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.


  1. From Bluezombie:

    "Awesome recap as always. I agree with Amber - Hornebags is a skanky whore who needs to learn when to shut the fuck up for sure! Love Imogen, liking Elton (I am also amused that he reminds you of your Nan, and that statement is shortly followed by a request for more shirtlessness) and Nicolle and Amber, and that's about all. The rest can leave.

    Kyle Sandilands might deserve a lot more attention in the next recap......"

  2. The shirtlessness thing is basically so I actually CAN tell them apart.

    Yes, the rest can leave any time they want, though I'd forgotten how much Fiona didn't really start to annoy until later on.