoMind and Craig find another bag of rice and the crappy rhyming clue, which this time is a rolled up piece of parchment reading:

The tribes have spoken; it's seven plays eight
But it’s sand which will decide today's fate
Pull and pull, it's a race to the top
The winner drinks and the loser will not.

Everybody is confused about the clue and providing the usual way-off guesses. Awesomely, at Kadina a fly lands right on the camera just before David continues talking about how he was sick but isn't now, as if anybody cared. Shut up, Bald Spice. As usual, we get a normal “we're going to win!” cheerleader ruining my fun on the way out of camp. I kind of want someone to yell out “we're going to streak!” or “we're going to bury the last lingering traces of Link's/Probst's career!” instead. Just once.

Commercials. Oh, fuck. The Australian Idol contestants are about to try and extend their G-List fame again, aren't they?

Cliffs, sand, branches, and a little wooden platform. The tribes walk down to Link and he immediately begins to explain the challenge. Wait a second. No questioning tribes about food or water, no explaining that someone got voted out at Tribal Council, no snotty snitting? I gotta say, this is very refreshing. And onto what I’m actually supposed to be recapping, the challenge. Each tribe has a treasure chest buried underneath a flag. You've gotta dig it out, and then use timber tracks, rollers, and a rope to get them to the top of a large sand dune. When they cross the rope at the top, they can pick up their chest and carry it to their platform. First home gets everything inside their chest. Inside, I hear you ask? A fishing rod, spices, and ice-cold cans of Solo. You'll note the distinct lack of excitement at this reward, even though Kadina could probably use the Solo to wash away the fish taste in their pot. Tipara's got an extra person, so someone's gotta take a breather. But Princess Jane slept through last week's failed challenge -- which, as you'll recall, was declared null and void by Link's friend Mother Nature, who apparently Does Not Like Kadina -- and so has to help haul a big-ass chest up a hill. And not her own. They choose Sophie, because big chests are something she clearly has no experience with.

Survivors ready? Go! Everybody digs and apparently gets the chest uncovered quickly, except for Sciona, who is working ahead by placing the logs in formation. There's a lot of shots of people moving their logs around, and a couple of Joel and Sylvain pulling the chests, and one showing Rob doing sweet fuck-all to help. It's hard to tell who's winning, aside from the “Tipara Leading” and “Tribes Even” graphics, which actually have a purpose for once. Thanks, graphics guys! Awesomely, everybody else is running up the hill, but Link is just strolling up in between the two tribes, as though it’s the easiest thing in the world. Link might have the personality of a doorknob, but he brings the unintentionally funny. And, just like that, Kadina wins. Cheering shots to match last week. Wait. Kadina wins? KADINA? Wow. Nice work. I did not expect that based on the editing, and especially not because the Wikipedia page has Tipara winning this challenge. Kadina opens their chest, and we get lots of nice shots of the Kadina Krew drinking their Solo. I may be wrong on this, but I think Solo might possibly be a sponsor. Caren confessionals that it was great to watch Tipara on the edge of tears after losing. Don't get too used to the feeling, Caren.

Back at Kamp Kadina, Tim and Bald Spice have trouble opening a box containing fish sauce. Tim wants to drink a can of Solo right away, under the theory that they'll still have cans left if they do it. That's... really the dumbest thing you could possibly do. You could either ration them off some more like you did with the two cans at the challenge (apparently, they won 24 cans), or you could drink a can each right before you head to the challenge so you're energised and actually able to compete. Any other idea and you are just idiots. The tribe shoots him down without meaning to, and he decides not to. Bald Spice confessionals that Kadina tribe is bureaucratic like the CIA, and he wants to just do his own thing like al-Qaeda. Or something like that, using an example with fewer suicide bombings.

Tipara. Jeff wants to make the fire instead of going fishing, because he has a sore foot. So in one decision, he has given his tribe two reasons to vote him off -- injury and not trying to fit in with the group. Dumbarse. He confessionals that he'll run through the pain in the challenge tomorrow. And he'll be running on his stump if his leg falls off. I for one would like to see that. Why? I have no idea. And if it was one of those challenges where team members are belted together, it would be a literal three-legged race.

Down at the ocean, everyone goes swimming. It would be remiss of me if I didn't mention this, but Hatie spikes up Rob's hair in such a way that it looks like there's something going on between the two. Huh. In better news, Joel is shirtless! We get a nice (and by “nice”, I mean “hideously grotesque”) shot of Jeff's foot at camp, as Joel confessionals about why it sucks to have someone who's hurt on the tribe. Princess Jane and Sciona catch fish. Jeff etches “HI FAMILY I MISS YOU” on a piece of wood, clearly about to cry. Hey, you know who would enjoy this tear-jerking moment? Caren. We should bring her over! Rob, Hatie and Sophie watch a whale come out of the water. Well, isn’t that nice?

Commercials. Tonight in the Nein Newsroom: Switzerland declares war against neutrality. Neutrality doesn't seem to mind.

It’s nighttime at Tipara, and Jeff snores. Day 5. Jeff still snores. Rob confessionals that Jeff snores. Princess Jane confessionals that Jeff snores and makes her vibrate. Jeff confessionals that it was the best night's sleep he's had since the game began. Okay, that was a funny line, but the setup for it was making ME snore.

Loud drum music and a gratuitous kangaroo wake Kadina up. Deb wants to call Kadina the Kadina Battlers. Feh. Sylvain confessionals about the lack of downtime in the game, and the thorough extremes and how he's exhausted. Tim confessionals that the young people break down quicker. Oh, those young kids, what with their weak bodies and all. How will they ever outlast YOU, Tim? Craig whines to Tim and Sylvain about the same stuff Sylvain made a confessional for, and Tim is all “try sleeping, dumbarse”. Deb confessionals that Tim is flying so under the radar that she noticed it, thus defeating the purpose. Bald Spice and Sylvain play with their rod. ...Oh, not like that. Get your mind out of the gutter. And while you’re there, could you pick my mind up? My hands are a little busy writing this.

Kadina leave their camp and head all the way down to the shoreline. Apparently, the same person who kept taking their compass last week has taken the fishing rod this week, because when they get to the shore they can't find it. Deb confessionals about how Kadina is dumb and sans leader. Tim says he was going to be a smartarse but decided not to. Bald Spice confessionals that everyone is too damn nice. Well, of course. When they’re not nice, they end up getting horrible nicknames like you’ve got. Random shots of Kadina walking around and catching fish. Tim voices over about how nice everyone is. See, ald Spice? There’s a way to mention how unbearably nice everybody is without sounding like an egotistical tool. Maybe you should try it sometime. NoMind gives Tim a fishing line to cast, afraid she'll accidentally throw it in the water, and Tim... throws it in the water. Ladies and gentlemen, there are some stupid moments you really can’t make up if you tried, and that was one of them. As he gets ready to retrieve it, Caren asks him not to die. Because then they’d have to clean up his rotting carcass, and that’s not really something she wants to do. Jumping in after it, Tim confessionals about how being old makes you a leader. And how he saw the cast of Underwater Survivor while he was retrieving the line.

Tipara. Rob rings the Immunity Bell as the tribe leaves camp to get water. Lance confessionals that the water is about two kilometres away, and they’re going to have breakfast down there. Apparently, water soup is on the menu. On the walk, Lance and Princess Jane talk about how Lance has been married for almost fifteen years. In a different confessional, Lance mentions how Princess Jane is young and wants to contribute, but is finding it hard because the old people want to do everything for her. Princess Jane tells us the exact same thing in a confessional of her very own. Hatie and Sophie wash Princess Jane's hair with their drinking water. Rob confessionals about how Sophie and Princess Jane are like sisters. Except they’ve yet to resort to playing practical jokes and pulling each other’s hair.

Apparently back at camp, Lance confessionals that Princess Jane wanted to start a fire, but that Sciona took over. Nice to know that even in the middle of nowhere, there are still people who don’t trust teenagers with matches. Sciona voices over that Princess Jane is young and not fitting in. Princess Jane confessionals that se was disappointed she didn't get to start the fire. Rob confessionals that Sciona is a strong leader and that she and Princess Jane were arguing. Hey, editors: More show, less tell. Also, less stock footage shots of the Water Windmill.

Commercials! Jennifer Aniston would like you to quit stealing her hairstyles. It's time to let the Rachel go, people.

Tree Mail and or Rock Mail! Tim and Craig find a group of coloured rocks with the message:

Stand tall, stand proud
But watch the ground
Immunity is yours if your balance is sound

Princess Jane thinks the challenge is standing on poles, which actually isn't a bad guess. Kadina doesn't have any idea.

Challenge cliff aerial shot. The tribes march in. Link yanks the bell away from Rob. As seems to be the case with the better Survivor challenges, this is very awesomely thought out but very difficult to describe. Basically, six of you stand on top of a large donut-shaped podium made up of a dozen or so smaller coloured wedge-shaped pieces. The seventh person removes wedges from the other tribe's podium. When Link spins a dinky little carnival wheel, it stops on a colour, and you have to remove a wedge of that colour, though it's your choice which one you take out (there are two of each colour). If you're standing on the wedge that gets chosen, you've got to move to another one. If there's more than one person on the chosen wedge, you've got to move to the same new wedge. If anybody touches the ground, they lose the challenge for their tribe. Last tribe with all of its members still balancing wins. Or, to put it another way, whoever falls off first loses for their entire tribe. But no pressure! Tipara sits Jeff out. Survivors ready? Stay! Sylvain is pulling for Kadina, whilst Lance is tugging for Tipara. The first wedge is yellow, and so is the second. In an odd moment of forethought on the producers’ part, Link bangs on the Immunity Bell to tell Lance and Sylvain when to take out their pieces. Green. Green again. Red. Purple. Orange. Orange. A graphic tells us there are four wedges left. Blue. Purple. There is a red and a blue left, and Link spins up a blue, so stacks on the red. Rob is the only person on Tipara's blue piece, so they have an advantage compared to Kadina who have to move practically their entire tribe. As a result, Kadina falls as a group when Lance yanks out their piece quickly. So, once again, Tipara wins the bell, and Kadina is going to have to put up with Link's horrible interviewing style again. Sigh.

Deb and Sylvan confessional and voice over respectively about how losing sucks (you think?), and Bald Spice doesn't think that anyone will volunteer to lose out on their chance for free money again in his confessional. Of course not. And if they did, it’d probably be one of the people who I actually don’t mind recapping, as opposed to… you.

At Tipara, Joel rings the bell like a kid in a toy shop, thereby destroying whatever cred he had accumulated from anything other than being damn hot. Hatie and Sciona are talking about soggy rice and Hatie bitches about hating soggy rice, just in time for Sciona to react by tipping the boiling water from the soggy rice on her leg. Joel and Hatie ask if she's alright, and she goes to put some cold water on it. As the rest of the tribe comes back from getting water, she confessionals about trying to find the balance between getting medevaced out of the game and using up the tribe's precious drinking water, because it's so far to go to get more. Everyone else tells her not to worry about the water, and she confessionals about how injuries are liabilities in the game.

Commercials. Is Tina Fey happy about not having to impersonate Sarah Palin anymore? “You betcha!”

Tipara, Day 6. A Sciona confessional about how good it is to win Immunity, because you get to starve and dehydrate without the added pressure of having to vote someone out. On cue, we see shots of the three younger women working on their tan, as a naked Sciona (did not particularly need the full image, editors, and not just because of the gay thing) wades into a pond and bathing on her own. Sciona confessionals about how she needs to minimise her injury so they don't vote her out.

Today is Rob's birthday, so he reads a letter his wife gave him before leaving, and is clearly on the verge of tears. Man, Caren really is on the wrong tribe.

At Kadina, they have found the compass and are playing cards. Said Caren is confessionaling about how much harder it is to vote off friends rather than enemies, and... as far as I can tell, she really didn't get that close to Lucinda to be able to consider her either one. Caren also doesn't want to quit. NoMind confessionals about how she doesn’t want to go home. She does know she’ll only be going to a predetermined hotel in Port Lincoln, doesn’t she? And that she’ll get free food out there? Deb voices over about how some people might have a strategy of letting others do all the work, but that she doesn't mind. Craig's shoulders are proudly on display as he confessionals about Bald Spice always feeling sick. Tim also confessionals about Bald Spice feeling sick. Bald Spice confessionals about hating insects and telling everyone about it and blah blah Ciriecakes. Craig confessionals about how being worried about bugs is pathetic in a game like this. Deb confessionals that everyone's getting used to camping and stinking, but Caren is getting used to it the slowest. Tim confessionals that there's no way Caren is as strong as he is because she is a woman, and how he could contribute more because he’s a big, strong man. Caren is leaning towards Tim because he is old and unfit. Tim tells us he is a mongrel. Sylvain isn't going to decide who he's voting for until he gets there.

Commercials. Camilla Parker-Bowles is busy celebrating her win in the Melbourne Cup.

There, of course, is Tribal Council, which the tribe is walking to when we return. Link welcomes them, tells them to dump their torches and sit down, and begins by reminding them that they suck at challenges and could by now provide guided tours of Tribal Council.

Craig, why do you suck? Because teamwork isn't worth shit. NoMind, do you think you're going home? She thinks anyone could be going home, given that nobody volunteered to quit and all. Tim, you still alive? Yes. Who's the idiot who was supposed to take the fishing rod to help you fish? Everybody else except for me. (NoMind and Craig laugh self-deprecatingly as soon as he mentions the rod, and you can't help but like them a little. Doesn't mean NoMind is losing her nickname, though.) Caren, is the money still important? Yes, and anyone who says otherwise is a lying rat bastard. But doesn't that make it an individual game? It does, but not yet. Deb, is it harder to find someone to vote for when people aren't voting for themselves? Uh, yeah. It isn't rocket surgery. How did you decide who to vote for? Still hasn't. So, it's a conscience vote? Bald Spice agrees. Link reminds them that anyone could go if it's a conscience vote.

Time to vote! Bald Spice votes for Caren. Tim votes. Craig votes for Bald Spice without knowing why. Heh. I like Craig. Deb votes. NoMind votes. Sylvain votes for Tim the family man. Caren votes.

Link goes to count the votes. Everybody looks tired. Lincoln grabs the keg. Lincoln returns. Tim. Caren. Tim. Deb. Bald Spice. Tim. And that's enough, and Tim is gone. Tim grabs his torch and is snuffed. The snuffer looks completely out of place to be on a shipwreck. Tim walks the plank. Once again, Link proves he can count on more than one hand and reminds Kadina to not continue to suck before sending them off.

Next week: Someone tries to stop the Tipara girls from tanning by making them run around in their bikinis. Rob is hot, but not necessarily in the way Hatie seems to think. As people start realising the other people have to be eliminated if they want to win, the challenge people given them axes to play with. Convenient! Somebody includes Deb in a conversation.

Tim thinks the game was tough and that Deb is still the weakest link. Yawn. We find out how the rest of the people voted for. Deb, NoMind, and Caren voted for Tim, and Tim voted for Deb.

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