Thursday, February 16, 2012

10 Random Thoughts About the “Survivor” Premiere Last Night

1. People do not pack properly.

  After 20-plus seasons, some of those fool contestants show up on the island wearing formalwear and exaggerated bling. What the hell are you gonna do with 6-inch spiked glitter heels and a Versace petticoat? Your name is not Ginger and you did not arrive on the S. S. Minnow. You are going to be dirty, nasty and chafed within three seconds, so there’s no point in pretending the island comes equipped with a model runway and fashion photographers.

2. Somebody always has to talk smack before we even know their names.

  Jeff’s helicopter blades haven’t even stopped turning, and some yokel is already spouting off about how they are going to win the whole thing or that somebody else is a worthless piece of crap that should be beaten with a club for even showing up. Look, Louden Bitter, did it cross your mind that maybe your ass needs to be nice at least until the second episode? That person you are blurrily flipping off right now might be the very person you have to sleep next to in a badly-built hut for three months.

3. The names may change, but the people stay the same.

  We had all of our requisite stereotypes in full view: the giggling bimbos, the strutting himbos, the sassy and confrontational girl with messy hair trying to be street, the country boy with an accent the size of Idaho, the really smart girl who was probably president of the Chemistry Club but doesn’t have enough social skills to fight her way out of a garment bag, and the old guy that just isn’t going to make it to the end unless everybody else gets dysentery or is just really, really stupid.

  Special mention to this season’s “Flamboyant And Chatty Gay Guy“: Colton Cumbie. (Yes, he’s even using a drag name.) I always hope they find some semi-studly guy that won’t twirl his way through the jungle like Celine Dion on acid, but I guess it’s just not in the “Survivor” script book. (Gotta help those slow viewers find the gay one, right?) And here comes Colton, wearing pearls and a Justin-Bieber tribute hairstyle, ogling the men and immediately becoming best friends with all the women.

  And when Colton when into Nelly Overdrive (hey, another drag name) during the competition, skipping down those steps above the net and flitting his hands in turbo-prop fashion? Seriously, I thought he was actually going to take flight and sail over the giant net, landing down the beach in a chorus line from South Pacific.

4. Speaking of being over it, Jeff really is.

  He’s just not as invested as he used to be. (He’s been at it for years now. How many ways can you ask “Survivors ready?” and still get excited about it?) The meet-and-greet opening scenes on the latest beach used to be a lengthy “welcome to the family, we’re going to have a swell time, good luck to everybody”. Very welcoming and supportive. Now we’re down to Jeff bellowing “you people go there, you people go here, figure out how to make fire or you’ll die, and somebody goes home in three days. Go!” Then he runs off to wherever he goes when it’s not time for him to raise his hand in the air or share stories by a campfire.

5. The “Survivor” producers like to mess with the players’ heads.

  For this season, we’ve divided into two teams, one for all the women and one for all the men. (Um, we’ve done that part before, folks. Recycling isn’t always a good thing.) Then they made the teams tramp off in different directions, lugging things through the jungle, with people sweating and cursing and pulling underwear out of places it shouldn’t be, only to have both teams end up at exactly the same beach, where both tribes will live together in one seething mass of ambition, greed, deception and unpleasant hygiene issues.

  I found it rather amusing, but the players did not share my enthusiasm. They didn’t want to live together. It’s so much easier to hate another team when you don’t see them all the time and they live in a different place. (Hey, that whole USA/Russia Cold War thing worked out just fine for decades, did it not?) It’s hard to do the plotting and the manipulating when there are so many people sitting around watching you plot and manip.

  Oh, and there’s not going to be a Redemption Island this time around. When you gone, you gone. You could tell by most of the players’ eyes that this announcement was rather irritating, since it meant they would have to get it right the first time, no lolling around on another island and thinking of clever ways to get revenge on your former best-friend alliance-member that threw your ass under the Tribal Bus.

6. Muscle mass apparently comes from unused brain cells.

  As usual, we had our standard quartet of beefy guys that immediately bond, probably because they have the same gym membership. They are already entirely convinced that they will make it to the end, in a triumph of physical dominance and possible steroid-usage. What they fail to realize (as these quartets usually do) is that the extra baggage they brought with them (you know, the arrogance, the bigotry, the sexism) is more than enough fuel to cause the weaker people on the island to band together and whack at the giants’ knees until they fall.

7. Some people just don’t pay attention.

  And now we’re talking about Kourtney. (Um, not the Kardashian one. That Kourtney doesn’t live in huts on islands. She buys them.) Our Kourtney, standing on top of that giant tower and preparing to leap into the net, was not listening to Jeff, with his helpful instructions about how to properly survive the plunge. She didn’t do anything like he said, and home girl ended up with a broken wrist. Damn, girl. You seem really sweet and all, but maybe you should have respected Jeff’s hollering instead of thinking about where you’re going to put your next tattoo.

  After the snappage, Jeff stops the competition, calls in Medical (I still don’t understand why those people have Australian accents), they drag Kourtney off to a full medical facility apparently located in an unnoticed cave somewhere, and Jeff pronounces that since the guys were ahead when Kourtney bounced wrong, that the guys automatically win Immunity.

  Unless… the guys agree to play again. I’m fully expecting them to do so, since most of them are so full of self-confidence and self-love. But they don’t. The bitches. One of the girls is going home tonight.

8. Chickens can run fast. Mmm hmm.

  Especially if the humans coming at them are wearing inappropriate clothing or singing random show tunes. Quick little cluckers. So both teams decided to work together to catch the hurtling feather balls, and then they would share them. Turns out “working together” meant the girls and the not-as-cute guys screamed and thundered about, while the self-defined God Boy Quartet basically stood around, took off their shirts, and watched each other do preparatory muscle-flexing. (Cooking is really a woman’s job, right?)

  End result, an amazingly-talented farm girl caught both chickens, then decided she wasn’t going to share them after all, mainly due to that tiny little issue where the guys stole an axe and things from the girls  (well, one guy, actually, the guy who might have had plastic surgery or just naturally looks plastic and pinched, but the other guys did high-five him for doing it, because boys are stupid). Fair’s fare. If you snatch my tool you can’t touch my chicken.

9. Those hidden idols end up in the weirdest places.

  So, folks are barely on the island and not fully hating each other yet, when Sabrina manages to stumble over one of the hidden idols. Turns out, though, that she has to give it to someone on the other tribe before the next Tribal. That sucks in an amazing way. (They never made Russell give up any of his 26 idols, ever.) So Sabrina ponders and strategizes, then finally gives it to Liza Minnelli, figuring that he might really need it, what with Colton all alone over there, awash in a sea of testosterone and protein drinks.

10. Here, kitty kitty.

  So the girls end up at Tribal. Things are really nice and friendly for about two seconds. Then Christina really gets into it with that Alanis Morissette chick, the angry one with the hair. Alanis is mad at the way Christina bartered with the guys to get some of their fire, but in the end Christina did get them some fire, so Alanis just needs to go off somewhere and write a bitter song about it for her next album. (“You Oughta GO!”)

  Turns out no one is going anywhere, at least not directly from Tribal, according to Jeff. Kourtney and her jacked-up hand will not be returning to the game, so no vote tonight.

  Claws grudgingly retract, and the girls head out into the night. Trudging through the quiet moonlight, they don’t notice Colton standing under a banana tree and doing his Judy Garland impressions…

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