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!